Holidays, Progress, & Grace (Week 5)

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taken November 24, 2013November 24– fudge from friends, prayer with Holly, the Bible, and mercy.

My dear friend, Blair, is headed to Japan on a missionary journey soon, so she had a bake sale at our church to raise funds for the trip. Her peanut butter fudge– holy moly it was good! My lovely friend, Zelia, was helping at the bake sale, and I loved getting to hug both of them. And I know I’ve had phone calls as a positive thing almost every single week, but I have great friends and we have wonderful phone calls! Prayer partner time with Holly was a nice excuse to just slow down and pray intentionally; I think that’s another good reason to have a prayer partner! Slow down, pray, just talk to Him. And I guess the last two pictures need a little bit of explanation, but I might have another post about it eventually, so I’ll try be brief: I messed up. And it filled me with shame. I felt so much remorse, begged for forgiveness. When I opened my Bible. . .  He didn’t mention it at all. He didn’t even allude to it. He simply said that He had given me HIS righteousness, that He was going to teach me how to guard my mind, that there was power in His death and resurrection, that I could move forward. If you don’t know what grace looks like, THAT is what grace looks like! I was astounded! Yes, I will definitely have to write about this later.

taken November 25, 2013November 25– salted sidewalks, compliments, fuzzy gloves, and Colossians 1:11-14.

Dear whoever salted the campus sidewalks: way to be thorough! Haha! It didn’t make me slip, but it did make me chuckle. The awkward second picture represents a compliment I received. I’m sure the person who gave it didn’t even mean for it to be as meaningful as it was to me, but it was exactly what I needed to hear, what I had secretly been hoping to hear. Thank you! And to anyone who thinks their compliments won’t mean much and therefore settles for silence: speak freely! You don’t know how needed your words are. Don’t be selfish by keeping silent. My gloves (from Grandma Edie!) were a positive thing because it was SO stinking cold in my first classroom! Me and my professor were complaining about it before class, yay bonding? And the verse says, “May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” This verse was a confirmation of the mercy I was given the previous day, and I was all over it.

taken November 26, 2013November 26– a clean fish bowl, old reading notes, Super Mario Bros. 3 with my brother, and cake.

Firstly, look at my fish’s face, haha! He made that just for you; he was so thrilled about his bowl finally being clean that he posed for a photo. I’m pretty glad I decided to clean that nasty thing, too. I was working on a piece for this drawing challenge (I got behind, oh no!), and I wanted to put a quote from Les Miserables in it, so I looked though the notes I’d taken when I read it back in May. It reminded me just how magnificent a story it is, and how many words and examples to learn from I found in it. I settled on this quote, by the way: “Woe, alas, to the one who shall have loved bodies, forms, appearances only. Death will take everything from him. Try to love souls, you shall find them again.” (p. 934). Marius said that, in one of the many moments that made him my favorite character. You HAVE to read the book, or you are missing out! Anyway, we still have the old Nintendo Entertainment System and some super fun (albeit challenging) games for it, and me and my brother, Ty, have been playing together after I get home from school lately. And cake. . . because cake.

taken November 27, 2013November 27– hot cocoa in chapel, progress on a group project, input from my writing teacher, and the greatest phone call in history.

Half of my classes were canceled on this day, so arriving at chapel to find that they were serving hot chocolate simply added to the relaxed start of that morning (the actual chapel service was excellent, too!). In one of the classes that wasn’t cancelled, my group finally got a lot of work done on our project about ministry. Shout out to the couple of us who stayed late to polish it! My writing teacher helped me develop my next essay topic, and she began by showing me that I didn’t really care about my original topic. Haha! The one I settled on is much better. Your writing has to be passionate to stir passion in others! And lastly, me and an incredibly dear friend had a late-night phone call. It started with catching up on life, but it ended on such a deeply more glorious note. We shared things that we’re normally afraid to share– and they were the same! I’m still so blown away. Maybe I’ll talk about it later, but right now I have two things to say about it: 1) You are never, ever alone in your struggles! And 2) Are we doing a disservice to ourselves and each other when we keep secrets? What if sharing it brings freedom to someone else? I will be praying about a post dedicated to this topic; I think it’s important.

taken November 28, 2013November 28– pumpkin waffles, a table for family, chocolate pie, and brushing my teeth.

A few years ago my mom began making pumpkin waffles for breakfast on Thanksgiving; I loved them so much that it’s becoming a tradition. They are delicious, I don’t even put syrup on them! You can make them with this recipe if you would like. This year my dad’s bachelor friend, whom we usually have over on Thanksgiving, couldn’t make it to our house. It was sad, but it was also a VERY positive thing because my dad sat at the table with us. He and his friend usually sit at tv trays with their food, but this year we were a laughing family at the table, and I loved it. And again, food, but I’m not apologizing; it was Thanksgiving. This chocolate pie was so, so good. And brushing my teeth was a heavenly experience. Not only had I eaten sad amounts of food, but the night before I was too tired after my phone call to brush my teeth. The feeling of clean teeth after Thanksgiving– wonderful. I had a good holiday and I hope you did, too!

taken November 29, 2013November 29– the voice of a friend, Brandon Heath’s Christmas album, hard work on homework, and an idea.

I have a friend’s voice on disk. He spoke at my church once, and I forgot how we ended up owning the recording of his message, but we did. He switched churches a few years ago. I like having his message on a cd; listening to it on this day, I enjoyed discovering that I have a much better understanding of his philosophical topics than I did when he first shared them. I hope you’re doing well, Brandon! Speaking of Brandons, Brandon HEATH recently released his Christmas album, and I listened to it for the first time the day after Thanksgiving. It’s pretty good! His originals are the best part. Sadly, I spent almost all day studying for a test and starting from scratch on an outline, but it was nice to know I was freeing up the next two days for no homework at all. And lastly, I had an idea. I don’t know a lot of the details yet or if it’s even a good idea, but my thoughts keep going back to it and I can’t help being excited about the possibilities. You might be hearing about it someday, but until then you could totally pray about it for me if you wanted to!

taken November 30, 2013November 30– decorating for Christmas, compiling a playlist, Rudolph lights, and a classic Christmas movie.

We usually decorate on the 1st, but since the 30th was a Saturday this worked better for us. I am totally getting into the Christmas spirit already! The decoration pictured is one of my favorites we’ve had since I can remember; it’s a tiny tree with drawers below it that have ornaments for each day of advent! I’ve always loved it. I also worked on my Christmas playlist, which I hope to share with you soon! My dad got into the decorating, too, and put up the lights outside the house. He never does it this early, I’m slightly THRILLED! He also replaced one bulb on our light-up reindeer to make Rudolph; he’s a keeper. And finally: Jingle All The Way. I used to get really bored with this movie, but I completely appreciate it now! SO many hilarious lines! “That was really a bomb?! This is a sick world we’re living in, with sick people!”, “You’re my number 1 customer!”, “I’m not a pervert!”– I could go on forever. This marks the first Christmas movie I’ve watched this year; many more to come.

Thank you for following me on my journey to positivity! It’s amazing that focusing on the simple things that were good about my day gave me a completely different image. When I actually processed the good things, I realized just how important they were. I hope you were encouraged by it in some way, and that together we can take life with JOY, day by day!

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