Wednesday, December 24, 2014

From Christmas 2013

12/24/13

Dear Christmas 2014 Eve Stephanie,

Hey :) How are you? I come bringing you good news. Would you like to hear it?

You are in a better place than me! Isn't that a relief? I am so happy for you. I worked really hard to get you here. I dedicated myself to my school work, and opened myself up to new friends, and tried to get deeper with God, and wrote more, and read more, and pushed Sam to the right place on my priority list.

You are the result of a very difficult Christmas 2013, and probably a pretty tearful following New Year's Eve. How do you feel? Pearls are made from being trapped. A phoenix rises stronger from the ashes. Diamonds form under great pressure.

You a pearl, a phoenix, and a diamond, produced from the captivity, heat, and pressure I'm feeling right now. I'm so glad that you're alive. Aren't you glad? Isn't it nice just to be alive?

I don't care if you have a boyfriend or not :) If you do, I trust that you think a lot of him and the two of you are a reasonable kind of happy. If you don't, keep believing that God has someone good for you, someone who will ask you on real dates, and write you letters, and pray with you, and make you laugh, and propel his own life forwards.

I hope you're loving being an English major. I think you are, even if you've been frustrated this year. You love words so much. Just think about how you feel when you read a good book, and how powerful writing inspiration is. So many people have told met hat I'm a good writer, so you must be even better. Remember, every time you think you've lost your touch, you read and love something you wrote LAST time you thought you lost your touch. Things go in cycles. You're destined to write something worth it, I'm sure. Believe that.

You're not fat. Don't even think that. You look great, I'm totally sure. I'm going to make sure of it.

I bet you have time to read a whole book between now and when you go back to school. Go for it!

Please don't be sad :) I'm fighting considerable sadness myself, and the thought of you being happy is one of the only things keeping me going.

Love you, Stephanie of Christmas 2014! I hope your first year out of the teens has been alright!

~Christmas 2013 Stephanie

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thankful. Or "Hashtag Blessed," If You Will

This has been an enigmatic Thanksgiving.

I got home on Monday night with two term papers to write completely. They have made me stressed, irritable, and unable to relax. {I still love being an English major. But really, fml.} As I type this, I have one complete rough draft of one paper {due Monday}. Today I will research and outline for the other {due Tuesday}, and write it tomorrow and Monday.

I really need an A on both papers. Unfortunately, I think I only have the time, energy, and resources to pull out Cs or Bs. But hey. In five days, it'll be over. For better or for worse, in five days there will be nothing I can do and I am pretty damn sure I can live with that.

For the next fifty minutes, I am giving myself a break. I will eat lunch, and I will blog. Because deep down inside, I'm actually perversely happy. This Thanksgiving has kind of sucked, but at the same time, it's been uniquely great. I want to take some time and Be Thankful since I didn't actually do it on Facebook like everyone else on the planet.

Family

Or more specifically, a Mom who's like my best friend, partner in crime, and confidante now {when did she stop judging me and start being my ally?}; a Daddy who always looks for the best in every person and every situation; and a sister who I would CHOOSE to hang out with pretty much any day of the week.

Roommates

Or more specifically, Harley {the redhead with the thumbs up}. Harley is my best friend at school. We get along flawlessly. I think we're the only two in the apartment who haven't gotten on each others' nerves. I help her with her papers; she lets me use her printer. She washes the dishes; I pick up her late-night cravings on my way back from work. There are no conversational boundaries. We laugh til we cry. And we form a Thermostat Team against Mary and Allison who like the apartment to be Hot As Actual Balls.

Internship

Yeah, it totally sucked away all my homework hours and made me have to do these papers over freaking Thanksgiving. BUT it also introduced me to the world's best boss, the world's coolest coworker, the world's greatest coffee, and a lot of unbelievable opportunities for the future. So cheers.

SRMUN

The Southern Regional Model United Nations conference. Like the internship, this conference kind of made my life Hell and contributed to having to do papers over freaking Thanksgiving. BUT AGAIN, I met amazing people, made hilariously awesome and eye-opening memories, and opened excellent future doors. So I am thankful it happened.

Cassidy {on the right}
Who apparently doesn't have any recent pictures of just herself. So I am also thankful for Allison on the left. But Cassidy is the girl I am closest to on the planet. I can't live without Sarah, and Harley is my everyday buddy, but Cassidy knows it all. She supports me, listens to me, advises me, helps me see things more clearly {including myself}. We laugh together, have those eye conversations, discuss makeup, discuss people, discuss futures. She may or may not have a Pinterest board dedicated to MY wedding one day... She's gorgeous, brilliant, loyal, hilarious, and I am so lucky to have her in my life.

No More Wisdom Teeth
Seriously. Having my wisdom teeth removed had been hanging over my head for like a decade.

The Road Trip

After three years of joking around, we took the trip of a lifetime. Those laughs, pains, sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and stories will be a highlight of my life until I die. I'm sure. From sharing a tent, to belting out songs in the car, to seeing the St. Louis Arch, to walking around Chicago at night... There are no words. Just trust me when I say this trip easily ranks in the top five Best Experiences of My Life.

Working Out

The place, the ability, the people to do it with. I love feeling strong and healthy.

This Kid
I'm sorry. I'm just really, really, inappropriately, overpoweringly happy that I'm dating him. I'm not even gonna try to be sarcastic and offhand about this. I'm in love with him and I think he's amazing.


He's the kind of guy who would like to spend an evening playing cards, but went out clubbing with me anyway.

He's the kind of guy who gave up forty-five minutes and a lot of convenience to figure out a way to watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving with me.

He's the kind of guy who buys me books and reads Paradise Lost for me even though he's not an epic poetry fan.
He's the kind of guy who can both make me blush and make me feel genuinely valued.

I've been lost in love before, and it almost destroyed me. But being lost in love with Gem feels an awful lot like being Found.


Runners Up for Most Appreciated In My Life:
1. ChapStick
2. Coffee
3. New windshield wipers
4. That hangnail finally leaving
5. Not having to have braces
6. Chocolate

And also, thank YOU for sticking with me :) I really do love you guys.

~Stephanie

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Just Another Blog About Marriage

I have a problem.

My Facebook newsfeed is clogged with blog posts about marriage. "Single and Not Waiting." "My Husband is Not My Soul Mate." "I Wasn't Ready For Marriage." "Got Engaged and Immediately Doubted My Decision." "Hey Young People: Now's the Time to Get Married." "Stop Dating Someone You Don't Have a Future With."

Oh. My. God.

Leave. Us. Alone.

{And thus, my problem:  How do I blog about blog posts about marriage clogging up media without it being ridiculously ironic? Answer: I don't know. If I figure out a way before I finish this post, awesome. If I don't, I'm posting anyway. Everyone knows I love irony.}

I honestly don't know why this annoys me so much. Maybe because I feel like it's a trend. It's TRENDY to talk about marriage right now. It's an infinity-scarves-and-Starbucks thing. It's just what profound Christian twenty-something bloggers discuss. The theme came up out nowhere, and will probably disappear having made no lasting impression on the world.

Marriage is important, yes. There are lots of misconceptions about marriage, and singleness, and the terrifying pop-culture concept of "The One;" I get it. We need to talk about it. We need to clarify the misconceptions and dispel the terror. We need to return to the Bible and be smart about how much we depend on another human for happiness and wholeness. Yes.

But damn. I'm dating a guy and I love him and I'm happy and we both love God and we get along great and we see a future together and I don't need some chick in Canada telling me that I have to put God first--I know that. I don't need some guy telling me that getting married isn't going to cause me financial stress--I pretty much know that it will, in fact, because combining two separate incomes and lifestyles will always pose adjustments. I don't need someone to tell me that I'm going to have doubts if I say Yes to a proposal--I am human and also Stephanie. Of COURSE I'm going to freak out and second-guess. {Although I do happen to have liked Mo's post a lot.} {And I like Matt Walsh, too.}

Maybe I'm just being bitter and petty and immature, but I feel like the media avalanche of marriage commentary is unnecessary. Anyone seriously considering marriage will come to these articles' conclusions on their own, and if they don't--in some cases--maybe that's okay.

If you're a Christian and you don't know to put God ahead of your spouse, then there are issues that a bubbly blog post is not going to fix.

And maybe you can marry someone you believe to be your soul mate and have a totally healthy marriage. Maybe you can live a totally moral and successful life without the disillusioning kick in the teeth of "HA HA YOU JUST HAVE TO MAKE IT WORK BECAUSE THERE IS NO ONE RIGHT FOR YOU."

Don't get me wrong, those articles are well-written and I understand the merit of being freed from counterproductive notions of marital perfection. I just subscribe to the Morgan Freeman method of social problem-solving. How do we fix all these problems? "Stop talking about them."

Can we stop obsessing and looking to other people to feed us Truths about life? What ever happened to logic and personal prayer and self-awareness? I just don't see taking someone seriously who comes up to me and says, "Oh my gawsh, this article, like, changed my life-ah."

{See, I can't even hear that sentence in anything but a Valley Girl voice.}

I think lasting, heartfelt revelations regarding anything, but maybe ESPECIALLY marriage, need to come from sources much more personal than mass-distributed blog posts.

I like to think that my role as a blogger is to start conversations. I have conversations, debates, and evaluations in my head, and I write about them as a way to process my thoughts. I hope that my posts might spark similar discussions inside your heads. But I never presume to tell you what to think. I'm not going to lie to you, but I will also be the first to tell you that I am not an end-all-be-all source of Truth. I'm not an idiot.

I'm still not sure if I've answered my own question of "why do I hate the torrent of marriage-related articles." Yes, I think they're overrated; Yes, I think they're pretentious and unnecessary; Yes, I think real heart changes come from more personal sources than blogs.

But maybe I just hate them because they're trendy and I'm tired of them. That also sounds like something I would do.

What are you thoughts on this?

~Stephanie

Monday, November 3, 2014

Colors on My Soul

"Teal”
10/27/14
I loved a boy with a teal soul.
He had teal eyes,
Neither blue nor green.
Ambiguous. Enigmatic.
Small and piercing; slicing, sharp.
They were a one-way door.
Sly and sneaking, seeking.
Secretive. Shocking. Stealthy.
They pierced, they sliced,
They sought, they stole.
It was a teal soul.

"Green and Gold"
10/28/14
I love a boy with brown eyes.
He has a soul of green and gold:
Deep with alive; rich with warm.
Gentle and bold.
Present and open; promising, proud.
They brought integrity.
Passionate and polite, perceiving.
Persistent. Pursuing. Purposeful.
They healed, they prodded,
They praised, they protected.
It made me whole,
His green and gold soul.

~Stephanie

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Spirare

I just hit the "Publish" button on the post called "Aspirations." I clicked "View Blog" to proofread it again, and was struck by that word:

Aspiration.

Out of nowhere, its Latin roots assaulted me unbidden:  a meaning "of, from, by, since" and spirare meaning "to breathe."

Aspirations:  Something from which we breathe.

Our aspirations--our goals, our dreams, our desires--are not only what we strive to, but what we breathe from. They aren't just in our futures, they are in us now, motivating us. When we breathe, we breathe because we're working toward something, working to be something.

I got up this morning because I aspire to be an English major. To be an English major, I must get up and read things and write things and study things and drink a lot of coffee (it's in the major requirement. Don't check; it's there)--and breathe. Because I aspire to be an English major.

I'm really starting to love the word "aspire." It is a light word. It's airy and crisp and invigorating--like a breath, I suppose, but a really good one. A breath of cool, sharp air that fills you with energy like electricity and makes you want to jump higher and run faster and smile brighter.

Aspire.

To what do I aspire? From what do I breathe?

I aspire to be a lover of words:  to speak them effectively, read them closely, write them artfully.
I aspire to be a champion of truth, valuing it in people, institutions, and ideas.
I aspire to travel:  to see places that amaze me and meet people who change me.
I aspire to know God and make him known.
I aspire to drink my coffee at a mature pace.

From what do you breathe?

~Stephanie

Monday, October 13, 2014

Aspirations

You know how some people--and maybe you're one of them--can make a cup of coffee or a bag of M&Ms last for like hours? The cup just sits beside them on the desk as they attend to their work with focus and tranquility, largely oblivious to the delicacy at hand. Occasionally they'll take a sip. The steam starts to subside, but they don't seem to mind. They have mastered the arts of moderation and indifference.

I am profoundly jealous of this mastery.

I first noted this kind of detachment when I was eight years old. Matt, a first-grader, would come over to our house after school if his babysitter had some other commitment. Sometimes Mom would give us a snack--chocolate chips or something--to eat as we did our homework.

My chocolate chips were always gone within the first three or four minutes. They were delicious, and after a single chip, I became a temporary chocolate addict. I couldn't resist eating them one after another until they were gone, and my homework barely started.

Matt did his homework with the meandering, selective attention of a little boy who does not want to use a number line to practice subtraction. However, he ate his chocolate chips the same way. Every few minutes, he would blink at his snack as if he'd just remembered it, pick up a couple of chips, and then immediately forget his snack's existence again.

How could he care so little about chocolate chips? How was he not driven crazy by their tempting presence until it was fully relocated into his stomach?

As a third-grader, I chalked it up to the fact that Matt had funner food at his house (which was true). He was used to candy for snack; it wasn't a treat for him. It has lost its novelty. I wondered if the same phenomenon would be true for me if I ever became rich enough to have fun food on hand at all times.

To some extent, that philosophy proved true. My family now has orange juice on a regular basis, and I no longer feel compelled to drink it all the time just because it's there. The same is true of cookies, and Cheez-Its, and flavored yogurt. I have risen above the animalistic urge to consume these relatively mundane foods.

However.

With "treat" foods and beverages, the art of pacing oneself is still lost on me. I buy a smoothie, and it's half gone before I'm even back in my dorm room. I open a 2-serving bag of M&Ms, and within ten minutes, it's empty. I grab an iced coffee on the way to work, and I'm sucking at the ice fifteen minutes later.

Meanwhile, I watch people around me exercise this intensely classy combination of absentminded appreciation and tranquil indifference to their "treats." Large iced coffees go minutes and minutes and MINUTES without even being touched, and people don't even seem to be struggling to resist.

Maybe they're just all rich and have treats all the time and the novelty has been lost, like Matt with his chocolate chips? Or am I totally and abnormally self-control-deficient when it comes to delicious things?

All I know is that I envy the air of maturity embodied by people who can resist their treats. It's a level of maturity to which I genuinely aspire.

And I will get there, even if it means drinking steamless coffee and drooling on my keyboard.

~Stephanie

Monday, October 6, 2014

Double Life

I feel like I'm leading a double life.

On one hand, I am happier than I've ever been in my entire life. I am happier than I ever thought possible--much happier than I deserve.

It's the people:  my suitemates are perfect living companions:  we get along flawlessly, balancing late-night life discussions and sessions of politely ignoring each other while we do homework. We laugh loudly and often and share inappropriate details about our lives. It is truly awesome.

Cassidy is still my best friend. We understand each other, support each other, and share hilarious text messages that make me burst out laughing in moments of silence. Our relationship feels the same, except older. I think it's what growing up is supposed to be for best friends.

And Gem. Things with Gem are amazingly great. He gives direction to my aimless everyday inefficiencies and overwhelming mundane endeavors. I take the best naps with him. He has the best story ideas. He's the best kind of stubborn. He sent me a Batman ice cube tray in the mail the other day, for no reason. He takes me on dates because he likes to. He sends me spontaneous flirting texts in class and I cannot help smiling.

These people light up my life. Sometimes it almost makes me cry. God is so great. He has blessed me more than I thought possible.

I am so happy.

But on the other hand, I have never been this miserable for this long in my entire life.

This entire semester has been depression and struggle and frustration and helplessness. I have not had a single day where I woke up with a smile and thought I can do this. Every morning has been like a punch in the stomach, oppressive and nauseating.

It's a rule that semesters start off rough, you know? It's hard to shake the summer mindset. It's hard to say goodbye to friends and family back home. It's hard to watch the tan leach from your skin. I expected these routine difficulties. But I did not expect them to persist relentlessly into my third month of junior year.

I am DROWNING in homework, internship, tutoring, and copy-editor duties. Drowning isn't even the right word. Suffocating? Flattening? My Model United Nations class consists of "Here's a textbook. Read it, understand it, and be prepared for tests on it. Also, please become intimately familiar with all current events and events pertaining to the UN from the last fifty years."

There's a conference coming up in November, where I will represent Belgium on a UN committee COMPLETELY ALONE. I have no idea how to prepare for that.

In another poli-sci class, I am the only non-political science or criminal justice major. I have a midterm in that class tomorrow. I haven't had time to study for it.

In all my three English classes, which I love, I think I've completed about ten readings. There has been a lot of skimming and SparkNoting and bullshitting. I hate doing that. I love being an English major. If I didn't have all the tedious, impossible work for my political science minor, I might love my life.

But as things are, I honest-to-God do not know how I'm going to keep going. Am I going to start failing classes? Am I going to start getting sick all the time? Am I going to lose myself in this relentless struggle to juggle my life?

I feel so trapped. There aren't classes or jobs that I can drop. I have to keep doing everything, but it's only going to get worse, and I'm barely keeping my head above water as is.

I love school because I love learning. But at the same time, I do not want to do this anymore. I am so over being constantly graded. I am so over living a life that is functionally disconnected from Gem. I am so over the entanglements of busy work and...just academics.

I know that I don't want to quit school, but at the same time, these overwhelming feelings of depression and helplessness are not tapering off as the semester progresses the way they normally do.

I'm just frustrated. I know exactly what I want with my life, I just can't reach it yet, and I can't tell if I'm on the surest, most efficient path toward that goal. Am I somehow causing myself unnecessary pain and stress? Or is this just the way it has to be for now?

No answers, only questions.

The reality of impending adultness continues.

~Stephanie

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Surprising Existence

Remember when I posted my list of 50 Desirable Guy Qualities last November? I called the post "A Non-Existent Character."

Today, as I procrastinate a little during lunchtime, I remembered that post. Seeing as I'm dating someone I'm pretty crazy about, I decided to look at the list in light of Gem, just to see where things stood.

I'm not sure if you guys particularly care about this, as it really just pertains to me, but hey, this is my blog and I'll do what I want.

Here's the original post, with new comments in italics; green means Gem's got it.

Stephanie's List of Desirable Guy Qualities (in mostly no particular order)
1. Christian - Gem is one of the realist Christians I know.

2. musician {note:  not "plays an instrument." I think playing an instrument and being a musician are 

different things.} - This one is tricky. Gem plays the piano well, but he is not a musician. But he has the most amazing sixth sense with music I've ever seen. I'll have to explain it in a whole post sometime.
 
3. can dance


4. dark hair


5. good singing voice


6. likes to read - And he actually does. A LOT.


7. self-motivated - Depends. But in the interest of not going completely and totally overboard complimenting him, I'm gonna leave this black.

8. in good shape - *blush*

9. knows what he wants to do with his life

10. knows how to make his dreams a reality

11. loves Disney

12. has a sense of irony


13. has the same sense of humor as me


14. knows when to stop


15. likes kids


16. plays a sport - Used to be a swimmer

 
17. stubborn - Yes, but in an unusual way. It's like he's infinitely patient and steadfast when his mind is made up.

 
18. able to converse in an engaging and effective manner with people of all ages


19. a science or math person, maybe


20. likes to argue

21. pretty eyes

22. honest {includes keeping promises as well as not lying}


 23. crooked smile

24. expressive eyebrows

25. will fight for those he loves


26. taller than me


27. tan


28. Having done drugs is not a problem, but he has to be morally against them now. - He has not done them, never will, and is against them.

 
29. mindful of money


30. Chivalrous. Opens doors, walks a girl home/to her car/to her dorm, sits on the outside at restaurants, walks next to the road, carries stuff, pays for stuff.


31. unselfish - He likes to do unselfish things for people, but part of it is that he likes to feel like a hero XD Sooo, not sure if this counts as totally unselfish. But to the untrained eye, yes.

 
32. not in the military


33. cusses occasionally and artfully - "Hell" and "damn" are pretty much the extent of it, but his comedic timing is pretty good.

 
34. can start a real fire


35. can tie real knots


36. good/similar taste as me in music - Mmm. This is a weird one too. We have pretty different taste in music. But...I have to say that his taste is also "good" because of simply how good he is with music.

 
37. doesn't disrespect his girlfriend when talking to his friends


38. can help me with writing - He's very perceptive and "real" with his help. He doesn't just compliment my writing, he points out inconsistencies or things that don't make sense, and gives real suggestions. It really took me aback at first, but I appreciate it a ton now.

 
39. good with directions - Freaking unbelievably good.

 
40. assertive - He's very careful and tactful with his words, but he is not afraid to take the lead in conversations or call me out on my BS.


  41. good grasp of grammar - Yes. However, he does the your/you're thing entirely too often.
 
42. hard-working


43. confident


44. understands me - He understands me in  this weirdly simple way, like it's natural and uncomplicated, even when I don't even understand myself.

 
45. patient {I'm not talking about the angelic sort of patience, but the calm, persistent kind of patience} - Yes. Just yes.

 
46. observant - Freakishly.

 
47. not a Yankee


48. politically conservative


49. adventurous - This is weird. I'd describe him as "adventurous" even though he's, like, kinda not. He likes adventures, but he's generally very practical and cautious--which is great, because it balances my ridiculous, dangerous impulsiveness.

50. writes letters - He does for me :)

45/50. Not bad for a non-existent character :)

~Stephanie

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Giaraffe Emesis

I hope that this will be a brief post. I've been really productive this evening, so I don't want to break my flow, but I was also suddenly seized with the need to say something here.

I've been blowing through pages in my "New United Nations" textbook like nobody's business. Seriously, I think I read like twelve pages in an hour and a half, and that is flat-out UNHEARD OF. I'm even in the basement of the library, a place I usually reserve for literary homework. I have a strict No PolySci Homework policy when it comes to the library:  I don't want to taint these sacred halls with the wrong kind of stress.

But this evening, polysci did not stress me out, so I made an exception.

Since coming to college, I have been listening almost exclusively to Mutemath's self-titled album. When I start getting ready for bed, I turn on Mutemath and hit my iHome's Sleep button until it promises to turn off in 30 minutes. Sometimes I'm asleep by the time the music stops; sometimes Gem keeps me up longer.

At any given time, I have 70+ pages of reading to do. I must read about the evolution of the United Nations; I must read about ethical philosophers and how their views apply to the government; I must read about different literary approaches (Allison:  "So you're literally reading about reading?" Me: "...well, when you say it like THAT..."); I must read "Emma," which is wonderful; and I must read about how to write.

And sometimes I get to read about a girl who plays with fire, but not often enough to maintain continuity or remember my place.

When I'm not reading, sometimes I watch Lost. I am on Season 1, Episode 12, so no spoilers. I really like Sayid. I really hate Sawyer, but you're supposed to.

My school internship is going really, really well. I'm writing letters of inquiry, which means I get to write about Campbell University's projects in ways that appeal to lots of different money-giving foundations. I get to take one project and spin it ten or twelve different ways, exercising my creativity and persuasive skills. It is incredibly fun to me.

My alarm didn't go off yesterday morning. I woke up one minute before my class started. I was still only eleven minutes late.

My suitemates are amazing. We stay up and talk and laugh til we cry. I always have people to do things with, but they also understand my need to be left alone. We have "family dinner" every Monday night, which, so far, has consisted of Harley making spaghetti and us pulling together every table-like surface in the apartment to have room to seat everyone.

This Saturday, Gem and his sister, Abigail, are visiting. Harley's making tacos. We will not have enough table surface, but we've decided not to address that until the problem is staring us in the face. It'll be fine.

I'll be glad to see Gem, although not having any alone time with him will be a little disappointing.

How are you all doing? :)


Road Trip:  the Arch in St. Louis :)

Whatever Campbell's shortcomings, scenery isn't one of them.



Road Trip:  Chicago

 Gem: "Oops, these are too small for me...maybe you want them?"
True love.

Road Trip: the Bean

~Stephanie

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

But Only a Little Bit

I am lying on my bed with a stomachache. Normally I would write this kind of thing in my journal, but that would require me not to lie on my back with my eyes closed.

I am stressed and I have a lot to do, but I have decided that it is okay for me to lie here for a while until I don't see the world in roiling waves of green nausea. I think that is one of the marks of being an adult:  having to assess whether or not you can afford to ignore your work for a bit. When you're a kid, you can ignore your work all day every day and not think twice about it. No guilt. No stress. That's why there are grown-ups:  to make you do your work.

But now I'm a little bit of a grown-up. I have to buy my own paper towels and toothpaste and chocolate milk. I have to get out of bed and wash my dishes and turn my light off at a decent hour. I have to wear clothes that fit the occasion and compose emails professionally and dedicate enough time to my homework.

{But I'm still in college, living on campus, so there's a lot of adultism that I haven't had to deal with yet. I'm pretty glad.}

Blugh. I just want someone to hand me peppermint tea and make me smile and help me see that the 70+ pages of political ethics and United Nations reading isn't actually going to kill me. I want someone to tell me that they liked my pigtails today and that having a tiny gold Batman ring is pretty much the coolest thing they've ever seen. I want to sit close to someone around whom I don't have to hold my stomach in or keep my shoulders back or try to look pleasant.

I sort of want to come apart real quick, but not in a helpless, emotional way. I just want to unstitch myself, come apart at the seams, and spill out all the stuff inside my heart and mind. I want someone to listen to me mumble aloud my chaotically elegant train of thought and not judge me based on conversational relevance or profundity.

Hmm. I'm starting to feel better--somewhat unfortunately. I can no longer justify lying here on my back with my eyes closed. I guess I have to go do my work now.

Alas, I am a little bit of a grown-up.

~Stephanie

Monday, July 28, 2014

Yahweh

As I sit at my desk, waiting for my 11 o'clock interviewee to pick up her phone, it strikes me that it has been more than a month since I posted here. Or anywhere, really. I haven't posted on Reason in the Rhyme in even MORE than more than a month. That is especially embarrassing, because it's my "professional" blog. I am literally broadcasting that I am a writer who does not write.

But while I've been living my life and not writing, things have been going rather well. My not-so-little-anymore sister went to Europe and returned without trauma. My church hosted an awesome pastor named Peter Lord. Two of my unbiological brothers are now allowed to consume alcohol in public. Cassidy has slept at my house and dog sitting houses more than at her own. My parents have been great givers of freedom and trust to me. And Gem has been, well, the only person I can imagine wanting to spend my life with. What's new.

Oh, and I cleaned my room. Once.

All in all, my takeaway for this half of the summer has been that God is real. I'm not sure exactly why. I haven't seen anyone instantaneously cured of cancer before my eyes. {But I did see a woman with unexplainable, persistent back pain feel better a day after my church laid hands on her and prayed.} I haven't had amazing quiet times. {But I have been HAVING quiet times, as short and shallow as they sometimes are.} I haven't had incredible supernatural powers. {Although I think I have finally forgiven the biggest offense ever committed to me, which is nothing short of a miracle.} God didn't suddenly unveil his master plans to me. {But he did prove to me that his love and promises are true.}

It's interesting:  I didn't plan any of those bracketed statements. I was actually just trying to explain to you why it didn't make sense for me to feel so strongly that GOD IS REAL. But as I sit here and try to tell you that this hasn't been a God summer, I am convicted even more strongly that it WAS. It so was.

I see God working in the lives of everyone around me, and it's inspiring. Cassidy is journaling and studying the Bible and examining her future plans, and I really feel a huge difference in the strength of her character. She's becoming more of who she is in God, and it inspires me.

Sarah says things like, "I feel pretty good about it. I've been praying a lot," and my eyes open to the fact that she is not just my little sister, but a very effective and committed warrior of Christ.

Gem...God is so real to Gem that sometimes it's like I can feel God through Gem. I don't know how else to say it. Gem prays to God like he expects an answer. He turns to God like he expects to be supported. He listens to God like he trusts him. He pursues God like he finds him enthralling.

God is so real to me right now. I want to know him. I want to follow him. I want to be on his side.

I hope this post doesn't seem like directionless fluff. I didn't know what I wanted to say when I sat down, but I think this is it. I think this is what I wanted to say.

God is real, and I hope this post has piqued the interest of your heart, because God really wants to know you.

~Stephanie

P.S. It just occurred to me that I chose "True" as my word of the year. Authentic. Real. Huh :)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Sixteen Loves

Gem and I were talking about the definition of "love" the other day. We agree that it is a choice, but I also now believe that it can be FELT, for sure. There are so many different kinds of love, but only one word for it.

Together we mourned the reality of English's insufficiency, and the linguistic ineptitude of those who use it. {Actually, I ranted like that and he agreed and offered statements like "I am gonna make my own language. With blackjack. And hookers." #Futurama}

But he really did inspire me to define all the many, most common uses of the word "love." I took it as both a challenge and a personal exploration exercise--and we know how those things turn out here on Peripeteia.

I give you...my Sixteen Kinds of Love.

1. The God Love - That love we can't understand because we're not, like, God. The totally unconditional, infinitely the patient, inconceivably complete love of our unfathomable Creator.

2. The Family Love - I understand that some peoples' families suck, and that sometimes friends are just like family. However, I actually believe that there is a love for actual blood family {and, like, legally adopted kids} that cannot be duplicated or substituted. I'm sorry, but I am never, ever going to love someone in the frighteningly fierce, protective, unconditional, self-sacrificing way I think I love my sister. I love her the most of anyone in the world, and her going to Europe has only made that more clear to me. In my mind, this is the highest form of love on earth.

3. The Best Friend Love -  It's the adamant loyalty, the absolute comfort. When there is someone who you can be rude to, but still not live without. The person who has seen you at your worst, but can still make you believe your best. This love is both casual and astonishingly resilient. The total opposite of the word "fragile."

4. The Love of Ideals - It's theoretical. It's personal. It's lofty. It's fixed. It's a lifestyle. It's a choice. It's a calling. Your love of Truth, Freedom, Responsibility, Mercy, Justice, Peace, Joy--whatever it might be--is a very real and legitimate Love. It shapes your soul.

5. The Rational Love - The love that kicks in when you're angry or frustrated or disappointed in someone. You have FELT true love for them, and intellectually realize that you do, but at the moment you have to rely solely on that fact because you don't currently LIKE the person.

6. The Fun Love - You've been dating for months. You've already seen each other without makeup/in basketball shorts. You've heard a lot of dirty secrets. You've watched a lot of movies and TV shows. You "get"each other in an effortless, smile-inducing way. Fun Love surfaces when you catch an eye-shining moment that makes you beam at someone, and it's like a lamp is turned on in your chest. It makes you want to laugh or hug the person, because you're just simply so EXCITED about BEING WITH THEM at that particular moment. You realize that you still love this person's company, that you'd still rather read a dictionary with him/her than go rollerskating with someone else, that you still think they're funny. It's light and fun and the brightest form of love I know.

7. The Gentle Love - The kind of love that comes from the heart of your soul and is reflected in your eyes when you look at that person. The kind of love that makes you cover someone with a blanket when they're asleep, or brush a tear off someone's face. A Gentleness so intense and clear that it's almost rough.

8. The Mushy Love - The kind of love that makes people text sappy things and stare into each others eyes and touch each others cheeks and sometimes gush to their friends about how amazing so-and-so is.

9. The Animal Love - Without becoming too graphic, this is the kind of writhing, white-hot, blinding, blood-rushing, desperate, gasping, teeth-gritting, nail-clawing sort of love that results in the creation of babies.

10. The Real Misspoken Love - This applies to inanimate objects that you legitimately love, even though you realize that "love" should only be used for people. For example, I Really Misspokenly Love the book Tex, and my dad's old Taurus, and--holy shit--my baby blanket, RB. Like, I would probably kill live animals in defense of those things, especially the latterest. Like, no question about it.

11. The Crush Love - This applies to unattainable hott actors as well as cute "real" guys/girls you barely know but get butterflies about.

12. The Mental Love - When you fall in love with someone's mind. This usually doesn't last long, because it morphs into one of the other kinds of love. But it is possible--for a short while--to be totally caught up in someone's impressive intellect.

13. The Preppy Love - "Oh my god, I LAHHHHHV himmmmmmmah." Used when you know someone well enough to notice that they have qualities that are universally appealing, like a cute smile or a love of animals or a way with parents. This Love applies to 80% of loves formed in private schools, cheer squads, and expensive youth camps.

14. The Misspoken Love - This applies to inanimate objects, like ice cream and Converse shoes. You feel strongly about your feelings towards a particular thing, but if pushed, you would admit that "love" is probably an inappropriate verb to use here.

15. Obsession/Infatuation - Everyone knows this one. When you dedicate an unhealthy amount of energy and brain space to a particular person. This is the kind of Love a stalker feels, as well as girls who are overly aware of a guy's biceps, or a guy of a girl's breasts. It's like Crush Love, but creepier and based on even less.

16. Addiction - *wince* This belongs here, as Gem pointed out to me. Anyone who's ever been addicted knows the powerful hate/love relationship with their poison of choice. Of course you hate that it controls you--and you might even hate the thing itself--but you love it because you keep. going. back. and there's a part of you that won't let go.

~Stephanie

Monday, June 23, 2014

Here, Have Some Sap

Begun May 5

As I start this post, Gem and I have only been dating for about a month and a half. However, despite the fact that it is way too early to be feeling much of anything, I have been feeling things.

A lot of things. A lot of strong things.

I am entirely shocked and confused and embarrassed by all the unexpected things going on inside my chest region. But as uncomfortable as expression is, I cannot seem to contain myself.

So in lieu of spewing sappiness upon my friends and family, I am going to channel the sap into this neat little corner of the internet. In the interest of staying sane, I am giving my inhibitions the time off and just going for it.

Happy I-Know-It's-Only-Been-Three-Months to me and Gem XD
~~~~~~~~~~
The first time I ever saw Gem was the first day of school, senior year. He had a gap between his front teeth and a mohawk. Our teacher stared at him and said, "Did you get a weird haircut?"

"No," he said, in a voice full of good-natured, sarcastic mischief. "I got a COOL haircut."
~~~~~~~~~~
I remember the first time I REALLY saw him. I'd been looking at him all year, but one day, he did something that made me look out from my smug little bubble of security and SEE HIM.

He crossed me. In a particular theology discussion, I stated that something was clearly the domain of the mind, as it should be. He disagreed with me--arguing for the heart--and calmly but firmly kept his opposing opinion even in the face of my startled, vehement disagreement.

I remember looking up at him slowly, feeling my eyes get bigger and clearer. A film fell away from my consciousness. I never saw him the same way again.
~~~~~~~~~~
But if I had to pick the day that most drastically changed the way I looked at Gem, it would be the day he randomly showed up to class dressed as a pirate. For no reason.

On that day, he went from being my clever theology buddy to the boy with the sexiest arms and hands I had ever seen in my life.

I think my jaw actually dropped. I did not see it coming. And since that day, I've never been able to NOT think about how sexy his arms and hands are every. time. I see him.

When he came in the door, phones and cameras came out XD Unfortunately, I was only able to secure two pictures of the incident, which I now share for your viewing pleasure.

Gottdamn.

Unfortunately, you can't see his hands in these pictures. Pity.

Before Gem, I knew arms could be sexy, but I had no idea that hands could be sexy. His are tan and long and they flow with this masculine grace that I find completely distracting. {In a moment of drowsy oblivion, I actually TOLD him that he had extremely sexy arms. He has teased me regularly since.}

He plays the piano, and his favorite song to play happens to be my favorite classical song ever:  Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. He played it for me once, and all I could think was, "I am the luckiest girl in the world."
~~~~~~~~~~
One of the first things I told Gem when we started dating is "I'm not really romantic. Feelings make me uncomfortable and I mostly show affection through sarcasm." He accepted that with no problem.

My subconscious then proceeded to make me a liar.

Guys, this boy. I don't know how to describe it. He makes me laugh every day, and it's never a snicker or disparaging chuckle. It's the kind of laughter that first fills me up with joy from the inside until it comes spilling out in a real laugh. And HIS laugh. Don't even get me started. It comes on quick as a sneeze and is so genuine and beautiful that I just want to stop everything and watch him laugh.
~~~~~~~~~
He joined my family + Cassidy and Sarah's friend at the beach for a couple of days last week. The ocean was pretty damn frigid, but I surprised myself by braving it with Gem and Cass, albeit amid exclamations of discomfort and wild, wracking shivers.

Gem looked over his shoulder and said, "Have I ever told you that you're adorable in cold water?"
~~~~~~~~~
Later, we walked on the beach. "I've been thinking about what you said the other day," he told me. "About feeling trapped at home during the summer, when you don't have college to go back to?"

I nodded.

"Well," he continued. "I've been thinking about that, and I have an idea that I think you'll like." He took a breath. "If you start feeling like you can't escape, call me and tell me. I will pick you up the next morning, and we will run away for a day. We will go to Walmart and buy clothes that we wouldn't normally buy; we will go somewhere we've never been before; and we will give ourselves different names. We'll be characters for a day, in whatever story we want."

I was completely speechless. I think that might be one of the best things I've ever heard in my life.
~~~~~~~~~
I also talked about how scary the concept of Heaven is. I told him that I don't want to be ANYWHERE for eternity, even somewhere good.

"That used to scare me too," he said. "But then I realized that we won't be there for an infinite amount of time. There will BE no time. We'll be outside of time. Time won't 'continue' because it'll never begin."

Somehow, that sounds less scary. It won't feel trapping or endless. It'll be even less overwhelming than "one day at a time." We won't wrestle with ANY concept of time. I could handle that.
~~~~~~~~~
And his family. The more I get to know them, the more I like them. Lindsi has crazy dyed hair; David has posed in a bunny suit while holding a sign that says "I AM real;" Megan's profession on Facebook is "Boss of the {LastName} Household;" Zach has his ears pierced; Abigail's favorite band is Relient K; they all have matching tattoos of two swallows carrying a coconut.

Who WOULDN'T love this family?! Holy cow!
~~~~~~~~~
Not only do *I* love Gem's family, but so does HE. His family is probably the most important thing in the world to him. I can't even express how much I respect that about him.

He loves his little nephews probably more than anything, in a way that is both strong and adorable.
~~~~~~~~~
Gem brings me this totally unfamiliar, guiltless happiness. He makes me FEEL in a sweeter way than I thought myself capable. From the very beginning of knowing him, he has demanded that I pay attention to my heart. He's made me notice so many things, like laughter and benches and anachronisms and sunsets--and the sexiness of hands.

He makes me so happy. He's comfortable and funny and respectful and genuine and adorable and he just makes me feel like I'm glowing. I've been having trouble sleeping because my life is like that quote, about not wanting to sleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.

I know this initial crush phase will end, but for the time being, it's really nice.
~~~~~~~~~
I have always known that there was something for me and Gem. I don't know how, but I wrote it in my journal three years ago and confided it to my friendbrother {though, Aaron, you probably don't remember XD}. That being said, I don't know why I conducted myself that way I did for those three years. I dated someone else and gave that person all the things I should have saved. I even remember thinking during that relationship, "What am I going to tell Gem?" It is a very eerie experience looking back, and I still do not understand it at all.

I cannot believe that I deserve this boy. I am selfish and dark and damaged. He's totally out of my league. Every time I stop and think about it, I just can't believe he's dating ME. I'm his first girlfriend. He waited for me for THREE YEARS. He deserves so much better. It's mind-blowing, really.

Or perhaps he can make me better. For the first time in my life, I think I've found someone who could actually make me want to change.

~Stephanie

P.S. I'm getting my wisdom teeth out as you read this XD Sooooo...prayers?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Front Loader

Have you ever watched your washing machine wash your clothes? We've had a front-loading washer since I was fifteen and here I am at twenty, watching it happen for the first time.

I didn't mean to watch it. I spilled detergent on the floor while pouring it into its little slot, so I was bending down to clean it up when the water started pouring into the machine and caught my eye. It only came from the left side, and started to soak the Batman boxers I use as pajama bottoms. The boxers darkened and sagged, falling in on itself, shrinking. I watched a sock do the same thing. The washer spun slowly, dumping the clothes to the right in a labored motion. My sheets got a turn to darken and shrink.

Pretty soon some frail white soap froth came into the picture, and the clothes were so damp and squeezed together that the once-ambitious load filled only a third of the machine.

I watched several of my brown hairs stick sloppily to the clear door. More joined, in a tangled, rotating display. The clothes smashed the hairs against the window and twirled them around. It was gross, really, but interesting to know how the knots of hair that I would later pick out formed.

I don't know why I didn't get up off the cold, hard tile laundry room floor and do something else. Eat lunch, read a book, work on the new editing project I'd just received. I guess I knew that those things would happen anyway, but that I would likely never again take the time to watch my clothes get clean.

~Stephanie

Monday, June 16, 2014

Such is Life Sometimes

I have twelve post drafts right now. Most of them are very good ideas, both humorous and genuinely thoughtful. However, I don't feel like writing anything intentionally humorous or thoughtful. I don't feel like writing anything at all, but it's been an appalling amount of time since my last post.

I should've written a seriously heartwarming Father's Day piece, because I have the best dad in the world. I should have at least posted a damn picture of us on Facebook and been like "Omg i hav the best daddy everrrrrrr love you daddddd," but I didn't do that either.

Truth is, I've been mostly frustrated with everyone for a while. Like actually everyone. Everyone annoys me in ways that vary in legitimacy.

Right now I am lying on the living room couch in an overheated tangle of red blanket and pillows. My hair is freshly cut and salon-straightened, which always makes me feel glamorous. The glamor is counteracted by the Nike shorts paired with a nice shirt, though.

The overhead fan is on. But it's still too warm.

I'm not complaining. I'm only trying to think of things to say.

I've gone through this post and deleted every instance of "really" and "just." That added up to five deletions. I think refraining from using those words will make my writing stronger.

I have a job with Classical Conversations as a production intern now, in addition to working at my dance studio. I'm basically living the dream, even though I'm totally still broke. Both jobs pay more than minimum wage, involve activities I enjoy, and offer flexibility. I have no legitimate complaints there.

I feel kinda sick. I've eaten a lot of cookies and ice cream in the past few days. (We hit three graduation parties on Saturday alone.) I currently feel really gross. I've reached the stage where I choose to communicate in sign language and don't want to move my body. I think I'm allergic to being full.

This Thursday, Sarah leaves for Italy and Greece on her 19-day trip. James is logging as many hours at our house as possible before she leaves. Poor guy. He's going to need therapy by the time she gets home.

As will I. But we don't go there. Everyone knows I'll miss her a ton. We don't have to dwell on it.

I fell asleep on Gem's shoulder last week while watching Sherlock (ten hours of babysitting four kids will wear you out). He said I was adorable, but I was actually just embarrassed, so yeah. For the record, I am not actually adorable. He keeps getting that word confused with accurate adjectives likes "difficult" or "exhausted" or "awkward."

I don't know. I will post something eventually. For now, just try not to expect much. It irks me.

~Stephanie

P.S. Look at THIS post. Number 12 is about Gem, and now I can finally say what I was afraid to back then :) I have a huge crush on him and it feels scary serious.

Friday, May 23, 2014

It's Too Bad

I wish my mother would stop talking to me. She's been talking to me for two straight days. I'm about to scream. I can't read, I can't eat, I can't blog, I can't do laundry, I can't watch TV without her talk, talk, talk, talk, talking to me.

My best friend and sister, Sarah, has started dating PC's best friend. As a result, she's been hanging out with his old friends at their apartments. As a result, she has become rude to/about me. Apparently that's what these people do:  ruin healthy good, relationships.

I haven't seen Cassidy in about two weeks. We've both been working. In my case, that means lots of smiling at high-maintenance parents and dealing with paperwork. In her case, it means hanging out with her best friends and favorite animals.

Gem has been busy at the times when I'm free. I've been busy at the times he is free. I'll see him tomorrow and Sunday though, which is nice.

Maybe I'll hang out with my friend Kirsten sometime. We enjoy each other.

Maybe I'll hang out with my friendbrother David. He's also lonely as fuck and emotionally unavailable. We understand each other that way.

It's too bad PC is a lying, manipulative headcase. I could really use the friend he used to be right now.

~Stephanie

Friday, May 16, 2014

Sunflower Award

Thanks, Alana! :)
 
11 Facts
~ I can crack my elbows.
 
~ I find death growls sexy.
 
~ My stomach gets noticeably way tanner than the rest of my body.
 
~  You know how basically everything in my Fire Fairy stories has come true in real life? {No? Well, it has. To a truly freaky degree.} Well, it recently occurred to me that Ember and Coal break up because Coal can't control his ability to lie and deceive, and Ember just can't handle it anymore.

mind = blown.

~ Bearing that in mind, I wonder when Ellie will announce her pregnancy with a boy...

~ On my first date with Gem, there was an ice storm--everything was either closed or massively crowded--and we saw Mr. Peabody and Sherman XD

~ My hair is getting increasingly curly. I mostly like it.

~ I've recently started blushing. I have never been a blusher. But someone just brings it right out. I hate.

~ I recently love turkey a lot.

~ I still don't like flowers. Except orchids. Which I still like.

~ I am 85% sure that I'm going to see Linkin Park again in August!!!!! :D
 
1) What's a musical instrument that you've always wanted to learn how to play, but haven't yet?
I really like that you added "yet." It allows me to believe that I may still learn to play...THE GUITAR! :D I have a beautiful, black acoustic guitar named Liath who does not get played hardly at all.
 
2) If you could live inside the world of your favorite book, what would it be?





Mmmm...well, my favorite book is probably "The Great Gatsby" or "Tex," but I wouldn't necessarily want to live in them. Middle Earth is hands-down the fantasy world I would choose to live in.

3) What was your favorite thing to play with when you were little?

Dollhouse (those "shows" would go on for eight hours with nooooo problem) or Slaves/Orphans/Pirates/Spies/A Combination of Those Four.

4) If you could decide what the weather was like all the time, what would it be?
75, breezy and clear. But I would miss thunderstorms a painful amount.

5) If you had to chose between being a wife/mother and being a career woman, what would you chose?
Wife/mother. But nothing will stop me from writing.

6) What's your biggest regret?
Honestly, nothing comes to mind. All my potential regrets have made me who I am, and I've found ways to appreciate them without "regretting" per se. Except recently, I have realized that I wish I hadn't shared as much vulnerability with PC. I gave away things that should have been saved until they could be beautiful.

7) Who is your hero and why? What could you do to make yourself more like that person?
THIS IS MASQUERADING AS A SINGLE QUESTION. {No, I could not spell "masquerading" without spellcheck.} Um... I've always wanted to grow up and be like my dance teacher, Mrs. Jennifer. She's a talented dancer and choreographer, and she's an absolute model of graciousness, sarcasm, and fun. She has four awesome kids, and I love the way she handles them. She also genuinely listens to everyone and remembers things like a machiiiiiiiiiiiine.

Step 1 of being more like her is making a more conscious effort to listen, invest in, and care about people. I'm truly pathetic at those things.


7 New Questions
1. What is your favorite flavor of Goldfish? Are you aware that cupcake-flavored Goldfish exist?
2. Which do you usually value higher:  justice or mercy?
3. What is your favorite emoticon?
4. What's the last thing you said out loud?
5. What was your first email address? Why that?
6. Who's an actor/actress you hate?
7. Is/was your house more fun when mom's gone, or when dad's gone?


I nominate...anyone who's low on posting ideas and wants to use these questions :)


~Stephanie

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

In My Arms Reprise

WARNING:  This post may get sappy. It will definitely praise God.
 ~~~~~~~~~
A little over a year ago, I posted THESE lyrics.

To date, I think "In My Arms" by Dead By April is the most influential song in my life. A year ago, God broke my heart, with a lot of help from myself and someone else.

 {I know it's hard to let go all that defines you. You feel like you'll never be whole again.}
 
When I heard "In My Arms" one day in April of 2013, I KNEW God was speaking to me. I let my walls come down and I just surrendered it all to Him. I demanded of myself to trust God and brokenly believe that the words of "In My Arms" would someday be true for me.

I. HAD. NO. IDEA.

{Don't give in. Don't let your memories break you.}

I spent a year trying not to let my memories of PC break me. I tried not to look back. For the first five or six months, I failed miserably. I deserted all my promises to God. I turned back to my own twisted logic. I began to depend on my own perversions of the future. It was unhealthy and shameful and I lost a lot more than just valuable time.

The words of "In My Arms" remained a faint but persistent promise in the back of my mind.

{All you've lost will come again; just stay here with me.}

I couldn't imagine gaining back a fraction of what I'd had in PC. He was my best friend. He represented everything I'd ever wanted in a companion, plus some. He understood me. He challenged me. He made me happy.

All I'd lost would come again? WAS GOD CRAZY?! WHAT KIND OF RIDICULOUS BULLSHIT WAS HE TRYING TO FEED ME?

I finally got a grip around the middle of this past December. I don't know why, but a straw broke my back and I in turn broke free from my broken lifestyle and broken relationship.

It hurt intensely for about a week. And then?

I haven't looked back. I haven't let my memories break me. Honestly, they're starting to fade, and rather than panic and relive them in my head, I'm just letting them. I'll never forget PC, and I'll always love him, but I don't feel compelled to deal with the painful close clarity of the memories. It's unnecessary. It's unhelpful.

He defined me entirely too much. Looking back, that fact has filled me with an indignant resentment. But lately, the resentment is distant; it's shadowy, easily put out by the light of my life now.

Because in just one short year, God has shown me that He is not a liar. In fact, he has shown me his divine ability to remain faithful even when we are faithless.

I've spent the past year living 90% for myself. I've made selfish, immoral, dangerous, short-sighted, tragic decisions. I haven't prayed enough. I haven't read the Bible enough. I haven't been a good representation of a Christian at all.

But for some reason, God has decided to show me what He and His promises are made of.

All I've lost will come again?

Thankfully, that is not quite the case. Instead, God has given me immeasurably more than anything I've ever had before.

I've JUST started dating Gem, so it's way too early to be feeling or knowing much, but guuuuuuuuys. This boy. Life is so not all about boys or dating, and God certainly isn't, and normally I'm not either, so it's very unexpected and unprecedented that God has decided to reveal His "all you've lost will come again" promise with such a direct, parallel shift:  when I finally relinquished PC, I could see Gem.

I don't know why Gem waited for me for three years. I cannot wrap my mind around why he wants to date me now. He is so out of my league.

I don't know what God has planned for me and Gem. Maybe we'll date over the whole summer; maybe we'll decide being friends is better for us; maybe we'll last for a long time. All I know is that when I finally stopped fighting God tooth and nail for MY plan with PC, God opened up floodgates of amazing, amazing things.

There is more joy in the world than I thought possible. And right now it feels like God is trying to hand every last bit of it to me :)

That song! "In My Arms" came true! When I posted it, I didn't know how it could be true, I just knew that God was calling me to trust it blindly. Eventually, I submitted to God's plan, and oh my gosh, a year later, I sit here and wonder how I was so blind for so long.

How could I have doubted God? I really hope I get better at not doing that XD

~Stephanie