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

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I Got Lost On A Retreat (But I survived! :D) And I Have Pictures To Tell The Tale

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Well, this is gonna be a random typical post with a random typical person and random typical pictures, glad you could stop by! 😀 Heya everyone! Happy Monday and the start of a long painful slow death.

I don’t know if you guys like travel posts, but I sure do! So, here goes before my brother finds our DVDs and I have to start school. XD

Anyway, last weekend was a pretty amazing weekend, one being that it was the weekend and two being that I got to go on my church’s youth winter retreat, which is a big deal considering there’s only like 10 of us and the last retreat was way back in 2008. And I fell hard for the whole thing.

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The world was quiet there. Still. Cold. Welcoming. The roads just stretched on and on and if I had the wheel, I wouldn’t have stopped driving. I also woulda crashed. 😛 But thankfully, neither happened. What did happen was a staying up late Bible study wherein we talked about the Rapture (still trying to figure out why), pizza, worship, and goofing around. Oh, and playing cards past 2. And than sharing our testimonies til 3.

I dunno, it was weird, but it was nice, too. 🙂

But forget that- that’s not the best part. XD

I’ve been trying for weeks now to practice shooting in manual- which is so stinkin’ hard at night- and when we came there I immediately let everyone know I wasn’t gonna follow lights out because the stars were there and who needs sleep when you have the stars?

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So while everyone was playing cards, I walked around the place. Quiet. Still. Semi-creepy. I like to think I got better at night photography.

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As for the stars themselves… I TRIED KAY. I tried.

Also, it’s humanly impossible to rewrite the stars friends. They’re too far up.

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That was… pathetic.

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Also pathetic. I can’t believe I took this at a shutter speed of 30 seconds, and this was all I got. *facesmacks* Someone give me tips or something please.

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Slightly better.

I was so excited when I took these photos though- I actually laid on the ground and raised my camera up- remind me to bring a tripod next time. XD I’m pretty sure I left tons of room for improvement- but hey, I walked around in the cold air by myself and had my lens fogged up. It was worth it. 🙂

And then I did the same thing again after like.. 4 hours of sleep because I was busy muttering Galatians at 3 and insomnia wasn’t a friendly, but it was morning, the sun was coming up, and there’s a part where Gale convinces her mom to let her stay up early to shoot the sunrise.

I wasn’t gonna let the opportunity slip by my window!

I even got two very groggy friends to come with me at 7:14 AM. And we set out in jammies.

No sun.

Nothing. Nada.

Rats!

Again, though, it was worth it- no regrets here. 😀

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There’s a lot of good memories.

Jogging to the lodge for breakfast and covertly sneaking bacon.

Feeling silly because we had to sing  really upbeat version of Jesus Loves Me.

Spending the morning reading the Word.

Scrambling to the gym and playing volleyball. Losing. I can’t serve- my dumb fist can take a punch, but not a spike. -_-

Playing ball hockey with a friend (also dude, thanks for not rubbing it in my face that I’m bad at it)

Trying to reach a ridiculously high curl up bar.

Giving up and heading outside where it was quiet and still and peaceful.

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Laughing at the poor unfortunates who trapped themselves in the cycle of fear that was the see-saw, and vowing to post their reactions online. I didn’t because I’m nice.

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Walking to the tiny lake and skipping rocks over the frozen surface. It made a satisfying thud sound.

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Scaling a tree and staying there while everyone was busy trying to throw a rock to the other side. And failing. I have a lot of blackmail to use now.

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Walking around, laughing with friends, forgetting that I’m not 10 and school starts day after tomorrow and so much is depending on me not messing up. Enjoying fresh air and being goofy. (Well, I’m always goofy but you know what I mean)

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Eating lunch and not caring about the lack of internet or that I didn’t bring my laptop, because who needs a screen when there a people around you and you’re here, aren’t you? 🙂

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Getting lost and just taking picture after picture because finally, manual works, hooray! I also really like these pictures. I got something really close to a sunflare. 😀

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Just enjoying being alone and happy because I could walk wherever I wanted and not worry about my parents being worried I’d be kidnapped and taken to Budapest to work for the FBI. XD When you’re close to the city, everything’s gotta be worried about.

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Hammering out tunes on the old piano in the corner.

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Driving away and just staring at all the farms and barns and horses and honestly, the scene reminds me of Just Come Home and now I really wanna finish that book XD Who knew two hours of fields was the push I needed? Not me.

I think I’ve rambled on long enough- but I’ll finish with saying that I’m grateful I got to go. I was planning to grumble about it to myself, but I guess God changed my heart because I have so much to be grateful for about that. For bacon, duh. For wandering. For the woods. For that guy who believed I could jump a fence if I tried hard enough. For friends. For family. For being challenged to love the Bible more.

What did I just say about rambling XD

Alright. Get to work guys- have a great Monday!

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If I Knew Then What I Know Now (Plus pic for BIBPC, carol, and linky to more of the blog tour yikes this title is long)

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You’re not the only one, kid.

Not by a long shot.

There is only one you you of course, the dorky quirky awkward weird laughing kid who’s just not the same from everyone else, but there are other people with your dreams. Your quirks. And your alarming obsession of Adventures in Odyssey, good gracious.

You’re an annoying little midge of energy, so yes, the haters were right.

But you’re lovable. Sorta. So the haters were wrong.

Also, the haters’ opinions don’t really matter, so keep that in mind.

I don’t know how to tell you, kid. I don’t know how to tell you that people will break your heart and what you thought was right is wrong and that things will change with the snap of a finger and you’re gonna have a lot of curve balls whizzing your way, so please learn to catch, kay?

Your “friends” are shallow, but be nice. Don’t collar the big kids even though you know they’re being jerks. If you do, don’t lie about it. Lying is evil. And don’t think you’re all that smart, why don’t ya? But do learn more. You’ll need it.

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Remember how you said you had nothing to live for? Ohhh boy, you be wishing you could take that back. Look around you. Look at the little miracle baby of the C’s, that little tiny thing that everyone thought was a dangerous tumor. Her? She’s gonna grow up to be a sweet little terror, and you’ll be chasing her around a hall more times then you can count. Good on ya for not wearing high heels.

Books are portals to another world. I’m glad you spend your head off in them. Also, pick up a pencil soon- you’ll be writing your own before you know it.

Love your family. Love love love them. They’re broken and not perfect, but still good. Also you’re a part of it.

Bacon crumbles exist. You’ll love them.

Good gracious, stop assuming things are gonna be carved out for you, like an easy puzzle. You gotta start doing things yourself and get it done. People are gonna depend on you whether you like it or not. And if not now, definitely in the future. So get used to it.

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You’re gonna meet people in ways you didn’t expect and you’re gonna pour your heart and soul into projects you would never have dreamed of doing. So attack that homework while you still have energy.

It does get worse.

It will. It will hurt so bad you can’t breathe.

But it will get better. I can promise you that. Don’t take my word for it. Take God’s.

Also, never ever ever skimp on the Bible. Ever. You’re gonna need that weapon. You’re gonna need to be armed and dangerous.

Uh, no, no, I didn’t mean to practice knife throwing, especially because that’s our last good knife. Thank you.

Things are gonna change. Not all of it will be good, but there will be good changes. You’re gonna meet people you can’t imagine life without and yet don’t like.

Okay admit it, you like that person.

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Write, my friend. You’ll love it. You’ll love making up stories and charries and daydreaming and plotting terrible deaths. Surprising, I know. And it’ll help you. So much.

No, no, screaming because of jogging pants and not jeans isn’t normal, no matter how much everyone thinks it is. Don’t be emotional when you respond. Calm down. count to ten. Punch that meanie in the nose. Don’t do the latter one because it won’t make you feel better. Instead… uh… I haven’t come up with how to handle that guy, but as Jesus says, treat them like you would a tax collector.

Run for your life!

Sorry, wrong context, friend. Speaking of, you do need to understand contest very, very well. But you pick your battles, and you stand up to that guy. To your fears. To that goal. To that line. You got this. Life won’t give you a bowl of opportunities and tell you to pick, so keep your eyes peeled for anything you find, and take it.

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Connie and Mitch break up. Tom Riley dies. Old Yeller gets shot. Iron Man gets hurt. The Baudelaires are confusing. The stories and life are similar in a way: they don’t go the way you expect.

Unlike the stories, your life story is being written by the Perfect Author, so never fear.

There is always a reason to laugh. I know there will be days when you’ll feel like drek, but trust me, you can find something to smile about. Care for something other than yourself, and do it a lot. Pray constantly. Pray continually. Don’t get out of touch with God.

Get stronger. Practice your high kick, especially on your right foot. It’s terrible. Push yourself to excellence, but stop for water. take care of yourself, and learn how to braid so nobody objects to your ponytail for the hundredth time in a row.

Observe people. Note their reactions, their fears, their movements, how they think.

Don’t be creepy about it though.

Man, there’s too much I wanna tell ya. Too much. Too much about loving and hurting and living and dying and reading and writing and fighting and resting and the time of day and how the year’s gonna fly by before you know it and Aragorn is brave and courageous but he is broken too and broken pieces can be fixed and people like Blackgaard will be defeated and-

…and you’ll find your way.

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Love,

Jo

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Well, another sign of my past is the above picture, friends, ^, which is also my picture for BIBPC. This category was so much easier, thank you Megan, tradition. And here’s mine. See, every Christmas Eve, we go on a marathon of AIO’s Back To Bethlehem, and it’s something I hope to be doing til I’m old and gray (and with those same cassettes XD)

4 days until Christmas Chances, people! Ahhh. You can catch more of Audiosmiths with Hannah and Enni’s lovely posts. Well maybe not Enni’s because she messed up my name. 😛 For now, though, I’ve taken a break from editing the audio drama and worked on a carol. I hope ya enjoy, bad though it may be. 😉

https://www.dropbox.com/s/anjxh0voag0qvid/Oh%20Holy%20Night.m4a?dl=0

(And if the linky doesn’t work, then uh.. lemme know)

 

Hard Stuff: Prayer Problems

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WARNING: If you don’t care for things of Christ, STOP FOLLOWING. NOW. Because I do. 

Okay, first off, I’m not saying prayer is a problem.

Second off, please don’t kill me!

Okay, we good? I don’t wanna offend anybody, but, this is something maybe we should talk about.

And it’s prayer. Prayer isn’t a problem. It’s how we approach prayer.

Okay, first off, what is prayer?

To simplify, prayer is talking to God. That’s it in a nutshell.

And this is our first problem: we don’t realize what a privilege and precious gift we have in prayer. We’re approaching God. We get to be with the Maker, with the Lord, with the King, with Jesus.

1 John 5:14 ~ This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

Guys, we’ve never even met Queen Elizabeth. We’ll never meet Queen Elizabeth. Or any of the Royals. But we can talk to the King of life and creation and everything daily. Let that sink into your heads.

It’s lost on us. The fact that because of Jesus’s death and resurrection, we get to talk to God and He will hear us is pretty much lost on us. People. Men have killed, set up sacrifices, waded into war, and even appointed other people, just to talk to God. (I ain’t making this stuff up. Go search it.) We don’t have to do any of that. We can talk to the Maker of life anywhere, anytime. There’s countless verses in the Bible that talk about this.

Jeremiah 29:12 ~ Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

Job 22:27 ~ You will pray to him, and he will hear you, and you will fulfill your vows.

James 5:13 ~ Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.

But prayer right now? “Dear God, bless everybody and help everyone. Thank you.”

I’m not saying that’s bad. I’m saying it’s bad that that’s all we pray. Nothing more.  In the words of James, “This ought not to be!” Wait, lemme pull up the reference.

James 3:10b  10 My brethren, these things ought not so to be.

And because we don’t recognize how precious prayer is, we don’t give respect or honor when we pray.

God’s our Friend and Father yes. But He’s also a King. The Lord. And it’s infuriating that Christians are so lazy in how they pray. Get yo act together, guys!

Rehearsed prayers. 

Matthew 6:7 ~ And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.

Nuff said. This is a huge problem, so many of us just go through the motions, just say the same prayer again and again. We’re so used to saying it our hearts aren’t in it. If you’re just reciting a prayer to God, maybe your heart needs to be connected with God again. Because y’know, if God is your Friend, and your Father, what are you doing spitting out the same thing day after day?

And y’know, I’m talking to myself when I write these words down. I’m guilty of each and every single problem and there were times when prayer was the most rote thing I did.

And yet God heard me.

And yet God hears me. Every single time. And He hears every single prayer that not only I’ve, but you and who knows how many Christians. Even those who just say it at dinnertime.

Guys, I hope it’s not just dinnertime when you say a prayer. I know I’m one to talk, but you have a relationship with the Lord of Life.

Are you gonna talk to Him? He’s waiting.

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I woulda deleted a post like that, because I didn’t want to be preachy. But here it is.

Drive hard, y’all.