23 Things.

Last year I made a list of 22 things that I learned or that happened in my 22 years of life on my birthday and my birthday just came to a close so I decided to continue on the tradition. So here is a list of 23 things...things that I've learned this past year and things that have happened.

1. I love to travel. Once again it was a good year filled with road trips back and forth to Michigan, visits to Seattle and a super fun family trip to Florida with us all.

2. I realized the phrase "count your blessings" is very wise. I am so blessed by the people in my life and the place the Lord has me and I take it all for granted too easily.

3. True friendship and community is beyond valuable. My friendships and community in Nashville has grown in size and depth this last year and for that I'm so thankful.

4. My love for music and for good music has expanded this year. I love hearing what people are listening to and discovering new bands. I got to go to a lot of great concerts this year too! One of which was Ray LaMontagne and another The Civil Wars...both so so good!!

5. Be the person you would want to be friends with. Do what you would want others to do.

6. Sometimes you just need to take a step back and gain perspective of your current situation. It makes a world of a difference.

7.  I love seeing plays and musicals. I got to see Les Miserables and Dreamgirls at TPAC and they were both so great!

8. A continued struggle I wrestle with is asking where do I receive my validation? My people pleasing tendencies make me seek the approval of others, but I'm reminded continually how our validation must come from God and our identity as a child of His.

9. Do today well. We are not guaranteed tomorrow.

10. Boundaries. Ugh...I'm constantly learning what it means to have boundaries in my life and it's hard. This will probably be highlighted again in my 24th year of life.

11. I think in my 23rd year of life I had about 20 friends who either had a baby or were pregnant. The last week of December three friends had babies. It is a little out of control, but also so beautiful. I have learned more about birth, breast feeding, and baby life than I knew before, but I guess I would need to know this all eventually right?

12. I love to laugh. I know almost everyone would say they love to laugh, but I've realized I really love to laugh. There's just nothing better than watching a movie and laughing til there's tears in your eyes or staying up late with a friend laughing until your stomach hurts or having a whole conversation in jokes (right Mandy Smith). :)

13. I love my family. They have turned into "just parents" and "just siblings" to best friends and I'm so thankful for that.

14. I would take time to look back on how the Lord has worked. I re-read old  journals and it may seem silly, but every time my picture screen saver comes up I let it go on for awhile and I just reminisced and took in all the places I have been, all the people that have blessed my life, and all the good that the Lord has done.

15. Rest. I've tried to obey when it says, "Sabbath". I am not meant to save the world and I can only do so much. If Jesus even had to go off by himself and spent time alone, how much more do I need to?

16.  God cares more about the important people in your life than you ever will. This was hard for me, but the moment I realized this I felt so much freedom. Worry and stress aren't going to take me anywhere. God loves my family, friends, and the kids and adults I work with way more than I ever will.

17. Patience. The Creator of the universe has the future in his hands so why do I worry.

18. I am me. I need to stop wasting time trying to be someone else because I can't. I have started to love the ee Cummings quote, "It takes courage to grow up to become who you really are."

19. Read the book Cold Tangerines. One of the best books I've read. Every woman should read it. One of the things I always remember from it, "I want my every day to make God laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who loves it."

20. I really love my job. I love doing what I believe I am called to do. I love the people I work with. I love mentoring teenage girls and for the opportunity to pour into their lives.

21. It's okay to say no. This was hard to learn and is still a struggle. I had to step away from some responsibilities and learn that it is okay to say no. I can't do everything and no one is going to hate me for saying no to something that I wouldn't be able to do well.

22. I've learned to appreciate good food. I love to eat at local restaurants and I've also learned to love all different types of food. Thai food, Mexican food, Sushi, Italian, Chinese, and the list goes on and on!

23.  God is good. Period. End of story.

Year 23 was great. I'm ready for 24...I think it's gonna be a good one. :)