Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas 2015


  What a wonderful Christmas it was this year celebrating the birth of our Savior Jesus! The past few Christmases I have intentionally avoided taking pictures to be more in the moment during the holiday, but this year I wanted pictures to remember it in future years.


  For dessert my mom made chocolate cupcakes, I made chocolate chip mint cookies, and my sister made no bake cookies only using sunbutter to replace peanut butter because of her allergy.



  It is tradition for my sister and I to get a new ornament every year, always signifying something important about the year. Above is my 2015 ornament. On the back my mom wrote "51 pages" because that is how many pages of my novel I wrote this semester for my independent study. I was so excited to not only meet my goal of 50 pages, but exceed it! My mom asked me how I was going to reward myself, and I didn't know how, especially in the middle of finals. But I think this ornament is perfect. 




  When I think back on this Christmas, it is in flashes. It is the chocolate chips I intentionally loaded into the cookie dough falling out as I try to scoop them onto the cookie sheet. It is Nana telling me about all of the writers on both sides of my family. It is listening to my dad read the story of Jesus' birth in Luke. It is being crowded in our small kitchen with my mom. It is hearing my sister squeal after opening the present I gave her. It is the uncertainty I feel about my future, but the hope I have all because a baby boy who was fully God and fully man came to earth to humble Himself and die.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

7 Things I Am Thankful For This Christmas


I know it's past Thanksgiving, but I often need to remind myself of all that I have to be thankful for, so here are seven reasons why I should be joyful during this holiday season.

 1. I am thankful that I am able to be home for Christmas with my family in my favorite state.

 2. I am thankful that I have people in Michigan that make it hard to leave.

 3. I am thankful for all of the cooking and baking that will take place during this week.

 4. I am thankful that this crazy semester is over and that my mind is now free to wander and daydream without being reminded of all the homework I have to do.

5. I am thankful for all of the opportunities God gave me over the last few months, including a wonderful internship and an independent study where I was able to write 51 pages of my novel.

 6. I can't honestly say yet that I am thankful for a certain hardship in my life that only seems to get worse whenever I think it is finally managable, but I am thankful for all that God is teaching me through that and that He is bringing me closer to Him.

 7. Most of all, I am thankful that Jesus humbled Himself and came to earth as a baby in order to die for our sins on the cross. I am thankful that it is not about me and what I have and don't have this Christmas, whether it is presents under the tree, my gpa, or that one thing in my life I desperetly want. It is all about Christ and his birth as a baby and his death and ressurection on the cross. 


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

When Dreams Die

Life isn't always wonderful.

Life isn't like a Disney movie where we know after a grand adventure the villain will be killed or banished and everyone will live happily ever after.

No matter what Cinderella says, our dreams will not come true just because we believe in them.

A dream of mine just died.

Actually, it has been dying. It was a slow, painful death that I only made worse by still holding onto it as it began to decay.

Eventually, I had to let it go.

First, I was mad at God. How could He let this dream die?

Then I was mad at Cinderella. How can you sweetly sing, "No matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing, the dreams that you wish will come true"?

Then I was mad with myself. How could I have let this dream become bigger than my love for my Savior?

Dreams die.

But at my lowest point after my internal tantrum was done, after I fully acknowledged the death of my dream, as I sat in my chair numb, all I could hear was the Holy Spirit whispering, "Come to me."


Have any of your dreams died?
How did God meet you in that situation?










Tuesday, November 3, 2015

When My Care is Spread Thin

 


This semester, I am a good busy. I have so much to do, but it is all good.


 British Literature.

 Exploring graphic novels for the first time.

 An amazing and educational internship.

 An independent study designed to help me write my novel.

 A last Gen-Ed class.

 Wonderful roommates.

 The book of Jeremiah to read. 

 Prayers to be lifted to God.

 An apartment to keep clean.

 A kitchen waiting for culinary discoveries.

 An amazing church family.

 My sister living on campus.

 My parents back home.

 Friends at school.

 Friends at home.

 Friends spread out through various states and colleges.

 A thesis project to begin.

 Tutoring at the Writing Center.

 For some, this would be a quiet life. But for me it is insanely busy to the point where sometimes I want to give up and drop off the face of the earth.

 I do not handle busy well. It's just who I am. But the hardest part is that I would rather do five things to the best of my ability than ten things poorly.

 My care is being spread thin, and I hate it.

 I hate skimming through books I honestly want to read but have no time for.

 I hate turning in a paper that I know could have been better.

 I hate hardly ever using my kitchen.

 I fear that I am losing frienships from not having the time to connect.

 Instead of doing a few things well it feels like I am doing a lot of things terribly. I have so many classes and people to love and devote my time to. It feels like trying to completely cover a slice of bread with a very small pat of butter- hopeless, discouraging, and spread thin. 

 Wouldn't it be better to get a smaller peice of bread or wait until there is more butter? How can this busyness be good?

 Though it seems bad, this busyness is good. It comes from God. Maybe it is not the gift that I wanted, but it builds my character, molding me more into His likeness.

When my care is spread thin...

 1. It forces me to rely more on God.
    
     God has taught me a lot in college, but one reoccuring lesson is that I cannot do life on my own. Even though I have more to do than I ever have before, I have to stop and spend time with God. Without that, I cannot function. In fact because of the chaos around me, I come to Him more than I would if I wasn't busy. Busyness shatters the allusion that I can do life on my own without God.

2. It makes me find joy in the busyness. 

     There are things in my life that I am discontent with right now. There are things that I want to happen that aren't. I have big life decisions to make when I graduate. But being busy helps me not to worry about the future or dwell on what is wrong. It forces me to live in the now as I go to each new task.

3. It humbles me.

      I made the goal this past summer to get awesome grades my senior year so as to raise my GPA. It will be like my last hurrah as I am not planning to go to graduate school. But I may be seeing more B's than I had originally hoped, and that is something I need to live with.

4. It prepares me.

      Maybe in the future I will be blessed with children. Motherhood is perhaps the most busy and demanding job in the world, and maybe this busy season in my life is preparing me for that on a small level. Or maybe I will be blessed with a wonderful but taxing job. No matter what the future holds, I am sure to have other busy seasons in my life, and I am learning how handle them now.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Senior




I used to get up at 6:50 am to register for classes.

The room would be dark except for the blue glow of my roommates and my laptop screens.

 Exactly at 7 am we would hit the "register" button, and the site would glitch from the mass of students all trying to register at the same time. We would try again and again, interludes of waiting and frantically clicking buttons and hoping there were still slots left in the classes we needed.

 And then the button would finally work, and we would crawl back into bed.

 This time, a senior, I forgot to register.

 I forgot the franticness of registration day. The blue light waking you enough that you won't be able to go back to sleep but not enough to motivate you to get up for the day.

 The one time I forgot, I pushed the button, and it went through immidietly. Like a a gift for the senior registering for the last time. Like the web site was sticking out its toungue at me.



I used to place every face to a class, to a project, to a dorm, to a specific reason their face was ingrained in my brain.

But now faces run together into a blurred crowd of people and classes and names and connections
that no longer seem important.

Is it because the culmination of four years of classes is taking its toll?

Or is the Senior me purposefully forgetting because I am slowly un-caring myself out of this school?



Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Confessions of a Writer



1. I have wept for my imaginary characters going through hard times.

2. I am sometimes jealous of people who can lead more normal lives and have a restful weekend without thinking about their novel waiting to be written, or have fun at a party without being inundated with a new story idea.

3. Sometimes I wish being a writer had an on and off switch so my brain wouldn't be constantly imagining made-up people's lives.

4. I judge books. Constantly. I judge their covers, their quality of writing, their character development, their plot, their readability, everything.

5. Sometimes I wonder if the smell of books is my addiction instead of coffee.

6. I silently correct people's grammar in my head. I never do it out-loud because that is obnoxious, but I can't help silently recognizing their mistake.

7. I have a love/hate relationship with tutoring writing. Some days I love it and want to help others feel the same wonder I experience when I write. Other days I want to lock the door and put a sign up saying "Go away, it's my turn to write!"

8. Except for clothes, the one inanimate object I covet the most is books. Even when I have a whole stack at home waiting to be read, I want more and more.

9. Sometimes I hate, loathe, detest, and dread writing.

10. But I have never doubted that writing is a huge way God wants me to share Himself and the Gospel. 





Tuesday, September 29, 2015

God's Abundance



Today, I am praising God for the blessings and opportunities He has given me this semester. 

 I am taking an independent study where I am essentially working on my novel and have direct access to a professor who's writing I admire and who has amazing experience.

 Then an internship just fell into my lap. A proofreading and social media internship with Ratio Christi, an apologetic campus ministry whose goal is to provide Biblical truth to the hard questions students come across in college.

 Normally it would be too late in the school year to get academic credit for the internship, but God was kind and because the system is changing there is a grace period and I am allowed to enroll late.

 My younger sister is a freshman at my school and I love having her near to talk to, hug, quote movie lines, and laugh with. 

 I have an amazing roommate that loves me and takes care of me, we share an apartment with two other wonderful girls, and I love the homeyness a living room and kitchen provide.

God has been so good to me. Not only because of all of these good things in my life, but because He is in my life and He is good.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Ludington Adventure!


This past weekend my friends who graduated were able to visit me at school for the weekend and we went to Ludington State Park. Here are some photos I took of our adventure.


We began by hiking some trails. These little guys were everywhere.






Plants growing on the foundation of an old building that was never completed.




Then we went to the beach. Do not be fooled; it is beautiful, but it was freezing that day.




Getting artsy.




My favorite part was walking along the beach of Lake Michigan. It was a glorious view, and I wish I could live there. All that was missing was a view of mountains.




My friend walking on the beach. Her poor shoes got so wet later.





Though Michigan doesn't have mountains, they have sand dunes. This was my first time exploring them, and it was so fun to climb some of them.




I love these girls. They lived next door to me freshman year, and I have been so thankful for their friendship throughout college.














Big Sable Point Lighthouse on Lake Michigan, and my new favorite place in Michigan.

Look at what God has created for us!

I am ready to go back.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

To The Guys Who Open Doors For Me



 To the guys who open doors for me,

 Thank you.

 It is appreciated.

 It is sweet.

 It makes me feel honored, cherished, and loved as a woman to see that the men in my life  are looking out for me in this way.

  But if you have been chided, yelled at, or glared at by other women you have opened doors for in the past, I just want you to know that I am sorry.

 I am sorry for the women who don't understand that you were sacrificially loving them, perhaps a stranger, by putting their needs before yours and letting them walk in ahead of you.

 In a marriage relationship, the man is supposed to be a picture of Christ sacrificially loving his bride the church. Husbands are to love their wives sacrificially as Christ laid down His life for us. Ephesians 5:25 says, "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her."

 I believe opening doors for women is just one simple way that young men can practice loving their future wives.

 I also believe that opening doors for women is a simple way for all men to show love and courtesy to all women.

 By opening doors for us, you are not telling us we are inferior. Instead you are saying that we are more important than you. You are putting our needs above your own like Jesus did on the cross. Like Jesus calls every man to do in some aspect.

 Some women want their husband's leadership for themselves. They don't want to be "inferior" or underneath the headship of their husbands. But they are forgetting that the best leaders lead sacrificially. That good leaders put those they are leading first. When the husband's' leadership role is described in that way, I am honestly glad to be a woman- among the first to be protected, the first in the life boats.

 Though I think it is true that some men unfortunately hold wrong and demeaning opinions of women and only see us as inferior objects, why should we assume that is every man's agenda?

 Yes we are capable of opening doors for ourselves.

 Of course we can be strong.

 But our guys need to be men and we need to let them be men.

So to the guy in my class who shared about the anger he received from a woman he opened the door for, I want to tell you to keep opening doors for us. Keep doing it even when some of us complain. I will be among those who will look you in the eye and genuinely thank you.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

What It Looks Like When I'm Leaving


This is what it looks like when I'm leaving.



 Luggage on the floor.


 Empty drawers.



 Piles of blankets on my bed.

 Chaos. Confusion.

 And inside I feel the same way. Excited to go back, sad to leave. Optimistic for all that may happen, fearful of all that won't.

 It's time to turn my bookshelves over to straighten them again.


 It's time to gather my special books that go everywhere with me.

 It's time to pack all of my things and lug it back to Michigan one last time. Or will my things stay there? Is this the last time I have to pack up my life like this? Will I live in Michigan after I graduate?

 I don't know. And it's hard not knowing.

 But it's mostly hard because I don't know what I want. I don't know what I want to happen. I don't know where I want be.

 Actually, I know what I want. I want both.

 I want both Michigan and Vermont. I want the mountains and the vast, open sky. I want family and my childhood friends, but also my new family and friends.

 But they can only coexist for one more year. One last year of college.

 So I pack.

 I wonder at the year ahead of me, the life I will have after graduation.

 As I squeeze clothes into every little space in my luggage, I pray for blessings, contentment, strength, and the wisdom to trust God no matter what does or doesn't happen this year, or wherever He takes me after graduation.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

An Open Letter to My Sister Starting College


  My dear sister,


   As you are about to start college, I wanted to share some thoughts and advice about roommates as someone who has lived through it for three years now. May you learn and not make the same mistakes I did.

 Don’t judge your roommates the first day. No one is themselves 
with all of the chaos, unpacking, and goodbyes. But know some of their weaknesses may be revealed. Though they may show it in different ways, they are as nervous as you. Be kind to them even if they are not kind to you. Communicate. Learn to be okay with silence. Learn how to break it. Learn how to meet their needs. Learn how to tell them yours. Don’t be the roommate that disappears. Don’t be the roommate that won’t leave the room. You may not become best friends. I know you want to, but you may not. But you will learn to love them. And for the first time you will realize what love is. It is loving them even when they don’t love you. It is treating them well even though they don’t treat you the way you want. It is putting them first. It is the way Christ loves us. And you will more fully understand His love and how undeserving you truly are. Your roommates will misunderstand you. They will comfort you when you are hurting. You may have fights. You may have tears. You will all need to forgive. Live the year with the mindset that all of this truly matters. Live the year like none of it matters. Because both are true. You are only a freshman once, and you may only get to love them this special way once. Because it is special. You are two or three strangers sharing one small room for a year. They may have better and closer friends, but you live with them, and love them and despise them in a way no one else at that time can understand. But if you zoom out and think of the tiny speck on the earth that you are, know you are not defined by your roommates. You are defined by God who looks at you, sees Christ, and has welcomed you into His arms.
   
  You may live with them again. You may not. No matter what, you will not forget them, whether you were best friends or enemies. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

3 Ways I Got Through Summer Classes

  

 129 credits for a Bachelor of Arts degree is hard to pack into a four year college degree. That is how I found myself taking two classes at my community college this summer. I was excited until I realized how quickly after finishing finals I would have to start all over again. While everyone was having fun at the beach I would be working on an assignment. And weekly quizzes. And long chapters of a geography text book that has a little too much science for my taste.

 But this is my last week, so to celebrate being almost done with my summer classes, here are some of the ways I got through my summer classes.

 1. I took one fun class.

   My fun class this summer is Intro to Photography. It helps to balance out my frustrating, boring, and I'll admit what sometimes feels pointless online geography class. Because in- between learning about climate, geographical terms, and biased lessons on religion, I can take a walk and shoot pictures of flowers.


2. Though I never want to do my homework, I have to admit it is keeping me more grounded.

   Summer is when I feel lazy. Even if I have a job and go on vacation and work on un-cluttering my room, it is a time when I try to rest. And that is good. But sometimes I can rest too much. Taking summer classes helps with that.


 3. I think about my classmates whose lives make it harder to take summer classes.

  My photography class mostly consists of older adults. Adults who have full time jobs and children. When I am tempted to complain, I think of them maybe coming straight from work to class, leaving their kids with their spouse or a babysitter, trying to do decide whether they should clean up from dinner, get some quality time with their spouse, go to bed early, or do their homework.


 Unlike them I don't have to worry about those things.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

un-love-ly


Redefining beauty through a photo assignment



Dead Roses: Roses are the epitome of beauty, yet they are quickly dead. I wanted to capture roses not in their glory, but in their fall when they are tossed into the garbage and forgotten forever. In taking this photo I realized that beauty can also be looking back on the loveliness of life.







Ruined Mascara: When I asked her to leave her make-up on while she took a shower, she only grudgingly obliged. While I took the picture she was uncomfortable, impatient, asking when I would be done. She didn’t like the pictures I showed her. Can she not see how lovely she is even with mascara dripping down her face?






Kitchen Sink: “Sorry the house is such a wreck,” I hear people say. “I’m sorry for the mess,” I tell my friends. While we should keep our houses neat and clean, why are we so quick to apologize for the clutter? Why are we so quick to judge the messes of ourselves and others? Life is messy. It is un-perfect like a dirty kitchen window.






Dandelion: No one likes them. They are weeds. They spread quickly. So I wanted to take a picture that portrays my love for them— the beauty of this weed, this forgotten flower that children wish upon.







Sun and Rain: In the movies, when someone dies it begins to rain, and at the funeral they are all in black with black umbrellas. But rain can be good, too. It waters the earth. It makes us grateful when the sun reappears. It allows me to take pictures of the rain drops glinting on the trees.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Why it is Hard to Write a Novel

 I am trying to write a novel. A novel that has been in my head for a couple of years now and in my heart for many more years.

 So why is it so hard?

 1) I am a person who gets distracted. As I type I remember that I am waiting for a specific email and check to see if it's there. I remember a book I am currently reading and read a chapter. I get bored of my current play list and end up searching for new music on Spotify. My writing is easily forgotten even with good intentions like trying to find music to put me in the right mood for a specific scene.

2) The word novel scares me. I have written short stories, all of which have been planned completely in my head as I write. I write, move things around, copy and paste, and I have a short story. But my novel is a mess in my head. I want a plan. I need an outline, a map to follow. Except I am not a planner when it comes to writing. For some reason I have either convinced myself that to write a good novel I need an outline, or my brain is exploding with too much information, themes, images, and characters.

3) I have other things to do. I long for the day that many published authors dream of: for my job to be a writer. But that day is not now. Sometimes my job as a student entails writing stories, but it is only a part of my homework. Even my job as a writing tutor is about helping others with their writing. Though it helps me become a better writer, it is not helping anything of mine get written.

4) I feel like I am alone in my novel writing. I don't mean I want another writing friend to come over and we sit down together drinking tea and cranking out a certain word count. We would just end up talking anyway. No, I mean support. My family has always believed in my writing. I have a lot of friends that are excited about my future novel and have been so sweet in asking me about it. I even have one special friend who begs for the next installment, who I can always talk things out with and ask her honest opinion. But she's in another state. My family is busy. Sometimes even though I know people care, I need them to look at me and ask, "How's that novel coming?" I need to ask people, "Would this be a natural reaction for this specific character?"

5) I am a perfectionist. When I write I want to sit on my bed, open the Word document, and start typing frantically. And I want those words flying out of my head to be perfect, beautiful, breathtaking, and meaningful. If none of those things happen, I get frustrated, I get annoyed with myself. And I stop writing, or in most cases, trying to write. And that ends any progress on my novel at least for that day and probably the next, and potentially a week, sending me into a small writer's block depression. To put it simply, I want to be the best and I am not.

 That is why writing is hard.

 It is art. It is thinking. It is trying to recall every writing lesson, tip, and technique I have ever been taught and incorporating them into every word while somehow trying to remember the big picture, or in my case, multiple big pictures. It is a lonely hobby and a dream profession. It represents all that I am as I incorporate the Gospel into every story, what I believe God wants me to do. It is hard work that seems unrewarding. It is a college major people think is wrong. It shows me my sins and reveals my faults while at the same showing me Jesus' faithfulness, grace, and mercy.

 It is writing. It is hard. But with God's help, I need to keep going despite the fact that I am only about one eighth of the way done with my novel.

 Because I can't imagine not writing.

 Because I can't imagine Heaven without writing- writing about my Savior.

 P.S. You can read more about my novel in progress here

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

2 Books That Have Changed My Life

 I have always loved reading, especially novels. It is how I discovered the joy I have when 

writing and why I am a creative writing major. Though just like any avid reader it it impossible 

to narrow  my list of favorite books to any number below twenty, there are a few that have 

changed me and I want to share them with you. Please note there may be some spoilers.


The Chosen by Chaim Potok

  If someone had a knife pressed to my throat and I was forced to name my most favorite book in the

entire world, it would be The Chosen, but it wasn't until a few months ago that I figured out why.


 I first read this book my freshman year of high school in my writing and literature class. The Chosen 

is about two Jewish boys living in New York during World War II. When Danny Suanders

accidentally sends a baseball flying into protagonist Rueven Malter's eye, they form a strong

friendship despite their different Jewish sects. Rueven is soon horrified at finding out that Danny's

father is bringing him up in silence. They never talk-- something that hurts Danny deeply, but he is at

peace with, and something Rueven finds hard to forgive.
 A few months ago I had to re-read The Chosen for a class assignment. For the third time I read this

book, and I realized what it meant to me and why it has affected me so much. I feel like I am Danny

and Reb Saunders feeling the pain of the world, grieving for all of the Jews murdered under Hitler.

God has given me a huge amount of empathy. Certain movies and books can leave me in a

depression. A crying friend's tears at the loss of a loved one leaves me in despair. A meeting filled

with tension makes me scared as I feel each person's anger, hurt, or confusion.

 This is the only book I have read that attempts to explain that kind of empathy. It helps me

recognize it as a gift from God and not a curse that people can't understand that makes me feel

miserable at times.

 This may not make sense to you. If so I am sorry. I am trying to convey to you what this book does

for me, and I fear I am failing miserably. But I think the things that mean the most to us are the

hardest to share or put into words, like trying to explain why I love the color blue.


Writing Magic:Creating Stories that Fly by Gail Carson Levine
  I can't remember when I found this book. Maybe it was middle school. Maybe I was a little older. I loved Gail Carson Levine's novels, so I was very excited to find a book she wrote about how to write, especially a book with such an amazing title.
 Though it is written for children, I would still recommend it to anyone who is serious about their writing. Levine weaves together writing lessons and tales from her own life all in a very simplistic and down to earth manner that anyone can understand all taken from her experience in teaching writing classes. She even provides writing classes at the end of each chapter.
 This is what I remember from her book many years later:
"Said is a magical word. Boring maybe, but magical nonetheless. It's magical because it disappears. It becomes invisible" (115). 
She went on to explain that using big, fancy verbs like "she exclaimed" or "he interjected" only distracts the reader
 Writing Magic helped me at an early age to recognize good writing as well as embrace my own writing style. I have never been a person with an impressive vocabulary, but I realized that was okay and even good. Not only did Gail Carson Levine encourage me as a beginning writer, but she has helped to make my writing what it is today, teaching a lesson about a magical word that I have never forgotten.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Reclaiming July




 Two months have passed. Two months of summer where I was supposed to take a few classes at my community college and have a full time job to pay for those classes and start paying for my fall tuition. Instead, after about 10 job applications, I am just a part time student who is self employed full time as the world's most prominent worrier.

 Before I left school, I told my friend, "I wish I didn't have to work this summer so I could just write my novel."

 Summer is half over over. I have no job and am running out of places to send my resume. I am afraid there will be no money for last year at college. I am ashamed that I spend my days at home- busy, but home. I hate these feelings of restlessness.

 When I finally came to God with this burden confessing my fear of not making money and my shame at feeling like a failure, it was liked He laughed and said, "Well write." Can God be teaching me to trust Him with my lack of money? Can He be telling me to write as I trust and wait?

 This is the second hard thing that has happened where God's answer to me seems to be writing my novel. Last semester desires surfaced and I begged God for answers. All He said was, I am enough and write. Now, as I try to navigate the shame and fear my unemployment brings, He seems to be saying, Trust me and write. 

 It seems like God has given me a summer to write. Though unfortunately half of the summer I have spent only on homework for classes and worrying about finding a job.

 So with His help, I am hoping to reclaim July. In-between the geography quizzes and photo assignments, I need to be writing my novel.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

When God Told Me I was Happy


"Why didn't you tell me I was happy?"

 One of my more modern favorite TV shows is Monk. If you have never seen it, Adrian Monk is a former police detective who lost his badge due to his grief over his wife's' murder combined with his extreme case of OCD and many phobias. He then becomes a private detective that works for the police with two goals in life: to get reinstated and solve the case of his wife's murder.

 In the episode that I recently watched, Monk gets reinstated. He is the happiest man in the world going to his office and pulling out his old uniform because he finally got what he wanted. Except it's different. There is new technology. He has to work on a team. He has to do the annoying jobs instead of only picking the cases he wants. At one point in the episode Monk is sitting in his therapists' office complaining about he wishes his life could go back to what it was before he was reinstated. And he turns to his therapist and says, "Why didn't you tell me I was happy?"

love(: "you were my new dream.." ♥
 I have strange fears. One is the fear that I will never have what I truly long for--the secret wishes I make in the dark. Another is that I will someday have all that I have ever desired. I am afraid it will not be all that I imagined it to be. I am afraid that like Monk I will achieve my dream and only long for what I had. I am afraid, like Rapunzel, that my dream will not be what I longed for.

 God, why didn't You tell me I was happy? 

 I did.

 When?

 When I chose you before the foundation of the world. When I formed you in your mother's womb. When I sent my son to die for you. When you asked me to come into your heart. When your sister was born. When you realized I wanted you to share my gospel through your writing. When your parents told you officially you could go away to school. When you realized all alone in Michigan on a strange campus that I was all you had. When you read in my Word about the joy and happiness I bring. Every day that has passed that I have stayed by your side.

 Since when did my happiness become something I have to feel to know it is real?

 Since when did things have to be going my way for me to be happy?

 Someday God will give me all that I desire. All I desire is Him, and He is with me now and will be with me fully when I die and go to heaven. So unlike Rapunzel I don't need a new dream. And unlike Monk I don't have to wish my life was the way it had been before.

 My Savior and my God is my old and new dream. He is my happiness even when I don't feel happy. He died to bring me joy when I don't feel the joy of Him.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Distracted by Creativity


                                                                                


 Job applications need my attention. 
 I have homework due tonight.
 But shatters of a poem flash into my head.

My sister and I are cooking dinner..
A thank you note needs to be written.
But the discovery of new music distracts. 

Thousands of words, colors,
Swirling, demanding my focus,
Commanding my thoughts.

God wants me to be productive.
God wants me to delight.
To be Mary or Martha is a choice I often make.

But I think He will allow a stolen moment
to focus my camera lens on a flower,
to scribble flashes of a poem,

to marvel at my reflection and see Him
chasing the butterflies He made,
creating unique and complex personalities.

This distraction permeates my soul.
It is how He helps me 
be distracted by Him.





Friday, June 5, 2015

Announcing "An Abundant Singleness"


 A while ago I shared how I felt like God was calling me to start a blog about singleness. Well, I am excited to announce my new blog An Abundant Singleness! This blog has been on my heart for a long time, and I am thankful that God has brought me to the place where it has become a reality.


 When I was first debating the thought of doing this and praying about it, the one thought that kept coming into my head was, "What if I get a boyfriend?" Stupid, of course, since there is no guy in my life, but that possibility is always in the back of my mind. "If a guy suddenly entered my life how could I have a blog about singleness?" My solution was that if it miraculously happened I could always drop the blog as he would be more important.

 But then I realized how much that revealed my soul. I was so quick to push aside the blog, something I think God is clearly telling me to do, for something I only desire that is clearly not on God's agenda right now.

 And then my next thought was "Snap, now I have to do this." This is something God has made clear in my life and so I must act upon it despite my fear, despite my desire to not be in this situation.

 So please check out An Abundant Singleness and feel free to share any ideas you have with me. I hope you find it encouraging.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Waiting

Clock, Time, Minutes, Hours, Ageing

 Today, my sister and I are waiting.

 Waiting to hear if we got the jobs we applied for.

 Me: a full time position at a home daycare filled with sweet kids I already love, who I already know will be a handful :)

 Grace: a part time job working at our local drug store

 Both jobs seem perfect for us. I love working with kids, investing in their lives, and like the informal job setting. Grace wants to get out of the house, to do something, to meet new people.

 But we have to wait.

 Me: While I wait I pray; I imagine getting the job and feeling the excitement, the relief; I imagine being rejected, not being chosen, beginning the job search again. I explore every emotion so that tomorrow there will be no surprises.

Grace: "We need these jobs," she says. "What do we do if we don't get them?"
            "Work at the hotel" I joke. "Housekeeping."
            "It's better than nothing. We could sing as we clean the rooms!"
             And then she is on to her next thing, her next drawing, the fun night she has planned with friends.

 The numbers are worse for her. Only two other girls want my job while many people want hers.

 But God can do amazing things. I trust His will will be done whether we find it favorable or not. He is always faithful.
           

Thursday, May 14, 2015

God's Sovereignty in the Mundane

 Everyday Life, Washing Dishes, Cup




 I want to be a woman who goes through the mundane things of this life with grace and thanksgiving. I want to be a woman who sings as she washes dishes, laughs when children make sticky messes, and is still kind to others while struggling to find a job.

 I want to be a woman who trusts and believes in the sovereignty of God through pain, joy, and everyday life. Because at least for me right now, every day life is the hardest part.

 When my grandfather died last October I was devastated. But I knew how to cry, how to grieve, how to share with others, how to ask for help and prayer, how to cry out to God.

 When I was offered an exciting academic opportunity for next semester I knew how to celebrate, how to lay on my bed incredulous, how to thank God, how to share my joy with friends.

 Now, as I navigate my summer as a 21 year old that feels 16 again as I live in the house that has been my home since the age of five, as I am treated like a visitor in my home church, as I try to find a job that is at least somewhat related to my creative writing major, as I begin classes after just finishing them, as friends leave for far and exciting places and leave me behind, I don't know what to do. I feel more lost in the mediocre.

 However, God's sovereignty has not collapsed just because I am dealing with seemingly mundane things. He is with me in my pain, my joy, and everyday life. Why should I treat job searching and washing dishes any differently than a death in the family or an exciting adventure? Through it all, God is with me and has an amazing plan for me even if it is working at a seemingly meaningless job and taking a geography class during the summer.

 I need to glorify God through death, joyful opportunities, and loads of dirty dishes, because in the end, when I stand before my maker, the circumstances will not matter. Only my response will.

 So I pray I will dance with the broom, study hard for summer exams, and focus on glorifying God in whatever way he chooses to bless me with money.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Beginning of Summer




 It is now summer. That glorious time of year where I can take walks outside again and lay in the grass listening to the trees and the birds. When I am reunited with my family.

 Yesterday, my sister had to finish a painting for her water colors class, and we both painted on the back deck. It was wonderful to feel the heat of the sun and spend time with my sister who I haven't seen in three months.

 Yet at least for me, it is so easy to be lazy during the summer. I just finished a crazy week of finals, packed my entire life, and said goodbye to my school, friends, church, and Michigan. I got up at 3:30 am to catch a plane. I am now fighting a cold. And for the first time in three months I am sleeping well. So I wish I could just take a break.

 A break is good. But I have so much to do.

 To Do Summer 2015

1. Get a job
2. Write 20-35 pages of my novel
3. Paint
4. Take Intro to Photography and World Geography at my community college
5. Jog
6. Read all of the books on my summer reading list
7. Hike Camel's Hump with Dad
8. Start my singleness blog

Will you pray with me that my summer will be relaxing, productive, and glorifying to God?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Frightening Truth

Sunset, Alone, Thinking, Woman, Girl



 I had an idea the other day.

 No, let me rephrase that. I had a reoccurring thought, but for the first time it made sense in my head, and for the first time I realized that I could follow it and should follow it.

 But I am scared.

 This idea is a website, a blog, for single Christian girls. A community where we could encourage each other, a tangible reminder that we are not alone, a place to share the truth of the gospel within the context of the situation we find ourselves in. Really, what I have been searching for and imagine others like me are searching for, too.

 But I am scared.

 Scared because I do not seem equipped for this. Scared that it will not actually reach my sisters in Christ. Scared to admit my deepest desire. But mostly scared because I find myself single. Still. When I wanted to be very not single in a Christian culture that celebrates marriage, living on a campus where many are married before they graduate. So not only am I single, but I have believed the lies that because marriage does not even seem like a possibility after graduation, I am a failure and it is too late for me to ever be married.

And now I am considering proclaiming it to the world.

 But I must share the truth with others and myself.

 I am 21 years old. I am single.I am a failure, but not because no man has ever liked me enough to pursue me. Rather, I am a failure because I am a sinner. But I have a Savior who loves me so much that He died for me, and through Him I can claim to be a child of God- the exact opposite of failure. I trust in a God that only has what is best for me. So I am a 21 year old single who is reaching out to other singles. And I will not lose hope because only God knows what my future is, and even if it never involves marriage, I will someday spend eternity with God in heaven- my GREATEST desire.

 So what are your thoughts? Would you be interested in a blog devoted to living the single, Christian life? What would benefit you as you navigate this journey called singleness?

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Liebster Award and Interesting Answers to Questions

 Thanks to Kelpie from Created by the Created for nominating me for the Liebster Award! Hope you enjoy learning more about me.
 And sorry for the weird formatting, white space, and highlighting. There is some problem with their system that I can't figure out.


The rules:
1. Link back to the blogger that nominated you
2. Answer the 11 new questions
3. Nominate other bloggers (however many or few as you'd like)
4. Create 11 new questions
5. Notify the new nominees of their award


1. What is your favorite (non Biblical) quote?


.
via Pinterest


2. What is your favorite topography? (i.e. dessert, mountains, prairie, etc.)

 I cannot pick one. So my top three are the mountains, the ocean, and a New England woods.

3. If you could move to another country where would you go?

 Ireland.

4. What is #1 on your “bucket list”?

 Write and publish a novel. And I now have about 25 pages! :)

5. What do you believe is the most important quality in a friend?

  A while ago I would have said the most important quality in a friend (besides a love for the gospel) is a certain indescribable connection that draws the two of you together.
 But now I would say loyalty and commitment are more important.


6. How do you spend the majority of your time (may include sleeping!)?

 School! Which happens to be all reading and writing this semester. Wahoo!




me!
Via Pinterest
7. If you could have named yourself, what name would you have chosen? Why?

 When I was younger I wished my name was Kathleen because it was a beautiful and unique Irish name. Now I am perfectly happy with my name, but just wish that the rest of the world would stop naming their children Allison and Allie after me. :)

8. What is something about you that would surprise most people?

 I love talking to people and sharing my soul. And I could probably talk for a long time. But most people never get to know me well enough to discover that.

9. What is something you dislike but everyone else loves?

  Socks. I hate them. My feet feel trapped when I wear them, and I hate it when it gets so cold that I have to wear them. I want my feet to be free!


10. What is your dream pet? Or would you rather not own an animal?

 How can you choose just one? My dream pets are a fawn, a black bear cub, a horse, a kitten, a wolf pup, and a prairie dog. And the list could go on.

Deer cute animals adorable deer animal pictures
Via Pinterest

11. What inspired you to start blogging?

 I started blogging to force myself to write on a more regular basis and to share my words with others.

 So I now nominate:

        Grace from  Grace Unmeasured
        Jennifer from Midnight Moons


My Questions for them:

  1. What colors are you wearing right now?
  2. What are you most looking forward to this summer?
  3. Would you rather be an amazing painter, singer, or dancer and why?
  4. Finish this sentence: When I am outside and admiring the ____ God has made, I feel _____.
  5. What is one of your greatest desires?
  6. What is one quality or fruit of the spirit that God has blessed you with?
  7. What book has inspired you the most?
  8. What is your dream job?
  9. What person from the Bible do you identify with most?
  10. Which Jane Austen gentleman would you choose to marry and why?
  11. Why do you write?