This Where the Nonsense Turns to Makesense

..A large family working to perfect our sweet skills: Loving others, making an impact, parenting on purpose, living simply, and embracing sarcasm.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Give Me Faith Like a Muslim

I spent the day squeezing in homework and writing assignments between errands and chores to get ready to go camping with my family. I haven't read my Bible today, and I can't recall if I have prayed. It's 5:56 pm at the time of this writing.

I wound my way through Costco for one last purchase and let out a sigh as I planted myself behind the wheel of my husband's enormous truck. That was it. I was finished, and I felt like I deserved a treat for my hard work of the day. I set the dial to scan, so I could find the perfect song to sink into. Instead, my dial landed on a series of interviews of pastors and believers telling their stories of living life in other countries.

Actually, I realized a few minutes into it that they were telling how they came to know Jesus and how difficult it is for them to be Christian wherever it is that they live. One man, from Muslim background, became a pastor 6 months ago. He closed his mosque of 95 attendees and professed Jesus. His wife followed in his path. So did most of his church. They've already outgrown the church building they are constructing.

Hearing this, I found myself grinning ear to ear. And then I felt it more than heard it. These people live daily out in the open in the face of death to stand firm in who God has called them to be. But me? I feel like I need a day off when I have a long list of "things" to accomplish.

My smile faltered, and suddenly I was crying. Who am I living for? Why does it take turning from Islam to Christianity and being threatened upon death to truly yearn for God? Or, have you heard of Malala? A little girl who went public with her belief that Muslim girls should be allowed to receive an education. It cost her being shot in the face as a child. Shot in the face because she went on a few radio shows and entered her school through the front door and not in hiding.

It's irrelevant in this case that she is Muslim. The point is she and all these others have unreal faith. And I want it. I want it to hurt when I haven't had time with God each day. I want to know, without a doubt, that I would stand in the face of any evil challenging what I believe and say, "Do what you will. I will always believe in my Jesus."

It's so easy for us to say this here, in America where we so rarely are questioned about anything we believe. It's easy so our faith is easy. Does it need to get so awful before we stand firm and confidently in Christ? Is it possible that this is exactly where our country is headed, so we will turn back to our One True Love? It wouldn't be the first time God turned his people over to their ridiculously faithless desires.

It's worth acknowledging. It's worth praying for and yearning after. Turn my heart, God. Give me faith like a Muslim, so I am so sold out to living for you that my faith ruffles feathers. I don't want to be radical. I want to be audacious. I want to be Sold. Out.

Because right now, right here, my faith looks a lot like those Jews who bowed down to Nebechednezer and a lot less like those boys who stood tall in their God given boots and chose to burn. Im trading in. Im trading up. 

Let Ferris Save Your Life

Soooo, I'm a day late for a Tuesday post, but it was important. I was doing this…

Yah. And then I ate a sorbet when I got home. What? I waited until I was done eating that toasted marshmallow. I have a problem with sugar, people. But if you love me you have to love all of me, or this will never work. 

Today I got the feeling of what it's like to work part time. It wasn't horrible. Makes me think I could go back to teaching half day kindergarten. Because then there would be time for the lake and my endless hours of what not and tom foolery. Working full time cuts into my shenanigans. 

Like getting seriously abused by a bee. Remember that? Yah well. The bee is dead. He's been handled thank you, kind sir named Adam. You showed that bee who has bigger shoes. No animals or bees were harmed in the making of this story because the bee lost its stinger in the meat of my tall finger. I think he was on his way out already. 

Take a day to do this, people. Enjoy your view for a solid ten deep breathes. Don't forget to exhale and smell the roses and look up. In the wise words of a legend, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

Be in the moment. 
What do you see? 
What do you hear? 
What do you feel? 
What do you taste? 
What do you smell? 

I see my eyes getting heavier and my sight taking a squinty shape. It's been a very long day. 

I hear fans buzzing from the bedrooms. 

I feel warm. Obviously. If we have fans it means we don't have central air. We have fans. 

I taste the imaginary flavor left over from my lemon sorbet. Yum. 

And I smell sunkissed skin after a hard day of working that beach front towel. 

Monday, June 27, 2016

D'You Wanna Know?

July is a big month for The Brewers around here. Four of our kids are now old enough to attend youth camp. This is really weird because I am still basically 13 and packing to go myself. I am not old enough to have four kids in youth group. Right? Anyone? Also, I get to attend a blogging conference.

For a girl who has been blogging for 11 years, attending the  Declare Conference is a dream come true. Plus, it's in Dallas. In the summer. Are you thinking what I am thinking? My hair, right? What's to become of me? 

They've asked me to share a few things about myself, so here goes:

1. If we were meeting in person, how would you introduce yourself? (job, family, career, ministry, where you live … share whatever details come to mind)
Handsome calls me Wife, 5 children call me Mamma, mum, or Lady, my 5th grade students call me Ms. Pretty, my agent calls me her writer, my blog readers call me Nonsense, my church calls me pastor, and Grand Canyon University calls me student. I love this life.
2. What is your favorite thing to write and why?
Blog posts. About surviving as a parent and usually ones that make us laugh. They are personal and my real true self. They are quick, and it's easy to give a little piece of me. I like to think these posts help others feel like they aren't alone in this crazy gig.
3. What is your favorite thing to read and why? (If this question is too broad for you avid readers, what’s a favorite book or blog you’ve read lately?)
Teen literature (YA). It didn't exist when I was a kid. I read my first chapter book when I was three. I had completed the entire series of The Chronicles of Narnia by the time I was seven. By the time I was in 5th grade there wasn't a genre that interested me. I was stuck reading Dean Koontz and Stephen King. Great reads, but not really appropriate for my age! Now, I am catching up on lost time. Currently reading about Miss Peregrine and her crazy school. 
4. If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be?
Anything as long as it includes my entire family. With one girl headed off to college, a husband who works heavy duty during fire season, and two of our kids in the full swing high school life, it's tricky to get us all in the same room. An entire day with those clowns sounds wonderful. 
5. What’s one thing you love about your blog and one thing you’d like to improve?
I love the family feel and sarcasm that happens here. Not just from me, but from my readers, too. God has brought us together. 
I would like to change over to my website and up the professionalism of my blog.
6. [Lightning Round] Would you rather …
  • Read on Kindle or paperback? Paperback
  • Drink coffee or tea? Coffee. What's tea?
  • Go to a musical or a movie? Movie. Sometimes two in one day.OK 3.
  • Vacation at the beach or the mountains? Mountains.Less sand in my nethers.
  • Have an exciting night out or a relaxing night in? Night in.
  • Watch sports, play sports, or no sports? Watch sports. #GoAces
How about you? What are your answers for the lightning round?

I love getting to know you.

~ Nonsense
You're my favorite when you share. Its WJWD.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Do My Food Allergies Bother You?

You know what's crazy? When I'm out to dinner and the people I'm with act like my food allergies are a bothersome point in their ambiance. That's weird. 

MY food allergies are bothersome. When my throat starts closing. Or I can't stop sneezing. Or my eyes start itching and twitching and swelling. It's superbly inconvenient when my kidneys shut down because I eat a biscuit. Especially that one time the nurse suggested I do a few rounds of dialysis. 

I mean, I ain't got time for that. But by all means. I could eat those allergic inducers when I'm with those impatient folks at a restaurant- they roll their eyes and and ask for extra gluten in their sandwhich. 

No. It's a great joke. Keep saying it. It's awesome that I'm not really allergic or intolerant to gluten at all. I'm allergic to wheat. If we are being scientific, we are all intolerant to gluten. It's a man made substance. It's a processed additive that makes everyone just a little chubbier. Not me. I don't eat it. 

I eat candy bars. A lot of them. Loaded with man made sugars. At this point some people are feeling like I'm a hypocrite. Maybe. But I don't harrass people who DONT eat sugar. I would sound like an idiot. 

"Can I get a piece of cake with extra sugar?"  What does that even mean? 

That allergies have risen some 7004756% over the last decade is phenomenal. (Fake data)  But should I have to explain all that because I have allergies? I'd rather not. And I rather can't. 

I promise you we aren't faking it. 

You know what's worse than being at a restaurant with a friend who has to order her food weird because of allergies or food preferences? Someone who gets irritated by it. 

The fact is, allergies have gone nuts. I don't know why. They just have. If you do not have them, be patient with those who do. Trust me when I say it's worse for us. Just be aware. Allergies are stressful. 

Service animal trainers? Be aware. We want to be supportive of what you're doing, but maybe don't assume we all can keep breathing when you bring your dog near us at Home Depot or the bank or my classroom. And the lady with the bird on her shoulder at the store? Just no. 

When my son gets sent home for pink eye but really someone brought their dog in to his class, should I really have to leave work for this? 

I'm just saying, be aware. Maybe consider not everyone really has the same freedoms you do. 

Now. I have to go eat a candy bar.

Just kidding. I'm allergic to those. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Doubtful Fill in The Blank

We all have identical lives at some point.

God: I've called you to something. Do this thing. Be strong and courageous. I'll be with you. I will never leave you. I have made you for such a time as this. You're my boy, Blue. Turn around. Look. See how everything I've been doing in your life has led you to this moment. See how that awful time prepared you for this? Sure. You're welcome. High five. Get after it, tiger.

Us: What? Really!? THIS IS AMAZING! Thank you, Lord. Thank you for choosing me to be a part of this, and yes. I see so clearly how all of that struggle and frustration has been worked together by your hands to prepare me for this. I would be lost without all of that!

Wow. I will never doubt you again when I go through tough times because I know now. I mean I REALLY know that you know that plans you have for me and they are always plans to prosper me and not harm me. I trust you with everything. I'LL NEVER QUESTION YOU AGAIN!

Four minutes pass.

Us: This is scary. Come to think of it. I am not sure I heard you right, Lord. I'm going to take some time to pray over this. Feed this hungry man? hmm. I am just not sure if this is your will for my life. I- uh- yes, I think I will call several people about this. I will pray to you about this and ask you to clarify. I might even fast and put it on a social media board in the form of a survey for people to take. Then I will know. I will ask my pastor. He will know.

God: uh. Hey, friend. Remember when we spoke? You've got this! Haven't I commanded you to be strong and courageous? (side glance). Yes. Right up there- see it? Remember we talked about all the stuff I've brought you through to be ready for this moment. Then, remember, I called you tiger and we high-fived and you were ready to jump out. I believe in you. Jump. I packed your parachute. It's safe.

Us: Oh my gosh. I can't believe that almost happened. Thanks, God, for being so patient with me. How do you even put up with me being so weird. You TOTALLY have my back. You are so dependable. That wasn't doubt- just a minor freak out. heh heh. All is well. I'm good. I'm back. Nothing to see here except me believing in you, Pal!

Two minutes and eleven seconds pass.

Us: No, I am totally going to obey you. It's just that I am going to modify it a little because I don't think I heard you right. This part here? I can handle this. This other part is. straight. crazy. So you can't mean for me to do that. I don't want to get nuts, right? Am I right? I think I am right! OK. I feel really good about doing this now- this smaller portion. Maybe I will keep praying on that other part. Even my Christian friends said that part is a little cray cray.

God: I love you. You've got this, and I've got you.

Us: I am not sure.

God: Be strong.

Us: Fear has been a faithful friend.

God: Be courageous.

Us: I can't see where this is going.

God: It doesn't matter. I am with you. It can only go well with you.

Us: My doubt is so big. So much bigger than I knew.

God: Step. Just take one step. As tiny as a mustard seed. And then watch. Just watch me be faithful. Watch soul be saved. Watch hearts be turned toward me. I have made you. I have called you. You've been sent.

Us: ::leap::

Want to make a pact that we won't be these kind of twins anymore? Want to agree to agree that we aren't created to let fear and doubt guide us?

I can't help but feel this cycle shows up every time we are really close to God's real work in our lives. We are willing to walk with him so many steps before we begin to doubt what he ever told us- what he has ever done.

You have been called to fill in the blank.

I have been called to many things, but especially, I have been called to teach through my writing. It's who God says I am. He said so. He's brought others to say so. And he fills my heart up whenever it is happening. He meets me and sits with me and it's terrifying and great all at once. So, when it's 5 aye em on a Tuesday in summer, when I have no other reason to wake up, I will believe him when he wakes me up and says it's time to write.

Your fill in the blank is vital to us. It's vital to me. Please don't make me miss out.


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Which God Do You Serve?

We serve different Gods. Even those of us who attend the same church and proclaim to be Christian. Some of us serve a God who puts us in our place. 

The dad of the prodigal son didn't serve this god. 

When he saw his son, a long way off, he could have stood in his window or at the edge of his land with his arms folded. 

"Is this kid serious? He was so rude. He couldn't even wait for me to die before taking his inheritance. And then he squandered it. I heard he's been eating with pigs. He could have stayed with our family and been blessed."

But he said none of this. He learned to be a father from a different God. Our God. The God. Our good, good Father. 

He loved his son so much he wouldn't even let him do the walk of shame. 
He ran out to him. He met him where he was. On the road of hurt and repentance.

He ran out to him with gifts as he hollered behind him, "Find the best cow for dinner! My son is home!"

I was contemplating communion today. I thought about what that time means each week at church and what God means it to be. Because I'm a sinner, He means it to be me as the prodigal son and him as the dad running to meet me at the edge of his property yelling behind him to make the best meal possible. His baby has come home. 

Happy Father's Day, friends. We all have this daddy. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Summer 2016

It's shaping up around here. Every summer has its own vibe, do you ever feel that way? Last year was my first summer break ever as a teacher. Isn't that crazy? 

I wallowed in sweats and shorts and coffee and books and books and books. And the lake. And books. It was so great. Much snuggling ensued. 

This year, we are just a week in, and we've gone camping once, and I've done homework and been on my phone way too much. Way. Too. Much. 

And when I'm not on my phone, I'm in front of the tv. And when I'm not in front of the tv, you guessed it, I'm in front of my computer. 

It's fine. I gave myself a week to check out and relax after what can only be described as the most emotional and hectic end of a school year. Ever. 

I won't even begin to describe it because it will all sound like excuses anyway. And they are. Lame excuses. I never want my kids to describe me as "always on her phone." 

Don't be fooled. That's a legacy some people are going to leave. That's going to be a truth about our generation if we aren't careful. 

My work as a mom and wife are important. I can be Kathleen Kelly and live a small but valuable life. And I may be no Esther, but I can be assured that I have been created for such a time as this. With these sweet faces right before me. With this handsome devil of a husband. 

Don't let the minutes slip because we only have 18 Christmases with these minions. 

Am I alone in this? My screen addiction?  Anyone else catch themselves with one eye on the screen while spending time with family? 
Do you know science tells us that if we are behind a screen we can't send our memories happening beyond the screen into our hippocampus? That means that if I am scrolling instagram while at the beach with my kids, I don't get to remember my kids at the beach. In this moment. 
I want my hippocampus loaded with what fills my heart. And because I believe in this so fully, I am asking for accountability. You heard me. 

When you see me on my phone when it's clear I don't need to be, please say something. Be as blunt as you'd like. I can take it. In fact, my hard head won't let me take it any other way. 

Here are some wording options:

Hey, pretty lady, get off your phone. 

Oh, hey. Remember when you asked me to tell you to get off your phone? Well. Get off your phone. 

And my favorite,

Your mom called. She said get off your phone. 

I appreciate you all. 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

I Took My Daughter to Get Her First Tattoo: I am that mom

There are hundreds of things we say no to with our kids:
Don't touch
Don't eat that
No jumping
No sitting
No standing
Don't lick that
Don't miss your curfew.
I remember when my kids reached the year of less than obedient threes. I caught myself saying no to everything, even if my answer to them could have been a yes. 

When my now adult 18 year old daughter said she wanted a tattoo, I didn't hesitate. "I'll pay for it if I can come with you." A year long conversation ensued. 

We talked about hasty decisions I've made when much prayer was needed. We talked about what tattoos mean to her. Is it just something pretty? Will you always feel in favor of tattoos? 
Do your tattoos need to tell a story or can they just be pretty? 
Are there jobs or situations you could find yourself in that might not welcome your tattoos? 

How about when you're a missionary in another country and you want people to listen to your message? What if their culture doesn't allow them to look past your tattoo? 
Where will you place it? Are you for or against face tattoos? No, that isn't an obvious answer. 

We talked about WHAT is a good idea for permanent and what should only be drawn in sharpie marker. Winnie the Pooh? Hmm. The face of your first boyfriend? Please say no. Mom in a big red heart. Probably. 

She was going to get a tattoo. It wasn't a question. I didn't get a say in it because she is a grown up woman baby, and she can think for herself. I WANT her to think for herself. But I don't have to just step aside. 
She's my girl. I love her and she respects me as her momma. We've worked to have lines of communication. Once we've talked, she can take my words or leave them. But I've done my part. I've loved her enough to brooch the tricky subjects. No glossing. Enough with the glossing. 

She drew these flowers herself. I'm so proud of this beautiful girl. 

Ps. Thanks for not getting these on your face. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Think About it

My youngest daughter, The Squirrel, brought home a paper asking her to pick between choir, strings, and orchestra for next school year. She had it narrowed down to playing the violin and choir. I suggested we make a pro con list. 

Hear me out. I love pro con lists. Like. A lot. I'm Rory Gilmore when it comes to pro con lists. I make them about everything. 

They help people process. Cause us to make links and jumps from one thing to another and get to a final conclusion. And these matched with prayer is just a win win. Especially when we pray for God's will and use the brain he gave us to start taking steps. 

You would think, because I function this way about the most mundane questions (how much should I spend on a vacation? Should I donate to this charity? Do I say yes to taking on this Bible study?) and then proceed to make a mental pro con list, you would think this is how I am training up my child. 

Ahem. It appears I've missed my window. It appears I've said one thing and done another, which is always a bad idea ESPECIALLY when I've DONE what is good and SAID what is just lame. What a weirdo. What a complete rookie. 

Sometimes I catch a reflection of my parenting and think I couldn't possibly be more like Homer Simpson. I'm a work in progress. And thank goodness for chance after chance after merciful chance. 
She chose violin. It was a cool and calculated decision and in just the nick of time I threw out a "you know. You sing naturally well. God has already given you that gift. You can keep working on that without lessons if God wants you to be great. But violin playing needs lessons. And who knows, maybe God wants you to use all this music as part of your ministry when you grow up." 

It was added lamely, but I'm grateful God opened my eyes before it was too late to approach this decision without prayer. And I realize, in the huge scheme of life this is a small decision for a small little squirrel. But for an eleven year old learning to approach Jesus for his direction, this is one step in the right direction. 

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Failing as a Mom

I didn't realize until yesterday that I had completely failed as a mother. And not just a little. Really failed. It hit me deep in my gut, and it was all I could do not to cry right there in front of my students. 

One of my 5th graders walked by and casually asked, "Hey, Mrs. B, did you go to the baseball game yesterday?"

In that minute I remembered why I didn't. I was supposed to take Sam to a birthday party. His friend's birthday party. His best friend's birthday party. We got caught up in plans and busyness and absolutely nothing, and I forgot to take him. 

It may not seem like a huge deal, but I know my Sam. I know his heart. And I've seen him cry, devastated when he feels like he has hurt someone's feelings. 

I've also watched him struggle to make friends because we've moved so many times in his little life. He's changed schools nearly every year. He's lived in neighborhoods not conducive to making friends outside. And he's been lonely. 

In fact we chose our home because it was zoned for schools my kids could attend and receive a good education. We also chose this house because our kids could finally go to school with the kids in their neighborhoods. 

So when my Sam came home day after day talking about his new friend, I thanked God for her. This sweet little girl who gets my crazy Sam I Am and his clowny jokes and off beat sense of clothing taste. She's quiet and let's him be loud and heard which is a major bonus for a the little boy who is the youngest of five. She's giggly at his jokes and builds him up with her words. 

He has a new story about her everyday and he is simply smitten. He only wants to invite her to his 10th birthday next week. And he so looked forward to honoring her at her birthday. The weight of all this hit me as I stood outside of my classroom yesterday. 

I made a completely rookie mistake of not writing her party down in my calendar. I had to wait to process. On my break I texted my husband. He hurt with me. Fool heartedly, I think I was hoping he would say it wasn't a big deal. But he didn't because he knows that Sam as well as I do. I love that he encouraged me and sympathized with me, but I knew my Sam was going to be hurting. 

What's worse is I knew he wouldn't realize until she asked him about it at school. And I couldn't even be there to say sorry or hug him or fix it. So I prayed that God would comfort my baby and help his friend not to be mad at him. She wasn't. 

I got home as soon as possible and apologized. I warred with not bringing it up at all. I'm the mom. I'm busy. I'm in charge of five kids and doesn't he know how much I do for other people?? But that's all pride and not at all who I want to be.
So I just said I'm sorry and I asked Sam how he felt. I ached when his lip quivered while he said it was ok. He forgave me quickly, but it left me wondering. 

Am I doing too much? Should I chalk this up to "stuff like this happens"? Sure. Of course we make mistakes as parents. But I needed to do some heavy reflecting. A lot of my time is spent on my job. I'm a working mom. I have to work, but this means I get to say no to other things. I should have said no to some other things.

I never want Sam to feel like he's getting the short end of me. My priorities are God, my husband, my children, and then everything else. All of that in that order all of the time. 

Sam so graciously forgave me and we spent the day thinking of ways we can bless his friend for her birthday. I know it will be fine, and he assured me that she forgave him for missing. But this has caused me to remember to get caught up in the good stuff, not the busy stuff. 

Sunday should have been Sam day. Getting him to this birthday should have been my priority, and it wasn't. I'm pretty sure I'll have plenty of mom fails. And I'm good with that, because no parent is perfect. I'll embrace my shortcomings. But I want to strive to finish strong. 

We've fully raised one girl. We've got two more on deck in high school. One in 6th. And now Sam is moving on to 5th grade. I didn't work when the rest of my kids were young. It's my job to select the best priorities so Sam never feels like he is raised differently or gets less of the important parts of me because I choose to work. 
These kids are my masterpiece. This family is my opus. My greatest role is honoring them and raising children who change this world for the better.  I'm so grateful I'm not in this alone. And I'm so grateful they forgive when I am not perfect. 

This song lyric speaks to me. 
"You wanna know where my heart is, I stand out because I wear my garbage." NF Real 

Monday, June 06, 2016


It just feels like the right time for a numbers post. Here we go:

1778 the number of words I've written in my new manuscript

4 the books I'm reading

5 the days left in my work year until summer starts

3 the number of days I am already scheduled to work this summer. 

2 the number of books I am currently writing

5 the number of my children who are totally over this school year

4 the number of days they have left and most of them are half days. I haven't the sympathy you're looking for, children. 

15 the number of times I want to take our new fifth wheel out camping this summer. Let's go let's go let's go!! 

8 the number of the news station coming to interview me in the morning. They've come to realize my students are rad. 

460 the amount of money my students have raised to help Detroit schools reopen. 

2738548382  the number of times a day I realize how much I love love love my jobs (wife, mother, teacher, speaker- I love all of them.)

Friday, June 03, 2016

Haven: 5 Minute Friday

A haven is a not just a place. Sometimes it can be a state of mind. Mine is shaken this Friday morning. My baby girl, my oldest of our five kids, is graduating on Saturday.
I don't even want to get next to this, but I'm pretending it's great. Ok fine. It's great, but then my face leaks. She made it. WE made it. So many times I thought we wouldn't. Those two steps back to every one step forward can be gruesome at times.
But I see this wide open space at the end of this tunnel. It's as if this last year I have been inhaling only, waiting for that space that is off in the distance so I can enjoy that sweet exhale. That minute when I look around and think, "That's it. We made it. We are safe and snug in this haven."
 And then I open my social media feeds. Friend upon friend asking for prayer. Stories that follow the lines of this is my nephew graduating yesterday. We just got word he died in a car crash.
Stories that read our son was at an end of the year soccer team party at his coach's house. It happened too fast that his friend dove into the shallow end. His neck is broken. We think he may be paralyzed.
What are these stories? Where is their haven? We've reached the end, the sweet spot. This isn't supposed to be happening. We have scholarships and plans for a college road trip. We have family photos planned. We have... what?
 This sort of haven hurts, but you know what I know? I know that God is still right here. We are each under his wing. In the haven of all haven's and even when these stories rip our hearts out and threaten our understanding of who God truly is, we can stand on the truth that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and he will be forever.
There's this thing we do on Fridays where we write for 5 minutes on a certain topic. This was mine. Today's word is haven.


Artwork by my graduate.

Dear Graduate: an open letter to my senior

You are my first one, but still, I know what I want to say. Are you listening? These words matter.

You are going to meet hundreds of new people in the coming four years. Some of them won't believe in you. Some will reject you and won't understand you when you offer random movie quotes.

You'll throw out an "I'm picking up on your sarcasm," and they'll respond with blank stares or a side glanced mumble of, "sarcasm?" 
Your shoulders will want to go droopy, but don't let them. You don't need those other people to be complete. You be Tommy Boy and Richard all by yourself, and end the whole conversation with, "well I should hope so. I'm laying it on rather thick." 

Always remember that you are my past, present, and my future. You are everyone's future. The whole world is waiting for you. These next four years aren't meant to find yourself. God knows exactly where you are. 
If you haven't heard who you are, ask Jesus. Not a soul at your college knows who you are. This is your pen. Your paper. Refuse to hand those over.
And then remember what your mama told you. Remember how beautiful your daddy thinks you are. 
Because, little girl, there will be days like this. Days like this. Mama said there'll be days like this. 
Days when you spend half an hour getting your rooster hairs to lie flat and you'll walk out to drizzle that only fills up your super cute Rainboots. 

Days when you turn in a term paper and your professor appears to have missed the memo that says you're a great writer. That C will feel like a burn, but you just remember who your Nanie says you are and how your little brother looks up to you as his greatest gift. Why else would he always try to put his armpit in your face? 

There will be temptations you have so far faced head on. There will be new ones, too. When you stand firmly before them deciding, you just remember who plants your feet and where he has promised to take you. 
College isn't a season to get out of the way or merely explore. It isn't a means to an end. This is your time to learn and grow and dig your roots in deep. In this time remember how your sister looks up to you, even though you are shorter than her. Height means nothing when you fill shoes the way you do. You've always been a great example.

This is a time to become the most audacious you we have seen yet. High school graduation may feel like an end to a lifetime, but, Graduate, you have been created for such a time as this. You are my Esther and my David and my Mary and my Joshua all rolled into one. 

When you're scared, you remember whose wings you are under. When you're hungry, don't forget what sustains you. When you're thirsty, drink from the well that won't run dry. 

There's no age you should be waiting to become. Be unbelievable right now. Stand up for those who can't stand on their own. Let your little light shine in the darkest spaces. Always remember there's nothing you can't do. Some adults may even tell you that dream is too big. What they mean is THEY are scared. 

Philippians 4:13 because, sweetheart, you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. 

And because nobody puts Baby in the corner. 

Don't ever forget it.