Looking back on 2011, I'm starting to think it may have been one of the most notable years of my life thus far. Let's take a look shall we.
- Preparation for and going overseas to the Black Sea coast.
- New friends that challenge me and make me laugh uncontrollably.
- Having the opportunity to lead a Bible study/small group discussion.
- Discipling a very precious young lady and ministering to a few others
- A call to ministry confirmed in my life.
- Having two amazing friendmates (friend + roomates), Brittinita and Sher-Bear
- Watching my best friend, Jess, get married and now expecting their first baby.
- My friends and family. I am blessed with the most amazing group of friends and wonderful family on the planet. You can't tell me otherwise. My mom tells my sisters and I all the time that even if we weren't her daughters, she would still want to be our friends because she thinks we are that great. I feel similarly about my friends and family. They are not amazing to me because they are in my life or because I call them friend. They are just amazing. Period. Whether we were friends or not, I would think they were awesome. If I call you friend, then I mean you. Yes, even you. ;)
- Brittany - Being Brit's best friend never gets old. She makes me laugh hysterically without reason and yet has the ability to tread those deep waters along side of me. This year watching her surrender her all to Jesus and walk in obedience has taught me so much about following Christ. A certain kind of precious tenderness has grown in our friendship and I feel it each day that she and I are knit together even more than ever. And I am already missing that little "teeheehee..teehee..TEEHEEHHEEEHEE" laughter that I love so much when she's remembering a silly inside joke or watching a favorite movie. So. Cute.
- Jess - My bestie in Texie. Okay, I just made that up. I've never said that before, but maybe I'll start? She's strong. I've never known someone to be so incredibly strong in the face of change and struggle. The girl does not even know what an excuse is. She also manages to show me an unfailing and beautiful love that I NEVER get tired of receiving. I constantly feel like I'm not a good enough friend for such a precious person. She gives her all to everyone and it challenges me to stop making excuses in my life about why I can't serve or love someone more.
- Sheri - As she and I always say, we are only friends by the grace of God. Although I'm starting to think that isn't true any longer, well not completely, anyway. She has taught me so much about unconditional love. The girl wormed her way deeper into my heart than I thought she could and has forced me get out of my all-too-comfortable comfort zone of quiet, restraint, propriety, and solitude. I have been humbled more than I have ever let her know by how she loves others and myself, and if truth be told, I strive to be more like her in that way.
- Daniel - A person who increasingly becomes one of my favorite people in the world. I finally have a friend I can talk music and poetry with. He likes to think deeply and thoughtfully about the world around him and look for God's truth in it all, even more so than I, which to me, is refreshing. He's not afraid to call me out or speak truth plainly to me and yet, he does it so gently I can never be mad or hurt. This year we have become better friends which I hope only continues to grow even as life changes. *awkward wink*.
- Ryan - Servant's heart. That's what I think of when I think of this person. Aside from trying to suffocate me with a pillow the other day, he is usually someone I know cares deeply for me and those around him. He never thinks twice about stepping in to help. This past year, he shoveled and de-iced my car out of snow and kept me from getting cabin fever in the Snowpocalypse. One other thing about this fellow is that he's quick. With his wit. I can barely keep up! The sad thing is that this year he left to go to seminary in Cali and we no longer see him skulking around what used to be our apartment. I kid.
- Apt # 308 - Okay, so this isn't technically a person, but it really has become like a member of our crazy family of friends. This apartment first belonged to Brit, Jess and Katie and has seen many of our dearest friends, including myself call it home. We have enough memories in that apartment to write at least one cheesy series of teen girl novels if not two. It has seen it all, from tears to uncontrollable laughter, to absolute frustration in life. We had to say goodbye to #308 this year. Let's not talk about that...
- Lindsay - My charge, as I like to call her. God pressed on my heart earlier this year to ask Lindsay if I could disciple her. It has been a challenge to trust God with this and I am so thankful for her. Her story is beautiful. You should ask her to tell you about how God saved her, what He saved her from, and how He's changing her. She is precious to me and I don't deserve the opportunity to serve and love her.
- Chad Puckett - So maybe putting one of your pastors on a list like this is like trying to earn Jesus points, you know, like a Sunday school answer, but I don't care, I mean it. This man is my pastor and friend. He has single-handedly challenged the very way I look at this world, the Word, and the Lord. His influence this year is immeasurable. Let's also point out that Chad and I share a similar personality trait, we like to exchange verbal blows. No one can dish it out like this man, and I have to say it kind of makes my day when he does. (But don't tell him I said that!)
- Deborah - We don't get to see eachother as much as we would like, but we share the same heart on so many things. It's nice to be able to talk about all that the Lord is doing in my life and feel so safe. We just get eachother. She's so young and so wise and she may not know it, but I admire her more than I can put into words. She's such a blessing to me. BONUS: She's my one girlfriend who is at least my height, if not taller, and she totally rocks it.
- Big Bang Theory - I <3 Sheldon Cooper. This was the Year of the Nerds in my life. This show has quickly made its way into my heart with its adorable nerds and quick wit mixed with just downright silliness. This show has reaffirmed my love for nerds. I plan on only dating awesome, intelligent, sweet nerdy guys from here on out.
- Jen Hatmaker and the Hatmaker clan - I wanted to put her in notable people but since I don't technically know her I decided to be less creepy and put she and her family in this section. Let's just say I want to be her and live her life. Not creepy at all, right?! Read her latest blog entry to see what I'm talking about: http://jenhatmaker.com/blog/2011/12/26/an-experimental-mutiny-against-excess
- The Black Keys- There's something about me and two-man bands. I've loved this band for awhile but this year they worked their way up the list. And no, I'm not cheating on the White Stripes! They broke up anyways! The more I listen to BK I love their sound, even if I didn't just adore their newest album, El Camino. Rubber Factory. Brothers. That's where it's at. They still have my heart. Solid.
- Todd Boss- New favorite poet for the year. He writes internal rhyme with such ease and everything is so organic. I get lost in the words and the flow, yet, the picture he creates is so clear.
- Matthew Gray Gubler - I know. How juvenile of me, but I couldn't resist. He's so adorable! Although, he just gets the "new" favorite title and must share the favorite title with Robert Downey, Jr. Sharing is caring anyways.