Monday, April 14, 2014

Sequins & Twinkle-lights | Twenty-Three

I turned 23 last week, on Thursday.

I was expecting to feel old. I mean, fifteen-year-old Julia envisioned that I would be married, with two children, the perfect little house, and driving an aquamarine VW Bug by now.

You know what? I don't feel old. I feel YOUNG, vibrant, colorful, fresh, and blessed-blessed-blessed. (The last one needed repeating for emphasis.)
I'm unmarried, yup, but I have a savior who cherishes and loves me tenderly. I don't have children yet but there are sweet little kids all around me at work and church. I live in a gorgeous log home with two marvelous parents and two handsome brothers who are becoming charming gentlemen before my eyes.

The past month, I've been out and about so much for one reason or another that there hasn't been two days together that I've been at home all day! It's crazy! It's hard work! But it's fun. :D I love 'doing things' and I've certainly done my share lately.

So what did I "do" for my birthday? Ah - well, on the actual day, I enjoyed a delectable dinner with my family of the best. lasagna. ever. And I had my sweet friend Allison M. over and we watched Persuasion and drank chamomile-lavender tea and ate homemade strawberry cheesecake and she created a show-stopping hairstyle for me, which she then replicated two mornings later, when in the evening, we both attended ... an English Country Dance BALL.

Yes. I went to a ball. It was thrilling and lovely and splendid! *happy sigh*

And this... is what I wore...
I really did feel like a princess.

Hugs and love to my wonderful mom who finished my dress just how I wanted it!
 See? There they are. The azaleas, right on time for my birthday. God telling me "Julia, you are precious to me, and don't ever forget that." :D

And just a FEW pictures of the ball - I have way more, and videos besides, but that will have to wait until I can edit them all! :D
Delightful chitchat - this is just in one small spot of the lovely barn.

Twinkle lights and polished floor... (this is only a fraction of all the dancers that were there)

And now... *drumroll please*... 23 things I've learned in 23 years:

1. A smile fixes {nearly} everything.

2. Always check to see if someone left the parking brake on (really, we live on a hill...).

3. Mom and Dad give THE best encouragement and counsel. period. 

4. Strawberry anything, anytime, anywhere, for the win. And Chocolate. Yes.

5. There is always a silver lining. Look for it. (In other words, be grateful. There is always something to be thankful for!) 

6. Do not, under any circumstances, buy a piece of clothing without trying it on first, and hang on to the receipt for at least ten days in case of buyers' remorse. Also - shop thrift stores! One gal's leftovers are another's gold mine. 

7. Drink lots of water, eat lots of fresh fruit and veg, and go on long walks in the sunshine whenever possible.

8. Take zillions of pictures, write in a journal, and make a million memories. The best moments in life deserve to be remembered. 

9. Stay true to your standards, faith, and convictions, you won't regret it. Don't let the world tarnish your shine!

10. Music can turn a dreary job into a dance par-tay.

11.There are a terrible lot of shop assistants with flirtatious manners out there, but do not let it ruffle your feathers. You're holding out for a real gem. (Perhaps Mr. Collins has a cousin.) ;)

12. Brothers make great friends and shed valuable insight on occasion. Also, they are hilarious. Respect and honor them, and never let the sun go down on a disagreement. 

13. Do not be superstitious (see what I did there? #13) or fearful. God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. He's already got your story written out so beautifully, even if you can't imagine what the next plot twist will be.

14. Find your best color (mine is peach!) and wear it whenever possible.

15. Embrace the gifts and talents you have, and work to overcome your weaknesses. There is always room for improvement, but there is only one amazing, unique, and wonderful you. 

16. Always be prepared. Bring a sweater, pack a lunch, wear sunscreen, read up on the subject, practice beforehand, do your research. It pays off big-time. 

17. There are inevitably going to be people who are jealous, bitter, angry, rude, unkind, unfaithful, and annoying. Ignore them, and forgive their foibles. Worrying about what someone else thinks of you is not worth your time.

18. Work HARD. Play HARDER! :D Be amazing and awe-inspiring, if you can. But always be kind, gracious, and humble. You are a mirror that reflects the image of Jesus Christ.

19. Never, never, never give up, keep calm and carry on. :D

20. Do something enjoyable, something you love, something inspiring, something refreshing, every single day. Have fun! But don't forget to take some time to be still, rest, and soak it all in. 

21. Spend as much time as you can with family and friends. They are priceless. So answer their emails, letters, texts and phone calls, and listen when they talk. :)

22. Try not to spend your entire life scrolling through Pinterest. ;) 

23. God will always come through, and he is literally the only thing you'll ever need.

I should totally make that into a tag. :D If anyone wants to write their own list of things they've learned in their own number of years, I'd love to read it. 

Love to all my blog readers!


  1. HAPPY BIRTHDAY JULIA!!!!!! You sure have learned a lot in your 23 years! Have another spectacular year, and learn another lesson to add to your list! :) (And by the way, you looked very pretty in your ball gown!) :)

    The Other Julia Lauren ;)

    1. Hello dear! Thank you so much! :D Ah, well, glad my "years of experience" have at least left _some_ knowledge in their wake. Haha! I do love giving advice. :P Ah! That gown! I adore it.
      Thanks for dropping by!! I love hearing from you!

  2. I love this post, Julia! And I love your heart even more! I think we need to have a girl day sometime. :) Approaching my 20th this Thursday, it's encouraging to hear from another daughter in Christ who's walking in the same light and life and choosing to be uplifting rather than negative. Can't wait to hear more from you and walk with you! :) ~Lissi

    1. Lissi! :D That is a fabulous idea!! I wasn't even aware that you were near enough to have a girl-day with...we must discuss this further, I would LOVE that!
      Oh girl, I completely agree. It's vital to have like-minded sisters and encourage each other. So glad to have connected with you and to have you comment on here! :)

  3. Happy birthday Julia! You look absolutely gorgeous in the pink dress (with the pink flowers as a backdrop!!) Really enjoyed your list of 23--So true! May God bless you with a wonderful year!

    1. Thank you Bethany! Ah, yes, all the pink!! :) Loved that! And I'm glad you enjoyed my list, I enjoyed crafting it. <3 I hope your year is blessed too!

  4. I'm turning 23 in a couple months, and I'm feeling like that number sounds a little "old" to me, but your post is a good encouragement that it really isn't! You look beautiful and that ball you went to sounds like pure bliss!

  5. Great post Julia! I enjoyed seeing the things you have learned in 23 years. I liked it so much I made a post of my own! Here is the link to it:


  6. Julia! Your back!!! YAY!!! Sorry.:) I decided to just comment on this post about all the others, since I missed them. I had given up hope that you would post again! JK.:) I'm so glad your back. And even though you don't know me, I feel like I know you (been reading your blog for about 3 years now.) and it feels like a friend has returned. Oh, and btw my sister is in Mckenzie's wedding, her name is Rebekah.:) And I'm her young and only sister. Just thought that might straighten things out a bit.:) Maybe I will get a chance to talk to you at the wedding. Oh! I almost forgot, HAPPY 23RD BIRTHDAY! (a little late.) So envious that you went to a ball, and looked very pretty too I might add.:) You have such a beautiful heart, and I prayer that you will be very richly blessed for it. Your friend, Abby Stanley.

  7. Hello again Julia! Just wanted to let you know you've been nominated for the Liebster award at my blog.


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