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27 Things.

Well, it’s that time again…when I look back over the year and think about what I’ve learned, what I remember, what was good, what wasn’t so good and I share it with you (or if no one reads it, really just to document it for myself…it’s like an easy, electronic scrapbook). This is also known as my birthday tradition. I love making a list about the things I’ve learned or things that have happened in my last year of life. It makes me more grateful and helps me not to forget. So in honor of my last day of being 27, here are 27 things from year number 27.

1) I graduated with my Master’s in Urban Studies, with a Community Development focus from Eastern University in May. It was a lot of hard, hard work and a lot of time and tears poured into my thesis, but it was worth it and I’m so glad I did it.

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2) It was a year of hard stuff. It was definitely a year of brokenness and I would say a phrase that encompasses my last year could be, “Life is not easy, but you can do hard things and you are not alone.” I’ve learned a lot about sitting in the brokenness.  I’m glad this year is over.

3) I always have to make a point about the TV shows I loved this year. I got hooked for a little bit on Supernatural thanks to Betsy and Ryan, Jenn and I watched all the seasons of Criminal Minds, and I loved the new shows Quantico and Blind Spot. If I mention anymore I’ll start feeling embarrassed with how much TV I can watch.

4) The quickest way to my heart is through words, books and flowers.

5) Jenn and I almost got a dog, but then we didn’t.

6) Another good year of travels and time spent with so many fun, wonderful people. I went to New Orleans for a bachelorette party, Philly twice, Gatlinburg (my first solo trip/vacation/escape to write my thesis), Michigan a couple times, Chicago, Iowa, Florida and Seattle. All good times!

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7) I submitted a workshop proposal to present at the Christian Community Development Conference (CCDA) and it got accepted! I did my workshop in November about “Creating a Culture of Self-Care Within your Organization” and it was awesome. I loved it. I hope I get to do it again!

8) I am deep into my bones and into my soul grateful for how people showed up for me this year. If I start thinking about it for too long I’ll start to cry.

9) I attended the Justice Conference in Chicago with Becca and ran into some other great friends while I was there. I highly recommend this conference to everyone.

10) I realized how much I really hate blowing out birthday candles.

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11) We had our first annual Friendcation in Michigan and it was so great and so full of life and just so fun.

12) I learned that No can be a complete sentence.

13) I read so many good books this year and I got to be on the launch team for two books by two of my favorite authors! A few of the great books I read: Simply Tuesday by Emily p. Freeman, Out of Sorts by Sarah Bessey, Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, and so many more! I re-read the Harry Potter series too…always a good choice.

14) I thought I was going to get Lasik but then realized I can’t afford it so I transitioned out of my “sleep at night and they shape your eyes for the day contacts” into normal contacts…anyway that’s a long and oversharing way of basically saying, I got new glasses and I love them!

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15) I learned lots of deep lessons, one line for a few of them would be: How to be brave. How sometimes balance can be achieved, but usually not. How sharing your story releases you from shame. How anxiety truly affects my life. How to pay attention to what makes me cry. How I need to be kinder to myself. How exhausting job hunting is. How sometimes it’s just about doing the right next thing. How it’s a discipline to unlearn.

16) I left my job with Harvest Hands. It was really hard and was not something I was planning or anticipating, but through it all I learned more about what it means to be obedient to what you know you’re supposed to do and seeing how God is faithful.

17) I started two new great jobs! I’m doing contract grant writing for a non-profit here in Nashville called St. Luke’s Community House and working part-time for an awesome marketing company called Blue Kite Marketing.

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18) I realized I have this habit of always opening my shower curtain because I’m afraid someone is hiding in there. Don’t ask me what I would do if when I open it, someone was actually hiding there. (I watch too much Criminal Minds)

19) There were lots of exciting times for my friends and family! Jonah turned 1, my sister got engaged, a couple friends bought houses, a few more got married and lots are expecting babies. So many reasons to celebrate, I love it!

20) I learned you can make more than one list on the iPhone’s Reminder App. I probably should have known this a long time ago, but it has revolutionized my life.

21) I started going to a yoga class. I guess this counts even though it happened this week. So….so far, so good?

22) I also started seeing a spiritual director this year. Probably, actually most definitely, one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. A spiritual director is basically someone who walks alongside you and helps you be intentional and pay attention to what God is doing in your life.

23) I found another peace place in Nashville. I visited Radnor Lake a lot these last couple months. Being around water and trees is good for my soul.

24) Melody graduated!! This is a big deal and I was so excited when I watched her walk across that stage!

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25) I have become obsessed with podcasts. I listen to them in the car, when I’m cleaning, when I’m cooking, when I just need some peace and lay on the floor to listen…you get the picture. Some of my favorites are: The Sorta Awesome Podcast, Personality Hacker, Serial, Hidden Brain, Pop Culture Happy Hour and Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert.

26) I’ve realized how much I love personality tests. I’ve researched a lot of them this year. I’m an INFJ, Enneagram 2, Blue on True Colors, etc. I don’t think personality tests are the say-all for who you are, but I think they’re such good tools to understanding ourselves and others. And I think the world is a better place when we understand ourselves and try to understand others.

27) I still love being an aunt.

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Here’s to year number 28. May I continue to have reasons to be thankful, may I learn to love more deeply and show grace more freely, may I continue to learn how to sit in the brokenness and the knowledge I can’t fix everything, may I soak in any time with family and friends that I get and may I remember that I can do hard things, I can grow where I am planted and that I am not alone.