‘Tis the Season!

This Christmas was a good one. Even though it’s not quite over, it’s been really great so far! I didn’t feel the desire or need to form a list of things for others to get me, but rather went venturing out on Black Friday for the first time in my life to shop for my dearest friends and family. If I failed to get you a present, I am terribly sorry. It’s nothing personal whatsoever. It most likely signifies that I ran out of money before I got to you on the list.

But anyway, my point is, I wanted this Christmas to be completely about giving. I wanted my excitement to be founded in the generosity and love I would share with others, rather than an excitement in waiting to receive gifts for myself. So everything I got this Christmas was a total surprise. And I had a much better feeling afterwards. Every gift I received had more meaning, because each was something the person picked out for me, having to put thought into whether I would like it and what it would mean to me. They had no choice, considering they didn’t have a list they could mindlessly buy from.

Now, I’m sounding quite selfish right now. I realize that I’ve been talking about myself and how people had to shop for me, but I enjoy reflecting on how much more meaning this Christmas held because of that. I love every single thing I got from my family and friends because everything was a surprise and a gift of love. It was perfect, and I walked away happy. I came into it without expectation, and walked out with joy. This is a lesson I’ve learned many times and it’s one of my favorite pieces of wisdom. The expectations we form in our minds usually determine the outcome, so why expect anything?

Now I want to share with you a couple of my favorite gifts that I received today.

1. Tickets to the Trans-Siberian orchestra in concert on the 30th. My grandpa bought them for my family, and I am overjoyed. As I was handed the envelope, one of their songs, Christmas Sarajevo,  came on the radio. I made a comment to my family, “Guys! We should have gone to their concert!” And then I opened the envelope, and pulled the tickets out. It was a mini-miracle.

2. My grandma made me a crocheted rosary when I was born, and I’ve kept it ever since. I love it very much, and asked her if she could teach me how to make them. She is going to teach me, and she even made me a couple more. This is a really great gift to me. It was also a nice gift of quality time together when she taught me how to make them tonight.

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Cute little giraffe shipped to me from Africa 🙂

3. I got Hillsong’s album Cornerstone, the Deluxe version, which includes the full concert on DVD. I definitely wanted this. I listened to it on the way to my grandma’s today. I love it! Next best gift would be tickets to their concert. And I got a gift card to iTunes so that I can get Chris Tomlin’s album that comes out on January 8th!

4. I got a really cool giraffe shirt and giraffe nail polish. My sister even put this little giraffe key-chain in a little crate to make it look like it was shipped from Africa. Cutest thing ever. I love giraffes.20121225-171242.jpg

5. My brother’s girlfriend, God bless her soul, drew me a lovely picture of Rapunzel and her chameleon Pascal from Tangled, and I aspire to be Rapunzel and have my own chameleon someday. I love that movie. It’s by far my favorite. She also gave me this little Japanese cat figure that is believed to fulfill your wishes and dreams. I thought that was really neat because I love dreaming. She’s a sweetheart.

5. My mommy bought me a subscription to a seasonal magazine called Radiant. It’s a nice encouraging magazine for young women and includes modest fashion ideas and interviews about common experiences with love and life struggles. I love it already!

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I’d also like to give a special shout-out to my new cabin socks. I got these stockings in my stocking. Pretty cool.

6. Finally, I got an iPhone. Crazy, right? There’s no way. But it was a promotional item that came with my brother’s, and I am thankful for it. My old phone is getting on my nerves, and its a really nice gift. Completely unexpected. But awesome. My mom also picked out a custom case that’s absolutely beautiful. I can’t wait to put the case on my phone and call it my own! I rhymed 🙂

I think the best gift of all that I have this Christmas is the ability to love my friends and family and to receive their unconditional love for me. I am also incredibly thankful for my strong faith and gifts and talents. All of this is truly a blessing in my life and I plan on doing great things with it.

A reflection on the experiences of my mission trip to Cranks Creek, Kentucky

I… am literally speechless right now. But I have so much to say. I don’t know where to begin, so I must warn you readers that I will circle and weave around in an incredibly obnoxious way throughout this entire reflection.

To begin, I want to regroup my thoughts. Well actually, let me start off by filling you in on what I’ve have been doing with my life for the past four days.

I began my journey this past Wednesday. At about four in the afternoon, I jumped in the car with what I would now like to call my second family, my closest friends of the youth group I attend regularly. We drove to Cranks Creek, Kentucky, an Appalachian community struggling with poverty. Our mission was to collect, deliver, organize, and distribute food, clothing, toys, shoes, bags, coats, blankets, and home supplies to the people in need who live in that community. A man named Bobby and his wife Becky opened a donation center in an old barn nearby, and keep a survival center for the groups who come down on mission trips throughout the year. I rode down with an advanced team of about 18 people, to get the survival center and barn cleaned up and ready for our mission before the rest of the group arrived. Going down early was something I will never regret. It gave me an opportunity to be patient with myself while I acclimated to the new environment I pushed myself into.

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Bobby Simpson, God bless his soul

The trip for me was indescribable. (I say this as I proceed to describe every detail.) At the beginning, I was closed in my shell, being patient with myself, knowing that it might take me a day or two to warm up to the group I would be spending so much time with. In new situations, I take a little time to let myself totally free. But I got there, eventually. I spent most of my first two days in personal conversation with my fellow advanced team members, getting to know each one on a deeper level than I know most of my good friends. It was strengthening, and provided growth for me, offering new perspectives. I will go deeper into how these conversations affected me later. One of the big moments of the first two days was on Thursday night. The team visited with Bobby, and he told us riddles. We laughed together. It was a really good exercise of patience and listening, and helped me grow in both of those areas.

Most of the action (the events and moments I remember the most) didn’t occur until the main team arrived. On Friday afternoon, the rest of the group showed up. We organized clothing and food in the barn, getting a head start on our work. We also participated in a group prayer session, one of my favorite things to do. Saturday was one of the biggest days for me. We started off the morning with a Mass, given by a wonderful priest that came down with a group from Maryland to lend a hand in the mission. We continued with our work during the day, decorating the barn, organizing the clothes, moving the toys, and unloading and packing the food. It was crazy. We had music playing the whole time. It was a party. So much happened that day, I can’t even remember it all.

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The lovely decorations my friends and I hung

But I do remember a couple specifics. I had one of my best Confessions yet. I would say it was my second best, after my experience with Confession at CYSC this past summer. I mustered up the courage to pour out everything I had been holding in, and truly decide how I would ask for the Lord to help me improve and grow in my relationship with him. Amazing.

In the evening, I was given a wonderful opportunity to share in a group hug with four or five of my favorite people. And you may think this is too common of an occurrence to be special in any way, but this hug was special in every way. And the memory of the hug stands out among many. It consisted of a few people that had previously been a mystery to me for so long. One of them was the same little friend that I had my favorite reconciling encounter with (read below) and one of them included a friend that I got to know so well and that I now hold dear to my heart. The hug also included my group’s youth minister, whose personality I had not discovered fully yet. The fact that I was swept into this loving encounter with these mysteriously amazing people was just something I will never forget. I felt loved and included: a part of a family. And that’s what everyone needs. This loving exchange was amazing, in such a small way.

I remember another special moment. We took the afternoon to drive around town, visiting the homes of the sick: those who would not be able to make it to the pick up on Sunday. We visited a lady named Geneva. She was beautiful, inside and out. She had a nice big picture of her entire family on the wall of her home, and she took the time to describe each one of them. She told us where they were in life, and how they impacted her. She told us how she was looking forward to their visit on Christmas. She also told us about the many great deeds her neighbors had done for her. She even shared her sadness in the fact that a lot of her friends, even her husband (who she mentioned as being a great friend to her) had passed away. She was so open, and I was able to share in her emotion completely. It was a changing experience, because in that moment, I felt God’s grace in the work of mercy that I was participating in. I suddenly saw life through her eyes, representing the eyes of all the sick, lonely, or aged. They are all so loving and sharing, and often times in the past I have asked myself how they could be that way. How could they take on such a position to serve others with their love, when they were in such a position to be served? Talking to Geneva answered that question in my heart. These people know God, because God has never left and will never leave them. As they begin to lose those dear to them, they come to a realization that He is always by their side. They continue to develop a loving relationship, thanking him for their family and friends and everything they’ve been given. At that point in life, what else is there to really do? Being saddened and trapped in by sickness limits the ability to go out and be distracted by worldly things. So these people reflect, think, ponder, and pray. And it’s amazing. They hold so much inside of themselves, begging for someone to share it with. And when someone comes along, it pours out. And I thank God for the opportunity I was given, and ask that I be open to more, because not only was I able to grow in my sharing of emotion with Geneva, but she was able to pour out her love to us, a moment she had been so excited to have since last Christmas. Amazing.

On the way home from our house visits, we stopped at a Dollar General for a bathroom break. A little uncomfortable incident happened during the stop, which I would not like to share (don’t even ask). But the boy who caused the sudden distress felt terrible for causing it. And a little later, he came up to me with teary eyes, and asked me if I was okay. At first, my eyes teared up as well. I thought to myself, how cool is it that this young man is doing such a mature thing, to come up to me and ask for my forgiveness and show that he cares? To reconcile a relationship from even the tiniest amount of brokenness? My heart pretty much melted on the spot. So I said, “Please don’t feel bad, I’m okay!” And he said ok, and I gave him a hug. I might have to put this reconciling encounter up in my top five favorite moments of life so far. Amazing.

Another great thing that happened to me, not just on Saturday, but throughout the entire weekend, was the relationships I was able to build. And I built them from ground zero. A couple girls I had never actually met became my best friends, and another great friend I had never spent time with became one of the people I hold dear to my heart. How did this happen? The Lord really does work in our hearts, and when we are open to him, we accomplish great things. When we open our hearts to each other, we accomplish great things, with great people beside us. We become unstoppable and powerful. Life really is all about relationships and a journey. And there isn’t a thing about life that is truer. Once again, amazing.

Finally, Sunday was give away day. Cars lined the stretch of the road as far as we could see, waiting to receive their annual Christmas bundle.

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A car coming through the barn to pick up its order.

I took orders from each car, asking what food, clothes, and toys each family wanted. I asked for special prayer requests, and my friends handed rosaries to as many as we could supply for. I met one young woman, she was very sweet. She thanked me many times for my prayers and my giving heart. She told me about a family in which the parents are struggling with a drug addiction, and the children are lost without support. I shared my sympathy, and will forever hold her and the family in my prayers. Talking to people from all different walks of life is something that requires strength and understanding, and I don’t know how I did it. I walked into this task blindly, questioning my ability to impact each individual’s life in the way I longed for in my heart. But I did it, and it was awesome. The Holy Spirit shined through my works, his gifts truly revealing themselves from deep in my heart. ‘Twas truly Amazing.

That same day, I was also blessed with an opportunity to work on mending a seriously broken relationship with a dear friend who I have been struggling to communicate with. He was sent over to take orders, and I happened to be working there as well. I think that this task that we shared worked as a means by which we could communicate externally, about something completely detached from emotion. This enabled us to get along and act as friends for a good amount of time. I rarely have a chance to spend this kind of basic bonding time with him anymore, because we both have no clue where to start or how to go about it. I thank the Lord for this. I really do. It was so simple, yet so perfect. It didn’t compare to the deepening conversations I had had with so many others all weekend. But it was something in itself that was so full, because the simple encounter that we had mended all that needed to be mended at the time. This proves that patience in the Lord is really important to have, because he works through us in such small, unexpected ways which come about when we are just beginning to lose hope. I was just losing hope in our friendship. Now I realize it will be okay.

The ride home on Sunday afternoon was actually one of the most amazing parts of my trip, believe it or not. How can a seven hour road trip be better than an eight hour dance party in a barn? I don’t know. But it was close. I spent more than half the time pouring my heart out to my friends (my family) who had been by my side the whole trip. I felt gifted and strengthened to be able to speak everything I had felt and experienced since eighth grade year when my faith started playing a big role in my life, and I shared my reflections on self-growth and experiences I had on the trip. It was such a fulfilling conversation for me, receiving affirmation and love from my close friends and leaders. I can’t even describe it. It was amazing.

Lastly, I want to say that I was given a great opportunity to meet some lovely new faces and personalities that will serve as role models in my life, and I am so happy I met these people. It was great to experience their openness and friendship right off the bat, without any introductions. They just hit it off, and seemingly knew my name before I ever talked to them. Being surrounded by people like this for a whole week makes it hard to move back to a life of brokenness and healing, but I trust in the Lord that I can bring the love back to this life. The Lord would never ask anything of us that we are not equipped to handle. I am equipped. And I am ready.

I want to close by saying that this mission trip was life. I lived, and I lived fuller than I’ve ever lived. I lived for, with, through, by, and in others. I lived outside of myself, and don’t plan on stepping back in. Looking outside of me gave me the opportunity to gain an understanding of others, and myself. I was able to see who I used to be, and how I’ve changed to be who I am now. I can see where I’ve grown; I can see what I’ve learned. I can see who I am; I can accept it. I have more patience with myself than ever before. And the virtues and gifts just keep growing exponentially. It’s restorations like these that set my heart on fire, and it’s sad to me to realize that after restorations like these, I usually let the fire die.

Lord, thank you for the fire you set in my heart, to go out and do your work. Not only to do your work, but to spread your love and kindness in my work. Not just to take the journey, but to form strong relationships throughout. Help me to constantly feed your fire, and never put it out with sinful actions, laziness, or fatigue. Every time I encounter you closely, I grow more equipped to be an instrument of your love. Thank you Lord, thank you for sending your Holy Spirit upon me. Thank you for sending your love and salvation in your son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

What I learned about myself/How I changed (in a nutshell):

I have acquired more patience with myself, in trusting my life to God’s plan for me, and realizing that I am sent to carry out his mission, and my life will fall into place the way it is meant to.

I should trust in my given abilities and talents, and never doubt something I am called to do.

I am able to share my thoughts and emotions so easily, filled with hope that the person receiving my ideas will be open. Even if they aren’t open, I share anyway. I learned that I need to share my love with everyone, but sharing my every thought with everyone isn’t always the right thing. I should share my thoughts and feelings with those who love me unconditionally and will affirm my thoughts and build me up.

If I take the time to breathe, and think between my words and sentences, I actually have a gift for speaking and finding the right words to say. I can be clear and explain things that seem unexplainable, if I just have patience with myself and give myself time. Previous to this trip, I decided I was too nervous to ever be able to share something without feeling awkward or dissatisfied.

In the words of the Lord, spoken through my dear friends, I acquired the knowledge that in the eyes of the beholder, I am crazy, fun, open, loving, lovable, patient, beautiful, selfless, forgiving,gentle, pure, clear, kind, filled with unending potential, weird, and truly amazing: apparently more than I know. Thank you everyone for showing me who I am, where I belong, and where I want to take my life. With God’s help, I will surely figure out how to get there.

I learned how to communicate efficiently and effectively (through observation of others and my own experience) with people who may be hard at hearing, or understanding, or confused, and to listen with patience to those who may have trouble communicating or may have accents that are hard for me to understand.

When I begin to lose hope among my brokenness or in seeing the brokenness of others, it helps to step back and watch the healing that the Lord is doing in us, through our encounters with each other. I learned to have more trust and patience in the Lord, because just when I start to lose hope, He finds some unexpected way to plant it back inside of me.

Are you there, or are you just a decoy dream in my head?

The more I try to move on, the more I feel alone. So why are we trying so hard to move on? What even happened? Where did the happiness, the harmony, the laughter, the friendship and the glow… where did it all disappear to? Sometimes I wonder. Actually, I spend most of my time lately wondering these things. What motivates a human being to give up the one thing keeping them happy in the midst of heartbreak and tragedy? Is it because any emotion at all is too much to handle when something makes us feel so much?

I think I understand. I was there with you when it happened. It was hard. I cried with you, and I still think about it all the time. It was as much a part of my life as it was yours. The only difference was the extreme emotional attachment you carried, the emotion I could never quite understand. You had a feeling of emptiness, incompleteness, even anger. I didn’t have those feelings. But sometimes I do. I understand those feelings. And I still think about it. I pray about it. I hope one day you’ll heal. And I wish I could help you heal. I hope I help you heal, just by being there. Even if you don’t want me.

But I love you. And I pretend like you want me back. I wonder, are you really there? Or are you just a decoy dream in my head? Because sometimes, I try to talk to you, not just in my head, but for real. And when you talk back, it blends into my dreams. And I wonder if I actually talked to you, or if I dreamed that, too. I find myself falling into a trap. A trap I’ve created for myself. Because I can’t forget you. I can’t even imagine trying to forget you. We went through so much. We shared everything. And I wonder if you have forgotten. Because I haven’t.

I know you will heal. I know I will heal. In time, the brokenness we created… the tension we prolong… the awkwardness we share… it will all heal. And if our friendship is meant to be, it will be.

My inspiration: Owl City of course.

A lesson taught by Mark Twain, learned by experience

So I am in the mood to blog, but there seems to be way too much on my mind to blog … I know, strange. So I clicked, “Inspire me” and this is what came up: Write about your strongest memory of heart-pounding belly-twisting nervousness: what caused the adrenaline? Was it justified? How did you respond?

Could life be any more ironic right now?

Well, my strongest memory of heart pounding belly twisting nervousness is happening right now. Really, the only thing I’ve been feeling for the past week has been heart-pounding, belly-twisting nervousness. And its all because I took the gutsiest move of my life, asking a boy to Cotillion myself, to see what it feels like to be in the boy’s position for once. Well now I know what it feels like. I know what it feels like to be you, boys. I know what it feels like to have the horrible anxiety of what the answer will be, and the sickening fear of rejection. I apologize to anyone I have ever rejected, because the last thing I want right now is to be told, “I’m sorry, but I don’t feel the same way.”

My nervousness is not justified in the least. I mean, I shouldn’t be making a big deal about this. Like my teacher said, “the dances are supposed to be fun, and for those of you making it a big deal and stressing about it, you just took away the fun.” Great. So I’ve already ruined it for myself, and this is my SECOND blog post about it, so I’m obviously making a big deal of it! (Although I’d like to think I’m not) I mean, in my mind, this is totally justified. I like this boy. I haven’t talked to him in forever, and I have no idea how he feels about me, but I know he feels something. I see this as an opportunity to find out. To break the ice and be friends again. I miss him!

Maybe I should have learned my lesson from Mark Twain. All his satire on romanticism really must have gone in one ear and out the other for me. He pretty much warned me that trying to live an elaborate and romantic life would only set me back. Basing all my actions on my fantasies and desires is a habit of mine. Why do I keep doing it? Because sometimes it makes me happier. Could I have been more practical in doing this? I guess I didn’t think much about it. I just decided I wanted to, and asked.

I think that blogging about this has actually helped me clear my mind. I needed to clear my mind. I have a chemistry test next period that I am not at all prepared for. So wish me luck. For my test, mostly, but maybe for the outcome of this predicament I have placed myself in.

… And he said no. So I really did learn my lesson the hard way. And I only set myself back. And here I am, in pieces, wondering why we can’t just get past the awkwardness and be friends again. So much for hope. So much for feelings. So much for dreams. So much for chasing them. Where’s Huck when you need him? Or more importantly, why am I never willing to listen to him?

The hierarchy of social networking

There are soooo many social networking sites these days, like I can’t even name them all. They all serve a slightly different purpose, contrary to what you might think, considering they all have a lot of the same features as well. But really, they are different, and I will give it a go at remembering how ever many I can, and explain to you the purpose each serves, and consequently, rank them by importance.

1. Blogs. These are incredibly great. The most noteworthy, profound, hilarious, and credible thoughts are posted here. (especially on this blog…jk) Sometimes you might run into a dilemma, like when your thought is too complicated and large for Twitter, and seems to lengthy for Facebook, so it belongs on a blog.

2. Facebook. So you’ve completed your daily blog post, and you suddenly think of a really funny encounter you had, or a joke you want to tell, but it just isn’t quite developed enough to make into a blog post. Plus, you already posted today. So where do you turn? Facebook is just sitting there waiting for you, ready to ask you what’s on your mind.

3. Twitter. But what if your mind is running in circles? Your thoughts keep coming, and they just won’t go away! They are short, pointless, dumb, silly, whatever, and you can’t embarrass yourself in front of your family by sharing these awkward thoughts on Facebook. So now what? You tweet. It’s so convenient.

4. Email. Snapchat. Facebook messenger. Instagram. Texting. Whatever else you can do to contact people privately or control who sees a certain message. They are all convenient. I categorize them with equal importance, or lack thereof. Facebook messenger makes it easy to contact certain people while you happen to be checking in on your news feed. Email is the omniscient and omnipresent database for every message you might get from people. You can pretty much combine every email address and chat site into one email these days. Just go to your settings and tell your email what to import. Snapchat (I guess, I don’t have one) is that sort of weird, convenient social messenger with which you can communicate in pictures. I guess it’s kind of fun and different from other messenger apps. I would categorize Instagram as a twitter for pictures only. It’s a convenient way to share a picture you just took with all your friends, without cluttering the other sites you belong to with a bunch of pictures. That’s all I’ve got for instagram. Texting doesn’t really hold its own meaning anymore. I mean, you could consider all of these things in the category of “texting.” But I have an old phone, an ENV3 in fact, and I actually “text” on my phone, separately from all these other ways of communication. Unlike the iphone, where you get a message from anything and it magically appears as a notification on the home screen.

Feel free to comment anything I’m missing. You can obviously tell I do four main things on the internet. Blog, Facebook, Tweet, and check my email. And then when none of these seem to satisfy me, I text. Duh.

What causes me to remember

There are certain things in life that I take for granted, and don’t pay much attention to at that. There are certain things that I see everyday, and they look a certain way during the day. But have you ever noticed how fantastic and magical everything looks at night? For example, I drive every day. Every DAY. Not every night. In the winter, I drive at night more often, because night falls earlier in the winter. Even less often do I find myself driving at rush hour in the winter. And even less often, at rush hour, during the holidays, in the winter. This situation just got extremely specific, but I definitely found myself in this predicament today. I was driving home, in holiday traffic, at rush hour (around 5:45, when the roads are the worst). It took a while, but I was perfectly content, singing Taylor Swift songs and enjoying the scenery. THE SCENERY. Got a little sidetracked there, but the scenery I saw around me on my way home was what I was going to talk about. It was so beautiful! I never knew city roads could be so gorgeous. I never knew rush hour could be so beautiful. I never knew a traffic jam could be so pretty. And I certainly never noticed how festive the red and green traffic lights could be at this time of year! So as I was looking ahead at the seemingly endless string of lights up ahead, another thought came to mind.

I want it to snow.  A lot. 60 degrees this weekend? Great. If it was spring. But it’s winter. And honestly, I want it to be winter! I love snow skiing. It has always been a hobby of mine. I didn’t get to go at all last year due to the weather (that happens to be repeating this year, sadly). I used to take a ski trip with my family to Michigan every Christmas, and we’d stay for New Years. The resort we went to had a neat little New Year’s tradition. All the ski instructors and some nominees/volunteers would go up the lift with torches, and ski down the main run in a zig zag line. Then, the instructors would form the number of the new year. Two years ago, my instructor invited me to ski with them. It was awesome. I will never forget it. But I also will never forget my first New Year’s Eve at that resort, just marveling at the beauty of all the lights coming down the hill.

Seeing the lights of the cars coming down the gradual slope in the road, as I looked up at them, brought this memory to the surface. Remembering my winters in Michigan put me in a relaxed, happy, wintery mood. I love how memory can work like that sometimes. 😀

Dear me, (a letter written to me, by a future me)

I’m sitting on my laptop in my new apartment, with my husband, just checking my email and paying the bills. All the sudden, I hear a PING! The familiar sound of a notification coming from one social networking cite or another. But.. it isn’t some old friend commenting on my new marriage status on Facebook: “Oh, Karin! You two are so sweet together! I’m so happy for you! Sorry I couldn’t make it to the wedding!” Yeah, I get it, you’re too busy or too timid to live life anywhere other than behind a computer screen. But that’s ok. I’ll take it 🙂 Well, I think to myself, It couldn’t be my email… I just checked it. It can’t possibly be Twitter… I stopped tweeting back in high school when I realized my thoughts weren’t really that share-worthy after all… WAIT! My thoughts… I swear I remember writing out my thoughts in way more characters than a tweet could ever hold….I turn to my husband, “Sweetheart, I have a confession. I wrote a blog when I was in high school. I mean, all my friends had one, so I made one too. I’ve changed, and this isn’t really me anymore…it’s actually kind of embarrassing.” My sweet, loving, understanding husband proceeds to say, “Aw, honey, don’t worry, I won’t judge you. We were all stupid high school kids once.” I smile. And then I type in that unforgettable web address, karingirl.wordpress.com. Karingirl. The embarrassing email my parents created for me as a child, which I soon grew fond of. After all, I’m Karin, and I’m a girl. Where’s the shame in that? It’s much more creative than the email I created for myself, keforstho. What is that? Pieces and parts of my name? I come to the realization that maybe my parents deserve more recognition than I offer. Anyway, I type in that web address, and low and behold, the little notification star in the corner starts blinking orange. How could this be? I haven’t even touched this blog in years, and my friends haven’t seemed to be using theirs either… the blog connections sort of died out a while ago. So who commented on my blog? Slowly but surely, I move the mouse over to that eager notification, and click it…

It turns out, it’s just one of those anticlimactic “Andy237smiles likes your post “Lame Confessions” Awkward. Of all posts, this random blogger who I have never met now knows my personal secrets. And even worse, I just shared with my husband a plethora of my awkward high school thoughts, this being my biggest confession yet. Oh, the irony. Thanks for shoving it in my face, Andy237smiles. Good thing you have 237 of them, because I’m sure as heck not smiling.

My life momentarily caves in. But not really. I’m just dramatic in that way. (and even now that I’m grown up and married, I still am. I hate to break it to you, past me.) But I do get a little upset, thinking to myself, Why did I write all of this down? Random people know about me! This crap is forever documented! My friends probably didn’t even care that much. What was my purpose? Wait… what if my husband actually found out about me through my blog?  Soooo many nerve racking questions come into my brain. I begin over thinking it. Thinking maybe the man I am now in love with actually pursued me on my blog before he ever had the guts to in real life. Awkward. Awkward. AWKWARD. Life, at this point, could not be anymore awkward.

Eventually, I let it go. I realize I’m happy. I have landed a solid life, with a best friend who cares about me more than anything right by my side. The awkwardness is in the past. There is nothing to question. Life is what it is. And how I got here, I do not know. But what does it matter?

Dear future me,

I laugh at your story, because it is exactly what I fantasize my life being like when I’m you, hopefully sooner than later. I realize this revelation of my stupidity will someday happen. But for now, I love writing. And blogging is just what I’ll do. It’s momentary satisfaction, and this hasty satisfaction is typically frowned upon. But blogging is pretty harmless, right? I mean, even the consequences you have told me about aren’t all to bad. If blogging like this gets me a great husband, heck, I’ll take him! Haha. That was a joke. And a momentary regret is something I’m willing to sacrifice, because blogging is just way too fun. Thanks for the heads up.

Love, me.

A perspective on stress

It was a stressful week. Like really stressful. Beyond belief. But until recently, I didn’t realize that what causes me stress has little to do with the amount of work and time that I have, but more to do with my anxiety of what is to come. How things will actually turn out. And how people will react. One day, I walked into Calculus after having waited all day to ask my teacher when I should make up the quiz I missed, and for some reason I expected a frustrated sigh and some reluctant answer. But instead, she was open and patient. She listened to me, and said I could take it whenever. This calmed me down. It took pretty much all of my stress away, and nothing that I had to do had gone away. I still had the same amount of time, and still had to take my test. Nothing had changed, except for the lingering fear in my mind that my teacher would not be very happy with me for missing the test. This brings me to my point. Kindness and patience are two qualities that, when we find them in others, can seemingly dissolve all the frustration and haste and worry we find in ourselves. If you aren’t stressed beyond belief at any given moment, be that kind and patient person for others who might need it. Believe me, you will make someone’s day.

An excerpt of Easy A

Another great movie, like really great. I find myself quoting this movie throughout my daily life. It comes way too naturally. So here are my favorites:

Mr. Griffith: I don’t know what your generation’s fascination is with documenting your every thought… but I can assure you, they’re not all diamonds. “Roman is having an OK day, and bought a Coke Zero at the gas station. Raise the roof.” Who gives a rat’s ass? (this cracks me up and is now my favorite expression)
Olive Penderghast: He got a Coke Zero AGAIN. Ah, that Roman. Incorrigible.

Mrs. Griffith:  He’s not the sharpest Christian in the bible. (this comes in handy as a really nice analogy in times of need, like when you are trying to call someone stupid, but feel the need to say it in a somewhat holy way… so you allude to the Bible, and then everything feels better)

After we watch “The Bucket List,” remember to cross “watch ‘The Bucket List'” off our bucket list. (this quote is so profound)

Oh, happy day, Mama! (Olive says this when her gay friend comes over, and her mom gets excited that there is a boy there to see her. I enjoy saying this to my mother whenever I have the chance)

Let me just begin by saying that there are two sides to every story. This is my side, the right one. (this is a really nice conversation starter, for those nights at the dinner table when you have to tell your parents you got called to the principle’s office that day, or a bad grade shows up in one of your classes)

Ironically, we were studying “The Scarlet Letter”, but isn’t that always the way? The books you read in class always seems to have a strong connection with whatever angsty adolescent drama is being recounted. I consider this. Except for “Huckleberry Finn”, ’cause I don’t know any teenage boys who have ever run away with a big, hulking black guy. 

(Like, honestly, when I was typing this, I forgot it was a quote, because I literally read those two books just recently in English class, and I felt so enlightened to the truths of this movie… it was a great feeling. Almost as great as the feeling I got when I learned the circumstances of when the limit does not exist in calculus… and was enlightened to the truths of Mean Girls, yet another highly quotable movie)
Chip: I’m adopted!
Dill: What! Oh my god! Who told you? Guys we were going to do this at the right time!

(I can’t say I’ve ever actually quoted this in my life, but it was definitely the line I laughed the most at when I first saw the movie in theaters. And I really couldn’t stop. This one really hit me)

Olive (to Mary Jane): Sharpenin’ your pencils? Sharpenin’ ’em up? Gettin’ em all nice and sharp? Oh, real sharp. Sharp! Sharp! Sharp!  

(I actually said this. Out loud. In class. Well, before class started. I sat right by the pencil sharpener, so as my friend went up to sharpen his pencil, I was overjoyed at being given the opportunity to quote Easy A! And it was just as epic as I dreamed it would be 🙂

 

And a special tribute to:

  • The clementine that rolls out of Olive’s purse as she runs out of the Church to get away from the terrible encounter with Mary Jane’s father (sometimes I carry a clementine in my purse. Maybe one day it will roll out down the hallway, or the sidewalk. Clearly, you can tell I aspire to be Olive Penderghast, although not in certain aspects)
  • The quote I do not fully recall, but includes the drawn out Meeeelanie Bostick! as she talks into Melanie Bostick’s ear. So funny.
  • The woodchuck mascot’s wonderful gnawing of the wood before the basketball game. Sounding something along the lines of: AW YAW YAW YAW YAW. Never gets old.
  • When Olive sits in a confessional booth, and actually makes a legitimate confession, only to realize she is in it alone, and there was never a priest listening. I can’t wait for the day this happens to me. Then I will relate to this movie like no other.