My first day as an amateur teacher.

This was my first morning as a Sunday school teacher at my local church. I’m a junior in college and went into this thinking, “I’ve been learning about how to be a teacher for a little while now, I got this”. Really, you don’t know anything until you either observe or you do it and make the mistakes yourself. It’s hard to keep their attention when they don’t want to be there. Those ‘tweens’ are the hardest group to capture.

However, I will do better next time. I’m determined! I’m going to do more research and really get them involved and thinking.

Any teachers (or otherwise) have some advice?

Hey you! You should read this book..

I’ve been reading this book, The Truest Thing About You, I highly recommend it to any Christian soul, or anyone for that matter, who is contemplating their identity. It’s been a game changer for me.

One of my favorite sections of this book so far talks about how we are all out to save ourselves, and try as we may we can’t understand that we can’t save ourselves. All we can do is cling to the one who can save us and guide us on our way. That spoke volumes for me. As a person who is very independent in that way and thinks I can do everything all by myself, it opened my eyes to the fact that I can’t do everything by myself. I was made to need Him.

I’m not finished with it yet. I have a bad habit of starting several books at the same time. But I would definitely recommend this to anyone who has ever struggled with figuring out who you are and what defines you. I’ve struggled with this my whole life. I’ve battled with what people say that I am and who I really am. This book helps decipher what is true about you, what isn’t, and what is the absolute truest.

The guy who wrote this, David Lomas, comes from a place where he was having problems figuring out who he was. He even says in the first chapter somewhere that he has written this book not only to help others but to help himself. His fall and rise is moving and witty as you read about an ex-pastor who works at Starbucks, who’s trying to follow God’s plan.

I hope you give it a look and it moves mountains in your life!

Nothing.

This was a poem I wrote just today.. It’s pretty real. And for the record, I am not suicidal, not at all. Nothing was just how I felt. I apologize because lately my poetry has been on the darker side.. but hey it’s the part of life I’m in at the moment.

 

So here it is:

 

Nothing

Have you ever wanted to be nothing?
Not to feel the things humans feel.
Not to know things you never wanted to know.
Not to be.

Not to feel the sharp pangs of regret that pick at you like a dull knife against your skin.
Not to wonder if you’re doing everything right and not to feel like you never win.
Not to have to scream and cry, you’re a child having a tantrum.
You feel your soul trying to leap from your chest and up and run.

Have you ever wanted to be nothing?
Not to feel the things humans feel.
Not to know things you never wanted to know.
Not to be.

You’d never kill yourself but dear God wouldn’t it be nice just to feel nothing but a calm breeze.
To hear an ocean’s waves crashing upon soft warm sand.
To feel that sand on your body and let it run through your hands.
To have a  clear head and no body just you and your soul.
Wouldn’t it be nice, oh wouldn’t it be nice to not be at constant war and so cold.

But I can’t be nothing.
I can’t.
As much as I wish I could remove myself from this sick limp place.
As much as I wish I didn’t feel like a disgrace.
This is my home.

When God created us, He made us perfect. With glossy eyes and a half broken heart he molded us.
He knew that we’d fall but He loved us just the same.
He knew that we would disappoint and pretend to not know His name.

In anger I cry out, why would you make me?
Why would you make me if I want to be nothing.
I want to feel nothing more than nothing. Why would you put me here where pain is necessary and disease isn’t rare.
Where violence is practically a requirement and people don’t care.
Where children get hurt where families are hungry where the world is screaming
Where I’m sitting here, in fetal position, wishing I was nothing.

I’ve never been so angry.

So I get up.

I brush myself off.

I don’t feel You here but I know You’re there.
I know you feel my pain.
I know you care.

For when you trudged to Calvary,
You wished You were nothing.
The sins You bore
My suffering You took
The blood on Your back
Your arms how they shook

You did that knowing I would want to be nothing.

So hand me my cross, I’ll take it. It’s much lighter than Yours, I’ll brave it.
I don’t care how broken my back is
I don’t care if my will is dead I care if my will is His
You’ll lead me and I’ll walk with You. Because You’ll take the Queen of nothing
and You’ll make her new.

Have you ever wanted to be nothing?
Maybe today I do.
And maybe tomorrow too.

But maybe someday I won’t.

 

 

I messed up.

It’s funny how I was doing so well and then *splat*, I fell on the pavement once again.

It’s funny how when people say “it’s funny how” and nothing is usually ever remotely funny.

Last night when I got home from softball (our first intramural game was last night) I was a little hungry and so I had some snacks. At the time it didn’t really cause me anxiety. It’d been a while since I’d eaten late at night but I thought I was handling it well.

Now here I am, the day after…annnnnnd I’m freaking out. I can’t believe I did that has run through my head about a thousand times today. I was on the brink of tears this morning. I felt guilty because at 11am I wasn’t hungry yet but I had a cup of coffee and some cereal — I felt guilty for having coffee and cereal. And now here I am. Back to square one. Two steps forward, and then five steps back. I keep thinking about my brother’s birthday this Wednesday and I’m so conflicted because there will be cookie cake and since I had snacks last night I don’t deserve cake. So part of me immediately wants to go to the gym today and exercise for a large amount of time and I’m just freaking out inside because I’m getting really obsessive and crazy all because I snacked after I got home from softball. There is something wrong with me. I just want to be fixed. It’s like I don’t even think I’m worthy of myself. I’m scared that if I do go to the gym today it will become this really obsessive thing and I’ll start exercising excessively like I used to and now I’m just really crazy upset and I don’t know what to do.

Yay. Conflict.

I’m calling my therapist today.

Any advice from those who have been here and made it through, God knows how, it would be much appreciated. It literally makes me physically ill to think about having to deal with this for the rest of my life.

God, I beg of you, make it stop. 

 

It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything. This was a random prompt I worked on. Please excuse any spelling errors. I’m thinking about continuing this one for greater purpose.

Anyway, enjoy!

 

 

 _____________              

 

I used to con people out of money, it was my job. That was what my customers described my business as. The truth was I was homeless.

                And I remembered when I was younger and my Mother and I would see homeless people on the street. I’d ask her why we’d never give them any spare change or even five dollars and she’s say smugly with ‘better than you’ eyes propped up behind thin glasses:

                “They’ll just buy beer or drugs with it, darling. Don’t you ever give any of your hard earned money to them.”

                Honestly, I did use it to buy beer and drugs. It wasn’t my fault that I was hooked—maybe that’s questionable—but it didn’t matter how it started. What mattered was that I couldn’t stop. Heroine was my prized possession, my bride; and alcohol was the mistress that showed up on Saturday afternoons while Heroine was away. My blood ran through my veins and air filled up my lungs only because I knew the next hit was coming. I lived for the edge and for lying to strangers, telling them about my fake wife and kids back at home.

                So how did a billionaire boy with a sister and brother, with happily married hardworking parents end up on the streets of New York homeless?

                I guess I should start from the beginning.

*

*

*

*

 

                “Jack, I’ll ask you one more time, was it you or Grant who hid Loreli’s barbie doll?”

                It’s funny the things you remember from your childhood. I can still go back to that moment and jump right back into my skin and feel the complete uneasiness as I tried to avoid my Mom’s accusations by refusing to make eye contact. I knew Grant did it but I couldn’t just throw him under the bus. Grant and I were magnetic back then. I guess the whole twins thing may have played into why we were so close but I thought it was more than that.

                I kept going back and forth in my head of whether or not I should tell her it was him. Finally I sided with my heart rather than my head. I didn’t think ahead to consequence, I just spoke.

                “I did it,” I said sheepishly.

                I didn’t have a second more of freedom before Mom grabbed my ear with unforgivingly sharp force and dragged me across the foyer.      I recalled the way her heels clacked harshly upon the marble floor, as if she was punishing it too.

                “Jackson Henry Spencer! You boys are so terrible to her, your father will hear about this, Jack. Your father will have your consequences.”

                My body tensed up and that’s when I begged for mercy. Mom’s version of ‘grounding’ was usually no video games for two days or helping the cleaning lady when she came in. Dad’s was community service. I knew he’d take me to a soup kitchen or have me be Loreli’s servant for the week.  Every time he dished out penalties he’d finish it with the same words. Whenever I heard them back then, I’d roll my eyes. But now, I can’t stop thinking back to them and realizing how right he was.

                “Jack, being a good man isn’t about being strong or doing things because you can. It’s about having accountability for your actions and doing what is right even when that decision isn’t popular.”

                I grew up in Detroit, Michigan on the far outskirts of the big city in a very well-off neighborhood. My Father was a well-known and profitable lawyer and my Mother was an ER Physician. We were the picture of a perfect family; The Spencers.  We had season passes to Disney World which we exercised regularly and went to the best private schools money could buy.

                Usually this is the part where people add in the big clincher; BUT! There was more to us than met the eye. Honestly there wasn’t. I loved my family and everything about my childhood. Although it was very untypical—Not too many children grow up in a mansion and wake up to a shiny brand new car on Christmas morning or up and go to California one weekend ‘just because’—but it felt average. I pulled my sister’s hair like everyone else did, my brother and I competed to be better than one another constantly, and I worked very hard in school to keep up with my peers.

                When you grow up with ‘everything anyone could ever want’ it turns into nothing. Dad told us stories from when he was a kid and how he saved up for months to buy a bicycle so he could ride around with his friends. He said the saving was the best part because it made it all the sweeter to have a bike. My siblings and I never experienced that want. We never sat on pins and needles to wait for our birthdays or Christmas to get the next new gaming system or get a new movie that’d just come out on DVD. If we wanted something it was usually given to us within the same month.  Dad was friends with some guy in the movie biz, so we’d get movies on DVD while they were still in theatres in most cases.

                After a while material things lost their worth to me. I realized no matter how many things I got, it never changed my happiness. Sure, everything had its entertainment value, but it all sat on the same black line at the end of the day.

                Until one fateful Thanksgiving morning.

 

                I was fourteen years old and I hated Thanksgiving. We had to go to our grandparents’ tiny brick house where all the extended family would gather and I’d get my cheeks pinched for three hours. My cousins and I didn’t get along because they were all girls; Grant and I never really talked to them, now I wish I would’ve.

                The morning of this dreaded day, Dad said he had a surprise for me. I knew it was something special because even Mom was asking him what the heck was going on. The saddest part was, I wasn’t near enough excited. I knew it would be something fantastically expensive and something none of my friends had, but it was nothing new.

                Dad wheeled in the huge object, hiding beneath several large blankets, with precision and care. I could tell by its shape what it was already. And as I never expected, I was surprised.

                He pulled off the satin blankets to reveal a grand piano, shiny, brilliant, and new. It was the most amazing thing I’d ever seen in our house and I instantly felt it’s electricity and magnetic pull…I walked towards it.

                “This is cruel,” Loreli commented nudging Mom with a worried look on her face. Mom too was eyeing Dad with questions and concerns.

                I’ll always say my first love was Steinway & Sons, to this very day. The way it glowed in the light of the classic chandelier above it and how it seemed to have its own soul had me at first sight. The closer I got to it, the more anxious I became.

                Dad placed a small bench near its keys for me to sit. I sat down and instantly felt my eyes watering as I gazed into the eyes of the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen in my whole life. I placed my hands on the keys and felt poetry running through every fingertip. I could hear it talking to me. I could feel the inspiration, the music—I could feel the potential filled to the brim. I’d never known such happiness.

                “Go ahead Jack,” I heard Dad whisper, I was suddenly aware of how silent it was in the room, “Give it a whirl.”

                I was nervous. I felt like I was sitting on a throne that didn’t belong to me. How dare I sit before a king and not know what to do. What if I messed up?

                Nonetheless, I pressed my fingers and began to play. I closed my eyes and felt peace transferring from the piano and into my being. Music was magic.

                The room was even more silent as I played and mouths were agape. After all, they’d never seen a boy with Boudon’s Disease play piano before.

 

 

 

Strawberry Banana Almond Cream smoothie

I’ve been really having a smoothie kick lately. Smoothies are so refreshing and are a great way to get more fruits and veggies involved in your diet, especially if you’re sick of eating them plain and want to spice things up. Almost every other day I’ll have a smoothie now, so I thought I’d share this simple little recipe with you!

Strawberry Banana Almond Cream Smoothie (A twist on the classic)

The name for this smoothie is horrendously long, that’s something I need to work on.

ANYWAY.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup strawberries

1 banana

Talenti toasted almond gelato

Milk (almond preferred but regular milk works fine as well)

 

First, put some milk in your blender. Some people like their smoothies thicker than others. I tend to use about 1 cup of milk for this smoothie. Then of course add the banana and strawberries, and 2 scoops of Talenti toasted almond gelato. And when I say two scoops I don’t mean the ‘Murican version of scoops. You should have two scoops about this size:

getty_rf_photo_of_ice_cream_scoop

I know that Talenti can’t be found everywhere (I found mine at “The Fresh Market”, a grocery store similar to Whole Foods in my town) It looks like this:

talenti toasted almond gelato pint

I like Talenti gelato because it tastes incredible (best creamy treat I’ve ever had) and you can’t really beat that ingredients list:

th

A lot of ice cream today isn’t even made from milk. It’s no wonder this tastes so good in comparison to the other highly processed, chemically made, and GMO filled items in the ice cream market today.

However, if you can’t find Talenti (I’m not sure how widespread this company is), there are many natural almond ice creams out that I am sure would work well as a substitute.

Blend until desired thickness and enjoy!

Calories: Let’s see, multiply by 2, carry the three…OH WAIT. Who cares?

 

What’s your favorite smoothie?

 

It’s that time again.

It’s that time of year again everyone–Notre Dame football season. It’s a huge deal in our family. It means that my brother and my Dad will have the T.V. running all afternoon and religiously sit in front of it with beers in hand. Notre Dame has been my family’s team for quite some time. I’m excited for football season though, even if I barely understand football. Notre Dame season means fall is coming. Which means big sweaters, kettle corn, and sitting with the family on the couch half paying attention, half messing around with my sisters. Okay so maybe it’s like 80% messing around with my sisters.

 

What’s your favorite thing about fall?