ladies and gentleman…. i would like to have your attention for one moment and one moment only! (i hope you imagined that in a circus ringleader’s voice). you see, i just finished water for elephants three days ago and circuses are quite on my mind. not to mention the fact that i just came across a WFE inspired wedding shoot on a wedding blog (which i happened to absolutely adore). as usual, life has been a whirlwind of art projects, music notes, frustrations, date nights, Jesus-meetings, and long phone calls. all i have to say is….. i wish i had time to write more.

one thing i most definitely want to write about it: the proverbs 31 woman. i have been doing a 90 day study on who this woman is/what she is like/how i can become like her. and after sticking my nose in the same passage for 3 months, i revere this woman so much. and i really do long to be like her.

she is a precious gem. her husband doesn’t doubt her for a second. there isn’t a single day where she wrongs the man she loves. she does hard work. (and doesn’t complain about it). she goes the extra mile to retrieve good, healthy food. she doesn’t wait for the sun to rise; she’s up before it rises. she always has food prepared for her family…and even those not apart of her family. she is savvy when it comes to real estate and business. she earns her own money and is smart with spending. she works vigorously and has strong arms to do all the tasks set before her. she is a businesswoman and is always prepared for action. she helps any and all who are in need. she has taken preparations for her family for whatever situation may be thrown their way that they not be fearful. she is a seamstress. and she dresses very well. her husband is a respectable man. she makes money off of the garments she sells. she has strength and dignity. she can laugh at the days to come. she speaks wise words. she speaks with faithful instruction. she watches over what goes on in her house hold. she does not waste time. her children know and say that she is blessed. so does her husband. he says, “many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” charm and beauty are not all that they’re cracked up to be. a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. this woman deserves the reward that is due unto her.

that was my own paraphrasing of course. but just think about that kind of woman for a second. a woman who fears the Lord above all else. a woman who has brought good to her husband all the days of her life. not just the days after she’s said “i do.” a woman who does not sit idly. but who works hard, making her arms strong for her tasks. this woman, whom i aspire to be like one day, loved Jesus and loved others more than anything in the world. (and she must have loved herself a little too because she dressed herself in fine linen and purple -v. 22)! this woman’s beauty and magnitude was known for her character. for her actions. for her words. for the deliberate lifestyle that she lived that brought praise to the Father’s name. after going through this study, i feel as if i have learned so much about this woman. and about who i want to become. (by no means am i at that place yet!) just as with anything in life, persistence is key. as is determination. but the most important ingredient: Jesus. he is what makes this woman really shine. without this woman fearing the Lord, she is simply another “good woman” who works hard and takes care of her family. but oh no, this proverbs 31 is so, so much more than that. she is a woman who works hard and takes care of her family because she loves Jesus and wants to be Him to all people she encounters with in her life. this is the kind of person we should all be aspiring to be. a proverbs 31 woman is rare and precious (just as stated in verse 1)… do you know one of these rare women?

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today is going to be a good day; i can feel it.

  1. spring has officially arrived. “technically” it arrived a few weeks ago. but i’m pretty sure it arrived today.
  2. instead of getting on the interstate this morning…. i drove all the way down kingston pike. and i only honked once.
  3. there’s something soothing going on in my soul. i can’t quite pinpoint what it is just yet, but it is there and that’s great.
  4. God is the God of our situations, whether good or bad. we just need to realize that and let him work his magic, per-say.
  5. tip of day: do not wear denim shorts with boots. ever.
  6. i would like nothing more than some breakfast casserole and coffee cake right now.
  7. the following song has been getting stuck in my head like you wouldn’t believe. for the past week

addicted to love

    well folks, it really has been quite some time since i last posted. and let me just tell you, life has been a whirl wind. weddings, giant inflatable squids, date nights, exams, ridiculous best friend stories, mild panic attacks from being overwhelmed….. to name a few. along the way, my focus was thwarted slightly. it’s time to put priorities back where they need to be. and that starts with Jesus at the center.

    i finished the book of Job yesterday; what an insane story. when the Lord speaks to Job at the end of the book, he uses a slight bit of sarcasm and some wit… and i absolutely love it. you go God. but now that i finished that book, i’m off to psalms.. all 150 chapters! i read all of the psalms last summer (…or was it the summer before that?) and thoroughly enjoyed it, so i’m glad to reread all of these passages. there’s just so much to take in from it all. so as i read the very first chapter in this book, i was immediately drawn to writing about it.

    blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked…. his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on the law he meditates day and night… whatever he does prospers… the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

    Psalm 1 (paraphrased)

    there’s been more than a handful of times in my life when all i simply wanted was to be accepted by the “cool” crowd. the enticing people that did all the mysterious things that i was never allowed to do, all the things i wanted to try but was to afraid to do because i didn’t want to get caught. how thwarted my thinking was. it says right here: blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked. sometimes wickedness can look so appealing, so dazzling. but in light of eternity, is it truly all that it’s cracked up to be? the answer is easy: no. verse 4 says that the “wicked are like chaff that the wind blows away.” aka… they’re there one second and gone the next leaving no impact on the world. that goes for the enticing, implicit wicked ways that are so alluring. they’re meaningless, yet we often devote so much time dwelling on these things! what we need to dwell upon is the law of the Lord…. aka, the Bible. this is our lifeline. without it, we are at such a loss when it comes to knowing our God on an intimate level. without the Bible, how are we supposed to learn about our God? it’s nearly impossible. those who delight in the Lord will bear much fruit and will be watched over by the Lord. what a promise that is! just knowing that the God of Gods, the creator of the universe, the giver of life is watching over me. and you. and all of his children. what hope we have in the Lord. he will never fail us, and he is always watching over us. give thanks to the Lord today.

    so it appears that i have not written in…. 20 days. this is very odd and disgruntling to me. you know why? because i learn more when i write; i notice my passions more when i write; i feel free when i write. and having that i haven’t been typing a single thing in the past 3 weeks is simply unsettling. granted, these have probably been 3 of the busiest weeks of my life. UT singers tour/spring break was thrown in there along with wedding shenanigans and having a social life. during this time, i’ve laughed; i’ve cried. i’ve made really hard decisions; i’ve made new friends. i even made a scarf. i’ve been frustrated. i’ve been tired. i’ve been excited. i’ve been anxious. i’ve been overwhelmed.

    all there is to say about that is…. there are a lot of ‘i’s being used up there. and i’m not really okay with it. i will be honest in saying that i have not been selfless recently. that is not something i am proud to say, but it is true. my priorities have been thwarted, and that has affected my every day actions. Jesus needs to be number one at all times. not just at the times when it’s convenient. and that is something that i have neglected recently. but also something that i am changing! Jesus is the most important thing. why would we not want to spend every single day learning about him!? he’s all the we have.

    and here’s a little shout out to my sister, caitlyn….. she’s getting married in 4 days. that is crazy! and i am so excited for her. and for bradley too. nothing makes me happier than a wedding. well, nothing except a marriage that is rooted in Christ and has two people that have fallen madly in love with each other. now that i absolutely love.

    it’s time for a self analysis. what has God been teaching me over the past few months? or last week? or… maybe even today?

    a few things pop out to me automatically. Psalm 46:10, Proverbs 37, and Proverbs 31. each of these passages is different, and each have impacted me in a really awesome way this past semester. more about that later; i’m feeling list-y… so i’m going to make one (about what i have been learning about my Creator):

    • he is the ultimate romancer. and we need to guard our hearts (prov. 4:23). something i’ve been thinking a lot about recently though is… this verse is often tossed out when referring to dating. and dating alone really. a lot of times when i’m told this though, i would be guarding my heart for selfish reasons. for reasons of not wanting to be hurt in the long run or to be caught up in something i shouldn’t be a part of. but when i think about the heart of this issue, i have this mental image of these heavy-duty, combat-fighting soldiers protecting some sparkly diadem. the reason for guarding something is because that something (whatever is being guarded) is valuable. because our hearts belong to Jesus… (and i hope that yours does)… we should always be on guard of our hearts. not for a selfish reason. not for a “beware-of-dating-the-wrong-guy” reason. but for a value reason. for a treasure reason.
    • be still and know that i am God. this sentence gets me every time. and i’ll be honest.. it’s been a while since i laid my eyes on it. yet it still has the same impact. be still and know that i am God. the God of Gods. the Lord of Lords. the creator of art and science and math. the thinker who placed every circumstance in your life exactly where it is supposed to be is our God. isn’t that incredible?! thinking about that almost forces you to be still. it does for me anyways. as i sit and write, i can see some pine trees and a weeping willow, gray-hazy clouds (which i love) and a rainwater pool in my backyard. take a second and try to think up a way to make those things i just listed off. bet you can’t. but our God did just that. be still and know that i am God.
    • God has our best interests… even when we feel like he doesn’t. it’s such a comfort for me to know that Christ has already made a way for me. i find myself getting caught up in the “why’s” and “what does it matter’s” all too often. just in the past few weeks i’ve been faced with really tough things thrown my way which make me ask the Lord, “why on earth do you want this to happen?” because sometimes…. it simply does not make sense. but who am i to say that i should choose this path or the other? i’m pretty sure i would rather trust God’s direction than my own. his plans are the best plans because he wants us to grow and prosper (jeremiah 29:11). sometimes, even when i’m overwhelmed with good things i ask, “why is God doing this?!” that probably doesn’t make sense… in my mind it does though.. and because i know exactly situation i’m referring to whereas most people do not. all that being said, God brings situations in and out of our lives intentionally. we might not know what those purposes are in the here and the now. but then again, we can’t see the whole picture. we need to listen and trust and God’s voice on our futures.
    • he is the ultimate provider. when i’ve needed friends; i’ve received friends. when i’ve needed alone time; i’ve received time alone. i do not doubt God’s provision for me whatsoever. in any situation, God’s hand is playing a role. that absence or presence of something that you “need” is God’s provision. absence of something? how is the absence of something God providing..? even when things do not seem to go our way or we don’t get what we think we need, God is providing in different, and usually better, ways.

    those would be the things most heavily on my heart these days. along with delighting yourself in the Lord- thank you Psalm 37. and i don’t want to forget Proverbs 31- which is pretty much a character analysis of a wife of noble character. i am currently on day 59 of a study i am independently doing about this woman who pursued Christ with dignity and strength. she was a hard worker, a woman that brought her husband good all the days of her life (not just while she was married), and a profit-maker. and she looked good all the while (v. 22). this role seems as if it would be unattainable. but i don’t think that it is. it just takes hard work and diligence and a great, great love for the Savior.

    today is one of those mornings where i am surprisingly not as irritable as my lack of sleep should permit. bed time last night was 3:20 a.m. and the alarm clock went off at 6:00 a.m. …..granted i did not roll out of bed until 6:40; nonetheless, my eyelids are quite heavy today.

    last night i studied for hours about probability and z-scores and t-scores and other nonsense that has to do with statistics. i had a pomegranite-green tea break at 12:20, and at about 2:40 i said, “i am done with this.” so i crawled in my bed and proceeded to read the book of job. for quite some time at that hour of the morning.

    also, yesterday i was so happy to have a little brunch at starbucks with one of my very best friends… none other than amanda muirhead. oh how it warms my heart to swap stories! stories of love, stories of stress, stories of hilarity, stories of punishment, and stories that are still in the process of being written- which are sometimes the best! i tell you, some passion herbal tea, a slice of lemon pound cake, and a best friend never fails to get the day off to a good start. i’m quite certain that she and i could be separated by a whole continent and half a year and still pick up right where we left off. and you know what, i love that. in many ways, she and i are different as day and night. but in more ways, we lean on each other. as cliche as this is about to sound…. “lean on me, when you’re not strong.” there you have it. hope you enjoyed that slice of cheese this morning.

    i’m sorry that this is one big ramble and doesn’t have much deep content to it. the thing is, i just really don’t like sleeping during the day, and i’m afraid that if i let myself relax any more i’ll be out like a light… maybe i’ll write with some real content in the near future. happy tuesday.

    today is one of those perfect-weathered, blissful days that simply cannot be bad no matter how hard it tries. (at least…. that’s the attitude i’m going to keep for all of today). the fact that i can be outside in my favorite pants and just a basic t brings me ultimate joy. not to mention the fact that i was one of those cool, artsy people that spreads out all of their tools and papers all over the ground as if it was their bedroom, and then proceeds to make a mess and call it art. yes, that was me today. in the amphitheater of all places too! so far, this post has been narcissistic nonsense, and i’m going to warn you up front: that might be all that’s in this post. i simply feel like writing right now, and i have an hour to kill. so that’s what i plan on doing! if you’re someone that reads my ramble regularly (how about that for alliteration??), i’m sorry that i haven’t written in quite a while. life incessantly becomes busy right before my eyes, and i have to take charge of that. looking back over my week, the past few days have indeed been interesting. discouragement was knocking at my doorstep. i presented a miniature shower that i made out of wood that i cut with my own two hands. three chapters of biology were read and “applied” in about a day and a half. tiredness crept up like a snake. i made some new friends and had a good conversation with an old one. i started a new workout that i know will transform my body. i went shopping with good friends, including sorina groza all the way from romania. and today, i’m just a stereotypical college student sitting outside with paint splattered fingers, plaid on my back, and windswept hair. and you know what. i really could not be more content.

    i always find it funny how God’s timing works. this week started out as such a discouragement. lies of worthlessness and failure and destruction infiltrated my mind with a fury. when this happens (as it occasionally does for me), i unfortunately buy in to the lies. even though i know that they are false. isn’t that so dumb? as negativity comes upon me though, i am always reminded of God’s grace. and this week, i read about how the Lord uses our weaknesses to make him look stronger. how about that for putting things into perspective? i read this message from Paul the night that discouragement was penetrating the most. (ironic timing, don’t you think?) and that’s when it hit me, that it’s okay to not be the greatest or to even get frustrated when what you’re trying to do doesn’t work out so well. it’s in these weaknesses that God’s glory can be known, and so often we try to hide our weaknesses. i know i definitely do this. but let’s face it, we aren’t perfect people. and we all have different strengths and weaknesses. with that being said however, we should own our weaknesses! and be proud of them. because through these weaker areas, God’s glory can (and will) be made known…. if we let him have control of our weaknesses. when we hold on to our weaknesses and don’t let anyone see them, we’re holding out on God. when we surrender our weaknesses to God, that is when truly great things can happen.

    there you have it. those are my thoughts for today. i’m looking forward to running in this perfect weather in approximately an 2 hours. have a happy weekend!

    the heart that is forever captivated sees things that others cannot see. it has a view of heaven and a vision of the extraordinary. it experiences things that only God can do. a person with such a heart lives a supernatural lifestyles.

    – catherine martin, a heart that dances

    i read this today and instantly my mode of relating to the words i had just taken in was an analogy to an artist’s eye. artists don’t see things the way normal people see them. irregular rays of light stick out; shadows are more pronounced; and lines, oh the lines, they’re everywhere. artists have this innate ability to subconsciously see things in abstract ways. as the years have gone on, i would be so bold to say that my eye has developed quite nicely to see things in irregular (yet fascinating) ways. i explained this to my very best friend amanda one day while we were sitting in starbucks. an artist’s eye is something difficult to understand if you don’t have that line of vision. but what i have come to terms with as of today is… we are all in need of artist’s eyes. by saying this, i mean that we are to see things of this world differently (not necessarily artistically), but differently nonetheless. how do we do this? one simple word: faith. “for we walk by faith, not by sight”- 2 corninthians 5:7. when we live with what is unseen in mind, our lives will radically change. that’s not a might change or a “there’s a possibility that things will be different.” our lives will be drastically different if we actually walk by faith and not by sight. 2 corinthians 4:18 has it exactly right- that we are to fix our eyes on what is unseen rather than what is seen. all the things that consume our lives (rather it be clothes, tech-gadgets, cars, relationships, academics…) whatever it may be, it’s temporary. wake up call: that means that the camera you just spent $3,000 on won’t last, the meal that cost a fortune (or even just a dollar) won’t last, the looks of the attractive guy (or girl) won’t last, and everything else that we see around us… won’t be around for eternity. wow. let’s take a second to let that really seep into our minds. the realization that all of things i feel as if i need (or simply just want) simply will not is pretty harsh. i feel as if i have completely bought into the fiasco of american consumerism. when we live by faith and not by sight, we will see the things of this world through the light of eternity. and that changes things! by having the eyes of faith, we are living out the lives that Christ called us to live.

    the concept of living by faith rather than sight is a challenge in and of itself. it’s so uncommon to us! we see things; we want them. here’s to changing our minds… and changing our eyes. make it a point to look at things through the eyes of faith rather than through worldly eyes which only see temporary things, no matter how beautiful. (just think, monet’s paintings, mozart’s ballads, christian siriano’s designs, the president’s status; it’s all temporary.) how about that for putting things into perspective.

     

    it’s been a while since i put up a random photo. so here comes one.

    you got it. 0 miles to empty. isn’t that something you always want to see in the mountains of georgia? that is exactly what my dear friends joy and jason stared at as i cruised on neutral. okay, here’s the story. as the three of us piled in the liberty and said adieu to woodlands camp, i recognized that i only had a 1/4 of a tank of gas. upon leaving camp, however, there were about 3 wrong turns. oops. we all make mistakes right. so once we’re finally on the right track, i am stammering on and on to joy about the colors of the fall leaves and how the outdoors in the fall inspires me to know end. all the while, my gas tank is drying up like a desert. we come to a fork in the road. to the left is a country bumpkin gas station that looked like it was as dry as a desert too. so with all my great and divine wisdom, i kept to the right at the fork and kept driving…. thinking, “well, there’s got to be another gas station just up the road.” i don’t think i’ve ever been more wrong in my life. we watched my gas gauge drop 10….7…..4….3… you get the picture. let’s just say  there was a lot of praying involved. and a lot of tension in the car. we sat on 2 miles left for quite a while. then one. and just as it rolled over to zero…….. a gas station appears out of thin air! overjoyed, i pull in, turn off the car, hop out with giddy excitement, and proceed to prepay at the pump, la la la. looks like i can’t prepay. that’s alright, i’ll just go inside. next thing i know…. i’m banging both fists on the front door to this little mini mart saying…. it’s locked. no. no. no. no. yes, we are now on z e r o and are still lacking in a gas station. with a few minutes of prayer (and anxiety) beforehand, i try to start the car. BAM! it works and says we have 6 (or ten…. i can’t remember) miles! we had never been so happy. somehow…. we coasted the rest of the way to sweetwater. i don’t really know how that’s possible. but that’s my story and i’m sticking to it.

    here’s the lesson: when/if your car warns you that you are about to run out of gas… you could probably just coast all the way to where you’re trying to go.

    happy late valentines day to all. for a while in my life, i was quite cynical towards any kind of romantic relationships, and i saw valentine’s day as just a cheesy sploof for all the lazy boyfriends (who regularly don’t do special things for the girlfriends) to make up for their lack of romance. and as cliche as valentine’s day is, i kind of like it. granted, it is lame if that is the only day your significant other does something out of the ordinary for you… anyways, before i begin rambling about that… my cynicism for romance and love is dead. i didn’t dread “singles awareness day.” -which is seriously the silliest thing i have ever heard.- and in all honesty, i was absolutely overwhelmed with love yesterday. the night before the 14th i laid in bed watching pride and prejudice. something about mr. darcy’s cynicism and elizabeth bennett’s wit entrances me to know end. as i saw the two develop emotions other than resentment toward one another, i thought about how lovely love can be. at the end of the movie mr. darcy says this, “you have bewitched me, body and soul. and i love, i love, i love you. i never wish to be parted from you from this day on.” if that isn’t the most wonderful thing a man could say to a woman… well, then i don’t know what is. i’m currently in a phase where all sorts of love stories entice me. what can i say? i love love. there is truly nothing like it. and for once in my life, i feel as if i have found it.

    i previously said that i was overwhelmed with love on valentine’s day. for those of you who know me well, i’m sure your extremely curious as to who this striking young chap must be. and i am more than happy to reveal that answer to you. psalm 91 paints a wonderful picture of a small creature being lifted up out desolate destruction and stomping over its foes once it has been rescued. verse 4 says, “he will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge…” this verse sticks out to me for some reason. maybe it’s because i love feathers…? or maybe it’s because i love the imagery of fierce and beautiful bird protecting its infant from all that want to eat him alive. Jesus says, “i will rescue him; i will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. he will call upon me, and i will answer him. i will be with him in trouble, i will deliver him and honor him” (v. 14). he says these things to those who love him. when we love him, he returns that love far greater than we can ever imagine. sometimes i try to imagine his great love for us…. i fail every single time. but try it. picture some of the greatest love stories you know. maybe these names will ring a bell: romeo + juliet. noah + allie. jack + rose. carrie + mr. big. elizabeth bennett + mr. darcy. none of these love stories even compare to the love story that that we are a part of when we love Jesus. isn’t that wonderful? to someone who loves love as much as i do…. i love that. and it kind of makes me giddy.

    and that is what i have to say about valentines day. Jesus love absolutely overwhelmed me. which put a whole new spin on this completely commercial holiday (that can still be sweet… if you have enough candy, that is). however, i did enjoy the scooby doo valentine that the cashier at moe’s gave me. hip hip hooray for cheesy valentines!

    p.s. i would love it if someone gave me a card like this.