Wednesday, March 8, 2017

For the right to dream.

Dearest Readers,

I think if you had asked me what my biggest dream was when I was 6 I would have answered, "To be a princess."

I loved princesses because I loved everything pink and girly and sparkly. My mom sewed me flannel bloomers so I could continue my trend of only wearing dresses even during Minnesota's freezing winters.


When I was 12, had you asked me what my biggest dream was, I would have answered, "To be a veterinarian." I was obsessed with animals, and when I rode horses refused to use a crop because I couldn't bear the thought of hurting them. My parents had to distract me from roadkill because if I saw it I would spontaneously burst into sobs.

At 19, I have a myriad of dreams and hopes for my future, but being a veterinarian and a princess aren't included (though I still wear dresses pretty much daily and would leap onto a horse this very moment). I dream of getting to walk beside families like my own and offering encouragement. I dream of being brave and working as a missionary.  I dream of speaking Spanish without a second thought. I dream of writing words that make the world stop for a moment. I dream of changing the way people view disability. I dream of walking out of an orphanage with my child. I dream of raising up little world changers and teaching them from the breakfast table like my mom taught us. I dream of so many things...

And I do not take for granted the ability to dream these fantastic, wide-open dreams. Women didn't even get the right to vote until 1920, friends. So many of the girls before me didn't get a chance to dream. So many girls in other countries don't get to dream big dreams. Let us never take for granted the ability to dream.

So here's to the women who came before us. To the women who moved across the country in a covered wagon and raised their families through the challenge. To the women who marched for our right to vote. To the women who fought for our right to work. To the women who fought for our right to stay home with our babies. To those who still fight to end the wage gap, to those who champion women's education. To the many women around the world who don't get a choice in who they marry. To our moms who taught us to be brave and to be capable, and to our future daughters who I pray we will enable. (Whoa turning this into a poem now)

Thank you for allowing me to dream with my princess dress on.

Here's to the girls. When we raise girls up, we lift society up.

Your Blogger,
Claire






















Thursday, January 5, 2017

What I learned: Fall Semester 2016

Dear Readers,

My college attempts at blogging have pretty much failed. There are just so many blogs out there where girls my age reflect on their days at school, and I didn't want to add my voice to the chatter. So I keep refraining from writing reflections on the semester for your sakes, dear readers, only to find that my soul is aching to put my words somewhere beyond the messiness of my journal.

I have long admired Emily P. Freeman, author and blogger over at Chatting at the Sky. In the midst of the busy of the semester I usually lose track of blog reading, but as I've gotten caught up over this delightfully long Christmas break, I found her "What I Learned" lists for each season. It was a simple, lovely way to recount the days past, and when I thought about reviewing my semester that way it seemed a lot less daunting. So, here is my What I Learned list for this semester. I hope you'll start one, too.

1. Telling my own story scares and thrills me. 


In August, right before the school year began (I mean RIGHT before--on move-in day) I spoke at the CP Prep for Life in Texas. I woke up hours in advance to go over the words I already knew and a breath-stealing fear lasted all day. But looking into the moms' eyes as I spoke and they nodded and laughed and even cried, I knew it was so, so worth it. That conference was the most incredible part of my semester. Truly. (Oh and notice how I claimed it as my story? This conference gave me the courage to do that, too.) 




2. Sophomore year is my favorite year (so far). 

I love having roots. I love getting to know & guide the freshmen. I love love my upper level Spanish classes and the wonderful new friendships I've made through them. At last, people who want to speak in Spanish all the time! I love having a Little Sis in Swannanoa. I loved being a rush counselor in ST, too.  I guess you can say I've felt that "sophomore slump" as well, if you consider the many times I procrastinated work until midnight, though... (but it can only go up from here because I'm done with chemistry, right?) 





3. Gratitude for where I am in life

Okay, so this one might not deserve to belong to the past tense, but this semester has continued to teach me gratitude. It's so easy to look forward to the future with fear (I'm practically halfway finished with college! PANIC) or excitement (Oh my goodness look at that sweet baby I WANT ONE), and I'm a big fan of looking forward to things. Sometimes I feel like I spend my life looking forward to things--college, summer, study abroad, the weekend, etc. This semester God has been teaching my heart to first be content with today as I wait on tomorrow. One week in October my parents went to Israel and I spent my nights at home with my brother and sister. After only one week of school + managing everyone's schedules, I was thankful for the mamas and realized I don't really want a baby right now, hehe. :) 


4. I hate diagramming sentences. 

I'd like to say I'll never do it again, but I am an English minor, so we'll see. Is my writing any better after one semester and diagramming 7 pages of writing? 





5. The Gilmore Girls revival hype was better than the actual show.

Now, this sounds like I'm being negative--I'm not. I rate the show 8/10, and seriously loved most of it (the musical thing was a little bizarre?), but I truly loved the hype. Our local popsicle shop turned into Luke's diner for the day, and I skipped my first class (sophomore slump? Maybe) and went with my sister and brother to stand in line for over an hour for a hot cup of {strong} coffee. So worth it. It was so fun. 



6. Elections are hard. Disappointment is harder.

It was thrilling to wake up November 8th to go vote. I texted my friend in Arizona a triumphant selfie with a thumbs up captioned "About to go vote the first female president into office!", and there wasn't a single doubt in my mind about the outcome. Until about 2:00 in the morning the next day. I want you to know that my disappointment isn't about my candidate losing, really it isn't. It's because my heart is aching that anyone would support a man who has belittled women, African-Americans, Muslims, Spanish-speakers, and--the one that hurts my heart the most--people with disabilities. Maybe Trump voters don't make fun of people with disabilities, maybe they don't believe in that dumb wall, but the moment they clicked a check beside his name they condoned his behavior, and that doesn't just hurt--that makes me want to scream. But I know that just as every person Trump has threatened is made in God's image and perfectly loved, so too are the ones who voted for him. So I refuse to let your vote dictate how I love you, and I hope you'll do the same for me. I guess I learned a lot from this election. 


7. Pluto is one year away from being a "senior" dog. 

He had his yearly wellness visit yesterday and they informed me, without a hint of emotion, that we were there for his "senior wellness visit." My face dropped and my eyes filled and I blurted out an ugly "Oh." The technician looked at me out of the corner of her eye with a brisk "Sorry." before she took him away for bloodwork. Maybe I need to work on being less dramatic but man, I love this pup. And if I hadn't already decided not to be a vet, I would have made that decision yesterday. 


8. I will never be able to take enough pictures of trees.

Here's to grass and the leaves that crunch and the trees that are just as beautiful in winter as in summer and fall. 


***

Thanks for hearing my thoughts! I hope this Spring is wonderful and full of joy and hope. 

So much love, 

Your Blogger