I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately. For me, the best part of being on Spring Break is all the time I have available to read and write. It’s introverted bliss. These are all great articles I read online so just click the title and it will lead you to the site. If you read something awesome lately, comment on the side and I’ll check it out!
I love reading various articles written from different angles about this topic of guarding your heart. Proverbs 4: 23 says”Above all else guard your heart for everything you do flows from it.” What does this verse mean? How are we supposed to apply it to our lives? Harmening broaches the top well and she has many valid points.
If you’re a student like me, this is for you. Phil reminded me that God is going to use me no matter how “ordinary” I am. He’s going to use you too. Jesus’ twelve disciples were about as ordinary they go and they all went on to do extraordinary things.
Four hugs a day. At least. Are you meeting your daily hug quota? Maybe those free hug signs aren’t such a silly idea after all. For a person whose love language definitely isn’t touch, I found this article quite intriguing.
The fact that this is an actual thing just makes me happy. Amtrak is actually sending people on train trips for one purpose: to write. I’ve ridden the train numerous times. My longest trip was from Edmonds, Washington to Union Station in Chicago, Illinois. It was quite the adventure and one I probably took advantage of.
Thirsty. 768 million people are thirsty. Oh, so thirsty.
The UNICEF Tap Project is trying to provide assistance to those staggering numbers. All you need to do is put down your phone. It’s that easy. (Or is it?) For every ten minutes you don’t use or touch your phone, national sponsors partnering with UNICEF will give a day’s worth of clean water to one of those 768 million people.
This challenge was just too good not to share.
Some ideas for those of you who “must” use your phones during the day:
1. Do the challenge while you sleep. At some point in the day, your phone has to be put down.
2. Be strategic. Plan a block of time to answer your e-mails, update your FB status, post your Instagram pictures etc. You can start and stop, BUT, if you do, be sure jot down the number of hours/minutes you stopped at.
DO something with all the time you would’ve spent on your phone.
Contrary to popular belief, I have my moments where the I in my ISFJ-ness is imminent. But, this post isn’t about Meyers-Briggs test results. It’s about holding better conversations.
I kinda sorta really believe that social media is a horrible excuse for etiquette…just saying.
Two signs of passivity:
1. Inserting “just saying” at the end of a sentence. Sometimes, we say things, but we don’t have the courage to be confident in what we say so somehow we think the phrase makes everything better.
2. Ellipses. I’m surprised at how many people don’t know this term so I suppose I should explain. And ellipses is three periods in a row. In a text have you ever had a lapse in the conversation where someone responds to something you’ve written says, well texts,something like this: “OK…..” or “Oh….” or “yeah…” and then the conversation just sort of ends there? And you feel kinda bad about yourself? Maybe it’s just me, but I kinda start to freak and out and typically assume I’ve said something to hurt his or her feelings? Either that or I feel frustrated because they are hinting that they have something to say but aren’t saying it.
3. “Don’t hate me cuz I’m beautiful.” Still trying to figure this one out.
Not clarifying comes in the form of:
1. Awkward silences.
2. Not addressing the awkwardness.
3. Not signaling the end of a conversation, once again it’s easy to not do over social media, but it’s still courteous. Especially over Facebook and texting.
4. Not following up. I see this a lot in friendships and deeper relationships. This is different from not signaling the end. “How?” You ask? You completely end the conversation without discussing when you’re going to talk again. Or you end by saying something such as “we should hang out soon.” This in and of itself is not bad, but it’s important to act upon these words.
Talk to me! What are your thoughts on conversing? What are some issues you see that I didn’t touch on How do you think we could improve our conversations?
I was trying to remind myself of what love is exactly. Because let’s face it. As Christians, we should see love differently than the way the world sees it. Naturally, out of habit, I turned to 1st Corinthians 13.
I started thinking (surprise!)
Jesus is love. If Jesus is love, we can learn how to love by looking at Jesus’s life–as well as his followers.
Love is not sex. Love is not an emotion. Love is not having a boyfriend. Love is not being married. Love is joy in Christ.
Love is unconditional. Love loves when we aren’t feeling loved.
I strongly believe that we underestimate the power of our own abilities. And God’s. At least not the full extent of it.
“For where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them.”
For whatever reason, when we hear of any major crisis. We feel numb and helpless. Helplessness doesn’t move a person to action. I want to challenge you to do what you can with what you have. If you live in America, you’re rich. Now, I’m not one to use statistics for the purpose of burdening you with guilt. So I’m not going to go there. Just know that you’re richer than most of the world. So if you just found out you didn’t receive the pay raise, let it go, and have faith that your needs will be provided for. Guilt does not move a person to action either. Guilt cries out,” You filthy, rich, spoiled brat. You should be ashamed of yourself.” I’ve been down that road. It took me nowhere.
I believe that every individual whether you’re a “broke college student” or a person making six figures every year, you’d be surprised with how any amount has the potential to contribute to life saving relief and relational efforts. From the time I was in elementary school, I always gave each of my teachers a small Christmas present. I continued it on all the way through High School. I believe I was a sophomore in High School, when I stopped competing with other classmates on who would buy Mrs. Clark the biggest chocolate bar. My mom had the brilliant idea of giving five chickens through Samaritan’s Purse in my teachers’ names. In our American minds this sounds rather lame. Because my teachers’ didn’t get anything out of it. However, I found that each year, they were rather touched. They felt they were part of something bigger. When we give, or partake in an effort that on the outside bigger then ourselves, something inside of us comes alive. It’s the flicker of compassion in our hearts sparking to a bright flame.
So where am I going with all of this?
In case you were unaware, and I hope this is not the case, on October 15th of this year, a devastating 7. 1 earthquake devastated the Philippines. It was heart breaking and tragic. BUT, it brought people together, to fight something that appears to be so much bigger than themselves. This week, a category-five super-typhoon, struck the Philippines. It is currently the worst hurricane ever recorded in recent history (and possibly ever). Keep in mind that the earthquake already displaced almost 300,000 residents all across the country.
You have the power to give back, and fight something, bigger and stronger. Donate to Help Bohol as they partner with Montana on a Mission. Damage from the earthquake has already been assessed. Funds are being adequately distributed.
Keep in mind that finances aren’t the only way to support a cause. You can share this link without having to give yourself. Serving comes in the form of time, talent, and treasure. Which will you choose?
“You may choose to look the other way but you can never again say you did not know.”
I’ve broken my reputation. I drank tea. Not for the first time, but for the first time in a long while. This is a big deal. I love coffee and hot chocolate. Even better, caffeinated hot chocolate. Simple. Hot coco mix+sugar-free creamer= a dose of heaven in a mug. But lemme tell you, there is nothing more disappointing than drinking a cup of Joe and then finding out it is decaf. That is not coffee. Tonight, I decided to try something new. I drank decaf, Wild Sweet Orange Tazo tea. Let me tell you, it was delicious and invigorating. You know you your mom is an R.D when she says, “If you’re still tired and have stuff to do tonight, maybe you should take a short walk, drink some hot tea, and get comfy in your sweats.” Even without the caffeine. It was still good. Now, I’m not saying tea is my new favorite thing, I’m saying that regular coffee isn’t going to do you any good late in the evening. I’m not quite ready to change Coffee Shop Talk to Tea Room Chit Chat. My friends, I think I have found my healthy alternative. I’m declaring myself no longer coffee dependent.
While I’m on the subject of new things, in celebration of finishing our first Spanish 122 chapter test of the quarter, my friend and I celebrated-quite naturally with Mexican food. Here’s the deal, they didn’t have enchiladas or taco salad on the menu. These are my usual go-to Mexican dishes. Therefore, I was forced to try something new. Flour flautas. Yes they were amazing. My friends, if you ever find yourself driving up 196th towards Edmonds, I must exhort you to stop and check out Taqueria La Raza. I’m talking homemade salsa and guacamole. I was also pleasantly surprised that my food wasn’t greasy. This ain’t your average Taco Bell. It’s reasonably priced and college students get discounts on burritos and quesadillas. You should be salivating right now. I’d recommend making a microwave quesadilla and helping yourself to some Costco tortilla chips and salsa. I do it practically every night. Except for tonight. Because I broke my reputation and whetted my appetite with tea and my mother’s delicious pumpkin-spice-cake-butterscotch chip muffins.
I love fall. I love the vibrant colors of leaves changing. The falling of the leaves represent room for new beginnings. The smell of wood smoke in the air. I could have sworn I smelled Snickerdoodle cookies in the air when I went for a stroll to take a break from studying. It signals the beginning of a new quarter/semester, new classes, new friends, new foods, and a new exercise plan to keep from gaining the freshman fifteen. JUST KIDDING.
Have you tried anything new lately?
P.S The recipe for the muffins consist of only three ingredients: 1) Canned pumpkin 2) Spice Cake Mix 3) Optional Butterscotch chips. Yes, something this good can be that simple.
I can’t sleep tonight. My heart is aching. Breaking. Tonight my heart is with my brothers and sisters in the Philippines and those I know who have served there. Last night their world literally crumbled beneath their feet when a 7.2 earthquake hit Bohol and Cebu.
When I hear of news like this, I feel helpless. Simply because I cannot be there in physical form. But God sent His son, SO THAT we could intervene. He wants us to come to Jesus with our prayers and concerns. For we cannot handle these trials on our own. My lack of faith astounding. For God tells me if it were just as large as a mustard seed I could move mountains!
God is changing me. Humbling me. Reminding me how blessed I am to have a roof over my head and four walls enclosing me. Everyday when I cone home from being educated at school I am welcomed with parents and brothers and sisters who love me. I have never known starvation or poverty. I’ve seen these things with my own eyes, but it is hard for someone so blessed with material items to follow the narrow path. I have so much to lose by following Jesus. But if I really give Jesus my all, I make an eternal investment. I previously did not take this passage in the Bible very seriously. Then I started thinking. Just because I’ve given him my life doesn’t necessarily mean I’ve given him my all.
I have a powerful God who loves and protects me. Always. Even when I stumble and sin against him. I am reminded and grateful for all these things as all around the world many are struggling. Significantly.
But God is constant. He is the anchor to which I cling to and the one I must trust.
For we have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf.
Lord, heal those who are broken, strengthen the weak, and call those of us who are able to you. Thank-you for loving us always. Thank-you for being the only One we can always count on; through every storm, up every mountain and down every valley.
Meet Kay. Kay turned 86 in May. For over twenty years, Kay has been serving the homeless men and women of Downtown Seattle. Mission: serve the soul, not just the stomach.
Kay’s ministry is titled The Lord’s Table. The location is at 6th and Columbia, directly underneath the freeway. On the second Thursday of every month, my church: Northshore Baptist Church in Kirkland serves with Kay. Our branch of the ministry is called Isaiah 58. Sixth and Columbia is home to many big hearts of the people who flock from the Union Gospel Mission, Pioneer Square, and all (literal) corners of Seattle for a warm meal of hearty Spanish rice.
In sixth grade, my friend and I were both looking for a ministry to become involved in. We stumbled upon Isaiah 58 after asking our youth pastor’s where we could serve locally. We’ve missed a few months here and there, but we both agree that it seems just yesterday, Kay was 80. I suppose it’s because her stamina and passion hasn’t wavered from year to year.
Kay thrives off of this verse:
Isaiah 58: 6-7
Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.
A cup of coffee is capable of going a long way. Or tea. Or water. Or Kool Aid. Jesus constantly reminds us that the issue isn’t a matter of liquids. It’s a matter of the heart. The Lord of the universe can dwell in your heart if you allow Him to. He is the only free gift on earth that you don’t need to work towards. There is no checklist to acceptance.
Seattle wants Jesus. They crave Him. They flock to 6th and Columbia because Jesus is evident in Kay. She treats them like her equal. She doesn’t turn anyone away. She knows many patrons by name. More importantly, she bleeds the gospel.
Over the years I’ve encountered many fun characters. Seattle is a colorful place. I remember the man who could pop both eyes out of his sockets, the woman who asked me if I could give her pet mouse, Phoebe, a chocolate cookie. The regular who walked through our line and always asked for “Bill’s Famous Tea.” I remember gazing up through a space in the freeway where the two lanes came apart and feeling as if I were in the movie The Dark Night. I remember when in junior high, Brianna and I collected donations from the youth group to buy Christmas gifts. I remember the British security guard with an Australian accent. Did I mention he dressed in a way that made him look as if he were the captain of a fine vessel? We’ve seen some interesting characters walk through those food lines.
I tease Brianna endlessly for passing out too many desserts. To say Kay is frugal would be an understatement. “Just ONE cookie Brianna” and “Oh those will last until Monday,” is common phraseology around her. Her influence (among others) has made me think twice about waste. I’ve poured perfectly filtered drinking water down the drain with my only pretense being that it had been sitting out too long. Thrown away food because I’m too full. Ditched socks because of one hole in one toe. Once monthly, for almost seven years I’ve served with Brianna. Last month I served with her ONE. LAST. TIME. (Indefinitely).
New volunteers have made their appearances! Over the years as the youth has been a part of this great opportunity and we’ve begun spreading the word through social media, a large variety of people show up each month. It’s always exciting to see volunteers come and go. But to see those who stay? Ahhhh, now that is quite a joy to see.
While Kay may never be replaced, the organization is looking for a new leader to take over all responsibility. The vocation has become an immense responsibility for just one person. We trust in God’s provision. Always.
I’ve been trying to think of the perfect gift for my mother. I am quite aware I missed the Mother’s Day boat. Every Mother’s day I wonder, how any gift could ever match up to anything my mom has lovingly sacrificed for me? Well, that would be one hard gift to find.This is not to say you shouldn’t give your mom something for Mother’s Day. Rather, just remember that mothers are something to be celebrated every single day! They’re not babysitters who go home after their hours are completed–lucky you!
It is crazy to think that in just a few crazy weeks, I’ll be graduated from High School with 30 college credits. I’m convinced I couldn’t have made it through without my mother. I bore the near impossible task of writing 100 words about both my parents in a tribute for graduation day. I could write a thousand about them both. I know I’m going to bawl my eyes out. Waterproof mascara is still on my graduation day shopping list.
My mom has been there for the roughly 1,600 days of school I’ve made it through thus far. And no not just to pick me up from the bus stop. In fact, I rode on a school bus for the first time just this past weekend and it was nothing special. From day one, she has been my teacher. Kindergarten through twelfth grade, she’s been my favorite. Without my mom, I wouldn’t be having an awesome graduation party. There are twenty-five days and counting until graduation. My graduation party is this weekend. I told my mom way back when that I had no idea what I wanted I just didn’t want it to be an expensive extravaganza. Based off of my vague suggestions she’s been planning menus, ordering floral arrangements, and making Costco runs. She says ‘Oh Kayla I hope it’s what you wanted and you’re not disappointed.’ She ordered my graduation announcements and has been collecting items and pictures for my ‘senior shrine’ to be displayed at the senior dessert and after the graduation ceremony. I swear the only thing I’ve done so far is stuff envelopes. She reminded me of every yearbook deadline, although she knew I received every reminder e-mail. She is quite aware I have been putting too many things on my ‘will do tomorrow’ list.
My mom has been at my side through every health crisis and surgery–well OK so it was just one surgery. I’ve had multiple MRI’s, EEG’s, CT scans, heart monitors, you name it I’ve had it etc. She packed my lunches for summer camp when I was on a 15 carbohydrates a day diet in hopes that it would hamper my absence epilepsy episodes. She has also been there for every celebration and birthday party. She attended every choir performance and every piano recital. She’s gone with me to pick out every spring formal dress. She attended nearly every t-ball, basketball, softball, and soccer game. She washes my sheets and cleans my room before I arrive home from every camp and mission’s trips–trust me, it’s the best thing ever. She even made my first Barbie cake.
My mom has been my listening ear and a shoulder to cry on. She’s the greatest girlfriend ever. I can borrow her clothes, share secrets and only with her can I laugh until I cry while watching Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock in the Proposal.
She’s proofread nearly every report, essay, and analysis I’ve ever written, starting with my first book reports and simple five paragraph Academic essays. To this day, nearly every paper I write, she still reads— consequently, every single essay she hasn’t proofread has had the most grammatical errors. She let me stay up until midnight reading chapter books, but thankfully, she also made sure I survived every math lesson. She explained every problem in every way she knew how. She tells me all the time, “your best is different from everyone else’s best. If your best is a C then so be it.” Believe me, it’s not always what I want to hear, but it’s always exactly what I need to hear.
Somebody told me the other day that I am very patient and tolerant, and that it must be because I have six brothers and one sister. I first took it as a compliment, and then I thought “Who am I kidding?! Clearly, this guy has never met my mom before!”
There’s a joke in our house, especially between me and mom, that ‘nothing is ever lost until your mom can’t find it.’ If I complained about my brain being elsewhere, I’m pretty sure she could redirect my focus.
Proverbs 31 Woman
My mom is a Proverbs 31 woman. She spends her rare moments of solitude reading the Bible. She has her priorities straight. She has hair that would make Marilyn Monroe jealous and can rock red lipstick more than any other forty-two year-old woman I know. I sure hope I inherited those great genes!
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
Proverbs 30: 30-31
Mothers, we take advantage of them all the time. They do our laundry, cook our meals, remind us to scrub behind our ears, and pick-up our rooms. Even more importantly, they hold our hand as we crawl, walk, and run this crazy race called life. Whoever the mother is in your life, don’t forget to tell them how much they mean to you.
Today is “Purple For Epilepsy Day.” I love purple. My favorite childhood classic book-Little Women by Louisa May Alcott- is bound with a purple cover. I have a purple raincoat, purple bible, purple water-bottle, purple toothbrush, purple, purple, purple, purple….. I think understand the picture. Only recently,within the past couple of years, did I actually connect the color purple with epilepsy. At this point I can imagine you are thinking, “So what?” So, I have epilepsy. I’ve thought about writing a post-or a few pages in my journal- for some time, but I didn’t want to come off as someone looking for attention or be labeled ‘epileptic.’ Is it obvious yet I have a severe pride issue? OK, I thought so. (I’m so glad God blessed me with the gift of sarcasm, otherwise I’d be a mess.) Anyways, I put off writing about my epilepsy for purely selfish reasons. Then, I realized that there is easily a gazillion other people, NOT sharing their stories-whether health related or not- for exactly the same reasons. This is why I’m asking YOU to share your stories.
OK, hold the phone right there. A story or testimony doesn’t have to be something heart-wrenching. I’ve seen to many people demean their own stories simply because they thought it wasn’t “moving” or “shocking.”Heck, the most relatable stories are in the form of “little” everyday problems.I.e.
Person 1: You received a D on you Spanish test?
Person 2: Dude me too.
If you have struggled with serious issues in the past or are struggling currently, here is my message to you: YOU ARE NOT ALONE. That thought is a lie. Only you can make the choice to believe it. Keeping your fears and feelings bottled up is the worst decision you could possibly make. If you don’t believe me, believe Dumbledore when he says “Numbing the pain for a while will make it worse when you finally feel it.” Trust me, Albus Dumbledore doesn’t lie.
I’ve had epilepsy for over ten years. It’s definitely a reality, but it doesn’t define who I am. What defines me is how I respond to the ups and downs. The hospital visits, the sick days, and the days when I ask “Why me?” And then I look around me. I could be so much worse off. I have so many things to be thankful for. Best of all I love knowing that no matter what kind of situation God puts me in, it’s only to refine me! We should bear these challenges-even something as insignificant as a Spanish test- knowing that there is definitely a to be learned so that next time, you can do better. If you think you can fight this battle on your own, good luck with that. I’ve tried and failed. It’s easy to look strong on the outside and inwardly destroy yourself. When people tell you “Wow you are so strong!” Things begin going to your head. Society tells us it’s not okay to be weak. I’d like you to consider otherwise.
Remember, there are always consequences for going against the grain. Humbleness isn’t a trait valued by most. I don’t know about you, but when people ask me how I’m doing, I enjoy testing their sincerity by telling them the flat out truth. I may say “Well actually this week kinda sucked.” I know people who I know are going through hell and still respond with “oh I’m doing just dandy.” Sorry to break it to you, but nobody’s perfect.
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions,in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12: 9-10
Wear purple and share your story! I want to hear it and I’m sure others do too!