It’s a brand new decade. We are a whole week in. Thinking back to 10 years ago makes feel old - very old. And also very nostalgic. I may not have gotten married or started a family like so many people I know and love, but a lot of life happened in these past 10 years. Good things, not so good things, happy times, and heart breaking times. Most importantly, God was faithful just as He always is.
So here's 10 things that happened in the past 10 years:
1. I bought my first car. And paid it off in full. Unfortunately Elphie the Mean Green Driving Machine didn’t make it to the end of the decade with me but it was an accomplishment nonetheless.
2. I went blonde for a bit. It started with a few highlights and then just kept going and going...and then I realized that brunettes have more fun and went back to my natural hair color. I've always wanted to have purple hair...maybe this decade? Just a few highlights?
3. I became "Aunt Emmy". Although they aren't technically my nieces and nephews...they are children of family and friends who bless my little half a heart by calling me that. I love it and I absolutely adore each and every one of them.
4. I started teaching. Like for real teaching. Not subbing, not long term positions, actually teaching with my own classroom with my own name outside the door and everything. And what an amazing roller coaster it has been. I learn so much more from my students than I could ever teach them. It has been and continues to be an honor and incredible gift.
5. I lost both of my grandfathers. Both equally painful and difficult. It still hurts deeply and I still miss them incredibly. But what a beautiful hope we have in heaven...and in being reunited there one day.
6. I had the opportunity to travel to 7 different countries this decade. Wow. Just writing that amazes me. There is nothing quite like seeing other parts of the world, meeting new people, experiencing new cultures, and making memories that will last for decades to come.
7. My sister and my brother graduated college and high school, respectively. My sister even went on to medical school and graduated (with honors). Both of them also joined the military and we learned first hand the sacrifices our men and women in uniform and their families make every day. They are two of the most brilliant people I know and watching them both receive those honors, make those commitments, and achieve those dreams were some of the most incredible moments of my life.
8. I grew closer to my family - my extended family. I made it a point to spend time visiting them, be present at important events in their lives, stay in touch, and keep connected. We haven't always been close, but over this past decade, many of us truly became more than just related...we became friends too - life long friends that will continue to be a part of each others lives for decades to come.
9. I moved out! My parents probably didn't think I ever would...but I did it! I accepted a teaching job in North Carolina and moved from New York. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done and one of the biggest leaps of faith. God showed me over and over that He was in it, and He was with me. And, now my parents actually miss me..sometimes...
10. I started blogging and started sharing my story. What a journey it's been! At first I was certain that the only people that read my blog were my mom and my grandma (and my sister to correct my grammar...) but now I've connected with people around the globe! Through social media, facebook, and blogging I'm sharing my story and spreading awareness for CHD. I have discovered that I am absolutely not alone in my experiences and in my journey. I am honored and blessed that people read my words and it means something to them. It's been a blessing to be able to raise awareness of CHD and bring a face and a voice to the 1 in 100 born with congenital heart defects.
If I racked my brain I could probably come up with a list of at least 10 more things that happened over the past decade. Things; both good and bad; that have changed me, shaped me, or made an impression. There are people I've met over this past decade and friendships that were started that are cemented for eternity. There have also been friendships that have been lost and relationships that have ended. There have been times of laughing until I cried and couldn't breathe, and times of crying until I thought for sure I had run out of tears. There has been so much joy that I can't help but smile, and pain that I thought for sure would actually break my heart. There have been lessons learned and relearned and ones I'm still working on. There have been books read, food eaten, photos captured, moments shared, and memories engraved. Most importantly, God has been the same each and every day of the past decade. He is father, protector, provider, guide, teacher, and leader. He is full of love, peace, joy, kindness, and truth. He is real, moving, present, and forever and ever faithful. I know that as I walk into this next decade, He will be with me at and each and every step. So I'm ready for you 2020! Whatchya got for me?
"Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”-Luke 1:4