7. Sandcastle

26 December 2016

Crush my dreams, and build me new ones...

It was close to high tide, and this sand castle was built closer than the others. Beautiful sea shells and intricate details etched out with one of the dry rods nearby. Then, crash––in a few minutes it was gone––I realized I didn't really like this castle either. Built with imperfections, in the wrong spot, and at the wrong time. What I was seeking could not be built by me alone. It needed to be crafted with gentle hands, who knew when the tide would come, and where to build. So I searched, and he found me.

This image of continually trying to build our own kingdoms and enviably failing is something we seem to struggle with: either things may have went wrong or we find ourselves picking away at imperfections. We're missing something I the midst of our frustration, after watching our castles crumble. We're missing the point—that it was never meant to be built perfectly by our own hands. 

I've heard the Christmas story so many times, and over the years, layers of new realizations appear. A child was born for us, so that we can have the opportunity to know him and be saved. And in the process, that requires our own kingdoms to fall; sometimes old goals and dreams might need to fall away. It's not always easy, but necessary, because even though it's not clearly visible now, that kingdom we were looking to build can only be built by the one true King— Jesus. So I pray, that together we seek Him and the furtherment of his kingdom.



15 December 2016

One of the most amazing, intimate quiet times with God are the moments when it's late at night, I have a lot on my mind, and I'm non-stop confessing and seeking His counsel. In these times are when I feel the closest and humbled before Him. And I wish they did happen more frequent. More times of realizing the need for forgiveness and giving praise. During this winter break, I want to grow in relationship with God by actively reading His word by living it out. He pours out, I flourish.



11 November 2016

Sometimes in the midst of life, we forget and lose track of everything going on around us. When school, social life, and etcetera all feel balanced, we feel like we've got in on our own. That I'm doing everything right, and nothing could go wrong. But––that feeling can change quickly when things don't go according to our plans. Everything seems like it's falling apart and out of control. Like everything we've built ourselves up in comfortably is suddenly being threatened or knocked over.

Is it really though?

It may truly feel that way for you, but then I'd ask one question: what have you built yourself on? If you have placed all your hopes into something that isn't perfect and constant, I can understand why you have feelings of frustration. It's true that life won't always go as planned, and that people including ourselves will fail to meet what we expected. 

The good thing is, the story doesn't end there and we have a greater hope in one who is perfect and constant. And I hope in these times of confusion or uncertainty, we can always remember that Jesus is sovereign throughout our highest points and lows.


Blogtember: Favorite Instagrammers

14 September 2016

Instagram is probably one of my favorite social media platforms, right behind Pinterest, of course! I like how creative a person can be with just one picture and sometimes the stories that follow under each post. For the Blogtember Challenge, one of the prompts is to share my favorite instagrammers, which I picked out a few below:

I honestly love not only the quality of the photos, but also her quality of stories she has behind each picture. She offers daily reminders of things we find ourselves thinking and overall great encouragement about faith in every post she makes!

@jessbauer & @gabrielconte
I actually found these two on YouTube through a couple of suggested videos, and they are such a cute couple. They also recently got engaged this past weekend, so congrats to the both of them!

I also discovered Kirby via youtube, and the least I can say is she is a ball of fun and light. I love how she's not afraid to talk about things like anxiety and how God has helped through tough moments.

This lady speaks so much truth in the mini-videos she posts for encouragement in our walk with the Lord. I'm always excited when I see her post something new, and always relevant to something I'm experiencing in my life.

I started following kaycerv recently, but I'm inspired by her banner designs and the people she shares about on her travels. 

Who are your favorites to follow on Instagram? 

Simply Grace

12 September 2016

This past week, I don't know why, but I felt defeated, anxious, and regretful. It might be because I'm in a different environment or because of the higher expectations I call on myself. All I can say is simple is I've forgotten grace and how important it is.

"which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth," Colossians 1:6

In the college-group at church, our pastor asked a simple question, "what is grace?" I had to backtrack a little in my mind, to remember a year ago when I was revisited with the main points of the gospel, and grace as one of the commonly used Christian buzzwords. I remembered grace in a simple visual as an "undeserved gift", meaning it's not earned not by our works or my deeds. But because of how great God's love is for all of us. 

The moment I remembered what grace means, is also when I forgot those feelings of dissatisfaction in myself and decided to leave them in the past and instead reach out towards this gift of grace and cherish its value and worth. And remember that no matter what I did or thought can never separate me from God's grace, nor earn it.


Playlist Jams #blogtember

11 September 2016

It's only week two of the Blogtember Challenge and I'm already slacking, but I hope you all will forgive me! The topic of this post are song playlist and the type of music I've  been listening to currently. On my Pandora, there are about seven stations I tune in from time to time, depending on my mood. So.. I decided to list a few jams I listen to when I need a little boost.

For Motivation
  • It's Not Over Yet by For King and Country
  • I Dare You to Move by Switchfoot
  • Don't Stop Believing by Journey

For Praise and Worship
  • All the Poor and Powerless by All Sons and Daughters
  • Salt and Light by Lauren Daigle
  • Sinking Deep by Hillsong Young & Free
  • Forever by Kari Jobe
  • No Longer Slaves by Bethel Music

For Rainy Days

For Throwbacks

  • Glory of Love by Peter Cetera
  • The One That You Love by Air Supply
  • You're The Inspiration by Chicago
  • Can't Fight This Feeling by REO Speedwagon
  • Next Time I Fall In Love by Peter Cetera & Amy Grant

For Anytime


What to Pack for College + Printable List!

10 September 2016

It's almost hard to believe that I'll be starting the school year off again in three days and moving back in sooner. That also means these last few days will be full of checking off my list of items to bring back to the dorm with me, and unavoidably forgetting something once I'm there. Even though there a hundreds of posts about what to pack with you for college, I feel like each list always over adds items or even misses a personal touch. So, since I have one year of expertise, I decided to make a dorm-needs checklist that is organized in a way that would have been helpful for me my first time.**

There a couple items I placed in the "OTHER" category, some because I couldn't figure out what category it would fit in better and the others as optional items. Depending on your dorm's style, items like refrigerators and microwave may already be provided, or dining hall meal options for food.
Also, I realized after the first two weeks away, there are still a lot of things I forgot so there will be a part two to the Packing For College.

Blogtember Introductions

01 September 2016

Can't believe it is already September again, with random weather patterns and waiting for college bookstores to be restocked! But the best part of all is a new year to join in on the Blog-tember Challenge hosted on Love Bailey Jean. Every year, it's been my goal to try to do every prompt even though I know it's hard especially with already balancing college classes daily and extracurriculars (not to mention the journals I'll already be writing.) So this year, I'm giving myself a little grace and will at least attempt posting three prompts a week as a more reachable goal. 

Moving aside, today's topic is introductions which I should be a pro at by now after going through multiple ice breaker activities during welcome week–right? I'm Jem, and I'm a life and faith blogger here on graceboat, which has been running for almost a year and a half. I'm currently a sophomore in college going for a Health Sciences degree, involved in Cru, and a lot of other organizations around campus. And that's a quick 20-sec synopsis of my life. In a more detailed form, here are a couple other details about me:

Movie Genre: Either family comedy or movies with creative ways of expressing deeper meanings (i.e. Narnia, the Hobbit, Studio Ghibli movies)
Candle Scents: Anything sweet, reminiscent of bakery goods and sugar
Outdoor activities: Biking the woods, beach volleyball, nature photography
Indoor activities: Netflix (in honesty), Just Dance, ping-pong/table tennis

Fruits: Bananas, grapes, watermelons
Season: Winter–although I do admire the snow I'm not a fan of negative temperatures and ice

– Been out of the country
– Had my hair done at a salon
– Broken a bone
– Dyed my hair
– Built a snowman
– Had a pet other than a fish


Dear Freshman

26 August 2016

Dear Freshman,

Your first year at college is going to be fine... actually great! As long as you are willing to take risks and set boundaries, freshmen year will be a good lasting memory. I wish I could tell you all about the fun times I had my fall and spring semesters, but that would take days to go through and I would still forget to mention a couple details–which also reminds me–keep a daily (or weekly) journal log to reflect on the smaller moments you may forget a year from now. They will save for laughs later on and sweet stories to tell. 

The academics will mostly be filled with GenEds (general education classes otherwise known as "classes you have to take but might not want to") which are sometimes fun to explore different classroom settings and meet others from different majors. Do heed the warning about not taking 8 am classes. Trust me, it's no joke when you're taking a math class that early, even though it was less of a struggle in high school. Our bodies grow and change over time, and growing to dislike 'time' more. It feels like there are 36 hours in a day when there's not much to do* and when there's a deadline for a paper... let's just say time isn't your friend. 

*There is always something you could be doing: Even if nothing is due tomorrow, that doesn't mean your assignment from two weeks ago due in two weeks needs to be crammed through the night before, adding onto the addition weight of college stress, leading you to then proceed to buy your regular iced-chai latte and tell yourself it'll all be ok. When it probably will...hopefully.

But in all seriousness, have fun, make friends, and have a balanced course load! And don't get addicted to chai lattes ;)

Hello, I’m

06 August 2016

Hi, this is "blogging” me. “Blogging” me is kinda different than real-life me, at least from my perspective. On graceboat, I feel like I’m more open when expressing opinions that I normally wouldn’t share out loud and my introverted self is less noticable in an online setting. Sometimes I find myself liking the outward appearance I put of me on my blog. 

We, as people, often divide our lives into different aspects whether intentional or unintentional. There is possibly a version of you when you're around your family, when you're with friends at school, maybe church. And sometimes you wear yourself out from creating these characters––which I believe isn't what we were made to be. We shouldn't feel like we need to divide ourselves for other people (or even for us), to form different identities. No, we are called to place our identity in what did not, does not, and will never change, which is Jesus Christ. It's something I've struggled with for years now, where I have some seasons in life that are easier to trade in masks than others. But I'm learning that what I should put forth in the world should be Him alive in me.
–– Jem

El Shaddai Free Wall Print

17 July 2016

Happy Sunday! I thought I would drop these simple wall prints here, which comes in three designs: black text on white paper, w/border, and white text on a black background. Each are standard printing paper sizes (8.5x11) so you may need to resize it to your frames liking. Be sure to share with friends and link your wall print below!

_______________________  Click to Save As  _______________________


–– Jem

5 Tips for College Orientation

12 July 2016

Summertime is the season to relax, hang out with friends, and complain everyday about the hot weather is outside while on the run for ice cream. For those making the transition  between high school and college, it might be a little more complicated. It's the time to start planning out your schedule for the fall (and sometimes spring), finding a new group of friends, trying to avoid getting lost on campus, and much more! But, college orientation doesn't have to be seem overwhelming if you take it one step at a time, and be prepared for a couple things throughout the day, you'll be fine.

1 | Be there on time
This may be simple in thought, but really... especially if you're not familiar with campus already. The university might have a designated parking lot for orientation day visitors, so make sure you can figure out how to get there, and how to leave to get on the road back home! Calculate the extra time you'll need for parking, because others just like you will be looking for parking. It might be a hectic day depending on how large your school is or if there are days of orientation.

2 | Bring snacks
After listening to the opening address, doing a  few icebreaker activities, it's possible to start feeling restless or a little hungry. Some schools provide little snacks when you first walk in, so grab a few before you're seated or bring a soft snack that won't make a lot of noise (i.e. chips, apples...).

3 | Meet someone new but don't feel pressured
The icebreakers are a little awkward at first, but as you continue throughout the day, there will hopefully be one person you click with––if not, it's not the end of your journey to making new friends in college. Once school-mode actually starts you'll be mingling with upperclassmen and students who made later decisions in the college search.

4 | Ask questions
If you're not as outspoken like me, write down the questions to ask either your admissions counselor or another student later. It will help you prepare for could be coming up next and a question to be answered later.

5 | The dining hall
At last, it's half-way throught the day and at the most important part of the day! The dining hall, the food court, or other names for your university's food area. The only advice I have on this topic is enjoy it while it lasts. It'll taste great during orientation, the first week..., the first day of the second week.. then you'll really have the chance to experience true dining hall food on the daily.

–– Jem


09 July 2016

It's been hard lately. To scroll down social media pages and read headlines of another shooting––lost lives. Normally, I keep silent about these happenings and try to process everything alone, but having to keep doing that over and over... I've happened to stumble upon a few video responses to the current events in the world and this one really resonated what I've been thinking and the truth I should hold onto: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tJ1f_u3pw8

–– Jem

Nineteen Blessings

28 June 2016

It's crazy to think that I'm already writing about being nineteen, after my Eighteen Blessings post from a year ago. My last year as a 'teen' has arrived, although I'll continue to keep dreaming about adventures to Neverland and snuggling with my teddies while I still can! The journey to becoming nineteen wasn't an easy trip, but I've learned a lot that I can't wait to share in future posts. For now, here is a list of 19 blessings from this year (there are way more that can be listed) that share a little about me. Also, shout out to my sweet friend who baked the beautiful cake in the pictures above from yesterday's celebration.

1. I have a Heavenly Father who cares for me even when I make mistakes 
2. Being able to afford college without any student loans 
3. The amazing friends I've kept and made this year 
4. Moving into my own room at home
5. Oregon chai lattes from the café across from campus—duh!

6. The gift of creativity, flowing from my mind into all the things I do, think, and feel
7. Legs to jump and arms to reach, eyes to see, and a heart that beats
8. Someone who's there to lean on when I'm having a rough day
9. The people who challenged me and led to my growth
10. Being able to fellowship in a community of believers

11. Being able to go on a STM in Inner-city Chicago
12. The creation of gifs
13. Last minute runs-with-friends to Mitchell's ice cream or frozen yogurt
14. Female role-models who are living for God
15. Times of recluse when life gets a lil' cray

16. Being okay with an uncertain, unpredictable future
17. Solo praise and worship nights
18. Girl time!
19. Moments of joy and peace

–– Jem

So It's Not My Dream College

23 June 2016

There are many interesting changes that happen during the transitions of being a senior in high school to freshman status in a college. By the end of the school year, everyone starts to get a little irritated and antsy to move onto life's next adventures. Students looking towards the college route mostly had their dream university picked out, based on their preferences in college style: big vs. small student body population, commutable distance, as far away from home as possible, and others. With so many possibilities, a near graduated high schooler needs to make a choice on which university they feel will be the best or perfect fit.

I applied and was accepted to five very different universities. Four were in-state, although two of the four were further away by a few hours. Just as many other students, my parents personally wanted me to go to a local college, since they were familiar with their programs and I would be able to save money by commuting to school everyday. But, I didn't want to stay at home––I wanted to be like my peers whose parents had no problem with allowing them to go out-of-state. I wanted to get the full-college experience with no strings attached and feel like an individual. I fell in love with the school I picked out in Indiana, and I mean IN LOVE. I always got super excited when I received one of their campus magazine editions. It had everything I hoped for in a college, it was small (easier to know almost everyone), in more of a rural area (avoiding the city atmosphere), and it was a Christian university, so how could this possibly go wrong, right? I even spent an overnighter in one of the girls dorms; everyone on campus were so friendly and open, my admissions counselor had the coolest socks ever, and the campus food was great! It was my dream school.

Don't Compare

18 June 2016

How often do we catch ourselves gawking over a 'flawless' picture on instagram or being jealous over a friend's new facebook status––sometimes more that we make it out to be. It starts with little wishes like, "I wish I had her closet" to "Those pins are goals", and before we know it we're kinda obsessed with the idea. We start to compare not what we already have, but what we don't have

Here's the mistake we are making: We don't realize we're not that much different from one another, aside from our personal experiences, physique, and other tidbits and habits that make us unique. We all struggle with insecurities, we all need someone to rely on, we all have bad days and things we wish we could forget. It the midst of all that, remember: you are unique and that is a gift. Not one person is exactly identical in all aspects, which means everyone's purpose won't be the same either.

–– Jem

1AM Worries

06 June 2016

I don't know what it is about nighttime and the random flush of thoughts that pop into my head. I wouldn't mind remembering fun memories or past blessings, but I end dwelling on some event that happened 5 years ago (or something like that). And to be honest, it worries me a little. "I wish I could take back what I said" or "that was so embarrassing". Little seeds of doubt and feelings of regret. But right in that moment, I remembered that while it did matter then, it doesn't now. My "mistakes" don't make me a failure or invaluable. In fact, 

I have been made clean by the spirit
I am a child of God
I will believe in no lies
For I am His

A Barrel of Thoughts

04 June 2016

After taking a long break away from blogging while finishing up my freshmen year of college, there were a few things I realized leading into the summer. It was a lot easier to set time aside to dig into God's word and have personal quiet times even when sharing a room. I thought it would be the opposite after moving back home–it only became harder. The difference between living with only one other person and five people makes a difference, in addition to having a job where I'm working from morning till evening. I lost track of time and sped through any of the times I had for devotions. Plus, I don't feel spiritually motivated at home. At least twice a week, I was with Cru during campus for either Worship night or for a women's study and I was growing. I felt eager to share my faith and learn from others. But lately, as shared in my last post, it's been a struggle. I'm moving through the same old cycles, with no movement. In the past few days (after letting out held-in tears), here a few things I've been reflecting on.

1 | My intentions
Why do I read my bible or sing songs? Is it to draw closer to God, or to try and earn his persuasion in what he can provide for me? When my heart isn't resting in the right place with my brokenness, it's hard to discern between what God wants and what my flesh calls good. In times like these, when I can't remember all the good He has done in my life, I need to look to the bible. My memory may fade, but the stories of those who followed Him truly received the gift of joy and found rest. It is not up to me to decide what it right—not when a wise ruler who is sovereign over all takes care to look upon his creation and point, and say she is loved.

2 | There is Beauty in Taking Risks
I believe there is beauty in taking risks. Taking a step into the unknown, sometimes unknowingly figuring out the consequences along the way, without being reckless in the process. We were not made to stand still while life passes. We were created to live, love, serve, share, and do much more. But this isn’t what fill us: the laughable memories and days to reflect on. It’s realizing, because of those risks taken, we were able to seek His beautiful gifts of joy, peace, and gentleness, and allow him to map our destinies.

3 | It's time to Speak Out
How often do we find ourselves being out of the loop with the current news and what the media is saying? Sure it's easy to say you're trying to avoid hearing the same sad news everyday, or ignoring the media's attention games. But your disconnect isn't leading to change, it's ignoring the opportunity to make change. I'll admit, I shared these same thoughts with recent pop culture trends becoming less attractive and the political ramparts I hear daily. However, that doesn't give me an excuse to ignore the conversation all together. We were created to respond to the things happening around us, for a purpose. Speak up for truth and speak out for those who can't (Proverbs 31:8).

Just wanted to add, this gal's messages has been really helping to think in depth about my faith. I'm blessed and inspired by her declarations of faith and leadership. #forsuchatimeasthis


Unhook, Re-Anchor

28 April 2016

For the past two weeks now, I've been feeling disconnected from God. And the feelings of shame, regret, and fear are starting to creep in––I can tell. These feelings are causing me to stumble in other areas of my life, kinda of beating down on me while I struggle to stand up again.

I felt lost.

It's a painful feeling, like when you feel like something is wrong when you start to get a cold, but then every medication you use to try to relieve symptoms still isn't fixing the problem. The sickness is still there, and you still feeling exhausted. It wasn't until today I decided to take a break from all the school work I still need to do and unhook myself from the constant moving tides, which I'm so glad I did. I definitely needed to spend time with God: quality time. With a busy college schedule it's not easy, but it is necessary and a struggle I'm not alone in. There were three videos I watched this past afternoon to help me see that, and realize that in the end, God is who I need to talk to and spending more time with Him and centering myself on his word is what I've been missing lately. Especially relating to Shannon's video: when you're not anchored in the Word, saying hurtful things or acting ungodly comes easy.

But, I know now and remember I need to re-anchor.

6. Diving From the Deep End

12 April 2016

"And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you."
Psalm 9:10

It's been awhile since I've added a post to the voyager series, but I'm finally back with another nautical themed topic: Diving from the deep end. Basically, we're taking a leap of faith into the murkiness and the unknown depths below, which can be scary a lot of the time. But the most scariest part about it all isn't necessarily worry about making the jump—it's whether or not we can actually swim. The waves of the ocean and the ones found in the kiddie pool are two different types of experiences. Sure they both involve water; however, one's a little more shallow than the other. This time it's the real deal and we're diving into the deep, rugged waters.

The Cycle of Life

01 April 2016

"It's a slow fade when you give yourself away"
- Casting Crowns

Lately my busy schedule has started to slow down a little in the college department, which is great! I actually have time for activities like writing, journaling, and drawing. I must say it feels pretty nice. I've even picked back up a book I started reading earlier in the year called The Comeback by Louie Giglio–which I definitely recommend. The section/chapter I'm on, "Never Too Late" just so happens to coincide with the same character I'm learning about in the church I attend college group, Samson from the book of Judges.

10 Thoughts About Midterms

20 March 2016

The weeks are zooming by even faster this spring semester, I can't believe it! I thought I would share some on the thoughts I expressed while I busy crying over midterms, as told by one of my favourite shows, The Office.

Prayer is Beautiful

16 February 2016

Prayer is beautiful. It doesn't matter where you may be or what emotions you are experiencing. In all seasons, 365 (and a ¼) days of the year, you're able to talk to God about anything weighing on your heart, give thanks for joyous moments, or for guidance. These past couple of months have shown me the beauty in this amazing gift we've been given, and four points I'd like to share.

Pray Out: Praying out loud
Verbally talking out loud while praying is one of the things I've adapted into my personal prayer time. It makes praying feel more intimate, and more like a conversation.

Pray Together: Overcome the fear of praying with other people
Group praying was one of the most nerve-wracking things I've did for the first time last semester (keyword: was). I'll still admit, I do still get nervous, but depending on the group of people I'm with, it's not as hard. Start by praying with two or three friends to make praying together seem less scary!

Pray Close: Be detailed and transparent
It's one thing to know what is worrying you, but what about giving your troubles up to God? Tell Him about your day, give thanks, pray for some of your internal struggle, or for a friend who may need help. Also, being transparent with friends in your spiritual walk is important.

Pray First: Run into His arms
There have been a few times in this semester when I've felt angry or confused, and it's tempting to rant out with these emotions. But I know I won't feel as satisfied as when I tell God what I'm experiencing and guidance on how I should react.

Truth & Love

11 January 2016

Sharing a bit of custom wallpaper love, so please enjoy! All of them are down below:

God Changes Everything

04 January 2016

God changes everything.

At the beginning of this past year, I could even imagine the places I've had the chance to go and the people whom I met and are still walking with. I was in a low point at the start of 2015, holding onto things that were weighing me down. So I prayed. And God heard me and my cries. I found comfort and rest in his arms and so much more. The person I was searching to trust has been there the whole time watching as I was stumbling and He helped me walk upright; when I fell he would carry me.

I can't wait to see the wonders He will do in 2016.

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