Dear Younger Me,

I’ve been thinking a lot about school lately. I think it’s because it’s September and the weather is getting cooler and all I’ve been seeing for the last few weeks is pictures of kids going back to school. It’s really got me thinking. SO.. I figured I would share my thoughts. I included some random school photos of Young Tonya for your enjoyment.

The question I asked myself was what Would I tell Little Tonya? What would I want her to know?

ENJOY IT!!!

You are only in school so long. It may seem like an eternity at the time.. but you will miss it one day. Learn stuff. Soak it in. Have fun. Don’t take it all so seriously. Lighten up a bit. You don’t have to be so uptight.

DON’T BE AFRAID!!!

Don’t miss out on things because you are afraid. Don’t let fear hold you back. Don’t let what other kids think of you stop you from doing what you really might like. Don’t be afraid that you aren’t capable of things, you don’t know.

MAKE FRIENDS!!!

Seriously! I think one of the biggest things I would tell Young Tonya is don’t be afraid of getting close to people. Open yourself up a little and make friends. Seek out someone who doesn’t have a friend and be their friend. Share your story, ask questions about them… be someone’s friend. Life is better with friends. Being afraid that people won’t like you shouldn’t hold you back from trying to make friends.

FAIL!!

Fail often and fail hard. I know this one sounds super weird Young Tonya… but it’s true. If you aren’t failing. You aren’t trying. You won’t grow. It’s scary I know. But I promise you it will be worth it. You are a human being, that’s what we do.

FEEL

It’s really, honestly okay to have feelings. You can say when you are sad or happy or disappointed. It’s okay and it’s normal. You are… in fact… a human being.

HAVE FAITH!!!

Keep learning about God. He is good and He cares about you. He Holds your future. Speaking of future, it’s not going to turn out like you think it going to… but that’s OKAY. Keep walking by faith. God has a plan. Trust it.

LOVE!!!

Love God, Love others and Love yourself. I know the last one is hard for you… but it’s actually okay to love yourself. You are a decent human being (who screws up sometimes) but you are decent. You try hard and you deserve to love yourself. Also it’s hard to love others if you can’t figure out how to love yourself. Love others. Even when they are being “unlovable” (you are “unlovable” too sometimes. but you still deserve to be loved). Speaking of Love, You DO deserve to be loved. I know you don’t believe it. But let it happen. It’s actually a really great and wonderful thing. DON’T miss out!

BE GRATEFUL!!!

For everything. The little things. The big things. The little things that turn out to be big things. All of it.

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!!!

You only get one body. Treat it well (but don’t treat it too often). You have a sweet tooth and that’s okay. Moderation is key. Portion control. Making mostly good choices and moving your body are key. Don’t stress out about it too much. Just do mostly good… most of the time and you’ll be fine. Also, don’t beat yourself up if you get off track. Mental health is even more important than physical health. Take care of it. Spiritual Health too. If you aren’t taking care of yourself it’s hard for you to be fully YOU.

EMBRACE YOU!

You are weird. Goofy. Fun. Sassy. Random. Quirky. Funny. Interesting. Loving. Creative. Embrace it.

I’m sure by this point Young Tonya would be telling me she had to go listen to NKOTB and ride her bike around the neighborhood with neighborhood kids. And she probably wouldn’t have listened to half of this because she didn’t believe she was worth it. She didn’t believe that she could go after her dreams and accomplish them. She just didn’t know what she didn’t know. I can’t go back and change her childhood and I don’t think I would. I am who I am today because of who I was in school. But these are lessons I am learning now and things I hope to keep in mind to continue to learn and grow and become an even better version of me.

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Live like you were dying….

A lot can happen in the blink of an eye. One moment everything seems to be okay and then the next moment your world changes. Takes a turn.  A phone call you don’t expect can change everything. It’s been two years since I received a phone call like that. 2 years seems like So long ago and yet just yesterday. Two years ago I lost someone I grew up with and loved like a big sister. and I miss her dearly.

Tonight I honored the anniversary of her passing with a 2 mile run.

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As I was running along the river the song “Live like you were dying” came on. It felt like a message straight from Beki. The beauty of  dusk reflecting off the river was a reminder to not take a moment for granted. Not take your next breath for granted or the ability to get out and go for a run. To bask in the joy of the little things. To let go of the frustrations of the day (today was a rather trying day with the nephews.) To find the silver lining in things. To look on the bright side and be grateful for the challenges because they make the good things that much sweeter. Without rain there are no rainbows.

Beki was so full of faith and love and generosity and joy that it was contagious. I want to make her proud. I don’t know if she knows how much I looked up to her. I don’t. But I wish I could tell her. I wish I could hear her sing one more time. I wish I could hug her… just one more time. I wish she could meet her amazing niece who is adorable as can be that she never met. I wish she could see her other nieces that are growing up to be amazing, adorable wonderful little people.

But what I really want is her memory to live on. Her legacy to reflect who she was. And I wish in the middle of stressful, frustrating situations I could remember to breathe. Slow down and choose joy. That really life is too short to not to enjoy it.

Miss you like crazy Beki.

beki memory

Precious

Have you ever lost something that you valued?!? That feeling of failure. Of what will people think? Why wasn’t I more responsible? Knowing you shouldn’t have been trusted with such a thing to begin with?!? 

So… The coolest thing just happened to me. Like. So cool. So…. Rewind to Sunday. I was at church. The message was called Home. We have been using the stories Jesus was telling including the prodigal son, the lost coins and the lost sheep. During worship I felt my beloved diamond earring fall out. I heard it hit the ground. I left it alone for the moment as to not be distracted during the message. However, I must admit that my heart sank. I know how mush those earrings must be worth… And I know how special they are to me. They were a gift from my wonderful boyfriend. Anyways, church ends and I start to search for the earring. All of a sudden a search party forms. Over the next half hour at least 25 people, in the pastor help look for it. We found the back of the earring!! At one point an incredible woman of God stops me and asked if I prayed for it. I had not. I was relying on my own strength. So we stopped and prayed. We prayed about leaving the 99, and the lost coin. We looked and looked. We even found the back of the earring. As I left Kim (the amazing woman who stopped and prayed) said something to that fact of it will be found. She was filled with such faith and hope. I’m not gonna lie… I left feeling like I let the boyfriend down. I’m notorious for losing things. I was scared to face him. I was beating myself up pretty hard. When I told him, he reacted In a very loving manner. He just held me. And told me it was okay. He is so good to me. I may have shed a tear or two. Well. I tried not to… But I choked up a bit. We went on with our lives. 

Over the next 4 days I’ve thought about it a few times. About the sheep, about the coin. About missing it. Sad. Empty. When I look in the mirror. Or feel my ear. Life just a little off. But In All honesty I didn’t think it would be found. I wasn’t even honesty looking. In my head it was at church. 

Tonight. Thursday. I’m out for a walk. I get a text from Kim. 


And then she quoted a verse we’ve been using: 


I knew at that moment. She was right. I’m not good at being still. Like hardly ever.  So.. I shut myself in. Quieted everything around me. And prayed. Not a long Prayer, A short “you know where it is God. Show me.” I decided to put my faith in God. Kim had sparked a glimmer of hope in me. And I know how good God is… But what are the odds of actually finding it at this point?!? Think needle in a haystack times a bajillion!!! It could be anywhere at this point. And my pea brain was still convinced it was at church. I mean I felt it! And the back!!  We found the back!! Fast forward 3 minutes. Yes… That isn’t a typo. I glance over at the bathroom rug. Yes, glance. Like I wasn’t looking… I just happen to look in that direction and….

 

Lying there on my bathroom rug was my precious diamond earring. My jaw dropped… And I fell to the floor praising God. Thinking about how much He cares about the littlest of details of our lives. Thinking About why I get so stressed out and worried about the dumbest things when Gods got this. I 100% believe that if I just put my faith in God that things will all be okay. But sometimes I need to be reminded. I think I’ve been so “busy” with my life that I’ve failed to realize the good things that Gods doing in and around me. I forget that I am his vessel. I forget to pay attention to his blessings. I forget all of the promises I have as a child of God. 

There are so many more things I could say about this. For example I don’t think it was a coincidence that this happened during this series. A lesson about being still. Praying. Listening to God. Seeking Godly wisdom. Lots of lessons.  But that something more I need to ponder. 

Just needed to share my miracle story. God is so much cooler than I give him credit for.