converstions

 
 

A Letter To My Exchange Student Friends

Dear Exchange Student Friends,
It seems like only yesterday we ran into one another. I remember the first time I met each of you…
Sunny, I met you on the way to Chow. We walked out of our rooms at the same time and realized we were neighbors! Stephanie and I walked down to Chow with you and we talked about Survival Daze. After lunch, we all walked down to the square. You took pictures of everything. But I understood perfectly. You wanted to remember everything. Every smile, every trip, every experience. Then, we invited you to come make sugar cookies and cheesecake brownies with us. That is something I will never forget. Having you there brightened up the whole kitchen. Your name fits you well. You really are a ray of sunshine. I can’t tell you how many times I passed you on the way to class and saw you smile and wave. That always made my day. Getting to know you has been such a pleasure. Thank you for your continual kindness and generosity. You hold a special place in my heart. I am really going to miss you.
Grace, I met you in the Dayroom on our hall. I saw Sunny, and went in to talk. All of you were eating those spicy ramen-noodle-type things (the name escapes me at the moment), and I sat down with you. I tried those noodles for the first time (they were both spicy and incredibly delicious) because of all of you. From that point on, every time you saw me you would wave. The fact that you recognized me and would say hi, even after just briefly meeting me, spoke volumes. You are by far one of the sweetest people I have ever met. I absolutely love talking with you. You speak very eloquently, and your words are always encouraging and uplifting. I admire your compassion for others and your calm, gentle attitude. Keep making a difference in the world, one person at a time. Thank you for friendship. I am going to miss you so much!
Lily, I met you in the Dayroom also. I saw you sitting there by yourself and felt that I should talk to you. And talk we did! You invited your friend to come and talk to me in Spanish because I said I had taken Spanish in high school. It turned into one of the most interesting and hilarious conversations I had all semester. We spent at least an hour or two trying to master the words to “Happy Birthday” in French and Spanish. You make me laugh! I walk away with a smile every time I talk to you. Your enthusiasm is so infectious. I wish I had the kind of exuberance and excitement about everything that you possess. Never let that die. You have the rare ability to make people laugh and smile even when times are tough and stressful. I will miss that next semester.
From laughing in Starbucks until it closed, to taking pictures and dancing at SnowBall, to learning Chinese and Korean- I have so many memories I will never forget. All of you mean so much to me. I refuse to accept that this is good-bye. Someday, our paths will cross again. In the meantime, keep looking at the world in wide-eyed wonder. Never stop taking pictures of what captivates you- whether it be friendship, the sunset, or a perfectly placed cup of coffee. Don’t miss a moment. See the little things and be grateful for them. Laugh, smile, and make friends wherever you go. Love people to the fullest, make memories, and leave a legacy. Know that I will always be here for you.
This isn’t goodbye. It’s more like “to be continued”. I can’t wait for our next adventure! I love you all very much. 
Sincerely, your friend from America,
Mackenzie
Categories: converstions, friendship, people | Leave a comment
 
 

Completions and Complications

I have thoroughly enjoyed writing this blog, and before you go off on me about not writing for a few months, hear me out. I have this class that was a little behind grade-wise in AP U.S. Government and Politics (most of you know where this is headed) but before you go thinking that I’ve failed the class, I want to clarify that we are talking about a perfectionist (me) who “failed”. In other words, I was making a B and my 4.0 average began to slip down the drain. I’m not bitter that I was temporarily grounded from my blog, because I felt the same. Taking an AP class consumes a lot of your time, and like the usual me, I couldn’t get my priorities straight, and so my parents straightened them out for me. You have no idea how glad I am to be back and how glad I am to be able to write about the pieces of my life you missed this past month, and also about all the experiences I will have this summer. It’s going to be epic, just saying.

I titled this “Completions and Complications” because it sums up life for me right now, pretty well. As I have had the chance to read other’s blogs and let them pour into my life, I realized that I enjoy reading blog posts where people are real. Not the fake “I’m doing fine” not the teaching of what they learned about Jesus this past week, but when they sat down and said, look, my life is a mess. I don’t know why you’re reading this, but it’s for a reason. It’s hard for me to write this. It’s deeply painful to sum up what’s going on right now, but healing can be painful and I’m going to write and learn and listen until the very end. Join me if you want to. It inspires me. Because I never for one moment think; “wow, they don’t have it all together” or “their faith must be really weak because they can’t trust him with this”, instead I think, “I want faith like that”. It takes a lot of confidence to put out the things you are struggling with at this season in your life. You suddenly become more vulnerable than you’ve ever been, and it’s scary. Like stepping out on a limb that you’re not sure will hold you up. I’ve made the decision to write like that. I’m stressed. I’m worn out. I’m being pulled in a thousand different directions. I don’t know why you’re reading this, but it’s for a reason. It may be hard for me to write like that. It may be deeply painful. But healing can be painful and I’m going to I’m going to write and learn and listen until the very end. Join me if you want to.

The school year has ended and I cannot believe how many close friends I have made just in this school-year alone. This summer will be difficult to begin, I’m going to miss those dear friends so much, and they will always have a place in my heart. I’m finally beginning feel that I have accomplished something. I still have so much that I have to learn, and so many things that God has to pull out of my life. Just as the school-year ended, he put a pin-point on a fear I had lived with for a long time, and I was able to begin to overcome it. As this summer begins, expect to see shorter posts with more content, for as many days as possible. Thanks for coming on the journey this far, in June my blog will be 6 months old.

Categories: AP Civcs, Change, christianity, communication, converstions, failure, Faith, God, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, learning, life, listening, people, prayer, reality, relationships, School, speech, stress, summer, teens, Uncategorized, vacations, words | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments
 
 

Learning to Listen

I’m a chatterbox. There is the plain truth in black and white. If someone asks me how I am, I’ll tell them. They will hear much more about my life than they ever wanted to. It’s comical really. But I also have a tendency to be a chatterbox to God. I talk and talk and talk about my problems. Why this, why that, I wonder about this, I wonder about that, on and on and on. It’s good to pray. It’s good to talk. But sometimes all the talking drowns out what the other person is trying to say and you miss something important. When my mouth isn’t moving, there is something wrong with me physically. When my heart is talking, there is something wrong with me spiritually.

Why is there something wrong with me spiritually? It’s because I’ve completely ignored what God is trying to tell me. I’ve interrupted and kept talking. “Be still, and know that I am God.” For me, God is trying to tell me in that verse to stop being such a chatterbox and just quiet down and listen. He is God! He holds the entire world and my problems are nothing compared to him. One of the first steps toward having gentle and quiet spirit is to be quiet. Many of my friends are quiet people. That leaves me to do most of the talking. But when me and another friend both like to talk, it creates serious communication issues. You try to talk at the same time and all the words are jumbled together. When you tried to say “my fish is sick” and they tried to say, “I bought some tuna” you wind up with something like “my tuna fish is some stick”; not at all what you were trying to get across. It’s the same thing with God, though with a not nearly as funny outcome.

When you talk so much you can’t hear God, your almost saying “what I have to say is so much more important that what you have to say, therefore you must listen to me before I’ll hear anything from you.” It’s a detrimental spiritual disease called selfishness. It grows in your soul and has to be weeded out by a professional gardener; otherwise, it spreads and you think you are entitled to everything because the world revolves around you and what you want. This is what I’ve done when I needed to listen to God. Because I don’t, I wind up completely and utterly confused and lost. Because I don’t focus on his directions, I lose sight of the way he wants me to walk. Being quiet takes practice; it takes vigorous spiritual exercise to listen. When all you want to do is tell God about your problems, you forget that he is trying to tell you how to fix them. Spiritual chatterboxes don’t make strong Christians; they make confused Christians who have a selfish slant to their lives.

Praying is a wonderful thing. But prayer is a conversation, not a journal you’re keeping. With prayer, you talk to be heard and you talk to be answered. Spiritual talking is almost like a cheat prayer. You just talk to talk and whether anyone responds isn’t your concern. Each trial we face in our lives, is for us to learn from, whether we want to learn or not. The trials build up our faith and the more you learn from it, the stronger you faith becomes. But how much you learn depends on how much you listen.

Categories: Bible, Change, chatterbox, christianity, communication, converstions, encouragement, Faith, garden, God, God, hearing, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Journals, learning, life, listening, love, people, prayer, reality, relationships, selfishness, speech, Thoughts, Trust, words | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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