For The Rare Who Care, A Tiny Update (with pictures) (I heard those make these kinda things more interesting)

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Alright, let’s see how far I’l go before the internet goes. This should be fun.

*sighs*

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I kid you not, I spent, legit 30 seconds trying to plug in my USB. 30. seconds. Hello from the land of writing, adrenaline, and algebra. I’m tired, it’s nice to meet you.

“Surprisingly, all of these teachers-  from Algebra (a very intense and scary kind of algebra) to English, to Being And Knowing In The Digital Age (something I can’t believe needs to be a class since memes exist and I am very knowledgeable in such matters) follow a pattern.”- The A’s & B’s of Normal

The past 22 days have been forever, and yet, no time at all- and for some reason, I deem those experiences worth sharing. Guess misery loves company. A wonder I don’t take to my blog more often then not. XD That’s all I’ll say on the nonexistent topic of this blog, which, as you all know, is dead! For now. I’m active on certain sites and notsomuch on.. well.. this one. With good reason. It’s winning week of NaNoWriMo, you guys.

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I’m glad to say that I’ve learned a lot from each NaNoWriMo over the events, and this one has taught me a TON. Mostly cool things, like conserving mental energy (i.e. late night stuff) (i.e this post technically should not be written at this time) (but I had a dash of inspiration so I figured why not), that wordsprints are the best thing to exist since laptops, the importance of cultural appreciation, hOw tO wRiTe dIaLoGuE, and to not give up on my story, cause I’m just going through that “it’s utter junk” stage. Which is exactly what happened to my other stories, hah, fancy that?

“But she wasn’t really.”  I tell Dad.

“No, no she wasn’t.”

“She just didn’t understand.”
“Sadly, no.”

“Not a lot of people understand.”

Difference between those and this is now I have a number of people who care (almost unhealthily) and one of them could literally kill me for not writing. It’s very good encouragement, I’m telling you. I’m almost at 50k!

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See? That right there, folks, is your local insane photographer/writer/weirdo in a gif. How accurate. But pretend that’s a glass of iced tea, we’re a family friendly blog over here.

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Also, I’m just really, really glad it’s spring because LOOK AT THAT BEAUTY OVER THERE. For once I’m not being frozen to death- I can sit and write outside in God’s beautiful creation, the way it’s meant to be enjoyed. With the sky and the sun and the clouds and it’s a sometimes beautiful world we live in, as messed up it mostly tends to be.

“Oh. That’s what they mean when they say they’ve had “squirrel” moments. I see how it is.

But then, who’s they and why did they make the rules to say that? Are they the same people who defined normal?

 

Cause if they did they did a lousy job.”

Honestly, sticky your head outta the window. Jack Kelly wasn’t kidding about the fresh air, Santa Fe or no Santa Fe.

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Lately I’ve started seriously thinking about the future, and more importantly, how am I growing as a Christian and as a person and..

I’m kinda scared. Still. There’s a lot of things coming that I’m not sure of, and a gazillion things I’m guessing I’ll probably never see coming. And then the hopeless task of making choices. That’s another thing on my mind.

But that’s to be expected, is it not?

“And I did. Dun dun dun! I swear, the way things go in my world, maybe I’m just another character in someone’s story, things just happen. Like wow. I should write this down and put it into a book.

Oh wait.”

Some choices could be fun- like publishing. Maybe. Picking electives. Hopefully. And then others, well, they’ll keep me on my toes.

The future is a lot of things. Maybe what I need the most is to keep reminding myself Who’s in charge of the future.

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I think that’s it ladies and gents.

Sorry for not being more active. But then also not because otherwise I’d never have gotten far on my wordcount. xD And then you wouldn’t have gotten these snippets which I probably shouldn’t have spoiled! 😀

NaNo ends this week. Endgame comes out on Friday. We got this.  Happy Monday and to all a good morning!

 

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In Which I Write A Blog Post In My Journal (Or a journal entry on my blog…)

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Deery, 

 I has redeemed myself. And it is quite the nice feeling to redeem yourself, lemme tell ya. 

Mom cut back my curfew to 9 pm, deery. 9. Stinking. PM. WHY. 😥 she says it’s to make sure my mind is properly rested, but I think it’s unfair, I do. 

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Although, if I’m gonna be completely honest, *whispers* I’m kinda grateful that I have a curfew? ‘Cause now I am forced to prioritize and pick what’s really important and that’s a good thing. So curfew doesn’t really stink. I guess. It’s cool for the most part. 

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I got to video chat J and R this afternoon, so that was really, totally 110 percently,  a TON of fun. I wuv these weirdos a lot. We were *supposed* to be doing Bible study, but we ended up fangirling– personing over His Story the musical. We could literally talk for forever and there was would be no way on earth we could stop coming up with things to talk about. But we had to stop, of course. Because I had (have, still) a book to finish.

_Um....._ The problem doesn't seem that hard, just move that number here and put this here-- In my head, the numbers are animated and Larry the Cucumber is narrating how to solve the equation. But in real life, I'm a.png

Anyway, J’s nagging cough cough death threats actually paid off. I wrote 4k today. 4k!!! That’s the most I’ve ever written. EVER. How awesome is that? 4 more k to go, heh, but I got this. God’s got me. It’s not over til it’s over. 😀 

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Mom heard some of the songs I was playing and asked if I could play them at dinner time. So I did. Guess what? Dad now likes His Story the musical. HEHEHEHEEHEHE. HEH. 🙂

I’m kinda scared that at the end of all this, something bad will happen, but like I told J, I just gotta keep trusting God. Where is He gonna take me? I don’t know. 

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And I can’t wait. 

 

Back Again, An Explanation

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I saw Jo stab the ancient 1994 modem with her usb, eyes flashing. She blew the dust off the old keyboard and started typing. I grinned. Jo was back! Doing her whole torturing of my poor sis-

ZEKE STOP MESSING AROUND ON MY BLOG.

But JOOOOOO I haven’t been on here since like, October!

And I would like to KEEP it that way Zeke!

*huffs* I’m older than you, by, like, 2 years, so you really should cut me some slack.

Shut up and go. Shoo! This isn’t your blog!

Fine, but don’t come crying to me when everyone demands my triumphant return!

Nobody will demand any return from you, and I don’t cry. Shoo. You’re bothering me.

*slinks away from laptop* *muttering* *accidentally tripped on laptop charger*

Well, now that Zeke has ceased and desisted (phew) I guess you’re left with me. And *maybe* just maybe you’re wondering, “why did you leave for almost a week Jo?” Aw, how kind. To be honest, I bet zero people have asked that. And I wouldn’t expect them too. It’s normal to leave. And that’s what I did. Not by choice, however.

This week has possibly taken the world record in hardest weeks. I’m sure it will be topped, eventually, but it was hard. And dark. And even, well, hopeless. To paraphrase Maggie from Dreaming Of Guatemala, it was so dark I almost forgot the light.

Thankfully, God didn’t forget me. And neither did the people He put around me. 🙂 I’ll explain… Sometime. If I remember to. 😛 I tend to forget, y’know, I’m a Jo of very little brain. And a middling sized heart. *thumbs up*

But again, we’re not here to talk about that. It’s with a happy (really, extremely, all the “ly” words) pair of hands that I type the words I AM GLAD TO BE BACK HERE AND WHAT DID I MISS? XD

Let’s see.. where do I pick up after I left off?

Oh. I discovered cookie and ice cream sandwiches. Behold.

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So that was a plus. A tiny and delicious reason to smile. Anyway.

Zeke was right about one thing. And that would be that I’ve been writing. Like a lot of writing. Which may probably lead to burnout with NaNo and all, but hey, I got a chapter down- and a little something that I keep hinting at, but am actually close to mentioning. 😉 I will tell you this though, it’s kinda something I’ve never done before. And I’m almost finished. >:) But yes. Anyway, here’s a snippie from Just Come Home, because I miss sharing my writing. 😛

” My phone rang suddenly on me and serving Miss Addy and a bunch of her shopkeeper friends that day,  much to Miss Addy’s consternation and her friends’ delight. “Whups,” I apologized, slamming an order down on the table. I quickly fished out the source of the Lion King opening and hastily pressed the decline button mid “naah!!” “Sorry about that,” I said awkwardly, passing the drinks down.

My phone rang again.

With an even more obnoxious “nahhhh!” ” — Just Come Home

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Hand lettering helped so much during the tough times, kinda like a coloring book, but you draw as you color. So I’ve gotten into that, and ended up with a bunch of different quotes cursive-fied and pasted onto my journal. “Thank God It’s Friday” was the one yesterday.

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And this was one for another day. It’s one of my favorites. 🙂 Remind me to stop by the dollar store and pick up markers. And maybe more cookies. XD

I keep mentioning food in these posts. Send help.

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My headphones have practically been glued to my head (with good reason) and won’t leave (with VERY good reason), and the songs I end up muttering turn out to the best kind. I’ll talk about them another time. They, along with a billion other things that you don’t really notice at first glace, were little lights that shone rather brightly in the dark. 🙂 (Also, Rend Collective came to Toronto recently and I’m rather sad I missed them. XD)

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As for reading wise, I’ve pored over the Bible, and when it wasn’t the Bible, it was Ms. Marvel: Mecca, Black Widow: Shield’s Most Wanted, and this really weird and sad book called Cat’s Eye. It’s sad. I hate Cornelia (at least I think that was her name) and also, Toronto was weird in the 90’s, apparently. Who knew? Oh, and I almost died over Love To Everyone. That book gives the feels. It’s so good, ah. XD So that’s what I’ve been up to book wise. Not that it matters, but it’s fun to talk about, so, y’know, why not? 🙂

Oh, and if you caught the Winnie The Pooh  reference, then I suppose it’s relevant to mention that my family got and watched Christopher Robin last night, and I finally, finally, finally got to comment on the whole beautiful story plot wise without anyone giving me weird looks.

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The comments mostly consisted of things such as “THIS PLOT IS SO WELL DONE” and “Awwwwww, look at that character development” and “the animation asfghjkhjhgdfa wowowww”- I loved Christopher Robin.

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Loved it.

And there, dear people reading this, is a recap of everything. For the most part.

Also to the Eugene who contacted me, thank you so much, you recognized genius of Campbell County Community College you. 🙂 Also to Penny, I died laughing at your posts.

Also, glad to be back.

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You can tell, I’m sure. 🙂

Hey, maybe I’ll actually record with the Patrie. Maybe.

*accidentally breaks a string* O_O

I’m glad to be back.

winnie the pooh GIF by Walt Disney Studios

 

life is a highway, Jo

It Isn’t The End (Never Is, I’m Just Being Dramatic Per Norm)

 

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This is where we’re at, people.

Mondays are hard, math is brutal, and people can be jerks.

It’s not even Monday anymore. smh

Today is just one of those days that you want to end as quickly as possible. Work has gotten 10 times stressful, the people who I’m supposed to be collaborating with ended up dominating  what we were doing and now I’m just another go-get-this and go-do-that. School is crushing- even more so when people demand things that just can’t be met. I have zero time to write, it’s increasingly hard to be with people simply because they don’t really.. I don’t know, recognize that I have feelings? It’s hard. Send me coffee. XD Oh, and don’t forget to add that the fleshly part of me is a horrifying monster that I swear, I wish I could kick out of existence and burn. to. ash. I’m with Paul on this one. I do exactly what I don’t want to do and I don’t do what I want to do.

I’m not looking forward to anything right now. There’s no tangible or intangible prize I can think of for sticking out another day (i.e. this day).

So why on earth am I writing this post?

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Why do I feel the need to reveal that it’s a terrible, horrible, no good day and I’m feeling about as energetic as Eeyore and I’m kinda broken right bout now? Why do I bother writing a personal post that I’m not sure even I would enjoy reading? Why am I being so petty and writing who knows how many words of drek about bad days like it’s something so bad and hidden when it’s common knowledge that some days are good and every other day is.. bad times a hundred?

I  don’t know.

I joked to my mom a day or two ago when she was questioning my all-black wardrobe  that it matched the color of my soul. Which, now that I look back on it, seems accurate right now. Life seems a little darker, not enough to grab a flashlight, but not light enough to feel safe either.

Seems.

Hang on while I grab a Nutella sandwich so we can talk about this some more, because I have to believe I’m not the only one out there. Surely there’s someone somewhere and this is where they’re at. Maybe it’s you.
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It isn’t the end.

I’ll say that again, not because you have bad eyes, but because I need this hammered into my numbskull of a brain.

It. is. not. the. end.

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Sure, maybe it looks like whatever rut you fell into, you can’t climb out and maybe it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel, and maybe it’s too much for you and it’s hard and you want to give up.

But it isn’t too much for God.

Nothing is. Nothing.

So give up. XD

Yes, give it up. Give it up to God, because we were not meant to face the darkness alone. Probably the first thing I’ll say, no matter how preachy it sounds, because it’s true.

Tomorrow is not quite the same as today. The Maker of days has all of yours planned out, and you can trust them into His hands.

Sometimes what you need is to get back into the Word. Read a Psalm. Memorize something. Listen to a praise and worship song. It’s not a wish-and-problem-gone, granted, but you can never go wrong when you draw near to God and His Word.

“Hope is not some vague emotion that comes out of nowhere, like a stomachache. Hope is the confidence that the stupendous future promised to us by the word of the Spirit is going to really come true. ” -John Piper

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While we’re at it, laughter is a literal lifeline, lifesaver, and it’s beautiful. Use often. XD It’s easier to see things on the bright side when you forget that things aren’t for just a little while- when you look at the lighter stuff. And trust me- laughter is contagious and everyone should be infected, in my opinion.

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As previously stated, you. were. not. meant. to. be. alone. kay. The hardest thing about feeling down is that sometimes nobody could care less.

In that case, please know that there’s always someone. God, a cousin, a sibling- sometimes you have to reach out and take a change. Sometimes you’ll be hurt. But please know that no matter what, someone loves you. Always.

I guess when I try to sum it up- don’t give up hope. Grasp for it, step out for it- but don’t give it up. It’s there for you. For me.

Man, I need to take my own poorly hashed advice.

But there it is. 🙂 I’ll be at the thrift store looking for lighter shirts. Because it ain’t all dark. As the wise foolish Poe Dameron once said, “as long as there is light, we still have a chance!”

life is a highway, Jo

How Comic Books Helped Me Understand Real Life

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**WARNING: While this post puts comics in a good light, I am in no means encouraging you to check any out or saying that they’re pure goodness and are essential to a person’s TBR. They’re not. There are much better books to read XD We good? Great!**

I’ll say it once, and by good gracious I will say it again. Fantastic Four was better in the comics than in the movies.

Fight me.

I have no clue where on earth our FF copy went- but I do know that it, along with a number of others- was picked up and read by a rather naïve little reader who wanted a good story. I was a little too young to get all of it- just like I was with the others taken home and pored over- but looking back, there’s some connections made that have actually been influential in helping me understand things? Which is weird, I guess, but it really did.

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*sighs* I remember being squished with four other people over a copy of Civil War- or at least I think it was Civil War. We had ZERO clue that not only would we have to read Cap and Tony fighting- but only a few years later, we’d actually see that play out. We didn’t even know Spiderman could be that deep. That comic taught me something that’s stuck: that when you give the power to any one person, it can affect millions more. Nobody here on this earth has the ability to have all the power and use it for good all the time. No one government, no one union, no one thing. And that trying to take away the freedoms of those who fight for freedom to fight for it- that takes away the freedoms of those who can’t fight for it too. That was a tongue twister but it’s true. 😛

So fast forward a few years later, heading about stuff like trade wars and borders and what country is doing what, and what comes into my head is Spiderman trying to revoke the Registration Act. My brain is weird. But it worked.

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Heard on the news about overpopulation and euthanasia and how the world is following a path of destruction and pain, and Reed Richards’ attempts to change the future make sense now. I get why he tried to do that.

But I also get why that’s wrong.

I learned how to be brave from Peter Parker. That sometimes in the fight for good, you will lose, and lose, and lose what you love and it will hurt. Bu you gotta do it anyway.

I learned that more lies and more deception NEVER end up good. Seeing Black Widow and The Winter Soldier trying to sift through what’s real and not real- watching as people in real life had to do just that- as I had to do just that- it clicked. I got that.

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I learned that what makes you a hero or a villain is your heart. We could all be villains deep down. Heroes come in all shapes and sizes, and even they fail. Even Captain America, supposedly a foundation of truth and everything good- he’s human. He fails. In the end, there is one Hero, and He never fails. (And yes, I just said that. Because it’s true.)

You need to work as a team. Squirrel Girl was enough lesson for me. Kamala Khan, Miles Morales, and T’challa taught me the importance of family. Iron Man taught me to concentrate on today. The Avengers as a whole taught me that life is so much more important that any “greater good”. Life IS the greater good.

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I learned that you are gonna have to find a standard. You’re gonna have to find your code of life, conduct, your reason for why you do what you do, your morals, what you absolutely will not cross and what you might have to. You’re gonna hafta be brave.

Maybe from all the comics, something that resounds loud and clear is that it’s not about you. It. is. not. about. you. Steve Rogers gave his life- many times- for his country. Nat went back to the Red Room, where she’d been broken and torn and made into an assassin, to end it so no other girls would have to go through what she did. Spiderman loses a lot. He loses Aunt May. He wears a mask and fights and still manages to crack a joke because it’s all part of making sure his city’s safe. Need I say more?

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Comics are not perfect. Comics are not clean. There are some really bad things you shouldn’t see, bad elements that are wrong, yes, that’s true. Definitely read with the critical(est) of minds. Marvel isn’t perfect. Far from it- Marvel, DC, and other great comics come from fallen studios churning out stories about fallen people.

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But it’s not fair to say that you can’t learn something from them. You can. Maybe it ain’t in clear black and white, maybe it doesn’t need to be. It’s not fair to say that they don’t teach important lessons. It’s not fair to say that valuing life- at no matter what cost- isn’t a theme worth portraying. Because it is.

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Maybe some of the most important things are displayed in 24 panel art with people wearing Spandex and throwing shields.

I know that’s how I’ve found them.

(not all most important things, mind you, just some. 🙂 )

life is a highway, Jo

 

 

 

Flipping Burgers Is A Noble Profession

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We were talking about this article, my brother and dad and I, that talked about this lady who had been working on McDonald’s for over like… 20+ years? Don’t really remember- but she was in her late 90s, and she’d been one of McDonalds’ longest workers- which is really impressive.

But I’m ashamed to say that after reading the article, my dad and brother laughed. As if working at McDonald’s was an easy job that shouldn’t even be considered a job, and that that lady (who kinda really deserved that recognition?) musta been bored outta her brain.

I’m even more ashamed to say I laughed with them. Just like an ignorant kid who didn’t really know.

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(Gah, sometimes I wanna slap past me. That extends to from 2 years ago to 20 minutes.)

The thing is, I was so, wonderfully, hugely wrong.

Really wrong.

I wish I could find that lady and apologize. For thinking so little of that hard earned role I didn’t think to remember her name.

Fast food workers. Homemaking. Maintenance crews. Bus drivers. School bus drivers. The janitors who clean up the big city stores. Window washers.  These are jobs people need done but don’t think it worth doing. “see this? You don’t do your homework, you’ll end up here.” Like the people who do these jobs are on some bottom rung, and everyone who doesn’t is on one higher. 

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See, last summer my sister starting working in the fast food world- at the ultimate (and superior, tbh) fast food place, Tim Hortons. A few weeks in was all it took to know it wasn’t a walk in the park- and I wasn’t even the one working. It was hard and it was tiring, and ya know what- it was work. Actual. hard. work. It wasn’t like waiting at a lemonade stand waiting for people to show up.

So here’s why flipping burgers is a noble profession. Actually, scratch that. Here’s why the professions we deem “what happens if you don’t study in high school” are noble.

God says so. 

HA. And yes, I can prove that.

1 Corinthians 10:31 31So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

Notice the words, “whatever you do, do it all”? It didn’t say “whatever you do that’s in a nice office with plushy swivel chairs, do it all” or “whatever you do that’s in a comfortable work setting, do it all” ” or even, “whatever you do that pays well and has a lotta people seeing the good stuff you’ll do, do it all”. No, it’s whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

That’s a tall order, ‘kay? And yet, that’s what we should strive for in whatever we do. Peter and James and John were fishermen. Paul was a literal tentmaker. Jesus was a carpenter. Dorcas was a tailor- they and many more people, not just from the Bible, but from the rest of history proved that it was indeed possible to do everything to the glory of God. So why people all looking down on these jobs like “seriously, that’s the best you can do?”

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A similar thing kinda happened, but about people in the ministry and everyone who wasn’t in it, that somehow pastors were the ones God deemed saints and regular common people weren’t- that’s messed up and also, not true. *nods head like I know what I’m talking about*

Society needs these jobs, but they’ll never admit it, because society is a weird thing that likes to admit it’s all that when it’s really not.

Imagine a world where the garbage wasn’t taken away from your house every day and you had to get rid of it yourselves. Or imagine a mall you walked into and the halls were muddy from the feet of whoever walked there last night. Or imagine the whole fast food thing never existing. Or imagine going to take a bus, but there wasn’t anyone behind the wheel. Chaotic. Why? Because there aren’t any workers doing the jobs. I mean, don’t get me started on if your mom wasn’t there managing things- and we’re homeschoolers, for the most part, so we should know what that looks like. Oh, and should I even mention moms who work part time? They manage two jobs AND their kids. That’s hard.

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The fact is, we depend so much on the people we deem have “lesser” jobs without even knowing. They’re the engine that keeps things running but isn’t heard if you don’t think about it. These people aren’t paid much to make sure that everyone else has a comfortable time. The least you could do is respect ’em a bit and not talk trash about their job while they’re doing it.

Serving is one of the greatest things you can do, and one of the hardest.

Hey, this can come in all sorts of ways, but how come the commonest ones are hardly ever appreciated?  Garbage truck drivers, bus drivers, teachers, fast food workers- could use a little more appreciation and respect. They’re doing the work so you don’t have to.

They’re people too, y’know. 

My sister and a couple friends I know all ending up working in different places because college is ridiculously expensive here and because experience is a lot and because money is tight. But nobody really cares about that though. Nobody cares that behind the counter is another person trying to make ends meet, just like you. But for you, as soon as you get your burger, you’re outta there. For them, they have to do the same thing all over again for the next person in line. Also, to be honest, some people are really just jerks. A person can only handle so many jerks, y’know?

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Okay, okay, we get the point, whadya want us to do now?

Maybe just to realize this:

I’m not saying just stick with your job, whatever kind of job you have, because it helps society or whatever. If you wanna quit working at a diner to start up a company- go for it! If you think you would rather create music than be an engineer or a welder, do it. if you wanna work at McDonald’s just to save up money to buy a truck and travel cross country around North America taking pictures of everything and falling off cliffs so you can send your pictures to National Geographic, go for it! (Don’t fall off a cliff, but yeah!)

Just don’t look on people who do these jobs. Or who’ve struck a cool balance between them. Fo’ example, there was this infuriating poster once which read, “why be a scientist when you can raise scientists?” and it showed a mom with a couple kids.

Woah.

That’s just broke.

Stay woke, you guys. Why not do both? *gasp* Is it entirely impossible for a mom to *gasps even more* actually do something not kid-raising related while raising kids?

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Uh, no. *shoves Hidden Figures in your face*

*mini rant about moms over*

So here’s to the ones that aren’t in the spotlight. Here’s to the ones who have to clean up even after everyone’s gone. Here’s to the janitors, the late night crews, the bus drivers who have to put up with people and traffic, the moms who stay home and run things, the moms who manage both, the kids who need some money for a future, that lady who worked at McDonald’s for longer than most kids have been alive.

Cause even flipping burgers is a noble profession, whether we realize it or not.

life is a highway, Jo

Even The Sky Cries

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She couldn’t stop herself, and truth be told, she was glad for it. Even if they looked at the one tear rolling down her cheek with disdain. “You can cry all you want, but it doesn’t really matter,” they said.

Her eyes narrowed, and the light from above glinted  like fire. “One tear is all I want? really? You underestimate me. I don’t cry. ” she replied, her voice both steely and breaking.

Even if she wanted to. Even if she felt her heart being stabbed over and over by a mindless sword that didn’t care if it was beating and feeling still. 

Well. It would feel no more. 

Excuse her for breathing. 

Storytime: Once upon a time, a long long time ago, my siblings and I watched this movie called Song of The Sea.

See the source imageThis amazing beautiful sweet story, which I’d love to talk about another time, is about a great many things. But in it, the MC meets an old owl (the bad guy) who takes away emotions so that they don’t feel. Consequently turning the people whose emotions are suddenly drained, into rocks.

Bad right? But it turns out the bird’s just trying to help. See, her son lost a lover (or something like that, don’t ask me) and he cried so much he filled an ocean with his tears. (Again, don’t ask me, it’s animation, anything’s possible.) So to relieve his pain, his mom, who happens to be the weird owl, took away his ability to feel. She offers that same choice to the MC, saying that feelings are baggage and they hurt and stuff like that. But the obvious problem is that when you don’t feel, you become hard and well, very similar to a rock. Dead. Cold. Unfeeling. You know the type.

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Next case in point:

If you’ve ever watched Inside Out, and seen those very confusing little animated emotions try to manage their human, there’s always one who’s trying to manage everyone else, isn’t there? And that would be.. Joy.

See the source image
This bean. 

 

She’s kinda a lot like the owl from the first movie, except instead of locking up all emotions and bottling it away, Joy (the sweet naïve personified emotion) tries to make sure her human only feels happiness. All of her coworkers agree- except maybe Sadness. Because she’s too busy being sad. And in Joy’s little head, NOBODY needs Sadness. Sadness is a burden, the emotion you need to push away. Right?

Mm…no. Just no.

I know Song Of The Sea and Inside Out are only movies, but the thing is they kinda have a point. The same point this post has (*gasp* it actually does!): Happiness is not the only emotion you have to feel, and you can’t just bottle up your emotions, neither.

You need to let yourself feel Sadness sometimes. Or Fear. Or Anger. And hey, this isn’t just movie characters- (going preachy, sorry about that) a ton of people from the Bible are recorded to have more emotions that just happiness.

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Read the Psalms. Some of David’s writings are brimming with sadness and pain and guilt.

Elijah had to run for his life from Jezebel and wanted to die on a number of occasions.

Paul mentions the Corinthians being in sorrow because of what he said.

Jesus was so mad at the priests turning the temple into a marketplace, He overthrew the tables.

Also, Jesus wept at Lazarus’ tomb.

Want me to say it again?

The Son of Man, the Son of God, the Savior of the world, the KING, wept at the tomb of his friend.

Wept.

Down with that “big boys don’t cry” now, okay? It’s wrong and not true. Thanky ‘ou.

Why did Jesus cry? Weep? Even though he knew that he would raise Lazarus from the grave? I don’t really know. And if anyone does know, please tell me. XD My point is, Jesus Himself felt sadness.

Which is weird, considering Paul (at least I think it was, those NT writers sometimes sound similar) told us, “Rejoice, and again I say rejoice!”

How can you have joy when you feel sadness?

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Maybe…  because joy does not equal happiness.

People have written books about it, and songs and plays and have spent their whole lives trying to find it, but the actual working definition seems to be elusive. Sometimes you can find joy even in the hardest circumstances. Sometimes it’s easy to find it. Sometimes you can’t be brought down because you have it, and sometimes the world comes crashing down and you can still have it.

Joy comes from the only true and lasting source: God. Everything else fades eventually. And God isn’t just there for your joy, He comforts in sorrow and in grief, He forgives you and helps your guilt, it’s not like once you’re a Christian you’ll be a hundred percent happy. Just that whatever you’re going through, you can draw your strength from Him. 🙂

I could be wrong (well, not about where joy comes from). Don’t ask me for advice on anything, and don’t take whatever you read here as truth. But that’s what it seems to be like. And I’d know.

See, I’m one of those rock people. Many times I’ve wished that I couldn’t feel, it hurt too much and I didn’t like it. I forced myself to be dead to anything remotely sad, just because I couldn’t handle it.

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Still kinda struggling with it, to be honest. By the time my wish came true, I’d already had a thick shell I didn’t want anyone to touch. A tough face. A comeback for every insult.

Yeah, don’t try that.. it’s just… kinda..don’t.

What I eventually learned? Those walls only keep you in. Sadness hurts. And sometimes letting it out can help. If you keep it in, it’ll fester.. kinda like a nasty blister. It hurts to feel. But it hurts more to not feel. Even if it’s only joy you’re trying to feel.

Why did I take almost a thousands words to say this, I don’t know. But I guess what I’m trying to say is: It’s okay to cry. No, you shouldn’t be driven by your emotions and have a sobbing party every other Wednesday afterevening because someone hurt your feelings, but you can’t go to the other extreme and bottle all those feelings up and toss ’em away.  Reach out to someone who might really need a friend. Let your heart beat again. Let go of the idea that you’re not strong if you cry. It takes great strength for a person to share their feelings. Even Jesus cried.

Even the sky cries.

life is a highway, Jo

 

 

Hard Stuff: Perfect Imperfection

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(Warning: this post is long and will include faith. Proceed with extreme criticism, and please call me out if I said something contrary to God’s word. :D)

I’ve never seen her that mad over something I didn’t think she’d thought was so important.

“You wore a ponytail to church- I just, do you even know what Mrs. D thought of you?? You’re just like the Z boys- you’re so unkempt and dirty and you’re so untidy- is this the kind of person I thought you people are?? And then you just HAD to go and bang the door didn’t you- just like you just HAD to forget that you’re a lady, you should look good- and you never listen to me on how to do things the proper way!!”

With everything in me…. OUCH.

That’s an understatement- I was devastated.

If it was anyone else, I couldn’t have cared less. But this was from someone really close and really special to me- someone I thought saw more than skin and hair.

Also, for the record, I had no clue the door would sound that loud. Honest mistake.

For the first time in a long time, I really felt my imperfection. And not just that it was there. But that it was horrible, disgraceful, and almost bordering on ungodliness.

We get posts saying how the media pressures us- especially girls, but honestly it does pressure guys too- to be perfect. But what if you’re in the rare minority that doesn’t care about the media?

What if it’s a PERSON that’s telling you how imperfect and wrong you were- and what if it’s someone you love and thought completely accepted you?

That’s what I wanna talk about today. Because it can and will make you doubt everything about you- especially your worth.

Does perfection = worth?

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Even though I kinda pride myself (in a weird, messed up way :P) on being the weird messed up dork with crooked teeth and skewed glasses, for a long time I’ve felt unworthy because I didn’t want to be pressured into being perfect. And because people have always tried to make me what they think is perfect.

“Curl your hair, it” “You’re so skinny- wow!” “do you honestly eat so much?” “You’re really pretty when you smile. You should smile more.”

But I’ve always known that that isn’t ME.

I have straight hair, and I also have SCHOOL. I could not care less about having curls- I WANT GRADES! My metabolism’s fast, I’m an athlete, of course I need to eat a little more. And sometimes I CAN’T smile. Sometimes I wanna yell. Or frown. Sometimes I want to let myself feel an emotion that isn’t happiness. So if I really took it upon myself to take their kindly offered suggestions 24/7 (aka, the only right way to take said advice…)

I’d be lying. That’s not who I am. (Not bashing y’all people who dabble in makeup and hairstyling and whatnot- like that’s AWESOME and that’s you and good for you!) That just isn’t me.

And… y’know, when people figure out I’m not that kind of person, they just…

They just look at me differently.

Or worse, they say the kinds of things in the introductory paragraph.
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I guess that’s why I’ve HATED being in pictures. I’ve hated having to talk to people. I’ve hated having to smile, I’ve hated that people think I should play the game of perfection. So because I would die if I tried, and I’m #stubborn, and because somewhat like Peggy Carter, I’m trying to know my worth, I don’t. Let’s not even mention the non-looks flaws I have, starting with I’m too curious for my own good, I don’t wanna talk to people when I can write about them, and I’m hopelessly clumsy. Apparently, that’s just as bad as wearing a ponytail to church. And the comments get to me, even though I’ve tried my hardest not to care.

But starting last year, I’ve finally gotten to find my style. Aesthetic. Whatever. XD I’ve gotten comfortable in pictures. I’ve finally felt comfortable in my own skin.

Only to have that yelled at me.

Where and how does one conduct oneself after that?

Ultimately, I think it’s important to be reminded that… 1. no ONE person on this earth has the only true standard of worth.
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God does.

And, uh, according to His rules, um, NOBODY’S PERFECT. Because God doesn’t look at perfectly styled hair, or the best right kick, or biceps, or a small waist (not that any of these are bad)- he looks at the heart.

1 Samuel 16:7 7But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

You can have all the looks, have all the skills, have all the grace and poise, but in God’s eyes, you’re a sinner (and if you’re a Christian) saved by grace. And He loves you whether or not you’re perfect.

Maybe repeat the last line again?

2. You do not need to look perfect to be loved by God.

You do not need to have perfect talent, skill,  or ability to juggle peeled mangoes with one arm to be worthy of anything.

You do not need to be perfect.

Christ did not die for the perfect of this world. Because there is no one perfect. He died for everyone. 

He died for you.

John 3:16 New International Version (NIV)  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

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Also, 3. God designed each of us and we are His masterpiece. 

Ephesians 2:10 10For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Psalm 139:13-14 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Every year, hundreds of people eagerly await for the unveiling of a new American Girl Doll- new look, new personality, new face mold. But the thing is God makes all of those with each new person that comes into the world- on a daily basis. Not just once a year. Everyone is unique, and special,  and loved.

Am I trying to excuse people who dress sloppily, or are klutzes (klutzy? Klutse? I can’t type words)) to the point it becomes dangerous? No. Am I saying that people should stop trying to improve their looks? No. Am I trying to say that I’m fine and don’t need to look good sometimes? No. What I’m saying is, sometimes people worry too much about looks of themselves and other people, that they end up hurting people with their words.

And for the people who were hurt, this is for you. I only wish I could word this better.

But yeah.

That’s it.

life is a highway, Jo

 

 

Hard Stuff: Don’t Call Yourself Dumb

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My dad and I were driving around yesterday and we were just talking about the weird things that are normal in the here and now: speaking with emojis instead of words, looking at your phone instead of talking to people, little kids spending their entire days on YouTube videos *cough cough heh guilty during NaNo*, people taking huge risks to make those videos, movies that churn out mediocre stories in exchange for money, how people will believe anything the internet tells ’em. Anyway, Dad mentioned something that I haven’t stopped thinking about for a while.

“you live in a dumbed-down society.”

I suppose, to an extent, he’s right, of course. This world’s very different then it was a decade or two ago. But I’d have to disagree if that statement applied to people too.

But forget people now, what I’m interested in is you.

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Ever feel like you’re just, so, so, hopelessly dumb? Annoying algebra and your brain just don’t work together, you push instead of pull on a doorknob, cashier at the checkout asks for a dollar and you accidentally give her two, you have no clue what “bonjour” means despite a test and two quizzes? Flunked?

The best running joke in my family is that I don’t have a brain, but I do have a placebo for it and it actually works. XD And that joke’s still run by me. I like poking fun at myself and the things I do that are just… well, for lack of a better word. Dumb. I’m already messed up, why not make fun of it and make other people laugh?

Thing is though, dumb is an adjective that fits nobody. Nobody.

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During July Camp NaNo, when I was groaning about how Mirages wasn’t ending up in the style I wanted and the characters were too OOC, and it’s just full of melodramatic nothingness and I was just a dumb writer, I think it was either Tess or Enni or quite possibly both at different times who shook my by the proverbial shoulders and said,

“Hey. God made your brain. Are you telling me He made a mistake in designing you?”

With all the love I can muster, ouch.

As Doc Hudson’s coach said, “truth is always quicker.” Or something like that.

Anyway, we talked for a while, and Tess and Enni? You practically wrote this post. I’m just passing on what you told me because it’s kinda important.

I’m not sure if self esteem is a thing, but I do know that self negativity (which I’m hoping means always thinking of yourself as dumb or something to that extent) can really trip you up and stop you from moving and brings you down. So. What my crazy and awesome cabinmates told me, I’m telling you. To stop that from happening.  😀

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Because you are fearfully and wonderfully made, that includes your mental system, which means your brain and mind were wonderfully made, which means if you’re putting that down to yourself, you’re saying God wasn’t a good Creator. 

Ye-ouch, that hurts writing it. But God is the Master Creator. He “skillfully wrought you from the depths of the earth” (Psalm 139: 15b if you wanna fact-check me from the NASB). I dunno about you, but the word skillfully should give ya a clue as to how you were made.

Take a snowflake and look at it.. Ever think how delicately intricate it is? Ever wonder why in the world are no two of them ever exactly the same, no matter how many winters we have? If God pays so much attention to a melting crystal that dissolves in like 5 seconds, how much more you? Y’know?

Anyway, back in July when they were telling me this, I faintly remember arguing, if not on the cabin, in my head, “So I have a good brain. or mind. I still make the dumbest mistakes on a daily basis.”

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Everyone gets the chance to grow from their mistakes.

We’re all kids. We make mistakes that really are dumb. We’re growing, and making mistakes comes with the growth. It’s up to us whether we learn from them or still repeat them.

The mistakes, dumb they may be, do not define you. Not if you don’t let them define you.

Who knows, in a couple months’ time, I might look back on this post and groan at it. We grow.

If you wouldn’t call another person dumb, don’t call yourself dumb.

Am I right, or am I right? Maybe, when in exasperation or a joking mood, you can tease someone about being dumb, but for the most part, you wouldn’t go up to a person and say, “you’re just really dumb. Look at this work, can’t you just stop being so bad at this and actually get stuff done?” Of course you wouldn’t. Because if you would, you’re so dead.

So why you doing it to yourself, huh?

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If you keep saying it, there’s a good possibility you’ll actually believe it. 

Raise you hand if you’ve heard the story about that lil train who kept saying he could and he did. Or, for a different illustration, maybe you’ve heard Natasha Romanoff mutter this:

“I thought I knew whose lies I was telling. Guess I can’t tell the difference anymore.”

Black Widow is a fictional character. You’re real. Among the many lies you can tell yourself, the “I am dumb” one can be an easy one to believe. And the more you tell a lie, the more you start to believe it. Don’t need HYDRA or the KGB to believe a deadly lie.

Sure, sometimes you need to scold yourself once in a short while, I mean, I find myself doing that a lot, but if you keep thinking about how dumb you think you are, that can and will get to you.

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tl;dr:

Your mind is fearfully and wonderfully made by God among everyone in this earth (i.e. this also applies to kids with autism and Aspergers and down syndrome and people we call “normal”) and bashing that won’t help you get anywhere.

Maybe, the more people start to realize that their minds were intricately and specially made, society wouldn’t be as dumbed down as we think it is.

Life is a highway,

Jo

 

Letter to my future self

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So a while back, I saw Bayance do a post like this, and I thought it was a really great idea. Since I’m young and impressionable (I’m being sarcastic) and the idea of writing something that I’ll answer later on seems pretty neat.

Because the truth is, I’m terrified, yet eager for the future. I’m nervous and excited. Nervouscited. Sometimes I’m grateful I’m not driving my life and God is, but other times I wanna poke my head out from the back and ask, “Where are we going? And can we stop for a break?”

And then there’ve been times when I was so, so tired of the road, of life and- I guess you could call this letter thing.. a reminder to keep going? 😛 I don’t know. But here goes.

(I just realized how silly this might sound, especially when I just did a letter to my past self. I have put my hands to the keyboard and there’s no pressing backspace. XD)

Dear future Jo,

Are you getting enough sleep or are you still staying up ridiculously late for “writing research”? Or are you forgetting that because you’re writing too much fanfiction?

I wonder if you’ll remember me? The kid that was you just a year ago? Maybe just shorter than you by a couple inches- speaking of, did you get taller yet? XD If you don’t.. well, I guess your old journals should remind you. Wait, you’re still writing a page a day, right? 😀

I have so, so many questions but I won’t know the answers til later. Whyy- so this won’t take too much of your time.

How are you? Really? and not just “good”. How are you? Are you still the same weird crazy writer photographer lover of God bacon crumble enthusiast person? Do you still love reading? Ooh, did you find any new books? Did any of your alphas publish?? 😀

How’s your family? Did we change in any way? Did we get to go to Minnesota and meet up with Uncle Danny, or did work get in the way again? Speaking of work, do you have a job now? Tell Mom and Dad I say hi. XD That’s kinda funny.

Did you finally publish your book? or more importantly, did you finally FINISH your book? 😛 As well as memorize all of Galatians, or did you slack on that too?

Have you met anyone new? People that became close friends? 😀 Ooh- did you ever have a meetup or anything great like that?

Was this summer as crazy as you thought it would be? As last as last year? As rich and good and growing-y?

I kinda wonder.

I wonder about what you will be.

If you’ll be different.

The thought’s scary.

But kinda cool, too. 🙂

Have you joined any writing contests- oh, oh, oh, and how’s the Audiosmiths? Is that still going? And did Buck Oliver get adopted yet? please tell me Jason didn’t end up with Jillian. Even better, tell me Jillian left town- pleeeease. I begst of thee! Did AIO have anything new up its sleeve?

How many words did you girls write in your fanfiction? 😉 It was at 57k when last I checked, and we’re starting a new book soon. Where you at?

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Also, can you do a backflip yet? You still wanna join American Ninja Warrior or something great like that, right? And how’s Bible Bee going- assuming you joined and studied and did the work. Did they let Canadians compete in semi-finals yet?

Or like finals?

Because I’ve been wondering.

I wonder a lot, and I wonder if you will wonder too.

Are you still blogging, or did you give that up after your first year? And did you change your theme and actually put effort into your blog design, or were you lazy like I am?

Is your prayer life stronger than it is now? 😀 And your walk with God in general? Hopefully that got stronger over time.

How much did you laugh at St. John In Exile? XD Or in general? And is your favorite movie still CA:TWS? And is you favorite hero still TWS? 😛 Oh.

He didn’t die right?

I mean, he can’t.

I sure hope not.

Ahhhh if you find the answer, please lemme know.

Of course, I won’t receive it in time. XD But that’s okay.

Did anything change?

And are you okay with that now?

Because I’m still trying to figure stuff out.

I think that’s it for now. See you…. soon, I guess?

With all the questions my brain finds no trouble in mustering,

Jo

P.S Will you even still answer this- or remember you wrote it?

P.P.S. Now I got nothing.

P.P.P.S. Byeeeeee!

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Y’know, I still wonder.

But I guess time will tell. 🙂

Life is a highway,

Jo