Life, And How Religion Got Me Through It All

Life, And How Religion Got Me Through It All

How God touched every single year of my life

Prior to my birth, while my mom was pregnant with me, my dad was driving around and happened to see a girl on a run. The weather consisted of cold winds, so this particular girl was wearing a sweatshirt. In big bold letters, her sweatshirt read, “COLBY,” in reference to Colby College in Maine. As my dad continued to drive, he thought about how nice of a ring the name Colby had to it. Therefore, my name is Colby. I was my mom and dad's first born and the first grandchild for both sets of my grandparents. Therefore, my birth was quite exciting. I was born into the world weighing seven pounds, three ounces with brown eyes and a lock or two of light brown hair.

When I was released from the hospital, my parents brought me to my new home in New Jersey. Two years of crying, playing with toys, and changing diapers pass, and my sister, Peyton, is born. Looking back through photos and from what my parents tell us, my sister and I were the best of friends in our younger years, just like we are today. Fortunately, my mom has always had her camera attached at the hip, so finding childhood photos is never an issue. In every picture I come across of my sister and I when we were young, we are always hugging and smiling.

Another two years pass since my sister’s birth, and my brother, Campbell, is born. At around this time, we moved into another house in New Jersey and I was attending preschool. My mom tells me that every day that I would come home from preschool, I would be extremely excited to share all of the amazing crafts I created and the games I played that day. Then, I began kindergarten. This is the year that my true faith journey started. I was fully introduced to the Catholic faith by attending a Catholic school. The student body and faculty of my school would attend mass together once a week during the school day. In my earlier years, I never really quite understood what the priest’s position was or why we said the “Our Father” or what anything at mass really meant.

When I was nine years old and in the third grade, my parents took Peyton, Campbell, and I to the mall. Before we were allowed out of the car, my dad said that he had an announcement. I clearly remember him turning around to face us from the driver’s seat, and telling us that we would be moving to North Carolina. Peyton and Campbell burst into tears, wailing and crying. Surprisingly, I did not cry. I looked out the window. I immediately thought of the family I would be leaving behind. My mother’s parents lived in New Jersey, not too far from us. My cousins, aunts, and uncles on both sides of the family also lived in New Jersey. All in all, the majority of my family would no longer be an hour and a half drive away. My family is my absolute everything. My actions and thoughts revolve around each and every one of them. My life was about to change drastically, and all I thought about was, “Will they come to visit?”

I began my North Carolina school years as a fourth grader at a Catholic elementary school. I’m not going to sugar coat it, the beginning of fourth grade was a bit rough. I was the new girl that dreaded recess because that meant sitting on the swings by myself. Everyone already had their friends and wasn’t interested in me. I lived in an apartment with noisy neighbors. I missed New Jersey. My mom could tell that I was feeling the way I was. One day, she handed me a notebook. She told me that we could write notes to each other because sometimes it feels better to let your emotions out on paper. My relationship with my mom became incomparable. We would write jokes back and forth, as well as how our day was. Her notes reminded me that living in North Carolina would get better, and it quickly did. We later moved into my beautiful white home, or, how others prefer to identify it, “the house with the green roof.” We adopted three adorable kittens from the Humane Society named Soufflé, Bliss, and Mousse. I finally began making friends.

I began middle school at a Catholic middle school. I was introduced to a great group of friends in sixth grade, some of whom are my best friends today. I loved my teachers and my classmates, and I didn’t really struggle academically. I was completely over missing New Jersey until I suddenly received news that someone in my family had become very sick. I immediately turned to God. I prayed every chance I had. As I prayed, I reflected on every moment that I could remember spending with my grandfather. I asked God if there was anything I could personally do in return for my grandfather’s health. During these tough times, my good friends reminded me to always stay positive and to keep praying. Thankfully, my prayers were answered. Doctors had informed my relative that they were going to be okay.

Just as things were starting to go my way, Hurricane Sandy took place. It began on October 29, 2012. After hearing that my friends that lived in New Jersey were being forcefully evacuated from their homes, I knew my old home was in danger. I was so scared of the hurricane’s outcome. I constantly checked and the news for updates and was never thrilled with what I discovered. The winds and rain were progressively getting stronger and more aggressive, and my own friends’ homes were being destroyed. My grandparents' house had five feet of water flood his first floor. My friend’s front door had been blown off. Another friend of mine’s boat had been ripped from the docks by the storm and is most likely still sitting at the bottom of the bay somewhere. When teachers asked if anyone had any intentions at school, I would always pray for my favorite little town in New Jersey. I would constantly pray that the aftermath would not be as grave as the news was telling me it would be. I would reflect on the amazing memories I had made in New Jersey and the life I lived there. I believe that God knew and still knows how important of a place it is to me, because when I nervously returned to New Jersey to visit that December, the only damage done to my town was some trash blown into the streets. I was blessed, and immediately prayed to God in thanksgiving and appreciation. Although the rest of the state didn’t survive the storm as well, the number of amount of volunteers and workers that devoted their time in order to restore New Jersey proves how much the state means to people.

I thank God each and every day for a successful high school career that led me to be a proud student at the University of Richmond. I pray in thanksgiving that I have made such strong friendships and have such a loving family. I also thank Him for having had such a great plan for me and I am ready for whatever else He has in store.

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.


Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.

I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.

I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.

As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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