November 17, 2017

Contentment vs.Gratitude

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*Sigh*. Where do I even start?

I've been wanting to write a post ever since the beginning of November, and I have several ideas lined up that I'm rather excited about. But the time hasn't felt right for any of them and the words simply weren't coming for what I've been feeling lately—until now.

Some of you may recall that I mentioned struggling with contentment in my last post. I also mentioned the possibility of writing a more in-depth post about my struggle, and while this post isn't it, it's very much related to the topic.

Guys. I've been struggling so hard lately.

Thank God for His strength and the friends and family He's blessed me with because I'd be a mess (well, a bigger mess ;)) without these things.

The thing that has been causing me so much anxiety lately (actually ever since I graduated, to varying degrees) has simply been the future, I guess. Namely, what am I doing with my future?

Before I graduated high school, I decided I wasn't going to college. I knew that I ultimately wanted to be a stay at home wife and mother someday (Lord willing and if Steve Rogers is a real person because otherwise I don't know who I'm going to marry) (kidding...kind of :P) and that all my other interests were all things I could essentially teach myself at home. I dreamed about starting a home-based photography business and being an author and essentially being a rebel who doesn't conform to the pattern this world sets. I didn't want to go to college when I graduated, and my parents were fine with that. So I didn't go.


Fast forward little over a year later and I'm still not at college, but I'm feeling more desperate for a purpose. And yes, my purpose is to serve and glorify my Savior. I know that ultimately I should have no bigger goal in life than that.

But there are moments I forget that. And even when I don't, I still want a physical, tangible purpose in life. I like goals. Goals give me motivation and excitement and A REASON FOR GETTING UP EVERY MORNING.

Currently if anyone asked me what my goals were, I'd say they are to publish my books. And that is a dream still very near and dear to my heart. I still want to be an author. And I've written 20k words this month for NaNo, so hey, I'm not giving up yet. But even that has lately been...dissatisfying.

I think that dissatisfaction has more to do with my heart and the fears and worries it holds than anything else.


Worrying over what people think of me is one of my biggest weaknesses. I hate that about myself. God has helped me grow in this area so much over the past few years, but lately it's been cropping up again whenever people ask me what I'm doing.

Am I going to college? No. Do I have a job? No. (Though I have applied to a bunch of different places, just sayin'.) Well, what are you doing with your life?

When I tell them that I'm living at home and working towards being a self-published author* I feel like they think I'm lazy or unambitious or just plain stupid for "wasting my life".

Or maybe it's just me that feels that way and other people couldn't care less what I do with my life. *cringe*

*among other things. Every day is vastly different. Today I helped my brother with algebra, cleaned a rug that one of our dogs got dirty, learned two chords on the guitar, watched the rest of Emma 1997 with my mom (and had tea of course), washed dinner dishes, exercised, etc. etc.

So many people tell me I don't need to feel this way. I've talked about some of this with a few friends and they all tell me the same thing. That they understand/can relate and that it doesn't matter what I do as long as I'm following God. He has a purpose for me. (And thank you all for the many times you've said that to me; you don't know how encouraging it is every. single. time. ♥ Y'll are awesome!!!)
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My parents tell me that I shouldn't think that getting a part-time job or going to college automatically makes me responsible. They would support me if I want to do those things, but they keep telling me that my presence and help is so appreciated here at home. (Maybe I should just start listening to them?? My parents are always right anyways. :P) (Love you, Daddy and Mommy. ♥)

Tonight I watched two videos (who says youtube isn't helpful? haha) from two of my favorite youtubers and their videos hit me so hard.

First...


What even. Look at how joyful these people are. And look at their day to day living conditions.

And then there's me, a typical spoiled American.

Ummm. What the heck am I complaining about?

I really needed this reminder of how awful other people's lives are, and how blessed I am. 

I spend so much time feeling down about the 1%  of what I don't like about my life, when literally 99% percent of it is pretty perfect.

Instead of worrying what people think of me for not going to college or having a job I should be grateful those are even options for me. I should be grateful that I have the choice to go or not go to college. Grateful to have the opportunity to apply to jobs in my area. 
Grateful for every single thing God has blessed me with

I need to stop complaining about what I don't have figured out about my life and start being grateful for what I do.

God has given me life; and He's given me a good life. Therefore I should be nothing but grateful.

Second...

I know I shared one of her videos in my last post, but her videos have been so encouraging to me lately. So many of them are exactly what I needed to hear.

This one was no exception. I'm going to be seeing extended family soon for Thanksgiving, and I always worry about
a) How can I present Christ's love and His gospel to them?
b) Oh no they're going to ask me what I'm doing with my life helpppppppp

Unfortunately I probably put the latter above the former too often. 

Not only was this video encouraging and eye-opening, it also was convicting. From about 10:52 to 12:40 (although I really recommend watching the whole video if you have time PLEASE it's so good) she mentions how our witness can be helped by being open and vulnerable about our imperfections--and joyful because it is from Christ that we gain confidence and strength.

Not ourselves.
"I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?"  -- C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces.
This especially spoke to me:
"...[when people can see] that you're okay with not having the perfect presentation, and understanding that your life is more of a witness and a testimony than a presentation you can put on....that's intriguing."

Ouch. Friends, this is so me. I want so much to put forward a good "presentation" of myself—to make myself look good. To make it look like I have it all together "just like everyone else."

But I don't have it all together....and you know what? Neither does a lot of people, I think.

So often I forget that and think I'm the only one with insecurities and doubts and fears about life.

When really...I should be happy to have these struggles.
Because maybe Jesus can use me to encourage others with similar struggles.


And would not even one soul guided toward Christ be worth any amount of struggle here on earth?


There's so much more I could talk about, but it's late and I should probably just publish this before I chicken out. ;) I rarely share posts this personal...but throughout my four years of blogging, you all have been such encouraging friends that I feel like I'd be lying if I didn't share some of the more personal things on my heart sometimes. If any of you read this whole post let me give you a *hug* and a "thank you" and "CONGRATULATIONS." I wouldn't blame you if you skimmed. :P

This Thanksgiving, I want to focus more on being grateful and not worry so much about being content.

This Thanksgiving, I want to admit that I'm far from perfect—but I know One who is.

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for He has been good to me.
Psalm 13:5-6

___

Are any of you going through similar struggles?
What has reminded you to be grateful lately?

October 31, 2017

Lately//Autumn 2017

Fall in Nantucket

Hi, my friends!!

Most of you know that I write "lately" posts now and then, in which I share a little bit about what's been going on in my life.

Well....something's changing in that regard...

Don't worry. I'm still going to do them. ;) But I'm hoping to now do four official "lately"* posts a year: one in spring, one in summer, one in autumn, and one in winter.

How does that sound??

Of course, I may have to tweak that depending on how life progresses. But from now on expect a lately post every 3 months or so. ;)


*(I tried to come up with some cute title for my "lately" posts but the best I cold come up with was "In My Life"--which is plain plagiarism  of the Les Mis song and why use that when "lately" is so much more to the point and only one word??)

iPhone 5 Wallpapers : Photo

Onward. Lately I've been...


Writing//
Well. Nothing.

Yet.

But NaNoWriMo is tomorrow.

*screams*

I've been plotting/thinking about my NaNo 2017 story since last November. Maybe before that. (Yeah, I'm pretty sure before that)  Anyways, I'll give you three facts about it:

1) It's a Snow White retelling.
2) It's set in the same world (with a few of the same characters) as my "Princess and the Pea" retelling.
3) It involves reclusive mountain men and snowy winter woods and a prince who makes life-threatening mistakes and a witch who sells poisoned applies and....

And wouldn't you like to know what else? ;)

I've plotted the whole thing out this time, even down to where and when the chapter breaks will occur. I'm hoping this will help me avoid plot holes, especially those plot holes that pop your tire and leave your writing car stranded in the middle of the road. Like two of my stories. *cough*

Hang around a bit during November if you want to hear more. I'm not promising anything, but if y'll demand snippets or character interviews or something....I don't know. Stranger things have happened.


Reading//
Guys!!! I'VE ENTERED A NEW FANDOM!

That's.....a definite. I've already shed a few tears and I'm only on book three and nothing really sad has happened yet.

My new fandom is Harry Potter. I want to share my opinions and ramblings (and let's be honest, my nonsensical fangirling) in another post but suffice to say that right now I love this series. It's just so good.

PS. I took the quiz and am in Hufflepuff House, in case you were curious.
Harry Potter concept thoughts, feelings and aesthetic.

Movies//
~The first two Harry Potter movies. I like most of the casting (and Ron's facial expressions are GOLD) but the movies are excruciatingly boring compared to the books. Something was lost in translation.
Alan Rickman is perfect as Snape though

~Little Boy. Gahh this movie made me cry ALL THE TEARS. It's been awhile since I've watched such a flat out emotional movie. But it also made me happy, like really really happy.
The colorful, sunshiny setting. The humorous conversations between Little Boy and the Japanese gentleman he tries to befriend. The hope. Little Boy's relationship with his father. Just.....aghh. Everything.

WATCH IT. Please. *hugs this movie*

Click to View Extra Large Poster Image for Little Boy

PS. *Slight spoilers* The story centers around Little Boy's attempts to bring his father home with "faith of a mustard seed". At one point in the story he tries to move a mountain with his faith and while an earthquake DOES happen it doesn't feel at all "fake" or "magical" if that makes sense. It's left up to the viewer as to whether it was an act of God because of Little Boy's faith...or simply something God was going to allow to happen anyways. I say this only because I personally am cautious when it comes to stories about people with "magical" faith (whether it be trips to heaven or miraculous healings) and I know some people who feel the same way. I do believe God CAN do these things, of course—but I don't think God works miracles through people as much (if at all) as He did back in time of Jesus and the apostles. Hence my apprehension about stories concerning such things. Hope that clears things up if you had been wondering about that, too. :)


Amancanfly’s 2016 New Year Countdown ↳ Henry Cavill Edits 15/31: Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo with Armie Hammer as Ilya Kuryakin in The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
THESE TWOOOO
~The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
I've heard good things about this from both Hamlette and Olivia and when it came on Clearplay I was like "yesss let's do this." So, I'm not exactly one for keeping up splendidly with espionage kind of movies (I usually have to ask my dad or brother a hundred times what's going on #beinghonesthere) but this one was fun and exciting and just plain cool even when I didn't understand what was going on. :P I love the characters. They're just awesome and their relationships are the BEST. I love Gaby and Ilya a TON but I may love Napoleon and Ilya's friendship even more?? I'm not sure. Either way, these three are epic.

(ALSO. CAN WE TALK ABOUT THE MONTAGE WHERE NAPOLEON IS EATING A SANDWICH WHILE POOR ILYA IS STRUGGLING FOR HIS LIFE??)

The Man from UNCLE
Cool people <3 (Except for her in the bottom right corner. Ugh. Go away.)

~This Beautiful Fantastic
This fun post brought my attention to this movie. It's not a period drama, but it's a British film with many actors and actresses I immediately recognized (Caroline Bingley? Albert from War Horse?). So once I read a little about it, I decided I must see it and sent a request off to the library. I watched it one night with my mom and we both loved it. It's odd and eccentric (some of the story lines tend to go a bit nowhere) but it's also lovely and altogether charming. It also brought me some much needed encouragement—the story revolves around Bella Brown, a very OCD girl whom most would look at as weird and unsuccessful and maybe even stupid. But she's not. She grows and changes and makes her own corner of the world beautiful, with the help of a few unlikely friends. This was encouraging to me, because it was a reminder that no matter what you're like to the rest of the world, you're special and beautiful and worth it to God.

(This wasn't a Christian movie by any means, but hey, I can still draw inspiration from it.)

Basically, it's a beautiful movie and you should watch it forthwith.

She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. Proverbs 31:20 (NIV) She Opens Her Arms – Proverb Ponderings – Part 4 Go to PART 1  |  PART 2  |  PART 3 I recently wrote on our mirror,


Fangirling over//
This video. GUYS. IT'S JEREMY JORDAN SINGING DISNEY SONGS AND HE SINGS SANTA FE AND I'M DEAD.

This video made me really happy. <333




Feeling//
*Sigh* Wellllll. You want the long or the short version? ;) In a nutshell, I had a really depressing week awhile back that kind of threw me for a loop. I frequently struggle off and on with contentment and feeling at peace with where God is taking me in life. I struggle to trust His plan, and I definitely struggle with waiting for Him to show me what to do. (Because I have no clue what I'm doing with my life.) I can usually shake it off pretty quickly though....this past week was an exception. I was feeling really sad and hopeless....and just lost. God has slowly been showing me truth through this ordeal though, and I'm thankful to say I've been gradually feeling better. I know I'll have days like it again though....maybe I'll do a blog post on it sometime?


Enjoying//
AUTUMN! It took Michigan forever to cool down and actually start feeling like fall. But now it's nice and chilly and the leaves are gorgeous and I've been going for walks outside as often as I can. Does anyone else love walking on gray and gloomy days? I honestly love days filled with wind and rain, though sunshiny ones are lovely too. <33

Happy Halloween

Listening to//
New favorite artist alert! Gregory Alan Iskov. I haven't heard all his songs, but I do know some contain some language, so please don't go and listen to ANY of his songs now just because I mentioned him. :P But a few of my favorites are Idahosalt and the sea, and this one:


I got a new Josh Turner cd. Just thought I'd mention it. Because reasons.


This was the first song I'd ever heard from him and it's still one of my favorites. #nolstagia

Other songs I've been listening to: 
Encouraged by//
This video. Like....wow. It was made for me. I needed to hear this. xD I highly recommend this video, and though I haven't read/watched everything by this blogger, I think she has some pretty awesome content. :)

This quote:
Harry potter                                                                                                                                                                                 More


These verses:
Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
    that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
    for as many years as we have seen trouble.
May your deeds be shown to your servants,
May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us;
    establish the work of our hands for us—
    yes, establish the work of our hands.
Pslam 90: 14-17


I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
Pslam 57:2

not my socks though I wish they were

What have you been up to this autumn? 

Do you struggle with contentment?
Are you doing NaNoWriMo?

October 11, 2017

New Blog Design+Name!!!

Study Motivation

Hello, my friends!!!


Notice anything different?

Yep, yes, that's 100% right. You're looking at a brand new blog. 

Well. Brand new in a manner of speaking. It's still the same blog....

Let's talk about this.

1) NEW BLOG DESIGN

I've been meaning to do a makeover on my blog for awhile now. With the arrival of autumn, now seemed a perfect time to do so. You may notice, however, that my new design isn't exactly autumnal. That was intentional. As much as I love matching my blog surroundings to the current season, I honestly don't have the time to do it like I used to. Plus, my blog design tastes have gone up in recent years. I don't want to drive myself insane every season wrangling css codes and rummaging through the html coding searching for one little tag.

I hope this design will stay a bit longer than the previous one. I'm super pleased with how it came out—I was going for something a little more professional (hence simply the title instead of a collage header.....not yet sure whether I'm going to miss the photos or not...) but still cozy and personal.

Also, I gotta give credit where credit is due—I was greatly inspired by this girl's gorgeous new blog design. *whispers* I really hope she doesn't mind. My brother said it's not complete plagiarism, though the very similar background may be pushing it a little. *looks around nervously*

2) NEW BLOG NAME
This is probably even bigger news than the aforementioned, though I'm willing to bet you noticed the design before the name. (Am I wrong? Right? Crazy?) (Don't answer that last one.)

So.....WHAT DO YOU THINK???


For yearrrrrs now (pretty much ever since I created my blog) I've thought about changing its name. I was never 100% in love with "Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens", but after entering the blogging world with it and having it gain recognition and experience, I couldn't just pull the rug out from my poor baby blog and rename it so soon! It's been good for the past four years. But with growth comes change, and this former name no longer fits my little blog as well as it used to. Kind of like when a child is called "Lizzy" until she grows up and insists on being called "Elizabeth".


*sniff* Back to business. I asked a couple close friends what they thought of my intended name change. With their thoughts and approval goading me on, I am now pleased to announce that "Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens" is henceforth to be known as "Ramblings of a Redhead Girl."

It's shorter, more coherent, and MUCH easier to type out. :P

AND IT MATCHES MY URL.

(Now I wish I hadn't originally written my URL with all those dashes, but oh well. Live and learn.)

3) I created a personalized icon, changed my sidebar a bit, and tidied up my "about", "my books", "reviews", and "friends" pages. Check them out if you so wish. :)


So what do YOU all think of my new blog name??? 
I put a little voting gadget thingy on the sidebar for your input. >>>
(It's anonymous, so you can say what you like and I'll never know it was you. ;))