The Summary of My 26th Year…

12 10 2012

It was my birthday last week.

I’m coming to grips that I’m officially “over the hill” in my twenties and, at 27, closer to 30 than I’d like to think.

I perpetually have that same astonished feeling as I did eight years ago, when my father called me out of the blue as I was on my way to class in sunny California. I said hello, and without any sort of pleasantries, my dad blurted out, “In eleven years, you’re going to be THIRTY!”

I woke up before everyone else this morning and dared not open my eyes, for fear my dogs would seize upon my wakefulness and attack with slobbery kisses. It gave me time to think about this last year, as it’s been quite an eventful one.

Here are some highlights from the last year of my life:

  • I joined a great team of people on a resource team at a fledgling ministry, giving me the chance to work with dear friends on a regular basis
  • I led a large confirmation retreat in central Illinois with a wild small group, and watched as my former students–now upperclassmen in high school–became formidable leaders with a younger generation that now looks up to them as role models
  • I co-led a confirmation group that existed of some of the craziest junior high girls I’ve ever met, but I loved every one of them (even when I had to look up creative ways to discipline them)
  • I was asked to keynote a youth conference in Canada in the middle of winter, and learned that Canadians teach their students valuable survival skills at such events–so I now know how to properly build a fire in the middle of a snowstorm
  • I learned that not only do I have famous Lutheran ancestors on my grandmother’s side of the family, am a direct descendent of Myles Standish and had Thomas Jefferson as the family lawyer back in the early days of America, but that my grandfather’s side of the family goes back to a famous medieval family who’s mentioned in the epic Beowulf as magical blacksmiths
  • I watched my wonderful little brother get married to his college sweetheart on a perfect fall day in the vineyards of southern California, and have loved having a new “sister” to roam the corridors of Mall of America with, whenever I visit
  • I caught mono and experienced the joy of balancing a demanding full-time job with a sickness that made me feel like I wanted put my head on my keyboard and sleep all day
  • I pulled some epic pranks on my co-workers, including one in which we covered every square inch of an office with poinsettias
  • I went through the pastoral call process with my dear husband, trudging through snow in heels and a suit as we interviewed with churches all over the country
  • I facilitated a Missouri District youth leadership training with some of the most talented pastors and DCEs I know, and watched our largest group ever come to recognize their calling to serve their peers
  • I discovered that my husband had been requested as a pastor by six different churches all over the Midwest and East Coast, and ultimately was given an exclusive call by the Texas District which landed us in Cedar Park at a wonderful church
  • I watched the joy of our middle school students as they came up with creative ways to serve people in our community on a weekly basis–everything from making dog treats for animal shelters to creating “appreciation baskets” of candy for our local schools
  • I moved out of a third-story apartment, with the help of a bunch of middle school kids as my drug-dealing neighbor lounged on his front porch and told us, “Yeah, it’s time to move out of this joint–the whole place is bad news”
  • I left my job in a church that I loved, saying goodbye to people that had become like family to me
  • In the six weeks of freedom that our summer afforded us, I traveled through 6 different countries in Europe, 16 states in the US, and logged a total of 13,648 miles traveled (over 4,000 of which we drove)

    In the heart of Rome, on a blissful 98-degree day in the middle of this summer…

  • I watched my husband get ordained in his home church in Florida–the same church in which he was confirmed and married–as the pastors and DCE who mentored him from a young age presided over the tearful service that ordained the first “son of the congregation” into the pastoral office as they celebrated their church’s 100-year anniversary, and as friends and family from all over the country flew in for the milestone day
  • I moved into a beautiful new apartment in Texas, with the help of an ambitious team of adults who managed to empty our storage unit in a staggering 15 minutes
  • I started a new job doing lifespan ministry, overseeing Christian education in every age and every capacity at my new church, and meeting a whole host of new friends and church workers in a new state
  • I joined a team of wildly talented people who are orchestrating the next National Youth Gathering and am seeing just how much work and dedication go into these amazing events

It’s hard to believe that so much has happened in one year. I wonder what the next year of my life will bring?

Rest assured, I’ll be sharing it with you.