Here’s my Top Ten for 2014 in no particular order of importance (because I hate picking favorites), but mainly in order of occurrence.
1. Moving to the Manor
In January, I moved out of a tiny 3 bedroom apartment shared with 2 other girls into a 6 bedroom house (we affectionately call The Manor) shared with 6 other girls. Living with six other ladies (even great ladies who love Jesus like crazy) has had its ups and downs. Ups: it’s awesome to be living with some of my closest friends. Downs: I’m a selfish human being and living with 6 other people has shown my black heart in ways that are really embarrassing—God is definitely using this living arrangement to grow me in holiness!
2. St. Augustine Trip
In March I had a weekend getaway in St. Augustine with some of my favorite people to celebrate one of my good friends, Katie, before her wedding. From ghost walks to karaoke to doughnut cakes—so much fun was had and great memories were made!
3. Katie and Brandon’s wedding
I got the privilege to be in Katie’s wedding. Katie and Brandon truly reflect gospel love in their relationship, and to stand beside them on their wedding day was such an honor for me. Also, Katie and Brandon have some sweet dance moves, and their reception was amazing!
4. The Gospel Coalition’s Women’s Conference
I loved spending 3 days getting away from the world and studying God’s Word with other women. I didn’t think I would be able to go because of the cost, but then God miraculously provided and paid for my ticket.
5. My Golden Birthday
If I didn’t already know that my community of friends is literally THE BEST, then my birthday sealed the deal. They believe in me pursuing my dream to be a writer enough to come together to pay for me to go to this writing conference that I had wanted to go to, but didn’t know how I would be able to afford. Seriously? I still can’t believe this one. I’m truly humbled by their generosity. Also they threw me a pirate party in the middle of Magic Kingdom, so…yeah.
6. Breast Reduction Surgery (I called it that because I like to make jokes when I don’t know how to deal with my emotions.)
That time I randomly did a self breast exam and found a lump and the month of uncertainty that followed where I tried my best to stay off of WebMD while waiting to go in for the ultra sound. Then the results coming back abnormal, so I couldn’t stay off WebMD anymore. I was scared, but God remained faithful. I had the lump removed, and it wasn’t cancer! I wrote more about it in a couple of blog posts: Facing the Unknown and Cancer was Never my Biggest Enemy.
7. Meeting Dasah
You should actually stop reading this right now, and go read Dasah’s story on her mom’s blog. Her 12 hours of life outside the womb continue to teach me so many things. Her whole life she pointed people including myself to Jesus. Her whole life was characterized by being loved greatly and unconditionally—she did nothing to earn the love that surrounded her. Oh what a beautifully bitter sweet picture of God’s love for us! I can do nothing to earn it, and yet He gives it freely and His name is most glorified when I stop striving so hard and simply let Him love me. I was beyond humbled and blessed that her mom and dad shared her with us knowing their own time with her would be so short. Seeing Kevin so proud to show his daughter off and Lindsey so doting and protective was another beautiful picture of our Heavenly Father that I will not forget.
8. Shereena and Joseph’s Wedding
Guys, I’ve never had so much fun at a wedding. I think Dasah also taught me a lot about not being afraid to live and have fun because at the end of the day, I am still loved more than I can ever comprehend by the One who will never stop pursuing my heart. Nothing can take that away, so it may sound silly, but I can dance and look ridiculous doing it. It was a freeing revelation. So I danced and didn’t care who was watching. It was the best! Also, never have I ever seen such an epic entrance by a groom.
9. Once Upon a Time is Now
I was no stranger to Magic Kingdom before becoming a Cast Member, but I think one of my top ten favorite days there was my Once Upon a Time…is Now class (the property orientation tour for all new Magic Kingdom Cast Members). That was when it finally started sinking in–this is my new home–this is where I get to come to “work” everyday! Even though it was only my second day with Disney, one of my new dreams was to be able to teach the class one day! Well DREAMS COME TRUE AT DISNEY!!! This November I finished my cross training to become a facilitator for Once Upon a Time…is Now and then in December I was beyond excited to welcome my first group of new Cast Members to the Magic Kingdom!
10. Christmas with friends and Belle
Reflecting on these past few years I’ve spent Christmas away from my family, I’m overwhelmed. From Christmas pajamas to Christmas Eve slumber parties to spending Christmas morning just casually hanging out with my favorite princess–God has orchestrated all these tiny details to whisper my love language directly to my ever wandering heart. At the time of year when we celebrate Jesus leaving the comfort of his home to recklessly pursue and save and bring hope to our broken hearts, God relentlessly reminds me that I am loved–not for anything I have done, but because of who He is and all He has done.