PENS FOR PRAYER


Don't get me wrong, buying yourself a bouquet of fresh flowers is always a good idea. But sometimes  treating yourself to a bouquet of special lettering pens can be just as wonderful (and sadly, equally expensive.)

I've always loved taking notes, pretty penmanship and expensive writing implements. The internet hasn't helped. Who knew there were so many kinds of exotic Japanese calligraphy pens, just a click away? Over the years, I've fallen in love with a couple kinds of pens, specifically ones that are ideal for prayer journaling. My only tip would be to run hard and faster after "Love is blind" when purchasing these pens. Just ignore the price tag and follow your heart. 

Prayer journaling is a huge part of my walk with the father. These pens make writing in said journals all the better. Therefore, I have no choice but to take the plunge and purchase them, right? At least, that's what I tell myself. Maybe it'll work for you too.

By now you know full well that anything in French is automatically my favorite. I love these pens because they're fine, small and come in a bunch of colors. The size is by far the best part, as they're very easy to slip into a purse or pouch and hardly take up any space. That being said, the size is also the worst part: they're very easy to misplace. Proceed with caution!

Wow, that's a mouthful. So are these pens. They're bold, bulky and beautiful. I wouldn't recommend these pens as ones to use in church/take notes anywhere, they're a bit excessive and extra for everyday use. I normally use them for writing out verses, highlighting in the bible or jazzing up some sermon notes after reading through them the next day. 

HEAR YE HEAR YE, Not all Staedtler pens are created equal. Don't be fooled by the other imposters, these are the best. I once fell for the rollerball pens and wow, big mistake. These pens are a little big to use in church (in my opinion) but I love the color selection so at the end of the day, color normally wins over convenience. 

And now, a pen test! Just so you can see how they write. Granted my staedtler's are a little old, so the ink doesn't flow as freely as it did in former years (months, lets be honest) but they're amazing when they are in their prime. 

Buying fancy pens for fancy prayer journaling isn't necessary. Obviously Jesus could care less if you used Le Pen, a sharpie or a tube of lipstick to prayer journal. But if you have it in your budget and you love pens and prayer, these three types should be a good start to your Christ-centered calligraphy pen collection.

FAMILY PHOTOSHOP


Contrary to what my instagram feed suggests, I actually do take photos of things other than donuts and myself from time to time! Granted, it's a rare occasion. But still! These family photos were for a sweet friend and even though it was raining most of the time, You'd never be able to tell from the images. 

Photoshop is a beautiful thing ;)

TWENTY-SEVENTEEN: A SUMMER OF SABBATH

Summer always comes knocking with a list of fun activities following close behind. From beach trips to acai adventures, I always have a fairly extensive and ambitious list of things things to do/explore/eat over summer break.

Well, every summer except THIS one, that is.

I spend a lot of time striving for earthy success. And they're not even bad things- good grades, a job well done, investing in specific friendships. After a hard semester, I was completely burnt out. Every second after my alarm went off at 5:30 each morning was spent in an attempt to be as productive as possible and check everything off my never ending to-do list. Email my boss. Prep speech presentation. Connect with a speech pathologist. Edit photos. Do the dishes. Don't forget to eat dinner.

Life, even a simple and well intended one, can be exhausting. 

Each week I had to repeat to myself, "Just make it one more day." Everyday. And when I made it to the weekend, I spent every second catching up on sleep, cramming or cleaning and prepping for the next week ahead. I felt guilty going anywhere but class or work related places, thinking I was wasting time. I'd go over flashcards at stoplights. No music during the 39 minute drive to school, just biology lectures....for 3 months. Putting on makeup and driving to church seemed like a waste when I could just watch it at home, so that's what I started doing.

I know, this sounds so dramatic. I mean, come on girl. We see you posting on instagram all the time! Well what if I told you I scheduled out 35 posts so I wouldn't have to be on the app?

Yeah, I am that dramatic.

It got to the point where rest was just a thing of the past. Relaxation was equally extinct, in my mind. Why rest when you could work? Why relax when you could get stuff done? Why watch Tv when you have a to do list looming?  However, over Spring Break I read a book that talked about the sabbath. "HONOR THE SABBATH AND KEEP IT HOLY." is what the bible instructs, yet somehow I had twisted that into "accomplish as much as humanly possible on this one day to be a good person"

The New King Karissa translation somehow omitted the honor the sabbath and rest on the seventh day part.


And so as a result of that, my summer list is quite different this year. Other than my goal of finishing The Inferno, my summer list for 2017 revolves solely around honoring the Sabbath and learning how to keep it holy in this busy, distracting, demanding world. It's hard to turn it all off. To power down on everything in life, even for a day, has its challenges. But I can honestly say that the best way to recharge is to mute the distractions of the world and fully zone in on Christ.

And isn't it great that God made a day of the week specifically for just that?

The ways  in which we feel called and convicted to honor the Sabbath might be different, but at the end of the day, it's about giving our time and energy back to The Lord. I know I have a long way to go on this journey, but I'm grateful that Jesus is changing my attitude, heart and thoughts toward the Sabbath.

Instead of attempting to pack my summer full of beach days an acai bowls, my main focus is to spend less time on superficial fillers and more time, specifically The Sabbath, with my Heavenly Father.

And with that, Happy Summer and Happy Sabbath!

Previous Summer Lists:
{2012}
{2013}
{2014}
{2015}
{2016}

Orlando City Irony


Three weeks ago I went to an Orlando City Game. Also three weeks ago, I lost my credit card. Today I uploaded all these photos for this blog post. Also today, I got a text saying, "HAHAHAH OH MY GOSH I STILL HAVE YOUR CREDIT CARD FROM THE GAME."

So that's where it went!

Moral of the story, if you're going to and Orlando City Soccer game, don't give a boy your credit card because he might forget to give it back. It will save you a lot of time and energy (and tears, because misplaced valuables generally result in a mini meltdown) and the hassle of having to order a new one, only to get it in the mail the exact same day you find out it isn't really lost at all.

Alternate moral: life is full of ironic timing. I'm pretty sure we have Jesus to thank for that one. 

FRENCH, FRANCE AND JESUS: THE UPDATE.


I'm sure this has kept you up at night. You've been tossing and turning wondering, "What did she get on her French final?"

Or you didn't even know I was taking French! That's another very likely possibility.

I wrote about it in this post (and included some very favorite photos from The Paris Market in Downtown Savannah!) but basically, my grade sucked. And yes, we all get bad grades from time to time, save a select few of academic angels. But for some reason, this grade was especially disappointing to me, and I was probably a bit salty about the fact that I didn't fall into the academic angel category probably. At any rate, French was my least favorite topic. Yet the one I needed to study most for.

One day as I was studying (sort of) (mostly just dozing off) I had a weird thought "What if I actually get an A? If I do, I'll buy myself a nice lipstick." The thought was mildly motivating and kept me awake for another solid study session. But still, an A? That seemed pretty far fetched.

The thought of a lipstick at the end of the road was enough to motivate me slightly. But also I knew it wasn't a reality, so I wouldn't have to spend money on it at the end of the day. Kind of a win-win! Except a lipstick (and an A) would have been cool.

Directly after my exam I came home for bible study. I knew I had done okay on the test, but also knew I messed up a lot as well. We prayed, talked, potentially cried but I can't remember, watched the bachelor and I checked my grade.

For some perspective, the last test I got a 73.
Yet somehow on the final, I ended up with a 114. Bringing my grade from a C to an A! Also bringing my jaw to the floor.



My point in writing this post isn't to publicly celebrate my grade of flaunt my Phoenix abilities. I'd been discouraged about this class for months. I had mentally accepted the final B or C. Life would go on. God would still be in control. Really, it would all be fine.

But then God said, "Wait, I have something better in mind."

The beauty of this situation, and the life lesson I hope to learn and remember, is that God always waits till the right time to work. If he had given me a great grade from the get-go, I probably wouldn't have prayed as much. Had I started off with a higher standing in the class, I wouldn't have been humbly driven to my knees. He held out on me, until I was fully sold out for Him.

God want's our best days and our worst days. He loves us through bad grades and good grades and He will bless us when HE knows we are ready for it. Not when we think we deserve it.

This is just a small situation in life, but one where I saw God moving and working so clearly. And on that note, I know it won't be the last time God waits to bless me, even when it seems like its too late. It wont be the last time I see Him moving and working in my life. And while I've already forgotten every word of French, my hope is that I never forget what Christ has shown me through this situation.


Now obviously it's not really practical to put up a pillar of stones in my bedroom, but hey! This lipstick is my proverbial pillar of stones. So naturally, I had to go all out.


I ended up picking out a YSL lipstick. I mean, after passing french, a French lipstick brand seemed only fitting. After spending 14 years in Sephora going back and forth (cute or practical? Fun or extra wearable?) I settled on Smoking Plum, a rich purple with a glossy finish that I truly love/want to wear everyday. 


It sits on my vanity now. For one, the packaging is ridiculously pretty. And secondly, the price tag is high enough to quality this as not only a lipstick but also a piece of decor. And thirdly, every time I pass it or use it-the lipstick seems to say, "Hey, remember the time that God to bless you and you passed French? And not because you deserved it either, but because He is the epitome of goodness itself."


So yeah, I guess you could say it's my proverbial pillar of stones. In all honestly, it's a way better reminder of God's love than stones would be. I use lipstick everyday! And what else do I need daily?

To be reminded that God is in control and He will move when He is ready, not when it's easiest or most convenient for me. 

JUROR #20



Three weeks ago I had jury duty. It was an early Monday morning, a 45 minute drive, pouring rain, getting lost in the parking lot, stressing over missing work and getting selected for a sensitive case kind of day. Lo and behold, I was picked and dubbed as juror #20. 

Coincidence? I think not.

I've been talking a lot and thinking a lot about turning TWENTY later this year. Sometimes that number scares me, other times it motivates me....but most of the time it makes me confused/concerned about the fact that I still order off the kids menu. However, if my time as juror #20 is any indication of how the beginning my twenties is going to go...I'll pass on that birthday, thank you very much! It took a lot of crying, nervous gum chewing and "yes, your honor" to get out of that courtroom. 

And so naturally, the first place I went after my emotional exit was, of course, target. And I bought this dress. And a can of soup. And a calendar.  But just so you know, I would never stoop to the level of emotional shopping! 

(everyday)

Hopefully I'll leave implus shopping in the dust with my teen years. But for now, I'm not 20 yet! So I'm going to enjoy it (and my new dress!) while it lasts!


THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOK

Somewhere along the way, I fell in love with poetry and the written word. I think it was after reading the Great Gatsby - the incredible syntax, word choice and imagery makes me weak in the knees.

And that being said, I've never felt that way about the bible.

The bible has always been great, of course! But lately I've been noticing how freaking beautiful it is. Not only does God share His Word, but His word also happens to be composed in such a magnificent way that it puts any work of F. Scott Fitzgerald to utter shame.

Because it's not just a story. Not only is the word of God beautiful but it is REAL.


Recently on my Instagram stories, I've been sharing the verses that stand out to me. The bible is beautiful as is, but when you pull out individual verses it really highlights the poetic quality and how thoughtful and intentional every. single. word. is.

I use the YouVersion app, highlight the verse that stands out to me, then take a screenshot. After that, I open Instagram and upload the photo to the stories. From there, I just use white pen tool to cover over the surrounding verses and any other text on the screen. And I always use the NKJ version! 

No matter where you are on your spiritual journey, I hope you too can enjoy how utterly perfect the bible is, even on a stylistic level. 

Man, God really knew what He was doing, huh?

INLET....IN-LIT?


Ah, the inlet! Ironically enough, I've never blogged about it. Which is kind of shocking considering I've blogged about everything from broken bones to what I eat for lunch, but somehow a post about the inlet never made the cut.

(Or, I was too lazy to make one. Probably that!)

We normally go at least once a year, and this year was great! Until I got home. Because then I looked in the mirror and remembered that I hadn't worn any sunscreen. 

And I had been in full sun. For eight hours.

 Needless to say, I looked like a tomato for a good week or so and it's not a look I would recommend to anyone.

I can't really put into words how much I treasure this little group of friends. One reason it's probably difficult is because they actually make fun of me, a lot. But once I learned to let it roll off my back and see beyond their rough edges, I actually have so much fun. It's not often you find people who you feel 100% comfortable to be 100% yourself with, but I'm thankful I have. We raced hermit crabs, and talked about life, love and Drake while exploring the surrounding islands. And even though I ended up looking like a tomato, it was worth it.

(ish. It definitely wont be worth it if I end up with skin cancer.)

So we made a human gradient and I happened to be tanner than my CUBAN friend, which is the greatest honor anyone could bestow upon me! Not really sure where this honor will take me in life, but you can bet I'm going to have it on my resume.

And we ended the night with a walk around the island and then talking in the driveway till midnight. 

Summer nights man, they're something else. 

Back to chocolate and hair history


I honestly never thought I would be the girl who always colors her hair. To me, there was no point, Why would you change your hair? But then one day I came to the conclusion that also, why not? It's fun, not permanent and way less harmful to your body than a tattoo or piercings. 

My bank account will forever regret me coming to that conclusion!

And in honor of a new hair color and cleaning out my computer, I thought this post seemed highly appropriate. My favorite walks are always down one memory lane (mostly because they involve a lot of awkward photos, which this post happens to be full of!) so let's dive right in.

STARS AND STRIPES FOREVER


Happy Fourth, Friends!

Just here to let you know that at 19 years old, I'm still terrified of fireworks. I had high hopes that this would be my year. No earplugs. No anxiety attacks. No hiding in the Laundry room with the puppies. Just me embracing the home of the brave stanza of the song and actually, going outside. 

Which I sort of did, so on second thought, this year was a mild success. I was outside and handled it semi-ok. Plus I didn't have waterproof mascara on so bursting into tears was not an option! Beauty is pain, or whatever they say.

Despite my aversion to loud noises, this was a very good fourth of July. Because any day that starts at Chick-Fil-A is going to be a good day, am I right or am I right?

PS: Previous 4th celebrations HERE.

TOP: Anthro
SKIRT: Shein.com
SHOES: WalMart 

(I'm a classy woman, yes.)