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Wait for the Lord

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I was asked to do this commission for a group of girls in my fellowship for when they went on an overnight stay-retreat. It’s taken from a website called Naptime Diaries that does a lot with Bible verses and pretty posters 🙂 This was my first attempt, clearly, as it looks pretty rough and also unfinished as I didn’t completely outline all that I needed to. Technically speaking, I need to work on the lettering for everything that isn’t in cursive and also take note that you cannot simply watercolor on regular cardstock. 😛 I will also probably redo this and maybe do an update on it and see the progress I have made, which I think would be quite cool!

This verse to be honest did not strike me at first. Especially in recent times, with such tragedy all around us in the news and everywhere, I took it to mean something almost of a complacency with the world around us. But I don’t think that’s what it means. Now, it reminds me of the title of this blog, Still and Know, which for those that don’t know, is a reference to the Bible verse, “be still and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10.

Wait for the Lord because He will come to conquer all in the end, wait for him, be quiet and listen for him, because He is there. He is present, He will always provide. But more than that BE STRONG AND TAKE HEART. Have confidence in Him and what He can do. And be strong. Be courageous. Be all that you believe is right in the world, wait for the Lord, but also be in the world and do good onto it with belief in Him .

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Reflections on the past year

I haven’t made a post yet about my reflections on freshmen year – this is mostly out of laziness and trying to think as little as possible. Also, the fact that I have to cover the entire year in ONE blog post. Anyway, here is my attempt, more than a full month after school has been let out, to make some sort of coherent statement about how I felt, how I changed, blah blah blah ha ha ha

Freshmen year was really cool in the sense that I got to experience and participate in things that I had never done before *cue random list below*

  • reading through all of Jane Austen’s works
    • for your information, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Persuasion are my favorite (in that order 😉
  • Learning how to use Indesign and Illustrator
  • Binding my first book in a bookbinding workshop
  • Learning how to weld metal
  • Get set up at a dance for the first time
  • Volunteer at my first Hackathon
  • Study in amazing places

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Aside from the cool experiences, I got to meet and become friends with so many incredible people at Yale – really awe-inspiring, crazy talented people. I made quite a few friends, but in this front, I am still dissatisfied. I feel that there are so many people that I have not yet meet and also a lot of people that I want to know better. I expected to be able to find that one person that I would hang out with the most , that would become my closest friend in college, but I have been unsuccessful in this front. Many of the friends that I have become friends with often have friends that they are closer to and it means lots of third-wheeling. I’ve been trying to improve myself and place myself into situations where I can really get to know more people … anyways, I am very excited for next year.

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This excitement carries over for my extracurriculars! I’m happy with the extracurriculars that I did this year, although for most of it, I spent it thinking that I didn’t do enough. My suite mates and other friends were typically involved in extremely time-consuming activities – sports, dance, improv, etc. but I had a bunch of small things. AIESEC, consulting, VITA. Looking back, I think I actually did do quite a lot and am happy with the friendships that I have made through it. I’m hoping next year that I can dive more deeply into these activities and also get into research, more volunteering, and maybe another job or something.

In terms of my spiritual life, I also struggled. The fellowships at Yale are small and not super strong. I also got somewhat caught between two fellowships, YFA and YSC, and making the change from one to another proved to be harder than I thought as I grew attached to the people that I met. Hopefully, I have made the right decision, but being able to have people like Julie and Hong to keep me accountable through weekly dinners is still very nice. I have been making attempts to learn more and understand more of Christianity and while intimidating and at times unsuccessful, I am continuing this process over the summer.

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Some lessons that I have learned and some things I would like to improve on

  1. Be independent, know what you want and don’t be afraid to say no or yes to things – don’t fall to peer pressure!
  2. try out more things, say yes to hanging out with people
  3. create events yourself
  4. always think of others, small gestures of kindness are so important
  5. stick to a routine – exercise regularly – read Bible regularly – eat regularly
  6. love more than you hate
  7. work as hard as possible and look for opportunities
  8. don’t forget to call mother 🙂 and drink lots of water!

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Heh these are just a couple of things that have been floating through my mind lately in the last month or so as I reflect. It’s not all encompassing and definitely doesn’t capture the amazingness of Yale, but I think it does capture most of the thoughts that I have had and the major points, lowered expectations but high hopes! I am looking quite forward to all the exciting things that will happen in the years to come and will try my best to make it the best years of my life 🙂 I will probably update this and add to it if anything else comes up in my mind, but for those of you that read this far… thanks so much for making it all the way haha ❤

 

Musings Lately

I’m sure by now everyone has heard about the various shootings that have happened in the past couple of days – Christina Grimmie, the Orlando shooting, the one in Beirut, etc.

It makes my heart so so heavy. I remember waking up to a friend’s message saying that Christina Grimmie had been shot. It was like a dose of cold water spilling over me as I sat there still not comprehending that one of the very first YouTubers I ever followed had been shot. I remember someone had written somewhere that this kind person, this God lover, ball of energy true to herself person who had cared so much for others and her fans had been killed – and not even peacefully, but in the most violent way a person can die. What more is there except tears?

And then I heard about Orlando. This one hit me in a different way than Christina Grimmie’s death. I had not been on my phone or on any electronic device all day and so when I finally got on, I was confused at the posts and the statuses that people were putting up. The world was still reeling from one incident and now there was another one so soon? This one outraged me. I have friends who are part of the LGBTQ community. This was the largest mass shooting in United States history. That is insane. And I remember reading this post from Tim Be Told which captures so much how I feel…

Usually I feel like I can muster up enough strength to say something meaningful in the face of tragedy. But today I feel hopeless. It’s not violent people who are dying at the hands of violent men; it’s little children at school, families going to the movies, musicians sharing a song, or friends dancing at a club. I have no prayers tonight. Just tears and rage.

I cannot understand why terrible things happen to good people. In a book that I am currently reading, it says that it is because God has a plan and a purpose for these bumps and great pains in our life. But this is not the complete truth because how is dying a way to become greater? How is killing people a way to help these dead people become better? There is nothing for them. And I don’t understand and pray that God will one day answer my questions.

All I do know is this, that if God has a plan and a purpose, then I definitely think that this issue of gun control should be brought into greater awareness and with greater urgency towards those who have the power to change it for the better. The time for political correctness is over. We need to act.

 

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A happy 19 to me

Last week, I celebrated my 19th birthday. I have always been pretty low key about birthdays, so what we planned to do – dinner and a movie – ended up being eating at home and seeing a movie on Netflix – just as nice 🙂 Anyways, I’m happy I got to spend so much time with family and hear from friends I hadn’t heard from in quite a while. Not that you can do much at 19, but it’s crazy that the years have passed so quickly, and in a blink, I have reached my last year of being a teenager. Here are just a couple photos below 🙂

My boyfriend sent me this basket of Edible Arrangements as he was off at Duke doing research and couldn’t make it. My mother went wild with the pictures… I thought this one looked nice and captured quite impressively the cute 19 made out of pineapples in the middle. IMG_4898.JPG

For myself, I recently found out about Thredup, which is a website that sells used clothes very cheaply. You can choose to buy from them or to sell them your own used clothes (though I hear bad reviews about the selling part). I browsed and purchased three shirts from the website and it came in the cutest packaging right in time for my birthday! Needless to say, I am really pleased with my purchase and for those who do a lot of online shopping, you would feel right at home. IMG_0639IMG_0640FullSizeRender 3.jpg

A while back, a friend also got me these two ridiculously cute items from Mochi Things – the first is a set of pretty colored highlighters and the other a Japanese weekly planner. I am an absolute sucker for stationary and am pretty excited to use it. I decided to include them in this post just because they looked quite pretty haha. The shorts in the picture below is from Ann Taylor that my mother got me. IMG_4904.JPGIMG_4905.JPG

My brother has a couple of key stores he goes to when he gets gifts for me and my birthday was no different. The two mugs (one is from Christmas) are both from Anthropologie and the cute little black and white box is from South Moon Under. I love them all so very much and at the rate he’s going, I will have quite the accumulation of mugs 😉 IMG_0695.jpgIMG_4861.JPG

I’m really grateful for the life that I live. I’m thankful for God and I am thankful for family, for the opportunities that I have been given to reach the place that I am now, more so than any physical present that I received. 19 is a new year for me and I am excited for what it brings. My hope for myself is to stay motivated and to stay true to myself, to work harder to understand others and show compassion and love in ways that I can, and to transition into greater maturity and understanding of the world and pursue a deeper love for God.

Qualities of a successful blog

As I mentioned previously, I have been thinking a lot towards what it means to have a successful blog. Even though I have a blog myself, the primary purpose of my WordPress account for the majority of the time is to read through and look at an assortment of the different types of blogs that I follow. I contemplated the blogs that I enjoyed immensely and thought critically why there were others that did not capture my interest. I essentially came up with a list of things that I would consider highly important qualities of a successful blog, the word successful being defined in this post as having lots of followers and traffic (though it can be defined in many other ways as well – such as one’s own happiness or how much knowledge can be spread). I know for sure that I don’t possess many of these qualities, but because I have them listed down concretely now, I do keep them in mind more when I write and post and thought that they would bring good insight and perspective to other bloggers out there 🙂

  1. Photo Quality
    1. I think it’s so important that if you have pictures on your blog that they are ones of high quality. All of the more famous bloggers I follow all have professional photographers who follow them around everywhere. Obviously, this isn’t possible for everyone. But I have a Canon t2i and learned how to Photoshop and edit myself, so if you try, you can definitely do it. Even if that’s too time consuming for you, a quick iPhone picture and a nice VSCO filter works just as well! Choose your pictures carefully and thoughtfully and always have your audience in mind.
  2. Uniqueness
    1. Although there are the classic home and lifestyle bloggers and the motivational speech writers, the more popular ones possess their own unique flair that draws readers to it rather than say the other five bazillion fashion bloggers on WordPress.  This can be anything – for ex. Happily Grey, a fashion blog I follow, always has a specific style of photography, a type of mood – or A Beautiful Mess, which is everything bright and happy and overflowing. I also admire Seams for a Desire for writing in both English and Spanish so she can also appeal to readers in English-speaking countries. Find your own niche and present it so others may see that you are someone unique in the midst of the sameness.
  3. Presence
    1. Along with uniqueness is the idea of presence. This idea is much more abstract, and I doubt that I can concretely say what steps can be taken to achieve it. Presence, as best as I can say, is when bloggers do an amazing job conveying their self through their blog that devoted followers end up following less for content than for emotional attachment to the person. For example, I really enjoy reading Love Taza’s blog and Oh Dear Drea yet I am nowhere like them in any way – a mother of three and a passionate vegan?! The reason is because I am drawn to their selves, their faces, their lives. I suppose one way to achieve this is through writing – really attempt to convey who you are as a person, your values, your personality, etc. This is perhaps the best way of showing the type of human being you are.
  4. Consistency
    1. Presence can also be helped along by consistency of posting. More popular blogs always have a set schedule of posting or post at least three or four times a week. When people see your blog post on reader over and over again every day, they are bound to become more familiar towards you or at least your picture. It also looks more professional for your blog if readers don’t have to guess when you will post and rather know approximately when you will be.
  5. Improvement
    1. Finally, improvement. I put this last because it isn’t really necessary, but I think that the very very best blogs that I follow have dramatic signs of improvement from their original content. I’m talking big names such as Nicole Warne of Gary Pepper Girl or Chriselle Lim of Chriselle Factor. These people started off as simply fashion bloggers, people just like us looking to do something as a hobby or pursue a passion of theirs, but because they constantly sought to put their whole hearts into it, deliver the best all around quality, they have become the big names that they are (given quite a bit of luck as well). For example, I read an interview about Gary Pepper Girl and how she used to put money towards traveling to crazy places just so that she could find a good photography spot. Now, I look at her work and gasp at every article of clothing she wears and read eagerly every editorial she puts up. She has been invited to Cannes, is on the best of Forbes in Asia, and has shot with many magazines including Vogue. In short, if you want a so-called “successful” blog, don’t just settle for what you have – always think about improving your blog – maybe for yourself, but also for your readers because I think they deserve it for their faithfulness and trust in you and your work as a blogger. This improvement doesn’t have to be as dramatic as Nicole Warne’s but can be achieved through small things such as photo quality or consistency in posting or presence and things like that. It just takes one small step for a more successful blog! 🙂
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Summer List To Do // Musings

I have a bit of time this summer after freshmen year. I’m taking two physics classes at the University of Delaware, but they both end before one every day, so I thought I would put the time to use focusing and honing in on certain skill sets and discovering more hobbies. I’ve decided to list them below for other people if they are interested and also to keep track myself when I go back and look at this at the end of the summer 🙂

  1. Knitting… crocheting?
    1. I figured it would be really cool to learn how to make my own scarves and hats. I mean, most grandmothers know how to knit and how did they learn? They must have started somewhere!
  2. Matlab
    1. Next semester, I am taking a full course on Matlab, which is a computer program for engineers that is really efficient for solving problems and data analysis. Unfortunately, I suck at computer programming, so I definitely need a head start when it comes to it. Always best to be prepared 🙂
  3. Adobe Creative Suite
    1. I have been dabbling quite a bit in design and photography this year – slowly dipping my toes into the graphic design world and into the world of creative possibilities. I’m really excited because I already have all the programs through a computer exchange program at my old school, so I really have everything I need to practice and explore. It’s also incredibly useful at college too for designing and advertising.
  4. Hand Lettering / Calligraphy
    1. People such as Jennet Liaw and Chasing Linen really inspire me to take something that I do feel I have a natural talent in (neat handwriting lol) and turn it into something that gives back. I started making congratulation cards for the seniors through hand lettering, and I feel like it’s something that with practice, I can begin to genuinely share with other people – maybe cards, later wedding invitations? Who knows!
  5. Photography
    1. I know how to use a camera, but I don’t consider myself a professional at all. I have been trying to learn how to change aperture, ISO, shutter speed all manually. I think I have been doing okay so far, but it’s a lot of practice makes perfect until I can get the perfect numbers etched into my mind so that it’s automatic. I have been shooting a lot recently, so look forward to seeing some more photos on the blog!
  6. Blogging
    1. Talking about the blog, I have been thinking a lot about what I want this blog to be. I started it a couple years ago and it has grown significantly from what I expected it to be – a personal space to post, like a journal. But it’s become so much more than that and the last couple of weeks, I have felt the pressure to gain more followers and fit more people’s interests by really just unleashing, I wouldn’t say bad quality, but really haphazard and not really thought out blog posts. All these things that I am learning above (with the exception of perhaps knitting and Matlab) will help me to really produce the best content possible for this space. I’ll probably go into this more in a separate post, but basically I want greater quality and greater cohesiveness in this blog and to really take it in a specific direction with a specific impact. I am not going to delete any posts because I think they all served their purpose, but just expect some changes – positive ones… this summer will be a great one 🙂

Easter musings, new beginnings

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Last Easter feels so close. I remember exactly what I wore. What my family wore, what my friends wore … actually that’s probably because there are tons and tons of pictures from that day 😛 But it still feels surreal that a year has passed and so much has changed yet remembering 365 days back genuinely does not feel that difficult to do.

Have I changed as a person? As a Christian? Have I grown in faith? Have I grown in character?

College is supposed to be a transformative experience as a religious person. You’re supposed to find the perfect bible study, a tight-knit fellowship, Christian friends.. but that has not been the case for me. I have found it increasingly difficult to go to fellowship, people I dislike in my bible study, and the general feeling of isolation among the few Christians they are on campus. In fact, I have even begun thinking of Christianity mainly in relation to worldly things such as sin or temptation and friendships and good deeds, nothing related to a relationship with God at all.

I think in this way that God is challenging me and I know that I am failing.

This spring break I went back home and there were primarily two things that really make me hopeful for the rest of the year and going into summer and sophomore year. One was that my brother for his baptism had gotten this Life NIV study bible. I opened it and was blown away by immediate resolution to read all of it. Easier said than done of course, but when I am done with school, I believe that’s what I’m going to do. I needed God to spark this sudden fire in me for the Bible and hopefully it’ll be a way for me to understand on a deeper level His purpose for me and the ways in which He works. The second thing was that on Easter Sunday, my church finally decided to start construction for an expansion of the building that has not been done for over thirty years. The picture is above, but we all wore hard hats and carried shovels and got super cutesy excited about the “ground breaking.” I am reminded of God’s constant renewals – His forgiveness of our sins every day,  the way He opens doors, the start of new beginnings.  Happy Easter. He is Risen.