But I knew God wanted me to trust Him and take it one day at a time. As I sit here this evening reflecting on the past 12 months, I can see that my life in 2011 was “changed, impacted, and affected” by the places I went and the meaningful relationships that He has provided.
I am grateful that I now have a spirit of contentment that I certainly didn’t have during the summer. I came back to the U.S. in May (after living in Africa for 11 months) and had a VERY difficult time adjusting back to this culture…day after day, I kept wishing I was back in Africa with my dear friends there (the week I said my goodbyes in Uganda, I probably cried more tears than I had in the past 5 years! It was ridiculously hard.)
2011 has been full of rich experiences and fantastic people. I recognize a need to purposely remember those things (by writing this)…so that year after year, I can look back at my journals/writings and see where I’ve been and be reminded of His faithfulness. Here are some things I’m grateful for this past year:
Family events such as being in my sister’s wedding, as she said “I do” to Abram. Thanksgiving with my wonderful cousins (good food, fellowship, and Mario Kart!) Also spending Christmas with the whole family (including my former college roommate) last month was so special.
A church that challenges/encourages: I visited ECC in May and haven’t looked elsewhere. I was sick of church-hopping, so this was an answer to prayer. I only know a hand-full of people there, but I know that takes time. There’s a vibrant, refreshing, passionate atmosphere at ECC…
Protection while living in Uganda…particularly during the violent riots during elections. My cousin pointed me to Psalm 56: 3-4 during a fearful circumstance this year. “…in God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?”
The kids/staff at Dwelling Places who taught me far more than I could have imagined
New friendships: in Uganda: Maria, Derrick, Laeticia and family, Lauren C, Rachel W, Antonia, and others. In the U.S.: Joy, Jess, the Hoffman family, Greg. Thank you for walking through life with me this year…those of you in PA, I can honestly say the past 7 months were brighter because of you. Looking forward to more memories!
Continuing friendships: too many to list. But thank you for your honesty, for challenging me, for laughing/crying with me, for being patient with me through the years.
All my amazing photography clients who allowed me the privilege of telling your story with my camera. I am a changed person because of you. Thank you!!
-London, England (May. Stopped for two days on the way home to the U.S. Saw the important sights and had a blast.)
-Haiti (Nov) Had the opportunity to do mission’s photography in this beautiful land-
-Lynchburg, VA (May, my sister’s college graduation; Aug to visit friends
-Wisconsin (June. to photograph my dear friend, Erin’s, wedding)
-Chicago, IL (June. thanks, Carol!)
-Oklahoma (July. visited family friends and helped them fix up a rental property)
-Colorado Springs, CO (July. Stayed with family friends and realized once again that I wouldn’t mind living here someday.)
-Richmond, VA (job-hunted and visited Kate)
-Raleigh, North Carolina (Aug. time with Rach!)
-Philadelphia, PA (Oct)