Yep. I am thirty today. That seems so….mature.
You thought I was going to say “old,” right? Well, it is.
But I don’t really feel old! When I look back at my life though, I realize that so much has has happened in the last thirty years…and most of it has happened in the last TEN years!
Here are 30 of my most memorable moments of the past 30 years (plus some embarrassing pictures of me).
30. April 26 1984: I was born. According to my mother, I had a very exciting entrance. There was lighting! There was thunder! There were frantic calls to my out-of-town father! Would my mother make it to the hospital in time? Would my father make it to the hospital in time? (are you biting your nails???)
Don’t worry. They both made it. And I was born. The end. Or The Beginning, I should say!
29. When I was 5 years old, I decided that I wanted to be a writer. I’ve been able to add the word “published” in front of “writer” in the last few years. Now I want to add the word “paid” to “published” and “writer” in the next…oh, 30 or so years.
28. When I shared my 5 year old dreams with my grandmother, she told me that it was very difficult to make any money as a writer (um, was she right) so I should be an English teacher instead. Life shaping conversations at 5 years old!
|Yeah, that’s me in the red striped shirt.
Super nerdy homeschool pic
27. I was home schooled from 1st-12th grade. Homeschooling shaped me into the person I am today and has given me the work ethic and can-do attitude that has helped me so much in my life. Thanks Mom!
|Super nerdy homeschool pic take 2: Rockin’ the awkward sweater and jean shorts.|
26. When I was 15, I went on a singing tour (that’s not the important memory, though it was fun!). On this tour we stayed at a host home where I was introduced to the 6 hour BBC mini-series “Pride and Prejudice.” We stayed up until 2am watching and I was enchanted. This was my first introduction to Jane Austen. Oh my…the rest is history.
|Oh, Mr. Darcy. Swoon!|
25. My senior year in high school, my mom and I took a cross-country road trip to visit all the colleges I was interested in. We drove from Kansas to Minnesota, to Ohio, to Virginia, to Missouri, and back to Kansas. This two week trip was so fun and is one of my favorite memories with my mom. Plus, it helped me pick the University that has had such an impact on my life.
|My senior year of high school. See? I grew out of my nerd-dom a bit.
Though, my best friend and I ARE sitting on a dinosaur…
24. The day before my high school graduation, I decided that I was going to go to Liberty University. The reason? They offered me the best scholarship (even though they had the worst food and worst dorms of all the schools I visited).
23. I took a year off before going to college. During this year, I taught a very small literature, poetry, and writing “class” for Jr. High students (including my brother!) in our homeschool co-op. This experience solidified my decision to major in English and pursue teaching.
22. In August 2003, my family embarked on another cross-country trip to take me to Liberty University.
21. A few weeks later, I met this guy with Buddy Holly glasses who was good at soccer and way too arrogant for his own good. We got in a fight during our first conversation in the dining hall. He told me “English is stupid.” I was beyond offended.
20. The guy’s name was Aaron Meng.
|Me and the guy…Freshman year|
19. In October of 2003, Liberty hosted this event called Super Conference, a pastors conference that, for some reason, all LU students were required to go to that year. Aaron and I “somehow” ended up sitting together for the entire 3 day conference. I don’t remember much of the conference but I do remember that this guy was filling my every waking thought (and some of my sleeping ones too)…which was bad because I was dating someone at the time…
18. …but that’s another story (a very long story). Let’s just say that meeting that “arrogant soccer guy” changed my life forever. For the better.
17. At the advice of an upperclassman, I took Dr. Karen Swallow Prior for a 200 level literature course. This professor had a profound influence on my English education and Christian worldview. I think I took 5 classes with her in my undergraduate college career alone.
|At Dr. Prior’s book signing (three kids later)|
16. I became a prayer leader at Liberty in 2004. This volunteer position deepened my faith more than anything else had up to this time. I learned that being a Christian is about loving God and loving others, not my performance or trying to earn God’s favor.
|Sophomore Year at Liberty|
15. Aaron and I got married! May 26, 2006. Oh, happy day!
14. On March 1 2007, I found out that I was pregnant. Not such a happy day. In our minds, it was too soon.
13. On April 16 2007 (Yep….the day of the Virginia Tech shootings), I found out I was having twins. This was the biggest surprise of my life. EVER. I laughed and laughed. Certainly, one of the happiest days of my life. (My emotions during my pregnancy were widely varied).
12. Micah Gabriel and Benjamin Nathaniel were born via c-section on October 9, 2007. I became a mother of twins five months after I graduated from college. What a sanctifying experience it has been.
|Woah. We are parents of twins (23 years old)|
11. In October 2008, I parked my double stroller in Dr. Prior’s office and she told me all about the brand new English MA program at Liberty. I wondered if I could do it. I wondered if I was smart enough, good enough, capable enough. I seriously doubted it but….I wanted to try.
10. I started the MA program in January of 2009. My twins were 15 months old. I was very excited and hopeful. I was also insane.
9. I became a GSA for the MA program in January of 2010. I was so nervous about starting this teaching position that I, literarily, did not sleep for 2 months before starting. I am not joking. I was absolutely terrified of teaching ENGL 101.
8. I learned that I adore teaching, especially college students. And I have had some wonderful students in the last 5 years.
|Graduation Day for my MA degree 2011|
7. In my last semester in grad school, I wrote my masters thesis (hang on…gotta go look up the title…): “The Enduring Austen Heroine: Self-Awareness and Moral Maturity in Jane Austen’s Emma and in Modern Austen Fan-Fiction.” Whew! Writing that darn thesis was the hardest thing I have ever done…and one of my proudest accomplishments, ranking right after breastfeeding my twins for 17 months.
6. In August 2011, our family started going to Grace Church. God has really used this church to show me fresh, new ways of seeing my Christian faith and life.
5. On October 24, 2012, I gave birth to Silas Edward after a grueling 60 hour labor. Oh my. Yeah, this was added to the “hardest/proudest” list.
4. Silas’ birth has helped to transform me as a mother, especially to my older boys. God uses my children to continue to sanctify me.
3. I found out I was pregnant right before Christmas, 2013. Our whole family was wildly happy.
2. We lost the baby in January, 2014. This grief continues to shape my life and faith. God has already given me the opportunity to “mourn with those who mourn” as the co-leader of a grief support group for mothers who have experienced loss.
1. The miscarriage was a devastating storm in my life. But, like after so many tragedies, there is a rainbow after this storm as well. We just found out that God has blessed us with a new life, a new baby. I am 6 weeks pregnant. God willing, our precious little baby will join our family right before Christmas, 2014. Expecting a baby after a miscarriage is a beautiful gift, but it is difficult too. I worry a lot. Please pray for me if you think about it!
|Photo by S. Carter Studios|
Today is my 30th birthday. God has had his hand on my life, my dreams, my family, my life for all these years. He has given me joy and strength in my journey. I will continue to walk forward with Him in expectation of all that is to come in the future!