Tuesday, May 26

I Need Chickfila

Although I didn't know it at the time, my most recent blog post (and I use the word "recent" in a very loose way because it feels like an eternity since I wrote on here) was my last post as a high school student, because I celebrated my high school graduation a little over a week ago.

(Photo by Hartman Photography)
It was a blessing to get to share that milestone with some lifelong friends, as well as some lesslong friends. Friends in general are nice to share milestones with.

I was dumb enough to volunteer -- I mean, I was honored to be asked to give the welcome speech for our homeschool group's graduation ceremony.

During my speech I learned that if you want to recognize honored guests to your audience, it's a good idea to make sure your microphone is actually on. Personally I believe this would have been nice to learn before my speech.

I also learned that you have to be careful putting yourself on auto-pilot when talking to guests after the ceremony, because even though everyone says the same two things ("Congratulations" and "How are you"), they don't always say them in the same order, and responding to "How are you?" with an enthusiastic "Thank you so much!" is super awkward.

Overall I would sum up my high school graduation about the same way I feel I could sum up the rest of my high school experience: "Wait...that's it?" (Or maybe "That was awkward.")

I kept waiting for this:

 But that never came (which honestly is kind of a relief because those ShamWow! commercials were incredibly scary).

While I'm totally okay with high school never quite having lived up to my sort-of expectations, it does leave me wondering if maybe I'm just a late bloomer as far as having great life experiences goes.

I imagine some people would argue that I only feel this way because I continued homeschooling through high school. And I guess there's something to be said from that viewpoint...

I mean, I sure hope I'll be accepted into college even though I never went to prom. I may not even be able to ever get a real job because I just missed out on so many great life experiences during these four crucial years. I think I'm going to be academically and professionally retarded for the rest of my life because I spent my last two years of high school taking college classes rather than getting actual worthwhile experiences like going on lots of pointless and awkward dates.

This is certainly cause for major concern, but I'll let you guys know how everything plays out for me in the coming semester.

(Also, I'm listening to Patrick Doyle's score for the movie Thor at the moment and I definitely recommend it to anybody who shares my belief that music should either make your soul soar or cast it down to the depths of despair (or some other emotional extreme). I especially recommend it to anybody who appreciates how purely beautiful solo sections for cello can be.)

In addition to graduating high school, I had my wisdom teeth removed four days ago, and although this sounds pathetic, at the moment I feel like that had a bigger impact on my life than all of high school.

But then, that's coming from someone who has eaten only mashed potatoes, Spaghettios, pudding, and ice cream for four days.

It sounds good, guys. But IT IS NOT GOOD. I REPEAT. NOT GOOD.

The actual surgery took place Friday morning. I was relaxed and not nervous. The nurse asked if I needed a doctor's note for school and I was all like GURL WHATCHU TALKIN BOUT I'M 2 KEWL 4 SKOOL and then they took me back for surgery.

We've all seen the outrageous videos people post of kids under the effect of laughing gas post-wisdom teeth surgery, and since I'm not generally known to be an especially levelheaded person even normally (which really is confusing to me because I make perfect sense to myself almost 80% of the time), my friends were all very excited to see videos of doped-up Meredith.

Well, I'm sorry to say that I was a magnificent disappointment, because all I did under the laughing gas was go to sleep and have a really odd dream. The best way I can describe my experience tripping on laughing gas is this:

The days following the surgery thus far have been a constant struggle to remember which meds to take at what time, keep my younger siblings away from the popsicles and Sprite, and stay sane without Chickfila. It's been one of the hardest experiences of my life (mostly because of the Chickfila part).

Aaaaand you have just enjoyed the (extremely abridged) exclusive inside scoop, What's Been Up With Mer Lately.

And here's a preview of the exciting upcoming sequel, What's Going To Be Up With Mer If She Can Get Her Life Together and Go To College, coming soon to nowhere at all!

I'm planning to continue my college studies this fall as a piano performance major. I look forward to finally being a "normal" college student and not having to try to explain what dual enrollment is to everyone I meet.

Other than that, I don't really know for sure what I'll be doing in the coming year. Right now I'm kind of just planning to play it by ear (and no, that wasn't a terrible music major joke) and see what happens. While I'm not a thrill-seeker by any means, I must admit I find it slightly exhilarating that I'm going into this next semester with just a hint of delicious uncertainty about what exactly my next steps will be. It's a new and exciting experience for someone who has been accustomed to obsessively figuring out every detail of her life ahead of time.

The other day in church we sang the well-known hymn "Like a River Glorious," which talks about the perfect peace God brings to those who trust Him fully with their lives. I've sung that hymn mindlessly my entire life, but I only actually processed what the words were saying this past Wednesday.

While I certainly don't deserve any credit for what has been accomplished in my life (any good thing I've ever done is only because of God and His grace), I have been so overwhelmed to see that God loves me so much that even though I'm nothing, if I just follow Him, in His sight I'll be good enough to receive amazing and abundant blessings.

Every time I write about trusting God in a blog post I worry that I'm going to sound like a broken record, because I know I say it a lot. But as time goes by, I realize that that repetition is kind of what Christian life is about. Faith is a daily commitment to trust God that He's working things out for our good in His timing. 

With that in mind, any uncertainty about the future fades away. Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart; commit your way unto Him and trust Him, and He will act.

Some of my friends still jokingly call me the chillest person on earth, and lately I kind of agree with them. But the only reason I can say that is this:

Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest
Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.

Saturday, May 9

Sunset musings

My family and I were out running some errands late this afternoon, and at various points all throughout the time we spent driving from place to place I was commenting about how I thought the sunset was going to be pretty tonight. We started heading home and the sun started to set, and I continued making comments about the sunset to come. As often happens when watching pretty skies, as the sky grew prettier, I grew quieter and became pensive. In other words, I started thinking thoughtful thinks.

So now here I am - still peeking out the window every five seconds so as not to miss the beauty of the sky outside - to share those thoughts. (Sunset musings, if you will.)

I've been an avid sunset-chaser for about three years now. My mom has grown accustomed to receiving frantic texts from me as the day starts to draw to an end.




And even though I have various favorite spots around town that I think are especially nice places to enjoy a beautiful Pensacola sunset, when all else fails, I always have my tried and true fallback - the backyard.

Desperate times, folks. Desperate times.
Sunsets are pretty much my favorite thing. Or at least they're very high on the list (perhaps underneath Captain Wentworth and Dunkin Donuts).

As I watch the sunset tonight though, I am reminded of this thought from Hebrews 13: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."

One of the lessons I've learned over my high school years - which end in a week - EEEEP!! I digress... 

One of the lessons I've learned over my high school years is that people come and go, sometimes very unexpectedly. I've been thinking a lot about this as my friendships have changed over the last year especially.

I singled out one thought from many a moment ago as I was watching the beautiful sky, thinking about how many beautiful skies I must have seen in three years of sunset-chasing, thinking of all the different people that I've shared sunsets with, wondering who is in my future to share sunsets with...

No matter who I'm watching the sunset with, the sunset itself will never change.

No matter how much my life may change, or how many people come into my life or leave it, God will always be with me.

God sent the rainbow to Noah as a symbol of His promise.

In the same way, the sunset to me is a daily reminder of God's steadfast love. (And it just so happens to be a beautiful pink reminder - I can't complain!)

As I write these thoughts down, I remember how much I struggled through the last ten months or so, sometimes feeling like there was nothing in my life to be happy about. Even during those times, the sun continued to set in all its beauty and glory and God's love was all around me every day, sometimes the only tiny bit of beauty and pleasantness I could find. (I was a bit melodramatic, so sue me.)

I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord, forever; with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations. For I said, "Steadfast love will be built up forever; in the heavens you will establish your faithfulness." (Psalm 89:1-2)

Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

PS: I hope you all saw the sunset tonight; it was glorious. ;)