May 20, 2015

22 Songs for Summer//Just Listen


It's nearing that season for summer..roadtrips, airplane trips, drives in general to get out of the heat (whatever that may look like in your neck of the woods). When planning our hopeful first roadtrip up the coast (happening either this summer or fall), these are the songs Alexandrea and I just happen to turn up a little bit louder on any occasion- upbeat, hipster, adventuresome, and just enjoyable ones in general. Hence, the list of songs for summer roadtrips.  What songs would you add? 

May 13, 2015

The Subject of Being You.

"'You,' he said, 'are a terribly real thing in a terribly false world, and that, I believe, is why you are in so much pain.'" --Emilie Autumn 

I stopped in the toy aisle recently with some time to kill, having accidentally left my current book at home. Curious to see what the girls in my Sunday School class were discussing a few weeks prior, I stopped in front of a fairly dark (let's be honest- hideous) display portraying the famous Monster High dolls, and sighed.
"Be yourself. Be a Monster." 

What.

What happened to...being yourself, period? What do strangely somehow-attractive faces have to do with being yourself, and when did it become acceptable to want to embrace that monster inside us? That pride? That sin? Such a road leads only to destruction...
when did we forget that?
Or have we become so blinded that we choose not to see?

Polly Pockets were "my" toys as a youngster. I remember one day when I named them all after the fruits of the Spirit (to be fair, I changed a few of them three days later. Calling Polly Self-Control just didn't cut it anymore), and decided to keep one in my pocket in order to remember that fruit. But when we're giving other ideals to kids to be themselves, even as monsters...what do we expect but monsters? But shootings in movie theatres?
Why do parents complain about the dreaded teen years?
From a child's point, it's because all we were taught to ask was, "Why shouldn't I get everything my little heart desires, and raise havoc when I don't get it? Especially if I wasn't taught otherwise. 

I'm not telling you what toys you should and shouldn't be playing with. I'm not saying that it's not a psychological thing. But I've been with thirty or forty children every week, many of them one on on, for the last ten months, and I'm learning.

"Wow. Mom. Not everyone is like our family."
I came in and dumped by bags by my bedroom door, exhausted.
She laughed.
"I'm serious. I knew we had...issues. And sometimes, those are hard to hash out. Gosh, I always say we put the fun in dysfunctional. But honestly, I thought everyone had what we have."
I don't live in an inner-city.
And yet, it's plain as day, how the children are suffering, too. Either in families or circumstances.

I never was able to thoroughly jump on the "be you" bandwagon. I'm not certain as to the reason why, but something grated me logically when I thought about that. I came across a quote from my heroine, Corrie ten Boom recently, and something clicked. How I traced it back to be you..is an interesting story.

"Self is a tight lock. I see many decent sinners who are in spiritual prison because their self is on the throne of their hearts, and Jesus is on the cross. What liberation comes when Jesus cleanses their hearts with His blood, and comes to the throne, and self goes on the cross!" 

I don't want to be...me.
When I was younger, my mom set me loose in the backyard, her voice saying "be free," carrying across the wind.
I ran and I ran and I ran.
She chased me.
I was Tinkerbell and she was Captain Hook. Or I was Tiger Lilly and she was Captain Hook. Or I was Wendy and she was...well, she was Captain Hook.
I always won, obviously.

But life isn't like that.
These days, I'm running away from me, because I don't like me.
I'm a sinner.
I'm full of myself.
I have no right nor reason to be anything otherwise.
However...I'm a slave to myself no longer.

There comes a point in time where "good" people are tired of being good, because it's simply not in our nature to do so. And so they do "bad" things.
But where did this definition of good and bad come from? When did "don't judge" become the most quoted, and yet most unresolved point in Scripture?

Jesus has set me free.
I can run freely.
Without worry.
But...because I'm a sinner...I tie myself up again. Nine times out of ten, I don't even realize it.

Being you isn't bad when Christ is your Master, and self is up on the cross.
But being you can become bad when you still play Jackyl and Hyde.
Being you can bring about pain and suffering when you are free in Jesus, and yet are concerned with others, because in reality that brings it back to self.

My encouragement today is to run freely. Run as if Captain Hook was after you. And run knowing you can beat him every single time.
Don't become so wrapped up in being you that you forget who are you, and more importantly, who He has made you to be and become.
Be you, because you are His. 
And until you are, don't lose yourself in the shadows of trying to figure out who you should be.
You're worth so much more than that.


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May 1, 2015

10 Must-Haves for Traveling || p.1



I never realized what a sense of wanderlust I had until I was tied down to jobs and school and other commitments. With summer on the way (and hence, a few different spots to go to), I decided to compile a list of things I always happen to find in my knapsack or adventure bag (or purse, depending on the occasion). Part One will feature must-haves for when you're traveling, and Part Two will feature must-haves for when you arrive on "holiday" (begin letting me know what you always have and I might just add them to my list).  So pull up that chair & enjoy- and if I've forgotten any important articles, then please, let me know below.

#1. Pad & Pen(s). In my knapsack, I always have my carry-all-things journal. I can't help it; I'm a writer to the core of my being, and if I happen to think of something important, hear a thought I'd rather not forget, feel the need to sketch out my love of a song or a scenery I happened to snap a photo of, I'd rather be prepared. Also, please note here and now that if you have one pen, you are not prepared.

#2. A Good Read. In case I'm ever on a trip long enough to become bored with the scenery (which, let's face it, only ever happens on plane rides), it's nice to be prepared with one or two pieces of literature to peak my interest. Currently I'm in the midst of Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers, and A Woman's Walk with God by Elizabeth George. Copies of Darling Magazine always come along as both handy and inspirational. Generally if I'm halfway through my book or more, I'll take two; but if it's a shorter trip and I can manage it, one book suits me (and my love of traveling light), thank you very much. Or, if you're partial to a kindle or nook... well, there you go.

#3. Earbuds. Or headphones. Whichever you prefer. When some people are being loud (or are just plain impartial to your favorite music), stick those in and you're good to go. I love quiet worship music on a flight. They're also nice (really nice) for a feature when the man next to you is trying to be a little too close for comfort, since they scream "I'm asleep" when you close your eyes.

#4. Chapstick. Lipbalm. Hand Lotion. Chewing Gum. To be packed in a separate little bag (the ones guys will never understand) and used when needed. Take your choice. Enough said, I think.

#5. My Phone. For above mentioned earbuds, for texts or phone calls, to people to assure them you're doing well, for maps when you're feeling lost, for weather to know how to be comfortable, etcetera, etcetera.

#6. Granola Bar. I say granola bar, but I always reach for my apples (pre-cut by yours truly). You can always just use a snack of any kind for whenever you get peckish- otherwise I (speaking for myself) might get a little on the frustrated side. My sister Alexandrea has invented the most amazing salad-in-a-jar you will ever know.

#7. Wallet. Oh, you know. For basically everything that's really truly important- license, money, identification, passport. The works. Keys can also fall under this category if that's alright with everyone.

#8. My Camera. You almost wondered if I'd forgotten this, didn't you? Not quite. Based on where I'm going, my camera comes along. However, if it comes to a certain point where my phone will do quite as well (or have to do), my camera gets stowed in the back of the trunk with my luggage, or carefully packed away in my suitcase. As I said, light traveling is key.

#9. Sweater. Or blanket. Or something to keep you warm. One that you can peel off as needed, and shiver thankfully in otherwise. Socks also fall into this category, if your a socks kind of person or if you're like me and just have naturally icy hands or feet. Oh, and neckpillows. Let's just file this under "things I need to keep me comfortable."

#10. Hand Sanitizer. Even if we ever found out hand sanitizer did nothing for us, I would still feel safer smacking it on my hands after touching anything that qualifies as germy. No, I'm not a weird one because I don't like the scented ones. Yes, I'll probably get sick less than any of the non-sanitizer users. I use it on the regular. Or I reach for my essential oils, which do the same thing without leaving a sickening doctors' office scent. Better to be safe than sorry.

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