I am currently doing one of my favorite things EVER and I decided it was fitting to check in...the Southern and Thankful way!
In case you missed the last blog post (if so please go read it--BEST THING ANYONE HAS EVER DONE FOR ME @HAN) I am officially 21 years of age and I had a wonderful time celebrating the past week. It is so hard to believe that I am 21 years old. As I sit on the deck at my lake house watching the sunset, I can't help but be saddened at the thought of no longer being a teenager...stuff is going to get real...real quick. But that is another worry for another day!
I have been toying for the last week with the thought of sharing a little bit about my times before I was legally allowed to consume alcohol. I use the word "toy" because I don't want readers to think I am putting myself on a high horse because that is simply not what I am doing. I want to write about my experience choosing not to consume alcohol regularly until I was 21 because I hope it will give hope to those who also want to make the same decision. For me alcohol was never something I judged others for. I have plenty of friends who consume alcohol and I have grown up with alcohol around me. I have never seen anything wrong with it! In fact, I looked forward to the day when I could feel right joining those who drank.
Growing up in my small town you either farm/hunt or you play sports all day long. If you don't fall in either category then you are somewhat off on your own. I always considered myself more creative and I was 100% happy with that even when others didn't seem to be. The names and things you get called because you don't choose to live under the Friday night lights are unbelievably intense. Did you know that being the high school mascot instead of riding the tractor or playing soccer somehow makes a person "gay" even if they have a girlfriend? That is a different topic for a different time though. In high school when I had about enough of the hate, I realized that there was one way I could fit in with my friend group. I could drink and drink a lot because isn't that what every teenager seems to do? I struggled with that question. Get drunk on a regular basis with hopes of fitting in OR lose what friends I had left by making the decision to not drink in high school. You see the dilemma I was faced with. I wanted so badly to fit in I was willing to do just about anything.
I am not really sure the exact moment I decided that I was not going to follow the path of most of my friends, but I remember the months that followed after that were some of the worst ever. Turns out all my friends that were girls wanted to follow my lead, but not to many guys liked the idea of not drinking. Which in case you were wondering---didn't help with whole "gay" thing. To be honest, there were times when I was probably depressed, but during this hard time I turned to my God and this is when I first learned He had a plan. Fast forward years later to the first year of college where I decided yet again that I didn't want to drink. Not because I disliked people who did--because I saw how alcohol affected people. It was like they needed to be drunk to make friends. I wanted to make friends with someone before falling over them at the party. Another hard decision that ultimately led me to some of the best guys, girls, and fraternity for me. Almost all of my friendships freshman year were full because I didn't originally mix them with alcohol.
For me the biggest thing was peer pressure. It was something I decided from an early age that I wasn't going to be scared of. Saying NO is an okay thing to do. It doesn't make you weak or gay or a loser. It makes you human--strong indeed. There are certainly times where I think how things would have been if I got drunk on a Saturday night. I would have had more friends. I probably would have more memories. But I would not be the man I am today. And that is something I am proud of. So I tell this for those people who want to be popular and who want to make everyone else happy---it is not worth it. You will end up damaging yourself beyond compare..trust me I have seen it with my own eyes. Be you because that is when you will be the most happy. You probably won't realize it when you are being called names, but when you are old like me (joking) you will look back and be thankful that you were you.
So yes, I am going to be drinking and I am going to be enjoying it because that is what we 21 year olds are allowed to do. My birthday was not how I thought it would be, but my friends and family made it such a special day for me. My mom and dad even arranged for some of the best guys in my life to come to our lake house this weekend and celebrate. It was so much fun and I am thankful that I got to celebrate with people who know the real me. We spent lots of time on the lake and lots of time with great food and drinks. It was the perfect celebration for me!
Huge thank you to my parents for teaching me the right ways and doing everything they can on the daily basis to be the best parents they can be. They were there for me during all the hard times and they loved me also through the fun times. I mean they planned my whole birthday celebration as a surprise and that takes a lot of work! Thank you Mom and Dad for 21 years of support, hard parenting, and memories. Here's to some more--with a little something special to go along!
This isn't me preaching or judging--this is me explaining why my 21st birthday was really special to me. As it should be! Thank you all for the birthday messages and wishes. Thank you to those who have always loved me. Thank you to those who have called me names and judged me. You made my 21st the best yet!
Southern and Thankful
Hello, Hello! It’s Hannah here. Today is a very very special day because it is Cade’s 21st BIRTHDAY! It literally seems like just yesterday we were celebrating Cade turning 18. It sure is crazy how fast time flies.
Through Southern and Thankful, he has shown us all that on the best of days and even on hardest of days we should always find something to thank our wonderful heavenly Father for. Cade is such an inspiration and a blessing to me and so many other people. I don’t know if yall have ever been featured on the blog, but let me tell you I get the weirdest, greatest, celebrity-like feeling when Cade mentions me in a post. LOL. Today’s surprise post is all about Mr. William Cade Bethea!!
Cade, I asked some of your friends and family (so so sorry if I missed anyone!) to say why they are THANKFUL for you! You always let us know how gracious you are for us, and now we are going to shine the spotlight on you as we celebrate 21 incredible years of Cade!
“There are so many reasons I am thankful for Cade, but one of the things I am most thankful for is his individuality. he's never afraid to be himself and he literally has THE biggest heart. I know he is destined for great things and I am so thankful God placed him in my life!!!” -Chandler Konecny
“I'm thankful for Cade's contagious laughter that can bring a smile to anyone's face!”
“I am thankful for Cade's infectious laugh and smile. Since the day he was born, that smile and laugh have filled my heart and soul with immense joy. He has been one of the biggest blessings in my life and I thank God for him!!”
"I am thankful for 21 years of friendship, Tuesday night PLL traditions and getting the chance to meet up halfway across the world! How cool? Europe we will be back!!"
“I am thankful for Cade because of all the memories I have with him!! Some of my best times were spent with Cade and our friend group! Happy 21st Cade!!”
“I am thankful to Cade because he is always there for you. No matter how long it has been you can count on him to be a loving friend!”
“I am thankful for Cade because there is never a dull moment with him! I can always count on him to make me laugh by doing something only Cade would do like stand on the Walmart clothes rack just to take a selfie on Black Friday! I'm thankful he's a great big brother I can look up to and count on!”
"I am thankful for the joy that Cade has brought into our family over 21 years and look forward to what God's plan is for his future."
"I am Thankful for William Cade's Loving, God centered Heart, his sense of adventure, dry sense of humor and his forgiving nature! We are both so proud of him”
"I'm thankful for Cade because he is someone who makes a difference. His passion is evident in every decision he makes and every organization he joins. His care for others is noticeable after spending only a few minutes with him. And he just knows how to make people feel awesome."
"I'm thankful for Cade because I know no matter what I have someone to turn to, to laugh with and enjoy life with. Happy birthday William😋😋!"
"I'm thankful for Cade because of his steadfast love for others. Cade is a loyal dude who is willing to sacrifice for his friends. Cade brings joy into my life every time I see him, much love for him."
“I'm thankful for Cade because I know I can always count on him for an adventure! Whether it's driving to sonic, finding a silly street sign, or taking a trip to Dallas to shop and get cupcakes I know that Cade is always down! He always makes whatever we are doing a good time 😊”
“I am thankful for Cade because he has taught me what it looks like to be the best friend I can be. No matter how long we go without seeing each other, nothing ever changes. I'm thankful to have him as one of my best friends.”
“I am thankful for Cade because of his positive attitude, no matter the circumstance! He reminds everyone to be thankful for the journey, not just the destination.”
“I'm thankful that Cade has become the little brother I never had. Without Cade's ability to make someone laugh at just the right moment, provide encouragement when needed most and love everyone around him to no end, our family lunches, holiday celebrations and life in general wouldn't be nearly as fun!”
“Cade never fails to bring a smile to someone's face his ability to provide encouragement and laughter. I'm so thankful that Cade has filled the role of my little brother (even the annoying part). Our family would not be the same without him!”
“Cade always uplifts my spirits and challenges me to look at the world in a better, happier way. We were part of a small bible study group last semester and those Wednesday nights were the highlight of the week, with Cade's presence being a large portion of that highlight.”
"I'm thankful for Cade because he shares my love for Pappasitos queso and he serves as a constant reminder that there is always something positive you can focus on! I'll always be thankful for Cade Bethea!! Happy Birthday bud!"
“I'm thankful for Cade because of his selfless nature and dedication to being himself. I learned so much about being a better person and enjoying life from living with him over the past year. Thank you Cade!!”
“I'm beyond thankful for Cade's willingness to be my go to date. From non stop dancing, to black light paint parties to loading buses and being bouncers. It's never a dull time with you friend (especially when cool pants are involved) !!! Here's to many more social events in the future🍻”
“I am thankful that he is a genuine, high character, young man! I am so proud of the man he has grown into. And, he is fun to be around!!”
“For his clothes🙆”
“I'm thankful for Cade because he is always down for fun adventures and has a big heart for everyone and everything he does!”
“I'm super thankful for our friendship and your love and support that you have always provided. Whether it be a pageant, dance recital, study group, taking care of me after my wreck, or a late night phone call you were always there for me. I know you will continue doing the same and always be phone call away. You deserve the BEST day ever.. Love you FOREVER & ALWAYS 😘😘”
“When you need a good laugh the person I think of is Cade because he can put a smile on your face even when you do not think you can smile!”
-Jennifer (Pooh) White
“I'm thankful for Cade because he always knows how to brighten my day and is always there to wish me good luck on my important nursing exams. I'm also thankful for Cade because he's a super fun formal date!”
“I am thankful for William Cade because of his precious heart! He is so kind & thoughtful...almost to a fault. There is no better friend!! Love his quick wit too🙌🏻💜🐸😝🎂”
“I'm thankful to have a 21 year old son who inspires me on a daily basis to be a better man.”
“I'm thankful for Cade because he cracks me up and he's always down to bake cookies late at night 😊”
“I am thankful for Cade because he always has the biggest smile on his face. He is full of joy, constantly encouraging others and I know that he would do anything for anyone. Cade is truly such a special guy!”
-April Van Anglen
“I'm thankful for Cade because of his vibrant personality and his ability to always have a positive outlook on life.”
Lastly, I am thankful for Cade because he constantly supports me. He gives me the best advice.. and the occasional reality check. He always seems to know how to make me laugh. He can basically read my mind. He is my very best friend. Cade, you hold such a special place in my heart. You bring out the best in people, and you have truly positively impacted my life in countless ways. I am so proud of all that you have accomplished and how you always stay true to yourself!! I am forever thankful for Cade Bethea!!!
Friends, comment why you are thankful for Cade!!!! Wish him a happy birthday!!
Cade, we all hope that you have an amazing day!! You deserve it! I can’t wait to celebrate with you!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!
The VP of Southern and Thankful ;)
Happy July 4th, my friends!!!
The 4th was kind of weird this year since it fell on a Monday (nice to have the 4 day weekend), but kind of hard to really celebrate on the actual day because everyone has to work the next day. Hate that! But I will say that this July 4th was different from me because after spending 5 weeks in other countries you really learn to be appreciative of all America has to offer. Sure, we have our flaws, but at the same time we do have some specialities.
1. Water is FREE here!!! No having to ask. No paying to buy the bottle. It is the best!
Okay well I was starting a list and then remembered all the things I enjoyed about Italy, except for the water part. But I know I love America more because of our history and unity. Lately, with everything happening... Orlando, the election, etc. I have been pretty worried about our country. I mean when I was abroad even people over there were worried about our country. It kind of became annoying how much they were concerned. And it is a weird time in the history books for sure, but days like today remind me why we are a nation built on trust, and freedom. Now I realize not everyone in this country is built on those same morals and that is sad. But a majority of us are and that is what always makes the 4th so enjoyable. Everyone coming together, wearing our colors, shooting fireworks, all to celebrate being thankful for a nation that we live and love on. I do not care what is going on in the world... I am thankful for our nation on this day!
I spent the long weekend at my favorite place... the lake! It had been so long since I had been to Hot Springs so I was really glad to be back! I will luckily get to spend a good amount of time at the lake over the next month and I am really happy about it!
I am proud to be an American today and everyday! I hope you feel the same! Here's to trying to remember that tomorrow is not Monday, oh and the exciting birthday week that lies ahead!! Here's to the red, white, and blue!
Southern and Thankful
Blessed is an understatement when it comes to my life. Each and every day I am amazed by God's steadfast love. In return, I have claimed this space to show my thanks and whatever else comes along the way. A student at Texas Christian University who loves any creative insta post, all donuts, and dress pants that make you do a double take. I pray God has a grand purpose for me and I plan to get there with a little Southern and a lot of Thanks! Join me!