I always enjoy the anticipation of birthdays and today is no different. Tomorrow, I will be spending my birthday with my friends and boy friend in OKC, so today my mom has been preping for my family birthday celebration! She purchased ingredients to make my favorite dish-seafood Alfredo (from scratch, I might add). We also traveled over to Nothing Bundt Cakes and got a dozen bundtinis and I received a free little cake for my birthday! My mom also bought balloons, which my dog is terrified of. Tonight, we will eat dinner as a family, celebrate another year of my life, and go bowling. It’s such a joy to celebrate my birthday on more than one day with people I love so much.
With that being said, yesterday, I shared the first 7 of the lessons. Today, I’m sharing 7 more! Here’s to Part 2. Hope you enjoy.
- If you have the opportunity to travel, do it. Two years ago, Dr. Rix offered me the chance of a life time- to go on a mission trip. I turned him down. This past year, he offered it to me again! (I doubt this happens often.) I accepted this time around, and got to explore Swaziland, various parts of South Africa like Kruger Park and Cape Town, London, Rome, and Pompeii. It was magical. I am forever grateful for the opportunity and cannot wait to travel more! I was able to see parts of the world I’ve learned about in classrooms. It was amazing to see pictures from textbooks come alive. There was this constant sense of exploration. More importantly, it was really eye opening to see the difference in how people around the world live. For instance, in Swaziland, college is such a blessing because it’s a very rare opportunity for them. People eat simply and don’t spend a lot of money. Then, you travel to a place like London where everything is expensive and extravagant. It’s a completely different world. Traveling really opens your eyes.
- Teachers have the ability to remain a constant in your life even when you’re no longer their student. I have contacted multiple teachers from high school this year. I’ve received advice for my future, such as how/where to apply to grad school. I’ve been given praise. I’ve even been given ideas for things as small as a research paper. My teachers from high school still teach me even now that I am almost finished with college. Mr. and Mrs. McKenzie especially remain close to my heart thanks to text messages, social media, and phone calls. I know that these people still care about me and my journey. They will continue to care as I grow older and settle down into life. It’s nice to have them around. It’s also a blessing to be able to turn to them for advice, because they’ve all lived life and can offer wise words. This is true for college professors as well who are consistent faces around campus, but whom I no longer have classes with. Even professors who have moved away still keep in contact via Facebook and email. They are willing to write letters of recommendation and serve as mentors. It’s a blessing and I believe all students should work towards building these types of relationships.
- Best friends remain best friends even when you’re miles apart and don’t talk often. My friends from high school are still my best friends now, something I am constantly reminded of. My best friend Miki sent me a beautiful Christmas/Birthday present this year with a card. She’s called me to tell me good news. She’s updated me when she’s sick. Even if we don’t talk every single day, I still talk to her. The same is true with my best friend Tori. She has had such an amazing year- getting engaged, getting accepted into grad school, and finishing school in 3 years! Each time, she’s called me to tell me the news right away and we’ve been able to celebrate. Just the same, when she had someone really close to her pass away, she informed me of that also. Friends are friends are friends. No matter the distance, I know I have these friends in my life forever and for always. (I even get to be apart of my best friend’s wedding as she starts to plan her big day!)
- Bills Suck. Paying for things suck. Simple as that. I’ve learned that bills are the absolute worse, especially because it makes it so hard to get ahead when you are paying things you owe. I don’t even have that many and it still frustrates me to have to pay money each month towards various things, like my cell phone. I think when you live at home and don’t need to buy your own groceries or laundry soap or even toilet paper, you really take for granted how much things cost. This year, I’ve learned the hard way that everything costs a lot of money and budgeting is hard. Thankfully, I’ve found some handy apps to help me track everything, though! Like Mint.
- There’s no such thing as too much coffee.
For me, coffee is greatness. Seriously, I drink at least one cup a day. I like to explore coffee shops. I like Starbucks. I even like brewing my own pots of coffee in my dorm. Coffee is where it’s at. I could drink coffee all day. Even at night. It doesn’t keep me up, but rather, it warms my soul.
Find your coffee. What makes you happy on a rough day? What makes you excited? For me, it’s coffee.
- Finding a church home is both scary and exciting. I think prior to this year, I always chose to go to church where my friends went. It was just super comfortable and I didn’t have to make any decisions, which was great. However, this wasn’t helpful, because it meant that if my friends didn’t go to church on Sundays, I didn’t either. Somehow, I lucked out with Brad, because he wanted to tag along with me as I journeyed to find a church I liked. We tried a lot of different places. It was weird making decisions. It was weird not knowing everyone at the churches we visited. It was even weird being introduced at the places we went. Thankfully, it was also really wonderful. No matter what church we visited, people were so great! They got to know us. They told us about their church. They loved God. Honestly, it was amazing. The best part was finding a church that Brad and I both liked. After visiting numerous places, there was just one church that felt more homey than the rest. We visited a second time. Then a third. Finally, we placed membership. With that being said, this semester was the first semester of my college career that I never missed a Sunday. It’s been great and I am so happy to have a church home that I chose with Brad’s help. It is a place that focuses on community and service and loving one another. It also focuses on God and I feel like I constantly learn there. It’s great. (In case you are wondering and you are in the Edmond area, we attend Dayspring COC! If you are in need of a home, try it out.)
- Reading is and will always be good for the soul.
I love reading. This is no surprise, especially given that I am an English Writing major. However, school makes reading for fun a bit difficult, especially due to all of the reading assignments I have had for classes. I really hate this, too, because reading has always made me feel better when I am feeling pretty bad. Lately, I’ve been given the chance to catch up on reading for me, though! It’s been such a blessing. I love books. I love their ability to take you somewhere new even if just for awhile. I love being able to read something quickly. I love words. I love story. I love it all. Not to mention, when you finish a book that really speaks to you, it is easy to look at life a bit differently. Reading and I will always have a special bond. I encourage you to pick up a book and get lost in it for awhile. If you are anything like me, you won’t regret it.
Alright, the last 6 will come your way tomorrow when I actually turn 21!
Thanks for reading.
As always, I offer blessings,