I’ll Push You

I recently read a book called “I’ll push you written by Patrick Gray and Justin Skeesuck. The book is a true story about Justin and Patrick who were born less than two days apart in the same hospital. They were best friends their whole lives, they grew up together, went to school together, and were the best man in each other’s weddings. Justin was diagnosed with a neuromuscular disease that took away the use of his arms and legs. The friends refused to give into despair or let physical limitation control what was possible for Justin. Justin heard about the Camino de Santiago, a 500-mile trek through Spain, he wondered aloud to Patrick if the two of them would ever be able to do it. Patrick’s response was “I’ll push you.”

 

 

One part that I liked in the book is when they hear of a part of the trail that has a steep downhill grade, it has loose rocks that create a dangerous terrain for a wheelchair. They look at the map to find an alternate route, and they find a country road leading downhill to the right. In this alternate route the grass gradually thickened, and now there is a bunch of grass stuck around Patrick’s wheels of the wheelchair. The grass gets thicker the farther they go along. This two hour shortcut only saved them the first 30 feet of the terrain that they were trying to avoid in the first place.

Sometimes this can happen in our own lives where we think that taking the easier path will save us less time, but in the long run it saved us no time, and we should have just gone with the original path that was set in front of us. Shortcuts will only get us off track. The shortcut that Justin and Patrick did, took them two hours to go 30 feet. By taking shortcuts you are saying to God that you can reach your goal quicker your way, than His.” For example God promised Abraham that he would have a son, and have many descendants, but it didn’t happen right away so his wife Sarah told him to get their maid, Hagar, pregnant, and that would be the many descendants. But that wasn’t God’s plan. God gave Sarah a baby in her old age, but Sarah’s shortcut led to problems that lasted for generation (Genesis 15-16)

Someone who didn’t take shortcuts was Noah. Noah could have cut corners when he was building the ark, but when the rain came the ark would have sunk. Noah could have also thought that he didn’t need all the animals and could have just left half of them behind, and the ones that got left behind would be called extinct. But in Genesis 6:22 “Noah did everything as God commanded him to do.”

To reach what God has set out for you, I encourage you to not take shortcuts, and do things as God tells you to do them. Justin and Patrick agreed that they would not take anymore shortcuts.

 

 

My very favourite part of the book was the chapter called “Who do you think you are.”  Patrick has been very upset with God for two years, that God allowed this disease to take over Justin’s life. Justin and his family came to visit Patrick and his family who lived in Idaho for a week. On Sunday everyone went to church. After the service Justin and Patrick got into a conversation with the church’s associate pastor, Ed, who knew both of them very well. Later, just Justin and Ed were speaking and Patrick overheard Ed ask Justin “if you could receive physical healing right now, would you choose it.” Patrick was certain he knew what Justin’s answer would be: “Of Course.” Justin looked up at Ed and said with authority “no.” All Patrick could think was “wait, he said no.” In that moment Patrick realised that this wasn’t his fight. He had been angry with God for the past two years because the battle he was fighting was a loosing one. His friend was slowly wasting away and there was nothing being done, so focused on his apparent need for healing, Patrick had failed to recognize what Justin really needed. He needed Patrick to step into the real battle. He needed hands and feet, Patrick’s hands and feet. The miracle had already happened. Patrick failed to see that he created a battle that Justin wasn’t fighting.

This is my favourite part of the book because many times people think that someone who is going through a trial in life would want God to take it away in the exact moment, and maybe without thinking the person with the trail would want God to take away what they are going though. But if someone (ex. me) would really stop to think about if God could take pain and suffering out of their life right now, would they want it. My answer is I wouldn’t change anything that happened health wise this year, because I can evidently see God’s grace in my life. Maybe that is the way Justin felt, through the disease that he had, maybe he became closer to God than if the disease wouldn’t have taken over his body. Some people like Patrick may become upset with God and wonder why He allowed sickness/disease to happen to people, and the person with the disease doesn’t think that at all. The person, like Patrick, has created their own battle, one that they are fighting themselves. The miracle isn’t the absence of struggle, disease or pain. It is the presence of grace.

 

If you haven’t read this book yet, I am encouraging you to read it. It was a book that I greatly enjoyed, and I know that you will enjoy it as well.

 

 

 

10 Ways to Deal With Stress

Upon request, I was asked to write about how to deal with stress. Whether it is with school, work, friends or life in general, these tips can be useful to anyone. Here are 10 ways on how to deal with stress.

  1. Manage your time. This is a big one. During my first year of University if I wouldn’t have managed my time it wouldn’t have been good and I would have been very stressed. During my first year I was going to University full time, 5 days a week, and on the weekend I would work 13 hours. I was basically working 7 days a week. If I wouldn’t have managed my time well I wouldn’t have been successful in University. Instead of spending time doing wasteful things, like go on Facebook for an hour, I would have to focus and dedicate the time to doing homework instead. I would recommend doing the things that need to be done, and then do the fun things. Or if you need to take a break, you could read a book or go on Facebook for 15 min, but don’t prioritize Social Media or hanging our with friends, before your homework is done, or don’t procrastinate until the night before when you have a big project due.
  2. Take short breaks.  Some things could include going for a walk, or reading part of a book. It should be something you enjoy.
  3. Write down things that make you stressed. Do this for a few weeks and then you will be able to see the things that make you stressed, and possibly move away from those things.
  4. Make lists. This way you can have figured out what you need to do for the day. This way you don’t have to stress because nothing is just in your mind. It is all set out for you so that you can see what you need to do.
  5. Be thankful. This may seem weird, but if you are stressed by school or work, be thankful that you can be going to school or that you do have a job. There are many people who wish they could be going to school or wish that they could have a job, but don’t.
  6. Positive self talk. Positive self talk can help you be at ease and lower stress. Negative self talk will increase stress because it will feel like everything is going wrong.
  7. Talk to someone. This can also tie in with positive self talk. Sometimes stress can block your judgement on the things going on in your life. Talking to someone can also relieve stress. This week I’ve talked to a few friends, and they have been able to put things in perspective for me. Without talking to them I probably would still be stressed/upset.
  8. Smile. I know that just because you smile it doesn’t mean that you’re always happy. But sometimes our face can be connected with our emotions. I know smiling doesn’t always work, but smiling could remove some of the tension and stress that you have.
  9. Sleep. Try to get the same amount of sleep each night. I know for me lately it takes me forever to fall asleep, sometimes over an hour, just because I have so much on my mind. Things that you can do before bed so that you will not be stressed is you can read a book before going to bed, take a warm shower. For me I relax so that when I want to go to bed, that time is part of the hour that it takes me to fall asleep. (Sometimes that works for me and sometimes it doesn’t.)
  10. Don’t worry about what other people say/think about you. I know lots of my stress lately has been coming from what people say/think I should be doing, or what I think people are thinking about me. You don’t need other people to approve what you are doing in your life. The sooner that you don’t worry about what other people think, the less stressed you will be.

 

Here are my 10 tips for dealing with stress. This is not an exclusive list. There are many more things that can help you manage your stress. I hope this list is able to be of help to you.

 

 

Surprise!

December 30, 2016. That was the day my aunt and I made a $50.00 bet that I would not get my license before I turned 20. Well, today I got my license and I’m still 19. So I guess I owe my aunt $50.00. But honestly I thought I would never get my license and I would be taking the bus or getting other people to drive me around for the rest of my life. How did I get my license? This summer I had a summer job working in one of my friend’s home. Near the beginning of  the summer she asked if I would be willing to let her help me get my license, and I said something to the effect of sure if you want to, and so we left it at that. Fast forward to mid-July Charlene asked me again, and I said the same thing, and Charlene said something to the effect of this isn’t something that if I want, it is something that if you want, and she said she understood if I just wasn’t ready, but I told her sure that she could help me get my license. So in the beginning of August we went out driving about once a week, and the second time we went out she told me that her husband, Sheldon thought I should book my road test. I thought for a few seconds and asked her if she thought I would be ready, and she told me that she thought I would be ready, and then I thought for a few more seconds, and told her that I hadn’t parallel parked in 4 years, and Charlene said that if we need to we could practice parallel parking for 3 hours a day if we need to. I think the most we ever practiced parallel parking for was maybe half an hour. So a few days later I booked my road test for September 8, 2017 at 8am (today). And by the way my parents did not know I was going for my license. I think maybe only 11 people knew that I was going for my license, and 10 of those people were related to Charlene, and the other one was a good friend. Charlene kept telling me that she was glad we were not in charge of the fine details, like the driver examiner, and that we just need to trust God. Now that is good advice, and trusting God is something I always am doing no matter how hard it is, but the advice of trusting God just wasn’t putting me at ease. About a week and a half before Charlene gave me some of the best advice I have ever heard. She told me that she knew I was good under-pressure, and I asked her how she knew that, and she said by all the piano exams I have done. And I actually found that so true because I have never once failed a piano exam, I may have been close, but I have never failed. That was some advice I held onto for the next week. But honestly I think it was God’s timing that I got my license, and I could not have got it at a better time, because pretty soon both of my parents will not be able to drive. It took me 4 years to get my license, but I finally did it!

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I Started A Blog

Starting a blog was always an idea I had in the back of my mind and for the longest time I had no idea where to start. This summer one of my friends mentioned to me that I should start a blog.  I ended up getting another one of my friends to help me set it up and that’s how I was able to start this blog. My name is Alicia and I am 19 years old. I am going into my 2nd year of Music Education at the University of Regina. I follow Jesus Christ and I am excited to live the life that He has planned out for me! I decided to call my blog Notes of Joy because I wanted something that was music and faith related, but even if you take music and faith out the name it still makes sense. I chose the word notes, because of music notes. If you don’t think of music notes, it could also mean notes that you are writing. I chose the word joy, because as Christians we should have an unending joy. As Debbie Bennett said “There is a huge difference between joy and happiness. I hope you know the difference in your own life. Joy comes from God, in knowing the peace that passes all understanding no matter the situation. Happiness is dependant on circumstances, and comes and goes … I am grateful beyond any measure that I have a deep, abiding joy.” I enjoy travelling and one of my goals is to travel the world. I also enjoy music. I play many instruments but my principal instrumemt is piano which I have been playing for 16 years.