A Letter from Your High School Bus Driver

Dear S, good luck in life! I wish I could tell you I’m proud of you & I’m rooting for you! I wish I could tell you I’m praying for your future in the real world. I know you’ll do great things if you make the right choices!

Dear D, I hope you’re enjoying your anime & doing lots of writing for your book! I hope you’re enjoying your new phone & getting your homework done!

Dear J, have you gone back home? Do you have to stay in the US while we figure out this pandemic? Will you try to come back for another exchange year? I hope you’re safe & healthy wherever you are!

Dear M, I know you switched buses, but only recently, so I hope you’re doing well too! Idk if you’re still here or if you had to go home. I know you want to move here. I hope you get to. Good luck with graduation and becoming a pharmacist! We need you now more than ever!

Dear H, I’m glad you got to be on my bus again this year. You’re a great kid! Thanks for always asking how my day is and for thanking me for every ride! You’re a gem!

Dear S & J, thanks for the conversations! They’ve been fun! Keep playing basketball so you can do well next year!

Dear M, E, G, G, I, and gang. Thank you for respecting the rules. Thank you for immediately obeying when I remind you of rules you’re getting too close to. Thanks for the laughs & for the fun!

Dear A, I know you moved, but I hope you’re doing well! I hope you’re enjoying music & working on your goal of being the strongest man! I hope you’re staying out of trouble!

Dear A & A, thanks for being kind and quiet! I hope you’re doing well!

Dear others, y’all are so quiet and so well behaved. Thanks! I miss y’all!

I’m praying for each of you! I miss you! Be good. Do good. Have fun!

A Letter from Your Middle School Bus Driver

Dear A & B, you’re so quiet & chill B. I’ve never had an issue with you. Thanks! A, you are a wild child, but you have an energy and excitement for life that I sometimes want! You’re always so excited to show & tell me things! I miss that!

Dear C, you are also wild, but much calmer than last year. I have to give you the look often, but you quickly obey and calm down. Even in your crazy, you’re fun! I miss it.

Dear Z, Z, A, D, & other 8th graders I might have forgotten. I hope y’all have the best freshmen year ever next year! Y’all are crazy, but I’ll miss y’all!

Dear E, M, & L, y’all are so quiet & well-behaved. Thanks for that! The other 6th graders are crazy! Haha.

Dear R, you are all boy and you have the best laugh! It’s seriously contagious! We could use it right now!

Dear D, you came halfway through the year, and what a joyous edition you were! Thanks for being an extra mini BFF!

Dear M, before you ask, yes of course I miss! Yes, really! You make my day with your hellos & goodbyes! Thanks for singing with me!

Dear L, I’m sorry you didn’t get to put in your play. You were so excited about getting a lead role! I really wanted to see you perform! Hopefully you’ll get loads of more chances in the future! Keep acting & smiling & caring about the world!

Dear N, stay friendly and kind. Keep smiling! Hope to see you next year!

Dear J, I hope you’re just an angsty middle schooler & that you don’t have issues at home, but if you do, please know you’re cared for and that we’re here for you!

Dear A, M, J, and C, y’all did such a great job of following the rules & being at the bus on time this year. I’m proud of your improvement!

Dear M, I hope you’re getting to watch your telenovelas (still not sure if that was real or a joke) and anime! Thanks for asking me questions and caring about everyone!

Dear L, keep up the hard work! Keep working out and kicking butt in karate! Keep saying hi to and smiling at strangers. I pray you see that God is real and that he loves you! Make sure you enjoy all the hot Cheetos & salt and vinegar chips!

Dear Noodle Arms, I hope you’re getting the hang of your math! Thanks for trusting me to help you with your questions! Have fun with your brother!

Dear A, keep having fun with sticks and outside fun! Keep your childlike thrill of imagination! You’re gonna need in 8th grade and beyond!

Dear J & J, behave, have fun, and keep being kind!

Dear Rick & Morty, I miss y’all already! Truth be told, you’re my favorite 8th graders! You’ve both grown so much in the past year! I’m so proud of y’all! Rick, please continue to follow the rules! I believe in you! You could be a great leader, so stay on the right path! Morty, you’re a great musician and baker! Keep creating things! Thanks for writing me a song! You never got to play it for me, but I’m sure it was awesome! I miss you both & I hope y’all have the BEST high school experience you could ever have!

Dear all of y’all. Middle school is rough & y’all have been a challenge, but you’re seen, you’re loved, and you’re cared for! You’ve made my experience as a bus driver so much fun! I’ve learned a lot from y’all! Remember you don’t have to be who others want you to be! Be yourself & those who matter will love you all the same! I miss you! I’m praying for you! I hope to see you again!

A Letter from Your Elementary Bus Driver

Dear K, thanks for being the first smiling student I got to see every school morning. I hope & pray you have a great summer & that you’re first year of middle school next year is fabulous! I’ll miss you.

Dear R & D, I’m pretty sure y’all are also going to middle school next year. I’ll miss you! R you’ve always been so quiet & well-behaved, so mature & kind. Carry that with you in life. D, you’re such a happy child. I hope you care your excitement with you through life.

Dear R & D, I just realized the kids at your stop have the same first initials. Haha. Thank you for trusting me with your issues! If you had problems, you shared me with them! Thanks for singing Victorious with me & being mermaids/mermen with me! It was a pleasure to meet y’all this year! Oh, and I’m starting Some Assembly Required! Hoping to talk with y’all about it next year!

Dear H, you moved halfway through the year, but I miss you little buddy! You had the best questions & the silliest jokes!

Dear S, teachers seem to think you’re a handful, but I think you’re awesome! So fun and full of energy! Hope to see you next year!

Dear V & A, y’all are all boy & it’s been fun. You’re a little crazy sometimes, but I miss it! I think y’all were 4th grade this year, so hopefully we get to spend your last year of elementary together next year!

Dear R, my Disney Warrior Princess! You’re spunky and fun! Your love for Disney reminds me of me & your life for life is contagious! See you next year!

Dear A & S, you make me smile! You make me tired too! Haha. You were new this year & I hope we get to see each other next year!

Dear O & R, you adorable preschoolers! So quiet and better behaved than most of the big kids! Hope I can see you next year!

Dear C, I’m sorry I didn’t watch Scales when you asked me to. You were right, I loved it! I really hope we can talk Descendants, mermaids, and Zombies next year!

Dear Z, you’ve grown so much since last year! I’m proud of you! Let’s talk mermaids & Victorious next year. K?

Dear Z & Z, thanks for drawing me wagon (wolf dragon)! Thanks for teaching me cool things I never knew & for always having interesting things to say! I’ll miss y’all! See you soon?

Dear M, good luck in middle school! You thanked me for getting to know your name because other bus drivers hadn’t. I’m sorry for that. Thanks for letting me be your friend!

Dear C, thanks for joining our games! You always had such great answers!

Dear T, I hope you’ve gotten to see your sister a little longer! I hope you’re still learning fun things and having fun with your dog!

Dear F & F, keep reading your Bibles! Keep loving God with your whole heart! Keep sharing him with your friends and family!

Dear M & A, keeping loving pink and rainbows & loving naps & being kind!

Dear R, keep loving vampires! Remember all the things about TVD & tell me next year! Keep reading! Remember you matter, you’re important, and made on purpose! Jesus loves you! You’re not a mistake!

Dear K, I hope you always love Unicorns and pink! I hope you keep your wonder and joy forever! Keep dreaming sweet girl!

Dear N, I can wait to see in MLB & get to tell everyone I was your bus driver! You’re gonna do great kid!

Dear A, keep learning science facts! Then teach me all the things next year!

Dear all of you, I miss you! I’m praying for you! I can’t wait to see you again, if it’s at the store! If I never see you again, you’ll always be my mini BFF & I’ll always remember you & pray for you!

The Chronicles of Narnia – Book Review (2018 Archive)

The Magician’s Nephew

I first read this series as a middle schooler, maybe a 9th grader. I really enjoyed it. It was one of the first series’ I read (though I didn’t finish it 🙈) & part of the reason why I fell in love with reading. There’s something to be said about reading it (or listening to it as an audiobook) again as an adult. I grew up in the church. Never once did I ever think about leaving. I take pride in my Christian faith. It is the very best and only truly good part of me. So, to read a children’s series that was written as an allegory to the Christian faith is awesome, especially when I didn’t quite pick up on the allegories when I read them as a kid. I really appreciate how C.S. Lewis imagined creation in this book. Of course, none of us could ever know how the universe was truly created, but the allegorical telling of creation in this book is so beautiful, I don’t think another human could possibly imagine it better! I also really like how he represents temptation!

4 out of 5 ⭐️ only because I’m not a huge fan of the first part of the story, even though I know it’s necessary.

The Lion, The Witch, the Wardrobe

As I said before, I read these books for the first time as young teenager, and now I’m of the firm belief that everyone should read these books first as a child and then as an adult. If it’s too late to read it as a child, every adult should read it anyway! I haven’t read any of the books since I think 2010 when the Voyage of the Dawn Treader movie came out. I’m glad I’ve decided to read them again as an adult. I didn’t realize, or at least didn’t remember, that CS Lewis wrote an allegory for the crucifixion in this story! I’ve seen The Passion, I’ve read the Gospel several times, and I grew up in the church. I know the story of the crucifixion. To hear it (audiobook) told as an allegory in an innocent children’s story really struck home in a way it hasn’t before. Don’t get me wrong. The death of our actual in the flesh Lord and Savior is far more tragic than a fictional character. I know and have always known that Jesus was/is perfect and innocent of any crimes counted against Him. It breaks my heart every time I think about it. But again, to read/hear it in an innocent setting when I wasn’t expecting it really drove home Jesus’ innocence for me. He was/is perfect. He didn’t deserve any of the things done to Him, but He quietly and solemnly took it without a fight, because He loves me. This allegory really showed that to me in a new light and I’m grateful that CS Lewis tackled so many serious Christian topics with such grace that a child can read it and know the severity, but not be scared from too much knowledge and gore too quickly. It was done in a very tasteful (if that word can be used for the representation of Christ’s death) and respectful manner while still keeping the severity and importance intact!

I also really appreciate the depiction of temptation, sin, and betrayal in this book as well!

5 out 5 ⭐️’s.

The Horse and His Boy

I don’t remember reading this whole book the first time I read the series. I must have though, because I had a vague memory of it this time. 🤷🏼‍♀️ All the same, I like that this book teaches that we may understand the past in hindsight, but the future is to be seen when it becomes the present. I also like that it shows that sometimes God—analogically Aslan—always works things out for our good, even when we face bad things. And that we must always face the consequences of our decisions.

Social Butterfly–Beauty and Brokenness

Aren’t butterflies beautiful? They come in all different colors and sizes. They’re friendly and curious little creatures that fly where the wind takes them. Often, we use them as examples of beauty. They are also used as examples of nervousness and excitement. I feel like I can relate to a butterfly fairly well. In high school, my friends literally called me the social butterfly. I knew at least one girl from nearly every volleyball and basketball team we played against. In fact, one of my best friends was from another school. I was always friendly and happy and floating from one beautiful flower–aka friend–to another, making sure they had all the support they needed to grow. Then, I flew into the proverbial windshield of life.

My junior year of high school was a tumultuous one at best. My whole life, I had been the bubbly fluttering happy girl floating from flower to flower wanting to be friends with everyone. For a long time, it was because I really did just want to be friends with everyone. In 5th grade, it started to be because I wanted to be loved by everyone. In high school, it was because I didn’t feel loved by anyone. I guess I thought if I was surrounded by as many other butterflies migrating around me as possible, then I’d never feel alone. Silly me. The more people I reached out to and tried to befriend, the more alone I felt. Add on that “all” of my friends had boyfriends while I was “forever alone” and I was miserable. I felt like I wasn’t good enough. Like there was something wrong with me. Why didn’t anyone love me? Did I have a lopsided broken wing that I couldn’t see or something? I don’t know, but I was alone or at least I felt that way.

I was going to a private Christian school and I grew up going to church every week and spent a few years in Awana. I knew what the Bible said. I was never alone. Even if everyone else did, God would never leave me nor forsake me. I knew that, but I guess I didn’t believe it, and I certainly didn’t feel it. I know the heart–aka emotions–is deceptive, but feelings–at least for me–are more real than anything else in the world. I’m a very sensitive person. I feel everything. I feel my emotions and somehow I feel the emotions of others around me–even fictional others which is weird to say, but it’s true. You’ve heard of second-hand embarrassment? I feel secondhand everything. So, when I do–or don’t–feel something, it sort of consumes me. That or I block out all the feelings with facts and that’s not healthy either. I’m working on finding a balance between sense and sensibility, but it’s a long, hard battle. A battle I realized I had to fight in high school when I was the social butterfly who felt like a bug on a windshield.

I grew up singing the song. “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” I knew it. In my head, I knew it, but in my heart I couldn’t believe it. I wasn’t good enough to be loved by a perfect God and I wasn’t bad enough to be saved by a merciful Saviour. I had been saved. I knew and accepted and believed God’s beloved sacrifice when I was six years old. I remembered the scene almost flawlessly and knew without a doubt I had been saved from the fire of hell. What I wasn’t sure about, what I felt like I shouldn’t/wouldn’t be saved from was the darkness of life. I knew I was flawed and broken. I knew I had done a “good job” of not falling into the pits that many others around me had. I didn’t know that we really are all equal in the sight of the Lord. I never consciously believed I was better than anyone else, just better than what my evil nature could have asked me to do. I practically lived at my church. I was there every Sunday for church and was serving weekly. I was there Monday through Friday for Christian school and memorized every verse–about 20 or so every 2 weeks–they asked me to. I was reading my Bible semi-regularly. I was doing all the things a “good little church girl” should be doing. I wasn’t sleeping around, or even kissing anyone. I wasn’t partying, drinking, or smoking. I never snuck out or went anywhere against my parents’ will. I wasn’t doing anything a “good little church girl” shouldn’t be doing. The things I was struggling with were “minor.” I was self-harming, but it wasn’t visible. It wasn’t “as bad as other girls.” I had sort of attempted the behaviors of eating disorders, but hadn’t gone farther than unhealthy thoughts toward food rather than actions. I was depressed and wondering if anyone would miss me if I wasn’t around, but I wasn’t suicidal. All these church girl checkboxes and “minor” issues made me feel like I wasn’t good enough for God’s love, but wasn’t bad enough that I had any right to say I was struggling. And that’s why I felt like I was so unloved.

I refused to tell anyone about what I was dealing with, so when they didn’t see it on their own I felt unseen, unloved, and like I wasn’t struggling as much as I was. When I prayed, I didn’t pray about the root of the problem. I didn’t address the real issues. I just wanted it all to go away. I literally prayed for God to take away my free will in these things and make me “good enough.” I felt like if I was asking for it, then that should still be considered free will and that God should accept it. He didn’t. Surprise surprise. When He didn’t, I think a part of me resented Him for not taking it away. Some part of me definitely felt unloved. If He loved me, then why wouldn’t He take the pain away? Why wouldn’t He take the feeling of inadequacy away? And if the people I loved loved me then why couldn’t they see I wasn’t the bubbly and happy butterfly I pretended to be? Why couldn’t they see my wings had been clipped and I was no longer flying? Why? Why? Why?

To be honest, I still don’t know the answers to any of those questions. I can guess that for my people, it was because I was hiding and most people aren’t good at seeing through facades. Most people don’t know to look for a mask or how to look past it. Most people believe what you tell them. I told people I was happy. I told people I didn’t have a worry in the world. I told people I was fine. And with God. I don’t think it’s that He wouldn’t take the hurting away. I think He was just waiting for me to be honest with Him. He knows everything, but He doesn’t force anything. He wants true love and honesty. He doesn’t want robotic obedience. He gave us free will for His and our own good. Who wants to be loved because the lover is forced to love them? Not us and certainly not God. Who wants to be forced to love someone? Forced love produces things like Lord Voldemort. Forced honesty produces broken hearts, anger, and bitterness like with Caroline Forbes, Elena Gilbert, Rebekah Mikaelson, and Stefan Salvatore. Who wants that? Not I and now I’m grateful God didn’t force anything. Now, I know God was trying to love me and doing what He could to help me out of the pit.

At the end of the day, God can do anything with or without our willingness, but that’s almost never if ever how He works. He wants us to be willing which is probably why the one thing that finally pushed me to really be willing to come out of the dark was a documentary about one of my favorite singers. I have always and probably always will be a fangirl. In large part because I am so sensitive to every form of feeling, I really get into anything and everything I love and God uses that to help me understand lessons He has for me. So, when I saw my favorite singer was struggling with things I was struggling with and ended up in a rehab center for it–and other things–I was shocked into action. It pushed me to be honest with God. And it was when I was honest with God that I really started to feel how much He loved me.

In the following year, God would use this singer and another band to show me how much He really cared for me. When someone really loves you, they take notice of the things that you love and the things that make you you. God took the things I loved and used them to help me find His Light and Love. As He walked me through the dark and into the Light, He led me to believe I could be honest with my friends and family about things I had been dealing with. As I did, I learned that they did love me, even if I hadn’t felt it. The reactions to my confessions were so full of genuine love I couldn’t believe I had ever doubted their love for me. Then, I started meeting new friends who I knew loved me from the beginning. Friends that are still loving me today. Friends who have helped me find my wings again.

Earlier this year, a friend from church gave me a purple butterfly from her wedding decorations. Around the same time, a coworker gave me a green butterfly charm engraved with “You are a blessing.” With the little green butterfly came a little card reading, “A butterfly is so beautiful, graceful and elegant… symbolizing… Faith and embraces the journey along the way…” – A.S. Waldrop

I hadn’t thought about being a butterfly in years. I had forgotten that I used to be the butterfly. That my coach/teacher in high school had gone around the room saying the things she loved about each of us girls and had almost forgotten me because I was a social butterfly fluttering around the room, loving on each girl after we had previously discussed the things we would change about our lives if we could. I took pride in that description, even if at the time I hadn’t always believed it was true. Now, as I look at these butterflies on a regular basis I’m reminded that I am a butterfly. God allows me to feel so deeply about anything and everything because it gives me a unique ability to love everyone in the way that they need to be loved. It gives me the wind I need beneath my wings to be able to fly from flower to flower and spread beauty wherever I go. Not because I’m something special and unique–though I like to believe I am–but because He is. What is the primary job of a butterfly? To spread pollen from plant to plant to help them grow. In this world, God is the pollen, people are the flowers, and I am the butterfly. Beautiful or not, I’m not the most important part of this story. I’m just a carrier. In this transfer of growth, pollen is the most important thing, because it feeds the butterfly and the flower. The pollen is what allows life and  beauty to exist. Then the flowers are the second most important thing. They are the reason butterflies do what they do. Both are beautiful, but beautiful in their own way.

So, yes. I am a butterfly. I am beautiful and strong and I finally have my wings again. I am only one beautiful but small creature in a field of flowers–hundreds or more of differently beautiful creatures. And, like a butterfly, my fluttering wings are either anxious or excited–there’s not much in between.

What are you? What is God showing you in your struggles? Are you a butterfly like me? Are you a flower? An owl? A unicorn? A tree? A book? Everything in this world has significance. Everything matters. Everything can an example of who we are in Christ. While life isn’t about us. It is important to find our identities. To find how God wants to use us and to embrace that. God is using me as a butterfly to spread His beauty to others. How is God using you?

DWTS: Juniors – Songs from The Year I Was Born Night

Team Gleb – McKenzie and Sage – 2004 – Jet’s “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” Quickstep. Holding frame. Quick energy. High school jock and cheerleader theme. I’m liking it. It’s especially funny that she called Gleb “like a dad.” Mandy was super impressed. Adam says she 100% delivered. Val gives and a standing ovation and says she killed it.

Judges’ Scores – 24 out of 30

Team Alan – Sky and JT – 2008 – Cha Cha to Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance” – She’s grateful for their patience.

Gymnastic moves. They’re doing pretty well. Full of performance. Adam says it’s so clean. Val says she can do anything and is impressed with her maturity. Mandy asks if she practices her facials as much as her steps, because her face is on point.

Judges’ Scores – 22 out of 30

Team Sasha – Sophia and Jake – 2008 – Foxtrot to “Love Story” by Taylor Swift – Cute and elegant. Perfect for the song. Val says it was incredible and that she looks like a Disney Princess. Mandy has one correction for her to use her back muscles with her arm movements. Adam wants her to turn up her personality in her dance.

Judges’ Scores – 20 out of 30

Team Emma – Jason and Elliana – 2007 – Jive to “Shake It” by Metro Station. He says he’s never heard this song in his life. That’s kind of nice to hear, because it’s not really an appropriate kid song, but I love it! Dressed like aliens they’ve got all the energy needed for a jive and he’s got the performance needed for it. He’s adorable. Mandy loves his poise. Adam loves his confidence. Val is impressed too.

Judges’ Scores – 21 out of 30

Team Cheryl – Mandla and Bryton – 2005 – Salsa to “Pump It” by the Black Eyed Peas. He’s got some moves in his arsenal. I’m impressed, especially because he’s so shy. Adam says the dance was more of a freestyle, but the performance was off the charts. Val says the same. Mandy tells him to think more about feeling the dance out.

Judges’ Scores – 22 out of 30.

Team Hayley – Hudson and Kameron – Paso Doble – Super Hero themed to “Four Minutes” by Madonna, Justin Timberlake, and Timbalan – Val says he killed it. Mandy saw his muscles working through the dance. Adam is so impressed with their partnership. He tells him to loosen up and enjoy the dance.

Judges’ Scores – 22 out of 30

Team Lindsay – Miles and Rylee – 2004 – “I Don’t Wanna Be” by Gavin DeGraw. A very strong and intense argentine tango. They have to keep their frame the whole time, says Rylee and that’s hard. They seem to be doing a good job. Mandy loves that he took command of the performance. Adam is proud of the content and partnership. Val says all the things the others did.

Judges’ Scores – 24 out of 30

Team Artem – Alana and Tristan – Cha Cha to Pussycat Dolls “Don’t Cha” – She’s got the performance fact and shake for the cha cha. I hope she does well. I liked this dance. Adam says she owned it and that there was a moment when she was walking around like she was at the mall. Val is proud of the transformation she’s showing. Mandy agrees with both, but comments on her timing.

Judges’ Scores – 19 out of 30

Team Witney – Akash and Kamri – Cha Cha to “Dynamite” by Taio Cruz. He’s got the tude for the dance. He doesn’t seem to have the hip movements for the cha cha, but he looks like he’s having fun. He’s adorable with Jordan teasing him about swag. Val asks if spelling or dancing is more fun. He says they’re both his favorite. Mandy is impressed. Adam loves it too. Witney is loving him.

Judges’ Scores – 21 out of 30

Team Brandon – Ariana and Artyon – 2007 – Jive to “Girlfriend” by Avril Lavigne. This is definitely my favorite dance! I love the song, yes, but the dance is great! Ariana and Artyon are just so cute and talented! Mandy says she is really good and therefore held to higher standard than the others and she’s meeting that standard. Adam gives them a standing ovation. Val says they are one of if not the couple to beat.

Judges’ Scores – 24 out of 30.

Elimination

Team Hayley – Hudson and Kameron – Oh my word. He looks so sad and now he’s crying.

DWTS Season 27 – Most Memorable Year

This is always my FAVORITE episode of the season! I LOVE getting to know people through their stories and it’s so much better when it’s through art! I can’t wait to watch this episode!

Mary Lou & Sasha – The Vietnamese Waltz. 1984 – the year she won the gold medal in the USA. It was most memorable because she had knee surgery only six weeks before winning the metal. Wow! Chills! I don’t get chills, but that’s a chills moment! The doctors told her she would need at least six weeks just to walk again, let alone to compete on it! And yet, she won a gold medal! Oh my word!

We are the champions. A song that got her through the six weeks leading up to her gold medal competition. Oh, but it’s slowed down and acoustic. I love it! This is such a beautiful dance and makes the song even more amazing! Wow! She is beautiful and strong. That’s another reason why I always love this night! Bringing the star’s story into the performance gives them so much power and emotion in their dance to really push through and give their best performances. Len loved her performance and has comments on her hands. Bruno commends her for working on her shoulders as he advised before. Carrie Ann is fighting back tears. She’s so deeply moved by Mary Lou’s number, but noticed some missed steps in the beginning even with her improvement.

Judge’s Scores – 24 out of 30.

Milo and Witney – A jive for 2018. Zombie’s came out. He’s on DWTS. He’s graduating high school. He’s starting his own life this year. He feels like the luckiest seventeen year old in the world.

Aww! The dance is set to the theme of a high school graduation. I love him. He’s got such a fun personality! He kind of reminds me of a cross between my sister Lydia and my brother, Jacob, in some ways. Ooh! Solo dance on the judge’s table and a flip! Bruno calls him ready for the big league hitting ace after ace after ace. Carrie Ann is so impressed, but comments on his one zombie arm. Len thought it was fun and sharp. He has a small critique for his posture, but otherwise liked it.

Uh oh, Milo hurt his hamstring in practice, but you couldn’t tell.

Judges’ Scores – 27 out of 30

Nancy and Val – Ramba to “Love Someone” by Lukas Graham for 2006. She moved to a ranch in Texas from LA with her husband and two daughters. This dance is a tribute to her family.

A slow-burning love story set to a dance. It’s as beautiful and touching as you would expect. I’d give her dance a decent score. She seemed to do pretty well with her lines and frame and everything. Carrie Ann loved her dance. Len thought it was charming, but thought there should be more hip movement. He also compliments Val on his judging on DWTS: Juniors. Bruno agrees with Len. Val says it was a conservative Romba.

Judges’ Scores – 22 out of 30

Alexis and Alan – Contemporary for 2014 on Mother’s Day when her dad told her there was something wrong with her mom. She had stage 4 cancer. On January 8, she learned her mom was gone. Oh, gosh. The tears are coming. DWTS was her mother’s favorite show. She even took ballroom classes. She wears her mother’s wedding ring every day.

A pure and beautiful, but heartbreaking struggle of a dance to “How to Save a Life.” She’s crying through the dance and yet doing so well. I’m impressed. Alan comforts her and it’s just so heartbreaking. Len is never disappointed by Alexis’ dancing. He did, however, notice a little too much sharpness. Bruno says she danced like an angel tonight. Carrie Ann calls her a dance a beautiful dance. This may be a ten or at least nines.

Judges’ Scores – 26 out of 30. Bummer, maybe not. But it is her highest score so far, so that’s nice.

Evanna and Keo – Vietnamese Waltz for 2006 when she booked the role as Luna Lovegood–a dream come true. When she was 11 or 12, she was battling an eating disorder. The only thing that distracted her from that was reading Harry Potter. She wrote to J.K. Rowling who wrote her back and they became pen pals. “I love the feeling acting more than I love the feeling of being skinning or being perfect.” Being in Harry Potter proved to her that she had something to offer.

Aww! They’re dancing to the theme of Harry Potter! The aesthetic is a starry night. I already knew Evanna’s story, but it’s still so inspiring to hear it from her mouth and to see her dance to it. This dance seems very empowering for her. It’s beautiful. It’s like she’s Luna all over again, though she always has been.

Bruno says her magic is stronger than ever. He loved her self-confidence in her dance. Carrie Ann comments on how much her performance has improved since the first dance. Len says it was a magic performance. Evanna confirms that JK Rowling didn’t know she auditioned for Luna until after she got the role.

Judge’s Scores – 27 out of 30.

Joe and Jenna –  Vietnamese Waltz for 2018. He had commitment issues a year ago and now he knows Kendall. He always wanted a family, but he was afraid. On the Bachelor, he was afraid of love. Then, he nailed it with Kendall. Now, he has to nail dancing, which he’s also afraid of.

Oh, a smoky love song. What the heck. Why is the camera showing the performers instead of the dancers? Joe is doing better for this dance, but he’s still not the best. With all the nerves, I am glad he’s pushing himself to dance. His frame is weak. His lines aren’t very sharp, but he does seem a little more confident. Kendall looks so proud in the crowd.

Carrie Ann says it’s so hard to judge him. He was so much more confident and open tonight. However, he is still growing. He didn’t miss any beats tonight, but he’s still growing. Len says the same thing. He’s not there yet, but he’s getting more confident and strong. Bruno agrees with the others. He’s adorkably nervous. Poor guy.

Judges’ Scores – 18 out of 30

Jenna and Val (Non-competitive) They’re so beautiful together. I’m glad they’ve found love with each other. I still loved Val and Janel together when they competed together, but she’s married now and it’s beautiful. He’s engaged and they’re beautiful.

Juan Pablo and Cheryl – Samba for 1999. That’s the year he moved away from Buenos Aires, Argentina to become a performer. He was heavily bullied in Argentina. When he was cast as Danny in Grease at seventeen, that’s when he knew he wanted to act. His big break came many years later when he was offered a roll in Mama Mia.

They dance the samba of celebration for where he is today. It’s a Latin dance set to Latin music and I don’t hate it. I don’t love it, but I do like it. It’s very exciting. He’s got great hip movements and he’s really into the dance. I don’t know how good it is, but it is good. The audience goes wild.

Len gives them a standing ovation saying sometimes you don’t need words. Bruno believes it is one of the best Sambas he has ever seen. Carrie Ann loved it too. Even Cheryl was impressed. This is for sure going to be all tens!

Judges’ Scores – And it is! The first perfect score of season 27! 30 out of 30!

John and Emma – 2016. The year he lost everything. A river in Lousiana flooded everything he and his mother’s house. The only thing that got him through was his dating relationship with Alisha. That same year, his mom died. He believes she died because she knew he had someone who loved him. Ugh, more tears!

A beautiful heartfelt waltz to a song called smile. Aww, a show of yellow rose petals–his mother’s favorite flower.

Bruno warns him to be careful with his unsteady hold. Carrie Ann comments on his posture. Len tells him to polish it up a bit. Otherwise, they all felt the depth of emotion in the dance.

Judges’ Scores – 21 out of 30.

Bobby and Sharna – Contemporary Dance for 1998 when he graduated high school. No one in his family had ever done that. His mom didn’t graduate high school. She had him at fifteen while struggling with addiction. He never had his own room. He slept on the couch and used the underneath it as his closet. His mom died in her forties from addiction, but got her GED because of him.

“A Million Dreams” from the Greatest Showman. It starts with him at the foot of a bed. Wow. There’s so much emotion. He’s still not perfect, but it’s a great dance. I also like that whoever is singing in the back is dressed to look like a little Bobby–Malachi Barton. Aww, Bobbie sits on the floor and starts to cry. Trying to fight the tears, he just keeps looking at the ground and squinting his eyes to avoid the tears. He wants everyone to know that no matter where you come from, you can do this–whatever this is.

Carrie Ann can’t put into words what was so spectacular about that dance, but it was authentic magic. Len tells him it’s his best dance. Bruno tells him to keep the inner child alive and well. He’s so somber right now. It’s so weird. He’s always so chipper and happy.

Judges’ Scores – 23 out of 30. His highest score.

Tinashe and Brandon – The Rumba to 2014. The year she released her first official album. She wrote her first song at six years old and sang it at a recital. They will be dancing to a remixed, acoustic version of her debut single.

I think this will be her best dance yet. Well, she looks beautiful in her costume. The dance is just as beautiful. It is, in my opinion, her best dance. I really like it. Len says it was her best dance. Bruno calls it beautiful. Carrie Ann feels like they’re only beginning to get the best of her.

Judges’ Scores – 27 out of 30. Her highest score.

DeMarcus and Lindsay – Argentine Tango for 2016 when he won the Super Bowl with the Broncos. He and his wife had three pregnancy complications and thought they couldn’t have kids, so they adopted a little girl before having a son two years later.

He carries Lindsay’s limp body onto the floor and tosses her into the air. It’s an intense dance, one you can’t take your eyes off of. Aww, and at the end, his kids come running up to him.

Bruno calls him a panther. Carrie Ann loved it, but saw it almost as more of a Paso Doble. Len was impressed with the lifts.

Judges’ Scores – 26 out of 30

Elimination

Nancy and Val – In Jeopardy Eliminated

Tinashe and Brandon – In Jeopardy (Wow! I was not expecting that one!)

DWTS: Juniors – The Premiere

Oh my gosh. These kids are so adorable! I haven’t even officially started yet and I love them! The mentors are so great too! I’m so glad Jordan and Frankie are the hosts! And I’m glad we finally get to see who the DWTS Mandy Moore is! I knew it wasn’t the famed singer and actress Mandy Moore, but I didn’t know who she was!

Team Keo: Addison & Lev – Aww, Addison makes them a meal. Keo teaches them the cha cha. I love her fire. I really like Keo now. I guess I just needed to see him a few times before I liked him.

They’ve got a cooking dance. I like it. It might be my favorite so far! She’s got the perfect kind of fire for a cha cha. Is it perfect? Probably not. But she’s got the attitude for it! Adam comments on her talking her talking herself through her dance. He did like the dance though. Mandy loved her sass and working it too. She tells her to try to hit the move even sharper than Lev does. Val agrees with Mandy. He wants her technique to improve.

Frankie asks Addison how dancing compares to cooking. Cooking doesn’t have to be as exact as dancing. She tries to stay calm, cool, and collected, but you can tell she wants better.

Judges’ Scores – 15 out of 30.

Team Witney: Akash & Kamri – Are these the youngest contestants of the show? They’re the smallest it looks like. They’re adorable. I love Witney. I love everyone in this show, but Witney might be my favorite!

Aww! They dance the tango to LOVE from the Parent Trap. He seems nervous, but their dance is so cute. His technique seems like it could improve and he seems a little lost at times, but they’re just so cute. Val thought it was beautiful. Adam just can’t. He advises him to keep learning. Mandy agrees. He is the youngest guy there. Okay, maybe it wasn’t off. Not enough at least for judge’s comments.

Judges’ Scores – 21 out of 30

Team Artem: Alana “Honey Boo Boo” & Tristan – Honestly, I just can’t believe Honey Boo is so old and tall now! I’ve never watched her in anything, but you’d have to live under a rock not to know who she is. She definitely has the attitude she’s known for, but I think she might be a good dancer if she puts the work in.

She’s definitely got the sass for a Salsa. I’m not sure how I feel about the dance. I can’t tell if she’s doing it well her not. She’s got the performance vibes down, but it’s up to the judges if she’s got the technique. Adam loved the performance. Mandy throws Honey Boo Boo away and talks directly to Alana. She had a moment when she was offbeat, but was mostly on. Val wants her to improve the technique a little more and work more on teamwork. Despite her sass, which comes from her mom, I think she might actually be pretty likable. I hope she sticks around.

Judges’ Scores – 19 out of 30

Team Hayley: Hudson West and Kameron – Hayley is kind of starstruck over the Emmy-nominated actor Hudson West. He is so professional.

They’ve got a “cool guy” themed cha cha to the Shawn Mendes song, “Nothing Holding Me Back.” Hudson seems pretty good too. He could stand to be a little stronger in his lines, but he’s adorable. Adam is super impressed. Mandy is impressed but comments on one moment of off movement. Val agrees with both Adam and Mandy.

Judges’ Comments – 22 out of 30.

Team Brandon: Ariana & Artyon – Ariana is so adorable! I vaguely remember her from the one to two episodes of Stuck in the Middle that I’ve seen, but I’ve never watched Guardians of the Galaxy. I really like Brandon and the kids! They’re all adorable!

Another Cha Cha. Full of personality and no particular theme. Just a simple, clean dance. She’s feisty and spirited with some pretty smooth dance moves. I like it. Mandy loved it. The technique could improve though. Val disagrees about the technique. I agree with Val. His feedback is more based on teamwork. Adam loved it too. He’s basically Bruno. It’s funny. These two are the most adorable kids.

Judges’ Scores – 24 out of 30.

Team Emma: Jason & Elliana – Jason is so adorable. I love Elliana and Emma both say they’re starstruck.

Aw, their cha cha is basically them pretending to be adults. He’s sitting at a desk and he’s like her assistant or something. He’s actually pretty good and he’s got such a performer’s spirit. I’m wondering how the judges will actually judge the kids and if there will be eliminations. Aw! Emma is so proud! I love her! Mandy loved the dance. He’s got great rhythm and confidence. Val agrees with Mandy. He picks on the technique telling him to focus on his footwork. Adam agrees with the other judges.

Judge’s Scores – 18 out of 30.

Team Cheryl: Mandla Morris & Brightyn – Brightyn was born the year Cheryl started on DWTS–2006. That’s so funny. I love it. Aw. He’s doing DWTS so he will be recognized for who he is and not who his dad is.

They’re dancing the Jive and he’s pretty good too. Man, these kids have way more rhythm than I think I would. Cheryl is so proud of them. Maybe I do like her more than I used to. I hope so. Mandy is amazed he’s never danced before. It was professional. Val is also impressed calling it the performance of the night. Adam agrees. I’m sure they’ll have the best scores of the night. If not, then I’ll be surprised.

Judges’ Scores – 24 out of 30 a tie for highest score of the night.

Team Gleb: Mackenzie & Sage – Are these two the oldest? They’re 14 and 15. They’re just as adorable as the littles though.

They’re dancing the foxtrot in a very ballroom themed dance. Here frame seems strong, oh, but now it’s a faster foxtrot. It doesn’t seem quite as strong, but not terribly weak either. Gleb is so proud. Val loved it, but was disappointed that most of it wasn’t a traditional foxtrot. Adam advises that she dance into the floor. Mandy asks how different ballroom is from the contemporary she’s used to. Mandy liked it, but could tell how her muscles were used to working a certain way and that way is different than ballroom.

Judges’ Scores – 22 out of 30.

Team Alan: Sky & JT – I’m so pumped about Sky! I love skateboarding! I wish I could skateboard! It’s always been one of my favorite things! Alan is so adorable with the kids!

A skateboard themed Salsa. She starts on a skareboard and goes into the dance. Those hip movements. Man. I can bearly dip my hips, let alone twist my hips. Ha. ha. Adam calls her a fierce competitor stating everything was clean and sharp. Mandy loves their top half was was strong like it should be while their bottom halves should be wiggling and it was. Val says he’s their biggest fan.

Judges’ Scores – 22 out of 30.

Team Lindsay: Miles & Rylee – Aww! Lindsay is mentoring her kid sister! How sweet is that? Rylee is so cute! She is so adorably Lindsay’s sister! “Just become friends with your partner and you guys are going to be really good. But no boyfriends. Only friends!” I love Lindsay! ha, ha.

Yay! They dance to “Who Let the Dogs Out?” And they’re both so great! The energy is great! I didn’t catch what dance they were doing, but it’s fun! It might be the cha cha, but I’m not sure. Oh, no! The Salsa. That makes sense too. There was a lot of hip movements. Mandy thought it was awesome. Val asks Rylee if she’s crying. She is. So is Lindsay a little bit. Val asks Miles to focus on the style and asks for more content for the actual style. Adam loved it.

Lindsay comments that she was more nervous for her sister’s dance than she normally is for herself.

Judges’ Scores – Oh! 22 out of 30.

Team Sasha: Sophia & Jake – Sasha’s reaction to meeting Scotty Pippen is adorable! Yay! They’re dancing the Jive! I love the Jive! It’s my favorite!

Aw, it’s cute 50’s diner vibes to “Do You Love Me?” She seems a little lost. Not terribly lost, but maybe a little off or something. I don’t know. But this kid, Jake, seems like a cool cross between Derek and Mark! haha. Val is so proud of her. He felt she was very clean in all the content. He commends Jake for his partnership. Adam says she killed it. Mandy thought her rhythm was great. Okay, maybe it was just her shy vibe or something. I mean I didn’t think her moves were clean, but I don’t know. What do I know?

Judges’ Scores – 21 out of 30

Team Jenna: Tripp & Hailey – Aww, so Jenna is Hailey’s Aunt. That’s so sweet! Wow. Bristol has lost so much weight! I didn’t even recognize her at first! She looks so great! Tripp is so adorably shy!

Aww, their dance is so cute. A flirty little kid foxtrot set in a stage park. He’s pretty good. He still seems a little shy and nervous, but he’s definitely got potential! Val is proud of Tripp and calls him a stud. Adam calls him a dancer. Mandy shouts out to Jenna for the choreography. Mandy loved it. In the audience Bristol and Sarah are so proud of him and proud of the comments. Frankie asks if Tripp’s mom has given him any advice. He says she said to give your oohs and ahhs. Hailey says she’s so grateful to have her aunt there were with her, even if she is a little bossy. Tripp is definitely a small town country boy. I’m glad to see he’s so nervous and down to earth when his family is so well known.

Judges’ Scores – 17 out of 30

Eliminations

So sad that two couples will be eliminated tonight. I wonder if it’s better that way though.

Team Keo and Team Jenna are eliminated. I’m super bummed! I wanted to see more from Tripp and I know my brother wanted to see more from Addison. Poor things. They did get the lowest judges’ scores though, so at least it’s not a case of politics (I hope) but simply an agreement between Judges’ scores and audience votes. I’ll miss them both.

DWTS Season 27 – Vegas Night

I like that the blue man group joined the opening dance.

Juan Pablo and Cheryl – Foxtrot – Oh, I like that Cheryl told him, “Enjoy it. Seriously, that’s all that matters.” Maybe I like her more now than before. I like that Cheryl describes the foxtrot as a really hard, but slow quickstep. I love when the dancers describe the dances in layman’s terms.

Oops, looks like there was a wardrobe/step malfunction as Juan Pablo tried to take off Cheryl’s glove. Otherwise, he seems to be doing well. It’s definitely a steamy dance as she described to him. Len comments on his frame and footwork, but believes he will be back next week. Bruno loved the choreography. Carrie Ann was impressed. She believes the technique was very good, but agrees it wasn’t perfect. I love Juan Pablo’s comment on dancing being a celebration of life.

Judge’s Scores – 26 out of 30 totaling 52 out of 60 for both nights.

Milo and Witney – Ooh, coming in hot dressed all in red. A little odd for a seventeen-year-old, but it works. Celine Dion sends a comment in for Milo and Witney wishing them luck with their Tango to her song. Ok, that explains the red. I like his competitive spirit. She’s amused that this is their first serious dance. He’s not a very serious person.

Oh, doing pretty well with the seriousness on the dancefloor. His form seems pretty good to my inexperienced eye. He almost seems a little too serious though; like he’s really trying not to laugh. It’s a great, fiery dance though. Steamy for the song, but appropriate for the boy. Great job to Witney! Bruno calls their dance the flight of a phoenix. Milo is so adorable. He’s so excited to get great comments. Carrie Ann comments on his frame and everything being great. Len comments it started out as an argentine tango instead of traditional tango, but he has no problem with it. His only critique is about Milo night dancing to his height.

Judge’s Scores – 26 out of 30 totally 52 out of 60. Aw, he and Witney are excited and adorable!

Danelle and Artem – They’re doing the quickstep and she’s scared because it’s a lot of moves. Donny Osbourne is singing their performance and she’s excited.

They go for the casino vibe with their vegas dance. She dance with four of the trope dancers who take her to Artem. She seems to be doing very well with the quickstep, especially for someone who can’t see where she’s going. It’s impressive enough for people with full vision to dance so well, but for it’s phenomenal! Carrie Ann compliments Artem’s choreography as it worked so well for her. Len enjoyed it. As did Bruno. Danelle explains how she’s been able to make eye contact. She focuses on their voice and then looks above where their voices are.

Judge’s Scores – 19 out of 30 totaling 36 out of 60

Alexis and Alan – They’re doing the salsa. Alexis is self-conscious. Alan is a little frustrated with her, but he does comfort her.

Ugh, such a trashy song. It doesn’t seem right for a salsa. They choreography isn’t great in my opinion either. Alexis seems to being doing it well, but I don’t like this dance at all. I’m interested to see what Len has to say. He actually didn’t have anything against it. Maybe he’s decided not to comment on technique as much these days or I just don’t know what I’m talking about, but it still doesn’t seem right. Bruno, of course, loved it. Carrie Ann does comment on Alexis needing to keep her core tight, even though her lines are great. Erin’s questions are always so awkward. The judges make awkward faces to her comments too.

Judge’s Scores – 24 out of 30 totaling 49 out of 60

John and Emma – I love that both of them are dressed like Elvis. They’re dancing the Jive. He’s actually got the top-selling Elvis cover of all time.

I love this. It’s so funny! It’s not the smoothest Jive I’ve ever seen, but it’s not bad. Two other Elvis impersonators come out and so do two “fans.” It’s definitely no Derek Jive, but it’s a nice Jive. Bruno loved it, but felt the Jive was lost in translation. Carrie Ann didn’t believe it was as good as last night. Len was impressed thinking about them doing two completely different dances two nights in a row.

Judge’s Scores – 20 out of 30 totaling 43 out of 60

Yay! A dance from Jordan Fisher, Frankie Muniz, and the boy junior pros. So cute! They’re so great!

Damarcus and Lindsay – Dancing the quickstep to a Boys II Men performance. Aw, Damarcus was in a boyband in high school and they sang all the Boys II Men songs. That’s so cute.

I like the elegance of their dance. Quickstep can always go either way. I like this softer version of it. Looks like his frame and technique are pretty strong, but his shoulders are a little awkward. I wonder if the judges agree. Carrie Ann comments that he needs to be more careful with his shoulders and syncing in with the dance. Len comments the same. Lindsay comments it might before her fault. She’s not long enough to reach him.

Judge’s Scores – 23 out of 30 totaling 47 out of 60.

Grocery Store Joe and Jenna – Jazz dancing. He’s got a great smile.

They do the bar scene for their dance. It’s a western vibe for their jazz. He seems to be doing better, but I don’t know. He still seems awkward. Maybe it’s just him. He seemed a little awkward in Bachelor in Paradise too. Len doesn’t have any negative comments. Bruno tells him to come out of his shell. Carrie Ann comments on how confident he seemed after the dance. Joe doesn’t agree. She tells him he is improving, but he is still off tempo.

Judge’s Scores – 18 out of 30 totaling 35 out of 60

Evanna and Keo ­– The jive. I love how excited Evanna is about it. Ha, ha! He says she’s significantly weirder than weird! I love it! She really is Luna!

A desert vibe. Two hippies or Coachella attendees. Either way. Same vibe. This is a much better jive than whoever did it earlier! I get the jive vibes from it and I love it! It’s a fun dance and she seems to do it well. The judges love the performance. Carrie Ann feels it was a little ahead of tempo, however Len disagrees. He thinks her dancing could have been sharper.

Judge’s Scores – 24 out of 30 totaling 48 out of 60

Bobby and Sharna ­– I already know Vegas night was made for Bobby Bones! They’re dancing the quickstep. I love his joy for everything.

Magician vibes. His energy should be great for this dance. I wonder if his frame and line will be good though. I don’t know. It doesn’t seem super great. Still, he’s just so fun. Carrie Ann asks him to turn down his energy, but keep up his joy. He could be so great, but they don’t really get to see it. Len doesn’t say anything negative. Bruno tells him not to be so rough.

Judge’s Scores – 19 out of 30 totaling 39 out of 60

Nancy and Val – Paso Doble. Nancy comments it’s a bit of a march. It’s a very strong dance.

The dance a circ de so le inspired dance to one of their songs called storm. It’s perfect for the Paso Doble! Very intense and strong. Nancy seems to be doing a good job. She’s very fierce in her movements. Is it the right kind of fierce? Len felt the finesse was lacking. Bruno felt the dance was very busy and that she kind of just threw away her shapes. I don’t disagree. Carrie Ann does disagree.

Judge’s Scores – 20 out of 30 totaling 41 out of 60.

Tinashe and Brandon – Cha Cha to “Circus” by Britney Spears.

You’ve gotta have a great dance to dance to Britney. I’m liking this dance. It’s kind of got mad hatter vibes though, which is funny. Bruno and Carrie believe Tinashe has great musicality. Len calls it a knockout performance, but critiques the sameness of the dances. I think that’s more to Brandon than Tinashe.

Judge’s Comments – 26 out of 30 totaling 52 out of 60

Mary Lou and Sasha – The Samba. Sasha says this is the hardest dance you can get. She’s commenting on her body hurting a lot from past injuries.

Showgirl vibes. Such a good dance, especially for someone dealing with so many injuries. I barely want to walk sometimes with my irritated injuries and I’ve only had like one major one. Hers have all been major. Carrie says she nailed it. Len calls it a proper samba. “I wish everyone would do what you do.” Bruno loved it too.

Judges’ Scores – 24 out of 30 totaling 46 out of 60.

Elimination

John and Emma in Jeopardy

Danelle and Artem in Jeopardy and eliminated; honestly, I think it sometimes just comes down to a popularity contest. Pretty much everyone else is well-known. She seems not to be so well-known. It’s a bummer.

Everyone else safe

DWTS Season 27 – New York Night

DeMarcus and Lindsay – Fifties vibe New York inspired dance. He’s impressively graceful. He may have briefly stumbled, but I don’t know. Wow. Len was impressed by his footwork. That’s high praise. No criticism. Wow! Go Demarcus and Lindsay!

Judges’ Scores – 24 out of 30

Yay! Mark makes a video appearance! 😀 ❤

Danelle and Artem – Brilliant move on Artem’s part adding her stick to the dance! I didn’t even think about someone possibly dancing to Welcome to New York by T-Swizzle, but I’m not surprised! This is such a great dance. I just can’t get past the stick addition at the beginning! So great! Apparently, they were both sick this past week. They didn’t seem sick. They do mention she had a missed step, but that she handled it like a pro. I guess she also counts with her mouth.

Judges’ Scores – 18 out of 30

John and Emma – Broadway vibes! I’m loving it! It’s not my favorite dance ever, but I did like it. Carrie Ann calls him the greatest showman. Len felt it lacked the Charleston it was supposed to have, but he did like it. Bruno loved it too.

Judges’ Scores – 23 out of 30

Nancy and Val – They’re both from New York. So, that’s cool. They dance a very suave Cha Cha dressed in all black and some leather. It’s a fun dance, but not entirely impressive to me. All positive from the judges.

Judges’ Scores – 21 out of 30

Yay! Jordan and Frankie get a practice hosting moment on DWTS!

Alexis and Alan – A Swan Lake inspired Argentine Tango. They FaceTime Tyler Peck who is a famous female ballerina. Not sure who she is, but that’s cool. I love the concept. Let’s see how it goes over. Super intense ballet moves. I can see the tango and ballet influence. I really like it. It may be a stretch for technic, but I love the dance. They got stuck for a moment trying to rip the ballet tutu off for more of the tango bits. Carrie Ann was not a fan of the lift or wardrobe, but loved the rest. Bruno and Len were both impressed. Len even went as far as to say it was his favorite dance of the season so far. Me too, Len. Me too!

Judges’ Scores – 25 out of 30 – Oh, snap! Len gave them a 9!

Joe and Jenna – Kendall comes by the rehearsal. Kendall practices at home with Joe while he’s not in the studio. This is a pretty dance! I didn’t catch what dance they were doing, maybe the waltz, but it’s beautiful! One of those soft and slow dances. I love it! All tented icy blue with a big New York in the background. Love it. There was an illegal lift, but the judges were overall impressed with his improvement.

Judges’ Scores – 17 out of 30

Tinashe and Brandon – Nightclub, futuristic vibes. Definitely got the sexy nightlife vibes going. Brandon threw in several lifts. It was pretty cool. We’ll see what the judges think. Len loved the lifts and believes Tinashe is fantastic, but feels Brandon lacked the Argentine tango flavor. I agree. Bruno has nothing negative to say. Neither does Carrie Ann. She does agree it wasn’t traditional, but doesn’t have any qualms with it.

Judges’ Scores – 26 out 30

Milo and Witney – I love that Witney comments on Milo being a kid and he gets tired. They’ve got a subway performer theme and I love it! It’s so much fun and their outfits are great! Ha, ha. I really loved this dance! It’s my favorite of the season so far! Bruno states the dance was New York itself. Carrie Ann just can’t close her mouth. She’s amazed. Len basically tells him the dance was New York too. I love that everyone makes fun of him for saying he’s tired at 17.

Judges’ Scores – 26 out of 30

Yay! The trope does a short segment for King of New York from the Newsies! 😀

Mary Lou and Sasha – Another Broadway-inspired dance, but this one is simply to the song from a Broadway show. It’s beautiful and slow waltz. I like it. The judges all loved it. The only negative comment was from Bruno for keeping her neck strong.

Judges’ Scores – 22 out of 30

Juan Pablo and Cheryl – I am so thrown off by his lack of accent in real life as opposed to Fuller House. I always feel bad for whoever is paired with Cheryl, because I do not like her. She does not have a good attitude at all. It’s always so frustrating. She can dance though and that’s proven in this episode with their dance. Personally, I don’t think it’s anything memorable. I’m not a huge fan of the dance. Len is firm on his framework. Bruno loved it. It’s one of Carrie Ann’s favorites.

Judges’ Scores – 26 out of 30

Evanna and Keo – She sounds like Luna when she talks and laughs. I love it. I mean, I know she is Luna, but seriously. I like that this dance is New York fashion week inspired. Evanna really attacks it. Not sure it’s perfect, but she’s got some sass and I love it. She seems a little stiff or something. Something seems off in a few moments. Still, I did love it. Did the judges? They did! Nothing negative from any of them. Perhaps it wasn’t stiff or off? Maybe it was just a little different? I don’t know. Something seemed a tiny bit off to me even though I did love it. Keo is growing on me. I will say that.

Judges’ Scores – 24 out of 30

Bobby Bones and Sharna – Oh, look at that. Bobby can calm himself a bit. He’s still not the most polished, but he’s just got such a great personality and he’s so handsome! Ha, ha. His dance isn’t the smoothest of the night, but it’s still an enjoyable dance. He just loves his life. Tom is funny and says if Elvis Costella and Bill Nye had a kid, then it would be Bobby.

Judges’ Scores – 20 out of 30

Final Scores

Tinashe and Brandon – 26

Juan Pablo and Cheryl – 26

Milo and Witney – 16

Alexis and Alan – 25

Demarcus and Lindsay – 24

Evanna and Keo – 24

John and Emma – 23

Mary Lou and Sasha – 22

Nancy and Val – 21

Bobby Bones and Sharna – 20

Danelle and Artem – 18

Joe and Jenna – 17

Final Judgment

My favorite dance of the night was for sure Milo and Witney’s! I also liked Evanna and Keo’s! I’m feeling very impressed with Keo this season. Is he the best? No, but I’m liking him! He’s improving! I also loved Alexis and Alan’s dance and really liked Danelle and Artem’s!

DWTS: Season 27 Episode 2 – Recap and Reviews

Who’s going to be the first couple to leave the competition? Ooh! A trope dance to the instrumentals for “The Greatest Show!” Well, that’s cool and not. We get to see more performances tonight, but only from the six couples with the lowest combined totals. I like that they get a chance at a second chance, but I kind of want to see the best dancers. I suppose that’s possible. DWTS has surprised the world many times before with few votes for the best dancers. I guess I’ll wait it out and see.

And in the recaps and reactions of the night, we see Nancy upset about her scores with Val telling her she did great and not to worry about the scores. We see Grocery Store Joe telling Jenna he wants to quit and her telling him he can’t quit unless he’s eliminated. And the very sweet newcomer Brandon saying he couldn’t have hoped for a better partner than Tinashe for his first partner as a pro. Both Tinashe and Joe were kind of upset about being on camera in their moments. Tinashe when she tripped and Joe when he commented on tripping. Rishad Jennings, another football player, tells DeMarcus there ain’t no team like dancing for DWTS. I think it’s funny it’s always athletes who emphasize that!

Yay! We get to watch a performance from the junior pros before they compete on October 7. They are so cute and beyond talented! My goodness! I wish I had half their talent! Ha, ha.

Juan Pablo and Cheryl are shocked they got an 8. Nikki was actually happy with her scores. I really like her. She seems so humble. Bobby is still insane! Ha, ha. I still only see Malese when I look at Alexis from any angle other than face on. I do like her. John and Emma talk about how he missed a step, but she and likely the judges to catch it. Nikki says she’s learned about rejection from stand up. Bobbie says he’s not going to be the best dancer, but he will be the one who has the most fun.

Mary Lou was nervous before her dance. Sasha assured her she looked and danced great. Milo is also nervous. He’s very calm after the dance. Evanna is sad with the five, but Keo reminds her that means there’s room for improvement. He’s nice, but he doesn’t really coach. He just kind of, idk. I do like him, I just still know if I like him as a coach. Milo is nervous because it’s live and unpredictable. Evanna says Keo toughed her up. Amy Purdy gives a message to Danelle.

Overall, Len believed everyone came out and gave it 100% and they want to see DeMarcus and Lindsay Cha Cha again. And it’s just as fun and exciting as the night before, perhaps better because there aren’t any nerves.

I didn’t realize Maddie Ziegler was a singer or that she had a sister who is also a singer. She’s not great, neither is the song honestly, but I like the theme of her song. I love that the junior pros dance during her performance.

Safe and in Jeopardy

Demarcus and Lindsay are safe!

Tinashe and Brandon are safe!

Nancy and Val are in jeopardy!

Wow! Joe and Jenna are safe? That just goes to show sometimes this is more of a popularity contest than a talent competition. He’s sweet, but I can’t believe he’s in the top seven of total scores.

Juan and Pablo and Cheryl are safe!

Nikki and Gleb are in jeopardy!

John and Emma are in jeopardy!

Bobbie and Sharna are safe!

Alexis and Alan are in jeopardy!

Milo and Witney are safe!

Danelle and Artem are in jeopardy!

Evanna and Keo are safe! ❤

Mary Lou and Sasha are in jeopardy. He knew it, because he counted it out.

DWTS Juniors

DWTS Juniors

  1. Miles Brown (Blackish) & Rylee Arnold with mentor and sister, Lindsay Arnold
  2. Ariana Greenblatt (Stuck in the Middle) & Artyon Celestine with mentor Brandon Armstrong
  3. Honey Boo Boo & Tristan Ianiero with mentor Artem Chigvintsev
  4. Akash Vukoti (youngest boy spelling bee) & Kamri Peterson with mentor Witney Carson
  5. Sky Brown (Skateboarder) & JT Church with mentor Alan Bersten
  6. Mandla Morris (son of Stevie Wonder) & Brightyn Brems with mentor Cheryl Burke
  7. Sophia Pippen (daughter of NBA star Scottie Pippen) & Jake Monreal with mentor Sasha Farber
  8. Hudson West (General Hospital) & Kameron Couch with mentor Hayley Erbert
  9. Mackenzie Zeigler (Singer/Sister of Maddie Zeigler) & Sage Rosen with mentor Gleb Savchenko
  10. Tripp Palin (Bristol’s Son) & Hailey Bills with mentor Jenna Johnson
  11. Addison Osta Smith (junior chef) & Lev Khmelev with mentor Keo Motsepe
  12. Jason Maybaum (Raven’s Home) & Elliana Walmsley with mentor Emma Slater

Yay! We get to see them perform already! They are so cute! Oh my word! The adult mentors dance in the foreground. Then start dancing with their kids. I really hope DWTS Juniors does better than American Idol Juniors did, because it hasn’t even started yet and I love these kids! Jordan Fisher and Frankie Muniz will host! Yay! They’re so professional!

In Jeopardy

John and Emma are safe and do not have to dance! The five remaining couples do have to dance.

Mary Lou and Sasha – The pressure is starting to mount for her. She knows she needs to stop being so difficult with herself. She just wants to have fun and be good. She said when she became famous at 16, she lost her voice and who she was. Now, she’s learning who she is through DWTS.

Ooh! I like this dance! It’s fun! I love that she exclaims, “That was for all the moms,” after her dance. Len believes her dance was as great as the first. No negative comments. Bruno comments that’s how you deliver under pressure. Her foot placement was so much better than before. Carrie Anne got this dance what she was hoping for with the first dance.

Erin Andrews comments that this dance seemed more like Mary Lou than the first dance.

Judge’s Scores – 21 out of 30!

Danelle and Artem – She feels like the second dance has more pressure, because now she has to do better. Artem worries that this couldn’t get anymore difficult. He seems to have a bad attitude sometimes, but he did comfort her in her worries.

A beautiful dance, especially because she can’t see his moves, so she has to feel him move. They get a standing ovation from the crowd. Bruno notices a small incident in the footwork, but only because he could see she was trying to do what they coached her to do. Carrie Anne says the first dance was inspiring. This one was impressive. Len states that her challenge is the greatest and is inspired with the standard she dances to.

Judge’s Scores – 18 out of 30

Nikki and Gleb – Nikki likes that she gets to dance the same dance style and improve on it with the notes she’s been given. Gleb didn’t agree with the scores the night before.

This dance is more fun than the first dance. She seems to be a little less reserved, but still cautious. She admits she had more fun tonight. Carrie Anne liked the overall presentation and that she seemed more comfortable. She tells her to be stronger with her arms. Own how great she looks. Len says she controlled the dance this time after letting the dance to control her the first time. Bruno liked her fun attitude today, but she needs to improve on her hip movement. She is so humble. I do really love her. I want to watch her comedy. I hope it’s not in appropriate.

Judge’s Scores – 18 out of 30

Alexis and Alan – Alexis comments on the sexiness and confidence this second Jive will require, because confidence is something she’s always struggled with. Alan pushes her to go out and kill it.

Well, this one is definitely more striking than the fun jive they did yesterday. It’s still fun though. I like it. Her smile says she’s confident. Some of her steps could stand to be stronger, but overall it seemed like a great dance. Len was amazed that Alexis was in jeopardy. He believes she is a terrific dancer. If they don’t come back, then he’s going to show his bum in the supermarket. Bruno agrees that her first performance was fantastic and that tonight’s was just as great. Carrie Anne comments on how much harder this seems to be for her than it seemed yesterday. Alexis really wants to be here and she wants to prove she deserves to be here. Alan is so proud of her.

Judge’s Scores – 23 out of 30

Nancy and Val – She’s nervous about the new dance. She knows she has no choice but to greet every day with the best she can do.

So much fun! Dancing on Sunshine! Another song Aly & AJ covered and it’s different than their version, but there’s no mistaking Nancy is stepping with the song. Bruno loved this second dance. She was less tense than the first dance. Carrie Anne was impressed, because Val upped the difficulty and she tackled it. Len mentions the one problem from the first dance was the gap between them, but not this dance. The contact was on point.

Judge’s Scores – 21 out of 30

Elimination

Danelle & Artem – 18 + 18 + votes = Safe

Nikki & Gleb – 17 + 18 + votes = Eliminated Man, I really liked her! ☹

Nancy & Val – 18 + 21 + votes = Safe

Mary Lou & Sasha – 19 + 21 + votes = Safe

Alexis & Alan – 21 + 23 + votes = Safe

DWTS Season 27 – Episode 1 Recap & Review

I’m no dancer. I don’t even know if I know how to dance. I can follow choreography decently when following along to a video, but I’m not a dancer. I am however a fan of Dancing with the Stars. I’ve been watching it since I was in high school, maybe a little longer. I’ve watched at least sixteen seasons as they’ve aired and I’ve picked up on a few of the things the judges look for. I’m no pro, and I don’t really know what I’m talking about when it comes to dancing, but I do know my stars and even when I don’t, I love to get to know them. This is my attempt at reviewing the whole season as it airs–maybe a couple days later than it airs.

(Reviews out of Order, because I forgot I was going to do this

until halfway through the show)

Evanna Lynch and Keo Motsepe – Yay! Luna Lovegood! She’s one of my favorite characters of all times! I was so excited when I learned she’d be on DWTS this season! Not gonna lie though, I was a little bummed too. Keo seems like a great guy, but he tends not to do super well in DWTS. Maybe it’s his partners, maybe it’s not. To me it seems like as great of a dancer he is, he just doesn’t seem to be a great teacher. He did fairly well with Jodie Sweeton though, so here’s hoping he does well with Evanna, too!

I smiled when the music started playing! “Do You Believe in Magic?” A perfect song for a magical girl. While I loved the dance, it honestly didn’t seem very magical to me. Maybe it’s because I’m used to Aly & AJ version of the song, but I just couldn’t figure out if Evanna seemed slightly out of step or if it was my unfamiliarity with this version of this song. Either way, it just kind of seemed off. The judges loved it too, but they weren’t in total disagreement with me. They made no comments of her timing, but they did say she could use some work. She was made to dance, says me and the judges, but she’s definitely not a pro yet.

Judge’s Scores – 18 out of 30

Milo Manheim and Witney Carson – My siblings have been telling me to watch Zombies for months. They know I am a huge Disney fan, but I’m not a huge Zombie fan. They seem so over-rated, and that’s coming from someone who likes vampires and werewolves. ha, ha. Anyway, I wasn’t disinterested in learning Milo would be a contest, because I do know of him, but I wasn’t exactly interested either. Not for him at least. I love Witney! She’s one of my favorite pros, so I always get excited when she comes back as a pro!

Milo is a great dancer! I was impressed. Though, he did seem a little too stiff at times and a little zombie-ish at other times. The judges agreed. He did have a lot of control over his body. Not surprising when he’s so tall and like a foot taller than his partner. I’m sure we’ll see great things from him if he sticks around though.

Judge’s Scores – 20 out of 30

Bobby Bones and Sharna Burgess  – Bobby Bones is crazy! I love him and he’s crazy! That’s all I have to say about him and his dance! haha.

Judge’s Scores – 20 out of 30.

Juan Pablo Di Pace and Cheryl Burke –  I’m just gonna say it. I am not a fan of Cheryl Burke. Even though I sort of know how to Cha Cha because she did a mini tutorial on Disney Channel back when The Suite Life of Zack & Cody had a dancing episode, I’m just not a fan of her. I am however a fan of Juan Pablo or as I know him, Fernando! I love all things Full and Fuller House! I was excited to learn he’d be on the show! I want to get to know him and see if he’s as lovable as Fernando is! So far, so great! He’s very charming and quite the hard worker. He takes Cheryl’s bossy and competitive nature and uses it to his advantage! You can see that in his dance. I can’t wait to see more from him!

Judge’s Scores – 22 out of 30

Nikki Glaser and Gleb Savchenko – I love Gleb! He’s so handsome and charming! I have no idea who this Nikki girl is, but she does seem funny and down-to-earth. I’m looking forward to getting to know her.

Unfortunately, I’ve got to agree with the judges. This dance was very sloppy and messy. I hope she doesn’t go home. I’d love to get to know her further.

Judge’s Scores – 17 out of 30

Mary Lou Retton and Sasha Farber – I love Sasha! He’s also very charming! I love his accent! ha, ha. I didn’t know who Mary Lou Retton was before this. I’m sure I’ve heard her name before, I love gymnastics and also cheer for the gymnasts, but I didn’t recognize her when they announced her. Her dance though was pretty great! Not perfect, not even my favorite, but good!

Judge’s Scores – 19 out of 30

Danelle Umstead and Artem Chigvintsev – I love Artem too! His accent is also great! ha, ha. I didn’t know who Danielle was before this episode, but dude she is so impressive! Snowboarding and now dancing while blind!? That’s insane! She is so cool!

Her dance was beautiful! Obviously, it wasn’t perfect, but it was very close, especially for someone who has to fully trust someone she’s only just met to guide her where she needs to be! Dude, so good!

Judge’s Scores – 18 out of 30

Alexis Ren and Alan Bersten – Alan is adorable. Alexis is very sweet. I’ve never heard of her and until her introduction video, I kept thinking she was Malese Jow from Nickelodeon’s Unfabulous and the CW’s The Vampire Diaries. Now that I know she’s an Instagram star, I’m actually a little bummed. I was looking forward to seeing Malese dance. Oh, well. I think it’s sweet that she’s doing this for her mom.

The dance was very well done. Again, not perfect. Not incredibly memorable, but good nonetheless. Wow, she really does look like Malese at certain angles! Ha, ha.

Judge’s Scores – 24 out of 30

John Schneider and Emma Slater – Yay! I love Emma and her British accent! (I’m obsessed with english and australian accents in case you can’t tell.) She is such a sweet girl! I know of John, but I know enough about him to say if I like him.

Oh, that was a fun dance! I love that the first dances are often based on their biggest roles! In this case, a Duke’s of Hazard tribute. He seemed like a country boy trying to dance to be honest. I mean, he definitely held himself high, but he does have a lot to learn! As the judges agree! It was a fun dance though!

Judge’s Scores – 18 out of 30

Tinashe and Brandon Armstrong – Ooh! A new pro! That’s always fun and a little scary! How will they do? Is this good for the star? I don’t know, but since I don’t know who she is, I’m more excited about meeting this new pro! He’s been on Trope for a long time, but it’s his first season as pro.

Her moves aren’t very sharp and yet they’re also somehow too stiff. The dance is fun, but nothing too memorable. She’s good. Not great, but she’s got potential. So does he. The judges approve. No negative comments from them. A few notes on Brandon’s choreography and Tinashe’s leg movement, but otherwise seemingly good comments.

Judge’s Scores – 23 out of 30

Nancy McKeon and Val Chmerkovskiy – I no idea who she is, but I love Val, so I’ll be cheering her on! She seems fun! I’m sure I’ll love her if she lasts.

She seemed lost for a moment, but otherwise, the dance is nice. Not perfect, but nothing too in your face wrong, at least not to someone who doesn’t know dance. The judges love her energy, but have comments for body contact. Even Len liked it.

Judge’s Scores – 18 out of 30

Grocery Store Joe and Jenna Johnson – I’m neither here nor there with Joe. I watched some of Bachelor in Paradise and loved him with Kendall, but I’m not super excited about him. I don’t know Jenna, but she’s engaged to Val, so I already like her.

He wants to be known as Dancing Joe now. He’s gonna have to survive this week and dance a lot better next week if that’s going to happen because he is not dancing Joe. He’s a very awkward dancer and it didn’t help that he danced to a song that kept repeating “I’m a fish out of water.” He’s so charming though. His smile might be his saving grace. The judges comment more on his charm than his dancing too. Even Len doesn’t want to critique his dancing. Poor guy seems so sad. Kendall in the crowd is adorable though.

Judge’s Scores – 14 out of 30 (Len does apologize before giving a 4)

DeMarcus Ware and Lindsay Arnold – Yay! I love Lindsay! (honestly, at this point, the pros are my stars. I barely know most of the stars these days) I know DeMarcus’ name, but I don’t actually know who he is.

He’s tall, muscular athlete’s body makes the dance a little awkward at first as usual, but the dance is otherwise pretty great. He’s got moves and his personality works great with Lindsay’s. I’m impressed. The judges seem to love his dance too. Let the scores speak.

Judge’s Scores – 23 out of 30

Most Memorable Dances of the Night – Evanna Lynch & Keo Motsepe and John Schneider and Emma Slater, not because they were perfect, but because they really brought out the stars that they are, not only by playing off their major roles, but also by making them comfortable.

Best Dance of the Night – I mean, DeMarcus Ware, man! The dude can dance! Apparently, most football players can! His was impressive though and I just love his and Lindsay’s energy!

Ranking from Highest to Lowest

  1. Demarcus & Lindsay – 23
  2. Tinashe & Brandon – 23
  3. Juan Pablo & Cheryl – 22
  4. Alexis & Alan – 21
  5. Bobby & Sharna – 20
  6. Milo & Witney – 20
  7. Mary Lou & Sasha – 19
  8. Danelle & Artem – 18
  9. Evanna & Leo – 18
  10. John & Emma – 18
  11. Nancy & Val – 18
  12. Nikki & Gleb – 17
  13. Joe & Jenna 14

Somewhere in Between (Part 1)

In 2017, I moved into a brand new apartment complex that caused me problems from the moment I applied to move in. Every month if not every week my sister and I faced one issue after another. For the first 5 months, it was delayed move-in dates. Then it was a messy apartment, bad electricity, five different management groups (including an aggressive male manager and an embezzling female manager), and finally the inability to pay rent at all so we had to sign an agreement to hold off on our eviction so we could pay. We broke our lease two months early so we wouldn’t be evicted the next month. I don’t regret moving into the apartment. I still think God asked me to live there. The whole experience, however horrible, has taught me a lot.

In 2016, I started to let myself get into more credit card debt than I could pay off in a month. In 2017, I went through four job changes. In January 2018, I quit working until April 2018. That’s when I started driving for Uber Eats and Doordash. Now, I’m waiting for a reply to an application and interview to be a bus driver for the school district in my hometown. I have no regrets about any of these decisions, except the debt, and I feel like most of it was God-led or at least God-blessed. I’ve learned a lot since leaving my high-paying job in 2017 and I’ve grown closer to God. That said, I’m currently caught somewhere in between broken and healthy.

Everyone seems to think I’m this hopeful person. Many have even said as much. But, I’m not. I’m not a hopeful person. I have Hope, but I’m not hopeful. I put on a good face and talk about the good that might come of a situation, but inside I’m expecting the worse to happen. I look for the bright side, but I live in the shadows. Every hopeful comment I make is fueled by fear. Fear that things won’t work out. Fear that I’ll mess things up. Fear that I’ll fall into the darkness again. I think about it sometimes. The temptation is there. “Just this once,” I think. “If I hurt myself just this once, then maybe the fear, the stress, the anxiety, and the pain will go away.” I don’t do it, but I think about it. Science says it works. It says physical pain releases the “happy hormone” that makes the internal pain go away for a little while. Why not do it? Just this once? It’s not healthy. It’s an addiction. Every time I see alcoholics, drug addicts, and even those “good vampires” on TV trying to keep themselves from giving in and going over the edge, I get it, because I have my own addiction. “The happy hormone.”

I try so hard to be hopeful, to put on a happy face, and to pretend everything is or will be okay, but I don’t really believe it. Because I know the Lord, I know in the end everything will be okay, but I often don’t believe it will be. Or maybe it’s not that I don’t believe it, but that I doubt it? Yes, God has provided for me many times in the past. Yes, He’s already pulled me out of a dark abyss in the past. Yes, I know He will work out all things for my good, but when? I’ve been in these shadows for almost two years now, longer if I take it back to when I started to let myself get into credit card debt which is really what created this mess in the first place. God has provided everything I’ve needed up to this point. I haven’t gone in want or need, but I’m still here in these shadows that are threatening to become another abyss.

Every day I’m toddling on a thin line between breaking and growing. Every day I fear this is it. This is what’s going to throw me over the edge. Every day I pray for deliverance and it doesn’t come, not in the way I want it to come. I know He delivers me from temptation, if He didn’t, then I would have already given in by now. I know He delivers me from depression, if He didn’t, then I’d be well into the abyss and not just on the edge dangling over it. Why won’t He deliver me from this altogether though? Why does He let me live in these shadows when I so desperately want to get out. Why does He allow me to live with my consequences when I’m so desperately trying and praying to fix things?

I assume it’s because He loves me. I assume it’s because He’s teaching me things. I assume it’s because He’s a just God who sometimes delivers us from the consequences, like Hell, but most often lets us learn from the consequences for next time. Shouldn’t that leave me feeling hopeful? God loves me enough to teach me why I shouldn’t make foolish decisions. He loves me enough to show me through these circumstances that I’m stronger now than I used to be. I wouldn’t have been able to live in this circumstance a couple years ago. I would have drowned in fear and anxiety. I would have thrown myself over the edge into depression and self-harm. So far I haven’t done that this time though. He’s strengthened me and He’s showing me that through the struggle. And He loves me enough to strengthen me as I learn to fight for myself with Him by my side. He could deliver me completely. He could make my credit card debt disappear, give me a car that never deteriorates, and a home that is mine, but He isn’t and He likely won’t, not now at least. God loves me, He teaches me, and He strengthens me. This knowledge should leave me hopeful, but if I’m honest, then I have to admit it doesn’t leave me hopeful.

I know and trust He will protect me, love me, and provide for me. But it’s so hard to live by faith alone. It’s so hard to live remembering His past provision and looking forward to His future provision when I’m living in a present ocean of uncertainty. When I have so much debt and so many bills that I can hardly see straight. When I don’t know where the line is between working to prove my faith and resting in my faith. When I don’t know where the balance is between healthy stress and unhealthy anxiety. It’s hard. Being a Christian is hard, especially when you’re a Christian who battles mental health issues.

Most days, I’m not hopeful because I don’t know how to hope. I’m constantly fighting a battle between anxiety and rest, fear and hope, depression and joy, doubt and faith. I know everyone is fighting this battle, and some seem to be doing better than others. Many seem to be doing better than me, but I can’t think about others fighting this battle right now. I already feel for everyone all the time as it is and that’s part of the problem. What problems are mine and something to worry about? Which problems are someone else’s that I need to let go of at least for now? Which of my problems do I need to work on and which ones should I let go of? I don’t know. That’s the problem. That’s why I’m somewhere between broken and healthy. I know in my head that God is good and He provides but in my heart and soul, I’m not sure about anything.

Most of the time I end my posts with something hopeful and positive. I’m not going to do that this time. I don’t know how to do that this time. I don’t know if I’d believe it if I did. I started the “D.A.R.E to Hope” part of this blog for one reason. I was broken and looking for truth so I could dare myself and others to hope. You’ll see on the page About D.A.R.E. to HOPE that D.A.R.E. stands for “Desolate, Accepted, Renewed, and Encouraged.” I’m somewhere between these places of identity right now. I’ve been accepted, renewed, and encouraged by God and others, but I’ve really been feeling desolate lately. I wish I could say I haven’t been, that once I felt accepted, renewed, and encouraged I never felt desolate again, but that would be a lie. It would make a hypocrite. I wrote The Mask; Her Aid and created this blog so I wouldn’t be that girl anymore, the girl who pretended everything was okay when it wasn’t. So, I’m not going to pretend right now. Everything’s not okay. I’m not in a good place right now. I’m not necessarily in a bad place either. I’m just kind of somewhere in between.

TVD: Season 1 Episode 2 – Recap and Reactions

Episode 2

Another opening scene with stranger victims. Another couple. First the male and then the female are attacked.

The starting diary scene has both Elena and Stefan pining over each other and being happier than either of them remember being in a long time. In history class, they get caught staring at each other. After class, Stefan gives her an authentic edition of Wuthering Heights with Bronte’s real name.

In the courtyard, Matt is talking to Elena about Vicki. Stefan listens in and when he hears the words, Vampire, he bolts. He gets to the hospital about the same time Matt does. Vicki freaks out and attacks Matt. When he goes to get the nurse, Stefan mesmerizes Vicki into believing she’s fine and she doesn’t remember anything other than an animal. What I want to know is why she isn’t a vampire. She’s been bitten, but not killed. How does one become a vampire in this world?

Elena goes to visit the Salvatore estate. She doesn’t find Stefan, but she does find Damon, and Damon’s crow. The Salvatore home is very old school. Damon purposely brings up Katherine and makes it awkward for everyone. Stefan pops up behind them in the living room. The anger in him is palpable and uncomfortable. But he and Damon are both incredibly hot. Back at home, she discusses the issue with her aunt who jokes about it.

At the hospital, Vicki freaks out with nightmares about Damon. I’m not sure if they were just nightmares or if Damon really did show up. He does show up at the high school though. He teases Caroline who he met in the last episode at a café.

There’s a comet that falls over Mystic Falls every 145 years and tonight’s the night it comes. Bonnie seems to think it brings evil with it. Elena tries to push Stefan away because they both have complicated relationships with their brothers and their exes.

At a bar or café or something, Vicki runs into Damon. She says, “I know you.” He replies, “That’s unfortunate.” She can’t figure out why she knows him, but she starts to have a panic attack. She runs to the bathroom and pops some pills. He attacks her in the bathroom. When Matt asks if Stefan has seen her, he listens for Damon who is emotionally torturing her on a roof. He tries to stop him, but he can’t. So, Damon persuades her to believe Stefan did it. Then, he rips her bandage off to tempt Stefan into feeding. When he refuses and swears he’d rather be staked alive, Damon gives in for now and persuades Vicki to believe nothing happened.

When Stefan goes back to the café to look for Elena, Bonnie and Caroline tell him she went home. Bonnie gives him her number and email. When she touches him, she has a vision about him. Apparently, it was freaky, but we don’t know what she saw. All we know is that her gran says she’s a witch related to the witches of the Salem trials or something.

Once again, Damon follows creepily behind Caroline as she walks to her car. He pretends he didn’t mean to scare her, but of course, he did.

Elena shows up at the Salvatore estate again. This time to watch the comet with Stefan. She confesses she was about to write in her diary at the end of the day like she always does, but then she realizes everything she would have written was something she should just tell him. So, she showed up and told him that she is scared of what could be between them. He says that he would write in his that this reality with her is good. Then they kiss and it’s beautiful, perhaps too soon, and a little unnerving since I’m still not sure why her? And what happened to Katherine? I’ve seen spoilers over the years, but I don’t tend to remember them if I know I want to watch it eventually. So far, I only know a few spoilers and none of them seem too big to matter much. Either way, I knew Katherine was a character, but that’s been the extent of it. I think she might be an evil vampire character, perhaps the one who turned Stefan, but that’s just speculation based on knowing she broke his heart and having a vague knowledge of spoilers that may or may not be accurate.

The final scene shows Damon and Caroline in bed together. Halfway through their make-out, or sex, session, he vamps up and apparently attacks her. It’s left on a cliffhanger though, so I’ll have to wait to see what happens when I watch the next episode tomorrow.

Cloak & Dagger – Season 1 Recap and Review

As a Conservative Christian girl, I try to be very careful with the shows and movies I watch, books I read, and music I listen to. For the most part, that means I stick to Disney shows and Hallmark movies. I do love a good comic book-based series though. Arrow. The Flash. Supergirl. Sort of Legends of Tomorrow. I love them. I love The Avengers and I plan to watch Agents of SHIELD eventually. When I learned that Freeform was putting out a new comic-book based series, I was excited, especially because it stars Olivia Holt from Disney Channel. However, I was also apprehensive. Freeform isn’t exactly known for putting out family friendly content. After all, that is why many assume they changed their name from ABC Family. Still, I really wanted to watch the new show Marvel show, Cloak & Dagger. For three months, I deliberated whether I would or would not watch this new show. Friday, August 31, 2018, I decided to watch it. This is what I thought.

From the moment I pressed play on Hulu, I was hooked on the new Marvel television show Cloak & Dagger. There was mystery, intrigue, and drama from the start. My eyes were glued to the screen from the start. With every scene, the show kept getting better and better until the epic season finale. In only ten episodes, viewers were able to mourn, grow, and rejoice with Tyrone Johnson and Tandy Bowen as they navigated life after the tragic accidents that caused their paths to cross.

Eight years ago, Tandy Bowen was riding in the back seat of her father’s car on a dark and stormy night. At the same time, Tyrone Johnson was trying to right a wrong done to his brother, Billy Johnson, by a rich white man who didn’t pay for services rendered to him. While Nathan Bowen was arguing on the phone with a coworker about an experiment gone wrong, Billy was trying to explain to his little brother why stealing back what was rightfully theirs was still wrong. With his focus on his phone call and not on the road, Nathan Bowen lost control of his car and spun out of control. When trying to return the car radio Tyrone stole, Billy was shot and killed by a police officer for stealing the radio. Tandy, Nathan, Billy, and Tyrone all ended up in the water that night. Tandy and Nathan after spinning off a bridge with their car, Billy after being shot, and Tyrone after jumping in after his big brother. The experiment gone wrong caused an explosion that’s power surged through the water the four kindred spirits were now struggling to free themselves from. Sadly, Nathan Bowen and Billy Johnson did not make it out alive leaving Tandy and Tyrone to live with survivor’s guilt for the next eight years until fate brought them together again.

Days before the eighth anniversary of the accident, Tandy and Tyrone were thrown back into each other’s lives by forces out of their control. They quickly recognized each other when their yet undiscovered powers reacted to each other. They couldn’t touch without being blown apart from each other. Their powers were the mirror images of each other. Fight or flight. Light or dark. Hope or fear. Cloak and Dagger. They fought against each other in the beginning. Neither wanting the power they never asked for. Not wanting to see the things they were yet unused to seeing. Tyrone was a man of hope and goodness. He had always done the best he could, trying to right the world of the wrongs done to him that night. Tandy had always been a troublemaker—drugging rich kids, stealing their wealth, and getting high and their prescription drugs. When their powers surfaced, Tyrone was forced to see the fear of others. He was given the ability of flight instead of fight. Tandy was forced to see the hopes of others. Hopes she would never let herself feel before. She was given a tool to choose to fight when she would normally choose flight.

Soon, Tyrone and Tandy were forced into each other’s lives. Their powers tied them together, dragging each other into the other’s head or life at the most inopportune time. Through denial, loss, truth, and some self-reflection, they each learned to control their powers and work together to work for the greater good instead of simply for themselves. In this time, they learned they had been chosen to become the new divine pairing that would save the city of New Orleans once again. After saving the city in the last episode, they were both forced to face the new lives thrust upon them as result of learning the truth about what really went down that down eight years ago. The rest is to be seen in season two.

After watching the ten episodes that make up season one, I feel confident in saying Cloak & Dagger is a fairly appropriate tv show for teens and adults. The language was moderate, sexual content was fairly limited, the violence was acceptable, and the storyline so far is another inspiring representation of good versus evil and light versus dark. The spiritual content was not exactly what I would have chosen for it to be, but I don’t feel uncomfortable watching it, which is a huge plus for Freeform and teen shows in general. I can only hope the second season will be as good and appropriate as season one. Ultimately, Cloak & Dagger is a great teen drama full of action, heartbreak, and self-discovery and I can’t wait to see what happens with Tandy and Tyrone next!

August 26, 2018

I woke up and went to church. I came home and was going to go drive, but decided to try unpacking/organizing all my stuff. Most of it’s done. I even went to the apartment to get my bathroom stuff after grabbing each kid by the face and telling them, “You are smart. You are talented. You will have a great *insert grade here* school year. If anything good or bad happens, let me know so I can pray for you.” Micah started telling me some cool stuff that happened to a Christian dude and he quoted scripture. 💖

August 23, 2018

I woke up, I went to Walmart to get Dinosaur chicken nuggets, because so far only the Walmart on Military and 410 has them. Then, I went to get gas before taking my nuggets to the Mather’s. I drove a few hours for UberEats. Went back to the Mather’s and put up my green curtains. Went driving for DoorDash and made $18 in an hour! Came home, packed some more, and now I’m going to bed so I can finish packing in the morning before Papa and whichever sibling(s) come to help me move tomorrow.

August 22, 2018

The past few days have been rather uneventful. I wake up, take my lunch to the Mather’s, go driving, take a break at the Mather’s, and then finish driving. The last two nights I went back to the house and Jeanette and I watched Bachelor in Paradise. Last night, we also watched Insatiable with Darla. I’m disappointed in the show. I knew it would be inappropriate, but there is nothing redeeming about it. They, including Debby, also use the F-bomb a few times, which is even more disappointing. Tonight, I came home, showered, organized and packed a little more, and watched interviews of the Descendants 2 cast. Now, it’s time for bed so I can get up early and drive.

August 19, 2018

I haven’t posted the past few days because I’ve been spending all my time painting my room at the Mather’s with Jeanette. I don’t know if I’ll ever not feel weird saying “my room” instead of “Holly’s room.” Haha. I do know Chip & Joanna Gaines, the Scott brothers, and everyone else on HGTV deserve every penny they make renovating houses! It’s a lot of hard work! Haha. It’s worth it though!

Friday, I started the day at the gym shooting hoops. There were a bunch of guys there, which was lame at first, but then we all played a game of basketball together. I was able to keep up AND I made half my team’s points!

That evening, Jeanette and I went over to the Reiser’s for supper. Rich made AMAZING steak and Lavone made awesome potatoes! It was delicious!

Yesterday, I ran out of gas because the light didn’t come on, so I had a false sense of security. I was able to chug along for about a mile to the bottom of the hill, but then it stopped completely! Thankfully, Scott had gas in a gas can, Jeannette paid for another gas can full, and Darla gifted me $20.00 for gas! So, now I have a full tank!

Today, I went to church, went to the house for finishing touches, and drove for UberEats. I also worked on the design for how I want to arrange my room. When I came home, I moved everything that isn’t furniture out of my room and into the living room to sort and organize before the move. Now I have athletic stuff in my gym bag, a separate bag for first aid/beauty products, a bag for my computers, a bag for writing, and another bag for entertainment–game boys, Kindle, fidget spinners, balls, yo-yo, cards, and things. I’m going to take them to the car so that they’re always neat and organized. Hopefully, I won’t make a mess of the car anymore with this program. We’ll see.

August 15, 2018

I woke and spent most of the day driving. Then, I went to the Mather’s to get my skateboard and Jeanette and I ended up taking the rest of the Zach’s things out of Holly’s old room to prepare for it to be cleaned and repainted for me to move in next weekend. Then, I went to tell Dinah happy birthday and made a delivery with Fleet. It paid way better than Uber Eats does. I’m gonna have to transition into Fleet and see if it really does pay better.

August 14, 2018

I woke up and watched an episode of Liv & Maddie. Then, I went to the gym to shoot baskets while waiting for an order. I spent the rest of the day driving for Uber Eats until 5:30 when I drove home to shower and get ready for life group. Before life group, I finished reading Ella Enchanted; it’s definitely one of my favorite books! I have no complaints and that like never happens! After life group, I started reading Inkheart, because Stargirl and The Goose Girl, Shelby’s first two recommendations, were not available. Right after I started reading Inkheart, Stargirl became available. Haha. But, I don’t stop something after I’ve started, so I’ll read the Inkheart series first. Besides, it’s already grabbed my attention and I’ve only just finished chapter one! Now, I’m going to read the Proverb if the day before going to sleep.

August 11, 2018

I woke up and watched Liv & Maddie while eating breakfast. Then, Shelby came over to help me move the rest of my things to the house except anything I currently use.

Jeanette and I went to the store so she could find some new scrubs on tax free weekend and so we could get a house key made for me. Unfortunately, Walmart didn’t have the right key, so we couldn’t get it made. We did make a delivery for Uber Eats though.

Then, I went to the Sims for Gotcha Day and drove for another order before coming home. I watched more Liv & Maddie and worked on the revised draft of Malachi Gregory. I’m super pumped about it! It’s gonna be awesome!

August 10, 2018

I woke up and took more things to the house. Then, I went driving. When I c and home for the night, I watched Liv & Maddie and started working on the official story for Malachi Gregory! While I was driving, I was struck with the perfect idea for how to complete the story and give it meat and life with the bones of the original draft! I am so excited!

August9, 2018

I woke up and took some things over to the Mather’s house. Then, I went driving. After a few hours I came home for lunch and watched an episode of Liv & Maddie. I went driving again for a few hours and came home to eat dinner, shower, watch another 2 episodes of Liv & Maddie, and go to bed. I listened to The Lord of the Rings a little more today and officially started reading Ella Enchanted.

August 8, 2018

I woke up and went driving. I drove pretty much all day. I started listening to The Lord of the Rings on Audiobook through the library. I watched one episode of Liv & Maddie. I packed up all my kitchen stuff except for what I’m still using, organized my tools finally, took down most of my wall decorations, and tried to organize everything that is still unpacked.

August 7, 2018

I woke up and went to play basketball. Then, after showering, I went driving for Uber Eats until 4ish when I came home to eat before Lydia’s first ever high school volleyball game! 🏐😁💖 She’s the middle hitter and she’s a beast! They lost, but she played well! So did Eliza! 😊 After the game, I went to the Mitchum’s for a life group game night. It was fun! We played Heads Up and Balderdash. Then, I went to Walmart before coming home to figure out my budget… again.

August 6, 2018

I woke up and went straight out to drive. I was only going to drive for a few hours, come home and play basketball, then go out again, but I decided to stay out driving until I met my pay goal and I not only met it, but exceeded it! 😁 God is an awesome provider! And, of course, I watched Liv & Maddie off and on all day. 🤷🏼‍♀️🏀🎤

July 5, 2018

I woke up and went to church. After church, I went to Walmart and ate lunch and changed at the Mather’s, because I almost live there now and I really didn’t want to go all the way home just to eat and change, especially since I hadn’t planned on driving today anyway. I did drive though. It was quite successful! 🙂 Then, I came home and of course watched Liv & Maddie. I also Marco Polo’d Allie & Holly (individually) a few times today. 😁 Oh, and Steve and Cheryl visited church this morning! 😊

August 4, 2018

I woke up and went to the basketball court to workout. Then, I came home, showered, and ate breakfast while watching Liv & Maddie. Pretty much as soon as I finished breakfast, Shelby got here to help me take boxes over to the Mather’s to move. I didn’t have quite as much packed as I would have hoped, so she also helped me pack some & helped me take down my Christmas lights. All in all, it took 2 hours, before we left for the Mather’s and took everything upstairs. That took just short of two more hours.

After Shelby left, Jeanette and I cleared out most of Zach’s stuff from Holly’s room so it can be cleaned and prepared for me to move in. When we finished that, we went to Chick-fil-A and she took me driving for five Uber orders so she could see what it’s like. Then, we sat on the front patio for about half an hour just chatting. At home, I ate dinner and watched another episode of Liv & Maddie.

August 2, 2018

I woke up and went to the bank to get a money order for rent. Then, I got a call from my financial supporter from NFCU finally and had to be on the phone with her for 20 minutes. Their customer service is terrible, but they did help me out by halving my minimum payments and majorly reducing my APR for the next 12 months AND I don’t have to make my next payment until September!

After that, Savannah and I met with Lisa to sign the eviction hold off in case we’re not able to pay by the 7th. We’re both a little short on funds right now. That is why we will be moving no later the 31 of August. Though, I plan to be out the last weekend of August so I have time to clean the apartment before officially being moved out. Not sure what Savannah’s plan is, but she says she’s living with friends. I’ll be living in Allie and Holly’s old rooms. It’ll be weird, but at least in a new and unique way they really will always be with me!

Then, I went driving for a few hours before coming home for lunch and packing my bookcases in my car to take to the Mather’s asap after I make enough to pay rent. And finally, I went to Lilly’s to babysit Tobin. It was fun and exhausting, but we watched Scooby-Doo, so that was cool! Haha.

August 1, 2018

I woke up and went to the basketball court. Then, I came home to shower and eat breakfast before going to speak with our apartment managers. I think the plan is to move by the end of the month, but idk. We’ll see. 🤷🏼‍♀️

After that, I went driving for a couple hours before coming home for a lunch break and leaving again a half hour later to drive until 8ish. I drove to Walmart to get Kale & cheese, but they were out so I had to settle for broccoli and cheese. I also bought chocolate milk and coco pebbles because starting my morning with basketball leaves me super hungry the rest of the day!

I also watched several episodes of Liv & Maddie. I’m almost caught up to the series finale. I’m kind of sad, but it’s not like I won’t just go rewatch it all again anyway. 🙃😂

July 31, 2018

I woke up and went driving, because it looked like it would rain and I didn’t want to get rained out. I wanted to play basketball, but I needed to make sure I made enough money today before small group.

I went to small group and we discussed 1 Samuel 21-23 and two Psalms David wrote in relation to them.

I will likely be moving like ASAP, because I can barely afford my part of rent and Savannah won’t have enough for her part. And so, the never ending rollercoaster of my life that started last year is continuing into another loopty loop of AHHHH!

July 25, 2018

Today, I woke up and went to drive for Postmates and Uber Eats. Postmates and the other ride share delivery sites only pay once a week. I don’t think I’ll be trying them until I’m floating instead of sinking financially. I came home at 3ish for a few hours and then left to do more Uber eats.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about mental health. Demi Lovato’s hospitalization, release, and overdose have me thinking about it even more, especially because I considered giving in to a relapse of my own a few days ago. Today, I decided to start studying, writing about, and practicing the psychology behind these mental illnesses that lead to these destructive habits. From now until further notice, I am making it a priority to identify, acknowledge, and overcome my triggers so that I can be happier, healthier, and more helpful. As I learn about the psychology of it and practice overcoming my triggers, I plan to start a new blogging project in relation so that I can look back on my research and also possibly help someone in a similar boat. I’ve always loved psychology, but I’ve never wanted to go to school for it. What I plan to do is go about this in a way that allows me to learn and share what I learn without claiming to be a professional. We’ll see what comes of it. Whatever happens, I’ll be looking at everything through the lens of creation. 💖

July 24, 2018 – #StayStrong #LiveLikeLauren

It’s been emotional day. Today would have been Lauren Bump’s 29th Birthday. And Demi Lovato has been hospitalized for overdosing after relapsing. As you can see in my last two posts, God used Demi to heal me when I was in the dark. That makes it feel like Demi and I are somehow emotionally or spiritually connected. Maybe it’s just the empath in more, or maybe it’s true? Idk. Either way, it’s been an emotional day.

I woke up and went driving for Uber until I made enough to by a few groceries and pay a credit card bill.

Then, I came home for a bit before going to small group. At home, I published Dear Demi and tried to eat pizza but i don’t like pesto quinoa. 🙃

Brokenness. Healing. Confession. (Originally written on 7/19/2012)

On July 19, 2012, at 9:55PM, I shared the following in a Facebook message to my closest friends and family. I’m honestly surprised I didn’t talk more about Demi Lovato, but at the time, I was obsessed with BarlowGirl, so I felt more connected to them, which is odd, because these days, I feel more connected to Demi Lovato.

 

The Truth About Me (Brittany Willis’ Testimony, Story, and Open Confession)

Growing up, I was very insecure in who I was. I tripped over nothing, dropped everything, and was so scatterbrained you would not believe it. Normally my insecurities would only hit me in spurts and I would be able to push them away quickly, but in 2011, they were coming and coming hard. It felt like everything I did, I messed up and the insecurities soon turned into depression and self-hatred.

It started sometime between late 2010 and early 2011 when I realized that, had I been a junior like I was “supposed to be” rather than a sophomore, I would be graduating the next year. I hated that I was a year or two older than everyone in “my” grade, so I tried pushing myself to get caught up to where I was “supposed to be” in the self-paced curriculum my school did. Unfortunately, instead of accomplishing my goal, all I managed to do was stress myself out. I rushed my schoolwork, and at night when I attempted to do my homework, not understanding what I was doing, I would cry. I thought that because I was a year older than most people who did that work, I should be able to understand it. Boy was I wrong! I was never good at science or math, but that year I felt exceptionally terrible at it. Not only did I not understand what I was doing, I would also “oops” (which meant fail, but be allowed to do it all over again) many of the main tests, even though I only took them when I thought I understood what I was doing… I felt utterly and completely stupid for the second half of that school year and the first half of the following school year. At the end of my sophomore year, I took a science main test for the second time on the last day of school, and oops’d it for a second time, which meant I would have to come back to school and take the same test again. I spent the summer stressed out and feeling stupid because I just wanted to hurry and go back to school so I could take the darn test again. I went back to school and oops’d it yet again. Finally, taking the test again, I barely passed it.

Along with the stress of trying to push myself, came a bad attitude as well. At school and in public I would try my hardest to keep my attitude and stress hidden inside me, then when I would get home, it would just kind of boil over and I would yell and complain about everything. My mom would then correct me on my behavior and I would just yell and complain at her, causing a rift in our relationship. Eventually it came to a point when, if I was at home, my mom and I were most likely arguing and more times than not, it was my fault. I hated sharing my feelings with people, because it made me feel weak and vulnerable, so I would cry myself to sleep at night. Often after arguments with my mom, I would go to the bathroom or my bedroom and all my emotions about everything would come flooding out of my mind in the form of tears. In the privacy of the bathroom or my room, I would be thinking about and listing all the things I thought were wrong with me. In my mind, I was stupid, worthless, annoying, the cause for everything bad that happened, and I must have also been ugly—why else would I not have boys giving me their attention.

Eventually, probably around October-ish, my hatred toward myself took its toll and the “love” playlist that I had made to help me feel better wasn’t helping anymore, because I started thinking about the unthinkable. I thought about self-mutilation. I considered cutting myself. One day, I thought, “Hmm… it’s obviously stupid to cut myself… why don’t I just prick myself with a “safety” pin? That won’t leave marks, and no one will ever have to know.” So, I started pricking my fingers with safety pins until it hurt and bled. The physical pain took the mental and spiritual pain away for a while, then it would come back, and I would do it again. Another day, I was sitting in my bedroom floor crying and thinking thoughts of self-hatred. I picked the keys out of my bag and wondered if they would hurt me. With the Books-a-Million key card on my key ring, I started to rub the rounded edge along my leg (because if it left a mark, at least it would be less visible than my wrists), honestly not thinking it would hurt me. I was wrong; the rubbing started to cut through my skin and instead of stopping, I kept rubbing my leg. The pain really didn’t hurt as bad as the safety pins, but the stinging was more intense. I thought it was a better replacement for the mental pain than the prick, so I grabbed a safety pin and rubbed it along my leg in two other places. I felt a deep conviction that I needed to stop, so I did, but the damage had already been done. I now have three scars on my leg from that day. I continued to prick myself though, because it didn’t leave marks, so I thought, “It can’t be that bad.”

Later that year, I had started doing better in my schoolwork, so I stopped feeling bad about myself and stopped pricking my fingers. Then in December, when Christmas break came, and I hadn’t accomplished everything I was supposed to accomplish for the second quarter, I started feeling depressed again. Coincidentally on the night my eighteenth birthday, I was lying in bed and just decided to write a love letter to my future boyfriend. I still don’t know how, but that somehow turned into a love letter to God, in which I promised to let go and let God. Slowly I started to do pretty well with letting go of most things to let God. I didn’t completely give myself up to God though.

I still sometimes stressed myself to graduate on time though, and with the stress came self-destructive thoughts. In maybe February of 2012, I learned a favorite singer and actress of mine, Demi Lovato, had just come out of rehab for an eating disorder and cutting. Not only was I shocked that she had done a thing like that, especially for so many years, I was shakwn by the fact that if I didn’t completely let go of my depression and stress, I could end up like that someday. I made a new playlist with these songs on it: “You Are More” by Tenth Avenue North, “Broken Girl” by Matthew West, “Indestructible” by Britt Nicole, “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” by Kelly Clarkson, “Someone Worth Dying For” by Mike’s Chair, “Skyscraper” by Demi Lovato, “One Girl Revolution” and “Not Done Yet” by Superchick, and “We Won’t Give Up” by The Afters. I would listen to those songs nonstop, and mostly it would make me feel really good.

After a couple months though, I realized something was missing. I wasn’t really sure what it was though, until I came across a girl band that I had loved when I first heard them at twelve years old and kind of forgot about—BarlowGirl. I listened to the music I had on my iPod from their first CD and proceeded to download every other song they had. I still wasn’t sure what was missing though, I just knew that when I listened to BarlowGirl I felt better than I had in a very long time. Then while I was Googling them on the internet, I came across their stories. “Average Girl,” “Mirror,” and “Superstar,” and always been my favorite songs of theirs, but when I read and heard their stories they became even more important to me.

I learned that Becca Barlow, the oldest sister and guitar player for the band, had had an eating disorder when she was my age. In her testimony, she shares two things that made me realize part of what I was missing. She shared that God told her she was destroying what He had created; I realized that I was doing the same thing, mostly mentally, but also had in the past physically harmed myself. She also shares that a book that really helped her out of her hard time was, “Battlefield of the Mind” by Joyce Meyer. The name of that book itself spoke to me. I realized that my problem wasn’t what was going on around me, but what was going on inside me. I immediately checked the teen version of the book out at the library and read it. Almost as soon as I started to read it I began to feel better. I am now reading the adult version.

From Alyssa’s testimony, the middle child and bassist, pianist, and co-lead singer of the band, I learned that my major problem was that I was not letting God control my life as I had promised in December. Immediately I decided to completely give my life over to God and start reading my Bible every day. I had already said I would do that at a student convention with my school a few weeks prior, but I did not act on it. I have been reading my Bible every day since that day and have even started a “90 Day Bible Challenge.”

In a video about Lauren Barlow she confessed that she struggled with loving people the way 1 Corinthians 13 commands us to and God used that to make me realize that a lot of my problems also stemmed from not loving the people around me, as well as not loving myself. I’ve been working really hard on remembering ‘love is not self-seeking’ whenever I start to think or act badly toward people. I haven’t gotten to the point where I think it before I act, but I have gotten to the point where I think it while I act and have been able to make myself stop in the act or thought.

Finally, the fourth major thing God has used BarlowGirl to show me in my life is that I have to be totally and completely honest with Him. Often the girls talk about journaling their thoughts and talking to God through writing as well as prayer. Because I tend to speak better through writing, I immediately jumped at the idea of writing my thoughts out to God. I have felt an almost constant sense of overwhelming love and peace since I started doing that. God has used the Bible (which I also go to confirm ideas and things that I get from BarlowGirl) and many other songs and people to touch my life in an impacting and Biblical way, but nothing and no one has left as big of an impact on my life as God has through BarlowGirl.

Now all I can say about my life is that I have not been happier since I started reading my Bible and talking to God like He’s my Best Friend and True Love. I am also extremely grateful that He cares so much about me, that He used something He knows I thoroughly enjoy to speak to me in a way that I can understand and grasp.

Dear Demi

This is a letter addressed to Demi Lovato, but it’s for anyone struggling with addictive and or self-destructive habits and behaviors. To listen to this letter/watch the open letter video, click here.

Dear Demi Lovato,

You don’t know me and I don’t know you. In many ways, I feel like I do sometimes, but I know I only know what you let the world see. It’s likely that I will never know you, but please know that whether I will or won’t ever know you, I will always love you. You are loved by so many wonderful people. Your friends and family. Most, if not all of your coworkers. Your fans–the Lovatics. We all love you. More importantly, God loves you.

I know you grew up in the church. Or at least you used to say you did when you were a young Disney star. I know that at some point, whether you do now or not, you claimed to be a Christian. As I am neither you nor God, I can’t know if you are or are not a Christian. I do know that you believe in God and often credit Him for your successes. I also know that you know how easy it is to struggle with faith and God when you keep falling into the same traps and or have countless struggles hurled your way all at the same time.

I’m sure you also know how it feels to feel like God is abandoning or ignoring you in your time of need. It sucks. If you truly believe in Him, as it seems you do, then somewhere in your heart and mind, you know that’s not the case. You know God does not leave or forsake His children. You know that He hears your every prayer. Yet, you still feel like He has, even though you know He hasn’t.

That’s what causes and results from addictive and self-destructive habits. You feel isolated and alone. You feel like no one cares, like no one sees you, and like no one understands. To a certain extent, no one does. Every struggle is unique and every story is new, but you’re never alone. Somewhere deep inside you, you know that, even in the struggle, but it’s hard to believe it because you can’t see the light. All you can see is darkness. And it’s even worse when you’ve come out of the darkness only to see and follow the shadows again. Even through healing, the pain never fully goes away. There’s always an ache and there are always scars. There’s always another wrong move, another misstep, and another challenge threatening to push you back over the edge. Just when you think you’ll stay strong and keep fighting, something jumps out at you and threatens to turn out the lights. I know this, because I’ve been there. I’ve never struggled with addiction to drugs or alcohol, but I have been addicted to self-destructive thoughts and habits.

When I was 17, though it really started long before that, I struggled with thoughts of self-destruction. I considered and nearly tried self-destructive eating habits. I considered and sometimes tried self-destructive workout habits. What stuck was self-harm. In the darkest and lowest point of my life, I gave into self-mutilation and injury. I entertained the thoughts of death, major self-harm, and disappearance. I was depressed, anxious, and in loathe with myself. I hated myself and everything about me. I felt alone, unseen, and unheard by God, by my family, by my friends–even though I felt like I didn’t have any friends–and by everyone else around me. It was exhausting, heartbreaking, and draining. Then, I slowly started to see the Light through various people, various works of art, and various other things.

In my darkest times, “Open” from your EP became my anthem, because “I felt like I was screaming my mouth shut when it was really open.” As time progressed, “Believe In Me,” “Skyscraper,” “Unbroken,” “Firestarter,” and nearly every other one of your songs–and several other songs–became my anthems. I wanted to be like you. I wanted to be strong and beautiful and successful. When I felt like I would never be like you, MTV aired your special, “Staying Strong.” Then, I saw that I was like you, but not in the ways I wanted to be. We were both struggling with self-harm, depression, and general self-hate. You were struggling with other things too… some things I had thought about at one time or another. At that moment, I was afraid to be like you, but more than anything, I still wanted to be like you. I was afraid of becoming so much like you, that I’d have to go to rehab. Though I was proud of you for going, I didn’t want to go. I did, however, want to be like you in the sense that you shared your struggles, you confessed you needed help, and you reached out for assistance. I wanted to do that too, so I did.

First, I kept my struggles to myself. I prayed a lot and I did everything I could to stop hurting myself. It was surprisingly easy to stop physically hurting myself, but it was a lot harder to stop mentally and emotionally hurting myself. I prayed a lot, found refuge in music, and clung to stories and testimonies of female celebrities who had fought battles and won or were fighting battles and trying to win. You, Demi Lovato, were one of those people. When I was in my darkest days, God used you, your music, and your transparency to lift me out of my lowest point and raise me to a place of healing and restoration.

I hope now, as I write this letter, if you ever read it, that you might find healing and restoration through my prayers and the prayers of others. I hope that this battle will lead you to God in a way you’ve never seen Him before and that He will heal you totally and completely. I pray that not only will you finally overcome the addiction and temptation, but also that the temptation will go away altogether. I know that’s a big ask. I know scars and aches don’t often go away. I know that temptation is always creeping at your door, waiting for you to be weak. I do get it, maybe not in the same way, but I do understand. If I’m honest, then I must confess I was tempted to give in to the darkness a few days ago. Not only was I tempted to drown myself in drink–just this once–but worse than that, because that’s not my personal demon, I was also tempted to hurt myself again–just this once. Just to make the pain go away. Just to feel something other than the stress and looming depression. I didn’t, but I almost did, and I think that scares me more than if I had done it.

Anyway, I’m praying for you, Demi Lovato. I’m fighting for you through prayer and supplication. I am thanking God for you and your life. And I’m praying for His miraculous healing over you. I believe He can heal you, but sometimes He only heals us if we believe for ourselves that He will. Please believe Demi. Please believe that He can and will heal you. Please believe and remember that no matter what you feel, you are never alone. Please know and believe that your true friends, your true family, and your true fans–the Lovatics–are always here for you in spirit and prayer with support and love. Please stay strong and when you can’t, let us stay strong for you! ❤

 

Sincerely,

A fan. A friend. And a supporter.

Too Young. Not Ready. Foolish.

“You’re too young.” “You’re not ready.” “Don’t be foolish.” These are statements we overuse. We, the grownups of the world, have a bad habit of telling the kids of the world that they’re too young. Not ready. Foolish. Too young to fall in love. Too young to have their hearts broken. Too young to feel. Too young to form opinions or make a difference. Too young to be human. Who are we to tell anyone they’re too young, not ready, or foolish? Don’t we remember being young and “foolish?”

I was 5 when I experienced my first love triangle. His name was Jonathan. Her name was Rachel and we were best friends. My vague memory says we agreed to share him until I moved away. For all I know, they’re happily married now and taking care of Jonathan Jr.

I was 8 when I fell in puppy love with Austin Phillips. He liked Yu Gi Oh. I did not. But I knew if I asked him to teach me to play, then he would, and I’d be able to spend time with him. Of course, I asked him to teach me.

A few months later, it was Valentine’s Day and I was 9. Our class was creating “mailboxes” for others to leave Valentines in. My best friend convinced me to write a “Check yes or no” card and put it in Austin’s box as anonymous. (We were 3rd graders. It didn’t occur to us anonymity defeated the purpose of asking, “Do you like me?”)

My puppy love burned strong until 7th grade when both of our families left the school. His to go to public school; mine to homeschool.

I was 12 when I got my first love letter. It didn’t go anywhere, because he was only visiting for a few weeks before going home, but I still remember some of what it said! Something along the lines of, “I really like you. So I asked my cousin to give this to you…” and more I really like you’s. Maybe a, “Do you like me too?”

In high school, I and nearly every other girl, fell for the star athlete. My best friend also liked him. It was weird at first, but we made the genuine promise that whoever he chose—we had a feeling one or both of us were options—we would be happy for the other without any hard feelings. When he did eventually choose her, I was mostly over him already, but it still kind of sucked, especially because their relationship kind of caused some drama in our friendship. All is well now though, so that’s all that matters!

When I was 17, I was depressed, anxious, and full of self-hatred and insecurities. I was angry, hurting, and self-harming.

As a senior in high school, I experienced my first (and so far only) infatuation. At the time, I really thought he could be the one. In the back of my mind, there was always something holding me back though. This something had been there since I met him at 13 or 14 and developed a small crush on him. After 4 to 6 years of him being one of my best friends, this small crush turned into a full fledged infatuation! I was falling and falling hard! As every month passed, one thing lead to another until I fell so hard there were only two options. I’d either fall in love or fall to pieces. Due to circumstances out of my control & that I don’t blame him for, I fell to pieces. I was 19 and felt my break for a boy for the first, and so far only time.

When I was graduating high school, I decided not to go to college. When I was 23, I quit a high paying job and went to work at a fast food restaurant. Then, I quit that and was unemployed for four months before starting to work full time for Uber Eats.

I share all this to say, “you’re too young,” “you’re not ready,” and “don’t be foolish” are misguided statements most often used by those too opinionated to mind their own business. Yes, most people use the term with the best of intentions. We most often say these things because we care, but even the best intentions can be misguided. I’m learning and trying to remember this as I navigate life as the oldest sister to teenage and adult siblings and as the youth leader to middle school & high school students. At this time in their lives, they’re feeling all they know to feel and trying to make the best decisions they can with the knowledge and wisdom they have—just like the rest of us are.

At 24, I know now that I was too young for “check yes or no,” too young for a relationship, and too young for the kind of heartbreak to write two of the most heartbreaking songs I’ve ever written. Of course, I didn’t know then that I was too young, because these are the things I was feeling at the time and it was all I knew to feel at the time. I only know now that I was too young, because I’m old enough to look back with 20/20 hindsight and see, “Yeah, I was way too young for those feelings!” And I can see the things I let break me were insignificant, out of my control, and or grossly out of focus. But I also see that skipping college, quitting my high paying job, not working for four months, and now working for Uber Eats have been the best things I could have done for my own mental, emotional, and spiritual health.

In the past few years, I’ve noticed I have really bad social anxiety. In the past few months, I’ve realized that has a lot to do with listening to and caring way too much about others’ unsolicited and uninformed opinions.

I’m an over thinker. One thing I normally do well is plan and pray before making a decision. Most of the time, this means I make fairly wise decisions. Perhaps not wise in the eyes of others, but wise based on God’s plan or allowance for my life. Obviously, I’m not perfect, so I do make foolish decisions—like building up credit card debt. Most people don’t know if my decisions are wise or not though. Most people seem to think I’m crazy or foolish. What they don’t see is that I pray about and plan for (most of) these decisions. What they don’t see is that these decisions are based on and are producing spiritual, emotional, and physical health.

When I was 17, I was too broken and unstable to handle being in a romantic relationship. I have a 17 year old brother who, from the outside looking in, seems like he could thrive in a romantic relationship. Even at 24, I should probably hold off on finding a boyfriend. My 22 year old brother is currently happily married with the most adorable son I’ve ever seen! There are several other kids and adults alike who could be ready and others who should maybe wait too. Not going to college and now working a nontraditional job have been the best decisions for my life. Others need/do best with structured jobs that require college. Some people just want to learn and go to college. That’s what is best for them.

College, high paying jobs, and waiting until a certain age to fall in love, get married, and have kids aren’t requirements in life. The only thing that should be a requirement in life is that we follow God’s will for our lives. But even that isn’t a requirement. God gives us a choice. It’s the wisest thing to do in life, and common sense requires it, but God doesn’t.

“Age” is just a number. “Ready” is a made up time frame. “Foolish” can only truly be determined by God. “Too young,” “not ready,” and “foolish,” are not decisions we get to make for others. It’s not our place to tell others if they’re ready or not. When asked, instead of giving opinionated advice we should try giving advice through questions. “Do you think you’re ready? What if this happens, do you think you can handle it? What does the Bible say?” If we’re not asked, then we need to bite our tongue and pray, or ask, “Can I give you some advice,” and only give it with permission. Emotions are confusing enough for adults; they’re even more confusing for teenagers whose hormones working overtime.

So, let’s stop giving unsolicited advice. Let’s get rid of the terms “too young,” “not ready,” and “foolish,” when used to describe others. Let’s love and encourage those struggling with emotions and tough decisions in life. Whether they are kids, teenagers, or adults, love, encourage, and pray for them. If you don’t agree with their decision or feelings, then love them harder and pray for them in overtime. Pray that the Lord will guide them in the way that they ought to go. Pray that God will help us to accept His and their choices for their lives.

Proverbs 22:6 is a verse to parents for children, but I think it applies to any relationship where one person is guiding another. When advising or teaching someone else, we ought to guide them in the way they should go according to God’s plan for their lives. We ought to remember that God’s plan for their lives may be different than our vision for their lives or His plan for our lives. I don’t believe this means telling them they’re too young, even if they are. I don’t think it means telling them they’re not ready, even if they aren’t. I don’t think it even means telling them they are foolish, even if their decisions are black and white foolish in relation to Biblical teaching. I believe it means praying for and with them. I believe it means encouraging them to pray through their feelings and decisions. The heart is deceptive, but that doesn’t mean feelings are always wrong. God gave us feelings for a reason. It’s our job to learn how to use and respond to them. I can’t teach someone else what feelings are right or wrong, but I can teach them how to know which feelings are right and wrong. I can point them to scripture related to their feelings and decisions. And, when I know that their choices are unbiblical, depending on our relationship and the Spirit’s leading, I can, in love, show them the wrongness of their choices. These aren’t the types of decisions and feelings I’m talking about in this post though.

What I’m talking about are the grey areas. “Should I or shouldn’t I take this job? Should I or shouldn’t I go to college? Are these feelings for this person real or not? Is my heart really broken?” What this post is about is the types of feelings and decisions I give examples for. The Bible (2 Corinthians 6:14) says to be equally yoked in relationships; it does not say what age is old enough to be in a relationship. The Bible (Colossians 3:23; Proverbs 6:6 respectively) says to do all work as unto the Lord and not unto men and to work with the determination of the ant. It also says not to love money (Hebrews 13:5) or live in debt (Romans 13:8). It does not say whether I should work a corporate job or be self-employed as a delivery driver.

My challenge to myself and others is three-fold. First, if it’s not a matter of Biblical correctness, then keep your opinions to yourself unless asked. Love and pray. Ask and suggest. Don’t tell and challenge. Don’t question and change course. Second, if it is a matter of Biblical correctness, then follow similar steps. Ask about their story and make suggestions based on scriptural guidance. In kindness, tell them the right steps to take to correct their mistakes and gently challenge them to repent—confess and turn away from their sin(s). Most importantly, love them through their struggles and pray for them to overcome their sins. Third, if, like me, you find yourself listening too much to what people think even when you know what God has called you to, then challenge yourself to care less. In love, let them know why you’ve decided what you’ve decided and ask them to pray for you and accept your and God’s decision(s) for your life.

Ultimately, whether you give the advice or take it, remember that wise counsel is important. Wise counsel can and sometimes should be what makes or breaks a decision. That said, there are a wise and foolish ways to give and take advice. Wise counsel should tell others, “God says,” not “I think.”

*Bonus Challenge* I wrote this post for a very specific reason. I am my own worst critic. More than anyone else who questions whether I am “too young,” “not ready,” or acting “foolishly” in making my decisions, I question and judge myself in the harshest manner.

The five year anniversary of my romantic heartbreak mentioned above is quickly approaching. It will be five years in August since I fell to pieces instead of falling in love and I still shake my head and call myself foolish for breaking my own heart when I knew where my infatuation would lead. What I should do, and what I should have done a long time ago, is move on and accept that I wasn’t ready for a relationship and was too foolish to see that. I moved on from him a long time ago, but I still get stuck on the foolishness of my infatuation and heartbreak.

My challenge to me is to let go and move on from the overthinking of past decisions. Big or small, I let my social anxiety keep my past decisions around way to long.

My bonus challenge to me and anyone else who overthinks is to let go and move on. Once we’ve made a decision, done a thing, or said the words, we can’t change it. All we can do is let go, move on, and choose to do better next time.

Today, at this very moment, I choose not to listen to the critics when I know God has lead me to or allowed me to choose a position or direction. I choose not to critique those who make decisions I don’t agree with if they aren’t biblically unsound. I choose to let go of and move on from decisions, actions, and words I can’t change.

If you’d like to take one or all of these challenges with me, then let me know and we can pray with and for each other.

July 21-22, 2018

I didn’t upload yesterday, because I waiting to finish my post for the past week at camp, but haven’t finished that yet, so I’ll get to it later.

On July 21, 2018, I woke up and went driving for Uber Eats. I came home at 2:30ish and spent the next 4 or so hours at Nanny and Papa’s house.

Today, I woke up and went to church. The service was different than normal. Aaron did speak some, but mostly it was a worship service set to the outline of the ACTS prayer model–Adoration, Confession, Thanks, and Supplication. Sarah spoke some too. 🙂 Personally, I really needed this service. Worship for me, even the emotional worship of confession and such, is an act of rest for me. Even in the chaos, it’s soothing, and I’ve really been needing some rest. That’s why I didn’t go driving today. It’s also why I will not be driving at all on Sundays. God has called us to rest. Therefore, I will be using Sunday’s as a day of rest. After church, I will go home, then go see the kids, and spend the rest of the day at Nanny and Papa’s house!

Today, I came home and recorded a few videos for YouTube. First Tremble by MSC because I wanted to and then three others that Jacob requested. Those covers will go up on different days.

Then, I changed into my house clothes, went to see the kids, and spent the day at Nanny and Papa’s house. I ended up spending most of the time watching OTP videos for Disney ships! 🙈 When I came home, I watched and clipped Cloud 9, because it’s adorable! Haha

July 13-15, 2018

It’s been a busy and emotional 2 weeks, so I haven’t been updating every night like I’d like to! I’ve already mentioned that my best friend, Holly, came home for a couple weeks before going back to her forgoing home 10,000 miles away. And that’s why I’ve been so busy and emotional!

On the 13, the convertible I was borrowing from the Mather’s was mistakenly towed from guest parking because the towers got a little tow happy! I was already drained from all the reason car problems I’ve been having and from all the socializing, so I just stayed home in my pjs all day and applied for a few normal jobs. I figure if God really wants to me to have a normal job, then He’ll have some contact me, if not then I suppose I can keep driving for Uber Eats, which I really love!

Yesterday the 14, I went back to the Mather’s again and stayed there for several hours. This time Allie and Henry were briefly there too! 😁

Today, I woke up and went to church. Holly was there and Priya showed up too! After services, Holly spoke to the church about her life in Indonesia! Then, Bill, Morgan, and I went home with the Mather’s and played Scrabble and Charades. Next, we met Priya at Floore’s for a couple hours. Toward the end, we ran into the Reisers.

When we got back to the Mather’s, we played Telephone Pictionary a couple times, chatted a bit, and the Bill and Morgan left. Priya stayed because she’s staying with them for a few days. I drug my feet before leaving because I didn’t want to go! Holly will still be in SA until Thursday, but since I have summer camp with the youth, I’m leaving tomorrow and won’t be back again until she’s gone.

I think I was on the verge of tears all night, but I didn’t start crying until I was driving down the hill from their house. Holly came outside with me, because I still don’t like the dark, I’m a little nervous that if I go out by myself in the dark I might trip down the hill, and honestly I just wanted to say goodbye to Holly by myself. It was a little weird to cry, since I don’t normally cry, but saying goodbye this time was a lot harder than saying goodbye last time! I think last time even though I knew she was moving, in the back of my mind I must have thought it would be like Jordan or her short trip to Thailand and Indonesia. Now, I know it’s much, much longer than that! It’s not a few weeks and she’s back. It’s hundreds of days and then she visits. It’s okay though, she’s living the Lord’s will and I do genuinely feel blessed to love someone who makes saying goodbye so hard! Anyway, I need to go. I have to get up in the morning for camp and I’m about to cry again! ❤️💔

July 12, 2018

I delivered an order from McDonalds to Sea World. When I tried to leave Taco Palenque to deliver from there my car wouldn’t start. So, I called USAA for a tow. The tow man was able to start my car and said he thinks the issue is the starter so I drove to the Mather’s. Scott said it is the starter. So, now Dora is at the Mather’s and I’m borrowing their convertible. It’s tiny, but I’m grateful for anything that lets me drive.

When I got to the Mather’s house no one one was home so I sat in their living room writing for like half an hour before Scott got there. Then, the others arrived and I sat chatting with them for a while until Holly and I left so I could eat, we could hang out, and she could get a feel for Uber Eats.

I made it all the way home before realizing I left my house key with my car keys. I was going to go to Buffalo Wild Wings to borrow Savannah’s keys, but she left early because she was sick. So, I called Nanny to see if she was there, because she wasn’t at home and didn’t answer when i called her. She and all the others were at Nanny’s, so Holly and I chatted with them before coming to the house so I could eat. Then we went back to give Savannah her keys, made two Uber deliveries, and went back to her house. While there she took the Pottermore quiz. She’s a ravenclaw, of course.

July 10, 2018

I woke up and went driving for Uber.

I met Aaron and Bill at the church for a church camp meeting.

I went to the Mather’s and played half a game of Scrabble before leaving for small group with Holly.

Holly drove us back to the house where we chatted and the whole family took turns working on a puzzle Allie and Henry gave them for Christmas.

Do You Trust Me? – July 9, 2018

I woke up and the weather was overcast, but not raining, so I went to drive for Uber Eats. It quickly started raining and got worse with every second. I knew I should go home, but I didn’t. That’s when I heard the voice in my heart–the Holy Spirit–ask, “Do you trust me?”

“I’m trying to trust you,” I thought as I kept driving. “That’s why I’m still driving through this rain.” Deep down, I knew that’s not what He meant, but He didn’t ask again, so I didn’t think much of it.

Then, after my next order, I heard it again, “Do you trust me?”

I thought, “God, if you want me to turn back, then please show me by not giving any quick orders so I’ll know.”

I kept getting quick orders, so I kept driving.

“Do you trust me,” He asked again. At this point, I knew He knew I knew what He meant. It was still a gentle voice like before, but also knowing.

“Okay…” I thought. “After these two deliveries you just gave me, I’ll go home.” And I put myself offline beginning after the orders.

I was resigned to do what I knew I needed to do and feeling silly for not listening in the first place. Of course He could keep me from getting orders, but it was a rainy day. The odds of not getting orders would literally take a miracle. Nobody wanted to leave their house today. Besides, He was, is, and has been for sometime trying to teach me a lesson.

I was stressing out about going home, but trying to trust God. I’ve been struggling for money for a little while now, and I have basically just ate, slept, went to church, and drove for Uber Eats none stop for several weeks. I’d only done laundry when absolutely needed, I hadn’t been doing dishes and eventually stopped using anything but paper/plastic, and my personal belongings were everywhere. It basically looked like a tornado had hit or “it appears there was a struggle.” I knew it would take a while to clean up my messes and it always takes forever to do laundry because I have to wait on the machine, so I just kept putting things off and putting things off. It was maddening and I’m glad I hadn’t had time to have anyone over, because it would have been terrible!

Anyway, when I got home, I felt the mini anxiety attack I’d been feeling for weeks every time I looked at my apartment come over me. “Oh,” I thought. “This is why I need to come home. I mean, safety first, but also now I can tackle the mess that is my home!” And I got to work. I cleaned, organized, and threw away. I’d been wanting for a while now to get rid of anything I don’t need or use regularly, and I finally did that today. For the most part, everything that is still in my apartment is used regularly. Now, I’m sitting in my living room, tired from the manual labor of housework–my Fitbit says I took 6,000 steps and I carried and lifted a lot–and enjoying the freedom that is a clean and organizing environment. Once I finished writing this, I’ll be changing into clean pjs and climbing between clean sheets, and sleeping more peacefully than I have in a while!

For now though, I’m thinking about learning lessons. 1) Trusting God with the future is not the same as trusting Him with the now. If I’m not at peace in the moment, then I don’t have my complete trust in Him. I’m a step closer, because I know He’ll provide for me like He has in the past, but I’m not quite there yet. I’m still struggling with the now. 2) Just like Zach Williams sings, fear is a liar. 🤥 So are anxiety and worries. Yes, technically they are the same thing, but not completely. They do have slightly different connotations. Regardless, they equate to the same thing–not trusting God to take care of me. I’m working on that too! I have an almost crippling phobia for spiders and paranoia for the dark and bodies of water. It’s completely irrational and I know it is, but I can’t seem to help it. I’m working on being fearless though. I’m working on letting go and letting God. And while I’m working, He’s working harder. 3) If I would work on controlling the things I’m supposed to control and let God control everything else, then I’d be a lot happier and far more at peace. I’m supposed to control the state of my apartment, when and where I spend my money, and most of the time whether I work or not. God controls pretty much everything else, or at least He’s supposed to if I’d let Him. So, I’m working on that too! Working when I can, but without stressing myself out. Not spending money on things unless I truly need them, because what I need right now is to pay off my bills. Not stressing about things that are not in my control. And finally, cleaning up after myself every time I use something so it won’t pile up and stress me out later!

If you’re reading this, then please do me a favor! Pray with me that I will stress less, fear less, and stop making literal and figurative messes!

July 8, 2018

I woke up and went to church. I was supposed to be there at 8:45 to help with coffee, but my hair was being dumb and I briefly lost track of time. Then, I spilled some coffee. And as I was leaving I scraped my foot on the door. When I got to church a few minutes late, the coffee was already taken care of. So, I just walked around a bit until prayer and then went to service and youth.

After church, my engine was making a funny noise. As it turns out, the clutch we replaced for the ac was faulty and doesn’t work anymore, so we’ll have to replace it under warranty whenever Mr. Scott gets a chance.

After papa and I figured that out, I left to work. It was hot and humid at first, then it started raining so it was only warm and humid. Then it cooled down some. I’m not sure if I’d rather it be cooler with rain and foggy windows or hotter than anything if I don’t have ac, but I love the rain, so hopefully it stays foolish until my ac is fixed again

July 2-5, 2018 🇺🇸

7/2

I woke up and spent the day driving for Uber from like 10am to 12:30am, because I was in desperate need of money to pay rent!

7/3

I drove from 9ish to 5 something before stopping for dinner before small group. We discussed I Samuel 11-15. Then, I drove some more until midnight. My first delivery after small group was from a bar where there was a standup comedian who announced my entrance to the whole bar. That wasn’t fun! 🙃

Dad got into a car accident. A truck hit him in the side/back and now he’s in the hospital. We don’t know how long he’ll be there because he’s going through PT as he slowly regains feeling and movement in his left side. There doesn’t seem to be much to worry about, but it is still concerning.

7/4

Fourth of July and Holly’s home for a few weeks! 😁 Holly got into San Antonio on Tuesday afternoon. The next morning, this day, I went over to their house to celebrate the 4th with them at Medina Lake where we jet skied! It was so much fun! Then, of course, we went back to the house and played scrabble! We also played Uno.

7/5

I woke up to a panic because the statement reflected a late fee, but I went to the office and she waved it for me. I spent the rest of the day driving for Uber Eats. I really like being self-employed! It makes me want to work!

May 24, 2018

I woke up after sleeping 12 hours and went to church. After church, I quickly went to Walmart for toilet paper and toothpaste and spent the rest of the day driving for Uber Eats. Yesterday, Nanny gave me most of the gluten free food she had at her house since I’m struggling to pay my bills and don’t have available credit on my cards… I cried tears of relief when I got home.

June 23, 2018

I woke up and drove some of the youth to the Guadalupe River. Maia (Peaches) Oliver and I spent most of our time there trying to catch minnows. I thought the little guys died in between trips for fish supplies at Walmart and Pet Smart, so I bought some at the store. They didn’t die, so now I have 8 minnows, 4 from the river and 4 from the store! Haha. Best Part: I started chatting with a woman and her son about our fish. After I told her I was saving the fish because we caught them at a youth event, she insisted on giving me money for the supplies and asked us to keep them in our prayers as they house hunt! ❤️

I was gonna go driving when I got home, but I’m too tired, so it’s 7pm and I’m going to bed! 🛏 😴

June 10-13, 2018

It’s been a LONG week!

Sunday, I woke up for church and Ava and Abby (the Sims’ dogs) decided to pick that morning of all the times to be divas and not listen when I tried to get them in their cage. 😒

I went to church and it was weird, because Shelby, Morgan, and Ciara (and Robert) were all doing not church things so they weren’t there. It was still a good Sunday though! 🙂

Monday, I woke and went go drive for Uber. After only two orders I had to stop, because my radiator started steaming! 🙃 So, I called for roadside assistance with my insurance and got towed to the Mather’s. In about 24 hours, Mr. Scott had it up and running again! The Powers’ let me borrow their car again while I couldn’t use mine. So, I was able to go to Hot Spot.

Tuesday, I woke up and went ubering. Then, I went to bible study. We had to read 1 Samual 1-5 for homework beforehand.

Today, I woke up and planned on going to the office to watch TWC, but got the time mixed up, so I ended up listening while driving for Uber. I called Uncle Tony (and had a brief text message chat with Sarah) about the Alliance. It’s kind of a pyramid scheme, which is annoying, but Uncle Tony assured me that pyramid schemes aren’t necessarily a bad thing. What matters is if the company is reputable or not. Sarah basically said the same thing, mentioning how Doterra is the same way, and it’s legit. She even buys from them. Uncle Tony basically just encouraged me to keep asking questions until I’m comfortable and to be willing to work hard to make money. He also suggested to go at it part time until I know if it’s what I want to do.

So, I’ll keep driving Uber and maybe make calls while I wait. Then, I’ll see what happens from there. 🙂

June 7, 2018

I woke up and met Heidi at the office.

Then I came home to eat and ended up watching Gilmore Girls.

I picked up the girls for the last time this school year.

I went to the Sims’ to make sure I knew what I needed to know about dog/house sitting this weekend.

I went driving for Uber.

I came home and The Fosters was on, so I watched an episode three seasons ahead of where I stopped because nothing else was on. Then, I wanted to see what happened with Brallie, but the series finale just came on last night, so YouTube doesn’t have many updates yet. I still ended up watching an hour long video of them though. 🤦🏼‍♀️🙈🤷🏼‍♀️

June 4, 2018

I woke up and went driving for Uber.

I picked up Lydia and Naomi.

I went back to Uber.

I met Heidi at the meeting for The Alliance. It’s based on biblical values and run by Christian people! I could tell just from reading the material and listening to the leaders talk. Then, Heidi confirmed it for me. I do believe that if I’m supposed to be in insurance, then it’s supposed to be with these lovely people!

I’m meeting with Heidi tomorrow to fast track at application or whatever with them. Then, I’ll start making calls for her. 🙂 I’ll get paid for each appointment I set up. 🙂

May 3, 2018

I woke up and showered before going to church. I started in nursery for the second service, but then was dismissed to go to youth. At 2, I went to go meet Vanessa, Macy, Hudson and Mr. Benke. I already love the kids and the parents seem lovely as well! Lord willing, I’ll be there nanny for the summer! 🙂 If not, then I know the Lord has greater plans for all of us! 🙂

After that, I went driving for Uber. 🙂 Took a brief grocery and dinner break and then went back out. 🙂

June 1, 2018

I woke up and went to drive for Uber Eats.

I picked up Lydia and Naomi from school and took them home.

I went to the bank and drove Uber.

Kayla Taylor suggested me to Christianne Taylor as a nanny Christianne’s sister’s kids. Vanessa called me and we have a meeting scheduled for Sunday to meet the kids and see if it works. 🙂 I’ll be watching them during the summer. 🙂

May 31, 2018

I woke up at 10:30 and realized my clothes needed to be rewashed because I left them in the washing machine over night, so I didn’t get to go driving for lunch, because my clothes weren’t clean.

Naomi needed her gym shorts brought to her, so I took them. Then, I took Bonnie to Chick-fil-A and brought her over to watch Beauty and the Beast and we colored. Then, I took her to the park where Mom and had the other kids.

I picked up Lydia and Naomi and we also went to Chick-fil-A. Then, I came home, took a shower, and sat here on my phone for nearly 2 hours. I was supposed to be reading “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark,” but apparently I’m too tired for that. So, even though it’s only 8:52, I’m going to bed.

May 30, 2018

I woke up and went to drive Uber. I enjoyed my new working air conditioner in my car! I picked up Lydia and Naomi from school. I went back to Uber. I continued and finished reading Ever After High. I started listening to Artemis Fowl. The guy’s voice isn’t nearly as annoying as I thought from the sample. I started reading the McNamara book about the Golden State Killer. I drew an Alice in Wonderland picture.

Darkness, the Unknown, and Surprises

During worship at church a couple months ago, our worship team introduced this song to the congregation. My best friend Shelby was leading worship that morning and reminded us of being little kids who were afraid of the dark until we turned on our night lights and could see enough that things weren’t so scary anymore. Then, she compared the night light to Jesus. Just like the night light, but even better, we don’t have to fear anything, because Jesus is the Light that shines through our darkest nights.

In Harry Potter, Harry and Remus Lupin are having a conversation. Lupin looks at Harry and in the same way he often does, he gives him fatherly advice. He tells him, “It is the unknown we fear in death and darkness, nothing more.” I found this simple statement to be very profound.

In my favorite show, Heartland, the main girl, Amy, freaks out when she finds out her sister, Lou, and their grandpa Jack know her boyfriend, Ty, is going to propose and don’t tell her. The whole thing is completely irrational. She knows that, I know that, and everyone else in the show and who has seen it knows it too. And yet, she still freaks out. She still demands to know why they didn’t tell her he was going to propose. It’s absolutely ridiculous, but not an uncommon reaction.

I grew up with twelve younger brothers and sisters and we only had three bedrooms in our home. One for our parents and the baby, another for the boys, and the last for the girls. With so many little kids in our room, we always slept with a nightlight. Now, as an adult, I still can’t sleep without a light on. Part of the reason is due to habit, but another part is due to my irrational fear of the unknown parts of darkness. When Shelby made the comparison of night lights and Jesus, it really hit home for me. I still sleep with a nightlight, so it was easy for me to see the analogy. Jesus is the much more powerful night light of my life. And thank God for that, because I also totally relate to Lupin’s quote about darkness and the unknown. I can’t stand the unknown.

Honestly, I’m fine with not being in control. I don’t like leading and I’d probably mess everything up if I tried leading my own life anyway. What I’m not always so fine with is not knowing what’s going to happen next or how it’s going to happen. I know God will provide for me. He always has and He always will. I just wish He would also show me the blueprints every now and then. That’s not how God works though and today I realized maybe that’s because He wants to give us a happy surprise. Like Ty, Lou, and Jack, for Amy, God wants me to be happy—not always in the way I think is best, but always in the way He knows is best. Sometimes, me being happy means waiting for Him to surprise me with a gift even better than a diamond ring—though I sure do hope that’s in my future too someday.

A few months ago, the AC went out in my car. It wasn’t that big of a deal, because it was winter, but I live in Texas. More days than not, it’s in the 90’s and feels like the 100’s and my primary job is for Uber Eats so I’m in the car for several hours a day. The problem is, I’ve only just had enough money to pay my regular bills the past several months. I couldn’t possibly see how I would be able to pay to fix my air conditioner. While I was stressing and fussing about how I had no idea how it could be fixed before the worst days of summer, I nearly ruined a beautiful surprise God had for me.

Sunday afternoon, my pastor noticed I had a box fan in my car. Naturally, he put two and two together to realize I didn’t have a working AC. He quickly told me he would talk with the guy who is basically our church mechanic—nearly everyone goes to Him when we’ve got car problems—and said they would take care of it for me. Then, he offered to let me use his mostly unused extra car until it was fixed. At first, I rejected the offer to use his car and kind of wanted to say no to him fixing my car. Part of it was a pride issue—but that’s a post for another time—and part of it was just me being irrational. I was so consumed with wanting to know why God wouldn’t tell me how He would provide for me, that I nearly ruined His surprise fix.

Barely over 48 hours later, I was pulling away from my pastor’s house and these three concepts I’ve been dwelling on suddenly came together. Because Jesus is the Light in darkness, I should embrace the surprises He has in store for me instead of freaking out and fearing the unknown.

*Bonus* Remember, the passions and people in your life are gifts from God. He’s totally okay with you having passions and loving people, in fact, He made you that way. Just be careful to acknowledge Him as the Giver and them as the gift when He speaks through your passions and people. I know He wants to use our passions and people to speak to us because that’s almost always how He speaks to me, but we have to be careful when He does. We have to remember, they are simply the burning bushes God uses to share His presence and power with us.

May 24, 2018

I woke up and drove for Uber. Then, I went to the library to find the Artemis Fowl audiobooks. I had to order them from a different location, so now I have to wait.

I walked Lydia and Naomi home from school, then I went back out to Uber.

I’ve officially started a reading list again. It’s on Goodreads, instead of just my head now, so I can’t forget I have read and what I want to read. Haha.

May 23, 2018

I woke up to find my car insurance had been canceled because I didn’t make a payment. So, I spent 6+ hours online and on various phone calls trying to figure out the best way to get new insurance. As it turned out, the cancellation was a blessing in disguise. I was able to get way cheaper insurance through USAA. On top that reduction, I also got discounts based on having an established relationship with them through me checking and savings accounts AND I was able to sign up for cheaper rental insurance through then for the apartment! 😁❤️ God truly works in mysterious ways!

The downside is that I missed working through the lunch rush for Uber, but that’s okay because I met my pay needed for rent yesterday! So, for the rest of the month, I’ll be able to put money toward savings until I have to pay my credit cards again! 🙂

At home, I arranged my bookcases and rocking chair to have a reading nook in the corner of my bedroom. I’ve really missed reading and being the girl who always has book in her bag or hands! I’m going to try to get back in the habit of reading all the time instead of watching TV all the time.

I started listening to the Harry Potter audiobooks again. Haha. I also continued reading Bertha about the Rome, GA murder from the 40’s. Murder mysteries are also exciting, but they’re even better when they’re true crime, and they’re best when they’re true crime from an area you’re familiar with!

May 22, 2018

I woke up and prayed the the Armor of God and the Fruit of the Spirit over me before going to drive Uber.

I drove to pick up Lydia and Naomi.

I finally washed the dishes I haven’t washed in way too long!

I drove Uber again.

I started reading Bertha today.

I also started studying The Mask; Her Aid to see if I want to/could write a devotional and or study guide to go with it. Sandy Powers is adamant that it would be a good idea to have a mother/daughter study for it. I like the idea. 🙂 Plus, it could be good to write one for youth in general and for adults and kids in general. I deliberately cal out Christian adults in the beginning of the book for missing the fact that kids are equipped with the armor of God, but aren’t exactly taught how to. Maybe I can help them/us learn how to teach kids how to be warriors!?

May 15, 2018

I woke up and read a few scripture verses.

I went to drive Uber.

I rollerbladed to get the girls, then Lydia rode my bike to their house, and I rode my bike home.

I went to drive Uber Eats.

I came home and organized my bookcases finally. I found 23 misplaced bookmarks in random books! 🙈 I also confined the stuff on my bedroom floor to one place.