Advent 2015 | The Promise of Christmas

Advent 2

 

The Promise of Christmas

“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace” – Isaiah 9:6

As we countdown the Advent, we unwrap the promise of christmas. We discover the gift of Christ in our lives. The most popular explanation of what this gift is comes from that most infamous scripture John 3:16-17

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send the son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him”

That is the gift of Christmas. Yes, on Christmas we are celebrating Jesus arrival to this earth, but we are really celebrating why he came to this earth rather than the fact that he did. Jesus, being God, stepped down from his throne to become flesh and live a human life. Then he died upon the cross out of pure love for us. Wiping away all of our sins. And thats a gift that is always there for you to unwrap, its always waiting for you and its a gift that never stops giving.

East of Eden | Book Review 3

And my love for Steinbeck grows! What a whirlwind of a book, vast and episodic yet focused and detailed. Set, mainly, in the ever changing hills of Salinas valley East of Eden is a novel that keeps your brain awake the entire time you read.  In East of Eden Steinbeck plays out the age old battle, good vs. evil, over and over through the life of Adam Trask starting from his birth. Steinbeck deals with the fight of good vs. evil in the world in general and also the fight between good and bad that is within each individual person.

The battle is best represented in Adams son Cal. He observes the battles between light and dark in the world around him but has a difficult time facing them within himself. He feels stuck in the shadow of his brothers purity and perfection. Cal struggles with the idea that if you are bad you are all the way bad and his love for his brother blinds him to Aron’s shortcomings. Though it is not till the end of the book that Cal has a revelation and realizes that no one is purely good and he must learn this.

I have two quotes from this book that I wanted to share with you the first being:

“And now that you don’t have to be perfect you can be good.”

I will let you all read the book to find out the context of this quote but I think standing alone this quote says a lot about pressure that can be put on people. How people deal with being held up to a standard of perfection when there is not a single person on this earth that is perfect. Reading this quote reminds me that once I stop pressuring myself to be perfect at every aspect of my life, I can be good.

The second quote is:

“We have only one story. All novels, all poetry, are built on the never-ending contest in ourselves of good and evil. And it occurs to me that evil must constantly respawn, while good, while virtue, is immortal.”

I love this quote for its final line “virtue is immortal”. It makes one feel as though even with the constant battle of good and evil going on inside of ourselves and in the world virtue will always prevail because it is immortal.

I was so excited to read this book as I had read reviews and heard that it was one of Steinbeck’s best. And now I cannot wait to re-read it and fill the margins with notes and comments, and to highlight all of my favorite quotes. This book is amazing to read for fun but was for me a great learning experience. I feel that by focusing on how the book was written as I read I was able to learn more and more about Steinbeck’s writing style.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is willing to take it on. It’s definitely a commitment as it is quite long, but I think if you do read it you will not be disappointed.

Advent 2015 | Thanks Be To God

I hope you all enjoyed this video and will enjoy this series celebrating the holiday season and the season of Advent. A season of expectant waiting and longing as we wait for the coming of Jesus Christ.

Thanks be to God.

Thanksgiving-invokes a feeling of gratitude and contentment…right? Well sometimes during the holidays we find ourselves caught up in the stress and the season starts to feel more like a burden rather than an opportunity to express our thankfulness. This week as we dive into the first waves of Christmas I want to be reminded and to remind you of where we should direct our thanksgiving. “Enter His gate with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise his name” Psalm 100:4

We also must remember the gift that was given and the reason that we even celebrate this season in the first place. As we head into the craziness of red, green, hot chocolate, silver bells and candy canes we must remember at the center of it all is the priceless gift of the Lords one and only son.

“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift.”
2 Corinthians 9:15

2015 Resolutions

News Years resolutions have always been something that I write down in my journal then never look at again, but this year I decided I would post them for all of you to see. Doing this makes me feel more accountable for my hopes of 2015 and I just really wanted to share these with you. Instead of doing 10-15 specific resolutions I decided to do five that would better me as a person. Every year brings a promise of a fresh start but so does everyday. So here they are:

Be Kind 

This year I want to work on being kind. My goal is to consciously make the effort to keep a positive outlook on life and the people in my life. To be patient and caring with people. In the world we live in today it can be so easy to let our tempers take control of our thoughts and actions. But in 2015 I want to let kindness and goodness be the leading forces in my heart.

Take Care of Myself

In 2015 I want to take better care of my body physically and mentally. I want to fuel my body with good foods and get back into shape. I want to run, drink plenty of water,get more sleep, and make it a point to include more veggies and fruit in my diet.I also want to take better care of myself in a mental way, as in read more, workout my brain muscles, spend less time doing mindless activities like watching t.v. or surfing the web. I feel that this is important for the new year because it is crucial that we give our temples the respect they deserve as they are God’s creation.

Be Grateful

Throughout the next twelve months I want to take time out of my day to be more grateful for the things and people in my life. I spent 2014 unhappy about the situation God put me in, I constantly complained about things. Not only did it make me unhappy it made me unloving towards my family and envious of people who looked as though they had it all together. I have so much good in my life and it outweighs the small amount of negative things that I might be faced with. Christmas always awakens this sense of thankfulness and this year I want to hold on to that and carry it through to the next December so that I can realize how blessed I truly am.

Enjoy Life More

I am a compulsive worrier, nitpicker, control freak, and as my sister put it up tight crazy person. So this year I want to let go of all that perfectionist and allow myself to enjoy all the moments in my life that are fun and beautiful and meaningful. Some times I need that controlled aspect in my life and I feel like that okay and even good, its a part of who I am. But when I let that consume me and steal the joy from my days is when I know that I just need to hug my family and laugh it out. To me its important that I take time to enjoy spontaneity and randoms fun things and silly beautiful moments in my life.

Have More Faith

Finally this new year I want to have more faith God. To trust him more with my life and to follow closer to his word. Going back to the control thing, my need for control causes me to be unable to give up my path to God because I feel that I have a better plan for myself. In 2015 I want to daily read the Lords word and follow in the way that he has for my to let go of that power hungry part of me that thinks I know everything.

I have high hopes for this year not only in my personal life but also for my blog I want to share who I am to be myself to take care of myself and show kindness to all and most importantly to follow God with all my heart. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and that your 2015 is full of happiness achievements and chasing dreams.

Blessings

-Hanna Caroline

Tree Trimming and The Goodness of Family

I am a create of habit. I live for tradition and order and plans. But this holiday season is testing me. My parents recently announced that we are going to be going to disneyland for over winter break, this really freaked me out at first I mean I literally panicked. I kept thinking of all the plans I had made for the holidays and all the traditions we would have to break to go on this trip. I actually cried at the thought of missing the annual christmas party. So I gave myself a day to go through a little mental break (which looking back was maybe a little too long) and then I let myself make some new plans and adjust some of the one I already had.

In hindsight it wasn’t really an inaccurate reaction for me to have because that is the person that I am but as we spent Sunday night decorating the Christmas tree and watching our favorite Bing Crosby movie I felt my heart stop skipping at the thought of leaving familiarity, habit and tradition. I saw the light in my sisters eyes as they talked about meeting a princess and seeing the happiest place on earth. My soul found more worth in being happy because of others happy then pleasing my plans and habits.

No one could have brought that to my attention the way God did tonight, trust the adventure is what he told me. Make the most of every sad circumstance and kiss your family on the forehead and smile because they are yours. Sit in the dark with the only light being a your christmas tree, don’t speak, don’t move, just feel the weight of life lift off your shoulders. Get in you car with your family drive for 20 hours and laugh the whole way cause your sisters are getting to live the dream of their short precious lives. Then you hold on to this in your heart and when you feel rotten or unloved go back to that place live it again, cry, and move on.

Blessing,

Hanna Caroline ♥

Motivation

I want to be active and excited and  creative. I want to do and see and be, I am tired of being too tired to do things. I will not wait any longer for life to come to me. I have become thoroughly fed up with feeling bad for myself or feeling helpless. I am capable of doing things and achieving my goals I have higher ambitions than to stay up way too late watching Netflix and thinking about all things I want to do. Its madness that I want all these things out of life but wont even reach for them. 

I refuse to baby myself, to continue to tell myself “You’ve done enough” or “Thats fine” even “It can wait” . No more waiting, I can only control my will and I choose to have the will that I used to possess to be unapologetically me I’ve wasted so much time being subdued and just staying in rather than going out and experiencing things, even little things like my family and my house and my neighborhood.

I guess what I am getting at is that lately I have been struggling with this pit in me that keeps telling me to shut off my mind to stay in and stay away from people. I have gotten to okay with pushing everyone out and just letting myself get into this rut of unhealthy behavior and I really want to see a change in that. I want to see myself becoming the person who I used to believe could achieve my wildest dreams.