Yes, it’s official. As of 10:21pm on October 12, I am now 24. Yes, it hasn’t happened in California yet. Am I still considered 24?
Wow, 24. Think about that.
In these years, I’ve had 18 years of education, I’ve flown, sailed, walked, and road-tripped around the world. I’ve lived in three countries including 3 Californian cities. I’ve played, acted, laughed, loved, cried, sang, been depressed, had anxiety and danced every year. I’ve made friends, lost some, grown in faith and had “dry-spells”. I’ve sinned, repented, grown as a human and flourished as a young woman.
And all through these stages, I’ve had a family who has supported me, friends who have walked with me, teachers who were patient with me, doctors who have cared for me, a God who has loved me and an independence that has served me well.
So, thank you.
Thank you, friends. As my life has progressed, you have given me strength, encouraged me to find my inner confidence, guided me when I have faltered, and most of all, been there.
You were patient with me when I was angry and joyful when I needed a friendly smile to show me that this world does have good qualities. You held my hand when I was in the hospital, clapped when I was on stage, read my writing, helped me study, stayed up late, shared coffee and great food, let me celebrate with you and changed my life for the better.
I once shared this after a very moving Westmont College chapel.
And boy, is that true.
Drum roll please. Get ready for some “cheese”
Thank you for your prayers, financial contributions, and emotional support. I miss you all.
To TBC and the Bethel family:
Thank you for letting me share my life with you. Thank you for welcoming me, cooking me meals and driving me places. It’s the little things that make all the difference.
To My Fellow Americans in the Philippines:
You’re pretty great. Thank you for celebrating the 4th of July and other American things with me. You bring a little piece of the USA to my life. I appreciate you.
To My Furry Family:
I’m not going to pretend you can read this–you’re animals.
To “My Beauty Queens,” my three “M”s and “Team Rob”:
Thank you for being present during the hardest period of my life thus far.
To Mom, Dad, Ryan, and Spencer:
You are the reason I breathe, laugh and get frustrated when I don’t win a board game. You are all the epitome of what “family” is meant to be. You keep me grounded and have been patient. Thank you.
To My Homegroup and the Harrelsons:
You are my second families. You’re spiritual support means everything.
Thank you for always treating me like an adult.
To Dr. Rosenfeld and my Physical Therapy family:
You have treated me with great care since I was 8-months-old. Thank you for forgiving me when I don’t do my exercises and don’t take my calcium.
To my sweet, beautiful and intelligent Emma Meinke:
Since 1997, we have had adventures, made movies, had baking shenanigans, sung on the playground, gone on road trips, studied Biology, attended graduations, listened to music and braided each other’s hair. (I’m sure that after 19 years of friendship we’ve braided each others hair at least once–I think.) You rock.
To My Students:
Keep being you and only change for the better. Don’t put your light under a bushel and let Jesus Christ be your guide through life. Follow along with my crazy ideas, endure my enthusiasm for Shakespeare, let me ramble about the Bible, be patient and give grace. Correct me when I’m wrong and give me a chance to recognize my mistakes. Let’s ride this crazy train that is called “education” together and– try not to fall asleep during class.
You are the reason I laugh, have fun and love teaching.
Thank you for letting me be a part of your lives.
To All Those I Didn’t Mention:
I haven’t forgotten about you. You’re great.
So, that’s all for now, folks. Thank you for all you have sacrificed for this little-old me. Keep being AmaZing.
I don’t have a picture of you, Ryan and Amanda. I’m sure that doesn’t surprise you. hahaha.