Sunday, February 27, 2011


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Church always makes me feel so awesome, especially when I go to church back home... I just leave on such an emotional high, fueled and spiritually refreshed.

Today we talked through Philippians 2:14-16.
"Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain."

The purpose of the message was to emphasize the importance of learning the right way to relate to others. It was about how truly important it is to LOVE others, christian or not. Jesus was sent to teach us the power of forgiveness, humility, strength, courage... but most of all, love. In order to live the way God intends, we have to learn to love others unconditionally, the way the Lord loves each and every one of us. In the midst of a world of darkness and confusion, we must learn to shine like stars.

It is so hard to control our anger, hurt, fear, disappointment. No matter if we want them to or not, our emotions have an easy way of getting the best of us. They take over without us even realizing it. I encourage you to take a step back in tough situations, learn to ask God how to respond... because he is there, and he will help. Learn to love others in the midst of hurt, betrayal, sin.. in the midst of this crazy life we live on Earth.

Shine like stars. You could end up being the light in someone's life.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Coffee and Cookies.

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Coffee and cookies. Two of the greatest "c" words in the English language.

What makes me happy? My favorite things... coffee and cookies. I have to admit I have become quite the coffee addict since going away to college. Hey, it can't be that bad for you right- everyone has to have their own vice... I also have a love affair with cookies (sugar, shortbread,snickerdoodle, and my mom's homemade oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip). Although I am not a huge chocolate fan... I do love my mom's chocolate chip cookies- and I find it quite difficult to enjoy any other ones simply cause they fail to compare.
Don't your favorite things have a way of making you feel so good- especially when you enjoy them at home around the people you love. Good company makes everything 10 times better. There is something about our favorites that make them comforting, healing almost.

What are your faves? Do they make you feel as good as a nice, hot cookie makes me feel? (Yes, they are that much better hot- I usually warm mine up in the microwave). I encourage you to spend a whole day surrounded by your favorite things. Enjoy them and soak them in. Revel in the good feelings they bring about. Acknowledge that they are worth whatever sacrifice or cost they may entail. 

Everyone has their own favorites. Think about yours. What does it take to make you happy? And after you figure it out, go treat yourself... and then go bake some cookies. :)

"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." 1 Corinthians 10:13


Friday, February 25, 2011

Chase TODAY.

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Do you chase the past? Are you stuck in a world of yesterday? What's holding you back?

Sometimes we are so busy trying to chase what happened in the past, that we completely lose track of what is happening now. We forget about the present, about taking advantage of each day before, about acknowledging that we can't do anything to change what is behind us.

So are you chasing your past? If so, what is keeping you tied down? What is truly holding you back?

Often times, we are held back by tragedy, drama, and relationships. We convince ourselves that we can do something to make it better, something to convince ourselves that we can actually affect what has already happened. But I have a secret for you... as much as I would LOVE to. We can't time travel. What has happened in the past is done, is permanent... can't be taken back.

You're probably thinking... wow this is supposed to be inspiring, right? So how do we make this something positive?
1. We learn to accept our past as something that brought us where we are today. You probably wouldn't be the same person you are now without going through all that you have.
2. We realize that we learn from the things in our past... it teaches us what works, and what doesn't... but nothing is ever absolutely worthless in life. 

Everything has a purpose. You have a purpose.

So I encourage you to chase the present today. Focus on what is yet to be done instead of what has already happened.

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."
Joshua 1:9


Thursday, February 24, 2011

How Has God Worked TODAY?

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Do you like to look at the clouds? Sometimes, it's hard for us to slow down, take a second to breathe, and acknowledge the beauty of the world around us... a world that God has given us simply because he loves us more than anything.
How has God worked in your life in small ways? Have you seen his love and graciousness today? Have you truly enjoyed the beauty of the world he has created?

I encourage you to be on the lookout for the small ways God works in your life. It's the small ways that really make a difference in our lives and how we see the world. God may remind us how much we love/miss our family. God may bring your comfort before you take a difficult test. God may remind you that life is precious... that every day we have is a gift. God may bring you into the life of someone new... giving you an opportunity to SHARE his love and promote his message.

What is God giving you today? Is he nudging you a certain direction or encouraging you to do something outside your comfort zone? Why not let go of your fear and do it?

I always think it is so cool when I see God in my small, everyday activities. It reminds me that God isn't just for sundays at church... time with the Lord is for every day, every second of every day... he is always with us. Next time you feel grateful, loving, happy, sad, stressed, overwhelmed, joyful... any emotion you can name, remember the Lord is always with you. He is there to make everything alright, even if it seems like the world is falling apart.

God is love. Look for him today.

"For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago."
Ephesians 2:10


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A New Twist

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"It's true that we don't know what we've got until we lose it, but it's also true that we don't know what we've been missing until it arrives."
I love this new twist on a well-known quote. I think that not being able to appreciate what we have is one of our greatest human flaws (and believe me when I say that almost everyone is at fault). We simply do not know how to appreciate the good things in life without emphasizing what we don't have. It's also true that by the time we realize what we have... it's often too late.

But the other part of this quote is more promising. "We don't know what we've been missing until it arrives" suggests that there are great things in life awaiting us that we have no idea are in our future. I love thinking about what awaits me if life. Hopefully it is full of exciting people, places, family, friends, travel, a career... But I love knowing that I will be surprised when it comes. Isn't being surprised by your own life kind of exciting to think about?

So my encouragement for today it two-fold.
1. Take a minute to acknowledge all that you take advantage of every day. Tell the people you love how much you love having them in your life. Appreciate your home, your community, your many blessings... as if they could be gone tomorrow.
2. Ask God to surprise you with what's to come in life. Be open to possibility, change, excitement.... God wants you to live a life fulfilled by his wonder. So LIVE IT UP! :)

"Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun--all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun."
Ecclesiastes 9:9


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Where is the Light??

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We often use countdowns to "get us by" in difficult times, or to remind us that if we simply endure a few more days... something great is ahead. Today is one of those days. 4 MORE DAYS until Spring Break. I could not be more ready.

I have to keep reminding myself, in 4 short days I will be done with mid-terms, papers, homework, reading... for a week at least :). I am so excited to go home, be with family, relax, sleep, and eat some good food. (Don't get me wrong- I have found the best places on campus to eat- but there is just nothing like eating at home). I want to remind you that whatever tough time you may be working through... there is an end. There is hope, it will all be over soon.

I encourage you to count down days, hours, whatever. It helps me wrap my head around the fact that something exciting is coming, while also helping me focus on what I still have to do in those 4 days before break. But, I also encourage you to take advantage of the tough times in life. Acknowledge that it is in the tough/trying times that we learn the most about ourselves and push ourselves to be the best we can be (then the days following can be even more relaxing, well-deserved).

There is a light at the end of the tunnel... SPRING BREAK IS NEAR. Time with family, friends, home, and SUN in florida is close. Now, to focus on now. In order to truly enjoy the great times, we have to make our way through the hard ones.

Here goes nothing. :)

"I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things."
Isaiah 45:7


Monday, February 21, 2011

When in doubt... HUG it out.

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How can you show someone you care without saying a word? What is the one thing that can make you feel better, like someone truly cares about you, like someone is willing to sacrifice their time and energy for you: a hug. Don't you always feel better after a great hug? 

Sometimes showing affection does not have to mean exhibiting grand gestures. Affection can mean simply wrapping your arms around someone, giving them someone to lean on. And if you need help or you simply need someone to hold on to for comfort, a hug can be one of the most healing gestures known to man.

I love the picture above because of two things: the little boy, and the forgiving, caring expression of the dog. Although I am not an animal person, there is something so beautiful about a child's relationship with a pet. Pets are there for us to talk to, to hug, and to love.. and all they do is love you back. Their cute expressions and willingness to just sit in your arms is one of their most appealing qualities. 

So, today I encourage you to find someone who needs a hug, and GIVE THEM A HUG. It doesn't have to be a long embrace or for a specific purpose... just let them know that you are thinking about them and care about them. Have you ever seen those people with 'free hugs' signs? I see them almost every friday on campus, and it makes me smile to know that they are giving up their time to make others feel loved and cared for. So hug someone today... or if you need a hug, then seek someone you love for a shoulder to lean on.

"The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble."
Psalm 9:9


Sunday, February 20, 2011


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There is nothing more beautiful than TRUTH. Truth can set us free, it can establish our character, and it can set us apart from others. Those who value truth, value a respectful and honest life.

Today's sermon at church reminded me that the Lord Jesus is, himself, the Truth. All he knows, all he does, all he has blessed me with... is his truth. This helps us to understand why we can put complete trust in him. We can count on him, because he does everything with complete knowledge of what is good and right in life. But what does that have to do with us?

We all seek to live a life that the Lord wants us to live. Therefore,  if we live truthfully, like he promises us each and every day we can start to emulate what he has done on earth. When we live truthfully, we can get rid of all our shame, all our guilt, all our insecurities. Because truth is beauty, nothing else matters and nothing else is more important. 

I encourage you to be truthful with others today... but most importantly, be truthful with yourself. Be honest, open, and willing to evaluate what you consider most important in life. Are you truthfully seeking something because it is your passion, or because you seek to please someone else? Start by using truth as a way to evaluate your intentions and the way you live life, and you may find that life is way more beautiful when seen through truthful eyes.

"Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
John 14:6

I hope you have a relaxing and truthful sunday afternoon :)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Be kind.

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When was the last time you held a door for someone? How about gave someone a smile? Have you ever given up your spot in line to someone in a rush? Kindness doesn't have to be hard or trying, it just has to be sincere.

Random acts of kindness are some of the most beautiful things in life. They can completely turn someone's day around, bring a smile to someone with a permanent frown, or simply just show someone that you care. Sometimes that is what we long for most in life... knowing that someone cares about you, and is thinking enough about you to sacrifice something for your sake. I think the simple definition for kindness is simply putting others before yourself. It is learning to live looking for ways to help people, instead of letting those ways simply come to you. It is actively pursuing a generous and giving life.

So why is so hard for us to be kind all the time? I don't think its part of our human nature to look out for other people- we are taught at a young age to defend ourselves, before we think about defending others.So that means changing what we believe in, changing a lifestyle that we are so comfortable with, in order to step out on a limb and help others.

So I encourage you to try a few random acts of kindness today. See how many people you can get to smile. Take notice of how it makes you feel. I would bet that you will feel infinitely better about yourself after thinking about others... funny how that works? :)

"Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience."
Colossians 3:12


Friday, February 18, 2011

Big Fat Failure.

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Failure: Omission of occurrence or performance, a lack of success, a falling short, one that has failed. 
My  new and improved version of failure: A necessary condition for success, happiness, knowledge, and LIFE.
It's inevitable, everyone has failed. 
Everyone will fail multiple times in life. 

If you are one of those people who denies every personal failure, please take a moment to acknowledge that no one is perfect (I am aware it is hard for some, it takes me a while to realize and accept that it is OKAY for me to fail, to be imperfect). Contrary to what Webster may believe, I don't think failure is the absence of success. In fact, I think it is a crucial step towards success. We can't get anywhere, learn anything, achieve anything worth achieving, without learning from our mistakes. 

So take your mistakes and failures with a sense of pride. Be glad that you learned something valuable in life. Be thankful that failure makes you aware that being imperfect is perfectly acceptable. I encourage you to take a risk today- a risk that you would normally NEVER consider, a risk that will most likely end up in failure. And after you fail, smile, be glad. Surprise those around you with optimism, thankfulness, and gratitude. The Lord made us imperfect so we can learn under his great power and Love. He made us imperfect for a reason. Embrace it.

Props to my sister for the website with inspirational pictures :)

"To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy - to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore!"
Jude 1:24-25


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Attack of the NERVES!

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On the verge of a nervous breakdown? Stressed over something that is beyond your control? Have something hanging over your head that threatens to destroy your entire existence?

Enter STATS 250 Exam 1. Thursday, February 17 2011. 6 p.m. 1210 CHEM Building. (The question of why I am taking a stats exam in a chemistry lecture hall stresses me out already?!)

I am usually great at taking tests. I hardly ever get nervous, I even love the thrill of silence, pencil and paper, and the search for correct answers. Yes, I know actually enjoying tests makes me rather strange... But I do actually like them. Tonight is my first REAL college math exam, and despite the fact that I feel like I am well-prepared for it, I still feel nervous. I feel like so much more is riding on this one test score than what it really means. 

So I remind myself... It's only a test. My life is not defined by tests and grades. (Believe me, that's hard for me to admit.)

If you are stressed about something, I have several calming tips for you.
1. Simply focus on breathing. Close your eyes and focus on deep, long inhales and exhales.
2. Sit in silence for a little while. Put the technology away and focus on just being quiet.
3. Take a moment to list your good qualities, the things that you are good at, the things that make you successful. A little pump of self-confidence can go a long way.
4. Remember that you are totally in CONTROL of your nerves. If you don't want to be nervous, remind yourself of why you are nervous in the first place.
5. Enjoy some good food. Whether it be chocolate, coffee, junk food... I don't care what they say, comfort food is NOT a myth.
Be kind to yourself. You deserve peace. Take a breath, it's all going to be okay.

"Those who love me, I will deliver; I will protect those who know my name. When they call to me, I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble, I will rescue them and honor them. With long life I will satisfy them, and show them my salvation. "
Psalm 91:14-16


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Chance To Be Extraordinary

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You are special just as you are. You are beautiful. You are extraordinary.
All to often we are scared to be ourselves because we are preoccupied with fitting in. We believe that we have to change ourselves to be accepted, that simply being who we are is not good enough. So we accept the definition and role of being  normal.

But what is normal exactly? Is normal being like everyone else? Is normal denying our own desires, talents, and passions to become exactly like everyone else? Why is that so attractive to us- to deny who we are as individuals?

It all comes down to fear. 
We fear rejection. 
We fear isolation. 
We fear being different.
We fear being unique.

Today I encourage you to think about yourself. Think about what you want in life. Think about what makes you special, what makes you different. It's those differences that make you beautiful. So don't be afraid to be extraordinary, to be yourself. 

"I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them."
Psalm 139: 14-16


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

An Exit an Entrance

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Do you feel like you have nowhere to turn? Does it seem like you keep hitting road blocks?

I have good news for you. 
It's never too late. Your road in life never truly ends. There is always time to find your way out. 

Don't give up. 

Sometimes it may seem like it's easier to give up in the face of hardship, to back down to challenges, to surrender without a fight. But where does that get us in life? If we are too scared to face our fears, to take on challenges, to risk everything... we will never achieve anything worth living for. I love the picture above for several reasons.
1. I always think of an "exit" as leading to a final destination- it's cool to think that it could be leading you to something more, something exciting and new.
2. It is optimistic, inspiring, and REAL.

Sometimes I think that these emotional pick-me-ups and inspirational photos can be too staged, too perfect, and too cliche. There is something different about this picture though.. something so real. I can really connect with it, and I use it to help me realize that an exit doesn't really have to mean the end.

Do you feel like you are at the end? Do you feel like everything is spiraling out of control and your life is going by with just a passing glance. I encourage you to take control, grab the reigns, and take advantage of the time you have. And always remember this, it is not always where you end up that is important.. it's how you get there. 

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
2 Corinthians 4:16-18


Monday, February 14, 2011

LOVE is in the Air.

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Since love truly is in the air, why not talk all about it? I go through valentine's day stages. Some years I love the thrill of chocolate, flowers, candy, cards, and romance. Other years (I'm not going to lie) I find the day quite depressing and lonely. Don't get me wrong, I am NOT one of those jealous, romance-hating, desperate-for-love valentine's day haters, I promise. I am perfectly happy for all those who have a romantic partner, and are glad that they can celebrate their special relationship today. I truly love LOVE. I love watching people in love, I love thinking about being in love, and I love celebrating the love I do have in my own life. 

PS. I do believe we should tell ALL those we love today that we love them (not just our romantic partner). So to all my family and friends, I LOVE YOU bunches. I am so thankful you are a part of my life.

So whether this post finds you head-over-heels in love, struggling to stay afloat by yourself, surrounded by loving family and friends, or simply just lonely... please remember, you are not alone. Someone loves you, the LORD will always love you, and you are destined for love.

And, although I am single at the moment, and not one bit "ashamed" or lonely, it would be nice to have someone buy me flowers... just saying. :)

"Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame."
Song of Solomon 8:6


Sunday, February 13, 2011

What's Controlling You?

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Are you afraid- afraid of love, of relationships, of devotion, of letting go, of being yourself?
I think we are all afraid.

I am always afraid that I am not good enough. I am always afraid of failing to live up to expectations. I am always afraid of being insignificant. I judge myself based on what I accomplish, what I contribute, and what I am worth. But can I really judge what I am worth based on earthly matters? What is this judgement really doing to my life? Answer: it's tearing me apart. 
What are you afraid of? 

It's hard to let go of those fears. Once they enter your life, they seem to grab hold and never let go. They drag you down, make you second-guess yourself and your decisions, and make you evaluate and criticize who you are as a person. But I have good news: In the Lord's eyes... you ARE GOOD ENOUGH. You are his son/daughter, you are beautiful, and you are his creation. Sure, that doesn't mean we have to be perfect (and by no means are ANY of us perfect). But it means that God sees beauty in our imperfections. How great is a love that values imperfection- it's invaluable.

I encourage you to let go of your fear and self-doubt telling you that you are never good enough. Take a breath, trust the Lord, and believe that you ARE good enough. Through your imperfections and flaws, you are perfect.
"Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight."
1 Peter 3:4


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Do You Believe in Destiny?

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Destiny: a predetermined course of events often held to be an irresistible power or agency. 

Do you believe in destiny? Do you think that whatever is destined for you is what's best for you? What if destiny is just living life?

I love thinking about my future. Actually, being obsessed with the future is one of my biggest faults. I can never focus on the present... I am always too excited with the thought of what is happening next. But it is exciting, isn't it? Thinking about what is in store for me 20 years down the road? What my future family may look like, what kind of life I will live... is it really all already planned out? 
Most days, I absolutely believe in destiny. I am one of those cheesy romantics who always believes that everything happens for a reason. I smile even thinking about what I think destiny means. Does it mean every smile, every comment, every acquaintance... all happen for a reason? I smile at the thought that I may meet the love of my life... and know that it's destiny.

Oh goodness... I am a romantic. That's what happens when you spend your friday nights watching romantic comedies with your best friend. :)

I think (and hope) I am destined for a life:
1. Full of love.
2. Full of family.
3. Full of friends.
4. Full of LIFE.
5. Full of the LORD. 

What are you destined for? Have you already experienced destiny in  magical ways? 

"For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will - to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves."
Ephesians 1: 4-6


Friday, February 11, 2011

Live a Passionate Life.

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What are you passionate about? What fires you up? Do you live for certain things? Are you passionate about life?

I am passionate about my relationships with family and friends.What exactly is passion? I think passion is an extreme desire, an intense feeling of attachment and devotion. I think passion is about being so connected to an idea, thing, activity, or aspect of life that you would do just about anything for it. I also think it is important for everyone to b passionate about something. Passion gives us purpose, a reason for living. Passion makes us aware of who we are as person and what we value in life. So... what am I passionate about?
I am passionate about sharing Christ's message and love with others.
I am passionate about making a difference.
I am passionate about being a positive role model for others.
I am passionate about living every day with a grateful heart.
I am passionate about discovering who I am and what I want in life.
I am passionate about LIFE.

Are you passionate about life? Do you wish to live each and every day with excitement, purpose, and devotion? I encourage you to make your own list of passions. It may be challenging, but it will help you to discover who you are a person, what you care about, and what you live for.

"To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God"
Acts 1:3


ps. thank goodness it's friday. :)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

SMILE big.

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When was the last time you smiled- I'm not talking about one of those "sympathetic" smiles, I mean  a huge, exciting, genuine smile? Who were you with, what were you doing, why did it make you so happy?

Smiling makes me so happy. The thought that one simple expression can make someone's day, can make us feel so much better, can connect us to the world around us, is both exciting and comforting. Just by smiling at someone you don't know- you could be making their day.

Remember the last time you felt absolutely awful? I have a solution for the next time that you feel like the world is crashing down... simply force yourself to smile for 15 seconds. Taking time to physically smile will truly lift your mood and make you focus on the good things in life... the things that are going well.

Smiles are beautiful. The smile of a child lights up a room. The smile of a groom as he watches his bride walk down the aisle melts our hearts. The smile of a grandparent as they hold their first grandchild in their arms. The smile of parents as they wave goodbye  to their first college-bound child. (Okay, so maybe there were some tears with the last one as well, but ultimately a smile came through). Smiles can express joy, comfort, happiness, gratitude, generosity, company, anything you want it to

So I encourage you to smile today. Make a mental note of how many times you smile, how many times you take a break to acknowledge all that God had given you that makes you smile. Smile in the face of fear, smile in the face of laughter, smile in the face of stress, smile in the face of friendship... just smile.
"A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed."
Proverbs 15:13


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What's Your Quirk?

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What makes you different? What makes you stand out in a crowd? What are you proud of? What is the one thing that makes you, you?

We all have things about us that make us unique. Maybe it is our personality, the way we dress, the things we enjoy... the list goes on and on. All too often, we are ashamed of the things that make us different, the things that make us special. We are afraid that if we show others what makes us different, we will be labeled an outcast who some how doesn't fit in.

Why do we want to fit in anyway? Doesn't this defeat the whole purpose of being an individual? Is belonging in society really more important than expressing who we really are to those around us.

I have found that people actually respect me more when I am myself. When I show people my true personality, what inspires me, what I enjoy... they appreciate my willingness to stand apart. I am proud of my differences, not ashamed that they don't fit into a majority. This doesn't mean that I can't share enjoyment and activities with others. Part of life is experiencing things with other people that have common interests. But we can't sacrifice our own passions with the fear that they are different, and somehow inferior, to those around us.

So, I encourage you to BE YOURSELF today. Stand up for what you believe in. Be proud of your quirks. Know that God made you to be exactly the way the are... for a reason. He loves you exactly the way he made you. Don't hide.

"What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?"
Matthew 16:26


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Promise of Forever.

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Do you make promises? What is the promise you will never break? Why are promises important? Is there a promise for forever?

One of my new year's resolutions is to keep my promises. I think they are so important in terms of developing relationships with other people, projecting yourself in a respectful way, and also getting to know yourself by what you consider most important in life.
Are there certain promises you value over others?
I have several important lifelong promises that I hope I can keep forever:
I promise to stay true to myself, regardless of what others think about me.
I promise to live a life devoted to God- knowing that he has given everything to me.
I promise to LOVE others unconditionally.
I promise to open up, to let people in, to let go of the fear of rejection.
I promise to live to help others.
I promise to live life everyday with a thankful heart.
Okay, so I know that some of those promises seem extremely far-fetched and unrealistic for day to day life. But the point of my lifelong promises are just that- they are long-term. They are meant to establish self-expectations for my life that I am committed to pursuing with my whole heart. I encourage you to make a list of life-long promises as well, really think about what is most important to you... it could help to keep your priorities and check an/or make you re-evaluate how you are living your life.

Promises aren't meant to be broken. Promises are meant to be treasured.
"So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."
Luke 11:9

Monday, February 7, 2011

A New Life

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Feel like you are running on empty?

Are you looking for new life? Do you need a fresh outlook, a new perspective, a sense of motivation? Winter can be depressing... little sunlight, cold weather, sickness, and the mundane routine we get settled into. Spring is coming eventually... but the road to get there is long and far-off.

So how can we avoid settling in? How do we avoid being comfortable with the mundane?

First, we need to rely on God to remain spiritually full. Only he can satisfy our need for happiness, relationship, and love. Second, I encourage you to push yourself to try something new and take risks. Enjoy the company of those you love. Take advantage of the days you can find comfort with a cup of coffee, a great romantic comedy, and a warm blanket. Winter can be a great time to try new things, to rekindle relationships, and to relax without pressure to be outdoors all the time. I will be taking my winter "alone" time to further my relationship with Jesus Christ. I finally have some time to read the bible, journal, and ask myself some serious personal questions. 

So whatever you need to do this winter to keep things exciting... do it. But in the meantime, only a few months until spring! Hang in there. :)

"My flesh and my heart may fail, 
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever."

Psalm 73:26


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Your Own Fairytale

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It's no secret that everyone wants their own "happily ever after." We dream of finding our soul mate, expect true love that lasts a lifetime, create our version of the perfect family, and envision the ideal life. But let me let you in on a little secret...

Life rarely works out perfectly. 
Life is messy,
but that's what makes it so beautiful.

Although the chances of getting to that "happily ever after" that so many of us desire are relatively slim, that doesn't mean we are destined to a life of unhappiness. Life can be perfect, through the trials, challenges, and surprises that shape the person we become. Life is beautiful because it is imperfect.

It is perfectly normal to have dreams of a fairytale life... and it is okay to want a life that leads to happiness, love, laughter, and friendship. But we also must acknowledge that the road to getting there will NOT be perfect. There will be bumps along the way, but in the end, it's what we do during those "bumps" that define us. Do we take them as a chance to challenge ourselves, to learn, to grow?

Evaluate your own vision of a fairytale life. I am sure some aspects have already come true... and if they haven't, take some time to acknowledge all that you ARE blessed with; it could be a fairytale after all.

"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, Never will I leave you; Never will I forsake you."
Hebrews 13:5


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Let Your Hair Down

Pin It Now! Are you afraid to let your hair down? Are you afraid to act like a complete fool just because it's fun? Are you dying to forget about what everyone else thinks- but just can't? One of my biggest faults is that I am always worried about keeping my reputation perfectly clean and respectable. I expect so much of myself... near perfection. I have trouble accepting the fact that I don't have to behave perfectly 100% of the time. The truth is, a little fun never hurts anyone. There is a little room to be someone completely different, to drop my inhibitions, and to enjoy the moment. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying to go absolutely crazy either. A certain amount of restraint is perfectly acceptable, and necessary most of the time. But don't let that constraint define your life and who you are as a person. When all is said and done.. you want those moments to look back on that make you smile, the moments that make you say "why would I have EVER done that," the moments that make you realize there is more to life than work and stress. 

Let your hair down. Breathe in and try something new. Laugh until your abs hurt. Appreciate good times, good friends, and this extremely good life. Realize that God made us to enjoy his presence, to appreciate his many blessings, and to live in a way that exudes his joy and wonder. God desires nothing more than your happiness. Now, go out and get it.

"Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work—this is a gift of God."
Ecclesiastes 5:19


Friday, February 4, 2011

What YOU can do.

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I am only one person. What difference can I make?
Ultimately, each of us is only one person in a HUGE world. It's hard to believe that anything we do as individuals will make any significant difference in the world. But if we all thought this way, we would never get anywhere. So what takes an individual dream to societal change?

The answer lies in we. It's not what you or I do that is going to make a difference, it is what we do together. Teamwork is one of the most important aspects of human life. We work in teams, we play sports in teams, we learn in teams, we organize into teams. Everything revolves around learning to work with other people. And in the end, if we are able to work together effectively... that's what makes us successful.

If you are like me... you absolutely HATE team projects. Don't get me wrong, I love working with people and around other people, but I have trouble with a little thing called trust. I have trouble letting other people take responsibility, believing that I can only be successful if/when I control everything. (It tends to correlate closely with a little thing called perfectionism-which is a completely different topic, saved for a later date). I am getting better. I am gradually learning to trust those around me, learning to let other people take some of the work and not fearing that they are simply incapable.
So that is my challenge for you... If you are one of those people who always has to be in control, I urge you to let go. Don't be afraid something won't turn out right because it's not in your hands. Trust those around you. Learning to trust is not easy.. but it is extremely rewarding.

"The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.” 
Proverbs 29:25


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Daddy's Girl

Pin It Now! I will be the first to admit that I am a daddy's girl.I LOVE my daddy with all my heart. I owe him everything.

There is something so special about a father-daughter relationship. A dad exudes comfort, strength, courage, security, safety, and LOVE. My dad is, hands-down, one of the greatest people I know. I repeatedly look to him for inspiration. I acknowledge how much he has given and sacrificed for me. I truly appreciate that he would do absolutely anything for me. It is hard to grasp how great his love is for me- even though I do things sometimes that may upset him, that may just be stupid... he doesn't care. He loves me regardless. 

One of the greatest things that he has taught me in life is that anything is possible. He continues to pursue his dream, gives 120% at anything he takes on, and does it with others constantly on his mind. The fact that he is so selfless, thinking about his family and friends above himself all the time- is beyond comprehension. He would rather make sure everyone else in the room is happy before himself. My dad is both a role model and an inspiration... but more than that, he is MY dad. 

Daddy, I love you. I owe you everything. You are the reason I am as successful as I am. You push me to be the best person I can be, inside and out. You continue to make me proud and I can only hope that I will find someone in life that is as giving, as selfless, as genuine, as hard-working, and as loving as you.

You mean the world to me.
Today, tell someone you love how much you appreciate them, how much you care for them... I guarantee they will appreciate it.

"Let all that you do be done in love."
1 Corinthians 16:14


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Finding Warmth In A Blizzard


I woke up this morning to several things.
1. An extremely cold dorm room.
2. A wealth of Facebook statuses bragging about snow days across the midwest. Yes, every school except U of M. Awesome.
3. A long, cold, windy walk across campus to my 9 am spanish class.
4. An extremely small cup of coffee, because that's all I had time to brew.

What a morning. And yet, I can't help but smile. Yes, I do have class today, I do have to walk outside in the midst of a blizzard, I do have homework and projects to worry about... but yet, snow is so beautiful. I am not one to like the cold weather(believe me I will be the first to admit that I would rather be inside next to a fireplace than outside in the snow), but there is something so special about watching the snow fall- from inside. 

So my message for today is to make the best out of bad situations. Sometimes we can't help what happens to us in life. Good or bad, things happen. All we can do is face everything with a smile and take advantage of the challenges and obstacles that God puts in front of us (because despite what we believe, there is a reason that everything happens). Watch the snow fall, relish the comfort of the indoors (be thankful you have a warm place to be), and curl up with a good book/movie and a cup of french vanilla cappuccino. Believe me, that's what I will be doing once class is done for the day. Have a great day!

"Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him."
Daniel 2:20-22


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Be a Green Apple.

Pin It Now! I LOVE apples. Specifically, I love granny smith apples. They are fresh, healthy, beautiful, and natural. So, today's post is going to focus on a metaphor involving apples... why not? Think of the world as an apple orchard. There are many different varieties, but each type seems to have it's own tree, it's own environment, it's own group where it belongs

We often think of ourselves as associating with a certain group of people, and we are often scared to step outside that group. We are scared to be different. We don't want to be the granny smith in the midst of red apples. 

But what's so wrong with being different? The truth is, absolutely nothing. In fact, being different is what sets you apart, what makes you special. Embrace the difference, it will make you appreciate who God made you to be and why you are the way you are. Look the picture at the top of the post... isn't the green in the midst of red interesting? I think it's beautiful. It is something that we don't normally see.

So why not dare to be different? Why not step outside your comfort zone and embrace who you really are? If we are scared to be ourselves, we often hide behind a wall of self-doubt, and try to simply "fit in" with those around us. Be different.

“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… For when I am weak, then I am strong." 
2 Corinthians 12:9-10

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