17 Things for Shannon


Hey blogging world. I haven’t posted in a while, mostly because I haven’t had any writing inspiration. So why now? Well, my favorite girl is turning 17 today. She’s so grown up. She’s my sister. Clearly by the photo above you realize she’s not related, but over the last year I’ve gotten to know her and she has become the sister I never had. I could not be more proud of the young woman she has become, and I am beyond excited to watch her continue to grow and be present for wherever life takes her.

This post is so special to me because I get to write for her. I’m sure it seems strange to some of my readers to be writing a “here’s-what-I-think-you-should-know” blog post for a girl who has a brother (my boyfriend actually) who looks out for her and would never let anything happen to her. My reasoning is simply that girls are different. I am in no way entitled to consider her family and probably have nothing new to say. But I’m going to do it anyways. Because I got calls in the early mornings about an emergency. I’ve listened to boy problems and school struggles. I’ve been there for the all-day road trips for a family vacation. I’ve been there, and I plan to stay.

With all that said, here you go my girl. Everything I want you to know about growing up.

1. You only have the responsibility of one person. You.

You worry about only you. No one else’s problems are yours to worry about. It’s not your job to keep up the homework of your best friend or how many test your boyfriend needs to study for. Trust me, I’ve been there and I’ve done that. Focus on you and your future. If someone else doesn’t care where their life is going that’s their problem. Not yours. Helping people is okay. Running their life in your monthly planner and being an unpaid secretary is not.


Dream everyday. Whether it be about where you see your life in five years, or about what you hope to see the world evolve to. Even if you are dreaming about what the past was like, just do it. There is no limit to how much you can dream. There is no limit to what you can do. If you want to be an astronaut then be an astronaut. If you want to be a historian so you can see what the past was like then be a historian. You can be anything want as long as you try.

3. It’s never to early to discover your options.

You can start looking at colleges, graduate schools, jobs and anything else at any time you want. It’s called being prepared. Check out colleges early so you know when to apply for scholarships and when is the best time turn in your application. That way when all your friends are stressing, you’re only having fun. If grad school is in your future, look at all the possibilities early. Research which schools have a program that is exactly what you are interested in. Look at all of your options early so you have a long time to pick the one that is best for you.

4. Its okay to not be okay

We all have bad days, it’s okay. Sometimes you’re going to feel like you have been pushed against a wall, you will get past it. People are mean and will try to tear you down, you will surpass their expectations. Plans don’t always go your way, try again. My grandfather use to say, “you can plan and plan, you just can’t plan the end result”. That statement is all too true. Sometimes you wake up expecting the greatest day ever, and it ends up being the worst. Some days just find you sad. All of that is okay. You don’t always have to be full of happiness, sunshine, and rainbows. It’s okay to take a day to be alone and just be. But always remember, you must try again.

5. Regina George is better left in the movie.

We all love the movie “Mean Girls”. We all have been personally victimized by Regina George. We all want to be her. But is she really who we want to see in our world? It’s super easy to be the girl who tells everyone that doesn’t wear pink on Wednesdays that they cant sit with you, but it’s a better and much more beautiful legacy to leave as the girl that says they can sit with you.

6. Haste makes waste

My grandmother use to tell me this, and I hated it every time. However, as I have gotten older, I have come to learn that it is true. Do your task the right way the first time, and you wont have to go back and do it again later. Don’t waste your time with a half-hearted job. Get the job done and out of the way. Work and then play.

7. Working hard is the best thing you can do

Everyone likes a hard worker. Your teachers, professors, employers, they all want someone who can knows how to tackle a challenge. They want someone who isn’t afraid to spend hours on a project so it can be the best of the best. Work hard. It really does pay off. Whether it be accolades from your family and friends or a promotion in the work force. Working hard takes you places you never thought were possible.

8. Keep your eyes open

Look at bulletin boards as you pass them in the hall way. Look at flyers posted in the grocery store. pass every isle in the book store. You never know what you will find. You never know what you will learn.

9. Stand fast in your faith

Get in to The Word every day. Pray every day. More then once a day. When you feel alone cry out to God. When you have lost your way ask Him for help. This is the best advice I could ever give to you. With out Him we are nothing. With Him you can do anything. Call to Him daily, talk with Him hourly, learn about Him every chance you get. Be grounded in what you know to be true so you will never question what you have learned. There are wacky, crazy, off the wall things in this world, and then their are not so crazy and off the wall things that appear to be good. Do not be fooled. Use God’s Word as your lens.

10. Watch Boy Meets World

Some of my biggest lessons came from Mr. Feeny. Sometimes a TV show comes along that can change your life. Boy Meets World is one of them. Mr. Feeny is everyone’s principle. We all learn from him, and we all can relate to his practical advice. If there is one thing that does not fit with everything else in this list, it is right here. But honestly, watch the show. You will be surprised how much you love it and home much it will mean to you.

11. Watch the news

There is a lot of stuff happening that you should know about. You seem to like listening to me tell you about the daily news and listening to me and Tyler discuss it. Read the newspaper, look on line or watch the news on TV. Form your own opinions and be informed. Join others as they talk about breaking news. Continue to ask questions when Tyler and I discuss multiple subjects. Always be curious. Stay informed as best as you can. Be a smart citizen.

12. Exercise

Exercise really does have a ton of benefits besides keeping you in shape. If you are angry, work it out. If you are happy, turn up the music and have a dance party. Exercising can improve your mood. It can motivate you. It can help you feel better. Set up a time everyday to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity. Having a routine is the best thing you can do. Make it an absolute must to move your body for a period of time everyday.

13. Social Media isn’t worth it

Social media is good to keep up with friends far away. Social media is good to check in with family members you miss. Social media is good to keep all of your photos to remember your best times with friends. However, social media is full of drama. Drama no one cares about to be exact. Limit your usage of social media. Be a functioning person who lives without the latest gossip and an electronic device. Be able to communicate.

14. You are loved more than you know

Never question the love you have from your family. Never question how I feel about you. We all love you more then words can say. We all want to see you succeed. We all can not wait to see everything you accomplish. We are your biggest fans.

15. Always find a moment in the day to laugh

Laughter is best medicine. Even when you don’t want to smile, laughing changes everything. Always find one thing to make you happy everyday.

16. Have fun

In anything you do, have fun with it. Don’t loose sight of having in the whirlwind of life. Be excited about your opportunities. When you have a day to yourself, do what makes you happy. Be somewhere you enjoy. Life is too short to be upset all the time. It’s too short to be stuck in a boring routine all the day. Change it up and be adventurous. Adventure is waiting. In the words of Russell from Disney’s “Up”, “The wilderness must be explored!”

17. Eat the sugar

Seriously. Don’t be afraid of the cookies. Eat them. Not the whole box of course, but you know, the one with the least amount of sprinkles. You’ll be fine. I promise. You will enjoy it too. Sugar is not the enemy. Moderation is the key.

Happy birthday my wonderful sister Shannon. I am so proud of you. I love you so much, and I hope something in here caught your eye. You’re a smart girl and I know you will  be just fine. Remember to always be you and never give up on your dreams. And always know I’m here for you.


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