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Now let me be honest. I do not have a perfect life in the slightest. I don’t have the most money in the whole world. I don’t have a massive home. I don’t always make the best choices. And I do feel lonely sometimes. There are definitely improvements to be made in my life. But, I have a great life. I love everything about my life. As I look back and evaluate why, it’s not a comprehensive list and it probably won’t apply to everybody else, but that’s alright. I’m only living my own life. Here is my input on how to have a great life. Take what you like leave what you want. But promise me that you too resolve to love your life. In no particular order.:

A great husband. If you had told me a year ago that I would be married, let alone to Gavin I probably would have thought you were nuts. However, I have had the blessing of being PURSUED by a MAN that LOVES me. For who I am. Thankfully I was living a life that reflected my priorities and he saw that and made the move. I can say, had he not been a man who had a job, was involved in ministry and lived on his own with goals and ambition (and dashingly handsome) and persistently pursued I would still be happily single loving the Lord and serving the church as 1 Corinthians 7:34 states. Unlike the movie “He’s Just Not That Into You” I knew I would only marry a man who was just that into me. He leads, loves, laughs, and lavishes me abundantly.

People who know me deeply. Being known and vulnerable is not easy. Admitting failure and working on relationships take work. Spending time with people takes effort and if you do it enough they will see your life. The good the bad and the ugly. What a blessing to have people who I can be real around. People that know my weakness and failures, but love me despite them. Having someone to call when my car breaks down, someone to cry with, or just say I had a horrible day, someone who notices when something isn’t right, someone who knows the nuances and quirks of my family and life. That hold me accountable and encourage me. That knew my parents when they were my age and when I was born. I love having ladies older than me that I can ask how to be married. I love showing my high school girls what life as a 25-year-old looks like. If I had ducked out in embarrassment, failure, pride or selfishness at any time along the way, I would be alone.

People that I know deeply. I am thankful that other people have chosen to be vulnerable with me. That make the effort and arrange our friendship. That care about me and share their heart. I’m thankful to spur one another on in love and good deeds. People that I pray for and want to see God glorified in their life and grow together with mine and especially making great choices in spouses. Being in and attend weddings with great friends, getting hugs from 5 year olds and making teddy bear cookies for school. Having people who trust me enough to let me into their crazy and beautiful life is the best.

Laughter. If laughter was a workout than I would be one fit woman! Being able to laugh at myself and others. Looking for the joy and humor of life, silly puns, clean 3rd grade jokes, things that make common life more fun and delightful. I love the whimsical and unexpected joy that can easily be added into life.

Adventure. God has made a big and exciting world for His glory and I get to live in it. My dad instilled a love for nature and my mom a love for the arts. To see and be available to explore and enjoy God’s handiwork in Creation and Others is SO FUN! I love making a turn on a road I don’t know or spending an extra night on a trip. Picking up and going on a road trip or planning a fun day in a new town. Life is short and unpredictable. It’s good to be responsible, it’s also good to be open for the fun of enjoying the ride.

Learning I only use 10% of my brain…that is incredible. There are so many things I don’t know and so many people who are better at things than me. Reading an article, wandering the aisles of a store, meeting a new person, networking and connecting people, learning about the great bay area, or whatever. I try to be a good listener and I enjoy talking but I really do enjoy finding things that I don’t know a lot about. Between Gav and I we have too many books and I feel like I’m always looking something up on google. It’s the best.

Failure Ummmm yes. This is a big one. And most of you have probably observed it at some juncture. At least me putting my foot in my mouth. When I have that feeling of embarrassment or failure, I stop and evaluate the situation and think of what I need to do to make sure that I never have to feel that way again. It keeps me human and humble, shows that I challenged myself and took a risk. But I get back up, seek some counsel and jump back in, overjoyed when I succeed. Or I realize I never want to do it again. And sometimes that’s ok too.

Service My parents modeled a life of service and it has done my life good. Seeing the blessing of putting someone else first and preferring them over myself has taught me a lot and served me well. I definitely don’t excel at this at all times, but I do try to tithe not only my money but my time as well. Time is valuable and limited, but when spent wisely the investment will return a fortune.

Productivity sometimes being an adult is stinky. The days of playing all summer on the boat and getting Christmas break are over and its a good thing. It is good to grow up and have something to show for my time. To have a job, be in ministry, volunteering. As Psalms and Proverbs teach over and over USE YOUR TIME WELL… lying around like a complaining, excuse making bum won’t get you anywhere except a bad attitude, poor reputation and complacent. Get up and so something. It’s good for you. It is good to get out of a lazy rut. And what 25-year-old woman wants to be called a little girl? If you don’t want to be called one, don’t act like one. Making money and being financially independent is a scary and great part of growing up. I highly recommend it.

Goals Kind of like the last point it has been fun to have things to work towards. A bucket list, a degree or a new hobby. It provides structure and a sense of accomplishment to get things done. Daily, long-term and short-term. Evaluating where I am and deciding where I want to be. You definitely can do it. How will you know when you arrive if you don’t know where you are going? If you fail to plan you plan to fail. Start small and don’t be scared of a goal. After all, you’re the one that sets them!

A desire to leave people better than I found them. Whether a prayer, a hug, a smile a note, whatever. Treat people well and with dignity. It will honor the Lord, be a good reflection on you, and bless them. The best way to turn an attractive face dull is to speak unbecomingly.

The Lord has made all the difference. He has been the one who changed my heart, gave me direction, ambition and a goal. He is my motivation and my prize. He has shown me love and been the example to follow. His Spirit guides my heart and His word is the direction. John 10:10 says, “I came that they might have life and have it abundantly.” He traded beauty for ashes, replaced my heart of stone for a heart of flesh. I was doomed without Him and glorified because of Him. He is good and His dominion is over all. Knowing Him through prayer, being reminded of His faithfulness in the bible and my journal, seeing His fruits in my life is the number one reason my life is so wonderful.