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Posts Tagged ‘family’

Another year older, and maybe even a little wiser, though I have ended the year with more questions than answers. I turned 24 on Christmas Day this year, and I am still shocked at everwhere I have been and everything I have done in those 24 years. It will never cease to amaze me what can all be squeezed into just one year—memories and new understandings fitting in day-to-day life like packing peanuts. Last December I graduated from college with a Bachelor’s degree in English. I moved back home in the beginning of March, went to the San Juan Islands in April, became single in May, went to Dallas, Texas in August for a Mary Kay Convention for the second time, took a road trip to Alabama where I saw friends I made in Italy that I hadn’t seen in two years, and flew to Wyoming for the first time in October to visit my best friend. I even wrote a new song on my guitar about a friend comforting another friend in pain. Recently, my favorite thing has been receiving a VHS player for my birthday. I have three boxes of VHS tapes in my bedroom closet that I was finally able to take down from its dusty shelf. So I spent a lot of the weekend watching old Christmas movies like Annie and Anabelle’s Wish, as well as rediscovering how many Disney movies I have on VHS. If they were unbreakable, I would have been tossing them all in the air to let them fall around me like some would do with money.

I ran my first 5k this year and made a lot of new friends that have become a big part of my life. I have felt the pain of missing loved friends more deeply this year than I have in a long time and discovered that a broken heart truly feels like your insides are cracking in every nook and cranny. I cried a lot more this year than I have in previous years. But that didn’t make it a bad year. I drank too much coffee, spent endless hours listening to music, and slept in too late too often. But I made it through another year with my loan payments up to date and no broken bones or sickness. I’d say I’m doing just fine.

This year has taught me that every single one of us could be better communicators. Especially when it comes to listening. In the midst of wanting to jump in and give our opinion in a conversation, we forget that listening is a significant part of communication. Why should anyone listen to us if we don’t take the time to listen to them? Are we really so prideful that we think what we have to say is more important than what they have to say? You don’t have to agree with the person, but that doesn’t mean you won’t learn or rediscover something. My goal for next year is to also have more conversations that are important. That sounds a little arrogant, but it’s not meant to be. I simply mean that we have too many conversations that are surface-level because that’s what’s comfortable. But there is so much to discuss and discover when we take the extra step to talk about deeper things than the weather. Getting to those topics can be tricky sometimes, so it takes some practice.

I could also use a little more practice when it comes to bravery. For the past two years, I’ve wanted to take my guitar to the nursing home sometime in the week before Christmas and sing Christmas songs to the elderly who may not get many guests if any at all, and maybe even stick around to listen to stories of those willing to talk with me. But I have been afraid to go alone because I have stage freight. I am insecure about my guitar playing abilities since I make mistakes while playing in front of people even though I don’t make mistakes when I’m by myself. But I also have a soft voice, and I don’t know how many would even be able to hear me. I also don’t talk to many people I don’t know. It’s always been hard for me to strike up a conversation with a stranger, even when I want to.

I’m filled to the brim of my glass with love today that I don’t know how to give it out any faster. I’ve been telling a lot of my friends and family the past couple days how much I treasure them, and I find myself in tears most of the time while writing to them. I think that’s partially because of the fact that my monthly gift arrived this morning. But the other half is truly because I feel blessed beyond words. I don’t know what this year would have looked like without them. There are so many hugs yet to give, so many experiences yet to occur, so many people to meet and stories to hear that part of me feels like I’m wasting time sitting here writing this. However, I’m only human, and there are days my glass is tipped over, kind of like how I’d like to flip over the tables of customers that test my patience. But thankfully those days are limited. Emotions for me tend to be overwhelming because they hit me like a train, and sometimes there’s not much I can do to hold them back. I found myself crying quite a bit at work this year, no matter what I told myself to calm down. But I will take those days if it means I can love people more deeply as well.

Only God knows what will become of me by next December. But I’m excited to see where I’m led.

 

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It doesn’t bother me that I’m going to die someday. But I’m already tearful at the thought of having to be at the funerals of people I love before I come to my own. But great loss can only come from great love. And great love is worth every tear.

Sometimes I’m afraid to love because to love someone means to give in to a vulnerability that gives them the option of hurting me, whether that means leaving me or dying. But as terrifying as vulnerability is, we can’t be fully happy or even fully ourselves without it. Walls come down one way or another, we just get the option of taking them down ourselves or having them crash around us in ashes.

Be wise with whom you open yourself to, but make sure there is at least someone in your life you can be vulnerable with. It will eventually lead to loss, but you will have great loss anyway if you never give yourself the chance to experience great love. A life without love is empty.

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Everyone is a book on a shelf. 

But you’re not just a book. You’re a specific book on a specific shelf in a specific part of the library. 

I’m a waitress, and there are a few ladies who have worked at my restaurant for over twenty years. I have a tendency to get annoyed of the job by the end of the week. Sometimes I worry that I’m going to be stuck there for the rest of my life. But then I feel guilty for thinking that that would be a bad thing. At least I have a job. I have money to buy groceries every week and a new shirt every once and a while. But I tend to think of my job as something towards the bottom of the food chain. But when I take a step back, it’s not. A waitress is needed as much as anything else.

Notice how when the snow clings to trees, only a certain amount of snowflakes can catch the branches and hang on. The rest fall to the ground. Imagine those snowflakes as people. Only a certain number accomplish their dreams and stick to the branches on different levels. The rest fall to the bottom and get lost in the hills of snow. They find jobs as waitresses, janitors, bus drivers, cashiers. . .

Sometimes we tend to think of those bottom jobs as the lowly jobs. “Why would you want to do that for the rest of your life?” But just because I won’t be a lawyer, doctor, or scientist, doesn’t mean I can’t contribute something. Maybe I won’t end up being the writer I hope to be. Maybe the most I’ll accomplish is win a short story contest after losing twenty others. Besides, without that bottom snow, what would we use for snowball fights? For snowmen? What would we use to snowboard on? To snowmobile on?

Everyone is needed in this walk of life. You may not own the restaurant, but people are needed to serve the food. Without janitors, everything would dust and mold. Without bus drivers, those who don’t have a car wouldn’t be able to get around. 

I am in the middle of reading 1 Corinthians, and I came to chapter 12:12-31 that has a heading called “On Body, Many Parts.” I will quote a few of these lines so you can get the gist:

“Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body…But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be…those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty…so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other…”

So don’t misunderstand me. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to climb the ladder. Work your butt off to get somewhere if you can. Find your gifts, and use them. If you are doing what you can to put food on the table for yourself or your family, then you are doing great. We don’t all need to be waitresses, but we can’t all be doctors either. If you kick yourself every time you fail, you focus on the struggles instead of allowing on the strengths to encourage you. You are needed in whatever you do.

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It is when we are alone that we are at our most honest. There may be things we can never admit to someone else, but the things we do, the things we think—we cannot hide them from ourselves.

I had a rough day. For a while, I have felt like a taxi-cab to some of my friends, a pawn for people’s use whenever they need something because I’m the girl that never learned to say no. But today I admitted to myself that I feel as if there are few people who actually treasure me as a friend.

How do you show people you love them? How do your friends, sister, cousin know you love them? Do you just tell them? Or do you give them hugs, buy them something that reminds you of them, write them a note telling them to have a good day…You do things for them, right? I try to show my Mom I love her by cleaning up the house for her. Now, I feel like my family just expects it from me, as if it doesn’t mean much anymore since I never get a thank you, even if I spent hours cleaning. Do they realize I’m doing it for them? I give my friends rides everywhere, send them random reminders that I was thinking of them and that I love them. I reminisce the fun times we have together and I send them things I know will make them laugh.

I want to mean something to someone. But I’ve come to feel that there are few people that I feel like I actually matter to them. I come running when they need something, because I want to be helpful. I want to be a good friend. But I can also say no and still be a good friend. I have learned that I have no boundaries with the people in my life, and it has turned me into a pushover. Being a pushover is one of most frustrating things in the world, yet I let people push me into doing things for them without asking for anything in return. Because asking for gas money is greedy, right? Asking for them to come see my after I’ve driven to see them so many times is impolite, right?

But I want to see them, so I go. I want to see them, so I pay. But when they don’t return the favor, I feel like it’s a one-sided relationship. They will hangout if I go there. They will hang out if I drive us. They want to see me, but they work these days, so I have to switch my hours so I can go see them.

It’s important to be nice. It’s important to love. There are things we can do for each other to bring happiness to the opposite person. But I feel like I am at the point where no one does anything for me anymore. This may seem greedy, maybe it is, but if anything is to change, I need to be honest with myself about how I really feel instead of slapping on excuses that my heart doesn’t fully feel. In Acts 20:35, it mentions that Jesus said “It is more blessed to give than to recieve.” Maybe one day I will be better at doing this fully, but I believe we also need to look out for ourselves. Luke 6:38 also says, “Give and it will be given to you..” Maybe I’m not looking close enough at what I’m being given. However, I’m not going to do anyone any good or be a truly good friend if I’m secretly grumbling to myself about how I feel like I’m being used.

I get it from my dad. Neither of us can say no, and we always end up doing the things that no one else wants to do. “If you want it done right, you have to do it yourself.” Maybe. But I think there comes a point where some of us end up always doing everything and it puts us in a shallow mood. Instead of asking for gas money, maybe I should just say I can’t give them a ride this time. By not changing anything, nothing will change. Letting your irritations fester inside without letting others know how you feel can turn your heart bitter.

What was the last thing you did for someone? When was the last time someone has done something for you? Remember: Relationships are a two way street. Don’t let your heart become greedy, but don’t let it become bitter either.

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I love being held.

When one hears this, they probably assume being held in the arms of another person. Don’t get me wrong, that is one of the best kinds of being held, but that’s not all I’m talking about.

Being held is being wrapped in a blanket. Wearing a comfy sweatshirt. Walking with the wind. Sitting in the sun or by the warmth of a fireplace. Snuggling into the corner of a couch, a beanbag chair, a recliner, a lawn chair. Curling up under the covers before going to bed. The bars that pull over you before a roller coaster takes off. It’s the hammock in the backyard that you fall asleep in while reading a book. I can be wrapped up in the story of a book and feel held as much as if I were in a blanket.

Being held by a person doesn’t mean just a boyfriend or husband either. It’s the linked arm of your best friend as you walk to class. It’s a hug from your sister, mother, grandpa, cousin. It’s being picked up off the ground when you least expect it, or maybe when you do expect it. It’s a kiss from a dog as it jumps to give you a hug.

To be held. To be wrapped up in something that makes you feel safe, warm, secure, loved.

Today I wrap myself in scripture. Promises still mean something to me, even though people these days don’t hold true to them like they used to. Now documentation and signatures are involved. Trust is fading because we don’t give people a reason to trust us. But above anything or anyone else, I feel safe and loved in scripture. Things will be taken from me, things will break. People will leave me, and people will let me down.

It is finally getting through to my head that I need help. We live in a world that tells us to strive for self-sufficiency, but it will always end in exhaustion. God purposefully left a space inside us that only belongs to Him, but He is only allowed access to that space when we give Him permission. I think it’s interesting that the Creator wants permission. Do you make a doll, and then ask the doll if you can play with it? No, you just play with it.

There is nothing stopping God from doing whatever He wants with us, except that He does not desire to control us. If I had a daughter, I could tell her to do whatever I want, and she would do it. She may not be happy about it, but she would have to do it. But real love does not come from being controlled. You would be making robots that are taught to say, “I love you” instead of raising someone who tells you s/he loves you just because s/he means it and s/he wants you to know.

God can say “I love you,” and I can choose not to respond. But I do because I can’t help but wrap myself in everything I know about Him. He is the only one that truly makes me feel safe.

Natalie Grant sings: “The promise was when everything fell, we’d be held.” I hope it’ll one day bring as much comfort to you as it does to me.

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“Often we cleave to things because they possess heavy negative charges. Pain has strong arms.” –Patricia Hampl

Painful memories can be as aggressive as the wind.

I was best friends with a girl from Kindergarten till sixth grade. She was slowly pulling away like silly putty in the fifth grade, but I didn’t realize it till years later. One day after school on the bus, she handed me a note. A few words still stick clearly in my mind like gum on the bottom of a desk: “I don’t think we should be friends anymore.”

Though I have watched my sister lose many friends over big fights, I had never lost a friend straight out of the toaster like that, and haven’t since. 

Through Jr. High she built up a reputation as one of the cool kids, and by High School she was one of the most popular girls in the class, listed in the yearbook as “Most likely to become a gold digger” along with others of the sort. As I had watched her de-pants others in the hall and become a Witch with a capital “B,” I decided I didn’t need a friend who’s wardrobe took on a whole new meaning of  the word “easy.” Still, that note bothers me to this day.

I believe that our hardest critic is ourselves. Maybe that’s why we cling to pain. We usually settle for what we think we deserve, when in reality we probably deserve higher than we give ourselves credit for. But then we are hurt by those we glued to ourselves—maybe they get up and leave or die—and we cling to the pain because it is the only reminder we have left of them. Friends and family help us spew out excuses of “new beginnings” like a rip in a water hose, but once we are alone we admit the truth to ourselves. We wonder what we did wrong.

So if we can’t have love, we settle for pain. Feeling something is better than feeling nothing, because at least if we are in pain, we can punch a wall, we can soak our pillows, we can buckle over and wait for the cat claws in our stomachs to subside. Even if it is a little thing, we feel something.

Eventually everyone we care about and love will be gone. However, we know that we have to eventually expect that kind of loss. But the kind of pain that we don’t see coming, that can sometimes be the pain with the strongest arms. 

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I could write so much cheesy, lovey-dovey stuff that chicks would adore. As writers, we really can make the perfect man; or at least our version of him. But I think we also have to be careful of this, for though those stories may sell to the chick flick lovers, they aren’t real. And when girls start reading that stuff a lot, they start looking for someone just like that, and there isn’t someone just like that. They will start comparing their husbands or boyfriends and sometimes get angry or irritated when their loved ones aren’t like that. And that’s not the guy’s fault.

But then I started looking at it this way too: aren’t we also sometimes portraying ourselves as something we’re not? Maybe with the people you just met, or the people you are trying to make friends with. Are we not also telling lies like those books?

“Everyone is an actor. Just most of us don’t get paid.” Walking through a store I can see that. I catch a lot of Mom’s who are embarrassed by kids that start crying or yelling, and I see them look up with a fake smile, and then throw their heads down towards the kids, grab them by the arm, and utter tense discipline. We like people to think our families are all well-behaved and put together, and almost no family is. We all have our querks, yet we seem to find them socially unacceptable and try to hide them as if they don’t exist.

 

But why not frame them? If you are a ball of energy, skip down the sidewalk. Simply smile and wave at the people that decide to stare. A person’s querks are what makes them different from the rest. Maybe it’s your smarts, your fashion sense, your witty remarks or your outgoing personality. There is no need to look around to see who may be watching you, because those people simply don’t have the guts to be different. We see pictures or videos of people doing funny, weird stuff…yet we never have the guts to be ourselves.

Frame your querks. You are an awesome person, and you shouldn’t keep that awesomeness buttoned under your normality vest all the time. 

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This has been the busiest summer of my life. I wish the days had been longer, and that winter ended before April, but I have also been extra happy at times this summer.

I think it’s basically because of the people I am blessed to spend my days with.

If you can make me laugh, I basically already consider you a friend even if it would be our first time meeting. I love being with and around people that have a good sense of humor, and can make me laugh because laughter can brighten your mood, someone else’s mood, or even your whole day if it was being fed to the pigs. When you surround yourself with people that make you feel good or can make you smile just by being the dorks they are and saying the obnoxious, stupid, or wise things they say, you find less and less bad days.

Now don’t hear me wrong, there will always be bad moments, but then when you talk to or hang out with the right person, s/he can turn it around maybe without even knowing it. And soon, the things that seem to keep going wrong, or the problems that crush like and ever-rolling rock don’t seem as big of a deal, because you know who you can go to.

I’m a waitress, and some of my customers make me want to sharpen the steak knives, but then I get to go into the kitchen and work with some pretty amazing people who can make me forget almost instantly. I am also blessed to be so close with my family that I consider my cousins to be some of my best friends. If it weren’t for them, I would have gone to college in Tennessee.

All of them have their dramatic moments, but we’re only human. Doesn’t mean we all don’t also need space from each other every once and a while.

I guess what it all buckles down to is this: surround yourself with people that make you grin, make you laugh till your eyes sprinkle, make you look to the sky and think, “You know, life is pretty good.” Trust me, your good days will outnumber the bad. And wouldn’t it be nice to have a little break from stress? 

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21 sounds young, but to me I feel like I’m getting old, especially since I’m a senior in college this year. It doesn’t matter how many people tell me  that there’s plenty of fish in the sea, that it will happen when I least expect it. Sure, maybe it will. Still, that never seemed to help me.

But I think I was going about it all wrong.

God put it in our hearts to want love, to want marriage. Marriage will be a beautiful thing, a day to celebrate the joining of two families into one. I find myself skimming through Pinterest engagement pictures, thinking about that moment when he pops out a ring, how he’ll get down on one knee.

I’ve looked at wedding dresses and bridesmaid dresses, where we would want the reception, types of flowers and decorations. I’ve thought about those steps down the aisle, not being able to see anyone but him waiting for me.

I look at guys in my life, guys I like, and begin trying on their last names. I imagine honeymoon locations, and buying our first house. I imagine the private things that happen on honeymoons. I imagine tailgate parties, motorcycle rides, and picnics in the park as husband and wife. Sometimes I rub my stomach and think about experiencing that first kick, the excitement of seeing a baby we made even after the pain.

If I have a daughter, I hope to name her Natalie; if a son, I hope to name him Ethan. I’ve thought about what I’d decorate the baby room into, about having a summer cabin by a lake where we could take family vacations. I’ve thought about teaching my kids patience through fishing and hard work by feeding the calves and pulling weeds in the garden. I’d hope my daughter to be a volleyball player like I was. I would love to have a son on the football team.

I’ve thought it all, I’ve read it all. Most experience something of the sort, some don’t.

But then I have to remember something: my priority has never been marriage. My priority has always been God. I have even told myself that in my relationship God will always come first, so why do I have it in my head that I need to find someone before I spend the rest of my life alone? 

A part of me loves being alone. Lately I haven’t had enough time to myself, and I’m someone who needs “me time” if I’m going to survive being with people all the time. I love seeing my friends and family and just people in general, but, for me, there really is such a thing as too much people-time.

For me, to read, write, do summer school homework, play guitar, listen to music without having to participate in conversation; these things I need to do alone. When I was in Italy, I was with people every single day and never really just went for a walk by myself or sat in my bed reading what I wanted to read. I wanted to be in the lounge hanging out with people because I knew my time was limited and I wanted to see them all as much as I could.

But what I seem to keep forgetting, what I think we all forget, is that all of us need time alone. Some need it more than others, but you can’t really reflect unless you give yourself some space from the things that distract you. Since I’m single, I’ll get more “me time” than I will once I get a real full-time job, a boyfriend/husband, and kids. Once my life starts with someone else, my life will be devoted to them. However, right now, I get to devote myself to simple things that I love. This may be the most time I’ll ever get to work on writing my books, and that doesn’t even feel like much time at all.

At the end of the day, yes, I’m single. But I’m also using that time to work towards the things that God has me here to do. Right now, I don’t have a boy to distract me from my writing. I know with every part of my being that God has stories He wants me to share with the world, and He chose me to write them for Him. God is all I’ve ever needed, and I will always seek His Kingdom first. A relationship with a man will always come in second to my relationship with God.

God really is enough, and I hope if you don’t know that already, that you will come to realize it as well 🙂

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I’ve always had people ask me who my favorite singer is, what my favorite song is. But I don’t pay attention to the singer. They don’t necessarily matter to me. I look at what they sing about, what story or message they are giving. I am not interested in someone singing about getting high up in the club and getting all the girls. I like the songs that sing about holding on, thanking God, and being grateful through the hard times. I like the songs that sing about real love, taking chances, taking time to live life and dancing because you can. I like songs that sing about the brave men and women fighting for our protection, knowing they could die any day and sacrificing time away from their family.

To sum it up, I love songs that sing about the things I value. I value God, family, friends, music, love, happiness, living off the land, animals, not letting money change me into something prideful and greedy. I am here to love people, to give them strength when others tear them down, to remind people of their own priorities and values.

What is it that you value? Are they material things that can be replaced? Are they similar to your priorities?

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Without even going any further, I’m sure you have a pretty good idea what I’m talking about.

The List. A man’s worst nightmare. The checkpoints that supposedly makeup your ideal man, maybe the perfect man, maybe the man that ends up being gay or simply something you copied from a Disney story. Maybe he’s one of the heroes on TV that knows just what to say to make a woman go weak at the knees just by watching. He doesn’t exist, sweetheart. If you put that much pressure on men, you will just make them confused and exhausted.

I think at first we start out broad—handsome, funny, tall.

But as the months go on, it gets more specific—optimistic, similar interests, gets along with family and friends.

And then it becomes almost obnoxiously pinpointed—guitar player, can cook, loves cats.

No offense to the guys that might be reading this, but you can’t expect much from men. I think the less that you expect, the more they tend to surprise you. Sometimes the qualities you are looking for, or that you think you want, are not necessarily what’s best for you or what you will be happy with.

For example, if you want to marry a doctor is it because he likes making people healthy again, or because it means he has money? Do you even know how busy doctors are? If you think he has the time to both work and wait on you hand and foot, then you are sadly mistaken.

I think some people underestimate personality. Just because he may not always look cute, does not mean he isn’t the funniest person you’ve ever met. Sometimes their personality makes them handsome.

Sometimes I believe in the phrase “What’s meant to be will always find its way,” and then other times I believe that’s crap because of how people use it. You can’t sit on your ass and then say “If God wants me to get married, I’ll get married.” You actually have to put forth some effort to get the answers you’re looking for. Shocking, I know.

Now there should be some sort of attraction between the two of you that is more than just sexual, or your relationship will never be happy. (some people need to remember this: just because he may be good in bed, doesn’t mean that he will be a suitable husband for you. Whether you like it or not, there has to be an actual good relationship. Eventually good sex won’t be enough. I know couples who get divorced because of this.)

Somehow, many people are surprised when a quiet person and a social person end up being together. This does not surprise me at all. I am a bit more quiet, so I look for people who talk more than me because I am a listener.

However, yes you should keep open-minded, but whether we like it or not, all of us have something that is somewhat of a requirement for us. Think about what yours are without making a list three pages long.  One of mine is the guy needs to be a Christian because I want my family to put God first in everything they do.

Don’t be afraid to wait, but that doesn’t mean you need to turn down everyone who comes along.

That probably sounds more complicated than what it really is, but you’ll figure it out 😉

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We’re all waiting for something.
Sit with a coffee at the airport and guess who will stand up when someone walks through the door.

We are all lazy in something.
Wait in the frozen food section and see who picks out the pizzas and frozen alfredo.

We all have something that makes us happy.
See the girl sitting on the top suitcase of an airport cart,
the joy on her face as her father pushes her. The Simplicity.

Live while you’re waiting, even in the small things,
otherwise you are simply waiting to die.

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I saw his white hair before anything else.
Maybe it was his trembling legs
as he took the steps one by one off the plane.
Though his suitcase small
he struggled to hold it as if it was stone.
Those behind him remained silent
but their tapping fingers along the rail
brought a frown to my eyes…
Yet I have been one of them.

His wife waited at the bottom
like a mother at the end of a slide.
He seemed to learn a little too far forward
and I bit my lip.
A few steps can feel like you’re falling down a mountain.
Broken bones could occur.

Maybe he does it to prove that dozens of lines on his face
does not define his strength.
Maybe he faces the stairs because he wanted to see his granddaughter
walk down the aisle.
Maybe retirement was the only time he had money
to see the world.

Or perhaps stubbornness simply multiplies with wrinkles. 

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You know what’s annoying? The person that says, “I wanna do this, but I don’t wanna be the only one…”

Sadly, sometimes that person is still me, though I’m trying to get out of that way of thinking.

Why are we afraid to stand out? Even as we make a fool of ourselves in front of our friends, for some reason we care what strangers think. I think we let ourselves miss out on so much crazy random happenstances just because we don’t want to be seen by someone else. But ever think that the reason you do some of those things is a reason people love you? Never be afraid to be yourself, even if others who don’t know you happen to see. Even if you do know the people, let them see you for who you really are. No one gets to be who you are, so why hide the you that is unique and fun and crazy?

Now of course, I have friends who have wild imaginations, so don’t take my words out of context as if I’m making it okay for you to do something bad. Just don’t stop yourself from screaming out the hotel window, “Good Morning America!” or breaking out the dance to the song “Gangnam Style” when you hear it in a random place. Do what you would do if it was just you and your friend hanging out. You don’t need to be mature all the time, or you will just become stiff. 

Don’t feel that you need to wait till someone else is being weird with you.

All in all, just enjoy being you, no matter what age.

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You know what sucks? When everyone is against you about something until you succeed…

For example: My grandma’s house and property has been in the family for 12 generations. On this property we have an old barn, the kind with two levels. My dad decides we should fix up the barn and host family gatherings in it since my grandma’s house is getting too small for a family of 65 people with more babies on the way.

Some of my dad’s brothers and sisters thought it would be a waste of money, a waste of time, and probably wouldn’t be worth everything that would be put into it in the end. Even after their complaining, my dad convinced my grandma that we should do it anyway.

After months of buying paint for the outside of the barn, putting in hardwood for the second level, putting new concrete in the bottom level, building a deck to lead up to the second level, putting in a couple fans, putting in new windows, making a bar counter out of a couple old wagon wheels we painted up….we now have a beautiful barn that we have family gatherings in. But now it has also been a success for weddings, ceremonies, receptions, high school reunions, and also a place that other families have wanted to have a family reunion.

After everything that went into the barn, we will soon be making a profit off of it. Now my dad’s siblings boast about the barn, telling everyone how nice it is, all the work that went into it…when some of those people barely ever helped at all.

Some ideas are too big for people to wrap their heads around. No one likes taking risks anymore, especially with money. Yes, a lot of money had to go into the barn to get it to where we wanted it to go. But now months down the line, everyone is in love with it. And all because a couple of people were confident enough to fix up the barn and do what no one else wanted to.

There will be times when people will have faith in your ideas and will follow through with you every step of the way. But there will also be times where you won’t be backed up by  anyone. Sometimes you have to carry out your ideas alone, or at least with very little help. But this does not mean that you shouldn’t do it. The things we want to accomplish in life won’t come with a grain of salt. You will have to risk your money, your time…But won’t it be worth it in the end?

Our barn is beautiful, and no one thought it would turn out as nice as it is. We found some connections with people we knew to get some items cheaper. We got just enough helpers to finish the job, though they were longer hours than what would have been if more people showed up to help. The beginning will be rough, parts of the middle may be rougher, but carry out your ideas, because you may not be fully aware of the awesomeness the final project brings until you start.

Sometimes, some of our ideas aren’t the best and probably shouldn’t be carried out. But I guess that is where you begin to learn what will be worth it and what won’t. Take some risks. Nothing worth having or getting will ever be simple.

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No one should be forgotten.

I think that once we die, we think that we will simply become another snowflake on the ground among the rest of the dead. But I think we need to remember that we are remembered by those who matter.

Do you really need to be remembered by someone who only knows your name? Sure we can name off presidents, famous serial killers, famous inventors. But does it satisfy you to simply be remembered by your name? If they would actually become so interested to look up information, all they would know are facts. They would never know you, so wouldn’t you basically be “forgotten” anyway?

After a time, everyone who knows you will die too. But just because your name may not come up in conversation anymore, that one day tears will stop falling for you, that people will pass by your gravestone to get to someone else’s because no one knows who you are anymore, doesn’t mean you have been erased.

All of us leave a little piece of ourselves when we leave. No matter how small, or even how meaningless it may be to some people, we have all left our mark on the world. The world will never forget your presence, even if the people may.

For me, I do not feel the need to be remembered because I have faith about where I will go once this life has passed. I know that it will be more beautiful, more loving, and happier than this world could ever be. I do not care to be remembered in a world of death and destruction from which sin has taken over.

I will be patient for my death, but I am not afraid of it. But I also won’t waste my time.

Start leaving pieces of yourself in the minds of your friends and family. Leave pieces of advice that you have learned or pass on something that you treasure to someone whom you know will keep it safe and will pass down to others.

Trust me, my friends. The white lights of heaven will make you forget about everything that ever happened on earth. You are remembered by God, and He matters much more than any human in the world.

You will never be forgotten.

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Learn from your Mistakes

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Frustration is a pain in the ass. Not necessarily the things that make us frustrated, but frustration in general. Not everyone is frustrated by the same things. Some people get frustrated by things that others don’t, which is why it is frustration that is frustrating. Wouldn’t you love a life that didn’t have any frustration? That you could accept everything that happens, maybe do some crying, but move on from there without going through the anger stage?

Frustration leads to anger, anger leads us to doing harmful things or saying hurtful things. At the high point, we would all love it if we could just give up and call it quits because that would be easier. Committing suicide would be easier. Maybe suicides were just tired of their problems and wanted them to end. Just think, you’d never have to work, never have to pay bills, never have to get stuck in rush hour traffic again…But we are all still needed here. You are still needed here, whether you know it or not.

The tests of life come at us at every age. Maybe the fan’s shit is hitting you like a baseball pitching machine. Maybe right now you’re good at dodging. But one of these days, you will get hit. Trust me. It won’t be pretty, but you have to know it’s coming. It all depends on how you handle the situation.

I am studying abroad in Italy for three months for the spring semester, and just when I think that after twenty documents and ten people I’ve talked to that I might actually be done. Now I find out that the times on my flight schedule don’t line up, travel insurance that I’ve already paid for hasn’t gone through, and my advisor never gave the “okay” for my classes to go through, though I had already met up and talked with her about them. It seems to be one thing after another, and I am getting so frustrated I wish I could just call off the trip. I am definitely never doing this again. The planning is too much of a headache.

Yes, it’ll be “worth it” once I’m over there, but I’m sure even in your moments of frustration, it is extremely hard to think about what you’re working towards when the present problems are kicking your ass with both feet.

But I’m not going to tell you to close your eyes and breathe. I’m not going to tell you to calm down, because the minute someone tells me to calm down, I want to punch them in the face.

What I will tell you is push aside whatever you are doing for at least a couple minutes, and go watch an episode of your favorite show. Stick in your ear buds and listen to some music. Go buy a sandwich or play a video game. Get away from whatever is frustrating you,  and get your head back on straight before you approach it again.

I know that I will not have the patience to be put on hold for another ten minutes with the airline, so I have decided to call them back tomorrow when I will be more willing to deal with it. Do whatever it is you need to do so you don’t feel like giving up. Frustration is a bitch, and it will take you up in flames if you don’t find ways to deal with your strengths and weaknesses. I am off to watch an episode of “Bones” with my sister so I can get my mind lost in a life that isn’t mine.

Just please don’t give up. Even on life. In the moment, you may not give a shit, but later on you will. Get some air and do what you need to do that doesn’t involve tying a noose. Or quitting your job. Or giving up on a marriage. God never puts you in a position that you can’t handle. Believe in yourself.

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A friend of mine has been struggling with money situations. I’ll call her Molly, though that’s not her name. Long story short, Molly’s parents are crazy and basically want nothing to do with her right now. Seriously, even as I told the story to my parents, my mom was like “what the heck.”

So she doesn’t have any help from her parents. A friend of ours and Molly rented a house together because our friend needed to move out of her ex-boyfriends apartment and the house was cheaper and more convenient than some of the two-roomed apartments they found. Now, our friend is moving to live with her dad, and Molly doesn’t have the money to put a down-payment on a new single apartment, because you have to pay rent and a half to even be able to move in. The single-roomed apartment she had before they got the house ran at about $425 a month…so she would have to pay $650 to move back in….

Plus she has to pay rent yet for the house they are livin in, which i think was about $350. That’s $1,000 by itself. THEN she has bills for her phone, food, insurance, all that hunky dory junk.

Plus, she is doing part time at college, so she doesn’t even have time to get a second job.

It’s a mess. A friend of Molly’s said she could move in to her apartment, but it is 20 minutes away from Molly’s job, and Molly doesn’t have a car. The house they have rented out is in walking distance of her job. You can’t even take a bus to Molly’s job from her friend’s apartment like Molly used to do

Why am I telling you this? This is why.

In her mailbox at church, Molly got a couple hundred dollars worth of gift cards to places so she can buy food and stuff. A friend of hers gave her a hundred dollar bill. I’m putting money in a card and telling her she has to use it for bills.

Molly may be in a tight place right now, and even without any help from her family, she has people that are looking out for her.

If you are having a hard time, don’t think that you’re all alone. We are all blessed with people in our lives to keep us sane, keep us alive, keep us healthy. Don’t be afraid to ask for a little help from the people you are close to, because they don’t want you struggling any more than you do.

If you aren’t struggling right now, take a look at even the faces of strangers around you. Some of them are struggling more than you know. Maybe pay from someone’s gas, their food at a drive-in, their groceries at WalMart. You can make someone’s day better just by being generous. We are living in hard times, and though there is much we all disagrees on, we should be willing to help those in need.

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I have wondered about this the past few “apocalypses.”

If you are, why are you afraid?

Are you afraid to die? Do you really think that life on Earth is going to be better than life in heaven? Is it because you want to sin some more before you go to heaven? Do you think you will even go to heaven? What makes you think so? Do you know not everyone will?

Do you even believe in heaven or hell? Do you think this is all there is? We live and die and then we are erased? Or do you believe in reincarnation? If so, you’ll have another life again anyway, although I don’t believe in reincarnation.

If you are afraid of going to hell, then maybe you should take a look at what you are doing with your life. One day, you will be forgotten, because everyone who knows you will eventually die too. A lot of people get upset by this fact, but I don’t see why. Why do you need to be remembered by mere humans? Famous people become used by others, because most humans are always thinking about themselves, not you. This is how you get fake friends, fake love, fake respect. People like your looks, your money, your mind…but honestly, they don’t really care about you. And these are the people you want to remember you? Because once you are gone, they move on to a new idol.

The One who knows your name, your faults, fears and pain, your likes and dislikes, the One who has always watched over you, remembers you, the only One who can throw you in hell or bring you to heaven…is the One that is ignored.

We all want to think of God as this guy who loves everything and everyone all the time, sunshine and daisy man. We almost think of Him as a pushover…Yes, God loves us, but there is a reason that the people who love and follow Him also have a healthy fear of Him. We understand what He can do to us, what one day He will have to do to some whom have overcome their hearts with self-love and sin….He will have to throw them into the fire. We are all sinful people, but it’s the ones who want to overcome sin, who choose God over sin, that God wants in His kingdom.

Are you overcome with self-love? Are you one of the people who joke saying, “I might as well live it up and party hard since I’m going to hell anyway.” I used to joke about hell, but it is not a place to joke about. We can imagine whatever we want, but it’ll never come close to the real thing. We know nothing of suffering. No one.

But then stuff like that makes people afraid of hell and Satan. I used to be one of those people too. But like I said, you are only going to hell if you don’t pass through Jesus. He’s the One who died for you, so He’s the One whom will get you in to heaven. Satan will do everything he can to scare you, to get you to sin because sinning is easy. But that’s all Satan can do–scare you. You make your own choice to sin. Why are you afraid of Satan, when God is throwing him along with Satan’s followers into the pit?

God is above everything. When Lucifer wanted God to use His power to control us, God said no. Do you even realize how amazing that is? The gift of free will? The ability to choose? God does not want to control His loved ones, He wants us to willingly choose Him before He brings us to His kingdom. This life is our test. He wants us to live and be happy here the best we can, but sin is not happiness. If it were, He would not throw it in the pit.

I am not trying to preach at you, and if that’s how it feels, I really am sorry. I just want to know why you are afraid to die, when you know you will be dying eventually anyway. This is not the world God wants for us anymore, because it was taken hold of by sin when we chose to disobey Him with the apple. The only rule He had, we broke. But He wants to give us a re-do. He doesn’t want to destroy us, but God is not tame. He does what He has to, because He will not tolerate sin in His kingdom, just like you may not want to tolerate screaming and whiny kids in your house.

But when we strip ourselves of the layers of greed and grudges, of lust and hate, of violence and acting like we are above one another…when we decide that living for Him is more fulfilling than living for ourselves…when we realize just how in the wrong we are, and we ask God to forgive us though we have no reason to deserve such a blessing…that is when we let God into our hearts. That is when He forgives us for our sin because He loves us. He doesn’t need us, but that doesn’t mean He doesn’t want us.

I’m sure there’s arguments about this post, and if you would like to discuss anything, feel free to email me–you will find my email on the right side of the page under “Need to Chat Privately”…but I hope you will at least think about some of the things I’ve said. Are you afraid to die? Email me why.

In case some of you don’t know or just forgot….humanity will never know when the world will end. So you can stop buying the “End of the World Survival Guides” and stocking up on dozens of packs of water and food, because you are wasting your time, your money, and adding more pimples and worry lines than you need. When the world does end, none of us are getting out of it alive, so you might as well just settle down and go spend time with your family instead.

Death is not meant to be a frightening thing. It is simply the end of one thing to make room for a new beginning somewhere else. If you are afraid, maybe you should look inside yourself to see why you are afraid.

I, for one, will wait patiently on the Lord until He calls me home. I pray my family will come with me, but when I meet Jesus face to face, I will forget everything else, because nothing else will matter. In a way, I am excited to die. But I believe God keeps us on Earth until our time is up. To kill ourselves before He wants us gone is almost an insult. I pray if things are rough for you right now, that you take it day by day. Ask God for guidance, because He wants to guide you. He will never lead you in to something you can’t handle…but when we ignore His voice and drag ourselves into a pit of misery, we only have ourselves to blame. But to bring yourself out of that, you need to let Him lead you. Satan wants to take over your mind, but God does not enter our hearts until we allow Him in, because we have to choose to let Him in.

–Matthew 24:36 “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.”

–Luke 21:36 “But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

Peace and Blessings everyone.

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