Some of you may know that 24 is my favorite number, meaning I've been looking forward to my 24th birthday for well over six months. I've felt 24 for a while… so it's time. However, there are many things I've loved about my year being 23… and here are some:
1. Moving to North Carolina. okay, technically I was 22 when I moved here, but I turned twenty three FOUR days after. Haley & Anne made my birthday super special and we christened my 23rd year in NC with Hey, Hey Cupcakes at Wicked Weed Brewing (two favorites). Moving was a life changing decision that I have not once regretted.
2. Being CIT Director at Camp. there are many ways I fell short during my time as CIT Director, but having this role at camp was my favorite summer yet. It was the most unique time with my girls and gave me an amazing friendship with my co-director, Robert. My three months as CIT Director were chalked full of lessons my girls taught me & I am so grateful.
3. Becoming a professional bridesmaid. during my calendar year of being 23, three of my closest friends from MC got married. Some of you may have heard some complaints about these duties, but really.. in that moment where one of your closest friends is walking down the aisle, it is all worth it. Marriage is a beautiful thing and I was lucky to stand beside Kristen, Laura and Kendall on their big days.
4. Getting more married friends. (on the topic of marriage…) most of my friends here in Black Mountain are married, and I have loved getting a peek into their marriages. Marriage is scary and daunting and crazy but watching my friends love their spouses so graciously while simultaneously being honest about the tough moments has been a constant encouragement.
5. One word: Bruiser. I love dogs, but this dog is the best. The end.
6. Living with Haley Fulford. Yep, Hales, you got that right. When I moved to NC, Haley literally shared her bed with me for the first month so I wouldn't have to sleep on the old, creeky side of the house alone. I'm forever grateful. Living with Haley taught me a lot about myself (how important communication is…). She's the yin to my yang-- she brings out fun Mary Kathryn like no one else. Our silly and our serious moments are some of my favorite this year.
7. Asheville. On a lighter note-- this city is just so fun. Always somewhere fun to go & something new to try.
8. TRYING NEW FOODS. when i first moved here, i started a list of things i was trying for the first time. here are a few: cauliflower, crunch peanut butter, kale, radishes, olives, cuscus, pistachios, mushrooms, pad thai, curry & avocados. This is not a full list-- but y'all. I have mastered trying new foods! I may not like all of them, but I loveeee some of them.
9. Traveling for work- this can be lonely. at one point, i was on the road for fifteen days. Luckily, visiting Haley in DC and the Evans' in PA were on this trip so I wasn't totally lonely. BUT overall, I loved the places I was able to go and the people I was able to meet and visit during my travels.
10. New York City- of all people, I really had little desire to ever visit NYC. Ulterior motives took me there in November, and I fell in love with the City lights. The City is overflowing with diversity, opportunity and so much intrigue.
11. Starting to see a therapist- yeah, you read that right. I started seeing a counselor a couple months ago and she is now my BFF. a well paid BFF. She's helping me learn about the unhealthy habits I have and encouraging me to develop a healthier view of myself. Thanks, BFF. You da best.
12. Being in a long distance relationship (hence NYC, y'all)- okay, this is something I don't always love but I'm learning to…embrace. Even if the circumstances aren't what we picture as ideal, Jesus always has our best interest in His plan.
13. Growing in knowledge of God's love for me. Sometimes I think growing up in the church really numbed me to the shocking and vulnerable reality of God's deep love for me. The past month or so I've been asking God to teach me how to operate from a place of being fully known and completely loved by Him (how freeing!) instead of a place of fear, insecurity and need for validation. I hope year 24 brings much more of this.