With the craziness that December was for me (having final exams ten days before Christmas, having a parent have an unexpected hospital stay, having to plan my visit to Georgia, having to schedule my classes for the next semester, having work the days following up to Christmas…) I had little time to reminisce and look back at 2016.
2016 was a rollercoaster for me, with so the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I walked through the grieving process, as I lost my best friend in November of 2015. I got an incredible summer internship. I performed in a super fun concert. I got engaged. I got to see two of my close friends get married. I got to see my best friend get engaged… it’s been a rush.
There are so many memorable moments that happened this year, but I decided to pick out a few of them to share with you.
Concerts, concerts, concerts!
This year I got to see SO MANY of my favorite bands, including Ben Rector, Colony House, Mat Kearney, needtobreathe, and Passion Pit. Seeing these bands perform wasn’t the only highlight, but getting to experience it with such good friends made it so much better. I got to see Ben Rector with my boyfriend, Mat Kearney and needtobreathe with a couple close friends from college, and I got to see Passion Pit (for free!!) with my best friend because we volunteered at Fashion Meets Music Festival in Columbus.
Elliv: The Experience
My university puts on this incredible performance every year called Elliv. It’s totally student planned and student led, and a way of “de-stressing” before the craziness of finals week. We audition to be put on different music teams then spend the whole spring semester practicing and getting ready for the big performance. My team was the “rock” group, and we played songs by Muse, Paramore, Kelly Clarkson, and Young The Giant. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever experienced, and performing in front of 3000+ was absolutely energizing. Not only did we have fun, but my team grew close and became good friends through the hours and hours of practicing. Plus I got to wear killer costumes and great hair + makeup.
You can check out part of our performance here.
Choir Tour + Chicago
The choir that I am in, Jubilate, goes on tour every spring semester. In 2016, we got the chance to go to Chicago and Wisconsin to perform at a couple different churches and schools. This was my first time in Chicago, and I was SO pumped to see such a cool city. Honestly, all I can remember from tour is the few hours we spent in Chicago. It was so cold and windy, but it was so much fun popping into coffee shops and record stores and experiencing a new place with friends.
THE BEST SUMMER INTERNSHIP EVER
Oh, I’m getting emotional typing this… This summer, i had the blessing of interning at Jersey Students, a ministry at Jersey Baptist Church. I was one of two interns for the summer, and my specialty was anything creative. I led worship on a weekly basis and shot photographs for various events, as well as shooting and editing video for a week long missions event and a week long camp. It was hard work and exhausting, as I was also working a part-time job at a local cafe. But God blessed me big time by letting me intern at such an incredible ministry. I met so many wonderful people and got to be a part of so many Christ-centered conversations and share my heart with some pretty amazing students. It was honestly a dream internship, since I got to do creative things while also working in youth ministry (a huge passion of mine!). I miss it so very much.
I got my first tattoo during the summer of 2015, but I got two more in 2016. These two tattoos mean so much to me, and are little reminders of what I have survived this year.
I got twenty tree rings on my shoulder in memorial of the 20 years of Gregory Long. Greg was my best friend for nearly 7 years. In November of 2015, just a couple weeks after his 20th birthday, he and his girlfriend Haley passed away in a car accident. It absolutely rocked my world. I had lost before, but never someone who I was so close to. These twenty rings are a celebration of the life that he lived and the impact that he had during his short life. Greg was truly an incredible person, and I wish that everyone had the blessing of calling him their best friend.
My close friend Abby wanted to get tattoos over our fall break while we were in St. Louis. I decided to get a simple one and settled on “it is well” across my neck. This phrase has been an anthem for me lately, as 2016 was a year full of challenges and struggles. It’s a reminder that through it all, I have the ability to say that “it is well” because of the goodness and grace of God.
Fall Break in STL
For fall break last year, my friend Evan and his sister Emily invited us back to their home in Illinois. (they live just thirty minutes from STL) Over our five day break, we got to explore downtown STL, taste authentic STL bbq, explore an incredible interactive museum in a huge, old warehouse, and enjoy time spent with friends. STL is easily one of my favorite cities I’ve had the chance to travel to, and I hope to come back soon. Plus I’m glad I got to spend some time exploring with my best friends.
I GOT ENGAGED!!!
A couple weeks before it happened, my good friend and fellow photographer India asked me and Kevin to be models for a Wes Anderson themed shoot. Wes Anderson is my all time favorite director, and I absolutely adore his style in his films and photographs. What I didn’t know is that this was all part of Kevin’s elaborate plan. We spent the day walking around taking pictures in downtown Columbus, and at the end of the shoot India handed me a prop – a notebook. When I opened it, it was actually a hand-bound scrapbook of memories that Kevin and I had made over the last year and a half. The last photo had the caption “how about we do a real engagement shoot?” and when I turned around, he was on one knee. Oh my heart. It was absolutely perfect, and I had no idea. I’m so excited to spend the rest of my life with my best friend!
And all the little moments in between…
2016 gave me so many memories to keep in this little heart of mine. I got to experience so many new things and new places and meet new people. I grew closer to friends and learned new things about myself. I got to see the Lord work in my life and the lives of others. I got to see the other side of my grief. I got to come back to a great university to continue my education. i got to share my heart and passion with others. I got to take a lot of pictures, sing a lot of songs, and laugh a lot of belly laughs. 2016 was a testament to God’s goodness and grace, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2017.
What were your favorite memories of 2016? Let me know in the comments!