5. Confidence

12/25/2015

First, I'd like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!

From looking at the title of this post, you're probably thinking, "How does confidence fit under a series with a theme of sailing on a boat, on God's quest?" and especially in the holiday season.

This year has been one of the most life-changing years I've had in my life–scratch that–the most life changing year. And I thought senior year of high school was the point at which everything would slow down in climax and start to calm down, but I was so very wrong. The transition from being dependent minor to becoming an "adult" is an rough one and an important one. For many people, it's the start of the college years (like myself), living away from home, or earning money for themselves (possibly all three). Whichever the case, you are becoming more individualistic and choosing what your ideal lifestyle. You can stay up as late as you like, eat your favorite dish everyday if you want, and travel wherever you'd like without having to rest the ultimate decision to your parents. Any decision now is based on what you bank your confidence in, which can lead to many mistakes.

It's kinda interesting, the whole notion of the word confidence. Based on a person's appearance or actions we say, "she has so much confidence" or "he's so confident". The pressure that something good will come out of having confidence makes it seem as though it's an object that can be placed in our hands. I wouldn't want to be responsible for holding onto my own confidence, at the rate I lose my phone on the daily, my confidence would go missing every hour! This now leads me into what true confidence is and what it should be.

Confidence = Trusting in the truths of what Lord has done, is doing presently in your life, and the greatness of all He will do through His will.

It's not by chance that I bolded the words "His will". If we don't place our confidence in God, then it's through our own will, our desires and intentions that may not be what's best. I want to be confident in what is true and just all the time, and God is the one who has always been there, Jesus as the living proof of his love and the glory of the works he does in each of our lives when we are confident in him. That is when no matter the storm our vessel is sailing through, we have confidence in our destination, our mission, and purpose–to serve the eternal King!

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diy

Holiday Hanging Joy Banner

12/16/2015


In light of the holiday breeze, I wanted to share a decorative DIY project! Since I happened to pick up a few extra supplies from the craft store, I decided to do something creative and came up with this holiday themed banner. There is not a lot to gather for this project and much of the materials used can be substituted for another. 

1 - 4 
Materials used: measuring tape, scissors, 9in x 12in felt sheet, a black marker, pencil, washi tape, string, and (hot) glue. Optional: Christmas tunes!

These steps include preparing the actual pentagon banner shape. I first cut the felt into two parts hamburger-style, which was harder to cut than I thought it would be. Next, make a dot at the center of the shorter side of the felt. The black lines on the larger picture show the measurements/ angles to make a pendant shape. The proportion 2in x 3.5in will vary depending on the size of your sheet.


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10 Tips I've Learned in College

12/07/2015

As the first semester of my freshman is coming to a close, I thought I should make a list of things I've learned so far in college. These relate to things I wish I knew in high school while applying and things I'm still learning as I continue on!

1. Use the stairs when it's possible. It saves you waiting time and waiting for people who actually need to use it.
2. Learn how to master 10 minute power-naps. They will come in handy.
3. This is more of a personal one, but Thursday's always seem to be the best days. You're almost at the weekend! :)
4. Sometimes the dining hall decides to get creative with their food selection–this is your chance to try something different. You never know what may become your new favorite dish!
5. There is no such thing as free time. What I mean by free time is time spent staring into dead space. Why do that when you could be doing fun things with friends, starting a project that's due in two weeks, studying for that test at the end of this week, sorting laundry, decorating your dorm, or taking personal time away from the worries of school and reading a devotional or your bible.

6. Don't be discouraged if you get a C on your first test. College and high school are two entirely different systems, so it's OK. It becomes a problem if you don't learn to rebound quickly, learn from your mistakes, and get help when you know you need it.
7. You'll have different friend groups, which is expected because of all the different groups you'll be engaged with. Try to stay clear of drama when you see it–the best part about college is if you have a problem with someone, it's easier to avoid 1 out of the other 10,000+ people you see on campus.
8. There are textbooks that will literally collect dust over the course of the semester. I would advise asking around as you meet new people or checking on Ratemyprofessor to see if the course material is really necessary or your friends could chip in money to all share one book.
9. A calendar, planner, and schedule are things you will need. And as an aside to that note, make sure you buy one that you will want to use (aesthetically pleasing). I remember ditching my old planner because it wasn't fun or colorful.
10. College is a time that really tests your faith in a variety of ways. I'll be making a post on this topic hopefully soon, so be on the lookout!

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4. Mirage

10/21/2015

"Within the distance I could see something so faint, but enchanting. Could this be it? At closer glance my hopes were gone, my desires crushed."

I'm finally back to writing something new for the Voyager series, which excites me! From being in a new environment, I feel like there will be a lot of things to take note and inspire me when writing the next steps of this adventure.

The scene I'm describing above is referring to a mirage in the process of our moving vessel, where we are being put to the test. There are times where we drift off course and begin to center our attention on something other than God. In other words, we face an idol.

I'll let you all in on a little secret: I didn't exactly know that an idol doesn't have to be a physical object until later on in my high school years. I thought 'idol' meant  praying to a huge golden calf or another God. Eventually I did learn that's not true. One of my Cru leaders phrased what an idol is  in a question somewhat like this: "if that 'thing' was taken away from you, would feel like your purpose is lost or you couldn't function?" It's easy to say, "I could give up x, y, and z, without any problem," but what about our bare staples? Friends, family, or love?

Once something goes wrong, or this "thing" our heart desires goes away, one of two things can happen. We could possibly drift away from God and harden our hearts, or tighten our sails and let God be the center. Let's stay on course.


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The Power

10/08/2015

This past weekend I had an amazing opportunity to go on Fall Retreat with my campus' Cru, which if I had to describe in one word it would be "awe-mazing". I sorta cheated by putting two words together, but that's the best way to explain my experience. Multiple campuses from different areas, all came together for worship, fellowship, and prayer.

During the second night we were there, in the middle of worship (mind you this is at 9:00 or so) all the electricity went off. It was pitch black minus the very few beams of light coming from the emergency lights. It was crazy. But you know what, that didn't stop us from praising God. The music team kept playing and we kept singing, even pouring our hearts out louder and swaying together. It's as though the power that was lost in visible light was revived in us by the spirit.



We didn't have electricity, light, or even plumbing for a good 3-4 hours which was actually comforting. Typically if I were in pitch-black darkness somewhere else, I would be terrified and stuck in one place, but this was different. My fears were lulled and I was calm being surround by people I had just met the day before. Moving around with only a dying phone's flashlight, turned into making and eating s'mores, and later singing worship songs around a campfire. We literally went through every song ever to play on a Christian radio station! Eventually the light came back on while we were in the middle of a game of Spoons, which was followed by cheers and high-fives. In those few moments of darkness, there was light shining from all of us and bonding everyone together. A friend of mine even said, "It's like God meant for that to happen; it was a God-thing."



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My 5 Favorite Bloggers

9/25/2015

The Blog-tember theme of today (yesterday) are favorite blogs and regular reads, so here's a shout of to some of my regular reads!

Life as a Dare - lifeasadare.com
I check Rebecca's blog every single day, multiple times because I love reading what she has to say! Her blog is a lifestyle blog, but she also talks about faith and college tips. Definitely give her blog a read!

Heavens to Betsy - betsygettis.com
Betsy's blog always has something great to say whether it's she is sharing a fun new recipes or linking up with other gals. The Peony Project is a group she started to build a community for girls (no matter the age) of Facebook, which I'm happy to be a part of!

The fashion and lifestyle posts at Toyosi's blog always keep me coming back to read more. It's cool that we're about the same age, and going through similar experiences since we both started college this fall. 

Awkward Girls - awkwardgirlsblog.com
Lauren's blog has been inactive lately, but this doesn't stop me from calling Awkward Girls one of my favorite blogs. Some days, I like to go back and look at old posts and work my way through to more recent ones. All her content is fun and interesting to me!

It's Just Raquel - itsjustraquel.com
Raquel, formally known as God's Daughter, is an amazing writer, and truly inspiring in her faith. She always has something insightful to tell her readers about and starts a conversation!


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Toll

9/23/2015


“Ticket, please.”
A girl fumbles around her pockets for a few seconds before looking at ticketmaster with guilt-full eyes; she didn’t have one. She had originally told her friend she didn’t want to go to the fair. It was “silly and childish” to her. Her other friends told her it would be a waste of time. But, the way people looked as they entered intrigued the girl. Those entering appeared excited and longed to go inside. Everyone had received a personalized ticket, but her friends’ comments convinced her to throw it in the trash along with their own. “Never mind. The man ahead paid for your ticket.” She lifted her head confused by what the ticket man had just said. He opened the gates, and she saw a wondrous sight.  There, He said, “Welcome.”



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Guilty

9/21/2015

Happy Blogtember day 21! Today's topic is guilty pleasures, which was a lot harder to think of a list than I thought it would be... Most of the time, these are the things we happen to do without thinking., so I had zone in on my weird obsessions! I'm not sure if the things on this list are what counts, but here are some of my guilty pleasures:

Clam Chowder
It's official, I love, L.O.V.E. Clam Chowder! If you say the words "Clam Chowder" within a 50 feet radius of me, I will probably hear you and my soup senses will start tingling!

Bath & Body Works Scents
How can something smell that good other than food–I mean really! There are days when I need a quick pick me up, and Bath and Body Works scents are the way to go. My top favorites so far include Mango Tango, Winter Wonderland, and Hawaii. I'm more of a sugary-sweet scent lover!

Fall
From warm sweaters to clinking tea cups, fall is my second favorite season (slowly becoming my first–it's a process). I can't wait to decorate my dorm with orange tones, leaves, and gold accents. Stay tuned for pictures with the changing weather...

Pinterest
Resisting to pin the latest "one-mug" recipe or a cute, new hairstyle is futile. Pinterest literally has everything on their sites making it very addicting. The guilty pleasure part is how long I stay online pinning things I have yet to do!

Share any of the same guilty pleasures? Leave a comment with yours!


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Shuffled

9/21/2015

It's still September, and I've wanted to do the 2015 Blog-tember Challenge all month long! College has kept me busy which also made my post less frequent in the last couple of weeks. Hopefully I'll find a way to balance both coursework and blogging-life. For now, I'm skipping through only a couple of the topics on the amazing list Bailey Jean made, since I'm short on days.

Today I'm sharing the first 10 songs that play on my playlist:

We Are One Tonight by Switchfoot
Over the Rainbow by Ingrid Michaelson
Pompeii by Bastille
Pegate by Grupo Treo
This is Your Life by Switchfoot
Lord, I Need You by Matt Mayer
There is None Like You by Lenny LeBlanc
Super Trouper by ABBA
This is Amazing Grace by Phil Wickham
When I Go Down by Relient K

The genres of music I mainly listen are represented pretty well by this shuffle! From CCM, indie-pop, Pop Latino, to 80s jams. What are some of your favorite music genres or songs?



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My First Experience With Cru

9/09/2015


Moving.
Moving is probably the only word that can really complete my experience I had yesterday ago with my first Cru Worship meeting. The fact that you're not alone in a big sea of people, and may feel the same as you is encouraging and a form of bonding. From the music to the amazing team leaders and people I met, there is only more to look forward to.


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T-Minus Three Days

8/20/2015

I feel excited, anxious, ambitious, worried, and a whole lot of other emotions for the events coming up in the next couple of days. I'm starting college finally after the infamous four-square playing days of elementary school, sliding through the middle school halls to avoid bullies, and surviving the long hours of band camp during high school. Looking back I have to say, it doesn't seem all too bad considering the new waters I'm about to tread. 

College. A place with sooo many decisions, I mean think about it. You get to choose what classes to take, when you can take them, there's no curfew, you're living away from home with strangers at first glance. And this is what makes me worried...While this section of life may be the first time they are experiencing no-strings-attached freedom and anticipating so much out of it, there will be muddy waters. Becoming eighteen doesn't magically make individuals who were considered minors a couple of months all of a sudden wiser and responsible adults. There will be mistakes or conflicts that will arise (not may) and I'll need to be honest through faith. It'll be scary at times, but knowing that my heavenly Father is watching over and protecting me, family and friends will pray for me, and me praying for others in the same boat as me won't sink.

"How firm, our foundation. How sure, our salvation. And we will not be shaken. Jesus, firm foundation." 

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High School Advice

8/13/2015

This is a recycled post from my past blog, but I think the content is still relevant and will be helpful to someone:

Freshman
To all those who are about to finish their first year of high school, congratulations! Looking back, that must have been the best year out of them all (for me at least). At first, I was scared of the thought of being in classes without my friends, while also looking forward to leaving behind all the drama and bullying of middle school. For coming, make sure to be more involved in school activities and outside service projects. P.S. start taking those ACTs and/or SATs in the April of your sophomore year!

Sophomore
Look at you, moving on up in the world. You are finally going to be called an upperclassman in a couple of months! I'd have to call this the most laid back year of high school. Most of our class time was dedicated to state-standardized tests, so this year was a breeze for most people. I made sure to use this opportunity to be involved in more activities, branch out, and try to make friends with students in other grades. This means you have to take on extra responsibilities and be a leader. And don't be so quick to judge the lower classmen next year–everyone was a freshman once.

Junior
I gotta hand it to you, this was probably the most critical year of high school. Fun-filled with GPA rankings, 8-page papers, and more ACTs. But you made it through! Start focusing on a couple colleges you'd like to visit (a must), and apply early! By early, I mean apply before late October of senior year and make sure all your required documents make it to the university. I'd advise: Do Not rely on your high school to take care of everything. My high school ended up not properly printing my information on the transcripts I sent to admissions, which cost me a two-month delay on my acceptance letters. Other friends of mine lost guaranteed scholarships. Be on your 'A' game!

Senior
Pretty much done, right? Think again. Stay on top of those grades till the very end, because colleges still care about your effort until the very last quarter and some request a final transcript. In these last coming weeks, cherish the good, be grateful of all the bad things you won't have to encounter anymore, and look forward to the new. Take a deep breath and give yourself a pat on the back. The most stress filled year, was also the most life changing year. With all the upcoming decisions, decide on what it best for yourself based on your values.


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Current Tides

8/10/2015

So it's been a couple of weeks since my last post, which is due to me traveling around different places. While I was gone however, I did have some time to think of more things to post about since the college season is finally upon me. This past week, I had the chance to stay on campus for a whole week (a great experience) which will be expanded in an upcoming post.

Aside from college visiting, I had the chance to visit two places: Maranatha Springs, and Niagara Falls. I may not religiously identify as Catholic, but visiting Maranatha Springs was truly a wonderful experience as well as a faith-enhancing one.





As for Niagara, it was more of a in-car sightseeing trip, because traffic was crazy! If you ever plan on going to the falls, make sure you arrive to find a parking spot before 10:30am. If not, be prepared to pay ridiculous prices for parking.



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3. The Crew

7/20/2015

I feel as though "the crew" is probably one of the most important pieces after having a firm foundation aside from the basics. These are the people who should be the ones in the good times or the bad.
From first hand experience, I always longed to be a part of the activities my church's youth group had planned, but I was never able to go. Either it was too far away or my parents were too tired from work. I felt like I was missing something when I joined everyone for regular Sunday morning worship and distanced from the group. In all honesty, I had very few friends and barely any at church for a couple of years. I sat by myself, and would leave right after class ended. I felt miserable. I was missing something in my life and I found out what.

True Mates
Until I moved up with the college section a couple of weeks ago, this word was another amongst the millions of others. The word simply means, "friendly association, especially with people who share one's interests," but in Christ its meaning goes deeper. Not only are we fellows in faith, but also in life  and what we do outside the physical structure of the church. Fellowship is coming together through faith to guide each other and to be there when our sails are tattered requiring repairs (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12). Call me naive, but fellowship roots to the core, which can be a hit or miss with friendship. Where had this been all these years?!

The Anchors
These are the people you rather not take on your voyage. To easily identify these individuals, look at the people who you may have lost contact with for good reasons. Maybe they were weighing you down or holding you back from your goals like an anchor. For this friend it might be time to say goodbye or reevaluate your friendship which is not an easy decision (Matthew 5:30). I'll admit, I used to be a people pleaser myself, causing me more stress and problems that weren't necessary. In high school seemed harder to pick and choose friends, but now I'm moving on to college and there will be endless opportunities to meet people and I need to be strong and keep praying that I'll find "the crew" in my search.



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Shout to the North

7/16/2015
Today, I wanted to do something fun and different, so why not free wallpapers? All four are lined up below. To Save:
1.Left click to bring image to full size
2. Right click on image and select "Save Image As..."
3. Click "Save"and done!


                

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Friendship Problems

7/14/2015

Most of the time we hear about the negatives about having long-distance friends and the positives of having nearby buddies, but how about the other way around? Today, I wanted to write some fun little blurbs about the pros and cons in both relationships (these can be applied to family and dating). The thought on making this post dawned on me this morning, while I was texting with a friend back and forth this morning (who is long-distance). 

Long Distance Cons
"Want to know what sounds really great right about now? Hanging out with...Oh. I forgot (s)he lives 300 miles away." This is the conversation that plays out in my mind before the sudden realization that sometimes it sucks that all my friends don't live nearby. Sure I could send them a text every once in a while, but it's not the same. 

Short Distance Pros
The best part about having someone within close proximity is the fact that they're available for a good chunk of time. Feel like going to the zoo on the weekend or watching the newest summer comedy in theaters? This friend has got you covered, and can make time to even carpool with you.

Long Distance Pros

There is always something new to talk about, literally everyday if you wanted! Since you may not see each other often, get creative. Maybe write a letter, make a group chat, or have a Skype date with one another. I know I'll be using a couple of those this fall during college...

Short Distance Cons
I guess I could hang out with (insert name here) again.. It's not that we don't have fun with the friends we see often. Sometimes people need space or need to meet new people. If you don't get out of your comfort zone a little bit, how will you discover better destinations and become acquainted with unique individuals? 


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Smell The Free Air

7/04/2015

"Jesus said, 'You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'"
John 8:31-32

Happy Fourth of July, America (and late-Happy Canada Day)! Today's topic resonates with the theme of one of this country's favorite words: freedom. While I could continue on a long tangent why freedom is a great thing and get super patriotic about it, I'm not. What I will say is this:

Freedom is a gift from God, where we can make choices that can lead to greater experiences or pave the way to harder circumstances. This means we have to be cautious in what we do and pray that what we decide is what God wants us to do. More often people are using their freedoms to add to the fall of others around them, instead of an opportunity to put work towards good use. But remember, no matter if a "wrong or right choice" is made, there is a greater truth that even freedom needs to abide.


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Eighteen Blessings

6/27/2015

"The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; 
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace."
Numbers 6:24-26

I've been physically alive for eighteen years on this day. Eighteen. Just to think, two digits makes such a big impact in society. For some people, it was a gradual process to become eighteen and mature into adulthood. And others it's a wake up call to throw away childish beliefs and become a stern, (wo)man. I'd like to call these last eighteen years a process, because it was for me. But, no matter what I will always be a child a heart, and so many other people will be too. It's a wonderful sensation to celebrate birthdays and all, yet a dreadful thought. We keep building upwards, never knowing when we will reach the end of our blueprints.

While I could go on to talk about the dreadful part of growing up and ticking clocks, I'd rather focus on the brighter side of being eighteen: the blessings. It was nice taking the time to reflect on the things I know I should be thankful for, and what I often take for granted.

1. Having a house supplied with the things I need
2. Getting the spiritual wake-up call I needed
3. Attending a church that values fellowship
4. The people I've met (good and bad)
5. My gifts: creativity and artistry
6. My family
7. Being mealong with every "imperfection"
8. A vivid imagination
9. Being able to afford my first year of college without loans
10. Clam chowder. No questions asked...
11. The small, hidden beauties in nature
12. Different cultures, races, and individuals in the world
13. Growing up in a Christian household
14. The advancements in the world doing more benefit than harm
15. The ability to be able to communicate with people
16. My stuffed animals
17. Becoming more of a leader and independent
18. To have a Father who watches over me everyday, and every second


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2. Charting a Route

6/11/2015

There are many ways to begin, which makes it kind of hard to know where to start. A wise choice would be to start from the actual beginning, although starting elsewhere isn't wrong either. The most important part is making it to the end.

Genesis
I highly recommend starting from the beginning of the Bible, whether it is your first time reading it through or it has been a while. The book of Genesis lays the foundation from the beginning.

Daily Devotionals
These are very helpful no matter what point you are at in your voyage. If you attend a church, try looking in their bookshop if there is one. If not, there are apps like She Reads Truth available with free daily devotionals. 

Baptism
I want to later on expand on this point in another post, but baptism is an "affirmation of faith". I'm not a pastor so, the best person to ask about this could be your parents, a pastor, or a friend in Christ.

Friends in Faith
Having other people around you who share a common goal or idea is really beneficial to your journey. They should be people who will be there even when times aren't good and your troubles may be overwhelming. Also, it is helpful if a couple of your friends are around the same age group as you, because there are problems everyone will face sooner or later and need help overcoming. (This point is one I'll be expanding on later.)


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The Flatters & Buoyant

6/05/2015



"What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?" 
Luke 9:25

This verse really speaks to me not only because of what it is typically interpreted as, but in another light. The thing someone may be gaining may not only be known as material possessions. Constantly, materialism takes the blame for a lot of problems which is true, but what about in our daily interactions? Are we being genuine to our neighbors, with pure intentions?

I know this was a big struggle for me to overcome in my earlier teen years. I taught myself to avoid conflict very quickly, because it made the motions of life easier to deal. I was a people-pleaser even in my shy-stage. More likely, I would agree to something I didn't necessarily see eye-to-eye with my peer to avoid being apart from my worldly companions. This wasn't about popularity. It was about wanting to be on everyone's good side and feel like I had no enemies, by remaining as buoyant as possible.

But the truth is, that isn't the way anyone should live, nor is that the way God wants us to live our life. If the grand purpose of life was to please everyone single person of the world, we would all be in a pretty rough situation. There has got to be something more to this life, and there is...

As long as you're not living out your days as a hollowed out puppet for the world's pleasures.

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