Letter #682: Life Nuggets

BdayDear life,

Last week, I turned 28. I don’t understand how time goes so quickly, but with each passing year I feel like you get more fun and I gain more perspective. I was reflecting on you in the last week, and I found it fitting to celebrate another year by sharing a few things I’ve learned along the way. Somehow at Kamp ‘throwing nuggets’ has become one of my things. My staff mocks me for it, but it’s become a simple way to share life lessons, tips of advice and biblical wisdom. So in reflection of my 28th year, here are some ‘Rother Nuggets’ in written form in no particular order:

  1. Age ain’t nothin’ but a thing. If you think and say you’re old, then you are. If you simply live life and don’t worry about your age, you’ll never be old.
  2. Life’s way more fun and much easier when you live open-handed with it rather than fists clenched tight.
  3. Enjoy the metabolism of youth! Something changes inside of you between 21 and 26.
  4. Be someone who tries new things. Life’s an adventure; don’t live like it’s boring.
  5. You’re capable of far more than you think. Believe in yourself.
  6. Pick up the phone and call. Better yet, get in your car and go. Texts are fine, but there’s nothing that can replace real conversation and authentic relationships.
  7. I’m 28, living in Branson (the Mecca of the Elderly), single and working a second job at Chick-fil-A. What is my life?! Never in a million years would I have guessed this is where I’d be and what I’d be doing. It’s far better.
  8. Live purposefully. Every day. Every moment.
  9. Refuse to waste your life. There’s nothing more freeing than this. Nothing.
  10. Challenge yourself. Get out of your comfort zone. I’ve been more humbled through my hot yoga/barre classes and having 20-year-olds giving me direction at Chick-fil-A this year than maybe ever. It’s a really healthy place to live.
  11. You don’t need as much sleep as you think. But remember, being disciplined in the morning starts by being disciplined at night.
  12. You have the ability to make people’s day every time you interact with someone. Choose joy. Choose to encourage. Smile. It’s always worth it.
  13. Bust your rear now to instill financial disciplines. Get out of debt. Live below your means. Don’t buy stupid stuff. Save so you can go on adventures. Give…none of it’s yours anyway.
  14. Whether they have something to offer you or not, people matter. Look every one in the eye, show them dignity and be kind.
  15. Living life with 1000s of people in your life stage isn’t real life. Enjoy college while it lasts, but be ready to fight for community. And know it’s worth fighting for. We weren’t built to go at it alone.
  16. Friends come in all types. Surround yourself with people different than yourself. People who make you better. Forget stereotypes and just do life well with the people God puts in your path. Married, single, younger, older. It doesn’t matter. Don’t let life stage dictate friendship.

    Wiebe birthday
    Birthday celebration with the Wiebe clan…beyond thankful for this crew!
  17. There are few things more attractive than a strong work ethic. Work hard. Do your best.
  18. Feelings change often. Don’t rely on them solely. Anchor yourself in truth.
  19. Opportunity is everywhere. Open your eyes and stop sulking. Make the most of what’s in front of you.
  20. Don’t run from questions. Ask yourself hard ones. Surround yourself with people who push you to wrestle by asking them. Who am I? What am I good at? What are my weaknesses? What do I believe and why? Is what I’m spending my time on worth it?
  21. Show up. Being present matters. Have integrity and be a person of your word.
  22. Laugh. A lot. With others and at yourself.

As I was writing these, I couldn’t stop thinking about how I longed for these not to just be bullet points on a page, but pillars my life is built around. Honestly, praying that my heart would be centered in Jesus and that the overflow of how I live would reflect that. It’s been a good 27 years…looking forward to the 28th and all I will learn!

28 going on…….,

Rother the nugget thrower (hypothetically and now literally!)

Letter #516: Legacy of 90 Years

Dear 90 years,

I’m not sure I can imagine living for 40 years let alone for you. This weekend I made my first of three treks to Oklahoma this month to celebrate my grandmother’s 90th birthday! Wow, you are a long time to live and create a fun reason to celebrate!! Nearly all her family showed up to honor her 90th year of life! What a fun afternoon.

This celebration of life was a great excuse to eat ribbon cake (so good!), but it also got me thinking. Thinking about the legacy left after you. Thinking about my grandma’s legacy, but also thinking about the legacy I want left regardless of how many years I live.

Grandma Brueggen has left a legacy of strong work ethic behind her. All three of her children and basically all of her grandchildren are committed to excellence and working hard. She grew up on the farm, was determined to give her kids a good life and might be a harder worker today at her age than a good number of folks in my generation.

Grandma with her three kids: Joe, Mama Roth & Pat.

She’s also left a legacy of education. Her most important goal was for her three kids to finish college. After only completing the 8th grade and fighting to provide through farming, she was determined for her kids to do education different than she did. The vision and commitment she set for her kids was successful. All three of her children have collegiate degrees. She couldn’t have been more proud, until every grandchild capable completed college as well.

Grandma and the majority of her grandkids.

Lastly, a legacy of dedication to family follows her. Family has and always will be priority to her. This has overflowed into the generations she is the matriarch of as well. Family takes precedence over almost everything. This is true for my grandma, for my aunts and uncles and for even the youngest of grandkids. It’s truly a neat family to be apart of and an even neater legacy left by Grandma Brueggen after nearly a century of life.

Sisters with Grandma B!!!

Grandma B is a neat lady, but celebrating you in her life caused me to evaluate the legacy I long to be left. The above isn’t a bad start, but there are a few other things I long for in my legacy. If I could handpick three things, they would be this: 1) A woman of generosity. 2) A woman of integrity. 3) A woman who operated out of Christ-centered obedience more often than selfish ambition. If my legacy is more about Christ and less about me, this life will have been successful. The crazy thing is none of these just happen. Every single one of them is rooted in my daily decisions. My legacy at 90, if I make it that long, is completely dependent on the choices I make today. Forget 401k’s and long-term health insurance, this might be the most important long-term planning I ever embark upon.

Happy 90th Birthday Grandma Brueggen! We LOVE you tons.

What do you long for your legacy to be?,

Daily events spark deep thought in me ALL the time

Letter #460: Birthday Symmetry!

Dear birthdays,

There’s just something special about you. For the first 21 years of our life we can’t wait for the next one of you to roll around. Then a complete shift of thinking happens in a matter of days, and we transition from rejoicing as we gain another year to dreading you. Correction: we don’t dread you as much as the extra number we’re forced to add to our ages. Another game changer happens when it’s exponentially more exciting to celebrate others more than yourself. Planning a seven year old’s party is way more inviting than a 33 year old’s. Finally somewhere down the line (typically after some sort of inappropriate, over-the-hill gifts are given), we quit worrying about what you do to our age and are simply thankful we’re still alive.

Wow. Now that I’ve analyzed our entire psyche concerning you, let’s move on.

Today, we celebrate one of you. Not just any of you, but a pretty special one. I love symmetry when it comes to you, so anytime someone turns a double number the stakes increase. 11. 22. 99. If an individual gets real crazy, 111. Wow, these call for special celebration…even if it is just within my own heart!

This is legitimately the only picture I could find of just the two of us...LegoLand March 2011 with some concoction we were excited about! We must take more pictures!!!

Today is my favorite oldest sister’s 33rd one of you!!!! Here are 33 reasons we celebrate you…gotcha, 33 is too many, but how about 11 (remember, symmetry!):

My precious family!
  1. You (and Chad!) produce pretty precious offspring…fun, full of life, rambunctious nephews by the names of Kaedyn and Paxton!
  2. You have an uncanny ability to make something out of nothing. Food. Crafts. Decor. Your creativity and eye for style is impressive.
  3. You remind others of the importance of picking our battles through the patience you live your life with and your ability for things to not phase you.
  4. Today, TJ Maxx’s revenue increased as a direct result of people buying you gift cards. You’re probably the trendiest, bargain finding 33-year-old I know.
  5. You’re an includer. People always feel welcome and at home around you.
  6. You’re an overcomer. You don’t let adversity stop you; instead you fight, persevere and find a way to excel.
  7. You’re open-minded and willing to learn and try new things. It’s easy to get set in our ways, but you continue to grow and experiment.
  8. You help instigate and get Mom and Dad on board with going on family vacations…one of these probably needs to get in the works soon. (Hint, hint!)
  9. You’re never afraid to laugh…regardless of the setting. (This has likely gotten us into trouble a time or two :))
  10. You’re well-rounded. You will thrive in any setting because you’re capable of talking fashion, sports, pop culture, education, parenting, religion, medicine. Politics might be a stretch!
  11. You’re one of two of the best sisters a girl could imagine having. I wouldn’t trade you for the world…hmmm, maybe Beyonce to fulfill my Beyonce backup dancer dream. Kidding!

Today we celebrate the one and only, Jamie “Rother’ Smith. Don’t forget to wish people well and tell them you love them on their special day…more often than that would be ideal! After all, you are the one day for an entire year where it’s remotely acceptable for things to be centered on a specific person.

Happy Birthday Jamie!

Lover of birthday celebrations