crazywriterTaxes, leather briefcase, slurping coffee grounds out of a faded travel mug. Bitchy bosses and long meetings. Cubicles. A framed picture of the family propped up next to a bowl of peppermints. Working 12-hour days and coming home grumpy. Trying to remember anniversaries. Signing forms, paying bills, waiting for Friday to come around. Armchair with food crumbs and Kool-Aid stains. Listening to screeching violin practicing after an annoying day at the office. Trying to get on the treadmill every once in a while. Weight Watchers frozen dinners. Reluctantly giving up a few minutes of peace and quiet for a neighborhood barbecue.

Minivan with a “I love my honor student” bumper sticker, corny “Parent MVP” tee shirt from the middle daughter’s elementary school band fundraiser. PTA meetings, community bake sales, watching the little one’s painfully terrible soccer games. Helping the oldest settle into his first day of middle school. Getting concerned calls from English teachers–”your son’s poetry was distressing.” Cooking soupy casseroles, staying up late finishing laundry, phone ringing constantly. Homeowner’s association, chit-chat with the neighbors. Mopping up vomit, trips to the doctor, band-aids, tissues, cough syrup.



Would I Give It Up?

crazywriterHow much would I give up in order to glorify God?

This is the question I’ve been wondering about. All throughout the summer, I will be destroying my comfort zone. No, not just leaving it–but destroying it. If I am at the bank of a creek, and these next few months are about using stepping stones to get across, the stepping stones are becoming smaller and further apart. I fear I will fall in.

It started with VBS. Working directly with children. That was uncomfortable, but I did it. I got through one week, and I will get through the others. I’m not terrible with kids, as I previously thought. I gave up some of my comfort to help glorify God. Next is camp. I’ll be working at an overnight camp in August. That’s unnerving for me. I won’t have the luxury of my own bed after a long day like I can have after the few hours I work at VBS.

Finally, the mission trip. I’ll be departing on Sunday for five days. I might just bag out on this one. I’ll be so out of my element that I’m not sure I’ll be able to take it. Why:
First off, none of my closest friends were able to come. Even within my own youth group, I’ll be with people I don’t know as well. In addition, we’ll be working with other youth groups. That’s not something I’ve done on the previous four times I’ve been on a mission trip. We’re even going to a completely different place this time–so I’m completely clueless! Even worse, we’ll have to be sharing quarters with other youth groups because of space. There will be no AC. We have to bring bathing suits, because the showers won’t have stalls. All of this combined is terribly overwhelming for me. I feel like I’ll be lost. Less familiarity. Fewer amenities. Less privacy.

Allow me to go on a tangent. My privacy is actually important to me. People closest to me tend to overlook this. Because around my most cherished friends, I’m exuberant. Lively, talkative, full of ideas. I guess they assume I’m always like that. But what they don’t understand is that after being with them, I can go home and sit on the corner of my couch with my computer. What they don’t understand is that being with them is the exception to the rule. I’m not exuberant around those not close to me. I’m not “illumined” by those not close to me. On this trip, I’m going to be surrounded by new people, new places, and new tasks. I’ll need my space to get away from it all, especially in such a scary and exhausting situation, but I don’t think I can get that there. Continue reading


Final Marks

crazywriterToday, I walked out of my high school for the last time as a sophomore. Usually, I slip out a side exit to walk home more quickly, but I left through the main door today. For the drama. I will never forget how it felt to thrust my hands against that door, push it open, walk into the thick summer heat. I will never forget how it felt to walk by the rocks at the front of the school, intentionally between the second and third smallest. I will never forget stopping, looking back on the campus, and sprinting back to my house. I will never forget this past year.

As a freshman, I received straight A’s. I got good grades, put forth my (sort of) best effort, and did what I was told. I generated work like a factory. That’s what most students wish for–those high percentages necessary to get into a good school. I did not achieve those high percentages this year. My grades weren’t God-awful–I passed all my classes with better than D’s–but they weren’t anything to write home about, and I just wasn’t the student I once was. In fact, if my freshman self could have met my sophomore self, she would have been shocked. How dare I miss half my homework assignments? How dare I drag myself into school ten minutes late every morning? How dare I doze off during my first classes? She would have been horrified.

Maybe it’s true. I have been a bit horrific. A lazy, tardy, woolgathering slob with a slight disregard for mindless authority. But in letting myself go, I lit up a whole new part of me that I thought was only drenched wood. On required reflections, I turned in the truth. I went against the grain. I voiced my opinions and let my wittiness shine through. I was honest and open, with genuineness gracing everything I wrote. I made impromptu motivational speeches to my class. I went out of my way to uplift and inspire. When I read through all my yearbook signatures this evening, I began to tear up. The blank pages were covered not in scrawled have-a-great-summers, but in paragraphs. Paragraphs thanking me for my optimism, creativity, and loving personality. Paragraphs written by students, telling me that I have made a difference in their life and changed their worldview. Paragraphs written by teachers, telling me that I have inspired them. Paragraphs reminding me of my own worth and value. Paragraphs thanking me for being me.

I have done something this year, something far more important than my homework. I have done what seemed impossible before. When I open my yearbook and see those beautiful paragraphs, when I reflect on the positive imprints I have made on the hearts of others–I I realize that those are my final marks.

Those are the marks that count.


Another Blissful Peak

crazywriterI looked up at the night sky and began to cry with joy. It was a perfect evening, dark and mildly chilly. God was with me. I know because I felt him. My mind was completely at peace, free of worry or regret. For one rare evening, I lived completely in the moment. I felt the night surround me, clearing my mind. No past reflections. No future daydreams. Just that one, delicious slice of here-and-now.

I had been living so wistfully in the sweet past. Constantly dancing around in my memory, passively wishing that those moments would once again become reality. I had given up seeing the future as full of even better possibilities. To me, the peak of my life had already come and gone. But on that one evening, that one beautiful evening, my eyes were finally opened to the blessings lying before me. I finally fell all the way in love with my life as it is right now. I realized that I stand upon another blissful peak. It is different from the one I stood upon before, but of course, because nothing is ever exactly the same twice. But this peak is no lower. The view is not any less gorgeous. Different does not mean inferior.

I am proud of myself. I am calmer and more contented than I was six months ago. I feel less insecure. I am less childish, but still just as childlike. It’s as if all the troubles I endured have sanded me down into a finer, softer work of art. Finally, truly, I feel like those troubles have paid off and subsided.

It is beautiful.


Things Go Stale

crazywriterBread. Water. Things become stale over time.  There’s science to back that up–chemical reactions and such. But science can’t explain everything. It can’t explain the gradual deterioration of non-material things.

Take a marriage, for instance. Obviously, I know nothing about it firsthand, but I can make assumptions. Everything starts out wonderfully. Holding hands on long, moonlit walks. Bringing home roses for no reason. Going on drives to nowhere. Hugging on the couch and sharing popcorn while watching a stupid movie. Sex. Laughing at each other’s dumb jokes. Surprise kisses. Somehow, as time wears on, things become like old bread. There’s no more affection or desire. They stop trying to win each other’s hearts; instead, they just bitch about the last piece of meatloaf and how much their jobs suck.

School is another example; this one I can attest to. At the beginning of the year, everything is in order. Pencils are lined up, folders are shiny, homework is turned in right on time. Then things go stale. Papers are shoved at the bottom of backpacks. Every due date is missed. Pencils are broken and collected from the floor. The motivation is gone.

Another–writing stories. At the beginning, inspiration is plentiful. Fingers race across the keyboard until late in the night. Plot lines lie just a daydream away. Characters come alive. Then things go stale. The ideas wither away. Characters breathe their last. Sleep comes quicker. Pages of writing sit in a dusty notebook or a never-used folder on a desktop.

Everything good seems to spoil. Why? Why can’t we hold on to good things? Why is everything so fleeting? It all slips away, and there’s no chemical equation to explain it. All beautiful things just crumble to dust, and there’s nothing we can really do…

is there?


Just Strangers

crazywriterI lied on a sloping hill and stared up at a dark, starless sky. A few yards up the hill was a large soccer field. Those few yards and a fence were the only things separating me from that field, and thus the players on it. As I listened to the cheering and the blowing of the whistle, I drifted off into a world of speculation. I went home with each of those soccer players. One boy loved orange Gatorade and relaxing in denim bean bag chairs. His parents were divorced. Another had Batman posters in his room, because he loved comic books. Every time he played in a game, he always had a nagging thought that he just wasn’t good enough.

I didn’t want to be on that hill anymore. I wanted to be on the other side of the fence, in the bleachers, under the blinding stadium lights. I wanted to be drinking orange Gatorade and reading Batman comics. I wanted to look into the eyes of each one of those players and tell them that yes, they are enough. I wanted to meet their families, to understand to their hurts, to know them deeply and personally. My heart was filled with loneliness and longing. In an hour, those players would be gone. Back to their denim bean bag chairs. Back to their posters. I would never be on the other side of the fence with them. I would never be able to unravel their needs and speak life into them. They would forever be just soccer players, just faces. Forever strangers, up the hill and behind the fence.


Still So Loved

crazywriterMy name is Abigail, and I am a deeply flawed individual. I am self-absorbed. Too often, I put myself before others and become oblivious to anything other than my own thoughts. I am lazy. I’m too preoccupied to complete my tasks. I shirk my duties. I am a hypocrite. There are times when I catch myself in prejudice. I claim to be tolerant, but that isn’t always so. I am insecure. Many times, I rely on others for validation. I am neglectful of my relationship with God. I become caught up in my pursuits, and I forget to pray or read my Bible. I am a frequent sinner. I am and have been greedy, gluttonous, envious, lustful, wrathful, slothful, and prideful. I have fallen short of the glory of God.

I am Abigail, a deeply flawed individual. Deeply flawed, and deeply loved.

Yes, I am selfish, but I have been granted mercy. Yes, I am lazy and a hypocrite, but I have been cleansed by Jesus. Yes, I fail to remember my relationship with God, but time and time again, He welcomes me back. Yes, I am a sinner–greedy, gluttonous, envious, lustful, wrathful, slothful, prideful–but I am made new in God, and nothing in the world can take that away. I’m a sinner, but I am accepted.

I am still so loved.


Speaking, Writing, and “The Little Switch”

crazywriterI was always a writer. Speaking wasn’t easy for me, especially in front of other people. I stumbled over my words and became very awkward. Writing allowed me to truly be free with my thoughts and opinions, mull over what I was going to say, and take some time to think everything over. I quote myself from December 2013:

“I only feel interesting when I’m here behind a screen, where I can think my words over. I’m a writer, not a speaker. Speaking is not for me. So I email, text, blog, IM, pass notes–I don’t say as many silly things that way. And also, I’m just better at it. I can express myself more.”

I never would have expected that to change.

Sometime in September, during a seminar, I spoke up and talked to my classmates about the importance of self-care and self-esteem. It just came out of me, and from a place of inspiration and passion. I did surprisingly well. It affected people deeply. I was thanked for that speech even months afterward. Somehow, that one seminar changed me. I began giving more speeches. I became more vocal about things that matter to me. When giving presentations, I put my own personal spin on things. That one seminar gave me confidence.

Yes, I am a writer. Most of the time, I’d rather reflect on what I say before saying it. But I can finally also say that yes, I’m a speaker. I’m able to think as I’m talking now. I can “wing it” when I need to. Public speaking fills me with life. It fills me with life because I know that I’m inspiring people. I’m strengthened and empowered. I take every opportunity I can to do this.

Continue reading


Sensitivity – My Gift from God

crazywriterI’m sensitive. I’ve always been that way. When I was little, I cried if you so much as looked at me sideways. I got overwhelmed, overstimulated, too frustrated–the list goes on. That sensitivity can become extremely unhealthy if I don’t actively restrain it. When it gets out of control, I have two (or, usually only two) responses: withdrawal or hell-fire craziness.

The withdrawal is obviously less apparent to others. Something hurts my feelings or overwhelms me, and I hide out in my internal vacation retreat. Except this vacation retreat is actually a garbage dump full of rat feces, shattered car parts, and rotten toothpaste. (Can toothpaste rot?) I’m in this little hole, and I won’t come out. It’s safe and warm and very conducive to sobbing. After a while, I just get more and more withdrawn until nobody actually knows what the hell is going on.

Hell-fire craziness is scarier, but much, much more short-lived. It usually includes screaming, flagrant insults (towards myself), and loud crying. Or, in a more public situation, passive-aggressiveness, subdued rage, and, well, crying. Hell-fire craziness rarely exceeds an hour, but its effects can be quite lasting.

I can, have, and will restrain this sensitivity. Today I had an interesting realization: our unhealthy traits are actually just gifts from God that have been twisted. It’s important that we work on turning them around and restoring them to what God made them to be. Continue reading


Our Lives vs. New Phones

crazywriterYou gently run your fingers across your shiny new iPhone. It’s smooth, unscratched, grease and dirt-free. This is your holy baby, and you will treat it reverently. Nobody can touch this. Somehow, you feel that not even you can touch it.

Do we care more about our phones than our lives?

Think about it. How would you handle a new phone? (Admit it, we’re all a bit overprotective of them–especially at first.) You’d put a case on it to protect it from damage–and to give it your own personal flair! You’d notice every new smudge, scratch, and fleck of dirt. You’d get some great apps, use it, and charge it when it’s low on battery.


Now think about yourself.

Do you take care to protect yourself? Do you express who you are? Are you aware of your needs, quirks, hopes, and fears? Do you spend time cultivating yourself and being the best person you can be? Do you know what drains you and how to revitalize yourself? Chances are, you don’t do all of those things. Actually, none of us do every single one of those things. We’re hard on ourselves. Sometimes in the hustle and bustle, we completely ignore what we need. Self-awareness and introspection take the back seat when there are piles of homework to get done or a stack of bills to be paid. Self-esteem can be difficult to gain or maintain when we feel completely inadequate. And so, we break. We run out of charge. Continue reading