Dear Adoptive Parents,

There is something I want you to know, and I am unashamedly going to steal a line from NBC’s Parenthood’s patriarch, Zeek Braverman, to do it.

“I hear you, and I see you.”

I hear you.

I hear your earnest, heart-filled desires to bring children into your homes. You pour out your hearts to God. You ask for wisdom, for guidance. Sometimes you are asking God for direction because you are unable to have children of your own. Sometimes, your families do not feel complete until your adopted son or daughter is busy growing up alongside your biological children, their siblings.

You are heard when you request prayers in pursuing which avenue of adoption to take: foster-to-adopt, infant adoption, overseas adoption. I hear your passionate voices when you speak of the children who are yet to join your home, or who already have. You are heard.

Continue reading on Anchored Voices

Original blog posted 11/17/16

Hope For The Faithful Oak

The soft grasses sway in the light breeze. The luscious meadow appears to be dancing to a tune not played for human ears. The afternoon sun warms the rippling brook framing the ancient oak tree that still stands firm.  Its roots delve deeply into the earth below. The knotty bark echoes stories of children swinging on summer days from a rope and families gathering to picnic. The branches, strong and plentiful, provide respite from the heat as they offer shaded shelter with their leaves. Storms have attempted to destroy the old oak, but it tarries through. It has purpose, and its might is evident. Those who know this oak seek and find refuge beneath its splendor.

Blogging today over on Anchored Voices … click to check it out.

  

Original blog posted 05/19/16

To My Mum, On Mother’s Day

Dear Mum,

I love celebrating you today. You are perfectly created to be the woman most valued in my life. God knew what He was doing when He picked you for me. I love that we are mother and daughter, and now, even more, friends. You are the first person I want to call when I am upset or when I have accomplished something great. You encourage me, pray for me, and guide me. Your work as a nurse has been inspiring- so much so, two of your children have followed in your footsteps career-wise. Your bubbly spirit is infectious, and joy is evident in your life.

Winter 1987

Today, I wanted to say thanks. Thanks for being my person. You just get me, and I don’t have to explain myself when I’m with you. The best compliment I can receive is when someone says, “You’re just like your mother.” I love you so much Mum. Happy day to you!

Original blog posted 05/08/16

Show Up

Let me tell you about my best girlfriends.  I have known Kristin, Jenn, Katey, Lorilyn, and Kara for 17 years. Some of these girls met earlier in life, but I happened to stumble upon these group of women when I was 14.  

At 14, you’re incredibly vulnerable. You are challenging the world, figuring out your opinions on just about anything.

At 20, you think you know what you are doing, but in reality, you don’t.  

At 25, life looked different for all of us. Two were married, one was dating, one was in school, one was trying to get into a program.  

At 31, two are nurses, one is an accountant, one is a store manager, one is a firefighter, one is a business woman turned stay-at-home mom; four are wives and mothers, two are single.

However, there are some interwoven threads that have kept us together all of these years: our love for God, and our love for each other.  

 

 

These women have laughed with me. They have cried with me when life has been the pits. They have offered up Scripture to encourage me. They know me sometimes better than I know myself. After God, and then my parents, they are the ones I want to share with my hardships and my triumphs. We have a group text going currently, which is often the highlight of my week. 

I love these women. I love their hearts for others. I love that they are true to themselves. I love that they seek help when needed. These women are fighters. They don’t take no for an answer, and they shine in their surroundings. 

As I reflect over 17 years of friendship, I can say without a doubt this group of friends have shown up, faithfully and consistently. Sometimes it has been in person, sometimes it has been through a phone call. These days it looks like prayer requests and small victories through text messages and quarterly dinner gatherings. But they’ve been there- even when life looks downright ugly.

For those who know and love God, you will encounter friends at all stages in their lives. You will walk along someone going through a trial- it’s inevitable.

Are you reading this post wondering what you can do?  Show up.

Don’t be afraid to invite someone over or turn up at their house. Don’t feel the need to fix. Listen. Pray. Let your friend feel safe. Be consistent and faithful. It is not easy walking with someone in the midst of trials. It’s messy. It will require patience. It will require time. It will require the giving of yourself, sometimes to the point of exhaustion.

But we’re in this together, and we need each other.  I am convinced of this more than ever. 

Original blog posted 01/31/16

I’ll Put the Kettle On

One of my favorite parts about growing up in a British-American household has been the art of drinking tea.

I call it an art because there are several steps to enjoying a good cup of tea: boiling the water, “warming the teapot”- this consists of taking a little of the piping hot water and swirling it inside of the teapot and then leaving that water in the teapot before adding your tea and the rest of the boiling water, making sure everyone’s tea is to their liking (milk, no sugar, thanks), allowing the tea to steep for just the right amount of time (approximately 4-5 minutes, depending upon the strength you desire), and finally, sipping on that steaming cup of tea.

The art of drinking tea happens in my family’s household every day, when we get home from work, typically between 4 and 6 PM. Although the process of drinking tea only takes a few minutes, it is during this time that I have found the most enjoyment. It sets my family up for conversation, particularly about the highs and lows of our day.

When watching British television shows or movies, or when visiting with relatives in UK, this practice takes place the instant you are invited into someone’s house. You may be complete strangers, but by golly, you will be offered a hot drink. My Mum and I always joke when we hear someone offered a hot drink. Television shows are particularly good at depicting this illustration. Someone is invited into a house. Their world is crumbling apart. And the first thing that is said by the host or hostess is, “I’ll put on the kettle for a cup of tea.” I find this comical, and yet, maybe British culture is onto something.

Periodically throughout Scripture, verses speak about people gathering together to eat and drink. There is something beautiful in the breaking of bread together, or having a drink together. It is in these moments that life is shared more intimately.

Do you know of a friend or family member who is going through a stressful time in their life?  

Perhaps offering refuge to a loved one really ought not to be complicated.  

What if all a hurting person needed was a cup of tea, or coffee, and a space to be invited into? Allowing someone into your home to take refuge, to find peace from a personal crisis, can be simple.

Refuge, as I think God intended it to be, looks like this:

Come into my home, no matter how many dirty dishes there are in the sink, or toys on the floor. I’ll serve you something to drink or eat. We can chat, or not. You can feel safe in this moment to share what’s on your mind. I can pray for you. You can be who God created you to be and I will not try to change you. I will allow God to do the changing, if necessary.

Will you try this for me? The next time someone you care for texts you not knowing what to do, invite them over. Put on the kettle. Let them take refuge, and just see how God shows up in that moment of sipping on your tea together.

Original blog posted 01/17/16

2016: My Year of …

The other day, my wise, dear friend Chara challenged a group of women I share life with to participate in a #oneword365 activity. She said, “Think and pray over one word you feel like God is leading you toward for 2016.” Activities like these always seem to scare me a little. Last year, God laid on my heart the word LEAD. It was fun to see how God used me in varying leadership roles. As 2015 wrapped up, I spent the week prior to New Years praying. I really tried to avoid this word, but it kept coming up again and again. So here it is …

Why God led me to this word, I have yet to discover. But that’s my word. YES! I am truly curious to know why, and I intend on spending the next 365 days (this year is a leap year) finding out.

Original blog post dated 01/01/16

20 Things I Learned in my 20s

My twenties are ending in a few days. This is exciting and yet terrifying at the same time. I’ve been reflecting upon this last decade all month, and I have a list I’d love to share with anyone younger than myself. Just a few pieces of wisdom I’ve gleaned along the way. I by no means know everything there is to know about life, but I have a few nuggets worthy of a blog post. Here we go:

1.  Say yes to new learning opportunities. If I had the chance to go back into my earlier 20s, this would be one area I’d change. Many times in my early 20s I had opportunities to jump in and learn a new skill. I’d often hesitate, and someone else bolder than myself would leap at the opportunity. So if an instance arises where you can go first, DO IT. Fear of what others may think or making a fool of yourself is OVERRATED.  

2.  Be okay with telling people NO. I learned this about half way through my 20s. I’d be exhausted, and have several invitations to varying activities, and I’d suck it up and go anyway. I’d often wish I could be at home, in my sweats, with my glasses on and my hair up. I don’t know what swayed my thought process, but one time, I said no. It was freeing. It’s okay to not participate in every social activity you are invited to. Sometimes going to bed early is the cooler thing to do (trust me, your body will thank you).

3.  Travel. Can’t say it enough. Go and see new places. In my 20s I visited the UK 5 times, France, Canada, Mexico, and traveled across the US to a bunch of states. You know what, I have NO regrets spending my hard earned money on travel. Save up and go- it is SO worth it.

Paris 2005

4.  Get an education. I don’t necessarily mean go to a university. Learn a trade. Acquire a new set of skills. My ongoing relationship with universities has been well worth it. I now have a career job with a great foundation to build the rest of my adult working life upon.

OHSU SON-Monmouth Class of 2013

5.  Make friends with people of all ages. My friends group has expanded beyond people my own age. When you get to your upper 20s, you worry less about the age gap and more about commonalities with others. It’s worth it to befriend older & wiser people and invite them into your life. They probably have so much life to share with you and lessons they’ve learned along the way.

6.  Develop hobbies. In my 20s I learned I love to run 5Ks, kayak, crochet, bake, blog, and a few others. Hobbies are not only fun, but they also give you something to make small talk about when necessary. I’m not a huge fan of small talk, but I find I can generally relate to anyone if I bring up one of my hobbies in conversation.

7.  Save money for a “rainy day”. This is a lesson that I just learned in my last year of my 20s. Because honey, when it rains, it pours. My recent car bill was hefty, but I could pay it because I had stashed some cash and left it in reserve specifically for this reason.

8.  Make exercise and eating well a part of your lifestyle. In my 20s my weight fluctuated. I spent a lot of hard, sweaty hours burning off the 20 pounds I packed on during nursing school. If I could go back, I would have penciled in 30 minutes of exercise into my day to counteract the time I spent sitting and studying. If you discover what physical activities you love now, you will form healthy habits for later.

9.  Be generous. Give a little extra money to a cause you love. Generosity is contagious, and it’s an admirable quality to possess.

10.  Read books. Read the paper. Watch the news. Be well informed. These are more small talk topics that can be discussed when conversation lulls.

11.  Be okay with not buying all the new upgrades. I have been driving the same car for all of my 20s. My cell phone is 3 generations behind. Technology and automobiles will continually upgrade and get better. Don’t be sucked into the mentality that you must have the next best thing. I guarantee that 6 months down the road, there will be something newer and better. Your money is better spent on traveling, saving for a house, or paying down your student debt.

12.  Unexpected events will pop up in your life and throw you off your game. This is normal. It sucks and I’m letting you know that you will get through it. I planned on living in my apartment and working at my little part-time job until I graduated from nursing school. Then I was informed that my company was closing and that my best friend was getting married in a few months time. I moved back in with my parents. Not what I was expecting. But you know what, it’s been wonderful, and it works.

13.  Learn to be comfortable with public speaking. I’m not saying you have to love it, but in this day and age, I promise there will be a time when you will be speaking to a group of people of at least 8 or more. Every time during nursing school when we had a presentation, I’d roll my eyes and wonder when I’d ever be using public speaking in nursing. Then I got my first nursing job and GUESS WHAT? I teach classes to non-medical staff frequently. My last class size was 16 and my projector wouldn’t work. I had to wing it with my PowerPoint presentation. Praise God I had had practice with public speaking. If you have a fear of public speaking, I strongly advise you figure out a way to overcome it.

14.  If your gut tells you to go after something, or quite the opposite, listen! My gut feeling about working in the ICU after graduation was a HECK NO. I’m grateful I wasn’t offered the job. If I had the chance to do it all over, I would have applied to a completely different unit or an entirely different setting. Intuition is a wonderful thing, please don’t ignore it.

15.  Cherish the time you have with your family and friends. Cell phones are awesome. I love sharing my life on Instagram and Facebook. But there’s nothing like putting the phone down and being completely present. I love going to restaurants and coffee shops and seeing customers interacting face-to-face. Put your phone on silent and have a good heart-to-heart.

At the Van Hess wedding with my bestie, Kristin, a few years ago now.  Known her half my life!

16.  Plan for your future. If you enter into a job where a retirement plan is offered, take it. I keep reading over and over again that if you start now, as in between the ages of 25-35, by the time you retire, you will save a substantial amount of money. If you company matches what you contribute, this is even better. It’s like free money. You won’t even miss it from your paycheck. I haven’t.

17.  It is NEVER too late to start over. I spent my 20s chasing after my long-term goals. It took me 4 rounds of applying to get into nursing school. I even received a couple degrees in the meanwhile. But my heart led me to nursing school. I couldn’t let it go. So I applied one last time, right before all my science prerequisites expired, and I got in. It was a God-given opportunity. I knew it would take another 3 years, but it’s been hands-down the BEST decision I made during my 20s. Chase after those deferred dreams.

OHSU SON-Monmouth Convocation June 2013

18.  Use comparison only as a means of motivation. It is easy to compare yourself to others in your 20s. She is already married with baby. He is working at an amazing job making such good money, etc. In your 20s, you’ll have friends in ALL walks of life. Some will be single. Some will get married. Some will get divorced. Some will have kids. Some will not. It’s not worth your time to compare your journey with anyone else’s UNLESS it motivates you to do something better. If this means you see a friend who worked hard and earned their degree and you have not, start taking classes. If it means that your friend saves up and buys a house, stock away some money every month until you can do the same. Comparison is the thief of joy, according to Theodore Roosevelt- which is true, unless you use it for positive motivation.

19.  If you happen to live within driving distance of your family, and you don’t live with them currently, visit frequently. My brother, who happens to be one of my best friends, moved across the US to the East Coast two and a half years ago, and it’s been rough on our family. Skype and Facetime helps, but it’s not the same. Make family a priority. I urge you to free up some time for your family if at all possible.

Luke & Ash’s Wedding, May 2013

20.  Realize that your 20s are full of relationships. Some will stay, some will go. Some will come into your life for a season. This is normal. I am grateful for my most meaningful relationship- my one with God. He is constant. He is good. He is bold. He is patient. He loves me when I am so unworthy of His love. As soon as I came to grips with His love for me, my life has been anchored. God used my 20s for His glory, and it is because of this I can say I am (mostly) ready for a new decade.

So there you go! This could be complete nonsense. Or it might be useful. Just my lessons I’ve learned in the most shaping decade I’ve experienced (yet).

BRING IT ON 30s!

Original blog post dated 12/21/14

30 Before 30 – The Final List

Here I am, 50 or so minutes away from the end of my 20s. I don’t mean to sound all dramatic, but somehow the first sentence of this post does. I’ve accomplished quite a bit of this list. I still didn’t finish everything, and you know what? I AM OKAY WITH IT. More to look forward to in my 30s.

  1. Get a nursing job. Completely realistic, not to mention necessary!Started a school nurse job January 13th, 2014! My first real job, with benefits and everything. The kiddos are adorable, I love working with community resources, and my coworkers are wonderful. I still can’t believe how good God is to provide me with a job that perfectly suits me. **Recent update- I have now been working as a school nurse in Salem since the end of September. Let me tell you, those 2 hours back in my day I used to spend commuting are GLORIOUS.
  2. Run another 5K. Fun runs make exercise much more enjoyable. Color Run in Salem with some church friends. Covered head-to-toe in cornstarch-y color. Super fun. Looking forward to my next one!
  3. Start paying my student loans. This girl has some debt. I’d like to make it smaller.  I’ve thus far paid off 2 loans, and I am working toward paying off a big chunk in this next year or so. Thanks Mum & Dad for letting me live at home so I can tackle the monstrosity of school debt I have accrued.
  4. Think before I buy clothes, makeup, shoes. Time to wise-up on my spending habits. Work-in-progress. I gave up buying clothes for Lent. I’m not Catholic, but I love a good challenge. Let’s not talk about makeup. If I had been really daring, I would have given up buying makeup for Lent too, or lip products for that matter. I digress. It’s a problem. I’ll readily admit it.
  5. Travel somewhere new. Always on my list. Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware … East Coast travels this past summer.
  6. Make it over to NJ to visit my 30-year-old brother & my sis-in-law. Went in August with Mum & Pops. Had a great time exploring with Luke & Ash. Jersey isn’t so bad after all. Also, Luke is now 31. Brother, we are getting older!
  7. Regularly check the oil level on my car. I forget too easily. My poor car. I’ve kept an eye on my oil. She’s had some major hiccups lately though. Some of us don’t age so well.
  8. Read a really interesting biography. I read Wild, by Cheryl Strayed. A 20-something woman has a bit of a rough upbringing, struggles with relationships, drugs, etc., and decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. This book was fascinating. I admired her tenacity, as I’m pretty certain I would never hike the trail all by my lonesome. Reese Witherspoon is starring in the movie, so I shall be watching when it comes out on screen.
  9. Read an intriguing fiction novel. I read several. Naturally, I didn’t write the titles down. But they were mostly good. However, I stopped reading 2 books half way through- life is too short to read bad books.
  10. Write to my Grandma in England every month. I don’t write enough. — Work on this.
  11. Send out 5 handwritten notes to friends or family. — I sent out some thank you notes sometime during the year. Not sure if this counts. Try again.
  12. Go out on a fancy date- the kind where I get all gussied up. It just sounds fun. — If getting dressed up to go out with girlfriends counts, this can be crossed off. I never clarified, so it’s up to my discretion.
  13. Master the art of baking a cake from scratch. Made chocolate caramel cupcakes from scratch for my friend Karly in January. Homemade salted caramel too.
  14. Learn to cook something tasty and new. I made the Pioneer Woman’s Tequila Lime Chicken. Oh, wow. I’ll be making it again.
  15. Explore Salem more. Find somewhere new to enjoy in my hometown. Hmm, do my schools count that I have at my school nurse job?
  16. Figure out how to work my Nikon camera. — Nope. Work on this! 
  17. Try a snow sport, other than tubing. Snow shoeing, skiing, snowboarding. Never have! — Sadly no, but now I have proper snow boots, I think a snowshoeing trip is in order.  
  18. Get out and use my kayak at least 5 times. When the weather is decent, of course. I went 3 times. ‘Twas fun! 
  19. Perhaps follow through with my tattoo I’ve always been meaning to get. Will do eventually …
  20. Learn to crochet. And I have more projects I’ve completed. It’s my new favorite granny-esque activity! 
  21. Go out to eat at Portland City Grill during happy hour. I want to see those views. No. Still want to! 
  22. Discover a new band/artist to listen to. Yep, lots. Thank you, Pandora.
  23. Find a devotional and delve in. If you have suggestions, let me know. I read Beth Moore’s Believing God. It was free for Kindle, so I downloaded the Kindle app for iPad and read it. I loved it because it was free, but more importantly, Beth Moore has the ability to speak such wisdom and encouragement through her words, without feeling lecture-y (making up a word here).
  24. Serve at church regularly. Tithe regularly. I’ve been serving in two-year-old’s classroom at church and tithing every month. God calls those who love Him to obey Him, and this is one step of obedience I am making an effort toward. I’m hoping to continue this!
  25. Refinish my coffee table that is currently sitting in my parents’ attic. — I actually donated it to my friends Matt & Keri for their adoption garage sale fundraiser. It sold, so yay! 
  26. Go to a brewery I’ve never been to before. For my 29th birthday party, I gathered up some of my very dearest friends and family and went to the Lucky Lab Brewery in Portland. I still want to discover more breweries though.
  27. Go wine tasting again. It’s been a few years. Take some girlfriends, and go! I went with my parents, to Willamette Valley Vineyards. It’s practically in our backyard.
  28. Pick out and print some of my thousands of digital pictures. I forgot! Try again.
  29. Be motivated by faith, not fear. Be prepared to give an example of this somehow. I’d say accepting my job in Salem was motivated by faith. I received a phone call just prior to resuming my position in Eugene. I knew that if it were God’s plan, all the little details would work out. And boy, did they ever. God is faithful, that’s for certain.
  30. Write this blog with intention. Share what God has been sharing with me. In my few posts, I think I have. I love to write, and I know there are many more experiences and thoughts I’ll share in the near future.

So there we go. 20-21/30. Lists are fun, huh? Now I’ve got to start writing down what I want to accomplish before turning 40. 40! Cripes. Where does the time go …

Original blog post dated 12/25/14

On Being Single

I’ve been contemplating writing this post for quite some time. It makes me a little nervous to write about my relationship status (or lack thereof). It’s personal, and frankly my philosophy for sharing my being single has been on a need-to-know basis only. It’s for me to know, and you to find out. I think it keeps the mystery alive. However, in the spirit of obeying God, and living my life based upon faith, not fear, I’ve decided to write about my experience of singleness as a young woman in her 20s.

Let’s start back before my 20s, actually.

In high school I had a group of girlfriends who committed to not dating. Most high school relationships end, and they took a stance to remain single so that they could focus more upon God. I joined the bandwagon. I focused on developing friendships instead, and I’m glad I did.  

In the beginning of my 20s, I carried on developing friendships as well. I began a very long process of applying to nursing schools. My focus was growing in my relationship with God, and studying nursing prerequisites including numerous hours of biology, chemistry, psychology, etc. I continued not to date because I didn’t find any young man worthy of giving up my free time. I felt enormously happy being fancy free. I developed an interest in travel, and given the opportunity, I packed my suitcase as quick as I could.

In my early-mid 20s, I began to watch my best girlfriends meet, date, become engaged, and eventually get married. I also attended many other church friends’, old roommates’, and family members’ weddings. I love a good love story, and it was so lovely to share in my friends’ joyous moments.

(Me, my Mum, and younger bro Jordan)

Now, in my upper 20s (actually, my last year of my 20s), I am the “single friend.” I am one of those rare few in their late 20s (or older) at my church who is not married. I attend weddings without a plus one. I travel to places by myself, sometimes quite far. I am the single girl among a group of married couples in the community group I attend. I don’t intend to make anyone feel awkward, but sometimes it happens.

My purpose in this post, I suppose, is not to gain pity. I’d say 99.5% of the time I am completely satisfied in my singleness. I have an anchored hope in Jesus (that’s for you Chara), and I’ve allowed Him to fill that need for a relationship. I’m not saying I don’t want to get married, because I do, but I am also realizing that God has a plan and purpose in my singleness. I am able to readily serve others, I can foster healthy relationships with friends, I am able to seek out opportunities that might be a lot more difficult to do if I were married or had kids. Whether or not God will fulfill this desire of my heart remains unknown, but in the meanwhile, I am seeking after Him, and I know that He is good. He is good if I do get married, and He is good if I don’t.

So, if you are reading this post and you are dating/engaged/married with a “single friend” in your friends circle, here is what I recommend you do:

  • Encourage them. Pray for them. See James 5:16.
  • Ask them what God has been teaching them. Share with them how God has been working in your life. Single friends can learn from their engaged and married friends, and vice versa.
  • If you are getting together with other couples, and you are contemplating whether or not to invite your single friend, invite them. We are single, not contagious. Don’t avoid the single friend because of potential awkwardness in a group setting. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve loved being the third wheel, or fifth wheel, or whatever wheel. My best friends and their husbands are particularly good at inviting me along to activities, and I rarely ever feel left out.
  • If you’ve ever said this to your single friend: “I can’t believe you aren’t married, you’re such a great catch,” or “It’s just not the right timing for you,” or the ever-so-grating, “God’s just not finished with you yet,” please, for the love, stop. God doesn’t complete you when you get married. In fact, God continues to stretch you spiritually in marriage. According to my married friends, marriage amplifies all of your imperfections under a magnifying glass. The church needs to quit placing marriage on top of a pedestal, and fix our eyes upon Jesus instead.
  • Lastly, try and remember what life was like as a single person. It’s exciting, it’s freeing, it’s terrifying, it gets lonely. It’s full of adventures, and it’s the perfect time to focus upon God and serving His people. Singleness is an opportunity, and you too were once in this stage of life.

If you are reading this post and you are single, here’s what I’ve been learning/working on:

  • Seek out opportunities to serve your church & community. It’s really easy for singles to avoid getting plugged in. We are often known as floaters, going to and fro as we please. However, there is something to be said about plugging into one church, one community group/house church. No one church body is perfect- that’s why we have a merciful Savior. For the past 6, nearly 7, years, I have been plugged into a local church, Outward, and I can’t even describe the support and love I’ve received by this body of believers. We are all vital members of the church (single, married, divorced, widowed), who are all needed to plug in and serve others in the church as well as our community. See 1 Corinthians 12.
  • Pray, pray, pray. Pray that God will continue to reveal Himself to you. Pray for your future marriage. Pray that God will use you mightily, even if you don’t get married.  Pray for those who do not know Jesus. Pray for those who do know Jesus. Learn to pray about anything and everything. See 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
  • If you have the desire to be married one day, surround yourself with married couples at all stages in their relationships, particularly ones who are seeking after Jesus. Ask them to be transparent with you. Ask them the tough questions. Break bread with them. Babysit their kids. These will all aid in preparing you for future relationships, parenthood, etc. Singles are often put off by hanging out with married friends, but I highly recommend it. Be the third wheel, or the fifth wheel.  

I’m sure there is more to be said, but I don’t want to lecture, I just wanted to share from my heart. So there you have my thoughts on being single.

Original blog post dated 05/13/14

30 Before 30, 3 Months In

So, I am 3, er almost 4, months into my ’30 Before 30′ challenge. Some items I have already accomplished/checked off, others are a work in progress. Some I may not end up following through with … I have approximately 8 months to complete the list, so here’s hoping! I’ll re-post my list and then cross off/explain what I have completed, etc.

  1. Get a nursing job. Completely realistic, not to mention necessary! Started a school nurse job January 13th, 2014! My first real job, with benefits and everything. The kiddos are adorable, I love working with community resources, and my coworkers are wonderful. I still can’t believe how good God is to provide me with a job that perfectly suits me.
  2. Run another 5K. Fun runs make exercise much more enjoyable.
  3. Start paying my student loans. This girl has some debt. I’d like to make it smaller.  I’m 3 months into some payments, soon to start paying on all of them. It’s a slow process, but I’m really looking to tackling some debt this next year. One payment at a time.
  4. Think before I buy clothes, makeup, shoes. Time to wise-up on my spending habits.  Work-in-progress. I gave up buying clothes for Lent. I’m not Catholic, but I love a good challenge. Let’s not talk about makeup. If I had been really daring, I would have given up buying makeup for Lent too, or lip products for that matter. I digress. It’s a problem. I’ll readily admit it.
  5. Travel somewhere new. Always on my list.
  6. Make it over to NJ to visit my 30-year-old brother & my sis-in-law.
  7. Regularly check the oil level on my car. I forget too easily. Work-in-progress. I’ve checked once. It needed it. Poor little sassy red car. She really takes a beating from me. I should check this again very soon.
  8. Read a really interesting biography. I read Wild, by Cheryl Strayed. A 20-something woman has a bit of a rough upbringing, struggles with relationships, drugs, etc., and decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. This book was fascinating. I admired her tenacity, as I’m pretty certain I would never hike the trail all by my lonesome. Reese Witherspoon is starring in the movie, so I shall be watching when it comes out on screen.
  9. Read an intriguing fiction novel. I’ve read several works of fiction so far, but I won’t name my top pick until later in the year, particularly because I’m always reading some sort of fiction.
  10. Write to my Grandma in England every month. I don’t write enough.
  11. Send out 5 handwritten notes to friends or family.
  12. Go out on a fancy date- the kind where I get all gussied up. It just sounds fun.
  13. Master the art of baking a cake from scratch.
  14. Learn to cook something tasty and new. I made the Pioneer Woman’s Tequila Lime Chicken. Oh, wow. I’ll be making it again.
  15. Explore Salem more. Find somewhere new to enjoy in my hometown.
  16. Figure out how to work my Nikon camera.
  17. Try a snow sport, other than tubing. Snow shoeing, skiing, snowboarding. Never have!
  18. Get out and use my kayak at least 5 times. When the weather is decent, of course.
  19. Perhaps follow through with my tattoo I’ve always been meaning to get.
  20. Learn to crochet.
  21. Go out to eat at Portland City Grill during happy hour. I want to see those views.
  22. Discover a new band/artist to listen to.
  23. Find a devotional and delve in. If you have suggestions, let me know. I read Beth Moore’s Believing God. It was free for Kindle, so I downloaded the Kindle app for iPad and read it. I loved it because it was free, but more importantly, Beth Moore has the ability to speak such wisdom and encouragement through her words, without feeling lecture-y (making up a word here).
  24. Serve at church regularly. Tithe regularly. Work-in-progress. I’ve been serving in the nursery at church and tithing every month. God calls those who love Him to obey Him, and this is one step of obedience I am making an effort toward.
  25. Refinish my coffee table that is currently sitting in my parents’ attic.
  26. Go to a brewery I’ve never been to before. For my 29th birthday party, I gathered up some of my very dearest friends and family and went to the Lucky Lab Brewery in Portland. I still want to discover more breweries though.
  27. Go wine tasting again. It’s been a few years. Take some girlfriends, and go!
  28. Pick out and print some of my thousands of digital pictures.
  29. Be motivated by faith, not fear. Be prepared to give an example of this somehow.
  30. Write this blog with intention. Share what God has been sharing with me.

As you can see, the items are slowly being crossed off. It’s been a fun list to create and see accomplished, and I’m looking forward to crossing off more items as the months pass by. Perhaps I’ll update again in another 3 months.

Original blog post dated 04/14/14