Sunday, January 27, 2013

being thankful has made all the difference

"Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) That is one of my favorite verses. It's a verse I strive to live by.  A goal I fall short of time and time again.

Sure, it's easy to be happy, thankful, and full of praise during the good times. But what about the bad times, the sad times, the times when things aren't going my way? I mean, how is it even possible to be happy ALL the time? To pray constantly? How am I supposed to be thankful despite the crappy situations life brings? What if I don't wanna be happy, or prayerful, or grateful?!

I was driving back to school, returning from Christmas break- particularly in a bad mood. The station I was listening to was getting fuzzy, so I hit scan and landed upon a local Christian radio station. Let me tell you, I felt like God was speaking right to my heart through those junky car speakers. The voice on the radio was talking about being thankful in all situations and finding the positive in everything, even the littlest things. Wow. OK God, maybe I'll give it a try.

It's no secret that I'm not a big fan of the college experience. If you've ever asked me, I'm usually brutally honest in sharing my feelings about the whole thing. My negative attitude towards school is one of my biggest flaws. And after hearing the man on the radio sharing, I felt convicted. So I decided it was time to make a change. Instead of grumbling and complaining, I started thanking God for the opportunity to get an education, for the chance to better myself, for the shot to get a degree and maybe make something of my future. I started saying thank you for the people and experiences (good and bad) that I've come across along the way, that helped me grow as a person. I started thanking God for the legs that he gave me to walk a mile and a half to my first class at 8am in subzero temperatures (and even that extra insulation that helps keep me warm. Ha!) I started thanking God for the little things that I tend to take for granted every day.

And you know what? Being thankful has made all the difference! I've been told lots of times before that it's all in the attitude, but really, it is. It's simple: If you're thankful, you're happy. If you're thanking God, you're praying. I can honestly say that the past three weeks have been the best three weeks of college I've ever had. Nothing is different, nothing except my attitude. "Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances." It IS possible.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Here's to New Beginnings...

Welp, it's time. Just when I thought summer was getting started, it's over already. I'm headed to school in about.. oh, I don't know... maybe 12 hours (or whenever I wake up, pack up the last of my things, and scoot out the door). These past two weeks have been a blast, really getting to spend some good quality time with friends and family here at home. I feel like I'm not ready to leave everyone now. But it's time. And honestly, I think I'm ready. I hope...

Keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I adjust to college life once again. Thanks for playing such a huge role in my life and all your support. Love you all!

So here's to new beginnings. Here's to round two.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Change Can Be a Good Thing... Right?!

In exactly 17 days from today, I'll be all moved out of my house, and living in Sinking Springs and studying at Penn State Berks. (Yes, I decided to go back after all.. I know, who woulda thought?!) 

Back in February/March or whenever it was that I made this decision, I was so pumped to be doing something new. I was tired of working full time 3-11:30pm all the time.. I mean, it was killing my social life! I felt like I was stuck in this rut that I wasn't totally thrilled with. I wanted to do something about it.. and I was! School felt like a good answer. I was getting tired of the same old thing day after day. I felt like I was ready to move out, meet new people, go new places, try new things, and maybe even learn a thing or two in school. I was excited!

Well, hello! Now its August. Time keeps creeping forward, quicker and quicker. I'm starting to geek out a little bit.. actually a lot! (Not gonna lie, I sorta had a little melt down in the store when I was shopping for college stuff a week ago.) I'm not sure if I'm ready for change. 

Change is a big deal. I've never been a fan of it. I like the comfort of knowing how things will be, day in and day out. Honestly, I'm scared. I'm worried I'll go away to school, make zero friends while I'm at Berks for the semester, do mediocre at my school work, spend all my free time working my two part time jobs, and have no fun.

But ya know what.. I want to prove myself wrong. I want to show myself that change really can be a good thing! I don't hafta be nervous or scared. I want to be able to go out on my own and make new friends (and keep the old ones too, of course). I wanna do well in school, and rock at my jobs. I wanna become my own person.. stop living in the shadows of who people expect me to be, and really be just me. I wanna grab onto new opportunities that come my way. I wanna live life to the fullest! I want this big change to be a good one. I'm really hoping God has a lot in store for me in these next three years ahead of me, as I start out at Berks and move up to Main Campus. 

I'm hoping with each new day, new and different experiences will arise and that I can embrace them fully. And that I learn to love every minute of college life.

Just wanted to end it with some cool lyrics from a Nichole Nordeman song that I just heard right as I was wrapping up this post. "So long status quo, I think I just let go. You make me wanna be brave. The way it always was, is no longer good enough. You make me wanna be brave."

Sunday, January 9, 2011


"Joy is a choice! It is a matter of attitude that stems from one's confidence in God—that He is at work, that He is in full control, that He is in the midst of whatever has happened, is happening, and will happen." 

-Charles R. Swindoll

Friday, December 31, 2010

2011... A Year to Give?

A week or two before Christmas, my brother, Taylor came home with a couple bags of groceries. Sometimes Mom asks him to pick up a few things before he comes home from Dutchway, but this time there was way too much food, so I knew he must have something up his sleeve. So I asked, "What's the deal with all the food, T?!" And he simply said he got a Christmas bonus from work and instead of cashing it in, he turned around and bought items for the school food drive. I couldn't have been prouder! Taylor has such a giving heart.. so cool. Well I decided that I wanna be more like that. 

Instead of being the tightwad that I usually am, I wanna put others before myself. So to start off the new year, I decided to sponsor a World Vison child. Every month I'm gonna give money to an 8 year old boy named Luis from the Dominican Republic. It'll help give him and his family clean water, healthy food, a better education, health care (and AIDS prevention).  I wanna really try to take different opportunities to support others close to home. Like paying for someone else's items at the checkout or participating in different events. I don't know, cool stuff like that.

Not only that, but I wanna give more of myself to others around. Like spending time with some of my lonely, old neighbors that don't usually get many visitors. Or even simple stuff like letting cars out ahead of me when they've been waiting a while. Anything that isn't about me, I wanna do it.  I wanna spend my 2011 doing nice things for other people and putting myself second way more often.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Shine On Jeff!

Jeff, has it really been one whole year?! Sometimes it feels like you left us just yesterday, and other days it feels like its been forever. Time is a funny thing. So hard to figure out. But I do know one thing for sure.. Jeffy, you are missed greatly. Last night I had a bunch of your friends over to hang out.. ya know bring everybody together during this one year anniversary of missing your life here on earth. We had a really good time as a big group, playing games, laughing, and just being plain ridiculous! You would have loved it! Wish you could have been able to join us, but I couldn't help but picture you smiling down on us carrying on like a bunch of crazy kids.. seeing how we've all became a lot closer since you left us. Its sorta neat how people come together during tragedies. Now all our friends are hanging out with your friends and we're always bringing up your name! "Remember when Jeff did this?" or "This one time we were hanging out and Jeff..." The littlest things always tend to remind us of you. And that always brings around another story. It's like you're still with us always. Here's just a few things that have reminded me of you over the past twelve months:

Nickelback. Every time one of their songs come on my ipod or over the radio, your face immediately comes to mind. I guess because it was one of your favorite bands. But I can so easily picture you jamming out to one of their songs.

Every time Kelly and I go to the movies, we like to follow your tradition of getting free popcorn. I'm going to skip over the details of how we do that exactly.. cuz I'm pretty sure its illegal. But such a genius idea! You were always a thinker. Knowing how to get around the system. I just hope we don't end up with some disease someday. But every time we get our big bucket full of popcorn we say "This is for Jeff."

One night, on our road trip last summer, we were camping in the Rocky Mountains and it was freezing cold and pouring down rain and we were stuck in the tent and we were talking about life and everything in it and somehow movies came up and  I said how I love all those adorable romantic movies, but I hate how they always leave us with such high expectations.. making us think that the "perfect guy" will come and sweep us off our feet and give us that fairytale ending that every girl dreams of. I think I said flat out that those movies are just a bunch of baloney. Somehow Kel indirectly argued with me (like she knows how to do so well) and that's when it hit me! You really were THE perfect guy. Always sweeping Kelly off her feet and treating her just right. I was always so excited to hear what kind of adorable date the two of you went on next! Thanks for giving the world to Kelly-- She deserved every little bit of it. After seeing the "cinema love" that you two shared.. it gives me hope that maybe some day I can find something like that too. Maybe. Your example gave me hope for something great.

Jeeps ALWAYS remind me of you. Whenever I pass one along the way and I give em the famous "Jeep Wave" I smile because you were the one who taught me that. I was always embarrassed how bad my Jeep looked compared to yours. Your Jeep was the best!

Driving to New Holland for work always brings me back to the time when we came home from Midnight Madness from Shady Maple and it ice stormed and we we all over the roads and the drive seemed to take us FOREVER just to get home because of all the crazy roads you navigated us on to get us home safe and sound in one piece.

This summer we had a lot of bonfires and everytime there was one at Kel's house, I tended to keep looking over my shoulder.. looking and watching, making sure no one was gonna jump out and scare the ba-jee-bee's out of us. 

I could go on and on, but these are some things that were on my mind tonight. Thanks for all the awesome memories you gave us and the good times we shared. You've changed our lives for the better. Just thought you should know that even though you're not with us physically anymore.. you're still with us each and every day. You're still shining on Jeff.. just through each of us now. Love you buddy.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

"One day at a time--this is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past, for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful that it will be worth remembering."
                                     -Ida Scott Taylor