Wednesday, September 26, 2012

iPhone Happenings

Can I just start by saying how amazing God is? He has been showing himself to me in so many ways this week. Between wonderful friends (and encouraging blog friends), answered prayers, and wonderful truths in His Word…I’ve been so blessed this week. I hope you all have been able to see His glory too this week, because it’s pretty sweet!

Bump Photos - September 25 2012Top: Starting Galatians for #SheReadsTruth….this is one of my favorite books // Lunch with friends
Bottom: “One Thousand Gifts” // Devotions packed full of amazing truths // Some of the goofballs I call my friends

Bump Photos - September 25 20121Top: Justified by faith // Decided to take advantage of all the time I look at my phone and add some verses // My phone’s lock button broke Wednesday…long story short—hello iPhone 4S!
Bottom: My friend fell asleep while a bunch of us hung out :p // Poop…I’m 5 years old // Chambray & colored denim…feeling trendy

Bump Photos - September 25 20122Top: Sneaking pictures during church- Psalm 113 // Another new background // Rainbow
Bottom: Sweet encouraging text from a friend // New $8 watch from Kohl’s // A letter from Kaitlin that made my day!

Bump Photos - September 25 20123Top: Even Google understands the true meaning of justified // Wonderful post from Gennean’s blog // Lunch off campus at Whole in the Wall
Bottom: My lovely friend Kristen on our lunch date // Cute vintage pictures // “May the long time Sun shine upon you, All love surround you. And the pure light within you, Guide your way home.”


Friday, September 21, 2012

One Thousand Gifts: A Word to Live…and Die By

I’m really starting to see why everyone loves this book. Chapter 2 was powerful, and humbling. Voskamp focuses this chapter on one word: Eucharist. Not the meaning I first associated it with, regarding Catholic tradition, but the true meaning behind it all.

“Eucharist [thanksgiving] is the state of the perfect man. Eucharist is the life of paradise. Eucharist is the only full and real response of man to God’s creation, redemption, and gift of heaven.”   ~Alexander Schmemann

Ann opens the passage with this quote. It’s powerful stuff people. Break it down? We are called to only one response to God’s work….His unfathomably amazing work. Thanksgiving. Not just once a year, but all of the time. Thanksgiving in everything we do.
Voskamp exposes her experiences with cancer in her own life and how they numbed her and shook her to the core. But she also talks about how these harsh realities ignited her to seek more. To live fully. Her search leads her to a Greek translation of the bible, where she finds Jesus giving thanks as eucharisteo. From this word, you can derive grace, thanksgiving, and joy. Ann’s mantra for these meanings spoke to me through the pages of the book. God spoke to me through these words, to truly identify this eucharisteo and its place in my life. If thanksgiving means “giving thanks in everything,” have I met my potential? Do I truly give thanks in everything?

I think about the fact that I meant to write this post yesterday, but was too busy to actually find the time to sit down and do it. Multiple things throughout the day left me flustered and overwhelmed. I stressed about unnecessary problems and in no way showed thanksgiving or gratitude. It wasn’t until my friend pointed out that these things weren’t a big deal and pointed me back to God that it clicked. I had non-eucharisteo. I wasn’t living out the very thing I had just learned. God calls us to live out His truths, and I needed to do that. 

I could go on with more of my thoughts on Chapter 2, but I realize that’s not the point here. God is calling me to eucharisteo. He calls us all to it. So to anyone reading this, choose grace. Choose thanksgiving. Choose joy.

Choose eucharisteo.


Linking up Here:

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

iPhone Happenings

I would like to start off by saying thank you SUNY system for giving us break for Rosh Hashanah. What’s better than a 4.5 day weekend? Yay New York schools! That being said…my 8:30 class today felt like a Monday class. It was gross. Anywho, this weekend I spent Friday night through Monday afternoon visiting some friends down at Penn State. It was a great birthday weekend…minus the cold that kept me hugging a box of tissues on a couch for most of Sunday. But seriously, it was still a fun weekend. Then yesterday, some friends and I decided to take an impromptu daytrip to Syracuse. We explored the Carousel Mall and chowed down and ahh-mazing bbq at Dinosaur BBQ. I may still have a food coma. All in all, it was a great weekend spent with many wonderful friends!!

Bump Photos - September 19 2012 Top: See how there’s a cough drop in my tea? Yeah, I lost my cough drop….only to find it disintegrated at the bottom of my cup when I finished. Apparently colds make me lose my common sense // My friend Mary and her ice cream “lollipop” // My very first jar cake!! I’ve been gushing over these since I heard about Tookies over on Aunie’s blog. Granted this was not Tookies…but true to name, it was Wicked Good (I realized I just advertised two opposing companies…shhhh!)
Middle: Julie, one of the girl’s I stayed with at PSU, one night this weekend // Rocking my PSU attire while I was there // One of the MANY stores in State College packed with spirited attire…I’m a little jealous Binghamton doesn’t offer this many options!
Bottom: This picture does no justice, but State College is the cutest town!! // Re-dying our hair while I visited (I’m really loving my pink streak…even though it fades too quickly for my liking)

Bump Photos - September 19 20121Top: Starting the new plan for #SheReadsTruth: Galatians!! If you haven’t yet, I totally recommend joining in // A crafty night with one of my best friends // Making road trip Bingo for my Syracuse trip (it was a big hit!)
Bottom: Keeping it classy with sparkling water and Tootsie pops // Boys being inappropriate at the Syracuse mall :p // My new ring set….I’m slightly obsessed with it

Bump Photos - September 19 20122Top: A few of the lovely people I went to Syracuse with // Dinosaur BBQ. Ah. Maze. Ing. // My friend Dallas casually sitting in a tractor scoop
Bottom: My carmates for the road trip, minus my friend Jon. We had a blast! // Encouraging words on Kaitlin's blog today. They meant so much to me today! // New necklace from Syracuse (and the biggest Forever 21 I’ve seen)

Well, I’m off to do the homework I procrastinated on this weekend. Have a lovely Wednesday!

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Psalm 37:4


Monday, September 17, 2012

Birthday Shenanigans

Well, I’ve successfully made it to my nineteenth year. After all of my birthday madness on Wednesday, I can honestly say I’ve never felt so loved! So many people here at school helped to make my day so special.

My day started out in a way I could have never imagined. At midnight, I was in my room doing homework and my friend Travis called me to tell me that he had someone leave me a present outside of my suite. I walk out of my room to find all of my suitemates and my friend Kristen in the common room waiting for me with cupcakes! Then, my suitemate Shannon told me to go outside. I open the door to my common room to find 30 of my closest friends waiting outside in the hall. 30!!! Even some of my off campus friends! To say I was overwhelmed in that moment is an understatement. Everyone starting singing and I was given a Burger King crown and a cake. You see, my friends from my building have a tradition to surprise people at midnight on their birthday, and we always do the same thing for my friends in InterVarsity…but I didn’t expect both groups to surprise me! It was so crazy. We couldn’t even fit everyone in my room!

Oh & I got caked….three times.

My breakfast: a cupcake of course. My friend surprised me in the afternoon by taking me off campus to show me this amazing view of a valley! It was breath-taking! After my last class of the day, my friend Kristen and I went to Starbucks for some coffee to catch up. I even bought some pumpkin spice Via’s…so good. When I got back to campus, I found my common room decorated by my suitemates.

Throughout the day, I came across random notes people wrote to me :) Finally, I ended the night with a surprise piñata! That sucker was tough to kill!

Between the loving phone calls from home and all of the amazing ways I was surprised throughout the day, I truly felt loved. God has blessed me with so many wonderful people here and I am so grateful. I wouldn’t want to start my nineteenth year any other way, and I’m excited to see God’s plans for me this year!


Thursday, September 13, 2012

One Thousand Gifts: An Emptier, Fuller Life

A few weeks ago, I came across this post over on Annie’s blog. I love that her and Margaret and hosting this virtual book club…especially since I’ve heard such rave reviews about the book they chose. That being said, it is my great pleasure to link up and share my thought on the first chapter of “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp.

It is clear from the first page that Ann is an amazing writer; her descriptive words immediately drew me in. She describes the raw pain of losing her sister and how that changed her family’s view on faith and God in general. But she also talks about her burning desire for something more.

Ann’s journey for God is fundamentally the same as the rest of us. The constant “hunger for filling in a world that is starved.” Questioning God’s sovereignty when hope seems lost. These struggles are real. The world is filled with brokenness, but God did not intend it that way. He intended harmony. He intended communion with us. Ann sums it up best by quoting 1 Corinthians 2:7 ”His secret purpose framed from the very start is to bring us to our full glory.” God’s plan is greater; He is bigger than the pain we feel.

I am deeply encouraged by chapter one. Encouraged by Voskamp’s immediate vulnerability, and encouraged by the hope she seeks to give in the coming chapters. My desire is that, as I read her journey, I too can learn “to fully live—to live full of grace and joy and all that is beauty eternal.”


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

iPhone Happenings

This week has been very interesting. A little hectic, but I’m starting to get back into the swing of things here at school. Here’s my week in pictures:

Remember when I said I would never be a fashion blogger? Well the full-length mirror in my dorm room is causing my narcissism to kick in. Whoops :p
Bump Photos - September 11 2012Don’t judge me…

Bump Photos - September 11 20121Top: New Student Outreach for InterVarsity in my housing community // #SheReadsTruth on lies // A beautiful sky between storms
Bottom: Boston crème cupcakes from this recipe. They were so good! // My gorgeous friend Kristen after I helped her get all dolled up for a date night with her boyfriend // Learning about intentional friendships

Bump Photos - September 11 20122Top: Banner at the InterVarsity general interest meeting…we had 160 people come! Praise God :) // Late-night Denny’s after InterVaristy // Wegman’s run (two of the girl’s first time)
Bottom: My suite’s newly painted door brick // Walk in integrity // Birthday package of goodies from my parents!

Bump Photos - September 11 20123Top: I got a new clear case to put scrapbook paper in // Necklace from my momma
bottom: Fighting pride // Birthday nails

Well, that’s all my iPhone has to say. Have a wonderful week!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Intentional Friendships

I’ve been gearing up to write this post for almost a week now, and the longer I’ve put it off, the more God has been showing me about its importance. I’m not exactly where to begin. God has been revealing to me the importance of true friendships through His Word and the words & actions of my friends so much this week! But I guess I will try to sum this up the best I can.

On Friday, I read Proverbs 27 for my #SheReadsTruth devotional. Two verses grabbed me. “Better is open rebuke than hidden love” & “the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.” These words humbled me and truly made me think about the relationships I invest my time in. Are they earnest? Or am I hiding my love? True love for a friend is wanting the best for them, and that sometimes means telling them the hard truth. The nasty stuff that sucks to talk about. Friends need to be willing to confront one another when they are going down a path that is destructive. I need to be willing to have the awkward conversations that may save someone I love from getting hurt. And, as the prideful person I am, I need to be receptive to the loving rebuke of those who care about me. Earnest friendship is not superficial. It digs down deep to the core. The good and bad.

On Saturday, I had my first InterVarsity small group leaders’ meeting of the semester. Again, this idea of intentionality came up. As we discussed the vision for our groups this semester, we focused a lot on the strong relationship building we want to see. These relationships require time. They require vulnerability. They require challenging each other beyond complacency. My hope is that intentional friendships are born here. That we can ask tough questions, be brutally honest with each other, and encourage each other to show God in everything we do. 

The sermon I heard at church on Sunday was on the mission on the church. We focused a lot on relationship-building.

God was really trying to tell me something. But the most powerful ways He spoke to me have occurred in the past 24 hours. God showed it to me.

Last night, I was doing homework with two friends. My friend Dennis asked me a simple question about how something was going. I, surprising myself, answered a honest answer about what I was struggling with. This led into a long conversation where I poured myself out to them about what I’ve been working through the past few months. Pain and brokenness I was too afraid to talk about. Aching that I hid from my friends because I didn’t want to deal with it. But God did want to deal with it. He wants to heal it. God has been challenging me to open up and be honest about these struggles, but I keep fighting Him. My two friends did the best thing they could in the situation. They listened. They listened while I opened up about my pain and confusion and everything I was dealing with. They comforted me as my emotions swirled up and emptied out. They offered me biblical truth that spoke deep into my core. Their friendship to me was apparent in this moment. They were earnest.

This morning, moments before I sat down to type out this post, God showed me intentional friendship yet again. My sweet friend Amy texted me, out of the blue, with this:6c8df5f0fb5911e1ba9922000a1e9f98_7It literally brought tears to my eyes as I realized how much I needed to read those words in that moment. How much I needed that reminder to be bold today. I texted Amy back with words of gratitude for how necessary her text was. She responded by saying she “had this weird urge to text me that.” God is good. He spoke through Amy to encourage and empower me. He has given me an intentional friend in her. Amy is an earnest friend.
This are only two examples of the many true friends God has placed in my life. They are a reminder of the kind of friend I need to be. I need to be intentional. I need to not be afraid to confront the yucky stuff. I need to love. Genuinely.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

iPhone happenings

I managed to survive my first day of classes yesterday, honestly it was a pretty easy day! My first class wasn’t until 1:15, and I found out I got a TA position for my old biology class! The downside is that creates a lot more work in my schedule…but I can’t really complain. Here are my iPhone snapshots from the past week:

Bump Photos - September 05 2012Top: #SheReadsTruth on being slow to anger // My new chevron ring, I’m in love // Cupcake run with my mom before I headed back to school // Jealous? These babies were so good!
Bottom: “Do not return evil for evil” // My beautiful home here on campus // Proverbs 22:21…the exact words I needed to hear from God in that moment. He’s pretty cool like that! // My vneck sunburn from being outside for hours (this photo doesn’t do it justice)

Bump Photos - September 05 20121Top: All dressed up // Our beautiful birthday cake for a friend // Love these girls, they’re the cutest matching roomies // First Sunday back at church here
Bottom: First pumpkin spice latte of the season // More wonderful truths // My friend Angela hiding in a column :p // Wonderful mug cake

Bump Photos - September 05 20122Top: Encouraging devotions before class // Starting “One Thousand Gifts” // First day of school
Bottom: Our suite’s wall schedule // Proverbs’ beautiful writing // Pink bubble wrap stripes in our common room


Monday, September 3, 2012

The Mission

Yesterday was my first Sunday back at school, so it was also my first Sunday back at my church here in Binghamton. It was so awesome to be back, especially because we had so many new students come today we needed two trips to the church! Talk about awesome! Anyway, the message yesterday was so good & God totally was speaking right to me during it (I love that He’s been doing that so much lately!)

We talked about God’s purpose for creating us. Why He even bothered created us. In our society its so easy to get caught up in thinking we deserve what God provides for us. To think its all about me. Silly Sarah…its sooo not. Its about Him! He provides for us and we glorify Him. We were created for God’s glory; that’s our mission & that’s why He created us. Isaiah 43:7 blatantly says it, that we are created to bring glory to Him. Through everything we do, not just “God things.” It fascinates me that none of this is new to me and yet it can be so hard to grasp. Everything I do needs to glorify Him. I can’t just choose when it is convenient for me. I am called to glorify Him now.

My pastor also continued his sermon by talking about the function of the church, but I was humbled. Humbled by the past few days I’ve been at school and how little I actively chose to honor Him. I thought about the little things I’ve complained about or my attitude towards my situations. I am called to glorify. I am not called to be perfect or to be anything I’m not, just love Him & love others through my actions. This is not a forced obligation, but an active response to the countless ways He is providing for me. I think my pastor summed it up wonderfully when he said “He does not want my bitter submission, He wants my joyful living.” This subtitle of my blog is “learning joy in all circumstances;” that is what God calls us to do. Seek joy and glorify Him.

I need to choose joy and bring glory to Him today.