2017 in Review: Embracing Life’s Little Moments

If I had to sum up 2017 in one word, it would easily be “grateful.” I’m grateful for encouraging friends and loving family. I’m (really) grateful for merciful professors, and support from people I don’t even know.

A few highlights from 2017:

I published my first (and second) book.
From creating an ISBN (the little barcode on the back of books) to satisfying the publishers formatting requirements, I learned all about self-publishing! Check out The Ultimate Language Arts Cheat Sheets and The Ultimate Math Cheat Sheets!
I got to hear Matt Walsh speak live. (something I’ve wanted to do for years!)
I’ve followed The Matt Walsh Blog for years, and was SO EXCITED to hear that he was speaking only 15 minutes away at the University of Notre Dame!! (He’s from the East Coast and never tours, so this was a HUGE surprise!) My grandpa and I went together and had a great time.

I visited California for the first time.
I visited California for a homeschool convention. It was my first time anywhere out west! The weather was AMAZING, the food was AMAZING, the homeschool convention was AMAZING. I want to go back. Here is our awesome booth neighbors!

My blog hit two million views.
I’m greatly grateful for the platform I’ve had been given, and I love my job! I am excited I get the amazing opportunity to help educators and homeschoolers around the globe!

I met Nick Vujicic!
I had the opportunity to hear Nick speak live a few years ago, but this time I got a picture with him at the Great Homeschool Conventions in California! I’m excited that I will be a booth vendor again at the Great Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio.

I finished my freshman and sophomore year of college (and most of junior).
I didn’t come into college with many credits, but worked like crazy (I don’t really recommend it) and am planning on graduating next winter. (woot woot for saving thousands of dollars)

I had a first date!
Against all odds, I had a first date this year. By the way it went, it won’t be my last date either. 🙂 (I’ll have more on this later!!)

I was awarded the title of Miss Elkhart County 4-H Fair Queen.
Elkhart has the largest 4H Fair in the nation, and the second largest county fair in the nation. The fair is my second home, and I was incredibly excited and humbled to be crowned the Fair Queen.

It came with a wealth of cool opportunities, and I was able to meet some of the headlining acts. My senior queen and I had fun catching chickens, riding in a helicopter, riding in a hot air balloon, holding a snake, showing a llama, and even racing each other in our golf cart. 🙂
I successfully completed an Escape Room!
Ever since escape rooms started popping up, I knew I wanted to do one! Basically, you and a group of friends are locked in a room with an hour to escape. You have to use logic, wit, puzzle-solving skills and teamwork. With a team of four, we made it out with three minutes to spare! It was incredibly fun, and we had a great time! If you ever have the opportunity, I highly recommend doing one!

A few lessons from 2017:

In the midst of 2017’s biggest moments, I also did a bunch of little things for the first time, like went through a corn maze, carved a pumpkin, visited Notre Dame, and a whole bunch of other fun things.

Through it all, I constantly think about this quote from L.R. Knost:

“Life is amazing. And then it’s awful. And then it’s amazing again. And in between the amazing and awful it’s ordinary and mundane and routine.
Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary. That’s just living heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life. And it’s breathtakingly beautiful.”

I’m a big picture thinker with a very high long term orientation – I constantly live for the future and am aware of how my actions affect tomorrow, next week, or the next decade. I’m disciplined and great at planning, budgeting, or fostering good habits for tomorrow. But, in the midst of all that planning, I sometimes forget about the little moments along the way.

At the end of my first year of college, I realized I left with very few real memories. I worked, ate and slept about 90% of the time I wasn’t in class. (sometimes all 3 within a five minute period) I don’t necessarily regret it, but wish I would’ve put myself out there more and lived more.

This school year changed that. With a solid group of friends, I’ve learned to take a step back and just enjoy the moment. I sometimes sacrificed sleep for late-night talks and learned to sometimes shut my laptop (aka work) and go do something random and fun.

The work will always be there (I’ve officially accepted I’ll never be fully caught up), but these late nights won’t last forever.

I’m not into a live-for-the-moment party lifestyle. This year taught me how to have a balance between embracing the moment while still being able to plan for the future. (I’m still trying to figure it out though.) As I look back, it’s those little moments I treasure most, and it’s those little moments that make up the big moments.

To kick off the new year, I leave to compete for the title of the Miss Indiana State Fair Queen in a couple weeks. I don’t know what is going to happen down there. But, I’m excited.

I’m beyond grateful for everything 2017 had to offer; the good, the bad, and the ordinary.

Here’s to 2018.

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