UPDATE: I am still here! It has been a while since my last post, but…school. I have read a few more good books (Knowledge of the Holy, #Struggles, and Scary Close) and reading another now (It’s Not What You Think). I broke my glasses. I have started a diet with Herbalife (I was a cynic, but I am beginning to believe) and quite possibly the hardest recital ever is just around the corner. Our service-learning trip to Fiji is in a month (if you would like to learn more or donate, click here). BUT, this post is not about what I have or have not done. It’s about some amazing, inspiring and loving individuals for which I am thankful for.
- My brother Nik. His relentless teasing doesn’t faze me because deep down, he loves me. Thank you for being my favorite little person.
- My parents. They have been so gracious and forgiving towards me, even when I don’t deserve it. Dad, you truly make me want to do the best I can to make you proud. Mom, thank you for showing me a little more of your heart. Thank you for supporting my decision to go to Fiji, and to explore the world.
- My grandparents. I know this is a difficult season in your lives, but thank you for unconditionally loving me.
- Uncle Gabe. U da baddest of the bunch. I really love you.
- My cousins and extended family. I appreciate every little moment I spend with you. I could just write a post about all of you.
- Yolie, Felipe, Nathan, Dianna, and Lilly-thank you for always welcoming me into your home and life with gracious arms. I can’t wait to see you next weekend.
- Trisha, Zack, Amaya and Fred-I hope my future family is as genuinely loving as yours. Thank you.
- My best friend Jocelyn. Life is a little hard without you here in Fresno, but I am still as thankful for your friendship as ever! I can’t wait until we are 35, sipping mojitos on the beach, and talking about the silly thing our dog did at home.
- My new friends at The Bridge and in the College Community. Thank you for making me apart of your mission, and for allowing me to grow and learn in my faith.
- Jackie, Georgiana, Becca, Ashley, Amber, Valisha, Jenna, Haley, Annelies, David, Jesse, Steven, Jesse, Alyssa, Cisco, Ryan, Noah, Rachel, Pastor Jeff, Momma Chris and others-you are amazing people and thank you for your endless hospitality.
- Daniel, Brenda, and Chris-Saturday Sports has been a huge blessing! Thank you for your dedication to our kids at Ericson.
- My friends at AV, InterVarsity, and beyond. We are all just trying to follow Jesus, and we know we can’t do it on our own. I am thankful I get to do life with you.
- Maysee, Santa, Gabi, Marissa, Maritza, Esli, Christina, Nancy, and Tania-what a wonderful time of prayer we had. I can’t tell you how much shame I was able to surrender that night. “Fall Afresh” is what comes to mind when I reflect back on that night. You are beautiful young women and you are more than the sum of your parts. Maysee and Santa, thank you for keeping me accountable and helping me open up.
- Raven-Although we don’t lead a bible study together, you are still such a wonderful friend to me. When I stress over the small things, you help me look at the bigger picture. Thank you.
- Martin, Christian, Daija, Jacob, Lawrence, Darren, Taylor, Kenia, Jameela, Wil, Brandon, Jessica, Patient and others-Brothers and sisters, I appreciate the light you bring to the world and the encouragement you share with the group. Martin and Christian, what a small world! I am so glad we were able to reconnect. Your friendship is invaluable, and I hope we go on more adventures.
- My family from Dog Days. I don’t know where to start! Our summer together really molded me into a different type of leader. You are all bright and beautiful people, and no one else could fill your spot. Thank you for making me apart of the team.
- Sarah, Alex A., Ko, Perla, Jorge, Ashley C., Ashley P., Angela, Chris, Kane, Gilbert, Eva, Kayleigh, Rachel, Lauren, Alex C., Kc, Kaile, Alexis, Emily, Isabella, Julianne, Taylan, Leslie, KiKi, Michael, Austin, Fabiola, Shaunie and our fearless boss Ken-Thank you for being apart of my college journey. #OLLove
- The Richter Center Student Leadership team. I love being able to serve my campus with you. You have showed me what it means to serve others selflessly and with courage.
- Alex, Ludie, Lilianna, Juan, Jove, Toushu, Taylor, Mala, Jazmin, Alma, Evelyn, Nicole, Sharon, Amy, Aly, Ramiro, Natori, Hannah, Kelli, Kari, Cassie, Bernadette, Chong, Irene, Yesenia, Cora, and our social media maven Nancy
- Mellissa, Chris, and Renee-thank you for believing in us! I appreciate every ounce of support you have for service-learning.
- My friends who are also in the MCJ department. You inspire me every day to pave trails some women are too afraid to do. I think we also owe a lot to our professors, as well. #WeAreMCJ
- Laura, Sierra, Jackie, Missy, Fabiola, Alex C., Janet, Liz, Sara, Kaile, Amanda and alumnae Ashlie and Selyna
- Be The Match On Campus.
- Ari, Tosha, and Vivian-thank you for including me in this work. Even the smallest of deeds can have the greatest impacts in the lives of these patients. I am thankful for your caring hearts.
- Polynesian Club of Fresno. This club brings so much joy to my days.
- Antonia, Rica, Kolei, Martha and Linda-thank you for being so dedicated to your dancers. It’s been such a rad semester.
- University Communications team. I am grateful to work with an exceptional team.
- Angel, Margarita, Tom, Eddie and Jenny-thank you for believing in my work and for helping me stay level-headed in this environment. I am thankful for the opportunity to be a student assistant and learn from the best.
- Jim Nelson. You get your own line. I admit, I thought you weren’t going to allow me in the press box again after the first night because I was cramping your style or taking your space next to Ryan. I was completely wrong. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with me.
- FUI 2014 interns and staff. I still consider all of you my forever family in Christ. Ramya and Karl-still the coolest 20 somethings I know.
Again, this list isn’t exhaustive. I definitely have more people I could write about at length, but these are the folks who have made 2015 special. These are the people I will write about for years to come.
In Scary Close, author Donald Miller writes about the funeral of his friend, David, a pastor of a small church. Thousands of people attended this man’s funeral and stayed after the service was over to talk. Miller wonders why and how that was, when his friend kept his circle so small and didn’t seek attention.
For me, the sure sign a story is good is how it makes you feel afterward. When an audience sits in the theater to watch the credits roll, the story was good. It’s as though nobody wants to get up out of respect for what they just experienced. And if I had to name the emotion I feel sitting there watching the credits roll, it’s gratitude. Not just gratitude for the story, but for life itself. A good story makes you thankful to be alive because it reminds you that while sometimes painful, life is indeed beautiful and even magical…I’m starting to wonder if that’s not the whole point of life, to be thankful for it and to live in such a way others are thankful for theirs as well.
I’m starting to wonder the same thing. I am learning the art of relationships. I am slowly learning whether I put myself or my success first, and pruning away to make room for others.
Most of all, I thank the Lord for you all and for this life I have been blessed with.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.” Psalm 136:1