When Fall comes to town: A reminder of why I should love change

I feel like I can officially say it’s Fall!

I know, I know, it’s been here for awhile now, but it feels like it just got here because FINALLY that crisp nip is in the air, the leaves are almost completely stained with color outside our apartment and up and down the streets, and it’s finally cool enough to break out the cute fall sweaters and boots and light all my apple pie and pumpkin candles to fill my apartment with the warm scent of holidays. It’s such a cozy, happy time of year. And just like a kid, I get into all the festivities and even asked my husband about three times if we can go to the pumpkin patch next weekend *He gave in*.

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But another thing that happens when fall comes around the corner is I get SUPER reminiscent. I start skimming over the past year, thinking of where we were last year and all that has changed and transformed–kinda like those changing leaves– to bring us to where we are now.

I’ve always been that kind of person–sometimes in my mind I walk down old roads, peer into past neighborhoods, and sit in old classrooms. This past week I’ve really been thinking about how just a year ago we were just moving to Washington from Rexburg, moving our boxes and suitcases into a room in my parents’ house. With my bachelor’s degree and a heaping dose of insanity we decided to come to Washington after we felt compelled to move here. I didn’t have a job yet–I had only been out of school about two months–and Matt didn’t even know if his credits for nursing would transfer. We had no money. A rabbit. And fear. Lots of fear.

But in faith we moved out here and we felt out lives rock on its very foundation.

Everything changed for us, and the world we were used to–a college town complete with parks and familiar burger joints and jobs and snow that comes to your knees in early November–that world seemed like a dream now that never happened.

For months we were faced with job hunting, food stamps, pleas to Heavenly Father, and lots of arguments between the two of us because of all of the stress. The green, vibrant leaves in our lives were dying. It was cold. Change hurt.

This is us last October.

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And little did we know that we hadn’t hit a brick wall. We had plenty of changes ahead.

Jobs came with time–and prayer, might I add. My prayer of, “Lord, show me why you brought us here” was answered. We got an apartment–small, but our own. Matt’s credits transferred and he got into the nursing program. And we even added onto our small family by adopting little Wilson–a spunky bunny who picks on his brother.

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This vintage sign in the picture, Make Lemonade, is a sign my Aunt bought me in Idaho when I spotted it and I fell in love with it. I think I loved it right away because 1) Our last name is Lemmon, so kinda self-explanatory and 2) That’s just what we do. We make lemonade. With every change, we try to take it and make it into something beautiful. And with every change, no matter what, He faithful will remain. Heavenly Father always does, really. Even when you don’t exactly feel like it.

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I’m grateful for beautiful memories–of college, of my old job I loved, and of faces of friends and images of places that stick out in my memory like lush evergreen trees that will always remain with me. But even more so–I’m grateful for the memories I’m creating RIGHT NOW.

When familiar parts of life start to wither and die and change and I tend to think everything is just getting worse–it’s actually just turning more beautiful. Like fall leaves. Colorful, vibrant, and the indication of newness.

I love it. I love Fall and I’m beginning to love change because it’s a constant.

A constant that just always serves up sweet lemonade, pretty leaves, extra ones to love–and more memories to keep.

Happy Fall!

OH and also–why do YOU love fall? I want to see your fall pictures that show why you love it too! You can post your pictures in a comment below 🙂

Cyberbullies: the “friends” you invite inside

In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth.

He created water and plants and animals *obviously I’m paraphrasing here but bear with me*.

And he created man and woman–his crowning creation.

And that crowning creation had to learn how to keep this planet revolving through communication, hard work, family relationships, and expression. This crowning creation evolved over thousands of years, learning what it takes to survive–and thrive–together.

In those days, days that our parents and possibly even we got to enjoy (when we only had one world) it was hard to confront a neighbor about the dog that keeps peeing in your yard. It was guilt-riddling when you accidentally voiced how someone’s new haircut looks bad, and you had to deal with watching the tears roll down their blushing cheeks. It was sometimes hard to express an opinion different than someone else’s because you were worried that he or she might take it the wrong way–and that was TERRIBLE because you CARED about them. I remember those good ol’ days–and I’m not even THAT old.

But then, God’s crowning creation decided to create their own world. A new world. Cyberspace. Complete with walls, streams of popular music and videos always playing in the background, instant letters that pop up before someone’s eyes within seconds of sending–even without a stamp. In this world we hang a picture of ourselves and invite friends in, even friends we don’t know. We share our photo albums and quickly leaf through others’ as well. We laugh (lol) and we cry ( 😥 ) and all the while we hide.

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We hide behind brightly lit computer screens, sometimes thousands of miles away from the person we invite inside our “domain”.

And suddenly, with the creation of that new world which popped up not even that long ago– so many of us have forgotten that the “friends” or “followers” or the voiceless profile pictures that we interact with on a daily basis are people just like us, another one of God’s crowning creations, hidden behind another computer screen.

And with that lapse in memory as we live within our comfortable cyber houses and decorate our cyber walls, so many people become people they never would have been in the world we were supposed to live in–the one with real water and mountains, real expressive faces, and real houses full of real friends.

Cyberbullying, a new term that had to be coined because of the fact that it takes place in a new world, is causing God’s crowning creation to turn against one another with cold-heartedness that comes because we’ve forgotten each other. We’ve forgotten that in this simulated house we’ve built, we have real guests who will at some point leave, and take with them what we’ve said.

Just a couple days ago I heard this story.

A 12-year-old girl–a pretty, smart, sweet girl– jumped off of a building and killed herself. Why? Because the visitors within this cyber world, the ones cowering behind computer screens, told her to. They told her that she’s hated. That she deserves to die. They called her names and continuously jabbed at her–not even giving a second thought before hitting “enter” or “post”. Day after day, even after she shut down various forms of communication, they got through to her. And finally, that cyber world meshed with her real world. And she jumped, just like someone told her to. It took less than ten seconds for someone to type that–someone who probably doesn’t even know her in this real world. Ten seconds stole the life of someone who had been alive for 12 years.

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Cyber-bullying is real. It’s not some abstract, horrible story we hear about in the movies. Open your newsfeed. Read comments on a blog. Sift through comments on a news story or pictures in an online album. I promise that within minutes you’ll find a trace of it. You most likely have even been a vicim of it. I know I have. And that’s because not all cyber-bullies would be real-life bullies–some of them are kind, responsible people in the real world.

In real life, those bullies have to look into the eyes of the ones they call names. They have to see someone wince with pain at every insult or shrink back in fear over a threat. They have to hear responses from those they converse with and learn real-life stories told with real pain or real emotion. The emoticons such as this: 😀 or this:  😦 are actually the sounds of someone laughing, someone crying. But in cyber land, they are silent. The only sound we hear is the tapping of our fingers against the keys and our own thoughts–thoughts sometimes riddled with rage or selfishness.

We are still God’s crowing creation. And we still share this beautiful, REAL earth with beautiful, REAL friends and even strangers who come along the way. And whether it be your cyber place, complete with little updates about your day or photos from your last family vacation, or your real home, complete with conversation, manners, and handshakes– be a good host.

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Because your visitors, your friends, and your followers will leave at some point, looking up from cyberspace and into the real world.

And they’ll remember how you made them feel.

I wish the cyber-bullies who hurt that precious 12-year-old would understand that. I wish they’d realize she took those words with her, long after she exited that online realm and took a leap off a very real, dangerous tower.

I wish everyone would realize that sticks and stones sure do break bones, but words–those matter too.

Even in that other world that we ourselves created.

Related articles

http://stopcyberbullying.org/