Friday, August 30, 2013

a tribute, to my 22nd year

here I am folks, 22 years, 364 days and 23 hours old. a couple hours from now and I'll be a whole new number. it's kind of like going back to school after the first of the year and having to write 20XX for the first time. bizarre, but quite thrilling. to most it'll probably be about as thrilling as my sister believes it is..."you're 23, it's no big deal" but to me, it's my birthday, okay!? as childish as it is, I love my birthday. I don't generally view myself as an attention-seeker (if I come across that way, immediately get in contact with me so I can change that), but for this one day, I like receiving all the attention. sue me! but this isn't about my coming 23rd year and the celebration that it includes. this about paying tribute to my 22nd year.

my favorite way to walk down memory lane is through pictures.
so, let's take a walk.

I started my birthday with a night out with some girlfriends. it's was silly, stupid and included a nice little photo shoot. it was perfect. shout out to one of my best girls, DMo. this was probably the night that our friendship finally took off, for real. for that I'm incredibly thankful.

I started pre-student teaching during my fall semester. it was the first time I finally got to be apart of a classroom and apart of real students lives and educations.

 I lived up my last year in my club. loved every minute and got to form new relationships. I still didn't get to know as many people as I would have liked, but I loved every minute I did take advantage of.

I held onto my job at the daycare with everything in me. these kids kept me sane through every hard day I had and were a constant source of Gods love.

I started insanity. (which I then almost immediately ended) but, it was the catalyst to my road to getting healthy for real. I started running, watching what I was eating and just generally trying to enjoy every minute of my life with full appreciation.

I saw Justin Bieber in concert. judge me if you must. until recently, I loved him a lot and this was the most exciting thing I had done in a while. also, as a side note, even if you don't like him he puts on a DANG good concert.

 I kept running. YEAH BUDDY.

I had my student teaching semester. 40+ hours every week in a classroom, surrounded by little people and moldable minds. it was the most exhausting, exciting and gratifying 18 weeks. it solidified my love for this profession wholeheartedly.

going off of the last picture...I survived student teaching (and working two jobs) because of friends I had that understood what I was going through. I'm thankful for these three and the impact they had. LOVEYALL.

I spent the year making these two relationships stronger, happier and perfectly perfect. these two right here made my Harding experience what it was. 1MANLYLAS.

I graduated with my BACHELORS degree. going to Harding was my dream. keeping myself there was a very real struggle. I'm BLESSED to have had so many people in my corner, praying and supporting me when at times it felt like it'd never work out. God worked it out and I graduated with one of the best experiences of my life.

I finally went to Universal Studios. with two of my best friends. Florida is still recovering from us.

I spent 6 (surprise) weeks in Honduras with my babies and AlPal. there are at least 10+ posts on this trip if you just scroll down a bit. this trip was unplanned (for the most part) and completely life altering. talk about a blessing.

three more surprise weeks were spent at camp as a co-director. childhood dream come true, literally. and not only that, I got to form stronger relationships with old friends. unbelievably blessed...again.

I moved back home to nanny for a sweet little 3 month old girl. one of the biggest plus sides to this is moving within driving distance again to my best friend. this girl has been right by side for 17+ years and I'm so, so, so thankful to be back with her.

22 has been an incredible year. I have been blessed with the opportunity visit so many places, meet so many new people and find myself along the way. I have grown more as a person in this past year than I even knew was possible and I have learned so much more than any school could teach. 23, I'm ready for you to fill the shoes 22 left you, & then some.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

how do I sum it all up?

this summer.

I spent six life changing weeks in Honduras; 1|2|3|4|5|6|7

then, because God loves to surprise me, I went to camp to serve as a director, counselor, friend and helper in any and all ways I could. 1998 was the first year I ventured off to camp to be an independent little lady. since then, I've been returning every year and re-learning just how independent I am not. I'm not called to be. I'm called to be surrounded by brothers and sisters to live out this life with. and I love that. ask anyone, I just don't like to be alone. I appreciate my alone time, but given the choice, I want to be with people, talking, laughing and being stupid together. so I was blessed with the opportunity to return back to my favorite place. (that may sound contradictory because of just how much I love Honduras, but camp has always been my first, life-changing love.) and being back this summer reminded me exactly why camp has changed my life so steadily throughout the years. I was surrounded by a group of counselors that I got to watch grow up. these counselors were all campers my first year or two of counseling. and as bizarre as it was (I had to have said, "I'm so old!", almost daily), it was so cool to see the way God had moved in these peoples lives to get them to this summer. God is so cool. so back to that 'you're not so independent' remark. after five years on staff, it took this summer for one thing to finally set it. be intentional. be intentional with your friendships; I rekindled/finally formed relationships with people I had wasted, literally years, not getting to know. I can't say how sorry I am for that, but I can say I'm MORE than ready to make up or that lost time. and I made new friends that I'm ready to be friends with for a very long time. be intentional with your prayers; God is supposed to be our best friend. for far too long I prayed kind of like a robot. then I tried to imagine what it would be like if I walked up to Lace or Lauren and started talking like a robot to embarrassing... so I started having feelings (which I'm full of, no problem) and suddenly I was forming a friendship. and really, with everything you're doing, just be intentional; start thinking about everything you're doing and just take a second to feel out if it's worth it. it's amazing how things quickly become unimportant while others become a necessity. if there's one thing I've learned this summer it's this: God is so big and we are so small, and His plans are so much better than our plans.

I have grown more as a person and a believer than I ever thought was possible. I have experienced things this summer that will resonate with me for the rest of my life. I have received love and learned what it means to love without boundaries. I have developed new relationships and turned old relationships into something brand new. My faith has been blown apart and slowly pieced back together into something more magnificent than I knew was possible, with new pieces being added every day.

I feel like the luckiest, happiest, most blessed version of myself, and I'm thankful to every single person that has brought that person out of me this summer. And I'm thankful for my God who never stops surprising me.