A Spooktacular Halloween

Is the title totally predictable and not-so-creative? Yeah, but oh well! It’s still kinda cute, I’ve gotta admit. And now I am going do what I said I was gonna do in my last entry. I’m going to reveal my Halloween costume! This year I was….

A UNICORN!

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I noticed that unicorns seemed to be popular among little girls, so I thought, “hmmmm, I’m gonna be a unicorn this year. Now, the wig DID NOT come with the costume, but come on, could I really be a fun, colorful, magical unicorn and NOT have a cool wig? Of course not! So of course I went all out with the wig, the face stickers, and all that fun stuff!

I had a great time sitting outside and handing out candy to the kids. They looked so cute! And one car drove by with the Michael Myers theme song playing and I thought that was really neat! I recognized that song right away, lol.

And now that Halloween is almost over, I gotta get started on NATIONAL NOVEL WRITING MONTH! I already have my novel idea and now I gotta work on writing 50,000 words in a WHOLE MONTH. I am so, so, so excited! It’s going to be so much fun writing this novel. Of course, the story does have a lot of sad moments because it explores things like grief and tragedy, but it also has family, friendship, and self-discovery. I’m looking forward to exploring all of these and seeing how my characters deal with it all.

Last, but definitely not least, yesterday was the one year anniversary of this blog. I have been enjoying it so much and I am very much looking forward to another year of sharing my life and experiences with you all! Hopefully you’ve found something that either inspired you, helped you, made you laugh, or whatever else! Thank you for an awesome first year of paperheartsandstarrynights.

– Brooke

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AS HALLOWEEN APPROACHES…

Y’all, I was trying to think of a good title for this entry and THAT up there is the best I could do. Sorry. Anywaaaaay, I know it’s not Halloween yet, but I can’t wait until October 31st to talk about it! Candy, costumes, scarrrry movies, all that fun stuff! *cue the suspenseful theme music*

First, I may be 25 years old, but in my opinion, you are never to old to put on a costume and hand out candy to the little ones! Yep, that’s my tradition. Pick out an awesome costume (I’m not going to share what I’m doing this year until Halloween, so shhhhhh!!!!), buy a few bags of candy, put ’em in two or three jack ‘o lantern candy carriers (or whatever those things are called), get a comfy chair, and wait for the kiddos to start showing up!

Now, like I said, I won’t be sharing this year’s costume until Halloween, but I can show you one of my PAST costumes.

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I’m a big fan of masks! Especially the sparkly ones. Basically, anything sparkly or fluffy. My costume for this year falls into the FLUFFY category. It’s pretty cute, if I do say so myself 😉

As for candy, I always try to pick a variety. I personally love Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, so obviously I include those in my collection. Oh, and maybe some Hershey’s. And Tootsie Rolls! Can you tell I love chocolate? Hahaha.

Now, even though Halloween hasn’t arrived, I’ve already started watching a few scary movies since October started. I’ll admit, I enjoy the ones that involve ghosts. Here’s a picture of my cat, Pepper, to best describe my reaction when watching scary movies.

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(This was taken last year and he had been to the vet, and they had to shave a little of his fur. Poor Fluffybutt.)

Seriously though, his expression makes for a perfect reaction pic, lol.  He cute, though. He cute.

Anyway, back to scary movies. I’m picky with my scary movies. I REFUSE to watch The Exorcist, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, etc. Like, NOPE. Nope nope nope. Even those are too much for me. *shivers*

But that’s all for now. I’ll reveal my Halloween costume on October 31st! Also, I’m back on Twitter, so follow me @ stcrryniights, especially if you love arts and crafts, inspirational quotes, memes, music, and more!

– Brooke

 

CAST  AWAY 

I gotta stop waiting so long between entries! I mean, I’ll admit that I had a bit of Writer’s Block, though.  BUT I got back that inspiration in time for the one-year-anniversary of this blog, which will be on October 30!  Ahhhhh, that’s awesome! I’d felt inspired to blog for a while and last year, I finally did it. So needless to say, I’m pretty excited.

Now, onto today’s topic.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” –1 Peter 5:7

This is something that I am still working on. Even the small stuff. When something goes wrong, I find it hard to just let it go. Often I will dwell on these things for hours, even a few days. But I want to get better at NOT doing that, because let’s face it, there’s better things to do beside dwelling over small stuff. Just like 1 Peter 5:7 says, cast your anxiety on Him! He cares for you!

For me, I’ve been doing a little self discovery over the past few months, and with the uncertainty came a lot of worry. Would I ever do this? Would I ever do that? Who AM I exactly? Truthfully, I’m still on that journey, even at the age of 25. I’m not as worried about it now, though.  I’m just going with the flow and taking it one day at a time. Normally, I’d say, well, what’s next? I don’t know and I’ll not going to drive myself insane trying to figure it out.  Trust me, it’s exhausting.

And the doubt. Oh, the doubt. I still struggle with that at times too. I wonder if I’m good enough at my job or if I’m good enough to do anything except keep to myself and avoid failure. (Yeah right, like THAT will happen.)

But then I think about that verse again and I am reminded to cast my worries on him, instead of holding onto them, because he cares about me and wants me to have a peaceful mind and a peaceful heart. I often fall short, but I try. I really do. I mean, there is so much in life to ENJOY! It doesn’t have to be anything big either. Even the little things can mean SO VERY MUCH.

Even something as simple as sitting down and working on a new knitting project or planning my novel is special. It allows me to channel my artistic side and create something beautiful. It gives me some quiet time to put the stress of daily life aside and get create. It’s exciting, it’s fun, it’s relaxing!

Then there are the bigger things, like family, friends, and most of all, Jesus. For me, thinking of these things provides me with comfort in the low moments. I am reminded that whatever I am feeling in that moment is temporary, but these other things are forever.

Now, I want to talk to YOU, the reader. Do you have something you are worrying about today? Something that you can’t quite let go of? Well, think about this. When you are moving from one house to another, you likely have a few boxes that are too heavy to carry on your own.  So think of life like one big move, where you are moving from one place to the next. If you are carrying heavy boxes full of worry, it makes it much harder to move to the next point, doesn’t it? Well, cast those boxes of worry onto Jesus. He cares too much to see you try to carry the weight of the world on your own! When those boxes get too heavy, give them to HIM and focus on all the positives as you move to your next point in life. Cast those worries AWAY!

Stay strong, stay focused, and remember that we do not have to travel this journey alone.

– Brooke

Who Am I Now?

The past month has been such a wonderful and exciting adventure for me. Intimidating at first, but goodness, I am loving this new life and this new version of myself. Sometimes glimpses of the old me (anxious, easily frustrated, etc) may creep in, but most of the time, I don’t even recognize myself.

So, who was I before and who am I now? First, let’s go into who I was before. You are looking at a blog written by a girl who has faced depression and anxiety, has questioned if life was even worth living, who sometimes hated herself (her personality, her physical appearance, everything), and more. I had very low self confidence and struggled to deal with my emotions because if anything went wrong, it would really get to me. You’re reading a blog written by a girl who had very little understanding of herself and the world around her, a girl who was afraid to get out there, afraid to do anything outside the bubble she had been in for so long.

Ah, but that’s just the first part of the story! The next part is beautiful and exciting and uplifting and so much more. That was who I was before. Now I am slowly being renewed and I’m finally started becoming the person that I want to be and that God wants to be. I find enjoyment and excitement in life. If something goes a little wrong, I don’t shut down and start crying. I know how to handle my emotions a lot better. I’m stronger. I don’t criticize my physical appearance as much anymore and I have motivation to get in shape. I’m starting to work too! And I’m ready to go out into the world and not be so dependent on others.

Now, as I said in the first paragraph, sometimes the negative things will creep in, mostly my anxiety and tendency to worry. Sometimes I’m afraid of being pulled back into the old way of life, where I stay inside a bubble and let depression and anxiety take over again. So far, I see no signs of that happening and I don’t expect that it will happen. I just sometimes have these tendencies to worry about stuff that hasn’t even happened. This is very rare, though.

In other worlds, I am a brand new person. I feel more confident, more outgoing, more adventurous, more excited about life. And you know what? I have a feeling that things are only going to get better.

— Brooke

Life with the Lifemaker

First of all, has it really been more than a month since I last wrote? *checks calender* Apparently so! But anyway, I have got a WILD story for y’all today. No, I did not do anything stupid. I promise you that. I AM STILL IN ONE PIECE.  Now, I feel like I need to give you some context, because otherwise it’ll be confusing and GOOD LORD I do not wanna confuse y’all. *deep breath*

ANYWAY, I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome when I was eleven, not too long after my mom passed away. I had these ups and downs of being okay and accepting, and at the same time not wanting to accept it. Well, I’ve always been reminded of that diagnosis in some way or another ever since, and hey, it’s exhausting. I just kinda submitted to it and said, “y’know, I’m gonna be like this forever, so whatever.”  I didn’t bother trying to find my individual self and embark on the journey of self discovery that most people have done LONG before age 25.  I literally did not even bother. I cared, of course, I wanted change, but at the same time I was afraid of change. Not to say that I’m not still afraid of change. Trust me, I’ve been going through some BIG changes lately and while very exciting, it’s also scary. Now I’m not talking scary like “Oh my god, I just watched The Exorcist and there are some things that cannot be unseen” kind of scary. No, I’m talking scary like…fear of the unknown. Because I’m taking some major steps in my life that I just kind of….waited for, but never once did I consider taking control and actually DOING something. Not until now, anyway.

But lemme tell ya, Asperger’s isn’t the problem. I’m no longer allowing myself to believe that I’m any different or less capable than anyone else. Ohhhh no, anxiety and depression are what really have sucked the life outta me for years. Sitting in a bathroom and sobbing because something went wrong or you anticipate that something’s going to go wrong? Yeah, that’s….that’s very unpleasant. Having a full blown panic attack is even worse. Literally feeling like you’re choking or you’re going to throw up or pass out. Not fun at all.

And I’ve never really found my individuality.  I didn’t really know who BROOKE is. I do know one thing, (and yes I’m about to speak in third person. It’s for emphasis, and okay, maybe I am convinced that it sounds poetic and that probably made no sense, but *shrug*), Brooke didn’t love herself. Brooke didn’t even like herself. Brooke thought she was disappointing because she has a college degree and hasn’t done anything with it yet. Brooke believed that God does not love her because her thoughts and actions have not always aligned with that of a Christian. Brooke believed that God did not hear her because of those flaws and mistakes. Brooke was frustrated at God because she could not hear him. Brooke was lost. Brooke was afraid. Brooke, in a lot of ways, is still afraid. Brooke wants to strengthen her relationship with God. Brooke wants to feel closer to him than anyone else to the point that if she messes up or thinks the wrong thing, then she won’t feel the need to confess to her family or her friends or desperately try to compensate for the areas in which she has fallen short. When Brooke makes a mistake, she’ll talk to Jesus and ask him to forgive her, and then she will be at peace. She won’t have any hang-ups. She won’t hate herself for falling short. She won’t look at herself as being bad or unworthy of His love.  She will allow herself to receive His love.

NOW we’re done with third person.

Okay, so I went to church today for the first time in a while and lemme tell you something that both excited me and made me go “Uhhhhh….” I was talking with my aunt and uncle Saturday, and we were discussing some things. And we were talking about how you can’t give what you don’t have. I hadn’t allowed myself to receive God’s love, so I wasn’t able to give that love and that joy to other people. There was no light in me for me to shine on others. And here’s where things got intense for me at church today while listening to the pastor, and let me just remind you that this man has not met me, does not know anything about the conversation I had with my family the day BEFORE the service. He said, “you cannot give what you have not received”, basically the EXACT same thing from my conversation the day BEFORE.

SAY WHAT NOW?

No really, that literally went through my mind.

He had never met me, he didn’t know me at all, he hadn’t once heard that conversation I’d previously. I mean, WOW.

It was that moment that I realized that God has been trying to talk to me, He HAS heard me, but I wasn’t listening to HIM. Nothing else was working, so He spoke to me through this pastor. And it wasn’t even just that specific thing (that was the stand-out moment, but still), it was like God had wanted me to be there this Sunday because He had a whole message that He wanted me to hear. That’s just so beautiful. Feeling God’s love on such a high level was different because I’d never felt it like that before, but I’m so happy that I experienced it today and got a fresh start with my faith. I am thanking Jesus Christ for the changes that my heart is going through even at this very moment.

Also, I’m actually going to follow through on my goals and dreams! Not just the ones that I deem “safe” and are within the bubble I put myself in. Today I am popping the bubble! I am going to pursue ALL of my dreams, big and small.  Starting a business, for example. Starting a business has its risks, sure, but should I stop myself from trying? Not today, Satan! I want to write more poetry and eventually publish a book, even though there’s a risk that it won’t be successful. Am I going to just hide my poetry in a journal, away from the world? Not today, Satan! I dream of having friends, and eventually finding love and becoming a wife and mother. Am I going to retreat to a quiet room, away from the outside world? Not today, Satan! I want to follow my dreams and tell anxiety and depression where they can put their tears and panic attacks and breathing difficulties. (By the way, I mean stick it where the sun don’t shine). Am I going to let that anxiety and depression scream “RETREAT, RETREAT, RETREAT” anytime I try to do something outside my comfort zone? NOT TODAY, SATAN!

Does this mean that I don’t still struggle? Do I still have moments where I feel weak and emotion takes over? Yeah. But now I don’t feel ashamed of it. I’m human. Humans have real feelings and that’s okay. I am slowly getting on the right track and that’s all that matters. I wasn’t made to be perfect or to not hurt.

Jesus is the Lifemaker. He created life and when a life is broken, He can repair it. He can renew all that is broken. He can take one’s pain and turn that pain into triumph. I know because I am experiencing that as I write.  I can feel it, and for the first time, I mean it.

— Brooke

Changes (The good kind!)

I haven’t always been totally satisfied with myself or where my life was headed. It was all uncertainty and fear and frustration. I was always criticizing myself, always wondering if things would change for me. Not that my life has been bad! No, not even close! God has blessed me in so many ways. But I suppose I have spent a lot of time wondering if I would find my purpose in life or if I would improve as a person. Because let’s face it, when you spent your early adult years (and even some time before that) with anxiety being rude and keeping you down, it can put, well, a huge damper on things. *cringe* Not fun.

But I am working on some important changes. Small changes, but still important. First of all, I found out a while back that the infamous “freshman fifteen” is a very real thing and truthfully I think I gained a little more than just the freshman fifteen. Not healthy for one’s physical being or their self-image. Over the past few years, I have attempted dieting several times, only to get discouraged and give up. Well, I’m going to fix that this time! I could feel that it was beginning to affect me in negative ways and honestly, who wants to live like that! So today I am going to get back on the right track and actually lose some weight, eat healthier, and get that confidence back!

But while losing weight and improving my health is important to me, it’s not the MOST important. No, I’m talking about faith. As a Christian, it’s so important to read God’s Word and really spend time with Him, but I’ll admit, I haven’t been very good at dedicating time to reading the Bible. Until recently.  I have started reading some Bible verses and writing them down, then picking one of those verses and reading the chapter that it’s from.

And that’s where I get to the next change. The Bible I’ve been reading has an index in the back with specific words (such as grief, anxiety, peace, etc.) and verses that talk about those certain things. Well, yesterday I read about discouragement. I sometimes feel discouraged when things don’t seem to be moving how I want them to. I haven’t found my dream job yet and sometimes it’s easy to start thinking, “it’ll never happen” or “I may fail.” I sometimes get anxious that I won’t really get anywhere in life. This time, however, instead of letting myself become caught up in such negativity, I chose to turn to God.

Galatians 6:9

“Overcoming discouragement brings great blessings.”

That made me really think! Instead of drowning in discouragement, I am choosing to overcome that and trust God to do his will in my life. He knows what my purpose is and I am praying for him to show me what that is.

I’m working to become better in all ways and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me.

Also, I finally crocheted a hat and I am now crocheting a bag. I’m also knitting a blanket, but blankets take a long time and sometimes I need a second project to work on.  So I’m making positive changes in my life, and that also includes learning something new!

— Brooke

I’ll Be In The Garden

 

“And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own.”

In The Garden was played at my grandpa’s funeral last year. He would have loved that because he absolutely loved that song. Well, a couple weeks ago, I was at the Hallmark store and I saw this wooden decor sign that said “If you need me, I’ll be in the garden.” It honestly sounded like something he would say. He always loved gardening and I can imagine that Heaven has A LOT of beautiful gardens. So of course I got the sign and it now sits above the refrigerator. A lovely addition to the home.

Well, today I decided to use this wooden lap desk that we’ve had for years. It has storage and I found something interesting and special. It was one of my grandpa’s journals and he had written a couple of entries inside. One of them was about a trip he, my grandma, and myself had taken and I got to remember the whole trip because he’d made sure to write down the details, including what time we got to our hotel and what we did during the trip.  It was written in his handwriting and it was so special to me because I felt like I was getting to hear his voice again.

Now, like I said, there were only a couple of entries, so other than that, it was mostly blank pages. That’s where I bring the wooden sign back in. That message, I’ll be in the garden inspired me to write a poem from my grandpa’s point of view, and I would like to share it with you.

I’ll Be In The Garden

The thing about it is,

we are just pilgrims 

passing through,

waiting for our time,

for this life is temporary, 

this I know.

 

Breathless, suffering

in a hospital room.

I think it will get better,

or so I thought.

Then there are angels

in the room, they’re calling me

home.

 

I walk through that valley,

joining the ones who came

before me.

I am not afraid.

My lungs open up,

I am free.

I can live again.

 

So please, shed no tears,

this is not the end.

I am more alive

than I have ever been.

Live your best life,

and if you need me,

I’ll be in the garden.

 

He knew that he would not be around forever, but he was not afraid of death. He always used to say “we’re just pilgrims passing through.”  What that means is that this is not our final place. This life? This life here on Earth? It’s temporary. This life isn’t easy either. We face all kinds of challenges, but it’s not going to last forever. In Heaven, there is no pain or suffering. It’s beautiful and wonderful and perfect.

A few months before my grandpa’s death, he was in his hospital room and he talked about hearing someone singing in his head. At the time, I thought that it was strange, because why would he be hearing random singing? After his death, I understood. I believe that those were angels singing and they were preparing him to walk through that valley and meet the Lord and all the people who went before him. Of course I was sad, but I found comfort in knowing that he was no longer suffering. I imagined him walking and running and singing and doing everything he couldn’t do here on Earth. That’s really a beautiful thing, even though it doesn’t seem that way for the ones left behind.

When I saw that wooden sign in the Hallmark store, it immediately made me think of him. I just imagined him walking around one of Heaven’s many gardens and admiring the beauty of it all. It also reminded me that even though I can’t see him, he’s not that far away. He’s more alive than ever, he only traded his earthly body for a better one. He’s doing okay and I know he would want the same for his family, for us to live our best lives and to find comfort in knowing that he’s in a better place.

— Brooke