This week at work a second grade girl came up to me and showed me a book she wrote. It was many pieces of white computer paper folded in half and stapled together. It was titled "all about me". Obviously the contents inside her book were little pieces of information about her life. She was so excited about it that she even put her book in the classroom library, so that all her classmates could read it.
Whenever I'm reading someone's blog, looking at their website, watching their YouTube, etc., I want to know who the true person is behind all of it. I want to know about their life, because it's interesting and it helps to connect with that person even more. So it got me to thinking, why not write a blog post titled "all about me"?
Let's start from the beginning: I was born on Tuesday February 14, 1995 in Coffeyville, KS. My mom describes me in my baby book as looking like a little Indian baby, because I had dark skin and a full head of dark hair. (PS I would like to know where both of those features went...lol)
I was my parents' first child and I was the only child for 4 years. Then along came my sister MacKensie and then 2 years later my sister Paige.
My whole childhood (up to 18), I lived in Coffeyville, KS, but beginning in third grade I started going to school in South Coffeyville, OK. (Clever name, I know. Coffeyville and South Coffeyville border each other.) From 3rd grade to 12th grade, the majority of my life happened in the little bitty town of South Coffeyville, OK. To give you the bigger picture, the town has less than 1,000 people and I graduated with 26.
During junior year of high school, I began dating a guy. It was that normal high school fling type thing. However, for one out of two years of the relationship, it sucked. It was draining and controlling. I didn't want to be in it, but I didn't know how to get out. Somehow (Jesus), I mustered up the strength and the courage to end the toxic relationship after my senior year of high school.
I actually had decided that I wasn't going to date anyone else until I was done with college and I wanted nothing to do with "love". I decided that I was going to work on my relationship with Jesus, because it had kind of faltered during that previous 2 years.
The decision to end my worldly relationship and focus on my relationship with Jesus was the best decision I ever made. I was truly happy for the first time in a long time. I was a new person. It's so amazing how simply choosing Jesus can transform you completely.
At age 18, I finally had my own relationship with Christ. Not one built on my family's christianity, but one of my very own. This is so vital. You can't live on someone else's blessing or someone else's faith, it has to be your own.
Fast forward just a few months after I had sworn off all relationships for like ever... (God was probably laughing) Jarin Gage Watkins came into my life. I knew him from high school, but he was 2 years older than me and we hardly ever talked. We ended up going to the same church together though. We became friends and we hung out a lot. Eventually, I had to ask him "are you going to ask me to be your girlfriend or not?"
The next day (in December 2013), he came over with flowers in hand and finally asked me. He was so nervous and I just laughed the whole time.
In January 2015, after community college at home, I went away to Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This season of my life changed me so much. I grew academically, spiritually, mentally, and in any other way you can think of. Jarin and I would mostly see each other on weekends, but this even helped our relationship to grow.
In March 2015, Jarin went away for basic training with the Army National Guard. He was gone for three months. I wrote letters to him everyday and he would send his when he could. We hardly ever got to talk on the phone. Even though it was just three months, it seemed like forever. This was one of the hardest things we had to do, but we got through it and it actually made our relationship stronger.
So in July 2015, He asked me to marry him. He was so nervous and I just laughed the whole time. (Do you see a pattern?) I actually had to tell him "stop talking and just ask me". He did. I said "yes".
Fast forward again to October 15, 2016, we finally got married. After a year and 3 months of saving money, planning, and trying to set the perfect date, we said "I do". It was also during the fall break of my senior year of college, so it was quite the hectic time. There were a lot of changes.
Then, the day I had been waiting for, for 4 years, finally came. I graduated from Oral Roberts University On May 6, 2017 with my BA in psychology. I was the first in my family to graduate from college and it still seems so unreal.
So, here I am now. I just got a new job as a behavior coach at an elementary school. We just moved into a new apartment. We are going to be celebrating a year of marriage in just about a month and a half. I'm continuing to blog. I'm always wondering about what else is going to shape me as a person. And I'm working on my relationship with Jesus everyday.
If I could tell you anything from my 22 years on this earth, it would be:
- Where you grow up and how you grow up shape you as a person, but it doesn't mean you have to be stuck there.
- Sometimes you have to let a relationship go, in order to discover who you really are.
- Distance in a relationship doesn't mean its doomed. Sometimes distance really does make the heart grow fonder.
- There is no set time in which you should get married. It doesn't always come after 6 months or after a year or even after 3 years. It takes time and it's nothing to rush.
- Don't get so wrapped up in the details of the wedding day, that you forget about the lifetime of marriage.
- College is hard, but it actually is worth it.
- Your story is important. Your story is what makes you, you.
- You have something to share. Find a way to share it, whether it's through blogging, making videos, social media, speaking on stage, or just one on one conversations.
- God works in crazy ways. You're not going to understand it, so don't try to.
- Life is a process. Don't get a head of yourself. Don't get ahead of the season God has you in. Take your time and just grow where you've been planted.