Well, isn’t this a pleasant surprise…

I didn’t expect this at all, actually. It’s kind of cool. It’s like one of those ordinary acts of good, a commonplace kindness, an unexpected, even random, moment of encouragement, right when I needed it most. It can come in the form of someone paying for your food, a greeting in the hallway, a smile from a stranger. It can happen out of nowhere, from a passing acquaintance to a close friend to a perfect stranger. The unintended angels of our world.

Something like this happened to me just the other day, actually. I was feeling down, having “one of those days,” as they say. Kind of insecure at the moment, after not making the cut for our competitive, high-level musical auditions at school. BUT auditions for the spring show are coming up next week, and I was getting information from the director, and after hearing I didn’t make the cut for the musical, she had some really encouraging advice for me that I guess can be summarized in three words: “Don’t give up. Don’t give up, because I know you have what it takes.”

There is nothing more powerful than having someone believe in you, even when you don’t believe in yourself.

It’s kind of the same way with this blog. I don’t even know who I’m writing to, I just know I have a message I want to spread, a story I want to tell. My dad told me once to “Write your song and sing it loud.” (I responded that I wouldn’t let him sing along, though–my dad has few faults, but his musical talent IS somewhat lacking). But I wasn’t sure if anyone would actually read this, and I certainly wasn’t expecting it yet–I don’t even have any “real” posts yet. But then this happened: d So I followed the link, took the challenge, and now I just want to say: thanks, Caitlyn, for your ordinary act of good. To check out her blog, click here. c Rules/Guidelines: *Thank the blogger or bloggers who nominated you. *Answer the 11 questions asked. *Nominate 3 other blogs with less than 200 followers. *Ask them 11 new questions.

Q. Where did you meet your best friend(s)?
My old school. I used to go to this tiny little private school, with like 15 kids in my grade, and so we got really close. I hardly see them any more, but I still count them my best friends, because when we do get together, it’s like nothing ever changed.

Q. What’s your favorite holiday? Why?
A. Christmas of course! I love giving (and yes, I’ll admit it, getting) presents, decorating the house, listening to Christmas music, spending time with family, taking a break from the crazy stress, listening to my dad read Luke 2 by the fire each year, a little bit of snow, lots of yummy food…

Q. Have you ever had a major fight with a really close friend? What happened?
A. Not that comes to mind. My friend struggles are more along different lines.

Q. Do you think someday there will be a time machine?
A. Doubtful. I don’t think time works in a way we can harness in that way. But it would be pretty epic.

Q. What is your favorite girl name? What is your favorite boy name?
A. I actually have LOTS of favorite names. It’s a writer thing I guess. But for a girl, I love Rael (pronounced RAY-ell) and for a boy, I like Luke. My brother’s name, Moses, is pretty cool too.

Q. If you could meet anyone in the world, living or dead, who would it be?
A. This one’s tough. I have a lot of heroes. I mean, obviously Jesus comes to mind, but excluding Biblical characters? Nelson Mandela maybe, or my grandad on my dad’s side, who died when I was 8 but still left an incredible legacy on my life through my dad. Or, in a similar vein, my dad’s brother Ben, another man who left his mark after his death from leukemia when he was 15 years old. I never knew him, but I wish I could have.

Q. What is currently your favorite song?
A. Clear the Stage by Jimmy Needham. It’s really powerful but only listen to it when you’re alone and ready to be convicted (and possibly cry). I try not to listen to it superfluously so it keeps that power for me.

Q. Who is/are your favorite artist(s)/band(s)?
A. Tenth Avenue North and For King and Country are definitely up there, though it’s hard to say–depends a lot on my mood. Rend Collective Experiment, All Sons and Daughters, Sidewalk Prophets, and David Dunn are all really good too. I also–yes, I’ll admit it–listen to showtunes (music from musicals).

Q. Favorite book?
A. AUUGHHHH THIS IS LIKE ASKING ME TO PICK A FAVORITE CHILD!! Um…some top choices include:
– The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
–  The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare
–  The Help by Kathryn Stockett
–  anything by John Flanagan (reading his books is like greeting an old friend/friends)
–  Blink by Ted Dekker
–  The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern
–  The Book Thief and I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
–  Brilliance by Marcus Sakey
–  Tolkien stuff
–  Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
–  and lots and lots more

Q. Worst subject in school? How about your best? Why?
A. I don’t know, really. It’s more of enjoy vs. don’t-enjoy. I like Spanish, art, and biology. Not so much, say, health.

Q. What is a motto you live by?
A. “He must increase, and I must decrease.”

My 11 questions are:
1. What is the best habit you’ve ever developed?
2. If you could have tea with any TWO fictional characters who would they be?
3. What is the worst advice you’ve ever gotten?
4. What is the nicest thing someone has ever said to you?
5. What is your Myers-Briggs personality type, and do you agree with what it says about you? (take the test here)
6. What is the scariest thing you’ve ever done?
7. What is the longest thing you’ve ever memorized?
8. Left Twix or right Twix?
9. What animal most represents you and why?
10. What animal would you CHOOSE to be and why? (they’re different)
11. Where do you want to be in two and a half years? (figuratively and literally)

And my 3 nominees are…
1. http://ihaveareasontosing.wordpress.com/
2. https://musingsofachristiangirl.wordpress.com
3. http://joshfleming25.wordpress.com/

Thanks again Caitlyn! Keep paying it forward.

–Bre

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Breanna Joy

Once upon a time, in a far-away land, there was born one chill wintry day a lass who would come to be called Bre. She grew up whiling away the time upon myriad pursuits that would one day shift from pursuits to passions; creative, curious, and mischievous, she loved to read whatever she could manage to get her hands on (in particular novels, those of plot complex, world intriguing, and characters remarkable) — and read she did! She devoured words with so fierce a joy that she grew skillful in wielding such words as her own — story, journal, article, post and poem alike. For other arts, she also nurtured admiration. She loved in her heart the beauteous sound of music and the power it held over emotion and spirit. And she would work with her own hands to sketch and to paint and to correct and to create. One of her deepest passions was the stage, where she would take on a character as if an article of clothing, and live and breathe in another’s skin. In addition, the stories of times past and cultures distant enraptured her fascination, and she dreamed of one day venturing to explore these unknown lands. But these, these were nothing to the true heart of her soul. She found for herself a motley band of what can only be called friends–though some of whom were, truth be told, far more than that to her. They changed her being and resided in her heart. And so she lived, and loved, and dreamt. She dreamt of adventure and beauty and song and story and love and laughter. But far beyond anything else, did she strive with love toward her God. For this was her own great quest, or, if you will, her part in His own great story: to love those in the world, as He had loved her, when she had not loved Him–indeed, when she had turned from Him, hid from Him, rejected Him and ignored Him–He loved her enough to die for her. And so, because of this great love that now burned like a fire inside of her, a blazing beacon, she strove for a life lived in a beautiful harmony to Him who gave her a second chance. As she grew, she became confused, and doubting, and weak, and afraid, and unclean, and she would forget, and go to the world that was pressing at her to give in, in an attempt to satisfy her emptiness, though it would always leave her wanting. But always she would return, and be whole and filled again, made complete and beautiful in her soul. Storms would come and battles would rise; she would be tried and tested in many ways, and even so the story continues, but know ye this–He held her and led her all her days, and in the end, He would bring her to His own happily ever after.

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