Showing posts with label hope. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hope. 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...
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!

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:
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.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

"He waited for her..."

Hello lovely readers,

I have been feeling really good about my writing, getting a lot of typing done and writing future scenes but I finally typed up to the point that initially got me stuck in my writing and I feared that I wouldn't be able to get through my block. I have read different blogs and articles that  say one way to get over writer's block is to change the point of view. I wasn't sure how I was going to this and then I saw this writing prompt on Pinterest and I knew I could use it in my scene...
The scene below is from Mattie returning from London to Cranston Court after attending the wedding of her cousin. In London she met Leopold Brashware and meeting him has made Mattie question her feelings towards Kelby.

He waited for her, Mrs. Banks had informed the whole household that Master Parker was to return and he brought the Miss Harringtons with him. Mrs. Banks had written to Miss Mattie about how ill Lady Welford was and she had been highly disappointed to know she had not come sooner. Everyone at Cranston Court knew Miss Mattie held a special place in the house, for she was almost the true daughter of Cranston. They all knew Lady Welford regarded her as a daughter figure and they all knew in the summer when she had been ill what joy Miss Mattie brought to her. No one could explain it, but they all accepted it. However, it was not for those reasons Kelby had volunteered to meet Master Parker at the train station. Poole, Lady Welford's maid, had started rumors down in the servants hall that Master Parker and Miss Daphne were soon to be engage. Everyone was excited for the announcement and they felt their arrival together would make it official. Kelby would not let his brother meet the train. and knowing Shane's vindication risk his position at Cranston. More importantly to him he had to see Miss Mathilda for himself. Shane had talked about how Miss Daphne had changed after being in London and though Kelby  was confident Miss Mathilda, his Mattie, would never change, Shane's words still plagued him. Kelby was very eager to volunteer to pick up Master Parker and the Miss Harringtons and fortunately for Kelby Mr. Doyle, the butler, had  Shane go into Buxton to fetch some medicine for her ladyship.
            He waited for her, he paced a bit in anticipation, the local train was running a bit delayed and in a mix excitement and nervousness he walked the length o the platform and back playing in his mind what he was to say to her. He had to be formal, "Miss Mattie" sounded to juvenile for the woman he had hold and danced with only a month ago. He would never admit it out loud but that dance had changed everything, he had seen her flip over the bicycle and worried the worst fate for her, though she must not have remembered anything from that day. He knew she would remember the dance her looks told him everything he needed to know. Miss Mathilda Elizabeth Rose Harrington was his dearest friend but there was something more behind that look of her, something of sweet and dear love.
            "Miss Mathilda, I hope you are well," No "Miss Mathilda, I hope London suited you," No "Miss Mathilda, I am very glad you are back."
            The train began to pull in and Kelby took his position Mr. Doyle had informed him where the first class cars usually stepped and Kelby should be there to welcome his future master. Kelby had know Parker his whole life, though in recent years Cranston had not seen much of him, he was becoming a gentlemen of the world, as Mrs. Foster put it. In his younger years Kelby had gotten away with Master Parker, just Parker, at least in the solitude of being alone though now felt changed. They were no longer the children who played in the back woods, they no longer shared their dreams and hopes together, and Kelby would only be right to follow the rules of society.
            "Lord Parker," Kelby said stoutly when he saw them.
            "My God, Kelby I would not have recognized you." It was friendly enough for Lord Parker, Kelby thought.
            Kelby then greeted with a slight nod and said that it was good to see them all, his words were to everyone he particularly directed them to Miss Mathilda, and he hoped she would notice.
            There was nothing but warmth and happiness in her smile, nevertheless he noticed a look of pain behind her eyes. He could tell she was happy to see him and yet sad to leave London. Maybe Shane was right, London did change country girls. His mind went to hurtful thoughts of her finding a man, a man of wealth and position, one who could offer everything he could not. He tried to brush those thoughts aside as he had no truth behind him and he had to act civil, any other behavior could have severe consequences. He told himself it was all in his head, Miss Mathilda was happy to be home to be sure but sad under the circumstances of Lady Welford's health, he did have truth to that.
            How glad was he had arranged an extra carriage to come for the luggage as he was not expecting Miss Georgiana and Mrs. Gardner to be a part of the company. He first got them and their luggage settled them to go to Southerton as they had no business Cranston. As by design Mattie insisted on sitting on the driver's bench as she claimed the train had left her feeling ill and the desire for some fresh air. He hoped that she longed to sit next to him and they could talk, however when she situated herself she sat on the far edge of the bench to where she was nearly falling over the railing and barely spoke a word. He sat mindless not thinking of how to ask more probing questions. Something clearly had happened in London and she just wasn't willing to say anything.
            It pained Kelby that their only contact was as he helped her in and out of the carriage when they had been so close barely a month ago. She gave her thanks when he helped her down from the carriage and then she disappeared behind the doors of Cranston Court.
            This is where she belonged, he thought as he stepped back from Cranston's main doors to take in the view. Miss Mathilda and Miss Daphne, they belonged in the world of estates with fine gentlemen, perchance men with titles, jewelry and an abundance of gowns. What could he give her? As a girl Miss Mathilda could have been happy in the rooms above the stable, but she was growing now, one day she would be presented into society, and a man would have to be a fool not to see her beauty both inside and out.
            He didn't know what to say to her when she found idly walking through the stables no doubt to be with Diamond Dust, her chosen horse. It had been a couple of days since she had returned but he had not seen her from the time she had entered Cranston's main doors. The last time he saw her, her hair had been stylishly pulled and twisted up in a manner that was quite becoming. Now her hair hung in long braid drooped over her right shoulder she aimlessly played with the loose strands beneath the ribbon. He watched her carefully trying to get his words correct, he felt he was building up the courage to talk to her. This was silly, he had known Miss Mathilda her whole life, she had always been easy for him to read but now all he felt was a great divide. Perhaps Miss  Daphne had not changed as Shane had said, maybe they had just realized the divide between them.
            Then without truly realizing it she looked at him, her eyes were read and her cheeks flushed, her could tell she had been crying. Now he truly did not what to say it hurt him to see her so clouded in heartache. Her tender heart was always something he admired in her, she wore her heart on her sleeves but she had strength about her, one that he knew she would not be easily crushed, he saw it even if she did not. When he realized her eyes were still upon him as if she woke from a dream, they said a short greeting, there was pain in her voice. He quickly tried to think of conversation to distract her.
            "I fear you will find Derbyshire compared to London." He hoped this would bring a smile to her face.
            "No I shall not. Many times in London I longed to be back here. London is so confusing with so many people you hardly know, who to trust and where you belong. Besides this is my home."
            "I cannot imagine you did not find good company."
            "I did, but what are men to rocks and mountains."
            He teased her that London had not stopped her love of novels, as he had known she was quoting Jane Austen. She smiled at him and then turned back to look at Diamond as she petting the horses' nose.
            "Do you know what's wrong with her?"
            It was clear she was not talking about the horse, only he wished she was as he wanted to keep the tone light and friendly. He was about to make a joke when she pleaded with him. "Tell me honestly Kelby, I'd rather hear it from you than Doctor Gibson."
            "I know Miss Mathilda but I hate to be the one tell you. You know the old saying, don't kill the messenger." He took a gulp. "Dr. Gibson believed it is her heart, he doesn't know exactly what's wrong but he said it was weak. He recommended when this term of illness is over that she should go to a clinic in Cambridge."
            She questioned what he meant by the word "term" and he told her that Lady Welford's health would always be flocculating though if she rested and did not strain herself the bouts of illness would be short and spread out. Then his words turned serious "But they will come, Miss Mathilda, there is nothing we can do about that."
            "I understand," she said pressing her forehead against the horse and he could see a tear a roll down her cheek.
            " I am sorry —" he wanted to say 'dearest' but couldn't. "If I could keep this news from you I would."
            She looked at him and gently placed her hand on his cheek. "No Kelby, I asked for honesty, I am thankful it came from you."
            "I would protect you from the truth as long as I could."
            "I am fine Kelby, I don't need your protection. I am almost seventeen and far from my naïve childish ways."
            "That is not what I meant Miss" his voice was soft and compassionate.

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.

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. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Life seems but a quick successions of busy nothings

Hello lovely readers,

I come here to say I feel a little guilty that I have not gotten much writing done for the blog. Usually I have 5 blog post waiting to get posted... this has kept me going through my schedule but life has gotten very busy. 

How wonderful would it be if summer felt like a "quick successions of busy nothings."Everyone pictures summer to be this relaxing time to kick back and relax and while in someways this feels true there are many moments when summer feels to be going by to fast. That is how I feel right now. Not that I can complain about my summer I have had good highlights.

If you have been following the Boston news you will know we just passed a major milestone. Up here in Boston we had a record snow fall this winter (well really in one month). And we have very little places to put the snow in order to keep our streets clear but our city government found an unused lot to put all our snow. Well as of July 14th that pile of snow has finally melted. Below a before and after:
Since moving up to New England I have definitely had appreciation for summer with getting to wear flip flops, summer dresses and long sunny days. I think I even hold summer up as this perfect time and maybe that is not fair. I say summer goes by too quickly but sometimes it is just life going by too quickly...

Sorry to be a bit of "Debby Downer." I shouldn't even complain about this summer I have made some good memories and maybe instead of blaming summer for going by too quickly I should think about the good things. Maybe Ferris Buller had it right "Life moves pretty fast if you don't stop and look around sometimes you might miss it." So here are some moments I have not missed:

Meeting my nephew (and seeing him rock some Boston gear), going to Gloucester an enjoying some down time at the beach, hanging out with friends (enjoying margaritas), and treating myself to some fun flicks.

Also I am enjoying getting lots of reading done, I am on book 19 of my 26 book challenge and I have found so many good books I may not have read had it not been for this challenge. Some have really inspired me in my writing. The Winter Sea for example is about an author trying to write a novel and just the way she talks about her writing has given me some ideas about how to write. Also I like her story for having a dual plot line being set in present day and in 1708. The book has also inspired me to thinking about going to Scotland. The current book I am reading The Steady Running Hour has also been inspiring, as a part of it takes place in World War I and it has been great to read about it from a soldiers perspective and think about my characters in my work in progress and how they think about the war.

Speaking about my work in progress, lately have felt kind of stuck in my work. I didn't know where I wanted to go with my story and I felt I had lost the point of my story. I took a step back from the flow of my story and started thinking about the structure of my story and through that I started thinking about scenes in my story I wanted to write. And in doing that I got inspiration for some future scenes and I was working furiously away. Then I went back to the drawing board. One thing I am really bad about doing is outlining, usually I just start writing and let the characters take me where I want to go or I have some vague idea of what should happen but I haven't really planned it out. However, I realized I was spending so much time building up my characters that I had lost the pivotal part of my story which, is World War I. I though I really need to get an outline down so I can know how all the scenes in my head are going to work together. I am so happy I did this because now I feel my story has more structure. Also I realized my working title "Hope Deferred" didn't really work with the progression of my story so I have changed the the title again to "Quiet Hope."
This work has probably been the biggest struggle of my writing time. Usually I give up when I get stuck, but I really want to finish this project. This story has been floating around my mind for years and I don't want to give this up. 

 So there are some of the highlights of my summer thus far... I will try not to miss the moments.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Words of hope...Not so Frivolous Friday

Hello lovely Readers,

I am sorry I don't have a "Frivolous Friday" post for you with things going on in Charleston, SC and other things happening "Frivolous Friday" was kind of trivial. Then I remembered "Frivolous Friday" was meant to post whatever what I wanted. Here are some lovely words of inspiration and messages of hope:

Monday, May 11, 2015

Questions while being stuck

Hello Lovely Readers,

I have been excited to post as much as I have done lately, though I feel they have been kind of frivolous. I am all for frivolity but I need to get something off my chest.

I have been feeling rather distant from God lately, actually I can't remember when I felt close to Him.

I am a weird mix of feeling and wanting formulas. I base a lot of my life how I feel about things and how I want people to feel about me. But when it comes to my faith I would love a formula, like if I did A and B then I get C. And that is not how God works. I also pray frequently "God I just want follow you more, but I am not sure what that looks like." In that I am saying I wish I had a model a list of "to dos" to follow. But that is not what faith is about.

Right now I feel stuck, in wanting to move but not knowing the next step.

I just finished The Chance by Karen Kingsbury, it is a cute story of best friends Nolan and Ellie who on the night before Ellie moves to San Diego they write letters to each other to read 11 years in the future. Over time Nolan gets exactly what he has wanted playing for NBA, but yet he is still full of pain with losing his best friend and his father (shortly after Ellie moves away). At the same time Ellie has stopped believing in God and questions rather He exist and if He does why did He let bad thing happen to her.

I read it because it fulfills my requirement of "reading a book you own but hadn't read." And while reading it I thought it was a cute story with a good message of forgiveness, hope and second chances. It was a quick read which I liked, but nothing really hit me. Until the end.

Through out the book various characters hear God telling them something. I know it is fiction, however I began to wonder does God really speak. If He does, He doesn't speak to me.

I have friends who speak to me and I feel it is God's truth. The best example I can give is I was questioning somethings in my life and I had prayed about them but I hadn't told anyone about my thinking. And then my friend just brought it up in random conversation. I thought that had to be God, there was no other way to explain it. But that hasn't happened in awhile. So I began to blame myself because I know I haven't really been opening myself to God.

I have used my faith like a checklist. I did my bible time, but then I would get out of bed and it was almost as if nothing changed. I feel my heart with mindless things and I sought completeness or an identity in temporal ideas. This is a pattern I have gotten used to. But when I read The Chance I wanted to hear God.

I am not sure how to listen. I am not sure if I want to hear God, just for some reassurance that I am doing okay, or if I want to hear from Him because I want to know what He wants from me. I would love a formula from Him to tell me what do with my life.

Probably not to live life?

After reading The Chance, I thought I should read some more Christian Lit (maybe if I read enough books I will understand what to do). Also reading Searching For God Know What by Donald Miller fulfills the requirement of "reading a book you began but never finished." But this book has hit me more than I thought. I am 4 chapters in and I have underlined so much. I even begun to write some prayers in it. I also know I will be re-reading it because I know my reading on the T I can't get as deep as I like. So far the book talks a lot about how we seek formulas from God, we want the Bible to be a self help book, and how this is not what God intended. God wanted us to be in a relationship with Him, to know Him personally, and to know who we are in Him. To be honest I have been a Christian since I was twelve though probably not following it until after high school (long story). Anyway, I am still not sure what what knowing God personally means. I am hoping Miller will lay it out... but I doubt he will because writes:

I bring this up because life is complex, and the idea that you can break it down or fix it in a dew steps is rather silly. -pg.14

And if he laid out what it meant to know God personally he would be writing a formula. So I am sure I will finish this book with more questions than answers.

I am not looking for to-do list or formulas but if you have any advice and or Bible passages that have helped you please pass them a long.


P.S.- I am going to be taking a little break from blogging as I am going on vacation with my mom... will post pictures later.
My mom in Florence (almost 9 years ago).

Friday, April 3, 2015

Wrong ladder?

I was talking to my dad and we got to an awkward part of the conversation about my student loans and my work life. He never wants to put his nose in my business (unless I let him) but as I am his child he is concerned about me. But he knows I am struggling after being done with school with looking for a job and trying to make ends meet (which is true for a lot of fresh graduates). Any way, he said something "I just don't want you climbing up the wrong ladder only to discover it is the wrong ladder."

I wrote that last paragraph on Tuesday and if I continued it his post probably be a "woe is me" post and I have written enough of those lately. While I want this blog to be true to my feelings I don't need to keep writing "boo poor me" post. (Sometimes I am really way to self involved and think only of myself. But there is a whole big world beyond myself and this computer.)
I went to grad-school and got my Master's in Library Science and Master's in History. There were moments when I felt I was going to drop out, not because it was too hard but because I wasn't sure if it was what I wanted to do with my life. I have now finished my degree and I am happy to now have my masters under my belt but it doesn't help me know what to do with my life. I went into Library Science because I wanted to work for the Library of Congress and while that would still be awesome I am not sure if that is my life goal. So I changed my mind I wanted to become a reference archivist. I wanted to help people with their research. Now I have a job as a researcher for a start-up company and it is a good job and often when I leave my desk I know I have helped my boss.

Today, I read the verses:

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to us... If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously... (Romans 12:6-8 NIV)

I have a bright teal post-it in that page that I wrote years ago saying:
I really like reading that verse because I often beat myself up for "not being good enough" that just hurts my self-esteem and I cut down on God's creation. I'm not perfect but God made me beautiful work and I shouldn't be so negative. 

 I think I listen to my negative voices more than anything else. I even told my dad on Monday night that I kept him out of certain areas of my life because I didn't want to disappoint him. He told me that I would never disappoint him. But it is still hard to let go of the voice of disappointment.

I think I am more disappointed in myself (I write that very carefully knowing my mom is a loyal reader of my blog). In high school and college I had a plan for my life... Once I got out of high school I had planned out my life in detail and now I feel like none of those dreams or aspirations are true anymore. And the truth is I don't know what I want to do with my life. I don't write that in the "boo hoo" kind of way but just in a very matter of fact kind of way.

Going back to the verses I read this morning, we all have different gifts that we should use to help improve our little corner of the world. The little notes in my bible said we can't change the whole world by ourselves but the body of Christ can.  

I wrote all that before I wrote my post, Not Forsaken pt.4

Lately I have been feeling passionless and I think its because I have not felt God's presence in my life. I believe God is using this time to help me grow in my patience as I wait till what comes next. I think He is also using this time to see if I will truly trust His guidance. I know I have quoted this friend before but the words keep coming back to me about God wanting our best. But I don't think He is just going to give it to us. He is going to make us wait, struggle and keep hoping for it. I say this not because I think God is cruel... not at all.

But imagine if we got everything we wanted the moment you wanted it. While that sounds great at first I think we wouldn't value the things we had, and we wouldn't appreciate the things we got. I know for example when I got my very first pay check and realized when I wanted to buy something how many hours I had to work to pay for it. It started to put things in perspective and if I really wanted something expensive I would save and wait for it. Then when I got it, it was worth the wait. Sometimes I would want a nice bag (for example) so I would save and wait. While I was saving and waiting I would find an opportunity to go visit my sister (a plane ticket). To me the visit to see my sister was more important than the bag and I could buy both so I would switch my priorities.

I think God is using this time for me to wait and save and to hold out for something better then just temporarily filling my life what might be good and waiting for the best.

I have more thoughts but I feel this post has become quite a tangent. I think I need to refocus my thoughts.