May 28, 2017 will mark one year since Zach and I moved back to Columbia. As May 28 gets closer, I can’t help but reminisce over this past year and all the blessings God has given us and all the experiences we’ve had in one short year! I’d love to share some of my favorite highlights of our lives over the past year back in Columbia!
On May 28, 2016, as we packed up the U-Haul, I had so many emotions going through my head. I was mostly excited because I have ALWAYS loved Columbia and I knew that we were following God’s will, but while I was driving our truck towards Columbia, I had no idea that I would experience so much sadness. I was sad to leave Emmaus Church after being a part of it from the very beginning, I was sad to leave so many great friends we had made there and I was sad to leave some of the girls I worked with at Xenometrics that I’d become close to. What surprised me the most was that I was actually sad to leave Kansas City! I’ve always considered myself half “country girl” and half “city girl” because I enjoy a little bit of both, but the big city really has never fit into the lifestyle Zach and I have made for ourselves. But man, oh man, was I sad to leave Kansas City! I would miss the hustle and bustle of the city life, the innumerable activities to do and admittedly, I’d miss the shopping! I knew that we were starting a new chapter, though, and that allowed me to close that chapter as we drove out of that city and thank God for our time there. Throughout two and a half years, Zach and I really made a nice little life for ourselves in Kansas City! I still look back fondly on the time we lived there.
John, a friend from Emmaus helped us move.
In June 2016, Zach and I began looking for a new church to call our home. Although we had both lived in Columbia previously and were members of a local church there at the time, we wanted to start our new chapter fresh and so we decided to find a new church altogether. Before we moved away, we discussed with a few people at Emmaus if they knew of any churches we should attend. Julie, who was originally from Iowa, had a brother who was a part of Candeo Church in Cedar Falls, IA and he had told her that they were planting a new church in Columbia called Anthem Church. She connected me with Paige through Facebook who was already committed to Anthem and she invited us to attend a BBQ that some of the core members were hosting. On one June evening, Zach and I attended that BBQ. That was one of the best nights I’ve ever had meeting new people! Zach and I got in the car that evening, looked at each other and unanimously agreed that we had found our church! I feel like it was the Holy Spirit telling the both of us that that was where we needed to be, and thus, we committed ourselves to Anthem Church before it was even a church!
At the end of July and beginning of August 2016, I was sent to Smith College in Northampton, MA to attend a Molecular Biology Bootcamp to prepare me for some of the lab work I’d be performing as a Research Technician. Two weeks was a long time to be away from Zach, but it proved to be an eye-opening experience! I got to see some of the Northeast and got to meet people from all over the country and, not to mention, got to participate in some awesome laboratory experiments. I am a science nerd!
Ford Hall, where we spent most of our time.
Our lab group was called the Vectors.
Look, it’s DNA!Our phenotypically altered C. Elegens through a microscope. One of our laboratory experiments!
In November 2016, my mom came to visit us in Columbia! My mom and I are so close and are always counting down the days until we get to see each other again! After all, she lives in South Carolina, so I only get to see her once or twice a year. When we get together, we always take advantage of it by getting lots of shopping in!
Shopping in St. Louis.We took my mom to the overlook at Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area.
In December 2016, Zach and I were able to take a long overdue trip down to South Carolina to spend Christmas with my family. In 2015, my parents moved back to Anderson, SC where I grew up. It was bittersweet because whenever I’d get to visit them, I’d get to relive my adolescence by being back in the hometown I love, but also hard because they are 14 hours away from us, so visits are few are far between. I have learned to really enjoy and savor the moments I have with my family and so being with them on Christmas was a special treat!
My sister, Jenna and her husband, Tim and my brother, Landon.
We visited with my friend from high school, Sydney, and her husband, Brad.My daddy at the Clemson Botanical Gardens.
In January 2017, we were given the opportunity to lead a connection group for our church. It has been a super humbling experience and an opportunity that has allowed me to draw nearer to God. When you lead a group, your weaknesses become even more apparent but it’s so nice to have people that love you regardless. I love this group of people and I’m so thankful that I get to do life with them each and every day!
One of the things I love about Columbia the most are the many conservation areas and agriculturally friendly places Zach and I can go to explore and let our dogs roam free! These are a few pictures from some of the days we walked with our dogs in January and February 2017.
I have been so thankful to call these people some of my best and closest friends! In middle school, high school and college I had a really rough time with friends. Now, many years later, I have learned so much about what it means to truly love people and to have friendships that are intentional and meaningful. These people have vastly impacted my life and am so thankful for the friendships I’ve made since I’ve been back in Columbia!
As we ended our chapter in Kansas City and began a new one in Columbia, I look back on some of these highlights (and even more that I haven’t mentioned) and all I can do is thank God for the immeasurable blessings he continues to pour out on Zach and I. If you had asked me a year ago when we packed up that U-Haul what I thought the next year would look like, it would have been a lot different than this. I don’t think I expected to make so many valuable friendships, to be blessed with a great job, to have an amazing church and most importantly, to have the relationship with God that I do now! There have definitely been growing pains but sometimes you have to go through them to get to the maturity you desire. Cheers to you, Columbia! Thanks for making our first year back one to remember and the perfect next chapter in our lives.