Tears of Joy

From my wedding in 2009

From my wedding in 2009

I didn’t cry at my wedding. I couldn’t feel anything in the moment. It’s a blur even now. (I get why people have videos of that day to look back on it and laugh. I don’t have one, but oh what a video it would be.)

I hadn’t cried at a single wedding before my wedding either. I didn’t get how big of a deal it is.

I cry at every single wedding since then. I cry during fake weddings on TV. I could probably make myself cry just thinking about a wedding. It’s absolutely out of control.

It’s because I get it now. I get the weight of it. I get the importance of it. I get that kind of love. I get the overwhelmingly beauty of God’s love for us in it. I get all of it.

When, I think about people I know getting to that point in their lives when they want to make that kind of covenant, I am so overjoyed for them and so nostalgic of my own wedding that I just can’t help but cry.

Do you cry at weddings or do you keep it all in?

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Orlando…

Sometimes in my dreams we have moved back to Orlando.

I don’t think about it often. The likelihood it would ever happen is so slim, it isn’t worth the mental energy to think about.

If I’m awake, I don’t even really know if that is what I want or even what would be best for our family.

But, some days I dream – Dream about being an adult in the city where I was a child – Dream about having different relationships with my family – Dream about being closer to family and having kids that were close friends with their cousins and saw their grandparents regularly.

Maybe, I want what I didn’t have.

Usually, I snap back into reality, but some days I dream on…

From Dracula to the End: A Story of High School Theater

This is a two-part post about high school as part of my Story of Me series. Check back for the second part next week. 

When, I think about high school, I find that I have compartmentalized my experience into two distinct parts: theatre friends and Christian friends. I had two very distinct sets of friends in the social hierarchy of a high school that really was more like The Breakfast Club than I’d like to admit. (I would know, as in high school I also went through a major Molly Ringwald/Brat Pack/ 80s phase.) It’s actually quite a shame how segregated that high school was, but no fighting for change now.

This is about my life covered in paint, memorizing lines and learning lots about myself.

Arsenic and Old Lace, 2006

Arsenic and Old Lace, 2006

I have the fondest memories of theater productions and competition theater pieces. (If you don’t know, competition theater is a little like Glee and thankfully, a little not like Glee). Some of my greatest friends at the time were theater friends. Most of whom, I don’t really speak to all that often, if at all these days.

My life really did revolve around a schedule of fall play, spring musical and competitions. Those were the highlights of my life. It’s actually a bit sad to think my life at the time could be reduced to such small things, but at 15 that was my world. It was a good world full of crazy kids (some of whom I’m sure my parents thought were really crazy).

Honestly, one of the highlights on my high school existence was a pantomime of all things.  I know, that sounds absolutely absurd now, but trust me it was fun. I’ll admit, it did get me and a group of classmates out of class to “practice” but that was the name of the game.

What did I really learn from my 4 years of painting sets, making props, memorizing lines and agonizing over auditions?

I might have gained some self-confidence, but I’m pretty sure most of that came much later. Mostly, I learned some things really are just for fun. Theater didn’t end up being my career and although, I love going to see plays, I haven’t even auditioned for one in ages. I learned to enjoy art and I do really think that’s been important for me. I started to learn about critical thinking, which is unfortunately a very underrated skill.  I gained an appreciation for the people who do make it as actors because really I might have just a twinge (albeit not much) of jealousy. And maybe, something about working together/ not hurting the people you’re working with – a valuable life lesson.

I wouldn’t change anything about those years, even though some of the most awkward experiences of my life came out of them.

I feel like this post would be lacking if I didn’t mention that during this time and with this group of friends, I knew amazing people who were hilarious and fun and talented. But, I had a friend, who helped when things got really tough (and even at 16 my life had its rough patches) and made fun of me when things weren’t (and if they’re reading this are likely making fun of me right now). This friend, in hindsight, was wise beyond their years and I think at 16 everyone needs that.

Worshipping at the Altar of Security

This is the idol I fall prey to all too easily.

I am dreadfully fearful about not having enough money at the end of the day to pay the bills, about being out of work or really any number of scenarios where I feel my control over my finances slipping away. I can easily become frazzled to the core by this fear that wells up in me.

Oh, how ugly is my heart. How silly I am to think I have any control! How utterly foolish am I to fail to see that all I have been given is not mine at all!

Some song lyrics have really been drilling this into my heart lately:

“I’d rather lose all the things of Earth to gain the things of Heaven” (from The Rich Young Man by Keith and Kristyn Getty)

Do I believe those words? They are hard to say when you’re clinging to the false security that money brings.

“Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise. Thou mine inheritance now and always” (Be Thou My Vision)

Can I really say these? Even in the moments when we’ve had less money and when God clearly provided in miraculous ways could I see the gift from God without worshiping at the altar of this idolatry?

Everything within me is fighting this. Fighting the fear that God will not provide. Fighting the need for false security that comes from this world.  Knowing that it is true: “my soul finds rest in God alone.” Let it be so, Lord. Let it be so.

The 25 List Update

Last month, I created a list of things I plan to accomplish before I’m 25. You can read them: here, here and here.

This is my monthly update with how I’m doing with all of my goals.

1. I did study more Spanish and realized my Spanish is waaaay worse that I thought. ¡Que triste! I read a few short stories and studies some irregular verbs. Overall, it was a good start, but I’ve got a long way to go.

3. I ran so much more this month that probably every before. I think it’s because I’m so impressed with Taylor’s running. (He ran 9 miles last night!) I’m still not a lover of running and the week I wasn’t feeling so great was a set back, but I’m going to keep pushing along with the running thing.

10. I am finishing a non-fiction book on Mormonism and then I am diving deep into my quest to read more fiction. Have you read a good book lately? I’m taking suggestions.

11. I’m working on my fears related to the future. It’s a work in progress.

13. I did a bit of decorating and I’ve made some plans. Slowly, our apartment is looking more awesome.

17. I thought  a lot about the Sabbath. You can read some of that here. I’ve been way more comfortable talking about it with others too. Major win!

22. I’m memorizing the New City Catechism, but I’ve been failing on the scripture memorization. Boo! Fixing that with a challenge to absorb Romans 5 this month.

23. I did paint a small canvas and it was a lot of fun. Looking forward to more projects like this soon.

25. I’ve also thought about grad school and I’m no closer to making a decision about this. Pray for me. I did do a good bit of rambling about this though. It was good for my thought process.

Mini-Goals for the Month

  • Memorize Romans 5
  • Read One Fiction: Planning a trip to the library soon. 
  • Run at least one 5k distance each week (and keep up with my crazy Jillian Michael’s DVD because I need the variety)
  • Crack down on my Spanish studying. Buy an old amazon textbook online and get to work!
  • Fast: I didn’t really start this yet and I really want to. I’m thinking about easing into a lunch time a week.
  • Apologize more: I constantly see how I fail at this. I’ll probably always be working on this, but it’s good for me to have the reminder.

Do you have any goals for the month?

Side note: In the next month, I’ll be in Orlando (twice!) and Jacksonville once! Looking forward to these trips too!

Moving On

This post isn’t about Valentine’s Day, but I hope you’re having a great one! Shout out to Taylor for an awesome Valentine/Husband/Person. 

Jean Jacket

Now, onward with my life story. (Like the picture above:  jean jacket and terribly huge glasses. I was hipster before it was a thing!)

We moved from Colorado to Florida in November of 1997. I was 8.

I don’t even remember when or how my parents even told me we were moving.

I remember the letters my classmates wrote me. I hope teachers still have their students do that. It was so encouraging to take a little stack of poorly written letters with me to the new and foreign land of Orlando.

I was so scared the first day at my new school. Doesn’t the unknown always have the effect, at least a bit?  I remember sitting and waiting in the office for my new teacher to come get me. She was exactly the kind of teacher I needed. Isn’t it great how God does that?

The first thing my teacher did was ask me a simple question. One I definitely got wrong, but I was glad I did. She said “Seminole or Gator?” I was 8 and from Colorado so I didn’t even know what a Seminole was so I blurted “Gator?” Apparently, being the week after Thanksgiving, those teams had just played and the Gators won.

I came home so happy because I had gotten out of homework for a whole week.  I’m not sure my mom really believed my story about this. In hindsight, shouldn’t she have been worried about this new educational system based on football game wins?

It was the makings of a good new start – for me as a little 8-year-old in a new land, for my family it would be the first time I remember my Dad ever having a real job. It was the start we needed.

The Dark I Know Well

“even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for the darkness is as light with you” Psalms 139:12

I’ve needed these words the last few weeks. The darkness of depression is seriously a debilitating and all consuming thing. When someone asks, “why are you sad?” or “why are you crying?” and you don’t have an answer but your face is so swollen with tears and it has been for days on end, you feel on the darkness that consumes you. When it becomes difficult to concentrate and even have the energy to get up, it feels hopeless. Thankfully, it is not hopeless. Remembering this is key.

I am thankful that I so rarely deal with these times. I pray for those that do. What a hard plight that must be.

I am thankful that each day is a little brighter. I am thankful to have a husband that puts up with this craziness.

I am thankful that the darkness I feel is not dark to my God. That He knows my suffering and is bringing a new day without it. I long for that day. I know that there is light at the end of the tunnel, even if I can’t see it. I trust there is because God says it. I know that my suffering is only a flicker of the suffering Christ felt and did not deserve.