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.

Bride-ing on a Budget Intro

Good morning everyone!

I’m excited to start a new section of my blog – Bride-ing on a Budget! My new fiancé and I are already deep in the planning even though we just have a venue and date! Stay tuned – I’ll be chronicling absolutely everything I’m doing for the wedding, from budgets to DIY crafts!

Have a magical day!

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 🙂

Lissa – Unlikely (Part 3)

I’m not going to lie, I stalked her. I found her on social media and monitored her activity. Since I knew what she looked like, I found her in the dining hall and made notice of every time I bumped into her between classes and on free time. I even started making small conversation with her. It took me a while, but I devised a plan that I put into action today.

Lissa walks out of dinner at 6:17, right when I get out of my class. I fall behind her in the hallway, carefully keeping her in my line of sight. I was about to make my move, but everything went black.

I woke up in the infirmary a few hours later. Lissa and Piper were sitting next to me.

“What happened?” I ask, disoriented and incredibly thirsty.

Piper explained to me that I collapsed on the ground behind Lissa, and she caught me just before I cracked my head on the stairs. I didn’t thank her, so Piper did.

“It’s no problem, really! I’m just glad you’re okay, it could have been a nasty spill!” Lissa’s overflowing happiness sickens me.

I fake a smile and turn my eyes to Piper, silently screaming for her to get me out of this cot. She calls over the nurse and I’m discharged. Lissa follows us out of the infirmary like a puppy, making jokes that she’s there for “support” if I faint again.

I’m about to tell off Lissa, but I shut my mouth as soon as I see her. She had a black cloth swaddled around her like a dress. Her thick locks were so laden with water; her hair itself looked like a veil. Her mouth pries itself open to maggots crawling out and a festering smell. She cackled maniacally and stare me straight in the eyes. I couldn’t help but scream and cover my mouth in horror.

“Larkin, what’s wrong?” Piper asked. I point at Lissa and Piper looks back at me, confused. I snap around to see Lissa, visibly scared, and standing as innocent as ever in the hall.

“I… I saw…” I tried to make words, but my brain didn’t seem to work.

“I think it’s time you get to bed, Larkin,” Piper says concerned, and pulled my arm toward our room. My stare didn’t leave Lissa though, who I swore had horns in her hair.

Funeral – Unlikely (Part 2)

We are gathered here this evening to say our final goodbyes to a dearly departed friend. His kindness and friendship will be missed by all. The Lord has taken our dearly departed Joe to a better place,” the Reverend drones on in his repetitive, generic speech. If an audience had shown up, they’d be asleep by now. The church is much too big for a three person funeral; well, four if you count the stiff in the coffin.

Suicide, they said. Swallowed a bunch of pills and washed it down with a handle of Jack. Life was apparently “too hard to handle,” as it was put in the note. I never saw the note, but I know that none of it is true.

I look at my father in his open casket. His face is pale and lifeless, like you’d expect any dead person to look. I’m closer to my father than Piper is, which means that I get two calls a week instead of one. Despite a limited relationship, I love him more than anything else in my life. The news of his death rocked me into oblivion, I just didn’t let it reflect externally. In my mind, I’m crying, screaming, fighting, and dying all at the same time. I’m grasping at straws for any answer or indication foreshadowing his death. I comb through letters and phone calls and emails, but in all of them, he maintained his soft tone and polite disinterest. I scrutinize his body, looking for answers.

There’s a scratch on his cheek almost covered up by the mortician’s powder. The faint pink line reached from his right temple to his lips, which look fuller than normal. Even though he’s lifeless, blood still seems to be swelling under his lower lip. I look even closer… and a patch of his hair is missing by his ear.

“Piper!” I bark in the softest voice I can. Her gaze doesn’t leave the altar and she replies out of the side of her mouth.

“What? Pay attention!” I scoff at her manners.

“You know this is wrong.”

“What’s wrong?” She asks, with more interest this time.

“Why would dad kill himself? He just closed that new deal, we’re getting good grades, he even started talking to that waitress at the diner! What could have gone so wrong that he wanted to die?” A flicker of doubt burns in Piper’s hazel eyes. She tries to shake it off.

“We don’t know what he was thinking. He doesn’t tell us everything, you know.”

He doesn’t tell you everything’ I wanted to say, but I bit my tongue. I pressed on with my questions.

“Why would he have a scratch on his cheek then? A fat lip? And unless he started aging really quickly, I don’t remember him having a bald spot.” Piper ignored me until the ceremony was over. When we’re walking to our car in the deserted parking lot, I finally explode.

“Why are you acting like you don’t care?” I exclaim, letting my blood boil. “You’ve always been like this. You take things at face value and never question anything. It’s like you don’t even care that dad’s gone!”

Piper whips her head around, her eyes wide and mad with rage. It stops me in my tracks.

“You think I don’t care that dad’s gone? That we’re orphans? That we literally have nothing? I can’t believe you would accuse me of that. You didn’t even show up for half of the meeting yesterday! I was the one that found out first. They put all of the stress on me. They told me that dad went broke and never made a will, meaning we have nothing. They told me that they bank is taking the house as compensation for all of our debt. They told me that our tuition is going to run out after this semester.” Piper lowered her eyes to the ground.

“Larkin, they told me we have a half-sister.” My jaw drops to the cracked concrete.

“What? We have a sister?” I cry in disbelief. Piper still doesn’t look at me.

Her voice breaks when she answers. “She goes to Calton.”

We’re starting to attract an audience with our dramatic family problems, so hurriedly, we duck into the car and make the long drive back to Calton.

“Her name is Lissa, and she’s a grade lower than us. ” Piper starts. “They didn’t tell me any specifics, but I’m guessing dad’s business trips involved more than just business. Apparently, he started her at Calton when he started us.” A disgusted look spreads over my face. Betrayed! Lied to! I knew my father wasn’t a saint, but I didn’t think he was the devil.

“She doesn’t know either, though,” Piper finishes. “No one’s ever told her. She thinks her great aunt is paying for her tuition.”

Piper was calm now. Getting things off her chest always alleviates her stress. She turned some radio station on. Sound or static, it makes no difference to me. I know I have a problem to fix, and her name is Lissa.

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’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.

Back and Kicking

After years of having this blog but not doing much with it, I’ve decided to once again pledge a weekly post.

The posts will really depend on my mood, they could range from an article about Public Relations to the difficulties of a long distance/military relationship. Short stories or musings could fill the void between.

Thanks again for checking out my thoughts, and stay well

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.