Wednesday, 26 June 2013

After-Exam Reflections

I've finally emerged from the deep dark cave, commonly known as  studying for final exams. I think I'm still human, though I needed a good shower and a good shopping trip. So, one shower and $120 worth of clothes later, I feel able to put together a blog post. If I had tried to do it before, I probably would have rambled on about polynomial functions or thermochemical changes. But, no, I won't even go there.

My Grade 10 year ended and summer officially began yesterday at 12 pm after I handed in my last exam.  I've had a little bit of time to think about everything that went down in Grade 10. Yikes, there was a lot. Everything from moving to doing math in a tiny hotel room with my brother. Definitely a lot of ups and downs, but, hey, every year is full of those. My best friend also graduated, which is kind of a scary reality for me. I can't believe that she's actually done her time, and I'm not too far off.

 Usually it takes a few days after I finish school to realize that I really don't have to study anymore...for two months. Once I finally have that in my head, I try to have a little bit of R & R. Emphasis on the little bit. My family always has stuff going on. But even the little bit of me time I do find is great. If nothing else, I get to work on my tan.

 Grade 10 was kind of a difficult year. So, this summer, I'm going to focus even more on moving past some things, discovering more about myself, and having some fun. What about you?  I encourage you to use this summer as a learning time (Gasp! Learn while you're not in school!). You definitely learn a lot about yourself while your sitting in that classroom fighting off sleep or while you're hanging with your friends at lunch, but summer offers different learning opportunities. Go for a hike or a bike ride. Maybe develop some new relationships, or strengthen the ones you already have.

 Maybe you need to focus on healing. I need to do a bit of that. Healing from relationships that went sour. Healing from harsh words that someone said about you. Healing from the hurt you inflicted on yourself. Summer is an awesome time for new beginnings. Why not embrace it?

 If you make some interesting discoveries about yourself this summer, I'd love to hear about it!


There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth:
A right time for birth and another for death,
A right time to plant and another to reap,
A right time to kill and another to heal,
A right time to destroy and another to construct,
A right time to cry and another to laugh,
A right time to lament and another to cheer,
A right time to make love and another to abstain,
A right time to embrace and another to part,
A right time to search and another to count your losses,
A right time to hold on and another to let go,
A right time to rip out and another to mend,
A right time to shut up and another to speak up,
A right time to love and another to hate,
A right time to wage war and another to make peace.

                                                                                       Ecclesiastes 1-8 (The Message)



Friday, 14 June 2013

Dear Grandpa

One year ago today, I held my grandpa’s hand as he left this earth and went on to eternity. You can read about that here. The year following his death has been a crazy one. Honestly, I can’t believe that it’s already been a year. Sometimes, I think about what he looked like. What his personality was like. All those little things I took for granted, never realizing that they could be gone in the blink of an eye.

Losing someone you love is really hard. Whether it’s a parent, a grandparent, a sibling, or a pet, the pain is really intense. That hole in your heart hurts. Then, after they pass, there’s the craziness of funeral planning and you see more family members than you realize you had. Sorting through my grandpa’s things was also really rough. As I looked through his clothes and photo albums, I was reminded of all the times I didn’t value him. How I simply assumed he would be there forever.  

After my grandpa died, I wasn’t sure what to do with my emotions. I didn’t feel right letting him go. It just didn’t feel right to move on with my life without him. I cried. I still cry. But I had to move on. It’s what he would’ve wanted me to do. He was a very practical man, and probably wouldn’t have wanted me to sit around crying and feeling guilty.
If you’ve lost someone you love, cry a little. Miss them. Maybe write them a letter. Do something that will make them proud. And I can tell you what wouldn’t make them proud. You being angry at yourself. You feeling guilty. You letting your fear hold you back. The people that were close to you loved you. They shared in your dreams, and nothing would break their hearts more than seeing you put those dreams on hold because you simply can’t move on.

Grieve for them. Then live in such a way that carries on their legacy.
Dear Grandpa,

Every day, I think about you. I miss you. I wish I’d spent more time with you while you were here. I wish I’d valued you more.

I still cry. I still regret things. If I could just have one more minute with you, I’d tell you again how much I loved you. I’d ask you for more of your stories. I’d read you more stories. I’d play one more game of crazy rummy even though I always lose. I’d play one more game of checkers, even though I always lose. Maybe I’d try to find a game that I could actually win at. We’d listen to more Selena Gomez music, because you liked her songs. Then maybe I’d show you some better music.
I’ve made a lot of mistakes in the last year, Grandpa. I’ve also learned a lot of lessons. I hope you’re smiling about what I’m doing right now.

I know you’re in a better place now, Grandpa. And I can’t wait to see you again.



Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Moving On

My last post was a kinda depressing, wasn’t it? Yeah, I was feeling a little bit down. I’m still on the recovering end. But things are getting better. Sometimes ya just gotta shove your face in some cake and trust things will get better. While you’re shoving your face in cake, you thank God for a best friend who’s willing do it with you—and pray for you.

Thankfully my story is not done being written (as shown by the little glitch in my emotional system last week). If any of you are struggling right now, and totally identify with what I wrote last week, please find someone you can talk to. That’s what I did. A best friend or a parent or someone. And maybe shove your face in some cake. 

Anyway, moving on from all that, here’s a little bit more of my story.
After I had finished up school, the craziness of moving really began. We were packing, sorting, cleaning, and repeating. I also started online school. I was a little bit stressed, but I was still hopeful because we were going to be moving soon. Every time I felt angry, I told myself that it would all get better once we moved. I believed that all the gloominess I was feeling would go away once I was finally out.

But the stress was building—fast! Instead of having to deal with girl drama, I now had to deal with the hassles of moving, working in really hard schoolwork, and sorting through family conflicts that were arising out of the tension. It was a pretty crazy time for everyone. I can’t really remember everything that happened during those 2 months that we were preparing to move. It was mostly a blur.
But one memory is still vivid.

I was actually out in the new city helping some of our relatives move. I was feeling really down and stressed, mostly because I had some really hard math that I was working on and had to get done because I was behind (side note—don’t ever try to take on math in the middle of a big move. Just don’t.) I had just finished reading Anything but Normal by Melody Carlson. I put the book down and I started bawling. The book was about a Christian teenager who finds herself pregnant. She had to learn to let God forgive her, and she had to forgive herself and others. Now, I wasn’t pregnant, but the message of forgiveness hit me so hard. I was so angry at myself for the mess I had become. I was mad at myself for not being a good friend, for liking pain, for being mean to my family, and for not knowing what to do as I watched my grandpa die. I laid there on my bed in the dark, listening to God tell me to let it all go. That He still loved me. That He had forgiven be because I had asked (over and over!)
I shook my head that night. I told God that I wasn’t good enough. That I would mess it up again. Finally, I cried myself to sleep.

The next morning and for the next few weeks, I tried to talk to God and tried to make up for the things I had done, but I kept messing up.
The emptiness was growing. As the weeks continued, food became disgusting to me. I didn’t want to eat, and when I did, I felt sick. I just didn’t want to be full of anything.

I felt helpless, and I kept counting down the days until we moved.
I would really like to go on, but then this post could become a novel, so I’ll stop there. As I think about how I couldn’t forgive myself, I can see how badly it hurt me. Please don’t make that same mistake. You are not such a horrible person that you can’t be forgiven.  Even by yourself.  You are not a failure. You don’t deserve the pain and emptiness. No matter what anyone has told you. No matter what you’ve told yourself.

God does forgive. I don’t know what your opinions are on God. Maybe you see him as harsh, judging, and just downright mean. Maybe you don’t really care about God. But I know, in my heart, that God forgives. He’s not harsh and judging. We’re the ones that are harsh and judging. God is there to forgive and help us start over. No matter how many times we have to do that.
We just have to accept that forgiveness.

“Love is when a man wipes away your tears…even after your sins left Him hanging on a cross.”



Saturday, 1 June 2013

A Post from the Pit

Today's post is a little bit different than my other posts. If it seems weird, just stick with it. I promise it has a happy ending.

Have you ever felt like you hit a wall at 100 miles an hour? Honestly, that's how I fell right now. Over the last month, I had a lot of awesome experiences. I was really happy, and everything was going great.

Then, BAM!

There's the wall. And I'm still seeing stars. The last 2 weeks have been rough for me. It's familar ground, and it scares me. I've had a tough time getting out of bed. I've cried myself to sleep. I've lacked the motivation to do anything. Scary things.

But right now, as I write this, I know things are gonna change. I chose to believe what I know to be true. I know that there is always a Light brighter than the darkness. I know that I am an overcomer.

Stress is a scary thing, and I feel  a lot of it right now. Exams are coming. Schoolwork is challenging. I feel inadequate. Insecure.

Inesecurity is also a scary thing. Lately, insecurity has been raring its big ugly head. I just don't want to be rejected. Again.

Guys, down here in the pit, those are the kinds of thoughts that fill your mind. Every problem you face is magnified. You cry. You ache. You get angry. Maybe you physically hurt yourself. Maybe you hurt others. No one understands.

So we think.

But I choose to believe that Someone is there, aching with me. Crying with me. Waiting for me to call for help. I choose to believe this because I know it's true.

I know that not everyone reading this believes the same as I do. Sometimes it's hard for me to believe it.

But while you're crying, wondering if life will ever get better, try calling for Someone bigger than you. I had to do that. And guess what. Rainbows didn't appear. I didn't jump up and dance for joy. Things didn't just magically get better. But I got though the night. I know that I was heard.

So, if you're down in the pits, choose to believe what you know is true--not what you feel. Man, I know it's hard. Writing this post has been hard. Right now, every minute is a fight for me. You can cry too. In fact, cry a lot. I've done that several times in the last few day. And call for the One who is crying with you. Join me. Let's watch things change. Sure, our circumstances might not change, but we'll change. For the better.

And finally, eat chocolate. Seriously, God made it for a reason.


"In my distress, when seemingly closed in, I called upon the Lord and cried to my God; He heard my cry came before Him, into His very ears." Psalm 18:6