30-Day Writing Challenge
Day 30: Your highs & lows for the
2016 wasn’t an especially momentous year for me. There were no major challenges or life changes – just a sweet year of growth, travel, and contentment in where God has placed me.
Some years you need that – not ones of monumental change or upsets or moves, but ones of quiet routine, deepening of roots, and establishing of place. Years that remind you it’s nice to be an independent adult with a job you love and a cute apartment and places to go and people to see.
Below I have my annual “year in review” of my top twenty favorite memories in pictures. But quite honestly, many of my favorite memories weren’t captured on film. Some of the best moments in 2016 were also the hardest – because in the quiet, in the loneliness, and in the questions, God drew me closer to His beating heart. He revealed His character to me in startling ways, and opened my eyes to His worth and beauty.
Yes, we can take pictures of our lives – of the fleeting moments that make us happy to be alive – but truly what matters most is what can’t be seen. The strengthening of faith. The growth in character. The refining of skills. The broadening of ideas. The imagining of possibilities. These are the things that make life meaningful, yet we sometimes forget them in our eagerness to compare our life’s “highlight reels” with each other.
I love the pictures, and I love the memories. I love the people who made 2016 a beautiful year. But more than anything, I love the God who gave me these people, this job, this gift, this part of the Northwest – who gave me Himself that I might know the truest joy possible.
Thanks to those of you who shared in my journey this year – and thank you to those of you who have faithfully read my blog and encouraged me in my writing. I can’t wait to see how it will continue to grow in 2017!
Top Twenty Memories of 2016
1. All the Light We Cannot See
This was the best book I read this year. Maybe in the last couple of years. I strongly recommend it.
2. Emily & Evan’s Wedding
I loved getting to see these dear friends get married – and getting to celebrate the reception with Joy, Daniel, and Miah!
3. This Teaching Team
Not a day goes by that I don’t feel incredibly grateful for Megan, Jo, and September. I couldn’t ask for better people to work with! [Also, we enjoy matching. Sometimes unintentionally.]
4. Beth’s Birthday
Some people you just love to celebrate, and Beth is one of them. I’m grateful for this kindred spirit who shares my passion for journals, books, tea, and office supplies.
5. Seeing “Newsies” with Valerie
I waited all year to see this touring Broadway show and it did. not. disappoint. Especially since I got to share the experience with this dear sister of mine!
6. Rainy day coffee date with Lauren
Downtown adventure of tea at Atticus, ducking through the rain, and long conversations on the couches of the Davenport with this girl? The best. She is so precious to me.
7. Emily Joy’s Wedding
My other Emily got married, and it was a delight to see this girl that I’ve mentored take this huge step in life. I’m so proud of her and the lovely young woman she’s become!
8. Theater Club
I actually got to do two Theater Clubs at school this year – one in the spring and one in the fall – and both filled my heart. I’m so proud of all those 4th-6th graders can do onstage!
9. CYT Expo – Believe in You
It was my joy to lead HYPE at the Expo again for the fifth year. It truly is such a happy place for me to see all of these student leaders in one place every year.
10. San Diego Poolside Date with Sarah & Jessica
I love these two girls and the way they encourage me in my passion for CYT and my directorial pursuits. Wish we had more time together than just once a year, but they never fail to fill my heart.
11. Bahamas Trip with Vicki
Our little get-away to a tropical island … it was the perfect break for my busy brain!
12. “Godspell” with Andrew & Jessica
CYT reunion with two of my favorite people and such a beautiful show – in the theater where we first met!
13. Karly’s Wedding
Another HYPE baby married off … and how fun to get to share it with some of my other former HYPE girls!
14. Jacob & Morgan’s Wedding
HYPE baby #5 married off – this one more like a brother since I wormed my way into the Segalla family long ago!
15. Kaylie’s Wedding
Another “like-family” wedding … I love Sebens’ weddings so very much. And although Kelsey and I only got a little over 24 hours together, we made the absolute most of it!
16. This Blog Post
I spilled my heart onto the Internet, and God blew me away with how many people He led to read it. Still incredibly humbled by the more than 10,000 views it’s had and in awe of the way God uses our stories, painful as they are, to connect us with one another.
17. The Edge Fall Retreat
Fall Retreats at Silver Mountain Resort are some of my favorite times. Especially when I accidentally end up twinning with another favorite person of mine … this lovely Molly.
18. Black Friday in Our Onesies
Molly convinced me to buy a onesie … and so she and Renee and I spent Black Friday in them, making waffles, watching “The Office,” and decorating my apartment for Christmas. It was glorious.
19. Surprise Party from My Class
My sweet 5th-graders planned this party for me, and I was blown away by their thoughtfulness and care. I love those kids more than I can say.
20. Chris Tomlin “Adore” Concert
Free tickets from my teaching partner the day of … and it was the most beautiful way to ring in the Christmas season – by worshiping the Savior of the world, born as a baby.
2016 was not perfect by any means. But it was a year to be grateful for. I learned more about myself, about my passions, and about my calling in life. I learned how to study the word of God more deeply. I learned to communicate more intimately in prayer. I learned that it’s okay to not be perfect. I learned that I am surrounded by the most loving community of people who encourage me and love me so well.
Here’s to new adventures and lessons to be learned in 2017!