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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
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,
The really neat thing about my birthday is that with each new year, I start a new age, too. Around this time last year, I reflected on the official closing of my teen years as I entered my 20th year. A lot of things had changed at the time and I wasn’t sure what to expect as I tackled this next step of adulthood. Though, now that I’ve lived a year of my twenties, I strongly believe that no one really knows what they are doing–at least not early on.
With that being said, my 20th year has taught me a lot. Who knew? I figured it would be nice to reflect on some of these lessons before tackling another milestone–21. Due to the length of these lessons, I’m spreading it out over the next few days. Enjoy Part 1.
- Friends you think will be in your life forever will leave and that’s okay.
A lot of people told me the friends you meet in college will be your friends forever. That may be true, but the first friends you meet in college won’t necessarily be there forever. I’ve realized that the friends I clung to so hard my first semester of college served their purpose, but no longer do so. Some of them moved away. Some of them stayed. Nonetheless, we’ve drifted. We aren’t enemies. We don’t hate each other. Our paths just diverted into various directions. My love for these people is still there, but I learned that I can do college without them and life goes on without their constant presence.
- Relationships develop at their own time. You can know someone for a long time before a friendship ever develops. It’s all about timing.
This summer, I worked at a church with some other OC students–most of which I had known prior to the position, but never really gotten the chance to get to know one-on-one. For instance, my now good friend Chelsae and I had several of the same friends. I was even in her profile picture during rush season our sophomore year. But I had only ever talked to her a few times and we never hung out. After working together, we went to the movies and hung out constantly afterwards! We just clicked. This was a girl I had heard about constantly my freshman year, hung around once or twice my sophomore year, and now, my final year of college, is easily one of my closest friends at OC. This was also the case with Kelly, a girl I had worked on Soundings with for a whole year, before sitting down and getting to know thanks to work. And if I’m being honest, I didn’t think Kelly and I would make good friends while working with her on Soundings, something I told her. Boy, was I wrong. She is easily the greatest person I’ve ever met and knows me better than I know myself sometimes. Oh, and I can’t forget Brad. He was someone I had crossed paths with multiple times- Pi Fall Banquet, “coaching” Pi’s football team, etc. Yet, we didn’t get to know each other until we worked together. This summer brought me so many solid relationships and each relationship was with someone I had crossed paths with before. However, God developed the relationships when he felt I needed them.
- Family is family no matter the distance.
This year, I officially lived in Oklahoma all year. I stayed through the summer and I’ve even been there for most of Christmas Break. This was a time of growth and independence, but I also learned that my family is still here for me if I need them. My parents are always a phone call away. I can make the journey to see them. They can journey to see me. My siblings are here for one another in times of need, even if it is simply in a group text message. We are still family no matter what. We support one another and have each others’ backs. This is a lesson I am still learning and will continue to learn as my parents move to Florida. Distance will be hard on all of us, but we will grow through it and love each other more because of it.
- People don’t like to be placed on your to-do list.
If you know me well, you know I am the type of person who plans everything. I follow a pretty strict to-do list each and every day. I like to cross things off. I’ve learned this year that although I like to pencil people in, people like spontaneity. They like to do things spur of the moment. AND they do not like being crossed off your list–especially when that list consists of tedious things like homework, dishes, and laundry. At first, this really bugged me, because I like knowing what I’m doing each and every second of the day. However, I’ve learned that it’s much better to just go with the flow sometimes. (This is something I still need to work on.) But for now, I think healthy compromise is a thing, so I’ll plan AND have random time with friends and it will be great.
- It’s okay to cry.
I’ve always hated crying, because I feel weak when I do so. I feel like I’m being a baby. Rightfully so, too, since my siblings always made fun of me for crying while I was growing up. It also probably has to do with being super vulnerable with people and I mean, who does that? Yet, this year, I’ve cried a lot. I’ve cried to my mom, who always handles it well. I’ve cried to my dad, who always feels so bad because he can’t do anything to make it stop. This also makes him feel awkward (I think. He may disagree.) I’ve cried to my friends. I’ve cried endlessly to Brad. I’ve cried on floors, beds, in my car, in the hallway of the business building, in my professors’ offices, and even in parking lots of restaurants. I’ve had the whimpering sobs, the snotty ones, the hiccupy cries, and even the cries where I can’t breathe because the act of crying is all my body can manage. Each time I’ve cried, people have comforted me. Each time I’ve cried, I’ve realized I’m not alone. Each time I’ve cried, I’ve felt much better afterward. You see, crying lets it all out and your body knows when you need to do it. So, let it out! You’ll be a stronger person for it.
- It’s okay to feel your feelings.
Actually, this is kind of funny, because I tell people this all of the time, but I don’t think I tell myself this enough. You feel the way you feel for a reason. Don’t shut off your feelings! Feel it out. Figure out why you feel that way. Then, deal with it. You have feelings for a reason. Don’t suppress them. If you’re having a bad day, it’s okay to feel upset about it. If you are having a good day, be happy about it! Just don’t dwell on negative feelings–get them out and let them go.
(Also, shout out to the people who remind me of this. Especially those of you who throw it in my face that I say it constantly. You help me feel my feelings.)
- Babies will make you feel better- ALWAYS.
This may not be a shared opinion, but I promise you that babies make me feel better. Especially Baby Parker. I’ve had so many rough days, especially this semester. Going over to the Parker’s house and holding Baby Parker instantly cheers me up. She has so much life to live and she is happy and lovely and just yes! Instantly, I feel better. Babies snuggled into you and make you feel warm inside. The troubles of your day instantly melt away. They are truly God’s greatest gift.
Alright, that’s all you get for now. Part 2 will be up tomorrow! Hope you enjoyed reading these as much as I enjoyed reflecting on them.