Becoming a Hero

Everyone has a hero of sorts- someone who inspires them or helps them; someone who acts as a standard to reach towards. Someone who they want to be like. Heroes give us something to reach for. A world without heroes would be dark and cruel. A world without heroes isn’t worth living in.

A world without heroes isn’t worth living in.

A hero is anyone who is willing to lay down their life for a cause, anyone who cares enough about the people around them that they would die to save them.

Even in the darkest periods of history heroes existed- in fact, heroes are easier to identify during times of evil than in times of peace. Men and women like Irena Sendler, Oskar Schindler and Nelson Mandela are well-known heroes. These people have one thing in common: once they were ordinary, but as they grew they discovered that something was unfair in the world. Instead of ignoring the problem, they fought it- some in secret, some publicly- and faced death for their courage.

Someday, high schoolers will learn stories of the people who battled evil in 2017. Two kinds of people will be remembered over the course of history: the hero and the evil that the hero defied. Everyone else will be forgotten. As I think about my life, I realize that I don’t want to be forgotten while the world moves on, so I’m not waiting for an opportunity to be a hero to come to me. I’m searching for a cause- something that is unfair in this world that I can stand against, putting my whole heart into it.

I want to be a hero.

So will you stand up, or will you live life in as an apathetic human in a perpetual state of I-don’t-care?

Will you be remembered, or will you let the world forget you?

Make your choice and commit to it.

-itsajthoughts

The Beauty of Mentoring

She came to me with a smile on her face. Her brown eyes were bright and happy- my Ellie*. Twenty minutes into our time together, though, she confided in me that she had been to the hospital that weekend to have her stomach pumped out after overdosing on prescription drugs in an attempt to take her life. This wasn’t the first time, and although I was not surprised, I was saddened. My Ellie? Eleven years old, and already so thoroughly finished with her life that she was trying to end it? Looking down, my eyes settled on her wrists. Lined with crisscrossing pink scars, they told a story of hurt and pain unfathomable for a girl of her age. Oh Ellie, why? Even though I knew about her self-harm before that day, it still gave me a jolt to see it. What was my sweet Ellie doing cutting herself? If there was anyone in the world who should be safe from things like suicide and self harm, it would be Ellie.

I can’t keep her away from the hard things in her life, but that’s not my job. My only job is to be a trustworthy person for Ellie to talk to and hang out with- I give her support and act as a friend.

As an elementary student, I watched my classmates leave class once a week for one hour with an older student and come back happy and leaving the rest of us feeling a bit jealous. Those kids (both the older and younger ones) were registered in the local Big Brothers Big Sisters program. Now, as a high school student, I am a part of the program as a mentor, or ‘big’. I take a bus to my ‘little’s’ school weekly to read with her for fifteen minutes and then hang out doing whatever activity she wants. My mentee is eleven years old and in grade 6. She is the oldest age permitted to be a mentee, so this year she will ‘graduate’ from the program. Mentoring her has enriched my life. I look forward to my weekly visits with her, and I strongly recommend mentoring for anyone who is looking for a way to make the world a better place for someone.

Ellie isn’t the only elementary aged child who needs someone to confide in and trust with her story. Children everywhere are fighting bigger battles than they can handle on their own, and it’s not hard to provide support for a struggling girl or boy. All it takes is one hour a week.

If you are interesting in becoming a mentor, take a look at the links posted below:

Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada

Big Brothers Big Sisters USA

KHEPRW

Javon Jarell Foundation

The Peer Project (Toronto area only)

The Mentoring Center of Central Ohio

YWCA Vancouver

Chance UK

Adams County Youth Initiative

Raise (Australia only)

These are only a few of the options for mentoring. If you think that you would like to become a mentor, look into the options in your area and don’t be afraid to step out to make a difference. Mentors make huge impacts in their mentees’ lives, and there is no shortage of children who need a mentor.

-itsajthoughts ❤

*not her real name

 

Comparing

Hey there guys!

Yep, it’s me! I’m back! (And by the way, great posts just below by my blogging friend! 😉 )

Today I am talking about comparing.

Everyone has those days where they can’t help but compare themselves to anyone or anything. That’s one of those days when the internal ‘mean girl’ takes the wheel and directs you throughout the day, and you can’t seem to wrestle it back.

You’re so ugly… why do you even do that? It’s not as if you’re good enough to do it well. You’ll never be pretty. Your friend is so much prettier. Stop leaving that stuff there! Clean it up and do your schoolwork! You’re so behind in it, I can’t believe that you ever will get through it all… 

Sound familiar?

This ‘mean girl’ can seriously lower your self esteem. That’s not good. If you’re going to be  stuck with the same head forever, you’re going to be stuck with the same ‘mean girl’ forever. That’s why we have to learn how to be stronger than her and wrestle that wheel out of her hands. I have trouble with doing this myself, but slowly am learning.

If we let her remain in control for too long, it could actually hurt our health. She was in control of my own mind yesterday, truth to be told. I kept feeling down, so ready to just sit down and give up on all my dreams. Who was I kidding? I’m just a teenager; I can’t do anything.

Wrong. I can do whatever I want, whatever I decide to set my mind to and achieve.

That ‘mean girl’? She feeds you a pack of lies. Don’t listen to her. And don’t compare yourself to others. You have a special gift that none of them shall ever possess.

You’re you. And no one else is ever going to be able to you. 🙂

❤ bookwormjulia

Is Christianity Dead?

Is Christianity dead? Only if we let it be. This is a great post by ‘beautybeyondbones’ ❤

BeautyBeyondBones

Well folks, another Christmas is in the books!

Christmas 2K16 is officially behind us. The eggnog has been consumed. Gifts gifted. Food coma endured. And for those brave souls who took on a real tree this year, its pine needles are officially all over the floor and will be mysteriously appearing in randomcrevicesfor the next 4 months.

giphy.gif

Ever since I was of “appropriate age,” my family has always gone to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. It is one of my favorite memories and traditions. The caroling at 11pm. The candles. The trumpets. For the past, say, 15+ years, we have been going, and every year, we’d always get there right at 11:00, throwing elbows, and staking out our pew, as it is always standing room only. And don’t even bother coming at 11:15…because there will be no parking and you’re guaranteed to be standing – two deep – in the…

View original post 939 more words

To My Someday Children

To my someday children,

today I am a teenager; tomorrow I will be an adult; and one day soon I will be your mother. The world has changed a lot in the past few generations, but in some ways it is still the same. I might not understand what it is like to live in your generation, but I can guarantee that it wasn’t too different when I was a kid.

Life is beautiful- the pain and hard times will always be there, but the good times are worth every minute that you wait. Hang on tight.

I can’t protect you from everything. Sometimes I’m going to let you make your own decisions, let you deal with the consequences of your actions on your own, because that’s how you grow up. That’s how you learn. I might seem old fashioned or clueless sometimes, but I’ve been through the times you are going through right now. My parents drive me crazy sometimes too, but the older I get, the more I realize that they know what they are talking about.

I won’t be a perfect mom- perfect moms don’t exist. But I’ll do my best, and I’ll teach you one of the most important lessons I can every time I mess up: the importance of saying ‘sorry’.

You are special in every way. No matter what you’ve done and no matter who you become, you are ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’ (Psalm 139:14). Psalm 139 says that God built you while you were still forming inside of me, and that everything God makes is wonderful- that makes you wonderful!

So when you are ready give up, trust in God and what He has done for you. Always stay true to who you are, and remember that I will always love you.

Love, your Momma

-itsajthoughts

Preparing for Foster Siblings

Just before my fourteenth birthday, my happy family of six decided to take in a fifteen year old foster girl named Hanna*. She was kind and considerate; a rarity among hurt and abused teenagers, so when we met her, we felt that it was just right to add her to our family. After a month went by, though, we ran into our first difficulty: Hanna met with some people from her ‘previous life’- distant relatives of her first family.

The result was a huge breakdown that ended with a broken window and three sobbing siblings.

We were shocked.

It was then that the four ‘original’ siblings realized the rift growing between us. We had all allowed Hanna to just nose her way into the family, figuring that she would find a place, and all of us would still have our place.

Hanna never came to live with us again. In fact, she moved to a nearby city in just a few months and cut off all communication with us.

Adding a member to an established family is always hard. Not all foster situations end as catastrophically as mine did (I’m not trying to scare you here!), and there are tons of success stories among foster families. But in every foster situation, it is important that you still feel safe in your own home with your family. Here’s a little list of ways to keep yourself safe when you get a foster sibling:

#1: Prioritize one on one time with each of your family members (including your new sibling) to keep relationships in tip-top condition.

#2: Whether your foster sibling tells you their story or not, there is a good chance that they have been badly hurt in the past by people very close to them. DON’T BE SURPRISED IF THEY SUDDENLY START TO ACT OUT! For most fosters this is their way of testing how much you are willing to sacrifice for them.

#3: Keep some parts of your life just for yourself. When Hanna met my extended family, she wanted me to add her to a group on social media that was between just me and a few cousins I was close with, but I refused because I wanted to keep some relationships separate from her. THIS IS OKAY.

#4: Don’t expect your foster siblings to keep your secrets. He or she has probably dealt with so many people who aren’t trustworthy, that they probably don’t know how to be trustworthy.

Remember, it is possible that not all of these will apply to your foster situation- every family is unique, and so is every foster. If you are a part of a foster family, go ahead and comment with any tips that I may have missed.

-itsajthoughts

*Hanna is not her real name (I did this to protect her privacy)

Beautiful You

I’ve noticed over the years how people tend to deny themselves, yet glorify others. In fact, I do that myself.

My friend: My hair is gross today.

Me: If that’s what you look like when you’re gross, I can’t imagine how awesome you look when you think you’re awesome.

But when the roles are reversed, I will totally disagree, deny, and try to brush off what they say. They’ve tried to convince me multiple times, but I never really believe them. They only partially convinced me once, but that was when I thought I looked relatively good.

So most of us have a problem: we see other people that we think look awesome, and we get so sad when they don’t see that in themselves. But you don’t want to believe them when they say that we actually do look good, better than them. We think that they’re so good that, we could never match up, or be better. So we deny ourselves. We don’t let ourselves even hope, because, even though we can’t really tell unless we think very hard, we’re afraid that we’ll let ourselves believe, and then be torn down. We’re afraid to let ourselves feel that amazing feeling of being beautiful, and then having it ripped from you.

I will tell you that, I still am trying to figure out how to overcome this, so I have no tips. But I’m posting this because maybe one of you guys out there knows the answer to this. If so, please comment on your solution! 😀

Even though you might not believe me (I wouldn’t believe me either XD ) you’re beautiful. 🙂

❤ bookwormjulia

Being Me

Hey everyone!

Today, I’m here to write a short post on being yourself.

People can tease you, criticize you, and laugh at you, but that doesn’t mean you need to change who you are. You’re a beautiful, awesome, amazing person, who nobody else could ever be. You don’t have to fit in with everyone; be unique, and stand out! Let your inner star shine!

I can never stress how important it is for you to be you. Even if everybody doesn’t like you, it doesn’t matter. They just aren’t good enough to recognize how sensational you are. 😀

Stay true to yourself! 🙂

❤ bookwormjulia

Books?

Hi everybody!

Everybody loves books, right? Well, most everybody. But sometimes, people don’t like them because they just haven’t found the right book. So today I’m going to name some books that I’ve enjoyed. They’re all the first books in the series. 🙂 I won’t add in descriptions, because you can just click on the links I’m going to create and read the description that amazon has. 😀 If you buy them and read it, or get it from the library, post in the comments on what you thought of them! 😀

The Ranger’s Apprentice

The Unwanteds

Keeper of the Lost Cities

The Blackwell Pages

The Brotherband Chronicles (keep in mind this series comes after The Ranger’s Apprentice 🙂 )

Now, there is a girl who has written two children’s books. I’ll add in links to those, because she actually is only a teenager herself, and is a published writer. I’m hoping that this’ll help inspire you to reach for the stars as well. 😀 (also, I’ll give you guys a link whenever she comes out with a book for teens! I know that she’s writing some, so they should be out soon enough!)

The Destruction of Ants

A Candy Land Dream

I hope that you enjoy some of the books I’ve chosen to put into this post, and that Seija will inspire you, and all writers out there. I know that she has inspired me. 🙂

❤ bookwormjulia