what am i thankful for?

the other day, a friend and i went to watch "the hunger games: mockingjay part 2". (yes, this post might contain spoilers... ;)) during the movie, you just watch all of this destruction, all of this...death. i felt like someone was dying like every five seconds. (not in actuality, but pretty close...) when one of the mainish characters die (any guesses??), it's kind of horrific, in my personal opinion. not just that the person dies, which is terrible in itself, but the way that they die. it's just...horrible. and you can just see their face, moments before they die. they sacrificed themselves so that everyone else could get away. and i felt fear. what if that happened to me?

i feel fear. kind of a lot. mostly "i'm-going-puke-and-probably-die" fear. but in those kind of fear situations, it's like i know i'm going to make it out on the other side. i'm super scared about whatever it is, but i know it'll eventually be over. but this fear wasn't like that. this fear was deep-seated, deep-down inside of my soul. it was a fear that was out of control and raging.

and then i stopped.

wait.

i don't have to be afraid.

i have a God who is mightier than anything there ever was. He will always be with me. and even if i die, even if i die in that horrific way? i know where i'm going. i know what i believe. and i know who my God is. He is the God of the universe, the Creator of the world, my Lord and Savior. and even if i die, that is not the end of my life, for i will go to be with my God for all eternity. and i don't have to be afraid.

so, what am i thankful for this Thanksgiving? a million things - my family, my friends, my life. i am thankful for all of the things that i have been blessed with, all the people i've have the privilege to meet, all of the things i've been able to learn.

but most of all? i am thankful for my God.

have a blessed Thanksgiving.

be a hero,
anna

it's hard to be honest



i know that sometimes it’s really hard to be honest about ourselves, what’s going on inside of us, especially when you feel like you have to be perfect - or something - to be liked. we’re afraid of what our friends will think, what our family will think, even what perfect strangers and others out in our towns and communities will think. we’re afraid that if people knew what the real us was - that person that, in our eyes, is just average, nothing amazing, nothing great, seemingly nothing even worthwhile - that they wouldn’t want to be around us. they’d look at us differently, like we’re some weird, evil, strange bug that should be squashed.

i don’t like to be honest. sometimes it’s hard to be honest even with myself, because i try and push everything about myself that i hate way far back in my subconscious, so that i don’t have to deal with it. i push it so far back that maybe, just for a little while, i can forget about it. like it never even happened. like i’m a normal human being. someone with family and friends who love them.

i hide a lot of things, and sometimes not too well. people can tell i’m being bothered, but they don’t know by what. and i don’t want to tell them, i don’t want them to know. because if they did, then they wouldn’t want to be around me anymore. because if they knew the real me, they wouldn’t care about me anymore. at least, that’s what i’ve told myself. those are the words that are whispered around in my mind, disguised in my own voice.

but you know what? if people won’t stick by you when they find out that you have problems, when they find out that you ’ve sinned, that you’ve done dumb stuff in the past and that you’re not some perfect person with all the answers... then maybe they weren’t your real friends in the first place. and even if there’s no one out there who’s willing to admit that yeah, they have problems, too, then i guess that’s just their problem. even if no one’s seemingly still there, there’s still One who’s always going to be there, right beside you. God’s not going to leave you because you have problems or you’ve sinned or whatever. God knows about each and every one of those things that you try to forget about. 

and He loves you anyway.

Jesus came to this world to die for every imperfect soul that ever existed. and that’s all of us. God demonstrated His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (from Romans 5:8) God loves all of us so much that He gave His one and only son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life. (from John 3:16) even when no one else loves us, even if our mother and father forsake us (from Psalm 27:10), God will receive us. 

God loves us. God cares about us. God will never leave us. and He already knows everything about you that you’ve tried to hide. He already knows every single sin and imperfection. and He loves us. He loves us.

He loves us.

and you know how we all hold onto our sins and our mistakes and everything, letting them weigh us down until we’re dragged down to the depths, seemingly to never return? we don’t have to let that happen. In Romans 8:1, it says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” no condemnation. we are no longer condemned.

we. are. free.

so even though we have weird and strange things about us, or have we have sins that we’re hiding from the past, or we have things that bother us today that we don’t want to tell anybody about because we’re afraid they’ll judge us... even if people do judge, even if people do abandon us, if you are a Christian, God will never abandon you. and believe me, i know all about weird and strange things, and past sins, and stuff bothering me today. because i have all of that, and more. i’ve had depression and compulsion and lies that i believed about myself and still believe and i have fear and... and so many other things. and i still have some of those things, and i’m still dealing with them. and even though i don’t usually love myself? God still loves me.

i’m writing a book. it’s slow, because i’m busy, and i barely feel like i ever have time to write. but i’ve been thinking, and slowly, something’s coming out of it. each of this kids... they each have a story, and they each have a problem. and each of their problems have been something that i have either dealt with, am dealing with, or both. which kind of makes this book really personal for me. even if nobody else ever reads this book, even if it stays hidden on my computer, it doesn’t matter, because to me, it means something. to me, it’s a way to speak truth into my own life. i know truth. i know lots of truth. but i tend to want to ignore, because it doesn’t seem real to me. well, it is real. i know it is. and it’s time i start to take ahold of that some for myself. it’s a time for me to start rejecting lies and bringing truth. it’s a time for me to say, “yes, this is the truth, and those are lies.”

in the Bible, it says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) if you are a Christian, you have eternal life awaiting you. it always says, “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10) if you do that, then you’ll be a Christian, and you’ll receive God’s gift - eternal life in Jesus.

the truth is, God loves all of us more than we can fathom. but will we love Him?

be a hero,
anna

p.s. thank you all for your lovely comments on my last post. i love reading your thoughts and hearing what you have to say. your voices are important to me. if you ever need me to pray for anything for any of you, please let me know.

i am a bully

i stare at myself in the mirror, that horrible reflection staring back at me. those eyes, those lips, that nose, those ears, that hair... who could love this person? this ugly, ugly person? i’m plain. i’m average. i’m nothing. who could love me with these eyes, these lips, this nose, these ears, this hair... who could love me for me? for what i truly look like?

no one, that’s who.

my eyes stray towards the counter, where i’ve put them. they sit there, tempting me. “if you use me, you will be beautiful, and people will like you. if you use me, people will love you.”

i glance around guiltily. then, on an impulse, i snatch them. i pull the brush out of the tube and start applying the mascara to my eyes. i grab the concealer to cover my face. i grab the lipstick and cover my dull lips. and i stare at myself. that’s better. but is it enough?

before i know it, i’m back here again. i stare at myself, mascara on my eyes, concealer on my face, lipstick on my lips. i stare, that horrible, ugly face staring back at me. “you’re ugly.” i grab more, put more on, thinking, “maybe this time, this time i’ll be beautiful. this time i’ll be satisfied. this time, people will love me.”

i suppose that’ll do for now. i stop, and turn away.

i stare at myself in the mirror. there’s no makeup. there’s just me. and i’m ugly. my eyes stare at me, full of tears. my lips quiver.

“i’m ugly. you’re ugly. you’re horrible. you’re unlovable.”

people don’t know what i really look like, let alone what i’m really like. all they hear are those jokes that i’ve crafted to make them laugh, make them smile, make them like me. all they see is me trying to be nice so that they’ll think i’m a nice person and like me. all they see is this lie of a person that i’ve created, so that people will like me. they see someone who’s strong, who doesn’t need other people. who’s independent, who has lots of friends. but the real me? that’s not me.

the real me is scared - scared of being alone. the real me has quirks - strange quirks. the real me likes to talk about a variety things that aren’t always just fun and funny. the real me likes to be honest. the real me has problems that the real me doesn’t even like to talk about. the real me fears that it is stupid and a failure. the real me is emotional. the real me carries weights - a lot of weights, weights that most people don’t even know about.

if someone knew the real me, then they wouldn’t want to. no one would want to care about me enough to realize that i have faults and problems, just like them. and to accept that.

so i have to be perfect. fun. funny. nice. i have to be beautiful. smart. athletic. i have to be everything that makes someone likable, so that i won’t be alone. so that i will be loved.

i have to be something more.

“you’re a bully.”

when my friend told me that, i gave them a look. what was running through my mind was, “um... no i’m not.”

that’s when they followed it up with, “you’re being a bully to yourself.”

i knew what they meant the first time, but i still didn’t want to accept it.

i said something like, “so-and-so, i don’t bully myself.”

“yes, you do,” they replied. “didn’t you just hear yourself?”

the words that i’d said a few moments before came back into my mind - “i’m ugly.”

i gave them a look. “that’s just what people say.”

“that’s being a bully,” they pointed out. “don’t bully yourself.”

their words stuck with me. was i being a bully? was i really bullying myself? i mean, i’ve read plenty of books. the bullies are always the mean kids who make the main character’s life miserable. they steal lunch money, beat kids up, and get them in trouble with the authorities. but me? i wasn’t a bully.

...or was i?

physical bullying isn’t the only kind. there’s always verbal bullying. and while it might not seem as painful on the outside, it can be. whenever someone says something unkind to me, whether or not they don’t think it’s a big deal, it’s a big deal to me. those words just keep on hitting me, like waves of failure, beating against me again and again.

if those people think that about me, then... then is that what i am? they see me from the outside; i only see myself internally. so is that what i really am? stupid? a failure? ugly? i mean, if that’s what i’m really like... no one will ever like me. love me. i’ll be alone forever. i hate being alone. even just knowing there’s someone else nearby is comforting.

soon these words - these lies - they become so much engrained in my brain that they came out in my own voice. “anna, you’re stupid. you didn’t know that. see? they knew that. the fact that you didn’t means that you’re just stupid.” “anna, you didn’t do that perfectly? they did. you know what that means? you’re a failure. a worthless failure.” “anna, didn’t you hear them? they said the other person looks pretty, and didn’t say anything to you. that means that you’re ugly. you’re ugly and unlovable.”

and pretty soon? i’m sitting there, telling myself these things, and feeling myself sinking, lower and lower. they thought i was ugly? gotta be prettier. they treated me like i was stupid? i’ve got to become smarter. they acted like i was a failure? i better make sure i’m never ever again a failure, even if it means i don’t try things i really want to just because i’m sure i’m going to fail - and that’s not an option.

and when i fail, time and time again? “anna, you’re just horrible.” “anna, you’re just a failure, just like always.” “anna, everyone hates you.”

and pretty soon, i just don’t want to go on.

i didn’t want to admit to my friend that i was a bully. i didn’t want to admit to myself that i was a bully. it was unhealthy, and my friend saw that and called me out on it. and yet i didn’t want to engage. because the alternative didn’t seem like an option. but the thing is? the alternative is actually the truth. God’s setting-free truth.

so what?

so what if i fail? so what if i’m ugly? so what if i’m stupid?

so what?

if people aren’t willing to spend time with you because you’re not the best-looking person ever or because you don’t always succeed or because you’re not the smartest person out there, then they’re not your true friends.

when someone told me that, i looked at them and said, “then i’ll be all alone.”

and you know what they did?

they laughed, smiled, and replied, “God’s always there, anna. you’re never alone.”

and you know what? they were right.

a lot of you guys probably know the verse that goes, “Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me.” (Psalm 27:10) i don’t know about you guys, but my family’s my strongest confidant on most things. but even if they reject me, God’s going to be there for me. so i will never be alone.

i will never be alone.

trying to bully yourself into perfection, into something unattainable... like my friend saw, like i realized - it’s unhealthy. it’s bad. it can even be dangerous. and it’s just plain mean, just like every other bully there ever was.

so even when i want to “joke” - which i’m pretty all of us know that when we do that we actually mean it, just a little - something negative about myself, i want to stop myself. i want to stop myself and think, “i am God’s child. i am loved. i am beautifully and wonderfully made.” and instead of being a bully to myself? i want to be a friend.

be a friend,
anna

the story in italics was partly fictional, but some of the feelings were real. also, some of the conversations i was trying to quote might not have been totally exact, but i tried to keep the heart and meaning of them.

i let the fear control me


i let the fear control me. i let it control what i say and what i do. i let it control what i think about, how i feel. and so it commands my thoughts and actions. it commands my feelings, and it makes me fly out of control.

truth? i’m scared. really scared. there’s lots of new things ahead, and sometimes i’d way rather just stay holed up in a closet than to have to face the real world. i don’t want to fail, that’s the big thing. i don’t want to be the one who everyone looks down their nose on because i’m a failure, because i’m stupid. and so sometimes i’m just a huge nervous wreck, worried about things that i can’t control. and i think: can i really survive out in the real world? can i really survive in an environment that i can’t control?

i like being in control. i like it when everything works out my way in that perfect fashion that i’ve figured out in my head. but that’s not real life. people don’t follow a script; life isn’t a book written by me where i know that my character’s really actually not going to look totally stupid in front of everyone. and, i mean, if she does, it’ll all turn out alright in the end. because it’s a book.

so... what happens if i fail? i mean, honestly? what happens if all my worst fears come true? what if everything i’m so worked up about actually happened?

...

you know...? i actually almost think it’d be better than what i’m putting myself through right now. i might fail. but maybe that’s okay. maybe i don’t have to know everything, don’t have to be perfect. maybe i can give the wrong answers, and it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. maybe i can look like a total klutz in front of everyone, but it’ll still be ok.

when we became Christians, God did not want us to stay in bondage. God set us free.

“But now that you know God - or rather are known by God - how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 4:9 - 5:1

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36

“In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” Ephesians 3:12

i like this one a lot, too - “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.” Galatians 5:13

i like that last one a lot, because a lot of times, i feel like if i was to be free, then i’d just sin again. so it’s almost like i’m punishing myself, all the time. but God wants us to be free in Him, free to do His commands and love others. but He doesn’t want us to use our freedom to just go back to your sin.

and here’s my favorite - “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2

God has set us free. but if you’re like me, we’re too busy thinking about all of our flaws, all of the what ifs, all of the bad stuff that could happen, and at least for me... i forget that God has a plan for my life, that i was born for a reason. it might not be the reason that i think. but there is a reason. and even if i think i fail in everything that i thought it was supposed to do, it just might open the doors for exactly what He wants me to do.

so i don’t have to strive. i can still work hard, still push towards goals. but if i don’t achieve my goals? instead of worrying about not achieving what i want, instead of worrying about what might happen, what i might do, i’m going to do my best, and trust in God’s timing. trust in God’s plan. and for me? that’s pretty hard. but i’m going to try, with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength.

and when i’m in anguish, because my fears have come true? then here’s another of my favorites -

“In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and he answered by setting me free.” Psalm 118:5

God can set me free from failure. God can set me free from fear. God has set me free.

living in freedom,
anna

where have i been?

 i walk out my door, closing it softly behind me. i lean up against the peeling white paint, tilting my head up towards the sky. the clouds glow in shades of pink and color, blue and purple, gray and black. birds sing like a choir, trilling happily at their lives. the insects hum, a low sound that vibrates in my soul. the trees sway slightly in the mild wind, and i stand there, and i think...

...where have i been?

i step out of my house, and suddenly, i stop. i laugh almost unbelievingly, and then walk over towards the edge of the forest. could it be? were we already here? but there they were, those bushes of thorns, rising up around the trees, little blossoms peeking out, ready for life to begin. it seemed only yesterday that they were dead, waiting for the storms to pass, waiting for the time when life was to again take hold. and yet, here they were, blooming again. and i think...

...where have i been?

i step outside of my house, heading towards the garage. darkness surrounds me, and i stumble on the rocks. then i pause, glancing up a the sky. my keys jingle in my hand, reminding me of my journey. reminding me of the reason i left my home in the first place. but something keeps me there, staring up at the sky. to me, it’s not just black - it’s a palette of dark blue and gray and charcoal. and then, bursting forth, are the millions of stars, stretched out like a diamond necklace across the sky. the moon shines like a single lone pearl, peeking through the willowy clouds. and i think...

...where have i been?

this is it. this is the day. my schedule is cleared. my work is done. i grab my camera, slip on my shoes, and head out the door. the sun beats down on my forehead, and beads of perspiration start to form on my hairline. but that doesn’t stop me. i walk through the grass, nearly up to my waist, the blades brushing against my jeans and tickling my sandaled feet. i sink down, my eyes surveying the scene before me from a different view. and i smile, and think...

...where have i been?

i don’t know where i used to be, but now?

i’m here.


\\


the grass is turning greener, the air is turning warmer, the sky is turning bluer... summer’s almost here. it seems like only yesterday you always had to take a coat everywhere and we were all wishing it was summer so we could see our friends again. and now? it’s here. i honestly can’t believe that we’ve reached the middle [pretty much] of 2015. we’re in the sixth month out of twelve. i guess i never thought that time could travel this fast, and yet not seem fast enough. strange, isn’t it?

let’s go out and enjoy.

be a hero,
anna

p.s. random: i’m trying a recipe with ginger in it tonight. guess we’ll see how that goes... ;)

who’s holding you back?

my hands tremble in my lap, and my stomach’s going to commit mutiny, i just know it. i glance over my shoulder nervously, not wanting to do what i knew i had to.

“you’ll be alright,” they assured me. “you’ll do just great. you always do. you were so scared about everything else, and you survived those, didn’t you?”

“yeah...” i admitted grudgingly. “but this different,” i quickly added.

they gave me a look. “how?”

“i... i haven’t done this part before,” i pointed out.

they shook their head, chuckling. “now you’re just making excuses.”

“no, i’m not!” i defended. “besides... i don’t know what they’re going to think of me. they might make fun of me.”

they leaned forward, dark eyes serious. “who’s holding you back: them, or you?”

i sat there, waiting. the time stretched on, my stomach rode up and plummeted back down an emotional roller coaster. my hands were sweating, my face felt hot, and my heart pumped like crazy as i got off the bench, heading down the hallway.

but their words echoed in my mind:

“who’s holding you back: them, or you?”

- -

don’t hold yourself back.
#marchfest

“anchanya”


i step out of the cottage, and i am struck by the difference a few days can make - green grass is starting to peek out, birds sing their strange songs out into the open air, insects hum and murmur along the earth,  and flowers spread their petals like wings towards the sky.

when did it become like this? i can’t fathom. i used to always run outside the second chores were done. grandmother would see me peeking at her over the edge of her loom, and she would smile and nod.

“yes, anchanya.” i can hear her voice now, low and gravelly, from deep in her throat. “you may go outside now.”

i would run barefoot along these paths, climb those trees over yonder, and splash through the creek that runs through the forest. the tall goliaths of maples and hickorys and aspens were my friends as i bounded along the wood’s secret paths, made by deer and other animals in the deep of the summer. i would be alone, yet not alone. for out here, how could i not see God’s fingertips on everything?

“anchanya,” my grandmother would say, “bless the Good Lord for this day, for He has created everything, that includes you.”

i would always repeat those words in my head as i ran through these forests, and i would yell out everything i was happy for, though it seemed little and strange. and no doubt if anyone had heard me, they would have thought that there was a reason i was out in the forest by myself. but i didn’t care.

“Lord,” i’d shout with all of my lung power, legs pounding down the path and arms opened wide like i was giving the sunshine a hug, “thank you for grandmother’s pies!”

“thank you for the rain!”
“thank you for those interesting beetles!”
“thank you for our house!”
“thank you for the sunshine!”
“thank for for my hair!”
“thank you for the grass, and the flowers, and for chicken, and that i can see and have eyes, and that we have enough food on the table, and that that dog came and visited us yesterday, and that you got us safe home, and for the stars, and the moon...”

i hear the sound of a horse’s whinny, and it brings me back to the moment like a sharp jab. it’s been too long since i’d been home. too long since i’d visited this cottage with its memories, good and bad. too long since i’d run through the forest, thanking God for any and everything. i sucked in my breath, glancing over my shoulder. standing here, like this, i could almost imagine her - my grandmother. i could imagine her coming out, wiping her hands on her apron and giving me a disapproving look.

“anchanya!” she’d yell. “get out of that mud! you’ll make a mess when you want to come inside!”

or she’d brush her straight gray hair that fallen out of her braid behind her ear and yell,

“anchanya! it’s time for supper! come and wash up!”

or maybe...

“anchanya! i’m heading off to the market, be good!”

i could almost imagine her coming out again, looking at me, wiping her hands on her apron yet again and questioning me,

“anchanya, why the sad face? you have tears in your eyes. what’s wrong?”

my mouth was open as if to speak, as if she was really there. my lips trembled as tears formed in my eyes, blurring my vision. i looked up, looked to where she should’ve been standing.

“it’s... it’s you,” i whispered.

i wiped my eyes and headed into the house. it was bare now - the table with the two rickety wooden chairs was gone, and so was the bed in the corner with the homemade quilt. the fireplace was cold, and the ashes that used to always be there had drifted away onto the floor. the shelves were mostly broken, lying on the floor in heaps of wood and nails, sticking out like swords. rotting had taken hold, and several holes were already in the walls. they matched the ones in the ceiling. i stood there, staring at the empty places that i knew so well. that’s where grandmother’s loom had stood - there, there in the corner.

i closed my eyes, and i could almost hear it going, grandmother’s soft hum accompanying it. she was humming “come thou fount of every blessing” - that was her favorite song, and mine, too. we’d spent many a night singing it together, sometimes doing a chore, sometimes doing nothing at all but enjoying each other and, more importantly, enjoying the time praising God.

“anchanya, wherever you go, whatever you become, always remember Who created you. always remember the One who makes the stars shine and the moon glow. always remember, anchanya. always remember.”

my eyes flipped open, and it was gone - there was no loom, no humming, and, more importantly, no grandmother.

“you need to keep moving, anchanya.” there was she was again, her soft voice flooding me. “you need to move on with your life. if you always follow Christ to the end of your days, you will see me again. know that when i die? i will be in paradise. rejoice that i am with the Lord for forever! do not be sorrowful when i leave - rejoice! for though i have died, i have life. God has an amazing adventure set out before you. live for Jesus, anchanya. live for Jesus.”

i turned and left the cottage.

my grandmother had died, several years ago. i hadn’t been here - i was halfway across the world, stranded, with no way to get back to her, to say anything to her, before she left. she would have been dead even by the time i got the letter. but my grandmother... my grandmother would not want me to beat myself up. my grandmother would not want me to stay stuck in the past.

“live for Jesus, anchanya. live for Jesus.”

i was going to live for Jesus.

i glanced over my shoulder back at the cottage, and smiled.

“goodbye, grandmother.”

then i turned, kicked off my boots, threw off my cloak, and raced through the forest. i found the old beaten path i used to follow, threw my hands back like i was hugging the sunlight, and yelled,

“thank you, Lord, for life!”

\\

this life is not the end - just the beginning.
#marchfest

i have a fever


“frozen” fever (the short), that is.

that’s right - i went and saw “cinderella,” and because i did? i got to see “frozen fever”!!!! (slightly ironic that they paired “frozen fever” with “cinderella”, when you think about it - “frozen’s” all about how it’s ridiculous to “fall in love” with someone in one day, and cinderella’s all about a girl and a guy who meet each other once and “fall in love” with each other in one day. hmm...) anywho, “frozen fever” was just like you’d expect - yes, awesome. :) i was dying laughing (even when i felt like i was laughing the hardest in the whole theater. #awkward). let’s let just say it was some level of... EPICNESS. :) (as for cinderella? i think i might do a review. we’ll see...)

are you one of those people who might have that bad habit of sticking stuff that could, oh, i don’t know, become pretty important in the future? well... *nervous laugh*... guilty. *waves hand* i had these gift certificate tickets for the movie theater (that, yes, i used them to watch “cinderella”) that i’d been saving since Christmas, and i honestly COULD. NOT. FIND. THEM. i was looking for like three whole days before i finally found them. so i’ve decided to think twice before placing stuff like that in just any place so that things don’t look so cluttered... yeah. ;)

recently, i read a short story by O. Henry called “one thousand dollars” (i believe it was...) and i actually really loved it. (i won’t give too many details, but i really liked it, so if you’re interested, you should totally check it out! :)) i’ve decided that i really want to start reading more (though if that’s actually going to happen, we have yet to see... ;)). the thing is, is that i want to find a really good book series to enjoy. i feel like either stuff doesn’t capture my attention enough and it’s just boring or it’s bad or i’ve already read it a million times and i’m looking for something new. does anyone have any suggestions, maybe? :) that’d be awesome sauce. :) #awesomesauce (<-- i kinda just wanted to do that ;))

lately, i’ve started a new story that’s actually one that i promised a REALLY long time ago for Britt (yes, hopefully it’s coming, Britt!! so sorry!!!) but is way different than the one that i’d originally started, and i think... i think i really like this one. i’ve realized recently that some of my stories have lacked something that is kind of really important to any good story - a message. any kind of message, really. something like, “everyone’s a person, no matter how small,” in the words of Dr. Suess. something like frozen’s, “true love is putting someone else before yourself.” and suddenly, the story started to just click inside of me and become that much more alive. and what message did i choose?

with God, you’re never alone.

i chose this message because i think it’s one that not only a lot of people can relate to, but it’s also a very personal thing for myself. i feel alone. a lot. i’m not sure if that’s really an easy thing to admit. i mean, everyone wants to think that they’re totally secure about who they are and what their role is in life, and they want to think that they’ve got everything figured out and they’ve got so many friends that it’d be impossible to be alone. but i don’t know about you, or about anybody, really, but i feel alone a lot. it’s like that saying - “you can feel alone in a sea of people.” have you ever felt that? it’s so strange. and scary. really scary.

but the thing is, as Christians? we are never alone. i often have to remind myself of this, because like the terrible sinner that i am, i always forget. but He’s always right there, reminding me of His love for me. and that’s the message that i want to relay through this book. i’m excited. :)

i hope all of you had a wonderful Easter! :) i know i did. and i hope all of you have the greatest day full of sunshine! :) God bless all of you! :)

be a hero,
anna :)
#marchfest

#marchfest


i realize that march 2015’s pretty much over. we’re in the 20s now, and time’s just going to keep flying, faster and faster. but this idea - march fest - came to me in this very special march 2015, a march that will never come around again. and so that’s why i’m honoring this festival of seeing through different eyes by dubbing it march fest.

what is march fest?

well, march fest is something that many people can do in many, many different ways. it’s a way of having yourself see the world through different eyes - more thankful eyes, i suppose. it’s where, at the end of every day, you ask yourself, “what applies to me today?” the answer can be a something God’s been teaching you - “seek God with all your heart” - or a well known quote - “shoot for the stars” - or just something that seems applicable to you today - “it’s okay to make mistakes. don’t dwell - learn from them.” i find that it not only brightens my outlook of what happened in the day, but it also gives me something to look forward to - thinking of something that puts a more optimistic look back on my life. often times, i end the day feeling as if i’ve lost a war. but maybe, instead of just staying in defeat, i can learn from my losses and conquer whatever it is the next day. sometimes i have a hard time remembering stuff like that, and that’s why i think God put #marchfest on my heart.

the story behind this is pretty cool, i think. i was reading the first chapter of Matthew - the chapter where it has the genealogy of Jesus, and then ends with Joseph going to divorce Mary, but God tells him not to. i had randomly flipped to it, asking God to show me where He wanted me to read that day. and when i first flipped to it, i couldn’t help but think, “how on earth is this applicable to me today?” and i was just sitting there, reading it, and i get to the end, the part where Joseph was going to divorce Mary but God told him not to. and then this phrase just suddenly jumps into my head:

“God will direct your paths.”

and then i got up, went over to my calendar, and wrote it down on that day’s date.

“God will direct your paths.” written out, in ink, in front of me, on that day’s date.

then the next day, i got something else. so i went over to my calendar, and wrote it on that day’s date. and i’ve been doing it pretty much on every day since.

so that’s what #marchfest is.

if you want, you can join me in #marchfest. you can write things you’re learning from God, quotes, and just stuff that you think is applicable for you today in just about any place - your journal, your blog, on your calendar like me, or any other place. you don’t have to join #marchfest, but #marchfest is something that i plan on doing at least for the rest of the year. who knows? maybe i’ll do it for the rest of my life.

and if you want to join - and if you’re comfortable with this - you could hashtag #marchfest in the comments and grab the button below to put on your blog. you don’t have to. you don’t have to join #marchfest, either. i just wanted to share this with you guys. :)

#marchfest linkup


i hope all of you have the greatest day, and God bless all of you!! :)

be a hero,
anna
#marchfest

then the silence was broken by a roar


HEYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!

My goodness. I haven’t been on here in ages. I haven’t been on here since last year! *checks blog to make sure that’s correct* Yup. Wow. That’s crazy. Internet silence for more than a month. Though it’s not without good cause, I assure you. I have been scary busy, and haven’t been able to get on. (By the time you get to the end of a big day, I assure you that the only thing that you want to do is sink down into the couch with potato chips and watch a Disney movie. Yup.)

So what on earth have I been up to? Stuff. Lots of stuff. Weirdly enough, I haven’t really got to pursue any of my hobbies lately. (Which... makes sense, I suppose, since I haven’t been able to blog and blogging’s kind of a hobby for me.)

But oh my goodness. I have thought of so many things to right on here. I keep on making mental blog posts in my head - things I want to share with you guys - and then it’s just followed by like, “Except... for the fact that you’ll never be able to get on.” But now I’m on!!! Yippeee!!!!! (Plus, I did something today that will hopefully make it easier to get on. #yes)

And yes!! Those glasses in the picture up there^ are mine. #lovethem I seriously do. :)

(This is slightly random, but I just took a break to check my design email, so just wanted to say so sorry that I hadn’t replied to everyone who emailed me earlier. And also, if you need a reply from me and I haven’t, just let me know. :) Really sorry!)

Have you ever felt like you should do something, but you were too scared? You were afraid to step out, because you thought you might fall? I’ve felt like that. A lot. But something God’s been teaching me is that it’s not about me - it’s about Him. And He calls us to care for others, and to do things that we feel like is jumping off a cliff into a bay of sharks. But sometimes we just need to trust.

Trust is hard for me. I like control. I like things that I can control and put in their spots. So when everything’s going crazy and I don’t feel like I can do the task at hand, it’s kind of one of the worst things ever. And so I find myself saying, “Trust. Trust. TRUST!” But the thing is? Saying words doesn’t help. Because as a really wise person pointed out to me last night, I can’t trust on my own. God’s got to help me.

I have some more words that I want to share with you guys at a later date about not being shy. It’s actually a speech that I wrote, but that I didn’t have to use. It’s so funny - last time I had to write a speech, I was kind of freaking out. It was a few days before I might’ve needed to have made it, and the days before were going to be packed. This was the time I needed to write it, and I was kind of like, “Uhhhh.... what on earth am I supposed to write this on?!?!”

And then my friend told me, “Just write it like a blog post.”

And I did. And it turned out alright. And now when this year came around, I found myself in a situation where I had lots of time to kill, a notebook, and a pen. And I remembered my friend’s words - “Just like a blog post.” So that’s how I wrote it.

There’s something so amazing about just “writing something like a blog post.” Blog posts are amazing (for me, at least) because I’m always way more open then I would be if I was just talking to somebody. Like I actually just write down what I’m thinking and feeling, things that have come up in my life and how I see them through my eyes. There’s something so incredibly honest about it. Something that if you asked me about it, you might not get out of me.

Thanks to all of you for just being there and listening to me. I hope all of you guys have the greatest day. God bless each and every one of you.

God bless,
Anna

P.S. By the way... the title of this post...? Kind of has duals meanings, I suppose. 1) If you’re shy, break your boundaries and step out/speak out and 2) I’ve been silent on here for so long that this post feels like a pleasant roar to me. :)

P.P.S. WOW do I have a crazy amount of labels. lol ;)

P.P.P.S. Are any of you guys sponsors for this blog? Because if you are, I want to make sure to put you up/negotiate a new deal with you or something along those lines. Because I just realized I don't have any lists of sponsors or anything. So sorry if you were one of them and you're not being displayed!! (I don't know what's wrong with my brain. =P) SUPER SORRY!!