Besides my time as a missionary in Italy I’ve never been very good at keeping a "journal." It’s not that I don’t want to, but I just never seem to find the time to write down my thoughts, feelings, or what I’ve been up to. So at the beginning of the year (early on in my blogging career) I made the goal to blog at least 12 times in 2009. Once a month didn’t seem too outrageously hard or overwhelming. And so here we are December 31, 2009, and I’m writing my 12th entry. Mission accomplished!!!
Christmas in the Zentgraf House was again enjoyable. It was kind of surreal to think that perhaps this may be the last time that we are all together as a family for Christmas. Whitney will enter pharmacy school next fall, and I intend to enroll in a master’s program (preferably outside of Richmond, Virginia). While things may be changing, one thing was exactly the same as last year. Last Christmas almost our entire family was sick, except for me. Being the only healthy individual in the house I felt it was my responsibility to see that we had a good Christmas Eve dinner. This year nobody was sick, but, through an unexpected turn of events, I won a 30-pound turkey, which became the main course of our family dinner. You may be asking yourself how I managed this feat. In short, me and a couple of friends were having "guys night out" at a restaurant famous for, among other things, their wings. It just happened to be turkey-bowling night at the restaurant, and the hostesses convinced my friends and I to participate. The 3 of us were joined by 4 other "bowlers" who would throw a small 10-pound turkey wrapped in duct tape at 10 pins located on the other side of the restaurant. We were set to "bowl" 4 frames, and after the 3rd frame I was inexplicably near 1st place. In between our "rolls" we made sure to chat up our hostesses so as to get on their good side. On my final roll I got a strike, my victory appeared immanent. But a lucky spare by the last competitor gave him a one pin edge over me. As he came over to our table (which was were the hostesses were sitting and compiling the scores) he asked, "Did I win?" I already knew that he had, and my head was bowed in defeat. But then I heard one of the hostesses say, "Awww I’m sorry you were so close, but you didn’t win." My head jolted up just in time to see her slide the score sheet under a stack of otherwise unimportant papers, where it would never be seen again. The would-be-winner returned to his table somewhere on the other side of the restaurant, and the hostesses turned to me, winked, and said, "Congratulations! You won!" I suppose it was a combination of my good looks, charm, and their inability to perform simple addition that ultimately led to my victory, and leaving the restaurant with my 1st place prize of a 30-pound turkey in my arms.
Christmas day was great! Santa had brought each of us everything a kid could want. This year I realized that I’m becoming more of an adult because I liked seeing people open the presents I got them more than opening my own presents…Well maybe that’s not entirely true! I still really like opening my own presents, but it was genuinely enjoyable to watch my sisters and parents open the gifts that I had gotten them. Krystal got a board game that we could play as a family, Whitney got a CD and T-shirt from one of her favorite singers Lupe Fiasco, and since Emily is so into trying to scare people and play practical jokes on them I got her a remote control tarantula. See the video for her reaction. Us kids pulled our resources together and got our parents some really awesome presents. We got Dad an authentic game-ready USC football helmet. He was so surprised, and he loved it. We got Mom a poster-sized picture frame that had 40 slots for pictures. We filled in each slot with different pictures of each of us kids from when we were little. It turned out to be a lot of work and very time consuming, but in the end it was well worth our efforts.
So as 2009 comes to a close I can’t help but think that this year was a pretty good one for me. I did a lot. Some highs and some lows. Some excitement and stress, and a little day to day monotony. I lived, loved, and lost. At times I worked hard, and other times I hardly worked. In all I feel I that this past year has been worthwhile. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from keeping this blog it’s this: our lives, even the seemingly mundane happenings of day to day life, can be interesting and sometimes thrilling if we are able to recognize the tiny miracles that happen to us each day, and share the stories of these miracles with those around us. With that final thought I wish everyone a fantastic New Year, and encourage everyone to see their lives for what they really are: rewarding, interesting, and worthwhile.