Junior Year, Here I Come!

School starts in ten days and I seriously cannot wait to get back. I cannot believe I’m already halfway through with college; it seems completely unreal. This year is going to be unlike any before. I’ll be taking a 15 hour course load (four out of five of my classes are psychology classes), I’ll be turning twenty in less than a month, I’ll be working part time, I’ll be getting married in the spring semester. Things are going to be hectic. But you know what? I absolutely cannot wait.

I honestly love school, especially my psychology classes (I’m a psych major if you haven’t guessed). The funny thing is, career wise, I have no idea what I want to do. All I know is that I’m in the major God wants me to be in. That’s all He’s told me, and I’m at peace with that. I’ll follow every step He tells me to take, even if the future is uncertain. I’m excited to continue working through school; I like being able to provide for myself (and having a job makes paying bills quite a bit easier). I’m beyond excited to get married to the love of my life in less than seven short months.

College life is crazy as it is. I know that there are going to be nights where I want to quit work and school, I’m going to cry and eat icecream and watch Netflix instead of doing homework. I know that being a commuting, working, married woman isn’t exactly going to make things easier, but who finds adventure on the easy route? I’ll follow each step that God asks me to take, no matter how scary, uncomfortable, or hard.

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“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11

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Photo Credit: Priscilla Du Preez

One Year Of Words Sweeter Than Honey!

I can’t believe it’s my blog’s birthday (This is also my 50th post)! July 10, 2015 I finally decided to follow that little dream of mine of starting a blog. My blog may not be one that everyone has heard about, and that’s perfectly okay. As long as God has used it to touch at least one heart, to have someone open their heart to God a little more, to find Him amidst the darkness, to encourage someone, to brighten someone’s day, that’s what matters to me. Throughout this process of blogging, one verse of Scripture has been close to my heart. Zechariah 4:10 says, “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand[…]” Though the context is a bit different, the message is the same: a small beginning is still a beginning. In other words, you have to start somewhere. I don’t care if this little blog I started one year ago today never gets to be well known. As long as it’s helping and furthering the kingdom, I am satisfied, and I will write until God tells me otherwise. Thank you all of you lovely people who have been on this journey with me so far, encouraging me, loving me, reading the blog of a girl who had a dream. God bless.

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Photo Credit: Annie Spratt

Health{ier} Living

I turn twenty in 72 days (what?! how is that possible?!) Since I started college nearly two years ago (again, what?!), I’ve grown up quite a bit. I work, I pay bills, I’m planning my wedding (again, I strongly emphasize WHAT?!), I make my own choices. I’m an adult and I have to make my own choices now. I have to be responsible with my money, my time, my life.

Now, this post is not about how I’m aiming to become a size x or how I want to only eat x amount of calories a day. This post is about making choices and how I’ve decided to aim for a healthier lifestyle all around.

First off, I joined a gym. Me. Yeah, I’m surprised too. But I figured I’m more motivated to use something if it’s taking money out of my bank account every month. So I’ve started going to the gym. I hop on the elliptical and watch Netflix for 30-45 minutes. It’s not so bad. I’ve also started watching what I’m eating. Notice I didn’t say calorie counting or eliminating carbs or whatever. Those things are fine, I’ve just decided to be more conscious about what I eat, choosing almonds over chips, water over soda.

Aside from the changes in my physical lifestyle, I’ve changed other aspects of my life, too. I’ve started watching what thoughts I let enter my head. I have a problem with blaming myself for things that aren’t my fault, with anger, with depression. So, when I have thoughts that are critical or negative or hurtful towards myself or others I stop them in their tracks; I choose to think differently. It was a difficult thing to do at first, I mean, I thought, how do I stop myself from thinking? But it starts with paying attention to what you think about and when something raises a red flag, don’t entertain it. Put an end to it then and there.

Additionally, a change I’ve made is starting and ending my day well. I start with a healthy breakfast – if I wake up in time to make one (I’m still struggling with waking up on time… 🙂 ) and I read my Bible. I will sacrifice doing my hair and makeup as long as I have time to read my Bible; if I don’t start my day in Scripture, it shows. I listen to worship on the way to work and I’m always looking for new songs so that they aren’t just becoming routine, but I can genuinely worship. I end my day, even if I don’t get home until midnight, with reading my Bible. I also journal at night. There’s a pretty famous quote by Flannery O’Connor that says, “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I have to say.” It is so true. If I’m dealing with a particularly stressful issue, I write about it, and I can vent and be honest and a lot of times that’s where God reveals something to me or just brings me comfort. Sometimes I just write about my day, even if it was just an ordinary day; it gives me time to reflect.

So I haven’t set outrageous goals. I just want to be a healthier me. God didn’t create us to live miserable lives that are weighed down by an unhealthy physical or mental state. When you’re healthy physically, you feel better. When you’re healthy mentally, you feel better. The two go hand-in-hand. Since I’m nearly twenty and am adulting, with the freedom to make my own decisions, I’m doing my best to live at least a little bit of a healthier lifestyle.

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Photo Credit: Autumn Goodman

The Past Few Weeks

So this post is probably going to be a lot of rambling, but that’s how I talk anyway so it’s fitting! So much has happened recently and God has taught me so much.

The first thing that He has really shown me He did in a pretty cool way. First, my pastor preached an amazing sermon on fearing the Lord and being obedient (Watch the Sermon Here). The same day, my reading in Exodus 3 pertained to fearing the Lord (I blogged about it, Taking off our Sandals). As if that weren’t cool enough, from then – two weeks ago – until this morning even, my readings in Exodus and Psalms have been talking a lot about fearing the Lord and obeying Him. I also randomly decided to read 1 John, guess what that talked about, too? So God has definitely been trying to tell me something here. Through, the sermons and my readings, God has really shown me that knowing Him, fearing Him, and obeying Him go hand in hand in hand. Following God’s commands isn’t a burden, it’s a blessing. When we try to do things our way, we get entangled in sin, and it starts to destroy us. When we do things God’s way, we prosper. It is only then that we are truly free.

“Clear the Stage” by Jimmy Needham (Clear the Stage) is one of my favorite songs. It talks about crushing the idols in our lives. It makes me think of the times when I know I should read my Bible or pray and instead I do x, or when I am reading my Bible and I’m trying to rush so I can do x. I’ve realized that whatever is has become an idol in my life, and I’ve had to do a serious heart check. I can’t let anything come before my quiet time with God, my following His commands.

You know what else? Relationships are work, like a lot of work. More than I ever realized. There are times when my fiancé (we got engaged on May 30! YAY!) wants to call me and I’d rather read or watch Netflix (sorry, honey… 🙂 ). But that’s not the way it works. Did you know that your significant other needs, like, attention and stuff? Okay, I’m being dramatic. I love talking to and spending time with him, but sometimes I’m just tired and my book or show doesn’t require me to talk back. But relationships take work, they take time, they take – gasp – communication, and most importantly, they take you both being on the same page – especially faith-wise. So, I make sure to talk to, rotate, and water my fiancé. Wait… that’s my aloe plant… but the point is, relationships take work to grow, and if you aren’t growing, you’re dying. (Please excuse all of my cheesy jokes, I’m tired.)

Okay, one more thing to ramble about! It is such a huge blessing to have a job you actually enjoy waking up and going to. I love my job. But that’s not the main point, the main point is that whether or not you like your job, no matter what your job is, you can show the love of Christ. Now, I can’t exactly sit and talk to each of my guests about how much God loves them – the people in line behind them may start to get really impatient. But I can show Christ-like love in the way I speak to guests, in how I go above and beyond to serve them, in serving my co-workers without them asking. No matter what your job is, you can serve God, even if you never get to say His name. Show Him, serve Him, with you actions, your character, you attitude. Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”  Take this piece of Scripture to heart and apply it to your life.

 

Well, lovelies, that’s all I have to say. If you made it to the end of my rambling, congratulations, you’re awesome! I’d love to hear from you lovely people! Until next time!

April 2016

It’s late, and I’m sleepy, but here’s what happened this month that I remember!

  • I finished Acts and Jude so the only book I haven’t read in the New Testament is Revelation (which I’m reading now)!
  • I finished classes! Now I have 3 days of exams and I’M HALFWAY DONE WITH MY DEGREE!
  • I literally walked into a gas station and got drinks and when I got to the car I saw that my finger was bleeding. It wasn’t bleeding before I went in. Still no idea how that happened.
  • One word: Papers.
  • Another word: Presentations.
  • I watched 2 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy in like a week and a half.

I’m sure more stuff happened, my life isn’t totally boring, but that’s what I remember. But at the end of the day – literally the end, it’s 11:30 – God is good and I am so blessed to live this life I live.

Photo Credit: Thought Catalog

March 2016

Apparently it’s the last day of March!

This month has been a roller coaster of sorts, but looking back, every low point led to me realizing how much I need God and how amazing He is.  There have been battles faced and there have been times of spiritual rejuvenation.  A lot of caffeine has been consumed. An appreciation for concealer has been formed for its ability to lessen the appearance of dark circles. I got bangs.  I still am terrible at knowing what day of the week it is.  I smashed my knee into a pew at Chapel. I finished my first journal.  I’ve developed the “allergies”. I’ve read a lot of books.   I have a month of school left and then I’m halfway done with my BA degree.  I made dinner – twice!  I’ve practically learned the layout of the new Walmart Market (a.k.a. The Baby Walmart).  I learned that my sister is Batman. Easter was EPIC.

1/4 of 2016 down, 3/4 to go! I’m ready for adventure!

Photo Credit: Claire Satera

February 2016

February flew by – and I don’t think it’s just because it’s shorter than the other months. Here are a few things that happened this month!

  • Genelle and I hiked like 6.2 miles or something.  I hadn’t hiked in almost a year.  I was pretty much totally and completely exhausted after, but post-hike tired is the best kind of tired.
  • Winterjam was amazing. Every year I think it can’t get better and then it does.  Though I did miss Skillet.
  • I did a workout video that I literally thought would kill me.  I laid on the floor for like fifteen minutes afterwards, only getting up because I got cold.
  • I bought new books and my excitement was unable to be contained.
  • I answered a question in environmental science and regretted my decision immediately because I am horrible with geography and realized quickly that I had no clue what I was talking about.
  • seriously have trouble spelling the word “decision.” I just can’t get it stuck in my head.
  • I got my eyes dilated for the first time last week.  That was fun. I couldn’t drive so Genelle had to, my dad texted me and I -blindly- texted him that I got my eyes dilated and I couldn’t see.  When he texted back, I thought he had texted a bunch of random words making fun of me, but then after I showed my phone to Genelle I discovered that they were real words, I just couldn’t see them.  I also tried to sit with the wrong people at La Caretta… Needless to say, it was an amusing, strange, and annoying situation.
  • Genelle and I made a song for our human biology exam for the route that blood takes through the heart… and then it wasn’t on the test.
  • School has been brutal this month. I’ve decided that professors have weekly meetings where they get together and decide to make their assignments, papers, and tests all at the same time because they enjoy watching us panic.
  • I only had three hours of sleep and then almost cried because I thought my coffee was water.  I then had a total freak out in the car over a bug.
  • I have this newfound inability to know what day of the week it is. Seriously.
  • I have decided that someday I shall be able to bend impossibly like the yoga lady I watch on YouTube. Someday.
  • I’ve realized that I have kept my car clean since December. That’s pretty amazing.
  • I was reading a book and it made me remember the time in seventh grade when I was walking into the school and I was wearing flip flops and fell because it had been raining, got up, fell again, got up, and fell again. I hadn’t thought about that in years.  Thanks, book.

 
Photo Credit: Micah. H

We’re Not in Neverland Anymore

Over the past several months I have been – as I put it – trying to adult.  I don’t think you turn 18 and suddenly you know how to be a successful adult.  When I turned 18, I was in the pseudo-real world that is college (for some – some people work full time and go to school, I don’t know how ya’ll do it).  A lot of college students start college with scholarships, loans, and/or family money.  You’re an adult, but you don’t do much adulting.  You go to class, eat cafeteria food, hang out on weekends, do homework.  The world calls you a grown up, but you’re really just a glorified teenager.  My freshman year really felt no different than high school except that I didn’t live at home and no one asked me if I had homework to do.

Fast forward to this year.  I live at home and commute 45 minutes to school.  All of a sudden I had to learn to budget for gas, snacks for school (I prefer to bring my own healthier options if possible), and some bills with an average income of $20 per week.  Through this, God has provided tremendously.  He has shown me nothing is impossible if I trust in Him and discipline myself.  By no means am I comparing myself to someone who is out on their own providing for themselves completely.  I live at home and receive occasional financial help from my parents, I don’t have to worry about having a roof over my head or food to eat, but God has blessed me with the opportunity of learning to manage money and start to take care of myself before I really have to when I’m out on my own.

This year I’ve also started to make my own decisions in other areas; being an adult isn’t like middle school where you had gym three times a week.  I’ve taken my health and lifestyle into my own hands, opting for better food choices and an active lifestyle.  I’ve started recycling and doing what I can to preserve the environment, not because someone is over my shoulder telling me to, but because I’m trying to take responsibility for the things I do and the impact I make.  My faith is in my own hands.  It’s on me to seek God and choose to live for Him everyday.

Again, I don’t think being an adult is just something you just know how to do, it’s something you have to learn how to do.  You have to learn to take responsibility for yourself and to manage your life physically, spiritually, and financially. I have been incredibly blessed to start to learn how to manage my life before being on my own supporting myself.  In the past several months, God has taught me so many lessons on being self-disciplined – like waking up on time so I can actually get things done and not skimping on a work out because I don’t feel like.  God has taught me how to trust Him more.  God has blessed me in a season of life that I did not imagine so much growth to come from.

The idea of growing up and being an adult used to sound so unappealing at times. No, I’m not in Neverland anymore, I’m growing up and it’s scary and not always easy, but I have to say, it’s not that bad.

Photo Credit: Andrew Ruiz

January 2016

Hello lovely people of cyberspace! Last month I randomly decided to do a recap of the month and I decided that I really liked the idea.  So here is a recap of my first month of 2016!

  • I started the second semester of my sophomore year of college (I’m almost halfway done with my Bachelor’s degree!).
  • My best friend tried on wedding dresses for the first time and I only teared up a lot.
  • I started recycling.
  • I started eating healthier and working out.
  • I started a prayer journal in this super cool journal my boyfriend got me for Christmas.
  • I finished my first Bible journal – today actually (Here’s a throwback post: Bible Journaling).
  • I started a jar on January 1 where every time I finish a book I put the name of the book on a slip of paper (with my typewriter, of course) and put it in the jar. Then, at the end of the year I can look and see all the books I’ve read this year – I am so excited for this!
  • I learned that my mini golf skills have only improved on a small scale since I last played when I was 14 (at least I didn’t hit a lady with a golf ball this time).
  • I finished Jesus > Religion by Jefferson Bethke which is a seriously amazing book.
  • I learned not to despise small beginnings; you have to start somewhere.

 

January felt like it flew by, but looking back I can see a lot has happened in my life this month, I’ve seen God move in multiple areas of my life and it is such a blessing to reflect like this.  A lot of these things may seem like they were New Year’s resolutions, but actually none of them were.  They were things that happened because God placed them in my heart.  Other things are just really random things that happened that give you a glimpse of what my life is like.

So what to expect for February: I’m going to start weekly posts on Wednesdays (hint: this week’s post has me really wanting to watch Peter Pan) and I’m expecting God to do big things in my life.  Until next time, lovelies!

Photo Credit: Annie Spratt