A Year to Remember

There are certain moments in life that cause people to reflect. Birthdays are one of those moments.

I recently had my 22nd birthday. ­ Yes, I am feeling 22 and yes, I did hold up the double deuces for an instagram pic.

It’s weird because I so perfectly remember my 21st birthday. I was camping that weekend, ­ I hadn’t showered in four days, I was sunburnt, I had doughnuts for breakfast, a Casey’s gas station cup of coffee, and it was my day off from running.

I never would have imagined the next year to follow. I loved cross country. I loved coming up social media posts for student government and the school newspaper. I studied abroad for a month in Ireland. I applied for 102 jobs (yes, I have the spreadsheet to prove it), but ­ in my defense it was the 82nd job I applied for that hired me. I traveled to the east coast and visited a coffee shop I had been fan­-girl of for about a year. I signed my first apartment lease. And as another birthday passes, I can’t help but wonder what this next year will bring.

Since turning 22, I have 4 jobs (three part time and one full time – ­ yes, it was an accident and yes, I am crazy), I got told I was the best dressed person in the office (I know that may be hard to believe for those who had morning classes with me in college … or afternoon or night classes), I only have one more week of long distance with my boyfriend who is on the island of Jamaica, and I have eaten more yogurt than ice cream thus far and I am not sure how I feel about that fact.

The year after my 21st birthday was better than I could have imagined. There were hard times and bumps in the road and nights I cried more than I care to admit, but this past year left me realizing how much bigger my hopes and dreams can be for this next year, and the year after that, and the year after that. This birthday has caused me to set life goals that are nearly impossible. But I’m setting them anyway because if I at least strive for them, I will be better because of it.

Cheers to birthdays, adulting, life goals, and big dreams!

Courage, dear heart.

Lexi

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Create

Why sitting at my computer browsing through Pinterest makes me the least creative person and how I’m getting out of my slump.

I love Pinterest. I get a lot of ideas from this social media sharing site. But, I realized how Pinterest can put me in a creative slump. I could sit on the computer for hours, pinning away recipes, DIY crafts, and fashion trends that I will never use.

One of my favorite books, Steal Like an Artist, inspired me to step away from the computer screen. Author Austin Kleon spoke a lot of truth when he said, “There are too many opportunities to hit the delete key [with the computer] – The computer brings out the uptight perfectionist in us and we start editing ideas before we have them.”

I decided this summer I needed to take action. I couldn’t allow myself to be a Pinterest user that had 10 million pins but no accomplishments to show for it. I reverted back to the ‘old school’ ways of writing in a notebook first, buying an adult coloring book, and reading books of all genres. I’ve read several books already including The Testament by John Grisham and Through Painted Deserts by Donald Miller.

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I bought a “Wreck it Journal,” I use journals without lines, and I buy nice gel-roller pens to get my creative juices flowing. Lately, I’ve also been inspired to write more handwritten letters to people.

I created a reading list for this summer. Before writing this blog post I came up with several recipes I want to try before my birthday in July – stuffed peppers, slow cooker lava cake, sparkling raspberry lemonade, and no bake monster cookies.

Cheers to spending less time on the computer, and more time being creative!

Courage, dear heart.

Lexi

Post Graduate Meals

Trying to cook more than an omelet, but not quite ready to bake a creme brulee.

If you were wondering about my culinary skills, typically my mom asks me to set the table when I am at home. I wasn’t on a meal plan during my senior year of college. In theory, this was a great idea. I would save money (check) and I would finally learn to cook (okay, not so much).

There was something about the way I would go to class all day, then run a workout at track practice that would make me come back to my room utterly exhausted. My meal prep consisted of my lying on the floor contemplating getting up and taking a shower before eating. Most of my dinners revolved around eggs (cheap and easy to cook), cereal (no preparation), or EasyMac (don’t forget to add the water).

But now that school is out and I am a real adult, the real work must begin.

I used my crock pot for the first time today. It sat next to my lazy boy chair all school year. I dusted it off, said a little prayer in hopes that it actually worked, and thanked Facebook for the recipe.

It’s nothing fancy, but my roommates complimented me and cleaned their plates, so that seems like a pretty good sign!

The worst part is the food sat in the crock pot for eight hours today. Eating dinner took less than 20 minutes. Doing the dishes takes seven weeks, so that’s why I’m writing a blog post, and my roommates are on Facebook and Pinterest not doing the dishes either.

Post graduate meals are a process, and we’re working on it – we’ve only been graduated for three weeks and you can’t rush perfection. Here’s to many more nights of browsing Pinterest for recipes!

Courage, dear heart.

Lexi

5 – 6 chicken breasts

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 cup soy sauce

vegetables – I used carrots, broccoli, and green pepper;

next time I would also add potatoes and onions

First, toss the chicken into the crock pot. Then add the soy sauce and brown sugar. Let this mixture cook on high heat for five hours.

After five hours, add carrots and potatoes and let it cook for another hour.

Then, add broccoli, green peppers, onions, and any other vegetable you would like. Let it cook for another two hours. Finally, it will be ready to serve!

What no one tells you about your senior year of college

Two weeks out of college with time to reflect on a whirlwind of a senior year.

 

I thought I was prepared to be a senior in college. I don’t think I could have been more wrong. Oh, I was ready for a lot of things­ – continuing my education, living with my friends on campus, more papers and balancing my social, academic, and athletic life. But I wasn’t ready for the quirks and questions that no one ever talks about before your senior year of college.

Be prepared to tell people you don’t know the answer to the classic question: “What are your future plans?”

In response, you can either 1) have the conversation end awkwardly or 2) have people ask if your major was procrastination and that’s why you don’t have a job yet. Yes, someone did say that to me.

Yes, I had to admit that I don’t have my life figured out beyond my weekend plans. It is my new resolution to come up with better questions to ask my friends, siblings and future children when they are seniors so they don’t have to feel stressed about something that truthfully doesn’t need to be associated with stress.

Try cooking for yourself more.

It’s harder than it seems. It is hard to make quality food on a low budget. I’m still trying to figure out how to buy groceries for a single person – how do I buy enough to have a meal that’s more than an omelet and bagel, but not too much food that it spoils before I get to eat it? And I swear to you that sometimes I get charged just for thinking about buying more expensive food. Post­-meal thoughts leave me wondering how my sweet mother makes food for all six of my family members and has all of the food hot and ready at the same time.

Your college wardrobe might not be what you wear to your 9 to 5 job.

My wardrobe consists of leggings, leggings, and more leggings. Why? Because they were $5 and I am a firm believer in the leggings-­as-­pants theory. Dry Goods, one of my favorites stores, ­ has skirts on sale for $30. In my mind, a skirt and a pair of leggings have about the same amount of fabric. Why such a price difference?! I will grudgingly ditch the leggings along with my baseball caps and flannels. Hello curling wand, skirts and heels!

Searching for a full time job is a full time job.

I promise you I am qualified human being with a Bachelor’s degree. I can’t emphasis the need for internships enough! I have had internships, and I don’t suggest being a workaholic before you graduate, but I suggest you take advantage of opportunities as they arise. You might apply for 72 jobs and not have someone hire you until your 84th job. No kidding ­ you should see the spreadsheets my roommates and I started to keep track of all the jobs we were applying for!

I’m graduating college without a “ring by spring.”

I promise I did go to a Christian college AND I am a Christian. I also have never been to Gadkin. I do, however, have a Pinterest board regarding all things wedding. Also, can we change the Christian dating culture at Bethel? I would like to suggest casual dating (aka you don’t have to say “I do” after Date #1). I would like to suggest intentional conversation taking time to get to know one another. Guys, thank you for being sweet and paying for our coffee. Ladies, don’t be a mooch and go on dates solely for free Starbucks and a new Instagram pic.

Senior year is oddly the easiest and hardest year of college.

I wasn’t prepared to give myself a pep talk before walking into class every day, reminding myself that education is a privilege. It’s the easiest because you are finally in a groove at college ­ you know what classes you can and cannot skip, you have a solid friend group and people you can count on, and you never run out of flex. It’s the hardest year because you don’t have the motivation to do anything ­ you don’t hate learning or your professors, but you feel burnt out from trying to be present and also trying to focus on future plans like a job, and a living situation, and do I or do I not need a credit card? Even though I am only taking 13 credits, it’s the most emotionally, spiritually, and mentally heavy load I have taken.

Freshman, I know CWC seems hard now, but it might be one of your easiest college classes.

Sophomores, you’re like the middle child this year but I hope it’s been a good year.

Juniors, let this be your warning.

Bethel, you’re not perfect, but thank you for a great four years.

Courage, dear heart.

Lexi