On Lent

Lent is nearly upon us! I know what you’re thinking because I used to think the same way.  “Ugh, Lent is so dreary and now I have to give something up that I like.  Boo.”

Maybe we forget that Lent is not about moping around.  Lent is not just about making sure that we make our obligatory thanks and sacrifice to Jesus for what He did for us.  Lent is our reminder of how truly, deeply, passionately, and eternally we are loved.  Let’s take a look.

Do you remember a time when someone did something really nice for you? It could have been your mom, sibling, friend, anyone.  Maybe you appreciated it even more because you felt as if you didn’t deserve what they did for you.  Made you feel really good, didn’t it? And now when you think about what the person did for you it makes you smile.  It inspires you to be a little kinder to someone in turn.  You are grateful to have that person in your life! So what does this have to do with Lent? Well, it’s the same with Jesus.  No one will ever make the most perfect sacrifice for you in your entire life.  And guess what? He would do it all over again even if you were the only person on the planet.  Now we come to my second point.  I said that when you think of that nice thing someone did for you, it lights you up.  Receiving that unconditional love made you feel really, really good.  So I wonder why some people, including myself, seem to neglect that joy that we should feel when we think of Jesus’ sacrifice.  Of course, we need to be respectfully solemn about something so serious as our Lord’s passion and death.  Ignoring that aspect, ignoring the Cross, is a terribly wrong thing to do.  However, we need to join the sad part of Lent to our joyful gratefulness for what Jesus did for us.  To say “us” though, isn’t really proper.  As the ultimate Common Good of the Universe, Jesus made his sacrifice for everyone and each one.  In other words, for you.  Looking at the Cross shouldn’t fill us with sadness.  It should be a reminder of Jesus’ unfathomable love! And yes, even though you may be thinking “I barely talk with Jesus,” or “I haven’t been to Church in forever.  I don’t count,” I’m going to politely ask you to shut up.  Because you count more than you could ever know and Jesus is insanely, insanely in love with you.  Lent is the perfect opportunity to rekindle or even begin your relationship with God.  And if you’re feeling unworthy or wondering if you’re doing the right thing, look at the Cross.  Our Lord’s burden is the ultimate reminder of His love.  So take up your personal cross and follow Jesus on his road to Calvary.  As you follow him through him the darkness, He will lead you to the light of Easter.  And be joyful! Lent is for us.  Lent if for you.

God bless and have a wonderful Lent,

– Julia

My Poetry: “Roots” and “Your Gift”

I’ve got not one poem for you today, but two! The first one is called “Roots” and the second is titled, “Your Gift”.  As usual, feel free to interpret in anyway you like and let me know what you come up with in the comments! I would love to discuss these and my other poetry with you.  Enjoy!

“Roots”

You’re never going to see this tired bind of flower dreams

Blossoming inside my head

and behind my eyes

and between my lashes

That spread their grasping roots through every nerve

so even my fingertips are thirsting for your rainfall

 

Alright, after you’ve gelled with that one for a second, here’s the second one.

“Your Gift”

everything that’s ever made you break

and anything that’s made you come undone

all the pieces torn up in your hands

and all the threads that ever came unraveled

 

I don’t just want your sunny day

and I don’t just want the easy smiles

the way you laugh and look at me

and when your heartbeat matches mine

 

I want everything you have

give every joy and pain and last goodbye

it’s not a pretty present

but it’s beautiful to me

 

So what did you think? All writers need feedback.  Let me know in the comments and, as always, thanks for reading!

– Julia

 

 

 

The Blank Page Ahead

As my senior year of high school draws closer and closer to an end, I’ve been thinking a lot about what’s next.  The big three questions as I like to call them have been buzzing around my head like electrons and, unfortunately, have been spreading their negative charge to my perspective.  Where should I go to college? What should I do with my life? And last but not least, am I going to be happy? These are normal questions that everyone needs to ask themselves, but in my brain, they’ve been turning into “I won’t do well in college anyway”, “I’m not doing anything important with my life”, and “I’ll never be happy after school”.  To a degree, I understand why some anxiety comes along with these questions.  But on the other hand, I’m trying to see it as something exciting.  To illustrate my point, I’m going to talk about Star Trek.

Help! I’m under attack by my future!

Although technically the Earth hasn’t been fully explored yet, I like to look at outer space as the real final frontier.  An almost completely unexplored territory, space is full of infinite possibilities for discovery and adventure.  Pretty awesome, right? Right.  But since space is full of unknowns, it can be scary and sometimes even dangerous.

A visual of my brain on a daily basis.

Thing is, the great Where No Man Has Gone Before is actually an excellent metaphor for our personal future.  It’s a gigantic unknown, an uncharted, unexplored place where you are the hero.  It’s just a big blank page waiting to be filled by you in anyway you want.  It may be dark and a little scary at times, but there are also infinite possibilities.  And we all need a little adventure.

So before you’re all like

Before you let yourself hit a brick wall

Before you let negative thoughts end your adventure before it even begins

And before all your worries drive you absolutely crazy

Just remember that the unknown future isn’t something to be scared of.  Don’t be afraid to go boldly into your own life.  It’s an exciting time, and surely in this crazy world only adventures, big and small, await you.

*Note: I am now adding the clapping Picard GIF to the end of every post.  It makes me feel super good about myself.

– Julia

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!!! Wherever you are, whatever your situation may be, and whatever struggles you’re going through right now, just remember that there is always, always, something to be thankful for.  And guess what? I’ll add another thing to your list.  Presenting the stages of Thanksgiving Day entirely in GIFs! Please enjoy and have a wonderful day!

So first you wake up like

And then you plant your butt in front of the TV to watch the parade!

And you enjoy all the music and floats…

But everybody knows this guy is the real reason we all watch the parade

So after starving yourself all morning so you have more room in your stomach…

Your guests have arrived (or you arrive) and it’s time to eat!!!!

For the next hour (or two, or three) you turn into a perfectly designed machine with one purpose: to eat

When you are distracted with small talk and family conversation, you’re all like

But inevitably the “Oh, so are you still single?” question comes up and you’re just like

But internally you’re like

But then someone brings out pumpkin pie and you immediately feel better

Eventually the eating is over and although you want more you’re absolutely stuffed and may be close to death

But even though your body hates you you’re just like

And overall it’s been a pretty awesome Thanksgiving

But the best part? You wake up the next day and EVERYTHING IS CHRISTMAS

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

While I Was Away…

Holy cow it’s been nine whole days since I’ve made a post! To all of my amazing readers, I apologize! I haven’t been just sitting around twiddling my thumbs and watching Say Yes To The Dress though.  Here are all of the things I’ve been up to that have prevented me from blogging.

1. Playing gigs with my band

2. Practicing with my band and learning Christmas songs

3. Writing a paper

4. Writing a paper about how I wrote the previous paper

5. Writing the midterm assignment paper

6. Studying for the midterm

7. Taking the midterm

8. Modeling in a local fashion show

9. Ugly crying with joy over my new PS4

10. Hitting that busy point where essentials such as eating and sleeping are something you need to “make time for”.

So yeah, that’s what I’ve been up to lately! I’m grateful that God has put these things in my life to keep me busy, but at the same time, finding a balance between OH MY GOSH SO STRESSFUL SO MUCH ANXIETY GET AWAY FROM ME EVERY SECOND OF MY TIME IS PRECIOUS AND IF I FAIL THIS MIDTERM I WILL END UP AS A HOBO and “Oh no, I don’t need to get that done right now.  I can definitely watch 10 more episodes of Parks and Recreation in the mean time.  Wait, midterm, what midterm?” is tricky.  Hearing God’s voice in the din of our hectic lives can be even harder.  But I don’t think God is limited to speaking to us in absolute silence, although that is one of the best ways for us to listen to Him.  He’s everywhere.  He places events, opportunities, and people in our lives and speaks through them.  And maybe being silent doesn’t mean retreating to a cabin in the middle of nowhere (although that certainly sounds appealing sometimes).  Can we be silent anywhere? I don’t mean not saying a word at all, to anyone.  I mean can our hearts be silent? Can our minds? I know my mind is like the Energizer Bunny with ADD.  The average person thinks 50,000 thoughts per day, but mine certainly feels like millions and millions are going crazy in my head.  Oh, and that doesn’t mean that they’re intelligent thoughts or anything.  Most of them are crazy stories or characters I make up or hypothetical situations with a .1% chance of happening where I have to make a huge decision that will decide the fate of the universe.  A lot of it is just junk stuff though, i.e. worry.  And that’s a bigger waste of brain cells than reality TV.  One of the keys that I’ve learned to being interiorly silent is getting rid of worry.  Think of stressful thoughts and anxiety as some doofus with a megaphone that won’t shut up.  He insults you, doubts you, makes you feel bad about yourself, and just annoys you until you can’t take it anymore.  And every time you listen to him, the megaphone gets bigger and bigger.

He’s like this @$&^!*$* from Duck Hunt.  Grr.

So how do we shut this guy up? It’s simple: we have to shut up.  Because guess what? PLOT TWIST.  That laughing dog is your own subconscious! *gasp* And every time the dog – you – tells you something negative and you buy it, you’re cutting yourself off from hearing what God has to say to you.  Why? Because God only wants to tell us positive things.  Not like, “Hey, Julia, I’m letting you off the hook with that paper! Go do whatever you want to!” but “Hey, Julia, I know what you’re dealing with now and it’s all going to be ok because I love you and I will never leave you to handle it alone.”

That sounds like a pretty awesome message to me, but unfortunately, we let our crazy lives and all the worries that go with them get in the way of hearing it.  So, what I’ve learned and what I’m telling you here is to think happy! And trust me, I’m not this type of person at all, although I’d like to be:

It’s more like having a realistic yet positive outlook on life.  And yes, despite the awful, horrible crap that we all go through, despite the atrocious things humanity does to one another, despite that weight on your shoulders right now, and despite the fact that Degrassi is *still* on, we all have a reason to be positive.  A guy that maybe you’ve never even met or talked to died for you, specifically.  He didn’t die for the human race.  He died for you.  And He died for your mom, specifically.  For your brother, specifically.  For your friend.  Because He loves each of us personally and intimately.  And here’s more good news: you can trust Him with everything.  You can trust that when He says that He’s there for you, He will be there.  Basically, you are never, ever, ever alone.  So finally, being truly silent isn’t equivalent to becoming a mime.  Being truly silent is having a heart that blocks out the noise of negativity we try to tell ourselves and is constantly in union with God.  It’s almost like an unending phone conversation with God without the awkward silence on either end when you run out of things to talk about.  Sometimes it’s just knowing that He’s on the other line.  In our crazy, busy, noisy world, the silence of God is what gets us through with joy and peace.

– Julia

Teenage Cliches I Never Want To See Again

In a disturbingly borg-like fashion, many teenage girls seem to share a hive consciousness where they latch onto something and run it into the ground until you’re begging never to see it again.  Members of the hive who form their own personalities are immediately banished from the rest of the consciousness and left on their own in the wild, never again to be accepted back into the hive.  Sadly, most of these poor creatures end up as some predator’s lunch within a few days after their banishment.  Or they start a blog.  (See what I did there?) But seriously, why do girls (and guys) buy their tickets to ride on the Collective Train of Thought without trying to come up with something original? Yes, it was funny the first 100 times I heard it! It was even funny a few times after that! But say it one more time and it’s hard not to dream of Godzilla rising from the sea and smashing the cliche bandwagon, only to be followed by Mothra of course.

So without further ado, here are my top five teenage cliches that I never – ever – want to see again!

1. Bacon And Its Near-Religious Following

Yes, yes, I get it.  Bacon is very delicious.  And it is! But please, just stop with the “bacon is, like, MY LIFE” cliches.  It’s run its course as your favorite course. Oh my gosh, did you catch that? Up top.  No…? Okay.  Moving on.

2. “That Awkward Moment When…”

You know what, I’ll confess that I’m guilty of this one.  But seriously.  If everything is awkward, NOTHING IS AWKWARD.  And that is truly awkward.

3. Mustaches

This one is just sort of puzzling.  Why are girls so obsessed with men’s facial hair? And, like, those mustaches on sticks you get at claire’s…is anyone really going to carry that around and hold it above their upper lip? I say we should just grow real mustaches and be done with it.

4. “Teenager Posts”

haha ... thats all ;)

Teenager Posts

Teenager Posts

People, this is why teenagers get a bad rep.  It makes us sound like perpetually exhausted and hungry anti-socialites whose brains are made up of bitter and sarcasm.  Some of these are funny, but most of the time I just wonder if there’s anything appealing about being so miserable and sardonic.

5. GIRLS AND FOOD

Funny Confession Ecard: Everybody has a girlfriend and boyfriend, and I'm just over here like ' I love food '.

I am Italian.  I love food as much as you do.  But single girls, you do not have to overuse the “I don’t care about a relationship I just I love food” mantra CONSTANTLY.  Is food amazing? Yes, absolutely.  But just because you’re single you do not have to pretend like you’re a loser and the only thing that will ever love you is Taco Bell.  You’re way better than that.  You’re like, Sheetz, at least.  Kidding, kidding! My point is that just because you’re single doesn’t mean that you have to practically date your McNuggets.  Focus on appreciating yourself as just yourself.

So there are my teenage cliches that need to disappear.  Thoughts? Let me know in the comments and enjoy being single and eating your bacon while you twirl your mustache and experience that awkward moment when you’ve been reading teenager posts for three hours!

– Julia

 

100 Things That I’ve Learned

One of my grandfather’s favorite things to tell me was that you learn something new every day.  I believe in that, but have found that life only teaches us when we pay attention.  I’m only seventeen years old, but lately I’ve been trying to listen to life’s lessons.   Here are 100 things that I’ve learned so far.

1. Let yourself learn something new every day

2. God isn’t in the thunder and the lightning, but in the whispers of our hearts

3. Push yourself to do better

4. Don’t be too hard on yourself 

5. God, family, food 

6. Nobody likes to listen to the dream you had last night.  Nobody.  

7. Popcorn tastes incredible on hot dogs

8. Don’t let your mind wander if you can’t bring it back 

9. Your mom can be your best friend

10. So can your dad

11. Everything in moderation

12. Listen to new music

13. Make sure that who you are is who you want to be

14. Nobody else can do what you were meant to do

15. You are never, ever alone

16. Appreciate nature

17. Think 

18. Write it out

19. Read the classics.  

20. Read the new stuff. 

21. Just read a lot, in general 

22. The Rain Song by Led Zeppelin is the best song to cry to

23. Take a risk.  Take a chance.  Make a change.  

24. Give social media a break

25. Call your grandma

26. Learn the family stories 

27. Popularity is ridiculously overrated 

28. You don’t need a million “best” friends

29. Money isn’t everything, but it’s important

30. You can’t make big decisions by yourself.  Pray a lot 

31. Be well-rounded

32. Be generous

33. Be grateful always

34. But don’t be a jerk

35. Always check to see if you have something between your teeth after meals

36. Be kind to your waiter

37. Do NOT order Italian food at a non-Italian restaurant

38. Don’t do things halfway

39. Let your walls down

40. Being vulnerable is not the worst thing in the world

41. Apologize, even if the other person doesn’t

42. Don’t freak out if you feel like your teen years aren’t the “best of your life.”  The best is yet to come

43. It’s never as good as it seems, it’s never as bad as it seems 

44. Please, cut down on the selfies 

45. Be respectful and polite to everyone

46. But don’t be a doormat.  That’s bad 

47. There is only one you.  Therefore, you are unique.  Let it show

48. Keep your promises

49. It’s okay to be sad

50. “Lighten up, Francis” 

51. Laugh at yourself

52. Don’t laugh at other people.  Laugh near other people. (Just kidding)  

53. Get out of your comfort zone

54. Just breathe

55. Don’t set your expectations way up in space.  That’s a good way to get disappointed 

56. Keep your standards high, though

57. Don’t forget your sense of humor

58. Put an end to procrastination (insert obligatory procrastination joke here) 

59. Develop your personal style

60. THIS DOES NOT MEAN ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING GOES 

61. It’s OK to be a nerd

62. It’s OK to be a jock

63. It’s OK to be a prep 

64. It’s great to be yourself

65. You have a talent.  Find it

66. Introverts are not better than extroverts.  Extroverts are not better than introverts

67. If you love something, show it

68. Don’t base your life expectations on TV 

69. Be eclectic.  You can like The Civil Wars and Avenged Sevenfold at the same time

70. Don’t live in the past

71. Don’t live in the future

72. You don’t have to agree with everything

73. Avoid cliches.  (anyone else tired of the bacon thing?) 

74. Don’t be ignorant, but please, if you like a celebrity DON’T READ THEIR WIKIPEDIA BIO 

75. Be a good listener

76. RELAX

77. Believe in Santa Claus

78. Give your mom a hug when you wake up

79. Let suffering make you a better person

80. Little kids can teach you important lessons

81. BUTTERFLIES ARE TERRIFYING CLOSE UP – http://images3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20121119015627/spongebob/images/thumb/7/79/Wormy_Butterfly_Close.jpg/640px-Wormy_Butterfly_Close.jpg

82. Write down your inside jokes so you don’t forget them

83. Give things and people a chance, for crying out loud

84. Don’t live just to be “in a relationship”

85. Video games are art (try The Last of Us, Journey, or Kingdom Hearts if you don’t believe me) 

86. Be humble

87. You are loved

88. Ask questions and find answers 

89. Just care

90. Be proud of yourself

91. Get excited

92. Face your fears

93. Silence is golden.  Unnecessary chattering is that old penny you saw in the gutter with gum stuck to it 

94. Separate opinion from fact 

95. Let yourself laugh

96. Let yourself cry

97. Punch apathy right in the kisser

98. Just say no to uggs

99. Your life is meaningful

100. Make it worth remembering 

– Julia

To My Fellow Overthinkers

I overthink.  I overthink EVERYTHING.  And if your thought process looks something like this…

Ok time to wake up gosh I’m starving but do we have any protein bars left oh great now what am I going to eat tomorrow morning and also I think they’re hurting my molars and geez is this zit ever going to go away my face looks like a butt and now I have to go to school with this on my face and will people notice or can I cover it up and why do people get zits anyway like why and now I’m at school and that guy is here OHMIGOSH he is attractive but what if Italk to him and he only listens to mumfordandsons or what if he’s secretly dating someone else or what if he’s not a Halloween person and why did he look at me that one time maybe I had something in my teeth but maybe he’ll give me flowers or buy me coffee tomorrow and we will live happily ever after and go on adventures wait where is he going I need to make my move or I’ll miss my chance and be forever alone!

…you might be able to relate.

I tend to overanalyze, overthink, or worry about the dumbest little things up to the biggest issues in my life.  Needless to say, it really sucks.  Some days I just want to unplug my brain but then I start thinking of a dystopian future society where people’s brains are plugged into a computer and one rebel unplugs himself and leads a movement to destroy the –

Wait, isn’t that The Matrix?

Anyway, I need to find a way to unplug myself from all of this unnecessary stress, which can be just as bad as Agent Smith (with the exception of awesome karate moves).  It effectively keeps me in my head ALL OF THE TIME and disconnected from the people I’m hanging out with.  So what can us overthinkers do? I have a few ideas.

First off, putting my thoughts and feeligs down in the form of blogging, poetry, or music really helps.  It’s like dumping all of those things racing through your brain in a positive way.  Getting those ideas out always leaves me clear-headed, and it also gives you a sense of pride when you put down something awesome.

Secondly, I find that doing something with my hands is great for focusing your mind.  Doing something like knitting, drawing, crafting, or even organizing gives you something to do that you don’t really have to think about so that the stuff in your head can run its course.  For me, it’s building LEGOs.  They’re like little puzzles that give your brain a workout and let it focus on something instead of randomly running from one thought to the next.  What? It’s cathartic, I’m telling you!

Lastly, sometimes you just need to talk it out.  Grab your mom, dad, sibling, close friend, or whoever you feel most comfortable with and get that crap off your chest! The worst thing you can do is keep that worry bottled up inside of you.  Telling somebody how you’re feeling or what you’re stressing about is one of the most liberating feelings in the world.  And don’t worry about sounding crazy.  Your family and friends won’t judge you and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help.  Don’t put pressure on yourself to know everything and have it all figured out! That’s just unfair.

So are you an overthinker? And if so, has this advice been at least a little bit helpful? Let me know in the comments! I don’t pretend to have it all figured out either, but I know how overthinking and anxiety can make your life seem really sucky! Trust me when I say this: it’s never, ever as bad as it seems and everything will be okay.  You are in my prayers.  Hang in there!

– Julia

Going On Vacation To An Amusement Park: Yet Another Presentation In GIFs

I LOVE going on vacation! Getting there can be a long and arduous task, but once you get to the amusement park/beach/city it makes it all worth it.  Let’s take a look at this process and fantasize about vacations that we will never go on (a trip to the Moon, anyone?) Today we’re focusing on amusement park trips!

So your parents tell you that you’re going on vacation and you’re like

And you immediately start shopping for clothes like

But packing them all is another thing and you’re like

Mr Bean Packing

So vacation day arrives and you have to wake up super early to leave like

And you have to wait FOREVER to check in with your airline like

And all of those airport security signs make you suspicious of everybody like

So you finally get to security and no matter how many times you’ve done it, walking through the metal detector thing makes you all nervous like

But when they clear you to go through you feel inappropriately triumphant like

So after making it through the entire airport you get on your flight and there’s that one annoying person who walks by you like

But you try to relax anyway up until the takeoff, and you’re all like

And once you get up in the air you try to distract yourself and read, but then you get airsick like

And you end up just sleeping through the flight like

But you finally get there and on the way to your hotel you’re like

You check in inside the lobby, and when you go up to your room and look in the mirror you look like

But once you freshen up a little you’re all like

So the next day you finally get to the park and you’re all like

And you speed off to your favorite ride like

And as you’re riding you’re filled with pure joy like

But later somebody asks you to ride the HUGE roller coaster with them and you’re like

But they make fun of you until you agree like

So you’re in line and your friend asks you if you’re ok and you’re like

You get to the car and the attendant straps you in like

And you’re FREAKING OUT like

And when the moment of doom hits and the roller coaster starts you’re all like

And you’re left at the mercy of this giant ride until the end like

So you eventually get off and you look like

And you’re on such a high that you walk away from the ride like an idiot like

And when your friend asks you if you liked it you’re just like

At the end of the day you and your siblings are bouncing off the walls like

So you go back to the hotel and throw up all of the cotton candy and ice cream you ate like

– Julia

 

 

 

An Accurate Depiction Of My Life In A Band In GIFs

If you haven’t read some of my previous posts (shame on you), then you might not know that I am in a band called Spinning Jenny.  If you’re a Paramore fan, then you may know us as the winners of their “Still Into You” cover contest!  Regardless if you’re familiar with my band or not, I hope that you enjoy this post that answers a question I am frequently asked: “so, what’s it like being in a band?”

Lucky for you, I brought GIFs! *squee*

The process basically starts like this…

You want to learn a new song, so you listen to one and you’re either like

Or like

So then you have to learn it, and sometimes it’s easy and you’re like

But sometimes it’s really hard and you’re like

So you finally learn it and you play it all together for the first time and it sounds terrible like

But after you practice it a couple times you’re like

So finally it’s the day of the show and you wake up like

But as the day goes on the anxiety builds and you’re like

So you get to wherever you’re playing and sometimes there’s only one person there like

But sometimes there’s that glorious moment when a lot of people are there and on stage it looks like

So you gulp down your nervousness like

And you start to rock it out like

Then you notice people are getting into it like

So you start going nuts like

But SOMETIMES you get too into it and mess up a little and mentally you’re like

But when you look out at the crowd they’re still like

So you just move on like

You finish up your last song all confident like

And people are clapping like

And you think you look cool but really you’re just grinning like

So you take down all of your equipment and by now you look like

Reaction GIF: sweating, Robert Hays, Airplane!

But somehow people still want to talk to you afterwards and you feel like

And there’s always that one drunk guy who’s like

So you just take it all in like

And once you finally get home you’re just like

So when you wake up the next day somebody calls and books you for another show and you’re like

And so the process starts all over again!

– Julia