Updates from February, 2010 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • acleveland 11:15 pm on February 28, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    anonymous, but not really. 

    Black and white. Perspective, opinions, and interpretations are the different shades of gray. But, really, is our world primarily black and white? Right or wrong? Holy or unholy? Is it okay to not understand? Is it okay to ask questions?
    I want to be spiritual, not religious. The word “religious” seems to carry negative connotations. I’ve been thinking things out for the first time. Rather than blindly accepting what I am choosing to base my life upon, I am going to decide for myself. I hear a lot of talks, read a lot of books, and listen to a lot of music. All of them are invisibly enscripted with the opinions of others. Sometimes I agree with the other people’s opinions, and sometimes, I think differently. But lately, I’ve set my own ground rules in my own head. Some standards, some guidelines, and some numbered statements to work with. As long as they are all according to the will of God, who is to say that thinking more “outside of the box” is wrong? It’s not! I’ve been trying to make “religion” simple instead of complex and peppered with questions and uneasiness. I choose to:

    Honor myself. This means keeping my mind and heart pure so that I don’t taint what the Lord has gifted to me. This means keeping myself healthy.
    Honor others. That’s pretty basic, ya know?
    Honor God in all that I do, and honor the world. This earth is the temporary home that has been given to us. We should nurture it and take care of it, and that means loving every single part of it. Every single animal, tree, and PERSON on it, no matter what stereotype they fall under. 
        That’s another thing. Acceptance. We are supposed to love ALL on the Earth. We are supposed to love others because of their flaws, in spite of their flaws, whatever. Flaws, pasts, decisions, heartbreaks, struggles, valleys, disbelief: they all become part of WHO WE ARE – It all becomes part of our story. Pretending that these things don’t exist in order to save ourselves from  pain is rejecting part of our own creation. Blocking out the parts of people’s stories that make them HUMAN, rather than a perfect picture of holiness, is rejecting part of who God made that person to be. God created their story and holds them in their hands, no matter if they are in a group that is discriminated against, or if they are agnostic or black or white or short or tall or WHATEVER. Who cares?!

    By accepting others and not judging others, we are
    1. Honoring ourselves by not allowing ourselves to fall into the trap of pushing people away, which would be polluting our God-given hearts
    2. Honoring others by looking past the supposed scarred exterior to the soul that God molded
    3. Honoring God by acknowledging that HE DOESN’T MAKE TRASH.

    New favorite song: Give Your Life Away – Aaron Ivey

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    • Doug 11:32 pm on February 28, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Woo! You are a blessing perfectly crafted for this earth. Everyone else is a perfect individual molded in God’s image. Scars and all we are all equal. Every human and all of nature on this earth is a limitless blessing of beauty. Look how much God loves us! And accepting ALL of others is so important when spreading the beauty of what we have. God made us to love eachother because, each one of us is part of Him. I love youuuuuuu!

  • acleveland 7:52 pm on February 26, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    story time. 

    The night before I was born, my mom was in a terrible, horrifying car accident. She was in a small Honda. She was driving on the interstate and she got run over by an 18 wheeler. Her car was completely totalled and smashed in on all sides. Apparently, it didn’t look like a person could have fit into the car after it had been damaged so brutally. She was taken out and rushed to the emergency room. My dad said it was the worst and most terrifying night of his life. Miraculously, we were both okay. I was born the next day.

    According to my mom’s doctors, it was against all odds that I survived such a bad car wreck, and even crazier that I wasn’t hurt at all. He saved my life before I was even born. I’m willing to bet that He has saved my life thousands of other times that I don’t even know about yet.
    I know we’re all meant to be here. It’s easy to feel like our significance has been lost. But really, we are all miracles. Every single one of us is a gift, no matter what we’ve done or who we’ve become. There’s a reason that we were born and a purpose we all have to fulfill. Don’t ever, even for a second, think that you are just another name aimlessly wandering here on Earth. There is a timeline to your life that starts with a reason. The rest is a journey. Seize the gift of life that we’ve been granted, and remember that God put you here on purpose. He won’t let anything get in His way – not even an 18 wheeler.

    New favorite song: Come On – Green River Ordinance

     
  • acleveland 8:29 pm on February 25, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    personal space. 

    Random stuff today, sorry.
    I’m finally home. We did well at the convention, and my teacher was happy – that’s all that really matters. If he’s not happy, nobody is. It’s been a long and chaotic three days, full of rehearsals, cramped bus rides, late nights, and falling asleep in the middle of sentences. My iPod died three times, I read the same magazine cover to cover at least twice, and I managed to avoid homework at all costs until the last hour of the bus ride home. Our motel was super sketchy. Last night, I woke up at about 1:30 because I heard three guys’ voices right outside of our door. They sounded drunk. They were yelling and cussing loudly about how they tried to get into some girl’s room but the door was locked and the curtain was drawn. They continued on about how they wanted to get into the room and how they should just bust the door down. I was scared to death. Needless to say, sleep did not come easily for the girls in my room last night.

    We watched Marley & Me on the bus, and embarassingly enough, I was sobbing by the end. Tissues were being handed across the aisles. They seemed to collect in a little pile at my feet. That movie is ridiculously depressing. It made me miss my dog Holly, too. I love my dog. All she does is eat and sleep, but that’s okay. She likes to lie in the sun that streams through the glass door in our living room. She sleeps in the little patch of sun and gets really hot. Then, she starts panting really hard, but she doesn’t move and go cool down.. No, she continues to lie there, panting furiously. Good old dogs.

    My rose from Chrysalis died while I was gone. It has been in water in my room by the window. Dead roses are really sad looking. The flower used to face the sun. Now it’s bent over, staring at the ground. The healthy red was shed, revealing a drab tinted black. It’s curling up into itself. I wish more water and sun could bring it back to life.

    New favorite song: Everything Is Beautiful – Starfield

     
    • Carly 9:56 pm on February 25, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Two things:

      1. “Move you stupid animal!”

      and 2. Love love LOVE the song 🙂 & you

    • liza 6:32 pm on February 26, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I love love love that song! and everything is beautiful. especially you:)

  • acleveland 10:54 pm on February 22, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    CDs are the best. 

    Attitude check!? PRAISE THE LORD!
    Shout out to all those Chrysalis people out there.

    Attitude. Huh. It was our topic at youth last night. Quite honestly, I struggled with this topic. As simple of a talk as it might seem, all I could do was ask questions in my head. I want my attitude to reflect that of Christ. But I really have no clue HOW Christ would react to Farragut High School. He would probably take it by storm. All I do is show up everyday. I wish I could do more, but I feel stuck. I’m in a rut, a ditch. I’m clawing at the edges, trying to pull myself up, but this weight is holding me down.
    I’ve been feeling like I can’t control my emotions lately. I’m always down in this weird funk, a heavy sadness that I can’t shake. I wake up each morning and try to think optimistically. I tell myself that everything’s good and that today will be a good day. Yet, I feel like I have to wind myself up just to get up and get through the day. It’s interfering with my life, and I’m over it, but it won’t. go. away. I’m pursuing my relationship with God more than ever before. I’m clinging to Him. I’m trying to build good relationships with people that will keep me on track. It’s hard to feel like no progress is being made, especially when I’m fighting with all my strength.

    It’s hard to put a smile on my face and radiate Christ’s love when I feel like I’m looking at the world from behind a black curtain. I think that’s why I need to try to forget however I’m feeling and let Christ be the one that shines through. I want to spread His love more than anything. I want Him to be happy with the cheerful, joyous girl that He put on this earth. I want to have a positive, smiling, good attitude for God. I want to be able to live to my full potential, but I need these chains to be broken. I just DON’T KNOW HOW TO MAKE IT HAPPEN. I’m just going to keep fighting. I have strength in Christ, and he will develop what He wants in me. Sooner or later, my attitude will reflect Christ more. I will work as hard as I possibly can until this happens.

    Going to Mississippi with the band from tomorrow morning to Thursday night. I hope everyone has a good week. You might hear from me, but maybe not.

    New favorite song: Radiator – Family Force Five

     
    • Kelli 7:52 pm on February 23, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      yes. yes yes yes. thats exactly it. the world is hard. school is hard. it seems like progress isnt being made. but it is. it has to be. because you are showing god’s light. you glow with Him. You really do. So keep your head up.

  • acleveland 2:26 pm on February 21, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    sunshine. 

    One of my best friends, Liza Burroughs, sent this to me yesterday morning. It was in her Bible.
         “The last thing you want to be known as is immature. You want others to see you as the mature person you consider yourself to be, right? The Bible’s method to maturity may seem odd, but it’s true: trials. When you face hard things in life, you can still have joy because you know that God will use them to make your faith mature. Most of us go out of our way to avoid trials. But, no matter how hard we try, they find us. And when they do, how you respond shows your true level of maturity.
    Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perserverance. Perserverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4”

    It kind of reminds me of a rock tumbler. That’s random, I know, but give me a second. I got a rock tumbler when I was little, and I was astounded at the transformation of the little rocks. One day, we put in gray, ugly, dirty rocks. They endured through the tumbling, the polishing, and the different processes, and a few days later, they came out as beautiful, various colored, shiny rocks. If I had taken out the rocks after just a few hours, they would not have been pretty and gleaming yet. The rocks had to perservere through the entire cycle in order to come out beautiful and shining.

    I’m not running away. I have to wait this out. It feels like my own heart and mind are turning against me. I can’t sleep. I stay awake, heart beating rapidly. I can’t think. I can’t move. I would do anything to make these feelings go away, but it seems out of my control. I’m just relying on my only source of strength. And in the end, this life will be a diamond.

    New favorite song: Black Coal – Sanctus Real

     
    • Penny Brown 4:21 pm on February 22, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      You should also check out the band Me In Motion-www.meinmotion.com
      They have a new release coming out in March, enjoy!

  • acleveland 10:14 pm on February 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    smile. :) 

    New favorite song goes at the beginning today. It deserves it’s own headlining sentences as openers. New favorite song: Give Your Life Away – Aaron Ivey

    There’s a fine line between caring too much and not caring at all. It’s easy to cross the border from overbearing to apathetic. A happy medium would be nice. When you lose control of your own thoughts and feelings, what’s left? My constant, that’s what’s left. That’s a reason to smile. So here I am. Smiling to myself.

    Even the world has a backdrop: the sun is beaming, the clouds are light and carefree.  But sometimes, it storms. The sun slips into a fuzzy black sweater. The clouds get as dark as charcoal and weighted. The sky is strained from holding the weight of the clouds. They are getting too heavy for the sky’s muscles. Finally, the water-filled clouds burst, relieving the sky.  It starts with a dribble, a light shower that refreshes the flowers, has a pretty rhythym, splatters on the windowpane, and brings laughter from children with rain-streaked faces. Eventually, the sweet streaming progresses to rain that calls for umbrellas, rushes up from under car’s messy tires, and overflows the backyard. And then, brace yourself, it’s time for the final downfall. This is the type that sways the trees until branches crash and lightning illuminates the angels. After the fleeting moments of rage, peace is slowly restored. The rain slows down, catching it’s breath. The sun gets too warm and takes off the black sweater. The clouds are finally empty. The world is set right as the sun streams through the lightened clouds.

    Look closely, and sometimes, you’ll even find a rainbow.

     
    • liza 10:34 pm on February 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      this is my new favorite! It makes me smile:) just like all the beautiful colors in the sky. and just like you.

  • acleveland 9:22 pm on February 18, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    called it. 

    Gahh, can you say soap opera central? Tonight’s been emotional, dramatic craziness in the Cleveland household. Those tears were just the overflow from my melting heart. It had to happen at some point.

    You know one of the most powerful things you can do for someone? Listen.
    If you know my brother, you probably think of him as this shy, quiet boy that never speaks a word. IF ONLY YOU KNEW. On the way home from school today, he talked for at least 15 minutes straight. I heard about people in his pod, some girls that got in trouble, his new seating arrangement in social studies, a new song in band, and most importantly, the autobiography on Malcom X that he is reading. He is really interested in autobiographies, and he retains what he reads way better than I do. I learned more about Malcom X today than I ever expected to know in my whole life.
    The point is, listening to him made me happy. I loved hearing about what’s going on in his life. Listening is one of the greatest ways to show that you care, and it’s also one of the easiest – once you learn to put yourself aside. So often I get caught up in my own thoughts, and I only halfway listen to what people are saying. Sometimes I wonder how much better we would know the people in our lives right now if we had taken the time to listen and care about what they have to say. When we’re so caught up in “it’s all about me,” we probably miss a lot.
    Showing people that their words have value makes more of an impact than you might think. I strive to be someone that people can talk to freely and openly and know that they won’t be judged or ignored. There are several people in my life that have demonstrated perfect listening, and I’m incredibly grateful. From now on, I’m going to make a more concentrated effort to listen to others with my whole heart and undivided attention.

    New favorite song: The Motions – Matthew West

     
  • acleveland 9:04 pm on February 17, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    pursuit. 

    I was reading through my notebook from Chrysalis and something stood out to me. During one of the talks, I wrote down “Not being able to escape the pain makes us grateful for Christ’s salvation.” I just kind of sat and stared at those words and let it soak in. It’s so true. If anything other than Christ REALLY eased the pain or other negative feelings that the world brings, even less people would be drawn to Christ. 
    People try to fill a God-shaped void with a lot of things, but Jesus is an unique puzzle piece. False dependency only leads to heartbreak. Boys let you down. Drugs leave you crashing and with a hopeless addiction. People immerse themselves and their time in temporary things that only leave them more desperate. We try shoving other things in the vacant part of our hearts, and these other things don’t fit. It leaves the void a little stretched and torn on the outsides. Eventually, it gets so bent out of shape that it leaves your heart in tatters, and the hole a little more gaping.

    Do yourself a favor. I’m realizing that life with christ is not about limitations and boundaires, but about freedom. It’s not another list of guidelines. It’s really about breaking all the rules of the world and going against the grain. Scary, yes, but worth it. This puzzle piece offers FREEDOM. This savior offers freedom to live, to breathe, to run towards a worthy prize, to explore, to experience, and to grow.

    New favorite song: Old school tobymac. 1990’s DC Talk is where it’s at.

     
  • acleveland 8:04 pm on February 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    yyeahwhat. 

    WOW is basically all I can say to sum up my three days at Chrysalis. Chains were broken, walls were crushed, friendships were made, and a journey was started. I don’t know if I’ve ever used so many kleenex, heard so many talks, or felt so loved. I’ve also never been so exhausted. I drifted asleep at least 10 times today in Wellness. I can’t wait to continue to further my relationship with Christ and the amazing people I met over this weekend.

    This weekend made me ready to let go and free fall into Christ’s arms instead of holding onto my chains. The chains are broken, my guard is down, and I’m ready to jump. It’s like a sky-diver. Sky divers soar up in a plane and look down at the land beneath them. Miniature trees and houses spot the ground. They can see where they will be, but before they reach their destination of the solid ground, they have to take the risk of a leap of faith.They might hesitate due to fear. If I was sky-diving, I can guarantee that my hands would be bright white from gripping the edge of the door with all my strength. I wouldn’t be willing to let go of what was keeping me on the plane.  Sometimes, these things require a push.  The second their feet leave the floor of the plane, trust is all that remains. They are trusting that parachute to shoot open and slow their rapid free fall.

    That’s what’s happening to me. Christ is already in control of my life, but it’s time to take another jump, quit holding onto the chains, and start holding onto Jesus – my parachute. I trust Him.

    New favorite song: You Won’t Relent – Misty Edwards

     
  • acleveland 8:40 pm on February 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    maybe, someday. 

    Hi.
    TGIF.
    You won’t hear from me again until Monday or Tuesday, I’ll be out of sight and out of mind.
    Gah, I got my interim grades today, because the semester is one fourth of the way completed. We got blank schedules to fill out for next year, too. JUNIOR YEAR? I was kind of surprised at my grades… Not in a good way, either. They were bad, and I’m not saying bad in a “I’m-a-perfectionist-with-incredibly-high-standards” way. I mean, they were JUST PLAIN BAD. I should start trying harder because I know I’d appreciate it later, when I start caring about grades more. But right now, I just don’t really care. I’m kind of unmotivated about it. Whatever.

    I’m so glad I’m getting out this weekend. I’m going on this retreat called Chrysalis, and I have no idea what we’ll be doing from tomorrow morning to Monday night. Normally I go on retreats with a pre-set idea of “this is how it’s going to be”, but this weekend is a mystery. I’m hoping to finally be able to sleep again instead of staring at the ceiling for two hours every night. I think the peace that I’ll meet at Chrysalis will help. I’m ready to get away and forget about everything for three days. For the next 3 days, nothing is wrong, and my mind is cleansweeped… School? What’s that?

    It’s all good.
    I’ll talk to whoever on Monday or Tuesday, depending on how exhausted I am. Have a fantastic fabulous wonderful great awesome amazing life-changing weekend, and a marvelous incredible terrific Valentine’s Day.

    New favorite song: Won’t Back Down – Mat Kearney

     
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