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*

Finally. I’m doing stuff.

Be proud of me. I’m making progress. I got a new book called the princess saves herself in this one by Amanda Lovelace. (There are no capitals in the title or in the book.) It is a book of poetry, and I’m in love with it. I know I’m reading like a million other books too, but I’ll finish this one quickly.

I did start studying Chinese and Spanish. Now that I have my new phone I downloaded a bunch of language apps. Most of them will help me with listening and reading. With them I can get a lot of memorizing done. They won’t necessarily help me with speaking. Therefore, I’m still looking for some tricks to help me with that.

Today was the beginning of me getting up at five in the morning and going to the gym with Uncle. I ran on the treadmill for twenty-two minutes, than did a whole body workout. I went to the gym again with Little Sister around eight-thirty/nine o’clock. We did the bike for twenty minutes, then I coached her on leg day, and did a few other exercises myself. Tomorrow is day 2. The hardest part is going to be staying awake all day or only taking a nap for an hour. Today, I accidentally slept until two in the afternoon.

As for T.V. I dedicated four days to “Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo.” It ended. I almost cried. Now I’ve been inspired. Next time you see me I’m going to be a professional weightlifter. Hehe. Not really, but I will work harder at the gym. Now my sister and I are watching “Bride of the Water God.” The show stars Nam Joo Hyuk. He’s one of my favorite actors and is in everything: Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo, Scarlet Heart, Cheese in the Trap. I love him. A new episode of the show comes out every Monday and Tuesday on DramaFever.

Alright. I love you! Now I have actual journaling to do before I go to bed. That and a devotion. Sleep is, unfortunately, real and I need it before I kick butt at the gym tomorrow. 么么哒!加油!再见!

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.

IMG_6755

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.”

Sun.jpg

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