to conclude RA appreciation week, i am dedicating a page of one of my most sacred spaces to my sweet RAs, the eleven humans i have been blessed to supervise this year. i couldn't have asked for a better staff for my homecoming year at APU and i am so grateful for all the things i learn from them! i'd like to use my words, my favorite tool, to introduce you to them: Beau: my neighbor and the best person to be Number Four In Command, officially. when i met Beau he was excited to see me, really loud and forward, the first to laugh at his jokes...and not much as changed since. Beau looks at the world and is just grateful to God in the way he speaks and acts and lives. his zest and zeal for life inspire me to enjoy the simple moments of life in a way that celebrates experiences and people. Beau teaches me that life is meant to be enjoyed, how to tell awkward jokes, and to pursue passion and truth in every day life.
Brian: continuing on the legacy of the first south brotherhood is everyone's favorite Brian. he will probably pretend he thinks this is lame but secretly he'll think it's touching. or actually maybe he really will think it's lame. i may never know. what i do know is that Brian is a person of integrity who is wise beyond his years (even though he's REALLY old). Brian teaches me to look at situations from a different angle, which i so appreciate as a leader. he teaches me to have an adventurous spirit and to never say no. Brian leads his residents in ways that i believe will impact them for their entire time at APU and trinity is so, so lucky to have him.
Micah: even though Micah has been fired more times than i can keep track of, he has impacted me greatly. Micah loves people so well, it almost makes you mad. he teaches me about vulnerability, authenticity, and childlike faith. he loves Jesus like crazy in ways that show me how exciting life can be when it's built on a trust that God always provides. Micah reminds me how to be goofy in a way that beckons people so that they feel welcome. we are so blessed every time he walks in, grabs an ice cream sandwich from our freezer and plops down on the cough to tell us about his day. he teaches me to slow down in life and enjoy people all day long. he makes me laugh and he embraces growth and pursues wisdom. but he's still fired.
Trent: i knew from the moment i met Trent how deeply he wanted to be an RA. there is no way he knew exactly what it would entail but he has persevered through it all, despite hell or high water...literally. Trent teaches me about God's new mercies and unending desire to grow us. he teaches me to embrace people and celebrate them for who they are. Trent loves his guys in obvious ways, and they clearly love him back -- such a sign of a deep connection. Trent isn't afraid of expressing his heart no matter how big -- or loud -- that is. :) he is creative and passionate and dives right in and i am grateful to have him in trinity this year.
Hannah: my quirky and adventurous lover of life Hannah. Hannah has the best sayings, the best use of emojis, and the best style. she is kind and warm in a i'm-so-cute-because-i'm-southern-yall way, and i love her spontaneous spirit. Hannah teaches me how to embrace the new, celebrate the awkward, and learn from the bad. she shows me how to love people right where they're at, despite what anyone else thinks. she has fostered a community that loves each other well and it is no doubt they follow her example. she is wise and gentle as she approaches the world and i want to be more like that. the girl's got a wide-eyed-wonder type of outlook on life and to know her is such a joy.
Michelle: i can't talk about Michelle without cracking up and clapping my hands. Michelle is a dynamic leader with incredible wisdom, and one of the funniest people you'll ever meet. she is so intentional with people and so naturally gifted at loving everyone and she inspires me to do that better. Michelle teaches me that adversity does not mean failure, it means perseverance. she is so hard-working and so smart, i wish i could go back in time and do college again with Michelle as my life tutor. she cares so deeply about loving her residents, it evokes so much emotion in my heart. she loves this job like crazy, and she is a dream RA for any RD to supervise.
Cori: as a fourth north alumna, i am honored that the legacy has been entrusted into such wonderful hands. Cori is just the epitome of student leader -- she's got it all! wisdom and grace and maturity and kindness and joy. the fact that she replies to my i'm-sorry-i-triple-booked-our-one-on-one texts with "hakuna-matata" should tell you enough about what i learn from this rockstar. she teaches me to seek out lessons, to lead confidently, to call people out, and to choose joy. Cori is a conqueror and she is a confident daughter of the king and she knows exactly who she is all the time. i want to be more like Cori. she is my secret mentor. so secret she doesn't even know.
Evelyn: my Brazilian irma -- i knew from day one this girl was a kindred spirit. Evelyn is so incredibly intentional with people and experiences. she is finishing college before americans can order a drink and that makes me so incredible proud. Evelyn loves life and loves to laugh and is proud of who she is and i love that. Evelyn teaches me how to pursue deep connections over a cup of coffee, how to truly care about how people are doing, and how to process through the hard and yucky stuff. Evelyn is the stuff of dreams when it comes to RAs -- her girls are obviously very connected to her as she has reached out to them in meaningful ways. she teaches me how to keep people glued together and reminds to me include people who may be on the fringe. she does not forget, she is responsible, she is light and life.
Katie: my other other better half (after Jared and Robyn) and surely responsible for keeping me afloat this year. Katie keeps our staff focused and alive and laughing at every turn. Katie is creative and innovative and strong and fully capable of running the world. she teaches me about the depths of joy and the gravity of God's love and how to live into that. she is incredibly wise and mature and has wonderful discernment as she navigates the world. she is a humble servant leader with a dynamic skill-set and the ability to keep things awkwardly hilarious. she teaches me how to keep going, how to inspire others, how to wear onesies. i couldn't do this year without this girl and i will forever be thankful for her presence in my life.
Melody: there is no other woman alive who has packed as much life into a small package quite the way Mel has. this girl is the kind of girl everyone wanted to be growing up -- hilarious, adorable, edgy. she surfs, she wears cool sandals, she can talk to literally anyone. she is so chill i can't even handle how awesome it is to be around her. Mel teaches me how to go with the flow of life and let things slow down in order to appreciate it more. she shows me how to keep smiling and try and try again and how to accept and celebrate everyone. Mel is a truth-teller and a contemplative leader who listens well and laughs loudly. she makes me proud in the ways she grows constantly and finds adventure, whether she is in azusa or capetown.
Sara: fifth south was themed as "wisdom pursued" and there is no better way to summarzie Sara. this girl knows everything about everything and i secretly take notes after our one on ones so i can pretend to be smart too. i love her outlook on life and she reminds me that knowledge is unending and incredibly valuable. Sara is so strong and wise and continues to challenge herself and inspire others. she cares so deeply about impacting people and organizing experiences to help people grow and become more of who they are meant to be. she is high-achieving and so inspirational and i have no doubt God specifically ordained her to be an RA this year in this place.
with happy tears all over my face, i end this celebratory week with a grateful heart. i hope you all know how much you mean to me. i wish i could explain the way you inspire me; words fall short. i am so proud to know you all and to have done life together with you this year. <3