Lots of things have happened in 2013. I feel very lucky to have experienced so many wonderful things. Here are seven highlights of 2013.
1. Chaplain of the Upstate NY Synod’s Candidacy Committee
November of 2012 I was invited to join the Upstate NY Synod’s candidacy committee. It was a great honor for me to be a part of this group that met and talked with individuals who were interested in pursuing seminary education. My first few meetings were long, hard but rewarding. We were not only evaluating candidates as they went through the process but we were getting to know them as people, we were creating relationships with them and that was special.
This year I was asked if I had interest in serving as the chaplain of the committee. I thought long and hard about this because I enjoyed being a part of the committee. But in the end, I know that I have a pastoral heart, I love creating meaningful worship experiences for people and I felt that I could serve well in this position. So in December I attended my first candidacy retreat as chaplain and I know I made the right decision.
2. Started a Plant- Based Diet
I have struggled with my weight for most of my life. There have been times when I have been conscious about what I am eating and I have made an effort to get intentional exercise. However, I have never gotten to the point where I have been at an ideal weight.
In March of 2013 I decided to get some blood work done and I went to my doctor to get the results. I heard nothing but bad news. Not only was I much heavier than I should be but my insides were suffering. My doctor told me that she was not sure she could continue to be my doctor unless I did something about this. I was devastated.
I thought and prayed about what I could do, and I knew that I needed outside, professional help. I remember a friend on Facebook who was a trainer and someone who could be compassionate but also kick my butt when needed. So I reached out to her and she welcomed me with open arms. There was one catch — I needed to drastically change my relationship with food and I needed to start a plant-based diet. I was not sure if I could handle that change, but I knew I was running out of options so I agreed.
What has transpired has been amazing. I am feeling better, I have lost weight and within the first 90 days my blood work changed drastically. I am so thankful for this change and I am learning more about what it means to be on a plant-based diet and everyday I take steps to eating cleaner and getting healthier.
3. Attended the Festival of Homiletics
Thinking about my continuing education for 2013 I knew that I wanted to do something life changing. I asked for inspiration and ideas about continuing education from friends and colleagues. The one event that was recommended to me over and over again was the Festival of Homiletics. So I signed up.
During my time there I was inspired, captivated and it totally changed the way I view preaching. I feel I have become a better preacher because of my time there and I am thankful for the opportunity to go.
4. Went on My First Mission Trip
During my time as youth director in various churches I never took my youth on a week long mission trip. So in 2013 along side my youth director and some faithful adults we took our youth group to Mar-Lu-Ridge Lutheran Camp in Maryland on a week long mission trip. We spent our nights at Mar-Lu-Ridge and we served in various agencies in the Maryland/DC area. It was am amazing experience and I am looking forward to many more mission trip experiences!
5. Attended an EQ-HR Workshop
I was invited by the Upstate NY Synod to attend an EQ-HR Workshop. EQ means emotional intelligence, I had NO idea what this meant before going into the workshop. HR means human relations. Putting them together, the workshop was basically geared towards exploring how our emotions impact the relationships we have with people.
Before we attended the workshop we had to have individuals fill out survey questions about us, we had to get people from various stages of our lives. I think that was the most nerve-wracking thing for me. I know that I am not a perfect individual but to have someone fill-out information about me that could have some negativity made me nervous.
6. Completed my first 5K
I have never been a runner. My entire life I have been heavy which makes running difficult. But I was determined to participate in a 5K this year. So for months I trained and I ran in the Run or Dye event in Syracuse. It was an amazing experience and I had a blast. I ran my best time to date, I met my goals for the race and I finished!! It was a major highlight of my year.
7. I Lost a lot of Weight
As I mentioned above I desperately needed to make some lifestyle changes. Because I changed the way I ate and I exercised more I lost a lot of weight. I reached some goals with weight loss but I still have a long way to goal.