Measuring Life (Grateful Day 133 & 134)

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetOne of my favourite songs Seasons of Love from Rent. I remember the first time I heard it was when I was in high school because in band we played it as the tunnel song for homecoming one year. I love the song because of its beauty and all around loveliness, but I think it’s interesting that in the song they talk about measuring life. They list all of these great ways to measure life and the great one is love. I get to thinking a lot when I’m making dinner or washing dishes, basically any time I’m in the kitchen I’m thinking some pretty deep thoughts! Hehe. But really, I got to thinking about how I would measure my life and I realize I could measure my life in a lot of ways.

I could measure my life of course in love. I’ve been loved well. I’ve been loved by so many people and I have been loved so deeply by people that I know, no matter what happened in life that person would always love me. I have been loved by my Creator and I have been loved by my family and friends so deeply. Yeah at times I’ve been difficult to love and to be kind towards, but I never felt unloved by these people. I never felt like I was less of a person for the things I did. I always felt like no matter what I did they would stand by me, they would fight for me, with me and against me. I don’t know if I’ve loved people as well as I’ve been loved, but I’ve loved people. I’ve loved people the way I have been loved so I can only hope that I’ve also loved people as well as I’ve been loved.

I can also measure my life in books. I’ve read and re-read so many books that I feel I could measure my life in the stories I have read and the way certain stories have impacted the way I view life. There have been books that make me cry no matter what, and others have been constant companions through many season of my life. I’ve got a list of books that I want to read and a bookshelf of books that I want to re-read so many times I’m able to recite the story from memory.

Then there is music. Oh music. I have listened to so much music in my life, and still listen to so much music, that I could measure my life in how my music taste has changed!! I used to listen to a lot of interesting music. That’s the only way I can describe it. I listened to whatever my cousins were listening to,  which is so different from what I listen to now. Then I started to listen to what my friends listened to. I moved around a lot growing up and my friends never listened to the same music wherever I moved. I would just listen to whatever music my new friends listened to which was always something new and always an experience, to say the least! Then as I got to know myself better, I started to listen to music I liked and that fit my personality. That changes a lot, so my range of musical taste is vast! I will give everything a try, but I’ll listen to just about anything on a regular basis. Before I started writing this I was listening to a Led Zeppelin song, and now I’m listening to Big Band. It’s just kind of how I operate. Mostly though, I just listen to whatever I want to listen no matter what anyone says. Especially my sisters, who never really understood some of my music choices (especially the musicals).

I can also measure my life in television, movies and food. I really like food. It’s a family thing I think because I come from a family of eaters. I just really really enjoy food! Mostly though I enjoy sharing a meal with people because I am a big believer that people can come together over a meal. I like to cook, so whenever I cook for myself I always have leftovers because I’ve learned to make extras just in case someone comes over and is hungry. I have had a lot of bonding moments with the people I’m close to over food, so my love for food goes beyond the need to eat in order to survive. Movies and television are in the same category as food because when I hang out with a lot of people we do so and watch a movie or a television show. Growing up my family would sit at home at night before bed and watch TV together and ever since I’ve watched a lot of TV and bond over the television.

I can measure my life in cups of coffee and tea, laughter and many many tears. I think all of us can measure our lives in different ways, but I definitely think love is the greatest way to measure our lives. I think we all have a desire to love and be loved so I think Jonathan Larson got it right when he wrote Seasons of Love and used love as a measurement of our lives. It’s super cliche, but I do think that loving someone is the closest thing we get to magic in life and I think a good dose of lovin’ can change even the most stubborn of hearts.

 So friend, no matter what ways you can measure your life I hope it is measured well. I hope it is full to the brim with life, love and happiness.

Grateful Days 131 & 132

Processed with VSCOcam with b1 presetToday I finished re-reading one of my favourite books. Truly one of my favourite YA books on my bookshelf. It’s called The Truth About Forever and I’ve read it 4 or 5 times. My favourite thing about this book is the fact that Sarah Dessen touches on the beauty of imperfections.

I wrote a blog post a while ago about flaws and after re-reading The Truth About Forever I’ve found more beauty in the fact that people are flawed and the fact that nobody can be perfect. I also love this book because it touches on the idea of forevers. One of my favourite quotes from this book says “Life can be long or short, it all depends on how you choose to live it. it’s like forever, always changing. for any of us our forever could end in an hour, or a hundred years from now. you can never know for sure, so you’d better make every second count. what you have to decide is how you want your life to be. if your forever was ending tomorrow, is this how you’d want to have spent it?” I realize that I’ve written a lot about making each moment count and such things, but in my life at this moment that’s what I’m trying to understand.

I like that in this book Sarah Dessen just flat out says that forever is subjective; it pertains to a certain person. I could think forever is waiting three days for something to arrive in the mail, while someone else could think one minute of waiting is forever. It’s all subjective. She says the fact that forever is subjective is its truth. In the book the main character Macy, is trying to understand what forever is to her and how she wants to live her life. Even at 21 I am trying to figure out how I want to live my life. How I want to remember this moment when I look back on it. I like the above quote about life so much because it’s true that depending on how you view life it’s either really short or really long. I don’t know how I view life in terms of length, but I do agree that it all depends on how you view it.

There have been moments when I have thought I have been living a long existence, and others when I think oh my goodness time has gone by so fast. I realize I’m only going to be 22 next week, but it’s crazy to think that in one week exactly I will be 22. I mean, holy cow!! I look back on my nearly 22 years of life and wonder where time has gone because it feels like it’s gone by so quickly and I think 22 years isn’t a long time. Then I really think about it and 22 is a long time. I know of many people who won’t be able to say they lived 22 years for one reason or another, and that’s when I realize that I’ve lived a long life. I may even know people who say they have lived a long life at 18, it just depends on how we live it; how we make the most of it.

I don’t know what life is going to look like tomorrow or the day after, but I do know that each moment is different. Each season and each second I grow up; I change. I will never be 21 again and I will never get to be an undergraduate student at the University of Arizona ever again. I am changing and I am growing. I am also living my life the way I want to remember it years down the road. I will always hold dear to my heart the late night conversations, the time I drove a friend all the way to her sisters house in Maricopa only to find out her flight didn’t leave for another two days. I won’t forget the Star Wars viewing parties, or the weddings of friends I attended and was in. I won’t forget the classes I’ve taken and the things I’ve learned as a student. These are the memories I will take with me in each season.

When I look back at my subjectively long life, it’s been good. It hurt at times and it was so wonderful in others. But it has been beautiful and it has been mine.

Life Musings (Grateful Days 129-130)

GratefulDays129-130The past couple of days have been so relaxing!! I haven’t had much to do lately so I’ve just kind of hung around and cleaned and such. But yesterday I went and hung out with one of my really good friends. As we were hanging out we got to talking about life and all the components that make up a persons life and I realized the importance of knowing what you stand for as an individual. Especially when you go out and are away from the comfort you knew/know.

As I get older I realize the importance of understanding what I believe in personally, whether it’s a moral belief or a spiritual/religious belief that I hold dear, before I graduate from University next semester. Growing up I spent most of my time in Church and it was fun and beautiful, but there came a point in my life when I realized that I needed to choose Jesus and a relationship with my Father for myself because my parents weren’t always going to be there for me; nor will my friends. When I realized I needed to make the decision to believe in Jesus and follow Him for myself, I was going to Church and doing all the things I was meant to do, but I was doing them to please other people and not for myself. I acted like two different people so I could please my friends and my family both, but then I realized when I was a senior in high school that I wanted to please God and I wanted people to see Jesus when they looked at me. I wanted to be firm in my faith and I wanted to learn to trust God more and I wanted to do all of these things to get closer to Jesus for myself. Not because my parents were making me or because I wanted to please the people around me. I started to pursue a relationship with Jesus for myself. I’m going to be honest, there have been times when I doubted a little bit, not because I didn’t believe in God but because I was frustrated that some things in my life were allowed to happen. Those were the times when I yelled at God and when I just let out all of these frustrations. These were also the times when I realized that God never promised life would be easy, and he never promised that being in a relationship with him was going to be easy and I was reminded that I have to know what I believe and why I believe these things.

I think so many times in our lives we as people don’t fully comprehend and understand the depth of what we believe. In the ethics class I took this last semester there was a guy who sat next to me who knew what he stood for, but he didn’t really understand why. So as we sat in class he realized that he had ethics and he had morals he just didn’t fully comprehend what they were. I’m not saying  I totally understand what my morals and ethics are, but I do know where they rest and where they were born. I also know that I’m 21 about to be 22 and I’ve still got so much to learn. I have so much to learn about life and love and music and Jesus. I have so much to learn about so many aspects of life, but the things I have learned have impacted me in such a way that I understand that it’s important to hold on the the reasons I believe what I believe.

So many situations form our beliefs and shape our opinions on issues. A lot of times they are going to be different from other peoples opinions and beliefs, and that’s okay. Sometimes I think we feel the need to think like our friends and like the same things our friends like or be interested in the things our family is interested in because we don’t want to be different. I have found that the relationships I have treasured most are the ones where my friends and family don’t like the same things I do. My sisters don’t understand the fancies of my nerdy heart, but I have friends who do. My friends don’t understand they strange way I do certain things, but my family does. My best friend doesn’t understand my love for ugly sweaters nor does she listen to music. Actually, none of my friends or family quite understand my love for ugly Christmas jumpers but that’s okay. We’re not meant to like the same things as one another or believe the same things as one another because if everyone I was friends with understood the strange way I clean things or don’t brush my hair or loved ugly Christmas jumpers as me, I wouldn’t have anyone to challenge and push me. That’s the beauty in relationships. There are going to be people who understand what you like and don’t like and there are people who don’t. In life we have the ability to be pushed out of our comfort zones and think of situations in a different light.

I have found that although my closest friends all love Jesus and we are all part of the same community, I do know a lot of people who do not believe in Jesus and do not believe the same things I do. These are the people who have pushed me to further understand my beliefs. I have found that there is beauty in the fact that my best friend thinks it’s weird that I like ugly Christmas jumpers because I also don’t understand the strange things she likes. I appreciate more that my sisters and I are completely different people with different beliefs, ideas and personalities because they have taught me how to love.

My family, my friends and the people around me have taught me life is hard. They have taught me that nothing comes easy and that nothing in life worth having comes for free; it takes work and dedication. They have also pushed me beyond my limits and so far out of my comfort zone I don’t know what to do but trust God and learn from each situation. From every situation life has thrown my way I have learned to trust God more and I have begun to understand that my life is a series of events that help shape and solidify my beliefs. My beliefs in God, my beliefs in humanity and my beliefs in myself.

Life is a series of learning events that shape us in to the person we are meant to be, whether it be in our current season or the one to come. Life is fun and it is beautiful, but it is also hard and it hurts. When life is fun it’s easy to understand and hold on to our beliefs no matter what they are, because we are not being challenged and we are comfortable. But the heartache and the hardships, the desert places if you will, are the moments in our lives when we learn the most of how firmly we hold on to our beliefs. The hard times challenge us and teach us if we truly stand by what we believe. Some times through the hard times we let go of old ways of thinking and claim new ones, other times we find our footing in our beliefs. Either way we are choosing what to believe and why we believe what we believe. In my life I am grateful for the times when I was pushed by those around me because I began to better understand what I stand for. My reasons for believing what I believe may be different from other people’s, but they are mine and I understand what I stand by and that’s what matters.

Parker Wedding (Grateful Day 128)

Processed with VSCOcam with b1 presetYet again, I had the lovely opportunity to watch two of my friends become man and wife!! I have loved every minute of this weekend. From getting dressed to stand beside one of my best friends as she made her vows to her husband, to watching two of my friends vow to love each other from now to eternity in their own words! I love weddings to an insane degree. I laugh and I cry, but mostly I celebrate the fact that people have a love so strong they decide to join together as one and live out the rest of their lives with one another!

As I get older more and more of my friends are getting married and finding these wonderful people to spend the rest of their lives with. I think one of the beautiful parts of seeing my friends become one is the fact that husbands and wives can be seen as an illustration of the relationship between Christ and the Church. When I think of this I think of the look on my friends faces as their wives walked towards them. There were smiles and their were tears! There was love in their eyes!! If that’s how a man looks at a woman as she walks towards him, then boy oh boy will Jesus look so beyond excited to see us when we join Him!!! Another thing I love about watching my friends get married is knowing that their love is so boundless and that they have found the one their soul longed for. I love knowing they will grow old together and that one day at someone else’s wedding they are going to look back and remember the day they made their commitment to one another. One day they are going to tell their children and grandchildren of the day they vowed to always fight for each other and to love one another no matter what.

I love being able to celebrate the fact that my friends have found a love and a person worth fighting for and that is a beautiful thing!!! I get the opportunity to witness the important people in my life make the most important commitment to one another. This weekend I got to watch two couples that I love dearly vow to one another that they would fight for each other and they would fight for the love they have found!! I watched my friends choose each other for the rest of their lives. I got to hear people talk of their love and celebrate their love!

Today was such a beautiful day for a beautiful wedding. From seeing Jonathan cry at the sight of his lovely wife walking down the aisle towards him, to Rachael vowing to always choose her husband for the rest of their lives together, this day has been perfect!! I got to watch my friends look into each others eyes as lovingly as ever and vow to choose one another no matter the circumstance, I mean what could be more beautiful than that!! I love these sweet people so dearly and I know that whatever they put their hands to as man and wife is going to be lovely!! Rachael and Jonathan if you ever come across this, I love you both and I pray that as you two embark on this journey together that you are blessed! I pray that the rest of your lives spent together is the more beautiful and wonderful than you thought it could be! To the new Mr. and Mrs. Parker!!

Odom Wedding (Grateful Days 125-27)

IMG_4529Today I got to see one of my dearest friends marry the man of her dreams! Now, I’m a big fan of weddings and recently I have been going to weddings for my friends and its been pretty crazy because I realize that now I am getting to the part of life when I have married friends and I get to celebrate my friends getting married!

I love getting to see my friends transition from being single and in love, to married and in love! I loved watching my friend walk down the aisle towards her groom and see his face light up!! Over the past couple of days people have been remarking on how my friends husband (I love that I can say that now!!) isn’t much of a talker or a very emotional person, but that my dearest friend brought out a side of him nobody has ever seen before. Today you could see the excitement in his eyes as he saw her walking towards him and you could hear the joy in both of their voices as they pledged their love to one another! It’s crazy because they have been together for so long, and for as long as I have known them I have seen their love flourish. I have gotten to witness the way he loves her with no reserve. I have seen how they encourage one another in everything and all the ways they push one another to be the best people they can be. I have gotten to see how they fight for one another and how they have chosen each other time and time again. They have worked for their relationship and I know they will work and fight for their marriage.

Jamie and Garret, if you ever come across this post I want you to know a few things. I love you both!! I love they way you two love one another and how you have fought for each other. Garret, I love the way you have fought for Jaime and how you have been nothing but encouraging to her! Jaime, I have loved seeing the way you have grown in your life. You have become such a wonderful woman and I am so glad to call you friend!! You both are such a joy to watch and so much fun to know! I know you both will only grow in love for one another, because even after all these years you two love so tenderly!! Jaime you will always be one of my dearest friends and I am so excited to see what marriage has in store for you and I am so glad you and Garret found your way to one another! I know you two were put together because God has his hand in your lives and I could not be more excited for all you two will accomplish in your lives together!! I am so honoured to have been able to watch every step of your journey down the aisle today. So, to the new Mr. and Mrs. Odom, I pray that joy and love follow you both in every part of this next chapter in your lives! I pray you two feel love and peace through the course of your marriage! I love you both and I offer you my deepest congratulations!! To Mr. and Mrs. Odom!!

Grateful Day 124

20140521-210425-75865816Today my baby sister promoted from 8th grade and next year she’s going to be a Freshman in high school. Holy stinkin’ cow!!! That’s basically what I thought when I realized that my baby sister is going to be in high school. Now, I’m a very emotional person, so it made me really teary eyed to know that my baby sister is now going to walk the halls of the school I left only 4 years ago.

I realize I’ve been very reminiscent lately, but I enjoy looking back and seeing how much things have changed around me. I enjoy seeing how much people grow and how people change. My baby sister is going to be in high school come fall and my other sissy is a recent high school grad and a momma to a 7 month old. My parents are getting older and we are becoming friends. More and more people I know are getting married and having kids and others are moving to different states and countries to start new chapters in their lives. Life is changing right before my eyes and I can’t stop it, and since I can’t stop it I might as well enjoy it!

Life is full of adventures and some times adventure is in the mundane and tedious aspects of life. Some times adventure is in your face and heart pumping, while other times adventure is still and quiet. That’s what I believe anyway. I’m a believer that a lot of times our “great wide somewhere” (yes that is a line for a song from Beauty and the Beast) is our here and now; wherever that may be. We may not see adventure in the every day happenings of life, but when we look back we notice that the late night drives and the random sing songs in living rooms or on school buses were the adventures of our younger years. Some day we’ll look back and think of the times we spent wandering around town looking for something to do as all the adventure we needed for that one night.

But if you’re like me, you live in a constant state of wanderlust. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to want to see the world and go about in new places. I actually think it’s normal to have a desire to travel about, but I think if we live in a constant state of wanderlust we’re going to forget about where we are. Wanderlust allows us to dream of where life could take us but it can also distract us from enjoying where we are now.

I fall into the trap of desiring a new place and a new season so often, that I forget that I only get to be young, in my 20’s and at University spending time with my friends and going to classes on a beautiful campus once. Even if I end up taking classes at the U again, it won’t be the way it is now. I won’t be taking classes with my best friend or handing out otter pops on a hot summers day with Chi Alpha. The season will be different and I will not be the same person I am now.

Friend, we don’t get to be the person we are now ever again. We only get to live in the moment we’re in at this moment once because after this season, things will change. For better or for worse things will be different. So before we go off to far off places and before we have a ‘I blinked & times have changed’ moment, lets enjoy our friends and family. Lets enjoy the tediousness of the lives we lead. Lets find the joy in wandering about the city at night and going to parks alone. Let us enjoy moments of peace and quiet while we prepare for the brash and in your face ones. Friend I believe in the beauty of your life. I believe in the beauty of the adventures God has laid out for you and I believe in the beauty of enjoying where you are at this moment.

Enjoy it. Breathe it in. Live it. Love it.

Grateful Days 120-123

Grateful Days 120-123So, I’ve been M.I.A for a few days with good reason. I’ve been hanging out with mah familia! It’s been pretty crazy with graduations/promotions and people moving away, but I love being able to spend time with my day one people. But in the midst of all the exciting events I’ve been thinking of my high school graduation and how much things have changed.

I recently told someone that I made a lot of new friends when I moved from home and a lot of the people I was close to in high school I no longer speak to not because I dislike those people now but because we grew apart. We grew up in different places and at different paces. My friends and I found ourselves in different seasons of life at the ripe age of 18. We grew together for so long, then one day we were in different places in life. Literally and figuratively. It wasn’t bad, it was life and it was okay. It is okay. Of course I’m still internet friends with these people, and I see how their lives are turning out and I’m so happy for them!! My best friend when I was in high school is now married to a man she loves and has a beautiful daughter who is going to be just as much fun and just as smart as her mother! Another of my good friends from high school is going to be married to a man who loves her more than words can even express and whom she loves with just as much zeal! Other friends I had in high school just graduated from University and are going to change the world! I often wish I stayed in better contact with them all, but some people are truly only in our lives for a season and when the season passes new people come in to our lives and they’ll stay for their season. Some times that season is a few months or years. Other times it’s for the rest of time.

I find beauty in the fact that certain friends only stay for a season. I don’t know why, but I do. I find beauty in the fact that friendships can teach us how impermanent things are in life. They help teach us to appreciate what we have before it’s gone. I know that’s pretty dramatic, but it’s true. I know I some times get in the habit of forgetting to enjoy people’s company because I think they’re going to be around forever, but that’s just not true. People grow up and move on. It’s life and life is beautiful. Don’t get me wrong, it is extremely sad when two people who once texted one another day in and day out are suddenly two strangers making awkward conversation in the middle of the cereal aisle. But the beauty is that life moves on from the awkward cereal aisle conversation and the next time these two people meet they will have things to say to one another and be able to relate on a level they did not know before. These people will become husbands and wives; mothers and fathers. They will become adults with bills to pay and stories to tell. They will know what life is beyond late night text messages and between class locker conversations. They will grow up and they’ll know the beauty of life in a way they didn’t know before.

As we grow up, we move past the late night texts and hall way conversations. We transition into the phone calls with dear ones and coffee dates to catch up. We learn the art of making time for lunch dates with friends and Skype sessions with the ones too many miles away to grab lunch. We begin to understand the words out parents said to us during those late night talks about the future.  We begin to enjoy our sleep and often crave it, but we won’t pass up the option of a late night movie/television viewing with our friends. We begin to understand the importance of letting people know how we feel and we learn to appreciate the time we have with those around us. We start to see the beauty of the lives we lead. We start to understand that life is in deed beautiful!