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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

You never stop learning

Recently, God taught me an important lesson the hard way.  In order to teach me that I needed to put Him first, He took away my computer.  Hardcore.  As in, I couldn't get on it.  I had become too reliant on my laptop for homework and entertainment that it was consuming my life.  I listened to music almost all the time, took time away from sleep and practice to be on it.  I chose to put off spending time with the God who had brought me this far.  He finally got tired of it I think.

My computer was out of commission for nearly two weeks.  A good friend of mine tried to fix it for me using every method he knew of to get it up and running so I could at least get my files off of it and use it until I could get it fixed completely.  Unfortunately, the software issue that had been caused by a failed update kept him from being successful.  I finally had to give in and take it to IT on campus and use my friends' computers and academic computer labs to complete my assignments.

I'll admit, it was a huge stressor!  I had a huge paper to write and without a laptop, I had to take time out of my practice and other homework time to write it.  But then I thought about it.  I was becoming a hypocrite.

In my time without a computer, I found that I spent more time reading, more time sleeping, more time with friends.  I liked not having the temptation of the distractions it offered, even though I didn't like how I couldn't have the option to use it when I needed it.  However the biggest thing was I purposefully took time to read my Bible and a devotional book, to take time to appreciate God.

IT called me almost every day to update me on the status of my computer.  I'd stumped them with how it wouldn't turn on except to a strange boot menu it wouldn't move from.  We kept holding out that different scans they were running would do something, spark something in the computer to get it to boot.  Finally, the day before I left for Thanksgiving, they called and said there was nothing else they could do but wipe the hard drive to get it back to factory settings.  By this time, I didn't care anymore.  I just wanted my computer to function again so I could use it to finish the semester.  "Just go ahead and wipe it," I said submissively.  I was resigned to the fact that my computer just wasn't going to be fixed and I would lose all my files.  And I was going to be okay with that.

And then something strange happened.  Basically, they told the computer to act like the hard drive wasn't there, it ran an auto repair, and the next morning they came in and found it running, all of my files intact, and no problems with the software anymore.

I was in shock.  Complete shock.  I listened to the voice mail about four times, trying to figure out if what I was hearing was real.  I couldn't stop praising God.

Then a revelation came to me.  I had relied on my computer so much that God decided I needed to refocus my attention.  I truly believe that God was keeping my computer from being fixed until I was okay with the idea that my computer just wasn't going to be fixed, okay with giving up control.  And when I finally was okay with it, He worked on my computer, as what happened was certainly not standard procedure.  I'm not trying to put words in God's mouth, but it is what I believe.

Now, I admit, since having my computer back, I've definitely lost my focus that I had regained on God.  This is a battle I constantly fight, and I've been letting temptation win the last few days.  But God is stronger.  And I know that God may very well get my attention again in a way that I don't particularly like.  But I love Him anyway :)  I fail sometimes in spending time with Him, but He knows what I need to refocus :)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Cry

So guys, I love to write songs just for fun.  The other day I started with just a cool chord progression and it escalated from there!  But starting with verse three and on, that honestly came from God.  As I wrote it, I realized that this was a song to help a friend heal.  And then I got to thinking...maybe it'll help someone else heal.  So here it is folks, an original song by Angelica Huffman.  It doesn't really have a title...so for now I'll just call it The Cry.  :)  Hope you enjoy it!  (And I apologize for the weird sound of singing and other things as I was in a practice room with a handheld recorder.)

Hey guys, I do still exist!

Hey, so I'm simply writing to say that I'm still alive!  Barely, but I am.  :)  I've somehow been able to hang on to a bit of my sanity to be able to make it this far in the semester without completely dying!  Yeah, I'm not doing as well in my studies as I'd hoped, but I'm surviving.  And I'm not barely passing any of them that I know of, so that's good!

And yes, I am going to make sure that I don't schedule another crazy semester like this if I can avoid it!! :P  I have learned a lot about myself during this semester however, as well as a whole ton of stuff about the people I live with (both good and bad stuff...)  But that's a major part of friendship and life isn't it, learning the good, positive things about the people you hang around with the most as well as the crap that they don't want you to know or the stuff that irritates you.

But I love it all :)  I don't always like it too much, but I love my roommates and my roommates across the hall; my whole unit in fact!!  I'm surrounded by such a great group of friends :)

I'll actually write a big long update about stuff later...I'm just putting off going to bed because I am honestly at my energetic high from 3 or 4 in the afternoon until about 1am.  College curse.....grrrrhsaogiaenaweiodsj!
-_-  (that's not my whale sound, that's a random Angelica-ism sound)

I wish I had some big epiphany or word of wisdom to leave with you that's super fast, but really I have nothing.  Everything going on in my life is so major (that's a whole other conversation...my major!) or complicated or whatever you want to call it.  All I have for you is don't let yourself get too stressed because it seriously drains you of functioning brain power.  That's my "word of wisdom" for the night.  :)

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Lightbulb

While resting, my roommate was playing some of her favorite Gospel music, the soloist sang "Jesus gave his very best.  His love was proven for me, when He loved me to death."  ("He Took the Nails" by the Browders)

Loved me to death.  I never thought about the origin of that phrase.  But it makes sense...it really does.  Jesus loved each and every one of us to His death on the cross.  So often we use that phrase to describe our best friends, our spouse, or even sometimes an object.  But do you really love that person or thing to death?

I am so blown away by that concept.  Christ's sacrifice always renders me speechless.  What a love...a love so strong it will go through the pains of death.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I don't know what to title this post...so I'll let you name it

So, I know that this is like...several weeks late.  Sorry...life kinda happened, but now you can get the story.  :)

I'm done.

I'm done...

I'M DONE!!!!

I THROW MY HANDS IN THE AIR SOMETIMES SINGING AAAAAAAAAAYYYYYOOOOOOO!!  I'M FINALLY DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONE!!!

Okay, so that doesn't really rhyme, but admit it, you sang it.  :P

I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders!  After sitting for almost forty-five minutes in a courtroom with my parents, the defendant, the defense attorney, prosecutor, and a couple other people waiting for the judge, the trial had begun!  He didn't look like a criminal, aside from the waist handcuffs and the bright orange jumpsuit.  

It was weird, sitting in the same room as the man who'd broken into my house a year ago.  The same man who came into my bedroom and stared at me.  The same man who ran.  The same man who slammed my elbow in the door.  The same man who left so much fear in my life.  

We had only just sit down in the courtroom, which was not what they look like in the movies, when the prosecutor pulled out us back out of the room, saying, “So this has never happened before in a case like this, but the defendant has written you a letter.”

I gaped at him, very unattractively.  “He did what?” I squeaked.  I honestly had no thoughts or words that made sense.  I had not expected this.  It was my job to make a personal statement right?  It was my job to make a statement, not his.  Or was my understanding of court and trial completely skewed and incorrect?  After a few moments of thinking, I decided to read the letter after the trial was over, so that I wouldn’t be swayed by the words he wrote down.

And sorry, no, I’m not going to tell you what he wrote.  Some may think that he didn’t actually write the letter, that someone else wrote it for him.  Some may say that he only said he wanted to apologize but someone else wrote the words.  Some may claim that he was told by his attorney that he should say something and then thus was provided with something to give to me.  Whatever you guys think about this is fine, but I believe that he either personally wrote it or dictated the letter.  I believe that he meant it.

You may think me foolish.  Maybe I am.  But if wanting to believe the best in people, even those who have committed a crime against me, then yes I am very foolish.  And I wouldn’t want to change that about myself.

Finally, the trial started.  They went through all the formalities that I won’t go into detail about because frankly, I wasn’t paying attention.  I just wanted to get up on the stand and get my part over with.  But I had to wait for three people to talk first. 

The first witness to go on the stand was my dad.  The prosecutor attorney went through the whole scenario, asking questions simply for the purpose of court to hear the entire scenario and what happened on my dad’s end.  At the end of the questioning, which wasn’t stressful as there was no cross-examining, Dad was asked if he wanted to say anything to the man who broke in.  Dad looked across the room, into the eyes of this man, and said thank you.  “Thank you for not causing any harm to my daughter.  Thank you for leaving.”  Honestly, he could have done so much more than simply slamming the door on my elbow.  He came into my bedroom for goodness sakes! 

But of all the things my dad could have said to him, he was grateful to this man.  I have never been prouder of my father.

Mom’s turn was next.  She was asked the same questions as Dad, and told her side of the story, the different feelings she experienced.  When she had the chance to say something to the defendant, she looked him in the eyes as well, as a couple tears started trickling down her face.  “What you took from our house that day, was so miniscule, so small.  But what you left in our house was so big and overwhelming.  You left fear in our house.”

When Mom sat back down, I didn’t know what to do.  I wanted to comfort her, but Mom and I are very different in the way that she needs to be hugged or have her hand held or touched to be comforted, where I usually want you to leave me alone and let me work through it if I’m in public.  If I am crying in public, I usually am embarrassed that I’m being emotional and thus being hugged without my initiating it makes it worse.  I gently patted her hand, but scooted closer to Dad, trying to being comforting without making it uncomfortable for me. 

Yeah, slightly selfish.  I get that.  Sorry.

Next it was one of the detectives, the woman who I met with soon after the break in actually happened.  They showed a clip of her interview with the defendant and it was in that moment that I understood something about this man.  He has two little children.  Suddenly, I wanted to jump up and say whatever I could to get him as little time as possible so he could be able to take care of his kids.  But I knew that he had to pay the price for his actions. 

Finally, it was my turn.  Suddenly my throat dried up and I started to shake.  Being called to the witness stand was certainly something I never saw myself doing.  Getting up there, the prosecutor asked me to explain what happened that day.  So I went through the whole story again.  I wrung my hands constantly in my lap, trying to distract myself partially from reality.  As I told the story, my mind began to revert back to that day, going through the thoughts and emotions I was experiencing from when they started pounding on the doors to when I started choke sobbing to the 911 operator, telling them where I lived so they could send help.

The prosecutor, after I finished my story, said that they had my 911 call ready to play as evidence, and asked if it was alright if they played it.  I gave him a skeptical look, unsure of how to answer the question.  “Sure?” I replied, knowing they were going to play it eventually anyway.  In our meeting with the prosecutor the week before, they’d played it for me twice, just so we all would be prepared for the actual trial. 

The first thing you hear on the 911 call is harsh breathing, and then a sick thud of the door slamming on my elbow, and me running into it.  Then you hear a bunch of garbled words explode from my mouth.  Then I shriek these words: “Please!  Just go AWAY!!”  During the entire recording, I closed my eyes, hoping that I would keep it together.  I squeezed my hands a little too tight, wrenching my fingers together.  All I could think about was not crying.  I didn’t want to cry.  I was determined not to.

After finishing that short, but agonizing terror again, I opened my eyes, and blinked back the tears that welled up behind my eyelids.  Then, it was my turn to make my statement to the defendant.  The statement I’d been waiting since January to make.  I took a few seconds to breathe and think, unfolding my paper, refusing to look at anyone.  With a dry throat and a shaking voice, I began to talk. 

When I had finished, the defendant looked as if he was about to cry or something.  He shook his head and whispered, “I didn’t mean for anyone to get hurt…”  He sounded so broken.  In the year he spent in jail, he’s had a lot of time to think about what he did.  And I truly believe that he is remorseful over that fact, even though the prosecutor doesn’t think so.

It was at this point where the judge looked at me, and warmed my heart with words of great encouragement.  After I’d gone back to sit with my parents, and endure the hugs and pats from both of them, the judge looked at me, knowing that she was not going to get to see me again and she had something to say to me.  “Most people come into this room and are full of bitterness and anger, but you three are different.  You bring messages of hope and thankfulness that nothing worse happened.  Angelica, your poise is impressive.  You are such a bright light and these words of forgiveness you have brought are so rare.”  (This is based on my memory, not precise quotes.)  I felt so…strong in that moment.  It still warms my heart to this day, remembering those kind words of pride and encouragement from a judge!  Of all people!  My attitude and poise and spirit impressed everyone in that courtroom.  I didn’t intend it to be that way.  It just…happened.  All because I was determined to seem strong.

The next thirty minutes was the boring, although rather intense, part of the trial where the prosecutor and defense attorney took turns making their arguments to the judge.  It was during this time that I learned that the defendant is an admitted heroin addict and was under influence of drugs at the time of the robbery as well as the interviews where he refused to cooperate with the detectives in regards to identifying his accomplice.  I also learned that in cases like this, where the defendant is already guilty, I prefer the defense attorney to the prosecutor as the defense attorney is paid to see the potential in other people, which is something I do naturally anyway, while the prosecutor beats the criminal down and doesn’t see any hope in the situation for the defendant. 

During the prosecutor’s argument however, in his loud rampage, bellowed, “…and I’m going to play Angelica’s 911 phone call again because it is a very compelling piece of evidence that captures the terror she felt that day!!”  I just stared at him, thinking, “Excuse me, but did you not think to ask me or think that I might not appreciate hearing me screaming again?”  But my time to talk was over, so I remained silent.  Instead, I wrapped my arms around Daddy’s arm and bit my finger, squeezing my eyes, refusing to give into the tears and the emotions.  But soon, it was over, and we could leave, and I could go home.


I made myself not cry, except for a little leak during the second time they played my 911 call.  I still haven’t cried.  Yes, I am aware of how unhealthy it is to hold in my emotions like that.  I haven’t reached a breaking point yet…however I feel as if I’m getting close.  I just have this…problem where I choke my emotions sometimes in hopes of not having a complete breakdown that will embarrass me.  I’m sure that one of these days, it’ll catch up to me.  But for now, I’m done!  And hopefully, I will never have to experience something like this again, although I wouldn’t trade the events for anything in the world.  And I truly mean that.  

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Twelve more hours

Twelve hours until it all ends.  The trial.  I'm absolutely petrified.  I have so many what if's going through my mind...

What if I have a complete break down in front of everyone?

What if anger takes hold and I try to attack the man who has made my days alone a living hell?

What if I can't forgive him?

These are just a few of the dozens of questions whirling around in my mind and crashing into each other.  If only I can calm my mind down enough to think logically for a minute...

There is no reason to be afraid.  You saw this man back in January and you were pretty much fine, aside from the quickening beat of your heart and the breathless feeling you got as emotions began to toy with you.  But really, you had been able to see him in a different light.  How is this trial any different?  He's pleaded guilty, there will be no cross-examining, you'll get to make your statement...

Aaaaaaaand that calm moment is over.  I suppose it's my "forgiveness statement" that terrifies me the most.  I know that I'm supposed to be bigger than this and be strong and courageous and a warrior, but sometimes I want to say to heck with it all and curl up in a ball on the floor!

Oh wait.  Already did that.

Last week, my brain was on overload because I knew this trial was coming.  Most nights I couldn't sleep until close to one in the morning, sometimes not until two, because even the sound of my pulse in my ear sounded like someone walking around.  There were a couple of nights I fell asleep with my flashlight in my hand, ready to blind any imaginary intruder that would dare show it's pretend face in my room.  Some days were more stressful than others.  Some days I was fine.  Some days, I would feel so empty, like God had left me.  Now though, I know He was just gone fighting back the demons that were threatening to plague me with worse fears than I was already experiencing.

I'm praying that those days and nights of fear, panic, and anxiety will be over and done with after this trial.  Old news.  Trash.  On the curb.  Killed.  Finished.  Never to be experienced again.

I'm not saying I don't want to be cautious or be completely free of suspicion.  It's good to be on your guard.  However, I don't want to be stricken with fear every time I hear any sort of sound that is out of place.  The creaks from the wind, the drips of the rain, the breathing of my dad in the next room.  Will this trial finally put an end to all of that?

Even though I want to give my entire speech tomorrow to this man, all I need to say is "I forgive you."  "You are forgiven."  But will I have the nerve?  Will I mean it?  Some people have faith in me...why don't I?  I chased these guys out of my house for crying out loud!  Why don't I have faith in the God that gave me the strength to act the way I did?  Why don't I have faith in the God who fights my demons for me when I can't?  He's gotten me this far, why don't I have faith that He will get me through tomorrow?

Twelve more hours...twelve more hours until this hell is over, or the volcano erupts.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

I write songs just to work through things

Just as an FYI to anyone who has ever said or thought that I should be a professional songwriter or anything like that, even though that'd be pretty cool, I could never do that.  My best songs come from things that are heavy on my heart; issues I have to work through.  Anyone who's ever dealt with me during my stressful and emotional days know that I have to talk through things to get over them.  And that's what this song is.  It's how I'm dealing with stressful happenings in my own life.

And I hope that it helps you too, whoever you end up being.



YOUR RAINBOW     --by Angelica

You've gotta stay strong in this nightmare
But you cannot act like you don't care
Don't give up, and don't give in

Don't let it change who you are
And don't you dare lose heart
Don't give up, and don't give in

When you feel your strength is gone,
When there's nothing to lean on,
When you think you can't go on,
When you're barely hanging on!

Look past the clouds...
Look through the rain coming down!
Look too the sky...
There's a hope to help you fly!
You're standing under the colors of your rainbow;
Now you know God won't let you drown.

Don't believe you will lose the fight
Open your eyes to see the light
Don't give up, and don't give in

Don't act like you've lost hope
Don't think you can't cope
Don't give up, and don't give in

When you feel your strength is gone,
When there's nothing to lean on,
When you think you can't go on,
When you're barely hanging on!

Look past the clouds...
Look through the rain coming down!
Look too the sky...
There's a hope to help you fly!
You're standing under the colors of your rainbow;
Now you know God won't let you drown.

When the truth weighs so much,
When you feel you cannot trust,
Look up!
Don't give up and don't give in,
Don't let it push you down again,
You're bigger than this pain within,
God's going to win!!

Look past the clouds...
Look through the rain coming down!
Look too the sky...
There's a hope to help you fly!
You're standing under the colors of your rainbow;
Look past the clouds...
Look through the rain coming down!
Look too the sky...
There's a hope to help you fly!
You're standing under the colors of your rainbow;
Now you know God won't let you drown.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Do you have a green thumb?

I am not a big gardener.  I wish I was; I've always had a dream of having a big garden at a house of my own where I grow my own food.  However, there are two issues I've come to discover with that: 1.) I don't like getting my hands dirty that much, and 2.) I forget about watering or weeding or simply checking on plants that they die.

I have an aunt who is a garden MASTER!  Well, considering she's my aunt she's probably more of a garden queen.  She has stunning landscape that she loves to make more beautiful than it already is.  She has the green thumb.  I also have a second cousin who says she has a black thumb.  (She killed a cactus.)  I don't think I have either of those, but probably more black than green.

I was sitting on the porch waiting for my ride to the church softball game when I noticed my tiny paper-like pot I'd gotten from VBS.  (No, I didn't attend VBS, I helped.)  I watered the seeds in it maybe...once?  And that was over a week ago.  Nothing ever sprouted from the pot.

"Ah well," I thought.  "I just don't have a green thumb.  At least VBS was good; seeds were planted!"  Suddenly, I rethought what I and just said to myself.  Seeds were planted at VBS...seeds that I may have the opportunity to continue to nurture.

But I don't have a green thumb.

A green thumb is what we refer to as the natural ability to grow plants.  Now, I'm not saying that people are plants, not at all, however the same principle applies to the spiritual seeds we sow in peoples lives.  We plant seeds of truth when we live according to God's law.  We plant seeds of love when we act as Jesus would.

However, we also can plant seeds of destruction when we live controversially to who we claim to be.  We plant seeds of anger when we show unrighteous anger in any way.

Do I have a spiritual green thumb?  Can you say the same about yourself?  Or do we have the black thumb of confusion and hurt.  What seeds are we planting?  Are we watering those seeds?  Are we taking care of the seeds that other people have planted?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Passionate silence

This last Sunday, we sang a new song.  Over and over we sang "I will...wait on the Lord."  Well, other people sang; I just stood there thinking.  I don't like singing worship songs where I'm saying something that I don't really mean.  I couldn't bring myself to sing that I will wait on the Lord because I hardly ever do.

Why don't I wait on the Lord?

Well, for one thing I don't like giving up control.  It just makes sense to my human brain that I would be more at peace if I had control of everything in my life.  That's not true of course.  I'm sure a lot of my stress problems are because I'm actually taking control.  I don't sit still well.  I don't like sitting in silence.  My brain doesn't shut off.  I don't like awkward silence.

I don't like awkward silence.

If you're my violin professor at college, you know this extremely well.  In fact, you're the one who made me realize that in the first place.  There you go, incorporating faith in learning again, even months later.  You should feel proud!  :)

I don't like sitting in silence.  My mind simply refuses to focus.  I'll sit and "pray", which is actually usually me doing a lot of talking and rambling on about things I don't understand or things I want to have fixed or just anything that's on my mind.  When I finish my big long "talking to God" speech, I'll sit and think about something else.  Or daydream.  That's the most popular one I do.  Sometimes I'll do a puzzle or read a book or play a game on my phone.  Or text people.  The only thing I never, ever do is just sit and allow God to do what He wants.  I don't ever shut up and just listen.  That's why I screw things up so much and rush into things and get myself hurt and broken...because I won't sit and wait for God.

I sit and daydream, instead of sitting in passionate silence.

Passionate silence.  It's not meant to be awkward...it's meant to be calm and beautiful and remind me who I am and who has given me breath.  After all, I live breath by breath.  I have no control over if I get my next breath or not.  I'd like to think that and fight with every possible reason I can come up with, but really, breathing is out of my control.  God gives it to me.  God has given me so much, yet I still have not learned to wait, even a little bit?

God created a day of rest for us, but my mind never rests.  I'm always thinking, always dreaming, always trying to come up with solutions on my own.  I go to church on Sunday and will rest my physical body, but I won't rest my mind.  I won't sit in silence and wait on the Lord...and I know now that's it's not just because I haven't learned how to do it.  It's because I can't stand awkward silence when I'm around other people and when I'm sitting alone in my room, talking to God.  I always have to be doing things because I don't like the awkward silence that encompasses my mind when I seemingly have nothing to do.

I can't live like this.  It's not healthy.  I'm gonna kill myself trying to fill every second of my time by avoiding being quiet before the Lord.  I have to learn to sit in passionate silence and wait upon the Lord.  However, I know that He will be worth every silent second that passes.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Making way to the final chapter

This court process for the robbery has been going on for almost an entire year.  A year of waiting.  A year of being told it would be finished, and then being told it was postponed.  A year of nighttime scares as well as daytime ones and lots of added, unnecessary stress.

But finally, the end is near.

There was another plea hearing at the end of May/beginning of June.  This time, the man in custody pled guilty (finally!) and left it up to the judge to decide on a sentence.  So now, probably sometime in August, there will be a sentencing hearing.  It's small, just me, my family, the defendant, the judge, and our prosecutor.  No jury, nothing big.  But it will finally end.

A sentencing hearing is pretty much designed for the victim(s) to say how the crime has affected them.  This is when I'll be able to give my speech that I'd prepared back in January for the first plea hearing.  I'll be able to end this for myself.

I'm ready to be done.  I'm ready to have the closure I need to finally be able to move on, completely.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Growing up means you have to cry sometimes, and sometimes those are big, unattractive sobs

I've been putting off giving my fish away or letting her go for about a year now.  I've had that fish for 8 or 9 years.  Goldie is very special to me.  But Dad's been bugging me for a year to get rid of her, either by giving her to someone else or by setting her free in a lake.  Neither option sounded too good to me.

This morning, Dad tells me that the fish tank light is out and that instead of spending money to buy a new one, he wants me to get rid of my fish.  "Keeping that fish in that tank is like keeping you in this house," he explained.  "One day you're just gonna have to let it go."  He gave me several ideas of where to set it free, stating that that was what I should do instead of giving it to someone else to take care of.  "I purposefully didn't clean the water recently so you can see what it looks like when no one takes care of it."  I kept the tears at bay, not wanting to cry over something as trivial as a fish.

But she's not just a fish...she's one of my last links to childhood.

I struggled with what to do for most of the day.  I even walked into the yard next door, the vacant lot with the chest-high weeds and the giant pond with about 87 frogs.  I walked around the pond, choking back tears, investigating whether or not this was the right place to let my Goldie go.  So many frogs...not sure about any goldfish, or other fish for that matter, but there were definitely frogs!  After a moment of blinking and swallowing, I whipped around and marched back to the house.  It was time to grow up.

It may sound very melodramatic or juvenile, but I wanted to dress up for when I put Goldie in that lake.  I put on the eye shadow and the eyeliner and the mascara and the blush and the lip gloss.  I wore a nice skirt, a cute sweater, and tall boots.  I even put a fun scrunchie in my hair (do people even call them that anymore?).

At first I filled a bowl with water to put Goldie in, but after a slight struggle getting her out of the tank, I realized the bowl wouldn't work.  Frantically, as if she would die after being in a bowl of water for five minutes, I grabbed the next best thing: a giant vase.  She was a little squished, but the water could always cover her.  I took a few pictures, just to remember the moment, before gathering up my courage and proceeding with my resolve to grow up.  Or at least, take care of my fish in the way that I should.

As I started hiking through the weeds, the tears started escaping.  I was letting go of my childhood.  I knew this.  I won Goldie at a Calvary Chapel fair, which we haven't had for several years.  Dad even said, "Don't even bother taking it out of the bag!  Just set it in the sink because it'll be dead in three days."  Boy did Goldie prove him wrong!

I finally made it to a decent clearing where there were hardly any weeds and there wasn't so much algae.  By this time, I knew my mascara had smeared and that it was making my lashes stick together, but I really didn't care.  I wasn't there to impress anyone but my fish, and I knew she wouldn't say anything.  I poured the water from the vase and she squirmed some before she finally fell as well.  She "landed" in the roots of the algae or whatever they were and just stayed there.  That's when I began freaking out.  "Goldie, please move!" I begged.  "Please don't die now!  Please move!"  I reached for her, but as soon as my hand gently enveloped her, she began squirming.  I tried several times to get her into more of the open water, until finally I managed to get a hold of her and gently toss her farther out.  The good news was, she didn't immediately come to the surface.  The bad news, (or at least what I consider to be bad news), I didn't see her swimming around either.

I stood there, staring at where I'd tossed her.  By this time I was crying big, ugly sobs.  My eyes were stinging from the mascara that had gotten into them, but I didn't do anything about it.  "Please God, please take care of my fish!"  I pleaded.  "Please, please take care of her!"

The walk back was the hardest.  It was hard to keep my eyes open because they stung so bad.  I was pretty close to what you would call heaving sobs.  It shouldn't be so hard, letting a fish go, but it was.  It still is.

When I finally made it through the weeds back to my yard, I heard a wheezing sound and turned around, unsure of what caused it.  To my amazement, a doe came prancing from the other side of the weeds and stopped short under the apple trees.  We stared at each other, probably only twenty-five feet apart.  She wheezed or hissed or something and jerked back and then stopped.  I just stood there, clutching the vase in my arms and watched it, not sure of what to do.  It took a couple of steps forward before wheezing again and prancing away.  It leaped around the fire pit, through what used to be a garden and back over the wire fence into the weeds.  I just stood there in shock.  I'd never had an encounter like that before.  After ten seconds, I saw it's head again and it came back out to the orchard, doing the same routine all over again.  I suppose it had a fawn sleeping in the tall weeds or something, I'm not sure.  After it leaped into the weeds the second time, I began to back away, still choking on my sobs.

I hate not knowing things...especially if my fish is okay.  I wish it was like the cartoons, where she would wave goodbye or something, or where I could go and visit and bring fish food and she would come up to me, poking her head out of the water.  But life isn't like a cartoon, it's not resolved in thirty minutes.  Instead, life is a long, and sometimes agonizing, process.  We learn a lot, but we fight those lessons so much.

As I was standing there, begging God to take care of my fish, I realized that I don't pray like that, with so much fervor or force for most other things.  It's just, "God please help with this" or "God, I need peace about this" and so on.  Nothing is ever done on my knees in such dire need.  If I don't act like I need God in my normal prayers, do I really deserve being so childish in the trivial things?  I know God doesn't always give us what we deserve, but He does have a line.  A line I have crossed.  A line that I now recognize and can adjust to accordingly.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Blessings

'Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

This chorus by Laura Story is pretty much my life right now. Mom called me a little while ago to tell me that the man in jail for the robbery got a new attorney.  Because he has a new attorney, the judge granted a continuance.  That means the trial isn't happening right before May term.  I know that this is a blessing of sorts.  But it means that this hell lives on.

I'm just about to crack with this.  He pleaded guilty!!  What does he want??  What is he looking for? I don't understand.  What could he possibly hope to gain from postponing the trial more and more? Does he hope that my testimony will be less valid the farther away the trial gets from the actual event?  

I want this to be over...done.  I want to get up, give my speech, and walk away, finally freed.  I have this belief that once this trial is done, my elbow will hurt no more.  The pain is more attached to fear than anything else...that is my strong belief.

But now...who knows when this trial will be?  God does.  

Trust in God...that's all I have right now.  All I have to cling to.  I have this bad habit of waiting to cling to God until that's my only option.  It's not the best way to live, I admit that.  But more than ever, I am calling out to God to hold me.  I need the arms of my Heavenly Father to comfort me and give me peace and whisper in my ear, "I am here."

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Is this fear...or sheer terror?

I want quiet...but I want to be around people.  I need to be around people right now.  And this is only to keep me from breaking down.  I'm hoping that whoever can see me right now really can't tell that I'm shaking...and too close to letting the tears slip out.

My problem?  I'm scared.  Scared of this trial.  At first, I thought all I was going to do was to get on a stand and get to give my big forgiveness speech and then sit back down and be done.  But that's not the case.  I actually have to testify on the stand, go through the whole "do you swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth" spiel you see in movies and get questioned by the defense attorney...or whoever is defending the guy who broke in to begin with.  I didn't know I had to do that whole thing...and suddenly I don't want to have anything to do with it.

Fear is defined as "a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., the feeling/condition of being afraid."

Terror is defined as "an intense, sharp, overmastering fear".

Which do I have?  I don't know.  All I know is that only a month or so ago, I wanted to get up there and forgive this man for what he did and how he's affected me.  But now...I'm not so sure.

Dad told me that the prosecutor for the case has to meet with me and put me on the stand in a mock trial and essentially attempt to fluster me so that I won't get overwhelmed during the real thing.  Apparently, whoever's defending the man who committed the crime will attempt to trip me up over my own words and confuse me with my own testimony.  Why?  I know that's his job...but why would someone take such a job?  I don't understand...he's guilty!  He admitted to the crime to begin with...so what good is a defense attorney going to be?  What does this man want?  I don't understand...and I'm almost tired of trying to understand.

I just want to be done.  I want to be done with this stress, frustration, and fear.  I know I have some form of PTSD and I want to be done with it.  I want to be done with the pain in my elbow and my heart.  I ache inside for this man, of how lost he actually is.  Sometimes the pain in my elbow is intense enough that I can't practice or put weight on it.  I'm just done.  I'm trying not to be angry at him, but I'm losing that battle too.

I have to admit, that I'm not just scared to death about this trial...I'm angry.  I'm angry that the original date was postponed...and that the spring break date, which was perfect beyond anything I could ask for, was postponed.  I don't get what this man wants, what he hopes to gain from constantly moving the trial farther and farther away.  If he doesn't want a trial, why didn't he just accept the years he was offered in the first place?

When I read the case file to keep up to date with any of the changes happening, I get teary-eyed and emotional.  Just looking at how the process went down brings up emotions I haven't really felt for a while.  When I tell the story, I have to be honest...I suppress the emotions as a general rule.  I try to act like it's not big deal anymore and all that it is is something I can brush off with the humor in it.  But I can't always do that.  Some days I can.  Others...I can't.  That's when I fake it...so no one can tell the difference.

I don't even know how to tie up this post in a nice neat little bow.  It's not really a nice neat little package anyway I guess...it's just a mess of my words and feelings, trying to get them out before I explode into tears around my fellow students.  Me and fear don't really mix well, because it cripples me to the point of curling up into a ball and just crying and hiding, not solving anything.  And that's what's about to happen to me, if I don't get a handle on this.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Expectations

I should be writing a paper right now...but I can't focus.  I have to talk something before I go crazy.

Today was my violin lesson.  I was nervous for it because I hadn't gotten very much practicing done the week before.  I had just come from practicing 4 hours a day to practicing an hour a day, on average.  Some days I got five minutes done!  Just five!  So, it goes without saying that my playing in my lesson certainly was not up to par.  Prof. Thompson didn't really ask questions about why I wasn't playing as well as I had been before.

"I've never had to say this to you..." he paused, "but you don't seem to have a good picture of the rhythm and bowing in your head."  I shook my head and bit my lip, wanting to go through the floor.  "How much have you worked on this?"

"Well...today and yesterday, and a little over break, but I've been focusing more so on the Bruch [my concerto] and other repertoire than [the Sarabanda]."

After a little more discussion about how to get it to work right, and lots of me not knowing the answers, Prof. Thompson finally asks me, "Do you feel like I'm backing you into a corner and you can't do anything right?"

"Yes!"  I replied quickly.

He nodded in understanding.  "I'm not meaning to make it seem like I'm setting you up for a wrong answer, because there are none."

I laughed and said jokingly, "Naw, you're just setting me up for failure.  But I can do that on my own."  He just shook his head and moved on.

When we got to the end of my lesson, I shoved my practice journal toward him.  "It's...not very good this week," I said sadly, feeling awful inside.

He took it and opened it.  "Oh yes, Emily [his wife] said you were freaking out about not getting enough practicing done."  I ducked my head and tried to direct my attention to zipping my case.  "Remember I had the same schedule as you this week.  And you're such a good student..." I whipped my head around and stared at him.  "...that I can let a week like this last one slip by."

I didn't really know what to say.  "Thanks..." I whispered, my gut twisting inside of me.

"You really are a great student," Prof. Thompson said again.  I gave him a look of "are you serious" mixed with a bit of disbelief.  "Everyone thinks so!"

"Everyone?" I asked skeptically, trying to laugh it off.

"Dr. Maher [my theory professor] says you are in his class," Prof. Thompson explained.  Apparently one professor means everyone.

"I try to be.  I like his class," I replied.  I started to leave his office.

"See!"  Prof. Thompson explained.  "You understand!  You understand what it takes for you to be a good student and you know what people ask of you and you want to meet that.  That's what makes you a great student."

I just gaped at him for a second and then swallowed.  "Okay.  Thank you."  I really didn't know how to react.  At first, his words really warmed my heart and encouraged me.

But then I started to actually think about what those words meant.

He knows that I want to be a great student and try as hard as I can (most of the time) to succeed.  He wants me to be like that.  He wants me to do my best.  Because he knows what I have done to get to the level I'm at, he knows I can keep doing it.  He expects great things from me.

Expects...

Expectations.  It goes back to that word...the word that scares me to death 90% of the time.  Prof. Thompson has such high expectations of me, he basically admitted that today in my lesson...and a few other times previously.  Add that with my high expectations and you have Mount Everest!  The actual scary part though, is that fear that I won't meet those expectations...that I won't come through.  That I'll have another week like this last one where I won't have a good excuse like the musical to back me up.  Even though he says (or at least insinuates) that he believes in me as a person and a musician, I sometimes wonder...how much is to calm my nerves and put me at ease...I know how awful that sounds...and yes, I have issues with taking compliments without categorizing them myself.  I'm working on it...

I know he's not setting me up for failure, just a little closer to the deep end of the pool where I may drown under the sea of expectations washing over me.  That's what scares me.  Scares me to tears.

Friday, March 8, 2013

When will it end?

Today was like most any other day...a day without motivation until the last six or so hours of awake time.  Except that I was home...in my house...where it happened.

I could have sworn that there was a literal person at my front door, knocking.  As soon as I heard it, I freaked.  I grabbed both my cell phone and the house phone and dashed around upstairs, looking out every window at least three times.  I couldn't stop shaking.  My breath came out in ragged spurts.  After five minutes of frantic searching, I tiptoed cautiously down the stairs and checked each of those windows at least three times.  Nothing...no car...no voices...no nothing on the front door.  It was as if no one had been there...

As I finished my rounds in the house, I realized that no one had been there.  I would have seen them.  But by then, it was too late.  I was scared.  I huddled on the floor next to the couch and cried, partly because I overreacted to what was most likely a bunch of snow falling off our house, and also because I was still scared it was real.  I wanted it all to be a nightmare, and I was going to wake up the next day to find all of my stuff for Uganda ready to pack...and the robbery hadn't happened and I was still sane.

But that's not the case.  It all happened, and I can't reverse it.

I understand now part of why I love it at school so much: I'm away from this house.  Nothing bad has happened at school to make me afraid...it was at this house!  It's at this house where I hate to be alone, at this house where nearly every sound that I don't have an explanation for within two seconds scares me and sends me into flashback mode.

The other night, I had a dream.  In my dream, a few friends and I were playing games in the house, really loud games.  I went to go do the horses and noticed that the side garage door and been forced open.  I ran back into the house.  "Guys someone broke into the garage!"  Then I woke up...scared.  It was six in the morning.  I laid there in my bed, breathing in and out...in and out...very shakily.  I couldn't help but wonder if I'd had that dream because someone had indeed broken into our house.  I laid in bed, listening for any sound that could be remotely related to an intruder.

This fear...is too much.  What drives me insane about it is that I can't control it...and I am the kind of person who needs control of everything in my life.  I get scared by so much now...it's stupid!  I suppose some of it makes sense, considering the experiences I've had, but other times, it seems far too silly to even be considered as an option to fear.

When will it end?  When?  I want to be set free from the fear I have.  One of my friends asked if I was okay after they found out about my little "scare".  Currently, I'm mostly okay.  But deep down?  Far from it.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A+???

Well, the hearing happened...and it also didn't.  I just didn't get my moment to say what I needed to say.  For some reason, the guy declined the prosecutor's offer of 20 years in prison and requested to go to trial.  So I didn't need to be at the hearing...and I didn't need to get out of school...and I didn't need to worry about that sleepless night before hand.

But, at the same time, it was so important that I was there!  I strongly believe that God brought me to that moment for two reasons:

1. to prove that I could do it
2. to see if I would

As several of my friends can testify, I was terrified the night before.  I had recently forgotten his face and wasn't particularly keen on re-remembering it.  But God had different plans.  (Doesn't he usually?? :P)

The morning of the hearing, I felt surprisingly calm.  I had my speech carefully written down and was as prepared as I could be.  I'd taken extra care to look my best.  I didn't feel too afraid.  I can't really explain it as anything other than the peace of God.  Nothing else could have caused the level of peace I felt.  I don't know what my dad was thinking as I acted calm instead of jumpy and excitable.  He never asked and I never ventured an explanation.

When we reached the courthouse, I started to feel a little shaky.  I was beginning to actually understand what I had agreed to, what I was about to walk into.  And it was beginning to scare me.  But I was determined to not allow my fear to control me and pull me away from what I felt was God's call.

Sitting outside the courtroom, which didn't look at all like the rooms I'd seen in the movies, I prayed.  I wanted to do this.  This had become more than what I felt God pushing me towards...this had become a desire of my heart to follow through with forgiving him.  As I sat there, the elevator door opened and a couple of officers came out, guarding five orange-clad men.

And there he was.

The one who broke into my house.

I still knew his face.

When I first saw his face, my heart started pounding and my stomach began to churn...but only for a few minutes.  The fear wasn't the same...wasn't really overpowering me.  This man didn't frighten me anymore.

Dad walked up then and watched the train of criminals filing into the courtroom and then looked at me.  "Is one of those yours?"

"Yep."

In the courtroom, Dad and I sat and waited for the sentencing hearing to begin.  I kept looking over at the man who broke into my house.   But this time, it was different.  He didn't look the same to me, even though he hadn't really changed since I'd seen him last.  He would sometimes look back at me, squinting, as if he recognized me...but he never seemed to react.  I watched him smile.  I could look at him differently.  I know how weird that sounds, but hear me out!

I felt no anger towards him.  I could look at him with compassion...with the love of Jesus Christ.  And that is only by the grace of God and the peace he bestowed upon me.  I know I keep saying that, but it is the only explanation I have to offer you.

When I learned that I would not be allowed to speak to the man at the hearing, because he'd turned down the twenty years he'd been offered, I was honestly frustrated.  Here I was, excused from school, and I wasn't going to get to say what I felt such a strong calling to say.  But as I thought about it, I realized that God was testing me.  He wanted to see if I would listen to the urge he'd put in my spirit...and if I would be willing to follow through.

I'm sure that I will have my chance someday.  But until then, I'll be happy with the good grade I got on God's test.  :)  My God is good and perfect and His will is always the best.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The words I hope to say


                When you first came into my house, I was overwhelmed.  I truly did not know how to react.  In fact, my brain had simply shut off.  I had never thought that this would happen to me, experiencing a break in and a robbery.  But even after it happened, I never imagined this moment where we would stand face to face again, this time equally vulnerable. 
                Your actions brought new fears into my life that I had never experienced before.  You violated my home and my privacy.  You not only injured me physically, but also mentally and emotionally.  I don’t know why you did what you did, but I know that God orchestrated the event to not only show his power and protection, but also to make both of us better people.
                It is by the grace, mercy, and love of Jesus Christ that I can stand in front of you, look you in the eyes, and say this: I forgive you.  It doesn’t change what you did, just how I choose to remember it; with no more bitterness.  Instead, it’s a memory, a story, something to learn from.  No longer will I hold this against you. 
                However, true forgiveness comes from the Lord who even now is waiting with open arms for you to turn to him.  He will forgive you if you truly want it.  Forgiveness, however, doesn’t make anyone right.  It just makes both of us free.  

Monday, January 21, 2013

Judgement day

This is not referring to the impending "end of the world", although I look more and more towards it every day.  No, I'm referring to something that hardly anyone knows about, not something blasted on the news and twisted out of proportion.  No, I'm talking about judgement day for one man...and one girl.

A robber and a victim.

Him and me.

Yes, I'm going to finally tell you all something I've told only a few people; this summer our house was broken into, while I was home.  Alone.  I was on the phone with one of my best friends at the time that it all began.

11:20am, Monday morning, July 2, 2012.  Just an ordinary day home alone...nice weather, a huge list of things to do and no desire to do them.  Sounds about right... :P  I was one the phone with my good friend Emily at the time when it all began.

DING DONG

POUND POUND POUND POUND

"What was that?" Emily asked me.

"I don't know..." I replied pensively.  Usually, when people come to your house, they knock like normal people, instead of pounding as if they're in a hurry, or scared.

POUND POUND POUND POUND

"This is weird..." I commented to Emily as I moved from our sun room to the fireplace room.  I squint as I look at the reflection of the front door on our glass door.  I see a strange man with his hands cupped around his face looking into our foyer.  I can see him, but he can't see me.

POUND POUND POUND POUND

This time, it comes from the glass door in the sun room I just vacated.

"Now they're trying a different door!" I gasp to Emily.  When I see the first guy leave from the front door, I dash around the corner and up the stairs.

"What's going on?" Emily asks me, concerned.

"I have no idea," I say, unsure of the present circumstances.  "Dad forgot to tell me that electrician's were coming one time, and they came to every door in the house..."  I look out my parents' window to see a small, shiny, silver car, like a Honda Civic.  "But this doesn't look like an electrician's truck."  I dart to my room, kneel on my bed, and gently pry back my blinds the tiniest bit.  I see two men; one who has his hands cupped around his face pressed against our sun room door, and the other walking around the sun room.  One of them points at the sun room, as if he saw something interesting.

I tell this to Emily.  "I don't know what they're doing," I say.  I pull my cell phone from my pocket and start to dial Dad, thinking maybe he still forgot to tell me about people who were coming.  I keep watching them, giving Emily the play-by-play of the scene under me.  Just then, the first guy that I saw disappeared under the roof, towards the side garage door.

"Oh gosh, did I lock that door?  No wait, I haven't done the horses yet, so I haven't gone out that door...did Dad lock it?"  I babble to Emily.

I don't hear the initial action, but suddenly I stiffen and my eyes well with tears.  "Emily," I wheeze, "they're in my house!"

"It's gonna be okay!  Calm down, I'm gonna call the police!"  Then she hangs up.  I just stand in shock, unable to move or breathe.  I'm freaking out.  My brain is going a million miles a minute.  What do I do?  I never thought I'd be in this situation...not ever in a million years.

I don't hear him come up the stairs, but I know he's here when I hear coins clinking together in my parents' room.  I don't even think.  I just swing open my door and leap to my parents' doorway.  And stop.  And I watch.

Burglar #1, who I called the bald-headed guy, is shaking something into a big bag.  He didn't see me, but I certainly saw him.  After a few seconds, I look down at my feet.  "What am I doing?" I think to myself.  I dart back to my room, close the door until it reaches the clicking stage, and hang up on Dad.  Dad isn't going to be able to help me with this.  Instead, I dialed 911.  I stood in the middle of my room, still holding the house phone as I called 911 on my cell phone, while two men robbed my house.  I know, it still boggles my mind today.

Two seconds later, the bald-headed guy opens my door, takes one step and freezes.  We stare at each other for three seconds.  Maybe it was more, maybe it was less.  It honestly felt as if time had stopped in that moment.

After how many seconds actually passed, the bald-headed guy, still holding his cloth bag of stolen items, did a 180 degree turn and bolted for the stairs.  And just like that, I switch from complete and utter fear to--

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?!?!  GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!!!!!!"  I scream at the top of my lungs.  At this point, my brain has turned off.  I don't think, I just bolt after him, screaming at him. "GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!!!!  GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!!!!"  All I can think about is getting this intruder out of my house.

I'm right on his heels, with my left arm stretched out.  I still have the house phone in my left arm.  I chase him through the foyer, the laundry room, and into the garage.  All I can think about is, "if I just get a couple inches closer I can grab him and hit him over the head with my phone!"  (not the smartest idea, but hey, I wasn't really cognitively present at the time!)

Then we get to the side garage door.  (Here is where I strongly believe God was present although looking back I know He orchestrated so much of it!).  Right at the doorway, where all I have to do is lunge and I'll have his shirt in my fist.  But instead, he whips around and slams the door behind him, catching my left elbow in the door.  My momentum carries me into the door before I really notice what's happened.  My anger is starting to mix with crazy emotions as the tears start to roll down my cheeks.

I keep chasing him though.  But I stop at the end of our driveway, when I see him climbing into his car.  And suddenly, I think "Nancy Drew always got the license plate number!"  And so, while I'm standing their, still screaming at the bald-headed guy, with my cell phone still to my ear, I mentally chant the license place number until they pull far enough away that I can't read it anymore.

While I'm memorizing the number, the second guy, who was wearing a hat, comes darting down the front sidewalk.  He almost doesn't make it in the car before the bald-headed guy starts accelerating away from the screaming ninja he had encountered in the house.  But they both manage to get away.

During this process, my anger is rapidly diminishing and all I'm doing is sobbing and screaming.  Finally, I yell to the 911 operator, who I'm sure has been listening to everything from the last three minutes...or thirty seconds...maybe it was only ten seconds, "MY HOUSE WAS JUST ROBBED!"

"Ma'am, I need you to calm down."

Seriously lady?  You really expect me to calm down when my house was just robbed?!?!  But I take a deep breath and give her all the information she asks for as I slowly pad back into my house.  That's when I start noticing everything.  First off, I notice that the side garage door is splintered from where they shouldered it open, dead bolted and.  I call Emily back, my hands shaking uncontrollably.

"Emily, they robbed me..." I breathe out shakily.  I walk back into my house and shut the door.  "They got away, but I got their license number.  I called the police."

"Well...good, because I accidentally hung up on them!"  We laugh.  Seems strange to laugh, but that's what I need to do.

"Emily, they tried to take my tv...but they just left it sitting here by the front door.  I think it still works...it doesn't look smashed.  They left the disc half out of it...I wonder why!  Oh!"  Then I turned towards the mirror.  "I'm bleeding...my elbow and my face.  Ow...now my elbow hurts.  And my nose...I wonder if it's broken."

I continue to babble until the police get there.  Praise the Lord, Emily sends her mom over as soon as  as a support system, as my parents are both working.  I'm alone with the corporal for five minutes or so before Emily's mom gets there.  I didn't cry to the police officer, but as soon as Emily's mom gets there, I immediately begin sobbing into her shoulder.

The next two hours are a blur.  Emily's mom calls my dad, he comes home, my house is filled with four different officers.  I'm asked to repeat my story about six different times and give descriptions of the two men.  They take pictures of my injuries (my elbow, my upper left arm, and my nose) and show me pictures of possible suspects.  Immediately, I am able to identify the bald-headed guy.

With my description of the car, the memorization of the license plate, and the identification of the suspect, they are able to trace the car and discovered it is owned by the suspect's mother.  Wow.  Just...wow.

That was about six months ago.  And finally, there is a trial for the bald-headed guy.  January 28th, 2013.  Mom and Dad are letting me come for it, because there is something I have to do.  You may call me crazy, or insane, or something, else, but I need to go to this trial and look him in the eye and tell him that he is forgiven.

You may ask me why.  It's a personal conviction...I know that I may step on a few toes with what I say next, but that's okay.  You see, if you boil it down, my sin killed Jesus on the cross.  I killed Jesus.  This man didn't do anything close to that caliber to me!  If Jesus can forgive me for essentially killing him, I'd be a hypocrite if I couldn't forgive this man for merely breaking into my house.

No, I'm not perfectly fine about it.  I'm scared that I'm going to have my moment to say what I want and I'll freeze.  Or I'll take too long and time will run out.  Or that he will throw it back in my face.  I had just begun to forget his face...I almost don't want to risk remembering it again...

But this is something I have to do...something I feel so strongly about.  It's because of Christ's saving grace that I will be able to stand in front of him and say it.  I know the Lord will give me the words to say.  This is all been his doing in the first place.

:)