An Open Letter to my Mom

1*8eGv_MVsZ_phrwvm-DSBJQ2014 was a year full of transition and growth for me. There were a lot of laughs and plenty of tears, but through it all, my mom always stood by me. And for that, I am truly thankful. As a small token of my gratitude, I’m writing this letter to my mom on her birthday.

Dear Mom,

My life hasn’t been easy. There are so many times that I feel like I’ve failed. My heart has been broken. Relationships have failed, death’s shadow has followed me, and betray and deception have hurt me. Unfortunately, you weren’t able to protect me from all of this, but then again, how could you? Instead, you gave me an even greater gift than a pain-free life: you prepared me for the sufferings of this world by teaching me about original sin and the redemptive love of Christ.

Your life hasn’t been easy either. You grew up in a broken home with a family who didn’t tell you they loved you enough. Your mother was murdered, your first husband died unexpectantly, and you had to bury your son when he was just twenty-one years old. Quite frankly, the pain you have experience in your life should be unbearable, but despite all of this, you came to Christ and kept the faith.

You remind me of some of the great women of the Bible. Like Ruth, you left behind all that you had for something far greater. Like Esther, you trusted God when it would have been easier to protect yourself. And like Hannah, you trusted your children’s lives to God.

Mom, thank you for taking the time to get to know my friends — all of them. Thank you for opening our home to them, for cooking for them, and for cleaning for them all without asking for anything in return. Thank you for loving them and for continually making sure that I surround myself with respectable and responsible people through each and every phase of my life.

Thank you for investing in my education. You taught me how to read and instilled a love of learning in me at a young age. Thank you for all the time you spent preparing and teaching me throughout my time homeschooling, and thanks for stepping aside and letting me thrive in public school when the time came. Thanks for getting me to apply to Grove City College and for supporting me when school was hard.

Mom, I can’t thank you enough for letting me chase my dreams. You gave up everything for my soccer career — not just time and money — but your emotional health too. I know watching your child suffer through injuries was hard on you, but you continued to support me and helped me get back on the field so I could do what I love. But it’s not just my athletic dreams you supported — you let me travel the world, write a book, start a business — all at a cost to you. Not only did you support me financially, but you counseled me when I was discouraged or silently suffered when I took out my frustrations on you because you were an easy target. Thank you for being patient with me.

Thank you for letting me move to California when I know you didn’t want me to go. It’s funny because moving away actually made me feel closer to you. I developed a greater appreciation for the every day things you’ve always done for me — like cooking and cleaning — because I had to learn how to do those things for myself. Starting over in a new city has brought new challenges into my life, like feeling isolated and lonely, all things I know you have experienced for years. I want you to know that I understand how you feel, and I’m sorry I wasn’t more empathic in the past.

Lastly, thank you for all the fun times we’ve had together. I love that we can have a good time doing almost anything together. From walking the dogs and running errands to long road trips and playing games, there’s no one I would rather spend my time with. You’ve made me laugh until my sides hurt. You’ve brought the biggest smile to my face. You’ve hugged me and told me that you love me every day of my life.

Thank you for being the best mom to me and for teaching me how to be a great mother to my own children one day.

Happy birthday, mom. I love you!

-Sam

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The Post-English Major Life

1*LVExWOOkYF_7D6DfNwEQnAWhen I decided to study English in college, I did so because I wanted to become a better writer. Though I always planned to pursue this major, I never imagined I would be doing so at the college I attended. To be honest, I only applied to this school because my mom asked me to. Since I didn’t plan to go there, I never seriously researched the department and walked into the major totally blindsided my freshman year. You can say I was more than a little bit surprised when I somehow found myself sitting in a meeting with the English department during my first week of college classes listening to one of the professors tell me and the other freshmen English majors that our program was ranked in the 99th percentile in the country.

Uhh WHAT.

When I heard this, all I could think about was where the nearest exit was located. I knew in that moment that this was going to be a hard four years.Now that I have graduated, I can honestly say that getting through (and I purposely say “getting through” because I literally dragged myself across the finish line) was one of my greatest accomplishments.

Before I share how my studies have affected my life post-graduation, let me take a few moments to tell you about my experience during those four years. It’s pretty simple, really. I complained the entire time and all of my English classes turned out the exact same way each semester: I would get absolutelydestroyed by my exams and then turn around and excel on my research papers. Somehow, this meant that my final grades balanced out in the end (usually got a solid B) and I lived to see another day. Now, you may not believe me when I say that I got “destroyed” by my English exams, so I’m going to give you a tanglible example. Let’s flashback to the midterm exam in my Literary Criticism class junior year.

This is how the exam was structured: I had 50 minutes to answer 200 questions. My professor pulled 40 random quotes from all of our readings, and for each quote, there were 5 questions: identify the speaker of the quote, identify the title of the work from which it came from, the period in which the work was written, and then answer two more objective questions about the quote. Now, I was no math major, but I’m pretty sure that means I had an average of 25 seconds to answer each question.

Somehow, several of my classmates managed to get A’s on this exam; however, I was not one of them. I started studying a whole week in advance and spent over 15 hours preparing for the test. Guess what that got me? The lowest grade in the history of mankind: a whopping 37%. Granted, I didn’t have enough time to even read the last 50 questions of this exam, so I left them blank and literally cried as I walked out of the room knowing that I failed. Now, that was by far the lowest grade that I ever recieved in college, however, it was rare for me to get an A or even a mid to high B on an English exam.

Anyway, a week after this Literary Criticism midterm, I filled out a form to drop the class, but at the last minute, a friend of mine convinced me to stick it out. Looking back now, I am so glad that I did. Turns out, I finished the class (and saved my grade!) by writing the best paper of my entire life: a research paper examining Stephen Chbosky’s book, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, through the lens of Psychoanalytic Theory. Since I just admitted my embarrassing midterm grade, I trust that this doesn’t sound conceited when I say that the research paper I wrote for this class was a damn good piece of writing. You can read it at the bottom of this page.


To be honest, I hated my major all four years. With the exception of my Asian Literature, African Literature, and African-American Literature classes, I really didn’t enjoy any of my English classes while I was in college. Since I developed such an interest and love for business and entrepreneurship in school, everyone I knew in college always asked me why I never switched my major. Part of it was because I’m stubborn and competitive so I really didn’t like the idea of giving up on English because it was hard. The other part was because, as much as I didn’t particurly enjoy reading (fact: not all English majors like reading), I felt like I was getting a real education. I have a lot of respect for people who are well-read and have always felt that reading is the best way to learn about the world.

Now that I’ve finished school, I can honestly say that I refined my writing skills and turned into an active and critical reader post-graduation. When I finished school in May, I thought it would take me months to pick up another book, but it turns out I was flipping pages and underlining quotes just a few days later.

Below are the most impacting books I have read since graduation. Feel free to leave a comment, and let me know what books you enjoyed reading this year or would recommend I read too!


The Truest Thing About You by Dave Lomas

This book was written by my pastor at Reality SF in San Francisco. I would recommend it to anyone going through a transitional time, especially graduating college students.

There are many true things about you — true things you use to build an identity. Parent. Introvert. Victim. Student. Extrovert. Entrepreneur. Single.

These truths can identify you, your successes and failures, your expectations and disappointments, your secret dreams and hidden shames. But what if your true identity isn’t found in any of these smaller truths, but in the grand truth of who God says you are? In other words, lots of things are true about you — but are they the truest?

David Lomas invites you to discover and live out the truth of who God created you to be: you are loved, you are accepted, and you are made in God’s image. It’s time to move beyond the lesser voices and discover why everything changes when you become who you really are.


Glitter & Glue by Kelly Corrigan

If you are a mother, daughter, or like to travel, you must read this memoir. Kelly Corrigan has become one of my favorite authors and this book was inspirational to me as I prepared for my backpacking trip across Europe this summer and began writing my own travel memoir this year. My mom loved this book too.

When Kelly Corrigan was in high school, her mother neatly summarized the family dynamic as “Your father’s the glitter but I’m the glue.” This meant nothing to Kelly, who left childhood sure that her mom — with her inviolable commandments and proud stoicism — would be nothing more than background chatter for the rest of Kelly’s life, which she was carefully orienting toward adventure. After college, armed with a backpack, her personal mission statement, and a wad of traveler’s checks, she took off for Australia to see things and do things and Become Interesting.
But it didn’t turn out the way she pictured it. In a matter of months, her savings shot, she had a choice: get a job or go home. That’s how Kelly met John Tanner, a newly widowed father of two looking for a live-in nanny. They chatted for an hour, discussed timing and pay, and a week later, Kelly moved in. And there, in that house in a suburb north of Sydney, 10,000 miles from the house where she was raised, her mother’s voice was suddenly everywhere, nudging and advising, cautioning and directing, escorting her through a terrain as foreign as any she had ever trekked. Every day she spent with the Tanner kids was a day spent reconsidering her relationship with her mother, turning it over in her hands like a shell, straining to hear whatever messages might be trapped in its spiral.
This is a book about the difference between travel and life experience, stepping out and stepping up, fathers and mothers. But mostly it’s about who you admire and why, and how that changes over time.


The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

I really struggled with anxiety and depression for a month this fall while living in San Francisco. For weeks, I couldn’t get out of bed, let alone apply for jobs or work on my book. The War of Art helped me break through and begin taking steps towards feeling better.

A succinct, engaging, and practical guide for succeeding in any creative sphere, The War of Art is nothing less than Sun-Tzu for the soul. What keeps so many of us from doing what we long to do? Why is there a naysayer within? How can we avoid the roadblocks of any creative endeavor — be it starting up a dream business venture, writing a novel, or painting a masterpiece? Bestselling novelist Steven Pressfield identif ies the enemy that every one of us must face, outlines a battle plan to conquer this internal foe, then pinpoints just how to achieve the greatest success. The War of Art emphasizes the resolve needed to recognize and overcome the obstacles of ambition and then effectively shows how to reach the highest level of creative discipline. Think of it as tough love . . . for yourself. Whether an artist, writer or business person, this simple, personal, and no-nonsense book will inspire you to seize the potential of your life.


A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller

One of the best books I’ve ever read. Check it out if you like memoirs, movies, or writing.

After writing a successful memoir, Donald Miller’s life stalled. During what should have been the height of his success, he found himself unwilling to get out of bed, avoiding responsibility, even questioning the meaning of life. But when two movie producers proposed turning his memoir into a movie, he found himself launched into a new story filled with risk, possibility, beauty, and meaning.

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years chronicles Miller’s rare opportunity to edit his life into a great story, to reinvent himself so nobody shrugs their shoulders when the credits roll. Through heart-wrenching honesty and hilarious self-inspection, Donald Miller takes readers through the life that emerges when it turns from boring reality into meaningful narrative.

Miller goes from sleeping all day to riding his bike across America, from living in romantic daydreams to fearful encounters with love, from wasting his money to founding a nonprofit with a passionate cause. Guided by a host of outlandish but very real characters, Miller shows us how to get a second chance at life the first time around. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years is a rare celebration of the beauty of life.


A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit

This book was a slower read, but the author makes an interesting distinction between getting lost and losing yourself. Here’s my favorite quote:

“Lost really has two disparate meanings. Losing things is about the familiar falling away, getting lost is about the unfamiliar appearing. There are objects and people that disappear from your sight or knowledge or possession; you lose a bracelet, a friend, the key. You still know where you are. Everything is familiar except that there is one item less, one missing element. Or you get lost, in which case the world has become larger than your knowledge of it. Either way, there is a loss of control.”

Whether she is contemplating the history of walking as a cultural and political experience over the past two hundred years (Wanderlust), or using the life of photographer Eadweard Muybridge as a lens to discuss the transformations of space and time in late nineteenth-century America (River of Shadows), Rebecca Solnit has emerged as an inventive and original writer whose mind is daring in the connections it makes. A Field Guide to Getting Lost draws on emblematic moments and relationships in Solnit’s own life to explore issues of wandering, being lost, and the uses of the unknown. The result is a distinctive, stimulating, and poignant voyage of discovery.


What We See When We Read by Peter Mendelsund

Mind blown. Buy this. Read this. You’re welcome.

“A gorgeously unique, fully illustrated exploration into the phenomenology of reading — how we visualize images from reading works of literature, from one of our very best book jacket designers, himself a passionate reader.

What do we see when we read? Did Tolstoy really describe Anna Karenina? Did Melville ever really tell us what, exactly, Ishmael looked like? The collection of fragmented images on a page — a graceful ear there, a stray curl, a hat positioned just so — and other clues and signifiers helps us to create an image of a character. But in fact our sense that we know a character intimately has little to do with our ability to concretely picture our beloved — or reviled — literary figures. In this remarkable work of nonfiction, Knopf’s Associate Art Director Peter Mendelsund combines his profession, as an award-winning designer; his first career, as a classically trained pianist; and his first love, literature — he considers himself first and foremost as a reader — into what is sure to be one of the most provocative and unusual investigations into how we understand the act of reading.”


Without Reservations by Alice Steinbach

Another great travel memoir. I started this right before I went to Europe and read the rest of it on travel days during my trip.

In many ways, I was an independent woman,” writes Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Alice Steinbach. “For years I’d made my own choices, paid my own bills, shoveled my own snow.” But somehow she had become dependent in quite another way. “I had fallen into the habit of defining myself in terms of who I was to other people and what they expected of me.” But who was she away from the people and things that defined her? In this exquisite book, Steinbach searches for the answer to this question in some of the most beautiful and exciting places in the world: Paris, where she finds a soul mate; Oxford, where she takes a course on the English village; Milan, where she befriends a young woman about to be married. Beautifully illustrated with postcards from Steinbach’s journeys, this revealing and witty book transports you into a fascinating inner and outer journey, an unforgettable voyage of discovery.


The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

If it’s possible to have a “soulmate,” then it must be possible to have a “soul book.” This is mine, and I’ve read it four times.

Since its publication, Stephen Chbosky’s haunting debut novel has received critical acclaim, provoked discussion and debate, grown into a cult phenomenon with over three million copies in print, spent over one year at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list, and inspired a major motion picture starring Logan Lerman and Emma Watson.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a story about what it’s like to travel that strange course through the uncharted territory of high school. The world of first dates, family dramas, and new friends. Of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Of those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.


The Giver by Lois Lowry

Re-read this on the plane from Pittsburgh to Seattle. If you didn’t read this growing up, it’s never too late. The book is much, much better than the movie.

Jonas’s world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear of pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the community. When Jonas turns 12 he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.”


The Messiah Method by Michael A. Zigarelli

I have so much respect for the Messiah College soccer program. This book highlights what makes their program and my own college’s women’s soccer program so special.

How Excellence Happens From 2000 to 2010, the Messiah College soccer program-the men’s team and women’s team combined-posted the best record in NCAA soccer: 472 wins, 31 losses, and 20 ties. Few programs were even close. Seventeen Final Fours between them during this time. Eleven national titles. Unbeaten streaks measured not only in games, but in seasons. How do they do it? What’s their secret of success? They use what might be called “the Messiah method,” seven disciplines that propelled these teams from decent to dynasty. They’re seven disciplines that can supercharge your team, too. Whether you’re leading a sports program or a business or a school or a church or any other organization, there’s a proven method to achieve breakthrough performance-and to sustain it year after year. It’s The Messiah Method. It’s how excellence happens.”


The best advice I ever got was that knowledge is power and to keep reading.
– David Bailey

2015: The Rebuilding Year

Sam Weber

2015 marks the third consecutive year that I am creating a vision board. Last year proved to be my most successful year to date. I accomplished 10 of my 15 goals and literally checked off all of my “I’ll-do-this-someday” goals (even the ones I didn’t set out to pursue in 2014).

Here are my 2014 highlights:
-Graduated from college
-Backpacked Europe
-Wrote the first half of my book about my brother, Zach
-Moved to San Francisco
-Saw the first athlete successfully recruited on ProfilePasser

My 2014 actually turned out better than I had planned which left me wondering what I could possibly come up with for 2015. Instead of scrambling to think of a few last minute “big ideas” just so I could have something exciting to look forward to in 2015, I decided to make this next year the year I focus on rebuilding and finidng a good, healthy balance in my life so that I am rested and ready to make 2016 a great year.


Word of the year: rebuild.
def: to revise, reshape, or reorganize.


Quote of the year:
Have patience with all things but first with yourself. Never confuse your mistakes with your value as a human being. You are perfectly valuable, creative, worthwhile person simply because you exist. And no amount of triumphs or tribulations can ever change that.” – Saint Frances de Sales


Experiences:
1. Nashville, Boston, Portland, Los Angeles
2. Go to a World Cup game in Canada
3. Taylor Swift concert (holla!)
4. Climb a mountain and go camping.

Projects:
1. Publish my book.
2. Speak at an event.
3. Keep a written journal.
4. Brainstorm a big idea to pursue in 2016.

Community:
1. Cultivate deeper relationships.
2. Stay active in a small group.
3. Continue to mentor someone younger than me.
4. Join a soccer team.

Finances:
1. Get a grown up job and/or find the next step for ProfilePasser
2. Cut my student loans in half.
3. Move into my own apartment.
4. Feed at least one hungry person.

Growth:
1. Read 20 books.
2. Learn how to cook.
3. Face a fear.
4. Be more open to commitment.

Health:
1. Find a healthy work/life balance.
2. Commit to getting 8 hours of sleep per night.
3. Drink water every day.
4. Get control over anxiety & learn how to say “No.”


What’s your vision for 2015?

A special thank you to my friend, Andrew, for first inspiring me to create a vision board three years ago. You’re work with No Typical Moments is incredible.

One Hundred Days of Solitude

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Moving to a new city always seemed sexy to me. For years, I imagined myself buying a plane ticket and starting over in a new place. I’ve always made friends easily and never worried about being alone. Starting over seemed like the perfect adventure for my post college graduation life.

But making new friends is exhausting. After four months of my new life, I am finding myself feeling socially burnt out and longing for the relationships I left behind. I never thought I would experience this type of sadness, but here I am. So far, my loneliness has progress through three distinct stages.

***

Stage 1:

At first, my loneliness would come and go every few days. I was meeting new people all the time and was distracted by the time I was spending exploring my new city. These new experiences were exciting, and since no one knew me well enough to follow up, I felt free to come and go as I pleased. I was mostly happy. Still, every few days I would wonder what my life would be like if I were back at home with my friends and family.

Stage 2:

My loneliness progressed into a dull ache. Like a bruise, it was painful to the touch. If I let myself think about home, my thoughts would be haunted by nostalgic memories for the rest of the day. I was beginning to spend more and more time alone. Soon, I found myself avoiding the people I had met in my new city because I was sick of having the same surface-level conversation. “When did you move here?” “What did you study in college?” “What kind of job are you looking for?” “Where are you from again?” “How’s the job search going?”

Stage 3:

I was now drowning in an ocean of isolation. I could feel myself completely withdrawing from everyone I had met and counting down the days until I could go home to visit my friends and family.Even the thought of having to carry on another conversation with a fresh acquaintance out here left me feeling exhausted. My desire to make any commitments was beginning to dwindle.

***

While experiencing these three stages of loneliness, I have had plenty of time to reflect on the proper response to feeling isolated.

First, I may feel empty and withdrawn, but God will never leave me. I don’t know what the future has in store for me, but I do trust that God brought me to this new city for a reason. Now when I feel lonely, I try to remind myself that I need to spend more time praying and trusting that God has a plan.

Psalm 145: 18–19:
The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.

Secondly, I am thankful for the relationship I have built with the family I do have in my new city. They have been the greatest blessing to me here, and it’s important to say that my loneliness is not a reflection on them.

Finally, God has used this loneliness to show me how important the relationships I have back home are to me. Although I miss spending time with my friends and family on a daily basis, I am lucky that technology has made it easy for me to maintain these relationships. There are very few friendships that can stand the test of time, but I am confident that I have found my soulmate best friends. Living in a new city has made me grateful for this every day.

Living Out my Core Desire to be Free

2014-08-02 17.37.18During my senior year of college, one of my English professors asked my class to think about what moments or experiences have made us feel the freest. While we took a few minutes to gather our thoughts, Professor Craig shared that her most freeing moment occurred while she stood in the Paris airport by herself. She said there was something so liberating about being in a foreign country surrounded by people who spoke another language, had no idea who she was, or what she had done with her life up to that point. There were no expectations and no worries. It was just a few solitary moments where she could just be. Professor Craig’s words deeply resonated with me.

For as long as I can remember, my core desire in life has always been to be free. Though my parents were never the authoritarian kind – demanding straight A’s on my report card, watching the clock to make sure I was home by curfew, yelling at me to eat my broccoli – I was always naturally motivated to achieve a certain level of success in life. This translated into feeling like my life was pretty much planned out for me. I was to perform well in school, graduate from college, start a career, find a husband, and save enough money to retire one day. It wasn’t so much that my parents insisted on this cookie-cutter life for me, but I did feel the pressure from everyone else around me to fit a certain mold.

However, I longed to be like one of those independent women I had read about in my English classes. I wanted to be Elizabeth Gilbert and eat, pray, and love my way through Europe. I wanted to be Kelly Corrigan and quit my job just to end up looking after two kids in Australia so that I could understand and appreciate my mom more. I wanted to be Alice Steinbach so that I could spend a month finding myself in the streets of Paris. I wanted to exchange this cookie-cutter life for a life of travel and writing and meaning. To put it simply, I wanted to be me, or at least to give myself a chance to figure out who that was before it was too late.

In August, I decided to break the mold and do something reckless. I spent twenty-nine days backpacking across Europe. In that time, I learned a lot about myself. I discovered that I hate rules, but I always follow them. I like to sit in silence and appreciate the present moment. And, that as soul-satisfying as traveling can be, there is no substitute for the comfort of your own bed after a month of sleeping in hostels. As to be expected, my trip turned out to be nothing like I expected. Nevertheless, my month abroad gave me a chance to take a few moments to finally breathe so that I could gain a better perspective on life.

That month abroad also gave me the confidence to follow through on another major life decision: four weeks ago, I moved 3,000 miles across the country to San Francisco. And it is here that I have found my freedom. While I left behind many people and places that I love in Pennsylvania, like Professor Craig, I have found it to be incredibly liberating to live in a new city where no one knows my past or particularly cares about my future. I am just free to figure out who I want to be.

Who Did You Meet in College?

I applied to give the senior commencement speech for my 2014 Grove City College graduating class.  I wasn’t selected, but I still wanted to share my thoughts with my class.  Congratulations, everyone! We did it. 

DSC_4153I came across a quote this semester that says: “We are judged by what we finish, not by what we start.” Graduating from Grove City College is not an easy task. My time here has taught me things about myself, about my faith, and about life that I never could have learned at any other school. I discovered that I have more willpower, more patience, more discipline than I ever could have imagined; I also found out that I have friends whose love, support, values, dreams and desires are truly inspiring and push me to be a better version of myself every day. We are emerging smarter and stronger from the challenges this environment has placed on us. Graduating from Grove City means that we can be secure, or better yet, we can be confident in our ability to endure and survive hardships — hardships in our academic, personal and professional lives – for years to come. See, it is impossible to truly know yourself, or the power and grace of God, or the strength of your relationships, until all of these things have been tested. And I am sure you can all agree, Grove City has certainly tested us. But it is knowledge like this that is a true gift, and one that we will carry with us for the rest of our lives.

I wish that I could sum up the past four years for all of us, but the truth is that we have all had unique journeys during our time at Grove City. While we have been taught in our academic lives to analyze and synthesize, real life teaches us that we cannot always draw big conclusions, profound truths, or great significance from the events of our lives. On days like today, we may desire to have some great epiphany or to know what our time at Grove City has all meant, but I can’t pretend to know how God will use our time here in the future.

Looking back over these past four years, the majority of my memories involve boring Friday nights flipping through flash cards, sitting in the library writing research papers into the wee hours of the morning, anxiously waiting for class registration to begin only to find that the internet isn’t working, standing in line for chocolate chip pancakes in the SAC, pouring my heart out in worship at Warriors, sitting on a bus to Thomas More College with the women’s soccer team, and cleaning snow off of my car for what seemed like eight out of the nine months that we are here each year. While none of these memories seem like they will have a profound impact on my life, it turns out that this is okay. It’s actually amazing, really.

A few weeks ago, my friends and I were eating lunch in the cafeteria, not talking about anything very important. In fact, I can’t even remember the topic of our discussion, but it was the kind of lunch you can only have with your friends where it doesn’t really matter what you are talking about, the fact that you are with them is enough to make you happy. It was fun, but not really noteworthy. It was then that I realized that it’s the every day, mundane moments like this, the kind of moments you have experienced hundreds of times over again — like eating lunch with your friends in the cafeteria — that these are the moments that have the biggest impact on us.

See the truth is that it doesn’t really matter what clubs you have been the president of, how many games your athletic team won, how many A’s you got in your classes, or even what career you have chosen. Instead, true meaning comes from the relationships we have with others. Very few profound life revelations come from the accomplishments we achieve in college. The rest, maybe even the majority, are molded by the time we have with the people around us: the people we see in the library, walking into chapel with us, or sitting next to us at commencement today. And who knows, the people we met during our time at Grove City might turn out to be the next President, the next CEO of Facebook, or maybe the person who finds a cure for cancer.

So, take a moment to evaluate your life at college. What people did you meet? What friends did you make? What professors influenced your life? Who will you continue to share your life with long after we leave here today?

All those seemingly meaningless little moments of your time here, all the trips to the TLC to get your computer fixed, all the IM sports you played, all the times your RA had to tell you to be quiet when you and your roommate were laughing too loudly during quiet hours, all the time you spent proofing each others’ papers: these are the pages that you have been writing in your book of life. These are the things that possess the truest vitality. These are the things that you will take with you from this day forward.   So, now that we have started and finished another chapter of lives, where are you going from here? What chapter will you finish next?

 

Thank you, Mom.

1526112_10151860978051088_1730006358_nIn exactly four weeks, I will be a college graduate.  When I look back over the past four years, it’s incredible to see how much I have changed emotionally, athletically,  academically, professionally, socially, and spiritually.   This year alone has been full of  change.  I have had so many ups and downs, great moments of success and terrible times of loss and despair.  I’ve learned a lot during my time at Grove City, but the greatest take away from my college experience has been that I have truly made my Christian faith my own.  Not everything about Grove City was awesome, but the people God placed in my life and the spiritual mentors who helped guide me through this transitional time helped me see God in everything.

However, none of these people even compare to the impact my mom has made in my life.   Below is a letter my mom wrote to me when I began my freshman year (and I would recommend all mothers share this with their children before they go to college!).  Her wisdom is unmatched and her love unconditional.   To my mom, thank you for everything you do for me and I hope I made you proud these past four years.


Written Summer 2010:
Even with your attractive schedule, life in college will be busy, and the stress of studies and your drive to reach the heights in all your endeavors will consume most of your time, but all of these things are still minor in comparison with becoming a student of God and knowing Him.  Every day has 24 hours, obviously, if you could give 1% of your time to God, that would be 24 minutes; or if you gave .5% of your day, it would be 12 minutes.  Just think on this.  When I think of this, what comes to mind is that we are in charge of how we spend out time and we need to do that.  I need to do that. How many mornings do I lose time, sometimes a considerable amount of time, because I get sidetracked by something online! And then I’m off to a bad start, having already gotten behind in my own *list* of what I believe is important for me to accomplish on a particular day.  This is why I try to start with God so He doesn’t get shoved out.

So, tip#1
– Put God first in your life and in your day, every day, so that this becomes a habit.  God wills peak to you through his Word and direct you.  Because he is omniscient and loves and cares for you, checking in with Him is always a great idea.

Tip #2
– journal.  When you *hear* from God, write it down.  It’s definitely a “Weber thing.”  As an English major, you may find having these thoughts written down to be very useful.  And journal your college experience too.

Tip #3
– “Whatever you do, do it heartily as to the Lord.”  This was a verse I used to say over and over again to Zach and Alexa when they were young.

Tip #4
– Give all glory to God! We love praise and to walk in the limelight, but we are called to be “stars” in this regard: A star reflects the light of the Sun (or Son).

Tip #5
– Always, always – expect good things from God.  He promises “All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his Word.”  My understanding is that God has His Story and all good stories have that rising and falling action.   The downs are as necessary as the ups for a good story; therefore, do not despair when the downs come because it’s all leading to the happiest endings!
Last, remember the 3 C’s:
      CONSIDER the choice
      COMPARE it to God
      COMMIT to God’s way
      COUNT on God’s protection and provision
Know that you will always be in my prayers and not just at a certain, like when I do my devotions in the morning, but always, throughout my day.  However, while I do this imperfectly, God is always watching over you!
I thank God for allowing me to be your mother.  You have truly been my joy and I look forward to sharing our futures wherever the twists and turns of life take us! Have a wonderful, wonderful college experience, soak up everything that comes your way (with discernment)!
-Love Mom