Thursday, July 30, 2009

Volunteer Work

I love doing volunteer work. I have for as long as I can remember. Don't get me wrong, I like getting paid for work too, but there is something special about doing something out of the goodness of your heart. 

I have been doing volunteer work since I was probably about 12. Sure, I did service projects when I was younger through girl scouts and whatnot, but nothing independent or recurring until I was 12. I started with working with the Child Advocacy Center, then the marketing department at the hospital, then Camp Sumatanga, plus a nice assortment of church and school projects.

When I went to BSC and went through Rush, I always asked about the philanthropy stuff and working with some of the projects that each sorority sponsored. And most of the girls looked at me like I was crazy. They didn't care anything about actually working WITH the people or groups they sponsored, they just wanted to have a party and send them a check. I wasn't cool with that. I NEEDED volunteer work because something just felt like it was missing when I wasn't doing it.

So to solve that  little problem, I went through volunteer training at Children's Hospital. I didn't have a particular area where I wanted to work, I just wanted to do something. I got trained and interviewed but just never got a placement. And so I sat in limbo for almost a year. Then I decided to contract my month with the Pastoral Care department and ended up working with them for quite some time. In addition to Children's, I also worked with a Brownie Girl Scout troop and with Rape Response. It broke my heart when I moved to Nashville and had to start all over again.

I didn't do nearly as much volunteering in Nashville, but I knew I had to do something, so I defaulted to what I knew best and was the easiest to get into - hospital work. I ended up working with the pastoral care department at Vanderbilt Medical Center for about two years. 

In the past year life has been a little crazy and volunteering hasn't happened. And now that life has slowed down and routine has returned, I am ready to return to volunteering. 

I went by Children's yesterday to inquire if the pastoral care department could use a volunteer and was thrilled to get a yes. I went to volunteer services immediately and since I am a returning volunteer they are helping me streamline the process and I'll have my interview on Tuesday! I'll be so excited to go back to work with them. It's a great place with great people where I feel like I can make a difference. 

I'm very excited!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Married Life

In the two months since our wedding, I have often been asked the question "How is married life?"
Well, I really haven't been able to come up with an honest and concise answer to that question yet.

"Great!" - Married life really is great, at least my married life is. I love getting to share life with Jeff. I look forward to his coming home every day and getting to actually talk to him in person rather than over the phone. I love having someone to cook for and to eat dinner with. I love sitting next to him on the couch and watching nothing on TV. I love sharing all the mundane little details of life with him. It really is wonderful to truly be sharing our lives.

"A Challenge" - Right now, our biggest challenge to married life is learning to live together. It can be something as simple as compromising on what we want for dinner on a particular night to trying to figure out when we want to go to bed and get up to accommodate our different schedules. I'm sure it will work itself out, especially when if I start having office hours like he does. It's nothing major, but over time those little things that you aren't used to dealing with can build up. The biggest thing is reminding ourselves and each other to communicate.

"Hard Work" - Married life has meant the taking on of some interesting new responsibilities. In addition to the housekeeping and walking the dogs,  there are some serious business aspects of sharing a life with someone, the least of which is the management of household finances. So far this has gone very well, but it doesn't happen by itself! I have also found myself with a few new duties including packing Jeff's lunch for work every day. It's also been an adjustment to have someone to whose needs I have to be responsible. When I was single, if there was a night I didn't feel like cooking and wanted something quick and easy I could just do what I wanted, but I can't do that now. I'm sure I will learn how to manage all of these new responsibilities, but for now it's still a learning experience.

"An Amazing Journey" - Married life is a journey, no doubt about it. There are all kinds of twists and turns, and the pit stops along the way sometimes provide the greatest entertainment. But ultimately, it's about the journey and not the destination. Like any journey I know there will be times when I am tired and frustrated, but it is SO worth it.

So if you feel the need to ask me how married life is or has been, just pick whichever answer you like best, because it is all of the above!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


If you know me, you know I have a thing for bags. It started out just as purses. But it has expanded to include tote bags, suitcases, backpacks, and almost any other kind of bag! 

When I was in high school, I was known for my "momma purse" because I was ready for just about anything and had almost anything anyone would need in it!

While I was in college and then in grad school, I rarely carried my purse, but I had my backpack/school bag ready for a variety of situations.

Now, I have several bags. The first is my "regular" purse. The second is a big tote bag full of "work" stuff that I call my portable office. I keep a notebook, a couple of folders of important papers, a bible, this year's preaching guide, a calendar, a church directory, and anything else I think I might need that I can take with me. 

Over the years, I have gotten very particular about the kinds of bags I like. For a purse, I want to be able to put it across my body. I want it to be big enough to keep a bunch of stuff in it, and I prefer it have a few pockets that I can organize things in. In backpacks, I want nice padded shoulder straps and lots of pockets also. For a suitcase, I want something lightweight, if it's big enough I want wheels. Even smaller bags, I want something to zip all the way. 

My number one requirement for everything is that it be durable. If I have something, I'm going to use it. And I want it to last. I don't want to have to worry about it getting thrown around being loaded onto a plane or a cruise ship or getting in and out of the car. And because I expect quality, I'm willing to pay for it. I don't like spending tons of money, but I'm willing to do it. But to make that sale, you have to be able to give me exactly what I want. Because if I can't get it from you, I will go somewhere else!

I recently found a bag that I absolutely love the style. It is a small (carry on size) duffel bag that has a hard bottom. The only ones  I have found are kind of cheap and are in funky patterns. While I love a little funky every now and then, it's just not what I'm looking for. The closest thing I have found in a similar style that is more durable is much larger, and part of the appeal of this one is the fact that it's so small! Alas, I shall keep searching!

Furry Children

I love our dogs. They really are a part of our family. And they really are like children with their own developmental needs and unique personalities.

Cocoa is my chihuahua. She is five years old, so she is more than an adult. But she is also only four pounds! She was picked on by the littermate she lived with before I got her. As a result she has developed a few personality "quirks" that we have been working to overcome. 

The first is that she is kind of neurotic. Part of this is her breed, too. But she is very skittish and scared of just about anything. This has really improved thanks to Patches, amazingly enough. She has done really well learning to live with another dog. As a result, she has gotten a little bolder when it comes to meeting strange dogs. She will not only allow them to sniff her, she will often walk right up to them, which is nice because I know she can be more social. She's getting a little better about socializing with other people as well, but we still have some more work to do there.

Her second quirk is her eating habits. Although the other dog she lived with was smaller, the other one was the Alpha and would push her away and not let her eat. When I first got her, she would only eat at night when all the lights were out and nobody was watching her. She will now eat at normal times during the day, but still doesn't like any people to be around watching her, but if she's started eating she will let you watch her eat it. She is still a little funny in that she will take a piece of food and carry it away from the bowl and eat it, then come back for another piece.

I have recently become aware of the fact that she likes to get up in the middle of the night for a drink of water. I think part of this is my fault because she is used to staying up much later with me and now I am not staying up as late but she hasn't quite adjusted to our new schedule. This may have been going on for a long time but she always was able to get on and off the bed by herself (sometimes with the help of a stool or something to give her a boost) so I never had to get up with her. Now she can't get back on the bed by herself and we usually close the door at night so I have to get up and let her out, then wait till she comes back and put her back on the bed. 

Even though she was about two and a half years old when I got her, she wasn't quite as potty trained as I was told she was! I'm sure part of it was the transition to a new home and the fact that we moved about every year and that's a lot for anyone, but especially a little dog with nerve issues already! We have finally gotten her almost totally trained. She still doesn't always tell us when she needs to go out and if we wait more than about four hours while she is awake, she can sometimes have an accident. But for the most part, she is really good. 

Patches is our black lab/australian shepherd mix. He is about a year and a half old. He still has a lot of puppy in him and is full of energy. He has calmed down a lot when he isn't around other big dogs to cause trouble. But has a few quirks of his own.

The first is just that he sleeps on his back with his legs up or sprawled out. It's really funny to watch and makes us laugh.

Like any lab puppy, he loves to chew on things. We try to give him rawhide bones and other things that he is allowed to chew on, but he has eaten flip flops, a comforter, rugs, and even pulled a small fabric case for my contact stuff out of my purse and ate that! He also ate a huge hole in Jeff's grill cover! He is learning not to chew on things, but I have a feeling there will be some other casualties!

Although he is a big bundle of energy, I think being around Cocoa has taught him the joys of being a lap dog. He isn't allowed on the furniture, but loves to sit right next to us and just be petted and loved on. He also loves to give kisses, but can stop if you tell him no. He still gets really excited and loves to jump, which can almost knock you over! We're trying to teach him and he can be really good at listening to "no" or he can be totally oblivious, depending on his mood. 

Despite their quirks and areas for improvement, they are wonderful additions to our family and I can't imagine life without them!

Friday, July 17, 2009

House Hunting

Jeff and I are officially house-hunting. We called a mortgage company and got our pre-approval. We've called the realtor and have an appointment to meet with her next week. And now we are looking around on the internet.

Shopping for a home is actually really stressful. We don't want a "starter home", we want a place where we can settle down and raise a family. And we already have some pretty specific criteria. I want a formal dining room and possibly a separate formal living room.  We want three bedrooms at least (4 if we can get it!) in northern Shelby county (Pelham area). We want a fenced yard for the dogs and a garage (2 car if at all possible). If there is room for a workshop for Jeff, that would be ideal. 

Most of what we have found that meet our criteria and are within our price range are older houses, usually built in the 70s. That means they aren't as cute as I would like them to be, but we can update it in a few years if we need to. 

I have to admit, the whole process is absolutely terrifying, but also very exciting. Stay tuned for the continued adventures of our home safari!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


When I was a kid, swimming was probably my all-time favorite summer time activity. It ranked right up there with sleeping late, watching tv all day, and eating whatever we wanted for lunch. But in recent years, I have discovered that swimming just doesn't hold all that much appeal to me. I'd much rather sit in the shade with a book or just relax in a hot tub (if it is available). 

Maybe it is just a grown up thing. But diving for toys or change and doing handstands and giving piggy back rides just doesn't entertain me for hours the way it used to. I'd much rather hang out and float or just sit with my feet in the water. I used to want to go swimming every day, sometimes multiple times a day. Now, about twice a year does me just fine! I'm also kind of funny about the fact that I am no longer content to throw dry clothes over a wet suit or ride home squishy. So I like to get out a while before it's time to go home so I can dry off. 

Jeff is practically my opposite. He can't get enough of swimming and gets really funny when I don't want to go with him or if I walk down but don't want to get in. Maybe it is just because he got so used to going swimming all the time when he was younger and it never really stopped. I don't know. 

I got two new bathing suits this week. I haven't had new suits in three years, and the old ones clearly don't fit anymore, but as often as I go swimming, I make it work. I figured that, since we are going to Discovery Cove again in November and because Jeff is taking me swimming more now, I should get them. I didn't spend nearly as much as I normally would but am happy with what I got. And now that I have suits that are comfortable and fit right, I actually feel a little more willing to go swimming more often.

Now if I could just get one of those floats with an umbrella on it ...

Furniture Shopping

One of the perks of setting up a home is getting the furniture to put in that home! We currently have some very nice furniture, but the vast majority is stuff that has been inherited from one of our families. We're both happy with it for the moment, but we eventually want to get some things of our own that we have picked for ourselves.

We didn't go out intending to shop for furniture. But we had some time to kill and decided to go wander around. We ended up at Rooms to Go first. We wandered in and were accosted by the sales guy named Elvis. Although he didn't stand over us, he followed us around the store. On several occasions I saw him staring at us and it was just plain creepy. He never really offered any help, just kind of creeped us out. We found a few things we liked ok, but nothing we really loved. We walked out feeling a little bit let down.

We decided that, since neither of us had ever been up to Ashley Furniture and we were close, we would pop up the hill for a bit. When we walked in we were greeted by a very friendly salesperson named Johnita. She explained the set-up of the store, told us to look around, asked our names, and promised to check on us soon. And she left us alone! I could look over my shoulder and not see her staring at us, and it was wonderful! We stopped and looked at a few things along the way and she caught up with us and explained how to read all the little sales placards. And once again she left. Again, she gave us a while and caught up with us, this time we had questions for her. She answered our questions and explained everything very well. We continued to make the rounds and she continued to just check on us periodically, answer all our questions, and generally make it a great experience. 

When we were finally ready to go, we were in love with a dining room set, a sofa set, and a nice storage ottoman. She gave us her card and printed out pictures of the sets that we liked. We will be more than happy to go back and give her business! 

And if you're in the market for some furniture in Birmingham, go down to Ashley Furniture in Hoover and see Johnita!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Roast Chicken

I have officially roasted my first chicken. And I must say, it was quite a successful attempt. I also learned a lot and think I can do an even better job next time! 

I must admit, I've never been a huge fan of working with whole creatures. It makes them seem, well, like animals and not just pieces of meat! I can see how people can be vegetarians when you look at it that way. I mean, I know intellectually where meat comes from, but I have a really hard time bridging the gap between farm and market. And even really large animals like cows and pigs don't bother me. It's the little ones like chickens and our goats. I've never had a burning desire to try goat meat, but I really think I would have a problem with it now that we're raising them. (That's another post for another day). 

Anywho, as I set about the work of preparing my chicken, I felt rather odd. It was quite compressed in its little package, so in order to clean out the insides I had to spread its little legs and open it up. And I felt like a perv! Stuffing it with the lemons, onions, celery, carrots, and rosemary had a similar effect. But I was pretty proud of myself and my stuffing abilities. 

After it was stuffed, I had to give it a massage with butter and season it with salt and pepper. Again, massaging a chicken was odd, but the results were very much worth it! I also stuck a little bit of lemon and rosemary under the skin. It was good It took about two hours total to roast, but it came out pretty darn perfect. It worked out well because I gave it about 10-15 minutes to rest while the rest of dinner finished so it was still nice and juicy but the skin was crispy and delicious. 

My carving skills need a little work but overall it was a very successful dinner. Next time I will probably not put the rosemary under the skin, just stuff it inside and lay some in the pan around the bird.

If we can catch a turkey on sale sometime I may just making our own roast turkey for sandwiches!

Coming soon: Bread, Dogs, Cleaning, and Movies

Thursday, July 9, 2009


While I can be very OCD about organization (some types of organization more than others), cleaning is not something I am terribly passionate about or enjoy very much. But now that I really have a home to take care of and am taking a little pride in it, I'm sort of enjoying it. It really does help to have someone to help me keep everything up. 

One task I know Jeff wishes I were better about is making the bed. I usually forget about it at least once a week. I appreciate that he lets me sleep when he leaves for work and I know that's the price I pay for that. But half the time I will get up and take the dog(s) out for a walk, and then I may or may not go back in the bedroom for quite some time. Usually I make the bed when I take a shower/get dressed. And on the days when I am lazy and want a bubble bath or just to hang out in my t-shirt and sweatpants, then I usually forget about the bed. We are compromising - Jeff does it on the weekends when he's home and will sometimes make it if I've forgotten it after he gets home (and is learning to do it without making smart comments!), but he can also just leave it on occasion which is nice. I'm trying to do better about remembering it, but at least I have stopped napping in the afternoon which is a step in the right direction I suppose!

Doing the dishes has become an interesting endeavor for us. On the one hand, I absolutely despise doing dishes, but since it mostly means just rinsing plates and loading the dishwasher, I'm taking ownership for it as one of "my" jobs, and am therefore picky about the way it is done. Bill Engvall has done several little bits about his wife and the dishes and the way the dishwasher is loaded. And I have always and will always laugh at them, but I am now that wife! Rather than getting on to Jeff for the way he does it, I just go behind him and fix it. He is slowly learning the way I like it and is trying, and I am learning to work around the way he does it. I still maintain the rule that if you don't want something in the dishwasher, you have to wash it by hand yourself, which seems fair.

I really dislike vacuuming, so that is Jeff's only major regular housekeeping job. He doesn't really mind it, so it works out pretty well. We share laundry duty and he is slowly learning what "delicate" means. I'm learning how he likes his socks folded. We still need an iron, but we're moving in the right directions. Dusting is one of those jobs neither of us likes so it usually only gets done once a month or whenever we have company (whichever comes first). I keep the bathrooms clean, but it's really not too terrible. The master shower has one of those scrubbing bubbles auto shower things so that kind of does itself. The tub/shower in the hall bathroom only gets used when we're in a hurry and both want to get ready at the same time or I want a bubble bath (that is "my" bathroom). Everything else is pretty easy to maintain.

I will be very glad when summer is over and Patches isn't shedding so we don't have black dog hair all over everything in our world!

I doubt I will ever actually like cleaning, but I am learning to appreciate the results enough to desire them!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


I have never been a huge fan of popular TV. My favorite shows are often things that have been off the air for years and are being re-aired on Lifetime. Starting in high school there were about three channels I would watch - courtTV, Food Network, and Lifetime. And it stayed that way pretty much through college. I never really got into the whole "newest episode" of anything. And I loved re-runs of shows I'd already seen, especially if I'd seen it more than once because my attention wasn't glued to it. It was simply background noise. I like studying to spoken word better than music, so TV worked for me.

When I moved to Nashville, I didn't get cable. It was just an un-needed expense, and I had a pretty good collection of DVDs so I was happy. When I lived in the house we had cable but I couldn't ever figure out how to use the directTV or whatever it was so I probably watched it maybe a dozen times in the year i lived there. I just stuck to DVDs in my room. The last apartment I inherited a set of bunny ears but still no cable, so it was mostly DVDs still.

Somewhere in there, I discovered Grey's Anatomy. Like I said, I'm not one to jump on the "new show" bandwagon, so I was about three seasons late in getting started. I just downloaded them all and spent my Thanksgiving break watching all of them up to that point. And of course I was hooked, so I got as caught up as I could and anxiously awaited new episodes. I still wasn't one for "appointment TV" so I looked forward to my new download from iTunes and that was when I'd watch it. 

There is only one show I ever watched as it aired, start to finish, every week without fail and that was "True Beauty". I don't think I would have gotten quite as into it if it were longer than 8 weeks, and I think the only reason it worked was because it was right after I got home from a late class and it was perfect to switch it on while I ate dinner. 

Now that I am not working and have access to TV, I am getting hooked on so many different shows - Ice Road Truckers, The Deadliest Catch, Top Chef, Crossing Jordan, The First 48 and the list just keeps going! I have even spent an entire day watching a full season of America's Next Top Model! 

I am really getting into all of these and I honestly don't know what to do with myself! I need to be more productive.


There are very few things in the life of my home that are sacred. I mean in the sense that they shouldn't be disturbed, interrupted, or otherwise messed with unless there is a MAJOR emergency. But the one thing we do have that is sacred is sleep. Bedtime, Sunday afternoon naps, and even dozing in front of the TV are all things that are just respected. 

For the most part, we keep a relatively normal adult schedule. We try to be in bed before 11 and are usually asleep before midnight. Jeff is usually up before 6 am during the week and 8am on weekends because he has to walk Patches. I tend to stay up a little later and sleep a little later, but I generally try to avoid the "up all night, sleep all day" cycle, if for no other reason than I have to be up at least two days a week. 

If we get a phone call after about 9pm, our hearts race a little because it's unusual. When the doorbell rings unexpectedly after 10pm, pure panic sets in. It seems only natural. In an age where everyone seems to have instant access to any number of means of communication, a visitor in the middle of the night who didn't call first is not going to be the start of any type of good situation! 

We had a surprise "visitor" (who has tentatively been identified) that decided it would be fun to ring our doorbell and run away at midnight on a Saturday. This seems like a typical childhood prank, except that we are hidden away so we know it was not random. And Sunday is one of my work days. Even though Jeff was still up working in the office, I was happily tucked all snug in my bed with visions of sugarplums dancing through my head.

It is not easy to sleep after that kind of panic-induced adrenaline rush. And there will be retribution for those who feel the need to mess with my sleep. 


Meatloaf is another of those foods that I've never really eaten but am deciding I might actually like. My mom used to make it, but the only meatloaf she liked was her own. Personally, there was just something about it that wasn't too appetizing. The first meatloaf I remember really trying and liking was at the Loveless Cafe (an experience that probably requires its own entry). Then I had it again this year at a potluck, so I decided to be brave and give it a shot. 

I have my mom's old recipes, so I figured that the best place to start would be close to home. I remembered seeing it made, but not paying too much attention to it. This was mistake number one!

I discovered that this recipe was a little different - rather than using bread crumbs as the binding, it used potato. Because I was too lazy to peel and grate my own potato I used a handful of frozen hash browns (this was, amazingly, not at all problematic). The rest of it seemed straightforward and everything seemed like it was coming together pretty nicely until I got to the last ingredient - one cup of scalded milk. 

I will probably never know how that ended up as a part of the recipe, but it didn't do anything but make a royal mess! I had to pour the whole thing into a loaf pan rather than just shaping it and putting it on a baking sheet. It all held together (enough to be sliced after baking, but it did NOT look pretty. It tasted pretty bland, too.

Jeff was a trooper and ate several slices (I just ate leftovers, after all the trouble i went to to make it, one bit was all I could stomach). When he went to re-heat the leftovers they started to fall apart. Because there wasn't a terribly strong flavor of anything, he added taco seasoning and turned it into taco salad.

I am not deterred though! I am going to try my hand at meatloaf again, only this time with a very different recipe.

Stay tuned for Meatloaf 2.0

Smothered Pork Chops

Pork chops have never been one of my favorite foods. We didn't have them very often when I was a kid, and when we did they were usually pretty dry, bland, and tough. Plus they were always cooked with rice, a side dish which i refused to touch at the time, so it was just too much work scraping every last grain of rice off the bottom of my chop. Nope, I wasn't a fan. 

As I got older I discovered that pork chops did have some redeeming qualities (as did rice, but that's another entry) and so I experimented with ways of preparing them. They were definitely edible, but never something I really loved or just couldn't get enough of.

Tonight, I discovered the wonders of the smothered pork chop. And I must say, I could eat my weight in these glorious little morsels. They were AMAZING. I literally ate a whole one out of the pan while they were still cooking. I called it testing (at least for the first bite) but it was just stuffing my face.

This is a very imprecise recipe because I was mostly eyeballing everything, but you'll get the idea.

I started with what I'm guessing to be about 1/3 - 1/2 lb of pork tenderloin cut into about 1/2 inch thick medallions/chops. They were lightly coated with a mixture of AP flour, cayenne, salt, and pepper and then browned on either side in a little bit of olive oil.

After the chicken pieces were browned, I removed them to a plate, and add a little more olive oil to your pan plus one small yellow onion that has been sliced, 3 cloves diced garlic, and about 1/2 cup of diced bell pepper (I buy a bag of the frozen little pieces so it was just a handful, but I'm guessing this is about what you'd get from one average pepper). Cook all this until it's soft and yummy smelling, then add a couple of tablespoons of Dale's seasoning (i think you're supposed to use worcestershire but this was what i had and it was really good). Then add about 2 cups of chicken stock, scrape all your bits from the bottom, put the browned pork pieces back in the pan, and cover. Allow the whole thing to simmer about 20 minutes until everything is tender and fabulous. If the sauce gets too thick, just add some more chicken stock.

I served it over pasta to help soak up all the sauce, but i think I may use a simple rice pilaf next time.

Other things to do differently next time: go easy on the breading, it kind of slid off when it was simmering. The seasoning was great though. 

When everything was said and done, this was definitely a new favorite. I will keep playing with it. But when you end up with something so tender you can cut it with a fork, can you really go wrong? If you try it, let me know what you think.

Coming Soon: Hospitality, Sleep, and I still haven't forgotten about Meatloaf and Crocheting!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Just a Number

For basically all my life, my age has seemed like a hurdle. From day one, I was too young! I was born several weeks early and tiny. Not sick, just young. 

When I started school I was one of the youngest in my class. Several of those who had birthdays about the same time I did were held back a year, but my parents sent me on to school because they felt like I was ready. I never had any trouble and just settled into my role as the youngest.  It wasn't terribly irritating until I reached high school and was one of the last to get my driver's license. 

In college, I had an academic head start and was able to finish in three years. I was always too young for the fun stuff of college. Lots of people tried to encourage me to stay another year, but college life just didn't appeal to me. I didn't have to struggle with where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do next. I was confident in my calling and the path I had to take to get there, so I just wanted to get on with it. 

I turned 21 on my first day at Divinity School. I was officially THE youngest person my first year. And it was no longer a matter of weeks or months difference. It was not a matter of years. And at that point, years meant life experience. And I became incredibly insecure about it all. 

I wrestled with "the age thing" as well as "the authority thing", more specifically doubts about my own authority (which was pretty obviously tied to the age thing!) And I would feel better about it for a while, then something would happen that would make me go a little nuts and start doubting everything all over again.

I'm sure part of my insecurity had to do with the fact that, although I was now in my early 20s and qualified as an adult for pretty much anything, I had been a student my whole life and I was not financially independent. Graduation and then getting married sort of legitimized me as an adult in a way that I hadn't ever felt before.

But nothing compared with starting my job at the church. I know I was floundering for the first week or two. But suddenly, I feel like everything has clicked. I am confident in my authority, my ability to make decisions, my power to make changes, and my voice to state my opinion, and my mind that I have something to teach. 

I have started doing a few things a little differently. I was very nervous about "rocking the boat" so early, but I also knew that there was just no way that I could do things the same way as the previous minister because we are very different people with very different leadership styles. And it has been well received!  

And now, my age is not a hurdle, but a motivation. My energy and attitude are a benefit, not a liability. And my experience as a student has made me into a better teacher. 

It has taken a while, but I finally feel comfortable with the statement that "age is just a number".

Check back with me when I hit 40 and see if I still feel that way!