Hello, all my wonderful readers :)!
Today is a little bit special... it's Wednesday, which means a new blog post, but it's also my 21st birthday. Sooooo, I thought I would do a special little post of reflection :). The lessons included in this post are NOT extensive at all, and they range from super serious to rather humorous.... but I didn't want this to get too long either, so I just included some of the best things I thought of first, and it's really not very organized, either... but that's kind of like life, isn't it? Hmmmm, that sounds like another life lesson ;)! So, here are 99 lessons I have compiled as I look back a bit...
2. You may fail. Don't let it discourage you.
3. You may fail again. But it doesn't define you.
4. People who make a point to go out of their way to make sure that you are really okay are the best people. Cherish them.
5. The instagram app is so much better than using desktop.
6. Hymns and sermons are a great accompaniment to baking and crocheting, but know when enough is enough. Sometimes your brain needs a break from all the words.
7. Love the small things in life and you will never be disappointed.
8. No matter all the good intentions you have or all the care you give, if the soil is not ready for the seed, there will be no harvest (yes, this is a metaphor that goes much deeper than our sad garden of late years).
9. Be the first one to introduce yourself. It's hard, and can be awkward. But you never know what blessings may come from it.
10. Find someone to invest in. It doesn't have to be much; just making sure to say hello to the lonely lady at church each week will brighten up her whole week.
11. Read more - you won't regret it. And it's okay if you are reading fiction or re-reads. Not every book has to be a learning opportunity. Just keep whetting your appetite for books.
12. It is very true that what you sow is often what you reap.
13. My identity is in Christ, and in Christ alone.
14. Homemade cookies in ice cream while laughing and sympathizing with best friends and ignoring the movie you are supposedly watching is one of the most refreshing things.
15. Baby pictures are really. hard. to take - especially when you aren't a photographer. (Okay, but pictures are hard to take when you aren't a photographer ;)...)
16. Practice makes better.
17. Better is okay; nobody becomes a professional overnight.
18. Walks and coffee are still the best ways to connect with others.
19. Don't be afraid to say yes to a spontaneous meeting with friends, even when it's difficult; it will be a blessing.
20. Learning to speak up in the face of confrontation is a good thing, but don't take it further than you should.
21. Know your limits, but never stop dreaming.
22. Being needed is still what gives me purpose, but it's okay to be needed in different ways now.
23. The Lord has placed so much beauty in this world, and it is a wonderful privilege to get to see it.
24. Take the time to notice the way change is effecting the people around you. Sometimes, you have to slow down to move forward.
25. Take the time to notice the way the people around you are changing themselves, too. And don't forget to encourage them when you see growth.
26. Learn to wait like a sane person when you feel like panicking disproportionately.
27. Make time for the things that matter to you, because time will never make itself.
28. To help with that, don't wait for the perfect time to do something before you do it. Use the moments you have.
29. It's best to say no if you really need to, instead of saying yes when you can't or don't mean it.
30. But try to put others first as often as you can when you have a choice; it's so rewarding.
31. Playing pretend with a whole lot of little boys (and an exuberant little girl) is more fun than you may think for someone with only half an imagination. Don't let your lack of creativity stop you from investing.
32. Social marketing isn't as hard as it feels. (But blogging is still so much better.)
33. Sometimes, you need to put your phone on airplane mode, put up your laptop, and enjoy life, no matter what it takes.
34. The hammered dulcimer is a beautiful sounding instrument. Also, celtic music is gorgeous. Musi .is a gift in itself. Enjoy it!
35. I cannot shield any heart from the consequences of sin, or break any heart over the impact of that sin, but I can pray and confront. Just never forget that with confrontation must always come love.
36. No matter how much it hurts to feel helpless, do your part and then lean on the Lord. He is the only one who can use our words or actions for any good.
37. When your world is falling to pieces, whether in actuality or just in your emotions, cry out a prayer to the Lord. When fear or pain is deep, lean on Him.
38. But don't forget, when you are crying happy tears, to come before Him again. He deserves all our praise - especially because He is so ready to comfort in those hard moments.
39. Do that thing you should do BEFORE it becomes annoying to you that it still needs done. It will be much more pleasant.
40. When your mind is spinning and you feel like you just need a break, go ahead and take one as soon as you can; but take it wisely. Don't sit on the couch and scroll through Pinterest. Go for a walk, spend some extra time in bible study, maybe even take a nap. It seems counter-intuitive to do more "work" at that moment, but the truth is, usually, you need refreshing more than "a break".
41. The memories a handkerchief can invoke are amazingly many. Cherish those you have while you have them.
42. God's plans are not our plans, but we can trust Him. Sometimes, the hardest things we face are for God's glory. (And sometimes, the most unexpected changes in our plans are the best.)
43. Sleeping by yourself is literally one of the loneliest things every after sharing your room with four sisters and a baby. But use every moment to the fullest... it's a great time to eat chocolate to make yourself feel better ;).
44. Sometimes, God gives us situations that are similar to those in the past to bring healing through their differences.
45. Every one should read "Woman of the Word" by Jen Wilkin. And "The Valley of Vision".
46. "How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard" is still true.
47. Lessons and reminders can come in literally any shape or form.
48. It's incredibly fun to have an even number of boys vs. girls in your family!
49. If you are ever unsure of what your favorite color is, just compare the items that you and your mom put in the amazon cart (without consulting each other first) for you to consider between. #obviouslyblueforme
50. Simplicity is best, but don't be afraid to make that moment, event, canvas, outfit, plan, just a little more than bare-bones. Let your simplicity carry personality.
51. Keep a running list of gift ideas. It makes the last minute decisions so much easier.
52. Homemade caramel macchiatoes are just as good as Starbucks. Enjoy them. But don't make too much of the syrups, because you will use them until they are gone, no matter how much coffee it takes.
53. Ice cream from the church freezer can create a great spontaneous bonding time.
54. Don't be so busy wondering what people's opinion of your life is, that you forget to continue perusing God's plan for your life.
55. Try not to ever let a chance to celebrate with or thank some one get away from you. You will regret it.
56. Shower kindness on others, and you are bound to find your own rainbow.
57. Our parents have a huge respectability to teach their family the Word of God, but they can not embrace that Word for us; this is something we must do ourselves.
58. Curly Girlz Font is used e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e, y'all. As someone who works with fonts regularly, and that font frequently (I created my custom canvas years ago before I realized this last December), I can say that with certainty.
59. Dependence on Christ is joyful freedom.
60. Night vision is apparently a good thing to have, and I 10/10 recommend taking someone who has it with you when you are walking through the woods at 9 o'clock at night. (Or driving...) But seeing the synchronized fireflies in the trees is totally worth the panic that not being able to see your Dad three feet ahead causes.
61. There is nothing like having best friends for your siblings. Don't neglect to foster those relationships, they mean the world when they are developed <3.
62. Pray about it before you talk about it.
63. Calculated shipping is wonderful for someone who has a fear of overcharging shipping and so tends to undercharge. (This will always be my first tip for online sellers.)
64. Nothing is more beautiful than someone who is walking through their own valley reaching out to make sure that others are being taken care of.
65. You do not have to know a person for their life to change your's. God places each person on this earth for a reason, not matter how short (or long ago) their life may be.
66. God has placed us in the context of family, both personal and spiritual, for a reason, and it is such a blessing to be given a helping hand in life's trials.
67. Tears are a blessing in the midst of pain, but your journey can't end there; in the midst of the rain, trace the rainbow, turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His goodness and grace.
68. Friends can be made in the most un-looked for places, and serving the Lord together creates such a strong bond.
69. Consistency in the small things is better than a lot of effort for something big now and then.
70. It is so fun to blog with other bloggers. In the past I have blogged "by myself"... but several of you have joined me here in the past year, and it has been so much more fun!
71. Planning ahead is exponentially more more important each year, I am convinced.
72. Virginia really is beautiful. There is the cutest cul-de-sac in our neighborhood that reminds me of our VA neighborhood, and Bethani is 99% sure I am obsessed since I found it. I miss it more than I realized.
73. Things don't get easier the longer you wait. Trust me on this. Prepare, yes, by all means. But sometimes you just have to do the thing before you feel prepared.
74. Even if it doesn't work out, at least you tried and you won't have to wonder.
75. You never know when you have been given a path to walk so that you can encourage others in the same path down the road.
76. When everyone you trust is telling you the same thing, you just may want to listen, no matter how hard it is.
77. If you want a great bonding experience with your siblings, I honestly suggest watching a meteor shower at a windy lake. But I would suggest bringing more than one blanket.
A lot of my favorite memories take place at night outside, actually.
78. Circumstances can change us to an extent, but God made us who we were meant to be, and we can't deny the gifts and work He has given us - or the weaknesses He has given us so that in Him we may find that His strength is bigger than our own.
79. Never be content to stop learning; pursue the things you always thought of learning "someday", now.
80. Lemon water is great for headaches, and you CAN acquire a taste for it (I literally crave it now, and a couple years ago I wasn't a big fan, so trust me on this).
81. Learn to take notes on anything, but organize them frequently or it doesn't help.
82. Don't keep the clothes that are cute but you know you'll never be comfortable in for one reason or another, or you don't know how to style. It's just useless stress to try to find some way to make them work.
83. Don't hold on to your routines at the expense of people, but they make life so much more comfortable, so try to have some where you can.
84. Learn to take a compliment graciously. Not with entitlement, not flippantly... but realize that you don't have to always explain to people that they don't see it all. It's a trap that is easy for perfectionists to fall into, and there are times you will see that the compliment-er needs to be reminded, for their own sake, that everybody slips at times, but for the most part... learn to say thank you. And let that be enough.
85. Be transparent. Be raw. Be honest. Be encouraging.
86. Give grace. And more grace.
87. But help others grow, too. Don't give lazy grace that shields them from learning.
88. When you don't feel like enough, remember this: you aren't. That's why you need (and have) a wonderful Savior who is.
89. You become what you brush shoulders with; in social media, conversations, relationships, books, whatever, seek out what is true and pure and noble and convicts you to become what you should be.
90. Being present is important, but don't be afraid to document, too. A goal of mine is to take more pictures and videos - especially videos - of the little things that my siblings do that I love. They will be cherished to look back on when they pass these phases they are going through.
91. Take the time to organize often enough that it saves you time in the long run.
92. Work for your dreams, but don't miss what is going on right now.
93. Close friends don't have to talk all the time, but make sure you talk SOME time.
94. "When you're tired of fighting and chained by your control, there is freedom in surrender - lay it down, and let it go."
95. What you thought at first were weeds may turn out to be flowers, but learn to tell the difference. You can't let all the weeds grow just to test them. Learn each plant, and tear out all that might hinder growth of the right plants.
96. Stretch yourself. Not to the point of being miserable, but enough that you don't get stuck in a rut.
97. Notice the people around you that make you feel cared for. Thank them, and learn from them; take those things they do for you, and try to share it with someone else.
98. Keep an extra bible study or edifying book on your book shelf for those times when, despite your daily time in the word, you feel starving for more.
99. Rest in Christ - lean on Him. Trust, surrender, obey and praise. He is worthy of it all, and gracious enough to accept our humble offerings.
What is one of the most important lessons you have learned? What do you have planned for the week :)?
Rejoicing in Hope,