You know what's funny? By the end of January 2007 I couldn't wait for the year to come to an end. The first 31 days of it literally kicked my rear-end. December 31stcouldn't come soon enough. In what was just 4 weeks and 3 days to everyone else, I had been tested to an obscene limit. My patience, my faith, my intelligence, my confidence, my ability, my health and immunity, and my motive for waking up had all been tested.
Now, here I am…it is December 31, 2007…and I'm a little sad to see the year go. While it was a trying 12 months, it has been a great lesson in patience, faith, intellect, confidence, ability, health, and why I really do wake up every morning! The events that once angered me bring me great peace now, and I am so thankful for them. God has a way of turning things around for the better if we just wait on Him…because He does everything in His own time. In the mean time, all that he asks of us is that we cast all of our cares (not just the small ones, not just the petty ones, not just the life altering ones, but ALL of our cares) on Him…because (this is good…get ready for it) He cares for us. How simple does that sound? It is humbling. But it is so reassuring to know that the things that are important to us (whether they be materialistic, petty, or a little bit selfish) are important to God, too. This lesson helped me tremendously…it also is a constant reminder to not put faith in worldly things or people, and to not expect things out of people in our lives. They are not required to provide these things for us. We are simply called to be the hands and feet of Jesus, and to leave the rest of it up to God. He's faithful. Believe me.
Here are some things I learned this year, maybe you can learn from them too:
1. Always keep your house clean (the late Granny Eva)
2. Teach your children how to pray (the late Granny Eva)
3. Don't question God's timing
4. It is impossible to be in two places at once
5. A weekend retreat at St. Mary's might be the only way for you to bestill…and know that He is God
6. Sobering conversations with God face down on the floor in a hospital chapel are some of the best conversations you'll ever have
7. You don't know what you're capable of until you find yourself face down on the floor of a chapel in a hospital
8. If you find yourself in the said situations of items 6 and 7, be prepared to not remember all of the deals you made
9. Your family is everything…do not take them for granted
10. Ask questions…lots of them
11. Trust your instincts
12. Sometimes your family is what you make it…I chose a great group of girlfriends and a few boys, too.
13. If you are in the hospital, take Allison so that she will write down all of the medicine they give you in the event you have an allergic reaction, or worse…redman syndrome
14. If your friends are sick, don't act like a freak who would rather live in a bubble
15. When your world falls apart, find someone stable like Allison to make sure your hair is washed, you've packed everything you or your family might need, and to drive you around. ***note: Allison is taken, find your own best friend
16. Frosted flakes make the world go 'round
17. If you're ever asked, Henry Ford was a great president
18. Tell your friends and family you love them…often
19. Skydiving is that much more fun with your sister…if she is Emily
20. Valentine's Day is best spent having sushi, chocolate waffles, and champagne with your best girls.
21. Do not go to St. Louis unless you drink Budweiser and Pepsi.
22. If you get bumped off your flight, seek out Brian, an independent CPA fromKnoxville, and Owenby from Texas who wrestles hogs. They will give you a ride home.
23. Do not carry more on to a flight than you are willing to carry around with you for a few days in the airport.
24. Be prepared with a comeback when someone says "that's like me throwing an orange shirt in the mud or something"…I prefer to say "Really? Do you want to do this now?" If you're lucky it will get the point across.
25. It is definitely not worth the effort of dating someone who is a fan of a big SEC rival of yours…if you give it a shot, do so at the beginning of the year, don't wait until June.
26. Hire my friends if you want to have a great birthday
27. Always go the extra mile for your friends on their birthdays
28. Strive to turn nights into memories…and take pictures
29. Quitting a job is fun
30. Quitting a job is scary
31. Quitting a job is one of the most stressful things I've ever done
32. Quitting a job is more fun if your best friend has recently quit a job too
33. Quitting a job gets creative when the money runs out
34. Do not drink and drive…you are not invincible
35. If you quit your job, you should probably go somewhere that pays you to get in
36. If you realize within 30 minutes of waking up (when you've already overslept) that your home is flooding and you're out of gas and it is Friday the 13th…get back in the bed…
37. Watch for nails that aren't hammered down completely on bridges
38. Don't fall off the bridge
39. If you do, go to the doctor immediately because you might have a blood clot
40. It sounds cool to tell people you have a 2nd degree separation in your shoulder because football players get it too...until you realize how bad it hurts...for months to come
41. Go to the tanning bed!
42. Listen to Alice Peacock's song "Taught Me Well" (it goes a little something like this: "you taught me well, you were my teacher and I thank you for the hell you put me through, I'm very grateful 'cause I finally realized what was important in my life, and I thank my lucky stars every day I'm not your wife")
43. w:st="on">43. Don't watch a football game in Nashville…it is a melting pot of fans
44. It is a great honor to be considered an Ambitious Woman of 2007
45. Have a friend that lives close by that can make good pancakes…you never can tell when you might need one…thanks Tara
46. Carefully screen the people you meet at the neighborhood pool
47. If you have a cheerleading accident in the 8th grade, be prepared to fall for the rest of your life
48. Take as many weekend trips as possible
49. Listen to Will Hoge's song "washed by the water" (it's about hurricane Katrina and it will change your life…it says "we've been washed by the water but the water can't wash us away")
50. Visit the Jack Daniels distillery in Lynchburg, TN
51. Visit the gorge of the river at NantahalaOutdoorCenter
52. The Hilton has the best mattresses
53. Take vitamins
54. Listen to Garrison Starr's song "unchangeable" (she said it's a song about someone who says they love you and they're *&%! lying)
55. Eat yogurt with live and active cultures or something like that
56. Take advantage of the wonderful things there are to do locally
57. See a movie alone
58. Find a church that you love
59. Find a group of people that you can't live without
60. Ask for prayer…you can use all of it that you can get
When I brought in the new year of 2007, I did so composing an obituary for my grandmother. I referenced the Bible verse Job 1:21 when I did that.
In ending this year, I can say that is the one thing I will take away from it and will learn from every day:
"The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the Name of the Lord." Job 1:21
She likes cupcakes, naps, a boy named Brian, her siblings, her best girls, her birthday, sending mail, fresh flowers, cereal that's bad for you, snowboarding, bicycles, the Nantahala Gorge, pizza and noodles. She does not like cold weather, waking up early, messy toothpaste lid, wet hair, and fuzzy toilet seat covers with matching accessories. She has zero tolerance for poor grammar, especially ending a sentence with a preposition.