A Little Motivation

The most wonderful thing happened last week.

Saturday evening, I opened a package from Mrs. Terri. I knew it was a graduation gift. Mom asked me if I wanted to open it now or later. She was like, “maybe it will motivate you to finish school.” and I was like, “Mom, I don’t need any more motivation to finish.” But Mrs. Terri wanted me to open it, so I did. And I am so thrilled.

Y’all, the Pin Pals made me a quilt.

Several of the ladies made quilt blocks and embroidered a message, or just signed their name in the corner of their block. They picked such beautiful fabrics. There are pink and red flowers. There are text fabrics with different quilt terms. There’s a block with “Baby Ruth” embroidered in big red script letters. (That’s what all the ladies call me!) The backing is a green and white triangle pattern. Mrs. Terri quilted the entire thing with meanders and stars.

It is so perfect!

No one has ever made me a quilt before. I have always been the giver and maker of quilts! Being on the receiving end, I understand now how special and meaningful quilts truly are. They are the product of love, kindness, and generosity. To me, it’s a reminder that though distance may separate us, it cannot lessen the love that I have for my Pin Pals and the Pin Pals have for me. It is a comfort and an encouragement (not to mention it keeps me warm at night!).

That Saturday, I was sad that the sewing guild will not be here to celebrate my graduation with me. When I look at this quilt, and as I’ve read the messages they wrote on my card, I see that they’re already celebrating. They’re already proud of me and they are already excited for the next chapter of my life to start.

I think Mrs. Rose said it just right:

“I will be right there with you in spirit as you graduate and you will know we are all there with you when you wrap yourself in the quilt. You are loved.”

I can’t get over how amazing this gift is. I’m never letting this one go.

Now I really have to finish. I said I didn’t need any more motivation, but the Lord knew I needed this.

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Physics is finished. I took my last test yesterday! All I have left are two writing assignments for English. I’m almost done.

The Goodness of God

{Past}

It’s been a while. A long while since I saw him, or heard from him. And then, there he was. Smiling, staring at the ground with a girl by his side. Their faces frozen forever in a perfect little picture.

I shouldn’t have been stalking her. Now my heart hurts. It’s not broken. I remember what that feels like. It was so horrible. I felt shattered, crushed into a million pieces. I never felt so small and insignificant in my whole life. No, this time it’s a dull ache that burns in my chest. There’s regret. So much regret.

I’m relieved that it’s over. I finally have closure. But I also feel sad and disappointed that things didn’t turn out the way I had hoped. I desperately wanted him notice me. I tried so hard and wasted so much time and energy trying to get him to like me. But it was all to no avail. He wasn’t the one for me.

Thank God.


{Present}

The past three years have been one heck of a ride. It’s amazing how far the Lord has brought me and just how much He’s done in my heart.

15. That was not very long ago. I was young and crazy and head over heels for one guy, and then another guy, and then another. (None of which liked me back the very least.)

I spent so much time and energy trying to make boys that just weren’t the ones for me, the right ones for me. I had tried so hard to give my heart to each one. Mom warned me about the consequences of doing that. It would hurt and it’s a waste of time and affection that is so very precious. I would regret it because there were so many other things I could pour my energy into other than boys. But I didn’t listen. I still gave my heart away and every single time, I got hurt.

I let myself go until I became someone I didn’t recognize. I was unhappy with my image, with my personality, with all of me because I felt like no one liked me for who I really was. I tried so hard to be someone else for a guy. A guy who didn’t care for me. I spent so much time and energy wishing, wanting, and trying way too hard to get him to like me. Every night, I prayed that he would be the one for me. I said, “God, please let him be the one!” when really I meant, “God, please make him the one!” I am so thankful God did not give me what I wanted!

Then I moved.

And then the healing began.

I came to face some really hard truths.

Truth is, I wasn’t ready to date. (And I’m still not ready to date.)

Truth is, I wasn’t ready for marriage. (And I’m still not ready for marriage.)

Truth is, every guy I really liked was actually a terrible match for me.

Truth is, the distance away from my friends and all the guys I knew has actually been really good for me.

Truth is, I really need to get to know my Savior first before I ever get to know any guy.

Truth is, I have a really good God who has protected my heart in so many ways, it makes me cry every time I really think about it.

For three years, God gave me acne. The kind of acne that you just can’t hide no matter how much makeup you put on. It was big, red, painful, and pretty much all over my face. I hated it so much, but now I’m pretty sure those mountains were what kept the boys from falling in love with me during a very vulnerable time.

You know how I know?

Three years ago, in the middle of my boy-craziness, my acne was just awful. Like I went to a dermatologist because it was so awful, and she said it was awful. (Okay, she said it was very severe, not awful.) It was bad. Up until the time I moved, it had stayed that way. But ever since I’ve been living here, my skin has healed! It’s unreal. As I have grown in the Lord and let Him heal my heart, He has healed my skin too. It’s so amazing.

Ever since I moved, I have not met a single guy who is remotely close to my age. (Okay, that’s not true. There are boys here but they’re young and wild.)

God gave me ladies like my mom and Mrs. Nancy. Ladies who love the Lord and who are the kind of wives that I want to be when it’s time.

God gave me a handful of good, Christian girlfriends who have encouraged me in my walk with Him.

God gave me such a good daddy (and mommy) who will guard my heart even when I won’t do it myself. And they will continue to guard it until God brings the man HE picked for me. I’m so thankful for my parents. They counseled me when I was heartbroken. Now they’re encouraging me to pour my energy and time into the people I love and the things I like to do. To be busy instead of sitting around wishing for a boyfriend. They reminded me to be myself and to love myself because God made me the way I am: Complete. Perfectly and wonderfully made. Exactly the way He wanted me to be. And God doesn’t make mistakes. And finally, they told me to wait on the Lord’s timing. For His timing is perfect, and He always, always, has my best interests in mind.

So that’s where I am now. Waiting and trusting in the Lord.

Book List of 2017

So one of my goals is to read at least 20 books this year.

Here’s what I’ve got.

 1. S.H.E. – Safe, Healthy, Empowered. (Rebecca St. James)
2. The Lightning Thief (Rick Riordan)
3. The Sea of Monsters (Rick Riordan)
4. Love’s Pursuit (Siri Mitchell)
5. A Constant Heart (Siri Mitchell)
6. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore (Robin Sloan)
7. The Butterfly and the Violin (Kristy Cambron)
8. The Sparrow of Terezain (Kristy Cambron)
9. Love Comes Softly (Janette Oake)
10. Wait for Me. (Rebecca St. James)
11. Passion and Purity (Elisabeth Elliot)
12. Jesus > Religion (Jefferson Bethke)
13. A Red Herring Without Mustard (Alan Bradley)
14. The Book Thief (Markus Zusak)
15. Number the Stars (Lois Lowry)
16. Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World (Joanne Weaver)
17. Dashwood Avenue (RJ Conte)
18. Crazy Love (Francis Chan)
19. Because He Loves Me (Elise Fitzpatrick)
20. Boundaries (Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend)
21. Throne of Glass (Sarah J. Maas)
22. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Victor Hugo)
23. Les Miserables (Victor Hugo)
Most of these are books I haven’t read before, but a couple of them will be rereads. Like The Butterfly and the Violin. Or Because He Loves Me. (I love those books so much. I can’t even tell you.)
I’ve already finished the first two books on my list. I think I’m going to try to read according to my list this year. Just so I stay organized. 😉
S.H.E. was an amazing encouragement for me. I highly recommend it for any lady, young or old, who is seeking to live a safe, healthy, empowered, and godly life.
SHE is every woman who seeks more from God and submits her life to His transforming work and a lifetime of being reborn into God’s original design.
I am enthralled with the Percy Jackson series. I love Annabeth. Greek mythology is one of my favorite topics and that series is really cleverly written and a rather easy read for me. I have a feeling I shall fly through those books. 🙂
I’m always looking for my next read. Any recommendations? What is one of your absolute favorites?

Goals for 2017

I’m not one who makes New Year’s resolutions. However this year, I did have some goals I want to meet. Or at least work on throughout the year and see progress. 😉

1. Read through the entire Bible in one year.

2. Become a more balanced person spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

3. Read the steadily growing stack of 20-some books sitting on the bedroom floor.

4. Graduate.

5. Play my violin more often.

6. Finish the projects I started.

7. Run Wild. Live Free. Love Strong. (My new motto)

Run wild: Take risks. Take chances. Don’t be reckless, but don’t live in fear. Have courage, dear heart.

Live free: Live the life of freedom that the Lord has given you. Walk with Him, living in accordance with the plan He has made for you. Taste and see that the Lord is good; you are blessed when you trust in Him.

Love strong: Because you were first loved and without love, we would perish. Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Don’t be afraid of sharing your heart and soul with Him. He’s a master of holding hearts and He’ll take good care of yours. ❤ And finally, love others.

Here’s to 2017.

Reflections on 2016

I said 2016 was the worst year of my life.

And apparently a lot of people agree with me.

But here’s the thing. 2016 in of itself wasn’t bad. It was just another year. What made it bad for me personally was that in the past, I had made a lot of poor choices and bad decisions and this was the year I suffered the consequences. But even through all the trouble I caused and experienced, God was faithful, steadfast, and unchanging.

Here’s what I’ve learned this past year.

Life can suck. Change can really suck. When everything is completely new, it can be really terrifying to think about adjusting and it is perfectly normal to feel like you can’t handle it. It’s okay to feel sad and a little lost over something you can’t control. But. Don’t dwell on the fact that everything is different and nothing will ever be the same again. Don’t let that drag you down. Instead, remember that God will never give you more than you can handle and He’s going to go with you through all the changes. He won’t leave you behind.

Life is short. Too short to hide behind a camera. Take the time to step away from your phone. Stop taking pictures for a minute and enjoy everything around you with your own two eyes. Soak it in. Remember it for yourself. Then maybe take a few pictures for that scrapbook of yours. 😉

Read some more. Be still, even if it’s for twenty minutes. Take one chapter at a time. Go on those adventures between the pages. Fight monsters. Conquer fears. Find true love and live happily ever after. Just don’t forget about reality.

Don’t lose heart. Some days, life can feel really crappy. There will be times when you won’t know what to do or say, or how to react and that’s okay. Take a deep breath. Talk to Jesus. Really talk to Him. Pour your heart and soul out –trust me, you won’t regret it. He’s a master of holding hearts and He’ll take good care of yours.

Listen to what He has to say. It’s so important to listen. Otherwise it’s a one-sided conversation, you know? You do all the talking and you ask all the questions, but you don’t get any answers because you don’t listen. Sit at His feet and rest in His presence. Seek His will. Chase after it and never stop.

Choose your friends wisely, love. There is a huge difference between friends and acquaintances. Make sure you know the difference.

Don’t push away your family. Your parents will always be your biggest cheerleaders and you will always have a friend and confidante in them. You really are going to be stuck with your siblings forever. You don’t have to like them, but you do have to love them. They will be the ones who will take you in when you need a place to stay. They’ll keep you company whether you want them to or not. Cultivate good relationships with them now while you’re all young. It won’t be long before you all start moving out and living a life on your own. These are the days and you’ll never get them back. Redeem the time you have.

Finally. Run wild. Live free. Love strong.

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Here’s to another year.

I Made These.

Two of my dearest friends graduated from high school this year, so I painted two canvases and wrote Proverbs 3:5-6 over it. That particular Scripture had been on my heart for a while and for quite a few months, I had been praying those verses for these two friends. I thought it would be a nice gift for them as they enter the new seasons of life. 🙂

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About three months ago, Mrs. Rose sent me a Bella Clutch kit all cut out and ready to sew. I finally got my sewing machine up and running last week (yay!) and sewed this cute bag while Mom worked on her part of the baby quilt.

This quilt was so much fun to make! I’m in love with the vibrant colors. We got most of the batiks from http://www.jellyrollfabric.net/, but we also used some batiks from our stash to add some variety. The binding is actually a hand-painted batik from a quilt kit I forgot I had. I quilted this one using my leaf stencil on the colors and I also quilted simple vines on the black sashing.

Cool story: God has this amazing way of providing for our needs. At first, we were going to use a solid black broadcloth for the backing because it would match the sashing on the quilt top and we couldn’t find a better fabric that matched. We were really kicking ourselves because we have so much fabric, yet none really came close to a winner. I was going through a bag that holds my unfinished sweatshirt jacket (that I have given up on) and at the bottom of the bag was that beautiful purple batik! I forgot I had kept that aside to bind my jacket, but it was pretty much the exact size we needed for this quilt and the batik pattern was perfect! It was made for this quilt. God is just amazing like that. 🙂

We had a card-making day earlier in the month with a sweet family from church. It was really nice to take a day off from school and just use the paper, stamps, decorative scissors, and stickers to make beautiful cards. I made about a dozen or so. 😉 I think we’ll have to do this again because I still have an enormous amount of card-making stuff hiding under my bed.

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I was able to transform an old composition notebook into my very own smashbook. I’m so pleased with how it turned out!

 

A couple other projects are in progress so you will definitely be seeing more of what I’ve been up to. 🙂

Let me just say that it feels so good to have my sewing machine up and running again and to have all my crafting supplies unpacked at last!

Choosing Joy

My big sister has been telling me to choose joy and to have courage. Her letters almost always end with “Have courage” or “Courage, dear heart.” followed by an “I love you.” She’s my sister by choice, not by birth. She’s the one who got me hooked on journaling, cross stitch, tea, smashbooks, and free sheet music online. I find a lot of joy in these things.

You know where else I find joy?

My morning runs. The sky is big, blue, and beautiful. It’s still a little chilly in the morning but the sun feels warm on my face and arms. My music playlist is full of songs that mention running- running to Jesus that is. 🙂 Like Forever Reign (Sung by One Sonic Society)

Oh I’m running to Your arms, I’m running to Your arms
The riches of Your love, will always be enough
And nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign

If I’m not thinking about running, my heart is singing about my life and what God is doing. Steady by For King & Country is one I listen to often. I love the lyrics, especially the chorus.

You keep me steady when the sky is falling
And I’ll keep steady after You
I’ll carry on when my strength is failing
Take heart ’cause You’re with me
So let the stars drop, whatever comes
I’ll be ready, You keep me steady
You keep me steady

Music in general does good to my soul.

Tea does too. Little things like handwritten letters, watching Studio C with my siblings, or texts from my dearest friends bring joy.

Books have returned and taken a part in my life again. I’m reading Vinegar Boy and I’m trying not to cry over this book every time I pick up where I left off. I haven’t gotten to Jesus’ crucifixion just yet, but Alberta Hawse has done a marvelous job up to this point.

My devotions have brought so much joy. I’ve been dry for a while but now it’s become a fresh drink of water. I’m in Numbers, Proverbs, and James. I’ve jumped ahead of my Choice Gleanings Calendar because I have a craving for truth, for hope, and for help. After going through Psalms, a couple have stuck with me. Psalms 91:1-5,

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler[a]
And from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,

I love this entire Psalm, but those five verses are what I read the most.

Another one is Psalm 121

I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.

He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.

The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.

My heart is healing. So far this week has been really good. There’s a prayer meeting at church today. I always find joy there.

“Choose joy today. Have courage. I love you.”