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


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