Friday, November 3, 2017

A Love That Multiplies


Today I ran into Alice, one of my sweet 4th graders I hadn't seen in almost two months! I'll admit, I couldn't remember her name without looking it up. Sometimes my brain gets foggy with the 400+ names and faces of the 4th graders I've taught so far this semester.

Today, I'm thankful love is not a point system. Each of us doesn't just have one hundred love points to ration out to the people in our lives—the more people we have, the less love they get each, there's a limit to how many we can love, or anything like that. True, each of us only has 24 hours in a day, and sometimes the ration of whom we're giving that to isn't very balanced. But, with God in us, who is Love Himself, love never has to divide. It can multiply over and never run out.

Putting feet to the love and making sure our charity is an action is definitely something to always keep working on. 

I was thinking of the lesson "the only person who might feel pain by my loving them is me", and I realized that's what Christ probably thought as He hung there dying on the cross. Is it worth it to pour my heart out and get super attached to students who I probably will never see again? I'm so emotionally torn up every week and I hate goodbyes... wouldn't it be easier to remain detached, just stick to my obligations, teach the lessons, etc.? No. I'm the only one who might feel an ounce of pain from that love. It is so worth it.

God is love. Showing them God is showing them love. 

My love does not transfer to my students next week. I love Alice. I love all four-hundred-whatever students I've taught so far. And I'll love the next sixty, eighty, and five hundred, too. It's a love that multiplies over and over. And over.

I can love all of these kids with all of my heart because: 1) I have God within me. I am of His family, and His characteristics are now mine. And, 2) I opened my heart and decided to love them.

Yep, they're sweaty and stinky and sometimes not very hygienic. Sometimes they're just plain ol' rotten and hate foreigners. You have to choose to love them. They aren't Nutella.

Ahem.

But anyways. I highly recommend it. I highly recommend choosing to love—everyone God throws in your path. Watch His love multiply through you.



Friday, October 20, 2017

Silver Linings & How to Find Them



Lately I've been homesick for my family and friends and Texas... And Oklahoma, I guess. And Missouri and Mississippi and Washington, while we're on the subject.

But for real. I miss my people and places and making memories with my people in the places we love. I miss laughing at inside jokes and praying together. I miss the convenience of driving myself to the grocery store. I miss my pianos. My dog. Sibling sleepovers. Nice shower heads and fluffy bath towels and the comfort of not having to spray vinegar around my bed every night before I go to sleep to ward off bugs (like bedbugs) (and spiders). I miss having a kitchen that smells like cinnamon and tacos and generally just all sorts of things that smell better than dead rodent. I miss ice water. I miss being in similar time zones with my friends and being able to text them throughout the day.

Silver linings, silver linings.

I have a lot to miss. Wow, am I blessed to have so much to miss!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Holiday Happenings

This past week and a half has been really special for me, so I wanted to share some pictures and show a little of what I was able to see and do!

Even though I love teaching, and my students are really truly my favorite part of this whole experience, after four long, hot weeks in a row of school (almost 250 4th graders), I was more than happy for a rest.

We had to go up to Taipei for a business trip October 2-3, so Kristina and I went up a day early. We got to attend a real-life English church service! I missed those! Then we went for lunch and an English Bible study. Afterwards we walked around and just kind of went sightseeing, had dinner with the Chens, and hiked Elephant Mountain.




Monday, September 25, 2017

A Mile in Their Shoes



Do you remember being nine years old? Ten? 

I do. I thought I was pretty cool. I never spent a night away from family (if not home, grandparents or uncles and aunts) until I was 16 years old. I went to my friend Kate's birthday/slumber party, but I was sick and ended up going to sleep before everyone else, anyways. It was two more years before I spent a single night away from family again. But enough about me. 

At nine or ten years old, were you very brave? Adventurous? Could you have handled traveling to a strange school with strange teachers and staying there for a week, well? 

Maybe I was a cool 4th grader.... but I really don't think I could have done it. Nothing familiar? Nothing comfortable? No family? Foods I might not like? Why? 

But these kids I teach every week here in Taiwan. They're brave. They load up on a bus and travel hours to get here to the Character and English Institute, a place they've never been to and possibly know nothing about. Their school teacher accompanies them on the trip, but after a brief orientation Monday morning, their teachers are gone before lunch. 

65 kids from 7 different schools. 65 kids with 65 names to memorize. 65 kids with short attention spans to keep held rapturously during 12, 40-minute English classes every week. (Okay, okay, 'rapturously' is a strong word. It's more like a very concerted effort to be interesting enough so they don't all declare strike and walk out on us out of boredom.) 

Yes, it's a big job. Not easy. 

Kristina and I get up every morning and work all day, if not teaching, working on creating more teaching materials in hopes of providing better and better English classes. 

But lately God has been reminding me: walk a mile in their shoes, Kimberly. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

"How's It Going?"



For as much as I see God, and for as much as I know He's growing me, I've been struggling to write it out. Like, at all. Little journaling, little blogging, little social media-ing. It's not coming easily. 
I love my family and friends. Y'all text, email, message, leave videos and voice mails. You're so sweet and I love, love, love to hear from you. But when you ask me how I'm doing or how it's going or how I'm adjusting... I don't always know how to respond. 

I'm good. In all honesty, I'm great. I have everything I need. I see God working all around me every day. I'm healthy. I'm safe. I feel super blessed to have a teammate who is nearly fluent in Chinese and is willing, not only to teach me Chinese, but also to translate for me any time I need her. (That's awesome.) I get to turn on the A/C at night, which helps me sleep through the heat and humidity. I have electricity 24 hours a day. I have fast wifi. 

I'm great! It's easy here. There's not much culture shock. So blessed. 

But how am I doing? How is everything going? Do you really want to know?

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Branching Out // Part 2

My last post was short and sweet between classes, but there's more yet to say, I suppose.

The reasons 'Branching Out' felt and continues to feel like a good chapter title for this season go so much deeper than being in a new location (please see my last post for reference).

Please let me be as clear as possible: I do not wish for and am not working towards an independent life.

I don't want to be strong and solo. Can I? Am I capable? Could I figure it out and survive the foreign public transportation alone? Probably. But I don't want to.

Maybe that's the beauty of a godly woman: she's strong, but she packages it in a feminine and humble attitude. I don't know about y'all, but that's what I want.

Branching out. 

Because I don't have to leave the nest. I don't have to flit thousands of miles away and plant a whole new tree. I love my tree. I wouldn't be me without my tree. I just grow the tree a little farther. As I stretch (trust me, there's a lot of stretching going on), so does my tree.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Branching Out

Friday night, after our time where a few team members shared their testimonies, we played a game where we drew a piece of paper that already had a question printed on it. One question was "what would the current chapter of your life be titled?" and he said it couldn't be called "Taiwan". Haha.

So I came up with "Branching Out". Kind of drew it up out of thin air, but it made more and more sense the longer I thought about it. 

Branching out of my comfort zone and my controllable bubble—meaning I have more or less relinquished control of almost every aspect of my life. It's kinda uncomfortable. 

Branching out of my language and time zones. I can work on improving my Chinese, but I can't work on living 13 hours ahead of my family and friends. 

Branching out and living in a team setting rather than a family setting. 

Branching out of a simple Oklahoma prairie lifestyle.




I've been in Taipei for four days, and it's been good, but tomorrow I head south to my school in Chiayi. 

Prayers appreciated! Leave a note! 



Thursday, August 10, 2017

Take a Step, God is There



What to write on, what to write on...

It's been so long since I've written and there is a lot to say, but probably not enough words in the English language to explain it all sufficiently.

Praise the Lord in even this, though, because we all learn our own lessons and are left speechless! All that God's taught me, He can teach you, too, and it'll be better than anything I could leave here for you to skim through on your lunch break.

One thing in particular my soul has been dwelling on often lately, is the thought of doing.

We're weird humans. We don't want to leave our comfort zones, try new things, get out of the bubble of the life we've dreamed up for ourselves. We're always saying we—and I quote—"need a sign or word from God on this", but we're all the while holding the Bible in our hands, on our pew in church. Oh, you know, the pew our family has been sitting in since the days of Jefferson.

Don't get me wrong, now: anything God has ever done, He can still do.

He can part the Red Sea, he can give Abraham and Sarah an heir. He can speak. The difference is, everything He wants or needs to say to us is in the Book. High five, literacy!

We have the sign and word from God in our hands, plus a couple extra copies back home.

When a door is open before us, even though it's scary, hard, and altogether the opposite of what we planned, maybe the only thing we should be comparing it to is the Bible. (As opposed to: our plans or dreams, others' thoughts of us, society's norm, etc.)

Does this align with God's plan or will for His children?

Is it obedient?

Is it good work for men, or great work for the Kingdom?

Pray.

And do the thing. If this aligns with everything you can find in Scripture, you've prayed and have peace, your Spiritual authorities have prayed and have peace (parents, in my case), take the step.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Did God Create Me to Be a Wife?



A few weeks ago, I shared my heart on the topic of "what if I'm called to singleness?" (here).

Here is another limb of the same tree.

Maybe I don't think I'm "called to singleness" in the course of my life, and I'm not "preparing" for that, but maybe I don't think God created me to be a wife, either. And I want y'all to see both sides of the coin.

But let's zoom it out, first.

Why did God create mankind, as a race?

Before the great flood of Genesis, the Bible says God repented and grieved that He had made mankind. If He knows everything, and isn't constrained to time, didn't He know man would use their free will to choose the wrong path all along? Yes. Yes, He did. He created man anyways, though, because He can show Himself even more strong through something imperfect. Rocks and flowers and glaciers are already sinless and perfect, which shows Himself a perfect creator. But His peace, love, grace, mercy, and etc., can only be extended and proven with something flawed. Thus He gave us free will. (He is so perfect, He can't even create something imperfect.) So, He made us perfect and let us defile ourselves, always planning and paving a path to redemption, which does and will glorify Him even greater than all the other elements of His perfect Creation, and will ring throughout eternity when we're with Him, praising Him.

He created us for His glory, folks.

Step one: we're not in the will of God if we aren't glorifying Him in word, deed, and truth.

But as we zoom these binoculars of life in, there's just little me.

I'm a female. A lady. A maiden. A daughter, granddaughter, sister... future mother and aunt?!

What does the Bible say about my gender? Why did we even come about, specifically, even after mankind was created for His glory?

“And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” (Genesis 2:18)

I'm not going to go bashing anyone, but I've seen a sickening amount of literature on 'help meets'. Sickening, not in self, but in that it's A-L-W-A-Y-S stripped out of context.

Because 'help meet' = 'wife'

...right?

Um. No. God hath not said.

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Coronation: A Book Review



Today I'm honored to be a stop on Livy Jarsmuch's blog tour for the release of her newest novel, The Coronation! Yay!

Remember when I said my reading list was short because I was keeping a steady editing roster last winter? This was one of my projects! And, as far as editing projects go, this has been one of my most favorite, yet! Livy is truly budding into a beautiful author! I don't use the word 'author' lightly, either, because she is so much more than a good writer—she's great at plotting, character sketching, and creating depth and emotion with just 26 little letters.

She's got something special.

AND. I promised a book review. Not that anyone had to twist my arm for it or anything...

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Summer Fun Blog Tag



Aw, blog tags are fun! I always smile reading tags other bloggers post, so I like to think you smile reading mine, too! ...maybe?

I was tagged in this by Mykaela from Making Music for the Master, who is actually the creator of this tag! I'm not this creative at asking myself questions. So kudos to her. Ha.

1. What's a nickname only your family calls you?
Only my family, eh? My dad has this really fast 'Kimberly' birdcall thing that sounds like the cross of a wild monkey and a bubbling brook. Have him do it for you sometime. My little siblings all gave me their own nicknames when they were little and learning to say such big, three-syllable names as mine, but it seems like they've all grown out of it and called me 'Kimberly' as they've gotten older.

2. What's a weird habit of yours?
Uh... Okay, so I basically have to pace back and forth to maintain any kind of decent/intelligent phone conversation. If I sit down while I'm talking on the phone, I go brain dead. It's like magic. A really bad habit of mine is neglecting emails. For, like, months and years. I'm such a terrible person, I know. 😟

3. Do you have any strange phobias?
I am sooo scared of ticks. I hate ticks. I freak out when I see ticks. Last week I was walking into my closet and saw a penny-sized bug crawling up the door facing to my closet—AND IT WAS A TICK. That just creeps me out so much MORE and I'm living in constant paranoia because how did it even get upstairs to my room?! Is its family living my closet?! In my clothes?! AHHHH. The house is ruined. Let us burn it to the ground.

(I'm highly terrified of ticks. But also highly sarcastic. So don't be too worried about my mental state.)

Friday, June 30, 2017

Project Marun 544: Weeks 11-20

It's been ten weeks now since I introduced you to the photography project I'm doing with one of my best friends, Janan, we call Project Marun 544! That was a fast ten weeks! Well, twenty weeks, honestly! Feel free to look back and read it/see my first ten weeks of pictures here!

I'll be the first to admit... some of my weeks of photographing according to theme have been very procrastinated and haphazard. You can probably guess which weeks I'm referring to just based on the pictures. Haha.

Nevertheless. It's good for me, you know? Being purposeful about growing and nurturing a skill I do wish to grow and develop. Finding my own style of shooting + editing. Trying to analyze and produce something to draw a viewer's emotions. I'm so thinking > feeling. So math > art. Sometimes the art side of photography... it just doesn't come naturally. I've gone through phases like this in other things, too... like personal devotions. Some seasons of life have been dry and personal, daily devotions have fallen to the wayside because I don't "feel" like I'm getting anything out of it. Let me not be a person like that. You won't magically find the ocean when you give up walking in the middle of the desert. That's kind of what "pressing on" means to me.


Week 11: Out of Focus


Week 12: Three of a Kind


Week 13: Brick

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Five Top Writing Tips (From an Editor)




“Did I hear you say you’re an editor?” Yes, indeed. It’s one of the many hats I wear. What’s not to like, though?! I get paid to read pre-release books?! I’ve always had the super critical “Grammar Nazi” eye, anyways, so it’s my cup of tea.

Long, long, long before I was an editor, however, I was just a reader. When my mom taught me to read at four years of age I unlocked not just a whole new world, but countless, immeasurable new worlds, just awaiting my exploration.

Next came writing. Now I could create worlds for others to explore with me! How powerful! Magical! Exciting! Most of my first short stories (which I still have somewhere, of course) were knock-offs or parodies of stories we all know—the three little bears and little red riding hood, to name a couple. I even had a whole series going of Winnie the Pooh stories for a while, with all of the same characters, just different names, because copyrights, you know.

Somewhere along the line I volunteered for tribute—eh, a-hem, I mean volunteered to beta read for an author-friend, and that somehow snowballed into a full freelance editing business for me! I have now fully edited all kinds of things, college papers to 400+ page novels, fiction, non-fiction, and whatever we call that genre right in between where it’s kind of like a stretched version of the truth. It’s fun! It’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s really good for me, and I’m so blessed to have been led into this by my Creator. He is the only One who could have guided my paths into the places they are now, believe me!

Anyways. Livy, an author I've done some editing for recently (more from her coming soon!) asked me to write and share some writing tips, I guess from the perspective of an editor (it makes sense; I have read and written a ton!). Without further ado, I give you five quick tips for anyone writing—bloggers, published authors, anyone.



1. Tell the story you want to read.


One thing I wish writers would really stop doing is taking notes on other writings. Yes, read! Artists visit galleries; writers read! Don’t stop reading! But also, never ever pattern your book, plot, characters, voice, style, or anything else after someone else’s versions of the same. Please. We want to read your story. Not your mashup of all of those other stories. Besides, if I’m reading for pleasure, I only re-read one in a hundred books. Reading something once is plenty for me 99% of the time. So if your book is a lot like that other book I already read, what’s the sense in me reading yours? Make it you. Pour yourself on that page and don’t worry with anyone who isn’t interested. The right audience will love it.

Also: I really, really love talking to authors about their personal motive. Sometimes they know their characters better than they know themselves. So, here’s to you, why do you write? God’s glory? Your own? Money? Fame? Watch out and keep your priorities straight!


Saturday, June 17, 2017

Called to Singleness? Is That a Thing?



"So what are your plans?" The peering, leering adult tilts her chin up and her nose down, poising attention stance, ready to pounce in judgement upon whatever answer I can sputter out.

I freeze up. I race through the data bank of career choices in the back of my mind, but the only legible card is Taxi Driver and I'm not quite sure that dream should be shared with the general public. I catch a coughing fit, hoping to buy myself enough time to come up with an acceptable "plan" speech for this nice—albeit strangely curious—cashier lady.

Just in case you are alienated—by years, circumstances, or maybe monastery rules—I will translate for you that any questions to those about 16-20ish years of age about their [*throat clear*] "plans" is a secret code for: "I would ask you what you want to be when you grow up, but you are technically fully grown, at least physically, so what are you going to do with yourself, you oaf?".

Suffice it to say the little game was absolutely 100% more fun when we were all just eight-year-olds and we could decide on big careers without the slightest taste of the sacrifice any of our choices would normally cost. Today if I say "maybe I'll be a doctor", I'm plagued with everything from scholarship applications to science quizzing and enough horror stories on student loans to give any young adult nightmares.

"I... uh... I want to be a wife and homeschool mother. Lord willing. Someday." I finish the last part in a feverish rush, hoping the mumble was intelligible and breathing a silent prayer the stun and shock from such an answer will give me enough time to run before more questions hit.

And it's true! That's my dream job. My lifelong career of choice. And no matter how many arguments they pose at me cynically and skeptically, it will continue to be.

"Poor kid," they mutter to one another under their breaths, "brainwashed homeschooler doesn't know what the world has to offer."

Yeah, I hear you over there. My ears work even if my reasoning process doesn't, I suppose.

One argument to my dreams that actually does uproot my sureness in my calling (sometimes) is this whole idea of "what if you are called to singleness?"

But—but, didn't I kind of just tell you I'm not?? If I had told you I was called to be a doctor so I was in med school, would you have questioned me like "what if you are called to be something besides a doctor?" No? Why would you not question that, but question the call I'm telling you I have? Just because I cannot pursue it actively right now?

"What if God would rather you didn't marry?"

Oh, but kind sir, what if God would rather you not finish your PhD?

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Perpetual Waiting Room of Life




Jane remembers well being 12 years old. She couldn't wait to finish the seventh grade. She couldn't wait to turn 13 and be a real-deal teenager. She couldn't wait to grow up and get married and live happily ever after.

It was only a few years later that Jane met John. They had to wait awhile to court. They had to wait awhile to become engaged. They had to wait awhile for the marriage ceremony.

Then that was done. Now Jane and John could hardly wait for the day they'd become parents! They talked about it constantly—a house full of their future babies was all their anticipation.

But it didn't happen as fast as they thought it could.

It had been two or three years now since the wedding, and still no babies were crying from the nursery.

John started college and it was a long struggling wait to finish his degree. Another wait to find a good job in which to use his degree.

Jane eventually had a baby. Just one. A little girl. Sure, she had so wanted a house full of hungry boys scouring the kitchen for cookies and girls learning to knit and paint in every corner. But this was better than nothing.

She quickly found babies, even one, to be a lot of work! She was always so tired! She found herself waiting anxiously for the day Baby could sleep through the night. When that milestone was reached, she couldn't wait for Baby to learn to use the bathroom! After that, she waited for Baby to learn to dress and clean herself. Then she waited for Baby to learn to read. Jane was excited when they day came because it meant Baby could go to school. Jane waited all summer long for the first day of school to finally get there. And when it did, she was lonely all day without Baby, and she couldn't wait for school to let out that afternoon.

Jane waited for Baby to be old enough for dance lessons. Jane waited for John to get that long-awaited promotion at work. Jane waited the day they could afford to sell the tiny house they had lived in since marriage and finally have something decent. Cars, too, she reasoned.

Jane waited for Baby to learn to get her driver's license, because that meant Jane would no longer have to act as chauffeur to school and dance and all of the other places she had once so wanted Baby to go.

When Baby could drive, Jane waited to hear back from one of the jobs she had applied for. She waited for the interview. She waited for the start date. She waited for the day she could move up, or else out.

She waited for Baby to leave for college, she waited for Baby to find a husband and get married, she waited for Baby to have her own babies.

Jane waited for the day she and her husband could retire so she could finally spend time with her grandkids.

She realized, finally getting around to that trip to see Baby's family, they had waited too long.

These kids didn't know her or John. Baby wasn't a baby anymore. All she had now was to wait to die.

She had spent her life waiting. Always for things that would have happened anyways, whether she had been waiting or not.

Is this you?

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Spring 2017: Recap, Highlights, & Favorites

Hello everyone!! I'm so glad you are here. It makes me super happy to have this platform to write and share God's truths, what He's teaching me, and how He's blessing me! If you scratch life down to what it's meant to be, and if you let Christ live the Christian life through you, rather than striving in vain to achieve it yourself, life can and will be so beautifully joyous!

Spring has been a season of vibrant colors, flooded valleys, radiant sunsets, and tornado sirens. The temperatures have been so surprisingly mild/chilly! Even today as I write, my bedroom window is open, the 65-degree breeze wafting in. Speaking of breeze, it has also been extremely windy! A few days ago my mom asked me to go outside and move one of our garbage cans, because it had been blown down the driveway, and my dad was almost home from work, and the garbage can would be in his way driving in. I had just moved them and secured both of them (a grey one and a black one) a few hours before, so I was frustrated they had been blown loose again. When I picked up the wayward grey can and drug it back to its place, I didn't see the black one that should have been there, either. I walked all the way across the house only to find it in a rose bush! Yikes! Guess I need to work on my garbage-can-securing if I'm going to make it out a true Oklahoman.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Narrow Is the Way, Which Leadeth Unto the Waterfalls



Once a year, each of our parents takes each of us kids out by ourselves. We do something fun, maybe eat at a special restaurant of our choosing, stuff like that.

Last week, both Momma and I were free on Friday, so she asked if I wanted my turn with her, and of course I'm not going to turn that down, but I had no idea where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do. I thought we would probably end up in Tulsa, so I dressed up nicely. We made it about 50 yards from our house and I exclaimed, "Oh! We should have gone hiking!"

"Well... we still can. Want to turn around and get hiking clothes?"

"Hmm. Yes."

Sunday, May 7, 2017

8 Things for Christians to Think On Every Day

(List stolen borrowed from a devotion my mom read to me and my siblings a few weeks ago. If you know where I can give attribution or a linkback, I'd be happy to!)

We hear it said, "your thought life is your life."

(source)

If our thought life is so important, I just wonder... What are we thinking? What are we believing? And do we believe everything we think?

(source)

When my mom shared this list with me, I copied it down because (speaking for myself) having a solid list of 8 good things to purpose to think on every day is definitely a step in the right direction of having a healthy, God-glorifying thought life. (The parentheses are my thoughts on the main points, and credit to my Pinterest quote boards for all these images!)

1. Look for the best.

(Especially in your family members.)

(source)

2. Give sincere compliments.

(I love compliments that are about the people, rather than about their clothes or something superficial like that. If you notice your waiter is just an all-around awesome waiter, compliment them on a job well done! The world has enough critics; be an intentional encourager.)

(source)

3. Be quick to admit your mistakes.

(Pride and perfectionism might lie to you that you're the only one tripping up. Fight it. Stay humble and honest. Where you can't, He can.)

(source)

Thursday, May 4, 2017

5 Reasons Why You Should Not Start a Blog



If you don't have a blog, have never had a blog, and never aspire to write a blog or have any kind of personal website... you, my friend, are anomaly. Because everyone has their face on the internet somewhere these days.

But. If you do happen to be in that safe zone of still wanting a blog or site, but not yet having one, here are five straightforward reasons you shouldn't change that status.

1. You should not start a blog for the money. 


If you've heard you can start a website and put in some strategically-placed advertisements and retire at 25, just stop. It's all a lie. Some of the Modest on Purpose bloggers have scored some free clothes in exchange for reviews and blog posts, but money? Hahaha. Ha. No. If you're in it for the get-rich-quick reason, kindly allow me to crush your dreams. Trust me, taking this word seriously will be easier than pouring your soul into a blog just to find out the hard way I was right.

(Ahem. Money or fame, btw.)

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Learning to Know God



God.

The Creator and sustainer of the universe. Sure, you believe in Him. He exists; how else would human anatomy be logically explained? It takes more faith to believe in evolution than it does to believe in Creation. You guys are already at this level, right?

But did you know... He can be known?

Did you know you can be one with Him? Did you know you can learn to walk with Him in your life without running your squatty little legs overtime? You can be together. You and Him can enjoy the closest of fellowships possible. You can be closer with Him than with your spouse, family members, and best friends.

It is possible!

But... do you know Him like that?

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."

You probably know that, too, right?

It's okay. We're not talking head knowledge right now. This is deeper than your normal blog post. This is on knowing God.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

"Project Marun 544"

Sharing some of my recent photography feats today!

NOT that I am talented or anything. But Janan and I decided we needed to do a challenge where we do themed pictures every week, to encourage us to keep progressing in our photography skills. (They revert so quickly when not kept lubricated, I'm telling you!)

Thus the birth of "Project Marun 544"

Project = if we call it anything other than a code red mission or project, we might not treat it seriously enough. No slacking allowed!

Marun = the Kachin word for 'twins'

544 = the miles between my house and Janan's

Here are my snaps (with the theme I was going on) for our first ten weeks of the project.


Week 1: "sunrise"


Week 2: "breakfast"


Week 3: "something I drew"


Week 4: "our dogs"

Friday, April 21, 2017

20 Thoughts on Turning 20



My friend Mykaela did this post when she turned 20 back in October (read it here), and I just decided it was way too fun of an idea to pass up. 😊

1. I'd rather be a background character in God's story, than the main character in my own story.

It's kind of like when you were eight years old and got a new, exciting book, but couldn't handle the suspense, so halfway through you skipped over to the last chapter just to take a peek and make sure all of your favorite characters survive. We already know the final chapter of God's story. As muggy as your life might look right now, Heaven is going to be perfect. Let's work with our sights on that! And try to spread the invitation around as much as we can while we're still here!

2. My family is super awesome.

All the rest of you guys are weird. And you don't get my inside jokes, so why do I even bother?

3. The only thing one must learn is how to learn.

Oh. That sounded smart. But really! If you can learn how to learn—study, observe, scientific method, etc.—the limits are only set by God Himself. It seems to me that Western education is more about memorizing and panicky deadlines than actually learning.

4. Do you want to do then, now.

I'm starting to think it's kind of pathetic that we tell our kids they have to grow up and get college degrees before they can do what they're passionate about now. You want to teach music, but you're only 15? Don't let the world set your rules; you are not of the world.

5. Geometry is terrifying.

So, if you even think, ponder, consider as a possibility, in the very pit of your mind, that you might need to re-take the ACT at 20 years old... never stop studying geometry. It's too easy to forget and too hard to re-learn.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Q&A Part 1: Girls and College?



Recently, Olivia W. asked me what my thoughts are on girls and college, and this is in response to that. :)

If anyone has any questions like this (or not like this) for me, do refer to my Q&A post!

Comment sections are super fun, but when you have a lot of thoughts about a certain topic, might as well just give it its own post. 

So. College. Christian young ladies. What are my thoughts on the mix?...


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Personal Devotion - April 6th, 2017



Mark 14:10-11, "And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve [disciples], went unto the chief priests, to betray [Christ] unto them. And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. And he sought how he might conveniently betray Him."

You know how you can read a passage time and time again, but all at once it just "clicks"?

Here was my revelation today:

(skip down to verse 18)

"One of you which eateth with me shall betray me."

And it hit me... Judas shall betray?

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Thai-Inspired Noodles (with chicken) + Flashback to Japan

I think I'm Asia-sick.

It's like homesickness. But Asia.

One year ago today I was flying from home to Japan.

We got there in the middle of the afternoon, their time, but it felt like 2am or something like that, to our bodies.

We persevered.

We watched the sun set behind Mt. Fuji from our bus.

We ate dinner at a little cafe in downtown Narita where no one spoke a word of English.

I learned how to use chopsticks at that meal.



We bought "small" coffees, not realizing exactly how small coffees are actually capable of being made.

We ran as fast as we could when we thought we were going to miss our bus back to the hotel. We talked American politics with Australians on the bus. It took like an hour and a half but we finally did make it back to the hotel.



And we slept. Hard. For like four hours. Then jet lag kicked in.

But it was the best. We spent most of the next morning at the airport and feasted on soba noodles and took pictures in all of the gift shops. And then we flew out for Myanmar.

(Origami displays in Japan's international airport.)

I remember being so scared getting on that plane for Rangoon. Not because of my actual self. The plane looked safe enough to me. (And we had a couple very sketchy ones later on in the trip.) But the last word I heard from my family before boarding the plane was that they were all sitting in the guest half-bathroom (yeah, all eight of them) because there were tornadoes in the area.

Ding ding! "Now boarding non-stop to Yangon, boarding group C, please."

Yikes.

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Realities of Daily Struggles



They say hindsight is 20/20, and sure that makes sense, but do you remember what you ate for breakfast on this day three weeks ago?

We remember the time we broke our arm, but not the ten million times we stubbed our toe on a chair leg.

We remember the times when God really brought us through a valley—when life was at its worst. But we tend to forget that time last week when we, oh, I don't know, left the laundry in the wash and had dark and white clothes bleeding together. But that happens, doesn't it?

And, while the big things definitely do change us and our lives, I think it's probably equally if not more so important that we're handling the little things correctly, also, for those happen every day. Whatever attitude we have facing the littles will be the basic attitude everyone around us attributes us with and the children in our lives copy. Whatever mindset we have facing the littles will be the mindset we have when we face the monstrous.

It's so hard, right? 

Because we speak English here, there are quite literally hundreds of adjectives and adverbs we could put in here.

Depressing?

Embarrassing? 

Frustrating?

Unnecessary? 

Things just don't and won't go our way every day.

How are we handling that?

Recently I had been practicing a viola part to an orchestral arrangement of 'Sunlight in My Soul' by Tracy Ann Collins. For weeks. It's in alto clef and I was more or less using this piece of music to teach myself to read alto clef. I had played in said clef before, but, after a couple years of not really practicing, I had lost the skill. My motive behind working so hard on this specific song was to audition with said piece for the ATI Big Sandy Family Conference orchestra. At some point in time, this was the required audition piece for violists.

So.

Just picture my horror upon randomly opening up the website at the last minute to discover

Friday, March 24, 2017

Motive? What Motive?: When Books Parallel Life



I have had one freelance editing project or another going almost all of the time for the past year. Before then, most of my projects were more "beta reading" jobs. While editing (at least line editing/copyediting, as I do) is an intensive check on grammar, spelling, and sentence structure, beta reading is more like just reading the book thoroughly, looking for loops in the plot or such. Because I'm just a cool editor like that, I always include some "beta reader analysis" when I finish the project, even if it is technically a line editing or copyediting job.

One specific thing I have had to point out to several authors, now, is motive.

Humans don't just do what humans do. Humans always have a motive, whether we see it or not. We always have a motive, whether we're willing to admit it or not. So, in a book, if the main characters don't have something driving them, even if unexposed to us, it's unbelievable. It's unrealistic.

So this is my advice to any aspiring writers out there, especially if you're doing fiction: give all of your characters real, believable motives, even if you're the only person in the universe who knows them.

What are they driven by? Fear of... something? Fear of failure? Fear of what people think about them? Are they driven by greed? Lust? Anger or revenge? Love and compassion?

Find the motive.

But this parallels real life, too. 


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Coming Soon: Peculiar on Purpose Q&A

Hey y'all!

Happy spring!

I do have tons of posts in draft awaiting my finishing touches for to publish here on the blog, but in the mean time, I was wondering if anyone has any questions for me?

I get questions sometimes, in comments or private contact forms, about myself, my family, what I believe, my education/homeschooling/college work, photography, blogging, writing, editing, and etc. Why not answer them all at once?

So! If you have any questions for me, feel free to comment them below or send a contact form (via the contact page)!! The contact form does require an email address, but comments may be submitted anonymously, if you'd like. And ask multiple things; I don't mind!

I don't know yet if I'll answer all questions at once, or spread out, but be sure to subscribe to the blog, so you'll see the questions and answers as they're published! [Just as a reminder, you may subscribe via the subscribe bar on the top right of the page in web version or via the contact page in mobile version.]

Disclaimer: a question submitted does not guarantee an answer. Questions will be made public and answered at my discretion.

Thanks, guys! Have an awesome week!




Saturday, February 25, 2017

Resting Amidst the Waves



Crash! Another wave pounded the men, some falling prostrate, all grabbing for a holding, lest they be drug out with the receding waters pelting them to the rhythm of an old clock in need of winding.

It hadn't seemed like a bad evening for travel when they had loaded up on the far shore; the clouds and winds had overtaken them quite suddenly. Even for fishermen, used to the elements and surprises the sea could throw at a man, this was looking worse and worse by the minute.

"I don't think we're gonna to make it, John—you think we should wake Him?"

"Come now, Peter, you know we've dealt with a few waves before."

"No way. No way we can make it," Thomas interjected sullenly, coming to terms with a fate at the bottom of the sea.

The waves were relentless, in pursuit of their very lives. Peter hadn't lost all hope yet, but Thomas's assessment was sounding about right. He'd seen a lot of waves in his time, but never this bad—and they weren't going to be stopping any time soon, either. Peter glanced upwards once again, hoping for some sign of an impending break in the storm. Nothing but clouds of the ugliest grey as far as he could see, which was admittedly not far, what for the torrential downpour and towering waves. This wind was completely unnatural... almost like—he had it!

This was that darker power. The evil in the world. The Prince of Darkness.

Certainly this storm could only have been brewed by the Devil himself, Peter knew he was onto something.

He waved over the men, yelling unintelligibly to catch their attentions.

"We need Him!" Peter raised his voice to be heard between wave crashes. "This is a war!" He cried, gesturing towards the fighting between clouds and sea for the dominance of the sky. Another wave plummeted them all. "He is our warrior!"

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Favorites + Highlights // Winter 2016-17

[Warning: long post]

I may or may not have started writing this blog post a half dozen times by now.

For what it's worth, Phaxatomicbomby Phil predicted another 6 weeks of winter, so I figured I didn't want to jump the gun and talk about winter in past tense just yet.

If my antics over the past few months interest you, they've mostly been divided fairly between very important, absolute priorities, on one side, and frivolous, time-wasting things that I just want to do because "it's way too beautiful of a day to spend the whole thing inside working", on the other. It's been a very mild winter. Like, two inches of snow total. [Insert sad face.] But very busy. I don't remember the last day when I actually didn't have something pressing needing my attention. Blogging probably should have taken a shot for the team, but in a way, I've found writing helps to keep me sane. So it stays. :)

This winter I've been...


Learning:

God has taught me SO much lately!

My blog posts, 'Hijacking God's Spotlight' and '"Square One" and Why I'll Never be There Again', were just two of the things God's been working on my heart about recently.

The first week of January, Kristen and I were invited by a friend to attend a day of In the Gap's Leadership Academy, just down the road at the Eagle Springs Training Center, and I loved that day. I learned so much, was so encouraged by the edifying conversation, was so blessed to be included in an amazing small group for the day, and so enjoyed our game of speed volleyball after lunch (even if I totally wasn't dressed for such sports).


(Here is a picture of our small group. These girls are so amazing!)

And I have to share with you my favorite sermon from that day with the In the Gap people:


Christ Our Righteousness: Identity in Christ
Jamie Lash

Can everyone reading this please save this video on your YouTube account and promise me you'll watch it at some point? I know most people don't just randomly have an hour to stop and hear a sermon, but I really need to share this with you. It is life-changing!

This has completely changed the way I think, especially about myself. It's so important I view myself how God views me, and not how Satan wants me to view myself. We have to respect God enough to trust He knows what He's talking about- especially when it's about us!! I wish Bro. Lash used the KJV, but I nonetheless whole-heartedly recommend this to everyone.

(I'm hoping to watch the three sermons that follow this one in his series soon. I'll let you know...)


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Beautiful Words



May God bless us with discomfort

At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships,

So that we may live from deep within our hearts.

May God bless us with anger

At in justice, oppression, and exploitation of God's creations,

So that we may work for justice, freedom, and peace.

May God bless us with tears

To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger, and war,

So that we may reach out our hands to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless us with just enough foolishness

To believe that we can make a difference in the world,

So that we can do what others claim cannot be done.

- A Franciscan Prayer

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

5 Tips For Memorizing Scripture


Hi friends!

Memorizing Bible passages has been such a huge part of my Spiritual life. I've learned about God, and to know Him, through His Word, for as long back as I can remember. I cannot remember a time when I didn't know John 3:16 by heart.

We moved to Texas when I was 12, but I was 14 by the time we found East River Baptist Church, where we ended up joining as members. From 14 to 18, I was in youth group every Wednesday night of the school year learning and soaking in so much, as well as reciting verses I had memorized throughout the week.

My Junior year in High School, our family finally got involved the National Bible Bee, through which I was motivated to memorized hundreds more verses!!

The most verses I ever memorized in one week was 33, if I'm remembering correctly. And that was nothing! I was competing with others in the youth group and Bible Bee who could do 50 or better every week, easy!

So maybe they should be writing this post.

But, anyways, here are five tips for memorizing more of God's Word, retaining more of what you memorize, and memorizing it more efficiently/quickly.

(From someone who actually isn't very good at memorizing things.)


Saturday, February 11, 2017

7 Scriptures I Turn to for Encouragement



Recently I read an article on another blog about looking to the "great heroes of our faith", and how dangerous that can be. The author was totally right: those Spiritual leaders can encourage, exhort, and edify us, but if they aren't pointing us ultimately to God and His Word, they aren't worthy of our following.

Of course Corrie ten Boom was an amazing lady, and she definitely had some extremely inspirational words to leave behind, but when I'm stuck in the mud of life, I should be turning to the Bible, and not punching 'Corrie ten Boom' into the Pinterest search engine. That makes sense, doesn't it?

Where do I turn, though?

What verses are my solace? My empowering confidence? My encouragement?

Here are just seven:

Joshua 1:8-9


This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

There's so much in the passage! Firstly, I love the part about success. Our modern, western culture has it so messed up! Secondly, I just love the thought of knowing I go into every battle- big and small- with God. I think because most of us haven't been in an actual war, we sometimes don't take the verses about wars and battles very personally. However, we all fight battles, every day. Spiritual, emotional, mental battles. It's even a battle just to keep our priority on Him sometimes! God goes with us through every battle.


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

"Square One" and Why I'll Never be There Again



"I feel like I'm back at square one."

It's an expression I've heard my whole life, and in certain moments I've felt I was the personification of the depressed phrase. In other words, I feel like I've made no progress. I feel like I'm once again where I started, and all that effort in the middle was for naught.

Surely. Surely there's one person out there who will know what I'm talking about. Surely someone else knows this feeling.

But God's been teaching me I'll never be at square one again.

It's really a revelation to me.

I needed that middle stuff to become who I am. And, further, who I'm going to be.

I was not as mature at square one as I am today.

I was not as emotionally stable or secure in my identity in Christ as I am today.

I needed the struggle, the wading through the murky swamps, to become who I am. To grow, and learn, and become stronger so if the next swamp I face is even deeper, I'll have had the practice.


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