Thursday, September 29, 2011

This Is My Prayer.

Dear Lord,

Give me strength. Give me hope. Give me peace. Give me an understanding of why things must be this way, or at least give me faith in You and Your plan.

Help me be happier. Help me not feel so helpless, so empty. Help me trust you.

Fill me with Your spirit, Lord. Fill me with Your light. Let me shine for you. Let me believe in you. Let me know that everything will work out, that everything happens for a reason.

There is so much going on now, Lord, that might seem small to others, but is extremely hard for me. I hate feeling like this. I miss the way things used to be. I miss the innocence and ignorance I had when I was a child. I miss how simple things used to be. I don't understand now, but I pray that You'll make it clear to me when the time is right.

Teach me, Lord. Teach me to be humble. Teach me to be grateful. Teach me to be appreciative. Teach me to give to others that which I do not have. Teach me whatever lesson You are trying to teach me. I am eager and ready to learn.

Give me courage. Give me wisdom. Give me a desire to honor You.

I hope this isn't asking too much. All I want is to learn, to understand, to trust, and to do what is right. But to do that, I need fearlessness. I need selflessness. I need humility. I need You.

I will never get anywhere without You.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Surprise! (Sort Of)

Yesterday was my 18th birthday.

Saturday, three of my best friends (along with my parents) threw me a "surprise" birthday party. I put surprise in quotes because I knew about it. I did not, however, know what was going to happen.

It was great!

It started off with a kidnapping. My church, every year, does a freshman kidnap in order to welcome the freshmen into the high school. My freshman year, however, I had a volleyball tournament the weekend of the kidnapping and had to come late. Therefore, I never got to be kidnapped. Having kidnapped other freshmen the past three years, I was really disappointed I missed out on all the fun of being kidnapped. So, my friends came up with the idea of giving me the kidnapping I never got to kick off my party.

There was a bounce house (yes, I know, not your typical 18th birthday part event...but hey, it's still fun). That thing was DANGEROUS. People were, like, dying in there. Not literally, but kind of. Oh, and the bounce house had DOLPHINS. Coolest thing ever.

There was lots of good food, including a beautiful cake:

 Decorated by Christopher's mom, Denise. Didn't she do a great job??

There was a fabulous program that started with a live performance of my favorite song. There was a skit, which basically just made fun of me, but it was all true. haha, I'm easy to make fun of. :-) One of my favorite things, though, was the song that Christopher rewrote to be about me. I loved it.

Oh, I almost forgot. I now have a shiny new toy named Flynn Rider:

Vandalism compliments of Meagan.

Disclaimer: This was not exactly a present considering that I paid for it. However, it was fun that I got it at my birthday party and was able to drive it around on my birthday.

This is me with the wonderful people who love me so much that they put in a ton of time to make the day, literally, the best day ever.

My best friends, aka "The Schemers". L-R: Meagan, Ellen, Me, and Christopher.

I am so blessed to have such amazing friends, and I pray everyday that I will be fortunate enough to keep these friendships for a long time.

My party was perfect. I don't care what any of these three say about how things could have gone better. They're wrong. I couldn't be happier with how everything turned out. They truly did give me the best birthday I've ever had.

And, thanks to them, I can now cross numbers 17 and 42 off of my bucket list!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Happy International Red Panda Day!

This adorable little creature is a red panda, also known as a firefox. But don't be fooled; hes not a panda or a fox. He's a member of the raccoon family.

I am a tad bit (VERY) obsessed with red pandas. I think they are the cutest creatures to walk the planet.

Tomorrow is International Red Panda Day. Aka my new favorite holiday.

Just wanted to share that so that no one forgets to celebrate. :-)

P.S. Sad story: red pandas are endangered. Click here to read more about that.

P.P.S. There are adorable videos of red pandas on YouTube. Find one. You'll love them.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Binder Dilemma.

Over the years, there has been one school item that I have spent more money on than any other school supply. Paper, pencils, you name it. None can compare to the unfathomable amount of money I have invested in binders.

Typically people buy one binder a year, right? Not me. No, I have to buy at least two. My freshman year I had to buy three.

Why? Well, for one thing, binders break on me ALL THE TIME. Almost every binder I have ever owned has in some way deteriorated. I've had covers fall off, rings refuse to close, rings refuse to open, rips and tears, zippers falling name it, it's happened. Not just to the cheap plastic ones, either. My horrible experience with binders includes those fancy, expensive, "durable" cloth zipper binders.

And when my binders don't break, something else happens to them. They tend to vanish.

Not kidding. Last year, around November, I put my backpack and my binder in my trunk before my last class. Apparently, my backpack had gotten caught in the door and the trunk didn't close all the way. I didn't know that, however, so after my last class, I got into my car and drove off. Somewhere along the way I noticed my door ajar light was on. Immediately I wondered if it was my trunk, because I remembered it may not have shut all the way. Sure enough, that was it.

The trunk was still mostly closed, so I was going to wait until my destination to shut it. Well, on the way, I hit a huge bump in the road and the trunk flew open, at which point I pulled over and shut the trunk.

The next day, I couldn't find my binder anywhere. I looked EVERYWHERE. It was gone. Then I remembered the trunk incident, and decided that my binder was not coming back. So I bought a new one.

Well, this new one has now lasted almost a year. Which, I should know, is always a bad sign. My binders NEVER go this long without breaking or disappearing.

Today, it was gone.

I had no idea where it went.

I woke up this morning, and it was sitting right where it should be, next to my backpack. I went downstairs with my backpack and (I thought) my binder. Got in the car. Went to school. Put my books in my classroom. No binder.

Naturally, I assume I left it in the car. So I go check. No binder.

Okay...I must have left it at home then. So during my break I go home. I check the living room. No binder.

I check my bedroom. No binder.

I check the bathroom, under my bed, the car once more.

No binder.

Really??? Again? How does a binder just vanish?

The funny thing is, it's actually the same binder that fell out of the trunk. Well, not exactly the same. But the same type. I was lucky enough to find the exact same binder--on clearance, and the last one in stock at that--when I went to go buy a new one last year.

I was about to give up on binders, when miraculously my binder reappeared...under the passenger seat in the car...where I had already looked...TWICE.

Seriously though, I'm never buying another binder again. Maybe I'll have better luck with folders.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

You Have to Poke a Hole Before You Can Sew a Stitch.

You don't have to be a seamstress to understand that in order to sew your first stitch, you must first poke your needle through the fabric.

I work with elementary school girls at my church. Today, as I was sitting in the large group with my girls, listening to the lesson, something really stuck out to me. The teacher compared this concept of sewing to correcting people. The lesson was on friendship, and how sometimes, to be a good friend, you have to "inflict truthful wounds."

I thought the analogy was so cool. (Seriously, I wish I'd come up with it.) You have to poke a hole before you can sew a stitch. Sometimes, in order to help your friends further grow in their walk, you have to hurt them first. You have to call them out if you see them doing something they probably shouldn't be doing.

Of course, you should do so lovingly, because a friend also loves at all times (Prov. 17:17). Still, it probably won't be easy on them or you, but ultimately, it is the right thing to do.

Just wanted to share that thought for the day. I thought it was a great way of putting things in perspective and a good reminder for everyone.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Little Things.

Almost two years ago now, I was having one of the worst months of my life. Nothing seemed to be going right. I hated school. I hated volleyball. I didn't even enjoy going to church, and I felt as if none of my friends wanted to be around me anymore. I was seriously considering quitting all of it: volleyball, church, everything. I couldn't take it anymore. The pressure was too much, and I was too depressed to deal with it.

A small box changed all of that.

It was about a week before my 16th birthday, and I received a package in the mail. I opened it up, and inside was a birthday card from an anonymous sender and a bag of my favorite candy.

Instantly, I had hope. Hope for tomorrow. Hope that things would get better. And guess what? They did--all because of an anonymous birthday gift. It brightened not just my day, but my whole life. I was ready to give things a second chance.

I've taken away two things from this experience. One, God put amazing people in my life who truly do love and care about me. Before receiving this package, I felt like I had no friends. After receiving the package, I knew that I did.

The other thing this experience taught me is that my problems are NOT too big for God. This is blatantly proven whenever He sends us happiness in small packages. Two years ago, I felt like no one could understand me and that nothing would solve my problems. I'm pretty sure God just laughed at me, because He turned around and sent me a package of Jolly Ranchers and instantly made me forget everything. Believe me, if something as small and simple as candy can solve my problems, then God definitely can.

I never would have imagined I would learn all that from a bag of candy.

So, I encourage you to never take the little things for granted. Because sometimes, it's the little things in life that teach us our most valuable lessons.