Monday, July 28, 2014

Defining Moments

I had the amazing opportunity to take a month off and travel this summer. Grown-ups normally don't get to do that, but hard work and being debt free can provide time for fun amidst the chaos of life. 

It actually all started the end of June when I was privileged enough to stand up beside two sweet friends in their weddings. 

Elizabeth, one of my besties from college, married Patrick (better known as PK) on June 14th. I've known Elizabeth since my first semester of college when we had to create an island together for our government class...the rest was kind of history. When we lived together, our friendship really grew and now I can't imagine my life without her. She was a beautiful bride and I was so excited my other bestie, Shelby was there to share in her special day too! 

 (Elizabeth and Patrick)

(Shelby, Elizabeth, and me!)

Then, June 28th, I had the honor of being the maid of honor to my sweet friend, Jen as she married Bryan. I've known Jen since my first day of Freshman year. She knew my cousins in Illinois and found out we were both going to be at the same school. She claims she heard me talking in the stairwell and knew who I was because I sounded just like my cousin! It turns out we lived three rooms apart on the 5th floor and we soon became inseparable.

(Jen and Bryan)

(Laura, Michelle, Jen, me, and Hillary)

Both of these girls are like sisters to me, and even though many states separate us now, I know we will be forever friends. Life after college is a strange thing...I am still trying to figure it all out. During college, you're put in a building with 300 other people and you find people to do life with. I found some of the best and the years at SNU I wouldn't trade for anything. After college, you realize just how special people are and how quickly years fly by. I sure am excited to see what life brings all of us next; especially these two as they begin married life! 

More to come about the rest of my month long adventure :-) 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Solo Trip

There's first times for a lot of things...right? Well, a few weeks ago,  I jumped in my car to head out on my first solo vacation. I wanted to do something different and I needed an excuse to use my new camera!!

I had several places in mind to visit. First I was thinking New Mexico, then Lousiana, Alabama, or Mississippi. However, due to lack of time and short notice,  I decided to head to one of my favorite spots. The beach. I drove to Corpus Christi, TX for a couple of days in the sun...or clouds.  

It was January, so I knew it wasn't going to be extremely warm, but I was still detirmined to come home with a sun tan! I was the only one sitting out on the beach each day with my little orange chair in my swimming suit, but it was totally worth all the weird looks and comments I got! 

My dad let me use some of his airline miles that were getting ready to expire so I could afford a hotel near the beach. When I got to the hotel, I asked about a balcony upgrade, and being available within the budget I set for myself, I went for it. I was SO glad I did, because it was my favorite spot when I wasn't on the beach or looking for dolphins! 

So I was there 3.5 days, and it was truly wonderful. I LOVE vacations with my family so much. There is something about being able to vacation without worrying about what other people want to do. I slept until the sun woke me up, sat on the balcony drinking coffee and eating breakfast, and headed to the beach. 

(Perfect way to wake up!!!)
(The evening view when walking into my room!)

I packed most of my meals for the trip so didn't eat out other than the Subway I picked up one day for a lunch on the beach and a coffee. It was pretty wonderful having a microwave and mini fridge in the room! Otherwise, I packed up my little beach bag each day and headed out! I stayed in Corpus, but I drove to Port Aransas each day to go look out for dolphins! I stumbled upon a small, local coffee shop and I couldn't resist stopping! I am so glad I did, because I found a must stop place next time I'm in town! 

Anyways, near the ferry landing and fisherman's hang out, there's a pier and harbor where there are always dolphins! I would sit for a few hours each day just watching. It was relaxing and I got a suntan that way too! 

I was never disappointed each day and I even saw schools of 8 of them fun! Apparently a single girl traveling/sitting alone in a place where lots of older couples choose to escape winter screams "talk to her!" I met a lot of sweet older people who made comments about my shorts, or sitting in one place for several hours. A woman from Wisconsin stopped by my chair One day (I was the only one out on the beach) and talked to me for an hour and a half! Older fishermen gave me advice on the best time of day and the perfect spots to always see dolphins...their advice worked! 

I need to get my photos loaded on my computer from my big camera, but here's a back of the camera view I snapped of a dolphin in front of a ship that was coming in!

I went on several 2 mile walks on the beach, looking for sand dollars and shells and to catch the sunset! There is just something so relaxing to me the ocean. I always feel so in awe when I stand there and realize just how small and powerless I am in compared to God and his creations. So thankful that I get to rely on a magnificent Creator! 

Here are some views from my room! 

 It was such a wonderful trip!! I'm already planning another trip!! :) 

Thursday, January 23, 2014


Well, it happened. I am officially a college graduate! It still seems a little surreal, but I am learning to enjoy this phase of my life and trying to figure out the next steps. I am searching for jobs back near the Austin, TX area and I am excited to see what happens next.

Graduation seems like yesterday in some ways, but also it seems like forever ago. During graduation weekend, Oklahoma City decided to have a blizzard, making it difficult for family to make it. Everyone who set out to share the weekend with me made it, though and I am so thankful!

Cindy, Mark, Gramma Brenda, Grampa Wayne, FAK (Karen), Dad, Mom, Kathleen, Gramma Johnson, Grampa Johnson and me after graduation! 

I wouldn't be where I am today without each one of their influences on my life. I am so grateful for them and that they spent the weekend with me, despite the bitter cold, snow and ice! 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Graduating Single

This article has been floating around Facebook lately and I finally sat down to read it the other day. I actually loved it and I think it had so many great points. The article is written by a 23 year old woman who is graduating college as a single person. I was thinking just how much I could relate to her ideas. While I am only going to be 22 and graduating (which is still young!), I couldn't help but spend some time thinking about how many times just this semester I have heard "have you met someone yet?" or "where are the cute guys and why aren't you hanging out with them." I do know that people have great intentions and they want me to be happy, I never have been able to get past the idea that I am happy now! 

I know especially in my friend group and certainly around campus, the excitement of many people revolves around the "next step" of marriage. People are thinking about graduating in May and then getting married. In society, its the next gradual step and I get that! I am doing things a little differently, graduating a bit early, looking forward to starting my career, and basking in the excitement of being single and having freedom! Unlike the author of the article, I do not feel the overwhelming desire to get married and have a family right now in my life! I am not saying that someday that wouldn't be nice, but right now I am content. I really am. 

The author also talks about when God has ceased to be enough in our lives and I think that is a whole other topic that is important. In my generation especially, I think a relationship with Christ takes a back burner approach in many of my peer's lives (mine too, unfortunately). I have realized throughout my college career, just how important it is to put the effort and time into growing my relationship with the Lord. It has to be a priority daily, and it is important to me that I make it one. For that reason alone, I appreciate people's good intentions of wanting me to be happy... I just don't want people to overlook the truth that I am happy and content where I am at too. If God never brings "that" man into my life, I can still have a full and fun-filled life! 

 “I’d rather have the right God than the wrong man.” –- Christen Rapske

Friday, October 25, 2013

Happy 21st Elizabeth!

Last week Ronna, Shelby and I took Elizabeth to The Melting Pot downtown to celebrate her 21st Birthday! Other than Ronna, none of had ever been. It was quite the experience and while we had fun, it is certainly a once in very-long-time kind of thing!

The picture isn't the best quality, but we had fun getting dressed up and not eating at the cafeteria for once!
(Ronna, Elizabeth, Shelby, and me!)

Elizabeth was treated to dinner...and candy :-)

We had a great spinach and artichoke cheese dip for our appetizer! 

With the deal that we used (shhh.. thanks Groupon!), we each got a salad- I forgot to take a picture but certainly the best Caesar salad I have ever had!)- and an entree! Our waitress told us we could each pick a trio in order to try three things each! I chose to get 2 orders of Filet Mignon and the middle pasta is Wild Mushroom Sacchetti which I have to learn how to make because they were divine. Needless to say, I picked well! haha. 

We all shared these veggies too, which were so delish! We just chose the free cooking method, which was just chicken broth but it was so good (and healthy, too...right?)

The sauces that came with the meal were so good! I am on the lookout for copycat recipes for everything so if you have any ideas, please share! 

Elizabeth made this little collage with more of everyone's food and a repeat of us! 

It really was a fun night! I hope year 21 is great, EB! 

Friday, September 27, 2013

A Reminder

Oh life. How is already the end of September? Time really does fly by as you get older... I cannot believe that in 10 weeks I will be a college graduate.

You know those times when life just seems like a lot? To be extremely honest, these last few weeks have been just all around tough. There has just been a lot going on and things that have me feeling confused. Life is just happening and I am learning through it all... which is all I could ask for!

I read this entry in the Jesus Calling devotional the other day and it really spoke to me so I wanted to share!

"Wait quietly in my Presence....... Lay your requests before me and wait in expectation." 

I have been feeling convicted lately about waiting. I am beyond excited to graduate, but there are a lot of unknowns in my future. I don't have a job lined up, I want to go back to Austin, but what if that doesn't work out...then what? What will I do with my life being single and newly graduated? ---These are the questions that tend to become overwhelming.

Still, God is good. He's been teaching me to wait on His timing and guidance and to give up my struggles to Him. It seems so simple, but for a planner and control freak, it can be difficult to not know the next step! But, I am ready... and excited to see what comes next! 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Final Semester matter how many times I say it or think it, it is hard for me to think about this season of my life coming to a close. It is not a surprise to anyone that knows me, but freshman year was a tough one. I didn't want to be in Bethany, and I certainly didn't want to live in a small dorm room where I basically knew no one. However, through the past three years, God has been doing some major work on me.

I have learned more than ever what it means to be content. I started praying a while back for the Lord to teach me to be content wherever I was. I don't want to be an ungrateful person and I don't want to be someone who wishes life away. I truly do desire to savor each moment and learn something from each situation. Being at college is an opportunity many people don't have, and while it might not be my most favorite thing, I appreciate it.

This semester though.... I am finding that I am LOVING my new apartment. I truly do. I live with my sweet roommate Shelby in senior housing and we have a cute little living room/dining room area, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom to ourselves. My friends Ronna and Elizabeth live right below us on the first floor so we see them a lot! Kathleen lives across campus in the dorm I used to live in, but I see her all the time, which is fabulous! (we have two classes together!). I am finding I love all my classes, and I am even enjoying chapel so far...even though we've only had one!

It's probably the knowledge that soon enough... less than 4 months, my life will be changing completely. I'm not nervous or dreading working for the rest of my life. I am excited about the upcoming new chapter and even the job search. But more and more each day, I am realizing that I am sad. I'm sad I am going to be leaving my friends and even semester will roll along right by without friends will have late night laughing sessions and I'll be miles away in a different phase of life. It really is a weird I never saw coming 3 years ago when I first arrived on campus. Growing up is strange sometimes!

Anyways. I've been a not so good blogger, but I decided to come here and write again because I really enjoy it. I love writing and being able to get my thoughts down in one I blog.

That's my life lately and I am choosing to cherish each moment in the next 16 weeks before graduation...eek!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Working 9 to 5......

Hello blogging world. 

Who was it that said summer was for relaxing? I'd like to sit down and visit with him! 

It's hard to believe school has been out for over a month already. I've been working two jobs pretty much every day as well as taking an accelerated college algebra course online. 

I think I have hit that point in my life where I truly am becoming adult-like.  I have really been thankful that I love my job at The Page House. The owner hired me for the summer office manager position after I completed my 60 hour internship. It truly is rewarding to do something you love. It's a great plus that my work is only 7 minutes from my house too! 

Isn't it gorgeous? 

Nevertheless, summer has been busy. I worked 9-5 the other day and the 5:30-11 babysitting that evening. Most days resemble this one--busy but fun. I feel blessed that I can do both, even if sometimes it is difficult o get up in the mornings. :) 

Kathleen and I are on week 7 out of 8 of our online math class. As of right now, we both have an A in the class. It has been 4 years since I've taken a math class so I really am surprised that its going so well. Most of the concepts I remember, but without my sister and parents providing input I would be completely lost. Thankful that in this season of live, Kathleen and I can share college courses and memories together! 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Summer is here!

Well, I just finished my last final of the semester. I cannot believe that I only have one semester left in college. I had a tough first year, but time really has flown by. Kathleen and I have everything pretty much packed..... Bless our hearts. We packed two dorm rooms in one small Toyota Camry. It is quite comical. Yesterday I was getting frustrated because I wasn't sure everything was going to fit. I couldn't help but laugh though when I remembered that in August, we moved in with 2 Camrys and a mini-van. We had taken stuff home, but apparently we had more left than thought.

I have to drive because since I am short, the seat can move closer to the steering wheel and we can fit more on the floor behind my seat. Kathleen still might end up holding miscellaneous stuff- I'll have to take pictures!

But we made it! I'm so ready for summer vacation...even if I have to take a college algebra course!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Small Things...

It really is the small things.

I just finished my final exam for my Organizational Behavior class. Honestly, this has been one of my favorite classes of my college career. This semester, the class only had 5 people in it- myself included. Having the small group dynamic was applicable to the course material but also to all of us students opening up and really getting into learning. This semester was the first time I have had the professor that taught this class and I actually have him for another business class as well. I was in his class every day at 8 o'clock.

After I finished the final (I was the second one left in the room) my professor motioned me out of the room. I was a little nervous since he didn't even look up when the other three finished and handed in their tests. We walked to the hallway and he shut the door. He proceeded to talk to me for 10 minutes. He encouraged me and told me he was proud of me and my work this semester. He said he has seen my dedication all throughout the semester in both of his classes by being 15 minutes early and rising up above the things that could have worn me down (assuming he was talking about group projects). He then went on to ask me what my future plans were; when I told him I wanted to be in HR in a business, he said he could see how I was in the perfect position to be on track to taking over a company, due to my track record. He mentioned he could see me going far and "places".

He told me he was thankful for me and he was encouraged by the example I was setting for my peers. Kathleen and I think this professor has been teaching at least 29 years. My professor told me that in all of his years of teaching, I was easily one of his favorite students and that was to be "commended". I almost couldn't believe that he said that! He gave me a side hug as he finished talking and said that he has honored to see me two times more (for my other class with him) before I graduate. When I told him I don't graduate until December, he seemed a little sad I wasn't signed up for any more of his classes!

Today was just a reminder to me that other people, even professors who often get bad reps, believe in me and see how God has me in the perfect place. It really is the little things in life. I may or may not have cried when I walked to go get some coffee. I was just so thankful for the unexpected pep talk from my professor after my hand had about fallen off from writing essays over organizational development interventions :-)

"I know that the experiences of our lives, when we let God use them, become the mysterious and perfect preparation for the work He will give us to do. " -Corrie Ten Boom