A Year in Review: 2016

2016 has been one crazy year. A lot has changed, and I’ve grown a lot. From accomplishments to struggles, high school to college, new jobs, new relationships, and lots of changes. I decided to look back at the insane last twelve months and remember the good, stressful, funny, glorious times and memories.

January

The beginning of a promising year! It started out with my second and last Thespian Conference, where I had fun running around with my friends, doing lots of fun workshops, slipping in a tunnel, complaining over Hamlet, living for the group chat, and enjoying time with my thespian family!

Then, once we got back to school to begin our LAST semester of high school, rehearsals for our spring musical, Into the Woods, started up in full swing! (This is when I started to realize that the part of the Narrator was going to be a lot harder than I thought)

Towards the end of the month, as part of Brenna’s Christmas present, we drove four hours to go see Newsies, one of her favorite Broadway shows at the time! Even though we were in the nosebleed section, the show was incredible! The dancing, plot, actors, everything was phenomenal!

According to Twitter, January was also apparently full of some funny and memorable quotes and things, such as:

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At the end of the month, I attended scholarship weekend at my dream school, John Brown University. That’s when it hit me that there was a possibility that I wouldn’t get to attend the college I really wanted to go to, because I probably wasn’t going to be able to afford it. I was heartbroken and crushed, and had no idea what my future held. I’m so glad I was able to cling to God through all of the uncertainty.

February

This was definitely a stressful but incredible month! It started out with one of my favorite weeks of the year- spirit week! I love getting creative and dressing up in crazy clothes and costumes. My favorite outfit of the week was most certainly when I got to dress up as Minnie Mouse and twirl around in the skirt Lily made for me (future occupation day).

The week ended with homecoming Romecoming! I was honored to be the female STUCO rep for the court, and had a blast dancing the night away with my friends and handsome boyfriend.

Shortly after that, I was so so excited to get to see the Broadway hit WICKED in Springfield!!! I splurged so that I could sit pretty close to the front, and the cast blew me away! It was even better than I imagined it would be! I wanted to sing along but I was so speechless the whole time, all I could do was stare.

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And then, one of the coolest things I got to do all year: my shooting team flew to Ohio to compete in NATIONALS!!! We got to spend the whole week, as First Sgt would say, “Living like rock stars!” While we were extremely nervous for the competition, we had fun eating, playing cards, and hanging out together between shooting! On the first day of competition, I shot a 506, which definitely wasn’t my best, but I was glad I even got that. The second day, I focused a lot more on praying and breathing, and God steadied me and helped me improve by 21 points!!!! My final score was 1,033, and our team finished in 3rd place for the MCJROTC teams! We were so excited and I am still so proud of everyone. I’m very glad I got to experience that one last time with my team.

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And this gem:

At the end of the month, I got to share my testimony with my high school’s FCA, and it happened to fall during National Eating Disorder Awareness week! I was so glad I could share my story with everyone, and I really hope God was able to speak to others through me.

March

Another month of lasts… My last shooting competition (EVER, after four years, excuse me while I cry), last math competition (where HEY, I actually won something), and my last pep assembly with the wonderful class of 2016. We will always be the best.

My wonderful boyfriend promposed to me with a poster he spent so long making (I still swoon thinking about it), Into the Woods rehearsals got more intense, the girls 8 choral ensemble I was a part of got a 1 at districts (which meant we’d get to compete at state), and I visited Missouri Southern State University (MSSU) for the first time!

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April

April was the month that everything started coming really fast and I realized just how soon high school would be over. With a group project in almost every class, the musical quickly approaching, scholarship applications, and college decisions, you could say I was stressed. However, this beautiful thing did come out of it:

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At the beginning of the month, my friends and I had what we call an “Anti Outing” before prom, where we went to the newly opened Escape Code, which was awesome! We got out in 51 minutes, with 9 minutes to spare, and I felt very smart for figuring out the last clue 😉 We also went to the Track and rode go-carts and played lazer tag!

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Then I got to celebrate my senior prom with awesome friends, a pretty dress, and a handsome date! We took lots of pictures, ate really good food, awkwardly laughed at the senior prophecies that we (Kat, Shane, and I) helped write, and danced to crazy music all night! Eventually I got a headache and it was getting late, so a few of us went to Steak and Shake to finish off the night with milkshakes and some more laughs!

Then, it was INTO THE WOODS TIME. The entire cast was stressed beyond belief, and tech week was miserable. Being at the school from 7AM to 11PM is not something I would recommend. However, we pulled off an amazing show and had a blast doing it! The entire process of putting on a musical is stressful, but it’s 100% worth it. Backstage jokes, tons of selfies, shaking our fists at Sondheim, practicing lines over rushed meals, hiding in the curtains and scaring people, etc etc etc. Everyone really becomes a family during the months of preparing for the spring musicals, and I am so blessed and thankful I could be a part of it.

Just a week later was my EIGHTEENTH birthday!!! That means I’m technically no longer a child, even though almost everything I got from my family was Disney related and Shane bought me a coloring book. We (Shane and I) spent the afternoon in Branson, getting Andy’s, going to Target, and doing random things; then my family and Opal and Worth all ate dinner together and ate cookie cake to celebrate!

That very day, while in Branson, I went to the Disney Store to apply! I’ve wanted to work there for such a long time, so as soon as I was only enough, I chased my dreams!

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At the end of the month, my choir went to state competitions! We had a blast the night before, playing cards and practicing our songs with the awesome acoustics of the pool! April and I also might have pranked Kendra a little bit XD We ended up earning a 2, and I am so proud of everyone who competed!

May

May marked the end of the one school I had known my entire life. I knew it was coming, but the fact that it came so fast blew me away.

The month started out with me officially getting the job at Disney Store!!! I was so so excited to get to work at my favorite place in Branson for the entire summer!

Then everything started happening all at once. We had our last choir concert of the year, and for a lot of us, our last choir concert ever. I sang “Unwritten” for my senior solo and almost cried when we ended the show with “For Good”. Even though I was only in choir for one year, I enjoyed it so much and loved being a part of it and loved getting to know so many amazing, talented people. I miss you guys so much.

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On May 6, I finally got to give blood for the first time! Ever since I was old enough, I knew I wanted to donate and save a life, but I was unable to. My eating disorder prevented me from ever being able to donate, and even once I entered recovery my junior year, every drive that passed terrified me because I still wasn’t eating enough, and the snacks at the end. However, this time, my last chance, I got to do it! I passed the “make sure you’re healthy” tests and survived the needle and the snacks! I was so so happy.

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A week later, a few ROTC students were invited to join another class on a trip to Jefferson City! We visited Missouri’s first state penitentiary, ate really good Greek food, went hiking, and visited “castle” ruins!

Throughout the first couple weeks of May, I spent my time at Disney Store in the back, staring at a computer screen for hours at a time, watching videos, reading about the store and the products, and competing modules for training. On the first day that I finally got to work out on the floor, I woke up with no voice. I guess Ursula decided that it would be a good time to steal my voice, so that was a lovely first official day of work.

This was also around the time that I decided to become vegetarian. It’s a decision that I am very glad I made, and the more research I’ve done, the more I’m convinced that I will never eat meat again.

May 18 was not only Shane and my ONE YEAR anniversary, but it was my last day of high school ever. So emotional, so exciting, so “Okay but is this really happening??”

May 20 was probably one of the weirdest days of my life. My entire class gathered together in our caps and gowns (I felt like we were a bunch of little kids playing dress up) and practiced for graduation! Then we walked through the elementary school hallway, and all of the kids were sitting outside their classrooms, holding up signs and posters and cheering for us, giving us high fives and congratulating us. I was such a big ball of emotions, it was so amazing. We opened up our time capsule from 8th grade and laughed at the memories, remembered those we had lost, and freaked out about the fact that we were about to graduate high school. When later that night, we met in the school before lining up to walk, an Kathryn and I ran around the hallways together one last time. Our principal also led one last “I BELIEVE” chant and I had to force back the tears once again.

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Walking at graduation was very surreal. I felt like a celebrity with so many cameras flashing and people cheering, I couldn’t help but smile. Almost cried moment #56 (probably) of the day when I saw the chair some people had put at the front in honor of Troy, a student we had lost just a couple years ago. Kathryn’s speech made me cry (I gave up at that point) and Caitlyn and I couldn’t help but laugh (probably from nerves) almost the entire ceremony. Then I got my diploma, we threw our caps, went outside to take pictures, and just like that- it was done. I was a high school graduate.

My graduation party was stressful to set up for but fun to attend! There was a lot of food (not much for me though, yay for no meat), so many people I had grown up with, and lots of memories and kind words shared! I’m so thankful to everyone who came and helped me celebrate such a big achievement!

My family from Oregon also came down to celebrate my high school graduation! We spent the week eating ice cream, playing lazer tag, and enjoying each others’ company! I was so glad they were able to come and that I got to spend lots of time with them!

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As soon as they were gone, I began my summer full of working two jobs in order to pay for my first semester of college!

June

June was interesting for the very fact that the only thing I did was work two jobs, eat, and sleep.

I continued to fall in love with the Disney Store and even got sad when it was time to leave some days. I got to play with R2D2 and BB8 with kids, wear a Cheshire Cat tail, and listen to Disney music all day, which for someone like me, was a dream come true. Obviously, there were days where I was exhausted, in a bad mood, or just wanted to go home, but overall, I really did love that place. I also love that it’s right next to A&W and sometimes I treated myself to some deliciousness that is called root beer.

I also returned to The Track for another summer! Last year, I worked outside every day at the bumper boats or kiddie rides, which resulted in awful tan-lines that just now are almost gone. However, this year I was trained to work inside and sell tickets! There were some days where I missed working outside (because people are much nicer to the people working the rides rather than the people taking their money), but there were also many perks of working inside on tickets!

I also loved the nights when Shane and I both got off around the same time and went to Taco Bell together. The view on the walk to my car wasn’t bad either.

So yes, like I said, pretty much all I did this month (and the summer overall) was work. Every Tuesday, however, Shane and I were always off so we got to go on a date and hang out every week! It was good to have a guaranteed day together since our schedules were always so crazy. In the month of June, we went to White Water and watched a movie, had a selfie adventure, won thousands of tickets at the Track arcades and saw Finding Dory, and spent some time at the Grand Village and rode the Branson Ferris Wheel!

Something else exciting that happened was that I got to go to Missouri Southern and make my official schedule for the fall semester! Being on campus made me even more excited to move to Joplin in August.

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July

If this tweet doesn’t describe my summer, I don’t know what does:

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July consisted of many days where I went straight from Disney to the Track, meaning that there were many days where I worked 12+ hours and thought I was going to die. However, I did get to have some social interaction outside of work! Shane and I went to the Landing one day after we both got off work and played Pokemon Go for an hour or so, which was definitely a highlight. The simplest things like that make me so happy.

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I also got to help with another X-Stream Day Camp with my church! We’ve been doing these summer camps since I was a kid, and I love being able to be a volunteer! This year, I was given a huge opportunity and responsibility of being the 3rd grade lead! This meant that I was in charge of the entire 3rd grade. I was a little terrified, but by the end of it all, my heart was so full and I enjoyed it so much.

Then my high school choir got together and we spent a day at Silver Dollar City! It was so fun running around and riding rides, eating food, and sharing lots of laugh with my friends! I had to leave early to go to work, but I enjoyed it a lot!

Then just a few days later, I got to go back to SDC with Kathryn! It was still crazy hot but we had a good time hanging out some before she moved! (Tears)

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Later on in the month, my mom took Briar, Brenna, Shane and I to Arkansas to spend the day hiking! The trail had lots of beautiful views, an old house, frogs, and we sweat so much it was like we had jumped in the river with our clothes on. After we changed and ate the picnic we had packed, we did jump in the river, but with swimsuits on. After we got back, I met Mandi and Kathryn at Applebees for one last get-together before we all went our separate ways. We ate, laughed, and internally cried because we’d no longer see each other every day like we have the last 6+ years.

With just a few days left of July to go, my family packed up and drove down to Panama City Beach, Florida for my senior trip! We spent three full glorious days soaking up the sun, and you can read all about those adventures here!

August

August was a crazy month full of whirlwinds of emotions, goodbyes, and changes. I of course spent the first couple weeks working, and although I was exhausted, I was truly sad to be saying goodbye to my summer jobs. If you look past the rough patches (mentally, my summer was really rough, and my depression kind of took over again) and long nights (yay for four hours of sleep multiple days in a row), I actually had a lovely summer. Shane and I carpooled a lot to work in the last couple weeks as well, so enjoy these lovely selfies I forced on him:

After my last shifts at both Disney and the Track, I had a few days to pack up all of my stuff and say goodbye to Forsyth! However, before the stress of packing everything away, I got to meet up with Rachelle in Branson! We spent some time at Tanger (the first time I had been to the Disney Store as a guest all summer), spent some time at Cicis eating and talking, and went to the Track! We did all the things tourists do- Heavy Metal, bumper cars, won hundreds of tickets in the arcade, and even rode the Skycoaster!

Then came the time for goodbyes… Within just a few days, I packed up my bedroom, had my last Tuesday date with Shane (where we utilized our free Track tickets one last time), said goodbye to my family and cat, Rumplestiltskin, and left my hometown to move to a big city (well, big compared to what I’m used to).

Move-in weekend was crazy, and it didn’t feel real. My whole life, I have been looking forward to the day I would finally start college, and before I knew it, there it was! You can read all about move-in day here! There were quite a few festivities in the first weekend, which introduced me to some people and got me comfortable and more familiar with campus! It still didn’t feel real that I was there!!

The first two weeks flew by in a flash, full of new classes, new professors, new people, and getting used to living with roommates and eating in a dining hall! I rode my bike a lot, got ahead on homework like the nerd I am, video-chatted and talked to Shane all I could (yay for the beginning of long distance), and tried my best to settle in!

September

My first full month of college! I was really getting used to my schedule and classes at this point, and I was really enjoying being a college student! I started going to the gym regularly, going to yoga twice a week, exploring campus, and applying for jobs!

My suitemates and I attended Missouri Southern’s first football game at the beginning of the month, and although the game itself was kind of boring, we got to participate in “the running of the freshmen” and we even got free hats!

I went home for the first time on September 11. I had nothing to do that weekend, and it was Briar and Brenna’s birthday weekend, so I figured, why not? I only went for a day, but got to enjoy church, go to the potluck and baptism, make cookies and cupcakes for the twins’ birthday, and just spend time with my family and Shane! It was really nice, I missed everyone a lot.

I started exploring churches in the Joplin area, and the second one I visited I fell in love with. I felt welcomed and comfortable as soon as I walked through the door, the worship was so good, and the message was incredible. I have been going to Northpoint ever since and am glad to call it my new church home! I also discovered a little nature trail that’s on my campus and spent a sunny afternoon exploring the parts of campus I didn’t know existed. It’s really pretty down away from all of the buildings!

Maddy, Megan and I also went to “Third Thursday” at Downtown Joplin, which was like a big street party hosted by the school!

With campus popping, I got to attend multiple events (including a hypnotist, which was the funniest show I have ever been to in my entire life), took my first college exam, and finally got a job after weeks of applying everywhere I could think of. I was hired as a seasonal employee at Kohls, which means I’ll have to find another job next semester, but at least I had something to help me save more money for school!

At the end of the month, I drove home to surprise Shane for his birthday! I totally had him fooled that I was taking a nap before my next class instead of driving, and by the time I got to his house (after my car breaking down of course, love my luck), he thought I was in my last class of the day. I surprised him with flowers and candy, and the look on his face when he saw me made it all worth it. We spent the weekend playing Pokemon Go, celebrating at his birthday party, watching movies, and just hanging out! Oh, and also that trip to urgent care we took on my last day home because of a staph infection, gotta love surprises (:

October

October was definitely a crazy month for the weather, and I’d say it was for me overall as well. However, I actually had a fairly good month! I got to start my brand new job at Kohls, and although it was overwhelming at first (and even towards the end of the season), I warmed up to it and got used to working in my section! It also rained a lot for a couple weeks, and I was so thankful for my rain boots and umbrella. During this month, I got addicted to hot chocolate and drank it every day for weeks. I went from never drinking it to drinking it all the time, and while I’ve calmed down since then, I definitely thought it was going to be a problem for a while.

At one point, my family came down for family weekend! We watched the homecoming parade, attended the game, and ate dinner with some family friends who live in Joplin! Although the game wasn’t that interesting (our team kind of sucks, whoops), we all had a fun time being together!

Then I rode home with my family that night so that I could attend a scholarship awards event in Branson on Sunday night! We got all dressed up, ate fancy food at the “pre-party”, rode in a limo, and cried tears of joy when I won $500! I had a lot of fun, and that scholarship is most definitely taking a big load off my shoulders for next semester.

My mom drove me home the next morning so that I wouldn’t miss biology, and then stuck around for Briar’s football game in Joplin that night! I was really glad I would get to see him play at least once this season!

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After another week of classes, I drove back home for fall break! Shane and I went to the pumpkin patch one day for our annual pumpkin patch date, I got to work at the Disney Store again (for only two days, but it was a glorious two days), and Shane dyed my hair! It was good to be home again, even if it was only for a long weekend!

October 20 marked my two years in recovery from my eating disorder. It hasn’t been an easy journey, let me tell you that. I didn’t mention this earlier, but during the summer, I fell into a sort-of-relapse, where I was restricting every day, weighing myself all the time, counting calories, and skipping meals. I went to therapy for about a month at the end of the summer, which helped with my awful depression, and I began to try to eat more. The first month or so of college was difficult with all of the transitions, but I was doing better. October got harder for some reason, and although it stayed difficult through the rest of the year, I’m proud of myself for pushing through. I never thought I’d reach 2 years in recovery, and I never thought I’d be able to push past those awful days. Honestly, the only reason I’ve made to two years and beyond is because of my loving and graceful God.

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As quickly as the month came, the month ended. Maddy, Megan and I drove an hour to visit a pumpkin patch with my family, and we had a blast! There were so many beautiful sunrises, I continued to obsessively drink hot chocolate, and I officially voted for my first presidential election! The weather also still felt like summer on Halloween which felt like a crime.

November

November 1 = the beginning of Christmas season. I think you’ll be pleased to know that I did not let being at college end my “wear a Christmas sweater on November 1” tradition:

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November went by so fast I barely remember what happened. I was finishing up my classes, trying to work as much as I could, letting Netflix shows destroy my life, and trying not to let anxiety destroy me. With speeches, group projects, and everything else going on, I did manage to enjoy the end of my first semester of college!

I took a small trip home on November 12 to watch my sister and fellow Thespians do such an amazing job in their fall play! I miss that theater so much and I was so glad to get to see everyone again. The play made me laugh really hard, as well, which is always good.

Then, just a week later, I went back home for Thanksgiving break! Both of my classes that Tuesday were canceled so I got to leave on Monday! Break was full of adventures- I cut about four inches of my hair off, played Pokemon Go with Shane, saw a few friends from high school, got to work at the Disney Store again, bought a French horn, and finally got to see Moana (TWICE woops)!

December

Just as quickly as November came, it was gone. December came out of no where and before I knew it, I had one week of the semester left! During the first week of the month, Megan and I went to MSSU’s annual tree lighting ceremony! We made ornaments, I danced in the snow (the first and only snow fall of the season thus far), and we watched the tree light up! It was a lot of fun and very festive!

Then it was time to finish up my classes and take finals for the first time as a college student! Most of my finals didn’t worry me, except for biology which I studied hard for and got an A! I was so so happy, it meant that I had an A in a college science class!!

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That night, I drove to Springfield and got to spend the night with Rachelle! I hadn’t seen her in so long and it was really fun to just relax in the middle of finals week! We even did blind makeovers, which was an adventure.

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After my last final on Friday (the 16th), I drove home and was finally done with my first semester and ready for Christmas break! The first night was a blast; Shane and I went to Branson to watch Brenna, Kendra, and the rest of the high school choir carol, and we got to hang out in a little “Christmas village”, drink hot chocolate, and then later drive through the lights! It was such a blast and a great beginning to Christmas break.

The last two weeks have been full of adventure, work, and not-so-great things (AKA back problems and a staph infection). Shane and I had our second annual onesie-fort-donut-present-movie date, which was fun and wonderful and I love him.

I got to go to Silver Dollar City with Shane, Brenna, and some friends from high school! It was such a blast getting to be with everyone again, ride rides, eat food, and share lots of laughs!

And here we are now, with only a few hours left of 2016. It has been one crazy year, and it’s insane how fast it flew by. I struggled quite a bit with mental illness, heartbreak over crushed dreams and lost souls, and encountered a lot of changes. However, I’ve grown a lot, met a lot of new people, discovered things about myself and the world, and accomplished things I never thought I’d be able to. God was with me every step of every day, and I couldn’t be more thankful.

I’m not a huge fan of making “New Years Resolutions”, but I do have goals that I want to accomplish throughout the course of the next year!

  • Read my Bible more.
  • Write as much as possible, maybe even finally write a book.
  • Discover more- about myself, the world around me, and God.
  • Don’t let mental illness ruin good things.

Here’s to a new year, the same me, and the same great God. 2017 has loads of possibilities, and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for me.

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