Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Day 19. [the first thirty-one]

Day 19-List 5 blogs you read on a regular basis and why.  

Pretty straightforward, so give go give 'em some love!  

  1. She Reads Truth
    • She Reads Truth is a website and an app that I found a few months ago through the encouragement of a friend because she knew I would like it.  It's turned into more than just a blog that I read, now.  They have devotion series that I go through that do nothing short of make my heart sing.  Right now we're learning more about giving thanks in the circumstances life throws our way.  Man, is it a kick in the pants!  
  2. Firework People
    • If you don't know who Firework People are and what we do, you should look into us.  The encouragement and life that these women speak into my bones is something fierce and inspiring.  The blog at Firework People is one that I go to when my heart is low and my spirit is down.  They 
  3. Desiring God
    • I love the diversity the blog at Desiring God brings to my week.  I can go read the latest one posted, search for ones specifically from John Piper, or read about a certain topic or theme.  Though I don't think blogs can replace the Gospel, I think this blog does well to point the Truth that is found in the Word.  
  4. Brave Love
    • My sweet friend Bailey Jean writes over at Brave Love.  She writes about everything from the latest book she's reading to her adventures at OSU.  I love seeing the heart and passion behind all that she does.  
  5. Schenk Sightings
    • This blog belongs to my beautiful cousin, Kristen.  She's married with 3 kids and takes up residence in Ohio.  My favorite things to read of hers are the updates on the little ones.  Sawyer, Nora, and Kolter are three of the cutest tiny humans you'll ever meet.  How lucky am I to have them as family!  

Monday, November 24, 2014

Day 18. [the first thirty-one]

Day 18-Where are you happiest?

I don't think I could accurately answer this question by listing a place that I visit or a sight that I've seen before that beholds a sense of awe and beauty.  For me, this question is best answered in the form of people.  

I love relationships.  I love people.  And I love the ones that the Lord has entrusted into my life and heart.  

So to put it simply, if I could choose where I'm happiest, it would be with those I love and hold close to my being.  

The ones that know my heart.  The ones that make my soul sing.  The ones who stand by my side when everything else is falling apart.  


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Day 17. [the first thirty-one]

Day 17-Why and when did you start blogging?

I began blogging the summer after my freshman year of college.  At that point, you could say that I would have considered myself as going through a "crisis" of sorts.  It was my first summer back at home after spending a year in Manhattan at K-State, and I was under the weight of being away from all of the people I now called my best friends.  

At that point it was very much a form of me being able to release my anger and the things I was upset with without posting about it on Facebook or telling someone about it.  I think at that point, I had a lot of things I was dealing with that I didn't think I needed help with.  Things like trying to manage friendships from a distance, learning who I was in the Lord's eyes while not really having anyone to guide me, and knowing what it meant to do things on my own.  

As I go back through my posts, I see my maturity and writing change as my college years continue.  It went from sharing my anger to sharing what was going on in my life.  During my semester of studying abroad, it was primarily a means of sharing the adventures I was going on and posting pictures for my friends and family who didn't have Facebook.  I wanted people to know what was happening and how I was.  It was pretty simple then.  

But now, my words have greater purpose behind them.  I want to speak life and bring hope to the souls I know are hurting.  To the ones who are seeking something more than the pain they are feeling and the despair they are living.  I want to radiant encouragement and joy, and not just do it because it's the right thing to do.  Because when it comes down to it, these are things I need, too.  Life.  Hope.  Encouragement.  And joy.  

We all need something worth living for.  My prayer for my words is that they point others to the One who shows us just what that is.  


Friday, November 21, 2014

Day 16. [the first thirty-one]

Day 16-What's your biggest accomplishment?  

I would say I'm going to be humble with this, but I think there's a lot to say when you see God working through your life.  

If I could answer this question in one word, it'd be college.  

But, I don't have to, so I'll answer it in words that make up who I was and who I became in college.  

The change I went through, the challenges I faced, the people I met, all helped shape me into who I am today.  

Let's go back to freshman year, spring semester.  I'd just started getting involved in this thing called a life group which was a whole new concept to me.  I wasn't used to Christianity, church or community.  I wasn't used to people intentionally asking me how I was doing - not just for me to answer "fine" and move on, but to hear my heart and the truth behind my words.  

Fast forward a little bit to junior year.  I decided to go to Botswana.  AFRICA.  Which I never would've done had I not gone to college.  I think back on those 4 months and still think to myself, "Did that really happen?  Did I travel 10,000 miles away from home?"  And I did.  I stepped way way way out of my comfort zone.  And it was so worth it.  

Keep moving to my 5th year.  Now it was my turn to lead a life group.  And I didn't know what the heck I was doing.  Thankfully, I had a sweet, dear friend to partner with me through it.  We sat in the trenches and rejoiced on the mountaintops as we experienced the things that came with leading a group of young women.  

And zone in on my hear and now.  If I hadn't gone to college, I wouldn't have met the person who's sister is the one who hired me at my current job.  If I hadn't gone to college, I wouldn't have the life experience and knowledge in relationships and conflict, as well as the coursework to back it up.  

College has been my greatest accomplishment.  College was the most trying, changing, powerful, and amazing experience of my life.  I found myself.  I experienced love and defeat.  I met Jesus and surrendered my life to Him.  And I discovered that who I am as a person is nothing if it doesn't line up with who the Lord has made me to be.  


Day 15. [the first thirty-one]

Day 15-List 10 things that make you awesome

Time for some fun-filled facts about yours truly!  Don't mind me while I go off my rocker a little.

I love Jesus. 
I love warm socks. 
I love reading.
I'm from Kansas. 
I'm a photographer. 
I'm unpredictable. 
I'm an extrovert. 
I'm compassionate. 
I'm a writer. 
I'm a dreamer. 

There ya go, folks! 10 random, awesome things about yours truly. 


Day 14. [the first thirty-one]

Day 14-What's on your iPod?

Well, since I'm no longer 12 and don't have an iPod anymore, I'm going to insert "iPhone" into that spot instead.  No offense to those of you who still have iPods, it's just that I have all of that capability on my phone now, so I find no need for it.  


If you were to look through my music on my most played playlist on my phone, you'd find a lot of: 

  • Bethel
  • Amanda Cook
  • Steffany Gretzinger
  • All Sons & Daughters
  • Hillsong
  • JJ Heller
  • Kari Jobe
  • Audrey Assad
  • Vertical Church Band
Okay, so maybe this is what one entire playlist is composed of, but hey, you asked.  

When it comes to music, I'm kind of picky.  Growing up involved in music my entire life, I love a song that speaks to my soul and makes me think differently about something than I did before I listened to it.  I want a song that will convict me, move me to action, and make me into the person the Lord has created me to be.  And I believe that music has the power to do that.  The work of Christ, through musicians, changes lives, break chains, and heals wounds.  Our stories are not our own, our struggle is not unique, and our lives are not meant to be tucked away.  

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Day 13. [the first thirty-one]

Day 13-Do you have regret?

Y'all, I'm so excited to be sharing my first ever guest post from my sweet #fireworkpeople friend, Tabitha!  I hope y'all find as much wisdom and peace from her story as I did.  Enjoy!  

Do I have regret?  
If by regret you mean yesterday when there was a sale and I didn't buy those boots I'd been eyeing up for weeks...then yes, I have regret.  I have all the regrets!  
Seriously though guys...
I think we can all agree that mistakes are inevitable, and with them we feel regret.  Try as we may to be perfect, we're going to mess up at some point in our lives.  
Why is this such a negative thing though?  Guess what?  Mistakes are GOOD!  We learn from the wrong we have done, or the wrong that has been done to us.  Why does a mistake usually follow up with tears, anger, bitterness, and regret?  Mistakes are the stepping stones to success, and we should not regret them.  
I have made major mistakes in my life, and I'm only 19.  One of them being the mistake of putting myself in a situation where I would be taken advantage of.  A mistake where I would lose my dignity, my pride and my sense of self-worth.  
After that mistake, I laid in bed and cried.  I was angry, I was bitter, and I regretted everything I had chosen to do up until that point.  Have you ever regretted your life?  Have you ever just not wanted to exist before?  I wanted to crumple up in a ball and sink into nothingness.  
Fast forward 1 year.  
Ask me now if I have regret.  
I don't have one ounce of it in my body.  I have no intentions of welcoming regret back into my life.  That door of self-pity and regret for what I've done has been sealed shut.  In fact, I'm working on building a brick wall in front of it (if anyone's up for a weekend project...).
I am happy with who I am.  I know that I wouldn't be who I am now without having to go through what I've been through.  I feel grateful that I've experienced what I have.  it has all led me up to the point that I'm at right now in my life.
It has led me to the most amazing man I've ever met, the strongest love I have ever known, the compassion I didn't know I was capable of feeling, and the joy I thought could only be found in classical Christmas movies.  

I've known regret, and I've had regrets, but I do not have regret.  I will not have regret.  Life is your story and you are the author.  There are many stories to be told, and many stories to be heart.  Don't let your tale be one of regret and remorse, let it be one of learned lessons, and shared love.  
<3 Tabitha

'Ello, Tabitha here.  What do you get when you put cooking, baking, fitness, veganism, and nutrition together?  This chick.  Learning the ropes of all North Carolina has to offer, I'm still settling down and hoping to eventually go to school for nutrition.  Whilst I pursue my dreams, you can find me blogging about all of my passions over at hugsnhealth!  

Social media links:

hugsnhealth on fb 
hugsnhealth on twitter 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Day 12. [the first thirty-one]

Day 12-Something that you miss.  

This question makes my heart ache something fierce.  It's hard for me to be able to answer this question without remembering watching The Fault in Our Stars last night.  Hazel referred to it as "the great and terrible ten."  When she lost August, she told the story of when she was in the hospital, couldn't breathe, and felt like her chest was on fire.  When the nurse told her to rank her pain on a scale of 1-10, she said 9, because she was saving her 10 for the worst possible thing.  

I've felt pain that radiates into my bones.  I've felt pain that's taken my breath away and left me weeping on the floor, wishing they were back in my life.  

I was 14 when my cousin Kaden died.  I was 22 when my best friend's dad, Mark, and a close family friend, Dana died.  

My perspectives at those ages were different, but similar at the same time.  I knew the pain.  I knew the struggle that came with that.  And I knew how the can affect your life.  Kaden was the sweetest little baby that I had and have ever loved.  He was taken too soon, and he lived a short life.  Mark's death was unexpected.  I remember the message my best friend sent me and where I was when I got it.  I remember walking into the funeral home and seeing her standing there crying.  I remember how much she wanted him back, and how she says it still doesn't feel real today.  Dana had lived a life full of love, adventure, and joy.  Even in her final days, she had a spirit about her that was unmatched by someone who was dying of colon cancer.  I wear a bracelet every day that says "No one fights alone" in honor of her.  

In my short 23 years, these are my three "great and terrible tens".  I miss them with every ounce of my being. 


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Day 11. [the first thirty-one]

Day 11-Last book you read

Y'all, I got SO excited when I saw this was the topic for today's post.  If you know me, at all really, you know that I LOVE to read.  I always have a book with me, and I was totally that kid in school who would get in trouble for reading during class when I should've been doing something else.  

The book I'm going to be talking about today is full of such truth and life, but also stories of pain and despair.  Sara Hagerty debuted her writing career with the phenomenal book "Every Bitter Thing is Sweet".  Feel free to jump on over to her website Every Bitter Thing is Sweet after you read my post to learn more about Sara, her family, and her journey.  

For the purposes of this post, I wanted to share my favorite quote from the book.  

"Adoration makes walking with God more than just reacting to a series of externals.  Adoration calls the circumstances, no matter how high or low, into proper submission in our hearts.  Adoration roots us in a reality that no amount of pain and no amount of blessing can shake.   Adoration steadies us.  It repatterns our thinking.  It centers our life around a God-man instead of forever trying to make sense of the God-man through the lenses of our circumstances.  Adoration aligns us under Him.  This is the place where life is found."

Man, how I love words that speak truth to the empty hearts where the world's pain have left their mark.  

This book is more than about Sara's battle with infertility, her family's road to adoption, or her unexpected pregnancy that blessed her and her family with a sweet, baby boy - though those are telling themes throughout the pages and chapters of her writing.  

One more quote, if you'll bear with me, to wrap up this beautiful masterpiece.  

"Because when I choose hope, when I choose to engage in that awkward intimacy of believing that He might say no while asking expectantly that He say yes, He gets the most beautiful part of me.  Hope is my precious oil, mingling with tears to wash His feet.  Hope, and the vulnerability it brings, is what moves His heart.  Hope, and how it draws me to Him, means that not one of those minutes curled up in pain was lost, not one of those minutes of closeness with Him is forgotten, not one of those negative pregnancy tests was wasted."

Use the words "negative pregnancy tests" as a fill in the blank for whatever it is you're facing today.  Look fear in the face and shout "HOPE IS STILL HERE."  Because it is.  Hope is real.  Hope is alive.  Hope is looking at your with love and peace, waiting for you to reach out to it.  Waiting for you to adore the life it brings to your weary soul.  


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Day 10. [the first thirty-one]

Day 10-Daily routine

For today's post, I'm choosing to let y'all know my typical Wednesday through Friday routine, since Mondays and Tuesday are a little different, and who knows what a routine is on the weekends, anyway?  

6:45ish-Wake up, stretch, deny that it's morning, and zombie-walk to the kitchen to make my morning coffee.  

6:50ish-Wash my face, brush my my teeth.

7:00-Straighten my hair - because apparently I have to look like a human when I go to work. 

7:20-Put on some makeup - see above reason.  

7:25-Decide what I can wear that will allow me to be the most comfortable while still looking professional.  

7:30-Mix up my magical brew of coffee + sugar + creamer of the day.  

7:35-Decide whether or not I want to go call in sick to work and go sleep the day away.  

7:40-Decide I need to be a big kid and leave for work.  

7:55-Clock in and attempt to take a mini power nap before I have to unlock the doors.  

12:30-LUNCH.  Best time of the day.  

1:30-Decide I need to finish out my day so I can get paid on payday.  

5:00-Homeward bound, baby!  

5:30-6:00ish-Try to decide what I want to eat for dinner then decide and eat my weight in feelings.  

6:30-Lay on the couch and contemplate life and its complexities.  Maybe watch some TV and catch up with my lovely roommates who I only see in the evenings.  

8:30-Shower and get ready for bed and the next day ahead.  (Hey, that rhymed!)

10:00ish-Turn on my fan, crawl into my cave of covers, and drift into a lovely 8ish hours of sleep.  

I hope you enjoyed my more humorous post for today!  Everyone needs some entertainment in life.