30 Secrets for Your 20s

Today’s guest writer is my sister. She wouldn’t call herself a writer, and I wouldn’t dare limit her creativity to that either. My sister is the kind of person who makes cardboard ukuleles for her entire preschool class. When she met Trent for the first time, she decorated the guest room in American flags (he’s Canadian) and left a Constitution on the bedside table. She never ceases to make me laugh or challenge my views of the world and she’s going to be really embarrassed that I’m bragging about her so much.

Seven years younger than me, Hannah’s the sister I always wanted and had to endure a brother between us to get to (jk, I love you, Eric). Now that we sit in the same decade, I love our growing friendship and how we get to learn from each other.

Recently, Hannah wrote a list of 101 secrets for your twenties, as a gift to a friend. She saw a book by the title online and decided that she could come up with a list herself, and it would save her $10. That’s my sister, creative and thrifty.


This year I’m going to turn thirty. So in honor of my exit from this decade that binds us (I’m still in my 20s for two more months!), I want to share with you THIRTY secrets my sister has discovered to make your twenties awesome.

Note: The book never said they were helpful tips, so she’s not promising that either.

  1.  Have your parents do you taxes for as long as they are willing to.
  2. They say to separate your whites and dark clothes, but if you put both together in cold water it will probably be okay.
  3. You need sunglasses in the winter.
  4. If you ever feel bad for spending too much money, remember that you’re pouring into the economy and making a real difference.
  5. Don’t pretend you understand politics to someone who understands politics.
  6. Find a hobby, even if it’s rock collecting.
  7. Don’t be an idiot, use sunscreen.
  8. Dont always trust spellcheck.
  9. Learn another language. Or just get really good at English.
  10. Don’t kid yourself. Only kids can tell knock-knock jokes.
  11. Orange you glad I told you to eat bananas.
  12. Remember to save your documents periodically. Word doesn’t care how long you took to write something.
  13. Learn to make at least one meal well. Like Kraft Mac & Cheese!
  14. Valentine’s Day is stupid but don’t be a jerk about it.
  15. Ketchup isn’t a replacement for tomatoes.
  16. You probably shouldn’t take real advice from Buzzfeed.
  17. Marrying rich is life’s only cheat code.
  18. Flossing is probably more important than it seems.
  19. Have stickers on hand in case you need to cheer someone up.
  20. You’re allowed to still count with your fingers. Math is hard.
  21. Invest in real popcorn kernels. Microwave popcorn is beneath you.
  22. Don’t judge someone else’s music taste. Unless they listen to Nickelback.
  23. If you’re bad at lying, don’t lie.
  24. Always carry a water bottle with you.
  25. Make friends, but not too many friends. One friend is sufficient.
  26. Always have a case on your phone. We all know you’re going to drop it.
  27. Pizza is acceptable to eat for any meal, unless you’re lactose intolerant (the struggle is too real).
  28. Hug your parents!
  29. If you don’t know the answer, ask someone. If it’s embarrassing though, you should probably just sneak away and google it. Probably incognito.
  30. Don’t invest in a timeshare. Wait until your thirties to do that.

Excuse me while I go and research timeshares. Thanks, Hannah.

ukes by hannah
Ukes by Hannah. Photo by Trinity Preschool.

In Light of Paris, Do the Word

In Light of Paris, Do the Word

On November 14th, I woke up to a message from my friend, Nathalie, to our small group: “Hi Ladies. Please pray for France. Terrorist attacks in Paris overnight… The country was declared a state of emergency, the borders are closed. My family is okay but this is ridiculous.” Our group went on to pray and process together, asking why and how do we respond. 

Nathalie is a speaker of Truth. She speaks truth into my life and challenges me to see God’s Word outside of my cultural lens, especially when it’s uncomfortable. Soon after the attacks in Paris, she was tasked for a class to write an article or blog about a passage that she studied. 

She passed it along for me to read and after I did, the next time I read my Bible I thought about it differently – it’s not just something to read – especially those hard verses. It’s to be read and then acted on. I asked her if I could share her words here.

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. (James 1:22-24)

The message is clear. Put the word of God in action, do not be content with just hearing it and end up fooling yourself that you are with God when you are not. However, I must admit that when I first studied this passage, I did not feel the weight of it. In many ways I thought it was an easy text to follow. That must point to the easy circumstances of my life, so I found myself glancing over it and moving on.

Then, Friday November 13 happened and terrorists decided to slaughter as many people as they could in Paris, the capital of my country. Currently across the world, I woke up, confused, to several messages asking if I was in Paris and an email from my mum to tell me that though she was in the city she was safe. I spent the next few hours waiting to hear from one of my brothers and several friends I knew were there while catching up on the horrifying news. Thankfully, I am not among those who have lost loved ones and yet, I was devastated. It made me angry that people could believe murder was good and that there were people actually rejoicing over the success of this terrorist act. It broke my heart to be reminded again that humans are capable of the most atrocious acts and that considering the spiritual state of France, the chance of the victims being with Christ are slim. It made me scared because there is no way I can prevent it from happening again and that means my family and so many others are at risk.

So, in the middle of the chaos and confusion I am not sure what to do. Yet, God is clear, “be doers of the word and not hearers only.” Though I am angry and all I want is revenge and to inflict the same pain that was inflicted, the word of God says, “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you” (Luke 6:27). Though I am afraid that other attacks will happen and that they will steal time my family and others might need to get to know Christ, the word of God says “Let not your hearts be troubled” (John 14:1a) and “do not be anxious about anything” (Phil 4:6a). And though I am sad and do not understand, the word of God says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding” (Prov 3:5).

Being a doer of the word is not easy, especially when my flesh screams out, “I don’t want to!” But the Bible is clear, not putting the word of God in practice leads to self-deception. On the other hand, James 1:25 says “But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”

So when the time comes to do the word when the circumstances make it so hard, I bow my head and pray to ask the Almighty for help. I ask Him to give me the grace to love the people I want to hate. Even though my heart might beat frantically in fear I ask Him to give me the peace that comes only from knowing Him. When all I see is evil I ask Him to help me trust and cling to Him. And every time I fail I look again to Christ and thank God for Him and the evil He endured for my sake. Faithful as He is, He gives me the strength to fight my sin and be a doer of the word a little better, promising that in obedience comes blessing.