To My High School #FAM

To My High School #FAM

There are some people in life that make you laugh a little louder, smile a little bigger and just live a little better.

“I wish this night would never end.” “ I’m so glad that fire can’t talk.” “This stays in the group.” These are some of the things I think of when I think back to my high school friend group. These are the people I spent 4 plus years with. My high school friend group helped shaped me into who I am today. These people made a last impact on my life and it’s my turn to say thank you.

As I sit here and write this article, I can’t help but think about where we all are. What happened to the group we "creatively" called #FAM. We are getting married, deep into college, working, traveling and so much more. Life has taken us all away from this place we called home. It’s been over 2 years since we all shared that strong bond, like we had back in high school. Two years since our bond slowly started drifted part as the last of us took off to college. Two years has flown by so fast. Over the past few years you all have still crossed my mind when I look out at that fire pit, when I hear a certain song or see your Facebook post. Seems like only yesterday we were careless, wild and free.

At one point over that summer 2 years ago we all hung out for the last time and we had no idea it’d be so long since we would ever all be in the same place at the same time. This is sad to think about but in the moment the idea never crossed out minds. 2 years ago I would have never though we would be so distance and not spending every Friday night around the bonfire.

I wanted to thank you all for some of the wonder things you have done for me. To all my high school friend group thank you for......

The memories

These will last a lifetime. I will still be laughing at all the crazy and wild things we got ourselves into. The couches on gators, the random adventures and the oh… so.. creative games we use to play. These memories help pick me up on the days I’m down and make me smile a little brighter when I hear those songs we use to belt out, we swore would never get old.

Supporting me

You all were the most supportive group of friends I could ever ask for. No matter what wild thing I said I was going to do next or what boy I brought back to the group you supported me. You helped pick me up when I was down, listened when I needed to vent. No matter the situation you were always there, and I am forever grateful for you all being my rock.

Always being my concert dates

Concerts were some of the best nights of our high school experience. Thanks for always attending concerts with me and never letting me go alone. Thanks for belting out every line to every song with me and dancing like a fool and not having a care in the world. You allowed me to let loose of all the worries and the problem for that one night.

Being real with me

You always kicked me in the butt when I wasn’t being smart. Thanks for keeping me away from all the butt-holes (for lack of better words) and saving me from all the dumb ideas I thought would be a good idea. Thanks for picking up the phone and reasoning with me when I wanted to go off on someone. Thanks for keeping is real with me and never sugar coating what you had to say.

Letting me break down on you

You guys were always the best shoulders to cry on. You all were the drop everything, drive in and save me kind of friends. Thanks for accepting that sometimes I needed to break down and helping me through that.

Bonfire nights

This is one of my favorite things. I miss these nights the most. If the bonfire could talk, we might have to make its disappearance look like an accident. The bonds that grew deeper over these orange and red flames is where our friendship really blossomed. The things you talk about and then amount of opening up that went on after a late night of dancing is amazing. Thank you for sharing personal things with me and allowing me to really get to know you.… Thanks for teaching me that when I say bring macaroni to be specific with my directions and say cook it. This memory still makes me laugh when I look at mac and cheese in a box.

helping me enjoy life a little more

You all made life enjoyable. Some weeks it was all I could do to make it to the bon fire on Friday. The pick me ups, memes and jokes throughout the week make life enjoyable. Sometimes even a small look in the hallway would help me know everything was going to be alright. We helped each other through some of the toughest years of our lives….. the most awkward too.

To my #FAM…..

My wishes to each of you : I wish you the best in married life. You will make a wonderful wife! I love you to pieces girl. Remember you can always handle whatever is thrown at you. Thanks for always playing dad even when it makes me mad. I wish you the best in college and you will make a wonderful nurse someday! I know things get though sometimes but you can handle it. Just smile and give a weather up date. hope college is treating you well and I can’t wait to see where this crazy adventure called life takes you, and don’t forget to cook the mac and cheese.

I miss the times we used to cherish together but we have memories and pictures that will last us a lifetime. I wish you all the very best in this crazy world. I am always just a text or phone call away. I will forever and always be here for you. Wither we talk or not I am still cheering you on. I hope this life becomes all that you want it to. I hope you fulfill the hopes and dreams that we talked about growing up. I hope life treats you well and you achieve so much more than you ever could have imagined. You are all wonderful individuals and you’ll each change the world in your own way.

High school friend groups turn and shape us into the people we become today. They are our rocks and will always hold the most special places in our hearts!

Love forever and always,


Wild Child

Cover Image Credit: Kendall Gatewood

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Working With People Who Are Dying Teaches You So Much About How To Live

Spending time with hospice patients taught me about the art of dying.


Death is a difficult subject.

It is addressed differently across cultures, lifestyles, and religions, and it can be difficult to find the right words to say when in the company of someone who is dying. I have spent a lot of time working with hospice patients, and I bore witness to the varying degrees of memory loss and cognitive decline that accompany aging and disease.

The patients I worked with had diverse stories and interests, and although we might have had some trouble understanding each other, we found ways to communicate that transcended any typical conversation.

I especially learned a lot from patients severely affected by dementia.

They spoke in riddles, but their emotions were clearly communicated through their facial expressions and general demeanor, which told a story all on their own.

We would connect through smiles and short phrases, yes or no questions, but more often than not, their minds were in another place. Some patients would repeat the details of the same event, over and over, with varying levels of detail each time.

Others would revert to a child-like state, wondering about their parents, about school, and about family and friends they hadn't seen in a long time.

I often wondered why their minds chose to wander to a certain event or time period and leave them stranded there before the end of their life. Was an emotionally salient event reinforcing itself in their memories?

Was their subconscious trying to reconnect with people from their past? All I could do was agree and follow their lead because the last thing I wanted to do was break their pleasant memory.

I felt honored to be able to spend time with them, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was intruding on their final moments, moments that might be better spent with family and loved ones. I didn't know them in their life, so I wondered how they benefited from my presence in their death.

However, after learning that several of the patients I visited didn't have anyone to come to see them, I began to cherish every moment spent, whether it was in laughter or in tears. Several of the patients never remembered me. Each week, I was a new person, and each week they had a different variation of the same story that they needed to tell me.

In a way, it might have made it easier to start fresh every week rather than to grow attached to a person they would soon leave.

Usually, the stories were light-hearted.

They were reliving a memory or experiencing life again as if it were the first time, but as the end draws nearer, a drastic shift in mood and demeanor is evident.

A patient who was once friendly and jolly can quickly become quiet, reflective, and despondent. I've seen patients break down and cry, not because of their current situation, but because they were mourning old ones. These times taught me a lot about how to be just what that person needs towards the end of their life.

I didn't need to understand why they were upset or what they wanted to say.

The somber tone and tired eyes let me know that what they had to say was important and worth hearing. What mattered most is that someone who cared was there to hear it.

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A Few Birthday Thoughts

Goodbye teenage years, hello twenties!


So, it is looking like I am about to leave my teenage years behind. I think that I want to reflect back on this time in my life and think about what I want to keep with me in my twenties and maybe some things I can let go. My teenage years have been full of love from my family and friends; hard work to make good grades in school and creating art. I developed several great friendships that I have held on to across the miles even though I went to college 14 hours away from our previous home. I am so thankful for the friendships I have made in college as well.

It seems like friends you make in your childhood and younger years can really stand the test of time. Maybe it is because when you became friends you were truly who you were. Everyone was genuine and didn't put up walls to protect themselves. You got to know someone on a deeper more personal level more quickly than if you had met later in life. I also think we laughed even more as children and that always creates good memories to look back on. So I think in my twenties I will try to hang on to the "childish" way of making friends. I will try to show my true self and will accept them for who they are, and we will laugh....a lot.

I think a good thing to let go of is always trying to make dead-end relationships work. When we were children on the playground and we tried to play a game together or jump rope and it just wasn't working, we would run off and find someone else. It was easy. It was just natural. Now sometimes I find myself trying to stay in a relationship by being overly nice, giving gifts, trying to find what pushes the persons "good" buttons. I might spend so much time trying to figure this person out that I leave out more solid relationships that are worth my time. So in my twenties, I will try to be more realistic about who to spend my time on. Some people are just never going to stand the test of time. I can continue to be cordial but won't let them rule my time and thought life.

As children, we loved our parents and siblings and would show love to them in a myriad of ways. Maybe it was hugs, pictures on the fridge, good night kisses, playing games, or just quality time spent together as a family. Starting my twenties, I am mature enough to realize the value of these people in my life. Thankfully, I have always known this. I was never the type that was embarrassed if someone saw me walking with my Mom or Dad or being dropped off in the Mom Van somewhere. I always knew these people loved me more than anyone else I was about to meet. But in my twenties, I plan to keep up with my family even when I am eight hours away from them. We are never too old to need the love of family.

As weird as it is to say goodbye to my teenage years, it's honestly helped me to soak in the precious moments of everyday life and treasure them even more. Every year when birthdays come around, it always serves as a reminder how quickly the days, months, and years fly by. I think that has been one difficult part of this birthday season. It's hard to say goodbye to the past, without a clear map of the future. But, I must remind myself that this is why growing up is a beautiful thing- as we live life and experience new things, we are better prepared for what the future may hold. Everything that I have experienced in my 20 years has served an important purpose- to make me into the person I am supposed to become. Yes, life is always changing and so am I... and change can be hard. Very hard. But one thing to remember is God is always constant. He will never change. No matter what number is on your birthday cake, He is always there...the same God yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is the Rock that we will always be able to cling to. Isn't that a wonderful thought? Even if we don't know what's in His plans for us in the coming year, it's important to make Him a part of our plans. Rather than worry about change, let's embrace it all- the good and the bad- and look to the Lord to see how He will guide and shape us.

Teenage years- the time has come. I must say goodbye to you now. But, you will never be forgotten. I will hold your memories in my heart forever. Twenties- I am excited for all that awaits me.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." - Joshua 1:9

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