It's been almost a year since I left for Mexico and God has done some amazing things in my life since then. I've cried, doubted, sought, laughed, remembered, learned, cried some more, crawled, run, faked it on the hard days, and pushed through two semesters of college that I thought I'd never see the end of. The first thing I want to say is this: to everyone at Casas, thank you. To the Roth's for taking us into your home, feeding us, playing games with us, teaching us. To my prayer partners (you know who you are :)) for praying for me and walking with me. To every woman at Casas for helping me see who God really desires me to be and not what the world desires me to be and for showing me what women are capable of. Each of you women has inspired me in a way that you will probably never know. I know that I left and said, "Thank you," but I don't think you realize how much my life has been changed by last summer. I saw things that broke my heart and I had times when I was ready to walk away. I made friends who are now like family to me. I know people from last summer on a deeper level than I know many of my good friends here.
I am realizing lately how blessed I am by the people around me. My Casas family, my family, my friends. My parents are also such an inspiration to me. Again, I remember the morning I was leaving for my internship, and I suddenly didn't want to go. I was all of a sudden terrified. And I came to my mom's bathroom, and I said, "I can't go." My mom hugged me, and we both cried, and she said, "You can do this." I will always remember that moment.
My dad and his hard-working self. My poor mom might have to keep him strapped down this week after his surgery so that he doesn't try to go to work! My sister, who always makes me laugh and encourages me. My fashion advice and my go-to when I need to steal a shirt or shampoo. My sister, from whom I would LOVE to steal shoes but she's the lucky one with the size 8 feet. These 10s ain't gettin' in those shoes. My brother who is the smartest person I know. My computer fixer and the person whom I know will make me laugh with some crazy post on my status on Facebook. My article finder for when it's 1 a.m. and I can't find anything to write my paper over.
In thinking about blessings I remember the things I miss.
I miss the smell of the cabins at SOTO (I can still remember it if I think hard enough) and how we all smelled when we left the river for the day.
I miss being outside those cabins and being able to see every star in existence.
I miss the 105 degree summers in Anthony and the feeling of the hot leather on the back of my legs in my dad's old F-150. I miss him driving me to school and singing Neil Diamond. I miss driving my mom crazy playing my favorite Alabama songs over and over in the van.
I miss having my best friend over for sleepovers, sleeping in the guest room in our old basement, freaking each other out, getting in trouble for being too loud, when we thought staying up past midnight was the cool thing to do.
I miss the butterflies before a big volleyball game. I miss being good at volleyball...apparently getting older doesn't help you get better at sports.
I miss playing the piano.
I miss the long days working at McDonald's with people from all walks of life, most of them more difficult walks than others. I miss running to Smoothie King and then coming back to talk with the girls about all the things high school girls talk about. I guess McDonald's was the cool place to be.
I miss my little red Mustang with the purple steering wheel cover.
I miss camping out at the lake with all the other Girl Scouts and getting in trouble for our tent being a pit. Thirteen years later my room may still look like the inside of that tent.
I miss the feeling of dirt under my nails, sore muscles, and rough hands. I know, you're like, "Um, that's weird." I remember once in youth group Brian told us we'd better get used to being weird if we wanted to follow Christ. I'm okay with that.
I miss holding those beautiful babies in Juarez and praying that God would use their new home to brighten their future and lead them to Him.
I miss Wednesday nights in the Cave and learning more about Christ, being encouraged by my friends, and heading to Freddy's afterward for custard and fries.
I miss when homework was easy and I didn't care if my clothes matched. Okay, the last one hasn't changed.
I miss a lot of things...and I am realizing when I look back on these things how much God has given me. And I'm ready to give back. And now that I have gotten all this off my chest...it's time to finish those portfolios. Because I can't go anywhere until I have this degree. One year and counting.