Thursday, January 23

This morning I've been teaching myself how to use Wolfram Alpha and my big, frightening graphing calculator for algebra and I'm just like

Thursday, January 16


Guys. I am an example of evolution.
Not like Darwin, natural selection, billions of years, Origin of Species stuff.
I'm talking about the second definition of evolution.

the gradual development of something, esp. from a simple to a more complex form.

Those of you who have been following me from the very beginning can certainly testify to this fact. And my more recently joined readers - you will be easily convinced. Things definitely started out pretty simple for me.

I'm not sure if it's this way to you guys, but whenever I look at my blog posts, the time stamp is always two hours earlier than the actual time I posted. Just wanted to let you know( if you have this problem) that I really don't wake up really early and instantly get online. 
Have fun! :)

We were at Fazoli's a while ago eating our spaghetti and breadsticks. I finished my breadstick, so I grabbed Geoff's.
Geoff: Hey!
Me: What? It's in the Bible: Stolen bread is!
Geoff: That's not how it goes.
Me: Whatever. (Eats breadstick anyway)

This morning has been totes fab so far! (I'm practicing my teenage girl speak, apparently!)
I slept until nine, read my book in bed until nine thirty, took my sweet time getting ready, then sauntered downstairs, ate a bowl of cereal while reading, read some more, then got caught reading and was made to do algebra. Ah, the life of a homeschooler! So besides that last part, it was great! Then I made some nom-noms (brownies) for the skating party later - so excited - and now it smells like brownies in my house! :)
Plus, I have a chocolate bar in my purse just waiting for me! I'm one happy girl! :)


My dog can blog too. :)

Yeah, things were pretty much not worth the time they took to write. Even when I tried my hand at a haiku in May of this year,
(Nothing good to say.
But I said it anyway.
So I guess I win.)

I wasn't really saying much, was I? Oh, occasionally there would be a post where I wandered through the shallow parts of my mind and delved deeper, but it was obvious that I was going for quantity and not quality. In December of 2011, I did 37 posts.
And now I feel lucky if I write one a week.
So what's the difference? Well, for one thing, this happened...
I went from taking awkward 90's kid selfies in the bathroom to staring longingly off into the distance?
Well. Yeah. 
But I also matured a lot. And since my blog is an expression of whatever is going on in my mind, if my thoughts become more mature, so will whatever you guys see here. 
Evolution is defined as a gradual development from simple to complex. Everything in my life has gotten more complex lately. Decisions, relationships, piano music, algebra problems - everything is more difficult. It's like leveling up on a video game. THIS ISN'T THE TUTORIAL ANYMORE. 
However, there is really a very simple solution to all the exhausting complexities of life.

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. (Ecc. 12:13)

Monday, January 13

On Friends

I'm very thankful for my friends. I was thinking last night about how my circles of friends have changed as I've gotten older (because I get all my deep thinking done late at night when I should be asleep, as some of you are unfortunate enough to have learned via long, rambling texts). I realized how God has given me exactly the people I needed to help me grow, learn, and become who I am now. Not that what I am now is a final product or anything - I'm a work in progress for sure.
It's really been kind of weird how I've viewed friends in general at different times in my life. When I was three, I was sort of an elitist. I turned my nose up (quite literally) at children who still wore Pull-Ups and vowed I would never play with that little boy who took my favorite toy in Sunday School. And since a man (or snobby little toddler) must show himself friendly to have friends, I didn't have many. My best (and only) friend moved away when I was five.
When I was six, I was completely obsessed with books. They were my friends. I was almost never seen without a book. Unfortunately, that didn't last long. By the time I was eight, I realized that I didn't have any friends at all. This was definitely difficult for me. Those of you who know me now and have heard this story never believe me at first when I say that nobody liked me, but I promise it's true. I'm pretty sure even my parents didn't like me very much during this time and the next years to come (but they certainly did love me). Don't feel bad for me though - I was wholly unlikable. 
From eight to about eleven I was an absolute terror. Almost never did a day pass that I didn't get spanked. I was miserable. These few years are still the worst of my life (hopefully I have enough years to come that that will sound more impressive later on), and I regret my behavior to this day. And since a man (or terribly behaved little girl) must show himself friendly (or even barely tolerable) to have friends, I had none.
When I was twelve, my family joined a co-op, and I was forced to be around other kids my age regularly. One of the girls there made a point to show love to me like she did to everyone, and I followed her example. I started to act more friendly, and lo and behold - people started to like me. It seems like it happened almost overnight. That co-op and the people in it basically started a new chapter in my life.
When I was thirteen and fourteen, I continued in the co-op and was friends with just about everyone there. I came out of my shell (perhaps too much, but it was okay for someone that age) and kind of got a reputation for being bubbly and crazy and loud. Generally people liked me, and generally I liked them back. I was more of a normal kid. I was an officer in SGA, I never missed PE, I went to co-op - I did everything I could and was totally obsessed with my friends. They were the most important thing to me.
When I was fifteen, though, people kind of started leaving my life. It's the natural way of things, I guess. I did an awful lot of growing up in about two months early in the year. Some of my friends were moving on to the next stage of their life while I wasn't, people were moving, we stopped going to a lot of our regular activities, and I just wasn't feeling it. I still had friends, but I grew apart from a lot of them. I felt like something was missing. Even though I had all the friends I could want, there was a shallowness to my relationships that wasn't cutting it for me.
Then late in May, I realized that I had been giving my friends way too much priority in my life. I was putting them above God. I was putting more energy into my relationships with other people than I was putting into the most important relationship of all - my relationship with Jesus Christ. So I got some things worked out, and lost touch with a lot of the people I had talked to every day only months before. It sounds bad, but I really didn't miss them. I was finally doing things right. God was first, and any friends who weren't okay with that didn't stay around much longer. In addition to developing a better relationship with my God, He sent me wonderful friends that I never expected and are ever so close to my heart now. (It's amazing how God is never content to bless us just a little. He always fills us to overflowing.)

If I was totally honest, I would tell you that I have probably three real friends. That's quite a change from just a year ago, when I would have said that I had at least twenty-four. Lots of people are something like friends to me, but in those three I've found some very special people who encourage me and really just make me happy (and hopefully I do the same for them).
I've wondered if I should feel bad about not trying to continue all the old friendships I used to have, but every time I start to question my current situation I come to this: If God is first in my life and I follow His will, He will send me the right people.
So then it's really quite easy to be certain that I have all the friends I need. If I can determine that God is first, I can rest easy that things are as they should be.
There was a song I used to sing in Sunday School that was so catchy that I'll probably never forget it. But it had a good message, too. The lyrics go, "Jesus and others and you - what a wonderful way to spell 'joy!' Jesus and others and you - in the heart of each girl and each boy. J is for Jesus, for He has first place. O is for others we see face to face. Y is for you in whatever you do. Put yourself third and spell 'joy.'"

God first. Then everyone else. Me last. The rest is gravy.

Tuesday, January 7

On Social Media

I like social media. I know a lot of people don't, but I do.
Part of the reason why I enjoy my Internet time so much is probably because I'm really not good at actual one-on-one human interaction. I'm getting better at faking it, but mostly, it's uncomfortable for me. (Excepting of course certain exceptions that are being excepted)
I'm always saying the wrong thing, or saying too much, or saying too little, or being in the wrong mood, or falling asleep, or thinking about pizza (really avoid that one if you can - drooling while someone's talking about school looks odd) - the list goes on.
And when I'm on Facebook or Twitter or Tumblr or what have you, almost all of that is eliminated. (I still think about pizza, but nobody cares.) If I'm in a mood to say nothing, I say nothing. If I'm in a mood to talk on and on, I can talk as long as I want.
I know it sounds bad - Meredith doesn't know how to interact with humanity so she sits on the Internet all the time thinking about pizza.
But I promise, I'm not that kind of Tumblr user.
I don't avoid interacting with other people, and there are lots of times that I find it to be both enjoyable and fulfilling. I know that if I don't make an effort to talk to people one-on-one, I may get even worse at people-ing, so I don't scream and run away when someone says hi. Social media is just so much easier. It's like the difference between a live television broadcast and a pre-recorded one. In face-to-face interaction, there are no take-backsies, no do-overs, no begin-agains. If you make a mistake, you actually have to apologize for it. There's a lot of difficulty and awkwardness involved that simply isn't present in social media (Unless you're like me and you intentionally cause awkward situations with your friends because you think it's funny).
So is social media and all our advanced phone technology antiquating legit human interaction? I think maybe it'll try. After all, you can get pretty close to it with Skype and FaceTime, and a lot of social media sites are pretty in the moment. The gap between face-to-face and Facebook-to-Facebook is getting smaller.
But I don't think it will ever be totally the same. Even if I feel awkward with other people, I still like people in general (I don't know if they like me, but nonetheless). If I don't have that interaction in real life, I get depressed (maybe that's why so many people struggle with depression). We naturally have a desire for companionship that social media won't satisfy. We can manipulate it, we can invent new technologies, but they will never bring happiness (except maybe the new iPhone - it's pretty epic).
We're not meant to be alone. People are cool - PLUS sometimes they smell wonderful and give warm hugs.
So use your social media. Be addicted to it for all I care. But don't forget the real world. No matter how much you say you have no life (my Instagram username is meredithhasnolife, okay? I know I'm not the only one.) you DO have a life, and until you die, you're stuck with it. So make the most of it.

Thursday, January 2

New Year's Resolutions

Well guys, it's 2014. And as you all know, in with the new year flood a plethora of New Year's resolutions. 
I suppose it makes sense; that when you start a new year you get a clean slate, so to speak. (Although really, other than a sort of symbolic switching of the calendars, nothing really changes so drastically as to actually erase all the nastiness of the past year) True, you are presented with 365 new days, in which you can do anything you choose. (Unless you have no life like me and you'll be spending all your time on schoolwork. But my time will come...) 
Some people resolve to read more books, or work harder, or lose weight, or eat healthier, or to perform random acts of kindness. And there's nothing wrong with that.
But personally, I dislike New Year's resolutions.
Don't get me wrong, I don't think there's anything wrong with them. For some people, they're great. But for an undisciplined, immature child like me - they just don't work.
Last year I caved to peer pressure. "Meredith, you have to have a New Year's resolution!" (Yeah, I'm a sucker for "Meredith, you have to") I resolved to get more sleep. That didn't last a week.
Anybody who has ever heard me talk about how my piano practice has been going has undoubtedly picked up on the fact that I just tend to be an extremely undisciplined person. I know that. I'm working on that.
But WHAT am I going to do about New Year's resolutions???
I always break them, but I want to become a better person, but I know that it won't last more than a month, but it's a new year and I have a fresh start, but it's a waste of time, but I "have to!"
I must abandon hope. I shall be resolution-less forever.
But this morning, I had a thought while I was reading my Bible. Romans chapter twelve says, "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." According to Strong's concordance, the biblical use of "the renewing of your mind" refers to "a renewal, renovation, complete change for the better." 
That sounded pretty good to me. This year, I'm not making specific resolutions that I know I'm going to pay no mind. I'm just going to continue doing what I already do: seeking God's guidance and relying on Him to give me what I need for each day. Everything I need is found in Him.
And think about this if you like the whole "clean slate" thing. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9) "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." (Psalm 139:23-24) 
I'm not saying anything against New Year's resolutions. I'm just not strong enough for them. So this year, I choose to better myself with God, because His strength is perfect when ours is gone.