Quick Tip 8

1. “It was a time where when people talked about one another.”
‘Time’ is not a place. It cannot be a ‘where’ it must be a ‘when.’

2. “It’s a situation where in which no solution seems possible.”

For this second example, ‘where’ is a little more acceptable, but for it to be absolutely correct ‘in which’ is the way to go.

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My Life ft. My Stupidity

I came to college expecting so much, and I am still expecting so much. I am expecting God to move powerfully. This first week, however, was like fighting Goliath. On Thursday, last week, classes began, and my thought was, “What could possibly happen in the first week?” Let me tell you, apparently everything can happen in the first week. It was like a silver platter full rotten food was handed to me, and I had a choice to eat the rotten meat and bug infested fruit or I could staple a return to sender, and go eat at SAGA (the cafeteria here on campus, which probably isn’t much better.) I’ll be honest, I took a bite from a few of the apples given to me.

Just within the first week I have found myself resisting God. Pray? No. Read the Bible? No. Worship? No. I want to sit here in anger, and do things my way. I don’t want to reach expectations. I don’t like being told what to do. “God, why don’t you just sit on the sidelines? I’ll take care of this. I can do it so much better.” Okay, stop laughing at me. I know what I did wrong, but my story isn’t over. So, when everything goes kaput after I take control, I throw my hands up and say, “What the heck, God!” All I get is the same response. “Yeah, what the heck Elizabeth?” Alright, fair point. Everyday I try to bring my own plans for my future to fruition, I fail. Let’s be real. I woke up on Monday and said, “Yes, today is going to be a good day.” And like a friend of mine said, it was like a narrator was right behind me saying, “Today was not going to be a good day,” in that deep, slow, ominous, somewhat comedic voice. (That was a rotten apple with several worms.)

Why am I so afraid of admitting that I can’t do something and allowing God to have the first and final say about things? Why am I so afraid of surrenduring and relinquishing control when I know how good and great God is? Well, I think this comes down to the fact that I’m afraid of admitting my feelings to myself, anyone, and God. Being honest is a hard thing for me to do when it comes to confessing how I really feel.

“Okay, Elizabeth. Wow. Take a deep breath.” 

Yeah. It’s a lot. Despite all of that though, I do trust in God’s goodness. I know that despite everything I am feeling, I will see the goodness of the Lord.

“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭27:13‬ ‭NIV‬‬

And despite all of the things that have happened in the first week, there were a lot of good moments too. Thursday night was campus worship, I did something Friday night (not that I remember), and Saturday night was Partiestival which was a blast. Sunday I went to the Aquarium. It was my first time there. I really enjoyed it! I took pictures of all the fish and put it on SnapChat. Monday is not worth recounting. Most of the week is not worth recounting. Thursday night was interesting. Roommate and I were up until 3 in the morning praying and witnessing to each other. Friday night I saw the movie “Dirty Dancing” for the first time. I fell in love with it! I love watching dance movies or musicals. Saturday I spent all day with a friend of mine whom we will call Charlie (Female). Sunday I didn’t do much accept study for ages and get all my homework done. And now here we are: the beginning of week two of classes. I am trusting this week to be a hundred times better. There has been a lot of self discovery in the past week. I’m still thinking about a lot of it, and trying to journal about it.

“Wow. You’re busy. When do you have time for anything?”

Good question. I’m not sure. Because of how stressful the first week was, I’ve already gone crying to my chaplain. (Let’s be real, I didn’t cry.) Chaplain told me that I need to find time to rest and relax. This week I plan on finding time to read and to perhaps watch an episode of T.V. on occasion. Because I am so busy and can barely find time to relax, I am scheduling posts to be posted without me having to write everyday. I can just do it all of my writing at once. Some of the the things coming up are “Quick Tips” about writing by the one and only Professor Gogan. “Quick Tips” will be posted every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. I am on the search for quotes that I think say a lot, and those will go up on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I thought all of you would like those. I will have a few short stories coming soon, and I will continue to do updates on my life, but that might only be once a week now. 

I think that’s about it. This semester I have 18 credit hours. I’m in two language classes (Chinese 301 and Spanish 101), assisting in one (Chinese 101), and showing up for another just because I can (Chinese 201). I love all of my classes this semester. I’m happy I am given the opportunity to get into the swing of things before I start my work study. (I think I’ll have about ten hours of work mixed in between my classes.)

Okay. That’s all. I’ve given you an semi-clear update of the past week. 

我爱你!加油!再见!Fighting! Good luck! I love you guys! 

Just. Freaking. Everything.

I AM DONE SELLING FIREWORKS.

First off, let’s celebrate that statement. While I really didn’t want to work there, God taught me a lot. He came through and proved just how faithful He really is if I only trust Him. There were so many things that happened that could not be denied as God. To add to it, last night I read Psalm 37:18-19

The Lord knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever. They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied. [KJV]

This verse was comforting for me to read. With how my future is falling into place and the direction my family is going (NOT a bad direction), it’s nice to know that God will provide and be with me–with us–through everything.

There are three specific things that happened at the stand that I believe are worth documenting.

      1. I saw a car painted like a lady bug! (My nickname is BethyBug, and growing up my family always got me ladybug stuffed animals; now I’m obsessed with them.)
      2. One night, I was just there under the canopy when this truck drove by. It was late, and we were getting ready to close up, mom and I. The parking lot was nearly empty, but this truck drove by. I waved, and he waved back. THEN A CAT POPPED UP IN THE BACK WINDOW. I pointed and started screaming, and almost cried. Then he stopped the car. He got out, and brought a different cat, and she had pink nail cases on, and she was on a red leash, and her name was Cleopatra, and she was blind. AND I GOT TO HOLD HER FOR LIKE FIFTEEN MINUTES. I was so close to crying. It was beautiful. And I freaking love cats. And if you ever get me one, I will love you, and we will be best friends forever.
      3. This is the best thing out of everything that happened. I was checking this guy out and I asked, “How’s it going?” He said, “I’m fine.” Now, I thought about saying, Just fine? but I was like, nah, I don’t know him, no need to butt into his personal. So instead I asked, “How’s your fourth of July going?” (Because this was on the fourth.) He said, “It’s just like any other day.” He was so monotone, and I was like dang, I need to pray for him. As I was bagging his stuff I said, “I don’t mean to pry into your personal life, but is there anything I can pray for you about?” There was silence for maybe twenty seconds, then he said, “No, but you can pray for me right now.” So he grabbed my hand, and I prayed for him. The presence of the Holy Spirit fell in that moment, that he was shaking, I was shaking, and I was about to cry, and it seemed like he was about to cry. As I was praying I said, “Father let there be a reminder that all things work together for the good of those that love you, let there be a reminder that those who delight themselves in you, you give them the desires of their heart, and let there be a reminder that you have a good future planned for us.” I said all of that, and my thought was, Oh my gosh. Where am I going with this? He probably isn’t even a Christian. Good job. Finally I ended, “Amen.” THEN HE PRAYED FOR ME. I was like, Whoa. This is really happening. Then it got better. He started praying in tongues. It was such a beautiful moment. Then he said, “Amen,” gathered his things, and went to his car.

     

So those are the amazing things that happened.

I’ve been talking to mom about so many things too. It’s been really nice just mom and I hanging out. Kind of strengthening our relationship in a way before I leave for college again. One of the things I keep thinking about along the lines of going back to college is how unprepared and how not ready I am. However, I know God isn’t done working with me this summer. There are so many things he has planned. I’ve only begun to scratch the surface.

The great things about what I told you about above, is that I had specific goals set everyday, and everyday I saw a rainbow reminding me of God’s promises. At one point, I specifically prayed that working at the firework stand wouldn’t be dull, and wouldn’t be just a job, but that it would be a ministry. He was faithful, and all he asked me to do was trust him.

As far as anything else goes, here’s the update. The rest of this week and next week, I am going to finish my last freelance project. I’ll only freelance again if I feel I need a little extra income or if I want to. After that I’ll be working on my personal project.

With Chinese, I am going to buckle down and get to memorizing words, sentences, phrases, and start speaking it more. My future boss man recommended I take an hour every day to speak only Chinese.  I want to be fabulous when I go back to college.

Health wise, things are about to get heavy. I’m going to go to the gym in the mornings with Uncle around 5:15, then again at night with Little Sister. So with Uncle, I will focus mainly on strength training. I’ll do a little cardio, a lot of weight lifting. Then when I go with Little Sister, we’ll spend about twenty minutes to a half hour doing cardio and a little time to weight lifting. When it comes to eating, I’m going to start eating more vegetables and no gluten. (Like I’m supposed to anyway.) These past two weeks I have been eating so much junk, I’m ready to cleanse my body.

Okay. 好。再见。加油!Love you! Fighting!

Solo by Kwame Alexander – Book Review

This book wrapped me in its arms, tore my heart to shreds, and attempted to tape it back together. It was a wonderful piece by Kwame. This, like Crossover, was written in prose (poetic verse). One thing in particular that I loved about it were the names: Blade, Storm, Sunny, Joy, Chapel. Almost all of them resembles a key attribute about the character.

The story is about Blade Morrison, born and raised in the spotlight. However, the spotlight isn’t always great, and the paparazzi is horrible. His family, his dad, is constantly on the front cover of everything. He tries to find solace from all the crazy in his girlfriend, but her parents aren’t too fond of her dating a rock star who comes from a drug addict, alcoholic, deadbeat, rock star father. Blade wants out, and he wants out fast, especially after he hears life-altering news about himself that Storm, his sister, throws in his face. It pushes him over the edge. Way over the edge. Traveling out of the country to Ghana over the edge. There he meets a girl named Joy and a five-year old names Sia. Both of them begin to change his life, although, after meeting them, it’s everything but an easy climb to happiness from there on out.

The story really was great and incredibly inspiring. As soon as I’m done passing the book around friends and family, I can guarantee I’m going to annotate my copy. The only thing that bothered me about the book was when Blade reacted to what Storm told him about himself. I thought he overreacted. I get he was emotional, and his family was pushing him to a breaking point, but I thought it was too sudden. Also, Joy’s wisdom seemed uncanny.

Despite those two things, the story was amazing! I highly recommend it.

 

*** Also! There’s a great track list in the book. LISTEN. TO. IT.

 

 

Manifestation of Heaven on Earth (At least to my romantic mind.)

I have this thing where I love taking pictures of the sun. Yesterday, when I was out on the back deck, I was wrapped up in a blanket writing, when I looked up and noticed the sun setting.

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At first I thought it was just beautiful. I was like, “Wow. Look at that. Such a beautiful inspiring view.” Then I was like, “No, this needs to be captured in a picture.”

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After taking this picture I continued to just sit there and stare at the sun. (Probably not the best thing to do to my already terrible eyes.) Then I just looked around the yard and began to take in the full beauty of what was around me. One thing I had read in Celebration of Discipline was the discipline of meditation. I thought that sitting on the deck in full view of the sunset would be a good time to meditate. I closed my laptop and turned over my phone.

As I sat there, this thought crossed my mind: Everything the sun touches is touched by heaven. Or some sappy thing like that. Well, the whole yard wasn’t bathed in sunlight. Rather there was one strip of land, almost like a golden pathway (NOT a yellow brick road) leading to this small clearing a few feet back into the woods.  I walked down to that single strip of sunlight and walked in it, as if I was walking toward the sun itself. When I got to the edge of the wood I stopped. That glen was not on our property. It was on our neighbor’s, and technically, I’m not allowed back there. I turned around and began to walk away, but I quickly turned back.

The sun was setting. My feet were bare and cold, turning purple. I myself was still wrapped in a blanket. The only way to get to that clearing bathed in light was either to walk over a graveyard of dead leaves raked there over the years by my family and risk poison ivy, or to cross over to my neighbor’s yard and safely get there on mowed grass. I risked the mounds of leaves. I wasn’t sure what I was stepping on, but I knew I had to get there.

The grass in that area was the softest I had ever felt it. The whole area was covered in moss and fresh green grass. It was the greenest grass I had ever seen. It was this small area, and the middle was covered in ash. I’m assuming it was a controlled fire by my neighbors to create this little area. I don’t know, but it was as if I stepped beyond earth and into a supernatural place. It felt sacred, and I was thankful I wasn’t wearing shoes. I felt like Moses standing before the burning bush. It was a holy place. Certainly not a place for sinners to walk; I felt (like what is talked about in Romans 6 and 7) my chains and slavery to sin break, and a fresh binding and servant hood to righteousness form.

I’m not even sure how to explained what happened there. It was a sense of renewal, purpose, forgiveness, and calling. A fresh outpouring of grace. I am convinced I was standing in the presence of God receiving a calling just as astounding as Moses being told he was going to lead the Israelites to the Promise Land. Leaving felt like I stepped out of glory. I entered into a moment where perhaps, if I stayed a bit longer, I might have seen God’s back like Moses did.

I don’t think I’ll look at the sun the same way again. I’ve always been in awe of it, but now that holds a new meaning for me.

Sun 3

Sun 2

 

Oh my gosh. I’m late.

I was only hella busy all day Friday. I spent the day watching my darlings, Anthony and Athena. From 8 until 4:30, they were all mine. We spent the morning inside, then went outside for about an hour and a half. Then we came inside for lunch, went to McDonald’s for ice cream, and then we went to the park behind the library. Afterwards we came back to the house for quiet, woke up, had snack, then I sent them off home. I had such a fun time with them. Athena was adorable and sweet as usual, and Anthony, being deprived of the love and attention he needs, really enjoyed being spoiled and having some times with me.

Some of the things Anthony said:

“Elizabeth, you look so beautiful in that dress!”

“Elizabeth, can I give you a high five for looking to beautiful?”

“Now I have two friends: You and Fletcher.”

“Elizabeth, I really like spending time with you.”

“We should plan another day like this. Okay? Can we?”

 

Mini conversation we had:

Father bought me a map of China so I was pointing out to everyone where I would be when I moved there. I showed Anthony the map and pointed out to him where I would be living. “Look Anthony, this is where I’m going to live in China one day.”

“You’re going to live in China? I’m never gonna live in China.”

“Yeah?”

“You’re gonna live there?”

“Yup!”

“I wanna live there with you. Can I go to China with you? I really want to go with you and live with you.”

My thought: ALL THE YES. COME LIVE WITH ME.

 

Yeah. I think my heart only broke into a million pieces yesterday. I love those kids so much.

Today, Amber and I went to two graduation parties in our Clunker van named D-La (DLA is what’s on her licence plate.) We only turned around like 20 million times, only to find we were going the right way all along. I’ve had so much food today I’m stuffed (really just a lot of Gluten) and I have some Asian food here to be cooked, and I want to eat it so bad, but I don’t want to cook it unless I know I’m going to eat it all.

My weekend has been full of adventures, and it’s not even over yet. Tonight I’m going to church by myself. Little Sister is only staying for worship since she’s leading it in middle school. And the rest of my family will be driving home from the NASCAR race. Which is also another reason I’m going tonight, because I will be joining them at the race tomorrow. We leave at five in the morning. *Camera stare like on The Office*

UPDATE ON WRITING: there is none. It’s okay, you can go ahead and shoot me. I’ve been watching a lot of Supernatural, and as you can see, my weekend has been busy. Although, I could watch less Supernatural and write more. Am I? No. Yeah, so I think shooting me is perfectly reasonable.

Please help! *Insert desperate cry face* What do you do to motivate yourself to get off Netflix and write that sentence that really is refusing to move past the fingertips or that role play game in your head? I feel like I know all the tricks. I’m just lazy. Which is another thing. I haven’t been to the gym too much, because I need to exchange these new shoes for the ASICS ones that I want to get. I did go running twice though.

Okay, confession, I really don’t know how to end these things well. I feel like I’m awkward, and how does one have good transition sentences between paragraphs on a blog? How does one do a conclusion?

Good bye! (Is that it?)

Well, that’s the update on my life. (Gosh, I sound boring. Whatever.)

Fighting! 加油!Good luck!

Picture Time

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Beach Day with Mother and Little Sister.

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The only acceptable ice cream to have before a nice freezing swim.

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Time to kick those shoes off,

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and get wet and dirty.

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After swimming and getting cold, it’s nice to sit back and watch the sunset.

IMG_6668Just look at how beautiful that is.

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Everything was absolutely gorgeous and perfect.

 

Bonus:

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Story time with Taco Bell Hot Sauce.