Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I'm so ready for August.

I went to work with Mom again today.  The good news is the day was more cleaning and organizing than moving stuff because we're both still sore from yesterday.  The bad news is that the cleaning involved really disgusting furniture which means I have had breathing trouble the rest of the day.

But also, we ended like an hour before I expected us to because a few of her colleagues were going out to lunch which means I got to eat a gigantic plate of delicious nachos.  Mom's best friend Rachel is taking me to Duke for my Botox on the 15th, so they were all asking about it, and I said the doc told me there's a chance it could work immediately, or it could take a couple treatments, which are once every three months.  And Rachel said emphatically, "No.  It's going to work IMMEDIATELY.  That's what I'm writing in my prayer book."  I love it when I hear people so confident in their faith like that; it's a great reminder.

Then I went to my orthodontist appointment, and for the first time, everything is pretty much perfect, so, provided that nothing happens, I don't have to go back until next summer.  Which, by then, I'll be a college graduate, so my doctor told me to bring my diplomas so he can take a picture and hang it on their wall and have their own little "graduation" for me.  It's funny and rather fitting since I've been seeing him since I was 6.  Even funnier and better was that he said that if I send him a graduation notice, he'll have a present for me, and an "extra special one" at that since I'm getting two degrees.  MY ORTHODONTIST is celebrating my college graduation.  I find that hilarious and so awesome.  I love that man.

Then we went to Staples where I got almost all of my school supplies off of money Mom owed me anyway.  God bless the cashier lady who let us break the rules for their "buy $5 of stuff and get up to 10 folders for a penny a piece" promotion and let us pay for my $130 of stuff in $5 increments so Mom could get all the folders she needed and didn't have to scare any more strangers in Staples by asking them to buy some for her. :)  Her new school is in a really impoverished county, so she is buying all these folders for her kids so they don't have to worry about it. they'll each have a class folder and a journal folder.  And I mean seriously, I think the woman got like 200 folders, and paid $2 total for them.  She's set for the whole school year.  You have to latch on to a deal like that when you see it.

We also paid the eye care center so they could send out the order for my new prescription and I can hopefully get both of my glasses fixed before I leave for school.  And we went by the bank to deposit more of the money Mom owed me so I could get my account out of overdraw because stupid me forgot to cancel my Amazon Prime before the free trial ran out.  At least the $79 is being refunded since I didn't use it after the free trial ran out.  I still had the stupid $35 overdraft fee, though.  We also picked up the dogs from the groomer and thank God they got a bath because they smelled awful.

Then we came home and I unloaded all my stuff from Staples and Mom, Chelsea, and Blake headed for another psychiatric appointment in Jacksonville.  So I had the house to myself for a few hours.  I didn't get much sleep last night, so I was trying to stay awake in order to sleep well tonight, but that didn't happen.  I woke up when Mom called and told me they were about to arrive with $350 of groceries.  Yay payday.

The good news is my allergies are such a mess that I had to take some NyQuil, and my body aches so bad that I took a muscle relaxer, plus I have my regular sleeping pill.  Judging by the way I feel right now, I don't think sleeping will be a problem, despite my nap earlier.  Here's hoping I didn't just jinx myself.

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

For My Family

You know what is one of the really, really cool parts about this summer?

It's the fact that even though I'm stuck in this house all summer, in a family of people who hate that and don't understand why I am a Christian, there is not a day that goes by that I don't realize that my Christian family is surrounding me with all of the love and encouragement a girl could ever ask for.

Some of them are in a different town.

Some of them are in a different state.

Some of them are halfway across the country.

A good deal of them I've never even met.

They all have their own lives, their own concerns, yet they still carve out time to make their presence known in my life, to remind me that they are always here to lift me up.  When I was growing up, all I ever wanted to know was that I was truly important to someone.  And now, not only do I know how beloved I am to God, but my life is filled with people who see me as worthy of their time.  More than I ever could have dreamed.

I got a call from Pastor Sean this morning.  That's been one of the hardest parts about this summer, being away from my church family, so to get to talk to him for even just a few minutes meant a lot.  I should have kept in better touch with him throughout this medical ordeal this summer, but thankfully Justin and Jenn have been filling him in.  He reminded me that they're praying for me, and they love me, and they can't wait to see me again.  Even when I'm not there for almost four months, I know that they're my family.  It's crazy to think that a year ago, I didn't even know this church existed.  And two years ago, I had no plans on getting baptized, let alone going back to church.  Heh.  God's just good like that.

But the sweetest part of the conversation with Pastor Sean for me was when he told me that the spirit of courage I have shown has been such an inspiration to them, and I could honestly and straightly tell him that I don't think I'd be as steady as I am right now if it weren't for all the incredible people who have dedicated themselves to walking alongside me for however long this lasts.  Every time I start to feel down or questioning and doubting things, someone is right there to encourage me and point me back to Jesus and what I know in my core to be true.  I still haven't gotten used to it, honestly.  I had gotten so used to doing life pretty much on my own, that it took me a while to really accept the help people were offering so generously, but now?  Well, I couldn't be more thankful that I did.

This reminds me of a time that Taylor and I were talking and I told him that my bond with him, Bruno, Caitie, Kyla, and even Callie and Phoebe, feels so much deeper and so much more real than the bond I have with my biological family.  He explained to me that that's because we're family on an infinitely deeper level:  we serve the same God, we've given our hearts to Him, we're family for eternity, the kind of family where I don't have to worry about something bad happening to them because I know I'll see them again.

If you read this, and you've prayed for me or really been there for me in any way, big or small, know that I cherish you and I am grateful for the blessing that you are in my life.  You're the people who show me back to the hope I sometimes lose track of, and never fail to remind me of all the reasons I have to keep getting up in the morning, to keep living out God's story for me.  As Pastor Sean said, God knows how to give us exactly what we need when we need it, and I definitely needed you.  Thanks be to God for his provision.

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Monday, July 29, 2013

Going Back

When I talked to Brennan yesterday, he had a piece of advice for me that I can honestly say I didn't expect.  "I really think you should look at the book of Job."  I replied, "I've read it."  Which is true, I have.  But you know what he said?  "Read it again."  I really respect his opinion, so when I found myself with six fantastic hours of having the house to myself today, I couldn't get what he said out of my head, so I pulled out my Bible.  One thing I love love love about Scripture is that it's so true that you can read the same book or passage several different times and get something different out of it each time.  I looked back at the post I wrote last year after reading it, and I see how different my focus is.  I also noticed how much less like a "chore" it felt to read it this time.

Job 1:1 "that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil" - Immediately, this phrase jumped out me in the first verse.  Here and later on in the book, it talks about how Job basically did everything right by man's standards.  He seems like the model Christian, basically.  Okay, not Christian, since this in the Old Testament, but you get my point.  God chose the man he saw as loyal, the one who was, for all intents and purposes, doing everything right, to be tested by satan.  If God would allow Job to be tested, then I certainly shouldn't be surprised if God allows me to be tested.

Job 1:20 "Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped."  Job was human, just like me, but at the news that he had just lost everything and everyone that was important to him, his first instinct was to fall to the ground and...not cry.  He WORSHIPED.  He worshiped the God that he knew had just taken all of this away from him, because he knew that that was the same God who had given it all to him in the first place.  I just wish that was my instinct.

Job 3 - Job LAMENTS his birth...I have to admit, I enjoyed reading this chapter if only because it reminded me that Job was human, first and foremost, and that he wasn't excluded from having emotions that aren't God-honoring like the rest of us.

Job 5:18-21 "For he wounds, but he binds up; he shatters, but his hands heal.  He will deliver you from six troubles; in seven no evil shall touch you.  In famine, he will redeem you from death, and in war from the power of the sword.  You shall be hidden from the lash of the tongue, and shall not fear destruction when it comes."  This was such a great reminder for me of what a redeemer God is, of the story he has given me that is already so full of redemption.  It made me see that that redemption isn't going to stop, ever, because that's the kind of Father that I have.

Job 13:15 "Though he slay me, I will hope in him; yet I will argue my ways to his face."  I love this verse because I feel like it explains so well where I am right now.  God has given me this affliction, but I refuse to let it weaken the hope I have in who he is.  Every time I start to feel down, he sends someone along to remind me of what I know to be true.  Every.  Single.  Time.  And yet, even though I know of the hope that I have, I'm not going to stop crying out.  I'm not going to stop being noisy and needy, begging him to release me from this pain.  Like Pastor Chris said, I don't have time not to.

Job 19:25 "For I know that my Redeemer lives..."  Ah, the beauty in seven simple words.  The God that I serve died to be my Savior and now LIVES to be my King!  I am not alone.  My God is alive and working all day every day to bring me to what is best.  He is redeeming, even when I don't see it.

Job 33:14 "For God speaks in one way, and in two, though man does not perceive it."  And that's the thing, I can't see it.  I can't understand it.  That's why God is God, and I am not.  He has powers beyond anything I can understand, and has reasoning that is beyond me because he can see the whole picture, past and present and future for all eternity, when sometimes I have a next to impossible time seeing right now.  His ways are so much higher than mine, and I am so incredibly thankful for that.

Job 33:15-30 - This passage is too long for me to want to type it all out, but I loved it because it shows the heart of who God is.  God doesn't give us what we deserve.  He gives us paradise instead.  He saves us from hell, and all he asks is that we seek him with all our heart, everything we are, everything we have and repent of our sins.  That doesn't seem like a bad trade at all, considering what Jesus had to do to make it possible.

Job 36:15 "He delivers the afflicted by their affliction and opens their ear by adversity."  This verse hit me straight in the heart, today more than any other one in the book.  Over and over and over again I have heard people (Taylor, Kyla, Caitie, Brennan, Pastor Chris, etc.) tell me that God is using this trial to draw me closer to him and his heart.  I heard them, but it never really clicked for me until I read this verse.  God is using something that seems so negative and is honestly really, really hard to deal with some days to deliver me from so much more evil, the sin that lies in my heart.  As doctors come down to fewer and fewer options, I am left with no other choice but to hear God, because God is the one thing that I can trust in when I can't trust in myself or anything else.  All of these sweet friends of mine were right all along; I just didn't get it until now.  He is using this because I need to be closer to him, seeking him more, pursuing him more wholeheartedly.  I need to know him better and more deeply, the same way he longs to know me and for me to know him.

Job 42:5-6 "I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes."  I felt God in a new way today.  It's hard to explain, but things make sense now that didn't make sense before, things I had heard countless times before.  What a testament to how God pursues us; even once we have given our lives to him, he'll still work to make us fall in love with him more and more every day.

I guess that's because salvation is so much more than the day we accept Christ as our Savior, or the day we get baptized.  It's a day-by-day, always ongoing process of God molding us and forming us into the people we were meant to be all along, the people we would have been if it weren't for the Fall.  For once, there's no shame in saying you're a work in progress.  We all are, and we all will be until we end up in Paradise praising the King who carried us there through this broken and chaotic world.  He loves us that much.  We're worth that much to him.  Even when we don't treat him like he's worth it to us.  The beauty of unconditional love.

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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Love Everywhere

Man, y'all, God is so, so faithful.  I know you know that, but it's something you can never hear too much, and I can never say it too much, because it's a good reminder in those times when I start questioning things.

Today was one of those days where I couldn't get out of bed or open my eyes really for most of the day.  Third day in a row starting out like that, so I sent out a text to my "prayer team" about 11:15, knowing those folks are so faithful and would lift me up as soon as they saw the text.

Several people responded.  One of them was Jenn, who told me she and Justin updated Pastor Sean, which means I've got even more people in my church family covering me in prayer.  Several of the texts were full of confidence that I will get my healing and just reminding me to stay faithful.  They keep me focused on the Truth.  That's exactly what I need.

Not only did I get several texts, I actually got phone calls from two people that I haven't had a good chat with in ages.  First, Michal called me on her way to church, which is about a 20 minute drive and gave us a good bit to catch up.  It was so good to hear her voice and vent and talk and hear what she had to say, because she's another one of my friends that is just so, so wise, and like always, she ended the conversation by praying over me, despite the fact that she was a bit rushed.  She truly loves me, and I love her, and when I get back to Nashville, I am definitely getting a picture with her this time! :)

One of the texts I got was from Brennan.  All it said was "I will call you this afternoon" which sounded a little weird and formal, but lo and behold, he actually called me about 3:30, and despite the fact that I had to have the entire conversation with my eyes closed, he was so sweet to listen to me and give me his perspective and just be there.  My trust in him grows with every conversation.  It's gonna be a surreal moment when I see him in Nashville in November, for sure.  I'm so glad we're friends.  Things really worked out well in the end with him, and I'm so glad I never gave up on him or a friendship with him, despite what so many people who love me were saying.  He prayed over me on the phone, too, which was greatly appreciated.

My headache finally eased up around 5:00, like it has the past couple days, but I basically spent the rest of the night locked in my room with my earphones in because Chelsea was in a particularly awful mood.  Apparently I missed out on a lot, because as of tomorrow Mom is basically going on strike when it comes to helping Chelsea.  It'll be interesting, to say the least.

And to cap off the night, I just got off the phone from a conversation with Matt that lasted more than an hour.  I wanted to update him on the situation I discussed with Kyla and Caitie, not to get his advice because frankly I don't want his advice on this, but it was interesting to hear his reaction and opinion, and he even said he loves that I don't need him so much anymore but I still tell him everything.  And of course, I'm like, duh, you've only been my best friend since I was 13, you think I'm suddenly gonna start keeping stuff from you now?  :)  The funny part about it is that before he called, in a text he told me the conversation was going to have to be short because he had other people who needed to talk to him, but he got on some rants.  That's Matt for you.  But seriously, this was the perfect end to a weird and kind of rough few days.  No one gets me better than him, can make me laugh harder than him, or loves me quite like that kid does.  11 years later and we're still not sick of each other yet.  I'd say this friendship is one for the ages. ;)

But before I go to bed, even though it's already past 1 am, I have to listen to Pastor Chris's sermon from today.  He specifically told me to listen to it, and it was finally put online while I was talking to Matt.  Listening to a very wise man bring the Word sounds like a great way to end my night.  :)

And Chelsea is off for the next 3 days which means no Blake duty!

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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Truly Human

First off, watch this video.

This video explains perfectly why I am so unbelievably grateful that I know people like The Vespers, that I go to school at Campbell, and that I found the church that I did.  These three very different entities have brought me people who love me unfailingly, who worked their way past the walls I'd built up when it would have been so much easier to turn around and leave.  I think you are truly known by very few people in this life; there are very few people who know you in your bones, who know your messes and failures and shortcomings and flaws and choose to see the good in you anyway.

I had a long chat with Caitie today.  I know I just talked to her earlier this week, but I needed to talk to her about the same thing I talked to Kyla about, and unsurprisingly, she had almost the exact same words of wisdom for me that Kyla did.  Which is mostly what I already knew, but I needed to hear it from someone else to get out of my own head for a bit.  Those two, I swear, they feel more and more like my big sisters with every conversation, which is kind of hilarious since I've never met Kyla and have only spent less than two hours total with Caitie.  But the stuff I talk to them about, I could never talk to Holly about, even if she were a Christian.  They're just special.  They're some of the few who really do know me in my bones.  They see my humanity in its rawest form, yet they still love to help me and walk with me and just be there when I need them.  That is a priceless gift.  I'm gonna do what they said and just try to focus on the here and now and what I can control and stop trying to control a future that isn't even figured out yet.

Speaking of the future, tonight, I randomly decided to get together all the information and dates I need for all of my grad school applications.  Holy cow.  I knew this was going to be expensive, but it's a whole different story when you see the totals written out in front of you.  To apply to 9 different schools, with one not having a fee, is going to cost about $715.  And the problem is, they're all such good schools, I don't know how to eliminate any of them!  I have to call my Uncle Ed sometime in the next few days so we can talk about this and I know exactly what he's willing to contribute.  I almost feel bad asking him to help with grad school after he gave me a free undergraduate education, but I know him and he won't be offended, and it can't hurt to ask.  If anything, I have a feeling he'll at least pay for the application fees.  I don't care if I have to finance grad school solely on loans; it's going to happen.  The job market is so advanced nowadays that, in my field, you basically can't get anywhere with just a Bachelor's degree.

And with that, I am off to bed.  Tomorrow marks only 3 weeks until move in day.  Yay!

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Friday, July 26, 2013

Just another one of those days.

The kind where I can't get out of bed all day and can hardly stand opening my eyes long enough to write this.

Jesus, lay with me.

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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Girl Talk

God bless NyQuil.  I have not sneezed constantly today, and my head feels so much better.  I'm not 100% yet, but I'm getting there.

Feeling better means I finally got some more GRE work done.  I hadn't got any done for a few days because of Mom's stuff and then just feeling awful.

Then, I got to have a very long chat with Kyla, which has not happened in quite some time.  Some of it was just simple girl talk, which is always good and fun, but most of it was just us listening to each other and giving advice on issues we're each facing.  She definitely helped me a lot and had tons of Godly wisdom and somehow knew exactly what I needed to hear.  I am not ready to talk about what she helped me with, and I'm not sure if or when I will.  It's...special.  And important to me.  And I want to figure out what is going on and where things are going to go before I share it with anyone else.  What's really important is how this reminded me again just how valuable girlfriends are.  They have the ability to know when you need advice and when you just need someone to listen.  And Kyla knows me and my personality so well that she always get it right.  It still cracks me up that the first time I'll meet her is about 3 days before she gets married. :)

Shane passed away last night.  Prayers for Mandy's family are appreciated and so felt.

That's all, folks.

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I am sick. Again.

And while I usually try to say at least one thing that's remotely worth your time, a raging sinus headache on top of the head pain I normally deal with has put me in tears and all I want to do is go to sleep.  So there you have it.

Good night and good luck.

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

F$%! cancer.

I've been working at not cussing so much.  I do a lot better about it when I'm not at home, but I am working on it.

But seriously, when it comes to cancer, there really isn't another word strong enough to display how much I hate cancer with every fiber of my being.

First, there was a video that a blogger friend posted online.  A girl whose dad is dying from cancer got the help of her town to set up a "last dance" with her and her dad, since he won't be there to see her get married.  White dress and all.

Yeah, I should've known that was going to rip my heart out.  I guess I probably did, but what I didn't know is that it would make me cry harder for the ache that losing my dad still leaves than I have in a long, long time.  I literally just sat in my room sobbing for ten minutes, trying to catch my breath and not wake up anyone else.

14 years later and I'm still that little girl who just wants her daddy.  And it's going to tear me apart on my wedding day when he isn't there, probably because I was always the little girl who dreamed about my wedding day, even before he got sick.  I think I had myself fooled into thinking that after 14 years, it wasn't supposed to hurt this much anymore.  But it's not the losing him that hurts now.

It's the void that he left.  It's the knowing that the only things I know about one of the two people responsible for my creation are things other people tell me.  It's all the stuff he's not here for, and the knowing he would be if he'd had any say in the matter.  It's the not remembering a single thing from before the morning I found out he was dead.

And then, I read this post from my dear, sweet blog friend Mandy.  Her brother is dying of cancer and is leaving behind a little boy who, like me, will live the rest of his life on nothing but other people's memories.  And I feel just as angry for Devin as I do for me.  Kids shouldn't have to live like this.  Parents shouldn't have to bury their 21-year-old, college senior sons.  Devoted spouses shouldn't have to lay alone in their bed at night being suffocated by the emptiness.

This is when I get angry with God.  Not at Him, just with Him.  Because I don't understand how any of this can turn out to be a good thing.  Why it's in His plan for this little boy in Colorado to grow up without the dad who adores him.  How Mandy and her SIL and their parents having to bury someone they love so deeply can be worth it in the end.  I know I don't need to know the answers, because I do trust in who He is, but I want to, and it sucks because I can't.  And Mandy can't.  We have to cling to Hebrews 11:1 like it's a life raft so the grief and the anger don't suck us in and drown us.  Because as maddening as it is, that's all we've got.  That's all we're going to have.

Grief sucks and cancer sucks and it's impossible to imagine that it's better for Mandy's brother or my dad or everyone else taken by this stupid disease to be in heaven than be here.  Thankfully, our God loves us enough to overlook a few dirty words.

Please pray for Mandy, her brother Shane, his wife Cassandra, sweet little Devin, and their whole family in the days to come.

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Monday, July 22, 2013

William and Kate and the Half-Blood Prince

(Get it?  William is 100% royal, Kate is 0% royal. Baby is 50%.  Corny jokes for the win!)

Thank you, Valium.  I probably sound like a freakin' drug addict to people who don't know me with all of the different drugs I talk about on here, but seriously, last time I slept from 11:00 to 7:45 and only woke up once at like 4:15.  It was glorious.  The good news is my doc did up my regular sleeping pill, so hopefully soon I should be sleeping normally again.

Today was mostly consumed by the royal baby news.  I spent hours watching the NBC live stream.  Yes, I am one of those girls that is absolutely fascinated by the British Monarchy.  And I'm a history nerd, so the fact that a future king was born today is awesome, too.  But really, I've loved Britain and the monarchy for as long as I can remember.  It's a big part of the reason I picked London as part of my trip with my grandmother in 2005.  And everyone knows I'm obsessed with baby names, so I look forward to hearing the name of the new prince.  Plus, the whole thing gave people a reason to make this picture.

Which is just awesome.  The ciiircle of liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiife.

Remember how Blake almost broke my jaw a couple weeks ago?  Well, today, he almost broke my nose.  I need to avoid that kid's head.

Absolutely no GRE prep got done today.  And I'm okay with that.

I had a long and lovely chat with Caitie today.  Yay girlfriends.  Hurry up, November!

I seriously cannot wait to get out of this house.  27 days.

And um yeah, now I'm going to bed because my whole face hurts (thank you, random sinus attack) and I have an early and busy day tomorrow.

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Sunday, July 21, 2013


Despite feeling like a zombie when I went to bed last night, I still did not get a good night's sleep. In fact, it got even worse. Whereas before, I was waking up every 2 to 3 hours, last night I was waking up every hour to hour and a half. Fun stuff.  I think I'm gonna call my doctor tomorrow and ask her to up my sleeping pill because it is either a reaction to the pain or a sign my body has stopped responding to this med dosage, as has happened many times with many medications. So we'll see.  My mom gave me a sleeping pill she had to see if that helps me get one restful night.  I sure hope so.

I'm currently blogging from my phone because I'm laying in my mom's bed.  I have spent the vast majority of the day in here, save for a few hours when Blake was taking a nap and I was working on my GRE prep.  That's going well, by the way.  I'm feeling much less stressed about it all now that I've actually started. Go figure!

Yep, that pretty much sums up my day. No sleep, playing with Blake, hanging out with Mom (the woman has a massive HGTV obsession), GRE prep.  I really do appreciate that we get along so well; considering Chelsea is so awful, it's nice that I don't have to be alone all the time.  Four weeks until I go back to school, and as much as I love Campbell, I do miss getting to hang out with my mom when I'm there.

I also miss her food. Just saying.

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Saturday, July 20, 2013

This is when I start smacking myself.

As opposed to yesterday, when I just wanted to smack myself for being so stupid as to not see that major meltdown coming, today I am actually smacking myself so I can stay awake for this last load of laundry to dry.  It has been a very, very long day.

Despite my efforts, I still cannot get a solid night's sleep.  Waking up every 2-3 hours like an infant,my head throbbing the entire time.  I was so tired last night and didn't get in bed until almost 2, so I thought I would be able to sleep until at least 11.  Nope, I woke up for good at 9:45.  My head was in really, really bad shape, so I had to take one of these pills called Naproxen that is so powerful if you take it more than 2 or 3 times a week, it will literally eat a hole in your stomach, and normally those knock me out for a good 6 hours.  Except this time I didn't get to sleep it off because I needed to eat and then Blake came in my room.

Mom is injured, so I basically did all of the taking care of Blake today, on top of picking up some of the house, taking out all the trash and recycling, and all the laundry, and trying to get some studying in in there.  All in a drug-induced fog.

The good news about the studying is that I got through all of the math section up to the 120-question practice test, and the concepts are, like, stupid easy.  Like this stuff is algebra and geometry that I was doing in middle school and early high school.  So like the ages of 11-13.  I'm definitely going to have to work on the verbal section a lot more than I will the math.

I was watching Glee earlier while waiting for a load to finish drying, and I legit started tearing up at the sight of Cory Monteith.  That has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of my day or anything I'm saying here, but his death is the first celeb death in quite some time that has really moved me.  Glee, as cheesy and faulty as it is, is one of my favorite shows, and it will not be the same without him.

Anyway, yeah, I'm getting this blog out of the way really early (at least for me) because as soon as this load is done, I am sorting it into individual piles, delivering them, and folding my stuff (normally I fold everyone's, but Mom is so particular about her clothes and plus I'm just too tired) as quickly as possible and collapsing into bed.

Hopefully tomorrow I won't wake up an hour before my alarm.  Also hopefully I won't wake up every 3 hours tonight.  I just want some solid sleep.  Is that so much to ask?

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Friday, July 19, 2013

Panic mode in 3. 2. 1...

Oh my heavens I AM SUCH AN IDIOT.  I totally did not see the mess that I was today coming, and I totally should have.

Waiting until 24 days before a massive test that will determine what grad schools I get into to start studying when I've had the prep book since May pretty much guarantees that I was going to flip out once I actually did open the book.

Well, it just so happened that that initial freakout coincided with me taking a timed diagnostic test and my mother needing me to watch Blake so she could take a muscle relaxer.  That, in turn, led to a massive fight between my mom and I, all over the fact that basically we both felt like the other didn't care about what is important to us, magnified by the fact that I had to call the people who made my prep book to delete my one incomplete attempt at the test because I didn't realize until after I quit it to go get Blake (who then wanted nothing to do with me) that I wouldn't be able to get back in.

And then by the time that we all calmed down, I proceeded to just lay on my mom's bed and cry because of the oh-so-typical-of-me, overwhelming fear that I'm not good enough for this.  That always happens.  I never ever have as much faith in myself as everyone else does in me.  And my mom actually apologized for putting added pressure on me without getting defensive about it, which is a first.

By the time they left to go get Chelsea and go to an appointment for Blake, my head, which had actually started out the day in pretty fair shape, was a disaster so I had to sleep, knowing full well that I wouldn't retain any information at that point.

I woke up and studied for about an hour before they got home with groceries, and then I ate dinner and took a short break and just talked to Mom for a bit.  Then, I spent from 7:30 to midnight studying the Verbal section of the book.

I have to say, if it weren't for my great friend M, who took the GRE last year and had all sorts of advice for me and was so willing to repeatedly talk me out of that panic, I don't think I'd be as calm as I am right now.  Yes, I have a lot to study, but I have a good base vocabulary.  Math has always been pretty easy for me, and it's not like we're doing calculus or something ridiculous.  I can do this, if I just apply myself.  And as M reminded me, it's just a test and one of several factors grad schools will be looking at.

I keep reminding myself that I get this panicky feeling at the beginning of every single semester when I see the workload in front of me.  This is the same thing.  It seems daunting now, especially looking at how much time I wasted, but I will be fine.  It always works out fine.  I have to believe that, or this whole thing is going to turn into a giant self-fulfilling prophecy.

I just hope I don't spend the next 24 days in panic mode.  My body can't take that.  Neither can my sanity.  God, give me the peace to get through this and the wisdom to do my best....

And now I'm going to bed because despite my 3-hour nap this afternoon, it is 1:30 am, and I am absolutely exhausted.

Maybe that's why I'm calm...I don't have enough energy to freak out anymore.  Haha!

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Conundrum

When I have nothing to do, I can't sleep.

When I have things to do, I can't stay awake.

This makes GRE prep very difficult.

Sigh.  Try again tomorrow, I suppose.

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Today I have done nothing but sleep.

Oh, except I did register for the GRE on August 12 thanks to my generous grandma. (Ah! It's really real.)

But other than that, nope, I slept, because my head sucks.

I will say that it is really nice when my mom just lets me sleep and wakes me up to eat.  Sometimes she just "gets" this pain.

And now I'm going back to bed and praying tomorrow is a better day.

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Brain Fog

So of course the one day that I'm supposed to get up at the crack of dawn would be the one day that I oversleep.  This is, coincidentally, the one day that I'm grateful Blake has taken to banging on my door first thing in the morning, because otherwise, I wouldn't have even woken up when I did.

Somehow, we actually managed to get on the road on time and get to my doctor in Raleigh on time, which I frankly can't remember the last time either of those things happened.

I love my doctor.  She's the best.  I've never had a doctor who has treated me with as much respect as she does or listened to me as much as she does.  Basically the only reason I had to make this appointment today, aside from the fact that with everything that has happened in the past few months and I haven't seen her since before I was in the hospital so it was probably good to have a follow-up, was that I needed the neurologic and musculoskeletal sections of my DMV paperwork filled out (since my muscle weakness issues are due to congenital nerve/brain damage, she had to be the one to fill that out).  But we updated her on everything and she seems to be totally on board with what Duke's headache clinic has been doing and plans to do.

So it looks like I'll be getting Botox treatment, which means I get a needle shoved into my head 33 times one day next month.  Fun times!

Then she gave me some "acute relief" shots which means I basically get a few hours where my head isn't making me want to scream or cry or do both at the same time.  Granted, things will return to normal tomorrow, but the few hours of lessened are highly appreciated.  Somehow I managed to stay awake for the entire car ride, which is a small miracle for me, but I passed out pretty much as soon as I got home and slept until 7:00 when this time, my mother was banging on my door instead of Blake.  Apparently eating is just a tad bit crucial to life.  How about that?

And yeah, now I'm going back to sleep because the powers of Demerol, Toradol, and Phenergan shot directly into your body are pretty powerful.  It's been 12 hours and I still can't think straight.

Yay brain fog.

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Monday, July 15, 2013

Today's Events

I slept.  A lot.

I did chores.

I watched TV.

I hid in my room.  A lot.

I slept some more.

And now I'm going to eat and go to bed because Mom and I have to get up very very early tomorrow.

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Sunday, July 14, 2013


This quote, from the very end of Angie Smith's "Mended", sums up my goal for my life better than just about anything I've ever seen.

Now go and tell the story of a love so beautiful that it broke in order for you to be rebuilt.  In His great, powerful mercy, He wants this for you.  He doesn't want you to be a woman who is limping through life with a bruised heart, but rather, one whose eyes are lit with the anticipation of Him.  It won't be perfect.  I've given up on that.  And not a moment too soon.  What it will be is the feeble offering of a woman who has been spectacularly ruined by a love she can't understand.  A woman who never thought she could be anything but a mess.  A woman who learned the truth behind the sparkling eyes and the gentle love that desires her to be, well...mended.

I want to tell people about my brokenness because in doing that, I can show them the One who put me back together.

I want to tell people it's okay if God's unconditional love doesn't make sense to them because it doesn't make sense to me, either.

Mostly, I want to tell them how much brighter and richer my life becomes every time I stop beating myself u for not getting things perfect.

He rescues me every day from the traps that lie waiting for me.  It is because of Him that I haven't totally lost my way all over again.

He saved me then, and He saves me now.  I want to show people the kind of healing He has brought into my life, if only so I can tell them He can do the same thing in theirs.

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Saturday, July 13, 2013

All good things must come to an end.

Chelsea was back to her awful normal today.

I shouldn't be surprised.

Two days is nothing compared to 14+ years of this mess.

This means I spent the vast majority of the day hiding in my room.

Surprise surprise.

At least the past two days showed me what life could be like.

36 more days.

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Friday, July 12, 2013

Looking Up

Tuesday, both Chelsea and Blake had their medications changed.  Mom had pretty much reached the end of her rope.  Things had to change because all day every day it was like she and I were living in the middle of a war zone.  Except the only difference is I get to leave next month and she's stuck here.  But suffice it to say, Mom was on the brink of calling a lawyer and fighting for custody (which probably wouldn't be that hard if/when it comes to that).

Thankfully, the psychiatrist that we have found really listens to my mom and is always willing to adjust things and help her help my sister and nephew.  I already mentioned how Wednesday Blake was totally out of it and cranky, and things weren't that great with Chelsea when she got home from work Wednesday night but they were much better than they could have been.

Here's the awesome part, though.  Yesterday and today, not only has Blake been back to his normal, sweet, goofy, non-aggressive self, Chelsea has made it through both days without being a total jerk to Mom or me.  I don't remember the last time she was nice for 48 straight hours.  Heck, Mom was even out all day yesterday so I was home alone with Chelsea and Blake all day, and we STILL managed not to fight the whole day.

Granted, I'm not going to get my hopes up too high when it's only been a couple days, but this is making me very hopeful.  I don't remember the last time we had back-to-back good days.

The feeling I get when I am reminded just how faithful God is, and how faithful He is to always show me that He hears my prayers, is pretty much one of those feelings I can't put words to.  And we all know how rare that is for me!

Fingers crossed, and lots of prayers going up!  To God go all the glory.

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

For Me

I feel like my blogging has gone completely off track.

It seems like every post is the same old random, stream of consciousness type of thing with no real purpose or reasoning behind it other than I like to write and I like this blog and I don't want to stop posting on it.

I guess I just wish I had something more important to say.  A lot of times, I catch myself thinking that this is pointless because no one comments and very few people follow my blog anyway and I get jealous of people who rarely ever post yet somehow have hundreds of people following them.  So why do I even bother?  Plus I get freaked out thinking that my openness is what is turning people off - that I share too much.  Again, if no one's commenting, if no one's interested, why do I bother?

I mean, I'm not a mom.  So I don't have constant pictures of cute kids and funny kid stories to tell, or an easy way to connect with mom bloggers, which feel like the vast majority of bloggers out there.

I'm not crafty.  I don't do home decor, I can't draw at all, I can't make up awesome projects and give homemade things as gifts.

I'm not fashionable.  I can't tell you about the latest trends, or show off my latest find or cute outfit or give you fashion advice.  Let's face it - I hate shopping and 99% of the time my mom does it for me.

I'm not hilarious.  I can't write a post about a mundane day or activity and have you crying from laughing so hard.  Which is why I feel like these posts of randomness are boring and that's why no one comments.

I'm not a religious/Christianity expert.  I do often share my heart about my faith, or at least I did.  Lately it seems like I just don't have anything new to say and I don't want to repeat the same things over and over, and who would care about my opinion on God anyway?

But then I remember why I started this blog in the first place.  It was something for me.  It was a place where I could say everything that I thought I wasn't allowed to by the people in my life.  It was a place to vent.  It was a place to record memories.  It has a record of the best days of my life and posts where I wrestle with God on some of the worst days.

I didn't start this blog because I wanted to be internet famous.  I did this because I like to write and because I wanted a place that could call my own.  I never intended to use this to network, though I wouldn't trade the friendships I've made through this site for anything.  I did this for me, because I needed a release.  And thinking about some of the most vulnerable posts, the posts where I examine my faith the most reminds me that I have been told time and time again by friends of mine that reading my words has helped them in ways I never imagined when I wrote those posts.  Saying what I thought I needed to say to get it off my chest has changed people for the better.

So isn't that enough?  It doesn't always feel like it, but it should be.  God is using this blog and my words even when I don't realize it or don't think it's possible.  That has nothing to do with anything I've said, it's all Him.  So I'm going to keep blogging for me and saying what I want or need to say and, in the meantime, hold on to Ephesians 3:20.  God can do so much more than I could ever imagine.  Who knows what He could have in store for me and how I need to use this blog?  I'm just going to follow my heart and use this blog for me and let Him take it from there.

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Cranky Zombies

That's what Mom has been calling Blake and me all day today.  It's kind of hilarious, and rather catchy.

Blake because they changed his meds again yesterday, and it takes a few days to adjust to the changes, especially with behavioral meds.  He's slept a TON, way way more than his normal, even more than most kids, and when he was awake everything was irritating him and he hid under the covers and kept yelling "WEAVE ME AWONE!"  It's actually rather adorable and funny.

Me because I took 2 Percocet and 3 Cyclobenzaprine (muscle relaxer) for my jaw, and then I started itching all over like I do when some accidentally gives me Morphine (allergic), so I had to take 2 Benadryl.  Yeah, it was like I had narcolepsy - I wouldn't even feel myself dozing off; one second, I'd be doing something and BAM! the next second I was out.

In other news, I went to see my eye doctor today to get the vision page of my DMV paperwork and she signed off on it after all the tests, so that won't hold me back.  That was the only one that I thought might keep me from getting my permit (and eventually license), but I passed all the tests.  I have my physical on Friday, and then a neurology appointment on Tuesday, so then I can get that mailed out.

Okay, I'm exhausted.  I need sleep.

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

That time I got headbutted. IN THE FACE.

So back in 2004, I broke my jaw.  It was the month before my 12th birthday, I was in 7th grade, and I went on a trip to Busch Gardens with a huge group of kids from my school because the school did it as a reward for us having the best grades.  Anyway, I passed out in line for a roller coaster because it was 95 degrees and I'd waited for 45 minutes without water, and I landed straight on my chin, and the bone in the left side of my face that holds my two jaws together completely snapped in two.  You can still see the scar on my chin where I had to get stitches from busting it open.

The good news is, I still had braces at the time, so my orthodontist just put some super tight rubber bands in diagonally for about 6 weeks to get my jaw back in place.  The bad news is that my birthday and a family vacation to NYC were in the middle of that 6 weeks and I could only eat things that came from a blender and went through a straw.

Yeah.  It was fun.

Anyway, today about 2:30 my mom was getting ready because she and Blake had to go pick Chelsea up and then go to a doctor appointment in Jacksonville.  Blake was freaking out for some reason or another, and he kept hitting my legs, so I picked him up.  Well, I certainly should have known better.  He slammed his head back into my chin as hard as he could, right where that old scar is.  After all I've been through, I have a pretty high pain tolerance, and this legit made me moan.  I could still move my jaw, albeit painfully, and my bottom teeth weren't shifted over like they were last time, so I just shook it off.

The pain kept getting worse all day, and I just kept telling myself that like most injuries, it had to get worse before it got better.

Then I noticed the left jaw bone (the one I broke) popped every time I opened or moved my jaw in the slightest.  That made me a little concerned.

When they all got home about 6:00, Mom told me to take some muscle relaxers, hoping that would help the popping.  This muscle relaxer is one I've taken many times before and it always worked within half an hour for me.  This time, it did nothing, even after half an hour.

I was supposed to go to my orthodontist tomorrow, so we figured that if I could just hang on, he might be willing to X-ray it for me and save us an ER trip.  I didn't want to cost my mom the money, so I said okay...until I tried to make myself a turkey sandwich for dinner (untoasted bread) and three bites of that had me in tears.  So I knew I needed to get it checked out.  Luckily Mom didn't freak when I told her.

Well, while I was in the shower, Mom called the hospital and as it turns out, there is a new Urgent Care place right across the street from the hospital, but they couldn't tell her whether or not they had an X-ray machine.  I took a shower, and we left about 7:30.  The first thing we asked when we got to the center was i they had an X-ray and thank God they did.  Saved us $113 in co-pay and who knows what else in treatment costs, and we were out of there at 10:00.

Yay, it's not broken.  Just severely bruised all the way down the left half of my jaw.  And Mom stopped at Sonic on the way home and got me a giant milkshake (that I ate with a spoon), so there's that.  And the doc gave me some pain meds to get me through the week, as it should be healing after a few days.  Too bad I can't get them filled until tomorrow.

And that concludes the excitement for today.

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Monday, July 8, 2013

My body is so strange.

I didn't fall asleep until almost 4:30 this morning, and was wide awake at 7 am.

And then I proceeded to crash by 3:30 pm and sleep until two of my weekly summer shows came on at 8 and 9.

The good news is that I am still plenty tired.

The bad news is that in that 7-3:30 break today, I started reading Redeeming Love, and oh my word, this book is addicting.  It's gonna be really hard for me not to stay up all night reading.  But I need to go to bed at a semi-normal time because I have several doctor appointments this week.

But I have to read some.

Just a few more chapters.

I promise.


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Sunday, July 7, 2013

Six More Weeks

And then the exhaustion set in.

Man oh man.  I got more than 12 hours of sleep last night and it was AMAZING.  Of course it didn't start off the way I planned because at about 3 am, my blood sugar crashed so hard I had to crawl to my mom's room and wake her up to make me food because I could not stand up.  I don't remember the last time it got that awful, and certainly not in the middle of the night.  But after Mom made me a sandwich, I realized that the last time I'd eaten was at dinner at 6:00.  This is why I have to eat before I go to bed.  I was just so busy playing poker with Holly and then so exhausted that I forgot.  I won't be making that mistake again.

Tomorrow, Mom will officially have a new job!  She went to go sign her contract last week, but they forgot to tell her she needed to get a drug test beforehand, so she had to go do that, and set up the appointment to do it tomorrow.  She also told me that her classroom is going to be right next to her best friend's, total enrollment is about 330, which means her class sizes are going to be super small, and there are FOUR English teachers in the entire school (whereas her old school had 2000 and more than a dozen English teachers).  I'm so excited - no, I am absolutely ecstatic for her.  This is going to be so amazing for her, especially the part about working literally next door to her best friend.

I didn't read at all today, but after reading 3 books in 3 days, I'm thinking one day off won't kill me.  :)  Besides, I wanted to spend every possible minute with Holly and Michael (once I woke up, of course, haha!).  They left tonight, and man, I do not like it one bit.  Holly actually called us "close"!  And the whole night afterwards was awful because, well, Chelsea is Chelsea.  Six more weeks and I will finally get out of this house.  And I'll get to see Matt, Holly, and Michael again!

I have nothing else to say today. My mind is just that fried.  I'm gonna eat (yes!) and go to bed.

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Saturday, July 6, 2013

I love Holly and Michael.

Don't get me wrong.  I love the rest of my family, too, obviously, but having these two here for a couple days has been a breath of fresh air, especially considering how crappy things have been with my family lately.

We had a great but busy day.

Despite the fact that Holly, Michael, and I all didn't fall asleep until almost 5 am, we were all awake by 9.

We laid around for a bit, but Blake was so rambunctious we decided it'd be better to be at the beach.

So Michael and I went on a grocery run.  Then we came back and made sandwiches for lunch at the beach.

Then we were at the beach from about 12 to 3.  It was the PERFECT beach day, weather wise.  It wasn't too hot, but it was warm, and sunny, and there was a great breeze.  I was ecstatic.  It was wonderful.  And I didn't get sunburned this time!

We got back home around 3:45, and I laid around for a bit while Mom folded laundry, Blake napped, and Holly and Michael went to pick up Chelsea and buy dinner supplies.

Then Mom and Holly immediately went into cooking.  What's the perfect dinner after a great day at the beach?  Seafood, of course.  So we had fried flounder and boiled shrimp (I only had shrimp because grouper is the only fish that I like) with vegetable sides.  It was delicious.  It was also a pretty long dinner.

We cleaned up, which also took a while, and then Holly, Michael, and I went outside and played cornhole while Chelsea got Blake bathed and calmed down and ready for bed.

Then we resumed our poker tournament from yesterday.  Despite the fact that Holly and Michael both have way more experience than me, I actually managed to outlast Michael.  And I could have beaten Holly if I weren't so exhausted and drugged on cold meds because my allergies decided to stage a mutiny today.  Eventually I just stopped caring, since it wasn't for real money.  The funny part was that at the end, I was down to $15 in chips, and I went all-in before any cards because I was basically trying to lose and Holly had all the chips so she only had to put in 15 to match me.  We did that again and again, and I ended up winning 3 hands straight before she finally beat me.  So I went from 15 to 120 before I lost it, haha.  Like I said, I probably could have made a decent attempt at beating, especially considering for quite a while there I had a lot more chips than her, but I was so exhausted that I just didn't care.

And now it's just past 1 am, and we are all going to bed.  I really really hope I don't wake before like 11 tomorrow.  I got Redeeming Love in the mail today, so I plan on being lazy and finishing that.  We've agreed no more poker, haha, especially since they have to leave tomorrow.

It was a good day.  Holly and I are getting closer and closer, and that makes me so happy.

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Friday, July 5, 2013

Happy Heart

It's past 4 am and yet I'm still sitting down to write this blog because after a very bad day, I had a very good night, and I want to remember it.

Holly and Michael got in just before 11 tonight, and we spent 5 hours having a few drinks and playing "Advanced" (Michael's version of it) UNO and Texas Hold 'Em.

It was so much fun.  My heart is happy.  I love that I get along so well with the two of them now, and they treat me like an adult.

I read Mended by Angie Smith today before they got here.  I'm sure I'll have plenty of thoughts on that when I'm not so tired.

Tomorrow we're planning on going to the beach, provided the weather cooperates.  I better get some sleep! Here's to a fun day tomorrow with my wonderful sister and a guy I can now call a friend.

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Thursday, July 4, 2013

When I Grow Up

I don't need to tell y'all how much I love my mom.  Anyone who reads here for more than a second can figure that out.  The woman has had to be both mom and dad for more than 14 years and has taken care of her 3 girls all on her own and, if you ask me, done a pretty darn good job at it.

Then again, I might be just a tad bit biased.

Anyway.  As you might imagine, growing up in a house with only sisters and only a mom led to many a lesson on the power of women and how I don't need a man to make me happy or complete me or take care of me...or what most people would call feminism.  I think that lesson's only really begun to stick for me in the last few years, but hey, better late than never.

Tied into that lesson was the much emphasized idea that we could have any career we wanted and shouldn't depend on husbands for financial security.  Her push to have us, especially me because of my genius IQ (and that's not meant to be a brag, it's just a statement of fact, my IQ really has been tested), make big dreams for our futures and work hard to chase after them was a big part of my childhood.  Of course, the frustrating part was that she never saw the pressure she was putting on me, her perfectionist, people-pleasing child, even outright denying she did such a thing.

Agh, I'm getting off point.  My mom had a lot of dreams when she was my age and younger that she never fulfilled because, in short, her dad told her she wasn't good enough for it to happen.  She wanted to go to East Carolina and major in Theater.  Instead, she was told to pick a "practical" major and ended up at NC State in English because teaching made sense to my grandpa, especially since my grandma was a teacher.  Granted, my mom doesn't regret ending up a Wolfpacker, meeting my dad because he gave her us, or becoming an English teacher, but she made it a point from a very young age to make sure my sisters and I knew that we could do whatever we wanted to do and be whomever we wanted to be.

Except for that time when I was 9 and, stroke-like nerve damage, physical defects and all, came home and told her I wanted to be a dancer.  For the sake of her sanity and my self-esteem, she was forced to crush that dream.  I have no idea how she didn't bust out laughing.  The love of a mother, I guess.

Her belief in me is probably a huge part of the reason that my first career goal at age 6 was to be the first female president of the United States (I later realized the stress would probably have me institutionalized), then a doctor (until I started having a bunch of procedures and surgeries and realized I hate blood), then a lawyer (then I realized prosecutors get paid almost as bad as teachers and defense attorneys would inevitably have to defend guilty people and my conscience couldn't take that), and then I have no idea what I wanted to be until I landed on the whole ambassador-State Department gig when I was about 15.  That one's stuck with me, and the idea of her daughter traveling the world working in international politics still makes my mom as giddy with excitement as it did when I picked my major before I started at Campbell.

But here's what my mom doesn't know.  What I don't have the courage to tell her yet.  A lot of days, I catch myself thinking about my future and know that I'd be just as happy as ever being a stay-at-home mom taking care of my four kids.  Yes, four.  Only four.  Not three.  Not five.  Four.

(I may or may not have inherited my mother's anal tendencies.)

I guess part of me is scared to tell her because it'll feel like I'm letting her down, like I'm crushing her dreams all over again.  And I keep telling myself that maybe I'll change my mind once I get into my career field and start working.

But then I read this book.

I mentioned BigMama yesterday when I wrote about what I learned from BooMama's book.  I'll admit, I read this one second because I wasn't quite sure how a book about the beauty of motherhood would really reach and touch me, a single, childless, 21-year-old nerdy college student.  But I wanted to read it, anyway, because like I said yesterday, BooMama and BigMama are two of the most well-known voices in the blog world.

Man oh man, I am so glad I read this.

Reading Melanie's tales of trying to get pregnant with, being pregnant with, then having and raising her daughter brought me back to a piece of me that got lost in the midst of all the anger and sadness of my childhood.  I was the little girl who would sit around coming up with names for my future kids, the number slowly decreasing as I got older, the names changing as my tastes did.  I would plan out house designs so all these kids could have space, and I'd write stories about taking care of them.  For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to be a mom.  That dream has not changed or decreased in the slightest, even as young me had no idea what college major I wanted or what job I wanted to have when I grew up.  If anything, it's only gotten stronger since Blake was born and I've seen the fun that little kids can bring in the midst of all the exhaustion.

Reading Melanie's book made me accept what I knew in my heart to be true, especially as I read about her decision to become a stay-at-home mom: not having a career and focusing my adult life on taking care of my kids wouldn't make me any less fiercely independent or any less headstrong or any less of the woman that my mom worked so hard to mold me into.  It'd just be a different version of her.  One quote from the end of Melanie's book particularly touched me.

''I would say I want her to be a better version of myself, but that's not accurate.  I want her to be t he best version of who God has created her to be - to embrace her individual qualities and gifts."

And even if my mama can't say it out loud, I know that, in her heart, she wants me to live my life and do what makes me happy, not what fulfills the plans she has for my future.  I know this, actually, because of how my mom reacted to a quote from Tina Fey's book Bossypants.  "What's so great about work anyway?  Work won't visit you when you're old.  Work won't drive you to get a mammogram and take you out after for soup."  That's not a slam on working moms, but my mom nearly cried at that quote.  And she's shown me time and time again with her actions that my sisters and I will always be more important than her job.

I'm not saying that I have my future planned out, especially because I'd need a husband for the whole stay-at-home-mom thing to work out and there's no one even close to in the picture, but what I am saying is this:  if ten, twenty years from now, I am a stay-at-home mom, raising kids to love Jesus, my heart won't be lacking for anything.

And hey, I might even throw being a writer in there for good measure.  I can do that from my my one o'clock in the morning.  Because that's when my mind works best and all.  Melanie will understand.

Melanie, if you ever read this, thank you.  Thanks for making me laugh until I cried for 200 straight pages and for reawakening a part of myself I'd thought for too long wasn't enough.  I'll definitely be adding your blog to my list tonight.

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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Sweet and Salty

My books came in the mail today.  As soon as I got the chance tonight, I picked this one up and started reading.

Now, I've never read BooMama's blog, but this and BigMama's book came so highly recommended I knew I had to get them.  I'll admit, I was a little apprehensive about it considering I'm not all that southern (I live in North Carolina and HATE sweet tea. It's like a cardinal sin.), but I read it anyway.

I knew I'd laugh.  Even without ever reading her blog, I knew from hearing over and over again that BooMama is one of the funniest voices on the web.  And heck, even the "southern stories of faith, family, and fifteen pounds of bacon" had me chuckling.  I always like to laugh, so I knew at the very least I wouldn't regret buying or reading this.

I knew I'd cry.  Anytime anybody writes about their family, there's going to be sentiment involved, and I'm a sucker for a touching family story.

What I didn't expect was how much I'd do of both.  How I could be laughing hysterically on one page and tearing up on the next.  I didn't expect how contrasting pieces of the story seemed to be, yet they flowed together seamlessly, as though this was more than just a collection of miscellaneous stories.  I didn't expect to find her mother-in-law so endearing, or that I'd be able to imagine what she said in a thick southern accent like it was an audiobook.  I didn't expect to want to go sit around a stranger's kitchen table and talk to a bunch of people that, to me, are nothing more than people in this book.

But most of all, I didn't expect how much this book would teach me about my own family.  It taught me to treasure the times where we can just sit around the table, stuffed with delicious food and unable to move, laughing and sharing stories.  It taught me to treasure every second I have when my sweet nephew is this innocent, because before I know it, I'll be going to his wedding.  It taught me to pay attention to my mom and grandma, and the lessons they can teach me without words getting in the way.  It taught me to look at my sisters, as different as we are, as children made by God and just as treasured and just as important as me.  It taught me to let go of the small things, the ones I might tend to hold on to as a grudge.  It reminded me to fight for the people that I love.  It reminded me that "football is a great game, but it's an awful God."  It gave me a glimpse into the kind of mother I want to be one day, and taught me that sometimes what I think I want is different from what God knows I need, and to be open to all of it.

I may not be the "target audience" that Sophie had in mind, but the lessons I took away from this sweet and salty book are ones I won't be forgetting anytime soon.  Thanks, Sophie.  You've gained a new reader.

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Tuesday Brain Dump

So my plans for a restful night of sleep last night were thwarted when I found out that Holly's boyfriend Michael was missing.

Don't worry, he's fine.  But I care about the guy, and he'd been missing for hours at a secluded golf course, so it was kind of freaky.  He was with some guys on a golf retreat, and ended up apparently getting really drunk and wandering into a stranger's suite and passed out on a couch for 7 hours.  I felt really bad for Holly, she isn't at the retreat and was totally freaked and so I tried to distract her with Words with Friends the best I could.

Speaking of Words with Friends, this girl could barely spell in high school and is beating me!  I've lost maybe 10 games in a year and a half.  Bruised ego.  :-p

Mom went to go fill out all the paperwork for her new job today, hoping she'd get to sign the contract and officially resign from the school she hates so much, but the lady at the new school's county office forgot to tell her she needs a drug test.  Go figure.  It'll happen, though.  Just a bunch of technicalities getting in the way.

So while she was out all day doing that, Mommom took Chelsea and I (and Blake, of course) to run a bunch of errands.  Chelsea had to go get a physical, drop paperwork off at the eye doctor, and drop her computer off at a repair store, and I only had to go to the post office but it's easier to keep Blake entertained in a car than in the house.  I love shipping books off to people.  I love giving gifts in general. :)

And then I came home and slept for almost six hours because my head was pounding.

Oh, and something I learned today: Amazon has spectacular customer service.  I got an email saying my books from BooMama and BigMama were "guaranteed" to be delivered today and they weren't, so the lady I talked to gave me a $10 promotion to my account, sent me an apology email and is contacting the shipper tomorrow to figure out where they are, because the tracking says they were sent out for delivery at 8:50 this morning so they should have gotten to my house, and then she's going to call me.  I said I wasn't going to buy any more books because I've been going a bit nuts, but with that $10, I was able to get the book Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers for $1.79.   It's a retelling of the story of Gomer and Hosea, which was talked about at the purity conference I went to in April at church so I've been interested in it, and it's come highly recommended, so I couldn't pass a steal like that up!  So yeah, I already loved Amazon, but after this fantastic customer service, I'm definitely not going anywhere.

Oh yeah, and I gave my mom a foot massage tonight.  She has bad neuropathy in her feet from some of the heart meds she takes so they burn a lot, especially when she's on them all day like she was today.  I hate lotion, and I hate feet, but I love her.

I might actually crack open my GRE prep book tonight.  Maybe.  Or I might read Mended instead.  Decisions, decisions. ;)

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Monday, July 1, 2013


Most of the day was fine.  The weird part was that I slept 2:30-4:30 and 7:30-10:30 which doesn't make for very restful sleep but I managed to stay awake the rest of the day so sleeping shouldn't be a problem tonight.

I've had a lot of sleepless nights, they come along with this head pain because sometimes the pain's at that weird point where I can't sleep but I can't do anything else.  But instead of laying there doing nothing, I tried something different.  I prayed.  I prayed for everyone and everything that came to mind.  And you know what?  It was one of the sweetest times with the Lord that I've had in a long time.  No distractions.  That doesn't happen too often nowadays.  And trust me, I had a lot to talk to God about.  Enough that it's probably not too big of a surprise that I couldn't sleep.  But running to Him with it all was just so freeing.  I felt like, for the first time, I truly understood what it felt like to lay something at the feet of the Lord and truly give it over to Him.  I don't remember the last time I felt so close to God.

This afternoon, everything went downhill.  It was typical Chelsea stuff, except this time she came at me full throttle instead of spreading the torture around.  Once again, I lost it, and once again, I said things I shouldn't have, but instead of sticking around for it to continue and almost certainly get worse, I ran.  I don't know why, or why this time was different.  But instead I just picked up the phone, called my grandma, and left.

My sister thinks running away makes you weak.  I think running was just about the strongest thing I could have done at that point.  Because when I'm so blinded with rage I can barely form a coherent sentence to talk to my grandma, things aren't right.  And those few hours of silence, where I felt like I could breathe right again, and I could talk to a friend who gets what it's like to want to love someone so badly but be pretty much convinced all you can do is hate them, where I could sit in silence and watch mindless game shows with my grandma and just talk to God in my head, it just felt right.  I felt peace, something that doesn't come easy when nights get as bad as tonight was.

Running to God certainly doesn't make all your problems go away, but I can't think of anything that could make me feel better than knowing my Father is sitting right with me and catching every tear.  So I'm gonna keep running to Him with everything, because He longs for a relationship with me even more than I do with Him.

1 Peter 5:7 "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."

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