5…4…3…2…1…HAPPY NEW YEAR!! The confetti fills the room and trickles to the floor in a veil of color while voices chant and cheer. Another year gone and we welcome the new with reluctant arms. 2018 wasn’t what I thought. It wasn’t the vision I had planned…it was so much more.
As I celebrated the welcoming of a new year in North Dakota, I sat on a bar stool wondering what this year would look like. Hoping for something new, a sign to ease my worries. I glanced around the bar, taking it all in. Thinking to myself, this can’t be my forever.
It had been over 3 years since I moved to North Dakota and it was becoming more of a struggle each day. A few days passed since the new year celebration, I was in deep thought. Thinking of the decisions I’ve made to be where I am today. Realizing that I have done something wrong. Understanding that I had made a decision based on all the wrong reasons; that’s when it all changed. But that’s a whole other story that you can check out HERE. To give you a little idea we can start here though:
My eyes were closed but my mind was open wide. Thoughts racing faster than I could comprehend. But it didn’t necessarily seem like it was me in my mind. It felt strong, powerful, alert. “Get out” the voice was telling me, with this calmness and safe feeling but yet complete urgency. My eyes blinked open that morning with a new certainty. It was the first Friday of the new year and the sign I had been searching for showed itself in my dreams. The following Monday, my mom had flown to North Dakota to move me home to Arizona. This was my first great adventure of 2018. It was the most important adventure. The adventure that set the tone for the whole year, and it was just the beginning.
2018 has been my year of growth. That was the word I chose when I set my intentions for the year. It was the word that best described where I wanted to be. God had a plan, like He always does…and moving back home to Arizona is where it needed to start. When I chose my word “growth” for 2018, I had no expectations, no boundaries on where or how I would grow. I just had this feeling that this is the season I was walking into. With that being said…here’s some of the ways my life has grown in 2018.
I found closure with many left open chapters in my life. With that I found a peace within myself that can’t be described as anything but pure joy. I learned that you have people in your life for reasons and seasons. You simply need to distinguish them and accept that it is true and meant to be that way.
In February, I celebrated my oldest nephew’s third birthday! We took him to my Aunt’s house to ride horses and chase balloons. His smile and joy always fills my heart, and especially that day. Later that month I celebrated my best friend’s bachelorette in Mexico! Much tequila was consumed and we almost died once, so it was a total success 😉
A couple weeks later my amazing friend Cheyenne was hospitalized and very pregnant. I sat by her side for the days she was there. She ended up needing her gallbladder removed which put her into labor. Being six weeks early, this was concerning. But hours later I found myself FaceTiming her boyfriend, Aaron while he was in Afghanistan so that he could be apart of this magical moment. While FaceTiming I was also video recording (just in case the signal was lost) and also photographing Cheyenne’s C-Section. Still don’t know how I did all of that! It was so magical though, to be apart of such a beautiful moment. Seeing Cheyenne’s face when she got to meet her baby boy for the first time took my breath away. Her strength was admiring and inspiring. It was right then that I saw the meaning of unconditional love.
Did I also mention this year was filled with so much heart-wrenching love it was kinda unbearable at times? Because, yeah it definitely was.
I watched my best friend say ‘I Do’ to the greatest guy. We celebrated my Papa’s 91st birthday! My youngest nephew turned two and my Grandma turned 89! I reconnected with an old flame that turned into the greatest love I’ve ever felt. (If you wanna hear how Anthony and I met, check out our story HERE)
2018 had more adventures than I thought were possible in a single year. As mentioned earlier there was Mexico, then my mom and I went to Poland for a mission trip. My dad met us at the end of the mission so that we could explore Krakow, Poland, Auschwitz, and Prague. I have traveled to Oregon three times this year to see Anthony. I traveled back to North Dakota to photograph some amazing families. Then my dad and I took the best trip to Death Valley, Yosemite, Sequoia, King’s Canyon, and Joshua Tree. To end 2018 I took a trip with my parents to Santa Barbara, California, and Beaumont, California to visit some family. So many adventures and so much growth along the way.
2018 also taught me to grow during sadness. On May 25th, while I was in Poland, my Papa passed away. It was difficult being so far away and not having a proper goodbye. I miss him so much. My family and I have also had many struggles with my brother this year. I won’t be going into the details, but I miss him greatly and my family and I sure do appreciate the prayers. Sometimes we have to go through the greatest heartache and struggle to grow exponentially.
2018 was my year for growth. To grow in confidence with myself, with my relationship with God, in communication, in love. To grow my strengths even further and to grow my understanding in letting go and losing control. This was my year of growth.
Wanna take a look at some of the fun adventures I mentioned…head here -> 2018 Flashback Highlights