//2013: a year in review

As 2013 comes to a close just one week from today, I thought i’d do a year in review for my blog readers. It’s so hard to even remember the beginning months and their happenings sometimes but I tried my best. You might want to grab a cup of coffee or tea, it’s a long one today.:)

//January. The beginning of the year. Also when I went to Passion 2013, my last passion going underage;) The month I began to really think about what the year entailed including the prospect of moving, my last year at home, & college.

//February. Celebrating Valentine’s Day with one of my best friends for the second year in a row was definitely a highlight. I’m so thankful for friends who don’t take dating lightly and are trusting in God to bring their future spouse in the right timing.

//March. The month i got braces for the second time. (See HERE for the blog post regarding this) I learned in this month so much about trusting God and about second chances. It was a hard month both physically and emotionally and actually thirdly, spiritually. It made me so so thankful yet again for God’s mercy and grace in any and every situation of my life.

//April. I don’t remember much about this month except it was the month that we had the big celebration of my dad’s 33+ years at Bethlehem Baptist Church. He officially stepped down from his pastoring role the end of march and then april 14th there was a service and reception for him & our family. It brought tears to my eyes to see how many people showed up and showered us with gifts, kind words, and just love. Precious time for our family.

//May. The month that I moved from the only home I’d ever known to a small town in Tennessee. One of the hardest things in my life so far. But i wouldn’t have traded it for the world. I learned to rely on God in a new and fresh way. We started attending a church of only about 40 to 50 people in Knoxville where I’ve made (I believe) friendships for life. It was also the only church in all the churches we had visited that I completely felt at home and felt like the people were actually interested in me for who I was instead of just that I am John Piper’s daughter. So refreshing. We absolutely love it there.
plus side as well, i know everyone in the church!:)

//June. What i remember is hot, hot hot! oh and traveling of course. But seriously it was really really hot outside. I’m so thankful for air conditioning! Also finally not living out of boxes by this point. Though we didn’t move all our stuff, we still had a substantial amount in a moving truck and it took quite a while to get the last of it out of the boxes.

//July. Still hot. And oh the bugs, my goodness the bugs. Such creepy, crawly, nasty things. I can’t stand bugs. But at least I learned I don’t always have to scream when i throw my shoe at one. Oh and still traveling of course, my goodness this summer was probably one of the most busiest traveling times ever!

//August. The month of traveling, again.:) I went back to europe for a missions trip with several members from my original trip in 2011 to do what we did then, which was ministering to Third Culture Kids (kids who don’t belong to their birth culture (America most of the time) or their passport country (wherever their parents are ministering with them as missionaries) while their parents attending a weeklong conference. This was probably the hardest missions trip I’ve ever been on and I’ve been on quite a few. However, it was also a refining time for me as I really intensified my time in the Word and prayer as Satan was just attacking our team right and left! And of course I ended the trip with sickness. What’s a missions trip without it?! And also pretty much five days after getting back on American soil after being gone almost two weeks, I packed a overnight bag and headed out with my family to a weekend lakeside last hurrah before school. Only catch, school had started already TWO weeks ago. So yes I spent most of that time was spent inside, catching up on my four online dual enrollment classes through Boyce. So many tears were shed during that time as I tried to recuperate from my time overseas AND catch up on heavy classes AND somehow sleep.

//September. The month I count as officially starting my second year of dual enrollment ( what they call PSEO in the south) through Boyce College, online. A full load including my last math class (counting for both high school AND college credit!) and a C.S. Lewis course. So. much. reading. But good, good reading. All I had read of Lewis was The Chronicles of Narnia, so reading the other books such as The Screwtape Letters, Surprised by Joy, and a FANTASTIC biography of Lewis by Alister McGrath, was very enlightening. I learned so much about Lewis’s life that i had no idea about. I feel like I underlined and highlighted the entire book most of the time I was reading. Such good quotes everytime you turned the page.

//October. MY BIRTHDAY MONTH! Such a fantastic month full of celebration and finishing! Yes I did finish my finals just about a week & a half (give or take) after my birthday (the 11th). Earliest I’ve ever finished ANY finals. I worked ahead a week to take off my birthday weekend so i could go to Nashville with one of my best friends and celebrate there. We went to the Ryman and took a backstage tour, we walked around downtown Nashville, and we talked and laughed and ate wayyyy too much junk food. But it was my birthday so nobody was counting calories, especially because it was my 18th birthday! Also on my actual day of birth, we were shopping and I heard my phone buzzing so I reached down and actually I had just missed a call. I looked in my voicemails and listened to the most recent one. I had been accepted to my number one choice of colleges, Boyce College, and yes, I sure did start dancing right in Old Navy with my friend. I couldn’t believe it so I listened to the voicemail probably ten more times. PRAISE. THE. LORD. best birthday ever.

//November. the month of giving thanks. For the first time in pretty much forever, I had no school due before OR after thanksgiving. So for the first week it was so weird just not having to do anything. I definitely caught up on much needed sleep. I also got to actually enjoy my evenings without worrying about studying. Thanksgiving 2013 was good. We ate, chatted, enjoyed the fantastic weather, and laughed a whole lot. We also set up the christmas tree, and decorated the house. I started on my christmas cookie making and registered for my next semester starting in the middle to end of Jan. We bought and wrapped christmas presents and began really thinking about how fast Christmas was approaching.
oh also i got my new camera and sold my old one. I’m now the proud owner of a nikon d3100 with 18-55mm & 55-200mm lenses AND while i was at it i went and bought myself a good and steady tripod. Officially ready to begin a new season of (hopefully) a little more intense schedule of photo sessions for families, couples, or high school seniors around the Knoxville area. Want to learn more about my photography? Check out Godward Photography for more info and how to book a session!

//December. the final month of 2013. This year has whizzed by. Some parts did feel quite slow but most of it felt like a flash. Currently writing this blogpost with no snow outside and the sun is shining. I love country christmas. This was also the month I found out huge news regarding my schooling. I’ve been awarded a scholarship which will take care of my tuition for all four years. speechless.
I cried when I got the letter. I cried initially anyway because it was my “official official” letter of acceptance to Boyce but I especially cried when I read the part about the scholarship. We hadn’t filled out anything. We hadn’t asked. It was just given by God. Completely underserved gift and my heart is still just bursting with happiness. Also this means i don’t have to take the ACT again to see if I can get a higher grade, YAY YAY YAY. The ACT is SO not my cup of tea. or cup of anything for that matter.

And there you have it folks, my year in review for 2013. Thanks for taking time and reading it. I do realize most of you are probably spending time with your families right now so you might not see this till later but i just wanted to say too,

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and yours:)
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{our outside decorations at our house in TN}

halfway there.

In about a week, I will be finished with my fall semester meaning I will be halfway through my second year of college classes and halfway through my senior year of high school. I can’t believe high school is almost over. God is so good! I’m so looking forward to going to Boyce College (major – biblical counseling, minor- youth ministry) in Louisville, Kentucky! I already have friends there and know some of the faculty! I’ve visited twice and absolutely feel at home there already:)

In other news, I bought a new camera (Nikon d3100 with 18-55mm and 55-200mm lenses)! Today I went outside and took some shots and I just love it! I also received my new tripod today so I experimented with that too! I am so thankful for Best Buy because of their customer service. I didn’t get my free camera bag with my camera bundle like I was supposed to so I called Best Buy and they got the mistake corrected and my bag comes next week! God is soooo good!!

SO here’s some pictures from my new camera!
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//our dog Dusty, goldendoodle//

best birthday ever.

So a week ago yesterday I was out in Nashville with one of my best friends and my cousin for my 18th birthday (Oct 11 was my bday!).
I had just stepped out of the clearance section into another section of Old Navy and decided to check my phone. I had a missed call from Kentucky. Thought about for a while and then my heart started to beat as my finger shook to push the listen to voicemail button. Could it be? Could it really be “the call?” It was. If i wasn’t in Old Navy I would have screamed. That’s right folks, this girl gets to attend her top choice for schools, Boyce College, fall of 2014! I got accepted on my 18th birthday! I started doing a happy dance right there in Old Navy. Completely unashamed. That happy and bubbly feeling I felt then, I still feel everytime I think about going to college. God is so amazing. God changed the mind of a teenage girl who had her heart set on Wheaton and then in a dramatic turn of events (which included moving), he turned her mind to a smaller and different school. I’ve visited Boyce two times and both times I’ve felt so incredibly welcomed and blessed by the faculty and students. The fact that the school is smack dab next to Southern Seminary is also wonderful. I can’t wait. My heart is so full right now <3

My weekend in Nashville (Oct 10-12) was amazing! It consisted of funny movies, laughter, free large starbucks chai tea latte from two very friendly employees, free sweets, amazing conversations with my cousin and best friend, lots of pictures, more laughter, pizza, chickfila, lots and lots of shopping (6+ hours on my bday!), the Ryman for a backstage tour, the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum and Walk of fame, and tons more. I seriously had the best birthday ever. SO in love with Nashville. Can't wait to go back!

Here are some highlights in pictures :)

Day 1- Thursday, Oct 10th – The Ryman and the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum and Walk of Fame

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A note… When we were on the backstage tour of the Ryman the tour guide pointed us to a couch where Keith Urban had sat recently. Needless to say we plopped right on that couch within 30 seconds…
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Country Music Hall of Fame Museum
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In a store downtown… heyyyy Blake
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Then Day 2, My Birthday!

Right after I found out I got accepted to Boyce College!
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Full day shopping = happy face!

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Day 3, going home to Knoxville.

Bluebird Cafe, Pedicures, Chipotle, fun bookstore, then bus home with best friend!
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…note to self, pack lighter… maybe.

Till next time friends, thanks for reading my very long blog post!
Yay for birthdays and getting accepted into college!

Readers’ Choice: what should i blog next?

Well friends, I am officially on fall break and lovin’ it. My birthday is coming up on October 11th and I have a big trip planned with one of my best friends which I’m sure some pics will make it on the blog shortly after:) I also just applied to my top and only choice for college. I will also post about that sometime soon. I also just attended two fantastic conferences, one on adoption and one on C.S.Lewis. Such great stuff, both of them. But there is one main reason for this blogpost! Readers, what should I blog about next?
I would love to start a list of possible topics so I can really kick this blogging thing in high gear. It lay dormant for a while this summer and while school started but now that 2013 is coming to a close in the next few months, I want to get in some good blogging!

Please leave a comment below or shoot me an email at godwardblog@gmail.com any suggestions, questions, topic ideas, comments, etc about what you’d like to see in the future! Please!! I have blogged a series on modesty but of course I could revisit the topic with updated thoughts… So think, think, think! And when you’re ready, tell me what you’re thinking:)

Thanks friends and thanks for reading!

//the story of three very special hats

I don’t wear baseball caps. I love ‘em and sort of collect them, but never really wear them. So often this results in them being stashed in drawers, boxes, bags etc. Today I was sorting through my room, and I found one of the three hats this post is about. I put all three together and discovered them telling an interesting life story.

The first hat is a Twins baseball cap. Man, I love me some Twins. The Minnesota Twins are just a part of the many reasons I love Minneapolis. Minneapolis is my city. I’ve grown up there, gone to school there, shopped till I dropped there, you get what I’m saying :) I miss it sometimes more than words can say. I’ve said it a thousand times but I’m a city girl, through and through. I love the outreach opportunities, the diverseness, the city noises, the walks to the River and to school. I just love the city.

The second is a Tennessee baseball cap. Tennessee, land of mountains, country music, and Chickfila. I have grown to love it here. This hat was bought by my mom years ago for me because it’s orange and it has the letter “T”. Obviously it’s my hat. ;)
I came across this hat shortly before moving and felt like I could really trust God that he knew what was best in the move. He knew we were going to move to TN in May of 2013 when my mom bought that hat. He knew the plan before I had even been born.

The third is a Louisville baseball cap. Louisville, KY is the place that the college I’m looking at going is located. I recently visited it with my mom and one of my cousins. The college is beautiful. The people are lovely and the school has the exact major I wanted. Everything seems to be really lining up. Right now, college is bittersweet thing. Sweet, because I can’t wait and the Lord has lined this all up. Bitter, it’s sometimes tiring to talk about it. I feel like all I talk about is college. All my emails are colleges with subject lines, “We want you!” “Don’t stress, come here!” Also I’ve grown to really love the people here and especially my church here in Knoxville. It’s gonna be a really hard thing to leave them.

So there you have it. Three caps, three big aspects of my life, three ways God has blessed me. I feel like when I look at these caps together, it’s a beautiful life story. God has grown me a lot in the last few years and I’m so very thankful.
If you think of it, please pray for me in my college decisions. It’s overwhelming at times to think of it, but I know that if I follow God, he will lead me to where he wants me to go.

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// Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever you would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, and my faith will be made stronger, in the presence of my Savior.// Oceans, Hillsong United

//summer days gone

Um, where oh where did this summer go?!
I remember in April, finishing school and thinking about the summer and how I had the whole summer ahead of me. Well, here I am in August and I’m sort of freaking out that my senior year starts this month! ME?! A senior?! Crazy crazy crazy! In 2 months and 8 days, I turn E I G H T E E N. I remember turning 13 and thinking about how long it was gonna be till 18 and growing up… apparently it’s just right around the corner! I feel the pressure of this next school year greatly as it’s my last high school year and I’m heading off to college in 2014! I’m already pinning dorm ideas and studying skill tips on my pinterest boards :)

I’m filled with gratitude as this summer ends. TN has really been great and I’ve met some amazing people here. We’ve finally (!!!) settled into a great church that I love and I’ve made a lot of great friends there in the short months we’ve been here. One of my favorite things is hearing country music in pretty much every store… i just love it. Country music is probably my favorite genre of music. Can’t get enough and I love living close to the heart of it. Planning to check out some great famous country music places in Nashville with a friend for my 18th bday weekend!

So in conclusion, even though summer is almost gone, i’m still happy. It was a good summer and I’m ready for this next adventure and the fall colors and weather!

Exciting News!

This is ridiculously exciting.
For the longest time, I’ve wanted a photography website where I can blog the photo shoots, showcase some of my other photography, and have a little more personal place to put photos up than my facebook page. Well, a few weeks ago I decided to look online for some free website creators. I found a couple that weren’t what I was looking for. And then I found Weebly. *cue Hallelujah Chorus* Now, Weebly is not the most professional sounding name I know. I was a little hesitant at first. It was not at all what I was expecting…in a good way.

Now you have to know, I’m a poor high school student who doesn’t have extra money to pay someone to design a website. Maybe in a few years. But for now, I am completely happy with this. What is this?

My new photography website!!!

I’m so excited for all of you to see and poke around.

It’s still a work in progress, but I have spent a long time getting it to where it is now and it definitely was what I was looking for!

Here is the link! Godward Photography.

I’ve hit a slump with my photography and I think this is the perfect opportunity for me to get back out there and start taking a lot more pictures!