Saturday, February 28, 2015

Well, this day was ruined.

Last night, not long before I got discharged, the doctor that was treating me decided to give me some Dilaudid to help me sleep through the pain because he said it looked like I hadn't slept in days (which wasn't entirely true, I just hadn't slept much each night).

Well, one mg of Dilaudid led me to sleep all day today. Like, until 8 pm all day.

I had lots of plans for things I needed to do today, but those plans were rather shot.

Oh well. I have Monday. And most of Wednesday. It'll get done. Apparently I really needed the rest.

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Friday, February 27, 2015

I'd rather have been killing myself at work.

I semi-collapsed at work today.

Bending my neck down to look at my drawer as I was counting change somehow screwed up my neck, which sent explosive feeling pain into my head and neck and immediately made me feel like I was going to have a seizure. That was awful and embarrassing.

I'm fine, but I spent a very long night at yet another NYC hospital today. It took forever to make any real progress because the place was a madhouse, but the good news is that once I did see someone, the doctors I saw were very kind and thorough and listened to me.

Needless to say, this was not my favorite day. I'm thankful that I was taken care of, and that if this was going to happen at work, a) I didn't actually have a seizure and b) the manager that was on is very sweet. Hopefully when he told the higher-up manager that came on after him, it won't cause any problems for me. I guess I'll find out Sunday when I go back for my next shift.

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Observations from New York

Everyone thinks the place they have to be is the most important place in the world. Thus they must be first into the subway, down the street, and are completely oblivious to people trying to move past them.

Speeding down subway station stairs can cause you to fall down them and end flat on your face, which can subsequently cause little old seemingly-harmless ladies look down at you and say "That's what you get for trying to race past me" and keep moving. (Don't worry, the guy was fine.)

There are lots of smart people at NYU. Lots of them. And plenty of them are condescending.

There are also lots of very tall buildings which make for very aggravating wind tunnels so that you can not escape the hard and fast bitter cold wind in your face.

Professors are slow everywhere, not just Campbell.

Even old men from Albania know what Dumb and Dumber is.

And I really like my apartment. Really. Especially after coming home after a long day.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Someone please explain this to me.

I go to work 4-midnight.

I stand on my feet for eight hours.

I work and work and work.

I get home at 12:20(ish).

I get ready for bed.

And then I lay awake until at least 4:00 am.

That has happened EVERY. SINGLE. TIME I've worked the closing shift. Every time! It makes no sense to me. This job is the most exhausting thing I do. For like the last half hour to an hour of my shift, basically all I think about is getting off and going to bed. My body gets weaker and weaker and I constantly feel is pretty much that I'm about to collapse at any second. And then I finally get to go home, and as soon as I get out of the cab, I rush upstairs (as quickly as my body will allow me to move) and feel like I'm moving in fast forward as I rush to get my pajamas on and finally sit down.

Last night, I think I finally fell asleep around 5:45 this morning? And then my phone went off several times between 9:30 and 10:00, and I had to get up for good at 11:15. I had my most exciting professor today and I still couldn't stay awake.

Ugh. It makes no sense.

I have to go to bed now because I have to get up even earlier tomorrow. Probably won't fall asleep for a while though. Because I'm a masochist.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Whose state? OUR STATE!

The paradox of a retail job: there was basically a constant string of customers from the second I started at 4 this afternoon until around 10, yet time seemed to go by so slowly. And I didn't even get to finish my 15 minute break because a new string of them came in around 10:20. Who knew so many people liked to go to Walgreens late at night? I only got yelled at one guy today, who was furious that they changed the pharmacy hours...I don't think he thought I could do anything about it, I was just the only person that was there. I tried to tell him there was a 24-hour pharmacy a block away but he wasn't hearing it.

And it's girl-problems week so I just am really not feeling like myself. It feels like if I've not been at work, I've been asleep, and it's been that way for several days now. I am not a fan.

My coworkers are awesome. I know I've said that before. The manager on tonight, I used to think she didn't like me, she kind of intimidates me (yeah, I didn't know that could happen either, ha!), but there were moments where she actually did seem to like me tonight. So I don't know what to think.

Oh, and there was this small little other thing that happened while I was at work...


First Wolfpack win at Carolina in 12 years.

Lowest point total for UNC EVER in the history of their Dean Smith Center (Dean Smith also happens to be the legendary former UNC coach that passed away recently).

First Wolfpack win at UNC since good ol' boy Roy became the coach (he's, uh, shall we say, not anywhere close to as beloved as Dean Smith).

And to boot, this is another upset against a ranked team we can claim as a young, ranked, deemed "unimportant, not a rival or a threat" team.

So many things about this win make it epic.

I may or may not have had Holly call me at work as soon as the game was over. ;) Come on, it was an important event!

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Six Years Ago Today...

Six years ago today, two things happened. My cousin had her first baby, a boy, and I wrote my first post on this here blog. I started this basically just so I could have a diary that Chelsea couldn't access, and now it's a part of my life that I couldn't imagine letting go of. The name has changed twice, the layout went from a generic one to two different custom-made ones, but for six years, I have documented life on this blog. From the best moments of my life to things I still sometimes wish I could forget to the absolutely mundane, everything is here. A lot has changed in the past six years. Here are ten things I wish I knew when I started. Things I wish I could say to 16-year-old me when she started this thing.

1. There are some things that you really should not blog about. Just don't. It causes more harm than good and respect for people is sometimes more important than your feelings.

2. There are some things that you should blog about. Let go of the walls. Let go of the self-hatred. The blog world has people that really can understand and connect with you. It's scary but it's worth it.

3. Your family may give you a headache, and they certainly have their drama and problems, but they are not the worst thing in the world. I know that feels impossible to understand right now.

4. Not everyone here is going to like you. Not everyone here is going to agree with you. That's okay. Internet fights are the textbook definition of a waste of time.

5. The friendships you make are real. Which means when they fall apart, they'll hurt like real ones. Let it go. You'll soon have more love than you know what to do with right in front of you.

6. It gets better. That's not just some slogan or a cliché people say when they don't know what else to say. It really does get better. There's a world waiting for you that goes beyond that small town and beyond your computer screen. And you're going to love it.

7. You'll appreciate having memories of your friendships recorded, but don't read too much into them. That'll just give you more heartache than you need. Your memories can be cherished, but they don't need to be dissected and overanalyzed. You're too type A for your own good, so just give yourself a little break from it here. Or at least try to.

8. Don't be ashamed of your life. Don't be ashamed of your story. It's yours. No one else can live it. You don't need to pretend.

9. Also, don't be ashamed of what is important to you. Be proud of what you love, who you love. It IS enough. You don't need to justify what you choose to blog about.

10. You are loved, little girl. So crazy loved. And life is a beautiful gift. You have a lot to be thankful for, whether you want to admit it or not. It would do you some good to focus on the good and the beautiful more often and not so much the bad and the ugly. That joy is what will get you through the roller coaster of life and what is awaiting you. That joy is what will give you a vision for your future. (Plus, chronically upset people tend to come off bitter and whiny. Just saying. And that is not you at your core.)

Six years isn't that long considering I hope to live until I'm at least eighty or so. But truth be told, the time when I started this blog fees like a different lifetime. I'm not even sure I totally recognize the girl who started this blog. Which is a little weird to think about. But it just makes me that much more excited to see what the next six years holds for me and this space. I'm not sure how long I'll keep up the post-for-every-day (I wrote that in a specific way because let's face it, it's been a long time since I've actually managed to write a post ON every single day, especially since grad school started) thing, but I know I won't be saying a total goodbye to this blog anytime soon.

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Some notes about tonight...

The most awful manager on my staff (who did my "orientation") told me my shoes had to be black, so I've been wearing my black boots every day to work, because they're the only black shoes I have until I can get some money at the end of the month, even though they have almost no support in them. My manager tonight said that was ridiculous, and as long as they weren't obnoxiously bright no one would care, and if the first manager gave me crap tell him to talk to him because I need to go for comfort in this job. Gee, that would have been nice to know two weeks ago.

I got hit on for the first time by basically the Mexican Joey Tribbiani. That was...awkward.

A guy showed up at 11:55 (five minutes before closing) and took his sweet dang time perusing the aisles, didn't come up until like two minutes after my manager told him he needed to check out, then walked back and forth to personally check the shelf listing price of every item he bought because he didn't believe what they were ringing up as. Seriously, this was the first time in this job that I have come really close to totally bitching someone out. Especially since he knew we were closing when he walked in and asked "you guys close real soon, don't you?" and I said "yes". Gah. People. Like really, yes, we're here to serve you, but it's midnight. I want to go home!

My coworkers are awesome. The floor team helped me out big time because I was in even worse shape than usual from Friday's fall. This is only my fifth shift, and it obviously hasn't been the same crew every time, but these guys already feel like they're my friends. I really lucked out, so if it takes a while for me to get the transfer to the much closer store, I'm okay with it.

A perk of working at a Walgreens? I didn't feel like walking to get a prescription filled the past few days, so I got it filled while I waited for my shift to start.

Also awesome? Walgreens balance rewards + employee discount = dinner is way cheaper than it should be.

Thank God I don't have to work tomorrow. My legs may not stop cramping and aching before I have to go back Tuesday. I definitely was not cut out for jobs like this. I still don't see why the managers couldn't give me a stool, but whatever. If it gets bad enough, Holly has already offered to have me sic her on them. ;)

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

How ISIS got me thinking about my walk with God.

ABC has a TV show called What Would You Do? in which they act out awful scenarios in public, from parents gay bashing their son to a parent attempting to drive drunk with their small child to robbery to a store owner refusing service to a Muslim man and on and on, so they can record the bystanders to see if they will intervene and stand up for the victim in the scenario and then interview those bystanders after they reveal that it was all an act. I don't watch it with any regularity but any time I have made it through an episode, I've been left with the feeling of "Oh, I absolutely would have done something!" and, if the bystanders did not intervene in any way, "How could they not say something?!" It's so easy to say that you would do something to help others when you're not in front of the situation. Don't psychologists literally call it the "bystander effect"? I feel so confident in how I would react, forgetting that things might be completely different in my thought process when I'm actually in the moment.

About a week ago, the world received a devastating video in which ISIS militants beheaded 21 Egyptian Christians on a beach in Libya. The attackers made it perfectly clear that they were doing this because of the faith of these men. We all know this isn't the first recorded ISIS murder in recent weeks, but from my knowledge, it is the first one that had religious motivation and one of few that actually showed the act of the murder - the other videos of beheadings only showed the decapitated head next to the body of the captive after the fact. (Forgive me if I have any facts incorrect here, I haven't been able to stomach actually watching any of the videos.)

I haven't watched the videos, but I have read many articles and stared at I don't even know how many pictures of these men who were taken to their deaths just because they decided to travel many miles to provide for their families. Their faces have haunted me this past week as I watched them pray while the ISIS leader spoke, knowing full well what was coming. Just yesterday, I learned that they all yelled out "Jesus is Lord!" as the knives hit their throats, defying their captors and executioners to the very last second they had.

Throughout this week, my mind has been bombarded with the question of what would you do? as I learned more and more of the story of these 21 martyrs. Would I really be willing to go to my death for my faith and my Lord? Would I really refuse to convert even if it meant giving up the chance to save my life and go back to my family? Would I really say yes and give up everything I see now as comfort if it meant I would die? Would I trust in God's love for me even as an enemy held a knife to my throat?

I want to say yes...I want to be confident that I am that committed to God...but the truth is, I'm a bit nervous that I'm not. I'm not sure that I would go that far and be willing to martyr myself. Because I'm still human. I'm still self-centered to some extent. And I'm still afraid of really hard things. Maybe I'm being too rough on myself, maybe I'm not the only one who would be unsure in that moment. All I know to do right now is to pray that God refines my heart so that I can become that confident, that I can become willing to risk it all to be with Jesus.

Just now, this quote from Lecrae came to mind: If I'm wrong about God, then I've wasted my life. If you're wrong about God, you've wasted your eternity. Those 21 men, the only hope that their families have now, is that they're with the Lord who loves them so dearly. One of my favorite verses, Revelation 12:11, begins "And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony..." but what is important is the end of that verse - "for they loved not their lives even unto death." Those men had families that love them, but they loved God more. They have taught me a lesson I didn't realize I still needed; I can only pray that I would love God like they did, so that I could make the same decision were I ever to be faced with it. My Savior deserves everything from me. My life, and even my death. Just like He gave His.

This week, I've also been thinking a lot about the men who stood behind these Egyptian prisoners. The ones in all black with the masks hiding their identities. The ones with the long knives holding their illusions of power. Men who have just as much right to the life-saving Gospel of Jesus Christ as I do.

Agh, it made my skin crawl to even type that sentence. They don't deserve God's love. How can Jesus say I'm supposed to forgive monsters? Make them PAY. Those are all things that naturally come to mind when I think about the men of ISIS who killed these 21 innocent Egyptians. As Zack Hunt said in his post "Why ISIS Causes Me To Struggle With The Gospel":

I struggle with my own sense of justice.
I struggle with the idea that as a Christian, I must leave space for forgiveness even as I rightfully demand accountability for my enemies' actions.
I struggle to accept the fact that believing in the radical transforming grace of God compels me to believe that grace abounded on that beach in Libya in ways I don't comprehend or want to accept.
I struggle with the boundless depths of God's love and forgiveness.
I struggle with the gospel.

I don't want Jesus to say that if they believed in his death and resurrection, they would be just as clean and forgiven and righteous as me, or my friends, or basically anyone I know who's never killed anybody. I don't want God to have grace for them, the same grace he had for the men who died, for the ones they loved now left behind, for me. I don't want to pray for them. I don't want to admit that they need or deserve prayer or grace, perhaps more than most. I can't even begin to accept that Jesus loves them or went to the cross for them or grieved for them and their actions like he grieved for those precious lives lost.

It doesn't seem just. Or fair. Or okay. It feels like it's negating the value of the martyrs' lives, the ones who gave everything for God. It feels like God is saying those animals, those killers, can do anything and get away with it because God will still love them no matter how many people they kill or how many lives they damage.

Oh wait.

I may not have killed anyone or committed religious persecution, but I've done some damage to other children of God. I've grieved the heart of my Father. And there's still grace for me. That's what forgiveness and mercy are for. One of the things that's different about God is that He doesn't make exceptions. There is no ranking for sinners. We are ALL loved. We are ALL forgiven. And we are ALL welcomed into the Kingdom if we just believe. No ifs, ands, or buts. No corollaries. Again, as Zack Hunt said:

Do I really believe in radical, transforming grace and forgiveness for all? Or do I just believe in grace and forgiveness for me?

One of the reasons Jesus was so radical was because he hung out with the people deemed unworthy, the outcasts. He didn't shun anyone, not even the murderers (if he did, we wouldn't have Paul. THAT Paul. Yeah...) I've been an outcast. It's not fun. And I've certainly done plenty of things that make me unworthy of God's love, mercy, and forgiveness. So who the heck am I to tell Him to leave out someone else when He was kind enough to let me back in? How can I talk about how I know God can change anyone's life but inwardly tell him to not even bother with certain lives?

That's the thing about the Gospel. That radical, transforming grace that flipped everything I thought I knew about life and this world on its head, it's there available to anyone. And I do mean anyone.

Even when it doesn't seem fair.

Even when I don't like it.

Even when it makes no sense.

Thank God for that.

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Needless to say, I took a cab home.

With all the ice and snow outside, I've been super careful in trying to protect myself while traversing this wintry land to which I am not accustomed. I'm always careful when stepping off of curbs because  I have issues with depth perception so I have to be really sure of where I'm placing my foot, but even more so when I know puddles and whatnot can be waiting for me on the road.

I got to a curb to cross the street to get back to the subway station on the way home after this extra EU class this morning. I looked down and saw what I thought was just smooth road. I saw no signs of ice whatsoever. So I stepped and BOOM. My foot completely flew out from under me. The ice had apparently formed so smooth and slick on the road that I couldn't even see it. I knew as soon as I put my foot down what I was stepping on, but by that point, it was too late.

The good news is I didn't hit my head and I didn't damage my computer. The bad news is CONCRETE HURT ME. I wasn't seriously injured, I just messed up my back a bit, but OW. Luckily for me, my manager was super understanding and wasn't upset that I called out of work tonight, but considering how hard it was just to get up the stairs to my apartment, I knew there was no way that I could stand up for eight hours.

Tomorrow will be a day of rest in hopes that I can make it through church and work on Sunday with minimal problems.

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Thursday, February 19, 2015


I have no recollection of anything before 4:00 pm today.

Somehow I woke up, emailed in my paper, and went back to bed and I have no memory of any of it.

4:00 is also the time my afternoon class starts so...uh...oops.

I guess I needed the rest because tomorrow is going to be super long with a make up EU class from 10 to 12 in the morning and then work 4 to midnight. I really hope I feel well enough to make it through the day because I really need every shift I can get.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

It is cold and I have a cold.

I went to bed last night feeling just fine health wise (just achy from work), and woke up this morning sneezing my head off and completely congested. Apparently somewhere between 2:30 am (when I finally fell asleep) and 8:00 am (when I had to get up) I was hit by a very nasty cold who arrived to seek its vengeance.

I forced myself to go to an appointment at the Student Health Center because I had to get a new prescription for my anxiety med, but that was all. I decided to skip my afternoon class, but then I remembered that class was canceled today anyway, so that worked out nicely for me. Especially because I proceeded to sleep the day away.

I woke up and ate and sat in the recliner physically unable to move for lack of energy in my muscles. I watched TV until Holly got home and she dragged me out to a bar to watch the Duke/UNC game because this is a big deal and we have such basic cable that we don't even get ESPN. It was great until we got in a fight and I left. Sisters. They're exhausting. Of course we made up later because sisters. It's what they do. And she actually apologized which is something she rarely does. So at least the night didn't end completely awful.

And then I had to stay up super late because I forgot I had to turn in a paper for my European Union class today. Lucky for me it was a super short one. But I was still up until 4 am. So oops.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Tuesday was much less boring than Sunday and PRAISE JESUS for that.

Because, as it turns out, eight hours doesn't necessarily have to feel like eighty when you have actual customers to serve and things to do besides reorganize and recheck the same five shelves you've reorganized six times before during that same shift.

Tonight went much more quickly than Sunday did and I also held up much better than I did on Sunday which are two big things to be thankful for in this job. But I was still very ready to collapse when I got home.

I really can't wait until I have some money so I can buy some shoes with real support so I can wear something besides my boots. Work shoes have to be black so that kind of limited my options. My tennis shoes are falling apart, so I need to buy new tennis shoes anyway, so I'm just going to buy some black Skechers and hope that makes things a bit easier on my poor, weak feet. I already found the ones I want, I'm just waiting on my first (tiny little) paycheck, which is supposed to be on Friday.

And that was Tuesday. I did absolutely nothing until I had to go to work because I couldn't sleep and also, gotta give myself as much of an advantage against my body's planned revolt as possible. Y'all know, y'all know.

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Monday, February 16, 2015

Told you!

I said in last night's post that I was not going to do anything today, and I succeeded in that.

I woke up at 11.

Ate and took my medicine.

Slept till 4:30.


Watched last night's Bachelor stuff.

Spent two hours on FaceTime with Clayton.

Watched tonight's Bachelor.

Watched Castle.

Am writing this blog.

Then going to eat and probably go back to sleep.

I really hope that this laziness today helps make tomorrow night a little less rough. I don't want to make a bad impression with my managers.

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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Long day. Long, long day.

I went to church even earlier than usual because we started a Bible study before the service.

Then was the service. I may or may not have accidentally slept through the majority of a service on listening. And yes, I completely understand the irony of that.

Then I went to the bank.

And then I ate lunch and relaxed for like an hour before I had to get ready for work.

For some reason, the night shift (4-midnight) tonight was so much harder than either of my day shifts last week. My body was ready to completely give out with two hours still left. I guess that's because the night people do a lot more cleaning and organizing. Time sure went a lot more slowly, but that's to be expected.

Needless to say, by the time I got home around 12:30 (when it was 3 degrees, but that's beside the point) I moved on fast forward to throw on my pajamas and totally collapse in the recliner.

The worst part of it all? I couldn't sleep for four hours after I sat down. Because of course. I am not doing anything until I have to go back to work Tuesday at 4 in hopes of my body not being so miserable for that shift.

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Saturday, February 14, 2015

Celebrating My People

It's Valentine's Day.

I'm home alone, likely until Monday. 

It's been snowing off and on most of the day.

Not what most girls would want their Valentine's to look like, to say the least.

And I'll be honest, I was feeling sorry for myself earlier. I think that's kind of easy for single girls on a day like today. I really long for a boyfriend/relationship, but I've been praying for God to help me become content with my singleness, so there have just been a lot of emotions running through me since I don't have anything to do but think.

So I kept thinking. And then I realized that I already have so much love in my life. And that makes me a very happy, very blessed girl. And that's a reason to celebrate.

These are just some of the people who never let me go even one second of one day without knowing that they love me and would do anything to help me. They lift me out of the darkness when I start slipping. They pull me back to reality. They make me feel beautiful, special, and one-of-a-kind important. They never let my insecurities scare them, frequently reminding me that they are just as thankful for me as I am for them. When I reflect on how much love there is between us, my heart feels like it could explode with joy.

And that was when I realized just how silly I was being feeling sorry for myself for still being single. Love is love, y'all. And it should all be celebrated and appreciated. So what's a celebration without a couple cheesy Disney quotes?

I can't imagine my life without any of those eight people in that collage in it, and I don't want to have to. They volunteered to get on a roller coaster with me and haven't stepped off once. I would not be me today without them, I know that much, because my friendships with them and the way they love me has molded me and changed me in ways I didn't know I needed before it happened. I wouldn't want to go through this crazy messed up life without them and their faithful love and support.

NYC is my home, yes, because it's where I live, but just like I said when I wrote about my soccer boys, each of those people holds a piece of my heart. I could be anywhere with them doing anything and it be the best feeling in the world because they are there. There's safety and security and a sense of peace you can only find when you're with people who know you deeply. It's like how I felt at peace as soon as I walked into the classroom with my Reformation brothers; nothing needs to be said or done, I can just immediately relax when I'm with them because I know it's okay to be me completely. And that's a really beautiful thing.

So today, I celebrate the love I have with my people. Because they're home to me.

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Friday, February 13, 2015

E is for Exhausting

Well, I survived a crazy 8-hour shift today.

Sis people yelled at me. So I feel like I've been officially initiated into the retail club.

We had to call the cops on one guy. I looked at my manager and said "This is such a different world than North Carolina!"

I singlehandedly survived several rushes of people, because even though there's a code to page for help when the line is too long, there were some times it took several minutes for someone to show up to help.

And most importantly, my body held up even though I was on my feet for 8 hours today as opposed to the not-quite-4.5 on Tuesday. Because of a rush, I didn't get to take my 15 until 30 minutes after I was ready to take it. When I was coming home, with every step it felt like someone was jamming the studs of a soccer cleat into the bottom of my feet. That was pleasant.

I convinced my manager to give me an extra shift, so my next day is Sunday 4-midnight. Yay for being able to go to church!

I sat in the recliner all night and watched television and slept and then stayed up super late watching the DVR with Holly. That's always entertaining.

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

I'll just be me.

Sometimes I wish I didn't feel things so intensely.

That I didn't love SO deeply.

Because then people turning on me wouldn't hurt so much.

And I wouldn't feel so utterly crushed every time I get stepped on.

And I wouldn't let myself get so totally invested only for things to fall apart.

My friends tell me that I'm too nice.

That I need to be a little meaner.

And they're right.

For the vast majority of the population, it's very hard for me to be mean to or at mad them.

I just don't know how.

I like people too much.

I like relationships too much.

And really, for the most part, I think I do a pretty good job at loving people.

I'm loyal and protective and I would go to the ends of the earth for people.

Honestly, when did those become turn-offs to people?

When did putting your whole heart into relationships make you "too intense"?

I just want to love and be loved, like St. Augustine said.

So yes, sometimes I wish my heart were different, only so I didn't get hurt so much.

But in my gut, I know that this life would be absolutely meaningless without love.

And I have people now who never abuse my love for them, who see me and know me and love every bit of me, even the "too intense" parts.

I don't know where I'd be without that love. I'd be pretty miserable, that's for sure.

So I'll keep on going being me. Because really, in the end, I don't want to know what life would be like if I loved any less.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Smile 1: My class was canceled today. Don't know why, don't really care.

Smile 2: I found out why I'm in pain. My thyroid levels were off again, so I had to go see the endocrinologist again today. She's very condescending and snappy, but she gets the job done. Well, the explanation is multi-faceted: I've been taking iron tablets on order from my primary care doc and she either didn't know or didn't bother to tell me that iron tablets can mess up the absorption of the thyroid med, the Prednisone I was on for a month because of the terrible asthma attack completely shut down my adrenal glands and they're just now restarting, and my primary care doc tapered me off the Prednisone too quickly. All three of those things together sent my body into a bit of shock. I should be back to normal within a week or so. Hallelujah.

Smile 3: So when I was coming back home to the apartment after that, I was in a really good mood. I was lip syncing and dancing to "Uptown Funk" on repeat the whole way, and truthfully, I did not care what I looked like. Well I take the 6 to the F to get home, and when I got to the F platform during my transfer, this guy stopped me and said, "Excuse me, I'm just curious what you were listening to on the 6 platform. I saw you singing and dancing and you just really made me smile because I felt the joy from you. You really brightened my day." I love how even in just being a goofball lip syncing and dancing to a song while walking home, I was able to make someone's day a little better. Don't tell me God can't use the small stuff.

It's late. I'm tired. I actually have to go to class tomorrow. Good night.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

First Day of Work

It was long.

And painful. (My feet do not like standing in the same place for seven hours.)

But I like it.

I caught on to the method of the register very quickly.

My coworkers and managers were all very nice and friendly and patient in helping me.

Only a couple strange customers.

But man, I limped home. Mainly because the first train I planned on using to get home wasn't running, so then I had to walk a long way to get to another train. And then I had to go to the pharmacy.

I immediately collapsed in the recliner, ended up talking to Mom for an hour and a half, and ate cereal straight from the box for dinner.

And then I passed out cold at 9 pm in the recliner.

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Monday, February 9, 2015


I only slept from about 2:45-7:00 this morning. The pain in my hips and legs make it impossible for me to get comfortable in any position, even in my precious recliner, so sleep has been limited since this started.

At 8:32 I got an email from my friends at The Anima Series titled "I will bless the Lord." This is an excerpt:

Making the choice to love, bless, and praise Him always, even when we don't feel like it is the sign of a mature faith. So bless the Lord today. Bless the Lord always. He never changes, and that means He is always worthy of praise.

I didn't realize until tonight just how well-timed that message was.

Long story short, while my doctor was able to eliminate some of the scariest things as possibilities for my pain that has continued to get worse, she couldn't tell me the cause. Of all the things she tested in the bloodwork she took on Friday, every single one of them came back perfectly normal. My muscles aren't breaking down, I'm not even close to having diabetes, my kidney and liver functions are great, I don't have the slightest sign of an infection anywhere in my blood...I didn't know I could produce medical results that good, basically.

But this soundly stumped my doctor, whom I greatly respect and trust. She even went to go consult her director because after she read the results aloud, she looked at me and said, "I...don't know what's going on." The end result was she took some more bloodwork to test hormonal imbalances and check my thyroid levels (which I needed to have rechecked anyway) and all that stuff, and if that all comes back clear, she's going to refer me to a neurologist that specializes in nerve issues, because after talking with her boss, the only other thing that they could come up with is nerve misfirings.

I didn't make it out of the exam room before I started crying. I just really wanted an answer because this keeps getting worse and I'm miserable. AND I got a phone call this morning and I have to go in for my first day of training at Walgreens tomorrow so I was absolutely terrified about making it through that in this much pain. So I got panicked.

When I got back from the doctor, I called the three people I turn to first, also because I knew they'd want to know: Austin, Mom, and Clayton. Luckily for me I called Austin first and caught him in the like 3 free minutes he had before work. And he was my encourager and supporter, as always. He's so good at reassuring me, just being there, and he will just listen to me vent if I need to cry. Mom is my reality check; she reminded me that I've dealt with a lot worse and therefore will manage to suck it up until we get this figured out, and that from what I told her of the doctor appointment it sounds like it's either steroid withdrawal (which the doctor said is pretty unlikely at this point because it keeps getting worse) or fibromyalgia and both of those are manageable. Clayton is my prayer buddy. He's the one who will pray over me when I don't know how to put what I'm feeling into words. No matter what, we end every conversation in prayer and every time we finish, I feel my body, mind, and heart settle down.

It was when I was talking to Clayton that I actually remembered that email from this morning. In that moment, I became so grateful for how my perspective changed in just 3 conversations. I cried in the exam room that I knew He was there and I just wanted to have some peace, and He gave it to me in spades. What else could I ask for?

I don't know what is going on in my body right now (but really, what else is new?), but that doesn't change who God is. He's good if I'm out living my life, He's good if I can't get out of bed. I praise Him because He is good when things are working out, I need to praise Him because He is still good even when things feel like they're falling apart. God is always good and always faithful, so He always deserve praise. It's that simple. I hope I learn to remember that always, in good times and in bad.

Faithful You have been, and faithful You will be
You pledge Yourself to me, and it's why I sing
Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips
Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips
-- "Ever Be", Bethel Music

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Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Heart of an Extrovert

Tonight, I'm really thankful to serve a God who cares about the details.

Today at church, we did something a little differently towards the beginning of the service and broke up into groups of 3 or 4 and spent time sharing prayer requests. Which, considering what's going on, could not have come at a better time. So I'm thankful that God made it happen this Sunday, the day before I go back to the doctor to hopefully get an answer as to what is wrong, as opposed to a different one.

I was with two girls, Karen and Jeri, and Jeri's boyfriend Matthias. I've met Karen before and talked to Jeri several times, but never Matthias, but I guess there's just something about a church that immediately makes us all family, so we were able to share with each other openly and honestly and it was just so sweet and, like I said, exactly what I needed.

Apparently I wasn't hiding the pain very well today, because several of my friends asked me what was going on after the service, and so basically, I was surrounded by people who promised to be in prayer for me and asked me to update them after my doctor appointment tomorrow. And you know, it's a really beautiful thing to have so many people who, when they say they'll be praying for you, you know they mean it. So many times we use "I'll pray for you" to quickly end a conversation or because we don't know what else to say, but with my City Grace friends, I don't know, I just feel like I really trust them when they say that to me.

And tonight, I was very very tired and miserable, and then I ended up spending close to two hours helping one of my brothers with his math homework over text and FaceTime, and really, I had no idea how much good that would do me. Despite the fact that, as it turns out, statistics drives me crazy, I was so happy to get to spend that time with him.

I'm a complete extrovert. I don't like being alone. Unless I really want (or need) to sleep, too much quiet drives me nuts, and even then I will wake up to help someone if they need me. Sometimes I will just start texting anyone in my phone until someone will have a conversation. (What? Just being honest.) Community really is so important to me, on both a Christian level and just a person level. The love and joy I feel radiating through my whole body just when I get the chance to talk to someone I care about absolutely makes me come alive. So this community I have now, both here in New York City and far away, well, I don't have words for how thankful I am.

Side note, I saw this tweet on Twitter last night...
and while my immediate reaction was to think of the many hours I've wasted on FaceTime with Clayton making weird faces at each other, I soon realized just how many of my friends are complete goofballs just like me. I'm such a lucky girl.

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Saturday, February 7, 2015

Joy Parade

I will bend, and I will sway.
I will fight to stand up straight.
When troubled winds blow my way,
I won't break.

I will hope, and I will love.
I will give 'til there's enough.
That's the life I'm dreaming of.
I won't give up.

My head's spinning all around and round,
and the world keeps trying to bring me down, oh.
I bought a ticket to the joy parade,
and I ain't jumpin' off of this happy train, no.

I will stumble, I will crawl,
bang my head against these walls.
In the end, I won't have it all,
but I'll stand tall.

My head's spinning all around and round,
and the world keeps trying to bring me down, oh.
I bought a ticket to the joy parade,
and I ain't jumpin' off of this happy train, no.

I will sing, and I will shout,
let these words fly from my mouth.
I will live what this life's about
with or without.
I will live what this life's about
with or with out.

by Lennon and Maisy Stella, originally performed on the hit ABC TV show "Nashville"...the encouragement I needed today

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Friday, February 6, 2015

I sing out and remind my soul I am Yours. I am forever Yours.

I went to the doctor today to try to get to the bottom of this truly terrible pain I've been in for the past week+. I kept waiting for it to get better and go away, but instead it just got worse, so I broke down and went to the doctor because I need help.

In true story-of-my-life fashion (at least that's how it feels), it's either nothing or something really, really bad. She said it could simply be a bad reaction to coming off the Prednisone that I was on for a month, but the words "fibromyalgia" and "rhabdomyolysis" were also tossed around a good bit as possibilities. You can click on those links and do a little bit of reading if you don't know what they are, and you will quickly see why we really, really do not want either of those to be the answers. She took a bunch of bloodwork to try and rule them out and told me to come back on Monday.

So now I get to wait. I get to wait until Monday and try not to get caught up in my own head with fear. I was so hopeful that this semester would go more smoothly than last, since I actually got to come back to school and my shoulder got fixed and was doing so well until this pain started. And now I'm scared that I'm going to have to deal with something else big and painful that's going to stand in the way of me surviving up here. I'm supposed to start my new job at Walgreens next week. How am I going to do that if I can barely handle standing up right now? It feels like my body really is falling apart, and I"m only 22.

But then I opened my Bible tonight to continue my nightly reading (though I missed the past few days from the sleep deprivation), and what's the first thing I see? John 9:1-3:

As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him."

Whatever this is, and everything else that I've dealt with in the past, it's not God punishing me. It's not because I'm a sinner, God loves me so I know that He doesn't want me to hurt, but He can absolutely use this for His glory and my good. I just have to hold tight to the promise that He is exactly who He has always claimed to be.

I read two extra chapters tonight to make up for missing the past two days, and when I got to Chapter 11, I found verses 21 and 22 in the story of Lazarus:

Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you."

Martha was upset because she lost her brother, but she still chose to trust Jesus and his power. And if Jesus had come earlier to save Lazarus from dying, the people would not have been able to witness the miracle of him bringing a dead man back to life with nothing but three words. Bad things happening to me, that's not an excuse for me to turn my back on God. It's a reason for me to come closer to Him than ever before.

Two years, ten months, and one day ago (was it really that long ago? wow), I made a promise to give my life to the Lord. A God as faithful as He is deserves a faithful follower. God is the only reason I'm still alive right now; my only option is to trust that He's not done with me yet.

I told God that I wanted whatever He has for me, good or bad, all of it. Now is the time to live up to my word. Whatever Monday brings, my God is the same as He was yesterday, last month, and the day I got baptized.

If my heart is overwhelmed, 
and I cannot hear Your voice.
I hold on to what is true
though I cannot see.

If the storms of life, they come,
and the road ahead gets steep,
I will lift these hands in faith.
I will believe.

I remind myself of all that You've done
and the life I have because of Your son.

Love came down and rescued me.
Love came down and set me free.
I am Yours, I am forever Yours.
Mountain high or valley low,
I sing out and remind my soul
I am Yours, I am forever Yours.

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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Even if everything else is off-kilter...

The love is right on point.

I had conversations with Alex and Austin tonight, and I know that God was speaking to me through them because they both said things that I've been praying about lately without them knowing those things were on my heart.

Even if nothing else in my life makes sense, I can't forget that I am so loved. And I don't just have friends who love me, I have friends who love me enough to remind me to keep talking to God even when I'm mad.

I don't have a lot to say about today. I just want to put down in words just how thankful I am that there is one gift from God I can't lose sight of.

These loyal friends and their love for me is steady when the ground feels like it's shaking. And because of them, I know that God is close by even when it doesn't feel like it.

I'm ending the night with the Sanctuary livestream to help me remember that I serve a God who is pure love. He is the greatest love of all. What a cool thing, to serve a God like that.

Praying for answers tomorrow.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Bright Side

Today the only sleep I got before class was about half an hour in the recliner around noon, only because I had time to kill. So yeah. My night was fun.

I was pretty miserable at not being able to sleep, since I knew that the nap I took yesterday wasn't the reason since I kept yawning so I knew that my body was plenty tired.

Then, around 5:30 this morning, as I laid there, I got a text. At first I thought who the heck is texting me at this hour?!

And it was Ricky. One thing I've told all my brothers is that if they needed me, they could call or text me anytime, and I knew if he was texting me at 5:30 am it had to be something. A second later, I remembered it was his big surgery day. He couldn't sleep, so he texted me because who else would better understand what he was feeling?

So we spent the next almost three hours on FaceTime talking about anything and everything and it was so much fun, for two sleep-deprived people. We made faces at each other, we laughed, we prayed, we shared stories, until I finally managed to get him to doze off.

It was a very sweet time, and I'm really glad that I was awake to hear his text. I love that there can even be a bright side to a lack of sleep.

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Tuesday, February 3, 2015


Sometimes I pick up the soccer ball I have sitting on my desk.

I know, a soccer ball isn't usually meant to sit on someone's desk as decoration. But I don't exactly have the physical ability to do much with it. And besides, I didn't get it to play with it, anyway. I got it to have a signed memento from the team of rowdy boys who became my family without me even asking for it.

Occasionally, though, I will pick it up and just bounce it.


We're still here, and we're not going anywhere.


God, I just want to thank you for our friendship and the bond that we share.


We've invested in you because you've invested in us.


You spending time with us made us better people.


We knew you were our sister pretty early on. We just had to let you in on the secret.

Down and back up again, every time I hear the voice of another one of my brothers. I see their faces. I relive a memory of one of them letting me know how they really felt about me, telling me that I didn't have to be scared of trusting them, like they knew that in my gut none of this made sense to me without me saying a word.







I hear their various nicknames for me, each one of them calling to me, usually with a big grin on their face, and I can't help but feel this burning ache. How can you know that you're exactly where you're supposed to be but also feel like your heart is being split in two? I left a piece of my heart behind with those boys, and I'm not even the tiniest microscopic bit sorry about it, but I can't pretend that this feeling isn't absolutely awful.

Seeing the ones that I was able to when I was there a few weeks ago was the most wonderful thing, but it only made leaving that much more saddening because it made the memory raw and stinging of who exactly I was leaving behind.


When are you coming back?


I'm gonna miss you so much.


Please come back next year. I want you to see us play again.

One of them asked me to come back for his graduation, and the fact that I couldn't promise him I'd be there was...just awful.

But you know what? With every bounce, I remember all the smiles, the laughter, the prayers, the food, the jokes. The way I screamed for a beautiful goal. The hugs I gave when I could see in their eyes just how upset they were over a loss. The way they thanked me just for showing up, when I felt like I was winning because I got to see them play and hang out with them. How special I felt when they called me their most dedicated fan.

And all that good stuff? It completely outweighs the bad feelings that come with missing the people I love. I wouldn't trade any of those moments for the world. Because those moments, they bonded us together. Through those moments, those boys let me be a part of the family that they could have so easily kept exclusively them. Those moments led to me watching almost every game this past season, even though I'm 600 miles away. Because that's what family does. They support each other even when it requires sacrifice. They show up en masse to be bodyguards even when it ends up being unnecessary. They're there to give hugs and prayers and encouragement and whatever is needed whenever it's needed. And family like that, it doesn't change even when a sister moves away.

This $6 soccer ball on my desk, it's a reminder that we're in it for good.


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Monday, February 2, 2015

That time dirty socks taught me a lesson about Jesus.

So one of the ways that Holly helps me out while we live together is that we do our laundry together, so I can have her help physically moving and changing it all, since our laundromat is a couple blocks away.

Well, the thing about this arrangement is that I am at her mercy as to when she feels like doing laundry, as she has very little regard for whether or not I need stuff washed. And especially the past few days, the pain is so bad that I really couldn't just go do my laundry myself.

I got seriously upset and frustrated, way more than I should have, because she delayed doing laundry again, and I have no clean socks. I called Mom because I really just needed to vent, and she made me realize why I got so upset over the whole thing. (And that if I only have 12 days worth of socks, I should probably go buy more socks, anyway. Moms, what are they there for?)

I like structure. I thrive on structure. And that isn't a bad thing. As Mom said, that's how I managed to stay caught up in school through all the health stuff, how I graduated college with high honors, how I wrote 3 big grad school papers in 12 days. But most people are not as into structure and plans as me. (I responded no one is as structured as me.) Holly definitely is very go-with-the-flow and always has been. So if she decides on Monday that she really doesn't feel like doing laundry until Wednesday, it really doesn't make that much of a difference to her. And truly, it shouldn't have made that much of a difference to me. Wearing dirty socks for a day won't kill me. Also, I really should go buy more socks.

But the thing that stood out to me was that, almost instantly, my mom said, "You're frustrated because you're not in control of the situation." At first, I thought she was lecturing me about being a control freak again, to which I said she was completely missing the point because I wasn't trying to be a control freak. She replied, "No, I'm not saying you're being a control freak. I'm saying that you're dependent on her in this situation because you need her help, and everyone hates when they have to depend heavily on someone else because then they can't control the situation."

After I got off the phone with her, all I could think about was all the times I've gotten scared or frustrated or upset because I had to depend completely on God and I couldn't see what was coming, all the times I knew that I wasn't in control. It can often really suck. It's scary, and not a good feeling, especially for someone like me who thrives when I know what is going to happen and when it's going to happen.

This is why I picked FEARLESS as my One Word for this year. Because I want to take my sanity back. I only have a tiny piece of this scroll that is rolled out for eternity. I'm going to not know the details or the plan a heck of a lot more than I'm going to know them. God is the one good consistently good thing in my life; trusting God really should not scare me. There's a reason the Bible says "Do not be afraid" several hundred times. In fact, I was reading John 6 last night and the disciples are in a boat on the ocean when Jesus comes up to them in the dark and they're scared and all he says is "It is I, do not be afraid." I know that God is in control. I should find peace in that, not fear. I pray that this year is the year I become able to live that out.

And so yeah. That's the story of how dirty socks taught me a lesson about Jesus.

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Sunday, February 1, 2015

An Ode to Marshawn Lynch

Oh, dear Beast Mode,
You have the hearts and sympathies of the 12th Man tonight.
All the media likes to talk about
is that you won't talk to them.
But the 12th Man, we know.
We know of your skill.
We know of your heart.
We know you're called Beast Mode for a reason.
Which is why we're utterly shocked and dismayed that on the last play of the game,
with just a yard to a touchdown that would have won your team another Super Bowl,
your quarterback (who's pretty awesome himself...most of the time), well,
he threw to someone else, someone else being a guy on the other team.
You should've been it, Beast Mode.
You should've been it, because we know you would have gotten it done.
You would've saved the day.
So you have our sympathies, our sympathies on their mistake.
On their oversight of your greatness under pressure.
Maybe next time, Beast Mode.
Maybe next time the ones calling the plays will know...
They'll know that you're called Beast Mode for a reason,
and they should trust you to get it done.
Maybe they'll see what we knew in the moment.
But no matter what, you're still Beast Mode,
with your flowing hair,
and your goofy grin,
and your powerhouse build,
and your block-defying strength and agility.
And they're still the Seahawks.
We know they're your boys.
And your boys are our boys.
So we'll stand proud over a great season
and some unbelievable comeback wins.
And we'll get ready for next year
to cheer you on as loud and proud as ever.
Go get 'em, Beast Mode, and remind 'em why you earned the name.

"You don't feel in Beast Mode, it feels you." - Marshawn Lynch aka "BEAST MODE"

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