The Real Source of a Smile

If you asked me to tell you something I enjoy doing, I would tell you I love loving people. I love making them smile and being able to surprise them and adding joy to their day. I want to be able to turn a bad day into a fab one and sprinkle enthusiasm into their life.

It has shamefully taken me until today to realize I can’t. All along I’ve been thinking that my acts of service and “trademark pep” have been helping people out. All along I’ve been thinking that that’s how I can serve God. I haven’t realized that I’ve been viewing myself as the key role in this task of cheering others, and I’m 100% not. Whenever I have a bad week I think I’m letting people down because I’m unable to help as much or share as much joy. Truth is, I can provide nothing to my friends that they need. Absolutely nothing.

If people are smiling or more cheerful when they leave my presence, it’s because the Lord shone through, not because of my personality, caring conversation, witty commentary, or whatever I flatter myself with thinking I used to help. If they leave smiling, it’s because the Lord was gracious enough to include me in on His plan to brighten their day. It’s His grace and love that will make someone’s day better; never ever will it be me.

So dearest all, please forgive my vanity and pride. I pray the Lord uses me in the future to deliver His love to you in tangible ways, but I hope we both can remember the source of all joy, love, and perfect things is our Father above.

Today in Prayer

I thought perhaps I would share my prayerful reflections of this week with y’all in the hope that they might impact you, wherever you are at. My dear friends, I love you very much.

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Lord,

Bless us as we face what feels like defeat; may we find solace in knowing no joy surpasses that of Your will. May we in time come to see how in this moment Your loving, guiding hand is steering us closer to You. May we all rejoice, not just accept but truly rejoice in Your will for us, no matter if it comes packages as we imagined.

Lord,

I praise you for all of the apparent blessings You’ve placed in our lives. Every good and perfect gift comes from You [James 1:7]. Thank You for the times You lift us on top of the mountains. May we relish in those obvious, but breathtaking views of Your glory and Your love for us. In these times may we always remember, as in all times, the sacrifice Jesus made in order for us to have this tremendous joy. And show us how to be sensitive to those in valleys even as we live unabashed in Your pure joy.

Lord,

As we give encouragement, solace, and advice to friends, may it all come from a heart synced with Yours. May all we say be drenched in love and reflect who You are and who You are to us. Help us to not injure anyone, intentionally or unintentionally, but to bless all we brush lives with (intentionally and unintentionally). May all we say be a crystal-clear road map guiding others into Your loving arms.

Lord,

May we search for Your love, Your wisdom, and Your guidance first in all circumstances. Let our initial instinct, our first thoughts, and our safe place all rest on Your capable shoulders. Help us seek out Your face when we wake, as we walk through our days, and even as we brush our teeth. May we lie down at night, our day so full of time spent with You, that Your’s is the only face we see in our dreams.

Lord,

Thank You. I love You.

 

Glory to Whom?

Today I was introduced to a magnificent creation, the Library of Congress. Let me tell you, my friends, I now believe in love at first sight. It is beyond stunning, beyond spectacular: it’s perfectly blithe and delicately charming. Today I found myself awestruck and dumfounded at the talents of man.

 

In the presence of such beauty, one often desires to know who created the splendor, but today I had to remind myself it is crucial to give the glory and praise to the One who gave those gifts to the human artists. All our art is at it’s foundation inspired by the art of the first and only original artist, Jesus. Man can create many splendid things, but it is always crucial remember every good and perfect thing comes from above, and man would be nothing without the gifts bestowed to us from Him.

 

So give praise with the beauty in both the natural and man-made world, just know man-made is code for “tried to copy God.”

Thanks for reading! Please do share your thoughts in the comments!

 

 

 

[Song Pairing: All Glory Be to Christ by Christina Falub]

 

Dappling in Dreams

When you commit to someone for life, when you marry them, you are picking your lifetime ministry partner. You are either committing to their dreams, the dreams you’ve built together, or the dreams you know the Lord will call you both to in His perfect timing. This is an incredible opportunity, it truly is. At the same time, I am realizing that now while I’m single, I also have any incredible opportunity. This stage of my life gives me the freedom to build and chip into the dreams and goals and missions of so many different people.

I do not believe  that when you are married you can’t build up other people within their callings, but with the marriage vow you take before the Lord, you are committing your ministry to the Him as a couple as your top priority.  Right now though, being under obligation to the Lord only, I get to dabble in everyone’s dream. How incredible a chance is that?!

Here at college, I’ve met umpteen individuals with sparks in their eyes for a myriad of causes. Right now, at this time, place, and in the circumstances of my life, I have been blessed with the time to support the missions these dear visionaries have. For every mission that strikes a chord with me, that moves my heart,  I get to delegate my time and resources to contribute however I want!  In my singleness, my time solely belongs to the Lord’s. The only constriction on my resources is making sure they are being used to fulfill His will. For those who are married, it is the Lord’s will is then for you to honor your spouses, and that means they your first priority when it comes to claims on your love, your support, & your time. Of course you are to spread these three items to all, but it is your duty to make sure your spouse’s cup is tended to first. I think this is a beautiful notion, and the holy way God has designed marriage to work, but until the day I am called into that stage of life, I never want my love, my support, and my time to be wasted in wait.

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“I want to lend myself as a truss to help raise up dreams.”

I want to exercise these gifts by using them to help other people in my life as they pursue Christ’s will in their lives. I want to dedicate hours to praying with them about the things they are passionate about. I want to offer my help as they endeavor to execute projects in the Lord’s name. I want to help my friends research their callings, locate where the need for their God-given gifts are the greatest, or simply help them identify those gifts. I want to lend myself as a truss to help raise dreams. I want to pour myself into their lives, their passions, and I want to do my absolute best to help them see the dreams Our Father has placed on their hearts come to maturity.

This is my prayer: Lord, for as long as I am not called specifically to one  ministry, may I contribute in one meaningful way or another to all of the personal ministries that surround me. May I incessantly seize opportunities to encourage Your people and offer a serving hand wherever one could be used. Amen.

Thanks for reading these musings. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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The Weary, Joyous Traveler

This Christmas break, I will arrive home after 14 and a half hours in the airport and on planes. [Hopefully, I’m still not home yet.] Over thanksgiving it took 22 hours to get home, but I finally arrived at two in the morning CO time and 4 am PA time. My poor parents! However let me tell you, I am currently excited and laughing. It’s so easy to get discouraged, but when I put it all in perspective, I’m doing just fine! Jesus still loves me and this life is oh so temporary. I’m learning to see these from an eternal perspective and I cannot explain how much happier it makes me.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Philippians 4:6 NIV

It’s come to my attention that worrying is 100% a choice. Paul doesn’t tell us to try not to worry, he tells us not to worry. Meaning, it is in fact possible to not fret. I listened at a phenomenal podcast by Timothy Ateek about this concept and I felt challenged to take this realization to heart and apply it. To be honest, I didn’t think I’d be successful. Worrying comes as easy to me as fawning over cute children; it’s not second nature- it’s first. Our culture isn’t much of a help either; so many people spend their entire lives trapped in worry and every episode of every show is based on a many problem which all the characters then proceed to worry about.  blog-airport

I think we need to take our worries, view them as temporary, and look at them as opportunities to show love.  Stuck in the airport, I had the opportunity to treat the incredibly-stressed flight attendant warmly and wish her a merry Christmas. Not anything huge, but something kind. Inversely, since I didn’t make it home last night as planned, my friend’s parents sweetly picked me up and hosted me overnight. They were so loving to me and I got a chance to know them better and show them gratitude. I’m also sure there were a million and two more opportunities that didn’t take or didn’t see too.

I would like to acknowledge that all these worries mentioned here are pretty small in comparison with the trials so many others are facing, but the same principles of looking to Jesus and trusting Him apply. If you fulling trust Him, which I definitely recommend, show it by not fearing the outcome. These circumstances weren’t ideal, but by facing them with joy and confidence in the fact I’ll get home eventually, I feel I am seizing an opportunity to honor my God.

Much obliged to you for your time; have a cheery day!

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*Insert Friend Group Name*

I have met some people of substantial quality lately and it has me reflecting on true friends. The ones who intensely debate which is the best Austen novel and who ruined the Les Mis movie more- or if it was even ruined at all. People who really value you, your opinions, and your stories, not just people who hang out with you because they’re dating your friends or have nothing else to do.

Here’re some minimal fun facts about some of them: Alisa is a hall-mate and models for my photos. Grace is incredibly sweet and would teach a logic class if she got the chance. Noah sells antiques during the summer and reads news articles non-stop. Graham is involved in 9 different clubs including serving in the freshman worship team. Maverick might join us as an Entrepreneur major and listens to Michael Buble with me. Elise is a sweetheart and a fanatic about swing dancing. Harrison plays piano beautifully and likes, “pretending to be way more homeschooler than [he] actually [is].”  Jayna is studying English and led an acapella group for the Freshman Talent Show. Cassie and I actually had chatted over this summer- she’s quite splendid- and is on debate with some of the others. Jacob listens to Hamilton, watches SNL, and read Where the Wild Things Are to us all while we were at the local ice cream shop. And they’re all highly intelligent and most importantly passionate about Jesus.

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Here’s the one terrible-quality selfie we have of some of us. I shockingly don’t have any other group photos [which I’ll have to remedy].
By the hand of the Lord, no doubt, we all ended up in a movie night together and instead of paying attention to a Knight’s Tale, we all basically chatted the night away. Enveloped in cushion and blankets with leftover Halloween candy and bags of popcorn we laughed SO hard.

All that to say: I found them. Friends of a Class A variety. It might take awhile to find people you really, really click with- but don’t settle, and always seek out new friendships. There are always other relationships to be made, and there’s always the chance they could be cut of an excellent, vibrant cloth.

I also want to say a massive thank you to these new friends. You’re the even better than the kind I prayed for.

God is good, my darling friends, and you are too kind to be reading this.

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The Comforts of Clothes

Being in this strange faraway land called Pennsylvania, I’ve found an odd amount of comfort through the things I wear.

fullsizeoutput_6f86There is a story behind almost every piece of clothing and jewelry I own. The opal earrings my mom gave me that her parents gave to her after a trip someone sent them on to New Zealand. My oversized pink sweater that belonged to, of all people, my father before me. Or another sweater of Italian wool that my grandpa used to preach in. I have a red velvet coat that I only own because my darling friends convinced me to buy it for prom on a day we all went antiquing. The 80s hammer pants my little brother and I share. The studs my older brother bought me on his trip to Idaho. There are memories of people entwined in each article of clothing that attract me to it just as much as the pattern or cut of it does.   The anecdotes in these fabrics make me closer to the people I love and miss dearly, and wearing these garments is like an embrace from those most dear.

Thusly, I’m quite thankful for the comforts of this clothing.

 

Thanks for dedicating a few moments to my ramblings 🙂Liney-ar Journey IMG_2951-0

Song Pairing: To Know You (Jesus Messiah) by Zachary Kale

Reason: It’s a really swell tune. That’s all. It doesn’t really pertain to clothes…

The Ultimate One-Sided Relationship

As of late I’ve been the epitome of drained.  We’re talking like a sink in perfect order- just draining like it’s my job. And so I starting puzzling together why I was feeling this way.

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I’ve reasoned out that it’s because in my search for deep relationships I’m giving a whole lot. I like quality friendship. I can’t help it; I don’t think most people can. And I like being helpful. I love it. We are called to serve others, which I try to look avidly for opportunities to do. And that’s good; it’s all very good- just rather exhausting when you have very little being poured back into you.

But who am I to complain about seemingly one-sided relationships when I so often disregard the One who pours blessings into my life every minute of every hour? This is what the Lord revealed to me as I jotted my thoughts down:

“I miss having someone who reciprocates all the time and love I put into the relationship. But I don’t do that for You. I don’t. You love me far more than I ever will be able to love You. And You don’t stop loving me. You love so unselfishly . It’s got to be exhausting- but You go on & on. Not just to me, others- everyone of this planet in fact. You are SO good with such a capacity for love. Thank You.”

Currently I’m where I need to be. I’m learning lots of lessons while being in this place relationally with others. I’m learning a lot about One who loves more than anyone else here ever could, and that’s quite a comforting thought.

Thanks for reading! Have a blessed day.

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Linger by Warr Acres [YouTube]

 

Another Home

Maybe you want to hear about the place that’s kept me too busy  to write?

First things first: I love my family more than ever and I’m excruciatingly thankful for telephones. Skype too, but for one-on-one conversation I think I honestly like telephone best, oddly enough. [three weeks ’til we’re hugging and crying happily at the airport!]

This is an edited version a photo I took of GCC’s Rockwell Hall of Science. Soph & I turned into a tee shirt design for out Tech for the Entrepreneur class.

It feels like home here. Not quite as in the new home, but a new home. Just like different people can be home, I think you can have multiple places that are a home too. The Christmas lights are up and there are dried wildflowers and cards from loved ones scattered about. The roommates God blessed me with are beautiful, supportive, and adjusting to the frequency with which I cry for no particular reason. God-sent is the most accurate term to describe them. Oh, how I adore them!

All us Grovers live on campus, so class doesn’t even feel like school. There’s a homey community that surrounds it all for me so it kinda feels like I’m just studying at home. I quite like it. It’s fun being surrounded by people who love learning and, most importantly, Jesus.

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Mail time is equivalent to a mini Christmas. *Cue the Michael Buble and Kelly Clarkson Christmas albums*

They tell you things are so much more strict in college, but here, although they do expect a lot, grace is extended freely. I had tech troubles and wasn’t able to print out an outline due at the beginning of class. I was panicked thinking, “college profs don’t take excuses,” and, “he’s going to think I’m lying.” Instead the professor gave me his trust and a look of understanding. He told me it was just fine to drop it off to his office later. They aren’t easy profs, but they are kind.

My entrepreneurship professors especially are extraordinarily amazing. Approachable, always willing to help, compassionate, knowledgable, experienced, and dreams come true. They come over to chat with you in student union and let you call them at ten o’clock pm to talk over an elevator pitch. It is so apparent they want us to succeed and as freshman they openly welcomed us into the fam. That’s what my major is, a little ‘ol family.

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Oh! Friends next. In additional to my delightful roomies, I’m close a group of band kids- surprise, surprise! Five of us girls met in line for food the first night of band, and the group has grown to about six girls and six guys. They’re pretty swell. We all went to Disney for band over fall break. It was grand old time!

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You know me & precipitation. We just get along so well!

I do want to be up-front and acknowledge that it isn’t all 100% a fairy land here [only like 95%]. It is hard not knowing anyone truly well. I crave a deep relationship here, but I know it’s something I can’t rush or force. I’m at God’s mercy in this, as in all things. One of my roommates mentors told her that starting college was the loneliest time in her kid’s lives, but that they grew so much closer to God in that time. There is so much wisdom in those words.  I do have someone here who knows me well, far better than I ever will know myself. I’ve found myself leaning on Him to survive. And although loneliness will never be fun, it makes me actually grateful for it. Focusin’ on the positives-  my main way to cope. I am praying that God will bring those relationships into my life, but I know they’ll be the best if on God’s timeline.

That’s it for now, but I made a blogging buddy, so I’ll be back soon! [Her name is Alyce Miller & she’s more than fabulous: see here]

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Song Pairing- actually let’s do two!

One for Sari : All I Ask of You by Josh Groban with Kelly Clarkson [YouTube]

Because Josh Groban + Phantom = YES

One for Soph  : The Girl by City and Colour [YouTube]

We listen to it on repeat, it makes us think of our moms. Slightly different, but strangely similar.

 

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