10 Reasons Why Older Friends are Honestly the Best Friends

For starters, they’re the kind of people who let you get away with stuff that your parents wouldn’t let slide, am I right?
Let me start this by telling a little story…

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

For those of you that don’t know, this is my girl, Michelle.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

and this is Lauren.

Michelle and Lauren and I planned to eat dinner one night back in September, but Lauren ended up getting a migraine and couldn’t make it. So, of course Michelle and I handled the news so well- you know, as every dramatic gal would…by crying because we were devastated. Genuinely. But, we decided we’d cheer ourselves up by trying to make Lauren feel better. So after eating our Newks Q’s, we stopped at an unfamiliar gas station, bought some candy, yellow Gatorade (just what the doctor ordered), and some sketchy “headache relief” that I’m really hoping Lauren just admired rather than actually took because we really got it just to be funny.

Here’s where the story gets interesting- we had no idea where Lauren lived. Well, we had an idea, we just didn’t really realize it was as far out as it was and that it was as creepy as it is at night. So, as I am driving, Michelle constructs a story about a birthday party she is having, and texts Lauren to ask for her address so that she can “mail an invite.”

Lauren lives a good 27 minutes from Newks, but y’all, traveling to her house felt like traveling to East Egypt. My best friend, Emma, lives probably 2 minutes from Lauren, and I know how to get to Emma’s house. However, going to Lauren’s, I decided I’d use the GPS. I’m a fan of Waze by the way- it’s a great app, go download it. It avoids traffic which is great because I’m always trying to avoid it- you know, especially in the middle of nowhere Alabama at 9:00 PM.

Long story short, Waze takes us nearly to the toll bridge, then around some dark, windy, eerie, poorly-lit roads all the way to Lauren’s house. It was quite possibly the most scared I’ve ever been, but it’s a funny story to share now. Get this though- we were so scared we wouldn’t even get out of the car at her house. We drove super close to the mailbox, shoved it all in, sent her a text, and sped off. Yeah. I’m still shocked we made out out alive.

I start (yes start, I know, I know, everyone reading this right now is feeling like they do when the pastor says he has one more point before he closes) with this story to say that:
1. Older friends keep secrets like grandparents. You know our parents would have said “No way, Jose” if we had asked to go out to Lauren’s at 9 on a school night on unfamiliar sketchy back roads alone as a sort of new 16-year-old driver, but Lauren never told on us. You see, she’s almost like our grandma! #welovegrandlauren #welovelaurina #welovegrannyren
2. They’ve got wisdom you don’t have. They always seem to have answers don’t they? It’s because they’ve been there. Being friends with someone older than you can be so beneficial because they know more than you!
3. They can share their mistakes with you! This is so good- They’ve already lived the part of life that you’re living, and they’re old enough to look back and see what they did wrong. Most of the time, they don’t hesitate to share those faults with you so that they make sure you don’t do the same!
4. With that being said, they never, never, never want to see you fail. I think this part is so sweet. These older friends of mine go out of their way to help me be successful in life, and in my math class (honestly).
5. They Understand, and can help lift your spirits when you’re feeling low❤️ A few weeks ago, I had an older friend really help calm me down when I was really stressed. And I have another friend who has constantly done that for me since I was in the 7th grade.
6. They’re like a bonus parent sometimes. You know- you don’t want one, but sometimes you need one. They’ll be honest with you about your outfits and set you straight when you’ve done something wrong.
7. You become cooler for hanging out with older people. Because they’re already cooler. Right?
8. They don’t want the drama. They’ve already been there. THIS IS SO GREAT because I hate drama.
9. They’re less judgmental- this allows conversation without judgement because they’re well aware you have more growing to do.
10. They’re a sweet role model and someone for you to always adore and want to be just like.

I love these people (and more)!  Thank you, Jesus for older friends!

 

It Matters Most

When I was in middle school, I had one particular English teacher whom I really connected with during my seventh grade year (she's one of the reasons I started this blog!). Nearly every day, I left her a note somewhere in her room, usually on her desk. Whether it was a piece of scripture, a silly quote, or a simple note that read something like, "Hey, you're the best teacher ever! -Elle," I did it in an effort to send some encouragement in her direction.
This same teacher was, and is, a mentor and friend in my life. I knew how hard she worked, and how late she stayed up. I actually don't know if she ever slept that year. But, I loved her and tried to help brighten her days.

The night before I started high school, I sent her a text, to be a "note" that I left on her phone (instead of her desk since we were no longer at the same school), with a Bible Verse that is a mutual favorite of ours, and a message that basically said I was praying for her as she stepped into her 3rd year (I had her her first year). In her true fashion, she responded with a novel explaining to me how much she knew I would love high school (she and I are twins, so of course she was right), and how I was going to do great. But, what stuck out to me was a sentence that said something like this: Someone needs you to be their spark and encouragement this year just like you were to me when I had you, and I know that God is going to use you for that.
She told me two things within that sentence. The first one being that my notes worked!! Woohoo I had been encouragement to her! And the second one was that I had a mission- someone needed me to be encouraging to them.

I clung to that so dearly, it made everything that I did in school feel semi-important. I prayed and prayed on it. I was convinced it was someone and then I no longer thought it was them.
After a lot of continuous praying- (I mean seriously, if you've taught me in the past two years, your name is written ALL OVER my prayer journal, and if you teach me these next two years, I'm sure yours will be, too), I've decided it was each of you.

My very first blog post was about teachers. Right now, it's what I want to do. It really is where my heart is at, and that sounds so strange to me, but it's so true. There is no one that I would rather be more like. Teachers are each some of the most intelligent, loving, life-saving, kind-hearted, hard-working, sweet, swwwweeeet, patient, human beings. Teachers, you display a grace, ambition, and courage that I can only wish to carry myself with someday.

So, my prayer for you all this year, whether it's year one or year 20, is that this year will be your best yet (if you're teaching me, it probably will be 😉)…that you have the perfect mix of chaos and order and that you're able to find a little sanity and encouragement in the in-between.

You are so under appreciated and overworked, and I truly do think that encouragement (from students at least) is a rarity in so many of your lives.

But, teachers, your work matters most. I know this because I am a student, and I get the honor and privilege of watching you CHANGE THE WORLD every single day. How cool is that? You get to teach, inspire, and love the future- and I don't think you ever stop learning yourself.

I know that your job is challenging, but I also have to believe that it is one of the most rewarding. You're changing lives every day, and I know this because you've changed mine. I want to teach because you all teach- and you're rockstars at it. You make learning fun.

I shared all of this to remind you that what you do matters most. The way you love, the way you teach, the way you inspire and encourage, the way you help and guide, the way you hold a students hand and walk through fire with them…It matters most in so many lives. I see your effort, but more importantly, God sees your effort (and truly, He matters most, am I right??). What you do is not in vain.

So, no matter what an angry student (that is sometimes, a lot of times, me) says, and no matter what an misunderstanding parent posts on Facebook, your work matters most- there are students who care. There are students who are grateful, who are learning more than they imagined they could, students who love you right back, and who want to be just like you.

I can't thank the Lord enough for the honor of being your student- I'm also so thankful that I am one of those students. I am thankful. I see your effort. You are very appreciated.

Hoping this will be your best year yet, teachers! Welcome Back! I'll see you in less than a week!

 "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters," Colossians 3:23<–

Sincerely,
Elle

My Best Advice for High School Freshmen

Since I was once a freshman, I've rounded up my greatest advice for all of those who are about to embark on a totally new, crazy fun, emotional journey.
I'm going to be honest, I freak out…over a lot. My first day of high school was no exception. It was terrifying to walk into a completely new school with such a widespread diversity of kids- and adults.

But, Freshman Year was totally one of the greatest school years of my life. So, with that being said, here is 16 pieces of advice I have for you:

1. Remember That Everyone grows at their own pace. 
Appreciate that, and don't hate yourself because you're not doing the things that your peers are. Please don't rush yourself to do them too. Maybe the things they say/do won't be things you ever say/do. That is Perfectly Okay…Always, Always Remember this.
2. Know It's totally fine to talk to and Make Friends with new people!! 
The majority of my good friends weren't in any of my eight classes freshman year, but that turned out to be such a great thing because a door was opened to a whole new sea with a diversity of amazing fish! Now, I have so many new friends that I never would've imagined being friends with. So, do make new friends. It's a really, really good thing.
3. Don't try to change yourself for other people. 
I spent so much time hating myself because I was changing myself to be who I thought my (get this, best friends) wanted me to be. I didn't like the person who I had become and I didn't know how to get out of that relationship without loosing those friends, so I just became angry, and I hated myself. Changing who I was for those people was definitely not worth the pain that came along with it.
4. Always be Kind to People, but especially be kind to your teachers.
The thing about teachers is, the things they do to make you "hate" them, is all for your benefit. Appreciate that. Because if they're anything like my teachers were 9th grade year (and 10th, too), they are some of the most hardworking, patient, kind, and loving people who want to see you strive, and will do anything to help you accomplish your dreams.
5. Step out of your comfort zone and make friends with upperclassmen.
This is something I wish that I had done more of. Most of them are totally willing to be your friend and offer you advice to get through the day. It was two seniors I knew that totally calmed my nerves the first day when they ran up to me and screamed "HEY!" In reality, they were nervous just like me!!
6. Study, Study, Study. 
If you don't study, and you don't put in the effort outside of school, you won't do well. So study, the night before…days before. Don't cram 5 minutes before the test. Even if it is just as simple as WOTD!
7. Always, Always, Always remember to keep The Lord as your biggest priority in all that you do.
When God is at the Center of your life, and You work at everything with all of your heart, for him, everything else falls right into place. I promise. It's a challenge, I know, but try your best. The Joy that The Lord brings is the greatest feeling to carry around and radiate- even on your toughest days.
8. Celebrate the fact that Homecoming is SO AWESOME. 
Homecoming is one of the first times you'll ever feel real school pride, and you only get to dress up as a baby once, so embrace it, and enjoy it, Freshies!!
9. Get Involved!!!!!!!!
I know you've heard it so many times that you are sick of it…But, Involvement is such a great way to learn things about yourself and to make new friends, as well as build your resume! In High School, there is a lot for you to do regardless of your interests.
10. Know that the friends you walk in with in August of freshman year will more than likely not be the ones you walk out with in May of senior year. 
You probably don't believe me now, but you'll begin to understand this and realize its truth somewhere throughout Freshman Year. High School is a place for growth. Everyone changes and finds things out about themselves and it's really crazy. But if they're not worth it, don't be afraid to let them go. I have had a hard time with that.
11. Hey. Know this: Netflix is fun and is a great way to chill. 
I recommend Grey's Anatomy, Gossip Girl, Friends, or One Tree Hill, but (speaking from experience) don't over use it and mess with your sleeping, you'll regret it.
12. Speaking of Sleep, Sleep as much as you can! 
Someone told me this right before I started High School and I thought that it was really stupid. But, it was actually really beneficial.
13. Walk on the right side of the hallway/stairs. 
People will push you down and shove you around. Trust me, I know. I speak from experience…
14. Remember that your teachers can be your friends, and they are there for you. 
My teachers these past two years have been some of the greatest blessings (see my first blog post again!). It was incredibly hard to say goodbye that final time, knowing that I would never be in some of their classes again (insert a lotta lotta tears here)!!! But, those that I don't get the honor of being their student everyday anymore, are STILL encouraging and helpful- and fun to talk to sometimes!

15. High School can be very intimidating, but be confident in yourself. 
Confidence will carry you so so far.
16. Last, but not least, GET A PLANNER and take advantage of it.
A planner helps you to be a tad bit more organized and get things done on a schedule. It's the best!!

On your first day, everyone is nervous, the sophomores, the teachers, the seniors, the juniors. But it will be okay. Enjoy it, Freshmen. Don't wish it away because I promise, it goes by in the blink of an eye. This year has the opportunity to be the best one of your life!!

Xoxo,

Elle

Twelve and Sixteen; A Happy Birthday Letter to my Best Friend

Happy Birthday to my forever friend. 
Today, My girl MH is Sixteen. 
Sixteen and we’ve been friends since age 4-or 5 (Ok, we met in preschool, but became real pals in Kindergarten)?  Twelve years of friendship…
Through those twelve years the monogrammed and smocked outfits with bows have turned into Jennaration, and the dolls have turned into iPhones and Apple watches…The teachers pets that once shared that title in the 3rd grade eventually shared geometry together in the tenth grade (bless). Sharing school store erasers turned into sharing chemistry answers (sorry, Dr. Strick- we sure do love ya!), and the matching outfits grew fewer. The spend the nights every Friday night (your house, my house, your house, my house), turned into every once in a while dinners at Newks (of course). The games of doctor and dentist turned into games of makeup and two little girls grew from kindergarten besties to Juniors in high school. 
Although everything around us has changed, the love and bond we share has not. No matter how far away, or how rarely we see each other, we pick back up like we haven’t missed a beat. I love you all the same and even more at sixteen than at five. Your friendship is such a blessing. Thank you for these twelve years. 
Wishing you the grandest day in all of history. 
Because you were born, I am a much happier, sassier, and dramatic human being. 
Thank you for coming, and never leaving. I am 12 years more lucky because you’re my pal. 
Happy 16, forever friend. 

Be safe on the roads, Mary-Harbin. I Love you lots.

Take me to Newks?- just us this time:) 

You’re driving.

-Elle❤️ 

Big Stuf 2017 and a Copyrighted Video

I just got back from Big Stuf. It was awesome. Here is a video & some pictures to prove to you just how awesome it was! ​

This video with this music was removed from my Instagram and my YouTube, so to see it there you’ll have to listen to less-cool music. But it’s here.

I would say more, but I’m a little tired  and I believe the video does the job. 
So yippeeeeeeee for Big Stuf!!!!
This music is not my own, it belongs to Hillsong. Just saying for copyright reasons!!

The Ten Most Important Things I learned in Tenth Grade

Today concludes my academic career as a sophomore in high school. As of 11:05 today, I am officially a Junior. In honor of that, I thought I would share with you the top ten things I’ve learned this school year. 

  1. Time Flies. It feels like YESTERDAY that I was walking into school every day with a pit in my stomach and shaking throughout my first period class. 180 school days have gone by in the blink of an eye…I cannot even handle it. 
  2. Confidence is Key. I’m lacking in confidence. However, I’ve had a teacher who has constantly, I mean CONSTANTLY encouraged me to be confident in myself. I’ve recently seen what confidence reaps, and I want to have it all!! 
  3. If it is meant to be, it will be. The Lord’s plan is sovereign, and he will have his way. Now, I’ve known this my entire life, but I’ve never really believed it and clung to it as I have this year. I recently had a sweet friend share this with me before some interviews I had. If we let Jesus take the wheel, He will have His way. This became my prayer- I literally clung to it for 5 weeks waiting to hear the results from one of them. It’s a truly comforting truth. He is always so good. 
  4. History is Happenin’. Yes, I just stole this line from Hamilton, but it’s truth!! My history class was by far my favorite this year, it was a really cool experience, and I learned SO much + so much history is literally happening right now, so it was really cool to learn about it as we experienced it this year. 
  5. I learned How to balance/ manage a loaaad of work. This year has definitely been my most homework heavy year, so I’ve learned how to use my planner in an even more efficient way to make sure I’m getting things done on a balanced schedule so that I can try to go to bed around 11 or 12 every night, rather than 8 one night and 3 the next. 
  6. My school really is the best school in America. I’m pretty sure last years morning announcements began with something about being the best high school in America. I’ve seen this year how it’s the truth. From screaming in Adams’ Army (our rockin’ student section) on Friday nights, to watching and adoring the staff each day, to sitting alongside some of Hillcrest’s most devoted students in the classroom, and with having the honor of leading as an Ambassador, I’ve been able to see how it really is the best. I’m so thankful I get to be apart of it all. 
  7. I also realized that I should take risks and trust God more. I was terrrrrified of my APUSH class, I was terrrrified to try out for some things I tried out for, I was terrrrrified to take a bunch of challengeing classes again, I was mildly scared to take my drivers test, and all of that really worked out for me. But, (I studied Esther & did a project on her for my Bible class I took this year…I know, cool, right) God has a plan and he created us for what could possibly be “such a time as this.” So, that’s all the more reason to step out and trust Him!!
  8. Speaking of driving- I learned to drive. It wasn’t until September that I really started driving (I turned 16 in April), so I learned a lot of driving in 6 months. Now, I’m zoomin’ all over the place. 
  9. If we are obedient to the Lord, he gets the glory and we get alll the good. That we don’t deserve. Ever. As His children, our task is to be obedient to Him. If we do that, we get the good stuff- the healing, the joy, the grace, the peace. Alllll of it. I’ve seen that good more this year, than ever. It’s so humbling because WE DO NOT DESERVE IT but He constantly gives it. 
  10. One less-than-best test grade does not define you. Your worth is found in your creator. Knowing who you are in Him, and being secure in that is most important. One bad test is one grain of sand in the beach of your life. It will be okay. 

With all of that being said, I’m thankful for new friendships, changes, sweet teachers, an incredible school, and a faithful God. It’s been a SWEEEEEET one + I’m so excited for the next two years. Go Pats always. God is good. 

Fiesta, Fiesta, Fiesta!

Last Night, we threw a surprise graduation fiesta at mì casa for Hannah and Maggie, and it was SO. MUCH. FUN. 


I think the biggest piece of fun was the fact that my sweet friend, Michelle, and I somehow managed to keep it a secret. For most people, that’s an easy task. For us two, not so much.

Once everyone got there, we all stood at the door waiting for what seemed like forever for them to show. We figured Maggie would be on time, and we worried that Hannah would be late, so we sent Maggie for tomatoes, and when Hannah got to the house Abby Kate went out there to “talk” about some issues. Then when Maggie showed up, Michelle and AK walked them to the door where we all screamed “SURPRISE!!” ​

​​​​
After we explained this big surprise, we had one more surprise from all of the girls. 

About a week before the party, I asked all of our Bible Study girls (did I mention Hannah, Maggie, and Jen are our Bible Study teachers?) send me a note and pictures for a scrapbook for each Maggie and Hannah. 

My baseball page for Maggie. Their letters from me had a theme- I included 3 dates, the day we met, the day they became my Bible study teachers, and the day they’ll graduate.

This is the only picture I have of my page for Hannah…it’s the blurriest mess, but still cute.

Hannah’s Globe, Scrapbook, and Cross

Maggie’s globe, Scrapbook, and Cross

H & M looking at their scrapbooks


After this we ate. I forgot to get a picture of the food. 

The pre-food table? Looked much better with the food🙄

And then we partied and took pictures and had the most fun celebrating our graduadas (I think that’s right)!!! 

 

Okay, now I need a siesta. 

My Dear, Graduting Friends

To some of my dearest-

Right now I’m crying, but I’m mostly just smiling. Smiling of how G O O D (incredibly good) the Lord has been to me in giving me you. Smiling of the memories we share of my first years of high school and your last years of college. Smiling of birthday cards, sweet chats, and letters in the mail, and of D-Nows, baseball games, group snapchats, and parties we’ve shared.

My heart and prayer for you is that you go onto a new adventure where God uses your gifts of super kindness and super encouragement to bless someone else the same way those gifts of yours have blessed me. I pray that God uses you to be all the encouragement and spark that someone else needs, just like you did for me. I pray that you love with your whole heart- like you’ve loved the Lord and each of us in these years we’ve shared. I pray that you change lives- as you’ve changed mine, that you change the world as I know God will use you to. I pray that this new chapter of life will bring you joy, like our friendship has given me, and that it will provide you with the happiness of seeing everything you’ve dreamed of fall together. I pray that you’re successful wherever you go, and I pray that teaching and nursing are everything you’ve dreamt them to be. 

I cannot wait to watch you each succeed in every aspect of life these next years. 

As your friend, and sister in Christ, I couldn’t be more proud. Thank you for being everything I’ve needed in a friend and encourager- I love you with half my heart, AND half of Michelle’s. 

Your friendship is truly a treasure- I can’t wait to watch you share that treasure and spark with some incredibly blessed patients and students. 

No matter how far apart we are, I’ll always send you birthday cards 🙂 

Congrats, you little grads! 

Sincerely,

Your super proud pal, Elle❤️

3 Books on My Bookshelf | thirty days of elle

I am not a very big reader. However, I do enjoy it when I have time and it is not forced upon me 🙂

  1. A Streetcar Named Desire- the Pre-AP freshmen are reading this right now, so I joined in, and I am, too. 
  2. Alexander Hamilton’s Biography by Ron Chernow (hope I got that right). 
  3. She Reads Truth– if you love the app, you’d love the book. I read it in about 2 days. It has an incredibly cool, TRUE message. 

So you have it- three random books on my bookshelf!

Incase you were wondering, Wonder is my favorite book. 

Failure and Food | thirty days of elle

I have a large fear of failure.

I feel that I’ve failed at this thirty days thing. I’m really sorry. I truly am. 

Anyways, Day 22 was what makes you different than everyone else. 

I see it in my creativity, in the perspective I have on certain things, and in my lack of confidence. 

So yay. There was 22.

Now for 23. I don’t exactly remember what it was- something like favorite foods or something?

Chick-fil-A. It wins every time. I also love Newks. So there you have it 🙂