Sunday, December 11, 2011

"How's married life?"

  Since I got married about a month ago, the question I've heard the most from anyone I've encountered has been, "How's married life?" To silence this question and to satisfy those who ask it, I'm writing now to give this answer: more wonderful than I could ever have imagined.

  Marriage is everything and nothing like I imagined it would be. I assumed that things would basically stay the same, but that we would be more commited. True, some things have stayed and will stay the same; after all, we are the same people who fell in love with each other what seems like forever ago. Our personalities are the same, our mannerisms are the same, and in a large way, our way of relating to each other is the same. But now there is something there that wasn't before, like an entity all its own. It's as though we've cemented our souls together. We fully belong to each other now, and that is such a beautiful feeling.

  Another false assumption I had made about marriage is that it would somehow separate me from everything I am, everything in my life; my friends, my family, my hobbies, and essentially my freedom. It has not done that at all. My marriage feels like a deep and wonderful friendship, not a cage. The only freedom I truly lack is the freedom to be with someone other than Jacob, and that is not a freedom I want. I still have relationships with my friends and family (married and single alike). I am still my own person.

  Marriage has done wonderful things for Jacob and I. We have both realized that no matter how frustrated we are in a given situation, this is for the long haul, and we have to learn to work our frustrations out. This has done wonders for the way we communicate with one another. His role in my life has also changed. He is now not only someone I have strong feelings for; he is a lover, a friend, and now a member of my family. I have noticed we have both tried eagerly to put each other first (in most situations) and to be good spouses to each other. He is my  husband. I am his wife. In his words, "I'm young, and I'm not a perfect husband, but I'm trying." That is more important than just about anything.

  I know that my happy, gushy feelings about my marriage can largely be attributed to being a newlywed. But I know for sure that I am married to the man I am going to love until my heart stops beating, and I so look forward to all the years I'll have with him until then.

  Sincerely, Mrs. Beam =)
  (Yes, that was necessary...hehe!)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Cry Me a River?

  I've always heard that crying is a good thing. That it is a great release. That sometimes you have to just "let it out". Crying used to be therapeutic for me, because I would let my emotions build up and build up until something small happened and I had a great big cry over it. It was nice to cry then. It wasn't miserable like it is now.

  Lately, I cry at the drop of a hat. Someone says something mean to me, and I cry. I fail my driving test and I cry. I think about something sad, and I cry. I see an "emotional" car commercial and I cry. I used to think that it was good that I'd started to so easily access my emotions, because for a long time I felt hardened. I felt like not being emotional about something meant you were powerful. So when I started crying whenever I felt like it, I thought it was good that I was being honest with myself...that I was coming to accept that people have feelings, and that it is okay to cry, and that it is not a sign of weakness. But I don't know anymore.

  I don't think it's good to be hardened at all. But I think that when you cry almost daily, when no one feels sorry for what they've done to you at the sight of your tears (even when they truly should), and when crying only makes you feel empty and weak, it is time to "suck it up" (as they say), and focus your attention elsewhere. I'm not sure if this is the most psychologically healthy way to deal with your feelings, but at some point you just have to recognize that you can't be defeated by the things people do to you.

  In short, I'm not sure crying is all it's cracked up to be.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Don't Worry; Be Happy

  Recently I've gotten involved in a bible study at the church I attended as a child called "Experiencing God". The whole idea of a bible study makes me a little wary (as do a LOT of churchy, christiany things). For one, "bible studies" usually revolve around a book that a human being wrote, and thus depend completely on the perceptions of a human being. While I admit that these perceptions can be correct and inspired by God, I've always been afraid to paticipate in a bible study, afraid of swallowing the words of a flawed human being, knowing how much faith I tend to put in the written word. I also dislike filling in blanks and answering obvious questions; I feel like I'm being spoon-fed a message. One more thing that I dislike about the idea of a bible study is the fact that I don't want to feel closer to God because of a ritual I perform; I want to be closer to Him because I'm seeking. However, lately I've been rethinking this a little bit. I think that if anything brings you closer to God, it's a good thing. It doesn't have to come about a certain way. It doesn't have to be some deep, life-transforming thing like I've expected it to be. I think anything that reminds me of God's presence in my life is worth being a part of. I also think that while I would like my spiritual experience to be more "earthy" and not as contrived as participating in a bible study seems to be, that everything happens for a reason. God is working behind the scenes all the time, even when we don't realize it. I think that God has put me in a position where I am able to take part in this bible study for a reason. I don't know of anything more earthy and real as far as spirituality goes than God putting something right in front of you, and you consequently following the steps as he puts them in front of you. All that to say that I am really enjoying this bible study. I really feel closer to God because of it, and when I do it, I feel that I am exactly where I need to be.

  I just got through the first week of the "Experiencing God" bible study, and a lot of points have been made; but the main message I have taken away from everything I've read is that faith in God is SO important. I've read story after story of famous bible characters having such low self-esteem and confidence in their own ability to accomplish great things, and God choosing them anyway. One of the verses that has become so important to me (as well as the rest of the people doing the study) is Phillipans 4: 6:

"Do not worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.
Present your requests to God, and thank Him for all He has done."

  Lately, I have been SO worried and stressed. I am 20 years old. I have never had a car or a license. I am engaged to be married, and we plan to have our wedding in October. I barely have any money and have been hardly getting any hours at work. Not to mention, I start school at APU in a month and I don't know what level of academic intensity my classes are. I have been trying to assuage my worries by dreaming. I get online, browse for places to live, things to buy, wedding dresses, wedding bands, etc. I don't have the money (at the moment) for any of these things! Instead of helping, my "dreaming" and "planning" has only made my worries worse.

  For awhile now, the voice of God has been lost to me. I have not clearly "heard" Him speak for awhile now; however, for the past few days, I have clearly felt Him reaffirm this bible verse. He has asked me very specifically not to plan so far ahead. Right now, He has asked me to focus ONLY on what I can actually accomplish in the here and now, which is getting my driver's license and a car. He has asked me to catch myself worrying, and to bring each and every worry to Him. It has been hard, and I have failed to do so here and there, but for the most part I have been trying hard to trust God to provide for me, and He has. Ever since I started praying about the financial burdens I am facing, I have been asked to work shifts for others often. I have been called in to work often. I've even been offered a babysitting job, and just tonight my mom told me about the possibility of a summer job for me. I am continuing to pray for my fiance', who is working a very stressful and physically taxing job waiting tables right now, and I trust God to provide for Him as well.

  The point of this blog is just to share about the good things going on in my life, and to remind all of you that God is there, that He loves you, and that you don't have to worry about tomorrow! In another verse about worrying, Jesus states that "today has enough trouble of its own." Take His words to heart. I did, and my life has improved drastically ever since I put my future in God's hands.

  I would like to ask for prayer (and suggestions, if any of you have any) for my car. I don't need anything fancy, just something reliable. Please be praying that I would find something that meets my needs and doesn't break the bank for me! If anyone is trying to sell a car, you know who to call! =) Please pray also for my fiance'. Like I said, his job now just isn't working out for him, especially now that we're trying to get married. Please pray that God would provide him with a job that is just perfect for him and for us!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

FutureMrsBeam =)

  On Saturday, May 14, 2011, I got engaged to the love of my life: Jacob Lee Beam! =) It was very romantic and happened during his last visit up on Jefferson Rock (a beautiful historic monument) after talking about how much we loved each other. He was sweet and perfect, and he made our engagement a moment I will never forget! My ring is absolutely BEAUTIFUL, fits me perfectly, and better than what I ever would have asked for.

  This is something that we have been talking about for some time now, and something that I am EXTREMELY happy for. As of now, all the kinks have yet to be worked out as far as dates and details, but I am happy just to know that I'm going to be spending the rest of my life with someone who makes me laugh, takes care of me, and has my whole heart. I love my man!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


  I have always been the one to comfort people when they miss the past, saying things like, "The golden years are just beginning", and "Yes, that memory is great - but you'll make many, many more that are so much better!" I have always been the one trying to keep people's spirits up when it seems like the best is behind them. But today I'm realizing, as I do some days more than others, that sometimes it really does hurt that some things/people/memories will never come back.

  The worst thing about this is that most of the time, it's not that the people are dead or truly gone; it's not that you won't ever see them again. Most of the time, it's that some dynamic has changed. You're not as close as you were to another person. Something happened that makes it awkward or even painful to have the same kind of relationship that you did before. Sometimes you must settle for a lesser form of what you used to have with someone. Sometimes they change. Sometimes you change. Sometimes you just have to accept that although they still live and breathe, they are no longer apart of your life at all.

  Today, as I look back over what seems to be a graveyard of friendships, I feel a mixture of happiness for the good memories, sadness for the fact that I can never relive them, and anger over the things that divided us. I could go on and on about all the things I feel and all the ways that people have changed, but I'll suffice it to say that sometimes, it just hurts; and no amount of reassurance that the future will be even brighter can change that.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Debt and Cupcakes

  For some time now, I've been trying to establish credit. I work at KOHL's, so I started by applying for a store charge card. I was denied, so I tried several different places, and was denied everywhere (it's funny how people who have never had credit can't establish credit because they can't get a credit card...because they've never had credit!) I was finally approved at KOHL's because after working there for a year your manager can submit some paper work and get you approved. I've worked there for almost 2 years now.

  My card came in the mail yesterday, and I was weirdly ecstatic to have my "first credit card!" My starting balance was only $200, but it was more than I needed, so I was happy with it. I had a carefully developed plan to purchase a new summer wardrobe and pay the minimum balance each month so that I could establish credit, and to continue doing this each season until I had established good credit. However, I spent an hour and a half shopping after work today, and was so terrified to use my credit card that I only bought $28 worth of items! A white t-shirt, a black lightweight cardigan, and a book about how to make cupcakes that I've had my eye on for at least a month now. I saw so many things that I liked, but I'm telling you, I'm terrified to use the thing! Any tips on how to successfully use a credit card/establish good credit would be much appreciated =)

Me and "Crazy About Cupcakes"

  The book that I bought about cupcakes is called "Crazy About Cupcakes", and the thing is amazing! You can make kahlua and beer cupcakes, chocolate chip cookie cupcakes, cupcakes for every holiday and all different kinds of occasions (including 3 tier wedding cupcakes!), and fruit cupcakes! I have had an interest in cake decorating for a long time now, so I'm terribly excited about this book, as demonstrated by this picture;-)  So basically you can count on me to be making cupcakes virtually constantly now. Actually, that's a lie because I don't have an oven at school, nor do I have the money to constantly be buying supplies for cupcakes, because I'm saving for a car (as well as other wonderful life events! =D).

  On a final note, I'd like to ask that anyone who reads this contact me if they know of any cheap/reliable cars for sale! I am desperate to buy a car very soon! Thanks =)


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Somebody's Got to Be The Hero.

  I am now 100% certain that I believe with all my heart that there is no such thing as a perfect relationship. When you're a kid (in America, anyway), you grow up associating romance with magic carpet rides, and randomly meeting a handsome stranger in the forest. Now of course, there are perfect, intoxicating moments in romantic relationships. I'm not sure a relationship can be healthy without feeling some sense of "magic" with your partner; and I'm not in any way writing a blog about the evils of Disney. However, I think that our culture puts an expectation on relationships that is unrealistic in light of the stark truth: People are broken, and thus have broken relationships.
  The more I watch and observe people's relationships, the more I think this fact is true. I used to think that some people/couples really had it all together. I've always thought I was falling short in some way when I had problems with my boyfriends, or with my family for that matter. I thought that I wasn't working hard enough or that if I searched harder and longer, I would one day find someone who was perfect in every way and made every day intoxicating and wonderful. I would wonder why my relationships never quite got 'there'. Lately, however, I've been shocked to find that relationships that I've admired have their own weaknesses that only the two involved are aware of. I've seen members of very strong couples cheat on each other, break each other's trust, simply lose interest, or finally just come out and say, "I took this too fast. I don't really love you." That whole perfection thing? It just doesn't happen. This isn't to say that people shouldn't work and strive to make their relationships good and fulfilling; I'm simply saying that putting such high expectations on relationships is sure to leave you disappointed. It doesn't matter who you're with.

  I've even put unrealistic expectations on my family life. I have felt so often that my family fell short of what a perfect family ought to be. I've felt so many times that I should just give up on my family because they are too messy and problematic to deal with. I am finally learning that many of my relationship problems stem from my own unwillingness to accept the people I am close to as imperfect people.

  If my mom were not so quick to jump the gun, if Gary would stay out of my business, if my dad wasn't so immature, if my sister wasn't so stingy, if my brother didn't have a bad attitude, if Jacob didn't hang up on me, if Brenna wasn't such a workaholic, if Hannah wasn't so moody about her sleep, WE WOULD ALL GET ALONG JUST FINE. I find myself with thoughts like these all too often. And too often, after an argument, I have been willing to throw relationships out the door, regardless of how important they are to me; all because they are not "perfect".

  I find also that some of my relationship problems stem from my own unwillingness to accept myself as an imperfect person. When I am in the midst of conflict, I, like most people, tend to view myself as the victim. All wrongdoings are justified because the other parties were "more wrong", and no apologies can be made until they are received. I was talking to a friend today who told me, "Pride is crap. In every conflict someone has to be the hero" (she got this from Dr. Phil =P hehe). These words really ring tue with me. Humility, like love, is something that I have always thought of as a weakness and am just now learning to perceive as a strength. It makes sense that being humble is the "strong" thing to do, since it is so incredibly difficult.

  Something else I would like to point out about relationships goes back to the first point I made about our expectations for relationships. I like to think that my relationships (especially one special relationship) will fulfill me. I look to one or a few people to make me feel "whole". Their opinions mean the world to me. Their acceptance means even more. If I am in any way slighted or rejected by one of those close to me, I feel like an incomplete person. This is something I have to work on. One thing that is detrimental to relationships is putting undue pressure on them. When you look to another person to fulfill you, you are certain to end up disappointed. People are just people. People get tired. People get sick. People get moody/cranky. People often come from backgrounds that are much different from your own. Some people are broken. People WILL disappoint you. When your fulfillment comes from something within (God, creative fulfillment, or even just self-acceptance), good relationships are easier to have, and really just the icing on the cake.
  In short, the point I am getting at is that relationships are so valuable. They are priceless in fact. They are not worth throwing away because of imperfection. I'd like to add that this does not apply to abusive relationships. If a situation is unsafe, you need to get away from it; however, I would advise everyone who reads this blog not to treat relationships as if they were disposable. Don't take the easy way out and throw something precious. It's not worth it.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Just One Of Those Days

"I've been dreaming of sailing away, I'll build a boat out of paper mache'." -
He Is Legend
"Sometimes, I just wanna build a raft and sail out into the middle of the ocean and stare at the sky until I die of starvation.
Wow, that was morbid."
- Kendra Forsythe

Monday, March 7, 2011

To Be Happy

  Every week that I'm at Shepherd, without fail, I get depressed. I'm not trying to say that I have 'depression' the illness or anything like that. It's not serious or something anyone ought to be too worried about. I like to blame it on the harsh flourescent lighting in my dorm room, but I think it's a combination of factors. I feel a bit lonely, for one. I have friends here, but they are busy people, as am I. Not one of us can drop everything we're doing to spend time with each other at any given moment. Another seemingly contradictory factor is the fact that there are so many people here. Sometimes, that can make a person even more lonely. I see so many people all the time, and I know only a very small percentage of them. Then there's the fact that BECAUSE there are so many people around, I'm not free to just do whatever I want to do; for instance, when it's warm, I like to go outside in a bathing suit and lay in the sun, but I would never think of doing that here. I'd feel much too 'on display'. Then there's just the fact that I miss my family, and I miss Jacob. This school is not where I want to be. It is not where my heart is, and when I'm alone here for too long, I'm bound to get gloomy. I'm not blogging about this because I just need something to blog about. I'm blogging about it because writing is genuinely therapeutic for me, and because I thought it might help to blog about something lighthearted; something that makes me happy.

  So, since there is so little in my present life to talk about in the realm of happiness, I think I'll refer to a happy memory. When I was 15, I moved into a little town called Warren, Texas. I loved the house I lived in. It was old with a wrap-around porch where my family installed a porch swing. The whole house had hardwood floors except for my room, which had nasty old blue carpet. So when we moved in I spent the afternoon with a pair of pliers tearing the carpet out by myself to reveal the rustic looking hardwood flooring beneath. My 'vintage' style decor went well with the room, and for the first time in my life, I had a room of my own (something I'd wanted since I was an eight year old).

  The neighbors were very friendly and all came out to meet us on the day we moved in. We experienced our first culture shock when we realized that the neighbors saw nothing wrong with wandering into our house any time of the day, and my mom eventually found it necessary to hang curtains up in the dining room so that our nosy neighbors wouldn't be able to look in at us while we were trying to eat dinner. I made friends out of my neighbors Bethany and Kyle, who were about my age. Bethany and I started taking walks together almost every day after she got back from school and telling me all of her dramatic stories. I could tell that she thought of me as naive and innocent, and liked to tell me her stories for shock value. I hated that she thought of me that way, but she was probably more right than I would have liked to admit.

At the school

  One of the best things about our new neighborhood was that if you walked down the road there was a junior high. Next to the junior high was an old, old, OLD high school. It sat like a time capsule from the 1950s (at least), unable to be torn down because of the risk of making airborne the asbestos within. My sister and I used to walk down to the old school and sit in the yard with a blanket and a picnic, or tea, or canvases and paints, or whatever else we decided to bring. We liked to get all dolled up before we went and take pictures. We'd talk about anything we wanted. We'd talk about our family if they were bothering us, gush about boys or talk about our boy dilemmas; but more often than not we would just goof off and laugh about God-knows-what.

  After a few years of living in Warren, I met Jacob. We met at a New Year's party and made eyes and smiled at each other the entire night, but not either of us said a word to each other. I texted him after we each left, and we started talking every day. Finally, one day he (very nervously) told me he liked me. I told him that I felt the same, and we decided to meet up at a park one afternoon. We just walked and talked for a couple hours. We were both very awkward and nervous, but I remember laughing and joking with him after not too long. He came over that night and we watched a movie together.

  Not too long after that night, he was officially my "boyfriend", and he started coming over close to every night to spend time with me. We walked down to the old school so very many times, and we decided to walk even further than that to discover a bridge. We used to walk to the bridge and sit there and talk and kiss and listen to music and even dance together. It was with Jacob and Kaitlyn that I actually went beyond the school to discover all the various, interesting parts of my little town that I'd never seen before.

  Then there were the nights that I'd go over to Jacob's house and we'd hang out in his room or on his roof. We'd randomly decide to go get pizza together and jump in the car and just go. This is a random memory, but it makes me truly happy: I remember our water was out at my house for the longest time, and Jacob offered to let me come over to his house and shower and hang out with him. I did, and in contrast with my choice between cold showers and boiling water to use in the bathtub, my showering experience at his house was the absolute best of my life. The water was so hot, and the pressure was just perfect, and I felt SO clean afterwards!

  I do consider that part of my life the happiest part of my (admittedly short) almost twenty years of life. It is a far cry from what my life is now. I now live in a flourescently lit dorm room, live 2,000 miles away from Jacob, have tons of stress from homework (and honestly feel buried beneath all my obligations), don't see my family except on the weekends, and my Mom and Dad aren't even together anymore. But I'm okay =) I truly believe that the best is yet to come, and that I can and will have happy memories like this again. I'm trying to get to the point that thinking of them don't depress me, but encourage me, and remind me that these memories were just the beginning of what is going to be a wonderful life.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Things I Hate About Working Retail

  Since July 2009, I have worked at Kohl's as a sales associate. I am very, VERY grateful for my job, and consider it a relaxing change of pace from my previous jobs waiting tables (which is just about the most stressful job out there, from what I can tell), I have noticed a few less than pleasing patterns while working there. Here I have collected the things that I hate the most about working retail. Enjoy!

1. People who call me by my first name.
Okay, here's the thing. I don't CHOOSE to wear a name tag. I have to. It's part of my job. It would be one thing if I had been having a pleasant, friendly conversation with a customer and then they said, "Thanks, Kendra!" as they left the store smiling. That kind of thing is tolerable at worst and heartwarming at best. But when I get these random middle aged men who say nothing to me while I ring them up and seem not even to notice my presence while I do so, then slowly say, "Thanks, Kendra," I get a little creeped out. Even worse is when the middle aged man is one of those guys that try to be funny unsuccessfully while you ring them up and then say your name almost flirtatiously.
Even women who do this freak me out a little.
Generally my policy is that unless we've been introduced (or even just know of each other by reputation), I don't want you to call me 'Kendra'. It feels almost like an invasion of personal space, ya feel me?

2. People who honestly believe it makes sense to spend $12 extra in order to get a $10 coupon.
At Kohl's we give out $10 of 'Kohl's Cash' (basically a store coupon) for every $50 that you spend on certain days. I can't tell you how many times I've seen someone spend, say, $38 dollars and then say, "Aww, damn! I was so close to getting my Kohl's Cash! Tracey, go get that blouse so I can spend twelve dollars extra in order to get a ten dollar coupon that I can only spend in ONE place!"
Now, I understand wanting to save money. I LOVE saving money. But this just...doesn't make sense.

3. People who accuse me of false advertising.
Yeah. So. I've heard the "This is false advertising!" bit quite a few times.
I'm sorry, but it's just not false advertising. Everyone knows that you have to read the fine print these days, and with Kohl's coupons, it's not even fine print. All the information you need is printed right on the coupon. So people, before you complain to me and treat ME like crap because Kohl's is apparently committing an offense against you by having conditions for their offers, strap on your reading glasses and READ the coupon. If you don't like what you see, then maybe you can save yourself a trip.

4. People who get mad at me for 'letting' someone else cut in front of them.
When I'm at work, I am a very busy person. Anytime I check someone out, there are many things that I have to pay attention to. I have to simultaneously ring up and bag each person's items, find out each person's method of payment, and depending on which form they choose I may have to either scan a card myself or count change for them. On top of that, most forms of payment require a photo ID which I have to check. It may not sound like a lot, but the process requires my full attention.
Put simply this means that while this is going on, I'm not paying attention to the order of the line; especially since the line order changes all the time.
If someone cuts in front of you, take it up with them...not me. And please, if you are of a different ethnicity, don't make the whole situation even worse by implying that I'm racist because I 'let' a white woman cut in front of you.

5. The fact that none of the 'sales' are really sales at all.
Don't get me wrong, a deal is a deal. But I have to say that it irritates me when I see a shirt go from $10 to "Buy One, Get One Free", with the price now being $20. 
What I mean is that the price never changes, no matter what sales are going on. True, you may have a coupon that saves you some money, but no matter where you go, no matter what coupon you have, you will ALWAYS be paying more than an item's real value. You can take that to court. 

6. Middle aged men wearing muscle shirts who come through my line and literally give me a headache because they are SO drenched in cologne and call me pet names the whole time I'm ringing them up.
...Do I really need to elaborate...?

  There are a bunch of things that irritate me about retail. These things are just the beginning. But I'm not in a particularly spiteful mood right now, so I'm going to let that be that for now. I may add to it later =) 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Love is Strength

  Just now, I posted a status update on facebook that read:

Kendra Forsythe always has been, is, and will be strong=)
I'm done believing anything else.

  I wrote this not because I was feeling rebellious or independent; not because I was trying to prove something to myself or anyone else. I wrote this because I have lately been coming to an important realization: Love is strength, not weakness.

  Growing up, my parents always had problems. They fought almost constantly, and although each parent tried their hardest in their own special ways to be good parents for us kids, the example that their relationship set for us hurt my perception of relationships in so many ways. I saw the pain of rejection over and over. I saw that the person doing the rejecting generally seemed to walk away from an argument unscathed while the rejected person was usually left in tears. I saw that open expression of sadness was generally met with mocking and cruel remarks. Through all of this I learned two principals that have helped to shape the way all of my relationships (both romantic and friendly) have played out for my entire life. These are: 1) Caring is weakness, and 2) Indifference is strength. As childish as it may seem, I have always felt a sense of pride in being the person sought after in any relationship. In friendships, I tried to remain cool and detached. In romantic relationships, I took pride in always being the one to end them before my partner had 'the upper hand'. In ALL my relationships, any sense of sadness and dependency was quickly converted into anger (because yelling seems so much tougher than crying, don't you think?). These habits were deeply engrained in me.

  Over this past year, I've fallen in love. I've been closer to someone than I've ever been to anyone in my life, and I have made myself vulnerable to him. There have been times over the course of the past year when I have been utterly ashamed at myself for being so 'weak', and for caring so much. There have been times when I have been hurt by things that he's done and I found myself crying and thinking, "What happened to me? I used to be so strong..." Before I go on, I will admit that I have been weak over this past year. I have made some wrong decisions that were weak decisions to make; but I'd like to emphasize that it wasn't love that weakened me. I was weak over this past year because I have a short fuse, because I had not yet learned to refrain from perceiving little things as rejection, and overall because I lacked self-control.

  But love has never made a person weak. Maybe it has motivated people to make decisions that aren't easily understood by those on the outside looking in, but it has never made a person weak. It was love that motivated Jesus Christ to lay down His own life (in a very violent and brutal way) for us. Can that be called weakness? I don't think so. The Bible says this about love:

1 Corinthians 13:4 - 7
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast. It is not proud, it is not rude.
It is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered, It keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

  None of the Bible's description of love sounds like weakness to me. Although I cannot say that my love matches up to this standard of love completely, I can say that the more I learn to open my heart and realize that love is not a weakness, the more my love starts to look like this. The more I learn about love's true nature, the more I realize that indifference is actually weakness. It's the easy way out for people who are afraid to get hurt; for people who have seen others get hurt by love too often. This being said, I want to clarify that love DOES hurt sometimes. As I've said, I have cried over the one that I love many times. He is an imperfect human being who has done things that were insensitive or rude, or even just annoying. Again, I refer to Christ's sacrifice; we all know that being mocked and beaten and crucified was no walk in the park for Him. But He endured it all because He loves us. As countless 80's songs will testify, love hurts. However, it is worth it.

  In conclusion, I'd like to say thank you to Jacob Beam. You are my love, and the person in my life who made it worth it to open up my heart and see what real love is like =) Thank you for sticking with it, and not giving up on me, even when I've tried to be indifferent. I love you.

Friday, February 11, 2011


  Lately, emotional pain has been a topic of extreme relevance for me. This is both because I have been hurting, and because several people very close to me have been hurting beyond what we ever would have expected at this point in our lives. Life's random twists and turns have not been kind to 'my circle' as of late, and there have been many desperate attempts to assuage this pain. Some of these have been healthy and constructive, and some of them have been anything but. In addition to the pain that I've been feeling, I have not been very close to God lately. Since I was young, I have never turned away from God even in my pain, because I learned about His character, and I realized that He is good in all circumstances. However, I HAVE turned away from Him to pursue my own desires. I have kept my creator at arm's distance, afraid of what He might ask of me if I let Him any closer. And so in some of my darkest hours, when I needed Him the most, I haven't had Him to turn to because...well...I decided I wasn't going to.

  I've had a lot of time to think lately, and I've decided to break this cycle and open my heart and mind to God. I've come to realize that God knows me better than I know myself. He knows my desires. He knows what it is that I want that is keeping me from pursuing Him. He knows my heart in its entirety, and I truly believe that the desires I have are there for a reason, and that God wants me to be happy. Because God knows me, He knows exactly the best way for these desires to be satisfied. He is a god of love, and will not deny me my desires simply to be cruel, but rather channel them in a different direction than the one I would choose on my own. Reminding myself of this particular aspect of God's character helped me to open myself up to Him, and so today I sat down for the first time in a long time and prayed that God would use His word to speak to me. I then opened my Bible to a random section and came to Job 6. This is the verse that stood out to me the most:

"What strength do I have that I should continue to hope?
What is my future, that I should be patient?"

Job 6:11

  The reason this verse stood out to me is that this is such a comon feeling/question for a despairing person. I know that recently, while my pain has been so potent, I've asked almost this exact question many times. At this point, everything had been taken from Job: his livestock, his servants, his children, and even his own health. It is completely understandable that Job would have no hope of strength of his own. And yet, anyone who knows the story of Job knows how the story ends. God not only restores but doubles Job's previous wealth, and allows him to have more children. The Bible says that Job lived 140 more years after his suffering (which is so long compared to the length of time during which he suffered), and that God blessed the second half of Job's life even more than He had the first.
  Because I know the wonderful end to Job's story, it's so reassuring to read that Job asked these questions. It reminds me that like Job, I don't know the end to my own story, but God does; that He is a light in every situation, and that He rewards your faithfulness when life's hard circumstances don't turn you away from Him. I think the main thing I've taken away from Job's story is that God won't come right out and say, "Look, here's the deal. It's going to hurt now, but give it (insert amount of time here) and I'm going to double what you had before and make everything all better!" I think He doesn't do that because He wants us to have faith in Him...He wants to see that we'll love Him and continue to look for Him even when life hurts. Besides that, we don't need to know the end to our own story in order to have faith that God will come through for us. You can get a glimpse of God's character just by looking in His word and seeing how He has come through for people (Job being just one example) all through the years.

  One more thing that I want to share that I've learned lately is this: Keep praying when you feel like you're praying to a wall. Keep asking God to get to you. Keep talking even when you feel like you're talking to your imaginary friend. He is faithful. He WILL come through. Not feeling Him there when you talk to Him is normal, and I think it's another tets of faith. If God sees that you will keep praying and keep believing that He's there even when you are not emotionally stirred by Him, He will make himself known to you.

  Anyway. These are just a few of my thoughts as of late. Thank you for reading!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Life is not a gift, It's a Loan

Jacob and I getting ready to go outside and enjoy a bonfire

  I just returned from Texas where I had a wonderful visit with my wonderful boyfriend, and got a little more insight about how I might like for my future to play out. I love being with my boyfriend, and I miss him so much when he's not around. I'm so thankful that he's shared himself and his world with me! =) I want so much to be a part of it.

  I also spent some quality time with my friends Merris and Chelsea during my visit. I've missed those girls a whole lot! I'm so happy I got to spend some time with them. I miss the days when they were apart of my every day life and we were always going to the same parties and events, or just having each other over all the time! I hope things eventually get back to the way they were, at least to a degree.

  There were a LOT of friends and acquaintances that I didn't get to see, and to them I want to say I'm sorry! I really wanted to see all of you, but I only had 9 days with my boyfriend, and spending time with him was the official reason that I visited Texas. Besides that, whenever I visit I just get caught up in a whirlwind of things to do, and it gets a little hard to sit and plan things out. I'm thinking of all of you, I promise! As soon as I'm in town for longer than I was this time around, I'm going to do my best to see you all.

  Right now, I really want to give a few thoughts about life; or death. I'm not sure which way to look at it right now, although because the two go hand in hand I'm not sure there should be much of a separation. I have a lot to say about life and death. I can never quite peg what it is that I want to get across or what my opinions on the matter really are. In fact, I'm not sure that my thoughts about life and death really even matter (except in a philosophical way; it is always important to think), since death will occur no matter what. I only know that every once in awhile when something tragic and unexpected happens, these thoughts rise to the surface and I am left to ponder them and/or deal with them. I want to release them, and my blog seems to be the appropriate place to do this.
  On January 3rd, 2010, very early in the morning, a girl named Shelby in Beaumont, Texas was on her way home from the beach with her friends when they were rear-ended by a drunk driver at a stop light. Her friends survived with injuries. Shelby, however, was ejected from the car and died shortly after at the local hospital. She was 16 years old.

  Jacob knew Shelby; they had been friends for a little over a year. After receiving the news of her death, he seemed brave about it for a little while; however, there were times when I would look at him and his eyes would be glistening. I hugged him and kissed him and did my best to comfort him, but I had trouble grasping how to comfort someone whose friend no longer existed on earth.

  I thought a lot about the accident that day. I thought a lot about life, and the fragility of the human body. I came to the conclusion that I usually do after a tragedy: Life is a gift, and we should treat it as such. But after pondering this for a little while, I decided to re-think that statement. Aren't gifts supposed to be permanent? A gift is not a gift if it could be taken away at any moment because someone decides to do something reckless, or because your body becomes ill, or because someone just wants to see you dead. When I realized this, I realized that life is not a gift, but a loan. It sounds ridiculous, and contrary to everything I've ever heard, but what other conclusion can a person come to when life can be stripped from you more easily than it was given to you? I told Jacob a little bit about this. I talked about how everyone just thinks they have a right to live, and no one thinks anything bad will happen to them. "They think life is theirs," I said. "But it's not. It can all end just like that."

  I don't know what it means to say that life is a loan, except that we have to pay it back. I believe that life is from God, and if you believe this too, the 'loan theory' might make sense. God gives us life on earth, and we are supposed to use our lives to pay it back to him. This isn't to say that we can ever rid ourselves of debt to the one who gave us everything to save our souls (Jesus' sacrifice WAS a gift); however, I think that our earthly, temporary lives are loans in the sense that we are meant to make the most of them and not let them go to waste.

  These thoughts always tend to overwhelm me when a young person dies, because it hits so close to home. I can't help but think, "Geez. She thought she had her whole life ahead of her just like I do. She had dreams and plans just like I do. And now, she'll never plan or dream or have the (almost arrogant) confidence of youth again just because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. That could have been me." 

  I'm praying for Shelby's family right now, and I'm asking anyone who reads this to do the same. I will also be praying for myself, and for all of you to make the most of what we have. Life is worth living, so let's live it the way we ought to until for some reason it's taken from us. Because people, none of us are invincible.