The Giving of Thanks

I missed Thanksgiving. I’m in Chile, and they don’t celebrate it here. Yesterday my host mom pulled the Christmas tree out of storage and it makes me sad because it reminds me of the Thanksgiving shaped void in my life right now.

Thanksgiving is my second favorite holiday next to Christmas and my birthday (which tie for first). I love the amazing delicious beautiful food that I’m allowed to gorge myself on once a year and not feel bad about my life choices. I love that my family goes around the table and says what we’re thankful for.  I love the story behind the holiday of two races coming together and celebrating their friendship and the plentiful harvest. I love that once a year, all over the country, no matter how terrible a person’s life is or how pessimistic someone is, they have a reason to think of the things and people that make their life wonderful and express that to their loved ones. I love that families who are broken can set aside their differences for just a little bit, eat an amazing meal together, and say something they are thankful for about one another. I love that when you normally wouldn’t express this to someone, you have the excuse of a holiday to tell them just how much you love someone and are thankful for them. I love that we have a once a year reminder to thank God for blessing us so abundantly and we remember all the things in our lives that are worth being thankful about.  I just really love Thanksgiving a lot!

I wish I was in the States right now. I’m missing it by nine days!

But on the bright side, I can still be thankful even from 5000 miles away from home. Obviously.

I’m thankful for my family. My mom and dad are wonderful and they’ve taught me so much. They’ve stuck together through the good and the bad and they’ve set an amazing example for what it means to love unconditionally. Rachel has a beautiful and fun personality. It’s been wonderful growing up with someone so close in age and to know I will always have someone to talk to and turn to. Lucas is funny and has a kind heart. He is a protector and I know he’ll always have my back. Jonathan is so creative and affectionate. He’s really sweet and he loves to love by spending time with his family. Even though we’ve all had our differences and we get fed up with each other sometimes, I know that in the end family is forever and we’ll always love each other.

I’m thankful for Zach.  He has a beautiful heart and a creative mind. He loves God and strives to honor Him. He is loving and thoughtful and sweet and I kind of really love him. 🙂 I’m so blessed to know him and to have dated him for the past year.

I’m thankful for my friends. Elaine, Kayla, Lauren, Caroline, Xanda, DJ, Tris, David, Jihoon, Sodam, etc. They are all beautiful people who I love dearly. They encourage me, challenge me to be a better person, and make me laugh. I’m so blessed to know every one of you.

I’m thankful for Grove City College, for the opportunity I’ve been given to receive such an excellent education, and the amazing friends I’ve made here.

I’m thankful for Chile and for the experiences I’ve had and the memories I’ve made and for the people I’ve met. I’m especially thankful for my host family, Rosy and Manuel, for caring for me and inviting me into their home and family for four months.

I’m thankful for music, and the beauty of nature, and everything else I love that I don’t have time to talk about right now.

Last but definitely not least, I’m thankful for God because all of these other things I’m thankful for are gifts from him. Even though I don’t deserve it I’ve been forgiven, saved, blessed abundantly, and loved unendingly by the creator and sustainer of the universe and that is truly amazing.

Okay so I know I’m posting this a day after Thanksgiving but that’s okay because we can be thankful every day of the year!

Also, I will be posting about Machu Picchu and other adventures very very soon I promise!

Peace!

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Switchfoot – Head Over Heels

“In this life, you’re the one place I call home. In this life you’re the feeling I belong. In this life you’re the flower and the thorn. You’re everything that’s fair in love and war.”

This song is beautiful lyrically and musically. It also happens to be by my all time favorite band ever in the whole world! Give it a listen.

Ode to an Asian Fern

Disclaimer: Not my photo. I Googled "Asian Ferns"

Disclaimer: Not my photo.  I Googled “Asian Ferns”

Today I was bored, so I looked back through my old documents that I have saved to my laptop. I found a folder called, “My Poetry,” read through it, and realized it was actually decent.

Here is a poem I wrote in high school.  Like “Ode to the Cheese,” this poem is not actually an ode, so I have no idea why I called it that.

Anyways….

~

Ode to an Asian Fern

In the world there is a quiet town

There is a house there is a room

And in that room, by the window bound,

Stands a blue vase

Filled with a fern.

~

Green leaves reaching up

Hanging down all wispy

Like a weeping willow.

Are you sad, little willow fern?

Why weep with the sun in your eyes?

~

Is your home far away?

Japan and China calling calling

Your branches reaching longing

And your branches drooping falling

For you cannot answer.

~

Just outside the window

Wind caresses trees leaves

And you cannot feel

Rain falls gently to the earth

But you cannot drink

Sun shines warmly

And flowers smile, receiving

So close yet so far.

~

A glass wall blinds you from life

Yet you exist on in silence

Weeping, reaching to the sun

That you can see but never touch.

~

Cry little Asian fern

And I will cry too

For the fern in the house

For the quiet town

And the wide wide world

Who will never know the Son

Self-talk.

“For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.”

(II Timothy 1: 7)

timid

Have you ever said to yourself, “That’s impossible!”

What about, “I can’t ask God for ______; I don’t deserve it.”

“If I ask God for _________ and he doesn’t give it to me, then I must be a weak Christian or maybe he doesn’t love me.”

“If I do ___ then they’ll think I’m stupid/weird/crazy/fill in the blank.”

Or, “I’m a failure because I’m not like Superchristian who leads worship and teaches Sunday school and works two jobs and has five well-behaved kids and spends four hours praying every day and invites people over for dinner every week and is beautiful and practically perfect in every way.

God can’t use me because I’m too shy, I mess up all the time, I’m addicted to _______, I can’t do squat, I hate talking to people, I talk too much, I’m prideful/fearful/bitter/sinful, I fill in the blank.

I’m unlovable because ___________________________.

I have said some variety of almost all of these things to myself either consciously or subconsciously. Believing these lies has led me to act in timidity and fear.

 

Timidity

1. a lack of courage or confidence; easily frightened.

I act in timidity because I believe a lie. 

 

Even though I know  with my head that these statements are lies, I still act as though they are true.

But God did not save me so I could live my life constantly looking over my shoulder, checking to see if I was living up to the “standard,” or worrying what others might think of me.  He saved me so that I could live boldly and courageously!

 

 Power

1. to be able

2. the ability to do something or act in a particular way, especially as a faculty or quality.

I have the power to do anything with God’s strength.

Love 

Original Greek: Agape 

1. selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love.

I am loved unconditionally and can learn to love unconditionally. 

 

Discipline

 1. To correct, to teach, to make of sound mind.

I will discipline myself to embrace what God tells me is true and strive to live according to His will. 

When I act as if I believe these three truths, then the lies lose their sting.

Self talk is a thing.  Tell yourself truth to replace the lie, and then act like you believe it. Be amazed at the results in your attitude and how you live your life.

“I can do this!”

“I don’t deserve _____, but I have a good God who loves to bless me so I’ll ask for it anyways.”

“If God doesn’t give me what I ask for, then his answer is either “Wait,” or “No, My Love, I have better plans for you.”

“I’m going to do something unconventional and it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks of it.”

I’m not like Superchristian, but I am me and that’s okay!

God uses broken people. I’m broken. God can use me.

I am lovable, loved, and able to love!

 

I hope this is encouraging to you. What are your thoughts or stories of times when you felt timid, or times when you used self-talk and acted like you believed it?

Into the Light

Image

I drew this with watercolour pencils a year or two ago at like three o’clock in the a.m. Please give credit.

We have a choice; to stay in the darkness and fear of our mind prisons, or walk into the light and freedom of Christ.

 

The Controversial Controversy of da Vinci versus da Peasant.

On Tuesday I went to D.C. and took this picture:

DSCN1288

And it really bugged me because those silly scientists stuck a human being, who is created in the image of God, in the same exhibit as monkeys, which are created in the image of…well, a monkey.

You are welcome to comment what you believe and why, and we can have a discussion. I can’t claim to be an expert on the subject, so don’t call me ignorant or start bombarding me with facts and statistics and scientific or religious reasons why I’m wrong. This is just what I have come to believe over the years of reading the Bible, and learning about evolution in science courses.

I think evolution is a thing. It explains a lot, and some of it makes sense, and it can be observed on a small scale.  I don’t think it explains everything, nor is 100% accurate. Not even 0% in some of its claims.

I also believe that God created. He made everything, and things work the way they do because he made it that way. I don’t get it, neither to many of the super smart scientists even if they think they do, and that’s okay as far as I’m concerned.  But what I do know is a) there is design and order in the universe even when it seems random and b) God created Man in his own image and that sets us humans apart from other animals.

What concerns me most about the Evolutionary Theory is that degrades humans by saying that we evolved from apes. It’s like looking at a masterpiece and saying, “Naw; this wasn’t painted by Leonardo da Vinci. Some peasant fell and accidentally splashed paint on a canvas and this is what came out. Oops!  We could probably use it to mop up this dirt here.” scrubs the floor with Mona Lisa’s face.

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 (she doesn’t have a face now so I used Mr. Beans’ instead)

So this is what I believe. What are your thoughts on the matter? Do you agree, disagree, have something to add? Comment away!

P.S. da Vinci stands for the Creator, and da Peasant stands for random chance. This is by no means a derogatory statement about peasants. (actually, it probably is but whatevs.)

Life has a Hopeful Undertone

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Here is some encouragement and deep thoughts for your consideration:

Life is complicated. Some days are beautiful and you feel full of life and joy. Other days you feel overwhelmed by pain and loneliness, and some you don’t feel anything at all.

When I was thirteen I went to public school for the first time. So picture this: socially awkward and culturally inept kid plus irregularly flaring hormones plus public middle school. In other words, I was a scared, lonely, and depressed little girl.

One day I was walking down the road on my way home from the bus stop. I had my thick unruly hair tied up in two pigtail braids and wore glasses and hand-me-down denim clothes. I must have been quite a sight shuffling along with my head down and earbuds in, not even noticing how beautiful the day was.

I was listening to Switchfoot on shuffle, and their song, Meant to Live, came on.  “We were meant to live for so much more, have we lost ourselves?” I started to think something like, “What am I meant to live for? My life sucks. There must be more than this. Is it even worth it?” Immediately after that song, The Shadow Proves the Sunshine started playing. “We are crooked souls trying to stay up straight. Dry eyes in the pouring rain. The shadow proves the sunshine…” The lyrics of both songs were basically exactly how I was feeling right then, and the message was exactly what I needed to hear. I felt like my life had no meaning, or if it did I was missing the point.  But in that moment I realized that life is hopeful and meaningful. It might be dark right now, but I need that in order to know and fully appreciate the light.

I don’t think I realized the full impact of that moment until years later. It was only the beginning to finding hope and meaning and joy even during the most painful times of life.

C.S. Lewis said, “If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.”

The reverse is true as well, that without the dark, light would have no meaning. Without sorrow, we could not know joy.  Etc, etc. You get the idea.

He also said,

“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”

Sometimes even when my life is awesome and I am blessed beyond measure I still feel a longing in my soul that I can’t explain.  Like C.S. Lewis, I can only conclude that I don’t belong here.  I will be restless until I rest in God. I will wander until He calls me home and in the meantime, nothing can satisfy me as deeply and completely as Christ can and does. I need to remind myself of this more often cause I forget it all the time and then I feel let down when I was looking in the wrong place.

So the hopeful undertone of life is that we are not alone, life has meaning, and Switchfoot still is my favorite band.