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    Faith

    ..and we are His Bride

    Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 7.40.21 PMOn my drive back to school a couple of weeks ago,  I was listened  to Jeff & Alyssa’s podcast (on iTunes!!!). One of the topics was about what having a relationship with the Lord looks like. Normally when I hear the phrase “relationship with the Lord” it sounds like an euphemism for “I’m ACTUALLY one of those good Christians who goes to church and has quiet time etc” and it is often said instead of the phrase “I am religious” Well at least I can admit that is how I use it. During the podcast Jeff said a few things that really set a light bulb off in my head.


    1. When I first think about the word relationship I think about couples who are dating.

    If you are a Christian, then you are in a relationship with God. A relationship. In any normal relationship you wouldn’t go weeks on end without talking to your significant other, but we do that with God sometimes don’t we? Remember, we serve a jealous God and should not have other idols in out lives. Often in a relationship, what you do is a reflection of your partner, or the family you have created together. As faithful Christians we should want to present ourselves in a way that reflects God, and the love He has for us. It doesn’t matter if you have been saved for 2 weeks, or 20 years, it is important to continue to pursue the Lord and grow deeper in His love, just as you would with your spouse.

    I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2)

    2. There are ebbs and flows

    If you have ever been in a long-term relationship you know that you are not always on this continuous “high on life” feeling. There are times when you feel more connected to your partner and times when you feel more distant. That is normal. We can’t always have the same “on fire for God” feeling, but it is important to continue communication with Him and really pray through.

    That they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us.. (Acts 17:27)

    3. He will always love us more

    Sometimes in relationships it seems that one person loves the other more. Well in your relationship with Jesus, he will always be the one to love you more than you love Him. He shows us unconditional love that is impossible to top. In Jeff & Alyssa’s podcast they used the ocean as a metaphor for this. God’s love is like the waves of an ocean, continuous and never ending despite where we are. If you are feeling distant from the Lord His waves of love are still crashing all around you, and there is no place you can go to stop that.

    This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us.. (1 John 4:10) 


    Lifestyle

    What DC Taught Me

    With graduation season here, there is a lot of talk concerning the future, and what we all “want to do when we get older.” As a college junior I’m getting to the point where I should start carving out some definite paths I might be interested in following post-undergrad. Personally, I’ve always found it helpful to figure out what you don’t want to do, and then go from there, so while I was in DC I did just that.

    While I was in DC meeting with different companies/agencies, I got a little taste of the different “levels” of the pyramid that my field of work includes. Everyone imagine the food pyramid for a second and use this image to follow along with my analogy.

    The bottom layer, so say the grains, was the Dance Place, a community based dance studio. They not only house professional dance companies, but also serve the kids in the under-resourced community they are located in. After many years of just being a dance studio, a program for the youth was organically created when some kids from the neighborhood started throwing rocks at the building. The director confronted these boys, brought them inside, and had them do their homework by her desk. The boys continued to come back to the studio, and eventually their youth after school program was created. Now, the after-school program follows a curriculum of not only dance, but life skills, and youth development topics. From all the stories I heard, the Dance Place has become a second home to many of the youth they serve and their impact is evident within the community.

    The layer on top, the fruits, would be The Forum for Youth Investment. They work on aligning interventions to create a “collective impact,” so that organizations in the same area can work together instead of all trying to do the same thing on their own. They also have a department that works within the White House to help push through legislation that directly influences youth.

    The next company Bellwether, is the vegetables and operates on the same level as The Forum. Bellether does policy and consulting work that resembles a corporate firm, despite their non-profit status. The work they do directly pertains to schools, and education. Andrew Rotherham, is a co-founder and I really recommend that you all read some of the articles he has written for various news outlets. (Google it!)

    The top of the pyramid is the Department of Human Services. Within their department is: Head Start, Child Support, Chid Care, Homeless/Runaway Youth, etc.  As you can guess everything they do works on a federal to state pipeline. They are working toward major legislative change that would eventually funnel down to supporting people around the country.


    I don’t think any level is more important than the other, it all has to do with personal preference and what job tasks you want to be doing on a daily basis. All of these companies are working to better serve the youth, but they are all doing it at different levels. At the end of the day I had time to reflect on which area I could see myself working in one day, and it was honestly no question. I want to be on the ground directly working with kids. I could possibly see myself working somewhere like The Forum since they are a really small organization and do a lot of consulting on community organizations already present, but any policy work or consulting higher than that would be too much for me.

    While I understand how crucial the work The Department of Health & Human Services is, as well as other policy companies, I know I would become so frustrated with how slow change actually happens and I would miss having direct contact with the kids I am serving. i can just imagine myself sitting in board meetings with nothing getting done and thinking “..but the kids need help NOW.”

    I dream of serving youth in community where I get to see their shining faces everyday, help them envision their future beyond their current situation, and just be a safe space in a world that often ignores their needs. From the beginning I knew this is the impact that I saw myself creating, but this trip simply confirmed what I should be focusing all of my energy toward.

    Lifestyle

    Derrick is Gone, Meredith is the Sun, & It’s all Going to be Okay

    Well, it’s our first night without a Grey’s Anatomy episode. Gee. You could say the last couple of episodes have created some controversy within the Grey’s “community” but let me tell you right now, I stand with Shonda and all the other writers.

    Derrick died. In comparison to other deaths on the show, Derricks was no where near as dramatic. It didn’t pull on the same heart strings as George’s, Denny’s, Mark’s, Lexie’s, and one that personally crushed me to the core, Henry, Teddy’s “husband.” Those deaths were dramatic, those deaths you felt for the days to follow. Derrick’s, well we were just mad.

    Forgive me if this all seems insensitive, I too am upset that Derrick’s departure was not “adequately” done. I have been watching Grey’s Anatomy for a long time now. I remember sneaking around to different rooms in my house to watch it when I was far too young and everyone was still constantly having sex in supply closets every other scene. Now as a college junior (or sophomore still?) I am so emotionally attached to these characters. After this year especially, this show was my light, it saved me. Well maybe saved me is a strong term, but it gave me something to cling to when nothing else was going right.

    During this season especially we saw Meredith as her own person. We learned who Meredith was without her husband. After watching the episode when she realized that her streak was directly related to Derrick being away I was so fascinated, and at the same time concerned. What do you do when you are better without the love of your life? That is a question for another blog post. But this season we got to see Meredith live out Cristina’s declaration of being the Sun. Just as Meredith was navigating what that declaration looked like, I felt as if I was too. This season Meredith was my person.

    When the news came out that Derrick was leaving the show, I felt this blind allegiance with Shonda. She knew what she was doing, and she was going to protect Meredith. I recognize that this show has many important characters, but for me, this is the Meredith show. Meredith is the Sun, and she is going to make it without Cristina and without Derrick. Meredith is strong, Meredith is resilient, Meredith is going to succeed.

    I am strong, I am resilient, I am going to succeed. 
    Lifestyle

    Summa Summa Summa Goals

    If you follow me on tumblr you know that this past year of school was tough, and I have no desire to rehash all that, but I’m looking to make some real improvements this summer. I love to be as productive as possible during the summers and really try to better myself as much as I can. So far my goals are: 

    1. Do quality work at my job
    2. Learn as much as I can by assisting in the research lab
    3. See real academic improvements in the kids I am tutoring
    4. Write a 500-700 word piece of writing twice a month
    5. Relearn the basics of writing/grammar 
    6. Finish 2 books a month
    7. Figure out what I want to dedicate my extra time to next year 
    8. Play my violin 3 times a week 
    9. Exfoliate regularly, keep my cuticles healthy, deep condition my hair regularly  
    10. Stay on track with my devotions, and start studying Galations 
    11. Write out a 3-year plan (more about this later) 
    12. Become more informed on current events, and occasionally read stories from the major news papers
    13. Work on my sewing skills and finish making the skirts I promised for my friends
    14. Protect my happiness at all cost 

    My favorite number is 14 so I think that is a good place to cap things off at. Do you have any similar goals? What are you planning to do this summer? 

    Alysse 

      Lifestyle

      Here We Are Again

      I’ve lost count of how many times I have started blogs, then stopped writing, only to pick it back up again either at a rough point or a really high point in my life. This time I would say I am on the up-swing.  (yay)

      While most of y’all know that I am an avid tumblr (Person who tumbles? Have we collectively decided how to say that yet?) recently I have been been wanting to write out some longer post and figured this would be the better platform. So in the near future you should see post about

      • Summer Goals
      • 3-Year Plan
      • Submission, Jesus, and Feminism
      • She Reads Truth-Bible in a Year
      • My opinion on the recent Grey’s Anatomy “tragedy”

      During my trip to DC an executive at a policy consulting firm told us that having the ability to write was one of the most important qualities a college graduate could have. I am very aware of my lack of writing ability and I really want to improve over the next few years. Obviously blogging is not the same as the type of writing my future career might require, but at the end of the day writing is writing and I need to re-learn some fundamentals.

      Well guys thanks for reading, this should be fun!

      Alysse