Tuesday, February 25, 2014

{My 22}

As I look back on year 21, I see drastic change in who I am and who I want to be.  I see mistakes, regrets, joys, and growth, and I see God's hand over it all.  I am now looking forward to the coming year as I decide what ways I want to learn and how I hope I can grow.  Here is a list of ambitions that I have for year 22:

I want to visit Johnson City.
I'll start off with something physically attainable.  Frank and I have been trying to figure a loose 5-year plan recently.  We have the basics down, but regardless of where we go next, we want to someday settle down in Johnson City, Tennessee.  It has four seasons, it's in Appalachia, near rolling hills, and not too far from our parents.  We want to visit sometime this year to see what life is like there.

I want to play for the Lord.
Now this is something slightly physical, and mostly spiritual.  I've known how to play guitar since I was about 9 years old.  I bought my own guitar when I was 12, and that's the guitar I've had since then.  In junior high, I became somewhat skilled at the Bass Clarinet, and got better at it in high school; I learned the Tenor Saxophone for jazz band while I was in high school as well, and I loved it; but I don't own either of those instruments.  I always say that my love language between me and the Lord is through singing praise.  I have been given the natural gift to learn music.  I have been given a guitar, and I should use these two gifts to praise God.  I want to play music for the Lord.

I want to be active.
Maybe you remember my venture last year to get in shape as I ran every week, working towards a goal.  Well I have been commanded not to run or do any heavy impact on my back since I've started visiting the chiropractor.  Instead of running like I did when I was 21, I want to be an active 22 year old.  I want to experience different ways of exercising from all over the world to stay fit: tai chi; different kinds of dancing; kickboxing; hula dancing; new swimming exercises; etc.  I've been wondering if there's a reason in my future for having to deal with this small physical burden; will I be helping people someday who aren't capable of running either?  If I use my time wisely, I can prepare for whatever this is supposed to be for.

I want to be more active.
This time, I mean more active in my faith.  Yes, I have a relationship with the Lord, and I spend time with Him regularly... but I want to work to spend time with Him every day, not just regularly.  I also want to be in bigger and better pursuit of sharing the love of Jesus with others.  In the past 21 years, I have learned how to defend my faith on many levels, I have experienced Christ firsthand, and I have encountered so many who want to know more about their Creator!  I don't want to be half-hearted with spreading the Good News just because I'm intimidated, or because I'm scared of causing a ruckus; I want to shamelessly share Christ's love and message with the world whenever I get the chance to!

I want to be more intentional.
Many of my extended family members avoid each other for one reason or another; it's very discouraging to know how much pride takes over a person's life and drives them away from those who love them most.  I don't want to have that same pride as most of my family members do; I don't want to let my pride get in the way of the relationships I could have with my extended family.  I want to be more intentional in reaching out to them.  Communication has surprisingly become more and more difficult lately as I've had so many obligations taking up my time with no time to relax.  This will be a challenge for me, I will be honest, but I don't want to let life get in the way of time with my family either.

I want to be out-going.
By this, I am not referring to having a more outgoing personality - I already have one.  I literally mean going out into the world.  Over Spring Break, I don't want to stay in Columbia the whole time; while Frank is in Europe, I don't want to stay in Columbia the whole time; over the summer, I want to take days off from work and go somewhere.  Anywhere.  When school starts again in the Fall, I want to take weekend trips, and go places during Fall break and Thanksgiving break.  I want to experience the world outside of Columbia's borders, try new restaurants, go to a new mountain, or a new beach, anything new - with friends and family because it would be more fun to experience than being by myself.

I want to make a difference in the Columbia community.
This semester, I have been able to get involved with Daybreak Crisis Pregnancy Center, a Christian ministry for women who are pregnant and don't know what to do.  It is a fantastic source of love and help to women who are scared, and God really does great works through the people who work there and contribute to the ministry.  In my short time there, I have already learned so much about the need for mentors and positive role models in the lives of the Columbian people.  Even if it's small, even if I never see its fruits, I want God to use me and work through me to make an impact for His glory in this community.

I want to apply my trust in the Lord.
What does this mean?  I have learned time and time again, and will always be learning about trusting the Lord and His provision and sovereignty over my life.  However, just as in school, if you learn and never apply, what does it matter?  I worry.  A LOT.  A whole heck of a lot.  And then I turn around and say that I just need to trust the Lord.  If I'm telling myself to trust the Lord, so is Scripture, so is everyone else around me, why don't I actually apply this lesson to my life this year?  I don't know what's going to happen in the next year, and I certainly don't know what's going to happen five years from now.  All I can do is apply my trust in the Lord.  I want to start that this year.  Now is a better time than never.

I want to practice a more positive attitude.
I am a pessimist.  I am.  And it doesn't really bother me, because I am also a realist, but I know it isn't good for me to constantly dwell on the negative side of things.  And I'm sure it bothers others.  This year, I want to practice looking at the good side of things again.  I want to see bright side that is good and happy, not just the side that brings the hard truth.  There's nothing wrong with me noticing and accepting the negative sides of things ;just because I ignore does not mean it exists any less.  But I want to be in better practice of enjoying life and not being grumpy about it.

I want to learn how to take it easy.
Frank and I had a talk the other night where Frank confronted me about my work habits.  I work a lot.  He says he can't even remember what I like to do for fun because I work all the time.  Either homework, housework, admissions work, bills and appointments work, or meeting with people work - I load myself down with obligations.  The problem is: the times I've tried to just take a break, I don't have a clue of what to do with myself.  I need  to be busy at all times, that way I feel productive.  But he's right, it does wear me down, and I don't like that either.  I want to learn to find a balance between a healthy work load, and healthy relaxation time.  He's already said that I'm not allowed to work more than eight hours during my Spring Break.  Some might think this is bossy, but I gladly accept this command since I'm usually the one who decides to work way more than that.  I need to practice this healthy balance, and learn to take it easy.

I want to be an encouragement.
Not just to those who really really really need encouragement, but to those who look like they've got it together.  I want to be a positive encouragement, especially to my classmates.  Even on a Christian - Christ-centered - campus, love for one another can get lost in the mess o wanting to live a Christianese life.  I want to be an encouragement to my classmates who live behind 'a mask' and to others who are trying to hide their sorrows.  I want to encourage those around me to be real and to really love.

I want to ask for prayer.
Another thing I want to do this year is be open to sharing prayer requests with those who care about me.  Sometimes,I need prayer from my prayer warriors, but I'm too scared/ashamed/ afraid-of-overbearing-them/intimidated/proud to share my prayers with them because ...I'm too proud.  I don't want people to think of me negatively.  Who doesn't feel that when it comes to prayer?  But that. is. wrong. and. damaging.  I want to practice sharing prayer requests with people I trust because I know from Scripture that sharing burdens with each other is what we are expected to do - I can't carry all this weight on my own.  And I want to encourage others to do the same.  If anyone came to me with a prayer request about anything - you better believe that my heart would ache for you and I would prayer fervently for the Lord to provide for you.  I would not judge.  I want to believe full-heartedly that anyone I go to would do the same for me.  Not that this is something that I don't know already, but I want to believe it.


So this is my 22.  This is what I want to change this year, and this is how I want to grow.  If you are reading this, thanks for supporting me; please pray for me as often as you think about me: that I learn to apply my trust in the Lord; that I grow in my relationship with Him; that I try new things; that I be brave when I face new things, the struggles, life, people, sharing Jesus, truth, and rest.  And PLEASE let me know how I can pray for you.  This year is a year of radical change, and God is sovereign; He chose me, and my life has purpose from Him alone.
Here's to my 22.

{Golden: My 22nd Birthday}

This was my Golden birthday.  Some don't know what that means: it means my age is now the same number as my birthdate; 2/22 is my birthday and I am now 22! Golden!
The weekend as a whole was just perfect.  Frank got all of my closest friends together to surprise me at the Mellow Mushroom; even my friend from Florida drove up to see me and spend time with me!  I just want to say: I have the greatest friends in the world, hands down.  On my birthday, I painted my nails bright colors and tried something new: adding decoration things to them!  They turned out alright.
Frank and I went for a walk down to our backyard, and we took some good pictures there.
The next day I spent some time with Annelise, drinking hot tea and walking around the entire campus.  Boy I miss her already!  
I got phone calls from mom, dad, lovely cousins, and Hannah ;)
I felt so  loved by everyone who knows me and knew it was my birthday.  SO LOVED.
The start to my golden year was perfect, and I am excited to be 22!

Monday, February 24, 2014

{I O U}

For those of you who are dedicated readers of my weekly writings:
First, glad to know I have fans! Thanks for reading!
Second: you've probably noticed that I've been a bit absent from blogger in the past month, and especially in the past two weeks.  Sorry about that!  As you all understand, life can get busy, and that's exactly how mine has been lately :) between school, homework, work, housework, doctor's appointments, snow days, being sicky poo and taking care of a sicky poo, I haven't had a whole lot of time to blog.  But trust me, it's been taking a small toll on me too as I have so many ideas of things to write about backing up in my mind!  Since things will calm down just a pinch this week, I plan to post a few blogs for my mental health and for your enjoyment! Here are a few that you can most likely expect to see soon:

* My 22: things I plan to do with this 22nd year of life
* Bible study on Jonah and the Whale
* Bible study on Joseph (King of Dreams)
* Brain wrinkle on eye color
* Meet Annelise
* Basic update on what's going on with me

Maybe I won't be able to hit all of these this week, but you can definitely keep an eye out for some of them!  Again, thanks to all of you who enjoy reading what I write; I hope I never bore you!


{Shark Attack || Grouplove}

Today's Song of the Day

This is my Spring Fever Theme song right now!!!
Have you heard any new songs lately that get you in the mood for warmer weather?

Monday, February 17, 2014

{Skyfall || Adele}

Today's Song of the Day

This opening sequence to the James Bond movie Skyfall 007 is the first opening to a James Bond movie I've ever seen, as well as the first James Bond movie I've ever seen. I watched it with Frank the other night and so glad that I did.  I love how mysterious this opening sequence is, the way the lyrics explain the story in the the movie, and how beautiful and rustic it sounds. It's been in my head for days... and again, I love it.

Friday, February 14, 2014

{DIY: Fuzzy Wreath}

This is a simple, affordable, craft to do to decorate your home, office space, kids room, and really anywhere.

You Need:
  • Garden Wreath (found at Wal Mart - around $4)
  • Yarn (around $2)
  • Wreath Pins (found in the same place as the wreath - around $0.97)
  • Scissors
How To:
  1. Wrap your yarn around three fingers.  For thicker yarn, about 15 times around should be good; for thinner yarn, about 25-30 times.  I wrapped each of mine 25 times.
  2. Cut a piece of yarn between 4 and 6 inches long (depending on how big your wrapped yarn is).
  3. Use that strip of yarn to tie the middle of the wrapped yarn.  Do this over and over again; this is how you start the pompom process.
  4. After you're done tying the wrapped yarn, cut the loops and spread the yarn out to make it fluffy.
  5. Use the wreath pins to pin in the little fluffy pompoms.  If your pins are long, pin them in sideways.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

{Breezeblocks || alt-J}

Today's Song of the Day

Been listening to this group for over a week  now, and I love it.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

{Sister: Emily}

Meet Emily

Sandwiched between my brother and me above, you will see the bright smiling face of my favoritest and onlyest sister in the world.  Emily is super creative, loves to paint, is fantastic at playing trumpet, is very active, loves dry cereal, runs like a pro, hates being called 'Emmy' (so I call her 'Em'ii'); she is 3 years, 11 months and 21 days younger than me and just reaches around 5'1.  Oh yeah, and she'll be joining me at school here next year!!  So proud!!  Her dream is to own her own photography studio someday in a bigger city, and I think she will do just fine there.  God has big plans for her, even if they seem small in the grand scheme of things.  What's the reason for talking about her today?  Today is her 18th birthday!!! "Happy birthday, Em'ii!" I am so thankful for how God has grown her and molded her, and trust that He will continue to draw her nearer to Himself. {God thank You for all You've done to mold Emily; I trust her life in Your hands as You show her where she needs to go.}  For her birthday, it snowed and shut down school, so she got a free day off just because God wanted her to celebrate with relaxing ;)  I love my sister, I am so thankful for her, and I hope I can see you soon to give her a BIG birthday hug!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

{Train Your Brain}

You know the phrase, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks"?  This phrase is a lie.
Your brain is designed with a phenomenal ability to constantly stretch and grow.
Many people think that since they are getting older means that they are going to have a harder time learning, so they choose not to learn anything new; it becomes psychosomatic.
This is not good, I say.
Your brain has the potential to keep growing by continuing to learn new things.  The more and longer your brain grows, the longer you will stay sane!
What are some simple ways to keep your brain agile?

Learn a few new words in English and then learn how to use them throughout the week.
Learn some new phrases in another language.
Try perfecting a different accent.
Brush your teeth with the opposite hand than what you're used to
Do jumping jacks! It keeps your brain flowing with blood.
and the list goes on...
[photo source]
What happens when you do things differently from what you're used to?
Your brain has to create new neurological pathways to remember what it just learned.  Instead of your brain following the same pattern of doing things every time you do it, it creates a new path, and the more you use that new path, the more versatile in that activity your brain becomes.  Once you've become comfortable with that new way of doing things, try something new!  This helps keep your brain healthy, and lets you keep the ability to learn new languages, understand new concepts, and overall learn new tricks.

So in the end, as long as you train your brain every day to do so, you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Monday, February 10, 2014

{Dear Monuments Men}

Dear Monuments Men,

Thank you for taking your time (and some, your lives) to remind us what we fight for: to preserve our culture, and remember the great things we've done while we're here on earth.  I really appreciated the lesson you gave on art and how much damage Hitler did while he was alive; not only did he murder millions of innocent people, and reduce beautiful cities and towns to rubble, but he also tried to bring down all of the world's history and culture through stealing and destroying art.  My heart broke when I watched them blowtorch an entire mine of artwork, millions of pieces of artwork, from artists like Picaso.  Also, I don't know what dark mark was on the name of Donald Jeffries, but he earned his dignity with the sacrifice he made for the Bruges Madonna and Child.  Don't worry chap, they found it in the end.  I'm thankful this movie was produced for the world to see.  While many young people have no care for this, the lesson learned from the men who risked their lives to save our culture amidst winning the war is one that cannot be learned easily, but forever appreciated.  I hope that everyone, in time, will be able to view you and really understand what it means to preserve a way of life that will never go forgotten.  Again, thank you for sharing your story with the world; it is not taken for granted.


PS. Not to mention, this film had an extraordinary cast.

{Strength in Faith: Matthew 14:22-33}

"Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.  Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.  But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said.  Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”  Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
~Matthew 14:22-33

You have faced difficulties in your life, whether it was a relationship, the end of a relationship, loss of a loved one, hard times at school, doubt, lack of self-confidence, or anything that brings pain.  Sometimes it's hard to remember that you're not alone in these feelings.  Everyone has felt them.  In these times, though, have you remembered that you're not alone because God did not design you to be separated from Him?  This is the purity of how He made us to be.
Purity is not just being clean and white; purity is living according to our original design.  Our original design is to be completely reliant on God, to have communion with Him, and to love and be loved by Him.  Yet, we are fallen and when we are hurting, we still feel alone - a pain that's hard to overcome on our own.  We've created boats for ourselves to float in, unstably moving by the waves beneath it; even when we step out, we rely on our ability to swim, but still the waves are too powerful.  Why do we insist on doing things our way?  Even when we try to take matters into our own hands, as soon as we call out for help, Jesus will save us, and not let us drown.  We've never walked on water, and we will probably never have the ability to walk on water, but when Jesus calls you out of "your boat" in the midst of a storm, will you keep your eyes on Him, trust His strength, and do the impossible because of your faith that He won't let you drown?  Or will you look at the waves, the pain that's attacking you, and let them drown you?  Jesus always gives you the chance to trust Him; have faith, because you were designed to rely on Him.  When you rely on Jesus, you can walk above, and survive, all that the world is tossing at you, and you will have the joy of falling into His arms when you keep your eyes from looking at the waves.

Listen to this song; let it be a prayer for you today, tomorrow, and every time you feel you don't have strength.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

{Jars || Chevelle}

Today's Song of the Day

Chevelle was, at one time, my favorite band.  My favorite song by them is still, to this day, The Clincher.  On the way home from the chiropractor this evening, I listened to Chevelle's Sci-Fi Crimes album twice all the way through, but listened to this song at least five times!  I love this song.  It kept me focused while singing and driving!

What kind of music do you listen to while driving?
This was on of my favorite bands in junior high and early high school; any oldies-but-goodies in your CD stack?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

{Third-Culture American}

{Kinda creepy, eh?}
In the missions world, there are kids we like to call MK's, which means "Missionary Kid" - they are the children of missionaries in other countries.  Often times, these kids are easily identifiable; some of them choose to walk around barefoot; they wear the native attire of the country they were raised in; if there are others from their region of the world, they speak in another language whenever they get a chance to; most of them don't know anything about music or movies in America, or much of the Western world for that matter; and they often times don't understand why Americans are so loud. Another term we use to describe these people are TCK's, which means "Third-Culture Kid".  These kids (or young adults) are technically "American" by birth, or because their parents are American citizens; they also clearly speak English as their first language.  However, they don't feel like they belong here in America because they didn't grow up in America.  They grew up in another country; they know the local language fluently and have many friends there; they understand the customs and tradition of that culture; they call that place home.  However, they are not the same skin, hair, or eye color; they are not actually native of these places; they don't have roots there; their friends don't understand American culture; and plenty of people avoid them because "they're not one of us."  These kids, whom we call TCK's, are a culture of their own.  They don't feel they belong anywhere.  They are familiar with two different lifestyles, two different cultures, two completely different experiences, religions, worldviews, and so.  But they don't feel that they belong here or there.

What does this have to do with me?
No, I didn't grow up in another country.  Sadly, I have never had the opportunity to leave the United States!  However, I feel like this a lot.  Here in America, as many of you know, not all Americans are the same.  Things that make sense on the West coast, don't make any sense on the East coast, and vice versa.  Each region of the country has it's own way of life.  America is a melting pot in that sense.  

I was born around the Chicagoland area and lived there until I was almost 8 years old.  I still have friends and family there.  I moved with my family to Hartsville, South Carolina and lived there for most of my life.  Chicago is a huge city, and could be a state all to itself with a population of almost 12 million people.  The people live fast-paced lives.  People in the Chicagoland area are either from somewhere else in the world or are the children of immigrants.  There are many international accents, but most Chicago and Chicagoland people have what you call "an invisible accent" - a standard American-English accent.  There is always something to do in Chicago; it never sleeps; there is never a dull moment.  Then there's Hartsville.  Population: almost 8,000.  The city sleeps from 5pm-8am, with the exception of the one and only 24-hour Wal Mart.  Most people who live here have roots that go back 4 and 5 generations, and most of those ancestors were farmers.  Every now and again, we get a new family from somewhere else in the country because of the military or because of work.  Often times, there's nothing to do in the downtown area, but people take that as an opportunity to be creative.  There are some rednecks (not everyone in the South is a redneck - do not mistake that).  There are plenty of people who have Southern accents of some sort.  The culture is much slower, and more hospitable.  Southern folks like to take it easy and enjoy what's going on, not zoom through it.

Here's my problem: I don't sound like a Southerner, I but I live a slower life like a Southerner.  I sound like a Northerner, but I certainly don't act like a Northerner.  I know of some customs of the North, but I don't necessarily follow those customs.  I am pretty familiar with Southern customs, but I don't follow those customs either.  I call Hartsville my home, it's where I did most of my growing, made my closest friends, and learned what I know now.  I act more like Southerners than Northerners.  When some Northerners talk poorly about the South, I get offended, even though I am not actually a Southerner.  In high school, I was treated differently by some of the Southerners at my school because I sounded like one of "them."  There are people I have encountered from the North who treat me differently because I act like one of "them," and because I live here with "them."

Certainly I am not saying that I have no friends and everyone hates me.  What I'm saying is: I am used to two completely different cultures, to two completely different ways of life.  Sometimes I'm not sure where I belong, geographically, because I don't entirely fit the lifestyle of anywhere.  While I don't have experiences like the TCK's I know who are from other countries, I consider myself to be a TCA, or Third-Culture American.  I don't belong here for certain reasons; I don't belong there for other certain reasons.  It's finding the place I do belong that's the hard part.  A lot of people don't really understand this, and maybe that's a good thing.

Have any of you ever felt this way from any situation?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

{Happy February!}

Yeah, it's a few days late, but...
Why is February my personal favorite month of the year?
I was born in February! My favorite sister was born in February; my favorite mom was born in February; George Washington was born in February (same day as me); Abraham Lincoln was born in February (same day as my sister); my great-aunt Kathryn was born on February 29; February makes a Leap Year leap!; February is the shortest month of the year; it snows in most of the US in February; and it's the only month that starts with the letter F (F also stands for Frank!); in leap years, it is the only month that ends on the same weekday it begins! [1] It is also the only month that people have a more difficult time pronouncing correctly!

February is my birth month, and it's different in many, many ways from the other eleven months.  It's often taken for granted because it goes by so quickly, but always loved by me.  Happy February, life lovers!  I hope your February is wonderful!  It will be gone before you know it!

What's your favorite month?

Monday, February 3, 2014


How many times have you listened to the sermon and forgot what is was about later on that day?  It's not uncommon for us to forget a lot of what we hear.  I remembering seeing a statistic about learning that went something like this: we retain about 15% of what we hear; about 60% of what we see; about 70% of what we discuss; about 75% of what we experience; and about 95% of what we teach.

In studying the Bible, I have learned that a way to learn what God wants to teach me is to meditate on His Word.  The Psalmist says, "But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night," (Psalm 1:2); meditation on God's Word brings our lives meaning: "Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer," (Psalm 19:13-14); and that meditating on God's Word is like a man rejoicing in his riches: "I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word," (Psalm 119:14-16).  Meditating on God's Word brings God glory, "May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the LORD," (Psalm 104:34). So if our goal is to be closer to God, why should we not meditate on His teachings?  Here are 5 steps that are helpful to me, and can be helpful to you:

  1. Picture the Meaning - Ask this question first: what does this mean?  Ask God to help you understand the meaning of the passage.  Ask Him to show you what was going on when the words were first spoken.  Ask Him to help you find the answers He intends.  Visualize its meaning; example: "Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be," (Psalm 139:16);  This means: God knew what my life would be before my life ever started; He knew me before I was born; I was created by Him with a purpose.
  2. Pronounce It - Repeat the verse or passage a few times aloud.  Each time, try emphasizing a different word.  What impact does each word have on you, and your understanding?  What is God's intended purpose for each word? Example: "YOUR eyes saw my unformed body..." "Your EYES saw my unformed body...", "Your eyes SAW my unformed body...", "Your eyes saw MY unformed body...", "Your eyes saw my UNFORMED body...", "Your eyes saw my unformed BODY..." (Psalm 139:16).
  3. Paraphrase It - Write the verse or passage down in your own words.  How are you verbally interpreting what you are reading?  Understand that you should not interpret a verse or passage to fit your worldview, you should seek to understand the appropriate interpretation that is intended by God.  Remembering this, paraphrase what the verse or passage says.  Example: "God saw me develop into a human being and saw the potential my body had to be in His image; before I ever existed and my days on earth began, He knew exactly who I was going to be, and what part I was to play in His plan for eternity."
  4. Personalize It - Wherever there is a pronoun or name listed, replace it with your name; example: "Your eyes saw [Jessica's] unformed body; all the days ordained for [Jessica] were written in your book before one of them came to be," (Psalm 139:16).  What is God speaking to you through this?
  5. Pray It - After you have thought about its intended meaning, say the verse or passage as a prayer; example: "God, Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  Thank you for knitting me together and giving my life purpose.  Amen."  Say it earnestly, not repeating it back to God, but meaning what you are saying.
This week's challenge:
Pick a verse that you want to memorize, understand and apply.  Follow the five steps listed above every day this week, and memorize the verse.  Pray every time for God to reveal to you His meaning, and ask that it become your meaning, too.  Keep a journal, written or typed, that records what you learn each time, how the verse or passage has impacted your day, and how God has changed you because of it by the end of the week. *Remember, not all all verses are meant for reflective meditation (Matthew 27:5) unless your reason for meditating is to understand what was happening at the time it was written that made it so important to be in the Bible.*

Here's a song I enjoy that helps me prepare for meditation.  Our goal in meditation is to forget what the world tells us what the Bible means, and discover the meaning intended for us by God.  Try starting off your time in meditation singing these words as a prayer:

"Holy Spirit, come and fill this house up.
Let Your love fall like a fire; consume us, Lord.
Come, Lord Jesus, let Your rain fall on us;
In Your presence, come and change our hearts to Yours.
We've come to bring glory, we've come to bring praise,
We've come to bring honor to Your Holy Name.
We've come to dance, we've come to sing,
We've come to encounter Jesus, Our King.
Living Fire, come and overflow;
It's my desire: You, and You alone."

Asking the right questions while you study the Word?  Find out here.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

{Oceans || Hillsong United}

Today's Song of the Day

"Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters wherever you would call me.  Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior."  Amen.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

{Cameras || Matt & Kim}

Today's song of the day.
Every time I hear something by them, I remember that time Brookie and I went to see them live at the Fillmore in Charlotte... and I want to go back soon!!!
This music vid is a bit rough... but Kim can take it like a man.

PS.  They are tons of fun live.  They don't just sing and play while people dance and sing along.  They have balloons, walk on the crowd (not just surf), and have pauses for them to do the Harlem shake and other Matt & Kim sort of things.  Like them?  Find a chance to see them, you won't regret it.

What is the most fun you've had at a live concert?