Saturday, November 26, 2016

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When Life Doesn't Go As Planned

*This post is sponsored by All opinions are my own.

Earlier this semester, my friends and I planned to go the Latino Festival in Lexington. We arrived downtown and looked around for the festival and then realized that it ended the day before. Although disappointed, we enjoyed the afternoon by wandering through the stacks at the Lexington Public Library and doing random photoshoots on top of parking garages.

Life does not go as planned, and I am so grateful that my life has not unfolded according to my own plans! 

I had so many goals and expectations of what this season of life would look like. What I wanted to happen did not, and the things that did occur I never foresaw or expected. This has carried with it hurt and disappointment and sadness for plans unfulfilled, but also joy in unpredicted friendships and spontaneous opportunities.

I thought I could be more than I am.

And when that plan fell apart and I tried to hold the broken shards in my small hands, I remembered, who am I to try to hold my own life? God took those broken shards of my feeble plans and gave me a much more abundant and blessed life than I could plan on my own.

But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? 
“Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’" 
Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?

Romans 9:20-21

So let go of the broken shards of unfulfilled plans, misread schedules and the mess and chaos. Dwell in the life God is holding for you - the one of unexpected blessing and unforeseen calling and unknown futures.

Be it new relationships, major life changes or spontaneous parking garage photoshoots, this is the abundant 'unplanned' life.


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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

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I am unworthy of your praise.

I am unworthy of praise. // An Ocean Dream

Over the past week, I have received words of affirmation. These words are a beautiful building up for my life, and I appreciate them deeply. I screenshot them and tuck away the notes and write about them in my journal. I keep these words, because they are reminders of what others see in me and what I seek to become.

Yet please know that I am broken with an unkind heart and an unsound mind. Anything good in me is what Christ has redeemed in me.

I am not a result of my own hard work or personal success, but a product of Christ's saving grace, of the way my parents raised me, of the opportunities people have given me and of the friends God has surrounded me with.

So don't praise me.

Praise the Lord, who rescued me from a dominion of darkness and brought me into the kingdom of the Son who He loves, in whom I have redemption, the forgiveness of my sins. He is renewing my cold heart and redeeming my cruel mind; that is what I am apart from the Lord. I am a cruel, sinful and evil liar, unworthy of any praise. So know this of me, and then praise all the more God's powerful, mighty work in changing lives.

Praise my dad, who taught me to love the Lord and respect others. When you compliment a meal I made, know that he's the one who taught me how to cook. He showed me how to listen and have empathy for others. He passed onto me his value for education and academic excellence.

Praise my mom, who served as an example of a godly woman. She showed me how to be strong in the face of challenges and how to be an encouragement to others. If you wonder how I keep a tight schedule, know that she taught me how to be organized and funnel motivation and excitement into achievable goals.

Praise my sister, who taught me maturity and generosity. She showed me how to be humble in the face of opportunity and to not take for granted the blessings God has given me.

Praise Senora Perry, my first professor, for instilling in me the value of learning and the desire to respect my professors.

Praise the leaders and the pastors who showed me the result of a life spent in pursuit of knowing the heart of God.

Praise the employers and advisors who gave me opportunities to serve as an intern or a leader or an editor.

Praise the friends around me who encourage me to have a quiet spirit and kind speech.

Without my God, my family, my friends and my people, I am nothing. Don't praise me - praise my Savior and my village, for they are what made me.

Nothing good in me is a product of my strivings. It is all the Lord and how He is working in my life. And this work in my life is not solely for me. We can all know Him and offer unending praise to the Father who wants to work His renewing power in the lives of all of us.

So don't praise me.

Praise God.

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Saturday, June 25, 2016

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DIY 'Be Well' Essential Oils Blend

Although summer break should be relaxing, schedules fill up quickly and stress due to travel, unexpected plans or lack of routine can abound. I have found that between interning, working and living away from home, I get stressed easily. Stress weakens the immune system, but this Be Well essential oils blend is wonderful for warding off illness. It is very similar to the popular ThievesTM oil blend from Young Living.

Be Well Essential Oils Blend

  • 25 drops clove oil
  • 15 drops lemon oil
  • 13 drops cinnamon oil
  • 13 drops eucalyptus oil
  • 10 drops rosemary oil
  • 5 drops lavender oil
  • 5 drops bergamot oil
  • 3 drops tea tree oil
Mix these oils together in a dropper bottle, like these.

Diffuse five to seven drops of this oil, or apply it to the bottoms of your feet, your wrists or behind your ears. Cinnamon oil is very strong oil, so be sure you dilute this blend with a carrier oil such as coconut or grape seed oil if you're going to use it on your skin.

Be well,

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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

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I don't believe in best friends.

Today is National Best Friends Day.
(My personal reflection on the day)

When I was a little girl in elementary school, I used to pray for a best friend. They were so idealized in movies and books and society, and I thought no one was complete if they didn't have a best friend who called them by that same title.

I grew up and gave that up.

My parents went to college far from where they grew up and moved far from where they went to college. Their friends are for seasons of their lives, and they're fine with that. With them as my example, I learned to not expect friendships to last forever. 

When good friends moved away and we gradually lost contact, I wasn't heartbroken. That person was in my life for a season, and if God took her out of my life for the next season, I was okay with that. I never ever had the idea of my friends being in my wedding because I wasn't counting on anyone being that close to me for that long.

In fact, when I was telling my mom about a problem I was having with one of my friends, she reminded me that friendships don't have to last forever.

I understand many people see this way of thinking as sad or wrong or even hurtful.

I see this way of thinking as placing my trust in the Lord and His plans for my life, including the people He gives and takes. It protects my heart because it's in His hands, not the unsteady hands of another person.

I now have examples of adults with lifetime friends. I recently attended a wedding of a girl whose wedding party was made up of girls that were all friends since high school. It's National Best Friend Day, and I do celebrate friendships. I am happy for people that have mutual best friends, and I would be lying if I said I still didn't get a little jealous of those friendships. I do still want a friendship like that, but I'm not striving for it. 

I will not label a person as my best friend.

Because by labeling who other people might see as my best friend, I am leaving out the girl who randomly texts me to tell me how much she appreciates me. I will leave out the girl who I see once a year and talk to every few months, but who I can tell anything to, more than the people I see every day. I will leave out the friend who I have fun with and I will leave out the friend who I pour my heart out to. I leave out the friend who talks and I leave out the friend that listens. See, I love my friends and I am so grateful for them. But people change, and the friend who means the most to me could change by month, week or even day. And if I tie my heart to an elevated person, I will be let down. 

I am so thankful for all of my friends, and I do hope those friendships continue. I do want to have a wedding surrounded by friends with great stories of doing life together. I do want forever friends, and I celebrate those who have them. I just won't clench my hands around a person or a friendship.

Instead, I will rest in the hands of God.

P.S. This is me from my point in my life right now.  Also, I understand this many things don't have to be tied to the label of 'best friend.' ;) And I am not saying that trusting the Lord and having a best friend are independent of one another.
Thanks for reading,
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Monday, May 16, 2016

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where i've been.

Where I've Been - Writing from An Ocean Dream


It's been awhile.

Really, it's been a year.

In that year, I completed a year of college. I moved five hours from home. I lived in a dorm. I met people and made friends and navigated through classes and activities and ministries and the cafeteria during the 12 o'clock lunch hour. :)

I did a lot. I met GPA goals and went to concerts and served as an editor for the school paper and cooked for friends and went camping and volunteered as a tutor at a middle school.

But I neglected a lot too. 

I didn't call my parents enough, didn't text my sister enough, didn't email my grandparents enough. I slept in and tweeted and cleaned my room instead of spending time with the Lord. I thought about my own things instead of praying. And, get this, I gave up Scripture memorization because I didn't want to overload my brain with all the other facts about tectonic plates and B-roll footage and marketing and internal attribution that I was cramming into my mind.


I didn't party, drink or do anything like that. But maybe sin is quiet too. Maybe sin is believing that attending chapel three times a week is enough Jesus. Maybe sin is assuming that you are 'good enough' because everyone else says you are. 

And maybe a wakeup call from that quiet sin comes when you realize that your life would be the same without Jesus. Because the choices you're making aren't because you're obedient to your Lord or love your Savior. It's because you're a good kid who wants to be respected by those around her. 

But who knows about the little, quiet ways distance from the Lord can creep into your life? The cruelty and jealousy you are shocked to feel and the gossip and rudeness that rises from that. The pride that separates you from others. The deceitfulness. The having to have it all together and not wanting to face the Lord because in Him you realize your brokenness that can only be fixed by Him, not by your grades and resume and striving. 

So that's where I've been.

But that's not where I'm going. I'm working on memorizing Psalm 17:15. "As for me, I will be vindicated and will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness." I want to be satisfied in the Lord and Him alone.

This was what I wrote in my journal the day I got home from school:

"I feel like this year, this semester, and especially these last few weeks, I've been walking through a fog. 

In the forest of my life.

I fell off the path and then had to push through all these thorns and brush and would sometimes cross back over the path and maybe even stay on it for a short distance but would then wander off again.

And then I was running our of fear and anxiety and tripped into a muddy creek and was cold, wet and caked in dirt that kept weighing me down.

Be my rescue team and find me, dirty, cold, lost and afraid. Take me in and clean all the mud and dirt and shame off of me and set my feet on the path and hold my hand as we walk it together.

Lord, bring me back."

Where I'm going is wherever the Lord will take me.

Thanks for reading my honesty.

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