Lessons from a 1 year old.

A couple weeks ago I got to spend a few days with my nephew in Seattle. He’s the best. I hate living so far away from him and not being able to see him grow every day, but I cherish the time I do get with him. He’s so fun and it is fun to see the world through his eyes and all of the ways he continues to grow. I was there the week or so after he really started walking, so that was a fun time too to see him learn this new skill and take the world by storm in a new way.

Today is his first birthday (!!) so I figured it was appropriate to dedicate this post to him and what he has taught me. When I was spending time with him, I realized there’s a lot we can learn from a 1 year old. Since I love to make lists, I decided to make a list of life lessons from a 1 year old.

  1. Sometimes we just need to fall and trying to help can hurt more. Since he was just learning to walk, he fell…a lot. As someone who loves him and never wants to see him hurt, of course my reaction was to reach out and catch him or try to soften his fall, but I realized after awhile that, often times, that made him fall harder. (Sorry Jake and Em). Usually when he lost his balance and caught himself he was fine…he popped right up, ready to keep on walking like it was no big thing. I realized how often we can try to help someone or try to break their fall or fix it when they really don’t need our help. Sometimes helping can hurt and sometimes people need to fall on their own.
  2. Joy can be found in the simple things. My nephew and sis-in-law were in Michigan recently at her grandparent’s house and he loved this spoon he found so he got to take it back to Seattle with him. He loves a spoon…he also spent a lot of time entertained by my little shampoo bottle. These are not big, flashy, or expensive things, but simple, every day items. I think too often we get sidetracked by thinking that life is meant to be big and flashy, when joy and beauty is often found in the simple and every day.
  3. When in doubt…turn to wonder. Babies have so much to learn. Have you ever thought about all the things that we learn throughout life? That at one point you had to learn how to walk, learn to talk, to eat by yourself and learn how the things around you work. Sometimes I would see him look at something or hear something that he wasn’t sure about and then he would toddle over to check it out. Babies don’t have all the answers because they don’t know much yet, so they’re constantly turning to wonder and to curiosity. At some point in life, we lose this, we think we have all the answers or shouldn’t have any doubts, but that’s not reality…what would it look like if we turned to wonder more often? If we let ourselves do the work to figure things out and if we can’t figure them out, just turn to wonder and rest in the fact that we don’t have to know it all.
  4. Sometimes all the people in your life want is for you to show them love. He is a very active 1 year old…he isn’t about the cuddling life. Em would sit him on the edge of the couch every morning to wake me up and I just wanted to cuddle him, but he pushed away and wanted to be off exploring. I mean…I get it, there’s a lot to see out there! He doesn’t know any better, but it made me think about how much we want the people in our life to show us love, so are we returning the favor? Go hug someone. Go tell someone you love and appreciate them. It matters.
  5. Trust in who you follow. My nephew adores his mom and dad. He doesn’t hesitate to take their hand and walk around with them. When we put him down the slide, whoever was at the bottom would catch him and he hasn’t learned yet that maybe that person down there won’t catch me. He trusts in his parents and the people who dearly love him. I follow Jesus, but I don’t think I always trust him…not like a child trusts his mom or his dad. It’s a lesson I have to continually be reminded of.

So Happy Birthday buddy…you’re only 1 and you’re already teaching the world so much! I think we all need to strive to be more like little children and the world may become a more beautiful place.

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     Seriously…is he not the cutest? Such a cool kid. 🙂

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26 Things.

It’s my last day of being 26 and my 27th birthday is tomorrow. I guess I can really claim “late-twenties” now. I feel like I have no business being 27 and sometimes I feel like I’m still just a little kid, but then I look at all of my bills, student loans and remember that my ten year high school reunion is next year and I’m brought back to reality. I honestly am not bothered at all by getting older. I think aging is a beautiful thing because you get wiser and gain perspective, but for some reason 27 seems weird and kinda boring. It may be because I hate odd numbers and when do you hear of anyone saying…yes…that really exciting thing happened when I was 27! But I’m not going to judge this year of life that has not yet happened, but rather welcome it with open arms and hey, it could be the best year yet!

26 was a pretty good year…pretty mellow and consistent, but also stressful, hard and challenging at times. For the last couple years around my birthday I’ve made a list of things from the past year. So here are 26 things about my 26 year of life…

1. My nephew was born. This was a highlight since one of my greatest goals in life has always been to be an awesome aunt. The fact that Jonah Henry is the cutest, sweetest baby has made it even easier to love him. I just wish Seattle and Nashville were closer.

Abby and I

I may or may not have given him that onesie…

2. I finished my second year of grad school. I think I’ve lost track of how many books I’ve read, discussion posts I’ve made and pages I’ve written, but I’ve learned a lot and I’ve really enjoyed what I’m learning. I also have the best classmates and having the chance to be at residency in Philly with some pretty great people is always a good time!

3. I realized I can be creative. I have always thought I wasn’t creative so I never really tried to be, but I’m realizing that’s not true.

4. I got a new tattoo. After my first tattoo I knew I probably wanted another one, but wasn’t sure if it was going to happen. I have a rule that I have to want the same tattoo for at least six months and it has to have lasting meaning…and this one met those qualifications so I figured, why not? This one hurt way more than the other, but it was worth it and I love it!

5. I’ve discovered new dreams and I’m excited for what the future holds.

6. I visited NYC for the first time!!! This was amazing and something I’ve dreamed about forever! Two of my friends and I went for just the day while we were at residency because we had a day off from class and even though it was really short it was worth it! I saw a lot of the touristy things, but I can’t wait to go back sometime!

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7. I was unafraid. Unafraid was my word for 2014 and there were many opportunities for me to be brave…I didn’t always welcome them and it wasn’t always easy, but it did end up being a year of being unafraid.

8. I saw Justin Timberlake in concert! For real, one of the best shows I’ve ever seen…like, seriously amazing. I may have turned into a 13 year old version of myself and freaked out a little, but I’m not even sorry about it. I also saw Usher in concert. Another incredible show! 26 saw a lot of other great shows too like Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson. I also saw Wicked again and an awesome performance of Les Mis, oh and the CMT Awards, where I saw John Legend and I freaked out…oh my gosh, so many great shows in year 26!!

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The one and only Justin Timberlake. He was just so good.

 

9. I discovered the greatness of essential oils. I’m not as much of a fanatic as some people about oils, but I do think they’re beneficial and work.

10. Discovered this website. If you need a couple minutes to relax from the craziness you’ll be glad you know about this now.

11. We took a family trip to Seattle and the Cascade Mountains. Leah and Jake graduated from graduate school and we made a whole trip out of it. It was so fun, so beautiful and so good to spend time with my family!

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12. I jumped on the bandwagon and got hooked on the podcast Serial.

13. I’ve done hard work in counseling. I think being whole and healthy means taking care of ourselves emotionally and psychologically. My journey with counseling has not been easy and I’ve struggled through a lot of things, but the amount of growth and healing that has resulted has been worth every step.

14. Discovered and binge watched Parks and Recreation. Lots of different people have told me over the last couple years that I just had to watch this show, but I haven’t until recently and I’m too embarrassed to write how many episodes I’ve watched. I think we can all learn a lot from Leslie Knope and some days I tell myself to channel my inner Leslie Knope when I’m feeling unmotivated or having a bad day.

Leslie Knope

15. I survived my first year of home ownership. Not gonna lie, I pray often that nothing breaks and I maybe freak out a little too much if it seems like something is breaking.

16. I attempted to create and break habits each month. This was one of those, “Oh my gosh this is a great idea and I’m going to do it every month” ideas, but it kinda fizzled out in the end. I made a list of some new habit I would create or break for each month, but between being weighed down with work, school and life and just completely forgetting I made the list, it didn’t go too well. To focus on the positive, this did result in me eating healthier and making my bed every day. I can proudly say I’ve made my bed every day for the past six months (Mom, it only took me 27 years to do it, but aren’t you proud!). I read somewhere that making your bed each morning is mentally good for you because it’s one thing you’ve already accomplished before you have even really started your day and it’s true!

17. I’ve realized how impulsive I can be and it’s the worst.

18. You guys…I tried online dating. It’s also the worst and just not for me…although very humorous and entertaining.

19. I got to witness and celebrate big moments in many good friends’ lives. Babies were born, engagements and weddings happened and big life decisions were made. I love when my friends have babies and that they let me love them. One of my favorite things is celebrating big moments in my friends’ lives.

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One of the precious babies born this year…Miss Flora Mae.

 

20. I took a creative writing class from a community college. At the time it was probably not the wisest decision since I was already taking other grad school classes, but it fell mostly during my break in between classes and I enjoyed it so much it wasn’t really like work.

21. I realized how important self-care is and that it’s not selfish. I also want everyone to realize this. I think we would all be better, whole, functioning humans if we took better care of ourselves.

22. I had meetings about retirement funds and had to name beneficiaries for things. Those are weird moments and also are classified as “I guess I’m actually a grown up now” moments.

23. Marci graduated high school! I’ve had the honor of mentoring this lovely lady for the last couple years and it was so exciting to see her walk across that stage!

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24. I made a personal strategic plan. I had to do this for a class, but it ended up being a great thing for me. It’s a great way to incorporate your life’s mission statement with your goals and vision.

25. Betsy and Ryan came to visit me! I love when people come to visit and it was so fun to have them here. They ran our 5K and saw the sites and it was a great time!

Ryan and Betsy

26. I uncovered even more of who I am. I think life is so exciting because there’s always something more to learn and know about life, others and yourself. This year has been a big one for me in really uncovering who I am and who I am created to be and remembering to stay rooted in that.

26 was a pretty good year! I am always so thankful for all the things I’m able to do, but mostly for the people I get to do them with. Here’s a great year of 27!

25 Things.

It’s become a tradition to write this post each year and I love it. It gives me a chance to think about the last year and what all has happened…specifically 25 things that have happened in my 25th year of life. This year was a pretty big one.  So…here are 25 things that have happened in year 25.

1. I bought a house. This is kinda a big one so I thought it could go first. Technically it’s more like a town home than a “house”, but I bought it and I love it. It worked out with perfect timing and it is becoming home.
My new home!

My new home!

2. I started grad school. Also kinda a big one so figured it should be #2. I began the Masters of Urban Studies program at Eastern University and I have loved it! It has been really hard to learn how to balance working full time, having a life and doing school, but I’m working on it. The whole having a life part needs some work, but I love to learn and working towards my masters degree has been really empowering for me.
3. I started running. Never in my life would I think I would write those words, but they’re true! I ran two 5K’s and I think I’ve had my fill of those. Hear more about that here.
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4. I realized how much I love hospitality and learned it’s not always comfortable and can remove you from your comfort zone but that’s kinda the point and it’s great. I love having people in my home and making them feel at home!
5. Got a tatto. I absolutely love my tattoo and the daily reminder that it is to me each and every day.
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6. Read some great books. One of my favorites was Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey.
7. I lost some really great people. We lost my Aunt Pam this year unexpectedly. Nothing can quite prepare you for that, but her life was celebrated and I am lucky to have been loved by such a great lady! One of our older neighbors, Miss Hattie passed away this year too. She lived a full life and I’m happy I was able to know her.
8. I discovered and realized some new things that are life giving to me and I’m excited to explore them more this next year.
9. I gained confidence in ways I never thought would happen.
10. I continued to experience deep and full friendships. I am so thankful for the friends that I have in my life and how they walk with me through life. I also have met new friends through my program at Eastern and they are just some of the best people.
Some of the wonderful people in my life!

Some of the wonderful people in my life!

11. I had the opportunity to speak on a panel at Trevecca which made me realize I love talking about things that matter and that could move people more towards joining in on kingdom work and tearing down ignorance and unawareness.
12. I took the longest solo road trip of my life from Nashville to Michigan to Philly and back to Nashville. It wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever done, but I wouldn’t really want to do it again.
13. I figured out that eliminating decision making when possible is life giving to me so I’m making some habits and practices that help with that.
14. Bought a new TV and a new hutch and coffee table that I love!
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15. Realized I need to let my life be ruled by reality and not by my expectations.
16. Quit drinking real milk. Almond milk is the best.
17. I have been able to experience some of life’s great moments with friends. Weddings, babies growing into toddlers, graduations, grad school beginnings, etc…
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18. Realized life goes in seasons, relationships change, circumstances change and it’s okay. I just need to take them as they come.
19. Another year of good travels! I visited new places like Philly, Washington DC and New Orleans. I like Philly, I absolutely loved DC, but New Orleans wasn’t my favorite. I also got to visit Denver, go back to Michigan and Knoxville for some weddings and visit Florida with some of my family!
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20. I have four TV shows that I absolutely love…New Girl, The Mindy Project, Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy.
21. Realized how much I love reading random articles and learning about anything and everything. Following Huffington Post on Twitter has increased my daily article intake, maybe too much.
22. I rediscovered what I’m passionate about. It’s changed  some over the last few years, but it’s an exciting time! It’s this feeling like I discovered a song in my soul and beliefs that reach deep into who I am.
23. I created a new chili recipe and it’s actually pretty good.
24. Trying to find pleasure in the little things and when an experience may not be the greatest, making it better. On New Year’s Eve Becca and I got stranded in Indiana because of snow and it could have been a terrible situation, but it ended up being a great time consisting of matching PJ’s, Ben and Jerry and the movies.
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25. I set new goals for myself and realized some long term ideas for my life. It’s a balance living in the here and now and the not yet but I’m excited about both the right now and the what is to come. Living within this tension has become my way of life and I’m enjoying the ride.
Year 25 was pretty great. I experienced a lot, took some big and some little steps, learned a lot more about myself and have enjoyed life even with all of its ups and downs. Here is to a great year 26!