24 in my 24th year

My birthday was on Tuesday. I’m not much for setting goals, but I am for being purposeful with my days. Here are 24 things I hope to accomplish in my 24th year of life…

1. Graduate + find a social work job I enjoy. I’m graduating in May with my Master’s in Social Work. I’ve heard the job market ’round here isn’t great, but I’m remaining hopeful that I won’t have to settle for something less-than-appealing. God provides.

2. Continue to grow as a helper/encourager/friend to my sweet husband. I am so thankful for a patient husband who daily strives to be the best he can be for me. And I’m so thankful for women in my life who let me in on their own challenges and strengths as Christian wives.

3. Read more. With no more wedding planning on my to do list, I’ve come across a lot more free time. So far, I’ve done a good job of making time for reading, and I’ve enjoyed it very much. Gotta keep it up! On my to-read list: RoomKisses for Katie, Tattoos on the Heart, The Meaning of Marriage, Cutting for Stone, There Are No Children Here, and… Bossypants! 

4. Get better at cooking and learn to enjoy it more. I’m not bad, but my repertoire is pretty slim. I’ve been blessed with a husband who loves to cook and does it willingly, but I want to be able to give that back more readily.

5. Take more film photos. I love my film cameras. But film + developing is expensive. I really want to do this, so I’ll just have to keep a better eye out for discounts.

6. Take a few trips. We’re going to South Carolina in a few weeks, but other than that our calendar is pretty empty.

7. Blog more. I’m not shooting to be a famous blogger. I don’t want a ton of comments. But I do enjoy writing. And from what I hear, people enjoy reading.

8. Finish my practicum well. 

9. Finish grad school well. Similar to above… I’m feeling some form of senioritis. But I want very much to give myself fully during these last two months.

10. Bake a pie. My grandma has passed on a couple amazing recipes that I want to carry on for years to come.

11. Eat at new restaurants. I’ve lived in St. Louis long enough that I have some favorites that are easy to go to over and over again. But St. Louis has a bunch of amazing places I haven’t tried yet. Examples: Farmhaus, Brasserie.

12. Advocate for orphans/foster care/adoption. I love talking about topics for which I have passion. And this is one of them. Part of advocating: encouraging those who are in the process of adopting. We have friends who are starting the process soon, and we have several acquaintances who are already in the thick of it.

13. Go to more conferences. Some may consider them boring and tiring, but I love them. On my radar: Together for Adoption and a few social work ones.

14. Continue to consider + pray about where God would have us move for Dan’s med school residency program. He will start interviewing in the fall… It’s a long process, and we have little control over the end result. But more than likely, we’ll be leaving St. Louis in May of next year. Top interests right now, though: Portland, Seattle, Denver, San Francisco, San Diego.

15. Watch more documentaries + foreign films. I really love them. In an honest, not I-just-want-to-be-a-hipster way. They’re harder to get access to, though not impossible in a bigger city. On my list: The Separation, Into the Abyss, Declaration of War, Monsieur Lazhar.

16. Watch more Project Runway. I’ve gotten back into it with this season’s All-Stars. And guess who loves it… The husband! We want to get ahold of some old seasons to watch together. It’s fun.

17. Buy clothes less often, and buy higher quality clothes when I do. Part of me is still stuck in the age when I used my allowance to buy as many clothing items as possible. To do this, I had to get stuff at Forever 21. I need to make a major shift to buying classic, high quality things.

18. Write to friends + family. I very much enjoy sending and receiving mail. Want to be my pen pal? Email me your address!

19. Facebook less. As I get older, I enjoy it less. But I still seem to spend as much time on there. Yuck.

20. Be more transparent in interactions with others. Keeping up appearances has never been my primary goal. The several times I’ve allowed myself to be truly transparent — failures, worries, anxieties, struggles and all — I’ve seen the huge benefits. Must do this more.

21. Grow in my ability to help my husband lead a Gospel community (our church’s form of a Bible study). We are currently “apprenticing” under some of our friends at church. The church is growing, and we want to be ready if we’re called on to lead a Gospel community. We desire to be leaders in our current church and at any church we find ourselves in the future.

22. Spend more time around kiddos. I do like the teens I work with, but I think my heart is more for younger kids. We will be helping with our church’s program once a month. I also might be taking on a baby-sitting gig for a family that just recently moved to the U.S. Their 2-year-old daughter doesn’t speak English, so that could be fun.

23. Talk with my husband often about when to grow our family + continually submit those plans to God. We aren’t on any sort of 5-year plan… We are very much open to the possibility very soon or even quite a bit later. What I know: God knows best + He provides abundantly.

24. Preach the Gospel to myself daily. My husband does a better job reminding me of the Gospel than I do for myself. It’s hard some days, but I know I serve a God who has done more for me in a more perfect way than anyone can or will.

[Thanks to Kayla, from whom I stole this idea!]

[my feet, on wedding morning, credit: We Are the Parsons]

  • Congrats on graduating! I graduate May ’12 from the University of Southern California School of Social Work with my MSW. Do you know what population you want to work with? I specialize in military families and children (totally my passion). Blessings!

    • natalie

      thank you! I’m hoping to work in child welfare.

  • Lisa

    Natalie, just want to let you know how much I enjoy your blog. You do have a gift for writing. I also love your heart for fostering/adoption. If you two ever make any trips out here, we would love to have you stay with us.
    Lisa

    • natalie

      thanks, Lisa! I’m glad you enjoy it. we might have to take you up on that offer… I would love to see you + have you meet my husband!

  • I can’t remember the website for the life of me, but if you Google “free documentaries”, you’ll find a lot of different stuff that you can watch on the internet.

    As for less Facebooking… I’m trying my hand at that this year, too. I don’t know what browser you use, but if you check out LeechBlock for Firefox or StayFocusd for Chrome, those both help limit time you spend on websites. (I’m sure there’s something for IE, Safari, and Opera, as well)

    I’m excited to see where God takes you guys. The city that lands you will be blessed. =)