A Year of Reflection

As I sit here and prepare a list of items, outfits, snacks, hygiene essentials and so forth to pack for my trip to Puerto Rico, I can’t help but feel a calming aspect come over me.

This year has been one for the books. With the loss of a brother, love and support from family and friends around, and finding laughter again when making a new friend: when I think of this past school year this is how I will remember it. But as I prepare myself for the first summer adventure I have underway, I can’t help but become nostalgic about this past year and how much I have grown into my own person even more.

Move-in day of sophomore year; I had unpacked most of my things, gone to visit a friend, went to a meeting and was ready to start the school year the next morning. Later that evening I received a phone call from my dad telling me my younger brother had passed away. As you can imagine the disbelief on my face and in my mind, I kept denying it, telling myself it wasn’t true and it couldn’t be true. Looking back now, I’ve learned how to deal with the truth, that this was my life from now on. Bryce wouldn’t have wanted me to take a pause on my life and mourn the loss of him. It’s taken some time but looking back I can truly say that I am proud of the way I have handled the loss of him, as hard as it might have been.

I love you forever and always Bryce. ~Gracie

Though the loss of a loved one can slow you down mentally and physically, I knew I had to still pursue my dream of becoming a reporter, which meant I had to step up my game. The second week of the fall semester I had joined an orientation for the local news station on campus and began to fall in love with working in the studio. Through creating podcasts and doing feature stories I have begun to fall more in love with writing: realizing that it is not only what I want to do as a living but it is also my passion.

As my dad said when I handed them a printed out story of how my mother and him met for their anniversary, “Our daughter is now impacting people with her words.”

These are just two of the highlights of this past school year and if it weren’t for these past events listed, who knows if I would be going on a mission trip to Puerto Rico. This trip, I feel, will help me solidify who I am becoming and what my future goals are for what I want in life. Whether it be a vacation, mission trip, or even studying abroad, traveling I have found always gives people a different perspective on what their life looks like and who they want to become.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”