For those of you who don’t know me, let me tell you something about my life that I think is kind of interesting and a little unusual. I come from a family that, for lack of a better term, could be considered “bookish.” Pretty much, we really like books. A lot. And just languages in general. My mom was a German major; my brother, English; my sister, Spanish; and then my youngest brother is pursuing linguistics right now, having studied Chinese, Italian, Hebrew, and Greek. He made up his own language when he was younger, my siblings write random, nonsense songs, but we really just like to read. Even my dad reads, although it takes him three months to finish a book. We give each other books for birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, or just for fun. There have been countless times my mom has yelled at me for reading, when I should have been doing more productive things with my time. I’ve read everything from Harry Potter to Shakespeare, from Bonhoeffer to Peter Pan, my favorite book since I was a kid. Books and stories have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.

You can probably see where this is going: the cliché saying that everyone’s life is a story, with God as the author, etc., etc. And you’re right; that’s exactly where I’m going. This book is going to be the representative of my story (what I’ve read so far), although my life hasn’t always been this pretty (a speech about junior high definitely wouldn’t be). So, now let me show you what’s been written so far in my book.

For the sake of time (and the purpose of this speech), I’m going to skip over my prologue, for as Shakespeare stated, “What’s past is prologue.” Instead, I’ll start with Chapter 1: Freshman Year. It was exciting to come to high school, but I hate starting new things (good thing I’m going to college, right?). One of my strengths, from the test we were required to take in Freshman English, was the strength of Adaptability, which was evident in my transition to high school. Although I hated drastic change, I quickly learned the way that I would survive the difference: people. I needed a place to fit, so in comes Student Council. It was a good time, emptying all those recycling bins, and creating a trashy North Pole for annual Deck the Halls; while we didn’t do much, it was good to see how the school works from a side that not a lot of people see. And coming from junior high, I didn’t really have any friends, so I sort of hung around with my fellow officers until December. Now, I could do a whole speech just on this one person, but I’m limited for time, so I’ll try to make it brief: Samantha Nokes asked me to go see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey with her. And we’ve been inseparable ever since. Just to show you how much of blessing this friendship is, Sam and I hated each other in middle school (and no, that’s not an exaggeration). It just goes to show that God has a sense of humor; I can’t imagine what high school would have been like without her by my side.

Now that I had a place in this school where I “belonged” and a friend that I could share all my adventures with, I moved on to Chapter 2: Sophomore Year. My family is also a musical family, which really played into the happenings in this chapter. I auditioned for Chamber Choir, the highest choir our school offers, and I made it into the group. As a sophomore, I had beat out juniors and seniors, and I was really shocked. I’m not the best singer, and I won’t sing a solo if you ask me, but being accepted into this group, I found another niche that I could call my own, away from my friends’ other groups. It was another place to belong. Later that year, the Concert Choir went to California on tour. When you’re stuck with people for a week, you either grow to love them, or hate them. I’m happy to say that this tour lead me to make new friendships with upperclassmen and even those in my own grade. Having this acceptance helped me establish myself even more, and I found these adventures were giving me confidence to be myself.

For Chapter 3: Junior Year, we have to go back to the past two years; junior year was a complete switch on me. My brother and cousin had just graduated high school the year before, and in a sense, I was on my own. It’s not that I depended on them a lot, but it was always comforting to see familiar faces in the hallway; this was a time for me to see if I had been hiding in their shadows, or if I could go on without them there. Good news: I survived. But it was good to know that I had become my own person. The other big switch was from Student Council to ASB. I was elected as Service Prefect, which played off of my strength of Empathy. I could place myself into other’s shoes and not only see their point of view, but understand their life. This was great for service, but I had a problem: I was so intimidated. It was this intimidation of this position (as well as some miscommunication) that stopped me from actually doing much with service that year. That’s one thing that I regret of my high school years. The Service Head that year was wonderful at her job, I just didn’t really offer much support; that being said, I was surprised to be re-elected onto ASB the next year (and as Service Head, of all positions).

So that brings us to the last chapter thus far: Senior Year. Everyone says this is the year of lasts: last musical, last concerts, last meetings, last tour, last classes. That classic Dr. Seuss quote, “Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened,” has constantly been in the back of my mind this past year as I face all of these lasts. For my last year on student government, I was resolved to do more than junior year (which wasn’t hard). I helped organize blood drives, food drives, and clothing drives, and Operation: Christmas Child for the high school. It was the last I was going to do any of those things, so I wanted to be a part of it all. And college: that was the big stress. I was deciding between Trinity Christian in Palos Heights, IL and Dordt in Sioux Center, IA. But scholarships, SATs, visits, my strength of Strategic, and lots of prayer helped me decide on Trinity for the upcoming fall. It was a breath of fresh air, and now I’m hoping that I can enjoy the last of my lasts with a little less stress (although not much) and a lot more smiles. My high school career taught me that I could make a place for myself and that I have reasons to be confident in who I am, and I’m prepared to bring that confidence to Illinois and make myself a new place at Trinity.

There are also “boring” parts in the book, but in my life, I wouldn’t consider them boring. My acknowledgements go to the teachers and staff at LC; without their support and confidence in my abilities, I would still be stuck in that awkward stage where I wouldn’t know where to go. I didn’t have any amazing talent, like a flawless voice, Einstein brain, or the fastest legs. But that didn’t matter. They showed me you didn’t have to be the best at something to enjoy it. Which brings me to my final acknowledgement: the history department at Lynden Christian, middle and high school. They probably aren’t expecting that, because I’m not that close with any of them; but they are a big part in why I’ve decided to go on to study history in college. I wasn’t the best at history and I didn’t always get As on every assignment and test, but I’ve always enjoyed history. Another strength of mine is Input, and history was the perfect fuel for my curious brain. I’ve always been fascinated and obsessed with history; studying history in school helped me realize that I don’t need to be the best to be good at something. Without the teaching of these history teachers, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to take that next step of pursuing history in further education.

And my personal favorites of the necessities: the dedication. The dedication can be the most vulnerable and intimate part of the book, showing you a small glimpse into the author’s personal life. And while I’m not the author in this situation, my dedication shows who my story is in honor of: God. Even though he’s writing my story, everything I do is supposed to be for him. I’m not a perfect person, and I’m not a perfect Christian, and I never will claim to be one. To be honest, I’m not very good at living my life for God in light of Jesus’s sacrifice. I get selfish, complacent, and sometimes just downright ignore him. But that doesn’t mean I’m not trying; and as long as I’m trying my best to live for God, people will see this dedication through my life. For without God, I never would have made it this far.

My epilogue, as mentioned earlier, is headed towards Trinity Christian to study history, either for education or public studies for museum work. But that’s all I’ve got so far, and who knows? It might change drastically; it all depends on what God plans to write. I have no control over what his plans are, only to give my input, then step back and see what HIS plot is for the end. My strength of Belief has helped me to gradually learn to step back and let him take control. He’s written a pretty good story so far (if I do say so myself), and I’m not going to be the one to stand in the way and mess up whatever he has planned. Or what he’s already written. God placed me at Lynden Christian to give me the confidence to go on with life and enjoy whatever I do. And having that confidence and joy helps not only in the good times, like high school at LC, but also in preparation for the bad times. And this joy makes life so much more bearable and beautiful. One of my favorite quotes from Peter Pan is when Peter says to Wendy Darling, “Would you like an adventure now, or shall we have our tea first?” I’m not a huge tea fan, so it’s safe to say that I want my adventure now. With the experiences I gained from Lynden Christian, and with the guidance of God as my author, I’m confident that my story will be nothing short of that adventure.