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.

3 Goals For My Freshman Year of College

Hello everyone! How are you? I have just finished moving in to my University! It has been such a busy and crazy two days but I loved every minute of it. My first day of classes was yesterday and so far everything has been going pretty well! I wanted to make a couple of goals to put myself into the right mindset for school. Here are three of my goals for my freshman year of college.

1. Find a church that I can get involved with.

It’s so important for me to find a church home, especially since I am far away from home. It’s good to have Christians supporting me and keeping me accountable. Also, “church shopping” is a good way to broaden my beliefs and get to know how other people do things!

2. Attend some sporting events.

One thing that I didn’t do in high school was attend sporting events. I always found some kind of excuse as to why I couldn’t go, but now I kind of wish that I had. I could have met more people and experienced a side to the school that I didn’t see. My university has a lot of sporting events happening all throughout the year so I really want to try to attend some of them!

3. Be intentional.

Looking back on my senior year, I realized that there are so many people that I saw everyday but didn’t bother to get to know. Now, I wish that I had stepped out of my comfort zone a little bit more and gotten to know people outside of my group and grade. This year, I want to make more of an effort to be intentional about the relationships that I have.

What are some of your goals for this year?

His Plans Are Perfect

Have you ever had a situation in your life where the path or the plan didn’t really make sense, the pieces didn’t seem to fit, but somehow God worked through it and presented you with a final product better than you could have ever hoped for? For me, this is exactly what happened in my homeschool/high school transition experience.

As I had mentioned earlier in this blog, I was homeschooled for a while. But, when I started thinking about going back to school, there was a huge part of me that really didn’t want to go. And I mean really didn’t want to go. In my Sophmore year of high school, I went to a sleepover with one of my best friends. She asked me “what if we went to school together?!” Outwardly I said “that would be so much fun!” but inwardly, I was thinking, “there’s no way I am going to switch schools again.”

It’s a good thing God didn’t listen to me.

A couple of days after that sleepover, I applied to a private Christian school and got accepted four weeks before the first day of school. God opened door after door on my way to the school. That in and of itself was a huge miracle because I had applied late and there wasn’t much space for more students. Even though it was last minute and all of the available spots in the school were filled, I was able to obtain a spot and was admitted into high school. And it was the one of the best things that happened to me.

It was through this journey that I met some amazing people, building friendships that I never thought I would have. I met mentors and was pushed to study harder and better. Eventually, I graduated and now I will be attending a Christian university with some amazing fellow English majors and a whole world ahead of me.

Way back in Sophmore year, I never even thought I would some day end up sitting around a lunch table with some close friends or dancing in a room filled with classmates at prom or even traveling on a school trip to Peru. Those things just didn’t seem even remotely possible to me.

Looking back, I am so glad that I said yes to God’s plan even when I didn’t want to and it didn’t make sense. Homeschooling was great, but it was only to be a part of my path. I loved being at home and spending time with my family, but I wouldn’t have been able to grow so much if I had stayed. Not in the ways I have.

When God’s plans for you don’t make sense, remember what Proverbs 16:4 says: “the LORD works out everything to its proper end.” He wants you to grow in your trust for Him as He shows you His will for your life. But it’s important to remember that the things that don’t make sense now are only just the beginning of a wonderful adventure in God’s perfect plan.

An Open Letter to High School

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Dear High School,

I can’t believe the time has gone by so fast. Four years ago I started high school and now I’ll be graduating.

I’ve learned so much in these four years, about myself, about my family, about relationships and friendships, about God, about the world. I’ve grown in ways I never would have expected. I made new friends, gained confidence, tried new things. I lost some friends too, experienced grief, and had to say goodbye to some amazing people.

I know that even though I’ll be leaving an amazing school, the relationships that I’ve built will always be there for me. It was in high school that I found my best friends, people who have pushed me closer to Christ. It was in high school that I stretched myself and became friends with people from many different groups. I know that all of these people are going on to study at great colleges and universities and will always be just a phone call, text message, or Insta picture away.

I am so grateful for the teachers as well, as they have taught me, not only about history and government, French and religion, science and Spanish, but also about life and the importance of following Christ along the way. These teachers have been praying for me and I am certain that they will continue to pray for me and the rest of the 2018 graduating class.

I think the parts that I’m going to miss the most about high school are the memories that we made together. From the camping trips at the beginning of the year, to the spirit weeks with crazy inflatable dinosaur and Baymax costumes, to the time we skipped class to play in the snow, the grades bonded together and laughed together. I loved the senior pranks, the photography class field trips, the picnics, and the prayer chapels. I loved the school trip to Peru, the movie days in French class, and the time my friend ran to Aldi to buy icecream during lunch. I loved the surprise parties, the dance nights, and the musical bells between classes. These are the things that I will miss.

And even though I am sad to leave all of these amazingly beautiful people and memories, I can look forward to the days when we will all reunite again and reminisce about the best four years we all had together.

Thank you High School, for giving me these times. Thank you for the lessons. Thank you for the memories. Thank you for the friends. But, most of all, thank you for the opportunity to grow.

signi

101 in 1001: Beginning

Hey, everyone! So today I’m going to start a new project for myself called the 101 in 1001. It’s basically a list of 101 things that I want to do in 1001 days (2.75 years). I wanted it to end on my 21st birthday as a little “birthday present” for myself, so I’m going to start today!

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Start date: Friday May 11, 2018
End date: Friday February 05, 2021

A healthy lifestyle

  1. Eat gluten free for 2 weeks
  2. Work out twice a week for three months in a row
  3. Eat meatless for 3 months
  4. Take dance lessons
  5. Become plastic free
  6. Go to bed by 10 every night for 2 weeks
  7. Get up at 5 every morning for 2 weeks
  8. Go through my clothes and donate what I don’t wear
  9. Learn 5 new recipes
  10. Go through all of my photos and purge the duplicates
  11. Spend at least 15 minutes outside every day for a month
  12. Bike somewhere (anywhere)
  13. Go skating again
  14. Delete unwanted emails
  15. Make an emergency kit for the car
  16. Run in a race
  17. Complete a 30 Day Squat Challenge
  18. Go a day without my phone
  19. Go a week without my phone
  20. Go a month without social media
  21. Complete 10 random acts of kindness
  22. Try to go “car-less” for a week
  23. Volunteer at an event
  24. Be able to do a split
  25. Work out in the morning for 2 weeks

For family and friends

  1. Quilt a blanket for my aunt
  2. Take a trip with my mom
  3. Send 50 handwritten letters
  4. Send a “just for fun” package to my friends
  5. Throw someone a surprise party
  6. Sing around a fire pit with some friends
  7. Go to 5 sports games
  8. Finish the 2017 scrapbook
  9. Have an early morning Bible study outside
  10. Visit a high school friend at college
  11. Give someone a handmade gift
  12. Send birthday cards
  13. Take my sisters on “sister-dates”
  14. Volunteer with my family a Saturday morning
  15. Start a future hope chest
  16. Reconnect with an old friend
  17. Start a birthday tradition

Exploring the world

  1. Go to a drive-in/outdoor movie
  2. Go camping
  3. Take a roadtrip
  4. Visit a city I’ve never been to before
  5. Go to a flea market
  6. See a shooting star
  7. Watch the sun set, stay up all night, and then see the sun rise
  8. Play an instrument on the beach
  9. Have a picnic
  10. Explore downtown Charlotte
  11. Study abroad
  12. Speak French with a native
  13. Go horseback riding
  14. Go on a spontaneous trip
  15. Learn sign language (enough to have a small conversation)
  16. Become fluent in French
  17. Find a church by the university
  18. Go sailing
  19. Go to a lavender farm
  20. Learn to identify 5 constellations

A little bit of me

  1. Read the entire Bible again
  2. Memorize 25 Bible verses
  3. Read every Jane Austen novel
  4. Finish watching all of the Doctor Who seasons
  5. Watch 20 documentaries
  6. Complete a 30 day photo challenge
  7. Have a photoshoot
  8. Vote in every election
  9. Sew a quilt for myself
  10. Put $5 into savings for every goal accomplished
  11. Fill a sketchbook with doodles
  12. Visit my high school teachers after I graduate
  13. Paint on a canvas
  14. Memorize a chocolate chip cookie recipe
  15. Learn a poem by heart
  16. Attend the midnight premiere of a movie
  17. Read a book in a day
  18. Celebrate Easter really big
  19. Read 5 classic novels
  20. Update my makeup
  21. Have a spa day
  22. Spend an entire day watching Disney movies
  23. Build a blanket fort a read under it all day
  24. Sell something on Etsy
  25. Buy something from Etsy
  26. Make a new vision board
  27. Make a reading corner

Scribbles and words

  1. Write 5 more poems
  2. Journal every day for a month
  3. Compose and write down 2 new songs
  4. Write 3 “How-to” blog posts
  5. Write 10 more devotional blog posts
  6. Write a letter for myself to open when 1001 days are over
  7. Guest post for another blogger
  8. Map a book I love
  9. Reach 500 followers on my blog
  10. Write a wishlist of places I want to visit before I die
  11. Go to a book signing
  12. Write a new list when the 1001 days are over

I am so excited about my goals for this list! I will be sure to share an update every couple of months but you can check my progress on the “101 in 1001” page located at the top of my website.

Have you ever done a 101 in 1001 challenge? If so, how did it go? If not, would you want to do one? I can’ wait to hear from you! Have a great day. :)

signi