I'm Just Saying

Grateful Snippets

starsTonight I am grateful. For so many things. I’m grateful for cool summer nights and lots of stars. I’m grateful for so many good friends. I could write novels filled with what they teach me about unconditional love.

I got to see a friend today who I haven’t seen in over two years. We served our religious missions together, and spent about three months together during that time. We were best friends. And as life as worked out we just haven’t been able to see one another again until now. It was incredible, though, because in many ways it was as though we’d never been apart. We laughed about the craziness that our lives have been recently, the good and the bad. We talked and laughed through the time that had separated us.

I also did something today that I have always wanted to do. Seriously. On this, a perfectly normal Friday filled with a friend lunch and a shift at work, I crossed off a bucket list item.

I sat in Barnes and Noble in the Starbucks and wrote a poem.

Intellectualism was so heavy in the air it was almost touchable. I didn’t buy anything, didn’t order a drink or a muffin. That’s for next time. This time I simply at at one of the tables and wrote. I threw my inhibitions out the window, everything that usually stops me as I write. The things that say I shouldn’t write this or that. And I just wrote whatever came to me.

Whether or not the poem is any good, or even what I really wanted to say, I don’t really know. But it was something. And I’m grateful for it. flow

I’m grateful for snippets of happy that string themselves together. I’m grateful for newfound loves and discoveries. I’m grateful for pizza. Always pizza. I’m grateful to understand more of what it means to love others and be loyal to them. I’m grateful that I’m not perfect, but that I can continue to try every day. I’m grateful for friends who understand my sarcasm, as it gets out of hand pretty quickly at times. I’m grateful for my nieces and nephews, who never ever stop teaching me the meaning of acceptance and love.

Even in the hard moments. The dark ones. Always love.

I’m grateful for that.

I'm Just Saying

Promise Me

One of the things I love most about summertime is how late the sun sets. The horizon was still glowing with pink and orange at ten o’clock tonight. I was driving around, listening to music.

make senseToday was really quite something. Yep. Yep it was. If I’m being completely honest, it was really hard. Today was a very, very hard day.

I’ve been ruminating on the subject of promises today. I can’t get it out of my head. I also realize that most of the time these types of posts really don’t go anywhere, but nevertheless I write them.

Promises have long intrigued me. They are incredibly important to me. And I’ve had a long standing policy about promises that’s really quite straightforward: If you make a promise, you keep it. It’s as simple as that.

Or so I thought.

But maybe I was wrong. Maybe it isn’t as simple as that. I think it can be as simple as that, but it gets all blurred. Life tends to do that unfortunately. I think promises get blurred when you start to really question them.

Do you have to say “I promise” in order for it to be considered a promise?

I’ve never thought so. I still don’t. I think we make promises all the time. More often than will not failwe really know. We make a promise when we tell somebody to have a good day. A promise that we care about how their day goes. We make a promise when we answer a question a child asks. A promise that we will help them find the answer, even if we don’t know it. We make a promise when we pray and ask God for answers. A promise that we’ll act on the answer we get. We make a promise when we joke around with our friends. A promise that we care about their happiness, and how often they laugh.

But to be honest, I think that the words, “I love you” are the most powerful promise we ever make.

I could go on for days about all the promises we make when we use those words. But I won’t. You all know what they are.

I’ve been thinking in particular today about the promises that we make with God, and the things He promises us.

heavenly promisesThe wonderful thing about God’s promises is that they are sure. God doesn’t lie. He can’t. When He makes us a promise, He has to keep it. I think that’s pretty incredible. All we have to do is trust Him. And have faith. It’s a lot easier said than I done, I know. Trust me. But He’s told me it will all be worth it when the sun shines again.

That’s a promise.

I'm Just Saying

All The Cliches

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been plagued with the desire to be different. My entire life has been spent seeking to be the nonconformist. I lost track years ago of how this happens. I don’t even want to talk about how many times I haven’t done something for the sole reason that “everybody else” is doing it.

This has always just been a huge part of me. It’s been me. I can’t be like everybody else.

But even this truth was hard because I knew I wasn’t the only one that felt this way. I knew that lots of people don’t want to conform to society. Lots of people want to be different. Lots of people felt exactly like me.

ClicheSo even in my desire to be different, I wasn’t different.

I’m not sure where this need to be a nonconformist came from. I don’t really remember a time when I wasn’t this way. Many of you know that I come from a very large family. I am one of ten children. Maybe this is where my desire to be different comes from. Maybe I just needed to stand out from the army of humans I was raised with. But to be honest, I love having a big family. It is hard sometimes, yes, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I love my siblings very much.

Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because in the last few months this aspect of my personality has been through some interesting twists and turns. And the last few days it’s been driving me nuts. I’ll explain.

I’ve been doing a lot of creating lately. I’ve been writing my novel, writing poems, and even painting a little. And it’s been really great. I love to create. I have loved doing it so much lately.

But then I get inside of my own head. And I start falling into the paradox all creators face:

What can I possibly say that hasn’t already been said?

What could I possibly write that hasn’t already been written?

My need to create has been seriously stagnated by my really obnoxious personality flaw. But this aspect of my personality has been seriously toned down the last few months. Actually, I’ve changed a lot the last few months.

I’ve learned that there is a reason cliches exist. I’ve learned that there is a reason that “everybody” does the things that they do.

It’s because they are good things. They are the best things. The right things. And when something is the best, and right, you have to take it. You just have to. And be grateful that you got lucky enough to understand why cliches exist.

So maybe I can’t say or write something different than what has already been said and written a million times for thousands of years. But I can say it or write it from my perspective. I can say it or write it from my heart. And in that way it will be just a little bit different. And it will be my take on life. And my take on the cliches.

So guess what?

I’ll take them. All the cliches. Send them my way, please.

I'm Just Saying

Seeking The More

For at least three days now, I’ve gotten on my blog and just…stared. I look over past posts, or I literally just sit there and stare at the page.

ballpointI have felt the need to blog, obviously, which is why I come onto my blog in the first place. And then I sit here and can’t think of anything to say. I’ve written a handful of posts that never saw the light of publishing. Because I just don’t know what to say.

I’ve blogged about a lot of things recently, and have been very open about the goings on in my life. And now I sit here and wonder what I could say today that I haven’t already said a million times.

I’ve been working on my novel like crazy recently. It has been a really wonderful experience. When I write a novel, I’m constantly in a battle of quality vs. quantity. For some reason I have it in my head that in order for a novel to have an literary merit at all it must be long. Then I look at The Great Gatsby and realize that this opinion is rubbish.

Not that my novel is going to end up being pathetically short or any such nonsense. That would be ridiculous. But it has been quite liberating to just write like crazy and not worry about how long the novel might end up being. I remind myself often that I’m trying to communicate something on a much deeper level than word count.

I wrote one of the saddest scenes in the novel the other day. No matter how much I write truthsof a story, I never stop getting caught up in it. It doesn’t matter that I know what’s going to happen. I find myself getting scared or nervous or brokenhearted with my characters. I believe that this allows me to write them more accurately. If I can feel what they feel.

In this scene, the characters were faced with a very perfect maybe. There was an inevitability to the whole experience. My main character, Rosemary, understands this. And so her heart is not broken. She is not in pain. She just feels empty. It is the other character that my heart really aches for. It is the one scene in the novel when this character actually feels something real. When they really experience something. And you can just feel their pain.

Coming up are more scenes similar to this one. My characters come to a point where they break the surface of life and have to face everything they’ve been carrying underneath it all. Quite honestly, it is a pretty emotional journey.

My hope with it all is that I can communicate the simultaneous strength and fragility we all possess. I’m telling a love story in all of the ridiculous cliche-ness that is a cliche, but really I want to talk about something more than two people finding each other and deciding it would be a good idea to stick together. There’s more to love than that. There’s more to life than that. It’s that “more” than I’m seeking to tap into.

loveAlso, it’s set in the 1950’s which means I can reference Frank Sinatra as regularly as I wish and it is completely acceptable.

But mostly it is just a very beautiful, pure story about people finding where they belong and refusing to give up on it. They are afraid, and sometimes they run. But ultimately they don’t. They never give up on each other. It teaches me a lot.

I'm Just Saying

Perspectives On What You Know

I’m just going to say it. I’ll admit it. I will.

I am a slave to my emotions.

It’s true. My emotions have a mind of their own. I am one of those people who, quite frankly, feels everything. And even more than that, I feel everything very, very deeply. Joy. Sorrow. Hate. Love. You name it, when I feel it, I FEEL it. It can be pretty overwhelming sometimes. Some days it is annoying, to be perfectly honest.

brave thingsBecause of this, I have a tendency to run away from my emotions. I know just how intense they can be, and as a result sometimes I try to run before they reach intensity level infinity.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to run from your emotions. Trust me.

So I generally have about two options: I can just embrace them and let them rule the world, or I can ignore them. The second option isn’t very effective. It usually lasts a little while, and ends in the first option anyway.

If I’m being honest, the last few days have been pretty rough in the emotions department. I’ve been fighting the universe pretty hard the last few days. Actually, since I’m being honest I’ll just go ahead and say it, I’ve been fighting Satan pretty hard the last few days. Whether or not you believe that’s a thing, I’m sure you’ve experienced days when doing the things you know you need to do is harder than normal. Like there is a force out there who knows you too well and it’s doing everything it can to throw you off course.

I have talked to quite a few people about this emotions aspect of my personality. Most of them tell me that it is a good thing that I feel things this deeply. They tell me that it makes it so that I can experience life more fully and richly. I see the merit in this line of thinking, but honestly on days like these it’s more than I know how to handle.

There is another flaw in this personality trait of mine. And it is that because I live life in patience and trusultra-feeling-everything mode, it is really hard for me to understand people who don’t. But I’m working on that.

As I’ve been praying and meditating the last few days, trying to get my emotions figured out and trying to get back on track, one phrase has been sticking out to me time and time again:

Go with what you know.

My biggest problem is that I let surface emotions and temporary situations rule me when, deep down, I know what I’m supposed to do. I know what I really feel underneath all the junk, and I know what God wants me to do. But I let all the “stuff” get in the way and then I end up confused and crazy discouraged.

But I think that this happens often in life. There is going to be junk that gets in the way of what we really want and what we’re really supposed to be doing. There is always going to be a million things going on that you don’t understand and that don’t make sense. But underneath it all you really do know how you feel. You really do know the answers.

truth feelsI tend to get weighed down with everything I’m feeling in the moment, and as a result I can get distracted from the answers I’ve received and how I know I feel in general. So my biggest battle is to try and get perspective. To step back and go with the things I know underneath. To see the bigger picture and understand my true feelings, not get lost in the emotions of the moment.

Sometimes you just have to stubbornly throw aside all of the junk and cling to what you do know. Even if it doesn’t feel like you know it in the moment. Just hold on to what you know you know, and continue forward. Just go for it.

I'm Just Saying

Connections & Coincidences

Two years ago I was hired at my job, along with a group of others. I remember being nervous, and hoping that I would get along with everybody.

In this group of people I was hired with, there were two girls named Haley and Adele. To be totally honest, we didn’t all get along at first. But now, two years later, these girls are my best friends. Even more than this, they have become my sisters.

I don’t even know how to explain how incredible these two ladies are. They have been there for me through thick and thin. They have picked up the pieces of my broken heart on several occasions throughout the years, and I’ve been lucky enough to do the same for them. They teach me so much every day. I honestly can’t believe how blessed I am to have them in my life.

Recently, all three of us have really been through a lot. We’ve all had different struggles, and have had to be there for one another.

Yesterday, we all came together and went to a support group meeting on campus that deals with some of the things we’ve all been exposed to lately. Overall, the experience was both scary and gratifying. It wasn’t the correct fit for all three of us, but we were grateful to all go together and have the experience. As experiences like that tend to do, it brought up a lot of emotions.

After the meeting, we sat in my car and talked for two more hours. There was a lot of laughter, as there usually is, but there were also a lot of tears. We got a lot of things out in the open that we hadn’t realized we were keeping from each other. There was a lot of wiping each other’s tears, holding hands, and smoothing out hair.

We were open and honest. We told about our insecurities and our fears. We talked about the things we are currently struggling with, and our hopes and desires.

Quite honestly, it was beautiful.

It was beautiful to have a moment like that with these incredible women. It was beautiful to realize that we are all human, trying our best to be there for one another in our struggles. It was a blessing to share a moment like that with them.

Their friendship means the world to me, and has saved me in countless situations. There is no way I could ever accurately explain it. But there is a bond between us that can’t be broken, and that is an incredible thing to have in this life. It is a wonderful blessing.

There are people in this life that we have connections with. They come into our lives almost by accident, but then they end up being so, so important. These relationships that end up being so important and enriching our lives could seem like coincidences.

But I don’t believe in coincidences.

I'm Just Saying

The Things We Learned Last Summer

Processed with VSCOcam with a5 presetFrank Sinatra has a song entitled, “The Things We Did Last Summer.” Of course, music being what it is, he’s not the only one who ever sang that song, but as we’re all aware he’s the most important.

I’ve had the title of this song on my mind for quite a while now. You see, the last four months or so of my life have taught me a lot. Particularly the last two months. And for some reason, every time my writer mind tries to make sense of all the lessons I’ve learned this song title comes to my mind. But with a twist. And I’ve decided that if I were to ever write a book about everything I’ve learned in the last two months, I’d title it, “The Things We Learned Last Summer.”

I personally think it’s a pretty great title. It would also be a very good book, too, for that matter.

All of you are aware that this blog has been an interesting place lately. I, Jordan, the queen of keeping my readers in the dark about what’s going on in my life, have been very, very open about my recent heartbreak.

My life just came to the point where I truly and honestly did not care anymore. Every decision was prefaced with a, “Well. Why not?”

So all of you got to see very clearly and deeply into some of the blackest moments of my life. Congratulations. I’m sure it was thrilling for you. (Please note the sarcasm, I’m sure it wasn’t that fun.)capacity

But goodness, I’ve learned a lot. God has been super enthused about teaching me lessons, and I’m doing all that I can to absorb them like a sponge. Tonight I’m feeling a little more introspective than usual, which can only spell disaster to be honest but we’ll roll with it. I’d like to here record a few of the lessons I’ve learned. I’m doing this more for myself than for any of you, so I apologize for that, but hopefully you can take something from this post and not have to learn through experience the way that I did. So, here we go.

The Things We Learned Last Summer:

  • The only one who knows exactly how you’re feeling is God. He knows every aspect of your life, and He’s right there for you. No matter what type of heartache you are facing, He understands. He gets it 100%. I can’t even count the number of times I sat crying and felt Him right there, or the number of times I was suddenly assaulted by memories that caused a jolt of pain and heard Him whisper very love is powerfulsimply, “I know.” He knows. I promise.
  • As scary as love is, it is absolutely worth it. I spent such a long time being terrified of love, and swearing that I’d never let anybody in so far that they’d have power to destroy me. But that’s what love is. You let somebody in further than you even let yourself in, and you give them all of your love and trust. Every single infinite wave of it. And sometimes it hurts. But it is worth it because at the end of the day, love is absolutely beautiful. And it conquers all. It really, really does. Love comes from many different places, and in many different forms, but it can heal wounds and transcend all hurts.
  • Never give up on anyone. Including yourself. God will never, ever give up on you. And you shouldn’t give up on others, either. Or yourself for that matter. We are all going to make mistakes, we are all going to do things that hurt others. We’re human, that’s just the way it works. never give up
  • But we forgive. We forgive because it is the right thing to do. We forgive because we want to be forgiven. We forgive because it is the only way to heal. Forgiveness requires love. They go hand in hand.
  • Listen to God. I’ve been taught this so, so much over the last year or so, and it has really been driven home the last two months. When you receive an answer from God, when you know what you are supposed to do: DO IT. It doesn’t matter how crazy it seems, it doesn’t matter how ridiculous. It doesn’t matter how hard. JUST. DO. IT. If He has given you the answer, He will also provide a way for you to accomplish it. Just listen. Just do it.
  • Be patient. Life is a process.
  • Avoid slamming doors. Literally and figuratively. In a literal sense, slamming doors is just not good for them. In a figurative sense, it is not good for you or others. Believe me, my personality is the queen of slamming doors. It is a defense mechanism that I may or may not have expressed pride in before. I’m quickly learning it’s not something to be proud of. When something horrible happens to me, my very first instinct is to slam the door as hard as I can right pathand run away as fast as I can. To get rid of anything and everything to do with that situation, to treat it as though it is dead to me, and completely move on as though it never existed or occurred. This is not only very complicated (you have no idea how irritating it is when you think you’ve gotten rid of all the evidence of something only to find more evidence weeks later when you aren’t as angry and can’t decide what to do with it) but it’s just not really healthy. And doesn’t promote growth and learning. Most of the time, you’ll be slamming a door prematurely and burning a bridge that wasn’t ready to be burned. And then it takes a little bit of time to reestablish things all because you got a little too hasty to run away from what hurt you. So just don’t do it.
  • Stay creative. It fills a lot of empty spaces, and enhances the full ones.
  • There are, in fact, some things that Frank Sinatra can’t fix. I know. I was just as shocked as you are. For years and years and years I not only wholeheartedly believed Frank could fix anything, he always had fixed anything in my life. No matter what I was going through, it was nothing that Frank Sinatra couldn’t fix. Not this time. Not this time. I tried it, believe me. I played his music and willed it work away the grief, to pull away the emptiness. But it didn’t. Not this time. I even angrily asked him about it and his picture seemed to answer back, “I can’t fix it this time, baby. I’m sorry.” hands of god
  • Never stop turning to God. I needed to learn the previous point in order to better understand this point. My love for Frank Sinatra has brought a lot of happiness into my life, really, and despite how melodramatic I can be about it I’m very grateful for it. His music makes me happy, and I enjoy sharing facts about him. It’s always been a blessing. I have a firm belief that God gives us things like this to enhance and brighten our existence, to help us in good and bad times. But these interests that fill the corners of our lives are not a substitute for God. They make us happy, they are wonderful, but at the end of the day it isn’t our passion for cooking or our love of black and white film that will save us. It is God. Never stop turning to Him. On good days as well as bad, talk with Him. Tell Him everything. Review the plan of your life. Let Him know how you’re doing on the things you’ve agreed to do. Give Him a report. Make sure you’re still doing what He wants. Thank Him. Praise Him.
  • Trust your own journey. God has a different plan for each and every one of us. Nobody’s story is the same. What works for some people won’t work for others. Everybody has a different journey because we all need to learn differently. This is why it is so, so incredibly crucial to stay close to God and to listen to Him when He waygives us answers and direction. To be faithful.
  • Believe in happiness. Never, ever let go of hope. Never let go of love. In the darkest pit of despair, remember that you are never, ever alone because of God. If you can’t see the sunlight, and can’t remember how it feels to have it shine on your face, if happiness is so far away that it is only a cruel memory, just have hope. Hope that you’ll feel it again. Hope that it does exist. Believe that whatever you’re going through will be worth it one hundred times over when you feel the happiness awaiting you. Because when we get to that darkness, complete joy and happiness are closer than we think. Just around the corner. And when the sun finally comes out again, it will be worth every moment. I promise.
  • We all face hardship, and there is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing wrong with asking for help, and telling people that you need it. There is no shame in sleeping on lots of couches or spending too much time with your friends if that’s what it takes to bring you into a new day. Take advantage of the love and support that you have around you. Gather those people around your heart and let them love you. You’ll be able to return this love someday.never walk alone
  • Discover new interests, and rediscover old ones. Like I said, God gives us these things to enhance our lives. It is such a great experience to make room for a new talent or hobby, to feel that passion starting up in your life again. Take advantage of the beauty the world has to offer. Rediscover something you love. Pretend you’re seeing it for the first time. (Frank and I are on good terms, by the way. I’m listening to him right now and all is well. So, there you go, proof of the rediscovery process.)
  • Believe in goodness. I have this personality flaw where I sometimes say that I hate people. And when I say that I usually think I mean it, but somebody very close to me recently let me know that this isn’t the case. I don’t really hate people. In fact, I love people. I love humanity. I love every aspect of what makes us human. I love being human. And I have this overly optimistic view of what that means. Honestly, I do. I love to believe in the better side of people and things. It really takes a lot for me to just think of somebody as downright horrible. I love to believe in beauty and goodness. I love to believe in the good. That’s just who I am. And it is honestly a blessing. We are surrounded by enough negativity as it is. We face enough hardship and sorrow as it be stillis. Just choose to believe in the better side.
  • Don’t look back. When you’ve gotten your answer from God, no matter how scary, ridiculous, or insane it might seem and you decide to just jump and go for it, go all the way. Jump and do not look back. DO NOT LOOK BACK. God has got it covered. He’s led you to that cliff for a reason, and given you that answer for a reason. And He will not let you fail if you just have faith. There will be no hitting the bottom. You’ll jump, and you’ll land in happiness. I promise. Don’t look back. Not for one second. Jump.
  • Trust God. This is just a lump way of summing all this up. Just trust Him. I know it can be hard. Believe me, I know. I’ve got a rich history of trust issues. But He is God, and He created all things. He will not give you answers you cannot follow. He will not let you cry tears He can’t wipe away. He will not give you wounds that can’t be healed. He is capable of ALL THINGS. And through Him, we are capable of ALL THINGS. So no matter what, stay close to Him. Believe Him. Listen to Him. Trust Him. He’s got it under control. Just believe me. Follow Him, talk with Him, and trust the path He sets before you. He wants you to be happy and He’s got a plan to make that happen. Trust Him.