Just the Facts
I'm not going to fake a smile for you - because I have a real one.
This is 21 year old me laughing at something my new friend Bethany had just said - potentially a joke about licking my armpit that was made at some point around the taking of this photograph.
That was one of the best days of my life.
We had no agenda that day, but I spent hours laughing with Bethany, Abbie, and my Kenzie. My hair looked great, and I was wearing my adorable Hot Topic dress and sunglasses, and my two semi-professional photographer friends were snapping pics of all the ridiculous antics Bethany and I came up with.
I was halfway through uni and still planned to take over Mrs. Maki's job teaching English at my old high school. Carefree 21 year old me had no idea that I'd be moving to Germany in just three years from the time this picture was taken. Laughing 21 year old me had no idea that I'd break my back three and a half years after this picture was taken. Joyful 21 year old me had no idea the magnificent blessings that were coming through the next decade.
Don't get me wrong, there's been a couple bumps along the way - like just this Thursday we had the announcement from school that we'd be doing hybrid lessons for the next two weeks before break which is the absolute worst of both worlds when it comes to teaching. That same afternoon, however, a dorm student brought me what might very well be the greatest gift I've ever received - a ceramic cauldron made especially for me. Then last night, miracle of miracles, Maggie was released from quarantine and after spending five days isolated above me, she came down to watch SNL clips and laugh about all the rumors around the world about me because of my epic cauldron.
I MEAN LOOK AT IT IN ALL IT'S EPICNESS.
I'm not having as great of a hair day in this second picture, but that mini-me is looking fantastic freed from quarantine and COVID free.
As far as best days of my life go, Maggie and that cauldron definitely will show up multiple times in the final scoring.
In between SNL clips when the internet went out, Maggie and I had some deep conversations, and we talked about how I don't know what the future holds for me or for her or for any of my students, but I know I want to keep pointing people to Jesus. I know there's a hope and a future if I keep my eyes on Jesus.
A lot of the things I thought were certain in my life at 21 have changed drastically. I'm way more open handed with things at 31. I don't know what continent I'll be living on at 41; I don't know who I'll have posed in pictures next to me; I don't even know what length my hair will be. What I do know that is consistent factually between these two photos is that I'm deeply loved by God and deeply in love with the God who leads me.