Saturday, August 31, 2013

Pride goes before destruction.

Football is back, y'all!

I know, I know, college sports (or professional sports, for that matter) isn't everyone's joy, but it has been eight long months since I got to watch my Wolfpack boys hit the field.  And amazingly, we have 8 of our 12 games at home, which means I get to see a lot of my dear Carter-Finley Stadium, even if it is just on TV.  So needless to say, I've been much looking forward to the start of this season, a new coach, and hopefully a new era for the Red and White.

taken last year when our basketball team made it to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA

But here's something I've been thinking a lot about today, something I think most of us have trouble remembering during sports season.  Every time your team plays, there's another team that plays, too.  And that team has just as faithful of fans as your team does.  So every time you boast about your team and your team's fans, there are opponent fans who read it and see it.  And a lot of the time, those "opponent fans" were people you were close to before the game.  Sports may not be a big deal, but team devotion can bring out the worst in people.  I would know; I've said things about other teams and their fans "in the spirit of being a Wolfpack lover" that I would never dream of saying to people outside of that situation.

Same goes for politics.  In fact, I got a really good lesson in this just today when I responded to a comment someone had made on Twitter about President Obama.  I said something they took as snarky, so they said something snarky in return.  And because I wasn't used to that kind of tone from this person, it left me wondering if I had just screwed up a friendship that means so much to me.  We talked it out later, and when I found out the way they had seen it, I apologized, and thankfully, this person knows me well enough that they wrote back that it was okay because "I know you didn't mean anything by it."

I got lucky that time.  Lucky that that happened with someone who knows my heart very well, well enough to see beyond the times when I inevitably say something wrong.  But I've seen a lot of friendships, and been a part of several of them, be irreparably damaged over things like sports rivalries and opposing political opinions.  And for some reason, all of this today has made me think back to what I said last year before the election, on Twitter where almost all of my followers and I strongly disagree on just about everything political - especially who should have been elected President.

I will always, ALWAYS pick my friends and my relationships over politics or sports or any other ultimately trivial hobby, and anybody who knows me knows how much I love both.  But politics doesn't listen to me cry on the phone at midnight.  Sports doesn't text me everyday when I'm in the hospital to make sure I'm okay.  People do.  I don't mean to sound preachy; I'm saying this to myself as much as anyone else, especially after what happened this afternoon.  Hopefully, this lesson will stick with me and I can do better next time.

When I sat down to write this post, the quote "Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall."  At first, I couldn't decide where it was from, the Bible or Shakespeare (I know, right?! Weird) but Google told me that it is indeed from the Bible.  Proverbs 16:18  And that pretty much confirmed for me that I needed to write this tonight.

Happy football season, y'all.  Try to remember that you loved these people before the season, and be careful to make sure you still love them after.

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Friday, August 30, 2013

Letting It Out

Never let it be said that I cry pretty, because I certainly do not.  And tonight I absolutely lost it on the phone with Kyla.  I could probably partially blame it on my period and hormones, but I'm mostly thinking that this was pretty much on the edge for the past few days, and I just needed a time to talk and let it out.  There aren't a whole lot of people I feel safe enough with to cry in front of (save for that whole God breaking me thing at Sanctuary where I couldn't control people seeing me cry), but Kyla is definitely one of them.  God bless her.

That old, sort of cliché saying "Friends are the family God lets you choose" feels so real to me right now.  I try to keep conversations that were as deep and personal  as this one private, but suffice to say, it amazes me how God can connect the hearts of two strangers.  A 70-minute conversation that I spent at least 30 minutes of crying, she gave me all that sweet time of just talking and sharing my heart and fears, and gave the way she sees what I'm going through, and it was such a sweet reminder of how really not alone I am.

At the end, when she knew she needed to call Taylor and I needed to hit the sack, she prayed with me.  And God, sweet faithful God, showed up and answered right then my prayer that I would feel Him.  As I listened to these words of a girl I know cares for me so deeply, I felt Him just wrap His arms around me.  I told her I had goosebumps and she kind of laughed and said, "Those are holy bumps, my friend."  Holy bumps - I like that.

But yeah, I'm ending tonight with a smile on my face, and I seriously didn't think that would happen until about half an hour ago.  Sweet sisters and brothers that I have around me, they really have no idea how much they have been Jesus to me in my darkest moments over the past almost-year, but I thank God for them every day.  I can only hope and pray that I am as faithful of a friend to them.

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

I need strength.

I'm too exhausted to truly blog tonight, so this is a copy-and-paste of the prayer request I posted on The City (that online community of that church in Texas I've been in touch with for months).  It will give you a pretty clear description of where I am right now.

Well, I think that I can definitively say that the Botox did not work, considering yesterday I couldn’t so much as open my eyes for most of the day and today it took every ounce of willpower and energy I had to make it through my classes.
Certain people in my life, God bless ‘em, are under the impression that I don’t question what God is doing in all of this.  Quite the contrary, I’ve spent a lot of time lately, especially since I realized this round of Botox failed, wondering what the heck the point in all of this is.  What I don’t question is who God is.  I know as well as I know that the sky is blue that my God is who He says He is.
But I’ll be honest, I’m exhausted and scared and beyond frustrated.  Only making it a week into school before I had to miss a day of class and work scares me when this is my last year of undergrad and these two semesters matter so much when I’m trying to get into grad school.  I feel like I can barely hold my head up, and I have a semester ahead of me that isn’t going to slow down in the slightest until it’s over in December.  The load I have this semester is harder than anything I’ve faced so far in college, and I didn’t have to face any of those other semesters in constant, excruciating pain.  And then I get caught up in my own head wondering how I’m going to succeed in grad school if this pain doesn’t go away and I know the load is only heavier there.
I know that God is good, and I know that He’s working this for my good, but it’s really hard to focus on that when I spend every waking hour of the day on the verge of tears.  So what I’m asking for is prayers for strength: strength to keep pressing forward in the work I have ahead of me, strength to fight against the enemy’s attempts to distract me from the love of my Father, strength to trust in Him when I feel so beaten down.  I just need strength.
I’ve gotten a lot of compliments in the past few days about how amazing I am in facing this.  I asked Pastor Chris how I’m supposed to respond because I feel like I’m not doing a good enough job showing people that this is all God and not me, and he gave me the perfect response:  It’s a honor to represent Him.  It IS my honor to represent the Lord, to know that He has chosen me for a story that I have personally seen change people’s lives, but I am still human, and I am exhausted.
Thanks.  Love y’all.

So yeah...that's about it.  I know there are a lot worse problems going on in the world today, but I feel like I'm falling.  Falling and failing and breaking and I just want this not to be so hard.  Some days I feel Him carrying me, some days I don't, and right now I don't and I really wish I did because He's the only one who can help me right now.

I love y'all.  Truly.

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I feel awful.

I have only gotten out of bed to eat, take medicine, text people that I couldn't meet for tutoring today, and now to take a shower.

Lord, please tell me there aren't too many more days like this in my future.  This pain is awful, and this semester needs me at my best.


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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I'm not sure if I'm going to sleep tonight.

I got a text just as my last class of the day was letting out.

Ryann leaves for Switzerland at 7:30 am PST tomorrow.


She has a signed and paid deal with a professional team there.

A professional team.

I know I keep repeating stuff, but it's like I'm trying to get it to sink in.

I'm so unbelievably proud of her.  Like, honestly.  There aren't words for this.  Watching the girl who has spent every second of the last two years faithfully by your side have the biggest dream of her life come true couldn't possibly make me anything but proud.  And thrilled for her.  I, of all people, know how hard she's worked for this, how badly she's wanted this, everything that it's taken of her to get here.  We have pushed each other and believed in each other when we didn't even believe in ourselves.

Honestly, though, as much as I don't want to be, I'm also sad.  Sad that this day is really here.  Sad that my best girl friend is moving to Europe and I don't have the slightest clue when I'll ever see her again.  Sad that the end of my college years, the best years of my life (so far) are coming to an end and we're moving on to the next stage of our lives, thousands of miles apart.  Sad that things are never going to be the same ever again.

So yeah, I don't know if I am going to sleep tonight.  Not because I'm crying or anything, but because I'm waiting for her to call me so I can at least talk to her one last time.  Gosh, I feel dramatic, I'm talking like she's dying, and she's not, but it's so weird knowing that this is the end of an era of sorts.

But in the end, my feelings aren't really all that important.  What is important is that this school introduced me to a girl that I never would have expected to give me the time of day, let alone love me and forgive me and stand by me the way that Ryann has.  What matters is that I have a friend who has changed my life, who has changed the very core of who I am as a person.  What matters is that I have learned more from this amazing girl in two and a half years than I could ever list in a blog post.  What matters is that I know our friendship, even though things are going to change, will always be something that I can rely on - that it is the kind of friendship where any time we get the chance to talk, it will be like no time has ever passed and we're hanging out in the same room.  What matters is what I said to her in the goodbye letter I wrote when we left Campbell at the end of April: I don't care where we're living or how far apart we are, when she needs me, I will be there in any way I can be.  Oceans be damned.

And the cool part about this?  I'm pretty sure she feels the same way.

No distance can truly separate sisters. 

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Today was a weird day.

Well, the only weird about the morning is that it actually wasn't hard at all for me to get up.  Mondays are usually the worst in terms of "Oh my gosh I so don't want to go to class today!" feelings.

Then, I had Model UN at 10, and when Dr. Thornton asked how we were, I said "Fantastic!" and actually meant it.

Then I ate lunch, then Jenn picked me up at 12 to go pick up a check in Lillington from the storage facility people, who were giving me half my payment back in apology for the disaster.  Well, I got all the way back to the bank after picking up the check before I realized the lady had given me the wrong check.  So I had to call Jenn back, who thankfully had enough time before her next class, who had to drive me all the way back to Lillington to get the right check.

Then I came back to campus and got my payroll form from Student Services, went to the post office and got my Hitler book that actually arrived a day early (not too weird for Amazon), went to the bank and deposited the check and got a piece of info that I thought I needed for the Payroll office.

Then, I somehow managed to find the Payroll office with no problem (VERY weird for me) even though I've only been there once before and got SUPER lost that time, and I thought I was going to have to fill out all this paperwork because that's what Student Services told me, but nope, since I worked last semester all my stuff was current so basically all I had to do was hand a lady this piece of paper and let her confirm I was in the system.

Then I was walking back through the (gorgeous!!) campus, and had one of those "episodes" in the middle of Academic Circle.  By "episode" I mean my seizure disorder issues kicked in and I got super overheated and dizzy and for once I didn't have water with me, so I had to lay down right there, thankfully under the shade of a tree.  Also thankfully, some kid walked by, and he had to get to class but still managed to flag down two members of the administration who were standing not too far away.  They, of course, knew me because of my Uncle Ed.  One of them went to get me water, and the other stayed there and fanned me.  When Campus Safety showed up, even though I tried telling them this is not unusual because of my seizure disorder and I'd be fine if I could just go back to my dorm and lay down, they insisted I go to the infirmary and get checked out.

Well, I ended up spending about 2.5 hours in the infirmary because once again, my blood pressure and heart rate would not stabilize, and they were filling me up with cups upon cups of ice water because my body temperature was also weirdly elevated.  I was still dizzy when I left, but they let me leave because my vitals were a lot better and I agreed to let Campus Safety drive me to my dorm.

The good news is that even though I've still felt kind of funny all night, I knew the only thing I had to get done tonight was this book summary essay, and because I'd taken notes when I did the reading yesterday, it took me way less time than I expected it to, so I've been able to relax the rest of the night.

I also got my Tutoring Center schedule today.  Starting next Tuesday, I work Mondays 5-8, Tuesdays 8-10, and Thursdays 7-10.  And I already have one Peer Tutoring session set up for Wednesday.  Yay money.  After I fill out these time off request forms which are for dates in late October and November but I'm doing now anyway just so she can cover my shifts early (Vesper concert in Raleigh, Taylor & Kyla's wedding, Model UN conference), I'm climbing in bed.  Just because I can.

Oh and PS: One of the things I love most about this school?  During that five minutes that I was waiting for Campus Safety to get to me in Academic Circle, four separate strangers came up to ask me if I was okay, despite the fact that they could see these two administration members were taking care of me.  I love this school.  Complete strangers will care about you. :)

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Day 10: Where I Am

So....yeah.  There's not really any nice way to say this, so I'm just going to say it because anyone who cares about me will want to know.

I don't think the Botox worked.

I can't say definitively because I could be forgetting something my doctor said, or have misinterpreted what he said, but what I remember him telling me is that it will take 7-10 days post-treatment to feel relief.  Well, today would be day 10, and today and yesterday were the worst out of the ten, as bad as, if not worse than, things were before I ever got the treatment in the first place.  Which kinda leads me to think it hasn't worked.  The good news is, though, that he also said it takes some people a couple treatments to work, so all is not lost - relief could come after the round in November, or the one in February, or - who really knows - not at all.

I was okay most of the morning.  I sent out texts with the facts to the people I knew would want to know as I got ready for church, and I was even fine through the first half of church, just happy to be back with my family and being able to sing some songs I love and some songs that were new to me.  But then Pastor Sean started talking about Romans 8:28-29 and how everything in our lives - good, bad, happy, awful, every bit of it - has a very specific purpose: to make us more like Christ.  And that was when I started losing it.

Oh, I kept a straight face through the service; the last thing anyone needed, especially with all the visitors there, was to hear me crying in the front row.  But on the inside?  I was losing it.  My heart was pounding.  I felt like I was going to throw up.  I wanted to cry, but (thankfully) no tears were on the edge of my eyes.  I managed to keep it together until after everything was over and I talked with Pastor Sean.  I think it's pretty safe to say I can add him to the list of wonderful men who give me a clue as to what having an earthly dad might be like.  I told him, and he prayed over me right there.  The power of prayer, my friends; with every passing second as he went to the Lord on my behalf, I could physically feel my body relaxing.

I've had Pastor Sean's words resonating in my head and heart all day.  What I'm going through right now is absolutely awful, but knowing that God is using it to mold me, to make me even just a little bit more like His perfect son, that makes it hurt less.  It makes a little bit more sense now.  That doesn't mean I like it, or I think it's good, because I'll be honest, right now, I really don't.  I'd really rather prefer the pain to be gone.  But I know once I'm on the other side of this valley, I'll be thankful for it, just like I am for all those brain surgeries because I am now able to see all the good that came out of them.  And I don't think that God thinks any less of me because I'm not grateful for this thing right now.  There's enough grace to cover my self-centered view.

I'm thankful that God knows that I am doing my best, even when I wish I could be better, and that He's there in so many ways to pick up the slack that I may never be able to carry.  I'm thankful that He has given me so many tangible reminders that I am not alone.  I'm thankful that He is faithful to remind me of His presence when I need the reminder the most.  I'm thankful that He loves me even when I'm frustrated and sad and scared and maybe just a little bit angry.  Not angry at Him, because I know He's got a plan that's so much bigger than what I can see.  It's more like I'm just angry that I have to live in a world where sin brings on pain like this in the first place.  I long for the day when I'm free from it all...for good.

In the end, I don't have a darn clue what He's doing, but I know that He's the same God that I believed in before this whole mess started.  I know that He loves me.  I know that I am surrounded by so many warriors of Christ who will always pull me back out of the dark pit that the enemy has tried too many times to trap me in.  I know that I'm going to keep praising the God who made me, the God who gave me this life, pain and all, because He really is the only one who will carry me through this valley when I don't have the strength to walk it myself.  And you know what the really awesome thing is?  He knows when I'm running out of strength before I even tell Him.

My God is the highest.  My God is the greatest.  My God is the Lord of all.

So no matter what happens, I still win. :)

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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Not What I Expected

On Saturdays during the school year, I like to set an alarm for 10:30.  It's so I don't sleep all day and get work done, but also late enough that it feels different than my early wake-up calls during the week (you people with real jobs are probably laughing your heads off at me right now).

Anyway, first Saturday in the semester...didn't exactly turn out like I planned.  Surprise surprise.  I wasn't able to drag myself out of bed until 2:00 today thanks to the oh so lovely return of the headache that makes me feel a bit like a vampire since the slightest glimpse of sunlight makes me want to scream, "MY EYES!!! MY EYES!!!!!!!!!!"  So yeah, that was fun.  And totally destroyed my plans to be super productive and knock out a good chunk of this massive to-do list that I have for this weekend.  I seriously have no idea if this is normal for post-Botox treatment or what, this whole one step forward, two (or seven) steps back thing.

On the upside, I did still manage to get four long chapters read and all of my laundry done.  So at least I did something.

But the super, super good news?  After 17 very, very long weeks (yes, I counted), I get to return to Theater Church tomorrow!  I missed my church family SO much.  That by itself makes tomorrow a good day.

I'm gonna go to bed now so I can be well-rested for that, and for the work and meeting I have tomorrow.  Soon, on top of my crazy work load for my courses, I'll have tutoring to contend with, too! Ah!  Lord, keep me sane.

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Friday, August 23, 2013

Remind me why I did this again?

I know I say this every semester, but seriously, three days into senior year and I'm as exhausted as if it were November or something.  (And I'm simultaneously anxious for and dreading all that November is going to hold, so don't even get me started on that.)

I went to see Dr. Steegar to talk about plans for my "Independent Study", which is really just code for I have until December 4th to research and write a 20-page paper in French.  My mom said that when she returned to college when she was pregnant with me and was taking 400-level English courses, she would read 10-12 novels in a semester for one class, and yeah, I pretty much feel like an English major with all the reading of books I have to do on top of all the normal textbook reading and paper writing.  My eyes may literally pop straight out of their sockets from staring at so many books for so long and then turning straight around to this computer screen to write pages upon pages on my analysis and critique of "historiographic classics" that I frankly don't give a crap about right now.

Oh did I mention my first book review is due on Tuesday?  And we got the assignment yesterday?  We only have to read about 70 pages of the book, but still.  It's not easy reading and we have five days to read it, process it, decide what we think it's trying to say, and summarize it in 3 double-spaced pages.

I honestly don't know how I'm going to do all of this, plus grad school applications.  I'm not like normal college students.  I can't function on three hours of sleep a night.  I'm barely functional on six.

Sigh.  Don't tell me.  I know it'll get done.  I know December 10th will be here before I know it and I will be so proud of myself for completing this semester and most likely killing it, but right now it feels overwhelming and I'm terrified my GPA is going to crash and burn at the most crucial time.  And don't tell me I do this every semester.  I know I do this every semester.  But right now is what is real to me.  More real than any semester has ever been, what with grad school and the real world knocking at my door more loudly by the day and all.

Did I mention I'm tired?  I don't know why I'm so tired only three days into school, but I am.  So I am going to bed.  I'll probably have nightmares about daily quizzes, book reviews, and long term papers in French, but at least I'll be asleep.

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

My Sanctuary

Ask me to describe myself in one word at this very moment and the only word I would be able to give you is "chills".

Chills.  The kind it seems you can feel all the way down into your bones.

Sanctuary returned tonight, and oh my word, it was more than an hour of such pure, sweet worship.  And it couldn't have a more fitting name - worship like this is my sanctuary in a chaotic world that would stress me out beyond all imagination in a second if I let it.

When that band starts playing, and I close my eyes, even from 550 miles away, I can feel the power of Christ connecting me to that church, that sweet, beloved church, like only Jesus can.  For once, I can forget everything that's happened today and this week, even if only for a little while, and just sit in the presence o my Lord, singing along with a family I didn't ask for but showed up in my life anyway.  And there are only 12 weeks, 84 days, until I am reunited with the group that was present for the night that changed everything about my life, for the very first time since that night.

Everybody has that one place, that one thing that brings them peace beyond all explanation. I used to think it was being here at Campbell, but no, it's watching the Sanctuary livestream on Thursday nights and worshiping my God with the first church that ever felt like home to me.  It's the only time when I am truly able to forget the world.  I can't explain it, really.  But if you're thinking of your place, your sanctuary, right now, then you get what I am talking about.

The Lord always knows exactly what we need and gives it to us when He knows we need it.  After a day full of school stress, leaving me questioning how I'm going to do everything in pain, He knew I needed this.  Because of Him, sin has lost its power, and death has lost its sting.  Nothing can withstand His power and presence, not stress, not pain.  He is always bigger and stronger and better.  He is always enough.

And He is beautiful.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Where Hope Belongs

One step forward, two steps back.

That's what it feels like my head has been doing since not long after I received the Botox injections.  Counting the 15th, the day of the treatment, as "Day 0", this is what my life has looked like.

Day 1-2: no change in head pain, expected and extreme soreness at injection sites
Day 3: soreness gone, slight improvement in head
Day 4: head much worse
Day 5: head slightly improved
Day 6: head much worse

Meanwhile, I have all of these amazing people who are genuinely concerned for my status checking in, and it feels like I'm not telling the truth because everything is changing so frequently.  And I wish I had a more consistent view of what was going on.  The doctor said give it at least 7-10 days, which would be tomorrow the 22nd to the 25th, but having these days of feeling hopeful because the pain is getting slightly better only makes it hurt that much worse emotionally the next day when I'm back to struggling to hold my eyes open.

This is why I refused to be all excited and hopeful when my mother repeatedly definitively said "This is going to work."  She thinks I'm just being a pessimist, jaded from all the times that I've been let down by Western medicine, but the truth, I just can't afford to put my hopes on circumstances over which I have absolutely no control.  I can't afford to be sure of an ending that I can't promise, nor can anyone else promise me, is going to come to fruition.  I know from past experience that doing that only succeeds in tearing away, piece by piece, the strength that everyone else is so sure they see in me.  I can't afford to rest my hopes on the success of this Botox treatment, because I know that if things don't work out the way I so desperately want them to, the work that God has been doing in my heart over the past year and a half is going to be ravaged by an attack I'm not sure my heart could stand up against.

So when people ask me if I think this treatment is going to work and I respond, "I don't know," I'm not being evasive or refusing to think positively or any of that.  I'm being honest; I really don't know if I think it's going to work or it isn't.  That isn't up to me, anyway.  I'm simply choosing not to focus on the details that I can't control.  I'm choosing not to give power to a treatment that is simply the last tool my doctors can use to help me.  I'm choosing not to put my hope on breakable people and fallible medicine (which shouldn't be that big of a surprise, since I've been referred to as a "medical phenomenon" for more than a decade).

My life, or at least my body, has never worked the way people expected it to.  Western medicine has not worked to help me on several occasions, and doctors who have been in the business of helping people with my conditions for decades say they have never seen my circumstances happen before.  I have failed to respond to medicines and treatments that certain doctors have never seen fail before. I am alive, when several things have happened that, for all intents and purposes, should have made that impossible.  The only thing that all of that confirms for me is that I can't trust any of that.  I can't put my hope in any treatment, no matter how much it is lauded.  I can't be certain a doctor is going to fix me, no matter how many titles they have or awards they have earned.

What I can trust is that God has all the answers to the questions my case leaves my doctors stumped with.  What I can have hope in is that God is either going to lead me through every valley or carry me Himself.  What I can be certain about is that God has not taken His eyes off of me, my situation, and my story, not for a second.  He is where my hope lies.  He is the reason that I know that whether or not this Botox works with this treatment, after the next treatment, after the one after that, or not at all, this is not the end for me.  I serve an AWESOME GOD who is not defined by test results and modern medicine.

My hope for my future rests in the same Jesus who died so that I could have life, the fullest possible life, life for eternity.  And if you ask me, that is the right place, the only place where it belongs.

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Girl Time

Today was a good day.

I got up at 8 and immediately called the bookstore.  Thankfully the manager that knows me was there today, and he said it was totally fine to do what my uncle asked and just fax him the bill for my books.  So I got dressed and ate breakfast and first headed to get my new Student ID made when that place opened at 9.  It was smart of me to get there early because there were no lines.

My last Campbell ID ever!  Freaky stuff.  And I am totally wearing my favorite Vesper t-shirt in the picture.  I couldn't help it.

Then, I headed straight over to the bookstore.  Somehow, I think this was my cheapest semester yet, even though I also bought a Jansport bookbag (not cheap).  Weird, but hey, whatever.

After that, I came back and messed around on the computer for a bit and ate a little something before deciding to take a nap.  (I later realized that I took my night medicine this morning instead of my morning medicine, and my night medicine includes my sleeping pill, which explains why I was so tired when I shouldn't have been.)  Murphy's rule of naps: when you really want to sleep, everyone will want to talk to you; when you're wide awake and bored, no one will.  My phone kept going off.  It was aggravating, mostly because I clearly wasn't sleeping deeply because text message notifications don't normally wake me up, but I did get a little bit of sleep in.

Then, this afternoon, my friend Paige came and picked me up.  We went to Walmart, and I got a new desk chair (only $45!!), a bath mat, a couple towels, air freshener, a pillow and pillow allergy cover, and a curtain rod (because the one Jenn got me turned out to be too big).  After that, we decided to go to Zaxby's for lunch.  It was great to have time to just sit and talk and catch up with her.  She's hilarious!  After that, we came back and she helped me put my chair together; thankfully, she is a graphic design major and is therefore really good with visual stuff, because otherwise it probably would've taken me three times as long to get this together.  Ha!  I'm gonna miss her when she is in Ireland this semester (lucky thing!), but at least we got one good afternoon of girl time in before she leaves.

I got a weird stomachache tonight, so I couldn't go to Street Fair like I wanted to, but it's okay because something really awesome happened anyway.  I saw on The Vespers' tour dates page that they have a night Friday right set outside of Charlotte next month, and I posted on Twitter about it's how times like this that make me hate not having my own car (though my learner's permit did come in the mail today!), and Bruno wrote me back saying he was working on Raleigh for late October.  Half an hour later, boom, the ticket link was open.  Yes, I AM flying to Nashville in November and will see them for Taylor and Kyla's wedding, but it's not the same as a show.  These kids are the real deal when it comes to performing.  And I talked to my friend Summer, and since she loves them and has never met them, I bought the tickets and we're going to have a bit of a girls' night and go see them!  I'm so excited. :)  

And now I'm about to go to bed.  I only have one class tomorrow, at 10 am, but I am tired.  It's so crazy to think that my last year at this wonderful school is about to start!  All I'm missing is having Sundays at Theater Church in my life again, and it'll be complete.

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Monday, August 19, 2013

Monday Rambles

I did pretty much nothing today.  And it was awesome.

I considered going and getting my books and ID at first, but it was rainy and dreary most of the day, so that by itself made me want to stay cuddled up in my room.  But also, the main reason I didn't leave my room was because Uncle Ed got the furniture people to deliver my boxspring today, and I didn't know when they were coming (they really didn't even know when they'd be coming until they were on their way) so I wanted to make sure that I was in my room.  Thankfully, the dumpster put outside for move-in weekend was still there, so the furniture guys were nice enough to throw my old boxspring in it for me.  My new mattress slept great last night, and this boxspring is way nicer than the one I had, so I have a feeling tonight is going to be great sleep-wise.  (Hope I didn't just jinx myself! Haha!)

I had internet issues most of the day, which by itself isn't unusual for Campbell, but it was weird in that no one else in the dorm had complained with issues and my internet worked perfectly last night.  I'll admit, I made it way bigger of a deal than it actually was, and got way more frustrated than I should have, and the funny thing is that as soon as I said out loud (er...on Twitter) that I needed a perspective change real quick, the internet started working fine a few minutes later and I haven't really had a problem with it since.  God is funny like that. ;)

And now I'm going to bed because I'm going to get up early tomorrow.  I hope to catch the manager at the bookstore by calling first thing when it opens at 8, because he helps me every semester with the special situation with my uncle paying for my books, and then I'm going to go get my new ID made when that place opens at 9.  My last Campbell ID ever!  Ah!

My last year at Campbell really is beginning.  Whoa.

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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Messes and mildew and mold, oh my!

Soooo....yeah....what should have been a 4-5 hour job ended up being a 9-10 hour one.  That would be because approximately 50% of the stuff I kept in the storage unit all summer got covered in mold and mildew thanks to the torrential rains that have come in the past few weeks, including but not limited to: my mattress, my desk chair, and one of my treasured Vespers posters.

Mom and I got here at like 1:20, and I filled out the required paperwork, and then we unloaded the car.  Justin & Jenn (and their wonderful truck) and Holly & Michael arrived at 2:00 and we headed off to the storage unit.  Well, Mom and I ended up driving about 5 miles past it before turning around, ha!  Anyway, as soon as we opened the unit we saw the disaster.  And I immediately remembered that part of the paperwork I signed said that they're not responsible for any damage, but I was mad so I left the destroyed stuff in the unit.  Heck, I've had other people's stuff in my unit when I went to put stuff in it, and theirs wasn't damaged!  So these people can get rid of it, since they didn't bother to build units tight enough to withstand water getting underneath the doors.

Anyway, so we took what was salvageable back to my dorm and started unloading what we could and cleaning what needed wiping off with Clorox wipes.  Thank the good Lord that the mildew came off the wooden legs of my recliner.  Jenn found a furniture store that was miraculously open on a Sunday afternoon, and Holly and Michael stayed in my room cleaning stuff while Mom, Justin, Jenn, and I headed out.  Justin dropped Jenn at Walmart where she bought me a new bookcase (because mine was totally destroyed, cracked all the way through) and the rest of us went to the nearby furniture store to get a mattress.  I knew I had a very limited amount of money in my account because I had let Mom have a good bit of it, but a very nice lady helped us get a very nice and expensive mattress for only $299, which I could afford.  Of course, tonight, my mom got so concerned about my boxspring that she decided we need to get rid of that, but my sweet uncle Ed is calling that same furniture store tomorrow and getting them to deliver me one. :)

So after we got the mattress back, we set up my bed and then started sorting through all the rest of the stuff.  We ended up washing every piece of clothing and fabric (including my entire bedding set) that I had left in garbage bags over the summer, which is mostly what took so much time, and went through the entire container of Clorox wipes wiping down everything else.

Justin and Jenn left about 5:00 because we had already kept them long enough, and Holly and Michael left somewhere around 7:00, I think.  Mom stayed until 9:00 helping me with all the laundry and organizing everything, which mainly took so long because I was so hot and sore that I kept having to take breaks.  She left with a giant container that I had brought stuff up here in full of all the clothes and stuff that I didn't want to keep in my room.  I managed to get all my clothes away...eventually.  By that time it was past 11:00.

Then I ate.  And now here I am.  And I am about to go take a nice long hot shower, and then go to bed for a very long time.

Despite how many things went wrong today (and yes, since the bed is taken care of, I am mostly upset that one of my Vespers posters is destroyed, I treasure those things), I have a lot of things to be thankful for.  Holly, Michael, Justin, and Jenn were all super helpful and never seemed impatient or like we were keeping them here longer than they wanted to be.  Justin has a truck.  There was a furniture store open on a Sunday.  I had the money to afford a mattress, after getting a great deal (though sweet Justin literally offered to buy me one himself).  Uncle Ed is taking care of the boxspring.  Mommom is putting money in my account tomorrow, and my friend Paige is taking me to Walmart on Tuesday to get the last of the stuff I need replaced, including a desk chair so the one in the room doesn't destroy my back.  Some random guy in Walmart bought the screwdriver I needed for Michael to put together the bookcase for me just because I complimented his NC State hat.  Jenn helped buy the bookcase.  And that's just all I can think of right now.  God worked everything out for me, once again.

And best of all, I am home.  Where everything feels right and life makes just a little bit more sense. :)

Good night, and good luck.

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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Back to the place where I belong.

Ah.  It seems that I have actually survived this very, very long summer at home.

All my stuff is packed.  In a matter of hours, Mom and I will be loading the car to head back to the place that most of us Camels affectionately call "the Creek".  (Which is really a rather fitting name, a lesson all freshmen will learn come the first good rainstorm, ha!)

I am so ready.  Ready for my final year, ready to feel like I'm home, ready to get back into the swing of school and church and everything that simultaneously stresses me out and makes me so unbelievably happy.

That school, that cozy little campus out in the middle of nowhere, has been my home for years now, and I am so blessed to have found it and the community that comes with it.  I thank God for leading me to Campbell, for once again knowing what I needed even when I didn't even when this school was hardly on my list.  I have met some of the best friends I could ever ask for there, either as fellow students or chance meetings in the cafeteria with a band that would change my life.

Not many people can say that their professors know them personally, who will spend as much time as you need going over class material with you and answering all your questions despite the fact that they have other classes to prepare for.  A lot of college students go to schools so big that they are nothing to their professors but their ID number and a grade.  Not at Campbell.

Not many people have professors and administration members who will ask about their health, or tell them they're praying for them.  But I can.  Because I go to a school that doesn't shy away from its religious foundation yet somehow also encourages religious diversity and freedom.

This school helped me figure out not only who I really am, but what I want and what I deserve.  It has given me friends and experiences that I will never forget.  It has given me more than I could ever list out here, and I know that will only continue in this last year.  And nine months from now, when I've graduated and had to say goodbye to a place that means so much to me, I'm not afraid to tell you I will probably be crying the whole drive away.

No matter where I end up for grad school, I will always be Campbell Proud.

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Friday, August 16, 2013

A Night Out

Today was a good, good day.

Chelsea woke me up absurdly early for some bizarre reason and I couldn't get back to sleep for a bit, but eventually I did, and then she woke me up again, but I still didn't even get out of bed until 12:20.  After how long and exhausting yesterday was, that felt so good.

Mom and I both got showers, and then she took me to the eye doctor.  I got the lenses for both of my glasses replaced surprisingly quickly, and then we grabbed a late lunch, and she took me to get my haircut.  Now, I haven't gotten my hair cut or thinned since March, but one would think I was bald now considering how much hair was left on the floor afterwards.

Impressive, no?  All that is just from getting a couple inches cut off to get the front back to chin length and thinning it out.

Then, we went to Jacksonville.  First we went to Walmart and got a little bit of groceries and some bras and underwear for me that I definitely needed before I leave on Sunday.  Then we went to Staples and got Mom some notebooks for her kids.  Then we went to Sams and she got me a giant box of plastic silverware and a couple other food things for the house.  By the time we got home, it was 6:15, and I unloaded the car and then just hung out until two dear friends showed up for me.

Kasey is in the center and Crystal is on the right.  I first met these two ladies when I was 7 and they became regular babysitters for me and my sisters.  Mom was their 12th grade English teacher, and they actually became best friends in her class.  Tonight, they took me out for dinner and a drink, and I can genuinely call them friends.  I love that. :)  I don't remember life without them in it.  All we did was go to dinner and talk about all sorts of stuff, but it was so much fun.  They crack me up.  Kasey is such my big sister, and I look up to her in a way I could never look up to Holly or Chelsea, yet when I posted this picture on Facebook, she left me a comment talking about what an inspiration I am.  :)  Too sweet.  This was such a good thing for me after such a tense week.  I haven't had a night that made me happy like this since my birthday.

And now, another day is done and I am one day closer to returning to Campbell.  So yeah, today was good.

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

When God Shows Up Big Time

So I was going to write a normal blog post about today instead of just copying and pasting an email I sent out earlier about today.  But then I realized that I couldn't really tell how crazy and amazing today was any better than I did in the email, and I'm exhausted and don't really want to think of a whole new way to rehash this stuff, so let's get on with it then.


So um yeah, today was nuts.  But I'll start from the beginning. My mom's best friend drove me to Duke (3+ hours one way) because my mom is at her New Teacher Orientation. My appointment was scheduled for 1:15 and I actually got called back a few minutes early which is rare for this place. The nurse went through all the typical check-in stuff, and told me the doctor would be in in a few minutes. He came in at like 1:55, and started talking about the medication switches he had done last visit, but I was so antsy that when he stopped talking I just said "Am I getting the Botox today?" He paused and said "Did we talk about that last time?" I said "Yes, it was just dependent on insurance approval." So he said he was going to check on that. He came back more than 20 minutes later and told me "We can't give you Botox today. The insurance approved it for Raleigh Neurology (my normal neurologist who told me to go to Duke or another headache clinic specialist)." I started bawling in two seconds flat. He went to get the guy who could help me get the refund of my copay, since I "wouldn't be getting any treatment today". This other guy came in and asked me to tell him what was going on, so I did. He said "Let's go talk to Dee Dee, our lady who deals with insurance stuff." She was this tiny, sweet little old woman who I guess must've been in a really compassionate mood because she was immediately like "I have a contact at Blue Cross (my insurance). We'll get this straightened out." She spent close to the next hour calling the insurance, figuring out what they needed to approve Duke to give me Botox, calling nurses to get it all organized and faxing stuff. We figured out that it was Raleigh Neurology's fault: not only did my doctor flat out tell me they weren't doing the paperwork to get approval for the treatment because they knew I was going to do it at Duke, but they got the approval on July 1 and never bothered to tell me so I could fix it, not even when I was in that office on July 16. 

Miracle #1: this insurance lady knew exactly what to do and who to call because she just dealt with the same thing a few days ago. 
Miracle #2: she came back from lunch minutes before I walked in her office. 
Miracle #3: she found this contact no problem, and that contact was more than happy to help her (and me) even though she wasn't following specific company protocol. Dee Dee sent me back to the waiting room about 3:20 as she waited to hear back from the insurance contact so she could help someone else. 
Miracle #4: the approval letter was faxed over to us at 3:45. It is next to impossible to get Blue Cross to do anything in a day, much less an hour! 
Miracle #5: I was back in an exam room in ten minutes. 
Miracle #6: my doctor, a very busy man being one of the best headache specialists in the country, made time in his schedule to give me the Botox, and I was checking out by 4:15.

Oh, and to boot, my ride's husband is off tonight and could pick up their daughters, and she was super patient and didn't mind rearranging her whole evening for this.

I'm already approved for my next treatment, too, which will be in early November.

We serve an AMAZING GOD, my friend. Absolutely amazing. He deserves all the glory.


I hardly have the words to explain how much this humbled me, to see God show up like this.  It was like He reached down and grabbed me by the shoulders and said, "See?  Even when you think everything is going wrong, I'm still right there.  I'm still more powerful than doctors and insurance companies and policies.  I will take care of you."  And let me tell you, I really did think everything was going wrong today.  When my doctor told me they couldn't do the Botox today, I immediately started thinking about the fact that the next time I would be able to come back would be Fall early October, seven weeks from now, and seven weeks of school with this excruciating pain terrified me.

But then, God showed me why and how He is just so much bigger than fear.  Fear lost all power when Jesus got up from his grave, and it still has no power today.  God puts exactly the right people in front of us when we need them, even compassionate strangers who make it their afternoon mission to help you no matter what.  He is faithful down to the very last detail, and even though I cried out of fear earlier, I want to cry all over again out of sheer gratitude that He went and lined all of this up perfectly for me when everything seemed impossible.  I hear Him whisper a gentle reminder, "Nothing is impossible when you believe in Me."  My God truly is infinitely bigger than even the largest of mountains that stand in front of us.

Situations like this tend to make me want to go into "fix mode", where I try and figure out a way to make everything right again...or at least what I think is right.  But today, God confronted me with the truth that I can't fix anything that is wrong.  It's all Him.  ALL OF IT.  I didn't do a single thing today.  God put these people in my path who had the wisdom to do what I needed faster than I could have imagined it happening.  He is in control, I am not, and I am so unbelievably thankful for that!

It will take 7-10 days to know whether or not the Botox is working.  But you know what?  I said it this morning before I knew any of this was going to go down like this, and I can say it even more confidently now:  No matter what the outcome of this is, I know that I serve an AMAZING God and this is not the end for me!

To God go all the glory.  He deserves every last bit of it.

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Lonely, but not alone.

Sunday night, I talked to Brennan.  Things around here are bad, worse than I've really let on to much of anyone, and I felt this desperate need to hear someone else's voice.  Talking to him is so...easy.  I can't wait to see him and the rest of my Nashville friends in November.

But anyway, the very first thing he asked me was what was going on, and as soon as I'd finish one thing, he'd ask me what else.  It felt like he really wanted me to get it all out there.  We talked about all of it.  The thing that's on my mind tonight, though, is when I told him how dealing with all of the other stuff essentially on my own because I can't talk to my family about any of it has made me feel so incredibly so alone.  He responded with something that was very simple, yet very profound.

"Mallory, you may feel lonely, but you are so not alone."

He went on to remind me of all the people that have been walking with me through the trials of my life.  They may not be physically right here with me, but the simple fact that there are close to 30 people who ask for updates with every doctor appointment shows that he is right.  There is a big difference between lonely and alone.

What he said made me focus again on just how lucky I am that there are people in Buies Creek (whom I can't wait to be reunited with on Sunday!!), Raleigh, South Dakota, Nashville, Canada, Texas, people all over who, from hundreds of miles away, choose to care about me and my life and my story, anyway.  Few people, especially those walking through worse trials than mine, can say that they are that blessed.

But really, the most important thing to remember is that even if I didn't have all of these amazing people in my life, I am never alone simply because I have my Father.  He walks with me wherever I go.  He sees my every move.  He hears all my thoughts.  He grieves every ounce of my pain infinitely more than I do.  He is always here.  I can't get so focused on people that I lose sight of that.  I've worked too hard to get to where I am now; keeping Him #1 in my life has to be priority over anything else.

:)  God is awesome.  Matt called in the middle of me writing this post.  That just makes me smile.  I love how faithful He is to give us signs of His presence when we're pleading for them.  I definitely needed that.

Hopefully I'll remember the difference between lonely and alone better from here on out.

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Sleep Recovery

Sunday, my mom asked me if I wanted to come to work with her today, and I said probably not because I was most likely going to be nearly comatose recovering from the GRE.

I meant it as a joke, but apparently, my body was serious.  I fell asleep late last night because my head was at that awful place where I couldn't sleep but I couldn't do anything else, and then I slept all day long.  Save for the times when Chelsea woke me up to eat because she was in a surprisingly kind mood today.

Oh man, it feels good to do nothing.  Here's hoping tomorrow goes as well as today did.

5 days to Campbell!

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Monday, August 12, 2013

That overwhelming sense of...

I'm just so glad this is over!!!

Seriously.  I'm so tired from all that that test involved today, but any feelings of exhaustion or disappointment with my scores (I'll get to that in a bit) are completely overshadowed by the immense relief that I feel that this is just over and done with and I don't have to stress about studying for it anymore.  My plans for the next 48 hours basically involve getting out of my bed as few times as possible.  It's going to be grand.

My test was scheduled to start at 12:30, but the appointment ticket said arrive at least half an hour early.  Since neither Mom nor I totally knew where we were going, and I knew we'd need lunch and stuff, I told her I wanted to leave at like 10:00 because it's about a 90 minute drive to Wilmington on a good day.  I slept okay; I went to sleep easily just after 11:00, but woke up at like 3:40 and took almost an hour to get back to sleep.  So I didn't get up until 8:45.  Surprisingly, Mom actually got up without a fight and we only left a few minutes after 10 (which is really, really good for us), but of course, she had to get cigarettes and fill up on gas, and we got caught behind some absurdly slow cars, so with all of that and stopping for lunch and figuring out where to drive on a campus Mom hasn't been on in 15 years, we pulled into the parking lot by the building two minutes before noon.  And of course, I originally forgot my snack and water for the break, so I had to go back to the car.  Luckily, Mom hadn't driven off yet, and it didn't matter that I found the room a few minutes after noon.  I thought the paperwork would take at least until 12:30 either from the amount of it or the number of people starting at that time, but nope.  I walked in, put my stuff in a locked locker, wrote out these two sentences that basically said I promise not to cheat and signed the paper, and was signing in to start the test at 12:13.

With six sections (the writing was an hour, the three verbal had 30 minutes each allotted - and one of those was an experimental section and didn't count, though I don't know which one, and the two math had 35 minutes allotted each) and a ten-minute break, the test was due to take four hours.  But see, if I finish a section early, I cannot go back and go over answers I've already chosen or I will drive myself crazy second guessing my decisions.  So when I finished a section, I just went on to the next one.  So I checked out at 3:19.  There was some intense rain on the way home, so we got in about 5:15, and aside from getting food, taking out the trash and recycling (my weekly Monday chore) and taking a shower, I have not gotten out of bed since.  It has been wonderful.

Now to the only part anyone is probably remotely interested in: my scores.  My head has been absolutely awful since the moment I woke up this morning, so I knew I was going in at a disadvantage, but thankfully, I didn't feel as nervous as I expected to be.  I got a 154 on the Verbal section, which is 64th percentile, and 158 on the Math, which is 79th percentile.  Obviously, it'll take a bit before I get my Writing score since people, ya know, have to read the essays.   I was greatly disappointed at first, especially considering I didn't get to answer like 3 of the last math questions because time ran out, but after a pep talk from my mom and some encouragement from my friends, especially a few who have already taken the GRE and similar tests, I feel a lot better.  This isn't going to be the only thing schools look at, and my very good GPA and what I'm certain will be some excellent recommendation letters will help balance it out.

And in the end, I know that I did the best I could, especially given the circumstances with my head and how that was affecting my vision.  Even more than that, though, I know that God will direct me to the school that is perfect for me, just like He did with Campbell, which was such a total surprise.  He's good like that.

And speaking of Campbell, only SIX MORE DAYS until I return HOME!!!!!!!!!

Can you tell I'm excited? ;)

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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Game Time

All right, y'all.  It's here.

In about 14 hours, I'll be starting the biggest scholastic test I've ever faced.

As you can imagine, most of my day was filled with a LOT of reviewing.  I tried to give myself a good balance, though, and spent some time talking to some friends of mine who are oh so faithful to tell me the truth, things I already knew but that they knew I needed reminding of.  This is going to be a messy week, so I had extra nerves on top of the nerves I already had about the test, but God is faithful to speak through my dear, loyal friends to tell me exactly what I need to hear.  I'm so blessed in that area - it's never lost on me.  DNA doesn't make family, love does. :)

If you think of me, pray for solid sleep, minimal pain (morning and early afternoon are usually my worst times), and good memory.  I greatly appreciate it.

And can I just say again, I'm SUPER grateful I will know my Verbal and Math scores immediately. :)

Good night, y'all.  I took my night meds early so that my sleeping pill would be working at a good hour, and I am definitely tired.

Here's to the future.

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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Getting closer...

I'm not sure why we didn't go to Mom's school today, but whatever.  I spent most of the day in excruciating pain, so I guess it was a good thing.

I literally could not wake up until 5:30 tonight.  Thankfully Mom made me tacos without me even having to ask; that was how I got woken up - a knock on my door.

Then, I've spent the whole rest of the night working on GRE stuff.  Reviewing is necessary but kind of annoying.  I typed out the list of word roots and most commonly used words on the GRE (with definitions), then basic info on each section and info from the book on how to approach each section, each essay type in the writing section, and each question type in the verbal and math sections.

I didn't stop until my head was at the unbearable point again.  Tomorrow, all I'll have to do is go through the math resource at the back of the book and write out all the concepts/formulas I don't have memorized but need to know, and then go through the practice test and review the problems, specifically the ones I got wrong, and then review the 10 or so pages of info I'll have compiled (which is a heck of a lot better than an almost 600 page book!).  I'll also have to check out the website to figure out what I'm supposed to about the list of schools I want my scores sent to.  The book says bring a list with you, but there's something in my email confirmation that says you set that up online.  So yeah, I need to figure that out tomorrow. But that's it.  Which is probably a good thing, because the book says you're supposed to take it easy the day before.  I've already got test day info, my appointment ticket, and directions printed off so I won't even have to worry about that tomorrow.

No matter how I do, good or bad, I'm mostly just ready for this thing to be over with so I don't have to think about it anymore.  That's about it.  I just want to be done.

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Friday, August 9, 2013

I'm a nerd. A nerd with an adorable nephew.

It's officially official! :)  I am allowed to learn how to drive a car.  This is my temporary permit until the hard one comes in the mail.  I'm so excited.  Mom's even letting me drive part of the way to school tomorrow (we're going in the old car).  Yes, we're going to school tomorrow.  Mostly to get out of the house, but also so I can study without dealing with Chelsea and she can continue to get more work done on her classroom.  The good news is it will be all day, and Mom only has one bulletin board left to cover now that she's gotten some new wrapping paper, and that's the only thing left I can help her with.  So I should actually get some real studying done this time.

Speaking of studying, today was a rather productive day in that area.  Despite dealing with an unbearable headache for part of the day, I managed to study all the vocab and the 100 math concepts in the back of the book, and then I took the practice test that was also in the back of the book.  If that were the real test, I would've gotten a 161 (out of 170) on Verbal, and 163 on Math.  I still need to really fix my issues in the Verbal section, and I also made a few stupid mistakes because I was so tired tonight, so I know I can do better than this.  I have to do better than this.  But still, scoring in the 160s when I was not at the top of my game is a pretty good confidence booster.

Not much else happened today.  I listened to a lot of music while I was working to drown out all the yelling because Chelsea was particularly awful today.  I am happy that Mom is basically going on strike against her.

Random change of subject.  You know how a lot of people are obsessed with games like Candy Crush?  Well, I'm obsessed with Words with Friends.  The nerd is obsessed with what is basically Scrabble.  Wonders never cease, do they? ;)  All that to say, this happened the other day, and it made me pretty stoked.

134 points on one word.  That beat my old one-word record by 22 points.  :)  Watch, before long, I'll get hooked on Candy Crush.

Also, here's a funny video for you.  We were in the car after we picked Chelsea up from work the other day, and the song "Won't you take me to Funkytown?" came on the radio.  I asked Blake if he wanted to go (jokingly), but he took it seriously and was all, "Pwe pwe pweeeeeeeeease?! Go Funk-town!"

HILARIOUS.  I've watched that video like two dozen times and it cracks me up every time.  Man, I love that kid.

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Thursday, August 8, 2013


Last week, I got a really vague letter from the DMV.  It said that my medical paperwork had been approved so I was allowed to drive, but it talked about needing to wait for contact from some guy about the Driver Education School.  When I went at the end of June and took the permit tests, the lady never mentioned that I would need lessons before I could get my permit, presumably because I'm 21.  But the way the letter was worded, my mom and I were left thinking we needed to wait on a phone call before I could go get my permit.  Not to mention, this was a real problem considering I got the letter 2.5 weeks before I leave for school.

Well, I finally decided to call the number on the letter today, some area in the NC DMV headquarters.  I talked to some lady who reviewed what the letter said, because thankfully they scan in copies of every letter sent out, and told me that I didn't have to wait on anything.  I can go get my permit tomorrow!  And thankfully, Chelsea doesn't work until 8 tomorrow, which means we can just drop her off and head straight on to the DMV and Mom will only have to make one trip.  Since I've already taken and passed the tests and it hasn't been 90 days since I did so, all I'll basically have to do is go in and pay and get my picture taken and boom.  I'm so excited!

The rest of the day was spent studying, of course, and thankfully my mom didn't bug me much, aside from the point where I had to clean off her dresser full of tons of mail and a little bit of miscellaneous junk looking for an envelope that had all the documents I will need to present tomorrow to get the permit.  Luckily, we'd put all that together back in June when I expected to get my permit and left it all in said envelope for this very occasion.

Also, I'm super thankful because while I was cleaning out all that mail, I found a letter from Mom's new county/employer and, it turns out, her New Teacher Orientation is only 2 days instead of 3, and Chelsea has already asked for those days off.  So Mom isn't even going to tell Chelsea, because she'll go into a rage if she finds out, and just pretend she's going to the orientation and instead spend a whole day working in her classroom.  So she's not going to try and guilt me into babysitting Blake tomorrow so she can go then.  This means I can wake up super early to go take Chelsea to work and then go to the DMV, and then come back and spend all day studying.

I'll be honest, studying for a test this important while in this much pain has been pretty intense, but the closer the test gets, I'm surprisingly not getting more stressed.  I just have that kind of peace that tells you everything is going to work out okay.  It may not end up the way I expect or want it to, but it will work out okay.  :)

Oh, one more thing.  I finalized the list of grad schools I'm applying to.  Don't ask me which one is my top choice; they're all so good!

- Georgetown
- American University (in DC)
- Johns Hopkins (right outside of DC, but I can do one or both years of the program in Bologna, Italy!!)
- Princeton (which promises that all of its graduate students will graduate debt free)
- Columbia (living in NYC and going to either one of these schools for grad school would be pretty much a dream come true)
- University of Liverpool (I heart Liverpool!)
- Oxford (yes, that one, also in the UK)
- American University of Paris (in which I can do a one-year program for an English Master's degree, or do a two-year bilingual program and also earn a degree from the Sorbonne!!!!)
- NC State...because, for some bizarre reason, they have a Master's in International Relations, and everyone needs a safety school ;)

Ten schools, any of which I would be thrilled to attend.  The number seemed crazy to me at first, but Alex told me he applied to eleven law schools, so that made me feel less weird.  Besides, nine of the ten are EXTREMELY competitive schools; I'll be happy if I just get accepted to a few of them!  And Uncle Ed has already promised to, at the very least, take care of all the application fees.  Such an angel, that man.  :)

It's getting real, y'all!

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

How does she survive without me?


I must seriously love my momma, or be a complete wuss or something, because another day has passed where I got zero reviewing done all in the name of MALLORY I NEED YOUR HELP.

It started about 1:30 today, when I had to help her give Blake his medicine and then get him ready to leave while she got ready to leave (I had already taken a shower) because we all needed to run "just a few errands".

Well, just a few errands was a trip to some teacher supply store where I sat in the car with a sleeping Blake for 30 minutes while she got calendars laminated, and then dealt with him screaming his head off for 5 minutes until she came out.

And then we went to Walmart.  Walmart is Walmart - that is never short.

And then we picked up Chelsea.

And then Mom decided she needed to go work in her classroom since she won't get a full day in tomorrow because the psychiatrist had a last-minute cancellation and thus Blake has a therapy session tomorrow morning.  And she convinced me to go with her because "I could study there and at least I wouldn't be home with Chelsea and Blake."

Ha. Ha ha. Hahahahahahahahaha.

I am an idiot for ever thinking I was going to get any studying there.  Because wouldn't you just know it's awfully hard to cover bulletin boards in wrapping paper and banners all by your lonesome?  And it's next to impossible to move tables (because oh yes, my mother already decided she didn't like the set up of her room, a set up she decided she loved LAST. WEEK.) or cover a table in contact paper (it's just so daggon sticky!) without an extra pair of hands!

I'm just in a sarcastic mood tonight, y'all. :)

We left at like 8, and then spent the next 2 hours going to Michael's, and then Staples, and then Target, and then finally Walmart (a different one, but the dreaded Walmart nonetheless), in search of wrapping paper that didn't look like a birthday party (because what my mother thought were circles on one roll were actually balloons, and EACH BOARD MUST HAVE A DIFFERENT BACKGROUND) and a hot glue gun, because my mother left hers plugged in at school for several days, and apparently when that happens, those things die, never to be resuscitated ever again.  Michael's had them, but Mom'll be damned before she'll spend $15 on a hot glue gun.  (I could've told her Michael's would be super expensive, but she wouldn't have listened anyway.)  Target and Staples didn't have them.  And then golly gee, Walmart did for half the price of those at Michael's!

And to boot, she got more wrapping paper and some pasta for pesto.  Wonders never cease.  God bless those Walmart Supercenters.

On the upside to this very long day, my mom and I have the best time together.  Every time, without fail, we manage to make each other laugh until we cry.  It's grand.

We didn't get home until just after 11 and I honestly don't know where the last almost-two-hours have gone.

What I do know is that I told my mother she is forbidden from asking me to do anything that requires more than a few minutes of my time for the next four days.

The chances of her actually sticking to that?  Well, your guess is as good as mine.  She is my momma, and I do love her, after all.

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

End of a Chapter

He tried to add me on Facebook today.  I got the notification on my phone when my mom forced me to wake up and eat a sandwich around noon, and all I could think about was wanting to go back to sleep, so I just left it there.  The blessing of an excruciating migraine.

But it was there at the top of my homepage as soon as I opened my computer tonight. "______ added you."  So I did what I said I wanted to do in that post in June, and I sent him a message getting everything off of my chest once and for all.  I told him exactly what he did to me, all the questions he left me with, how badly he broke my heart, how I loved him so much and how much it killed me when he said this was just a joke to him.  I laid everything on the line for him and said that unless he could give me the full truth with no vague statements or diversions, then I didn't want him to ever contact me again.  I'm not interested in getting my heart broken again by a guy who did nothing but use me.  And then I deleted the request.

And then I texted the person with whom my relationship was nearly destroyed because of him, and told her exactly what went down, even that I sent him a message to get some peace and closure because whether she believed it or not, he broke my heart, too.  I was scared she'd be mad, but she wasn't.  She was just happy that I'd told her straight up what happened.  I knew if I didn't, he would.  She's forgiven me for everything that happened last year, for the fact that I ever chose him over her in the first place, so it's time I work on forgiving myself for the same.

I told Matt about it later, even going so far as to send him a copy of the message I sent to the boy.  His response what that I totally "shut him down", meaning there's nothing left for the boy to say back.  I told him that part of me thinks he won't respond because I know how big of a coward he really is, but part of me thinks he will because he can't stand not having the last word or being called out on his crap.  Matt said "we'll see what he plays", and without even thinking about it, I wrote back "Either way, it doesn't matter.  I'm done.  I've said my piece."

Finally, I can honestly say that I'm done with him.  I said everything that I wanted to say, and confronted him with everything that he did.  There's a lot of peace to be found in that, because the lingering torture I've felt over this had so much less to do with him and more to do with the fact that I didn't have an ending.  I didn't get to call him out on everything he did to me or all the questions he left me with.  And the beauty of Facebook messages is that I knew instantly that he saw the message.

So even if he doesn't have anything to say, maybe at least it'll make him think.  And maybe, just maybe, it'll make him understand what he did.  I don't want him to fix it.  I just don't want him to do this to someone else.

I've said what I needed to say, so it's time I turn that page and leave that chapter of my life right where it the past.

Love her or hate her, there are two Taylor Swift songs that fit perfectly with this.  (I may or may not have included one of them in the message.)  Music speaks to me, it always has.

"Dear John" (since she doesn't have a music video for this one, I'm settling for a lyric video)

Particularly "Well, maybe it's me and my blind optimism to blame.  Or maybe it's you and your sick need to give love then take it away.  And you'll add my name to your long list of traitors who don't understand, and I'll look back in regret how I ignored when they said 'Run as fast as you can.'"

Second, "I Knew You Were Trouble".  This is the one I sent him.

Spoken:  I think - I think when it's all over, it just comes back in flashes, you know?  It's like a kaleidoscope of memories.  It just all comes back.  But he never does.  I think part of me knew the second I saw him that this would happen.  It's not really anything he said or anything he did.  It was the feeling that came along with it.  And the crazy thing is, I don't know if I'm ever gonna feel that way again.  But I don't know if I should.  I knew his world moved too fast, and burned too bright.  But I just thought, how can the devil be pulling you toward someone who looks so much like an angel when he smiles at you?  Maybe he knew that when he saw me.  I guess I just lost my balance.  I think that the worst part of it all wasn't losing him.  It was losing me.

Once upon a time, a few mistakes ago
I was in your sights, you got me alone

You found me, you found me, you found me
I guess you didn't care, and I guess I liked that
And when I fell hard, you took a step back
Without me, without me, without me

And he's long gone when he's next to me
And I realize the blame is on me

'Cause I knew you were trouble when you walked in
So shame on me now
Flew me to places I'd never been

'Til you put me down, oh
I knew you were trouble when you walked in 

So shame on me now
Flew me to places I'd never been
Now I'm lying on the cold, hard ground
Oh, oh, trouble, trouble, trouble
Oh, oh, trouble, trouble, trouble

No apologies, he'll never see you cry
Pretend he doesn't know that he's the reason why
You're drowning, you're drowning, you're drowning
And I heard you moved on from whispers on the street
A new notch in your belt is all I'll ever be
 And now I see, now I see, now I see

He was long gone when he met me
And I realize the joke is on me, hey!

I knew you were trouble when you walked in
So shame on me now
Flew me to places I'd never been

'Til you put me down, oh
I knew you were trouble when you walked in 

So shame on me now
Flew me to places I'd never been
Now I'm lying on the cold, hard ground
Oh, oh, trouble, trouble, trouble
Oh, oh, trouble, trouble, trouble

And the saddest fear comes creeping in
That you never loved me, or her, or anyone, or anything, yeah

I knew you were trouble when you walked in
So shame on me now
Flew me to places I'd never been

'Til you put me down, oh
I knew you were trouble when you walked in (you were right there, you were right there)

So shame on me now
Flew me to places I'd never been
Now I'm lying on the cold, hard ground
Oh, oh, trouble, trouble, trouble
Oh, oh, trouble, trouble, trouble

I knew you were trouble when you walked in
Trouble, trouble, trouble
I knew you were trouble when you walked in
Trouble, trouble, trouble

Spoken:  I don't know if you know who you are until you lose who you are.

For once, saying goodbye and letting go...didn't hurt a bit.

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Monday, August 5, 2013

Worn Out

That's me in two words right now.

Lesson learned:   Don't blog when extremely upset.  It never turns out well, usually because it portrays exactly the kind of picture I don't want to give off about who I am.  You'd think I'd have learned this by now, but as my mom says, I have a thick head.

Besides, as I updated in the post last night, it only took about 20 minutes before Matt and I were apologizing to each other.  It made me remember this fact that we both agreed on a while back:  we're not afraid to argue and yell and get mad and call the other one an idiot, but we just can't stay mad at each other because we know we need each other too much.  Plus, I found out the real reason he wasn't acting like himself last night, which made the whole thing make a lot more sense.  I should've known 11 years couldn't be discarded that quickly. :)

We worked in Mom's classroom from 10:00 to about 4:15 today, and we are so close to being done, but man, I am exhausted.  And extremely sore!  I spent most of the time moving files back and forth across the room and putting them into file cabinets.  And when I say files, I mean five boxes and a 12 cubic feet rolling container of files.  My fingers are so torn u with cardboard paper cuts it actually hurts to type.  But it was nice to spend time with Mom and Rachel (her best friend) again, and to not be home alone with Chelsea and Blake, and to seem Mom's room looking so much better because I know this way she'll stress a lot less about it.

As if that weren't exhausting enough, I came home, ate dinner and started working again.  I packed all of my food and school supplies into boxes and that giant container that had had files in it, because it's so much easier to carry it in bags.  Then I did my usual Monday night chore of gathering all the trash and recycling and taking it out to the road.  By the time all that was over, I was dripping in sweat again and my back was so spastic I could hardly walk.  So then I sat on my bed and didn't get up until the season finale of one of my summer shows went off at 10:00.  I took a shower at 11:00.  Man oh man, the wonder that is hot water beating down on aching muscles. :)

Oh, and as an added bonus, my allergies are once again a total mess thanks to all the dust in the classroom. So right now I have my regular sleeping pill, 3 muscle relaxers, and 2 NyQuil in my system.  I think it's time I go to bed.

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Sunday, August 4, 2013

People are broken.

I knew that already; I just didn't think I'd get smacked in the face with a reminder of it tonight.

I just got in my first legitimate fight with Matt in, well, I don't even know how long, possibly ever.  All because of some stupid picture from one outlandish sect of Christianity that led to him going on some rant about "this is why all religion should be banned".  And apparently it makes me a "judgmental b*tch" to send him a private (as in NO ONE ELSE could read it) message talking about the fact that stuff like this that he posts hurts me, and that I think he knows it does.

Well, not only did he prove to me he knew it would hurt me, he told me didn't care, and went into a whole new rant that hurt me in a dozen new ways.  And of course, my mother walked in on me crying, forced me to tell her what happened, and then told me I was being oversensitive and to get over it.  Because of course she doesn't understand.

Friends warned me for a long, long time that everyone would hurt me at some point or another.  It's my fault for being stupid enough to believe that after so many years, it wouldn't happen with him.  Like, somehow, our friendship was invincible.  I guess it goes to show I had put faith in this friendship when the ONLY thing I can truly have faith in is God.

People are broken.

People are fallible.

This friendship is, at the very least, cracked.  I just pray the cracks will heal.

I'm not going to pretend people don't hurt me when they do, especially someone who is supposed to respect me enough for me to be able to tell him anything.  And I'm certainly not going to hide the one thing that is becoming a larger and larger part of who I am every day.

Even if that does make the guy who's supposed to be my best friend call me a nutcase.

Jesus said my faith would cost me.  I just didn't think it was going to happen like this, or hurt like this.  And so I write this post through blurry eyes begging for God to show me where to go from here.  And to lay with me in the meantime.

Update: And of course we can't last half an hour without texting each other to apologize.  That's more like it. :)

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