During my last week of college before winter break, my friends and I did a secret Santa exchange. I received this cute little notebook titled “The 52 Lists Project”. I was a tad confused at first until I started flipping through and realized every page was a different list, one for every week of the year. My friend Diana said she hoped this would inspire me to write some blog posts that aligned with the weekly list. So, I am. Every week I will post the List Title as the blog title along with the week number. This book will hopefully spark some amazing ideas in my head in hopes to inspire you. I can’t wait to start this journey with you!
Two thousand seventeen is going to be the year of experiences and here is my to-do list before December 31st, 2017!
- Attend a Celtics Game
- Attend a Revolution Game
- Go to The Big E
- Visit the Ben and Jerry’s flagship store in Burlington VT
- Visit the Mark Twain House ( Hartford CT)
- Visit Niagra Falls (NY)
- Make the trip to Canada
- Visit the Statue of Liberty
- Visit Atlantic City (NJ)
- Visit Hershey Park (PA)
- Visit Hampton Beach (NH)
- Attend Soul Fest (NH)
- Eat at Wahlburgers
- Go Horse Back Riding
- Go Zip Lining
- Go Kayaking
- Go indoor rock climbing
- Attend NY Comic Con
- See Aladdin on broadway
- Get a new job in New Haven
- Start my youtube channel
- Go on a mission trip
- Read the entire Bible
- Go to bartending school
- Go to at least one concert
- Join the Psychology and Criminal Justice Club
- Celebrate my 19th birthday
- Become a sophomore in college.
- Take summer classes at STCC
- Write a blog post daily
- Start up photography again
- Baptize someone I know
- Get my first tattoo
- Pierce my triple forward helix
- Become a vegetarian
- Grow closer to God.
- Attend a painting class
- Visit the PEZ factory.
- Get a matching tattoo with my best friend
- Rejoin the Ushering team at church
I am sure so many more things will happen over the course of the next year and some of these things may not actually become a reality, but I have goals and I cannot wait to start checking off things once this year gets rolling. Grateful to have the ability to pursue my dreams and goals and blessed to have God along side be through all of it.
This is my list of everything major I have done this year! I hope you all had an eventful year so with that being said here is my year in review.
- I visited the Bridge of Flowers in Shelbourne MA
- I went to Walt Disney World for the first time ever
- I performed at Disney Springs
- I rode my first roller coaster.
- I Graduated high school
- I applied to four schools and got into each of them
- I got accepted into the college of my dreams
- I started my freshman year of college
- I went to my last prom. . . ever
- I taught CCD
- I left catholicism
- I got baptized.
- I performed at Relay for Life
- My dance team scored one point away from platinum
- My dance team got invited to nationals
- I performed at my last dance recital
- I assisted teaching Ballet
- I finally got on pointe shoes
- I hiked!
- I visited the Peace Pagoda in Leverett MA
- I visited Hampton Beach
- I became legal !!
- I scratched my first lotto ticket
- I ended my first semester of college with a 3.0 GPA
- I stop competitively dancing
- I drove through every New England state
- I became an official member of The Church of Christ
- I studied the bible
- I helped others study the bible.
- I went camping
- I started a blog
- I made a group of friends for the first time in my 18 years of living
2016 has been such a wild year but a year that was so needed for me spiritually. 2016 you’ve treated me well, but I am ready for a new year. I am ready to welcome you, 2017.
I have heard so many Christians debate if tattoos and piercings are against God because “our body is a temple” but we never debate if the things that go into our bodies is against God. Our bodies are the temples of God. The Holy Spirit resides within us (1 Corinthians 3:16). So why don’t we take better care of our bodies?
It talks a lot about our bodies in Corinthians. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” . . . God tells us Honor him with our body and yet we fill it with all sorts of awful things. Fast food, pesticides, GMO’s, and an overabundance of sugar and sodium. Again in 1 Corinthians 10:31 it says “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” We are told eat for the glory of God and I can not imagine that binge eating or eating a completely unhealthy diet is glorifying God.
I have personally struggled with glorifying God through my diet and health but it has become a mission of mine to give the Holy Spirit a nice temple to live in. Taking care of the one body God gave us because if we don’t take of it… .who will? If our Lord is telling us to treat our bodies will love and honor, why don’t we ? It’s time to stop making that bikini, the vacation, and a new wardrobe our motivator and start making God our motivator to live healthier, cleaner, and holier lives just by changing what goes into our bodies. Your body is a temple so start treating it that way! – Lex.
Love is something most people can’t give a definition to. It’s complex and multi-dimensional. It is something that is perceived differently by every single person on this planet but God tells us exactly what Love is. In 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 it states. . .
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away”
I think is is so amazing that God gives us a break down of what love really is. I really want to go deep with a few of the main points in this scripture. Love is so amazing and wonderful and something that needs to be understood in depth.
- Love is patient: Being patient with your significant other and with God. Trying to be patient as to when God wants to give you a person to love. Being patient to your significant other no matter how difficult that can be. Showing them your full attention and support no matter the place or time. Patience is a virtue especially when it comes to Love.
- Love is kind: Being kind when it comes to your partner and God. Remembering to not get angry with God when relationships do not work out or when they are just are not happening at all. Being kind is something we should practice every day but especially within relationships. Being kind is something that goes a long way especially when you least expect it to.
- It keeps no record of wrong: This is such an important thing, I can not emphasize it enough. Forgive and Forget is such a significant part of relationships. Bringing up faults from weeks ago does not benefit anyone. It’s about realizing your wrongs, fixing them, and moving on. Forgive like Jesus did and Forget like Jesus did. Remembering to focus on the greatness of your significant other or anyone for that matter, and just forgive them unconditionally.
- It always trusts: A generation plagued by social media trust becomes such a weak part of a relationship. You have to trust that God will allow that person to be honest and you need to be able to trust that person wholeheartedly. Trust is something that starts at one hundred percent and somehow gets damaged but a relationship that is pure and centered on God can stay at one hundred for the entirety of it.
- Love never fails: Living in a country where the divorce rate is 50% , this is a hard concept to wrap our brain around. True love does not fail. Imagine an infallible love.It looks like Jesus on the cross. That’s the kind of love we should be investing into everyone. Love perseveres and is everlasting. It stays true forever.
This scripture could be broken down so many times and into so many pieces but I think it so important to learn about love, especially the way Jesus loved. I encourage all of you to pray on this scripture and ask God to help open your eyes to a new way of loving. This is not just limited to committed relationships either. This applies to family, friends, and even just random people you meet at the mall. There are so many ways to express love and I pray you all really read into this scripture. Go on and spread the love. – Lex.
It has been on my heart to go on a mission trip for a very long time. I have found an opportunity to do mission work in Hawaii. I love traveling, serving, and meeting new people and this trip will provide me all of that. I am writing this to ask for your help! This trip cost money, money that a broke college student does not have. I need this trip and the people of Hawaii need this trip! I will be building homes, creating sustainable agriculture, and mentoring the homeless youth of Hawaii for ten days. I am not only asking for money but for prayers, support, love, and encouragement. This trip has the potential to be life changing and I want to be a part of it. I would love for this opportunity to become a reality and I need you to help me. Thank You! – Lex.
This year I made it my mission to only buy from charitable companies for Christmas gifts. This was rather difficult but so eye opening. Christmas is about giving back and spreading the love so why not do that for your loved ones and people across the globe at the same time? I have compiled a list of companies I have used and companies I have found that all give back when your purchase from them. I pray that you use these companies for holiday shopping and everyday needs.
- TOMS – Donates a pair of shoes for every pair purchased
- Krochet for Kids.- Knitted beanies that give jobs to women in Africa.
- Smile Squared – Donates a toothbrush for every purchase (super cheap!)
- Pura Vida – Makes bracelets from Costa Rica and donates to the charity correlating to the bracelet
- Chavez for Charity – Cute bracelets that help the charity it belongs to when purchased
- Love your Melon – Donates a beanie to a child battling cancer
- The Little Market – Every item in this store gives back!
- St. Jude – They have a nice online shop that gives back to the hospital
- Amazon Smile – Shopping through Amazon Smile gives back with qualifying purchases to a charity of your choice
- MAC Viva Glam Collection – Purchases from the Viva Glam collection give the proceeds to fight HIV/AIDS
- The Body Shop “Honey Mania” – Their honey mania collection promotes fair trade.
- Lizzie and Laura – Make bracelets that help artisans in Nepal
- The Elephant Pants – Cute clothes! / Donates 10% to the International Elephant Foundation
- Hand in Hand Soap – Buy a bar Give a bar
- Kohls Cares – For just five dollars you can buy a stuffed animal or book that gives back to local communities
- Yoobi – School supplies that give back to schools in need
- World Play Project – Soccer balls that give a ball to a child in need.
- 1Face Watches – Cute , inexpensive watches that give back to the charity of the month
- Flex Watches – Donates to the charity related to that watch!
- Project 7 Gums and Mints – Donates back to local and abroad communities
There are so much more amazing charitable companies but this should get the ball rolling for a lot of you. I encourage you all to shop charitable and help the world one purchase at a time. – Lex.
Well, a whole semester has come and gone. It feels as if yesterday I was moving my life, in orange rolly bins into a dorm room. I’ve survived classes, roommate battles, and borderline heinous dining hall food but so much more has happened in just this first semester. I have grown so much in ways I didn’t think I needed too but have led to such an amazing result within myself.
I have become so much more open-minded human being. Things I would’ve made fun of in high school, I took upon myself to become more educated on. I attended a Safe Zone Training course to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community so I , as a Christian, could better understand their needs and what I can do for them. My English professor made it pretty clear in the beginning of the semester that he was a liberal and a year ago I would’ve let everything he said to go in one ear and out the other but I opened my brain and heart and let his viewpoints sink in a little deeper than usual. He handed us articles on feminism, obesity, white privilege, and even police brutality and it just opened my eyes to the issues going on this world that is not being addressed in my white suburban neighborhood back in western Massachusetts. I watched minorities cry at the election of Trump, and my own roommates worrying about their futures and prosperities in America. These were things I have never had to worry about but now I was watching it happen right before my eyes. Open Mindedness has not always been a huge deal to me but was certainly something that needed more work.
Confidence. This is something I have struggled with for such a long time, especially due to my anxiety but college does things to people. I had to present in front of 80 people, give an expo in front of administration, I had a job interview, I gained an internship at the Springfield police department and I even went around my campus inviting random strangers to my campus Bible Talk. Things I couldn’t even have thought about doing in high school without having an anxiety attack. I gained friends from this newly discovered confidence. I have never had these many friends in my 18 years of life but let me tell you how good it feels, amazing. I truly am so blessed to be able to have this growth because I was so sick of being an extrovert in my brain and heart but having to be an introvert for the sake of everyone else. I am free to be me and I love it.
Lastly, I have learned so much about God. Learning that life is just a passing through and that everything I am doing here is about glorifying God. I try hard to do well but I do not beat myself up over a C because life is so much more than right now. I can enjoy these moments and soak it all up but not get caught up in it. I know that in 25 years those falls will just be a memory and that in heaven, my college degree is not coming with me. College is showing me that love is patient and kind ( 1 Corinthians 13:4-7). I see this when it comes to dealing with roommates or just needing patience when it actually comes to relationships. God is teaching me a lot about timing here. God is showing me that a boyfriend or job is not in my cards right now and I am surprisingly okay with that. God is showing me that is okay to care for yourself but to not forget about helping others. He is truly working through me and this campus.
This may only be my first semester here in West Haven CT but I have a plethora of new ideas and perspectives already. I am growing and maturing and becoming a human that this world needs. I am enjoying every single second here and I can not wait to see what the following semesters have to offer me. – Lex
- Skipping Birthday Parties
- Have to miss the second and third day of junior year from a week-long anxiety attack
- Spending every night from age 7 till now pondering life and everything that can go wrong instead of sleeping
- Not being able to ride rollercoasters
- Having to be 30 min early to everything to avoid being late
- Making excuses to not hang out because my anxiety was at a high
- Skipping school
- Not being able to apply for different jobs for fear of rejection
- Presenting in class
- Talking to people and constantly wondering if they are judging me
- Sharing my faith and fearing consequence
- Being anxious about driving because fear of accidents, death, and harming someone else
- Having to constantly check me in the mirror to make sure I look okay so no one will pass judgment
- Having to leave work early because an anxiety attack wouldn’t subside
- Not being able to focus in class because the night before anxiety attacks would wake me out of my sleep
- Having digestive problems due to anxiety
- Having an issue with not eating / binge eating due to anxiety
- Having to constantly tap something or move to keep my mind busy with other things
- Sacrificing schools I wanted to go to because I was afraid of having too much anxiety and being that far away from home
- Never being able to enjoy anything to the fullest because even good days overwhelm my brain and send me into an attack no matter how amazing the day was.
Trust me when I say this list continues for miles but also trust me when I say there is help out there. God never forsakes us and even tells us to cast our anxieties on him, so I do. Having this mental disorder is not easy and it is something I will have for the rest of my life but I know I have the Lord with me every step of the way.
My entire family is composed of immigrants. All coming here to pursue a better life for themselves and future generations but all I’ve witnessed is work addicted, money hungry adults. Family values are easily being diluted by the constant need for more. I am more than appreciative for the sacrifices my parents have made for me and my three siblings. I will never have to worry about college debt, a car payment, or if I have a place to live when I graduate but my parent’s sacrifices included missing my last year of competitive dancing, recitals, school ceremonies, even just simple family dinners. The family is something that is so valued in the typical Italian movies but I only witness tight-knit family time during the holidays and even then conversations were focused on money, working, and our small business. There was never an escape from the fast-paced American culture. Again, my parents working every day is something they do to support their family of six financially because, well in America, you have too.
America makes it almost impossible to support a family on just one parent’s income. We stopped valuing family and replaced it with money. Kids want more, parents work more. Parent’s work more to give their kid’s more. We miss birthday’s, events, and awards just so we can afford to give our kid’s a new Xbox or expensive sneakers so they can fit in with the rest of society. We have put way too much emphasis on stuff and not on experiences. You will never get back you child’s 5th birthday but chances are they will forget about wanting that new toy in 3 weeks. We need to stop raising our kids to want and we need to start focusing on family.
I just see such a difference in my generation than the ones before mine. We didn’t get the gift of family. Stay at home parents are a myth and being able to support your kids emotionally and financially has become an impossible task. I can not imagine having to raise my kids this way. I want them to value family, love, and God. Not brand new cars, expensive clothes, and cell phones. America doesn’t seem to be to going back to the 50’s family values anytime soon and I don’t know how we ever will. Everything on this earth is so temporary but love is something that lasts an eternity and yet we let that slip through our fingers for a new purse or watch. Time is ticking and we are missing out on so much.