Two Types of People I Love

I have a tendency to overcommit myself as I am someone who struggles with the word “no.” Guilt has a tendency to answer for me when people ask for favors. I love to volunteer and even more so, I love people; however, I recognize that too much can equal overwhelming feelings.

The idea of overcommitting stemmed from my exhausting (and extremely rewarding) week of volunteering at two major events. Over the course of this week, or more so the past three days, I have learned several things about myself.

The first is that I love people, but I also need time to recharge. I hosted my graduation open house on Sunday where I had the amazing opportunity to speak with many of my friends and family in the celebration of my graduation. While it was an incredible experience, I felt like I had been hit by a bus by the end of the party. I recognized pretty quickly at VBS the next night that I was not capable of serving in my fullest capacity if I did not allow myself some time to recharge with some quality time with myself as well as God.

The second thing I learned about myself this week is that I love both kids and special needs. They both can make you smile even when you are facing the toughest of circumstances. The pure joy and confidence that oozes from a student with a disability is simply remarkable. I enter into time with them thinking I will be able to help them and teach them. Ironically, they end up teaching me significantly more. Kids have a purity to them that I am jealous of. Most of them haven’t been completely tainted by the world yet. Their lack of a filter when sharing the way they see something or someone is humorous on a high level.

The third thing I learned about myself throughout the week is that I know God led me to the right decision in choosing a major for my future career. I learned that I love people, yes, but I have two favorite types of people: people with disabilities and kids. God led me on a path to study elementary education and special education. It is easy to question all the decisions you made that will impact your future over the course of the summer before starting college, especially when you see the dollar amount of debt you will soon drown in. The week of VBS and Project Reach made me realize that I should not question my calling. The Lord has placed me where he wants me, and everything else will eventually fall into place.

Busy weeks can be the most stressful; however, they are definitely the most rewarding. I am thankful for the opportunities I have been given this summer. The point I am at in life is interesting because I learn more and more about myself everyday. I recognize that lately, life has just been a journey to discover who I am as a daughter in Christ.

True Meaning of Memorial Day

The meaning behind Memorial Day is concealed by a race and a day off of school and work. When one pulls off the cover that consists of cars speeding around a track and cookouts, one can see the decorated graves of loved ones lost in order for people to have freedom. Bruce Lambert wrote an article for the New York Times titled “Recalling the Meaning Behind Memorial Day.” He includes in his article, “ In 1868, Maj. Gen. John A. Logan ordered that: ‘The 30th day of May is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land’” (Lambert). Memorial Day is in memory of the men and women who raced for their life on the battlefield so that Americans would have the freedom to watch cars race around a track.

Memorial Day is about the father, husband, son, brother, mother, daughter, wife, or friend that lost their life in the line of duty. War is not a video game that is played on a television screen nor is it a dramatic addition to make a movie or book action-packed. It is a reality in which millions of families face the day they look into their loved ones’ eyes to say goodbye—not knowing whether it could be the last time. War is a nightmare made into a reality into which men and women alike volunteer themselves in order to gain confidence that their American people are eligible to maintain their freedom. America would not be America without the soldiers that put their country before their own lives.

Memorial Day is a day to honor the men and women who kissed their loved ones goodbye before they left for war and never returned. The U. S. Department of Veteran Affairs explains further on their website The National Moment of Remembrance under “Memorial Day History.” The article states, “The National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation” (“Office”). Although it is a significant day to recognize the fallen, it is important to remember them daily. Each soldier has an impact and a relevance to each American’s daily life. The families of a fallen soldier—it is your honor to be related to such a hero.

This day should not only be a day to remember the fallen heroes, but also to inspire Americans to live a life, embracing the gift of freedom. Wallace Bruce, a poet, once said in his poem “Memorial-Day,” “Who kept the faith and fought the fight; The glory theirs, the duty ours.” It is the American public’s duty to rise above the hatred that has consumed this country and join together, because regardless of race, gender, or religion, we are all American. Thank you to the fallen soldiers who have fought for the right to claim that title—American.

Selfless to Avoid Being Selfish

Most of my posts have been pertaining to graduation and senior year recently. It is most likely because I am chomping at the bit to graduate as it is happening in just two short weeks. I was reflecting over all the accomplishments I had achieved over my high school career when I realized something.

Those achievements mean nothing if you do not have people surrounding you to support you and cheer you on. Supporting one another and being genuinely happy for the accomplishments in which they achieve is what is beautiful about the situation. Unfortunately that does not occur very often. Instead, people become jealous.

I have been reading more the past couple weeks that I have in awhile. I have been hooked on poetry; I went to the bookstore and picked up the book “Milk and Honey” by Rupi Kaur. It is raw with emotion. It was not what I was expecting but it was brilliant. There was one page of her poetry that caught my eye towards the end.

“What terrifies me most is how we / foam at the mouth with envy / when other succeed / but sigh in relief / when they are failing / our struggle to / celebrate each other is / what’s proven most difficult / in being human” (Kaur).

I sat and stewed on that concept the words revealed. I realized that that is miraculously true. I was saddened by the reality that often times it is more accurate than someone being genuinely happy for a success of another human. I can even be honest in saying that I am a culprit of this on occasions.

I think that as I enter into a time of award ceremonies, graduation, and open houses, I want to celebrate people with my full heart. Like I mentioned earlier, the achievement mean so much more when there is a crowd of people beside you cheering you on along the way. I cannot even imagine what it would feel like to have a crowd of people cheering you along who are just as excited for you as if they themselves have achieved it.

My challenge for not only myself but also others is to appreciate the achievements of others–be proud of them like you are proud of yourself when you overcome an obstacle.

Be selfless in order to not be selfish.

The Importance of Laughter

When I laugh, I cry. I don’t mean a tear falls. I mean if I am laughing hard enough, tears pour down the side of my face like a waterfall. If you know I am taking a drink of something, DO NOT make me laugh. I am, like everyone, fortunate to have a couple weird quirks. One of mine just happens to be that for as long as I can remember, when I laugh with a drink in my mouth, it shoots our my nose. For the longest time, I was extremely embarrassed by it.

After awhile I realized a couple of different things. My embarrassment was holding me back and I was more stressed than a person should be. Laughter releases my stress like any prescribed medicine for a doctor. I decided it was time to embrace my quirk. Besides, I could just laugh with people rather than them laughing at me.

Since embracing my quirk, I realized a couple more things. I am happier. I laugh at the drop of a penny as I think just about anything is funny. I will sit at home and watch funny videos on youtube or look up corny jokes. I interact with my friends and family in such a way that laughing is a priority in our conversation at some point. Another concept I noticed is that I am less stressed. When I laugh, I completely forget about the reason behind my stress. When I do remember, I am lighthearted so it doesn’t seem as stressful anymore.

I think what I am attempting to say is amidst any stressful time (like graduation), laugh. Laugh even if you pee your pants, snot comes out, tears roll down your face, or you snort. Laugh because not only does it make you feel better, it makes others feel better too.

Bucket List of Things To Do Before I Start College

In no particular order, this is a list of things I want to do before I start college in the fall. The list could be edited over time.

  1. Write a letter to my all the people that made me the person I am walking into college.
  2. Eat at the local ice cream place Mrs. Curls as many times as my lactose intolerant body can handle
  3. Go on four dates with my little brother because when I come back from college he will officially be a teenager, which could me his interest in his sister could be lacking.
  4. Spend that night at my grandma’s a handful of times to embrace the childhood I am transitioning out of.
  5. Write. I don’t care what or how much but I have to continue writing this summer.
  6. Read. I hope to read at least five books of all genres. If I can partake in reading more then rock on.
  7. Be intentional in my time with the Lord. Spend one hour a day and maybe even more in intense study.
  8. Travel to Los Angeles with my best friend… I am still mind blown that that is actually happening.
  9. Ride a two seater bike downtown.
  10. Go to the IMA.
  11. Explore two bookstores that are different from the two I regularly visit.
  12. Find 5 coffee shops that are different than the local Starbucks that receives the majority of my paycheck every week.
  13. Go to Kings Island and ride roller coasters with my hands straight up in the air.
  14. Paint. Paint at least 4 painting as I never have time during the school year but I love it.
  15. Meet one new person and do something with them.
  16. Eat at 3 new restaurants I have never been to.
  17. Cook 10 new recipes.
  18. Go to Chicago (This is me dreaming.)
  19. Write at least one new spoken word and memorize it.
  20. Get into as many intriguing and deep conversations with people as much as I possibly can.

This is just the start of a list. I may be dreaming in some aspects of them but in my opinion, you have to dream in a world as dark as this one.

I am no the only one who has thought to make a list. Huffington Post released a list as well, although their list also includes the not so fun steps that should be done now that you are officially entering into adulthood. The link is below.

List to Do in the Summer

Calm Down~ It’s Just Graduation

Dear parents of a graduating senior,

Your child is not dying. You do not have to grieve your child as so many of you seem to do because news flash, we will be back every summer. I am not attempting to be rude but rather realistic with maybe a hint of sarcasm. It is ironic because most people I come into contact with would never catch me as someone that is sarcastic. If you spend enough time with me, you will see the sarcasm seep through the wall I built up around myself.

Anyway, back to the point of this blog. Parents, it is okay to be sad but please do not drown your child in your own tears. I recognize this is a tough transition for you as your baby is growing up but I also need you to recognize something for your senior’s sake. It is about a million times scarier for the seniors themselves.

As a senior weeks away from graduation, I am giving you advice for no other reason than to support your senior. I am not one that enjoys showing my emotion in front of others so the idea of participating in a senior walk where I say good bye to teachers that have sculpted me into the person I am, walking across a stage at graduation in front of thousands, and transitioning into a completely new world is exciting yet completely and utterly terrifying.

With all of this being said, parents, please be the rock that your senior can lean on. Please be smiling and cracking jokes because amidst this time of all things new and the intensity of all this change, they need you. I know the common theme of graduation means that you don’t need your parents anymore. Quite frankly, that is probably why you are so emotional during this time; don’t be. You do not have to be sad and I have one heck of a reason to justify that statement.

Your seniors need you now more than ever before.

Sincerely,

a terrified, excited senior

Senior Talk: Who is the One in Front of You?

I sat admiring the way the seniors talked about what they had learned during a year full of decisions that would impact the rest of their life. Contemplating what I would talk about during my senior talk, I chuckled to myself because that was a long ways away.

I blinked.

I sat preparing for my senior talk as it was only hours away. I could not believe that it was my time. Butterflies fluttered around my stomach like they owned the place. I have so many things I have learned that I could not even fathom choosing one to talk about. The idea of going up in front and speaking was also slightly intimidating but necessary.

I searched my heart and listened for the Lord’s guidance. Immediately, I heard my prior youth pastor’s voice from a sermon he introduced that led to a large portion of my story.

“Who is the one in front of you?”

The question struck me as I had never been someone who went out to share my faith with other intentionally. The concept led me to a girl that I had had conflict in the past with. Over a span of four months I was able to share Jesus with her and later lead her in a prayer to accept Christ as well as baptize her with her mom. Two years later she passed away; God knew what he was doing when he called me to her.

I knew immediately that that was what I was going to talk to the underclassmen about. It was not only going to be about the one in front of you and the importance of sharing but the importance of being rooted. I proceeded to make a list.

One, you must be in the Word. Within the word there is so much truth. It is the flashlight that God gifted us with in order to guide us through the darkness of this world.

Two, you must trust the Lord. That is so much easier said than done. Spending time in the Word and prayer goes hand in hand in with trusting the Lord. One would not go up to a random stranger to tell them about a struggle they are going through, one would go to someone they know well or rather someone that they trust. That is why the first point I make is so crucial. The more time with the Lord you spend the more you know and trust in Him.

Third, community is crucial. It is imperative that one has a community around them to hold them accountable. Someone who is entering into a surrounding where there nonbelievers make up the majority needs someone to hold them accountable more than ever. It is much easier for someone who does not believe to pull someone who believes down rather than than the other way around.

Those three things have moved from a stereotypical sermon preached by a pastor about being a “good” christian to a guideline to how I want to live my life. Those points are so much more than a guide to be a good christian. They are steps to grow and maintain a beautiful relationship with the Father.

I ended my senior talk to the other high school students with an analogy because analogies are what got me my decent grades and understanding of the bible.

Think of yourself as a tree. You put different people who are the one in front of you on your branches. If you are rooted in christ, you are going to be able to support the people on your branches as well as yourself. If you are not, the tree will not be able to handle all of the people placed on your branches; eventually, the tree will fall over.

As senior year comes to a close and I finish the list of “lasts,” I prepare for the list of “firsts.” I am unsure of a lot of what that lists entails, but I am sure of one thing in my future. I look forward to falling madly in love with my Savior each day more and more.

A Date to Dread

January 27th shifts its way towards me

“Go away,” I said

 

Everyone

seemed to be unaltered

The date preyed upon me

 

It conceived multiple moments

based on one dreadful memory

 

an empty desk beside me

Confusion

enough tears to fill a stream

Panic

an abundance of people

Grief

 

It was all a blur that

Became more clear

As the date crept towards me

Ready to attack

 

Meanwhile

the world goes on.

 

Why can’t I?

 

Senior Spring Break: I partied…With Jesus

“Don’t do anything you will regret. Protect yourself. Don’t get arrested. If you are going to drink, be smart. Don’t get a girl pregnant and don’t get pregnant. Stay together. I will see you in two weeks,” said every one of my teachers.

Senior spring break has a running stereotype that, unfortunately, I would deem accurate. When people think of teens who are about to graduate, they immediately think teens are within a mindset that reflects the saying “no regrets.” Since entering high school, snapchat stories as well as words through the grapevine allowed me to conclude that all stereotypes are as accurate as claiming the sky is blue. It kills that it is expected for students to act in this way so much so that the teachers feel the need to state the things I referred to above. Why in the world have we decided to accept that those actions are okay as long as we use protection within all scenarios? I have the perfect idea for protection: don’t do it.

Many people tell me to “Live a little.” In fact, I wish I had a dime for every time someone has said something along the lines of I need to let go and have fun. Honestly, I used to take it to heart each time someone told me that. It made me feel like I was a boring person and who wants to believe people think they are boring? I can recall to different times in high school where I was the friend that reeled people back in. I was the annoying “parent” in the friend group; I despised myself for it for the longest time. Everyone eventually made me think I had something wrong with me because it was as if I physically could not make myself do some of the things my friends thought were fun. It’s been a battle I’ve been fighting with myself for years. During spring break, I finally won not only the battle, but also the war. There was a reason I have never been able to follow my friends in some of their activities. It’s because of the Holy Spirit within me.

Seniors party on spring break; it really is inevitable. I am ecstatic to claim that I too partied. My party companions may not have been the same as others, but I most definitely partied. My party companions consisted of coffee and Jesus. Within my eyes, it simply cannot get any better than that. There is something to be said about how much one can feel the presence of God standing on the beach. I had multiple moments that extracted the breath right out of me.

The sun rose above the ocean, painting lemon yellow, blood red orange, and purple on the sky as if it were a canvas sitting before God. The waves crashed in a pattern across the sand led by a thin line of foam. The leather from my Bible was smooth against my legs; the sand beneath me was cold. I studied my Bible allowing the words on the page to rise into the wind, spin around me, and enter my heart. Some of the words leaped off the page from Philippians.

“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” -Philippians 1:9-11

The life within this verse alone far surpasses any life I can find within an activity created by flesh. While God was revealing to me why I felt so different among my peers, he also revealed to me something that would help with every aspect of my life. Philippians painted a clear picture of why I have felt so anxious about the different layers within my life. I was seeking happiness in the wrong places. I need to find contentment in Christ who strengthens me. It seems so simple, but what would it look like if I abided by that daily?

Another part of scripture that arrived to the party was Psalm 119. A myriad of things were revealed to me through this character. First, I identified that the Word is my tool God has gifted me with. It is my flashlight that I am able to use to guide my way through the darkness of this world. How thankful I am to be granted with such a tool as this. My heart aches at the thought of wandering the world in complete darkness. Second, Psalm 119 uncovered how truly great my God is. I wrote along the side of the scripture Psalm 119: 169-176 “How great are you Lord.” Those verses spoke to me the most amidst the chapter. Lastly, I recognized that I needed to be “all in.” What I mean by the term “all in” is not just being dedicated, but being joyfully dedicated. I need to be proud to follow the guidelines that the Lord has set for me. When my friends aren’t abiding to the same rules I have committed to, I should not be ashamed.

Standing in the sea, the darkness blankets over me. The night has come to makes its’ daily visit. The rain forces my eyes shut as it pours over me. Soft at first but progressively louder I hear a faint voice; it is singing. I focus on listening so I can make out the words. “It’s your breath in our lungs, so we pour out our praise. We pour out our praise.” It was not until several minutes passed that I realized that the source of the noise was my lips. Worship has unlocked a new definition for me.

Those moments are filled with more life than any activity I can think of. Maybe I chose to not live a little, but I did choose to live a lot.

Thanks God for a week I will never forget.