(This list is in chronological order....ish!)
1. The Gift of Jesus
2. Following Jesus at a young age. Mainly because I carry very little baggage. Now, I didn't always feel this way... I used to lay in bed fussing at God, telling Him that I wished He could have called me to Himself later in life... I was convinced I'd have more fun if I didn't know Him, but since I did, I couldn't turn my back on Him so I followed the "Christian rules" begrudgingly! (If you knew me during this phase of my life and my walk with Jesus, I am SO sorry- there is so much more to following Jesus than rules and I'd love to tell you about it and apologize to you in person)
3. My Mom- from providing for my every need from birth, all the way to being my favorite friend and confidant to date- there are not enough words in my head to adequately express how she’s shaped me and how blessed I am to be her daughter.
4. My Dad- he woke me up every morning, even when “I didn’t want him to”, he was the doctor when I was sick, he made me hold his hand at church long after I thought it was socially acceptable, and he always picks out the best gifts. He loves my mom and really likes her too. He fights for us kids even when we don’t think he’s right or when we don’t want the help. And he has given me a lifelong example of what it looks like to live a life of daily integrity and trusting God.
5. Being born into my family. When I first typed that sentence, I was meaning my mom and dad and my brothers- but then I thought about my grandparents who love the Lord and are leaving a great legacy... then I thought about all of my aunts and uncles and cousins-- so really, I mean the whole bunch of them!
6. When my Papaw flew in from Indiana to baptize me in front of my Concord Christian Church family when I was 9 years old
7. Having Erin "Shirl" Burks as my ever-loving, always protective, forever faithful best friend for a decade plus
8. When my mom made me go to small group when I was in High School and even to the book study at Steak n' Shake on Saturday mornings... which led to meeting my very pregnant small group leader, Kellee Hall, which drew me to her immediately. Her heart, wisdom, encouragement and love have helped to shape me in so many ways that I'm sure I've forgotten over half of them
9. Deciding to go to the University of Georgia for college
10. Rooming with Anna McCulloch Prusa's next door neighbor my freshmen year... it allowed me to meet Anna, which led to incredible roommates and a bushel of other life long friends, AND becoming a part of Campus Outreach
11. The Christmas we went skiing in West Virigina as a family instead of having a big Christmas celebration... it was the first time I saw my brothers as my friends-- and they were fun.... and funny.... and I liked them!
12. The moment I realized that Jesus was 100% Truth AND 100% grace, 100% of the time.
13. Interning with Ruth Van Yperen McCord the summer of 2004... I literally fell in love with her heart at first sight.
14. Taking a job at North Metro Church after college- the relationships, the lessons, and the battle scars have shaped me in more ways than I can count. I also gained several LOYAL, “if you’re going down, they’re going down with you” friends who continue to be a part of my daily life.
15. Calling off a wedding. Man, it was absolute hell at the time- I hurt like I didn't know was possible, but BOY oh BOY did I get what I looks like to "need Jesus". I wouldn't wish heartbreak like that on anyone, but I'd do it again in a second to know Jesus like I do now.
16. Marrying Chad. His friendship. His love. His heart. Even fighting with him- it makes me CRAZY but it also makes me better.
17. Becoming a stepmom. There is NOTHING God has used/ is using to refine me more, and teach me to lean into Him more than this role.
18. Getting my in-laws as my family as well-- they are kind and accepting, 100% of the time. They consider me a daughter/ sister, and have treated me like family from the very second they met me. And if we called and said "we need y'all" they'd jump in their car and drive straight to us without another question.
19. Joining a small group with the Morgans, the Rouses, and the Weavers right when Chad and I got married- we learned how to be married well with them.
20. Gathering a group of wonderful ladies and becoming the queso loving “Porton Posse” to get together and meet for Mexican and encourage each other in life, marriage, spirituality, relationships, praying about babies and then actually birthing babies and learning how to be mamas
21. August 19, 2009 at 8:41am-- Max was born, I became a mom, and every fiber in me changed forever.
22. Watching my parents love my babies
23. Standing beside Chad as he baptized Gabe, and hearing that blue-eyed boy proudly profess Jesus as his LORD and Savior
24. Raising kids with a like-minded friend like Danielle Morgan—God wasn't kidding when He said “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Prov 27:17”
25. Becoming a part of Sanctuary church
26. When Jack Henry Bowman entered my world over 5 weeks before I expected him... that was just the beginning of how he was going to shake up my sense of control, but it's worth every gray hair and fist clench. He's passionate about everything he does-- and he's especially passionate about his mama. And I am passionate about him.
27. The year my brother Eli lived with us. I know it was torture for him, but it was so sweet for me.
28. The moment I got to quit my job to become a stay-at-home Mom
29. Starting BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) and committing to a yearly in depth walk through scripture.
30. Birthing our sweet baby Sam at home- the accomplishment I felt to have the strength and stamina to do that is awesome, but the baby surpasses all words. He is straight sugar and sunshine. Being a mama is the best job, ever!