“…and give thanks in all circumstances” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Today I am celebrating 23 years of life and unfortunately it didn’t start on a great note. I woke up bright and early (after working an overnight shift and having 4 hours of sleep), grabbed my FREE Starbucks Bday drinks (Yay for Pumpkin Spice Lattes) and headed to the county DMV with the hopes of finally getting my Tennessee license. Well, after spending some time in line, I was told that I needed to have my birth certificate. I did what I’ve become accustomed to doing when tragedy strikes and called home to my mom. With tears rolling down my eyes (I’m the drama queen, I know) I told her what those awful people at the DMV said and asked if she could fax it. Unfortunately, those people became even more awful when they said it had to be the original copy. On top of it all, I can’t get my car registered in the state because it broke down in Atlanta a couple weeks ago and to get things registered in the state of TN, I have to have an emissions test…Hard to do with my car being in Atlanta.

Let’s just say a lot of complaining took place this morning. So in the midst of being distressed I decided to turn to Netflix and sulk for a while. I watched a documentary called Bully and found myself in tears by the end of it all. Not just because of the horrible epidemic of bullying in American schools, but because of my ridiculous dramatic episode about my car/license/”worst birthday ever”. Watching the documentary brought me back to the mindset of figuring out what more can be done to stop this, why administrators seem to not care enough and why other kids are not intervening – you know old, RSVP Peer Education type stuff (not-so-shameless plug for you Mizzou students). Basically, I got back to caring about things that actually matter, like the welfare of children, and wondering what I could do to make a difference….instead of complaining about how horrible I think this day has been.

It kind of got to the point where I was complaining so much that I was getting on my own nerves. So to celebrate my birthday I thought I’d write about 23 simple things in my life that I am grateful for…

1. I’ve been blessed to see 23 years on this earth despite personal hardships of my own. God continues to show me how faithful He is despite how ungrateful and wavering I can be.

2. Having a heart for people and have a job that allows me to serve women and children who have been affected by power-based violence. I’m glad that even when I try to be lazy and complain about something, the only movies I’ll watch on Netflix are educational-social justice type documentaries 🙂 I simply can’t be the one who complains about my own problems for too long, because I’m far too aware of the struggles of others and have such a big heart that I want to do something about it…that in itself is a huge blessing.

3. Starbucks. That pumpkin spice latte really hit the spot 🙂

4. Friends and Family who, by not knowing about my morning, greet me on my birthday with love that makes it hard for me to continue to frown. From real old school phone calls (in a day where Facebook is an easy copout) to video chats/messages or awesome voicemails or making an amazing dinner for my birthday or having my birth certificate sent through express mail before noon….I have awesome people in my life!

5. New community. Though it takes me a while to warm up to new people, I have met some amazing folks since moving to Tennessee, and even though they may not know how homesick I’ve been, their personalities make it difficult for me to think so much about how I miss Missouri…yes, I said I miss Missouri – go figure!

6. Ice Cream. I had free (birthday) ice cream from Chili’s last night, so I at least went to bed in an excellent mood.

7. Enchiladas. I promise not all of these will be about food, but there is a divine blessing on Mexican food and I’m so excited to be bringing in my birthday with such a God-given dish of awesomeness. Praise Him!

8. Sunshine. If it’d rained today I might have fallen asleep while watching Netflix and would have never written this post. Sunshine and 77 (love that number) degree weather makes everything great!

9. Conviction. It comes through the most random things – like documentaries – but I’m ever so grateful for it. I think I’d be a tad bit disappointed if God never convicted me about my sin. Or perhaps I wouldn’t care…which would be an issue all in its own.

10. Vine. Whenever you need a good laugh, just download Vine and look through all the comedy clips.

11. Random compliments. I love when people just give random compliments! From my hair to my smile; an outfit or even my manners (mainly from older people – they believe there’s hope for my generation when they meet me); I love a sincere, genuine, random compliment.

12. Laughter. When I laugh, I snort. When I snort, people freak out. After they freak out, they laugh. Then I laugh. Laughing is good, no, laughing is great!

13. I love when I can bless others with my cooking skills. I get joy out of the “Oh my gosh this is SOO good” ‘s and the “Mmmm” ‘s. Like a ton of joy. I’ll keep the treats coming, my friends 🙂

14. I saw yellow flowers this morning…those are my fav 🙂

15. Season 15 of Law and Order SVU took off last week and Detective Benson is okay – needs more counseling, but she’s okay.

16. I like books more than television. Law and Order SVU is about this only TV I’ll watch faithfully. That’s one sure hour of my time each week compared to most Americans. I have 11 books that I need to finish and I’m glad that I don’t like television that much – mostly because of #17…

17. Thinking critically. I gave a shameless plug about the RSVP Center at the University of Missouri. I’m glad I got involved as a peer educator and from the experience, learned how to think critically about violence and the media – It definitely became my favorite topic! I simply cannot watch TV without getting frustrated about something or “deconstructing”/”analyzing”/”Thinking critically”….basically without putting my good ol Sociology degree to use. It’s best for everyone that I just stay away and stick to my educational documentaries.

18. A sense of humor. I don’t think I have to explain this. Just imagine me minus the random sayings/blog posts/happy dances. Me minus the snort after I laugh. Me minus my random roadtrip music. Me minus the joy I get when I see a bargain and my detailed life experience of how I conquer Goodwill. Me minus having to make everything be more dramatic than it is. Me minus dancing in a onesie with my close friends on New Year’s Eve as we begin “Together Forever Alone”. Me minus playing off tripping on a crack or laughing uncontrollably (with pain) each time I bite my tongue. I wouldn’t be very fun without a sense of humor. I would have zero friends and no one to read this blog.

19. Cheesecake….specifically, New York style Cheesecake. Okay, last food reference!

20. Nature. The views as I’m riding in a car or sitting in a park/vineyard in Tennessee are absolutely gorgeous. My God is an extraordinary artist and I’m blessed to revel in His handiwork.

21. Scents. Let’s just say I love walking into Bath & Body Works. I imagine that it’s what heaven will smell like <—When I type/say things like this, it just confirms #18

22. “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston. Simply for being the some I get ready to every birthday morning for the past few years.

23. Joy. By experiencing God and choosing to acknowledge His faithfulness I have complete joy. Things could be a lot worse…and even if they were I’d still find joy in the sovereignty of God.

Just making this list has made me feel a lot better. And all it took was a small choice to “Philippians 4:8” the situation. Until next time…

In Christ,


I’m adding this video because I recently learned about the song – even though I’m no longer 22. It still fits the occasion.


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