Friday, September 14, 2012

If I Could Write A Letter To Me

I can’t remember how I stumbled across Emily Freeman’s blog, but I feel like I have been reading it forever.  I find myself nodding along and wiping away tears at almost every post.  She truly has a way with words.  Well, last year she wrote a book that rocked my world…and now she has done it again.  This time, for young girls—I’m talking teenagers.  And all those people with a heart for teenage girls said AMEN!!  I’ve only had the chance to read the first few chapters, but whoa…it’s good.  I can hardly wait to get this book in the hands of my girls…and journey through it with with one or every single small group of girls that I lead from here on out!  It’s a winner for sure. 

This week on her blog. she has gotten different people to post letters to their 15 year old self, and today she is hosting a little link up for all that want to join. I’m not usually one for jumping on the link-up bandwagon, but something inside me told me that I needed to.  After all, teenage girls are my people.    Then I started writing, and whoa, it was difficult.  I mean, it wrecked me.  When I think back to high school, there were so many WONDERFUL memories, but if I think about it long enough, there is so much yuck in there too.  Thankfully, I have grown and learned from much of it, but if almost 28 year old me could speak into 15 year old me, I would do it in a heartbeat, and it would go something like this…


Make a B.  That’s right, I said make a B.  No need to freak out, I didn’t say make all B’s, one will be just fine.  Just make the B.  Doing your best is important, but you have gotten to the point where you are no longer just doing your best, you have created an idol out of your grades.  Unfortunately, the idol will continue through college and it will take you starting Seminary to get over it.  It’s not worth all those years of A’s.  More importantly, it’s not worth all of the effort to make it appear to the outside world that you are perfect and have it all together.  You don’t, and you’re not fooling anyone but yourself.  So, just make the B.  You may get in trouble for it, but the trouble will be much shorter lived than the ramifications of the perfectionist idol you have created for yourself.

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Keep babysitting.  I know people think you’re weird because you would rather spend your Friday and Saturday nights changing diapers, playing board games and coloring. Let them think that.  You know you love it and you know you’re good at it.  In the years to come, you’ll enjoy it even more and people will really start to think you’re weird.  Just keep baby-sitting.  You know that having younger kids watching your every move keeps you on the right track, and the families you’ll get to meet will be part of your life for years to come.  Let the people say what they want to say about you, baby-sitting is your thing…and that is mighty okay!


Tough love is just that…TOUGH.  During the next year, a situation will come up where you will have the opportunity to choose to keep your mouth shut and go with the flow, or offer tough love to a friend.  You will pray about it for months and will decide that it is more important to be honest with your friend and you will give the tough love.  While you know it will be hard, nothing will be able to prepare you for what will happen next.  Choosing that tough love will cause one of your dearest friends to stop talking to you, and in turn it will totally turn your social world upside down.  You will often doubt if it was worth it…or if you did the right thing.  First, let me say kudos to you for following through on what you knew the Lord wanted you to do.  You learned a lot through that experience.  You learned what it meant to earnestly seek the Lord.  You learned how hard it is to follow in His steps.  You also learned what it meant to fervently pray for a friend, and you did it faithfully for 6 years.  Then, 6 years later, things worked themselves out.  Your friend apologized and told you how much she appreciated you saying what you said.  Your friendship was restored and you got to learn a new lesson—forgiveness and grace.  So, keep seeking the Lord…and keep doing what He asks…even if it’s tough!


Tell your family how much you appreciate them.  I know you may not always think they are the best thing ever, but just because you’re a teenager doesn’t mean it’s acceptable to be disrespectful.  Soon you will go to college and then will get a job in the real world.  You will begin to see what an absolute blessing it was to have two wonderful Christian parents and be right in the middle of an older and younger sister.  No need to waste time now complaining, just be thankful. 


If you want something, go for it!  Don’t make your Dad threaten you within an inch of your life of moving to another state to get you to finally put your name on the ballot to run for SGA.  If you want to hold an office, put your name on the list.  Someone else may win, but that’s okay.  You don’t always have to win to be a success. 


Don’t worry about not having a boyfriend.  Really.  Don’t.  I know you think you’ll be married with kids by the time you’re 25, but you won’t be. Heck…you’re about to turn 28 and you don’t have any real prospects.  So do yourself a favor, and quit worrying about it now.  Embrace the non-boyfriend life with all you have.  I know there are times when a boyfriend will be all you think about, but they aren’t all they’re cracked up to me.  Just trust me on this.  The older and wiser you has listened to more teenagers than she can count and wiped so many tears that she should purchase stock in Kleenex!  More times than not, it is because they are pouring out their broken hearts to her.  Hearts that have been broken by a boy.  Despite wanting to just forget the part that you have been taught about guarding and protecting your heart, don’t do it.  I promise you it is worth it.  It is worth it at 15…and it is still worth it now! 

Most of those were pretty serious…but please don’t skip this last one.  I think about it every day, and I do mean EVERY DAY. 


Put some effort into learning how to fix your hair.  Please…I beg of you…LEARN HOW TO USE A ROUND BRUSH!!  Otherwise, you’ll be in your late twenties and won’t be able to do anything with it other than put it up in hot rollers or pull it back in a ponytail.  Don’t worry, all your friends will come to you for advice on how to get the best curl…but if you keep up your lackadaisical hair ways, that will be the only thing they come to you for in the hair department!  The hot roll is great, but a few other styles would be helpful. 

I know this won’t fix all of your problems, but that was never my intention.  Basically, that thing your mentor told you about keeping an eternal mindset…she was right.  If you keep that perspective, everything else will fall into place. Even still, there will be times when you mess-up.  Don’t get too hard on yourself when you do…that’s part of life.  You’ll learn from the mess-ups just like you will learn from the successes, and maybe even more so. 

Blessings and prayers,
The older and wiser You

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

When Expectations and Reality Don’t Meet

How many times have you walked into a situation hoping and expecting one thing and then something totally different comes from it?  If you’re like me, it’s a number much too high to count.  While expectations aren’t necessarily bad, the problem is the disconnect that ensues between the expectations and reality often leads to confusion and discontentment. 

Not making sense?  How about an example?  Nine years ago I was a freshman at the University of Alabama.  I eagerly went through Recruitment and pledged a sorority.  I had heard the stories of sorority sisters being your best friends and had even seen it in my older sisters friendships.  I had great expectations that I would walk in those doors and find instant friends.  The problem was, that wasn’t the case for me.  I immediately doubted my decision to join a sorority.  If I wasn’t going to meet my best friends there, what was the purpose?  I seriously contemplated dropping out multiple times.  Thankfully, I chose to listen to someone older and far wiser than me.  While the conversation was years ago, I vividly remember being told that just because I thought the purpose of joining a sorority was to meet my best friends didn’t mean that it was the purpose that God had for me joining a sorority.  Maybe, just maybe, He had some other things that He wanted me to learn in addition to meeting friends.  At first, I didn’t want to hear it, but lots of prayer helped me to see that she was right.

Looking back, I can’t even begin to list the lessons that I learned from being in a sorority.  However, even now, if I compared my expectations to what actually happened, very few things would line up.  Through that experience, I truly learned the importance of taking all of my expectations and laying them at the foot of the cross.  It’s fine to dream, and it’s only natural to have expectations of what will happen…but in the end, we have to take those expectations and trust that God is far greater than any of them. 

I was reminded of this last night when I was talking to one of my newest “college girls.”  While her situation is quite different than mine, I could tell from her words that the issue was her expectations and reality just weren’t lining up. The discontentment and doubt had practically taken over every aspect of her life.  With each word, my heart ached more and more because I knew.  I had been there.  Even more, I knew that the area of doubt and discontentment is where the enemy loves to get the children of God because it practically paralyzes us.

Despite the tears in my throat, I encouraged her to think about her expectations, and then make the decision to erase those and replace them with the truth that God is sovereign and His plan is far greater than any of our expectations.  Unfortunately, it’s not a quick fix.  It doesn’t mean that things are going to be better for her overnight.  But, I know that learning the truth of expectations and reality is one that will benefit for her for years to come…just as it has me.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

He Is Risen…He Is Risen Indeed








What a wonderful Easter Sunday it has been!  Church.  Seersucker.  Friends that have become like family. Family that are some of my best friends.  A delicious dinner…complete with strawberry cake.  The Masters.  A nap.  The Masters playoff. 

Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!

Spring Has Sprung

Sorry for the break.  Life has been crazy…filled with papers, tests and lots of things that I can’t really post to the world wide web.  Instead of putting my words out for others to see, I’ve filled the pages of my journal.  It’s been wonderful, but now I’m ready to jump back on the blog bandwagon. 

I’m 6 weeks away from being completely finished with my second semester of school.  Not gonna lie…there have been many times during the past few months that I doubted if I would make it this far.  If my count is correct, I am 3 papers, 2 tests, and 3 finals away…I CAN DO THIS.  I WILL DO THIS!!

While lots of my time has been filled with school, there has been time for some fun. 

One of the best parts of school is you get a spring break.  Mine couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.  I got to spend part of my time at the beach with some sweet high schoolers and finished up the last part recuperating from the lack of sleep and relaxing at home.  I even got to read a book for pleasure!!  Such a novelty!


I’ve also taken full advantage of the beautiful spring weather in Alabama.  Lots of walks…and even some runs.  Lots of baseball games.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Grocery Store Trip To Remember

Growing up I loved going to the grocery store.  My Dad and I went together on Saturday mornings.  It was our time.  While I still enjoy it, I don't look forward to it like I used to.  Since I don't enjoy cooking for one, the foods I purchase are much more mundane, so the trips themselves often leave much to be desired.  

After putting the trip off for more than a week, there was no getting around the grocery store today.  I proceeded to get my cart and scurry through the aisles as quickly as possible during my lunch break...head down so as not to be distracted by anyone.  Thankfully, the lines were short today.  I began to place my items on the conveyor belt...happy to be in and out in record time...when I heard a voice from behind me.  

The lady behind me in line appeared to be in her mid 50s and said she couldn't help but notice the book in my purse and wanted to know what it was about.  Now that I'm back in school, it's not uncommon for a book to find its way into my purse, so off the top of my head I had no clue what book she could be talking about.  A quick look brought a smile to my face.  She was looking at my copy of Made to Crave.  

Made to Crave was written by my sweet friend, Lysa TerKeurst, and it uses the idea of food to show how we were created to crave more than just food...we were created instead to crave God.  While many tell of pounds lost due to journeying through the book, Lysa is quick to point out that the book was not written as a weight loss book at all.  The book was written to help all of us get to the core of who we are and what we are wrongfully craving more than our Heavenly Father.  

As I explained the premise of the book, the sweet ladies eyes filled with tears.  She began to tell me that she had struggled with bulimia for years and had only recently gotten out of a treatment center.  I stood in the check out lane in awe.  As she spoke, I knew that this was no "chance" meeting.  This was God ordained.  I began rifling through my book...pulling out all of the little post it notes that I had stuck in it along the way.  With underlines and highlights, it wasn't brand new, but I knew that this book was supposed to go to my new friend.  Despite her protests for me to keep the book, I placed it in her hands and quickly prayed that the Lord would bless her reading it just as he did mine.

Thinking that was as good as it could possibly get for the day, I turned around to the cashier to pay for my groceries.  I slid my debit card and typed in my pin only to find out that it had been declined.  How in the world could that be?  I knew I had much more than enough.  Embarrassed, I glanced down at my card and noticed that it had expired last month.  As I was trying to see if it would be possible to hold my groceries while I ran down to get cash (the grocery store I was shopping at only takes cash and debit), my new friend stepped up and insisted that she pay.  I tried to stop her, but her card was run before I had the chance to put up a fight.  

As I fought back the tears while bagging my groceries, I couldn't help but smile as I heard the cashier discussing the series of events with the gentleman behind us in line.  The man mentioned he could hardly wait to get home so he could tell his wife all about it.  The cashier was just surprised that things like that even happened anymore.  

Before I left, I gave my new friend a hug, thanked her for her generosity and assured her that I would be praying for her.  While it's true I may never know what becomes of the book or my friend Linda, I know without a shadow of a doubt that God ordained every detail of the grocery store encounter today...and that leads me to believe that He's not through working in the situation!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Long time coming…

Last Monday night I found myself eating dinner with two sweet families that were meeting one another for the first time.  Two moms.  Two dads.  Two daughters…and me.  As I sat at the table and thought back to how they were even meeting in the first place, I couldn’t help but smile.  So here’s the back-story to how that meeting came about…as best I can tell it…because it’s almost just too difficult to put into words. 

Four years ago I stumbled across this blog.  I vividly remember finding it while I was traveling for work.  So, alone in my hotel room, and with nothing other to do that night, I read past posts and cried for hours.  While I had little in common with Paige, I loved it instantly.  Go ahead and read for yourself.  I’m sure you’ll love her too.  From that day on, I became a faithful blog stalker.  For years, I read every single post, but never dared to comment.

Fast forward to last August.  I was in Tuscaloosa to help my sorority out with sorority recruitment.  After practically living at the sorority house for two weeks, I got to know lots of the girls, Emily being one of them. In one conversation we had, she mentioned that she had a younger sister that was a senior in high school that was thinking about going to TCU or Ole Miss.  I told her that I knew a girl named Libby from Birmingham that was interested in the same two schools.  How fun would it be if they ended up going to the same school and becoming friends?  Since we live in the world of technology, we both pulled up facebook to show each other pictures of the respective girls.  As she clicked through the pictures of her sister, Abby, I sat speechless.  I had seen these pictures before.  I had seen them on a blog.  Not just any blog…they had been on Paige’s blog.  I immediately began explaining to Emily how I knew her sister because I was obsessed with a blog that I remembered her being on.  She laughed and said something to the tune of “oh yeah…that’s our friend Paige.  We’re good family friends.”  In my mind I thought FRIEND?  You actually know this awesome lady and her husband and daughters and they know you?!  It was almost too much for my little brain to handle.  Though I had only known Emily for a short period of time, and didn’t even know Abby at all other than her pictures, I decided right then and there that any friend of Paige’s must be fabulous, and if Abby and Libby did go to the same school, they would need to meet for sure.

Let’s skip ahead again to this past January.  I got a call from Emily to tell me that Abby had been accepted to TCU and was going to go for a visit.  I told her that Libby had also been accepted and since she had visited earlier had already made up her mind that she was going to go there.  We introduced the girls to each other through Facebook…what did we do before that came along??  Abby made her visit to TCU and fell in love with the campus and the town of Fort Worth. When I heard the news I could hardly stand it.  I was so excited that the girls would have the chance to meet and get to know each other. 

I guess that brings us up to the present.  Earlier this week, Abby’s family was passing through Birmingham, so the girls and their moms worked it out for all of us to grab dinner.  While they had been talking on the phone for a month, this would be their first in person meeting.  It was such a special treat to be able to see both families interacting…and from the looks of it, I’d say that they are going to have a great time in the fall.  I can’t wait for my first visit!


I know it was long…but I really couldn’t cut anything out.  I just love how the Lord wove all of the strands together…from Paige, to Emily, right down to the girls choosing on their own accord to go to the same school.  So, the next time you think that God’s not in the details…I hope you’re reminded of this post.  He is most certainly in the details…some of the details just take longer to show how they are part of the bigger picture.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Yet another recap post

Sorry for the long hiatus again.  One of these days I’ll get better at posting regularly.  I guess it just goes to show that I still have a ways to go when it comes to getting my life in a more balanced state.

The past two weeks have been unbelievably busy with school.  I’m happy to say that I made it through without complaining…and let me just go on record to say that I really think it made a difference!  Now that I’m on the other side of the crazy, here’s a recap of some of the highlights…


I’m not a runner…and really have no desire to be…but I sure do love cheering on all my friends!


Spent the afternoon in the library writing a paper…thankfully I finished in enough time to the birthday of my sweet friend, Megan!


Sunday School weekend retreat…complete with a bonfire and smores!


Cheered on these two beautiful girls in their high school beauty walk!  The best part is the outer beauty is really just the inner beauty shining through!

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Ben Rector / Needtobreathe concert.  I had a big test the next morning, but it was definitely worth the 3 hour study break! 


The next night’s study break was used to watch these cuties play their final basketball game.  They’ll probably kill me for posting a picture from AFTER the game…but I think they look adorable. 


This past weekend was fabulous…too bad I don’t have any pictures.  I kicked it off with lunch at the high school and spent my Friday night with the Porter family.  So thankful for the way they have adopted me like I’m one of their own!  Saturday was filled with baseball games and date night with my aunt and uncle.  Yesterday was absolutely BEAUTIFUL in Alabama…the perfect day for a walk with a friend and then it was off to see Wicked with the roommate.  All in all, a refreshing and relaxing weekend filled with all things that make me happy. 

Now, it’s back to this…


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Last Dance

February 6.  I’ve had the day marked on my calendar since last December when I wrote all of the Mountain Brook High School basketball games into my calendar.  February 6=last home basketball game.  Last home basketball game=senior night.  Senior night=last dance and senior dance. 


With months to prepare myself, I hoped that I would be able to watch their performances without crying.  I even made sure to not sit with my family that night to try to cut down on the tears induced from others’ tears. Unfortunately,sometimes the best laid plans don’t always work out. I cried during 3 of the 4 dances…but that one time…that one time I was all dry eyed. So, I guess I should give myself credit for that.

With the exception of my fabulous cousin that I’ve known her entire life, I’ve only really known these girls for about two and a half years. It’s embarrassing how emotional I get. I’ve tried and tried not to…but the fact of the matter is, just like my mother, when I’m proud of someone, I cry…and Monday night as I watched those sweet cheerleaders and dorians dance together for the last time I was oh so proud.











So, yes…I cried.  Some of the tears were because I knew this was my last chance to see them dance as a group…but most of the tears were because I was oh so proud of the women they are becoming.  It’s been a joy to watch them grow these past few years. 


**sorry for the picture overload…it was hard enough narrowing it down to just these!**