Gratitude is Transformative & Life is Good

Whew! It's been a hot minute since I've published anything other than emotionally fueled health related posts (which I love doing and am going to keep writing, FYI). But today, I feel like doing an old fashioned photo dump and chronicling of my summer adventures thus far!

I really am loving life at the moment despite some challenges/pain that have not so gracefully entered my day-to-day schedule (told you I was going to keep writing about health stuff). Nonetheless, I am in a wonderful place for the summer and beyond grateful for that. Instead of moving home at the end of the school year, I moved in with a family approximately 2 minutes from where I attend university...crazy convenient! My blog friend Jen and her husband have so graciously opened up their home to me and allow me to adventure with and love on their boys a few times a week. I'm nannying for another family in their neighborhood part time as well, so it works out perfectly. Lots of kiddo time makes for a happy Kenz!

Blogging has given me the most amazing opportunities/experiences and friendships I never could have dreamt of. I love this little space something fierce...even when I neglect posting, replying to comments/emails, and keeping up on social media. Anyhow, life is good, summer is sweet, and I'll let some of the photos do the talking!

My siblings came to visit me one BEAUTIFUL Saturday at the end of May. We decided on hiking at Minehaha Falls. It was one of those days where the weather is teetering on the edge of becoming summer and holding onto the freshness of spring. In other words, it was was perfect. The kind of sibling bonding day you never forget. I miss them more than anything in the world now that I'm not living at home, but I also cherish the time I do get with them much more deeply than I ever have before. I guess that's growing up, isn't it?

The family I'm living with for the summer has the cutest and most hilarious boys -- ages 7 and 3. Axel is an adventurous leader with a crazy love for animals and is way too wise to be 7. Oliver is a mischievous little fellow with an infectious laugh and outrageous vocabulary. From biking/strolling Axel to one of his final days at school to spending the day at the St. Paul Children's Museum with little O, I have soaked up every second with these active boys. Time with them is so, so good for my soul and reminds me why being a nanny is something I was created for. 

A family wedding allowed me to catch up with my little sister some more in early June. Being apart this past year was difficult for us and continues to be, but we've managed to remain one of each other's best friends. She's going to be a senior this year (WHAT?!) and I pray every night that she decides to come to Bethel so I can play with her long blonde locks and snuggle with her anytime I want...I know, I'm selfish! ;)

Sometimes I feel like a bit of a zookeeper these days...it keeps things more interesting than ever and I sort of dig it. The family I'm living with this summer has a sweet old dog, adopted 3 little ducklings this spring, and is currently raising a bunch of tadpoles. The other family I have part time has a HUGE sweetheart of a poodle/mix...Libby and I have taken many walks together and I know we'll continue to into the "dog days" of summer... ;)

Last week, I went kayaking with one of my Bethel friends who lives in the area. It was a glorious summer day and despite applying sunscreen 3 times, I found myself good and sunburned at the end of the day! I was also exhausted...you know, because 6 hours of kayaking the land of 10,000 lakes is no joke. My shoulders were swollen the next few days, but it was worth every second of the intense pain that followed. So many emotional benefits come from being active and I know it's good for my body even though it likes to think otherwise!

The hardest thing about summer so far is being separated from the girls I got to know and love so much this past year. It's really strange to suddenly not be living next door to a bunch of your best friends...it's also really strange not to wear flip flops in the shower! One of my dear friends, Carrie, was my saving grace for much of the school year and continues to bless me immensely with her intentional words and investment of time. Even though we're hours apart, we have been able to talk on the phone nearly every night and help eachother navigate the ups and downs of this odd transition. I don't know what I would do without her. My sweet friend Julia is spending her summer as a camp counselor in North Carolina, and while we haven't been able to talk the way we're used to talking...we've been able to write letters back and forth and continue growing in faith and friendship with one another. I am in constant awe of the relationships God has given me in my short time at Bethel thus far. Wow, He is good.

My best friend from high school and I decided to have a girls weekend at the end of last week. We had life-giving conversations, watched our favorite movies, went shopping, and even decided to make a pie...just because! It's always a delight to spend one on one time with my Amy and we always have so much to catch up on. I just love that girl.

This week, I knew I had Monday off...and then I found out unexpectedly that I had Tuesday off, too! It was the perfect opportunity to pack, catch up with myself, fly through an amazing book (summer reading list post to come on Friday!), and take another yoga class. Yoga has been my saving grace these days. My pain/swelling has kept me from running as much as I'd like to, but kayaking, walking and taking a yoga class here and there has helped me remain active and hopeful for my Mayo Clinic appointment in July. 

Today, my mom, older sister, and I leave for our roadtrip to Pennsylvania and Washington D.C.! Excited is an understatement...girl time AND travel!? Count me in. I'm praying that I'm able to keep a handle on my pain until I can see one of my specialists after we get back next week, but I'll take it as it comes I suppose.

I've been surprised by God a lot this year. The future/journey I typically anticipate and attempt to plan for is almost never accurate. I've learned much more about taking it one day at time and not having an answer for everything -- especially things that go wrong. Learning those things has strengthened my endurance and helped me learn to enjoy right where I am even though it's far, far from perfect. I kinda love that. Gratitude is transformative and life is good. I welcome the rest of the summer with open arms. :)

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