Final Days of Summer

It’s here. It’s here and I wasn’t even ready for it.

On this last Saturday of summer, I sit in front of my laptop with a wistful smile. Call me dramatic if you must, but summer is a season I hate to see end.

After spending my first summer in the desert, I’ve gained a brand new appreciation for California and why I call it my home. This summer was a bit different from any other summer I’ve had. Instead of spending three and a half months back  at home, working as a waitress, going to the beach every other day, and seeing my very best friends, I spent my summer away from anything and everything that makes home, well, home. No family, best friends, or familiar summertime activities. While this initially was a cause for concern, a summer in Arizona was the most wonderful blessing.

My internship with the Arizona Diamondbacks made this summer better than I could have imagined. Co-workers have become my Arizona family, and these friendships that came about so easily are friendships I will keep and cherish for as long as I live. Not to mention that I went to a major league stadium every day and was able to call it “work”.  The opportunities I’ve had with this organization were nothing short of a blessing. The people, the experiences – all worth spending a summer away from home.

Going away to school makes getting into a routine difficult. It’s hard not to feel like a your presence is only temporary, when in fact, it’s much more permanent than you think. I’ve dealt with this feeling since I found a church to attend out in Arizona. Always hesitant to get involved because I felt my presence in Arizona was only temporary, I never took the opportunity to get to know the wonderful people at Redemption Tempe. This summer changed that for me. After receiving some awesome advice and encouragement, I decided to meet with my pastor and get involved. As a member of the Craft Team for our Children’s Ministry and now an active member in a “Redemption Community” (small group), I’m incredibly happy with these blessings God has given me on my journey.

Family and hometown friends were not people I saw much of this summer. With the exception of a few trips back home (totaling three and a half weeks), I didn’t get to see the people I care about the most, as often as I would have liked. As negative as this sounds, it was an eye-opener. After the first trip home, I realized just how much I missed my family, my best friends, my puppy, and California in general. The short time spent at home (and longer time spent away from it) allowed me to see these people, places, and things I love in a new light. I cherished every moment I spent back in California, whether that meant spending a weekend at the lake with my family, picnicking with my best friends, or lighting fireworks on the Fourth of July. My California summer brought me closer to my family, knowing our time together was so limited, more meaningful conversations with my best friends, and the opportunity to meet and spend time with new friends along the way.

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To say this summer was what I expected it to be would be a vicious, vicious lie. I’ve endured the greatest tests in faith, overcome the idea of being someone else versus the idea of being who I was created to be, and wrestled with the ability to let God take ultimate control of my life. I’ve also learned what it means to truly love – God, people, places, and passions.

Counting down the final days of summer, I’m less than a week away from starting my senior year at Arizona State University. I can say with the greatest certainty that this summer changed my life in the most incredible way possible.

Strong in faith, confident in who I am, and ready to tackle this final year of school.

Glory to God, always.

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