Friday, October 23, 2015

Don't Just Be Yourself

I am beginning to feel bothered by the amounts of "be yourself" messages I'm seeing. Not because I don't think you should be yourself, but because these messages are missing something. You see, just being yourself isn't enough, because let's face it-yes, we all have love to give, talents to bless the world with, a smile that others love to bring out of us, but we also have a side of us that is selfish, or perhaps jealous, competitive, easily angered.
So, you know what? Just being yourself isn't going to be enough.
both pictures via Google images
I am beginning to realize that the phrase needs to go more like this: Be the you that God created you to be.
The you that would have been without the fall. The you that can truly bless the world and not hurt it. It's beautiful! And not something we can do alone-we need God's help, we need him to show us who that is.
And this will then transfer into your relationship with your friends and family; this is how your true, inner beauty can really come out. When you are truly happy for your friend's good fortune, and don't feel the need to try to pass her up. (Trust me, this is one I used to really struggle with, and it helped tear down a friendship). When you are willing to help your friend out although you are tired and would rather go to bed early. When you manage to bite your tongue and not yell at your annoying younger sibling. When you can not complain over the amount of schoolwork you have to do. When you can try to understand where your parent is coming from instead of instantly getting upset.
So, yes--you are ALL beautiful, with the unique personalities, talents, and smiles that God has given you-let these things shine! Ask God to help you use them to bless others-and lean on him as you learn to overcome the tendencies that are not right.
Praise God that He will help us as we learn to do this!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Dear C

Dear C,
I know life is tough for you right now, and I know you must be feeling conflicting emotions of anger, confusion, and just sadness.
I know I don't see much of you anymore, but I want you to know I think about you all the time. You are still a part of our family.
How could you not be, after...
the nights sitting in your kitchen laughing as we sipped hot cocoa from giant dollar store Christmas mugs
the mornings spent playing Uno for hours and hours, laughing as we saved up our color changers only to whip them all out at once, along with all the reverses and skips.
the times we rode our bikes around the pavement until we were breathless and dropped to rest on the bench
all the times we spent the night at each other's houses
Do you remember...
When we first met you, and you were terrified of our little dog, Chloe, and we teased you about it? Remember how you used to run in and jump onto Natalie's bed to avoid Chloe? (It's a good thing you got over it, since we added the big dogs).
Remember when our family went to your house and played on the slip-n-slide?
Remember when we watched Narnia?
Remember how we used to climb up on the stump and take turns jumping off, thinking it was super cool if we both landed on our feet and jumped off the highest part?
Remember when we went out back on the day your little sister was born and played zombies?
Remember your girl's party when we were so young? We were all so dressed up and the babies looked so cute.
Do you remember when our families did Christmas Eves together and it was all controlled craziness?
 There are so many memories, too many to write here, but if you did somehow read this, I hope you would understand what I'm trying to say--
Even if the more "official" bands tying us together as family have dissolved, I can now view you as the family member you are in my heart-a sister.
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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Hansel and Gretal Choir

So, I haven't been very good at posting these past couple of months. Mostly, it's because I could either post about mundane things no one wants to hear about, or I could waste hours where I could be focusing on my studies writing deep, heartfelt posts. But, I just realized that I haven't written anything about a performance four of my siblings and I are going to be in in a couple of weeks, so I decided to do a post about it. :)

Becky, who also teaches the choir my brothers attends, was asked if she would like to train a group to sing in a big Hansel and Gretel performance in November. Of course, in typical mom fashion, my mom went and signed us all up to do it without ever getting our approval. But I'm glad she did! It's beautiful music, and so much fun to do. And I'm really excited-I never thought I would get to be up on the stage where I'm going to be. When I was younger, I attended Annie and Camelot plays there and in December, my  mom and I went to the Nutcracker there.

This isn't a super good picture, beings that it was taken on my old iPhone and the stage was decorated for The Nutcracker, but you can get a good idea of the size of the place and the amount of people there.

This isn't a Hansel and Gretel play in the traditional sense, beings that it is an opera. I was nervous that it was going to be a super childish thing, but it's not, and there are several other teens doing it. Our group is referred to as the "gingerbread children", although I have no reason why. It made me nervous for a while, visualizing our costumes as these literal gingerbread suits which left only our faces visible. But we got our costumes last week, and they are actually more 1800s style; some of the younger kids even have bonnets.  Turns out the story is more set in the pioneering time in the Mt. Baker wilderness.
I'm getting super excited; we have a big three hour dress rehearsal coming up, and then on November 6, we have the first of four performances. I'm going to have to start looking up good 1800s hair styles and figuring out my shoes. :)
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Saturday, October 3, 2015

Untitled (9/26/2015)

Shadows hung heavily throughout the quiet room, but curled up close to the fireplace with an endearingly familiar book, they didn’t affect me. I glanced up from the pink, hardcover book to stare into the bright orange flames for a moment and check the time on my phone. Another half an hour until they should return, I thought, returning my attention to skimming through the book I had read several times before throughout my childhood. I had spent the evening at this house, watching two outgoing and fun kids, listening to their reading and piano practicing before settling down to watch a cute movie. Now, the brother and sister were in bed for the night and I was simply passing the time until their parents returned. I turned a couple of pages, before stopping at a scene that had always been one of my favorites and beginning to read again.
“"God knows you hate Borse," Millie said. "He knows what's in your heart and He knows everything you have ever done. He still-” *
A low rumbling suddenly caught my attention and I lowered the book, glancing around while listening closely for the source of the sound. When it did not come again, I shrugged and returned my attention to the book. But only a few minutes later, it came again, and this time I realized what the sound was; a man’s voice, slightly muffled. I guessed it was coming from a radio someone had left on in one of the bedrooms, but I figured I should check all the same. Getting to my feet, wincing slightly as I put weight on the ankle I had somehow twisted, I made my way to the short hallway a few feet away. I hesitated, staring down it at the doors, all shut, wondering if I was just being stupid. I took a step forward, and the voice came again. Only, this time, I felt real alarm. Wherever and whoever this voice was coming from, it wasn’t a radio. I carefully slid my phone out of my pocket, checking that the ringer was off, and pulled up the keypad. I began to dial the number that had been left for me to call in case of an emergency, the one that the father had been most adamant I use instead of 911.


This story is real all the way up to the point where the character is standing in the hall--it happened when I was babysitting last week, only the noise really was a radio. :) The rest is just the writer in me kicking in. I literally stood facing the hallway in that dark house thinking I should write a little story about it.
*Here is the link to the book I quoted--it was one of my favorite childhood stories, and I still love it, since it brings back fond memories.
How are you all enjoying the first days of autumn? Played in the leaves with a little sibling? Had a pumpkin spice latte yet? We're heading to the pumpkin patch next week. I can't wait!
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