Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Approximately 5 Trillion Snowflakes

   Yesterday morning I came to the realization that the phrase "2 hour delay" has a unique ability to continuously excite me despite my increasing age. Although my excitement over snow days of any kind is probably more subdued than it was in my childhood, it is one thing that has remained the same throughout my life. Snow days in general have always felt special to me. I just love the fact that despite all of the things we humans have accomplished and the power we feel that we have, sometimes we just have to stop everything because there's snow falling from the sky, and there's not much we can do about it. It's like a silent but significant reminder about who's really in control.
      Although I may hesitate at my age to admit it,  I have never stopped being amazed by the fact that no two snowflakes are alike. Since the beginning of time, in every snowstorm in every time period in every place in the world, every single snowflake has been unique. At the risk of having to do unnecessary math, I'm just going to call that "a lot of snowflakes" Probably more than 5 trillion, I think. Numbers make me nervous, so
Shamelessly over-edited picture of the small amount of snow that inspired this post.
let's move on. Knowing that God has created snowflakes so intricately and uniquely, even though they melt away after a short period of time, makes me realize that everything he does is intentional. Like a snowflake, I am designed in a specific way for a specific reason, even if I don't understand what that reason is yet.
     As I grow older, I sometimes forget, or don't allow myself, to take time to be exited by simple things like snow days. But when I really stop and think about it, I realize that these things that seem so simple are really the things that make life exiting. After all, you're never to old for a 2 hour delay!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

College is Hard and the Microwave is Broken

While  I was attempting to come up with an inspiring topic to write about tonight, my roommate returned from being gone for the weekend and we had quite a nice catching up conversation complete with her kindly letting me borrow a textbook until the one that I ordered arrives. It was quite a nice moment, the kind might happen in a movie about college life.
     Five minutes later, we were standing in the kitchen trying to figure out why the microwave, which worked perfectly fine before Christmas break, will no longer turn on. When our grand plan of unplugging it and plugging it back in didn't work (shocking really) , we decided that it's to late to do anything about it right now, and that we will revisit the problem tomorrow.
     This sudden change of events, while maybe not the most exciting thing to read about, reminded me about how unexpectedly challenging college life, and really life in general, can be. One minute everything is a fun adventure, and the next minute nothing is working right and you have to get serious and figure things out.
     Sometimes I find myself wondering if college is supposed to be this hard, or if maybe I'm just working with a slow brain. I know plenty of people who are college graduates and seem to have made it through without permanent damage, so is it just me that's confused most of the time?  I mean, I've been to church my whole life, so shouldn't I already understand the Social History of Christianity? Apparently not.

Instead of scrapping the unfinished blog I wrote last night, I decided to just add on to it in an attempt to be inspiring. It is Tuesday now, and the microwave is still broken, but it turns out it's really not that big of an inconvenience yet and will hopefully be fixed soon. Also, that class I was complaining about wasn't to bad today, I might know more than I realized. I think I will always struggle with feeling like I'm not quite smart
enough, that is something I need to work on. But today I did what I needed to do without giving up, and along the way I even learned the definition of primogeniture, which is such a fun word to say. The only thing that's really different today than yesterday is my attitude, but the difference is profound. Life can be hard sometimes, but maybe instead of waiting for the day when it will be easier, maybe it's time to start enjoying life in spite of the difficult moments. I don't believe that we can't stop all of our negative emotions simply by thinking positively, but it does help. Hard days will happen, but so will easy ones.  It's really all about attitude.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Failing Successfully

     When I was in fourth grade, I won a writing contest. I wrote something about Jamestown, I don't remember exactly what. What I do remember is that even at that young age, this recognition made me feel smart. When I was in sixth grade, a teacher told me that I would probably never be good at math, which she seemed surprised and disappointed by because she taught my brother who is very good at math . I don't remember her exact words, but I remember feeling stupid. Last week, I helped a child with a math problem, and I watched as the right answer was discovered after my explanation. It was not until that moment, about seven years after that comment was made, that I finally let it go.
    I am still good at writing, and still bad at math. Since the sixth grade, I have had many more academic successes and failures, I got through high school with an average GPA, and was able to get into a college that I can hopefully eventually transfer out of to get to a four year school. It's nothing to be ashamed of, but sometimes I compare myself to my peers who seem to be moving along much quicker and with less difficulty than me, and I wonder if I even belong in college. Sometimes, I still feel like that young impressionable sixth grader who just couldn't figure it out.
    But when I really stop to think about it, I realize that I'm still carrying around failures and insecurities from the past, and they're blocking out all of the successes. Yes, sometimes I feel like I will one day be 95 years old and still in college math, but at least I can say that I did graduate from high school and I did get into college.I have gotten perfect scores on college papers and passed plenty of tests that didn't exactly qualify as easy.  I also passed sixth grade math, which at the time I wasn't sure was even possible. So while I'm navigating through the adventure of obtaining a college degree, I will work on seeing myself not as the sixth grader ready to give up on math and be an illegal middle school drop out, but as the confident college student who can help a child with a math problem and will one day pass all of the necessary classes and obtain a degree, just like she passed sixth grade math years ago.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Just Say No

As I was deciding on my first blog worthy topic of 2015, I had a short period of writers block which I attempted to cure with internet research. As I was browsing through "new year" related blog topic ideas, I came across a list of suggested resolutions which included "say yes more", and it gave me an idea. What if I turned that around and decided to "say no more" ?That sounds ridiculous at first, but I can explain my reasoning.
Yes is a nice word that can lead to terrific things, but it's easy to forget that we don't have to, and sometimes shouldn't, say yes to everything. I was reminded recently how inspiring it is when someone, after much thought and prayer, says no to something that is not right for them. It's easy to convince ourselves that if we are going to live a lifestyle that reflects our beliefs, we must show the world how strong our faith is by saying yes to everything that comes our way and trusting that God will make it all work out. We often forget that it is God who equipped us with the ability to say no.
Thinking about this, I began to realize that sometimes saying no to something is a way of saying yes to something else. By saying no to the things that are not right for us, even if they are honorable things, we allow more time and space in our lives for the things we are individually called to say yes to. It's not easy, because
saying no can cause you to feel guilty, but maybe it's time to let go of that guilt. What will you say no to this year?