Monday, December 31, 2012

A year of grace.


If years can be summed up in one word, that would be mine.

Last year was a year of breaking. This year has been one of putting it all back together again. I don't know how He did it, only that He did. And it has been a beautiful thing.

I've spent hours trying to find the right words to describe this year, to explain the grace I've been given, but tonight, I realized…I can't. Sometimes, words are not enough. There is so much to be said, and maybe I'll have the chance to share it all someday, but for now, I will leave my reflection of 2012 at this:

His grace is enough.
His mercy is everlasting.
His love never fails.

Sometimes, less is more.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Adventure is out there.

Currently: Sitting in a perfect little hideaway spot in the newest Starbucks, finishing up this post and getting ready to read a new book.
(Why a town the size of Cleveland needs three different Starbucks--plus 9842034 other coffee shops--I will never understand, but I can't say I'm complaining, either. Also, is it weird that I've been planning to come here alone all week long and been SO excited about that thought? I swear I'm not antisocial.)

Adventure is one of my favorite words.

This probably isn't news to most of you. It's a word with so much meaning, at least for me personally. It's exciting, it's dangerous, it's always changing, always new. It teaches you, it changes you, it makes you who you are. In a certain sense, it's my theme for life.

I recently read an article from Relevant Magazine titled "Should We Chase Security or Adventure?" I love the author's perspective.
"The predetermined path may be smooth sailing, but there’s a sense of adventure in not knowing exactly what’s ahead. When we rely on faith to guide us rather than our own concept of a life plan, we open ourselves up to being used in extraordinary ways. This faith includes trusting God not only in matters of obvious importance, but also in the small decisions of daily life." 
That is exactly how I want to live my life. I honestly can't imagine my future any other way. It's weird, but I've always had a feeling that my life will never be completely…normal. I don't know how to fully explain that, but the above sums it up pretty well.

Photo credit: Julian Bialowas

Still, as exciting it is to imagine living one day at a time, completely based on faith and trusting God, it's really, really scary, too. I love adventure, but I also love stability. Change is exciting, but it isn't secure. A quick glance back at my own past experiences is proof enough that I don't usually respond too well to not being completely in control. But at the same time, isn't that a huge part of what makes an adventure, well, an adventure?

I've been thinking about the future a lot lately. I still have a year left of grad school, but I'll be done with classes in July. All that's left will be 3 months of thesis-writing, but during that time, I won't be tied to Cleveland. I'll have the freedom to go wherever I want, wherever God may lead me. It's an exhilarating thought, but a scary one, too. I have no idea what's coming next, but I am excited to see what the next phase of life will bring.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Things I Like: Christmas Edition!

Listening to: Some eclectic mix of folk, pop, country, electronic, and Christmas (and who even knows what else)
Noisetrade find of the week: The Music Bed Christmas sampler. A few classics, a few originals, from artists like Ben Rector, Matthew Mayfield, & Katie Herzig. It's nice for those times when I want a mixture of Christmas & my usual.

Hello. I'm procrastinating. Did you know that I hate finals? One more take-home essay exam to finish, and I will be 100% done with my first semester of grad school. Crazy? Yes.

Anyway. Since I don't have a whole lot to say about life in general (and since I'm trying to do everything possible to avoid finishing this exam), I figured it was time for another "Things I Like" post. But then, isn't it always?

1 // 24 Merry Days Giveaway. This awesome online advent calendar (created by Audrey @ This Little Street) comprises of 24 giveaways by 24 different bloggers, one for every day between now and Christmas. Even if I don't end up winning anything (which is pretty much a guarantee. I've won like, one contest in my entire life), I've really enjoyed finding some fun new blogs to read!

2 // iPhone Wrist Straps. Guys, I for real need one of these. I drop my phone all. the. time. Literally, like 3 times a day.* Plus it would be super handy for those times when you don't have pockets or need to be ready to snap a picture on a moment's notice. And they're cute. $35 isn't that bad, right?

3 // Outdoor Research Cinch Sack. I found this yesterday while browsing around Rock/Creek. I love it. It's green and gray, it's nature-y, it's waterproof, and it's Outdoor Research, meaning there's a lifetime guarantee: no matter what happens to it or how it happens, if it wears out or tears or whatever, they'll replace it, free of charge. Did I mention it's only $24?**

4 // DIY Jersey Knit Bracelets. These are so cute and super easy to make. I cut up an old t-shirt and attempted to make one. Mine didn't turn out quite as well as I had hoped, but it's not bad. I'm planning to attempt some others. I also think this might be cute as a headband.

5 // Perched Bird Accent Table. This…is wonderful. I love it. Birds, branches, and leaves. Perfect. I've been needing something to replace my current "side tables" (which happen to be big trash cans draped with ugly pink fabric with a glass piece on top. It works, but I can't say it's attractive).***
*I swear I wasn't clumsy until college, and even then only in the past couple of years. If it is going to be dropped, spilled, or tripped over, I'll get it done, guaranteed. I don't get it.
**Sounds a bit pricey for a sling bag, BUT for the brand? And that lifetime guarantee? Worth it.
***I know, I'm obsessed. And I know that all of the above are so overused, it's not even funny. However. Birds, branches, and leaves were my thing before they were a thing, so I have no shame.