Friend or Foe?

Isn’t God amazing? He always supplies with everything that we need, exactly when we need it. One thing that He has given us is fellowship. (Not that ‘eating’ kind of fellowship either, but thank God for that as well! haha )
Friends are important. Everyone needs at least one good friend. Let’s face it.-We all have our struggles and we all fall short, and we need the help of friends to get us through at times.
However, just as good friends can be a blessing, bad ‘friends’ can be such a detriment to our everyday life, much less our spiritual walk with God. This is why we need to be careful when we are choosing our friends and who we fellowship with. Here is a list of things that may help with what to look for when choosing a friend(s):
1) Fruits of the Spirit -This one is a no-brainer (as are several of them). Obviously, having the fruits of the Spirit at work in your life is indicative of having the Holy Ghost and a close relationship with God.
2) Trust -You need to be able to trust your friends. That is why they are there. You should be able to confide in them and not have to worry that they are going to use any knowledge that they have against you.
3) Accountability -True friends will hold you accountable. (This is not nagging.) If you don’t come to church, they’ll ask you where you’ve been. If you appear to have a nasty attitude, they’ll come to you and ask about you. Now this is not to condemn you, but to help you…and you should let them help you.
4) Concern for the Kingdom/Involvement with the Kingdom -How involved are they in the church? If they aren’t very involved, they probably aren’t right where they need to be. (Now I understand that there are some cases where individuals simply can’t be actually AT the church, helping, as much as they would like to be. That is different.) Whether it is through prayer, fasting, working at the church, etc. They need to be involved. Their concern for the Kingdom is also important. When you are struggling, do you want someone that will help you through it or someone that will tell you that it doesn’t really matter anyway? I know I want someone that will carry a burden for my soul/situation!
5) Holy Lifestyle -Do they live according to the Bible? Do they practice a lifestyle of things that edifying and beneficial? If not, you may want to reconsider being in a closer relationship with them.
6) Focus -Do they bring your focus to God or are they a distraction? A true friend is going to put your relationship (and theirs) with God before their friendships.

Obviously this list is not exclusive and there are other things that should be considered before you become too attached to someone. However, this is a good start.

Everyone needs good friends and I am thankful that I can honestly say that I have good, godly friends.

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Slippery Santiago Slithers Sneakily

I met a guy at school. We talked for a while. Well…I talked. He just kind of “hung out”. He is quiet, tall, and gives great hugs (the tighter the better y’all). He is from Colombia so I think he is experiencing a bit of a culture shock…

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Meet Santiago, y’all.

No, my mother wasn’t happy. At all. She said something to the effect of “I’m not sure if I should pray for you or beat you to death when I get home.” I think it’s safe to say that she doesn’t approve.

I wasn’t grossed out nearly as much as I was just nervous that he would think that I look tasty. I thankfully escaped alive (obviously) but he did get a few measurements so I’m glad I wasn’t planning on continuing our relationship. haha I don’t know if I’ll actually ever have the guts to do that again so I thought I’d document it. 😉

–PS. No, my mother did not beat me. Not to say that she still couldn’t, but she hasn’t yet. *crosses fingers*

 

xo

Miss Lauren Nicole

10 Things College Taught Me

As you all know, I’m in college. Read: Trying to survive deadlines, the crazy person that sits behind me in Spanish, heaps of homework, and brain stretches…it has got to be a thing people. Please tell me I’m not the only one.

I was terrified to start going to college, honestly. I had no idea how I was going to survive. I had heard so many stories about the insane expectations of the mean college professors, the difficulty of the classes, and all the people that you awkwardly sit next to for 16 weeks yet still can’t seem to remember their names. Y’all, I was scared. I was also, however, determined to conquer that fear. So college began, in all of its glory. I found myself absolutely loving the new experience, despite the heavy load (I took 18 credit hours!). School is something that I’ve always enjoyed and of course meeting new people is one of my favorite pastimes. However, college didn’t come without bumps, bruises, and scrapes (more like road rash). At least for me, anyway. So, I thought I’d throw out a few things I’ve learned in hopes that it would help somebody, whether now or in the future.

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  1. Take notes! Don’t wait until you’re about to have an exam before you start writing notes either. Seriously. I learned this the hard way in my psychology class. (So. Much. Information.) Take notes as you go rather than saving it all for the last minute. You’ll run out of time if you wait AND you’ll get some savage hand cramps. Trust me.-I’m basically typing with a claw.
  2. Keep. Snacks. Always. Most professors don’t mind eating in the classroom. Take snacks for extra brain power both during class and in between. I’ve been in both situations and I can honestly tell you that snacks make the day a lot better. Some of my favorites are: almonds/mixed nuts, crackers, fruit, granola bars, etc.
  3. Remember to take care of yourself. This is something else that I’ve learned the hard way. Your homework may scream at you to stay up all night, every night. Don’t do it. I spent the first several weeks of college staying up until two-thirty (and often much later!) every. single. night. working on homework. Then I would get up at seven for another day of it. It may be okay to do every once in a while, but after several weeks, your health becomes affected. It affects your performance in class, whether you are on time to class or not, etc. It’s not a good thing to get started. It sounds absolutely crazy, but if you need to, set alarms to remind you to eat. I got to that point during my first semester.
  4. Make time for things. I have a hard time with this one. I mean, I’m working on homework 24/7. No, I’m not going to the mall with you, no I won’t be able to stay late after church, I’m sorry, I can’t do your hair for a photoshoot…the list continues. Yes, homework is important. Make those deadlines. Keep that high GPA. However, you do need a break. I also learned this the hard way. Thankfully, my dad took me on a quick getaway to Branson (not even a full 48 hours ya’ll!). It helped SO much, even if it was hard to forget about those looming deadlines. I needed it and just that small break really helped me breathe a lot more.
  5. Don’t Stress about Stressing…I’ve done this and it is no bueno. Basically, I stress myself out by trying to not stress. So not only am I stressed, but I’m extra stressed because I stressed about not stressing so that I wouldn’t be stressed. But I am. Goodness, I need therapy, just reading that. Ha! Honestly though. Don’t do it. Take it easy and breathe for awhile. I’ve been so incredibly stressed out, and it is a hard habit to break. In fact, I’ve experienced “brain shakes” which is one of the weirdest things ever (literally feels like your brain is being shaken by some outside force). -it’s induced by stress and anxiety and can even result in seizures. So ya’ll. Don’t stress. Just breathe, do what your best, make time to relax, and don’t worry about the rest.
  6. Study Music. Any noise. It’s important ya’ll. Some folks like instrumental, some don’t have a preference. Regardless, try it. It helps me SO much. Just don’t get so busy with that air guitar that you don’t get anything done. I may or may not be speaking from experience. haha
  7. Sweaters. Basically any comfortable clothes, really. For me, it’s sweaters or cardigans. On my way out the door in the morning, I throw on a scarf and grab a cardigan. It helps me focus, be comfortable, and still look like I tried to look presentable.-I’m SO not the girl that wears PJs everywhere. I try to look nice anywhere that I go and a cardigan and a scarf is an easy, fuss-free way to do that AND be comfortable. Plus, if you take an extra sweater, you can always wad it up and use it as a pillow during between classes. You’re welcome.
  8. Make friends in class. Don’t be a loner or the quiet person at the back of the class that never says anything. I know this is much easier said than done for some people. Thankfully, I’ve never struggled in that department. (All the people who know me personally are cracking up right now because I am so EXTRAVERTED. Heavens. HA!) Regardless, the time will come when you’ll need help from someone in your class. Whether it is a “What assignment was he talking about again? I’m so confused!” or a “Can you tell her I am bringing donuts?”, you’ll want to have that contact. PLUS, the teacher notices. I’m honestly not boasting at all but several of my teachers have called me out saying things like “If you need a study buddy, Lauren knows her stuff. Ask her to help you or get her notes.” or “If you’re missing anything that I talked about or need help and I am not available, ask Lauren.” I’m not going to lie, it is encouraging (although sometimes a bit embarrassing). But it is nice to know that the effort that I am putting forth is not going unnoticed. It really does make a difference. One of my teachers was generally nicer to me (probably for this reason, at least in part) so if anyone had an issue, they checked with me first. If I was having the issue too, I was automatically nominated to talk to him…another uncomfortable situation for me, but the issue would get resolved. haha –ALSO, it’s totally okay to be the annoyingly helpful person in class. Anytime your professor needs anything, feel free to kindly offer your assistance (but be sincere folks, no one likes a phony!). Not only do you get brownie points with the teacher, but you get brownie points with the teacher. ‘Nuff said.
  9. Make friends on campus. This is such a huge deal. Again, I’m very people oriented and have no qualms with meeting folks and forming a relationship. I wish I could express how helpful it is to know people on campus. I’ve taken all of my classes at the same campus and I know so many people. Not only do I have a bunch of friendly faces all over the campus when I’m walking to a class, but I also have a bunch of people willing to help if I have a question. The folks in the computer pit? The scholarship office? The people in the Student Union offices? The CAMPUS POLICE? They all know me by name and are always happy to give advice, answer question, and even give me some insider information (ex. “Hey, if you want to do such-and-such, do it with so-and-so because they are super cool AND you get free pizza.”) They really are the best kind of helpful. haha Go above and beyond to be kind and friendly with people and it will pay off!
  10. Get a scholarship. The earlier you start looking, the better off you are. I was thankfully blessed with an AMAZING scholarship and it has saved my bacon. Not even the money but the support. The ladies in my scholarship office are real-life super people. They know everything and are always there to answer questions, encourage, lend advice…even just chat. Seriously, I can’t say enough good things about them. If you can’t find a scholarship or aren’t able to secure one, don’t sweat. Head over to your Student Union and ask about ways to get involved in student life. They’ll be your support group and you’ll meet incredible people and get many awesome opportunities. You’ll definitely be doing yourself a “yuge” favor, either way.

I’m Thankful For…

These guys. And not just these pictured, but for all the young men in my youth/CnC group. They annoy me and tease me. They make me laugh, cry, and want to shoot them (or myself). But they challenge me to be better. They inspire me to give everything that I’ve got. I’m proud of them. These guys are cool and I consider myself very blessed to have them in my lives. Even though they probably wish that I wasn’t a part of their lives. Too bad. Haha

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Typical Andrew

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Jonathan, attempting to succeed at the “Lauren Face”…He is working on it.

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Mr Caleb was always one to hide under his desk in elementary school, in an attempt to dodge the camera. Let’s just say that I was surprised to find this on my phone. haha

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See?

 

I’m Thankful For…

I’m thankful for my little friends. They make life precious and I’m grateful for the opportunities that I’ve had to be a part of their lives! They all have special places in my heart. ❤

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Ms. NoraKate

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Ms. Brylee Jo

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I love my girls!

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Precious Bria Marie

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Kayla and Bo…he was laughing.

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Britton enjoying his first youth carwash

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Sweet Riley…such a miracle baby!

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Mr. Fred…He loves it when I call him that. (His name is actually Micah but don’t tell him that I know that)

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Breck and JoJo

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Carter D

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Teaching Britton about life.

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JoJo trying to get me to pose

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Audrey and Peyton.

I’m Thankful For…

Let’s be honest.-I’m way too blessed to list EVERYTHING that I am thankful for. Seriously. But I’m particularly appreciative of certain ones.

I’m thankful for my mom.

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My momma and myself. #twins

My mom is pretty awesome. And by “pretty”, I mean, incredibly and overwhelmingly so. She has taught me SO much and there is no way that I could ever repay her. Ever. She is supermom, ya’ll. More than just being a mom, she has been a friend, an example, a teacher, a worrier, a leader, and someone who gets me in trouble. 😉  We get comments ALL the time about how alike we are. In looks, in speech, in facial expressions, in the way we deal with things, in our humor.-All sorts of things. And I take that as one of the highest compliments.

Several people have told me that they are envious of our relationship. (I’ve had people tell me that about my relationship with everyone in my family, honestly.) They say things like “I love watching ya’ll interact. Like, you both know your place but you have so much fun. You both act crazy and have a good time but she is still the mom and you’re still the daughter.” or “Man, I wish my mom and I could hang out like that. Like, it isn’t even awkward. Ya’ll goof off and crack jokes and talk about everything under the sun. And it isn’t even weird. It’s like ya’ll are friends or something…” or “I always thought your mom was intimidating. I had no idea how she had a daughter that was so crazy and funny…but then I was with you the other day. My heavens, she is hilarious! You just feed off each other and it’s so much fun. You guys act just alike and I had no clue! Like, when we all went over to your house, your mom was right there with us, hanging out and making jokes. It was awesome.” I generally respond with something about how that person can have a good relationship with their parent too.-and it doesn’t have to look exactly like mine. But it makes me realize how thankful I ought to be for this sort of relationship. We goof, we joke, we have a good time. We talk, we cry, we argue, and we love each other. And that is what makes it special.

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Tornados call for selfies whilst having “bonding time” with the family in a closet. 😛

Ya’ll, that is real talk. My mom is the mom that hangs out with us and doesn’t make it weird. She has quirks and does things that make me absolutely crazy. (Seriously.) But she is amazing and I’m glad that people think we are alike.

I’m thankful for my mom.

Te amo mamá. ❤

xoxo

Lighting Fast Catch Up…

All of my fellow Adventures in Odyssey listeners should’ve gotten that reference.

Y’all. Two words.

Good. Intentions.

Really. I actually DID have them! Ha! I’ve been so busy lately that I’ve scarcely had time to eat. (Who am I kidding? This ol’ gal can EAT!)

Honestly though. It has been very busy. Its the third week of school and I’m drowning in homework, highlighters, and sleep deprivation. Too much time has definitely not been an issue! I have no idea how it is going to work when ACBS starts (on Monday!!), but I do know that I’m going to be doing really good to keep my head above water!

That being said, taking seventeen hours of classes, working part-time, being involved in my church, and basic housework/hygiene (because ain’t nobody got time for anything fancy!), means that blogging will not be my utmost priority. (Let’s be honest.-when has it ever??) Anyway, this is my apology in advance.

I hope everyone has as much fun and excitement with their day-to-day life as I am having… Or maybe not. That kind of wouldn’t be a blessing. Ha!

Xo

 

It Has Been A While…

Y’all. Its been forever. I’ve missed you.

I’m sorry that its been so long.-things have been crazy.-and when they weren’t crazy (which is rare), I lacked any motivation to post. But I’ve thought of you often and tried to think of something to post about. Pretty much the only thing that I have come up with, is playing catch up…hopefully that will bring some inspiration to write. *crosses fingers*

Playing catch up is going to take a while and will have to be in several posts. 1) There is a lot to catch up on and 2) I don’t have time to sit and write an incredibly long post about everything that has been going on. And I doubt you’d want to stick through a post for THAT LONG. Ugh. Just thinking about it makes me want a nap.

Anyway, here is a list of some of the big things that have happened since my last post:

  1. LCA 2016 Graduation
  2. My brother graduated from ACBS (Apostolic College of Biblical Studies)
  3. My brother graduated from TCC with his ASSOCIATES in SCIENCE
  4. My brother officially has become an OSU student. #woopwoop
  5. I turned nineteen. Basically, I’m ancient.
  6. I went to Illinois with my brother for a fun little jot to see some family and take a breather for a few days.
  7. My parents went on their dream vacation to Alaska/Canada/Oregon and Washington Coast. (They had a lot of fun and got some breathtaking photos!)
  8. We had our youth carwash and yard sale…I got sun burned so bad!
  9. I got a new job.
  10. I GOT A SCHOLARSHIP!!!
  11. I learned to ice skate. I’m no medalist but I can get around. I’m proud of this. haha
  12. Vacation Bible School hosted by The Lighthouse Church
  13. The Lighthouse Church; Youth Camp (which was an…adventure…)
  14. We got more cows! Now we have Amethyst, Leonard, Penelope, and Theodore.
  15. Summer Heritage in Colorado Springs
  16. ADMIT conference (THIS WEEK!!!

There are a lot of other events that have happened since March that I didn’t list for various reasons but trust me, its been busy! I hosted a reception for all of the ACBS graduates,  helped with a surprise party for Trent’s TCC graduation, and, at the last minute, I got to play organizer for the ACBS graduation which included directing the graduates down the aisle. Not a huge deal, but I think I was more nervous than the graduates. haha 😀  I literally got this assignment RIGHT BEFORE THE MUSIC STARTED so I had no time to figure out how to make it efficient. I was a teensy bit stressed. 😛  It went well, thankfully!

I’ll probably make an entire post just for my scholarship, but I’m so excited about it that I HAD to go ahead and at least talk about it a little…

  1. It’s an absolute miracle. No lie. I’ll go into details more on the actual post but let’s suffice it to say that I got to apply for this scholarship AFTER the deadline was up, I just found out that I had absolutely ZERO financial aid, and it is way more than I deserve. God is faithful.
  2. The scholarship is called “Bridging the Gap” and is specifically for those majoring in childhood development and education. It is a HUGE blessing to anyone who gets it. It covers books, fees, tuition, tutors, etc.-everything except a ten dollar copay per credit hour. Basically, its a full ride scholarship that will bend over backwards to help you succeed. And THAT is amazing. I’m so honored to be a part!
  3. The people. WOW. They are some of the sweetest, most caring, most helpful people that you’ll ever meet. No lie. They have helped me SO much. They give you everything you could possibly need to succeed and are always there for guidance and advice. Easy to talk to, quick to communicate, all that stuff that EVERY college student wants but most, unfortunately, don’t get to experience. They are amazing! So: Linda, Melinda, and Amber…if you ever read this: YOU ROCK!

Anyway, I’ll try to keep playing catch up and hopefully get inspired to do some serious blogging. (Though it won’t be this week because ADMIT is here…I’ll explain what ADMIT is and why it is so important in another post.)

Thanks for reading along and stay tuned! 🙂

xo,

Miss Lauren Nicole

Wowzas…

The title is pretty irrelevant, but I wonder what it would be like if I had an eastern accent. You know, turning my ‘-er’s into ‘-aah’s? Example: Forevah, nevahmind, watah, pahfume, etc… I’m generally told that I “don’t really have an accent”, but on a few occasions, people have complimented my accent. One of those times, I was at one of the malls here in Tulsa with Brooklyn; the lady was from North Africa. Apparently I am easily amused. Ha!

Anyway, pardon my prattling on.

It’s been a long time since I posted. Too long. I’ve been working on Bible College homework and studying for Midterms next week. Which doesn’t seem possible at all, but time flies, right?

One big thing on my agenda is our Easter Drama at church. I’m playing a few parts and I’m so excited about it! God really spoke through our drama last year, even during the rehearsals. A young man in our church had injured his back at work and couldn’t function because of it.-I have no idea how he got to practice or why he came because he could barely walk. Anyway, we were rehearsing and God started touching us. That young man ended up healed and perfectly fine. It was amazing! That being said, I’m so excited to see how God will touch us this year.

Here a some photos just so this post will feel more worthwhile. 😉 I know I’ve said it before, but I’m reeeally, really going to try to do better with my blogging. Really. *crosses fingers and squeezes eyes shut*

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Brylee Jo holding Hannah

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Brittany and Hannah

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Leonel…hehe

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Pastoral Anniversary Setup

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Pastor and Sis. Howard at the surprise event

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Jeriah, brother to Leonel…can you tell?

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JoJo and Yours Truly

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He finally came home!

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Birthday Buddies

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Me and my girls. ❤

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My valentines…

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Ms. Kelsi. Love her MUCHO!!

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Jeremy and I took a photo together. My home folks will get the distance between us…and myself…I was about to fall on the ground from laughing. Obviously. Ha!

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View from the church

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Gorgeous sunset while failing at riding bikes…long story

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Same sunset

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It’s always a joy to have Cara in town!

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We went to see Tim Hawkins!

 

Is He Really That Old?!

That is what people ask after they us after a long time. They ask how old we are and then question us as if maybe we have gotten our own ages incorrect due to some random problem. Like no, I remember how old I am, thanks for your concern. -But that is a different story. 😉

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Today, my sweet brother turns twenty-one. TWENTY-ONE!! He is practically a grandpa, goodness.

Those of you who actually know us, know that Trenton and I are pretty close. Especially for siblings. We actually get quite a bit of commentary on it. “Do you all EVER argue?!” “So you’re really friends? But he/she is your brother/sister!” “That is so weird! You guys just….get along like you’re friends or something!” “I hope my kids are like that someday!” “I could never be friends with my brother. Ever. He is just too annoying. Maybe if he was like Trent but not the way he is now…” etc.

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This photo is very old. I would say perhaps 2011?

We  honestly don’t argue very often, but yes, we argue. Everyone argues regardless whether they are siblings or not. It’s called being human and having a different opinion. Trent makes me upset or frustrated sometimes and I’m sure I do the same for him. (I don’t get mad often. It really takes a lot to make me angry, but Trent has done that before too!) However, we work through it. Just like you would with your friend or coworker or anyone else. We have fun together, we spend time together when we can, we tell stories and jokes, we play games (and pranks!) together. We are friends. In fact, we often stay up for a little bit before we go to bed and talk upstairs. We will laugh and be funny, or we will have a serious conversation. Whatever. Trenton is my brother AND my friend. I wouldn’t have it any other way. (He is one of my most favorite people ever. I mean that.)

So, Trenton Cole, I hope your birthday is great and you live long and prosperously…cause I’ll probably still be hanging around bugging you. 😉 I love you big much. ❤

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