Thursday, January 2, 2014

Yearly Recap 2013

I borrowed this new year's survey from the blog Rage Against the Minivan.  If you fill out one of your own, be sure to let me know in the comments so I can go read your answers!

1. What did you do in 2013 that you'd never done before? 
I did seven weeks of fasting from various things as a Bible study with my friend Sammy, and I learned so much.  It was the first time I had ever really fasted. 

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
My two resolutions for 2013 were to read at least two books every month and to write my sponsored daughter, Lavin, a letter once a month for the entire year.  I accomplished both goals!  Next year's resolutions will be to continue writing Lavin monthly and discipling her, as well as read more than fifty books in the year 2014.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My young friend Megan gave birth to a precious little girl named Abcde last January.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
By the grace of God, I did not lose anyone close to me last year!  The most impacting loss was that of Emmanuel Namunyu, a man who helped thousands of orphans in Kenya and who was one of my heroes.  I was so thankful to meet him this summer.

5. What countries did you visit?  
I visited England and Kenya.

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
I want to have more balance in my schedule as I figure out the best way to study and focus on ministry during college.  I would also like to have less anxiety and stress, as I tend to fall into those emotions and insecurities when life is building up on me.

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
I'm not so good with actual dates, but two weeks in June and July, I had the opportunity to go to Kenya for the second time and have quality time with my beloved sponsored children, as well as see the ways the Lord is using Christian Relief Fund to serve orphans and communities in Africa.

Also, for four days in August, I was able to serve as a prayer teamer for Impact Retreat, a ministry for incoming freshmen to Texas A&M University.  Spending long shifts in a prayer room broke my flesh in a lot of very good ways, and I learned so much from the girls who spent time in that room with me.  I was able to see God move in powerful ways that week! 

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Don't laugh, but my proudest moment from at least last semester was when I made a 98 on an exam.  That was the highest college score I've ever gotten before.  

I am happy with the way that I cut back my schedule this year.  By March, I felt like I was drowning in commitments and responsibilities, so my dad sat me down and reminded me that it is not wrong to tell people no, so I began to do just that and my life began to run a lot more smoothly.  My second semester, although it was tested with some difficult situations, was much easier in schedule than the first few months of 2013.  I am a people-pleaser by nature and I like to say yes to everything asked of me, but I am learning when it is better to take a step back.

9. What was your biggest failure?
A minor failure that was big to me was that I committed to doing NaNoWriMo in November and I only wrote 38,000 words instead of 50,000.  

On a more serious note, while taking time to myself over the last few months, I struggled to keep in touch with a few of my dear friends.  While I know that we will pick things up easily where we left off, I allowed busyness to get in the way of some good quality time with people I love.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? 
I kicked off last year with a case of the flu, but other than that and a cold or two, I have been safe and healthy in 2013!  Much better than the dramatic longboarding accident of 2012.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
A plane ticket to Kenya this last summer (I had a lot of help from people who supported me).

12. Where did most of your money go?
I'm just going to be honest and say: food.  When you're a busy college student who doesn't know a whole lot about cooking, you eat out a lot.  So a good portion of what I spend goes to meals.

13. What did you get really excited about?
I keep bringing this up, but Kenya.  Returning to that country and being reunited with loved ones there and meeting new faces was so special.  Also, I was able to travel with my Naana, which made the trip even more wonderful for both of us.

14. What song will always remind you of 2013? 
"Do You Want to Build a Snowman?" from the movie Frozen.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you: 
-happier or sadder?  
I don't want to make it sound like I am not happy, because I truly am, but looking at last year, I think I am a little sadder right now.  It's been a difficult semester and I have been tested in several areas of my life and even in a few relationships.  I have changed churches in college (while my family changed churches in my hometown) and moved from one house to another over the course of a semester.  However, I have seen God's faithfulness, and I am looking back on 2013 with a lot of joy.
-thinner or fatter?
I'm guessing I'm a few pounds "fatter" after all this delicious holiday food I've been eating.
-richer or poorer?
I'm a college student.  I'll have little money of my own until I graduate and get a full-time job. 

16. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Seen my family.  For most of the year, I live nine hours away from my family, and I always miss them!  My little brother is growing up so fast that every time I see him, his voice has changed or he has grown a foot taller.  My little sister is about to graduate from high school.  And of course, I wish I could have more time with my parents, but sometimes we go a few months without seeing each other. 

17. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Worry.  2013 has definitely been marked by stress on my part, which is something I am working to overcome.

18. How did you spend Christmas?
I spent Christmas with my family and some friends, having delicious food and celebrating family time.  

19. What was your favorite TV program?
I'm obsessed with Community.  But Downton Abbey and Sherlock win honorable mention.

20. What were your favorite books of the year?
They weren't all necessarily published this year, but the books I enjoyed most (and read for the first time) were Radical by David Platt, Iscariot by Tosca Lee, and The 7 Experiment by Jen Hatmaker.

21. What was your favorite music from this year?
Imagine Dragons, the Frozen soundtrack, Sara Bareilles, and the latest Passion album.  

22. What was your favorite film of the year?
Iron Man 3.  Don't judge me!

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?  
For my birthday in October, I went to dinner at my favorite restaurant with a few sweet friends.  I turned 21!

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
If I had worried less and trusted in the Lord's faithfulness more, I would have found a lot more joy in the moment.

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
T-shirts.  Lots and lots of maroon t-shirts.  I am not an icon you should look to for fashion tips.

26. What kept you sane?
Jesus, my parents, writing, and best friends.

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013? 
Things change.  Relationships change, situations change, life changes constantly.  But God remains faithful.  His love is unconditional and unchanging.

Two years ago: You are significant. You are loved.
Three years ago: On the Edge
Four years ago: Child of Mine