Yes, I am an individual, but more than that I am a collection of investments.
This is something that was said in meeting today and it is something that I whole heartily agree with and really want to live my life realizing that and thanking those investors.
Let's go to my beginning of time. My parents. I couldn't have a better family. My family has supported me my entire life and let me sort through interests and hobbies and goals. I love them so much and I don't think I could ever thank them enough. Growing up I tried all kinds of different things from gymnastics to dance to basketball to Girl Scout and Medical Explorers to cheerleader and my family was always there cheering me on or helping me complete a project. To this day my family supports me with college and being in Oregon this summer. They are always encouraging me and asking tough questions when I think I want to change something, just to be sure that is the right step. I am who I am today because of my family.
My teachers. Cheesy I know, but it is truer today with teachers from Baylor, that I have been blessed to have had some of the greatest, kindest and most loving teachers. All the way back to elementary school at W.C. Andrews to high school to Baylor. I have had teachers pour into me, challenge me, and teach me about the world and about myself. Sure GP may not be the best school district, and I may not have been as prepared for college as people from other districts, but I am who I am because of GP. While I may of wanted to get out of there as soon as possible, I am grateful for my time there and the experience I gained in Portland.
Good ole' Zephyr. Zephyr has really shaped who I am. I was challenged beyond what I could have imagined physically, spiritually and mentally out at the camp I love. From the executive staff to the bands and speakers who were at camp to the kids that came through those gates to the summer staff. I took on some of the biggest leadership roles I had ever been given and I was fully supported by an amazing exec. staff that loved me so well. Zephyr has for sure shaped me into the woman of God I am today and Zephyr will always have a place in my heart as not just a camp site, but as a family who loves and supports me.
Friends. I have had some of the best life-long friends ever. Granted it helps to grow up in a small town and not leave it till you go to college, but still. Hilary and Ashley are two people that I can say helped me survive childhood. Hilary is someone who loves me no matter what decisions I make or how ever many miles get put between us. We get together and its as if we were never apart. Ashley was a stronghold growing up, especially during high school. Lunch in the cheer room was something I treasured because I wasn't having to live in the fakeness of GP for that hour. I was able to be real with Ash and I am so grateful for her. There are others who I am grateful for, but these 2 standout and they will forever be my best friends.
Now at Baylor I have been blessed to have found some amazing friends that I know our friendship will last long after graduation. Lauren, who I have been lucky enough to live with for 2 years already, and will get at least one more, has been my best friend since freshman year. It is to the point that we can finish each others sentence and know just what ticks the other person off. Ha We are almost always together and if we aren't we could tell you where the other person is. I am so grateful I get to live with her because we are always having fun! Juelie is my other best friend. We met the day before classes started and have been pretty inseparable since. This year though will be tough because we have been there for each other the last 3 years, but God has called Juelie to Tyler, this will be tough, but I know our friendship is strong enough to stand the distance. I love this girl so much and am so grateful for her wisdom, but books and spiritually, that she has shared with me these last 3 years.
Lastly, Bend. This summer I have been poured into from many different people. The three that stand out are Brandon, Linda and Shelby, everyone has played a significant role in my growth here, but those 3 are major contributors. I have loved this summer and this internship program. I am thankful for this church and how well it loves and teaches the interns while we are here for 10 weeks. I have learned so much, grown so much, been challenged in new ways, and had so many new experiences here, it's just crazy. I don't think I could ever put into words what this summer has been, but just imagine a town nestled in the valley of some snow capped mountains, with a river running through it, no humidity, the sun is almost always shinning, and an awesome community. Now add Antioch, which has amazing leaders that our pouring into us and giving us chances to learn new things by experience and guidance. But apart from teaching us the technicalities of things they are also teaching us about Jesus by allowing us to live life with them. While you are at it throw in amazing host families that allow us to live with them for free for 10 weeks!! Then add 30 other interns who are growing and learning alongside you. While we may be learning the same thing in the office, we are all learning different things in our hearts, so sharing what we each learning this summer has been one of my favorite things! I love seeing different viewpoints from one spot. This summer has been something that I won't forget, and that I will come back to often.
While I only mentioned a few people in this post there have been countless people who have invested in me these last 21 years, and people who I know will continue to invest in me. Starting with Mrs. Kathleen, who taught me dance, but also so much more. To Allen and Amy Frans, who have poured into me and loved me so well these last 3 years. To the families who started and still support Zephyr. Anyone who has ever invested in Baylor has invested in me, because that is where I am getting my degree from. To Mrs. Lisa who has loved me like a daughter, and expected so much from me, just like my mom. To Dillon, who I have gotten to see chase after God's dream for him and lay his wants aside. Each and every person who has lived life with me in some way has invested in me and shaped me into the 21-year-old woman I am today, and I am forever grateful. I could never say thank you enough to each one of you. But just know I am grateful for you and thank you for investing in me.