Friday, January 20, 2012

15 out of 30

I last posted about my endeavor to accomplish 30 new and exciting things before my 30th birthday.

I only hit 15 items.

This could feel like a failure... except for the fact that I'm pretty proud of a few of the items on my list. I worried that they would all end up being about food. I had intentions to make it to my in-law's house and attempt to walk on stilts. I wanted to take a cycling class. I planned to run a 9 minute mile. I had so many more things that I really wanted to accomplish.

But then something happened this week that reminded once again how quickly everything can change. A close friend lost her 8 year-old nephew to leukemia. His journey was long and hard, but in the last 6 months of his life Liam decided to help raise money to dig fresh water wells. In his dad's words: After his relapse, in an attempt to make each day as meaningful as it could be, we decided that every day in the hospital should include three important things: learning something, making something and loving someone. After one conversation about how to love people, we ended up at the Water Project's website, and Liam started raising money to dig wells for people who have no clean water.

Because of his beautiful life over $30,000 dollars has been raised for the Water Project.

There I was lamenting not having enough time to learn to make hummus and Liam wanted to bring fresh water to the world.

These past weeks I casually tried new foods, listened to sports radio, learned how to juggle, memorized Hebrew, and pushed myself to run a 1/2 marathon. It was a fun way to finish off my twenties.

But for this year and for this life, I want so much more. I want to live better.

I want to be more like these people...

1. Liam, who lived well and full of life- giving wells of life to others.
2. Shannon, who falls on her face and prays for the orphans of the world.
3. My dad who who plays the piano for Alzheimer patients who don't remember after he leaves, but who dance and sing while he's there.
4. Becca, who is currently fostering two boys as a single mom.
5. Carson, who is making friends with the homeless men in our area.
6. My mother-in-law, who has volunteered at a homeless shelter for over 20 years.
7. Carey, who dreams big and listens intently for the voice of our Father.
8. Mary, whose heart for refugees could hold up the whole world.
9. Megan, who adopted one and her heart breaks for every other child in the foster system.
10. My mother, who makes the Bible come alive to children.
11. Annie, who gets back up every time and makes again something beautiful.
12. Clay, who reminds me how much God loves His sheep.
13. My husband, who sees and loves every child he's ever met.
14. Suzie, who will take in strangers and love them like family.
15. Virginia, whose hugs feel like home.
16. Grandma, who shows me what love looks like.
17. Kacie, who asks the questions that make you stop and think.
18. Whitney, who gives freely and generously to those she loves.
19. Erin and Jon, whose hearts have been on mission from the very start.
20. Abby, who is faithfully walking through fire.
21. Angie, who reminds me to live adventurously.
22. Lauren, whose loyalty strengthens and affirms everyone around her.
23. Valerie, who shows me what it means to "rejoice when others rejoice."
24. Jack, who challenges us to stop making excuses.
25. Scott, who points everyone back to the gospel over and over.
26. Lauren, who teaches me that God's portion is good.
27. Mike, who reminds me to live life with two scoops.
28. Chauncey, who is faithful to the very end.
29. Brian, who is living it out on the front lines.
30. Fernando and Carrie Fay, who show me what family looks like.

And I could go on and on. You know that right? Rather than having a list of things to do before I die, I just want to remember to live. That's the whole point, isn't it? Life is so short and so precious. I'm so thankful for the gift of that reminder this week. I'm thankful for so many to love and for so many who love me back. I'm so thankful for so many examples of how to live and love well.

Birthday request: Tell someone you love them today. And if you feel so inclined, donate to help Liam finish another well.

Here's to 30, and doing it well.

Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’ John 7:38, NIV

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


So this one time, I moved into an apartment.

That one time? Was FIVE YEARS AGO.


And I'm so glad I get to still be here.

(Might I venture to guess that everyone who comes over to enjoy my pool with me is glad too...)

So much has changed since that rainy January 12th in 2007 when Mom and Dad helped move me into my beloved, second-story corner apartment.

Five years ago, I finished hanging curtains and setting up my kitchen and promptly showed it all off to... no one. I had only been in town for a handful of months, and basically knew no one.

To contrast, so far my week has included, but is not limited to:

  • Group viewing of the hilariousest movie ever, "Waiting for Guffman"

  • Six-episode marathon of "Friday Night Lights" with Emily

  • Homemade spaghetti with Stacy and Jacey (and I agree, the two of them SHOULD form a girl band)

  • Dinner party at John and Lori's house with 13 fun friends

  • Zumba with Andrea

  • Dinner at Grandma's with Carter and Grant (She picked up Buffalo Wild Wings for us! What grandmother does that? Awesome.)

  • Two episodes of "The OC" with Joanna and Elizabeth

  • A buy-one-get-one sale on Lean Cuisine meals at the grocery store. HUZZAH!
If you're sensing a theme (aside from the Lean Cuisine thing), you are correct: Buffalo Wild Wings is amazing.


But seriously, folks (taps microphone all "Is this thing on?"-like, stands in front of a brick wall.) Like I said, my life looks very different than it did five years ago, and a major change is in the area of my friendships and community. (Also: "Community." Not a show then, but now a favorite.) I spent a lot of lonely nights wishing for someone to watch "The OC" with, or to go try new restaurants with, or to watch old movies with, because I just didn't have any kind of community.

Now? It's an embarrassment of riches, and I generally have more plans than I know what to do with. (Here, do you want some? Upcoming events include: Friday Night Fun, Golden Globes viewing party, and hopefully a trip to see "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," if it would ever come to town! It's supposed to be really good and it has CRAZY GARY OLDMAN in it so how could you go wrong?? ...But I digress.)

I frequently find myself complaining (quite ridiculously) that I am just SO BUSY before I catch myself and clarify that actually that's okay, because it's all good, FUN things that I'm busy with!

So I'm thankful for this season of my life. Thankful for the time and freedom and inclination to go down the buffet of all available awesomeness and select some quality time here, some hilarity there, and a sprinkle of FUN to top it all off with. (Just no cauliflower, please. Or baked beans. Or cottage cheese. I will not be selecting any of THOSE things from the buffet.)

In conclusion: thank you LORD for saving me from being the Lonely Girl watching "Pearl Harbor" alone in her apartment, looking forward to a weekend of sleep and... I don't even know.

I just can't imagine my life without my friends.

In conclusion number two: I think this is the most parenthesis-heavy blog I have ever written.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The End... (kind of)

This year is r-e-d, red h-o-t, red hot, red hot, red hot.
I'm not even insinuating the end of the world, mind you.

Fact: I turn 30 years of age in 18 days.

This facial expression was not made because of that fact. (This is me doing my best to take a photo and not look like I'm standing in a bathroom holding out my phone... because let's face it... this isn't myspace.)

If I really stop and think about turning 30 I'm not worried or freaked out. I think I was nervous about it when I was 27, but the closer I get the more sure I am that each year holds something unique and powerful that will continue to shape me into the person I'm created to be.

At dinner last night, we had a group discussion about if there was anything we would NOT do again if given the opportunity. I thought through several mistakes and arguments and then began to consider experiences, relationships, classes, choices... and I ended up thinking that even the hardest moments have been used to fuel the 29 year-old me. So true: nothing is wasted in God's economy. I wish those younger versions of me had more wisdom, tact, grace, patience, contentment, and poise... but I also know that in my weaknesses HE has been stronger.

I feel like such a momentous age deserves a momentous goal. I thought about trying to do 30 things in the year before I turn 30... but that didn't happen. And then I thought about 30 new and adventurous things in the year following turning 30.

But now I'm sitting here with 18 full days of my twenties waiting to be lived and I decided to just go for it. I'm going to document 18 days of trying new things... and hope that I can get to the number 30 before turning 30. Realize that you are dealing with someone who doesn't try new foods unless forced and often doesn't push herself to do anything unless she is at least partially confident that she will succeed.

But I'm still going to give it a try.

Here's to peanut butter on apples (who knows, maybe I'll like it?) and craft projects (recovering a lamp shade like I'm a pinterest boss). Here's to running half marathons (help me now) and memorizing verses in Hebrew (She'ma, Yisra'el...). If nothing else, it's going to be an adventurous end to my 20s.

30 in 18 by 30. (Makes no sense, but I'm game.)