My Year in Review 2017

     Since I began high school I’ve begun trying to savor every moment.  I am suddenly able to appreciate each year for all that it has given me and end it thinking about how truly blessed I’ve been.  I want to say 2017 has been one of the best years of my life, but as I say that I realize I said the same exact phrase last year and the year before.  If you’ve seen the movie Soul Surfer or just enjoy the band Two Door Cinema Club, you’ve heard their simple 2010 hit “This is the Life.”  That song has come to serve as my life’s theme.  I by no means think I have a perfect life, but it’s exactly the life God wanted me to live.  I’ve decided to make the most of every moment and attempt to see life for all it’s worth.  Today I can see how that mindset has begun to shape my life as I write this post reviewing my year.  I hope you enjoy this post even half as much as I’ve enjoyed life this year!

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     I began the year alongside a few of my friends in our YoungLife club room, where we drank sparkling grape juice, sang some karaoke, and took a ton of pictures.  When we returned to school for second semester, my schedule completely shifted and I had to adapt to a new set of teachers.  A couple weeks later we had our first snow of the year, and I invited one of my best friends, Cammie, over to spend the night and soak up the snow day!  Clemson, a South Carolinian college less than two hours away from me, won the College Football National Championship and my friend Scout and I drove to Clemson to welcome the players home and congratulate them!  The 21st was Cammie’s sixteenth birthday, we celebrated with bunch of our friends at a local pizzeria.  The following week was drenched in the stress of lacrosse tryouts.  After three years playing JV lacrosse, I finally made varsity!

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     The month of February was relatively uneventful.  At the beginning of the month, I had a photoshoot with a couple friends at a local abandoned mill.  The day was full of laughs and resulted in a ton of cute photos!  Lacrosse practice dominated my time after school as we prepared for the season.  We played in a tournament before our games began the next week.  Towards the end of the month, I spent a Sunday downtown with my friends Cammie and Liza and our YoungLife leader, Anne.  We got ice cream and went to the top of the parking garage to look out at the city.

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     At the beginning of the month, several of my friends got together to throw a surprise party for my friend Emma’s sixteenth birthday.  She was so genuinely shocked, it was the best!  Lacrosse season was in full swing and I had at least one game each week along with practice after school each day.  Anne, Cammie, and Liza consistently came to support me at our home games and it was the sweetest thing!  In the middle of the month our school choir took a short trip to Orlando (read my travel diary here) in which we went to Universal Studios.  It was such a fun trip and it was so great to get away from everyday life for a few days!  When I returned from the trip, I found out that my father had purchased a used car for the children of the family, specifically me at this point in time, to drive.

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     April began with spring break, which my family spent the beginning of in the Bahamas at Atlantis (read my travel diary here)!  We had an amazing time swimming, snorkeling, exploring, and riding every single slide.  When we returned from spring break I began my job working at a local shoe boutique.  I still work there now and I absolutely love the job!  A week after spring break Anne, Cammie, and I went to our local theatre to see Liza perform in a production of James and the Giant Peach.  Liza was amazing and we celebrated the performance with Pelican’s sno-balls afterwards.  The next day we got up bright and early to run in the YoungLife 5k Color Run, which was super fun and also helped us fundraise for YoungLife summer camp!  After the 5k I rushed home to shower the dye off then hopped in the car with my friend Scout to attend The Chainsmokers’ concert in Charleston (read my recap of the concert here).  The show was amazing and ended with us meeting the opener, Kiiara.  We also ended up on The Chainsmokers’ Instagram and Snapchat stories the next morning!  The following Monday was Tacky Prom Club at YoungLife, which gave me a fun opportunity to dress up in an ugly dress.  Our town’s Spring Fling was at the end of the month, and I attended the downtown event with Cammie.  Within the month of April, our lacrosse season came to an end.  We made it to the second round of playoffs, farther than any of our school’s previous girls lacrosse teams has ever made it, and had a record breaking season.

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     May was equal parts stressful and exciting.  I went to Carolina Point, a YoungLife camp, with my local YoungLife group at the beginning of the month to serve during family weekend (read “5 Things I Learned During Work Crew Weekend at Carolina Point” here).  I found out I was accepted to join my school’s yearbook staff, which I was (and still am) so psyched about.  After celebrating Mother’s Day with my mom, I finally bought my own blog domain and changed my blog’s name from A Pocketful of Prep to A Pocketful of Faith, and I couldn’t possibly be happier that I made that decision.  A week later we had our lacrosse banquet, where I received my varsity letter and a plate award made by a teammate for “Most Likely to Bring Snacks.”  After an overwhelming exam week, I finished the school year with all A’s and B’s.  The Sunday following the last day of school, I left with my local YoungLife group for Frontier Ranch, a YoungLife camp in Buena Vista, Colorado (watch my travel diary video here).  In the section of the week contained by May, I rappelled down a cliff, road a horse, and square danced with a stranger on Western Night.

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     June picked up where May left off in the middle of our time at Frontier Ranch.  In our remaining time, we hiked Mount Princeton, drove dune buggies, and celebrated Christmas “the Frontier way.”  Frontier Ranch was truly one of the best weeks of my life, and I’d recommend going over and over.  A few days after we got home, Scout invited me to hang out at her house before going to dinner the night before my birthday.  As her dad was driving us to the restaurant, he stopped “to show us a local botanical garden” which turned out to be my surprise sweet sixteen!  It was super fun and my friends made me feel so loved!  I asked to switch beds with my willing little sister (she had one queen bed and I had two twin beds) and make some minor changes to my room for my birthday, and I’m very content with the way it turned out!  At the end of the month, I went to a four day lacrosse camp at Limestone College.  The weather was crazy hot and the camp itself was a lot of hard work, but I earned the Gatorade G award for heart and hustle!

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     I celebrated the Fourth of July with a couple friends at a local Craig Campbell concert.  I didn’t know many of the words to his songs but it was still fun!  A few days later I hopped on a plane and went to Washington D.C. for the Washington Journalism and Media Conference (read my recaps on the conference here).  I learned so much that week and made so many good friends that I still talk to daily!  If you ever have the opportunity to attend the conference you most definitely should.  A week after returning from WJMC, my sister and I flew to Texas to spend some time with our extended family.  Our two week visit began with our dad’s side of the family.  With our dad’s parents and a few of our cousins, we spent a couple days at the JW Marriot San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa then returned to their home in Bandera (read my “Texas Travel Diary 2017: Week 1” post and watch the corresponding video here).  A week later, we switched over to our mom’s side of the family and joined our grandmother in San Antonio.

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     I began August with my first official college visit at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.  I absolutely fell in love with the campus and could totally see myself attending in the future!  After the tour we came back to San Antonio to spend a little more time with my mom’s side of the family before our grandma took us to the beach at Rockport, Texas.  There we stayed a few more days, concluding our time in Texas.  My family has gone to Rockport since my mom was a little girl and I’m so glad we got to go this year, little did we know Hurricane Harvey would terrorize our beloved beach town just a few weeks later (read my “Texas Travel Diary 2017: Week 2” post and watch the corresponding video here).  I went back to school on August 17th and junior year had begun all too early.

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     September has to be one of my favorite months of the year due to the sudden wave of activities.  It began with our first home football games, which I spent in the stands with my closest friends.  My cousin Reagan came all the way from Texas to a nearby equestrian center, Tryon, to ride in an eventing competition and we got to go see her!  This was the second year we got to watch her and it’s so fun to see her do what she loves.  Mid-September was Music Midtown, a music festival held in Atlanta, Georgia.  I attended the festival with my friends Patty and Scout, and while we were there we got to see AJR, Tove Lo, Big Sean, Bruno Mars, Judah and the Lion, Zara Larsson, Lizzo, Russ, and Future play live, it was amazing (read my recap of the festival here).  The weekend following Music Midtown was my local YoungLife group’s fall weekend at Windy Gap.  I absolutely loved every second of Windy Gap (just as I did freshman and sophomore year) and definitely felt as though the weekend brought me closer to God.

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     The school year was in full swing as tests and essays started picking up in October.  The 20th was a teacher work day, so my family made a long weekend out of it and spent some time in Montreat, North Carolina (read my travel diary here).  We came home early Sunday morning so I could be confirmed into the Episcopal church!  Being confirmed was such a neat experience and reward for the year of studies and prayer that I had put into the process.  The following Friday my sister, brother, father, and I went to one of Duke’s exhibition basketball games at Cameron Indoor Stadium.  My dad graduated from Duke and loves watching basketball, so we went to a lot of games growing up.  I haven’t been able to come along since middle school due to school work and conflicting plans, so going this year was a real treat!  Halloween came around and Cammie and I dressed up as pigs in blankets together for YoungLife Halloween club.  Everyone thought the pig in a blanket costume was adorable and it worked in our favor to have blankets because it was really cold that night!

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     After three years of waiting, I finally got to purchase Taylor Swift’s new album reputation on November 10th.  The album surpassed my expectations and was definitely worth the wait (read my post about reputation here)!  We celebrated my little sister’s birthday on the 12th with her favorite meal at home.  Thanksgiving break came just in time on the 22nd.  I had my friends Cammie, Evan, and Sarah Grace over the night we got out for break to have a little “Friendsgiving” gathering.  We ate some delicious desserts, took tons of pictures, and had lots of good conversation, it was so fun!  I volunteered at our local Turkey Day 8k at 5:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving day then celebrated Thanksgiving with my family over some delicious home cooked food (props to stepmom).  I worked my first Black Friday and Shop Small Saturday sales at the shoe boutique and while it could be overwhelming it was also really fun!  I checked my Instagram stories one night over Thanksgiving break to find that a set of twin girls my age I met while waiting for Big Sean’s set at Music Midtown was in town visiting relatives, so I messaged them and we ended up having dinner together at a local restaurant!  It was so cool getting to know them, we now keep in touch via Snapchat streaks and are planning on meeting up again!

Gold Metallic Texture copy 8.jpg     December has always been my personal favorite month of the year due to the joyful anticipation of Christmas.  The 2nd marked my first high school attempt at the SAT, and as much as I dreaded it, it really wasn’t that bad.  I got my scores back a couple weeks later and ended up getting what I needed for my current top college (however I’m going to continue retaking it until I reach a higher score or finish junior year, whichever comes first)!  A week or so later our town got its first snow of the season, and my yearbook teacher let us go outside and enjoy it during school!  After a week of stressful exams (which I managed to get all A’s and B’s on, by the way) we got out of school on the 21st.  Immediately after getting out of school Cammie and I went ice skating at our local rink that opens annually downtown.  That night, Cammie, Evan, Sarah Grace, and I got together at Evan’s house to decorate cookies, exchange gifts, and celebrate Christmas together.  I was so happy all of my friends loved their gifts this year! Given my income from work I was able to choose gifts I really thought fit my friends’ individual styles and personalities.  My family went to the Christmas Eve service at church and all my siblings and I participated in our church’s Christmas pageant.  My sister and I were angels because our church was short on willing youth and my little brother was the cutest little sheep!  We celebrated Christmas morning with gift opening (I received a record player!) and yummy cinnamon roll bread for breakfast.  My mom and stepfather came in town form Georgia to spend the day with my sister and I, so we went to a local Thai restaurant (one of maybe five restaurants that were open) then saw Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (which is absolutely hilarious by the way).  We celebrated my little brother’s birthday on the 29th with a special dinner.  So far I’ve spent winter break working on blog posts, working, and traveling to Lynchburg, Virgina, where I’ll be spending New Year’s Eve with my stepmother’s family.

Thank you for not only reading this post, but for following along this year.  I love and appreciate all of y’all so much and I’m so glad this blog is part of my life.  I wish you the happiest celebrations both today and New Year’s Day and a 2018 full of personal success, contentment, and blessings.

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