19 People to Thank 

Hey-o! Today is July 30, 2016, and that makes me 19 years old at 14:13 central time! (My family is weird, we know the times, whatever.) 

And in honor of 19 years of incredibly blessed life, here are my top 19 heroes in the life I’ve been living: 

1: my parents. You made me and all, so thanks for that. I learned that nothing is free, hard work will get you farther than anything else, and Jesus is my savior. Y’all taught me how to stick up for myself, fight back when fighting was necessary, and how to forgive when forgiveness wasn’t comin’ easy. I love y’all more than my luggage. 

2: my stepparents. Love is a choice. You have to continue to choose to make it every single day, and thank y’all for showing me that just because life gets a little whompyjawed, it can always get better. Thank you for teaching me how to make the choice to love someone unconditionally. 

3: my grandparents, biological and otherwise. The lessons I’ve learned from past generations will be taught to your eventual great grandchildren, I promise. Thank you for always being examples of followers in Christ, for letting me stay up late to play dominoes, for never letting me get too big to sit in your lap, for teaching me how to fill deer feeders, for being my shoulder to cry on, for always being there, whether I think I need you or not. (I always do.❤️) 

4: my siblings. Y’all drive me nuts. I think most of the time y’all were born to annoy me. But you’ve taught me how to love when I’m irritated, how to speak softly to the little people, how to argue quietly in bedrooms so mom doesn’t make us hold hands…thanks for being my built in best friends. 

5: my inlaws, grandparents, aunts, uncles, the works. I’ve been blessed with a family who can argue like no other, but loves even harder. Every moment spent with y’all is full of laughter, jokes, love and more. Thank you for accepting me as I am and welcoming me into the fold. 

6: Ms. Lewis. In the 6th grade I didn’t know much, and thought I knew more. Thank you for saying, “you’re too smart for this”, and pushing me to apply myself in literature. Without you, who knows if I’d be here? Much love, always. 

7: Mr. Licon. You drove me nuts. For three years, we argued, we joked, we took AcaDec trips that took RIDICULOUS time to get back home. But for all the joking around, you were there when I didn’t think I had anyone. You showed me God’s love when I had forgotten, you pushed me when I was giving up, and you picked me up when I had fallen down. You were a good teacher, a great mentor, and an even better example of Christ. You are a rare bird, and the youth of La Porte is lucky to have you. 

8: my Gra. Grace Amelia, I don’t know what to say. You have laughed with me, let me cry, let me yell and be angry. You rap with me, and have stuck up for me when I was too busy crying in the bathroom to stick up for myself. You are a light to the world, and never let it go out. 

9: Mary. Thank you, darling friend. You answer my 11 o’clock phone calls and listen to me cry when the day has kicked me while I was down. You have been 1,700 miles away, and closer than people down the street. God put you in my life to hold my hand, and I couldn’t be more grateful. 

10: my dog. He can’t read, but whatever. Almost exactly five years ago, through a somewhat hilarious chain of events, I was coming home from the beach with this little bundle of black in my lap. He doesn’t play, except in the first five minutes when I walk in the door. He isn’t necessarily other dog friendly, but he loves me. He sleeps all the time, but he makes the best cuddler. He has been the best listener, the best shoulder to cry on without judgment (because he can’t talk), and the best constant in this life of recent change. Without those big ol’ ears to listen all through high school, who knows who would’ve had to listen to me? 

11: band. This isn’t really a person, but more a collective family. For seven years, I grew as a musician with some of the greatest people I’ve ever met. Band gave me a family away from family, introduced me to the love of my life, and gave a girl a place to go when she didn’t know where else. 

12: McKenna. 2 years ago, you were huge pregnant with Brex, we were both emotional messes, and I don’t know how we’ve made it so far. Thank you for always checking on me, potato. Happy birthday, twin! 

13: Katelyn. New friends, old souls. Thank you for always being down to drive clear across base with me, just because. Thank you for knowing the lyrics to all the country music and more in my car. Thanks for being you. You can semi live with me when Noah leaves, and I promise to try and make sure he and Sasha don’t starve when you leave. 

14: all the people who left. There’s a whole separate post for you, already written. But without y’all, I know I wouldn’t be who I am. You taught me heartbreak. You taught me that people aren’t always good. You taught me that sometimes, the best people aren’t meant to stay. 

15: Carrie Gore. Thank you for being mom #2 and emergency contact #3. Thank you for the school night sleep overs and the home away from home. Thank you for being there even when I didn’t know you were there. Thank you for picking us up and dusting us off sometimes. 

16: Yenette & Spencer. Y’all come as a package deal, so whatever. Yenette, thank you for always answering my phone calls. Thank you for talking to me at 3 am because I’m sad and just need a friend. Spencer, thank you for sitting in parking lots and letting me just talk, because sometimes I forget how homesick feels until hometown friends get together. Thanks for bringing a teeny tiny piece of home into the terrible place of California. 

17: Texas. Let’s be honest: greatest state in the nation. Full of sweet tea, rich history, and good people. I don’t know how it would feel to say, “I’m from North Dakota,” and have nothing to be proud of, and frankly, my dear, I don’t want to find out. Texas is part of who I am, and I’ll always bring a little bit of the Lonestar everywhere I go. 

18: my husband. A little more than 5 years ago, I met this boy, right? And we made fun of each other and I knew right then, he looked at me the way I wanted to be looked at for the rest of my life. You’ve held my hand and led me through the dark, fought with me, told me when I was wrong (I think this has happened like twice), and loved me when I forgot how to love myself. Thank you for being my best friend. 

19: Jesus Christ. Thank you, Lord, for blessing me with all these people and more. Thank you for giving me the trials I have already faced in this short life, and providing me a way through them. Thank you for being there always, even when I didn’t know I needed You. 

19 years is a short time in the face of forever, but I’ve already learned and loved and lost so much. I can’t wait to see where the next 19 take me. Thank you everyone for all the love! 

Xoxo, 

Em. 

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