Quotes 2014-2015

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As my freshman year here at Gardner-Webb University quickly draws to a close, I can’t help but reminiscence over ever memory, good and bad. I’m sure within a few weeks you’ll receive the full scope of nostalgia, introspective thoughts on my year, probably with a corny title and tagline. But today, in honor of the tears that are sure to come with finals week/move-out week, I share the much anticipated quote book from the past two semesters. Some of these quotes are from the friends from home, who kept my spirits high in the hard times this year. And many of these are from the wonderful (and often hilarious) people who I have met in freshman year. All in all, I have spent so much time this year laughing with wonderful people, and I think this list proves just that.


Quotes 2014 – 2015

“I wanted to lie truthfully.” –  Bethany Alston


“I have this character flaw called if someone dislikes me I dislike them right back.” –  Bethany


Me: Have you ever seen The Breakfast Club?

Matthew Harris: Yeah… At Tiffany’s?


“I’m not judging… I’m just having some questions.” – Julianna Weiss


“If you can’t handle my awkwardness, you don’t deserve my awesomeness.” –  Morgan McDaniel


*about white males*

“Your chance of getting a scholarship is zero, but your chance of getting everything else is perfect.” –  Taylor Moore


“I think I broke like five girls hearts just by existing.” – David Cole


“Obesity is the most delicious disease.” – David Cole


Emma Shappley: But I’m afraid…

Me: Well I’m sure George Washington was afraid to cross the Delaware but we are the United States because he did. So I don’t know if you want freedom or love but I say go for it.


“Hannah, when you run you look like a newborn giraffe.” – Sarah Branch


Julianna: We’re all turning into mermaids!

Jesse Clark: FINALLY!


Morgan: I mean the ratio of guy’s is really off here. So I need to get on it.

Kyle Bradley: When Jesus said be fisher’s of men, he didn’t mean this.


Me: Being a boy is so much easier.

Jordan Grim: Being a boy isn’t always easier…

David: What are you talking about?? YES IT IS.


“If an animal gets hit by a car it will bring tears to my eyes. Unless I hit it then it’s the thing’s own dumb fault.” – Jordan


Morgan: What if I just stole your glasses?

David: I don’t think so… I don’t give these up without a fight.


“I know they’re making a joyful noise to The Lord but they cannot stay on key.” – Emma


Emma: These little hair pieces make me look Amish!

Me: I think you mean Orthodox Jew.

Emma: Oh right, I knew it started with an “o.”


Me: I get done at 11am tomorrow because my teacher has jury duty.

Landis: YES! The government finally came through!


Sarah: I’m a PK!

Me: Me too!

Cameran Kerley: My dad is a mortgage consultant! Go dad!


Taylor: We all have secrets.

David: I don’t have any more…


Abby: I’m pretty sure these moths are reproducing right before our eyes.

Dad: Then look away!


“I ran into that girl tonight. Inching my way closer to pushing her off a mountain and saving her at the same time!” – Jordan


“Cheerleading is like martial arts with spirit.” – David


Me: He only has five friends.

Emma: What am I, a green bean?


Kyle: My parents met at work.

Sharayah Westover: They met at war??

Kyle: Yeah they met in ‘Nam.


Cameran Kerley: I don’t know what to do about food and life in general.

Me: No sentence has ever encapsulated my life so well.


“I’m getting too fat to be with a skinny person.” – Morgan


“Life is just one big group project.” – Molly Weiss


Me: What did David’s armies do?

Aaron Hilton: They armied.


“Oh what a crime! You’re self conscious about your honesty.” – Holly Harris


“Every time you have a crush on someone doesn’t mean you’re giving your heart away that’s the most stupidest thing I ever heard.” –  Holly


Me: Stop yelling about rape!

Jordan: R-A-P!


Me: Yay, now that you’re here, I can leave my stuff and go to the bathroom.

David: Perfect, now I can just steal it for you!


Me: How do you begin a paper about…?

Sam Hermanns & Cameran: YOU DON’T.


Me: This is couple season. It must be something in the air.

Emma: We must not be smelling the right air… We’re smelling mold!


Me: Last week I was pushing through to fall break…What am I pushing through to now?

Sharayah: Death.


“Don’t think about it as an hour and fifteen minutes. Think of it as fifteen minutes with an hour tacked on.” – David


“Well life is just dishing us all a happy scoop of pudding.” – Morgan


“Sam, what’s your earliest memory? Moving into campus?” – Taylor


“I figured if I got you really close to death it would make you appreciate life.” – Morgan


Pietro: And my printer was jammed, and my car died. Then my dog was having explosive diarrhea.

Morgan: The printer was jammed but the dog wasn’t.


Me: What flavor are the muffins?

Sharayah: Um, muffin.


Sarah: I’m going to tag my black friends.

Cameran: All two of ’em!

Sarah: I tagged three… Well he’s half black.


“My favorite Christmas song is about Easter.” – Morgan


Sharayah: We are an open can of green beans.

Cameran: But we can’t help you.

Me: We aren’t a very nutritional can of green beans.

Sharayah: It’s just sodium, sodium, sodium.


Cameran: Have you ever lied about your age?

Me: No! Have you??

Cameran: Well yeah, I mean I wanted to get in the hot tub, and you had to be 14.


“Ooooh! MONEY! The rich keep getting richer.” – Jordan


“I love you regardless of if you are rich or poor. I don’t care if you’re a homeless person with toilet paper as clothes.” – Sharayah


“Nothing says Bahamas like socks and a polo.” – Jules


Matthew: Stop talking about my condition!

Jesse: Single?


Me: I need something salty.

Andrea VanDerwerker: Lick yourself.


“The caf is blissfully mediocre.” – Morgan


“Class of 2025. 2025 just screams apocalypse.” — Abby


“I need to fill out a work order form for my heart.” –  me


Me: My appearance is obviously not attracting anyone to me.

Emma: Yeah, that’s true.


“Some people sold a kidney to be there and I’m sitting here eating French fries.” – Emma


“With your fabulous personality and my wit we could take over the world!” – me


“Every time he sees me I’m sitting by myself reading my Bible. He’s probably like, ‘well, Jesus is the only friend she has.’” – Emma


“There’s some bacteria in the hot tub. It’s called sin.” – me


Pastor: We’re charismatic bapti-costal.

JJ Gibbs: UGH.


“I just can’t wait to see the look on his face when I tell him I am with child.” – Emma


“He asked if I was having a milk party. Yes, cuz THAT’S a thing.” – Trista Riddle


“Is curly fry one word or two?” – Emma


“My hair looks great after that nap! Praise The Lord! Sometimes you just have to praise Him for the little things.” – Emma


“The snow and the beach make people couple up like Noah’s arc.” – Me


Me: Our room looks weird…

Emma: Yeah, it’s clean.


Me: I’m just a piece of a Kleenex.

Emma: The little corner piece that people spit their gum in.


*talking about ordering a venti*

“I really shouldn’t have gotten this. It’s a tenth of my bank account.” – Bethany


Me: Everything is one big awkward hello.

Audrey Lakin: Welcome home.


Holly: A type of communication.

Me: Speaking, writing, yelling.

Matthew: Her favorite three.


“Wow she’s going to tear this dorm down with her bare hands.” – me


Me: I don’t want to write boring stuff.

Sam: You might have to. Like Edgar Allen Poe.

Me: He didn’t write boring stuff!

Sam: I know. He was poor.


Lauren Mahoney: So,  your stem cells could be growing teeth inside your uterus.

Jeremy Boudah: Congrats! You’re having twins!


Me: I don’t think he’s capable of having fireflies.

Cam: I think he has bees.


“Here I am a year later. A lot more insecure and a little more knowledgable-r.” – me


“We’re talking about our social security numbers like we’re 79 and preparing for the old folk’s home.” – Sharayah


Prof: So you get to spend hours in the library! Doesn’t that sound like fun??

Daniel Napier: Oodles and oodles of fun!


“Pillowed shingles! For children who like to climb on the roofs! Pingles! Shillows!” – Austin Miller


Me: Are you a stress eater?

Emma: No, I’m just an eater.


“Honestly, I’m probably closer to a funeral than a wedding.” – Emma


“I’ve got to take my pants off or something, because I’m not working well.” – Sarah


“I’m fine, I just punted that goose by its neck to relieve some tension.” – Chris Anderle


“I wonder if people in jail get new trendy music… Or if they’re still listening to Billy Joel.” – Sharayah


“I’m literally on 5mg! That’s not enough to tranquilize a horse’s hoof!” – Sharayah


“I don’t do that non-timed, non-competition stuff. That’s for the weak of heart who need self validation.” – Amanda Collins


Me: Let’s end this semester like we began it.

Sharayah: Alone and crying?


To all of you, thanks for the memories, and as always, thanks for the laughs. Already looking forward to the next laughs and moments the future holds for us.


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And maybe it’s then,

When your bones are breaking,

And your head is aching,

And your bags are packed,

You’re headed for the door.

When they call you again,

Saying one last time they need a friend.

And you’ve given it all before,



They say they need a song,

But you never wanted to sing,

Yet something stops you,

He reminds you,

You might be their only symphony.

And He placed you in a choir,

Not to ring out your praise,

But to reach,


Burst your lungs,

If only for something much higher.

And when she’s crying,

When he’s dying,

When they can do nothing for you.

Maybe it’s then,

That you sing for Him.

In the discord of life,

In the cacophony of despair,

When your heart isn’t in it,

When your mind begs to forget it.

When they ask you to sing,

And He calls you to love,

When it’s not your heart,

And yet despite that you choose,

Maybe it’s then that you sing for Him.

“Brittle Bones”

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I’m deficit you see,

In need of a glass of milk,

I had one too many glasses of you.

You touched my skin,

And I thought I’d find a better way to race.

Like if I erased the past,

And rewrote the future,

I’d find a better way to love.


For you were of me,

And I of you,

Flesh and tendons and muscles and love.

But now we’re simply brittle bones.


We spent our time building strength,

False because our muscles couldn’t support,

The weight of our hearts.

Now like bone on bone,

We scrape.

Scrape the love,

Scrape the memories,

Everything scrapes me raw.

Less of who I was,

A skeleton of who we were.


And you’re in my bones,

I can’t escape.

Even if I drive for a thousand miles,

The memories of you haunt me like phantom pain.

I’d crush my bones to forget the sting,

Of you.


For you and I are just alike,


A skull,

And a breaking heart.

Crying alone in the hours of night.

Remembering the feeling of being held in the dark.


So I draw the drapes,

And turn off the lights,

They can’t see what goes on inside,

My head.

Spinning, screaming, softly crying,

To remember the brokenness we catered to over

And over

And over



For we were never meant to love,

We rubbed each other raw.

Cracking and fracturing,


Never healing the wounds.

Over stretching,

Over exerting,

Over exhausting,

Wearying our bones.


And we ignored the doctor’s warnings,

We continued on,

Sucking the marrow out of life.

I can’t walk,

Can’t stand straight,

Crippled by everything I thought you were,

You aren’t.


And He let us break ourselves,

Learning lessons comes from being,

Suspended and stranded.

You look to the ceiling.

That’s what body casts and breakups do.

And you know your brittle bones lacked nutrients.

I sapped you,

You sapped me.

And now we’re just crushed bones.


But these crushed bones will rejoice,

In the pain,

In the loss,

In the ache of goodbye.

For He is restoring,

He is building back,

The strength I have lost,

To the mistakes I have gained.

Within the holes I chipped,

He filled with joy.

Within the crushing blow,

He saved us.

He saved us from ourselves.


Psalm 51:6-8

“Surely You desire integrity in the inner self,
and You teach me wisdom deep within. Purify me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones You have crushed rejoice.”

Edges ~ Love Bears All Things

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“Love bears all things.” {1 Cor. 13:7}

“Love covers a multitude of sins.” {1 Peter 4:8}

“Perfect love casts out fear.” {1 John 4:18}

“We love because He first loved us.” {1 John 4:19}

I open my mouth. Pain flies from tongue as I spit undeserved words upon someone. Why? Why do I insist on opening my mouth? Why do I bite? Why do I hurt?

One word: Insecurity. My heartbeat quickens when I hear someone say something. My thoughts begin to race. What did they mean by that? Do they dislike me? Are they mad at me? Do they think I’m a terrible person? And so, in true fashion to my sinful nature, I have to ensure that they don’t hurt me as much I hurt them. So I open my mouth. Out floods pain. And all too often, this pain is not undone as easily as it is inflicted.

I think I am finally realizing that every reaction I make affects someone. And it is no longer just my family who knows me, but people who I really want to impress and really want to be liked by. And that’s a scary place to be. That’s a place where I have placed my identity in how someone else feels about me. That’s a place where I have placed my happiness in the hands of another human, and asked them to perform to make me feel a certain way. That’s a place where I take control away from God, where I ignore how much He loves me, and I look for ways to feel more loved. As if anyone could love more than my Savior.

Where does that lead? Insecurity. Doubt. Fear. Anger. Hurt.

So I begin to search. I begin to search for an answer to the hurt. The hurt I see in other’s eyes, and in my own. I begin to wonder if it’s really my battle to fight, to ensure that everyone likes me as much as I feel I need to be liked to be fulfilled. And in that searching I find these words. “Love covers a multitude of sins.”

A multitude of sins. A multitude of anger, gossip, malice, selfishness, envy, and strife. When I truly love like Christ has loved me, I’m no longer concerned with how people feel about me, or how I feel about them. No, my feelings have no place in love. Because I am called to love, regardless of my heart that is condemning me with every passing day. I am called to hide my life away in Christ’s, not to generously give other people the power to falsely fulfill me. I am called to look up to a Savior who became love as He took on that multitude of sins. 

So when I look into the eyes of the people who have hurt me, and when I look into the eyes of people I have hurt, I dig deeper. I open up my chest, and I cut my heart once again, forcing out one more drop of blood, one more drop of love.

When I truly look into the mirror of others, I see myself. I see my sin, my hurt, my wreckage. I recoil. I hate seeing my own filth personified. My feelings betray me. My deceptively wicked heart screams for me to flee. Flee to false safety. Flee to false comfort. Flee to sin. I look in the mirror of another’s eyes, and I see broken, chipped mirror edges that cut my fingers and my life when I touch them. My first instinct: Push them away, so that my broken edges can’t cut them. Push them away, so their broken edges can’t cut me.

And then I hear the sound of Jesus, crying “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do,” as He bled out in agony on the Cross. And so I reach out. I touch.

That is grace. That is love. Grace and love are bleeding out because you chose to touch the sharp, jagged edges of others. Touching the edges, because of the hand of Jesus touching my heart, restoring it. Because when I cut open my heart for unconditional love, I am cutting open the heart of Jesus Christ as He hung dying on a cross for me. As He breathed His last, He bled out every drop of His love so that every heartbeat that ever sounds on earth can find grace. Can find unconditional love. Love costs everything. Yet it is not my price to pay, because He has already paid it in full.

Love bears all things. |1 Cor. 13:7| All. The messy, broken pieces of me. The messy, broken pieces of you.

We love because He first loved us. 
|1 John 4:19| Without Him, loving anyone would be impossible. Without Him filling us with His love first, we would be completely desolate. Because we are messy, broken pieces.

Love covers a multitude of sins. |1 Peter 4:8|And yet, a multitude of messy, broken pieces are covered when we love.

When we bear all, through His love, we are restored. We are redeemed. We are love. So I will reach out. I will choose to place my insecurity and identity in the One who taught me to love. And I will touch the edges of people’s lives, if only because Christ chose to touch the edges of mine forever.


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Maybe so much of what I worry,
About myself,
About my future,
Isn’t really what it appears to be.
Maybe all the uncertainty,

All the doubt,
All the insecurity,
All the fear,
Is really just the wilderness.
And maybe I’m not alone in this desert,
Maybe You hold my hand there,
Calling me to be still.
To learn to trust You fully,
When the road ahead is so unclear.
Because maybe, the wilderness
Is where You strip me of me,
And teach me to become more of You.
So that when the path is made level,
And the answers fall into place,
There is no doubt,
No question,
That everything good in me is You.
So usher in Your glory,
So that everyone near me can see,
That You are the light,
Shining through,
Down this broken, desert path.
“I will plant cedars in the desert, acacias, myrtles, and olive trees. I will put juniper trees in the desert, elms and cypress trees together, so that all may see and know, consider and understand, that the hand of the Lord has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it.”
(Isaiah 41:19-20)

Shifting Shadows and Thankfulness

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“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17, NIV)

You know that feeling when you’ve had a cold and one day you wake up, and you feel better? And that day is so beautiful and glorious because you can finally breathe through your nose and stand up without getting dizzy, and life just seems even greater than before you got sick? That’s sort of the feeling I have right now. No, I haven’t been sick (thank goodness). But I’ve been in a pretty terrible mood for the past week. (Ask my ever so patient roommate…)

So often, I find myself turning to write when things aren’t going my way. So often I take my bad attitude and write to feel better. This time isn’t one of those times. I’m writing because I’m in a good mood. I feel the need to document while I’m in a good mood, so that once it fades (as moods are so wont to do), I will be able to apply the truth no matter what changing feeling comes my way.

My roommate and I say “choose joy” almost daily. Most of the time it’s her saying it very politely to me, reminding me to chin up, and stop being in a bad mood (bless her for living with me). I can argue and say I’m a melancholic person, a pessimist, a perfectionist, an introvert, a deeply feeling soul, but let’s be honest. Most of the time bad moods come from my own little heart getting hung up on my own little world not going my way. For the past week, I’ve been throwing myself quite the pity party. The honeymoon phase of college is over. Oh yeah, I actually have work to do now. Oh yeah, new friendships require work. Oh yeah, I really miss my home. Oh yeah, not everything is going perfectly. And when things don’t go my way, God often tells me to be still and wait, to remember that He has a better story in the works, than any story I could every try to clumsily write on my own. But because of this call to be patient, I’ve been a bit… mopey. Like a little kid in the grocery store, I’ve been stomping my foot and saying, “No, God! I want the treat NOW!” And when I don’t get what I think I deserve, I plop down on the floor and feel sorry for myself.

I went home on fall break this weekend, and didn’t want to return to school. School is where the responsibilities and the obligations and the life-shaping lessons are. School is just downright hard. But alas, every form of retreat-ism comes to an end, and here I am, back at school. And I had every thought that this would be another week of moping, feeling lonely, and playing a tiny violin while singing “woe is me.”

And then something happened.

Several things actually… The first being a very dear friend (*cough cough* Holly Harris) was kind enough to tell me what I needed to hear. “Get over yourself.” Of course she said it in much nicer terms, but she said very clearly what I needed to hear. Yes… Yes, life is hard. And you can sit around moping about the things you wish you had, or you can make the revolutionary decision to focus on what you do have.

I realize that so often my “bad mood” comes from an introspective, self-centered, way of thinking. Not that there’s anything wrong with self reflection… But it becomes a problem when you are so far into your own head, contemplating only your own thoughts, your own worries, your own hardships, and your own wishes, that you neglect to step outside of yourself and look for others in your life. Look inwardly, find the problem, and take it to Jesus. But please, learn from me and don’t dwell on your problem. Dwelling on problems only creates more problems.

The second thing that happened was that I took her advice and actually did it. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and went and spent time with others. I picked my bottom lip up off the ground, and decided to enjoy life. So often I say the phrase, “choose joy” without thinking much to its meaning. Choosing joy is so much more than just plastering a fake smile on our faces and ignoring our problems. Choosing joy isn’t ignoring our problems. It’s focusing on our present. Choosing joy isn’t looking at the past we want to change or the future we want to control. Choosing joy is looking at the gifts we have in the here and now, and allowing ourselves to be thankful. Don’t we often sort of want to be in a bad mood? Don’t we let negative thoughts grab hold of us? Don’t we squelch our own happiness sometimes? My father said it to me a thousand times while growing up, and now I think I’m finally catching onto it. Happiness is a choice. And what we choose to dwell on is a choice. When I finally decided to allow myself to be happy about all the little things in life, I found I had so much to be thankful for.

So call this an early Thanksgiving, but I am constantly stumbling across something to be thankful for. Friends who tell it to you straight. Roommates who drive twenty minutes to get some yummy breakfast. Groups of new friends singing together at the top of their lungs. Warm sweaters. A surprisingly good caf meal. Artwork. A new Bible study. A good book. Fall leaves. Letters from home. Laughter.

In James, we are told that every good and perfect gift comes down from the Heavenly Father. In our Bible study last night, someone pointed out that this means the inverse to be true. No good thing can come into our life apart from God. The things I listed may seem small and trivial, but when I look at every beautiful gift I’ve been given as a blessing directly from God, I can’t help but feel my heart swell with joy.

So find your little joys. Stop considering what you wish was happening, and start being thankful for all that is happening. I know… It’s so much more easily said than done. What do you do when there doesn’t seem to be any joy, anywhere?

In a week, I might be back in a sour frame of mind, and I’ll have to scroll back through this post and reread my own words. It’s easy to write about thankfulness and joy when you’re feeling it. The true test comes when those shadows shift, and the feelings are gone. What do I do when the little joys seem to be MIA?

I turn to God’s Word to remember that I have the greatest joy of all. A God who promises He isn’t like shifting shadows and fall leaves and the weather and our moods. He is constant. He is joy abundant. He is life. He is good all the time. And that is something for which to be truly thankful.

Five Lessons I’ve Learned at College that have Nothing to do with Academics

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It’s been a month.

It’s been a month since I hugged my parents goodbye on a doorstep of a dorm called Stroup on a beautiful campus called Gardner-Webb University, in a little town no one has ever heard of called Boiling Springs.

It’s been almost a month since I laid down in a tiny little twin bed in an unfamiliar room and read letters from home and cried because I couldn’t believe I was finally at college, far, far away from everyone and everything I loved and knew.

It’s been a month that I’ve been in college. And I already feel like I’ve learned so much.

I also feel like I’ve been putting off writing any sort of blog post about this whole experience. I feel like I’ve been drinking from a fire hose. Everything around me is so different. I’m meeting people who are completely different from me, from worlds nothing like any that I have ever experienced.

But in this time of learning so much, I find I must do what I do best. Write.

I knew I would learn lessons in college. Lessons about math, science, social sciences, history, and of course, writing. And I knew deep down that I’d learn lessons about people, and myself. But now that I am reflecting on this past month I see that the lessons I learned were not the ones I necessarily expected to learn. Isn’t that the beauty of learning? We are assailed by a truth we never expected to stumble upon. So, for those of you who might be wondering what I’ve been doing the past month as a college freshman, and for those of you who were just kind enough to click the link and read, here are the five biggest lessons I’ve learned at college that have nothing to do with academia.


1.) Life is a balancing act.

When I left for school, this was the thing I remember my father saying most clearly. And it took be about 4.6 seconds into the semester to realize how true this statement was.

I thought making the choice of what school to attend was difficult. Ha. No one mentioned that every day after I chose was going to fraught with even more choices. How to spend my time… Who to spend my time with… What to prioritize… Suddenly I wasn’t making one choice. I was making hundreds. I’m learning to balance social life and personal life. Spiritual life and academic life. Family and friends. New relationships and old relationships. Homework, sleep, and socializing.

Life is constantly shifting and changing. There is always something vying for our attention. And in the midst of the noise of life, I must make choices. And I must learn to balance. How thankful I am for a God who promises us an anchor of hope for our souls, even in the most unbalanced times.

 “So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.” (Heb. 6:19, NLT)


2.) Not everyone is going to like you.

Take this lesson from the girl who has eaten many a wrong order a restaurant, and spent a lot of time doing all the work in group projects, all in the hopes that she wouldn’t cause anyone to “dislike” her. I have spent so much of my life striving endlessly for people to “like” me. What does that even mean? Why did I want people to like me? Did I want people to like me for me, or because I wanted social validation? Did I want people to like me so I could represent Christ well, or because I wanted to feel good about myself?

I went into college determined that everyone needed to “like” me. I learned very quickly that this isn’t really a viable way to walk through life. Christ calls us to live at peace with everyone, but I have yet to find a verse in the Bible that says, “Make sure everyone thinks you’re a cool person.” Christ called us to love everyone well. He called us to live a life so devoted to Him that people see Him and only Him. He called us to live a life that makes us say, “anything good in me is Christ.” When I get caught up wanting people to “like” me, I am essentially taking Christ off His throne in my life, and I placing Hannah Ray right on it. I am saying it is more important for me to feel good about myself than to present the Gospel.

There will be people we click with, and people we don’t click with. It isn’t our job to cling to those we click with, or to force those we don’t click with us to like us. It’s our job to love everyone the way Jesus does, and it’s our job to point everything in our life back to Him.

“Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.” (1 Thes. 4:9-12, NLT)


3.) Find your place… Literally.

I was terrified of college because of one thing. Introversion. I am so introverted that I was completely sure that college was going to be one long party that exhausted me after two hours and I’d be trapped in this ongoing world of loud, boisterous people I couldn’t escape from. And for the first week, it sort of was. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it. I had so much fun learning new people and experiencing new things. But there came a time, (that I knew would come) when I desperately needed a breather. I needed a moment to process. I needed a moment to write. I needed a moment alone. And I found it. I found it in a secret hiding place on campus that makes me breathe a little more easily. Whether I need to take a mental health break, or really knock out some of my Old Testament reading in a quiet environment, I can do it.

While it exciting to meet new people, and to begin to strengthen your relationships, it’s also so important to understand, you can’t do it all. You can sign up for a few things, but not everything. You can go out some nights, but not every night. Understanding where your passions are, and where your priorities are, help you better understand your place. Find a quiet place to be yourself. Even if it means saying “no” sometimes.

Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” (Psalm 46:10, NLT)


4.) Everyone is a complex story.

And stories take time to read. I have met some of the most amazing people in these first few weeks. College seems like a catalyst for life. It compounds life into this one location, and suddenly three weeks can feel like three months, because you are living life with people in a deeper way than you’ve lived with anyone prior to this experience. Suddenly, school, family, friends, church, and sports life are one. You see people’s good sides, bad sides, and ugly sides very quickly. They see yours. In a few days, you can have a repertoire of experiences that would have taken you months to accumulate in the “real world.”

But just because you feel close doesn’t mean you are. As one of my friends here so eloquently put, “College friendships spring up like a new plant, quick and promising, but that doesn’t mean the roots are deep yet.” I’ve planted some amazing seeds. But now it’s time to focus on deepening the roots of these seeds.

Everyone I meet is their own story. They have chapters of their lives I know nothing about. They have characters who changed them, and rewrote their stories. They have tear stained pages, and joy filled passages. They have an entire history that I don’t know, and they deserve the respect of telling their stories at the speed they choose. When reading other’s stories, I have to remind myself to have patience and love. I learn about people, and they learn about me, not through fast paced page skimming. We learn through taking our time together. We learn through communication. We learn through sharing meals, sharing a bathroom, sharing a classroom, and sharing our hearts. Be patient with others, and understand that love takes time.

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” (Ephesians 4:2, NLT)


5.) Choose Joy

First of all, I must say I have the best roommate ever, and from the moment I met her she has reiterated this phrase to me. At first, it was a cute thing to say and write on our whiteboard on the door. Now, I feel like the truth is taking root in my heart. Every morning, rainy or sunny, Monday or Saturday, tired or awake, good hair day or bad, we are given a choice. We are given the choice to see Jesus in the little things in life, in the people we meet, and the opportunities we get, or we have the choice to focus on ourselves. I have to admit, too often I focus on myself. College is quite an easy place to become very inwardly focused. I have worried over relationships, friendships, classes, schedules, grades, cafeteria food… You name it, I’ve worried about it. And although I would terribly disappoint my mother by admitting this, I haven’t kept a “good attitude” at every turn. I don’t “choose” joy because sometimes I see nothing to be joyful about.

Yet when I don’t see the joy, it is because I am focusing on the things right in front of me. Like a horse with blinders on, I see only my problems, and I fall apart. But it’s so clear in God’s Word that every moment is an opportunity for joy. Why? Not because we are happy or excited about the bad things in life, but because each situation, both good and bad, is an opportunity to grow closer to Christ. It’s an opportunity to run to God’s feet and throw our troubles down, knowing we can’t find happiness on our own. It’s an opportunity for joy, because we choose to praise Jesus over any other circumstance in our life.

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” (James 1:2-4, NLT)


So there they are. Five lessons from college that I have learned.  College is a place to learn, grow, and understand yourself and your place in the world more clearly. Hopefully I will have many more lessons from the next four years to share. And God willing, these lessons will take root in my heart. And I hope in some way, whether you’ve never been to college, you’re currently in college, or you’re long past college, something in these lessons has helped you. I encourage you, balance life, find your place, pursue stories, and most of all choose joy.

A Thought to Think – Temporary

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Everything is temporary.

In the year that I have had my phone (and the years I had an old school iPod touch before that) I have never deleted a conversation on my phone. Never once. You can scroll back to October 10th, 2013 when I got the phone and read the first text messages I sent saying, “I got a new phone!” if you want. It’s all there. (Granted it may take a lot of scrolling, but it’s there.)

I could work for the FBI the way I track things. I can refer back to something someone said eight months ago if it means proving my point or remembering something especially poignant. My iMessage app is a messy conglomeration of names and emoticons and messages spanning the last 11 months.

Why? Because words and memories mean so much to me. Every text conversation I have ever had is like a tiny little time capsule shared with someone. Nowadays, my generation is reprimanded for their excessive use of screen to screen conversation instead of face to face. I am the first to advocate the importance of face to face interaction, uninterrupted by screens. Too often, we hide behind screens. But there is something special about texting to me. Go ahead and laugh, yes I am about to romanticize text messaging.

Some of my favorite, deepest, and realest conversations have come through text messages. Because I am so word driven, I have been able to type out things that I never would have been able to articulate quite the same in person. Some of the most encouraging words, deepest thoughts, and most vulnerable moments have been born inside a little green messaging app on my iPhone.

So I save them. I save all those little texts, just in case. Just in case I ever want reread something funny one of my friends has said in our never ending group messages. Just in case I want to reread some little encouragement my best friend has sent me. Just in case I want to reread the words of someone I miss. Just in case…

So as you can imagine, when my phone recently went haywire and deleted every message and conversation, my heart sank when I opened up the app to see a white blank screen. Every name, every conversation, gone, as if they had never happened at all.

And for a moment, I panicked. I felt sick at the thought of never seeing all the words I had been collecting for almost a year. I felt sick never scrolling through the memories of my senior year, encapsulated in text messages. And then I begin to think about all the words I had said. All the deep thoughts, worried fears, helpful hints, kind words, shared secrets, and countless laughs that were all hidden away in my phone. Was I ever really going to go back and reread every word? And even if I did, then what? Was I going to copy down every single response and reply that had gone on in conversation for the past 365 days. Was I really ever going to do anything with all those words? Or did I just feel more secure holding a memory in a tangible way?

And that’s when I begin to wonder… Where exactly was I putting my relationships? Did I really believe that somehow being able to reread a message made it more real? Did I feel like having a tangible account of it made it more important? Was I really only secure in a relationship when the person sent me a little sound bite of a conversation? Did the loss of a text message really change the state of a relationship? Weren’t the people in my life more than the little blue bubbles I had reduced them to?

Was I focusing on the words on the screen… or the person on the other side of the screen?

Then it hit me. If not today, when? When am I ever going to let go of the moments and conversations I so desperately cling to, and focus on people again? That deep back and forth my friend and I had? I should have savored that conversation in the moment. That funny, witty exchange we had in a group message? I should have taken a picture if I really wanted to remember. And even then, what if I lost those accounts? What if my computer broke? What if my hard drive failed to back up? What if my house burned down?

Suddenly, I was reminded of a very simple truth that I often overlook.

Everything is temporary. No iCloud backup or hard drive storage or safe or bank or insurance policy can tether us to the things we so desperately cling to. Our lives are as fragile as year’s worth of text messages. Here one day, deleted the next.

Maybe that’s why Jesus said, “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matt. 6:19-20)

Don’t store up your treasure on iPhones, where short circuiting and technical glitches can destroy them. Instead, store up your treasures in Heaven.

As a writer, it’s easy to get caught up in the fear of computer crashes and paper fires. Anything, (literally anything) can destroy the work I’ve done. But nothing can destroy the impact I make on eternity. When I remember that it’s not the text messages I save, but the real people I invest in that live forever, I am comforted. When I look at a text message containing an inside joke compared to the light of eternity spent with Jesus, I can’t help but feel foolish.

Because Jesus also made it very clear, whatever we are clinging to, whatever makes or breaks our day is where our heart is. “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” (Matt. 6:21) Do I really want my heart invested in a few text messages from months ago? Or do I want my love and heart invested in the real people in my life every day?

Even as I write this, my iPhone is backing up to my computer, and I’m saying silent prayers that when I restore it everything will be back as it should be. But if it never restores, if my messages are lost forever, I will go on.

And best of all, I’ll go on a little differently. I really will put my phone down, and look around for the people in life who need a face to face interaction. I’ll invest in the right now, not in the yesterday. I’ll love my relationships for what they are, not what they appear to be over a text message.

And when I look at it that way, in the light of eternity, I have to be thankful for this little inconvenience. Because maybe an iPhone glitch is just what I needed to focus a little less on the temporary and a little more on the eternal.

Tying Up the Loose Ends

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“I guess this is everything,” I said. I clicked the delete button on the computer, erasing my final files. I stood up and turned around. My boss was smiling at me. I pointed to the filing cabinet.

“Everything is filed and squared away, all my files are on the server, and I made sure to put the extra instructions for the next intern on the USB.” She nodded.

“So…” I said. I picked up my keys. I clicked the power button on my computer for the last time.

“I guess this is it. You can text me if anything gets lost, of course,” I said. I reached into the coffee cup on my desk, full of paperclips, highlighters, and pens. I grabbed my favorite red pen.

“You’re going to do great at college, Hannah,” my boss said.

“Thank you for everything,” I said. She reached out and we hugged.

“Goodbye, Hannah!” the office begin to chorus. Everyone was waving and wishing me all the best. Was it just a year ago that I walked into this office afraid of the unknown? I looked into the bin where my newspapers came in each morning for me to read and clip. I had read my final newspaper that morning. The newspaper that had been full of stories and life for me each day was moving on without me.

I had clipped an article that morning, a freelance piece about bidding goodbye to the old, and looking towards new adventures. So apropos for my last day. The article in my purse, my pen in my hand, and goodbye on my lips, I turned towards the door.

“Goodbye!” I called one last time. It was Friday, and the whole office was packing up for the weekend. I pulled my hood up as I stepped off the porch. The rainy August day was uncharacteristically chilly. The rain made it impossible to linger in the bittersweet nostalgia. No time for that. I dashed to my car, and hopped in, tossing my bag onto the passenger seat.

As I pulled out of the parking lot, I thought back on the countless times I had pulled in and out of the parking lot over the past year. My first job, a job I loved, with people I had grown so close to was over.

I had only gone in that Friday to “tie up the loose ends.” But tying up the loose ends gives such a sense of finality. Preparing the space for a new employee. Forwarding emails. Deleting your files. Tossing all your sticky notes. Cleaning your desk and knowing that soon, someone else will call it their desk. Removing all the traces of yourself that you’ve so carefully placed around your space to give it a feel of home. Tying up the loose ends.

I had started the job as a paid summer internship, over a year ago, and I had grown to love it. I genuinely enjoyed coming to my desk each day to read the newspaper, write, and work on PR projects. It was something I had never taken for granted, because I enjoyed it so much. But I always knew it would come to an end one day. And today was that day.

As I pulled into my driveway, I thought about the memories of my job, and I thought about the future. Would I ever find a job like this again? Would all of life start as unknown as this, and yet move into a warm, happy home? Why was I leaving again?

The answers didn’t come, but the thought that life was moving forward resounded. It was time. It was time to take a step into the unknown, not unlike what I had done the year before at my office. I had succeeded at my first job, there was no reason not to take the confidence and skills I learned to my next job.

My first job will always hold a special place in my heart. It was my starting ground. It was what showed me I had the ability to do more than I realized. I would miss it, but I was glad that it had its place as long as it did.

I thought back to my office one last time, as I unlocked the door to my house. I thought about my desk, the mailroom, the front lobby, and the kitchen… The kitchen. I thought of my orange cup, still in the refrigerator with the coffee I had made the day before. So maybe I had missed a loose end or two? I suppose that’s only fitting as well. We leave a pieces of ourselves behind, everywhere we go. We touch and are touched by every experience, every environment, and every person. We take the lessons we learn to begin new experiences. And we keep our minds open to change and return. As hard as goodbyes are, they’re necessary. Life is full of loose ends that get tied, if only so the next ends can begin.

Laughing for Days – quotes from 2013-2014

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“Life is worth living as long as there’s a laugh in it.” — Anne of Green Gables

I feel that I have been unusually blessed with hilarious friends. I mean, these folks are funny. And this year, I decided to commemorate the hilarity that often ensues by quoting the things that were especially funny and poignant. At the risk of having to insist, “It was funny! I guess you had to be there,” I decided to post a selection of particularly funny or quotable moments from the past school year. I apologize if this is self-indulgent. It made me smile and laugh aloud to reread these, and remember the fun times from this year.

To those who take the time to read the random conversation snippets, enjoy the words that have made me laugh, smile, and think. (Mostly laugh. Snort laugh at times…)

If your name made it to this list… Well honestly, it’s just whatever thing that made me laugh in the moment so I jotted it down. Come on, I’m not a comedic expert. So to you, the friends who created these quotes, thank you for constantly keeping joy at the forefront of our friendships. You make life so much better, because you put the laugh in it.

Quotes 2013-2014

“She should be clothed in dignity… And nothing else apparently.” — Jesse Clark

“Some Bible stories just aren’t told as much. Daniel & the Lions’ Den… Lot and His Incest.” — Holly Harris

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned at college… It’s… Um… I forgot.” — Matthew Harris

“We’ll never have world peace. There will never be a cure for hunger. And there will always be cuss words. GET OVER IT.” — Bethany Alston

Julianna Weiss: A prideful heart is bad medicine for everyone! Bethany Alston: That’s from 2nd Opinions 3:12

“I’ll try water.” — Robert Chou

Ryan Dovel: Maybe in the next years it’ll be BYOF. Bring Your Own Fiancé! Robert Chou: …That’s with a “P.” Ryan Dovel: Shh… Your private school is showing.

“Bacon is meat candy.” — Will King

“It was made in the ancient times when dinosaurs were doing vaudeville.” — Bethany Alston

“At least you didn’t go to a school of only sixth graders. I’m talking nerdy, pimple-y faced, just learned to play the trumpet sixth graders.” — Taylor Higgins

“Throwing stones never solves any of your problems, unless your problem is having too many stones.” — Ryan Dovel

“Demonly light… Isn’t that darkness?” — Molly Weiss

“Hashtag, you’re so high school. Hashtag, trying too hard. Hashtag go to college. It’ll hashtag make you better.” — Bethany Alston

“Wow the U.S. is so huge! I feel like I own an eighth of the world! Just kidding, that’s Russia…” — Julianna Weiss

Me: “Put yourself out there” is such a dumb phrase. What does that even mean? Micah Ray: Today a woman was run over on I-40 after she put herself out there.

Abby Ray: You shouldn’t even hate your worst enemy. William Gravely (eight years old): Oh that’s that kid who sat on my snack in Sunday school and then threw it at me.

“Sometimes people think it’s easier to build walls and lock doors than to clean up the wreckage of what could be.” — Landis Brown

“He is worth nothing. Well, I mean, he’s worth something as person because he’s God’s child. But as a teacher, he should be fired.” — Beth Winze

“You gotta choose not to get on the struggle bus. It’s always going to be there, tooting its horn saying, ‘get on!’ and you just have to choose not to get on in the first place.” — Julianna Weiss

“The colors were bread and wine. The colors of communion.” — Sydney Parker

“Remember when we used to marry the lighting bugs?? Yeah… They were probably all males.” — Lauren Howard

“My mom said, ‘you’ve got to stop calling people peasants.’ And I was like, ‘I won’t stop calling them peasants until they stop acting like it.'” — Beth Winze

*car runs red light* “Well that was brazen.” — Landis Brown

Me: I don’t even know how you choreograph hip hop. Holly Harris: Ok… Hip and hop a little.

“You have a beautiful heart, but everything else I’m squinting at.” — Bethany Alston

“I wouldn’t be funny without Jesus.” — Katie Gilbert

Andrea VanDerwerker: Hannah, I thought you were asleep. Me: I woke up to the sound of my breaking heart.

“I want coffee not bean water.” — Molly Weiss

“Wouldn’t it be cool if Beyoncé was a State Farm agent?” — Andrea Vanderwerker

“Let’s just buy twizzlers and suck on our pain.” — Bethany Alston

“Andrea, I feel like if you were a whale everyone would love you.” — Julianna Weiss

“You narrowly avoided getting eaten by sharks, only to be eaten by your own skin.” — Bethany Alston

Andrea VanDerwerker: I’m not gonna put on my seatbelt, it hurts my sunburn. Molly Weiss: Well, death will hurt more.

Julianna Weiss:  *about Wilmington* This is underwhelming. Molly Weiss: Underwhelmington.

“I should grow my hair in front of my face since no one’s looking at it anyways.” — Andrea VanDerwerker

“Please, I’m not getting up at 4am to have breakfast with the president, much less to work out.” — Taylor Higgins

Jennifer Ray: She didn’t lie. She just… Micah Ray: Strategically miss told the truth.

“It’s always too soon to joke about mass genocide!” — me

“That’s my spirit animal… A dying moose.” — Andrea VanDerwerker

Me: What’s outdoor activity ministry? Emily Adair: I don’t know… Hiking for God?

“I don’t care if Halle Berry ruined Cat Woman. She wore that suit.” — Patrick Bryant

“No stop! Don’t peel on my jammies bro! Don’t take your dead epidermis off on my resting place.” — Julianna Weiss

“I’m deaf and I’m losing my depth perception. I’m Helen Keller.” — Josh Bailey

“That’s how it be sometimes.” — Brad Crawford

“I hope I outlive Jesse!” — Julianna Weiss

“It’s not a party till there’s an assortment of grapes.” — Jesse Clark

“Well I guess I’ll have to marry a poodle.” — Holly Harris

Andrea VanDerwerker: I need a cute caption for this photo… Bethany Alston: WIFE ME. I mean… Hi.

“It’s not an addiction, it’s a lifestyle habit.” — Molly Weiss

*laughs for a million years while crashing into a distant star* — Landis Brown

Thanks for the laughs. Here’s to the laughter in the every day, that makes life just a little more wonderful.