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Holi-Diaries//A Year in Review

As we wrap up 2023, I have nothing but true gratitude. For the growth I've had, the places I've traveled, the community I have built and it's not even over. Who knows what these next three days will hold!



Flights. Cute fits. New friendships. Blessings in disguise. Failed devotionals. Lost files. Homemade pizza nights. Deep Eddy Lemons with sprite + a splash of grenadine. Loads of work emails. Rodeos. Concert after concert. Mario Kart tournaments. Obsessions with Sprouts Sandwiches. Growing produce. Scheduled FaceTimes with my long distance pals. Celebrating my pals getting engaged. Presenting at conferences. Loads of ice cream, soft serve, milkshakes, blizzards, and gelatis. Graduations. Weddings. World Series Champs. Reuniting with college pals. Hikes. Estate Sales. Snorkeling. Iconic Halloween costumes. Chasing sunsets with Sydney even 1,052 miles away. Deciding to be a youth leader. Solo dates. Egg and cheese croissants. Meeting bands. Eating Cookout again.


Some of the memories I will cherish, whenever I think of the year 2023.


This year began, traveling for work..yet again. But I think this year I cherished it way more. The sights I got to see. The goats. The sunrises and sunsets. The gorgeous homes. But with this year also came a lot of fluctuation. Also, I got to fall more in love with podcasts, shoutout to Girls Gotta Eat and My Morning Devotional.


Speaking of Girls Gotta Eat they are a highlight of my 2023. Not only because I took myself on a solo date in Downtown Dallas to go see them but for much more. Rayna and Ashley, truly bring me joy and constant energy. But the most important reminder they gave me was to take up space, to be unapologetically myself, and that confidence starts within. One thing that resonates with me and the hosts of this podcast is that we have always been told we were either "too loud" or "too much" but that is who we are! Because of my loudness, I am able to present at big conferences, I am trusted to be the spokesperson for a group, I am able to use my gift of being a light to others. I don't need to be silenced or feel like I don't belong because I do. So thank you Rayna and Ashley if you ever come across little ole CIWYW, for being there for me, being a safe space, getting me through those long drives through Texas, and reminding me to care less and to take risks!





Now, I had the chance last week to fully reflect on what 2023 meant to me. Belong is the word that immediately comes to my mind. I do belong in the spaces I am entering, I do belong in this other country I'm traveling to, I do belong in this church, I do belong in this workplace, I do belong in our garden growing our produce #Abudance, I do belong as a youth leader. When it comes to belonging the definition according to Merriam Webster is, "to be suitable, appropriate, or advantageous." I am proud of myself on working on my mind to encourage myself to be okay with being a room where I may feel uncomfortable, and that is okay! I am suitable for this place and I will continue to embrace the unknowns!


Another thing about this year was the beauty of friendships. As a person who doesn't have the biggest family or closest relationship with them, I hold on tight to all my sweet friendships and I harbor them. From Queens to TeamEffort, to Valdosta, to Texas I have met some pretty dang amazing people who most of them are no longer a drive down Gordon St or next door in Byrum Hall. I mentioned earlier about the scheduled FaceTimes with all my long distance pals. It is hard. I work 9-5 and then I commute about 30-40min then have to get home, cook, eat, shower, sleep. There are days where I wanna go home and not talk because I talk my entire workday. But, I also needed to be intentional with all my friends ones near and far. I almost wish I had screenshots of all my friends that I would FaceTime. But, I really suggest you prioritizing those friendships especially with the ones who are going through similar times, the ones you know you won't see this year, etc. I allowed my drives home from work to be a time to catch up with friends + makes the drive go by faster. To the friends who worked with me to schedule a FaceTime, I love you, I cherish our friendship, and I cannot wait to hug you extra tight next time I see you. To the friends below, I got to reunite with this year, my heart has never been more full. Thank you for allowing the time to see me, and to pick up right where we left off; whether it was 2019 the last time I saw you, 3 months before, or even 2021. Special shoutout to thebandwillis, y'all are my new pals!



The year of travels.

Greece. Valdosta. Alabama. Austin. New Orleans. Oxford. Aruba. Cave Spring. Many more.

How blessed am I to go out of the country twice in one year. To go on many road trips. To reunite with so many pals. Meet incredible people from all over. Just a few pictures that make my heart flutter, that allow me to remember the exact moment I tripped over what cobblestone. the many beads I caught (all PG) at Mardi Gras, the fits that came together better than expected, the off roading, the many airport sandwiches, the hikes to a waterfall that looked like it was just doing a long spit, and the cutest collages with the most gorgeous view. I pray that 2024 brings more travel in the states or not!



Don't forget, do things that make your heart flutter!

This year, I made it a priority to do things that make me happy! So whether that's dancing in the kitchen, going for walks, exploring coffee shops, hammocking, whatever it may be continue to those things because you deserve to be happy as well.


Good eats.

My mouth is watering as I type this out and go through the pictures. I ate some good food this year but also cooked a lot! I am making it a priority to take more pictures of my food in 2024. My boyfriend and I planted a garden home to onions, garlic, sweet potatoes, thyme, and so many peppers that I am almost sick of them. My two favorites will have to be our homemade pizzas and then our Thanksgiving post holiday in Aruba. But enjoy these pictures of some food I ate and am now craving! My newest food obsessions from the year include: homemade pesto, soup, capers, and thai food! For all my Dallas peeps, please go to Si Lom it is AMAZING! I cannot wait to dive into new recipes for food + cocktails and share them with you :)



Chasing sunsets.

Oh for the joy it brings me to stay connected with my long distance friend, Sydney, who I mentioned earlier. A special remark to the girl who embraced the awkward girl from Instagram, the girl who has been there through so much with me, the girl who I truly adore and will always be forever thankful for. You are radiant, kind, hilarious, creative, and boy I cannot wait to hear that laugh again! So, I dedicate this portion of this post to you. I have always appreciated sunsets but a lot more now because it connects me with one of my favorite people in the whole world. See you soon hun!



Just for fun!

Here are few other honorable pictures to catch a glimpse into what my 2023 has been like. I should call 2023, the year of 0.5 because boy do I love taking pictures in 0.5! Enjoy!



If this year, wasn't what you thought it would be, remember that God's plan is so much greater. Remember to glorify Him and all He has done this year. You may have experienced heartbreak, loss, or disappointment. But you also experienced joy, peace, and much more! I personally know how easy it is to dwell on the negatives but a mindset that has improved me spiritually this year is the reminder that I am currently living in the moments that I once prayed for.


With this year coming to an end there are many habits that I want to bring with me to 2024 and some that I want to end. I posted all about those on the blog's instagram so make sure you go check that out!


As we wrap up my last blog post of 2023, I pray that the Lord blesses you in ways that you could never imagine, that you find your peace, find your passion, and that you embrace life and all it has to offer. Tell me something good below from your 2023! Happy New Year!







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