JOURNALING IN JULY.

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One of my favorite aspects about journaling is that afterwards, you are left with a collection of all your old thoughts, agendas, and insights. Our ability to retain information and memories is slimmer than we’d like to believe, and a record of old words serve as a time portal back into the yesterday’s. Past journals offer perspective: a better understanding of where you are going and an attitude of thankfulness for how you have gotten there.

I looked back at all my journal entires of July on the train one day, and I was shocked of how eventful the month was without even realizing it. As I knew it, another month had just came and went. Weekends seemed too quick and workdays were too long, but as I read through my prayers and recollections, I was reminded of both little and big things that had taken place. I was filled with thankfulness and inspiration. It was cool. (:

Here is a peek at some of my journal entries: (click to enlarge)

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If you don’t journal already, I encourage you try it for the month of August! If you have ever asked yourself if God’s hand is  present in your life, this might help you. Journaling forces you to slow down, and in those moments of reflections is when God’s presence is evident.  You see the promises the Lord has declared over you, and how they are personally manifesting in your life! God is always, always working, slow down or you might miss it.

Journal about anything and everything. (: Talk about the highlights of your days and your weeks, and even vent about the worries that consume your heart. Share your blessings and express your wishes. God hears all of it. I believe that putting language to your emotions has the ability to pull them from the depths and hidden corners of your heart, onto the surface where it’s accessible to be touched, processed, and communicated. And when you are able to communicate it with yourself, you are more able to communicate them with God.

Good luck! (:
I’d love to hear your journaling adventures, please share below.

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10 things I learned in June

HAPPY JULY! 🙂

Each month, my favorite blogger, emily @ chatting at the sky, shares on her blog some of the things she learned that month. Some things are significant and impressive, and others are small and light. For this past month, she invited all of her readers to join along and share the new knowledge June has personally brought them!

So today, I am linking up with Emily and sharing the bits and pieces of things I recently learned. (:

10 things i learned in june

1. Always, always check the expiration date. When I first came home from Italy in early May, it took me a really long time to unpack. I left my suitcases untouched for weeks, and along with it, my sacred face wash. So I just used a random face wash I found under the bathroom sink, and I noticed that within days my face started to break out uncontrollably. IT WAS BAD. LIKE WHEN YOU ACCIDENTALLY PRESS THE WRONG SQUARE ON MINESWEEPER AND SUDDENLY THE WHOLE SCREEN IS FILLED WITH RED X’S AND IT MAKES YOU SQUEAMISH. DO YOU KNOW?

I could sit still for two hours, minding my own business, and next thing I know, new raging red bumps are invading my chin. So what did I do, used that effing face wash even more. I attributed the breakout to the fact that the US doesn’t recycle and my new Italian skin couldn’t handle the polluted air and water. (No, I’m just kidding, I just feel like I haven’t said any pretentious European stuff in awhile.) Anyway, but after about three weeks, I noticed one day six digits engrained on the bottle cap. And it read: 03/13/07…… THE FACE WASH EXPIRED IN 2007. Lesson learned, Biore. Lesson learned.

2. Pic-tap-go is the best photo editing app out there. It was the best $1.99 I have ever spent.

3. The OT is great and changed my June. (see why grace is so sweet)

4. Running isn’t that bad. I mean, it is in the sense that it hurts different parts of your body before, during, and AFTER the run, but it also releases a wave of endorphins and changes the way one perceives themselves in the mirror. So, I guess it’s worth it?

5. I have a bottomless stomach for Mexican food.

6. Everything, and I mean everything, is all about perspective. An experience is not innately “good” or “bad,” it’s how you look at it. And YOU have the ability and power to choose how you want to look at it. EREGO, YOU HAVE THE ABILITY AND POWER TO MAKE A SITUATION GOOD OR BAD. So, how is today? Is it good or bad?

7. Good coffee, good handwriting, and a good journal affect my mood. Like, a lot. It is what helps my soul BREATHE and if I go for too long without it, I grow anxious, frustrated, and out of touch with myself.

8. Home videos are so cool and I really want to get into them. My inspirations: lovetaza

9. God is my boss and no one else. (there’s a story behind this one.)

10. Tina Fey is great. That’s all.

see what other women learned this month here.

it’s not about starbucks

I have a thing for Starbucks. (Or have you not noticed?) And as an advertising major, I always stayed comfortable with the reason for that affinity being its excellent advertising. It must be. 

And I still do think it kind of totally is. I mean it did completely change coffee culture in America. To not only get people to like the drink in the cup, but be proud for holding that cup in their hand, and creating this habit of staying in the store. It became not only a coffee shop, but a living room, an office space, a hang out. And that’s what all brands around the world spend millions and millions of dollars each year trying to achieve. To mean something and be able to express it in words and images and share this idea to the people. And then the hardest part? Be so real that they believe it. 

And hey, Starbucks did it. It  means something more than caffeine and it has become so interlaced with my own life that I’ll drop +$4 on one cup and post a pic on Instagram for the 90th time.

For me, Starbucks is the place where Jesus and I meet and have our best conversations. Lessons learned, healing found, truths exposed. Some small, some big. Both always mattered.

And today, I’m pretending I’m at Starbucks. I’m sitting at my kitchen table — something I rarely do because my roommate and I are barbarians who like to eat our meals on the couch with feet up and tv on.

But right now I’m sitting here. Headphones plugged in, a cup of coffee in hand, and the Word opened in front of me.

Why? Like I said. This post is not about Starbucks. Not at its core anyway.

It’s about Jesus. And how important it is to be taking care of that relationship with him.

In Italy, it’s been hard to find that intimacy with Jesus. I stayed in bathrooms, laid in bed, and I told myself it didn’t matter the location of my quiet time. Which is entirely true, because one more reason why our God is so great is that he is with us at all times. But the flip side of that same coin is that since we are conditional and physical people, the location of the quiet time CAN matter… If the room is noisy, our ears will listen for people’s voices rather than the Lord’s. If our bellies are empty or eyelids are heavy, our limited concentration will take us towards dreams of food and sleep, not his Kingdom. Because I am a very conditional and limited person, because I am human, I can’t turn my worrisome and anxious heart off with the flip of a switch.

Even though God is with us at all times and we can squeeze in prayers on our walks to school or on the train, He is also our King and not only deserves, but COMMANDS our full attention. And sometimes we can’t reach so deep on the train or in the supermarket. Jesus went to the mountain to have his intimate moments — maybe your mountain top is a private room, getting on your knees, prepping with a worship song, lights turned off. Whatever it is, coming back to the heart of worship is absolutely needed.

For me, dates with Jesus at Starbucks worked for us. And today, I woke up and my soul was CRAVING a date with him. And so as silly and stupid as I felt, I put myself in a position where I knew my eyes and ears and heart and mind would be at His fullest attention. So it’s not about Starbucks, it’s about finding a way to give Him your fullest and undivided attention.

A cup of coffee is just a plus. (;

The Lord provides…

 

“…How much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” — Matthew 7:11

We asked for a church, and the Lord delivered so much more. (:

Attending a church in Italy — let alone finding one — was more challenging than I anticipated. There were travel excursions planned the first three Sundays in Verona, so we went through a hiatus of no communal worship or service, and I could just feel my soul longing community. Fortunately, through a friend who studied in Verona previously, we got in touch with a few American Christian churches in the vicinity.

We decided to check out a home church made up of two American missionary families. They invited us to evening service — and supper, as well! Kind folks they are. (;

Each week we gather in the family room and sing along to the music/slideshow on the tv screen, listen to a sermon, followed by a home-cooked meal. (: Last week we met two hours earlier to spend more time together. We ate bread, drank tea, played board games, and just enjoyed each other’s company.

Sundays with these people have been some of my favorite memories while living in Europe. Sometimes I leave church feeling so overwhelmed with the Lord’s love shown through these people. I’m learning more and more why the Lord calls the church beautiful and why he stresses the importance of unity and love within it. Time with the body softens our hearts, allows us to be vulnerable, reveals Christ love in the flesh, reminds us of our purpose, fills us with truth, love, and encouragement, and in turn, reenergizes us to be light in our mission field. And that we can’t do it on our own, He never intended it that way. We need the body.

Living in Europe — apart from CFC + LWAC — has definitely developed a new appreciation for a church to call home. For services to regularly look forward to. For a community to worship with. For brothers and sisters to walk life with. For the word preached to prune you. For leaders to hold you accountable. For prayer meetings and revivals to remind you that the Lord wants to transform you. Being here has increased my love and appreciation for the body. 

Thank you, Jesus, for your provision. (: