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2023 RECAP



Oh man, 2023! What a year it has been. Talk about highs and lows! I faced two injuries (one that involved a surgery, another that involved a wheelchair), healed from a breakup, wrestled with God, experienced relational conflict, and prayed big prayers - some of which resulted in a "not yet" or "no". I also experienced healing, physical and spiritual, ran my heart out while I could, began building the community of my prayers, wrote through the Holy Spirit, and danced my heart out in the presence of God. This year was not easy in the slightest, but there was also so much celebration and growth that I can't help but look back and be grateful for all that the Lord has done.


So sit back, grab a warm drink, and reminisce with me through this 2023 recap! This is one of my favorite posts of the year, to reflect on how much I've changed and grown, and it is my prayer that it would inspire you to run back to the Lord with gratitude for all that He's done in my life and in yours!



January

This month was filled with such excitement and anticipation for what God had planned for the new year. There was so much reflection and growth that happened, but a lot of that learning was incredibly difficult. The healing journey was most definitely full of ups and downs, but ultimately, it drew me closer to the Lord and the people around me. I spent the majority of my time on the couch, because walking was so painful for most of the month, but I went into the new semester excited to learn. I also was able to squeeze in a girls day with my Mom, sister, and Nana to shop for a Snowball dress, and that was a blast!


Favorite memory: After my shin surgery, I wasn't able to run for quite a while. But finally, at the very end of this month, I was able to go on my first run back, and it honestly felt like a new chapter. The joy of being able to move my body again, even though it's not the same as before (yet) is unexplainable and I am so so so thankful for it.

Biggest lesson: Healing often isn't about moving through it, but sitting in it. You cannot heal when you're trying to shove the emotions down and move on; you must face them and bring them to the feet of Jesus.



February

Looking back on this month, it's a blur. I genuinely was in such a fog during February! School was stressful, my shins were recovering, I had to deal with some drama and overcome some fears, but God carried me through. Clearly, the highlight of this month was Snowball - and that's pretty much all of the pictures I have from February! If you aren't in the loop of this super fun night, you can read about it here. And I'm telling you, if you haven't read that post, you will want to!


Favorite memory: My hands-down favorite memory from February was the dinner Piper and I shared before the dance. We had such good conversation, and I got a little bit vulnerable about my anxiety surrounding the dance, but her prayer and kind words were exactly what I needed. We all need a friend like Piper!

Biggest lesson: Don't let your fear hold you back from making memories and being present. This single season forced me to step out of my comfort zone, out of what people thought about me, and that felt like such a big step of growth.




March

Track season has BEGUN, friends, and already in March I was having so much fun. I couldn't run, as I wasn't completely healed from my surgery, but I took my role as manager VERY seriously. I showed up to every practice, rain or shine, ran a few slow workouts that my physical therapist gave me, and cheered with my pom-poms the rest of the time. It was such a blessing for me to be able to support my teammates so much, and I honestly felt so full to be able to be a cheerleader. We also got to celebrate my Mom's birthday, which was SUCH a blast. We got pedicures, went out for a girls lunch, ate some delicious cake, and made so many memories. You can read the post inspired by her here!


Favorite memory: It's between two memories for this month (like most months!). I absolutely loved celebrating my mom's birthday, and I loved every track meet I went to. It's hard to choose one moment from this month; I just remember feeling so blessed to be around some amazing people, and often doing one of my favorite things (running!).

Biggest lesson: This month you would often hear me saying (while dancing around) "my life is a movie, and I'm the main character". I didn't mean this out of selfishness, but this month I was really learning to enjoy every moment of my life and to not let anyone or anything else dictate my joy. It took a lot for me to understand that I get to choose my attitude and the way that I spend my energy, and this month was all about that. I finally found my spark again, because no one else could take away this joy firing up in my soul, and I embraced that. Every moment of every day became special again.



April

April - another big month! I spent a lot of time at the track with my teammates, running around grabbing hoodies, holding water bottles, and supporting them while they cried after both good and bad races. These runners are my people, and I love them! I got inducted into NHS and went to Dallas for a couple days to cheer on Carson at the Worlds Robotics Competition, but my favorite part about that was the bachelorette pad my mom, sister and I shared in the hotel. :)


Favorite memory: Two moments from this month really stuck out to me. First off, when we were in Dallas, we found this amazing outdoor courtyard area where everyone hung out. It was in the middle of some very tall buildings, and when you looked up, there was a beautiful night sky. I remember sitting there in such awe of God and His creation, and such contentment for just sitting there in the amazing weather and even better vibes. The other memory that really stuck out to me was at the WSU Pre-State track meet, towards the end of it, and a bunch of us girls and our coach were sitting in a circle, talking about life and everything going on. Our voices were hoarse from screaming all day, but it was so fun to just hang out together in such a great environment.

Biggest lesson: This month, I truly believe that the Lord was continuing to teach me what He was teaching me last month. No one can steal my joy as long as I'm walking faithfully and closely to Him. I learned to keep my eyes fixed on Him and soak up every last moment, even the ones that weren't so fun, because even then, the Lord is moving.



May

May...more track, less school! The school year came to an end (hallelujah for that), but before we could celebrate that, there were still records to break and a state track meet to qualify for! I know this is sounding redundant, but this track season was genuinely SO fun, and I loved every moment of cheering on my people. I started taking my driving more seriously and once the track season was over, we went to the banquet and celebrated a season well done. Then, we kicked off the summer with an evening by the pool and firepit!


Favorite memory: The memory that sticks out most to me was at the Regionals track meet, towards the end when the 400s and relays were going. Piper made it to state, and so did our 4x4, and the energy was insane. The genuine joy I had was indescribable, and I was so stinking proud of my team! As we went back home, we had a sleepy ride home, but my ice cream and the laughter Ellie and I shared topped off the night perfectly.

Biggest lesson: Celebrate your people, always, always, always. Be present with them as much as possible. And, be prayerful as much as possible. The Lord wants to hear from you, and He wants to speak to you, if you'll allow Him to.



June

June, we are in full summer mode! Piper and I had a painting date, made some super cute things, but most importantly, shared good conversation. My family competed in the Derby BBQ, as we always do, and that was such a fun time to hang out around friends, enjoy the sunshine, and eat good food! I soaked up the sun, learned to sit with the Lord, and of course, began training for cross country again, because I really can't escape it (haha!). I also began babysitting for one of the families in my neighborhood a couple times a week, and I quickly made a new best friend in the little girl I hung out with. :)


Favorite memory: As I began training for cross country again, I did a few hard workouts, and it felt so good. Physically and mentally. I was so proud of myself to push my body to pass the limit again, and man, I was ready.

Biggest lesson: Sunshine and stillness is good for the soul. :) I felt my heart for Jesus grow so much in the time I spent outside in the warmth, simply praying and talking with Him. And, people are everything! Make as many memories as possible, because those are what makes your life that much sweeter.



July

July, July, July! I made so many fun memories this month. Of course, we celebrated Fourth of July, which was an absolute blast. We chased each other with water balloons, ate some delicious food, and watched the night sky light up with fireworks. Piper, Ellie, and I continued our summer training, mixing it up a bit with a Bible study beforehand, and man, what a reminder of how thankful I am for my people! I was busy with babysitting and running, but Mom and I were able to squeeze in an afternoon to ourselves, enjoying a cool drink and planning for my SWEET SIXTEEN party!!


Favorite memory: All the moments with my mom are so special, and so was the Fourth of July. But perhaps my favorite of all were the little moments I spent with the little girl I babysat this summer. I had the opportunity to feel like I was genuinely making a difference, genuinely encouraging a beautiful, sweet girl, and when she expressed that to me in her own way, it made my world go round.

Biggest lesson: Words have power. Every single word you speak to anyone, anyone at all, even yourself, changes so much. It changes attitudes, beliefs, perspectives, heart postures, and moods. Your words have power, and it's up to us to use that power wisely.



August

AUGUST, my favorite month of the year?! We celebrated my sweet sixteen birthday, and that genuinely lit up my soul. We had so much fun with family on my actual birthday, and then a few days later, I had my dream sweet sixteen party with my closest friends. I am truly so grateful to be celebrated by my favorite people! Junior year began (AHHH), and so did the cross country season, with high hopes of conquering goals. I went out to the fair with some friends, rode my first carousel ride and rollercoasters, laughed until my cheeks hurt, and walked until my feet were dead in the cowgirl boots I had on. I raced without crying for the first time in a long time, and had so much fun with my team at meets.


Favorite memory: My party was definitely a highlight, and a memory I'll remember forever. We had good food and fun conversation, along with a ton of great pictures, and I truly just love those girls. But a close second has to be the night at the fair with my best friends. I felt on top of the world, so joyful, not only for the firsts I had but also for the good company. It was the best!

Biggest lesson: Enjoy every moment. My focus for this cross country season was to have fun, and that carried into every area of my life. I tried to be intentional about living it up, and when I did, I made the best memories. I definitely feel like I began shifting into a more positive, mature mindset this month!



September

September, the month everything fell apart? Depends on the way you look at it. I ran my third and last race of my cross country season before my mom got a call that I had stress fractures in both of my shins. That led to a wheelchair for not one month but two, and that was really, really difficult to process. But, it couldn't stop me from making the most of it, after I had my fair share of tears. I showed up to every single cross country meet afterwards (thank you to everyone who pushed me around!), went to a BRANDON LAKE CONCERT (!!!!) and had my own at home homecoming with two close friends. So while there was plenty of disappointment and pain, there was also plenty of laughter and memories.


Favorite memory: Again, how could I pick just one? If I had to pick my top two, one of them would most definitely be the Brandon Lake concert. That was a once in a lifetime opportunity, because he never comes to the midwest, so it was such a perfect, dreamy night. My at-home homecoming absolutely made the cut too! We took pictures for at least an hour and half, and then topped off the night with vulnerable conversations and delicious snacks. I didn't even miss being at the real homecoming!

Biggest lesson: God doesn't let people down. Even when your plans don't go as you hope they would, He is still faithful, and there is purpose in it all. All of the trials are building your faith and your testimony, while tearing down walls at the same time. It's all a blessing - none of it is easy, but a blessing nonetheless.



October

A wheelchair couldn't stop cross country from taking over my schedule! I made it to all the races, no matter how cold, rainy, or hilly it was. The main event: STATE CROSS COUNTRY MEET! Piper selected two Ellies to cheer her on, and it was so much fun. We checked out the course, took fun pictures, had a night full of shopping, eventually ate some amazing food, and the next day, ran around screaming for Piper. It was so much fun, and I'm just so grateful that I was able to ride along!


Favorite memory: All of the cross country races were so fun. The race before state, regionals, was a highlight for sure. I screamed so loud and watched my teammates push themselves past their limits, and I felt so honored to be a cheerleader. I remember overflowing with so much pride in my team, because I watched them all absolutely destroy that course, and my heart just oozed with joy for them! And of course, the state cross country meet finished the season off strong!

Biggest lesson: Just like last month - even when the plans don't work out as we hope, God is still good. I had a doctors appointment where I was hoping that the doctor would say I was good to get out of the wheelchair, but he didn't, and I was devastated. But even in those hard feelings, God was faithful, and He used it to strengthen and refine me in a way the easy answer wouldn't have.



November

This month was my month of answered prayers because I was cleared to get out of the wheelchair, once and for all (hopefully)! I genuinely felt so blessed to simply be able to walk again, and even though my recovery journey is not over (these 16 year old hips are now more like granny hips), I am so grateful to be able to move again. We had a snow day, which was a blast. We also celebrated Thanksgiving with my grandparents, and of course, every day spent with them is a favorite, and we had a great time!


Favorite memory: My favorite memory by far is walking out of the orthopedic doctors office with my crutches in hand, holding them proudly above my head like a trophy, and then dancing in the parking lot with my "new" legs. I could not stop grinning with excitement, since this has felt like such a long time coming.

Biggest lesson: The Lord has really been cultivating in me an attitude of gratitude, especially starting this month. He's been opening my eyes to what He's doing and the ways He is moving, and I can recognize my heart posture changing to one of discontentment to one of peace and contentment.



December

The reason why this month has so few pictures is because about 75% of my time was spent studying for finals (enter eye rolling emoji here). However, my hard work did pay off, and the other 25% of my time was spent with my small group girls, my family, and cranking out work for Run the Race (also the PINTEREST so check that out!). I've been in prayer probably the most out of the whole year, and I'm so grateful for what the Lord has put on my heart for this next year.


Favorite memory: My favorite memory of this month HAS to be when I saw all of my final grades posted. I got 85% on my AP Environmental (which was enough to bring my B up to an A, so hallelujah!), 96% in College Psychology, 99% in College US History, and 100% in COLLEGE ALGEBRA! Praise the Lord for those scores, because I definitely did not see that coming!

Biggest lesson: Even when you don't see it, God is good. Even when you don't understand how it will happen, God's promises are always fulfilled. Keep clinging to Him, and He will make a way.

 

BRB crying! There were so many beautiful memories this year, and I am just in awe of how GOOD God is! It was so fun to look back and compile all these lessons and memories in one place as an encouragement as I look ahead, and hopefully an encouragement to you as well!


What was the highlight of your year? What was God teaching you? Let me know down in the comments below; I love to hear from you!


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