Twenty Tomorrow

So I recently heard this song called Twenty Tomorrow by Ben Rector and I thought it would be a good song to cover since I will in fact be twenty tomorrow. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bh8hATqrq4&feature=youtu.be)  I rewrote some of the lyrics to make it reflect more of me and how I’m feeling at this point in my life.  I recorded the song and put together a video of some pictures from throughout the years.  It was so great to look back at memories from the past two decades.

Looking back at the people I’ve had in my life throughout the past 20 years has proved to me the fact that the people we have in our lives help make us who we are.  I would not be the person I am today if it weren’t for all of the people that I’ve met along the way.  I am so incredibly thankful for every single person that I have had the privilege of knowing thus far.  Thank you for helping me find myself.

I am so blessed to have an amazing family.  I’m so happy that God placed me in a family with such an incredible group of people.  I know that we will all forever be close and love each other no matter what happens.  I have so many memories with these people and each and every one of them has taught me so much about life and about myself.  I don’t know where I would be without such a strong support system.  I know I wouldn’t even be close to be where I am today without them.

While I was looking through pictures, there were so many of me and my brothers.  Goodness, I love those three so much.  They are my best friends.  I honestly don’t know what I would do without them.  Though I always used to wish that at least one of them was a girl so that I could have a sister, and a lot of the memories we have involve fighting and arguing, and they always leave toothpaste in the sink, and sometimes it’s hard to love them, I cherish them so much.  I want the best for them.  I know that they will all grow up to be amazing men and I am so insanely proud of them.

I have some of the best friends I could ever ask for.  I feel so grateful to have such people in my life who love me for who I am.  People who know me and my struggles and are always there for me.  They’ve helped me break out of the box that I kept myself contained in for so long.  I am constantly inspired by each one of them.  They are such incredible men and women of God and I look up to them so much.  True friends are hard to find, but I truly believe I have found some of the truest friends ever.

I posted my first YouTube video when I was in eighth grade.  I never imagined that it would become what it has.  I honestly don’t know how it happened.  I never thought that people would listen to and buy my music.  I never even really thought that I would be comfortable singing in front of people.  It’s crazy to think of where I started and where I am now.  It still blows my mind to think that people all around the world watch my videos and have my music on their iPods.  To every fan; thank you.  Those two words don’t seem like enough, but thank you so much for supporting me and encouraging me these past six years.  Thank you for making this what it has come to be and helping me make my dreams come true.  I am so incredibly thankful for each and every one of you.

I have learned see the world around me.  This ever changing, sometimes scary world.  To slow down and really notice the little things.  The things that this fast-paced lifestyle has blurred out of our vision.  This is such a beautiful place and I have begun to look at it as that.  To take in all of the things that happen around me every day.  To look at the way that we interact with each other.  To love people–even those who are hard to love.  To try to do what I can to make this world a better place.  I’ve really taken notice to how short life is and make my best effort to make the most of every day.

If there’s one thing I never thought I would be–never in a million years–it would be a leader.  I never saw myself as someone who people looked up to.  I was never a very confident person.  I was always content standing in the background.  But through the past couple years, I have begun to see leadership qualities in myself that I never thought I had.  I am now a worship leader and a small group leader to a group of middle schoolers whos’ lives I am so happy to be able to be a part of.  From those experiences, I have learned so much about myself and about leading others.  It has helped me grow in who I am and in my relationship with God.  We learn new things about ourselves all the time.  There are things now that you never think you’ll be able to do or be.  Don’t count those things out.  One day, it just might happen.

I honestly can’t believe that I’ve been alive for twenty years.  I still feel so much like a kid.  Like I don’t know nearly as much as I thought I would at this point I my life.  I don’t feel like a “grown up”.  I don’t feel like I’m qualified to be an “adult”.  And I’m not sure I ever will.  And I think that’s kind of the beauty of it.  Time goes on and we get older whether we feel like we’re ready or not.  We’re thrown into the pool and expected to keep our head above water.  And the amazing thing is, we do.  We might not be ready when we’re thrown in, but we learn what we need to along the way and pretty soon, we’re swimming.

Social Disconnect

Lets go back.  To a time when we didn’t spend more than half of our days on a computer or phone.  To when we actually had real conversations with our family and friends.  To when, instead of sending someone a text, we would stop at their house just to say hey–to when it wasn’t socially strange to do so.  To when we actually remembered the birthdays of our family and friends.  To writing letters to the people we love instead of a Facebook message (there’s something about a letter that’s so much more personal and exciting to receive than a message on Facebook–but that’s a whole other topic).

There are times when I wish that I lived in a day without all of this technology. In a world that wasn’t so “connected” as we are.  In a time when we had to talk to and get to know people to become friends, not just click confirm on a computer screen.  I wish I lived in a world that was more personal than this world has become.  Where people didn’t need Facebook to remind them of birthdays, but instead, cared enough to remember and give those people a phone call.  To let them know that they care, that they’re still here.

In my opinion (though it might not mean much), we are too connected.  Everything is at our fingertips.  No effort required.  We can have face to face conversations with people half way around the world over a computer or phone.  We can buy things with the click of a button.  We have the ability to contact anyone, anywhere, in the palm of our hand.  Yeah, that technology might be cool, but we rely on it so much.  We are so dependent on these devices that we wouldn’t know what to do without them.  We as a society wouldn’t be able to function.  It’s sad.

Let’s go back to when things were simpler.  More personal.  Let’s spend time with the people we love and not be tempted to take out our phone and talk to someone else.  Let’s cherish the time that we get to be in the presence of the people we care about.  Let’s stop taking for granted the people that are right here right now.

We’ve forgotten the power of a conversation in person with those that we love.  We forget to look at the beauty that exists outside of a computer screen.  We’ve stopped taking in the incredible sights that we pass everyday.  It’s like we’re stuck living in this virtual world when the real world is right there in front of us.

I’ve recently been noticing how much time I waste–yes, waste–on the computer and my phone everyday.  And doing what?  Nothing.  Scrolling through looking at Facebook statuses,  Tweets, and Instagram pictures of people I haven’t talked to in years or celebrities I’ve never met when I have family and friends that I could be spending time with.  Making memories with.  What memories are you going to make with your computer or phone?  None.  It’s the people in our lives that make experiences memorable.  I’ve wasted too much time being distracted from the things that really matter.

It’s not easy to give these things up.  It’s not even that we need to completely give them up.  I guess this technology has become a part of our identities in a way.  But it is important to remember that it’s not everything.  To take a step back and realize that it’s not worth it to have these things take over our lives as they so often do.  It shouldn’t come to the point where we don’t know what to do with ourselves when our phone breaks.  Or when we spend hours a day on Facebook or Twitter.  Or when we happen to be somewhere where there’s no phone service.  It’s not the end of the world.  There is so much more to life.  There is so much more to see.  To experience.  But when we’re so distracted with these things, we don’t take the time to look.

If you feel the way I do and want to spend your time living your life instead of wasting the time that you have, I encourage you to try it.  We’ve lost sight of what’s really important.  The people in our lives.  They matter more than we may realize.  When you’re with friends or family, have everyone put their phones in a bowl or a box or on a counter so that they’re not tempted to use them while you’re spending time together.   Cut down on the time you spend on the computer everyday.  Be around people.  Call up a friend or stop by a friends house just to say hey.  Write a letter.  Learn something new. Read a book. Journal.  Go for a walk.  Look at this beautiful world that we live in.  There is so much beauty to be seen if we just open our eyes to see it.  Life is short.  We need to stop wasting it.

Life

There are three things that we all have in common; we’re born, we lie, and we die.

We’re remembered by the way we live our lives.

By the people that we are.

By the way we carry ourselves.

By the way we handle hard times.

By the passions that we have.

By our stories.

These things make us who we are.

Death is inevitable, but life is something that we can make the most of.

Your life is yours and only yours.

You have a say in where it goes.

You dream your own dreams.

You take your own chances.

You make your own mistakes.

You make your own friends.

You live your own life.

When you’re gone, you’re gone, there’s no coming back to do the things you wish you’d done.

There’s no coming back to apologize to the people you’ve hurt.

There’s no coming back to ask forgiveness for the things you’ve done wrong.

There’s no second chance, once you’re gone.

There’s no promise of tomorrow.

Life is way too short for worrying, so live knowing that everything will work out eventually.

Life is way too short for regrets, so don’t dwell on your mistakes, learn from them.

Life is way too short for hate, so love everyone.

There are lots of reasons that people have for hating people.

They did this. They did that. He stole my car. She stole my boyfriend.

But one that really gets to me is people hating people because they’re not like them.

For whatever reason.

The way that they live.

The color of their skin.

They have different views on different things.

They’re not pretty enough.

They’re not skinny enough.

They did absolutely nothing to you personally.

But they’re not “normal”.

They’re different.

We’re all different.

What is normal?

There’s no such thing.

Each person leads a different life.

Each life has different obstacles.

Each obstacle leads to different choices.

Each person on this earth has a different story and a different perspective.

How can you find normality in that?

You can’t.

We were made to be different.

Embrace it.

You’re going to do things in your life that others will see as weird.

Don’t let that stop you.

Be weird.

I’d rather be weird than normal any day.

Don’t spend years and years trying to fit in with the “popular” or the “cool” people at school or wherever you are.

Chances are, they’re not all they’re cracked up to be.

The friends that you make by being yourself are the only ones that you need.

The people that accept you for who you are and aren’t trying to change you, the way that you think, or the way that you live your life, those are the friends worth making and keeping.

Even with these friends, there are still ups and downs.

You just have to know who the people are in your life that are worth fighting for, and who are the ones that you should just let go of.

Don’t let people tear you down.

And never tear yourself down.

Don’t believe the people telling you that you’re not good enough.

Don’t believe the people telling you that you’re not beautiful, because you are.

Don’t take any of the negative comments seriously, because the person dishing them out is probably more insecure than you.

Of course, it’s not going to be easy.

But in the end, it will all be worth it.

Live your life as someone that people will want to remember.

Someone whose life people will look at and say, “I want to be like her,” or “I want to be like him.”

Someone whose life the generation after us will look at and strive to model their own lives after.

Live a life that you will be proud to say was yours.

Unbearable Guilt-A Short Story

I’m freezing.  I have been for the past week.  Looking back, hearing Wendy’s voice…“just numbing the pain.”  How could I have been so clueless? How could I hear that from my best friend and not give it any thought?  Everything that happened in that final week of her life and I was stupid enough to not put together the pieces.

It’s raining; hasn’t completely stopped for a week.  I watch the back and forth of the windshield wipers sweeping away the water.  The grass seems as if its permenantly flooded.  I’ve been walking outside when it pours whenever my mom leaves the house, which she doesn’t do often because she’s scared that Wendy’s death is going to make me do something drastic.  Something drastic is what I need to do but it’s not going to be something to cause myself physical harm.

I pass another stop sign.  Whatever.  If mom wanted me to get to school in a safe manner, she would have driven me herself.  I drive into the parking lot, trying to pull myself together enough to dodge the kids walking to the school.  I find a spot towards the very end of the lot.

I take a deep breath in and let it out.  I get out of the car and start towards the school.  Last time I did this, Wendy was walking besides me.  “Just numbing the pain.”  Those g*dd*mn words again, get out of my head.

My thoughts are interrupted by the bell.  Late.  Awesome.  I make my way to my first block English class, ignore the sub’s request for a late pass, and walk to my seat.  The stares that I get are ridiculous, everyone noticeably turning their heads, their eyes following me to my seat in the back of the classroom.  But I don’t care.  I might have cared a week ago, but now life is just blah.

Today’s subject: commas.  Ugh, seriously, senior year and people still can’t get these?  I put my elbows on the desk and rest my head in my palms.  I stare at my favorite poster in the front of the room: “writing is the soul on paper”.  What draws me to this, I don’t know.  I can’t write for anything, maybe it’s that I wish I could, who knows?

As I’m staring down this poster, my thoughts run wild, but I don’t try to stop them.  I’ve got the next hour and a half to think things through.

I go back to that Wednesday morning.  I’m in my car on my way to Wendy’s house; I used to pick her up from school because her parents were too busy getting divorced and didn’t have the money to buy her a car.  She has long sleeves on; it’s May 22, she’s going to be hot in that school.  She gets in the car with tears in her eyes.  She’s been crying a lot lately, but every time I see her cry, it hurts me too, “What’s wrong?” I say.

“You know how I called you after school yesterday about Alex being a complete jerk?”  Wendy had confronted Alex, her year long boyfriend, about how controlling he was.  He wouldn’t give her any freedom and the only person he would let her hang out with was me because me and him were friends too.

I put the car in reverse and pull out of the driveway, “Yeah, what about it?”

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You Are Worth It

I’ve never met you,

I don’t know your name,

But I read your words on this screen and my heart breaks,

Just know that my heart goes out to you,

I’ve been where you are,

And I pray that you come to realize, like I did, that there are people who love you,

People who care, people who are crushed, because you do this to yourself,

Next time you think about skipping a meal,

Next time you think about sticking your finger down your throat,

Next time you think about cutting,

Think of your family or your friends,

How would they feel if they saw you like this?

I know that I don’t know you, but I too am crushed at the fact that you do this to yourself,

You don’t deserve it,

I didn’t deserve it,

No one does,

You may think you’re not skinny enough,

You may think you’re not pretty enough,

You may think you’re not worth it,

You may think that the world would be better off without you,

Those are lies that you can’t let yourself believe,

Next time you look in the mirror,

Seek out the truth,

You are beautiful,

You are worth it.

Fraaaans

Friends are an interesting subject to talk about. Just because there are so many different kind of friendships out there, there are friends that talk behind each other’s backs, friends that don’t care about the people that they’re friends with and just talk to them when they need something, friends that treat each other like crap, friends that are fake, and so on.

And then there are true friends.

The kind that are there whenever you need them. That know you, and your struggles. That are still your friends, even though they know of the darkest times in your past. That bring out the best in you. That hardly ever make plans, but still always seem to be together. That rarely experience drama. That don’t care about your weirdness, because they have their own weirdness as well. That hold you accountable and confront you when you’re doing something that they know you will regret. Friends that truly and genuinely love you.

I don’t think I ever knew a friendship like this until my senior year of high school. I’ve talked about that year quite a bit on here I feel like, but that was seriously a year of change for me. It was the year that I lost the best friend I thought I had ever had, and also the year that began the greatest friendships I have ever had, and probably will ever have.

I met and became friends with some amazing people through that year. Some people that I know I will be close friends with for the rest of my life. God has seriously blessed me with this group. It was weird when these friendships started out, it was like it was supposed to happen, it was so easy to be myself around these people. It’s like we just fit together. The friends that I have the privilege to have are basically the definition of true friends. We know each other’s past, struggles, and stories. We are completely weird and random all the time. And honestly, I couldn’t have asked for better friends. I love each and every one of them and I am so thankful for them.

True friends are out there. Don’t settle for the fake friends when there are real ones out there.

I feel like there are so many friendships out there that are based on lies or have so much drama in them. And I know that there are people out there that feel like they don’t have any friends at all or any friends that truly care about them. I know how that feels. I have been there myself. It sucks. But I just feel like if you find the right people and the right time comes, you will find people that get you and that really care about you. It sucks to have the people that you thought cared about bully you. And you don’t deserve that, you deserve so much better. So I just want to say that if you are in a friendship like that, first of all, I’m sorry, and second of all, you don’t have to put up with it. It sucks to imagine life without having people care about you, but if your so called “friends” treat you like crap, then chances are they don’t care and they’re not the friends you deserve. We all want to be accepted. So find people that truly accept you and aren’t fake about it. People that love you for you. Cause you are the person you will always be. Don’t change who you are for anyone. Be yourself, and if people don’t like it, don’t give them the time of day. I know it’s not that easy. There are people out there that will care about you and accept you. You just have to make an effort and find them.