April 1, 2016

Life Happens

Hey, what’s up, hello.

I haven’t seen this screen in a while… my Google Drive folder that I save my blog drafts in, that is. Life has been a rollercoaster the past few months, so I figured I would drop in and update the blog for anyone that still reads it (shoutout to Granny Barbara, you da real MVP). But no really, LIFE:

Since my last post, I’ve joined Phi Mu, which was such a wonderful decision…

I found out I was going to be an Orientation Leader this upcoming year (check out my blog post I wrote after Orientation here, and you’ll understand why I decided to be an Orientation Leader)...

Jared and I got back together (and he has a new puppy)...

And I went to Disney World with three awesome friends over Spring Break!

So, yes. Awesome stuff happening. Of course, with all the awesome stuff, you gotta have some stress and weirdness, too. Classes, extra-curriculars, things that pop up spontaneously, realizing you have an essay due two hours before it’s due and you haven’t even read the prompt… Yeah! Stress happens. But throughout the entire process, you have times (like Easter) that make you realize why all of this is happening. Every time I am low, I know I can turn to God and feel His presence. It reminds me that I do not give Him nearly enough attention as I could, but even though that’s true, He not only still loves me, but He still encourages me, too.

If any of you are having some “life happens” moments, just pause, breathe, and rest in His presence.

December 31, 2015

Fill in the Blanks in 2016

It’s that day again! The day that everybody has plans to end the year with their best friends, watch the Ball Drop in Times Square, sing Auld Lang Syne, shoot off fireworks at midnight, and write out a list of their New Year’s resolutions. All of these things are awesome, and I’m personally a fan of the resolutions.

Resolutions are AWESOME, because even though you can start doing these things before the New Year, your mind is in such a positive, renewed state once the clock strikes midnight! Everyone around the world has plans to be with family more, pay off debt, exercise every day, stop smoking, do more random acts of kindness, learn a new hobby, and the most common… Eat healthy. (This is one I’ve tried every year, made it to about lunch time on New Year’s Day, and gave up.) These are all super great resolutions, and a lot of them are on my list for 2016!

My main resolutions are to be more selfless, eat healthier (HAHA, here we go again), drink more water, try to go and run regularly (this one is going to be a really awesome hit or an absolute airball… My best friend wants me to sign up for a HALF MARATHON with her. Let’s take a moment to reflect on the fact that I never run to begin with. And on the fact that I agreed to it. So, we’ll see how long this lasts…), radiate positive vibes, and to carve out time for Jesus every single day (not just when it is the most convenient for me).

I thought I had some pretty nice resolutions, so I got out my planner (I LOVE MY PLANNER) and wrote them all down. I sat down for my quiet time for the day, and I was reading in Ephesians. As I was reading, I came up on this verse:

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
-Ephesians 4:22-24 (NIV)

What an awesome verse for this time of year, amiright?! Here is what my heart heard when I read this verse:

The Old Self (2015): mistakes, broken resolutions (the first one being at lunchtime on New Year’s Day), days of apathy, selfishness, and lack of faith at times

The New Self (2016): growth from mistakes, completed resolutions, caring for everyone and everything around me, selflessness, and 100% trust in God

Now, it seems like my 2015 was basically me being a heathen for the entire year, but I had good moments, too! (I promise, no matter how horrible I made my Old Self out to be.) With this verse though, I was focusing on the negatives I had this past year where I was corrupted. If I can find the negatives and fill those blanks with positives, then that will lead me to my New Self. Of course, I will still make mistakes in this next year, that’s a given! I’m human. But, that only means that this time NEXT year, I can reflect on what I need to fix in 2017, and I can continue to grow and grow and grow every year!

That’s what I love about God. He gives us so many chances to change, while having so much mercy on us no matter how bad we NEED to change and disregard it. No matter what, God always assures us and gives up opportunities to learn and grow from the decisions we make.

I hope you take today to reflect on the past year - the negatives for your resolutions, but don’t forget the positives so you can keep it up for the next 366 days (IT’S A LEAP YEAR)! My prayer is that we all have a year full of happiness, learning experiences, an abundance of ice cream (forget the eating healthy part for a minute), chances to pet dogs, and a whole lot of those God moments.

Thank you for an awesome 2015, I wouldn’t have changed one thing about it!

December 17, 2015

Everything Happens For a Reason

“Everything happens for a reason.”

Ahhh, this is a phrase we’ve all grown up hearing. When something bad happens… “Everything happens for a reason.” It’s almost like a crutch that we lean on, to give us some sort of hope in times of turmoil. We don’t only hear this in bad times though, we are also told this in the good times! When we celebrate healing, when someone ends up in a relationship they’ve worked hard for, or when plans work together seamlessly… “Oh, everything happens for a reason!” After a while, you can either become numb to the idea or stop and TRULY consider if you believe it or not. One day a few years ago, I chose the latter option! I sat down and thought about the question of, “DOES everything really happen for a reason?” And my conclusion was……….


In my opinion (many others disagree, and that’s fine and dandy), everything does happen for a reason… even down to me waking up in the middle of the night because I have to sneeze, and remembering an essay that’s due by noon the next day. I believe everything I feel, witness, see, hear, and experience has an effect on my life or someone else’s. I think that God uses these events to push us towards His will for us! Every person we meet and have a relationship with, I believe that that’s part of His plan for us.

A lot of people will say that I’m wrong and naive for thinking this way, and that’s okay! I’m not offended, and I hope that this post doesn’t offend them in any way. But in the past (and especially recently), I’ve been through some situations that confirmed my belief that “everything happens for a reason” even further.

So, pop a squat, grab some popcorn, and I’ll tell you my story.

Ever since I’ve taken on that philosophy, I’ve turned to it during good times and bad times for comfort. But guess what? SURPRISE! It has actually proven itself to be true in most cases. When something bad has happened, I’ve relied on it happening for a reason to get through the circumstance. Almost every time, I have seen the reason behind the bad situation happening, which makes me believe my philosophy even more. When I couldn’t take my driver’s test until a month after my birthday during my sophomore year (baby problem, but a major hurdle during that month), I realized it was good because they had recently hired a very young DMV worker who gave me my test. This was good, because she didn’t make me parallel park, back in, or anything! I even ran a stop sign AND treated a red light like a stop sign, and I still made a 94 on the test (which is a little nerve-wracking that there are others on the road who may NOT have learned from their mistakes… uh oh). But without that month of preparation, and her being hired, there’s a chance I could have not passed the test. Or even worse, I could have passed but not learned to drive a little better before, and I may not even be here! WHO KNOWS? I do know that not being able to get an appointment until a month later was very beneficial (to me) though, looking back on it.

My senior year, I got to be the president of our Drama Club. It wasn’t until later that I realized I wouldn’t be able to dual-enroll at Emmanuel in the classes I needed because of my position. I needed to be on the high school campus during the times I needed the classes, therefore, I did not dual-enroll. I was upset about this, because I was planning to knock out a few credits before I got to UNG, to make it easier on myself in the long run! Because of this little predicament, I had to take math on Virtual School, and I had to be in an English class that was offered at the high school. By taking Virtual School, I got to get closer with one of my favorite teachers by being in her room every day, and I learned how to manage my time well BEFORE I got to college! (Let’s all just take a moment of silence for my could-have-been GPA this semester, if I were to not learn that lesson before.) By taking the English class at the school, I got even closer with THAT teacher, I gained two very close friendships, and I had an all around relaxing senior year… which was much needed!

There were so many small situations like this that ended up showing their worth to me, and though they may seem insignificant to you, it really opened my eyes up to the fact that God really does work things out for our own good.

There’s only one problem.

Until I got to college, “for our own good” had a different meaning to me. In high school, I thought this meant that God would work things out to what would make us the happiest. But since college has started, I’ve learned that though He is working things out for what’s best for us, it may not necessarily be what makes us the happiest. I’ve had to learn this the hard way… multiple times (because I’m a hard-headed little fireball sometimes).

If you remember my ANOTHER Message Received” post, you remember the story of how I heard God in such a huge way, the biggest way so far in my life. That is still true. But, I put off changing my major for a while… Not because I was questioning anything, it was honestly because I wasn’t exactly sure how and had a lot going on, so I was going to wait until the end of the semester! Well, while I was procrastinating, I felt a little something tugging on my heart. I didn’t feel like I needed to completely rule out occupational therapy, and by changing my major to Business Management, I basically would be. The easiest thing to do would be to just stick with my Biology major, push through, and stay on track. The second easiest thing to do would be to still change to Business, because I had told this huge, elaborate story about how I was spoken to, so HOW could I possibly change that plan?! I decided to pray about it, stay idle for a little while, and make a move whenever I felt was right. After a few weeks, God opened up another option to me that we hadn’t thought of. They are now offering the pre-OT program along with the Psychology major, and to be a Psychology major, you have to have a minor… and a possible minor is business. This was the major that fit the needs I was looking for, and this is what I’m feeling led to do - as of this week, at least!

So, why would God speak to me at church that one Tuesday, if that wasn’t where I would be a couple of months later? Only God knows right now, and He may be the only one that ever knows. It could be because I needed to hear from Him like that, because I never have before. It could be because He wanted me to stop and question what I REALLY wanted to do with my life. It could be so many reasons, and I don’t know it exactly. But, God does!

There’s reasons behind everything. Behind hearing God’s voice, behind the reasons for relationships and friendships ending, behind conversations you have with people… everything. Just the other day, I was questioning this belief. I think I mentioned that earlier! Things have been going pretty rough in certain areas of my life, and I was wondering if everything really did have a purpose. If it did have a purpose, why were some things not working out how they were planned to (in my life)? Why couldn’t I get things right from my end of situations? This was a huge struggle in the past few weeks, and then I went to church last Sunday. The preacher was talking about how hard situations will come up in your life, and sometimes you just have to take the consequences, learn from them, and move on. He also said that certain problems come up because God knows it is what you need. Then, he brought this verse up onto the screen:

“...or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.”
-2 Corinthians 12:7 (NIV)

This resonated with me. We are giving situations for reasons, and they may not always make us feel all warm and fuzzy and giggly. Bad situations have purpose, too, I’ve just never had to go through many tough things until this past semester.

Interestingly enough, two nights later, a friend of mine asked me what I thought about everything happening for a reason. I had to really dig deep into what I believed to prove why I believed that, and in the end… it boiled down to God. I believe that God knows what situations we need in our lives at the exact moment He gives it to us; therefore, I am thankful for the good days and the bad days. I can rest in the peace that God has me wrapped in His arms, and He knew the mistakes I would make against Him before I even made them - yet, He still died for me. It’s an amazing love that He has for us. Whenever I think about how merciful He is to me, I drown in His grace. Though life throws the curviest curve balls ever at us... We can always fall into His arms, which are forever open to catch us.

November 18, 2015

(The First Three Months of) College 101

When people said college would be a learning experience, I believed them. But I sure didn’t think I would learn as many lessons in these three and a half months as I have! Some have been serious, and some have been not-so-serious. Literally, every day I learn something new. For those who are in college, you may be able to relate to some of these. To those who may be going to college in the next few years, take this in so you don’t have to learn the hard way. For everyone who has already experienced these lessons, maybe you can look back at your college days and reminisce, I dunno.

Starting off with an obvious note, I learned to think before you speak. Think through possible situations before you open your mouth. For instance, say you’re at a toga party and a girl dancing next to you says, “Oh yeahhhh, this used to be me and my best frie- well, EX-best friend’s song!” Do not laugh and nonchalantly say, “Haha, EX-best friend.” ...................There is indeed a possibility that the girl will respond with, “Yeah, she passed away a few months ago.” I’m not saying I have learned this from experience (but I’m definitely not saying I didn’t, either…). Moral of the story: Think through why someone’s best friend could be their “ex” best friend.

I’ve also learned that if you use phrases that you use in your rural small town, people from bigger cities may give you weird looks. Like, if you say that somebody was “being ill” or if you start off your order at McDonald’s order with “I want a…” Remember that you may have to explain a few things... like the fact that supper is dinner and a buggy is a shopping cart. Even in another Southern city, a lot of people aren’t always on the same page as you because they are coming from a completely different culture.

Explore your town. You are living in a new place (maybe), so there are so many new things to discover! Walk around and go into shops, try new restaurants, meet new people… get acquainted to your town. If you’re going to be here for four years, you may as well learn all about it and embrace every little quirk!

Just because you have a breakdown over a papercut, that doesn’t mean you are emotionally unstable. Okay, so maybe it does. But you are emotionally unstable for a good reason! College is stressful, and I haven’t even gotten into my major classes yet. Yikes. But with classes, homework, essays, new friends, old friends, studying, and MAYBE time to eat (just kidding Mom, I eat), time management hits you like a brick wall. So sometimes, tiny, miniscule things may happen and it may just be the straw that broke the camel’s back. It may push you over the edge to a mental breakdown, but that’s okay. Once you’ve let all that bad stuff out, it’s time to start over and breathe the new stuff in.

The more you study, the more rewarded you feel when you make a good grade. Even if it means cutting off all communication from 1:30 pm to 1:30 am, and only taking a one hour break for supper. When you walk out of that exam and feel like you aced it, there is no better feeling! Especially when you check your grades and you see that A! (Which hasn’t exactly happened yet on that exam I studied 12 hours for, but I feel confident right now, at least.) But really, studying and succeeding is one of the best feelings in the world.

When someone asks to go on an adventure, just go! An adventure doesn’t necessarily mean going on a three-mile hike through the wilderness, though. To me, an adventure is just a new experience, so it could be something as little as going to Walmart (and believe me, Dahlonega Walmart definitely has adventure-potential). Don’t just sit around in the room all day, get out and have fun!

Another big lesson: When the going gets tough, your family will always be there for you. You may make a dumb decision, but your family will be there to guide you right back to where you need to be. And if you make a hard decision that you know is right for the time, your family will be there to back you up and encourage you. I’ve made both easy, bad decisions and hard, good decisions, and without my family I wouldn’t have been able to get through them. So thank you to my daddy for praying for me, my mom for having awkward Walmart photo wars, and to my brother for FaceTiming me from Disneyland.

No matter what, just be you. Don’t let other people influence what you want to be, because this is a brand new start for you, so you can be exactly who you want to be when you get here. College is awesome, and you can be the most awesome you that you can be, too! Not sure if that even made sense, but hey - it’s all good. You do you.

Blogging has been a struggle (if you couldn’t tell by that month-long delay), but I’m getting back into the swing of things as classes start slowing down!

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

-Romans 12:2 (NIV)

October 6, 2015

The Second Verse

So, I heard a song the other day. I know I’ve been talking a lot about music lately, but I’m just gonna share the second verse with you real quick-like…

Don’t be ashamed of your past
If you’re shattered like a piece of glass
The more broke you are the more the light gets through
Show your wounds and your flaws
Show them why you still need the cross
Let them see the work He’s doing in you”



I heard this song (which by the way is Glow in the Dark by Jason Gray… download it now. It’s actually my new favorite song) on the way to deal with a sticky situation, in which I had to let down a few walls to fix the problem. For anyone who doesn’t know me, I’m not a huge emotion-sharer. I would MUCH rather take a horrible issue, completely disregard the actual problem at hand, and laugh about the entire situation. Being serious is not my strong point. So I knew that this day would be a challenge for me going into it, and I was pretty nervous the entire ride there. The beginning of this song was super peppy and fun, so immediately I turned my radio up because it sounds like the kind of music I LOVE! I wasn’t really listening closely to the words, until I heard “His love can make you radiate.” Mainly because it’s just lyrically fun to me for some reason! Also, because those kind of lines make me feel SO loved and safe… God can always work through us, no matter what we’ve done.

After that verse made my ears stand up a little bit, I started listening harder. I started feeling more at ease with the pickle I had gotten myself into, and I just felt more at peace! When I listen to songs that talk about how awesome God’s love is, I just feel so content with where I am and what I’m doing, I really like taking the words to heart.


It was like an instant assurance.

An immediate peace.

A sudden confirmation.

Everything was going to be okay, I was going to be okay, the situation was going to be okay, and everything would work out for His glory.

Knowing that I have a God that uses my weaknesses and mistakes to glorify Him is one of the most comforting things I could ever have in my heart. What I do doesn’t affect (by any means) what He is. He knew I was broken, and He showed me that He can ALWAYS shine His light through me.

Hearing that voice made me more vulnerable, and it made me open up about all of my flaws… this was one of the most important things I had to do to solve the problem I was driving down the road to face. One of my biggest struggles is my pride, and God used this one, fun little song to get me over that for a very important situation. Luckily, everything worked out and things are better than ever, and all parties involved in this situation grew closer to Him through a big ol’ mess. Who knew? Like seriously, GOD IS SO DARN COOL.

I know I’ve been off my blogging game for a while, so thank you to everybody that’s still crawling along with me. College has been a whirlwind, I tell ya. I can tell you this: God has worked in me.

September 17, 2015

ANOTHER Message Received

I want to start off by saying that Tuesday, September 15, 2015 was the most wonderful day in Maddy McRee’s life so far. This post may be a little off because I’m not posting it tonight, so when I say “tonight,” it’s me referring to September 15. Which was a great day. Even though eating Moe’s and singing the Michael BublĂ© Christmas album at the top of my lungs with the most wonderful people in the world is hard to beat, the MOST AWESOME THING OF MY ENTIRE LIFE HAPPENED. If you have been following since my first post (minus the introduction post), then you know that I had a pretty large epiphany when it came to starting this blog. That was the time I had felt like God spoke to me most… until now!

But first, I have to give you a little backstory, so you can truly understand why this night was so crazy.

1. For about two years, I’ve wanted to be an occupational therapist. I changed my major from Psychology to Biology before I even went to orientation, hopped in the pre-OT program here at UNG, and I knew a few weeks after orientation that I wanted to change my major back to Psychology. I would go into detail about why I did that and why I needed to switch back, but you know I’m a rambler... so, just trust me. I’ve been struggling for a while about if I wanted to stick with Biology and having more options if I didn’t get into OT school, or if I wanted to switch to Psychology which interests me more but I wouldn’t have many options if I changed my mind. Here recently though, I’ve realized that I have another option for a major - business. For a lot of people, business is a go-to degree if they change their mind on their current one. Yet from the time I was little, I have wanted to start my own business. I used to draw up floor plans, applications, flyers, descriptions, and even inventory lists for businesses I would dream up. I had this one business in first grade called LADDS, which stood for Lost and Deserted Dog Shelter. I even had a THEME SONG for that place. And it rocked. So. Anyway, it’s always been a dream of mine to own an idea and to be my own boss (the American Dream, amiright?). I felt like if I could actually come up with something that was successful, I would be happy as a lark for the rest of my days! Also, my roommate, Reagan, has always wanted to start a business. She is super creative and I am super organized, which makes us a great team. We have even started sketching a few ideas out, and we have a game plan of what company we want to start. But back to before, I had to decide between a marketing, finance, or management focus. Basically, I was at a fork in the road (that split into like, five roads). I decided to just pray that God would give me guidance, because I knew I could not - and did not NEED to make that decision on my own.

2. I’ve also been struggling with feeling like I have missed opportunities to witness in the past few weeks, I felt like I was at sort of a standstill. I’ve been praying that God will give me opportunities, but I see that they were open doors AFTER the situation has taken place. I realized tonight I was praying for the wrong thing.

So, story. You know how it’s hard to get into a song the very first time you hear it? You’re focused on the words, the notes… it’s rare (for me) to REALLY think about the meaning behind it. At church, I knew the very first song and I was so pumped. It was just a solid worship song. Next song: Oceans by Hillsong United. I already love that song, which made me even more excited that they were playing it! I heard the lyric “take me deeper than my feet could ever wander,” and it just hit me hard. All of a sudden, those words took on a whole new meaning than they ever have before! I realized that I’d been “wandering” on my own, trying to find opportunities to share the Word on my own. I’ve been looking too hard, when I really just need to stop, relax, and let God put me where I need to be. I need to let Him take me to where I need to be, because He will take me deeper than I could ever go on my own.

Boom. Awesome.

But then, the third song came on. I didn’t know this song, so I was kind of just singing along trying to stay on the right notes. I’m sad because I can’t find the song anywhere, but the chorus was - OH MY WORD AS I WAS TYPING THE PREVIOUS PHRASE I DECIDED TO TRY TO LOOK UP THE SONG ONE MORE TIME, AND I FOUND IT!!!!!!! WHAT A HAPPY DAY!!!!!!! It’s called Trust It All by Brett Stanfill. Anyway, the chorus starts with:
“My life is in your hands, I trust it all, I trust it all to you.” I was like, wow, that’s so relevant to what I have been praying about! The next line started with, “my dreams and all my plans,” and I LOST it.

I don’t even know what happened. It’s like all of a sudden I realized what path I needed to take, I knew Reagan and I needed to follow through with our plan to start our business. We plan to create products that glorify God and can lead to awesome conversation… more on that later. Everything we need has completely fallen into place, and God spoke to me tonight at church and told me that. I just felt overwhelmed with a sense of peace and contentment KNOWING that God has His arms wrapped around me and is leading me exactly where I need to be.

The song continued, I was continuing to bawl my eyes out, and then the thought (almost) crossed my mind: What should I change my major to? As SOON as I started thinking about the entire concept of changing my major, the only thing I could think was “business management.” I couldn’t even come up with the names of any other majors I was considering, it was like I had a brain block! I knew exactly what to change my major to, and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life.

I have never, in my whole entire 18-year lifespan, been spoken to so clearly by my Lord. I have gotten signs of course, and the closest thing to tonight was when He told me to start this blog. I’ve already seen God work through this, which makes me even more excited for what’s to come with this business! We still have a long way to go with our business, but we just know that we’re on fire for God and we can’t wait to see how He is going to use our products to work in other people’s lives and open up opportunities for them! I will post updates on my blog, social media, etc., so be sure to keep an eye out!

Some people have these insane, God moments when they’re very young, eighteen years old, fifty years old, and for some it takes until they’re a hundred years old to have that experience. I have learned over the past few years that God knows exactly what you need; he knows when to let you figure things out on your own, and when to blatantly tell you what to do.

I’m going to end this post by simply saying... God is good.

September 1, 2015

11 Things I Learned From My First Week of College

My first two weeks have been completed! I decided to write this post now while it’s fresh on my mind, because if one thing's for sure... I learned a LOT the first week. Starting college is a scary thing. You can read as many articles, tip sheets, Pinterest links, or advice columns as you want, but you can never be fully prepared for this whirlwind of crazy. But of course, those articles and pins always help, so why not conform and create one myself? Everyone has a different college experience, I’m just going to share my list of 11 things I have PERSONALLY learned so far. (Here she goes again…)

1. If you think you are good at time management… you’re not.

In high school, I thought I was awesome at managing my time. My planner had every little detail of every day included, I would get all of my assignments finished on time, and I would still have time to watch Jeopardy at 7:30 every night. Throw in class, English readings, 3 chapters of a humongo Biology book plus homework, an essay about a song you haven’t even chosen yet, a required Alcohol education course online, 70 precalculus problems, university events (Like a hypnotist. FUNNIEST. THING. EVER. IN. MY. LIFE.), friend time, Walmart runs, and still trying to find time to eat and sleep… My time skills were thrown right out the window. This whole “college” thing is no joke. I am actually typing this blog while I have one and a half more chapters of Biology to read before tomorrow, and essay to write, and 30 pages of English to read. But you know what? This just sums up my college life right now, so I’m just gonna casually let it happen. There’s just SO much going on all the time, and I want to be involved with EVERYTHING. Yet, I know now that sometimes that just can’t happen. Which brings me to my next point…

2. Don’t make up excuses to skip over your Jesus time.

I have been trying to stick with this reading plan in my Bible for a few months, and honestly I’ve been tested this week. I have had to make myself prioritize more than I ever have before. The first week was hectic, for sure, but I learned that creating a routine of reading at a certain time (and sticking to it) will take away a whole lot of the chaos and anchor yourself with the Lord even more. College is a time of life where you’ll be tested, so a firm relationship with God is step one to surviving it.

3. Surround yourself with good people.

I have been blessed to have awesome people in my classes, my groups in class, on my hall, in my suite, and an awesome roommate. I have constantly been surrounded by friends and encouragement, but I know that some people don’t have that as easily as I do. I’ve had to reach out to make friends, as well, but God has placed some people in my life right around me. For example… My roommate, Reagan, and I get along SO well, and we have been asking around to see what churches would be good for us to visit around here. I met a guy in English, and we were talking after class one day about mission trips, and he was telling me about his church that he went to. Before we know it, Reagan and I are at an awesome new church, meeting awesome, new, God-loving friends, and we are headed to our small group leader’s house tonight for supper. Like, what are the odds?! Things are just working out so wonderfully, and I can’t praise God enough for how He has been working out these situations lately. Moral of the story: If you surround yourself with the right people, you can create some pretty beneficial relationships.

4. Don’t forget to call your family.

When you are missing home, CALL YA MAMA. I actually haven’t been nearly as homesick as I have been expecting to be, but whenever I call home I just instantly get put into a better mood. My mom always knows what to say, and I love having someone to tell all of my stories to who will actively listen to EVERY one (or at least act like it). Talking to your family instantly cheers you up and encourages you, which is super helpful when you have just been submerged into a brand new world of freedom and independece - which comes with a whole lot of responsibility.

5. Learn to be alone.

It’s obviously not ideal to go to chow by myself, but sometimes I just HAVE to enjoy chicken finger friday. My suitemates all may go home on the weekend and I’m in the suite with no one to talk to, but it gives me more time to study at least. I may not wanna go walk to my mailbox alone, but if you have mail… you’ve got mail (ba-dum-chhh). Luckily, Reagan and I love each other a whole lot and have similar schedules, so we have each other most of the time! But I’ve learned to be alone, and it’s something that most people aren’t used to coming right out of a small town high school. It gives you time to be with yourself, and that’s so important in a time where you are constantly surrounded by new influences.

6. Take some chances.

I’m not talking about crazy, stereotypical, “college” activities… ahem… but take chances everyday! If you see someone sitting alone and you want to go try to talk to them, do it. If you want to make a coke float at chow, do it. If your roommate wants you to walk with her to the hair salon and you are enticed to dye your hair… DO IT.

But really, the most wonderful things have happened just by times in my life where I’ve said, “yes.” SAY YES TO THINGS AND YOU WON’T REGRET IT!

7. Find a good church.

God sends you into some people’s lives to lead them to church, and other times, you’re the one being led! Reagan and I knew we wanted to church-hop around Dahlonega for a few Sundays because we wanted to go to a good church here, we just didn’t know where. Luckily, we met Austin (the guy from point #3), and we have found an awesome church with awesome people! It was exactly what we were looking for, and everything happened at just the right time.

8. Sharpie doesn’t easily come off your arm.

When you and your roommate have tattoo night in your dorm, don’t use Sharpie. Use a pen. Or else, you will have to wear ¾ length shirts all weekend…

9. Ask people questions.

You can’t learn anything about anyone if you don’t ask them questions (unless they just choose to voluntarily give you their life story). It doesn’t matter how dumb a question is, it can always lead to something awesome. The other day it was raining, and I literally asked someone if it rained a lot where they lived. Who even asks that? But sure enough, it rains a LOT where they live, and apparently a flood got them stuck in their apartment one time and they were out of school for a week. Which then led to asking where they went to school, and then sure enough… I knew someone from there! It’s the little stuff like that that usually leads to finding something in common with anyone.

10. People will not always smile back at you.

It’s just a fact. NO MATTER HOW HARD YOU SMILE AT SOMEONE, CERTAIN PEOPLE WILL JUST NOT RETURN THE HAPPINESS. But that’s okay, their heart may be smiling and you just can’t see it… at least, that’s what I tell myself.

11. Don’t forget this is the time of your life.

It’s week three and I am already having the most fun time of my life. Sure, classes don’t make me rejoice with gladness, but it’s nothing compared to the adventures I’m having living on my own, meeting new people, growing in my faith, and learning life lessons every day. This is the time of my life, and I don’t want to be one of those people who realize it AFTER they graduate. So enjoy every minute, live in the moment, and take it allllllll in!