Twenty Tomorrow

So I recently heard this song called Twenty Tomorrow by Ben Rector and I thought it would be a good song to cover since I will in fact be twenty tomorrow. (  I rewrote some of the lyrics to make it reflect more of me and how I’m feeling at this point in my life.  I recorded the song and put together a video of some pictures from throughout the years.  It was so great to look back at memories from the past two decades.

Looking back at the people I’ve had in my life throughout the past 20 years has proved to me the fact that the people we have in our lives help make us who we are.  I would not be the person I am today if it weren’t for all of the people that I’ve met along the way.  I am so incredibly thankful for every single person that I have had the privilege of knowing thus far.  Thank you for helping me find myself.

I am so blessed to have an amazing family.  I’m so happy that God placed me in a family with such an incredible group of people.  I know that we will all forever be close and love each other no matter what happens.  I have so many memories with these people and each and every one of them has taught me so much about life and about myself.  I don’t know where I would be without such a strong support system.  I know I wouldn’t even be close to be where I am today without them.

While I was looking through pictures, there were so many of me and my brothers.  Goodness, I love those three so much.  They are my best friends.  I honestly don’t know what I would do without them.  Though I always used to wish that at least one of them was a girl so that I could have a sister, and a lot of the memories we have involve fighting and arguing, and they always leave toothpaste in the sink, and sometimes it’s hard to love them, I cherish them so much.  I want the best for them.  I know that they will all grow up to be amazing men and I am so insanely proud of them.

I have some of the best friends I could ever ask for.  I feel so grateful to have such people in my life who love me for who I am.  People who know me and my struggles and are always there for me.  They’ve helped me break out of the box that I kept myself contained in for so long.  I am constantly inspired by each one of them.  They are such incredible men and women of God and I look up to them so much.  True friends are hard to find, but I truly believe I have found some of the truest friends ever.

I posted my first YouTube video when I was in eighth grade.  I never imagined that it would become what it has.  I honestly don’t know how it happened.  I never thought that people would listen to and buy my music.  I never even really thought that I would be comfortable singing in front of people.  It’s crazy to think of where I started and where I am now.  It still blows my mind to think that people all around the world watch my videos and have my music on their iPods.  To every fan; thank you.  Those two words don’t seem like enough, but thank you so much for supporting me and encouraging me these past six years.  Thank you for making this what it has come to be and helping me make my dreams come true.  I am so incredibly thankful for each and every one of you.

I have learned see the world around me.  This ever changing, sometimes scary world.  To slow down and really notice the little things.  The things that this fast-paced lifestyle has blurred out of our vision.  This is such a beautiful place and I have begun to look at it as that.  To take in all of the things that happen around me every day.  To look at the way that we interact with each other.  To love people–even those who are hard to love.  To try to do what I can to make this world a better place.  I’ve really taken notice to how short life is and make my best effort to make the most of every day.

If there’s one thing I never thought I would be–never in a million years–it would be a leader.  I never saw myself as someone who people looked up to.  I was never a very confident person.  I was always content standing in the background.  But through the past couple years, I have begun to see leadership qualities in myself that I never thought I had.  I am now a worship leader and a small group leader to a group of middle schoolers whos’ lives I am so happy to be able to be a part of.  From those experiences, I have learned so much about myself and about leading others.  It has helped me grow in who I am and in my relationship with God.  We learn new things about ourselves all the time.  There are things now that you never think you’ll be able to do or be.  Don’t count those things out.  One day, it just might happen.

I honestly can’t believe that I’ve been alive for twenty years.  I still feel so much like a kid.  Like I don’t know nearly as much as I thought I would at this point I my life.  I don’t feel like a “grown up”.  I don’t feel like I’m qualified to be an “adult”.  And I’m not sure I ever will.  And I think that’s kind of the beauty of it.  Time goes on and we get older whether we feel like we’re ready or not.  We’re thrown into the pool and expected to keep our head above water.  And the amazing thing is, we do.  We might not be ready when we’re thrown in, but we learn what we need to along the way and pretty soon, we’re swimming.


Social Disconnect

Lets go back.  To a time when we didn’t spend more than half of our days on a computer or phone.  To when we actually had real conversations with our family and friends.  To when, instead of sending someone a text, we would stop at their house just to say hey–to when it wasn’t socially strange to do so.  To when we actually remembered the birthdays of our family and friends.  To writing letters to the people we love instead of a Facebook message (there’s something about a letter that’s so much more personal and exciting to receive than a message on Facebook–but that’s a whole other topic).

There are times when I wish that I lived in a day without all of this technology. In a world that wasn’t so “connected” as we are.  In a time when we had to talk to and get to know people to become friends, not just click confirm on a computer screen.  I wish I lived in a world that was more personal than this world has become.  Where people didn’t need Facebook to remind them of birthdays, but instead, cared enough to remember and give those people a phone call.  To let them know that they care, that they’re still here.

In my opinion (though it might not mean much), we are too connected.  Everything is at our fingertips.  No effort required.  We can have face to face conversations with people half way around the world over a computer or phone.  We can buy things with the click of a button.  We have the ability to contact anyone, anywhere, in the palm of our hand.  Yeah, that technology might be cool, but we rely on it so much.  We are so dependent on these devices that we wouldn’t know what to do without them.  We as a society wouldn’t be able to function.  It’s sad.

Let’s go back to when things were simpler.  More personal.  Let’s spend time with the people we love and not be tempted to take out our phone and talk to someone else.  Let’s cherish the time that we get to be in the presence of the people we care about.  Let’s stop taking for granted the people that are right here right now.

We’ve forgotten the power of a conversation in person with those that we love.  We forget to look at the beauty that exists outside of a computer screen.  We’ve stopped taking in the incredible sights that we pass everyday.  It’s like we’re stuck living in this virtual world when the real world is right there in front of us.

I’ve recently been noticing how much time I waste–yes, waste–on the computer and my phone everyday.  And doing what?  Nothing.  Scrolling through looking at Facebook statuses,  Tweets, and Instagram pictures of people I haven’t talked to in years or celebrities I’ve never met when I have family and friends that I could be spending time with.  Making memories with.  What memories are you going to make with your computer or phone?  None.  It’s the people in our lives that make experiences memorable.  I’ve wasted too much time being distracted from the things that really matter.

It’s not easy to give these things up.  It’s not even that we need to completely give them up.  I guess this technology has become a part of our identities in a way.  But it is important to remember that it’s not everything.  To take a step back and realize that it’s not worth it to have these things take over our lives as they so often do.  It shouldn’t come to the point where we don’t know what to do with ourselves when our phone breaks.  Or when we spend hours a day on Facebook or Twitter.  Or when we happen to be somewhere where there’s no phone service.  It’s not the end of the world.  There is so much more to life.  There is so much more to see.  To experience.  But when we’re so distracted with these things, we don’t take the time to look.

If you feel the way I do and want to spend your time living your life instead of wasting the time that you have, I encourage you to try it.  We’ve lost sight of what’s really important.  The people in our lives.  They matter more than we may realize.  When you’re with friends or family, have everyone put their phones in a bowl or a box or on a counter so that they’re not tempted to use them while you’re spending time together.   Cut down on the time you spend on the computer everyday.  Be around people.  Call up a friend or stop by a friends house just to say hey.  Write a letter.  Learn something new. Read a book. Journal.  Go for a walk.  Look at this beautiful world that we live in.  There is so much beauty to be seen if we just open our eyes to see it.  Life is short.  We need to stop wasting it.

Family Walk

So today, my parents told me and my brothers that they wanted to go for a walk. All of us together. It’s the last day of “nice” weather for the next week or so. And yeah, I would call mid-40’s in January in Wisconsin nice weather, but it’s supposed to get down to single digits tomorrow so they wanted to take advantage of this nice weather. Completely understandable. To me at least.

My brothers and I tend to spend a lot of time in our rooms working on music and school stuff or whatever else is going on at the time, so we don’t all hang out as much as I think we should. Although recently, I have been making an effort to hang out with my family more. The past two years or so, the importance of family has begun to sink in more and more. I’m sure graduating high school has something to do with that, life has changed so much the past two years. Family seems to be the one thing that’s constant. The one thing that’s always there and is always going to be there no matter what. These are the people I’ve known my entire life. The people who know me and my strangeness and who’s strangeness I hold so dear. The people who I adore so incredibly much.

Since graduating high school, I have come to realize how important family is. How much my family means to me and how much they have done for me and how they have helped me grow into the person I am today. So when my brothers were so reluctant to take a half hour out of their day to take a walk with the fam, it got to me. It frustrates me that they can’t see how incredible our family is and how lucky we are to have parents that want to go on a walk with us and spend time with us. How incredibly lucky we are to have parents who are active in our lives. I know that when I was their ages, I would have reacted the same exact way, not wanting to leave whatever unimportant thing I was doing to spend time with my parents and brothers, but I just pray that they realize how important family time is. One day we’re going to wish that we could go on a “family walk” as my dad called it. We’re going to wish that we could have more time to spend with each other.

I guess it comes with growing up. And I know that I have a lot more growing up to do. But if there’s one thing that I’ve come to understand completely since graduation, it’s that friends will come and go, but family is forever. No matter what.

You Are Worth It

I’ve never met you,

I don’t know your name,

But I read your words on this screen and my heart breaks,

Just know that my heart goes out to you,

I’ve been where you are,

And I pray that you come to realize, like I did, that there are people who love you,

People who care, people who are crushed, because you do this to yourself,

Next time you think about skipping a meal,

Next time you think about sticking your finger down your throat,

Next time you think about cutting,

Think of your family or your friends,

How would they feel if they saw you like this?

I know that I don’t know you, but I too am crushed at the fact that you do this to yourself,

You don’t deserve it,

I didn’t deserve it,

No one does,

You may think you’re not skinny enough,

You may think you’re not pretty enough,

You may think you’re not worth it,

You may think that the world would be better off without you,

Those are lies that you can’t let yourself believe,

Next time you look in the mirror,

Seek out the truth,

You are beautiful,

You are worth it.