Last year I posted my Top Fives of 2008, and it was such a smashing hit I thought I’d make it an annual tradition. So here we go, my Top Fives of 2009:
Top 5 Lessons Learned:
1. It’s easy to look at others and see how they should change or could be doing better, but much more difficult to focus on your own weaknesses and where you need to pursue change. It’s a much better use of your time to work on yourself first instead of casting stones at others.
2. The problem with wanting what I can’t have is I am discontent. The answer? Be thankful and grateful for what I do have. And I have a lot to be thankful and grateful for.
3. I should not be surprised when this world doesn’t function perfectly. We live in a very fallen world. It’s broken. In fact, my reaction should be quite the opposite. I should be surprised when it does function well at all, because that is God’s grace intervening on our behalf.
4. In conflict, I must take responsibility for my part of the problem. But I can’t take responsibility for more than what is my part. No matter how hard I love or how fiercely I fight to hold on to a relationship, I can’t make up for another person’s failings or weaknesses if they won’t admit to them or change. I can only do so much.
5. I am not what I will be. I am a work in progress and day by day God is sanctifying me into what He wants me to be. I haven’t arrived yet. This shouldn’t surprise me.
Top 5 Unattained Goals:
1. Running a triathlon (for the second year in a row).
2. Sleeping on a somewhat normal/consistent basis.
3. Eating at every Stonefire restaurant.
4. Liking salads.
5. Quitting Facebook (again, for the second year in a row).
Top 5 Quotes I’ve Read:
1. “My darkest time taught me that I can trust my loving Father with my future — even when His way hurts. When God shatters dreams, He rebuilds them into something beautiful. Perhaps not beautiful by worldly standards but more akin to what is captured in Isaiah, when God says He will give His people “a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair” (Isaiah 61:3).” – Suzanne Hadley
2. “Seek to know and be known. Choose vulnerability over self-protection, accountability over obscurity, the climb of togetherness over the gravity of aloneness. Become an initiator and an inviter and a pursuer. Fight for relationships, for sincere time together in the midst of busyness, for a diversity of shared experiences along with the late nights and the road trips and the dinner tables and the living rooms and the ministry partnerships that weave together the tapestry of relationships. Fight for them. Because you can be rich in many things, but if you are poor in friendships, you are poor indeed.” – Gunner Gundersen
3. “In Friendship….we think we have chosen our peers. In reality, a few years’ difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another, posting to different regiments, the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting — any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking, no chances. A secret Master of the Ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples ‘Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,’ can truly say to every group of Christian friends ‘You have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another.’ The Friendship is not a reward for our discrimination and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each the beauties of all the others.“ – C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
4. “Most of us have never really understood that Christianity is not a self-help religion meant to enable moral people to become more moral. We don’t need a self-help book; we need a Savior. We don’t need to get our collective act together; we need death and resurrection and the life-transforming truths of the gospel. And we don’t need them just once, at the beginning of our Christian life; we need them every moment of every day.” – Elyse Fitzpatrick, Counsel from the Cross
5a. “Let us take comfort in the thought that the Lord Jesus does not cast off His believing people because of failures and imperfections.
He knows what they are.
He takes them, as the husband takes the wife, with all their blemishes and defects, and, once joined to Him by faith, will never leave them. He is a merciful and compassionate High priest. It is His glory to pass over the transgressions of His people, and to cover their many sins.”
– J.C. Ryle, The Gospel of Mark, 1857
5b. “I believe that the most lawless and inordinate loves are less contrary to God’s will than a self-invited and self-protective lovelessness. It is like hiding the talent in a napkin and for much the same reason ‘I knew thee that thou wert a hard man.’ Christ did not teach and suffer that we might become, even in the natural loves, more careful of our own happiness. If a man is not uncalculating toward the earthly beloveds whom he has seen, he is none the more likely to be so towards God whom he has not. We shall draw nearer to God, not by trying to avoid the sufferings inherit in all loves, but by accepting them and offering them to Him; throwing away all defensive armor. If our hearts need to be broken, and if He chooses this as the way in which they should break, so be it.
It remains certainly true that all natural loves can be inordinate. Inordinate does not mean “insufficiently cautious”. Nor does it mean “too big”. It is not a quantitative term. It is probably impossible to love any human being simply “too much”. We may love him too much in proportion to our love for God; but it is the smallness of our love for God, not the greatness of our love for the man, that constitutes the inordinacy.” – C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
Top 5 Most Embarrassing Moments:
*As I mentioned last year, the one’s from 2009 are still a wee bit too fresh. We’ll mention a few from 2008, now that they’ve had some time to wear off.
1. (’08) Throwing up in front of my boyfriend while we in the middle of saying goodnight.
2. (’08) Having the breaks on my car go out after breaking up with aforementioned boyfriend (is it any surprise people?! Look at these embarrassing moments — I should have seen it coming!). Had to walk back up to his front door and ask him to test them out. Then drive back with him to my place in his car. Then go back and pick up my car at his house the following day. All after the break up. That’s gotta make it on some sort of list for worst all time something.
3. (’09) The night a fellow RD (who will remain nameless) of the opposite sex decided to knock once on my door and walk right in. I, did not have a shirt on, and there was no door leading into the bathroom. So I had to call out to him to stop, but couldn’t explain why. Then I was rummaging around in my drawers trying to find a shirt, which of course he could hear the entire bit (because there was no door) although thankfully couldn’t see it. Finally, I walked into the hallway to find him facing the door. He made some comment about something on the hinge.
4. (’09) Having to admit to one of my fellow co-workers, Jackie Knapp, a ridiculous crush on a highly unlikely character. Who was a student. And a good number of years younger than me. She laughed so hard in my face for that one.
5. (’09) When my shorts split in two in the middle of CPR training. They were running shorts, with no stretch, and when I sat down on my feet (wearing running shoes) it just pulled the seam right apart. So then I was stuck trying to perform CPR on poor Annie (or Abby?) without taking my rear end off the ground. Which is hard to do. Because there were two male staff members behind me and I was hoping they wouldn’t see. So I was whispering up to Esther who was wearing my sweatshirt and hoping not to get caught by the CPR instructors. Man, how do these things happen to me?! Finally, Esther threw back my sweatshirt and I wrapped it around my waist so I could go back to the dorm and change!
Top 5 Moments Lived:
1. Getting to hold my precious Nephew Indy for the first time on June 29, 2009 (and probably the day that he smiled at me for the first time in August).
2. Sitting in a line on the front of our Cruise ship to Mexico for Esther’s birthday as we set sail, watching the sunset, with Esther, Rick, Tim, and Ben. (Also, watching Ben try on jeans & dance to Apple Bottom Jeans on Esther’s birthday cruise!)
3. Finally fulfilling my lifelong dream of milking a cow with my precious cousin Kenny!
4. Sitting at a table at Mi Piace in Old Town Pasadena all by myself. It was the first time I had ever eaten at a sit down restaurant alone, and was the 2nd day of my people fast back in May. It was the first time I can ever remember honestly liking being alone. SUCH a happy, contented feeling.
5. Making the decision to risk my heart and choose vulnerability and hurt over safety and self-protection. It feels so good to risk for the right things.
Top 5 Songs Heard:
1. Love is Hard – James Morrison
2. Giving Up – Ingrid Michaelson
3. Rescue Me – Jessica Sonner
4. The Guy That Says Goodbye to You Is Out of His Mind – Griffin House
5. Love Story meets Viva La Vida – John Schmidt
*Other notable mentions: I’d Rather Be With You – Joshua Radin; Song for a Friend – Nathan Angelo; Hold On – Michael Buble; It Stops Today & You Got Me- Colbie Caillat; Knock You Down – Keri Hilson
Top 5 Lost Items:
1. My power laugh. It’s devastating, really.
2. My VW Beetle =(
3. Life sans iPhone!
4. The midnight Walmart Christmas Run Tradition. Sad to lose it, but it was time.
5. My Tivo. She died. That’s a very sad loss.
Top 5 People I’ve Met for the first time:
1. Timothy Indiana Noble!!!!!!!!!!!!
2. Clive Evan Horton!
3. Joni Erickson Tada
4. Donna & Jerry Noble (okay, not the first, but kinda)
5. Lauren Crichton
Top 5 Parties Thrown:
1. Turkey Derby
2. 4th Annual Christmas Party – Christmukkuh!
3. Crepe Party
4. Dixon’s First Annual Spring Carnival
5. My sister’s baby shower, or as I like to call it, baby wedding.
Top 5 Purchases Made:
1. Patty the Patriot!
2. My very first pair of 7 Jeans. It doesn’t seem like a big deal to you, but I promised myself years ago that when I got down to my goal size, I’d do it. So it’s a big deal to me.
3. The Mexico Cruise-of-Glory!
4. A Disneyland Pass.
5. All of the fruits and vegetables required for Esther and I’s juice fast (or should we say, epic juice fast failure).