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Year End Review - 2015 Edition

Wow, the end of 2015 has arrived.  As I look back, I see change, but more important, I see growth.  It may have taken me until the final months of the year, but I took chances and life has never been better.  God has truly been good.  

When I do this post (or journal entry), I try to come up with a name to help me remember the year.  Typically, it takes all 365 days.  Although I cut it rather close this year, it did not take all of those days.  Ok, maybe it took only 357 days, but I finally have a name.  This year has been the year of the survivor.  

January started off rocky, but it was nothing I could not handle.  I decided to take a chance at a business venture.  Although I will not be continuing, it did open an abundance of doors I never thought was possible.  All because I took a chance and someone took a chance on me.  

For those of you who truly know me, you know the struggle I had in March.  If you don't know me, you are about to learn a lot about me.  I turned 30!  What is supposed to be a great start to a new decade of life actually started off with me bawling like a giant baby.  I spent over an hour on the phone with my mom the night of my 30th.  In the time I spent on the phone with her, she could have been close to my place.  She offered to come down, but I told her not to.  So, why was I crying on my birthday?  That's simple, but I felt like no one understood.  

I come home to an empty house every single day.  I walk in.  Put down my stuff.  Maybe get in a workout.  Maybe cook.  Do some work on my blog(s).  Make sure I'm not missing anything on my calendar.  Shower.  Watch TV, listen to some music, or both.  Not everything happens in that order, but you get the picture.  Any other normal day, it doesn't bother me.  I'm used to it.  I've been used to it for years.  However, walking in my place on the big 3-0 and not having anyone around me to tell me happy birthday or have a munchkin grabbing on to my legs and barely letting me in the door was a bit of a slap to my face.  I mean, I'm thirty.  According to the American Dream, I'm supposed to have that.  However, on the 9th anniversary of my 21st birthday, it felt too much like the American Nightmare.  Want to know the weirdest part about this?  I was perfectly fine the day after my birthday  It was like nothing ever happened.  

The best mini college reunion happened when I had the pleasure of being in the wedding of a fabulous person I met freshman year at UNC-Charlotte.  A few of us were in the wedding and it was a weekend of love and laughs.  Nothing wrong with that, right?  Absolutely not.  The happy couple, in their own way, taught me a new lesson about love.  Then, the wedding party itself was amazing!  I met some fabulous people and for that weekend, it felt good to not have to worry about anything other than having a good time.  

So, I was determined to get a new job in 2015.  Not that I didn't like what I was doing, I just new a few things - I was not going to get a promotion in my department for a while because those jobs had been filled and I was capable of doing something different.  Even if it meant me traveling more than an hour one-way to get to work, I was willing to do so.  However, the biggest blessing came on the weekend of July 4 - I was told I had a new job!!!  Simply elated, I started two weeks later.  I am happy to announce I'm still happy in my position and I think it was a great career move for me...and then the water came.  

I was literally still getting my feet wet in my job and then a storm system like no other came.  My day job title is hydraulic design engineer.  In English, that means I work with water.  In technical English, I design drainage systems for roadways and bridges.  I woke up one Sunday morning to go to church.  I never turn on my TV because I turn on my radio when I take a shower.  When I turned on the TV and saw the live shot of the interstate, I thought, that's how I come home from work.  Flipped to another station and thought, that's how I go to work downtown.  What both shots had in common were that both interstates were under water.  The place I have called home for about 4 years was under water and I don't think it will ever look the same.  Let's just say work got interesting.  

We were #ColumbiaStrong and #SCStrong.  Those are still mantras today.  However, I found a strength I didn't know I had.  I'm an only child and I have no family where I live.  On the other hand, I've been extremely blessed to create a family down here full of wonderful friends.  The majority of my blood relatives never called to check to make sure I wasn't posting on Facebook from the house of someone else or a shelter (to the few of you who did before my Mom did her thing, THANK YOU!).  My friends offered their homes, their water (because I had none for 10 days), and I quickly learned that family isn't always blood.  I've never been so thankful to live on higher ground, but others around me weren't so fortunate.  Each day, I see the devastation.  Each day, I'm thankful for higher ground.  Each day, I'm thankful for the people God has placed in my life who were there when my neighborhood was down to one way in and one way out.  

Then came the holiday season.  I traveled for Thanksgiving, spent some time with the parentals, and looked back on the year 2015 has been.  

So, those leaps of faith?  Well, I took a giant one when I started a small group with my little sister I never thought I wanted.  Yes, I call her that.  We were in the same small group at our church (NewSpring) and as we grew in Christ, we decided it was time to start a small group of our own.  Our group has only been together for a few months, but I feel like I have known those ladies all my life.  At NewSpring, we believe you can't do life alone (#YCDLA).  It's a true statement.

It wasn't perfect.  There were plenty of days where it wasn't pretty.  I learned a lot though.  I learned I have an amazing Mexican family.  (Chill out, people, I can call them that!)  My Angie and her security detail are awesome and she has been a rock when my feet were not stable.  From 2 states away, Samantha, I don't know what I would do without you, twin.  Stacy, even though you are still holding my other alter ego hostage, I love you dearly.  (Only she and I will understand).  To my fabulous mentor, thank you for your encouragement!  Jay, thank you for listening to me when I could barely talk through the tears and for laughing with me during the absolute best of times.  Zandy, love you to the moon and back.  To my Columbia Momma, thanks for keeping an eye on me, even though you don't get to see me every day anymore.  Finally to my love, thank you for loving me, even when I'm a brat.  

I think that just about covers it.  Now, there are 366 days next year.  I look forward to each day being adventurous, even those days when I'm down to my last nerve.  Bring it on, 2016...I'm more than ready.  


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