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!

12 Years…Where Were You?

Today marks 12 years since the September 11th terrorist attacks.

12 years…

It is astonishing how quickly the time has gone by, but I have never forgotten what it was like that morning. I was in the 7th grade, and I remember it like it was just yesterday. I never thought I would remember a single day so clearly, but I do.

My parents woke me up early and told me to go look at the tv. This was weird for two reasons: both of my parents were in my room and they told me watch tv…I spent the next few hours glued to the tv, watching attack after attack. Those new stories and images are forever burned into my mind’s eye.

I was at home with my family, before going to school and being with my friends…where were you?

Switch Flipped…Burden Cut

So if it is okay with you, I would like to tell you a little bit about this weekend, but not in the traditional sense…Yes, I had an awesome weekend. I worked a concert, saw a great new movie and experienced a Seattle sporting victory-all while having a blast with various friends….but the weekend was so much more than that! It is so hard to put into words, but I am going to give it my best shot, bear with me.

When I got home late Sunday evening, I felt, well…different- but in a very good way, I assure you! Through everything that had happened over the weekend I felt like God had reached inside me and flipped a switch. It was as though so much of what I have been carrying around had fallen away. I have internalized various feelings, thoughts and emotions that are now gone. To be honest, I felt like Christian in Pilgrims Progress, when he stands at “the place of deliverance.” Essentially, he comes to cross and when the shadow passes over him, the straps of his burden break, and the burden rolls away.

This is really the best way I can try to describe the feeling: it is like my burden has fallen completely away…it is like God reached down and cut it free. As I mentioned above, it is also like a switch inside me has been flipped. I feel my hope in the future restored and my sights completely realigned on Christ and the path He has set before me. Now I am not saying that I was not focused on Christ before, but now I feel it alive inside of me. I have true hope and joy for the future and have been able to let go of so much.

The saying goes “time heals all wounds” but I raise a counter “God heals all wounds…in His time.” Sometimes it takes longer than others, but for the first time in a while, I feel healed of so much. I felt God speaking to me last night, and I now see that I am where He wants me to be in this moment. He healed me in His timing, not mine. He truly does make all things work together for my good.

I may not be totally sure what the future will hold, but I am confident in the plans the Lord has…all He asks is for me to be obedient and to trust and hope in Him…and I do! This weekend was good in so many ways (look out for another post to come soon!!) but for this I am the most thankful. Through the experiences and friends of the weekend, I truly felt God move and act…how great of a feeling is that!

What do you need to turn over to God and give Him a chance to completely heal? I promise you, the outcome will surprise you!

Needed Reminders

Every now and then, we need the blunt honesty of a true friend to put us back on track. I was recently talking with one of my friends and we were catching up on life. As it should happen, I told him about something I was going through, and asked what he thought. In that moment, he showed what a true friend is, by being perfectly blunt and honest with me. It seems like when people are blunt and honest with us, we tend to shut down and get defensive, but in this moment I realized the truth in what he was saying and elected to listen and take in his words. And as luck would have it, he was right on the money. He said the thing I needed to hear, and have probably needed to hear for a while. It was truly God speaking through him in that moment, and for that I am so thankful.

I realize that this must seem super vague, but that is just the way it is for now. I hope my friend knows that this is for him, and how appreciative I am for his words….well, he should be since I texted him saying thank you 😉

Take away- Be open to listening to people when they are honest with you. Your true friends are saying it because they care about you. It just may be that the Lord is speaking through your friend, and that is something you will not want to shut out.

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!

.~.~.~.~.~.~.

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.)

~.~.~.~.~.~.~

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!

Labor-less Labor Day

I must say… I love three day weekends! And this past weekend was no exception…go Labor Day Weekend 2012….let me tell you about it.

So, as good as the weekend turned out being, it did not start off well. I left work early on Friday due to being at my hours for the week, and because I was not feeling well at all. I got home and slept, woke up to eat, and slept some more.Saturday was a mix of sleeping, watching tv/movies, and playing Call of Duty. Saturday was a bit bitter/sweet because my buddy Evan hit the road to head home to Montana. He has been living with me all summer and is off to get himself married next Saturday (you can bet on a post about it).

But then I woke up on Sunday and felt so much better! Sunday was basically a family day, the first in a while! All three of us had the day off and we decided to go to the fair. We spent a good part of the day at the Evergreen State Fair in Monroe. We saw animals, booths, various displays, a lumberjack show and more. It has been a while since we have been to the fair so it was really nice to be back and have time to cruise all around. And as it usually is with the fair, we ate too much…but it was all so tasty! After the fair is was back home for a nap then I headed over to Amanda and Robert’s for pizza, fun conversations and Madden ’13 (it’s awesomeeee).

Monday was the true adventure day, however. After visiting one of my friends who just had surgery, I met up with Bryan and our adventure began! We jumped on the Edmonds-Kingston Ferry and cruised over across the water. After grabbing a quick lunch we made it to our destination: Island Lake Camp! Yes, the very same that I used to work at and is so near/dear to my heart. There were not too many staff members still there so late in the summer but it was fun to see the staff that were there. I was especially glad to see my buddy Joel (who you know by a previous post is going to India soon). Byran and I spent time walking all over camp, and it was fun being able to tell him all about it and about some of my fond memories from Camp. We also decided to take a short trip to Miracle Ranch and I was able to see a couple friends there too before getting the ferry back home.

So, there is the basics of my weekend. It may not seem like much to you, but I greatly enjoyed it! It was three days full of a little bit of everything: laziness, adventure, travel, hanging out with friends, and reliving great memories. All in all, a very good Labor Day Weekend…relaxing and rejuvenating.

Creation Fest & Mud Run 2012

Well, I have been looking forward to this moment for a while now. It is the eve before I head out for what will be a great weekend, I already know it! For the first time ever, I am able to go to Creation Fest here in the Northwest! In case you do not know, Creation is a yearly music event…four days of music with some of the biggest names in Christian music today, plus countless other groups. While I will only be there for one day, I am so very excited! To be surrounded by believers all day, while worshiping and enjoying being with each other and having a fun time…it is hard to find the words to describe an opportunity like this, but I am pumped!

Then, on Saturday I get to take part in another great event, the 5 K Mud Run, sponsored by World Concern and taking place at Island Lake Camp. It’ll be 5K of mud and run, all while raising money to help bring clean water to those in need around the globe. PLUS, it is being held at the camp I used to work at so I will be able to see some of my friends too. Needless to say, it is going to be a busy but great Friday and Saturday…of that I am certain!

Here is the promo for Creation Fest 2012:

And the promo for the 5K Mud Run (my friends in a promo video= so cool!)

The next couple days will be great, but are not completely free of worry. Please join me in praying over both events…prayers for safety, hearts to be changed and new memories to be formed. I know God is going to do great things in Washington this weekend…and I cannot wait to tell you more about it when I return!

Until then, in case I do not see you…good afternoon, good evening and good night! Stay classy 🙂