Remember that time I all but disappeared for weeks on end?

Yeah. That.

2013 has ended and 2014 is an open, empty book ready to be filled with memories and joys and probably a few struggles along the way.

But as I thought over 2013 counting joys and remembering the good and bad, I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by His faithfulness in every matter, small and large. I looked over old photos and laughed again, smiled big, and maybe just maybe cried tears of thankfulness for the people He has given me to walk through life with.

So this right here? It’s like a real quick look at the second half of 2013. Man oh man, I can’t believe all these fun times happened in such a short period of time! And Fall? It’s my very favorite. For the weather, scarves, football, the leaves crunchy and falling, for pumpkin spice frappuchinos at Starbucks, and so much more. Everything feels lighter and brighter in the Fall.

Pumpkin picking with friends, my clumsiness, and a photo caught mid-laughter.

For Fall Break my bible study (minus one girl) and I went to Nashville. It was pretty much perfection. We shopped, ate so much, and watched way too many episodes of Once Upon A Time. And the fact that I met Gunner (Sam) from Nashville, the TV show? Umm. Yes. Major cool points. Dear Nashville, I love you. Please be mine.

A homecoming dance with this beauty and so many others? It was wonderful.

Oh, that time I turned 21 on homecoming – and we won the game in overtime? That was pretty special.

Remember when I wrote about Gatsby? It happened and it was

Exodus, the 66-page magazine we built from the ground up (wrote every word, took every photograph, sold every ad) came out. I wrote a 6 page spread and you could say I was a little bit excited…

It’s not easy to be away from home, and this past semester I wasn’t able to come back to Florida until Christmas. Three months is a long time, but I’ve learned even more how much He has blessed me with a family at school. In my Phi Mu family and in the friends that have become heart sisters, He’s given me such treasures.

I’ve loved Samford since the first time I stepped foot on campus and that love has only grown with time. But this past semester was something extra special. I’ve never loved this campus and its people more. And Christmas at Samford? It captured my heart.

Fall 2013 was one for the books. It was my hardest semester yet, but I wouldn’t trade a minute of it. The trials, the tests, the stress, the lack of sleep and the endless meals of grilled chicken in the caf…every bit of it was worth it and is barely a blip on my radar when I think back.

Because when I think back now, I simply see the people, the “she’s” that have journeyed with me, and the community I’m a part of. I’ve never laughed so much or so loud. We shared stories and I met friends that felt like I had known them my whole life.

You know, years ago I couldn’t wait for the year to come to a close. I counted down the minutes and sighed with relief when the calendar changed.

I don’t want to hold onto 2013 forever, though it was wonderful, but I also don’t want to forget. So as I move forward towards 2014 and the blank pages that await, I am thankful for every minute of 2013 and even more excited to see what is to come.