So 2010 is over. I know that people usually say things like: “Where has the year gone?” and “That went by so fast can-you-believe-it?” But for me, 2010 felt to be about 365 days long. It was a great year. I learned so much, had so many crazy, wonderful, and new experiences, and made some great memories. Sure, it wasn’t all easy. But that’s half the beauty of it. God taught me so much about His love and faithfulness, especially in the tough times, that I wouldn’t change a thing even if I could.
I was looking through some pictures from this year and reminiscing. I wrote about a lot of these in past posts, but I thought I’d share them anyway –to remind myself if nothing else. Many of these stories and pictures are random but they bring back warm memories.
I went to a Giants-Dodgers game at Dodgers Stadium, where I watched Tim Lincecum pitch, and the Giants win. I was the only San Francisco fan in my group. It was a great day.
I discovered my favorite coffee place in town.
I spent Easter in Orange County.
Rode at the Alisal.
Spent a week camping at Lake Almanor with my Portuguese family –and all the food, laughter, crawdad-catching, embarrassing stories, arguments, and general loudness that that entails.
I got to watch my brother’s first football game.
I rodeoed, roadtripped, and tailgated with these three.
I listened to Miranda Lambert sing at the Ventura County Fair.
I discovered that snow cones can be REALLY REALLY good, at least when made by Hector of Hector’s Snow Cones.
I spent nights roaming Santa Monica.
Hung out with some weirdos from Venice Beach.
Spent time with amazing sisters in Christ.
Got lost in San Francisco.
Spent my summer working at a local ranch where I helped take care of the extensive gardens, which involved a lot of planting, weeding, and harvesting (including blackberries). It was a very physical and demanding job, but I learned a lot, got to spend lots of time with my sister (who also worked at the ranch, taking care of the horses), and made some great friends and tan lines.
I watched a lot of baseball.
Went on a roadtrip with my sister and best friend, Michaela! Our first with just the two of us…though it definitely won’t be the last.
Enjoyed my mama’s good home cooking (especially after two semesters of cafeteria food).
Said good-bye to this boy in March. Prayed for him constantly. Saw him again in December, safe and sound. Thank you, Lord, for keeping Daniel safe in Afghanistan!
On August 28th, I flew halfway across the world.
I spent a lot of time on buses…
…and in caves…
…and not sleeping…
…and with wonderful friends.
I saw Jerusalem.
As the baby of our IBEX group, I celebrated my 19th birthday while in Israel.
I conquered my fear of cats (sort of…).
I hiked to the top of Masada and saw a glorious sunrise. Then I spent the morning exploring a hauntingly beautiful fortress, inhabited, it seemed to me, by the ghosts of those 960.
I bought bright yellow shorts in Tiberias.
I hiked. A LOT.
Perfected the thizz face.
And, like a true country kid, climbed to the top of Solomon’s Pillars in Timnah Park…barefoot.
I snorkeled in the Red Sea (sort of…).
I slept by the Mediterranean. This sounds glamorous; unfortunately, it was absolutely pouring rain and I was eaten alive by unknown bugs. About three in the morning I couldn’t take it anymore, and dragged my soaked sleeping bag to an abandoned snack shack on the campsite, where I found an empty room, and curled up on the floor with my backpack for a pillow. The next day I woke up with a huge bump on my head, apparently from a bug bite, and strange memories of seeing a creepy man poke his head into the snack shack where I was. At that point though, considering the mood I was in, I think he was wise not to mess with me.
I played in the mud at the Dead Sea. Yup, you really do float!
I spent a whole night in Jerusalem. This involved a LOT of coffee, free cake lifted from the ground outside of a bar, and a couple of hours sleeping like a bum in the middle of Zion Square, but it sure helped me learn the ins and outs of this city.
I saw Egypt, and waved at the border guard (he waved back!).
From all the way across the globe, I got to follow and cheer the San Francisco Giants –my favorite team since childhood– as they won the 2010 World Series!
I dove off some chalk cliffs in the desert.
I explored the cave where the Dead Sea Scrolls were first discovered! And nearly died trying to climb down.
I spent one week in, and fell in love with, the city of Istanbul –which is rich in culture, architecture, history, art, and pigeons.
I tried some new things, such as this St. Peter’s fish. Good looker, no?
This gets filed under “Experiences To Be Remembered (And Not Repeated).”
I had the chance to tramp all over and photograph two incredible countries and cultures.
I walked where Jesus walked.
Thank you so much for faithfully reading this cyberspace notebook of mine! So many of you have written incredibly encouraging notes and emails, and I want to thank you for that. I truly hope that you are blessed by what you read here –that’s my main goal and it’s what makes posting these thoughts and pictures so rewarding for me. I hope you had a wonderful 2010, and that 2011 will be more amazing. Because in Christ, I truly believe that life just keeps getting better, and the best is yet to come. ♥