A little more than a year ago, I read a book by Lu Ann Cahn titled "I Dare Me." She wrote how at age 53 she felt she should have been enjoying and appreciating life more than she was. So, she decided to do something every day of the next year that she had never done before (or had not done in 15 years). She called it a year of "firsts."
This book struck a nerve with me. So, I challenged myself to do a year of "firsts." I am a follower of Jesus Christ and He promises abundant life. The year of "firsts" was a way for me to intentionally go after the abundant life a bit more and to help those around me to see that following Jesus is an abundant life. It sure helped me and I hope helped a few others along the way to see that following Jesus is an abundant life. I chose to write a blog about what I did each day as a way of holding myself accountable. That's a nice way of saying "making myself do it."
It was fun, challenging, and a bit of work at times. There were more days that I would like to admit that at 8:00 at night I was asking Laura, "What can I do for a "first" today?" There were also some things that I planned and am so glad I did. I kept my promise to not do anything that required me to sign a document with the words "in the event of death" on it.
This year I climbed trees, walked to town (7 miles), ate a cricket, watched Joel kill his first deer, did several generous things that I've never done before, learned to hula hoop, did a somersault, gave a stranger a flower, went to the Shakespeare festival, took a Qigong class, worked in the nursery in VBS, took Hannah Grace for her first pedicure, and celebrated Passover with my family to name a few "firsts". Most of these are things I would not have done if it had not been for my year of "firsts."
Some of these I really enjoyed and am so glad I did. There are a few like eating crickets that I might not do again but am glad I did it once. This year did bring a lot of variety to my life. Hopefully, it helped my family see that following Jesus is an abundant life. They were super supporters and got involved with several. We had a fun evening writing Scriptures on pieces of paper and then driving around and putting them on people's cars. Laura was super encouraging and helpful thinking up "firsts" to do.
Some people have asked me if I am going to continue doing a "first" everyday and blogging about it. I am not. It was quite the challenge to do this for a year and I am not going to try it again this year. That is an easy decision right there. I'm glad I did it this year; not interested in doing it another year. I may do an occasional "first" and blog about it, but not every day.
Balance beam move
A Montgomery Biscuits outing
Setting up a table full of dominoes and knocking them down
An old friend helped make it a special year
Fun, fun, fun day
Hannah Grace even got in on shooting
It got a big scary at times
The old ice bucket challenge was a bit cold
Happy, happy, happy
Some "firsts" got a little high
It got a bit tacky
At times, some didn't think a particular "first" was a good idea
It got a little piraty
It got a little high
Spreading God's word to unsuspecting people
It got me in the kitchen a time or two
I did not plan to tie my "first" to some spiritual truth every day. That just kind of happened. It just felt natural to try to tie the "first" to something about Jesus since the idea was to experience abundant life with Jesus. We often say in church "It's all about Him" when it is often about us and how we feel, think, etc. This helped me to try to make the year of "firsts" about Him. It was also fun to try to see how the different "firsts" could be tied to something about Jesus. That was challenging on some days (eating crickets), but mostly fun. I am more aware of how just about anything in life can be related to God. He created it all after all. If this has been helpful or encouraging at all to anyone else, I am grateful. Thank you for the kind words and comments throughout the year.
I also learned that I still need to be more intentional. I had far more of what I would call small "firsts" than more exciting "firsts." That was disappointing. Believe it or not, I have a number of things I wanted to do that I never did. There are not that many open Saturdays to do big things like canoeing down a river or going parasailing. Also, parasailing is more expensive than I realized. Hopefully, I have learned to be much more intentional with the days God gives me on this earth.
It was fun to see how fairly ordinary days could be more exciting. Simply thinking about how I could bless someone or trying to praise God for everything that happened in a day was helpful. Jumping out of the car and rolling down an embankment can liven up a trip. I plan to look for more opportunities to spice up the vanilla days.
I'm very grateful for God enabling and allowing me to live a year of "firsts." I'm grateful for what I've learned and experienced. The Bible says in 1 Timothy 1:17, "Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen."
Grateful for a year of "firsts,"
3 things I thank God for today
1. A year of "firsts"
2. The support of my family in my year of "firsts"
3. The support of my friends in my year of "firsts"