Wednesday, December 30, 2015

You Will Find Rest

Matthew 11:28 "Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." I love this verse and just want to say a few things to go along with it. We all bear burdens but, I'm specifically thinking of retail workers at the moment especially during this time of year. It's no secret that working in retail really, really stinks a lot of the time. I personally have never been in a management position in retail but, I've worked in retail long enough and know people who are in those positions, to know that it is ten times more stressful and hard. I'm sure nothing is more frustrating than having employees under you who have no respect for you whatsoever. And then there are the times when you have so much responsibility that it is just too overwhelming, then to top it all off you have to deal with rude customers with a sense of entitlement. It's too much. But that is the beauty of this verse! God is not telling you to tough it out. He is not saying "Well, it’s part of the job you signed up for it." No, He is saying come. “Come and give me your burdens, give me your weariness. Give them to me and you will find rest.” The kind of rest that is not just sleep, but the feeling of a weight being lifted off of your chest from an issue that was somehow solved. Or the calmness that comes in knowing that in the end it will all be okay, the shift will end, the problem will be solved. God doesn’t have to do any of this, but His love for us is so great and vast that He chooses to. Amen :)

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Finding a Healthy Outlet

Let’s be honest: We all get stressed. As much as we may not like to admit, like myself, or whether we readily admit to it, it happens. For college students this time of year is extremely stressful with finals and shtuff. And I guess I will mention the stress that the holiday brings. Personally, being 21 I don’t really feel the stress of the holidays yet, but I recognize that it is there and a real thing. But that’s beside the point! Bottom line: December = STRESSSS. And here it comes, that verse many of us know all too well but are really sick of hearing: “Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present you requests to God.” If you don’t know that verse, it’s a good one to memorize. (BTW its Philippians 4:6. Great book, great book.) “Well Marissa, that’s fine and dandy and all but no matter many times I pray that, the stress still doesn’t go away.” You know that’s a fair point because, truthfully, that way doesn’t always work for me either. Why? Because I’m not perfect and I can’t ever seem to let the stress go and I can’t stop thinking about and its hard and scary even though it shouldn’t be and the more I think about the worse it gets then it becomes so overwhelming but I try to keep it in and it just makes it worse *bursts out crying*. Relax, deep breaths, calm. What do I do when I can’t seem to let the stress go? I write. I take out my journal and just start writing. Sometimes it turns into a conversation with God, with me asking lots of questions. Other times it is just a big, fat, huge venting session. I call this my ‘outlet’. Personally, I think everyone should have an ‘outlet’. It doesn’t have to be writing/journaling like me. I have friends who go on long walks, or draw, or play music. Honestly I’m sure there are people out whose outlets are just straight up praying. The point is you are releasing the stress in a healthy way. God doesn’t like seeing his kids being grouchy butts or being emotional wrecks. So my advice: find your ‘outlet’. It may sound hard but you would be surprised. My first journal entry was when I was in Bulgaria March, 2013. Now here I am, 2015, about a quarter of the way through my seventh journal. Do you know how many “diaries” I had when I was little and wrote in them like maybe four times? Let me tell you, I had quite a few. Now, I have one more thing to say on this topic. There is probably a good chance that your ‘outlet’ lines up with some of the gifts and talents God gave you. Because chances are that the gifts and talents He gave you are things that make you really happy and that you enjoy doing. Like for me, I have always loved writing. My grandma has three paged “books” made out of construction paper that I “wrote” when I was four. Now, go find a guitar or an empty journal or a sidewalk or a park bench underneath a tree that a squirrel has called home. There millions of lonely outlets in the world, waiting for a lifelong friend. So be a friend, adopt one today! What will yours be? :)

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Importance of Being Modest

Let’s talk about modesty.

Modesty: the quality or state of being unassuming or moderate in the estimation of one's abilities.

Personally, I consider myself a big advocate for modesty. It is a subject that God has put very close to my heart. I believe He has given me certain experiences and knowledge on the subject.

I feel as though when someone hears “modesty” most of the time they jump to fashion and clothing; which is a huge part of being modest. But, modesty isn’t just about the clothes you wear. It is also about how you present yourself.
Proverbs 31:11-12 says:

“Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. 12She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”

I really love that last part. One of my super awesome friends from Ministry talked about Proverbs 31 during one of our Valentine’s Day meetings. She and I were reading When God Writes Your Love Story at the time. Whenever I think of and apply modest dress to myself, this verse always pops into my mind. I try really hard to dress in a way that would honor my future husband. Let’s say for instance it is the future and I am married and everything. I would not wear a super low-cut, tight shirt. That would draw unnecessary and unwanted attention to me. If I’m being honest, I don’t want a bunch of random men hitting on me because of what I am wearing. I know my husband would definitely not appreciate it. Just like I would not appreciate him wearing pants that droop down too low and reveal more than what I would want any other girls to see. So that is the rule I typically follow for modest dress. I know that most all of my friends and my momma dress this way too. I typically don’t go for knit tops, cut-off shorts, those knit skirts that hug your butt, crop tops, super short skirts and dresses and “v” neck or low cut shirts. I also do not own any bikinis; I don’t like showing too much skin. I am perfectly happy and comfortable wearing a one piece and so are a few of my friends. Now, I’m not saying that if you wear any clothes like that you are wrong and should change. No, all I’m trying to do here is to share how God has taught me to be modest and in passing on this information, maybe help someone who is trying to learn more ways to be modest.

Another aspect of modesty, as I mentioned above, is how you present yourself. If I think back to when I first heard the term “modest” it was in a scenario similar to this:

Johnny’s basketball team is in the final quarter of the championship game. Right before the buzzer, Johnny scores the winning basket. As everyone afterwards starts telling Johnny how amazing that was and how he is just one of the best, Johnny say “Oh thanks. But, I could not have done it without my teammates. Without them I would not have been able to.” “Oh Johnny, you are always so modest and humble.”

Presenting yourself in a modest way is hard. We all have moments where we crave attention, especially if the same person is getting attention consistently. But, live in such a way that others can see Jesus through you. If Johnny were to have bragged about how awesome the winning shot was, people would only see a bragger. To me, modest living is also about not doing things on your own to draw attention to yourself. For example, if you want someone to know how awesome and huge your grandma’s house is, t you start talking in such a way that prompts someone to ask about it. I used to be very guilty of this; I still have my moments too. Again, people aren’t going to see how awesome and big your grandma’s house is, even if she hosts a weekly bible study there. All they are going to see is someone who wants attention.

The ultimate goal is to show people how amazing Jesus is, how much his love for us burns. If we live in such a way that people don’t see that, then we need to figure out how to do just that. Being modest is just one way that we can.

1 Peter 3:3-4:

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a quiet and gentle spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

A Focus on Jesus

I'm so EXCITED! Why? Well, let me tell you... Only four more days until camp!!!! Other members of my church and I will be gone for one whole week! My co-counselor and I are going to decorate our cabin with an “Under the Sea” theme! Oh it’s going to be so great! I've had some people ask though if I'm worried about missing one whole week of work. I have a lot of “bills”, for lack of a better term, that need to be paid. School payments, car insurance, cell phone bill… With my job cutting hours over half, money has been tight. Not to mention the summer semester just started yesterday. So, before I leave I have two weeks of assignments to get done since everything is due on a Sunday. And to add even more pressure to that since I am a Health Care student, the grading scale is much more severe. The lowest “A” is a 92% while an “F” is 75%. But, in my mind, I constantly think about money. I constantly am thinking about work. I’m consistently thinking about food and school and other things that honestly shouldn’t be taking up as much space in my mind as they do. Not mention all of the time I spend actually at work or sitting down and doing schoolwork. I’m not saying that those things are wrong, they certainly very important, if not necessary. But, Jesus is the most important thing in the whole universe. So, for me to take one week out of my entire summer, out of my entire year to just solely focus on Him, to focus on teaching kids about Him, I don’t think that is too much to ask. I give so much of my time to things that are very earthly and, in the end, don’t matter. (Again not saying work or school isn’t important.) Why can’t I spend a week focused on Jesus? So, am I worried about missing a whole week of work? No. No I am not. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Always Moving, Never Stopping, Never Ceasing

Congrats all of you 2015 grads!!! Especially my awesome cousin who just graduated from high school! Woo-Hoo!!!! Even though this is an awesome, happy time for some people it is also sad and uncomfortable. You spend four years, five, maybe six for you college peeps, surrounded by the same people, staying in the same environment. Now that isn’t there anymore. So what else are you supposed to do? For some high school graduates, college seems scary. Even if they aren’t going away it is completely different from high school. Or even going into the “real world” job force, it’s scary. So, you just won’t. The adventure ends here. You will stay right here where you are completely comfortable. My awesome boyfriend's favorite bible verse is Luke 1:37 "Nothing is impossible with God." We typically look at this verse meaning that "anything is possible" with God, which is so true! But, my boyfriend pointed out a different way of looking at this verse. Instead of "anything is possible" take the perspective of "God is always doing something." God won't sit back and do "nothing". God is always moving, never stopping, never ceasing. I think that is a way that we should look at graduation. Don't think of it as "the end". Think of it as moving forward; don’t stop because you don’t know what is around the corner! Don’t stop because you don’t have your friends here! Don’t stop. You won’t know what amazing adventures are in store for you unless you take that first step! “Seek God’s will in all you do, and he will show you the path to take.” Proverbs 3:6

Monday, June 1, 2015

About Me!

Hey there! I'm Marissa and I'm a dreamer. Life is too short to have one interest, one goal, one dream. I aspire to be many things and through this blog I hope to inspire others to dream bigger and more as well. God has given us one life, let's make the most of it! :)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Delighting in You

When I graduated high school I had a little over seven years of French Horn under my belt. I had always planned on playing in college and stuff but then I just didn't. I guess it wasn't something that truly meant something to me, if it was I would have found a way. Music was always something that I felt I had to do and I guess that turned me off of listening to music in general. Now I can't imagine life without music! It all started during that awesome freshman year of college... I had met some pretty awesome girls at the ministry group I had started attending at my college. Both of them just happened to be music majors. As the three of us became closer and closer, the more time I spent listening to music naturally. And I found that I really loved listening to, what we called, Jesus Music. Which is a mixture of artists like Chris Tomlin, Josh Wilson, Matthew West, Britt Nicole, Natalie Grant, etc. A third awesome girl that we were growing closer to was particularly fond of Lecrae. For those of you who don't know who Lecrae is, he is a Christian rapper. :) Whenever I hear the song "Dum Dum" I am instantly transported back to all four of us driving down the road, bass turned up full blast, singing at the top of our lungs. :) Certainly a memory I will cherish forever. My point to walking down memory lane is simple. Music was a tool that God used to bring me closer to him. It is a tool that he still uses to this day to bring me back to him. Life right now for me is uncomfortable and I have been wandering back and forth frequently because of it. It seems to me that most every time that I have started to wander away, I listen to a Chris Tomlin or Francesca Battistelli song that I have not heard in months and BAM. I'm back. Like today, for instance was the last straw for me with work. I have been not loving my job lately at all. Other things were mentioned after I came home that are particularly sensitive right now as well. I was overloaded and feeling eight million pounds of guilt and shame. Something compelled me tonight though to listen to some "Jesus Music" and the the first song that I heard was Worn by Tenth Avenue North. Bam. I'm back Jesus!...You know, to me it only makes sense that this is a way God speaks to me. All of my friends are musically inclined, many of them are in their respective church's praise bands. God took the wrong things out of my life and surrounded me with everything that would draw me closer to him. He will do the same for you too if he hasn't already! He will ALWAYS fight for you. He loves to delight in us!

Zephaniah 3:17 
"The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. 
He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
 but will rejoice over you with singing."

Sunday, April 26, 2015

About Our Hearts...

Flip through the pages of my bible and you will find lots of pen markings. Some of my latest markings take up residence in the book of Proverbs. Proverbs was mostly written by Solomon and tells how Godly wisdom is entwined in every day life. So much good stuff in there!!!!! I highly recommend it. ;) Here are some of my notes and what stood out to me personally.

From the book of Proverbs (NIV)

4:1 "Listen,  my sons, to a father's instruction; pay attention and gain understanding."
I am easily distracted. Whether it be at home or work or wherever, it happens. This world is distracting, sooooo distracting and that makes it really hard a lot of the time to focus on God. How can you counteract a lack of focus?

4:23 "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."
When a jealous person tries to congratulate someone for an award they wanted, its hard. Just like this verse says we need to guard our hearts above all else. Anger, jealousy, lying all hardens a heart. When a heart is hardened it is hard to feel love. God is love. If we have no love, then life is a very hard and sometimes impossible thing to live.

7:2 "Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye."
(Side note: Remember this is King Solomon talking)
If something needs to be guarded that implies that thing is important/precious/holds value. A king has knights, a bank has a security alarm system, we have locks on our front doors. With something of that nature someone else will see the value in it too and many will try to steal it. This is exactly how the Enemy is. He tries to steal our hearts so that we cannot get closer to God. Now that I'm typing this up, this verse and verse 4:23 above really go hand-in-hand. I see what happened just there ;) The enemy will do anything to push you further and further away from God. For example, last year I went on a mission trip to India. RIGHT from the beginning there were problems. I had the hardest time raising all of the money to go. I struggled with lots of doubt on whether or not I should even go and why I even wanted to go. Then, more than halfway to the airport I could not find my wallet, I had my passport but no wallet. To make matters even worse when we went to board the plane, my ticket was the only one that wasn't working and I had to wait until everyone else had boarded to see what was happening. I was ready to turn and go home. But, my ticket cleared. I found my wallet when we landed in India. And most importantly, I saw some of the purest forms of worship in my life. Nothing but them and Jesus.... The point is, The Enemy tried very hard to prevent me from going. Going to India was a major step in my relationship with God. He'll do anything to push us away from God. But here is the thing, while we do need to be on guard for what the Enemy will try and do, God has already won. So we don't need to have any fear. None of it. God has our backs!! Amen!

Monday, February 9, 2015

No Sew Skirt Refashion

Sooooooooo I love this skirt I saw on Pinterest:

Apparently you can find this skirt somewhere on Amazon. I couldn't but that is where the link lead me and I want to give credit where credit is due!
Anyways since I loved this so much I began thinking of how I could recreate it. Something you should know about me, I am ALWAYS thinking of sewing projects, or any projects really. Since I work at a fabric store it is pretty easy for me to see what I need to recreate it :) For those of you who do not sew or do not consider yourself a good sewer, I am here to report that this project is a NO SEW! Here is what you need:

1 Gray Skirt (or any color skirt if you want to add your own twist, which I encourage!)
Enough Black fabric to wrap around the bottom of the skirt (I used a remnant)
Double-sided fusible interfacing (WonderUnder)
Ironing Board
Chalk, or other marking device
Printer with ink and paper ;)
Computer  or Laptop
Scissors or Shears

1.) Go online and find a template for the wavy, scalloped edge bottom (I Googled "Scallop Edge"). Print it out and cut it out.

2.) Open up your black fabric and iron it to one side of the interfacing.

3.) Place the template on the fabric, lining up the bottom edges and corners, then trace allllllllll the way down the fabric.

My pretty kitty decided to "help"
4.) After you have traced the template, cut it out.
5.) Now this part can make you feel as though you messed up, but dont worry, I assure you that you probably didn't :) Flip your long piece of fabric over and CAREFULLY take the paper backing off of the interfacing. The paper is VERY thin and I thought that I had mistakinly bought the wrong interfacing. When you pull off the back it should look like this:
Be careful not to take the paper off too fast!
6.) Now grab your skirt and reheat your iron. Carefully line the bootm of the fabric up with the bottom of the skirt and iron. You will get a "bubble" somewhere in the black fabric beacuse you are working in a circle, not a straight line. We can get rid of that at the end.

7.) When you get to the end you want to make sure that two scallops overlap like this:
You dont want to have half of a scallop showing, that just wouldn't look right. Again since you are working in a circle, you will have that little piece sticking out at a funny angle. Go on ahead and snip it off. I reccomend that you go around and check if there are any spots that did not get ironed on all the way. I found a spot while sitting in church yesterday.

8.) There you go! Piece number 2 to add to your Pinterest closet :D


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Shirt to Socks Refashion

Almost everyone who is on Pinterest has a "Style" or "Dream Closet" board. I am no exception to this. I just LOVE that tulle skirt that costs $100! And those floral shorts, sooo worth $56! If only my wallet was never ending... However, the other day as I was pinning my way to sleep, an idea hit me; What if I recreate everything on my "Clothing" board! In case you didn't know, if I go a day without using my sewing machine, well, things get weird ;) I walk through the store anyway saying :Oh I could make that" "Pshhh I've made something like that before". This recreating" idea was so perfect in my mind that I couldn't sleep and instead created a new board all about refashions. Andddddddddd today marked refashion number 1!
Sleeve Socks.
Opaque Floral Knee-High Sock - $14 at Urban Outfitters. I think these socks would look so cute paired with some black or grey combat boots!Socks by Minga Berlin
I pinned these to my regular clothing board. The gray ones are from Urban Outfitters and the colorful ones are from Minga Berlin.
Now for the fun part!

What you need:
1 Shirt with long sleeves
1 Seam Ripper
Lots of Pins
Threaded Sewing Maching
Chalk, or other marking device
Shears or Scissors

1.) Take your shirt and turn it inside out and using your seam ripper, take out both armhole seams.

this is NOT turned inside out

2.) Take sleeve number 1 and pin the armhole end together, still turned inside out.

3.) Next, try on your sleeve-sock thing. If you have ever turned regular jeans into skinny jeans, then this next part should be familiar to you. :) Pull and pin the fabric so that it follows the curve of your leg. It should look like this:

4.) Take your chalk and mark the line of pins.
Sorry, I used yellow. Kinda hard to see...

5.) Now head on over to your sewing machine and re-arrange the pins so that the heads are not in the path of the needle. Now follow the line and stitch your sock closed!

6.) Cut away the excess.

7.) Do the same to the other :)
8.) Strut your stuff then make your best friend a pair! ;)


(= AFTER =)