2016: The Year My Life Changed Forever

2016.. what a year. I don’t think another event could’ve possibly crammed its way into this year. It was a tough one that’s for sure, but 2016 is a year I’ll always be thankful for, and never forget.

2016 started out with a bang. Both the most horrific and biggest saving grace came in the same moment. On January 10, I endured an attempt on my life. I thought I was surely only going to see days into the year, but Christ was there and he saved my life. It was a new year miracle that would forever change the way I view the fragility of life.

Things didn’t immediately go uphill from there, but I was alive, and for that alone, I was extremely grateful. I spent time bouncing between co-workers houses while I figured out how to get my dog accepted at an apartment, (Dang Linn County and their ‘aggressive dog breed’ restrictions!) and lived off what clothing fit in a suitcase and the back of my Jeep.

As God would have it, a coworkers friend had a place available that I was able to occupy and things began looking up. I was working at GoDaddy and I abhorred my job, save for the amazing people that work there. I’d been promised leadership roles that never came, and the endless calls from complaining customers was draining what little light I had left in me. There would be a silver lining to my employment at GD, but that will come later in the year 😊

Thanks to my sales at work, I won tickets to partake in the inflatable 5k, and signed my mom up with me. We had a blast during that event, and it was good preparation for the Tough Mudder 5k I’d signed my whole family up for as a Christmas gift! I began meeting people that shared the same beliefs as me and settling back into as much normalcy as I could; given the state was calling me to set up times to conduct their deposition. I also picked up blogging and writing again, and my Dear Future Husband letters resumed.

The month of June came like a ray of sunshine, and right on time. I moved into a nice condo where Lucky and I happily enjoyed our mornings together. On June 19, I was able to celebrate my 24th birthday with my family, kayaking on Lake Geode, and days later was struggling through the Tough Mudder. I think my family decided I’m crazy to have thought that a GOOD gift idea, but we all survived (and they didn’t revoke my gift giving privileges over it)! I still have a rope burn scar gracing the back of my calf from that day.

I only had a couple days to pack up my things, as my Godparents had extended an invite for me to join them on their mission trip to Guatemala. I was beyond excited- I’d wanted for YEARS to be a part of a mission trip and the opportunity had finally presented itself!!! Before the plane had even taken off, I knew it was going to be a great trip. Everyone going was so wonderful and loving, and my godparent’s oldest son was one person close to my age to tag along with. We instantly became budding friends. Guatemala was life changing. I fell in love with the Guatemalan people and with the land. They don’t call it the land of eternal spring for nothing folks- it was a sight to see! The vegetation was so lush, and the meals absolutely phenomenal! I was so grateful for my new friends Saul and Luke who took me out to show me the different town squares and markets after a long day’s work building a house, distributing wheelchairs, or going on house visits. I’ll never forget sneaking out of the hotel to grab a drink late at night with those two 😏 or convincing the bartender to give us free wifi for a couple hours, or even Matthew, the Hot Tub Preacher man with all his insight and wisdom.

The people of Guatemala touched me the most. They had nothing, I mean NOT A THIING to their names, yet these people had more happiness than your average American. It was extremely humbling. I’m so blessed to have been able to witness this, for it has changed how I speak and act tremendously. I wanted to stay and continue building houses, meeting and talking with those people, because that is where I felt at home; but I had to come back to my own reality.

When I got back to Iowa, the state had finally set a date for the deposition and I was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I was so ready for that chapter to close, as these new beginnings held such promise and happiness. I had even met someone! Our friendship quickly evolved to more as we continued getting to know more and more about another. I learned how to drive stick, went to my first Casting Crowns concert, toured my first winery (Massbach in Ill), enjoyed all the food at the World Food and Music Tour, and even got to take his Rocky Horror Picture Show virginity ☺️ All the hoopla didn’t last forever, as was uh ‘planned.’ After pricing a ring he was interested in proposing to me with, he had a sudden 180 of heart and cut me out cold. I struggled with it a bit, as I couldn’t wrap my head around what had happened to completely alter and sever our friendship – but considering I’m even alive right now, which is a miracle, I turned it over to God. Here’s the thing: God doesn’t hold out on us. We may hold out on ourselves and others may hold out on us, but God does not. The fact that he had been a great guy and showered me with love and appreciation ensures that an even greater love is in store for me someday! For now, I’ll just continue meditating on His Word and writing my Dear Future Husband letters while I enjoy my personal growth 😊

I’d moved back to Burlington in late August and started reconnecting with old hometown friends, and made several new ones too. I think Kady wins the record for longest friendship, thank you tremendously for being a true friend all the way since preschool! Melissa, I am so relieved that you weren’t too weirded out by my facebook message to meet me! Your friendship is such a blessing in my life. And Brittany – looking back on it, can you believe we met for the very first time to walk trails at the park?? Thank goodness you were no catfish, or I for that matter, our friendship has been one I’ll cherish forever. Paige, I could never forget you either! While we’d known of each other and spent one day hanging out in high school, I am so delighted that we have reconnected and you are now so dear to me!! And Morgan, your clever wit and endearing smile melts my heart every time we catch up. I’m so glad I was able to come visit you following the Cubbies World Series Championship and look forward to may more trips back and forth to see one another throughout the years to come.

I received my substitute teaching authorization, so that I could begin subbing in the area, while I worked out how I could best use my talents to serve God in the community. With all the new business growth that had occurred during my 6-year absence, I knew I needed to go into public relations. I began working with a logo designer to get a brand going, talked with some business owners and was even asked to start working with some businesses before officially opening for business. What a blessing!  This is where the silver lining from my time at GoDaddy comes into play. My Bachelor’s degree in public relations, I knew would serve me well to start my own gig up in SE Iowa, however, I had added arsenal to my tool belt- I’d learned to build websites, take the brand online, get listed online, web security, SEO and so much more!

December came with more fun in store- I’d get to attend the GD holiday party with my amazing coworkers AND the first of the grandkids on the Witte side was getting married to his longtime girlfriend and love! My family had decided to make it a family vacation and we headed out toward Dallas for our first night, and the following night arrived in Sugarland, Texas. The bride and groom spoiled the guests all wedding long- from the rehearsal dinner, to the over the top wedding and fireworks show!! The following day, our crew headed out to New Orleans. We enjoyed the best fresh caught fish, tasty drinks and true NoLa music: Blues and Zydeco. Each of us took turns dancing and playing the washboard—it was truly a blast!

As the year comes to a close, I have so much to be thankful for and look forward to. I have some of the greatest friends in the world; and I no doubt have the best family there is. Love is an unconditional thing: we must freely give it with no expectation attached to it. I’ve found that in those who I’ve surrounded myself with and I am so grateful.  I’m thankful for all that 2016 brought me, because I’ve grown more in the past 365 days than I ever have; and am so excited for where this growth will take me in 2017. God spent a lot of his time with me chiseling away at the things that weren’t serving Him, and therefore weren’t serving me. Thank you my friends, my family, and most of all God for loving and supporting me through 2016 and making it a year I will never forget.

2017, I’m ready for you 😁

lifeofmalware 💜





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