Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Trust the Trials and the Change

Okay, I’ll admit it: I. HATE. CHANGE. I hate having to pick something up that I am so familiar, so comfortable with, and toss it in the trash for something new. When I was little, I couldn’t give away ANYTHING I owned because it was (apparently) like ripping piece of myself off and giving it to a stranger I didn’t know. The biggest change I had to ever deal with was moving from my childhood home right outside of Nashville, Tennessee & move to Huntsville, Alabama for my dad’s new job. I had to leave my best friend & my life behind pretty much…all because of a JOB?!

              I cried…a LOT. I screamed & I cried & I refused to leave. I locked myself in a swingset treehouse one day and sobbed for 20 minutes just because I was so upset I had to leave. When I moved down to Alabama, I had no friends. I slept with every single one of my stuffed animals for the first month of living here because even though I felt left out and alone in this new world I was in, I didn’t want them to feel left out as well. I was miserable. For the first year & a half that we lived in Alabama, I made friends, but I wasn’t really HAPPY. Every time we pulled into our neighborhood after being away on a trip, my parents and sister would say that they were “happy to be home”, but I refused to call it my home. This wasn’t my home; my home was in Tennessee, NOT this alienated universe that only cared about football & sports & rocket science.

              Eventually though, I started to settle in. We finally found a church home & I started making friends there, as well as at school. I met my best friend at church (he’s actually the one who helped me come up with this blog topic. Thanks, B!) & I became involved in my youth group. Once I got to high school two years ago, I got heavily involved in my choir…and I found my group of people, where I belonged. Through my friends in youth group & my experiences in choir, I eventually found myself. My weird, musically OBSESSED, quirky self who HATES needles & heights & spiders, but LOVES Disney & country music & performing. I discovered who I wanted to be as a person & what I wanted to do with my life: I wanted to be a person who helps others.

              Okay okay, I know it sounds really cliché. But really! My songwriting helps me cope with things I’m dealing with. I perform those songs & before you know it, someone is telling me they can relate to it, whether it be a friend or a colleague. I want to be a country music performer when I grow up. It’s a long-shot, I know, but I think I can make it. But, I also want to work at Disney World. I want to be the one behind the “mask” so to say, putting that same smile that I had at Disney World as a child onto other kids’ faces; I want to be the one who makes THEIR trips, just like so many cast members make mine.

              The whole point of this post is to say this: God will throw trials at you, and you WILL not like them all the time. But those trials get you to somewhere SO much better! Trust me. If I had never moved down to Alabama, I wouldn’t have found my love for country music. I wouldn’t have met my best friend. I wouldn’t have found what I wanted to do for a living. So, just trust those trials.




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Band Camp and Guest Bloggers

Hello readers! So today since I'm away at band camp, my lovely friend Grace is writing a guest post! I would introduce her more, but I think you'll get the idea from her post! Expect to see it up later today!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The (Triple) Book Review of the Month: June/July

When I picked up several Sarah Dessen books to take to the beach, I was expecting mainly some light, somewhat predictable young adult romance novels. And, since that's what I was expecting to read, that's what I was expecting to review. But this is not exactly what I expected.

Let's face it: novels are generally not as realistic as we think. Things just don't happen the way they do in novels or movies or television. Not in the real world. The romance in these books was, I admit, slightly predictable, in the sense that it's easy to know which characters will be a couple by the end of the story.

The actual relationships, however, I found to be more believable and realistic than expected. The characters went through real challenges and dealt with real issues and real emotions. They just did it together, some of the time. And while each of the books I read did include some summer romance, as Dessen is known for, the romance did not feel like the main story line in most cases.

These books dealt with a lot of difficult topics that I think a lot of authors, especially in more young adult genres, might shy away from. Drugs, alcohol, rape, divorce, abuse, insomnia, eating disorders, loss and so on. It wasn't all butterflies and rainbows. It was hard to read at times, but harder to know that things like that really happen.

Still, these books, more than anything, dealt with family. It was in how Ruby dealt with her mother. How  Annabel dealt with her sisters. How Auden dealt with her parents and stepmother.

In Lock and Key, Ruby moves in with her sister after her mother abandons her in their tiny shack of a home. Ruby is used to fending for herself, and struggles to trust others and define what family means to her.

In Along for the Ride, Auden goes to spend the summer with her father, her new stepmother, and her baby stepsister at the beach before college. She is used to isolating herself for her studies, due to the influence of her intellectual parents, and now must learn to be her own person.

In Just Listen, Annabel and her sisters are young models, and have been since they were children. After having a rough semester at school following an incident with her best friend's boyfriend, Annabel is afraid of losing her friends, disappointing her mother, and telling the truth.

I really enjoyed these books, and if you like young adult romance and realistic writing, you definitely will too!

If you have a favorite book to suggest or a question about a book, feel free to leave me a comment!