Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Ancora Imparo

They say that there are many seasons in life we'll go through. But some in particular for the purpose of changing our hearts.

The other day was the last official day of school for me. Teachers put away books, cleaned up the last of their classrooms, and I walked down the quiet empty halls one last time.

It all felt surreal. It was just last June and I was having a panic attack asking God whether this is what I should take or not.

Teaching was always something I said no to simply because I thought I was only meant to do other things.

And I fought it with every ounce of me. 

But if there's one thing I've learned (and believe me I've learned plenty this year), is that sometimes the things you resist the most out of fear are the things that you need to jump right into.

What I didn't realize is when you constantly ask God for something... He actually listens.

I just never thought He would literally give me something that was exactly was I asked for... but in the direction I was always running from. 

But against it all, I stayed.

I now understand what it means to hold on until the final scene. 

That through the dozens of failed lessons, after-school breakdowns, a million pencil sharpenings, late night lesson planning and construction paper cutting, but I can't leave out the sweet cheer me up notes from certain students after class... I get why it was so important to hold on until the end. 

I was proven wrong. 

This opportunity didn't just show me I could do it, it changed me and everything I thought. 

God literally took my heart streched, squished, beat, rolled, and stuck it back into my chest. And He knew it would change me all along. I just had to make the choice to stay.

I’ll end with this. That life is a series of situations... but if you pay attention closely, there's something you can take from every part of it. 

The good, the bad, the sobbing 'til my head feels like I pounded it on a cement wall, the days where you feel on top of the world.
I totally failed somedays. But I totally won. 

When God opens a door for you, know He already has the toolbox you need for it. And then you run with it. Run and don't stop until you cross that finish line.

I taught my students about Michelangelo this year. He worked until days before his death, continuing his passion. His words stuck to me when I came across it.

"Ancora Imparo."  

After an entire year of trials, mishaps, and successes… I’m still learning. Those kiddies taught me more than they'll ever know.

All I have left to say is, thank you. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Pure Gold

I sat there in my car, the skies were cloudy and gray, it seemed to match my mood. The day finally came to an end, but not without a battle.

I was defeated. Dozens of papers all scrunched up in my bag of a failed lesson I attempted to teach.

I just don’t understand what you’re trying to do through me, God? Why am I going through this, I just don’t see what can come from this.

I know that everyone faces trials here on earth. We’re humans, I get it. But why this one, why me? I just didn’t understand what God was trying to teach me. Where was the underlying lesson of this season?

There are many seasons in life. Just like there is the fall and then winter and spring… then finally the long anticipated summer.

But before the beautiful warmth and the sunshine that comes with the summer, we usually have to go through a brittle winter and those nasty spring allergies.

I can’t help but think, God must have rooted a lesson in here somewhere. Before beauty… pain. Before fully appreciating the light… we have to experience the darkness.

Much like the process of refining gold. Before it is molded into jewelry, it must be refined and melted. Borax and soda ash are added to separate the precious pure gold from the other metals so that it comes out pure.

// But he knows the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. // Job 23:10

I suppose just like the gold, we go through various trials too so that we could be refined.

That though this season in time is not exactly my favorite, every situation is changing me and molding me.

That thought makes me start to see it in a different perspective. How is God using this trial to refine me?

It isn’t about what we go through, but rather how we come out of it. It’s a purifying process. No doubt about it, bad times will come and go. But how we respond changes everything.

In the hardest of times, we need to keep going. We need to remember that this whole season isn’t in vain. We are being purified and molded every step of the way.

So that all of the stubborn, messy parts of us are being stripped away… and the pure gold is left. The gold that God knows we have somewhere in that tangled mess of our hearts.

He’s making us more like Him.

So chin up. Keep trudging forward. This part is only for a little while… but the beauty that will come from it is eternal.

// That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ// 1 Peter 1:7

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Charleston | South Carolina

"Eat, drink, and be merry." - King Charles II

My sister, cousin, and I spent Memorial Day weekend in Charleston, South Carolina. We packed our bags and hoped and prayed the weather would hold off despite the weather forecasting rain.

We stayed at a cute hotel right in the middle of town on Meeting Street, called King Charles Inn

Charleston was very hot, around 90 degrees and humid... but insanely beautiful. The colors and Palmetto trees (we learned they weren't Palm) drew you in every corner, and begged you take a photo in front of the pretty doors. So of course we did. 

We rented a car to drive to the plantation about 20 minutes away, but the great thing about Charleston is most scenic places are all at walking distance. 

Everyone is super friendly and helpful, and there is a visitor's center right down the street for water and maps and tour guides to all of the best things to do and eat in the area. 

The first night we ate dinner at Sticky Fingers Ribhouse, a great restaurant if you love barbecue and roasted chicken, burgers, etc... It was right across our hotel.  


The Pineapple Fountain by the Waterfront is such a beautiful area to go for a walk and also located by East Bay Street that has so many great restaurants to choose from. 

Charleston is also called "Holy City", and has over 100 churches that date back to the Civil War! We saw so many cemeteries with old tombstones from the 17th century. 

We sure felt the southern charm at The King Charles Inn with morning coffee, infused water, artisan cheeses, wine, and crackers in the afternoon, and late night tea and cookies.

We fell in love with this cute little spot called Toast. We loved it so much we ate there more than once for breakfast and dinner. Their Eggs Benedict, pancakes and home fries were AMAZING.

I did a little research, being the slightly OCD planner that I am, and found out Charleston and Mount Pleasant was where many of the scenes from The Notebook was filmed. 

So we drove about 25 minutes from Charleston to Boone Hall Plantation.

The giant oak trees and rich history of this beautiful place is a must see.  

We learned about the Gulluh culture of the slaves that worked on the plantation and how it is one of the oldest working farms in the United States.

You may recognize it as Allie's summer home from The Notebook. 

Another delicious spot for farm to table southern food is Lowcountry Bistro. Their crabcakes, spicy chard, and red rice with Sangria was soooo good!

Charleston is known for its beautiful old homes, and so a must see is Rainbow Row.

Plan to spend more than 20 minutes here...  you will have to wait your turn to get a great shot in front of the color you love most. (Worthhh it) ;)

A must tourist thing to do (I'd do even if I wasn't one though) is a horse carriage ride through the city. 

We loved our guide with Old South Carriage Company. They took us around the city and gave us some really intersting history on Charleston too. 

I fell in love with our sweetheart horse Luke... he was rockin' his braid and was totally fine with us petting him. 
The American Theater was a good few blocks away from us on King Street, but we had to see where Noah and Allie went to the movies and also danced in the street.   

City Market  had all sorts of goodies ranging from souvenirs and pretty roses made from the Palmetto trees. It's located right on Meeting Street. 

We absolutely fell in love with Charleston. I hope you enjoyed my little travel guide and photographs from our stay!