A D V E N T U R E

I made a sign for my room this week. I think it’s laughing at me.

Adventure-0219

I’m living in Plymouth this summer. It’s new – but it’s also been hard. These first few weeks I’ve been trying to figure out how I fit here. I’ve spent a majority of my time at home, applying for jobs. I don’t want to complain about it, because I’ve had some really lovely times over the past few weeks. But it’s tough sitting in a small town with few people who really know you and trying to deal with the all-star Instagram feeds of friends on faraway adventures. [Comparison sucks.]

My heart yearns for adventure. My eyes want a fresh view, a novel experience, something that takes my breath away. Untouchable beauty. Something to remind me that I’m alive.

I came home hoping for adventure in a new place. But what happens when things don’t happen the way I expect?

I pout. I feel sorry for myself. I want adventure. My adventure.

But that’s not how adventures happen, do they? I think of Frodo wishing the ring had never come to him. Steve Rogers missing his dance with General Carter. Susan and Lucy crying as Aslan is killed. Things are so different than I expected! My heart then yearns for somewhere safe, arms that hold me secure: home.

Maybe home and adventure aren’t mutually exclusive. His arms are my home. He leads me through each twist and turn, and we twirl and dance together. I let go, trip and stumble. He brushes me off and picks me up, the rhythms of grace alive in our dance.

Alone in our new house, I whittle away at the tree bark. Down in the basement, I carefully collect the shavings once I’ve scraped away at the branch with my blade. I think about adventures at camp, jumping off the zip line platform, and telling kids about Jesus. I think about seeing Germany, the mountains of Switzerland, the Eiffel Tower. I think about Plymouth, Indiana, full of people whose faces I might come to know and love.

Solomon said, “In his heart, a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps” [Prov. 16:9].

If adventure is just exploring faraway places, thrill-seeking, or checking something off my bucket list, is that enough? I don’t think so.

A few years ago, I started trying to write down little memories from each day on index cards. I remember the little moments of each day with joy: my very own adventures. I look at my memories from yesterday alongside the memories of yesterday-last-year and the year before and smile. There is still adventure right here, right now.

2012: 1st time belaying!, 2013: big event at Touchdown Jesus, 2014: Worship @ the Living Room

Adventure is being held in the arms of my Creator, led forth with peace into the great unknown… or maybe just into my small town. He directs my paths as I trust Him. I venture safe in his arms into the sweet and turbulent moments of the day. Every morning when I wake up, I want to remember that this adventure I’m on is His, not mine.

I don’t want to miss a single beautiful view on this path.

Adventure Sign in My Room

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Venus Snap Razor Review

Hey friends!

I know it’s been forever since I’ve blogged, and I’m going to try to change that. In the meantime, this post is brought to you by Influenster and Gillette Venus (all opinions are completely mine, though)!

What is Influenster, you may ask? Well, it’s a pretty awesome online program that will send you products for free to try out, review, and share about on social media. I get free stuff, the company gets word-of-mouth promotion, and everyone’s happy.

Anyways, I received the Venus Snap razor in the mail the other day compliments of Venus and Influenster.

Venus Snap Razor

My Venus Snap, fresh outta the mailbox.

I  tested out the Snap last weekend while traveling for my best friend’s wedding that I was in. It was nice to just toss the little blue case inside my bag – so cute and compact. I used it in the shower, but it would be easy to use it on the go if you realize you miss a spot!

It’s a little weird using such a small handle on a razor to shave, but the grip is squishy and comfortable, and it actually works super well. The package just tells you to wet the blades, and you’re good to go.

I also love that it uses Venus blades so I can keep reusing it. The case is also nice and has a vent so it can dry inside.

Honestly, my favorite thing about this is that it was free. I probably wouldn’t have bought it otherwise since it’s pricey ($9.47) for such a small razor. But now that I have it, I’ll definitely put it to good use! I may even consider switching to venus from now on… the disposables I use aren’t that great. Thanks Influenster and Venus!

“we learn through the process”

The dry erase marker squeaked across the whiteboard as the professor inscribed these words:

“We learn through the process.” 

I was a graphic design major, a junior still trying to figure out the world. The time had finally come for me to take a painting class. Working with oil paints was something new to me. Something I had virtually no experience with.

Starting the demonstration, the professor dipped his brush into the medium and began to mix color on the palette. Gracefully applying it to the canvas, He modeled for us the proper way to use the materials, to mix the colors, to reveal the tones of the image. I was excited and nervous all at the same time, my mind swirling with the possibilities of what I might be capable of creating. Yet a large part of me was afraid. Afraid that I would try and fail.

My paint was runny. I used too much medium, and the texture wasn’t there. I stepped back to examine my work and sighed in frustration. Some of the tones looked too harsh. The blending was rough. I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Why is this so difficult? I don’t even know what I’m doing.

 Image

But I continued to work. I worshipped the One who created light and dark, form and texture, space and substance. I started again. And I began to learn. I learned much more than I ever could have from watching the professor complete an entire painting. I just had to pick up my brush and do it. We learn through the process.

Sometimes I decide I’m not capable. I decide to let the fear of failing keep me from trying. I tell myself that I’m not a gifted evangelist, a strong leader or a captivating speaker. I forget that these people had to develop their gifts.

I tell myself that I’m not good at sharing my faith. Have I tried? I say that I’m not assertive enough to be a strong leader. Have I put myself in a situation where I have the opportunity? Many times, that answer is no.

We learn through the process.

May you and I have the courage to try and fail, even when we fail spectacularly. May we get up and try again, releasing to God our fear and resting in the hope that He is conforming us to the likeness of His Son. Because He is worth the risk and the reward.

my humble abode

Living in an on-campus apartment this year has been so much fun! My roommates and I decided on a travel theme since we’ve all acquired different decor from our adventures overseas. It’s been a little challenging to make the most of a small amount of space, but we’re making it work. Here’s a little peek into apartment life in Kent 207!

View coming in to the apartment

View coming in to the apartment. I love our little balcony!

food

Eating area off the kitchen

Indiana map art I made

Indiana map art I made

View from my room into the living/dining area

View from my room into the living/dining area

My dresser. Postcard wall inspired by Johanna John :)

My dresser. Postcard wall inspired by Johanna John 🙂

 hello

Washi tape photo wall

It's a little cluttered, but come on, we had to make room for the craft supplies!

It’s a little cluttered, but come on, we had to make room for the craft supplies!

keepin' it classy with the vinyl.

Keepin’ it classy with the vinyl.

Pursuing Holiness

I am beyond blessed to go to a school that will cancel class for a day so that we can gather together and worship our Creator. Every fall and spring, we have Day of Worship. It’s not just a time to sing praise songs and get pumped up on a spiritual high, but a time dedicated to beholding God through praise, scripture, teaching, and time spent alone with him. Usually each one has a theme, and yesterday we talked about holiness.

So often I sing some variation of “God, you are holy,” but I realized that I have let those words fall empty on my lips. The idea of God’s holiness is so, so far from me. I look to this world to find some semblance of holiness – but holy is distinct, set apart from this creation in every single way. I could never set up any kind of standard to measure it. HE is the standard. It is simply unfathomable; my mind cannot even grasp it. Confronted with this holiness, my first response is to fall to my knees and just cry. Even my shadowy, small view of his holiness is enough to ruin me – I have missed the mark so spectacularly. I feel much like Isaiah before God, saying

“Doom! It’s Doomsday!
I’m as good as dead!
Every word I’ve ever spoken is tainted—
blasphemous even!
And the people I live with talk the same way,
using words that corrupt and desecrate.
And here I’ve looked God in the face!
The King! God-of-the-Angel-Armies!” (Isaiah 6:5, The Message)

So what about God’s holiness causes Moses to worship him for it in Exodus 15? Why should we rejoice over this? Well, it was his very holiness that set apart the true living God from the false idols of Egypt. The same is true for us. No idol I could ever turn to could ever bear the weight of my sin. No idol meets the standard of holiness needed for redemption that is found in Christ alone. Especially considering that my biggest idol is ME. Looking at my life, it doesn’t take me long to conclude that I could never live up to that standard. But praise God, I am saved by grace, and my position before God stands on the perfect holiness of Jesus. Can I get an amen up in here? That is why his holiness causes us to well up with joy and thankfulness – without it we would be left to our sin. But our God chose to wrap himself in humanity, veiling his holy deity in flesh to die for us so that we could have salvation on the basis of his perfect sacrifice.

But that’s not all. And this is where my mind blows up a little bit: the Holy Spirit of God actually dwells inside us, helping us to pursue holiness. I have not been abandoned as an orphan to follow Jesus’ commands in my own strength, cause guess what – I can’t. But that same unfathomable holiness lives inside me through the Spirit, and I don’t have to live in slavery to my idols, to myself, to the lies I’ve believed. Peter says, “just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do.” Why would he tell us that if we were not to pursue holiness? We need to have hearts that seek the Spirit and say yes to what he is guiding us to do. I know that some days I will fail to do this, and other days I will succeed, but I rest in knowing that God is faithful, and he isn’t done with me yet.

1 Thessalonians 5:24-25:  “Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful.”

Work in Progress

Well, I’ve officially started my junior year at Grace College, and I’m loving it so far! Sometimes I just stop and wonder though: how did I get here? How am I already the confident upperclassmen who really, in all honesty, doesn’t have that much college left? I feel like I have so much left to learn about life before I am thrust out the doors into the real world. I think that’s something that God has really pointed out to me over the course of this summer: I really don’t know all that much.

You see, I have this tendency to pretend like I have it all together. I don’t. I often listen to the deceitful voice that tells me that if people knew what I really looked like on the inside, they would leave. But this I do know: “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 1:6)

I am the queen of unfinished projects.  I am constantly starting something new and then shoving it into the back of my closet and forgetting about it. Seriously, right now my closet has half a quilt, about five in-progress knitting projects, unpainted frames, mason jars I meant to use, and let’s not forget about the shoebox of ticket stubs and scraps I’ve been meaning to scrapbook.

Wood-plaques in progress in Bacharach, Germany

Wood-plaques in progress in Bacharach, Germany

But though I may never finish some of this stuff, God says that he has predestined us as believers to be conformed to the likeness of His son (Romans 8:29). Wow. What God starts, he finishes. Though I am a walking work-in-progress on this side of eternity, one day the work will be done! How I long for that! But in the meantime, I take heart knowing that he’s not done with me yet.

I’m Back!

Hey everyone!

Well, I made it back to the States last week and had a little chance to recover from the jet lag. What an amazing trip we had! I don’t even want to know how many photos I took – but all I can say is that everything completely exceeded my expectations. I loved so much about this trip, but to spare you all the details, my top 3 things were getting to see Johanna and meet her family in Freiburg, hiking by the Matterhorn in Switzerland and sketching by the Seine on the Ilé de Louis in Paris.

Streets of Freiburg

Streets of Freiburg

Hohenswangau Castle

Hohenswangau Castle

Hiking down Gornergrat

Hiking down Gornergrat

At the train station

At the train station

Pastries at Gerard Mulot...  heaven on earth.

Pastries at Gerard Mulot… heaven on earth.

Love locks on the bridge

Love locks on the bridge

Champ de Elysees on Bastille Day!

Champ de Elysees on Bastille Day!

Sketching by the Seine
Sketching by the Seine