Saturday, September 16, 2017

2017: The Year I Was Intentionally Homeless... Well, For Awhile

This has been a year of adventure. I don't mean a year filled with adventures, though, arguably, I've been away from home enough times for one to make that case. But, I'm actually referring to the fact that I've spent 6 months of this year intentionally homeless.

It started as a bit of a whim: my lease would expire on March 31 and I'd be leaving for 3 weeks in Kenya about 10 days later... it seemed crazy to sign another lease and pay a ridiculous amount of rent for my house to sit empty, so I would spend 10 days at my mom's and then, when I returned, I'd stay with my dad for a bit until I found a new home. I moved a bunch of stuff to my dad's and put my furniture in storage and set off for Kenya.

As I flew home from Kenya, I very clearly heard God say, "I will have the right home, at the right time, at the right price, in the right place. Just trust me."

I sort of assumed that meant I'd be signing a lease in or around June or July.

But then, things got interesting. There were house-sitting offers and babysitting offers that meant I could move from place to place until it was time for our Student Leadership Conferences in the summertime. (Plus, had some amazing friends that let me stay in their guest bedroom in-between these commitments.) So, again, why pay rent for a room that would sit empty?

I returned from our Student Leadership Conferences to more home/child/dog-sitting opportunities.

And then, I was able to move into my dad's for a bit--and sleep in my own bed and hang up clothes for the first time in months! And now, here we are in mid-September, looking ahead at an October filled with travel and kid-sitting... no leases in sight.

I've learned so much in these six months. So much about myself and so much about God.

I'm hoping to unpack some of these lessons here... you know, for posterity.

Monday, January 02, 2017

2016 in Questions

The end-of-the-year survey tradition continues for an eleventh year (!!!)
2006200720082009201020112012201320142015

1) What did you do in 2016 that you'd never done before?

2) Did you keep your New Year's resolutions and will you make more next year? 
I did not make any resolutions, but I think I may make one or two this year.

3) Did anyone close to you give birth?
Emily had sweet baby Cohen. 

4) Did anyone close to you die?
Two kids from Precious Kids Center--and the mother of two of the children. 

5) What countries did you visit?
This was a landmark year for trips: Japan, Kenya, and Australia!

6) What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
A bicycle. And a smaller waistline. 

7) What date(s) from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
May 20--we bought our tickets to Tokyo. September 21-23--I ran an event for 100 youth pastors from around the country. 

8) What was your biggest achievement of the year?

9) Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nope!

10) What was the best thing you bought?
Our spur-of-the-moment tickets to Tokyo. And Nashville.

11) Whose behavior merited celebration?
Fadi...for sure.

12) Where did most of your money go?
Toward flights--and paying down debt.

13) What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Traveling!

14) What song/album will always remind you of 2016?
My Paul Simon playlist--negotiations and love songs.

15) Compared to this time last year, are you:
Wiser?  Yes    Healthier?  Yes   Richer?  Yes.

16) What do you wish you'd done more of?
Dancing. Reading.

17) What do you wish you'd done less of?
Worrying. 

18) How did you spend Christmas?
Christmas Eve at Mariners MV (where I received 'the signal' for the very first time while wearing my West Wing Weekly sweatshirt). Christmas Day at Papa's and then with my dad and brother. The day after Christmas was the giant DiLallo party this year...and it was great.

19) Did you fall in love in 2016?
Nope.

20) What was your favorite new TV program?
The Path. Stranger Things.

21) What was the best book you read?
The Nightingale. 

22) What was your greatest musical discovery?
Paul Simon.

23) What did you want and get?
The prize from the Office Election (and, then a trip to Australia!) Tickets to see Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, and Agnes Obel. 

24) What did you want and not get?
A trip to China. But, with all of the other travel this year, it's really no big loss.

25) What was your favorite film of this year?
Ooh, that's a tough question. Maybe La La Land?
26) What did you do on your birthday, and how old did you turn?
On my 34th birthday, Emily, Cathi and I spent the night at the Montage Laguna Beach. We ate room service and talked. The next day we had breakfast burritos, saw a taping of James Corden and ate delicious sushi and ice cream.

27) Which celebrity/public figure did you like the most?
Josh Malina. Aaron Sorkin.

28) How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?
Somehow stumbled back into jeans.

29) What kept you sane?
The West Wing Weekly podcast.

30) Who did you miss?
The Precious Kids Center kids.

31) What valuable life lesson did you learn in 2016?
I learned so much about managing money and time. 

32) What did you gain this year?
A stronger sense of who I am--how my brain works, what I'm good at, the value I bring to a team. A love for exercise.

33) What did you lose this year?
A bit of weight. 

34) Who was the best new person you met? 
Hard to choose just one! This year brought a new job, a new home, and a new church...and with them, a new book club, a new small group, a new youth ministry...I met so many new, incredible people. 

35) Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
There's such a lot of world to see.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

2016 In Photos

// JANUARY //
I started on the team at DYM...my first staff meeting was, of course, at Del Taco


// FEBRUARY //
Madison, Jazmine and I took a road trip to San Francisco


// MARCH //
I dyed my hair blue and we went to Winter Camp


// APRIL //
I met Melissa Joan Hart


And our team spent the week together in Atlanta.


// MAY //
We threw a baby shower for Emily and Baby #3


And Caroline and I took an impromptu trip to Tokyo



// JUNE //
My lovely small group girls graduated from Woodbridge


I got to spend a week snuggling Suzie in Kitale


// JULY //
SLC 2016 in Georgia and California


And VBS at Mariners MV


// AUGUST //
Adele. Holy moly.


And another San Francisco road trip with my grandpa and cousins

// SEPTEMBER //
The event we'd spent months planning and executing: DYM100


// OCTOBER //
A weekend with friends in Nashville



And a weekend with some of my favorite kids right at home


// NOVEMBER //
A mother/daughter trip to South Carolina




And another roommate trip around the world...this time, Australia!
Snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef


And champagne and Othello at the Sydney Opera House


// DECEMBER //
We over-estimated the height of our ceilings, but filled our house with Christmas cheer.


I was given two tickets to a private Stevie Wonder concert!


We read a new book together each week 
(we did this all year, but this was my favorite photo of the routine)


Finished up with two Christmas celebrations 



2016 was a pretty great year.
Can't wait to see all that 2017 will hold!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

2015 in Questions

The end-of-the-year survey tradition continues for a tenth year (!!!)
20062007200820092010201120122013, 2014

1) What did you do in 2015 that you'd never done before?

2) Did you keep your New Year's resolutions and will you make more next year? 
Ooohhh...I'm not sure I made a resolution this year. My words for the year were financial freedom and peace. I think I saw them become reality this year, despite my best efforts to make them a reality, which caused quite a bit of frustration and anxiety. I have made a few for 2016...those will be shared in upcoming posts.

3) Did anyone close to you give birth?
Es had sweet little Arlo.

4) Did anyone close to you die?
No, thank God.

5) What countries did you visit?
UK (London and Ireland) and Kenya

6) What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?
A more stable sense of community. And maybe health insurance?

7) What date(s) from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
January 17, my last weekend at Mariners. June 30, when I moved to Kenya. September 30, when I launched the new small business project. December 6th, when I returned from Kenya.

8) What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Beginning 27 small businesses for single moms and struggling families in the slums around Kitale. And picking up conversational Swahili.

9) Did you suffer illness or injury?
I came home from Kenya in March with bruised muscles on my right side (from sternum to spine) which was pretty painful for a few weeks...and had a decently-sized stubborn ringworm on my neck that I battled for about eight months before it finally disappeared. But, other than that, nothing major!

10) What was the best thing you bought?
My one-way ticket(s) to (and from) Kenya. My ticket to London. To Ireland. To Colorado. Our trip to New Orleans...so many good trips this year.

11) Whose behavior merited celebration?
Cathi Workman

12) Where did most of your money go?
Rent. Food. Airline tickets: Kenya, Ireland, Colorado, Kenya.

13) What did you get really, really, really excited about?
14) What song/album will always remind you of 2015?
Justin Bieber's "Baby" and "Sorry." AND Adele's "Hello"

15) Compared to this time last year, are you:
Wiser? Yes. Healthier? Nope. Richer? Nope.

16) What do you wish you'd done more of?
Danced

17) What do you wish you'd done less of?
Worry

18) How did you spend Christmas?
I was called last-minute to fill in for a sick friend at Mariners Huntington Beach services. Then ran to Christmas at Papa's--which was so fun! Christmas morning, I took the Almquists to the airport, cleaned up the spare room at my mom's, had breakfast at Papa's. Then lunch at my mom's. A Tarantino movie and dinner with my dad. A pretty good day!

19) Did you fall in love in 2015?
Not romantic love, but I sure do love Suzie.

20) What was your favorite new TV program?
The West Wing. The Mindy Project.

21) What was the best book you read?
I loved Bittersweet by Shauna Niequest.

22) What was your greatest musical discovery?
Otis Redding.

23) What did you want and get?
To move to Kenya.

24) What did you want and not get?
To stay in Kenya.

25) What was your favorite film of this year?
Jurassic World...easily.

26) What did you do on your birthday, and how old did you turn?
I turned 33. I bought two cakes and we had a party with all of the Precious Kids Center kids. I talked to both of my parents on the phone, attended a graduation, had lunch in town, and Chinese food for dinner...everything I wanted it to be, for sure!

27) Which celebrity/public figure did you like the most?
James Corden really brought some joy this year.

28) How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?
Dresses and knotted shirts. Multi-colored, self-trimmed hair and muddy bare feet.

29) What kept you sane?
Cathi Workman...and my parents. So many phone calls and emails during an emotional season.

30) Who did you miss?
Ooooh, so many people. Cathi, Cheryl, my parents, my brother, my grandpa, aunts and cousins, my small group girls. I could go on and on, really...it was a six-month stint of missing.

31) What valuable life lesson did you learn in 2015?
I learned so much about myself. Who I am. How I express that. How I express God's love--for me and for others. How to be a more whole version of who God has created me to be.

32) What did you gain this year?
A lot of understanding, a lot of new friends...and, unfortunately, some weight.

33) What did you lose this year?
Some fears, some friends, a job.

34) Who was the best new person you met? 
Suzie, without question.

35) Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
Because life without revision would silence our souls.

Friday, January 02, 2015

My Words for 2015

Last January, I began a new tradition of listening for a "word" for the upcoming year.
You can read about my words for 2014 here. (I'm considering writing a post about the ways these words impacted the year, so stay tuned, I suppose.) 

Over this holiday week, I began this end-of-the-year workbook. The first half is a look at the year that has just come to a close, the second half is a preparation for the year that's just begun. Though I've only finished the look back at 2014, (I'm hoping to complete the 2015 portion this evening) I have already chosen (or received) my words for this year.

Financial Freedom
and
Peace

Honestly, these words are terrifying to me. There's nothing peaceful about what I imagine to be the lessons that will teach me financial freedom. (I know, this is backwards and a little faithless, but it's the truth.) I kept trying to shake off the financial part of that word and just hold to freedom. Freedom I can learn. Freedom sounds refreshing and exciting. Financial freedom sounds like responsibility and rules. To me, financial freedom means I'm free of all of the recurring bills I have (rent, car payment, insurance) which means an entire upset of my life as it is. In my best moments, this sounds really exciting. In my worst, it sounds embarrassing and hopeless.

I truly believe that this is not what God has planned for this year for me. 

I can't even begin to find words for the ways that my expectations were exceeded with the words from last year...