20 Lessons from My 20th Year Part 3

Well friends, my birthday has officially come to an end. There were birthday muffins, leftover seafood Alfredo for lunch, a 4 hour car ride, Opening Night with friends, food trucks, a British Baking Show, and the end of 2015. As my birthday closes, I remember again that I love birthdays, especially when I get to celebrate with family and friends.

I appreciated each phone call, Facebook post, card, and text message. Honestly, they meant the whole entire world to me! With that being said, my social media accounts were so busy yesterday that I figured I’d post the final 6 lessons today. Here ya go!


 

  1. God’s timing is not my timing! 

    As I look at 2015, I realize that God definitely worked out my life according to His timing instead of my own. For instance, people I’d known of for over a year became my friend during the summer when I needed people the most. I was always afraid that I would lose a friendship because it was developing at the wrong time, but God new otherwise. Relationships aside, he also did this with things like my career and even paying for OC! God always does this according to His timing, which has always been perfect timing even if I questioned the wait.

  2. I will ALWAYS need my parents.I would be lying to you if I said tensions weren’t high in my household right now. Everyone is dealing with the stress of my parents move and it’s really hard. With that being said, I love having a mom who still goes to the eye doctor with me and who cuddles with me in bed for a little while. I love having a dad who will sit outside with me for hours and talk about everything and anything. I love having a dad who takes care of my car every time I come home–cleaning the windshield, putting oil and windshield wiper fluid into it, and making sure it runs well! Parents who make me breakfast just because or buy me birthday balloons because I think they would be fun! I don’t care if you are 5 or 35. You will ALWAYS need them, which is actually quite nice because they love you unconditionally.
  3. You should go outside and you should go outside often. 

    Really! There are so many wonderful things to see when you are outside and fresh air is good for you. I even have my own little spot by the lake that I like to go to. At night, I can sit on a rock and look at the stars. During the day, I love to watch the water clash against the shore. It’s breathtaking and truly wonderful when remembering how awesome our Creator is. My 20th year reminded me that walks are good. Picnics are even better! And being outside makes the soul feel good.

  4. Writing your prayers down is super helpful! 

    I’m a pretty visual person. With that being said, I’ve learned that it is a lot easier for me to pray when I write out my prayers. I stayed focused and don’t get distracted. It forces me to sit down and really think about what I need/want to pray for. Plus, I get to look back and see how God answered my prayers! Which is super neat. Honestly, I love that I started writing down my prayers, because I feel like with my type of wandering mind, it really helps me.

  5. Cooking is NOT as hard as I thought it was. Seriously, my family used to tease me and say that I could burn water (rightfully so. I’m pretty sure I’ve burned Ramen, and really, who does that?) Not anymore, however! I started cooking this summer and realized I’m actually pretty good at it. I don’t even need recipes for things once I’ve made it once AND I’ve found a love for cooking everything from scratch, because it is truly so much better that way (Something I’ve learned from my grandma and my mom!) This year, I’ve cooked complicated things and easy thing. I’ve cooked for one and I’ve cooked for 10! I’ve also learned that cooking for people you love makes cooking so much better. There is something about sitting down for a meal with your friends and family and just enjoying one another’s company. With that being said, if you can’t cook, try again. It’s as simple as following a recipe. You don’t have to do anything crazy! Feel free to start small and work your way up to the hard stuff. Also, note that gingerbread cookies are a nightmare, but totally worth it once you eat them!
  6. Having God centered relationships is the way to go. 

    I’ve had plenty of relationships with friends and family members before that didn’t always feel fulfilling. I felt like we weren’t on the same page and that we weren’t really growing towards anything. This year, I’ve made it a point to center ALL of my relationships around God and wow! What a difference it has made. This year, I’ve talked about God more. I’ve prayed for people more. I’ve prayed for my relationships with people to focus more around God. It’s been super fulfilling and I am so blessed by how God uses those relationships to grow my faith in Him! I used to be nervous about giving people Bible-related gifts. However, this year I stepped out of my comfort zone and went for it! For instance, I bought my brother his first Bible and my sister a devotional. They both loved their gifts! Also, I’ve been praying so much so that I was lucky enough to witness my dad and brother get baptized this past month. I’m telling you that when you center every relationship around God, whether it is romantic, familial, or a friendship, God will work in wonderful ways. He will grow the person you are working on a relationship with. He will grow you. The both of you will have a stronger relationship, because it isn’t about benefiting one another anymore, but instead, it is working together for the glory of God.


 

This year has taught me so much about myself. I’ve grown a lot and I know I will continue to grow as I take on 21. People say that the most change and challenges occur during your twenties. I would say that those people are absolutely correct, but I look forward to every single lesson learned.

For now, I’ll continue to reflect on my 20th year while enjoying this next milestone–21.

Blessings,

PB

My Very Own Good Samaritan

Lately, I’ve been reminded that when it rains it pours and boy has it been pouring. Between dealing with school, work, being sick, and a billion other little things, I’ve been worn out, busy beyond recognition, and honestly a bit cranky. Each day seems a bit more difficult than the one before. Although I try to start my day off on the right foot, it turns negative somewhere in the middle. I’ve definitely had my patience tried on more than one occasion and being graceful in each situation has proven harden than I would have originally imagined.

With all that being said, I find myself continually blessed by the wonderful people in my life. God knows how much I can handle (and how much I can’t) and he places people in my life that will care for me when I am in need. My roommate, who is truly a blessing, goes the extra mile to remind me that I can escape from work even though my job takes place where I live. She focuses on my day, makes sure I don’t need anything, and surrounds me with the best friendship I could have ever asked for. When I don’t have time to do little things, like clean, she picks up the slack. Also, I start the day off with a warm cup of coffee every morning due to her having class before me each day. God knew I couldn’t handle this year without her and therefore he placed her in my midst.

Similarly, our really good friend goes out of her way to take care of me as well. Knowing how sick I was, she stocked my fridge full of juice, bought be chicken noodle soup, medicine, and cough drops. She used her own money without even thinking twice to make sure I was provided for and constantly asks how I am doing. Not being the only one concerned about my health, my boss and coworker gave me an extra day off earlier this week so I could catch up on sleep. It was truly an unexpected blessing and another example of God placing people in my life who would help me when I couldn’t help myself.

It is wonderful when people who know and love you take care of you. I am grateful that God has blessed me with these people, especially in times of high stress. These people do not have to go out of their way for me, yet they do. Most importantly, they don’t expect anything in return when they go that extra mile.

With that in mind, I think it is even more important to stress the random stranger who goes out of their way for others. Today, while a friend and I were at Goodwill, my keys ended up getting lost (or donated if you will). We looked absolutely everywhere. We even had a handful of shoppers stop what they were doing to help us look for my keys. Unfortunately, we were not lucky in our endeavor of finding them.

During this time, a lady overheard us talking and took extra time out of her day to help us look when everyone else had given up hope. Once we realized they were nowhere in the store, she continued to stay with us. She offered to drive us back to campus. When we decided to get a locksmith to come make a new key, she stayed with us until it was taken care of. Daniel, the friend who was with me, ended up paying for the locksmith to come down. However, upon a simple mix up the locksmith left. When coming back, we had to pay once again so that he would actually make the key for us. During this time Daniel went to pay for the key, however the woman with us ended up paying for it instead. This woman, who didn’t know us, took time out of her evening to make sure we were taken care of. Prior to being in that store, she knew nothing about us, yet she rescheduled her whole evening for us. She called her husband and had him pick up their daughter from dance practice so that she could stay with us until the situation was taken care of. She genuinely got to know us. And when it was time to pay, she took her wallet over to the guy and paid the bill. It was such an overwhelming blessing that I think I could have cried.

God has blessed me in so many ways, whether through friends or strangers. These people that he has placed in my life show me how reliable people can be, especially in a world where others could care less most of the time. We live such selfish lives that it is truly refreshing to know that people care enough to go that extra step even when it is not required of them.

It reminded me of the parable in Luke about the Good Samaritan. For those of you who haven’t read that in awhile, here it is:

The Parable of the Good Samaritan
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[a]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
-Luke 10:25-37

Basically, what I am getting at is this- we live in a world where it is really easy to pass people by. We can get so wrapped up in our own problems that we don’t pay attention to those who are struggling around us. With that being said, I urge you to remember those people who take the time our of their day to help you when you’re in need. Even the small things can make a really big difference to someone who is struggling.

I’m challenging myself to take the time to truly focus on those around me. If someone is in need, I think it is important to remember the golden rule and love my neighbor. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ and need to be able to rely on each other. So what do you say? Take the charge with me? Together, we can make the world a little bit of a better place.

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” ― Desmond Tutu

What My First Year of College Taught Me

4th place

In the blog world, there is this list of 22 things that a girl learned from her first year of college. Although I appreciate the list (sorta), I definitely had a completely different college experience than she did. I also think some of the points she made were slightly trivial and way too focused on finding Mr. Right. However, I guess I shouldn’t really harp on the idea of finding true love at college since I go to a school where people seem to get married on the daily. Though every single person has their own college experiences and it is not my place to say the things she learned were invalid, I do think it is important to realize that everyone experiences college differently, especially the first year. I personally had a very different experience, so I figured I’d create my own list.

1. Just because you talk to your roommate on social media before school starts, doesn’t mean they will actually be the persona they put on for the internet world towards you in real life.

2. It is okay if you don’t get along well with your first roommate. You can move in with someone else and try again.

3. Living with someone means dealing with things you wouldn’t normally deal with in a room of your own. For instance, you may get the urge to be cleaner because your roommate is not. Or you may be cleaner because your roommate is a neat freak. Either way, you share a space with someone now so you should respect who you’re living with.

4. Mom and Dad are still only a phone call away. I had many ups and downs my first year of college. My parents ALWAYS picked up the phone. If they didn’t, they would call me back fairly quickly. Even if they couldn’t be here physically, they were helpful about talking through things with me.

5. Your friends from high school may not be your friends in college. Sometimes people change and grow apart. Unfortunately, this happens even to the friends you always swore would be in your life. If this does happen, it may be hard to let go. However, YOU SHOULD LET GO.

6. Sometimes your friends from high school become better friends through the distance. Skype dates and letters are the best! Enjoy them while you can, especially because it’s a great way to catch up with each other.

7. Care packages are possibly the best thing in the world. If your grandparents (church, parents, etc.) send you something, make sure they know how much you appreciate it. Thank yous can go a long way.

8. Classes are a lot harder in college. People always told me this, but I never really believed it until I was in college courses. You have more work and it’s even more important because you not only pay for it, but it all goes towards your degree. A degree you need to get a job.

9. It is CRUCIAL that you follow the attendance policies. Missing one too many classes can be the reason why your grade goes from an A to a B. It could also be the reason why your B goes to an A.

10. When free food is offered, you should go to the event. (Unless the free food is always pizza, because pizza 5 times a week is not good for the waistline.)

11. You can befriend anyone! College is full of brand new people, so you shouldn’t be afraid to introduce yourself and get to know people.

12. Study dates don’t normally involve a lot of studying. They are more of a time to talk to friends and complain.

13. Coffee shops are great for many things. Studying, group get togethers, serious talks, dates. You name it and a coffee shop can serve the purpose. It’s quite a beautiful thing.

14. Shopping for things your mom would normally buy for you is weird. This includes food, hygiene products, and even medicine. When you buy your own things, you also realize why your mom rarely let you get the most expensive brands of things and you probably stick to the cheap stuff.

15. Cafeteria food is not healthy food. Even the vegetables are normally drenched in something that is not good for you, whether that’s honey or bacon grease. Also, the desserts are not necessary every single day. Trust me. If you avoid the brownie, the freshman 15 can also be avoided.

16. Finding time to work out can be difficult. Sometimes you have to make the choice between friends, homework, or a solid workout. Chances are, you won’t pick the workout.

17. Being involved in things is important! Find something that fits your personality, whether that’s a club, sorority, or student government. When you get involved, people start to know your name around campus and you meet tons of awesome people.

18. Go somewhere new for spring break. Home might be nice, but this gives you the chance to experience something you might not normally get the chance to.

19. No one forces you to get up and go to church. Nonetheless, you should get up and go. Find a place where you feel comfortable. My church group has some of the best people I’ve ever met in it. No joke.

20. Open up to people. When you allow people to know who you are and what you stand for, it will be easier for them to open up to you in return.

21. Work a job. You’ll feel really accomplished, whether it’s just work study or a part time job. Plus, you can use that money to do fun things with your friends.

22. There are fun things that DON’T cost money. Find those things and do them.

23. Local places are the best. Try them out!

24. You will feel accomplished when you can find your way around your college town without a GPS. It’s possibly the best feeling.

25. Take lots of pictures. You’ll want to remember these memories and they also make for cheap decorations!

26. Sometimes it is alright to put studying aside to be a good friend.

27. You’ll stay up late and lose sleep. That is okay. This is why God invented coffee.

28. Do things that make you happy. College is about making decisions for yourself. You don’t necessarily have to put others first anymore.

29. If your school has rules, follow them. Breaking rules is stupid and you’ll only regret it in the long run.

30. Most importantly, decide who YOU want to be and be that person. College is a time of change and transformation. I know I’ve changed more in this past year than I have my whole 19 years of living.

College is an amazing experience. One that no one will experience quite like you. With that in mind, I may have not learned the same life lessons as the girl who posted 22 Things your Freshman Year of College Teaches you, but I did learn a lot of things. That’s the beauty of the college experience. It’s unique to every single person and belongs solely to the one experiencing it.