7 Things: April 2017

1. Looking

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2. Watching

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I haven’t seen this movie in over a decade. I remember attending San Diego Comic Con the year they previewed the trailer for this film. I remember thinking this movie was going to be awesome and change things, but I didn’t know that it would completely change the trajectory of the movie industry.

3. Listening


For those who don’t know me, when I am stressed I listen to the same thing over and over again. So, I am back to The Oh Hellos’ Live show in Boston. This past month has been stressful trying to find a roommate and just dealing with change, so this video has been a welcoming comfort.

4. Reading

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A friend gifted me this and I am really enjoying it. It’s a bit silly, but don’t we all need that sometimes?

5. Sharing

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A friend of mine, Taylor Lyall, wrote a book. Read it!

6. Learning

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I am in the in the middle of Isaiah, Kings, and Matthew and I am loving how much God is teaching me about Him through all of these books. I think one of the biggest lessons is just how faithful He is. I can depend on Him. And even if I don’t like the answer, I know that He is in control, and what He says He will do, He will do. I love that about Him. I also love that I am His. And He is mine. And it’s lovely.

7. Anticipating

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It’s April. It’s time to get some words out of my soul and onto the screen, and maybe one day, paper.

The roomie is out. I have the place to myself for a month. LET’S DO THIS.

Captain’s Log: Day 2

Captain’s Log: Day two of living alone. The dishes are stacked high. I am not wearing pants. I’ve watched an entire season of Parks and Recreation. And the tub has dried pieces of flowers from the previous night’s bath. 

Yup.

It’s been years since I have lived alone. Well, since August 2014! Wow, I can’t believe it’s been that long.

The past two days have felt odd, mainly because it feels like nothing has changed. Sure, some things are missing in the house now that my roommate moved out, but it’s nearly the same. It wasn’t until last night whilst reading in the bath thinking, “Oh, I should hurry before Jemma gets home. She may need to use the toilet,” that I realized she isn’t coming home. Nobody is coming home. I CAN STAY IN THE BATH ALL NIGHT LONG IF I WANT. And all night I did! Well, an extra hour.

Although this is just a temporary predicament as by May I should have a roommate, I am enjoying this hiccup in my life.

I just hope I don’t pick up annoying habits by the time my new roommate moves in. 😛

*Goes and does dishes*

Looking for a Roommate Sucks

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It’s strange looking for a roommate. I’ve been blessed in all of my years of living on my own to move into a home instead of trying to have someone move in with me.  I was usually the one in the tight spot of having nowhere to go. And now that I have a place and I am trying to find someone, I realize how much this side of things suck.

It’s good though. It’s definitely reinforces what I know to be true: God is in control. His Will not mine. He will provide. And it may be frustrating and tough, but it’s how I react, how I submit, that will determine the success of this temporary season.

I’ll be honest, my brain and heart are in a state of flux. I have gone hours where I am okay, completely trusting God, and then I have a moment that throws me and I have a good five-minutes of just fear and worry.

Thoughts have ranged from:

  • “What if? What if I can’t find someone?”
  • “I don’t want to be desperate and say yes to the first person because I need to trust in God’s timing.”
  • “God, can you get rid of this student loan so that I can just live on my own?”
  • “God, I will be patient. I will wait. Bring someone.”
  • “Let me do all of the things to find the roommate.”
  • “Well, looks like I am living on the streets. Here, let me sell my books.”
  • “I need help.”
  • “I don’t need help.”
  • “I am not alone.”
  • “I feel so alone in this.”

Suffice it to say, I am learning to trust God in this. I am not all the way there yet.

He has reminded me of what He has brought me out of and how He has provided for me.

And I also keep repeating Philippians 4:6-7:

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

God will get me through this and it may not look how I envisioned either. Who knows what will happen by May 15.

If you’re reading this, please pray for me.

7 Things: March 2017

1. Looking

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Me, at the laundromat, makeup free, bags under my eyes, looking haggard though it doesn’t reflect what’s happening on the inside of me. So, that’s good.

2. Watching

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3. Listening

This has been my go-to live music to listen to whilst working. It’s empowering.

4. Reading

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5. Sharing

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I booked a cabin with my best friend in the Scottish Highlands for my 32nd birthday. It’s named after the Tawny Owl, which I will be able to see and hear. My people. I am incredibly excited and thankful that I get to celebrate my favorite number in my favorite country in the middle of nowhere surrounded by trees and ponds, all of which will be in the winter so everything that scares me about these woods will be dead or in slumber. So, it’s a win win for me.

6. Learning

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It’s been about six months, but I am back and taking this Udemy course from NT Wright and it’s fantastic. So many things I am learning that are blowing my mind. Connections I didn’t realize. I am just falling more in love with Scripture and with God through this class. I highly recommend it!

7. Anticipating

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I am excited to teach at another Kindred, women’s ministry, event this month! I am a little nervous, as per usual, but I am also excited to just talk about God and how awesome He is and how much freedom we have in Him. If you’re in the Chicago area and you’re a lady and want to attend,  let me know and I’ll give you the details!

This also marks off another item off my bucket list (Teach at Kindred, check!).

He Entered Without Knocking

23526522I am listening to the The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams by Philip and Carol Zaleski and it’s been quite the treat.

While on the treadmill this morning I heard a quote that struck me (here’s my paraphrase): “He entered my heart without knocking.”  Who said it? I don’t know. Unfortunately, with audiobooks it’s hard to go back to something, especially when you’re exercising.

The chapter was on C.S. Lewis and his early years of being an atheist and how God was bringing Christian writers into his life causing him to question his beliefs. He references this in his autobiography Surprised by Joy:

A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading.

Every time I read that quote I cannot help but give a good, grateful chuckle because it was not only true for Lewis, but true for me too. For him it was George McDonald and G.K. Chesterton, and for me, J.R.R. Tolkien.

It was as this author said, like someone entering my heart without knocking. Just one day there was a truth that had taken up residence and everything started to make sense. Christ was real! The myths found in Tolkien’s work were not just stories but echoes of the truth that we indeed are in need of a savior.

The door that was kept closed and locked filled with doubt, anger, and unasked questions was now open, and without me fully understanding, I was able to make space for the Holy Spirit.

And I will be forever grateful.

Saturday Night with a Hunchback

It’s Saturday night and I am in a laundromat with three other people, men who are curiously in suits and incredibly high, and the worker.

On my way here I passed by one of the newest and hippest bars in my neighborhood, and since it’s warm, everybody is out.

I couldn’t help but laugh at the contrast of myself and my peers. I am in a 10-year-old shirt and sweatpants with a large Ikea bag on my back, which gives me the silhouette of a hunchback.

And then there’s the rest of my generation dressed up, spending money, drinking, eating, trying way too hard, flirting, desiring to meet the one or for the one right now, with no hunchbacks. Well, I am not sure on that as I didn’t actually see everyone.

What makes me laugh at this entire scenario is that I am not longingly looking at them wanting to be in their shoes — I am fine in my knock-off Toms briskly walking down Fullerton. No, it’s my independence, my introversion, the bliss I feel in being alone, observing the world from the outside.

I have this pressure whether it’s from friends and family to be more like my generation. Some have used the argument that I will never marry. Some have said it makes me a bad evangelist.

Yet, here’s what I have to say about that. I am confident in the fact that God has made all types of people to reach all types of people. He made me this way and He is forming me more into the woman He created me to be. He doesn’t want to replace me; He wants to set me free from the sin that is in my life. So maybe me being on the outside is for the people who are also on the outside? They will know they are not alone because I am right there with them.

Okay, I believe my wash is done.

Cheers!

The End of Tea Time With Tawny

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Alas, the podcast experiment has ended.

I’ve hit my data limit. I can no longer afford to do this podcast, literally.

I’ve gone back and forth about it for weeks now asking: do I create a Patreon account (I did), do I ask people to help me fund it (nevermind), do I try to fund it myself (I can’t), or do I let the experiment end?

I’ve wrestled with it and I have finally come to the conclusion that it’s ending.

Thank you to everyone who listened to the podcast. Thank you for the encouraging tweets, messages, and conversations. It means a lot to me.

I had a great time doing it and I will truly miss it, but it’s time to say farewell.

So farewell.

The archive will still be up (though I had to delete some episodes to make space for the goodbye episode, which didn’t happen because it wouldn’t let me upload it without paying. So this is my goodbye).

The Turning Point

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In 1 Samuel 8 a significant turning point happens to Israel that changes the trajectory of their nation. They rejected the judgeship –something that set them apart and was something that made them completely subject to God’s rule, reign, and authority — for kingship. They wanted a king so that “we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles” (1 Samuel 8:20).

I had to admit to God tonight that this chapter in the Bible causes so much tension inside of me. I mean this is it — we are going down the pathway of King David and King Solomon, two monarchs that I love to read and learn about. God did so many awesome things through their kingship. And Jesus came through the line of David! It’s exciting.

And yet, this is the point when Israel rejects God and He concedes. He warns them of the corruption and the frailty of man, the consequential slavery that they are putting themselves back into, and yet they still choose to be like others. It’s painful.

How many times have I rejected God’s reign in my life? How many times have I decided either that the government in my own country is more important than Jesus, my King? How many times have I made myself the monarch?

It’s a high number.

I had to confess to God (and more to myself) where I have been rejecting His authority in my life. And it’s embarrassing and frustrating because I love God … a lot. I love Him more than anything else in this world — except for myself. I still love myself more. I still love my dreams more.

I want to love God more. I do. I end all of my prayers asking God to teach me how to love Him; to grow my heart; to align my will to His; and to love others as He loves others. I need my heart to grow and strengthen.

After my reading and prayer tonight, I started singing “Desert Soul” by Rend Collective. I didn’t know all of the words all that well except for the beginning:

I love you Lord, but I want to love you more

I need you God, but I want to need you more

So I decided to run to YouTube and play it loud and proud in my room and dance around and sing and declare it to God. If you have the time, listen to it (I purposefully chose the video with the lyrics on it).

This is my prayer.

Changing Up My Living Space

Earlier this month I was sitting in my living area and I felt suffocated by all of the things, all of the clutter, all of the color, all of the darkness, and all of the items that just didn’t have a place to be. So, I decided to do make some changes.

Let me preface, I am not an interior designer. Most of the items I have are due to the generosity of friends from church and strangers who left their items in my alley. They all have precious memories associated with them, but I felt it was time to purchase some more of my own furniture and make some new memories (yes, by spending hours putting them together and wanting to yell and throw things whilst doing so).

So, here’s a before picture.

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It’s not bad, but I wanted something different.

And after

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Most of my purchases are from Wayfair and Target.

So what did I change?

I finally bought some proper bookcases that actually holds all of my books! Instead of having crates filled with them and just books stacked on top of one another that inevitably would fall over, they are now sitting in shelves — organized.

I added light colors to the room! I got rid of the dark colored rug that had a lot of earth tones and instead went for a white and gray rug. I also added white and gray curtains. Basically, the colors are white, gray, and yellow. While I cannot completely get away from earth tones in this space, a little addition of contemporary pale colors couldn’t hurt.

And yes, there’s a yellow endtable. Yellow is just a happy color, isn’t it?

Soon I will have a gray reading chair next to the window and the endtable will hold some of my books. I miss having a reading chair. My previous chair had to be left at my last place as it was basically on it’s last leg and wouldn’t make the move. So in a week or two I will be sitting pretty on a pretty gray Wingback.

So what did I learn?

  • It takes me a year to decide on the type of bookcase I want.
  • It takes me a collective 5 hours to assemble two bookcases.
  • It takes me 2.5 hours to assemble an endtable.
  • Okay, I am just bad at making things with my hands. I am more of a mind person.
  • It will take three different people and their respective screwdrivers to find the right one.
  • I cannot carry bookcases up a flight of stairs and will call a man to help me.
  • My roomie cannot help carry a bookcase up the stairs — it will fall on her and she will pathetically, yet gracefully, fall under pressure.
  • FedEx is not reliable.
  • Area rugs not only catch dust, but keeps the cool air from coming through the floor. They are necessary little buggers.
  • Wayfair has great customer service.
  • And more importantly, I am incredibly grateful for the funds and freedom to change my living area. God has seriously blessed me and I do not take it lightly.

7 Things: February 2017

1. Looking

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2. Watching

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Yup, I’ve been re-watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Still one of my favorite movies.

3. Listening

I’ve been listening to this Icelandic worship band all week and I am in love. I didn’t even realize they were Christian when I first listened to it, but as I found myself worshiping Jesus I decided to look up the lyrics. Thanks to Google translate, I learned that it was worship music!

4. Reading

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I’ve been slowly reading this series because it’s that good. I am nearly done and I am a bit sad about it.

5. Sharing

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Sam Sianis, the owner of the Billy Goat Tavern, and his son. He is the nephew of Billy Sianis, the man, the legend, behind the Curse of the Billy Goat. I got to meet him, eat an incredibly cheap burger, and hangout with other writers this weekend on a literary tour of Chicago. What a treat!

6. Learning

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I am learning more about the legacy and culture of publishing and writing in Chicago.

7. Anticipating

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I’ve purchased some new furniture for this room and I am excited to revamp this room!