Today’s gratitude post is for… well, a lot of things. The place I grew up in, my past, the way I was raised. Lots of very important, intermingled things – from my state, to my city, to my neighborhood, to my childhood friends. So here it goes:

I’m a proud Texan born and raised. I bleed burnt orange even though I didn’t go to UT, and I was raised to believe (and still do) that Texas is the greatest state in the world. I know most of the world sees us as a little crazy and full of ourselves, and maybe we are. But we’re proud of our past and everything we’ve accomplished. I’m grateful to live in a state with such a full and rich history. Maybe I am a little brainwashed from all my Texas History courses, but I don’t even mind. I mean, was your state ever it’s own country?

Not only was I raised in the great state of Texas, I was raised in the beautiful city of Austin. “Keep Austin Weird” is our slogan, and weird we are indeed. I grew up a hipster(ish), and growing up in the Live Music Capital of the World is something I’m very proud of. I’ve never actually attended any of our live music festivals, but being from the city that puts them all together is something I love. It’s almost part of my DNA, and a piece of my heritage that I will always carry with me.

Aside from the environment of the state and the city, I grew up in a beautiful suburban neighborhood where I had lots of friends to play with. There was a girl down the street from me with whom I played almost everyday in elementary school. She was a year younger than me, but we always came up with the best stories to live in. She had a giant pool, a playhouse in her backyard, and when we got a little older, her parents bought a trampoline (which scared my parents because they thought those were unsafe). We had the best times playing together, and even though we drifted apart in middle school, I’m so glad I had a childhood best friend who’s house I could walk over to on the daily.

Speaking of childhood best friends, the only person who I’ve known as long as I can

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We’re just as cute now, believe me.

remember and still keep in touch with is a girl named Hannah whose house was about a two minute drive from mine. She and I had almost as many play dates as Emily and I did, and just as much (if not more) fun. Hannah has been beside me every step of my life, from childhood, to awkward teenage years, to graduating from college together, always pushing me toward Christ along the way. We went to church together, to two different countries on mission trips together, and even interned at our church together. She knows almost as much about being gluten-intolerant as I do, just from being around me so much. I don’t know what I would’ve done without her for most of my life, and I certainly don’t know what I’d do without her now. Here’s to friendship that starts and childhood and lasts a lifetime.

And lastly, I am so grateful to have had parents who put this life together for me. They raised me in what they know was the greatest city in the greatest state, in a beautiful and safe neighborhood, and put me in the church where I would meet my lifelong friends. I had a fantastic upbringing all around, and even though it was no where near perfect, it was pretty great. And I think I turned out all right for it.

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The Fam-bam at Disney

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