21 things I learned this year.

The 2013-2014 school year taught me a whole ton. There were a lot of laughs and great memories, but there were also a lot of tough lessons that I had to learn and some pain that I went through as well. I've decided to share 21 things that really helped me grow into who I am today (some serious, some more silly) from the past 12 months. 

1. Don't count your chickens before they hatch.
Basically, I had several experiences throughout the year that I was positively absolutely sure that things were going to work out in my life in the way I expected them to. When things began taking unexpected turns, I was still sure that I was sure that it would all go my way in the end because it was my plan, my dream. Needless to say, that is not how life works. Grades aren't certain, good health isn't certain, relationships aren't certain, and financial stability isn't certain. We need to take each day as it is, thanking God for the blessings and asking him for strength and wisdom when things are unsure.

2. Short girls can't rock frumpy.
I tried it. Maybe once or twice it worked, but short girls just look overweight or sloppy if they try to do the oversized tee with harem pants, or the jeans that you still try to wear even though they're 2 sizes too big. Ladies, it just doesn't work. Trust me.

3. People are important.
I kind of got stuck in this "grumpy cat mentality" for a few months. You know, the internet meme that is adorable and cynical and can describe your mood perfectly some days?

Yeah, well I started to adopt the phrase "I hate people." Hate is a super strong word and I used it way too much. If someone was getting on my nerves or spoke to me unkindly I automatically wanted to smack them with sarcasm and send them on their way. I started to get cynical and being around people I didn't know, or serving others was plain annoying. God calls us to love everyone, even when they're rude and inconsiderate. I started looking for the good in people and making up little back stories for them in my head so I wouldn't get so angry with them. Maybe they're running late or they're uncomfortable around strangers too, or maybe they just got really bad news? People are important and I can't let them get under my skin so easily.

4. I can't pull off stripes and spots and bright colors all at once. 
I just can't.

5. I find peace in painting.
I already knew that I loved to paint, but this year it was such a great therapy. I can recall several instances when my heart was breaking and picking up a paint brush was exactly what I needed.

6. Trying something new won't kill you.
 I started to volunteer in different areas at my church like the cafe and youth ministry department. I also started helping friends start Etsy stores and blogs. I went out on a limb and showed some of my poetry to a friend who's opinion I held in very high regard. I died my hair blonde, purple, and blue. I joined a blogging community called The Peony Project (which you should totally join by the way!). They aren't insanely daring and crazy things, but they opened my eyes to different things I can try and I've had fun along the way.

7. See the good...
There are plenty of times in life when we feel lost and discouraged. Anxiety can weigh down on us and we start to get worried about things. Will I always be in debt? Will I always have this job? Am I ever going to get married? Will i always feel this way? These questioners have plagued my mind lately. I hate it. But I know I have to make a choice. I can either sit and worry. I can lose sleep and get myself worked up over something I can't control. Or I can look for the good. I can count my blessings and find joy in the ordinary tasks of life. It's hard. It's a journey, but I think it'll be worth it. We need to encourage one another and try to stay positive. It's difficult at times, but if you can't change your situation, at least be positive through it.

8. Take a chance on your dreams!
"Every moment is a new beginning." // t.s. elliot 
Taking a chance on your dreams can be really intimidating sometimes. Our dreams may seem too big some days, but we need to keep chasing them, keep working hard, and never lose sight of the goals we've set for ourselves. I still really feel called to art therapy and I tried several times to get an internship in that field for the summer. After many closed doors, a door opened. (Not in the specific field, but one that will stretch me and teach me a lot). We were given our dreams for a reason, so don't give up on them! Every moment we have a new opportunity to start working towards our dreams and goals. 

9. Take a second to relax.

Don't over work yourself. If you do, you'll be tired and cranky. You may even overlook a friend or speak unkindly to someone you love. Take a few hours out of each week to read, sleep, drink tea, or go for a walk. It's so important.

10. Explore!
You never know what coffee shop, eatery, or bookstore is right around the corner! I went to philly one weekend and it was so much fun! I also went downtown in Phoenixville and had a blast with some friends. It was a good year for exploring in the snow, the rain, and the sunshine.

11. Forgiveness takes time.
I've heard it a ton. I've said "I forgive you" even when I'm not over something. It takes time and I had to definitely learn that this year. I've been hurt beyond measure by some of the people that are closest to me and I hate not being close to them MORE than what they had done to me so I immediately want to forgive them and then quietly to myself I hang on to the pain. Forgiveness can only be accomplished by asking God for help and releasing the pain and letting Him take control. Forgiveness takes time and prayer and sometimes a little space. I also learned this lesson from the other end. People have had to forgive me for things and could only do so if they were given a little space. It can be painful, but I am so glad I learned this lesson.

12. Be goofy or you'll totally regret life.

13. Grace is all we need.

When was the last time you let God’s grace be enough? When did you allow Him to be the foundation to everything you do? When did you let Christ bind your wounds and kiss your scars?

Until you have let Him be all that you live for; you will always be looking for something to live for.
-T.B. LaBerge 

Get over yourself. You were saved by grace alone through faith alone. Therefore, God gets all the glory alone.” -Matt Chandler

14. Be kind.Being kind to people not only helps both parties enjoy the activity, encounter, or conversation, but it helps your reputation as well. Being seen as a nice person is pretty important... I don't know anyone that likes being called "mean." This year I know that I definitely prayed about being kind to people. It sort of fell into that category of being cynical about things where I started to overlook the way I treated people. (I am very sorry!) Don't forget, kindness is always free!

15. Don't be scared to voice your ideas.
There were many times when I was afraid that my ideas and thoughts weren't creative enough or good enough to be said aloud to my friends and classmates. Later I would find out that my idea would have worked, or someone else would get praise for creating something or trying something that I was too scared to. I hated it! So much regret and wasted worrying occurred this past year. One of my new year's resolutions was to just do it; make something great, try something new, be proud of my accomplishments and ideas. Let myself accept and promote who I am. 

16. Kick negativity to the curb!
Replace phrases like "I am so bad at ..." and "I hate the way I ..." with things that you like about yourself and things that you do well. Make lists if you have to! Build yourself up and learn to love yourself! (I don't know if you're starting to see a theme.) This year I've learned and am still learning how to love who I am and figuring out how to be the best me that I can be! One step in this process is trying to stay positive.

17. Not everyone likes what you create.
Constructive criticism is necessary for improvement. I need to remember this one. I'm sure I lost about 90% of readers at number 8. This list is long. It's mostly posted for me and the sake of posting it. Some of my art work isn't the greatest and I'm sure my mom is running out of places to hang it. I try to write poetry and post originals on Tumblr and I get like, 3 reblogs. Instagram likes? Not that many. BUT WHO CARES! As long as I like it and I'm proud, that should be all that matters.

18. Friendship is important.
This was a lesson for me in many ways. I struggled with loneliness and a broken heart this year and with out supportive friends, I don't know what I would have done. God really blessed me with some wonderful people!

19. yeah maybe I don't have 21 things
20. but this year was pretty great and one I wouldn't trade.
21. Growing up is weird.

Birthday flowers and lemon cake from my darling mother! 


  1. you didn't lose me at number 8 :)

  2. Thanks for sharing... I love the photos!

  3. I love this post, Nat! And your pictures are beautiful! You have certainly learned a lot and have grown tremendously this year. Life can be hard, but God uses all things for our good and His glory, if we let Him! I love you and am very proud of you! Love Mom

  4. Love this! Especially number 2...oh how I have tried SO hard! Also, 16...yep I need to work on that. I am too negative!

  5. Happy birthday! this is such a great list. i know there have been a bunch of ups and downs this year, but you've ridden that roller coaster well. Love you!

  6. Such a great list :) Serving rude people is one of the hardest lessons, I think.. but pretty beautiful too. I definitely need to work on the whole exploring thing more! #19-21 = awesome :)

  7. I love this list! I'm heading into college in less than two months, and I know I'll need this advice then!

  8. I love this post :) You learned so much in one year!!! #12 is sort of my and my husband's unspoken motto in our marriage ha!
    Forgiveness and grace...those are sticking with me. Thanks !!


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