When you mess up.

The past is past. Put it all behind you. Forgive, forget. Move on. It’s a closed issue. Let it go.

These are all ways to say that you can’t spend your time in regret and resentment. I have to say, I try not to screw up. I try to be good. I have a hard admitting if I fail. Not if I’ve done a “little” thing; like said something rude, but it’ll be forgotten by tomorrow, especially if I apologize. (By the way, have you ever had someone say they don’t even know what you’re talking about, or they’d forgotten about it, when you say you’re sorry for something. I get this quite a bit. I think it’s be better to just accept the apology, but that’s not a rule, it’s a suggestion.) But if I have an ongoing problem.

To be honest, I’m one of those people who really doesn’t realize how certain expressions and words can come across. I’m inside my head so much, I tend to know more what I mean, then what other people think I mean. But sometimes I worry about it enough to go the other way, and worry too much about people reading into my words. I know I’m not alone in this problem. So let’s talk.

I’ll just cut right to the heart of the issue, if I may. It’s not about being unable to let go of stuff. It’s about whether you believe you should. When you want to be a good and kind person, it’s easy to pour on the shame when you fail, as a self imposed punishment. I think the problem is two fold: On the one hand, we can’t fix ourselves, so we feel ashamed; on the other hand, we don’t want to let God help us.

It’s like, no matter how much our life sucks, it’s our life, and we should control it. Then we can’t. And we get mad at life for taking control out of our hands. Even though, who on earth told us we could have it in the first place? I know, I’m in favor of the “It’s your life” slogan. But I hope all my readers know that what I mean by that is you’re responsible for how much you do, and don’t do, and your attitude; not that you can fix everything with a little time and effort.

So maybe when I get frustrated that I screwed up, a part of me is just upset that I can’t see it coming every time. And maybe a part of me wants to be perfect, because it seems like I should be. And to be honest, a part of me is also scared that I won’t bounce back if I make the wrong move. How far is too far? How far before I can’t go back? You all know what I’m talking about.

But in the end, the only real way to live is to know you’re flawed, but to believe you can change. And to know that change comes through love, not through shame, effort, or any other medium. Don’t be afraid to say you’re sorry, don’t get down if someone doesn’t accept your apology, just live it out. And get excited when you win a battle. Record your wins and your losses.

If I may end with the lyrics from a song I like, it goes like this:

You know you can’t stay right where you fell. The hardest part is forgiving yourself. So let’s take a walk into today, and don’t let the past get in your way!

Yesterday is history, and history is miles and miles away. So leave it all behind you, let it always remind you of the day, the day that love made history.

Would you believe that you are history in the making? Every choice that you are making; every step that you are taking, every chain that you are breaking; history is in the making. Every word that you are saying; every prayer that you are praying; every chain that  you are making; history is in the making. ( History–Mathew West.)

–Natasha

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Keep calm–it’s almost election time!!

First, ahhhhhh!

Okay, with that out of the way, let’s talk.

I know putting anything political in a post is seen as begging for attention by a lot of people. But believe me, I’m more scared of people reading it than ignoring it. However I’ve been fortunate to receive no hate comments so far and that may continue if I’m lucky.

I have my pick of candidates but I won’t be voting, (I can’t,) so I basically am joining every other underage concerned teen in rolling my eyes half the time, and praying for the adults to make the right choice the other half. I think we ought to get some credit for keeping our sanity this time of year. Okay, that was kind of a joke.

Actually it’s alarming how few of us seem really invested in our country. How many voters vote based off their own research and study of the way this country is meant to run? Don’t most of them just watch the news and figure it out based on that? (Imagine me banging my head on the wall.) But I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt, I think most voters do want the best for the country, but half of us are clearly confused about what that is, I won’t say which half.

Of course the pressure is on, the rest of the world is watching us closely. Even though it’s a popular theme in song lyrics to welcome the attention of the whole world, has anyone ever seriously thought about how terrifying that is? Then we have the fatalists telling us it’s all over, and we (the younger generation) are doomed to pick up the pieces. And the slightly too cheerful folks who think that times have never been better. (Really?) And then there are those who fall in the middle. I think honestly we’re all tired of hearing about change and never seeing it, and hearing about problems but never about them getting any better. I doubt that statistics are a reliable source anyway, problems get better one person at a time, one day at a time, one choice at a time.

The election is a formality, the problems are already there, and until the nation changes, the politics won’t. The real issue you won’t hear about on the news is that people are out of touch with America’s roots. We don’t know what we don’t know. We might all know something about the rights we were given. (Given by who? The government? Or God?) But do we know how those rights are preserved? Or how we decided who deserved them?

I don’t fear the election as much as I fear overall ignorance of the truth. I’ve always thought that a powerful leader is only powerful as long as other people follow them, when people stop following them there’s nothing much they can do anymore.

We need strong-hearted, large-souled, men and women of courage and character. That’s our fix.

So no, I won’t be endorsing a particular candidate, because it’s more important that we stop being selfish, and start thinking about what is best for everyone. That’s how we survive and overcome a crisis, every time. ( And faith is a huge part of that for many.)

This post was suggested by one of my siblings, and I’d been intending to write it anyway, so I hope it was enjoyed. Until next time–Natasha.

The time to be careful

I’m not big on telling people to be overly cautious, I think taking risks is necessary. but personally I’ve realized lately that there is one are in life where you just can’t be too careful. And that is in what you let into your mind.

That probably surprised no one. But I’m serious. Homeschoolers are famously cautious, sheltered, and out of touch with the popular trends. At least I am, I was the kid in youth group who always had to ask what something was that everyone else knew about like it was their life story. Paradoxically, I always knew the answers to bible-related questions, or I’d read the spiritual boo, or heard of the preacher, or whatever. if you know any scenarios like this yo know that basically makes you the smart one who is socially challenged.

Now, I freely admit that over the years I’ve changed, I watch a lot more popular stuff, and I’m familiar with more trends, and that’s fine because I’m not from another planet for crying out loud. But there is a price that comes with it. If you are not a sheltered person than you may never have known the shock of learning for the first time what abortion is. Or the statistics on teen suicide, or sex, or violence. I wasn’t teased about being different till I was 13 at least.  I also didn’t realize that cynicism was a thing, even in my own family, until I was 12 I think. What I’m trying to say is, I’ve actually had a first time for all this stuff, I didn’t grow up being aware of it. And that does have an affect on you.

What it has to do with the mind is pretty clear. I am much more concerned with the state of my inner self than I think I would be if I’d grown up exposed to all these other problems at a young age. I regard how clean my mind is as crucial to how heathy I am as a person. That means that nothing is minor. There is no such thing as a harmless bad idea. There is only the bad stuff you can overlook, and the bad stuff you can’t. But it’s there and it has to be taken into account. This is how I’ve always thought and it was a surprise to me that it’s a pretty rare view of things. It’s funny that the same people who complain about apathy will brush off the need to be careful in what you put into your mind. I mean, do we really think they aren’t connected?

I find everyone usually agrees with me to this point, until I name a specific source that they happen to like, then I generally hear this:

“But I know it’s not real.”

“I’m not like the person who did so and so because they got the idea from a movie.”

“But I like it.”

Of course, more recently, I also get the less defensive and more aggressive claim that I’m just nutty for minding this stuff.

Well, I could be. Certainly if no one cares what’s in their mind , I sound crazy for caring  a lot.

But as soon as I started thinking this way, I immediately had problems with my mind going places I didn’t want it to go. And trying to accept ideas that I strongly disagree with. Nit because I’m any the more convinced they are correct, but because there is social pressure to accept certain beliefs, we all know that. But What if you don’t want to accept them? Why would you weaken yourself?

This is the thing, I don’t go to school or work (yet.) So if I can feel pressured just by media sources and books I read, how much more can the rest of us who are surrounded by other people who don’t believe as we do. I don’t advocate avoiding people who think differently, but I do advocate taking stock of your own thought life.

there are a few good questions to ask yourself.

  1. Have my beliefs changed over the years?
  2. If so, which ones and why?
  3.  And how did they change, was I convinced, did I get a revelation? A moment of clarity? Or was it a slow change because of what everyone around me thought.

I don’t want to sound too preachy. This doesn’t apply just to religion. It can apply to your image, your relationship expectations, your dreams and goals, and you character. And since I care deeply about those things, I have to be concerned with what I feed my mind. And that’s all I’m going to say for now. I’m pushing 800 words as it is.

until next time–Natasha.

 

We all need it

Hey viewers, I was planning another more positive post, but today I heard someone say something that shook me up. I heard someone say they should just kill themselves.

I don’t have much to say about it. But I have felt that way too.

People like me, we get our hopes up, set ourselves these high reaching goals; and imagine what a fulfilling existence would be like…and then we find ourselves stuck in the day to day living.

“Any idiot can survive a crisis, it’s the day to day living that wears you out.” Unknown source

I was never more depressed in my life than in the two years I spent prior to finding God. I don’t mean I never enjoyed myself in that time, or that I didn’t eat, or anything like that; but I lived everyday with the underlying question why I was so miserable.

I am so different now it’s hard to believe it, that part of my life seems so small and shell-like. But I still get reminded of it from time to time. I used to feel sick to my stomach nearly everyday, because I felt that way whenever I was scared or nervous or just plain worrying. I used to be a hypochondriac and feel sick whenever I heard or read about illness. I used to have irrational fears of monsters and other stuff I won’t go into. And those were the small problems. My overall problem was fear. Like Charlie Brown, I was afraid of everything.

Fear has torment. That’s why it makes you depressed. Fear makes you hopeless if it stays too long.

The second time in my life I was depressed was when I’d been a Christian for a year or two, and God just went into hiding. Every believer deals with this sooner or later. And knowing that helped, but for awhile I felt like my faith was pointless.

That experience taught me so much. I learned that faith is not a feeling. Because when you feel bad, even if you believe your religion is based on facts and knowledge, then it looks false. I learned that praising God when you don’t feel like it is sometimes the only thing that brings Him closer, and that’s not for Him, it’s for us, to remember what kind of God we serve. But I also learned that God doesn’t leave, He simply becomes less visible so you have to search deeper and deeper to find him. And that can either make you angry, if you let it; or it can make you stronger.

Maybe I’m alone in this, but I think when God says His ways are higher than our ways, He means that the way he chooses to do things is what it best, even though it makes no sense to us at all. But until we can admit that our ways are the lesser because we are the lesser, we can’t be raised up to see His point of view. That’s why Christians are always talking about going higher than before, and being lifted up. But non-Christians get this concept too when they realize that maturity is a thing, and what it looks like. (And no one is born knowing that.) Maturity is the simplest example of what I’m talking about. It’s the difference between pretending to bake a cake a s a kid, and actually baking one as a young cook (and messing it up probably) and then finally learning how to do it right. At first there is no real difficulty, and no real reward either; then there’s a lot of difficulty and still no reward; then you get to be good at it and the reward is two-fold, the cake and the accomplishment.

But first of all you have to want to. And to want to you have to be hungry. I’ve heard this over and over again. Hunger never gets any easier does it? In fact, it gets harder. But if you learn to understand it, then you can do something about it. Maybe we all wish there were easier ways to achieve the Great things in life. But that is because we are down here, and we need to be higher. (I guess I had plenty to say after all. It’s gotten easier to talk about the rough patches of my life.)

As you all can see, I have no picture perfect existence. I’ve talked a lot about my faith in this post, because I had to, there is just no other way to understand things like this. I got shaken up, and it’s happened before, and it hurts every time. But nothing has taken me out yet, and nothing has to take you out either. My advice if you’re feeling bad is to hold on; play good music; read a good book; chat with a good friend about it; and keep holding on.

Until next time–Natasha

Life as Riley Matthews

It’s no secret that I, Natasha, like the show Girl Meets World. For various reasons. But today I wanted to write about something I thought of after watching the episode “Girl Meets Pluto.”

One of the main characters, Riley, is often described as a goofball who only sees the good in everything. And she wants to believe Pluto is still a planet. Whatever your thoughts might be on that, I can relate to her; I never wanted Pluto to stop being a planet. When I originally learned the Solar System,( via the Magic School bus,) I taught it to my younger sister. It was one of my first teaching experiences; I loved it. And Pluto was still a planet.

Do you see why I still want to think of it as such? Perhaps the fact of the matter is, as I’ve heard pointed out, that it’s ridiculous for us human beings to think we can decide what anything as huge as a planet is. But really, its not about how much we know, or how we can measure stuff, we names thing so we can learn about them and so they mean something to us.

If Pluto is a planet it has more dignity than what it’s called now, an “Ice dwarf.” Ugh. It’s one thing to decide something is grander than you knew at first, like the sun being more central than the earth; but it’s another to decide something is lesser than you thought. The earth is actually more central than we used to think. And I can understand why Riley still wants to believe Pluto is a planet.

I have a lot of Riley in me. I want to see things in a good light. Even if/when I hear hard facts, I wonder if there’s a brighter side that no one knows about. Is there a hidden good? Perhaps that sounds like nonsense to other people. Sometimes I think it is and that I just look for what’s not there. But here’s the thing: I like being this way. From all I’ve observed, in my short life, being pessimistic only makes you miserable, and it means you are always living in fear of bad things happening. I know too many people who tend to think the worst. They aren’t happy. Though “There’s more to life than that–Don’t ask me what.” (Fiddler on the Roof.)

I have to say I’ve been disappointed a lot, and I have my moments of wanting to give up on hoping for the best. But in the end, I can’t, because the day I lose hope, I lose everything. If you have no hope, you won’t see the good that is there, and you won’t expect the good that might happen. (Ever wonder why people who are pessimists are also the most critical?)

I have to have hope even to think anyone might read this post, and more hope to think it might help them out.

One final thought: Hope is not always a feeling. It is a choice. It is choosing not to say that the worst will happen; hope is waking up in the morning and being glad to start the day; hope is doing your work because you know it’ll benefit you in the long run; hope is risking standing up for something because you think it can get better; hope is seeing the political mess around us and believing good things can still happen; hope is turning off the electronics and doing something in the real world; hope is encouraging someone else because it could brighten their day. What fuels all this is love. Hope is the action of love. One of them anyway. Or perhaps it’d be better to say hope is the action of faith. Whatever works for you.

100_4836Okay, that’s all I’m going to say for this post, hope you enjoyed it–Natasha.

A me-centered universe

I’m sure you’ve heard the term me–centered. it means self-centered/selfish. Looking out only for the needs of yourself. And Sometimes we aren’t even aware of this attitude in our selves, I’ve been accused of being self-absorbed simply for taking something too personally or being preoccupied with my own feelings.

I’m just laying this out for context, I don’t actually want to discuss being selfish. I’m more interested in the question: What is the center of everything?

It could be us in that we observe the world from inside ourselves. Everything you take in from around you is regulated by what’s inside you. Air is regulated by your lungs, food by your digestive stem, sound by your ears, and light by you eyes. (Darkness is the absence of light and you don’t need sight to see it.) And I think the good and bad things around you are all processed by your mind, heart, and soul. One could say “Me is the lens I see and feel everything through, therefore me is the center of everything.”

It reminds me of how scientists used to think the earth was the center of the solar system. We saw everything going around the earth after all, the sun and moon both moved across the sky. The planets moved more slowly. It was just logic. Right? Wrong.

Oddly enough, a man named Copernicus came up with a different theory. And years and years later we actually have pictures that prove the earth is not the center of the solar system. Turns out the sun is.

Great for the sun right? But what does it have to do with the subject? Well, in thinking about what to write, I remembered what C. S. Lewis says in the end of his book Perelandra. (The sequel to Out of the Silent Planet.) Lewis basically introduces the idea that the universe is set up for each thing, each creation is made for every other creation, and every other creation is made for every individual thing. Like a puzzle, each piece is part of a bigger picture, but the bigger picture is not complete without that pieces and all the other pieces need it to do their job.

What is so brilliant about this idea is that I can see it all through creation. The ecosystem for one example, animals need plants, plants need animals, our air needs both  oxygen and carbon dioxide which come from plants and animals (and people.) And all that is connected to the water cycle, but I could go on for pages about that. I think I’ve made my point.

You may not be the center of everything, but in a way, everything is set up for your existence. It can be hard to see at first, but think how many things other people do for you on a daily basis that you never thing about. Someone made the car you drive in, the phone you use, the screen you’re reading this off of, someone built the roads you travel on, wrote the books you love, designed the work or school system you’re a part of, grew the food you eat, routed and purified the water you’re drinking, and made the clothes you’re wearing. Maybe you don’t like everything other people have caused in your life, but have you ever realized how much you rely on them to live at all?

Our lives are woven together like a tapestry. You affect way more people than you think. Often in ways that the best detective  couldn’t trace back but if we could look at time from the outside we’d see we had a hand in the most obscure details.

The sun is the center of the solar system, but it’s rays reach out through  the whole space. And I’ve heard that the whole universe as we know is balanced perfectly for life on earth, only on earth, without the rest of the universe the sun would not be able to exist. (Don’t quote me on this I’m not a scientist, I just love it.)

I don’t actually believe anything is the center of the universe, because then you’d have to fir everything else around that thing, I believe instead that everything is overlapping into everything else. I believe God should be not just the center of  my life, but in every part of it.

The fact about centers is that they narrow things down, I prefer things broadened out.

That’s all for this longish post. Until next time–Natasha.

SAMSUNG CSC

Starlight

What I saw on the highway

APATHY…HOPELESS… A few weeks ago I was in the car on the way to church and I noticed some graffiti along the highway. These are two of the words I caught. But there were more, all about the same. And I’m sure if you’ve seen any graffiti you know it’s usually depressing, or downright vulgar, occasionally you get the artistic words that don’t make any sense but whoever painted them seems to think they’re better than cuss words and negativity. What’s interesting is that only a short time after noting those words, I read somewhere (I believe it was another blog) that graffiti can tell us what young people are thinking nowadays.

I’m not sure how true that is, but certainly some angry teens are trying to tell us something. I have known moments where I felt life proclaiming to the world what I was feeling, not because the world could help me, but because I wanted someone to know and to notice.

In retrospect, I know that I had a lack of communication skills as a younger teen. And that it was because I had trust issues. ( We call it cynicism when it’s adults.) Plenty of lonely teens and kids are asking “Who hears? Who cares?” And I still ask those questions sometimes, but now when I ask I have the answer. Doubt is not the question, doubt  is having the answer and then questioning that.

We exist to be loved, and all of us know it deep down. When we feel unloved and don’t know why, we may think we’ve missed it somehow. That at some point in time either we made the wrong move, or someone just decided we  weren’t worth their time, or we were left behind by mistake; and eventually we conclude it is too late, better find something else to live for.

But what else is there? People do everything they do out of love, or need. And they are happy accordingly. It is terribly sad that there are young people out there who feel so unloved that they tell us all that apathy is the way to live, and life is hopeless. I’m not saying it is right or wrong to spray paint on the highway, I’m asking why.

I’ve wondered a lot why no one ever asked me why I was the way I was as an early teen. I think they probably just didn’t know what to ask, And my past is in the past, I’ve moved on. But I didn’t do it on my own. It took a lot of prayer, and I don’t mean the repetitive, religious prayer, but the kind where the tears are streaming and you feel like you’re being crushed under the weight of your pain. (Ever been there?) It sounds bad, and it certainly felt bad, but when you come to grips with your pain, it’s a huge relief.

I’m going to close this with a word of encouragement to anyone who can relate to what I’ve shared. There is hope. Apathy is never the answer because apathy is it’s own kind of hurt. it is better to face the real hurt and get healed. God can do that for you, or other people can help you. But it’s all a matter of opening up. And if there’s no one at all to turn to that’s when I’ve always found God to be my help.

I think that’s enough for all of us for one post–until next time, Natasha

Why are we so opinionated?

I know that people are very opinionated nowadays, that is to say, everyone has always had opinions, but not everyone used to express them constantly. And according to some people we all express our opinions too much. I mean, who really cares what we think?

But hold on a second.

I have never been a person who liked to watch the news, but since we moved I’ve seen it nearly every morning, and it hit me: The media is constantly providing us with stories, facts, products, and ideas; and we sit and give our opinion on each, because, what else are we going to do?

When you think about it, it’s pretty unnatural for us to be as absorbed as we are with other people’s lives who we’ve never met and probably never will. not that it’s bad to like someone you’ve never met; but most of the time all we are doing is commenting on their lives, and what do we really know about them?

The majority of new stories could be filed under the International Gossip Chain category. But we’ve all come to think it’s just normal to hear about things that don’t concern us. (It used to be the news told us about public affairs.) But I’m not here to complain about the news; it’s just a sample. I find that in everyday conversation I run into the same phenomenon, often people have opinions on whatever the subject may be whether they know anything about it or not. (And yes, guilty.) I am not even saying that’s wrong, only that I am amazed at how many different opinions, likes, dislikes,  and impressions about things we can fit into our minds. The thing is, quantity does not equal quality. A lot of the time we form opinions out of ignorance of the full facts, or on something we’ve never experienced for ourselves.

It is true that every voice matter…as long as that voice is saying something of substance. no one is actually entitled to an opinion. No one owns an opinion because it was handed down to them from their forebears, or gets to use an opinion because someone who worked for it gave it to you for free. (I am, as you can tell, using the term entitled literally.) no, get to know things yourself, go out there and find out the truth. Like I pointed out in my previous post Parrot Talk, people should think for themselves. I don’t expect to be taken seriously until I can lay out a well-reasoned position. That said, I believe I’ll sign off for now–Natasha.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

hain category.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The majority of news stories