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.

 

I'm Just Saying

All The Awards

liebster awardHello all of my beautiful people!!! It is my honor to announce that I have been nominated for the Liebster Award by the wonderful  Melzy. Here are the rules for this award:

-Each nominee must link back the person who nominated them.
-Answer the 10 questions given to you by the nominator.
-Nominate 10 other bloggers for this award who have less than 200 followers.
-Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer.
-Let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them

This is the second time that I have been nominated for an award and it really is such a great thing. As far as answering the ten questions about me, you can visit a post in which I already did something similar by clicking here.

Here are my nominees (Yes, there are only five. This is me being rebellious):

Georgia Alannah

thesestoriesofhers

Penny’s Lane

A Walking Paradox

Chronic Relief

As for all of you lovely nominees, just tell us 10 wonderful things about you!

I'm Just Saying

Witty Paradoxes

I’ve gone to the “Add Post” section of my blog no less than three times today. And just stared at the page. Blankly. Knowing from the sadness in recent statistics that I should probably write something, not knowing what to write. I guess my blog hasn’t been the happiest of places lately. I’ve been doing this “be honest” thing, and while liberating I have a feeling that I’ve chased many of you away.

simpleTruthfully, my blog has been teetering on a ledge for several months now. Not that this is something to worry about. I know I’m not the only one to have problems like this with my blog.

The problem is that I want to have more followers. I want to reach more people. But I don’t want to do anything that this requires. I don’t want to use social media to promote my blog, which would basically be the solution to all of my issues.

But here’s why.

I’m an incredibly private person. Shocker, I know. For a long time my blog was anonymous. There was no picture of me, none of you knew my name. To this day you don’t even know my last name! And get this: only within the last few months do some members of my family even know that I have a blog. Up until about two months ago the only people in my immediate circle that knew about my blog were my sister, my mom, and my best friend. That circle has now extended to several of my siblings and to some more friends. But that is it.

It’s this weird paradox I have. Because nobody really knows that I write a blog, I can write torn betweenanything that I want. Because nobody that I know who knows I have a blog reads my blog (you may have to read that sentence more than once), I can write anything I want. Now many of you know that my blog is anything but rude. I’d never write anything bad about anybody. There is just a freedom in this anonymity that I’ve created. And I like it that way.

But then I have this constant, “I’m so incredibly witty and talented! Why don’t I have more feedback and views on my blog?” thought process going on in my head. (Part of the problem could possibly be that many of my devoted readers – bless your hearts – live in England and so the time difference could play a role there…) But in general this is a daily lamentation.

There are lots of paradoxes happening in my life, actually. And oddly enough, all of them involve my writing. I have this huge dream of being this incredible, world wide author someday. And yet I can’t even share my writing with others because I just have zero confidence in that arena. I mean, I can write a blog post because I’m fully aware that I’m hilarious and the way I put posts together is completely ingenious, but when it comes to my actual writing…my confidence may as well be subzero.

all and nothingActually, in general I am not a super confident person. Most people don’t know that about me, but it’s true. There is a certain sense of security in pretending like you are confident when underneath you really aren’t.

But now I’m off on philosophical tangents and we all know how messy THAT can get. The point is that I’m in several writing paradoxes. Witty paradoxes, but paradoxes nonetheless.

Happy Tuesday.

I'm Just Saying

Announcing: Feature Fridays!

newsThis week has been one of discovery in my blogging world, and I’m going to attempt to get right to the point as to why before I dive off into a speech.

Last Saturday I wrote a post about how basically my blog has been really disappointing me lately and I couldn’t really figure out why. I was depressed with where my blogging had gotten to and couldn’t figure out how to fix it. Then only three days later I wrote a post that totally changed everything and made me realize what the problem was: I have gotten to a point in my blogging that is depressing and disappointing because I’ve stopped writing about the things that I’m passionate about.

I’ve spent so much time wondering, what is my blog about? And I’ve gotten hung up on the idea of posting my observations on life, and this has just left me in and endless cycle of some things I’m currently pondering, and then it leads to depressing things and etc. In short, I’ve spent to much time forcing observations and deep ideas when I really could have just been talking about things that excite me, like I did with my second post.

So, I am, after much consideration, going to do something that I’ve been thinking about extradoing for a long time: I’m going to establish a static post. A post that you can count on every single week. It will be called “Feature Fridays”.

On Feature Friday I will, that’s right, feature different people. As a history major I have realized that people are really what life is about, learning about people, studying them, befriending them, loving them. This totally explains my love of Frank Sinatra! So, Feature Fridays will definitely become a thing starting today. I will feature historical figures I find fascinating, well known people now, and just the ordinary folk in my life! Who knows, maybe one of you will end up being featured in the near future!

As today is the very first Feature Friday I have been thinking a great deal about who I should feature. I have really only come up with one conclusion that seemed rather obvious. What one person has had more of an impact on my life than this one?

So today I’m going to tell you about my mother. She doesn’t know I’m doing this so for that reason I won’t be able to give you a picture of her, but my mother is completely and totally amazing. She was married to my father on her 20th birthday. They have now been married over 31 years, have 10 children, and own a sizable farm. My mother works hard every single day to make sure that my hoard of siblings and I, and now the army of 16.5 grandchildren, are happy, healthy, and loved.

Besides being an incredible wife, mother, and grandmother my mom is also one of the funniest people on this earth. I will freely admit I get my glorious sense of humor and wonderful wit from her. She is a dreamer and so creative! She knows how to organize and plan everything from a casual family get together to luxurious meals for my father’s business guests.

My mom is also incredibly spiritual, with a strong love for Jesus Christ and firm testimony of His teachings. Her testimony has had a profound impact on my life. She is incredibly innocent and humble, is pretty much incapable of lying unless it’s about Christmas presents, and is truly an angel. She has always supported me in everything I wanted to do, even if I could tell she wasn’t 100% comfortable with it. She loves us no matter what. I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today without her.

I'm Just Saying

The Wisdom Of Bike Paths

bike pathI remember sunlight. Hot, hot sunlight falling in giant golden waves from a wide, blue sky. So hot that the cement of the sidewalk burned my feet through my shoes. The air was so thick that the only relief was getting on our bikes and riding along, just to get moving through the humidity. There came a point when I just had to acknowledge that I would never be dry again.

There were bike paths we used. We’d fly down the sidewalks, skirts flying, through groves of trees where cicadas chirped loudly. At first I hated that sound. Probably because one tried to attack me once. We’d ride under the trees, in the dappled light, and come out on the other side in a whoosh of air.

I miss it that feeling.

My religious mission ended about nine months ago now. I cannot believe that it has been that long. And though it was a huge part of my life, so incredibly vital, it isn’t something that I talk about a lot on this blog.

To be fair, there’s lots that I don’t talk with you about.

It’s not as though I feel guilty or anything. I’m sure there is a lot that the blogs I follow don’t share either. And that’s fine. We can all choose our level of privacy. I’ve just chosen that mine be pretty strict. sunflowers

The reason that I bring up my mission tonight is because I’ve got a lot going on in my life right now. I mean, A LOT! You probably guessed this by my lack of posting, which I apologize for. Honestly I’ve just been trying to keep my head above water here.

But my mission changed my life forever. It changed me. To this day, my mission has an impact on my daily life and I think it’s pretty safe to assume that it always will.

There were many times out there in that Texas heat that I felt so incredibly alone. Interesting, when I knew that I was on the Lord’s errand. It seems so beautifully intricate to me now, though, how God works. How He teaches us things. There were many things I didn’t understand then that I understand right now. In this moment.

As a history student I look at the past every day, it is one of my main passions and makes my heart so happy. These past weeks since being in school again have broken my soul wide open, and things are pouring out of it that I forgot about.

pietaI look at Michelangelo’s work and can’t breathe. His sculpture literally takes my breath away. It makes me cry. Looking at his work Pieta is nothing less than a spiritual experience. His works are so beautiful it aches.

Leonardo da Vinci has forever been one of my all time favorite historical figures. It is only recently that I realize how much his work pulls at my heartstrings. His paintings bring about an awe that I cannot suppress.

I have discovered that Anglo-Saxon literature breathes a fire into my blood. When I read the opening lines of Beowulf I couldn’t help myself: tears welled in my eyes. There was one passage in particular that caused an actual gasp to come from me. A man sees Beowulf and says about him, “He is truly noble.”

This pulled at me in a way I could neither deny nor explain. I’ve been fascinated with the word “noble” for a long while now. In fact, I have a canvas on my wall painted in royal blue with the word NOBLE painted on it in big gold letters. It reminds me daily of what it means to be a noble person, and to act as one.

All of this beauty and inspiration has gotten the wheels in my mind turning in ways they haven’t for a long time. To be honest, I was beginning to fear that I’d lost my talents and passions. I was beginning to fear that my ambitions were gone and that my thirst for knowledge had been drained.

mondaI’ve come to find the opposite has happened. It is as if my mind cannot get enough, and it’s spilling into my heart and soul. And instead of filling, they are only expanding and crying out for more beauty and knowledge. It is incredible to me how it is all working. I sit in awe and wonder how I’ll ever learn it all, how I’ll ever hold everything I wish to know.

And then I think of the practical things. Where will life fit in this scholarly road? For surely one must put scholarly pursuits aside at some point to just enjoy the sunshine.

And there we come to another theme in my life. The sunshine. It’s one of the reasons I’ve been thinking so much about my mission.

I miss the sunshine! I haven’t seen it in days, and my soul is craving it. I just keep reminding myself that someday it will shine and someday there will be green grass again. Grass that you can lay in and roll around in, sunshine that will tan your skin, and the heat will just sit there and roll over you, and it will feel incredible. And all of that sunshine will just go right into your soul. And that is beautiful.

And with it all there has been a lot of confusion. A lot of loneliness. It is strange to think that being surrounded by thousands of people I could feel lonely. But I do. My family isn’t even that far away, but still I feel separated from them in a strange way.

And I don’t know how to make it all fit. Life and family and knowledge and learning. And nobleI know that it can, and I know that it will. But the sidewalk isn’t as illuminated as it was in Texas. The way to go doesn’t seem as clear. But then again, at the time it didn’t either. At the time, apart from all of the wonderful things I was doing and becoming, I was having the hardest time I’d ever had in my life. I couldn’t see the way. But eventually I did, and when the answers came they were brilliant.

Lately I have been going through an experience similar to one I had previous to my mission, where I was confused and felt lost. I felt that something was missing but I didn’t know what. The answer that I received then was very simple: Have faith and continue on in what you know.

I did that. And the answer did come. Though it isn’t exactly the same now, it is similar. I sundon’t necessarily feel as if something is missing so much as I feel that it isn’t all coming together. It has been strange because in many ways I’m very, very happy. All of this learning has fed my soul in a way it sorely needed, and brought me a kind of joy that I’ve dearly missed.

But in the things that I don’t understand, I can have faith. I can continue forward in what I do know and trust that the rest will come with time. I can remember that the sun is still shining, even if I can’t see it, and soon it will be warm again.

For Laughs

The Eleventh Hour

awkwardNothing like waiting until 11:16 pm to being working on the daily prompt for the day! I am going to be totally honest with you, which is something I’m a fan of. I’ve gotten to this point in my life where I’m just tired of everyone’s fluff and I’m ready to be real. So, I’m writing this post for two reasons.

#1 Traffic on my blog is bad…really bad. This possibly has to do with the fact that I keep posting at the times my stats say are the worst. Of course. But seriously! It’s been a while since anybody was around. I’ve been so excited about posts recently and then I just sit here looking at the stats bar like…cool. I had a good story, but I guess I’ll just go eat chocolate now. And come back in five minutes to see if anybody agreed with me. Anyway, Daily Prompts usually help kick start the process of making us all feel better about our stats.

#2 I spent a really long time hunting down my bucket list, which I posted many moons ago, only to find that it has 8 items on it. Granted, this is an old bucket list but to be truthful the items on it are either the same or have been replaced by other items. So I feel like there would still be roughly 8 items on this list even if I were to rewrite it.

So now that we are all clear as to why I’ve written this post, we come to the very sad conclusion that I can’t even answer the prompt. So. There’s that.

Cheers.

I'm Just Saying

All The Things I Promised

gift boxI recently realized that on this blog of mine I have made many promises. I have said I would keep you updated on things, promised posts, and now that I think about it, none of these things has ever actually happened. So today, I’m going to deliver on a few promises.

#1 – The Red Wool Package

In early December I wrote a post about a Christmas story that I was writing. I talked about how I was very excited about it and promised to keep you updated on how it all went. Well, as life often does, everything got busy very quickly thereafter. I was working crazy hours, trying to spend time with my family and enjoy the holidays, and when it was all said and done I never quite got it finished. Although this is kind of a sad follow-up, I don’t actually feel too bad about the way things turned out. You see, the whole story was basically about a man who has shut himself away emotionally from people that really care about him. And in the end, through a mysterious gift he receives at Christmas time, he is able to open himself up and receive what life has to offer. At the time I felt that if I were to shut myself away and force myself into getting that story done, then I would be missing the message of my own story. But don’t give up on it! Someday that one is going to be great.

#2 – The Here And Now

me
The here and now. What I look like in this very moment. This is the picture I accidentally took trying to take a really good one. It doesn’t get more real than this.

One of my blogging friends recently mentioned that I never talk about what is happening right now. Which is totally true. Even though my blog isn’t technically anonymous (I mean you do know my name and what I look like after all), there is still A LOT that you don’t know about me! I’ve done this for several reasons. The first of which is because I tend to be a pretty private person. I’ve never been one to post long rants about the goings on in my life on social media.

The second reason actually has to do with my religion. My religion is a gigantic part of my life, in fact it basically IS my life. There is nothing about my life that isn’t affected by my religion. Because of this, if I were to be totally, completely, 100% open and honest with you about everything that happens in my life, you’d get a lot of doctrinal commentary. This isn’t a bad thing and I’m not ashamed of my beliefs in any way. I just decided very early on that I wasn’t going to expose the nuts and bolts of what I believe to be true just to give you background on what I’m thinking that day.

But to be honest, I want to be better about sharing more of the right here and now with you.

And so, for now, these are the things I want to follow up on, the promises I’m keeping. Here is another one I’ll keep: I promise to keep my promises in the future.