Tuesday, May 22, 2018

New Favorite Things // May 2018

 I once read about a "Favorite Things" party in a magazine. Every year around the holidays several women got together to celebrate. It was always before or after the Thanksgiving and Christmas rush since none of them had time nor could they gather when they had family obligations. But they set aside a specific time each year to celebrate the season with each other and share a new favorite thing.

 It could be a book they discovered and loved. It could be a recipe. It could be a new lotion or product that revolutionized life. Whatever it was, they would buy one for each friend, sharing the story of why it became a favorite thing.

 So until I have my own place and can host a "Favorite Things" party of my own, here are some of my new favorite things.

ESV Scripture Journals
 My mom made this discovery. You've heard of Journaling Bibles, and this is the same thing, only individual books of the Bible. It is a slim and somewhat small book with the verses on the left page and a blank page with light lines on the right. You can buy the whole New Testament (hopefully the Old Testament will be out soon) or one book of the Bible. 

 My church just started the book of John, so that is the one I got. I've been doing a combination of sermon notes, personal reflections, and drawings and it has been fun and helpful for really getting into John. For the next book I may just use my ESV Scripture Journal for personal reflections and prayers and see if I like it better. 

David's Tea
 A new store opened in my area, and it's a loose leaf tea store out of Canada called David's Tea! They have an entire wall of canisters with tea and more flavors than I imagined. I have to admit I am hooked. Their tea is stronger and richer in flavor. Plus they have the coolest names for their teas, like Cold 911. 

What's the Point of Art?
 Since getting an i-phone, I have been enjoying the new world of podcasts. So when I stumbled upon What's The Point of Art from The Gospel Coalition, I listened to it the next day on my way to work. I love how God works, because over these last few months I have been wrestling with my writing and the gospel and how they connect on a functional level. How do I write good literature without being preachy since I am writing stories and not sermons? But how can I not put the gospel into my writing since the gospel is the most important thing in my life and the entire world? What is the balance

 I concluded that I was overthinking things as usual. But the question was still there. And then I listened to this podcast. I am still unclear as to how the gospel will appear in my writing specifically. But this podcast was so helpful to me. And I think that other artists would love it, too. It is about creating art and not just for writers. So I encourage artists and art enthusiasts alike to listen. Though on the longer side, Jackie Hill Perry is hilarious, and it seemed short to me. I need to listen to it again!

Newly Discovered Music
 These are the songs I've been playing on repeat, lately.

 On Jordan's Stormy Banks by Peter Bradley

 St. Clarity - Mahogany Sessions by The Paper Kites

 Fall Away by Jackie Hill Perry

 Delicate by Taylor Swift

 Super excited and nerding out on this cool Korean website that sell notebooks, journals, stickers, and other office type supplies. Maybe it is the type of stuff they sell. Maybe it's the Asian designs and vibes. Maybe it's the specific and detailed sticky notes (I just got cherry blossoms!!) Whatever it is, I love it! I'm not one to spend money easily, but I was literally squealing as I viewed every page. So check out mochithings

 What are some of your new favorite things?

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

An Open Letter to My Sister Graduating from College

When you started college, I had lots of advice. From roommates to homework to living away from home for the first time, I knew what you would struggle with and I knew what I wanted to share with you.

Now you are graduating. I know many of the struggles coming your way. But if I'm honest, I have little advice to give since they are still the same struggles that I am currently battling.

 So I write to you as an older sister who has started this journey a few years ahead of you, but who is still learning. And this is what I want to tell you about post graduate life.  

 1. People will tell you how you should live your life. 

 People love to share their opinions, particularly, I have found, when it comes to where you should live. Some will tell you to live with your parents because it is financially smart. Others will tell you not to live with your parents because if you do you will not be a true adult. And still others will tell you everything in-between. 

 Some will be people who love you and have wise things to say.  Most, I have found, will be people who will share their opinions whether you want to hear or not. Do me a favor and ignore that second group. They don't always know you and what you need. They don't know our family and what is best for us. So long as you have a job and are doing what you and our parents feel is right, do what you want and not what they think you should do.

 Even taking into consideration the words of wise people who love you, the decision is yours and your alone. So make your choice with no guilt. 

2. Be Flexible. 

If I have learned one thing about life after college, it is its' unpredictability. I told myself that this was when life was really going to happen, and I was right, but not in the ways that I expected or hoped. I didn't get married. I didn't get a job in my field. I didn't even stay in the area I wanted. I think in high school and college our life is settled in most ways. Yes, a lot is up in the air, but we know we're going to wake up in the morning and go to class and in the summers work and go to the beach. But after graduation, there is nothing quite so "fixed" in that way. There are endless possibilities- jobs, more school, travel, internships, locations- and there are endless possibilities within those categories. And it is all before us and all up to us. With so many possibilities, flexibility is required. 

3. The path is not always clear.

 For some it is, and I envy them. But for me, I feel like I have been walking through fog since my college graduation. I can only see what is directly under my feet. 

 Thankfully Jesus is my lighthouse, the light forever glowing and leading me toward Him. Thankfully He is yours, too. 

4. Have fun in this season of your life.

   I don't need to tell you to have fun, the girl who will always have fun and will make fun for everyone else. Just don't forget its importance when life gets hard. Every different season of my life has had its difficulties. But I always miss some parts of them. Don't forget to have fun in the unique parts of this season.

 And it is a part of joy and contentment. It is a part of being thankful for what God has given us and choosing to be joyful in those blessings despite the turmoil and despite everything wrong. 

 So take time to do something crazy that will make you laugh.

5. You can't do this.

 There is debate about when a person truly becomes an adult. No matter when it really happens, you are one now. 

 And you can't do it.

 I can't do it.

 At the end of the day, when we have bills to pay, an endless amount of student loans, a pile of no's from our dream employers, and an empty fridge, we can't do this.

 Luckily, we have a savior who can.

 Remember that with me as we try to figure out our lives and fail miserably. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

He Goes Before Me

"Then I {Moses} said to you, 'Do not be in dread 
or afraid of them. The Lord your God who goes 
before you will himself fight for you, just as he did for 
you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness, 
where you have seen how the Lord your God carried 
you, as a man carries his son, all the way that you 
went until you came to this place.'"
Deuteronomy 1:29-30, ESV

 If God went before Israel and marked their way and prepared for them a place and made it clear what direction they should go, how much more so will God do that for me when I have Him- the Holy Spirit- dwelling inside of me?

 I need not fear my uncertain future; it is certain to God.

 I need not worry about what decision to make; God will make it clear to me in His time.

 I need not live my life without hope; God has prepared a permanent place for me in heaven no matter what He will or will not do for me in this life. 

 For what He did for Israel He has done for me ten thousand fold by sending Christ to take away all fear, all uncertainty, and to die for me to secure my place with Him in heaven forever.  

Lord, help me trust in You, not only with my written words but with my heart and my feelings and my actions. Help me to live the way I should when my future is certain to You, when You will lead me in Your timing, and when You have prepared a place for me by your side in heaven. Help me see You as the ultimate joy and let that joy be unshakable. Help me not so easily forget, like Israel, all that You have done for me.