Travel Journal//Chicago – June 2018

Hello everyone! It certainly has been a while since I’ve posted. So much has happened between my graduation and family events. Last week my family and I had the opportunity to travel to Chicago for a friend’s wedding. It was absolutely beautiful and I am so glad that we were able to spend time with our family and friends.

tj-il-header

The Windy City

Every day that we spent in Chicago was beautiful, busy, and windy. The views of the skyline and the lake were so pretty. I also loved seeing so many different people throughout the city. There is such a diversity in a city like Chicago that I just don’t get to see very often back home.

Must-Sees

One of the days in this big and bustling city we went to visit a couple of tourist attractions, or as I would rather call them, must-sees. The Willis Tower, for example, was definitely worth the long hour-and-some wait as the views from the 103rd floor of the building are breath-taking.  The famous Bean was also fun to see and a great place to take pictures. The Ferris Wheel on Navy Pier was probably my favorite, though. It gives a perfect view of the boats and the city!

Family and Friends

chicago8

Because we knew so many people in Chicago, there were lots of great meals with them, including a three-and-a-half hour dinner in Chinatown. While we ended up being pretty exhausted at the end of it all, I enjoyed spending time with the people who have made such an impact on my and my family’s life.

Have you been to Chicago? What were some of your favorite places to visit? Let me know in the comments below! I would love to hear from you :)

signi

An Open Letter to High School

openletter-highschool

Dear High School,

I can’t believe the time has gone by so fast. Four years ago I started high school and now I’ll be graduating.

I’ve learned so much in these four years, about myself, about my family, about relationships and friendships, about God, about the world. I’ve grown in ways I never would have expected. I made new friends, gained confidence, tried new things. I lost some friends too, experienced grief, and had to say goodbye to some amazing people.

I know that even though I’ll be leaving an amazing school, the relationships that I’ve built will always be there for me. It was in high school that I found my best friends, people who have pushed me closer to Christ. It was in high school that I stretched myself and became friends with people from many different groups. I know that all of these people are going on to study at great colleges and universities and will always be just a phone call, text message, or Insta picture away.

I am so grateful for the teachers as well, as they have taught me, not only about history and government, French and religion, science and Spanish, but also about life and the importance of following Christ along the way. These teachers have been praying for me and I am certain that they will continue to pray for me and the rest of the 2018 graduating class.

I think the parts that I’m going to miss the most about high school are the memories that we made together. From the camping trips at the beginning of the year, to the spirit weeks with crazy inflatable dinosaur and Baymax costumes, to the time we skipped class to play in the snow, the grades bonded together and laughed together. I loved the senior pranks, the photography class field trips, the picnics, and the prayer chapels. I loved the school trip to Peru, the movie days in French class, and the time my friend ran to Aldi to buy icecream during lunch. I loved the surprise parties, the dance nights, and the musical bells between classes. These are the things that I will miss.

And even though I am sad to leave all of these amazingly beautiful people and memories, I can look forward to the days when we will all reunite again and reminisce about the best four years we all had together.

Thank you High School, for giving me these times. Thank you for the lessons. Thank you for the memories. Thank you for the friends. But, most of all, thank you for the opportunity to grow.

signi

101 in 1001: Beginning

Hey, everyone! So today I’m going to start a new project for myself called the 101 in 1001. It’s basically a list of 101 things that I want to do in 1001 days (2.75 years). I wanted it to end on my 21st birthday as a little “birthday present” for myself, so I’m going to start today!

101in1001

Start date: Friday May 11, 2018
End date: Friday February 05, 2021

A healthy lifestyle

  1. Eat gluten free for 2 weeks
  2. Work out twice a week for three months in a row
  3. Eat meatless for 3 months
  4. Take dance lessons
  5. Become plastic free
  6. Go to bed by 10 every night for 2 weeks
  7. Get up at 5 every morning for 2 weeks
  8. Go through my clothes and donate what I don’t wear
  9. Learn 5 new recipes
  10. Go through all of my photos and purge the duplicates
  11. Spend at least 15 minutes outside every day for a month
  12. Bike somewhere (anywhere)
  13. Go skating again
  14. Delete unwanted emails
  15. Make an emergency kit for the car
  16. Run in a race
  17. Complete a 30 Day Squat Challenge
  18. Go a day without my phone
  19. Go a week without my phone
  20. Go a month without social media
  21. Complete 10 random acts of kindness
  22. Try to go “car-less” for a week
  23. Volunteer at an event
  24. Be able to do a split
  25. Work out in the morning for 2 weeks

For family and friends

  1. Quilt a blanket for my aunt
  2. Take a trip with my mom
  3. Send 50 handwritten letters
  4. Send a “just for fun” package to my friends
  5. Throw someone a surprise party
  6. Sing around a fire pit with some friends
  7. Go to 5 sports games
  8. Finish the 2017 scrapbook
  9. Have an early morning Bible study outside
  10. Visit a high school friend at college
  11. Give someone a handmade gift
  12. Send birthday cards
  13. Take my sisters on “sister-dates”
  14. Volunteer with my family a Saturday morning
  15. Start a future hope chest
  16. Reconnect with an old friend
  17. Start a birthday tradition

Exploring the world

  1. Go to a drive-in/outdoor movie
  2. Go camping
  3. Take a roadtrip
  4. Visit a city I’ve never been to before
  5. Go to a flea market
  6. See a shooting star
  7. Watch the sun set, stay up all night, and then see the sun rise
  8. Play an instrument on the beach
  9. Have a picnic
  10. Explore downtown Charlotte
  11. Study abroad
  12. Speak French with a native
  13. Go horseback riding
  14. Go on a spontaneous trip
  15. Learn sign language (enough to have a small conversation)
  16. Become fluent in French
  17. Find a church by the university
  18. Go sailing
  19. Go to a lavender farm
  20. Learn to identify 5 constellations

A little bit of me

  1. Read the entire Bible again
  2. Memorize 25 Bible verses
  3. Read every Jane Austen novel
  4. Finish watching all of the Doctor Who seasons
  5. Watch 20 documentaries
  6. Complete a 30 day photo challenge
  7. Have a photoshoot
  8. Vote in every election
  9. Sew a quilt for myself
  10. Put $5 into savings for every goal accomplished
  11. Fill a sketchbook with doodles
  12. Visit my high school teachers after I graduate
  13. Paint on a canvas
  14. Memorize a chocolate chip cookie recipe
  15. Learn a poem by heart
  16. Attend the midnight premiere of a movie
  17. Read a book in a day
  18. Celebrate Easter really big
  19. Read 5 classic novels
  20. Update my makeup
  21. Have a spa day
  22. Spend an entire day watching Disney movies
  23. Build a blanket fort a read under it all day
  24. Sell something on Etsy
  25. Buy something from Etsy
  26. Make a new vision board
  27. Make a reading corner

Scribbles and words

  1. Write 5 more poems
  2. Journal every day for a month
  3. Compose and write down 2 new songs
  4. Write 3 “How-to” blog posts
  5. Write 10 more devotional blog posts
  6. Write a letter for myself to open when 1001 days are over
  7. Guest post for another blogger
  8. Map a book I love
  9. Reach 500 followers on my blog
  10. Write a wishlist of places I want to visit before I die
  11. Go to a book signing
  12. Write a new list when the 1001 days are over

I am so excited about my goals for this list! I will be sure to share an update every couple of months but you can check my progress on the “101 in 1001” page located at the top of my website.

Have you ever done a 101 in 1001 challenge? If so, how did it go? If not, would you want to do one? I can’ wait to hear from you! Have a great day. :)

signi

God’s Perfect and Powerful Love

perfectlove

Love. That is one thing that no one can live without. And yet, it is the thing that we, as a society, have broken. Love has seemed to have lost its meaning. After all, there is no way that we can love another person perfectly.

There is hope, though, because we are loved by a perfect and wonderful Father. As Christians, we celebrate Jesus rising from the dead. This powerful miracle is the ultimate example of God’s love for us. Jesus defeated death so that we could spend eternity with Him. John 13:1 says this:

It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

As sinful and fallen people, it is impossible to love the way that God loves us. Despite the pain of our immense sin that was placed on Him, Jesus fought and destroyed death so we could have a relationship with Him. And through all of the pain, all of the sufferings, He still loved us. Isn’t that perfect love?

My challenge for you this week is to remember how powerful and perfect God’s love for us is. Remember that, even when we don’t feel loved, God loves us with an unending, all-powerful love.

signi

Praising God Through the Storms of Life

praiseinthestorm

There will be storms in life. That is inevitable.

I’m sure we can all remember a time when everything seemed to be crashing all around us, the sky growing dark and cold. During those times, it can be hard to see God in the midst of the pain and the hurt. But, no matter what we feel, we are not alone.

God is in the midst of the storm. He is in the calm after the storm. He is there before the storm.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. ~Isaiah 43:2

When we remember that God is continually with us, the darkness around us doesn’t seem so dark anymore.What a great promise! So when we find ourselves in the midst of the storm, we can still praise Him for His promise to continually be with us.

My challenge for you this week is to remember God’s promise to be with you and praise Him for being faithful in that promise. Even though these storms can be difficult and painful, there is comfort knowing that we are not alone. For that, we praise God.

signi

An Essay on Stars and God’s Love (Guest Post)

 guestpost-ragtag

Breaking news: I love space. Also, God loves us enough to make stars for us, so that’s awesome.

I do not know why I love the stars so much.

My first memory of the night sky is standing on the driveway, the rough cement beneath our feet and the night like a blanket and my father pointing up to the heavens, tracing the stars into the constellation.

“Cygnus,” he would say with absolute confidence and a little bit of awe. “Orion.”

Why, I always asked. They don’t look like anything but pricks of light. Who was the first person to gaze up and see people?

My parents explained once upon a time, there were no lights. Every night, the sky seemed like it was on fire with the stars. There were more of them to see and trace.

Maybe that was what lit the passion inside me.

I have looked through a telescope two times in my life. Once, the neighbors down the street— a single mother and her teenage son— invited us to glimpse the heavens through theirs. I do not remember what we looked at. Perhaps it is only a dream. I only remember the coldness of the night and the darkness of the sky.

The second time, we went out with our friends the MacMillians to the golf course by their house. It was a bad place to look at stars; there was so much light pollution. But we had just finished a unit in school on astronomy and space and they had a telescope they had acquired from somewhere. We looked at the Moon, I believe, and tried to find Jupiter or Mars.

I remember lying on the golf course and staring up into the blackness with coats bundled close. We couldn’t actually see anything, but we imagined we could.

When I was older, we went to a planetarium. The animated heavens wheeled over us. They drew lines between the stars in the constellations. I did not like the fake stars. I wanted the real stars.

When I was nine and at summer camp for the second time, I was sick in the middle of the night. Most of what I remember is the walk with my counselor down to the infirmary, her hand clutched in mine. I looked up through the trees and it took my breath away.

Stars!

But what stars!

So many more than the skies at home. I could only see pieces of them through the treetops, but I longed for more.

Maybe it was just the mystery. Maybe the reason I love the sky so much is the fact that I have never seen it. I have only seen pieces of the heavens. I keep coming back for more, straining my eyes into the navy, looking for the milky way.

In New York City in 1965 the power went out for a night and all the people went up to the top of the buildings and looked up at the stars— spread out over the cities like they are every single night but visible for the first time in a century.

What a sight.

It seems to me that every time I have been out in the night I have only sought after the stars. I do not know why.

They are beautiful but they are distant. They might not even exist anymore. Their light takes eons to reach us; the actual star could be gone by now but the light is still traveling across space, thundering along at 300,000,000 meters per second but space is so massive it hardly makes a dent.

When I was younger, I wanted to be an astronaut. I have no idea why.

Space is beautiful but it is beautiful in the same way wildfires are beautiful. It is bone-chillingly terrifying as well; as unforgiving as the ocean.

Perhaps that is why astronauts and cosmonauts share their root in ‘sailor’.

Perhaps the younger version of me wanted to sail— to sail to all the fantastical planets no one has ever set foot on; to glide up to the distant stars and wave hello.

But space takes from you.

Space is unforgiving emptiness— silence and loneliness and coldness.

It is beautiful and breathtaking to look at space— those pictures from the Hubble telescope where every prick of light in the image is not a star but a galaxy, with a hundred million stars its own— they bring tears to my eyes.

But space is also wrong in some fundamental way, like watching an orchestra play without sound; the Wizard Of Oz with Kansas in color.

It is beautiful but it is terrifying once you get out in it, just like the ocean.

Maybe I am in love with space because of the book I had as a child. It was all about space exploration. I fell in love with the space race— with the scientists and their rockets. I could almost feel their emotions— disgust as their ideas were ignored, triumph as their vision was realized.

And under the stars, it seems as if the world is clearer.

The sky is high, higher than the ceilings in the great cathedrals of old. The grass is soft under your bare feet. Above, the stars glimmer down— millions and millions and millions of them.

Why are there stars?

Why did God decide to make stars? We wouldn’t know the difference.

We would never know the difference and yet I like the think that God thought it would bring us joy to look up upon the beauty of the sky ablaze as night.

I like to the think that God thought of me and my friends at our school retreat, lying on the cold grass staring into the heavens in unspeakable joy and thought, “I’ll make stars for them!”

I like to think that he saw me and my friends from camp sitting around a dying fire and canning our necks up to the heavens, filled with awe and thought, “I’ll make stars for them!”

I like to think that in all his planning for the world, he knew that the stars would fill us with wonder and amazement and a tremendous desire to see and to know, and so he, with hands so old the stars themselves seem like the lights of fireflies, spun them into the great blackness.

He hung each one in the heavens and thought about how it would bring us joy.

And so I am in love with the sky at night, with the stars, with the heavens.

I have never seen it in all its glory, but I know I will someday.

I know I will be driving through the empty lands of Montana some clear, clear night and I will pull the car over the side of the highway and get out and look up at the sky.

And I will not have words.

The sky will be on fire.

I will see the Milky Way, spread out like diamonds, each star so far away and yet looking down on me with unwavering light, older than the rocks I stand on.

And from above, God will smile. “I made them for you,” he whispers. “So you could have this joy.”

—The End—


Hello, everyone! I would like to give many thanks to Hollis Thundercroft from Rag Tag Essays for writing this guest post!

Hollis is a high school senior who writes essays in her free time. She enjoys running, quilting, and sleeping, as well as playing with her two new cats. Her favorite smell is after the rain, her favorite planet is Neptune, and her favorite rocket is the Saturn V, which, she says, you probably shouldn’t bring up in conversation because she will never stop talking about it.

I absolutely LOVE Hollis’s blog and all of her writing. I find her essays to be very powerful, true, and passionate. Please go check out her blog here and leave a comment!

signi

guestpost

God is Enough

Godisenough

“You’re not good enough.” “You’re not smart enough.” “You’re not strong enough.”

These are the words we tell ourselves. Sometimes, they are the words that we get told. They are the words which remind us of the everpresent truth of our humanness.

We fail. We mess up. And we surely fall short in our relationship with God.

But the good news is this: God is enough. His promises are perfect and His plans never fail.

“This God — how perfect are His deeds!
How dependable His words!
His is like a shield for all who seek His protection.
The LORD alone is God; God alone is our defence.” – Psalm 18: 30-31

How encouraging is it to know that we have a God who is forever perfect! When we fail, He picks us back up. When we forget the meaning of love, He shows us that His love is unconditional. And when we forget our worth, His reminds us of the truth.

My challenge for you this week is to focus on the perfection of God in the midst of our failures. When you feel like you aren’t measuring up to the standards in life, remember that He is enough.

signi

Liebster Award

Hello, everyone! How are you? I’m doing pretty well! The second quarter ended yesterday and I finally get a chance to breathe after all of the assignments. Yay! I was nominated by Bella from the Dancing Damsel for the Liebster Award! Many thanks to her! Be sure to check out her blog and her version of the post here.

the-liebster-award-pastel-450x450

The Rules

  1. Acknowledge the blogger who tagged you and display the award button.
  2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger asks you.
  3. Give 11 random facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 11 blogs.
  5. Notify the bloggers of their nomination.
  6. And give them 11 questions to answer!

Questions And Answers

  1. What are a few of your goals for 2018? – I actually just posted a blog post on my 2018 goals. You can read it here.
  2. What’s a song you’ve had on repeat lately? – I love listening to “Well Done” by Carly Bannister. Both Carly and her sister Ellie Holcomb performed at Windy Gap at the beginning of the school year and it was amazing! You can listen to the song here.
  3. If you write, what’s a current WIP about? – I haven’t really been writing recently so I’ll skip this question. :)
  4. Do you have any siblings? – Yes! I have two younger sisters who are amazing! I love them so much. :)
  5. Sweet, salty, or sour? – Sweet! I love all kinds of desserts, especially if my mom or sister made them.
  6. Which book do you wish would be turned into a movie? – I would be so excited if The Selection series became a movie! It would be amazing!
  7. What’s a word you always misspell? – I also misspell “misspell”. I forget there are two “s”s.
  8. If you could live in only one city or town for the rest of your life, what would it be? – I’ve always wanted to live in London.
  9. If you could have any superpower, what would it be? – If I could have a superpower, I would want to have the power of teleportation. That way, I could just “poof” myself somewhere instead of having to drive.
  10. What is the best and worst movie you’ve ever seen? – The best movie I saw was Wonder Woman. It was so good! I don’t know the worst movie that I saw.
  11. Why did you start blogging? – I had been thinking about starting a blog for a while before I finally did start writing. It wasn’t until a lot of my friends started blogs that I decided it was finally time. I started Life as a Homeschooled Teen in November of 2014. It was a way for me to practice writing and I continued by adding more posts about life. And now here I am. :)

Tag! You’re It!

  1. A Day in the Life of Anonymous Me
  2. Call Me Ash
  3. Day Dreamer Teen
  4. Dreamers and Dancers
  5. Elsie LMC
  6. Georgie Grl
  7. It’s Louises Life
  8. Joy Unspeakable
  9. Linds 4 Dance
  10. Livalittle Blog
  11. and You!

Questions For You

  1. What are some of your goals for this year?
  2. What are you looking forward to?
  3. What cheers you up?
  4. Give one piece of life advice.
  5. What is your favorite pizza topping?
  6. If you had to move to another country for 10 years, what are some things that you would miss?
  7. What comes to mind when you hear the word “rabbit?”
  8. What is your most reccommended book?
  9. Do you have a bullet journal?
  10. Tea or coffee?
  11. How would you describe your style?

Thanks again to Bella for tagging me! Be sure to check out her blog and I hope you all have a great day! :)

signi

My 2018 Goals

Hello, friends! You have survived the first week of the new year! Yay! How has it been so far? My days have been pretty crazy as my second quarter of school ends this week and we are scrambling to have enough assignments in the grade book.

2018goals

It’s that time again to reflect on the past year and make goals for the future. 2018 is going to be a big year for me, as it is the year that I graduate high school and enter the world of college. While I am very excited for this year, I know it’s going to include lots of scary and uncomfortable changes. But that’s what life is full of! So the best thing is to make this year a great year. You with me? Here are my 6 goals to make this year great.


1. Grow in my devotion to God.

Every year I have had a different theme representing who I wanted to be and focus on for the year. Last year, my theme was peace and the year before it was hope. This year, my theme is devotion. As I looked back on 2017, I noticed how my relationship with Him has faltered a bit due to doubt and personal struggles. What I realize now is that I was resisting God because I wanted so desperately to be in control of things in my life. But, I’m not in control, God is. This year, I want to work on growing closer to God and trusting in Him for my future.

2. Keep my family relationship strong.

My family isn’t perfect but they are wonderful and I love them. We are already seeing the stress that senior year brings but I don’t want that to hinder our family relationship. This year, I want to continue to keep our relationship strong, even while I’m at college.

3. Stay connected to my friends.

I have been so blessed to have great friends who are very involved in our community as well as each other. But that also means that we are constantly busy. While we may not be around all of the time, I still want to stay connected to my friends and keep my relationships with them.

4. Finish Senior year strong.

Senioritis is real. I didn’t realize how real it was until I got my first acceptance letter. Although there is a lot of pressure among my senior class to give up and stop caring now that I’ve been accepted to college, I need to continue doing my best work in class and outside of class. To do this I will:

  • Set priorities
  • Stay organized
  • Stay motivated

5. Invest in myself.

I believe that a healthy mind and body leads to healthy relationships and a happier life. This year, I want to really make an effort to invest in myself. This can include getting back into photography as a creative outlet, writing music as a way to de-stress, and learning to say no when I am stressed and in need of rest.

6. Invest in my blog.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you might have noticed that I took a couple of breaks this year. Part of that was because of my sanity, the other part being health-related. While I don’t know what this year will have in store for me, I want to put in a greater effort to be involved in this lovely blogging community. Specifically, I’d like to:

  • Host a giveaway!
  • Comment on 200 posts through the year.
  • and Host guests for collabs!

So that’s what my 2018 looks like! What are your goals for the New Year? Are there any things that you are really excited for this year?

signi

Looking Back: 2017

Hello, everyone and happy New Year! This year has flown by so quickly! Time really does fly when you’re having fun, or just busy. :)

lookingback17

2017 has been a crazy year for me. Between all of the travels and my surgery and starting Senior year, I’ve been busy! But I wouldn’t change that business for the world! It makes life interesting. :)

In the beginning of the year, I wanted my theme to be growth. But as life continued, I found that my theme was becoming peace. Peace in my school decisions, peace about the future, and peace about who I am, were all really important for me this year.

Popular Posts

christmaswish17blogiversarytf-er-headermarchmemories

I posted a list of some things that I Want, some things that I Need, some things to Wear, and some things to Read for my 2017 Christmas Wish List.

Link: here.

 

This year I celebrated 3 years of blogging! I talked a little bit about all of the changes on my blog and how I came to be happy with those changes.

Link: here.

 

This summer I took a trip to Europe with my family to visit my grandparents and cousins. It was so much fun and we took so many pictures.

Link: here.

 

March was a particularly good month for me this year. My family hosted quite a bit of people and we did some traveling too. I also worked on memorizing Bible verses and worked on my photography.

Link: here.

 

 

2017 ended pretty nicely for me too! My sisters and I hosted a group of girls for a New Year’s Eve party. Ending and starting the two years with my friends and family is a blessing and I am so grateful that we had that opportunity.

So, how was your 2017? What were some of your favorite parts/memories? I hope that your New Year is just as great!

signi