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! ❤

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An Open Letter

So I posted this letter to my personal facebook page about a month ago but due to a reoccurrence I’m posting it here as well hoping to just get everything off my chest.

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To the person who commented anonymously on myself and my boyfriend’s snapchat,

You succeeded. When you said that I was fat and ugly and that my boyfriend could do way better, I believed it. So as I said…

You win.

Mission successful.

10 Points for Slytherin… (or whatever your preferred catchphrase)

I’ve tried not to let it bother me but something you may not know is that most days I’m not happy with my body. It’s true, I used to be skinnier and more fit than I am now and on my bad days I beat myself up about it way more than I should because life is rough and I’m my own worst critic.
So congratulations, the anonymous friend of me and my boyfriend. You’ve successfully ruined my last few days even though I’ve tried so hard to ignore it.
Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me, right?

Wrong.

But despite all this, I will say a few things.

1. I’m sorry you felt the need to take out whatever is bothering and eating at you on me and you had to hide behind an anonymous username (or no name at all) to say what you really think. Honestly, if you have a problem say it to my face. I’m not angry with you…I’m just trying to make sense of it all

And 2. I honestly and sincerely hope that even though what you said to me hurt that no one dares utter those words to you. Those words that can tear apart your entire day and emotionally hurt. Those words that make you feel worthless and undeserving of the one person in SO long that has actually shown you they cared and loved you so much.
I really hope those words are never uttered to you and I say that with 100% sincerity.

And last but not least:
3.Despite everything your words have made me question and how much it hurt, I forgive you.

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

 

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”

How To Find Peace In Your Imperfections

Hello Loves!

This week has been super crazy with work and school and my boyfriend visiting and I forgot to post this guest post by the lovely Molly Shaffer. So I’ll step aside and let her take over the blog today.

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For over three decades, I’ve struggled with self-hate. So much so that I couldn’t stand to see the woman staring back at me in the mirror. The world said I had to change in order to be beautiful. My face, without makeup, was not beautiful. The stretch marks that etched across my body were not beautiful. The cellulite, pimples, smile lines, and God knows how many other countless flaws, were not beautiful. In fact, there was nothing redeeming about me, and beautiful was a word meant for other people, not someone as broken as me. Lies!

This past year, the infamous 2016, was my year of self-growth. My New Year’s Resolution was different from my past ones, the ones where a number defined my life. In 2016, I made the resolution to become healthy: mind, body, and soul. Little did I know that uttering those words would send me on the most gut-wrenching journey of my life. A year of pain, growth, and ultimately, the beginnings of self-love…truly, honestly, lasting self-love.

How did I do it? How did I go from an inability to stare at my own reflection to becoming my own champion? Faith, quiet time, and most importantly, banishing the negative thoughts that were at war in my head. It took a lifetime to hate myself, and a year to come to peace, but it will take a daily commitment to choose love, in order to make lasting changes in my life. This is how you begin the process. This is where change resides. Not in a miracle pill or fad diet, but in rewiring your brain. Realizing that weight is truly just a number, but health runs much deeper than beauty ever will.

 

Step 1: Recognize the lies

One morning, I woke up ready to start a brand new day. I had a song in my head and a smile on my lips, but one step in front of the mirror, and my entire mood changed. Like a light switch turning off in my head, I felt the negativity creep in. My hair was in disarray, and my mascara smeared under my eyes, creating dark circles that would make a raccoon envious. I sat at my vanity, my head in my hands, and I cried. What happened to that strong woman from a second ago? Where did the warriorNowherewhere. She was inside me at that very moment. I had silenced her with a lie.

I picked up my head, and forced myself to look in the mirror. My eyes watered, but I refused to look away. I stared until my face blurred, and I ignored the menacing voice in my head…the liar. Slowly, ever so slowly, I began to make out an image. A cute button nose and full lips. Finally, a positive thought. I liked my nose and my lips. I ran with these thoughts, and as soon as the liar emerged once again, I had a weapon. Sure my eyebrows need to be shaped, but have you seen my nose. Damn, that’s a good nose. I took that first step, which lead to two more, and then, I was running.

 

Step 2: Find a Mantra

The negativity had defined me for far too long. The time had come to find my life quote…the one I could use to defeat the enemy…my war cry. I read through scripture until I came across the verse that spoke to my soul. Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ.” I had read this verse many times before, but for some reason it held a new meaning for me. I can do anything. Anything. Give up the bad habits. Strengthen my body and soul. Heck, I could even love myself. Why not? My life verse echoed…all things. The key word being all. I can do this. I will do this.

You may not be religious, and that is okay. Find your life verse. The verse that clings to you, or better yet, the verse you cling to. You’re going to need it, because the liar is strong in you. You’re going to need a mantra to defeat that cycle of abuse. Find your verse, memorize it, and repeat it until it sticks. Over and over again, like a song on repeat. You can do this.

 

Step 3: Phone a Friend

I have an accountability partner. Her name is Jessica, and she is my sister from a different mister. There are moments that I feel we are the same person in different bodies. Kindred souls thousands of miles apart. It’s kind of freaky how well we mesh. The best part, I can be real with this woman, and she doesn’t judge me. She pours truth into my life, refuses to sugar coat my failures, or accept my excuses. She isn’t harsh in her redirections. I don’t need a drill sergeant. I need a friend. Someone I can cry out to and laugh with. Jessica is that friend to me.

My journey will not work if I try it alone. I can talk myself into some stupid mistakes. “Go ahead, girl, you deserve a slice of that chocolate cake…no, you deserve the whole cake.” So, before I make a bad choice, I text Jessica. She either affirms my madness, or gently redirects me. Find your Jessica. She’s out there.

 

Step 4: Give Yourself Grace

You’re going to screw up. It’s inevitable. The best thing you can do when you muck everything up, is to realize you haven’t really mucked everything up. Stand up, dust off your bum, and get back on course. So you failed: who cares? That’s part of the process. Don’t slit your other three tires because you have a flat (I love that analogy). Give yourself the same grace you would give to your best friend, because after all, you need to begin seeing yourself as your best friend.

 

Step 5: Perfect isn’t Real

For most of my life, I sought perfection, until recently. I read this amazing book, Present Over Perfect, and I had an epiphany. Perfect is cold. Perfect is plastic. Perfect isn’t real. I want warm, comfortable, snuggly, and sometimes that comes with messy, flawed, and blemished…and that’s okay.

The price I paid for perfection is profuse. I spent countless hours inspecting my physique, holding myself to severe standards, and beating myself up when I didn’t reach the unattainable. Sound familiar? It’s the anthem of our world. Kill yourself so others will love you. Well, I say, love yourself and kill the negativity. Once you can see the lies you’ve believed about yourself are just that…lies…you can begin to speak truth into your soul. That’s where real transformation begins, and I’m here to tell you, life on the other side is great!

 
If you’d like to read more about my journey to self-love, visit my website: www.mollyshaffer.com. I’ll be the one with the love of words. The messy chick with a crooked grin. But guess what, I’ll be the one smiling!

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