self-portrait

2017, What A Year.

In the moments that present themselves daily, in the routines that sometimes become hum-drum points in my day I always want to remain thankful. I am living the life I always wanted to live. I guess I have been so busy planning and going that I forgot to stop and take inventory of all that has actually happened. I forgot to rejoice and give thanks to God for it all. But now that I am doing just that I remain in awe.  Yes, I have a lot of work before me but all this is still everything I asked for.

Morgan Harper-Nichols reminded me to never take the year for granted. In her own words she reminded me that this time last year I would not know how I would get to this point in time but by grace I would definitely make it here. And look, here I am! These last 365 days have been doosies but I can't believe that I sit here now before this computer writing about the testimony that was 2017. 

  • I moved into an apartment with my twin brother. 

  • We bought our own Christmas tree.

  • I found my calling and have ventured towards it everyday since.

  • I left my job to pursue more of that said calling (Boy, I've always wondered what it would be like to say that and honestly mean it). 

  • I started my own business. 

  • I cut my hair. Not just a trim but like, "New hair, who dis?".

  • A few family members and friends made their way home.

  • Those losses still hurt but they taught me to love more. 

  • After months of blank walls I finally put up real art in my room (Hey Ms. Lauryn Hill. Thank you Just and Wesley). 

  • I tried online dating.

  • Learned to trust and lean on God more. 

  • Cooked dinner for my friends in my apartment. 

  • Turned 26! 

  • Drove without any fear for the first time since my accident.

While there a lot of things I have still yet to do I can't beleive all that I have done and how far God has brought me. And to think, I almost let all that joy and celebration slip away because for a good part of this year I let myself cower to the fear of not being good or worthy enough. I almost let a lie tell me that everything I did was insignificant. 

But yet, here I am! Oh my days, here I am! To say that I am so blessed would be putting it lightly. 2017, you have been the best year yet and still, the best is yet to come. It is for that I remain grateful for this here and now but expectant for all that is to come. 

Like I said on New Year's Eve 2016 and will say again for the upcoming 2018 year: I could not imagine having gotten through this year without the help of God and I can't imagine being able to look forward to this next one without the hope of Christ. 

So, from me to you, Happy New Year! And even when it get to August, September, October, etc, Happy Year to you still.

From Portland, Oregon to Sydney, Australia

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This time last year I was a 21-year-old girl with two suitcases to her name and a head full of dreams. Today I’m still that same girl, only I’m 22, those suitcases are now unpacked with the belongings settled in my closet, and that head of mine now has bigger dreams.

These last 12 months have been such a whirlwind of emotions, thoughts, and actions. I’m finding it quite difficult to actually sum up everything I’ve been through to present to you guys in a cute little package. However, as I write this, the song Oceans by Hillsong comes to mind.

For all the countless times this song has been played and the  of hundreds of  others that it has been quoted on one blog or another, I am sure that with each one this song has held a different meaning.

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"Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

I will call upon Your Name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine”

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My year has been nothing like I planned or hoped but with that said, it has actually been far better and greater than I imagined. Never would I have imagined myself leading a small campus youth group while en route to becoming a campus minister (Don’t let the title scare you There are no tight white collars and lack of colors around here). I surely would not have seen myself befriending the people I have today - not because of who they are but because of who I was. Lastly, amongst many other unmentioned things, everyday I seem to fall in love with God and His grace a bit more than I think to be possible.

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As easy as it was to list all those things that I have been blessed with, getting them was not. I’ve had my fair share of troubles and doubts, times where all I wanted to do was run back home, travel back in time and pretend that my problems were not my own. However, I couldn’t and the the realization that I couldn’t was painful and surprisingly tiring.

Australia is not some place where you go and the sun shines ever yday, life is  easy and full. It is not the place where your dreams come true… unless you will it to be. For a good portion of this last year, I relied solely on the fact that I had moved to AUSTRALIA! , and that living here would all of a sudden make my life cool and complete. But like any unstable foundation, that excuse started to crumble. God showed me that even the greenest of grasses can turn brown without Him. The most beautiful places on earth are mere smudges without His guiding hand to help you see.

That is one of the biggest lessons I have learned this year. I think God brought me to this exact place to help me realize that. It took a lot of hard work on my part and unreasonable amounts of patience, grace, love, and understanding on His to get me to this permanent mindset.

So whether this next year brings me back Oregon rain or keeps me under Sydney sun, I know I am going to be okay and even more grateful for any position I am put in.

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Lastly, to all who were with me from the beginning or even yesterday; if you read a blog post or all of them; encouraged me; missed sleep because of the crazy Australia-America time difference just to give me an ear to talk to; dished out advice or a mouthful of prayer; if you are family, friends, or just an acquittance; whatever hand you put in or fingerprint you left upon my life I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. This journey and my life would not be the same without you. The blessings you all have been to me, I pray the same for you 100 fold. I love you guys.