101 in 1001: A Year Update

Start date: Friday, May 11, 2018
First Update: 6 Months
End date: Friday, February 05, 2021

Hello everyone! It’s been a little over a year since I started my 101 in 1001 challenge so it’s time for another update. The 101 in 1001 challenge is a list of 101 things I want to do in 1001 days (2.75 years). I’ve timed it so this challenge will end by my 21st birthday but I’ve got so much still to do! You can see the full list of goals and check my progress here.

Goals I’ve crossed off:

38. Take my sisters on “sister-dates” (March 2019)

Being away from home was pretty hard. But setting up sister-dates made for an extra something to look forward to. Spending that one-on-one time with my sisters gives us a chance to catch up and just enjoy each others’ company.

39. Volunteer with my family a Saturday morning (March 2019)

My church back home has a homeless ministry that serves breakfast downtown every Saturday morning. My roommate and her family have been going for a while and my family has gone as well. But with school and being away, I needed to plan for a chance to finally go and see what the ministry was all about. Spending the morning with like-minded people while catching a glimpse into the world of others was interesting and challenging. I am glad for the chance to go and broaden my worldview and I am looking forward to the next time I can serve again.

43. Go to a drive-in/outdoor movie (April 2019)

Every year my school hosts a Spring Festival which includes flower crowns and tie-dye shirts and an outdoor movie! This year we watched Mary Poppins Returns and it was so much fun. (I mean it’s Mary Poppins!!) It was my third time watching the movie but it was still so fun to be there with friends and enjoy the outside festivities.

52. Explore downtown Charlotte (July 2019)

This one was fun to do too because it included my cousins (who are pretty awesome people) and my family. We were going to go on a walking tour but instead explored the streets on our own as well as the major stops like King’s Kitchen, NASCAR’s Hall of Fame, and the Mint Museum. I highly recommend checking out downtown Charlotte if you are in town!

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59. Find a church by the university (Spring 2019)

Finding a church by my school was harder than I thought it would be. With so many churches in the small town, you’d think we’d have no problem! But when it comes to finding a church, my friends and I knew that we wanted to find somewhere that taught the Truth, not just a good-feeling message, and somewhere we could get involved. We visited big churches, small churches, contemporary, traditional and everything in between before finally deciding on a small Baptist Church. It took time but it was totally worth it.

74. Visit my high school teachers after I graduate (March 2018)

High school was such a good time for me. Junior and Senior years specifically shaped a lot of my views and challenged me in and out of the classroom in ways I couldn’t imagine. The teachers those two years played an important role in that. Going back to visit the school and personally thank those teachers for challenging me and preparing me for this college journey was an important thing. It was great to reflect and thank those who work year-round preparing students for the future. And I think they appreciated it too.

80. Celebrate Easter really big (April 2019)

Easter has always been one of my favorite holidays and potentially one of the most underrated ones. Christmas gets most of the celebration in both the religious and non-religious worlds but Easter is most important! Without Christ rising victoriously from the dead having had defeated our sins, we would still be searching for a way to prove ourselves worthy of God’s acceptance. So Easter definitely deserves more praise. This year my family went all out with a Bible-themed scavenger hunt, pastries made by my sister, and a big meal with the extended family. Hopefully, this tradition will continue.

88. Make a new vision board (January 2019)

The vision board concept it a cool one for me because I find that each time I make one I learn more about myself. It’s true that images speak louder than words and often hold concepts and ideas that can reveal themselves over time. As I made this vision board, I allowed myself to just pick images that I was drawn to. Those images ended up being more “outdoorsy” than I would have initially chosen but as time moved on, I found those things reflected interests and opportunities I didn’t know I had. It’s fun to see visually how those interests change over time and how they come out in my everyday life.

I’ve completed 25 of my 101 goals! How have you been coming along in your 101 in 1001 journey? What things have you learned about yourself through it? Follow my progress and see the complete list here.

signi

Accepting Imperfection

In a world ruled by an Instagram-perfect life, we as a society have been conditioned to hide our imperfections, not only in our beauty and outward appearance, but also in our everyday lives. We take the brokenness of life and hide behind the stories we filter for others to like. We push down our brokenness, forgetting that our mistakes and imperfections are what make us human and are oftentimes great ways through which we can share the Gospel.

God does not call us to be perfect. But He does call us to trust Him and follow Him in every point of life. We may be broken but our brokenness emphasizes God’s perfection and the fact that He is the only way to true life.

We need to always be working to live a life that is better and more Christ-like. The point is that we should not be discouraged when we make mistakes or don’t live the perfect lives. We are not perfect beings. We are going to fail. That is just a fact of life.

But the hope is that God uses our weaknesses and makes us strong. Through our brokenness, God’s strength and power and love are emphasized. Our imperfect stories are the ones that are most relatable. When we let our facades fall, we open the door to acceptance and reality and give God a chance to use us – the real us.

So we don’t need to live every day perfectly. We don’t need to hide behind our Instagram-perfect images. It’s okay to be real. It’s okay to open up about what you’re struggling with. This gives us the freedom to show God’s glory and strength through our weaknesses. This points to the trust that we have in His power.

What is it that you feel you should be perfect in? How is that need for perfection preventing the Gospel from getting through? Find those spots, give them up to God in prayer and trust, and learn to accept the imperfections.

A Letter to Freshman Year

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Dear Freshman Year of College,

College. The best four years of my life. Or so I was told.
They were right in a way. If this past year has been a testament to what is to come then there are many many great things in store for my college adventure.

What I wasn’t told was how fast the years would go.
I’ve only finished one of the four years of college and yet those two semesters have flown by. If I didn’t pay attention, I would have missed it.

My first semester was crazy with settling in and figuring out a routine. But it was fun and welcoming as I learned to call this new school home. And home it really became with new friends and great mentors. Suddenly I didn’t need to focus on anyone else’s growth. Here I could be free, be me, and take the time I needed to grow and explore the world and new opportunities.

My second semester was a little bit harder. I missed my family like crazy but I learned to let go and trust God’s plans. This semester provided many opportunities to grow in faith and trust and it gave me many opportunities to step back and remember that I’m not in control.

It’s been a week now since I’ve closed my textbooks and turned in my final exam. Every day since then I’ve reflected over the many blessings that one school year gave me and I’ve missed those times. I’ve also realized how much I’ve grown in faith, in confidence, and in heath as I learned to navigate a new world where decisions became mine and mine alone. There were times when I didn’t want to change, to move, to leave the comforts of wherever I was in that moment, but I learned that change is good, change is natural, and when I surrender those moments to God, change can be such a blessing.

One year, one-fourth of my college career has come and gone. But the memories and the many lessons will forever be remembered. I am so grateful for this time and I so look forward to the next three years. May I always remember to trust God, to remember the little moments, and to not waste the precious time that I have.

signi

Seeking God’s Kingdom in a World Emphasizing Success

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There are a lot of things that people tell you bring happiness and success. Great grades, double- or even triple-majoring, being involved in a lot of activities, and having a great internship to name a few.

I struggle with focusing on God because it seems that there are “more important” things pulling for my attention. There are due dates and events. There are meetings and projects. These things have deadlines but they are not important in the long run. Classes will end. Papers will be turned in and graded. I will move on. God is the only One who is constant.

To keep God as my ultimate focus in life, I need to keep a godly perspective on my past accomplishments and failures. God ultimately gave me the ability to study and think. He gave me lessons to learn through my failures and the family that cheers me on as I push on in my classes. He is the ultimate Giver and He expects us to remember that.

I can strive for perfection in my classes, but that won’t bring me happiness. There will always be people smarter than me, more advanced that I am. True happiness comes with gratitude through remembering that God has blessed me. I can only go so far in striving for happiness, but seeking God’s kingdom is what brings true success.

Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

My challenge for you is to remember that it is more important to be faithful to God than to be noticed by our peers. Start now to remind yourself of God’s glory in everything you do.

signi

a short life lesson

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Life. It’s full of good days and it’s full of bad days. Some days we feel like we are keeping everything under control, while others, not so much. No matter how life is making you feel right now – calm or stressed – the life you are living now is preparing you for the future.

For my life right now, I am feeling pretty full. I have finished my first semester of college, I get to spend time with my family, and I am looking forward to hanging out with my friends come second semester. There is nothing pulling for my attention, no assignments to do. But it wasn’t always this calm.

I remember those days when I questioned everything: my life purpose, my family, my friends, even God. But there’s the thing, every minute I spent stressed, depressed, questioning life, was another minute closer to where I am now.

God uses all of those tough times to shape us into the people He designed us to be. While life isn’t a finish line that we can cross – there will always be more to learn – we can have hope in remembering that God uses everything for our good. Do not be discouraged and do not lose hope. Rather, trust in God who is in control. Trust that those tough times will help you to grow stronger as a person and in your faith.

That is my challenge for you this week. If your life is calm, thank God for using those though times to shape you. If your life is rough, remember that strength comes from perseverance and that you are not alone.

signi

My New Year Goals – 2019

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New years are great because they gives everyone a chance to start fresh even if things in your life keep right on going. There’s a new mindset and a fresh look on the projects we’ve been working on. And I think that’s great.

1. Take up photography again.

I’ve always loved photography. It’s such an easy way to capture life’s big (or small) moments. While I’ve taken a break from photography, I’ve been saving quite a few ideas on Pinterest and admiring some of my favorite photographers’ works. I hope all of that inspiration-searching pays off in my own work.

2. Make it to a least one (but hopefully more) sporting event.

I’ve never been a fan of playing sports, but I can appreciate those who are. College is great because there are always sporting events happening on campus and most of the time, the tickets are either free or cheap. So this should be a good time to get out there and cheer on my classmates.

3. Go camping with some friends.

Camping is one of those things that I’ve never done but I’ve always wanted to do. Last semester, I gathered up a group of friends to go camping but due to weather and other things, we didn’t get out. Hopefully this year I can be more intentional about making that camping trip happen.

So those are some of my goals for this year! If you’ve been following on my Instagram, you’ll also know that I’ve been striving for sustainability and less waste in my life. I wrote a blog post with more goals specifically for zero waste over here. What are some of your goals for this new year?

signi

My Christmas Wish List 2018

Christmas is coming up and there is a lot to do to get ready! I’ve already finished my Christmas shopping but that’s because I like to get it done really early. Here is my Christmas wish list including links to the sites in case you need some inspiration for your shopping list.

Something I Want

  • Record player
  • Essential oils
  • Brush calligraphy pens
  • Antique tea set

Something I Need

Something to Wear

  • Ankle boots
  • Knit sweater
  • Black flats
  • Grey cardigan

Something to Read

What’s on your Christmas list? Which stores do you go to to buy your Christmas gifts?

101 in 1001: A Six-Month Update

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It’s been six months since I started my 101 in 1001 challenge and it’s been quite the ride. I started off really well, crossing off quite a bit in the first couple of months! Now that school has started, I haven’t been able to work on as many goals as I’d like, but progress is progress and all that matters is that I’m moving forward.

Goals I’ve crossed off:

8. Go through my clothes and donate what I don’t wear (August 2018)

This goal was easy to cross off, especially during the week of packing for college. I went through every article of clothing I had and made sure to donate the ones I didn’t wear but were still in good condition.

11. Spend 15 minutes outside everyday for a month (August/Sep. 2018)

Spending time outside everyday made things relaxing and calm. I normally eat my meals outside on the patio of the cafeteria unless it’s too cold to be outside.

12. Bike somewhere (July 2018)

During our summer vacation, my family and I took a spontaneous trip to the beach for Independence Day. We biked through a small town and over many hills to the sandy beach. It was so much fun and I loved it! My favorite part was, of course, being with my family, but I also loved the wind in my hair and the smell of the salty air.

13. Go skating again (September 2018)

This goal I was a little afraid about because I didn’t want to fall and get hurt. However, falling is something that we just have to face. I went roller skating with my friends for a birthday celebration and it was a lot of fun! I hadn’t been roller skating before that, but I had been ice skating and it was pretty similar. I did fall at one point, but it wasn’t too bad!

31. Sing around a fire pit with some friends (June 2018)

This summer I visited my aunt with my family and spent the weekend with her and some of her friends. One night was all sat around a fire pit and sang songs as my sister played her ukulele. It was so nice and calming.

34. Have an early morning Bible study outside (July 2018)

There is something special about reading the Bible outside in the morning. It’s calming and quiet and makes it easier to hear what God is trying to say through His word, I think.

41. Reconnect with an old friend (August 2018)

This August I was able to connect with a friend from middle school over Instagram. She was one of my closest friends and when I left the school to be homeschooled, we lost touch. It was good to hear from her again and to know that she is doing well!

42. Start a birthday tradition (June 2018)

I have always loved the idea of birthday traditions. They always seem so much fun and a great way to have something to look forward to! My sister, her friend, and I started a birthday tradition for my sister’s birthday.

45. Take a road trip (May 2018)

My friends and I for our senior trip took a road trip to the beach. It was a great way to get away from school and the stress of preparing for graduation while also being able to hang out and talk with each other.

46. Visit a city I’ve never been to before (May 2018)

This summer my family and I went to Philadelphia to celebrate a family member’s wedding. I had never been to Philly before but I loved the city, the food, and the history behind it all! It was a nice trip and I loved seeing family.

50. Play an instrument on the beach (May 2018)

During my senior trip, my friends and I took a late night walk one night with ukuleles. There’s something calming about the beach at night and music makes it even more fun.

51. Have a picnic (June 2018)

My family invited a couple of our close friends and their families to go to the mountains with us for a couple of days. We spent one of the days hiking to waterfalls and enjoying the outdoors. This was the perfect opportunity to take a picnic with a beautiful view.

56. Go on a spontaneous trip (August 2018)

I love the beach and so does my mom, so when she had the idea to have a spontaneous trip to the beach for the day, of course I said yes. The drive was long but the hours on the beach was so worth it!

69. Have a photoshoot (September 2018)

Sometimes you just need to grab a camera and take some pictures with a group of friends. I am blessed to go to a school that has a beautiful green space which is commonly used to photo shoots by photographers around town. We followed suit and had our own photoshoot!

75. Paint on a canvas (June 2018)

Painting is something that I haven’t had many opportunities to do but I love doing. I was able to get together with two of my friends and we painted on canvas to create three individual paintings that go together. It was a great way to relax and hang out with each other.

83. Have a spa day (June 2018)

Sometimes you just need to take care of yourself and spend a day relaxing. Bath bombs, a bubble bath, face mask, and a good book make for a great day.

91. Journal every day for a month (June/July 2018)

I love journaling but it can be hard to fit it in everyday especially when days are busy. This goal was tougher than the rest in that I really needed to be intentional about the time and how I was using it. I like to journal at night before bed but that means going upstairs earlier and not falling asleep first. I am glad that I finished this goal before school because it’s a lot harder to find time to journal now that I am in college.

I’ve completed 17 of my 101 goals! How have you all been coming along in your 101 in 1001 journey? You can view the complete list of goals here for inspiration for your own list.

Learning to Pray Expectantly

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Prayer is an important part of having a strong relationship with God.

I remember last fall, my school took a trip to Windy Gap. We spent the week worshiping God and getting to know one another before heading back to school. One of the last nights we were there, the leaders sent everyone off to have quiet time with God. I found a spot beside the sand volleyball courts. Looking up at the starry night sky, I thought of how cool it would be to see shooting stars.

Immediately after that thought, I frowned. Why should I ask God for shooting stars? Aren’t I supposed to ask for important and meaningful things? How can I ask for shooting stars when there are so many other things to be praying for? I bent my head and looked at my hands, convinced that something as little as shooting stars should be something I should have prayed for.

You could probably guess what happened. When the bell rang and everyone was called back to the chapel, my friends ran up to me speaking quickly about how beautiful the shooting stars had been. I stopped in the path, shocked. God had answered my prayers but I was so busy convincing myself it wasn’t worth the time that I had missed His answer all together!

While we should pray with full faith that He is able to answer our prayers and do everything we ask, we have to remember that it’s God’s Will that is to be done. God wants us to accept His Will completely and give our lives to Him. Once we do that, He openly answers our prayers because we are praying for His Will to be done! Sometimes, though, there are things that He gives us anyway, like shooting stars. But we have to remember that it is God that we are serving, not ourselves. James 1:6-8 explains this idea:

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. ~ James 1:6-8

My challenge this week is that you would pray expectantly, knowing that God can answer your prayers, giving us everything we need, but also remembering that His Will comes first.

signi

Seeing God in the Everyday

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I pulled into my parking spot and turned off the engine. From where I sat in the parking lot at school, I had a perfect view of the sunrise. Shades of blue merged into purple and pink. Thin clouds raced across the morning sky as birds happily chirped in the cool air.

I watched as the sun rose all too quickly and the sky turned blue. As I continued my school day, I remembered the beauty and wondered how amazing God is! Later, that night, I opened my Bible and read the words that perfectly expressed the awesome beauty I felt only a few hours before.

How clearly the sky reveals God’s glory!
How plainly it shows what He has done!
Each day announces it to the following day;
each night repeats it to the next.
No speech or words are used, no sound is heard;
yet their message goes out to all the world
and is heard to the ends of the earth.
God made a home in the sky for the sun;
it comes out in the morning like a happy bridegroom,
like an athlete eager to run a race.
Psalm 19:1-5

I’m sure I’m not the only one to wake up some mornings feeling completely away from God. It can be difficult seeing Him work in life when we’re going through the motions and routines.

But, as Psalm 33:6 reminds us, God’s hand is shown throughout all of creation, in the beauty of His created world.

This week, I’d like to challenge you to look for God’s hand in the everyday things such as the sunrises, callings of the birds, and even in the beauty of human life.

signi