2009 has been crazy. Looking back I can say it has TRULY been the best year of my young life. As always, there is the not so great stuff, but this past year there has been so much greatness that it is hard to dwell on anything else.
Here's to you, 2009. 'Cause I am moving on to even better things.
Highlights of the last year, in chronological order, as best as I can;
- 18th birthday. Apparently that made me a legal adult. I have the right to vote, ability to go to jail, and...sign my own permission forms. Oh sweet freedom....
- Shortly after the 18th birthday I got my license. My parents had me wait until 18 and it wasn't all that bad. I got to drive whoever I wanted the moment I was licensed. At 16/17 in my state you have to wait a year to drive people.
- The day I got my license led into a snowboarding trip with my aunt's family to Sunday River in Maine, where I boarded and then stayed in a monster of a house (that Patrick Dempsey had stayed in) with a movie theater and a king sized bed that I took up 1/4 of.
- In June, I completed my high school education. I'm told that this is an accomplishment but...didn't really feel like one...I'm more excited about what I am going to do with my life other than complete 12 grades...
- Got offered scholarship for $16,000 a year for 4 years (half of each year's $36,000 tuition) to a school in Pennsylvania. I didn't end up going to this school, but it felt pretty good to get that much money just for doing well on the English sections of the SAT.
- Second week of June I got on a stage for my Irish dancing recital with the 5 other graduating seniors of my dance school and preformed a dance in which we all rebelled against Irish dancing and loved it. Medley of Dancin' Queen, Boogie Wonderland, and Send Me On My Way. So fun.
- Later in that month, I was having my novel read and commented upon by a professional editor. That was the first time my book was read by someone pro, and it was very encouraging to hear that I actually could write.
- Then came July. July, July, Julllllly. Insanest (yes, I did just use that word) month of my entire life. Maybe the best of my life as well.
- First was 1 week in New York with my family and other family friends. The legendary Camp k20. Then I was home for 2 days.
- Second was Costa Rica. San Jose. I could write blog post after blog post telling you how this trip revolutionized life as I knew it. I spent 8 days there with some of the most awesome people that I know, seeing God work in awesome ways in a place that I had never expected that I would be. Praying for people and having tumors disappear off their bodies, giving a testimony of God's goodness in my life in a church filled with people I had never met, ministering to people on streets in the pouring rain, preforming dances and dramas in a church of thousands. Seeing hundreds accept Christ. Being able to ask people their needs and pray for healing IN SPANISH, without help of interpreters. Getting up on stage and dancing around with the youth group's worship team in front of 5,000 youth (and having the worship leader hand me the mic and say "IN ENGLISH!!!" ). Helping with a class teaching basic English. Setting foot in the Caribbean and looking upon Caribbean waters (and eating the food!). Finding the best coffee in the world. Jumping off a bridge, with a bungee cord around my ankles.
- After Costa Rica was 2 days in Miami, Florida, to kick back and recuperate. We stayed at a beast of a hotel which you might have heard of- The Ritz Carlton! (live for God and He hooks you up, let me just tell you.) Standing in an ocean which was 90 degrees. Never wanting to get out of the ocean. Snorkeling. Jet Skiing (what a rush! 40 + mph, flying off of waves!). Frozen strawberry slush drink (yes, it was nonalcoholic, thank you.) by the ocean. Learning how to just rest. Epic.
- And I cannot tell you how badly I needed that break in Miami, because hours after I got off the plane (2:00 AM) I got in a car (at 6:00 AM) headed for a week of work-project-style missons in Fairmont, West Virginia. Yes. 2 missions trips, back to back. 17 days. Yes, I am crazy. Grits. Sweat. Roofing tar. Dirt. Deconstruction. Reconstruction. Exhaustion. Lots of Coffee. No regrets.
- By the time I got home from all that I was a different animal. I was pretty crazy about life before that month, but once I was home, it only intensified. Passion level amped up. Big time.
- September 09 I began to further my education with an online school by the name of PennFoster, to become a certified Freelance Writer. Still workin' on that.
- Somewhere in the early fall I led worship for the first time. That was new. I had been singing and playing the keyboard for sometime but worship LEADING was nothing I had ever aspired to. But apparently my aspirations were too small. Thankfully, I have some awesome leaders/pastors/mentors/heroes in my life who push me beyond where I am comfortable. Repeatedly. I owe a lot of where I am in my life to them. A LOT.
- Then, as a "worship leader in training," I began taking vocal lessons. Odd, seeing as no one starts talking such things 18 years into their lives... again, I owe it to the people who encourage me into what I could be, rather than what I am. I had my first "recital" a couple weeks ago and I have to say it went pretty well, considering about a year ago I was telling my worship pastor that I couldn't even sing...
- Last couple months I started an online shop (...still working on that) and then another to raise money for missions (COSTA RICA 2010!) I've been creating all sorts of things. I also started this blog, something that I said I would never do. I've been writing more than ever before and even entered a short story in a contest which could win me some cash. In my spare time I work as a 'dust assassin' (commonly called a house cleaner). Then there is Dance. 2 youth groups. Family. Friends. I keep quite busy.
- And I think that more of less brings us to the current. It is the last day of December, the last day of 2009, last time that I will have to write an '0' before a 1 digit number when I want to abbreviate...
This post turned into something longer than I had planned, but that is just how good my life has been over the last 364 days. God is good. My life is full, my life is crazy, and I love it that way. I am blessed and I only get more blessed as I go. I could keep going for hours, but for the sake of your poor tired eyes, I will stop.
Happy almost New Year, everybody. Glance back quickly... and then run into 2010 like you know why you are living.
"If you are alive, then you have a purpose, so get off your butt and live like it's worth it" (an all original quote from...myself.)
In closing, a quote from my (absolutely amazing) youth pastor, Rev. Eric Peoples-"Find out what you love to do and then do it."<>