11.26.2015

thankful

I have so many things to be thankful for in my life and to write them all out would take a lifetime. God has blessed me with health, family, friends, the ability to attend a wonderful school, and the motivation to pursue my dreams.

This year I'm thankful for three things in particular. The first two are groups of people who basically hold our nation together - our farmers who feed us and our military who protects us. Both make incredible sacrifices for all of us and I am so appreciative for all they do for us.

Finally, I am especially thankful for my friends, both old and new, this semester. They have picked me up, made me laugh, and pushed me to be better. I don't know what I would have done without them!







11.11.2015

Change

Almost three months ago, I was on the receiving end of something completely unexpected and something that hurt a lot. Someone who I thought meant the world to me changed his mind and left me to pick up the pieces. I was angry and broken and I felt betrayed, like the last three years of my life meant nothing. But overall, I was afraid of being alone. I tried to make him stay to no avail. And that was the biggest blessing in disguise. I had spent a long time being defined by a relationship and I lost who I was. I was unhappy and everyone realized it but him. It wasn't healthy and I am at fault for not leaving. I was comfortable, so I stayed.

Being broken up with is the best thing to have happened to me in college. It forced me to grow and change. It pushed me into two years worth of growth that was just waiting to happen. It has been almost three months and I hardly recognize the person I was. So much has changed in my life since mid-August and it is absolutely terrifying and completely incredible. For once, I feel like I am happy with who I am becoming. I have made new friends; grown closer with people who I know will be around for the rest of my life; learned a lot about myself, who I want to be, and what I want to do; been more involved in organizations; and I have opened up some exciting new possibilities in my life.

Don't be afraid of change. Don't look at big, upsetting, or unfortunate events (like break ups) as the end of the world. You will survive, you will push on, you will change, you will grow. No, it's not the end. More often than not, it is a new beginning.

11.04.2015

A Letter to My Sisters



There are some things that I have learned in my 20 years on this planet that I so wish I had known when I was your age. As your big sister, I am compelled to share those things with you. See, you have it easy. Just sit back and let Big Sis make the mistakes and then do what I didn't. I don't mind though. That's what I'm here for! I don't mind figuring it out the hard way to make it easier on you. So here ya go, Taylor's secrets to school, life, and everything in between that I want you to always remember.

1) You are beautiful. Never let the world tell you any different. You were made in the image of the One who created you and there is not a flaw in you. You will look in the mirror some days and feel like you hit every branch falling out of the ugly tree. I promise you didn't. You are gorgeous on the outside, but that isn't what makes you beautiful. Your beauty comes from within. It is your generous heart, your compassion, you humility that makes you beautiful. Those traits will only enhance the outward beauty you possess. You can put lipstick on a pig, but at the end of the day, it's still a pig. Have a heart for God and a deep love for your friends and family and you will always be gorgeous.

2) Disconnect from your phone. I can promise you that there are few times that what is going on online is better than what is going on in person. Take your eyes off your screen and observe that is going on around you. Talk to your friends, watch the sunset, pay attention in class, be present. Not everything has to be documented. I love Instagram and Snapchat as much as the next person, but stop being so obsessed with capturing every moment. Keep some memories in your mind, for yourself. I was lucky to not grow up in the world of social media. I see so many girls and boys your age looking for validation through "likes" and "favorites." Selfies are not real life. Post meaningful pictures - candids of you and your friends, the sunrise over the ocean - and do it infrequently. Relax on the selfies; I promise no one wants to see 3 pictures of your face on their Instagram feed. If you are looking for compliments, go read Proverbs 3:15.

3) Talk with respect to Mom and Dad. Yes, they drive you crazy. Yes, they nag you. Yes, they don't let you do things that you want to do. But there's a reason for this. We too often forget that they weren't born adults. They grew up like we did. They made the same mistakes we did. They only want what is best for you and what we see as annoying and unfair is only an act of love. They changed your diapers and bathed you and fed you and love you unconditionally. They love you even when you yell at them. They love you even when you do what they told you not to do. That doesn't give you an excuse, though, to do those things. Stop for a moment and think about why they might be telling you to do (or not do) something. Consider their feelings instead of immediately snapping back. You only get one Mom and Dad and we're pretty lucky to have the ones we do. Appreciate them.

4) No boy is worth it. Worth what? Anything. The tears, the bad grade, lying to your parents or friends, abandoning your values. If you feel like you have to do any of those to make him stay - let him go. I promise one will come along that will make you realize that all the others were stupid and not worth it. The world is full of boys so be picky. Never settle, never think to yourself "I don't like it when he does X, Y, and Z, but I don't have a reason to leave." You don't need a reason. People grow apart and a lot of the time, people just aren't meant to be. Never chase a boy. What is meant to happen will happen on God's time.

5) Find a good group of friends who will be there for you no matter what. This honestly may be the most difficult piece of advice to follow. Friends are tricky. You can be friends with someone for 5 years before realizing they are not truly your friend. When you find a good one, though, you'll know. Those are the friends that you will stay in touch with when you are married and have kids. Find friends who will stay in the library with you until midnight, who will bring you doughnuts when you are upset, who will constantly make you laugh, and most importantly, who will push you to grow and be better and trust in God. Those friends are worth more than their weight in gold and just as God will bless a relationship with a good Christian boy, God will bless a friendship with a person who challenges you and constantly supports you.

6) Always trust in God. This has obviously been a central theme in everything that I've written, but it is the most important thing I can stress to you. When you go to college, your relationship with God will be tested and it will either A) tear it down or B) make it stronger. Unfortunately, A happens for many people. For me, however, my relationship with God has grown so much since I've been in college. Being on your own for the first time pushes you to find something to cling to, something constant and secure, and God's love is just that. But even being at home, there are challenges you are going to face, things that you can't deal with on your own. No matter what, God is there for you. Pray constantly and about anything and everything. There is nothing that God won't answer. You'll either get a yes, a no, or a "Wait, I'm planning something better." Tune your heart to God. At first you may think it's hard to hear him, but sometimes he speaks in opportunities and choices you have to make. He is always there for you, even when the world has seemingly turned its back on you.

7) Find your own happiness. This one is incredibly important. You can't rely on other people for happiness. No friend and no boy can make you happy. That is something you have to do for yourself, otherwise the world will swallow you whole. Find the little things in life that bring you joy - painting, listening to music, going for a drive - that you can do by yourself. I struggled for a long time with being happy in my life. I thought I needed things to be happy - a boyfriend, good grades, the cutest clothes, friends. Even when I had those things, I didn't feel fulfilled. Happiness comes from within and starts with a strong relationship with God. Finding happiness is a journey. Sometimes it involves doing unpleasant things - cutting people out of your life, making big changes, taking a leap of faith. Don't let any of those things scare you. When you are happy with yourself, you can be happy with another person, with your friends, with your family. They will notice a difference in you. Happiness radiates from within.

Love, Taylor