Goodbye, 21

I love birthdays.

And that’s an understatement when it comes to my own – I adore my birthday. I get so excited for it when each new year begins, and then when February itself actually rolls around… caution: birthday on my mind! This year, since it’s my golden birthday (eek!), I thought I’d do a fun thing and share some random (seriously, random) things I’ve learned over these past years. And with that, the first nugget:

Trust God.

I remember writing a “song” when I was younger that consisted of this one line (I’m definitely not a songwriter!): “When in trouble, trust God, ’cause He’s the only one that can help you!” Even though that was many years ago, I still remember the tune I came up with for the song! No matter how old I get, I feel like each year, I get the opportunity to trust God in a deeper way based on whatever I’m going through at that time. It’s a great yearly lesson for me to hone in on. I was quite young at the time, but if I were to add to the song now, I’d add something about trusting God at all times, not just in troubling ones. The results are pretty sweet and adventurous when we can trust God in the good and the bad.

Parents and sisters are the BEST.

It’s always such a riot talking with my parents and sisters on Facetime or over text. My family is awesome and I miss them like crazy! They never fail to build me up or make me laugh, and they understand my quirks like no one else can.

Cooking & baking from scratch is a good test in patience.

I like popping pre-made food into the oven, waiting the required 20 or so minutes, and then eating to my heart’s delight. But cooking from scratch requires…shudder… preparation. And lots of patience from a loudly-grumbling belly.

Choose your guns and stick to them.

It’s not easy to be swayed by acquaintances (let’s be honest, a “no” to a relative stranger is easy to pass out), but it’s much easier to be swayed by friends or people we know really well. Sometimes, I’ve found it’s a good thing, especially when it concerns food. But in other times, I’ve learned that if I have a set plan in my head beforehand on busy days where I need to be productive, going along with the crowd is no bueno, even if I’m the only one going my own way. I always find that I’m much, much more content accomplishing the things in my plan rather than trying to please friends by saying yes.

And yet, spontaneity is an adventure waiting to happen!

Then there are times when plans that have wiggle room can be amended, leading to memorable adventures. With fun pictures!

Music is good for the soul.

Specifically mine. I can’t wait till I can get a record player again and build up a record collection and take some time on random days to just sit and listen to my favorite songs. It’s therapeutic, I think, and it’s an excellent activity that I find equally restful and enriching. This morning, I listened to my favorite CD (Hillsong Chapel Yahweh), and you wouldn’t believe the smiles it left on my face.

It’s good to be wrong, at least every now and then.

Because then you get practice in saying, “I’m sorry, you’re right” humbly and respectfully.

Writing for myself is one of the best habits I’ve made.

I love looking back at my prayer/life journals and seeing the things that I wrote or was praying about at those times. It’s truly cool to look back and see how God has worked in my life in specific situations!

When you buy rice, make sure it’s LONG GRAIN.

When I came to Pécs, every time I’d make rice it would end up sticky and clumpy. After I went home for Christmas break, I asked my mom why I suddenly couldn’t cook rice correctly anymore and she said, “Did you buy parboiled long grain rice?” I said, “…oh. Nope.” Apparently it makes a difference!

Hugs are so much more valuable than they seem.

I’m a hug person. I love hugs! (What Texan doesn’t?) Europeans tend to do the cheek-to-cheek bisous-bisous thing. But I’m all about the hugs, so if you see me on my birthday or any other old day (or if you don’t, give me a virtual hug), I’ll probably be coming in for a hug. It’s such a tangible way for one to say: I’m here for you, friend – without actually saying a word.

It’s most important who you are when you’re by yourself.

People tend to be most genuine when they’re alone. And for good reason too: no one is around to cast opinions on any quirky habits one might have. You can get crazy and shriek out the lyrics to your favorite gospel songs, dance to random music on commercials, and binge-watch Spongebob Squarepants like there’s no tomorrow (not that this is anything I do…cough). But it’s most important how one treats others while they’re alone – if I can’t look at a picture of someone on social media without sneering to myself, then some reevaluations are in order. Some may say, “Uh, it doesn’t matter what you say about others when you’re the only one that can hear what you say.” But that’s not true. Who we are when we’re alone translates to who we are when we’re around others. If we make an effort to truly be kind and gracious to others in the thoughts we have toward them when alone, then we’ll make an even greater effort to be kind and gracious to those same people in person.

Welp, those are my random tidbits for the moment, freshly plucked from my past 21 years of life. I’ll be turning a golden 22 in about half an hour (at least, I will be on the European side of the world). Someone needs to hold me, because I’m so, so excited.

don't I look so excited?! 22...eek!

don’t I look so excited?! 22…eek!

10 thoughts on “Goodbye, 21

  1. Congratulations on your birthday Layo, may God bless you and keep you growing in knowledge and wisdom from above. I bet your parents are proud of how mature and center you are and more than anything of your faith, but our Heavenly Father must be even prouder of such a wonderful daughter. I am happy and blessed that I met you even though it was a short time, it was a blessing to meet you. Good bless you and I sent you a warm fraternal hug!

    • Esequias, you are so kind! Thank you so much for the well wishes and the birthday message, I’m truly blessed by it. So glad we are family in Christ – even though we only met for a short time, that bond can never be broken! God bless you too!

  2. Happy Golden Birthday Princess Joy!! And you’re the BEST! We are so thankful to God for you, your shining life for Jesus, and your love for God and people. Enjoyed reading your random tidbits of truth. You have brought us all great joy, and blessings with your life, smiles, wisdom and humor. God’s favor is heavily evident on you. This is to a greater measure of the presence of the Lord in your life than ever before. Love Always, Momma.

    • Thank you Mom!! I’m always so blessed by you as well. I’m excited to see what this new birthday year will bring! Love you!

  3. Happy Golden Birthday Beautiful Princess! What a joy you continue to bring not only to our lives as your family but every one that knows you and that meet you. That’s the life and anointing of Jesus as Mom stated, shining in and through you! We are so proud of you our world changer and traveler!! God will continue to grace you with His unending wisdom. Love & Hugs. Dad

    • Aw thank you Dad!! I pray so – one can never have too much wisdom! This new birthday year will be chock full of new experiences, I’m sure, and it’s so exciting to look forward to. Love you!

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