A Lesson You've Taught me // The Letter Link-up

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Today, I'm linking up with the lovely Amber over at Mr. Thomas and Me.
I love this girl's blog! I'm a bit late for linking up...but I couldn't wait to do this!

This is my letter...

The Letter Link-up | Mr. Thomas & Me

My dear friend...

You are a new friend. We haven't known each other that long yet. But I'm pretty sure we are going to be friends forever. And that thought makes me very happy!

You are not that much older than I am, but you are one of the biggest role models in my life! Your genuine spirit makes you beautiful from the inside out. Your positive attitude and perspective toward life is something that I greatly admire and wish I could find for myself. But the more time I get to spend with you, the more of that lovely perspective I gain. On the days {or weeks even!} when I am feeling incredibly down, I know I can count on you to help pick me back up again...and you don't even have to try! It's just you...it's who you are.

You have shown me what being a good mom is all about. I love every second I get to spend with your two adorable little guys. And I hope that when I have children, I can raise them with as much grace and dedication as you have with yours. 

You have shown me what it is to be a loving and supportive wife. Your example of that is what I will always aspire to.

And most importantly, you've taught me that it's okay to let someone in...it's okay to trust...and it's okay to allow myself to feel something, because that's what it is to REALLY LIVE. Emotions scare me. Letting myself feel anything scares me. And opening up scares me...because in my past, so many whom I've opened up to ended up walking away. But I don't think I will EVER have to worry about that with you. You care about my moments of vulnerability. I can share what I am struggling with, and know that what I say is in good hands. You possess a level of understanding that not many people have. 

You may not always think you're helping, but you are. 
You will always have your days of struggles yourself with being a wife and mother, but please know that what I see is absolutely incredible! And absolutely what I want to be too!

I cannot even begin to say how grateful I am that you brought your little one to me for his first dance class almost a year ago! God orchestrated that...because He knew I needed someone like you. Please know that I will ALWAYS be here for you as well.

Friend, you are BEAUTIFUL! And that word just doesn't seem like enough!

Much love always,

Currently, in June...

Monday, June 22, 2015

I've been missing this little blog.
I've had such a crazy last couple of weeks! Two weeks ago, I was soooo busy trying to get a group of new students adjusted to a new dance session. My advanced dancers have been doing GREAT over the last month, and now it's been the time to bring in the littles :)) I love them. They are too cute! They love to dance!

Then last week, I was dealing with a bunch of issues...not feeling great mentally...my muscles completely giving out on me and causing EXCRUCIATING pain...and then to top that off, I ended up with a scratched cornea. Cue even more excruciating pain :((

Anyway...after all the craziness, I'm glad to be back. And I thought I'd just start off with a little "update" post.

So...currently, in June...

Reading... All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven...so, so good so far! I'm hooked!...and slightly nervous for what is coming next :))
Playing... catch up on blogging.
Watching... the current season of Pretty Little Liars and Dance Moms {yes, both guilty pleasures for me...but I just. can't. stop.}
Trying... really hard to make better lifestyle choices, and prepare for my future.
Cooking... new recipes that are THM plan approved.
Eating... THM plan approved foods, as often as I can {I'm gonna write a post about this at some point...once it becomes a little more consistent}.
Drinking... Iced coffee...constantly...and iced tea...constantly. My two favorite sources of caffeine.
Calling... friends I haven't been in touch with for awhile.
Texting... with John-David...all the time :))
Pinning... lots and lots of things! Lately, it's been bedroom decor stuff, since I plan on redecorating my room...and home decor, thinking of the future :))
Tweeting... other bloggers.
Going... back to my hometown next weekend to go to the beach and see my friends from Miami who are here for the summer! Finally!
Loving... everything Audrey Hepburn, taking ballet class, reading on my balcony, spending so much time with beautiful, sweet, kiddos.
Hating... my brain a lot of the time, not being able to stick to my food plan, and all the hatred I've been seeing in the world lately.
Discovering... that I really do feel so much better, emotionally, when everything is clean and organized {I just get so overwhelmed by cleaning, and so tired that I put it off. It explains so much about why I always felt so bad sitting alone in my room. Who wants to sit in such a mess of chaos? It looked like what my brain would look like if I opened it up. Believe me, that's not okay to look at all the time. I'm glad it's better now}.  
Thinking... about my future...sometimes a little too much, and I end up freaking myself out.
Feeling... a total mix of optimism, nervousness, fear, and excitement about life. Can they all exist together? Apparently they can!
Hoping (for)... God to reveal Himself to two very close friends. Kind of a matter of life and death here...literally...for both of them. 
Listening (to)... Oldies, oldies, and more oldies...from the 50s, up through the 80s...ALWAYS!
Celebrating... several birthdays and graduations this month...plus Father's Day yesterday.
Smelling... the caramel in my coffee...mmm.
Thanking... my gracious God for all of the wonderful, beautiful, incredible people He has placed in my life!
Considering... waiting a little while before starting grad school...because I want to see if a new medication will help me focus, and do a WHOLE lot better.
Starting... to put together a line up for our summer recital...making sure all of my music is picked out and ready to go.
Finishing... my iced coffee, and this blog post! :))

What are YOU up to currently?

Reading my way through the Summer // 2015 summer reading list

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

I love reading in general, but I especially love reading on the beach, by the pool, or even out on the balcony of my apartment. There's not much I love more than reading outdoors.
{Mostly because, I cannot read in my room...too many distractions}
I'm also extremely picky about my book choices. I have to be very, very excited and interested in what I'm reading. My brain just doesn't focus well enough otherwise. I've read plenty of books that I didn't like...mostly because the movie was coming out so I wanted to read the book first. But there have been many that I regret reading now {Can we say "The Lovely Bones"...ugh! I couldn't stand it, and I can't believe I actually finished it!}

This summer, I've picked a few books to take with me on my summer adventures.
I hope you'll all share with me what you are reading or have read too! I love getting recommendations from others! Or if you've read any of these books and you have a review for me, I'd love to hear it :))

my 2015 summer reading list

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp: This is one that I've already started and I'm LOVING, and I have to finish it. {But this one is nice because I can read it, and another book at the same time} The writing is absolutely beautiful, but I need to read it in small doses in order to process it. I like it that way though. I've been margin writing and high-lighting the heck out of this book! And if you haven't read Ann's blog, you should! CLICK HERE!!

Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen: More of a lighthearted read...a good one for sitting poolside. I still love Young Adult fiction, and Sarah Dessen was one of my favorite authors when I was in high school, but I never read this one. And I found it at Goodwill for 50 cents, so of course I snatched it up!

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven: I'm so excited about this book! First of all, I can deeply relate to the two main characters. Secondly, it's told in two points of view. I love stories like that! And thirdly, its setting is a road trip across INDIANA! :))

Wonder by R.J. Palacio: You can tell I work with kids right? This one has been on my list for awhile. I'm constantly eyeing it at Barnes & Noble every time I go, but I've never actually bought it. I think I'm going to now. It's a quick and easy read, but I have yet to hear a negative review on it.

Stones not thrown

Thursday, June 4, 2015

So lately...

I've been thinking about rejection.

The dictionary defines the word "rejection" in this way: refusing to accept; to put aside; to discard.

People experience rejection in different ways. Perhaps someone whom you trusted would always be there walked out of your life. Perhaps you've reached out to someone for help, and they turned their face from you. Perhaps you simply tried to be yourself in front of others, and they made fun of you or criticized you for that.

I've experienced all of that.

But I think the worst kind of rejection is rejection by the church.

People who claim to be Christians should not be condemning others...{whether they are also Christians or not}...who may be struggling with a certain sin, or maybe have struggled with a sin in their past. How quickly we forget that we are all sinners too, and sin is sin, no matter how "big" or "small" it may be.

Can we all take a moment and remember the woman in John chapter 8?

She was caught committing adultery {or in today's terms...sleeping around}. And according to Old Testament law, that was grounds for a brutal stoning. 
So ashamed she must have felt...and I've experienced shame before too. As have many of YOU.
But guess what?! In the presence of Christ there is no need to feel shame! And he proved it with his next move.

When all of the teachers of the law {aka, the men in authority who supposedly knew everything} asked him if they should stone her, what did he do???.......................

"Let the one who has no sin throw the first stone."

Oh, but wait! That's not even the best part! What did he say to her after they all put down their stones and walked away?? 

"I do not judge you guilty. Go, and sin no more."

Whoa! WHOA! Now hold on a second!
WHAAAAATTT was that?

Okay I'm gonna stop being silly for a second ;))

Our God is a God of second chances. He is a God of forgiveness. 
And I know that I personally want to be more and more like that every single day. 
If I am given opportunity to forgive someone, I will forgive without question, because that is giving THEM the opportunity to right their wrongs.
And if someone lives their life differently than I do...makes different decisions, or has a different point of view from mine...it's not my job to change them. Do I always agree with what people do? Definitely not...but that doesn't mean I turn from them and decide they are unworthy of love. They were also created in the image of God, just like me. God loves them. Shouldn't I?


"We have all sinned, and fallen short of the glory of God..."
Just the tiny word ALL seems to be overlooked sometimes. 
Can we remember...instead of choosing anger and hatred towards those who are different from us...that we have our own stuff to deal with too? And remember how we would feel if someone else held that against US?

When there's nothing I can do...

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

What do you do when your best friend just wants to disappear?
And when you have absolutely no idea, and no way of knowing how she's doing, where she is, or what is happening with her?

Nothing...you can't do anything.

Just pray...and pray again...and then pray some more. 
I know that, and I've been doing a lot of that...even though it seems to be completely fruitless sometimes...praying for my sweet best friend, constantly!

It's been very hard not seeing her, or even hearing from her, for MONTHS!
Lisa and I were connected by an invisible thread, always meant to be together. Once we became friends, we were REALLY friends. We always took ballet class together and either went to iHop to eat breakfast for dinner, or to a local pub get drinks after class. We spent Saturday nights watching ghost investigator shows, if only to make fun of the goof-ball guys who made total fools of themselves during their investigations. We talked about everything...no, I mean LITERALLY, EVERYTHING! We have a million inside jokes, and we laugh together like it's a Olympic sport!

We are the very definition of "soul sisters".

Of course, I have been fine because I have a life to live...and I love to enjoy life...
But there are some moments when I miss her so much, and my heart breaks so hard for her suffering {and the fact that I can only watch it all helplessly}, that I just completely lose it!
Obviously, I am so so thankful for the other people in my life...for my extremely supportive guy, and all of my other friends. But there are some days when I just desperately want to talk to HER. That's it. But I can't. And that's hard.

More than anything in the whole entire world, I wish I could speed as fast as humanly possible over to her house, give her the world's biggest hug, and take all of her pain away.
But meanwhile, I just have to wait until she comes back to me. And back to the land of the living.

I've been in the dark pit of mood disorder, and I know how ugly and scary it can be.
I get very angry that it exists sometimes.
Right now...I'm completely FURIOUS that it exists. Because it's slowly been taking one of my favorite people in the world away from me.

Say lots of prayers for her...join in with me.

The more difficult road

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Recently, I read something that was a bit dismaying to me.
And I think the worst part was the fact that the person who was writing about this is definitely not the only one who feels this way.

This person was writing on their view of people who are "religious" {although I think they were primarily talking about Christians}, and how religious people have an easy way out...how their lives seem so much easier because they believe in something/someone {READ: GOD!} who controls their destiny and controls the outcome of everything.

okay...can I just say...
That couldn't be further from the truth!

As a Christian, I can tell you right now...following God is a ROAD! And a difficult one at that! And it is a road of CHOICES...making your OWN DECISIONS! 
I am not walking aimlessly down a random life path waiting for things to just fall into my lap. It doesn't work that way. God doesn't clear all of the bad things in life out of the way in order to make things easier. He doesn't ever tell me directly where I should be going or what I should be doing. He doesn't always answer my prayers exactly the way I hope He will. He does not just give me everything I want, or what I think will make me happy at the time. 
But here's what He DOES do...

He ALLOWS me to make choices for my own life. That's what life is...a series of choices. And the outcome is a DIRECT RESULT of those choices.  If I make a bad decision, I'm going to face negative consequences. Likewise, if I make a good decision, I'm going to reap the benefits. And the same thing goes for when I face results from someone else's choices that affect me...good or bad. 
But even when the outcome is bad...or looks like it could become very bad...the one thing I can always count on is that God is THERE WITH ME. He may not be controlling the exact outcome, because that's not the way He works, and He may not totally rescue me from bad things happening all of the time. Negative consequences are meant to be life lessons, and rough times are meant to grow us...but He does see it happening. He does see and feel my pain and heartache, and He does want to guide me through it.
My main choice, is to TRUST.
Which is very possibly the most difficult word in my vocabulary to put into practice. I don't do trust very well. Way too many people in my life, whom I have trusted, have majorly let me down...and I am sure MOST of you know what that feels like! 
And that's what makes following God so difficult. You can't see or hear Him, so how can you trust? That's where the expression "blind leap of faith" comes from. You truly are leaping blindly. 
But trusting God is the absolute best choice you can make, because even when the road gets incredibly rough, God is always there carrying you through it, because you've ASKED Him to, and you TRUST Him to. And that, my dear friends, is a choice that He will honor!

That is the best part...
If we put our faith and trust in God, we will always, always, ALWAYS have the best of the best.
Is it always what we expect? No, definitely not.
Are there struggles and dark times along the way? Absolutely! But if that didn't happen, we'd have no reason to need His help! That WOULD make it too easy...and that's just not real life.

SO...being a Christian is easy?? I know I said at the beginning of this post that I found that statement to be a bit dismaying...but I honestly think that it's almost laughable in a way! 
Because it couldn't be more false!
BUT! I surely do think that it is the BEST way...because the rewards along the way are great...and more importantly, the ultimate reward we shall find in Heaven will be the absolute greatest!