The Power of Prayer

Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours.

Mark 11:24

As some may know, I was truly saved by God two years ago when I participated in the Disney College Program. I know the exact time and place and feeling and I never want to forget it.

Lately I’ve been diving deeper into my faith: studying scripture, reading devotionals; anything I can do to really live the life Christ died for me to live. I’m trying to walk in his footsteps (like millions of others), but continually fail (like millions of others).

Today I woke up happy enough, but I seemed to have a black cloud over my head all day. I couldn’t shake the feeling of what I can only describe as despair. It weirds me out to call it that, because today wasn’t all that bad at all. I got to see my fiancé the night before, had all my work done and have been feeling pretty well physiologically.

It started when I got an early morning rejection from a job I really didn’t even want. It stung a little, but pushed it to the back of my mind and (thought) I got over it. An hour or so later I got a second rejection from a job I knew I probably wasn’t going to get but wanted anyways.

This was my third rejection in just a few days. While I’m growing thick skin, I couldn’t help but despair and panic a little. I’m getting married in a year and I need a job that I can help pay the bills with! I have school loans! I worked my butt off for four years to make myself an outstanding candidate and now I feel I’m falling flat!

Honestly, the whole “despairing at jobs” thing was just a mental downward spiral for me – I’m applying early and these places need to hire someone now and it’s unfair (and selfish) for me to think they’d hold a job for some kid for four months! Now that I have a little perspective, I can see that. But at 10 a.m. this morning, I did not.

I talked to God on my walk home and read my devotionals, which really gave me peace but I still felt that there was something holding me back. The entire day I had been talking to God, asking him for peace; asking for a path or an opportunity to see his plan or an answer, but I just felt silence.

Then I got a call from Lucas and talked to him about how I was feeling. Suddenly, I realized where all my problems had stemmed from: a day or two ago, we heard he may deploy and I didn’t realize how much it affected me. As I looked back through the day, all my worries and thoughts were around him and his safety. On the phone he laughed and said, “Didn’t I tell you? That’s not happening anymore – we don’t have to worry.” I let out an audible squeal – thoroughly overjoyed at the news. At that moment, I look outside and it’s snowing.

How perfect, right?!

God knew the worries of my heart before I did and sent me a new beginning; a pure, fresh breath to the day to remind me that 1) He’s always with me and listening and 2) no matter what my situation in life should be, I can’t hang my happiness and joy on it.

I’m constantly amazed by the glory and power of God. It’s truly astonishing and I am in total awe, still, of what he did in my life today.

Tonight I want to keep all the college seniors and military significant others in my prayers.

Seniors – I feel you. It’s a tough road to hoe and nerve-wracking and scary and unknown. As many times as I’ve offered my life up to God, I keep pulling back the reins and try to steer it where I think it should go. So I pray that we all let the Lord’s will work in and through our lives and that we can wait and see what wonders he will work through us.

Military wives, girlfriends, family and friends – I give you my 1000 percent respect. I didn’t even get a taste – barely a whiff – of what your daily life is like and I went into a mental tailspin. I pray that the Lord continually brings you peace and strength and that he provides for you and your families while your loved one(s) are way.

Coming back the the verse in Mark, I urge everyone to realize how great our God is. He’s not a spiteful or selfish God; he loves you so much that he sent the thing most important to him – his Son – to die so we could be with him. He states – “Whatever you ask in prayer, believe you have received it and it will be yours.” How crazy is that?!

I needed this verse today. Maybe you did too! And remember: God is always with you.

Love From Afar

Long distance relationships freaking suck.

If you know me personally or have been following my blog, you know I have a wonderful boyfriend named Lucas Miles. We love each other more than deep-fried Oreos, but even the strongest fall down sometimes. Which I’m very thankful for.

My last blogpost, “Count Your Blessings,” truly described my feelings on life. While my schedule is absolutely crazy and I’m pretty sure I should change my profile picture to a headless chicken, life really could not be better. I have a family that loves me, friends that support me and a boyfriend who gets a clause all to himself.

I’m writing today from a thought I had while perusing Instagram. When Lucas visited me in Disney, we had tons of experiences and adventures (go check out #adventuresoflatti!), and a lot of our friends and family would post comments saying “I love you guys,” or “You guys are perfect.” I totally believed we were perfect, but for the first time in forever, I’m figuring out that’s not true.

And that is a-okay.

Loving in a long-term, long-distance relationship is one of the most challenging and most rewarding things I’ve ever done. You push yourself and your partner in so many ways and learn so many things about each other. Every little thing is important; for example, I always start off our phone conversations with “How was your day?” While many others couples might do that, the connotation attached to ours is probably different. After not talking all day, and not seeing each other in days, weeks or months, I want to know every detail, from the sandwich he ate at lunch to the stupid idiot that he’s driving behind on the way to work. I’ve never been so frustrated, independent and vulnerable at the same time.

Couples on campus probably think I’m a cat lady because I look at their happy canoodling with such disdain, but it’s really just me being envious that they have the ability to hold each others’ hands. I’m lucky enough to see Lucas once a week or so, but compared to the 24/7 some of my friends get, it’s not a lot. And I shouldn’t even complain… I’m lucky Lucas is National Guard and not active duty Army. I really don’t know what I’d do if I saw him every now and then.

Long distance relationships have their pros, but a con that we’ve been dealing with lately (which is new – we’ve always fared well in the cons department) is the effect of long distance in the long term. It’s hard to have a meaningful relationship when the accumulated time you’ve spent together is a third of how long you’ve actually been dating. Between our busy schedules and own professional lives, distance easily creeps in. Fortunately, Lucas and I are very frank with each other, and when we have a problem, we fix it. We know what we have is rare and worth fighting for. We’ve discussed countless times the profound impact we’ve had on each other, and why nothing can tear us apart. From the beginning, it’s been us against the world. I just can’t wait for the day that “we” can become “one.”

Thanks for listening to my dramatic, romantic drabble. Have a magical Tuesday night.

The Countdown Continues

Less than two weeks remain until my great adventure in the Happiest Place on Earth, and I’m feeling a lot of mixed emotions. Actually, this is kind of heavy… so strap in!

When I got my acceptance letter, I was knee-deep in clubs, organizations, classes, and friends. Literally. When I got the acceptance email, I was next up to present my status report at our PRSSA meeting. Though I was shaking with excitement, a few voices immediately asked what I was going to do about the rest of my year, one of those voices being my own.

Because I was so busy, I didn’t have time to comprehend exactly what I was getting myself into, how I would do it, and how it would affect me and the people in my life. First and foremost: my love, Lucas.

Lucas has been nothing but supportive of my decision to go to Florida. When I received my acceptance, he was the first person I called. With our luck, he had class for three hours at that exact time and couldn’t call back. Well, the initial excitement turned into nervousness when I saw his name and ringtone buzz on my phone. We’ve been in a successful long-distance relationship for over a year, and each day I find something new about him to love. With that being said, we can’t wait to spend summers together. We live close(ish) to each other when we’re home. Last year I spent my entire summer at college orientating the new freshman, and he was overseas. We were really looking forward to spending the summer together and finally feeling like a normal couple. My acceptance email brought that fantasy crashing down though: the program I was awarded was Spring Advantage (February 2015-August 2015). Nervousness seeped into every cell I had when I picked up the phone to talk to him (all the while, I’m still at this PRSSA meeting). I’m not going to lie, it was a hard conversation. Being part of the DCP was something I had yearned for for years, but with Lucas in my life, my priorities had changed. He was the most important thing to me, and the biggest factor that affected my decision. Being the perfect boyfriend he was, he ended the phone call with an ultimatum: “Either you do the Disney College Program, or we break up.” In every instance and every way, he puts my needs and wants before his own and never ceases to amaze me.

While that story is all well and good, it’s not where it ends. This decision was not easy for us. We’ve had our moments of serious discussions about the impact of the program on various aspects of our lives. There’ve been good and bad days with the DCP in our minds, and I don’t think every day will be perfect again until I’m back home. I’m going to decline sharing more on this, because ultimately, it is between Lucas and I, and there are a few things we would like to keep private. I just want everyone to know how perfect he is being, and that I appreciate and cling to his support more than he’ll ever know. He truly is the most amazing man out there. 🙂

My parents divorced when I was 16, and 4 years later I still try my hardest to abide to the 50/50 custody we all agreed on. Obviously, things come up and it can’t be a perfect system, but I try to do the best I can. Juggling two family who want me full-time, along with my adopted family (Lucas’) who also want me full time does end up taking a toll. I’ve always wanted to please everyone, even if it hurts me. And for the past 4 years, I feel like I’ve been doing that. Every time I turn around or make a decision, I feel like I’m hurting someone. I’ll be honest, I’m a young girl in love, so I spend most of my time around Lucas and his family. But then that takes away from my mom or my dad, who haven’t gotten to see me at all in a week or more. And then when I try to visit them, I miss Lucas so then I’m miserable. It’s a never-ending circle and it’s really, really hard. Lucas and I fantasize about getting married and starting our own life daily, and one thing I’m so excited for is to finally have my own life with someone I love. I think that’s another reason I’m excited to go to Disney. No one is going to tell me what to do there. Their reach can’t touch me 1000 miles away, living my own life, paying my own bills. I just wish Lucas could experience it with me, and move down with me. I didn’t realize how hard it would be to be away from my best friend for seven months until now. I’ve laughed with him, I’ve cried with him; I’ve spent the best of my life with him, and a little of the worst. I know it’s going to be the hardest goodbye I ever say. And I know it’s not a fatal goodbye; it’s a “see-you-later.” But it really just hit me that I’m less than 10 days away from leaving everything I’ve known for so long and I’m scared.

Maybe the DayQuil I’ve been taking to rid me of a horrible cold is kicking in or maybe I’m over-emotional, or maybe it’s both. Disney is going to be amazing and I can’t wait to make fantastic memories with everyone I’ve already met, but I know I’m leaving a lot behind too. I refuse to see it as leaving behind though. They’re all coming with me, they’ll be in my mind and in my heart. And I wear Lucas’ dogtags every day to remind me just how lucky and blessed by God I am.

So now for the happy part… I GO TO DISNEY IN NINE DAYS! I’ve been waiting for months to get the countdown to single-digits and it’s finally here! I actually have a lot more to pack and I’m getting nervous about housing (my roommates and I were all split up:'(, but we’re still doing a gift exchange and going to dinner and being best friends!!) and my role (I’m in entertainment so lots of people will be seeing me, and I don’t want to mess up!), but I think I’ll be fine once I get into the groove. Keep up with me via this blog and my YouTube Channel!

If you’re still here, I congratulate you. This blog just acted as a therapist for me this last hour, and it felt damn good to get all those feelings out. Cheers 🙂

Open When… You Can’t Sleep

IMG_9504

“Open When… You Can’t Sleep” actually should have been done a while ago. I had bought a small book called “Dream Symbols” at Five Below, but it ended up being too fat for the envelope 😦 So I just used a list I found on the internet of common dream symbols, made an infinite loop of sheep for him to count to fall asleep, “quick tips” to fall asleep fast, a cigar to calm him and relax him, and the book “Go the **** To Sleep” as some light reading before he nods off! And of course, the handwritten letter, a bible passage, and a picture will be added!

Open When… You Miss Me

Open When... You Miss Me

Like every letter, “Open When… You Miss Me” includes a bible passage and a handwritten letter from me. Also included is a felt heart that says “Nothing smells as good as the person you love” sprayed with my perfume; a small collection of quotes that center around missing someone; a typography print of us using the words of our favorite song; lyrics to a Carrie Underwood song (it works for our situation!); a small “Keep Calm” poster; and a love mad lib!

Open When… You’ve Had a Hard Day

Open When... You've Had a Hard Day

This envelope contains just a few treats and pick-me-ups for Lucas after he’s had a hard day. Like the others, this envelope includes a bible quote about having a hard day and a letter from me to him about having a bad day. Also included are 30-odd suggestions for relieving stress and letting off some steam, a small “Treat Yo Self” (Parks and Rec is our favorite show) poster with chocolate and a small amount of money attached, a “Book for Pampering” (coupons for him to redeem when he gets back to me), and a small picture of the Hulk (his favorite superhero). Still needed are a pack of black and milds and a picture of us/me.

Open When… You’re Bored

Open When... You're Bored

This is my first installment in showcasing Lucas’ “Open When…” Letters for when he goes to AT (Annual Training). He doesn’t know about it at ALL, and I’m so excited to give them to him:)

This envelope includes just a few things for him to occupy himself with when he’s bored: two coloring book pages of the Hulk (his favorite superhero) with crayons, two word searches about love and the Bible, a word search I made myself about the military, a crossword puzzle about our relationship, a relationship questionnaire (A sort of “would I rather,” “My Favorite…,” etc. I don’t remember the website I got some of my questions from, I’m sorry!), and one of those fortune things that we all used to make in elementary school! The inside flaps alter from motivational quotes to secrets about myself, to random Snapple Facts, a Bible verse (usually they follow the lines of which envelope they’re in, but most of the ones I could find that related to bored had to do with Sloth so I just wrote him a cute note!), and I still need to put a picture in it! I haven’t decided if it should be just me or the both of us, or maybe make it a puzzle he has to put together!

In all, I’ll been making about 20 letters. If you have any questions or anything, feel free to contact me!

Love.

I never imagined something like this would happen to me. Okay, that’s a lie. I always dreamed something like this would happen to me. But I didn’t think it would actually happen. Never in a million years. This is the story of our love story.

FRESHMAN YEAR OF COLLEGE

Introductions

If asked to describe myself, I probably wouldn’t be too shy to tell you everything.

I’m still trying to find my true identity in life; the true definition of what it means to be me. But I have a lot of the puzzle pieces in place. I really enjoy getting together and having fun with friends, but I don’t really enjoying drinking. Which is kind of a difficult thing to wrestle with at a top party school. Still, I’ve held my own for the first semester of college and haven’t gotten drunk. I probably drank more at home on break than I did at school. I really like the feeling you get after a good workout. Almost as much as I love the taste of mashed potatoes. I’m pretty easygoing. Actually, some people would say that I’m too easygoing. I can get addicted to Netflix pretty easily. It’s a chronic condition.I try to be as generous as possible. In efforts to make others happy, I’ll give myself the short end of the stick the majority of times; whether it be giving up my cozy bed so my roommate can have sex for the 3rd time that day, or driving all over God’s green earth to make each family member’s holiday party. And honestly, I enjoy doing it most of the time. Being out of my bed forces me to interact with people I should probably be talking to anyways, and I enjoy the time I get to think from traveling from party to party. In my spare time, I usually watch Netflix, go to the gym, or catch up with friends. I really enjoy Etsy too. One of my favorite feelings in life is giving the perfect present.

My parents got divorced when I was 15. Like any only child would, I took it pretty hard. Internalizing most of my feelings, I retreated into myself for a good portion of my sophomore year of high school. Friendships got harder and the hope of romance all but faded away. Relationships with my parents were rocky at best. While they still have their ups and downs, I know my parents love me unconditionally and only ever wanted the best for me.

I believe a college experience is important to have, but realize it isn’t for everyone. I chose my college based off it’s professional reputation for my major. Even though I love the University and have made some really good friends, at the end of the day, I’m here to kick ass, make a name for myself, and begin the rest of my life. I don’t believe that you need to drink to have fun. While a glass of wine or a cup of beer is nice to de-stress, getting drunk is on my to-don’t list. Some people may call me crazy, but that’s just not how I want to live my life.

My parents always taught me to be the best that I can possibly be. My father is a overly-committed, stretched-out workaholic with mommy- and daddy-issues and a high tolerance for feelings. At least that’s how he can look on the outside now. On the inside, a few years ago, I knew him as a giving, loving, selfless workaholic that had crazy parents. He’s different, but he’s still my father and know beyond doubt that there’s no one he cares more for in this world than me. The divorce changed him though, and not necessarily for the better. He’s always pushed me to work for my dreams, but recently his demands are getting more unattainable and his tone is becoming more harsh. I know she’s influencing him… the step-monster. Her kids are nice, her family’s nice, but I just can’t seem to find her company pleasurable. As soon as I think she might not be all bad, she ruins it for herself by ratting me out about something o making a snarky comment about one of my achievements. Due to my incapability to disappoint people, I put on a (semi-)smiling face when conversing with her in front of my father. Much to my mother’s dismay.

My mom can be my best friend and my worst enemy, sometimes in the same day. Unlike other teenagers that complain their mom is mean because she won’t give them more money or hang out with current “cool” boy, I deal with real, adult arguments. For years, my mother has grappled with the idea of me being in another woman’s home, under her care. She continually think that I’m lying to her about my relationships at my other house, forbids me to like my step-monster, and has even called me the biggest disappointment in her life. For all her faults, she has strengths. Not a day goes by that she doesn’t call to make sure I’m doing well, and she remembers the most insignificant things I say for later dates. My stepfather is just a teddy bear that I couldn’t be happier that my mother found. He’s perfect for her in every way and I literally thank the good Lord that she found her. He’s exactly what she needs.

Obviously, my family and I are far from perfect. But my boyfriend isn’t.

*

Lucas is honestly the best human being I have ever met. Even the things he claims are his faults I see as his strengths. I’ve never known someone so self-motivating that will give all he has then find a way to give more. He’s so steadfast in his morals and knows exactly who he is, which is one of the most attractive things about him. He continually falls back on who he is as a person; a solid structure of morality, genuine compassion, and pure friendliness. He is my rock.

The way that he tells me stories; how his eyes light up as he leans in just a little bit more as he gets to the good part, how his lips spin words into narratives that I could listen to for the rest of my life, how he gets self-conscious about talking too much… everything he does just makes me love him more. He could tell me the most insignificant piece of information and I’d still hang on every word he says.

Post-Relationships

Let’s talk relationships. You know, after they fall apart.

So breaking up is hard, whether you’re on the giving or receiving end (though I have to say the latter is much more painful), but an even harder part is the months that follow. Those desperate, torturous months that all you want is the happiness you had again. The sleepless nights, the countless Facebook stalks, the “accidental” text messages. Tear/burn/explode the pictures, eat chocolates, swear to friends that you’re over him, and cry into your pillow at night. No matter how many promises you make to family, friends, and yourself, it’s hard to turn a switch and simply say, “I’m over you.” Ignorance truly does become bliss; the less you know what that person is up to, the easier you sleep at night.

After a couple of months, things start to get less strained. Glances are no longer ignored, but tolerated. Bodies don’t tense when you pass in the halls. Things (though only slightly) seem to go back to normal. Then, it gets even more complicated.

So you were a little bit possessive in the relationship. So he didn’t actually like you in the amount you had in mind. So you over-thought pretty much everything. WHY AREN’T YOU LEARNING FROM YOUR MISTAKES?!? Now, when he smiles (somewhat of a small, shy grin) at you in the hall, what do you do? You take a millisecond for it to register, and then think about all the possible motives.

“Does he like me again? Is he being serious? Is he being funny? Are we at the stage to be funny? Are we at the stage to be serious? What stage are we at? Maybe he just wants votes for Student Council president. Maybe he just wants to be friends. No, that’s not it… or maybe it is. I could do friends! Right like we were before… yeah. Friends. That sounds good. Talking, laughing, maybe even hanging out! Just like best friends. We could be best friends, right? Or maybe more…”

Seriously, stop. You’re digging yourself into a huge pit that you’ll need a ten story flight of stairs to climb out of. All of these thoughts will just hurt you, sooner or later. Believe it or not, guys are probably more scared of you than mad or indifferent. The wrath of a woman is fierce, and I don’t know one guy that would like to bring that down upon himself. And, in their eyes, the only way a girl will react when breaking up with them, or talking after a breakup, is either anger or tears. And if anger doesn’t scare your ex, tears probably will. No one likes to watch another person cry, especially if they’re the one that made it happen. And who wants to be the mayor of Uncomfortable-ville?

So you’ve stopped the delusions of grandeur that follow a simple gesture, but a question still lingers in your mind. “What are we? And what do I really think of him?” I can hardly offer advice to help you deal with this question; no one can answer this the same way. Would you be ready to jump back into a relationship with him? Do you just want to be friends?

Personally, I find that working towards a friendship is probably the best bet. Nothing can ever be the same after it’s been broken, like a paper ripped in two. You can tape it, glue it, staple it… there’s still going to be a tear right down the middle. It’s not fixable, either. For a few lucky ones, something can be salvaged. Maybe a stronger friendship than relationship can be built. Maybe you both just sucked at relationships the first time, and this time is going to be serious; you’re both ready for the real thing. Maybe you stay distant from each other, never talking again. Whatever happens post-relationship, it’s probably for the best. Things happen for a reason, and if it’s not in your cards, you’re probably not going to be dating him for long, no matter how much you work to fix your relationship. And, as always, stay strong throughout the ordeal. You’re tougher than you think.

To sum up, the post-relationship period is awkward, painful, and just weird. Honestly, though, if you can try to just forget to care, it makes life a lot easier. You’ll be ready to become friends in those following months, and you’ll definitely feel better about yourself.

What I Believe In…

What do I believe in?

(Aside from refraining from proper grammar?) I believe in what I write. I believe in magic. I believe in love.

For centuries and centuries, thousands of authors and writers have spun wonderful tales of magic; far off places were impossible becomes possible and dreams come true (if you only have a bit of pixie dust!). Sadly, or maybe not so, magic only exists in minds.

I’ve spent most of my life in my mind; a fantastic world where responsibility doesn’t exist, everyone likes everyone, and the impossible becomes probable becomes reality. As I grow up, I realize this fantastical world in which I live is a pipe dream. Slaving away, four hours at a time, by folding clothes really does a number on one’s imagination. The heart-breaking snares of reality press upon us, the youth of the world, as we are (more likely than not) forced into the workforce by a power not tangible by flesh or blood: our future. Something that scares even the toughest jock into fits of girlish sobs. Say you don’t get that football scholarship to Notre Dame. Say you don’t ace your SATs. Say you don’t have enough money to pay your way through law school. Don’t get me wrong, I completely agree with strictures and stipulations for college; it’s just damn hard to think about when you’re so close to making it but you just don’t cut it. That’s when you feel the farthest away from your dreams.

I digress. I aimed to talk about love in this post. Magic, as I’ve stated, is the human’s natural instinct to believe in to escape from reality. And also as I’ve stated, magic, at least the spells and incantations, doesn’t exist in this world. We do have something, I think, that is even better than magic, and that’s love.

Love is such a fickle thing. It can be the happiest, most innocent, purest form of joy one can experience. When you realize you’re in love, desperately in love, it feels as though your heart can’t take anymore feeling; that it isn’t yours anymore. Love can be the end-all-be-all for those lucky enough to experience and share it with someone for the duration of their lives.

Love can also kill its victims, which I’m willing to bet more than half of you have experienced. Love can crush a soul, cruelly rip it to shreds and bring down the most powerful of leaders. Once you experience that pain, there is nothing you wouldn’t do to get rid of it; but at the same time, you don’t want to give it up. It makes you who you are. I’m talking about the lost love: a mother dying; a husband gone without one look back. To the former, it at least puts a heart to some kind of distressed rest to know that person probably loved you until the very end, and they will always stay with you. The latter, though, is something I would never, ever wish upon anyone because, like I’ve said, it can kill. You think, after the sweetness of the love is gone and the bitterness sets in your heart, how could I delude myself into thinking I was happy? How, for those few moments, was I able to hold onto something pure, and then let it slip through my grasp? I don’t deny that I’ve been slighted once or twice in my short life; of course I have. I’m in high school. It’s practically a right of passage.

Still, back to love and magic. I’ve gone into great detail of what a destruction love can be, but I also described the amazing feeling it can bring to you. And, essentially, isn’t that exactly what magic does? It heals, or it destroys. Take the apple in Snow White; the wheel in Sleeping Beauty; the Ring of Power in the Lord of the Rings. Each item has broken down those who stood in its way of destruction. But then, look at the love of Harry’s mom in Harry Potter; the love of Yvaine in Stardust, the power of the Elves in Lord of the Rings. Not only does love play a double role, but these instances show the healing magic had in these fantasies.

So yes, I do believe in magic. But a different kind of magic. A lovely one.