coffee date four

(i decided to make the featured photos from now on match my instagram feed, don’t know why i didn’t earlier.) so basically these are the simplest things for me to post during school, i hope you don’t mind!! this week i want to talk about some thoughts i’ve had regarding negativity. a lot of things have become common in my life this week and they make me sad, but also determined.

first, the prevalence of white bashing/white guilt posts in my timeline has increased a lot this week. let me be the first to tell you that you should NOT let someone tell you that you are inherently evil or inherently racist because of your skin color. i understand that there are still issues of race in america, but this doesn’t mean you have to hate yourself in order to not be racist. just don’t do or say racist things (and trust me, we WILL tell you when you are, so if no one of color has then you’re good).

second, it seems that although i’ve always known that people tend to use insults they’re afraid apply to them, this week is a particularly ripe time to do so. maybe people are angry about all the valentine’s day posts from happy couples, or feeling guilty because they haven’t hopped on the “give something up for lent” train yet – whatever it is, i’m noticing it a lot lately toward myself and people online. when people you don’t know insult you, or when people you know all too well do, just remember that they’re afraid of something, and that it is not your job to fix it or even find out what it is. hell, maybe you are in fact the problem, but if you apologized and changed and they still attack you, pray for them to have peace, pray for yourself to have patience, and proceed.

finally – it’s midterms. do i even need to express my thoughts on this? just pray, drink tea and coffee, and remember your grades do not define you. (and when you get your scores back, make sure you actually do the readings for the rest of the semester!!)

Advertisements

coffee date three

so since i haven’t done one of these in a while, and since i forgot to do this month’s gratefulness entry in my bullet journal, i thought i’d write all the blessing God has given me here!!

first of all, the things i am grateful for today: i got ALL the harry potter books (yes including fantastic beasts and the cursed child) AND the two newest ones were on sale AND my mom has a barnes & noble membership so i got an extra ten percent off those ones. this is amazing because my brother had all the original ones but when he moved either he took them with or my mom donated them, so now i have them again. i also found the “poorly drawn lines” book, and since i’ve been following reza on tumblr for years of course i had to get it!! adding to the excitement: other than one sentence on my speech outline (have to get it approved by the prof), ALL my homework is done!! AND i have monday off school; i’m planning to use it to go to our local “coffee with a cop” session. God of course gives the greatest blessing of all daily (the fact that i’m not dead), but damn if this isn’t a great day.

next, things i’m grateful for this week – i went to our state DECA competition (note: i am not a business student) and i placed in an event!! this means i get to go to the ICDC in april, which just so happens to be in anaheim (read: disneyland) this year. also, i got a day off school for it – didn’t help with the homework situation, but it was nice. and while i was there i got to have dinner with my best friend that i only see a few times every year. in fact, when we first became friends at a summer camp we saw each other every day for a week, and then we didn’t see each other again for two years!! so i guess you can say i was pretty happy.

finally, things i’m grateful for this month – the love and support of my family and two of my closest friends has been everything to me, both as they help me reconnect with God and as i go through life after a horrible series of events last fall. also, the fact that this semester i’ve managed to decrease my anxiety and step outside of my comfort zone is terrifying, simply because it’s not what i’m used to, but amazing. just a few examples of this: i started volunteering at the humane society, i’m going to be president of a new student organization (i hate running meetings so this should be fun), and i actually competed in DECA instead of just going to the meetings. i’m also part of our school newspaper’s rebranding into a more lit mag-esque student publication, which is a process i’m so grateful to be part of.

every day can have amazing gifts from God, if only you choose to see them and thank Him xx

why christians should not dismiss karma

i honestly don’t get why so many of the christians i know don’t believe in karma – maybe because they think it means the exact same thing you do happens back to you? one of my favorite youtubers made a video on the twelve karmic laws, so i wrote some bible verses that correlate to each law because i’m christian and have always accepted karma as a fact.

the great law – galatians 6:7 (people get what they give)

the law of creation – romans 5:12, 6:23 (death is caused by human sin, or negative intention); 1 corinthians 15:33, proverbs 22:24-25 (your surroundings become part of you)

the law of humility – luke 12:39-40, psalm 14:1 (refusing to accept things will not make them go away); philippians 4:11, 1 peter 5:7 (accept rather than worry about things to change them); matthew 7:5 (focusing on negativity is not the highest way to think)

the law of growth – matthew 7:5, romans 12:2 (change yourself not your surroundings to grow) the law of responsibility – galatians 6:7, romans 5:12 (we cause the negativity in our own lives – note: being a jerk does not mean God will give you cancer. as annie says in the beginning of the video, it is NOT that personal); philippians 4:11 (change your mindset)

the law of connection – 1 corinthians 12:21 (everything is connected and necessary)

the law of focus – matthew 6:24, 6:34 (we can’t multitask our intentions or actions); colossians 3:2, romans 8:6 (thinking of higher things makes negativity impossible)

the law of hospitality and giving – matthew 16:24, philippians 2:12-18 (selflessness shows our true intentions)

the law of change – jeremiah 25:7, jeremiah 11:10, 1 corinthians 10:13 (history repeats itself until we change)

the law of here and now – matthew 6:34, proverbs 19:21, isaiah 43:18-19, 2 corinthians 5:17 (don’t dwell in the past or future)

the law of patience and reward – habukkuk 2:3, romans 5:3-4, galatians 6:9 (hard work and patience give the greatest reward)

the law of significance – matthew 16:18, titus 1:6-9, 2 corinthians 5:14-21 (all actions must contribute to the whole)

let me know your thoughts on this, christian or not xx

misconceptions

it seems that all over pinterest and tumblr are inspiring bible verses with pretty fonts and backgrounds. walk into any hobby lobby or parable store and woodcuts with those same verses line the walls, waiting to be hung in our kitchens. but do we really understand the context and meaning behind these verses, and could we even be using them incorrectly?

1
in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. – john 1:1 niv

one of the first verses that comes to mind is philippians 4:13. commonly used to uplift athletes, performers, and the terminally ill, the verse is often seen quoted as saying, “i can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” yet the niv translation reads, “i can do all this through Him who strengthens me.” most other versions read “all things,” but the niv is different because it directly references the previous verses. (this is not to say the other translations are wrong, just to point out the importance of context in choosing bible verses.) in the passage, paul is discussing the hardships he has been through while serving Christ. he writes that he has “learned the secret of being content” no matter what situation he is in, whether starving or wellfed, imprisoned or free, at home or traveling. and it is these things, he says, that God has enabled him to endure with a strong spirit. the verse is in no way meant to imply that absolutely anything is possible for anyone who asks; instead, it means that no matter what we experience in life, God will be our source of joy throughout it and enable us to continue faithfully.

another commonly misread verse is 1 timothy 6:1-10. often quoted as “money is the root of all evil,” this verse is used to perpetuate class warfare and demonize the wealthy. yet the niv reads, “for the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” paul here is speaking to timothy, urging him to learn the difference between true heavenly wealth and contentment and having earthly possessions. he states that loving both God and money fully is impossible, and love of one will produce hate for the other. the Christian believes that all sin stems from a hatred of God, and so if one loves something that is not God, it can lead to loving sinful things as well. this could of course happen in a variety of ways outside love of money (i.e., love of a significant other, love of fitness, love of food), but paul here specifically discusses material goods because timothy is surrounded by false prophets who seek to gain money by turning people to follow their teachings, believing that the money will make them happy.

the final verse i wish to discuss is jeremiah 29:11. this verse is rarely misquoted, just taken out of context. the niv reads, “‘for I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ this verse is often used to console high school and college students without a career plan, or the recently unemployed who fear the future. sadly, however, this verse is not a universal comfort to the lost; it is taken from a prophecy delivered to the israelites living in exile. in the prophecy, God promises that after 70 years He will return the israelites to the land they had lived in before being taken to babylon. He advises them to live as comfortably as possible while they are there, and to stop fearing intermarriage. He directs His people to stop despairing and have hope. this verse is of course uplifting, and perhaps it can be taken as a source of hope today, but in all technicality it is not meant for us.

i don’t want to destroy anyone’s Christmas gift ideas, or say that no one should have a bible verse on a desk ever again. i simply believe it is important to know the context for any bible verse we want to quote. if we can’t even get uplifting, inspirational, and motivational verses right, then what basis is there for anyone to believe Christians have correctly interpreted God’s commandments?

rachel

(i clearly have not posted three times this week so i’ll make up for it now!!)

 

this is one of my friends, rachel. she allowed me to take photos of her for a recent assignment, so i thought i’d share some of them here, along with a bit of background.

  
rachel is a faithful catholic who lives out Christ’s love every day. i am so blessed to have her in my life, as i’m sure all her other friends and acquaintances would agree. her smile, though rare, is beautiful, and she has such a giving heart, always open to pray for others.

  
rachel has her own blog here on wordpress, and i love reading her posts as she shares her faith and the things that are important to her. it’s always a blessing to read her uplifting words.

  
  
if any of you have a friend like rachel in your life, someone who supports you, prays for you, and has the guts to tell you when you’re being an idiot, i highly encourage you to tell and show her you love her every day. i don’t do this nearly enough, and who knows when i won’t be able to again?

  

  
  

college

my cacti, norm and lilah, and a dali-inspired clock

college is a very strange and sometimes painful experience. even when going to school close to home, the sensation of being on your own can become overwhelming at times. it’s a strange balance between learning how to be independent yet occasionally feeling like you’re still in high school. the variety in teaching styles, schedules, and peers can be refreshing for some and stressful for others.today i’d like to share some of my thoughts on living in dorms, meeting new people, and dealing with classes that are run far differently from public secondary schools.
 

the bottom bunk is now the couch

last semester, i had a roommate i’d never met before. at the time this was a perfect scenario, since the people i would have known from before i hadn’t talked to in years. i didn’t want to face the drama i’d seen some of my friends go through, rooming with a friend that turned out to be not so great to room with. i quickly realized, however, that even though my roommate and i got along, i was not the type to accept another person’s organization (or lack thereof) in my personal space. i love to clean, and looking at a decluttered, peacefully decorated room makes me content. this can’t really happen when living with another person unless she feels the same way. this semester, my roommate switched to live with a friend whose former roommate is on a semester abroad. now that i have the room to myself, i am free to organize and decorate as i please. i was surprised, though, how i almost missed hearing the sounds of my roommate’s textbooks rustling in the background, or her skyp calls with her family back home. it’s a bit of a lonely existence now, but i prefer having my own space.
 
my college bestie and the christmas present she made me

when i came to college in august, i had a three-step plan: get good grades, work as much as possible, and do NOT make any friends. after years of middle and high school drama and shallow friendships ending when one person can no longer use the other, i figured i’d be better off avoiding people all together. that plan was quickly foiled when on the second day of classes two girls invited me to eat dinner with them, thus inducting me into a large group of people. also, by the surprising outcome of an anonymous yik yak meetup, i met someone who quickly became one of my closest friends here. i still worry sometimes whether all the new friends i’ve made will turn on me like the old ones did, but i’m trying to remain optimistic. after all, cramming for finals and writing nine-page papers four days before they’re due is much less painful when you have someone to joke around and pray with.

 

one of my professors uses art to enhance understanding
  
college classes have much more variety than high school ones. for some peopl this lack of guaranteed structure can br extremely stressful, but for me it was a welcome change from the usual sit-down, droned-at, copy-notes classes i’d had for the past six years. some of my classes are still like that, true, but most of them encourage discussion and can get pretty off-topic. the homework varies as well:  some professors assign text-book questions, while others have online discussion groups or videos to watch for in-class review later. i enjoyed almost all my classes last semester, and even in the one i didn’t i was able to take away new perspectives on some important issues.

 

nature walks keep us sane

all in all, going to college is the most challenging thing i’ve done – not so much academically, but in learning how to adjust constantly and stay reassured that everything and everyone will be alright. if you don’t want or need to go to college to do what you want to in life, please don’t feel like i’m saying you’re missing out. there have been many, many nights when i wondered if i made the right decision on my majors, my job, or even coming to college at all. however, it’s far from all bad, and although at times i’m terrified of the thought, i can’t wait to see what God has for me these next few years.