How to Get the Good Life

I have a good life.

I have plenty to wear, plenty to learn, plenty to eat, and plenty to enjoy. I have a rock solid support system of friends and family. And except for the occasional weird rash, I am healthier than a grand champion market hog.

No one’s life is easy, and my good life is no exception. Those of us who know we have great lives can still be discouraged and disheartened. We burn our breakfast, our friend is acting weird, and we lose a job we love. We don’t get the scholarship, don’t get the guy (Or girl), and don’t get the last slice of pizza.

If I can barely keep my own life and self knitted together, how can I spread God’s love? I barely made it through grocery shopping, and now I am supposed to love God by serving others?


Serving others is what gives you the good life. It is how we spread God’s love. It is the joy of serving that gets me through the hours of studying or tedious lectures. It is my life’s joy serving God by serving the people He loves! Hint: that’s everyone!

Serving others is what gives me the good life.

But how do you serve others? You aren’t a missionary. Don’t you go to class and sometimes show up for work?

Yes, I do. I am a huge believer in Mother Theresa’s “Small things with big love.” Many of the people God wants us to serve are right in our daily routine! It’s holding the door for the man behind you, putting your roommate’s plate in the dishwasher, calling a relative who has been struggling, staying to clean up after a wedding, or baking a casserole for your neighbors just because. It’s loving others by putting their needs before your own, every day.

I’m not saying that volunteering at a homeless shelter or going on mission trips isn’t great or important. Those kinds of things are wonderful! What I am saying is, there are people in Your Hometown, America that God is calling you to serve. Through serving God by serving others, even when things go wrong in your own life, you’ll always have the good life.

This Needs More Sugar

If you are looking for cooking tips from an expert who never has flour on her butt, this is not the blog for you.

If you are looking for cooking tips from a kitchen-adventurous 19 year-old who calls her dad every time she has to use the can opener, this is the blog for you!

  •  Yes, adding more sugar will probably fix it.
  • It’s okay to dip your finger in the bowl and lick it.
  • Leave cookies on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before you transfer them to the cooling rack so they set up. Or just eat them.
  • Always add tomatoes, strawberries, or something colorful to a salad. It looks infinitely much more appealing.
  • Ask how long it takes for your oven to preheat before you buy it. Sorry about the Glacial Oven Purchase of 2012, Mom.
  • Good vanilla and good baking soda are worth the extra money.
  • I’m pretty sure exposure to salmonella builds up immunity (Not a medical professional).
  • Always be flexible. Occasionally things don’t go as planned, even with tried and true recipes.
  • Brownies are better than cake. Those who believe otherwise cannot be trusted.
  • Have the kids help! They’ll love it and learn! Some of my earliest memories are of helping my dad in the kitchen.My kitchen help
  • Messes are okay.
  • If you cannot tolerate messes, put ingredients away as you use them.
  • Buy what’s fresh and in season. Use garden-grown tomatoes! Do it!My favorite salad!
  • Learn how to make foods healthier. Cook bacon in the oven, or use applesauce instead of vegetable oil, but don’t be afraid to splurge and make a meal in its full caloric glory.
  • Don’t try to combine too many strong flavors. Have one flavor that you are focusing on and use the other to complement it.
  • Crack an egg by tapping in on the counter or another flat, hard surface. This forms a dent in the shell where you can put your thumbs in order to get a clean separation of the shell.
  • It has to taste better than it looks.
  • Accept that your food probably won’t look like the picture. It is okay!
  • If you really want yours to look like the picture, follow the recipe DOWN TO THE LETTER. DO NOT STRAY.
  • If you are just learning to cook or wanting to try something new, look for a very specific recipe and/or one aimed at kids.
  • When a recipe calls for mixing wet and dry ingredients separately, and you are lazy like me and only want to use one bowl, combine the wet ingredients, then add the dry ingredients.
  • Some store-bought items taste a lot like their homemade counterparts. Frosting is not one of those things. It is super easy to make from scratch and tastes exponentially better.Gobbled these up
  • You must babysit any milk-based substance that is on the stove.
  • When you become more experienced, recipes are more like guidelines. Recipes are also guidelines if you are like me and don’t follow directions well.
  • You don’t need a multitude of gadgetry or a fancy kitchen to be a good cook. You just need practice.
  • Food makes a great gift. Offering to cook a meal for someone is great way to say “Thanks,” “I love you,” or “Help me eat this.”

    Grilled chicken sandwich with avocados and provolone cheese, baked tomatoes with basil and parmesan cheese, and a cornbread muffin

    Grilled chicken sandwich with avocados and provolone cheese, baked tomatoes with basil and parmesan cheese, and a cornbread muffin

How To Become Close and Personal Friends with Your Roommate (Or At Least Tolerate Them)

My freshman year, I went potluck and lived with a stranger named Emily for 8 months. Based on this one experience, I am an expert on living with a roommate. Here’s what, in my amateur opinion, you need to know:

Be upfront. When anyone does something that irks you, you have three options: Tell them, let it go, or let it fester and build to a rage inside you. If you tell them, the problem will be addressed, and if you let it go, there isn’t a problem anymore. If the issue festers, you’ll eventually explode into 10,000 pieces. The day we met, I told Emily that she should always tell me if something is bothering her- and she did. This helped build an open and honest relationship between us, so we could address small problems before they got out of control.

Set expectations. If having an overnight guest of the opposite sex makes you uncomfortable, tell your roommate before you wake up to a strange man snoring like a train. If you want privacy when you change your clothes, tell your roommate. If you want to do all the cleaning, tell your roommate. Communicate your wishes respectfully, and most people are reasonable enough to compromise or comply.

You have flaws. Let’s be real. No one is the ideal roommate. We all have issues. As for me, I walk really loudly. And talk really loudly. I’m just generally noisy and obnoxious. Also, I stay up late. Like until 5:00 am twice (Don’t recommend it). I thrash in my sleep like an angry bear. I listen to music constantly, sometimes one song over and over again (No Interruption- Hoodie Allen). Tell your roommate what you believe your roommate drawbacks to be; doing so will make them feel more comfortable telling you that listening to your frat rap is insufferable.

Basic respect and courtesy go a long way. Don’t use your roommate’s stuff without asking. If you are going to the store, ask them if they need anything. Don’t Harlem Shake when they are trying to study or sleep. Ask before you have your little brother sleep on the floor for 3 days.

Be sensitive and understanding. You are going to see your roommate at their best and worst. Why? Because you are sharing a room. When your roommate is freaking out about her Spanish project, don’t talk about your easy open-option classes. Emily’s grandpa passed away while we were living together, and understandably, that was really hard on her. You are going to see all sides of your roommate. Give your roommate space when you know they need it. Be kind. Don’t gossip or spread rumors about them. You may think that she sounds like a dying cat when she cries, and you are the only one who needs to know that. Your roommate should feel safe and at home in the room. They don’t need to feel like you are constantly judging them, or telling others about their problems.

You are different. That is okay. Emily and I have a lot in common. We both like theatre and journalism. We love Harry Potter. We consider pretzel M&Ms an acceptable supper. We’re also different. Emily has a serious boyfriend. I have a serious relationship with Netflix. Emily is not very religious. I have been called a Jesus freak. Emily is always fully-clothed and cold. Being warm-blooded, I find being fully-clothed difficult. I am organized to a fault and Emily usually knows where to find her scarves. Emily is the baby of six kids, and I am the oldest of two. We have different ideas about families and marriage. I’m extroverted and she’s introverted. The list goes on. However, Emily and I are great friends and we were great roommates. We attribute this to our mutual respect and nonjudgmental attitudes toward each other.

Ultimately, it all trickles down to attitude. If all parties involved are willing to cooperate and live together in harmony, you will. If not, make new friends who will let you sleep on their floor.

The Story of My Life (Not A One Direction Reference)


Probable Cover Art

Probable Cover Art

If I live an interesting life, I am definitely narcissistic enough to write an autobiography about it. Here are some title possibilities:

Is Everyone Having Fun Without Me?

God Is Up To Something, But I Don’t Know What

Acting Like Dad, Thinking Like Mom

Did I Really Shave My Legs For This?

Well, That Wasn’t In The Plan

Food Regrets

I’m Not Ashamed That I Like This Song

Yes, I Will Eat All Of It

Came For The Pizza, Stayed For The Brownies

Always A Flower Girl, Never A Bridesmaid


Perpetual Acne

In Love With A Fictional Character

Tired Of Personal Growth And Responsibilities

Freak Out and Call Mom

Awko Tacos

I Need A Cookie

Faking Until I Make It (Or Worse)

Didn’t You Get The Script I Sent You Of How This Conversation Is Supposed To Go?


Your Friends Said What?!: Spring 2014 Edition

“Do you even weigh enough to give blood?” “No, but I lied about my weight and they still wouldn’t let me!”

“I’m a great physicist.” “Can I call you Sheldon?” “No, it’s Dr. Cooper.”

“Hey, he’s in the end zone!” “That’s the lane. This is basketball.”

“Are we YOLOing at 9:00? That is the prime YOLO time.”

“If it isn’t burning and rolling down a hill, it is a success!”

“People tend to get mad when you lie about having cancer.”

“Look like Tina Fey, be funny like Tina Fey, and get money like Tina Fey.”

“Walked into Spanish like ‘What up? I’m late again.’”

“One strip of bacon? Don’t they know I’m a growing adult?”

“Keep your fluids to yourself or I will scalp you.”

“We moved to Kansas because we’d pretty much do anything to get out of Bama.”

“My art GTA says art is the best major because you can make anything out of it.” “Except a career.”

“Maria gave up social media for Lent and I’m being Hitler about it.”

“My dog eats better than most people.”

“I tried to be an atheist but I couldn’t stop praying.”

“Never never never build a house out of bell peppers.”

“Don’t think I hate you just because I say I do.”

“Take my sarcasm literally.”

“Look what your legs brought. It’s you.”

“I had to start cussing again to deal with the insurmountable amount of crap that persists in my life.”

“Awko tacos are my favorite flavor of tacos.”

“I pressed the clutch and she revved and I was like ‘Sweetheart I’m not pressing the gas.’ She was so confused.”

“Time flies when you’re supposed to be doing things.”

“Oh, he’s off somewhere getting friend-zoned.”

“I’m as passionate about education as Maria is about Kansas trivia.”

Stuff My Professors Say: Spring 2014 Edition

This is why I occasionally pay attention in during lectures.

“I have a wine glass. Not because I am an alcoholic, because I need the brain power.”

“I won’t just give you a study guide. This isn’t Obamacare.”

“If you pay attention, this class will be easy. If you don’t, it will be like 800 devils and a headache.”

“Any physics majors in here? Anyone a physician? That’s not right, is it?”

“You don’t have to sit there not knowing something. This isn’t the 1980s.”

“Am I talking about SiO2? You bet I’m talking about SiO2!”

“You’ll have to throw away some of your babies.”

“All I did over Spring Break was drink beer and play with my dog.”

“Do you just do things for Instagram followers?”

“I don’t know whose phone is ringing, but you can do better.”

“Maria, as soon as you leave we are going to do a secret fun thing.”

“You didn’t get a zero on your ethics paper unless you wrote about why everyone is singing that song from Frozen.”

Guest Blog By My Rad Roommate Emily Porter: Can I Just Say Something?

I get frustrated very easily.

Like yesterday. I was super frustrated all day that Maria accidentally locked me out of the room. I went to take a shower and she closed the door when she left for her walk. Innocent enough. I really let it get to me. Looking back at it, it was just an inconvenience for about a half hour. It would have been less, but I didn’t go to get one of the extra keys until I was convinced she would never get back from her walk.

Today, I was frustrated because my boyfriend said he’d call when he got out of the shower. When I called him two hours later, I was relieved he wasn’t dead, but frustrated he hadn’t called. I was convinced that he had slipped and hit his head in the shower, was knocked unconscious, then drowned. He was all smiles when he answered, like he deserved to be happy. I moved passed it, but I let it get to me for a while.

I’m judgmental. Though I have never talked to the girl next door once in my entire life, I know I hate her because she has an annoying voice. I know that if I’m ever stuck in the same room as her, I’ll eat my own arm off if that means not having to talk to her. In actuality, she’s probably not that bad, but she’s loud and annoying, so you get my only rational response.

I’m a tad hyperbolic. I just can’t help it that every day I have is either the best day I’ve ever had or the worst ever.

There’s no middle ground in my mind. We’re either the best-est friends in the entire world, or we’re mortal enemies and I hope you endure some spontaneous combustion. I’m either taken or I’m single. I either care about you and get super devastated when we don’t talk frequently, or I don’t really mind if you get hit by a truck. I mean, bummer for you, but not my problem.

While reading this, you’re probably thinking I’m zero fun. If you ask our friend Michael, he’d agree.

But if I can just say something, maybe it will change that thought.

I’m so judgmental of others, because I am self-conscious to a fault. My sisters made a comment about me needing to lose a few pounds recently. Since then, I’ve struggled to look in the mirror and eat food without the old thoughts of my previous eating disorder rearing their ugly heads into my mind. Wearing shorts the last few days has been an accomplishment that has taken a lot of pep talks, but I’m working my way through it.

Wow, that didn’t help the whole “I’m tons of fun!” campaign. I guess the point was to say I’m not perfect. Groundbreaking, I know. I just need to tell myself that every few days and I think everyone would benefit from keeping that in mind. None of us are perfect. But we don’t need to be, since our roommates, families, friends, and boyfriends love us, imperfections included. If we focus less on the flaws in ourselves, we’ll see fewer flaws in others.

 I’m not the worst person to live with, I promise! I might possibly maybe potentially have some semi-non-horrendous traits that add up to make me probably not the absolute worst person in the entire world.

Well… I’ve been told I’m funny. I love to make people laugh. I’ve also been told I’m the best, most wonderful person on Earth and that I make every single day better, but what else is a boyfriend supposed to say on a bad day? Maybe I’m a tad hypercritical. Who knows?

This entire post was just to give you a little insight as to what Maria has had to live with for the last eight months. So keep sending her your prayers and nice thoughts these next two weeks before she never has to live with me again; it’s that crazy finals time and she’s going to need them. Send her Nutella and brownies too. She really likes those. Most importantly, do not dwell on your flaws. We all have them. There’s no reason to give them any attention. Not only does focusing on your own flaws tear you down, it causes you to tear down others. As I said before, it’s finals time. That means no one has time for negativity. We have to save our GPAs through crying and begging.



While consuming a nutrient-rich supper of pizza and frosted flakes amidst a table of my goofy, dauntless, irreplaceable friends, a bolt of lightning hit me.

No, not literally.

A metaphorical, Oprah-Winfrey-Ah-Ha-Moment bolt of lightning hit me with this nugget of information: my friends are all solution-driven people.

For every problem one of us posed, approximately 3,784 possible solutions were contributed by the group. Some were comical, others practical, but all spoken with the intent of helping some else solve their problems, or at least chuckle a little.

For overall happiness, well-being, and abundant memories, it is crucial to surround yourself with encouraging, uplifting, and joyous people. People you would not mind imitating subconsciously, people who focus on solutions rather than problems, and people who bring out the best in you.

“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” – Proverbs 27:17 NLT


Cures for a Bad Day


Rocks in your socks? Pickles in your pudding? Nothing going the way you think it should? Never fear! My personally tested remedies for a bad day are here to rescue you!

Pray First of all, pray that God will prepare you for your bad days, so that one cloud doesn’t rain on your whole parade. When the bad day comes, pray for strength and guidance, and so that your trials will build you up instead of tearing you down. James 1:2

Go Outside Even if it is colder than Arendelle, the fresh air is revitalizing and will invigorate your spirits.

Work It Exercise will release endorphins to make you happier, refresh your brain, and make you feel better about yourself in general. Even dancing around the room like a maniac to Katy Perry’s “Firework” can substantially boost your mood. Because you’re awesome, and you’re a firework.  Boom, boom, boom. Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon.

Happy Entertainment Listen to some pump-up songs, watch your favorite comedy, or anything with Tina Fey. Tina Fey is an American treasure.

Change Your Clothes If you are dressed up, find some comfy sweats to help yourself relax. If you are in your pajamas past noon (Which I understand), put on something a little nicer to refresh your perspective. When you look good, you feel dang good.

Talk to Someone Who Loves You Like a close friend or your mom. They will remind you how great you are!

Talk to a Toddler They will remind you what is important in life. Hint: It’s cuddling, cake, love, playing, climbing things, learning, and laughter. And having a clean diaper, depending where this particular toddler is in the housebreaking process.

Satisfied Singleness Part 2: Sweet Little Church Ladies are Playing Christian Mingle with My Heart


In my personal experience, the church rarely discusses singleness. The church likes to encourage people to get married.

There is nothing wrong with marriage. It is a beautiful thing. I’d love to get married if that is God’s plan for me. However, sometimes in the church, it feels like married people are somehow closer to God, or better Christians than their single counterparts. I’ve heard things like “You should be free from arrogance, so you’ll make a good spouse,” or “Abstinence is best so you will be pure for your spouse.” You should be free of arrogance because arrogance is a sin. You should abstain from sex because sex outside of marriage is a sin. Not so you will make a good spouse.

Will humility and a pure heart help you in marriage? I assume so. But you should not pursue a pure heart and humble life just for the hopes of attaining and keeping a mate. You should be pure and humble so you can serve God and be a light for Him. Not so you will be a hot item on the marriage ticket.

Here is a message I wished I had heard earlier: Being single is okay. Better than okay, being single is good. Paul writes to the Corinthians “I think that in view of the present distress, it is good for a person to remain as he is. Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife. But if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a betrothed woman marries, she has not sinned. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that.” (1 Corinthians 7:26- 28).

Being married does not give you a leg up in Christianity. We are all equal and valuable in God’s eyes. Being single does not mean you cannot serve or cannot hold leadership positions. In fact, single people are even more suitable for service, especially mission trips and other very time consuming projects, because they do not have to care for a spouse or kids.

I am not out to dismiss or diss marriage. My parents have set a great example of marriage for my brother and me. But when you are married, you accept someone else, and all of their problems and sins. When you are single, you only have your own problems and sins to be concerned with..

Many people, especially women, say they don’t want to miss out on true love. You already have true love! You have the unconditional love of Christ! No man can love you like God always has and always will.

People do not get married because they are great at dating. They don’t get married because they were well-behaved in their singleness and are being rewarded. Marriage is grace. It is a free gift from God. If God wants you to get married, He’ll put the right person into your life. You can’t force it. It will all happen in His timing.

God has a plan for my life. It may involve marriage and kids. It may not. Either way, I know God’s plan is better than any plan I could ever concoct, because it serves His purpose, while my plan serves my selfish human purpose. I am out to know Him and make Him known, not to find Prince Charming. I will continue to go where God leads me. If He leads me to a husband, great. If not, great, I can continue shaving my legs biweekly.

We are supposed to be content because we have Jesus, regardless of our circumstances. I did not become content with my singleness until I gave the worry of whom I’d marry to God. After telling God that my love life was in His hands, (Warning: Cliché ahead) it felt like an enormous burden was lifted from my shoulders. I was no longer worried about attracting some aloof soul mate, or missing out my dream guy, because I was no longer relying on me. Now my life is in the hands of the Creator of the Universe. There’s no one better for the job.