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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Cliff Hanger

I want to tell you a story.
But first, a little background...
I work at a Residential Treatment Center,
which means, the boys who are RESIDING there are also receiving TREATMENT. 
It's basically a 24 hour therapeutic environment where growth and change have the best chance. 
Enough background.

There's this boy where I work, we'll call him Ethan. 
Ethan is a very "difficult" boy.
He doesn't understand that often what is best for him is something he does not like. 
If he doesn't want to do something, he refuses, and whoever gets in his way will receive his wrath.
When at home, this boy refused to go to school. 
He ate what he wanted, and he did what he wanted 
(played video games, read comic books.)

And now... 
It is my task to get this boy to participate in school.
Each day, I tell him that he needs to participate in school,
or there will be consequences.
I enforce these rules in any way that I can.
On this particular day- he was refusing to remove his hands from his ears. 
And in so doing refused to participate, so the next step was having him leave class.
Well, you see the problem, if fingers are in ears, words are not getting to those ears.

after having the entire class move locations, because this boy WOULD NOT, 
I sat with him.
He called me names, accused me of ruining his life and made sure that I knew how unnecessary my actions were.
And I listened.
I explained how I was trying to help him.

One of the administration described the situation like this,

"Ethan, right now you're hanging off of a cliff,
and the staff are reaching down to help you up.
And you're smacking at their hands."

Later we were called up together to the weekly meeting where we

talk to administration and therapists.
After some talking, the question was asked of me, 
should this boy get another chance?

Well at that point I began to cry. 
I looked at Ethan and said that I would give him another chance.
He apologized, promised it would not happen again, thanked me for forgiving him.

And in this small circumstance 
I can not help but think that I got a taste of what Christ must go through with me, every day.
The parallel is obviously small, but let me explain.
I want Ethan to learn and to grow, and when we get down to it, it is literally my job to make that happen. 
Because I want him to learn, I made the situation the best I could so that could happen.
I warned him before class of the consequences, and tried to explain things to him, and yet he refused.
His behavior begat punishment, and yet I sat with him.
He showered words of hatred down on me.
He slapped at the hands that bent down to save him. 
And then when the time came when his fate was in my hands
when he turned to me for forgiveness, 
I showed him mercy.
And I did it knowing that inevitably it would happen again.

Because I know he WILL, someday, learn. 
And I trust him to try.

Is this not a small, less infinite example of my relationship with Christ?
Am I not this young boy?

Christ is my teacher,
giving me perfect experiences, catered to my needs.
He tells me his expectations through commandments and modern day revelation.
He fosters growth in every way.
He sits and stays while I curse his name,
eager to listen and heal.
He pleads my case, he forgives, he shows mercy.
He knows I will inevitable fail again.

Because he knows I WILL someday, learn.
And he trusts me to try. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

A Little C.S. Lew

After praying for the resurrection of his mother, C.S. Lewis talked about the flaw in his childhood faith.
Unfortunately, my hindsight isn't nearly as clear, and my adult prayers are often uttered in the same way.

"I had approached God, or my idea of God, without love, without awe, even without fear. He was, in my mental picture of this miracle, to appear neither as Savior nor as Judge, but merely as a magician; and when He had done what was required of Him I supposed He would simply—well, go away."

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Happy Graduation to Me

I went camping this weekend in Southern Utah
to celebrate graduating from COLLEGE!
And can I just say Wow, it was soooo beautiful!

While I was there I spent some time with some pretty
amazing and fun people, and saw some amazing things!

Most of all though, I realized that being positive changes things.
At one point we were hiking up a mountain in the wind 
and rain and it was just so crazy.

But even crazier, the people that I was with were just having 
a total blast, they were singing and laughing and just being crazy.

Needless to say I thought a lot about this and wrote down some 
of my thoughts.
I guess I'm hoping that one day this poem
will reflect how I live my life:

I knew someone 
who saw the good 
in everything she met. 

The wind blown hair
the sand filled shoes 
her clothes all soaking wet. 

She smiled, and sang
and had a ball 
and loved the world around 

Embraced the breeze
brushed off her knees
nothing could get her down.

And so she saw
all of the good
in everything she met

Pushed out the gray
lived all her days
and tried not to forget

That, quickly, life
the only one
she had might soon be o'er

So skipping through
the dark and dim
she just asked life for more.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Lessons Of A Lone Hiker

It was 70 degrees outside,
no clouds and a slight breeze,
can you blame me for going on a hike?
I did go by myself, which I know,
shame on me, but I just HAD TO!

This hike, however was
like nothing I'd ever experienced.
You need to know that this actually happened
and I'm sorry for the profanity.

I had been hiking for probably
about an hour when I started to experience
some super intense stabbing pain in my abdomen.

I tried to walk it off,
but after about five minutes
I had to take a little break
so I sat down on a log.

This might seem a little
"Good Samaritan-esk"
And it kind of is,
but three different groups of
people walked by me while I was there.

The first set was a man
with a woman following
about 4 steps behind him.
I smiled at the man and said "Hi"
as he walked by.
He nodded in my direction and kept walking.
The woman who was following him received
the same greeting from me, a smile and a "Hi".

But instead of walking by,
She stopped, looked at me and said, and I quote
"You're an asshole, I hate you."
And then promptly started walking again.
I wish I could have seen my face,
I looked around to make sure she was talking to me,
and whispered a simple questioning, "me?"

But she kept walking.
So, there I was, imploding
while a random woman
swore at me and then kept walking.
I'm pretty sure I looked up and muttered
 "really Heavenly Father, why?"

Oh wait, it gets weirder.

The next bunch was a group of
three little kids, 2 boys and 1 girl
about 6-8 years old.
The two little boys had their
arms around each others shoulders and
were jovially singing,

"Go, Tell it on the mountain,
over the hills and everywhere;
Go tell it on the mountain
that Jesus Christ is born."

This trio was such a stark contrast
to the previous duo that I literally thought I was dreaming.
But no, the children said hello and happily skipped by.

The next was a little more "normal" feeling,
a mom and her daughter.
The mother had the daughter on her shoulders
and the daughter was playing the "why?" game,
"Why do we have trees, why do we have grass, etc".

Reminder, this entire time, probably about 20 minutes,
I'm dying, I'm in so much pain that I can't walk.

The mom and daughter say hello and smile as they walk by,
and as they do I notice that the mother has a bald head,
covered with a bandana.
They passed by
 and after a while I decided that if I didn't get up and start walking
I didn't know how long I would just be sitting there.

So, all hunched over I started shuffling down the trail.

Pretty soon I caught up to the mother and daughter pair.
They were stopped on the trail looking at a squirrel,
and they joined me as I walked.

The mother asked where I lived, where I went to school,
made small talk.
I told her I thought she was cool for taking her children hiking
all by herself.
She simply said, "It's been a hard year for our kids, I thought they deserved to have some fun."
And then we parted ways.

Yeah, crazy right?

I finally made it to my car and was so grateful that I could just drive home and lay down,
I also drove home with a question in my mind,

"Which of the hikers am I?"
Am I rude? Do I happily sing and skip through life? Do I carry my family on my shoulders?

Yes, the pain did go away.
The timing was very interesting,
just perfect to meet each group.

And I decided that
I want to be the kind of person
who recognizes when people are in pain,
I want to stop, pick them up in my arms
and carry them back down the trail.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Man Who Changed My World

"He just looks like a genius.
Right up there with Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell.
Nikola Tesla."

Harry Burnett Reese.

Inventor of Reese's.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

She Sings Herself To Sleep

I hope the cliche'-ness of this post doesn't
overshadow the meaning that I'm putting into it.

I've always been one of those people who can't really spend that much time by myself.
Because I usually run out of stuff to do fairly quickly and then I need someone else
to entertain me.

This has been evident over the past couple of years because I've always filled my time with other people, always always.

However, the past couple of months have really been transition months and I've made a decision to...
wait for it.....

The Tilly that I wanted to be was lost deeeeeeeep down inside and she was ready  to show her pale little face.

And so the journey began with my first trip to the movie theatre,

Can I just tell you I totally enjoyed it?!
At first I was self conscious and embarrassed, and the ticket taker was a guy that I knew, so I felt pretty silly.
But after I got over the initial newness I was a happy camper..watcher.

And so I continued the journey.
This week I took a beautiful hike.
By myself.
Went shoe shopping.
By myself.
Ate at my favorite indian food restaurant
By myself.
Went to the gym
By myself.
And, last but not least,
went to a concert.
By myself.

I mean, I'm still getting use to this solo act, but also I think it's good for me to figure out who I am.
And, I've found that I'm pretty fun.
I had fun singing out loud to myself as I hiked.
I had a lot of fun at this concert, listening to music that I totally loved. I had fun dancing by myself.

Stick with me a little longer, I want to tell you the best part.

So, when I was younger ( my parents can testify) I had this really bad habit. As a little girl I would always sing myself to sleep at night. I did it for years, and I sang REALLY loud.

I can remember multiple occasions when my parents had to come into my room and tell me to quiet down because they couldn't sleep.

The happiness in my childhood heart would radiate out of my mouth, I loved singing so much and it truly soothed me. I would make up words to my own songs, and just sing for hours.

Fast forward to a couple of nights ago, my roommate was visiting family and I was all alone in my room.

A voice drifted through our apartment, it was a little Tilly girl, happily singing herself to sleep.

And I'm proud to announce that, My friends, I've found myself.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Beautiful Mountains

The mountains were so beautiful
on my way home from work today
that I didn't even care that I
 was stopped in rush hour traffic.
I listened to the radio really loud
and I thanked Heavenly Father
for the beautiful weather
for the blue sky
and I cried because I was so happy.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Being Better THAN

I was sitting in my social work class
when my teacher said something
that really caught my attention,
"Why do we think we need to be better than others?"

I started to panic,
I thought of a bunch of ways to
dodge the question.

"We live in a competitive world,
if we want to succeed we need to be
better than the next guy."
"If I want a job I have to have a better interview than my competitor"
"If I want an A on the test I need to do better than my classmates."

And so forth.

Whoa whoa whoa, was that really what she was asking?
You already know it wasn't.

She was asking,
"Why, when we see someone with a sign that says 'will work for food',
do we automatically think we are 'better' than they"?

Even more so,
why do we feel the need to make this comparison
in the first place?

Why do we not only compare,
but also, why do we feel the need to place
others' worth below our own?
Are we not all people?

And I've thought and thought about this.

My answer?
Well, honestly all of them end selfishly.

Now, bettering myself? Obviously I think that's a righteous endeavor,
learning from experiences, reading new books, mastering new skills.
There's no harm in being better.

The problem is being better THAN.
Better than "those people",
whether mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally, academically,
there's really just no need to compare.

When it comes to inherent worth,
I truly believe that we are all the same.
No matter what illness we have, what shortcomings we fall to,
how many breakdowns, or break throughs,
we all have worth.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

At Least SOMEONE Knows What's Going On

Though he’s still confused at how to serve me, 
I’ll soon lead him to a clearer dawning, 
In the green sapling, can’t the gardener see  
The flowers and fruit the coming years will bring

-Faust by Goethe 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

What I Wouldn't Do

For 5 years.
I've been addicted to this song, 
"What I Wouldn't Do"
by A Fine Frenzy.

And today for the first time
I learned how to play it on the guitar.
And I feel so happy
that I can sing and play
my very favorite song.

I think I might cry.

Friday, January 17, 2014

My Thoughts About People

I was going to name this post:
My Thoughts About Children.

But then, no. Children are people too.

My feelings spawn from the amount 
of time that I spend at preschool.

When I first headed back to preschool I wanted to die, 
the children, they have a lot of different...

They pee on the floor, 
sneeze on my hand (always right on my hand)
and everything else you can think of.

I guess I really let those things effect 
how I feel about kids.

(Also the amount that I've been 
pinched and bit and head butted 
has probably had something to do with it.)

I realized the bitterness in my soul
when I was on a date and I told the guy,
"You know...I don't think I want children."

A couple of hours later
( I guess he was still thinking about it)
He said, "Hey, were you serious earlier
when you said the kid stuff?"


Well, that was then.
And now, I think I've come around.
Let me tell you why.

The other day one of the little boys at school
asked if he could come to my birthday party,
and with regret,
I had to tell him that it was for big kids.
(Even though I'm pretty sure more 
3 year olds would make it a lot more fun!)

I've found that children are kind.
And sweet.
They want to share their Legos,
they want to make others happy.
They laugh when the other little kids fart.

Another experience.

Today I was observing the playtime activities.
All of the kids build and karate chop things.
For an hour.

The current item being karate chopped was...
a wooden train track I believe.

Somehow the train track ended up
hitting the nose of my little one.
And this next part, this is the good stuff.

The first person he looked for?
His arms both came out, 
and soon he was sitting on my lap.

I snuggled him, 
and gave him eskimo kisses.
I told him that I was sorry that he was hurt.
(and also advised him to stop karate chopping things above his head, 
you know...gravity?)

I tossled his cute little hair
kissed his nose,
and sent him back to play.

And, I know what you're thinking,
"And that's when the water works started."
Nope. NO typical Tilly this time.

I really did love that moment.
All of the boogers, and scratches, and tears.
(Mine and his)
They were all worth it.

So. Guy that I was on a date with.
I've changed my mind.

I give in.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

January 9th: The Shared Day

(First of all, I understand that this might be an open wound for some.
I apologize if I hurt any feelings. 
I realize that this post has some really selfish stuff in it.
Hopefully you can read it with the feeling that was intended.)

Most of the people from my younger days
know that I share my birthday with Rachel Hanna.

Since Rachie and I were friends from a young age and shared the 
same small town friends it was only natural to collaboriate on birthday parties.

From having a tea party at Sengthong's 
to watching The Little Mermaid at Greg and Sherri's
it was always together.

I have to admit, I don't have any birthday memories that exclude her.

Obviously I was a little jealous when we were younger,
blah blah blah I didn't get my own party.

And even as I grew older, sometimes
I didn't think it was fair that I cried every year
on MY birthday.

That my birthday always included a trip to the cemetery,
and that my birthday balloons were given to the sky.

My day, was our day.

But life has proven to teach me a few things.

Through losing that precious little girl I've learned that
life is valuable beyond comprehension.
There's more.
I have come to know that families can be together forever,
even after death.

I've come to find that being selfless is more important than, "having my own day".
That thinking of others, and loving and caring will always lead to happiness.

That you can dwell on loss, live like a victim of life,
OR you can cherish memories and make new ones.

And right now. 
Even though I cry that I've been selfish,
 and I can't believe that I still miss her after 14 years, I'm also so happy.

I'm so grateful that I get to share with her. 
That sweet little girl reminds me to love others.
To make them smile and laugh.

And tomorrow, I'll wear purple. 
And I'll probably cry a little bit, because loss is so hard.

But most importantly I'll smile.

Because I'm the luckiest girl in the world,

I get to share my birthday with an angel.