Compassion and Grace ~ A Journal Entry

Recently, I found a passage in the Bible that really touched me. The whole chapter is Isaiah 54. As someone who struggles with perfectionism, I often times tend to see God almost as a dictator. I find myself often thinking, oh no, I just thought that. And that thought usually ends up going in the direction of me fearing punishment from the Lord.

"Shame says that because I am flawed, I am unacceptable. Grace says that though I am flawed, I am cherished.":

Isaiah 54:10 says, “‘For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,’ says the Lord, who has compassion on you.”

That’s not the only mention of ‘compassion,’ in Isaiah 54, however. Other references to it are, “but with great compassion I will gather you” and “with everlasting love I will have compassion on you.”

For some reason, I tend to forget the fact that God doesn’t expect me to be perfect. He knows I’m a flawed human. He is not expecting me to think, say, or do the right thing all the time. Psalm 103:8 states, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love,” and a few verses later it says, “For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.”

Merriam Webster defines mercy as, “kind or forgiving treatment of someone who could be treated harshly,” gracious as, “marked by kindness and courtesy,” and compassion as, “sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.”

Next time my mind starts going in that habitual way of thinking, I am going to try and remind myself of the type of God we serve, one who is merciful, gracious, compassionate, and understanding.

God's Grace by southern-dreams on Polyvore featuring art:

Note: I created the second picture/collage, but the quote is not mine. And the other picture comes from Pinterest 🙂

 

Behind These Icy Walls ~ A Narrative Poem

Little girl, she does not know of the gift she has been given.

Something no one understands, a mystery to be hidden.

Different from the start, with her blonde locks and blue eyes,

The magic that flows through her veins, what she will come to despise.

Little girl, she laughs and plays with a brightly lit smile.

Her younger sibling, as she knows, is completely worthwhile.

Stars twinkle outside the castle, casting their glittering light.

The moon watches from above at what will soon be a terrible plight.

Little girl, her hands shake in terror and fear.

How did this happen? To be so severe?

She stares in a numb pain, at her unconscious, injured sister.

Why did she have to have this horrible, awful…this power?

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Little girl, she is isolated in a room all alone.

Her heart hurts and the future now seems very unknown.

Years pass and the truth finally comes out.

The people look at her in disdain and holler razor sharp shouts.

Little girl, she backs away – fear soaring high.

She does not want to hurt anyone…or cause a person to die.

Magenta fabric whips wildly behind her slender form.

And with each step on the lake, an icy trail appears like a storm.

Little girl, she runs away – never looking back.

Once more alone, she is now her own pack.

No longer where harm can come to those she loves,

She looks at her hands, and takes off the gloves.

Little girl, a timid smile crosses her face.

Intricate details of ice and snow, she creates in this wondrous place.

Cold, frozen beauty rises up in the sky.

A palace made of ice, oh so high.

10 simply Amazing pictures of snowflakes:

Oh little girl, destiny you cannot escape.

You will have to face challenges, much more difficult than releasing your cape.

You will be made to return in a manner unfit for a queen.

Dragged back unconscious and treated like you could have never foreseen.

Your hands will be cuffed – the chain bolted to the ground.

A cold cell for a room – unbefitting for the crowned.

Despair will rage through you, yet you will not give up.

Using your remaining strength to free yourself in a magical buildup.

Yet this is not the end.

For several more trials must transcend.

A sword will be drawn – its silver edge glinting daringly.

The metal will be raised with a declare so cocky.

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Your soul wearied down from years of isolation.

Causes you to wait in defeat for this terrible resolution.

But something else transpires.

The sword breaks in half, ending that evil man’s desires.

Not all is well, as the next few seconds tell.

Your rescuer of a sister, now but an icy shell.

When everything is thought, to be utterly lost.

A miracle occurs – beginning with the frost.

Your sister’s statue of ice, has begun to melt.

She is alive once more and your arms surround her in an embrace most heartfelt.

Little girl, given a burden of such magnitude.

She has started to extrude,

And show that behind these icy walls, there is to be viewed,

Elsa of Arendelle, who exhibits a queen’s rectitude.

.:

Note: The collage at the top was made by me. All other pictures come from Pinterest.

 

The Bird of Hope ~ A Journal Entry

I’ve always loved to write. Even from a young age, I would staple and tape my own paper books together. Besides story-telling though, I also enjoy writing poetry. Songs, I believe, are a form of poetry. They are poetry with music. The hymn ‘Amazing Grace,’ after all, did not always have music accompanying it. I like to think that it was more of a poem, than a song, in its original state.

Picking one poem that is my favorite, really is an impossible task. There are so many beautiful ones! However, for some reason or another, a poem by Emily Dickinson has always stuck in my mind.

‘Hope is the thing with Feathers’

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –
I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.
 bird of hope by southern-dreams on Polyvore featuring art:

I love this poem. Even though it’s short, the message of it is important. Hope. Hope is a powerful thing. Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” This is so true.

In my own life, I’ve gone through times where I’ve struggled with doubts and worries. And one time in particular, caused me to feel exactly what that verse says: sick. Fear drowns out hope. Worry only amplifies that.

It is critical for us to remember this, so that when we do go through difficult times, we can consciously cling tightly to the anchor of hope that has brought many a weary traveler far.

Dancing with the Stars

Y’all. So. xD I have a very important blog post to make (right now): my favorite dances from Dancing with the Stars. In no specific order (you can thank my indecisive self for that :P), here are my favorite dances from Dancing with the Stars.

James and Sharna’s Rumba

Usually, I am not a fan of Latin night. And this is because, normally, most of the dances try to create some kind of “sexual” sense – which, ends up being inappropriate. Not that it has to be, of course, but that’s a rabbit trail for another day 😉

However, I absolutely LOVED this dance. To put it simply, it was beautiful. There was nothing inappropriate or sexual about it. Being a romantic, I really loved the choreography. It reminded me of something a husband and a wife might dance together – or anyone in love.

Kellie and Derek’s Freestyle

Honestly, I’m not sure where to even start with this! xD There was not any over dramatic glitz, glamour, or props. The costumes and stage were simple.

The dance, however, was anything but.

From being to end, this freestyle was an emotional, lyrical, stunning package. I thought the choreography matched the lyrics perfectly. It was clean, beautiful, and definitely memorable.

I could literally watch both of these dances several times in a row and still not get tired of watching them. You’re probably surprised that I only have two listed on here. There are many more that I really, really like. But, I wanted to list my absolute favorites. The ones that I could watch over and over again.

Who else enjoys watching Dancing with the Stars? What are your favorite dances? Let me know in the comments! 🙂

~ Southern Dreamer

 

Brer Rabbit’s Trap

Note: For my Creative Writing class, we had to write our own story with the characters from the Brer Rabbit tales.

It was a mighty fine summer day, that day that Brer Rabbit got it into his devious mind to play a prank on Brer Fox. He’d been think’in, he had, on this prank of his for a long time. For they’d been rivals ever since, well ever! And he reckoned today would do just fine, just fine indeed.

Photo:

Brer Rabbit got as quiet as a mouse – he sure wasn’t gonna let that ‘ole Brer Fox hear him! No siree! He aimed to catch that Brer Fox in a mudslide. For the past couple of days, Brer Rabbit had been gather’in up pure bucketfuls of mud. He’d figured out how to make a right good trap that’d cause scores of mud to fall on Brer Fox.

And now he was fix’in to catch his ‘ole rival! Chuckling, Brer Rabbit grinned at the mess that Brer Fox would be in. That Brer Fox sure wasn’t gonna see this com’in!

‘Course, some may be a might worried about play’in such a trick. But not Brer Rabbit! He knew he was fit as a fiddle, and ‘sides, he’d never been beat before.

Suddenly, a rustling was heard. The leaves on the bushes started a-twitching. An almost inaudible pad, pad, pad was heard. Brer Fox was coming!

Looking at this picture I can totally see why the fox was always the sly little trickster in fables...he just looks like it here:

Brer Rabbit, with the good head he had, watched intently as his rival walked right on into his trap!

What's there? by Alexandra Truhacheva on 500px:

“I declare, it’s such a – ” began Brer Fox in his sly, foxy voice. However, he got shocked as ever when a bucketful of mud came a-splatter’in down on him. That dirty mud stained his golden red coat an awful shade and Brer Fox tensed in anger. “You better hightail it outta here, Brer Rabbit! Ain’t nowhere you can go, that I won’t find you!” shouted Brer Fox, tail whipping around as he sniffed out his rival.

Wet fox:

Well, Brer Rabbit skedaddled out of there lickety split! He sure wasn’t gonna stay after that! White feet bound’in through the grass, he hurried on – know’in, as he did, that Brer Fox was com’in on fast!

Riled up as ever, Brer Fox – still with scores of mud on’im – chased after Brer Rabbit. That no good Brer Rabbit, try’in to play a trick on him! “Can’t get away from me, Brer Rabbit!” hollered Brer Fox.

Now Brer Rabbit was realizin that he was in a heap of trouble! He hadn’t thought that Brer Fox would be mov’in that fast! “Good night a livin, that Brer Fox is com’in up on me fast!” mumbled Brer Rabbit, beggin to think that he was as dead as a doornail! He frantically jumped up on a white fence and turned around to see Brer Fox.

"You leave me in the dark, recounting all my sins. You put words in my mouth, but who is gonna mend these white fences?" ~Needtobreathe:

“This is my neck of the woods,” stated Brer Fox arrogantly, slow’in down since he seemed to think that Brer Rabbit was a goner. “You ain’t gett’in away now, Brer Rabbit!”

And it sure did seem like Brer Fox was right.

Brer Rabbit, however, looked on down – on the other side of the fence. Well, he saw what sure looked to be the best thing on God’s good green earth: a rabbit hole! Grinning with a cheeky expression, Brer Rabbit let his head bob up and down. “To be sure, I am in a pickle! I am!” he exclaimed, mak’in sure that Brer Fox heard’m.

Smirk’in, Brer Fox bended down to jump on top of that fence and give Brer Rabbit a good lick’in to.

But he never got his chance! Brer Rabbit done jumped off that fence and landed right in the rabbit hole. Too small for Brer Fox, but just right for Brer Rabbit.

The mountain. ~ "Keep on falling down...":

Brer Fox scowled at his rival. “You ain’t gonna escape forever Brer Rabbit!” he promised firmly, before slunk’in away.

Brer Rabbit, however, only laughed and laughed and laughed.

 

Journal Entry 5

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Many years ago, my family and I went to the Red Wood Forest in San Francisco, California. It was beautiful. The trees were massive – reaching as far up into the sky as they possibly could in all of their natural finery.

Despite the cold temperature (who knew it could be cold in the summer?), we were all excited to see such an amazing part of God’s creation. As we started down the wide, gray pathway – clearly meant for visitors, my brother pointed out another path. It veered straight up and to the right. Unlike the larger pathway, this one was not as wide and had dirt for its bottom.

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For some reason, the thought did not occur to us that this was not the normal pathway to take, and so, we switched directions and headed on up. And we certainly went up! The sun’s rays spilled out in bucketful’s of warm, buttery happiness with the birds occasionally adding their own little tune.

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After about an hour of hiking, we all began to wonder ‘when is this going to end’? Surely it could not last for much longer…right? We were practically at the top where the pathway had shrunk so much so, that it was now only wide enough for one person at a time. And we were literally the only people on this path – save for a couple, several yards ahead.

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Hello small pathway and drop off to the left.

Tick. Tock. Two more hours went by.

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#ontopoftheworld

By this point, we were done and ready to say adiós to the Red Wood Forest. Thankfully, we finally, reached the end of the pathway.

And that is the story of how my family and I got lost in the Red Wood Forest.

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Lesson and a Fable

For my creative writing class, I had to write a fable with a lesson in it.

One summer evening, a fluffy-tailed rabbit zipped around and around the trunk of a large tree. Her nose twitched in excitement and her paws bounced a million miles an hour. “Mrs. Bird!” cried out the young rabbit, in all of its bunny enthusiasm, “Mrs. Bird!”

The Splendid Fairywren, also known simply as Blue Wren, is small bird found across much of Australia.:

The older bird looked down at the hyper creature. “What is it young rabbit?”

“Come play with me!” answered the rabbit, jumping up enthusiastically as she did so.

Twittering in disapproval, the blue feathered bird shook her head. She told the rabbit that winter was coming, and she needed to build her nest. “You would be wise to start yourself a home, young rabbit.”

The rabbit laughed at that. Why work when the sun was shining? The flowers blooming? And the grass was so perfectly soft under her white paws? Her ears twitched in amusement at the bird’s suggestion. “Oh no, winter is far away! The sun is so happy right now, Mrs. Bird, it doesn’t want me to go and work!”

Lop Eared Rabbit ~:

And with that said, the rabbit hopped away – her pink nose sniffing every fragrant wildflower she came across. The days came and went with Mrs. Bird continually reminding the rabbit, “Winter is coming.” But, the rabbit only shook her head and laughed at Mrs. Bird’s concern.

Suddenly, however, winter had arrived. Mrs. Bird was tucked into her nest; the same nest she had been working on during the summer, warm and cozy.

“Mrs. Bird!” cried out the rabbit, shivering as a gust of frigid air swept through the forest. “Mrs. Bird! Oh, do please help me! I can’t seem to get warm!” The rabbit was curled into itself as much as possible, but it was clear that she was freezing.

Finding Neverland:

Mrs. Bird shook her head in dismay at the young rabbit. She had watched as the weeks went on and the rabbit continued to play around – only occasionally working on her burrow. “Remember young rabbit, procrastination is not the avenue to take. Let this be a lesson to you.”

Proverbs 6:6-8, “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.”

 

Journal Entry 3

When I first started homeschooling, I quickly learned that I had a problem: procrastination. At the private school, I had previously attended, every day there would be reminders of what was due and instant consequences if something was late.

However, with homeschooling, that was not exactly the case. I had to remind myself of what was due. And since I did not have classes every day, it was easy to slip into the habitual thinking of, ‘oh, I’ll do it tomorrow. My class is still a few days away. I’ll have time.’

Of course, my procrastination meant that I usually ended up cramming the day before because I had not spent my time wisely. This was beginning to cause me stress and minutes-before-due panic.

In Proverbs 6:7-8, the ant is referenced, saying, “Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest.” This, I believe, is saying that we need to prepare for something ahead of time. Or in other words, not procrastinate.

Comfort Zone

Trust the One who created you to lead you to the places He has set aside for you, wherever that may be:

Well. You know the moment when the Holy Spirit is speaking to you and you’re just like why did I come here/walk this way/etc self?

That was me on Wednesday.

Image result for the parent trap gifs

Here’s the scenario: I was coming out of Walmart and was walking behind an older man who had several groceries in his cart. That’s when God was like, you need to ask him if he needs help putting his groceries away.

And then my brain was all like, maybe that’s not God. Except. Then you start getting that feeling where you “just know.”

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My mind then went into compromising territory. Maybe I can just ask to take his cart back for him. Yeah. That’s…good. Because as an introvert, the thought of just going up to a stranger is sort of *ahem* terrifying.

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So. You can see why this would be out of my comfort zone. I was totally planning to go with the whole just-ask-to-take-his-cart thing, except…his car was way before my car. And it would be sort of…creepy, I thought, if I just stood there…waiting while he was loading them up. #IpromiseI’mnotastalker xD

Well, that sort of made me have to make a decision. #YIKES

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I walked up to him and asked him if he needed any help unloading his groceries.

And he said no, even after I asked if he was sure. Then he told me to have a wonderful day.

The Lord is testing me

After that happened, I realized it was just a test. God was testing me to see if I was going to be willing to do something that scared me and was outside of my comfort zone for Him. And each time we do something hard for Jesus, our faith grows like a muscle that is being strengthened.

~ Southern Dreamer

Metaphors and the Bible

For my second creative writing assignment, we were tasked to come up with our own three metaphors – similar to Matthew 5:14-16 – and modernize the verses into our own words. As a comparison, here is the original:

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

And now, here are the metaphors I came up with.

Mirror.

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You are the mirrors of the world. A mirror reflects an image. As my chosen people, you are my image-bearers. When people look at you, they should see the reflection of me. Let your reflection not be fogged by fears or insecurities. Instead, envelope yourself in me so that your reflection gives glory to your Father in heaven as people see me in you.

Name Brand.

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You are the name brands of the world. A name brand is the most highly elevated. As sons and daughters of the Most High, you have access to the throne of God. And because of the blood of Jesus, are seen as righteous. When people meet you, they should see the depth and quality in you – that there is something different. And when they inquire of this, you will be able to tell them of the label – child of God – that you wear, thereby giving glory to your Father in heaven.

Glass Frames.

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You are the frames of glasses of the world. A glass frame holds a prescription that allows you to see the world clearly. When others ask you how you could even look at something in such a perspective, you will be able to tell them of the lens you wear. The lens that allows you to see the world from an other-worldly view, and this, will give glory to your Father in heaven.