Saturday, January 31, 2015

When Pain Keeps Me Awake

In peace I will both lie down and sleep for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. ~ Psalm 4:8

This would be my comfort; I would even exult in pain unsparing, for I have not denied the words of the Holy One. ~ Job 6:10

That first verse from Psalm 4 is one that I learned many months ago from my friend Phil, one that he told me he'd prayed for me when I was in a period of being unable to sleep much at night. I don't remember if it was anxiety or physical pain, but that doesn't matter. That verse is one I have often recalled since he first texted it to me.

The second one, well, that's just one I looked up today, with a little help from Google. And wow. God knew I needed that verse today because my attitude has been so far from "exulting". According to, exult means to "show or feel a lively or triumphant joy, rejoice exceedingly, or be highly elated or jubilant." Yeah...I haven't been that. I've been closer to its antonym.

The past couple of days have been very rough physically. When I got home Thursday evening, my legs and feet were in really bad shape, but I figured that it was just because I had to walk farther to my evening class than I had for any of last semester's classes. So when I got home, I sat down for the rest of the night and moved as little as possible, thinking that I just needed to rest and the pain would alleviate.

Except then I woke up yesterday morning and walking was even more painful than it was the night before. I made it through what I had to do yesterday, and then I had to wait 45 minutes for a subway on the way home in a station that didn't offer a bench. Again, I thought if I just sat down and rested for a while, things would ease up.

Except then I went to bed last night and was completely unable to sleep. It started while I was on FaceTime with Clayton, the muscles in my chest cramping up despite the fact that I wasn't moving and hadn't had any problem with them in the previous 24 hours. I think I managed to hide it pretty well, though, since Clayton didn't say anything. If I laid on either side, I got stabbing pains in my hips and the chest spasms would start back up, but if I laid on my back, my legs cramped and twitched uncontrollably.

So I just laid in bed. I stared at my phone for a while, trying to distract myself from the spasms and pain and just general discomfort that spread throughout my whole body as the night went on, but then I just laid there, begging and pleading for sleep to come. I got a few hours spastic, completely unrestful sleep this morning, waking up just before the Wolfpack game started, but then I fell asleep in the second half and slept again until 7 pm.

I don't think I was angry last night, I was just sad and miserable. But either way, I was far from being exultant. I was far from resting in the promises of the Lord that are the same truth when I'm feeling good as they are when I've got tears rolling down my eyes in pain. So I hope that I can use last night as a lesson and a reminder to hold tight to the promises of God and who He is even when I'm caught up in what I'm physically facing at that moment.

Because God is the ultimate comforter.

Because God doesn't change, but my pain levels will.

Because it seems so very bipolar to go from praying with Clayton with a heart of gratitude to sad and exhausted in just a matter of hours.

Because God is Emmanuel, here with me always. He was there in the bed with me last night.

Because God is good. Always. And He doesn't ask me to praise Him for the pain (or whatever hard thing it is I'm facing), He just asks me to praise Him through it.

Because by choosing not to praise Him even when it's hard, I'm choosing to deny the holiness of my Father.

Because I am seen and known and loved and cared for by the King of the universe.

Because He gives me enough to get through, moment my moment. I made it through today.

But mostly just because He is GOOD.

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Friday, January 30, 2015

What It's Like to Be Known

It's one thing to be intimately known by the Creator of the Universe. God made us. Like an engineer, He knows the minute details of each of His creations, how He put them together, where everything belongs, how it all works, what it needs to move. Really, it would be weird if He didn't know all of that. Whether you like it or not, He knows our hearts and our minds, what makes us sad or mad and what absolutely makes us come alive.

It's something entirely different to be closely known by another person. (Not that another person could ever know you like God does, but as much as one person can. You know what I mean.) That takes vulnerability. That takes a choice to let down all your walls and trust that maybe this time, maybe for once, you won't have it all thrown back in your face. That takes boldness, the risk to put yourself out there again, no matter how many times you've been wounded or how many scars you still hold on to.

But you know what? When it works out, when you find that person with whom you just click, it's such a beautiful thing. It's the kind of thing that makes you smile, but when people ask you why you're smiling, you can't even really put words to it. When you let another person in that close, when you let them know your heart and see your scars and know what makes you tick, things happen. New wounds start to heal and old scars start to fade. Memories are made, even when it's something as simple as a conversation. You begin to see yourself the way the other person sees you, the way you can't naturally see yourself because you've always been your own worst enemy. And best of all, if you're lucky, you can see God more clearly, too.

I am surrounded by so much love, even when it's not physically close. I have the best crew of brothers a girl could ever dream of, and I wouldn't trade any of them or my relationships with them for anything in the world. They are all kind, and humble, and generous, and funny, and I consider myself so blessed every single day to get to be a part of their lives and have them be a part of mine. But there is one person with whom my relationship goes a level deeper.

Clayton. I knew he was my brother when we were at Campbell (obviously), but since we graduated, since all we've had to rely on are FaceTime and texting, our relationship has gone to a level that I didn't even know was possible being so far apart. Our bond has grown more since we moved 850 miles apart from each other than it ever did when we were on the same small campus, and that can only be credited to the grace of God. We got to talking about grace tonight, actually spurred from a conversation about baptism (long story), and then it became how people can be a sign of God's grace. I don't know many people who fit that more in my life than he does. There is a level of safety between us that takes risk and boldness and vulnerability, and I know it was all of those things for the both of us, but now that it has...I can't even really put words to it. I just know that I am so much better because of him and who he is in my life, and that I see God and His grace so crystal clear every time we finish one of our FaceTime dates.

I'm thankful that grace doesn't have to look one certain way. That I can see it in a chat with a dear, dear friend, in how he makes me laugh on a really painful day, in how I instinctively know and trust that I am safe to be honest when I don't get that feeling very often. God really is Emmanuel; He is here with us, always, in all things, even things we may not necessarily see as being holy.

This world is hard. Life is hard. Trust me, I know all too well that it is hard. And the hard can be so draining. When so many people from so many different directions are telling you what's wrong with you, or what you need to change, or how you should be, it can be really easy to believe that maybe if you just did what they said, the suffocating loneliness you feel when you lie awake at night would go away. That's how I was for a long time. But it's because of friendships like the one I have with Clayton (and Ryann, and others) that I've learned that changing really isn't necessary. Because it's exhausting to try to be who you think you're supposed to be, and doing it will drain the life right out of you. When really, if you're just true to the person you were made to be, eventually you will find people who see that and who yearn to know your heart and will love you through the mess and the scars and all the ugly baggage that every human has but not every human is willing to own up to. I know because that's what I have lived.

It's so unbelievably freeing not to have to try anymore. To have people who know my dark side and are still here. To be known. And it's in seeing the way that they know me and love me that I am reminded that I have a friend in Jesus that will stick "closer than a brother" (Proverbs 18:24), but God still loves me enough to send me people to walk through the roller coaster of life with. I love them because He loves me (1 John 4:19), but because of the love I have with them, I am drawn to know the greatest Love even more. What a beautiful circle, no?

So if I could say anything to someone feeling lonely, hoping and praying and searching for true friends that they can trust and rely on and do life with, it would be this: Keep praying. Keep hoping. Keep searching. Because they are there. God is Love; He doesn't know how to make an unlovable creature. I know what it's like to feel broken and unlovable, but when you least expect it, someone you won't expect to care (or a whole team of them) will show up and take your hand (sometimes literally) and stand by you through the mess. You will get the chance to be known and seen and do the same in return for someone else. I wish I could tell you when, because hope can feel impossible when you keep waiting and waiting, but just know that you are not a mistake. Your personality, your heart, your being, they are not a mistake. And one day, you will find someone who sees you and learns of your scars and says, "Is that all?" God desires to bless His kids, and He knows the desires of your heart. Trust in that when you've got nothing else to hold on to.

“Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: "What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . ."” - CS Lewis, "The Four Loves" ... often quoted, but so very true

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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Happy Video Day

Today: my other two classes don't have nearly as much work involved as I expected them to, but I'm still all anxious because, well, I'm me.

Well, that about sums today up, so instead of boring you with my usual beginning-of-semester anxiety rant, I'm going to share two videos that make me smile.

First, a RIDICULOUS mash-up cover of two Taylor Swift songs that I am absolutely obsessed with. Sorry not sorry.

And then a dance video of a high school theater teacher and his classes dancing to "Uptown Funk". Which just makes me smile.

Enjoy. Happy Thursday.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Grace Upon Grace

Jeff and Alyssa Bethke started a podcast recently, and considering how much I love both of their books (and they've signed a deal to write one together!) and following them both on social media, I knew that it'd be fun to listen to them talk with each other about life and answer questions from their followers.

When I listened to their newest podcast last night, I laughed a lot, but what I didn't expect was to be moved so deeply. Alyssa talked about a study she is doing and that she's looking at John right now, and they were talking about grace so she mentioned John 1:16 which says "For from His fullness we have all received grace upon grace." I loved what she said about God being so full that He's just got an endless amount of grace to pour out upon us.

I can't remember if I mentioned this before, but at the end of last semester, I bought a notebook at the bookstore to use as a prayer journal after watching an Anima video on quiet time with God and just feeling really convicted that I need to make God more of a priority in my life and become disciplined about prayer and studying my Bible.

And then my immense skill at procrastinating kicked in...I kept putting it off. First I was sick. Then I was sick and I had the papers. I had the notebook and my Bible sitting out right in front of me, and I still couldn't manage to sit down and actually open either of them. I know, I know. Explain that one.

See, here's the thing. Outside of a church service, I really don't remember the last time I actually opened my Bible. It's shameful, and I don't know how I let it get so out of control like that. But it's like the longer it went on, the more afraid of doing it I became. I've always been very intimidated by the Bible, I'm not sure why but intimidated is just the best adjective I can use to describe what I felt every time I looked at that book. It's weird and hard to describe.

But last night, I finally did it. I opened my Bible to John 1 and started reading. I decided to start there since I had Jeff and Alyssa's podcast still in my head. And you know what? It felt awesome. "Grace upon grace" really is such a beautiful phrase and idea. It's a sweet reminder that however much grace we think God has for us, whatever we think our limit is before He tires of giving us another chance, He has even more grace than that. As Jeff and Alyssa said, it's like the ocean's waves, constantly piling on top of each other, moving forward not because anyone moves them, but because that's just what they do.

God has the grace to forgive me for avoiding His Word for so long, and for wondering why I didn't feel close to Him even though I was missing out on the most obvious step.

There's so much freedom in knowing that, no matter what, there is grace for my mistakes. God doesn't judge me on what I've done, and I am so very thankful for that because if He was as hard on me as I am on myself, I'd be doomed.

I pray that as God teaches me to stop beating myself up for my past mistakes, that I can remember that He really does have grace upon grace for me, scars and mistakes and all.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A different kind of fearlessness.

This is from my Instagram last night.

This is just another aspect of my One Word, at least in my eyes. I'm tired of being afraid to look in the mirror, for fear of how disgusted I'll be. I'm tired of being afraid of people looking at me, especially considering that fear is largely unwarranted. I'm tired of being afraid of what a confident me would look like.

I spend so much time focusing on taking care of other people, investing in other people, that I think I kind of forgot what it's like to invest in myself. To invest in resting my spirit in the arms of the Father. I love a lot about my personality, but I have to learn how to love my body, too. Because when I do, and when I see myself as the beautiful creation God made, no other opinion will matter.

Knowing something is true and believing it is true are so very different. I know that God sees me as beautiful, but I don't believe that I am beautiful. This year, I pray that God teaches me to believe that I am beautiful, so much so that I believe with all of my heart and soul. This life is too precious and too fragile to spend it disliking my body anymore.

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Monday, January 26, 2015

I did it.






Sorry if the giant text startled you, but I think few things warrant that like me writing 3 papers totaling 67 pages and 15,797 words (not including footnotes, bibliographies, charts, or title stuff) in twelve days. Just in time for classes to start on Wednesday. Provided school isn't still canceled. The mayor of NYC ordered all cars except emergency vehicles off the street after 11:00 tonight which is a bad sign.

The rest of the day has been sleep, food, Criminal Minds, and listening to the weather people talk about how much snow we're going to get tomorrow. It's been snowing since early this morning, but nothing totally outrageous. Outside right now it looks similar to what I saw last January at Campbell. Except, ya know, way more stuff to slip on in a concrete jungle. Don't worry, I didn't leave the stoop outside my building door. Tomorrow should be far beyond anything I've ever seen.

Welcome to New York. It's been waiting for me.

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

The voice of truth tells me a different story.

(Warning: This one's a long one. Sorry about that. This video got all sorts of emotions and things stirred up in me.)

(I didn't transcribe the whole thing, just basically the second half.)
This is what the voices of the world are trying to tell us. They're telling us that you have to be the best, you have to be the prettiest, you have to be the most popular, and if you have ever made a mistake, then you are damaged goods. This is the voice of the world, and the more we listen to it, then the worse the story we tell about our lives is going to get.

But take heart! Because there is good news, and that good news is that there is another voice that we can listen to. You know how I know that those four things I just mentioned are myths? I know that those four things are myths because I know that God's Word is truth. And in God's Word, I actually see God telling a completely different story about who we are. And this is the other voice we can listen to, the voice of the Lord.

And the Lord does not say that you are defined by what you do, but in Ephesians 2, verses 8 and 9, God says, "For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift from God - not by works, so that no one can boast." You see, God doesn't say that you have to be the best, but God actually says, "No matter what you do, good or bad, win or lose, I LOVE YOU." God says, "You can't earn your way to worthiness by being the best because I have already counted you worthy by my gift of grace."

God also doesn't define you by what you look like, but in Psalm 139, the psalmist says, "I praise You, God, because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works (me) are wonderful, I know that full well." God doesn't say that you have to be the prettiest or the most attractive. God says, "You are already stunning beyond compare because I made you specifically, on purpose, as a work of art."

And God also does not define you by who you know, but in Galatians 3:26, He says, "So in Christ Jesus, you are all children of God through faith." God says, "You don't have to have the most friends, you don't have to have all these perfect relationships, because with me, I'm offering you a relationship  more intimate and loving and perfect than you could ever imagine."

And last but not least, God does not define you by your past mistakes, but in 2 Corinthians 5:17, God says, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old is gone, and the new is here." God does not say that you are damaged goods. God says, "I don't care what you've done. In me, with a relationship with me, you can be made brand new."

And so we're left with a decision, and this is a big decision because the story that you tell with your life will ultimately dictate the quality of the life you live, and the story you tell with your life is going to be dictated by the voices you choose to listen to. So our decision today is: whose voice are you going to listen to? Are you going to listen to the voices of the world that are dead set on convincing you that you're not enough, or are you going to listen to the voice of God who continually tells us in His Word, through prayer, through worship, through community, and mostly through His Son Jesus, that in Him and in a relationship with Christ, He makes us enough?
- Jon Jorgenson, The Anima Series

Before I say anything else, let me just say that when you have ten minutes to spare, you need to watch that video. I don't care who you are that is reading this, you need to watch that video. I wish I had some way to send it to every on the whole planet. It is that universally relevant and that powerful.

Okay, now that we got that out of the way...I love The Anima Series. Y'all know I do. I wouldn't have devoted so much of my free time to transcribing their videos this summer (and Anima friends, if you read this, I promise I'm going to get back to that! The past few months have been way harder than I expected, but I have not forgotten or abandoned you! I promise!) but there have been very few of their videos that have made me choke back tears and feel infinitely grateful I'm sitting in a chair when I watch it for sheer fear of falling on the ground in weakness. I can think of only a handful of them that have made me cry. This may be my favorite one of their whole existence simply because it answered a question I've had for a long time and opened my eyes to some hard truths.

At the end of his 7 9 minute sermon, Jon asks the viewers to comment with which identity myth they are most vulnerable to fall victim to. I couldn't pick one. I couldn't pick one because they're all voices that circle around in my head...pretty much constantly, if I'm going to be totally honest. As I left in my Youtube comment, I'm a self-conscious-about-my-weight people-pleaser who can't stand to be mad at anyone or have anyone be mad at me, who still spends way too much time beating myself up for my past mistakes, and who feels like school and my grades are the only thing I'm really good at.

Does my mom pressure me about my grades, and does my extended family expect me to succeed? Yeah, sure, but none of them put a tenth as much pressure on me about succeeding as I do on myself. Making people proud of me is like some bizarre addiction. My brain has become convinced that that's the only way to survive. And if I'm not making the people I love proud of me by what I do, I must be doing something wrong. When I don't get the grades that I normally do, or that I think I should be getting, I immediately become convinced that I've failed, that I've embarrassed myself to the people who have stuck by me. The truth is, nobody loves me because I'm smart, least of all God. My family loves me because I'm me. God loves me because He made me, because I'm His child, and there's nothing I could do to make Him love me any less. Especially not get a check minus instead of a check plus.

My closest friends have heard plenty about the comments I've heard from various people about my weight, but almost no one has heard anything about the things I tell myself. I can be really, really mean to myself. I get so frustrated that every time I feel ready to make a change and dedicate myself to a lifestyle change and exercise regularly, some physical injury or surgery happens and completely sets me back by making me sedentary again that I get to the point where I just want to give up because it feels like I'm just never going to catch a break. And then I get mad at myself for not being strong enough to work past all of the pain and lose weight anyway like those amazing stories you see all over social media and the news and whatever. And once again, I feel like I've failed. But God knew. He knew what my body would go through when He made me. He knew how much weight I would gain. And He loves me still. Even more than that, He says I'm beautiful.

Ask pretty much any one of my friends if they think I'm too nice, and I'm almost certain they'll agree with you. I'm nice to everyone, even when they're not nice to me. Being mad at anyone makes me feel sick (no I'm not kidding) and sad and I will do anything to avoid it or make it go away. And if someone is mad at me, particularly someone I really love and have really invested in, I will go to the ends of the earth to make things right. I am the textbook definition of a people-pleaser. I want people to like me. I want people to be happy. And it takes a heck of a lot for me to turn my back on you. Friday night, when I was out with Holly and the roommate, Landon came up in the conversation, and I actually said, "I really just feel sorry for him." Holly's immediate response: "WHY?!" If I can't even stay mad at the guy who spent almost six years messing with my head and breaking my heart, and I think it's safe to say that anyone else is pretty safe in escaping my slam book. But God says that it's okay if not everyone is okay with me, because His is the only approval I really need. No relationship I could ever have on this earth could even come close to my relationship with the One who loved me first, loves me most, and loves me the best. So why do I put so much weight into them that I act like my whole world has been rocked when they hit a rough patch? It's a waste of energy and heart space.

With the past almost six years of friendships marked down on this blog, through all the stories, all the memories, through all the roller coasters, I can instantly tell you what the most repeated question is: "How did I ever get so lucky to get friends like this?" Matt, Ryann, The Vespers, my Reformation brothers, my soccer brothers, with all of them, no matter how hard I tried, I could never wrap my head around how they could deem me worthy of their time, their energy, their love. Well, thanks to Jon and this video from The Anima Series, I finally have the answer. I never understood why my friends thought I was worthy of love because I've spent my whole life convinced that I'm damaged goods, that I'm too broken, that I'm a lost cause for anything good. The events of my past, the things that I kept saying were just scars, they still had hold over my mind. I believed those voices I used to hear in person all the time - that I wasn't worthy of love. So even though I have people who love me now, I still had those old voices echoing in my head telling me I don't deserve it. But you know what God says? Those voices are CRAP. (Okay, He probably says it a little more nicely than that. But you get the point.) Those voices are just the enemy trying to distract me from the vivid reminder that my sweet friends are of what Christ-like love is. They are the enemy trying to separate me from the good things God wants to give me, His daughter, His princess. God has called me WORTHY, worthy of love, worthy of affection, worthy not because I am anything in particular, but worthy because HE is GOOD.

God's grace has made me worthy. God's grace has made me righteous. And most of all, God has made me NEW. Not my GPA, or the number of As I get, or the number of friends I have, or the number on my jeans. God. And only God. Because of God, the memories of my past, and the voices that go along with them to haunt me, well, they lose. I've let them have power over my mind and spirit for far too long. That ends now.

Lord, please forgive me for all the time I've wasted not focusing on You. Please forgive me. You are the only thing that is worth my time and attention. Help me to learn to focus on Your love and grace and block out the darkness that hides in the corners. You win. You always win. Help me to trust that You are bigger than my scars and my demons. I'm tired of not seeing myself as the righteous child of my King, my Father, that You've known I was all along.

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Ah, brick wall, there you are.

Well, I knew this feeling would come sooner or later.

After writing almost 14,000 words and more than 50 pages in eight days, my motivation ran into a serious brick wall and came to a screeching halt when I woke up today.

Despite knowing that it is Saturday which means I have to turn it in in just two more days, I had absolutely no desire to sit back down at my computer and write another. dang. paper.

My brain was all tapped out.

My energy was kaput.

My productivity came to a standstill.

I just wanted to lay on my bed and not move a single muscle.

Which is what I did for most of the day. But then I started thinking about what other stuff I have to do tomorrow and Monday, and how I'd regret wasting this time and then working myself into a panic to get it in on Monday if I got behind later on. And I talked to Mom who, when I told her I need some motivation, responded in her best, most actress-y, most exaggerated voice possible, "DO YOU WANT TO FAIL?!" Ha. That's Mom-code for "suck it up and get on with it, crazy child".

So I did. And I got 1600 words done, the introduction plus 2 of the 6 sources I need to discuss. That leaves 4 sources and the conclusion to do between tomorrow and Monday. Totally doable.

Tonight, though, I'm going to bed (relatively) early because I have church in the morning. I didn't make it last Sunday because I was up half the night with an upset stomach (and that was AFTER puking that morning), so I am more than ready to get back.

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Friday, January 23, 2015

New crazy makes you appreciate your normal crazy.

The roommate got back tonight! The normal roommate, not the crazy temporary one. Hopefully I never have to see that lady again. I know the roommate and I have had a few issues, but she really is pretty awesome, and it was obvious what a good roommate she is after dealing with crazy.

She didn't get here until almost midnight - her mom, sister, and aunt all drove her down to help her bring back all her stuff - and almost immediately she asked Holly and me what it was like living with the temporary lady, and that turned into like an hour long venting session of how bad it was. And it turns out, the roommate was even bothered by her over break because she kept calling and texting her about stuff that the roommate could do absolutely nothing about while 200 miles away with her family. Sort of like how she called me then Holly about our mailbox while we were in North Carolina.

So she unloaded most of her stuff and then Holly convinced the two of us to go out for a drink. So we did that and ended up staying out until 2 am. It was good to be reunited the three of us.

That's the only remotely interesting thing that happened today, as I forced myself to take pretty much the whole day off and didn't get out of bed, but then I did get this little introduction thing and bibliography for my final paper done and sent to the professor like he asked me to. So the day wasn't a total bust.

The final paper involves discussing six sources, plus an introduction and conclusion, so as long as I get at least two sources done tomorrow, then I'll be in good shape to finish this thing just in the nick of time on Monday like I promised. And then I'll have a mental day off right before my first class on Wednesday. I'm so excited for that! No seriously. I'm so excited.

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Sometimes I even amaze myself.

My anxiety got all out of whack as soon as I laid down last night, so I didn't fall asleep until after 3:00 this morning and then had to get up at 7:00. Ugh. 7:00 isn't even fun when you're well-rested.

I went and got an EEG.

Then had a check up with my neurologist. They upped my seizure med again because of the one seizure I had in early December, and it looks like I'll be spending at least part of my Spring Break in the hospital doing another one of those video EEGs where they force me to have seizures. Ugh. So much fun.

Then I went to the post office and finally mailed back the wrong size phone case that I ordered.

Then I went to the pharmacy and got a med I run out of tomorrow.

Then I ate lunch and watched Chicago PD from last night.

And THEN, I finally got to take a nap for a little over three hours. Which was glorious.

I messed around for a bit after that, ate dinner, watched some TV, waited for the girl who was subletting the roommate's room to come pick something up she forgot when she moved out.

I texted with Mom while I was trying to start working, but she was in a good and weird mood tonight so she was very talkative which meant my phone was going off every 10 seconds which is not very conducive to work.

But then the Wolfpack game was starting, so she got busy. And I worked while checking the live stats every two minutes. We lost. It was stupid and totally avoidable. Oh well.

And guess what...I finished Paper #2 tonight! Actually I finished it and emailed it in right before I started this post. 30 pages, 7,500 words, in four days. Basically 24 hours ahead of schedule. I can't believe I pulled that off, but as Emma told me, I've got one hell of a work ethic. :)

Now I only have the shortest but most difficult paper left, but I am very very tired now, so I'm not going to think about that right now and instead think about the fact that I'm proud of myself for getting two of three papers done in eight days and a whole day before I expected to have them both done.

Good night, world. I need some sleep. Hopefully it won't be so difficult for me tonight.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

I can't think of a title for this post. Sorry about that.

I stayed up until almost 3 am this morning trying to get Bitcoin to work so I could get money to this one person who would sell me their tickets, and then because I couldn't get the money to transfer from my bank to the Bitcoin wallet in less than 4 business days and she was only willing to hold two tickets until Saturday, the whole thing started stressing me out so bad that I started crying uncontrollably. And that, my friends, was when I knew I needed to go to bed.

And then both people I was trying to see if I could get tickets from sold them all by noon today. Because of course.

So between the staying up until 3 am frantically working on the Internet (I must have tried a dozen different Bitcoin websites) and the falling asleep after sobbing for like 45 minutes, I spent the day in bed with a massive migraine.

I finally managed to get up around 5:00 and eat something, and then got to work. Holly and I had to do laundry tonight, so I even took my computer to the laundromat and worked while we waited for the clothes. And guess what? I got the whole third section of my paper done, and it actually turned out to be almost 10 pages. It looks like my paper may be more than 30 pages, I hope my professor doesn't have a problem with that. I have one more section plus the conclusion left.

So despite most of my day being totally shot, my night was very productive. Yay for that.

Tomorrow, I have to get up super early because I have to go get an EEG done and then go for a checkup with the neurologist. I better get to bed.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Craigslist is stressful.

Am I gonna get the deal?

What if they already sold it?

Why aren't they responding to me?

What if they aren't answering because they're selling it to someone else?

Where will we find these if not here?

How long until they answer me? Don't they want to make some money?

How does this transaction part work?

What if this is a scam?

ARE THEY EVER GOING TO RESPOND? COME ON DUDE! (And I don't even know if they're dudes.)

That's basically the cycle going on in my head for the past hour and a half as I've now tried to contact two different people with two different offers about some tickets that Mom and her boyfriend want. You know old people and the internet - bad combination. ;) And neither person has answered me more than once. Which is probably really only making me anxious because I'm getting a text from Mom every other minute seeing if I have tickets nailed down yet. But still. This is not good for my nerves.

In other news, I'm about halfway through with Paper #2. So hooray for being ahead of schedule. I'm officially done with physical therapy, hopefully for a VERY long time. I finished my Walgreens application, so now all that's left is for me to call the bazillion stores in Manhattan - surely one of them is hiring. Methinks I'll wait until next week, though, so I don't have to go in and start training somewhere while I have these papers hanging over me.

And that about sums up Tuesday for me - productivity and nerves.

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Monday, January 19, 2015

Sabbath Time

I was talking to Emma last night about how overwhelmed I was feeling, as she's the friend who most understands how suffocating anxiety can be when it gets out of hand. She told me she hoped I could find some sabbath time, and I told her that I didn't think that would be happening before next Monday when I get these papers done and turned in because they were basically all I could think about.

Well, today, despite the fact that I knew I needed to get up and get started on paper number two, I forced myself to get a little bit of sabbath time in today. I stayed in bed until the afternoon, not even sleeping the whole time, just enjoying the comfort of my bed and the peace of the quiet. And it was exactly what I needed. I feel way less overwhelmed today than I did yesterday. Isn't it amazing what just a little rest of your body can do for your mind and spirit?

After the very slow start to my day, I got up, took a shower, watched an episode of Criminal Minds, cooked some cheeseburger macaroni, and then washed all the dishes in the sink. I put on another episode and got to work and managed to knock out almost six pages tonight. So yay for that. I also planned out the rest of the information that I need to research for the rest of the paper and got a general idea of an outline. Yay for productivity.

And now I'm going to watch Castle and hang out and possibly go to bed early because I can. That, and I actually have to get up and out of the apartment tomorrow. Hasta luego, blog land.

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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Don't give up. Don't ever give up.

The words of the great Jimmy V are echoing in my head tonight.

Earlier today, I watched Russell Wilson and the Seahawks come back and win a game in overtime to make it to a second consecutive Super Bowl. They got 15 points in 44 seconds, didn't have their first lead of the game until there was 1:25 left on the clock, and then got a touchdown on the first possession of overtime. Russell was sobbing in post-game interviews, and a teammate of his said that he never stopped saying they were going to win the entire game, even though they were down 16-0 at the half.

Russell believed they were going to win, even as fans left.

Russell believed they were going to win, even as he threw his fifth interception of the game.

I know that it's "just football", and that those guys get paid a heck of a lot of money for "just football", but I just need to say that an NFL quarterback is one job that I do not envy whatsoever. They control the offense, they are the face of the team, and even though they may be the guy everyone loves when a team wins, they are also the first guy people want fired when things don't work out.

Considering how hard I am on myself when I am the only one I have to be responsible for, I can't imagine the stress my mind and body would take if I had an entire team along with their millions of fans putting their hopes on my ability to make the right decisions under pressure.

And beyond that, the quarterback has to be the leader. He has to be the guy that keeps his teammates' heads in the game even when all hope seems lost. Because if he doesn't, they don't have a snowball's chance in hell of winning. I tend to kind of suck at even keeping my own head in the game when things get tight.

But you know what? Jimmy V was on to something. You can't give up. You can't ever give up. Because when everything else fails, hope is all we've got. Even if it's just the hope that tomorrow will be a better day, hope is what gets us through when the whole world seems to be absolutely terrifying. Hope is what pushes us to get out of bed when we really don't want to. Whether you're a Christian whose hope lies in Jesus and the promise that this world is not the end or an atheist who just has the hope that maybe the future will have something good waiting for you, we all have hope in something. We all need to have hope in something, because if we didn't, the darkness we live in every day would strangle us.

I wish I had some big revelation or lesson or something to end this post with, but really, I'm just writing it for me. To remind myself not to give up. Because truth is, right now I'm really overwhelmed and need to remember that hope dies last.

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Saturday, January 17, 2015

No Rest for the Wicked

(Bless you if you got that reference and me quoting Ozzy Osbourne doesn't completely freak you out. Sometimes I title posts with whatever is the first thing to pop in my head, and today, that was it.)

You know what's really NOT a good start to the day? Puking. That was what happened not even five minutes after I opened my eyes today. I have no idea why. I knew I had slept so long that I needed to eat, so I forced myself to eat a plain English muffin, as that was the only bread product we had around and I thought that would help soak up any acid still in my stomach.

Then I distracted myself from that awful feeling by following along with the live stats on the Wolfpack game, which was far too close for comfort for most of the game, but thankfully we pulled out a win at the end when it mattered.

After that, I went to the pharmacy and picked up my seizure med and then to the grocery store because we were low on a lot of stuff. Thankfully, there was more than one person working at Spiegel when I got back, so I got one of the guys there to carry it up the stairs for me, which he didn't mind doing at all because he knows about my shoulder injury and told me I am not allowed to reinjure myself. Ha! Plus, everyone there loves me.

I got all that put away and relaxed for a bit because I was super out of breath, and then got distracted by Criminal Minds.

Thankfully I broke my distraction when an episode I really don't like very much came on, so I took a shower then got to work on my "five pages a day" goal for tonight.

But that didn't last very long because Clayton FaceTimed me a little after 8. Oh that boy. He is my favorite. I talked to him for like an hour and then knew I had to get back to work.

I actually got almost six pages done tonight. So yay for that. Paper #1 should be done tomorrow.  Productivity feels nice, especially since I've felt so awful for basically the past month that I really haven't been doing much at all.

And now I'm going to eat something and go to bed so I can get up early for church tomorrow. Yay church! I've missed my City Grace people. :)

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Friday, January 16, 2015

It's all about perspective.

You know what's a lot less intimidating than telling yourself you have 11 days to write 3 term papers?

Telling yourself you have to write 5 pages a day.

Five pages a day sounds a lot more manageable, doesn't it? Yeah, I thought so. If I do five pages a day, it will all get done on time.

I got my five pages for today done just a few minutes ago, so as soon as this Benadryl kicks in, I'm going to bed.

Oh yeah, I have bronchitis. The doctor was very confused as to the hospital doctor's choice of antibiotic, so she put me on a different one plus a steroid inhaler and told me to continue the Prednisone and come back on Tuesday.

I couldn't finish my Walgreens application today. I waited around for almost an hour and the girl who was in there before me still wasn't finished, and I had to get to my appointment, and then I ended up being at the doctor for two hours, and by the time I got out the manager had left. No big deal. I'll go back on Tuesday when I head back that way for my (hopefully final) physical therapy appointment.

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Being back is weird.

Waking up in my apartment was weird.

Vacation officially being over is weird.  Now I've got to buckle down and get these papers done. The 26th will be here in the blink of an eye.  I just can't make myself sick with stress while I do it.

I was so out of it today that I moved my doctor appointment to tomorrow, which worked out okay because I have to go to Walgreens to finish my application for a job anyway, and there's one right near the Student Health Center, so two birds one stone.

I'm ready to not feel awful anymore.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

This time, I cried.

When I had to say goodbye to everyone at the end of last school year, there was only one time that I cried, and that was when I saw Austin the last time. And even then, it wasn't bad. I basically just teared up a lot.

This time was different. I felt on the verge of tears the whole day today, and since I had no one else to see I just hung out in the girls' apartment until the afternoon when it was time to leave feeling sad. The car ride there with Zack was good, fine, we talked about a lot of different stuff, so I was distracted from feeling sad.

But then, once he dropped me off and I was going through the airport by myself, the tears started rolling and they didn't stop until just before I boarded. Like I said yesterday, being back just reminded me how much I really do miss my brothers and the rest of my Campbell family and how different it is in New York not having them close by. I love my home in New York, but I really wish it wasn't quite so far away or, at the very least, that I knew when I'll have some time with my brothers again. Coming back just to have to say goodbye again was almost harder than saying goodbye the first time.

Here's the interesting part of my day: my flight had 13 passengers on the entire thing. It was bizarre, and by far the quietest flight I've ever been on. The flight attendants spent the entire flight sitting at the back of the plane, only getting up when they had to do a task for their job or someone's call bell went off. I got to sit in the fourth row of coach instead of second from the back like I was supposed to. We were stuck on the plane an extra hour because right after we pulled out the pilots got a message that they weren't allowed to leave because of too much traffic into LaGuardia, so thankfully we all had plenty of space to stretch out if we wanted to. And the female flight attendant gave me three of the tiny snack bags because they were delicious and I was hungry. Flying at night is weird, it feels like you're flying through nothing because I couldn't even see lights above the clouds except for an occasional flash.

I got back at about 10:30. Holly and I watched the latest Criminal Minds, I unpacked all my stuff (I prefer to do it when I get back because it bugs me if it's left sitting there), and then I crashed from exhaustion.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

At least I have people to miss and who miss me.

I love New York City so very much, but man, today, I really wish it wasn't so far away, because the idea of getting back on a plane and going far away from all the people I've seen in the past 48 hours made me cry when I got in the shower tonight.

Today was so good. SO good. I got to see everyone that I wanted to. Turns out, when you're only on campus for 72 hours and then you're going back to being 600 miles and about 12 hours away, people will rearrange anything they can to make time to see you. And luckily for me, 6 of them decided to come in two groups of three, which made my day much easier than I expected it to be.

I got up at 10:00 and sort of just relaxed for a bit and then got ready and went and ate lunch at Chick-Fil-A.

My first stop was Dr. Mero, and I talked to him for like an hour.

Then it was Dr. Stanke, and I talked to her for about half an hour before students started really needing her, but hey, it was her office hour, so I got out of there.

After that, I went over to the Student Center and hung out. The plan was to see Mitch from Reformation at 3:20 when he got out of class, then Reafe, Tunji, and Isaiah at 4:00, and then Ricky, Nicole, and Scooter at 7:00. The nice thing was they all agreed to meet me there, so once I was there, I knew I didn't have to go anywhere for quite some time. I thought I would have plenty of time to kill throughout the afternoon. It didn't work out like that. Ha!

I worked as I was waiting for Mitch, but then Reafe found me. It turned out he was there early because he's got some injury so he couldn't be at fitness with Tunji and Isaiah. Of course, I got up and gave him a huge hug, but then I was like "Umm, I'm actually waiting for someone else right now. This is why I planned for you at 4:00." Ha, good thing he already knows and loves me, Type A weirdness and all. But he talked to me until Mitch got there and then he went back into the other room where he'd been before. I spent about half an hour with Mitch, and it was really nice to see him. It seems like we're both doing a lot better now than we were last year, and so it was cool just to talk about how far we've both come.

He left about 3:50 and then I went over and joined Reafe at his table. Tunji and Isaiah actually didn't get there until close to 4:30, so Reafe and I had a good bit of time to talk by ourselves. This guy...he's the kind of character that he just pretends to be so hard and serious all the time, but when you get to know him, he's actually quite introspective and loving.

The other two got there, and we sat just talking and goofing off for a bit until Reafe had to get to work just before 5:00. Tunji and Isaiah were supposed to have class at 6:00, but it got canceled tonight because of an ice storm that is supposed to hit right about now (so far, my plane is still on time tomorrow night at it's supposed to warm back up by late morning - fingers crossed it stays that way so I can get home!) so they actually stayed there and we hung out talking about everything and nothing until almost 7:00. It was absolutely perfect. I knew I missed hanging out with them, but I didn't realize just how badly I missed it until I got to do it again tonight. I don't remember the last time I smiled that hard or laughed that much in such a short amount of time.

(Isaiah really is very dark in person, so it's hard to get a good picture with him. He hates taking pictures anyway, but my brothers will put up with just about anything for me. :)

Since Tunji and Isaiah stayed there so long, it wasn't even ten minutes before Ricky and Nicole got there, and then Scooter about ten minutes after them. We ate dinner and talked for a little over an hour before they all had to go, and by that point I was beat, too. But while we were there they asked me all sorts of questions about life in New York and I told them different stories, some even about my first roommate experience, and the ensuing conversations just had us all rolling with laughter.

(My shirt is not that blindingly electric to look at in person. The lighting is bad in there, but the flash wasn't on. It's weird.)

Ricky and Nicole offered, well more like Ricky insisted because it's so cold and he is Mr. Protective, to give me a ride back, which I gladly accepted. When we got back to my friends' apartment building, Ricky insisted on carrying my laptop and walking me all the way up to the third floor. We were talking and before I knocked on  the door, he told me something big that is going on in his life, and I asked him if I could pray for him right then, and he said yes, so I prayed for him right there in the freezing cold. There is no feeling like the one I get when I am able to pray with and over people, especially the ones I love, and I was honored that he let me.

Then I came in, collapsed in exhaustion, took a shower, and hung out with the girls for a little while until they all went to bed. It's taken me way longer to write this post than it should have because I've been jamming out to Glee music from this past Friday.

I couldn't have asked for really anything more out of today and yesterday, except for maybe remembering to take pictures with everyone else. I got to see everyone that I had intentions of seeing when I got here and even had a couple surprises thrown in. And also, when people graduate and move, things are inevitably going to change, and so I was honestly a bit curious if things would be different when I was back and me and my friends were together in person again. It was so cool to see that for every single one of them, it was like no time had passed at all. I'm still me. Tunji saw a girl tonight while we were hanging out and she asked what was up and he immediately said "My sister's in town!" and pointed at me. Isaiah, when talking about the incident back in April when a whole group of them showed up to act as my bodyguards, said "We gotta protect our sister. We didn't think twice about it. We never will." Even Martinez, whom I really wasn't all that close to, called me his sister last night and told me he loved me when he walked me out and helped me down the stairs.

But seriously y'all, those four boys in the pictures, Reafe, Tunji, Isaiah, and Ricky, my brothers, my goon squad as I was affectionately calling them today, I can't even begin to adequately describe what they mean to me and how happy today made me getting to be reunited with them, even if it was only for a few hours. The bond that I have with them, it's one that I can't even begin to explain how it happened. It just did. I would do absolutely anything for them, just like I know they'd drop anything for me in a heartbeat. They make me feel special, and important, and like they're the lucky ones that I choose to hang out with them, and it's just mind-boggling to be in this position. They're some of the biggest goofballs I've ever met but take their friendships very, very seriously. They make me better, and Reafe and Ricky are constantly pushing me to grow in my faith and trust God more. I couldn't ask for better guys to call me their sister.

So yeah, I may be getting back on a plane tomorrow to go back to New York, without the slightest clue of when I'll see any of my brothers again, but I'm choosing to look at it as a blessing that I have so much love in my life that I have people I will miss and who will miss me so much. Because this was something that, for a long time, I truly didn't know would ever happen for me, and all of my Campbell family, but those four boys in particular, are such a sweet picture of how big God's redemptive powers can be.

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Monday, January 12, 2015

I won't need pictures to remember this day for a long time.

You know it's a really good day for me when I'm so busy living it that I forget to take pictures.

Today was so, so good. Incredibly surreal, and very long, but so good and so sweet.

I got up at 8:00 and got ready, and then at 9:00 I went down the street to a coffee shop and met Josh, one of my Reformation brothers and hung out with him until he had to get to class at 10:00.

I listened to music for a bit and started some more work on my paper.

Then Austin came and met me at 11:00 and we went to Campus Grill for lunch. I was so, so excited to see him and just talk. We really didn't talk that much in the fall semester because life is just so busy and distance is hard, so it was nice to be together again and feel like nothing had changed. He wants to see me again tomorrow so hopefully we can work that out.

By the time we left, it was pouring rain. Thankfully I had thought to carry my laptop in a couple plastic grocery bags today simply because it would be easier (I had no idea it was supposed to rain today because I totally forgot to check the weather or even bring an umbrella to NC), so between holding it under my zipped up hoodie and the two layers of plastic, it was safe from the water. Austin had to get to class at 12:00, and I went over to D Rich to see professors. It was so crazy walking back in that building. As I walked down the hall to get to the elevator, I saw that Dr. Schroeder was in his office, so I stopped in and talked to him for a few minutes. Then I went upstairs to see Dr. Thornton, whom I had planned to meet at 12:15, but he understood I got distracted. I ended up sitting there talking to him for an hour and a half about NYU and the program and my classes and how well I felt like Campbell prepared me both academically and as a person and the State/Duke game and just life in general and it was awesome. He told me he wished that I would still be here on Thursday because he would love me to come speak to his newest Seminar class. Because apparently I'm a success story. At least that's what he said, along with that I am breaking new ground by making Campbell's name known at NYU's IR program. That was flattering.

Just before 2:00, he mentioned that I should go see Dr. Steegar. I thought Dr. Steegar had fully retired and was planning on calling him on his cell phone just to see if he was in the area (since he likes to travel so much), but as it turns out, he only partially retired and is still teaching two regular classes and two independent studies on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Because only Dr. Steegar thinks part-time teaching is four classes. So Dr. Thornton looked it up and saw that he had just gotten out of class and I knew that if he'd just gotten out, he'd be in his office for at least the next hour, so I went and ambushed him. His face was priceless. :) I talked to him until one of his independent studies started at 3:00.

Then, I went to Chick-Fil-A and relaxed/worked for a few hours because of the three girls I'm staying with, I didn't have two of their numbers and I knew the third wouldn't be home until 6:30, so I didn't want to walk all the way here and then be stuck out in the cold. I also made some phone calls to get some doctor appointments set up, namely a primary care visit Thursday afternoon.

A little after 6:00, I headed back to the apartment. It took me a while to get here because of my breathing mixed with holding the laptop under my sweatshirt while walking in the wind and rain. I sat down and caught my breath for a few minutes and then Meredith, one of the girls I'm staying with, drove me about a mile and a half away to go visit one of the soccer boys who is sick and can't really leave his house right now. It didn't even occur to me that he would be living with two other soccer boys, so I got three for the price of one. :p So yeah, I visited them for about fifteen minutes, and then Meredith drove me back, stopping by the Student Center so I could get some dinner to go.

When we got back, I ate and then we plus Hannah and one of her friends watched The Bachelor. I'd forgotten what a train wreck that show is...or how awkward it is when you read spoilers and know how it ends and your three friends take it very seriously. Ha!

After that, I watched Oregon get their butts kicked by Ohio State. And now I'm going to bed and getting ready to do it all again tomorrow. There are 8 people and 2 professors who asked to see me tomorrow instead of today. So it's gonna be a busy one.

It was a good day. I'm very happy.

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Sunday, January 11, 2015

Devils and Deacs, stand in line!

So, remember how the Wolfpack lost to #3 Virginia on Wednesday? We threw it away in the last five minutes and ended up down 10 at the final buzzer. It was frustrating, but overall a good fight from a team that has 10 freshman and sophomores on a roster of 16 (3 seniors, 3 juniors, and 3 of those 6 I don't think play very much).

Well, today we were up against #2 Duke. Unlike Wednesday, we had home court advantage which made this just a tiny bit less nervewracking, but still. Any State fan that isn't completely delusional in their love of their team, at least that's my blunt opinion, went into today nervous. State has a habit of doing really well for the first 75% of a game (both football and basketball) and then choking and blowing it in the last 25%. That's not good!

So imagine my total shock and elation at this.

We, little ol' NC State, the butt of 99% of Duke and Carolina fans' sports jokes, a team people expected to bomb after losing our star player to the NBA, beat #2 Duke, who was 14-0 going into today.

And we beat them by twelve points. Our highest lead of the game was 19 with 5:43 left, and when Duke proceeded to cut the lead to 8, I got very nervous that we were going to "pull a State", but we finally started hitting some free throws and managed to hold them off. Mom and Mommom were at the game and I can't imagine the coronary Mommom was having watching Duke have their worst day in a long time while we were having one of our best WHILE she was surrounded by thousands upon thousands of State fans.

This is even better than our win over Duke when they were #1 two years ago, in my opinion, because two years ago we were ranked, at #20 but still ranked, so at least people could see that being a competition. And we only beat them by 8 at that game. Today we were unranked and analysts expected us to get slaughtered.  Upsets are one of my favorite things about sports. :)

I also love seeing NC State's bell tower lit up red, because I just think it looks awesome.

How about that Wolfpack?!  AHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!

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Saturday, January 10, 2015

The irony, considering my history, is not lost on me.

Many parents like to consider the meaning of a name when they're deciding on one for a child they're expecting. While I don't think choosing a certain name will have some almighty power in determining that child's future, I do think that they can be fun and interesting to learn. Which is why I crack jokes about the meaning of my name whenever an appropriate opportunity arises.

Because do you know what Mallory means?


Oh, how I wish I was kidding.

But it does make sense since "Mal" means bad in both Spanish and French.

The reason I'm talking about this is because the only remotely interesting thing that happened today was I went to Bingo again with Mommom and Hilda and just like Tuesday, none of us won anything. So I jokingly told them they could blame it on me and my "ill-omened" nature.

In frustrating news, I'm getting sicker again. This is going to be very hard over the next few days since the nebulizer I've been using here in Swansboro is Blake's so I can't take it with me to Campbell because I'll have no way to get it back here. Which means I have 3.5 days of relying on nothing but my inhaler and cough drops. I sure hope this inhaler can last me until I get back. I did just get it today, but I will be using it more than usual without a nebulizer around. I'm back on Prednisone and Mucinex and hopefully that will at least help tide me over.

Needless to say, I will be calling the Student Health Center tomorrow to get an appointment for as soon as possible after I get back to New York. Hopefully Thursday.

This signature seems even funnier considering the beginning of this post, but...

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Friday, January 9, 2015


I don't do a lot of reviews on here. It's just not really my thing, but also a lot of it is because there's just not been a lot out there that has elicited a strong enough reaction in me to warrant it (unless I was on the launch/street team for it and a review is what I agreed to do).

Well, today is a rare exception.

Tonight, Mom, Mommom, and I went to eat Japanese food (I was craving it, Mom always loves it as long as her stomach is cooperating, and Mommom said it was fine - a win for me!) and to the movies. Mom listed several movies that she was interested in, two of which were Selma and Unbroken. I knew the gist of Selma, but all I knew about Unbroken was that it was about an Olympian who because a bombardier in World War II. I figured that Unbroken would anger me less than Selma would, so we went with that (again, Mommom had no preference).

I could sum up this review in two words: SEE IT.

But that really wouldn't be very informative, now would it? ;)

Seriously, though, this is one of the best movies I have ever seen in my life. Jack O'Connell, who plays the central character Louie Zamperini, gave the best performance I've seen in anything in years. There is one scene where he's forced to hold this giant log over his shoulders and after a while he's getting tired and weak but then screams and lifts it all the way over his head just to basically show the monster torturing him that he couldn't break him, and it made me gasp and gave me chills all over my body. The guy who plays the head of the prison camp made him into the creepiest thing I have seen in recent memory. You will walk out of there absolutely hating him. We wanted to beat the crap out of him. (And turns out in his regular life, this actor is a singer-songwriter in Japan. A man of many talents.)

The cinematography is beautiful.

The cast around Louie is strong.

I laughed, I cried, I wanted to scream.

I can't think of anything I didn't like about this movie.

Go see it. I hate to say "I promise you won't regret it" because I try to avoid promising things that I have no control over and I can't control people's opinions, but I cannot for the life of me imagine someone walking out of a theater after seeing this movie and saying "Wow, that was awful." I'm serious.

Unbroken. Go. See it. Now.

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Thursday, January 8, 2015

1/8/15: aka the day I missed my dream because of vacation.

So you know what is a perk of living in a big city like New York that I had never really considered until today?

TV shows and movies, sometimes they film on location instead of on sets and sound stages.

You know what one of my favorite TV shows of all time is? Law & Order: SVU. I'm not 100% sure, but I think I've seen every episode, and there are more than 350.

So imagine my utter devastation (okay that might be a little hyperbolic) when Holly called me tonight and said "Hey guess what. Law and Order is setting up in the street outside our apartment right now."



She did some investigating and found out that they are shooting in Spiegel. AKA the restaurant I go to like three times a week. And apparently the episode will be airing February 4th, so at least I can see it and point it out and be like "Hey, I know that!"

Welcome to life in New York. I can get used to this.

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Je suis Charlie.

I could write about many things for today's post...the amazing crab legs we had for dinner...the State game against hair cut (I was looking shaggy, just got it all shaped up as I continue to grow it out but it's a cute bob now)...spending an hour on the phone with Time Warner Cable trying to get the Duke game for my grandma only for them to tell me they couldn't get it...but all of that just seems stupid and pointless in light of what happened in Paris today.

Attacks like that, senseless massacres, they remind you what is important.

Love is important.

Tolerance is important.

Understanding and equality are important.

Just as the French stood with the US after 9/11, today, in honor of the lives lost, the world is standing with the French.

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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Sometimes I am a senior citizen on the inside.

I’ve been sleeping in my grandmother’s sun room this week (with the blinds pulled down) because that’s where her recliners are and I started sleeping here when I needed to sleep upright. It’s been fine. 

But the one bad thing about sleeping here and on the first floor in this house in general is that when one person is up, EVERYONE is up. And my grandmother gets up between 8 and 8:30 every morning. Which is way earlier than I am used to when I don’t have to be up that early. (Surprisingly, I haven’t taken a single nap this week.)

So all of that is to say that between the early wake up and the lack of wifi, I’ve seen a lot of television at hours when I’ve generally never even though to watch tv. And since my grandmother is, well, my grandmother, I’ve generally been watching whatever she wants. And it’s the same thing every day. Lots of game shows mixed in with a little bit of news. I had no idea Alfonso Ribeiro (Carlton from The Fresh Prince) even hosted a game show but he does. I actually really like Let’s Make a Deal and The Price is Right, I just hadn’t watched The Price is Right in a very, very long time before this week and now I like it. After the game shows we watch Steve Harvey at 3, Ellen at 4 (I got her to give in on the Ellen, I like her). And at night, we watch the news, Family Feud, Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, more Family Feud, and then the news. I’m actually really good at Wheel of Fortune, I always have been. It’s weird.

But we actually missed our TV ritual tonight because I went with her to the other cliché senior citizen event: Bingo! And it was fun. It was loud and neither of us won anything but we went with my grandma’s best friend who is the funniest old lady you will ever meet in your life. She is just as sarcastic as I am and dishes out as much as I do and I seriously just hope that I am as awesome as she is when I’m in my 70s. And my grandma gets even funnier and more sarcastic when she’s with her best friend; she frequently refers to she and her as “Frick and Frack.” And it’s so accurate.

The only bad news is that my migraine has been out of control since I was on the back from Raleigh Saturday evening and I had got it back down to manageable this afternoon but the lights and all the noise made me sick again tonight. Totally worth it, though. I needed to get out of this house and do something that didn’t involve my grandma being snappy and she’s happy when she plays Bingo even when she doesn’t win.

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Monday, January 5, 2015

Let’s play ‘You know you need a new suitcase when…’

Correct answers could include…

The metal snaps in half on the bottom and is and poking through…

You cut your leg on said metal…

The pull-out handle breaks and won’t extend anymore…

And if THAT wasn’t enough for you, how about when the fabric handle completely rips off when you try to pick it up?

Yep. That should do it.

But hey, I got that suitcase before I went to Europe with my grandmother in June 2005, so I’d say we got our money’s worth out of it.

Anyway, my grandma agreed to take me to Belk today because my mom said they were having a big sale, and she was right. I got a new giant suitcase that has four wheels instead of two and thus will be infinitely easier to move and is even bigger and deeper than my old one for $100 instead of the $200 tag, a new tote bag because the one that matched my old suitcase was pretty ripped and ratty for $40 instead of $100, and a new wallet just because mine was super old and nasty for $27 instead of $45, plus I got a discount for applying for a Belk card (even though I told them I knew I’d be denied). That means I got $345 of stuff for $142.60. Woo! Who doesn’t love a good bargain?

I don’t know why a new suitcase is so exciting to me, but I really love this new suitcase. It’s okay, you can call me weird. I’ve accepted it. Normal is overrated.

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Sunday, January 4, 2015

Crackers and Cowboys

One of the (many) perks of staying at my grandma’s house is that she has an overabundance of food here, specifically snack food. And like the cliché grandmother, she will ask you approximately every twelve minutes if you’re hungry and if you would like (insert almost certainly unhealthy snack here) to eat.

Well, tonight I needed to eat a snack because I was getting lightheaded, so I decided to try this box of crackers that has been sitting on her kitchen counter since I first showed up here last weekend.

Best cracker decision of my life.

Cranberry and Sage Triscuits, if you were not specifically labeled “Limited Edition”, I would buy you in bulk from now until the end of time. You are the perfect cracker. I’ve never bought food off the internet before, but for a good bit, I seriously considered finding you on Amazon and buying as much of you as I could find. This I promise you now: if you appeared because of this Christmas season, I will be on high alert for you next December so we can continue this love affair.

Okay, cheese over.

(Get it? Cheese? Because I’m talking about crackers? Ba dum shh.)

In other grandmother related news, despite the fact that I’ve been alive for 22.5 years, today I learned two very interesting things: my grandmother actually likes and cares about the NFL, and my grandmother REALLY hates the Cowboys. Granted, the second thing isn’t too surprising because my grandmother has a deep prejudice against anything relating to Texas (don’t ask), but it was still a little weird when I turned on the Lions/Cowboys game because nothing else was on tv on this Sunday afternoon and she spent the next 3.5 hours ranting about every little thing that went in the Cowboys’ favor. And on the rare occasion when she wasn’t complaining about the Cowboys, she was asking me about the playoffs and what teams were set up to play who next and all that. I legitimately had no idea she would care. 

Complexities run deep in this family, I know.

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Saturday, January 3, 2015

These are two of my favorite things.

What two things, you may ask?

Well, that would be the Wolfpack and time with my friends, of course. 

I got out of the hospital on Wednesday and Mom had a tooth extraction yesterday, but do you think that would stop us from driving to a Wolfpack basketball game when we already had the tickets bought? Heck no!

It was a very early morning, but so worth it. And for once, I didn’t have trouble staying awake on the long drive, which was really good because Mom was hurting and needed the company. I brought my nebulizer with me in case my breathing got really bad, but thankfully I never had to stop to use it. 

The good news is the Wolfpack absolutely killed Pittsburgh, and a conference win is always a good thing. The bad news is we next play 3 nationally ranked teams, Virginia then Duke then UNC, and none of those are going to be easy. But we’ll take them as they come, and thus far, our young team is still doing much better than just about anyone expected.

After the game, we went over to the bookstore. What was supposed to be a quick run-in to get one shirt Mom wanted that she thought she could get away with wearing to work turned into an almost hour long trip because Mom kept seeing things she wanted and couldn’t make up her mind between shirts. Because that’s what happens when Mom goes shopping for anything whatsoever. When we left she still said, “I feel like I rushed the decision!” and I simply looked at her and said, “You went in for one shirt and came out with four. That’s the opposite of rushing!” Because really. On the upside to the physical pain I got in from following her around the store all that time, I did find a very cute and very cheap shirt for myself. 

But after that was the best part of the day, one of the very few things more fun to me than a Wolfpack game: a reunion with Clayton! We tried and tried to find a time when he could come down to the coast for a visit but couldn’t work it out, so thankfully he was able to drive up to Raleigh from his family’s house for a meal today before he flies back to Atlanta on Monday. I was practically jumping with excitement by the time we pulled into the parking lot of the restaurant and found out he pulled in at almost the exact same time. Let’s just say there was a very cheesy run across part of the parking lot because I was just so excited to hug him. :)

The meal was great. I actually didn’t get much of a word in, because Clayton and Mom spent the entire time talking about theology and various denominations and their varying levels of progressiveness. Mom, despite being in massive amounts of pain, still had us both cracking up and she said she understood why I call him one of my best friends. The three of us are all incredibly sarcastic and weird so it was just so much fun and I was so, so, so freaking happy to get to spend time with him and hug him and just be with him in person again. 

But you know what? It wasn’t nearly as surreal and exciting as it could have been because of how much time we’ve spent on FaceTime in the past few months, and I think that’s a really good thing. It’s really special to have a friendship that can grow even stronger when you move hundreds of miles apart, but he’s far more important to me now than he was when we left Campbell in May. And I just think that’s amazing because 850 miles is a lot to overcome.

I’m just really lucky in the love department in general, but with him in particular. When you’ve been burned a lot by people, as I have in the past, it can make it very difficult to feel 100% safe with anyone. At least that’s the way it is for me. There’s almost always this little voice in the back of my head that is telling me I’m doing something wrong or someone’s mad at me or some crazy thing like that and so I’m always afraid of saying the wrong thing and scaring someone away. Even though I know it’s crazy. Even though I trust my friends when they tell me they love me. I still haven’t learned how to make that voice, that negativity, go away. 

But with my friendship with Clayton, I have that safety. At the very least, I am safe in being insecure. I can ask him things rooted simply in the fact that I’ve gotten in my own head again and he says things like “glad you checked! no sense in letting things worry you!” and “that’s what open communication is about!” Even though I know that I could probably have that open communication with more of my friends, I don’t trust that or myself yet, so it just means the world to me that I do have it here. 

Hopefully it won’t be another eight months before we get to see each other again.

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Friday, January 2, 2015

One Word: 2015

When I was writing my Year in Review post, I kept thinking about the worry I had felt over paying for school, and how silly I feel now that, once again, God showed up and worked everything out. That got me thinking about Jon and the Anima Series' video "What Are You Afraid Of?" I wrote a post about it at the beginning of 2014, so I was also thinking about that, as well as my interview with Jon in August and what he said was the inspiration for that poem.

What room does fear have when I make room for love? That is the central question in Jon's poem. God is love. So what room do I have for fear if I am completely consumed by the love of my Father? And as he said in his interview, every good and positive thing that you could think might be the opposite of fear, Scripture tells us either that God is it or God provides it. So seriously, why bother being afraid? We have the ultimate, unbeatable weapon against it.

And then there's the fact that "do not be afraid" is in the Bible somewhere in the neighborhood of 365 times. Like any good parent, God seems to like repeating things when it's a lesson He really wants His kids to get. So, I'm just guessing, but perhaps maybe I need to stop being so afraid every time I think the plans I had for myself aren't going to work out. Because God's plan really is way better, and I know that if things don't go the way I wanted, like if I had ended up having to take this semester off,  there has to be something so incredibly awesome in store that I can't see. It certainly turned out that way when I ended up at Campbell instead of William & Mary, my original first choice for college, didn't it?

I can only see the step right in front of me. God has all of eternity laid out before Him. I want to remember that in this new year.

I want to grow in my trust that God's plans are greater and better than mine and not be so caught up in thinking that I have to know what's going to happen.

I want to relinquish the death grip I tend to have on the planning and the details and accept the fact that I can't plan everything.

When I don't know what's going to come next, I want to step forward in faith that the God who has never left me nor forsaken me isn't going to leave my side now.

I want to stop being afraid of the unknown and rest in what is known: My Father is in control. He is good. He is faithful. And He loves me more than I could ever begin to picture.

I'm tired of fear. I'm tired of worry. I'm taking my peace of mind back. That's why my One Word for 2015 is

button made by Traci

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