11 Things I’d Tell to Middle School Me

If I could look have told myself 10 things when I was a middle-schooler, these are what they would be:

1. Read more. Mom is right. Books contain world’s of their own, a place to escape. Take advantage of your spare time and lose yourself in a novel. Not only will you find new perspectives, but the knowledge gained will be so useful to you once you finally settle on a major.

2. SATs do not help or hinder your college process; don’t stress about them. 

3. I’m proud of you. Yes, you messed up some things, but looking back now, I’m proud of what you will accomplish. As a high school senior, you’re going to work two jobs and take 12 college credits, achieving a 4.0. That’s pretty impressive. Know that you can do it, just lean on God.

4. You still don’t like tomatoes. Seriously, stop trying them. You’ll only regret it every time you do. That being said….

5. Try more food. Honestly, you’ll be surprised at what you like. Mushrooms, jalapeños, tuna, buffalo sauce- they are all so delicious!

6. Stop dissing your area. I know you say you loathe Tioga County now, but just you wait.  You’ve really got some surprises in store for you. In fact, you’re going to have to eat your “I can’t wait to get out of this area” phrase. You’re going to miss the fall colors, running into friends at Walmart, and even the dirt roads. Appreciate where you’re from.

7. Make your bed. It only takes you 30 seconds, and it would make Mom a whole lot happier. Just do it.

8. Cut Dad some slack. I know you two are different, oh so very different! But, I’m telling you this: things will change. As much as you don’t want to hear this, you’re more alike him than you know. Once you reach college, you’ll realize just how much you cherish his support and companionship. Try and show him some appreciation now too. Everyone is facing a their own minefield of troubles; we all blow up sometimes.

9. Friendships will fade. It’s okay. Try your best to maintain connection with those who really matter, but know that it’s okay when you lose touch with someone who had a big impact on your life. This a part of growing up. However…

10. Don’t be so afraid of getting hurt. It’s going to happen; you really can’t stop it. BUT! That should not stop you from trying to form relationships with other people. Invest your time in others because it’s worth it. Loneliness is one of the worst things you can combat.

11. Finally, be yourself. I know you want to be a good singer, but let’s face it, that will never happen. You’re still going to find a man, and he’s actually going to love singing with you, despite the fact that you can’t carry a tune in the bucket. Stop trying to be someone else because it’s a waste of time. Own who God created you to be.

The Unexpected Things

I have been putting off writing another post due to the news I got only three days after my last one. I’m not going to Iceland. After a week filled with deciding whether or not to take the leap of faith, I decided to go for it. As soon as I signed the paperwork, I felt a sense of relief. Studying abroad has been something I’ve always dreamed of, and I was finally going to do it. Or so I thought. It turns out wasn’t God’s plan for me. You see, Iceland has crazy hoops one has to jump through in order to obtain a residence permit. One of these is getting an FBI clearance, which takes approximately 12 weeks. Unfortunately, nobody told me that. So, 5 days before it was due, I found out that no, I would not be traveling to Iceland. At first I tried to brush it off as something that just wasn’t meant to be, but honestly, it’s been getting tough for me to accept. Deep down, I really, really wanted to go.

In order to not obsess over what could’ve been, I continually try and reroute my thoughts to happier things- namely, Zac and my quickly approaching marriage. As the numbers on my count down continually decrease, my anticipation seems to multiply tenfold. A lot of people say I’m young; I am. A lot of people say we’re going to just be another divorce statistic; they’re wrong. When I was a kid, I remember everyone saying, “When you’ve found the one you’ll know- like, really- you will know it. I have dated a few guys, but never, never have I felt something like this. He complements all my weaknesses, and I truly believe that this is God’s will for me, for us. All my life I’ve been indecisive, uncertain of what to do, but being with Zac is one thing in this world that I find to be certain. There is simply no one else for me.

Well, that’s all for today. I’ll update you all later on my advances in schooling and possibilities for future work.

Love,

-Paige

The first steps…

I signed the paper. Checking that little box that determined where I would spend four months of my life was single-handedly the most difficult decision of my life. But I did it.

Studying abroad has been a dream of mine for a long time. In fact, it was a huge factor in my decision to transfer back to Mansfield University. Somewhere in the process of coming back, getting engaged, and planning my graduation, my dream got filed away.

I’m scared. Leaving everyone I love, everything I know, behind and journeying to a distant land is a terrifying concept. It is an adventure, a journey, and in a sense, a pilgrimage. Originally, I dreamed of studying abroad to see the world, then it was about learning the culture, but as I have gone farther into the process, the words pilgrimage seem etched into my mind.

A planner by nature, the unknown sends me into panic attacks (quite literally sometimes). Boarding a plane and flying off to Iceland is going to be a pilgrimage for me because I will have nothing to cling to but God. I have no family, no friends waiting for me on the gigantic island. There will be no driving home on breaks. It’s me and God. I have no doubt that I will make friends who will supplement for the family not available to me, but not immediately. It will be an adjustment and one I have to make.

After all, I am on a pilgrimage to the holy land of reliance and trust; the journey starts now.

~Paige

Can I have 5 minutes of your time?

Seriously, can I have five minutes of your time?

No? Well, go ahead and X out of this tab.

You’re still here? Good, I was hoping so.

Step away from the family. Take your laptop to a quiet place. Or maybe, if you’re using a desktop computer, pull out those giant headphones you’ve stashed in the desk draw and put them on. Go ahead and block out all the surrounding noise. Put down you’re phone; don’t text for the next few minutes.

Whew, tense isn’t it? This world is so crazy, so hectic and stopping and just sitting, it feels weird, right? Not thinking about switching to the next tab, are we?

All I want is four more minutes of your time. Except, I don’t really want the rest of these minutes to be about me. So, make this video full-size on your screen, sit back and listen.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWRgsXYf8EY

It gave me tears, goosebumps, and a whole lot of awe. What about you?

 

 

 

 

 

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Billows of Change

Once again I have found myself failing to update my blog on a regular basis. My summer began rather dull, but is coming to rushing, thrilling end.

 

Before I write anything else, I must announce my most exciting news: I am now engaged! After nearly two years of dating Zac, I had the honor of accepting a ring from my darling best friend. The love we share is something that I didn’t believe existed; God has, and continues to bless our relationship in ways I never could have imagined.

Of course immediately after our announcement, the inevitable question comes pouring out of the mouth of nearly everyone: when will the wedding be? The truth is, we don’t know. While both of us have no doubts that the other person is “the one”, there are a few things we must wait on. One of those is my study abroad application. I have applied to go to four countries in the spring: New Zealand, Iceland, England, and Scotland. As of now, we have no idea where I will be placed. While some of the programs last only 12 weeks, others span as long as 6 months. With that uncertainty, neither of us are ready to assign a date to our matrimony. Instead, we have decided to put aside that discussion and wait upon my placement, which should arrive mid-October.

There’s so much else to write about, but for now I’ll just add one more topic: school. It’s hard to believe that just a year ago I was at orientation for Eastern University. My time there was brief, and mostly good, but I was ready to transfer back. Many people warned me that I would regret my decision, that the RA position was a sign I should’ve taken, and I was foolish to walk away. Honestly, while I occasionally see a picture of my fellow LFP members that makes me feel slightly uncomfortable, I am overall at ease. I know that this peace could come from no one but God. Mansfield University is where God wants me.

With that being said, I am so excited to start up classes. I enjoy the ease of summer life, but I crave the pressure and fast-paced nature of working and being a student. Call me crazy, but my love of learning is extreme.

Anyway, I’m super exhausted, so I’m going to bring this post to a close. Hopefully I will write another post soon about some other events. We’ll see.. I’m not making any promises :)

 

-Paige

 

 

Love.

It was only a week and a half ago. I didn’t expect God to answer in the way that He did, nor would I have wanted Him to, but He did, and for that, I am extremely grateful.

Friday, June 15th, I didn’t want to go to work. It had been a rough week, and I was lacking the normal cheer I exuded while waitressing. And so, as I sat on the sea-themed old couch that used to be my grandmothers, I bowed my head and clasped my hands together. I spoke to God earnestly, asking Him to pour His love into me; I felt my well was dry. I knew I couldn’t make it through the day without the strength of the Spirit, and so I pleaded for God to take me over. I can’t say my prayer was particularly different, or the way I came before the throne was special, because I feel like I had prayed that prayer before. But I was earnest, because I felt (and feel) that without truth in life, there is nothing. 

Shortly after, it all started to happen. My eyes weren’t immediately opened, as some find after a deep commune with God, but He was working in my life. God was revealing to me that love can take on many forms, something so easy for me to forget.

Love is waiting. It is waiting when I don’t want to wait anymore, when I am impatient, anxious, and ready for change. It is waiting because I know that it is not only for my good, for another’s good, or because the Bible says so, but also because it brings glory to His name.

Love is fierce. It can really hurt, a lot. It can be as painful as loneliness and paper cuts when God breaks down the walls you’ve been building, shatters the worldly foundation you’d begun to form. It is relentless, conquering, and worthwhile.

Love is trusting. It is knowing the persecution of oneself is not a reason for revenge, but an opportunity for grace. It is allowing God to have the upper hand, and submitting to His Masterful plan. 

Love is seeing. It is looking at each person as loved by God, one that has an eternal life, somewhere. 

Love isn’t always fun, and often doesn’t come with a box of chocolates, but it is enriching, worthwhile, and our mission.

 

 

Updates &stuff…

God has blessed me richly and abundantly. As I survey my life, I am not only mesmerized by the astounding qualities of God, and the love He allows me to partake in, but also the blessings bestowed upon me on earth. While my failings are many, His grace abounds. Some days, I truly do not understand why He allows a lowly servant like me to be in His favor. I am beyond unworthy. This has been my meditation lately.

~*~

The blessings of God have taken many forms for me. I feel that I’ve done a lot of growing since last summer and I can’t exactly explain how. I guess the best way to put it is that I’ve learned to cherish the unquantifiable things in life. Love, time, knowledge: all these things have so much more attention in my life than ever before. I’ve spent so much of my time focusing on attaining money, or great grades, but those things are so fleeting. Someone can have a flawless GPA and still not get a job; it’s often about connections. You can have all the money in the world, but you cannot buy genuine love. While both good grades and money are important, they do not hold the reins of my life.

This summer has been filled with odds and ends:

I’ve taken to reading classics and digging into their meaning. What has the author addressed through each character, and what does it say to the reader? How has the world view changed? It is good to read a book, but digesting it is equally important.

Mom was away in Denmark for nearly two weeks, a long-time dream of hers. So, my sister and I ran the house while she was gone. It was nice to appreciate Mom in a new light. She’s left us before to visit her parents, but never for so long. Man, I cannot tell you my amazement that she hasn’t exploded on us all for dirtying new dishes when she JUST finished washing the ones from a meal, or not taking our folded laundry out of the bin, or me losing my car keys for the 243983x time. The mother-type is amazing.

Additionally, there’s the new developments in Zac and my relationship. As he pursues another job and finishing his Criminal Justice degree, we look with uncertainty as to what the future might hold. An engagement, for sure, but the logistics are pushed into a closet, to be opened later. He now has his own apartment 20 minutes from my house and we’re a “normal” couple for the first time since October of 2012. I assure you, folks, the emphasis on normality is overrated. That being said, it’s nice to no longer be a LDR (long distance relationship) couple. However…

I’ve applied to study abroad in the Spring of 2015! If I am selected, I will be venturing to either Iceland, Scotland, England, or New Zealand! The possibility excites me, although I’m trying to not get my hopes up; I will not find out the results until late October. The only downside to an acceptance is that Zac and I will once again be LDR, for the third and (hopefully) final time. I would be gone from January to early June, with no trips home. While the prospect of visiting somewhere I’ve dreamed of excites me, I also have extreme anxiety about it. I’m praying that God will grant me peace as He prepares the way in which I am to walk.

Last, I have begun a project that’s been on my mind since I was about 13: a book. Originally, I was going to write a story that I’ve been told has an incredible plot. However, after much deliberation, I decided that I am not quite ready for that much commitment. Instead, I’m working on a compilation of short stories. Hopefully, I will be posting the first one soon.

So, that’s all for now. Sorry for the short, choppy paragraphs. It’s late and I’m rather brain dead. I just figured that since I hadn’t posted in a while, I should update everyone.

Much love,

-Paige