My 31st Birthday Bucket List

Each year I make a birthday bucket list, things I want to do before the next year. The number of things totals the age I am. So, this year I had 31 one things to do before I turned 32. It helps that my birthday is in December, so it’s really like a New Year’s resolution but a bit more ambitious.

I do not always get to do all of the things because planning out your life is for fools. Sometimes God has different plans, so it’s best to follow Him and what He wants to do. I was able to accomplish 61% of my goals – I am okay with that as 7% of the goals had to be removed because God changed some things up on me.

Here are some of the highlights I did this year.

Also, I put them in categories because I am that person.

Adventure

Return to the UK

By the time this publishes, I am in Scotland, in a cabin. Yup. LIFE GOALS HAPPENING.

Go to a new state or city

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This is a bit of a mainstay goal as I love traveling to new and old places. So, here’s Georgia – somewhere new.

Go to a Chicago Museum

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I went to the American Writers Museum this summer and it was fantastic. I nerded out, hard.

Passions

Attend 3 Concerts

 

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Fleet Foxes
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Penny & Sparrow
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The Oh Hellos

Write a poem or song

I wrote a poem for my brother.

Record 5 new Podcast episodes

I did record podcast episodes and then subsequently ended my podcast project.

Post 7 Things Every Month

I did!

And for funsies, here are my selfies of 31

Spiritual

Graduate with a Certificate in Biblical & Theological Studies

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Praise God!

Teach at a Kindred Gathering (Real Church’s Women’s Ministry)

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I taught in March and October. Wow. Here’s a promo image that was used for the October Gathering.

Health

Lose 10 Pounds

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Apparently, I am an overachiever as I lost 20 pounds!

Books

Read 31+ Books

 

Making this Fall Last

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Think of a rollercoaster.

I, for one, am terrified of rollercoasters, so I can totally relate if you feel a little apprehensive about thinking of such a thrilling ride, but for the sake of my metaphor I need you imagine it.

You are slowly moving forward, unsure of where you are going, yet you know that the glacial pace is moving you higher and higher.

You want to go faster, but you are not in control of it. You are along for the ride. Taking it in. Knowing that you are building up to something.

You reach the top and there’s a moment where you feel like you know everything. You have just experienced the build-up and now you can see clear ahead. Well, it’s a little blurry because the time it took you to get up there, your eyes aged a bit, but you can still see what is ahead of you.

And then it happens.

The drop. The feeling of being thrown into something you can’t control. You are now in it. The momentum is so strong that you can’t slow it down, and you kind of wish it was slow like before, but then you’re also kind of feeling like, well, this is terrifying, maybe I am glad it’s going really fast. And you can’t really see what’s ahead of you anymore, so maybe it’s best you close your eyes. You’re just reacting now — sometimes screaming — but you are completely available to the moment. You are completely along for the ride.

And then are you done.

And you realize the build-up in comparison to the fall was minuscule.  And you kind of feel robbed. Like, if you knew how quickly it would’ve gone by you would’ve have enjoyed it more! You would have taken in every second of the rising and falling and made it last as long as it could.

And folks, that’s what life is like.

When I was younger time felt so long. I was always waiting; looking forward to what was ahead. I was excited for the thrill of adulthood, and yet childhood went by slowly — days felt like years.

And then I hit my 20’s and I felt like I knew everything. I was on top of the rollercoaster, looking out. Telling God my plans.

And now, I am in my 30’s and everything is falling around me so fast. Each day feels like a second. I can’t catch up. I can’t stop the momentum. And yes, sometimes the fear of being an adult is real.

I am not sure what is ahead. Instead of looking at what is coming next, I am learning to look to God — the one who built the rollercoaster. I am learning to enjoy the rising and the falling, and more importantly,  I am learning to make this fall last.

Monday Night of Beans

74925-334x500-Jelly_bean_jarMonday Night is Leadership Night, also known as, Elder Board Meeting, Leadership Team, or The Fellowship of RC (okay, I just made the last one up and I am sure nobody on the team is going to agree with me on that name). We meet weekly and we discuss the happenings of the church, our ministry, where God is leading us, if we are in alignment where God is leading, prayer, logistical questions, like “how many cables and snakes do we need for Easter?” and then we also do team building exercises.

Melissa, who is Admin Queen, runs Monday nights and it’s been an honor to see her grow in her God-given talents and how that helps us to grow as a team and as a church.

The Jelly Bean Challenge

This Monday we did the Jelly Bean Challenge (hence the picture).

There are four phases to this challenge:

  • Individually guess how many jelly beans there are in the jar
  • Connect with a partner and guess
  • Connect with a larger group (so four other people) and guess
  • And then the entire leadership team had to guess

It’s a great exercise because it shows how our leadership team works. It encourages us to compromise and to make decisions together. The good and the bad. Some of us are competitive and some of us check out when conflict arises. Some of us do not listen to the rules and create our own rules and some of us will not bend and will only follow the rules. It was a joy to see it all go down.

Beans = Trust Fall?

What surprised me most that night is how much my capacity to trust has grown over the past year.  I was partnered up with Pastor Rocky and he’s a contractor and he works with volume all day long and I DO NOT. So, I told him I trust him and let him guess on, and whenever we moved into a larger group, I would just say, “I trust Rocky.” And I do. I trust him and I trust this leadership team. It’s strange because I’ve had trust issues in the past but I see now how much God has healed those wounds and strengthened me in that area. Now it just needs to spread into other areas.

In the end, our leadership team did not get the number right but we were still able to enjoy the jelly beans. (Okay, I know Rocky would want me to state that his individual number, without any of that “compromising stuff” would have won.)

And one more quick note, my favorite part of the night was when we got the Jelly Beans and it was Mimosa flavor (champagne and orange) and Rocky gave me his champagne beans and I gave him my orange beans. It felt like we were kids on the playground sharing our treats. I don’t know why, but it made me laugh and still makes me smile.


If you have noticed an uptake of blog posts here, let me tell you that you are not crazy. I am posting more on the blog in April as it’s Camp NaNoWriMo and writing on the blog is kind of like a warm-up to my creative writing. Cheers!

Captain’s Log: Day 2

Captain’s Log: Day two of living alone. The dishes are stacked high. I am not wearing pants. I’ve watched an entire season of Parks and Recreation. And the tub has dried pieces of flowers from the previous night’s bath. 

Yup.

It’s been years since I have lived alone. Well, since August 2014! Wow, I can’t believe it’s been that long.

The past two days have felt odd, mainly because it feels like nothing has changed. Sure, some things are missing in the house now that my roommate moved out, but it’s nearly the same. It wasn’t until last night whilst reading in the bath thinking, “Oh, I should hurry before Jemma gets home. She may need to use the toilet,” that I realized she isn’t coming home. Nobody is coming home. I CAN STAY IN THE BATH ALL NIGHT LONG IF I WANT. And all night I did! Well, an extra hour.

Although this is just a temporary predicament as by May I should have a roommate, I am enjoying this hiccup in my life.

I just hope I don’t pick up annoying habits by the time my new roommate moves in. 😛

*Goes and does dishes*

Saturday Night with a Hunchback

It’s Saturday night and I am in a laundromat with three other people, men who are curiously in suits and incredibly high, and the worker.

On my way here I passed by one of the newest and hippest bars in my neighborhood, and since it’s warm, everybody is out.

I couldn’t help but laugh at the contrast of myself and my peers. I am in a 10-year-old shirt and sweatpants with a large Ikea bag on my back, which gives me the silhouette of a hunchback.

And then there’s the rest of my generation dressed up, spending money, drinking, eating, trying way too hard, flirting, desiring to meet the one or for the one right now, with no hunchbacks. Well, I am not sure on that as I didn’t actually see everyone.

What makes me laugh at this entire scenario is that I am not longingly looking at them wanting to be in their shoes — I am fine in my knock-off Toms briskly walking down Fullerton. No, it’s my independence, my introversion, the bliss I feel in being alone, observing the world from the outside.

I have this pressure whether it’s from friends and family to be more like my generation. Some have used the argument that I will never marry. Some have said it makes me a bad evangelist.

Yet, here’s what I have to say about that. I am confident in the fact that God has made all types of people to reach all types of people. He made me this way and He is forming me more into the woman He created me to be. He doesn’t want to replace me; He wants to set me free from the sin that is in my life. So maybe me being on the outside is for the people who are also on the outside? They will know they are not alone because I am right there with them.

Okay, I believe my wash is done.

Cheers!

Changing Up My Living Space

Earlier this month I was sitting in my living area and I felt suffocated by all of the things, all of the clutter, all of the color, all of the darkness, and all of the items that just didn’t have a place to be. So, I decided to do make some changes.

Let me preface, I am not an interior designer. Most of the items I have are due to the generosity of friends from church and strangers who left their items in my alley. They all have precious memories associated with them, but I felt it was time to purchase some more of my own furniture and make some new memories (yes, by spending hours putting them together and wanting to yell and throw things whilst doing so).

So, here’s a before picture.

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It’s not bad, but I wanted something different.

And after

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Most of my purchases are from Wayfair and Target.

So what did I change?

I finally bought some proper bookcases that actually holds all of my books! Instead of having crates filled with them and just books stacked on top of one another that inevitably would fall over, they are now sitting in shelves — organized.

I added light colors to the room! I got rid of the dark colored rug that had a lot of earth tones and instead went for a white and gray rug. I also added white and gray curtains. Basically, the colors are white, gray, and yellow. While I cannot completely get away from earth tones in this space, a little addition of contemporary pale colors couldn’t hurt.

And yes, there’s a yellow endtable. Yellow is just a happy color, isn’t it?

Soon I will have a gray reading chair next to the window and the endtable will hold some of my books. I miss having a reading chair. My previous chair had to be left at my last place as it was basically on it’s last leg and wouldn’t make the move. So in a week or two I will be sitting pretty on a pretty gray Wingback.

So what did I learn?

  • It takes me a year to decide on the type of bookcase I want.
  • It takes me a collective 5 hours to assemble two bookcases.
  • It takes me 2.5 hours to assemble an endtable.
  • Okay, I am just bad at making things with my hands. I am more of a mind person.
  • It will take three different people and their respective screwdrivers to find the right one.
  • I cannot carry bookcases up a flight of stairs and will call a man to help me.
  • My roomie cannot help carry a bookcase up the stairs — it will fall on her and she will pathetically, yet gracefully, fall under pressure.
  • FedEx is not reliable.
  • Area rugs not only catch dust, but keeps the cool air from coming through the floor. They are necessary little buggers.
  • Wayfair has great customer service.
  • And more importantly, I am incredibly grateful for the funds and freedom to change my living area. God has seriously blessed me and I do not take it lightly.

A Realization of a Single Woman

You know how there are just moments that you find yourself in and you think, I need to listen. I need to pay attention. This is important. I was placed here for a reason to observe and learn. 

They are these teachable moments that are going to shape you and possibly change the path you’re on or maybe actually get you back onto the path you were supposed to be walking.

Tonight after the women’s gathering, I stood with three women as we processed through some marital issues. And as I stood there listening to one woman who spent three decades as a single woman and who is now married for two share her heart, and then another woman who has been married for 11 years, and another for 17 years, sharing their advice and wisdom, I found myself in that moment. LISTEN, TAWNY. Take this all in. Be a sponge. Soak it all up.

One day, God willing, I will be married and I will need to remind myself of this wisdom. I will need to remember that I am not alone. That I will have support and other women who have gone before or are going through it too — going through the suck, the struggle, the real reality of sanctification.

The biggest takeaway I had was the realization that if I were to marry my relationship with God will change. That how God communicates with me may change. It won’t be just me and God, but it will be me and this other man and God. We are going to become one flesh. And how I connect to God may change. Also, I will have to trust another sinful human too. My sin will not be the only thing God and I will have to deal with but someone else’s sin will be in the mix.

I am thankful that I haven’t wasted my singleness. I have been very grateful to be single. But having this realization tonight brought in a whole new layer of gratitude. I love my God. I love spending time with Him. I love our conversations and how He loves me. I protect our relationship too. And knowing that it could change, to be honest, scares me. Obviously if God tells me to marry a man, I will. I will certainly obey, but I am going in with clearer eyes now — knowing what I will give up.

I have never been one to settle (some would say that’s the reason why I am a spinster) and maybe that is partially true but I am okay with that. I will not settle for anything less than what God wants. I will not give up my precious relationship with God for someone who does not value God or their relationship with Him. I want a man who loves God just as much as I do or even more so and who is willing to submit to God and be sanctified together.

Yet until then, God will continue to be my husband and I will love the time we have together. It’s precious and it’s worth the lonely nights because really, I am not alone. He’s with me.