Twenty-Four.

Twenty-three has been a sweet year, filled more with what's felt like moments than days and weeks and months. Here's some of the moments I remember:

  • Starting my birthday last year with my dear friend Shannon, as well as my college-pals-and-still-pals Jeremy and Jami, on a Rhode Island adventure. I remember feeling so cold on the coast (it was a 20 degree day) that all we could do was take photos and then run into the nearest warm building. That day was filled with yummy tea, many laughs, and more laughs...and a Mike's Pastry Lobster Tail (the only thing resembling seafood I'll eat!). 
  • Beginning and processing through and finishing my first unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at Beverly Hospital. During those eleven summer weeks, I learned how to take care of myself while diving into an intensive ministry setting. I discovered a deep love for chaplaincy work – for holding frail hands, sitting next to tired bodies, praying earnest prayers. I experienced an interfaith ministry context for the first time and had the privilege of learning from the perspectives of my fellow colleagues. As a chaplain, I learned to work hard without looking for a shortcut, to wake up early and arrive to work early, and to take the time I need to create margin in my life for processing.
  • Spending a solid month at home with my family and dear friends, resting and drinking in the beauty of broken routines and sleep-in mornings. I also got to host my sweet friend Shannon at my home for a week, experiencing the sites of my home city with fresh eyes and with wonder anew. I loved introducing Chicago-style pizza to her, as well as the architecture that makes Chicago unique. She and I also fulfilled a bucket list item of singing karaoke at a restaurant!
  • Traveling to Michigan with my childhood & adulthood pals: Gianna, Amy, and Lonna. We chose to not camp this year due to a previous traumatizing experience with violent & unforgiving mosquitoes. It was a treat to stay overnight in an Air BnB, even if my air mattress chose to deflate beyond repair on our second night. I loved simply sitting with these friends on the beach; though we were sitting on towels, I remember my fingers and toes resting in the cold sand.
  • Having the opportunity to travel home in October to celebrate the life of my Uncle Tim. I can't express how meaningful it was to me to be with my cousins and aunts and uncles as we honored the years we've spent with him and the ways we will carry on his memory.
  • Visiting with my parents in Massachusetts during their week-long visit here. Even though our accommodations were a wee bit frightful and my car was having engine issues, we enjoyed our simply being together. Though our travel & sightseeing plans fell through, we had the best of fun seeing three different movies at the local theater – all enjoying a different one most.
  • Completing my first puzzle (thanks, Gianna, for the Christmas gift!). I loved sitting across the table from my dad as we tried to put the Beauty and the Beast puzzle together, trying to group colors and pictures together. I got a real thrill out of seeing it filling in before my eyes. Especially since I've been a puzzle cynic for years, my faith in puzzles was renewed! Thanks, Mom, for getting it framed (and for the corner you completed).
  • Taking some relational risks. I've noticed that in this past year, I've been much more intentional about friendships – particularly in investing all of me, even when I know I'll only be in seminary for a little while longer. I was reminded by a dear friend, just last week, that in God's timing, even one moment can have the weight of eternal impact – so why limit Him to days and weeks and months? I'm going to press into my relationships deeper and deeper, knowing the moment-maker God has placed me here for this season.
  • Beginning a regular exercise routine for my all-around health. Going with friends has made working out an adventure; even the sauna has become a space for sacred conversations. As I continue to move deeper into adulthood, I'm choosing daily to invest in a healthy present for a healthy future.
  • Taking a class at Harvard Divinity School with Shannon this spring. This class – The Sacramental Imagination – has helped me to discover a kind of learning that has captivated me. I love the interplay between theology and literature and culture; I love growing in my admiration of the Eucharist and all it represents.
  • Becoming sort-of a movie buff. This past year, I've seen gobs of movies in theaters (thanks, $5 Tuesdays at AMC). I've loved entering into various stories for two hours, enjoying the art of directors and producers and actors. And I've loved enjoying these stories with dear friends and family. 
  • Making further strides in realizing deep in my heart how loved I am by God – how knowing how much He loves me allows me to see how much He loves others (thanks, Henri Nouwen).
  • Getting offered and accepting my first job to begin in September 2018 (I'll fill in more details in the near future).
This past year has been heart-warming, joy-producing, and oh-so-sweet. I'm looking forward to another year of walking with Jesus day-by-day, moment-by-moment.

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