Thursday, February 26, 2015

On Turning 26

I don’t know exactly how it started, but I have gotten into this habit of writing on my birthday and posting it here as a way, perhaps, to keep myself accountable to all I promise. Sometimes being a dreamer and goal maker seems advantageous and helps me get to where I hope I will go. Other times, I dream about what a year might bring and decide the best strategy is absolutely no strategy at all.  

Last year, I dreamed about being brave when facing transition, seeking community, finding quiet moments, and learning more about myself. To read my words, “I just know this year holds so much newness and important steps for me,” makes me smile at the pure foreshadowing of it! Did I know I would be engaged to the man of my dreams just one year later? Reading my post makes me think as though I certainly had a sense that something very much life-altering was going to occur. I am so happy it is Robert and that my life is changing to include him always.

I talked about my parents moving away from Germany and the transition my family was facing. I wrote that we must be brave and one year later, the same rings true. It is surprising actually to see me talk about transition as though it is a phase we must persevere through. Did I not yet realize that our lives are (I hope!) constantly in motion? It is now that I realize, we are always learning, growing, dreaming of how to make our lives better, and how to make other’s lives better too. What a major lesson to begin to grasp.

This year, I don’t only want to endure the change and face it bravely, but embrace it wholeheartedly excited to see what the change might bring because I trust God is love and in control.

I thought I might be sad to leave 25 behind and turn the page on a new year. As one dear friend reminded me, I am closer to 30 now than 20. Even my brother wrote from Burma to remind me that in the eyes of a guy still in college, I am getting old. I am excited though to become stronger, more of an adult, embracing all the responsibility that comes along with it. I have always been introspective, even as child I think I wondered about my purpose and what I was meant to do. I love how with every year, I transition into a greater awareness of myself.

This year, I look back and treasure seeing my family a little more often since we live in the same country. I am thankful for how Robert and I have built our relationship over the year and how excited I am knowing I will be writing about our life together on every birthday from this one on.  I have loved learning more about love and how important it is to express it in small ways and with grand gestures. This year, I do not only want love those around me as much as I can, but also make sure they know it.

I have grown professionally as well and feel so blessed to have the opportunity to work for an organization with a mission that wakes me up every morning and motivates me forward because I know the work is bringing hope to others. I have learned more about equity and been stirred by conversations on how to provide children with an equal opportunity for success. This is a subject I will continue studying (probably for much longer than this coming year) because it is not only relevant to my work, but must be relevant to my life.

Loving others with all I am and advocating for equity, in the sense of equal opportunity for all children in school and life, seem like incredibly daunting goals for a new year. Perhaps it is best to say that I want to approach all things with clear eyes and a full heart. To stay informed and aware of the needs around me. To do my best  and love the best I can and at the end of the day, not grow bitter because there is much more to be done, but find peace in knowing we are ALL doing our very best.

26, I am just going to do my best at being good at you. I am going to have peace about all the unknowns and discover all you have in store for me and my loved ones one step at a time. I am going to learn so much and take it all to heart. Here’s to you! You are going to be the best one yet! 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

How happy I am my little sister fell in love with the boy she met her freshman year in college. He loves her so well and together I know they will travel the world over. This past Christmas, the five of us were so eager to show him Germany -- have him taste and feel what it is like. We brought him into our circle and wanted to show him everything! He is not only Cameron's husband, but a brother and son to us. We love you Evan Mullins!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

“Good Morning!”
“How is your day so far?”
“Please be careful.”
“Text me when you get home so I know you’re safe.”
“I hope you’re feeling better!”
“Have such good day today!”
“Night, night!”
“Can you come over?”
“Can I come over?”
“Can I see you?”
“Can I call you?”
 “Let’s watch a movie together!”
“What are you up to right now?”
“I know it will be okay.”
"I’m here for you, always.”
“Do you need anything for the store?”
“Are you hungry? Let’s get something to eat!”
“Seeing you, that just made my day!”

Daily, we hear these words or receive these text messages. Such short, seemingly common sentences and yet I am afraid I can sometimes take them for granted. The underlying message is sincere care and love. “People speak from the heart more often than you think.” Just listen and you will hear it. Do not become accustomed to hearing it or just shrug off another message you need to answer. Listen closely and know you are loved. Listen the next a friend says, “Are you hungry? Let’s go get something to eat!” A smile will spread across your face and your “okay!” will mean so much more!  

Monday, March 24, 2014

Seven lessons I am learning about developing a positive attitude

1. Remind yourself that feelings are feelings that come and go -- in and out like the waves. You are not controlled by fleeting feelings, but should pursue strong passions. 

2. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Choose to focus on what truly matters. Choose to let go of the petty things. Friends, family, faith, love . . . these are the big things of life. 

3. Take full control of your reactions. This can be done. But also, trust what your heart is telling you even if you cannot rationalize it or make much sense of it.    

4. Your worth is not determined by other people's opinions. You have tremendous worth and you need not say, do or be anything apart from yourself. 

5. Don’t compare yourself to others as we’re all so vastly different and this will steal your happiness. Set goals. Celebrate even the tiny successes or half birthdays or the anniversary of an important change you made in your life. 

6. Learn to accept that life’s a journey and with that comes growth, change and transition -- it is not all harmonious all the time. Expect to get things wrong, but know you can move forward from there. You can reset your day at any given moment. 

7. Love yourself completely and unconditionally because you were first loved by the One who defines love. You’ll get there in the end. Be alone sometimes. Be in community mostly. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

On Turning 25

A new year and a brand new start. Somehow this birthday feels so dense and important -- not in a daunting, overwhelming way, but in the sense that I just know this year holds so much newness and important steps for me. I hope I let this year teach me some good lessons. I know lessons often are not easily learned, but I feel prepared to take on this year with bravery and a fresh outlook.

Though I may still be searching for me – aren't we all? – I feel like 24 taught me valuable lessons about what I am good at and maybe what I am not so good at. I have learned what I am most passionate about and how I can best contribute to help seeing this achieved. 25 is about narrowing in and refining myself.

I want to spend intentional time this year choosing to see all the joy there is in life rather than dwelling on perfection. Though I know I am further along than I was this time one year ago, I want to spend more purposeful time getting to know myself better.

I am learning that life -- it is about dreaming big. That it is good to just begin sometimes. Just get started – don’t wait for perfection. There really could not be a better time to start truly learning this lesson than now.

My life has changed in ways I could never have dreamed this year. I met the greatest guy and made the best friends. And at the end of this week, I will be packing up my desk and saying goodbye to a workplace I have called home for over a year. I am starting a new job in a new place with new people. I will be writing grants 90% of the time and working to cultivate a skill I didn't know I even had a knack for until last year.

And as I begin a brand new job, my parents will be moving from Germany to America. Transition can be messy and it certainly will not be perfect for them or for me, but there is such comfort in company and we are all being so brave!

This year, I said goodbye to Germany and the memories of the sweetest childhood I could have ever asked for. This process helped me mature, but also remind myself to not forget my childhood and to always remember to jump in puddles after the rain or make forts in the living room. 

This year, my baby sister married the man of her dreams and I gained another incredible brother.

This year, my best friend had a sweet, beautiful, little girl and became a new mama. 

So many moments of transition and joyful change. 

As I seek to learn new lessons this year, there are old lesson I hope to keep close to mind and heart. I know I am not inspired by the time I spend in front of the computer, but by the time away from it. I need to spend more time with the laptop closed, my cell phone tucked away at the bottom of my purse and with a book open or in the fresh outdoors.

I also know, and should be continually reminded, that I am so much happier in community and with my friends. Last year Dallas was still new and a little frightening. I was still trying to figure out where I fit in and who among this expanse of people I might call friend. Now that I have been here over a year, I am so thankful for the friendships formed here. What would I ever do without them? 1,000 times thank you! (I love you, Mony!)

I do not know where this year will take me, but I am ready to experience it wide-eyed and excited to see what is in store. I know it is going to be an incredible year – something just tells me so! And for my many friends also with February birthdays – happy birthday to you too! Let’s embrace this year with hope and a prayer of thankfulness for His many blessings. Let's continue to seek out community and encourage one another in faith. Let’s be brave about transition and change and not dwell on perfection, but be willing to just start and see what happens next.