Ode to 23

You can plot. Plan and practice and put every goal you have on a precise timeline.

But it doesn’t matter, does it. Because road maps are merely lines of projected course. The road you travel will often be much different than you intended — and far more beautiful.

On the eve of one’s birthday, who could expect the adventures of the year to come?

Year 23 was 365 days of little that I had expected. I could never have guessed where I would be living or working, what emotions would be filling my heart, learning so much about health and yet discovering so little logic behind it.

It was a year where I experienced life at a heart level. A year when I realized that I hadn’t been so willing to be raw or real before.

Like last year’s Ode to 22, here is a tribute to year 23.

Here’s to the blessings, the JOY, the pain and the love. A toast to the unexpected and the, well, even more unexpected. And praise for His grace, compassion and strength.

***
IMG_0050This technically edges back to year 22, but it had a lot of influence in year 23 — the infamous ACL reconstruction. Throughout this year -a time of rehab, numbness and watching from the sidelines- I’ve learned to never take a single step for granted (thank you, Lee Ann Womack). Healing has no timeline. The way I find JOY in pain is to remind myself that He is faithful. And He most certainly is.

IMG_0395Abba’s Girls, the love of a Father. With co-leaders Elizabeth and Katie, we mentored this spunky group of middle school girls. We thought we would be the teachers. Turns out, they had more to teach us.

IMG_0284A “cheers!” from Cheers in Boston, celebrating life with an honorary mama of mine.

IMG_0298Where, in addition to eating some ridiculously good food, I also learned a ton about American history. And walked the Freedom Trail – making people move out of the way so we could actually walk on the red line that marks the trail.

886726_4814829373534_1339157256_oReturned to my alma mater, IU, for a little Hoosier hysteria. Became an alumna, joining the ranks of my sweet dad, godfather and “uncle.”

1294282_10151818126696544_343409385_oHad a food revolution. Spent the day farmers marketing, cooking, eating and playing a show-stopping game of charades.

IMG_0431Painted. Played. Remembered that I’m still a kid at heart with a 6-year-old’s sense of humor and a hefty sweet tooth. Pretty sure that will never change.

1273189_10151818139906544_127169641_oRediscovered that I have the most amazing group of friends.

weddingWitnessed one of my best friends get married. And danced a bit, too.

But a large part of my story this year was realizing that it isn’t about me. It’s all about Him, really, and then His children.

In my job, I feel blessed to learn the stories of so many of them. In a way, their stories have become part of my own.

DSC_0408Like this incredible little 5-year-old, Gavin Traum. He showed me that walking, even in pain caused by senseless and vicious disease, can be filled with JOY.

DSC_0625And Maisie Davis, 7, who likes to doodle. She’s pretty good at it, too.

Benjamin Brink

Benjamin Brink

And these lovely Sisters, who are actually sisters. Their dedication to their home, Verboort, Ore., has helped keep their church, school and town alive.

DSC_0885And these two. John and Judy Krug. They came looking for family marked by faded tombstones in a church cemetery in rural Oregon.

13278112-mmmainAnd even Big Huey, the 21-pound cabbage. Because we celebrate victories of all kinds — even ones like growing large vegetables.
***

There you have it, folks. Or part of it. Maybe just a sliver that can be captured on a web page.

But I tell you this, centered in peace and Joy, I pray year 24 will be every bit as wonderful as year 23 and 22 and 21…….

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One response to “Ode to 23

  1. And what a wonderful summary of a tough, but joy and spirit-filled year!! You write so well, right from the heart 🙂

    Can’t wait to see you and hug you in 2014!!

    Lots of love,

    Sally

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