Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

It is currently 8:30 local time.  Moria is in the kitchen making olliebollen.  Isaac is eating shrimp.  In half an hour, we will ring in the new year.  It's midnight somewhere, right?  (Actually, based on the time zone map I looked at earlier today, almost nobody lives in the time zone in which it would be midnight when it is 9pm local time) That's one thing I really love about my family, we do what works for us.  Our plans for tomorrow involve leaving the house at 7:30am...staying up until midnight and then getting up to do chores and leave early in the morning for a full day of activity just doesn't work for us, so we moved the new year forward 3 hours.  By the same token, we couldn't all be together for Thanksgiving because of school schedules, work schedules and the like.  So, Thanksgiving will be on Sunday. Complete with turkey, sweet potatoes, stuffing, pumpkin pie and lots more, including company. It doesn't matter that no one else in the world will be celebrating with us, we will be celebrating, and we have so much to be thankful for.  G-d has been so good to us this year, He's been so good to ME this year.  I have been blessed with wonderful family and friends and joy.  Earlier this year I wrote a note about what I was thankful for and posted it on facebook.  It really sums up the important things in my life.  Here's an excerpt from it (along with some modifications):

"I'm thankful for my health. Some days it slows me down a little, some days I hurt more than I would like, but all in all I've been blessed with an incredible gift of health. More than once in my life doctor's have told me that the prognosis isn't good. So far they've been wrong everytime. I go into hospital again in a few days.  It doesn't matter what the doctors say, Somebody has got bigger plans for me. Even though there are somethings that I can no longer do (such as climbing trees and driving) there are still so many things that I can do. I can still ride my bike (even if I can't go as far or as fast). I can still have fun with my friends. I can still live independently (although I love living in community). I can still walk to church on Sunday mornings (In Pella). I can still sign during worship. I can still go to school. The list could go on and on, but you get the idea.

I'm also thankful for my mind. With the number of hits I've taken to the head, logic says my brain should be a pile of mush and I should be a drooling idiot. On the contrary, my mind is still healthy and relatively functional most days. Aside from a little more trouble with memory than before and a super short attention span (oh look...shiny squirrel!) on most days, I'm still in control of my mind and I am so thankful for that. I can even still learn stuff, with practice (and with practice I can even learn people's just takes a lot of practice). We even know from looking at my latest MRI that I have a very thick skull.  G-d was definetly thinking ahead on that one!

I'm thankful for my family. We are far from perfect and sometimes don't get along as well as we would like, but we are still family and they are always there for me when it really matters most. I have been blessed with a large biological family, but just as important is the non-biological family I've been abundantly blessed with-my church family. Like any family we have disagreements and don't see eye to eye on everything, but we are still family, we still support each other, and we journey together with G-d as our Father. Family is sometimes a challenge, especially when there are two of us coming home from two different colleges.  Figuring out where we fit can be tough, but no matter what, we are still family.

Friends. I have been blessed with an incredible group of friends. I thought about listing all their names here, but I decided not to. If I did, I'd probably accidently forget someone and it would be a really really long list. I've got friends that I can count on to be there for me when I need to talk, either in person or online. Friends who will hold me when I need to cry, whether or not I have a good reason. Friends who will come sit with me by the pond when its freezing cold out because I 'm not ready to come inside yet. Friends who give me rides to places when I can't ride my bicycle there. Friends who invite me home for Thanksgiving, even though I turn them down. Friends who will wait patiently for me to find the words I need to express what I'm feeling. Friends who will hold my head while I have a seizure and roll me over so I don't choke on my vomit. Friends who remind me over and over again that G-d's bigger and G-d's got it under control. Friends who will tell me when I've done something stupid and hurt them. Friends who will give me a second, and third, and fourth chance. I've got great friends and I am so thankful for all of them. My friends are what keep me going.  I call them my Exodus 17:12 friends.  They hold me when I am weak.  I had the opportunity this afternoon to pray with a very special friend even though we were more than 1000 km (700 miles) apart and it was amazing.  I love my friends.

I'm thankful for hugs. I was walking to class one afternoon and met a friend who had graduated and moved onto a a new school. We stopped to talk and then he went on his way. I stopped him and asked him what he was doing, leaving without giving me a hug. He told me that at his new school, they don't hug. They don't even make eye contact when they pass each other on the side walk. That made me sad, but also grateful for the place where I am, where I can get many hugs everyday...whether I'm walking to class, sitting in the dining hall, or anywhere on campus. After all it takes 4 hugs a day just to survive, 8 to maintain and 12 to really grow. Hugs are one of the things I miss most about school when I'm at home...Central friends, watch out when I get back...I will be very hug deficient!

I'm thankful for stars. Here in Pella I don't get to see many stars and I miss them. I remember this last summer, when we had the bottle baby and we went out every night at about 10pm to feed him. It was August and the sky was clear and full of stars, so many stars. I tried taking pictures of them to bring back to school, but it didn't work out so well. Stars remind me of faith. Even though I can't see them, I know they are still there, somewhere.

I'm also thankful for my freedom. I can be who I want to be without being in danger. I can worship G-d in public and openly with other people without fear for my life. I can choose my friends. I can write this note without any fear. I can choose where I go to school. And someday, I'll be able to choose who I marry and where I live.  I can even choose to go to school where I will learn more about G-d and I can tell people that that is my plan and not be afraid.  "

I'm also thankful for butterflies.  We have a couple that hang in our bathroom.  One of my aunts made them and I absolutely love them.  Butterflies make me smile.  So here is a butterfly for all of you as we ring in the new year.  Happy New Year!

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