Apathy.

We are a culture who has become apathetic to porn. Porn is not only damaging to those in the industry but also to those who view it. It changes a man’s perspective on how a women should act and look and it changes a woman’s perspective on how she should be treated and how she should behave. Sex is not meant to be mainstreamed in to something shallow and meaningless. It was meant to be something wonderful and full of emotion. The porn industry is closely related to human trafficking. Human beings were not meant to be used and abused, were are meant to be loved and cherished. I have been feeling convicted as of late and am searching and praying for the guidance and wisdom to change my view on this and become less apathetic to it.

Words.

Image“A teacher in New York was teaching her class about bullying and gave them the following exercise to perform. She had the children take a piece of paper and told them to crumple it up, stamp on it and really mess it up but do not rip it. Then she had them unfold the paper, smooth it out and look at how scarred and dirty is was. She then told them to tell it they’re sorry. Now even though they said they were sorry and tried to fix the paper, she pointed out all the scars they left behind. And that those scars will never go away no matter how hard they tried to fix it. That is what happens when a child bully’s another child, they may say they’re sorry but the scars are there forever.”

(Photo and Quote from: Electric 102.7FM)

You know the old adage “Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurts you”? Well whoever came up with that, lied. Words are some of the most powerful weapons you can use against someone, often they hurt far worse than any physical blow. I’ve had my fair share of mean and hurtful things said about me. Whether it be behind my back, to my face, or passive aggressively in just a “oh, i’m picking with you.”  manner. It doesn’t matter the form you use, it still hurts. I’ve always tried to watch what I say because I know the pain and impact your words can have on someone, but sometimes I fail. Sometimes I say something that I never mean to hurt someone and it ends up hurting them. I always try to apologize and hope that it can make up for the hurt but like the crumpled up paper, it still leaves a scar. I often seem to be the target of the passive aggressive form. It doesn’t matter if you were just picking or if you meant to hurt that person, it can still leave a scar. So today I challenge you to carefully choose your words and remember the lasting impact they can have on someone.

Happy Birthday.

Image I’ve been in a melancholy state since your death but sometime it’s stronger than others. This past couple of days has been those stronger times. I went to get that old, iron bed out from the shed because I’ve been wanting to use it and I found myself asking about the measurements of it and I said to myself “oh, i’ll ask dad.” and I felt everything stand still and crash with the realization that you’re not here for me to ask. I started to get it out and had to move stuff around for me to get it because of all your “treasures” that were in front of it and I found myself remembering the time you brought it home, I saw it in the old house on the property and you asked around about it, this was all before the strife and I remember you bringing it home and you said “here it is.” I didn’t appreciate it then. You’re missing a huge new adventure in my life and I find myself wanting to come home and tell you about everything and cry and tell you how afraid I feel and all my worries so I can here your words of advice and I come home or start to call home and then realize your not there, so I tuck it away and try to force the tears away because I’ve cried more this past year than I probably have in my life. Today is your birthday. You loved your birthday. There isn’t a time when I think back that you weren’t giddy about this day. You always asked for the same birthday dinner of meatloaf and homemade mac and cheese. I’d always get you some cheesy card and you’d read it and thank me for and give me one of your big hugs until I became too cool to be hugged and now I miss those hugs more than I thought ever possible. I miss you dad, more than I ever knew I could.

Happy Birthday,dad.

2014.

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I can’t help but feeling a bit of sadness experiencing the first day of a new year without my dad. 2013 was the hardest year I’ve experienced thus far in my 21 years of life. It was a year of learning, growing, being stretched farther than I ever have been, experiencing pain and grief like I’ve never known before, seeing God’s hand at work, maturing, and closing chapters in my life. 2013 from the start has been a whirlwind, starting off to be seemingly normal, to life being picked up and turned upside-down on February 5th. I’ll never forget that night, those memories are forever ingrained in my head. I’ll never forget the feeling of receiving a phone call like so many others in my life thinking to myself, oh ok, here we go again. Treating it as another that time my dad would need to go to the hospital, I was so calm. He spoke to me before he got into the ambulance, joking and being his normal self, saying to me as I come up to him and my mom with my key in hand, “Hey jingly!” giving me his famous everything is alright grin. Getting to the hospital, thinking we know the procedure and we’re gonna go back and see him in a few minutes and a few minutes turn into longer minutes that turn into panic and confusion because we’re being asked to wait in a special room to a nurse coming out and telling us they’ve lost him and trying to resuscitate him, me falling on my knees crying out to God please don’t take him from me yet, I’m so sorry, I need to see him and talk to him, God please don’t take him from me yet. Bargaining and begging with my whole being for God to give me another chance with him. Doctors and nurses finally come in saying that they have in back but he is in a coma like state. Going back to triage room 5 seeing my dad, my superman laying there with wires and tubes keeping him alive, I got to his bedside telling him everything I should have told him 4 years ago, crying, hoping he heard me. Those following days being the longest, most mind bending, faith challenging days. I remember doctor after doctor saying “well, he’s stable and his scans are normal but we don’t know the outcome so we’re sending in palliative care to discuss your options.” To me standing up to say boldly “I beg your pardon, doctor. But you’re not God and My God is the God of miracles. Miracles that I’ve seen performed first hand, so for now we’re going to let him continue to heal and let God have control.”. With each day bringing minuscule progress to eyes opening and changing hospitals to the day of mom and dad’s anniversary and dad saying “I love you” to my mom in a croaky, gravelly voice. To spending long days and longer night weighing options of his long-term care, To getting a phone call June 6th saying that my dad is gone. I spent the following months going through the motions getting by day by day to week by week to waking up one morning feeling like Everything will be ok, I’ll make it maybe not today, tomorrow or next week but one day it’ll be ok. To saying I’m going to finish school for my dad because he wanted that for me and he believed that I could and finding out that I indeed did pass and would be closing that chapter of my life. Walking across the stage and feeling my dad’s presence around me in that room. Spending holidays being the first without him. That brings us to now, a new year. A blank book. One where I’ll start college and beyond that, I don’t know. I’m trusting God with be there and trusting that He has me and having my guardian angel right there along for the ride. Here’s to 2014. A year of more growing, learning more about myself, being brave, being intentional, becoming more independent, loving myself, loving others, always giving 100%, of standing my ground, writing, being creative, pushing myself, steeping outside of my comfort zone. Thank you Lord for another year, another chance at life. I hope you’ll come along for the journey, I’m sure it’ll never be boring.