I closed out 2017 by reflecting on my year through my article, Why 2017 Was A Year Of Learning, so this year I thought I'd do it again. I love blogging because it's a more real and accurate look into my life. It's a look past the VSCO filtered highlight reels of life splattered across Instagram and all the sarcastic tweets.

At the conclusion of my 2017 article I wrote, "Cheers to a new year full of love and laughter" and that's what 2018 truly brought me.

2018 was filled with so much love and joy from so many unexpected places.

The second semester of my freshman year of college was a lot less difficult and I began to see my relationships growing deeper roots which was really encouraging. I felt more adjusted to living a thousand miles from home and I went on tons of fun adventures around Florida with friends.

That semester I took a step out in faith and decided to apply for student leadership at Southeastern. Feeling completely underqualified and unprepared, I interviewed for an RA position and a spot on the marketing team. I definitely didn't think I'd end up on Res Life but after spring break I found out I had a spot on Aventura's team! I was excited, super intimidated, but completely sure this was where God wanted me.

My first semester of freshman year I had really struggled with understanding God's purpose for me at SEU. I felt so looked past and so lonely at times. Becoming a part of student leadership was God's answer to so many prayers.

Over the summer I spent the most time alone, probably, ever.

I worked full time and took two college classes (and failed one, college math is no joke lol). Working over 40 hours a week and taking those classes clearly wasn't my best idea but you win some you lose some.

The last few months of 2017 were spent grieving the loss of two very important people in my life: my ex-boyfriend and my grandmother. 2018 brought me lots of healing and closure in those areas.

Having so much alone time during the summer really taught me how to be content by myself. I learned how to be alone but not lonely, and I have to say that's one of the most valuable things I've ever learned. I really appreciate the time I spend all by myself in my room reading my devotions, making music on the piano or listening to a good playlist.

I'm finding peace in my heart in the quiet moments rather than searching for noise to fill the gaps in life.

August brought me a new job, a new semester of college and a new family (shout out to the Ave team!!!). Still feeling totally unqualified to be an RA I was determined to put everything I could into this new season of life and God was so faithful, just as He always is.

Coming into a new semester I felt kind of dry in my prayer life. After a summer packed with so much routine heavily revolving around work and school, I kind of lost the spiritual momentum I had spring semester. Honestly, I was really confused as to why I was feeling this way. I knew God had called me to this position of leadership as an RA but I just couldn't hear His voice as clearly anymore. I was so committed to getting back to a healthy place so I could lead well. Through tons of prayer and consistency in my devotional life, I did, and it felt so good.

I'm so thankful for the happiness that 2018 has brought me. Every day I have been reminded that He truly knows the desires of our hearts and wow He has blessed me beyond what I ever could've imagined! He continually fulfills the desires I have to hear from Him in prayer, serve and lead well, and truly find joy each day. I have grown so much as a leader, small business owner and as a person.

Now for some self-improvement:

In 2019 one of the first goals I set for myself was to improve my art. I want to continue growing my small photography business as well as work on some graphic design projects.

On the real, one of my biggest goals is to give myself more grace and allow myself to feel my emotions. After a pretty rough 2017 I saw myself shy away from the possibilities of some relationships. I stopped allowing myself to connect with people on a deep level and definitely guarded my heart heavily.

I lost myself in the hustle of each day and every time I felt negative emotions just pushed myself to get over it and be productive that day. Don't get me wrong, I love the hustle of life and being busy, but hiding behind work to avoid my emotions was not the healthiest decision.

I've for sure gotten better about these things, but that's the long way of saying that in 2019 my goals are to be healthy, joyful and to steward my finances more responsibly.

Cheers to another year of joy, love and lots of sunshine!