God’s Perfect and Powerful Love

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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

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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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.

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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

Writing Wednesday – Sisterly Memories

Hey, guys! How are you? It’s been a while since my last Writing Wednesday entry so I thought I would share one this week. This one is all about memories. :)

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I remember the day when we laughed until our sides hurt and when we screamed with joy and made funny faces. I remember the day when we spent hours talking in different accents and dancing around the kitchen. The day when, as I went about my work, you were there making life fun. In those few moments, we were free. Now that we are older, those days are fewer, but I’m looking forward to the day when we can do these things again; when we can laugh until our sides hurt and when we can scream with joy. I can’t wait until the day when we can spend hours talking in different accents and dancing around the kitchen. May these memories forever be in our minds and the hope forever in our hearts.

signi

25 Things I Love About Spring

Hey, guys! So yesterday was the first day of Spring! YAY!  If you know anything about me, you know that I LOVE Spring. The flowers, the weather, the patterns; everything is so beautiful this time of year! There are so many things to like about spring, I decided to make a list. So here are 25 things I love about spring.

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  1. Easter service at church!
  2. Seeing everyone outside.
  3. Sitting outside on the patio with a good book.
  4. Baby animals!
  5. Being about to put away the big winter coats.
  6. Opening the windows to the fresh breeze.
  7. Pulling out the shorts after a long stretch of winter.
  8. Easter break with family and friends! How perfect is that? :)
  9. Pastel colored everything!
  10. Picnics by the lake complete with books, iced tea, and kites.
  11. Bike rides down to the park.
  12. The soft, fresh feeling in the air.
  13. All of the beautiful blooming flowers! I mean just look at these;
  14. Waking up to the birds. Such a beautiful sound. <3
  15. Fresh vegetables and fruits!
  16. Looking for four-leaf clovers in the backyard.
  17. Travel opportunities.
  18. Spring smells.
  19. Rainy mornings.
  20. The fresh green of the new leaves.
  21. Beautiful weather.
  22. Watching the clouds roll across the clear blue sky.
  23. Summer on the horizon.
  24. Tulips, tulips, and more tulips. :)
  25. The sense of rebirth and beginnings that fill the air during springtime.

What do you love about spring? Thanks so much for reading! I hope you have a great day!

signi

2 Years and 200 Followers

Two years ago a girl decided it was finally time for her to published her very first blog post. Two years later, she is still blogging and loves it to pieces. That girl is me.

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Hey, everyone! Today is October 25th which means it’s my 2 year blogiversary! Yay! This blog has grown so much over the last two years and I can’t believe that I’ve made it this far.

First Steps

I started blogging because I loved writing and I wanted to try something new. When my friends started their blogs in the fall of 2014, I decided it was time to make my contribution to the WordPress feed. That’s when I started my blog, Life As A Homeschooled Teen. I posted my first blog post titled, “Welcome One, Welcome All“. The posts following that one were sporadic and I wasn’t getting very many views but I pressed on hoping that someday, I would reach 100 followers.

In 2015, I struggled with coming up with posts that I felt were “worthy” to post. While trying to figure something out, I came up with the “To-Bake List” which is getting more and more popular. I also started my “Monthly Favorites” posts which I love posting because they help me to take a minute to remember what I did instead of flying through life with no end point. If that makes any sense.

Then I Decided I Wanted A Change

I was tired of being stuck with writer’s block and wanted to change. The 2016 New Year was a perfect place to start. I started a notebook with hundreds of blog post ideas and made calendars to keep me on track. My goal was to post 2-3 every week which I’ve pretty much kept up since then.

I posted about school, hosted a Q&A, talked about my Spring Break, and wrote letters to my sisters. Basically, I started posting things I was passionate about and loved to talk about. Eventually, my views shot up and I reached 100 followers in May. I celebrated with a giveaway (which I will hold again once I reach 250 followers).

In August, I decided to go back to school and Life As A Homeschooled Teen turned into Happily Abi. I redesigned my blog and also started up a Google+ page. Then I wrote a mini-series on my homeschooling experience. Just 5 short months after I reached 100 followers, I reached 200!

Two Years Strong

I am so excited about everything that has happened on my blog. It’s been a long journey but it was worth every minute. I wanted to thank you all for all of your support and encouragement. I couldn’t have gotten here without you! And of course, I must thank my Lord and Savior for giving me this gift in the first place. Many, many thanks! :)

I also need to thank my mother who is AMAZING and cleared out her whole day just to make me a tart and decorate the kitchen to celebrate these two years. Gah, she’s the best! :D

 


Again, thanks to all of you for everything! I hope that you’ll continue this journey with me. Love to all!
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The Fall Tag

Hey, everyone! I was technically sorta nominated by Maha from FunHouse Vision. I love love love fall so when I saw this tag, I knew I had to post my version of it. Before I start, be sure to check out Maha’s blog here and her version of this tag here!

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The Questions

  1. What signifies the start of Fall for you?
    Fall begins when we bring out the candy corn and apple cider.
  2. What is your favourite Fall scent?
    Crisp Morning Air from Bath and Body Works
  3. What is your favourite Fall colour?
    I love the wine/crimson berry color like this Essie nail
    Essie Maki Me Happy:
  4. What is your favourite Fall drink?
    Apple cider all the way!
  5. What TV show, new or old, are you looking forward to this Fall?
    I don’t watch many shows but the one I am watching is Dancing With The Stars so I’ll go with that.
  6. What is your favourite Fall fashion trend?
    Ankle boots, striped dresses and sweaters
  7. What is your favourite frugal Fall activity?
    Sitting by the fireplace or sitting outside on the porch.
  8. What is your favourite makeup look come fall weather?
    I don’t really wear makeup but I think darker shadow and a darker lip can create a great fall look. Like this one:
    Pinterest: @jadeaubiin Instagrams: @jade_aubin:

 

Tag! You’re It!

I tag anyone who wants to complete this tag! Totally fun. If you love fall, you should do it.


I thought I would try something different today and make the main part of my post centered. Let me know how you like it! Anywhos,be sure to check out Maha’s blog if you haven’t already and have a great and fantastic day! :)
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*please note: none of these pictures are mine*

How did you like the tag? What do you love about fall?  Let me know in the comments below! I would love to hear from you!

 

25 Things I Loved About Being Homeschooled

Hey, everyone! So ever since I posted this big news post, I’ve gotten questions pertaining to homeschooling and my big switch. So I decided to create a mini-series and answer all your questions. This is part 2- 25 Things I loved about being homeschooled.

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I absolutely loved being homeschooled and everything that came with it.

  1. You don’t have to wake up early every morning.
  2. But you have the option of waking up early to get everything done before 11:00 so you can have a free day.
  3. No school lunches – Homemade meals are the best!
  4. You can learn what you are actually interested in.
  5. Field trips to the coffee shop! Any time of the day.
  6. No dress code! (Although I could only wear my pjs on Fridays).
  7. Birthdays are holidays.
  8. Hot chocolate and homework in front of the fireplace? Yes, please!
  9. You can spend more time with family.
  10. There is no busy work.
  11. You can take naps when you really need it.
  12. You don’t have to rush in the mornings!
  13. PE = doing pilates in the comfort of your home WITHOUT the uniforms.
  14. Did I mention that I didn’t have school on Fridays?
  15. You’re not confined to a classroom.
  16. There’s freedom to go on fun trips in the middle of the school week.
  17. There’s more time to do the things you love to do.
  18. Homeschooling in high school gives you opportunities for great scholarships for college.
  19. Never getting stuck in traffic.
  20. Three, four, or even five-day weekends. Yes, it’s possible!
  21. Graduating early is totally an option.
  22. You can learn the way you understand.
  23. There are lots of opportunities to travel.
  24. It’s the best way to learn how to be self-motivated.
  25. You can do fun things like starting a blog!

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Homeschooling was awesome and I absolutely loved it. If you have any questions or a suggestion for this series, email me: happilyabi@gmail.com

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Want to read more? Check out these posts.

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25 Things I Love About Fall

Hey, everyone! So I have a dilemma… the calendar tells me it’s fall but the weather is so far from being fall-like that it actually feels like summer. Not only that, but my school is freezing. So here’s my question, what am I supposed to wear?! Let me know if you have any suggestions for me! While you’re thinking about that, here are 25 things I LOVE about Fall!

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  1. Fall clothes look so cute! And they are comfortable. Win win.
  2. Foggy mornings.
  3. Candy corn, pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, hot tea, hot chocolate.
  4. Holding warm drinks when it’s cold.
  5. Fuzzy socks.
  6. Long walks around the neighborhood.
  7. Beautiful sunrises and sunsets.
  8. Infinity scarfs.
  9. Being back at school!
  10. Brown boots.
  11. Apple cider, apple muffins, apple everything.
  12. The beautiful colors! They make the prettiest pictures like these:
  13. Studying by a cozy fireplace.
  14. Hot soups.
  15. Bath And Body Works’ scents.
  16. Decorating pumpkins.
  17. Warm candles.
  18. Spending time with family.
  19. Warm blankets.
  20. The feeling of the cool, crisp air on your cheeks.
  21. All of the fun fall activities!
  22. Nail polish colors.
  23. And the clothing colors.
  24. All of the writing inspiration.
  25. Looking forward to the upcoming holidays.

What do you love about the fall weather or just fall in general?

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Dear Sis

Dear Sis,

And so it ends; your birthday week. 13 years old and finally a teenager! You have many adventures ahead of you, so many things to look forward to. But with those adventures, come trials and things will get hard. Just keep being your happy self and I think you’ll be fine. :)

One of the things that I’ve always loved about you is that you’re motivated and persistent. You aim high and dream big dreams and that’s amazing! Never lose that. I fully believe that you will be able to accomplish anything you set your mind to. And while I still struggle getting out of bed every morning, you are ready to jump up and get things done. I think we all need a little more of that haha. :)

But I think the thing that I love most about you is that you still love your family. I know that even when I’m off to college, I can count on you to call and visit and be the one to randomly show up to my class just to run up behind me and scare me. I don’t know what life will bring us in the future, but I know that God has a plan for you. An amazing, wonderful, incredible plan.

So here’s to my pink-loving, chocolate-eating, bubbly littlest sister.
Happy Birthday!

Love,
Abi