the girl in the black dress.

random thoughts on recent happenings.

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the kids are alright

I spent the better part of today going through my room in my parent’s house. I’m home for winter break between my last two semesters of college and decided that it would be good to get a head start on the moving process that I will be undergoing in six months, especially since I won’t be home until I graduate. While going through the meaningless crap, or the crap that for some reason I’ve attached meaning to (I’ll let you decide), I found my journal from my sophomore year of high school. Let me preface this by saying that I’ve always been a journaler, just not a consistent one. There were only about 7 entries in this particular journal over the course of one month, ergo the inconsistency statement. As I was reading the things that I had written down at the ripe old age of 15 I began to realize how dramatic I was at that age, yet at the time I didn’t even realize it. In fact, I don’t remember most of the events that I wrote about, save one or two big ones. One entry in particular caught my eye and it was a poem that I had written about what I was feeling at this point in my life (to be honest, I didn’t know I ever wrote poetry except for the types of poems your English teachers make you write to understand poetry concepts). When I wrote this poem, one of my best friends had just left my school and was battling an eating disorder, I felt as though I wasn’t able to be myself, and like all high school girls wondered if certain boys liked me. At that time, I felt like life as I knew it was going to end because of all the changes that were taking place in my life. 

Lost

I live trapped inside a world which I do not know.

My head is spinning wondering which way to go. 

So many choices, I can’t decide.

Should I take a risk or should I run and hide?

Plagued with emotions I can’t understand

I’m reaching out to find a helping hand.

As I look deep inside my soul, a glimmer of hope shines through.

I can go another day because, Lord, I have found you. 

After I read this poem, I realized that life is all about moving forward. Even when the going gets tough, you have to rely on God and soldier on. I feel like many parents and siblings (myself included) worry about their teenage sons, daughters, brothers, and sisters because said teen is being super angsty and dramatic, but after reading these entries and this poem I’m beginning to realize that everyone goes through phases like that. Yes, I understand that there are the exceptions, but life does get better and has a habit of working itself out. As I’m heading into the next phase of my life, I am clinging to the fact that God will never give me more than I can handle and that he will be with me and guiding me every step of the way. 

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patience

Much has happened in my life throughout the course of the past couple of months. Life is moving at break neck speed, and a lot of times I don’t feel as though I can keep up. My sister is getting married and potentially moving away from my hometown, I’m preparing to start my senior year of college (and everything that entails), and life is just moving forward like it always does. My friends and I are experiencing things that are forcing us to be grown ups and do what’s responsible, I’m no longer a child anymore. That part of my life has been lived and it’s time that I started moving on into this new and scary chapter that lays before me.

Lately, I’ve been very worried about certain aspects of my future: will I ever get married? should I go to grad school? where should I be living? what career should I pursue?…the list goes on and on. My roommate and I recently started doing a Bible study entitled, Brave by Angela Thomas and so far, I have gleaned so much from it. The topic of discussion for the first week is being weary and how we deal with it. One of the main things that I have realized is that worrying makes me weary and also portrays my lack of faith in God that He will work things out.

The other night after I had finished my devotions, my mom called me and gave me some of the greatest news pertaining to our family and I started to cry because of how happy I was. I was so in awe at how greatly God was blessing my family because of the trust that they had put in him and the patience they had when times have been hard. And it got me thinking, that maybe the reason why I’m not experiencing some of the things that I so desparately want to experience is because God has something so much greater for me than I ever planned for myself and I just need to keep putting my faith and trust in him and be patient because His timing is perfect. Why would I cause myself pain just so I can have what I want, right now when I can practice some self-control and recieve something greater later on down the road? It could be waiting a day, a week, a month, or a year but I know that what God has in store for me is worth the wait because “every good and perfect gift comes from above.”

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.

Ecclesiastes 3:1

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words

It’s been a long time since I last blogged, but everytime I sat down at my computer to write something I realized I had nothing to say. I wanted to write a cliche New Years blog, but alas, that failed. I wanted to do a Christmas blog, but why? And then I got to thinking that maybe it was good that I didn’t write anything because whatever I would have written would not have been important or significant, it would have been just meaningless chatter without a purpose. So much of our society today is about instant publication. On Facebook, people inform their friends of their every whim through their status and anyone can create a blog where they are able to write about whatever they want, whenever they want. There is hardly any mystery left in society because all people want to do is be heard by anyone and everyone. It used to be that in order to be published, a person would have to write something brilliant and whatever that brilliant work was, it would undergo a lot of criticism before the world or even a society would be able to read it. Maybe instead of just saying “what’s on our mind” all the time, it’s a good idea to take a step back and realize that not everything we say is profound or important or something that people care about.

When words are scarce, they are seldom spent in vain.

                        -William Shakespeare

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trees

Tonight, I decided to pass some time using one of my favorite websites: www.stumbleupon.com. I’m amazed at how many times this website has in some way touched my soul. Sometimes it’s a photograph or a quote and other times it’s brilliantly crafted blog. This evening I was captivated by a series of beautiful photographs of trees. For me, trees have a lot of meaning and I’m beginning to see a lot of myself in them. Each of the pictures I looked at depicted a tree in a different setting. Some of them have foliage and are growing in a forest or a meadow, while others are completely barren and look as if they are about to die in the depth of winter. And then suddenly it hit me, trees are quite possibly one of the strongest beings on earth. They can take root just about anywhere, given the type of tree, and they face every single one of the four basic elements in a variety of combinations and yet they remain steadfast. It takes a lot to completely kill one off and even when one is supposedly “dead,” the stump remains for a very long time reminding those who see it that a great magnificent tree once stood there.

I think that one of the things God has been trying to make me realize this past semester is that I can be a tree, as long as my roots are in his rich, fertile soil. I can be strong and magnificent and steadfast when I am in him. Every season brings different elements that can affect the tree. Spring brings the rain and with it growth and rejuvenation, summer can bring fire which has the potential to wipe out the tree, fall brings a harvest and the leaves begin to change their colors, and winter brings harsh weather such as snow and ice which can also cause damage to the tree. These different seasons are much like the seasons of our lives. We go through difficult and strenuous things but we also experience joy and love. In the end, we can look back and see that through it all, we persevered and got through it. Just like you can tell a tree’s age based on it’s rings and when there was a drought or when there was water, each memory we have helps us remember that we are strong and that we wouldn’t be the person we are today if that event didn’t occur.

My goal in life is to become steadfast and strong like the tree, but to also have a a web of relationships that help me to branch out (no pun intended) and experience things I normally wouldn’t do, all while in God’s grace and seeking his help everyday.

This post is only a glimpse of how I feel about trees and what they represent. I’m not sure I could fully put into words my love for them and what they mean to me.

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home

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the place, or places as the case may be, that I call home. When I went back to my hometown for Thanksgiving, I caught myself speaking about the town I am currently living in as “home.” I’m sort of living in limbo right now between two places that are so near and dear to my heart. One place represents where I grew up, the things that I experienced throughout childhood, and my family; and the other place represents who I am now and who I am growing into and my new family of friends. People ask me quite frequently where I will end up after I get my degree and graduate, but the truth is that I don’t know. Both places that I have resided in give me a sense of security, each in its own way, and it is difficult to choose.

There’s this tall bell tower at the university I’m attending and I can’t help but feel comforted every time I see it when I am driving into town. I know the old addage goes “home is where the heart is,” but is it possible to have, for lack of a better phrase, a broken heart when it comes to this idea? As of right now, my heart is split between two vastly different places. Maybe the point of this saying is that we don’t have to choose where our physical home is because we will always find a home and shelter in the people who love and support us (and vice versa) since it is to those people that we give our hearts. I wonder if that’s why God wants us to give him our full heart, so that we know that we can always find security, stability, and protection in him. You are not alone.

In the shelter of each other, we will live. We will live.

God has given us each other, and we will never walk alone.

                -Jars of Clay, “Shelter”

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thankfulness

This year, like every other year of my life, I have so many things to be thankful for, but this year I think that I appreciate everything in my life a little more. And I would like to dedicate this post to the things and people that I am thankful for and say why i appreciate them.

To the two gentlemen and the mechanic who fixed my car when I was stranded, you truly saved me and allowed me to get back home and to my family. You three were my guardian angels and I will forever be greatful.

To my mom and dad, I love you both so much and I’m so grateful that you both have allowed me to move 1600 miles away. Your support means everything to me and I’m so glad that our relationship has grown into what it has.

To my sisters, I miss you more than you both know. I’m so glad that we are all finally growing up and that we are all so different. I know mom has always said it, but I truly am so thankful that we are becoming such great friends. I love you guys so much and I’m sad that I have to be apart from you two.

To my roommate, I’m so thankful that you are such an amazing roommate, especially in light of certain circumstances. I could not have picked a better person to live with. I’m so thankful for our friendship, you have been there for me and comforted me when I needed it most. I love you so much and can’t wait for next year’s housing.

To the girl in 624, I’m so thankful that out of all the people who could have been in my transfer group, you were in it (this is especially ironic because of your mother, you know what I’m talking about). I’m so thankful that we have gotten as close as we have. You are one of the few people who can relate to almost any situation I’m in because we are so similar. I love you!

To the sarcastic and often inappropriate one in our group, I’m thankful that you are the way you are. You probably won’t read this, but I enjoy having you in my group of friends. You are completely ridiculous and headstrong but I love you anyway.

To my longtime BFF, I’m so thankful that out of everything we’ve gone through together that we are still the best of friends. I love and miss you so much and I’m thankful that even though we live many, many miles away from each other we can pick up right where we left off when we see each other. You have been one of the constants throughout my life and for that I’m beyond grateful.

To my Forever the Sickest Kids buddy, I’m so thankful that we became such good friends. I know that things are difficult now, but I’m truly grateful that I met you and have gotten to know you and that we are able to work through tough times. No matter what happens, you have taught me so many things just through your actions and I’ll always be astonished at how incredibly similar we are. You are one of the most unique people I have ever met and I know God is going to use you to bless many people.

To my beautiful Life Group, I’m truly thankful that I met ya’ll on Fall Retreat this year. You all have changed my life and have helped me break down so many walls. I love you all so much!

To all my extended family, friends, friends who have become like family, and everyone else in between, I love you all so dearly and I’m so thankful that each and every one of you are in my life. You all have taught me so many different things and there is a special place in my heart for every one of you.

To my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, without you I am incomplete. Thank you for being by my side to dry my tears and rejoice in my accomplishments. You are the reason I am living and having the time of my life. I’m so thankful for all the work you are doing in my life and the lives of those around me. Words cannot express the gratitude I feel for what you did for me on the cross. I love you.

All of the aforementioned comments are just brief glimpses of my feelings for all of you. I’m truly blessed to have all of you in my life and I would not be the person that I am today without you all. I love all of you dearly! And on one last note, I’m truly grateful for the gift of music and the power that it has. Without it, life would not be the same.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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strength

One of the most important things that I have learned in the past several months is that I’m a lot stronger than I think I am. I have come across and actually dealt with a variety of situations that have caused me to grow in ways that I didn’t think were possible. One of my professors told our class that peace of mind comes after a leap of faith. She related it to relationships and spoke to us about how sometimes things have to be difficult in order for things to get better and for growth to occur. I loved the statement when I first heard it, but I didn’t realize how true it was until very recently when I decided that I needed to have a pretty intense and heavy conversation with one of my friends.

The topic of our conversation is not relevant, but I learned through this particular episode of my life how important it is that I depend on God to fulfill me and to guide my steps and actions in all aspects of my life. The fact that I realized certain things needed to be vocalized and that I actually vocalized them, even though I could have gotten hurt in the process, makes me so happy and proud of myself. Instead of remaining stagnant and running away from something that I didn’t want to change because I liked things the way they were, I faced reality and confronted the issue even though I knew it was going to be hard and I couldn’t control the outcome. Life is funny that way. I’m pretty sure this was the first time I was actually terrified of something (besides the Fort Worth Water Gardens) because I absolutely had no control over the outcome. It wasn’t like a sitcom or a romantic comedy where you just know things are going to be okay, I didn’t know what was going to happen. I have never felt such anxiety before in my life and it almost caused me to become reclusive and not deal with the issue. Instead I prayed my heart out about it and God gave me grace and peace and the courage to tackle the situation head on.

This experience definitely taught me that with God by my side, I can accomplish so much more than I ever thought possible. I’m much stronger when I have the Creator of the universe fighting for me and defending me. And while this particular situation doesn’t suck any less and the road I have to travel is going to be hard, I’m okay with where things are going because I now have a road map of how to get there. I’m sure there will be detours and u-turns along the way, but I’m trying and giving it my best shot. I’m seeking out the Lord and I have a new freedom and peace of mind that I didn’t have before and for that I am truly grateful.

He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.

Colossians 4:12

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family

According to Dictionary.com, the word family is defined as a basic social unit consisting of parents and their children. Over the past week and a half, I have been able to observe several different types of families and listen to what family means to people. One of my favorite things that has happened recently was when a few of my friends and I took a trip to one of the Six Flags theme parks. We broke up our trip so that we could see two of my friend’s hometowns. It was so much fun to be assimilated into families that I barely know and watch the way that everyone interacted with one another. I was especially comforted because my own home is 1,612.39 miles away from the school that I am attending and the people I encountered opened up their hearts and their homes to me.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about what family is and what it means to different people. Every week my friends and I gather together at my apartment and have what we like to call “Family Dinner.” We generally make it semi potluck and we all just sit, eat, and enjoy each others company. Its a great way for us to start off our week and become closer friends. Since I have no family in the area, I’ve come to really rely on these people as my extended family and I’ve truly come to love them as such.

Tonight, I realized how much we are influenced by our families. In my Bible study, we went around the room and shared who we most look up to. For a majority of people it was either their mother or their father. I think that when people care about someone they tend to see the positives rather than the negatives, something that I realized that when I shared with my group that the person I look up to most is my mom. Like everybody else, she has her faults and her bad days, but when I think about her all I see are her good qualities and the ways that I want to be like her. Which brings me to another point, we become like the people that we hang around with. I’ve noticed that I have started acquiring the nuances that my friends have and its a real struggle to not do or say some of the things that they do. Which is why I think it is so important that we surround ourselves with people that we want to be like. I’m so thankful that God has brought some of the most amazing people into my life. Yes, there are things about all of them that irritate me and boggle my mind, but I love them just the same and whether they know it or not, they are pushing me to be a better person because I see traits in them that I don’t have, but want. And I think that’s the best gift a person could ask for because true friends will encourage you to become who you want to be not only through their words, but through their actions.

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communication and respect

Lately, I’ve been having some issues with one of my friends, but I am almost one hundred percent positive that this person was unaware that I had been feeling this way because instead of communicating with him, I had been sharing my frustrations with those around me and in typical girl fashion, I was analyzing the situation was reading into things I shouldn’t have been. The other night, I was talking with another one of my guy friends about how I should approach the situation and he told me that I just needed to be honest with the person and that if he responded to what I had to say then, great, if not, then I just needed to let it go for the time being.

In the time that I have been away at school, I have learned more about people and members of the opposite sex than I had ever learned back home. I have grown up with all sisters, so how the male brain works has always been a mystery to me. I began reading this book recently that talks about the inner thoughts of men and it has been very enlightening and I’ve began to talk with the guys in my life to verify the information that I’ve been reading, and so far, its been pretty accurate. One of the questions that I have posed to my friends in the past few days has been, What is the best way that someone can show you that they respect you, or when you feel disrepected what has that person said or done? When I first ask this, usually I can hear crickets because it is such a loaded question that many of them have a hard time answering but what it has led to each time I’ve asked is a discussion on what the term respect means to that person. And that conversation has led to one about love languages which has been awesome for me to talk about with my friends because I want to build up and validate those around me in the ways that they need. Which brings me back to the friend that I was talking about earlier.

I sat down with him and I few of our other friends a few days ago and spoke from my heart about the frustrations that I have been having. It was the first time that I was able to hold a serious conversation with this person and it encouraged me because I think that it showed that he cared enough about what I had to say to not make a joke. And, I realized the next day when I noticed things changing that I should have said something a long time ago. I’m generally not one for confrontation, but I am beginning to realize that it sometimes takes going through something hard or painful to get to good things.