On May 9th I passed from my twenties into my thirties and launched a new series as a way of looking back at both the highs and the lows (more here). Today for the last post in the series I'm listing my ten favourite things about the decade, in no particular order.
Becoming An Aunt
I've always loved kids and spent years babysitting and hanging out with some of my friends who have kids children, so when I heard the news that my brother and sister in law were expecting their first child I was on cloud nine. Getting to be at the hospital for the birth (not in the room mind you!) was an amazing experience and meeting my nephew for the first time was incredible and it's only gotten better. Timothy has become my little buddy and we have such great times together. Whether that's rocking out in the car to my music (he loves going in Auntie's car), playing hockey in the house, or going for walks, I cherish my time with him. And I love teasing him and he loves teasing me back, his latest gimmick is instead of calling me Auntie Kristen he calls me Auntie Cho Cho Train and get's the biggest grin on his face when he says it because he knows it bugs me. Love that kid!
In your teens as everyone is changing and going through all that high school drama, a lot of your relationships tend to be more superficial, but in my twenties I learned what real friendship is all about and have been blessed with a lot of pretty incredible people in my life. People who have discipled me as a believer, come alongside of me during my illness, and people who I get to travel with, learn from and have a great time with. Doing life with others is definitely the way to live and I don't ever want life to get so busy that I stop investing in the people around me.
During my twenties I had the opportunity to help organize a few retreats, lead a College and Careers group, speak at retreats, write a book, and see MAD go from a local show to something that is played all over the world. It's crazy. If someone would have told me in high school that this was what God would have in store for me I would have never believed it. But it's happened and to Him goes all the glory!
Bought My First Vehicle
Just over two years ago I got to buy my first vehicle: a new to me Honda CRV. It was a blessing then and it's been a blessing since. I love driving it and the freedom that having my own vehicle brings. I also have really enjoyed learning about vehicle maintenance and the ability to do small jobs on it myself.
A lot of people get married in their twenties and while I am not one of them, I've had the joy of seeing many friends and family members take their own trips down the aisle. Through weddings my family has doubled in size and I've had the chance to give speeches, be an MC, even be in a wedding party: I love weddings!
Before arriving in my twenties other than the odd trip to Toronto and a trip to Florida when I was much, much younger, I didn't have the opportunity to do a whole lot of travelling, but in recent years I have and it's been such a blessing. My first trip that started them off I couldn't even afford to take as I was in school at the time, but God provided every penny and I had the chance to go out East to attend a radio seminar and I learned so much. I also had the chance to meet a lot of great people and take in some of the sights. The year after again God totally provided and I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to go to Nashville for GMA Week. After that the trips kept coming: Traverse City (2007), Holland Michigan (2008), Chicago (2008), Sheboygan Wisconsin (2008), Sudbury (2010 and 2011), Chicago (2012), Ville Marie Quebec (2012), and Daytona Beach (2012).
I love to read and in my twenties I discovered some of my all-time favourite books: On A Hill To Far Away (John Fischer), The Jesus I Never Knew (Philip Yancey), Bittersweet (Shauna Niequist), Rooms (James L. Rubart), The Shack (William Young), The Real You (Kevin Leman), Kisses From Katie (Katie Davis)
Starting A Business
Since I was very young I always dreamed of starting a business. In my very young years I thought it would be a law firm (I really wanted to be a lawyer), then in my teen years and into my twenties I thought it would be a Christian radio station. While I haven't crossed the Christian radio station idea off my list for the future, I have opened up a business working with website design, writing, and media. I truly love what I get to do and especially the fact that I get to work with different churches and ministries as part of it. It's really very amazing how God brought everything together, it's a dream come true.
My Church Family
Church is like a family and while no family or church is perfect, I've learned that there is such a richness that can be found when you are connecting with and working with others in the body of Christ. I love my church. We've seen some hard times, but I'm so excited about the way we are growing as a body and changing as a body. It seems like each week there are more people in the seats than the week before and I treasure my small group from the church so much. We've been together less than two years but they've become my brothers and sisters, my home team and it's been a privilege to grow with them.
While I stopped my schooling in 2007, I've still had plenty of opportunities to further my education. I've taken courses, attended seminars and retreats, even done tutorials online and I've loved having that chance to learn new skills and brush up on old ones. Life without learning new things is boring and I have a long list of things I plan on learning in the next decade!