20

I couldn’t come up with a witty title for this post, but the idea is that I want to share 20 things that I learned from being in the class of 2020. (update: a good title would’ve been 20* tips from a 2020 grad. but just “20” feels edgy (and also resolves the making 19 20 thing) so I’m keeping it.)

Trump got elected my freshman year, and I graduated with the cords of Covid-19 and racism heavy around my neck. It’s been a time.

Right now, people are being active. In the physical, in the spiritual. “Thoughts and prayers” won’t cut it (as a phrase), but spending time in prayer, in God’s Word, and in God’s presence is all keeping me together right now. But more on that in a minute, let me not get ahead of myself.

I’m bringing this list directly from my journal so it’s not in any specific order, and it’d probably look different on a different day, but here’s what we got:

Continue reading “20”

frozen 2 review, but make it about God

I watched Frozen 2 two nights ago, for the second time

by choice

I grew up a Disney girl and will always be a Disney girl

but because I’m also a thinker, I wrote down the quotes that resonated with me and reflected on them, blog-style, in my journal afterwards

think I love you 3,000, but Disney.

 

this post will make the most sense if you’ve watched the movie, which makes more sense if you’ve watched the first one, but I’ll try to add enough context for those of y’all who just want the key points! I kinda float back and forth between talking to me and talking to y’all, so as always, let me know if you need any clarification in the comments! anything not italicized was added after my original journal sesh. *insert Into The Unknown-related pun as a good transistion*

  Continue reading “frozen 2 review, but make it about God”

366 days

by God’s grace, I’ll have 366 more days

1 more year to try again

 

cuz let’s be honest, 2019 was not what I expected

I probably wasn’t expecting anything, not after my 2018

wasn’t expecting anything besides a break

hint: I didn’t get one

 

or maybe I didn’t give it to myself

 

with all the journals and therapy appointments and prayer sessions, it’s become very clear that I can be so hard on myself

won’t let myself have nice things

won’t let myself mess up

but seeing as that’s not working, I want to spend the next 366 just trying

practicing

learning

this time I want to give myself the break

this time I want to rest

 

because there’s so much I want to do! so much I CAN do!

I’ve seen just a taste of what I’m capable of and I’ve seen myself run from it because I couldn’t see the practical over the potential

 

or maybe I didn’t want to

 

maybe it was easier to run to the next best thing, to flex my Better Than Mediocrity and accomplish something that felt worthy of praise, of acceptance

but after the first few successes, maybe even just the first one, you realize you have to keep trying

practicing

learning

and that’s where I run

“can’t mess up what you’re not doing in the first place”

 

(that was my headspace for a lot of this year, just being honest. transparent. vulnerable. ew.)

 

but anyway, potential is very enticing

if nothing else, I’ve learned that there’s nothing I can’t do. that’s not a humble flex, it’s not even a flex. it’s just reality. there’s nothing I can’t do.

 

but can I do this by myself? no

 

it’s all through Christ, apparently

 

it’s become apparent, see, I’ve had to reconcile how little of this is up to me

it’s a light yoke that I was given, and the strength I needed to hold it was given to me too

 

sooo why?

that’s my question, why?

 

like the Prodigal Son, I want to come back home and give my Father a piece of my mind like Jacob did, until He changes my mind, convinces me I have a new name

a new identity

there’s still come convincing to be done, I’m just tired of pretending I’ve made it

I may not get the answer to my why, not one I understand, but I’m taking the peace that surpasses that

I don’t do New Years Resolutions, I do Right Now Resolutions, and I guess right now I’m saying that I want my peace

 

I’m tired of putting it to the side until I’ve proven that I’ve improved enough

Jacob was running from His mistakes

the Prodigal Son had nothing left to mess up

yet they were both received with open arms

was it the same kind of embrace? no

but they knew Who held them

they knew they could rest

they’d found peace

 

even if I have to go through another Valley, even if I have to wrestle through the night, I need to know I can rest, peacefully

no matter where I am, my Shepherd is with me

all 366 days He gives me, He’ll be with me

He was in every fire, every flood

He saw every tear

doubt can say what it will, but this I still know

because I’m still here

still holding on to the hope I have left, the hope that’s never left

 

 

references:

Practice what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and model your way of living on it, and the God of peace (of untroubled, undisturbed well-being) will be with you.

Philippians 4:9 AMPC

I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].

Philippians 4:13

For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Matthew 11:30

‘So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.’

Luke 15:11-32

Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.

Genesis 32

‘And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ‘

Philippians 4:7

‘Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. ‘

Psalms 23:4

‘The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. ‘

Psalms 23:1-3

‘I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd. ‘

John 10:14-16

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you.

Isaiah 43:2

‘You have taken account of my wanderings; Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book? ‘

Psalms 56:8

My soul, wait in silence for God only, For my hope is from Him.

Psalms 62:5

be blessed bbys ✨

more reflections

let me walk y’all through my day (in retrospect, I must ask you to forgive me. turns out I had a lot to say so I got a bit lost along the way)

when you have cool friends who do cool things like start businesses, you eventually get roped into the business making business (well, I do, because I like to try new things. sometimes. but for *some* reason I ended up in the business making business). as a newly initiated young entrepreneur, it was only right that I went to the Youth Entrepreneur Diversity Corp Summit. how did I end up in this space? my cool friends. my cool relationships. if that extremely rough draft is legible to you, you might know where I’m headed with this, but let’s keep going. Continue reading “more reflections”

appreciation

the Sound of music makes me appreciate it

well, the sound of music makes me appreciate it

 

that was supposed to be a potential intro to my personal statement, but as I sit on the bus out of Ithaca for the 7th time this year, and I look at the hills, so lush and full of life, I feel like writing right now

I’ll get the draft together eventually. I need to learn how to write without worrying about getting it right. can’t perfect what doesn’t exist, right?

Continue reading “appreciation”

20 more minutes

11:40pm, 6.28.19

20 more minutes of 20

I don’t know if this will be a poem, or an inspirational post, or a heart-wrenching rant, but I just want to sit and write a bit

my phone keeps buzzing, but I’ll leave it alone for once

 

I’d been wondering if I was going to write a birthday post this year, I’m definitely feeling better than I was this time last year, but my words felt backed up, hidden beneath all my thoughts

 

and then I saw Hamilton

 

my mom and aunt are a dynamic duo when it comes to catering to my love for Broadway (I’ve seen The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Aladdin, Wicked, The Lion King, School of Rock, The Book of Mormon, and now, Hamilton). The Lion King and Hamilton were complete surprises, well, when we got on the train to go to the city I figured we were either going to a really fancy dinner or going to watch a Broadway show. maybe Hamilton, but probably Anastasia

we decided to walk to our destination since the weather was nice, and I remember turning the corner and seeing the signs for Hamilton down the block. I didn’t want to get my hopes up too soon, maybe Anastasia was further down, but we got to the lines of people wrapping around both sides of the building, and my mom stops

and I look at her

and she smiles

 

she starts asking the workers where to go to pick up tickets, I think I was still holding my breath at this point but I remember the ticket guy saying “enjoy, Golden Girl!” (the tickets were under my name, so I think he asked what it meant (wura = gold), was still in a daze so who knows), and then we walked in

 

I cried on average once every 5 minutes

 

I know the whole show, at least 70% of the lines are ingrained into my memory. act 1 has more of my favs, I know who dies when, and I’d already come up with an idea for Satisfied choreo by the third time I’d listened to it. I know Hamilton. I love Hamilton. but seeing Hamilton was better than I could’ve imagined

 

I didn’t know how to feel at first, for years I’ve been listening to the same produced recordings so to see it live with a whole new cast is gonna be a different experience. but the words were the same, the songs were the same, it was still Hamilton, but more. I had faces for the voices, more passion to go with the pain of what was being acted. I hear voices crack, saw body language and interactions that Apple Music could never convey. I saw myself

 

Hamilton was a writer. over and over they ask (sing), “why do you write like you’re running out of time?” I don’t know. I really don’t know. I write for me, and sometimes I share it with you guys, or on stage, but when the words come, they come. I can’t sing those lines without wondering why

and I can’t sing about how quiet it is uptown without crying

 

I’ve listened to these scenes over and over, I know what goes down between Philip and George Eacker, I know the toll it takes on Eliza and Alexander’s marriage. but to see him reach out for her hand, and for her to take it while the ensemble softly harmonizes, singing the words “forgiveness, can you imagine”, my heart broke

 

if Eliza is me, Hamilton is God

 

and it’s midnight now, so I’m 21

and my family is here to pray for me

 

to be continued, be blesseds bbys ✨

 

‘Everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the Lord Almighty has spoken. ‘

Micah 4:4

I love you 3,000

This is a post for me.

 

Well, it’s partially to motivate those of y’all who are still in school, because it’s definitely that time of the year. Finals, deadlines, theses, lots of big big tings to get done. But something I’ve really been learning since posting like nike is that it’s not up to me to do any of the Things I put on my checklist, not by my own strength. I can’t toil and wear myself thin trying to satisfy external pressures if I’m here to fulfill an internal purpose with the help of divine provision and protection. And that’s that on that, for now.

 

If I hear a line I really like in a movie, I usually pull out my phone and text it to myself, but Endgame was Endgame so there was no time for such shenanigans. Still, I know someone said something along the lines of “we all suck at being who we’re supposed to be, but we’re perfect at being who we are”. I remember thinking, “mood”, but also being really thankful that even with who I am, God’s made a way for me to be who I’m supposed to be. I’ve been touching on it a bit in the (com)pati- and what’s in your Samaria? series, and I have more coming! But I know there are a lot of blog posts and YouTube sermons out there on the power of the cross since Resurrection Sunday just passed, so check those out too, because there’s a lot to learn. I have some of my own thoughts to share, but the Holy Spirit really is amazing, and I want y’all to understand how. Have you heard about the difference between knowing and believing? Or knowing and understanding? It’s on my list of Big Concepts to Ponder, so you have any wisdom to share, related to this topic or not, drop it in the comments!

 

Back to my point though. If anybody needs it, go re-read like nike; I just did. Spend some time in the Word, in worship, in prayer. Listen to Prince of Peace (just came on my shuffle). And to myself, I love you 3,000.

That’s a direct Endgame quote, and it’s a great way to summarize a goal I’ve had. I want to love myself with all I have because I love my God with all I have. I want to love myself because I know that I am loved, purely and wholly in the holiest way.

 

like I said, this is a post for me, but be blessed bbys ✨

do you even have the range?

Y’all.

For those of you who know me, if we’ve ever talked about fears, I probably threw “change” into the mix. I. love. routines. I love knowing what’s going to happen, and when. I love when my expectations are met, how and when I want them to be. So I have to remind myself often that His perfect love casts out fear, because I truly just love being comfortable. Comfortable in my bed, comfortable in the back of the crowd, comfortable in the tenor section.

I’ve been in Baraka Kwa Wimbo, an All-Female Gospel A Capella Ensemble (🗣 BARAKAKAKAKAAAA!) since the fall of 2016. To be more specific, I’ve been a tenor in Baraka Kwa Wimbo, an All-Female Gospel A Capella Ensemble, since the fall of 2016. And I loved it. Yes, loved, past tense, because I am now a soprano *cue gasps*

it’s #concertszn (May 4th!!!), so range checks were in order, and we needed to move someone up to the sop section anyway. If you had told me it would be me, I would’ve laughed at you. I’m still laughing, in disbelief honestly. If I was just moving up to alto, eh, okay, I knew I’d be able to handle holding down the middle ground. All these years, it had been easy to stick to the notes I was familiar with while I sang in the shower, or for fun with friends, but there was no point holding back during that range check, so I didn’t. And now I can’t even feel uncomfortable about this change, because I heard myself do what was expected. I hit that E5 – I’d just never pushed myself to see if I could.

So surprise surprise, there’s been yet another change in my life. One I didn’t expect to happen, one I didn’t expect to be comfortable with. If God Himself would’ve told me I’d be switching sections, I’d assume He meant to alto, but He knows what I’m capable of and where and when He wants said capabilities on display. The idea of similar changes happening in academic or professional settings would be terrifying, but I have to remind myself that He’s just completing the good works He started in me, Philippians 1:6. I don’t have the script or the blueprint, but I do have His promises, and I’d rather hold onto those than to doubt or anxiety.

To answer my initial question, yes, like me, you do have the range. This is a gift from God I didn’t know I had, and it made room for me. Will I continue to grow? Most certainly. I can hit low notes I couldn’t when I joined Baraka, so I’m kinda excited to get familiar with a new domain. Familiar, not comfortable – clearly growth and comfort aren’t friends. If I ever write a post called “growing pains”, just know I’m picking up where I’m about to leave off (I have a 9:05 tomorrow – time to brush my teeth, say my prayers and sleep!)

 

be blessed bbys ✨

reflections

“12:26 AM | 2.25.19

What came from this weekend?

 

The first thing I think about is my 3 AM conversation with Nahisha after getting to know my family (her, Jada, Kaitlyn, + Sam), after freestyling for the first time, after hearing she saw the connection I was aware of

-> not necessarily felt

but even with that connection, it doesn’t have to be romantic

I’m not restricted to only having sisters in Christ, and I know personally that I’m going to need to see these connections the right way if I’m going to have any

because now I have many

and they can’t all be my husband

 

I also saw for myself how easy it is to love others, to be compassionate. to pray with Ali, with Nicole, with my family. to understand the dark space Paul is in. to give Taylor a real hug. to dance on chairs, waving a tambourine high. I saw myself, participating, experiencing, engaging. loving. living. expressing my curiosity, my  appreciation, my excitement.

 

I heard, again and again, how important my voice is. I heard it in the thanks people gave when my simplest thoughts, my sweetest songs, touched their hearts. I heard it in the encouragement I received again and again to speak up, to be ad an advocate for the voiceless, to be a leader. I heard it in the way words flowed from my lips. they’re not stuck – I don’t need a script to free them. I heard it in the things already spoken, the reminders I didn’t know I’d left for myself. and I heard it in the fact that I can hear – my ears aren’t clogged anymore, I’m not trapped in a cocoon of molasses where nothing goes in, nothing goes out. I can hear those around me, and they can hear me. I can hear God, and He can hear me.

 

I realized just a little bit more how privileged I am. these spaces didn’t always exist. Christian Union wasn’t always a thing. even now, there are places where people can’t gather for God’s glory because they fear for their lives – all I fear for is my reputation. but what matters most is that I have these opportunities. because I’m His vessel, people can see God through me, before me, and around me. this isn’t something to take lightly.

 

and something I don’t want to admit yet, don’t want to remember. You’re doing things on Your timing. You’re bringing change on Your timing. You’re using me, changing me, remolding me, on Your timing. I can’t micro-manage this life, can’t rely on the safety of a plan. I need to have peace in pursuing the purpose You have for me. in seeking Your face. nothing can catch You offgau offguard, because it all came from You”