This is a place of ME. This is a place where I will let the walls down and be honest. Joys and stories or tears and heartbreaks, they will all be here. Devotionals to poems, my heart is open to you. I will love well. I will love you and honer you by allowing you into my brokenness and the truth that God has reviled to me. This is a place of Me. Continue if you dare ;)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Truly Different

It's been a while so I thought I'd just look at my life for a second and process a few things that have been running through my mind as of late. My goal in life has been to be different, to be a light in darkness, to see life and people through God's eyes. While it has been hard to keep sight of these goals at times it has been the center of my life as long as I can remember. As a kid that meant things like wearing punk or emo clothes... with a big smile. Or being friends with the person everyone thought was weird. Or coloring my hair, getting piercings and tattoos, at the same time as serving in my Church's sunday school. I was the sports girl at school, and the nerd at the gym, I tried everything, so as not to get the one "label" placed on me like everyone else had. These were great things as a teenager, even a young adult. But what now? I'm a grown up. Even sitting here at work on haloween dressed up like Rainbow Bright (if you haven't read the childeren's book...well you need to), I feel torn between kid and adult. I'm getting married in May, to a wonderful man who has vowed that we will never truly get old, "when we're 90 we'll still just be big wrinkly kids". I love this. God talks about the understanding of a child, it's the simple little things that God wants us to see that can make the biggest difference in life. On the flip side, with age and maturity comes a deeper understanding in so many things. Learning to live alone, in my own space has been hard to get used to. 7 people, 3 home jobs, and homeschooling all in a 4 bedroom house, to just me in about half that space... yeah weird. But God has been using the opportunity to show me who he made me on a much deeper level. Beyond the purple hair and tattoos, he created me to be a light in much darkness... In this world and beyond things seen and understood. I always thought I had a decent confidence level, living alone however it is really easy to get down on myself when there is no one there to telling me I look good every morning, like my little brother Sam always did. Or to tell me that I am precious as I walk out the door like my Mom always did. The approving smiles of my Dad, the hugs and jokes from my brothers, these are all the things I was holding onto to get through the day and giving me the truth that I am loved. Without that? I feel worthless. God has been showing me that I am valued, loved, cherished, and even delighted in by HIM...And that is enough. Finding my value and joy in HIM and not because someone else is telling me I'm doing good is so overwhelming. It blows me away. He has always felt that way about me, I see that now, but this is the first time he is telling me through only Him and His Word, not using a person as his mouth piece. Now I am starting to listen. I will soon be a wife and sometime after that, a mother. I stopped typing here because I'm not sure what to say, I don't know what it will be like. I do know that again my life will change drastically. With all my heart I want to be a wife who loves my husband without asking for anything in return, who always has the right thing to say, who supports without question, and who turns to God in all things. Ha. I've already failed more than once at all these things and I'm not even married yet! But I guess that's where God and his grace, and David and his understanding come in. As a mom I KNOW I'll mess up. No matter how hard I try things will go wrong, I will be selfish, I will loose my temper, I will give bad advice... This kills me. How can God use someone as a light who is so flawed in the most important areas of life? I'm in a big girl school and at a big girl job. You can't just speak your mind and your faith everywhere or people will get turned off and God can't use you as effectively. So I let people know where I stand and who I am and what I believe and then let my life prove it.... However, my life is only human and isn't always the light that I feel it should be. Being a light as an adult is much more complicated than it used to be. I've always wanted to be different and stand out so that I could show the love of Christ, some how I've always known how to do that. Now I feel completely lost. I sometimes wish I could be "normal" and fit in and go through the motions of work, school, engagement, marriage, parenting, and everything else just like everyone else does. Then I stop to think... that would be awful! I am the only me, this is my only life on this earth, there are things only I can contribute, and I don't want to waste that. SO! Here's the plan! I will be different and see people how God sees them, and be a light in darkness, and love with a passion only God can give.... God show me how to do this in my grown up life! I have no freakn idea!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Wounded

Well since no one reads this any more I fee like I can be totally honest. I'm falling apart. I don't know what to do. I'm going through life more and more alone every day. I'm just trying to hold everyone together. Best friend is getting married, there is always drama that comes with a wedding. My other best friend I'm pretty sure just hates me and I don't know how to even start repairing our friendship. My mom was in two accidents in the past six months and is far from herself. I just got engaged and my family has no money, but everyone is planning a big wedding anyways. I never see my Fiancee except when he comes home from work just long enough to kiss me before he crashes. I feel so so far away from God and I feel guily every time I talk to him and I know that feeling is not from him but from the Devil but I'm not strong enough to fight it alone, and everyone else is to busy to help. I'm just so alone and breaking.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Dance

Tonight I danced with God,
The rain spraying my face.
I whisper into the night,
"I love you God".

The wind spinning around me rushes,
Hugging me close.
I all but hear the words,
"I. Love. You."

Love pulses through my veins,
Reaching every part of my bean.
A love so pure,
Untainted by the sin of this world.

So vast,
I know it will never leave me.
A love so real,
Doubt doesn't stand a chance.

I reach my arms to the heavens,
And twirl.
I am a little girl again,
Spinning for the world.

Showing off the beauty,
You created me to be.
Pure and real,
I am what I am.

Setting free the strength and joy,
You in-beaded in me.
Fully expecting your delight,
Your pride in me.

The scent of the sweet bosoms,
From the strong tree.
They float on the wind,
engulfing me in your pleasure.

So full of love and delight,
I sigh a "Thank You".
I turn and go inside,
Whole and beautiful once more.

.........

A disease slowly,
Seeping through my veins.
Shredding it's cold,
Deadly poison.

Replacing any warmth,
With frigid toxins.
Fingers of ice,
Finally closing around my heart.

Every touch of warmth,
Finds me retreating.
Hiding safely,
Behind the wall of ice.

Soon the ice melts,
Leaving me with nothing.
No cold,
No warmth.

I am a walking corps,
Empty.
Words and feelings echo,
In the hallow thing they call my body.

It so cruelly,
Keeps me alive.
Walking blindly in life,
As though I'm dead.

I am a...
Cold,
Hallow,
Empty,
Corpse.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Dream Big or Go Home! (Essay on Seth)

Seth first stepped on the hockey rink at the age of nine. Later, he told me he was, "fully dressed and ready for practice, except for my skates. Mom and Dad had to tie those." He grew up playing every sport he could get his hands, foot, bat, stick, or glove on. It wasn't until he found the fast paced, physical, and challenging sport of hockey that he fell in love. When a friend's dad signed up to coach his son in hockey, Seth thought he'd tag along. Little did we know that the small boy with a crooked-smile who kicked around a ball would become the devoted, competitive, determined hockey player and man he is today.
Seth is my big-little brother; though I am older, he towers over me. At eighteen, Seth has played hockey nearly half his life, and we have watched his love and passion for the sport only grow stronger. Currently, he is the assistant captain on the AAA hockey team in Utah, which is quite a feat for anyone in this highly competitive sport. However, Seth has had some extra challenges along the way that made his success more difficult to achieve.
"Money issues have been and are the most frequent challenges I’ve had to overcome," Seth revealed. In 2010, the average family of four had an income of $81,354 (The United States Department of Justice), while our family of six had an income of $19,532. This financial issue has resurfaced time and time again in not only every day life, but on the rink as well. Seth was around eleven, and he sat in the locker room upset because he broke his hockey stick in a game. A teammate asked him what the big deal was. Why didn't his mom just buy him a new one? Seth explained that he had to buy most of his gear himself. His teammate shrugged, said that sucked, and walked off. Hockey is a very expensive sport. A decent hockey stick runs around $150 -- that's just decent and not even a good one. And a hockey stick is one of the cheaper pieces of equipment.
In his early years, Seth spent many weekends fundraising; he constantly fought financially to stay on the ice, but he never gave up. When he was old enough to work, it was nearly impossible to find a job that would allow for school and his demanding hockey schedule. Our family made many sacrifices to keep his dream alive. It wasn't always easy, and Seth felt very guilty about using family money. "The money has been the hardest. Hockey is a very expensive sport. Luckily, I have a great family who has helped me through it and always found a way for me to play." Somehow we were always able to figure it out, whether it meant going without something, or someone outside of our family saw the need and wrote a check. One time, his skates were two sizes too small. When my parents found out, they were upset because they had no money to replace them. A woman Seth didn't even know felt God told her to buy Seth new skates. Things like this happened more than once. It's amazing all the ways God has provided to keep Seth on the ice.
After years of struggling financially, the biggest hurdle was yet to come. At the age of 17, Seth faced an even bigger challenge than money. "I had two fairly serious hip surgeries that kept me out for a whole season with ten months of physical therapy." This meant no hockey his senior year in highschool, the best time to be scouted for higher level play. In his junior year, he had not progressed as far as everyone expected. Coaches said his stick handling and ability to see the plays on the whole rink were amazing, but something about his skating didn't match up.
After years of being told he needed to kick his skating up a notch, he found out why he never was able to skate as well as people thought he should. His hips were misshapen. His junior year, he had gone through months of physical therapy for what we thought was a pulled groin, but when it wasn't improving he was referred to a sport medicine specialist. This therapist wondered if he had hip impingements, a rare problem she'd recently learned about. She sent him to Dr. White, a specialist in hips, to get his opinion.
Once the x-rays were taken, the worst was confirmed, and he needed surgery. The bone in the socket that is supposed to be round had a large bump on it, not only on one hip, but both. This restricted his range of movement and control of his legs, as well as destroyed the cartilage and ripped the tissue around the socket. Dr. White told him that without the surgery, he would need hip replacements by the age of 25. He wouldn't be able to play with his kids or run, much less play hockey, without repair.
This was some of the worst news a serious athlete could get. "I was shocked, devastated, scared, and frustrated." His emotions were deeply shared by the family and everyone else who had watched him struggle and grow though the years. It was heartbreaking. The news came mid-March, and they pushed to get the first surgery done the beginning of April. Dr. White was one of few surgeons in the world who knew how to do the procedure Seth needed. It was not going to be cheap. My mom asked if insurance would cover it. Dr. White responded that it wouldn't because the procedure was too new, but he was touched by Seth's story and was not going to charge us. Dr. White assembled a whole team willing to donate time to help this young man continue in his dream. My parents never received a single bill.
Once again, Seth was given a miracle. He went through the two grueling surgeries only two months apart. Following were weeks of constant icing, motion machines, pain killers, and sleepless nights for the whole house. Seth doesn't sit well for ten minutes without moving, much less for the ten months he spent in physical therapy, unable to run or skate. The hours he spent in physical therapy were his life-line.The physical therapist knew our story and told us to pay what we could when we could. At the end of the 10 months we ended up paying about 1/3 of what they would normally charge. Everyone involved has such a huge heart, I pray that they know how much God has used them in not only our lives, but the many others they they come in contact with every day.
After surgery, he was crushed when he couldn't make his old team, but he didn't let that stop him. He found a team in Utah that wanted him and moved out there for the season. Money was again a barrier, but friends and family pulled together a huge garage sale and sent him on his way.
The hockey season ends next month, and Seth will return from Utah. He called today so he and my dad could research places to try-out for a junior team in order to keep pursuing his dream. Facing challenges at every turn, Seth continues to persevere and never let fear, questions, or struggles out of his control get the best of him and shut out his dream. If there's one thing the world can learn from my little brother, it's to follow your dreams and never give up.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I Found My Voice (personal essay)

For my tenth birthday my aunt and uncle gave me a short children's book called, You Are Special. The book is set in a village made up of little wooden puppets called, Wemicks. The puppets run around all day trying to impress each other with how talented, beautiful, or smart they are. Each one has a box of star stickers to stick on other Wemicks when what they see pleases them, and a box of dot stickers to give to others when they fail. How many stars or dots a puppet has determine how popular they are.
In the story we first meet a small, not-so-handsome, clumsy, tongue tied, puppet named, Punchinello. He has been given many dots by the puppets around him. Eventually he meets the woodcarver. My favorite part of the book is when the woodcarver puts his hands on Punchinello's shoulders and says, "You are special because I made you, and I don't make mistakes."
Looking back over my life these words had an amazing impact. When my aunt and uncle gave me this book for my tenth birthday, they read it to me and told me, “You are special.” The book was put on my shelf and forgotten, but those three words stuck with me. Years later I was talking with some of my Mom's friends when something one of the ladies said reminded me of the book. Suddenly I had an idea. It was to take the You Are Special book and two teen novels and put them together as an interpretive speech. In an interpretive speech you use literature to tell a story and make a point.
I was a junior at the time and homeschooled. Contrary to popular belief, homeschooling did not protect me from all of the scary things in high school. In my junior year there were a couple of epidemics spreading though our homeschool group. I use the word epidemic because it's the only word that brings to mind all the emotions and thoughts felt not only by those struggling, but by anyone watching the situation unfold. Heart Breaking. Delusional. Horrible. Pain. Loss. Void. Confusion. Panic. Disorder. Dead. Just like an epidemic, it spread like wild fire.
By the time I was a senior, I had twenty-three friends in my circle who were dealing with some form of self harm, and eighteen friends who had a form of eating disorders. Given the unique education circumstances we were in, we all grew up to be very close, more like family than friends. I remember nights when I was up at all hours, instant messaging three or four people and texting another few, trying to help process their troubling emotions. They all had different reasons for harming and depriving themselves. Some did it because of family issues, some because of relationships, some from stress of school or jobs, some for attention, and some merely because everyone else was doing it. Yet, ALL suffered from the lack of feeling special or valued by those around them. I had to show them the truth, and I prayed my speech would open their eyes.
I remember one of the first times I gave my speech in competition. It was through the NCFCA, a national league where homeschoolers competed in forensics. It wasn't only an opportunity to grow our communication skills, but to hang out with friends and travel. I stood looking at my judges and a room full of my friends. I knew this would hit home with nearly all of them. I took a deep breath.
“God, for your glory. Please give me your strength and open their hearts.”
I looked up and began pouring all my emotions and prayers for understanding into the stories for the next ten minutes. As I finished, tears streaked the faces of not only one of my judges, but nearly everyone else in the room. My job was done. They had heard me.
After walking out of the room two of my best friends and my mom came and hugged me. There we stood in the middle of the hallway crying in a group hug. The girls had both struggled with cutting themselves, and my mom had been watching everything going on. The girls looked at me and simply said two words, “thank you.”
I continued to give my speech in many competitions and some community settings, each time feeling more and more sure that it was what God put me here to do. Even though many times I was shot down by judges, parents, and strangers, I knew I did what I had to do. Nearly every criticism came from a place of fear. They feared imperfection. They feared someone on the outside would see past the masks they put on to the broken pieces beneath. The most resistance I felt was from the parents of my friends dealing with the issues. Instead of figuring out how to help their kids, they thought it best to keep it hidden because of what people might think. The more resistance I felt, the more determined I became.
I qualified with my speech to the national NCFCA tournament in North Carolina at the end of my senior year. I spent almost all my graduation money to drive myself and mom out there for the week. Imagine how I felt when judges told me I was talking about issues that were “too personal,” and that I should "not bring God into such things.” When I read these comments on my ballots I wanted to scream to the world, “THIS IS WHERE GOD IS! HE IS WITH THE BROKEN. CAN'T YOU SEE? WE ARE ALL BROKEN AND WE ARE SPECIAL TO HIM!” However, I don't think the whole world would have heard me.
I spent the three-day drive home upset and feeling like a failure. I slept more than I drove (as my Mom often reminds me). I didn't understand how people could feel that way. My mom cheered me up as best as she could.One of the best memories I have is having wine coolers in the hotel hot tub one night and just letting it all go.
The next day the drive was finally over, and I was home. That's when it happened. Texts and Facebook messages came flooding in. People who needed help, friends of those hurting themselves, and even a few parents at a loss for what to do with their kids, contacted me after seeing my speech. I knew I wasn't a counselor, psychologist, or even an adult for that matter, but I was able to turn them to helpful resources and give encouragement. In every instance I reminded those writing that the most important thing for someone to hear is that they are special, not because of actions, accomplishments, or what anyone said about them, but because God made them, and He doesn't make mistakes. I told parents and friend to remind those hurting that they were loved no matter what. It's a wonder what those two thoughts can do for a person's self worth.
This experience shaped a very large part of the person I am today. I now know I can stand up and talk about tough issues that most people want to push under the rug and keep quiet. I know that each person is special, no matter what they wear, believe, say, or do. I know I am created by God, and he loves me not for all the things I do or don't do, but because He made me, and he knows my heart. I know that I want to help and encourage people. In whatever I do, I want everyone around me to feel loved, accepted, and safe.
I may not have come away with a trophy or a title, but I walked away from high school knowing I made a difference. God used me, and I am special no matter what messes I get myself into. I learned that the dots and the stars from people don't matter and don't get to stick to me, because the only opinion at the end of the day that truly matters, is that of my Creator.
At the end of You Are Special, the not so popular puppet, Punchinello, has met the woodcarver and talked with him. He is walking out the door of the shop when the woodcarver calls to him.
"'You are special because I made you, And I don't make mistakes.'
Punchinello didn't stop, but in his heart he thought, I think he really means it.
And when he did, a dot fell to the ground."