Open the Eyes of My Heart

So recently I did a ‘How to’ post on how to survive a modular course in college, but today I wanted to talk about a more serious side of my Modular course where my eyes were really opened to God’s work in my life. This really impacted me when my eyes were opened to an absence in my life.

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So the week of February 28th/March I took a modular course called Hebrew Poetry and Wisdom and through it, God opened my mind and my heart to the realization that I didn’t and don’t know as much of the bible as I thought.

That hit me HARD.

I mean, in the first place, I’ve never really been someone who has boasted on their knowledge of the Bible and perfect relationship with God but I definitely thought I knew more than I did.

This course I took went over Old Testament Hebrew Poetry and Wisdom Literature (hence the name.) which were the books of Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Songs of Solomon. Taking this course made me realize how little I knew in general but out of the five books of the Bible we looked at I have only for sure, as far as my memory serves me, read ONE of them to completion.

ONE. 

Up until coming to school I realized how much of the Bible had gone unread by myself. Even now there is still so much of the Old Testament I haven’t read and even more of the New.

With this realization I was left shocked. I, someone who grew up in a christian home and attending church regularly thought I knew all there is to know about God and the Bible but I was proved wrong.

Put in my place.
Hit in the face by my own lack of knowledge – my own ignorance to this fact.

From there I realized how much I’ve been missing these hints from God that I need to be spending more time with Him and in His word. That being at Bible College is going to teach me things bit if I don’t know God and what His word says, then what is the point?

I strongly encourage you to sit back and take time with God. Talk to Him. Ask Him to reveal to you what you know or don’t know. Grow in Him. Grow in His word. Run to Him with arms wide open and dive into His love -gain knowledge and understanding in Him.  It’s not always going to be easy and there may be days where it’s not going to be easy or you won’t want to take that time in your schedule to dive in God’s word (trust me, I know. I get that sometimes) but in the end I assure you it will be SO rewarding.

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Dear Body, I’m sorry

Dear Body,

I’m sorry for the way I treated you.

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I’m sorry that I hate you, that I blame you for the reason I hate myself. Why I can’t look at you in the mirror. I’m sorry for blaming you for my pain.

It’s not your fault, because for almost 21 years you’ve kept me going and kept me moving. Yes, sometimes I’m in pain and I don’t love you the way I should but it’s not your fault. You are doing what you do best. What you were designed and created to do and I have not been treating you kindly.

From here on out I’m going to try my best. I’m going to take care of you this time. This year is going to be a learning curve for me but I’m not going to treat you the way I have anymore…. Why?

Well, because you are beautiful, you keep me living, moving, and breathing.

You were designed perfectly and I’ve neglected you.

No longer am I going to look on you as my worst enemy when I look in the mirror.

I’m not going to shed tears anymore because I hate you… because I don’t.

I love you.

 

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How to Survive a Modular Course

For those of you who don’t know, Modular Courses are essentially a semester long college course condensed into five days of classes. So instead of taking a reading week break I decided I’d be one of the crazy people who would take one of these courses. Because I took one of these courses I wanted to make a list on how to survive one of these courses and get the most out of it!

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I also want to note two things before I start. 1) In regards to Mod courses, the one I took was easier in workload (assignment and reading wise) than most. and 2.) All professors teach different and approach mod courses differently so I will talk specifically about some things in my class that may not happen in your course should you take one.

NOW. With that said, lets start the post!

How to Survive a Mod Course in 7(ish) Steps

  1. Take time beforehand to do any prep work

It is SO important to make sure you do any required reading needed before classes start (if any) and any assignments that might be due the first day of classes. On top of that take a few minute to look over the course syllabus and familiarize yourself with what will be required of you in the course.

 

        1.5. But also be sure to take some downtime you are going to need before classes start.

This is also important. Give yourself time to do any preparation work, of course, but also take time to relax before your mod course if you can because if you are taking a mod it is a semesters amount of material in a week so that means LONG days in a classroom and lots of learning to be done. So don’t exhaust yourself before the course even begins!

 

2. Make sure you show up to class prepared!

Obviously you will need some pens or pencils as well as paper or a laptop to take notes (i personally find it better for me to focus if I’m writing my notes on paper) Though even if you do write notes on paper bring your laptop if your professor has made the powerpoint slides they will be using for the class available to you so you can follow along that way or if you are slower at writing it will be great to keep up with the slides and note taking while going at your own pace and not being too rushed either. This also is solely dependent on the class but you may also need to bring your bible with you. I attend a bible college and this course was specifically studying books of the bible so thats kind of important. Which leads to a quote from my roommate and her words of wisdom: “Bring your bible. Even if it’s not a biblical course, because you need to pray to Jesus to make it through.”

 

3. Bring Munchies and a Water-bottle

For my mod course we were in class from 8:30AM until 4-4:45PM daily (with a 1 hour lunch break) and I’m someone who loves her snacks so if you are like me make sure you bring something to munch on. The healthier the better but I mean whatever you want, go for it. But yes. Snacks and water are a must because its a long day.

 

3.5. Also coffee/tea and energy drinks will be your friend

On top of bringing water every morning to class I had either tea, coffee, or a red bull with me to keep me awake… which leads me to my next point.

 

4. SLEEP IS IMPORTANT

This is solely going to be a case of “do as I say, not as I do.” because honestly I was up until around 1-2AM each night this week watching Ouran High School Host Club so please don’t do that and PLEASE get sleep. Sleep is going to help you so much with being attentive and awake during your classes.

 

5. Dress Comfortably

I cannot stress this enough! You will be in a classroom ALL day and not moving much so dress comfortably.

 

6. Take Time to Study

I know, I know. I’m sure the last thing you want to do is study after being in a class all day but if your class was like mine where at the beginning of each class there was a quiz on the last day’s lecture then you are going to want to study for that quiz.

 

7. Have fun!

Think of it this way, the course only lasts a week and even though it might be a lot of work just have fun with it! Enjoy the opportunity to learn! I found that not allowing myself to stress over the course that I came to really enjoy the course and learn so many things I didn’t know before.

 

I’ll Be Home For Christmas…

You can count on me. Please have snow and mistletoe and presents on the tree. I’ll be home for Christmas!

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So the reason for my being MIA is due to my being at college. (In case you didn’t know due to my forgetfulness to mention things or you are new and visiting the blog for the first time.) For some reason, I thought my first semester was going to be so chill and easy and…while it was easier than I had initially thought I’ve been so busy on a daily basis it’s not even close to funny. Penpals haven’t received responses (but they have not been forgotten), Bookstagram hasn’t had very much TLC, My blog has been abandoned and while I have been able to keep up with a bit of reading (textbooks aside) I still haven’t had much time for downtime.

Experiencing now, my first ever semester of college, I can look upon the semester with some stress, confusion, and frustration, I’m also really proud of myself. And no, not in the ‘oh wow I’m so amazing and better than everyone else!’ proud but just proud of my accomplishments and that I even made it this far. Because if you had asked me last year if I was going to college I may have said I was going to try as I was upgrading high school classes at the time but it’s still quite surreal that I’m even here right now and a week and a half away from going home for Christmas break! Being here at Bible College has been such an eye-opener for me and an amazing experience…well, amazing as long as we ignore and forget the caf food here is the worst. Caf food aside this college has been a huge experience for me with so many learning curves and trying new things to help me grow not only academically, but spiritually. One of those things was in my Spiritual Theology class where we had to spend 24hours fasting and in complete solitude. While it was something I’m not sure I’m too keen on doing on a regular basis it was still an amazing time and wonderful experience to be able to connect with God in a new way. And now I actually know from experience what it is like to be in prayer and fasting for 24 hours and spend one on one time with God in such an interesting and intimate way. ( I am hoping to write up a post or two over Christmas break about my classes and what I learned and more about what I’m planning to do here at school.) I’m actually quite sad my last day of that Spiritual Theology class is ending but I know that its time to move on to other classes and get other things done and just keep learning!

Within the next week and a half before heading home I have 3 final exams to complete and while I’m slightly nervous I know I can and will put my best work into studying and prep for these exams and make sure I’m ready to take them on and pass them. Despite that, these last few weeks the words from the Christmas song, ‘I’ll be home for Christmas’ has been stuck in my head. This year especially has had that song as my #1 favorite because it’s true! I’ll be home for Christmas! Last year I spent Christmas in my apartment 6 hours away from my family. While I spend Christmas day with some relatives in the area I still missed my parents and siblings and grandparents. The homesickness was even worse when I got a phone call from my dad later in the morning on Christmas Day saying my Papa was rushed to the hospital due to having a stroke. It made Christmas so hard for me because I was scared I was going to lose my Papa. One of my best friends for these short 20 years of my life. I thank God every day, especially as Christmas nears, that my Papa has fully recovered and is still here with our family. But that makes me all the more anxious to be home this time for Christmas. To see my family and spend time with them, hug them a little longer, lose sleep staying up late to spend time with them, and just being home with the people who love me most even though I’m not home right now.

Merry (Early) Christmas Everyone! ❤

Sometimes You Gotta Refocus…

Rethink.

Refocus.

Move Forward.

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So I have some more guest posts coming in the next week or two but I thought I should pop in and share some thoughts with you as well as a verse of encouragment. As I’ve mentioned a little bit here and there, this year I really focused on upgrading some high school courses so I could attend college this fall and I have arrived! But with that, I want to talk about focus and priorities.

Reaching your goals takes a lot of doing what you don’t feel like doing and also hard times. And when that happens, sometimes you’ve gotta refocus. I really learned that over the last year as I had to buckle down and do work I didn’t want to do and meet deadlines that feel almost impossible to meet. As I sit here at college having survived the first week of classes I’m realizing that it’s all the same as before. Slightly harder work and lots of it but still the same. And in those moments of stress and frustration when I feel like I’m drowning in all I have to do I’ve had to learn to stop, take a minute or two to just breathe and then reflect about why I’m doing this all and what it’s for. – What the point is behind all this paperwork and daily readings for classes the next day.

Refocus on my goals then move forward knowing that this is not pointless. That there is a plan and final goal in mind.

A long-term plan.

So just remember that if you feel exhausted, or swamped with homework, studies, work or even just life to stop and take a minute to breathe and reflect on what will come from what you are doing right now.

11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:11-13

 

Don’t Give Up Hope

“What can feel like the ending could just be the beginning. Don’t give up hope.” -Third Day

-Third Day

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Over the last 11 months since I moved out (I can’t believe it has been almost a year!) I’ve been learning a lot about being on my own and actually being independent out in the big wide world far from home. Throughout this last year, I’ve been greatly challenged in all areas of my life. Especially when it comes to my faith and boy, it has not been easy.

God has been teaching me so much over this last year and all I can really do is sit here and thank Him for not writing me off as a lost cause and forgetting about me cause I can be so stubborn it’s actually not even funny. (Like it’s really not)

But one thing God has really been pushing me with is my trust in Him. Trusting that he has got my life planned out and under control and believing that He created me to fulfill some awesome and amazing things that I can’t even begin to imagine and it’s been HARD. Even now I’m still working on it but as I’ve made moves to trust Him in His plans for my life I’m slowly starting to see what living like that is like. It’s not always a walk in the park and sometimes I doubt myself and doubt God about what He is doing and where He is leading me.

But as I sit here in my college dorm, having been here a whole week, I realize none of this could be anyone or thing aside from God. I still can’t believe that I made it here and even though I’m not certain about my degree I’m going for and if I’ll be at College for 2 or 4 years. I know that I need to not give up Hope when things get hard and be open to God and trust Him to show me what He wants me to do with my life and where He wants me.

No matter where you are and all seems hopeless and confusing or you just feel lost, don’t give up hope ❤

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Mrs. Potato Head

Oh, Mrs. Potato Head, tell me, is it true that pain is beauty?

 

Melanie Martinez album titled Cry Baby is one of the best albums I’ve listened to. Not only for her unique sound and lyrics but the message in a lot of her songs. One of those impactful songs is called Mrs. Potato Head, which I quoted above. The approach this song takes is eye opening in the way that she shows what society defines as beauty or that if you don’t have anything going for you, you can just pay thousands of dollars to fix whatever you hate about yourself.

We see this daily in the celebrities so many people idolize. It’s a common thing in our society and I think it says so much about how messed up and confused our society is and it’s actually sad. The media is telling us we have to look or act a certain way in everything we do, say, like, wear, and what we look like and it’s heaIt’sreaking. It’s heartbreaking because we are all made to be ourselves and not one of us is the same in appearance, personality, likes, talents or whatever!

We were not all created to fit in and be the same but to be ourselves and stand out!

Because of society and its ideas of what beauty should be, I know some amazing women who don’t believe that they are beautiful. Even I don’t always believe I’m beautiful even though I know that everyone is unique and different and that in itself is beautiful. There are days where I look in the mirror and wish my tummy was smaller or my thighs weren’t as ‘jiggly.’

I know a girl who I feel hasn’t been told enough times that she is beautiful…and because of it, she covers her face in layers of makeup and always changes her hair (whether cut or style) Even though she is stunning with or without makeup, dressed up or in sweats and a t-shirt, she doesn’t believe it because society gives this image of beauty that she doesn’t ‘fit’ into and through her 19 years of life not many people have told her she is beautiful just the way she is.

So I just want to encourage you and say: Don’t define yourself by society’s definition of beauty. Embrace you and your body and be beautifully and unapologetically you!

 

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Loving People Like Jesus

Hello there!

I’m so sorry it’s been so long since I’ve blogged. My priorities have been to focus on my upgrades for college and now that those are done it’s a waiting process to get my marks back. Since that’s done I’m hoping to be able to put a bit more of a priority on my blogging and novel writing. But today I’m gonna work on writing up some posts and finishing up ones I started so today my friend Cori has written another guest post so I’ll let her share what she’s written.

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Growing up I learned that people are not always the easiest to love all the time. I was taught that you have to love everyone, even if you don’t like them.

One of the most important commandments is to love your neighbors as yourself. God said that himself. Treat others the way you would want to be treated is something my youth pastor would say often. Although not always the easiest route, it is the way that Jesus lived himself.

Jesus hung out with people that you wouldn’t really expect. He made friends with the liars and cheats. The outcasts. The people nobody wanted to be. I think He did this to set an example for us today. He didn’t have to love on those people. But he chose to show them the love and respect every person needs.

Now that doesn’t mean that Jesus took crap from people either. He would correct them when they were wrong, in a very polite yet clever way most of the time.

Don’t think I’m telling you to hang around a murderer and be best friends with them. But I am telling you to love that person no matter the sins they struggle with because, in the end, his sin is the same as mine. Even if mine seems minuscule in comparison God sees all sin as the same.

When I was in grade school the teachers would always pair the new kids or the weird kids with me because In my house you treated everybody the way you would want to be treated, therefor I was always the nice one in class, even when I didn’t want to be I was paired with them. Now I was a very shy kid. It was pretty hard for me to do this. But I felt the call that God put on my life to follow him at a young age and I knew it was the right thing to do.

There was this one kid who nobody got along with. I’m not gonna share her name but she was a nice kid. Just a bit strange. Once one of my friends asked me why I hung out with her so much. I simply told them that she deserved to have friends too. At the end of the school year, we went our separate ways but her mom came up to me and thanked me for being so nice to this girl. She was a bit hyper and talked A LOT but I did enjoy her company and learned to love her very much.

I wish more kids would give each other a chance rather than judging a book by its cover. It’s so hard for me to see all the bullying and abuse that goes on In schools these days. It’s sad.

I learned pretty young that it’s honestly so rewarding and worth getting to know a person no matter how much they annoy you.

Now I know we aren’t all in grade school here. That was just one example. I have another. Take homeless people for example. I have worked and served homeless people for as long as I can remember. But some people won’t even look in their direction. Some Christians don’t even see them as people.

I’ll never forget the day that I went up to a homeless man and gave him some food and he looked at me with tears in his eyes. He said nobody would even look at him that day. He searches in his bag for a ring he had made and he gave it to me saying that he wishes there were more people like me in this world.

I’ve given people on the streets Christmas presents that haven’t gotten anything for 25 years and they’ve broken down and asked me to watch them open it. It wasn’t much just some essentials and little things and a book but he was so thankful for his gift. He said that maybe there really is a God that loved him all because I treated him like a normal person for a few minutes.

I love these experiences. Ones with people who think they don’t even deserve it anymore. Broken people. I see them as a beautiful creation of God and it’s almost magical seeing these moments.

If people could just open their eyes and see them as people in a bad circumstance the world would be a much more beautiful place. But let’s move on to another example.

Now we’ve all had that one neighbor that everybody hates right? I have anyways. Those people are one of the hardest to love. Just the meanest most annoying people you’ve ever met right? Well God calls us to love even them. I know crazy right?! Well, I know for a fact that Jesus would have gone up to that guy and said: “I love you no matter what the sin you are struggling with.” So we are called to do the same. That’s not always the easy thing to do but sometimes the hard choice is the best choice.

So many times in the Bible the Pharisees would scold Jesus for hanging out with “that guy” like why would a guy like you hang out with a guy like them? Love, that’s the answer. Unconditional unfailing love.

I know these words aren’t really something easy to read but it’s very important. So next time you just can’t stand someone, pray for them. It not only changes them but it changes your heart towards them. I’m not saying you have to like them, but you must love them.

“Lord help me to love like you do. Help me to love my enemy’s and pray for them. Help me to go up to the weird kid and be their friend. I thank you for your love and grace on us. We don’t deserve it but you made us deserve it by dying on the cross for us. Help me to spread love through out the world and shine your light through me. In Jesus name, I pray, Amen”

Loving Who God Made You To Be

Hello there lovelies!

Today we have a guest post from my friend Cori. She was one of the first people to volunteer to write a blog post for this new blog post series I wanna do throughout the year and I LOVE what she has to say.

I hope you all receive some encouragement from this lovely gals words of wisdom.

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Well, it’s a new year again and our social media is filled with “New year new me” posts and new years resolutions that will last a couple of weeks.  Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t see anything wrong with trying to better yourself, but when its all about me, me, me I think we might just be missing the point. My resolution is to grow closer to Christ and to love who He made me.
        The world tells us that it is all about you. You do you. You only live once. I agree to make the most of your life but when your life revolves around you and you only that isn’t exactly what God has planned. God tells us to live humbly and to always put your neighbor before yourself. He tells us to give a homeless man the clothes off our backs if he doesn’t have any. He tells us to pray for our enemies and love them no matter the harm they’ve caused you.  That may not be very easy, but that is what we are called to. There is a difference between loving who God made you and being a self centered jerk
        Now my life hasn’t been that easy. I was sexually abused, I’ve harmed myself and did for many years, and I even attempted suicide. Growing up I’ve had major self esteem problems.  I would look at myself in the mirror and hate everything about my reflection. I would cry at night because I wasn’t good enough for society or even myself. It wasn’t until recently, actually, that I realized  I wasn’t living how God had planned. It took a mental hospital being waved over my head for me to finally get my act together.  My point is this: God made you who you are for a reason and you are perfectly and wonderfully made. He planned out every inch of you, beautifully, inside of your mother and God, the God of the universe, does not make mistakes. (Psalms 139:13-18)
        Now I pray that in this new year you learn to love yourself for who God made you. Not for what the world wants you to be. Serve your Lord with all your heart soul and mind and love every bit of yourself because the creator of everything there ever was and is to come made you and that is pretty amazing if you think about it.
    Now I still deal with all of these things today. I am not saying that life is gonna be a bundle of joy on a sunny day. Life sucks, there’s no other way to put it, but it is so much easier to have hope and to love who God made you to be then to dwell on things and to try to be this perfect person society makes the standard out to be. You will never be perfect. You will never be “Good enough” , but you know what? That’s why Christ died for us. So that in Him we are good enough and always will be. God doesn’t look at us for all the bad things we have done.  He looks at us as perfect, just as He made us perfectly.

“Lord help me to love who You made me to be. Help me serve you in any way that i can in this new year. I pray that in the new year i grow spiritually and grow to love others more than myself, thank you for all these blessings, i pray that my self esteem will be high this year. In your name I pray , Amen.”

Yours Truly,
Cori Heck

2017

Hello lovelies!

Sorry I haven’t posted at all this month life has been crazy and all over the place but I’m hoping to explain some of that here and my post plans for the new year!

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So the new year has come and gone and its almost February! Like what?! My apologies on the lack of posting. I’ll explain why, but hopefully there wont be so many apology posts this year due to lack of posting. Part of the reasons is I don’t feel like apologizing anymore.

Not that I don’t love you lovely readers or that I don’t care but in the past I’ve missed posting and torn myself down for it. I don’t want to be doing that anymore so my blogging is going to be a little more relaxed this year.

I have a goal to try and write one blog post a week on top of my busy schedule but at the same time I don’t want to beat myself up every time I don’t post! The reason being because I started blogging because I had (and have) things to say and it was fun to express it in that way. My passion and love for my blog hasn’t changed but with my more busy schedule this year, posting will be less frequent for sure as I have other things that (sadly) hold a higher priority over blogging.

WITH THAT SAID! I still have some exciting things for this blog. So lets talk about exciting things because I’m not stopping posting entirely! Just gotta adapt my blog schedule to my busy life.

On the blog this year I want to turn this around from a book review blog (as I started to do when I changed the name) to more of a personal, thought sharing, encouragement blog. There will still be book reviews or discussions on my writing and music and stuff every once in a while for sure but not as often.

I want to focus on not only encouraging and building up you guys but also growing myself in the process. I would argue that self-love and self-care for women is especially hard and I’m seeing that more and more each day. I personally am tired of looking in the mirror and calling myself ‘good enough’ or not liking what I see at all and I want to change that. This year I want to go on a journey to change how I feel about myself and my body and take time to grow closer to God.

Spend more time doing life. And I want to encourage others through this process.

To help me kick this off I have asked some wonderful people (girls and guys alike) on my Facebook page and twitter to help me out and guest post for me. (if you wanna join in too, contact me!) Speak whats on their hearts. Tell me about their struggles and what they are doing to turn those into positivity, self-love, and growth!

On top of that I already have a lot of exciting things in my life in 2017 that I can’t wait to share as they happen!

 

Hope to see you around and that you benefit from this journey as much as I.

 

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