4 Things to do First Thing in the Morning

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Have you ever woken up to the tune (or beeps) of your alarm and had to think for a minute to remember which day of the week it is? And then you groan, as everything comes flooding back to you and you remember what you have to do during the day. And you push your face into your pillow, half wondering if somehow you could get really sick today so that you can cancel on all your responsibilities – apologetically, of course.

Yeah, me too.

Some days, it’s just hard to roll out from under the blanket and greet the day, hard as we may try. Some days, we exit our beds already thinking negatively about what’s going to happen and what we have to do, putting ourselves in a bad mood before we even burn breakfast.

I often have a hard time making myself get up to face another day, but here are a four things that help me in my quest to not hate the sound of my alarm so much. Maybe they’ll help you too.

1. Wash your face.

Purpose: Start your day refreshed.

This step is about feeling clean inside and out first thing in the morning. For me, that means washing my face, drinking a cup of cold water, and getting dressed. It could also mean taking a shower, brushing your teeth, or whatever makes you feel fresh and awake.

Often, when we pull ourselves from our beds, we wander through the house with that gross taste in our mouths and blinking hard to see through the crust in our eyes. We feel kind of bleh. Making yourself feel clean first thing in the morning makes anything else a little easier to face. We feel more put together and ready to do whatever comes next.

By the way, this step also includes making your bed. Not to sound like your mother, but a made bed really can make your room feel more orderly and it’s a nice thing to come home to at the end of the day.

2. Pour that coffee.

Purpose: Start your day relaxed.

I drink coffee every day and it’s something that I look forward to. Having a cup of something hot and caffeinated relaxes me and makes the morning feel more gentle. Find something small that can soothe you first thing in the morning, when you’re still in that squinty I-can’t-see-anything phase of waking up. It could be coffee or tea. Maybe it’s a warm robe that you like to wear for a few minutes. Just pick something simple and give it a try. If it doesn’t work, try something else.

If you start off your day with something that calms you, you can refocus and think through the day without that obnoxious song that you thought would make a good alarm blaring in your ears. This step really is about collecting yourself and taking care of yourself before you enter into all the crazy that you know is coming next.

3. Pray.

Purpose: Start your day with a focus on God.

For me, this step also includes reading my Bible, working on my memorization, and reading a theology/spiritual life book. I know that’s a lot of stuff, but that’s what gets me focused on God for the day. You don’t have to do all these different things first thing in the morning. That might not be a good time for you (I used to fall asleep with my Bible open on my lap every morning). But I would encourage you to at least pray for a few minutes.

Take this time to praise God and to pour out your heart to Him. You’re not here to impress anybody, so don’t pray like it. Tell Him what worries you have about the coming day, pray for friends and family, and just be with Him for a while. It sets a new tone for the day and really centers you at the very beginning.

4. Read and write.

Purpose: Start your day with something you enjoy doing.

After I read my Bible and pray and all that, I write. In fact, I’m writing this as part of my morning routine. I chose writing as the thing I want to spend some time on in the mornings because it’s something I enjoy and I don’t really do it at other times of the day if I don’t do it first thing. Some days I blog and some days I outline. Soon, I’ll replace outlining with writing All’s a Game.

For this part of your morning, pick something you like to do, but don’t really make time for the rest of the day. You could read a book, walk the dog, cook a nice breakfast, workout (I’ll do this once the temperatures rise above freezing in Virginia), or whatever else you like to do. Again, this allows you to focus and think before the day begins, setting you up to have a good outlook on whatever you have planned for the day. Plus, it’s something to look forward to first thing in the morning.

The collective purpose of these four things to do first thing in the morning is to start the day off in a way that doesn’t leave you smothering yourself with a pillow at 6am. If you build a routine that you actually enjoy first thing in the morning, you will be ready for the rest of the day. You will feel good because you took care of yourself and spent some time breathing before running off to work or class.

I would also encourage you to get up a little earlier if you don’t already do so. Give yourself the time you need to do the routine you build for yourself, even if that means rising before the sun and going to bed when the ten year old does. They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it prepares your body for whatever comes next. Your morning routine is arguably the most important time of the day because it prepares you as a whole for the rest of the day.

So maybe try adding one thing in the morning that makes you smile – once you’ve remembered what day of the week it is of course. It’ll make dragging yourself from bed just a little bit easier.

Kira

What does your morning routine look like right now?
Is there anything you want to add or take away from it?

Book Review: Rediscovering Humility

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We often define sanctification as “becoming more like Christ.” A more apt definition might be “resting more in Christ’s love.” One of the major sins that many Christians try to sanctify themselves out of is the sin of pride.

I’ve just finished reading the book Rediscovering Humility by Christopher Hutchinson that addresses the attempt to eliminate pride by looking at it from the opposite side. What if we stopped trying to get rid of pride and instead started trying to live in humility?

Pastor Hutchinson begins the book with the admission that it is a work of which he is “exceptionally proud,” immediately setting the humble and slightly humorous tone for the rest of the study. He then goes on to describe why he wanted to write a book on humility – it’s not something the church talks about very much, but there is a need for such discussion.

Rediscovering Humility divides the subject of humility into three sections: Humility Found (Faith), Humility Embraced (Hope), and Humility Applied (Love). Before reading this, I didn’t realize there was so much to the pursuit of humility. The slightly thick and deep book looked a little daunting as I began. And it became more and more convicting as I read.

But I did not pour hours of reading and thought into this book just for the feeling of conviction or that of superiority upon finishing it (that would be ironic indeed). I continued reading because the underlying premise of each chapter was grace. If you’ve read this blog for long, you probably know that I am a perfectionist and hold myself to a high standard rather than resting in the love of God. Rediscovering Humility was the book on Christian humility that I needed.

On almost every page, Pastor Hutchinson writes about the source and example of our humility: Christ. He humbled Himself to the point of death (Philippians 2). He came to serve, not to be served (Matthew 20).

We are able to live in humility because our Savior first lived in humility. We live in humility by recognizing the grace and love that we have in Christ. It’s not a cruel game of trying harder and counting up failures. It’s a life of joy that comes only from resting in God’s grace. If we do that, we cannot help but be humble.

Rediscovering Humility is not an easy book to read. As I said, it is incredibly convicting. I’m still looking around and seeing all the ways that I am prideful that I never noticed before. As Pastor Hutchinson writes in the preface, “Pride is all-pervasive. It is capable of turning any old thing into a curse, especially those things that are otherwise praiseworthy. Pride so easily masquerades as godliness that even the attempt to quell pride may just as easily feed it.”

So, it is not a comfortable book to read. It will take hours, if done with a spirit of self-examination and a desire for understanding. But it is worth it. Because, at the end of the day (and book), it all comes down to grace.

Kira

What are you reading?

Eliminating the Pride of Worry

Before we get to the content of this post, there are a few housekeeping notes I’d like to take care of.

First, the poll that I posted last week is still active and I would love more feedback on what you want to read. This blog isn’t just something to keep me busy – I want to serve you with what I write here. So, if you haven’t given me your thoughts yet, I would love it if you would let me know what kind of thing you want to read from me on this poll.

Second, I’m going to try experimenting a little bit with the time that I publish these posts. This probably won’t affect you very much except for the time that the email comes to you if you follow the blog by email.

Third, and finally, I’m going to be putting together the beginnings of an email list in the near future. Don’t worry – I won’t be sending out any sort of weekly email at this point. It will probably just be the occasional update on writing and various other things. If you have an idea for what you might want to receive from an email list, let me know in the comments. I would love your input and support, so be looking for that email list soon!


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On Sunday, the pastor at my church preached a sermon on worry as a start to the new year. A lot of people are thinking about resolutions and where they could be a year from now, but he presented the idea that maybe a Christian’s resolution should be not to worry. He titled the sermon “Don’t Worry; Be Faithful!” and preached from Matthew 6, where Jesus tells of the Father’s providence over all of creation.

Coincidentally, he also wrote a book on humility that I am currently reading called Rediscovering Humility. Now, I promise I am not just trying to advertise for him here, but the sermon and the book got me thinking this week on why I worry.

I came up with a few different answers: I worry because I want things to go well. I worry because I don’t know the details of some event or change. I worry because I am not the one in control. And so on. All of those answers follow a similar pattern. I worry because I have some perceived need. My worry centers around me and my future, which automatically makes my worry the product of pride.

Pride is given many definitions based on who you ask, but the common thread is a focus primarily on self. And if you’ve ever spent some time honestly looking for pride in different areas of your life, you’ve likely seen just how it seems to come out in everything – even the things you don’t think are prideful, like worry.

If I were to make a list of things I’m anxious about at any given moment, it would be longer than anyone would care to read. I know that I am particularly prone to worry and anxiety over practically everything. That has frustrated me for a long time. It’s not fun to always be thinking about what could go wrong or how I could be ruining my entire future. But that frustration stemmed from the (wrong) idea that worry is something that happens to me. Not something I do to myself.

If I recognize worry as pride and self-reliance, suddenly it looks different. I told my dad the other day that the anxiousness isn’t something I can just turn on and off like a switch. And I still think that’s true. It won’t go away so easily. But I’m beginning to think that there are things I can do about it.

So the next question is, how do I get rid of the pride behind the worry? If worry is the symptom, pride is the disease, and it is one that runs deep. I don’t believe there is a step-by-step plan to get rid of pride and live a wonderful life, but there are ways to overcome it biblically. And, wonder of wonders, it is often addressed by the name of “worry” or “anxiety.”

“The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:5b-7)

This was my favorite verse for a long time and I still often quote it to myself. And with good reason: it says that I do not need to be anxious or worry because God can take care of my concerns and give me His peace in place of my anxiety. All I need to do is release control and surrender it to Him. He will do the rest.

“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:31-33)

This passage in Matthew takes the answer to getting rid of the pride of worry a step further. Once I cast my cares on God, I will need a new focus. If I’m not wringing my hands over the new year or an impending project (I just remembered one that I had completely forgotten as I write…), then I need something else to fill my mind. Matthew 6:33 provides that focus: the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

As Rick Warren (not C.S. Lewis) wrote, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” If my mind is full of the things of God, I don’t have space or time to worry. If I am meditating on Scripture and looking for ways to serve my coworkers, I don’t have time to think about all the things that could go wrong this semester.

I know that we can’t snap our fingers or flip a switch to rid ourselves of our anxieties. But we can turn to God more. We can fill our minds with His Word and with prayers. It won’t make the worry instantly vanish, but it will be a much more peaceful way to live this year.

Kira

Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?
What is something you’re worried about (and can surrender to God)?

What Do You Want to Read?

Hello and Merry (belated) Christmas to you! By now, you’ve probably eaten your fill of leftovers and unwrapped all the gifts. If you live in a climate similar to Virginia’s, you’re likely dreaming of that white Christmas for next year…oh well. The days after Christmas are always long, but don’t worry – we shall return to school soon!

I write a lot of stuff at you – I know. I go on and on about my own thoughts and life and work. Today, I want you to tell me your thoughts.

I post on this blog weekly and that adds up to a lot of content over time. But there’s no point to that content if it’s not what you want to read. So, in the interest of all of our time, let me know what you want to see more of from this blog in the poll below. If you have an idea for something different, I’d love to hear that too! Just let me know in the comments.

And please share this poll with your friends or family – I’d love to get their opinions too! Happy voting!

Share Your Suffering

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We all lose people, but that doesn’t make it any easier. We all go through changes that feel devastating and hurt deeply. We all feel pain regularly, whether we show it or not.

This year has been a hard year for me, in more ways than one. I lost two people personally, one to suicide. Two of my siblings from foster care moved away after more than a year with us. So many people around me lost people as well and I saw their pain. Little things have been adding stress to my day to day life, even though most of them are good. I’m getting ready to leave for college next year. I was a counselor in training at a camp for four weeks this summer. I was moved to a position of leadership in a discipleship team. All good things, but for some reason, very hard.

I have struggled with my feelings through all of this. (Yes, this is going to be a post about feelings – but I think it’s important to talk about) When leaving for college feels overwhelming, I think I’m doing something wrong. Surely I should be excited about such a big step! When I don’t want to go to work, I think that I’m feeling the wrong thing: there’s no reason to be frustrated, I’ve got to earn money somehow. When I lost someone to suicide, I didn’t think it should hurt as much as it did. Other people were closer to him.

Through this year, I have learned an important lesson: This world is wrong. And it’s okay to feel that.

When Adam and Eve fell in the Garden of Eden, sin entered the world, bringing with it death and pain. Those things have not left since then. They’re still here. We’re surrounded by the results of the fall every day of our lives and sometimes it makes us cry. Sometimes we long for Heaven not because we want to see God, but because we want to escape the pain. I know. I’ve felt that this year more than ever.

But then we might think that we need to be stronger than this. We’re supposed to have a hope within us, right? We’re supposed to lean on God and He will take care of our anxieties. He will give us strength to overcome the hurt and the struggles.

It’s easy to fall into thinking that we aren’t supposed to feel this much pain, for some reason or another. Maybe we need to put on a good face to the other believers around us. Maybe we think the tears hurt our witness that God is stronger than sin. Whatever the reason, it’s not true.

Have you ever seen someone try to cover up their pain? You hurt for them and you want to tell them that it’s okay, they can feel these things. Well, it’s time for us to tell ourselves that too. We don’t need to be stronger than the tears and the hurt. It’s not healthy to try to fight through on our own. It is healthy to share the pain.

When we pour out our hearts to our brothers and sisters in Christ, we feel better. Maybe not right away, but we have shared our burden, as the church is called to do. They may not have answers for us – in fact, they often don’t. We don’t understand why we’re allowed to suffer so much. But they can grieve with us and point us to Christ. And that’s what we need. We don’t need someone to say that it’ll all work out in the end and tell us to pull ourselves up by our boot straps. We need a fellow human to share our hurt and just be with us, knowing that we struggle and don’t understand, but staying anyway.

It’s not always easy to share what hurts so much with the people around us. Especially when we want to keep up appearances. I plastered on a “sad smile” when I told people about my friend’s death. A few times, that fake strength gave way to real tears and real questioning, and my family in Christ did not seem to mind. They prayed for me and encouraged me. They cried with me. It turned out that even though it hurt, many of them wanted to share my burden.

So please don’t bury your pain. This world is wrong, we all know. And we’re here to both rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15). There is a better world coming. I know we can’t always see it or feel the joy that we think we’re supposed to exude as believers. And that’s okay. Keep suffering, friend. The church is here for you.

Kira

All’s A Game: An Introduction

Hello, dear readers! (I’ve never called you that before – what do you think?)

Today, I’m going to give you the first sneak peek of my next novel. Following Orders is going to rest for a while (maybe forever) and I am turning my attention to a new work. The working title of this story is All’s A Game.

I’m still working on outlining this novel, so for now, I just have the premise for you. Think of this as the first draft of the write up for the back of the book. I hope that you will come to love Kimbey as I do and will enjoy reading about different facets of her story as I write.


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All’s A Game

When it is discovered that her disabled brother was not killed in a eugenic abortion years ago, Kimbey Stewart and her family must answer for it in court. The sentence for such crimes is time in the games – a series of courses designed for the entertainment of the people, especially President Desmond. When Kimbey volunteers to take her brother’s place in the games, President Desmond takes an unwanted personal interest in her.

While Kimbey tries to get home, he works to keep her there for his own entertainment and control. Kimbey’s fight to return to her home and family turns into a battle against the president himself – a more powerful opponent than she ever intended to face.

Kira

Let’s Be Positive

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Have you ever had to spend time with someone who is incurably negative? I’m sure you have – we all have. I confess that I am often that person who drags others down alongside herself. When we’re in a mood to be negative, we only see the bad side of things. We think the world is out to get us and we’ve done nothing wrong. The project definitely won’t work. It is way too cold outside. That person is being absolutely awful.

Sound familiar?

Negativity is an easy thing to fall into, no matter where we are in life. It’s positivity that takes work. Our sinful natures want us to groan when the alarm clock goes off and criticize our coworkers and it is easy to listen to that nature. What’s not easy is to get out of bed cheerfully even when we’re still tired or find something to compliment in that one person.

The sin of negativity lurks everywhere, simply waiting for us to stumble into it. Or, as we often do, to waltz lovingly into its arms. But what if we were to fight the cruel master of negativity? And it is a master, taking over every facet of our minds and day while we allow it to.

When we dig ourselves into a hole of hating the world that is out to get us for no reason whatsoever, we are being ungrateful for the good things that God gives us. We are twisting His creation. That one slow waitress might have been an opportunity to show Christian love, but we turned it into an opportunity to save some money on a tip and grumble on the drive home. In this fallen world, turning good things into bad is easy. It’s second nature.

But we are not called to live in a passive, second nature sort of way. We are called to a new nature, one that has been transformed by Christ. And I believe that means a nature of positivity.

Remember when Paul and Silas were thrown in prison? That’s a pretty bad situation. But instead of sitting on the hard dirt and commiserating about how bad their circumstances were, they prayed to God and sang hymns to Him. Because of their positivity in the worst of times, the jailer over them and his entire family heard the gospel and were baptized.

So what does positivity look like in our lives right now? There are two major components to living a more positive life: thinking and speaking.

Thinking

The thoughts we nurture and allow to grow in our minds have a major impact on who we are as a person and how we see life. We can easily convince ourselves that lies are truth just by thinking that they are. Something that a lot of sports players hear is “envision yourself making the play and you will.” Our thoughts can make or break our pursuit of positivity.

So start catching negative thoughts today. Next time you sigh heavily, stop yourself and ask if that thought was necessary. Replace it with something else. Just as thinking negative things can lead us to be negative people, thinking positive things can also lead us to be positive people. Instead of thinking “this line is taking forever” think “I’m glad I’m getting this shopping done now” or “I bet Mark will really love this book I got him.”

How we think can truly shape who we are and how we interact with the world.

Speaking

Flowing out of thinking is speaking. A lot of the time, our negativity becomes verbal. We complain to someone about how awful something was and go through making every detail just a little more dramatic. What we’re doing is looking for sympathy over the horrid mess that we’ve made our lives out to be. And while there’s nothing wrong with talking about things that make us angry or upset, when it turns into complaining, that’s a problem.

In addition to fighting the negative thoughts that we love to let grow, we must combat the words that are a product of those thoughts. The thing about words is that they affect other people. When we start telling anyone and everyone about our latest grievance with life, we drag them down with us. We become that person who is obnoxious to listen to and who is no fun to be around. And while it is possible to be obnoxiously positive, it is far harder than to be obnoxiously negative.

Even when our thoughts are negative, we can fight back by using different words. We may be whining about something in our heads, but we don’t have to let the words come out of our mouths. Choosing to speak more positively can help change our mindsets as well. Our mothers provided us with an excellent principle for trying to be more positive: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”


I truly hope that you will now try to incorporate more positivity into daily life. It’s no fun to live when everything seems bad. And it’s no fun to be around people who live like that. So let’s be the ones to set an example and to move past our childish view of life. There is so much more to it than we can see when we’ve worked ourselves up, so let’s experience the good things God has for us. Let’s really live.

Kira

Slowing Down in a Speed of Light World

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I will be the first to admit that our generation (the ones just coming into adulthood or just barely there) is a group that wants quick fixes. I recently wrote about how that doesn’t work for our relationship with God, but almost every facet of life could benefit if we took our time.

Gone are the days of having to wait for “snail mail” in order to hear from someone, the days of working for years on a project before releasing it to the world. Now, we use all the fast technology that we can get our hands on and complain when the internet’s a little slow.

I don’t want to point fingers or cast blame today though. Instead, I want to look at the benefits of slowing down in many areas of our lives.

Experience

They say it takes 10,000 hours of doing something to become a professional. 10,000 hours. That’s 416.67 days of working around the clock. 1.14 years. However, if you can’t constantly stay awake and don’t want to skip dinner on a regular basis, it would take 27.4 years to reach that level of expertise at just one hour a day, every day, holidays and weekends included.

That is a lot of time. That is almost 10 more years than I have been alive. And yet, we often want the results of those 10,000 hours in the space of a few weeks at most. Think of someone who is a star in your field. Do you like music? How much time did Mozart spend practicing? Writing? What about C. S. Lewis?

Slowing down and taking the time that gaining a skill requires gives you the experience needed to be good at that skill. There’s nothing wrong with latching on to a hobby or something interesting for a few weeks and then moving on, but if you really want to be good at something, you have to put in the time.

Quality

Experience in an area naturally leads to a higher quality product, whatever that may be. Do you know of any famous football players? Me neither, but we can imagine. When they first touched a football, they were likely not getting a lot of touchdowns. They couldn’t do very many pushups. They didn’t know how to tackle the other team. (Please forgive me for where the analogy falls apart and reimagine it in a more accurate way)

They spent years all through grade school, college, and now on a professional team honing their skills and getting better at their game. The quality of their skills has grown with them because they put forth so much time. They were patient as they went to the gym every day. I don’t know of any pro football players who were regular 25 year olds who decided one day that they wanted to join the Patriots and were good enough to make the team.

Spending time on something not only gives us experience in that area, it also increases our ability to perform well day after day and year after year.

Joy

Call me old-fashioned, but I’ve always liked the slow pace of the idyllic southern summer. Sitting on the porch with ice tea, going to the creek, making pancakes in the morning. Slow is nice. Slow lets us enjoy what we do.

Almost none of us live at that pace though. We’re up before dawn, drinking coffee and off to work or class. We’re meeting friends or doing homework all day long. We catch an hour of Netflix at the end of the day before falling into bed, setting our alarms to do it all again the next day.

I’ve mentioned it before, but the song “Breathe” by Jonny Diaz describes it perfectly. Go listen to it, but here are a few lines from the beginning of the song:

Alarm clock screaming, bare feet hit the floor
It’s off to the races, everybody out the door
I’m feeling like I’m falling behind, it’s a crazy life

Ninety miles an hour, going fast as I can
Trying to push a little harder, trying to get the upper hand
So much to do in so little time, it’s a crazy life
(“Breathe” by Jonny Diaz)

But what if we slowed down? Would the world come crumbling down around our ears if we took our time to do things well? I don’t think so. We’re all incredibly busy – I’m not trying to say otherwise. There is a lot to do in a day. But I know there are also ways to slow down, take our time, and enjoy it more, no matter how busy we are.

It doesn’t have to be world-changing. How about an hour a week to talk with someone you haven’t seen in a while? Twenty minutes to read a book for fun? Doesn’t that sound nice? If we don’t have to have everything instantly, we can have the fun of getting there. Even taking some extra time to learn while working on a project can be more fun that rushing through it last minute. As the popular saying goes, it’s not about the destination; it’s about the journey.

Slow down

It doesn’t take much to fight against the impatience that we’ve nurtured inside of ourselves. The benefits of not rushing through life far outweigh any costs. If we are patient, we can be among the best at what we do, we can create better things, and we can enjoy what’s around us a lot more. So, slow down. Take your time. I promise you’ll be fine.

Kira

Thanksgiving

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I thought about delving into the meaning of Thanksgiving today, but it’s a holiday week and there is much food to be eaten, so this week’s post will be the traditionally simple list of things for which I am thankful. Maybe add a few of your own in the comments…

  1. my beautiful dog that kept me up half the night and is not sorry at all
  2. a job where I can meet different kinds of people (and make money…college savings!)
  3. the Bible (“of course!” you might say, but think about how many people cannot hold a copy of God’s Word in their hands)
  4. fiction to delve into both to escape and to explore the world
  5. my soccer pants (I really love them)
  6. a great chemistry lab teacher who helps me actually understand some of this crazy science thing
  7. a beautiful friend (more like a sister) who checks in on me during the week from the middle of her own crazy
  8. chocolate covered espresso beans (thank you Sara! I’d never had them before Saturday and, you guys, they are amazing)
  9. a mother to help me edit countless scholarship/college/high school essays
  10. school (no, really)
  11. my drama team of wonderful middle schoolers who put up with my perfectionism as I try to direct them
  12. a pretty car 😉
  13. running and working out until it hurts so good for days
  14. an online writing community that is both encouraging and challenging (Young Writers Workshop, if you’re interested)
  15. audio books for killing two birds with one stone with those long reading assignments
  16. the library (enough said)

You’ve got leftover turkey to enjoy and Christmas trees to put up so I’ll leave you with that. What’s something creative or weird that you’re thankful for?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Kira

It is Good to be Near God

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For me it is good to be near God. (Psalm 73:28a)

I’ve been caught up in a lot of stuff lately. I just turned in my first two college applications, my car keeps breaking in expensive and obnoxious ways, I’ve just had to leave a steady nanny job to look for different work, and so on. My mind is always consumed with something. Will my chemistry homework get finished? When’s the last time I worked out?

I’ve always thought myself a busy person, but it’s amazing how you can handle more stuff in life than you think. Just when you think you’re at capacity, one more things is added to your schedule and you still somehow survive.

One of the things added to my schedule a few weeks ago was preparing a Bible study for a discipleship ministry that I’ve been a part of for about eight years now. I’ve done a few Bible studies for the group before and preparation often involves listening to sermons and reading commentaries on the passage (Romans 6:1-14 in this case) in order to learn as much as you can before leading the team in the study.

While listening to a sermon by Sandy Willson called “Lord, Change Me“, I began to realize how I have been drifting into trying to run my own life. One of his three lessons at the end of the sermon was to invest real time to cultivate the relationship you have with God. He said, and I quote, “You can’t microwave this, America!” (By the way, you should all go listen to Sandy Willson – he’s awesome)

A relationship with God never reaches its full potential, at least in this life. There is always more room to grow and the amount of time I have been devoting to my relationship with God is not enough. That’s why I’ve been so wrapped up in the world. That’s why my car, college, and career are such a big deal.

When we don’t pour ourselves into our relationship with God, we become envious of the wicked in Psalm 73: they seem to suffer no consequences for their sin and even seem to prosper. But when we go “into the santuary of God”, then we can discern their end (Psalm 73:17).

When we go into the sanctuary with God and spend time with Him – in His Word, in prayer, in coming to know Who He is – we realize that we do not need the things that we so greatly desire. We realize that “for me it is good to be near God.”

I’ve been learning that through drifting my own way and then coming back. For me, Kira, it is so good to be near God. And the same is true for you.

Kira