Friday, January 2, 2009

Out with the old, in with the new!

Welcome 2009.  We sure are happy that you're here!

2008 was certainly an interesting year.  I moved to Orlando, I had a friend who moved to NYC for a job and back to MI.  Two of my close friends started God-honoring romantic relationships.  There were engagements galore!  I got my first 4.0 since . . . well, it's been awhile.  My brother moved back to MI from D.C.  I am not sure I have lived to see this much change in a year.  As I grow older, I'm sure I will notice it more and more. Or, at least that is my assumption.  Who can tell what is to come?

But back to today. It is January 2, 2009.  The new year has been rung in all over the world.  Yet, this post isn't about 2009.  It's about 2008.  I am always one for constant reflection over the happenings of life, and I just haven't taken enough time to think about last year over the past few days.

One of my favorite shows is Starting Over. In case you haven't been fortunate enough to watch it, it is a show with women who have issues.  About six at a time come to a house and meet regularly with life coaches.  When I was watching it, I was able to take some ideas of things they did with the women and find some healing for the scars left from my past.  Rhonda Britten, one of the life coaches, has a e-newsletter that she sends out weekly.  She gave three assignments to do before we stepped into the new year.  I might be a few days late, but better late than never, I press on.

Assignment Number 1:
"Please list 100 gratitudes for 2008. I don't care that you can't recall one happy moment or that you think 20 will be it tops. One hundred it must be.
One hundred moments that someone or something was in your life that made you smile, made your life easier, put a spring in your step. Some moment that worked. Maybe the security line at the airport was much easier than you anticipated. Be grateful. Or perhaps the dinner with your mom's new boyfriend wasn't horrible. Be grateful. Or your best friend forgot your birthday but she made up for it days later. Be grateful."

1. I got my graduate assistant job in Orlando at UCF.
2. I got into three out of the four graduate school programs that I applied to.
3. I got to know Adrianne, Andy and Jenny some more.
4. I made it safely from and to Orlando.
5. I got a great birthday surprise from Andrew.
6. I had the chance to hang out with Kiana, Esohe, and Alicia for the first time in years.
7. We celebrated another year of life for Daniel Grimmer.
8. Got to know Liz better and pray for her.
9. I got to share a part of my life that not many people knew about.
10. I had the chance to pray with a good friend about something deeply personal.
11. We put up decorations for Christmas in the apartment.
12. There's a plan to pay off student loans faster.
13. Started the year off worshipping God (my favorite way to spend New Year's so far in life).
14. I didn't get sick once.
15. Learned more about charter schools.
16. Got a 4.0 in my first semester of graduate school.
17. The week at home for Christmas was pleasant.
18. Went natural and saved tons of money on my hair maintenance.
19. Gained a new look with my nose ring (which didn't get infected at all).
20. Found a new-old favorite snack that's healthy (ants on a log - celery, peanut butter, raisins).
21. When I went to the airport on my flight (moving to Orlando), and was bawling, the people who worked at the airport were so nice and caring.
22. In Orlando, I found a friend from my home state.
23. Kim came to Charley's on my birthday to surprise me.
24. The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Tough Novel helped me understand and appreciate a spiritual family and their role in warfare even more.
25. America elected its first Black President in history.
26. Though I had no car, I was still able to go to church.
27. I got the chance to know a family in Orlando.
28. Mom got to visit me in Orlando twice.
29. My old laptop survived until I got the new one.
30. I got a new laptop.
31. I got to go to Sarasota and spend a day on the beach, relaxing.
32. Orlando feels like my home.
33. Got to spend time at St. Mary's Fair with Leah and Kim on Memorial Day weekend.
34. Spent time with my god-mother and her family before I moved.
35. Went to a Robin Thicke concert at House of Blues.
36. Went to Anberlin concert at House of Blues.
37. Had fun at Rising Star Karaoke Bar.
38. Burlington Coat Factory has helped me build my shoe collection for pretty cheap.
39. Frosting cookies with Kevin and Sara-Marie is fun.
40. Tentatively planned out my program of study.
41. Bonded with my new roommate over musicals.
42. My mom has sent me stuff from Florida when I've needed it.
43. My going away party was amazing.
44. At my going away party, people said a lot of amazing, sweet things to me.
45. Top of the Park was a great way to connect with friends.
46. When mom's car got towed, Jess pulled some strings to help with the cost.
47. My pedicure Christmas gift was a great way to connect with AC and LB.
48. My trip with Eric and Craig to Chicago to visit Craig was a lot of fun.
49. My movie collection is growing.
50. I got to see my old Bible study leader randomly when I was visiting Ann Arbor over Christmas break.
51. G-chatting keeps my relationships with people a thousand miles away fresh.
52. High School Musicals 1, 2, and 3 helped me live out a little more my fantasy of life being a musical.
53. The Christmas GA party at our place was awesome.
54. Had some good bonding time at the movies this summer before I moved.
55. Spending time with little Cora and Jason.
56. Buffalo Wild Wings every other Thursday with Carla.
57. The roses I got for my birthday from Adrienne, Sarah, and Sarah.
58. The Dark Knight
59. The Advent Conspiracy
60. The timelessness of the the things dealt with on the Cosby Show
61. The Twilight Zone New Years Marathon
62. The pair of work shoes I got from Kelly
63. The opportunity to sing at the SDES Christmas party
64. Praise and worship and prayer with Kim and Leah in Borders and the car
65. I got to reconnect with an old friend, BJN.
66. I let go of the unhealthy aspects of my relationships.
67. None of my boxes got lost in the mail during my move.
68. Bought some clothes for my new job.
69. S-MK and JS chose to include me in their wedding.
70. My VISTA job ended on time instead of me having to find another placement.
71. God changed my perspective about a lot of things.
72. The weeks I got to spend with Blondie.
73. My laptop is an Energy Star.
74. The Love, Dating, Marriage, Sex Sermons
75. 40 Days of Prayer bringing unity
76. ULC being open and being a safe haven.
77. I am able to attend graduate school.
78. I can support Kimberly as she's away this next year.
79. Paula keeping me accountable
80. "Christmastime is Here" - Charlie Brown and "Wonderful Christmastime" - Jars of Clay [version] made me feel good
81. The art of the musical is coming back (Chicago, Sweeney Todd, Hairspray, High School Musical 3)
82. Visiting Michigan, I was more myself than I ever felt in Orlando.
83. Encouragement from the online weight-loss community SparkPeople
84. Became aware of the fact that I hold my tension in my upper back.
85. Peaceful Christmas
86. I won lotion at the NLC white elephant party.
87. God showed me that I was running to things besides Him for life.
88. TextTwist with Craig and Dan - "bias"
89. Feeling safe to be completely me
90. Supportive family.
91. The lunch Blondie and I wen to the day I left to move.
92. "Give Me Words to Speak," "The More," and "I Need You Now" helped me cry out to the Lord when I couldn't find the words.
93. The VHS player in our living room allows me to watch some of my favorite movies.
94. Celebration dinner with mom and Craig
95. Running into Alicia Slubo at the Border's in Novi one day when I was shopping.
96. Friends who aren't ashamed or scared that I'm super loud and crazy.
97. YouVersion on my phone when my Bible wasn't around.
98. Holding babies at church.
99. The difference repentance makes.
100. God holds my future in His hands.

It took me a few hours to come up with 100, not that I don't have more than enough to be thankful for, but just because I needed to process those things that were coming up in my quest for the hundred.  I am glad that I did.  2008 was a great year. I am looking forward to what 2009 has in store.  
God has done so much in 2008, bringing me to the point where I am now. 

Happy New Year!  If you are reading this, I encourage you go think of your own list.  And think of what a better world this could be if we just shared our gratitude more often.