Six Powerful Questions that will Change Your Life Forever!

(^ with a title like that, how could you resist reading this post?!  I ask you…)

In case you missed the link from last post, here it is:  http://tinybuddha.com/blog/6-powerful-questions-that-will-change-your-life-forever/

I will now proceed to answer the six powerful questions that will change your life forever!

Brace yourself…

1. What do I absolutely love in life?

List anything that you love about the world and the people in your life. Think about any activities that get you excited and enthusiastic and make you feel most alive. This can be absolutely anything: music, sports, cooking, teaching others, learning, watching movies—anything. Within your love for these things lies deep passion.

I absolutely love God.  I love talking about God, talking to God, thinking about God, and thanking God.

I love talking to people about God, and the more diverse the people and their perspective ideologies, the better.

I love sharing knowledge, information, opinions, and knowledge and using that to shape/compare/contrast/and refine my current ideologies.  My ultimate goal in all of this is truth, and always a greater knowledge, awareness of, and appreciation for the truth.

I love being around people.  I love conversations about everything, but mostly conversations about ideas.  I love when a group of people share a common idea, or a series of ideas that can collaboratively work together, and then working to make those ideas into realistic goals, projects, and events.

I love writing.  I love organizng the mess in my head and heart, and the process of getting it all down.  I love feeling and accepting and releasing emotions, and I love trying to figure out why they are there, and how to master them so that they do not master me, but rather enhance me and my interactions with other people.  I want meaningful, beautiful, memorable interactions with other people.  I want less mess and misunderstanding and yet…MORE mess of the artistic and understanding kind. 

I love art.  I love the visual representation of what’s going on inside people, outside of people, the glorious visual representation of the human experience, and of other experiences too.

I love photography;  its ability to freeze time, freeze memories, and make them appear more beautiful or significant than they actually were.  or sometimes, I love the frustration that results from never being able to capture memories with a lens that isn’t God-made.

I love singing, alone and with other people.  In worship to God, as a way of reminding, remembering, being.  a way of my soul to escape this body, and to collaborate with other voices to create harmony.  and Harmony is far too rare an experience these days, but oh, when you find it…

I love dance.  I love watching dance and being in the middle of a dance.  Right now, I feel clumsy in dance,  but when I can find rhythm and motion, when others can find rhythm and motion, I think there are few things more beautiful than that.   Expressive and passionate.

I love rich, wholesome food.  I love preparing food for people who will appreciate it; doesn’t matter if they are young, old, or even if they know or love me or not, as long as they appreciate the food I make.

I love dining out.  I love complex flavors and dining out and interacting with the staff and being with friends in a different environment of lights, art, temperature, and flavor.

I love books and words.  I love the power of books and words to completely transform lives, and that is one of many reasons why I want to be a high school English teacher.

2. What are my greatest accomplishments in life so far?

List all of the moments that you are proud of as well as the times that you’ve succeeded. To have accomplished these, you would have used some of your key strengths. See if you can identify why you succeeded. Also, list any activities, hobbies, or anything else that you do that you complete with ease. Within these lie greatest strengths.

I was told to list the moments I’m proud of here. 

I’m proud of always being compassionate towards people who are suffering, especially people who are emotionally suffering. 

I’m proud to be a listening ear, an advice giver, a set of arms to hold and comfort during difficult times.

I’m proud of serving others.  I’m proud of the times I’ve sat with people who were mourning.  I’m proud of the times I’ve sat at hospital bedsides.

I’m proud of the times I’ve visited the elderly in elderly homes.

I’m proud of the times I’ve sung with and to people who were dying.

I’m proud of humbling myself before God my Freshman year of college, ahd having my faith in prayer increased in a way it never had been there before.

I’m proud of making the Dean’s list at my local community college.  I’m proud of returning to Florida College, and making the honor roll there, after failing my Freshman year.

I’m proud of finding full-time work at the ripe age of 20.    I’m proud of talking to my co-workers about God.

I’m proud of studying the Bible with people who believed differently than me, and actually considering their view of the Bible, looking at it with Fresh Eyes rather than with Opinion Eyes.

I’m proud of continuing, even when I felt abandoned.  I’m proud of discovering my ability to be a leader, when I felt like I was without a leader.

I’m proud of leaning on God when my heart was hurting.  I’m proud of enrolling at USF, graduating,  and continuing to work full-time.  I’m proud of learning about poetry and writing; my passions.

I’m proud of breaking up an healthy friendship or two and finally demanding to be treated with respect, rather than with a resentful tolerance.

I’m proud of learning how to be okay with being alone, and to even love being alone.

3. What would I stand for if I knew no one would judge me?

I would stand for love and for truth.  A disciplined love with consequences and a difficult truth with power.

4 . If my life had absolutely no limits and I could have it all and do whatever I wanted, what would I choose to have and what would I choose to do?

Describe your ideal lifestyle. List what you would do throughout the day if you knew that you were bound to be successful, what kind of person you would be, how much money you would earn, and where you would live.
This question allows you to realize who you would truly want to be if there were no limits. By aligning with this you can begin working towards the life that you truly want to create. Know that you wouldn’t have a desire if you didn’t also have the ability to fulfil it.

If my life had absolutely no limits, I would love without limits.  I would travel the world, giving and teaching and serving.

 I would get dirty.

 I would choose to have a library to share with those I loved and with those I wanted to love.

I would choose to teach and speak and motivate.  I would choose to nurture, feed, and comfort the suffering in this world.

5. What would I do if I had one billion dollars?

List everything that you would really love to do if you had all the money in the world. Okay, so you would probably travel the world, buy a house or two, and give some money to your family. Then what would you do with your time?
This question helps you to think without limitations. When we are able to remove limitations and boundaries, we can discover what we really want to do.

If had one billion dollars, I would pay off my student loans!  I would put $ into savings for any expenses that may incur after my death.  I would build humble homes for everyone and find jobs for those willing and eager to work.  I would give as much as I could.

6. Who do I admire most in the world?

List your greatest inspirations and the qualities that you admire about these people.

I admire my Mom, for all the obstacles she has overcome and for the joy she has found in life.

I admire Heather Bunting.  She grows her own food, is an excellent steward of everything she has been given, and is a teacher to both her sons, and to so many women through her blog. 

I admire Sharon Ferenzce and her absolute joy for life.

I admire Emily Ferenzce, who serves and teaches wherever she finds herself.

—-

I would LOVE if you linked up with me!

Answer YOUR OWN six powerful questions that will change your life forever, and leave a link to your blog within the comments. 

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on my work, some book, road trips, and missing the act of blogging!

Hello, Internet!

I’m sitting here at my desk at work. I’ve been at this job for a little less than 1095 days. That’s about 730 days longer than I was planning to be here.

Regardless, I am so thankful for it.

There is nothing quite like having a safe, predictable environment to go to every morning.

I have safe, predictable things to do here, and I’m getting paid to do those safe, predictable things.

Even though sometimes it feels as though my insides want to scratch out of my skin and burst out of my tired, hunched, curvy body into the cosmos of exploration and travel, there is still a large part of me that craves predictablity.

I was reading some book (I’m always reading some book) about how people in relationships can be completely happy never seeing their partner as long as the said person is still there as a “background person.”

A safe place to land, if you will.

I remember travelling a lot growing up. With my Dad being a gospel preacher, sharing his message with other churches around the country came with the territory.

Road trips to other states were common in my family.

I never felt safer than when my Dad was driving. My older, stronger, gorgeous older sister Rebecca was in the passenger seat, and my silly playful Mom was in the backseat with me.

I loved that cozy, warm, cramped feeling of being in the car for several hours. It was during those times that the three people I loved the most had to be together, like it or not. (& I really liked being with my family in this way.)

We had to pass the time together.

—-

There was so much to drive by and discuss.

Exits with farmer’s markets in old wooden buildings, brightly lit travel centers, and strip malls selling leather cowboy boots and pecan candy were common.

Oddly enough, what I loved driving by and stopping at the most were the gas stations.

I loved the smell of gasoline, I loved that we were allowed to get out, stretch our legs, pick out a candy bar, and occasionally an interesting color book with some stickers of some kind.

I loved waking up not knowing where I was, but knowing that I was safe. With my sister’s walkman headphones quietly playing Oasis’s “Slide Away,” my Mom digging through plastic bags for her medication and breath mints, and my Dad pumping gasoline outside into whatever minivan we happened to have at the time, I always felt safe and mildy curious of the world around me.

And there was nothing like coming home to that safe, familiar background place.

It was always there.

Until I had to grow up and leave it.

—-

I’m typing today on this space on the web because I don’t know how else to say it:
I MISS BLOGGING.

I stopped for about nine months (long enough to grow a baby!) and after reading some of my old stuff, I got the itch, and this entry is me scratching at it!

I had no idea what to blog about.

If you want to know the honest truth about my life right now, I feel out of place at the huge church I chose due to its proximity to the condo I rent out.

I left my old congregation because I was quite simply ready for a change.

I was ready for a shorter drive, for a new start, and the chance to meet and get to know people. Different people.

It’s been hard.

People already had their “cliques” and it sometimes felt like I was forcing my way into tiny communities within a larger community where I didn’t truly belong.

Most of the people my age were married, but I felt thankful for that at first.

I wanted to be around a lot of newly weds, because there’s still a large part of me that’s scared of marriage, and I wanted to see what real people are really like entering into the institution for the first time.

I look at some of the couples and think: I don’t want to be like them.

I’ve found a few others that ease my fears and give me hope.

I still don’t know…

I’ve had to deal with a couple of men noticing the new girl.

There was a guy who was 20 and clearly didn’t know I was 28. He used to stare at me all the time, and it made me feel both flattered and uncomfortable. I felt like he wanted me to approach him. Now, why would I want to do that?

There was another guy who I went to college with, and I don’t remember him from that time in my life at all. I vaguely remembered seeing him with one of my guy friends about a year before placing membership at this new congregation, but I remember nothing of going to school with him. I never got to ask him, how do you know we went to school together? Did you ask someone about me or do you remember yourself?

We are incredibly awkward around each other, but honestly, I blame him.

Bless his heart.
He seems like a nice guy.
But niceness usually doesn’t help awkwardness. Especially when its mutual awkwardness…

I would have felt so much more comfortable around him if he had struck up a conversation with me letting me know how he knew we went to college together, and then letting me know that he found me attractive, rather than the other way around.

Nothing happened with either guy, of course.

The 20 year old quickly obtained a 20 year old girlfriend, and the guy I went to college with still stares at me and makes me feel uncomfortable.

What ever happened to people treating other people like…well, people?

There are no single girls my age.
I miss having the comrodery of single girls my age.

If everyone weren’t running off and getting married, I don’t know that I would feel any kind of desire or pressure to run off and get married.

I fell in love once.
I fell in love once and almost completely.

But it wasn’t real.
I want real.

—-

Since marriage is the trend, you get abandoned by friends to marriage, and it gets lonely.

Stupid marriage.

—-

I miss having guy friends, too.

—-

I’m ready for a change of employment.
To change my employment, I have to pass a Math test.

I have failed it twice, and that feels humiliating.

I just keep reminding myself that I used to be in an Advanced Math class from 4th-6th grade.
I don’t know why that’s so comforting to me, especially since I suspect it is that very class that “messed me up” mathmatically for the rest of my life, but it still feels reassuring to say that to myself.

“Hey, kid. Remember how you used to be in an advanced math class?”
“Yeah! and people respected me!”
“Yeah! So you can pass this stupid test!”
“Yeah! …but it’s been soooooooo long and I hate math and I have zero confidence and doubt all my abilities now!”
“Would you shut up? You sound like such a pathedic loser!”
“I am a pathedic loser!”
“Not completely! You just need to get your ducks in a row!”

(I know I can’ t be the only one with this internal dialogue going on at all times, right?)

Anyway, I found this link: http://tinybuddha.com/blog/6-powerful-questions-that-will-change-your-life-forever/

I wanted to answer the six powerful questions that will change my life forever! and so, you can read about it in my next blog post!

How do you feel about YOUR work?
What is something you’ve recently derived from some book YOU are reading?
How do you feel about road trips and gas stations?
What gave YOU the itch to blog?

Let me know in the comments!

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Holidays, Traditions, and Religion

So, how was your Christmas?

 

Did you go to church?

Sleep in, make brunch, watch movies?

Get woken up by your children at 4am and want to smack them and then want to smooch them because of their giddy, childish appreciation?

Play board games?

Assemble a jigsaw puzzle?

Work and hate on the general public?

Feel lonely?

Feel like you would give anything to just to get to be alone?

Wonder what everyone else in the world was doing on Christmas day?

Witness sad and homeless people?

Felt a cold chill, be it physical or emotional?

Anxiously awaited the end of another hyped-up holiday?

In spite of my anxiety, my Christmas trip to Atlanta was absolutely wonderful, if not somewhat exhausting and fast! 

 My friend, (we’ll call her Marla), drove up with me for the eight hours up to Atlanta on Friday night after work.

This accomplished two things:

1. I wouldn’t have to make the long drive by myself alone to arrive in Atlanta at 2:30 in the morning. (I generally am not at my most alert at that hour.) and…

2. So that Marla would not have to spend Christmas alone.

Her family lives out in Idaho (read: literally 2,804 miles away from where we live in Florida) and this would be her first Christmas away from them.

Since Marla is one of my best friends and I so know how that whole working around Christmas time and being pretty much alone feels, I thought it would be nice for her to get adopted by my family for the long weekend.

(Yay for her! She managed to get those 3 days off from work!)

It was really nice. She is an amazing pianist, and she frequently shared her music with us.

 

Something about showing your family to “an outsider” really makes you appreciate them. It also helps that they tend to be on their best behavior knowing “an outsider” is there to share the holidays. ;)

Has anyone else been a visitor with another family during the holidays for whatever reason?

How did you feel?

What did you do to acclimate?

Marla and I ended up at my grandparent’s condo at around 2:45AM on Friday night/Saturday morning.

Even though I don’t feel the same about their condo as I did about the comfortable house where we would spend a lovely week about three times a year growing up, whenever I visit my grandparents home, I always sense an overwhelming feeling of comfort and safety.

(My grandma sending off my grandpa to on some last minute errands early on Christmas Eve morning.)

Unlike my mother, my grandparents were never concerned if I ate too much. In fact, they were more concerned that I might eat too little. I always felt fed and nurtured at my grandparents.

Don’t get me wrong, my mother did feed us growing up, but she placed way too much emphasis on maintaining a slender figure and therefore I somewhat felt deprived when it came to food.

When I “grow up” and hopefully have my own family, food is going to be viewed as fuel and nutrition.

It will be something that my children understand as the energy that will help their bodies function at their best. I never want my children to feel deprived just so that they can obtain some kind of physical ideal whose sole purpose is look good to others, and specifically to those of the opposite sex when they become teenagers.

I want my children to be healthy and happy, and of course, I never want them to become obsessed with food!

How did you feel about food growing up?

Did you ever feel deprived because certain foods or larger amounts of food were kept from you?

Did you ever binge later on in life because of difficult financial situations growing up?

 —

Besides feeling nurtured physically at my grandparent’s home, I also always felt nurtured emotionally and spiritually.

They are old-fashioned and God-fearing.

Christmas is not a big deal to them, simply because they dedicate their entire lives to serving God.

*bookshelf filled with hymn books*

To them, it would be silly to remember Him in a special way on just one day.

They remember Him every day, and pray to Him several times a day, and try their very best to love other people as He first loved us.

That is yet another reason why I feel so safe when I am with them.

God isn’t just called upon in desperate times of trouble in this home; rather He is called upon and thanked all the time.

He lives there, and to me, there is no safer place then where my loving, powerful God lives.

The entire side of my Dad’s family are all bible-following Christians.

My dad is in a genealogical line of four generations of preachers.

I realize this is kind of unusual.

But I also realize that this is kind of cool.

Throughout the Bible, readers are told that God blesses His followers trickling down to several generations.

(In this photograph of two photographs, the picture below is of my grandparents last two grandchildren.  The picture above is of their very first great-grandchild.)

He gives one condition: as long as they follow His commandments, He will bless them.

While that might sound legalistic to some of you, if you closely examine the Bible, you will see clearly that God also showed mercy to some very mistake-making humans!

(He understands that we will stumble many times. But He can help us obtain a better way of life! Take a look at Hagar, Abraham, and the woman at the well for just a slim picking of biblical examples!)

 Let me just say that none of the men in my family are perfect. But they are all humble and try to learn from their mistakes.

It is my personal belief that God can do absolutely anything with a humble heart!

How about you?

Agree?

Disagree?

Not sure?

How have you been affected by your family’s religious convictions?

Do you feel isolated from them because your convictions are vastly different? Do you feel connected to them because you have found truth in the traditions of your forefathers and foremothers?

Do you hate all-things-religious thanks to some bad experiences growing up?

Let me know!

In my opinion, everyone needs written directions. My aunt gave these to us.

And God gave the Bible to us, so that we might know where, how, why, and when to go… :)

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on the 7th, 6th, 5th, and 4th days of Christmas, I chilled out

It’s occurred to me that I’m not even doing this whole “days of Christmas” thing properly.  You’re supposed to start with the 1st and work your way up to the 12th, not start with the 12th and work your way down to the 1st.

Oh well.  You don’t care, right?

Today is just one of those days that I NEED to write/blog/reflect.

Did you know that I once referred toFlorida(where I’ve lived for the past 6 years of my life) as the armpit ofAmerica? 

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about where I am and why I’m here.

Why am I still in Florida? 

Why isn’t my life moving in a more forward direction?   (hint:  it’s my fault.)

What exactly am I supposed to be doing in my life right now? 

Why did I stay here again?

 Before, I always had “big important” reasons.

 First, it was finishing school. 

 Image credit:  https://fyc.usf.edu/FYCRubric/

And then, the reasons became more relational.

 I wanted to support a friend through a difficult time.

 I couldn’t leave my baby Christian sister to fend for herself.

 And now? 

 I’m not sure what my reason for staying here is.

 I know I don’t like change and that I don’t like to move.  (though I love travelling and coming home again.)

 

I still miss New Jersey, the northeast, my city kids, my home congregation, my family.

 A huge part of me wants to embrace my freedom, to try to make a new place my home, to feel that acute and desperate dependency on God that comes in that unique way when you start all over again in a new place.

 I look at my married friends and their new babies.

I long to be a mother, and yet I’m terrified of being a mother.  I wonder if I have what it takes…

Sometimes I feel like I long to be a mother more than I long to be married.  But of course I won’t do the former without the latter…

Sometimes life flies by so fast; it’s like a car speeding by, whooshing past you.

In the driver’s seat is someone you love who has just left you forever, and you realize with finality that it’s pretty much your fault.

The weird thing is that you don’t even realize he’s gone until you feel the aftermath of the speed. 

Specifically, you suddenly feel the chill in the air.  You feel the stillness. 

You’re only half-aware, as though you’re dreaming. 

You sense the slowing down of the spinning, spiraling, disturbed leaves as they fall slowly back onto the road.

And you wake up.   

Reality is a welcome change from dreamland. 

It’s vivid and real and piercing the senses. 

You can see, hear, touch, taste and smell again. 

You are in the now, and now is all that has ever mattered.

I spent the evening alone again last night, but I didn’t feel lonely.

I felt comfortable, cozy, open, and beautiful. 

I drove to Starbucks and splurged on the most delectable Peppermint Hot Chocolate I have ever had.   Not sure why it was the best one I’ve ever had, but I promise, it was…

Image credit:  http://26.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lv7zzgD2uC1r3yj5ro1_500.jpg

I rode around the local neighborhoods in the 60-degree air, admiring the Christmas lights and anticipating my trip toAtlantathis weekend, with all of my fears, anxieties, anticipations and excitements regarding yet another whirlwind trip up there.   

And I realized that I still don’t know much of anything.  I’ve forgotten so much of what I thought I’d figured out.  And I realized that it’s okay.  Because as long as I’ll admit that I don’t know, then that is as long as I’ll be open to learning.   

And it never ends…

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the 10th day of Christmas: toilet paper and forgiveness

Here are your fun facts for this lovely December Thursday morning:

-I ran out of toilet paper.  

I know, I know.  What’s the big deal, right?   

I can totally hear you judging me behind that white computer light.

“Leah, why not just swing by the 24 hour CVS right down the street from you and pick yourself up some more? 

“Leah, what is the big deal?”

“Leah, why are you blogging about your lack of toilet paper?”

“Leah, WHO STINKING CARES?!”

Well, I care that I ran out of toilet paper.  And I have not run down to my local CVS to grab some more for two reasons:

 1.I keep forgetting it whenever I’m in a store that carries toilet paper.

2. I HATE BUYING TOILET PAPER

 I don’t know.  Toilet paper is just one of those things that I like to buy IN BULK and not ever think about EVER.

 Also, I have roommates with separate bathrooms and separate toilet paper supplies, so I can always hit them up and pay them back when the time comes.  WHAT NOW?

I seriously found this picture this morning from our Halloween party where we had a mummy-wrapping contest.  I tell you it is MOCKING ME!

 

-   I balled my eyes out yesterday.  I haven’t cried that hard in I don’t know how long.  You know how like…you think you’re over something.  Like completely utterly totally over something.  And then something…triggers you.   

And you realize it’s still deep down inside you; just waiting to jump up and chomp all over your insides like a toothy little monster guy who leaves you all metaphorically bloody and stuff?

 It was one of those types of deals. 

I realized, that in spite of all the therapy and praying and pleading with myself, I still hadn’t truly forgiven whats-his-name.  (Whats-his-name is a step up from what I used to call him:  Butthead.)  Baby steps, people.  Baby steps.

 It’s so weird because as I kept trying to process through why I still have this hostility inside me, I realized that it never had as much to do with him as it did with me. 

He’s been over it for a good long while.  I did not mean the same things that he meant to me.  I have to accept that.

So, I wrote some stuff down.  For what feels like the millionth time.

And I decided to share it with my WordPress Readers on this 10th day of Christmas!

Aren’t you excited?

Now for some disclaimers. You might want to avoid reading this if you are:

  1. Opposed to emotional sap.  This is gooey, people.  Pure goo.
  2. Feeling emotionally vulnerable in any way
  3. Having strong feelings about this picture of chocolate covered strawberries that my roommate brought home from work.  My roommate works at Flowers to Eat.  They make all kinds of fruit/dessert/veggie arrangements and yes, a lot of them are romantic in nature.  If the following picture makes you go “Ick!” rather than “Yum!” or “Pretty!”  or “Awww!!” you may want to avoid reading the last bit of my blog.

4.      GOING TO GET MAD AT ME FOR NOT WARNING YOU!  See above…

 

Here it is:

“Seeing you, I feel so confused. 

I feel sad, because I know I made a lot of mistakes and held a grudge for entirely too long.   I feel angry at myself, because seeing you still hurts me somewhere deep inside, and I know that it really shouldn’t. 

I feel happy, because simply being with you makes me feel happy, in spite of all the pain and frustration that I experienced trying to figure things out back then. 

I feel frustrated, because I still don’t know how to define what we were, or to define what we are now. 

But I feel comforted; because I at least know that you were and are my brother in Christ.  And maybe we should just leave it at that…

You were everything I thought I wanted.  You were amazing, just like my Dad.  Superman.  Busy doing really good things.  A leader. 

You entered a room, or a project, or a relationship and magic simply happened. 

You looked into my eyes and I saw love there.  

You thought I was funny and interesting and surprising. 

You made me want to be a better person and I feel like I did become a better person when I was with you.

You showed me more attention than my Dad showed me in a lot of ways. 

You invited me everywhere and I saw you every single day. 

I don’t think I’ve ever spent every single day with a guy except you, as pathetic as that might be.

You never compared me with other girls my age or made me feel like I was overweight or unattractive or not good enough.  You made me feel special.

I know I made you feel insecure when I couldn’t respond to you, but I only couldn’t respond to you because I felt so insecure.

I will probably never know why you stopped studying the book of Romans with us, but I felt abandoned and hurt and lost and confused because you didn’t follow through with what you said you were going to do.

You were Superman to me.  You could have done so much less and still been Superman to me.  Sometimes I wish you had done less, and been more forgiving of yourself.

I understand now why you made the decision to leave *Houston,* but at the time, I felt like it was another way you were abandoning me. 

I now know that being angry at you for that was another way that I was pushing you away.

I felt angry because I feel like we came so close to loving each other, but you didn’t love me enough not to marry another woman.

I feel sad because I still wonder what the real truth is, even if it’s not appropriate to say, even if this whole thing was just a fabrication of my heart and mind because I was so SO, unbelievably desperate for some kind of love from you.

The whole thing shattered my faith because I wondered why God answered so many of my prayers about you, gave me so many beautiful, heart-wrenching moments with you, only to have it end the way it did.

I wanted to hold onto that grudge because I wanted someone to see that I’d been hurt, deep down, and I used you as the tool that hurt me. 

So I could say; “See?  This is why I hurt so bad and so deep inside.  We fell deeply in love and he left me.” 

I guess that kind of thing is easier for other people to relate to…it’s less complicated than the truth.

I’m so thankful that I loved and lost you. 

I’m thankful for everything you taught me, both when you were physically present in my life and when I diminished you down into a demonic obsession. 

I’m thankful for everything you taught me about God and love and life. 

I’m so thankful that I realized that you are not my life, and that I do not need a big strong man to show me how to live. 

All I need is God to show me how to live. 

He did and He is. 

Thank you for helping me to see Him more clearly.

I’m thankful that I can relate to the pain of others.  That I am not one of those people that married the first person they fell deeply in love with, and never knew and will never know lost love.

I’m thankful that I can finally say all of this to you now, and I just hope and pray that you understand.

You always were and you always will be my brother in Christ.

 I love you.”

I know.  Pure sap, right?  But it was mad crazy therapeutic.  Dare I say I am truly over it now?  I dare say it.  Everything in its time, you know.

I’m free!  :)

My roommates would probably murder in my sleep if they knew I posted this picture.  But I love it.  Mostly because I’m winking.  Winking is so shady.   And therefore, one of my most favorite things to do EVER.

So, tell me bloggers:

 -What is YOUR toilet paper?  What do you hate to buy?

-Did you ever have to write a never-to-be-sent letter to the person who broke your heart?

-What do you think of when you see chocolate covered strawberries?  Yum?  Pretty?  Awww?  A different reaction?

Let me know!  :)

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on the 11th day of Christmas…

…I realized how arrogant and self-absorbed I’ve been.

I WAS WRONG, OKAY?!

Things that I want to say, after reading my post and feeling kind of embarassed about it:

1.  I’m still not a huge fan of Christmas after all that I said in my previous post.  That being said, it’s not going away anytime soon. 

I’ve decided that I am no longer going to throw pity parties for myself because :

a.  I can’t be with family.   I get (and I’ve gotten) to spend long weekends with my family at least.  And that is something!  I’m thankful I even have a family even with all of our problems.  (Because you know, most families are problem-less.  OH WAIT!)

How do you handle family issues during the holidays?  Who do you adopt or adopts you as family during these times?

b. Guys with girlfriends like to hang out with me and try stuff and say stuff while their girlfriends are out of town for Christmas.   Yes, it is still true, it did happen in the past.  But it’s in the past.  It has yet to happen this year!  (Score!)  I need to stop being so sensitive…

Has anyone else experienced this?  They say Christmas is a prime time for break ups…

All the other stuff I said about materialism, weigth gain, how long it lasts, and the misconceptions about Jesus’ birthdate and how He wants us to remember Him…well, I stand by all that.

Can I get an “amen?”

If I’m going to be brutally honest, one reason why I get frustrated with Christmas is because I know, deep down, that I haven’t been as giving as I wish I had been or could be. 

Come on, Honest Abes…anyone else feel like they get super selfish during the holidays?

When I “grow up,” and have my own kids, I do want to celebrate it.   But I want the focus to be on serving other people and their basic needs.   I want Christmas in my family to be primarily (not secondarily!) about visiting people in Nursing Homes, serving in soup kitchens, having people with no family over to sing hymns (rather than Christmas carols!  Amazing grace is much more encouraging than Jingle Bells, trust me), and just making other people feel less lonely during the holidays. 

Not only because I have felt lonely during many of the holidays, but because other people have felt lonely as well, and will continue to feel lonely. 

I want to stir those lonely folk up to love and good works and to see that believe it or not, Christmas can be a good, warm, wonderful time.  Even with family drama or loneliness or money troubles.

Even if you’re away from family, kinda broke, and kind of heart-broken, remember that we are ALL broken.  But getting busy doing good, wholesome, giving things, and getting outside of ourselves is what fixes us.

Do you guys have any Christmas traditions specifically geered towards serving others?  What do you do? 

One family I know takes their child shopping to specifically pick out a toy for another child for a toy drive.

One single woman in her forties has literally adopted nephews and college graduates and lets them celebrate the holidays with her.

What do you guys like to do to give, other than buying presents for other people?

I’ve been having trouble eating and sleeping lately.  

Some friends and I went to St. Augustine a couple of weekends ago. 

 Has anyone been there during the Holiday season?  What’s your favorite things to do?  Personally?  I love the decorations and the people in costumes!

Towards the end of the day in St. Augustine,  I was exhausted and hungry.

We stopped by the beach before dinner.

The air was perfect, the waves were huge, and I felt soothed by God Himself.

My friends were ready to go, as it was far past time to eat dinner.

All I could think was “this is my food.”

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Ex-almost-boyfriends, September 11th , God-dreams, and sudden deaths

I recently had this inexplicable desire to Google this guy who I loved and who loved me back in high school. 

Image credit:  http://www.gev.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Google-search-home.png

We never dated because I was this terrified, insecure little 16-year-old-girl, who had a beautiful, dangerous, 6 foot 2, 200lbs of muscle-16-year-old boy actually paying attention to someone who otherwise felt invisible.

Anyway, when I googled him, I found all these articles about his 29-year-old older brother who was killed in a hit-and-run.

I contacted him via Facebook five months (read that) FIVE MONTHS after the fact, just letting him know that I had just now found out, that I was so sorry, etc.

He wrote me back expressing gratitude and told me that it meant a lot.

I wrote back letting him know how proud I was of him and everything he was doing in his life.  (I really, truly am proud of him.  He has come such a long way as far as going back to school, being honest with me, etc.) 

I got all philosophical on him, talking about how it doesn’t really matter what you do in life so long as you have people to love, something to do, and something to hope for.  I then left him with Romans 5:5 “and hope does not disappoint.”

I didn’t hear back from him, but that was okay.

Well, flash forward to Sunday, September 11, 2011.

I’d been feeling the need “to check up on him” just to see how he was doing and saw that he had left all these specific memories of September 11, 2001 on his facebook, asking others to do the same.

I started feeling so guilty.  I can’t remember the name of the girl who walked into Spanish class and told us to turn on the TV because a plane had just crashed into the world trade center.  (To be fair, she was really quiet.)

I couldn’t remember Josh’s last name, who offered to let me use his cell phone.  I couldn’t remember Diana’s last name, and we held each other and worried about our parents and prayed together that day.

I kind of hated high school, and I truly wanted to forget most of it.  I felt like I had so little control of my life back then, anyway.

I was so tired Sunday night.  I had just found out on Saturday that a friend of mine that I hadn’t seen in a year was struck and killed by lightening…one day after his 21st birthday. 

I loved that kid.  I could talk to him, excitedly, about God.  He was always smiling, hugging, and listening.  I remember thinking I would date him if he weren’t five years younger…

I felt all this guilt about not spending more time with him, not getting to say goodbye, not even remembering what our last conversation was.  He was just a good kid that you were so glad was just…there.

Fueled by all these emotions (Sept. 11, feeling connected by losing people we love) I ended up sending Mr. Intimating High School Guy this long drawn out note about my thoughts and feelings about September 11, 2001. (Last names not included, making me feel so guilty.)

Including, but not limited to, seeing him in the hallway, feeling scared and just wanting him to hold me.  We had stopped talking by the time Sept. 11th rolled around.  (and yes, I told him that I just wanted him to hold me that day.  It’s true…)

But why did I have to bring it up now? 

For the longest time, I felt like he hated me.  I saw him two years after high school and I felt like he hated me then.  I tried to apologize then, explain things, but it was like he didn’t want to hear it.

I was practically drunk Sunday night.  Completely vulnerable.  I might have used the phrase “I feel like crap” in my message to him, and I NEVER use phrases like “I feel like crap.”

I left him my phone number.  Told him I was open to talking.

What was I thinking?! 

The poor kid is still grieving for his older brother.  I didn’t lose an older brother!  I lost a friend that I hadn’t even talked to in a year!

I pretty much didn’t sleep at all Sunday night. 

Needless to say, yesterday I was pretty tired.

I was not going to do that thing where I come home from work and nap for three hours and then stay awake all night.   I was not going to do it and so I didn’t.

Instead, I watched the movie “Inception” and went to bed at 9:45 before it was over.

I woke up at 4am from a dream where I was reaching my hands up to the heavens and God bent down with His hands and took my hands into His and held them there.

That was a dream within a dream.

When I woke up from that dream into my second layer dream, my mom was holding me. 

And then, I really woke up and I lied in bed and prayed for an hour.

Here are some questions for all my lurkers out there.  (few and precious as you are…)

 If you’re a guy, what would you think of someone from your past contacting you the way I contacted my high school could-have-been-boyfriend?

Would you be offended?

Disgusted?

Sick of me?

Or…surprised?

Sympathetic?

Shaking your head at my random, ill-timed, outbursts of love and pleas for emotional bonding?

Oh…I am such a mess.

Posted in 16 year old girl, expressing gratitude., Going back to school, september 11 2001, spanish class | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment