Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Ten Years Man! Ten Years!

One of my husband's favorite movies (and it's up there on my list too) is Grosse Pointe Blank. If you haven't seen it, it's a really funny movie that involves a ten year high school reunion. The main character runs into a friend who cannot believe it has been ten years since they graduated high school. He goes on and on about it and keeps obnoxiously shouting out "Ten years man! Ten years!" 

And in 2014 I find myself in a similar spot... Realizing that it has been ten years since I graduated high school. 

When I graduated high school in 2004, I wondered what life would be like in the year of my ten year reunion. Would I be married? Would I have kids? What kind of job would I have? 

In 2004, I had no idea about all that would happen over the period of ten years... 

I didn't know that I would volunteer at a non-profit organization the following year and end up working there for 9 years (and going) and eventually become a director of a department there. I didn't know that God would use my skill set and the passions from my youth at this job (like my interest/borderline obsession with geography, different cultures and talking/storytelling ... or communicating if I want to sound more professional). I didn't know that when I was 20 years old, a stranger had a word from God confirming this call on my life and that he said "God has you going to many countries throughout the world and you are going to see miracles like blind men seeing and lame men walking." I didn't know that I would go to countries in Africa, South America and Asia with my work and experience the miracles this stranger had prophesied. 

I didn't know that I would graduate with a degree in Communications from Vanguard University (I started with a Sociology degree) and a Leadership Master's degree from a small university in rural Missouri. I didn't know of the deep and amazing lifelong friendships I would make while I was in school. 

I didn't know that I would meet the love of my life when I was 19 years old and all that we would experience together. I didn't know that four significant members of my family would not be at my wedding and that they would not speak to me or the rest of the family for three years. I didn't know that God would use the situation to allow me to become closer with every other family member and that He would speak His truth through all of them, helping me overcome my people pleasing issues and the extreme anxiety that parliyzed me. I didn't know that God would bring His restoration to this situation and how He used it to help me grow more than I could have ever imagined. 

I didn't know that I would grow in my independence while living in Portland for a year and that after I got married I would move to the middle of nowhere Missouri. I didn't know that my husband and I would be "Mom and Dad" to over 60 teenage boys while living with them in a dorm (and I didn't know how much we would love them and have many of them in our lives for the long haul). I didn't know that we would have so many adventures while living there and be able to travel so much in the US and that we would be able to backpack through Europe.

I didn't know that my husband would drop down to 115 lbs and that he would almost die from his hyperthyroid. I didn't know that our school in Missouri would make a tax mistake right before we moved back to California and completely drain our savings. I didn't know that my husband would be out of work for a year and a half and that we would be so poor that we could only eat food like soup or Mac & Cheese and that we still couldn't make ends meet. 

I didn't know that in the year leading up to my ten year reunion God would drastically change our lives by providing my husband with a job in his field and that he would provide me with two unexpected payraises. I didn't know he would allow us to move from our dangerous old neighborhood and bless us with an amazing new apartment. 

And these are only some of the things I didn't know. 

I don't think the 18 year old version of me would have ever been able to guess all of the things that I would experience over the next ten years. I am so thankful for all 3,650 days- both the blessed and difficult seasons. I'm thankful for every experience and how God allowed me to grow through those times. I am so thankful for His faithfulness and the amazing life He has blessed me with and I am so excited for all that 2014 (and the future holds). 

Despite the likelihood of not keeping New Year's resolutions, I still like to set goals each year. Last year I aimed to memorize the book of Philipians, but only memorized most of chapter 4. I set a goal to eat 1200 calories or less a day and workout 3 days a week, but probably only did that 75% of the time. But I set a goal to read 2 books a month, and read 28 (4 more than I had to). Even if I didn't meet all my goals, I think the goals challenged me to do more than I would have, had I not set any goals. 

So without further adieu, here are my top ten goals for 2014:

1. Read through the Bible in a year

I have not done this since I was 13 years old, and thought it was about time to do this again. I decided to go with a plan that is a chronological reading (to the best of these Bibical historian's knowledge). Excited to see what God reveals this time around. 

2. Use myfitness app everyday 

I hope to record my 1200 calories (or less), 5 minute ab routine, 8 glasses of water and different workouts (with hopefully more being outside activities like hiking) everyday. 

3. Write a blog once a week 

My job involves lots of writing, so I have been slacking on my personal writing. I hope to use this blog to write blog posts, short stories, thoughts, poems and any other form if creative writing once a week. 

4. Read at least 2 books a month 

I learned so much from the books I read last year. Whether they challenged my theological beliefs, taught me more about leadership in the work place or were a stunning example of wordsmithing and storytelling, I learned so much. And I want to learn even more in 2014. 

5. Use my duolingo app everyday 

I have been trying to learn Spanish since I was 20 and have been failing miserably. This is the best language app I have ever come across and only requires 15 minutes a day. Wish me luck amigos!

6. Do at least one art project a month

Art has an amazing way of centering me. I get busy and forget to do art, something I very much enjoy. Whether it is painting, drawing a comic, finishing my photography class or doing web design I need to make more of an effort in this area. 

7. Take at least one walk by myself everyday at work

This is a great way to get centered, inspiration and most importantly a time set aside to spend with God, whether it is just being still with Him or getting His guidance. 

8. Take a picture everyday

We are so blessed to live in 2014 and as cheesy as the #photoadaychallenges are, it is an awesome way to document daily life and reflect on all the different experiences I have had. 

9. Incorporate more music in my life 

I need to listen to more music and play my instruments more... Period. Music centers me like art and sadly I have been pretty neglectful to one of my favorite parts of life. 

10. Seek out more ways to grow in certain areas spiritually

I go to my church twice a week, work at a Christian organization and most of my friends are Christian. I don't have many opportunities to evangelize, but don't want to use that as an excuse. I have always loved the song "Make my life a prayer to You" by Keith Green and want seek the ways in which God can allow me to grow and share His goodness with others. Excited to see how He will do this in spite of me and all my flaws.

I hope this long blog post reflects my thankfulness for the life God has blessed me with and pray it serves as an encouragement to you as you reflect on the life you have been blessed with. Happy 2014!