Friday, December 26, 2014


I hope you've all had a wonderful, lovely, amazing Christmas!

I was just thinking about how quickly this year has went by and thought I'd share some of the most memorable moments of 2014...because the things that make a life worth living are the moments that make it up. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Finding Opportunity

There's a truth that I've discovered time and time again in my life. In some ways, perhaps, I was bound to discover it because it is a natural part of my personality. Nonetheless, its truth holds for every person. Let me tell you a story...a story from my life.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Enigma of the Night

Time marches silently on,
The world continues to spin;
As if unaware that the night is almost gone.
As if unaware of the beauty in the blackness.

The world would be bewildered to awake
If it discovered this enigma of the night:
There is an unknown beauty in the darkness;
And resplendent secrets are found in the deep.

Saturday, December 13, 2014


You made me fall for you,
So why weren't you there to catch me? 


Some things are worth breaking your heart for. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Sunday, December 7, 2014

It's the Most Wonderful Time

Warm fuzzy blankets
Bright and cozy fire places
Drinking white hot chocolate with peppermint
Seeing friends and family again
Overstuffed jackets and warm mittens
Brightly colored scarves
Snow that clothes the trees so pure and white - like a virgin bride
Trying to find that perfect gift for loved ones
Night drives filled with dazzling light displays
Putting my Christmas CDs in my car
Playing piano and singing Christmas songs at the top of my lungs 
The excitement of a new year's arrival
Reading the stories of Jesus' birth and wondering what it would have been like
Baking hundreds of cookies with my family to pass out to friends

I want to go Christmas caroling
I want to go ice skating
I want to see everyone that I miss
I want to wrap up in my warm blanket and drink hot cocoa while watching the snow fall
I want to help decorate a Christmas tree
I want to help bake an extravagant Christmas meal

Can I just push pause for a moment?
Can this just never end? 
I find myself holding my breath and hoping it doesn't pass too quickly. 
Hoping it doesn't pass before I can take in every little moment and save them in my mind. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Alabaster Box

Lately, I've been reading through my first blog (it's hidden, so no you can't find it lol) that I wrote several years ago and doing a lot of laughing at how far life has brought me. It's easy to forget where we've been (which is why I think it's so important for everyone to have a journal of some sort to record what God is doing in their life). I found this jewel in the ashes, and thought I'd clean it up a little and share it again. Because if anything, I need the reminder. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A Cruel & Lovely Reality

Some days it feels like all you do is give and never take.
Some days you try to be a friend and everyone else is fake.
Why can't this world be a less cruel place?
Why can't people at least act like they care?

Honest moment here. On days like that I just want to give up on friendship altogether. Why even try when people that you thought were your friend don't seem that interested in actually being your friend? I mean, am I wrong to believe that being a friend is basically being interested in another person, in the most basic sense. Being interested in what their thoughts and feelings are, being interested in what's happening in their life, how things are going? So maybe I'm wrong to feel like if I'm asking others how life is, that they would ask me how my life is if they cared. And maybe I'm wrong to feel like maybe they are annoyed or not really my friend if they only answer the bare minimum and don't input into the conversation. But usually, I take that as a sign that they don't want to talk, and you know what? That's okay. I'm not going to force you to talk to me. It just makes me so confused at how I ever thought you were my friend in the first place...

Okay, rant over.

On days like that I just have to remind myself that I feel things too deeply. The confusion and hurt are over-magnified because, honestly, I should just stop thinking about it. Haha. If only that were easy (an introvert to stop thinking). Then I think about all the real friends that I have who do care about me. The people who ask me how I'm feeling, even when I don't ask them. The people who go out of their way to make my day a little better. The people who understand my rants and love me, even though I'm not perfect. Even though I don't always say the right things or smile when I'm supposed to. And then, I just can't quit smiling. Because those are the people that make my world go round (:

So if that describes you, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Because you are seriously the most awesome thing that this world has ever known. And I totally love you. Thanks for being a real friend in a world of fakers (:

That's all.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

December is upon us.

As November slowly slips away,
Her regal gown of color fading into the distance,
Her tender touch and gentle smile
Becoming a memory...

December makes its harsh debut
With savage wind and biting snow,
Trumpeting the beginning of winter
Like a moody adolescent schoolboy.

Cruel days are these,
Only to be softened
By the excitement
Of a coming celebration.

Like an affectionate grandfather
Passes out hugs,
Christmas quietly spreads
Good Cheer.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Feeling of Missing

That moment when something reminds you
Of someone that you don't see anymore.
And your heart feels like that kitten
That was just taken away from its litter. 

The friendship that you wish would have grown closer.
That person who seemed so perfect.
Regrets and memories haunt your mind
Like a swarm of gnats around fruit in the summer. 

You should have been friendlier.
If only you had opened up more.
Blame casts itself at your feet
Like a drunken girl that can't think straight.

Your heart feels like it will drown in the pain that floods your heart and being.
That moment when the path suddenly seems empty and the sun so dreary.
That moment when loneliness descends like a heavy curtain.
That moment when you miss someone so much you can't breathe. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Blogger Recognition Award

picture not mine, editing done by me

I am very honored to receive this award from two incredible bloggers: Nicole Rose and Adelaide Thompson! Thank you so much to both of these wonderfully kind ladies. (:

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Music of a Violin

There once was a girl who lived in a dream;
Until one day she awoke with a scream.

She looked all around but it was so dark,
The world was so sleepy and quiet as a lark.

Which she thought was rather strange,
Because larks have a superb vocal range.

Thankfulness ~ Weather & Seasons

A sound of laughter and merriment echoes down the hallway,
Interrupting the quiet solitude of my space for a fleeting moment.
A feeling that I can't quite explain springs up inside of me;
Thoughts and memories bring about an awakening of contentment.
A smile makes its way first to my eyes, and slowly to my lips;
Gratitude steadily surrounds my heart with its lovely sentiment.

The warmth of the sun's smile as it kisses my cheeks.
The playful wind's gentleness as it tugs at my hair.
The affectionately soft hug from the grass as I rest.
The dutiful rain as it drudges down my windows.
The compassionate whisper of the ocean.
The hushed chatter of the trees.

The beautifully fickle clouds as they sail across the sky;
One moment majestic and grand, the next dark and foreboding.
The humble caress of the sand against my wandering feet.
The deep reassurance from the thunder as I lie asleep.
The blushing glance from the oaks as they wait for winter.
The awe-inspiring power of the stars, filling the night sky with glitter.

The soft crunch of my footstep on the forest carpet.
The refuge of my jacket against the cruel winter air.
The pristine purity of the snow, as it blankets the world in white.
The silence of the snow flakes as they fall;
They must be INFPs, with their quiet and slow descent -
As if they are savoring every moment of their journey.

These are the things that make my heart beat in thanksgiving.
These are the things that make every day seem lovely.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Current Obsession 1

So, I haven't done a lot of music reviews in the past, but I just thought I'd post this because I am absolutely obsessed with Pentatonix and their Christmas music lately. I'm definitely putting them on my Christmas wishlist! These people know how to sing.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Whisper a Prayer for Them Tonight

Ferguson. This summer, I would have had no idea where or what that was. In August, I moved to Saint Louis to start grad school. A few short weeks later, there was a shooting that occurred about 15 minutes away from me; the ripples of which have echoed back and forth across this nation. The unfortunate events that took place that day and in the weeks and months afterward are a stark reminder to me of man's fallen nature. My heart hurts thinking about the people who are in such turmoil that they cannot seem to find the way up. This nation, this world, is in such desperate need of a Savior.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Puzzle Pieces: Faith and Works

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
This is such a powerful verse about salvation. We can't do anything to earn salvation. We'll never be good enough. No works that we do will ever bring us any closer to heaven, we are all sinners deserving of eternal punishment. Thankfully God offers us a gift, the gift of grace. However, when someone gives us a gift, we have the choice to open it or leave it. In this case, we open God's gift through faith.

What is faith? Faith is believing that God is, and that Jesus died and rose again. Belief is not works, it is part of our faith; it is how we accept God's gift to us - like opening a present. When we open the present, we aren't doing anything to earn it, we are merely accepting it. Faith is also confessing this belief out loud, for others to be a witness to. Baptism is an outward symbol of our choice to have faith in God, and accept His gift of grace and salvation.
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)
And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Acts 8:36-37)
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. (John 3:36)
All this being said, we can't just throw works out the window. Works are wrong in the sense that they would help us earn salvation. Nothing we do can ever earn that. But works are good as a natural outpouring of our gratitude for the tremendous gift we have received from God. In fact, God created us to do good works!
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)
Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. (James 2:17)
So basically it all comes down to this: we are all sinners, we have all fallen short of God's perfect standard. We can never do enough good to outweigh the bad, because that isn't the way it works. God is perfect, and by His very nature, He cannot tolerate sin. This is His just side. However, God is also love and He loved us so much that He made a way for us to be forgiven - by His perfect Son, Jesus Christ's death. Jesus took our sins so we could live with God. It is a gift of grace that we can accept or reject.

We accept His gift through faith by believing on Jesus and confessing our belief. We are then so filled with gratitude by the wonderfulness of this gift that we show our appreciation by doing what is right. God's forgiveness frees us from the bonds of sin so we can live pure and holy lives filled with gratitude before Him.

Isn't that a beautiful picture?
Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: ... By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. (1 John 5: 1-6)
-these thoughts were inspired by the lovely sermon I listened to today at my church. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Secrets from my Past 3

It seems like a lot of other bloggers are homeschooled. Every time I see this, I smile a little. Although it seems like a very long time ago, I was once homeschooled too. Okay, so it wasn't THAT long ago - I graduated in 2010. It seems like a lot has happened since then though. I have a bachelor's degree. I have more friends. I've grown up a lot. Things are changing. Some good changes, and perhaps some that I don't like as much. But I just want to encourage all you fellow homeschoolers out there to keep it up.

There were some times as I was growing up that I wished that I wasn't homeschooled, but for the most part I enjoyed it. Once I graduated, I really appreciated it. So just in case you aren't convinced that homeschooling is the absolute best, here are 10 reasons why I think it is:

  1. You can learn at your own pace. If I excelled at a subject and really enjoyed it, I would find additional ways to challenge myself and learn it better. If there was a subject that I struggled with more, I could take the additional time to learn it better without getting behind in a classroom.
  2. You learn how to be self-motivated. My mom always made us be at our desks by 8:00 am sharp. If we weren't, there were penalties such as extra chores. I also learned how to be self-motivated at my schoolwork and get things done before they were due.
  3. You learn how to study on your own. As a homeschooler, I didn't have a group of friends all learning the same thing as me. I had to study on my own, and I figured out ways that worked for me and ways that didn't long before college.
  4. You learn how to interact with people that aren't your age. Who says that socializing with 100 kids the same age as you makes you socialized? By being around my family all day, I got lots of practice interacting with people older and younger than me. When you are around the same people for that long, you are forced to learn good communication skills and how to get along with people that may have very different personalities than you. When I tell people now that I was homeschooled, most of them are very surprised and comment on how normal I am (well I don't consider myself normal, but seriously - what type of horrible stereotypes are going around about homeschoolers?! Don't listen to them!).
  5. You learn life skills. If mom needs help cooking, you get a half an hour break from school to help get lunch ready. If a little brother needs help with his math homework, you sit down and help him. If there is a storm coming and things outside need put away, you get a 10 minute exercise break to help out.
  6. You can fit almost anything into your education.I was able to take art lessons from a local artist, take piano lessons, and every couple weeks we would get together with other homeschoolers to learn about special topics more in depth and hands on - such as soybeans or insects. When we went to Chicago for vacation, we took a field trip to the board of trade and watched all the craziness of stock trade. My family also did hundreds of projects in 4-H - I learned how to do everything from baking bread, to sewing a dress, to making a cedar chest, to overhauling a snowmobile engine.
  7. You have a flexible schedule. If something important like a funeral came up, we could easily put school on pause for the day and pick up the next day without having to play catch up. This is also great if you have the opportunity to go on a mission trip during the school year.
  8. You are smart. Getting into college was no problem. I received the top academic scholarships at all the schools I applied to; and freshman year was a breeze. It was so much easier than my curriculum of homeschooling that I didn't study at all my first year. Work hard now, and you can do anything you set your mind to.
  9. You don't have to worry as much about crazy people. Be it a school bully or a mass shooter, you are pretty safe at home with your family. You also don't have to deal with all the drama of teen dating and pregnancies and cliques, you name it.
  10. And most of all, you can learn about God. You don't have to worry about stopping to pray before taking an exam or reading your daily devotions and discussing them at lunch. In fact, that was encouraged! And that my friends, is the most important thing you will ever learn about in life. 
What do you enjoy most about homeschooling? 

PS - read part 1 and part 2 as well. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


With childlike abandon, the sun radiates her warmth. 
Sporting their most majestic garb, the trees whisper in excitement. 
Deep thoughts of eager expectation drive the wind along more quickly. 
The world is alive and bursting with a secret
Just waiting to be told.

Fall is here; and winter is coming.
The heat has gone; and the sun is setting.
A smile dances into my eyes, 
Wonder floods my heart...

With change, comes adjustments. 
What is gone will never come back.
Ah! But with change, comes new opportunities!

Monday, November 3, 2014


"Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me."

The darkness surrounded me, suppressing my voice.
I squeezed shut my eyes, but it was all I could see.
Memories floated through my mind, times of rejoicing...
Ah, that I could feel so at peace again.
As I sink further into the deepness, it feels like
A piece of me is missing.
As the days stretch onward, I'm slowly becoming
Engulfed in the darkness. My being one with the shadow.

Chaos ensues. Dark questions haunt my mind -
Spinning a dizzying web inside my brain.
I've always been the good girl, or so I thought.
How can I to bad things....
I know he is bad for me, know it's no good.
But my heart cries out irrationally -
"He's perfect for me!"

My eyes squeeze shut again, and my mouth utters -
Some words - meant to be a prayer.
Yet it seems that their meaning is all but lost
In this cold, dark place.
My soul cries out, "Lord, please help my
Lost self! I know I can't do this anymore,
I need Your help."

My plea slips into the darkness,
A flare for help, all but lost in outer space.
I muster all my strength to stand,
But my broken leg immediately bows
And I fall down in pain and anguish.
I cry into my hands, defeat again upon me.
All I want is to be loved, to feel desirable -
Is that all so bad?

Besides, my heart reasons,
"I am always so good...
So I need a little bad to balance me out."
I try to ignore the still, small voice
That tells me, ever so quietly -
"You know that's not My best for you."

"Your best for me?!" my heart sputters back,
"Then what is Your best for me - to sit here
Alone, so sad and so cold?"
The still, small voice is gone - no rebuttal in sight.
But deep in my mind, the answer is clear,
And I know that no argument can be won
With my irrational heart.

I cry out again, "Lord, please make my desires
More like You want them to be."
My heart fights against it, but my mind and
My soul deeply desire it.
The weeks turn to months, and at every corner,
It seems the blackness only grows worse.
Deeper and darker and harder to break.

I wonder if I will ever feel again.
If I will ever recover from this.
If I will ever walk on my legs again.
But all is not lost, and one day I awake -
To a beautiful feeling.
It must be how the caterpillar feels
When he finally emerges as a butterfly.

The feeling, so freeing, of the darkness
Slipping away, and slowly fading into the light.
The cage that once surrounded you has fallen away
And all that is left is beauty and peace.
There is no other way to describe it.
That moment that your prayers are answered.

When the Healer reaches down, and touches your
Broken leg - and all is healed and normal and well.
The darkness is gone and suddenly, you wonder -
"How could I have ever wanted those things?
How could I be so foolish and blind?"
When suddenly, before you, unfolds -
A Masterpiece. A beautiful piece of art
That makes your old dreams look like
Tattered rags.

And you look up, and you feel God
Smiling at you - and He says, "I will always
Keep my promises, my darling.
I will always hear your prayers.
Even when the darkness surrounds you
And you can't seem to find the way out.
And, my darling, you know that I always have the
Best plan for you that you could ever imagine."

And just like that, the light surrounds you,
And you feel at peace and at home.
And just like that your heart is purified,
And your dreams become a little more dreamy,
And that bad thing that you wanted so much,
Suddenly looks like a pound of sugar does to
The newest winner of the Biggest Loser.

"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Restoration

Let me tell you the story of a young man. His name was Josiah. He was 8 years old when his father Amon was assassinated. This made him king of Judah. His father was very evil and did many horrible things during his 2 year reign in Judah. But when Josiah took over at the age of eight years, he was the complete opposite of his father. This young man took the nation of Judah and completely restored them. He destroyed all the high places and idols, the sorcerers and magicians. When the priest found the book of the law and it was read to Josiah, he wept and rent his clothes over the state of Judah. 2 Kings 22:19 says "thine heart was tender, and thou has humbled thyself before the Lord...and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith the Lord."

Josiah's zeal for God was completely unmatched in history. Even the great King David was no match compared to this young boy. In 2 Kings 23:25 it says, "And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the Lord with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him."

How refreshing to read a story of this young man whose zeal for God was so unquenchable. Even when all his family was evil and bent on a destructive path, he saw the light and followed it. When the rest of Israel was bowing down to false gods, Josiah was weeping before the One True God.

Perhaps Josiah's story is not as well known as Abraham's or David's, but it should be. Josiah loved God with all his heart, and he made a difference by living out his faith. God used him to restore the nation of Judah, even at the age of 8. One of the biggest lies we buy is that we are too young to make much of a difference for God, so we'll just wait until we're older to follow God with all our heart. It doesn't hurt to live a little first does it? Every minute that we live for our own will and not God's is a minute that is lost. We aren't promised tomorrow. And even if we do have tomorrow, think about how much you could do tomorrow if you started now. You can't build a house in a day, and if you wait until you are old to start building yours, what's it going to look like?

Let's restore our lives to the God who paid the ultimate price for us, before it's too late.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

It feels like Christmas day...

Yesterday, I got a package in the mail. It was something that I had purchased from Amazon about a week earlier. It was just a small package, that could be easily lost in a pile of bills and junk mail. Yet it held the excitement of months of waiting and anticipation that was all winding up into a glorious peak of delight. Yes, it was the new Taylor Swift CD. Why does something so insignificant in the grand scheme of things turn out to be so exciting?

Who cares, honestly. lol. I have played the album on repeat ever since the moment that I opened it. I nearly have some of the songs memorized. So yeah, here are some of my favorite lyrics at the moment. Taylor Swift, can I just be as good as you?

And that's how it works
It's how you get the girl
And then you say

I want you for worse or for better
I would wait for ever and ever
Broke your heart, I'll put it back together
I want you for ever and ever

I should just tell you to leave cause I
Know exactly where it leads but I
Watch us go round and round each time

You got that James Dean day dream look in your eye
And I got that red lip classic thing that you like
And when we go crashing down, we come back in every time.
Cause we never go out of style
We never go out of style

He's so tall and handsome as hell
He's so bad but he does it so well
I can see the end as it begins
My one condition is
Say you'll remember me standing in a nice dress staring at the sunset


Sunday, October 26, 2014

But the Greatest of These...

I want to share with you one of my absolute favorite Bible passages of all time. What earthly poet can write with more elegance and splendor and magnificence?
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.  
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 
Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. . .  
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
Love. Is there anything better in life? Anything sweeter? Even the most unattractive become attractive when clothed in charity. Similarly, physical beauty is never more quickly lost that with someone whose heart is cold.

Love can make such a difference. It may be easy to "love" that guy who smiles so sweetly at you, but is that really love? True love is a choice. A choice to seek the betterment of another instead of your own. As 1 Corinthians 13 so eloquently puts it - true love is patient and kind and has no evil in its heart. No self-service, no iniquity. This is agape love. Pure and raw and beautiful. It has only been mastered by One, though all humanity should strive for it.

Agape love is when you see that innocent little face looking up at you. When you reach out and wipe the dirt off the cheek of that fatherless little child and give them the shirt off your back. It is when you give your life in service to the poor and the needy and the desolate. It's when you offer hope to the hopeless and give a drink of water in Christ's name. Agape love is when you pray for and witness to the man who shot your mother. It's when you smile at the soldier who has a gun aimed at your face and offer him the plan of salvation and show him the way to forgiveness. This love is deep and full and constant. Once we have received it, we cannot help but give it in return.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Secrets from my Past 2

Read part 1 here.


Around the time that I started going to college, this new artist named Owl City was just starting to become popular. I listened to his song "Fireflies" on facebook and honestly wasn't that impressed. My brother was, however, and he immediately went out and bought all the Owl City albums he could find. I started to like some of his beginning stuff from Of June and Maybe I'm Dreaming. When I went off to college, I borrowed a couple CDs to listen to in my car. Then one day, I was bored and started looking up my favorite artists on the internet (namely Owl City and Taylor Swift). The moment I began reading Adam Young's blog, I was hooked. I connected with his writing on so many levels. He was speaking my language and I had never experienced such a deep connection with anyone in the past. I had always viewed myself as a little different, a little un-understandable.

This Adam Young seemed like an exact replica of me. He was a dreamer. He openly admitted that he was a shy guy from a small town in Minnesota. His writing was filled with so much symbolism and deep thoughts, but they weren't just out there for everyone to understand. You had to think about it and draw your own conclusions about what they meant. I loved that. I read one of his blog posts that was about introverts, and I bought the book that he recommended (The Introvert Advantage) and read it from cover to cover; I learned more about introverts than I ever hoped to know, and all the while I was coming more and more to the realization that I was perfectly normal and it was okay to be an introvert.

During this time, I also became obsessed with Owl City music. His music was just like his writing, only better. It was filled with all the same symbolism that you can draw a million meanings from, but it also has that incredibly upbeat feel to it. How can you listen to that without feeling happy and joyful? I think part of being a dreamer is being incredibly optimistic. I loved that happy feeling - I love being happy, and I nearly always am. It also helped immensely that he was so openly Christian. He had morals and similar values to me, and as a freshman in college, trying to figure out my own beliefs in this world, that was hugely encouraging to me.

It wouldn't be until much later that I would realize how much more I shared with Adam Young than just being introverted. We are both INFPs - dreamers, healers. Even though I didn't know that at the time, I felt the connection. It was so good to have someone that I actually understood and who was so similar to me. I can't tell you how many hard nights and weeks and months reading Adam Young's blog got me through. He was my beacon of hope. And whenever I thought I couldn't make it in this cruel, harsh world, I would go to his work and find happiness.

PS- I still love both Owl City and Taylor Swift. And in a way, I feel like Taylor Swift is similar to Owl City. She's not openly Christian, but most of her songs are optimistic and somewhat dreamy. She writes with a lot of symbolism that can be interpreted however you want it. I'm also a slightly hopeless romantic, which may be another reason I like her music so much. She's fun, but I'm not as much into her as I am Owl City.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Eternal Struggle

Without light, there would be no darkness. 
Without darkness, there would be no light. 

What makes a good picture? Why is art so appealing? If you take much time to think about it, the answer is probably because of contrast. This concept is so deeply fundamental to everything around us - from being able to see, to hearing noise. If the world were static, and no contrast existed, what would there be to see? The world would be one shade of grey and sound would be a monotonous buzz. Contrast is essential to everything we take for granted. When dark and light are beside each other, it is easy to see the difference, to determine the line between them.

What if there were no bad in the world? What if we never experienced a struggle within our beings? Maybe you think life would be easier - and maybe it would be - but would it be better? Would it be as beautiful? The hard times make us grateful for the good times; and the evil in the world (and inside of us) makes it possible for us to recognize the good. If the world were all good, perhaps it would only look grey to us. Perhaps we would not be able to distinguish the raw purity of its light.

It may seem difficult to be grateful for the hard times, for the evil people, for the struggle inside. But work to find gratitude in your heart, because if the bad did not exist, perhaps the good wouldn't either.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Fearless Faith

A warmth so compelling breaks through the darkness,
Ever so slowly awaking the seed. 
Springing to life, its fingers push upward
Til they break free and into the light. 
As time marches onward, and the days still lengthen
A beautiful flower peeks up at the sky.
Ever growing towards the light
Its breathtaking brilliance -
Is there for all to see
As it nods in the breeze 
And smiles up at the sun in thanks for its life.

Lord, make me more like the flower, so simple -
Which smiles at Thee. 
Which turns towards the light 
And away from the dark. 
Which constantly abides and never ceases to praise Thee
Without a care in the world
Drawing glory to God through its humble existence. 

I've always preferred to look at the bright side. I want to assume the best about people and see the good in the world. I may be naive...but I would rather be that than cynical and cold. Some people have told me that I should be more careful, less trusting. I've been told that I need to protect myself. But I've always wondered....if I have faith in God, why would I have to worry about myself? Now, it would not be wise or prudent to put myself in unnecessary danger. But if I have been called to go somewhere, or do something, I have full confidence that God is in control. Why worry about it? Why even waste time thinking about it? Doing so much is giving the enemy victory in our life. God orchestrates every minute detail of the universe, and if it is my time to leave this earth - no amount of worry or planning on my part is going to change that. On the other hand, if God still has a purpose for me - no danger that confronts me is going to defeat His purpose. So why worry about the evil in this world? Why let fear have a place in your heart and mind? Talk to God, He will listen. And He will gladly take your burden from you. Our number one purpose is to follow God's will. To listen to the Holy Spirit's still small voice in our head. To obey those promptings and convictions. And when we do that, we have no place for fear. We have no place for worry. Only peace will dwell in our hearts, and we will not have fear in this world. God is in control, and no amount of worry on our part is going to change that. He always has our best interest in mind.

The end of anxiety is the beginning of faith, and the end of faith is the beginning of anxiety,

Monday, September 29, 2014

When All You Hear is Static...


The day is beautiful and the story line is progressing ever so nicely. There is sunshine all around you and not a cloud in the sky. Each scene runs smoothly and you take pictures in your mind to save them for a rainy day. Life is love, and joy, and happiness. Then just as you reach the most exciting, suspenseful plot.....everything turns to static.

All you see is the dimly blinking gray and white screen. All you hear is a deafening hiss; growing louder and louder in your ears. 

What happens next? The story was just getting good! You glance out the window to see dark clouds closing in, and an angry wind tearing at your yard. A second ago, there was so much hope. So much joy and laughter. The story had a perfectly predictable plot line; and this twist was the last thing you wanted. 

The static continues for days on end. No glimpses of what should have been. Only long and loud and gray and unknown stares you in the face and sucks away your life. 

But wait, there's something you don't know. Or wait, maybe you do. Things like this don't "just happen." There is Someone that is in control. And even if you don't understand all the twists and turns; even if you don't like the unanswered questions; He has a perfect plan. As we follow His lead, and read our script, the static will all fade away. As we look back on our life, we'll realize that there was never any real static anyway; it was only what we perceived. 

So the next time you hear static, and all you can see is flashing gray - take your preconceived ideas about how the story will end up, and burn them on the spot. You see, it's never God who plays the static: that is what we see and hear when we fail to follow His script. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Dark Musings

Why do I write about the hurt?

Should I write about the hard things?

My goal is for this blog to be a positive influence that will draw people closer to Christ. I want this blog to celebrate life and hope and beauty. But I don't want to sugar coat things and make it look like my life is perfect. Because it's not. There are hard times. There will always be hard times. But the important thing to remember is that hard times are beautiful too. We may not understand why they happen at the moment, but there is a reason and it will all work together in the end. Each failure, each hardship, each battle that we face shapes us into who we are.

The weakest people on earth are those who have never experienced hardship. However, perspective is oh, so important. Because if we let it, hardship can make us too hard. Cynical. Miserly. Perspective shows us that hardship is good. We learn the most from failure; and when we do this, we can turn our failure into a stepping stone for success.

Find beauty in the difficult things. Look at them as opportunities to learn, to make yourself better. Be grateful for the struggle. It will make you stronger. Learn from your failure and you will find success. Let the hard things soften you and mold you into a better person. Cling to God with all your might and He will never let you down.

Secrets from my Past 1

Everyone has a story to tell. Yes, even that quiet girl who always sits at the back of the classroom and never comes up and talks to you. I love to hear about peoples' pasts. The little things that they hold close, those favorite childhood memories, and the stories that hurt to be told. It is so much easier to understand people if you know their background. You can prevent so many hurts and misunderstandings if you know what their past has held.

Growing up I always thought of myself as being defective. I felt like I was not good enough, and never would be. No matter how hard I tried to be everything that I felt others wanted me to be, I could never succeed.

Freshman year of college. I was invited into the honors college and we went on a retreat before classes started. We had to take the Meyers-Briggs personality test. I was an INFP, but I had no clue what that meant. We had briefly studied this in psychology, but not enough for me to really understand it. The honors college had a psychologist come and talk to us about the results and what they meant. The entire hour lecture was filled with new revelations and ah-ha moments for me. Each of the four categories are based on a spectrum. Zero is the middle, and there are 30 points to either side of the scale. So if you scored 20 on extroversion, that would mean you were mostly extroverted, with occasional introvert tendencies. Most people have some tendencies from both sides.

I scored 30 out of 30 for introversion.

This didn't surprise me, but at this point I did not really know what exactly an introvert was. As the psychologist described each point, I began to realize for the first time in my life that I was normal. It was okay to feel the things that I was feeling. I wasn't deformed or backwards beyond hope. I was simply an introvert. For a long time, this was all I really understood about my personality. And it was enough. It was a start on the path to healing - to accepting myself. Realizing that there was nothing abnormal about me, and that no matter how hard I tried, I would never be able to change myself at my core. Do I have things I can improve? Of course. Each personality has their own weaknesses that they must strive to improve. But deep down, there is nothing inherently wrong with being an introvert. Extroverts are pretty cool, and this world is set up for them in many ways. But that doesn't mean it is are inherently better (or worse) to be an extrovert than an introvert. The sinful human heart can twist either one to be selfish and self-centered.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Where the Past and the Future Collide

The Present. Right now, this moment. Today is such a gift; it is the only moment in time where we can make a difference. The past is unchangeable and the future has no guarantee.

So many emotions have been going through my mind lately... and I'm not sure where to start. Perhaps it will suffice just to say that as I was re-reading some of my past diary entries, everything became much more clear. A diary is so important. Even for people who don't like to write - everyone should keep a journal. It is kind of like an Ebenezer. You can look back on it in the future and be reminded of all the wonderful things that have happened to you and that have brought you to the place that you are right now. You can remember the raw emotions that filled those moments when you first listened to God. When you promised to follow wherever He lead. And when you felt His Holy Spirit prompting you to obey. Those beautiful moments.

Sure, you might remember them even if you don't write them down; but will you remember them as well? Will you be able to recall in full detail with complete accuracy. I doubt it. Writing it down puts it into stone. Our memories are such a fluid state, they change and morph over time. But writing doesn't. It will always be there in stark black and white to remind you of each lowly detail that you take time to record.

Enough of that though.

I was reading through my diary, and I found all these things. I rediscovered the excitement of those moments when I was first falling in love with Jesus. I happened upon all those lovely love notes that I had written for my King. Filled with love, and joy, and passion for life. A desire to make a change in the world.

I know where my place is. I know where I will end up. And even if I don't know all the details of how the journey will look, I know who is leading me. I know who is writing my story; and if I follow Him, everything will be alright. I may not understand the dark passages He takes me through, but I know it will all work out in the best way possible if I just trust Him. After all, what type of a book would only have happy stories and an easy life? No one would read it would they? I know I wouldn't. It's the suspense. The incoherent sub-plots building into one grand climax that make a good story. All the moments of raging battles, the intensely fought for victory - make the ending all the sweeter.

The more wearisome the battle, the sweeter the victory!

My passion is to make a difference in this world. Anyone can say that right? I'm not exactly how this will look for me, but my ultimate goal is to open a nonprofit organization that will provide nutrition (physically, spiritually, emotionally) to children in developing nations. "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven." One day I will be there, on the front lines fighting for the souls of these precious little ones. Ones that cannot fight for themselves. Ones that have not had the incredible opportunities that I have. It is my duty - I cannot stand idly by.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Beauty of the Night

A cool breeze engulfs me as I step out into the blackness. After hours of tossing and turning for no apparent reason, I was tired of the glaring red numbers of my alarm clock screaming that it was getting later... and later... with no hint of sleep in sight. 1am...2am...3am. And I gave up. Obviously sleep was going to elude me tonight, so I might as well look at something a little more beautiful than my alarm clock. As I perch on the top step of my porch, I pull my blanket closer around me, thankful for its fuzzy warmth against the chilling air. The world seems so oddly silent. So empty and peaceful. I serenely gaze up at the sky as the song of the crickets lulls away all my thoughts. The moon is bright and cheerful, casting a delicate glow on the sleeping world. In between and through the quickly moving wispy clouds I catch glimpses of stars. Their ferocious power all but lost to me through the millennia that separate us. As I focus on their beckoning light, the chatter of crickets fade into the background. The nagging breeze no longer has my attention, nor does the friendly smile of the moon draw my eye. Somewhere out in the vastness, are things that I cannot even imagine. Things that man has not seen. Wonderful and great things. I feel so small and frail. As if the slightest calamity could totally obliterate my memory. How can problems in my life seem so big and out of proportion? The faintest breeze could blow it all away.

My thoughts take another turn. How awe-inspiring and majestic must God be? If He created all this, if He simply breathed it into existence, how much more incredibly imposing must His being be? How small and finite are we in comparison! The enormity of our universe pales in comparison to an omni-present Deity. 

As I slip back inside, my heart is still filled with awe and wonder at the presence of God. Oh, how little reverence we give Him. We treat Him as if He were a vending machine, or some slave that we control - demanding Him to give us our desires and take away our troubles. If only our eyes were not so blinded by selfishness and our hearts so puffed up in pride. If only we would realize how little we give Him what He demands...

We may choose to ignore the obvious. We may choose to live our way instead of His. But one day, our perfect little self-centered glass bubbles will be shattered. That day when our body breaths its last breath, and our soul enters into eternity. We will then be faced with the harsh reality that we chose to obliviously ignore. Only then it will be too late to change our path. God's mercy will no longer be available, and our eternity will be sealed. Is it worth it? 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

My Ebenezer

I am sure we are all familiar with the words of the old hymn... "Here I raise my Ebenezer, hither by thy grace I'm come. And I hope by thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home." Ebenezer literally means stone of help. In 1 Samuel 7:12, Samuel places a stone of memorial for the Israelites to remind them of God's mercy in bringing them back to Him. This stone was a constant reminder of the new beginning that the Israelites had started.

I've been reading through Exodus and Leviticus in my Bible readings lately and the words of this hymn are often brought to my mind. It seems that God often required the Israelites to implement memorials to remind them of important milestones. One of these "ebenezers" was the Passover. This feast was to occur every year, and it would help remind the Israelites of how God had mightily brought them out of Egypt, and how he had passed over their houses when the death angel came. 

I think it would be beneficial for us to raise more Ebenezers for ourselves. Whether it is a memory verse written on your mirror, a certain song that has special meaning for you, or a picture hanging on your wall that reminds you of an important event that God brought to pass in your is important to have reminders of God's incredible mercy and love towards us. 

Come, let us raise an Ebenezer. 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Of Purest Gold

There are days when each hour is a fight just to survive.
When the sun doesn't shine and the time just crawls by...
How will I make it alive?

The war rages on with each breath that I take;
The storm inside of me thunders and crashes.
Will my heart stay in one piece or will it all turn to ashes?

I cry and say, "Your will be done, Lord."
But my heart passionately spews - "No, Mine!"
The pain of each step and the dread that is building,
Threaten to overtake me.

My heart is struggling - straining to beat -
As the war rages on inside.
Death to my flesh, or death to my soul,
Are the only options in sight.

"Oh Lord, won't you take this battle from me?
Banish these desires from my heart -
Make myself like You!"
..."Don't you care, Lord?" I whimper in anguish;
No answer in sight.

The wind clamors against my house;
The storm outside no match for the one in my heart.
Desperation and confusion join ranks against me.
When will this battle end?

"Not in this life," comes the nearly silent reply.
"Oh Lord! How can this be?"
"My child, your will is free -
The war will rage as long as you are outside eternity."

"You see, my child, this battle must be.
Each man has his own war to face.
For at the end of his life, his battle will prove a choice.
If the choice is made to give into the flesh,
Eternity will bring death."

"But if you let the war rage on,
If you choose to fight and never give up,
No matter the pain and sorrow that come:
Please know, my child, that
Each victory will make the war burn fiercer."

"Oh Father, how will I bear this?"
I whisper as tears stream down my face.
"My dearest daughter, I will never leave your side."
He reaches for my hand, his voice ever so tender and kind.
"And, my darling... you must remember that
Only by the hottest fires can the purest gold be refined."

Sunday, April 20, 2014

My God's Not Dead!

Let love explode and bring the dead to life. A love so bold to see a revolution somehow... Now I'm lost in Your freedom, In this world I'll overcome. My God's not dead, He's surely alive. He's living on the inside, Roaring like a lion.... Let hope arise and make the darkness hide, My faith is dead I need resurrection somehow... Let heaven roar, And fire fall, Come shake the ground with the sound of revival. My God's not dead, He's surely alive. He's living on the inside, Roaring like a lion. He's roaring, He's roaring, He's roaring like a lion.

A couple thousand years ago, there was a man that lived and walked on the earth. He was a man unlike any other man. He was so incredible and made such an impact that if you merely mention His name today (two thousand years later), nearly everyone knows exactly who He is. And His name continues to cause one of the biggest controversies of the ages. Why all this fuss? Why do people remember Him - why do some love Him so much, and yet others hate Him? He was just a lowly carpenter. A man who lived an unassuming life, who didn't even so much as have a house to call His own. He wasn't rich. He wasn't powerful. Why is He such a point of contention even today? Why hasn't His name long been forgotten in the annals of history?

Because this was not just any ordinary man. This was God, come down in the form of man... He lived a humble life, dedicated to saving mankind from their own sin. He suffered to the point of dying a humiliating and excruciating death for this cause. But thankfully the story does not end there. He did not stay in the tomb. He rose again! The miracle of miracles happened. Surely, if nothing else proves His deity, this does. He didn't stay in that tomb, but He rose again and He lives today.

And that, my friends, is the foundation of Christianity. If Christ did not rise, then Christianity is dead. If Christ did not rise again, then He would have been forgotten. No one would love or hate Him. The mention of His name would be of little or no consequence to most of our daily lives.

My God is not dead!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Panda Bears


Panda Bears. They're such adorable little creatures aren't they? I've always thought that they were pretty cute. Plus, they seem so laid back and I don't know.. just happy, all the time. I mean, who really thinks of a panda bear as being angry or mean? No one is scared of panda bears. They don't hurt anything either. All they really do is sit around and eat bamboo, come to think of it.

There are also some less known facts about panda bears. For one, they don't hibernate. Instead, they travel to keep warm in the winter and cool in the summer. They also don't have a permanent home, but instead they usually sleep at the base of a tree. Pandas are also generally solitary creatures and usually have their own individual territory.

I have always liked panda bears. Not only because I am somewhat similar to one (laid back, love to travel, solitary - haha) but also because they are so unique. I mean, they definitely aren't common. I also feel like I am unique (which I usually embrace and enjoy). lol. Pandas also just seem really artistic. They aren't just boring, and all one color like a brown or black bear. They have clearly defined colors that make them stand out and that are symmetrical and beautiful.

All in all, panda bears are clearly pretty awesome. Who wouldn't want to be one?

Oh, yeah and another small reason that I named my blog this - I happen to love Owl City (I'm sure you'll hear more about this later) and he just happens to have a song that has lyrics something like this:

"Content like a panda bear... still breathing the fresh mountain air..." :)

I want to be like that. Content, happy, unique, original.... I want to be a panda bear.

UPDATE: I changed my name from "The Content Panda Bear" to "Laurel Crowned." Read all about it here.