2013 was quite a year for me actually. In it I moved out of my parents house and into a house with four other Christian men my age from my church and learned a powerful lesson about my need for taking a Sabbath day each month to rest, relax and recharge physically, emotionally and spiritually. A strong extrovert like me doesn’t naturally always realize when one of those is needed and God taught me to recognize my need for alone time with Him and restful time spent not doing anything.
I also learned that it is important to at times take a step back and take in the moments of pure joy and blessing as they are happening, and do my best to remember those moments forever. Here then are six of those events and or experiences that made 2013 memorable:
6. My Third Annual Festivus Party. Yes that is right. My friends and I celebrate the Seinfeld Holiday of Festivus in a fun fashion on December 23rd. It all started when my best friend Brams and I decided to host a Festivus party together in 2011. This year, we continued the tradition by hosting a Seinfeld themed gathering at my parents house that featured airing of grievances about society, and an arm wrestling ‘feats of strength.” It was amazing to have over twenty of my friends pack into my parent’s house for this event, many of whom stuck around until nearly one o’clock in the morning two days before Christmas!!! Fun!!!
5. My friend Sarah’s final annual semi formal Christmas party. One of my closest friends, Sarah, will be going a six month mission trip to India next September, and her roommate Lauren who has co-hosted the last couple of these annual parties with her, will be moving to Hawaii around the same time. Therefore, this past December 21st, many of her friends gathered at the party center of her apartment complex to enjoy dressing up nice and participating in the traditional White Elephant gift exchange, for what we all knew would possibly be our final year. It was a special time, as I had the chance to talk with many people I hadn’t seen in a while, and realized just how many mutual friends Sarah and I have from so many different churches and home school groups over the years.
4. New Year’s Eve Party. This year, being the first year my friends and I had what we call the “1 Cor 16 House” we threw a last minute New Year’s Eve Party and invited many of our friends from church. What a memorable time it turned into, as our church’s worship Pastor and his wife came and before long, an impromptu worship jam session began in our living room. I even was asked to bring my guitar down from my room and join in! Then my close friend Sarah brought Meg, a mutual pen pal friend we met over twitter, who was visiting from Florida and we talked for quite a while! As midnight was about to strike, all twenty-four people who were at the party grabbed a glass of sparkling grape juice and counted down the seconds into 2014! What a unique blend of people and a blessed evening it was!
3. Jason Giambi’s stunning pitch hit game winning walk off homer, September 24th. Over my lifetime of being an Indians fan, I have always looked back on every season, be it a good season or a bad season and pick out one game that I wish I would have been in attendance to see in person. This year, I was at this game along with about 12 other people, including my parents and best friend Brams, who had decided a mere two days prior to this game to come along and cheer on the Tribe in their pennant race. As the Tribe’s closer blew the lead in the top of the ninth, the crowd moaned feeling a heart breaking loss about to transpire. That is when Jason Giambi pitch hit with a man on and two outs of the bottom of the ninth and hit the most dramatic pinch-hit walk off homer in Indians history. I wrote a whole blog entry on this, so I won’t go into more detail here, but let’s just say I still get chills thinking about it!
2. Passion 2013, January 1-4. There is simply nothing quite like attending a conference led by Louie Giglio and featuring speakers like Francis Chan, John Piper and Beth Moore, and worship musicians like Matt Redman, David Crowder, and Chris Tomlin. What makes it more amazing is that you pile into church rented vans, drive thirteen hours down to Atlanta, get checked into your hotel room, go to conferences all day, come back to your hotel, crash and then wake up and do it all over again the next day. Then as the conference closes out you pile back into the vans and drive all the way back to Cleveland. This past year, I had the chance to get to know a few friends much better on the trip, and share a van ride with my best friend. A group of us would also get breakfast together each morning and walk to the convention center when the conference was being held thereafter. It actually felt a little weird not doing this year as New Year’s Eve closed out, but as you know already, we had the party and that was awesome in a different way!
1. Virginia Road trip, Memorial Day weekend, May 25-27. Since College I had dreamed of taking a road trip with some close friends. This past memorial day weekend, that dream came to fruition when two of my oldest and closest friends, (Ben and Sarah) and few more good friends piled into two different vehicles and caravanned down to Virginia for a friends wedding. It was all just as awesome as you would expect, as we sang along with the car stereo at the top of our lungs, picnicked in random cemeteries, and talked for hours on end. In fact, the conversations were probably my favorite part of the whole thing. A trip I will never forget!
As you can see, events and experiences are a big part of my life. God blessed me with some amazing times in 2013, and I look forward to what He is going to do now in 2014! Looking back on some of these experiences I simply realize how amazing they were! How many people can say they wrung in a new year alongside a pen pal from another state? How often does one witness a walk off homer in such a clutch spot on the middle of a pennant race surrounded by over ten friends and family members? What is the likelihood of me ever being able to take road trip with two of my oldest and closest pals again?
Highly unlikely, and that is why moments like these I have just shared need to be remembered and cherished forever. Hope you enjoyed going on this journey with me.