Just Writing

For the Red Haired Girl

For the Red Haired Girl

sun peeks over a white horizon
evergreen twinkling in the window
your red hair tumbles down around your shoulders, love
your picture in my heart because

believe me, you’re stunning
and I’m thinking that I wish your eyes could always hold
this gleam
your world is wide open
and it be a joy to watch you as you live
your dreams

your smile’s brighter than all the corners
you’ve never been afraid of a dark day
a day might come when the sunlight goes
when you’re broken and tired and nothing’s okay

the tide pulls so hard now
and all the light is drowning in a sea of
blacks and greys

keep hold of the memory of the sunlight, my dear
you have nothing to fear

please keep that memory in your pocket
what’s meant to be will always find a way
please keep that memory in your pocket
what’s meant to be will always find a way

sun peaks over a while horizon
evergreen twinkling in the window
red hair’s gleaming in the new sun like ruby gold
waters recede and you’re going home

please keep this newness in your heart, now
it will help you if you happen to forget
please keep this newness in your pocket
what’s meant to be will always find a way

Just Writing

Say It In Writing

biggerWhen I blog, what I’m really doing is writing down all of the things I wish I could say out loud. I think it’s probably like this for most of us. Especially the writers. Writing is the way that we say the things of our soul. The things that we are thinking, feeling, and knowing, but can’t actually say.

I’m not sure what it is about our world, but none of us ever say what we really think. It’s much too raw. It’s much too real. And when we look back on it we have a tendency to be embarrassed. We have a tendency to wonder what we were thinking when we were so unabashedly ourselves. Or at least that’s what happens to me.

Honesty has been hard for me lately. Not because I’ve been lying like crazy, but because the truth has been very painful. I have let fear get in the way of my life for the past several weeks. And when I made one tiny move to try and let go of this fear, it proved to be a little anticlimactic. Even stupid. Go figure.

I wish I could explain to you all of the times I’ve prayed and gotten amazing answers. One of my friends told me today that God has been spoiling me recently, and I couldn’t agree more. It really is true. He has been. I’ve never been this close to Him in my entire life. Which is actually really good because I’m carrying a lot of crap around inside of my heart right now. And it isn’t very fun.

But what I really wanted to do tonight is say a few things to the most important people inchapter my life. I want to say what’s in my heart, and let them know what I’m actually thinking. And when I come back and read this blog post I don’t want to be ashamed. I want to be proud of myself for being this brave. I want to be okay with being vulnerable again. I want to be okay with saying what’s in my heart. Even if it hurts. So here it goes:

A: How could I ever explain to you how amazing you are? Seriously I’ve known you for such a long time and you never ever cease to blow my mind. I just want to be a fraction of your type of cool. You have so much strength in your heart and it honestly leaves me in so much awe. I hope that when you look in the mirror you see the woman that I see. We both know that I have a gift for seeing people as they really are, so don’t try and fight with me on this. I’m right. You absolutely shine. Thank you so much.

M: Thank you for teaching me how to be a dreamer. I wish you would stop dreaming and live your dreams now. Don’t be afraid anymore. It’s time to live. Just do it. Please.

perfect goodD: Thank you for teaching me to be a doer. I love you very much. Please don’t forget that sometimes your heart’s more important than your mind. In fact, I honestly think that that’s where all of our truth is. I wish you could see that.

H: Please never stop laughing. But also please remember that it’s okay to be sad. You don’t have to be perfect, and in fact you never will be. We’re all here to help each other. That’s the point. Thank you for holding me while I ugly cried, and smoothing my hair. And buying me Jimmy Fallon ice cream. And loving me through every disaster. You help me believe in the redeeming power of love, and that as long as we trust each other we can do anything.

S: You’re probably so tired of all that I have to say. And I wouldn’t blame you. So here’s all that I have to say this time: if God tells me to be patient with you one more time I’m going to lose my freaking mind. I’ll either have to actually do it or just be in open rebellion, harderwhich I don’t see ending well. Actually I tried that angle for a while, the angle of “oh my gosh I am so done because this bloody hurts” and suffice it to say… it didn’t end well. I laughed, but I’m pretty sure He was serious. I’ll tell you that story some day.

K: You’ve gotta trust yourself more than you do, girl. I wish you could see how incredibly bright your eyes are. There is so much there it kills me. Don’t let fear run your life anymore.

J: I love you so much. You teach me so much as our lives continue to unfold. But I wish you would stop treating me like an innocent child. I wish you could see that I have scars, too. The other day you told me that you kind of gloried in my pain, and that hurt more than I can ever say. I’ve experienced a lot of hurt, and a lot of things that have changed logicme. I’m not who I was in those days. And there were things about that person I was that you’ll never know or understand. She spent so much of her time being angry about love, but in her heart that’s all she really wanted. She wanted to believe in it. She wanted it to be real. It was all she really, really wanted. She prayed for it every day. That’s who she really was underneath everything you saw. I hope that someday you can trust me with every vulnerable part of you. That someday you’ll stop thinking that you have to change what you think because you’re with me. But dude, you’re a freaking rock star. Thank you for that.

homeJ: Just don’t be scared. Live your life as brilliantly as we all know you’re going to. And don’t you dare think for one minute that you have to prove us wrong or prove us right or prove anything. Do what makes you happy. Just let your awesomeness shine. And don’t you dare give up.

C: Where would I be without you???? I just have absolutely no clue. You are the greatest human. The greatest. The purest of cinnamon rolls. Thank you for being an amazing friend and an incredible woman. Seriously, you are the big sister in our friendship. It doesn’t even matter that I’m older than you. You have so much in you and it is dazzling.

certain thingQ: You make me believe in the goodness of humanity. You are the human that I’ve always wanted to be, but will probably never be great enough to be. But I’m so grateful for you in my life. You are #goals. Thank you.

Love,

Jordan

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.

Just Writing

Heartbeat Part 4

My broken heart has been a funny thing.

Actually, in case you didn’t get this, it hasn’t been funny at all. Like…at all. After one month, I expected to be better. I expected it to not hurt any more. I thought that by now I’d have moved on. I’d have forgotten. I’d be okay.

Well, that isn’t really the case. It still hurts so badly sometimes that I have to wonder how I made it this far. I still feel so confused about so many things. I’d still give anything to have it be different.

But God is teaching me things.

I’ve always been the type of person who could look ahead and see myself in the future. I’ve always been able to just see ahead. That hasn’t been the case for me recently. Every time I try and look ahead past the next hour, all I see is darkness. So I’ve been praying about this very sudden shift in my vision. And what do you suppose He said in response?

“Be patient.” God said. “I have a plan. I need you to trust me.” God has been pretty adamant about teaching me patience and trust in the last year and a half. Don’t even get me started. He keeps telling me things like, “I have everything under control. You work on you. Fix you. Leave the rest to me.”

You’d think that this would be easy.

Turns out it isn’t. It turns out that I like to be in control of my life a little bit more than I was aware of. So this moment in my life, when I can literally only see for one hour at a time, is really hard for me. It is really hard for me to simply let go. To trust that God has a plan, that ultimately He is in charge, and that no matter what happens in the near future it will all work out the way that it is supposed to.

I’ve realized that pretty much everything is easier said than done. This last month of my life has been so incredibly hard. There aren’t words for it, actually. I honestly wasn’t aware that a person could feel this kind of emotional pain and live through it.

But somehow my heart is still beating.

I wish I knew what the ending was. As an author, I’m pretty used to knowing the ending of things. I feel very out of my element right now. But God is teaching me things, so I have to trust Him. The truth is that I don’t know what the ending is. I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow or the day after that. And right now, I know that I’m not supposed to know. I’m just supposed to have faith. Trust God.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t have my hopes or desires. I was praying about them earlier today, in the middle of a particularly hard moment when I couldn’t believe it still hurt that badly. God let me know very quickly that He understands exactly where I’m at, and He’s got everything under control. I get this feeling that something big is coming in my life. Something wonderful, just around the corner, and I need to be ready for it. God is just asking for a little bit of faith and trust, and something totally amazing is going to happen. I know it. I have literally no idea what this something is. But I know that it’s coming. One of my best friends in the world, Adele, said to me today, “You don’t have to know what it is. You’ve been given all the answers you need. Just move forward, hour by hour.”

She’s right. She’s pretty much always right.

Sometimes the pain is so fresh, like it just happened yesterday. And it feels like I’m drowning in it. And I can’t get to help fast enough before I absolutely lose it and cry so hard I can’t breathe. Sometimes I feel so confused and angry I could scream.

I’d be lying if I said I haven’t learned anything, though. There have been a ridiculous amount of blessings in my life in the last month. I’ve repaired relationships with siblings, become closer to my friends, spent much needed time with my grandparents, gotten a stronger relationship with my dad, and have had countless moments with God. He and I have talked so much about all of this. And it has been really wonderful. God is good, everyone. He is so, so good.

I’ve realized so many things about life.

I have realized that life is scary. And love is scary. And there are a million things to be unsure about and worried over. And I’ve also realized that there will never be a moment when you feel you are 100% ready. It’s going to be terrifying. There’s going to be things you don’t know. So many of them. But you just have to do it. Just jump. That’s all life is. A lot of jumping off cliffs when you only have the tiniest seed of faith in your pocket.

I have also realized that for too much of my life, my priorities were ridiculously out of wack. There’s a really long backstory as to why that was the case, but I spent so many years being bitter and angry about the things that are the most important. I don’t feel that way anymore. Not in the slightest. Those things I was so angry about, those things I was so scared of, they are all I want now.

God is teaching me so many things.

Tonight was hard. Today was hard. I left work with a very heavy heart. The steering wheel of my car got washed with a lot of tears tonight. My very wonderful roommate got bombarded with a lot of my pain tonight.

Then she suggested we go for a drive. We ended up on top of the hill in our city. We shut the car lights off, unrolled the windows, turned on some music, and sat on the hood of the car looking up at the sky. It was absolutely stunning.

I felt truly happy for the first time since it happened.

We talked about God. About how He has a plan, and ultimately He is in charge, and sometimes we just have to have faith that everything is going to work out. Right as we were saying this, an absolutely stunning shooting star zoomed across the sky right in front of us. It had two tails. I’m taking it as a sign.

We laughed a lot, too. I can’t even remember what about. All I know is that it felt good to laugh again. God has been feeding me constant support and hope recently. He has never left my side. He’s given me numerous answers, and always sent me help in the moments that I needed it most.

I know there is hope.

I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t even know what I’m doing tomorrow. And it will probably hurt again tomorrow, because it hasn’t stopped hurting. But tonight I saw a shooting star.

And today God told me He has a plan. He asked for my patience. He asked for my faith. He told me He understood what my hopes, desires, and pain are, and He’s got it under control.

This is what He told me.

And for now that’s all I need.

I'm Just Saying

Don’t Look Back

For those of you who may not have been able to pick this up yet by reading my blog, I’ll just make your day and tell you. I am the type of person who often looks back.

new not going that wayWhat can I say? I study history FOR FUN. Of course I’m obsessed with looking back. It’s just what I do. While most of the time this is great and I get a very strange amount of joy from learning about the past, it can also be a great weakness, and something that I’ve been thinking about a lot recently.

Looking back, like I said, can be a good thing. Without a past, who are we? But honestly, I think a lot of the time looking back is a very negative activity. We start overthinking and we wonder what we could’ve done differently in our lives or a host of other things.

The reason that I bring this up tonight is because, like I mentioned, I’ve been thinking about it a lot. Mostly because of my brother. I have a brother just older than me who has been my best friend my whole life. We are so close in age that we were inseparable growing up. Whether we were dressed in everything camouflage ever made and playing army, or pretending we were spies and making gadgets with the random things my mom found in the drier, or sitting on the couch together watching movies, we were always together.

Inevitably, this closeness disappeared as we got older. My brother, though I love him with my whole heart, began making some really poor choices as we advanced into our teenage years. And as a result, I lost him. I’m not trying to get all hardcore and emotional over here, not this time, but I really did lose him.past hasn't changed

Even though we were still living in the same house, still siblings, still seeing each other all the time, he was gone. And to be honest, it has only been in about the last year that I, or my whole family for that matter, has really gotten him back. He was there the whole time, sure, but he wasn’t. It was as if he disappeared inside himself and he was just walking around as somebody else.

Things will never be the way they were, that’s just kind of how life goes. But my brother is back. He’s now doing great things, moving mountains, he’s dating an incredible girl he’s absolutely crazy about, and most of all, he’s happy. He’s back. And though we live far from each other and don’t see each other often, or talk as often as we should, he’s finally back.

better aheadAnd when it comes to the years that he was gone – horrible, hard years that were terrible for everybody and probably most terrible for him – we don’t look back. We’re not going that way, and there’s no need to. It isn’t that we don’t look back on them or talk about those years because it’s taboo or anything. There is just a feeling of wholeness, an it’s-okay-now feeling. There’s no need to look back. There is only looking forward.

While I’ve spent this post applying the “don’t look back” idea to negative times, I think it goes for positive ones as well. I am literally the queen of being THE WORST at making decisions. Seriously. Give me a life-altering decision and I’ll take some time getting back to you. In fact, it can get so insane that God usually starts preparing me weeks or even months (usually months) in advance so that when the time comes I’ve had a ridiculous though sufficient amount of time to think everything through.

I’m not kidding. (Though to be honest I usually end up going with the choice that scares me the most. The one I knew all along I’d go for.)

But decision making can also be great breeding ground for negative looking back. What are afraid ofwe going to do, we’re human. We just look back and wonder. But because this post is already a bit long, even for my Sunday night thoughts, I’m just going to do something I’m rather fond of and tell it to you straight:

Just don’t look back, okay?

Make the decision you know is right in the moment and stick with it. You won’t be sorry. You’ll just be really happy. Truth.

Don’t dwell on things that don’t matter anymore. Forgive and move on. It has worked for my family.

And that is all for this time everyone.

Don’t look back.

 

I'm Just Saying

Merry, Merry, Merry

Merry Christmas!!!

I have said it before and I will say it again, I absolutely love Christmas with all of my heart. One of the things that I love most about Christmas is the way that my family celebrates it. lights-and-snowChristmas does not end when December 25 is over. We not only celebrate all before Christmas, but we will be celebrating this entire week as well. We’ll be spending a lot of time together and enjoying the continuation of the holiday. Everybody wears their Christmas pajamas all week long, except for when we venture out to see a movie at the theater, and we eat lots of food and make lots of messes. We’ll share our Christmas presents with one another and think of creative ways to spend each day.

For reasons I’ll never be able to quite fully explain, this year was completely magical. I believe wholeheartedly that Christmas is a time that heals, uplifts, and inspires as well as a time that teaches about what is most important. We have the opportunity to become better, to see the world differently, and to me it has always seemed as though anything I could dream or imagine was close enough to reach out and grab.

Because Christmas has always had all of these aspects, for me it has also always been a hot-chocolatetime of deep reflection. It isn’t even the aspect of the New Year that does this for me. To be perfectly honest, New Year’s has never been as exciting for me. Maybe it’s that rebellious streak in me, but I’ve always found it annoying that people spend so much time celebrating new beginnings when we all tend to just drag the year before right along with us. That is why instead of making New Year’s resolutions of new things I’ll begin doing, I always choose one thing to let go of. It could be something as big as a bad habit or something as small as a grudge.

I’ve been thinking back on this last year a lot today. Wow, has it been something!! If you had told me last Christmas all the things I’d experience this year, I’d have been completely terrified and probably laughed in your face. I’ve fulfilled lifelong dreams as well as experienced a massive amount of heartbreak. Through it all, though, I’ve learned so many lessons and hopefully I’ve become a better person.

I feel so incredibly excited for this coming year. I have quite a few things I’d like to do, the most important among them is that I’d like to move to Stratford-Upon-Avon with some friends later in the year. We’re planning on being there for two to three months most likely starting in August. I’m so incredibly excited for such a wonderful adventure!! There’s lots of planning to do to prepare for something like that, and I can’t wait.

streetI’m also very far into my latest novel and working steadily, so hopefully I can get that finished before June and onto editing and then the big P word….publishing! We’ll see how it all plays out. I’m not particularly concerned about the timeline, because I know it’ll happen soon. I want to begin trying this new thing where I believe in myself and my abilities, where I understand my talents and strive to develop them, and where I love others despite human weaknesses.

So maybe I set some resolutions after all.

For Laughs

Scones, Codes, & Gowns

Today after work, I drove up to the farm. Right now I’m staying with my family, ignoring the fact that I have an apartment in town close to work. It is Potato Harvest right now, and something in me feels the need to be near, even if I’m not working in it this year.

sconesIt is one of those odd days that can’t make up its mind. Half of the sky is brilliantly blue and sunny, and half of it is indigo and promising a gorgeous rain storm. For the sake of our harvest I know I should pray for the sun to stay out, but it is one of those autumn days when a bit of rain and hot cocoa seems like a good idea.

Adjusting back to life here in the U.S has been a little bit more difficult than I imagined it would be. First of all, I was only in England for three weeks, so I hadn’t expected to have adjusted to life there as much as I did. I’ll be completely honest and tell you that jet lag one the war for almost a week. A week! But I’m finally back on schedule. And of the many, many things I miss, scones are Number 1.

I found a recipe and have made myself British scones several times since coming home, which is truly the only thing that is helping me past the withdrawals. But even though they taste the same and technically are the same, they aren’t the same. They have this appearance of a scone, the taste of a scone, but no matter what they aren’t what I wish they were: the delicious scones I had in Grasmere, Salisbury, or even Ireland. To all my British friends I say this: count your blessings. Go to the nearest tea room and order a scone. Just do it. For me. Please?sherlock

Have you ever had a conversation that ended up being a little cryptic? And after having this conversation, you feel very un-Sherlockian. It may begin as a normal conversation, and quickly evolve into a not so normal conversation while also keeping the appearance of a normal conversation. Now I feel as though I’m in the middle of a very big code. It was enlightening while at the same time more confusing. And of course I’ve been overthinking it. Please, please tell me I’m not alone in having had this experience. Even if you have to lie. Just tell me that.

On top of all these things pretending to be things they’re not, I need an evening gown. In a week and a half I’m going on a girls trip with two of my very best friends, and we’ll be doing a night with a fancy dinner. I need an evening gown. I thought I had one, but it turns out it is nowhere to be found. So now I have 10 days to find something. Wish me luck.

cocoAnd here I sit. Missing England like crazy, wanting real scones, feeling very un-Sherlockian, and evening gown-less.

And that’s it.