* Family is everything. Really, truly. They are the people that might aggravate you the most at times, but also the people who cheer you on, get you, and journey through every season of life with you. For better or for worse, this is who you get. Make it count. Talk, create memories, and fight for it. It’s worth it.
* Nobody really has it all figured out. Even those who seem like they do. We’re all trying to do the best we can with the curveballs that each day throws. Focus on your own game and give yourself a little bit of grace. Hand out lots of grace to others too. You never know their story.
* Don’t compare. It’s just not worth it. Their kids, their marriage, her hair, their discipline strategy, their house, her toned muscles, her career, her relationship with the kids. Don’t even go there. Fight the thoughts that take you down the road of comparison- it just breeds discontent. Look at what you’ve been given. You have been entrusted with so much. Find the good in the mundane, the joy in the moments, the beauty in the imperfections. Life is pretty good.
* I love coffee. I love, love, love coffee. It is comforting to hold a mug with my warm beverage in the early morning hours. It’s a habit I just can’t, and won’t, kick.
* Be comfortable in your own skin. Confidence speaks louder than a revealing outfit and can mask sweatpants and a messy ponytail. Confidence in who you are, inside and out, without the outside approval of anyone, can own a room. Work it.
* Be open to new ideas and new people. It expands your mind and grows you as a person. It’s so easy to just gravitate toward people like you, but relationships with those who see life differently just might be the most rewarding.
* Don’t waste your days worrying. It does nothing. Speaking from a standpoint of going through deep seasons of anxiety and worry, I know this to be true.
* What you put into your body matters. More than staying fit and working out, what I eat has the biggest impact on how I look and how I feel. Your body is an amazing machine, fuel it with the best food you can.
* Do something that pushes your boundaries. Get uncomfortable. I signed up for my first triathlon with no idea of what I was getting into. I was terrified, thinking that those that did tri’s were physical specimens of perfection. That wasn’t true, many were just like me. Crossing that finish line was one of the proudest moments of my life up to that point and it wasn’t long before I signed up for my next one. I am much more willing to embrace the unknown and things outside of my comfort zone because of it.
* Spend time in the outdoors. There is something that switches when you get out of the enclosed spaces of buildings and concrete. My soul is able to tap into what really matters in nature more so than I can in the day-do-day here. I hear God more clearly, have a bigger sense of who I am, and appreciate the beauty of creation.
* Slow down. You are not going to remember that you cleaned the dishes today or that you knocked some items off of your to-do list. You are going to remember stopping and actually listening to every word they said in a conversation. You are going to remember belly laughing over a tickle torture. You are going to remember the delight in her eyes over a new discovery. Slow down, soak in each and every moment.
* Fight to be here now. It is so easy to look ahead to what might be coming and feel like that is when life will really begin. The new job, the move, the new baby, the kids being disciplined, school to be over. How easy it is to miss the gifts of today by wishing for the future to get here already. Fight for it.
* Spend time with those who are older. Ask them questions and listen to their stories. You will learn a lot about the way the country and life used to be and you will make them feel valued and loved. Guaranteed you will get a good reality check on what is really important in life.
* Kids are awesome. Our girls are so fun. Sure, they change life and make it exhausting, demanding, and sacrificial in ways we had no idea existed before they came. But we delight in them. We laugh at and with them. They are awesome.
* Marriage is fun. Seriously. I get to live with my best friend? Do life together and hang out all the time? Have we had to fight for it and work at it and had hard seasons? Sure. But it is so fun.
* Take time to play. Let go and be silly.
* Take time to create. Even if you’re not a creative person, which I never thought I was until I started creating. I’m convinced that something comes alive in you when you access the power in creativity. Even if it’s sloppy, even if it’s uncomfortable, even if it’s not natural, even if it doesn’t turn out the way you wanted it to. Paint a flower on a canvas, make a wreath, take a picture, write a letter. Do something that brings something new into being.
* It’s worth it to view the world with hope, love, and grace. Can this world be ugly and painful? Absolutely. But there is a bigger story going on. There is redemption and grace abundant. There is love. Look for it, and it is there.
* Everything in moderation is a lie. There are some things that are downright unhealthy to do/eat/drink. Take care of your body and your life.
* People are in desperate need of love. Those who look like they don’t need it and those whose ragged hearts cry out. Those who have walls up and those who might be a big, needy mess. People need love. Go into situations not looking for what you can gain, but what you can give. Ask questions, speak their name, give love.
* Find joy in the moments. As Ann Voskamp’s book recently reminded me, the way you fight the passage of time is to dig deep into every single day. Notice the ways you can be grateful and the gifts in each day. It will revolutionize how you interact with your days and those around you.
* Find friendships worth investing in. Life is busy. But don’t build up walls around yourself. Find people who you truly love, and do life with them.
* Every now and then, it’s worth it to purge your house, your closet, your kids’ toys, etc. Don’t become a collector of stuff. Scale back, and look with fresh eyes to what you truly need and the reasons behind the items. Donate.
* Sometimes you need a pity party, but then move on. When we have gone through hard seasons, I would allow myself one good cry, one good scream into a pillow, one night of eating ice cream out of the tub with a spoon. But just one. It doesn’t help me to dwell on the hurts, the negatives, what I wish had happened differently. Be honest with your feelings, then put on your big girl pants, and take one step at at time through it.
* Rock your baby, get down on the floor and play. Time goes so fast. This season is so short. Even at 2 in the morning when it is painful, dig deep. Feel their weight in your arms. Look at how beautiful their eyes are when they are closed and peaceful and asleep in your arms. Be here now. It goes so quickly.
* Cliches mean nothing. If something has happened that is difficult, don’t try to put a verbal bandaid on it. People just need to be loved. Sometimes sitting in silence with someone speaks more love than anything you could say.
* Even after the worst haircut, your hair will still grow back. Find a good way to wear your hair up and invest in a cute ballcap. It’s not the end of the world, time will pass, your hair will grow.
* Invest in one good pair of jeans that you feel really cute in.
* Kiss your husband. Surprise him with a big bear hug. Turn off the tv and have a conversation about your day.
* 30 really isn’t so old. I so well remember when 30 was old. It wasn’t too long ago. Time goes so very quickly. I am quite excited about entering into this new decade. I am more sure of who I am and what I want to be about. I love the way my family is forming. I have developed a rockin relationship with my husband. Life looks pretty good from the vantage point of 30- can’t wait to see what this next decade holds.