Showing posts with label faith. Show all posts
Showing posts with label faith. Show all posts

Monday, February 8, 2016

What happened to January?

Hello Lovely Readers,

I did not mean to ignore you for the last half of January... I feel like I spent most of January settling into a new year and then without even realizing it half the month had gone by and I was spending most of my days in jury duty (the case is over now so I can, I just don't want to talk about it). Up until now while I have been called 4 times but this is my first time serving and my only knowledge of jury duty was 12 Angry Men with Henry Fonda and Runaway Jury (both book and movie) and both these were far from the realities. My own personal take away is 1) I am surprised listening to a case for about 4 hours a day can be very mentally draining and 2) I am surprised at how (for the most part) we all agreed we wanted to give the plaintiff money but yet we still had very different feelings on it.

{Twelve Angry Men}
I didn't want you all to think I have forgotten about you because I haven't. Lately I have been feeling mentally stuck and it is leaking into a lot of aspects of my life. I don't really want to go into the reasons why I am stuck on social media and all that (sorry). One of the major aspects in my life that have been affected by this mental stuck-ness is my walk with God. I have spent pages and pages in my prayer journal moaning and complaining about what is going on. (God is probably getting sick of it).  Awhile ago my friend shared with me that she was reading verses on God's faithfulness and God's promises. Let me just say she is going through harder times than I am and she seemed way more positive and encouraged than I could be. So I thought reading passages on faith and faithfulness might help... I realize I need to have more faith in God that He will get me through this time and He is faithful towards me (even when I am not always faithful to Him). I have a Life Application Bible which a nice topical index in the back and it has little notes that help the reader understand how to apply it their lives (I call them cliff notes)... so I have been going through passages that talk about faith.

Through this study I came across a passage in 2 Kings 7 that had a cliff note that said- "Sometimes we become so preoccupied with the problems when we should be looking for opportunities. Instead of focusing on the negatives, develop an attitude of expectancy. To say that God cannot rescue someone or that a situation is impossible demonstrates lack of faith."*

I am still no sure what it means to "develop an attitude of expectancy" if you do please give me some guidance. However, the next night  I wrote in my prayers... Lord you have blessed my life so much. Lord I have a job, I have a warm apartment, I have my volunteer work, I have Reunion (my church), and my family. Lord I am so thankful for all the blessings I have. Lord you have provided for me this much and I know you will continue to provide for me. Lord help me to change my attitude to focus on your goodness and await with expectation. Lord I know you are are going to do something amazing. Lord you have done something amazing, you sent your son to this earth, you created this earth, you created me and you call me child and beloved. You gave up your life so I may have eternal life in you, Lord only you who are truly perfect could save the world. Oh Lord my God you are master and creator, you are hope beyond hope. You are abundant in love and mercy. Your grace and love know no bounds. Your timing, your will, and plans are perfect.

Lord I do pray for your help. Oh Lord, for I know I can spout these words and I know I can really want to mean to mean them but I feel my so little reflects that. I feel I keep burying myself in negatives and sorrow. Oh my Lord my God, forgive me for my doubts, forgive me for my lack of faith. Lord I am weak and I stumble. Lord I so desperately want to live in your glory and to succeed in following you but it is to do that. I feel loss and sometimes hopeless. I question oh Lord my purpose and my reason for being here. My mind and focus are lost. Lord help me to cling to you or I know you have a plan and purpose for my life. Lord, I am sorry I dwell so much in negativity when you oh God are so wonderful. 

I know in one little prayer I do not have this all down. Staying negative is easy because it puts no effort into trying to find the good in the situation and it allows me to focus on myself. At my church we had a message on generosity (not just with our money) and the more I talked about the more I realized generosity comes from a place of gratefulness. How grateful can I be if I just sink in negative thinking? And if I can't be grateful for what I have, how can I demonstrate God's hope and security that I know He gives to me? So I am trying. I am trying to change my mindset and know that God is in control and that He has great plans for me and look forward to what is coming.

As I was writing this post a short song came on my shuffle with the lyrics -"Hope means holding on to you, Grace means you're hold me too," I thought this was applicable for this topic so I wanted to share it with you...
Song: Painted Red
By: JJ Heller

I don't really have a conclusion for this post...just I want to keep trying.

*- Life Application Study Bible: New International Version, Zondervan, 1991. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

I won't say resolutions but goals

Hello Lovely Readers,

It is the new year and I am sure like a lot of you, you are thinking about what you want to accomplish in this year. I don't think I really like the term resolution but I do have some goals I want to work on this year.

1) I want to be better in my quiet time... the last couple of months I have felt a little flat and I think one reason for this is that I have not stayed consistent in my Bible reading and prayer time. When I do pray and when I read the Bible it hasn't really sunk in and it hasn't made an impact on my life. I know I have a habit of looking to people, and silly things like TV shows and novels to fill me and give me comfort. I know things will always let me down.

My Bible reading has been scattered at best...and the last time I really felt connected I followed a scheduled that I made out for myself but inspired by friend. Lately I have been thinking about how faithful God is and His promises. So with the help of my topical index in the back of my Bible I am looking up passages... I have done this in the past with looking up passages that mention "Hope" (link) and it really helped me feel unstuck and encouraged my faith. I highly recommend if you are feeling stuck to think of a word (example: hope, faith, guidance, prayer or refuge) and to study passages on that subject.

Blog post... Hope is an Act of Waiting
2) Praying for others... Over the last couple of months I have also noticed when I sit down and pray I get so focused on my own problems I forget about others so I need to pray for others more. In that I need to get bold and ask "how can I pray for you?" I am an introvert so it is easier for me to hide behind this blog than actually talking to people and a couple of days ago I posted on Facebook asking people for prayer request but I need to actually talk to people and check in on them. However, if you are reading this blog and we don't see each other that often feel free to Facebook message me, text me or email me with a prayer request (Contact me)

As I was writing this I got distracted by Facebook (a common occurrence) but I saw my friend post this and I thought it followed what my last two goals have been...
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3) Read and share more... In 2015 I did a reading challenge of trying to read 26 books (link) in the year (I think I ended up reading 30 or so books), at first I really like it as it helped me get out of my "post graduate brain slump" but over time I found I was "controlled" by the challenge and for a bit I resented it. I am not doing a challenge this year but I do want to read just as much and I want to share about them as well. While I usually write a "book blurb" post about different books I did not have a central area for sharing books I have read... well inspired by a conversation with my sister I decided to make a list of books I have liked over the years and I hope to add to this list. Click on my "All about books" to read more (link). I will keep posting my book blurbs but for books I highly recommend I will post them on this list... hope this helps you all find a good story. I also recommend the blog "Modern Mrs. Darcy" she has made her life about reading and writing about books and she post e-reader discounts (link to her Facebook page).
Modern Mrs. Darcy on Facebook
4) I want to finish the rough draft of my current work in progress "Quiet Hope" and get to the editing process of it. In that process I want to share more of my story with you all... sharing parts of my story (even if in rough draft) with you all has always kept me inspired to keep writing. I will try to get some post up soon.... hope you enjoy.

Have a good 2016!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

A long book blurb... part 2

Hello Lovely Readers,

I know I don't usually post two days in a row but I want to finish up the details of my "26 book challenge" before 2016 (tomorrow). In my previous post I wrote about books I highly enjoyed and books I pulled at my heart strings... but there are other books I read and I wanted to let you know about them.

For the love of history...

I love history so much that not only did I get my bachelor's degree but also got my master's in history, though I will admit sometimes I have a hard time reading historical books because they are rather dry and so I usually turn to historical fiction. If historical fiction is good the author will make you feel as if the past is a live for you. In my previous post I shared a lot of historical fictions I loved reading this year but I am also pleased to announce I found some nonfiction I enjoyed.

1. A Season of Splendor: The Court of Mrs. Astor by Greg King- I picked this book up a couple of years ago when I visited Newport, RI and was swept away in the Gilded Age and I wanted to read anything about that era. A Season of Splendor is a wide view of the time period focusing on different prominent families, their wealth, their culture including balls, clothing and mansions and what brought about the end of the era. I underlined and tabbed many of the pages in order to go back and use as a reference in future writing projects.

2.  Testament of Youth by Vera Brittian- is the memoir of Vera Brittian who left her studies at Oxford in 1915 to enlist as a nurse in WWI. She served in London, in Malta and on the Western Front and sadly by the end of the war she had almost everyone she loved. I will admit the writing is a bit dry as I think she is trying to sound like an educated woman and to be taken seriously and not to be seen as a frivolous emotional author. I recommend this book with the companion read Chronicle of Youth which is selected pieces of her diary (selected by editor) she kept during the war... I think these two together give a better insight into her life, her experiences, her emotions and the impact World War I had on people. However, if you cannot get around to reading both books I recommend the movie Testament of Youth as I think it blends together both these works.
Link 

3. Mary Queen Scots by Anotonia Fraser - I will admit that I got intrigued to read this book because I enjoyed the historical fiction version portrayed on the CW and I honestly wanted to know how much was fact and how much was fictionalized. This book also has a special spot in my heart as I bought it in Paris at the Shakespeare and Company. Though it is thick do not let it intimate you as Fraser is a great writer and tells the history in a capturing way... I found myself tearing through it. 

Books I am glad I crossed off my literary list...

1. Charlotte's Web by E.B White- Though I love reading now I did not read much as a child and sometimes I feel I missed out on childhood classics one being Charlotte's Web. 

2. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury-Is not in my typical genre of reading but I really enjoyed it and made me think about the future and the progress of society. 

General reccomendations...

1. The Chance by Karen Kingsbury- Looking for something light, maybe a beach read or a vacation read... this is a good book. It centers around Ellie and Nolan who years ago buried letters to each other (telling the other one how they felt). Now eleven years later (2013) they are to meet up and dig up the buried letters and read them. In those eleven years their lives have changed differently. Ellie no longer has the faith she once had and lives as a single mom in California and trying to make ends meet. Nolan is an NBA star but has had his own personal tragedies that has only fueled his faith and his athletic drive. Can they go back to the days of their innocent childhood and rekindle their feeling they had for each other as teenagers? Can they forgive past hurts and pains? 

2. The Storied Life of A.J Frikry by Gabrielle Zevin- This was a simple book and reminded me of a good update of Silas Marner by George Elliot. A.J Frikry lives a quiet life owning a bookstore until he meets a publishing book seller and has his treasured possession stolen. Both these actions leave him to create a new life for himself and open his heart to a girl left in his book store. I did not like reading Silas Marner in high school but I enjoyed this update. 

3.The Blue Castle by L.M Montgomery- looking for a little bit of lighthearted frivolousness, look to The Blue Castle, Valancy Stirling as always lived at the service and mockery of her relatives and yet she yearns for a place all her own. When she finally thinks that her life is going to end she decides to live the life she always wants speaking her mind and pursuing love. I think Valancy is a great character for giving courage of those wanting to seek out a place to belong.

To see other books I read for this challenge click on this "26 book challenge" page (link)

I have already seen some book challenges on Pinterest for 2016 (link) and while I liked this challenge as it kept me motivated to read post grad-school, I won't be doing another challenge. I have lots of books I want to read or re-read on my list and I think I will be making my way through those. Though through some encouragement of my sister, I will try to be better in 2016 and in the future of having a page of books I like. I currently have "Books to get Lost In" (link) but it is not very up to date and I want to share more books I have read. I will working on compiling a list of books I love and recommend for you all... will keep you updated when that is officially published. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Book Blurb... Love Does

Hello Lovely Readers,

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Have you ever read a book that you loved so much and halfway through you knew you wanted to give it to everyone you know (yeah Christmas coming up) but yet when you sit down to describe it you can't put it into words?

Yeah that is how I feel about Bob Goff's Love Does.  My friend recommended it to me in the Spring (I believe) and told me how much she loved it and underlined a lot of passages in it... I quickly ordered it on Amazon and awaited for its arrival. It came and I added it to my stack of "to be read books." It is not that I didn't want to read it, it is just I had other books I wanted to read as well and so it kind of got buried.If you have been following my blog or my life you know I have gone through a stage of feeling stuck and kind of wondering what God's purpose for my life is. I told myself I couldn't keep reading novels and escaping realities, so pulled out Love Does. I will admit I wasn't really reading my Bible (as much as I know I should it wasn't appealing to me)* so I started reading this book in my quiet time.

Bob Goff has lead what I would say a pretty amazing full of adventure life. He is the founder of Restoration International, a non-profit injustices committed against children in Uganda and India. He calls himself a part time lawyer and he is also an Honorary Consul for the Republic of Uganda to the United States. I am not listing his credentials because they are impressive (even though they are) it helps put his story into focus.

The book is full of stories from his college days, to stories about his kids, and all the in between.  Many times his story state "we jumped on a plane to (insert foreign county)" as if it was a spare moment decision. Sometimes it is hard to believe all the adventures one person can take but that was kind of the point of the book...


One reviewer wrote-
'Every once in a while someone like Bob Goff shows up to remind us that some things matter a lot more than others.  Love Does has a kind of 'north star' effect that will push you to refocus your life and energy on what is most significant. It doesn't just invite you to respond with your God-given potential, it invites you to become a part of what God can do beyond your potential.' (Amazon)
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The Love, Goff's book is about is the Love of Jesus and how it doesn't just ask us to sit by and let moments pass. "Love Does" allows us to jump into having adventurous, whimsy, engaging, and honest relationship with God. There were so many stories in the book but they all started off with saying "yes" to life. I don't want that to sound too "new age-y" because it wasn't like that at all. It was just saying "yes" to Jesus and God even without knowing all the details but just embracing what God wants you to do in life. Overall: I found the book really motivating and after I finished it I prayed and thanked God for people like Bob Goff who dedicate their lives to following Him. It made me think "Does my life reflect following Jesus?"
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I feel like I haven't done justice to this amazing book... basically if you are walking through a store and see this book, buy it, read it and pass it on to others.
 

*- Since starting and finishing this book I have gone to reading the Bible, read the book of Esther,which is another good book to read if you don't know what the purpose of your life to be.
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Monday, November 16, 2015

"Innocently Optimistic"


Hello lovely readers,

I had a blog post all ready for today but with the actions happening in Paris, Beirut and really around the world it felt hard to act like nothing had happened. I know changing my Facebook profile picture will not change the world and I know that even writing this post will not change the world. But something has to right?

I have always considered myself a positive person, some people might call me "innocently optimistic" and I am okay with that... I rather be that than thinking the world is a dark and scary place. But sadly sometimes the world sends messages that it is a dark and scary place. Sometimes the world feels like it won't ever make sense. And as I sit here in the comfort of my desk still enjoying the warmth from my cup of coffee I have to believe there is still good and there is still hope in this world.

On Sunday my pastor, gave a really hard message about putting on the "Armor of God". We have been going through the book of Ephesians and for the first four chapters it is all about diversity and unity, then Paul gets into some hard things like "submission" and "obeying our masters" and sometimes we rather not talk about or read about that stuff. This message on putting on the "Armor of God" I have always felt is not about looking for a fight or going out to fight just because you can. But knowing that this world and this life is hard. We are going to fight, argue, hurt each other and destruct other people's lives... its what happens because we live in a world of sin.

The passage we discussed:

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. Ephesians 6:10-19 (ESV)

And I will admit this is a hard passage to understand because we are called to be peace makers and we are called to submit to one another... so how can we be peace makers and still be in the armor of God? I don't have an answer and I might never have one. 

But I know this world is not what God intended. In his sermon my pastor pointed back to Genesis and the story of creation and how in those passage when it says "God saw that it was good" the word "good" means Shalom- peace, rightness, and completeness . And here "peace" is not the absence of conflict but they way the world should be with a fullness in God. I think rather you are a Christian or not that you can look around and see that this world is not peaceful, right, or complete. If it were we wouldn't hold grudges, we wouldn't kill innocent people, we wouldn't have starving children, or tears of pain, and the feeling of hopelessness. This world is not complete. 

I am not a Lord of the Rings fan but I liked when my pastor pointed out this line:
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I think that makes sense. I do not think we should go out fighting with guns, swords or bow and arrows but I do believe there is good in this world and we have to protect it. We have to hold on to it and defend it. To me the only way to do this is to have your focus on God and the salvation, love, and hope we have in His son Jesus Christ. 

I will be the first to admit that I am still figuring all this out and I don't have all the answers but I there is one who does and depend on His control, His peace, His righteousness, and love.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

A Work in Progress...


Hello lovely readers,

My church is going through a series in Ephesians and we are talking about God taking the badness in our lives and reshaping it to make it good. This week were discussing Ephesians 2:1-10. I am not a poet (though in high school I wrote a few poems mostly about the guys I had crushes on) however I was inspired to write this poem.

{untitled}
You may call me a hypocrite
Do you think I don't call myself that...
I know my flaws
I see all them stare at me
   when I look in the mirror
I see them before I put on my makeup
   and before I have my first cup of coffee
I try to hide them behind this mask
But I see them before you
I feel them and know them fully
They call me by name
    and regretfully I welcome them in
They surround me when I stumble and fail
They remind me of my worthless,
    junky state of being.
So don't call me a hypocrite
When I call Jesus my Lord,
Because I know all my flaws and sins
    he carried to the cross
I may not know the love it took Him
    to take that on
However, it is the love I struggle to understand
And it is a love I desire to know daily
Don't call me a hypocrite
   when I read my Bible or stand in church
because I know my flaws and sins.
I try to hide them
I try to cover them with a mask of goodness
    but I am broken,
I am shards of glass
and while I cling to these broken pieces
I know I should give them up
yet I strive to love daily
and forgive as I am forgiven.
But I am still trying
I might fail a thousand times
I might shatter into a thousand pieces...
I know my flaws
and I see them,
and they know me by name
so I don't call me a hypocrite,
   I am still trying,
   I am hoping to change,
wanting to be different
and to be more like the Christ I call King.
But I am a thousand pieces of glass
You many call me a hypocrite
Don't you think I call myself that
I know my flaws
but I am still trying, hoping, and changing.


Thank you for reading.

~~~~
I don't want you ending this post thinking I am all sad...because I am not. Actually I love the book of Ephesians (it might help that I have actually been to Ephesus and have seen the ruins) but it has always been a book I have turned too when my soul needs a bit of revival. So many of my favorite passages are in this book, including:

For by grace you have been saved through faith. 
And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,  not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, 
which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.- Ephesians 2:8-10 (ESV) 
In Ephesus... (Above) Paul spoke in the amphitheater behind me
(Below) Just relaxing a bit in the sun

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Life starts all over again...


Hello my lovely readers,

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This feels like an odd time... We have passed Labor Day weekend and everyone is talking about Fall. I will admit I could do with some cooler weather but I am not ready for it to be Fall, I am enough of a "Negative Nelly" that I don't like Fall because that means Winter is coming and I hate Winter. Though I will admit I am looking forward to Pumpkin Spice Lattes, being cozy in sweaters, and I am hoping with cooler weather I will want to cook more in my kitchen. Right now my kitchen feels too hot to cook in but I am not embracing that just because it is after Labor Day that it is now Fall... NO! But it does feel weird now, because Summer does feel over. So this is an in between time.

Doesn't life often feel like this when we are stuck in between seasons we can see a new beginning but we are not there yet? Well maybe it is just me.

Throw back: when my niece and sister came to Boston
There is a great quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald that says "Life starts all over again when it get crisp in the fall." Even up here in New England we are still having some end of summer warmth, though it is apparent the day are getting shorter and sometimes the morning are cool enough I wrap a scarf around my neck (but I just love scarves).

Anyway, I have been feeling for the last couple of months a new beginning is upon me... And things are really happening. Sadly, I cannot put all the changes happening on social media, trust me if I could tell you all I would... but until things are settled I cannot. I am not a fan of change, it usually stresses me out because in change there is something in the unknown. However, as I feel this newness coming on me I have been actively praying to God for him to prepare my heart for what is to come. That is one amazing thing about God, He knows every detail of our lives. He knows our past, present, and future and He truly is control. Many times I think I can handle my own life and I try to be in control and
slowly I start feeling I am beginning to drown.

I am sick of that cycle, so as I felt this "new beginning" feeling I am trying to cling to God.

I pray frequently that my life is in His hands. For we are not promised tomorrow, next month or next year, and I pray that God leads me on while I am on this journey of figuring things out. I know God's future for me is secure and I know He only wants the best for me. This is what I hold onto.

Question: Are you facing a time of newness in your life? Are you clinging on to God?

I will keep you posted on all this.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Remember God's Faithfulness... In the Moments


Hello lovely readers,

Last week I posted "Remember God's Faithfulness...The Blessings in My Life" and I talked about the people who have blessed my life. This week I wanted to talk about the moments in my life that I look back and remember God was with me. But for those moment to make sense I wanted to give you a little insight into my life... I know in the past I have provided insights but I wanted to write them down again.

I have not always been a Christian or Christ Follower (as I like to say). Actually I became a christian after I lied to my dad three times about using his computer and was punished by being sent to my room only allowed to read my Bible or twiddle my thumbs.  I do not know why but I read 2 Peter and chapter 3 really got to me "The Lord is not slow in keeping in his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" -2 Peter 3:9 and next "So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this (Christ's return), make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him"- 2 Peter 3:14. Having just lied to my dad, I felt guilty and I knew that if Jesus came back at that moment he would not find me spotless or blameless and at that moment I prayed for God to come into my life and save me. I was twelve at that time and it would take years for me to even begin living out the faith I proclaimed that day.

Senior Portrait
In my junior year of high school I suffered from minor depression and once thought about killing myself. Those words hurt to write... but as I imagined it, I didn't actually want to die, I just wanted for someone to know how much pain I was in. My thought was to take some sleeping pills (I took occasionally) but then when my mom came to wake me (as she did) she would realize what I had done and be able to get me to the hospital, they would pump my stomach, and they would save me. I didn't do this but just the thought I wanted to do it made me so broken inside... and I blamed myself a lot for these feelings. Anyway, during my senior year I went to therapy and got through some issues... but it still wasn't enough. I was about to move to Boston and I worried what if I move to Boston and slipped back into depression and wanted to kill myself. At home I had the support system of my parents but in Boston I knew no one and it scared me, but I also knew there had to be something bigger out there that could hold me up when I was low.

Because my parents were divorced and living in different states, I spent my summers in Oklahoma and for one week we went to church camp. I love my family so I say this with love but I looked at my dad and sisters and thought "yeah it's easy for them to have faith because they are strong" and I felt so weak and I felt so broken that there was no way that my brokenness could come to God. Well the week God put some amazing people in my life that were honest to me and told me of their brokenness and how God rescued them and saved them. Something I knew I needed because I didn't slip back into depression. So it was then I say I truly gave my life to Christ.

Now I believe if I died in high school I would have gone to heaven but if Christ asked me what I had done for Him? I would have had to say "nothing" because honestly there was nothing in my life that marked me as a Christ follower but that prayer I had said years ago.

My dear friend and I
Anyway after I got back from camp, I asked my dad to help me find a church in Boston and through his guidance and my mom reminding me of Park Street Church, I decided to go there and on my first Sunday there I felt I had come home. Also that first Sunday I met a really good friend of mine... and she allowed me to break down my walls and throw away the masks I had been wearing for so long. Over my Freshman year I felt so much my desperation for God but I felt more than anything His presence in my life.

In my Sophomore year through another girl we met at bible study we learned about Reunion Christian Church, and I remember my friend "C" telling me I had to go and when I asked her if I had a choice she said "no." That was our friendship worked and I am so thankful for that because through Reunion I have found a second family. Also through Reunion I decided to get baptized.

I remember, Reunion, went through this series called "Christian No More" where we talked about what it meant to be truly being a "Christ Follower" and one time my pastor (bald guy in the picture above) told us to "STOP" being a Christian. I didn't know what he meant by that and it was a big struggle for me because I felt he was telling me to stop being who I was. Well that's not what he was saying he was saying to stop calling yourself a "Christian" stop putting rules in the way of faith, and stop putting on a facade if you are not truly loving Jesus. Here is a parody video we watched during the series:



Now I am not saying that being a Christian is bad, because I still declare myself a Christian but I think it is more important to be true to Christ in your heart than just on the outside.

Even through all this, I have had low moments with God. Moments I didn't feel God was with me, moments I thought God had abandoned me or moments I would cry at night believing I was no longer a child of God. It is not because God had abandoned me because He promises over and over again in His word that He will "not forsake you" one of my favorite versed about that is Deuteronomy 31:6- "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them (enemies of Israel), for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you."  

One of my darkest moments came after I broke up with a boyfriend, I thought I was going to marry. I realized that I had put my hope in him and in our relationship that I lost my hope in God. I couldn't even tell you what it meant when people said "put your hope in God" so I went back and studied all the mentions of the word "Hope" listed in my Bible concordance and it is still not something I completely understand. But I keep digging, I keep looking for times God provides hope. My favorite verse recently has been Hebrew 10:23- "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful." And to me that me that no matter what come our way God is with us. God is with me and He is with you... even if you don't think He is.  

Okay, this post has gotten longer than I originally thought... and after writing out all my thoughts I don't know if I have displayed the moments God has been with me.. and I am okay with that because God is with me at all times. He is with me when I am having good days and I can totally feel His presence and He is with me when I am cannot.  He is with me when I am active and sharing my faith and He is with me when I am quiet and just going about my life. He is with me when I am crying and He is with me when I am crying. That is the amazing thing about Him, He will never leave me because He created me (and you) and He will be with us forever. In this moment God has blessed my life in showing me that. I hope you can find the blessing in knowing He is with you as well and that no matter how broken or shattered your life is, He can heal and mend your life... in fact He is the only One who can.

I am going to step off my preachy soap box now and just say if you are reading this God is with you and loves you.
 

I did not want to leave this blog post with out sharing this video from my trip to Honduras with Living Water... for me that sticks out as the pinnacle of knowing God was with me because I felt there were so many hoops that if God wanted me on that trip I was going to have to go through and He blessed me through all of them. I am not saying you have to go a trip to know God's presence, you can know it in your living room, on your commute to work, or just making dinner. For me however re-watching that video and actually writing this blog post I think God has shown me that he is with me always. Are there ways or moments you recognize Him? What are those moments you saw as struggle but looking back now are moments of hope? 

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Writing Wednesday... not much to say

Hello lovely readers,

Usually I love Wednesdays and posting this blog, but I feel I have little to say. Actually that's not true... I have a bit to say. I caught up on my typing, which feels great. My current word count is 78,196 (so about 162 page). So now I have to continue writing!!! I feel comfortable with my outline and I have written a few future scenes (which is also exciting). So I will continue as working on my story I don't know how much I will have to post here.

A couple of months ago I started my retelling of Wives and Daughters through letter writing... I enjoyed writing it as I felt stuck in my writing and it was a good release for my creative energy. However, now I am so busy between my work, other activities to juggle two stories.Also I am thinking about changing my timing of this blog. I might have been a little too ambitious to think I could have a post three times a week and as I have always wanted quality over quantity... I am going to switch to posting Tuesdays and Thursdays (or Friday) and as much as I like alterations I am not going to hold myself that as tightly as I have been. I still want to share the things that are important to me my faith, the events of my days,  my writing and the books I'm reading. Also there will be times I share random YouTube videos and posts of historical dramas. I hope you will stay tuned to my blog... I do so enjoy writing it.

Last weekend I went to Vermont (my first time to Vermont) to see a revival pastor named Clayton Jennings. As I have posted here I have been feeling rather distant in my faith and a good friend of mine invited me to this and it was wonderful. I got such in sight into what God desires for my life. I hope to write about that more. However, I wanted to share this video "Now Is Your Time | Philippians 4:13": 


Even if you aren't a none Christian this is a good reminder that this is our one and only life and if you have a passion or a dream this is the time to do it. He states "if you want to be an author write that book." However, as a Christian it speaks to the fact this is our time and that nothing is impossible to do what God calls us to do. Do you have a sense of what God has called you to do? 

I know this message can sound like a TV evangelical that talks about how God will bring you wealth, well that is not what Clayton Jennings messages is, I think his message is to tell us to stop dragging our feet and embrace what God has in store for us. To keep being "game changers" for God. Personally I think this is an awesome message because I as a wanna-be-author I have always wondered how I can use my gifts for God... the Bible talks a lot about pastors, evangelicals, and prophets (well  I am not those things). So I didn't know how I fit in to the church... in that I really happy to know I can use my gifts of writing and story telling to spread the good news of God. Is there anything you are passionate about you can use and shape for the message of God? 

That is all for now, but before I close this post I want give a shout out to my bffl on her birthday... I am so lucky to be her Watson. 

Monday, August 31, 2015

Remember God's Faithfulness...The Blessing in My Life.

Hello lovely readers,

Last week I posted "Things seem up in the air" but even as I finished it I did not feel that it was complete. At my church we have been going through a series called "From the Rubble" about the book about Nehemiah with many of the messages hitting very close to home. Last week my friend spoke about our story and how the main point of it is God's faithfulness not our brokenness.

In the book of Nehemiah, some of the Israelites, who have been in captivity come back to Israel to rebuild the wall around the city. They face many oppositions from mental to physical oppositions and yet they are able to complete the tasks in 52 days. Then they are at a lost of knowing what to do and they go to Ezra, who has been in Jerusalem for 14 years and working to rebuild the temple. He read from the book of the law and they here the story about how God makes a promise, but then the people go astray, problems come, people cry out to God and He restores them. And the people listening into the story begin to weep because they focus on the part of the story where their ancestors went astray. However Nehemiah said, Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). Okay this is just a brief summary of the story... I suggest you read the whole thing(link to Biblegateway). 

It seems kind of strange to celebrate when we go a stray from God and suffer, but that is not what Nehemiah is saying... Nehemiah is saying to celebrate God's faithfulness. I will admit that I am quick to hold onto pain, and I sometimes hold onto my own flaws and regrets far more than I hold on to the compliments I get or the love I receive.

So here I go... I am going to remember the good things in my life, the things I want to hold onto. 


First, I am thankful to have these two inspiring women as my sisters. Both them have taught me a great amount what it means to faith even in struggles.
 I am blessed to have two sets of wonderful parents who have given me courage, taught me to stand on my own, allowed me to follow my dreams...even if they didn't understand me, and have shown me love is not based on blood. 

I have also been blessed with a great amount of friends here in Boston, and a church that has shaped my second family for me. But the thing I probably love the most in my life are my niece and nephews...they give me hope in the world, joy, and love I didn't know really existed till they came into the world. 
All these people make me who I am. And I am so thankful to them for how they have shaped me.
God has blessed me with these people.

Nehemiah asked the Israelites to remember God's faithfulness and I can easily remember His faithfulness by looking back on the blessings God has given me. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Faithful music for Friday

Hello lovely readers,

I have posted this week I have gone through some dryness in my faith... Here are some songs that have been running in my head these last few weeks. These have inspired me to continue on through this time. 

Song: 10,000 Reasons 
By: Matt Redman

Song: This is Amazing Thing
By: Phil Wickham

Song; And if Our God is for Us
By: Christ Tomlin

Monday, August 24, 2015

Things Seem Up in the Air

Hello lovely readers,

Last week on Facebook, I shared I was struggling in my quiet time and that "It has been hard for me to get into the word and really feel connected to God's word. I read my Bible usually as I eat breakfast but it doesn't sink in and I feel leave the moment with no difference to my day. I feel I am kind of drifting away from being connected to God. If you have any suggestions of routine, books (in the Bible) or Devotionals to read, that would be great. Also prayers (I know there are bigger things in the world that are happening) would be greatly appreciated because I know this drifting feeling and it is very isolating." And I was overwhelmed by the support I got from my Facebook community, people who haven't talked to in years provided support and I felt blessed to have the support. So first I want to thank the people.

I have recently felt things have been in the air with my life and I seeking God's direction for life... And I am not sure what that is but I feel change is in the air. During one of my quiet times I prayed "Lord give me guidance. I feel so many things are up in the air... bu my desire to do what you want. Oh Lord I wish I had a vision for what you wanted from my life, but oh God, and I might never have a clear vision for my life. I pray Oh God you lea me no matter what may com. Be my God. Lord I know I have strayed from you. I know I have not kept you a top priority and I have fallen away from you. I know come in desperation because I want my life to make sense, and right now it doesn't. Lord but I also know my life depends on you... Lord be with me, guide me, take my by the hand and show me your path." Then I read the passage "Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord"-Psalm 27:14. 

Sometimes when I have these moments of dryness I feel God has left me... but in my truest heart I know that hasn't true because I know my life depends on God. Over the years I have learned that when I try to do things on my own that my world feels to begins to crumble and that I feel I drown with no hope of being saved... but God is my true savior. Though I will be the first one to admit that it is hard to hold on to these truths, especially when things aren't going the way you imagine.

Right now I am in a time of waiting and knowing that no matter what I am going through that God with is with. While things seem up in the air I know I can rely on God to guide me. That is what I am seeking God's guidance through these times. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Maybe its a Bit Morbid

Post: I Press on Towards the Goal

Hello lovely readers,

I am not usually a person who thinks a lot about death, but lately I have...

In Honduras
After my grandad passed away a couple of years ago, quite by surprise, we had to plan his funeral and besides where he wanted to be buried, it felt like none of us really knew what he wanted. I then began to think if anything did happen to me I would want people to know what passages and songs I liked. So I wrote them down and put them in the back of my Bible (just in case). Then when I went to Honduras I had a weird feeling of peace that I may not come back, so before I left I decided to write a quick note of how I wanted some of my things divided (not that I have much)... but silly things like I want my niece to have my Mary Cassatt prints that I have had since I was a little girl, I wanted my friend to look after my cat (if she was able to) and I wanted my mom to have my Bible. (By the way this note is still in the back of my Bible if anything should happen to me).

So these are as morbid as my thought went, until recently. I blame the last two books I have read... both of them have dealt with death in someway. In The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery (author of Anne of Green Gables) Valancy Stirling has lived a life with very strict regulations and always trying to please her family, until she is 29 years old and she goes to the doctor and he tells her she only has at max one more year to live. She decides she is no longer going to live in the confines of her strict family and decides to actually live... it is over all a very sweet story.

But it has got me thinking... what if I only had a year to live?

I would of course like to spend as much time with my family as possible. I think immediately I would like to spend any time I felt well I would want to be with my niece and nephews and soak up enough time with them. I don't think I would want them to see me when I was truly sick... as I would hate for that to be the last image they had of me.
 
Me at Windsor Castle
I think I would also like to spend time finishing my work in progress (at least in first draft). I have wanted to be a writer all my life but I have many works that I have not completed and I would like to have at least one work done. And then maybe hand it over to some one to see it through to be published.

I have also made a second family up here in Boston, so I would like to be here as well. I have some other thoughts of maybe traveling to England one more time as it is my favorite place outside the U.S. but if I didn't get to it I wouldn't mind. Being around the people I love the most would be most important.

Not to leave you on a completely morbid thought... and having you think I am a morbid person.Valancy's story is not just about what she did with her time it is about how she faced the idea that she was dying. Instead of just sticking too routine she decided to go out and actually live her life. The book is called The Blue Castle because whenever Valancy is sad she dreams up this blue castle to escape to. In the story she decides to chase after her "blue castle" the place she is most comforted. In doing this she speaks up for herself and even finds love.

I understood a lot where Valancy come from...She feels trapped in a life that is not her own. I don't feel trapped bu sometimes I wonder if I hide myself too much. No one likes being vulnerable, but I sometimes fear letting my guard down so much that I feel paralyzed at least mentally. As I was typing up this post, I found this quote on Pinterest:
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And it really struck a chord with me. It tied to this post, in my mind, and I thought instead of using time on what I would do if I only had one more year to live, what I should do with my life now?

I will keep you posted. 

Sorry to start the week on such a morbid note. I just wanted to share some thinking.

Have a good day.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Maybe I was wrong

Pic from 2011 Film
Hello lovely reader,

I have spoken out about my dislike for Jane Eyre before, post: Jane Eyre... what the? I read the book right out of high school mostly because everyone assumed if I liked Jane Austen I would like Jane Eyre... even though they are completely different. Then being convinced by my friend who loves Jane Eyre to give it another try I watched the Jane Eyre movie (2011). But I still didn't get it. So when I saw the YouTube web series "The Autobiography of Jane Eyre" I watched a few episodes and then thought... nope not for me.

But for some reason (not sure why) I started re-watching it and I got hooked.

Actually I remember now why... I spend way too much time watching fan made videos, but I found the video below, and from the few episodes of "The Autobiography of Jane Eyre" I had seen I recognized the actress. I will admit I was intrigued with why with all the stories to chose from why did this video maker decide to include this version of Jane Eyre in their montage. Maybe I missed something?
 Link

So in a bored moment, and in a moment of feeling blue and wanting a distraction I decided to give "The Autobiography of Jane Eyre" a second chance (link to YouTube page) and I am glad I did. As I said I read the book almost 10 years ago so I don't remember much of the plot so I am not sure how exact the web series is to the plot... but personally I am okay with some updates if it helps tell the story. I commend people who take classic works of literature and revamp them in this new way to make them accessible for the modern day audience and if the main point of the story remains in tact then I am fine with some modernization. 
 
{pic}
My biggest problem with Jane Eyre is that she always seemed perfect, and I didn't like a heroine that had no flaws. I think in watching this web series, I saw her flaws more clearly. She had such bad childhood that she was afraid to pursue things that made her happy worried that they would abandon her (if it was a person) or worried others would mock her for it (if it was a hobby). She didn't speak up for herself because she wasn't ever allowed to as a child so she spends a lot of time in her own head. And actually I can understand all those things.  


Over all- I liked it and would recommend it to anyone who has been enjoying these web series updated stories like "The Lizzie Bennet Diaries" or "Emma Approved" or "Classic Alice". Also I would recommend if you want to get lost in a good story. There were some parts that still annoyed me but they were small enough I can overlook them and still consider this a good adaption of the book.  

The one thing I really did like is that in episode 20 she talks about her faith and I was happy to read in the comments of the video that this is true to the book. I am glad she didn't make it a big political discussion (because faith is not a political discussion) she just talked about forgiveness, loving others and loving yourself.
 
 
Thanks to these videos I might be willing to give Jane Eyre another chance once... I mean its been almost 10 years surely it is time to give second chances. 

If you are a real Jane Eyre fan and you want to read more read the post "Entertain: The Autobiography of Jane Eyre" the author of that post is much more of a Jane-ite than I am.