Thursday, April 30, 2015

Day 26: Z is for Zeal

   Finally! I've made it! Welcome to my last post of the A-Z Challenge, where I'll be talking about zeal.
   You've probably realized by now that I really love life. I think it's important for everyone to love their lives, and to live them to the fullest, because that's what zeal really is. Zeal is taking life's reigns, handing them over to God, and saying, "Here You go. You know what's best for me. Help me to live it out."
   To be fully Alive, you must embrace the Beauty that makes you you. You must be Courageous. You must Delight in the little things. You must strive for Elegance. You must be a Firework. You must learn to be Grateful for everything, even your crosses. You must be Humble. You must learn to use your Imagination. You must learn to be Joyful and Kind at all times. You must think Lovely thoughts. You must learn to recognize the Magic around you. You must go deeper than simply being a "Nice" Christian. You must fall in love with your Originality. You must acknowledge your Passions, and use them. You must become a Quantrelle, the woman God made you to be. You must strive for true Romance. You must be the Sunshine in someone's cloudy day. You must find your Team. You must accept the beauty of Uniqueness. You must understand your Value. You must be like a Wildflower, and grow where you are planted. You must stand up for what you believe in, like Malcolm X says. You mustn't let anyone tell you you're too Young to be important to the world. Only then will you live a truly Zealous life.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Day 25: Y is for Youth

◄  1 Timothy 4:12: "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity."
   Today's youth has a lot of problems. Some of us don't care enough about school. Some of us drink and do drugs. Some of us think all there is to life is being rich and having as much fun as possible. We've been called the worst generation yet. We've been told we're stupid. People have said that the world is doomed, because what will happen when we start to run the world? Many adults have lost faith in humanity because of us. They look down on us, and treat us like babies. And they're right: there are some teenagers who skip school and drink and do drugs and party every night. But I want to tell those adults that there are other, different teens out there. There are still some who care. There are smart ones. There are some who strive to make a difference. There are some who only want to love. Have a little bit of hope.
   Don't ever let anyone look down on you because you're young; don't ever let anyone tell you your dreams and goals will never be reality. Let's set an example in our speech, our conduct, and our love. Let's prove them wrong, and be the generation that changes the world for the better.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Day 24: X is for Malcolm

   Yeah, you heard that right. "X" is for Malcolm. Malcolm X, that is.
   Today while I was scrolling through Pinterest (I do that quite a lot), I found this Malcolm X quote: "A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything." How relevant is this for modern day Christianity? I've seen it a thousand times: a Christian who vows to be quiet about their beliefs because they don't want to "shove it down anyone's throats," so they pretend they don't really have the morals that they do. Then when anyone wants to do something that goes against that person's beliefs, they just go along with it, because they don't want to be called "weird" or labelled as a "Jesus freak." Not only have I seen this happen, but I've been this person.
   Jesus told us to love one another, and by staying quiet, I thought that was what I was doing. But the truth is, love isn't just making people happy. Love is willing the greatest good for someone, and the "greatest good" is heaven. So if you go along letting people commit any sins they want, that's not loving them. Sure, we're not supposed to be haughty and pushy and "holier than thou," but we're also not supposed to be passive.
   Christians are supposed to be Jesus' warriors here on earth; we are supposed to be fighting evil, not standing by and letting it happen.
   Instead of falling for sin, let's pray to God and ask Him to grant us the strength to stand for goodness, purity, and real love.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Day 23: W is for Wildflowers

"Let her be a wildflower. Let her grow up through the messy earth that she's not supposed to grow through. Let her turn her face up to the sun and let her petals shine. Let her dance in the rain and sway in the wind, for it will make her stronger. Let her grow. Let her be. When the time is right, when her petals are wilting, cut her free and hold her and place her beauty somewhere it will be seen. But for now, let her grow wild." -me (I call it my hippie poem)

Day 22: V is for Value

(So sorry for posting two days late! I had a crazy weekend full of babysitting, dance, a 5k, and dodgeball. Now I'm finally back to celebrate the last week of the A-Z Challenge!)

   Today I was watching a Jason Evert talk on YouTube, because that's what Catholic girls really do when they're supposed to be doing school, and something he said really hit me. He said that women were the crescendo of God's Creation. Think about it: God created light and land and the seas and giraffes and fish and elephants and bears and all kinds of crazy animals; then he created man, and finally the woman. We were the climax, the final touch.
   Jason continued talking about how women are God's most beautiful creation. After all, guys don't get addicted to looking at pictures of rainbows and sunsets on the internet. It's the beauty of a woman that (sadly) can get addicting.
   Satan will try to whisper in our ears and feed us terrible lies, saying that we're "irrelevant" or "unimportant" or "worthless", but quite frankly, that's total BS. God Himself has proven that every woman has incredible beauty and value.
   Remember: your value doesn't decrease based on someone's inability to see your worth. God always sees it, and He wants you to see it too.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Day 21: U is for Unique

   For as long as I can remember, human beings have fascinated me. We're all unique, and yet completely the same; so similar, yet absolutely different. There is something so beautiful about the different personalities and skin colors and languages and cultures of the human beings of this world, and I want to share that beauty with you.
   I know this is a blog for writing, but sometimes pictures really are worth a thousand words.

"Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else." -Margaret Mead

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Day 20: T is for Teamwork

   When it comes to Christianity and deepening their relationship with Jesus, many people feel like they need to do it alone. They think, Well if I can just get over this sin, if I can just do better at this, maybe talking to Jesus will be easier; maybe I'll finally have a relationship with Him. But I'm going to be honest with you: you can't do it alone.
   We are the Church. We are the body of Christ. We are a family, and we're in this together. So why do we think we need to do it alone, when there are so many people willing to help us?
   St. Thomas Aquinas once said, "There is nothing on earth more prized than true friendship," and I know this to be true. You see, for a friendship to be true, it must have love. And if love is not just a feeling, but is also willing the greatest good for someone, then we should be working to bring our friends to heaven. After all, heaven is the greatest good there will ever be.
   This is why we must choose our friendships carefully. We might be having so much fun with someone that we don't realize they're taking us down a path we never meant to go down. If we're truly to be good friends, we must fight for one another's souls.
   I've been extremely blessed in having amazing friends. I even have two small groups of girlfriends that get together and study the bible or a Christian book, and I can't tell you how much they've helped me. Having people joyfully carry their crosses right along side you will make it so much easier.
   Tonight I challenge you to take a good long look at all of your friendships. If there is anyone who has pressured you into sinning in any way, it's time to let them go. In the end, the amount of fun you had won't make up for the sadness you'll feel when you can't be with God. And make sure you cherish the friendships that are bringing you closer to Jesus, because they will help you reach the eternal happiness that we're all searching for.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Day 19: S is for Sunshine

(Not exactly sure what this is. I just sort of wrote it...haha!)

Just when it seemed like the darkness
Had taken over everything,
And nothing in his life could ever
Be beautiful again,
In walked the girl.
She had eyes like the sky
And a smile of sunshine,
She looked at him and saw.
And then she loved the pain away.
With her laughter and dancing,
Singing and smiling,
She made it known;
She helped him understand
that he still deserved a beautiful life.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Day 18: R is for Romance

People, this is real romance. Let's take a deeper look at each step.
#1. Going to the door when picking someone up. Whatever happened to the guy not only picking the girl up, but getting out of the car and knocking on the door? These days the boy sends the girl an "I'm here" text, or even honks to get her attention. Girls, you are not something to be summoned, you are someone to be cherished. 

#2. Dressing nicely for a date. Nicely, respectfully, classily, whatever word you want to use. Just dress in a way that shows your date that you care about them.

#3. Bringing flowers or other tokens of affection on the first date. Just today actually, I witnessed a boy nervously picking out a bouquet of roses, and my heart melted at the sight. Seriously, girls love flowers. There's something about them that's so special. Bringing flowers for your date is easy and inexpensive, but leaves a lasting impression.

#4. Going dancing that's not grinding on a grimy club floor. Don't you love watching old movies and seeing adorable couples waltzing or doing a jive together? And then you go to homecoming or prom and see modern day couples doing what they mistakenly believe to be dancing, and your heart just drops. There is nothing special, romantic, or even fun about grinding. Let's be a little more creative with our dance moves, shall we?

#5. Straightforwardly asking someone out. There's nothing more annoying than a guy vaguely telling a girl that they should "hang out sometime." If you really like a girl, you'll muster up the courage to actually ask her on a date.

#6. Being clear about when you're going steady. Let's be honest. Going on one date doesn't automatically mean you're boyfriend and girlfriend. Dating is just a way for two people to get to know one another in a deeper way, a way that says, "There could be something between us. Let's get to know each other better and then we'll decide." When you do decide that you should be a couple, it's time to have that serious but exciting DTR (defining the relationship) conversation.

#7. Romantic gestures like writing poems. I can't tell you how many times I've seen girls tweeting about wanting cute goodnight texts. Goodnight texts? Is that really all your heart is worth? What about phone calls, or even better, talking in person? Whatever happened to poems and love letters and songs?

#8. Turning electronics off and just being with one another. Is there any worse feeling than trying to talk to someone when they're looking at their phone instead of in your eyes, and you can just tell that they don't really care? Even more importantly, would you want your date to do this to you? 

#9. The general concept of asking permission for things. Even if you don't have any boundaries and are comfortable with everything, it doesn't mean your date will be. Be respectful of limits, and ask for permission before doing anything.

#10. This is the most important of all. Society will tell you that it's no big deal, that everyone is doing it, that you're weird and prudish if you haven't. But before you do anything that you might regret, think about your future spouse. They're out there, somewhere. Living, moving, breathing. Would they later thank you for the relationship you have right now? Or could it put a wall between you?

Let's go back to being old-fashioned, and let's bring back real romance. 

Day 17: Q is for Quaintrelle

(So sorry I didn't post yesterday. I was insainly busy, and didn't have time to even think about blogging until 11 o'clock at night. Needless to say, I didn't want to do it then. So here I am, posting a day late.)

I've had the word "quaintrelle" in mind for quite some time, mainly because I like the way it sounds, and its definition is exactly who I want to be. But until I tapped on the Spotify app on my phone and started listening to the Pride and Prejudice soundtrack (whether or not you like the 2005 version, you have to admit it has a gorgeous soundtrack), I had no idea what I was going to write about. That's when it hit me: Elizabeth Bennet. 
Having grown up with three older sisters, I've seen my fair share of romance movies; but none of them have stayed with me as long as Pride and Prejudice. It was at a very young age that I decided, in my little feminine, feminist heart, that I wanted to be just like Lizzie Bennet. She was always so inspiring to me. I loved her spunk, her charm, and her strength. I loved that she didn't sit around all day, pining and moping and waiting for a Mr. Darcy to sweep her off her feet, like so many girls do today. No, Lizzie was a strong young woman. She wasn't "going to die if she didn't have a boyfriend!" That is what makes her a true quaintrelle. 
So many of my peers feel so alone and worthless without a boyfriend, and they become desperate. They become easy. They jump at any guy who shows the slightest interest, even if that guy definitely doesn't deserve them. Girls are forgetting their dignity and worth. They are forgetting to take care of their precious hearts. Think about what would have happened if Elizabeth got desperate, easy, and tired of waiting. What if she'd forgotten her worth? If she jumped at any guy who showed the slightest interest? Well, she probably would have married Mr. Collins, and the story wouldn't be half and beautiful and memorable.
But Elizabeth didn't forget her worth. She knew that her heart was more important than an advantageous marriage. She knew that she deserved love, so she waited for Mr. Darcy. But did she mope around while she wanted? No! Elizabeth lived like a true quaintrelle. She pursued her passions, she read good books and took long walks, she made memories with Jane and Charlotte, her two best friends. Elizabeth understood something that many people these days do not understand: singleness isn't a curse, it's a gift, and waiting shouldn't seem terrible, it should be a time for having fun.
So the next time you're sick of being single and "alone" (you're never actually alone), remember that if elizabeth had settled for Mr. Collins, the story wouldn't still be told. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Day 16: P is for Passion

(Anna's encouragement for the day)
You were made to be a world-changer. You were made to make people question, think, and wonder. You were made for a reason: to make your mark on the world. So look. Search. Find that thing or person or lifestyle that sets your soul on fire. That is your passion, and your passion is your calling. Hold on to that feeling. Let the passion change you. Then take that change and use it to change the world. Because you weren't made to just pay bills and die. You were made to radically shake things up.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Day 15: O is for Originality

   Today's world is obsessed with "being yourself." This is a big improvement, because for a long time everyone thought they had to be this fake kind of perfect. Now people are starting to understand that it's okay (not just okay, but necessary) to be different. To let all your flaws hang out. To love yourself regardless of what sets you apart.
    I loved the new mindset that everyone seemed to have, so what did I do? I decided to be myself.
   Then the world said, "No, not that self. That self is too normal. Normal is boring. Being weird is so much better. Go dye your hair a crazy color or something. Stop being so quiet. You don't need to be shy. You don't need to be prim and proper. Go wild. What do you mean, you aren't comfortable with that? Just do whatever makes you happy. Be a jerk if you need to. Stop being so tame. Stop. Stop. You're so boring. Stop. Just be yourself!!!"
   Because of all of this, I started hating myself. You see, I absolutely love quirky people. And the world that is so obsessed with "originality" made me feel like I wasn't quirky enough. Because I wasn't crazy, I was boring. I bought into the "fake kind of perfect" game that never really did go away, just took a different name.
   I guess all I want to say is this: being yourself means actually being yourself, not being who the world tells you to be.
   So here's to the shy, quiet girls who don't always want to be crazy and wild. Guess what? You're still beautiful.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Day 14: N is for "Nice"

   There are many rules that come to mind when you think of being a Christian. You have to be loving. You have to give to the poor. You have to go to church. You have to be "nice." While none of these things are bad, and they certainly are important for Christians, many people are focusing too much on the rules and are forgetting what Christianity really is.
   It's not just about being a nice person. It's about completely abandoning yourself to Christ. It's about recognizing that He is your Savior. It's about allowing Him to become your best friend. It's about doing His will always, because you know it's what is going to lead to eternal happiness. When you stop stressing about the "rules" and focus more on falling in love, being a nice person is going to come a lot easier.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Day 13: M is for Magic

   We live in an imperfect world. It's full of anger, malice, greed, and unhappiness. But sometimes we get so focused on the bad things in life, that we forget about the good. Focusing on the bad is never going to change anything. We must learn to recognize magic.
    Magic. It's a word that ignites the soul and makes the heart long for something greater. Sometimes we get so worn down that we don't realize our lives are dripping with it. Magic is the feeling we get when we hold a baby for the first time. It's mixed in with the sound of breathless laughter. It fertilizes wildflowers and it paints sunsets. It's the yearning to hug longer and speak kinder. Everything good and beautiful and happy is magic. We just need to recognize it.
   Where is the magic in your life?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Day 12: L is for Lovely

   If you've been following my A-Z challenge from the beginning, it's probably obvious that I'm a fan of all things positive and uplifting. I firmly believe that positive thoughts produce positive words and actions, which leads to a positive life; and I try to live out this believe every day. But I wasn't always like this. There was a time when I would have much rather brooded and resented every negative situation instead of choosing positivity and  joy. But then I read Think 4:8- Forty Days to a Joy-filled Life for Teens, and everything changed. Think 4:8 is a devotional book based off Philippians 4:8: "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."
   Whether or not you realize it, your thoughts have power. They control your mood, which controls your words and actions, which controls your life. Hurtful, angry thoughts lead to a hurtful, angry life. Joyful, lovely thoughts lead to a joyful, lovely life.
   Ronald Dahl once said, "If you have good thoughts, they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely." But even more importantly, you will feel lovely. Who doesn't want to feel lovely?
   No matter what situations and circumstances you find yourself in, you must always choose positive thoughts. Let go of the thoughts that don't make you strong. Build yourself up in confidence and love. Choose loveliness. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Day 11: K is for Kindness

   A few weeks ago, I went to see the new Cinderella movie with Anne Marie Schlueter (ya'll should check out her blog here. She's kinda amazing). Though I had extremely high hopes for the movie, it exceeded my wildest expectations. It was perfect in every way. The script had amazing messages, the acting was incredible, and the scenery was stunning. But I have to admit that my favorite part of the movie was Cinderella herself. I was enthralled by her beauty. And even though Lily James is a gorgeous actress, it wasn't her looks that made Cinderella beautiful; it was her heart.
   Before Ella's mother died, she told Ella a secret that would get her through all the trials that life has to offer: "Have courage and be kind." Ella carried these words in her heart her whole life, and truly lived them out. Even when her father died and she was left with an abusive step-mother and horrible step-sisters, Ella was courageous and kind. Her goodness seemed to exude radiant beauty.
   I decided then and there that I wanted to be as beautiful as Cinderella. I wanted the virtue that made her so stunning. I wanted to be courageous and kind. I decided to do one random act of kindness every day, to spread joy and love wherever I could. And I challenge you to do the same. I challenge you to do one act of kindness every day, to choose courage and kindness.

Random acts of kindness:

  1. Send someone a hand written note of thanks.
  2. Make a card at home and send it to a friend for no reason.
  3. Buy a lottery ticket for a stranger.
  4. Put some coins in someone else’s parking meter.
  5. Buy a coffee for the man on the street selling magazines.
  6. Cut your neighbour’s hedge.
  7. Walk your friend’s dog.
  8. Give a compliment about your waiter / waitress to his / her manager.
  9. Send someone a small gift anonymously.
  10. Stop and help someone replace their flat tire.
  11. Let someone cut in front of you in line.
  12. Pay for the drinks on the next table at a café.
  13. Treat a friend to the movies for no reason.
  14. Give a huge tip to someone when they least expect it.
  15. Hold the train door open for someone rushing to get in.
  16. Give up your seat for someone, not just an elderly person.
  17. Write notes of appreciation at least once a week.
  18. Talk to a homeless person and have a “normal” conversation.
  19. Pick up some trash in the road which would otherwise be lying around.
  20. Compliment a work colleague for their excellence.
  21. Recommend a competitor to a potential client.
  22. Give another driver your parking spot.
  23. Offer coffee to a delivery person.
  24. Help an elderly neighbor carry the trash cans out.
  25. Tell all your family members how much your appreciate them.
  26. Leave a copy of an interesting book on a train / bus.
  27. Buy an inspirational book for a friend.
  28. Send a thank you note to a person who has helped you in the past.
  29. Smile a lot.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Day 10: J is for Joy

   Life is a gift. It's a beautiful blessing. But it's no secret that sometimes it gets hard. We all have crosses, we all have burdens. Parents divorce. Jobs get taken away. Loved ones get sick. Boyfriends leave. Friends turn their backs. Life can seem like it's personally out to get you. After a while, we can start to think that even God doesn't care anymore.
   It's times like these that we have a choice: we can choose sadness and pain, or we can choose trust and joy. We can choose to put our faith in our Father in heaven, who loves us so very much. We can choose to trust that He has a plan for us, that there truly is wonderful joy ahead. We can choose to view life as the blessing it is. We can choose to believe that even our struggles are shaping who we're supposed to become.
   How will you choose joy today?

Friday, April 10, 2015

Day 9: I is for Imagination

   Growing up (who am I kidding? I'm still growing up) I had the best friends and family a little girl could ask for. I had six amazing siblings, and a neighborhood full of kids my age. I was constantly surrounded by loving people. But being an introvert, I had to get away sometimes. People exhausted me. Still do, in fact. It's funny, because I'm such a people person. I love people. But I need my alone time. It was at a very young age that I discovered books were my paradise. 
   I fell in love with fantasy, fairy tales, and adventure stories. How amazing, I thought, that I can hide away in my bedroom and still meet new people and solve crimes and save universes. I took my books very seriously. In all honesty, I think I would be a completely different person if I hadn't discovered my love of reading. Those words and people and stories shaped the person I am today, and the person I will continue to become. 
   Harry made me want to love. Lucy made me want to be kind. Susan made me want to be intelligent. Edmund made me realize that family is more important than anything else. Peter made me want to be brave. Bilbo made me want to go on adventures. Sam made me want to be the best friend anyone could ask for. Eowyn made me want to be strong and beautiful. Taran made me realize that even someone as insignificant as a Pig-Keeper can make a difference. The stories I grew up with will be a part of me forever.
   Of course, it only took me so long to realize that I wanted to be an author. I wanted to write a story that changed someone's life, the same way the books I read changed mine. I wanted to create someone's favorite character. Soon enough, I had new worlds inside my head. I was writing new people into existence. My pen and keyboard were creating letters and words and sentences and paragraphs and pages and stories that I pray will someday make a difference, even if it's only for one person.

              "Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will get you everywhere."

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Day 8: H is for Humility

   C.S Lewis once said, "Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less."
   We live in a world that's overrun by selfishness. Everything is about Me, Myself, and I. What's in it for me? How is this going to improve my life? What can you do for me? But what would life look like if everyone starting asking What is this doing for you? How can I help you improve your life? What can I do for you?
   Many people are under the impression that humility is the same thing as low self-esteem, or self-neglect, or even self-hatred, but this isn't true. It's not making yourself and your needs unimportant, but rather recognizing and administering to the needs of others first.
   Mother Teresa has a beautiful list of ways to start practicing humility.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Day 7: G is for Gratitude

   Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. I love seeing all of my family, eating lots of good food, and laughing and sharing stories at the dinner table. I love acknowledging the many blessings in my life. I love the atmosphere. It puts a smile on my face just thinking about it. So why can't every day be like Thanksgiving? There's no reason it shouldn't be.
   Did you know that gratitude not only improves your happiness, but also raises your self-esteem, improves your immune system, helps you overcome trauma, lowers depression, aggression, and anxiety, and improves your heart health.
   Even with all of its benefits, people still refuse to practice gratitude. You know who I'm talking about. The people who never seem to stop complaining about the tiniest things, the people who constantly talk bad about others, the people you try to avoid because of the bad vibes they're giving off. I don't know about you, but I don't want to be one of those people. I want to be so full of gratitude that people walk away from me feeling happier. I know that in an imperfect world, there are many things that can make you want to wallow in negativity. But it's so worth it to focus on the good in your life, rather than the bad.
   How exactly does one practice gratitude? There are many different ways, but I will share some of my favorites.

1. Saying thank you for the simple things. Your parents taught you manners, right? Say thank you when someone holds the door for you, when you order food, when someone compliments you. Not only are you building your gratitude skills, but you could also be making someone else's day.

2. Keep a gratitude journal. List 5, 10, or 20 things, moments or people that you are thankful for today. Ending your night in gratitude can actually help you sleep better.

3. Thanking God. One of my favorite quotes is, "What if you woke up today with only the things that you thanked God for yesterday?" Wow. What if that actually happened? I would start thanking God a lot more. After all, everything good in our lives comes from Him.

Dear Lord, thank You for waking me up today. Thank You for my beating heart, my breathing lungs. Thank You for my health. Thank You for my beautiful home, my safe neighborhood, my wonderful family and friends. Thank You also for my burdens and crosses, because I know they are leading me to You. Thank You for giving me another opportunity to show others Your love today. Amen.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Day 6: F is for Firework

   There are many different kinds of people in this world. Some are amiable and friendly, others are hostile and bitter. Some love talking and being around people, others are more shy and reclusive. Some are daring and bold, others are quiet and timid.
   But there is one very special group of people, called the Fireworks. Though all Firework People are different from one another, they all have one thing in common: they are world changers.
   Firework People have earth-shattering plans. They have mind-blowing ideas. They don't settle for okay, and they won't be satisfied until they make a difference. Like the real fireworks that you see in the night sky on July fourth, Firework People are beautiful. They explode into magical colors and take your breath away. They turn your head, and make you smile. They make lots of noise, and are impossible to ignore. They stir things up. Even after they leave, you can still see their smoke in the sky; you can still see their lights burn underneath your eyelids. And, like real fireworks, they work a lot better together.
  I'm so proud to be a part of a gorgeous community of women who are so intent on changing the world. Check out #fireworkpeople here:

Monday, April 6, 2015

Day 5: E is for Elegance

   You hear it all the time. Spiteful, bitter girls complaining and venting. In the school bathrooms, at parties, after seeing a particularly romantic movie. Where are all the gentlemen?
   Many girls so desperately want to be loved that they go from one catastrophic relationship to the next, always eventually being abandoned, broken and empty, wondering if there are any good guys left. After a while, when no prince charming comes to sweep them off their feet, they may lose hope and write all men off as being jerks (or other words that I would get yelled at by my mom for saying).
   Here's the thing: my favorite (fictional) English teacher once said, "We accept the love we think we deserve." Girls, you have to know your worth. You are radiant daughters of God! You are royal; you are princesses who deserve your prince. Often when we forget to whom we belong, we forget how precious we are.
   Every girl deserves a gentleman, but in order to attract a gentleman, you must first be a lady.
  Whatever happened to class? Sophistication? Elegance? Where are the Audrey Hepburns and Grace Kellys of this generation? I know that it's not realistic to ask teenage girls to wear shin-length dresses and have tea parties everyday, but that's not all that elegance is.
   According to Google, elegance is
the quality of being graceful and stylish in both appearance and manner. Dressing nicely and looking your best is important, but none of that matters if your attitude isn't ladylike.
Girls, throwing yourselves at guys in the hopes of being fulfilled isn't elegant.
Dressing inappropriately in order to get attention from guys isn't elegant (trust me, you will get attention. But not the kind you deserve).
Laughing off sexual harassment and rude jokes because you don't want to "look like a prude" isn't elegant.
Making fun of other girls girl definitely isn't elegant.
You know what is always elegant?
   Ladies, become the woman of your dreams, and you will attract the man of your dreams.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Day 4: D is for Delightful

A list of delightful things:
1. Campfires
2. Art
3. Coffee
4. Flowers
5. Cookies
7. Fireworks
8. Books
9. Music
10. Dancing
11. Sunshine
12. Pajamas
13. Cats
14. Tea
15. Pillows
16. Smiles
17. Libraries
18. Candles
19. Rain
20. Friends
"Teach us to delight in simple things."

Friday, April 3, 2015

Day 3: C is for Courage

   Nelson Mandela once said, "I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear."
   I know a man who perfectly lived out the truths professed in this quote. He is the most wonderful person I've ever known. He is kind, loving, generous, intelligent, perfect, and beautiful in every way that word can be used. But I have treated him terribly, and because of many things I've done, he was unjustly punished.
   He was terrified when he learned he would be the one to pay for my wrongdoings. He was full of fear and anxiety and dread. He fell to his knees, and wept, and prayed, but in the end he fully understood that the difficult way was the only way.
   This man was brutally tortured and killed because of me, and he was afraid the whole time. But he understood that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. He conquered his fear through radical love, and because of his courage, I am now victorious. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Day 2: B is for Beauty

   Earlier today, I typed a single word into the Pinterest search bar: beauty. The very first Pin to come up was a Cosmopolitan article entitled "100 Mascaras Tested On One Eye." The second Pin was another article called "10 Tips for Perfect Skin," and the third was called "101 Beauty Tips Every Girl Should Know."
   Cosmo, Teen Vogue, and Seventeen will tell us that the definition of "beautiful" is having a Kim Kardashian body, an Angelina Jolie face, Blake Lively hair, and a Miley Cyrus "I-don't-care-what-you-think" attitude. They'll teach us how to achieve those thigh gaps, plump up our lips, and how to keep guys interested, while at the same time insisting that we should never change ourselves for a man.
   The double standard that society has been professing is confusing and frustrating, and has many women wondering what beauty really is. Instead of letting flawed human beings define beauty for us, we should turn to our Maker, who is beauty incarnate.
   Song of Solomon says, "You are altogether beautiful my love; there is no flaw in you." Though of course all human beings are flawed, God (speaking through Solomon) is telling us we were all perfectly made. The God of the Universe does not make mistakes, and that means that you are not a mistake.
   Though the longing for physical beauty is not only natural, but given to us by God, we must not let it take control of our desires. Imagine how different the world would be if women spent as much time doing random acts of kindness as they did doing their makeup in the morning.
   Ladies, and gents too, I'm going to challenge you. Look in the mirror right now. Tell yourself, sincerely, three things that you see in the mirror that you love. Say it. Repeat it. Believe it. Now that that's out of the way, go change the world. Smile at strangers. Buy someone flowers. Offer to pray for someone. Clean your house without looking for a reward. Write a love letter. Pay for someone's parking. Play with your siblings. Just make a difference. No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. And guess what? Kindness is freaking beautiful.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A-Z Writing Challenge Day 1: A is for Alive

Hearts beating.
Lungs breathing.
Eyes squinting.
Cheeks smiling.
Hands holding.
Lips touching.
Feet dancing.
Arms hugging.
Souls loving.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A-Z Writing Challenge

   Right now I feel like someone who has just learned to swim, and is now standing on the edge of a cliff, about to jump off into deep, potentially dangerous waters. You see, I have just accepted the A-Z Writing Challenge. Though I have blogged before, I've never attempted something so daunting in my blogging endeavors, and I'm a little nervous. What if I do really badly? What if no one reads what I write? What if I'm wasting my time? But I'm trying my hardest to push those thoughts aside and do this for me. If I don't do well, who cares? Like prayer, time spent writing is never wasted.
  For the past few days, I've been reading up on the A-Z Challenge, trying to figure out a theme. I've seen themes as simple as"About Me," and as specific as "Sherlock Holmes," but even after all my research, nothing came to me. To be completely honest, when I started writing this post, I still had no idea what I was going to do. Then I started thinking (using your brain for these kinds of things usually helps). What is something that fascinates me, something that I love? What's the thing that all writers have a passion for? What can make us laugh, cry, fall in love? What can comfort us and make us feel alone? What can terrify us, and make us feel safe? There's only one thing: words.
   So that is the theme I've chosen. Don't worry, I'm not going to be posting long, pompous monologues about my passion for the many branches of linguistics. I'm simply going to spend some time reflecting on my favorite words: why I love them, what they mean to me, and how they make me feel.
   I hope to see you back here on April first! Let me know in the comments if you're doing to A-Z Challenge; I would love to check out your blog :)


Friday, March 20, 2015

A Little Bit About Myself

   It's funny how writers always get (what they think are) amazing idea for blog posts, and then when they sit down to actually write, it's like they're babies again; completely ignorant of any interesting English words. This is me right now. I wanted to wow everyone with an amazing first post, but my mind is empty of anything vaguely interesting  or intelligent. So, I think introducing myself will have to suffice for this first post.

  Hi, I'm Anna. I'm 16. I love writing. But for some reason I spend more time Pinning pictures of Tom Hiddleston than I actually spend writing. I've loved reading ever since I learned the alphabet. Fantasy is my favorite genre. Harry Potter was the first series I read by myself, and it is what inspired me to write. I'm homeschooled, and, yes, I wear pajamas all day. I have a brother and five sisters (plus one sister-in-law to be). I love music, probably because I don't have a musically-talented bone in my body. As I type this, I'm listening to a Spotify playlist entitled Upbeat/Happy Indie. Those three words actually describe me pretty well. I'm a ballet dancer. I have a passion for classy clothing, but I spend most of my time in sweatpants. I spend too much of my time worrying about fictional people. I have the best friends in the world. I want to be in Ireland right now. I like snowy days that allow me to sit by the fireplace and read. I like rainy days that allow me to curl up by the window and  read. I like sunny days that allow me to climb up into my tree and read. I already have my wedding planned. I love hugs and laughing until my stomach hurts. Jesus is the most important part of my life. He is my best friend. I love Him a lot.
 I started this blog because I want to share Jesus's never-ending love with everyone I can. I want to spread joy and light and hope and positivity. I want to share my stories and experiences.
  I hope you'll stick along through my many random, sporadic, joy-filled posts.