Writer, Christian, SEO/Social Media Marketer, Book Reviewer, Deaf and Loud.

Category Archives: College

Fairy-Wallpaper-On-Wallpaper-Hd-19.jpg

Image Credits: Dodskypict.com

Hey guys! I know I’ve been talking about my MA project/untitled memoir a lot lately, but today I want to talk about something completely different. For those of you who may not know, I took a genre writing course this semester. I’ll be honest and admit that I initially only took it for the credits. I was going to take an American Sign Language course as an independent study originally, but because the course was an undergraduate level course and I’m a graduate student I’d have to conduct some kind of research study around it which calls for IRB approval and a whole complicated string of events. Between teaching two classes, working full time, and taking two graduate courses, it was just way too much so I backed out. There were not any non-fiction writing courses being offered this semester, so that’s where writing genre fiction came into play.

It’s been quite an interesting experience. Not only do I have little to no experience in genre writing, but I also never read any kind of genre fiction. I love classic literature, young adult/literary fiction, and non-fiction. Throughout the semester I have had to read and write mystery, horror, and most recently, fantasy/sci-fi. Although I did not like writing a mystery and reading House of Leaves or Mama Day, I found my overall experience in genre writing to be pretty enjoyable. Professor Atwood is a sweetheart and one of the most fun and kind-hearted professors I have ever had. I really wish I could take her publishing course next semester! If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend taking any of her courses. It is guaranteed to be a good time with many cat videos and references. 😉

The last project I completed for this course was an extension/revision of my fantasy short story, now titled “Moore Magical Garden”. This story was inspired by the very few fantasy novels I don’t hate like Sarah Addison Allen’s Garden Spells and Jodi Lynn Anderson’s Tiger Lily. 

I also drew some inspiration from my own personal life. Lenny the Leprechaun and all of his sarcasm was largely inspired by my dad who is the most sarcastic person I’ve ever met. He also gave me the idea to have Lenny show up to the well with a beer bottle and to make him drunk.

As a Christian, I don’t believe in magic. The bible warns in multiple places against following magic, witchcraft, and any kind of sorcery, which also had some influence on this story.

This story is not by any means perfect, but coming from someone who’s main writing focus is non-fiction, I was pretty proud of how this revision came out and I wanted to share it. Feel free to read below and leave a comment on what you think!

 

Moore Magical Garden

Magnolia was born in her family’s famous magical garden, known as the Moore Magical Garden. She was tall and tender with strong, light pink wings and a full head of silky blonde hair. According to her parents, she was born right under a bed of freshly blossomed magnolia buds. “She’ll be beautiful and strong, just like the flowers are,” he father said. Her parents both agreed that there was no better name for her than that of the flower, so they decided to call her Magnolia, or Maggie for short.

As a child, Maggie loved growing up in the Moore Magical Garden. Her family was extremely wealthy as they made a living off of their magical flowers. No one knew for sure how the magic worked, but Maggie’s mother, Gloria, would use unique blends of all different kinds of flowers and plants within the garden to cure all of the villagers of their ailments or to bring them whatever their hearts desired whether it be love, wisdom, strength, confidence, healing, happiness, or even just some good old sex. The Moore Magical Garden operated under one motto, “Flower power in one hour.” Meaning they could choose the right flower for any condition and after baking it in just 1 hour or less, have the perfect recipe for whatever you needed.

The Moore Magical Garden was located in the far end of the village away from the ocean where the mermaids resided and the woods where Sasquatch was rumored to roam. Sometimes they received visits from other tribes who liked to roam the forest like the dwarfs, elves, and goblins. Maggie loved it when the unicorns visited. She’d often spend time brushing their long, rainbow manes and riding them through the rows of flowers, being careful as to not crush any of the budding plants. She was often frightened by the goblins, and horrified by how hideously ugly the elves were with their long, pointy ears, big noses, and short statues. However, her parents told her that all of those tribes were harmless and worthy of her honor, respect, and attention. It was the foreigners she had to fear, they warned.

The gnomes, her parents said, were the most trustworthy of all of the tribes, other than the fairies of course. They weren’t always the prettiest creatures in the world, or even the strongest, but her parents said they were the most loyal. “Find yourself a good gnome and you’ve got a friend for life,” her father would say. They were generally always agreeable and extremely hard workers, especially when placed in their natural habitat – the garden.

Maggie’s parents decided to hire a gnome to help them to tend the garden. His name was Gunter and he was 34 years old, meaning he was only a few years away from ripening to the age of 40, which everyone knows means “time to settle down” in gnome world. He worked hard and vowed to always protect the Moore Magical Garden and to ensure that the secrets of the magic always remained secrets. For these reasons Mr. and Mrs. Moore promised Gunter that on his 40th birthday they would reward him with their prized possession – their daughter Maggie’s hand in marriage. This would ensure that the garden always remained within the family, that their daughter was well taken care of, and that the garden remained in pristine condition with the magic not only intact, but a mystery throughout all of the village for many years to come. Mr. and Mrs. Moore and Gunter the garden gnome kept this their secret for many years to come.

As a child, Maggie came to grow to appreciate the freedom she had to roam around the magical garden and smell the sweet aroma of all of the budding flowers and plants. Her mother, Gloria, named after the famous morning glories, would often take her through each of the aisles of the garden to teach her about the different magical powers each flower or plant brought.

“Roses.” Gloria said, “Just a sprinkle of petals and you’ll be well on your way to a beautiful new beginning.”

“What kind of new beginning?” Maggie asked.

“It depends on the color,” Gloria explained as she pointed to each of the varieties. “Red will bring you love. Pink will help you to feel more appreciated. White is for marriage – not to be confused with love. Orange will bring you passion, which you’ll need after marriage. Yellow will give you new friends, for those not quite ready for marriage. In your case, stick to the yellow ones for now, please,” she smiled.

Maggie looked up a Gloria and smiled. “Yellow it is then,” she said.

“Give me your hand, Maggie. I want to show you something else.”

Maggie held out her hand and Gloria pricked it with the thorn of a rose.

“Ouch! What did you do that for?” Maggie said as she clenched her finger in an attempt to stop the bleeding.

“You’ll see. Follow me.”

Maggie followed Gloria back to a row of aloe plants. Even though she’s walked by them dozens of times she never quite understood what they were for. They looked strange and kind of ugly after seeing the beauty in the roses.

“Put your hand out again,” Gloria said as she broke off a piece of the aloe plant.

Maggie put her hand with her bloody finger out in front of her. Gloria took it and squeezed the aloe plant over top of it until a gel-like substance poured over it. She rubbed it into the wound until it stopped bleeding.

“Aloe. For when you get a little too close to the roses. Roses while beautiful, still have their thorns and dangers about them. Much like the love and relationships many of them promise,” she explained. Maggie nodded. She understood now that aloe brought healing, but she wasn’t sure if she understood anything about the love part. At only 11 years old, love was still a mystery to her.

As Maggie grew older, she became more and more beautiful over time. By the time she was 16  and only 1 year away from her secret marriage to Gunter, her platinum blonde locks began to darken and change to a reddish tone and her wings grew larger and an even deeper shade of pink. Sometimes, Mr. and Mrs. Moore could swear they saw a twinkle in her eye, too. She was becoming even more beautiful than all of the roses within the garden, and when the other tribes from the village came to pick up their magical baked goods, they took noticed.

“My, oh my, that Maggie girl of yours sure is a beauty,” a lonely dwarf commented one day. “I only ordered a special helping of your slumber loaf bread to help me to fall asleep at night, but now I’m wishing I would’ve ordered a slice of lustful loving pie. Maybe I’d get lucky and end up falling asleep with her tonight,” he said. Dwarves were never very good with social skills, it’s why they had so much trouble making friends.

“Take a bottle of water lily juice on your way out.” Gloria said, “It’s on the house.”

“Sweet! Thanks, ma’am!” the lonely dwarf replied.

“Water lily juice?” Mr. Moore asked.

“Yes, to cool his passions and purify his heart to ensure he keeps it in his pants and away from our daughter,” she said.

“I can fix this problem tonight,” Mr. Moore said. He knew that as Maggie grew older and more beautiful, she’d have more than just lonely dwarves to worry about, especially if Mr. and Mrs. Moore were to keep their promise of marriage of their daughter to Gunter.

That night Mr. Moore went deep into his garden making sure to pick up as many garden stones as he could along the way. He carried them all into the garden shed located at the end of the garden and pulled out some supplies from the shed like his trusty hammer, a bucket of concrete, a trowel for smoothing over the concrete, and some wood. From there he set to work.

Mr. Moore spent hours in the garden shed. When his wife, Gloria tried to call him for dinner he responded in a muffled voice, “Can’t. Sorry. Busy,” and continued working straight through supper. An empty stomach was no big deal to him, he knew how important his work was. Finally after hours of tedious labor, his work was finally complete: it was a well made out of garden stones and concrete with a little wooden roof over top and a bucket hanging over it. The well was ten feet deep and only three feet wide. Mr. Moore stood back and admired his work. “Ah, she’s a beauty. A beautiful well to protect my beautiful daughter,” he said before calling Maggie out to further admire his work.

“What do you think?” he asked her.

“It’s beautiful, but I don’t understand what we need a well for. The pond is only a few minutes away,” she said. She had grown accustomed to fetching water from the pond outside of the garden. She loved visiting the pond because her beloved unicorns were known to frolic there at all hours of the day.

Mr. Moore let out a sigh. “This well isn’t for water…” he began.

“Really? Then what is it for?” she asked.

Mr. Moore hesitated before explaining, “Maggie, this is your new home. You must live deep inside this well and you must not come out for any reason within the next year.”

“What? A WHOLE YEAR? INSIDE THIS DEEP WELL? WHY? WON’T I DROWN?” She asked. The idea of being trapped in such a tiny space unable to view the beauty of the garden or mingle with the other tribes horrified her.

“No. There well will be completely hallowed with no water inside. You’re getting older now, Mags, and you are too beautiful. The dwarves tried to pick you up the other day,” he said.

“Well…was he a nice dwarf?” she asked, hopefully.

“Mags, you know what the dwarves are like…” he said.

Maggie sighed. “Okay, but what happens after a year?” she asked, afraid of what the answer must be.

“After one year you will be married to Gunter the garden gnome. Then you will be free to roam the garden again, unless he tells you not to. You will belong to him and you must obey everything he tells you to do.”

“But I don’t love him!” Maggie contested.

“Tough luck, sweet heart. He will be good for you and better yet for our garden. Now, climb in this well. For the next year, you can think about all of the ways in which you may grow to love Gunter. We’ll send you your food and water through the bucket twice a day, once in the morning and once at night.

Maggie sighed. She knew it was no use arguing it, her parents had the final word. Always. After all, they were the owners of the Moore Magic Garden. Without the garden, Maggie might as well be a fly, rather than the radiant, beautiful fairy she’s blossomed into over the years.

Mr. and Mrs. Moore’s plans to protect Maggie from other tribes and potential suitors through the village sounded great in theory. The well was far too deep for most of the village tribes to even consider climbing down, and no one would ever guess that Maggie would be hiding down below the bottom of the well. Since the fairies were the only tribes with wings, they didn’t have to worry much about anyone flying down in the well, either. Even the fairies weren’t a threat; everyone knew that all fairies, except for Maggie who was known for her unconventional ways and overall fearlessness, were afraid of the dark and what could possibly be darker than the inside of a deep and narrow well? However, there was one tribe they failed to consider; a foreign tribe residing outside of their village but beginning to make their pilgrimage throughout Germany in hopes of finding buried treasure, or gold, more specifically: the leprechauns.

Maggie was sitting deep against the side of the well braiding her hair to past the time as she waited for her mother and father to send down her daily food rations in the well’s bucket when she heard a loud noise.

THUMP!

Maggie moved towards the front of the well and looked up at the opening. Could this be her daily food rations? Maybe her mother was sending down her famous rose petal jam spread across a French baguette or Maggie’s favorite lilac blossom almond scones. She imagined they must’ve fallen out of the bucket causing the loud noise.

However, when Maggie looked up she didn’t see any of her mother’s magical food creations. Instead, she saw an ugly leprechaun. He stood approximately 3 feet tall; very short compared to Maggie’s height of 5’7”. His skin was dry and wrinkly and had a pale green tint to it. Maggie couldn’t get a good glimpse of what his hair looked like since it was hidden underneath of an over-sized top hat with a four leaf clover in the middle, but she did notice he had strands of bright red hair poking from the sides that matched his red neatly trimmed beard. He was wearing a tiny green tuxedo with pants that were a little too short and that revealed knee-high green and white socks. He carried a bottle of Guinness in his hand.

“Greetings from Ireland! My name is Lennnnnn……” he began to say before Maggie started screaming.

“WHAT ON THE EARTH ARE YOU??????” She screamed.

“That’s no way to greet a foreigner,” he said.

“Sorry.” Maggie said, “But really, who ARE you?”

“It is I, Lenny the Leprechaun,” the leprechaun replied.

“What are you doing here?” Maggie asked.

“What do you think kid? I’m a leprechaun…” he said.

“I don’t know…don’t you have a rainbow with a pot of gold to look for?” Maggie replied.

“Have you seen any rain lately?” he asked.

“Come to think of it, no I can’t remember the last time it rained,” she said.

“Bingo. But that don’t mean that a leprechaun can’t still search for gold,” he said.

“Oh okay. Sorry but there isn’t any in the well.” Maggie replied, “There isn’t much of anything down here,” she said sadly.

“Maybe not, but I bet I could make a few bucks off this here garden of yours,” he said. “I heard it was worth a fortune,” he said.

“You want to sell my family’s garden?” Maggie asked.

“No. No. Not at all. I mean profit off of it. Aren’t the flowers magical or something?” Lenny asked.

“I can’t tell you that,” Maggie replied.

“Hmmm. Okay. How about this…you tell me which flowers are magical and I’ll grant you three wishes,” he said.

“You got yourself a deal…if I can get the wishes first,” she said.

“No, then I’ll give you the wishes and still won’t know a damn thing about these magical flowers.” Lenny said, “How about a compromise? For every wish I give you you’ll show me a magical flower,” he suggested.

“You got yourself a deal!” Maggie exclaimed.

“Okay pretty lady, what’s your first wish?” Lenny asked.

“I wish I could get out of this well!” Maggie said without hesitation.

“Works for me. I imagine you’ll need to be out of this well to show me the magical flowers.” Lenny said, “Now close your eyes.”

Maggie closed her eyes while Lenny threw a handful of green glitter over her face and chanted, “Glitter green, nice and mean, come heaven or hell, allow Maggie to escape from this well.”

When Maggie opened her eyes, she was outside of the well and free to roam around the garden.

“Okay, now you owe me a magical flower,” Lenny said.

Maggie took her time walking around the garden. She knew that Lenny and the other outsiders didn’t know this, but the truth was EVERY flower and growing thing in the garden was magical. The question for her now was, which forms of magic did she want Lenny to know about?

Maggie stopped in front of a long row of tall, fully blossomed sunflowers. Perfect, she thought.

“We’re here,” Maggie said.

“The sunflowers are magical?” Lenny asked.

“Yes,” Maggie said.

“How so?” he asked.

Maggie bent down one of the tall stems and ripped off a fully blossomed sunflower. She pulled off each of the golden yellow petals and crumbled them in her hands. After all of petals were crumbled together she rubbed them on Lenny’s cheek.

“Hey! What in the hell are you doing?” Lenny screamed as he backed away and swatted Maggie’s hand away.

“Showing you your first magical flower,” Maggie replied.

“How is rubbing crushed sunflowers on my face magic?” Lenny asked.

“Sunflowers contain a special oil that when applied to the skin can act as a moisturizer, reduce wrinkles, and also serve as an anti-aging formula,” Maggie stated matter-of-factly. Her skin was perfectly flawless and had a natural glow to it that made it look like the sun was constantly shinning down on her and kissing her face. It was obvious that she had used the magical sunflowers on her own skin.

“Are you trying to say that I’m ugly?” Lenny asked.

“No, no, no. Not at all!” Maggie lied, “I’m just uhhh suggesting it because it will help to highlight your uhhh wonderful cheekbones.”

“I always did have some pretty bitchin’ cheek bones,” Lenny said as he took another swig of his Guinness. Maggie thought about correcting his language; she never liked cursing, but she decided it would be best to just let it go. After all, Lenny had been drinking ever since he arrived. She wondered if he might be drunk and if so, what type of drunk he would turn out to be. So far, he didn’t seem like an angry drunk. Sarcastic? Yes, but she could handle sarcasm. Violence is what scared her.

“Time for my next wish?” Maggie asked.

“Sure,” Lenny said.

“I wish for you to get rid of Gunter,” Maggie said.

“Who the heck is Gunter?” Lenny asked.

“A garden gnome who works for us. My family hired him many years ago,” Maggie explained.

“What did he ever do to you?” Lenny asked.

“See, that’s just it: nothing. My family arranged for us to be married though.” She said.

“You don’t sound too happy about that,” he said.

“I don’t want to marry someone I don’t love,” she said.

“Then why don’t you just tell your parents ‘no’?” Lenny asked.

“It’s not that simple. They want me to marry Gunter to ensure that the garden stays safe and that all of our secrets with the magic stay secret,” she explained.

Lenny let out a laugh. “Don’t you realize you’re already broken all of those golden rules?” he asked.

“What do you mean?” Maggie asked.

“Hellllooooo. Beauty sunflowers? You already let me in on one secret and you owe me two more,” Lenny said.

“Oh. Yeah. Right…” Maggie said unapologetically.

“Yeah so, I mean if you’re trying to respect your parents wishes, there’s no use you already messed that one up,” Lenny said.

“But can you make Gunter go away, anyway?” Maggie asked.

“Sure. I’ll see what I can do, close your eyes.”

Maggie closed her eyes and this time Lenny grabbed for the black glitter and threw it over her face while reciting, “Gunter works day and night, but now it’s time for him to take flight. I wish I may, I wish I might, give Maggie the strength she needs to fight.”

“Now what?” Maggie asked as she opened her eyes, “Is he gone?”

“Not yet, but he will be,” Lenny admitted. “I need a favor from you first.”

“Hey no fair! You still owe me a wish!” Maggie said.

“I need your help for this one. Are there any flowers in your garden that aren’t used for good? Anything that you give people that maybe you don’t particularly like or aren’t particularly happy with?”

“I think mama gave a dwarf some lilies the other day to purify his heart. She thought he was trying to pick me up or something,” Maggie said.

“Okay, I need you to do better than that,” Lenny said. Are any of the flowers dare I say…toxic?” he asked.

Maggie thought long and hard. It was as if she was manually searching each and every flower encyclopedia stored away in her mind, looking for the perfect flower. Finally, she said “follow me” before taking Lenny to the far left of the garden where there was a field of pale purple bell-shaped flowers surrounded by green leaves and black, perfectly rounded berries. The flowers were locked away behind a gated fence, away from all other plants.

“Black berries? This is your poison?” Lenny criticized.

“No. Belladonnas.” Maggie explained, “One of the deadliest plants in the entire world. That’s why we keep them locked away from everything else.”

“Okay. I can work with this. Let me think,” Lenny said. “How about we pick some of these berries and tell Gunter here we’ve got him some nice blackberries for lunch?”

Maggie shook her head. “Nope, won’t work. He’ll know as soon as he sees it it’s not a blackberry.”

“Okay. How about we crush it and make some tea then? Don’t you have some chamomile around here we can mix it with?” Lenny asked.

“Excellent idea!” Maggie said, “I’ll pull the chamomile plants and I can make up the tea mixture. Dad keeps hot water in the shed for when he’s working late at night and wants coffee or tea, so I can just borrow some. He won’t even notice it’s gone.”

“Sounds good, but how about you hand me the supplies to make the tea and then you can go off and find Gunter. I don’t want to scare the guy.”

“Sounds good” Maggie said as she picked off the flowers and berries and handed them to Lenny.

Lenny entered into the garden shed and found the water right away and began the process of making the tea mixture. He rubbed the chamomile plant in his hand until the petals began to crumble. Next, he crushed up the berries as much as he could until they were nearly liquified. He mixed it all together and poured the hot water over it into a teacup he found sitting on a table in the corner of the shed.

“That shall do,” Lenny said as he admired his work. He left the shed and found Maggie standing with Gunter just a few rows back. He walked over towards them.

“Lenny! Meet Gunter. Gunter is our family’s garden gnome that was hired to help out with our garden. Gunter, meet Lenny.”

“Hi, nice to meet you. Which tribe are you from?” Gunter asked.

“Uhm. I’m a uhhh…Elf,” Lenny lied. He knew if he said he was a leprechaun he would risk being thrown out of the garden. Gnomes and leprechauns have always been mortal enemies, especially when it came between the Irish leprechauns like Lenny and German gnomes like Gunter.

“Oh cool. Where are you from?” Gunter asked.

“Where all of the elves are from, the North Pole, silly!” Lenny said.

“Actually we have some elves that are local to our forest here in Germany, but they sure look a lot different from you,” Gunter said. The North Pole sounds pretty far from Germany. What brings you here?” Gunter asked.

“I uh invited him over for tea,” Maggie said.

“Young lady you shouldn’t be inviting anyone over without your parents’ permission. And hey, what are you doing outside of your well?” Gunter asked.

Maggie rolled her eyes and began to answer before Lenny interrupted her. “Enough of the chit-chat. Do you want some of my famous Christmas tea fresh from the North Pole or not?” Lenny asked.

“Imported Christmas tea? Count me in!” Gunter said as he took a big gulp.

Within seconds, Gunter dropped dead to the ground.

“GUNTER? ARE YOU OKAY?” Maggie screamed.

“What do you think? He just drank belladonna tea,” Lenny said.

“You killed him!” she said.

“Well, yeah. You said you wanted him gone,” Lenny said.

“Yeah GONE. Not dead!”

“Sweetheart, we all have to die someday. Pick your poison. Would you rather die alone in a tower, with Gunter, a man you don’t love, or another method of your own choosing?

“Another method of my own choosing,” Maggie answered with hesitation.

“Okay, glad we got that taken care of. Now honey, can I grant you another wish?” Lenny asked.

“Can we get rid of this body first? It stinks and I don’t think my parents would be happy to find it like this,” Maggie said.

“Is that your wish?” he asked.

“Yes,” Maggie replied.

“Sure thing.” Lenny said. “You know the drill.”

Maggie closed her eyes as Lenny poured black glitter over her before chanting, “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Get rid of Gunter’s smelly dead body is a MUST!”

Maggie began to open her eyes before Lenny screamed out, “Keep them closed! Wish in progress!”

“Okay I will!” Maggie said, “But is something burning?”

Lenny was rubbing two sticks together that he pulled off from the nearby apple tree. It was beginning to spark and form a fire. Just as the flames began to rise and inch closer to his hands he threw the burning sticks over to where Gunter’s dead body laid.

“Okay you can open them now. And yes, it’s burning baby. Burn, baby, burn.”

“You lite Gunter on fire???” Maggie exclaimed.

“Sweetheart, he’s already dead. You wanted me to get rid of the body. I figured cremation was the easiest method.”

“You are cruel and unbelievable!” Maggie said.

“You say that, and yet here I am making all of your wishes come true,” Lenny smirked.

“Why do you have to be so evil? Can’t you just use some of your leprechaun magic instead? Kind of like how my family and I use our fairy magic?” Maggie asked.

“Sweetheart, I hate to break it to you like this, but someone’s got to tell you someday. Magic ain’t real,” Lenny explained.

“What do you mean magic isn’t real?” Maggie asked. “My parents having been using it in their recipes and making a fortune off of it for ages. And what about you? You got me out of this well and you got rid of Gunter and you still owe me one more wish,” she said.

“Honey, your parents are better con artists than even I am, and I never thought that could even be possible,” Lenny admitted. “They use ingredients in their recipes that have healing benefits or are good for you in some way, shape, or form. But that ain’t magic. It’s all in everyone’s head. For example, if I want to fall in love I’m going to buy one of those love pies or whatever it is your mother makes and then I’m going go out and claim to be in love because it’s what I think will happen, what I want to happen. But I don’t need no damn pie to make me fall in love. I just need to have that idea planted in my head. And I didn’t get you out of the well, you flew out. You were just so focused on the magic you didn’t even realize it was you all along. And I poisoned and killed Gunter. What’s so magical about poison, Maggie? Poison is poison as murder is murder. I’m not too proud to admit now that I’m a murderer.”

“So, if none of this magic is real, then my entire life, this entire Moore Magical garden -it’s all a lie?” she asked.

“Yes,” Lenny said.

“What happens now?” Maggie asked.

“You’re free. When’s the last time you were free?” Lenny asked.

Maggie thought long and hard. “I have never been free,” she replied.

“The gate is open. Write your own story,” he said.

“What about you?” Maggie asked.

“I can take care of myself,” Lenny said.

Advertisements

hqdefault.jpg

Image Credits: PursueGod.org

Today I read chapters 9-10 of 1 Corinthians. There were several parts of chapter 10 that really stood out to me. The first verse that caught my attention was one that I have previously highlighted and it is 1 Corinthians 10:21 which states, “Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakes of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.” What this verse means is we have to be careful who we choose to spend our time with, what activities we decide to partake in, and really what we VALUE in this world. Do we value God or do we value man? You can have God or the world, but you can’t have both things.

This reminds me a lot of the Jeremy Camp song, “Give Me Jesus”. I saw Jeremy Camp perform a phenomenal show at Living Waters church in Burlington last weekend and the words really stayed with me in this song in particular. The words of this song are very simple and it works. Perhaps that was Camp’s point even – to strip the song of the bare necessities – Jesus. The chorus simply states, “Give me Jesus. Give me Jesus, Give me Jesus. You can have all this world, Just give me Jesus” (Camp). If you’re a Christian and you are truly saved and truly choose to follow God and to live in Christ, that’s all you need in the world. When we die and go to heaven nothing here on Earth is going to matter; the only thing that matters is our love and belief in Christ.

Here is a lyric video featuring Jeremy Camp’s “Give Me Jesus”. Thanks to iamSB for posting it on YouTube!

Another passage that stood out to me was 1 Corinthians 10: 26 which states, “For the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” God created this earth and everything on it including all of mankind. We need to honor God in all that we do and remember to whom we belong. This ties in with verse 31, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” As Christians and disciples of God we need to consider our actions and how we live our lives and the things we choose to partake in each day. Are we glorifying and honoring God? Do our actions show us as being God’s people? Can everyone see Christ in us?

1 Corinthians 10 concludes with verse 33 which states, “Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.”  It is important for us to live Godly lives and to act in a way and to live in a way that is god-pleasing and god-honoring so that people will see Christ in us so that we may reach those who are not saved and to help to bring them to Christ. This doesn’t mean we have to be perfect; we will never be perfect. It just means that we will strive to be the people that God created us to be and that people will see Christ in us and be so inspired by our lives and the way we live in Christ, that they will be compelled to follow Christ, too.

The controlling values of 1 Corinthians 10 might look something like this:

Purpose: We must reject the world to follow God.

Context: Following the world will cause us to sin, commit idolatry, and separate us from God.

The opposing controlling values may look like this:

Purpose: Following the world will give us more opportunities and grant us higher status among society.

Context: Chasing materialistic worldly things can never fully satisfy us; only the love and grace of a savior can fulfill us.

Actually, looking at that again now after letting it sit, perhaps the opposing controlling value may be:

Purpose: If we don’t follow the world, we will be missing out.

Context: Following the world closes the door on God where we will receive better gifts than what the world can give us.

Am I living a Christ-focused life? I want to think yes, but to be honest, this is something I need to work on. Attending a public university and juggling my Master’s courses with teaching and working full time can be a challenge. I am guilty of putting God on the backburner so I can do all of these other things when in reality God should always be my priority. When people look at me and my life, is God the first thing that comes to mind? I’d like to think so, but I can’t help but think they see me as being a student or a social media marketer first and a Christian second. I need to fix this.

These verses really touched me today because 1. I need to get back to reading my Bible on a daily basis and not just immersing myself in his word, but LIVING his word and living for Christ and not the world. Also, 1 Corinthians 10:33 reminds me so much of my mission statement and what I want to accomplish in life; to please God. I am writing a novel not for my own gain and not for my audience’s gain, but for the glory of God. Everything that I do in life is for God’s glory and to honor and serve him and to share his love and his word with others. This is something that is so easy to forget and something I need to be reminded of. When I grow tired and when I question my work and why I am doing this, I remember him. None of this is for me, it’s all for him and I am exactly where God wants me to be doing the things he wants me to do for him.


Looking-Back-at-2016.jpg

Image Credits: Rhythm Agency

Hey guys! Happy New Years Eve! It’s about that time of year again where I look back at the past year and reflect on some of the greatest moments of the year. I came into 2016 pretty broken. I was in the midst of dealing with a difficult breakup, I was stuck in a job that I could no longer stand, and I was about as miserable as could be.

2016 was by no means a perfect year. I’ve been battling a terrible illness for the past couple of months and was recently diagnosed with bronchitis. My beloved cat and friend, Gizmo also passed away at the ripe old approximate age of 21.

ann-shirley-blogging-alias

Rest in Peace…Gizmo

But overall, despite how many people claim that 2016 was their “worst year ever”, 2016 ended up being pretty good for me. Here 6 of my best moments from 2016.

  1. FINALLY going to NYC…(Twice, actually).

13118868_10209348103363178_786388552934192442_n

I have been obsessed with NYC ever since I was a little kid. I swear, I must have been born a city slicker. However, up until 2016 I’ve never actually been to NYC, my loved was based solely on what I read about it o seen on TV or in movies.

I had plans in the past to go. I was supposed to go to see the Statue of Liberty for a field trip in 7th grade, but when the terrorists attacked the twin towers on 9/11/2001 when I was in 6th grade, so naturally that field trip was cancelled.

13151610_10209348120843615_6063709909989860478_n

I was also going to go on September 11, 2013 for a job interview I had with the Christian Post. However, at the time I wasn’t exactly in the same place as I am today with my faith. I was on the fence about the job and unsure about it being in NYC which was pretty far from where I lived. I received another job offer to work at a local SEO agency the day before my scheduled interview, so I decided to accept that job offer instead.

13177779_10209348109043320_2819461070943967288_n

Fast forward to 2.5 years later and my magical job suddenly wasn’t so magical. I was unhappy and more than ready to move on.

I applied to more than 100 jobs, some of which were in NYC. When I got a call back to interview for an Assistant Digital Producer job at Scholastic I was stoked. Working for Scholastic seemed like a dream to me. I grew up reading every scholastic book imaginable and was obsessed with the book fairs. This love and obsession carried on to me even in my adult life.

The interview was pretty much a disaster. The recruiter was super nice and that preliminary screening went well, but when I met with the person who I guess would’ve been my boss it all went down hill. I thought a digital producer was basically the same thing as a content coordinator but I quickly found out I was completely wrong.

15781256_10211487792454068_963036819235645801_n

I still don’t know what an Assistant Digital Producer does at Scholastic, but I know it’s definitely not blogging, social media, or content marketing…

But I had a great time in NYC anyway. Just being able to see the office was amazing and NYC was everything I thought it would be. I definitely still want to move there.

13179175_10209348091122872_7422067147592681278_n

I loved my first trip to NYC so much that I decided to come back there to celebrate my 26th birthday. I went to eat lunch at Black Tap NYC. This restaurant was all the rage at the time thanks to their famous milkshakes. The restaurant was actually really disappointing and the staff was horrible, but the rest of the trip was great. I was really just in complete awe of the city. I enjoyed going to the M&M Factory and Bubba Gump and exploring Times Square. I can’t wait to get back there again.

13179170_10209349021586133_2111395105768180239_n

2. Seeing Good Charlotte…Twice.

For those of you who don’t know, Good Charlotte is by  far my favorite band. I saw them perform for the first time in 100+ degree weather outside on Father’s Day at Festival Pier in Penn’s Landing back in 2010. Since then I’ve seen them Cherry Hill, at the TLA multiple times, and most recently at the Fillmore. I’ve seen them a total of 5 or 6 times, two of which were in 2016.

15027761_10210978586724243_3194899646102604620_n

Seeing them in 2016 was especially special for me because it was the first time I could REALLY hear them. They sounded just as amazing as I remembered. I liked that I could hear everything they said when they were just talking, too. Before receiving my cochlear implants in 2014 and 2015 I would miss out a lot on their talks to the crowd and teasing each other. The Madden twins have such a great sense of humor that really comes out when they play shows together. It was great to finally get to hear it in these shows.

14947402_10210978585684217_210866598673662374_n

Both of the shows were amazing. The TLA will probably always be my favorite venue, but the Fillmore was pretty awesome, too. I like the atmosphere of the TLA better and have a lot of great memories at the TLA, but I think the sound quality at the Fillmore was better. While both shows were incredible I’ll have to say the one I saw in November at the Fillmore was probably their best show ever. It was the perfect blend of old and new songs and so very nostalgic. It was like my childhood come to life in musical form.

12994573_10209218408920898_4853926460766245848_n

I can’t wait to see them again. For those of you who really, really, really love me they will be performing/traveling with this amazing warped tour/emo/punk cruise ship package thing in October. If you buy it for me I promise to love you for forever…just saying…

3. Working at Becker’s School Supplies

1525253_251155705051527_1398217192_n

Image Credits: Becker’s School Supplies on Facebook

This one probably comes as a surprise for most of you guys.. My job at Becker’s didn’t really work out. I actually didn’t get this job originally. It’s kind of a funny story. I found the open SEO Marketer position accidentally on Monster.com, a website I rarely ever used during my job search (I was pretty loyal/exclusive to LinkedIn). I applied and got an interview pretty quickly and thought I had nailed it. I couldn’t have asked for a better interview. I got along with everyone  so well. Being obsessed with school supplies and wearing paperclip earrings to my interview also helped a lot haha.

Imagine my devastation when I received a phone call while at work on April Fool’s Day of all days. I couldn’t believe it.

But the story didn’t end there. I got another call from them about a week later. Apparently things didn’t work out with the first person they hired, so I was next in line. Eager to get our of the miserable job I was currently stuck in, I quickly accepted.

Becker’s wasn’t a bad job at all. It was actually almost anything you could ask for in a job. It was pretty much the complete opposite from my current job which was a plus. It was a family owned business that benefitted the education system in a positive way. I was honestly just excited to get out of the agency life. I also liked that it was a small family-owned business that was around for many years. But my favorite parts? Everyone was sooooooooo nice and professional and there was none of the typical office drama or politics.

I got along great with everyone and was well-liked. It was refreshing to see and work with various members of the Becker family each day. They owned the company and were at the top of the tier, but they never made you feel like you were below them. Everyone was all part of the same team. They valued and respected all of their employees. I’ll never forget how the first thing Kurt Becker, the company’s treasurer, asked me was what I thought about the website and what I’d fix. I was an employee at that time for less than a week and he still valued my opinion and expertise enough to want to know my ideas for change.

As great as Becker’s was though, it wasn’t right for me. I spent years working in SEO in the past, but it was much different. I learned that when it comes to SEO, I’m all about creating content such as blogs and other website content that is optimized for SEO. I’m not much for Google Analytics (although I’m learning!) or any of the data/analytical side of things which this position dealt a lot with. Also, while I loved school supplies my love for school supplies didn’t quite match up with the products the company sold. I thought this was a company that sold a bunch of notebooks and pens, but it was really all early childhood education supplies like furniture for childcare centers.

I used to love product meetings where vendors will show us their stuff and try to persuade us to purchase it, mainly because I’m a child and I love to play with fake sand and dinosaurs and legos and read picture books, but I have a hard time wrapping my head around early education. I never went to pre-school, let alone daycare as a kid. It was a whole new field for me.

When I accepted the job with Becker’s I still had a lot of other job applications out and was negotiating with Penn Medicine. I wasn’t sure what would happen with that opportunity. It sounded good, but I have also been negotiating for several months and nothing was happening and I really needed a new job. I was also looking into grad school and applying for the TEP program. My future was so unclear. Everything was a risk.

I have absolutely no regrets about Becker’s. I learned so much about my career interests, job preferences, and how to turn down a job that isn’t working for you. I left them with the best gift I had to give: I referred them to a former co-worker who I saw as an expert in SEO that I knew was interested in the position. She could do for them everything they needed and wanted in terms of SEO that I didn’t know how to do. They hired her almost immediately. The rest is history.

4.Working at Penn Medicine

pennnn

Image Credits: Henrietta Hudson 

While it was quite the long process, I did end up getting hired by Penn Medicine in 2016. I initially turned down the position to work at Becker’s, but they begged me to reconsider. Isn’t it funny how things work out? I applied in January and was finally hired in June.

I honestly wasn’t sure about Penn when I first applied. I previously did an internship with Slack Medical journals and really, really, really hated it. It was so boring and technical and confusing. I was afraid Penn would be the same, yet for some reason this felt really different. I almost backed out of this interview several times because of other interviews I had (first with Scholastic and then with Bernie Robbins jewelers). I am so glad that my mom and some of my friends and former colleagues pushed me to go and keep pursuing this opportunity, even when it seemed hopeless.

15578227_1590348147656582_3169316310893269096_o.jpg

Working at Penn has been a blessing to me in so, so, so many ways. First off, I really love the location. Like I stated previously, I’m a city slicker. We’re located right in University City. It’s a safe part of Philly and there’s so much stuff going on! We’re within walking distance of many restaurants which makes lunch time fun, especially if we have a new member to our team. I recently tried an Indian buffet with my co-workers and in the summer we’d frequently meet up for green smoothies from the fruit lady’s food truck or frozen yogurt from Kiwi yogurt.

13775588_10209920101382771_5864235360857603972_n

The content team at the #LoveFest Pep Rally

Secondly, I love my job itself. I get to do my two favorite things: write a lot and work on social media. I also get to teach my co-workers what I learn, specifically with our new social media content management system, Sprinklr. I’m never bored. I learn constantly and am always challenged. I didn’t know much about medical conditions initially, but have since learned so many incredible things. I’m in awe by Dr. Carl June’s work with immunotherapy and cancer. All of the neurological conditions constantly blow my mind (did you know there’s a procedure where they turn off and test different parts of the brain to see what if anything will be lost if they cut away part of it?). It’s fascinating stuff!

15672634_1590348357656561_1457050960058701707_n

My co-workers are also the best. They are so talented, kind, and hard-working. It’s also a very professional atmosphere free of office drama and politics. While everyone is always working really hard, we also have fun together with team building exercises such as monthly full staff meetings, our pep rally, and our Christmas bowling party. We are also starting a professional development book club which should be fun.

5. Becoming an Adjunct Professor AND a Grad School Student at Rowan University

rowanproud

Image Credits: Rowan

Of all of the possible things that could’ve happened this year, I never imagined I’d become a college professor, but that is exactly what happened.

I’ve been toying with the idea of going back to school to earn my MA in Writing for years. I didn’t want to get my MA originally. I was tired and burnt out after earning to BA’s and I didn’t think an MA was all that important to be honest. But after receiving bilateral cochlear implants I wrote a book and now I want so additional help to finish writing/revising it and publish it.

Still, I wasn’t sure how this would work. I didn’t know at the time that Penn has an amazing benefits package that would cover the cost of my tuition. I just knew that financial aid wasn’t an option with grad school, so I was on my own and grad school doesn’t come cheap.

When Professor Block emailed me about grad school and mentioned the TEP program which allows students to teach while earning their MA and pays for at least part of their tuition costs, I saw it as a sign that I was meant to go to grad school and apply.

I wasn’t totally sure what to expect. I knew I like teaching, but I didn’t expect to love it as much as I ultimately did. I didn’t expect to get so attached to my students. I think teaching is one of the best things to ever happen to me, honestly. I love it so much. I love feeling like I’m making a difference and seeing my students improve as writers.

Grad school’s not bad, either. Some of the writing projects for Core were fun. It’s not the most interesting year for me though. I feel like I have a lot of pre-reqs which can be a little dry to take now to get to the good stuff like writing the memoir and non-fiction writing. But still I’ve really loved just being back in school again. I love the challenge of it all. I love learning.

It hasn’t been easy. Juggling a full time job in the city, teaching three times a week, and taking 2 graduate level courses a semester is no joke. But I love the thrill of the challenge and being constantly under pressure. I feel like I am constantly working towards a goal and I feel I’ve been fairly successful so far.

6. Going to Washington DC

14671227_10210723453226065_3642602516287818940_n

DC is another place I had plans to go to multiple times, but never actually went to until this year. I was first going to go on a field trip in 7th grade, but alas the terrorist attack on the Pentagon on 9/11/2001 when I was in 6th grade caused the trip to get cancelled. Then in 2014 or whenever it was I was going to meet Casey there and get back together with him, but in a really bizarre turn of events he cancelled our plans and ran off and got engaged and married to some other girl…but that’s another story…

14695420_10210723453506072_6595905345614683920_n

Every year Rowan picks a book to have the University read together as a whole. This year the book was Americanah! by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I don’t know what the book was about because I didn’t actually read it lol. Anyway though, the book inspired the University to take a free trip to DC that was open to all students and faculty and since I’ve always wanted to go to DC anyway, I jumped at the opportunity to go.

14705800_10210723452226040_3454485725394137346_n

I was nervous about the trip at first since I didn’t know anyone who was going. Who would I hang out with so I wouldn’t get lost? Should I go as a student or a faculty member since I was actually both? I hung out with faculty originally until I met a faculty member’s son who was a current senior at Rowan and closest in age to me. We hung out for the rest of the trip and became fast friends and had a blast.

14702276_10210723447065911_3616952195213718612_n

We went to the museum of African history, an African art museum, and one of the Smithsonians, though we didn’t have much time at the Smithsonian. It was a really cool trip. I’m a museum and art nerd so I love looking at and learning about this stuff. The only down side was that the main African history museum was realllllllllllllly crowded and you could hardly move.

14695520_10210723445945883_880664800835061743_n

We also ate at a soul food restaurant. I don’t eat soul food much, if ever, so it was a different experience for me. I had these oysters cooked in some kind of a hot sauce that were really good.

14702379_10210723445385869_2176290694974020380_n

It was a really nice trip especially since it helped me to get out of my comfort zone. I am glad that I did end up befriending someone despite not knowing anyone and that I took the risk to go to a new place with no one I knew. I’d definitely do something like this again in the future and I hope that in 2017 Rowan provides me with more opportunities to do so!

14695417_10210723392504547_9132923146516692899_n

7. Going to Kentucky.

My trip to Kentucky was incredible and perhaps the highlight of 2016.

15027462_10211034690486802_9080563819223895068_n

My mom and I went with Gloucester County Community Church (GCCC). I’ve been following the making of the Ark from day 1 a few years back and when I heard it opened in the summer I couldn’t wait to go. We previously looked into driving down for my mom’s birthday in August, but it was too expensive. However, going with the church would save us money and we’d take a bus with everyone so transportation wouldn’t be an issue.

15036561_10211035070936313_2499963634765673302_n

Our trip lasted 3 days and consisted with a few hours at the Creation Museum followed by almost a full day at the Ark.

15032753_10211035051175819_6758485867935136226_n

The Creation Museum was okay. Not quite as good as I was expecting, but still pretty cool. I really loved the dinosaurs. I always liked dinosaurs ever since I was a kid. About a year ago I realized that the bible never mentions the word “dinosaur” so I started to ponder why. I turned to Answers in Genesis and they explained how dinosaurs did exist and were referred to using different words. To see and learn more about this at the museum was neat. Most of the dinosaurs weren’t as big as made out to be and the dinosaurs used to only eat plants as did all animals which the bible clearly states, but few people realize. It was very informative.

15036719_10211034763608630_5986707949336023619_n

Noah’s Ark was amazing. You don’t realize how big it is until you see if for yourself. It was also incredible biblically accurate. They had all of the animals that they had back then and the cages and everything so well done. I enjoyed learning about Noah and his family and the work that they did on the Ark as well. It made me thirsty to learn more.

15085686_10211035074376399_3075278160147660141_n

Overall, 2016 was an incredible year. I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store for me!


Happy-Thanksgiving-Images.png

Image Credits: Happy Thanksgiving Day Images

Hey guys, Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m not really feeling the holiday spirit this year – at all. My family and I considered scaling back or even postponing Thanksgiving this year and I am already sick to death of Christmas.

I’ve had a rough week. I went on a trip to Kentucky to see the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter. It was a fantastic trip and I learned so much about the book of Genesis, God’s creation, and Noah’s Ark. You wouldn’t believe how big the ark really is – you need to see it for yourself. Kenn Hamm should be very proud of his creation on the Ark Encounter because it was extremely accurate and stunning!

15078940_10211035053535878_8435927745173853347_n

However, I went on the trip a little bit sick and came back extremely sick. My mom was also sick and diagnosed with bronchitis and sinusitis or something. Dad got the flu. Our poor cat, Gizmo also got very sick and sadly could not fight off the infection. He died on Sunday morning.

Losing Giz has been extremely hard on everyone. He was so much more than just a cat to us – he was family. He was more loyal, loving, kind, and compassionate than most people we know including our blood family. He would always greet you at the door, eat dinner with you, and comfort you when you were upset. He was my dad’s best friend and my dad would talk to Giz and spend all of his time caring for Giz when Mom and I were at work or school. My dad has been completely heartbroken and devastated by the lost of his best friend.

tphoto_00002

I know that it was Gizmo’s time to go. He was 21 years old and we could tell he wasn’t feeling well and on Saturday night, was really suffering. We chose to have him buried in a pet cemetery where he will get his own headstone and everything. I know it sounds crazy, but he deserves it. His burial will take place on Saturday. I don’t think my family and I will ever be ready to let go of him though.

So, with all of this we’re not exactly in the mood for Thanksgiving or any of the holidays this year. It’s sad and not the same. It’s hard because we think of the times we’ve spent with my grandparents. How my grandfather would accidentally insult my mom’s cooking and it was so funny you couldn’t be mad at it. We remember the crazy Thanksgiving song my Mom’s mom invented and how mad it made her husband, my mom’s dad. We remember making special dinners for Giz and how we’d torment him with the turkey before we cooked it. We remember years ago when my sister was a part of the family and the holiday. We remember how these people are no longer a part of our lives, and we miss them and the way things used to be. This makes the holidays hard. Plus, while we’re feeling better than we have, none of us are 100% yet, which just makes it harder.

I know a lot of people would criticize me and say that this isn’t very “Christian” of me. I’m a Christian, but I’m not perfect. I need God in my life to give me a source of hope when I feel hopeless. When I’m too far invested in the world (like I have been lately) and not invested enough in God, I have trouble feeling hope. That’s why I want to spend a large portion of my time today invested in reading scripture, so I can feel that sense of hope again.

hope-bible-verse-4l

Image Credits: Bible Verse Images 

There is always something in life to be thankful for, even if you don’t always feel or see it though. Here is what I’m thankful for this year.

1. My Amazing Family.

10806388_10205356298250545_8152432577307719008_n

My family is small – just my parents and I – but it’s been amazing. My parents are my biggest fans and supporters. They want nothing more than to see me succeed and reach for the moon. They yell at me when they think I’m not reaching high enough or when I’m “settling” for something less than the best. They always drive me everywhere I need to go since I don’t have a driver’s license and they do it without complaint. My dad has over the years even driven me all the way through State College for a job interview that went horrifically bad and my mom has taken me to NYC on the subway she knew nothing about for another job interview gone bad. My parents are the best and I couldn’t imagine my life without them.

2. My Job at Penn Medicine.

13775588_10209920101382771_5864235360857603972_n

This was an incredibly hard job to get. My interview process started in January and I didn’t actually get hired until June. I am thankful that Penn has worked with me and did everything they could to offer me a job, even when I took a different job instead initially. I know I have a strange schedule due to school, so I am incredibly thankful for Penn for working around my schedule by offering me reduced hours and the ability to work from home. I am thankful for my amazing co-workers who teach me everything and exert extreme patience, kindness, and understanding towards me. Penn has been such a great company to work for and I am so blessed to have the opportunity to work for them.

3. Rowan University.

rowan

Image Credits: AliveCampus.com 

As a student, I don’t always agree with some of the changes or decisions the school makes, but I still really love this school and am so thankful for all of the doors it has opened to me. I am thankful to have the opportunity to earn my MA in Writing and to hopefully become one step closer to finishing and publishing my book, God Granted Me Hearing. I am thankful to have the opportunity to teach freshman college students through the Teaching Experience (TEP) program, something I never imagined I’d have the opportunity to do. I am incredibly thankful for Dr. Courtney and the current and former TEP instructors for all of the help, assistance, lesson-plan sharing, ideas, and advice they have given me. I’d be lost without all of you guys – you’re the best. I’m thankful for my students who while they drive me crazy at times, also know how to make me smile and show me why teaching is so awesome.

4. My Amazing Church Family. 

church_3.jpg

Image Credits: Washington Baptist Church

I saw a picture posted on Facebook the other day that said “Church isn’t just a place, it’s a family”. As someone who’s been church-hopping for many years, I can truly say it’s hard to find a church that feels like a family. I found that with Washington Baptist Church. Pastor Lex and all of the members of the congregation are absolutely amazing people. They really take the time to get to know one another, to lift them up, and to pray for each other. You’re never just a nameless face at WBC.

Even when I left WBC for a few months to try out another church, as soon as I came back I was welcomed with open arms. Even when I went each week to another church I couldn’t forget about WBC – I missed them because they were my family. I never felt that kind of connection at any other church before. This church has taught me SO much and helped to bring me closer in my walk with God.

5. My Cochlear Implants.

cochlear implant

This is the first time in 2 years that I’m not recovering from surgery around the holidays. I just celebrated 2 years with my first cochlear implant on my left ear and on Wednesday I will be at 1 year on my right ear. It still never ceases to amaze me how well I can hear. Even though my right one hasn’t been working right the last few days (I’m probably going to have to send it out to AB for repairs), I can still hear so well, better than most people I know now. I’m always in awe when I can watch YouTube videos (or my latest obsession – TED talks) without caption. Certain sounds are still new to me – hearing trains go by still scare me because I forget what it is that I’m hearing. Every time I’m feeling down and depressed and having an “I hate my life, why me?” kind of moment I remember how much God has blessed me with this incredible gift. I’m so thankful for Dr. Willcox and the amazing team at Jefferson for helping to make this miracle happen for me.

 

What are you guys thankful for this year?


why-go-to-church

Image Credits: House to House 

For those of you who don’t already know, I am currently enrolled in my first semester of graduate school in the MA in Writing program at Rowan University. One of the classes I am enrolled in this semester is Core I: Theories and Techniques of Writing. This is a required class for my program where we study many other writers and how they write. We have just been assigned to write a paper that is either an imitation or parody of another writer. For this assignment I have chosen to write a parody of Henry David Thoreau’s “Why I Went to the Woods”. My parody is listed below. As you read it I ask that you keep in mind that part of the assignment requires me to adopt Thoreau’s writing style. This is why the sentences are so long and detailed with many commas and semi colons and very long paragraphs. It is also why some parts of it may feel very repetitive and the language is kind of old-fashioned and not the way people talk today. I am attempting to write in Thoreau’s voice here, not my own. Also, please keep in mind that this is a first draft. While I am very proud of this draft (hence why I am choosing to publish it to my blog), it is just that, a first draft. This is far from perfect and will be undergoing significant revision as my semester goes on. I do however welcome any comments or feedback. 

Why I Went to Church

I went to church because I wished to live for Christ, and to live my life in a way that is only pleasing to him, and to see if I could lead a life free of sin, so as to go on to heaven at the time of my death. I wished to follow the commandment of my Lord in Romans 12:2, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (The Holy Bible : authorized King James version: super giant print edition: words of Christ in red, 1996, p. 1728). I wanted to surrender myself and my life to my Lord and savior Jesus Christ, to live so spiritually and free of materialism as to have no one question my faith, but for others to come to know Christ through me and my faith, and to show the world what it means to be a Christian. We do not live our lives for us, we live for Christ.

Did you ever consider how we might live for Christ? Living for Christ is a conscientious choice that we must make every day; a decision to live free of our material possessions and the worldly sinful life. Some choose the pleasure of a life of Christ, others choose the ways of the world run by Satan. It is my hope that one day those who choose the world will wake up and break free of Satan’s hold on them, that they will suddenly choose the life of Christ and follow him and his ways, so that they too, may be saved. Why should we exercise the right of free will? We are determined to choose our own paths in life. Men constantly choose their own paths, thinking they know what’s best for their lives. But we constantly fall short of the glory of God. It all started with Adam and Eve, who chose their own free will, they took pleasure in their own hearts’ desires, so that now we must all suffer the misfortunes of their sin. And now when comes forth acts of temptation, we must all struggle with decision to sin or turn way and follow God, for this is a constant battle in an unbelievers heart, until the day comes that they may be saved.

There is but few men residing alongside Washington Township who considers himself not a sinner, but a saved man, yet has an excuse every which way for why he cannot attend church. The man claims to not have the time of day for such matters as church, yet the same man and his wife would ask the fine couple next door, “What’s the plans for the day?”, fearing that they may miss out on the town’s latest social event. Yet they fail to realize the day’s occurrences are but temporary, for they cannot match the days of heaven that would lie ahead of them, if they were to only get saved.

Still, we live for the world and not for Christ; though the Bible tells us in Matthew 6:24, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mam’-mon” (The Holy Bible : authorized King James version: super giant print edition: words of Christ in red, 1996, p. 1462). Our lives are stained in sin. A saved man knows not to count on the things in the world for happiness, for as Psalm 23 states, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want” (The Holy Bible : authorized King James version: super giant print edition: words of Christ in red, 1996, p. 915). Pray, pray, pray! I command, pray 10 or 20 times a day, and not once or twice; instead of television read your bible, and listen to 2 Corinthians 6:14 which demands, “Be yet not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?” (The Holy Bible : authorized King James version: super giant print edition: words of Christ in red, 1996, p. 1764). Pray, pray. Instead of arguing with your wife, pray for peace; instead of drinking at the bar, invite your friends over for a time of prayer; and pray for each other as often as you can. Our lives are each ridden with sin as the result of the fall of Adam and Eve, and we constantly fall short of the glory of God, with the only option to escape salvation through the grace Christ alone. Look at our nation, an icon of sin, which obviously hasn’t been doing so well in recent years, thrives on the motto, “Do what makes you happy, regardless of the consequences”, which explains why we have become obsessed with the sexualization of our culture and the constant need for self-gratification, and the only way to escape the ruins that we have fallen into as a nation is to turn away from ourselves and our own free will and instead surrender our lives to Christ and his will and his ways for ourselves as individuals and our nation as a whole. Repent, repent, repent! We must admit our shortcomings to the Lord and ask for his forgiveness as we accept the life he has laid out for us, and not merely the paths we think we know best for ourselves, for in all honesty, we know nothing. Men believe that they must engage in pre-marital sex, to put money before prayer, and to break each and every commandment in the bible for the stake of liberty and equality in our nation; whether they actually engage in these acts or support them as bystanders remains to be uncertain, but whether we shall live as moral Christians or sinful heathens these days is questionable.

As for me, I could easily do without the television. I believe there are very few Christ-pleasing shows on air these days. To be honest, I haven’t seen a television program but twice a year during the span of my lifetime that I believed worthwhile of my time. And I am confident that I’m not missing out much on this week’s latest tabloid stories. It’s just one Kardashian sex tape, Taylor Swift’s breakup, WikiLeaks breakthrough, celebrity drug overdose, Jennifer Aniston pregnancy, Kanye West feud, Kate Middelton hat, Oprah Winfrey failed diet, Jennifer Lopez wedding, and Angelina Jolie divorce after the other. Reading one tabloid story is more than enough to last me to my final days. Why do we care to read so much gossip about the misfortunes of the rich and famous? Does Ephesians 4:29 not state, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers”? (The Holy Bible : authorized King James version: super giant print edition: words of Christ in red, 1996, p. 1785). Rather than judging these celebrities and talking about the times when they fall short of the glory of God, shall we not pray for them instead? I hear women in the grocery store pick up these tabloids and chat about the celebrities all the time. “That Taylor Swift sure gets around these days,” they say, “What a whore!”. Some of these expressions come from women who wear a cross around their necks and claim to be a Christian, yet they can’t remember the last time they stepped foot in a church or made time for prayer. They may be better off if they threw the tabloids in the trash where they belong and open up their bible and fold their hands to pray instead. Gossiping about Taylor Swift and talking bad about the other celebrities in the tabloids will only fuel the success of the tabloids and bring about no change or betterment of the lives of those who these women mock; for the only real change can come within these celebrities due to an intervention from the holy one above. We as citizens and brothers and sisters in Christ can only do our part to pray for those in need, and not to gossip about the misfortunes and shortcomings of others, for we know ourselves to be stained with the same blood of sinners.

Sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll seems like a life of luxury. Sure, these things will bring us gratification, but men must realize it is only temporary. For as John 14:6 tells us, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father; but by me” (The Holy Bible : authorized King James version: super giant print edition: words of Christ in red, 1996, p. 1638). We can never be satisfied in the things of the world or our own personal gratification alone; we must depend on Christ for hope, salvation, and happiness to last all eternity.

Prayer is but the essence of my life. I come to the Lord as a sinner ready to repent, yet through his grace he redeems me. I struggle in the world ridden with sin as my eternity in paradise awaits. I would live more humbly, pray more often, and attend church to hear the word of my Lord and savior amongst a community of imperfect believers. I am perfectly flawed. I cannot count but one day of life without sin. I always regret the ways in which I let my savior down. I strive to live a life for Christ; but the devil often crosses my path and leads me down the road to sin. I do not wish to follow his ways, but rather to cleanse myself with the holy water to follow in the path of Christ. My heart is pure and for my Lord. I feel an overflowing love and adoration for my savior Christ. I hear the promises my Lord makes in Jeremiah 33:3, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not” (The Holy Bible : authorized King James version: super giant print edition: words of Christ in red, 1996, p. 1212). I hear his calling and I follow him, to live a life of purity and the need for nothing more than my faith in my Lord and savior Jesus Christ; for I understand that this life in the present moment is but temporary, the starting point for a life of eternity in Christ that is yet to come.


fb_rebecca_alber_quote

Image Credits: Edutopia

Hey guys! Happy Wednesday! It’s a happy Wednesday because I’m finally on the last day of the 30 day writing challenge! It took me long enough!

The final challenge is to write about something I’m looking forward to. There are many exciting things I’m looking forward to in my life, but one of the biggest ones is becoming a college adjunct professor and teaching my first class this fall.

I know a lot of people were surprised when I announced that I’d be teaching this fall. Some were a bit surprised and a lot of people have expressed their concerns and almost doubt me and my ability to teach. I know some people, whether they actually come out and say it or not, are thinking that this is kind of “random”. Surprising? Yes. Crazy? A bit.But random? No…not at all.

Teaching is actually something I’ve wanted to do for a really long time. I’ve always valued education. I’ve always loved to learn and have been a bit of a nerd my whole life. Many people thought I would become a teacher. My parents always encouraged it, that’s for sure. When I was in high school I was an AVID tutor that worked with at-risk students to help to prepare them for college. My teachers all loved the work I did as a tutor and they thought I’d make a great teacher, too.

I’ve always enjoyed working with kids as well. I first realized how much I enjoyed working with children when I was about 12 years old and worked my first job as a summer camp counselor. I made less than $70 for the entire summer, but I didn’t care at all because I loved what I was doing so much. I didn’t just play with kids, but I learned from them and they learned to me. I built relationships with these kids and I got to see them grow so much in the 2 months that we spent together. I talked about them all all the time as if they were my own kids. I felt good about the work I did as a camp counselor and it made me realize that if I enjoyed this work so much, I’d certainly love to be a teacher where I could make an even bigger impact on children.

I dreamed of becoming a pre-school or kindergarten teacher. Then I realized I had a passion for English and becoming an English teacher started to gain appeal.

There was just one major problem:

I was born with profound hearing loss. I never learned sign language. I couldn’t hear the kids I was a camp counselor for (fortunately it never mattered much. I had the support of the other counselors to fall back on and the kids just wanted to play anyway). How would I ever hear my students?

Not being able to hear the kids I supervised at camp was one thing. Not being able to hear students was quite another thing. I wouldn’t be able to ask them questions, because I’d never hear the answers. I wouldn’t be able to answer their questions, either because I wouldn’t be able to hear them.

Suddenly, I found myself completely giving up on dream and chalking it up on the list of things that just weren’t meant to be for my life. I still decided to study English and writing in college, but this time it was for my own personal use to become a writer instead. Becoming a teacher just didn’t seem like a possibility for me.

At least, not at that moment…

I didn’t realize back then that I’d later go on to receive cochlear implants that would allow me to gain above average hearing. I never could’ve imagined that I’d be given this incredible gift that would allow me to hear almost perfectly…a gift that would make it so I’d never have to worry about hearing my students.

But even after receiving my cochlear implants I didn’t think it would ever open the door to teaching for me. I thought that was a missed opportunity I would never get back again. How could I be a teacher now? I was working full time for an agency receiving below-average pay. While my checks weren’t for much, I depended very heavily on them. I also worked a typical day schedule…which would be the exact schedule I’d need to follow in order to do student teaching which is a requirement in order to be certified to teach at a grade school level. Teaching at a college level also wasn’t an option since I didn’t have my MA yet and wasn’t sure if I ever would. I have wanted to enroll in Rowan’s MA in Writing Program for years, but always backed out fearing the cost. I was already thousands of dollars in debt and unable to afford my student loan repayments from my undergrad. I heard financial aid didn’t exist as a grad student. Grad school sounded like a great idea, but completely impractical. There was no way I’d ever be able to afford it.

That was, until I received an e-mail from Professor Rob Block in March explaining that Rowan has developed a new Teaching Experience Program (TEP). The program sounded like the answer to all of my problems. It would allow me to follow my dream of becoming a teacher without having to give up my full time job and it would also help me to pay the cost of my tuition and allow me to work towards earning my MA degree.

To make things even better, a few months after receiving that initial email I left my job at the agency I was working for and started working for Penn Medicine instead. After my first semester, Penn will pay up to $8,000 a year towards my tuition which should cover the full cost each semester I’d imagine. They are also more than willing to help to work around my school and teaching schedule.

This is the beginning of the next chapter in my life. It may have taken me awhile, but I am finally going to have the opportunity to fulfill my dream of becoming a teacher, and not just a teacher – but a college professor! I am so beyond excited to take on this new role in September. It’s about so much more than just teaching first year writing to students. It’s about creating strong relationships with these students and working to motivate, encourage, and inspire them and to help them to grow not just as writers, but as students. I hope to improve their writing skills, but more than that, I hope to make a difference in their  lives and their college experience. If I manage to do those things, then I’ll consider my job as a professor to have been a success.

 


31525_20130925_204450_exboyfriend10

Image Credits: Search Quotes

I hate the writing challenge for day 26. For day 26 it tells me to write the things I’d say to an ex.Where do I even begin? I guess I’ll start from the beginning with “Dear Larry” and take it from there, right? This could take awhile…

Dear Larry:

It has been approximately 8 and a half months since we broke up. They were right when they said it takes approximately half the length of a relationship to get over a breakup. The pain finally started to ease when we hit that 6 month mark in April. I’m not entirely sure that I’m fully where I need or want to be yet. I think a part of me still loves you, and I sometimes think a part of me always will.

How about you? How are you holding up? I had to unfriend you,and for awhile, block you. I couldn’t stand to see your updates on Facebook. It didn’t matter that you were “leaving me alone”,because I couldn’t leave me alone. I couldn’t stop stalking your page. It killed me when I saw you friended and were interacting with Maria. That girl. Tell me, did you do it out of spite? You knew it would get to me. That’s why you did it, isn’t it? Was this your way of getting back at me? If so, as much as I hate to admit it, it worked.

You’re kind of unbelievable, but at the same time I shouldn’t be surprised. She played a huge role in our downfall, afterall. Do you remember the night of August 8, 2015? I don’t think I will ever in all my life forget it, but I sure wish I could. I was so happy to have you home. We couldn’t decide what we wanted to do, but it didn’t even matter. You were home and I loved you so much. Anything we did made me happy, just to be with you. You were so rarely home. I learned to treasure each and every moment we had.

…I guess you didn’t feel the same way about me.

Sometimes you’d say you missed me, but did you really? Or was it Maria that you were missing?

I knew something was up when you asked me how I felt about you being friends with Maria. When she was back in your life. I give you credit for being honest about her being your ex and telling me that much of the truth. But I don’t think you gave me the FULL truth…I’m not sure I’ll ever know the real truth.

Maybe she sent a friend request. That is fine. I have no problem with that at all. I know you’d beg to differ, but I am not crazy. I have a million Facebook friends, most of whom I never talk to, some of which are exes.

Here’s the thing that is NOT okay: to give your exes more attention than your current girlfriend. To lie to your current girlfriend about our ex girlfriend. To ignore your current girlfriend because you’re too wrapped up in your ex. To feel the need to hide your cell phone because of messages from your ex girlfriend that you don’t wan your current girlfriend to see.

Maybe you didn’t have sex with her. Maybe you didn’t kiss her. Maybe you never touched her. Maybe you haven’t even seen her since you broke up.

…but that doesn’t make you innocent.

If you have to hide you phone from your current girlfriend because of messages from another girl, as far as I’m concerned, when it comes to cheating, you’re already there.

Do you have any idea how much it hurt for me to find all of those messages on your phone on August 8th? The ones about how she’s so beautiful, asking her if she’s single, asking to video chat.

It didn’t hurt.

It killed.

A part of me died the night of August 8, 2015.

I did what any normal girl would do: I freaked out.

Consider yourself lucky, I didn’t hit you. I should have. I really, really should have.

Breaking up then and there seemed like the obvious answer. I gave my all to you. I was as loyal and committed to you as one could have been, and this was the thanks I got? Really? But I loved you so much.

Remember that night? In your car? We cried together for hours. I never saw a man cry like that before. That wasn’t fake; no man can fake-cry that well. You SOBBED. You were hysterical. How could I not have accepted your apology after that? You made a mistake. But you didn’t mean to hurt me. You loved me. It was a one time thing. It would never happen again. It wouldn’t be easy for me to trust you after that, but I was willing to try. I still had hope and faith in you. I believed we could put this hold thing behind us. Just keep it between us and move on.

Except…it wasn’t between you and me.

It was me, you, Maria, and your family.

Your stupid freaking family.

I often wondered if I was dating you or your family.Sometimes it felt like both. I’m all for being close to your family. You were over my house all the time, you know I was close to my family. You also knew that especially towards the end, they weren’t always too found of you. They didn’t hate you like I know that you think they did…they just believed I deserved better. You didn’t treat me the way I should have been treated.

They were right.

While my family may not have quite approved of you all the time, they still knew that my love life was just that – my love life. It was for me to figure out and for me to make decisions about. They never told me to break up with you (although they definitely didn’t discourage it). They allowed me to make my own decisions.

Larry, you’re 27 years old. When are you going to grow up and be your own man?

It’s not just about you living at home. That’s fine – I mean I still live at home, why  would I condemn that? But you let your family control you and your life and your relationships so much. It wasn’t fair for me or for you.

It was like I already stated, I wasn’t just dating you, I dated your family, too.

I constantly had to seek their approval and nothing was ever just between us. If we had an argument or a dispute or anything at all that I said to you, got back to them, too and they made sure to let me know it.

It wasn’t even just your parents. It was your parents, all of your sisters, your freaking grandmom, cousins, aunts, uncles, random people who I guess are somehow related to you.

It was never their business. A relationship should be between two people, not two people and their family.

One of the things that bothered me the most was the fact that Amanda knew about Maria before we even had our little dispute. Remember the barbecue? It was that same week…maybe even the day after the fact? The wounds were still really fresh and still really deep, Larry. I was doing my best not to think about it, to not hold it against you…forgive and forget. Then while we were alone, when we were dropping Amanda and Emma off she said to us, “Larry, are you still talking to your ex? That’s a really bad idea.” And she followed up after she went home with a text about how you better get your crap together or you’re going to lose me…you’re never around for me. You treat me like crap. Say what you will about Amanda. Yeah, maybe she’s made some mistakes and done some things you and the rest of your family don’t agree with…but was she not right?

You never learn though, do you? You were the center of my life. My world revolved around you. My world stopped for you. The only thing I remember about last summer is being in this constant state of waiting — waiting for you to come home from work. Waiting for you to get done with your dad. Waiting for you to show up at my house. Waiting for you to text. Waiting for you to call.

Waiting for you to come home from your 8th family vacation that you totally didn’t have to go on.

Waiting for you to tell the truth.

Waiting for you to love me the way I loved you.

We started to fight a lot. The main thing we fought about was how I needed more from you. I was exhausted from giving you all that I had whereas you never even attempted to measure up.I cried a lot and suffered horrible anxiety by the end of our relationship because I knew things weren’t the same and I was terrified of losing you and I could no longer trust you. I did lose you in the end – but choice – because it was no longer worth staying, as painful as leaving you came to be.

I knew you were a truck driver and couldn’t be home much. It wasn’t easy, but I accepted that.

What I couldn’t accept was how you made things unnecessarily hard on us with these stupid volunteer vacations. Instead of seeing me, you took time off to spend a week with your family on vacation.

One vacation is one thing.

8 is quite another, and no, I’m not even exaggerating.

I went to Disney with you and I had the time of my life. I will never, even regret that despite how things ended with us. It was uncomfortable as anything staying with your sisters and your mom. Your mom is not exactly the nicest, friendliest person in the world – especially not to me. Your little sister is alright…for a 5 year old. It’s too bad she’s now going on 15 or 16. I could go into more details here, and I almost did, but I’ll spare you that. You should be thanking me. Your older sister was nice enough…but it was a little uncomfortable living with someone who covered everything in tissues for a week because of germs…but maybe she had a point. That was he most disgusting freaking room I’ve ever seen. You’re lucky I’m as nice as I am…I could have and really should have made you take me somewhere else to stay…somewhere that isn’t totally disgusting. But I suppose that it was a step up from your actual house, as sad as that sounds. That was pretty freaking bad, too.

But why do you feel the need to go on ALL of these family vacations especially when they are often the same? Did you really need to go to Busch gardens like 3 times that summer? Oh yeah, you did. You had to be with your girlfriend during round 2.

Except I’ve never been to Busch Gardens.

You and your family make it sound like I’m a devil because of what I did to you during the 2nd trip to Busch Gardens.

I’m sorry – but what? What I did to you?

Yes. I cursed you out over a series of 20+ text.

Yes they were ugly.

Yes, I accused you of cheating…and that’s putting it mild.

What did you expect? You wen on vacation with another girl who was in the same age range, single,and you never told me about it.

When I asked if she was there, you took a long time to answer me and you said “Well….”

That tells me everything.

The first time you went to Busch Gardens, you told me everything about your day. Everywhere you went, everything you saw, everything you did. You couldn’t wait to talk to me.

The second time was another story. Because your girlfriend was there with you. Your other girlfriend.

I had to pretty much beg you to send me 1 little text a day. That’s unacceptable.

You got drunk. With her.

You never had a single drink when you were with me. And don’t you dare use the excuse of having to drive. What about Disney? Everyone gets drunk in Epcot. You could’ve had all the drinks you wanted – you had none.

You went in a hot tub. With her. Without your shirt on.

You were always very self conscious of that. I think I saw you shirtless maybe a total of 3 times…1 is more like it. Definitely no more than 3 during the course of our 13 month relationship.

THERE. IS. A. POOL. AT. MY. CONDO.

You could’ve gone swimming with me any time you wanted during the summer, but you refused because you were “too shy”. Too shy to take your shirt off in front of me, but when it comes to your other girlfriend, boy you can’t take your clothes off fast enough, can you?

And what about the tracking app?

I can understand people thinking it’s creepy. In most cases,  yes, but when you date a truck driver,the same rules don’t apply.

FYI, dating a truck driver gets freaking terrifying. I heard on the news all the time about major accidents with trucks where the drivers were killed and I always panicked thinking it could be you. The tracking app allowed me to sleep at night knowing you reached your destination safe. But yeah, I did use it when you were on vacation – I enjoyed seeing where you were going especially since it wasn’t like I was going to get a text out of you telling me where you were. You went ghost on me.

You liked the tracking app. You made a game out of it. The where’s Larry? game. Don’t you dare try to tell me otherwise.

Suddenly, minutes after I flipped out on you and accused you of cheating, the tracking app became disabled so I couldn’t keep track of you.

Let me guess…you let her take you to Hooters and you disabled the app so I wouldn’t find out because you know I’d get mad. You admitted she asked you to go…but you claim you said no. Lying was never one of your strongest suits though. I bet you said no. Sure…

This all took place less than a month after the whole Maria incident. And I’m just supposed to believe nothing happened, that you were completely innocent.

How stupid do you think I am?

And yet, I allowed you and your stupid friggen family to place all of the blame on me. I was the psychotic girlfriend with the worst anxiety that really needed to see a doctor like your brother did. God forbid I loved you. God forbid I worried about you. God forbid I feared losing you. You freaking cheated, yet it was all my fault. So I did the only thing I knew how to do: I apologized and begged you not to leave me.

But we were never the same after that. We were falling apart and could no longer be fixed.

And I was getting so sick and tired of fighting the same battles – begging you to make me a priority. Crying in your car and not even being sure why I was crying.

We were changing. I supposed I was seeing your true colors. And they were ugly. You were becoming more and more controlling, manipulative, and unsupportive of me and downright selfish.

In case I haven’t mentioned it yet, it’s really hard work to date a truck driver. But I did everything I could to make it work – to try to be understanding, supportive, and submissive like a good proverbs 31 woman.

But a proverbs 31 woman needs a proverbs 31 man. I didn’t have one. You didn’t take care of me. You took care of you.But I suppose I can’t blame you too much…do you even know what it is to be a Proverbs 31 man? Do you even know the significance of Proverbs 31? Probably not. I mean, you were only a pentecostal afterall.

Larry, do you know what a pentecostal christian is? It’s not exactly what I consider a “real” christian to be. When is the last time you went to church other than the Baptist church with me and those churches we saw christian concerts at?

Admit it…you’re only a pentecostal because your dad is.

Now that we aren’t together,I can finally say something I’ve been holding back for the longest time:

Your dad really isn’t a good man.

By dad I hope you know I mean your stepfather, not your birth dad. Your birth dad and I had our issues,  but he’s a far better man and I do think he tries with you – you just oftentimes don’t give him a chance.I hope that’s changed.

But for real..I don’t understand why you idolize your stepdad so much. He’s incredibly selfish and just seems…off.I have my theories about him, but to say I have a bad feeling about him is an understatement. You say he’s always been there for you and your family. Uh. Why does he have his own bedroom and everyone else except your little sister has to sleep in the middle of the living room (including your mom)? Why does he have a keurig strictly for himself? Why does he go out and do whatever he wants even if it means going alone and leaving the rest of the family home? Why did he make you do household chores and keep you from seeing me until like 10 at night on one of the only weekends you’d be home for an entire month? I see him as being incredibly selfish…

You should really reconsider that.

But regardless, your faith is not something to take lightly. It really really bothered me towards the end of our relationship when you wouldn’t pray for me, when you dismissed me when I told you how important it was to pray and read your bible and I even offered to give you my audio bible to listen to on the road.

I don’t think you understood just how important this all is. It is the most important thing in your life.

Being baptized doesn’t make you a Christian.

Listening to worship music doesn’t making you a Christian.

Seeing a Christian play doesn’t make you a Christian.

Only truly accepting Christ as your Lord and Savior will save you. I’m not entirely sure if you’re really there, Larry. I don’t know that I can honestly say I believe you to be saved. I believe you don’t really know what it means to be a Christian and to know Christ. I believe you don’t really understand what it means to have a relationship with him, and that makes me sad.

We weren’t on the same page with our faith…and I didn’t think we were going to get there. I was growing and maturing so much in my faith, and you were holding me back. I couldn’t let that happen.

I loved you so much. So. so. so. much.

I was terrified of losing you,but I saw you slipping away before my eyes.

The only thing that scared me more than losing you was our future, which I was also beginning to see more clearly.

I really really really wanted to marry you. Our original plan was we’d get engaged after our 2 year anniversary and married after we’ve been together for 5 years. It all seemed so easy. The first year flew by so fast.

That’s when everything became downright horrifying.

I wanted to marry you…but it wasn’t just about you.

I thought about our future kids all the time. Would they have a father? I know we talked about this before. You said you’d take a local job so you’d be there for our kids and for me. I believed you…but I heard this so many times…by our 13 month mark….I doubted there was any truth to the statement.

You loved that truck more than you loved me. And I wondered who you’d choose when kids came in the picture…would you still love the truck more? I feared the answer would still be yes, and that broke my heart. My future kids deserve to have a dad that they can depend on. I couldn’t depend on you, so why should I have believed they could depend on you? You know I never forced you to take a local job, although naturally I’d never discourage it. I wanted you to be happy and figured if you wanted to go the distance, now that we’re not married with kids, this was the time to do it. But you told me all the time you’d take a local job. You’d get my hopes up so high only to shoot them down and to end up going further that initially planned. It was an emotional roller coaster. It was one thing to force me on that ride, but it would never be fair to our future kids. I couldn’t imagine having to put them through that.

I started to see all of my hopes and dreams and everything I ever worked for go out the window. I could say goodbye to ever working in a big city like NYC or LA (or anywhere in California for that matter). You didn’t even support me and my desire to go to school for my master’s degree because of the debt I’d further put myself in (although it really didn’t matter when it came to you and trucking school, did it? Also, I never asked you to pay for it…so why did it matter at all?). You didn’t even support the things that really would help me that you always supported in the past…like my 2nd cochlear implant surgery…why on earth would you not want that for me? Why the change of heart?

I always supported you and your hopes and dreams and everything you wanted to do…not that it was ever an option. You went and did your thing and made your own decisions and told me after the decision was already made. If you wanted to go further on the road, you did. And I was there supporting you…even if it meant waiting 3 months for you to come home. And I was always faithful, it was never a thought not to be.

You made me choose.

You made me choose between you and my career. I didn’t even know where I was going, what was happening.

I didn’t go to California. I visited and interviewed in New York, but ended up in Pennsauken…your aunt’s town…initially and then later, Philly, which you also wouldn’t support.

Choosing my career…choosing myself was one of the hardest, scariest decisions of my life. I wanted to marry you so bad. I thought you were the one and it scared the living day lights to think that I could have been walking away from the one I was supposed to marry. What if I just gave up on the man God designated for me to spend eternity with? Would this mean I’d end up alone for the rest of my life?

As I already stated, my faith was important to me. I was a real christian unlike you and I was growing more in my faith. I was reading my bible more than ever. I began to read Mark Hall’s book, Thrive and I listened to the album that inspired the book. I prayed all the time.

We were made to thrive.

…So why wasn’t I thriving?

Not only was I not thriving, I wasn’t even living.

I was just a part of your shadow…sacrificing my everything…all for you.

But you wouldn’t even support me and my career…or really anything in my life.

I prayed all the time. First I prayed that things would get better. Then I realized, maybe this isn’t God’s will. Then I prayed for clarity. I prayed for God to show me the way.

Our anniversary came and went. I was so excited. I made you a special dinner. I got you a nice card. I didn’t get a gift since I didn’t think you’d get me one and I knew we were going away on vacation for our anniversary a month later.

You couldn’t even get me flowers. Or a card. I barely got a “Happy Anniversary” out of you.

…Ouch.

I guess I wasn’t even worth the $3 you’d pay for a card.

I didn’t even get mad though. I was use to the disappointment by then, and I knew we’d just celebrate in a month when we went away. I was so excited for that. We spent nearly a full year planning it. But then I noticed something….

I was the only one excited.

The closer we got, the less excited we got.

I didn’t get it. Maybe it was because you already went to Lancaster and did all of the things we were going to do with your family.

There you go with your freakin’ family again.

They discouraged you from going, didn’t they? What happened to “I really want to do this and am going to put my foot down?”. You parents never wanted us to go. Your sister ended up pregnant or a similar trip, so obviously we were destined to have the same fate.I’m so glad your family had so much faith in us. I’m so glad they seen me as little more than a whore. How flattering.

I told myself, if this didn’t work out, it must be a sign from God that I’m supposed to just walk away from it all. It’s not meant to be.

Boy, I didn’t want this to be true.

I wanted so bad for you to prove me wrong this time.

But you didn’t.

You did the opposite.

You claimed you were sick. Yeah, right.

I did not break up with you because you got sick. That’s ridiculous. Contrary to popular belief by your family and I guess you, too, I’m not crazy.

I broke up with you because you’re always sick. You’re always tired. You’re always late. You can never help it. It’s always something. Conveniently though, you’re only ever these things precisely when it’s time for you to come home and see me.

When you’re only coming to see me, you’re always several hours late and often times we can’t make it to whatever we initially planned…like say our 2nd Newsboys concert for our anniversary. But when it comes time to see your family, your world stops for them.

It wasn’t fair, Larry. I wanted you to be like that for me. I was jealous. I shouldn’t have had to feel that way…jealous of your family. Because I wanted to become your family. I wanted to become your wife.

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” – Ephesians 5:31

It’s right there in the bible, Larry. If you’re a christian like you claim to be, you’d be more than willing to let go of your parents to pursue me and work towards making me your wife and building a foundation and family with me.

But you wouldn’t do that for me. And I was tired of waiting. I was tired of settling.

We were made to thrive.

So that day I fought with you. I hung up the phone. And I never looked back.

The part of our breakup that hurts the most is that you never attempted to call me back. Why is that? Why did you just let me go so easily without a fight?

No calls.

No texts.

No messages.

Just 13 months of our relationship all out the window. I never meant for things to end this way. I never wanted this ugly breakup.

A lot of people don’t understand why I never tried to reach out to you, why I never closed the deal and got my closure.

I guess I did though. I know why things had to end. I know this is God’s will. I did want it to end better though and I did wish we talked through it more, but I can’t bring myself to talk to you. Because it just further drills in the fact that it’s always me doing everything for you…loving you, giving you my all, putting forth an effort, and apologizing even for YOUR mistakes when I stand by idly getting nothing in return.

If I talk to you and initiate the contact…it would be a mistake. I’ll apologize for you even though I did nothing wrong. I’ll beg you to take me back. We’ll get back together. And it will be this same horrendous, unhealthy cycle all over again.

I’m not going to make these mistakes. I’m not talking to you unless you talk to me first, and even that’s a maybe.

I’m focusing on me for once, and ever since I did that, my life’s gotten better.I left my miserable job and am now working a great one. I am becoming a college professor. I’m going back to school and it’s not even going to cost me anything to do it! I got my 2nd cochlear implant surgery. I visit NYC when I can and I love it every bit as much as I knew it would.

I got baptized. My relationship with God means far more to me than my relationship with you.

I am finding myself in this world, and realizing I have more of an identity than being a trucker’s wife.

And closure? This nearly 5,000 word blog post gave me all of the closure I could ever need. These are all of the words I’d say to you if I was ever going to talk to you again…which I have no plans of doing.

I survived you. Every day I get a little stronger and I realize:

I’m better off without you.

 



Scribbles & Crumbs

Hope. Kindness. Faith. Love

Rob the deaf guy

My experiences going from hearing to silence to hearing

The silence amidst sound

A deaf girl on the road towards getting a cochlear implant, sharing her experiences with the world.

The Fox and the Jackalope

A secret world that is no longer secret. Dreams, shadows, and words abound plenty here.

GODINTEREST - Christian magazine covering faith, culture and life

Godinterest is a place to talk about God, Culture, Life and all that other stuff

SFoxWriting.com

Something For Everyone's Needs

A Stairway To Fashion

contact: ralucastoica23@gmail.com

joeseeberblog

This WordPress.com site is the cat’s pajamas

Humanity777's Blog

The Church of Christ

Secrets of Happiness

Your Spiritual Guidance

hearts on sleeves club

If you wear your heart on your sleeve, join the club.

Story Carnivores

reviews of books and films

Never give up! You are NOT alone

A topnotch WordPress.com site

MarketingThink | Social Media & Marketing Coaching Blog By Gerry Moran

Philadelphia-based Social Media Marketing Coaching Services

The New B.P

Ethics, Equality and Equal Rights

Annie's Ginger Moons Blog

Of arts and things...

Horror 4 All

A blog of all things Horror

The Baggage Handler

I made the impossible easy in both worlds!

The Neighborhood

telling the story from every vantage point

loveyourfilms.wordpress.com/

A Blog For Every Movie Lover