I started 2016 as a girl with a fresh new ring on her finger. Luke had just proposed in Captiva and I could feel that ring on my finger with every step I took. It was exciting and full of hope. I went back to Samford and started my last semester as a southern gal. You guys, I miss being a southern gal. We dove deep into Step Sing and I was able to once again overcome my incoordination and actually learn choreography. We got second place and it felt like there was nothing happier to ever happen. 

There was a lot of time spent in 1326. Kara and I sat on the couch and watched Shark Tank as we worked on advertising and PR. There were always people in our cute house and you better believe most of the time was filled with people around our farm table. We cooked and cooked and cooked. The best days were when Lauren and I were matching (which was most of the time because neutrals are boss). Luke visited and I welcomed him to the sunshine and we ate BBQ. We lived for those visits because long distance is the worst. 

Our ad class stayed up later than I ever had (because I’m an old lady duh) to finish that insane plan book. The wifi went out most of time and Corry threw lots of things. Oh and then we traveled to Tennessee to present our campaign and I wore real life grown up clothes for the first time in my whole life (will heels always hurt?). 

2016 was a year for plants and oils. This is all because I’m a totally independent person but also because it was a trend with millennials and I was totally 100% okay with it. My lil babes grew from seeds to big thriving things that make fruit. Totally cool God. 

I cannot tell you all of these things without telling you about my depression an anxiety. Seeing only the good is not the full picture without the hard and bad. My depression and anxiety were at an all time high at the beginning of 2016. The amount of times I sat on the floor of the shower and sobbed can’t be counted. I felt like a stranger in the place that used to feel like home. I wondered what happened to all of my friends and why everything had changed so much. I yelled at God asking what was wrong with me and paced backand forth across our bathroom floor trying to ease the attacks. Kara Young, I couldn’t have done it without you and Jesus. You are the best friend a girl could ever ask for. 

There were London reunions often on the sidewalks but also planned ones so we could all be there. They are my people and my family and my home. We all did this crazy hard thing called study abroad together and our bond is now forever. Can someone grab me a Ben’s cookie plz?#theabroadventrures

Oh yeah and since I had that ring on my finger I was a girl planning a wedding from far away and it wasn’t fun so I kinda didn’t really do it until I graduated. But I did have multiple showers and I felt like the most loved person ever to exist. If I sit and think about it too long I will cry. 

I walked across the stage at Samford University and graduated (well kinda, I’ll explain more later I promise). Despite all odds I was able to graduate sooner than I thought. I withdrew for a semester because of my brain injury. I’m super proud of the fact I didn't have to stay an extra year. Mostly I have Bernie to thank for that.. Everything in my life was about to change and I was scared but also so ready. I wish I could tell myself to soak up every second of being able to run into Kara’s room and laugh a lil bit harder as EmSmo danced.

The summer was the craziest. I was taking three classes for a month to finish up my degree. I was able to do this online through IUPUI. I was also working full time at Grace Church as a communications intern and planning a wedding. Most days I wasn’t sure which way was up. Class with David and having Tyler as a boss taught me more than I can explain. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to see what it looks like to work behind the scenes at a church. Craig and EmO, I miss making Beauty & The Beast media kits with you. 

Wedding planning was a crazy, stupid, horrible, wonderful thing. Traders Point Creamery * canceled on us three months before the wedding and I basically had to start over. We made 300 napkins and rearranged the seating chart approximately one million times. I also handmade everyone's name rocks. My sisters and besties threw the best bachelorette party a girl could ask for. Forever and always wanting to go back to that epic dance party in the kitchen and late night swims. 

I had one month of solid wedding planning and nothing else and we knocked it out. We meaning mostly my mom. She’s the rockstar here and if it wasn’t for her Luke and I would have probably been married in the middle of Delaware Street. PTL for Fit Farms and my mom. 

It all happened so quickly I can’t really remember but I can also see all of the details like it was yesterday. The best day ever ever ever came and went and I think about it too much. It was perfect and it screamed of God’s faithfulness. Weather forecast called for rain all day. It was 75 and sunny and my dad said, “why did we ever doubt God?”

Luke and I moved in together and transition is hard and good. It’s a sleepover with my best friend, but also so lonely in a new city (surprisingly a husband doesn’t fix loneliness). Luke is working at Grace Church Bloomington getting ready to launch something new and I am running my photography business full time and dreaming big dreams about what to do next. 

I’ve become a runner all of the sudden and we have learned how to share holidays with families. I felt it too during the election cycle this year. More than ever I want women to know and understand their worth. We come to Indy quite a bit and I learned how to make bread. Christmas morning felt right having Luke there and now we are back where it all started, at the beach. 2016 was the best yet. It really truly was. It was hard and happy and heartbreaking. I’m looking forward to 2017 and all it has to bring. I’m not a big fan of change, but I am a big fan of growth. Bring on the growth 2017!

* Please please please do not book your wedding at Traders Point Creamery! They treated me like a dumb bride and wouldn’t return my money after canceling on us. They told us they “couldn’t accommodate us anymore” when nothing had changed on our end. I can tell you the whole story if you want to know, send me an email. 

Wedding photo by our amazing photographer Dawn Charles.

Engagement photo by Blythe Thomas.