25.

Well, today was my 25th birthday.

I ended up having the day off of work so it was a pretty relaxing and quiet day…just what was needed. Then this evening I met up with some of my closest friends for dinner, always a good time.

Here we are, at the start of another year and this idea got me thinking. It is not the year that ends of being good or bad. I mean, a year is simply the time it takes the earth to travel around the sun. Rather, the year will be what we make of the time we have ahead of us.

So…rather than hoping the year is good, I know it will be good because I am going to take action into my own hands. With guidance from Christ and the support of my friends/family I look forward to seeing what the year holds in store…ironically, I will end by saying it will be a good year!

Cheers and stay tuned for stories of my 25th year!

An Open Letter To Best Friends

Hey blogging friends! Below is a guest post from one of my friends from SPU. She emailed me asking if she could post about her best friend, in a way that honors not only her best friend, but all best friends…and I said of course! So I encourage you to take a couple moments and read through what Melissa has written. Enjoy!

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Hi, everyone. My name is Melissa, and I’m happy to have the opportunity to guest blog here today. Rob and I went to SPU together, and we have a lot of mutual friends. One of those friends is Alyssa.

For those of you who don’t know Alyssa, here is what you need to know: She drinks her French-press coffee black, like a true Seattlite; she’s from Portland. She’s currently living in Washington, D.C., where she’s studying to become the next Benazir Bhutto. (I don’t know if you can study to be her, but Alyssa is in law school, at any rate.) And it seems like the perfect setting, because Alyssa is a total political junkie, an international relations addict. When I was in the throes of junior-year stress and angst, she made jokes about Vladimir Putin and brought a smile to my face.

In short, she’s my best friend. And today is her 23rd birthday.

So I’d like to dedicate this post to Alyssa, but it is really an open letter to best friends. Maybe you can’t relate exactly to our stories (I’d be worried if you could), but I hope you have a friend who comes to mind when you read these things.

Anyway. An open letter to best friends.

To all of the best friends,

You know who you are, because as soon as I said that—“best friends”—you know who thought of you. You know it because you thought of them, too.

Thank you for accepting us when it seems like we only have half a brain. Thank you for being the other half of our brains. One time, Alyssa told me to become a political science major so I could go to France with her. So I did. I hated politics at the time. Maybe this seems like a stupid decisions—to pick up a second major in a subject you hate for the sake of a summer in France—but it ended up being one of the best choices I ever made. And it was as if Alyssa knew it.

Thank you for sharing the same wavelength. Believe it or not, Alyssa and I actually bonded over a love of ASSP Senate. And by that I mean that we both had to attend Senate every Monday for a year, and our inseparable bond was forged over many snarky notes passed back and forth.

Thank you for inspiring adventure in us. One time, Alyssa and I drove to Portland and back again in the span of about 7 hours. This would not be particularly remarkable, except that we needed to reach Powell’s Books by 11 p.m. and it was just past 7 p.m. when we decided to go. Consider also the more-or-less four hour drive to Portland, and it was a recipe for a potential catastrophe. And yet, as we hurtled down I-5, there was no more logical choice than just to go for it. We also stopped in Centralia to try and steal a street sign. We didn’t. (Oh, but it wasn’t for lack of trying)

Thank you for accepting our quirks. The perfect example in two words: Sleep walking. (Another good example: those times we made videos of our own web show called “Cute With Issa” and had no shame in posting them to Facebook.)

Thank you for not accepting us when we want to wallow in self-pity (even if we might insist that it is just one of our “quirks”). Alyssa and I have this joke wherein we lament our inevitable fate as crazy cat ladies, and it’s funny now because we’re in our 20s. But I know that, whenever I do seriously consider starting my cat collection, Alyssa will the first one to stop me and talk sense to me. Or she’ll be the one who helps me pick which cat to adopt. I’m still not sure on this.

Thank you for being there for the big moments and the deep conversations, because we’d all go certifiably insane if we had to have those conversations alone. Yet, thank you for sharing the little, dumb moments, too, because we all need to laugh at cat pictures online sometimes. Both of those things are the reason I’ll always keep Alyssa close: She’s too much of a liability for my reputation otherwise.

Most of all, thank you for seeing us as we are and loving us in spite of the fact that we aren’t as great as we pretend to be. You see our flaws—all of them, and there are many—and yet you still think, “I’d rather spend time with you than watch cat videos on the Internet any day.”

And we think the same of you.

We love you, best friends.

(And we never forget what you said you wanted for your birthday.)

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Thanks, Melissa for the great post and reminder about how great our best friends really are!

And a very happy birthday to Alyssa! 🙂 Have an awesome 23!

Alyssa and Melissa…best friends indeed!

2011…*Over and Out*

Seems fitting that I’m posting this a year to the day of starting this blog….What. A. Year…Want to know a little more? Take a little read below….

Well, no matter what happened over the course of the past year, I’m at my current place in life because of all of it. One year ago, if you were to tell me everything that was going to happen this year, chances are I would have laughed at you. There’s no way I could have predicted or guessed any of what was going to happen during 2011. I started this blog as a means by which to record parts of my life over the past year, and I hope this has been accomplished-at least in some manner.

What a year it has been indeed. The first half of it, until June 12th, was spent by me finishing my time as an undergraduate student at SPU. It was an awesome two quarters to be sure! I learned a ton, had so much fun, and developed friendships that will last me a life-time. I was able to finish my BA in Business Administration and also concentrate in marketing. I’ve had a couple academic/financial set backs over the past four years and I am so incrediably happy and blessed to have graduated on time. There’s so much more I could say about my time at SPU, and maybe sometime I’ll write all about, and put down on paper most of what happened during my time there. From classes to clubs to internships & jobs, I seemed to always have something going on…and it was great!  

The day (more like 12 hours) after graduation I moved back to Island Lake Camp where I spent the next three months working once again as the Recreation Coordinator. It can be hard to adaquately summarize the summer, but I can say that I am overall so thankful for my time there. I was able to further relationships with returning staff from Summer 2010 as well as meet new and amazing people. Some of my closest friends have come from camp and I consider their friendships such a blessing in my life. The summer tried and pushed me in new ways, and as difficult as it was at times, I made it through and would like to think that I am better now because of it. My original plan was to stay at Camp for a year, but I made the decision to leave and take on the next challenge that life was sure to present itself. This was not an easy decision, and came about as the result of many conversations and countless hours of prayer. I love Camp so much, but I felt as though it was time to move on…never know, I could end up going back someday!

So that brings us to the end of the summer and start of a new chapter in my life. I was called by Children’s Hospital and contracted to work for two months in the HR department of the Research Institute. I spent my time processing employee evalutations, on-boarding new non-employees and other similar tasks. It was a good feeling to be working and making money, but I knew it would come to an end and that I would need to find something else. Overall, September and October were wonderful. There were so many new and exciting things happening in my life, I felt truly blessed. It was also during this time I grew tremendously in my faith. I spent time everyday reading and praying , and seeking God’s will for my life. It was difficult to make the move back home, but I worked to find the good in it and use it as a good opportunity. I also started serving with my church and became one of the junior high leaders and small group leader for 8th grade guys.

Then came November. For some of you, you know just how difficult the month was for. It seemed as though so many parts of my life were falling apart and ending in some manner of speaking. I began questioning God hardcore as to why things were happening and spend some days in what was essentially depression. It’s all well and good to say that you are going to trust in God, but doing it gets so much more difficult when nothing seems to be working out. I relied so much on my close group of friends as well as the knowledge and understanding that there was a plan and if I kept at it everyday, I would end up where God wanted me to be. I truly had to humble myself before Him and set aside any feelings of entitlement I had, especially in regards to finding a job. Not to say that the entire month was bad, there were some fun times thrown in, but overall it was difficult…a new experience. But, as I’m sure you know, I pulled through and life went on.

However, God truly does provide just what we need and just when we need it. December began with me starting a new career-oriented job at Silver Cloud. It came about so quickly and out of nowhere that I fully believe the Hand of God was at work in the situation and that this is exactly where I am supposed to be right now. See my blog post for more information about it and what I’m doing…just know that I’m really liking it so far. I’ve also been working part time for a while as a member of the Promotions Team with SPIRIT 105.3. I work with such amazing people and always enjoy it. December has really been a fun month overall. I celebrated my 23rd birthday with some of my best friends, hung out with friends in Seattle and at home, and spent time with my fellow youth group leaders. I’ve definately had some fun times over the past few weeks, it’s just been great.

Well, that’s my year in a very concise nutshell. So much has happened, so many memories along the way. There are times that I wonder what it would be like to go back and change something, but I don’t know that I would. I’m where I am right now because of everything that has happened. Sure, somethings were better and something were worse, but it’s all now woven together in some regards into my personal history and is now part of my life’s story.

So how would I summarize the past year into a few words or phrase? I’m not really sure how I would, or if I would want to try. The year brought about so many different experiences and opportunities, and whether they were good or bad, they happened. I’ve worked to learn from everything, and to be thankful for where I am in life. Is everything exactly where I want it…do I have everything figured out or planned? Of course not! But then, do I really want to ever be at that point…I don’t think so. I look forward to the future and what it may hold, cause I have no idea! God has a plan and it’s up to me to seek it out. Each day is an adventure and I want to live it all to the fullest.

2011, we had our run…thanks for everything, you’ll always be remembered! Let me leave you behind with no regrets over anything that has happened, only the lessons I learned along the way and hope for a future still unknown.

2012, it’s going to be a crazy year and I have no idea what may be in store but I’m ready! Let’s get to it and make the most of the year to come! “I think I’m quite ready for another adventure.”

Thanks for reading…Be sure to constantly be checking back here for more! I’ve really enjoyed the creative freedom and outlet this blog as provided and will continue to use it more, and in a variety of ways. I’d really appreciate it if you click to follow my blog, it would mean alot!  Thank you, friends, you rock!