To the girl with big dreams

To The Girl With Big Dreams—Go, Do, See

Because sometimes the most difficult roads lead to the best destinations.

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Looking back on the past year of my life, I can finally see God's plan for my life unravelling before me. February of 2018 was a time of chaos and many questions surrounding my future. I had just had a dream that I'd been working towards for so long fall apart in front of my eyes, and I wondered what my next steps were. It was then that I began to see that my dreams were going to take me so much farther (quite literally) than I'd ever imagined. College is a huge part of my life, as it is for many high school juniors and seniors. We spend our entire lives dreaming of our futures and making so many plans, but this time was crucial for me in learning how exactly to follow my dreams.

I'm from a rural area in central Kentucky, and as a child, my plans were always to stay here and live my life in one of Kentucky's larger cities like Louisville or Lexington. It was during this time that I began to realize that my future was going to lead me much farther than I ever thought possible, and as nervous as I was about where God was leading me, I couldn't be more excited. It's important to note that if you have a dream in your heart, you have to be willing to put in the work it takes to achieve it daily. The moment I decided that I wanted to pursue higher education outside of my home state, I knew that I had to find a way to fund this great adventure I was about to embark on. Over the next nine months, I took the ACT a total of six times, having already taken it three times beforehand. Dreams require work, and lots of it, but if you're willing to put in the time and the effort, you can achieve your wildest dreams.

Dreams are different for everyone, and some are wilder and bigger than others. Mine required my family and I trecking thousands of miles across the Southeastern United States, touring universities far and wide. This was one of the best experiences of my life because I was quite literally able to see my dreams coming true in front of me. Seeing something you've worked so hard for coming to fruition is one of the best feelings in the entire world because it feels like all the blood, sweat and tears were actually worth it in the end.

As most of my family and friends know, this journey of following my dreams led me to a small town in Southern Alabama to Troy University where I'll be enrolling this fall. It's also important to note that while this journey has been amazing, it hasn't all been easy. When you decide to do something different and not follow the crowd, you'll inevitably face many close-minded critics who will judge you without knowing anything about you or your story. You'll face anxiety like none other because this is your dream and your entire heart is willing it to come true. But at the end of the day, you have to be willing to fight for your dreams, because one day you'll be sitting in a rocking chair in a nursing home somewhere and you don't want to have to say that you settled for less than the best, giving up on the dreams in your heart. So to the girl with big dreams, fight for them. Follow them. Go. Do. See.

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When You Make A Girl An Aunt, You Change Her World In All The Best Ways

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest girl in the world.

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My brother and his wife recently blessed our family with the sweetest bundle of joy on planet earth. OK, I may be a little bias but I believe it to be completely true. I have never been baby crazy, but this sweet-cheeked angel is the only exception. I am at an age where I do not want children yet, but being able to love on my nephew like he is my own is so satisfying.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a very protective person.

From making sure the car seat is strapped in properly before every trip, to watching baby boy breathe while he sleeps, you'll never meet someone, besides mommy and daddy of course, who is more concerned with the safety of that little person than me.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her a miniature best friend.

There is something about an aunt that is so fun. An aunt is a person you go to when you think you're in trouble or when you want something mom and dad said you couldn't have. An aunt is someone who takes you to get ice cream and play in the park to cool down after having a temper tantrum. I can't wait to be the one he runs to.

When you make a girl an aunt, she gets to skip on the difficulty of disciplining.

Being an aunt means you get to be fun. Not to say I wouldn't correct my nephew if he were behaving poorly, but for the most part, I get to giggle and play and leave the hard stuff for my brother.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her the best listening ears.

As of right now I only listen to the sweet coos and hungry cries but I am fully prepared to listen to all the problems in his life in the future.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the best advice giver.

By the time my nephew needs advice, hopefully, I will have all of my life lessons perfected into relatable stories.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a number-one fan

Anything you do in life sweet boy, I will be cheering you on. I already know you are going to do great things.

When you make a girl an aunt, she learns what true love is.

The love I have for my nephew is so pure. Its the love that is just there. I don't have to choose to show love every day, I don't have to forgive, I don't have to worry if it is reciprocated, it is just there.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest person in the world.

I cannot wait to watch my precious nephew grow into the amazing person that I know he is going to be.

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To The Dog That Changed My Life

What I once thought was going to be "just a dog" has turned into my favorite shotgun rider, my hiking buddy, and the cutest little ice cream date in the world.

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"And I found that life sometimes has a funny way of giving you exactly what you need, but not in the form you expect."

I never expected that form to be in a 60-pound ball of fur who has filled my life with love, laughter, and so many muddy paw prints that I lost count.

I never expected a dog to change my life that much. In reality, I wasn't even ready for the responsibility. But, her puppy eyes melted my heart, and I knew that I just had to adopt her.

I got her when I was nineteen and just starting school with zero extra time for a puppy. But, somehow, we made it through. We grew up together. She taught me responsibility and gave me something to work for. Having a puppy makes you get out of bed on your bad days. Having a puppy makes you want to go to work to be able to afford dog food. Having a puppy makes you want to stay home because she can't be left alone for too long. With every passing month, she got bigger and I got more responsible.

She has changed my life in ways I never could imagine. She gives me the motivation to work hard in school. She gives me something to look forward to coming home to. She gives me happiness when I feel like I lost everything, and she gives me so many smiles because I get to wake up to her every morning.

What I once thought was going to be "just a dog" has turned into my favorite shotgun rider, my hiking buddy, and the cutest little ice cream date in the world.

I am so thankful that she changed my life the way she did and filled the hole in my heart that I didn't even know was missing.

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