Recovery · Testimonies

Thoughts from Being 10 Months Porn-Free

I didn’t plan on this today; I thought maybe I’d write something about how I was doing once I reached the one-year mark. But today is my ten-month mark of being pornography-free, and I have a lot of thoughts about it. I spent some time in my journal last night, wrestling. I would like to share that journal entry.

This month was probably the hardest temptation-wise out of all ten so far. I’m not sure why, but I’ve had to be extra proactive and cautious with myself lately. I fought for this month.

Here’s what gets me: in ten months of freedom, you’d think I would know what was working, would know why I’m doing well and what got me here. But I really don’t. And people ask me, and it feels weird to not have any answers.

I don’t want to invalidate my addiction story; I truly did do things I didn’t want to do, repeatedly/routinely, and I still face repercussions. It was real. But I also don’t want to tell people that grace, candor, and hard work will cure their addiction. I know it is not that simple. It’s just all I can pinpoint that has contributed to my own recovery. I really do not know how I got here.

Though I am so grateful for the way things have worked for me, I understand not everyone who does the same things I’m doing fares the way I somehow have. I don’t have the explanation for that. I fully believe God heals and restores all who come to Him, that He is strength in our weakness, that He shows absolutely no partiality. I trust His timing for everyone. I just don’t know why some of us find visible healing sooner than others, why the timing varies from person to person. Or why I get to be one of those who is seeing my healing already.

Not that I don’t still face temptation, as this month especially has proven (though I can’t exclude the other nine, either). I do face temptation, often. I don’t have it “easy.” But I know I have it easier than many. Maybe I caught my addiction in earlier stages than most who enter recovery.

tiny buds and bloomsI think that’s what I want to stress most: recovery doesn’t stop.

“Porn addict” is in no way part of my identity, and never was. But it’s something that has been/is part of my life. And recovering from being a porn addict and remaining in that recovery? It is an almost guaranteed lifelong process. This is something that will probably always be part of my life. I believe it gets better. But as long as I live in this skin, I have potential to act out of it and I have a lot of choices to make.

I truly do believe in full recovery. I am just not naïve enough to tell anyone, including myself, that there’s a point of arrival. God heals, and He also doesn’t take away our freedom of choice. It’s constant; it’s maintenance; it’s abiding. And I am also not so privileged as to believe people who do what I’ve been doing are guaranteed to see the same outcome I’m seeing. It is different for everyone. Honestly, I really wrestle with that sometimes. Timing is so beyond us, and I don’t understand it.

I think finding the balance of celebrating where I am while commiserating with those in an overwhelming place in the struggle is something I will have to work through for a while. Today, I don’t feel like celebrating, though I know it would be okay for me to. I know the highs and lows of this process, and I want to honor everyone in every stage of it. I am still learning how.

I’m so grateful for these ten months. I don’t take it for granted. I know it’s a gift I don’t deserve, one that puzzles me to be in possession of sometimes.

To my brothers and sisters who are in recovery– be it day one, month ten, or year five– you are in the midst of something holy. He is proud of you. He is working in you. He is there in the mess of the process with you, day by day. And if you have to start over again? Nothing about this changes. There is nothing you can do to change the love He has for every bit of you. Lean into that.


[This video on recovery/sobriety is so eloquent and echoes a lot of my feelings, and also carries some solid encouragement. I highly recommend it.]

On Media & Art · Practical · Testimonies · The Basics

How I’m Replacing My Anxiety: On Power, Positivity, & Choices

dsc05066When I picked up a dingy little book at a yard sale for a few cents, it was simply because the title seemed interesting to me: “Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway.”

I was struggling with questions about anxiety and how big a role it played in my life, so much so that it was nearly all I could think about every day. I knew nothing about this book, but I’d reached a point where I was willing to hear out anyone who might be able help me figure out what I could do about what I was facing.

During the time I read the book, not only did I receive deep convictions from its words, but I also had an open conversation with a counselor friend of mine about anxiety and its presence in me. These things paired together, following God’s revelation to me about the peace He’s made for me to walk in, have helped me find a grip on my peace and led me in the process of beating my fear.

If you struggle with anxiety, I want to share what I took away from “Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway” by Dr. Susan Jeffers with you. I know every experience is a bit different and not everything works the same in everyone. If these things end up not doing for you what they do for me, nothing is wrong with you; you are working hard and doing an incredible job, finding the best weapons and strategies for your own battle. Do not let shame lie to you, and do not give up. This is just my experience, and if you end up being able to share in it, it would be cruel of me to keep what I’ve learned from you.

Not everything I learned from the book is completely related to anxiety, but all of it has been transformative for me. These were my four main takeaways:

1) Fear is based on the lie, “I can’t handle it.”

When I become obsessive and fearful about something in my life, no matter how big or small, there is one common belief that fuels the anxiety: I believe that if the bad thing I’m anticipating happens, it will be too much for me and will overcome me. Usually I am not even aware that I believe this, but the presence of the fear reveals it about me.

A few months ago, I was overwhelmingly anxious about visiting my old stomping grounds. I didn’t want it to be a painful experience, and I’d had panic attacks the last few times I’d been there. But I asked myself: what would happen if my fears were true, and it was painful and I did have a panic attack? I’d have a few difficult hours in my day– and then I’d go home. It might take me a few days to recover, but I’d recover. Was that devastating enough to keep me away? Despite the anxiety I still hosted, I decided to go– and it ended up bringing a lot of healing for the bitterness I’d been hosting toward that place. I did have a panic attack, but afterward I had a lot of good moments, too. I’m glad I didn’t let fear keep me from them.

Two years ago, I was terrified to drop out of college, because I didn’t want to be occupation-less, lose relationships, or be looked down upon for it. But what happened when I did drop out… and I did become occupation-less, lose relationships, and get looked down upon? I cried. I was hurt. I grieved. I wrestled with armfuls of questions, for months. Then I made my peace with it, and realized I was healthier emotionally than I’d ever been before. I became grateful for the opportunity to live a life more true to what I was made for. My fears might have become reality, but it didn’t ruin me; in the long run, it healed me. I survived it and found treasure along the way. I needed things to happen the way they did.

When I accept my fears at face value, they seem giant and domineering. But when I look deep enough into them, I can see how small they are against the backdrop of everything else life holds. I can see that no matter what happens, positive or negative, it won’t be the end of me. I have experienced deeply painful, terribly oppressive times, lasting moments and lasting years– and I am still here. I’m actually the happiest I’ve ever been. What we’re scared of does happen sometimes. But we survive. We learn and we keep walking. Nothing is final or too much for us.

Nothing can come for us that is bigger than He who is for us.

2) We can hold fear from two positions: pain, or power.

How you view your circumstances is known as your locus of control, and there are two possible versions of it: an external one or an internal one. If your locus of control is external, it means that you believe life happens to you and there’s nothing you can do to alter your circumstances. However, if your locus of control is internal, it means that you believe you have the power to use what you have in your given circumstances to create the life you want.

I refused to consider this concept when I first learned about it. My locus of control was completely external; I believed I was stuck where I was in life, which was a terribly harrowing belief to have, because it was eating me alive to stay in my circumstances. When I was told I could change my situation if I wanted to, I immediately shut the idea out, because I didn’t believe I was capable of doing that. But multiple people from multiple areas of my life all began unknowingly asking me the same thing: “Have you ever thought about doing something else?”

And my answer, when I finally gave one, was: “…no. Is that possible?”

Once I opened myself up to the idea of making my own changes, once I realized I had power over myself– God showed me how to use it. He didn’t leave me floundering by myself, nor did He become angry at me like I feared. It turned out that He was the one who made me powerful in the first place. Using that power was not, in fact, a rebellion against Him, but rather a submission to Him and His design for me.

It took months for me to say yes to my new direction, and even longer to tell anyone about it and begin acting on it. But I did. I started making changes. I left old things and started pursuing new ones. It was still hard, but a different kind of hard than before; this was the kind I knew was going to birth good things.

I’m not stuck anymore. I know that, at any time, if what I’m doing is not good for me, I can change it and do something else. I have the power to do that.

When we’re in any situation, we are making a choice to stay there. We can choose not to stay there anymore if we want to. I used to constantly say, “I can’t do that because this thing is preventing me.” But the truth is that there is truly nothing I can’t do.

If I wanted to move to Los Angeles today, I could. I don’t have money, transportation, or a place to stay, but I could pack a suitcase and get on a bus, and once I arrived I could find a shelter somewhere. Would it be the wisest thing for me to do? Probably not. So I choose not to do it. But I don’t get to say that I can’t do it.

If I want something badly enough, I have ability to go get it. It is just that sometimes the payoffs of not doing it at this point in time might outweigh having it right now. That’s okay! It teaches me patience and trust. Life is largely about the process; waiting times are not times we have to despise or rush to escape. Sometimes it’s the right time to make a change; other times, it’s the right time to wait it out for a while. But we are never stuck. Once we understand that, we are living from a much more productive and positive place.

I think a lot of us grew up viewing power and control as negative things. I have known and been affected by controlling people my entire life, so I know it’s easy to have those negative connotations. But do you know why controlling, manipulative people do what they do? They feel powerless. The reason they are seeking to control you is that they see power in you and want to benefit from it; they don’t believe they can do what they want to do themselves, so they use other people. Controlling people have an external locus of control.

A healthy sense of power is so different from that. When you believe you are powerful, you believe in your ability to do what you want to do, not to make someone else do it. A truly powerful person is someone who knows they are in control of their own actions and attitudes, and exercises that control in order to make good choices and love well.

Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit; it’s something He gives us and wants to see in our lives. It is not simply the ability to keep yourself from bad choices, like we seem to teach all the time– it’s also using your power to make really good ones. When you use your power well, you are demonstrating spiritual growth.

This all affects our relationships with fear and anxiety because if you believe in your power, you will start using it. With an internal locus of control, you know that your circumstances don’t control you– you control you. Whatever fear is living in you, you know you are bigger than it and that you can combat it. You do not allow yourself to become a victim of anxiety, but rather a master over it. You might have anxiety, but it is you that owns it, not the other way around.

When I am afraid, I have a choice. I can choose to succumb to it and let it lead me, or I can choose to ride the wave out and get through it. Fear still exists for me, but it doesn’t have to win out over me.

It’s a cliché now, but it’s still true: when you learn you are powerful, you begin to realize you also carry responsibility. You realize you can’t blame others for your happiness (or lack thereof) anymore, because you are in control of your experience. No one can be responsible for your quality of life except for you.

There’s an important distinction between your experiences in life and your experiences of life. Things happen to us that we had no hand in. We don’t get to choose where we grew up, or what programs accept us, or who falls in love with us. But we do get to choose how we let those things affect us. Bitterness? Despondency? Entitlement? Those are responses. And while we may not be able to choose our initial feelings and it’s important for us to recognize them, we one hundred percent control what we decide to feed and sit in versus what we decide to let go of and move past. We have control over how we choose to live; we have the power to look at everything through a hopeful lens instead of a victimized one.

I have found that when I take responsibility for my feelings and my mindset along with my behavior, it is easier for me to be kind to others and to love my enemies. I can’t get mad at someone for not giving me something I have the ability to give myself. It doesn’t mean I’m condoning their negative behavior; it just means I’m not letting it change my positive behavior.

3) Being positive is not being in denial, it’s being perceptive.

Many of us have been told that when we look for the positive, we are not aware of the reality of the situation and are being oblivious to what’s going on. But let’s take a minute to think about this: what makes it so that a positive mindset is less realistic than a negative one? Both are perspectives, ways of viewing reality. And the way you view reality determines how you treat it. So if we choose a negative mindset in the name of being realistic, what we are really doing is determining to have a negative reality.

Choosing a positive mindset is not being unrealistic– it is choosing to have the best experience possible in reality. When we view life through a positive lens, we don’t need denial, because we can see possibilities for ways to make things better, and we are more likely to act on those possibilities because we believe they can make a difference.

Positivity is not weak, it is empowering.

It can be wildly hard to get rid of a negative mindset when you’ve been hosting one your whole life, or when you are in environments that are full of the kind of talk that fuels one. Perseverance matters so much in this. Our subconscious’  believe what they are told; if they are fed insecurities, lies, and thoughts of helplessness, and they aren’t also being fed a greater measure of affirmations, truths, and motivation, they will continue to operate out of destructive patterns.

We have to out-talk our negativity. When you feel insecure, name strengths and good traits you possess and point out to yourself how you’re doing a good job; when someone tells you something that is against your God-given identity, reaffirm your identity and what it means for you; when you start to feel helpless, tell yourself that you are powerful and remind yourself of all your options. Be kind to yourself. Be active and relentless about it, and have people in your life who echo these kinds of healing words to you. Let love, not fear, have the final word in you.

4) When it comes to making decisions, there is no loss, only gain.

I am the queen of indecisiveness. If there are multiple options, I pretty much go into paralysis until it’s narrowed down to two, at which point I will toss the two options every possible way they can be turned, then make a very hesitant choice. I will proceed to doubt my choice for weeks. What a fun cycle, eh?

But making decisions is actually a lot less complicated and dire than I’ve believed it to be. No matter which option I choose, the truth is that there is not a losing decision. On any path I walk, there is a wealth of lessons, experiences, and treasures for me to find. I think often we fear making a bad choice because we don’t want to miss out on something good. But what if we had a different perspective when making a decision? What if we focused on what the different options have to give instead of what we’d potentially lose? When we do that, we are no longer looking for the least costly option, but instead for the most rewarding one. It is much more productive to function this way.

And if you end up being unsatisfied with your decision? You can still make a different one! It is okay to make mistakes. No matter how many zigzags you make on your path, you’ll still be able to get to where you’re going. We gain lessons and experiences from everything we go through. God’s business is redemption; nothing is wasted. And He knows what you’re going to choose before you choose it, so you can rest in knowing it’s all part of something bigger, something that will always work out for your good.

——-

Phew! There is so much to unpack in these concepts, so much we can reap from them. I encourage you to keep ruminating on them. And, if you’d like, I so recommend reading “Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway.” The last two chapters are a bit out there and I admit I only skimmed them because they were more opinion-based, but the rest of the book was such a transformative tool in my life.

Anxiety doesn’t own me anymore. I am better equipped to face it than I knew I could be. All of this is my story; I’m not going to present it as the cure or the never-failing balm for anxiety. But I wanted to share my experience and the tools I’ve found useful, if there’s any chance you might be helped by it, too. I am rooting for you and fully believe in a breakthrough for you, however in comes into your life. Thank you for being interested in how in came into mine.

Embraces for Your Spirit

On The Unfinished Things

I visited an art-focused thrift store last week. They carry things that a lot of people would probably throw away or recycle, and they display art made with those things, art that shakes your shoulders and exclaims, “Look at all the cool stuff you could do! Get out of your box, silly! Try your crazy idea! Try it! Try it!” Sometimes I need to just inhale some good art to remind myself how much I love it and how much I still have to explore.

There were containers full of discarded photographs at the thrift store. I’ve seen them at county fairs and flea markets, too, and it always confuses me in an almost mournful way. Why are these photos here now, and not with the people who took them? Did they lose them? Did something make the person want to get rid of them? Did someone else donate them? Where did they come from and why didn’t they stay there forever? It unsettles me, and I wish I knew the answers. Every time I see photos for sale, I end up buying at least one, and I’ve never had a plan for what I’m going to do with them. I got quite a few at the thrift store this time. And I was determined to use them, in whatever way I could find.

“A collage or shadow box might be cool…” I mused. I looked through our craft paper and started pairing photos with backgrounds. I added lace, paper flowers, cut-outs, words, anything I felt suited the picture. I did this for multiple photos before I realized–

“I’m scrapbooking. I’m scrapbooking for strangers who didn’t get to.”

I started feeling a sense of duty toward the people in the photos to represent their memories and their personhood well. I chose colors I imaged they would like based on what they wore, paper that seemed to suit the situation, details I hoped honored what they felt toward the photo and the memory. I cared deeply about the way I treated those images.

Now I have multiple scrapbook pages full of people I’ve never met and places I’ve never been, and I don’t know what to do with them. But I am so glad that I brought some sense of completion to something that was unfinished.scrapbook pages together

Sometimes I fear that things will remain unfinished. I become impatient, or rather, I wear the mask of impatience. Yeah, sometimes I am angry or upset or restless, but when I look inside, I don’t see those things as much as I see fear. I see myself, my arms hugging my knees, and I’m trembling. “What if this is never fixed? What if this is something I’m going to have to live with the rest of my life? What if I never see it come to completion?” I pause. And with bitter tears I whisper:

“Are His promises true? Can I trust Him?

There it is. There’s the fear at it’s core.

“Do you still love me, Father?”

Does He still love me even if He lets pain exist in my life? Pain I’ve asked Him to heal? Pain that’s been here for such a long time? I don’t want to pass it on to my children. I don’t want it to live with me forever. I want it to be finished. I want it to end here. And the anger comes out because I’m secretly afraid that it won’t come to pass that way.

I forget that He’s a good Father.

“I am the Lord; in its time I will hasten it.” He says (Is. 60:22). He doesn’t forget His work. He is a good Father. He always comes through for His children. Even if it takes longer than we’d choose sometimes. He knows what He’s up to.

I’ve got some unfinished things inside me. And I’ve got Someone who sees them and is enraptured by them and seeks to finish them. Promises to finish them.

He’s the author and He’s the finisher.

None of this stays an unfinished thing.

Note-taking

The Middle (On Generation Unleashed 2014)

[Listen]

When I went to Generation Unleashed as room leader for my youth group this year, I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. I’m kind of an introvert (although I hate saying that; I am me, and I think I’m between the extremes), but I cared so deeply about the girls I shared a hotel room with. I wanted to give them some kind of assurance that they were meant to be on this trip, that Jesus had made a way for them to come and be in an environment where life is more silent so that they could hear Him better. I’m not entirely sure what my girls ended up taking home with them (besides all the classic books we found at Barnes and Noble, haha!), but I loved that what they talked about at the end of the day wasn’t the amazing feelings they had; it wasn’t about the exciting worship or the shopping trips or even a life-changing moment. They spoke of truths that the speakers had shared and how those truths encouraged them or made them think. They could not have said anything to make me happier.

I intended to sit with them for the high school session. I truly did. But, when the age groups began to split off and the college students were dismissed, my heart sank into my stomach. I tried to shake this, telling myself it would be better to stay with the high school group. But my sunken heart almost had me doubled over in pain, and it was beating fast. “Lord, you want me to go, don’t you?” I said.

And I went.

This happened twice in the exact same way on this trip. He knew what He was doing.

Of every session I sat in on, the college sessions were the only ones that actually spoke into my life. The others had some truths and food for thought, but these college sessions? It was like the Lord, the speaker, and I were having a conversation. I want to share the notes I took from Pastor Rich Wilkerson, Jr.’s message, because I carry them inside me every day. He called his message “Faith for The Middle,” and that’s exactly where I happen to be. If you’re there, too, I want you to have these things. The message is based out of the story in Mark 4:35-41, of Jesus calming the storm. I’ll just put down exactly what I did back at GU, with a little commentary if necessary.

We pray for the middle to be shortened; maybe we should be praying for faith in the middle.

The meantime matters.

The fact that you’ve thought about quitting shows it matters.

The middle is scary because it’s unknown.

The wise man and the foolish man both had to face the storm. [Context: Matthew 7:24-17]

You can be around Jesus but not with Him. Who is in your boat? You need Him.

Jesus models REST, not “I have to fix this!”

Do you have more faith in your sin than in Jesus? [This was a slap in the face for me. When we doubt that Jesus will forgive us for something, we are actually saying, “I don’t think you are big or loving enough to forgive this.” Ouch. It still stings. Have faith in Him, not your sin; your sin doesn’t deserve it.]

Stay in the boat.

I feel like every area of my life is completely stationary. The nervous excitement of beginning the new things is gone, and the end results are no where to be found. I don’t quite want radical change everywhere; I think I just want to see that something is making some kind of positive difference somehow. Usually I can live my life day by day, but sometimes these feelings of defeat creep upon it. Yet. . . I know the middle is an okay place to be.

I need to stop trying to get out of it and start seeking Him in it.

Thanksgiving Projects

Cold Weather, Writing, & My Cat (Week 4)

taken November 17, 2013November 17, 2013– church music, glitter, prayer with Holly, and meeting Landon.

My church’s worship leader (who is also my good friend, AJ) makes diverse choices every Sunday morning, but for some reason this week’s song selection was especially good to me. Thanks, AJ! (And Jesus!) The glitter? It fascinated me for a while as I sprinkled it around my room. I really have no idea why. But this is the best glitter ever, so prismatic! It’s label says “fairy dust,” and that is a completely accurate description. Anyway. . . me and Holly were able to have a quick prayer partner session over the phone, so that was nice. It’s always a good thing to be able to share that, hearing each other’s prayers out loud. And lastly, I go to meet my dear friend, Kayla’s, baby boy! He was born six days prior. He is so perfect, and I am so glad that he is part of this world, and I am so ecstatic for Kayla and her husband! I didn’t take a picture in the moment, but later I took a picture of a memento I kept from the baby shower back in August. Welcome to the world, Landon!

taken November 18, 2013November 18, 2013– my umbrella, a package for a friend, my blanket, and a beloved friend’s birthday.

Abriannah got me an adorable umbrella for my birthday back in October– and it didn’t rain again. Haha! But on this day, it did, and I got to use it! I love the gentle tapping of raindrops on the material of the umbrella. My lovely friend, Delaney, is going to college on the other side of the country, and I miss her, so me and my mom put together this little package for her. It was fun to fill the box with things that reminded me of her, and it was especially fun to hear back from her so soon! Love you, Delaney! My fuzzy blanket. . . because it’s stinking cold here now. And this day was the birthday of my amazing childhood friend, Liz. I don’t know where she is now or how she’s doing, but I love and miss her. I was listening to this song she once recommended to me all day. Liz, if you find this, I miss you and have never stopped praying for and loving you!

taken November 19, 2013November 19, 2013– dancing to elevator music, a candle, a finished essay, and hard thinking.

I had to call a complicated company for complicated reasons, but long story short it was about 45 minutes of one song and 2 minutes of actually talking with someone. But I made the most of it: I danced around the house to that one song! Laughter from that was needed this day, because the rest of it was spent writing a paper that was a hard story to tell; I actually cried writing it at one point. I printed out my final draft around 10 at night, and it felt like I had given birth– painful to get out, but in the end I was so refreshed. And lastly, I found a lot of things that made me think hard. One was an online argument between people with the same beliefs, another was an interview between 2 “Christians” and a blatant non-believer who was closer to the truth than them, another was a completely heartless article with comments worsening it. . . it was just a lot to process and I still haven’t quite yet, but I’m glad that I’m finding things that get me to ask the tough questions. Take this as my encouragement to you: ask those tough questions. Sometimes the truth is hard, but it is always better than walking in lies. Oh, and the candle calmed me down as I wrote, because candles simply have that effect!

taken November 20, 2013November 20– cake, a successful essay, sharing a devotion in class, and my sweet kitty.

The cake itself actually wasn’t very good, but a slightly hilarious memory is associated with it: when the MC at our school chapel dismissed us, he did it by saying, “Now, let us break bread together in the form of cake.” I laughed a lot harder than I should have. The essay I wrote the day before? I received the best grade I’ve gotten on an essay yet. My teacher appreciated my honesty, and she blessed me so much with her praises of my writing. We then talked about the most recent Once Upon a Time episode, haha (which, by the way, was insane)! That morning, it was my turn to share a devotion in one of my classes, so I read an older blog post. It was well-received, and both me and the man who also shared a devotion that morning had points that tied in with the day’s lecture, unbeknownst to us! Everyone was kind of blown away by that “coincidence.” And my cat. I know she’s been a positive thing before, but just look at how she rests on me! There’s something beautiful about the kind of dependency that makes animals feel safe sleeping on you.

taken Nov 21, 2013November 21– my dad’s sweater, organization, late-night drives under the clear sky, and my cat… again.

My dad was looking through our closet (yes, we share a closet) when he found this sweater he hasn’t worn in probably twenty years. He asked me if I wanted it, and of course I said yes. Now I have a grandpa sweater and a dad sweater! Not only are they both warm, but they’re also both from beloved men in my life. The corkboard represents getting organized about my homework (and was a graduation gift from my sweet friend, Carlie!), which is long overdue. My dad drove me to my church for youth group, as he always does; we talk (about anything) or we simply listen to the radio, and I treasure spending that time with him. Plus, the gas station attendant thought we were married, so that was a particularly laughter-filled drive home. “Just because I’m wearing his sweater. . .” And I apologize for putting my cat in here AGAIN. She’s just so cute, and she’s been keeping me warm this week!

taken November 22, 2013November 22– frosty mornings, pumpkin pie ice cream, my cd player, and getting ahead on homework.

It was 22 degrees when I left for school on this morning! The frost was beautiful, though, so I didn’t mind. And don’t ask me why we had ice cream when it was below freezing outside; just marvel at the fact that this flavor is called Pumpkin Pie A la Mode. It’s even better than it sounds, it has little pieces of pie crust in it! I know it might be unusual, but I still have one of these portable cd players. Sometimes I just want to listen to one cd over and over, and when I don’t want to blast my music I can use this cd player with headphones. This week I’ve been using it for my journaling time, and my cd of choice has been Shipwreck Pedro‘s ep. I don’t know if they’re still making music, but their ep is beautiful– folksy, but not in a wanna-be way. It’s gorgeous. And before bed that night, I was able to get ahead on my homework load for the next day, so that was nice.

taken November 23, 2013November 23, 2013– completed homework, Anastasia hair, watching Les Miserables with my mom, and writing to my husband.

The relief of finishing all my homework on Saturday so that I am completely free on Sunday cannot be measured! Making a checklist helps me, I’m learning. Remember last week when I mentioned my haircut? It’s an okay haircut, but the front layers like to flip up almost daily, so I’ve gotten into the habit of just pulling them back into a tiny ponytail. It reminds me of Anastasia and how her hair looked when she first left the orphanage, haha! You also know from last week that I am obsessed with Les Miserables. Well, I found the two movie versions I hadn’t seen on YouTube, and last night me and my mom watched the 1970’s version together. I think they did a fairly good job, it’s in the top two for me! In the photo you see the magnificent Javert that they cast, he looks exactly like my mind picture! And lastly, I wrote a letter to my husband. I have a journal for this exact purpose. I love being able to share things with him in a way, and it helps when I’m not feeling very patient. I recommend keeping a journal of letters if patience in that area is something you wrestle with!

This challenge is actually helping me find the positivity that was already in my life! So. . .  what kept YOU positive this week?