Last year I summed up my year with things I was grateful for in the past year. I decided to do that again this year. There are a lot of things I’m grateful for. First and foremost, God and how He has always stuck with me – through the hills and valleys, even when I was running away. My year began wrought with turmoil and many annoyances, but I feel like I grew a lot as a person thanks to those trials and God carried me through. However, there were many extraordinary opportunities placed in my life that I am grateful for.
- Family. I am grateful for a family that is super supportive and close. Apparently, not everyone’s families climb in trees for pictures with them. I’ve always grown up in a family where we did ridiculously silly things, explored the woods, and had many game nights. Also, I love having an extraordinarily large amount of grandparents, aunts, uncles, great aunts, great uncles, and cousins. My family is pretty special (perks of having young parents:)).
- Church family. There was a time in my life when I could not have imagined going to church. I grew up in the church but did not go for several years. When I moved to Milwaukee, I worked with mainly people who were older than my mother. I found a church with a young adults group so I could meet people and ended up loving the church. I have so many awesome friends there that I could go on and on about. My pastors also happen to be amazing, Godly men who inspire me to be better. However, the lady in this last circle, Mandy, is my very favorite. Her daughter is in the first circle and I could not imagine life without their whole family! Mandy has taught me to be gracious, kind, and loving. She has taught me about life, hospitality, family, and marriage. Her daughter has been my biggest fan and an absolute joy (I also happen to be one of her biggest fans!)! I look forward to the years ahead with this awesome family and my church family.
- Friends. There are so many amazing friends in my life and I love them all! I could go on and on about each one of them for days. However, these 3 ladies have brought something special into my life. Robin is my fighter friend. Everyone would describe her as the goofy one but I see her as the one who fights beside me. Anytime I tell her about a cause I’m fighting for, she jumps onboard in a way only Robin can! Leah is my intellectual friend. She and I could talk for hours about philosophy, academics, and travel. Lately, we’ve been taking each other to experience different cultures in our city, which has been a blast! Lindsey is the youngest of the group and the best way to describe her is the dreamer. When we’re together, we bring our love of inspiring others, dancing, and writing together. She has so many dreams and inspires me to dream even more. All of us together, encourage each other to serve God more and discover the best part of ourselves. We are also always bringing a lot more people because we love meeting new people!
- Travel. This year I had the amazing opportunity to go to two countries! First, I got to go to Canada with some awesome friends from church and that was an amazing opportunity! Next, I got to go with an awesome group of people from church on a mission trip to Panama. In between all of these trips, I was able to meet and hang out with friends in Northern Wisconsin. I was also able to go to St. Louis, Chicago, Kentucky, and more. In my younger years, I could not have ever imagined having the opportunity to leave the country and now I am blessed to say I’ve been to three!
- Tirzah. This has been one of the biggest blessings of my life. I cannot even believe I have the opportunity to be associate editor of a magazine! Especially with such an amazing woman as Yelena being editor! I never believed there was someone who I would have so much in common with until I met her. Tirzah is the magazine where I truly discovered how much I loved writing and that I wasn’t half bad at it. Where I met other young women around the world who were doing amazing things such as completing the World Race, filming documentaries on sex slaves rescued from Isis, writing books, and being a lawyer. Most importantly, I learned about God and the Bible. In order to be associate editor, I had to really be in tune with what the Bible said. Every article had to be Scripturally backed and include Scriptures. There have been many nights where I’ve flipped through the Bible looking for the perfect verse. Yelena has been such an integral part of me learning to study the Bible for myself!
- Work. I am grateful to be able to do what I love and get paid for it. When I started graduate school, I knew I wanted to work with pregnant women. I also knew that most of the jobs counseling pregnant women were volunteer. However, I am grateful to have a job that I got right out of graduate school working with pregnant women and helping them be the best moms they can be. I know a lot of people say that they would love my job because you get to hold babies all the time. My favorite part is actually all the time I get to spend investing in the lives of some really awesome women!