Saturday, December 31, 2011

On Resolution


  [rez-uh-loo-shuhn]  Show IPA
a formal expression of opinion or intention made, usuallyafter voting, by a formal organizationa legislature, a club,or other group. Compare concurrent resolutionjoint resolution.
a resolve or determination: to make a firm resolution to dosomething.
the act of resolving or determining upon an action or courseof action, method, procedure, etc.
the mental state or quality of being resolved or resolute;firmness of purpose.
the act or process of resolving or separating into constituentor elementary parts.

I think the two that mean the most to me right now are definitions 2 and 3. I think that when you resolve to do something (definition 2), then there should be a "course of action, method, procedure" to deal with the choice you have made. 

There are a lot of resolutions (type 2) being made today and probably throughout the next 24 hours or so, but very few people who make those goals come up with a way to reach them. They say they want to be healthier, but have no idea how they will make it happen-they don't switch from a candy bar to an apple at snack time, they don't switch from Gatorade to water at the gym. . . they don't go to the gym. They say they want to do better in school, but they don't learn how to study and don't resolve to talk to professors and make study groups. 

I think we learn a lot about making goals in school--we did when I was in elementary and junior high. I think that was still a point in time when going to college was a sure-fire way to get a good job and make a life for yourself, so we basically were all forced to have goals of attending college--but we weren't necessarily taken under someone's wing for that to actually happen. Of course, coming from a city with low crime and low poverty, it wasn't hard for most of us to achieve that goal, but it does still irk me that no one told us how to get there. And that leads to not knowing how to make future goals happen.

My last post is my resolution this year-at the least, this semester. That one boy and I are separated for the time being because I am very intent on completing this goal. I want to hide my heart in the Lord and let him write my love story. I want to figure out who I am, and what I want, and how to "bring good to [my future spouse] all the days of [my] life" (Proverbs 31. . .a bit of a paraphrase). I think that taking care of myself and
 working on me and my heart is one of the greatest ways I can bring good to my future husband. For this whole semester I am going to do just that-answer the question "who am I?" (thanks Janina!) and just focus on me. Sometimes it's necessary to be selfish, I think.

I hope everyone knows that the post about David really was genuine-he doubted it for a while when we were talking and trying to figure this stuff out between us. I really care about him, and I truly want him to have the best and happiest life possible, it just isn't evident to me yet if that life includes me as his wife or just as his friend. I know we'll be a part of each others' lives in the future-the capacity of that is the only question. 

Back to resolution-I resolved to be single and work on me this semester and I have a plan for how to do that. I have a great group of girlfriends at school who challenge me constantly to be a better me. Also, the Wesley Foundation at OSU is having a girls' group this semester with Janina that is all about who we are as women of God. With these two groups and some alone time just thinking things through, I know I am going to accomplish the goal I have set and I know I will come out a better person and with a better understanding of what I'm looking for in life.

What are your resolutions? Do you feel they are cliche? Are they specific ("no Dr. Pepper all year") or general ("I'm going to drink more water!")? Do you have a plan to carry it out?

I honestly hope you reach your goal and that this is more than a usual New Year's Resolution that gets tossed by the wayside within the next month. If you need support or accountability-find it! Ask me :] I could probably use a reason to be somewhat confrontational by keeping someone accountable. . . 

Good luck in 2012 and Happy New Year!! If you go by my mom's way of thinking (mom-"Odd numbered years are bad years." Raychel-"Sooo, every other year?"), this should be a good year for you :] Enjoy it!

P.S. I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why half of this has that extra space between paragraphs. It's really bothering me, but if you're at this point, you read it anyway :] Thanks! And if you know what's wrong, please let me know!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

On Being Womanly

Recently, there has been a lot of talk about being/wanting the Proverbs 31 woman rather than a Victoria's Secret model. The VS Fashion Show aired a couple of weeks ago, and all over facebook and twitter were girls saying they needed to hit the gym, go on a diet, and a number of other things leading to the same conclusion-we aren't good enough. There are a lot of times when I feel less womanly because I'm not exactly "well-endowed" in the chest region. . . But there's more to being a woman than just having curves. There's a way to be a noble woman, which I think is the best kind of woman.
Noble women are:
  • Caring and loving
  • Strong
  • Independent
  • Gentle
  • Wise
  • Hard to find
  • Fearful of God
  • Modest
  • Humble
  • Not afraid of what's to come
These are all things we can glean from Proverbs 31:10-31.
The book of Proverbs starts out by saying that they are proverbs with a purpose "to teach people wisdom and discipline, to help them understand the insights of the wise," "to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just, and fair," so it makes a full circle by the end of chapter 31 by telling men what to look for in a woman to make her his wife; she is disciplined, successful, and wise. She is right, just, and fair.

Another beautiful thing about this passage is that it is an acrostic poem-each stanza begins with a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet (if you can read it in Hebrew. . .)! So cool.

The basic things that King Lemuel's mother taught him about a noble woman are as follows:
  • She is hard to find
  • She can be trusted with anything
  • "She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life"-not once she meets him, but every single day of her life. From birth to death, even if she doesn't know him, she does him good.
  • She gets the best things for her household
  • She is good to those "below" her (servant girls in this example)
  • She has made her own money and knows a good investment for it
  • "She is energetic and strong, a hard worker"
  • She isn't wasteful
  • She doesn't make rash decisions
  • She gets everything on her to-do list done, even if that means staying up very late and rising very early
  • She is independent
  • She is charitable
  • She is her own handyman
  • She takes good care of herself
  • She supports her husband-they have an equal partnership
  • She takes care of her family and is proud to do so
  • Her very person is strong and dignified
  • She takes things as they come
  • She is wise
  • She is gentle
  • She is not lazy
  • Her children and husband respect her
  • She fears the Lord
This is not an exhaustive list of things to look for in a noble woman, nor is it a list of things a woman absolutely must have to be considered noble, but it is a starting point for someone who wants to work toward being more godly and the "right" kind of womanly.
"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised." There is much more to being womanly than looks, or even superficial personality. Her whole being is full of love and pride (not arrogance) for herself, her family, and her "neighbor."

My study Bible tells me that this is probably not really just one woman. Lemuel's mother is giving him advice in this passage about how to choose a good wife when the time comes. After discussing with a friend, we decided that Lemuel's mother probably knew a woman who she saw in this way and felt that she was the epitome of a noble woman. The fact that it is not just one person who actually holds all these characteristics, though, is helpful in the "rather be a Proverbs 31 woman. . ." stuff-do not try to be a super model, for looks are not everything and perfection cannot be attained, however, you should also not try to meet impossible standards of being a good wife either. Everyone will make mistakes. The mere fact that you want to be a good wife, a loving mother, a supportive friend, and all in the name of God (or not, if that's not your thing) is reason enough to be considered a noble woman.

Until recently, I had been going through a season of ambivalence in my faith. I am always looking for ways to be more womanly, and be "classy," etc. and for that reason, this passage jumped out at me immediately when I watched this video

This video and the saying that "a woman's heart should be so hidden in God that man should have to seek him first to find her" has really jump-started my work on my faith again. I want to hide my heart in Christ until that time when I marry a godly man and can give him my heart that I've been protecting for him. I want him to notice my spirit first, and my looks and personality second. I want to be the Proverbs 31 woman in every way I can for my future spouse, and encourage others to do the same.

I am so thankful for men like Alex Eklund, who made the video above, who look for these characteristics in women rather than who has the biggest breasts or butt. I hope they see that the spirit of the Proverbs 31 woman is what I am trying to portray (and actually be). I pray all of my female friends have the courage to step out of the box of this materialistic, superficial world, and to try with me to be the best women we can be as a "result of our reverence for God" (New Living Translation Life Application Study Bible). I pray my attractiveness would come entirely from my character-that it would start on the inside and display itself on the outside. I pray that my guy friends look for this in their girlfriends and try to be a noble man for her.

To bring it back to my first statements-You are good enough! You do not have to look like a VS model, or any model for that matter, to be a great woman. You are good enough just as you are! If you fear the Lord and try to have the characteristics the He deems important, you will be praised, you will be successful, and you will be the Proverbs 31 woman. Take care of yourself and do your best, and you will be "more precious than rubies."

Picture from KatteBelleTJE on flickr. Quote from Chelsea.

I'm sorry if this post is disjointed or rambling at all. I feel like I have so much to say about this subject, and I'm not completely sure how to get it out of my mind and into yours. Thanks for sticking with me through it!
If you have (or need) encouragement for anyone or that has anything to do with this, definitely post it in the comments. I'd greatly appreciate it!


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The First Gift

The very first gift I gave this year was for a "dirty Santa"/white elephant gift exchange with my Phamily.

Phi Lamb Initiation

I think the best gift of the night was a mason jar that has some sort of current in it that you tap, and a fake butterfly inside flutters around. Whenever I go to the Cousins' apartment now, I always turn it on and start tapping away!

The price limit for gifts was $15. I'm in college, guys, so spending that much certainly wasn't an option. I also hadn't seen any cute things I could give recently. Soooo. . .

I made a gift! A small felt ornament with a couple packages of hot cocoa I had around.

First, draw your outline on some felt. I used a Sharpie and free-handed the Christmas tree. Fold felt in half with the design on the outside, and pin the front and back together so both sides get cut the same without moving around a whole lot.

Cut out the tree (or other festive shape-reindeer, star, snowflake-whatever suits your fancy) and pin on a small scrap at the bottom to be the trunk and a small star at the top.

Using embroidery thread, sew around the whole of the tree making sure to catch the star and the trunk. If you would like to, use a couple of different colors of thread to make ornaments on the tree. I just tied a knot at the end and decided that there would be a front and back of the ornament, so I didn't care how messy it was.

Pick some ribbon to use as the hanger, and hot glue it to the back. At this point I also glued the star to make sure it would stay, and glued the knot in the back so it wouldn't keep peeking out like in the above picture.

My roommate and I don't have a tree, so you'll have to settle for seeing the finished product hanging on a nail where I usually have a couple of necklaces. 

I wrapped the ornament and hot chocolate up in some tissue paper. . .

. . . added a note and a pipe cleaner ribbon and


My roommate, who is also my Big, ended up getting my gift, so I got the hot chocolate back :] She doesn't drink it because it has too many calories. . . Oh what she is missing out on! I love me something toasty and chocolatey to drink on cold nights with a book to read or studying to do. Adding whipped cream and feeling the different temperatures at once is the best part-even more calories for miss Gina.

What's your favorite part about the holidays? Have you bought or made any gifts yet?


Friday, December 2, 2011

Day 30: A Congrats Banner For Finishing The Challenge

We made it! Well, I did. If you've been reading for the past month and a half, you made it too! While I have really enjoyed doing these drawing posts, I'm ready to start doing some other stuff and not have the monotony I sometimes felt with posting the challenge. It was really nice to know what I was posting about and always have that to fall back on, so it's kind of scary to jump now and start coming up with posts on my own. I probably won't get one up every day anymore, but that just means it'll be better when you do get to read :]

On to the banner!

I like the fireworks. And that bright yellow "yay!" on the left. I had some trouble with the E in "finished" because I didn't have anything to with which to base how it should look on the curve. Close up and in person, it does look right, but far away it looks wrong because it got a little smudged and the lead pencil makes it look like I colored that far. Anyway, I'm just being a little nit picky. And now that I look at it closer. . . huh. The scanner cropped off some of this picture. The very right of it is missing, but you get the gist of it. There's a flower and a smiley face over there I'm pretty sure, and the rest of a firework. Oh well.

Now that I've finished the challenge, I miss drawing every day a little bit. Has anyone seen any other drawing challenges? Or any suggestions for things I should draw? I've still got quite a bit of space in my two Moleskines, so anything and everything is acceptable! Let me know in the comments (or by email, snail mail, in person, airplane writing, whatever) your suggestions!

Keep rooting for the Oklahoma State Cowboys in our Bedlam game tomorrow! Pep rally tonight if you're in the area :] Pistols Up!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Day 29: A Place You Want To Go

For the last year or so, I've really wanted to move to a different country for a year. In many other developed countries, the school systems are better, they have pretty good social programs, and they just seem better. I'm sure I have in my head a fantasy-like image of these countries, France, England and the like-but that doesn't change my mind one bit. I want to go! And I don't want to just visit. I hope to consider myself a citizen of the world, and part of becoming that definitely includes living somewhere for an extended amount of time to actually soak up some of the culture. It's important to me to be well-traveled and "well-rounded," and I hope that it's something I can accomplish and will instill in my future children.

The country I specifically want to visit?

I'm a pretty shy person, so I think up an moving to another country and having to speak a different language would be too much for my introverted brain. Too much stimulation exhausts me and that would stress me out.

Another part of that well-roundedness to me is being multilingual. Currently my goal is to be quadrilingual. I speak English, I'm learning American Sign Language, my boyfriend is Vietnamese, so I want to learn that, and French used to be a language that meant you were well educated and showed status, plus I think it would just be good to learn. When reading Jane Eyre I was sad that I couldn't understand the parts that were in French. When the novel was written, it was common for every woman to learn French in order to be a "suitable" wife someday, so the main audience for the book was all able to read those passages. Now, French isn't seen as being so valuable as a foreign language, so not many people choose to learn it.

Do you speak multiple languages? Do you have any goals that include travel or language learning? Life-long learning in general? Maybe you can give me some ideas for my bucket list (that I have never started. Maybe this is a jump-start?) :]

Happy weekend tomorrow!
Go Pokes!