Friday, September 20, 2013

Tell Me It's Not Just Me....

You are doing one of two things.
1) Having a conversation with yourself.... or
2) Pretending with yourself. (I'll focus on this one)
First you come up with an epic imaginary setting and costume, and somehow there's a battle scene involved. You choreograph some cool fighting moves that make you look like an upside-down, mentally challenged duck, without you meaning them to. Maybe you re-pretend the same scene a couple times more because it's just really cool. And then you are fatally injured.
So now you're on the floor, groaning and dying, and maybe some of your imaginary friends are freaking out and trying to save your life, and you start having difficulty breathing as life slips away from you,.....and you look up at the sky.....

And your brother is grinning at you from the doorway.

Friday, August 02, 2013

And Here It Begins

Hey there! So,...I haven't written on this thing in awhile, and I'm realizing more and more that I'm not going to have much time to once school starts... (less than three weeks!!! ah!!!).  :) So I guess I should take advantage of my time while I have it.

     Boy, life has been so,, what's the word,.....I guess crazy. Yea. My life has been crazy recently. And I'm not even doing much. There has been some family in and out, and I have been blessed with some neat fellowship with friends over the past two months. Oh yea, and I've been studying forever to catch up on the finals I missed last semester. he stuff!  :-p

     I think the real craziness though has been in my walk with Jesus. I've been in such a blur of spiritual learning and confusion and frustration and joy and.......oh,......I feel like God has taught me so much, in just this summer, and I'm not sure how to handle it all. :) My faith has just exploded into more of a reality to me. I'm more aware of the importance of God's presence in my life. I feel this urgent calling to seek out the Lord more in everything I do, and not just "make time" for him. I guess I'm learning a lot of lessons I thought I already knew, but apparently never understood.

     It's funny. Every year, every summer, I seem to have a new testimony to share with people. This last semester, I was frustrated with feeling like I didn't care about God. I wanted to break out of that valley I was in, and pursue what I knew to be true, but then....I just didn't care. It's a hard struggle to describe. I questioned everything. I felt like if I couldn't discipline myself to read God's word and talk to Him when I didn't want to, then I wasn't much of a Christian. And the most frustrating thing was that, growing up in a Christian home, I knew how to appear like I was still on track. I felt like I couldn't express the deadness I was feeling, because I knew all the right answers, and it appeared that I was struggling with my frustrations, even though I wasn't struggling at all. I hardly cared.
I was frustrated, but I didn't feel frustrated. It was like a mental struggle. And then on top of that, I didn't care. I knew something was wrong, but that was just normal. Nothing to worry about. REALLY weird stuff. Hard to explain. If you had a hard time understanding that paragraph, then you probably understand a little of the confusion I was going through. :) It's complicated.

     Well then, I really messed up a friendship. It was caused by me trying to find attention and satisfaction in the wrong place I guess. I was silly, and did some stupid stuff. Nothing "wrong" per ce, but it brought me to my knees. I wasn't finding wholeness in my God like I should have been, and so instead I was trying to fill my emptiness with all sorts of different things. Attention in particular. I woke up to the fact that something was wrong, and it wasn't no big deal. But I didn't know exactly what my problem was, and I still struggled with talking to God about it.

     Then I went to Worldview Academy again, and long story short, I kinda had a breakdown while I was there with my small group about my frustrations. Those girls were so sweet to me. They prayed for me, and then my leader told me I was loved.

My first thought was, "......Yea, thanks. I know that already."
And then I guess God decided to come through.

"YEA TALIA. THAT'S WHAT I'VE BEEN TRYING TO TELL YOU! You're mine, I love you. Won't you accept that? Stop looking for it, it's right here." :)

     God pinpointed for me, through her, exactly what it was I was missing. I wasn't aware what I was looking for that was causing me so much frustration. I just knew I felt dead. But when I knew what it was I'd been missing, and tasted that sweetness of His love and forgiveness again, it's like I woke up. Guys, it is so important to find wholeness in His love, and come refill on it constantly. I don't think I can stress that enough. Knowing that has given me such life.

All in all, that's a really poor explanation. Wish I could do better than that. It's so overwhelming to me.

Yea, Jesus loves me. I've heard that song my whole life. But WOA!! GUYS!!! JESUS LOVES ME! ISN'T THAT AWESOME?!?

Anywho, since then I've become so aware of the time I've missed out on and not spent living for my God. And the scary part is, I don't know if I have tomorrow. It is so important that I not waste my time; and that's something I am still learning to apply. I've tried to share this with my friends, but sometimes it's really hard to transfer passion. :-P Just in case you hadn't noticed. So instead, I'm learning to pray, and ask God to work through me and in them, and become a reality to them. As a believer myself, I know sometimes it's a struggle to understand the reality of God. That understanding is what I want most for everyone I engage with, as well as myself. I've had a few friends really come alongside me in this journey who passionately strive for that same goal, and I have received so much encouraging and strength from their friendship.

There's a lot more, but wow, this entry is kinda long. If I wrote about everything else I've learned, you would either be here the rest of your life, or just not finish reading. :) So I'll write more later I suppose.

I hope this is encouraging. Some of it is confusing, I know. It's hard to put to words what I'm feeling, and learning. But I've done my best. I pray God's blessing over you this week, that He will grant you the deep desires of your heart and soul, and that you will find wholeness in His being. He loves you, and He is always, always, always there for you!

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Vitamins: Is it just me....?

So, you know those little gummy vitamins for kids? The kind that are sorta like gummy bears, except you should never eat more than two of them a day? Tasty little things,...come in all sorts of shapes too...I have no idea why my siblings don't like them..... Well, the only obnoxious thing about them is that they like to stick to the bottom of the plastic container that they come in, and they don't like to come down. So then you have to dig them out with a fork, and so you look like you're sitting down to eat the whole container's worth instead of only taking two...... 


Is it just me, or does that happen to you too?

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!!!!!

Christ is Risen, Allelujah! 
Christ is Risen, Allelujah!
Risen from the Dead, Risen as He said!
Risen, He is Risen, Christ is Risen, Allelujah!

In the grave they laid Him, love whom men had slain,
thinking that never He would wake again.
Laid in the earth, like grain that sleeps unseen,
Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.

Forth He came at Easter, like the risen grain,
He that for three days in the grave had lain.
Quick from the dead, my risen Lord is seen!
Love is come again like wheat that springeth green!

Christ is Risen, Allelujah!
Christ is Risen, Allelujah!
Risen from the Dead, Risen as He said!
Risen, He is Risen, Christ is Risen, Allelujah!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Short Story Project - Bloom Again

~ Bloom Again ~

Spring time has always given me so much joy. It's a time of renewal; a time where all the old and dead things of nature give way to the new, and the living. The harsh, bitter winds dissolve into the warm embrace of a summer breeze, and the snow gives way, little by little, to soft fresh grass and hundreds of budding flowers. Winter loses it's hold on life for awhile, and the earth seems to breathe again. Spring is the time when our flower garden, the one that Mama planted, reaches the peak of it's loveliness; the colors grow vibrant, the scent of a hundred different flowers rise to fill the air with their sweetness, and through it all I sit on the porch swing, soaking it in. It's funny what tiny little things can give a person such happiness. Even up to this present moment, as I listen to the robins sing in a near-by willow tree, with Ashlyn in my lap and my books in a stack on the porch step by our feet, I have felt renewal within myself whenever I see God breathing life back into His creation. Lizzy was like that too. I wish she could see how well her lilac bushes are blooming, and how carefully I have tended them for her. 
*   *   *

I don't remember Mama very well. As time has passed, my memories of her have faded into dream-like visions of long past joys and sorrows, and I can no longer distinctly remember her face. I know that she loved us girls very much, and I remember her clear, sparkling blue eyes and how they shone whenever she smiled at me. She was the one who planted the flower garden in the back, and there where many times when Lizzy and I would help her tend the many different plants and flowers that grew there. Mama had a patch of wild roses that Dad had given her, growing in the back corner by the fence, and they were her favorite. But Lizzy's favorites where the lilacs. Finally, one year, Mama helped Lizzy plant her very own lilac bushes along one side of the porch. She told me that as soon as I was ready to take care of a plant by myself, she would help me place one in the garden too. But she never did plant it with me.

I loved her very much, but time has a way of blurring even the most treasured memories, and I was only seven when she died. Ashlynn had been born only a couple months before that time, so she doesn't remember anything, but Lizzy was fourteen, and she took it very hard. There where many times I would find her crying under her lilac bushes with Mama's picture in her hands. When that happened, I would do my best to leave as quietly as possible, but if she saw me there, she would take me in her arms and hug me like she would never let go. Dad did his best to be there for us, but it was Lizzy who stood up and took Mama's place in my life. She made it her responsibility to care for Ashlyn and me; to make sure I finished my school work and that we were all properly fed, and got to bed on time; all the things Mama would have done. But most importantly, she awakened in me that same love for nature that Mama had held so dear. 
*   *   *

Lizzy was the very meaning of joy to me. Everything she ever did radiated a sense of welcoming friendship, laughter, and comfort to anyone who might need it. I loved her with all of my heart, and did my best to be just like her. However, it was always a struggle for me to love Ashlyn the same way that I loved Lizzy. Deep within me was a subconscious feeling that Ashlyn was somehow at fault for Mama's death, because she had been born so soon before it all happened. Mama was too weak to fight a disease so soon after giving birth. I knew it wasn't Ashlyn's fault, but all the same, I felt a resistance to her that I couldn't explain. Ashlyn herself never sensed this frustration that I had, and loved me almost as much as I loved Lizzy. Ashlyn is a very bubbly little girl; easily excited, talkative, and hyper more often than not. She was always following me everywhere, and that only added to my annoyance. But if I ever lost my temper and scolded or raised my voice at her, Lizzy was there in a flash, gently rebuking me for forgetting how young Ash still was and losing my patience. Then she'd laugh and tell me that she understood. Ashlyn could be a pain, she knew; it's just that that wasn't any good reason for either of us to raise our voices. Afterward, she always gave me another hug to let me know she wasn't angry, and go off to continue whatever she had been doing. But I always felt guilty. I hated to disappoint Lizzy in any way, and it felt so unfair to me that Ash was always the source of my problems. I knew Lizzy was right, but instead of letting my frustration go, I stuffed it down and let it smolder away inside of me. I knew it wasn't right to feel this way; it wasn't Ashlyn's fault that Mama had died. Mama herself would be hurt if she knew how I felt. But I didn't know how to love Ashlyn. I didn't want to love Ashlyn. When Mama had died, something inside of me seemed to have died too.
*   *   * 

One Spring day I saw Lizzy bring a handful of dying lilacs inside and place them on the kitchen table. Lizzy was always tending the garden now that Mama was gone, and she had cut these from her own lilac bushes. They where wilted, but even so, they filled the room with their scent, and their lovely color complemented the design of the table cloth on which they had been set. I don't know why such a simple image forced it's way so deeply into my memory, but since then I've always remembered the way those flowers continued to pour out their blessing of beauty and joy to anyone in that room, even as they lay wilted on the table.
 *   *   *

Life went on. I got a job, and worked hard at my studies. I had begun writing some of my own music on the piano, and was becoming more and more skilled at it. My life was good, and in my free time I liked to sit outside in garden with my books and a warm cup of tea. I was satisfied with myself as a whole, and had grown accustomed to life as it had become; structured and reliable. Unchanging.

And then my world came crashing down; the second time. Lizzy had gone to pick Ashlyn up from school, and I had stayed home. I was reading on the porch when I heard sirens wailing in the distance. I didn't pay attention at first, but as they got closer I started to wonder what was going on. At the end of our street where the neighborhood opens onto the main road, I could see lights flashing. A feeling of dread washed over me, and I hurriedly put down my books and started in that direction. I went slowly at first, then I was running towards the intersection as fast as I could.

There was our car. It had been hit on one side, and flipped over into a ditch, where the ceiling had been flattened to a frightening extreme. I couldn't see Lizzy anywhere, and Ashlyn was being hurried into the ambulance. She was crying, obviously in shock, and frantically calling my name as loud as she could.

“Hope! Hope! Hope!” 
*   *   *

After that, everything became a blur. Somehow I ended up at the hospital, holding on to Ashlyn's hand and telling her over and over again that it was going to be alright. But my own heart ached with fear. Not everything was all right. Lizzy and Ash had been settled in different rooms. I went back and forth between them, and I knew now that Lizzy was not going to make it. I had seen her face, and already, the life had begun to drain from it.

The last time I saw Lizzy, she was lying on her back in the hospital bed, looking up at the ceiling with half closed eyes as though she was struggling to stay awake. When I came in, she seemed to wake up, and she smiled at me with what strength she had left. She must have been in pain, but even still, she had that open, friendly countenance that I loved so much about her. Anyone who walked into that room could immediately sense that this was a safe place, and that they were welcome. A sudden memory of wilting lilacs  flashed before my eyes, and became blurred by tears.

I was holding Lizzy's hand when she died. 
*   *   *

There are no words to describe the grief I felt. So I will not try to describe it. It is enough to know that it was terrible, and the scar of it still throbs in my heart whenever I think of Lizzy. Yet, unlike Mama's death, the loss of Lizzy did not kill something inside of me. Instead it rekindled something in my heart that I had thought dead long ago. I do not know exactly what that something was, or how to describe it; something began to bloom within me, and all life became precious to me.

I ran back to Ashlyn's room, suddenly terrified that I might lose her too. I looked at her like I had never seen her before, soaking in everything about her. I took her hand. At my touch, she woke up and smiled at me. She looked so much like Lizzy. Her dirty-blond hair was pushed from her forehead, and her smile revealed her dimples. She was beautiful, and she was mine, and I was never, never, never going to let go of her. I kissed her and whispered, “I love you Ash, I love you so much. Don't forget that. I love you.”
*   *   * 

That was five years ago. Ashlyn is twelve, and she is blooming into a beautiful young lady. We both study, work, and do everything two young girls would be expected to do, but in the Spring time when we are finished with our responsibilities, we like to sit on the porch swing and talk. Sometimes we just sit and listen to the birds sing, or watch the bees fly from flower to flower in the garden. I take care of it now; Mama's roses still bloom every year, and the lilac bushes have grown beautifully, producing more flowers every spring. Now Ashlyn and I have our own plants along with Lizzy's. I planted Irises, and Ash chose Morning Glories. I get great joy out of seeing it all in bloom, and I hold onto it as long as I can.

When Mama died, something in me died too. I think, now, that that something was hope. I couldn't hold on to anything for fear that I would lose it. But Lizzy made it bloom again by showing me the joy in life, even as she lost her hold on it. I know now that I still can not hold on to everything; that the old will die and the new will take it's place. But I see the joy that is to be had in life, and I treasure it as it comes. Ashlyn has become such a blessing to me, and I shudder to think that I almost lost that blessing. Spring is a time that rekindles that hope for me now as God breathes life into the earth and everything on it it. I feel that life, that joy, that hope, swell within myself, pounding through my veins and bursting out in laughter like a spring bubbling up from the ground.

The lilacs are blooming. And I remember Lizzy.

Thursday, February 21, 2013