Search

Aspire.

arcadian: (adj.) idyllically innocent; simple and untroubled by fear or worry.

“Your Brokenness is Welcome Here.”

Some of you may recognize the title of this blog and some of you may not. For those of you that do, hello sisters and brothers! For those of you that do not, let me just share a bit. This is the tagline for Jordan Lee’s blog and ministry. All credit goes to her creative mind for this beautifully simple saying. Jordan Lee is a christian blogger who also has a ministry, devotionals, apparel, and wisdom. So much wisdom. So now that you’re all caught up, let me dive into this.

I just recently bought one of her “Your Brokenness is Welcome Here” hats and I have only worn it a few times since buying it, but holy cow the things I have experienced. People have been abnormally trusting of me as I sit in the library being asked to watch their valuables. People have been incredibly gracious towards me. People have been curious about the meaning. Everyone has their own version of what this means and I have mine.

One girl approached me in the library asking to sit at my table. I could tell she was looking at my hat over and over again probably trying to figure it out. I glanced up and smiled at her and she asked, “What does that mean?”. Joy filled my heart as those words left her mind.

I looked at her and I told her that by wearing this hat, it is my way of welcoming everyone in the same ways that Jesus welcomed everyone. With open arms and an open heart, I welcome the brokenness, the differences, the hurt, the everything. I welcome that with beauty and no fear. She then asked me, “what if someone doesn’t believe in Jesus or the bible?”. I said I welcomed them the same as everyone else. With love, joy, grace, and kindness. She thought this was so great and a tear even came to her eye. She told me she never met a christian that loved atheists. She told me judgment was the reason she did not believe and that if she received this kind of love from everyone, she would believe in Jesus.

This conversation made me really happy and really sad all at the same time. I understood where she was coming from when she said judgment. I have been judged, my family has been judged, and it has been all by the church. It hurts and it does not make any sense. I told her that Jesus would never judge and that anyone who truly loves Him would understand this. She was speechless and I told her, “it does not matter where you come from, what or who you believe in or don’t believe in, what battles you’re fighting, Jesus does love you and will always love you. That is why I wear this hat, because having the ability to love as He did and does is all I need.” At this moment she shed tears and gave me a small hug. She said “thank you”, and we went on studying. The smile on her face will always be remembered.

So to Jordan Lee, thank you. Thank you for creating this beautiful tagline, and thank you for sharing it with the rest of the world. You have created something beautiful.

“He heals the wounds of every shattered heart.” -Psalm 147:3

Advertisements

Breaking beautifully.

This is raw, and this is real. This is me my friends.

I find myself feeling stuck in this place I call “home”, this place called Norman. I find myself waking up every morning only to barely make it to class on time. I find myself searching for ways to graduate a few months earlier, or finish my degree online.

It poured all day, seemingly more so when I actually needed to be outside. Naturally my emotions were heightened. Sometimes rain does that to a person. As I walked to one of my classes, I stood at a cross walk waiting for the little man to give me the “go”. The rain beat down on my rain jacket and I looked up and just closed my eyes. The rain hit my face and felt so cold, almost numbing. I was able to let a tear or two fall. As I crossed the street, I asked myself a question I seem to ask often. “What am I doing here? Why this place?”  I told my mom today that “I hate it here”, and I don’t understand why.

All day I felt like there was a lump in my throat. That lump you get when you’re holding back tears. The lump that you wish would disappear but can’t bring yourself to do the one thing that will make it go away.

I don’t know why today was so hard, but it was, and I am okay with it. Maybe it is a case of senioritis, or maybe it was my soul longing for something greater. I am a firm believer in living in every moment God gives us, but today it honestly felt like I was watching myself just go through the moments.

Writing is my way out and even as I write this I am having a hard time finding my words. I stumbled upon this quote today said by Robin Williams in “What Dreams May Come”, and for some reason it really spoke to me;

“You have to break in half to love somebody.”

I thought about it and thought, well, what if you have to break in half to love yourself? To love where life has put you, and to love the moments God is giving you. I am constantly trying to convince myself I like it here so I will be happier. But maybe I have been doing it wrong. Maybe I don’t need any convincing and maybe I am not supposed to like it here. But I am here, in this town, and clearly it is for a reason, or else I would be gone by now.

It is a lot easier for me to write on this blog and be raw with this blog than it is for me to be raw with a human being. So for those that keep reading these, thank you. I sincerely appreciate you. Also understand that being raw is beautiful.

We all have these days.

“Chaos is a friend of mine.” -Bob Dylan

For the Love of Pride.

As some of you may or may not know, gay pride parades are happening almost every weekend in most cities right now. With that, comes a lot of things. Unity, hate, love, discrimination, beauty, power, etc. Normally I would write about being mindful of what you say and blah blah blah but, I am actually going to write about my love for pride.

Living in Oklahoma, I see a lot of people every single day not okay with the LGBT community we have here…especially in Norman. Yes it makes me angry but, in all reality it just makes me love even harder. The vast majority of my friends are what make up the LGBT community here in Norman and I absolutely love it. I love them and I love pride. But, I love the haters even more.

That just threw 99% of you for a loop so let me explain.

Most people react with anger right back to the people dealing out hate against the LGBT community. Most people would throw a punch or shoot insults right back. That is what people want. So, when they get love in return of the hate they just dished out, it is like their whole universe is coming to the quickest end. There is no reasoning with people when it comes to hatred against the LGBT community, so there is point in arguing and raising my blood pressure.

My friends know I love them dearly. They know I would hit a B**** if things got incredibly out of control. They know I support them. They know I would hold their hands in a rally. That is what matters.

These rainbow crosswalks popping up all over the place give my heart the biggest sense of happiness. The look on my friends faces when they talk about going to pride this weekend gives my soul the energy it needs. Pride gets me all hyped up as if I am going to compete in the biggest tournament of my life. Pride is happiness.

I dare each and every one of you to go to pride and do your best not to smile or even shed a tear. I dare you to have the time of your life at pride.

I dare you to love.

I dare you because I know most of you are scared. I know most of you would hold back those tears and I know most of you would never admit you had the time of your life. I dare you to love because even though you say you do, when it comes to something like the LGBT communities you have a hard time loving.

It is 2017. It is time to stop the hate and love the pride. This weekend in Oklahoma City could quite possibly be the happiest weekend of some people’s lives. I dare you to put your differences aside, and go enjoy the pride.

“I believe we can all come together, because if you take away the labels, you realize we are far more alike than we are different.” -Ellen DeGeneres

 

 

The Angels We Have In Heaven.

This is one of those blogs that if you know me, you know this story, if you don’t…you’re about to know me a lot better.

I have a beautiful angel up in heaven. A beautiful little girl that became my best friend the first day I moved into a new house. A little girl that today, would be a graduate from a university. A little girl named Sam. Sam is a lot of peoples angel up in heaven and she is an incredible one.

When she became my angel up there, I did not know what to do. I was a kid that barely even knew what death was, let alone what happens afterwards. In the moment my world shattered, and my silent fight with God began. For the longest time I could not grasp why such a beautiful soul was taken from so many people. To this day, I still do not know, and I am realizing I probably never will.

For most, losing someone special feels like the end of the world. Some move on quickly, some move on slowly, and some never move on. All of which are totally okay. I guess I can say I moved on, but I have not healed. There is a big part still very broken. That silent fight with God that I mentioned, that did not end until He sent me on my gap year. Since then I have learned a few things.

Losing someone isn’t easy and it definitely shouldn’t be. It also isn’t something that should cause us to resent the one we lost. Not everyone has lost someone special, and on some days I am super jealous of that. But, most days I am at peace with the fact I have an angel up in heaven. Those of us that do, are very lucky people, even though it may not feel like it.

We have an extra set of eyes to watch out for us. An extra being to nudge us in the right direction so silently we sometimes miss it. We have someone that keeps our feelings in check. Tests them every once in a while to make sure our tears can still fall, the corners of our mouths can still rise, and keeps our memory bank completely active.

We value the life of the ones we love so much more than anyone can know. Only because we know what it feels like to lose one we loved. We love the happy moments and run from that bad ones because somehow they always bring back the day we hate to talk about.

The angels we have in heaven keep us human, and in todays world, I think that is something that can disappear faster than we can say it. Our angels take care of us in ways we won’t ever know. So next time you’re feeling a little mad that your loved one was taken, take some time to remember. Remember the good, remember the answers that just came to you with no explanation. Remember the times of joy you cannot explain. Remember the person, and thank that person for always taking care of you. I promise they are.

“Courage, dear heart.” -C.S. Lewis

13 Reasons Why(not to).

So by now I am sure most of you have seen or at least heard of the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why”, if you have not heard about it that is okay. It is about a girl that commits suicide in high school and leaves tapes for the 13 people that lead her to that decision. Her 13 reasons why she committed suicided tapes. As hooked as I was on that series, it got me thinking about a lot of things. We are constantly seeing shows or other things like this, replaying a suicide, telling someone else’s story, and so on. We never see why suicide should never be an option though. I guess some people would think that watching the heart wrenching pain of a show like 13 Reasons Why, would make everyone that watches it, not want to commit suicide.

That is just straight up wrong.

So in this blog, I’m going to share 13 Reasons Why Not To. I know way too many people that have committed suicide or attempted suicide. This is my way of reaching out to those that need to hear something like this, that need to hear that there is another option than the road Hannah Baker took in 13 Reasons Why.

  1. We are human. We make mistakes. We do things we regret. But that is what is so beautiful. We are human, so we feel.
  2. We feel good things and we feel bad things, but we feel. Feeling love is incredible and everyone needs to experience it on the highest level they can.
  3. Even though there are so many of us walking around on this earth, each birth is a miracle. We are all miracles. We are beings created from a greater power, we were made for life.
  4. We are talented. We have each been given the ability to do something better than someone else. For some people it is something unique, like a green thumb, or collecting incredible things, but for others it is something like a sport, or art, or photography. It does not matter what you’re good at, you’re good at it for a reason and it is all yours.
  5. We are beautiful. No matter what you believe in, whether it is God or the universe, or some other greater being, we are made to be different and beautiful in our own ways. We have different colored eyes, skin color, hair color, etc. We also have different ways we express how beautiful we are. The way we love, the way we interact, the way we do everything. It is our own, and it is one of the things in this world no one can change.
  6. We are family. We have a family, and we make a family. Sometimes our friends are our only family and sometimes we have a huge family. Regardless of what family you have, it is still family. It is still a circle of people that care for you and would take a bullet for you. It is family.
  7. We live on a beautiful planet. We have been given this earth and we live on it everyday not knowing half of what is on it. We live on a planet that we can explore on and create memories on. We do not take care of this planet, but despite that, it still loves us and it still grows for us. For our eyes to see. We live on something so beautiful and huge it begins to overwhelm us when we think about it.
  8. We have music. Music brings us together in incredible ways. Music has the ability to please every mood, every setting, every situation. Music is always there for us. We take music for granted because it is music, but we should be thankful for it. Music carries memories our minds cannot hold on its own. Music carries us and we don’t even know it.
  9. We are powerful. We have the ability to do whatever our souls desire. Obviously I am talking about good things, not criminal acts. We can change our own lives, we can change other lives. We can make money, we can make memories. We are so powerful that the thought of what one could do with their life is overwhelming. We have this capacity of knowledge that never gets used because of the fear of how powerful it could actually be. It is okay to be scared. That simply means you care.
  10. We are dreamers. Our minds can dream up anything. Some might say dreamers do not succeed in anything, but I say dreamers succeed in everything. We are able to see the endless possibilities of our lives.
  11. We are believers. We have the freedom to believe in whatever we want. We believe in other people. We believe in the world. We believe because we love. We believe in ourselves even if sometimes you cannot feel it. Deep down, we will always believe in ourselves.
  12. We can just be. This is such a beautiful thing. We have all this power, and all these dreams and abilities but, we can also just be. We can sit in our lives, live them, feel them, and just be in the moment. We do not have to do anything. We do not have to impress. We do not have to make a name for ourselves. We are free to just chill out and do nothing. Just being is such a peaceful thing…and most of us never do it.
  13. Last, but certainly not least, we can love. No matter how cold you think you are, or how emotionless you feel, we all have the ability to love. Our hearts are powerful things. Aside from keeping us alive by the obvious, they keep us alive by giving us emotion. By holding the capacity to which we were all made to love. An endless capacity. We can love anything and anyone with as much or as little love as we choose. We love because we are human. We love because we need it. As much as everyone wants to receive love, I feel like we need to give love ten times more.

We need physical things to survive this life….like food and water. But, we also need things we cannot hold in our own two hands. We need all of these reasons to live in this life. That is why we have them, and were given them. We need each other or else this life thing will never work. There are so many reasons why not to…but these 13 are my favorite.

Please share and begin to love.

“In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of the things not meant for you.” -Buddha

 

The College Christian.

Get ready folks, this one is a doozy. Those of you that personally know me know that I love Jesus. Y’all know I have a faith, and if you really know me, you know I do not like to call myself a Christian. There are a few reasons for that. I have come across more “Christians” that judge, ridicule, humiliate, and lie, yet still call themselves a Christian. “Christians” have turned my mom away from church choirs because she has a divorce in her past. “Christians” have committed hate crimes to people I love and call family. Now I am not saying every person who identifies as a Christian has done those things. But I am saying that I have had more experiences with those “Christians”, and let me just tell you, it makes it real hard to identify with the Christian faith.

I am constantly surrounded by people of all faiths and lack thereof, and I really enjoy the diversity. But the question I find myself asking is, why is it harder for me, and a lot of other people my age, to openly have a faith? Since when did people in college feel like they have to hide what they believe in? Since when did being a Christian, turn people away from wanting to be your friend? These questions are super real and are questions I feel like a lot of people wonder.

For those of you that do not know, I am a student at the University of Oklahoma. It is an awesome school and I feel super blessed to have the opportunity to get such a good education. But something that really rubs me the wrong way are certain groups of people that like to come onto campus. People from the baptist church right down the road. They scream at us  saying we are all going to hell and tell girls we deserve to get raped because we wear shorts. Guess where those people are every Sunday. You guessed it, front row seat at their church. So why is it that when a college student goes out to a party, has a good time on the weekend, and “lets loose” after finals week, they get ridiculed for not being a “good” Christian, or “good” follower of Jesus? Yet the people screaming at us on campus get treated like saints that could save the world.

I love my faith, and I love the life I have been given by the man upstairs. But I am at a constant battle with myself and the world around me. Can I be a follower of Jesus and still be a “normal” college student? Some would say yes, I would like to think I could say yes, but I can’t. Yeah I have friends and I love them, but I have also had to choose my faith over people since being in college, and people have chosen people other than me because of my faith. In what world does that make sense?

The point of this whole thing is, give us a freaking break. Let college kids have a faith but also have fun. Stop polluting your kids minds and the minds around you with lies. College kids aren’t going to hell because they go to a party and then go to church, and just because someone has a different faith than you does not mean they are less than you or deserve to be mistreated. I have learned the most about our God from people of other religions, not from my own. So give us a break and open your eyes to the world. We, as college students, do our best to please everyone. Criticizing who we are because of the faith we choose to have or faith we choose not to have isn’t okay.

Faith should not be tearing people apart or putting people on pedestals. It should be bringing people together and unifying everyone as equals. I only have a year left in college,  but man I hope by the time I graduate I won’t have to worry about someone “unfriending” me because of my faith or telling me I deserve to get raped. We got a long way to go people, but at least I’ve got the faith in every individual that resides on this earth.

“Imagine how beautiful we could be if we all loved as strongly as we hated.”

~Creig Crippen

My Promise.

By now I am sure most of you have seen the news of the refugees, as well as every other life changing piece of paper President Trump has signed in the last few days. I believe all matters of politics are of the up most importance, but right now, my heart is heavy for the Middle East. If you followed my gap year journey, you are aware that I spent time in the Middle East. While at the time, I experienced a lot of heart ache and pain from being exposed to the drastically different lives of others, I miss the Middle East the most. I miss my family in Bethlehem, along with the friends I made there. I miss the smell of humus and fresh pita bread as I walked down the streets. I miss all the crazy drivers in Jordan, and I definitely miss my family and friends in Jordan. I miss the call to prayer throughout the day. I miss everything.

So naturally, with all of this happening with Trumps ban list of muslim countries, my heart is aching. I am at a loss of words for how I feel, but I find myself experiencing guilt and helplessness. Why do I get to travel where I want, when I want, to see whoever I want? Why can’t my friends and family that are over there come be with me here? Why can’t the world of politics actually give a crap about human beings? And why do I feel like I can’t I do anything about it?

Throughout my gap year, I made it my goal to be able to love everyone I met to the best of my ability. Setting aside political views, religious views, and everything else that causes arguments and distance. I continue to do that same thing every day now, but find it so much harder to do in the country I live in. How does one support someone and pray for someone who hurts people you care for dearly? How can I stand by my statement to support my president, when the decisions he is making are affecting my life negatively, as well as so many people I love?

There are no good answers to my questions. I do know that my love for the Middle Eastern countries I have been to, will continue to grow. My love for the muslim traditions and culture will also continue to grow. My promise is to continue to love everyone I met, and even love those I did not meet in the Middle East. I promise that even though I greatly disagree with many things President Trump is doing, I will still call him my President, and find the respect for him he needs. I promise to pray for him and every beating heart in the Muslim countries that have been banned. I will shed tears for my people in the Middle East, but I will never give up hope.

This world needs a little extra love and prayer in times like these. There is no time for hate, riots, and disgust. There is already too much of that. I may not be able to do something politically, but I sure as hell can love and pray for people like it is what I was born to do. My challenge to those that read this is to make a promise to the world. A promise of love, hope, or anything positive. This is the best time to truly come together as one, one world.

“I feel there is nothing more artistic than loving people.” -Vincent Van Gogh

Ringing in the New Year.

Happy New Year Friends! As I scrolled through my instagram today, most of what I saw was people rejoicing in the fact that 2016 is over because of how terrible it was. It saddened me to say the least. My year could not have been any better. I traveled the world with amazing people and learned incredible things. It is so interesting to me that people shut out all the good just because of the bad.  So many terrible things did happen this year, but lets take a minute to rejoice in all the good that happened this year.

  1. Because of the ice bucket challenge, we were able to find the gene responsible for ALS.
  2. Michael Jordan donated 2 million dollars in an effort to connect the police and community.
  3. Tiger, panda, and manatees all grew in number, which is HUGE!
  4. Solar power has proved to be incredible. Powering 6 million homes in California.
  5. In 24 hours, volunteers in India were able to plant 50 million trees. 50 million trees people!
  6. Starbucks donates perishable food to those in need.
  7. The ozone layer has begun to repair itself because of the efforts to rid aerosol chemicals.
  8. 500 elephants are now relocated, safe and away from poachers.
  9. Veterans are receiving free dental care.
  10. New cancer treatments are making a HUGE impact in the clinical trials.
  11. Harriet Tubman is replacing Andrew Jackson on the $20.
  12. A bank firm paid college tuition to all the kids of employees that died on 9/11.
  13. 200 strangers attended a funeral of a WW2 vet that had no family.
  14. Toys R Us offers quiet shopping for autistic children.
  15. NICU babies got special halloween costumes thanks to some awesome volunteers.
  16. 800 Boko Harem hostages were saved but the Nigerian Army.
  17. An teacher in Afghanistan delivered books to villages lacking schools.
  18. Death by heart disease decreased by 70%
  19. People from the Orlando Shakespeare Festival showed up wearing angel wings to block funeral goers from anti-gay protestors.
  20. Leonardo DiCaprio finally got that Oscar we have all been waiting for.

It is so easy to look and reflect on the negative things in our lives. If there is one thing I learned while traveling the world, our lives are too short to be stuck in the negative. Any chance we get to rejoice in the beauty of life and the success of the world we live in, we should take it. Nothing good has ever come from focusing on the bad or the ugly. It brings sorrow and unhappiness. If we can focus on the good that happened this last year, it starts to feel really good. I don’t know about the rest of you guys, but my resolution for this year is to spend my time focusing on all the good I can.

“The joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives, and everything to do with the focus of our lives.” -Russel M. Nelson

Dear Mr. President

Dear Mr. President,

Since you have been elected here is what has happened. Actual racists have felt empowered to do unthinkable hate crimes, anti everything protests have erupted around the world, and millennials are being treated with hostility for being “too sensitive”. This is not all that has happened, but these are the things that are affecting me, and so many other people I know. On my university campus, terrible flyers have been posted attacking white females, African Americans, LGBTQ groups, muslims, and empowering white supremacy believers. Girls wearing a hijab have been assaulted and those are just a few things that have happened.

This is disturbing and so beyond upsetting to me. Never once did I ever think I would say I am embarrassed to attend The University of Oklahoma, but it seems that with your election, that is what I am saying. I do not like you Mr. President, and I do not like what your election is doing to this country. But, I will say you are my president, and I will get behind you until you truly give me a reason to resent all of your being.

I pray that for the sake of this country, you truly prove every “hater” wrong and you do incredible things. I pray you honor what you said in your speech and are the president for everyone. I pray that your wife will set amazing examples for all the little girls that will be watching her. I believe there is good in everyone and even though you have disgusted me in more ways than one, I believe that good is within you as well.

You are my president, and you have my support, because we need a leader. Right now you are our leader, you are not the ideal leader for this country, but you are our leader. So please, prove me and everyone else incredibly wrong and make us swallow our pride. I truly hope you “Make America Great Again”, because what America is doing right now is disgraceful and embarrassing. I will pray for you and your family as much as I can, because to come into such a terrible position, with so many people resenting you is something I do not think I would be able to do. I will also pray for the rest of the country to begin to support you because I believe you deserve a chance.

Best of luck to you Mr. President. You are going to need it.

Sincerely,

An incredibly concerned millennial.

 

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑