12.08.2014

Emma Lee

My dear grandmother passed away today and there are a million thoughts swirling around in my head and feelings weighing on my heart. I came here in hopes of getting them all out. So this post might not have any rhyme or reason to it, but I hope it's as cathartic as I'm needing.


I know that since a couple of bites in a garden long ago, these lives... Our lives have never been meant to last forever... Our fragile, human hearts are just not programmed to beat forever. And I know that Death is just an ugly companion of Life and no matter how hard you try, you can't very well get one without the other.

Now, you'd think that knowing and understanding that would help Death become an easier pill to swallow. But that's just not the case... Knowing that Death is no respecter of person or time doesn't make a visit from him any easier.

It still sucks.

It still sucks even knowing that Gram got eighty-seven trips around the sun, which is more than a ton of people are given. It still sucks even knowing that Gram had a long, beautiful life filled with all the good things that money just can't buy. It still sucks even knowing that Gram was no stranger to the Lord.

You still grieve.

I'm grieving for the generations to come that will not know Emma Lee in all of her stubborn glory. I am grieving for the lessons that they won't learn firsthand from her... Like how absolutely important it is to turn off all electronics and sit still during a storm, because... or how your feet belong on the floor, not her couch, and if you disagree, you can go get her a switch from the bush yourself... Or how important it is to be faithful to church and how your time is best spent peering out of a window at a passing car or kneeling at your bedside in prayer or watching daytime soaps. I'm grieving for a future without my grandmother.

I love you, Emma Lee, and I will miss you until I see you again.


9.23.2014

Happy birthday, Mom!


Dear Mom,

On the day we celebrate your entrance into the world some odd years ago, I thought I'd say "Happy Birthday!" by penning a few words of thanksgiving for the great mom that you are... in the style of Jimmy Fallon's thank you notes... Dad, you can thank me later ;)


Thank you for painfully birthing me into this world three days before your own birthday. Surprise... Best birthday present EVER. You're welcome!

Thank you for that mullet hair cut when I was in 10th grade... it was allll the rage at school.

Thank you for putting me and the sisters in matching outfits as children and then documenting it for future generations to witness:


Thank you for tricking me into always cleaning the bathroom as a kid by telling me that I was the only one that cleaned it right. You're good.

Thank you for the detailed cooking lessons: "I don't measure... Just put a little bit of this and a little bit of that and just a pinch of this."

Thank you for teaching patience and endurance by making me and Alex move heavy furniture across the room as you supervised, just to move it back because you didn't like it in the new spot. Thanks for also, affectionately calling us beasts.


Thank you for giving me my first black eye by throwing a comb at my head across the room when we wouldn't be quiet during that important phone call... It sparked a desire to be a social worker and help other children. (Just kidding about that last sentence... I have no recollection of this event, but it has been a funny story to tell over the years.)

Thank you for letting me go to church after the aforementioned comb-throw, so that I could tell the first person that asked that my mommy gave me the black eye with a comb. I hope the parenting classes were at least helpful haha. (Oh and thank you to CPS for taking me out of that unsafe home, but leaving my three sisters behind... You do good work.)

Thank you for the laughs you gave us when you shared your "how to take a selfie" process and for the time you believed me when I told you that Olivia was meeting with the Army Recruiter and for all the other silly things we've been able to make you believe.


Thank you for honestly, albeit harshly, discouraging my singing career by telling me to shut up BE QUIET all the time.

Thank you for giving us permission to do things while you were half-asleep that you normally wouldn't have agreed to if you'd been awake. Thank you for forgetting that you gave us permission once you woke up. And lastly on the topic, thank you for being the one we'd go to when we were afraid Dad would say no... You always said "yes"... or "ask your Dad". :/

Thank you for teaching me how to stick my nose in a book and drown out the world. It's proved to be a useful skill in this crazy world. (Actually, I wholeheartedly mean this one.)


Thank you for unknowingly giving me my first sip of alcohol by having me bring you your "Diet Coke" from the other room, but forgetting to mention that you'd already put Rum in it. Nasty Buzzard.

Thank you for the deep, thought-provoking advice you gave when I was arguing with friends: You don't need friends.

Thank you for teaching me how to do laundry; "dump everything in cold water and you're good to go." For the record, I still do laundry using this method... even though you deny teaching me this way.


No thank you's for making me lotion/massage your feet/back, eat my vegetables, or give you insulin shots...

----

On a more serious note:

I love you, Rose Marie.

You are so rad. I'm lucky to have you for a mother.

Thank you for keeping us alive, dressed, and fed for all those years. Thank you for being one of my biggest supporters and for loving my dad (and for wearing cool outfits while doing it).



I hope I'm as good a mother as you are... and I hope I have a daughter three days before my birthday so that she'll be my favorite child too.

Happy birthday, Mom!


Love your moody girl,
Tashy

9.10.2014

World Suicide Prevention Day + an open letter to those who feel this life is too difficult to bear


Statistics say that globally, there is one suicide about every 40 seconds... and in the US, one every 13.3 minutes.

I did the math for you and today, on World Suicide Prevention Day:

There will be about 2,160 suicides around the world.
There will be about 109 suicides in the US.

I don't know about you... but that's 2,160 people too many.

Please find a way to get involved today, whether that's posting about World Suicide Prevention Day on social media or checking in with a friend who suffers from depression. Do something. Tell someone they matter today. And if you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, please get help.

National Suicide Prevention Line - 1-800-273-8255

Here's an open letter I wrote to those suffering from depression and those considering suicide as a way to end the pain:

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To the ones who feel this life is too difficult to bear,


Today, let's not talk about the weather or the starting football season or the neighbor down the street. Let's not talk politics. Let's not talk small... that can wait until tomorrow.

Today, on World Suicide Prevention Day, let's talk about you and the pain that threatens to overtake you. You almost hide it well, stuffed neatly behind that smile... If someone just scanned the room, they might not even notice. But I do. Your weary eyes give you away every time. They tell your secrets you try to hide: that you're facing demons you're not sure you'll ever conquer, that you're exhausted from trying to outrun the darkness, that you're ready to give up on life. Yeah... let's talk about you, today:

You need not struggle alone, dear.

We can do this together. You are not alone. Please, let me help shoulder the weight that buckles your knees and bows your back. It's too much for one soul, but easily manageable for two. Together, the odds are forever in our favor. Together, there is hope.

It will be okay.

It will be painful and messy and trying and difficult and exhausting, but okay just the same. You will be okay... one day at a time, one breath at a time. Picture it. Daydream about it. Imagine the day the rain stops and the clouds part, imagine the sigh of relief, the smile creeping across your face. It will be okay... one day. And it's okay to admit that things are not okay today.

Just keep fighting.

Fight until you can't possibly fight anymore. Fight until your last bit of strength threatens to leave. Fight even when you're losing. And when you can't possibly muster another punch, tag me and let me take over for a bit. You can catch your breath until the next round, just please... don't go.

Don't you dare give up.

I promise that this life, though tragic and chaotic, is beautiful on the other side of this seemingly endless pain. Hold on, please. It will pass. The night doesn't last forever. The dawn is coming. Look closely... Can't you see the day awakening and the colors bursting forth? That's worth holding on for. That's worth all the sorrow and misery that you are facing. It's worth it even when you don't believe it, even when you can't see it yet, even when you hear otherwise.

Don't listen to them.

The voices in your head, they don't know you like I do. They've clouded your vision and told you lies. They reflect an altered image back to you in the mirror so that all you see is a dull, defeated, forgettable shadow of a person. That is not real life. Real life is you: Radiant. Strong. Memorable. Irreplaceable. Made in His image. Loved. Take a look through my eyes, please. See the beautiful soul, the gentle voice, the kind heart.

You would be sorely missed.

You wouldn't go quietly and unnoticed, I promise. This world... My world would be dimmer without you. Your absence would have ramifications that you cannot begin to imagine. You wouldn't see it... but it'd hit us like five zillion punches in the gut; and it would leave us spiraling, grasping for balance, gasping for air. You would leave us broken, with gaping holes in our bodies, forced to live with the missing pieces.

I love you, I love you, I love you.

It's worth repeating a hundred times over, I love you. I need you. Your story matters. You matter. There is no one else that can play your part. Please don't leave the party early. It's just getting started and you're the guest of honor.

With all my love,

Natasha

ps: I love you.

7.24.2014

Life: You're missing out.

I'm the Activities Coordinator (for one more day) for an apartment complex that houses the homeless + those at risk of becoming homeless. Being the AC means that there are days when my job is pretty easy (ok, it's easy pretty much all of the time) and I get to take kids to swim lessons, sit in on financial literacy classes, or play games with the kids (among some other things).

Yesterday, I was playing the game LIFE with a couple of boys... maybe 8/9. Both boys come from single-parent households + are just so fun to be around. One of the boys kept receiving babies... to the point that his 6-seat plastic SUV wouldn't hold any more people. That didn't stop him from spinning to receive TRIPLETS. Hahaha... It was actually pretty funny. But I want to focus on what happened next: he tried to pawn his triplets off on the other players. Now, I realize that it is just a game and he is young and it was because they wouldn't fit in his vehicle. I'm sure he didn't mean anything by it beyond the game, but it obviously struck a chord with me and I used it as a teaching moment (I'm sure he loved me haha). I said: Nope, you can't get rid of your children. You chose to go down the family path knowing that you might have children. And now that you have them, you have to take care of your kids... Grown-ups take care of their children, understand? He said yes and the game moved on and we had fun and I had a great time beating them to retirement.

But the chord was struck... and I can't unstrike (apparently, that's not a word) it, so I'll write a post about it to get it off my chest.

I will never understand parents (moms or dads) that do not want and/or make no effort to be involved in their children's lives (You can want to be a good parent, but if you are NOT a good parent...you're not a good parent. Simple enough.). Now, they always say never say never because you never know what could happen or what you would do in a circumstance... but knowing the uncertainties of life, I still choose to say never. I could never abandon/forsake/forget about/get too busy for/not see my child. A child that I birthed and had a part in making. No way. Wouldn't happen. (I realize that there are people who are unable to see their children because of the other parent's selfish decisions... I'm not talking to you. To you, I'd say keep trying.)

But to the ones that for whatever other reason, you choose not to spend time with your children, I say shame on you. How dare you go down a life path knowing full well that you might have children and then walk away from your responsibility once you do. Duh, with great power comes great responsibility... Spider-Man has been telling us for years that the power to have children is a huge responsibility (ok, maybe that's not exactly what Peter has been telling us, but pretty much). If you can't hang, get off the court. HOWEVER, if you've already signed up for the league, paid the membership fees, bought your jerseys + your shoes, showed up at practice, committed to the season... don't get off the court. Show up to the game (parenthood) and play to win.

You know... and I might more understand the ones who walk away without ever meeting their kids first. Sure, you're still an idiot and a bad parent, but at least you don't know what you're missing. You don't know your child and the amazing personality that God has given them. You haven't seen the way their eyes light up when they experience something for the first time. Shoot, you haven't seen them light up a room just by entering with their infectious spirit. You haven't seen them walk or laugh or talk or learn or dream or hope or grow or explore. You haven't seen how smart and talented and beautiful and funny and caring they are. So I might get it (but not really)... you haven't seen it, you don't know, so easy for you to leave and never look back.

But to the ones who have seen, experienced, known, been loved by their children, what's your excuse? I'm really curious to know... Because I can't comprehend how you wouldn't want to spend every minute that you could with them. I can't comprehend how you would willingly go days and weeks and months and years...lifetimes without seeing them or speaking to them. I can't comprehend what could be more important than loving a CHILD that YOU created, a child that probably thinks you hung the moon, a child that will probably love you so unconditionally throughout their life... even if you don't show up, even if you don't try, even if you don't play the game.

If you don't know what you're missing and if no one has told you this yet, let me be the first to say: You are missing out. We spend so much time saying how worse off our kids are when they don't have both parents (which is debatable)... but you are so much worse off, sir or ma'am. You are missing out on so much by not being there. I'd reconsider your decision to walk away. 

If you do know what you're missing, then I don't need to tell you...but it's my blog soooo: You're an idiot + you're missing out on some rare jewels. But you already know that. Man or Woman up. Get in the game. BE a parent.

7.15.2014

Around the table | Volume 1

Some of my friends and I have this thing back home where we delve into life, with all its problems and triumphs, around my sister's kitchen table (or sometimes at a table at the local DQ or Bill Miller). To quote one of them: "This table is no respecter of persons or time." If you sit, you might find yourself in the hot seat. And it might seem like every time you sit at the table the spotlight is on you. Haha. It started very organically, just people needing other people. Around this table, we have shared, we have cried, we have grown, we have loved. Around this table, I have found grace and mercy and understanding. My soul is at ease around this table. I wanted to bring the table to the internet, so to speak... to use this post as a "what'd I'd share if we were sitting around that old, well-loved and sometimes hated table".

Around the table, I might start off and tell you that I cherish your friendship, because making friends is a lot harder to do when you're 25 than when you're 12. Do you remember how easy it was to strike up a conversation about Pokemon cards or pogs? And just like that... because you liked a couple of the same things and liked each other's graphic tees, you were best friends sharing any and everything. It doesn't always work that way when you're older, so thank you for your friendship.

Around the table, I might confide in you that sometimes I'm frustrated with where I'm at in life. Most of the time, I think I should be further along in life than I actually am. I might also tell you that I'm still not sure what I want to do with my life and this new degree. Part of me might be embarrassed by that. But all of me knows that you get it.

Around the table, I might tell you that this past year has been a real struggle to serve the Lord. I'd tell you that yes, I know he is good and yes, I know he is worthy (you'd tell me these things too) ... but I'd tell you that those facts do not change the uncertainty I have felt at times while finding my way. But don't worry, because I'd also tell you that no matter how I may feel I know for certain that God is faithful and I am lost without Him.

Around the table, my emotions might get the best of me as I try to explain the loneliness that is moving away from your family. Phone calls, text messages, and Skype dates are great, but they can't replace time spent with them. Words might not come... It's likely I'd just cry and let you hold me. And that might just be enough to get me through until the next trip home.

Around the table, I might mention the job I found out about yesterday!!!!!!!! I'd tell you that Saturday found me praying tear-filled prayers and sharing my frustrations with my family. I'd tell you that by Monday at noon, God had already answered it. And what do you know... he'd already been working behind the scenes where I couldn't see him. As DaddyEd said, "God is always working, so rejoice always".


Thanks for reading my random thoughts around the table... What would you share if it was just us (and some food) around a table?


Linking up hereherehere + here.

6.25.2014

Hey Beyonce, maybe not all the single ladies want, need, or should have a ring...


When you get to be a twenty-five year old, single, church-going woman, you hear all kind of things... Mostly those things have to do with your age in correlation to your marital status and how you're lacking offspring. Those things might also include some well-meaning individual(s) boldly proclaiming that he (meaning your one true love) is on his way, searching for you and will rescue you in God's perfect timing. That you must make sure you are ready and waiting around for him, and only when you are right with God, he'll show up to sweep you off your feet. Gag me, please.

While marriage and babies are all good and well, I have a few gripes surrounding the assumption that says that single women should be married. Just call me, Feminist Tasha, for this post. Here are some thoughts I have about asking someone why they aren't married yet.

Maybe I don't want to be married. (Disclaimer: I do want to get married one day. Anyone that knows me knows that. But for argument's sake, let's say I didn't want to get married.) How frustrating would it be having to explain myself over and over and over and over and over again that I don't want to be married? You guessed it: very frustrating. If a woman wants not to get married, then what's it to you? Her lack of interest in marriage doesn't mean she's incomplete or not right with God, it doesn't mean she had a bad childhood, it doesn't mean that something is wrong with her. *it could mean all those things, but it doesn't have to mean that* It's sort of like repeatedly asking couples when they are going to have a baby. Maybe they don't want a baby. Maybe they, as a couple, decided that it's not for them. Leave them alone. Who made you the baby police?

Maybe I want to be married, but it just hasn't happened yet for whatever reason. Believe me, single women that want to get married but are not married yet are well aware of their singleness... even if they have a life and are not consumed by their singleness. They might even hear, though faintly, the biological clock going off somewhere in the distance. What they don't need is a weekly reminder from you that the timer is hastening to an end. To use the aforementioned married couple you keep bugging about the baby as an example, maybe they haven't been able to conceive yet, and your question just reminds them of the fact that her period came again yesterday. Doesn't that make you feel better? Maybe I'm too busy, maybe I'm focusing on my education or my career right now, maybe I'm not ready to be a wife and a mother yet, maybe I haven't found a guy worth marrying yet. When I get married, I want it to be for my whole life, forgive me if I take a while to find someone capable, willing, and worthy. For whatever reason a girl isn't married yet, what's it to you? Again, who made you the marriage police?

And lastly, maybe it's not in God's cards for me. I know, I know... I just heard the collective gasp. How dare I speak such things... But seriously, nowhere in the Bible does God promise that Natasha will have a husband. He surely didn't say she'd have him before she was twenty-five...*and if you see that in your Bible, let me know 'cause Jesus has some 'splainin' to do* He did say that he would give me the desires of my heart... Now, I might be messing that one up because I'm not sure that a husband is my heart's desire. I know, stone me. My heart's desire is to boldly live for Christ. My heart's desire is to introduce people to Jesus. My heart's desire is to spend eternity with my beloved. My parents didn't raise me right if my heart's desire was supposed to be to have a husband (thanks, parents)Jesus also said that he came to give me an abundant life. Maybe you've bought into the lie that society preaches about women needing to get married. Maybe you think a life lived without marriage is not a life at all. Maybe you think because you got married, everyone else should. But the truth is you can have an abundant life without having a spouse... Just ask Jesus (you can argue that he will marry the Church, but you get my drift), The Wright Brothers, Beethoven, Isaac Newton, Joan of Arc, Susan B. Anthony, or Clara Barton. The truth is that a life can have value and be complete without it ever having a husband in it. And the truth is just because it worked for you, doesn't mean that it works for everyone. Sure a spouse can add joy to your life... but it can definitely drain your joy too. Just ask any divorced person. So, while marriage might be great (for you), maybe God has different & better plans (for me). *Not that not marrying is better overall, but that marriage isn't always better for a person*

Please don't take me as a crier in the streets saying that women should never marry, should never shave, and should have lots of cats. Not at all. I believe in the institution and sanctity of marriage (thanks, parents, for holding down that marriage for 29+ years). I believe women have value as wives and mothers, just as they have value as doctors and teachers, and just as they have value if they are both. And besides, I don't even like cats. Although, I would be okay if I never shaved again...

*This is not written with a particular person in mind. Nor is it meant to be encompassing of all women's feelings on the matter. It is, however, written to a collective society that teaches that girls should get married and be wives and that their value is wrapped up in whether or not they have a ring on their finger, instead of teaching them that they should be whole, productive, functioning members of society whether a ring is involved or not.*

Linking up with the Fresh Friday link-up, Annie & Natalie with #ThoughtsforThursdays, Treat yo' self, LYLS Thursday, All Things With Purpose, and No Rules Weekend Party.

6.19.2014

My family is my good thing.

Today (and everyday), I am grateful for my family. They are the coolest around. They are my heartbeat, my most prized possession... my precious. They are my biggest supporters in everything I do, but they also pull me back down to Earth when I fly too close to the sun and my head gets too big (which doesn't take much haha).

My family is hilarious. I never laugh more than when I am with my family. I'm talking that good... so good, you can't breathe, you're rolling on the floor hoping you don't pee yourself kind of laughing. The kind that's a remedy for every ailment under the sun. It might not make everything better, but it sure will make you forget about it for awhile.

I'm not so sure that I would be able to maneuver through this messy thing called life without them and I hope I never have to attempt it. I realize that everyone doesn't have a great family like mine and that makes me sad... My family is my saving grace. I thank God he blessed me with a good thing.

You see, my family knows everything about me. Good. Bad. Ugly. Indifferent. Everything...I can't stress that enough. They know more about me than any other person in this world, guaranteed (Except for maybe my pastor and his wife because they've got the hook up with Jesus). They have seen the intricate (and sometimes, not so intricate) inner workings of my heart. They know what makes it beat and what makes it race. They know my love languages and they know all the things I dislike. They know me. They have seen me on my best days when the sun is shining and the warm breeze is blowing... when goals and dreams have been met, when my smile reaches past my eyes, when I'm on my A game, when I am my funniest, my nicest, my friendliest.

But I can't stop there, because they are also the ones that have seen me at my lowest, my worst, my moodiest, my meanest. They have seen me fall flat on my face, figuratively and literally. They were there when I couldn't get the hang of skipping and when I had that bad mullet haircut (does this sentence even need the word bad in it... a mullet is a bad idea 99% of the time). They were there through every awkward life stage of the past 25+ years... yes, including the one I'm in now. They were there that time I was a jerk and treated most of my friends like crap, and they were still there in the aftermath when I lost those friends because of it. They are the ones that pick me up and help stitch me back together after I have fallen apart. They are the ones that guide me back to the well-beaten path when I go astray. They are the ones that I call to tell my embarrassing TMI stories to, the ones that I would die before I shared with anyone else. They are the ones that I would call if I created a dead body and needed help disposing of it... Well, not my dad, definitely not my dad, because he'd be quick to turn a sister in. Haha. And finally, they are the ones that have permission to speak freely into any area of my life, because I know that they know me.

They know me. They don't just pick and choose parts of me to see. They see it all, without blinders or rose-colored glasses (except my mom, hehe) and they choose to love me anyway. They love me because of me, and sometimes, in spite of me. They love me enough to tell me what I don't want to hear, but what I so desperately need to hear. They correct me when I am wrong. They remind me who I am when I start tripping and lose sight of it. They always have my back. I never enter a room, a job interview, a life decision (sometimes a wardrobe decision), a battle, an adventure in life without their knowledge and their prayers. It is such a comfort to know they are always in my corner.

So this one's for my family, the Hancock bunch and the extendeds too. I love you guys. Thanks for seeing me, knowing me, and loving me. You allow me to be...well, me.

Linking up with Annie & Natalie with #ThoughtsforThursdays, Treat yo' self, LYLS Thursday, and No Rules Weekend Party.

6.02.2014

6 things NO does not mean.


This post might make you laugh, so I want to preface the humor with a disclaimer: I am truly frustrated that we live in a world where the word no has no face value. Where a person's words and wishes can be cast to the side and violated all because Mr. (or Ms.) Entitled never learned that you don't always get your way. It is not funny, cute, or acceptable to ignore a person (woman, or otherwise) when they tell you no. EVER. I'll say it again...no person should ever have to be afraid for their safety because they rejected someone's advances.

I'm sorry if you watched too many Hollywood movies growing up, but ignoring the girl's or guy's obvious rejection (whether by words or actions or body language) does not lead to a Happily Ever After kiss in the pouring rain moment like Noah and Allie had in the The Notebook. It's a movie.



Yes, I'm sure you can tell us all about how that happened to your cousin Pookie's best friend's baby daddy's little sister and her creepy, pedophile boyfriend...but that's the exception. Not the rule.

Write this down. It'll come in handy in life: Don't you ever touch a black man's radio or assume that you are the exception. Statistically speaking, life does not work like that...that's why it's called an exception! The odds are NOT in your favor.



You are always, always, always the rule and should live as such, unless the person that said no comes back to you, without a gun to their head and says "Hey, you know what, I changed my mind. I would actually like to give my consent for whatever the aforementioned proposition was." If you don't hear those words come out of their mouth... Forget about it.

I know that there are those of you who still don't get it, so let me try to break it down further with mazes, coloring areas, and pop-up pictures. It'll be fun.

There are at least six things the word no does not ever mean. I promise. You can take these to the bank.


1. No does not mean YES. 



Not in any language and not even on opposite day. Trust me...if I want something, I'll voice it. I would not turn down a "good" "strong" individual like yourself, if I was interested.

2. No does not mean TRY HARDER.


Trying harder will warrant the exact opposite reaction from me that you're thinking... Unless, you think that it will annoy me and cause me to write a blog post... In which case, do proceed... because you're right on the money.

3. No does not mean ASK ME AGAIN.


If I was not impressed by your first attempt, believe me, I will not slowly warm up to the idea just because you say it again.

4. No does not mean ASK ME AGAIN...AT A LATER TIME.

 

I am not in a funk or a mood. I am not stuck up. I am not a man-hater. I am not PMS'ing. I am not playing hard to get. I am, however, not interested. Asking me on a different day, month, or even year will NOT make me change my decision.

5. No does not mean ASK ME AGAIN. EVER. 

 

Your persistence will NOT wear me down. I assure you. I will last longer than you can. Save your breath. I'm not listening.

6. No does not mean REWORD THE QUESTION. 


I am an intellectual human being. That's hopefully one of the reasons why you're talking to me. That being said, I understood the request the first time. I said no the first time. It is my final answer. No need to change up the wording in an effort to pull one over on me.

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I'm sure there are plenty more... but for the sake of time and space. These will do.

So, to recap what we've learned... if you've already told someone your feelings, intentions, or wants... and if in turn, they have already told you no, negative, heck no, hmm better not...

*Gifs from tumblr and reactiongifs
If you have any more things that NO does not mean, share them in the comments. Gifs optional.

3.18.2014

you just might be enough.

if all we are are the mistakes that we've made, we're doomed.
if there is no escape, no redemption, no help for us at all...we might as well give up now.
if better days are not ahead, I can understand the despair, the defeat, the tragedy that fills our world.

BUT IF. such an powerful, little clause.


but if, we have hope.


if we can believe that greater things are coming.

if we have heard the rumors of better days,
if we have seen the people whisper of sunny tomorrows.

it just might be enough to get us through the barren winter.

it just might be enough to get us one more turn around the sun.

hope just might be enough to save us all.


so spread hope.


tell enticing stories of the happier times ahead.

plant seeds of promise in their ears.
speak life into their hopelessness.
spend your days gossiping about the goodness of life.
reflect the brightness of the Son.

it just might be enough.



you just might be enough.

2.28.2014

A dream and a birthday


Today's my dad's birthday. Or his almost birthday? His pretend birthday? He's a leap year baby, so this year he gets two honorary days to celebrate his birth. (Lucky dog.)

Now, stay with me as I go on a somewhat related side rant here. Two nights this week, I had dreams that I remembered in the morning. That never happens to me. Well, rarely happens, I suppose. I guess I should also specify that it was the same dream both nights. Oh, and it was less dream and more nightmare.

In my nightmarish dream, my father passed away. My awesome, funny, brilliant, loving, cooler than yours father died. 8,000+ miles away from me. Something with his heart. It was so real. so vivid. I pretty much spent the whole dream weeping. I woke up to tear-stained cheeks. Even when I realized it was just a dream, it took a moment for the floodgates to start working again. It was awful.

Okay, now back to his happy birthday and butterflies and rainbows...and unicorns.

In my dream, I stood at his casket thinking. Thinking about things I wanted to say. Thinking about things I should have said. Thinking about things I needed to say.

Because it was just a dream, I still have time to say these things. So here we go:

Dad, you handsome man, you, On the day that we celebrate your 50th trip around the sun, I wanted to start off by telling you (and the internet) that I am honored that I, of all the daughters in the universe, get to call you Dad. I am so proud of you. God couldn't have picked a better father for me.

I am secretly thrilled that people think I look just like you, cause who wouldn't want to look like Will Smith (hahaha). I just hope I reflect you in more ways than just my appearance. I hope I love and serve like you do. I hope I never meet a stranger like you do. I hope one day my children admire and respect me, the way I do.


I pray that all of your dreams come true. If anyone deserves it, you do. If anyone would receive the blessings humbly, you would. If anyone would get TURNT for Jesus at an awards show or in a mega-church, it would be you and your crazy self. Hahaha. But don't worry, 'cause we'll all be backstage and on the front row acting a fool with ya! :)


Today, I also want to say thank you. Thank you for leading our family to Jesus. For getting our family to the point where it was stupid to ask if we were going to church, even though we sometimes tried to get out of it by playing sick. (Haha. Lord, forgive us.) Thank you for loving my momma. I love telling people that my parents have been married for 29 years and I hope to get there one day. Thank you for being good at what you do...Not everyone's father gets a personal phone call from Hillary Clinton ;) for a job in Abu Dhabi! I love that you are out there being awesome. Gives all your daughters something to shoot for.


And since I have you here reading, here are some things I am not thankful for (laced with sarcasm, of course) - your boyish good looks that cause people to think you are my boyfriend, those painful (and now somewhat funny) memories learning how to skip...and the ones learning algebra, the time you spanked me for laughing because Dehli forgot to take out the trash, the time you made us watch Roots and Amistad...and some nature movie, the time we played truth or dare during the storm and you guys sent me out to the garage by myself, the time you crouched like a gremlin and scared me when I walked around the corner, the time you made me drive in San Antonio like a maniac chasing my rabbit. Wait, I actually am thankful for that lead foot. Haha.


I love you, Dad. I hope that you had a crazy fun time in Dubai with mom and Lord & Lady Brackett. Wish I could have been there to celebrate you passing the half a century mark in life. See you in TEN weeks!!!

2.16.2014

Sunday Scripture - 1 Corinthians 13:1-8

1 Corinthians 13: 1-8a. Most people know it. It's the love chapter. I was reading through some old posts of mine and found that I had talked about these verses almost exactly two years ago today... Since it also happens to be two days after Valentine's day, I figured this was a good one to revisit.

In case you aren't familiar with the passage, here you go:

13 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
I truly believe that LOVE can fix any problem, any situation, any division, any hurt, any jealousy, any anything. Because of that, I want it to be said of me that I love. And I mean this in so much more than a romantic way. Don't get me wrong: I desire to one day have a husband that I will get to love for the rest of my life, however, I don't think that is the end all and be all of love.

I believe that with love (genuine, selfless, Christ-like love), we can do anything.


Love forgives sins (1 Peter 4:8 - love covers a multitude of sins), mends relationships (Proverbs 17:9 - he who covers an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats a matter separates close friends; Proverbs 10:12 - hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs), causes fear to flee (1 John 4:18 - perfect love drives out fear), and reveals Jesus to the world (John 13:35 - By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another). And that's hardly an exhaustive search of the Bible.


This world is angry and hurting and full of so much hate (if you don't believe me on this one, read the news). They need to see people full of God's powerful and life-changing love.


I read somewhere once (I don't remember, so please don't ask. lol) that you can substitute Jesus' name for all the times they say love in the passage above and it still is 100% true. As in love Jesus is patient, love Jesus is kind...etc etc. And how true is that! Jesus is patient and kind. He is not envious, boastful, or proud. He does not dishonor others. He is not self-seeking or easily angered; and he keeps no record of wrongs. He does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. Jesus always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Jesus NEVER fails.


(Side note: We can also trade Jesus for the other times that Paul uses love in that passage. For example: "If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love Jesus, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love Jesus, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love Jesus, I gain nothing". We are nothing if we do not have Jesus...but that's a whole other can of worms.)


If we are to be like Jesus (which we are), I believe that we should also be able to substitute our own name in place for love...It'd go something like this (with your own name, of course lol): Natasha is patient (uhh...no comment). Natasha is kind (sure, sometimes). Natasha does not envy (yikes). Natasha does not boast (all the time??). Natasha is not proud (sorta)...etc etc.


Wow! When you look at it that way, you begin to see all the areas that you need to work on. You begin to see that, hey, maybe I'm not loving as well as I think I am! So, I challenge you today to swap love for your name. And then in every instance where it becomes a false statement, pray that God would make you more like him. Take steps to make yourself more patient, kind, humble, trusting, faithful, etc etc.


Before you think that I'm trying to bash you and make you feel bad...realize that the beauty in this method is that it doesn't exclude any of us from work because none of us are perfect. Yes, maybe you've got kindness down, but you realize that you aren't so patient at times or maybe you're not self-seeking but you're really bad about holding onto past wrongs and so on.


We all need to work at being more like Jesus...and since Jesus is love (1 John 4:8 - Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love), love is good place to start!

2.12.2014

Eighty-five.

Eighty-five days until I graduate.

Eighty...five...days. Wow!


I remember when I was just contemplating going back to school. It was about this time two years ago. I was stuck in this dead-end job and school seemed like the obvious way out. So, with a little prodding from family, August 2012 came and I went.


Going back to school has been a tremendous blessing. It was nothing and yet, everything I imagined it would be. I thank God I was able to attend Abilene Christian. The people I've met, the things I've learned, the places I've been able to go...I'll never forget this time in my life.


Now, I'm sure I'll post about school and all that it's meant soon, but today, it's about what comes after I walk the stage, after I'm hooded, after the diploma is in my hands.


It's simple, really: I HAVE NO IDEA.


Eighty-five days and I have no idea what I will be doing on day 86. Well, that's a bit of an exaggeration. My internship ends in July so I will know what I'll be doing on day 86, but you know what I mean.


I have some inklings, some wants, some dreams. But no concrete plans.


And I have to tell ya: it's miserable and magical at the same time. (If you got the song lyric, we need to be best friends. If you didn't...uh, stop reading, please. Haha. I kid. I kid. Please continue, everyone.)


In case you're not a Taylor Swift fan, let me explain how something can be both miserable and magical (the ending of Merlin, anyone?) at the same time:


On one hand, I love knowing that I don't have to know everything. I love knowing that God's my front and rearguard...that he'll lead me where I'm supposed to be without a (needed) worry from me. I mean, come on, he created all that we see and more, I'm sure he can handle my post-grad adventure with no problem. So for that, I am thankful. I'm thankful that he hears my prayers, that he knows my likes and dislikes. I'm thankful that all things work together for my good, even things I mess up. I'm thankful that while I may often times be in the dark about life, God is never lost, clueless, shocked, or surprised by anything that happens.


But...on the other hand, I hate (dislike?) not knowing his plans. Yes, yes, I know what I just said up there about knowing that they are good plans. And good plans, I'm sure they will be. However, when I go on (good) adventures, I still like to know where I'm going, how I'm getting there, how much money I'll need for the trip, what activities I'll do while I'm there, when I'll be returning. I like to plan with a capital P. Or I guess, I just like to KNOW the plan. Now, don't get me wrong: I'm okay with God planning my life, because he'll do a far better job than I could ever do on my own, but sometimes I wish he didn't hold his cards so close to his chest.


Misery and magic aside, life is not meant to be lived knowing the end from the beginning. There would be no faith in knowing every twist and turn in the road ahead. You would not have to trust that God had good plans intended for you, if you were able to peek ahead to the last page and see for yourself. (Side rant: If you're one of those people that reads the last page of a book before you get there...we can no longer be friends. Sort of serious. Haha. End rant.)


So eighty-five days from now:


I will walk the stage.

I will be hooded.
I will receive a diploma in my hands.

And with or without plans, I will be secure in His everlasting love. Trusting in His infinite faithfulness. Believing in His perfect goodness. Knowing that come what may, His plans for my life have been ordained and my steps ordered. 
 
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