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when life gives you lemons…

It is your reaction to the simplest gifts that may determine where your life takes you!!

just some thoughts for the incoming freshmen…

Every year across the country, many young, wide-eyed, curious freshmen pile into cars as they all head to their respective universities. So, I thought I would lump some tips together for all of the new students, because why not? Some of these things seem like common sense and others are more of an encouragement. So…here it goes.

1) There is a lot of stuff. 

I had boxes, bags, and a suitcase. But, that is okay. You are moving and no one is going to tell you that you over packed because if anything, there will be many trips to Wal-Mart before you have everything you need.

2) Take some time to make your room your home away from home.

One of my favorite things about my room was my bulletin board with the pictures of my family and friends. Your room should be somewhere where you are comfortable 100% of the time. I printed out Bible verses and hung string lights to make it as cozy as possible.

3) Sometimes it is okay to not know someone in lecture.

In high school it was fun having classes with friends. Don’t get me wrong, I loved having chemistry with one of my best friends, however, I found it was easier to focus when I did not know anyone. Literally the only choice I had was to focus.

4) GO TO CLASS!

I know this is something you have heard at orientation, you have heard it from parents, teachers, managers, friends, older siblings, and just about everyone else. Now, you are going to hear it from me. GO TO CLASS! When you miss a class, even if it is just one day, it will feel like you missed a lifetime of information. Plus, some teachers give surprise extra credit if you are in class on a certain day.

5) Do something other than school work.

Whether it is Greek life, clubs, work, campus ministry, etc. FIND SOMETHING! It is an easy way to meet people who are interested in the same thing you are and it is nice to have a study break every once in a while.

6) Walk around campus before classes start.

It is a stressful thing to show up late the first day of classes. I recommend walking around campus to go find your classes so you know exactly where you are going, especially since some buildings are numbered weird.

7) Get to know your RAs

It was a huge help for me to be comfortable talking to my RAs. They are there to help. They have been through the stressful nights and they know exactly what to say when the neighbors are being too loud. Plus, it does not hurt to have someone else in your circle of people.

8) Go to office hours.

Sometimes in the large lecture classes it is hard to ask questions, especially if the professor has a plan for the day. Going to office hours allows for you to get to know the professor and for your specific questions to have specific answers. It also keeps you from having to ask a question with 200 other people watching, which can be a daunting task.

9) It is okay to watch Netflix

Yes, I am encouraging you to have Netflix watching sessions. Yes, it is good to get out and meet people, but other times it is good to wind down and spend time by yourself so you can recharge. I chose Grey’s Anatomy. I suggest not choosing something so addictive when you have a test coming up.

…Last but not least…

10) You are not alone

A majority of the people around you do not know anyone either. There will be people alone in class too. There will be people who are also trying to find the place they fit in.

Alright freshmen, one last thing…

WELCOME TO COLLEGE!

the list…

Think about the last time you wrote a list. It may have been a daily to-do list. It could have been a guest list or a list of the classes needed for upcoming semesters. But, when was the last time you wrote down or thought about a list of things for future romantic relationships? This is what I like to call “the list”.

My ListWhen I was a little girl I loved watching princess movies. One of my favorites was The Little Mermaid and my favorite parts were when she was singing and when,*spoiler alert*, she and Eric were married in the end.At that age, the only thing on my “list” was he must be a prince in a kingdom far far away. As a nineteen-year-old this requirement sounds silly, but the idea of “the list” is still something I hold onto. Many people have them. I have talked to a couple of people lately who have said things along the lines of, “he meets everything on my list”. Some of the common items on these lists are, “he must be taller”, “must want kids”, “must love to travel”, etc.


We can compare “the list”, to a grocery store shopping list. There are things that cannot and should not be taken off. These items should be non-negotiable. One of these items for me is a relationship where God is the center, but there are other things that are absolutely essential. If a person does not have the non-negotiable quality, then he or she may not be the person for you. There are also qualities of a person that you never would have considered to put on “the list”. Like when the new flavor of Oreos ends up in the cart because you had no idea they even existed. That is one of the points of dating. I have added to my list over the years because of this, I had no idea there were some aspects of a man that have now become important to me. There are also items on the grocery list, like the want for six different types of juice when you really only need two. As a relationship progresses, you will learn that there are some things that are not as important, and this could be because you realize that you do not actually like that quality, or because there is another quality that is even better.

However, I urge caution in removing things from your list. It is a rough position to be in, knowing you are settling for something when you know you deserve better. I believe everyone who has a list has created it for a reason and has, hopefully, put some thought and time into it. I also believe that each person deserves and should wait for someone to come along who fits the list perfectly, or who exceeds the expectations. I like to think that God will bring someone along who exceeds my list of wants and needs because that is just how great He is.

The last thing I have to say is, God has a plan. There are times I like to think I know what is best for me and I like to think I know for sure everything I want in a future romance. There may have been times where God has looked at me and said,

“You have no idea what I have in store for you”.

one down…seven to go…

It has been four months since my last post, and I think part of the reason, is I have been waiting for the perfect moment to spill my thoughts and feelings about my first semester as a Cowboy.  So, here I go.

A year ago, I had plans. Plans soon to be changed as scholarships and ACT scores were not what I expected.  Two months ago, I was still slightly mad at myself for not working hard enough to be able to attend my dream school.  Today, I know I did, in fact, work hard, and I am so beyond blessed with how it all turned out.  I have an amazing roommate.  I have made amazing friends who I can laugh with, cry with, and, of course, sit in the corner of the dining hall with. No judgement.  I have also joined a campus ministry and I have an amazing job! Now, while all of the friends, work, and sporting events add to the overall excitement of being in college, I am there to study.  I am there to learn and gain an education that will later launch me into whatever I decide to do with the rest of my life.  So, I think it is necessary to share a list of some things I have learned this past semester. (These are in no particular order.)

  1. There are quantum numbers assigned to electrons.
  2. Transcription produces the mRNA and translation produces the amino acids to create the polypeptide.
  3. Starbucks is easily walking distance from campus.
  4. Great friends are easily made from being in a biology group together.
  5. 28 degrees on the Laramie weather report does not include wind chill. BUNDLE UP!
  6. Writing in my honors book is okay, I will be okay, it does not need to be perfect handwriting, I will be okay, I did not ruin the book, no one is going to be mad at me, and it helps with the discussion.
  7. Relationships, of any kind, will be made, broken, some will simply fade away, and each of them is a learning experience.
  8. I can glorify God through my education.
  9. Sometimes, taking the tunnels to the dining hall is not as convenient as walking outside in the cold.
  10. The roads to Laramie will close if it is dangerous, and it is possible the only way in is going back down to Fort Collins.
  11. Receiving letters in the mail makes for a GREAT day.
  12. This is not high school, do not try to convince me they are alike, they aren’t.
  13. The biggest challenge is fitting meals into my schedule.
  14. Unless she is absolutely, crazy busy, mom will answer the phone and do the best she can to be there for me.
  15. I do not want to be a kinesiology major anymore.
  16. It is an amazing feeling when college finally feels like home.
  17. I can go through college without caffeine.
  18. It is okay to wear sweats to class, I do not have to be dressed to impress wherever I go.
  19. While in the sandwich line, asking for mayonnaise is the last thing to be asked for.
  20. Basketball games will forever and always be exciting for me.
  21. Getting up at 6AM for cycling sucks…but the chocolate milk afterwards does not.
  22. College chemistry is not the same as my high school chemistry, despite the IB test.
  23. A “C” on my first college paper is not the end of the world, it just means I have room to grow and get to know my teacher more as I continue to ask for help.
  24. God loves me. A LOT!

Last but not least…

25. I am not the only one going through this huge change. I am not the first to go through this.  I am not the last to go through this. I still have a lot to learn…I am not finished, I still have seven more semesters to go.

IMG_2590God knows where He needs me to be.  

To all of the freshmen who finished their first semester, to everyone on their way to get their degree, whether you are a sophomore or a senior…WE CAN DO THIS. And as always, Jesus loves us and…GO POKES.

 

 

In light of my travels tomorrow…

For eighteen years of my life I have been in a world with one week camps and sleepovers with friends. They have all ended with me returning home.  This journey is a little different.  It is camp and many sleepovers all rolled into one. Tomorrow afternoon I will leave my home for an adventure that will last about two or three months before I return home.  Tomorrow afternoon I will leave my home to travel to Laramie, WY to begin the step of life that we all call college.

The time this summer can be summed into preparing myself for this new chapter of life.  It has consisted of shopping for my dorm, working as a nanny, shopping for warmer clothes, hanging out with friends, shopping for school supplies, and going on my first date.  The first few weeks were made up of recollections of high school and graduation. The next few weeks were the lull of wondering what to do to pass the time.  The following weeks were the weeks of rushing to go to Water World and to go to the movies all to squeeze out every drop of excitement that “summer 2K15” had to offer. The last weeks consisted of tears, hugs, and a bit of laughter as I said “goodbye” to friends and family.  This past week, however, has been filled with nightmares of me forgetting things, hanging out with new college friends, and helping people load their cars as I say “see you later”.

I do not know what the next week will hold, let alone the rest of the school year.  I do know I have a picture to hang in my dorm from one of the girls I babysat. I know that my family is only a phone call away. I know my best friend and I will have our crazy Skype calls that may begin to annoy our roommates.  Above all, I woke up this morning knowing that God has me wrapped in His arms and He is ready to lead me on this journey. He has known all along which school I was going to choose, and He has known that I would be nervous and stressed out.  It was one of the greatest feelings this morning when I woke up beyond excited to be a part of the Cowboy tradition; the brown and the gold.

This drawing was drawn for me on my last day as a nanny.
This drawing was drawn for me on my last day as a nanny.

I am going to make new friends. I am going to meet new professors. I may have overpacked but, I am ready. I am going to be okay.  To all of the first year college students, you can do this and we can do this. All I have to say now is…GO POKES!

the class of 2015…

This is how you pronounce my name!
This is how you pronounce my name!

For a while now I have thought about posting something but I have not had the words to say or I have been too busy with the activities and responsibilities that come with being a senior in high school.  Recently I attended my last senior prom, my last senior IB

HL chemistry class, and a while ago I attended my last high school football game as a student and my last basketball game as a manager.  It is crazy to think that as a senior this was a year of lasts, especially since I still remember my freshman orientation day with princess crowns and cow capes.

But, here is the thing, it was also a crazy year of firsts and new beginnings.  I received my first college acceptance letter, thank you University of Wyoming.  It was the first year I was on student council with my main group of friends.  I traveled to Laramie, WY, Austin, TX, and Paris, France for the first time.  I made one of the biggest decisions of my life to attend the University of Wyoming and because of that I began to meet amazing people.  I Skyped for the first time with a future classmate and close friend.  I made a college bucket list and signed up for orientation after applying for housing.  With the pressure of things coming to an end, I can find some relief in looking forward to the future with the mindset of someone who has won an award.

This does not mean I am not scared.  But,I have learned that it is okay to be scared. Recently, I second guessed my college decision and I quickly threw together a last minute college visit, with the help of my mother of course.  I had fun and Phoenix is a wonderful place. But, I kept having this pull back towards Wyoming and I knew I needed to make a perspective change on the whole nervous thing.  I thought that because I was nervous, I had made the wrong decision and I had to come up with a new plan quickly. I am hear to say that being nervous is okay.  God makes things hard, He makes things scary, and out of that he makes things powerful.  That tied with the amazing people I am meeting before classes start in August, I am excited to start this new journey, especially since it has become so vividly obvious that I am not alone.

To the class of 2015, whether you graduate next week or in a month, we did it! I always thought that was a cliche saying, but yesterday was a slap in the face when the past four years came rushing by and I knew and truly felt that yes, we did it.  It is crazy and unsettling to think that we will all end up in different places, but God has got this and we do not need to be afraid.  But yes, we did it.  Here is to new beginnings, as well as the other things that will eventually come to an end.  It is okay that things will come to an end, it means that we are growing and learning. It also means we are prepared for the amazing adventures ahead.  Till next time 2015, we are now beginning our journey as the class of 2019.

it comes with the pain…

Pinterest: media cache
Pinterest: media cache

We have all been through things that have made us believe that it cannot get worse than it is. It has made us turn away from those we love, it also has brought us closer to those who have been there from the start.  It may have been physical pain, it may have been emotional hurt, and it may have been a combination of the two. Whatever it was, it shook us up and it broke us down.  Something that I have come to learn is, with every up there is a down. But, it goes the other way too. With every down there is an up.  In order to get back up it takes strength. It takes perseverance, and trust me when I tell you, it takes patience. At the beginning of the year I felt that God was telling me something. I felt he was telling and nudging me to keep my faith and understand that there is a plan. As the year moved on it went to remembering who I was and who my identity is. Then, everything will be ok, I cannot do anything on my own, I am loved more than I could ever understand, I need to pray and listen, I need to have courage, and now I feel that to end off the year, God is telling me to have strength.  It is as though I am His warrior that He is preparing for a war.  Yet, as I look back at all of these lessons, I am seeing that strength was something that I needed to gain and focus on in order to successfully understand the other lessons.  Many things this year have brought me to my knees in prayer, and Christmas has not even come yet so the year cannot be finished.  My motto at one point was “in the end everything will be ok”. This means that despite the lowest of the moments, eventually things will be ok and I need to have strength to remind myself of this small seven word principle.  When I started allowing myself to give in and say “I cannot do this on my own”, I felt the weight of the world lifted off my shoulders. A lot of times I would keep things to myself and just assume that they would go away if I did not focus on them.  I am here to say that this ideology was not a good one. Something I had to learn through this was that true strength comes from admitting, sometimes in tears, that something is wrong and you need help to fix it or get through it.  Whether it was to God, or it was to a friend, in the end things were resolved and I was able to have a clear head when helping those around me. There are people out there who love you. There is a God who loves you!! I hope that who ever reads this understands that I am being honest when I say that sometimes things are hard and it sucks and it hurts. But, I am also saying that out of it you will get stronger. Sometimes in order to come out stronger you need to be broken down and submit everything.  Also, you are not alone.

1 Peter 5:9 says Stand firm against Him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.”

This past weekend I told myself that my friends and family sometimes need to be the pillars to lean against, but the foundation that we are all standing on is our faith in and our love for Jesus Christ.  Strength can come from lifting weights or running a mile everyday. Strength can also come with the pain and the suffering. You can do it! You can stick with it! Just remember what goes down must come up! Remember you are loved, and remember that no matter what you are no alone!

Let me explain my RELATIONSHIP with the Father…

 

 

mudpreacher
mudpreacher

As people today participate in activities to honor their father, I begin to think about my Father God in Heaven.  Lately, I have been working on finding the line between a relationship with my Father and a religion.  When I think about it, a conversation about my faith is much easily started with let me tell you about my Father, and not let me show you a list of things that I can and cannot do.  So, let me introduce you to my glorious Father!  I have known who He is for as long as I can remember.  But, I can honestly say that I did not truly begin knowing Him until about three years ago.  Knowing who someone is makes it distant, but knowing someone makes it personal and makes it a relationship worth holding onto.  In my relationship I talk to Him just like any other friend or family member.  I may do this in the form of a journal or through words while on my knees, but I like to believe that either way He can hear me.  I talk to Him about my day, what I liked and what I disliked.  I talk about my wishes and my dreams.  I even confess what I did wrong and ask for forgiveness, even though I know I have already been forgiven through the blood of His son. In this relationship, I write letters.  I enjoy letters both writing them and receiving them.  I write Him letters in a journal.  I may not receive actual hand written letters addressed to “Kyra Lukens” but sometimes when I am walking alone I notice things like single beautiful flowers and to me that is God’s way of writing me back.

I saw this flower all by itself just among the dying grass and I felt that God was saying "I am the one and ONLY God, the greatest of them all, when compaired to others they fall dying and lifeless, and you my child are going to have to stand alone sometimes when no one else believes, but I promise to make you the most beautiful of them all"...it is tough to stand alone sometimes, but God will make it all worth it
I saw this flower all by itself just among the dying grass and I felt that God was saying “I am the one and ONLY God, the greatest of them all, when compared to others they fall dying and lifeless, and you my child are going to have to stand alone sometimes when no one else believes, but I promise to make you the most beautiful of them all”…it is tough to stand alone sometimes, but God will make it all worth it.

He comforts me when I am scared.  I have been through some things this past year and I would not have been able to do it without Him.  I can go and look at the stars and I feel like I am being hugged and I know some who feel that when they fall asleep talking to Him.  He knows when I need to smile and somehow He makes it so something steps into my path and makes me smile on a bad day.  Just like any relationship, there can sometimes be trust issues or a feeling of absence.  I need to trust that He has a plan for me that is far better than I could ever imagine.  It will not be easy but at the end of the day somehow I know that He has got this and I do not need to worry about it.  That is the other thing that is cool about my relationship.  I do not have to worry about anything.  I am going to be a senior in high school and sometimes the thought of the future starts to close in on me.  But I do not need to let that happen.  I can easily say “God take this, take it away from me because I do not want it anymore!” That is when the seemingly impossible happens.  I feel at peace, yes it is true.  I feel completely 100% at peace.  He is like a super hero, but a bigger and better super hero, more than I could ever hope for or imagine.  Now, some automatically think about the list of do’s and don’t’s when asked about what religion is.  But with my relationship I see them as things God does and does not like.  I mean we all have those things that make us sad or angry and God does too.  Here is the thing, I mess up, I have messed up and the sorry truth is that I will mess up in the future.  But this leads into my last point for today.  God sent His son Jesus to die on the cross, and because of that it does not matter how many times I screw up, He still loves me and has forgiven me.  Through this relationship I have begun to learn what unconditional love is.  I myself am trying unconditional love with not only Him but the many many people around me.  So all I have to say now  is Happy Fathers day to the many many parents out there who deserve it.  And, a BIG Happy Fathers Day to my DADDY God in Heaven, my most important relationship of them all.

 

pure beauty…

Picture Credit - Colleen Briggs
Photo Credit – Colleen Briggs

“You are all together beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way.” Song of Songs 4:7

These days, unfortunately, when people think about beauty and what is beautiful, things like magazines and the latest fashions come to mind. I admit that when I am wondering what I should do in order to be beautiful, I consult my local Pinterest account, or I have watched YouTube tutorials in order to perfect a hair-do.  While those may be useful tools, I should be using and consulting my Bible to see that God has made me beautiful in His image. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)  It is not always easy.  I remember for Prom season a few weeks ago, I was more worried about my hair and what I should do for a dress rather than what the dance was going to look like or how much fun I was going to have.  The thing is, is that no matter what I was going to look like for Prom, God saw me, and still see’s me as beautiful, which for right now is all I need to keep reminding myself of.  A few days ago I did not wear make-up all day.  I was nervous at first because it has been a routine and I was scared that people would look at me funny or ask why I looked different.  I did it because I felt like that night before God was saying I have a challenge for you.  I DO NOT REGRET THE DECISION I MADE.  While it was tempting to do my normal morning routine, because I had friends over and they were doing theirs, I knew that I wanted to see if anyone would do anything. To my surprise, no one said anything or looked and stared at me for longer periods of time.  It was as if people did not notice.  When now  I realize, looking back, that I am beautiful the way God made me.  Will it be hard sometimes to remember that? Yes, because I am human and I am in no way shape or form perfect.  However, it will  become easier as I begin to do simple things like that. Like no make-up for a day or two, or not caring what I put on in the morning before I go in public.  There is a line between lazy and not dressing to impress.  God makes beautiful things.  For those of you reading this here are some other versus about what the Bible says about beauty. Enjoy!

“Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourself instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.” 1 Peter 3:3-4

“He has made everything beautiful in its time.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 

” For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

 

What makes me, me??

Pinterest: Jennifer Visscher
Pinterest: Jennifer Visscher

I remember looking back to the beginning of the year, and that God had given me two words, faith and blessings.  For February and now March, I feel like my words are faith and IDENTITY.  Faith is still at the fore front, because things will happen that will make me look for those blessings, but they will also start to challenge my identity.  I think too often that these events will automatically change how others see me, thus altering my identity. There are two things wrong with this.  The first being that these events will only alter me if I allow them to.  The second being, that before I even begin to start pleasing others with who I am, I need to love myself unconditionally.  Yet, even before I learn to love myself wholly, I need to continually remind myself that I am loved unconditionally by The Man who sacrificed His life, so that I would not lose mine.  Because I am so dearly loved by Him, he becomes my identity.  I want people to look at me and see a girl who is in love with Jesus Christ, and who is loving life and living it to the fullest.  This past weekend I attended a church retreat with my best friend.  I still have that vivid memory of kneeling and worshiping and being angry for thinking that what has happened has made me this person that people are afraid to touch, or are afraid to talk to in fear of making their lives worse.  I also have the joyful memory of instantly being at peace and knowing that those events do not define who I am.  When I say instant, I mean instant.  I was mad one second and at peace the next.  I truly felt what it was like to have peace beyond understanding. It is something that I would hope and pray that everyone feels at one point.  I used to tell my story and be in tears out of fear that it would happen again, and that people would look at me differently.  Honestly, it is still hard, and sometimes I still find the need to fight back those tears, but because I know now that none of it is my identity, I am crying because it still hurts, but it is not who I am. I hope that makes sense.  I am strong, beautiful, intelligent, tall, compassionate, and a masterpiece of God’s work. I cry to let my emotions out, I put apple sauce on my pancakes, and I dislike feet.  I also do not like Chinese food or pickles on my sandwiches. My goal for this next week is to have a new fun fact about myself.  I guess I would encourage others to do the same.  This way you can show people that you are strong and are not letting the bad things get you down.  I have my quirks and my weaknesses, but I know one day God will use those for good and life will be even greater than it is now.  That my friends, is just part of what makes me, me.

 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT). 

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

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