my 26 list



Saturday was my birthday.

I turned 26--which is pretty wild to me. When I was a little girl, 26 was the age that I thought I would hit my peak. By 26, I will have figured out life, become financially secure, have a pixie haircut, wear Banana Republic pantsuits every day, and look like an Eddie Bauer catalog model on the weekends.


So here I am, 26 years ripe. There are no pantsuits in my closet, nor a chic bob on my head, and in the last few years I've been a high school math teacher, a nanny, piano teacher and wedding photographer. I'm not quite sure what my "career path" is.

All that to say, as I was reflecting this last weekend on turning 26, I realized that this past year has taught me so much. The journey to 26 held a lot of "firsts"--there was marriage, new city, new job, new house, my dad's battle with cancer, our first pup, and other events and experiences. It's been a sweet year for lots of reasons.

So in lieu of my birthday, I was going to write a post on the lessons I've learned this last year but about five minutes into writing, I realized I have a lot to share about a few of these. So my shorten version is below. Over the next couple weeks, I'll expand :)

I'm so thankful for how God uses experiences, relationships and his word to continually teach me. I'm so thankful for my sweet husband and my incredible community that encourages and loves me so well. Thanks for making it a great year!

My 26 List : lessons of my 26th year (the biggies)

- Quality is key: There is an art of knowing what things are worth spending the extra dollar on and what things aren't. Here's what we added to our quality list: furniture, clothes, and food. They will either last longer or make you last longer.

- With friendships, depth is key (not breadth): Making friends can be tough! It's been different this last year moving to a new city and not having a job where I work alongside others. I've had to be more bold and intentional in the friend department--this is an area I'm growing in. Deep relationships develop from mutual vulnerability, shared experiences, and care. There is such fruit and joy that comes from these relationships! I'm so thankful for those relationships in my life.

- Running really IS mental!: take this from a girl who DESPISED running. I was quick to announce how I "wasn't the running type." I forced myself to start running as cheap exercise and realized after losing track of mileage and time with a friend that running really was mental!! This cliche is true!!

- Your occupation doesn't define who you are: I really struggled the first couple months of living in Louisville. I'm a pretty driven person and have always moved as a result of a new opportunity that had a great cost benefit ratio. Moving to Louisville and drastically changing my lifestyle because I had made covenant, did not fall into this theory--actually, it completely rocked it. I had no idea how much security and identity I found in "what I do for a living." Success, titles, and the source of my paycheck all became counterfeit gods. My identity isn't found in what I do. There is nothing I can do or add to that that will qualify me. I'm already qualified.

                     “It is not the strength of your faith but the object of your faith that actually saves you.” 
                                                                             Tim Keller

- Everything in moderation: It's okay if you get a Krispy Kreme donut one morning because you're craving it. Treat yo self!

- I'm really selfish: I didn't realize the extent of my selfishness until I got married--and then we got a dog and other areas of my life I was holding with a tight fist were revealed. I am continually reminded why marriage is referred to as a lifelong tool of sanctification. For that and my sweet husband, I am thankful.

"Busyness" can almost always be avoided: if you're feeling overwhelmed about how busy you are, chances are it's because you signed up for more than you can handle and/or you're not making time for a sabbath or a day to rest. There are seasons and situations in which this is not necessarily the case, but for a girl who tends to struggle with saying "no" and sitting still, my husband tenderly told me one day that my exhaustion from being too busy was my fault. He was right. I'm still learning how to set boundaries, know limits and learn to trust God.

- Try keeping a food diary for two weeks: This may sound funny and I know it's not for all of you, but if you have stomach/intestinal discomfort, do this! I noticed some areas of my diet that my lactose intolerance didn't explain. I started keeping a food diary and it prompted me to get allergy tested. Turned out, I had a ton of food sensitivities I had no idea about. They also happened to be the foods that I ate almost every day. Since getting that figured out, I feel like a new woman. What you eat matters! Listen to your body.

- Live life to the fullest!: each day is a gift and we are not guaranteed another. Through wisdom and the mercy of today, live life to the fullest!! There is such great joy and celebration found in relationships and experiences here on earth. Don't wait for tomorrow. Live today!

photo credit: the talented Aubrey Renee


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