September 19, 2007: Life is good. School is good. I ran 3.5 miles in the pouring rain today. It was beautiful — and my farthest distance ever. I can’t describe those 40 minutes. Perseverance, peace, strength — I felt it all. I love to run. For once in my life I am exercising because I want to — because our bodies were made to move. What else, what else… my new blog is up! I’m pulling a profit! Mom is setting me up on Quickbooks because I need to start keeping track of invoices and receipts. I love running a business in high school.
Oh Jamie, I love this. “life is good” and “school is good” — how far you’ve come! and running! you’re learning to run! I am giddy watching you grow. Exercising because you love it — not to impress, to look like Britney Spears or to cross another to-do off your task list. Running is a perfect fit for you: alone time, nobody to compete with and progress marked by perseverance. And you started blogging! I am smiling. This is real good.
December 28, 2007: I’m frustrated. I’m not sure what God is trying to teach me. I trust Him. Wholeheartedly I do. And I don’t understand this. I woke up two days ago with severe stomach pain. It continued for 30 minutes: crying, sweaty, can’t-talk-can-only-whimper pain. I stumbled to Mom’s bed after the pain subsided and she wiped my sweat-covered forehead with a damp cloth. I laid on the couch all day. My body was in shock. I don’t know what brought it on because I’ve been so careful allergy-wise lately. It’s difficult. I know I have grown from these experiences the past few years, but why again? Give me a different challenge, please. I have a stronger faith now and I know with my whole heart God cares. He cares about everything I’m feeling and every situation I’m facing. He will get me through but right now I can’t see the light.
I never avoided any food as a child. I was allergic to dairy and soy formula as an infant, but many children grow out of their former allergies. My stomach seemed to be “okay” throughout elementary school. “Okay” meant stomachaches every few months. Shivering and pain that seemed to shoot through my insides. We managed to keep most of my digestive problems under control by seeing a few doctors throughout elementary school.
At 13, a naturopath helped me discover the yeast levels in my stomach were imbalanced. I avoided a long list of foods on an elimination diet for months and by 16, many of my former intolerances were no longer an issue. I carefully avoided dairy and soy. The majority of my diet was wheat-free: but even small amounts of flour deteriorated my system. Two pieces of wheat toast in a week would cause an attack the next. It terrified me. I hated living with my allergies; not knowing when pain would strike. It wasn’t fun.
I am thankful for God’s healing — my digestion is still a working experiment but I am thankful for the progress I’ve made since those confusing days. I currently avoid dairy, soy, wheat, tomatoes, anything fermented (like peanuts or mushrooms) and anything with sugar. At least two days a week my stomach feels out of sorts and I am continuing to believe for God’s complete healing in those areas!
June 13, 2008: It’s been over three months since I’ve touched my journal. One and a half days of high school left. I always imagined the end of school would feel momentous — but it doesn’t. I am moving on. Excited about the future. God’s so crazy good to me and our family. The last semester has been full of blessing: I went to Business Boot Camp in Atlanta from April 29 – May 1 on a full scholarship. Amazing, amazing time there. I learned so much. In May, I booked more weddings for this summer. I also shot Dean and Tamara’s wedding on May 18 — my first! It went well. Here I am in June and last week I finalized details for San Fran — I am going to be second-shooting with Melissa Jill. Then there’s the summer internship with Sarah Barlow coming up in August in Chicago. Sometimes I look at my life with all it’s opportunities and go wow! Here I am, graduating, the moment I have been writing about at least every other page for the last 3 years… one and a half days and that’s it. Incredible.
I called it the happiest day of my life: my grad commencement ceremony. It finally arrived, those four years — full of self-discovery and [let’s be honest] misery — were over. I was leaving my white polo shirt, pleated kilt, navy blue knee sock uniform and brick buildings behind. The best part, I was armed with a faith that was my own; passions I was wanted to explore. One of my Mom’s favourite sayings is “like a bat outta hell” — well I was the bat and high school was hell.
The graduation banquet was a few nights later and I had wonderful intentions of “experiencing high school” for the last time. Why? I bought tickets for the whole evening of celebration: the banquet downtown and the grad cruise in the harbour afterwards. I even had plans to attend the sunrise breakfast. As the banquet came to a close, a buzz of excitement stirred amongst the grads. It was finally time to party the night away. I glanced around the ballroom. Over 100 17-year-olds. What if I left now? Woah. Jamie, you’ve paid for the whole night! $60 for the cruise! Only a few more hours before you close the chapter. I walked over to where my parents sat: “I don’t want to celebrate. Take me home?” My Mom laughed. My Dad shrugged his shoulders and said, “Sure.” I told the friends at my table to go on without me, grabbed my purse and walked out. We walked to the underground parkade and I giggled with every step. I’m done. I did it. I never looked back. I jumped full-time into photography. I had applied to TWU in the Fall and knew I had two months without school to accomplish all I had been waiting for. I photographed seven weddings, over 20 portrait sessions, traveled to San Francisco to second-shoot with Melissa Jill and interned for 10 days in Chicago with Sarah Barlow. It was such a sweet, sweet summer.