Top 5 Lessons I Learned in my 23rd Year of Life

I have been 24 years old for one full month! Before 11 more months pass me by, I wanted to take a second and put on paper my biggest takeaways from my time as a 23-year-old!

  1. My sphere of influence is a gift from God to spread His love.

I used to think that a full time, after college job was just to pay the bills. When that was my mindset, work was unexciting and dreadful. Once I was able to wrap my mind around the fact that I don’t have to be employed at Christian camp to spread God’s love I looked at work a different way. The many opportunities that I get to share love with co-workers, clients and networkers is exactly where God wants me to be!

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  1. It doesn’t matter how my husband folds the towels.

This invaluable lesson came from a Christy Wright podcast and really has changed my life and helped my marriage. See, I am recovering from Home Control Disease (HCD) which is exactly what you think it is! Adam use to try to help do things and I would either 1. Nag him to do it the ‘right’ way or 2. Go behind him and ‘fix’ it. If you do this, we need to talk about HCD.

The slap in the face I learned was that there is no wrong or right way to fold towels. Yes, there is ‘his way’ and ‘my way’, but there was and will never be such a thing as the ‘correct way’. If the goal is to simply get the towels folded and put into their desired location, why in the world was I stressing out about making sure they were folded ‘my way’?  Why was the need to do every little task ‘correct’ taking up so much of my brain space?

I decided to put an end to my HCD. Even though it has still been hard! I let my husband help around the house, he does about 50% of the housework and I let him accomplish the tasks however he sees fit!

 

  1. Self-care is NOT selfish

I have to take care of my own health and wellbeing. I do not have to wait for a medical professional to prescribe me something. I used to think that if I was going to get better, I would need an medical professional to help. Once I found out my doctor was booked three months out, I knew I was going to have to find other resources to take better care of my health! I spent much of my 23rd year of life reading books, listening to podcasts and watching YouTube videos from very educated and accomplished Doctors, motivational speakers and specialist! At the touch of my fingers I had more than enough knowledge to find what I was looking for.

With this increase of knowledge, I started making my yoga practice important again. At first, I didn’t want to spend money on each class. Then my next excuses were that I should be doing stuff for work or Adam. I finally laid down the lies and starting the metal process of knowing that taking care of myself, one yoga class at a time, will make me the best Colleen to better influence those around me!

 

  1. Write out every dream I want to accomplish in my life

I read a book that talked about a “100 List.” This list is simply a collection of a person’s top dreams they desire to accomplish in life. I was fascinated! So I typed my “100 List” up but only got to about 70 goals. With my list typed, printed and posted in my office, I didn’t think much of it. Then came a desire to take a random trip for fourth of July! We googled the cheapest flights from Atlanta on the 4th. Low and behold, the cheapest flights we found were to Philadelphia! When just a few weeks before this trip, #24 on my 100 list was to get a picture with the Liberty Bell. I wrote it down as a goal, with no plans of making it happen any time soon, and the dream quickly came to life.

Another one of my ‘100 List’ was listed at #5 to get baptized in the Jordan river and to walk where Jesus walked. Just a few weeks after jotting down a draft of my “100 List” I got a message from a church I did camp at that they were taking a trip to Israel and he remembered to let me know! I wrote down the desires God has placed on my heart, and He started opening doors right away.

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  1. Each meal matters

I simply learned that if I want to feel my best, I must eat food that will make me feel good! Thanks to Everlywell (learn more about it in my blog 10 Things That Changed Me In 2018) I was able to learn what my body was sensitive too. This helped me have better knowledge of what makes me feel bad and what makes me feel good. Once I gained this knowledge it was simply about having the discipline to put things into my mouth that would help or hurt me. My 23rd year of life was when I fully gained understanding that the food that goes in through my mouth and comes out of my rear, can either make me feel good or bad during the “in-between the holes” processing machine. And that I am THE ONLY one who controls what goes into my body.

 

Here is to rocking and rolling as 24!

-Colleen Howard

 

 

Interview Prep

The email came! The email that Adam had waited over a year to come was sitting in his inbox. He called me to tell me the email arrived with such joy and excitement in his voice. Adam had applied early decision to Mercer University School of Medicine (MUSM) and knew he had pretty good chances of landing an interview. Applying early decision means that all of your eggs are in that school’s basket! The doctor that Adam has worked with for many years graduated from MUSM and we have heard great things about the program. When it was coming time for Adam to narrow down his list of prospective schools to apply for, Mercer just kept coming to the top of the list.

He applied and then just a few days later he started prepping for the interview. The first step was to pick a date for the interview and a location. Mercer has two medical school campuses, one in Macon and Savannah, Georgia. Adam has decided that he would love to live in Savannah so he thought that the Savannah campus would be a good place to tour and check out. He set the interview and then he was ready to start preparing.

The second step in this process was to make sure he looked good! To be as professional as possible Adam decided to shave the beard. This was not everyone’s favorite part of the process because he looks totally different and Adam is just a beard guy! But we all agreed that it is the highest form of professionalism to be cleanly shaven. With the beard gone it was time to make sure the suit fit well.

Adams white shirt that he got from being a groomsman in a friend’s wedding and wore in our wedding was a little too small. His suit fit but he wasn’t super confident with the color for a professional interview. This led us to hitting up Joseph A. Bank just to shop around! The first suit he tried on he loved. I could just see his confidence sore in the perfectly fitted navy blue suit. We were not set on buying it because he had one at home and it was a big expense, but of course it was buy one get one free. We went in just to look around and we came out with two suits that had a price tag that was equivalent to my wedding dress. With the suit investment we added in a nice white button down from TJ Max and a sharp, school-colored tie from the clearance rack at Belk.

The third step was the interview prep! I enjoyed watching Adam go over interview questions with a friend in Valdosta and a recent grad from the Mercer medical school. He would jot down drafts of ways he would answer questions and run them by me. He practices tons of possibilities but really focused on just being himself for the interview!

Adam was ready. Date set, clothes perfect and confidence ready to rock it! The week of the scheduled interview was when the weather channel announced that hurricane Dorian was turning to head up the Georgia coast. We didn’t know what that would mean for his interview that was just a few days away, but we had a gut feeling. The next day when we heard that Georgia Governor Kemp released an emergency evacuation there was no way the interview would be happening the same day as originally scheduled. Then we quickly got an email confirming that all Mercer interviews at the Savannah campus have been canceled and will be rescheduled for September 19th.

The good news is that Adam got an interview, is practiced, confident and well-dressed to rock and roll the interview!

Please keep Adam in your prayers for September 19th!

Love, your favorite millennial couple, The Howards

 

MCAT Round Two

July 19th, we woke up early! Well, not that early for me since I am a natural early riser but really early for Adam. On this specific day he had no trouble popping out of bed. After several weeks of Adam studying mornings and nights while working full time, it was the day he was going to take the MCAT. This was his second time taking this test and he wanted it to be his very last time ever thinking about it! We hopped in our Toyota Corolla named “Curby” and hit the road to Tallahassee, FL for an 8:00AM test time.

The MCAT is a seven-hour long test where all electronic devices must be locked up the whole time. The only breaks given are a 30-minute lunch break and two 15-minute breaks between sections. All I can say is that I am very thankful that I did not have to take this test! But Adam took it like a champ.

We had planned it all out. I would go with Adam so that he would not have to drive first thing in the morning. Since I am the avid morning person, I wanted to be able to serve Adam in that way. It also allowed me to drive us home after the test when his brain was mush. He came out of the test, seven hours later, pretty confident and ready to get home to relax.

August 20, 2019 was the date that the MCAT scores would be released. That is the day where Adam would know if his score improved from the 2018 test and if it was going to give him a better chance at getting into a medical school program in the 2019-2020 application process. I woke up early and logged into him MCAT portal to see if I could wake him up with the news of his scores. Unfortunately, they were not posted yet and I went on with my busy planned out day!

Adam called me a little after 11:00AM and told me that his scores were just posted, and he increased his overall MCAT score by 15 percentiles! My lunch plans had recently canceled so I was able to take my smart man out to lunch. (Our men need to be treated to dates too!) We celebrated, Adam relaxed for the day and we both knew that this was the first step into a long process of applying for medical school. (Check out our blog The Process of Medical School)

Thank you to everyone who prayed for Adam as he prepared and tested for the MCAT! Each prayer is so very appreciated. Thank you!

Love your favorite millennial couple, The Howards

My Parents Prayer For Adam as He Pursues His Dreams

Prayer for Adam Howard & Med School

Dear Heavenly Father,

You are the great Physician Healer. In your role as The Great Healer please bless Adam in his pursuit to become a healer like You. You made Adam in your image.

Father bless him with test scores good enough to be admitted to med school.

Bless him with direction and wisdom in choosing and being accepted to med school.

Bless him with knowledge and discipline to choose a field of study that would be good for him and allow him to use his skills to be able to glorify You.

Bless Adam to be a healer like You so he can deal with and heal his patients in body, mind, and soul and be able to draw his patients toward You, Father.

I ask for these blessings to be in the mighty name of Your Son, Jesus Christ.

Adam’s Parents Prayer as he Pursues His Dreams

Our Father,

We want to thank you for all the blessings that you bestow on us – not least of which is the gift of parenthood.  You blessed us with two amazing sons and we thank you!  At this time would like to lift Adam up to you as he pursues his dream of becoming a doctor.  We pray that your will be done and that You use his gifts and talents and give him calm and peace as he enters his medical school interviews.  Help him always remember that You have a plan for him and that Your plan is always perfect.

Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you: declares the Lord, Plans to prosper you and not to harm you.  Plans to five you a hope and a future.”

My Prayer for Adam as He Pursues His Dreams

Below is my deepest prayer for Adam as he steps in the direction that the Lord has called him to follow.

Dear God,

My deepest heart cry is for you to use Adam to be a leader that uses his gifts and talents to point people to Your amazing grace. God protect Adam’s heart, mind, soul, words and actions as he runs headfirst into this competitive field. May You give him the endurance and focus he needs to stay the course of this long journey ahead.  Please guide him with the confidence that only comes from you. On hard days may You send him reminders that You have called him for such a time as this.

Lord, may You keep his mind strong and of optimistic energy. May you keep his heart fixed on the patients he has helped and the countless patients that he will be able to be used as a part of their healing story. Build his hands to be strong, capable and always ready to reach out and show Your love through medicine! Please open the next door for which You have for Adam to walk through. May Your will be done in Adam’s life.

Amen!

Adam’s Medical School Journey Update! 

Where we left you off earlier in the year was that Adam had taken the MCAT and got a good enough score to apply to two medical schools! He did that while also figuring out how to apply for medical school, still taking online pre-requisite courses, working full time, being an athletic trainer and figuring out the married life he found time to submit applications to the Mercer University School of Medicine and Florida State University.

We were excited to have two applications submitted but he was very aware that he would have to bring up his MCAT score to be considered at those two schools and many more. Once the applications were submitted in the late fall of 2018 all that he could do was wait. In April of 2019 Adam got declined from Mercer and then a few months later got declined from Florida State’s Medical school program. (If you want to know more about the process of medical school check out this blog I wrote last year)

Once he received the two rejection letters, he used them as pure motivation to get accepted into those schools. This encouraged him to strive for A’s in his online science classes, study harder for the MCAT and to get the best recommendation letters possible. And that is exactly what happened! Adam used the excitement to apply for early admission at Mercer. He spent countless hours perfecting his essays, uploading recommendation letters and preparing his application. Just two short days after hitting the submit button good news came! I got a phone call from Adam on a Wednesday at 3:55pm which was weird because he never calls during work hours unless it is an emergency. As soon as he answered the phone he said, “Hey babe, I can’t talk long! I just wanted to let you know that I heard back from Mercer…. and they have asked me to come to an interview!”

We celebrated at our favorite local BBQ joint and knew this was the first step to a big journey. As Adam prepares for his interview with Mercer, we are asking people to cover him in prayers. If you are willing to commit to pray for Adam as he takes a big step into following his dreams please reach out to us and let us know! We are so excited for what his future holds, but we know that we need a community of prayer warriors to cover us in prayer each step of the way.

Thank you for following our journey,

Love, Your favorite millennial couple, The Howards!