Thursday, January 2, 2014


Wow.  What a year.  It’s hard to believe that it is already 2014.  It sounds super cliché, but it really did fly by for me, especially the last half of the year.  The beginning seemed to take longer, but it was also a more frustrating time of life.  I am just sitting here, starting this post on the 1st of January 2014 and reflecting over what God has done in the last year of my life.  With the things He has taught me and the blessings He has bestowed on me, I can say that last year was a very, VERY good year for me. 

As I think back over the months of January-April of last year, the word “frustrating” and “discouraging” come to mind.  Now, I realize that that sounds pretty dramatic, and it is.  But I am just going to be honest with you all.  They were hard months for me.  I feel a bit like a pansy admitting it though because nothing seriously bad happened to me.  It was just a rough time of life.  I was not happy in school, and my grades were terrible.  First off, this isn’t normal for me.  School was always something I really enjoyed and it came naturally for me.  I was going with the end goal of a physical therapy degree in mind (which is 7 years of school) and I barely made it through my first year!  Sometimes I really think that God, in all His wisdom, took away my brain power and made me dumb so that my eyes would be ripped from my plans and onto His heart.  And then other times, I realize that I was just probably spoiled in high school and when it comes down to it, I really didn’t learn as much as I thought I had.  Haha.  Either way, school was really hard, and with some other things that happened during that time, I realized just how much my self-worth was placed in what other people think of me and in my abilities.  I thought I had grown in seeing my identity as in Christ alone, but I realized that I had never actually applied what I learned in REACH the first time.  So, that was a very growing and hard time of my life.  On top of this stuff, a bunch of my close friends were gone or, if they were close by in distance, they felt far away in their stage of life and mine.  And so it is at this time that I will give a shout out to my sisters, Kaley, Kloe, Skylar, Malarie, and Jeano for their friendship to me.  I can always count on them, and I really do view them as my sisters.  Love you guys so much.  Thanks for always being there for me and for spoiling the crap out of me.  You love me SO well.  (and you better believe I’m rocking my Beats all over this city :D)

It was also during these months that God started showing me that He had more for me to do than what I was pursuing on my own.  I am truly amazed by His direction in my life.  I started trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my summer (because I knew I had to leave the country again….I was getting claustrophobic in the US…).  The opportunity to go to Costa Rica looked like it was closing, so then I decided that since going to Africa has been a dream of mine since I was like 11, I was going to find a way to do that.  And through His divine leading, I found a way to get there almost as soon as I started looking for one.  It was seriously all Him; He was so clear in His leading.  I think that this is the most that I have experienced the hand of God directing my life.  All the details that fell into place (that I will stop going in to…..don’t worry….) were just incredible and led me back to REACH actually.  When I was sure that I was going to spend 3 weeks in Uganda, the opportunity for me to become a team leader came.  And since my time in school was so crummy, the decision was made easier for me to make.  And once I had agreed to be a leader, I had a great sense of peace. 

So.  January-April= frustrating.  Then, I look back to May and June and I think….I don’t really know what to think, actually.  Relief is one thing I guess.  Yeah.  I think relief is the best way I can describe it.  School ended April 26th (a very memorable day in my life :]), so May just felt very free.  Our family vacation happened, and that was just very good and relaxing.  It was also the first time I actually started to distress from the year.  If I could go back and change some things, I would have been more adventurous on that cruise.  Sorry Sky and Mal.  I’ll try and make up for it in our next adventure.  But yes.  Vacation was good.  Then came getting ready for my sister’s graduation party.  It was at this point in life that I wished I could be a boy for my dad’s sake.  He worked SO hard in getting the yard and house fixed up.  I just remember mulching with him for a lot of hours, and just thinking, “If only I were a guy, Daddio wouldn’t have to do so much of this physical labor stuff.” But it all worked out.  And I realized just how much I prefer working outdoors to working in the kitchen. Sorry, Mom.  It’s just the way I am wired though. 

After Kaley’s graduation came a month of working and preparing to go to Uganda.  That is basically all I did… and get things together to take there.  And then, at the end of June, Kaley and I took a road trip to Virginia where we met up with Leroy and Kristyn, my very great friend from REACH and her uncle, and we ventured to Uganda on my sister’s 18th birthday.  I feel a little bad though, because I think that going to Uganda with her was much more of a gift to me than it was to her.  So thankful for that experience with her though.  Ready for more adventures together, Kaley?  Because they are coming.  WOOHOO. 

July is a blur of phenomenality.  Uganda was everything and more.  It’s a place that has stolen my heart.  I’ve blogged about that though, so you guys know it.  I’m praying that God leads me back there very seriously.  I feel like He has placed that desire in me for a reason, but I also don’t wanna get too caught up in the whole thing and lose sight of actually following His voice.  Trying to be patient with it, but I am VERY amped to see what God has in store for me, especially with that place. 

Anywho.  I got back from there and then pretty much jumped straight in to working a lot of hours at the fair.  I love working fair, and it makes me sad that my stupidity has probably got me permanently removed from it.  Lol As some of you know, I hydroplaned in a work car and totaled it.  Yup.  Totaled a car that was not even my own.  Horrifying feeling.  But also a time that I felt God’s protection so strongly.  No one was hurt, not even me.  I didn’t hit another car, just a guardrail and almost a wall.  But seriously.  He was looking out for me.  And it makes me realize that He obviously has more for me to do here, so he spared me.  I’m so thankful.  Also, my awesome mother went in and worked my shift that night serving because she knew that emotionally I would be a wreck.  That is something that will stick with me for the rest of my life.  Sounds weird, but its true.  If I am ever a mother (which I honestly am not convinced about) I hope that I can be half as sacrificial as my mother has been for me.  And my dad for that matter.  He was the first person I called after my boss, and he just told me it would be alright.  No one was hurt, so things are just temporary and it would all be ok.  And that he loved me, even though at the time I felt like the biggest idiot in the world.  Basically, my parents rock.  Love you guys. 

August came very quickly, and with it, lots of things to be done.  Just trying to see everyone before REACH started again and packing up things……it was a whole lot of preparing.  But it was so worth it.  On August 18th I started Team Leader training, and my life hasn’t been the same since.  As I wrote before, I wouldn’t trade this experience, the lessons learned and friendships made, for anything.  Really.  I may have friends that are in their Junior year of school now, and that’s awesome for them.  I’m happy.  But I know that this is where I am supposed to be right now.  Sometimes the world makes me think that I am behind and losing when I think about the future.  But recently, I have realized that I have gotten to experience things that many only dream of.  So I am “behind” in college right now.  That’s ok!  I may not even go back…..we’ll see.  But one thing is for sure.  The people I have gotten to meet and then know and then become friends with and then learn from have blessed my life immensely.  Ya’ll know who you are!  And the way God has grown me in confidence and self-worth is awesome.  I still have lots more to learn and apply, but He’s working, and that is encouraging. 

Now I am in Spain and experiencing life here.  We rang in the New Year downtown in a plaza with about 2309923847329847 other people.  It was so much fun!  They handed out party bags with red noses, hats, streamers, masks and necklace thingys, and also a can of 12 skinned, and deseeded grapes.  For some reason, it is a tradition in Spain to eat 1 grape each second during the last 12 seconds of the year.  I want to try it next year with actual grapes, not the prepackaged kind.  Actually, we are probably going to try it sometime this week just for fun.  But anyway, it was a lot of fun.  Lots of pop songs and dancing and loudness all around.  And so many people!  For the short ones (*cough* Nicky *cough*) it wasn’t as enjoyable because people kept hitting them in the head as they danced, but I love crowds.  Just really glad we got to experience it together.  And afterward, we came back home and made some oatmeal and watched a movie together.  I just really love my team a whole lot.  And as I look back on this time over these past 4 months with them, I smile.  Cheesy?  Most definitely.  True?  Very. 

Some highlights of the past year.  I’m sure I’ll forget some important things, but that is ok.  Just wanna jot down a few so I can refer back to them at different times. 

-          Passion 2013

-          Friend Bible study

-          Family cruise

-          Concerts: Twentyonepilots, Tenth Avenue North, ANDY MINEO, Walk the Moon, Hillsong, Austin Mahone

-          PLL nights

-          Uganda

-     “Spicy Gringos” ;]

-      Cirque du Soleil

-          The Hope Center

-      The Resistance :]

-          Birthday Balooza surprise

-          Spain

I know I ended the last post saying some things I was going to talk about in the next, but those will come the next post.  Sorry.  That was confusing, but I hadn’t planned on writing this post.  It just came to me, and I wanted to remember all this stuff.  I will leave you all with one more thought though. 

As I look back over the last year, I realize that I am not nor have I become the best at anything in this life.  I’m not the best student, daughter, worker, team leader, friend……nothing.  Well, with the exception being that I AM the best at being the worst at yellow lights.  Lol Nicky reassured me that I do have that title as I was discussing this topic with her.  (I have a tendency to do the opposite of what I should when it comes to yellow lights.  Lots of screeching tires or gunning engines when you drive with me……OOPS.) Anywho.  I am not the best at anything, and I never will be.  There will always be someone better and more talented.  But that doesn’t mean you stop trying.  It doesn’t mean I sit back and just go through life half-hearted.  My dad is someone who has always taught me that if I am going to do something, I better do it well.  Another way I heard it from one of my favorite coaches is “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well”.  And it’s so true!  Just a really great reminder that when the going gets tough, be tougher.  Push through, even if it doesn’t come naturally for you.  Seek growth and improvement in your life.  Be encouraged by the fact that no matter how pathetic your most valiant effort may be, the Creator of the universe is happy with your best attempt.  He sees the depths of your heart and loves you the same.  INCREDIBLE. 

May this year be one of newness, challenges, and growth.  And may you experience Love like you never have before.  Be blessed. 


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