When I turned twenty-one and twenty-two I had wonderful blog posts that had been marinating in my brain for weeks and I contentedly wrote them out on my birthday morning. Yesterday morning I had to be at a round table at work by 8:00 and I ended up having so much going on I didn’t open my computer up the entire day. So much for the tradition of deep birthday thoughts spilled onto Noveltea. 

Well, folks, my brain is turning into musing mode, so I guess I feel a birthday post coming on.

My twenty-second year of life feels somewhat like a blur when I look back on it. There weren’t huge defining moments like when I was twenty-one or twenty or eighteen. Which means maybe it’s kinda like my nineteenth year. A lot happened but what happened is somewhat of a mystery.

I got two books published. I poured months of my time into When Life Hands You Lymes. I wrote 267 posts on Noveltea. I learned an incredible amount about writing and editing and the craft in general. I did book signings. I guest-posted on blogs. I wrote book reviews. I spent a lot of time not feeling well due to allergies. During my down days I gulped down 180 books which seems like far too many for a measly 365 days but it helped with my writing so that’s a plus.

I went swimming in the ocean of change and emerged with two main thoughts: 1) Change is going to happen no matter what and 2) When I decide to accept and embrace change, it can actually be rewarding. I also realized that sometimes change isn’t as close and complete as I thought was.

I cooked hundreds of meals and pretended I had a popular cooking show. I cut grass for dozens and dozens of hours lost deep in thought. I stayed up late doing my laundry while listening to music. I vacuumed our house while pretending like the sweeper hose was an elephant’s trunk. I raced myself and made new records. I turned stressful situations into challenges. I lived.

I made new friends. I drifted away from some people and drew closer to others. I made memories. Oh my happy little heart, the memories I made! This summer was especially glorious filled with family and friends and routine and Monday night Bible Study and Taco Tuesday. This summer will endlessly hold a special place in my heart.

Clara came into our lives and changed them forever. I’ve always heard about babies doing that, but Clara took the cake. Who would have guessed that we would all become so attached to our sweet little bundle of joy? I spent the weeks around her birth spending time with her mama (my best friend) and will forever treasure those days.

I traveled. From North Carolina to Nebraska to Michigan to Africa to Florida to Georgia to Aruba to Kentucky to Tennessee to Pennsylvania to sleepovers and book signings and basically everywhere in-between I traveled. I spent 136 nights of my twenty-second year away from home.

My twenty-second year came and went and now find myself on the other side of that interlude with the chasm of my twenty-third year staring me in the face, challenging me to do something even bigger and better with the 365 days that constitute this next year of my life.

It can be a scary thought. So much to accomplish in life and so little time. I’m not freaked out though, because do you know what? I actually know who holds the future. He’s my Friend and I trust Him fully. Not that I don’t have random moments of panic, because I do, but when I stop and think about it I know everything will be alright.

See, I had huge plans and goals for life. I’m already incredibly far behind where I wanted to be. I’ve had to let go and readjust and yet not allow myself to become complacent with the height I’ve achieved in the goal-climbing ladder. Over all though, I know it’s all going to work out.

This next year I want to live each day fully. I want to bring glory and honor to God’s Name in everything I do. I want to grow closer to God and sing His praises even during the hard times. I want to write and publish and make a difference. I want to show those who I’m closest to that I love them. I want to live in such a way that if it were my last day on earth I would know I lived it well and left behind no regrets.

I want my twenty-third year to stick out in the patch-work quilt of my life so that when my grandchildren one day ask me to tell them stories I’ll softly carry them back to these days and whisper epic tales that make them shiver with delight and squirm with anticipation.

This is the life I’ve been given and I’m so thankful for the chance to touch people’s lives and add a little bit of love. So, as I journey into this next portion of my life I do so with great expectations and even greater love and the knowledge that the Creator of Love holds me in His hands and calls me His.  And that makes life beautiful. 

4 thoughts on “Twenty-Three

  1. Cait @ Paper Fury says:

    Happy birthday!! And yay 23!! (I'm like almost exactly a year younger than you. XD Well, like a year and 4 months but bah, close enough. :P) And yay for reflective birthday posts…this one was really lovely! And I love how you calculated all those things, how many books and how many days away from home. Stats and numbers are just epic for some reason. :') I hope this year is amazing and wonderful for you too!! 🙂


  2. Ashley says:

    Happy (one day late) Birthday! I love seeing you post and then progress through your birthday challenges. They inspire me so much every year. I turn 22 on the 6th, so I thought about coming up with something similar, but I don't know if I can think of 23 things to do…
    Also, I am so happy to have an October birthday since October is my favorite month. Thank you, Anne of Green Gables, for that. 🙂


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