Older & Kinda Wiser: Takeaways From Year 26

I turn 27 this month.

27 years!!! 27 years of growing older and kinda wiser, of making mistakes, finding joy, and seeking Truth. 27 years of laughing at myself, rejoicing and weeping with others, and finding out who I am.

Year 26 was a big one: I moved into and out of my parents’ home, I started and left law school, I was promoted to a fulltime position at Summit. I went on a few trips and turned into even more of a homebody. I let some people in and put up walls for others. I started weekly clay facials and my skin is thanking me for it.

Year 26 was filled with some monumental moments and memories. Here are some takeaways from this year:

  • Sometimes life doesn’t go as planned, and that’s OK. The past several years I dreamt and planned to be an attorney. I never thought I would start and leave law school in just half a year, but I did. And I don’t regret it.
  • Everyone deserves a second chance. Year 26 tested some of my friendships. While it may be easier to walk away, I’ve found it’s better to forgive and pursue others with kindness and grace.
  • It’s OK to make the same mistake twice: we can learn and fumble and learn again. Sometimes we don’t quite fully learn a lesson the first time, and we need to relearn it down the road.
  • It takes a village. A lesson I am constantly appreciative of: I could not and would not be where I am today without the support of my community.
  • Kindness matters. Similar to what I mentioned before, it may be easier to walk away or be unkind or short with someone, but it’s much better to pursue others with gentleness and compassion.

This list is by no means exhaustive, I’m sure I could think of at least twenty or thirty other lessons. For example, I also learned that free tacos are not always a good excuse to go on a date. And a clean dog isn’t really a happy dog (hi, Jack). I learned ice cream heals all wounds and lake time is good for the soul.

While the past year hasn’t been the easiest, I am still thankful for what it was: challenging, growing, stretching. It toughened me up and sharpened my edges. Year 26 made me re-dream and re-plan and remember what matters: Jesus, kindness, community, and my pup Jack.

I am looking forward to Year 27 and to the new takeaways I’ll have this time next year.

Year 27, show me what ya got!

Major Life Update! On Change & Transformation

My life is pretty different lately.

I did not end up returning to law school for my second semester. It was a bit of a shock and I am still adjusting. I will not bore you with the details or decision making process, but I believe this was the best choice for me.

I did end up accepting a full-time position at Summit, my climbing gym and place of work for the past year. I was thrilled at this opportunity, and my first few weeks serving as the assistant general manager at my home gym has been a great experience.

I did not really plan or expect for either of these life-changing events to occur.

But they did.

And here we are now, weeks into these changes, and I feel grateful!

I used to think I was resistant to change.

And I definitely still am in a lot of ways: I don’t love goodbyes. I don’t love big moves (metaphorical or geographical). I don’t love starting over.

But the older I grow and wiser I become, the more I realize change isn’t harmful, it’s transformational.

Staying still, staying in the same place, staying stagnant never helped me. Saying yes to the old and no to the new never helped me. Oppositely, when I leapt into the unknown, when I said yes to something new, when I dared to be different, my life has always changed for the better.

I’ll be real with you: I’m scared.

Terrified, even.

I dreamt and planned to be an attorney for years. And now I am not quite sure what is in store.

But I’m also thrilled, excited, beaming! To continue working for a company I love, to keep hyping up rock climbing, to keep welcoming new faces into the climbing community. This new job has been the greatest gift of 2021 thus far.

I talk a lot about hope and expectation in this space. Even though my life is veering in a direction I didn’t predict, I still have hope, I am still expectant of a bright future and good things to come.

I am excited to continue sharing my story, my life, my heart with you. I’m excited to share all of the good things to come.

The Monthly Update: November

November highlight:

A big highlight from last month was competing in Summit’s Pumpkin Spice Open bouldering competition. It was my first comp since September, and even though I didn’t necessarily go HARD, it was lots of fun hanging out with friends, encouraging each other on the wall, and getting some good sends in.

November lowlights:

I experienced a COVID scare, which put me out of working/climbing, and placed me in quarantine for a couple of weeks. It was a bit scary and overwhelming, but thankfully, my results were negative. Praise!

This month, I was filled by:

  • I had my first therapy appointment with Chelsey in a long time; even though I was only touching base, it was still good for my soul to talk through life and law school and lessons with her.
  • I started attending couch church–where I watch church from my home group leader’s couch–which has been a good way to keep accountable to tuning into Northway’s services. It is also a great way to start my week!

This month, I was emptied by:

The time away from the gym during my COVID scare was tough–I missed my work friends, climbing community, and just climbing in general.

In December, I am looking forward to:

  • I began the She Reads Truth Advent devotional at the start of the month. It has already been a source of encouragement and delight, and I cannot wait to continue diving into God’s word with this resoure.
  • Dressember is here! We are nearly halfway through the month, and I am three-fourths of the way to my goal of $1250. I am thrilled to participate in this challenge again, and to continue to advocate for human trafficking victims.

A Heart Full Of Thanks: My 10 Top Blessings Of 2020

Thanksgiving is here!

My favorite food, my favorite people, my favorite holiday all wrapped up into one day and given to me in a pretty little bow! This Thanksgiving will look drastically different, smaller, and quieter than years’ past, but that doesn’t mean it will be a bad one–just different.

This has been a hard year for everyone, but I know we can still give thanks. We can count our blessings, we can remember the good things, we can share the highs and lows and in-betweens. We can be glad for what we have, sad for what we don’t, and still feel blessed.

I’m full of thanks this year.

Here is my list of my top 10 things I am thankful for:

  1. A well mind– I haven’t struggled with depression in over two years, and I cannot express just how huge of a blessing this is. It is a gift to pursue dreams, be happy, and laugh genuinely.
  2. A healthy body– A body that can stretch and dance and move and bounce and CLIMB.
  3. My climbing community– Truly the most welcome and inspiring community, I am thankful for strangers who turn into friends so quickly. They are kind and inclusive and just plain fun!
  4. My church community– The ones who keep me rooted in Christ and point me to what matters, the ones who love me deeply and fiercely and wonderfully.
  5. My family– My new roommates! They have welcomed me into their home, given me reason to laugh, and supported me every step of the way of my law school journey.
  6. Taylor Swift’s Folklore album– It’s a bop! The end.
  7. My pup Jack– The light of my life, the center of my world: he is small and cute and fluffy and scruffy and scrappy and the best thing that happened to me in 2020.
  8. Coffee– The fuel that gives me life!
  9. My job– I get paid to welcome people into the climbing community! I get paid to love people! I get paid to climb! (Ok, not really, but kind of).
  10. My education– Perhaps the most concrete evidence of God’s faithfulness in 2020, I am so thankful that I was able to return to school this year to pursue a law degree. Virtual learning has not been easy (and neither is law school in general), but it has been such a gift.

I encourage you to consider what you are thankful for this year.

Maybe you can’t come up with ten or even five things, but I bet you could find at least a few: maybe it is your health, your family, maybe it is your community, or favorite hobby.

And come Thanksgiving day, you can share what you are thankful for with whomever you may be celebrating the holiday with. You can sit around the table, eat, drink, and be merry, and remember the good things, remember the blessings.

The Monthly Update: October

October highlights:

  • Going to Broken Bow with my gal pal Tinker & pup Jack was a much-needed getaway. It was nice exploring the cute little town with lots of things to do outdoors.
  • Attending my sweet friend McKae’s wedding in Colorado was a pure delight! The whole weekend was great, as I was surrounded by some dear friends and reunited with one of my Chinese sisters.

October lowlights:

My climbing friend-turned-real-life-pal Ariel moved from Dallas back to her home in Arizona. Although this was the right decision for her, I can’t help but miss her!

This month, I was filled by:

I got a pedicure in the middle of the month with Tinker, and it was so, so nice to be pampered. I think it’s good to practice self-care by treating yourself every once in a while.

This month, I was emptied by:

I started feeling very low-energy toward the end of the month. It could be the weather/season, but I’m just keeping an eye on it.

In November, I am looking forward to:

Thanksgiving! It is my favorite holiday ever. The food, family, and fun just make for a great day. Plus the recognition of gratitude warms my little heart.

It Is Well: Words To My Younger Self

I turned 26 in August.

26 is a big(ish) year for me. I am no longer at a quarter-of-a-century, but over it. My 26th birthday was great: I spent the day before climbing outside with friends, I spent the day of going to law school downtown, I made a friend (Hi, Meredith!), and I ate dinner with my family. I squished my tiny nephews’ faces. And I was gifted my first pair of biker shorts, which have really been a game changer.

This year is so much more than biker shorts though, it is also a big year because I finally started law school! And when I say finally, I mean finally. Four years had passed since graduation, since my life in Nashville, since the revelation of realizing I wanted to pursue law. Lots of unfulfilled promises to myself and lots of prayer passed before I finally, finally, FINALLY began my law school journey.

And now that I am here, at this milestone of life, I am just looking back feeling overwhelmingly grateful for all of the moments that have led me to where I am today.

Here are some words of positivity and truth I’d speak to my younger self:

  • You are stronger than you think. When I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I felt puny and weak and insecure. But I have since seen the benefits of living with bipolar disorder, and I have overcome so much hardship because of it.
  • You are great a taking care of others, but care for yourself, too. Learning to say no to people and yes to myself has been a great lesson that keeps on giving.
  • Cling to Jesus, and he’ll cling to you. My faith is important to me, and over the years it has become obvious that when I pursue Jesus and value my time with him, I feel his love and faithfulness and kindness even deeper.
  • Dreams are for chasing (and achieving). Finally starting law school has made me realize that chasing & achieving dreams is so utterly rewarding!
  • It takes a village. A lesson that is a continual theme on this blog, I am so thankful for the people who have encouraged and inspired and shaped me into who I am today.

A few less serious truths would be: tacos are for more than just Tuesday’s, dog mom life will rock your world and make you better, and dry shampoo is a girl’s best friend.

Self-reflection is really good for me.

It’s good for my soul to look five years, ten years, fifteen years back and to see how far I’ve come. It’s good to see who has come (and who has gone) and how they have molded me in a positive way. It is good for helping me feel blessed and at peace with where I am today.

I cannot wait for these next few years in law school to teach me even more. I cannot wait for the rest of Year 26 and even 26 years in the future. It is well with my soul today. And it will be well with my soul tomorrow, and the day after, and the weeks, months, and years to come.

The Monthly Update: September

September highlights:

  • One of the last Saturday’s in September I spent participating in Summit’s 12-Hour competition. The all-day comp involves hopping around the DFW locations, and plenty of sweating and grunting and fist bumping. It was SO fun, but also exhausting.
  • One of the last Sunday’s in September I attended church with my parents, but this service was special because they relocated to the Dr. Pepper Ballpark in Frisco. My brother and his family also came. It was great participating in corporate worship again, and also spending quality time with my sweet nephews. Plus the weather was gorgeous!

September lowlights:

I honestly cannot think of a single lowlight during the month of September. What a blessing!

This month, I was filled by:

I hosted a dinner party with a few near and dear friends. We ate Chinese food, drank wine, and devoured delicious Crumbl cookies. We engaged in kind and uplifting conversation, and shared plenty of laughs. It was an evening of pure delight!

This month, I was emptied by:

Law school is starting to get real, and it’s hitting me hard. The stress of assignments and looming midterms started piling up at the end of the month.

In October, I’m looking forward to:

  • Seeing as I am posting this a bit late, some of the things I was looking forward to have already passed, including a weekend getaway to Broken Bow, OK with my gal pal Tink and my pup Jack. More to come on that later!
  • I’m going to my sweet friend McKae’s wedding in Colorado toward the end of the month. I am excited to 1) get out of Texas and experience some cooler weather, but mostly 2) to celebrate McKae & Creed’s love with some great friends of mine!

One Month In: Life Lessons From A Future Attorney

I’ve been a law student for a month now.

Yes, folks!!! Four weeks! 30 days! Late nights! Early mornings! That is an entire month of study sessions, introductions, office hours, Zoom classes, and power naps. All the things!

And guess what? I haven’t even cried once!

Now that I am essentially a practicing attorney (100% joking), I’d like to share some of the wisdom I have gleaned over this past month:

  1. Sleep is important. I learned the importance of sleep during undergrad when I suffered from severe insomnia. I would run off only a handful of hours of sleep for multiple days in a row. It negatively affected my energy, mood, and even personality. These days I am reminded the value of sleep and try to get in at least 8-hours per night.
  2. Dog motherhood is good for the soul. My sweet terrier-mix Jack is the light of my life. When I have a long day at school and walk through the front door, my sweet pup introduces me with eager squeals and little dances and pure delight.
  3. Make new friends, but keep the old. The Girl Scouts song rings true: I have made a couple of new 1L friends who have helped me study more and stress less. But I still have my climbing and church community by my side, too. It’s the best of both worlds!
  4. Saying no can be just as important as saying yes. Sometimes I mistake myself for the Energizer bunny and say yes to a bunch of things and people and activities and run around until I’m exhausted and grumpy and over everything. Those are not good times. Sometimes saying no is necessary for my study habits, school-life balance, and me-time.
  5. Jesus loves me, this I know. During this whirlwind month, so much has come and gone and changed and evolved. All of this change can be overwhelming, but it is still a comfort to know Jesus stays the same and loves me the same forever and ever, amen.

I have learned a lot of other stuff, too.

But I also have a lot of reading due tomorrow and a quiz I’m avoiding in this very moment, so I think I’m going to keep internalizing the other life lessons and share those with you another day.

I wanted to pop on here to let you fine folks know that 1) I am alive and well, 2) school has been a blast, and 3) I miss writing my little heart out on this page. I miss your eyes and attention and kindness and grace. I miss you!

Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read this silly little blog. Thank you for being you. Grace & peace!

The Monthly Update: August

August highlights:

  • I’m 26 now!!!! I turned 26 on the very last day of the month. To celebrate, some dear friends and I went on a climbing day trip to Mineral Wells the day before. The day of, I had school and assignments (law student problems, haha), but also ate some delicious Chinese takeout with my sweet family in the evening. It was truly a treasured and memorable day, and I felt ALL of the love.
  • My first semester of law school began! The beginning of the next three years of studying, testing, etc. was pretty daunting, but I am also thrilled it is here. It has been quite literally a dream come true.
  • My family did a little miniature getaway to Granbury over a long weekend in August. We swam at the lake, meandered around the square, ate plenty of yummy food, and did an escape room. Schrammily bonding!

August lowlights:

  • Law school cut my summer short by almost a month. We took a fundamentals course starting the first week of August, and even though it was pretty low-key, it was still a bummer doing homework on our family vacation.

This month, I was filled by:

  • I read I’m Still Here by Austin Channing-Brown, in which she shares her story of growing up as a black, Christian woman in America. It was enlightening and challenging and beautiful and hard. The book really opened my eyes to racism, to growth, and to how I can love my black brothers and sisters better.

This month, I was emptied by:

  • It is incredibly disheartening for me to continue to see how divisive the conversations are surrounding both coronavirus and systemic racism. From my perspective, I see both as heart and human issues, not as left/right/conservative/liberal issues.

In September, I am looking forward to:

  • I’m helping celebrate some friends’ birthdays by spending time outside and in the sunshine the first couple of weekends of September. It should be some great quality time with great quality people.
  • I am hosting another discussion-based evening with some sweet friends from different circles in a couple of weekends. I am praying for a conversation rooted in kindness and understanding.

Hello, 26: Takeaways During My 25th Year

Well I’ve (almost) made it another trip around the sun!

I turn 26 on August 31. Year 25 was a big one: I pursued attending law school (and got in!!), quit a job, started two new jobs, became a dog and plant mom, and experienced quarantine with this pandemic.

A lot of life happened this year, many good and not-so-good things, many highs and lows, many in-betweens. Overall, I am so grateful for every moment, because they have led me to where I am today.

Let’s review this year’s most memorable takeaways:

  • Don’t give up on yourself. Four years ago I dreamed of going to law school. In the years since, I struggled with very severe on-and-off depression. I didn’t think I had what it took to get into law school. But lo and behold, during Year 25, I pushed through, and was accepted! It feels amazing to say that and equally amazing to begin this law school journey.
  • Give yourself a break. Early on into Year 25, I quit my stable job of being a legal assistant and chose to work part-time as a nanny and part-time at the climbing gym. Everyone thought I was crazy, but this break was exactly what I needed to focus on both myself and law school. It was every bit rewarding and liberating and just what I needed.
  • Do things that make your heart happy. Climbing rocks, drinking coffee, eating tacos, all of these make my heart sing. Let’s do more of what makes us happy.
  • Puppy love is the best. Adopting Jack and being a dog mom has been the best thing ever. There’s no love like puppy love!
  • New things are scary, but they can also be fun. Starting law school this fall (next week!!) is terrifying to me. I have to re-learn how to study and prepare for class and take tests. But I am also excited! It should be a fun, hard journey.
  • It takes a village. Without my friends, family, church, climbing, and blogger community, I do not know where I’d be today! I have been blessed with the kindest folks and sweetest community, and they help me get by on the reg.

Year 25 was refining, challenging, stretching. It was eye-opening and humbling. I pressed into some hard moments and hard conversations. I took care of myself, I loved others, I spent time with Jesus.

I am thankful for all of the change I experienced in Year 25–job adjustments, career change, moving, and more. It was one heck of a year, and I can’t wait to see what Year 26 holds. Bring it on!!