Spring 2014, Max Patch, NC. Photo by dearest adventure pal, Mikaela.

Spring 2014, Max Patch, NC. Photo by dearest adventure pal, Mikaela.

On the last full night of 2014 (two nights ago), I had a dream that I was renting a boat from John Mayer. I was at a pier picking up the boat and, surprised to find myself meeting John, started talking to him about how I admired his (musical) career. We talked about his span across genres and how he's grown more comfortable in his own skin over the years. We talked about simple living—him then making some nod to renting boats and living in an RV. I avoided asking questions about his messy love life.

In the dream, I know I'd come to rent the boat with a friend. We ran into an overwhelmingly large group of random friends and acquaintances, who were renting a yacht from someone else for a birthday event of some sort. (Like my friends actually ever do that?) I remembered there was some confusion about whether I was joining them, but I pointed pack to the dock where the small boat was, letting them know I was spending time with a dear friend, renting a smaller boat for the day. Then John ended up joining us in the boat, because he had a free afternoon and wanted to keep hanging, in a harmless way. 

This dream was probably just a random production of my subconscious, but I'd like to think of it as prophetic in some way—that maybe 2015 will be full of more time in small boats, with dear friends and in the company of unexpected, yet interesting guests. That seems like a nice interpretation for a manifesto, anyway. 

I can do manifestos and bucket lists. However, I've never been much for hard-edged resolutions. So instead of picking a resolution for the last several years, I've picked a word I want to represent the year to come, as a sort of simple accountability and encouragement.

"Arise" was my word for 2014. Two friends joined me in the challenge. Throughout the year, we discussed the significance of our words from one season to the next, celebrated sure signs of each word's fruition, and prayed for discipline to live them well.

I'd gone into 2014 yearning to write more, to be brave with not only the words God's given me, but with the people and circumstances and changes I knew would inevitably come, too. I wanted to stand up often and reach out in new ways, in confidence of God's presence within in me. I chose "arise" as a self-invite, to grow in confidence and discipline and action, to shine for Him in new and foreign realms and to trust him with the outcome. 

"Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee." Genesis 13:17 

My friend Bob recently used the words "pure joy & mischief" to describe me, and I honestly don't know that he would have chose those same words for me a year ago. The idea of arising was in my bones and prayers this past year, and with the intentional mindset to live and write and love bravely, I think I've become more joyful and mischievous—thus more alive than before.

But bigger than a word or a mindset, has been a loving God at work and a faithful community that's been lifting me up, cheering me on and loving me during and despite what the world deems worthy of celebration. I arose in 2014 due to the sturdy shoulders of those around me, willing to help me arise, to give me a bigger and better view, and to balance and hold me steady when I was overwhelmed or discouraged. That is my greatest gift and my biggest praise as the curtain parts for 2015. 

Over the last month,  I've had a few moments of pause where I can't quite believe it's almost 2015 or that I've reached 25. But not in a dreadful way—more expectant. I've never been more sure the best it yet to come. I've never been more myself. And I've never been more open to whatever change I'm meant to enjoy or endure in this next calendar year of life. I'm no longer afraid of being caught off guard by life or making a "wrong turn." Because let's be honest, life will continue to be full of both heavy and joyful surprises and there are no real wrong turns, only character-building ones. God let's us choose what we'll make of every setback and success, and there has been such grace in growing to realize that. I'm bringing everything to him first in 2015. 

My word for 2015 is lo

lo (exclamation): Look, listen, behold, contemplate, visit! An expression of surprise, grief or joy. Often used to draw attention to an interesting, amazing or holy event. 

In Psalm 40:7, you see the words "Lo, I come" as words of attention, admiration and obedience to God. The lo adds enthusiasm and importance to the dedication being made.

I want to approach 2015 with a lo! I want to behold God at work in and around me, to both pause on and express moments of goodness and grief, and to acknowledge fully the surprises he has in store. And I want to share all of what I'm learning with my words—my words being a "lo!" to those who choose to read them. 

I haven't quite found the time to compile my "best of" lists or share all my highlights from 2014 or plans for 2015, but it's been at the affordance of spending time with my family here in Oregon, which I'm alright with. Many of these reflections, to-dos and dreams have already been scribbled down somewhere and are known in my heart, and for that I'm grateful. I hope to share more of them with you soon. Cheers to 2015, and lo, your best is yet to come.