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Many things could be said about this year, but I think it has to begin with: 


I spent a majority of the year away from home, out of my comfort zone, and pursuing adventure.  On January 24 I set out on the adventure of a lifetime-- a semester in Kenya.  That semester led to the best friendships, the worst sicknesses, and a grand eye opening on how the world is outside of the states.  I traveled to the far reaches of Kenya (the Kaisut Desert, Amboselli, Maasai Mara, Nairobi, Kibera, Mt. Kenya), the capitol of Ethiopia and the African Union, and the sunny island of Zanzibar armed with a backpack, a camera, and a moleskine.  Africa taught me that life is best lived together.  She also taught me that time isn't always of the essence, most of the time people are.  Respect people and their humanity, respect the earth and it's providence.  

I then spent another four months in St. Mary, Montana.  This summer I fell in love and climbed a few mountains and spent too few nights in a tent.  I learned better how to live in community and how to cook.  Two incredibly valuable life skills.  This summer also broke wind to incredible, deep heartache.  The Cafe was taken back by its original owners and though the legacy of Neal and Kathryn and Rob and Terry and Aimee will live on, the pulsating life of the Cafe under their management will no longer live in St. Mary.  Without your love and spirit and big hearts, I would not be the person I am today and I know many would echo my claim.  We also lost a loved one, out boss Rob, this November and my heart broke again, this time harder.  Rob lived with pure intentions and though he comes off as a grizzly bear, he's really just a teddy bear.  His sense of humor sent me over the edge and he will live on forever in endless stories and goofy memories.

September sent me home, back to Grand Rapids, back to unemployment, and back to Cornerstone.  I moved into a house with my travel companion, Kaitlan Spencer, a good friend, Victoria Rosales, a stranger, Kenny Selby, and our 4 cats.  After a month of searching for a job and annoying the manager at the Electric Cheetah, I scored a cooking job at Uncle Cheetah's Soup shop. I am so blessed to work in place with such snarky, positive energy.  And the free soup doesn't hurt.  I finished the year with straight B's at Cornerstone, took a few classes that I loved and a couple of boring core requirements and I still have 4 chapel papers to write.  I made new friends and re-found friendship with old friends.  This fall I drove around the Midwest a bit and rediscovered the love I have for the place I grew up.  I also spent a bit of time falling in love with Game of Thrones.  

All this to be said.  Cheers to a year of growing pains and happiness.  And cheers to this coming year, destine to be fuller than the last.