Pretty pink excuses 

Recently I have realized how much I talk more than I actually do. I have about 10 dozen excuses wrapped in pretty pink bows, ready for every occasion. The enemy has been swooping in during times of being too tired to read my bible, too distracted by my own thoughts to pray.  Blinded by constant comparisons of where I think I should be at my age, that I forget to be grateful for how far I’ve come. 

When I’m in the midst of a rough season, I find myself not relying fully on Jesus. I’m good at talking about doing it when things are fine and dandy, but when life loses its sweetness and the enemy throws SUV sized negative thought bubbles my direction… I have a tendency to take matters upon myself. Of course by that I mean I roll up in a ball exhausted and overwhelmed. I know I can’t do life without Him, so why do I constantly leave Him out by my excuses?

When a curveball is thrown, I act as if Jesus isn’t enough. How can that be? Jesus is certainly more than enough, so why do my actions show otherwise? One of the biggest lies the enemy has played repeat many a times in my life, is my battle with depression/anxiety. It is an encapsulating fog that leaves me feeling trapped, momentarily believing God can’t get me through this. The even bigger lie, was thinking my depression went away or that I was done struggling with it. It’s something I have to accept as something I do and will struggle with, but I’m trying to view it as God using those dark times to draw me closer to Him. One gift from it is meeting other people who wrestle with the same issues, reminding us we aren’t alone and that we need people during those times. 

Thoughts still processing… More to come. 

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My ever changing Sundays

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Sundays are different to everybody, for me as a kid they were meant for going to church. Sometimes I loved going, others I dreaded it.  Sunday school was fun for the most part. In high school, I went to church about every week but I mostly helped in kindergarten, and second grade classrooms. I had so much fun being apart of teaching about Jesus to a room full of adorable little kids with a heart for God. My mom was a Sunday school teacher, so that’s how I initially got involved, and then the hours counted towards community service for my high school. I did enjoy going, but I probably needed to be more involved in a high school group, but those were less appealing.

It was either my Junior or Senior year of high school when my parents changed churches, so I followed suit. I didn’t like the new church as much, but my parents did. I started dreading going to church almost every time, my heart wasn’t in it. When I hit my first year of college, we had chapel 2-3 times a week, and church. I thought it sounded great at first, but I grew tired of it, feeling forced to go all the time. I didn’t have a good attitude, and outlook about it. Looking back I realize what an amazing opportunity it was to grow & be with people who desired the Lord. I do have regrets for not seizing the opportunities I was blessed with, but I was lost & guess my heart wasn’t truly willing.

This past year my Sundays consisted of working at a restaraunt downtown. I slowly stopped taking Sunday shifts, but not to go to church, to hang out with friends. A friend from work, and I used to go bar hopping on Sunday nights, our “Sunday fun days.” Then when I got into a relationship, Sundays became our date nights. Sundays lost their previous meaning for me, it just became an ordinary day where I didn’t think of God at all.

I’ve spent more than enough time lately dwelling on the past and things I cannot change, so I’m actively trying to start fresh, and focus on the present. I haven’t consistently been to church since my first year of college, which sadly was about 6 years ago. I have been to church since but again not with a willing heart, and it was usually because my family went. I shamefully admit it was only a few times a year, maybe for Christmas, Easter, and times I accompanied my best friend. But I didn’t desire to go every week, I didn’t go with an open heart, I didn’t really focus on the message, and let it sink in. I definitely did not think about it much the other 6 days of the week. I went about my life, doing the same things. I honestly didn’t think I needed church, or didn’t think it was for me anymore, and a part of me felt like it was too hard to keep going because I would have to change my ways. I would often feel guilt when going to church, feeling uncomfortable, and who wants that? Nobody wants to be out of their comfort zone, and feel guilt, but often times that’s what we have to go through to grow. I kept ignoring it, and just gave up.

Fast forward to the end of June, the night before I ended up breaking up with my boyfriend I went to church with my friend. It had been a long time since I had been, it was a new church. I actually wanted to go, it was something that had been weighing on my heart in the last couple months of my relationship. I was hesitant to tell him because I knew he would think it was weird. It felt so good being there, being around people who needed, and wanted Jesus in there life.

I was finally at a point in my life where I was no longer ashamed to admit I needed Jesus in my life. I felt convicted, refreshed, safe, not feeling lost for a moment. I was so tired of feeling lost, but I didn’t realize what I needed to no longer feel that way. Only God knew exactly what I needed, and He knew the perfect timing. It was definitely God who put this desire in my heart. I used to think church was only for those who have it all figured out but it’s absolutely not the case. Nobody will ever have it all figured out we are all sinners who fall short of the glory of be Lord, but by His grace we are redeemed.

I’m so thankful to my best friend, she knows who she is! 🙂 She has always been a great example in my life of following Christ, and living by faith. I’m so blessed to have had her as friend for all these years. Even through times when I wasn’t the best friend in return, and when I wouldn’t tell her everything because I knew she would judge me, but honestly I deserved it, and needed to be held accountable to my actions. I’m so glad we are able to go to church together, and grow, it’s been fun trying different churches. I’m excited to continue going to church, this time with a willing heart, a desire to grow. I thank you Jesus for changing my heart, opening my eyes, and taking me back no matter what I have done, and how far I strayed from you. I thank you for your mercy, and endless grace.

Handmade Watercolor Cards 

I’ve been making Encouragement cards, with water colors & oil pastels. The ones below are all watercolor with some acrylic paint as accents. The painting is done for these, still need to add sayings to some of them. The clothes-pins are just for the purpose of taking the photos. Going to make some ‘Thank you’ and ‘Just because’ cards soon.

#1

#2 Front View

#2 Back View

#3 Front View

#3 Back View

#4 Front View

#4 Back View

#5

#6 Front View

#6 Back View

#7

Photography: Comfort behind the lens

When I lived in California I would go to Del Mar beach as much as I could, with my camera in tow. I was taking a photography class so I finally had an excuse for taking so many pictures. Being behind the camera has always made me feel safe, I remember feeling lost, restless, confused and just walking along the beach thinking. The fresh air and the sound of the crashing waves calmed me, I felt a sense of peace near the ocean. I let my camera lead the way, following whatever caught my fancy. I often walked near the train tracks taking pictures from up above the beach. It may sound unusual but the sound of trains/coasters relaxed me, a sense of distraction from my thoughts.

I found beauty, and joy in everyday surroundings. A coaster may not be much to some people, but to others it signifies hope, hope in a new day, a fresh start, hope of meeting new people, hope of a better day when they reach their destinations.

Photography gives me a feeling of hope, focus, contentment. The world around me seems less scary through my lens.

I would spend hours at the beach staring off into the vast ocean in awe of God’s beautiful creation. I loved the reflection of the sun glistening on the warm sand, as the waves crashed over the various colored stones washed ashore. Looking back at these photos it makes me appreciate the small things, the joy i found watching the birds leave their little prints in the sand as they wandered the beach. the simple satisfaction of watching the waves continuously swoosh back and forth for hours.

A gorgeous sunset over the pristine blue ocean. I remember my exact feelings of loneliness, and not knowing my place in the world. Life passing me by, as I stood still. In a moment it all shifted, with a change in perspective, and a press of a round black button the world stopped. Those insecurities disappeared in that moment.

Red Journal: Decisions influenced by fear

  

  

I never thought I would get past the words written in this journal. Words driven by fear, anxiousness, emptiness, confusion, and countless tears pouring out onto the crisp white pages. I wrestled with the fear of being alone, and doubting my existence. My mind dripped with despair, my heart literally ached. The only way to feel some relief was writing out my thoughts, and praying. I constantly wrote about what I wanted, characteristics I desired in the allusive perfect man, and where I wanted to be in life. The only problem was, I was just writing my concerns, fears down, I wasn’t giving them to God, and actively seeking Him.

Why is being alone such a huge fear in young women? It was a question I often wrestled with, and it may not be true for every woman of course, but how often do we make decisions influenced by our fears? Fears of being alone, fears of failure, fears of rejection? Fear of (add your own here)

A few of my past fears:
Forgetting who I am.
Settling for less than I deserve.
Not being good enough.
Staying still, never feeling alive.

If I had realized that being alone isn’t a bad thing, it’s okay to not be in a relationship or have a man in your life. Just because you don’t have someone constantly reminding you of your beauty or accomplishments, it doesn’t mean you aren’t worthy. We are worthy in the eyes of God. I was in a relationship a few years ago with someone out of the fear of being alone, but also the fear of being left with my feelings. My feelings of regret, emptiness, shame, if I was with someone who made me laugh, and told me how beautiful I was, maybe those feelings would go away? How dumb was I to think that?? I was stuck in a rut of looking for temporary happiness, I was attracted to receiving shallow attention.  I needed internal growth, I didn’t need to grow from experiences of bad relationships, and wrong decisions. Although I certainly have, but I needed to turn to God during those experiences, seeking Him with my brokenness, not covering up my wounds with more dramatic relationship problems.