A 30 before 30 update + THE FUTURE

Greetings blog readers!

I haven’t been around as much lately here on the blogosphere, and there are many reasons for that. First, I haven’t been doing anything particularly crafty outside of the musical we just wrapped up. Second, to be honest, there is SO MUCH HAPPENING in life right now that blogging just doesn’t fall high on my list. There are also a lot of moving parts that I’m not really ready to share here yet, so it seems hard to come up with anything different to tell you about.

But today I realized I am THREE WEEKS away from my 30th birthday…WHEN DID IT GET TO BE SO LATE IN THE SUMMER? This means that my 30 before 30 list is nearing it’s end.

30

Guys, I totally sucked at this. I think this will be my last list-type mission on this blog…Where did my motivation for crossing off lists go?? As of now, I am 15/30 complete…a whopping 50%. The good news is I have ONE REALLY BIG one pending, that should be wrapped up before my birthday!! More on that when it’s official…no jinxing here. Maybe I’ll manage to make a cheesecake in the next three weeks, too (now accepting your best recipes).

I’m not going to make excuses or explain why some of these items have not been accomplished… life is life, am I right?!

I also think my 30th birthday may mean some changes for this blog. It has truly been a personal journal for me for the last SEVEN YEARS (wow), and while I’ve enjoyed it, I certainly haven’t become any big blogging star. I expect I might write through some of the transitions that are coming up this fall, but beyond that… I’m not sure yet!

What would you like to see? Personal stories and ramblings? Food photography? Home improvement projects? Are you even still reading this post??

THANK YOU for hanging with me, online and in real life. Thank you for your comments and your shout outs. You are the BEST!!!

First Day of School

For the first time in 20 years, it’s the first day of school, and I am not invited.

I know that for the majority of our young lives, we complain about the first day of school.  Dread it, even.  And I always dreaded my dad’s yearly “first day of school picture” (sorry to break your heart, dad).  And I can hardly believe it’s been four years since my first day of college–and eight since the beginning of high school!  But I’ve always really loved school.  I love learning things that I’m interested in (key words: interested in), socializing with other students, being involved in all the activities school has to offer, and the overall act of creating goals and accomplishing them.  Being in school has always provided me with endless opportunities to grow, express, and challenge myself.

I hope that I will eventually find a job that accomplishes these same things.  It might take me going back for my master’s (which could be an awesome opportunity) and I know it will definitely take time, but I am confident that I can find the same fulfillment through other jobs and activities.  But for now, it’s just a matter of adjusting.

And for all of my friends out there, beginning their senior year (or junior, I guess) I have to encourage enjoying a cold brew with your roomates and suitemates after your first day.  It’s a great way to start off what is going to be a GREAT year!

More On HOPE…

After writing my brief blog this morning, I have spent the day considering several aspects of my life, and how they relate to my hope. I’ve noticed that I am extremely affected by any sudden change in plans, no matter what the cause. A minor disappointment can momentarily send me into a deep sadness, which I know is an over reaction, and still continue to feel. Every time this happens, it takes me anywhere between fifteen minutes and a day to return to my normal state of mind. Why is this? Why can tiny disappointments, which should have little to no effect on my attitude, ruin my whole day?

It’s because of where I’ve placed my hope. As Christians, we are taught to put our hope in Jesus. We are told not to put our hope in the things of this world, because the things of this world are imperfect. And we always agree and yet we always fail. Even though I know my hope should be in the Lord, I can’t help but put it in earthly dead ends. These dead ends are different for everybody, and I know I have several. So I ask again…where do you put your hope? By this I mean where do you look for your fulfillment? Where do you seek approval? What are you counting on to make you happy?

I put my hope in people. My expectations of others are often unattainable, and when people inevitably fail to reach those expectations, I am disillusioned. I put my hope in my education and my job. The more education I get, the better job I can get, and the more my life will suddenly have a meaning and a purpose. I put my hope in my performance. The better I am at something (job, music, cooking…) the more successful I am, and somewhere in my life I have associated success with happiness. I put my hope in my future, saying “when I do this” and “when I get this” I will be happy, rather than looking at my life as it is right now. And worst of all, I put my hope in myself. Saying, “I’ll take care of this on my own. I can fix this.” is the most painful expectation I have.

There is so much more that I do not even notice in my life. And it is easy to see how all of these places can lead to a big old fashioned let down. What happens when a date gets canceled? A friend lets you down? A meal gets burned? A job is boring? What about when I fail? Depression.

But what happens when God let’s you down? He doesn’t. Wait, let me rephrase that, because we often feel like He does. When things go wrong in our life, we blame Him. We yell and scream when loved ones die, lose jobs, lose homes, face disappointment. But these are the times that if we really listen closely, we realize He’s there, helping us through. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord. ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” Jeremiah 29:11. The Lord has plans for me. This is a crazy thing to wrap my thoughts around. This is why He asks us to put our hope in HIM, because He knows what He’s doing.

As humans, we are imperfect, and so is everyone else we know. We live in a horribly messed up world. Therefore it is fairly easy to be let down by almost anything we count on. But when we find our identity in Jesus, and place our hope in His plans for our future, we have something to hold on to through all the disappointment, and rejoice in through all the happiness. I am talking about a hope that is not just a ticket into heaven, but rather a guiding light in the life we lead on earth, that is to be shared in love with those around us.

A Little Hope Can Help

Here’s an interesting article in this weekend’s science news in Science Daily: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080817223648.htm

It features a study that has found a “potent weapon” to fighting depression: hope.  The article’s definition of hope is that you have goals, and you have laid out a path to reach them.  This is different, it states, than optimism, which is a general expectancy that good things will happen.  So some researchers have begun approaching depression with “Hope Therapy,” which focuses on person’s strengths.  Often in counseling, one focuses on what is wrong with them, instead of what is strong.

Everyone has low points, everyone struggles.  We know this.  Yet, when it’s us, we turn it into something awful.  Maybe next time instead of fretting over our faults, we can look toward the future.  I know my goals are often very vague, and I feel the most on-point when I have a specific direction I am heading.  It makes perfect sense that there is a connection between this and depression.  I am also a firm believer in healing through hope.  This could lead me into a completely separate blog that I will save for another day, but for now, just ask yourself: Where do you place your hope?