“Marry your best friend. I do not say that lightly.”


“Marry your best friend. I do not say that lightly.
Really, truly find the strongest, happiest friendship
in the person you fall in love with.
Someone who speaks highly of you. Someone you can laugh with.
The kid of laughs that make your belly ache, and your nose snort.
The embarrassing, earnest, healing kind of laughs.
Wit is important. Life is too short not to love someone
who lets you be a fool with them.
Make sure they are somebody who lets you cry, too.
Despair will come.
Find someone that you want to be there with you through these times.
Most importantly, marry the one that makes passion,
love, and madness combine and course through you.
A love that will never dilute even when the waters get deep, and dark.”

…because love wins.

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Words I support.


I’m tired of people romanticizing overexertion. Exhausted is not the new chic. Coffee (though {sometimes} a delicious necessity) is not a food group, and running on fumes is not admirable. Why do we hold pedestals for sleepless nights, break downs and inner turmoil? Are those things really to aspire to? Self care, balance, the ability to  know when your body, mind, and spirit need to take a step back. Those are things we should admire. We have to stop blurring the line between ‘commitment’ and self endangerment, because too many people are burning out before they have a chance to truly shine.Exertion

…because love wins.

Beauty, beauty.


Your life is your lesson. You can’t change what people say to you, how they handle your quirks and imperfections, or even sometimes what you say when you’re not thinking. But you can learn. You can grow. And you can take everything we learned in school and make yourself the student, and life the teacher. Your life is your lesson. And you’re getting straight A’s.

…because love wins.

12 Ways to Maintain a Bad Attitude for Your Whole Life


So, today is one of my best friends’ birthday. His name is Dustin. He and I had the same kind of cancer in the same leg when we were little. I was 7, and he was 11. We did everything together – played, talked, threw up, had major surgery; everything. He lost his leg to the cancer, and a lot of his lung. And so did I. But we also have a lot of photos, and we’re smiling in them. Because our mothers and selves, decided that regardless of what was going on, we were going to be positive and enjoy our lives. Dustin died when I was 12. He was sixteen. Our attitudes are still positive.

In honor of his birthday, I’m going to get on my soapbox and preach about the ways we maintain a bad attitude and waste our lives.

1. Wait for everything to be perfect. 
What does that even mean? Perfect changes every day with the color of your skin, the latest fads, who you meet, what you process from your childhood, and the kind of house you just saw on TV. I will just blow that up for you now – it’s only as perfect as you make  it. Fiercely look for the positive in situations. And it would be wise to get used to life being a mess. Because it always is. Put on your best shoes, get ready to get them muddy, and jump in to see what happens.

2. Quit before you see the ending. Aka, avoid at all costs.
This lines up pretty well with number one. This whole world is full of quitters. When you have cancer, you don’t really get the choice to quit. It decides for you. Life should be like that. Cuz when you’re dying it will be. And I will tell you that walking away when someone needs you, when you’re afraid, or when you feel like you’ve failed is an excellent way to make sure that no one ever needs you, everyone is afraid of you, and to fail yourself, and others. Just stick around even if you don’t know what to do. Life has a way of working itself out if you leave your heart in it and bring your good attitude.

3. Hate yourself.
Most specifically, I mean get up every single morning and look in the mirror. Find every piece of your body and mind that you hate, recite every word that anyone ever said to you about how you looked, and then work to combat them with changing your clothes, combing your hair, and all around aiming to be whatever level of perfect they set for you. THAT IS DUMB. Every single person in this world is busy living up to some standard of someone. All the while, the person who set the standard is trying to live up to someone else’s. IT DOESN’T MATTER. You’re a soul. Just go fly, soul. Haters are always gonna hate. But it’s because they hate themselves. There’s no need for you to hate yourself too. It’s really not so great to fit in with all the people who already hate themselves.

4. Take your aggression out on others. 
In the house in which I grew up, we were allowed to be whatever mood we wanted to be. We were not, however, allowed to hurt other people because of our mood. So if I was mad at something, I didn’t get to redirect that at the safe place – my mom. I mean, I did, for a while, until one day she just looked at me and told me she didn’t like me anymore, no matter how much she loved me. She’s a great mom, and that was a pretty swift wake up call. If my own mother didn’t like me, there is a good chance that no one else would either. And it wasn’t her fault. (She again likes me after I stopped being mean.) People are not punching bags. They are not responsible for your happiness. I mean, if you’re happy, unwaveringly lift people up. Don’t quit. (see above) But for your aggression, find a real punching bag if you need to. And then go punch it until the emotions are taken down enough notches to have a real conversation with someone who will share wisdom with you. But leave your walls with the punching bag and let go of your aggression. Being mad about someone or something doesn’t do a thing to them…but it ruins you and your life. Also, anger isn’t a safe place. It’s a lonely place.

5. Never take ownership for your mistakes. 
This is a perfect way to pretend that you’re perfect. And it’s a perfect way to keep everything locked inside like poison. Every person you hurt will carry that hurt because you have legitimized the mean things you did to them. They’ll think of your bitter words when they look in the mirror in the morning. Being disconnected from your reality is not okay. That’s a great way to continue to be disengaged and distant. Because you know, even though we all pretend we’re perfect on facebook, we’re really not. And no one really likes someone who thinks that they are and can do no wrong. No one likes to get blamed for someone else’s pain all the time either.

6. Always blame everything on everyone else. 
This is a great way to continue to never take ownership for your mistakes. The guy at the grocery store didn’t smile at you. What a loser. So negative. Your mom didn’t call you soon enough on your birthday. Work was challenging because your coworker was mean. Your toe hurts because you hit it on a curb and the city built the structure wrong. We can all pretend that we don’t do that, but oh, we do. And the thing is, you see what you want to see. And you see what you feel. So pay attention. If you’re blaming the whole world for your pain, it’s probably because you’re putting yourself in that painful place all on your own.

7. Never let anyone love you.
We all have bad attitudes because people don’t love us, right? Wrong. We have bad attitudes and that makes us hard to love. How are you in any more trouble than the rest of us? We all have our hard stuff. And just because it’s hard and someone or something hurt you before doesn’t mean everyone is going to be a twit and hurt you again. Or they might. But that’s how life works. It’s better to love and get hurt than to live in the lonely place where you keep yourself. People just want to help. You have to let them. And be prepared – they may not help just how you want them to. But it may be how you need them to.

8. Never listen. 
This is an excellent way to be in a bad mood forever. Never listen to what anyone says. When they’re talking, always be thinking about how dumb what they’re saying is and be waiting for your turn to talk. Because obviously that’s what needs to happen for you to feel better. Wrong. People hate people who don’t listen. And that’s a good way to make sure that you never have anyone to listen to you again. Yeah, you need people to lean on, but you might learn a lot if you hear what they say and apply it to your own life.

9. Always think about yourself. 
You’re walking down the street. What are you thinking about? Yourself? Well, stop it. Just, stop it. Think about anything else. The trees. The water. People who need prayer. Your shoes. Jesus. Anything. I promise that the more you think about yourself, the worse your attitude is going to be. Life comes from helping someone. When things are hard, go help someone else. Call a friend and ask them how they are. Do anything but think about yourself and what you think you’re missing in life.

10. Never be pleased. 
Always let your emotions lead what you say. Never speak out of logic, only emotion. Complain whenever you can. That the food doesn’t taste good enough. That the service isn’t fast enough. That your hair isn’t nice enough. Whatever you can complain about, DO IT. I’m totally kidding. Stop complaining. You won’t feel better doing it. When you’re about to complain, stop. Whatever it is you were going to complain about, find something positive to say about it instead.

11. Don’t be thankful. 
This is an awesome way to be in a bad mood always. Don’t be thankful for stuff. Always focus on what you don’t have and never on what you do. Also kidding. Stop doing that. Focus on the positive. Don’t think that you’ll be ignoring all your sad thoughts and that they’ll build up or something. No. Just fill your mind with good things, and the negative will come to the surface manage-ably. Whatever it is you’re upset about, stop being upset about it and find something in it for which you are thankful.

12. Try to hide from God. 
This is the capstone here. The best way to have a bad attitude forever is to hide from God. Cuz then he can’t change you, and you can wallow until you die. Continue to think that He can’t heal, that he won’t come through, that if you keep your heart locked up you’re safe, or that you’ve done too much bad stuff. Nah, focus on the truth. And see the positive in Christ every day. I promise you, that will set you free. Your joy will turn into happiness, and pretty soon you’re going to be known for being the person that is happy. And all of a sudden everyone will want to be around you. And that will create a positive cycle for you to live in.

But, it has to start with you. No one else makes you happy all the time. But you can make sure you’re much happier with the way you think. You need to do what you need to do inside yourself. Happy day, all!

…because love wins.

Who do you say I AM?


“Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?”

“They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.”

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

“Peter answered, “God’s Messiah.”

Pause. What does that mean? Webster, whatcha got?

Image

I wonder if they all already believed that and were like, “Well, yeah, duh, Peter. Obviously. Maybe His question was rhetorical? He obviously just caught about a bazillion fish for you. Or were you asleep for that?” And then Jesus has to be all like, “Calm down boys, no competition needed here. You can repent to Me for that later. I’m still here to save you.”

I mean, it could have happened. They’re humans. And men. I’m half-kidding. We’ve all been at a football game before. Men are good competitors.

Anyway…moving on.

gardenThe other options are something likened to stopping breathing or realizing that this is potentially a mental health problem on a grand scale. They could have all been thinking, “You know, a year ago I was just chillin’ with my money and now I’m hanging out with these other 11 guys that I’m not sure have a clue, walking around with this guy who prays in gardens when he should be sleeping. This seems like a good time to jump ship.” Or, they were just like…”Eh, whatever, I was bored anyway, and this could be fun.”

That last one is probably unlikely, but still possible. Still humans.

The final option is that they could have gotten it. And knew that this was the real thing. This guy showed up. He didn’t come all fancy based on world’s standards (They probably thought he’d show up in a Fisker Karma or something.) but sure did have something special about him. Maybe that was the point.

Jesus goes on,

“[He] strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone. And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”

“Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will

save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”

Man. We just established that he’s the Messiah. And now he say to these guys, “Well, let’s go. Leave your whole life. You don’t need anything you’ve ever had before; just Me.”

sandals

Are you kidding me? I would have been like…”Um, my house, my donkey, my only book that I’ve got hidden in my backyard, my rice, my beans, my SANDALS! You’re just a guy – and we won’t get many showers travelling like you intend. Smelly and no iPhone. How can we make it?” (Who knows…Apple could have been there too.)

I think we all would have been. I also think it’s easy to think that these men were something special, that they saw something that made everything make sense in a way that it doesn’t now. I think we think it was easy for this men to do this.

But think about it. There’s no way in the world that they would have been able to just do this without a major struggle. It’s quite obvious that there were enough people around who didn’t think Jesus was the right One. And they thought that enough to murder Him.

Therefore, I think it’s safe to say that it wasn’t easier for them to believe than it is for us to.

But he was also talking about dying. And saving the world. And that catches my attention. And theirs.

It’s then also safe to say that it was right.

Think about your closest friends. Do you care what the world thinks about them? No, you don’t. You care about who they are. And you will follow them, be with them, and live life with them, because you know who they are.

The same applies to Jesus. We are just like Peter. Who do the athiests say Jesus is? The Mormons? The Muslims? Well, they say He’s something that He’s not.

But He says to you, “Child, who do you say I AM?”

Will you come?

…because love wins.

Jesus

Cited: Luke 9:18-27

You’re a survivor and that is amazing.


Each day older I grow, I understand more the reality of what it means to have survived childhood cancer. As a younger person, it was just a part of my life; I hadn’t seen much else, and I was just too busy playing to understand what it means to still be alive today. But now, I marvel at my leg, my hair, and my beating heart. Let me tell you why.

I stood up one morning. I took a step, and my knee gave out beneath me. I never knew that I’d never walk on that leg again. I ate my vegetables, and I slept full nights, and I was even nice to my friends. I never would have expected cancer. I probably would have just called you a liar if you would have told me that was really going to be my life.

But alas, I couldn’t walk. Soon, I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t get out of bed. Sometimes, I almost couldn’t breathe. To say that it’s a humbling experience to face mortality is just more of an understatement than I can explain. No one can walk to death with you. It’s you, and Jesus, (which is why you need Him), and death. I met myself in ways that I cannot describe.

I remember laying in bed begging God to make the throwing up end. To bring my friends back to life, and to just make it all be okay. And seriously, I don’t even know how I survived. I looked dead almost every day for a full year.

But then I did. I started to take steps on crutches. I made myself get out of bed. Jesus restored my spirit, and I locked eyes with death, and shook my head, “no.” And I just turned and walked away into the rest of life.

I am 23 now, and I feel like I grasp that death didn’t win, but that it sure could have. My fingers move, I can take a deep breath, and I can kiss my nephew. And it’s very much on purpose that I am alive.

The take-away is this. If you haven’t met death yet, listen to what I say. Right now, you’re a survivor, and that is amazing. Don’t take that for granted.

….because love wins.

Album Review: Christina Grimmie – With Love


I may have a new music obsession. This quirky girl (who would probably say she was a ‘gurl’), who loves video games, inspiring the world, laughing, being herself, singing, and Jesus.

ImageHer name is Christina Grimmie. There’s a real possibility that you’ve heard one of her gazillion awesome cover videos, but this week she released her second album. She’s younger than me, raw, honest, and just so human. And that means I’m going to promote her. Because if there’s one thing this world needs, it’s to see that the next generation of leaders is interested in being real, not being a show.

She reminds me a lot of me. More than the dark hair and smiling, but less than the video games. Though, Mario Kart is my game. Anyway, you should buy her whole album, and listen to every single word. And then dance.

And then you should really listen to the song I Bet You Don’t Curse God. This is most certainly my favorite song on the album. It’s set gently a midst some songs about heartbreak and hope. And it says what America needs to hear.

I cannot even explain how sick to my stomach I get when I hear someone use the name of Jesus Christ as their opportunity to look awesome, to act in power, or just to sound like they’ve got confidence in something.

I get that way because I have held the hands of 5 year-olds who take their last breaths on earth before they make it to kindergarten. Because I’ve watched moms and dads lay on caskets begging for hope, and I’ve watched people who spend their entire lives ignoring Jesus Christ and then begging Him for help as soon as life doesn’t go according to their plan.

I get that way because I used to curse God. Maybe I wasn’t profane all day every day, but I wasn’t respectful of who He was every day. I didn’t treat Him as though He was my best friend every day. But I sure did when I found out that I had cancer. I sure did when He needed to save my best friend. I sure did when I was in the depths of depression and wanted to die.

Real Love

And you know what? I was wrong. Ignoring Him is foolish. It’s completely stupid. He’s not a set of stitches, He’s the nutrition to our skin so that we don’t get cut. And we would save ourselves so much if we walked with Him before we felt like we needed Him.

I am, and Christina is. And we’re just humans like you. Quit waiting and wasting your life. And just join us. There’s a lot more hope in your pain than you could ever imagine. Just treat Him like a friend. Just don’t curse God. Just don’t. Be who you were meant to be.

I Bet You Don’t Curse God – Listen Here!

…because love wins

Thank you, Talia.


Image

I didn’t know you, not in person.
It’s true.
But I knew you, in the heart,
I got you.

You were beautiful.
Not because of the makeup.
But because of the goal.
Because you spoke up.

We fight this beast every day.
It killed you.
It killed them.
When will it be through?

I’m a cancer survivor, sure.
But what is surviving?
Pretty lame if all your friends still die.
We were meant to be striving.

I know you won’t share any more words.
That your family will never get their little girl.
That you would have lived so big.
And that you would have changed the world.

And I know you still will.
Because you’re you.
Because you had kid’s cancer.
Because you walked it through.

But I wish you were here.
I wish your scans were clear.
And I wish we could really meet.
Your momma wishes you were near.

But you’re not.
So we’ll keep on.
We’ll dance.
Watch the stars.

We’ll watch Ellen.
We’ll talk about you.
We’ll stop this beast.
We’ll make lives new.

From MSN News:

“Talia Castellano, a charismatic 13-year-old Florida girl with cancer who inspired people around the world with her online videos about makeup and who became an honorary face of CoverGirl cosmetics, has died.

Talia, who had been fighting neuroblastoma, a type of childhood cancer, for six years, died Tuesday morning with her family by her side.

The passing note was pasted on her official facebook page:

“It is with a heavy heart that we share with all of you that Talia has earned her wings at 11:22 a.m. Please lift her beautiful soul, her beautiful light to heaven and please send your love and prayers to her family during this most difficult time. Godspeed, little one, may you be free from pain and suffering, may your soul feel the light and love that you brought to so many of us on this Earth during the short time you were here with us. We will miss you more than you will ever know, baby girl.”

Talia’s YouTube channel, filled with videos of tutorials about makeup, drew hundreds of thousands of subscribers.

Talia didn’t like wigs to cover her bald head, but she loved wearing makeup.

“It’s really cool to know that people watch me, and that they like me, and they think I’m inspiring,” she told Fox 35 in an interview last year. “Every single comment that I get that says they think I’m inspiring or whatever, it feels so good. It’s really cool.”

Talia had many TV appearances, including one on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” in September.

DeGeneres, a representative of CoverGirl, made Talia an honorary CoverGirl, complete with her own portrait. Talia was also given a check for $20,000 from the makeup brand and appeared in an ad in People magazine for CoverGirl.

ImageTalia was featured in the documentary movie “The Truth 365,” about kids fighting cancer.

DeGeneres took to Twitter to express her condolences.

“This year I met a very special girl, and today we lost her. Sending my heart to Talia’s family. I’m so sad,” the talk show host tweeted.”

And you can help us end childhood cancer. No one should be just a good story. We should be moms, dads, sisters, grandparents, softball players, professional make-up artists. We shouldn’t be dead.

If you’d like to end childhood cancer with us, please watch this documentary, and “like” TheTruth365 on facebook. You’ll see my story featured there as well.

To all those who help, thank you.

To Talia, thank you.

Let’s stop childhood cancer.

…because love (has to) win.