To My "Baby" Sister Who's Not So Little Anymore

To My "Baby" Sister Who's Not So Little Anymore

I love you.
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I can't believe you are 16 already. In my head, part of you will always be the little girl who beat me in wrestling matches in the basement, the one who made me look for fairies every single camping trip and the one who always chose the bigger cookie. But I am astonished by the woman you are growing up to be.

We haven't always gotten along, no sisters do. But now you are my best friend, my closest confidante and the one I can always count on to to call my on my BS or give me an honest opinion. You have grown up into a strong, intelligent and independent woman. There is so much I admire about you. Your way with little kids. Your excellence in school. Your dedication to and love of sports regardless of how many times you get injured. Your loyalty to your friends. I am so excited to see who you will become as you spread your wings.

Sweet 16 will bring with it driving, jobs, boys, and a whole host of responsibilities and adventures. Make the most of every minute. It won't always be easy. But growing up is the ride of a lifetime.

I am so proud of everything you have accomplished in your 16 years and I hope this next year is a great one.

Cover Image Credit: Sam Rockhill

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17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.
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We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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What It Feels Like To Be Reunited With Your Sisters

My best friends, my confidants, and the most annoying girls you'll ever meet all in one.

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As someone who has always been close with their siblings, it's always strange when I come to the sudden realization (usually at three in the morning) that we will probably never live very close to each other again. We're scattered all around the nation right now: one of us on the West Coast, another sister in the Midwest, a brother in New England, and the last one (me) in the South. My sisters and brother were more than just siblings, they were my best friends growing up. The fact that I only get to see them during Christmas and maybe a weekend in the summer breaks my heart.

After the winter holiday break, we began to collectively wonder: when is the next time we'll all actually be together again? Will we be able to see each other in the summer? Will my older sister be too busy with her new Californian job? Will my other sister be preoccupied with research in her graduate program? Will my brother be willing to stop playing video games to go out to dinner with us if we even could all gather up?

I decided to take action against my fear of never seeing my siblings again. While most of my peers were planning a trip to some tropical location for spring break, I saved enough money to buy a ticket to Chicago where one of my sisters lives. My mother agreed to join the trip, which encouraged my oldest sister to abandon sunny San Francisco and visit the Windy City.

Even though the gap between my winter break and my spring break was not too large, I still missed my siblings immensely and longed for any moment I could spend with them. I'm aware that these opportunities will be few and far between, so I need to take advantage while I can.

Of course, your idolized version of being reunited with family does not always align with reality. Within ten minutes of seeing my sister, we were already bickering, and that was not the first time we would fight during the trip.

Still, part of me misses those pointless arguments. I miss the yelling, the hair-pulling, how my two older sisters sometimes gang up on me as the youngest child. To me, all of those things are worth it because, after all of that, we can laugh about childhood memories or give each other advice on our love lives (or for me, lack thereof). I get to see my sisters try to balance becoming adults while they still giggle at "That's What She Said" jokes.

It's strange to watch my sisters get older, to see them discover their path in life. I always saw them as so mature and sure of themselves, but it's nice to know that they're still themselves. Growing up doesn't mean they've lost their sense of humor adventure. They're still my sisters, and they're still my best friends.

After this, I don't know when the next time I'll see them will be. Of course, there is so much technology available, so if I really wanted to sit on the couch and watch "Brooklyn 99" with my sister while eating dinner, we could do that together. But, it's not quite the same if you don't get to share a blanket or occasionally smack one-another in the arm when they keep interrupting the episode. As much as we try to imitate the physical sensation of being next to someone, you can't mirror the feeling completely.

Now that we've gone to the Midwest, maybe our next trip will be to the West Coast, and then they'll even visit me at college. All I know is that distance will not keep me and my sisters apart. Family can cross timezones, cross borders, cross all obstacles. For family, I'm willing to do what I can for another moment of rewatching the last episode of Friends for the thirtieth time.

Oh, and I guess my brother can come too.

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