This isn’t a New Years Resolution Blog Post

One of my goals for 2016 was to blog at least once a month.  Considering my last post was in April, I’d say that I firmly procrastinated against that one.

Whoops.

But this isn’t a new New Years Resolution blog post.  One more “new year, new me” post isn’t necessary on an internet already flooded with such content.  But very rarely do I read articles written from a reflection point of view, rather than one that is constantly moving forward.  As per the name of this blog, reflecting on the past year’s accomplishments can prove just as interesting as dreaming and planning for the upcoming trip around the sun.

This year brought a number of challenges, blessings, opportunities, and celebrations.  I completed two more semesters of my undergraduate degree at Slippery Rock University, and now there are mere months until I am yet again a graduate.  SRU has been quite the new adventure, in both positive and negative ways, but the opportunities offered to me while studying there have tipped the scales towards a more positive overall three years.

“Sustainability Recommendations for Grove City Premium Outlets:
A Simon Property Group Facility” – NCHC 2016 poster presentation

I was able to present research on sustainable planning/organizational development that I had conducted last fall at the National Collegiate Honors Council National Conference in Seattle in October, and it was the first time I had traveled to the Pacific Northwest area.  The experience gained through presenting in a professional setting was fascinating, and of course there were countless coffee shops and bookstores to explore!  Throughout the fall 2016 semester I have been working with professors and professionals through SRU’s Office of Sustainability to develop an EPA grant-funded summer camp experience for high school students that focuses on outdoor education and adventure, sustainable systems, natural resource conservation, and community involvement.  It is quite the honor to be trusted to work on such a prestigious and ground-breaking project.

SRU Western Equestrian Team, Spring 2016

I finished my IHSA showing career in the spring, but have continued growing as an equestrian through my western equestrian team.  Thanks to our wonderful coach, Tammy Braham, I have been progressing through her lesson program and gaining experience on her western horsemanship, pleasure, and reining horses.  Building a background in these areas of the equine world has been incredibly exciting and will hopefully help me later on in my career as a I seek a position as an equine director for a faith-based camp or ranch organization.  I am currently planning on working out
West in the summer of 2017 and thank God every day for the doors He is starting to open and the paths that are forming ahead of me.

Steph and I at High Falls,
DuPont State Forest, North Carolina

In March my best friend Steph and I traveled to North Carolina to visit my family and do some exploring in the national and state parks in the area.  The trip resulted in 11 hour car rides, countless coffee purchases, waterfall discoveries, tours of the Tryon International Equestrian Center, Hunger Games film locations, filled photo libraries, lots of laughter, and momentous  memories.

Steph and I also went to the esteemed Miracle Mountain Ranch in May for their Horse Lover’s Weekend, and learned more in three days than we ever though possible.  Breakfast trail rides, horsemanship lessons, campfires, ground lessons, and lectures fulfilled every horsey expectation we had for the weekend.  We were able to take some of what we learned and incorporate it into the Camp Allegheny Christian Wrangler program that we both have been a part of for four summers.

Dear friends, now sadly separated
by the Atlantic ocean
Monet, the ever-gorgeous
walking horse

As part of my practicum requirements for SRU, I returned to Camp Allegheny for the sixth summer in a row.  Those four months were the longest months of the year, and I made some of the most interesting new friends and strengthened old relationships.  I continued to work with Monet, the Tennessee Walker I’ve been riding while at camp, and helped to train some former campers-turned-coworkers in the goings-on of the CACW program.  It was a joy to be able to see them grow and develop as Christ-followers and equestrians, just as I was able to do so 6 years ago as a volunteer within the program.  While my time as a summer wrangler for Camp Allegheny drew to a close in August, I will be forever thankful for the special memories and experiences the Lord gave to me on that mountain.

In June I traveled to one of my favorite cities, Washington D.C., with some old high school friends and had a wonderful time exploring new sites and revisiting old favorites.  We were able to reflect on joyous and somber moments in our great nation’s history, and had quite the adventures in navigating while we were at it.

The Fall semester at Slippery Rock brought reunions with old camp friends, countless group project assignments, my 21st birthday, and starting to plan for jobs for the summer 2017 season.  I can only dream about what the Lord has in store for me.

2016 was a year just like any other year.  It brought its own set of ups and downs, concerns and celebrations, the exciting and the mundane.  I continued to strive to serve the Lord, and I look forward with great anticipation as to what adventures and blessings He takes me through in 2017.

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