A Year In Review: 2017

I went into 2017 with not a single plan or countdown on my phone. I had no idea what God had in store for me, however, I was ready. 2017 was such a great year full of surprises, opportunity, and new experiences. I found myself, then lost myself, then found myself again. I made friends and got engaged and moved to Disney World and accomplished a big dream of mine! Looking back at the days and weeks and months makes me feel warm. I had plenty of bad days and moments, but overall, 2017 was a year God used to change me and change my life. It was a beautiful one.

January

  • I spent my first day of 2017 going on a date with Shane, where we saw Rogue One and walked around the Landing together!
  • I went to Crystal Bridges for the first time ever with Shane, Brenna, and my mom. I absolutely fell in love with that place.
  • I worked at the Disney Store in Branson for a few more days before being done for Christmas Break!
  • I got to go hiking with Kathryn before she left for Alabama and it was beautiful.
  • I caught up with Mandi at Thrive, which had just opened, and we shared some laughs and had hot chocolate.
  • I went back to Joplin to begin my second semester of college and discovered that the showers in my dorm didn’t suck anymore!
  • I started a new set of classes, including a literature class where I quickly discovered how much I would actually have to read (a lot).
  • I took a buzzfeed quiz and got an interesting prediction for my 2017.
  • I applied for the Disney College Program on a whim.
  • I met up with my whole family in Springfield because Andrew was home for a weekend, and we all went bowling and ate at Hurts Donut!
  • I was finally officially diagnosed with a three mental illnesses, which helped me realize that I am in fact not crazy.
  • I went back to Forsyth for a weekend for Shane’s senior homecoming, where I watched him walk on the court and danced the night away with him.

February

  • I became addicted to Hurts Donuts and went all the time.
  • I started training for my new job, being a food runner at On the Boarder that I was opening soon!
  • I killed my phone interview for the Disney College Program.
  • I continued to struggle with playing the French horn again after not playing since my sophomore year of high school.
  • It got really warm (in February??)
  • I went home randomly one weekend because it was warm and I wanted to ride bikes with Shane.
  • I made my finsta!
  • On Valentines Day, while doing homework before lunch, I got accepted into the Disney College Program!!!!!!!
  • I worked a ton every single week, almost enough hours to be considered a full-time job, while going to school full-time, which almost killed me.
  • I finally let go of trying to find myself and found God instead, and in that, I found myself.
  • I posted my eating disorder story on my blog for the world to see in honor of NEDA week.
  • Shane visited MSSU for a campus tour and I got to see him!!

March

  • Allergies hit me hard
  • I won a game in my newswriting class which meant I got to skip an article for the semester
  • I volunteered with NorthPoint (my church in Joplin) for the first time and it made my heart so full.
  • I passed all my midterms and survived the first half of the semester!
  • Rachelle came and stayed with me for a couple days and we adventured around Joplin together!
  • Mom, Brenna, and Shane came to Joplin to watch me in my band concert! I also performed Godzilla Eats Las Vegas for the last time, which made me sad.
  • Shane and I got Hurts Donut that night to celebrate the halfway point of the semester, and he stayed at his grandparents’ house that night.
  • In the morning, we went to Crystal Bridges together and enjoyed art (he’s the most beautiful masterpiece ever created) before heading back to Forsyth for Spring Break!
  • I got to work at the Disney Store for 33 hours that week!!!
  • I had a Brenna day where we ate at Steak and Shake, window shopped, and ate Krispy Kreme
  • I went hiking with the family which was super fun and honestly one of my favorite days.
  • I went to the Hip Handmade Market with Shelby!
  • I got my congratulations letter from Disney which was SUPER exciting!
  • I ended my Spring Break by watching Beauty and the Beast and eating Cici’s/Andy’s with Shane.
  • I went back to school and started the second half of my semester, which meant I had to write a paper about the Scarlet Letter and read a couple hours a night for literature, woo.

April

  • I started feeling more confident and took more selfies.
  • I officially booked Shane and my trip to Disneyland in July!!
  • There was a literally monkey in a stroller at work one night.
  • We read Uncle Tom’s Cabin in literature which was heartbreaking but beautiful.
  • I went on a small group outing and we all got pizza and ice cream and it was really fun!
  • I went on a self-date and spent some time hiking and exploring!
  • I spent my first Easter away from home at Shelby’s house where we played games and ate really good food!
  • I got really close to God and finally found joy in Him the way I have been yearning for for so long.
  • I turned 19!!
  • I went home for my birthday weekend to see Brenna, Kendra, and my high school friends in their production of Seussical!
  • I went home the next weekend for Shane’s senior prom!
    • Senior prom got canceled because of flooding, so we had our own little “prom” in the basement of Fat Daddy’s.
    • Prom ended up happening the following night, so we got to get dressed up two nights in a row!
  • I finally presented my interpersonal communication presentation which stressed me out but brought about some good memories
  • We started getting down to business with putting together our school magazine (RIP Vivid)
  • I began to realize how much I was loving life and how things would never be the same after the semester ended and got really sentimental.

May

  • I celebrated May the 4th hard core (including wearing my “space buns” to work, where many people commented on them).
  • I started finishing up all of my classes and went to my LAST history class of the semester (I didn’t think I’d make it) and played my French horn for the last time with the school.
  • I finally had my last shift at on the border. It was a rough job but I really liked working with my coworkers, who I miss!
  • We finished Vivid magazine and it actually turned out pretty good! I enjoyed working on the magazine during the spring semester, I’m sad it won’t be happening next year!
  • I took a study break during finals week and explored the George Washington Carver museum and fell in love with it, it’s so beautiful.
  • I spent a day hiking with Rachelle and spent the night at her house and had a BLAST just hanging out!
  • My small group went to Crystal Bridges and it was honestly one of my favorite days of the semester, it was so fun.
  • I moved out of my dorm at Southern and headed back to Forsyth/Branson for the summer! I kicked it off by having a pizza/movie day with Shelby and Leah!
  • I finally got to see Kathryn and my other friends again who I missed so much.
  • Shane and I watched Guardians of the Galaxy 2 which was amazing.
  • Shane and I celebrated our TWO YEAR anniversary!!!
  • I watched my baby graduate high school as salutatorian and I am still so proud of him!
  • I hit the ground running with doubles at the Track and the Disney Store, which continued through the summer.
  • I WENT TO GERMANY???
    • After the longest flight of my life, our small group from Missouri Southern State University landed in Munich, Germany, and traveled to Ansbach where we spent almost two full weeks!
    • We got to explore Nuremberg, where I tried my first beer (it’s German beer, why not?) and it was disgusting, but Nuremberg was beautiful.
    •  The school we were attending in Germany was so fun, and we met so many amazing people from different countries there. The picture below is our friend Amine, who we taught the word “lit”.
    • Besides making foreign friends, I became even better friends with Shelby and got to know Deshayne, which was such a blessing because they are such amazing people and I’m so thankful for them.

June

  • My adventures in Germany continued!
    • We finished up our classes that we were taking in Germany and spent a lot of time exploring the beautiful city of Ansbach!
    • We had an excursion in Erlanger, where we attended a big German festival called Bergkirchweih. Shelby, Deshayne and I basically just walked around, ate some food, rode a giant ferris wheel, then left haha.
    • We had another excursion in Munich, where some of us got to go to the Bavaria Film Studios, as well as explore the main city hub, which was breathtakingly beautiful.
    • Us Americans explored Bamburg before our long trip back home, and we all cried on the train ride back to the airport. I had such an amazing time in Germany, I still can’t believe I got to go across the country on such a great trip like that.
  • I got right back into working 6 days a week, 50+ hours split between the Track and the Disney Store.
  • Getting either Taco Bell or Andy’s after work at 2am kept me sane.
  • The only times I wasn’t at the Track, I was at the Disney Store (still working).
  • I finally bought a scale just to smash it with a baseball bat and I haven’t weighed myself since.
  • I finished watching all of the Harry Potter movies for the first time!
  • Shane and I managed to have every Thursday off together so we could at least see each other some outside of work, which was fantastic. I loved our Thursday dates.

July

  • I finally lost my beloved fidget spinner by leaving it in my work shorts and putting it through the dryer.
  • I almost passed out at The Track and also witnessed someone getting run over all in the same day so that’s fun.
  • The magic I got from working at the Disney Store fueled my days at the Track.
  • Kathryn, Mandi and I attempted a camping trip together where we almost got swept away by a thunder storm and Kathryn almost cut her finger off but it was a fun time!
  • Shane and I painted his new room in Joplin together!
  • Shane and I went to Disneyland together!!!!
    • We spent three beautiful days at Disneyland and they were some of the best days of my life.
    • WE GOT ENGAGED!!! Shane proposed to me in front of Rapunzel’s tower and it was the sweetest thing ever and now he’s my fiance!!!

August (What a roller coaster, hold on)

  • I had my last shifts at The Track and the Disney Store (tears).
  • Shelby came and visited me in Branson and we spent the day together and it was a lot of fun!
  • I visited Rachelle in Nixa for a fun-filled day and I also found out I was going to be working in FANTASYLAND for my Disney College Program!!
  • Shane and I found our wedding venue and Shelby took some engagement pictures for us!
  • I spent my last day in Missouri with Shane and my family and friends watching Grant and Megan get married and it was such a fun but sad day.
  • My mom and I traveled to Orlando by driving 17 hours straight and we made it alive!
  • I met my roommates for the first time and checked into my Disney College Program!!
  • I spent the first week of my program resort hopping, went Universal Studios, and sobbed over the fireworks from the Grand Flordian with my roommates.
  • I finally experienced Traditions for myself and became an official Walt Disney World Cast Member and 100% cried when I saw the Castle for the first time.
  • I went to Magic Kingdom for the first time with Chey and Lauren and we had the most perfect park day (until it started raining and we went home, thanks Florida).
  • I started training at Disney and had my first Fantasyland training shifts and I fell in love with it all.
  • I went to Hollywood Studios for the first time with Cameron and Tiffany and we rode the Great Movie Ride (RIP).
  • My beautiful roommates and I watched Happily Ever After in front of the castle for the first time and we all cried and it was an amazing experience.
  • Lauren and I went to Animal Kingdom for the first time, and then we went with Chey to EPCOT and I fell in love with that park.
  • I worked my first Halloween party (on August 25???)
  • Taylor Swift released “Look What You Made Me Do” and I died.
  • I officially earned my ears!!!

September

  • I was terrified when I got almost all stock shifts the first week of September but actually ended up enjoying them?
  • I discovered that people lied about September being a slow month at the parks because it was literally only slow the week of Irma.
  • Chey, Cameron and I spent a day at MK and got ROSE GOLD EARS.
  • I survived my first hurricane. Tiffany, Cameron and I lived in the living room for three days watching Riverdale and eating our hurricane food. We were very blessed and never even lost power.
  • I went to Hollywood Studios with Cameron and her coworker to celebrate her birthday!
  • I went to the Bonvoyage Breakfast at Trattoria al Forno with Miranda and it was super fun!
  • Lauren and I watched the fireworks from the Tangled Bathrooms yet again and took a bunch of pictures and had a great night in the Kingdom.
  • I continued to fall in love with my job.
  • We celebrated Tiffany’s birthday at Buffalo Wild Wings!
  • Chey and I went to the pool a lot despite it being September and it was fantastic.
  • I picked up my first shift somewhere other than Fantasyland and got to spend all day making lightsabers at Disney’s Galactic Outpost!
  • Shane came and visited me for three days!!!!!!!!!! We ate a different ice cream sundae every day, spent time at Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, and Disney Springs, and it was three of the best days ever.
  • Tiffany, Chey, and I spent a morning at Magic Kingdom before hiding in our apartment as some dramatic stuff was happening and then Chey and I celebrated it all being over by watching the fireworks that night.

October

  • I got to celebrate Epcot’s 35th birthday!!
  • I worked my first treat shift and had a lot of fun! My head hurt both from smiling and from that dumb bat I had to wear for six hours.
  • Chey and I went to a Halloween Party all dressed up and it was one of the best nights of the year! We had so much fun taking pictures, getting candy, dancing with monsters, and watching all the amazing entertainment!
  • I went to Animal Kingdom with Hailey and we had a WILD good time!
  • I stayed up until 4am at IHOP with a bunch of my coworkers and it was a lot of fun!
  • I picked up a bunch of shifts in a bunch of new places and had a lot of fun experiencing other sides of Walt Disney World than just Fantasyland.
  • I went to 1900 Park Faire with my roommates and we had fun eating delicious food and meeting characters together!
  • I relapsed into my eating disorder but God gave me the strength to come out of it okay.
  • I went to Celebration with Tiffany and Lauren and fell in love with the cuteness of that town and the cookie dough.
  • Lauren and I met Chey and her family at Epcot and traveled around the world, ending the great day with Illuminations!
  • I completed my “Work in all four parks” goal! Toy Story Depot at Hollywood Studios, Image Works at Epcot, and Asia carts in DAK!
  • Chey and I became Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom and I bought a refillable popcorn bucket, both of which were amazing ideas and made for great days.
  • I went to Epcot by myself and just walked around, took pictures, and ate Food and Wine Festival food and it was honestly one of the best days of my program.
  • It got cold for a week so Chey and I went to a pumpkin patch to celebrate fall.
  • I spent Halloween morning at MK eating popcorn, playing Sorcerers, and watching Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire in the Hub Grass before working that night!

November

  • I went to the beach and got a sunburn.
  • I finally got to work in Bonjour! It’s literally part of Fantasyland merchandise but they never put me there and I don’t know why.
  • I went to the Holiday filming for the Disney parks Christmas special!
  • Chey and I had a fun day where we looked at all the Christmas decorations at Hollywood Studios and then we watched Tiffany KILL IT at Night Of Stars!
  • I worked the first Christmas party and met Santa Goofy and Santa Stitch!! Amazing.
  • Taylor Swift released REPUTATION and it had me shook.
  • I went to the Christmas Tree Trail twice in one week and it was beautiful.
  • I did the Kitchen Sink with some coworkers and we finished it in 20 minutes!!
  • Chey and I went to Dapper Day and it was so fun, I’m glad I finally got to go!
  • I got deployed and had to work 50 hours Thanksgiving week, the same week my family came to visit me RIP
  • I got to show mom and Brenna around MK and Epcot and I was exhausted that week but I really enjoyed having them in Orlando for Thanksgiving!
  • I saw Coco with Lindsey and Jocelyn and it was amazing, I cried.
  • I went to Hollywood Studios by myself and geeked out about everything Star Wars and it was a good time.
  • I got to work at Tatooine Traders and I loved it, building lightsabers with young jedi is so fun.
  • It started to hit me that I only had a month left in Fantasyland and I started getting sad and sentimental about it.

December

  • Lauren and I spent our day off admiring art at the Orlando Museum of Art and then we watched A Christmas Story (the musical version) and it was so funny and amazing.
  • I worked a couple more shifts in new places, but they progressively got worse so I just decided to stay in Fantasyland haha
  • One week I went to Hollywood Studios twice and Epcot three times and it was great.
  • I saw Jodi Benson in the Candlelight Processional!
  • I went around the world pin trading with Bianca and we witnessed character palooza and it was amazing.
  • I graduated from my Disney College Program!
  • We watched Happily Ever After with Lauren and Tiffany for the last time before they left a couple weeks early.
  • I saw The Last Jedi on opening night and it was so beautiful!!!
  • I went to Hollywood Studios more times than the rest of the year combined??
  • I went to MK and Epcot literally just to go Christmas shopping, who does that?
  • I spent a day at DAK earning Wilderness Explorer Badges with Chey.
  • I worked in my beloved Winnie the Pooh shop for the last time and may have cried internally a little bit.
  • I spent Christmas Eve at Epcot with Chey before heading to work a ten hour shift.
  • Christmas morning was a beautifully lazy morning before another ten hour shift in Fantasyland where it was so packed I couldn’t breathe.
  • I went to Hollywood Studios (again, but for the last time) the day after Christmas with Bianca, Casey, and Chey, with Kaylen joining us later! We took a lot of pictures and watched Fantasmic
  • Lenny and I introduced Lindsey to Taco Bell because SHE HAD NEVER HAD IT BEFORE and she loved it (mission accomplished)!
  • I worked my last stock shift from 8pm to 4am and boy was that an adventure.
  • And tonight I’m finishing out my 2018 strong by working a 10 hour shift at the most jam-packed place on earth!

2017 was filled with amazing opportunities and experiences. I made great memories, met so many awesome people, and did things most people could only dream of! I traveled outside the country, got engaged, and moved to DISNEY WORLD where I’ve worked the last five months! I am so thankful for God’s hand in everything that happened this year, He deserves all the glory. I’m thankful for the people who have had a part in my life this year. I’m thankful for the bad days that shaped me, and the good days who lifted me up. As I go into 2018, I want to carry a lifestyle of thankfulness. I have some goals I want to accomplish, but most of all, I want to remember that God’s grace is greater than all things. Here’s to a great 2017, and here’s to a better 2018.

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