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 #668: Lessons from Jimmy Fallon

Dear funny videos,

You’re the best. You have the ability to make a person’s day in an instant.

Yesterday, I came across this Jimmy Fallon video. I’ve never seen a video of his that wasn’t funny, but this one was genius for so many reasons.

Major League Baseball player leaves the Yankees for A LOT of money. Makes his return to Yankee Stadium. Fallon takes advantage of a great opportunity. Hilarity ensues. [Seriously, go watch here, then finish reading.]

As I was watching, I had a few thoughts I think are worth noting.

1)    Take risks and make the most of an opportunity most wouldn’t begin to try. 99.9% of folks would’ve been scared to ask Robinson Cano to mock himself. Jimmy wasn’t. Opportunity often involves risk. Take a few.

2)    People can be jerks. And aren’t afraid to make complete fools out of themselves. And can change their demeanor in a nanosecond.

3)    The reaction of the “fans’ when it’s just the cutout versus when Cano steps out as himself is the epitome of how we operate behind our computer screens at times. We say whatever we want when there are no real consequences. People say bullying has increased. I’m not sure it’s increased as much as people can’t get away from it. Shoot a text. Post a status. Snap a chat (I hate SnapChat). There’s not immediate consequence.

Social media is exactly like this video. Cano’s not there, and the “fans’ say whatever they want. The second he walks out, everything changes. Smiles, handshakes, embarrassment, hugs. People realize how big of a jerk they were. They realize he’s a person.

This is a valuable lesson. Let’s think about who’s setting on the other side of that screen before we hit send. Words are powerful. Social media and technology have changed their power. Expanded it. It may not be Robinson Cano standing on the other side of a cutout to make a Jimmy Fallon spoof, but somebody is receiving everything we say from behind a screen. Would you say the same thing if they were standing right in front of you? If not, rethink it.

The guys yelling and booing at Cano changed their demeanor immediately when he showed up. I think most people in our world would say a little less, think a little more and be a little more kind if they couldn’t hide behind a screen.

This segment on Jimmy Fallon is hilarious. Laugh. Enjoy. But take two seconds to think about how we probably look like fools on our social platforms, in our texts or in emails daily. Learn from it too.

Love taking lessons away from things that make me laugh,

Appreciator of Jimmy Fallon’s humor

Letter #635: Arrested Perspective

photo-296

Dear honesty,

My whole life I’ve heard that you are the best policy. Recently I watched it play out right before my eyes. Let me explain.

A couple weeks ago, I got to spend some time at Texas A&M. Per usual I’m always up for adventure. Running from my hotel to campus and accidentally jogging with the Corps, to visiting the Blue Bell Factory for maybe the most exciting hour of my life, to getting talked into climbing the scoreboard at Kyle Field, College Station was fun.

While experiencing one of the supposed many Aggie traditions, I was nearly arrested. No joke.

We walked to Kyle Field to climb the scoreboard, an event I was told is common. Every gate and fence was wide open. Lights were on. Even the door to the scoreboard was open. There were no signs telling me this was a bad idea. Basically, Kyle Field was inviting us into it.

When we arrived, I could see a group of people already on top of it. All these things combined made me believe this really was normal. Until we arrived I was skeptical, but how easily accessible this adventure was lowered any inhibitions.

So it began. Into the scoreboard we went. Nothing about this was unsafe. It was all closed in and had staircases. About halfway up the six girls who were up there were coming down. We exchanged hellos and wished one of them happy birthday as they were celebrating by knocking off an Aggie bucket list item.

We kept climbing. The next thing I hear is a muffled male voice from below. The only word I can make out is trespassing. Uh oh. As I listened without being able to see out of the building, my first thought was “oh crap,” my second, “it’s those girls guy friends playing a joke,” my third, “this is NOT a joke.”

After a few seconds of processing, the group decided to immediately descend. The five of us filed out to see a bike cop standing with the other group of girls seated on the stairs of the athletic facilities building. We joined.

I just listened for the first few minutes as A&M students told him about Aggie traditions. The only thought in my head was, “I’m the only real adult here, I have to get us out of this.” Several exchanges were made, and I simply continued to listen.

The cop finally got to the portion where he told us how dumb of an idea this was, and I knew this was my chance. I immediately owned the fact I made a poor choice. I very respectfully told him we made a bad decision, apologized and asked how we could make it right.

The mood of the moment changed in that instant. A few minutes later all eleven of us were walking out of Kyle Field unscathed. Not because we were in the right but because ownership of our mistake had been taken and he was willing to show us a little grace.

Lesson learned”…honesty really is the best policy. Even if I would have been arrested, there’s just something about telling the truth. Despite how inviting things seemed to be, I knew I shouldn’t climb the scoreboard. Rather than trying to make excuses, I need to simply own my poor judgment.

Would I change the way that night played out?! Probably not, it’s a great story. Eleven young adults, mostly college students, were also reminded of the importance of truth and integrity. It played out in our favor this time. It might not the next. This doesn’t change what is right.

It was also a great reminder that when we make mistakes, we need to own and take responsibility for them. My flesh reaction was to hide at the top of the scoreboard until the cop left or run as soon as I hit the ground. (I’m a slow, gangly white girl, so there would have been no outrunning anything!) My flesh wanted to take the “easy’ way out, to avoid consequences. Who wants to get arrested?

My daily mistakes and sin are no different. My flesh wants to hide my junk and even run from it rather than owning and dealing with it. However, authenticity and ownership is the only place where true freedom can occur. I want to be free. Thus, honesty, responsibility and ownership must be things I fight against my flesh to achieve.

Yet again, my crazy antics result in great lessons.

Life truly is all about perspective,

Wanna-be Junk Owner

Letter #601: Lessons from the Pope

Dear Pope,

Congrats on being the biggest announcement possible in the most old school of ways. Seriously, Lebron’s trade, Apple’s next big product release and any other modern day announcement have nothing on the black and white smoke coming out of the Vatican on your behalf. Hmmm”…if I ever have a kid, look out for the pink or blue smoke on behalf of its gender! I digress.

You fascinate me. You are one of my most notable, respected, powerful leaders in the world yet you are chosen, at least on some levels, based on your service to others and your relationship with the church and the Lord. Your stance on controversial issues matters more significantly than I think we even realize. Your influence on culture and where it’s going is vast. Be wise Francis, be wise.

We’re not getting into the theology and my personal opinion on all this, but I do think we all have some lessons to learn from you and your response to being selected for such an important office. Here’s a few I’ve taken away for myself:

  • Be bold. Dream big.

—Pope Francis’ made many historic firsts: first non-European in the modern era, first

from Latin America, first Jesuit and first to take the name Francis. Don’t be scared.

Anything’s possible.

  • Lead well. Be humble.

—Pope Francis refused to stand on the traditional platform of the pope elevating himself

above the cardinals but rather stood equal with them. How can you not respect a leader in

this move?

  • Be open to break tradition/the way things have always been done.

—No platform. Asking for prayer. Choosing the name Francis. He’s not afraid to break

tradition when necessary and change for the better. I get set in my ways, so props to this

76-year-old for being open to change! “The new pope is sending a signal that this will not

be business as usual.” -CNN Vatican analyst

  • Ask for prayer and pray for others.

—Oh that we might be quick to ask for prayer and help as well as pray for others.

  • Be simple.

—Every article notes him being known for his simplicity, choosing to ride the bus rather than

a chauffeured limo and to live in an apartment rather than the archbishop’s palace. May we

embrace simplicity and the blessings it brings.

  • Stand firm.

—Pope Francis is known as a straight shooter and is not afraid to take a stand against

opposing views when he disagrees. In a culture where tolerance and love have been tainted

and turned into not being able to disagree and fight for convictions, I respect this and long

to stand firm myself.

  • Serve.

—“It seems to me that my brother cardinals have chosen one who is from faraway. But here I

am.” May I serve with the attitude of ‘here I am’ to both the Lord and others.

 

Regardless of our thoughts on you and your office, we can all learn from the gracious way you’ve entered your role. Best of luck to you as you lead in very unique ways. Stick to Scripture and the Lord’s leading and you can’t go wrong.

Learning in the most unexpected of ways,

Lesson learner from world events

Letter #156: Shady B is my Nepal

Dear self,

Last night, you learned about people in Nepal who walk SIX HOURS just to be able to go to church. When’s the last time we’ve fought for an hour with the Lord?

You learned about a girl who trekked through Nepal sharing the Gospel with native Nepalis as well as Mt. Everest climbing foreigners. When’s the last time we’ve talked about Jesus with random people we come across in life?

You learned how our way of life in America paralleled a bit to the life of a Nepali missionary. She would be stationary in Kathmandu, the capital, for weeks at a times, then she would trek, the super intense word for hiking…through steep mountains and the native beasts and weather. She invested in the people during her extended stays in the city, then she made the most of her time as she moved daily, village to village while in the mountains.

As we heard these mind-blowing stories, we were processing what we could learn. Well, for six months out of this year, we’ve been “trekking’ through America. As we traveled through college campuses on trail for three months, we only had 30 minutes in an interview with girls which became our village to village experience. Then, we spend three months in Lampe, MO doing camp where we remain stationary, but the kids change during the week. Lastly, there’s six months of stationary living in Shady B where we get to invest in the people surrounding us.

Sure, we’re not trekking through Nepal (let’s be honest, I don’t think I’m cut out for this), but our everyday, American life is no less significant in the scheme of the Gospel. Our transient, Branson life is valuable. Last night, I was reminded of this.

May we take full advantage of our stage of life,

Nepali lesson learner