His Plans Are Perfect

Have you ever had a situation in your life where the path or the plan didn’t really make sense, the pieces didn’t seem to fit, but somehow God worked through it and presented you with a final product better than you could have ever hoped for? For me, this is exactly what happened in my homeschool/high school transition experience.

As I had mentioned earlier in this blog, I was homeschooled for a while. But, when I started thinking about going back to school, there was a huge part of me that really didn’t want to go. And I mean really didn’t want to go. In my Sophmore year of high school, I went to a sleepover with one of my best friends. She asked me “what if we went to school together?!” Outwardly I said “that would be so much fun!” but inwardly, I was thinking, “there’s no way I am going to switch schools again.”

It’s a good thing God didn’t listen to me.

A couple of days after that sleepover, I applied to a private Christian school and got accepted four weeks before the first day of school. God opened door after door on my way to the school. That in and of itself was a huge miracle because I had applied late and there wasn’t much space for more students. Even though it was last minute and all of the available spots in the school were filled, I was able to obtain a spot and was admitted into high school. And it was the one of the best things that happened to me.

It was through this journey that I met some amazing people, building friendships that I never thought I would have. I met mentors and was pushed to study harder and better. Eventually, I graduated and now I will be attending a Christian university with some amazing fellow English majors and a whole world ahead of me.

Way back in Sophmore year, I never even thought I would some day end up sitting around a lunch table with some close friends or dancing in a room filled with classmates at prom or even traveling on a school trip to Peru. Those things just didn’t seem even remotely possible to me.

Looking back, I am so glad that I said yes to God’s plan even when I didn’t want to and it didn’t make sense. Homeschooling was great, but it was only to be a part of my path. I loved being at home and spending time with my family, but I wouldn’t have been able to grow so much if I had stayed. Not in the ways I have.

When God’s plans for you don’t make sense, remember what Proverbs 16:4 says: “the LORD works out everything to its proper end.” He wants you to grow in your trust for Him as He shows you His will for your life. But it’s important to remember that the things that don’t make sense now are only just the beginning of a wonderful adventure in God’s perfect plan.

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.

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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

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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

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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!

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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

Travel Journal//Peru – March 2018

Hello everyone! As I mentioned earlier, I had the chance to go to Peru for 8 days with my school. I got back a couple of weeks ago and it was amazing! I loved the country, loved the people, loved the culture.

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Headed to Lima

Traveling to Lima wasn’t as stressful as I thought it was going to be. And of course, it helped to have friends coming along to have conversations with as we waited in the airport. The flight itself wasn’t too bad either. I had a chance to have a long conversation with a Pastor who was going as a missionary to Peru! It was really encouraging to meet another believer who was so passionate about his faith.

City on the Beach

Our first full day in Peru was spent in Lima.We spent the day walking on the beach and seeing the views from the city above the hills.

Mountains and Culture

Seeing the culture in Peru was really interesting. The markets were crazy busy with people calling out their products as you walk by. With so much going on, sometimes it got overwhelming. But, the people were so nice and just beautiful, especially patient with my broken Spanish. The nature in Peru was probably my favorite part. The flowers bloomed everywhere and the clouds drew attention to the greatness of the mountains.

Machu Picchu and the Sun Gate

Machu Picchu was absolutely breath-taking. The hike up to the Sun Gate was pretty tough but the view was worth the hike. We also got to see some llamas so that was fun!

Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca was also really beautiful. I loved seeing how life worked on the floating islands. The weather was perfect and, of course, the boat ride out to the islands was beautiful as well.

Other Pictures

I’m so glad that I took the opportunity to go to Peru with my school. I loved getting to see the beauty in Peru and getting to know the people better.

signi

 

Learning to Pray Expectantly

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Prayer is an important part of having a strong relationship with God.

I remember last fall, my school took a trip to Windy Gap. We spent the week worshiping God and getting to know one another before heading back to school. One of the last nights we were there, the leaders sent everyone off to have quiet time with God. I found a spot beside the sand volleyball courts. Looking up at the starry night sky, I thought of how cool it would be to see shooting stars.

Immediately after that thought, I frowned. Why should I ask God for shooting stars? Aren’t I supposed to ask for important and meaningful things? How can I ask for shooting stars when there are so many other things to be praying for? I bent my head and looked at my hands, convinced that something as little as shooting stars should be something I should have prayed for.

You could probably guess what happened. When the bell rang and everyone was called back to the chapel, my friends ran up to me speaking quickly about how beautiful the shooting stars had been. I stopped in the path, shocked. God had answered my prayers but I was so busy convincing myself it wasn’t worth the time that I had missed His answer all together!

While we should pray with full faith that He is able to answer our prayers and do everything we ask, we have to remember that it’s God’s Will that is to be done. God wants us to accept His Will completely and give our lives to Him. Once we do that, He openly answers our prayers because we are praying for His Will to be done! Sometimes, though, there are things that He gives us anyway, like shooting stars. But we have to remember that it is God that we are serving, not ourselves. James 1:6-8 explains this idea:

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. ~ James 1:6-8

My challenge this week is that you would pray expectantly, knowing that God can answer your prayers, giving us everything we need, but also remembering that His Will comes first.

signi

Life Update + Awesome Blogger Award!

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Hello, everyone! How are you? It’s been a while since my last life update so I thought I would share one today.

Things have been pretty busy until today. I just finished my third quarter of Senior Year and I’m not exactly sure what to do with that information. I’m excited to graduation coming up in a couple of months but I also know that I’m going to miss so many things from high school. I think, for now, I’m just going to take things one week at a time.

Speaking of, this next week is going to be full of really exciting things! On Monday, I have my final meeting before I head to… Peru! I’ll be gone for 10 days but I will come back with lots of pictures! I also have a Sign Language Club meeting on Monday which I’m very excited about! I’ve always found sign language to be interesting and I’m looking forward to being able to sign with some other people from my church and school.

The Awesome Blogger Award

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I was nominated for this award by the lovely Lindsay from Linds4Dance. Thank you so much, Lindsay! Please be sure to check out her blog here and her version of the post here!

Rules

  1. Thank the person who nominated you!
  2. Include the reason behind the award!
  3. Include the banner in the post
  4. Tag it with #awesomebloggeraward
  5. Answer all the questions!
  6. Nominate at least 5 other awesome blog buddies
  7. Give your nominees 10 questions of their own!
  8. Let your nominees know they’ve been nominated!

*I’m going to skip these but please feel free to accept your own nomination for this award!

The Reason Behind This Award

The Awesome Blogger award was originally created by Maggie @ Dreaming of Guatemala. This is an award for the absolutely wonderful writers all across the blogging world. they have beautiful blogs, are kind and lovely, and always find a way to add happiness and laughter to the lives of their readers. that is what truly defines an awesome blogger. ~coffeelovingbookoholic

The Questions

  1. What’s your favorite quote? – “May the flowers remind us why the rain was so necessary.” – Xan Oku
  2. What’s your earliest childhood memory? – My earliest childhood memory was when I was around 3 or 4. I was in preschool and it was my birthday. I remember having pigtails with purple ribbons and having nap time. I was so excited about my birthday that I couldn’t go to sleep. :)
  3. If you could do anything in one day, what would you do? – I would probably wake up early, be productive, have lunch with some friends, and then spend the afternoon with my family. That would be a great day.
  4. Who in your life, do admire most? – My former Sunday School teacher is someone that I admire a lot. She is the happiest 70~ year-old I’ve ever met. Every time I see her, she is always excited and reminds me to be strong in my faith. She constantly prays for me and it means a lot. She hasn’t had the easiest life, but through everything, she has been praising God. That is how I want to be.
  5. Who is your favorite blogger and why? – Oh, my! Okay, my favorite blogger would have to be Madyson Grace. Her blog is full of meaningful posts that encourage us to remember the Truth.
  6. Markers or Colored Pencils? – Markers. 100%
  7. Chocolate or Hard candies? – Chocolate!
  8. Current favorite outfit? – I would have to go with my church outfit. It consists of this fit and flare burgundy dress from Altar’d State, a black cardigan, and flats. It’s really comfortable.
  9. What’s your greatest accomplishment? – Reaching my 3-year blogiversary!
  10. If you could go back in time, where would you go and why? – I would go back to the 1950s because I think that was an interesting time period.  Also, it was during that decade that Disneyland opened!

Thanks so much for reading! I hope you have a great week! :)

signi

Praising God Through the Storms of Life

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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)

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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

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Eighteenth Birthday Giveaway Winners!

Hello, everyone! It’s the day you’ve been waiting for! The day I announce the giveaway winners!

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Congratulations to Hannah W and Aria H for winning the giveaway!

I will be sending you an email which you will need to respond to within 48 hours in order to receive your prize.

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway! I hope you all have a great day!

signi