As we, the Fellows Class of 2017, sat around the living room of a farmhouse on the opening retreat, we wrote a covenant together. One of the things all nine of us wanted to have in our covenant was a bit about making it a priority to celebrate each other and point out the strengths of each fellow.

So, you’ve read the bios and you think you know the fellows? Let me tell you more about why I want to celebrate each of these amazing new friends God has given me.

Charlie Barker- Charlie has to be one of the most inviting individuals I’ve ever met. The way he engages in conversation and makes the speaker feel like whatever he or she is saying at the moment is most important is truly incredible. Charlie is also a great listener. He really digests information and remembers it, which is amazing. Y’all, Charlie also makes some mean salsa. But don’t ask for the recipe. It’s a super secret.

Emily Elder- The (wo)man, the myth, the legend. Emily is one of the funniest people I’ve met. In life. Ever. Her quick wit is truly a gift to this group. I know that when God made Emily he smiled so big. I can be having such a bummer of a day and one crazy face or comment from Emily will brighten the gloom. People that say God doesn’t like being goofy have clearly not met Emily. God uses her humor to cheer us all up.

Lauren Malachowski- Our dearest Llama. Lauren is really great at vulnerability. The few talks I’ve had with her, she’s been completely transparent and opens up about difficult things. She really invests in sharing her life with others, whether it means her time or her story. Lauren also has one of the most infectious laughs in the world. It’s truly contagious. I dare you to not laugh when Lauren does. I dare you.

Ali McIlhenny- Besides having an awesome last name, try saying it five times fast, Ali is one of the most generous people I know. On the retreat, she brought a grey blanket that she shared with everyone. Ali’s generosity extends normality. She is always the first to ask, “Can I help/do anything?” One weekend, when she found out I was sick, she texted me asking if she could bring me anything. Also, her earring game is super strong.

Andy Moore- Andy is one amazing conversationalist. He is so full of insight. One thing he really brings to the group is asking great questions. The other night, he asked us all who we would play in a movie and why. It’s questions like these that show Andy not only knows how to ask great questions, but he really wants to get to know his fellow fellows on a deeper level. Also, Andy has the unique ability to grow a flawless mustache.

Mary Owens- Our token rockstar (check her out on Spotify!).  Mary is one of the most caring people I’ve ever met. She has a strong, solid character that is such a great foundation for any friendship. On the opening retreat, me, deathly afraid of spiders, came in contact with one the size of a golf ball. Mary said, “Take my hand for stability.” And just like that, I was overcome with peace. She also took me to a Demi Lovato concert and we fangirled so hard.

Sara Parks- Sara is one of the most insightful people I’ve met. She asks really great, hard questions. She also has such a unique view of things being a chemistry major, which is so incredible to me because I can’t "science". Sara’s integrity and curiosity are absolutely magical. Her viewpoints help our group think in an incredible way. Sara is also a superb problem solver and a really great guitar player.

Jill Runser- Jill is such a joyful person. She radiates joy. She is super fun-loving and full of incredible ideas. I know I can count on Jill to go exploring with me wherever. She’s never afraid to try new and exciting things. Her super go-getter and up-for-anything personality really encourage the entire group to take this new Nashville life we’ve been given and make the best of it. Also, she has princess hair, meaning perfect ringlets.

You might have noticed I’m not on this list. I felt very odd writing about myself, so I asked our next blog poster, Emily Elder, to write a little blurb about me and this is what she said. (Full disclosure: read it and definitely teared up.)

Sally Stroud- Sally Stroud--a good name to remember, for when she's writing for SNL or directing hilarious and heartbreaking films down the road. Everything about Sally is bright: her mind, her laughter, her personality. Sally embodies what it means to be confident in oneself. She is quick to smile and joke, but also to comfort and listen. There's a lot of joy whenever Sally is present.

There you have it, folks. There are so many more reasons to celebrate these amazing people and I can’t wait to find out what they are over the next nine months. I’m super duper blessed God placed me here!

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