2012: The Highlight Reel

2012 was an amazing year. It flew by yet was so rich and rewarding. I love seeing how God has grown me over the years and am continually in awe of how deeply He blesses me. Here are obnoxiously too many a few  pictures, they don't even begin to capture it all.  2012 Pt. 1

1. My sissy and I bringing in 2012 at Cru's Indy Christmas Conference 2. Went to see Brian Regan live 3. Got a MacBook Air 4. Listened to my hubby give some amazing talks 5. Greek Conference with some incredible people from Ohio U 6. Drove an hour to an Amish bakery with my friend Beth to eat donuts as big as our faces! 7. Went to Panama City Beach, Florida for Cru's Big Break trip and had some hilarious times 8. Got to meet Katie and be a part of her growing in her relationship with God. Miss you, Katie! 9. A beautiful sunset on the beach at PCB, walking by myself praying 10. Hanging out with my BFF from high school, Kristin, and her two precious sons 11. Finding out my father-in-law had a rockin' afro 12.Wearing my wedding dress for fun

2012 Pt. 213. Hanging out with family 14. Spending time with the amazing team at Ohio U, eating lots of yummy food 15. At Hocking Hills with no one else around, one of my best days with the Lord 16. Trip to Columbus to see our friend Casey, which has to include a trip to Jeni's Ice Cream, my FAV! 17. Spending lots of time with our summer neighbors, my mom-in-law and her fiance 18. My amazing friend Kelly and I along with others trying a bunch of random tricks 19. Ohio U's annual "Pass the Baton" -- all of the Greek guys + gals 20. Baking cupcakes with the McCollister girls! 21. A weekend at Clarion River with some of our best friends, Zac + Katelynn 22. My Grammie coming to visit me at OU for the first time and showing her my sorority house 23. Our Uhaul breaking down on our move -- so commical 24. Celebrating 1 year of marriage with my best friend

2012 Pt. 3

25. Trying on wedding dresses with my sis (Neither of us wore either of these dresses, btw) 26. Celebrating the wedding of two of our BFFs, Greg + Marie 27. In another wedding that same weekend of my like-a-sister friend Jenna + her hubby Brandon 28. Checking out Portland, Oregon. Loved it. 29. Greg + Marie visiting us in Akron 30. More time with some of my cousins -- they are a riot 31. Amazing friends Rach + Dave in from Michigan @ the Hall of Fame football game 32. Seeing Chicago for the first time 33. Bachelorette party for my sissy 34. My babe running the Warrior Dash 35. Meeting Jenna, getting to see her love for Jesus grow 36. A night at Sluggers + Putters with my mama, sis + bro-in-law

2012 Pt. 4

37. Spending time with my Pops -- love him 38. Going to the All Sons + Daughters' concert (sorry some of you got cut out!) 39. Outerbanks, North Carolina with Jordo's fam 40. My sis, Danni marrying the love of her life, Blake (he's Australian). Perfect Day. 41. Filming a fun video with our team in Slovenia 42. Reuniting with Sandra 43. Being in Prague, Czech Republic the same weekend our friends living in Berlin were there! 44. Continually in awe of the amazing job I have, getting to be a part of students' lives 45. Christmas markets in Budapest, Hungary 46. Staying with the incredible Babione family while in Budapest 47. Watching the guys leapfrog while mooing for my hubs' birthday 48. Enjoying Thanksgiving Day at Bled, Slovenia

2012 Pt. 5

49. Getting packages from fam + friends in the States 50. Meeting Veronika, what an awesome girl 51. Watching the city center of Ljubljana be lit up for Christmas 52. Girl's night at my place 53. Meeting Katja + Katarina, hanging out at the Vsak Študent Christmas party 54. Praising God for letting me be a part of this amazing time here in Slovenia

And now we begin making new memories for 2013... stay tuned. 

Worth It.

One month. That's (approximately) the time until I board a flight to Slovenia with 10 other recent graduates (my hubs included) to move to Slovenia for the upcoming year. Here we will be working with Cru to build a campus ministry on the university in Ljubljana (the capital). People often ask how I feel about leaving, so here it is in summation.

Yes. I will miss… my family and friends. the convenience of hopping in a car to run to the store instead of waiting for public transportation. English being the native language. US electrical outlets. PF Changs. my kitchen supplies and other "comfort" items. being home for the holidays. chocolate chips.

But I'd give up those things forever if it meant... a whole country of people being exposed to Jesus for the very first time. meeting students who are hopeless, at the end of their rope, bringing them the hope of a Savior. sharing my story with someone going through similar things. being obedient to God rather than disobedient. putting the Lord's will above my own. changing, growing, not staying the same.

And it does. So I will go. Happily. Joyfully. And yes, even though it's hard. Because God doesn't call us to an easy, mediocre, "American dream" life. He calls us to a radical, unfathomable, world-changing journey.

Because He not only wants to use to reach the world, but He wants to wreck our idea of happy in the best way possible, showing off His far superior plan, reminding us that our citizenship is in Heaven, and we don't belong here forever.

You won't find a verse in the Bible that tells you to cling to what you love and hold tightly to it. In fact, you'll find the exact opposite.

"Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it again." [Matthew 16:24-25]

Two years ago, I decided to stop attempting to "put all my ducks in a row". I was done planning. Done trying to have control. Done with my 10-year plan. And I have never looked back a day since. Because while the life I had planned for myself wasn't bad, God gave me way greater.

I'd far prefer to be where I am now, then where I thought I wanted to be right now.

I say this now with confidence, but don't get me wrong, it's still a struggle and sacrifice for me. There's moments of anxiety with the uncertainty ahead. But…

it's worth it. He's worth it. He always will be. And you will never, ever regret choosing His way over yours.

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Niki

Twenty-something follower of Jesus, wife to my best friend, aspiring kitchenista, and lover of handwritten type, all things coffee, traveling and baked goods. Currently in the United States until my husband and I move back to Ljubljana, Slovenia, where we are missionaries with Cru.