Of Talents

“I think I may boast myself to be, with all possible vanity, the most unlearned and uninformed female who ever dared to be an authoress.”

-Jane Austen

If Jane Austen thought this of herself, where does that put me? Jane Austen is practically a heroine in the world of literature. However, if she truly believed herself to be uninformed and unlearned, she was indeed brave to write anyway. Perhaps there is a lesson in this for us. 

We all have talents. Some of us write; some of us sing; some of us draw and paint. Everybody has a talent, a gift, something they’re good at. If you don’t recognize your talent yourself, someone close to you is sure to be able to point it out. It may not be a popular talent- for example, you may have the gift of being a charming hostess, or maybe you’re really good at encouraging those around you. 

Sometimes we are reluctant to make good use of our talents because we feel insecure about ourselves. We see ourselves compared to other people, and we may certainly feel “unlearned and uninformed,” naive, ignorant, less than… Does anybody really feel completely secure about themselves? If we allow these feelings to control us, we are not being good stewards of our God-given gifts. We have so much to give to the world, to contribute to the lives of the people around us. 

It takes courage to rise above the feelings of insecurity. Maybe that’s why Jane Austen used the phrase: “dared to be.” We must be brave and use our talents. Being brave will always require us to step out of our comfort zones. So- sell that painting, host that tea party, write that story, bake that layer cake. Take it a level deeper- help that homeless person, talk to that stranger about grace, give an invitation to that lonely person, spend that hour in prayer. Become uncomfortable. You will grow in the process. Do the things you’re scared to do. 

I certainly have insecurities. I would definitely benefit from taking my own advice. However, then there is a whole other aspect to using our talents that would be good to look into. It is not good to drown in insecurities and hide away our talents. On the flip side, it is also not good to think so highly of ourselves and our talents, that we fall into the sin of pride. If I am to be honest here, I should say that I can be a crazy mix of the two problems. I can be both insecure and prideful. I can feel both inferior to and superior to other people. That is the truth, and it is ugly, but there you have it. We are sinful people, whether or not we want to admit it.

Back to the talents, though. Wouldn’t it be a beautiful thing if you and I could discover the secret to bravely using our talents, yet realizing that, ultimately, those talents are not of our own doing, but are bestowed upon us by God, therefore, He should be the One getting the glory? If we did nothing to acquire our gifts, we should be willing to give the credit for those gifts to the One who gave them. Let’s strive to walk in confidence and in humility!


It’s a yearly happening. When you’re a kid, you count down the days. When you’re a young adult, you hold to the hope that perhaps this will be the year your dreams come true. When you’re a middle-aged person, you treat this day that used to be so anticipated as something of little importance. By the time you’re 80, you try to deny its arrival. Yet, regardless of how we view it and the reception we give it, this day comes faithfully every year. It can be depended on our whole lifetime.

As you read these fictional snapshots, think about your own birthdays. Whether or not you see them as such, they’re a gift, which makes them grace in our lives. Thank God for life. Borrow the heart of a child; treasure your birthday this year. It will do your soul good.

She picked up the phone from the nightstand beside her bed to check the time. It was 6:30. The date stared up at her. Friday, January 10th, 2020. She sighed. It was her birthday. Her fifty-fifth, to be exact. Oh well, it didn’t really matter. She had to go to work today anyway. Five more years until retirement. She didn’t hate her job; she was just tired of it. Thirty years in the same office could do that to a person.

It was 8:00, and in the nursing home, residents were being readied for the day. The young nurse approached the bedside of the frail old man.

“Happy birthday, Jim,” she said. The man smiled.

“Must be about a hundred by now,” he joked. She laughed with him.

“I believe you’re only 83. Let’s get you up now, okay. Your son might stop in later today.”

“What’s a birthday?” The brown-eyed little girl scooped up more of her scrambled egg with her fingers. Her mama handed her a fork.

“Use your fork, Emma. A birthday means you’ve gotten older. You’re three now instead of two.”

“Three,” Emma said and held up two fingers.

“What day of the week is it?” Asked the third grade teacher.

“Friday!” A little boy yelled out.

“That’s right,” the teacher replied. “Do we have any special announcements to share?”

“It’s my birthday,” a curly-haired boy stated with pride.

“Well, so it is. Shall we sing ‘Happy Birthday’ for Aiden, boys and girls?”

The children sang together- some off-key and some with confidence, as Aiden grinned big.

It was noon, and the exhausted young mom realized her kids would go down for a nap soon. Typically while they slept, she scurried around, trying to accomplish everything she couldn’t do while three small voices cried “Mama” every two minutes. But today, she thought to herself, today I’m going to nap while they do. I’m tired, and it’s my birthday. Surely I can treat myself to a rest. Besides, I won’t feel like going out to dinner with my husband tonight if I’m this worn out.

The young man behind the counter at a small town gas station assisted yet another customer. There didn’t seem to be a lull today. A winter storm was predicted, and the locals were out doing errands before the snow started. He was glad that at least he didn’t have to work late on his birthday. Maybe he could even stop at the gym before he headed home to an empty house and a boring movie.

She heaved a sigh of relief when she got in her car. Work was over for the day. Not that her job at the coffee shop was terrible; she actually enjoyed it, but her feet got so sore from being on them all day. She smiled. She’d savor her hot coffee on the way home. The girls had made sure to supply her with her favorite for the drive. “In honor of your birthday,” they said.

She laughed to herself. “It’s been a good day. Maybe this will be a good year for me, too.”

The first-time father looked over at the hospital bed where his wife and newborn daughter lay sleeping. They’d named the baby Stephanie. It meant “crown,” and she was certainly that to them- a little princess, royalty, the fulfillment of their dreams. January 10th- it was the day that forever changed his life.

The day was nearly over, and the now twenty year old locked her apartment door.

“I may as well have an early night, Tasha,” she told her cat. The cat got up from the rug and stretched. The girl reached down and picked her up. “Or we could stay up and read a book and drink tea. What do you think?”

“Meow,” said Tasha.

“Okay, a book and tea it is. It’ll be my birthday treat.”

Daddy closed the blinds and read a story to his birthday girl. Then he tucked the blankets in around her and placed her stuffed pink bear into her arms.

“Shall we say your prayers, pumpkin?” He asked. She nodded and closed her eyes tight.

“Dear Jesus,” she prayed, “Thank you for birthdays. Thank you for chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting. Thank you for my new dolly and puzzles. Thank you for Daddy and Mommy. Bless everybody who had a birthday today. Amen.”


I’m Susan, and this is my blog: Twenty-something. It’s true that this is a slightly odd name for a blog, but let me explain. I’m “twenty-something,” nearly twenty-four, to be exact. In this blog, you can expect to see collections of my thoughts and my perspectives on life. Some of you will be able to connect with where I’m coming from as a young adult. And for those of you who are in a different stage of life, it could be enlightening to know the thoughts of a girl in her twenties. However, please remember: I am one voice in this great big world of voices, and my thoughts and experiences will be vastly different at times from the thoughts and experiences of other people in the world. In no way am I a stereotype of my generation! 

   Now, rather than a predictable kind of introduction, I want to include snippets of inspiration as well. So, let’s focus today on the little things in life that make me (and maybe you!) happy. If you read between the lines, you’ll probably pick up some basic facts about me as well. 

   I like getting coffee drinks at little coffee shops, not only because of the obvious coffee, but also because of the paper wrapper around the outside of the cup that is put on to keep you from burning your hands. It feels sophisticated to drink coffee out of those cups, and I for one, am a fan of sophistication. Silly? Probably. But admit it- there’s something elegant about driving down the road sipping coffee in a take-out cup.  

   I love books. That may be an understatement. I have a relatively large collection of books, which is awesome, except when you’re moving. I just recently moved to a small town, and let me tell you: moving boxes of books is no joke! However, I have friends among my books. There’s Anne Shirley, who is a kindred spirit for sure, and then there’s Christy Huddleston, a schoolteacher with big dreams in her heart that could rival mine. Jane Austen’s Fanny Price is a sweetheart, and oh, I love Louisa May Alcott’s little women. Of course, there are the Prince Charmings as well: Gilbert Blythe and Edmund Bertram and the awkward Mr. Darcy. We mustn’t forget about Winnie-the-Pooh! Then there’s Sal and her blueberry picking experience… Ah, books. Pages and pages filled with wonderful words. By the way, good reading is key to good writing, in my opinion.

   Little girls just learning to talk make me happy. I’m not a mommy, but I do currently have a nanny job, and there aren’t a whole lot of things in this world that are sweeter than a small person saying, “Yep.” I also love baby shoes and pigtails and being called “Thoo.” Give me little reaching arms and play-dough creatures, alphabet puzzles and hairbows. Children give me so many reasons to smile, and there are several of them that have impacted my life permanently. Take, for instance, a brown-eyed, black haired little girl who melted my heart when I was sixteen and the gentle-souled little boy who reminded me of Anne’s “Paul Irving.”

   Deep conversations are one of the joys of life. Whether we’re discussing revival or dreaming big dreams, these conversations should be treasured. Like Davy Keith, “I want to know.” I want to dig into the Bible. I want to discuss the things I have questions about. I want to learn more. Knowledge. I want knowledge. I would a thousand times rather have a deep conversation with somebody than play games. Let’s discuss our purpose or contemplate whether or not we’d ever exist if we didn’t exist… those kinds of ponderings.

   I’m a seasonal kind of person. I love the pumpkin spice craze in the fall and gingerbread around Christmastime, ice cream in the summertime and hot coffee drinks in the wintertime, springtime lavender and lemon, Valentine’s Day hearts. However, even though I enjoy the changing seasons, fall is my absolute favorite. The colors of fall alone are enough to sway my preference that way. Add to that the pumpkins and cornstalks and mums, and we have a winner.

Early mornings… I’ve rediscovered the fact that I actually do like early mornings. I don’t like rushed mornings, though. No, I prefer the slow, quiet, curl up with a blanket and coffee kind of mornings, the writing and reading and praying kind of mornings. They never last long enough, though, and the time to head out the door always comes too quickly.

It’s a beautiful world, really. The beauty isn’t always visible immediately, but it’s always there. Stop today- seriously stop- and find something beautiful. If you’re a reader, I have a book recommendation for you: One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp. If you’re a writer, let the poet within you blossom. Artists, draw a picture or take a photograph… You know what speaks to your heart. Just in some way, today, embrace the beautiful in the life that God has made.