Sunday, January 22, 2017

Top Twenties!

My Top Twenty Favorite Memories From My Twenties in (mostly) Chronological Order:
Ten years apart...haven't changed too much! :0)
1.     Turning 20 years old while living in Heidelberg Germany with 50 other Pepperdine Students. Starting with a bang! Visited a good deal of Europe while living there!

2.     Working as a counselor at Frontier Ranch during the summer of 2007...oh so many lovely friends, squeezies, late night talks on the soundboard, breaking into the kitchen for cookie dough, belaying, my first date, 7-11 slurpies, s’mores and crazy chaos!

3.     Graduating from Pepperdine much hard work, phenomenal teachers, great friends, free t-shirts, and the best view imaginable!

4.     Africa…it’s played a large role in my twenties and I could easily come up with twenty or fifty favorite moments from my time spent on this unique continent, but I’ll cram it all together right here. In the summer of 2008 my whole family and some of my closest friends got to go to Uganda together and it was my first time on the continent…if you’re thinking of coming, be careful! It’s completely addicting! The red roads, the pineapple at every meal, the lovely people, the cutest babies in the world! In the summer of 2010 Kate and I led a team of buddies back to Uganda and Kate and I went on our own again, this time adding Zimbabwe in the summer of 2013. After six years my family all got to go together to Africa once again in the summer of 2014, this time to Tanzania and Zimbabwe. And I am currently living in Benin as I type this and have spent time during 2016 in South Africa and Ghana as well. Coming to the continent of Africa has changed my perspective on missions, adoption, relating to other humans in general, and life as a whole. God has used these countries I have had the privilege to visit and live in to change my perspective, my life, how I view the world, how I view myself, and how I view Him. And it’s not over! Not by a long shot!

5.     Going on the Alaskan cruise to celebrate the afore mentioned graduation as well as Mom and Dad’s 25th Wedding Anniversary (not sure which was better, the Arcuri’s surprising us by coming on the cruise too, or Dad being able to keep it a secret!)

6.     My community of my first job teaching Outdoor Education at Mission Springs...people who were so different than me, but God knew I needed. They didn’t end up being that different after all…we dressed up in costume to watch Disney movies, read kids books aloud together, wore onesies out in public with me, climbed trees with me and were gentle encouragers when my fear of heights got in the way of climbing said trees, gave me a bedazzled headlamp so I wouldn’t have to be scared of the dark during night hike each week, prayed together when babies were about to be born and when proposals were about to be made, and smashed bananas on their heads and dressed up as six foot long banana slugs all in an attempt to teach kids well!

7.     Working for the Disney Cruise Line onboard the Disney Magic...hardest job I’ve ever had, most fun job I’ve ever had, ten hours a day, seven days a week, getting paid to make floating lanterns from Tangled with four year olds, and once again finding the most wonderful community in quite an unexpected place!

8.     Working at Disneyland Park…I’d tell you more, but I’d have to kill you :0) Since I can’t pay tribute to that, I’d like to throw into this list the number of times I’ve had the chance to go to Disneyland in my twenties…I hold strongly to the fact that it’s one of the most magical, lovely, and enchanting places on earth and I love it with all my heart! I swear, I hear God’s voice clearest when I am sitting on the curb for two hours waiting for the Soundsational parade to begin, and I love it! It thrills be every time, never gets old, and brings joy to my heart!

9.     Teaching elementary school with Kate, being big buddy/little buddy classes, living in the land of kindergarten where cupcakes, ducklings, and glitter are plentiful and where we learn together what letters say and what Jesus says.

10.  Becoming a Sweet Adeline! Singing has been a huge part of my entire life, but I thought the competitive singing was over when I left highschool…I was wrong! I Joined Sweet Adelines with Mom and Kate and competed with my chorus as well as in several quartets, including one performance on the international stage and receiving the Most Promising Tenor award for my region! I love singing, especially with my family! There’s nothing quite like that red lipstick and false eyelashes! :0)

11.  Being Jenn’s stage mom…one of the complete and utter joys of my twenties was being around for Jenn’s highschool career and especially being there for all of her shows! I loved helping Jenn prepare for auditions, cheering her on when she got her dream role, crying with her when she did not, working backstage doing Jenn’s hair and makeup, taking photos of every show, and sitting in the front row for each performance. The culmination of this was getting to take photos of her from the wings of the Pantages theater in Los Angeles when she performed there!

12.  Jenn and my Broadway Sistermoon (when Kate went on her honeymoon). We went to Broadway and saw ten shows for under $300 and reveled in every minute of it! Jenn is one of my favorite people every to go to shows with! And while we’re on the topic, I would be remised if I didn’t mention in this list waiting in rush lines…I’ve spent a significant amount of time in my twenties waiting in Broadway rush lines to get cheap tickets to a Broadway show…it’s cold and long and makes your rear ache, but get a sister or cousin to do it with you, get a Starbucks and a McDonalds hot apple pie (maybe a bagful to share with the others in line) and all will be well! 100% worth the wait!

13.  Attending weddings…I have attended several weddings in my twenties for so many people that I have been praying for for so long! Johanna Chambers, Will Handley, Kate Minor, Liz Flage, I prayed so long and hard for each of you and getting to attend or be in each of your weddings and see first hand God’s goodness and faithfulness meant the world to me! I love you and your spouses so dearly!

14.  Working the 2012 and 2015 Urbana Missions Conferences with Kate and then with Dad. Worshipping with thousands of believers from all over the world in so many different languages brings unspeakable joy to my heart! So does singing the announcements over the PA in the exhibit hall! :0)

15.  Paying off our student loans...Kate and I were just slightly excited about becoming financially free!!! Didn't you take pictures when you submitted your last payment!?!

16.  I know I already mentioned Broadway, but this show deserves it’s own bullet point: Amazing Grace! It ran for only four months and I got to see it three times in that span with cousins and sisters! No show or music has rocked me to the core like that one! Never before have I seen an audience wait at the stage door simply to thank the actors for telling that story! Never before have I found Broadway actors on facebook in order to thank them and had them invite me back to see the show and to come backstage with them!

17.  January 23rd, 2015 Neill and I puled off the most epic Disneyland proposal ever! So much planning, so many people contacted, so may secrets, I thought I might burst. I think it took years off my life, but we did it! And she said YES!

18.  Kate and Neill’s wedding…I know I already mentioned weddings, but Kate gets her own bullet point on the list. So many favorite moments…seventeen people sleeping in my little apartment the night before the wedding, the bridesmaid song and dance, Jenn and my musical toast, doing her bridal hair, the seventeen bridesmaids taking up the entire dance floor, the best Bundt cakes in the world, did I mention that I loved the seventeen bridesmaids?!? :0)

19.  Becoming an aunt…it’s been sooooooooo incredibly hard to be away from Kate and miss getting to watch her belly grow, but I am oh so excited and oh so thankful for facetime where I can watch the baby kicking! I couldn’t be more thrilled to be Aunt B!

20.  Living on the Africa Mercy and working for Mercy Ships! Sailing around the Cape, teaching four students from four different continents, taking my littles to play with the patients… It’s an adventure…and there’s so much more to come!

I was asked yesterday if this is where I saw myself at thirty years old…the answer is no. I never thought that I wouldn’t be married with littles when I was thirty, but when asked if this is where I would like to be, the answer is a resounding, yes! I so dearly want to be a wife and a Mommy and I don’t know why that hasn’t been part of the plan, but I know I’m exactly where God wants me and I love the life that God has given me so very much! I. Am. So. Blessed. I love my life! Here’s cheers to thirty years!