6 Dec 2016

The Accomplished & Unaccomplished Goals of 2016


If you’re anything like me, the title of this post fills you with a kind of sick feeling. Your mind starts spinning, whizzing back to the beginning of the year when you made all these goals that you were sure you would accomplish this year. Because this year was going to be different. You were going to do everything better, your life was going to become healthier, the people around you were going to notice the massive change in you, you were going to get smarter, fitter, kinder, more useful. You were going to put your procrastinating behind you. You were going to work hard. You were going to accomplish.

Now here you are, freaking out because you aren’t ready for 2017, and can you even think of one goal you properly followed through with?

But then again, that’s only if you’re anything like me. If you aren’t, fair enough. And if you are, here’s a little bit of advice. From me to you and me.

One of the problems I have when I start thinking about all I haven’t done and all there is that needs my attention is that I tend to lose sight of the fact that there’s a bigger picture. I’m too busy obsessing over the intricate details to realize that although it’s far from perfect, there’s beauty to the huge mess that is my life, if I just take a step back. There’s purpose.

Sometimes I simply forget that my messy room or my messy hair or my inactive blog or the to-do list that grows bigger every day or the run I didn’t go on or the journal entries I didn’t write or my bed that I still haven’t made are not what defines an accomplisher’s life. I just forget sometimes.

The truth is, the accomplishments that matter the most are to do with the heart. When you woke up this morning, did you feel a little lighter than you did yesterday? Do you feel you’ve been growing, that you’ve been changing and maturing and learning? Do you see people in a different light, the more you get older? Are you more understanding, more quick to help than you are to judge?
Can you say with confidence that you are following in the footsteps of the One who has shown us the way?

People, all of the above is what really counts. And there’s no way anyone of us can become those things without help.

In the bible, it says ‘yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.’ Romans 8:37.
So, let’s scratch the ‘accomplisher’ part.
Ladies and perhaps gentlemen, although I suspect my readers are mostly of the female race- we are CONQUERORS. No, wait, there’s more. Literally, more. We are MORE than conquerors.
And it’s only through Him and Him alone. It’s Him in us, it’s Him with us, it’s Him keeping His promise, that He will never leave or forsake us.

You are not doing this alone.

It also says in the bible, in that very same chapter: ‘what then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?’ Romans 8:31.
Man, I love that chapter. WHAT shall we say to these things? These ‘unaccomplished’ goals, ‘unticked’ boxes on our lists?

We tell them this: that they are NOT more important than our God. That we will NOT allow them to consume us, turning us into worriers instead of warriors. That they surely do NOT define us, because our identity is found in Christ alone. That God willing and with His love and help that we all so desperately need, we’ll try again next year. We’ll work hard, yes, but we’ll be doing everything to His glory, not our own.

Don’t waste sleepless nights over the bad moments, days, weeks, or even months of this year. Don’t waste your tears over them. Redirect your energy to what you were really made for.

You were made for Christ.

‘For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.’ Colossians 1:16.

Ask Him how He would have You live, what He wants you to conquer for Him. Only then will you truly feel a sense of accomplishment. Take this from someone who constantly slips up by trying to find that elsewhere. Sometimes I feel I’m like a stupid sheep. (oh wait, that’s actually exactly what I am without Christ)
When will I learn that I only find that strength, that fuel and that purpose in my God?

But that’s the thing, right there. I’m learning. You are too. Life is full of learning, and we’re all learning constantly. It isn’t life that teaches us, though, as some like to say. It’s our sovereign God that has ordained and planned every little part of your life, of my life. His plan is greater, His plan is better. Remember that there’s no one else you ever need to turn to, that if you’re looking for someone to teach you how to do life, look no further than Jesus Christ.

And you guys. Best. Teacher. Ever.

He’s also a sculptor, by the way. Yeah, calling Him talented would be an understatement. I mean, where do you think all the talents we have as humans came from? I like to think He shared a little with us.
But back to the sculptor thing I was getting to. He is shaping you, moulding you into what you were always meant to be. He is growing you into His image. The catch is, there’s no catch. If you put Him first and put yourself under His care, you will flourish. You will find you’ve never been better. That doesn’t mean it will always be easy, but it means that it will be worth it.

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18.

See? How amazing is that? IN HIS IMAGE? Do you know the massive truth of how stunning, how beautiful He really is? Nope, neither do I. Not entirely, not yet. But I’m looking forward to the day when the magnificence and awesome wonder of His full beauty is right in front of me. Until then, I kind of have an idea, and even that is mind BLOWING.

If you feel you’ve take nothing else away from this year, take this and be comforted: He hasn’t left your side and never will.

If you take nothing else away from this blog post, take this and be comforted: whatever happens in 2017, He’s got you.

10 Oct 2016

Monday Musings [4] - My Song



It was You who set the earth spinning
You nurture every tree that is growing
You alone are mighty and all knowing
Of all Your wonder I will keep on singing

Oh, You crafted these bones
You made my heart a home
And knowledge within my soul
Tells me I don't have to be alone
You are my King, my Lord
And this, this is my song

You put this melody inside of me
Gave me strong feet and these wide eyes
So in Your grace I'll stand and see
And this fire that burns for You will never die

Oh, how good and how safe it feels
To know, know I belong to Someone
A thought that makes my head reel

To know that to You, I belong
You are my Savior, my first love

And this, this is my song.

-t.h.
written: 10/10/16

4 Oct 2016

Growing In His Grace


You can't have a relationship with Jesus Christ and not be constantly changing, constantly growing. Sometimes it's the little things, things one would hardly notice if they aren't looking closely. But believe me, it adds to the bigger picture.
Other times it's a massive change that makes the people who know you and even those who don't do a double take.
The best part is that when you are truly for the Lord- it is always good change.

I spent some time a while back fearing change. I wanted things to stay just the way they were. I was blind to the fact that I wasn't going to build my relationship with my God or grow spiritually if I just stood still.
I thought I was safe if my situation didn't change, if I stuck with what I knew.

I didn't stop to think that maybe a change of situation would be an incredible, beautiful journey and adventure with Jesus by my side the entire time.
Let me just say, He is the most wonderful travel companion. There's no one else I'd rather be with on this long, bumpy road trip. He is full of unbelievable, unfathomable love and wisdom.

How glad I am to be His child, to have Him correct me and discipline me and ultimately, love me in all abundance. He shows me the way, He speaks to my heart. I don't hear Him so clearly everyday. Some days it feels like He's silent, and I get frustrated. Because I'm human, I want my answers, and I want them now.

But He always knows better, and even in the silence, I know He's there. He is always there.

And when He does speak to me, it's amazing. He strengthens me, He comforts me. He reveals things to me and teaches me. He forgives me, He gives me wisdom. He grows me, His words and love pouring over me like clean, sweet water, refreshing a dry and thirsty soul. He quenches the thirst in me the way only He can.

The reason why I'm so excited to tell you all of this today is because the more I grow in Him, the more thrilled I am when I realize he's made a change in me. No more freaking out when I'm forced out of my comfort zone for His sake. No more stressing when I think that the job is too big. No more being afraid of change. Instead, I'm happy. No- I'm rejoicing! How can it be that He chooses someone like me to do anything for Him? To have the satisfaction of serving the God who died for me and continues to bless me undeservedly, every single day of my life?

Change is always good when it comes to Jesus changing you. 

Change in yourself, change of circumstances, change of relationships with others when you openly glorify His name.
As you walk and talk with God in your daily life, your roots in Him will only grow deeper and stronger. And growing means changing. Maybe you're sick of hearing that word by now, but if you're like me, you need to hear this constantly. Because I can so easily get in a place where I'm comfortable with things staying the way they are...and I don't believe that is how a Christian life is supposed to be.

As if it's not phenomenal enough that He is shaping and forming us in His image, He also promises to be our strength through it all. He tells us that He will never give us more than we can bear. He says His plans are good. He promises that the reward will be worth it.

He makes you strong. 
He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. / Isaiah 40:29

He doesn't give you more than you can take.
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. / 1 Corinthians 10:13

He has good plans for you.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not evil, to give you a future and a hope. / Jeremiah 29:11

He has a reward in store for you.
And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. / Colossians 3:23-24

And He never lies.
God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? / Numbers 23:19

So trust in Him, as you grow in Him. Embrace the changes that come to happen. Look forward to them, get excited about them. One day, when you look back, your heart will swell with gratitude and you will be in awe at all that He has done in you and for you.

And know that He has nothing up His sleeve but more love for you.

The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy you in drought, and strengthen your bones; you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. / Isaiah 58:11

Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. / Philippians 1:6

14 Sep 2016

Wednesday Words [3] - We're Fine


When those old fears are back once again
When those scars reopen and bleed again
When you need someone just call my name
I promise I’ll be there to help you mend

I’ve been broken down and left on the side
I have been tortured by my own mind
If you’re scared I know what it feels like
If you’re on the run I know what it feels like

Sometimes the people you thought would keep you safe
Break their promises and your bones and your faith
Sometimes we put ourselves into hands of destruction
Easily tricked into thinking they have good intentions

But if you ever need a home
If you are tired of being alone
Find me, I’m shattered too
Find me, it’ll be me and you

You are haunted by the things that were done
You’re tired but now you can’t ever slow down
Driven by the ghosts of your past chasing you down
And the battle you fight cannot seem to be won

But I will help you untie your heavy load
Escape and leave it in this neighbourhood
We both know that if I could I would
Erase your memory but it’s no good
We live with these nightmares in our minds
We live trying to forget so that we’ll be fine

But from now on, we travel together
Matching our paces, sticking together

We’ll take our time
Until in the end

We find we’re fine.

-t.h.
written: 12/09/16

31 Aug 2016

August Days, Part 2 | 2016

Here's the conclusion to my previous 'August Days' post. I know this is only just in time to still be a legit August post. Oh well...the life of a procrastinator...
I have been...

+ struggling to keep my room tidy. Like, really. I can tidy it and make it perfect one day, and magically, on the next day, it looks like a bomb hit it. I wonder how it happens.

+ messing with oil paints and then taking a photo, because of course.


+ visiting a wildlife awareness centre with the cousins.




+ having a love/hate relationship with the rain that has been occurring quite often.

+ drinking pomegranate juice and finding I love it. (I don't exactly remember but this probably happened in June)


+ spending time with this girl.


+ reading Fourth Dawn by Bodie and Brock Thoene. Interesting but unimportant and weird fact: their surname is pronounced Tay-nee, which is what I'm often called. Except my name's version of the spelling is 'Taney'.

+ failing miserably in my plan to eat healthy for the whole of August, and relishing it. ;)

This post wasn't that long or too interesting, but I hope it was worth your while none the less. Let me know in a comment below, if you're up to it.

OH AND TOMORROW IS THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING, I'M SO HAPPY, PEOPLE.

29 Aug 2016

Monday Musings [3] - Your Truth



ME:
I don’t know if You’d ever understand
there are dark places in my head and
there are blood stains on my hands.


JESUS:
I took your place to prove I understand
I’m full of only love for you My child and
to show it there are holes in My hands.


If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. / 1 John 1:9 

ME:
my limbs are aching and my heart is tired
I’ve tried to break free but now I accept
that these ropes aren’t meant to be untied.


GOD:
I will give you rest and I will heal your mind
there is no way that I would ever let
you stay trapped and lonely in those binds.



For with God nothing will be impossible. / Luke 1:37


ME:
I could never be the one that you are seeking
I’m worthless and I am dirty
I have no doubt that I am one worth leaving.


JESUS:
you are Mine and you are worth loving
even if you wrestle and fight with Me
I am by your side and I am never leaving.



For the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. / Deuteronomy 31:6


ME:
I know with all of my being that I do not deserve this
your love for me is tremendous
and there isn’t any part of You I would want to miss.


GOD:
you are what I wanted all along
oh, how I want to have you here with Me
to have you here where you belong

My child, I love you so unconditionally.

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved). / Ephesians 2:4-5

ME:

I'm running to You
You amaze me with everything that You do
I'm running to You

nothing can stop me from loving Your truth.

Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day. / Psalm 25:5

23 Aug 2016

August Days, Part 1 | 2016

Not even going to say something about how awful I am for being so inconsistent in posting on my blog...

So. Hello.
It's already well into the month of August. It's almost springtime, which is exciting for me, because after spring comes summer.
This month has been full of ups and downs, as most months are, as life is. But some time periods are more extreme in the contrast of the good and the bad days. The thing is that life isn't supposed to be smooth and easy sailing when you're living for Jesus, even though it often feels like mine is. I think it's dangerous to just sail on in the smooth weather, because it can lead to becoming lukewarm. And I have no idea why I still get surprised when life gets bumpy after I've actually asked God to give me trials and challenges so that I might become more like Him. Jesus definitely didn't have an easy life, and He is my example. If you're experiencing something similar, I encourage you to sail on through the storm, it will bring you closer to Him in the end.

August has been...interesting. And full. Therefore, I'm going to split this post into two, because I have a lot of photos to share.
Lately, I have been...

+ braving a very windy day at the beach with (most) of my family. It was worth it. Even though the wind literally knocked me over and I found out that yes, my eyes are definitely bigger than my stomach, and I cannot finish that much ice cream. Luckily my dad was around to help me out.





 


+ and yes...if you haven't guessed by those photos- I'm REALLY ENJOYING having my sister back from Ireland. It's epic, but it's for a short while, since she leaves this Monday. So I'm savouring the time that I have left with her.





+ listening to music like almost all of the time. (A few favourites: 10,000 Reasons by Rend Collective, Write Your Story by Francesca Battistelli, Smoke and Fire by Sabrina Carpenter and Run by Matthew Mole.)

+ getting overly excited about been dubbed nineteen percent fluent by the app I have on my phone, Duolingo. Je parle franรงais, donc je suis content. At least, I can speak a (very, very) little...

+ playing around with hand lettering as usual. I'm convinced it has a therapeutic effect on me.


+ eating frozen yogurt on a cold day in good company because we were all craving some froyo. Didn't manage to finish that either. But, when dad's not around, that's what brothers are for. (Actually, I think that was in June...oh well.)


+ looking back at photos taken when my younger sister and I flew to the Free State to visit friends in April.


+ looking forward to seeing this lovely person again soon.


What have you been up to?

1 Aug 2016

Monday Musings [2] - Say Jesus


you don't know where they've been, 
no idea what they've seen
or the number of nights that 
they've cried themselves to sleep.

the words that have been spoken
into their ears and the images
that have been burned into their mind
are their constant reminders
so don't think you can bring them down
and I will just stay silent.

because I won't hide,
this that is bottled up inside of me
will spill over and I 
will do anything to make you see
past their clouded eyes into
souls that are broken and hungry
for something that is true.

it is up to us to tell them
that their wounds and their scars
don't ruin what is within
to tell them that all their fears
will not be able to win

to tell them that we know 
Someone stronger
Someone who is unlike any 
earthly father,
who longs for His children to 
take shelter
in His might that is 
so much bigger
than any danger
this world has to offer.

He can take away their shame,
He can give back their lost days
and when they ask His name,
we'll say
Jesus.

---

"Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.' " / Matthew 25:34-36

"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is long suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." / 2 Peter 3:9

26 Jul 2016

Wednesday Words - [2]


there's something up ahead
that looks like a fresh start
as clean as the dawn of a new day
and tell me, can I help it when this 
stubborn heart of mine
tells me it's ready to give way

and I stop

because
there's this look on your face that
reminds me of when I was young
it takes me back to a place where
hope once grew with roots strong

and I think

there's a green shoot
growing in the soil of my soul
that makes my spirits lift
and this time I reckon
I'm going to water it.

20 Jul 2016

He Is Trustworthy

Trust is powerful. It's putting something in someone's hands knowing they could drop it, but taking the chance anyway, because you believe they care about it enough to hold it tight. All of us learn that we have to be careful who we give it to, you have to know that they will do everything to keep it safe. Naive people give it more easily, but the thing is, we all start out naive. The jaggedness and crookedness of this life and the cruel beings in it teach us to be more discerning. To look a little closer. To watch our steps in case we fall over something.


For most, innocence is stolen from a young age. Often too young. You start realizing things, even small things, around six, or seven, like how a watermelon won't grow in your stomach if you swallow that pip, how your face won't actually stay stuck on the same expression if you scowl for too long. You no longer trust everything adults or even other kids say. As you get older, you realize other things too. Much worse things. You find out about human trafficking and serial killers and pornography and grotesque words.

Maybe those aren't perfect examples, but the point is that as you grow older, the world gets uglier. It was always ugly, but in our own little world of soft toys and knock knock jokes and pancakes for breakfast, we missed it. Until it became more clear with each birthday.

Four years old. Hold my hand when we walk across the street.
Eight years old. Stay close to me.
Ten years old. Don't talk to strangers.
Twelve years old. Careful who you're friends with.
Sixteen years old. Watch out for yourself.
Twenty years old and you've known that it's not a safe place for awhile now. You don't trust easily because that isn't smart. It's dangerous.

You learn. You become aware, you see things for what they are. It's the same for everyone, and it's rare to find someone that is still a kid at heart. (Though I'd like to add here that I love those kind of people)

When trust is given, it's kind of a big deal. If someone has handed it to you, don't think it's a small thing. It's precious, and you are fully responsible for what you do with it, how you respond to it. Perhaps the person who trusts you has been let down many times before, or perhaps they don't know betrayal yet. It will be up to you to live up to whatever you've let them believe you are.

And wait. Can I say something? Can I share hope with those that have remorseful, jaded and doubtful souls? There IS Someone you will never have to second guess. There IS Someone who is strong enough, mighty enough, yet kind and gentle enough to carry your precious trust. To carry you, you precious soul. He never lets go, He never stumbles or slumbers. His name is Jesus, and no matter who has hurt you or cracked open the chambers of your heart so that you had to rebuild them, you will be safe with Him.
He is not hateful like that person who looked at you like that. He is not cruel like that person who said those things to you. He is not malignant like that person who hurt you and the ones you love and never looked back.

He is pure, He is holy and He is loving.
He is trustworthy.
Put your hand in His, He will never let go.

"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is in the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit." / Jeremiah 17:7-8

Always He remains, our courage in the fight.

18 Jul 2016

Monday Musings [1] - Meant For The Skies




hey, can you please
leave, and get out of my head?
I know you won't ease
any of this pain, heavy as led.

oh I know you're perfect, flawless
but I really don't want your face to be
what I imagine when I close my eyes,
because
the things I'd do for you scares me,
and you see
I'm pretty sure, yeah I'm sure
it isn't healthy
and I know, yeah I know for sure
that you aren't the answer.

I don't like how if I only had one choice I'd choose you,
or how I randomly think about the little things you do.
this power you got who knows how over me
has tied me up like a rope so tightly,
it's strong and I thought I knew how but now
I cannot seem to break free.

who knew
it was possible to feel like I can finally breathe
and find that I've run out of oxygen
at the same time.

so hey you, won't you be my hero
walk away, but do it fast, not slow
I'm meant to be a free bird
and I don't know if you know
that you've caged me so
I'm letting you know.

let me take off and use my own wings to soar again,
somehow I've become dependent on you
and it seems I like it when you say my name.
I know you don't mean it to but it's happening,
I'm falling, I'm falling,
but please don't catch me,
it will only make me want you to stay
and right now my mind is full of alarms
screaming out no, not today.
let me loose, set me free, let me fly,
I was meant for the skies.

I don't trust easily
and I have a hole in my heart, that's why
I thought it would be
me, myself and I
yet now
I can tell I want to give us a try,
but the problem is,
I was meant for the skies.

---

Call it what you want, I know it's sappy...but if you're honest, really honest, haven't you ever felt this way?
Emotions are tricky things, hard to control. Sometimes it takes another person to help you reign them in.

16 Jul 2016

10 Things I Love (And Hate) About Winter

Here in Africa, we're smack dab in the middle of winter. I live near the very bottom of Africa, where it's supposed to be rainy during winter and dry during the summer. Not dry all of the time.
Actually, I shouldn't complain, because last year we had a season of much worse drought. There has been more rain (down in Africa...who knows that song?) of late.
I know that a lot of, or most of my blogger friends are currently enjoying summer. Stop rubbing it in my face, okay?
I'm kidding, I'm kidding. I love hearing about your summer adventures and foods and fun, I really do. But I thought I'd chat a bit about what I think the pros and cons of winter are. Maybe it will have you feeling nostalgic for the colder season. Or, if you are living in the colder season currently, perhaps you'll be nodding throughout this post in agreement. Either way, I hope you find it worth your while.
Although I've noted down some pretty great pros alongside the cons...I've gotta be honest, I'm looking forward to summer.

CON 1: Desert lips. It's awful the way my lips dry up and crack and bleed. Sometimes when I wake up I can taste that awful metallic taste of blood, and I know my lips have cracked open again. Ugh. I've been using a lot of lip balm.


PRO 1: Wrapping myself up in a soft blanket. I seriously love soft blankets so much. Recently, my older sister, Perrin, who is living and working in Ireland as a chef (I know, so cool, right? Unless you happen to be Irish. If that's the case, perhaps the idea is not quite so exotic to you as it is to me), mailed a big cardboard box of presents to us. It was like Christmas in July, and each present was so thoughtful and kind. I miss her loads. I miss her more than summer.
Anyway, one of the gifts she sent to me was a beautiful, soft, fluffy blanket all the way from Ireland. I love it.

It's really very very soft. You'd have to touch it to believe me.

CON 2: Not being warm enough. You're probably thinking, put more clothes on. Use more blankets. But I-I-I d-don't th-think you understand.
It's not that cold today, actually, but in June it was bitterly cold. B i t t e r l y. And, as a person who gets cold easily, I wasn't that impressed. I would lie in bed, curled up in a ball with three layers of clothing, a blanket and a duvet covering me and still shiver. I would go to church at nine in the morning and everyone would tell me I hadn't worn enough because underneath all of the layers I was still shaking. Yeah. That bad.

PRO 2: Warm, roaring fires. I love love love to sit in front of a big fire and read, or play cards, or chat with my siblings. Or drink hot chocolate, but that's another pro altogether, don't you think? Especially if it's topped with mini marshmallows. Mmm.

 


CON 3: Comfort food. Why is this a con, you ask? Well, because, when it's so freezing and one of your family members have cooked something hot and so so so good, you kind of forget it's also full full full of calories and you eat it.

PRO 3: Comfort food. Yep, calories, whatever. Forget about that. I mean, come on. Mac n cheese. Brownies. Apple crumble. Shepard's pie. Burgers. I never really stood a chance.

My brother came home with a surprise burger for me the other day. How sweet is he? Or, well, he could be trying to make me fat...

CON 4: Showering. In the summertime I'm keen on doing that. However, when it's four degrees celsius, I don't find myself thinking, I'd love to strip off all my clothes and get wet and almost shiver to death while I'm getting out of the shower and drying off. (We don't have central heating here in Africa. It's just not a thing. I don't know anyone who has central heating) But I do it, because I'm brave. Yeah, you're welcome to laugh at that.

PRO 4: Hoodies. I love putting on a cozy, over sized hoodie with sleeves that are too long for me and just reveling in the comfort that it brings. I also love the actual hoods themselves. I like putting them on when I have no need or reason too. It makes it cozier and gets me feeling a little more Eskimo-ey.

CON 5: Darkness. Because, in the winter, obviously, the sun sets earlier and rises later. I wouldn't say I'm afraid of the dark (although some of my siblings would argue otherwise...perhaps it's my pride denying it) but I love light.

PRO 5: Sleep. I sleep much longer and more peacefully in the winter. Apparently it's proven that you sleep better in the cold, which is interesting. In the summertime, I rise early, I can't help it, it's like my body is programmed to. But in the wintertime, I manage to sleep in late. My record is 9:30am, which, I've heard, is not a very high record. Never mind. It's my record.
What's your record?

Let me know if you can relate to my thoughts on winter, and if you're enjoying the season is hanging out your place, whether it's cold or hot. Do you prefer winter or summer?
Hopefully I didn't come across as too much of a complainer, but again, I'm just hanging in here till summer.

13 Jul 2016

Wednesday Words [1] - Fading


FADING // written: 11.JUL.2016

something in the words that you say to me
make me feel stained and unwashed, dirty.

I know that I don’t hate you but oh I wish you knew how
the sharp and poisoned arrows that fly from your mouth
have been hitting me square in the chest for a while now
and I feel so small in the quiet corner where I crouch.

I would tell you but I have been taught to keep the silence
and the thoughts in my head scare me with their violence.

I am terribly afraid to let them out and yet
I am afraid to keep them inside my head
because they are making me bitter bit by bit
turning my once soft heart to lead.

here I hang from the tight rope I had been walking
I am holding on but I can feel that my grip is slipping
I don’t want it to but what little faith that I had left in you
is ever slowly fading, fading away into nothing.

-T.H.

---


Hey all, how are you doing?
I think I ought to explain this post, just a little. So. I have a scheduled monthly post (eg: January Days, February Days - an update on what's going on in my life) that I (apparently) struggle to stick to, but I'm not going to stop trying. And me being me, I had this great idea to add to the load. Because I really like this idea. 
The idea is to have a scheduled, weekly, poetry post every Monday or Wednesday. You see, I have poems playing out in my head like all. The. Time. And sometimes (only sometimes) I want to share them, which has led to me deciding that I'll try and post poetry weekly, perhaps even twice a week. Either in a Monday Musings post or in a Wednesday Writings post (hence the title of this post). Writing poetry often helps me relieve or relive feelings I wouldn't been able to in any other way.
Some people pay for therapy. I write.

BUT. I have had people worry about me because of the 'depth' or 'pain' in the words that I write. All of my poetry is influenced by the things, relationships and people in my life, yes. But often I mix fiction in with all of it, and if you find something I've written a little dramatic, there's no need to worry or wonder if I 'need help' or actually need therapy after all. :) I do have a lot of happy, lighthearted musings and words ready to be penned down along with the darker thoughts. That's how life is, after all, the good mixed in with the bad. The shadows falling in the places where the sun isn't shining. It's a reflection.

I will probably also include a random photo or two of mine each time that will most likely not be related to what I write. You have been warned.

I hope you have a most lovely day. Remember that sometimes having a good day is a choice. Also, please forgive all of the (really annoying, aren't they?) brackets in this post. Till next time.

10 Jul 2016

Lean On Me

People. Lovely human beings. Unique persons. Did you know that we are supposed to be encourage-ers? That we are meant to be uplift-ers? We are meant to be there for the people that need us when they need us. We're called to live like our God, the only God, the God who wipes away tears. That means we wipe away tears. We strengthen, we don't tear down. We know how it feels to be torn down, and because we do, we use our hands to build, not destroy.

"Therefore, comfort and edify one other." [1 Thessalonians 5:11]

If you see something good in someone, don't hesitate to tell them. Ask Jesus to see them through His eyes. He's got x-ray vision when it comes to seeing the heart and knowing the person.

If someone is struggling, help them out. Give them a hand. Give them advice that is backed up by the bible. Tell them that they can lean on you so that they don't fall over.
If someone you aren't that fond of (to put it nicely) is also struggling, treat them the same. Be their friend. Be their someone when they've got no one. So many people are tired and in pain from having no one for too long.

When you next see someone hurting, don't bring them down further. Give them a hug, a smile, make them a cup of tea, make them laugh, cheer them up. Ask them what's going on and if they don't want to say, don't worry about it, just show them you care. Show them that somebody cares. Sometimes all one needs is to know somebody cares.
If they do want to talk about it, talk about it with them. Converse with them, give them words they can take to heart. Listen to them pour themselves out to you.

And when you get tired of being the person that everyone leans on, rest yourself in Christ. Hear Him tell you that you can lean on Him, because you always can. Don't forget that He never forgets you.

"And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart." [Galatians 6:9]

Before I end this post, I wanna shout out to all those that have been a shoulder to lean on in the bad and ugly times of my life. If you're reading this, you know who you are and I just want to say, I'm grateful. Thank you for being my someone.

4 Jul 2016

In The World...



...but so far from of the world.

This is what our heavenly Father desires from us. He doesn't want a little bit of you. He doesn't want half of you. He wants ALL of you, every part of you, every dark corner of your soul, every inch of your body, as a living sacrifice to Him. He wants to lighten those dark corners and sanctify your body, to set you apart.
He, Creator of the universe, desires you. All of you. Isn't that amazing?
I am excited to tell you this, even if you've heard it before. Because it is something I only just properly woke up to recently. I'd like to tell you how beautifully and gently God revealed it to me.

"I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil one." [John 17: 14-15]

We live in a world that is full of sin. Some sins are plain and blatant. Other sins are carefully concealed and hidden, in small doses within seemingly harmless concoctions we inject into ourselves. The sin slips in, attaches itself, silent and unnoticeable. And there it grows, it puts down roots. We don't realize it at first. But our Father, who searches the heart, does.

"I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings." [Jeremiah 17:10]

"All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirits." [Proverbs 16:2]

I have a testimony to share with you. Because He loves me, He showed me where I was being disloyal to Him. Where I was holding back from Him. And He saved me from myself.

It started with music. I love music, as I'm sure you might. You know, the kind of music that sends tingles down your back and gets you dancing and singing along. Yeah, and all that mainstream music that's everywhere, in the stores, on the radio, on YouTube. Long story short, music is enjoyable. Music is fun.
Awhile back, I was listening to all kinds of music. I didn't care if there was some swearing here and there, I didn't like the blasphemy but I accepted it. Those songs would go round and round my head all of the time. I absorbed them, like a sponge soaking up dirty water. Then one day came the knocking on one of the doors in my heart. I heard Him ask, why won't you let Me in?
It was a door to a room I had been locking every time I felt that knock. He was telling me: I want to fill all of the room in your heart. Let Me in so that I can fill you.
I'm pretty stubborn. I didn't want to give up my music. I thought, well, I read the bible. I know I love Jesus. Why can't I have this one thing? So I locked the door once more. I ignored the still, small voice. I ignored His will for me.

"But your yourselves are to put off all of these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth." [Colossians 3:8]

Then what did He do? Well, I can tell you what He didn't do. He didn't stop knocking, or calling my name. This is the part that awes me. He never gives up. He will never turn away from you. Not from me, the mulish, obstinate girl, not from you, wherever you've been or whatever you've done, not from anyone.
He is persistent and His persistence won that area of my life. I gave up all music with any swearing or blasphemy in. I turned instead to other, clean songs including lots of worship songs, and sang praise to Him. And in place of the rap and 'sick' beats that used to fill that room in my heart, was my God, so much more fulfilling and rewarding. I don't regret it. 

"Jesus said to Him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and with all your mind.'" [Matthew 22:37]

We're called to surrender ALL to Him. We can only do that with His help, and His prompting.

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." [Philippians 4:13]

"And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will most gladly boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." [2 Corinthians 12:9]

Because He loves me, He didn't just stop at music. Although I didn't know it just yet, movies were next.
How nice is it to just sit back, relax after a long day, and watch a movie? I barely watch movies now days, as it turns out, but once in a while it's a treat. I went through an obsession of watching movies earlier this year, though, and none of them were godly. I mean, none of them. I gave in to the trap that is laid for all of us. Movies that do not glorify God, that in fact so often do the opposite, are snares.
The knocking came again, and this time I answered more readily. I gave up those movies.

But He wasn't done yet.

One of the last things He spoke to me about in the months of May and June, last but definitely not least was: BOOKS. Man, ladies and gents, oh man do I love a good book. I love all kind of genres. Novels, historic books, poetry books.
Last Saturday, on the 25th of June, He asked me to make another sacrifice.
I threw a tantrum at first. I'm confessing now. It's not so easy to tell you all how rebellious I really was. It's shameful. But I feel no more shame, because He forgives.
I said, fine, if I can't read the books I want to read, I won't read anything. For a few days, I read only my bible, and not much at that. I refused to read a book (Do What Jesus Did: A Real-Life Field Guide to Healing the Sick, Routing Demons and Changing Lives Forever by Robby Dawkins) that I knew He wanted me to read. I put it off. Once again, though, He was persistent, urging me until I picked it up. And read and read and read. I loved it. I was inspired.
You see, He knows me by name. He knew my heart. He knew how much I loved to settle down in the evening and read. His question was, do you love Me more? 
And as He filled me, my heart sang, yes. I do. I do. Yes, Lord, You know what is good for me.
I am now only reading the bible, Christian books and devotionals until He tells me otherwise. Now, instead of dragging my feet, I'm excited to see which books He recommends for me, so that I can learn more about Him. Think of it! Book recommendations from the Author of salvation. 
The best part is the bible. I'm eager for all the things He still wants to show me.

"Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth." [John 17:17]

I'm not saying that what I had to give up was very much. Others have made so many more sacrifices, and much bigger ones too. But the little sacrifices can be hard too, and they are apart of the journey all the same. I am just so glad that He is sanctifying me. That He is drawing near to me as I draw near to Him. It's one big adventure, and I get to live it.
The good news? He wants all of us to live that. Give yourself to Jesus, surrender to His awesome love and you will never look back.

Sincerely,
from someone changed by and for His glory.

Postscript: I've wanted to write something like this for some time now, but a lovely friend of mine posted something that helped convince me that I should share this testimony. You can read it here, it's a really good read.

28 Jan 2016

Blessed Beyond Belief




A mere glance at my life will prove that I am blessed. Overwhelmingly blessed. Incredibly blessed, and it surrounds me everyday. In a good cup of tea and a good book, in a smile from another human, in the laptop I'm using right now, in the opportunities and future of my life, in coming back from a run on a cool evening, in having enough so that I am able to give to others, in being able to talk for hours with people I love, in the good, good things I have but don't deserve, in everything.
Yet I find myself complaining. Too often. How can I when the list of what I have could go on forever?

This is a (very) short list of what I have to be thankful for:

JESUS.

My amazing family and the encouragement they are to me.

My friends, who put up with me and stick with me.

The house I live in.

The clothes I wear.

The food that is available to eat, everyday.

That I am able to learn, to educate myself, that I have the resources and the time to do so.

That I have a healthy body. No diseases, no ailments, no disabilities.

That I can be creative and make art or bake a cake or go for a swim or take photos of beautiful things or play tennis or write something for my blog or narrate a novel or experiment or go to the mall or see a friend or have a sleepover or watch the sun go down or eat ice cream or dress up for fun or flop onto my bed after a long day.

Being able to talk to my God and ask Him for the peace I know He gives freely. Being able to rest in Him and know that He's the only one that will always be there. Being able to pray to Him and read His Word.

Words. Just, words in general. Language and communication are such wonderful things.

Music. Oh, music!

Colour. Blues, pinks, greens. Warm hues and cool hues. Making things brighter, more interesting.

Nature. The life and glorious creation all around me takes my breath away again and again.

Always having enough and more.

The rest of my life, however long or short. Having my God right here to lead me through it. I have so many ideas and passions and sort-of-plans, but I'm going to trust Him to take me where He wants me to be. I want to follow Him, in everything I do. And He wants me to follow Him. It's mind blowing to think that the creator of the universe wants me.

Love. I am so unconditionally, undeservedly loved.

- - -

How? How can I complain?

That list is only a fraction of the joy and blessings that have been poured out on me.
That list is something to remember when I find myself complaining or moaning. I'll use it as a wake up call when I find myself doing that. (I tend to doze off often)
That list will be there for me to read so that I can receive it like a slap in my face when I need it most. I am so obviously blessed beyond belief. And I am thankful.

18 Jan 2016

Listen for His voice, He's calling



6:30 a.m. The alarm on my phone goes off. Get up, it urges. I sit up, rub my eyes, swing my legs over the side of the bed, and stand up to trudge sleepily into the bathroom. I undress, turn the taps on and get into the shower. My brain is still groggy and my thoughts thick. I’m not really a morning person. I sift through the messiness of my mind as the water runs down my back: song lyrics, quotes, verses, faces, names, ideas, memories, what time I went to bed last night, the dream I had, what I did yesterday, what I’m going to do today. I sort everything so that I’m mentally fresh and ready for the day. Another day. More decisions and choices to make, and chances to take or not to take.
I forget. I forget, in my organizing and fixing and mental notes and to-do lists. In my plans, my hopes, my fears.
I forget to listen.
I dress, go to the kitchen, eat breakfast. I start my day. I travel on, through another 24 hours. Everything goes fairly well. I don’t accomplish all that I set out to do, but most of it. I go to bed. I should feel satisfied. Yet I don’t. Something is missing. There is a hollowness inside of me. An emptiness.
But wait. Just wait. Click pause, and let’s rewind to the start. 6:30 a.m. The alarm goes off. I wake up, I sit up. I grab the bible from the bedside table, I open it, I flip through the pages, and I read. As I become fully awake, I absorb the words I read, I devour them. Man does not live on bread alone… I fill my heart and mind with them. And then I pray, I commit the day to my God and I ask Him to guide me, lead me, teach me. I offer myself and ask that I become a living sacrifice, a sweet aroma to the Lord. I seek His will, wanting to know what He wants me to do, in every situation and with every little thing. I listen.  How do you want me to live, God? I stand up and walk to the bathroom. I center my thoughts around my purpose as the water runs down my back. I have a purpose. To live for Him. I have a purpose, and the joy is more overwhelming and powerful than the emptiness ever was.
Do you know what I sometimes wonder? I wonder about the people that don’t know Jesus. My heart aches for them. How do they make it to the end of each day without Him? How do they live, how do they make sense of life, how do they go on? They starve without knowing what they’re starving for. They mess up a lot, just like I do, just like all Christians do, just like everyone does, like humans do, but the difference is that they don’t know He’s there to help them through it. They suffer.

To those who believe that Jesus is our salvation: Don’t pass on what is yours to have, every day, within easy reach, when it is lost to thousands all over the world. Don’t miss out on a beautiful relationship of depth with God. His guiding voice. His love. Listen to what He tells you. And wherever you can, whenever you can, share it with others. Tell them too, so that they find what they didn’t know they were searching for. Open your eyes and your ears so that you are able to open theirs.

To those who don’t believe: I’m not judging, I’m not criticizing, I’m not condemning. I’m crying out. I want to tell you what I have heard, what I have received, what I believe. It is yours too, if only you want it. Whenever you want it. No matter where you’ve been, what you’ve seen, what you’ve done. It’s yours.

14 Jan 2016

January Days | 2016

La vie continue. Life goes on. After the rush and busy, full, fun days of the Christmas and New Years holidays, life is about to go back to normal. Schoolwork and so on. I am actually looking forward to it, although that doesn't mean I won't miss the beautiful, lazy summer holiday days or being able to see my favourite people all the time. I had an amazing end to 2015, much of which I owe to wonderful people in my life. Or, actually...I owe it to God, for putting these people in my life. I am thankful, thankful, thankful.
And I've had a good start to the new year as well. I feel ready for 2016. I feel the future is bright. Bright, not easy. Not perfect. Still full of problems and heartache and things that are yet to come but will come as they always do. But, bright. It thrills me to know that Jesus is with me. Always. And as long as He is with me, I am His. As long as I am His, I'm safe. Content. Brave, because He is in me and He makes me brave. I don't have to fear what this year holds.


Alright, I think I'm done with my little speech. Ha. I know you enjoyed it. (No, I don't. One assumes, one hopes)
So, here's to twenty sixteen.

---

lately... (I'm just gonna go ahead and include tidbits from December as well, since it was a great month and I didn't blog for the whole of it, not once)

+ spending whole days in the pool and getting sunburned (It is hot here in South Africa at the moment, hot and dry)




+ reading Case Histories by Kate Atkinson and Billie's Kiss by Elizabeth Knox (Both good books, I recommend them. And, do you think I should do book reviews once in a while?)
+ painting with watercolours (Again)


+ having crazy, awesome Christmas and New Years celebrations with fabulous people (Having lots of exuberant little cousins over for Christmas lunch, watching fireworks at twelve a.m. from a hill with friends on New Years eve)
+ having loads of braais (For those of you who don't know, braaing, pronounced bry-ing, is the South African equivalent of 'barbecuing')
+ praying for rain because we're currently in the middle of a terrible drought (All prayers are appreciated)
+ listening to twenty one pilots and getting their songs stuck in my head
+ watching the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens (I enjoyed it, but I know some critics that would scoff at that)
+ going to Retanga Junction with my family, an amusement park where I had my first rollercoaster ride (So much fun)


+ taking family photos while everyone is together for the holidays



+ playing lots of cards and chess and pool
+ writing a novel that I don't want anyone to read (How am I going to publish something someday if I can't even let my sister read it?)
+ making berry smoothies



+ drinking sweet apple and gooseberry ice tea (It's this weather, I tell you)


+ drawing bird illustrations


+ praying a lot about God's plan for my future and just asking Him where He wants me to go, what He wants me to do


...but what about you? Did you enjoy the holidays?