thoughts

Countdown to Taylor Swift’s “reputation”: “Red”

I’m not sure if I’ve shared this on here, but I love Taylor Swift. Since I was a little girl, I’ve loved the way she is unafraid to say exactly how she feels about a situation. A lot of people criticize her for writing about relationships, but for me, those songs have been a source of comfort on multiple occasions. I’ve never gone on a date or had a boyfriend, but her songs are written in a way that I can apply them to my life, even if I haven’t gone through exactly the same thing she has. I’m beyond excited for the release of reputation, so I thought that in honor of its release, I’d do a blog series about each album and what it means to me, with each post coinciding with the release date of that particular album.

I was twelve when Red came out. Not long before the album’s release date, I went through something which hurt me in a way I’d never experienced before. “Red” felt like a hug in the form of an album, and listening to Taylor sing made me feel as though I wasn’t alone. “I Knew You Were Trouble” was especially comforting, as I felt as though I should have seen what was coming and blamed myself for what happened. The album and its personal and raw lyrics brought me comfort in a way nothing else did, and for that, it will always have a special place in my heart.

Top Three Favorite Tracks

Originally, I was only going to pick my favorite track off of each album, but I love every song of Taylor’s, (to me, there’s no such thing as a bad Taylor Swift song) so I decided to pick my top three instead.

“Starlight”

I LOVE this song. I love how narrative it is, and the way Taylor’s imagery is so descriptive and vivid that I can easily picture what’s happening in the song. “Don’t you dream impossible dreams?” is my favorite line, because I think we all have dreams that are crazy and wild, but we dare to dream them anyway.

“The Moment I Knew”

This song is heartbreaking and beautiful and raw and incredible. As with Starlight, Taylor writes in such a way that I feel as though I’m at her birthday party with her, experiencing what she’s experiencing. And I think it takes a lot of courage to be as honest as she is in this track. Songs like this one have inspired me to also be raw and vulnerable in my writing. Taylor’s helped me grow in leaps and bounds as a writer, and that’s another reason why I love her.

“Stay Stay Stay”

While much of this album is emotionally heavy, “Stay Stay Stay” is a tune that always makes me smile. I love the line, “That’s when you came in wearing a football helmet/And said, “Okay, let’s talk.” How adorable is that? That’s the kind of relationship I want to have one day: a love that is real, and even after fights and disagreements and the craziness that is life, he stays by my side, no matter what happens.

Honorable Mention: “Begin Again”

I could have easily put “All Too Well” here (because who doesn’t love “All Too Well”?) but I fell in love with “Begin Again” the first time I heard it. It’s a sweet melody that tells an even sweeter story, and I think it’s the perfect way to end the album with its message of hope and optimism. “You pull my chair out and help me in/And you don’t know how nice that is/but I do” is one of my favorite lines on the record. Once, when a friend of mine took me to lunch, I about fell out of my chair as he pushed me in. He’d already sat down when my fear of falling began to overtake me, and without hesitation, he got up and helped me so that I didn’t fall. He didn’t know how nice that was, but I did.

What do you love about “Red”?

What’s your favorite track(s)? Lyrics?

Let me know in the comments!

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My Writing · thoughts

Why I Write

In honor of today being National Writing Day, I thought I’d share why I write.

I write because I have to. For me, writing is as necessary as breathing. It’s how I process life; it’s how I handle the crazy, wild emotions that come with being a teenager. When I’m able to lay my thoughts and feelings on a page, the weight they once laid on my shoulders disintegrates. Writing allows me to breathe and gives me a way to heal.

I write because the characters within me deserve a voice. Since I was little, I’ve had characters and storylines dancing in my head, and when I was six years old I decided it was time to set them free. I wrote my first story about the friendship between two horses (I was little) and I haven’t looked back. For a time, I wrote stories using the characters from my favorite books, but now, my characters are all my own. Often, they- and the storylines I pen- are based off of my own life, and to me, there’s nothing better than turning a fragment of my life into fiction. Usually the inspiration comes from a situation I’ve been through or a person who has touched my heart, and on the occasions when it’s the former, I feel like I’ve put a message in a bottle: “You thought nothing of this, but I did. I appreciated it. I was touched. It meant more to me than you know, and I wanted to tell you that.”

I write to tell my story. In the past few years, I’ve realized just how powerful sharing my story can be, and if I’m ever asked to speak, I write out what I want to say. I feel like I make more sense when I write than when I talk, and I think I can leave a bigger impact on an audience if I’ve been able to write out what I’m saying beforehand. Sharing my story is a big part of why I’ve started blogging: because I want to show what life with cerebral palsy is really like, and also to show that while I may have a disability, I experience life the same way everyone else does.

I write to say things I otherwise wouldn’t be able to say otherwise. I can’t count how many times words have burned in the back of my throat, but fear has kept them in. To fight that fear, I pick up a pen and write every word I wish I could say in person. Then, I can say what I need to say without fear of what the other person will think, and more than once, doing that has given me the courage to actually say the words in person.

I write to overcome my limitations. When I write, I can walk, I can run, I can play sports, I can dance. When I write, anything my disability prevents me from doing is possible. I write to be free, and that freedom is unlike anything else.

 

Tell me: why do you write?

My Writing

WordPress Daily Post: Brave

You, beautiful girl, are brave.

You are brave

Because of the battles you fight,

So positively and courageously

Where many would fold,

Break,

And fall apart,

You smile.

You smile and shine

Like the brightest rays of sun

You shine

Unlike anyone else I’ve ever met

Despite the fact

That you are miles away

I still feel your light

And your love.

You are all around me,

You protect me,

You guide me,

You make me smile.

You taught me what life is really about:

Loving one another,

And smiling,

No matter how much it hurts

Or how hard things get.

Because that’s what you did

So beautifully

So courageously

So

Completely.

Dedicated with love to my friend Kate.

Bible Verses · Cerebral Palsy · Faith

Giving In, and Gaining Freedom

For years, my parents and therapists have tried to convince me to use a wheelchair around the house and for longer distances. “That way, you can carry things, you won’t be afraid to fall, and you won’t be worn out and exhausted by the time you get wherever you’re going.” And for years, I’ve fought them, because I feared that if I began using a wheelchair, I would lose my strength. But more than that, in my mind, to use a wheelchair was to relinquish the independence I did have, and I was not about to give that away.

But then, last weekend happened. My family and I went to Gainesville for UF’s homecoming weekend, and there, God showed me two things: in order to navigate that campus, I’ll have to use a wheelchair, and He showed me that He’ll use me and my disability to bring honor and glory to Him.

I spent the morning standing at SEC Nation, taking in the sights and sounds of the pregame show. As much as I loved every second of it, before long, my legs and feet began to ache. It’s a two hour show, and by the time it ended, the pain had become much more intense. However, my family and I had planned to go to the Gator Walk (which was a nice hike from where Nation had set up) and there was no way I was missing that. So I pushed through the pain and walked. The Lord used that trek to show me just how amazing He is.

At one point, a young woman complimented my Florida shirt. Her kind words brightened my day and distracted me from the pain. I thanked her, grateful for the compliment. Not long after we arrived at the Gator Walk, she came up to me again, and asked if I was Robyn. When I said yes, a huge smile crossed her face. She told me she’d heard my story through the Tim Tebow Foundation, and that I was an inspiration. I was touched and blown away. I told her thank you, thinking that those words didn’t come close to expressing how much that meant to me. She had no idea how many times in the last month I’d broken down and cried because I felt so defined and frustrated by my disability and the things I couldn’t do. So many times I’d felt like my CP was a chain around me that I couldn’t break, yet here she was telling me she was inspired by the way I lived through it. She reminded me that our God is so powerful that He’ll use something that I was frustrated by to inspire someone I’d never even met.

We left the Gator Walk and went to lunch, and my father, knowing I was hurting and tired, offered to put me on the back of my walker and push me. Because I’m stubborn, I wouldn’t let him. By the time we got to the restaurant, I was overheated and each sent a searing pain through my feet. As I took a seat and tried to cool off, I realized that maybe my parents and therapists had been on to something when they suggested I use a wheelchair. Was using my walker worth being in pain for the rest of the day? Did I really want to be worn out this way every day?

The answer is no, so this morning, I gave in and got out the wheelchair. I’m not sure how long I spent wheeling around in it and trying to figure out how to maneuver it around the house, but by the time I stopped, I realized they’d been right. Yes, my arms were a little sore from pushing it, but a power assisted device would fix that. And I was able to stand up at my bathroom sink and brush my own hair without being consumed by fear.

But perhaps most importantly, I felt more independent. For so long, “independence” has felt like a daunting mountain that I’ll never be able to reach the top of, and today, in that chair, that mountain suddenly seemed climbable. I no longer felt defined or controlled by my CP, and for that, I’ll never fight my therapists or parents on this issue again. I still have a lot of things to figure out and a long way to go before I’m completely independent, but like 2 Samuel 22:40 says, God’s armed me with the strength to win this battle, and He’ll be with me the whole way.

Faith

Ascend

Sometimes, God puts people in your life who are complete blessings. They’re encouraging and uplifting and they’re people you can always count on to be there for you, no matter what’s going on. My friend Alexis is one of those blessings, and today, I thought I’d share about something incredible she’s doing.

She is, in one word, amazing. In addition to being incredibly kind and an incredible friend, she has a heart of gold and the most beautiful faith. I’m continually blown away by her heart for serving Jesus and serving others. A few months ago, she wrote her own devotional, entitled “Ascend”, and shared Scripture and encouragement with subscribers each day. She called it “Ascend” because it focused on how each of us are climbing our own mountain, and God carries us as we ascend. He’s with us when we’re at the very bottom, He’s with us as we climb and He’s there when we’ve reached the top. She wrote beautifully, and I always felt encouraged after reading each day.

Now, she’s ascending a literal mountain: her dream is to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in February to raise money for the Tim Tebow Foundation. For months, she’s organized events to fund her climb, working tirelessly to find sponsors and raise the necessary funds to embark on the journey. I’ve been so inspired by her dedication, and today, she shared with me one way that the Lord has blessed her efforts. A few weeks ago, she entered the “Chip-Starter” contest, sponsored by Chip Gaines of Fixer Upper, where he offered to invest in two people’s dreams. Contestants had to submit a two minute video explaining their dream and why he should invest in it, and from there, four finalists would be chosen to go to Waco and pitch their dream to Chip in person. Alexis told me this morning she was chosen as a finalist! The news made my day. She’s so deserving, and I’m so proud of her and everything she’s doing.

Please keep her in your prayers as she travels to Waco: for safety as she travels, for her to feel calm as she takes the stage to talk to Chip, and that regardless of the outcome, the Lord would be glorified. He has already used Alexis in amazing ways, and I can’t wait to see how He will continue to work through her.

Faith

God Truly is in Control

To put it lightly, last week has been a roller coaster. I was so overwhelmed by college applications, schoolwork, and extracurricular activities…. the best way I can describe it is I felt like I was carrying a weight on my shoulders that I couldn’t breathe through. But as He always does, God carried me through and reminded me that He’s in control, and His plan is good and perfect.

I saw time and time again how powerful prayer is. I’m a member of our school’s Refuge Prayer Club, which meets once a week to pray and just relax in His presence before the school day begins. A friend and I both shared how we’ve been stressed and overwhelmed, and the teachers who sponsored it prayed over us, asking for His guidance as we figure out where to go for college and that we would continue to seek Him in all that we do. I opened my mouth to pray, but found myself too overcome with emotion to say so much as “thank you”. Their prayer brought me peace and gave me the strength I needed to make it through the day.

Wednesday was See You at the Pole, and it was amazing to see so many people gather to lift praise and prayer up to Him. With cars passing by and students making their way into the building, we formed a circle and one by one prayed, over each other, the school, and our nation. I felt His presence and, during those few minutes, the serenity I’d been trying so desperately to find.

Sunday, I was reminded of His goodness and perfect plan in another way: the date. It was October 1st, which marked the two year anniversary of the beginning of my W15H with Tim Tebow. Thinking about the journey which led to that magical weekend reminded me that He orchestrates each detail, no matter how small it may seem to us. This whole thing began when my sister’s softball coach told my family and I about a camp for kids with special needs she volunteers at each summer. She invited me, and my counselor, Allison, and I immediately hit it off. We’ve stayed in touch and become good friends, and I mentioned to her once that Timmy is my inspiration and it was my dream to one day meet him and tell him that. Somehow, she remembered, and when the opportunity arose to go to his foundation’s golf classic, she brought me with her as a surprise birthday present. I’m still amazed that somehow, amidst the crowd, he saw me and took time to come over and talk with me. I’ll never forget what it felt like to look at him and say, “You inspire me so much” and it was such a blessing to be able to share my story with him for just a few minutes. He impacted my life in such a profound way in just a few minutes, but little did I know, our story didn’t end there.

In becoming a part of the TTF family I’ve made friends and memories I’ll have for the rest of my life. They’re blessings I thank God for every day, and they’re living reminders that the Lord does indeed establish our steps, and He has each and every detail planned, no matter how small and insignificant it may seem to us.