College

College Graduation Weekend

This past weekend was so special to me, and it will be one of those weekends I will always remember. It was seriously one of those weekends I never wanted to end because I was enjoying it so much! I graduated, and it meant so much to me to have all of the people I love so much there for me! This weekend was definitely marvelous, so I will be linking up with Katie!

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This post will be a lot of pictures, which are honestly the best ind of posts. 🙂 If you missed my last post about what I learned in college, you can find it here. 

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We started off the morning by having some breakfast at Cracker Barrel before heading to my graduation since it didn’t start until 1:30.

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It was really cold when we were taking these pictures outside!

I was really happy that the graduation ceremony didn’t take long at all. It was only like an hour! The ceremony was very well organized and ran smoothly.

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IMG_4812Now we are both alumni of the university where we met!

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I could not have made it from kindergarten all the way through college without my wonderful parents. I know I say it a lot, but you really don’t understand how amazing my parents are.

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I could not have been blessed with better in-laws. They made a long trip down here just to watch me graduate; they are too sweet!

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Ryan’s parents, like us, met at this university when they were college students, at the same BSM where Ryan and I met! This school was obviously good to the four of us.

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I have too much fun with these four. The best husband, big bro, and SIL a girl could ask for.

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My sweet grandparents.

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My other sweet grandparents. 🙂

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Several generations of alumni. My grandfather, mom, Ryan, and I all attended and graduated from the same university! We are proud of our university!

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Our good friend Tanner also graduated with me, and his wife, Chelsea and him became some of our best friends at college! They were one of the couples who came over for the first night of our 12 dates of Christmas. The guy on far left, Garrett, is another one of our best friends and was one of Ryan’s roommates his last year at school. He was so sweet and came to watch the graduation.

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After my graduation my Mom had a party for me at their house, and my best friend since fifth grade, Shelby, and her mom, Shelly, stopped by to see me. It was so good to see them since I hadn’t seen them since this summer. Shelby got engaged in November, and I hadn’t seen her in person since, so it was so fun getting to talk to her in person.

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Shelby gave me this super cute box, and when I opened the lid it had a ring pop in it and asked if I would be her bridesmaid. Obviously, I said yes!!! I was and am still so excited! (I totally should have taken a picture of the ring inside the box with the other note, but I didn’t think about it. My bad.)

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The fact that I graduated during Christmas time made it so much better!

I also received some incredible gifts from the people I love. Everyone was way too generous, and I am so thankful for everything.

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My parents gave me some Spode Christmas dishes so that I could start a collection. I have always wanted to have my own Spode collection because my mom, grandmother, and Ryan’s mom all have Spode. I thought it would be so fun to carry on the tradition! Plus, they are so festive this time of year, and I love that! My in-laws also gave me several pieces of Spode for graduation, including beautiful placemats, a serving dish, a platter, a candy bowl, and an oven mitt!

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My parents also gave me this beautiful cross necklace, that I love! I had been wanting one like this for a while.

IMG_4840Ryan knows me well and gave me a long distance training belt for running and a BIC band for my hair! I had been wanting both of these things.

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Ben and Kaleigh gave me such a cute gift bag full of things I will need in my own classroom. I thought this was such a fun, though out gift, and I love it! I will definitely be using all of the things in this bag.

IMG_4803Shelby and Shelly gave me a similar gift. They gave me this super cute Vera Bradley bag, since they said every teacher needs a cute bag (I totally agree), and it was filled with things I will need for my classroom. Of course I loved this gift too!

All of my grandparents were very generous as well with their gifts, and I am so thankful for everything everyone gift me. I am most thankful for everyone just giving up their time to celebrate the day with me. It was seriously so fun, and a very special day for me.

Sunday, Ryan and I went to one of my grandparents’ house and celebrated Christmas with them, my parents, and Ben, and Kaleigh. We had Mexican pile up for lunch and played Charades. We had a blast here too, but somehow I left without taking any pictures! It’s okay though, because I am pretty sure this post has a lot of pictures already. 🙂

So that was my marvelous weekend! Obviously, this weekend was one I will always remember. It was made so special because of the people I love most. I don’t know what I would do without them.

Questions:

1. Tell me something fun about your weekend?

2. Have you gone to any Christmas celebrations yet?

3. Any fun plans for this week?

4. Any good recipes I should try this week? I am grocery shopping later today. 

 

A New Stage of Life…Already?

Today is the day I graduate from college. I can not believe I am actually writing this. How did this happen so soon? How am I old enough? So am I like a real adult now? Oh wait, I’m already married and living on my own, so I guess I have been an adult. Again, not sure how the whole “adult” thing happened.

Three and a half years ago I graduated from high school, and that doesn’t feel that long ago.

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Me and my big bro at my high school graduation.

Graduating from high school was a big deal because I was leaving the small town and people I knew to move off somewhere else and make new friends, but I was still just going to be a student. My whole life, I just kind of figured I would go to college, but now that I am done it feels a little weird.

Ever since I was probably ten years old I have wanted to be a teacher. Now I am graduating with an education degree and have a job I will start in January as a full-time teacher. So now is when I am expected to be a “big girl” in the adult world, but I still feel like a kid at heart. I still feel like I have so much to learn. Am I prepared for this “adult world”?

Today, I want to share with all of you some of the things I have learned in college. None of these things have to do with math, English, science or history. It’s not going to be something I memorized. However, what I am about to share, I think, is so much more important than these things. College taught me some lessons that will help me through the rest of my life.

1. The Lord has His own plans for my life, and most likely, they aren’t anything close to my plans, but they are way better than any plan I could ever imagine. 

If you would have asked me my plans for college when I graduated from high school, I would have told you that I would be in college for four years so I could enjoy the whole experience (didn’t happen, I graduated in 3 and a half), maybe I would study abroad (nope), and of course I thought I would still be dating the guy I was with in high school (because we all know how often high school relationships work). Oh and obviously I would never get married before I graduated college because I was going to get a job, work, and save up some of my own money first. (obviously didn’t happen!)

Instead, while I was in college the Lord brought me out of a relationship that wasn’t growing me closer to Him, and brought me to Ryan, my best friend and love of my life. He is a man who loves the Lord with His whole life and lives it out. Ever since we started dating Ryan has brought me closer to Jesus, and he continues to do this every day. Instead of studying abroad, I became active on campus and enjoyed spending my time with Ryan and all of our friends playing intramural sports and having fun in whatever way we could find! The big one I never saw coming, I got married at the young age of 21 when I still had a semester left of school. From a worldly point of view, this didn’t make the most sense, especially from a financial point of view, but we knew this was what the Lord wanted. The Lord has been faithful and has provided us with everything we need. I couldn’t imagine not being married now! Thank goodness the Lord had such an amazing plan for me, and thank goodness nothing I planned on happening actually happened!

2. My parents always have, and always will support me no matter what. 

I have been blessed with the most supportive parents anyone could ever want. But even when I know it hasn’t been easy for them, they continued to support me. This past January, Ryan and I went on a week long mission trip to Mexico with our BSM (Baptist Student Ministry). With all of the bad things that have gone on in Mexico, my parents did not really want me to go on this trip, and I totally understood where they were coming from. However, I felt extremely strong about the fact that the Lord wanted me to go on this particular trip for some reason. When I told them I made my final decision to go, they fully supported me and prayed for me the whole time.

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When I started dating Ryan they loved him immediately (obviously, everyone does), and totally approved of us dating. When we had only been dating 10 months and got engaged, my parents totally supported us. When we told them we wanted to get married as soon as we could after Ryan graduated, they still supported us. Because I know my parents, I know they knew it was risky for us to get married right after Ryan graduated because there would be so much unknown. We didn’t know if Ryan would for sure have a job. If he did have a job, we didn’t know if it would be a good one, and of course I wouldn’t have graduated yet. I know my parents were aware that this wasn’t the best financial decision, but they totally supported us, and this meant the world to me and is something I am so thankful for.

3. I will always be a kid at heart.

I always felt like at this point in my life I would feel like an adult, but I don’t. I still like to go outside, and I can’t wait for Santa Clause to come on Christmas morning. Being an adult is overrated.

4. Enjoying where you are in life and having fun is a choice.

My first year of college was not the most fun experience of my life. I always missed home, and it was extremely hard for me to go back to school after the month long Christmas break. But I also wasn’t very involved my freshman year of college. My sophomore year of college, I started dating Ryan, got more involved, and made more of an effort to have fun. From then on, I LOVED college! Instead of staying in my room all night by myself, I would go and hang out with people. If you don’t make an effort to have fun and make friends, you probably won’t enjoy where you are in life.

5. True friends are hard to find, but the few you have will always be there for you. And no matter how long it’s been since you have seen them, it will be just like no time has passed. 

I only have a couple of friends from high school that I still even talk to, and I know those girls will always be a part of my life. Shelby has been my best friend since 5th grade, and even though we don’t get to see each other very often, I know she will always be in my life. If I needed her tonight, I have no doubt in my mind she would be by my side as soon as she could!

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Picture of Shelby and I from our junior year of high school.

6. I’m not superwoman. I can’t do everything, and I don’t need to try to do everything. I am just a weak human who needs the Lord’s strength to get her through everything life throws at her. 

When I was in high school I was a part of pretty much every extra curricular activity possible, and if I could have some type of leadership position, I felt pressured to try to take on that role. I learned in college that I don’t have to do everything. There are a lot of good extra curricular activities, but I don’t have to be a part of all of them. I have to pick and choose, and pray about what the Lord wants me to do. I will completely ware myself out if I try to do everything. The Lord has shown me that I need to do what I can, and let His strength get me through everything.

7. I need to be humble.

Nothing I have or do is because of me. The Lord has given me everything, and I give Him all the glory. Anything I have done in life is because of Him, and if I ever forget this and become proud, I will be going down a very dangerous path.

8. People will discourage you and not believe in you. Get over it and forget them.

I was told my freshman year of college I will never get a job as a teacher because it wasn’t a good profession to go into right now. Then I was told I especially wasn’t going to get a job since I was graduating in December, the middle of the school year. All I can say is I have a job as a full time teacher that I get to start January 6th. Don’t let others get you down. Haters gonna hate!

9. Sometimes it’s good to not try to do so much work in advance and just have fun.

This is something Ryan has definitely taught me. Before I started dating Ryan I was that person who would have all of her projects and papers done way before they were due. I know, I was a total nerd. Once Ryan and I started dating, I was way too busy hanging out with him and having fun to worry about something that was due in seven weeks. So instead of trying to always be ahead, I just learned to enjoy the moment, and I knew everything would eventually get done so I didn’t need to stress. (Ryan still has to remind me of this a lot. Thanks babe. 🙂 )

10. I will never have it all together. I will never know everything. There will always be more to learn. The people who seem like they have it all together don’t; they are just really good at acting like it. 

Nothing ever goes perfect, and this world is so big I will always be able to learn more. I want to always keep this mindset, because the more open I am to learning, the more I believe I will learn.

11. Prayer is powerful and alive!

I always knew this because I was taught it, but I really got to see this first hand and experience it for myself in college.

12. Finally, I learned what a Godly relationship between a man and woman is like, and I learned about the love that a husband and wife feel for each other. I truly learned what it means to love someone more than yourself.

Ryan is, without a doubt, the best thing that happened to me in college. He makes me happier than anyone else, and he makes me laugh more than anyone else. He knows everything about me and still loves me. He is so mature beyond his years, and I love how he leads me through his faith in God. Before Ryan, I had never been in a relationship with someone who made me a better person. The love that comes with being husband and wife is just amazing.

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Sorry for the novel of a post, but I had to share these things. I learned more these last few years at college, but these were the ones I wanted to share.

What have you learned the last few years of your life?

Fun Facts Friday

I just have a few random facts to share with y’all today, and I have a busy day ahead, so here you go!

1. We had so much fun with some of our best friends last night! It was a great way to start the 12 dates of Christmas. From the couples left to right it’s Tanner, Chelsea, Ryan, me, Bryan, and Ruth. Bryan and Ruth got married on August 10, 2012. Chelsea and Tanner got engaged on August 11,2012, and Ryan and I got engaged August 15, 2012. Then Chelsea and Tanner got married this past May, and we got married in June. It was funny how everything happened so close together. 🙂

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We had a taco bar for dinner (didn’t get a picture), and then I had plenty of snacks set up on the table for us to eat before we started the meal.

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I am pretty sure we were all stuffed when we finished eating.

2. I GRADUATE COLLEGE TOMORROW! I am seriously so excited about this! I can’t believe how fast college has gone by though. I feel like I just got to college, but I guess I have really been in college for 3 and a half years. Time flies.

3. Today Ryan and I are going back to our college town because I have had a certain scholarship the whole time I have been in college, and there is a reception for the students who have this scholarship and are graduating tomorrow. My mom will be there too, so it should be fun!

4. Since we are going back to our college town, we get to have dinner with one of my best friends ever and my maid of honor at our wedding, Marlee! I haven’t seen her since this summer and I am so excited!!

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5. My in-laws are coming to stay with us tonight to come to my graduation. I feel so loved, I am going to get to see so much family this weekend! My graduation isn’t until 1:30 in the afternoon, so in the morning, Ryan and I are having breakfast with both of our parents, my brother and sister-in-law, and one set of my grandparents. More of my family will be at my graduation, and then my mom is having  celebratory party at their house afterwards! I feel so loved!

6. Sunday we are celebrating Christmas with one side of my grandparents! I am so excited! I love that the Christmas festivities are already starting up!

Questions:

1. What are your plans for today and this weekend?

2. Have you started any Christmas celebrations yet?

3. Favorite way to Christmas shop, in stores or online? I have really gotten to like online shopping, but I still like getting out and seeing all of the stores decorated with Christmas music playing. I definitely think there are some things you just have to see in person before you buy. So I guess I like to have a mix of both. 🙂

How to Eat Healthy in a College Cafeteria

This week I didn’t have a chance to go grocery shopping until today (Thursday), so I was running pretty low on food all week. I normally like to go grocery shopping before my week starts so that I have all of the food I need for the week. I love to cook and make my own healthy meals, but this week I went to my university’s cafeteria Monday through Wednesday night for dinner.

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Monday I had chicken, this huge salad, and an apple.

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Wednesday I had some kind of chicken with marinara sauce, baked vegetables, and a salad that isn’t pictured.

I did my best to eat as healthy as I could all of these nights, despite all of the greasy, unhealthy food that was available. This made me start thinking about all of the students at my schools and other colleges who eat at the cafeteria every day, but they choose the unhealthy options day after day.

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Let’s face it, most of the time college students aren’t getting enough sleep, they are drinking way more than anyone should, and on top of all of this, they aren’t giving their body the proper nutrition it needs. In college, unhealthy foods seem  to be the easiest option, and college kids always want the easiest, cheapest option. As a college student in my senior year of school, I am here to tell everyone that eating healthy in college is feasible, but you have to make a conscious effort to do so. In the last few years at college I have come up with some tips for eating healthy at college.

Healthy College Tips

1. Don’t go to the parts of the cafeteria that will tempt you. By this I mean, if pizza is your weakness, don’t even walk by the part of the cafeteria that serves pizza. Every day there is a pizza section, a hamburger/grilled cheese section, a sandwich section, an oriental section that has something different every day, a home favorites section that has something different every day as well, a salad bar, and a dessert section. I never go to the two parts of the cafeteria that have pizza and burgers because I know those are not healthy options. I also don’t walk by the dessert tables because I do not want to tempt me with something I don’t need.

2. The salad and fruit bar is your friend! I think every university has a big salad bar with all different types of vegetables you can add to your salad or as a side with a sandwich. Everybody needs vegetables so take advantage of the salad bar and you will feel better! If you are having a sugar craving, go for some fruit instead of the dessert table and you will feel much better afterwards! I have noticed after you start incorporating healthier foods in your diet, such as fruits and vegetables, you start to crave unhealthier foods less often. (But you still will crave them every once in a while, and that’s okay. I still need my ice cream and sugar cookies every once in a while 🙂 )

3. Eat with friends who also want to eat healthy. Eating with people who also want to eat healthy and maintain a good diet makes such a difference! I mean think about it, if you are eating with someone who gets a cheeseburger and fries, you are much more likely to get something like that too. It’s no fun to enjoy baked chicken and vegetables when you see the person next to you eating a plate full of pizza. But, in reality, it is not always possible to eat with people who have the same healthy eating goals as you, so instead tell your friends you are trying to eat more healthy and ask them to encourage you to go for healthier options. I know sometimes friends can be like, “oh you should just get pizza, you know you want it.” If you tell your friends you really want some accountability with your diet, they will most likely be willing to help you.

4. Pick and choose different options from different sections. Just because you want the vegetables from the home cooking section of the cafeteria doesn’t mean you have to get the chicken fried steak with gravy too. Instead, get the vegetables from one section, and then go to another station, such as the sandwich section, and get some lean meat as a protein. And then you can go to the salad bar for the rest of your meal. Don’t be embarrassed to be carrying multiple plates as you walk to your table to sit down and eat. There have been plenty of times where I have had four plates with different types of food on it. Sometimes I will go to the sandwich station to get meat, another station to get vegetables, the salad bar for a salad or fruit, and then I get a bowl of soup. Sure, people might look at me and make fun of me for having so many dishes. But I have learned that one station in the cafeteria hardly ever has all of the nutritious choices I need. But it is not unusual for several stations to have at least one healthy choice.

5. Drink Water!! So this goes for anyone anywhere, not just college students on campus. There are so many drink options, and most of them are filled with sugar and caffeine. Not only does this give you a sugar rush, but you are filling yourself up with empty calories that give you no nutrition. Most people don’t drink enough water as it is, so drink some water when you go to the cafeteria and reap numerous health benefits.

6. Don’t be embarrassed to eat healthy. This might sound stupid, but people can actually get made fun of for wanting to eat healthy. Especially if you are already thin, I have noticed that people will say, “You are already skinny, you don’t have to watch what you eat.” Well, it’s not just about staying thin, it’s about taking care of your body, being healthy, and feeling good! Greasy, fatty foods don’t do these things.  But lean meats, healthy carbs, fruits, and vegetables will make you feel better, be healthy, and most importantly these foods take care of your body how God intended.  If people give you a bad time for eating healthy, just shake it off and know that it’s worth the few jokes you might have to bare.

7. Remember, it’s not about trying to get a perfect body!!! Eating healthy isn’t about getting the “perfect body”. It’s about being healthy, feeling great, and taking care of the body God gave you. Besides, there is no “perfect body”, so there is no need to compare yourself to anyone else. In college there are a lot of people, and I feel it is just natural for people, especially girls, to compare themselves to others. This doesn’t do anyone any good; it just makes you feel worse. Remember that God made you just the way you are, and that makes you beautiful. Ryan just showed me this video below, and I absolutely love it! It is so true and proves how we are all too hard on ourselves. Please take three minutes of your time to watch this. It impacted me and I think it will impact you as well.

Questions:

1. Do you have any healthy eating tips for a college cafeteria?

2. Did you eat healthy in college or try to?

3. Do you struggle with finding things you feel like you need to change in your physical appearance or make better instead of focusing on your good qualities?