The Top 10 Highlights of 2014

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or we can rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”- Abraham Lincoln

Let’s be honest, life can have a lot of thorns. Sometimes, it’s tempting to focus on them. Sometimes it’s hard to see much else. And believe me, 2014 had it’s fair share of pain, struggle, and hardship. So many things that I wanted to do and didn’t. So many blog posts that didn’t get written. And while I thought about writing about those things, today I just want to acknowledge the thorns but rejoice over the roses. Because over the past year, there were a lot of roses.

And I have so much to be thankful for.

Thinking back, these are the top 10 things about 2014 that stand out as beautiful roses that I will cherish forever.

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1. I held a tiny baby kitten for the first time.

I know this seems like a silly thing to start out with, but this was seriously the highlight of January 2014. I had never played with a kitten before, and it pretty much changed my life.

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2. Our trip across the country.

This was an absolutely incredible journey made up of so many smaller highlights that, together, honestly make up the highlight of the entire year. 2 weeks, 4,000 miles, 60-something hours in the car, and countless new friendships. Along the way, we saw Carlsbad Caverns, The Grand Canyon, hundreds of miles of cactus-filled desert, the ocean, and several incredible cities. We sat under the absolute best teaching at United and WPPI, reunited with sweet friends, made new ones, and photographed so many beautiful things. I can’t even begin to explain how this trip changed me.

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3. Luke and I celebrated our one year anniversary.

It’s hard to believe that we’ve been married for a year and a half now. It’s been a wild, crazy, and wonderful year and a half, and I couldn’t have found a better man to spend my life with. We celebrated our anniversary in New Orleans (I had never been before!) - walking through the historic streets, drinking coffee at Cafe Du Monde, and looking for alligators in a small boat floating through the swamps.

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4. We moved out of our apartment into our first house.

This is DEFINITELY a highlight! I couldn’t have been more excited to move into a house - I love being able to do laundry without leaving, I love not sharing walls with college boys, and (most importantly! haha!) I love that we were able to adopt a kitten. Speaking of which...

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5. Josie.

This little thing has brought us so much joy, frustration, and laughter. She was the most adorable kitten on the entire planet, and even though she’s no longer a kitten, she’s still just the best. She’s almost constantly getting into trouble and running around like a crazy little terror cat, but when she gets sleepy she’s the most cuddly baby ever. Right now she’s being adorable and sleeping in a basket beside my desk and I just love her. #crazycatlady

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6.  Our trip to Alaska.

In July, Lucas and I went on a trip with my family to Alaska. I’ve seen a lot of beautiful places, but none of them quite compare to Alaska. Everything is just so… expansive and grand. The mountains. The fields. The lakes. The wildlife. Everything is just on another level, and I was so blessed to be able to witness it.

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7. Each and every one of our clients. 

Together, they make up one of the absolute best things about 2014. Seriously. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today and they hold such a special place in my heart that aches when I think about them. …I’m getting all teary-eyed just thinking about it.

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8. Our Church and community of friends who have become like family.

Over the past year, Lucas has taught the college Sunday School class at our church, and it’s been incredible watching The Lord bring college students to our tiny little church in the middle of nowhere. Not only that, but God has given us a wonderful community of believers around our age, and they’ve truly become like family. I love them so, so much, and they’re truly the best part about living in Arkadelphia.

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9. Delight. 

It may seem strange listing a ministry for teenage girls as a highlight of 2014, but I honestly can’t even begin to express how much it means to me. Over the past year, I’ve had the opportunity to invest in the lives of girls I’ve never met, pray for a ministry that’s blessing SO many people, and watch it grow into something really special. I feel so, so blessed to be a part of it, and I can’t wait to see how the Lord continues to use Delight in 2015. I just know the best is yet to come.

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10. Travling. So much traveling.

Over the past year, we’ve stayed over 30 nights in hotel rooms. It’s crazy to think that an entire month of our year was spent away from home, but I feel so grateful for the opportunity to see as many places as we did. Our business over the past year took us to California, Nevada, Tennessee, Mississippi, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and SO many places around Texas and Arkansas! While Minzy (our car!) is a bit sad about the 50,000+ miles we put on her this year, I wouldn’t change it for the world!

And while there were SO many wonderful things about 2014, I know that 2015 is going to be even better. So here's to smiling fondly at the rear view window, but focusing on the road ahead.