Nine Things I Wish I Knew Before Junior High + Pumpkin Bread

In light of another round of sweet sixth graders graduating from my mom’s class, I started thinking about my little 12-year-old self on this day five years ago (whoa, that was five years ago?).

I was anxious. I was giddy. I was naive.

I wasn’t only naive in thought; I was naive in what to expect. I had no clue what all this “Junior High”
business would involve. All I knew was that it would be big and new and different.

And that, my friends, led me to this post. I began to compile all these different things that I wish I’d known before my venture down the cheerful hallways of Margaret Green Junior High. Some are things I wish I could fully wrap my brain around today.

1. You will not be friends with everyone. Coming from a small elementary school, I assumed I’d just know everyone and we’d all be the best of friends. Ha. Nope, negative. While it’s wonderful to be open-minded and friendly toward everyone, don’t try to get buddy-buddy with the entire class of 2019 (whoa!). It’s overwhelming, and junior high is overwhelming enough as it stands.

2. Likewise, everyone will not like you. It’s a fact of life. Some personalities just don’t mesh. Don’t get upset if certain people are not fond of you; you will likely feel the same way about them. Find a lovely group of friends who support you and enjoy being around you, and that’s all you need.

3. Get involved. I can’t stress enough how this has helped me through the years. There is a world full of opportunities, but you must take the first step and get active. Join clubs, participate in sports, and keep your grades up. It’s in clubs and sports where the best and longest-lasting friendships and impacts are made. Just a heads up for junior high-ers reading this- drama club and swim team want you!

4. Get organized. This one needs little explanation. Organize your binders, get you a label maker- whatever it takes. I promise it is worth the extra five seconds it takes to put a paper in its designated spot. I promise.

5. Respect your teachers and classmates. On the first day, introduce yourself to your teachers. Listen to them when they are speaking. I’m not saying sit in solitary confinement, but be attentive and act like you like their classes, even when they make you want to go to sleep. Same with classmates- don’t say anything unnecessary and listen when they’re speaking.

6. Talking about someone behind his back will get you absolutely nowhere. True fact of life. It may make you feel cool, but you don’t want others talking about you behind your back. Don’t do it to anyone else. You’re only hurting yourself.

7. 97% of the time, junior high relationships are ridiculous. I know there are plenty of relationships that began in junior high and ended up in lifelong commitment, but it typically doesn’t happen. Just don’t get attached, guys and girls. Don’t give your hearts away (Jesus said it). You’re in 7th and 8th grade. You have time.

8. In the midst of crazy junior high-ness (also known as the beginning of the rest of your life), be true to yourself. You like space dragon monkey ninjas? Great! It might not be to your advantage to announce it to the class, but for heaven’s sake, don’t be ashamed! Find someone else who does! Junior high is both a great and terrifying place to be when you’re finding yourself. It’s what you make of it. Make it great.

9. You must be the light for Jesus that you want to be seen. As sad as it is, there are lots of junior high kids who just don’t know Jesus. There are lots who think they do but don’t (I was one). Know it’s not a crime to take your Bible. Encourage others, go to FCA, and demonstrate his unfailing love.

Above all remember that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. Philippians 4:13
Go in with confidence, and know Jesus is there with you the whole way. And I am, too! If you’re ever frazzled with this whole junior high thing, incoming 7th graders, you know where to find me. (Ps- this goes for incoming high schoolers as well!)

Healthy Pumpkin Bread

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If you couldn’t tell by now, I’m quite the fan of bread. I could live off the stuff and be completely content (albeit malnourished) for the rest of my life.

My godmother makes the best pumpkin bread I’ve ever had, but this one comes in at a close second, and I’m pretty sure it’s a lot healthier. It’s oil-free! Trust me, you get plenty of moisture from the pumpkin. Also, I know this is not really in season, but sometimes you just get a craving, you know?

Serves 12
Recipe adapted from Cherished Classics Benoit Union Cookbook; recipe by Vera Holman

Ingredients
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour (you could use all purpose)
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup pumpkin
1/3 cup water
4 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a loaf pan.
2. Mix dry ingredients. Add liquids and beat well.
3. Pour into loaf pan and bake for 40-50 minutes. Cool before cutting.

The recipe says this bread freezes well, but, heh… I wouldn’t know. :)

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Have a fabulous weekend!

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