The Beginning of Something Wonderful

Today classes start. I’m moved in, unpacked, definitely not organized, and incredibly sore. 

My prayer for this semester:

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed by thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into our temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.     ~ Matthew 6:9-13

I am believing for a good semester. I’m excited about the classes I have and the friends I have. While I have certain idea and plan of how I want things to go, I know God is in control. His ways are higher than my ways. His thoughts are higher than my thoughts. I want His will to be done in my life. All things are possible with God. That is what I am living on for this school year.

I’ve talked to one of my professors already, and she’s practically guaranteed me a job in the Writing Center. (I tutor in English.) I’m going to see if I can have two work studies. A student is only allowed to have ten hours of work study, so I’m looking to see if if I can split those ten hours up between two jobs. I have to go to career services and ask if I can do that.

Everything is going so well, I’m excited for what’s going to happen this semester. 

Fighting! 加油!Goodluck! 再见!Goodbye!

End of Summer pt. 3

The last word I would choose for describing my summer is family. 

As far as I am aware, this was my last summer at home. This is not saying I’ll never be home over the summer months. It means that it will be a while before I am home for as long as three months. Next summer I am attending a wedding at the end of May, shortly after I will be going to China for five to six week. I might come home for a week or two, but then I will be heading back to college. Next year will be one event after another. 

I am very thankful for all the time I was able to spend with my family. In the beginning of the summer Little Sister and I watched a lot of TV together. We tried to finish Goblin (One of the best Korean Dramas) over the weekend I returned, but we didn’t have enough time. Little Sister and I went to the gym quite a bit the first month too. I was practically always in the car with Mom. I went to the gym with Uncle for three (four?) weeks every morning at five. It wasn’t long until mom started going to the gym with me. Dad took me to the movies, and he and I often stayed up late (sometimes until three in the morning) watching TV in the Man Cave. I didn’t hang out with my big brother much, but he did give me some hats. Aunt and I had small conversations here and there that I really enjoyed, and I was able to get her a bunch of new clothes for her birthday. I even went out to breakfast with Soon-to-be Sister-in-law. 

That’s a lot. And while I spent time with everyone, I spent the most time with Momma. She and I were always grocery shopping, always in the car, and always at the firework stand. It was something I really needed. I don’t know what is going to happen this semester. I don’t know what God has planned. I know it’s going to be good, and I know I’m going to be relying on all the time I spent with Momma. All of our conversations and all the times we went shopping together will be support beams that I can fall back on to fill me with energy and courage. 

Honor thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with a promise;) that it may be will with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.    ~ Ephesians 6:2-3

I don’t know about long life (I am still quite young), but I believe I reaped a harvest of favor and love this summer. Whether it was from honoring my parents or simply stepping into a blessing that God wanted me to have, this summer was full of family and what comes with it. While there were a lot of things that happened this summer that weren’t the best, I know I will never doubt the love my family has for me or the love that my God has for me.

End of Summer pt. 2

I’m not gonna lie. I began the summer stressed out expecting terrible things to happen. I had a very limited perspective and low expectations for a happy summer. Because of this, all I saw were negative things and was constantly snippy. I acted immature and irrational about a lot of things. Sometimes these emotions were outwardly expressed and sometimes I just wrote about them in my journal. My summer could have been twenty times better if I didn’t limit myself by my expectations. 

Limited expectations creates a limited experience. I am so thankful my God goes above and beyond all things I could think of, ask for, or imagine. He is a big God and has big things planned for my life. 

This summer had a strong focus on trust and joy. In my family, Little Sister is known as the optimistic one. I’m a bit more of a pessimist. That perspective of mine was challenged. Tulsa Best Friend encouraged me countless times and Michigan Best Friend tried her hardest to help me view things differently. I am incredibly grateful that I have them by my side both literally and figuratively. 

The joy aspect of my summer really isn’t as abscure as I’m making it sound. I spent three weeks selling fireworks. I was either working with Michigan Best Friend or Mother. While selling fireworks isn’t my preferred job, I did make a lot of money. With that money I bought myself an unnecessary amount of clothes. (My closet is overflowing, and I’ve run out of hangers.) I attended my Soon-to-be Sister’s-in-law bridal shower. I went out to breakfast with Soon-to-be Sister-in-law. I have talked to all of my friends from college this past week. I found out today that the way Roommate and I want to set up our room is going to work out perfectly (even if we do pinch our fingers every time we open the fridge door). Tomorrow, just about all said friends and I will be going to IHOP for dinner. The best part of this summer was the fact that I published a chapbook. Not to mention all of the things God has taught me and is still teaching me. There really is so much to be joyful about.

Being negative–depressed, angry, just down right pessimistic about everything–was so big the first half of this summer. When it hit me that I was participating in gossip, being mad at people, and just thinking things about myself and others that I shouldn’t have, I knew it had to stop. I had to teach myself to think about what I was thinking about and to think about what I was talking about. It was really hard, because I didn’t want to be disrespectful toward people, but I didn’t want to participate in some of the things they were talking about. The conversations seemed harmless, but it was a lot of talking about other people that didn’t lift me up or the person who (whom? I’m hopeless with that word.) was being talked about.

“Above all else, guard you heart, for out of it flow the issues of life.”    ~ Proverbs 4:23

The moment I read this, my perspective shifted and I knew it was more than just taking action and guarding my mind, I had to guard my heart. 

As I began to learn once again how to guard my heart, along with it came learning to honor God. It went from thinking about what I was thinking to, “Do the things I thinking honor the Lord? Do the things I am saying honor the Lord? Do the things I am doing honor the Lord?” 

It was a process, and surprisingly not a very painful one. It just took a lot of patience and close attention on my part.

Going into this semester I want to continue to carry this with me. I want to be happy all the time. I want to be overflowing with joy that it almost annoys people that I’m as happy as I am. (Because some people really do think it’s not possible to be SuPeR dUpEr HaPpY. Well, I’ve got news for them.) I want to continue to be placed in situations where I’m forced to trust God, and I want to be happy doing it. I want to be at a point this semester when I can’t worry. Not that I don’t have time to worry, I just legitamitaly do not know how because I am overflowing with the Joy of the Lord, and I trust that His ways are higher than my ways, and His thoughts are higher than my thoughts.

End of Summer pt. 1

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If I had to describe summer in one word, it would be trust.

Once again I find myself reminding myself to trust God. The skin on my hands are peeling from being stressed. All of my ‘stuff’ covers the rear window of Mother’s car. Some how we still have to fit three people into the car. There’s still some small stuff that didn’t go in the car. I’m excited and nervous all at once.

I’m excited. I’m going back to college. I get to see all of my best friends. I’ll be living by my rules and not my parents. I can put to the test everything I’ve learned this summer.

I’m nervous. Oh gosh, I’m going back to college. I have to socialize. I have rules? I’m not sure I even knew those existed outside of my parents. I have to put everything to the test that I learned this summer? School hasn’t even started and I’m testing? What if I didn’t learn anything? Oh… what if I forget something and leave it at home? What if I run out of money? What if all my electronics brake? What if….

“Okay, Elizabeth. Breathe. Are you okay?”

Oh sure. I’m fine. Or will be. If I don’t feel ready to leave now, I know when I wake up at four in the morning that God will have done something in my heart, and I’ll be more prepared and ready than I thought I was. I am reminded that I can’t do this by myself. I’ve said it in several previous posts, but where I am weak, God is made strong.

The thing I am most confident in (I really am not sure how much I’m repeating myself here) is the fact that I can’t, but God can. All things are possible with God.

But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.    ~ Matthew 19:26

How relieving is that! When I come to the honest conclusion that I can’t and God can, peace floods in like river and covers every thought.There hasn’t been a time this summer when God failed me. He has never left me. I am looking forward to starting and completing this semester with Him.

 

Semester Goals: It’s gettin’ real ya’all.

As the title says, here are my goals for this semester:

  • Overflow with Jesus
  • Be full of Joy
  • Love absolutely everyone
  • Honor God with
    • all my heart
    • all my soul
    • and all my strength
  • Be confident in myself, because ya’all God created me, and I don’t have time to not live as who He created me to be.
  • Get a boyfriend
  • Go on like a million adventures with Oklahoma Best Friend
  • Study hard
  • Raise my GPA
  • FINISH THIS FINAL FREELANCE PROJECT
  • Sell 50 copies of my book (available for purchase here.)
  • Publish an e-book

“Elizabeth, please tell me that boyfriend one is a joke?”

… No. That has been my goal since freshman year. *Insert any cry face you can imagine* I’m not desperate. (Maybe a little.) Okay, maybe I was desperate sophomore year. Okay, maybe I was desperate last semester. Okay, ya’all I’m semi joke. Still, let me tell you, God knows the desires of my heart. One day I want to be married and the beginning of that relationship begins with dating. I have an ideal deadline of when I would like things to happen by, but ultimately I trust God’s timing. If there is one thing I’ve learned this summer it is to trust God. I fail so much, and He always reminds me that I can’t do things by myself. I trust God and His plans for my life. In the meantime I will plow my field and plant a lot of seeds so that I can reap a bountiful harvest.

So yeah. Those are my goals, and these aren’t just things I’m hoping will happen. They are things that are going to happen. I am going to work hard. If I don’t work hard, please, someone slap me across the face with french toast. Imma probably need it a lot this semester. Pray for me! Talk to me! I’ll keep you all updated on these.

What are your goals for the end of the year? Tell me so I can pray for you and push you on too! *GIANT smiley face*

Home Stretch

I thought about posting on Monday, and I thought about it again on Tuesday, but nothing much had happened, so I thought I would wait until today.

Monday night I had the opportunity of talking to my Tulsa Best Friend for a few hours. We were talking through FaceTime. It was really nice seeing her. I’m glad I’ll be able to see her in person on Monday. Yesterday, I talked to my Male Best Friend for a couple hours on the phone. I miss him so much! I’m glad I get to see him next week too. I’m hoping we can all go out to IHOP on Monday and just hang out with each other. I miss everyone! *Insert like a million cry faces right here.*

This morning Father and I went and watched the movie Atomic Blonde. It was good. It wasn’t what I expected, but I enjoyed it. I was expecting it to be like a female James Bond, and while it had its similarities, it wasn’t anything like James Bond. The last scene had me slightly confused, but it did nothing to affect how much I still like and enjoyed the movie. There was a lot of language and one sex scene, so if you’re not against any of that, I encourage you to go watch it.

That was this morning. This afternoon I did some writing, and then in the evening I started packing. The library is a mess. I have both suitcases opened and an empty crate in there. I haven’t packed anything yet. I’ve been transferring stuff from my room to the library to be packed. On top of that, I haven’t even touched my clothes yet. I put my sweaters in a box, but those are the only clothes I removed from the closet.

Of all the books I moved to the library to pack, only about five of them are fiction. The rest of the books are my journals. Which, believe me, is a lot! I have too many! I know I should leave like one or two of them here at home, but I’m so attached to all of them, and I really don’t want to leave any behind. They’re my babies. (If I could insert emojis here I would. It would be like three laughing cry faces, a cry face, and one more laughing cry face.)

Tomorrow I will attempt more writing and the daunting task of packing my clothes. I’ll have to figure out what Chinese books to take with me, and which ones to leave at home. I need to decide on the pillows I’ll take back to college and there is still so much to do. I leave Sunday, so I have time, but it’s still stressful.

So far that’s all I have to say. I’ll try to update you Friday, and I’ll put up an end of summer post on Saturday. Until then.

Goodbye! 再见!加油!Fighting! Good luck!

 

Success or Fail?

This week was actually really good. I didn’t meet the goals I set…, which is horrible since I go back to college next Sunday. But I did get some writing done. I did do a little bit of reading, but not nearly as much as I should have done. After I’m done writing this, I am going to do some more editing and study some Chinese.

I found this really cool app/website called Coursera. It has a bunch of online courses available to take whenever. There are a ton of categories to choose from, and you can pay for the class or audit it. There is also some financial aid for those who can’t pay for the class.  While auditing is a great option for those who can’t pay, it does mean that there is some course work that can’t be accessed, but I still think it’s really cool. For me, someone who is super busy during the school year (and holds up a facade of business during the summer), the best part is the fact that it’s online. I can take the classes at my own pace, and learn on my time. Since I was homeschooled, I love this type of class/learning setting. It’s very comfortable to me.

It’s crazy that I’m down to my last week of summer before I go back to school, but I think I’m ready. I still feel there are some things that God is teaching me, but I know when the time comes, God will have completed the work He started in me at the beginning of the summer. One of those things, that will probably go with me into the semester, is I want to learn what it means to love God with all my heart, with all my soul, and with all my strength.

I want to be able to love God to the fullest. More and more I am learning that it means not focusing on me but on God. It’s hard, but just in the few days that I’ve been quoting Deuteronomy and praying about it, I’ve learned a lot. It’s hard to pray that, then go do something and remind yourself that it’s not for you. Everything should be done all for the glory of God.

I’m loving it though. It’s amazing just how much more joy and love pours out of us for other people as we focus on God. The more of us we give up, the more of us He fills up. I would much rather be filled with God than with myself. I’m flawed and mess things up so many times, but He is perfect. In my weakness He is made strong, and that’s all I want.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  – 2 Corinthians 12:9

If I had to sum up my summer with God (even though I still have a week left) I would use the word trust. All summer God has taught me how much I need to trust in and rely on Him. I can’t do anything without Him, and He is still teaching me that. We’ll see what I have to say about all of this next Saturday. Haha.

Well, like I said, I plan on doing some editing and studying tonight.

再见!加油!Fighting! Good luck! Good bye!

 

**All in all, I think this week was a success.