The sun is bright and the breeze is warm even though it’s February. All the windows are open, all the neighborhood kids are outside, all the signs point to spring coming soon.
I’m pulling out of the driveway at work, going to pick up a friend and head to the outdoor mall, and the little girl I keep is yelling “Bye Miss Hailey!” and waving and grinning big as I drive away.
“In Over My Head” by Bethel is playing in my car and I mouth the words, “This longing to have more of You. I can feel it, my heart is convinced; I’m thirsty, my soul can’t be quenched. You already know this but still, come and do whatever you want to.” I’m thinking about grace and love, and I am floored all over again at what a merciful God I serve.
“Could we with ink the ocean fill, and were the skies of parchment made; were every stalk on earth a quill, and every man a scribe by trade; to write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry; nor could the scroll contain the whole though stretched from sky to sky.”
// this is just a quickie post to preserve a sweet moment in time that I didn’t want to forget. (Also I promise my skin isn’t that orange; it’s just the filter, lol.) How’s everyone doing? What are y’all up to this weekend? Month in review coming next week, stay tuned!
Today Devotional Diva is letting me share some practical ways to serve others! I’m really excited about this article–click here to read. Then come right back, because we have to talk about Newsies.
I wasn’t planning to write a whole blog post about Newsies, but I just had too many feels to fit into my month-end review. If you’ve never heard of Newsies, here’s the rundown: in 1899, a group of newsboys in New York went on strike when the price of “papes” was raised. In 1992 Disney made a less-than-popular movie based on that strike; in 2012 the musical Newsies opened on Broadway, running for more than two years and receiving a couple of Tony Awards; and last year several of the Broadway cast members + the tour cast reprised their roles to give us a fantastic recording of the musical that’s in theaters three days only! I’d had the soundtrack memorized for years, so I was only too happy to drag my mom, brother, and friend to see the movie event last weekend. So, here goes: my top seven reasons why you should fall in love with Newsies too. (Disclaimer: I haven’t seen the movie, this is just about the musical!)
1. Ben Fankhauser singing that line.
If you’re a “fansie,” you know the one. If you’re not, let me educate you: go and look it up, the poor GUY’S head is spinning! The line from Watch What Happens (Reprise) went kind of viral when Ben, who plays Davey, revealed that he uses that line to warm up pre-show and also to generally annoy everyone in the vicinity. It’s so glorious that someone actually made a six-hour Youtube video with Ben singing that line 8,000 times in a row. Yes, you read that right–eight thousand times. You can find the video here. Play it at my funeral, please.
2. Jeremy Jordan’s emotional investment in Jack Kelly.
I’d been listening to the original Broadway soundtrack of Newsies for a looong time, and it was amazing how much emotion Jeremy conveyed in the lead role just through singing (especially Santa Fe), but seeing his facial expressions and body language and everything last weekend took it to a whole new level. It’s intense; it’s the real deal. Despite the fact that he’s a little old (Jeremy is now thirty-two to his character Jack’s seventeen), and that one of my friends thinks he looks like a llama (um, still not sure where that one came from, but it’s a legit thing that was said. Rude), he’s a stellar Jack Kelly in my humble opinion.
3. That moment in Once and for All when the key changes and the set moves forward and UGH.
ALL THE GOOSEBUMPS. I don’t really have anything else to say, except–it’s AHMAZING (and, incidentally, an integral part of my current WIP’s playlist). Once and for All is a great song in general because it starts out so nice and calm, and then in the middle it majorly amps up and you want to go leap buildings in a single bound, and by the end you’re just sobbing in the fetal position because the whole thing is TOO AWESOME. Or maybe that’s just me? Okay. Listen here.
4. THE DANCING.
Again, I have no words. None. Count them: zero. It’s SO technical and polished and flawless! I did ballet, tap, and jazz for seven years growing up and swing for a couple more years after that, and all of the dance numbers in Newsies–tap dancing! A dozen pirouettes in a row! Acro elements and the newspaper dance and the iconic Newsies leap (which Lin Manuel-Miranda himself once tweeted that he tried, and failed, to master)!–just make my little former-dancer heart SO so happy.
5. The overarching themes of hope, perseverance, and loyalty.
“Poor little kids versus rich greedy sourpusses,” and guess who wins? Everyone loves a good underdog story, and Newsies is a great one–a group of scrappy kids who are just trying to keep their heads above water, and who end up triumphing over the big bad Pulitzer. No “life lessons in economics” for them!
6. Letter from the Refuge + Crutchie in general.
This song was written for the tour cast; it wasn’t part of the original Broadway show. I’m so glad they included it in the movie, and I lowkey start singing it every time someone asks me how I am. (I feel like Zachary Sayle used to think about his time left behind at the rest stop to get him in the right mindset for Letter from the Refuge. Ah, good times.) Listen here with Andrew Keenan-Bolger–bring tissues. While we’re at it, let’s just appreciate Crutchie for a minute: “I got a nickel!” “I’ll be sleepin’ on the streets–in a worse neighborhood!” Also, do you ever just sit down and cry very hard because of how much Jack needs Crutchie? Because I do. Okay, moving on.
7. Kara Lindsay and Katherine Pulitzer are as close to flawless human beings as one can get.
Kara’s singing voice and her laugh and her overall cute little self–heart. eyes. Also, let’s talk about Katherine Pulitzer–not only is she someone who doesn’t give up until she gets what she wants (in this case, to be taken seriously as a writer, which incidentally is one of my goals as well), but she’s sassy (“Cheeky boy gets nothing for his troubles”) and #relatable. I mean, think about it:
Plus, the song Watch What Happens (see below) is me literally every day. #writerprobs
Write what you know, so they say, all I know is I don’t know what to write, or the right way to write it… Poor little kids versus rich greedy sourpusses, ha! It’s a cinch! It could practically write itself. And let’s pray it does, cause as I may have mentioned I have no clue what I’m doing!… Give me some time, I’ll be twice as good as that six months from never.
This is one of the first musicals I ever fell in love with, and I could go on, but I’ll cap it here. Shameless self-promo: give my Newsies Pinterest board a follow (all pictures and gif’s in this post are from Pinterest), and we can fangirl about Ben Cook/Race and Tommy Bracco/Spot Conlon and the rest of the cast and characters to our hearts’ content!
Are you a musical theater junkie like me? Do you love Newsies too? If you had never heard of it before this post, are you going to go listen to the soundtrack right after you leave a comment? (Hint: the answer is yes.)
Last summer I learned what the terms “depression” and “anxiety” really mean. I don’t like to go back and read my blog posts from that time period. Although a random stranger might not be able to tell, when I read those posts, I read what I was really saying. I’m sick. I’m scared. I’m so very tired. I just want to be done. I wasn’t actually contemplating suicide or anything, but many days, I wished that I could just skip the rest of my life and go to heaven because it would be so much easier.
If you’re new to the blog, I was very sick last summer; I’ve been sick for almost a year now, but last summer was for sure the worst period of it. I was incredibly sleepy all the time, I had headaches, it was hard to breathe 24/7, my hands and legs would tingle and cramp, etc. It was an endless parade of doctor’s appointments and being so tired and still dealing with normal life stuff (haha, activities other than visiting the Mayo Clinic website every day and trying to keep track of all my doctors and medicines), and I was weary. I was so weary. Between being sick and starting college algebra (math and I have never been on good terms, to put it lightly) and a whole bunch of other stuff–it was too much. Some days I felt like I’d never smile again. I found a note in my phone just now from almost exactly six months ago that reads:
Tonight everything is pushing in on me. I’m stressed about school (yes, already–I will never understand college algebra). I don’t feel worthy. I’m upset with myself that I want people to view me a certain way. I have so much stupid pride. I want new friends, but I don’t want to lose my old ones. Well–most of them. I feel despairing that I will ever make a difference in this world or do anything of value. Most of all, I am so very very physically tired and weak and weary and sick of being sick.
Everyone has bad days and everyone has times where they feel like this, but I had a lot of days like this. I can’t pinpoint an exact moment, and I can’t tell you how. I just know that sometime last September-ish, this depression went away. Not completely, of course; I still feel it coming on occasionally. Just writing about it puts me in a not-great mood because I remember how awful it was. But now, it’s once every few months instead of once every few days. And when I do feel it coming on, I pray. I saturate myself in Scripture. I simply don’t let myself fall prey to those thoughts anymore. I’m still sick–yesterday was my 18th birthday and I spent the morning in bed feeling awful. Yes, I did throw myself a brief pity party, but then I got over it and had a nice day. The last few months, I’ve been so grateful for my life. My word for 2017 is “serve,” and I think that’s something that really helps: focusing on others. I have a Post-it note on my bedroom door that reads: 1) God 2) Others 3) You.
I wasn’t really planning on ever sharing this–I don’t particularly want to hit publish on this post–but tonight a friend and I were having a casual conversation over text that suddenly got much deeper. I mentioned that I was depressed and scared and weary last year. She said that because she had experienced similar periods of depression before, she could tell I wasn’t okay. She said she was praying hard for me, and that made me stop in my tracks and just stare at my phone as tears came into my eyes. Somebody noticed. Somebody knew. Somebody cared.
So here’s my point: if you feel like you’re alone tonight, you’re not. If you think nobody cares, you’re wrong. If you’re hearing lies in your head that you have no value or no worth or that this life isn’t worth living, that’s what they are–LIES. You are not alone. Somebody always cares. You have infinite value and worth because you are a child of the King. Because of Him, this life is worth living. If you need a friend, please hit up my Contact Me page. I feel like someone needed to read this tonight, so even though I don’t want to, I’m going to click “publish.” I hope that someone was you.
What a month it’s been! To kick things off, our best friends from Alabama were in town and they stayed the night with us, which was so fun. I turned 18 on the 11th (a Saturday). I felt really awful all day, but my mom and I saw La La Land (FINALLY) and my brother made me a really great dinner and my friends were all super sweet and thoughtful.
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Homework was manageable (lol except for the history exam that I thought was a week later than it actually was) and I was consistently productive–yay! Physically, things were up and down, but I did get in some good workouts. There was lots of hysterical laughter at dinner with my family each night; we visited North Greenville University, which was AMAZING (I can’t stop thinking about how much I liked it); and I lost my driver’s license and didn’t go anywhere for half the month. Ha. I went to a cute little town square with some new friends for a photoshoot. I’m completely in love with the way the pictures came out–if you live near me and you need photos done, Sally is your girl.
My best friend Hannah slept over; we played board games, watched Harry Potter, went to Barnes and Noble, and SAW NEWSIES.
It’s been a theater kind of a month–lots of Newsies and Dear Evan Hansen and Wicked and In The Heights and other showtunes playing, and getting a bunch of stuff ready for a talent show and an audition next month.
Writing: I worked on Angelica a whole bunch–it’s currently at about 16,300 words. I also finished up a seven thousand-word Harry Potter fanfic for Hannah’s birthday gift, which was so fun! I submitted to three magazines, entered four contests, wrote a personal essay on Alzheimer’s for a scholarship competition, and had two devotional-type articles published here and here.
Grateful for: I’m grateful for the chance to get a Christian education–one of my (many) graded assignments this month was to write a paper on how to use mass media to evangelize to Hindus, and I think that’s cool. I’m grateful for my friends–I wrote letters for Valentine’s Day to 25-ish friends and little girls at church listing the things I like about them, and I have some really great friends! I’m grateful for sitting on the trampoline in 70 degree weather watching my 7-year-old perform songs from Moana for me (all I could think was LIN but she wouldn’t get that). I’m grateful for Harry Potter fanfics at writing group, and for evenings with my brother taking his friends home from baseball practice and then spontaneously making brownies and dancing around the kitchen, and for intense games of Whiffleball on a dark basketball court and for driving around at night listening to Lindsey Stirling with Brooke and for playing Boxcar Children with friends. The month ended with the worst anxiety attack I’ve had in a while, but the rest was pretty great.
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What did you do this month? What are you reading/writing/listening to/grateful for?
Guess what: it’s that time of month! Since January’s recap was getting crazy long, I stole Hanne’s idea of splitting it into two parts. Today’s is my personal favorite: everything I’ve been listening to and reading and writing (including excerpts!!). Let’s get started!
Writing:I wrote an article and submitted it to History Today magazine; they promptly rejected it #writerlife. I queried the editor of a pet magazine with an article idea. I submitted a humorous piece on gluten-free eating that I wrote last fall to the Columbia College Young Authors Writing Competition. I had a devotional published called “Persevering Through Pain.” I edited a short story (working title Denny & Curtis) that I wrote last month. I submitted my baby Mazarine Jupiters to the New Yorker AND SCREAMED because, HELLO–it’s the New Yorker. If you need me, I’ll be on pins and needles for the next three months. I’m now in the middle of a fantasy story for a contest, and a secret project, and a dystopian story titled Angelica. Here’s the synopsis of Angelica because I’m completely in love with it:
Kris doesn’t care anything about politics. All she ever wanted was for her father to get away from his high-pressure job as the king’s advisor and spend time with her. But when the king is assassinated, Kris’s father contacts her for the first time in months: she’s the only one who can bring Angelica, the king’s daughter and the heir to the throne, through the city and around the rebel strongholds. If she’s caught, the rebels will kill them all. Throw a handsome, sarcastic, and infuriating boy named Jack into mix and Kris doesn’t know what to do—especially when she begins to admit to herself the true extent of her feelings for him and for Angelica. And when Jack drops a truth bomb on Kris about the kind of man her father really is, things just get worse. Can they make it through the city to the palace, or will they die trying?
I also wrote a 7,000-word story titled “Shatter Me” that I plotted on New Year’s Eve in-between eating chocolate fondue and tangoing in the kitchen with Joshua and playing Nertz. I finished my first draft about a week later (and I basically turned down all my social obligations that week in favor of holing up in my room with the laptop and my two cinnamon rolls of protagonists. Again, #writerlife). It’s a story about the night sky and falling in love and being shattered and then put back together more beautifully by the greatest Potter and I’m just OBSESSED with it. The inspiration for it came from so many beautiful places, and it was amazing to write. See exclusive excerpts below (warning, they’re unedited):
“I can’t lose anyone else,” he whispered.
“You have me until every last star in the galaxy dies.”
She looked at him carefully. Then she smiled. The waves folded softly on the sand and a dog barked in the distant balmy air and light poured from tiny holes far above them. A sky full of stars and he was staring at her.
He passed a hand over his face, roughly. “I was just surviving. And then I came out here and you made me feel alive. You make me feel like I’m not shattered. Like I’m worth something.”
“Aren’t we all shattered?” she said. “Every person who lives under these billions of stars… we’re all shattered, Rhett. But we can be put back together. Maybe more beautifully than ever before.”
*squeals* The first draft was all blissful brilliance, but when I start editing it, I’m sure I’ll come across all kinds of holes. Just let me have my fantasy for now–okay?
Grateful for:Going to dinner with Anna. Listening to music in the car with Joshua. Vanilla EOS lip balm. Smoothies made with almond milk and frozen strawberries. New (to me) Keds. Spontaneously going to dinner with Cari. Sitting on the couch with my seven-year-old, the light outside the window growing dim, and hearing her say over and over, “Miss Hailey, look, I want to show you something.” A little girl at church telling me she named one of her dolls after me. My Pinterest “aesthetic” board (see grid below–I’m kind of proud). Quiet Sunday afternoons spent planning out my week. Getting a special letter in the mail. The band This Hope playing at my church. Conversations with my dad about how to write Christian fiction. Seeing a friend who never fails to make me laugh so hysterically my cheeks hurt. Talking fandoms with Lydia.
Welcome to part II of January: Month in Review! What a crazy month it’s been. I went back to marine biology on January third, back to my nanny job on the fourth, and back to alll of my classes on the ninth. I’m taking world history, world religions, and Spanish II online at Truett-McConnell University; history is hard, Spanish is easy, and religions is in-between. Although it was a bit of a culture shock going back to school (after a month off, I’d managed to forget how heavy the homework loads can get), I’m really enjoying all three of them!
The first weekend in January we had zero plans, which was good because we ended up being snowed in! We got about two inches of icy snow. Friday I went to work (my nanny job) early, and we made S’mores and read books by the fire. It started snowing that evening (I went outside alone at 10 pm and twirled around and grinned stupidly at the sky because I’m from the South, so I think snow is magical), and Saturday was spent with all four members of my family sledding, eating pie, watching Expedition Unknown, and reading lots of books. Church was canceled on Sunday and public school was canceled on Monday.
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The following weekend I went to a softball camp at Covenant College, which was my dream college for a couple of years because of their majors and location and the fact that the coach was recruiting me (I found out soon after the camp that I won’t be able to attend Covenant). It was perfect weather, and so much fun meeting girls from all over the Southeast who are just as passionate about the sport as I am. We started the morning with defense drills; I got in two hours’ worth of hard work in the outfield before I caught a throw weirdly and my thumb started really hurting (I tore a ligament in my right thumb and had a big reconstructive surgery about a year and a half ago). Reluctantly, I decided to sit out the rest of the day. I went to lunch with some of the current Covenant players and then cheered for the other campers during the scrimmage. Finally, I went on a campus tour with my family. We got home around nine pm (and we’d left at seven that morning–#softballlife). I had a huge headache, could barely stay awake, was worried I’d torn the ligament again and I’d miss my last season of travel ball, and my leg muscles were so sore I could hardly walk–but it was still a great experience!!
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The third weekend in January I spent at a statewide music conference called ReelFest with my youth choir. Many choirs come together and have less than twenty-four hours to learn and then perform five pieces of difficult new music (click here to hear one). It was so much fun meeting kids from all over the state, hearing all the vocal and instrumental talent, and sharing a hotel room with two of my best friends.
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Finally, last Friday my friend Brooke slept over at my house (she convinced me to watch The Fault in our Stars and my life is ruined now); then on Saturday I took her back to her house, where her mom had planned her a surprise birthday party. We actually pulled it off!! Today is Brooke’s sixteenth birthday, so Cari and I secretly drove to her house at eight AM, made French toast in her kitchen, and then woke her up and basically acted like the obnoxious friends that we are. Fun times.
What else happened this month? Joshua and I played tennis and basketball. My dad and I went for carne asada and discussed theology, then saw Hidden Figures (10/10 would recommend). I ate at Panera a lot with various friends, family, and by myself (is there such a thing as a spirit restaurant? Because Panera is mine). I went to writing group once, and honor society just once, and church a whole bunch of times. I ordered a Ravenclaw Quidditch sweater from Etsy and I LOVE IT. There is no such thing as being too obsessed with Harry Potter, okay? NO SUCH THING.
My head hasn’t stopped spinning this entire month! January was so crazy busy. Physically, I felt pretty awful, even though I took a short break from softball and working out. But with the help of a stricter diet, lots of Ibuprofen, and going to bed earlier, I think I’m going to make it. There were some disappointments this month and a few periods of anxiety, but reading back over this blog post makes me grateful for my life. February, let’s gooo!
What fun and exciting things did you do this month? I want to hear! If you missed part I of my month in review, make sure to check it out here.
Like many of you who are reading this, I’m a student. I think in terms of semesters, and I spend a large portion of my life surfing Pinterest and stressing about all the studying I should be doing. I’m currently a high school senior taking three classes online at a local college and one class at home. Over my long and illustrious school career (ha), I’ve discovered a few things that make studying easier–especially studying at home for online classes. Keep reading to find them out!
1. Get dressed!
Homeschoolers, we’ve all been there: we get up, eat breakfast, and then go right back to bed with a big stack of textbooks. The next thing we know, it’s after lunch and we haven’t showered or gotten dressed. Although I understand the temptation–especially in the winter–of cozy pajamas and fuzzy socks, I’ve tried to stop letting myself fall prey to it every. single. day. I get my workout in during the morning so that I can go ahead and shower and get ready. Something about putting on jeans and fixing my hair just helps my overall mindset and puts me into gear to get some work done.
2. Homework schedule: specific + realistic.
On Sunday afternoons, I grab my planner and write out all my assignments for the week. Everything is typically due the following Sunday at midnight, so my personal goal is to have everything done by Friday evening. That way, I have a buffer of a couple of days that I can use to wrap up loose ends that I didn’t get done, or else review everything I learned that week. Last semester, I would write down way too many items every day and then end up with only half of them checked off, which is not a great feeling at the end of the day. So this semester, I’m trying to look more closely at each assignment before I begin and make a realistic estimate of how long I think it will take. It also helps me to write down something specific–if I just write “marine biology,” I tend to interpret that as “skim a few pages and you’re good” when I actually sit down to do the work. So instead, I’ll say something like “read and take notes on pages 330-345; study vocabulary on Quizlet for 15 minutes.” Which brings me to my next point.
3. Quizlet app.
I used Quizlet briefly during sophomore chemistry, and I wasn’t really impressed; it didn’t help me learn what I needed to learn. But maybe that’s just because chemistry was not my thing, because I recently re-discovered Quizlet and I’ve been loving it! Apparently, Quizlet has an app for Apple (I think for Android as well). I deleted Instagram and Pinterest off my phone yesterday in the hopes that when I pick up my phone, I’ll do something productive (Quizlet or Duolingo) instead of wasting time on social media (but let’s be real–I’ll probably end up re-downloading Pinterest in a week or two).
4. Match your music to your material.
I’m one of those people that can’t study without music, and I spend way too long creating a playlist before I ever crack open my textbook. I’d long been in the habit of listening to Aventura while I studied Spanish–so many memories–but it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I thought about applying this concept to other subjects. In world history, we just finished a couple of weeks on France–the War of the Three Henrys, Louis XIV, Versailles, etc. As I was reading, answering questions, and writing papers, I looked up French music from the 1600’s and listened to that. This week in world religions, we’re studying Judaism–which I’ve always been fascinated by–and I’ve been listening to Jewish folk music while I study. Something about that distinctive violin/flute/Middle Eastern percussion sound and the Yiddish words just helps the history of the Jewish religion sink into my mind better.
What did I leave out? How do you study? Leave your own tips in the comments!
Good morning everybody and happy Wednesday. I just put on Apple Blossom and Lavender lotion, I’m listening to City of Stars (there has never been a more perfect piece of music written), and I’m about to write a paper on Versailles, so it’s a pretty good day around here so far.
This is a quick PSA that I had a devotional called “Persevering through Pain” published on the life.com and you can check it out here. It’s pretty funny, actually; I wrote this article last November/December-ish. At that time, I had no clue that last weekend would happen. I guess I should go read it again myself. Thanks to everyone for the support and encouragement, by the way–I have a lot more peace now.
Also, because I kept forgetting to post it during Blogmas, here is Conversations: Episode 3.
Joshua: “When I grow up I’m going to name my child Bonzo so I can say, ‘Bedtime for Bonzo!'” Mom: “You can say it anyway.” Me: “No, no you can’t.”
Joshua: “YAAAA! That’s my battle cry. Don’t worry, I shot all the bad guys in the bedroom.”
Mom: “I’m not a fisherman.”
Joshua: “I hate studying. It takes you away from us, far far away until you’re just a mere speck on the horizon.”
Mom to me: “Nine o clock at night is not a good time to have a notebook emergency. You always need a new notebook at the most inopportune times.”
Me: “Joshua, you’re a Hufflepuff, and if anyone ever tries to tell you Hufflepuffs are miscellaneous–don’t listen to them. You are not their leftovers.” Joshua: “Of course not. I eat all my food.”
Me (talking to myself and quoting from a kids’ movie I used to like): “Roses are red. Violets are blue. You’re the loser girl, and no one likes you!” (I promise it has a good message haha) Joshua (appearing out of nowhere and highly offended): “GOD LIKES ME!”
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you probably know that I love softball. If you’re new–hi, welcome, and guess what? I love softball. My softball journey is long and complicated and beautiful, but here’s the Cliffnotes version: I fell in love with softball when I was fifteen (I’m almost eighteen now, for some perspective). I had never played an organized sport before, but I worked super hard every day and got my skills from zero to being able to hold my own with girls who had played travel ball for years. I played two seasons of rec ball, got hurt/coached 8U/decided that I was meant to be a missionary in the US working with kids through sports after college (go here for more on this), and then played two seasons of travel ball last year with a metabolic disease that’s like a cross between asthma and mono–all the while planning to play ball in college and then, post-college, build a ministry through coaching. Now I’m here, January 2017, facing my third and last season of travel ball, and I’m injured again: I caught a ball weirdly (right on the spot on my thumb where I had surgery in 2015) at a camp in Tennessee last weekend. I won’t know until Thursday whether I re-tore the ligament that I tore a year and a half ago–which would mean surgery with a six-month recovery time–damaged it, or just bruised it.
I think that deep down I’ve known for a while, even before I ended up in the dugout with ice for the rest of the day on Saturday, that I’m not healthy enough to play softball in college. But I didn’t want to admit it; I couldn’t imagine being at college and watching the softball team walk by on their way to practice and know that I wasn’t part of it. So I kept pushing myself, killing myself trying to play, because I just couldn’t let go of that dream. It finally sunk in this weekend that my softball playing career is about to end, and that makes me so depressed, because it was not long enough.
See, before I injured myself again on Saturday, I was holding my own. The other girls at the camp play big tournaments every weekend; they fly to California in the summer to play at PGF Nationals. I play two or three tournaments a season, and none of them are further than two hours away from my home. Those other girls have been playing since they were little; I’ve been playing since I was fifteen. They all appeared perfectly healthy; often I can’t breathe, walk, or stay awake. And I was still just about as good as them. And I feel like life isn’t fair, because I know I could play college ball if I was healthy.
The field is narrowing. Over the last few years, I’ve been through so many different scenarios in my head, but it’s time to make a decision and this is the reality: I’ve been accepted to three colleges. One of them is very interested in me softball-wise, but for various reasons, I probably wouldn’t have been able to attend there even if I was healthy; the other two coaches, despite my best efforts, don’t seem to know I exist. I’ve considered volunteering as a team manager or something, but am I even healthy enough for that? I think it will be all I can do to stay awake enough to study for class.
Is He pushing me harder towards coaching? I love coaching, but I also love playing. I think it’s still a struggle of identity, a lot; I want people to perceive me as an athlete. But overall, I honestly just LOVE playing softball. I’m tired and mad and sad and feel like I can’t catch a break. I don’t know what’s happening and I really hope that I can look back at this one day and see His hand through it all. One of my dreams is being destroyed. I just need faith that He has something even better coming.
I thought I’d have an amazing testimony to tell little softball players one day: I started playing when I was fifteen, and I was injured, and I never had any private lessons, and I still played college ball–you can do it, too! And I still think I’ll have an amazing testimony to tell little girls, and everyone, but maybe it will sound more like this: sometimes God wrecks your dreams and replaces them with His own. It’s confusing and scary and sad, but the end result turns out better than anything you could’ve ever dreamed. Have faith.
It was probably two years ago now that I wrote my youth minister (at the time) an email asking about college sports–he was a high school athlete and is still passionate about sports. I was really just asking if he had any recruiting tips, but his answer was much deeper. I’m glad, because it’s is something I’ve gone back to time and time again–in particular, the line that’s typed in bold.
If this is the Lord’s calling on your life I’m certain He’ll provide opportunities for you to advance your career, but if it isn’t I pray that the Lord opens and closes doors for you. I’ve learned a lot, but one thing is certain: we are only truly at peace doing what God has called us to do. Anything else just fails to offer the same peace… You’re a child of God, so either you will be blessed to be a part of the game you love for the rest of your life or you’ll be blessed to be part of something else. Either way I would continue to pursue and enjoy the game you love with the right perspective.
So what happens now? First, I’m going to kill my last season of travel ball (hopefully–if my hand is okay). Then maybe I’ll minor in sports administration, or be a team manager for my college’s softball team, or maybe I’ll take a break for a few years and just throw in the backyard with my brother when I come home in the summer and at Christmas. And then I’m going to start my career as a coach in earnest, and I can’t wait. It will be amazing; it will.
I’m grieving. I’m coming to terms with the fact that my dream of playing college ball is probably not going to come true. But maybe that means it was just that, all along–my dream. Not His dream for me. Maybe all this time–these last three years of getting up at five AM to work out and watching softball games on Youtube every day and posting countdowns to tournament days on my bedroom door–I’ve been working towards something completely different and I just didn’t know it yet. Maybe this isn’t the end–maybe it’s just the beginning.