Monday, December 30, 2013

Motivational Monday #10



Monday, December 9, 2013

Motivational Monday #9

"You'll Never Be Alone"
Capital Kings

Provoking Thoughts

Lately, I've found myself reading so many articles. So many. They have, for the most part, been very thought-provoking and theological, and I've felt challenged and inspired by them. These articles were written from different points of view, by people of all different backgrounds. I think that when approached with discernment, we can learn a lot from them about ourselves and the world we live in.

It's time to re-evaluate the "War on Christmas". There are much more serious threats to Christmas than our Atheist neighbors saying, "Happy Holidays!" Focusing on this has only served to widen the gap between Christians and those that we are supposed to be living alongside and loving. God has not called us to war, He has called us to be radical peacemakers.  Besides, did you know that the term, "Xmas" is actually an ancient Christian tradition? The X stands for the Greek word for Christ. I had no idea! This whole "War on Christmas" deal is not Christ-like at all. How are we supposed to keep Christ in Christmas when we are adopting mindsets that are opposite to His? We should be more worried about the fact that while Christmas is meant to be a time set aside for God, many of us are too busy worrying about Christmas cards, decorations and buying gifts to remember that. I know I struggle with this a lot. I want to keep God as the center of my life, yet I keep letting the twinkling lights and presents cloud my view of what is really important.
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/marcusborg/2013/12/the-real-war-on-christmas/
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/keeping-the-x-in-xmas/

These articles made a really good point. There is no such thing as Christian movies or Christian music. There is music that is good for our minds and hearts, and music that isn't, but Christian media does not necessarily present solid theology. At the same time, there are music and films that aren't pegged as "Christian", yet they teach us a lot about God and ourselves. Benjamin Corey makes a good point when he says, "I want my child to know that a critical mind is something you never turn off, and that you can’t simply compartmentalize art as “Christian” or “not”. I want her to know that all truth is God’s truth, and all beauty is God’s beauty, and that you can find every bit as much truth and beauty from 8 Mile as you can from a Kendricks brothers flick. I want her searching for beauty everywhere she looks- I don’t want her thinking that good stuff exists “here” but you won’t find God “there”, wherever “there” is. I want her to know she can find God everywhere." Everything we do should be for the glory of God, whether we be a janitor, film producer, painter, carpenter, teacher or musician.
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/christian-movies/
http://ctkblog.com/2013/12/05/why-switchfoot-wont-sing-christian-songs/

Adoption has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. So whenever I see an article about it, I jump on it right away. I feel that God could quite possibly be calling me to adopt locally, later on in life, so I like to stay well informed. This article is written by a man who has adopted, and he lists several bits of advice and caution. I agree that it seems like adoption is becoming a real fad. I'm glad that it is such a beneficial fad, unlike so many that are floating around these days, but I think it makes it easy for people to make light of the decision to adopt. This article really made me think about my motivation behind adopting. I would want to make very sure that I wasn't adopting a child just to support my own need for love or gratification. I would want to make sure I was in it for the long haul, putting the needs of the child above my own. Even when it wasn't convenient.
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/love-isnt-enough/

With all these controversial ideas, sometimes I can feel pretty overwhelmed. It's hard to know what's real and true in a world that is trying to pull me in a thousand directions all at once. I definitely need to spend more time with God through all these questions, because I know that though this world is unstable and constantly shifting, He is solid and strong. I can trust that He knows the answers and has a much bigger perspective than me, even when I'm stumbling around down here.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Spoken Word Poetry

A while back, I wrote an article about Slam Poetry, because it's fantastic. I just love the way it allows you to express yourself in a meaningful way, without being confined to the usual poetry rules of rhyme and rhythm. It sounds so neat!

Spoken Word Poetry is Slam Poetry, but none competitive. Slam Poetry only applies to poetry performed in a Poetry Slam. I don't know if I realized that when I wrote the other post. Oh well, live and learn. :)

Since I wrote the other post on Spoken Word Poetry, I've discovered so many more amazing authors and poems! The world has opened up and chucked poem after poem after poem in my face, in rapid succession. I have had no choice but to notice and love at least a few; And what gems they are!

These are a few of the best, in my eyes. Let me know what you think! Also, if you know of any poems, spoken word or not, that you really enjoy, tell me. I'm always super excited for recommendations! :)

"I Love You More"
 
"If Only"

 
"I Will Wait for You"
by Janette...iks
"Sincerely Freedom"
by Nick Vitellaro
 
"A Man's Promise"

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

"To Calm the Storm"

"Stormy Seas" by James Coard
A heart
So big and broken
Reaching with feeble hands
To calm the storm.

With every service
Every sacrifice
Piece by piece
It gives itself away.

How much is too much?
How far is too far?
What will happen when the well runs dry?

Many see
But few understand.
Many touch
But only with the hand.

Oceans vast
May never be explored
Except by the one
Who calms the storm.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Motivational Monday #8

 
This is something I have needed to be reminded of a lot lately. God's love is stronger than any I could hope to understand. <3
 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Motivational Monday #7

This is such a great video. It's pretty much impossible not to smile! Also, I'm sure we could all benefit from the pearl of wisdom, "You've got to keep on keeping on. Get on a pig and hold on tight!" ;)
 
Have a splendid Monday!
 
Baby Monkey (Going Backwards on a Pig)
 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Power of Music

I've always loved music. It's so amazing to me that a bunch of sounds in different arrangements can lift spirits, move one to tears, bring people together, and provide a safe haven in a world that seems so unsure. Music is a huge part of my world, and the world in general. It's woven throughout every culture, and I think there's a reason for that.

I've been researching the effects music has on us, and I've stumbled upon some very interesting facts. For instance, it seems as though music is tied quite strongly to our reward system. When we listen to music, dopamine (the feel-good chemical) is released and it makes us feel good, so we naturally want to continue. Therefore, it has been concluded that people who are more driven by rewards, and less by thrill and adventure, are likely to more frequently get "chills" when listening to music they enjoy.

Music also reaches out to strong memories we have. We all have songs that immediately take us back to another time; a vivid memory locked away in our minds. For instance, what do you think of when you hear the Theme from Gilligan's Island, Mission: Impossible, We Will Rock You, The Macarena, or It's a Small World? It's usually songs like these that so easily become stuck in our heads, like an itch that we can't stop scratching.

Music has been helping us out for longer than we may think. According to my good friend, Wikipedia:
+Apollo is the ancient Greek god of music and of medicine.
+Aesculapius was said to cure diseases of the mind by using song and music, and music therapy was used in Egyptian temples.
+Plato said that music affected the emotions and could influence the character of an individual.
+Aristotle taught that music affects the soul and described music as a force that purified the emotions.
+Aulus Cornelius Celsus advocated the sound of cymbals and running water for the treatment of mental disorders.
+Music therapy was practiced in biblical times, when David played the harp to rid King Saul of a bad spirit.
+As early as 400 B.C., Hippocrates played music for his mental patients.
+In the thirteenth century, Arab hospitals contained music-rooms for the benefit of the patients.
+In the United States, Native American medicine men often employed chants and dances as a method of healing patients.
+The Turco-Persian psychologist and music theorist al-Farabi (872–950), known as Alpharabius in Europe, dealt with music therapy in his treatise Meanings of the Intellect, in which he discussed the therapeutic effects of music on the soul.
+Robert Burton wrote in the 17th century in his classic work, The Anatomy of Melancholy, that music and dance were critical in treating mental illness, especially melancholia.
+Music therapy as we know it began in the aftermath of World Wars I and II, when, particularly in the United Kingdom, musicians would travel to hospitals and play music for soldiers suffering from war-related emotional and physical trauma.

How cool is it that God would understand us so completely, and love us so much that He would give us such a beautiful form of art that actually heals us, inside and out? :) The more I learn about the world and myself, the more I am amazed by the Designer. Too cool!!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Loneliness

 
"Friendship needs no words - it is solitude delivered from the anguish of loneliness."
~Dag Hammarskjold
 
This week, I have been learning what loneliness is.
 
I have developed a very good defense mechanism for myself, in the fact that I can block out negative feelings quite easily, and ignore them. Sometimes without even being conscious of them. I have lived in Nicaragua for three months now, and haven't felt the least bit lonely. Until now.
 
It's ironic that I only noticed the dull ache when I was having the first heart-to-heart I've had in a long while, with a new friend from our Spanish school. In that moment, I felt the least lonely and the most heard, but it forced me to remember reality, and that was painful. It was comforting to find someone who felt the same way, who could understand the mixed emotions of picking up and leaving everything you know. Someone who saw behind my mask, and didn't run away. I'm immensely grateful for that, perhaps more than he will ever know.
 
Amid the insecurity, there is something beautiful about this pain. Acknowledging it for what it is has been difficult, but also freeing. Admitting it to myself and to God today, I feel like I have stopped running. And there is beauty in the fact that I can now rest securely in God, and know that even when life feels terrifying, He is always there. He wraps His arms around me, and never lets go.
 
I will never be alone. <3


Photo: alwayslonliness.blogspot.com/2012_07_22_archive.html

Monday, October 21, 2013

Motivational Monday #6


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

My Top 10 : Film Soundtracks



1 :: Nemo Egg (Main Title)

 
2 :: Avengers Theme
 

3 :: Titanic Theme
 
 
4 :: Pirates of the Caribbean (He's a Pirate)
 
 
5 :: Tarzan (Two Worlds)
 
 
6 :: Up (Married Life)
 
 
7 :: The Truman Show (Truman Sleeps)
 
 
8 :: Chronicles of Narnia (Only the Beginning of the Adventure)
 
 
9 :: Lord of the Rings (Concerning Hobbits)
 

10 :: How to Train Your Dragon (This is Berk)
 



Sources:
http://thecelebritycafe.com/feature/2013/03/top-10-best-film-scores-millennium-part-3
http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2013/08/26/film-score-countdown
http://classicalmusic.about.com/od/classicalmusicinmovies/tp/bestsoundtracks.htm

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

My Favorite Blog Posts This Week

I haven't checked in on my favorite blogs lately, so when I looked yesterday I found a ton of really fantastic posts! They are way too amazing to keep to myself, so I thought I would highlight some of the best. These have not all been posted this week, but I discovered them this week, so it still counts. :P

The first is "Writing on the Web" on The Daily Simple. In this post, Aubrey writes about some lessons she has been learning concerning her writing. She has some really great ideas. I was reminded that writing should not be stressful, and sometimes it's better to leave something half finished and come back to it later with fresh eyes.

"Can You Read Emotions? on A Cup of Jo. This was so fascinating! "New studies have found that if people read literary fiction for even a few minutes (as opposed to popular fiction or serious nonfiction), they perform better on tests measuring empathy and emotional intelligence." I also took the quiz that finds out how well you can pinpoint people's emotions just by seeing their eyes, and got 30/36.

"Work in Progress" on Vintage Lolipops. This blog is where artist Bella Harris shares updates on her artwork. She is such an amazing artist! I'm completely inspired. This "work in progress" is so wonderful. Here is another one of my favorites from her.

"Photo an Hour" on The Dainty Squid. This is a project I have been thinking about doing for a while now. Maybe sometime I'll have to try it! Too cool :)

"Our Home // kitchen before and after" on Delightfully Tacky. I'm a huge fan of their kitchen. I love chalkboard painted walls any day. :) Plus, her entire blog is amazing, so you should check it out!

"Art Journaling" on Everyday is a Holiday. This couple does various forms of art for a living, and I was super inspired by all these art journal pages! I follow them on pinterest as well, and they post a lot of cool stuff.

~~

Monday, October 14, 2013

Motivational Monday #5

Happy Monday! :) For your very own personal enjoyment, I'm sharing a neat little music video made by Youtubers Meekakitty, Nanalew, and Lancifer.

When We First Met- hellogoodbye
 
 
If you like what you see, check out their Youtube channels! They're always posting new and interesting stuff. :)

http://www.youtube.com/user/jesusfreaklancifer/about

http://www.youtube.com/user/meekakitty

http://www.youtube.com/user/Nanalew

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Creative Writing: Floating Forest

The city lights glimmered against the ocean, the reflection disrupted only by a solitary ship gliding through. She stood tall on the bow, holding onto nothing as she let the breeze sweep her hair back. Afraid to shatter the perfect silence, I stayed where I was, half hidden by the low hanging tree branches. It was the image of a dream, and I couldn’t bring myself to believe that something this surreal could be true. When she told me she lived in a floating forest, I thought she was crazy. But no, here it was, just like she said.

When all traces of civilization were long forgotten, she turned to me. “Come with me,” she said, smiling mischievously as she brushed past me and into the thick forest. She strode through the undergrowth gracefully despite the complete absence of light. I could tell she knew this ship and all that dwelt on it with her. They were one. I could hear her running her fingers over the leaves as she passed, like a mother lovingly caressing the face of her child.
//
Credit for the inspiration goes to:
http://24.media.tumblr.com/2d9b751af4ef192284b17415a3412152/tumblr_mtraopoG1M1qee12to1280.jpg_
Credit for the photo goes to:
http://footage.shutterstock.com/clip-152056-stock-footage-reflexes-of-city-lights-in-river-s-water.html

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

It Takes a Long Time to Grow Young

When we are born, we have infinity written on our hearts. We hold nothing back, we take nothing for granted, we learn without embarrassment, and live without fear of rejection. The world hasn't yet had a chance to lay its hands on us, and our time with the Creator is still fresh in our memories. When they look at us, they see nothing but a pure, honest soul, and they are surprised to see such depth in eyes that have seen so little.

http://sweepmeup.tumblr.com/
As we grow, we gradually lose our connection to ourselves, and to God. As children, we create and imagine and explore, but as time ticks away, we forget how. We get caught up in the daily grind, our ever-present worries and woes. The world somehow loses its magic. It ceases to amaze us as it did when we were children. We turn our eyes away from the sky and look instead at our feet, searching desperately for the next step. We are left trudging through life, numb, dragging our feet as we go.

I think that part of wisdom is remembering how to use our imaginations. It's the ability to recognize the things that are unseen with absolute confidence. It's the ability to create and explore, without feeling self-conscious. It's knowing the world by more than just it's name, more than just it's history and politics and scientific discoveries. It's knowing the world intimately, and knowing God intimately, and choosing joy over pain every day.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Thoughts on Swearing

So many times, I have heard this question: "What's so wrong with swearing? They're only words, just like anything else we say." When you really stop to think about it, they have a point. If words are just a combination of sounds we make, how can some be so terrible?

I do not claim to be an expert, and I certainly do not have all the answers, but I have noticed a few things. When we read the bible, there are a lot of things we read that we shouldn't do. Some we can understand, while others we simply have to trust. It's different for everyone, but I think this is one of the things that a lot of people follow blindly. At least, that's what I've been doing, but I don't think that's what we ought to do when it comes to God's Word. We should be digging deeper and deeper, and testing everything. We need to search for answers, not just constantly say, "Well that's just the way it is." Why is it like that? Why is this information so important that God would put every writer in these specific situations, and organize space and time so perfectly, so that He could get this message to you? Why is swearing even a big deal? I mean, we know it is. God wouldn't have warned us against it if it weren't crucial information for us.

"Do not use foul or abusive language..." ~Ephesians 4:29

The thing is, words are not just a combination of sounds. We know that. Words carry deep meaning. They can cheer us up, and tear us down; they can instill fear or conquer it. Words can show us things we have never seen with our eyes; they carry the weight of ideas and dreams. There is no way that words are only sounds. Swears in every language are different, but they all carry with them the burden of an idea. The literal meaning may not be harmful, but through time these words have picked up hidden meaning. A hidden meaning that is not honorable and really ought not to be shared.

People have all sorts of reasons why they decided to pick up the habit, but it usually seems to boil down to appearances. It looks cool, it's rebellious, it helps to dissolve the "goody-two-shoes" look, or maybe it's simply normal. Whatever the reason, people don't usually swear for themselves. It needs an audience.

One of the messages society tells us on a regular basis is, "It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. Be yourself and let the world deal with it." It sounds great in theory, but this is probably one of the hardest things to actually do, because every moment of every day we are constantly aware of how people react to us, and we wonder what they think. It may not always be consciously, but it's always there. It's a part of our human nature. It's a part we often long to abandon.

We also notice others in the same way. When we meet someone, we create an image in our mind of who we think they are inside. Call it prejudice, first impressions, call it whatever you like, but it's there. Every action they make influences what we think of them.When we swear, it changes how people think we are inside. Their impression of us is shifted. When we swear, no one around us will assume, "Oh, they must be a Christian!" The Good News is shared when people notice how different we are from the rest of the world. So why pretend to be like everyone else?

When a Christian swears, it sends mixed signals. Christianity and profanity are on opposite ends of the spectrum. It's like a fireman who is a serial arsonist, or a cat that barks, or a medical doctor with no credentials. It doesn't make sense, and it doesn't instill confidence. We don't go to someone like that for help, because we don't know if we can trust them.


http://jasonleenorman.wordpress.com/words-with-friends/
We are called to be the salt and light in the world (Matthew 5:13-16). Because Jesus has saved us from the toil and burden of sin, and given us abundant life, we are changed forever. Our home is in heaven, not the earth, and we are not like the world anymore. We carry this Good News around with us wherever we go, and God longs for us to share it with everyone, to save more of the children He so loves. When people see us living differently than the world, and they see us staying true to what God tells us, even when it's difficult, they will come to wonder if there is more to it. God will give us opportunities to share His love with them. We are also ambassadors for Christ; we are His face in the world. Whatever impressions they get of us will transfer to Him. God tells us, "Do not use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be an encouragement to those who hear them." (Ephesians 4:29) With God's light and love in our hearts, we are supposed to encourage those around us! God can use our words to encourage each other profoundly, and make an eternal difference in the world. Everything we say changes the world, and "with great power, comes great responsibility".

“Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.”   
~Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

Monday, September 30, 2013

Motivational Monday #4

 
"An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up."
~Proverbs 12:25
 
Have a great week, and don't forget that words have incredible power. Choose wisely.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Motivational Monday #3

 
 
"It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad."
~C.S. Lewis

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Ant-agonist

This is a fairly accurate depiction of how I was.
Well, I survived my first ant infestation in a tropical country today.

It all started when I was sitting on my bed, very calm, minding my own business, when I noticed a thick trail of hundreds of ants marching down the curtains and onto my bedspread. So naturally, I panicked and ran screaming.

Once I composed myself and returned to my room, I realized the invasion was much more advanced than previously thought. I knew something had to be done. With the help of my ever faithful mother and father, and my massacre-happy brother, we battled the imposing troops tirelessly. We stomped at the front lines, and sprayed peppermint in every region we could access. However, it seemed that for every ant we killed, two more took its place. Finally, we reached the turning point when my father sprayed chemicals along the outside of my window. The ants made a hasty retreat, and the day was saved.

Despite our massive victory, I am still in exile; a refugee in my own home. Since it's getting late, I am to spend the night in the guest room/study until we can make a post-war assessment of my room. I only hope the senseless violence does not follow me here...

Wish me luck as I brave the night alone.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Motivational Monday #2

Happy Monday! :)
Time to kick off another week.  Here's a quote by my favorite author, C.S. Lewis. Enjoy!
 

Image from: http://azevedosreviews.tumblr.com/post/59209481055/since-it-is-so-likely-that-children-will-meet

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Trial Run

*
So, I'm considering a new idea. Let me know what you think. I'd like to start doing a weekly spot on Fantasies and Reality Checks. Every Monday, I will post a little tidbit to brighten everyone's day. We all know how trying Mondays can be. However, it'll need a name... how about "Motivational Mondays"?

Anyways, let's do a trial run, shall we? This is a song by Relient K that I love. It's short and sweet, and a little quirky, just like me. :P





Beaming, by Relient K:
 
 

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Taking the Leap

A road in rural Nicaragua, near the mission center.
As I was sifting the internet for interesting blogs, I stumbled upon a blog post by Girl Meets NYC. She was writing about a decision she made, to take a step away from the materialistic culture we've grown accustomed to. In most western countries, there is such a huge emphasis on money. People seem to be constantly worried about how to get more money to buy things they probably don't need, or do things that aren't necessary.
I've been struggling with this truth lately. Moving to Nicaragua has done a lot to open my eyes to the fact that the wealth I've been blessed with is not commonplace. I don't somehow have a right to it. I didn't realize until recently how much I hold on to my possessions. I've always considered myself fairly generous, and not too concerned about money. But the truth is, I never had to think about it because it was just always there. I took it for granted because I thought it was normal, and I subconsciously felt it was a right I had.
I want to change all that. I don't want to live my life on some sort of pedestal, living in Nicaragua but never really engaging. I want to live life more generously, with not just my money, but my time and energy too. I want to live a life filled with fewer material possessions and worries, and more of God's love and joy and life! I know that God is calling me to be His hands and feet, and to be honest, it scares me to take this leap. But I think it would be more frightening not to.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Creative Writing: 50th Wedding Anniversary

Weaving through the crowd, she stops now and again to exclaim over voices she loves but rarely hears. She’s beaming radiantly, and I’m reminded of another day, another time when her eyes weren’t veiled in darkness.

As I removed my hands from her eyes, she gasped upon seeing her new home. I dawdled after her as she fluttered this way and that, calling back to me, “Henry, come see the garden! This will be so beautiful!” Then coming to the crest of a hill, she stopped. Her long, wild, brown hair was free and moving with the wind. Silhouetted against the glistening lake, she was breathtaking. As I approached, I saw her hands were over her mouth and tears were glistening in her eyes. She looked up at me and smiled, with all the joy and hope in the world in her eyes. “Thank you,” she whispers.
I wake up from my daydream and find her only feet away, feeling for another object to touch, another hand to guide her. She has aged so gracefully, with creases speaking of a joyful spirit. As she feels her way closer, I reach out to her and grasp her soft hand in mine. A familiar smile creeps onto her face, and I pull her into my arms. She holds me close and I know that this is where I will always be meant to be.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Playing a Bit of Catch Up

I has been a long while since I've written, which is a shame because so much has happened! It also frustrates me because I know that the only way to become a better writer is to read and write a lot. I've been failing at that lately, but it's never too late to start!
At the end of June, I had my high school graduation, which was bittersweet. I was so overwhelmingly glad to be finished, but at the same time I didn't want to leave my friends and the only world I had ever known. It was especially hard for me because I knew that I would be leaving for Nicaragua soon after.
My dress was fiery orange and red, just like the girl on fire. Not that the choice was intentional. However, when I made that comparison, I didn't mind one bit! It was fitted to the hips, with zipper for decoration, and it had a full skirt of tulle. Being around all my family and friends that day, all hugging me and congratulating me, was a great reminder of the way God always sees me, an.d the kind of love I should be sharing more throughout my life
After the ceremony and banquet, we went to the grad parties. Now there are two official parties hosted: Safe Grad and Dry Grad. Safe Grad involves the consumption of alcohol, so I naturally try to avoid that scene. The other I helped out with, by designing a logo with my friend, so we decided to go to that one. The thing is, we could only stay for a few hours. Her dad was driving the two of us, at three in the morning, to meet the rest of our mission team going to Chicago. So it was a long day!
The Chicago trip was amazing! There were close to 30 people from our church and youth group going, and there were a lot of people I didn't know very well before the trip. It was really cool to get to know them better and develop those bonds. A few times, we were given alone time for devotionals, and I felt God speak to me so directly. It was an amazing feeling, and God taught me so much! We were doing inner city missions, so we met a lot of homeless people. What a cool experience! I had originally been a little afraid of them, for whatever reason, but after having a few really inspiring conversations, I really came to appreciate them. In many ways, I think they are better off than me. One man, who was battling cancer and had no money to pay for treatment, told me he's glad he's homeless, because it forces him to depend on God more. Every single meal he eats was miraculously given to him by God, and he appreciates it so much. That is one thing that I have lacked in my life: thankfulness. I don't think one can be that grateful without such hardship. I am so thankful that God gave me those experiences, and I shall cherish them forever.
When I got back from the mission trip, I didn't even get home before my family and I were off again on marvelous adventures. We travelled around 8 hours to my aunt and uncle's house to visit them for a few days.
We've lived in Nicaragua for around 3 weeks now. I am really enjoying it! It still feels somewhat like a vacation, but I know eventually that will change. We are learning Spanish, and it is going a lot quicker than I expected. It'll be a while before we are fully conversational, but after 2 weeks of classes, we can have a basic conversation if we're patient.
Another missionary family chose our house for us before we moved here, and it used to belong to another missionary family, who just moved into the capital. The house is a lot bigger than we expected, and it feels so empty with our few possessions. We're hoping to purchase a few more pieces of furniture so the place doesn't echo so much.
Another reason we want a few more things around is so that our friend, Senor Geco (Mister Gecko in Spanish), will have some places to hide. Geckos are very good to have in the house, because they eat the bugs. The other family we are working with in Nicaragua told us that geckos become like family. So of course he needed a name.
We've been having some really good theological conversations with one of our Spanish teachers lately. He seems to be really seeking God, and while we aren't sure exactly where his heart lies (I'm not sure anyone but God can truly know that about a person.), he seems to be looking for something. One day, our homework was to pick a theme and explain it in Spanish. My mom wrote about forgiveness, and I wrote about love. After we finished reading them, he sat there for a while, not saying anything. Then he told us that the night before, he had been struggling and asking God some really tough questions, and that he didn't expect God to use our homework to show him the answers. How cool is that? God is truly working in his life, and it's cool to get to see that. We invited him to come to church with us, and he said he would really like to, so hopefully it works for him to join us sometime.
Anyways, that is a very brief summary of what I've been up to lately, and what God has been doing in my life. I can't wait to see what else He has in store!
~Brie

A Bitter Farewell

I have found that the best way to practice writing is through creative writing prompts. This eliminates the stress and pressure of trying to write a full story, because you can write as little or as much as you like. It's just for practice, so instead of feeling overwhelmed and losing the creative juices, you can relax and let it flow. Here is one that I wrote the other day:



Not a sound could be heard in the tiny, run down house, save the sound of forks on the ceramic plates, and the ceiling fan humming. Kain sat hunched over, scowling at his thin stew, as his mother tried once more to talk to him. “Kain honey, I just don’t understand why you would do this. Throwing your life away on drugs and petty crime? I never would have thought I would get a call from the station about you. I’m used to it with your father, but I thought you were better than that. I had such high hopes for you!”

Kain didn’t look up. His dark eyes continued to stare bitterly at his plate. His mother sighed. The lines and wrinkles on her face told a long tale of worry and hard labor. She still wore her work clothes, and her grey hair was falling out of the elastic that held it up. She gazed out the window and leaned back in her chair, deep in thought.

“Life’s a lot more complicated than you think, Ma,” he muttered. Then looking up he held her gaze, and said more strongly, “I’m not doing this because of you, okay? It’s never been about you. I just did what I had to do to survive.”

She didn’t speak. She watched his face for some time, searching him out. He didn’t back down; his pride wouldn’t let him. Finally she turned again to the window and bit her lip, fighting tears. Kain leaned back and watched the ceiling fan for a moment or two before he spoke. “I thought of all people, you would understand.” She watched him rise to his feet. “But I guess I was wrong.” At that he strode quickly out the kitchen door and never returned.
~~~

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Surprise!

So if you read my last post, I can only assume you have been waiting, sitting at the edge of your seat for the grand surprise I have planned! Well, your wait is finally over! Yippee!!

Every year, my social teacher assigns us a main project of the year. Two years ago it was a personal coat of arms, last year it was a personal identity project, and this year we had to create a Personal Manifesto! I was actually really excited for this project, as I often am for any individual, creative project. My friends were all groaning about it, and coming up with the easiest project they could. So sad. I wonder what it must feel like to be so unenthused about so many things...

Anyways, since I love to write so much, and love to blog I devised the perfect plan. Mwah ha ha! I decided to write a blog! I entitled it: Ponderings and Musings: Some Random Girl's Manifesto. It's basically just a compilation of my thoughts and ideas on various subjects, and if you click on my profile on the side of this page, there is a link directly to it! How convenient! But to make it even more convenient, I shall put another link right.... here!

It is in its "finished" state already, but I will probably end up adding more as I live and learn. I hope to have a great representation of my values and beliefs someday! So enjoy! :)

Here's one of the fabulous quotes I included:

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Quotes for a Thirsty Soul

Hey there! Life has been so crazy, with graduation and exam prep and planning for the move to Nicaragua, that I have been terrible at posting regularly. I've had so little time for anything artistic, that I feel drained! There's only one way to fix that! This time, I decided to share with you some quotes that I really enjoy. They resounded with me so much, that I hope to print them out and put them up in my room. It's nice to have that daily reminder of what really matters, even if you don't look at them every day.



P.S. Stay tuned! I'm planning something super exciting for the next post! :)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Always Winter


I've been waiting so long for this day. The very first day of spring. The day when the world would be fresh and warm and new things would grow. The day that welcomes back the birds and buds and blossoms. The mere thought of it is enough to make me want to frolic and dance. I was counting down the days, and eagerly anticipating this day, when a creeping realization came back to me. "Wait a second, I live in Canada. Spring never comes this early." Never has, never will.

I don't usually have this heartache. Most years I remind myself over and over that I can't expect it until at least the end of May. That way I can avoid the ridiculous song and dance that people go through each spring, hoping for warm weather every day, and being crushed when the blanket of snow falls. For some reason this year has been different, though.

I think I can safely blame this one on Nicaragua. When my brother and I both had a week off school, my family visited Nicaragua, to scope it out and see what it will be like to live there. It was wonderful! And beautifully warm. So we all got used to the t-shirt and shorts weather, to seeing green grass and flowers, then we had to retreat back to the snowy prison.

Our winters are too long here, and they drain us of our energy and enthusiasm all too quickly. It's enough to make tears squeeze out of my painfully dried out eyes.

Now I'm not usually one to complain. Okay, maybe I am, but this is serious stuff! It's frightening when you can't find inspiration and beauty anywhere but photographs. I keep imagining Nicaragua, and how my old house used to look in the summertime. There was a giant crabapple tree outside my parents room windows that was breathtaking when it was covered in pink and white blossoms! And I grew strawberries and tomatoes and sunflowers and rhubarb. Our acreage was a perfect haven.

Now, we live in a townhouse, and the view out my window has changed from lilac bushes to a half built garage. This may seem like a small burden to have, and maybe it is, but it weighs on my heart.

The wonderful thing about God, is that no matter how insignificant the hardship may seem to those around me, He knows how I feel and what I personally long for. He cares about the wars and famines of the world and He cares about the dirt on my window pane. That is part of the reason I love Him so much! <3

~Brie

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Intimate Moments


Life is full of intimate moments. Those moments when no one else is around, and you're alone with your thoughts, or those of pure silence. That moment just before you fall asleep, when you're your most vulnerable. Those moments of grief when you cannot put up a facade. Those moments on a train or in your room or anywhere where no one is watching. This is when your truest self shows through.
Everyone spends these moments differently, and with different people. During times of stress or boredom some like to listen to music, whereas some like to call up a close friend. However you spend these vulnerable moments, you develop an emotional attachment to either the music or the friend or writing, in my case. It makes sense, doesn't it? We like music because it speaks to us and we feel someone understands us. We grow closer to a friend when they are there for us during stressful times. Falling alseep next to someone or waking up beside them makes us feel somehow closer. These intimate moments are what solidify relationships, and this is how we learn where to go when we need someone.
Lately, I've been becoming more and more aware of these moments in my own life. When I fall asleep, I usually listen to music, and it soothes me to sleep. What would happen if we spent all of these intimate moments with God? Think of what a great relationship we could have if we ran to Him in these moments instead of searching for alternatives. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that listening to music or talking to friends are bad things, but I think that in the Western culture we tend to use these small pleasures to replace God. To think that the Master of the Universe could be replaced by a human or a song!
Since realizing this, I've been working on setting aside facebook and youtube when I'm feeling stressed or overwhemed, and just spending one-on-one time with God. After all, He's the one who made me, and all the days of my life are written in His book. He understands me more than anyone because He made me to be like him. We both want to be loved and treasured, we both want someone to be committed and value spending time with us. So it makes sense that we should spend more time together!
I feel so blessed to have a God who is so big and powerful, yet so gentle and loving that He wants to be there in my intimate moments, just Him and I. <3

Monday, February 11, 2013

Slam Poetry

Poetry is awesome.

I know there are those of you out there begging to differ, claiming it's boring, outdated, and frankly a waste of time. Well to you I say, "Humbug!"

I've recently become aware of a new genre of poetry called, "spoken word poetry" (or "slam poetry"). It's so cool! It's modern and edgy for those who like the newest, coolest thing out there. It's got deep and resounding messages (for the most part, I guess it depends on the poet) for you who like deeper connections and other forms of poetry. I really like it, myself. I tried my hand at it a few times, and posted one here

Spoken word poetry is so impactful, because of the strong words, rhythm and passion that goes into every syllable. It moves you, gets you really thinking, gets to the root of humanity. I love it! I don't think something like this can be fully explained, because it affects everyone differently. How about I just show you, and you can find out for yourself?

Sarah Kay- If I Should Have a Daughter

Phil Kaye- Repetition

Propaganda- G.O.S.P.E.L.

Why I hate Religion, But love Jesus

Sarah Kay & Phil Kaye- An Origin Story

These are just a few of my faves. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did! After watching them, let me know what your response was. Do you enjoy poetry as a whole? If so, what is your favorite poem? I look forward to hearing more from you! :)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Today the Easel, Tomorrow the World!

I've always been super fascinated with street art. I don't know about you, but when I see a really well thought out mural, or even graffiti, I can't help but appreciate it. There was a quote I once found that says,
 
"It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or carve a statue, and so make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look. To affect the quality of the day- that is the highest of arts."
 
That was said by Henry David Thoreau. I actually used this as a theme for another post I wrote called, The Guerilla Artist. If you end up enjoying this post immensely, you may wish to explore it.
Anyways, I've been scouring the Internet, looking for some of my favorite specimens of this art form. There are some really funny ones, but also some that make you stop and think. Both are amazing in their way, and affect the quality of the day, which is why we make art in the first place, am I right?
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
These are just a few of the absolutely epic art that people are out there making. Isn't that incredible? One day you may see one as you go about your regular business. It's inspiring. I'm definitely going to find a way to do this too. Just to make some stranger's day. :) Also, If you come across a cool art display or make some street art of your own, feel free to send it my way!

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Best and Easiest Guitar Songs


Have you ever noticed how much more attractive someone gets when they're playing a guitar? Honestly, when a good-looking guy or girl comes into the room it's impressive enough, but when they whip out a guitar, their attractiveness at least doubles. It is for this reason that I am teaching myself the art of playing the fine instrument. Now I can carry it around with me wherever I go, and pick up cute guys! Relax, I'm joking. Not about picking up cute guys, but about that being my primary motive in this endeavor. My primary motive is that I've always wanted to learn, and now it's finally coming true! I'm starting to get the hang of it, too, which makes it more and more fun.

Over the past several months, I have searched far and wide for the best and easiest guitar songs. And because it has taken me so long to find this many good ones, I feel obligated and priveledged to share my research and findings with the rest of the world. So here ya go.

Boulevard of Broken Dreams- Green Day
http://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/g/green_day/boulevard_of_broken_dreams_acoustic_crd.htm

Don't Worry Be Happy- Bobby McFerrin
http://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/b/bobby_mcferrin/dont_worry_be_happy_ver4_crd.htm

Brighter Than the Sun- Colbie Caillet
http://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/c/colbie_caillat/brighter_than_the_sun_ver3_crd.htm

I Won't Give Up- Jason Mraz
http://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/j/jason_mraz/i_wont_give_up_ver3_crd.htm

Keep Holding On- Avril Lavigne
http://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/a/avril_lavigne/keep_holding_on_crd.htm

If My Heart was a House- Owl City
http://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/o/owl_city/if_my_heart_was_a_house_crd.htm

This is Home- Switchfoot
http://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/s/switchfoot/this_is_home_ver2_crd.htm

Hear You Me- Jimmy Eat World
http://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/j/jimmy_eat_world/hear_you_me_acoustic_crd.htm

Brand New Day- Fourty Foot Echo
http://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/f/forty_foot_echo/brand_new_day_crd.htm

If I Die Young- The Band Perry
http://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/t/the_band_perry/if_i_die_young_ver3_crd.htm

Ours- Taylor Swift
http://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/t/taylor_swift/ours_crd.htm

So these are just a few of my faves. Hope you enjoy them, and happy strumming! ;)

~Brie
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