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.

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    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 #662: Birthday Blog “Match.com”

**In the beginning of Letters for Lindsay, I blogged daily. Writing on my own birthday just seemed a little strange. This is the 4th year a family member has guest blogged. It was my oldest sister Jamie’s turn. Not the angle I expected, and WAY too kind, but this is hilarious. My family never ceases to amaze me! Enjoy!!!**

Dear tall, Christian, single guys,

I’d like to tell you about a pretty special person we’re celebrating today, my baby sister, Lindsay! Lindsay is one of the most incredible people you will ever meet, and here are some of the qualities that make her so special:

  • Patience: She handles 4 nephews (soon to be 5!) like a pro. This also applies to God’s plan for her life.  She trusts it and is willing to wait patiently for what He has planned for her.
  • Hardworking: She works ALL summer long in Branson for Kanakuk summer camps with MIDDLE SCHOOL GIRLS and NO air conditioning”…that qualifies her for sainthood in my book!
  • Generous: She volunteered her time after Christmas to work at an orphanage in Africa helping bring joy to some pretty amazing kids.
  • Caring and Supportive: She FLEW to Dallas when my son was in the Children’s ICU to keep me company and provide support.
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Jamie and I with Emerson in Dallas after his open heart surgery last February. I watched miracles happen before my eyes in this boy!
  • Hilarious: You will often find Lindsay in costume singing out of tune for a laugh.  She even did this in the hospital to Emerson while he was sedated”…poor kid probably had nightmares! Nevertheless, the nurses all got a good laugh.
  • Confident: Lindsay is the most secure person I know.  Her confidence is something I aspire to achieve.
  • Faithful: Her love of God and her faith is admirable and unquestionable.
  • Loyal: She’s the best friend and sister you could ask for.  Did I say she’ll make you laugh? J
  • Tall: Height is a “big” deal”…pun intended J  (She didn’t get all the humor genes.)
  • Athletic: Growing up as a tomboy and 3rd girl, Lindsay is pretty proficient in most sports (except running- she’d be the turtle who won the race)”…she could probably take you on in a game of one-on-one and win!
  • Honest:  Need someone to bounce ideas off of? She’s your girl. She’s honest but won’t be hurtful. Yes, there’s a difference.

Although those are only a few of the wonderful attributes we all love about Lindsay, I must wrap up her “match.com” application for now.  If you think you would like to meet Lindsay, you must know that you will be “interviewed” by a father, mother, 2 sisters, 2 brother-in-laws, 5 nephews, and countless others to see if you meet all of our approval”…she IS the baby sister after all.

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Did Jamie take it too far on the caption?!?! Probably, but this boy is to darn cute not to post this!!!! Remember those miracles I mentioned above?!

Happy Birthday, Lindsay! We love you!!!

Your oldest, non-writer, protective, and well-intentioned shorter sister,

Jamie

Letter #655: Father with Vision

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Dear future,

Sometimes we consume ourselves with what you will look like.

Where will I live? What will I be doing? Who will I be doing life with”…spouse, kids, friends, alone?

My thoughts are often consumed by fleeting things. Things I have zero control over. What if instead I focused on and dreamed about things that matter and that I can control?

I can’t dictate the actions of others. I can’t manage our government. I can’t choose how many boys take me on dates this year.

I can choose how I spend my time. How I develop my character. How I spend my money. What if I focused on the things I get to manage and control? What could you look like if I lived like this?

It’s fun to dream of what could be. Of what my life could look like at the age of 64.

And while I dream about my character development, I’d like to celebrate a man who’s arrived at 64 in a strong way. A man who has developed respectable character. Admirable. At the age of 64, he has become something any of us young pups can look to as an example. And my generation needs examples worthy of following. Papa Roth has developed and grown into a man worthy of following and has become a man of great character.

Confident. Servant. Teachable. Leader. Humble. Hard worker. Funny. Discerning. Wise with money yet generous. Engaging. Encouraging.

I could go on, but you get my point. These are things worthy of striving toward in life that will mean something at 64. I want to live with vision of becoming a woman of character rather than being consumed by things I can’t control. To do this, I must live with purpose. Take ownership of how I spend my time and money. Be diligent in seeing outside myself. The little things today are what will make the big difference years from now.

Dad, you are someone I look to that gives me purpose and vision to live now for what could be at 64. Thanks for leading our family with vision and integrity. Press on and even in your 64th year, be open to what the Lord is teaching you.

Happy 64th Birthday Pops!!!

Striving to live with vision at 26,

Dreamer and believer of what 64 could be

Letter #647: ‘Assigned’ Birthdays

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Dear family,

So many negative quotes out there about you. We get it…you can pick your friends while your relatives are assigned.

Every one of you has plenty of problems. Yes, even the Rother’s. Nobody is perfect. Regardless, I’ve never been more thankful for who I was ‘assigned’ to do life with. Thankfully the odds were in my favor!

I continue to be blown away with how different each of us are, but it still just works. We choose to make it work. Thanks for putting up with me guys! 🙂

While I’m thankful for my whole family, today I am specifically thankful for our middle sister Dana (the prego one above in the center!) who’s been getting the back burner since 1981! Sharing a birthday with Jesus is a quick way to be forgotten.

Well my friend, know you have not been forgotten! Regardless of when your birthday is, I sure am thankful for you. For the cute babies you produce. For always willingly voicing your opinion. For leading well and living with vision. For believing in and encouraging me to be me. For challenging me to get out of my comfort zone. For, as you phrase it, paving the way for me. And for so much more…

Sorry you share your birthday with the most important, life-changing man in history, but know you are loved.

Happy Birthday Dana!

The girl who lucked out when family’s were ‘assigned’

Letter #626: To the Woman…

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Dear seasons of love,

I’m 26 years into this thing we call life, and there’s one woman who hasn’t waivered in her commitment to me in any life stage. She truly has embraced you and discovered how to love no matter what stage people are in. So today, I’d like to take a moment to wish the woman I am more thankful for than she’ll ever know a Happy Birthday!

 

To the woman who gave birth to me at 10 lbs., 4 oz. (sorry I created tyranny for you as I entered the world :)),

Who attended countless sporting events she didn’t love because I did,

Who let me be a tomboy yet still trained me to be a lady in the midst (thanks for drawing the line in the sand when I wanted to play football :))

Who invented Mama Linda’s Favorite Recipes and allowed our snack drawer to be the revolving door for our friends (friends have the ability to define a kid”…you were always in the mix with mine),

Who taught me being an outspoken woman with a strong work ethic can still be graceful,

Who worked the nursing night shift so she could be our mom during the day (your presence impacted us more than you’ll ever know).

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OKC Half Marathon: One of the many sporting events she attended on my behalf!!!

To the woman I can call about anything (thanks for answering all my grocery store/cooking calls :)),

Who will find answers to my questions no matter what it takes,

Who is unafraid to say hard things (and people wonder where I get it from :)),

Who is defying the status quo and age and currently making strides to be the healthiest she’s ever been,

Who values knowledge and is actively growing,

Who lives securely and walks in confidence in who she is.

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Our most recent Branson adventure…The Price is Right!!!

To the woman who is a giver, a fighter, a lover,

A mother, a wife, a daughter, a neighbor, a friend,

To the woman who words could never do justice,

Happy Birthday.

 

Looking forward to many more seasons with you! Let’s enjoy the one we’re in right now as much as we can!!!

Thankful God chose to make Mama Roth my mom,

Lindsay

Letter #486: 25 and Arrived!

Dear 25,

Oh, you were fun. Quarter of a century. If I hadn’t already, I have now officially arrived! Not sure what I’ve arrived to…grown up land I guess. You mean a few things…I can officially rent a car. Word on the street and one I’m excited about, my car insurance decreases….Holla! Besides that, you just sound like I’m supposed to be well on my way into my career. Hmmm, not sure if I’m quite ready for all that, but nevertheless, let’s do this. Halfway to 50, but I say I’m just entering my prime!!!

Birthdays tend to bring a few hilarious moments in life, but for some reason I believe you heightened the number of these. Let’s recap:

  • A gift from my sweet roommate left at our APT when I returned from OK and she was on vacation in FL. The last sentence of the card said, “Hope this book helps prepare you for marriage.” Thoroughly confused, I proceeded to open the gift only to find this. Click the link, trust me! Well played rooms!
  • Personalized birthday card from my precious 89-year-old Grandma Brueggen…with just a hint of name confusion!!! Shhh…don’t tell her, she’ll be devastated, but this is hilarious!
Happy Birthday Dana! 🙂
  • A few of my K-West friends who are currently at the Kanakuk Institute and interning in my office building showed up to perform BOTH K-West Birthday Songs…considering people on the floor above and below could hear them, I don’t think our building has seen that much life in ages!
  • My friend rewriting the words to Lecrae’s ‘God is Enough’ to ‘Lindsay’s the Stuff.’
  • Cupcakes on the hood of the car post our Kelly concert…Kelly was for sure a major highlight!!! Plus the fact my friends brought glow sticks, birthday hats and a beach ball for the concert! Hilarious!
Wouldn't have wanted it to be any other way!
  • My friend writing ‘Happy Birthday Lauren’ on my Facebook wall and blaming it on predictive text. I’ll cut him some slack! Hilarious!
  • Speaking of Facebook…people coming out of the woodwork to write ‘Happy Birthday’ on your wall never ceases to amaze me. Appreciate your thoughtfulness, but this makes me laugh!
Just plain thoughtful moments:
  • Door decor to the APT from the Houston’s…Hads informed me she did most of the work as she took me on a tour to see it!
Houston door decorations!
  • My 37 week prego sister surprised me with ice cream cake, my favorite, when I stopped for dinner and to see Harrison’s nursery on my way back to Branson! Seriously, I don’t know when the last time I had a real birthday cake was! Thanks guys!
Baskin Robbins Ice Cream Cake!!!
  • All the other things I’m forgetting…texts, tweets, calls, cards, Sonic drinks, Chili’s lunch and so much more.

Birthdays are interesting to me because it’s the one day where things are actually kind of all about you. Or at least people make it this way to some degree. I’m not sure if we should ever have a day all about us, but birthdays sure are fun. Thanks for all the love people. You really know how to make a girl feel special!

Laughing as I think about all these hilarious moments,

25 and thankful

P.S. Mama Roth, thanks for guest posting yesterday! You don’t give yourself enough credit for your writing skills!

Letter #485: Guest Post-Lindsay’s Birthday!

A year ago I convinced my sister to guest blog for my 24th birthday. This year I somehow convinced Mama Roth into it. After some ‘pointed encouragement,’ she committed.I’m thankful for these two because it just feels weird writing about my own birthday. Shedding too much light on my childhood and telling too many motherly lies, her writing style at 56 years of age isn’t too shabby! Mama Roth, thanks for writing, but probably more importantly, thanks for delivering me, all 10 pounds!

To all the AVID readers of ‘Letters For Lindsay,’ after reading this blog it will be evident that Lindsay did NOT inherit her writing skills from me (aka: Mama Roth):

Twenty-five years ago, Lindsay Michelle made her BIG (10 lbs. 4 ozs.) entrance into this world. We were thrilled to add another beautiful, blonde girl to our family.   Although, she was a boy named Eric Paul throughout the pregnancy (sonograms must not have been as accurate then). Luckily back in the day, nurseries were decorated in yellow with themes so it wasn’t a huge problem…other than all the blue items I had made in advance. The name Lindsay was derived from a competitor company of Culligan Water Conditioning (Papa Roth’s business), that’s what happens when you are under pressure.

Lindsay was born during Spring Break, which was very considerate of her. Therefore, no arrangements were necessary for Jamie (age 8 ) and Dana (age 5) for school transportation, and PaPa Roth did NOT have to attempt clothing and hair for two little girls. It was also the perfect bonding time for three sisters (I always told them “someday you will be best friends,” which has become true!). I think Lindsay also was smart coming on March 20, because she has always had fun birthdays during her school breaks.

Lindsay’s sisters adored her as an infant and loved to show her off to their friends. She was their own life-size, real baby doll! They taught her a lot of funny things to do or say (not all good :)). Lindsay was definitely a tomboy and began showing athletic interests as early as age two at her sister’s activities.  Her two-year old birthday gift was a Little Tyke basketball goal. As parents, we had to say “no” when she was in elementary school and wanted to sign-up for the boy’s football team. But over the years, she excelled in basketball and softball. I was relieved when she graduated from high school without severe injuries from all of her crazy stunts. But as Lindsay’s friends all know, she lives every day as if it might be her last and she is NOT going to miss out on anything. Even in college, we received exciting phone calls from OSU that she was getting to play quarterback on an inter-mural flag football team in the Boone Pickens Stadium. WOW!!!

All of the GREAT memories over the past 25 years could make for a l-o-n-g blog post, but I know Lindsay prefers to keep them short (sometimes :)) so I won’t go on too much longer. Our family celebrates this special birthday with joy in our hearts and thanksgiving for the gift of a wonderful daughter and sister.

Lindsay, you were such a fun, easy-going, respectful, obedient child. These characteristics and more make up the beautiful, young lady you have become. Young women growing up today face a steep uphill battle in forming a positive, healthy view of their own identity. Positive role models are virtually nonexistent. Television programs and magazines feature female actresses whose roles revolve around illicit romance, materialism, and career pursuits. You have chosen to swim against the current – with GOD’S help – to resist the values and ways of the world around you. You have become a positive role model for other young ladies. You possess so many biblical qualities: trustworthiness, productivity, financial wisdom, generosity, genuine concern, modesty, wisdom, kindness, confidence, joy and a fear of the Lord. We are so proud of you!

Lindsay, I have seen your character grow over the years through a consistent commitment to the Lord and simply by God’s grace. We thank God daily for one of our greatest blessings…the birth of Lindsay Michelle Rother on March 20, 1987. Happy 25th Birthday!

Love you,

Mama Roth

Letter #467: A True Man

Dear men,

I could write a series of letters to you, but I’m not going to do that today. For some reason the topic of you has been on my mind lately. From the way you are being raised, to how you fit into the current state of Christianity and the church, to the way you pursue women and and parent your children. I’m not going to get into all this currently, but know I’ve been praying for the Lord to raise up godly men in our world.

A couple weeks ago I had the chance to listen to Josh McDowell teach. The majority of his talk focused on raising kids in our current society, pornography and the importance of teaching children about sexuality. Well I’m not sure if this is good or bad news for readers, but this is not the subject I’ll be breaching today either.

I was intrigued by one point McDowell made though. He claimed research shows a loving relationship with a father has more impact than any other influence on a child. Are you kidding me?? Simply by a father being present, a child has a better chance of “turning out.’ Statistically a child is exponentially more likely to succeed when a father figure is engaged in their children’s lives. Fellas (all five of you reading), did you read that right?? Your presence matters.

Now there are a ton of angles I could take just from this one statement on today’s post. However, today isn’t about all of you. Today is about one man. Today, I would like to highlight and thank my father, Paul “Sam’ Rother, for not only simply being present but for loving my sisters and I the best way he knew how and continuing to do the same currently despite his baby nearing 25.

'PoPo' and Paxton at Christmas!

Tomorrow Papa Roth turns 62, and I get to be in town to celebrate with him! Tomorrow’s his official big day, but I’ve taken the liberty to celebrate him today. Dad, hope you’re alright with a premature celebration!

Papa & Mama Roth & I do Branson...The Branson Belle that is!

To the dad who instilled the true meaning of hard work into his children, a man of sound work ethic. To the dad who did what was right despite the consequences, a man of integrity. To the dad who showed up, a man who’s actions speak louder than his words. To the dad who makes us laugh (even if it is a bit out of embarrassment), a man with a hilarious sense of humor. To the dad who chooses to love his wife faithfully and well, a man striving to be a better husband. To the dad who provides for others before himself, a man living selflessly. To the dad who has become the “PoPo’ my nephews adore, a man leaving a legacy bigger than himself. To the dad who is growing and learning now more than ever, a man seeking Christ.

Papa Roth's whole brood...you have a good lookin' bunch if I may say so myself!

Men, engage with your children. Model the way a man should live, the way a man should love his wife. If you didn’t have a great father figure, seek someone out like my dad to learn from and to teach you.

Dad, Happy Birthday. Thanks for being engaged, present and loving us well. We sure love you and are excited to celebrate you. You are the best!

Thankful for Papa Roth, a true man,

Your baby girl

Letter #431: 30’s Finest

Dear 30,

Between a surprise birthday party and this solid birthday post I wrote last year, I’m not quite sure how to approach you in my sister’s life. You see, Dana’s birthday is today, Christmas Eve. It’s not just another birthday though…dun, dun, dun, it’s YOU! Kidding, you’re not that bad. Most people are in their primes when you show up. Secure job=stable finances. Ability to travel. Lifelong family and friends. Confident and secure in self.

Dana and I at her surprise 30th birthday party. Ryan actually fooled her!!!

I’m not sure if the above list is true in every person when you show up in lives, but it couldn’t be any more true for Dana. Great job. Well-traveled. Surrounded by solid people who will be in her life forever. Growing family where confidence will be shaken in April with the newness of a child and rebuilt as spouses become parents together. As if she wasn’t already cool enough, you show up and bring this whole new maturity and swagger. See, I said you were in your prime!

People say you’re the new 20. At 24 I wouldn’t know, but I sure am hoping as you will be coming to me all too quickly. Embrace this new decade. So much to look forward to and so many memories to reflect upon. Happy Birthday Dana!!

Here’s to the first 30, and here’s to what lies ahead,

Your loving sister

Letter #172: 24 and Old!

Dear 24,

No Jack Bauer, not your show. I’m talking about my age! My gosh, I don’t feel a bit different, but you sure do sound a ton older than 23. I equate you with being a grown up. Wait, this means I’m a grown up? Oh gosh, I am. I pay my own bills, have an 8-5 (well, more like a 6:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m. six months of the year!), deal with insurance and taxes…ahhh.

I guess I’ve been doing these things as a 23 year old, but you just sound so much more official. You just sound old! We spend our whole childhood dying to be 16 and independent. We can’t wait to get a set of wheels and keys to our freedom. Then, we anxiously await the probably overrated 21st. After that, what birthday do we have to look forward to? Renting a car at 25? Hitting 30?

You just bring a whole new meaning to age. At 22, we’re still super close to the coveted 21. At 23, these days a huge chunk of people are still in school or at least close enough to 22 that we still cherish our early twenties. Then there’s you. You’re the number that knocks us from our early twenties and into the mids.

I don’t feel a bit different, but telling people I’m you instead of 23 brings entirely different connotations. Making mistakes isn’t nearly as acceptable anymore. College is a thing of the past and a full-time job is reality. I will never not pay for my livelihood ever again. You bring tons of responsibility.

All this being said, it sounds like I’m depressed to have achieved you. I’m the exact opposite. I’m thoroughly thankful for my 24 years of life. I’m excited to see what this next phase of life and adulthood brings. I gratefully embrace the past and look ahead to the unknown. I love where I’m at in life and could ask for nothing more (OK, five less pounds and a really fun date wouldn’t hurt :)). And, let’s be honest, I’m probably always going to be a kid at heart! I’m just acknowledging the truth. You sound significantly older than 23 ever will.

As I embrace you, I’m humbled by how loved I am. I deserve nothing, yet I’ve been blessed by a slew of unbelievable relationships in my life. Thanks for allowing me to turn you so I could be reminded of just how blessed I am. Birthdays aren’t a big deal to me, but thanks for making me feel so special on my birthday and everyday.

Loving you even though you bring an “old’ connotation,

Blessed 24 year old