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The Year That Was Part 1

4 Jan

Happy New Year everyone! I suppose at January 4th, 2011  I’m a bit behind on a yearly review post, regardless, that is what this post is going to be. It’s a good thing that I started journaling about two years ago so I have something to refer to or otherwise I’d have a tough time remembering everything that occurred over the past 12 months.

[Several minutes later]

Well I just did a quick scan of my journals over the past year. As it turns out, I didn’t actually journal as much as I thought. I started strong in January and February – probably because it was a resolution of mine from the previous year – and then it dwindled off in the following months. This probably coincides with the deep rut I found myself in during the dog days of winter and heading into spring. My journaling picked up again though between June and August because that’s when I went on my two month road trip through the US of A that saw me hit 23 different states (yes, I just counted them out on my fingers) and was awesome (more on this later). Journal entries continued to go strong for the few months following my return from the trip, but died down again towards the end of the year, bringing me to now.

Rather than provide a play-by-play of the events of my year, I think I’ll stick to some of the highlights… and low-lights. Because really, we wouldn’t know what the highs are without experiencing the lows.

The year started out tough. My little heart was still in recovery mode from heartache and was flooded with painful emotions and spinning from unanswered questions. On January 1, 2010, I wrote a prayer to God. I prayed that my relationship with Christ grow deeper, wider and stronger. That the wounds of past hurts would close and leave behind scars that would become a beautiful part of who I am, hurting less with each passing day. I prayed for inspiration. I prayed for moments with Christ in which His Spirit would overcome me and that I’d hear His voice and see His face. I prayed for transformation of my heart.

While some of these prayers are still a work in progress and always will be I think (and hope), I can honestly say that these prayers have been answered over this past year. Maybe not always in the way that I wanted or thought was best, but answered nonetheless. Although it’s been difficult to see along the way, going back and reading my sad words and painful feelings is a reminder of how far God’s brought me over these past 12 months. I think one of the most important things I’ve learned this year is that I can’t base my faith and relationship with Christ on experiences alone – those moments when I feel His presence or have tangible encounters with the Holy Spirit. It’s in learning this that my relationship with Christ has grown more solid and my trust in Him, more true…. though still so imperfect.

Moving on. It was early in the year when feelings of restlessness crept in leaving a constant feeling of discontent. And by the end of February, they were in full force. This is around the time when I made the decision to go away for a bit and how I ended up driving through the States for two months. But winter wasn’t all doom and gloom. We actually had one of the nicest BC winters that I can recall and Vancouver was host to the 2010 Winter Olympics. During these few weeks, Vancouver was the place to be and there was a tangible buzz everywhere you went. It was so cool to be right in the thick of it all. And witnessing Sidney Crosby score in overtime to win Canada the gold medal over the US in the final hockey game with literally thousands of people at Live City in Yaletown was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience! I’ve never felt more patriotic than I did during those two weeks. The feeling of patriotism has since worn off, it’s a bit tiring being that patriotic. Is that how Americans feel all the time?

One thing I almost forgot… I started taking piano lessons again in January. I took up to grade 5 Royal Conservatory when I was younger but then quit for basketball (still can’t believe I did that – I could’ve done both), but I’d been itching to play again so I called up my former teacher and asked her if she’d have me as a student again. She said yes. So every Monday up until I left for my road trip, I went to piano lessons and absolutely loved it! It was during this time that I really began to understand the discipline it takes to hone a skill. Yes, I partially learned this lesson during my basketball glory days, but to be honest, too often I was guilty of relying on my natural ability. But with piano, I wanted to be great at it and realized the amount of work that it takes to become great at something. Update: I’m still not great at piano, but I’m getting better.

In spring, I took a week off of work, got on an airplane and went to visit friends in Phoenix and Oklahoma. It’s funny, whenever I refer to these friends, I say that one lives in Phoenix (a city) and the other lives in Oklahoma (a state) – I think it’s because if I said Yukon, no one would know that this is a city in Oklahoma whereas most people know that Oklahoma is a state in the US. Anyways, it was great to see friends and I got to take them both to a Needtobreathe (my favourite band) concert. It just so happened that Needtobreathe were playing in Tulsa, OK and then in Tuscon, AZ a few nights later so it worked out quite perfectly. There is nothing quite like seeing your favourite band play live… especially when the live show is SO much better than anything recorded.

This brings me to the month leading up to my road trip. Months of planning went into my two month trek across the states, which considering, I should have been far better prepared. I was a rookie traveller though. Any traveling I’d ever done had been with a team in which everything was planned and executed for us and all I had to do was show up with my basketball shoes and uniform and at times, even that was a stretch. Other traveling includes two family vacations to all-inclusive resorts in Mexico and the Dominican… again, all that was required of me was to get up in time to catch the airplane and be fun. But the most important preparation for this trip was what was going on in my heart and soul… and I knew God was taking care of that.

In preparation for my trip, in April 2010, I quit my job as Assistant Marketing Manager at Relevention Marketing. I didn’t have to, but I felt that in order for this trip to fulfill its purpose, this was something I needed to do. My last day of work was June 3rd, 2010 and on June 7, 2010, I left for what would turn out to be quite an amazing experience.

Halfway through writing this, I decided to turn this post into two parts, so this is to be continued… (hopefully by this weekend).



7 Dec

Do you ever have moments in your life when you’re filled with an overwhelming sense of wanting more? I’m not talking about making more money or acquiring nice things. I’m talking about an aching so deep in your soul it makes you squirm in discomfort for what it might be telling you about yourself  or what it might be urging you to do. It’s almost suffocating because you know it’s there, you sort of know why it’s there, but what to do about it, well that’s the tricky part. Do you know what I mean?

That’s where I’m at this morning. I want more. So much more. I’m sitting here drinking my morning coffee and can barely sit still because there is this stirring in my soul that won’t be quiet. It feels like there is a confined game of pinball being played in my soul and that little ball just won’t go down the black hole. I don’t want it to though because it’s telling me something. But what I’d really like is to know what this little pinball is telling me… more? More of what? What does it mean? I wrote something awhile back about living the questions. I suppose that’s relevant right now. But that requires patience, which is perhaps one of my greatest weaknesses. I guess that in itself is pretty revealing.

Wanting more + Patience = God preparing me for something?

I hope so.

Day 17 – breakfast club

8 Sep

I’m currently reading a book called ‘The Help’ by Kathryn Stockett. It’s a book about life in the early 1960s in Jackson, Mississippi and journeys the paths of three women (two black maids and one white spinster who I am finding myself having way too much in common with) who come together to form a movement to forever change the racial prejudices that exist in their town. One of these three women, the white girl, is an aspiring writer. In her pursuit of this dream, she was offered some advice by a Senior Editor at the prestigious, Harper & Row Publishers in New York – “when writing, don’t waste your time on the obvious things. Write about what disturbs you, particularly if it bothers no one else.”

I thought this was interesting advice to give an up and coming writer. Advice I didn’t particularly like. I feel like it’s quite a simple task for anyone to come up with a laundry list of things that bother them that may not bother anyone else. What is so insightful about that? It seems to me just another way to fuel the cynic in ourselves and the culture in which we live. So I’m going to take a different approach on this and share something that I really enjoy, perhaps more than the average person.

I love breakfast. When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I think about is breakfast… it actually makes me excited. There is just something about two slices of perfectly toasted whole wheat bread – one slice with a hard poached egg, the other smothered in natural peanut butter – and a giant mug, the type of mug that takes two hands to hold it, of warm, medium strength coffee that just makes me so content. And I like to take my time at breakfast. In an ideal world, breakfast would last at least an hour and I could catch up on current events in the paper (by this I mean sports and entertainment), read some of my book, do devotions and pray. It really is the perfect way to start the day. On the contrary, if for some terrible reason I don’t get my morning breakfast and coffee, bad things happen. Which, unfortunately, one of my friends can attest to when she traveled with me for a week during my road trip.

Do you know what else I like? Commutes. I like commuting to work. I like the time between leaving home and arriving at work when I can just listen to music in my car and sing along at the top of my lungs. To me, it’s similar to a pre-game warm-up for a basketball game, but instead, it’s pre-work mental prep.

I’m curious, are there certain things that others thoroughly enjoy more than the next guy/gal?