Tag Archives: love

We don’t need a special day to love, but having one makes life all the better :)

Love_heart_uidaodjsdsewSetting aside a day like today is actually completely unnecessary, if you think about it. Why not make each other cards every day? Why not smile every second of EVERY day? Why not laugh until you cry whenever you can? (I clearly don’t have a problem with that at all) Why not eat Hershey’s kisses all the time, or chocolate in general for that matter?

So… why is today so special? Today is set aside for love, but every day should be set aside for love. Christmas is set aside for giving, but every day should be a day of giving. Easter is set aside for joy, but every day should be a day of joy. Thanksgiving is set aside to be a day of great thanks and appreciation, but shouldn’t every day be one of gratitude?… The only holiday I don’t understand is Halloween… because Halloween seems to be set aside for self-entertainment and greed… and every day should really be anything but that.

Anyway, we need these days, because in the midst of our bustling every day lives- our appointments, worries, events, meetings, To-do lists- we can’t possibly juggle the metaphysical too. A day each year to remind us of the things we should be thinking about- the attitudes that count and the qualities that are truly most important- is a day I’ll take. I don’t need today as an excuse to be loving and happy, but having today reminds me that life is a lot better than it seems 🙂

I remember.

There was a time when I was in love. I knew I was in love.

It was real, in a different kind of way. A way most people don’t understand.

I sometimes try to explain.

It never works.

But it was real.

You talked to me. I remember the first time we talked. I asked you a question, because you looked familiar. You turned red.

You looked at me. I remember the first time you looked at me. You looked at me from across the field. I looked back.

You thought of me. I remember the first time you thought of me. I still remember those words. I wrote them down.

You waited for me. You waited for me to fall in love with you. I remember when you fell in love with me. I fell too.

You walked with me. I lived for those walks. I remember the first time we walked. I told you I would be your walking buddy. You smiled.

You noticed me. And when you did, you made sure I was okay. I would tell you, and you listened.

You listened to me. You not only listened, but you always made it better. I remember the first time that you listened. I listened back. And you told me. You told me everything.

You danced with me. I remember the first time we danced. I had so much fun. We both smiled.

You loved me. Even when I cried. You held me when I cried. And you loved it. I remember the first time I cried. You told me I was beautiful when I cried.

You called me. I waited for those calls. I remember the first time you called me. I asked you why you called. You said you just wanted to talk. I smiled.

You wrote me. I looked forward to those notes. I remember the first note you gave me. It was small. I wrote back. I wrote a whole page.

You prayed with me. I remember the first time we prayed. It was amazing. We grew closer.

You laughed with me. I remember the first time we laughed. It was frolicsome.

You fought with me. I remember the last time we fought. It was scary. I cried.

But that time, I wasn’t beautiful when I cried. And you didn’t love me when I cried.

No longer did you fight with me. Laugh with me. Write me. Call me. Look at me. Dance with me. Walk with me. Talk to me.

But I still pray with you. I notice you. I think of you. I laugh with you, even if you don’t notice.

I sometimes dream of one day laughing with you, listening to you, talking to you again.

I still love you.

But I wonder. Do you still love me?

The beauty in a song

I really REALLY don’t want to be here right now. I don’t want to be where I am, wherever that may be. And I need an escape.

Do you ever have those moments when you just can’t handle your emotions? They are so strong, so controlling. They take over and you can’t think of much else. Your mind starts spinning. You create images of the future. A future now changed because of the emotion you’re feeling. A false future, really. No one can predict the future, or even begin to imagine what it will actually be. But right now, the emotion you are feeling is so strong, that you see your whole life in front of you. And all you see is pain.

But subconsciously, without even realizing, you think of a song. That one song that seems to describe perfectly how you are feeling. It acts as a comfort, a shoulder to cry on. And you sing it over and over in your head until its stuck there for a week. Or a month. Or a year. At least until a new emotion takes over.

And that’s the beauty of a song. There’s a song for everything, it seems. A song can make me feel so much. A song can pull tears out of my eyes, and before I know it, I’m sobbing. And it’s beautiful. And when I’m sad, or broken, or need healing and comfort, and I need that escape, all I wanna do…

Is sing.

My love for you

In a world of sorrows, pain, guilt, suffering, loneliness… I find my life flashing before my eyes, running past me at the speed of light. Getting lost in the routine, the excitement, the happiness of my own little world. Sometimes, it runs so fast that it grows tired of running… and that is when I find myself in darkness. I wander, and I wonder, what happened to my light? But all I have to do is look around me. And I find it. I find it in you. You are willing to share your sorrows, your pain. But you aren’t eager. You are only willing, if I ask. And even then, you listen to me first. And you help me through. Even if you don’t understand the situation, or you don’t even know the story, I only have to say what I’m feeling, and you somehow relate. I admire how you relate so easily, and sometimes I wonder how you do. And then I remember all the things you’ve been through, and I feel like I can relate to you too. Life is hard. But when you have a friend who has experienced the ups and downs of life in the same ways as you, life doesn’t seem so bad. You know that person will always understand and empathize with you. Even if we’re not that close, there is just something about you.

And then there’s your sense of humor. It’s fantastic. It’s always authentic and original. Something new everyday. Sometimes it’s what keeps me going.

The way you talk, share, listen, laugh, and love is wonderful. Keep it up, chanche. I love you 🙂

My Year in Review: 2012

My 2012 was quite the rollercoaster of emotion and experience, indeed. When I look back on it, a lot of really important milestones happened for the people in my life. This past year seems to have been the beginning of the climax of my life, and it will last for the next few years. There are themes of brokenness and hurt, moving on to healing and love, and then an explosion of faith and happiness. And because of this pattern of emotion that my year held, it was one of the best years of my life. My life took a huge swing upwards, and it hasn’t let me down. I formed/went through so many new friendships and grew unbelievably close to people. And although this has happened to me before, I have never been so sure in my life that these friendships will never go away. I feel secure and happy, and I feel the love. It was a damn good year. So here are my favorite moments of 2012:

-For the second year in a row, broke up with my boyfriend right before Valentine’s Day. (It’s not as depressing as you think, in fact, it makes me laugh, and I enjoy thinking about what might happen this year… it’ll be a story to tell the grand kids)

-In May/June, my sister and brother both graduated from a big part of their lives. My sister moved on to high school, my brother to college. It was an exciting month!

-That month my sister was also Confirmed and asked me to be her sponsor, one of the most faith strengthening challenges I’ve taken.

-I got my driver’s license, and I don’t even need to tell you how that has changed my life (fortunately, it has been for the better so far)

-Over the summer, I lived life to its true capacity (for at least a week), venturing out to CYSC for the first time and growing extremely deep in my faith.

-I dove straight into a volunteer camp that treated me with disrespect, giving so much time and receiving no gratitude, but becoming stronger. I don’t regret it. I learned who I was and how capable I was of standing up for myself and what I deserve, and I learned how to get out of situations that only bring me hurt and pain.

-I took an amazing vacation to New England with my family, somewhere I had never been before, and it was a blast!

-My parents had their 26th anniversary. I am so happy for them 😀

-I went to an amazing driving clinic, an unforgettable experience I have written about before and one of the highlights of my year.

-I went into marching band with a leadership role I didn’t know if I could handle. But by the end of the season, I took my leadership capabilities and passion for my band family to a whole new level, and really put my heart into it. I am so glad I was able to do this, because I feel that I truly became and inspiration to others in everything I did.

-Some of my cousins from Texas visited, and I haven’t seen them since I was probably 6 years old.

-By the end of August, one of the moments I had been waiting for for two years finally arrived. My sister’s first day of high school, when we could finally go to school together again!

– I was given the great opportunity to hear Chris Stefanick speak, and I loved it!

-Took an amazing mission trip to Kentucky that filled me with love and hope and gave me a new perspective on life.

-Made unbelievable friendships and have been blessed to keep old friends in my life.

-For the third year in a row, crying (in some way) on New Year’s Eve, and whether they were tears of joy or sorrow, I can’t imagine what that night would mean without emotion.

2012 was a year of building and maintaining loving relationships, becoming a part of new families, healing and growing closely devoted to Mary and the Holy Spirit, venturing into new opportunities and discoveries, and pushing myself past my limits and learning so much about myself. What a great year!

‘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.

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?

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 Controversy on Confirmation

Confirmation has been given to students around the ages of thirteen or fourteen for a long time, and there does not seem to be a problem. However, all teens, even myself, will go through a time of questioning and rebellion at age fifteen or sixteen, and may even regret having been confirmed. Confirmation requires an understanding of the Catholic faith and a desire to live one’s faith to its full potential. Until a more mature age, most students are not ready to make this commitment. Although the sacrament of Confirmation is offered to young teenagers, it would be more effective if given to young adults, to ensure more time for preparation and proper decision making.

One of the hardest things about early teenage years is the many hardships and changes that this age group faces. During these years, friends come and go, families fall apart, school becomes much harder and more responsibilities seem to be piled onto the students. It is hard to go through all of this alone. Many parents and students may believe that it is in this time of life especially that one needs to receive guidance from the Church and God’s grace through Confirmation.

Some people believe that it is best for young children or teens to receive Confirmation because by the age of seven, children have already developed the ability to reason and make judgments. By seventh or eighth grade, students are well past the point of being able to make decisions of their own.  Some may also believe that students who are going through the process to receive Confirmation have been properly educated in the faith. Many students attend Catholic schools for at least a year or two, and if not, attend parish schools of religion weekly. In addition, most of the students have grown up in a Catholic family, and are more than ready to confirm their faith and receive the grace to live it out to their fullest potential.

Because many students are more than ready to receive the wonderful sacrament at an earlier age, most parishes suggest that Confirmation be received by a very particular age group. More often than not, Confirmation is only offered to young teenagers, in seventh or eighth grade. However, these students may not be ready to take this step of faith on their own. Even with a sponsor, the student may not be capable of understanding on a personal level how sacred Confirmation is and what it truly means, let alone how it will affect one’s life in the future. The sponsor can teach the confirmand why God created humans: to know, to love, and to serve him. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2304) The sponsor can share his or her Confirmation memories with the confirmand. The sponsor can inspire the confirmand to take the sacrament seriously. The sponsor cannot, however, ensure that the confirmand understands the sacrament and plans on living out one’s faith. Because middle school students may not be ready to take the leap in faith that Confirmation calls for, it would be best for the distribution of the sacrament to be postponed a few more years.

The guidance and support that students need so desperately during their teenage years can be given in more effective ways than through a metaphysical sacrament. For example, support groups in parish communities or schools can be formed and offered to students who are struggling with certain issues. Youth groups are now available to middle school students, and are great opportunities to grow deeper in faith and form positive friendships. It is unnecessary to use Confirmation as the “go to” for grace and love in times of need. Confirmation is so much more, and should only be received when one feels truly ready.

Confirmation is a deeply spiritual experience that requires thought and meditation beyond the capabilities or desires of young teenagers. A study done by psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg in 1969 showed that almost seventy-five percent of all people will remain in a conventional level of thinking, based on conformity to society, throughout their entire lives. Only twenty-five percent will move on to a level in which they apply their own morals and principles to their reasoning, and will not reach this level until the age of sixteen! This proves that most adolescents going into Confirmation have no idea what they really believe for themselves. They are not psychologically capable of making the commitment to the Lord that Confirmation is asking them to make! They need three or four more years to mature and explore what they are interested in. If they already know they are interested in the Catholic faith, then they need the extra three or four years to learn and grow deeper in their relationship with God before they make the full commitment to him. The Sacrament of Confirmation brings a heavy responsibility, yet a wonderful reward to whomever wishes to receive it. This concept is hard to understand; therefore, the commitment is hard to make, especially at a young age.

Confirmation is conventionally given to thirteen or fourteen year old students who may not understand their faith and the lasting grace they are receiving. Faith is a gift from God, given to everyone, yet many people have not willingly received the gift or have yet to discover it. Consequently, the meaning of Confirmation is taken away. Some students only take it because their parents are strong in faith and have felt the duty to raise their children Catholic. Some students go through the sacrament because they see all of their classmates going through with it, and would it not be so much easier to conform than to go through the trouble of making an exception?  Although many of the students have a deep longing for a relationship with God and feel ready for the commitment, many students do not. As Joseph Martos, a sacramental historian at Bellarmine University in Louisville, KY, said, “Unless people, when they’re confirmed, are actually making a passage in their life… then there isn’t any meaning in the sacrament of confirmation, because the meaning comes from what’s going on in the person’s life at the time.” A person’s knowledge and desire, or lack thereof,  in receiving Confirmation has a very strong affect on the meaning the sacrament holds, in the same way that a person who had never heard music and had no desire to would experience hearing a symphony differently than a person who had a great knowledge and appreciation of music. Because that person lacks understanding or desire, the symphony sounds like noise that needs to end soon. To the person receiving Confirmation with a lack of understanding and desire, the sacrament looks like a single event or a process to go through. Because the music lover has a knowledge and appreciation for it, the symphony sounds like a beautiful melody that will play over and over inside one’s head for days. To the person receiving Confirmation with a deep knowledge and love of the faith, the sacrament is a journey and a gift that will last until death. Faith is a gift, and unless it is sought and developed before receiving the sacrament of Confirmation, the sacrament will hold no meaning.

Finally, once the age of conformity and conventional thinking passes, there comes an age of rebellious nature. At this age, teens will want to believe anything other than what their parents are asking them to believe. Many stop going to Mass and praying. They consider themselves atheists or Buddhists or whatever else they can think of that is not the common “Catholic” or “Christian.” This is why Confirmation should not be offered at the ages of fifteen or sixteen either. Students need time to pass this stage, and figure out what they want in life. They need time to mature so that they can form clear values and morals for themselves. As stated in the Catechism, “Confirmation is sometimes called the sacrament of Christian maturity.” (CCC 1308) The sacrament of Confirmation is supposed to be given to those who are spiritually mature. Once students reach this point of maturity, they will be capable of making a clear decision in faith, and will convert out of rebellion and back to the church. In this conversion, they will seek the Lord in a more special way than they would have if forced into the sacrament at a young age. Going into the sacrament with confidence and excitement sets one up to come out of the sacrament filled with grace and ready to commit to one’s mission for the Lord. This seems like a much better alternative than going into the sacrament blind and unwilling, and coming out of it having been given a special gift of grace, yet not feeling ready or willing to give back to the Lord.

It would be best for students to wait until a more mature age to receive the sacrament of Confirmation, giving them more time to prepare and to decide if it is what they truly want. Although they face many hardships during early adolescent years, and can easily make decisions for themselves at an early age, Confirmation is more than just a gift of grace or a simple decision between two different cereals. Confirmation is a commitment to live a life of faith in God and to live out the faith in love, service, prayer, and in every aspect of life. This concept may not be easy to grasp in adolescence, especially because of certain patterns of psychological development. To ensure that the sacrament is received willingly and knowledgeably, it is necessary that time is allowed for maturity before the sacrament is given.