Closing Time

5:57 AM

This is Fuel. Fuel is a youth ministry in the town where I grew up run by Pipeline Church and I volunteered with it for five years. Last night was the final night of the ministry. The church felt like God wanted them to close fuel and wait for a new opportunity to minister to the community. Fuel has meant so much to me over the years. This is the place where I learned about my spiritual gifts, where I met the Holy Spirit, where I learned to make and love coffee. I met my best friend here and some of the coolest people in my life. Fuel is the reason my sister and I stayed close. Fuel is the reason I stayed a Christian. Fuel is the reason I decided to dedicate my life to ministry. This is the place saw every experience of my life from ages fifteen to twenty, both wonderful and tragic. Never have I found a place that exudes so much love and truly demonstrates Christ's love to the community. When everything in my life felt uncertain, Fuel was solid and accepting. I never felt unloved or unwanted at Fuel. The leadership team there was always willing to listen and offer wisdom or simply love whenever it was needed. I'm going to miss hanging out here every Saturday night, but I know that these are chapters in our lives that have to come to a close and I'm excited to see what new things are in store for the Pipeline Church.

Horribly blurry picture of Bradley Hathaway and me.

but I being poor have only my dreams

3:43 PM

We've been studying Yeats this past week and while it has been exhausting and frustrating, but he is my favorite so it's been pretty great. Since I have had very little time to do anything exciting enough to warrant a blog post, I will leave you with the only poem I've ever bothered to memorize, which must mean it's my favorite.

Brown Penny
I whispered, "I am too young,"
and then, "I am old enough";
Wherefore I threw a penny 
to find out if I might love.
"Go and love, go and love, young man,
if the lady be young and fair."
Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny, 
I am looped in the loops of her hair.
Oh love is the crooked thing,
There is no body wise enough
to find out all that is in it.
For he would be thinking of love
til the stars had run away
and the shadows eaten the moon.
Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,
One cannon begin it too soon. 
-W.B. Yeats


4:01 PM

This week has just been so deliciously happy.  I really feel like all the anger and disappointment of the past few months has dissipated and been replaced with pure unadulterated happiness. And this isn't the kind of happiness that's dependent on some fallible thing. It's just general joy, jubilation. I can only attribute it to Jesus really. I've missed being this happy, I don't think I've felt such joy since I was a kid! Tonight I was at a chapel service and I just felt so peaceful about all the decisions I've been having to make and all the big changes in my life. I found myself laughing with joy during worship. I'm so glad that God turned me around when I was 18 and pointed me in this direction.  I know that this is only a chapter in my life and that trials are going to come, but I just feel like I can take on anything right now. Life isn't always easy, but there's a beauty in how God takes bad things and turns them around.

Porridge by the Sea

3:55 AM

This morning was nothing short of magical. I've been battling a hardcore cold the past few days so I woke up at 8 as last night's Nyquil wore off. I had a craving for porridge from the Happy Pear, so I washed my hair, threw on my last clean shirt, and headed off into the most spectacular weather. I had intended to eat my porridge at the Happy Pear and do some reading for school, but once I got there I realized that I really wanted to walk down to the ocean. So I got my porridge and my coffee to "take- away" and I made my way through town to the shore. Greystones is so lovely in the morning. The sun was glistening down on the pavement and sparkling off the shop windows. The breeze that was drying my hair felt so happy and welcoming. I found a bench on the beach and I just sat and ate my breakfast. I got so lost in thought that I didn't even realize that I had dripped fruit all on my Bible. It stained the pages, but I think that'll end up being a happy reminder. While I was reading and praying God brought me a few relevant verses that really spoke to me this morning. 

"Don't be in debt to anyone, except for the obligation to love each other. Whoever loves another person has fulfilled the Law." Romans 13:9 (CEB) 
I've been struggling with genuine love lately. I get so caught up in my own world that I forget that other people are struggling, and probably more than I am. This verse was just a stark reminder that selfishness does not help anyone. Instead of focusing on my problems I should focus on loving others and leave my problems to God. 

"The night is almost over, the day is near. So let's get rid of actions that belong to the darkness and put on the weapons of light." Romans 13:12 (CEB)
This verse reminded me that I need to be living everyday as if Jesus is coming back. Because, one day, He will. In the stillness of the morning I could feel God telling me that I was made to love. Love Him, love others, love myself, but not to obsess over my life. God is in control. I just have to keep telling myself that. God is in control and He is going to take care of everything. 

After I finished breakfast I just sort of wandered around Greystones taking pictures of a few cute things. I knew I would probably get lost, but that was fine, this was to be a lazy morning of exploring, but I turned down a random street and I found myself back at home. It was a pretty funny discovery. I hope your day is as lovely as my morning turned out to be. 

Rejoicing in Uncertainty

5:32 AM

So this weekend we were traveling quite a bit. We went down to Kilkenny and we saw two castles, two Abbeys, two cathedrals, and we toured the Waterford Crystal factory. It was a very beautiful trip full of old, beautiful things and new beautiful things. 

Life has been very uncertain lately. There are several things in my life that I would like to have clarity on, including where I'll be this summer and what major I'm supposed to declare. I've been stressing myself out over everything, begging God to just give me one thing. One area in my life that I have an answer for. Then I realized that I already did. God is solid and constant. When everything in the world seems to be supporting the chaos theory, I can find my peace in Him. So I'm rejoicing in my uncertainty. Not knowing may turn out to be a blessing I never expected. There are so many possibilities for my summer and my life and I'm going to focus on that. God knows what's going on even when I don't. 
So life in Ireland is turning out to be very good for my patience and my character. This morning I was going to go for a walk, but I woke up to snow and the angriest wind I've ever encountered. I've been applying to summer internships like crazy this past week and I'm praying that I get one. If I don't I know that God will give me another reason to go home and be with my family. Until then, I hope everyone is having a lovely day. 

A little bit of everything

4:18 PM

I am an introvert. A fierce introvert. It takes a while for me to open up to the idea of being friends with someone, and even longer to get close to them. So being thrown into a situation where I'm living in close contact with 30 new people gets me a little overwhelmed to say the least. At first I was just excited to be in a new place, then I was trying to convince myself that I might not have my reoccurring introversion problems, I made a few new friends, got a tiny bit close to a couple of girls, and finally then it hit me. This irrepressible fear of letting people into my life. I didn't want these people to actually know me, see my flaws, my hurts, my struggles. I'm very good at showing people an edited version of myself, but I can only keep that up for so long. Eventually the flaws come out. I drew into myself. I decided that it was only a few months, I didn't need deep connections; surface level relationships are fine. They aren't. God has a funny way of revealing truth when we are most resistant to it. Suddenly I found myself bearing my soul over chocolate cake to a pair of girls I've only known for a month. That may seem like a while to know someone, but for me it's barely an acquaintance. Now I find myself craving deep conversations with the people around me. I may not be so great at initiating said conversations, but the fact that I'm willing to have them is a big step for me. I'm learning to deal with myself and the emotions that come when I'm in a big group. Instead of feeling anonymous I look for the comfort in small interactions, I know I won't be extroverted overnight, or ever but I think I'm learning to look over the walls I've built and think about climbing over them. 

An Antique Curiosity

7:03 AM

So these photos are awful and don't even come close to convey the magic that inhabited this bookshop. My only excuse is that they were taken hurriedly and I was much too distracted to pay attention to my camera. This bookshop has a name, but I can't remember it because the moment I saw the books lining the windows I was pulled into an enchanted forest of the most beautiful pages imaginable. The smell of books is not new to me, but I felt a catch in my breath every time inhaled. I didn't want to let go of that glorious scent. The books themselves were lovely and chaotically arranged in shelves and mountains of unopened boxes. There were new books, cheap books, old books, fancy books, and books that date back so far to their original publishing date they might have been first or second editions. I held a book that was published in 1860. I've touched older books, but always under the watchful eye of some librarian or antiques shopkeeper. This little book was just perched on a shelf, whispering, taunting me to come leaf though its delicate pages and discover what it feels like to hold history. I love old things and I couldn't help but imagine all the people who had held, read, loved the book I was marveling at. I'm currently sitting in a house that is nearly as old as that book and I wonder about who used to live here, how they felt then, and what their life was like. Do you ever do that? There has been such life lived in this place and I'm sure it's seen it's fair share of sorrow, especially being in such a tumultuous place like Ireland. Maybe I'm just procrastinating all the studying I have to do today, but I get the feeling this house has seen students just like me stressing over the same silly worries and it approves of my study stalling. 

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