Head ’em Up, Move ’em Out!

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That’s right! I wasn’t kidding when I mentioned in my previous post–before the last– that I wanted to create a completely new, fun blog design! And as you will read on my new site, WordPress is more difficult than my lack of web design experience. I love their themes, but I WANT MY OWN. I’m quite HTML/web design illiterate. And the competitor Blogspot is simple-stupid. We’re a match!  Follow me to: What Comes Out? Anything!

The Real Thing.

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“I fell in love with her courage, her sincerity, and her flaming self respect. And it’s these things I’d believe in, even if the whole world indulged in wild suspicions that she wasn’t all she should be. I love her and it is the beginning of everything.”

—F. Scott Fitzgerald

There are no words after that one, Ladies and Gentlemen.

There is no title…

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I’ve found myself overwhelmed with life, school work, inner-conflicts, and relationships and figuring out how to be a senior in college over the last few months. It’s a really significant, defining time in my life. I didn’t want to write anything for it to become misconstrued.  I love the people in my life way too much for that to happen. It takes struggles in our lives to realize how strong and capable we truly are! I believe that with every ounce of my being. I remember several times over the last few months where I have told friends (or myself) through my sobbing tears, “I’m so weak. I’m broken and hurt, and so, I’m weak.” In reality, I believe realizing and accepting those emotions make me anything except weak. They make me human.

Last weekend someone said, “You know, Leigh, you are so strong but you don’t have to be strong all the time.” My reply was this, “I do have to be strong. I’ve watched my mother, my grandmothers, my friends be strong. It’s a part of who I am. It’s what makes me… me!” Looking at the strength of all the people in my life forces me to view life more clearly.  They are much wiser than me, because they realize life consists of both strengths and weaknesses. We are taught in society to be strong, apart from of our circumstances. And while I don’t have to be strong all the time, I believe strength is picking ourselves off the ground when we find ourselves struggling. It’s also about having people in your life prepared to pick us up, too.

Last night, I spent time with my sorority sisters in my pledge class. One of the first questions they asked was “How are things? What’s going on? You okay?” After explaining a portion of my life, they nodded their heads and smiled slightly. They understood. They, too, face struggles between strength and weakness. Several have been in similar positions. Regardless, they have all struggled, too. They’re searching for answers concerning school, life, careers and relationships. We are all facing strengths and weaknesses. And as the conversation shifted to all the things 21 year old girl’s talk about when they get together— I realized something.

It’s okay to be self-aware, not selfish. I also believe it’s important to be utterly aware of humanity! When we find our strength, it’s usually because we are surrounded by community. We pick each other up. Like Mary and Elizabeth. And really, it doesn’t always matter who we have by our sides as long as they’re there, completely. And we extend the same hand to them. I’m struggling. But I’m also doing well right now. I am laughing and enjoying where I am, where ever that happens to be! On my way to work this afternoon, I thought about love. You know, the idea I wrote about in my last post. The idea that I’m not struggling with loving, but— the way I love, the type of love and how exactly to love. I know, now. Whatever happens, I have plenty of love in my heart. It’s like my struggles with strength and weakness. I have no answers to the questions of how I am handling the strengths/weaknesses and loving either. But I know how I am going to love and live my strength, just by doing it.

“If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you just might miss it.” –Farris Bueller

P.S. I’m trying to find a way to create a completely new, fun blog design. I don’t know how, but I’m determined!

On roller coasters, tunnels, romantic comedies and life…

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I have not written in a while. My life has turned upside down. I’ve felt a gamut of emotions. I have been on the craziest roller coaster ride, some may call it life. And for the sake of procrastination, I find myself here…. writing. You know, life is really complicated. Relationships and roles in life are complicated. We try to simplify them. I try to simplify them. We want the answers, the careers, the futures, the experiences we fabricate in our minds. Sometimes we create what is not there, only to discover once the cloud becomes less dense that God has far more planned than we can see through our tunnel vision. And we ALL have tunnel vision. I have tunnel vision. Wow. Deep, huh? I have come to realize that love is…. it’s actually the least complicated of all life’s mysteries. But defining that love– the way you love, the type of love, how to love. Well, that’s where I struggle. And I am becoming okay with that. Everyone I speak to says it’s perfectly normal to be completely confused with my life right now. I’m on target… bull’s eye. And as much as I dislike it, despise it, attempt to fight it, or ignore it. I am failing. Not in an ‘I-suck-at-life’  or depressed kind of failing, but in a God’s got a plan for you bigger than that tunnel vision you’re looking through—kind of failing. And I’m naive to think anything less than His perfect plan. And that’s okay, because so… is… everyone… else. One of the most amazing aspects of my Faith– my whole life– has been the assurance that God has predestined my life. That He knows me so intimately that He knows my every thought and His intention for me is to live striving toward His image. It’s quite amusing to me that’s the idea I’m struggling with right now. His plan. He has had one all along and He will have one still. And I KNOW this, and so I laugh at myself.

Because really, I want my life to be simple. Not messy. Not trying. Not complicated. I don’t want the tough things to exist: Like sin. Or hurt. Or homelessness. Or break-ups. Or cancer. Or failure. Or unanswered questions. Or mistakes. Or divorce. Or regret. Or What If’s. I’ve got it all wrong. I know it. I’m aware. But I am learning, still.

Now more than ever, I see God’s reasoning for emotions. I find myself happy, sad, hurt, healing, strong, weak, joyful, fearful, angry, anticipating, optimistic, stubborn, envious, jealous, agitated, excited, empathetic, and I am sure far more emotions than I am able to recognize and articulate. Truly, I am appreciating the lows for what I am learning from them. And the glimpses of joy and excitement, and the rush of the unknown make me feel most fortunate for the times when I’m down. I am learning to recognize and compartmentalize my feelings, and God’s reasoning for all the really difficult things bring me to the realization that Charles Swindoll (whoever he is) phrased it most clearly: “I cannot find either in scripture or in history, a strong-willed individual whom God used greatly until he allowed them to be hurt deeply.”  I haven’t checked all of scripture or history to verify this, but from my own experiences I believe it to be true. Through the emotions and struggles of life, I see the glimpses of beauty in the people I love (no matter how it is that I love them), the beauty of the unknown, the beauty of friendships and laughter and forgiveness, the beauty of lessons learned and lessons left to discover; the beauty of other’s joy and His faithfulness. And the happy endings seem to become less and less important—even if I should really discontinue watching romantic comedies altogether. The journey becomes the most significant, and so, if it takes turning my life upside down and being tossed and thrown on the roller coaster I call life to find exactly where He wants me to be and who He wants me to become, it’s worth it. I think.

Dear God,

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How can you LOVE and HATE one individual so much at the very same time?

No more ‘mysterious ways.’

No more ‘things just happen.’

No more ‘hate the mistake’

…. and ‘love the one who made the mistake.’

Just tell me… straight-up!

Time, stop!

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“So scared of getting older
I’m only good at being young
So I play the numbers game to find

a way to say that life has just begun”

Catching Up With Old Friends

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Smiling obsessively. Exhausted. Estrogen-overload. Am-I-really-doing-this-again? Silent clapping. Screaming out of the front door. OMG-I-lived-in-Tutwiler-too.OMG-I-lived-on-the-ninth-floor-too.You’ve got that right, I’m smack-dab in the middle of recruitment week here at the University. To top that off, a head cold from summer allergies has knocked me down–hard– the last few days, and I am regaining the ability to breathe through my nose without popping a blood vessel. Life is grand.

Is that too much? Too much? Too much!

I spent the Spring semester of my junior year swearing up-and-down I would spend my entire summer brushing up on my writing skills. In reality, my time was spent writing about the City Cafe (a local meat-and-three, southern style) over the bridge in Northport, Alabama. Let’s not forget the article I wrote on the older man representing LifeSouth, and I’m nearly certain my professor fell asleep while reading it. And. Andddd I learned the ins-and-outs of graphic design and visual communication.

Lord Help Me, I like DOING a job rather than LEARNING how to do a job. I will regret this statement in a few short months. Lord, Help Me with that too.

After suffering through all the learning, I put those practices to work at an internship. I choose not to tell the whole world about that experience. There are too many words, for that. I will tell you this non-profit organization is set up through one of two hospitals in my hometown. And you know what, I’ve been correct about myself all along. Who would have thunk it? Thunk it? That’s still a word, right? I should pull out my Associated Press Style Book. Thank you Journalism 311. Moving on.

My passion, my goals, my heart, my skills and my strengths are valuable in non-profit and hospital settings. At least that’s what I’m telling myself, anyway.

It was a positive opportunity and I feel humbled to experience all that I have this summer, even when it was hard to be away from my other-half, Nathan the majority of the summer.

Guess what? Guess what? Guess what?

 

I turned 21 one week ago!

I am excited to be back writing–after an (almost) month hiatus, and following where life leads me the next 10 months.

Caught-up. The end.

 

 

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