Sunday, May 31, 2015

{how to live} be okay

I haven't been okay for a while.

I hesitated writing this post, because it's of a personal matter and I also don't want to turn into this braggy "I just had a spiritual high moment look at me you losers!!!!!" kinda person, but it's been weighing on my head and my heart a lot today, so I decided to share my heart and brain over the past 48ish hours.

it's been rainy these past few days. A lot. I've stopped taking my vitamin D--which I am deficient in. I was listening to sad music. I watched emotionally draining tv shows and read exhausting boo
ks. I got bored of my walls.

I should've seen it coming. But I didn't it.

I don't want to say it was a full-blown attack of depression. I've been there, and it was different this time. I just didn't feel anything. I was empty. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't eat. I wanted to do something, but I couldn't figure out what I wanted to do. I was lonely. I felt like my heart was breaking. Everything that's bee
n going on loomed over my head. "You're never going to be better," I told myself. "You're always going to be sick and not be able to make friends or have fun. You're just a stupid sick little girl."

I thought I was going to be happy again since my sister came home from camp, but the moment I turned out the light and closed my eyes, it all hit me again. I almost cried myself to sleep last night.


I laid in bed, crying silently so my little brother wouldn't hear (although it was almost midnight and he was definitely asleep) when something told me to sit up. So I did. That same something told me to take a deep breath. So I  did. And finally, that something told me to get my Bible off the end of my bed and read it. It would solve my tears better than soaking my pillow.

I almost didn't. I was seriously tempted to continue drowning in my unexplained misery. I wanted to have a ME moment, where I could bask in how terrible my life is and how utterly unequipped I am to do anything about it. I wanted to ignore God's prodding. I wanted to try and understand why I felt this (because I truly have no clue what was at the root of this moment) before I tried to fix it.

I almost gave into me. But I'm glad I didn't.

I'm in the middle of reading Isaiah right now, so I just opened to the last place I read and started from there. When God tells you to open your Bible, you kinda expect the first words to jump off the page and blow your mind and make everything okay again, but that doesn't always happen. I remember pouring over pages and pages of God declaring his anger at the nations and how he was going to wreck havoc over them and their descendants. This doesn't really speak to me, God... I thought. I mean, I get the message and all, but this ache in my heart isn't getting better and I'm still crying and confused. 

And then I hit Isaiah 24 and 25.

Verses 14-16 of 24 punched me in the chest. Those verses speak of people in the east and west praising God and singing joyfully, while the speaker himself cries out to God, saying: "I waste away, I waste away. Woe is me!" And that summed up a part of the emptiness in me. I've felt spiritually "broken", I guess, for several months. There just hasn't been the spark that I've felt before, and I felt inadequate. My mind was on other things. And then I see my friends, from all over the world, seemingly blow up with their love and passion for Christ. I know I only see the surface, but the surface was enough to make me feel like I was failing somehow.

If I'd stopped crying by that point, I definitely started up again.

Chapter 25 started out normal enough; nothing really stood out to me...until I got to verse 8.

He will swallow up death forever;
and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,
and the reproach of his people he will
take away from all the earth
for the Lord has spoken.
It will be said on that day,
"Behold, this is our God; we have waited 
for him, that he might save us.
This is the Lord; we have waited for him;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation."

Cue the flood of tears.

Oh, wait, we're not done. Chapter 26, verses 3-4--you will be kept in perfect peace if you keep your mind on the Lord, if you trust Him. "Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock."

There is purple ink and tears all over these pages. I don't remember thinking much as I wrote, but as I look back over my notes, I'm impressed I was thinking this clearly at 12:59.

And then verse 9 rocked my world. 

My soul yearns for you in the night; 
my spirit within me earnestly seeks you.

that was me. I needed God, not some anime or music or a friend to talk to in order to keep my mind off the thoughts going around on repeat. My heart wanted something, but it wasn't those^^ things like I thought. I needed something more. My soul was yearning; my spirit was trying to earnestly seek...and I was suppressing that need.

As I continued reading and reading, I kept encountering verses that repeated how God will take away all illnesses and brokenness. Heck, He'll even slow the hasty folks and give the quiet people a voice. That voice, the dark one that told me I wasn't ever going to be a normal person again, had no other choice but to stop telling me its lies. And even if it had continued, I knew better. 

I don't know how long I was reading, but I remember seeing my bedside clock read 2 am...and I woke up with my Bible still open. I'd never done that before. My heart needed it. My brain needed it. Even though I'm pretty much exhausted today, I feel really good. 

It's still raining. I still feel lonely. I still didn't take my vitamin D--because I'm out. I'm still kinda sad...but it's strange mixture of  "I'm sad..." with "I know everything is going to be okay."

I haven't felt this good in weeks. 

I haven't been okay for a while. But I think I'm a little better today. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

like no other {a book review}

what's this?

what's this?

Ely's actually doing a book review?

weren't book reviews the main reason she started this blog? And can't we count the amount of reviews she's done...on one hand?


I've been a major fail concerning blogging and book reviews. Seriously, you can look it up in your arithmetic book: book reviews + blogging = Ely's a fail. I smart. I can do the maths.

Annnnnyways... (I didn't sleep enough, if you can't tell...) since all I do these days is nap and Netflix and read, I thought I'd review a few of my new friends. My reading habits are bizarre these days...I usually just roam through the YA section and pick up intriguing titles. Today, however, I'm going to talk about a book that has a title that didn't really appeal to me at all...and neither did the cover (I'll admit it. I'm a huge cover-judger. Sue me.)

I'm always up for a modern day play on Shakespeare, and even though I find Romeo and Juliet depressing (and yet humorous at the same time) and definitely not my thing, Like No Other intrigued me from the moment I started reading the book jacket. A Hasidic girl, forbidden from the world she's never been curious about, falling in love with a nerdy West Indian guy? That sure doesn't sound like a boring love story. At least, I hoped it wouldn't be.

me, about most romance books.

Thankfully, it wasn't. I have a few bones to pick with it, but overall, I really loved this book. First off, it was the perfect size. I am of the opinion that romance can be too shoved together and can also be waaaaaaaaaayy too dragged out. Yeah, Devorah and Jaxon fell in love within a few days, but hey, that's a few hours on Romeo and Juliet! I enjoyed the alternating voices, which gave you a chance to get to know each character--and the way their stories wove together was very well done, in my opinion.

I loved Devorah. She started out as a timid Jewish girl, who strongly ignored her secret wish to fly away from her boring world. She wasn't a boring white wall of a character, but she also wasn't your stereotypical rebellious teenage protagonist. She didn't want to admit she wanted to escape. You got to witness her slow progress as she moved on from her timidity and found her voice. It was a very beautiful transition.

Jaxon...I honestly don't know what to think of Jaxon. While Devorah's character was smooth, his was rough. The idea was that he was a nerdy kid who was awkward around girls. Oh my, I thought, this combination will either be hilarious or irk me to death. Unfortunately, I didn't really see much of Jaxon's nerdiness or his awkwardness. Yeah, there were a few moments at the beginning, but even that seem forced or exagerrated. That was one of my main pet peeves.

too much of this...

...and not enough of this.

My other bone to pick was how one-dimensional a lot of the characters were. I know it's almost impossible to create a completely deep cast, but when you look at Devorah, Jaxon's mom, and even Rose, it's easy to look at some of the others and go: "...meh." I didn't not like them, but I wished there was a little more meat to their stories, you know?

Except for Jacob. Jacob can go fall in a hole and die.

Also...can I just praise the whole "world-building" aspect of this book? Yeah, I know a book set in New York won't have that much world-building needed, but the whole Hasidic culture was portrayed tastefully. I learned more than I thought I would, and it was enough that I didn't feel like I was having random facts shoved down my throat. I also loved that Jaxon was just as clueless as I was, and that his desperate search for information about Devorah's life was also my desperate search.

Finally...the ending was freaking on point. Even though Romeo and Juliet's ending is accurate and necessary for the story to make its point, I'm still not that big of a fan (mostly because of the level of stupidity in that scene...) But I also didn't really think Devorah and Jaxon should have a happy ending. There weren't enough pages left in the book for that to be plausible, and it also didn't make sense to me at all. After all they'd been through, making things right after their mistakes, they'd just launch right back into the same old thing? Nuh-uh. So I appreciated the happiness in the ending, without the happy ever after. It was perfect.

and sometimes non-romantic happiness. Weird.

Would I recommend this book? Heck yeah. Is it a summer time read? ....not really. I think it suits mid-autumn better, even though it is set in August, but that's just because it makes me want to curl up in my blankets with some delicious tea while it's raining outside. It's just that kind of book. And if it means anything, I finished this book literally six hours after I picked it off the shelf. Yeah. It pulled me in, and I'm definitely re-reading it before I return it.

You could even's Like No Other.

I'll let myself out.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

for reals

I'm back.

I swear.

Seriously, I think I need someone to sit me down in front of my laptop and hold a gun to my head while I type out blogposts habitually. It's becoming an issue. The sad thing is: I have time. I have loads and loads and loads of time. On average, I've slept in til 9 everyday this week. I take a nap pretty much everyday. And don't ask me how many books/tv shows I've watched since finals.

I'm doing better, health-wise (but just wait--since I mentioned it, I'm going to have six flare days in a row). I've finally been diagnosed with problem numero dos: I have Benign Joint Hypermobility Syndrome, aka BJHS. In a nutshell, I have a genetic defect in my collagen, which is what keeps my ligaments in working order. Everybody starts out pretty flexible when they're little, but as they get older, that stretchiness goes away. Me, on the other hand...

so my joints are all out of whack because of this weird collagen disorder. Why? Because they don't have the support they need, and my muscles, nerves, and bones have to take up the slack.

Hence the pain.

I'm on pain meds, but I still have flare days where my back clenches up and hurts like nothing else. I've started doing light excercise to help build up the muscles that are overworked, and we're looking into physical therapy as well. I still wear my braces every now and then, but some days they do more harm than help.

But over all, I'm very happy with how I'm doing. I feel more alive than I have in three months. I actually have a brain. I rode the bike 6 miles yesterday and I feel muscle sore today, not BJHS sore. And it's a great feeling.

so what have I been up to in the two weeks since school got out? Mainly, I've been busy reorganizing my room and going to graduation things. I spent a weekend in Kansas, hanging out with my good friend Katrina and my other best friends.

I've been exploring a lot of music lately too. I don't want to go too deep into what I've been into lately, since I'm planning on a music post within the next few days (there. it's in print. i have to do it now), but here are a few of my new favourites.
*one f-word and a little bit of blood, fyi)

...don't judge. I spend a lot of time of Pinterest. So here's 5&5--my likes and pins.

yeah. I have a problem.

writing hasn't been as much of a focus as it really should be right now, but hey--I like sleeping. My plan for next week is to start writing seriously...but that's also been something I've told myself every week since I got out of school.

yup. I'm one of those people.

what have you all been up to? Did you like the new Avengers movie? Gotten into any good bands recently? What's your current favourite book? I've love to chat with you lovely people--I miss y'all. :)

Hope you have a great weekend!