sunflowers.

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Thursday night we came to Florida to visit with family friends who are very dear to our hearts throughout the time of living in Jacksonville.

As I look back today and pack up my suitcase as we leave for South Florida, I start remembering all the memories of growing up in Florida.

I remember the endless swimming pool games, getting “married” to Max Star Wars edition, endless amounts of popsicles, to countless sleepovers with the Netzel’s. From growing up homeschooled and always playing with childhood friends like the Winton’s, Davis’, and Netzel’s, there is an unending amount of amazing memories. Then there’s also the memorable times, like putting 27 sparklers duct taped together inside a tree trunk, then the sparklers shooting out at us as we ran away, or the time Livy and I tried to ride Splash (my pony) into the pool, or when Anna and I tried to “mop” my bedroom wood floor and instead we flooded my room.

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It’s hard to not feel filled with sadness and heartbreak though. Thoughts fill my mind of how I wish we never moved away from such an amazing community, but tough circumstances in Colorado have shaped me for who I am today, as hard it is to say.

As we pulled off the Netzel’s driveway I started the countdown till I’m back for Power Up Clubs in July. But not only a countdown for that, but a countdown for growing up and moving to Florida for college, and leaving Colorado. It’s hard to describe what it has been like growing up in Florida to then living in Colorado. But in one word, growth. If I had the opportunity to stay in Colorado, or snap my fingers and move back immediately to Florida, I would snap my fingers instantly.

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Imagine a sunflower. The sunflower starts out like a seed (a baby) as it grows it has a gardener (mom/dad/close family friends) take care of it by nurturing and speaking words of wisdom and love over it. The watering of the sunflower is done by the church coming together and forming a personal bond to the flower. As everyone knows, flowers cannot grow without water. One day, the sunflower is transported to another climate, one with cold, freezing and dull weather much different from the sunny, happy, bright and colorful weather that is was first planted in. When the sunflower used to live in the sunny weather, the water is the church pouring into it, reminding the sunflower of God’s steadfastness. When the sunflower is moved to a new climate, there is no watering for the flower. Yes, the parents are still there, but the church is not. It takes years to find a church to start watering the flower, but even then there’s scarring from months without watering.

Overtime, the flower will have scars from being improperly watered. Now, though one could focus on the negatives of not being watered during those times, one can also focus on the positives of it. The flower had to learn a new depth of persevering no matter how long till the next watering from the Church would come. Those difficult times where there was no watering turned the flower into what it is today.

The sunflower hopefully will live a more meaningful and greater life when it grows up. Moving back to that sunny, happy, bright and colorful climate it grew up in. Planting seeds of her own one day, to be watered on by the church daily, to grow up with a steadfast love for the Lord.

I have absolutely loved gaining such meaningful relationships in Colorado, but the hardest part has been not having a solid church for our family. I am incredibly excited to move back to Florida and hopefully attend UF, but until then, hopefully the sunflower can get more water to be nuritioused for growing.

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