What a crazy, insane year. I can’t quite describe what this year has been like. I’ve grown a lot as a person as we’ve closed so many chapters of life, moved constantly, tried new things, visited new states, laughed a lot, cried a lot, developed new skills, met new people, felt lonely, felt on top of the world, traveled to a new country, and started so many new traditions in our new home. This year has made me question my purpose and where I find success. I’ve clung to God more this year than before. The only thing that can come close to describing this year is Thomas Rhett’s song “Life Changes,” because it’s so true – everything KEEPS changing.
We started off 2019 still living in our shoebox apartment in St. Louis. In February, I welcomed another Senior Spokesmodel Team – the class of 2020, and kicked off their year and a half of fun! The spring held many photoshoots and weekend trips. We also prepared for my brother’s wedding. However, the biggest thing was likely our trip to Wisconsin. Hayden and I have SO MANY unfortunate, but hilarious stories from that trip. For nearly three years, Hayden and I called Town and Country (a suburb of STL) our home, and in the first week of May, we packed up and began Hayden’s final round of clinical rotations. We left our itty bitty apartment, friends, and the sweetest church family (including my amazing middle school students – who are now in high school!). I cried more than I thought I would. It was tough saying goodbye to what was familiar and cozy and hello to the unknown.
From May-mid July, we lived in Lincoln, Illinois with family, and Hayden drove to Bloomington, IL every day for work. Our sweet family gave us our own apartment in their basement, and it was the perfect set up for the ten weeks we were there. In the midst of living in Lincoln, I turned 23, my brother graduated with his second degree from the U of L, I photographed several weddings and senior sessions, I was in my brother’s wedding (& photographed it!), traveled to Atlanta for a week at Market buying (& photographing/videoing) fall clothes for Glamour Farms Boutique, and I trained for my half marathon!
Then from mid-July to the end of September, we lived in Columbia, Missouri in the smallest hotel room. This was difficult, and if you ask me about in person I’ll give you all the details. In short, those ten weeks were the hardest. I drove every week back and forth to Louisville, IL for Glamour Farms Boutique. It was roughly an 8-hour trip, and I couldn’t have been more grateful that Hayden’s sister Halle let us borrow her Prius for those 10 weeks. (Side note: get a Prius they are the cutest and eco friendly!!) During Columbia, Hayden and I had several weekends to ourselves and enjoyed exploring the area. Columbia is such a unique place! I was also SO blessed to have several seniors travel from Southern Illinois to Columbia for their sessions – still obsessing over these photos!! I also went on vacation to Branson with Hayden’s extended family, and Hayden was able to enjoy a few days with us (over the weekend!). One of my best friends, Bethany, got married in the end of July, and I was so honored to stand next to her on her big day. In August, Glamour Farms Boutique took myself (& my mom) and our entire team to Cancún on a week long all-inclusive trip. This was my first trip outside of the US, and I’m already itching to go somewhere else. During the Cancún trip and time in Columbia, I continued to train for my half marathon by running on a treadmill and swimming in an olympic size pool. Amongst all of this chaos, Hayden found his incredible job, and we placed an offer on a DREAM home. It was evident that God was orchestrating all of it.
At the end of September, we moved into a loft apartment in downtown St. Louis thanks to a sweet couple from church. We purchased our home the first weekend of October and hosted a photo event and a spokesmodel event the days after. From October to the end of November, Hayden and I spent half of every week in STL working, and then, we would travel to Mount Vernon, IL to work on our new home and keep up with all of my senior sessions and events. We lived out of suitcases and were CONSTANTLY on the go! I also checked off “run a half marathon” from my bucket list. This has been a goal for the past two years, and I finally conquered it! We celebrated Thanksgiving with our families and started the Christmas festivities!
This last month, December, has been such a sweet and great cap to a crazy year. It started with Hayden’s graduation for his Doctorate of Physical Therapy and a big graduation/housewarming party!! While we’ve still been on the road more than I like, I am so grateful for several nights at home around the Christmas tree. We recently spent several days with my family in Effingham, and I couldn’t be more grateful for those days packed with laughter, movies, games, and stories.
This year has been exhausting, and I’ve found that more than ever I’m craving just being still. I’ve never been like that, and I feel that God is calling me to slow down and enjoy more simple parts of life. I haven’t mastered it!!! I haven’t even come close to understanding what that looks like for me, but I know it’s important. I’m excited to dig into that in 2020. In 2020, I’m hoping to aim more on the positive parts of life and let the hustle and bustle fade in the background. To work hard, but to play hard too! I’ll be sharing my entire list of 2020 goals with y’all soon!