Mar 31, 2017

my people, come assist meh //march '17 survey


So, I'm short on time today (probably because I spent a lot of time on this survey and other school stuff), but here's a survey you guys can take for MEEEEE. Please? 'kay.

Just let me know what you honestly think of my blog. This will help me in the future to write more content that you'll love! Thanks so much, love y'all lots! <3 p="">

Mar 29, 2017

Hannah's Prayer // Jesus hates whiners

Every other Tuesday, my friend has piano lessons with my older sister-- which means I get to spend time with her older sister and my best friend. I only get to see her at our home-school coop (which is once a week) and when her sister has lessons, so when we do see each other... we talk. A lot. About a lot.

Today's interesting conversation that has been on my mind and heart the whole day was about prayer. We had been discussing the Boy-Crazy-Syndrome that so many of our friends are suffering from, when I said something like, "Why let them dictate your every move when they're just guys? As long as you have Jesus, you'll be good!" Or something along those lines. After quickly agreeing, my friend added that a lot of the time it seems that young Christians don't know how to talk to God, that they don't really see Him like a friend, but like this stone cold powerful person in the sky that will hug you when you're hurt and hit you when you're bad and totally disappear from the universe when all is well.

That's what happens. Instead of seeing Jesus as a Father that yearns for a relationship with us, we seem to always set Him on the shelf to get dusty until we need Him to bandage a wound or strike down our enemy. And you know what that says about our relationship with Him? It means we're "thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned" (John 15:6). Without God constantly in our hearts, we are kindling! WHAT?!

Imagine this. You have a friend, you love your friend. But your friend never spends time with you, never makes an effort to contact you, never does nothing. But you love him or her, and you try to shoot them a text, just to see that horrid "Read" recipients and no response bubble thingy. You reason, Maybe they're just busy?

But then you see him or her at Chick-fi-la. With four friends. They're all seated at one of the booths on the left, laughing, talking, and having a great time. And all you want to do is steal their waffle fries... you're only slightly bitter on the outside, but inwardly you're like a shriveling pancake feeling unwanted, unloved.

That's how God feels. God sees His precious little you, His precious little me, and His precious little Johnny. But all we see are our friends (aka distractions in life [i.e. self-made idols] ) and our wicked, wicked waffle fries (aka wicked wicked waffle fries [i.e. fries, but waffle-y] ). And now He's the shriveling pancake.

The Almighty God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace-- the King of Kings is a shriveling pancake... because of you and me and Johnny?

My mind just cannot. I mean... we know who God is, who Jesus is.... but do we really??? Because if we really know who God is, who He is as a person, as a sovereign Father, than why, pray tell, are we so reckless with our hearts? If we know that God is the greatest Lover of our souls, than why would we place our lives in the hands of anything else? Anything less?

Stupidity, maybe. Stupidity and a good dose of pride. Because we don't like the idea of God being as knowing as He is, because where's the privacy for sin in that. We don't like the idea of God being as loving as He is, because then we feel guilty. We don't like the idea of God being the King, because all we want is to rule our own lives and live a little. Follow our hearts, our feelings.

And perish.

Because that is the final outcome for all those who choose not Christ, but their own pursuits of happiness. Besides. They're just finding themselves, discovering who they are, following their hearts. Fine. I get it. But I won't be taking part in it.

A while back when I was studying different women from the Bible, I was learning about Hannah; at least once a week I find myself rereading her prayer in Samuel chapter 2:

"And Hannah prayed and said,
'My heart exults in the Lord;
my horn is exalted in the Lord.
My mouth derides my enemies,
because I rejoice in your salvation.
There is none holy like the Lord;
for there is none besides you;
there is no rock like our God.
Talk no more so very proudly,
let no arrogance come from your mouth;
for the Lord is a God of knowledge,
and by him actions are weighed.
The bows of the mighty are broken,
The Lord kills and brings to life;
The Lord makes poor and makes rich;
he brings low and he exalts.
For the pillars of the earth are the Lord's,
and on them he has set the world.
He will guard the feet of his faithful ones,
but the wicked shall be  cut off in darkness,
for not by might shall man prevail.'"
1 Samuel 2:1-10 

I mean... I'm left breathless after reading these verses. Absolutely dumbfounded. God is amazing. AMAZING, not a shriveled pancake! He deserves our most earnest, most fervent, most humblest prayers, and if we're giving him anything less, than we're stealing. Because all our praise is rightfully His. We were created for His glory, for Pete's sake! What are we doing sneaking our way around the universe occasionally whispering "Jesus loves you", but never making a real impact??? THIS IS A JOYOUS THING WORTHY OF CELEBRATION WITH OREOS AND PANDAS AND BUBBLE TEA OKAY?! Don't be afraid to make a stand for who you are IN CHRIST.

Jesus is amazing. He's not just some invisible power that will smash people that do bad things and heal boo-boo's really really fast if you ask. He's not just some nobody that can actually do cool things when you ask Him to.

No, He's actually the God of the Universe and beyond, and that's kinda a big deal. Oh and He's also the best Daddy and Bestie. There's nothing in the world that makes Him smile more brilliantly than when you choose Him over anything else. Even for just a short, "God you're so amazing. Imma keep you." Because every small thanks, praise, acknowledgement counts. You don't have to have a 10 verse prayer like Hannah.

Moral of the story?

Jesus doesn't belong on the shelf, because He wants more than to be occasionally called when we're in need: He wants a relationship with you and me and Johnny. And we can't have an operating relationship if we don't communicate. It just doesn't work that way.

So in the end, my friend and I finished that topic in a passionate "EXACTLY!"

//comment below and tell me your thoughts on this post. :))

(note: as you can see, I wrote this post at 12am so if anything seems kinda.. idk weird? that's why :))

Mar 24, 2017

Book review // Between Shades of Gray

Guess who FINALLY decided to crawl out from under my rock? ME. Hah. 

It's been what? 5,489 years? Mmm, too long my friend. So much has happened, so much has changed, so much to talk about. But before I start a storm of rambles and ship names, let me just jump into today's post, which is *squeals* a book review on.... "Between Shades of Gray" by Ruta Sepetys!

//introduction (basically me rambling to myself)

So, I'll admit. I am terrified to write this review. Do you ever get that feeling of inadequacy when you're writing a review? Right now I'm struggling with words to describe how I feel about this book. It was good. 

It was phenomenal.

But even as I type that... I feel like I'm leaving something out. As if I'm belittling the novel somehow. I guess there just aren't words to describe all books? Some are just left up to you to understand personally. Maybe that sounds cheesy. But you'd get my meaning if you've read the book.

//actual review ~ 5 STARS

Written with feeling, emotional ties, and unique insight, Between Shades of Gray is a book that not only shattered my mind and soul into a million pieces, but still tortures my heart when I think of it. I've fallen hopelessly in love with a book that has stabbed my heart multiple times. HELP ME. 
The plot follows a Lithuanian 15-year-old, Lina Vilkas, as she is ruthlessly thrown into the cruelty of World War 2. Although she has her mother and brother, her father is lost in the sea of men being taken to multiple concentration camps. In hopes and desperation of contacting him and reuniting their family somehow, Lina, a very gifted artist, draws portrayals and portraits of the things she sees, where they go, people they meet. Throughout the book, her notebook fills with these drawings, and she's just hoping and praying that no one, especially not the Soviets, will find them.

The character development was impeccable. Each one had their own story, their own strength, and their own way of coping. It was so cool to see that clear transformation of what war will do to people. It pains, breaks, but doesn't make things unfix-able. And Ruta Sepetys portrays that in such a beautiful crystal clear way.

Even if it was a historical fiction, and very very historically sound, it wasn't boring at all. All the mentions of the news during that time, what was going on politically, didn't drive me crazy like other books. It was all very interesting and kept me engrossed within its leafs. However, this book really focuses on the characters and their experience from their POV, not the war as a whole. Like, none of the characters know what's exactly happening in the war, and Ruta Sepetys doesn't just say what's going on. It is all written in a way so that you relate to the characters in a very intimate way; same mind, same fear, same everything. It's really very well written (I don't know how many times I'm going to write that haha).

Basically, it was excellent. Beyond excellent. It was breathtaking, heartbreaking, soul-wrenching, tear-jerking, ridiculously gushing with emotions and pain and IT IS ALL ACTUALLY BEAUTIFUL.

//characters ~ 5 STARS

Lina: Oh how my heart hurts for our dear protagonist. When I began the book, I imagined her as any other protagonist that would be thrown into her situation; she was scared, she asked questions, she cried. But by the middle, I really began to know her. She's not just scared. She's terrified. So much so, she forgets how to cope with little discomforts, how to communicate her fears, her worries. Every minute during her captivity, she experiences a fear that you and I cannot even try to connect with reality. Her heart, so sensitive, so innocent, was so roughly tossed about and beaten by the Soviets, that by the end it's completely covered with bloody wounds, white scars, and blue bruises. But through it all, all the heartbreak, all the tears, all the anger... hope lingers. Even if it seemed like just a faded line in the horizon, barely even noticeable, in her heart she never let it go. There is strength in brokenness. And we see her grow in that strength, even if she is covered in scars, she's not weak. 
(Song: Clouds by Before You Exit)

Jonas: My precious little Jonas... where to begin with this guy? Seeing him grow up (emotionally and mentally-- dude smoked at 9) was hard. It hurt. But it was realistic. In the beginning, he was a sunshine-y 9-year-old, optimistic like his mommy, always trying to bring the light into his sister's eyes. And then you slowly just see him become a man. His words are harder, not innocent childish worlds. His actions are all about taking care of his mom and sister, protecting them. It's adorable and bitter-sweet in a 10-year-old. You want to bundle him up in a snuggie and just protect him and guard him from the ugliness of the world. In conclusion, Jonas was definitely one of the strongest characters in the book. Yes, he did have his share of pain and worries, but he put them aside to care for his family. My little man.  

Andrius: oH My HeAD. This guy. This guy. This guy. I can fangirl about him all day. He's so strong, so passionate, so discerning... I just love him so much. From the beginning, he displayed a heart that had been hurt, but was still functioning for others. He had this amazing inner strength that served as a rock for both Lina and Jonas. OH. And his brotherly relationship with Jonas? That was the most precious thing ever! And then on a heartbreaking note... we get to see his brokenness on a whole new level in the middle of the book. Even if he's all confident on the outside, he's just as scared and angry and broken as Lina, Jonas and the rest of the refugees. He'd just learned to conceal (*sings* don't feel) his pain and deal with life. I LOVED he and Lina's relationship so much, it's hard to type this out because I'm wanting to just let all my fangirl sap to pour all over the keys. But I won't do that. Because I love y'all. But let's be serious, hahah. Their relationship is literally the sweetest, sweetest cinnamon roll evers. Literally. You'll have to read the book, because I don't want to spoil anything.. okay, I'll say this: Andrius is every girl bookworm's dream guy. But that's it.

Now, this is a war book, and although it's not too graphic, it does speak of war related things (i.e. dead bodies, and the like). There was a couple uses of the D word, but it wasn't used any more than that. In one part the refugees have to bathe in the showers and they are ordered to undress in front of the Soviet soldiers, which was disturbing, but again this was a realistic war book based on what really happened. So this can be forgiven. There is also a little romance between two of the characters and they do kiss twice, but it's short and sweet. And if you don't want to have your heart broken a million times, you probably shouldn't read this. Because it will do exactly that. 

In conclusion to my review on Between Shades of Gray, I will say it again: This book can't be described by words. YOU MUST READ IT YOURSELF, SIR.

So there's my review! I know this was kind of slightly scattered... bless you if you read through it all xD Here's a playlist I put together while reading the book. Now, whenever I hear any of these songs, my heart hurts and I have to stop and sigh of sorrow. Once you read this book, you won't be able to live it down, I promise you!

//the tunes

//let's talk bruh.

Have you read this book? (if so, let's scream like idiots in the comments together, kindred spirit!
Have you heard of it? 
Are you going to read it(if not, we need to have a talk...)?