20.) When making brownies, the egg is not optional.
19.) I am capable of doing really hard things and surviving anyway.
18.) Emotional discomfort is part of life, and constantly striving to make it go away is futile -- like trying to soak up rain puddles. There is always more rain coming, at some point. Better to learn to play in the puddles.
17.) When sampling a new brew at the Starbucks counter, it's not a good idea to blurt out, "This must be the coffee they serve in Hell." No matter how awful it tastes. Know your audience.
16.) Songwriting is really fun.
15.) Bodies in motion must, at some point, become bodies at rest. There seem to be no loopholes here.
14.) I can run pretty fast when I have to. In a rainstorm. And in heels.
13.) You cannot drive your car through two feet of standing water. (You can drive your car INTO two feet of standing water, but not through it.) RIP, little red Mazda.
12.) Trying to teach a cat to stop peeing on the carpet is like trying to nail Jell-o to a tree.
11.) Bananagrams may be the most addicting game ever. "Hi, my name is Jena, and it has been four days since I last played . . . "
10.) It is completely possible to absolutely LOVE a job that just barely pays your bills. This is why the Human Services fields remain. (Psst. Have you hugged a social worker today?)
9.) You know that overused cliche, "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care?" Turns out it is completely and absolutely true. Go figure.
8.) Sometimes vulnerability is its own reward. When it comes to sharing a personal struggle, it seems that honesty begets honesty. This continues to inspire and amaze me.
7.) I'm starting to think that maybe the greatest human need is to be KNOWN, through and through. ("To be unknown of God is entirely too much privacy." -- Thomas Merton)
6.) When you work in a rehab, it doesn't matter if the client is an 18-year-old anorexic or a 74-year-old alcoholic. They are first and foremost people, and if you listen closely, you will relate to them in ways that will knock your socks off -- whether or not you want admit it.
5.) If you want to know who your true friends are, confess something majorly embarrassing and see how they respond to you. Also, my friends are even cooler than I thought they were.
4.) When your pastor's wife can say to you, "Honey, your church family loves you for more than what you can do for us", you know you have a good thing going. And I do.
3.) When you have a book published, people will automatically assume you know what you are talking about. They will also assume you are rich. They will be wrong.
2.) Wisdom and discernment do not always come easily to me. This is why I am grateful for my counselor, my agent, my pastor, my mentors, and above all, my God. (For some of us it takes a village.)
And, whaddyaknow, the same thing that topped my list in 2009 topped it again in 2010. The number one thing I have learned this year was:
1.) I still have more to learn.