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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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?


Monday, November 3, 2014

Colors on My Soul

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"
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.