– Ignorance Is Bliss –

Let me rant a little bit, in the most loving way…
Ignorance is NOT bliss, it is a disservice to the community that you’re involved with. There is such a thing as a stupid question and I believe the demand to understand should be placed on us if we claim to be followers of Christ. I don’t sugar coat many things other than baked goods so please, if I haven’t offended you yet, follow me until the end with this one.

We are often told to be faithful with what is in our hands and to use what we are given, the weight that carries is outstanding – but the mantle should weigh heavy with us, we live in a generation with information at our fingertips and access to a lot of work that someone else had to labor over. We are blessed and FLOODED with facts, information and ‘life hacks’, but what are we contributing to those that we do life with?

We see generations filling up universities to seek understanding on theologies, science, law, public service, and many other topics that they willingly spend days and nights to absorb. WE as the body of Christ should be adding to ourselves because WE AS THE BODY of Christ are called to give of ourselves. How can we give useful, powerful and relevant thoughts if we are hiding safely behind, “oh, I didn’t know”.

I’m not saying you need to know everything in the world but turning up to your community with something to give and something to help grow others is a great place to start.

“For ever since the creation of the world His invisible attributes,
His eternal power and divine nature,
have been clearly seen,
being understood through His workmanship
[all His creation, the wonderful things that He has made],
so that they [who fail to believe and trust in Him]
are without excuse and without defense.

For even though they knew God [as the Creator],
they did not honor Him as God or give thanks [for His wondrous creation].
On the contrary, they became worthless in their thinking
[godless, with pointless reasonings, and silly speculations],
and their foolish heart was darkened.
Claiming to be wise, they became fools,
and exchanged the glory and majesty and excellence of the immortal God
for an image [worthless idols] in the shape of mortal man
and birds and four-footed animals and reptiles…
because [by choice] they exchanged the truth of God for a lie,
and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator,
who is blessed forever! Amen.”
Romans 1:20-23; 25 (AMP)

I reckon, if a secular and broken generation can turn up and form an educated opinion about refugees, the election, war, trafficking, child soldiers, and come prepared for conversations in lectures and small group settings – we should all the more hold tightly to being an informed, dynamic, powerball of information and be a little more true to living life without excuse of unknowing. I don’t think we should be allowed that luxury.

“Go, and tell this people:
‘Keep on listening, but do not understand;
Keep on looking, but do not comprehend.’
“Make the heart of this people insensitive,
Their ears dull,
And their eyes dim,
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
Hear with their ears,
Understand with their hearts,
And return and be healed.
Isaiah 6:9-10 (AMP)

I wish I could say this sweeter but hopefully you know my heart.

Make educated decisions and share that education – not to persuade others to decide with you but to allow them a little more information to chew on and to change the environment you live in. A passionate generation is a dangerous generation if the change they are seeking is based on feelings and “well this is how we’ve always done it.” Change things for the better but know what is worse and why it is worse.
Learn to converse without judgements and learn to listen with grace.

Pray that I do the same.

Am I Hipster Yet?

My housemate Krysia and I have had coffee dates every semester since school started specifically to discuss what we are expecting for the semester coming. As well as the ‘pre-semester expectations’ that we set up we have follow up meetings to see how those expectations went. I’ve had ‘themes’ and sentences impressed on my heart for the semesters that have tied with different scriptures that have carried me through the very crazy seasons that emerge at Hillsong College.

At the end of last semester as I was thinking about what I wanted for this semester it wasn’t an opportunity or to even grow in a particular area of college or church leadership. I simply want to know G-d more this semester than I have in a while. I want to focus on the Word like I haven’t in a while and spend time learning about the Lord. The songwriting and lectures and learning curves will happen and somehow everything will get done this semester that needs to, but my desire is more Jesus and more of the Word in my heart. 

On a recent trip home for my brothers wedding I inherited my dads Nikon camera. Short of having another ‘Daddy teach me’ blog I will say that trying to figure out how to use it today has made me realise a few things:

  1. Learning new things, and more than that, learning ALL about new things involves more reaching out to people who know more than it does you trying to just guess. 
         By this I mean, I went ham on Youtube tutorials for this specific model of Nikon and watched all the things. I didn’t rely on and can’t rely on myself and my thoughts on how the camera should work in order to take the best pictures but I SHOULD research and see how people have used it and how they’ve best figured out to take those classic hipster shots that get so popular on Instagram (shameless plug). But really, learning is best done in community and I don’t see how that differs to learning about G-d. We should be discussing what passages mean to us and the best that we understand how it applies to whom it was addressed to and to us. We should be reading and researching what the scriptures are actually saying and we should be giving them a chance to say it. 
  2. Learning involves time – but the learning goes quicker if you focus your time. 
    I’m the QUEEN at multitasking… and by multitasking I mean today I did laundry, watched youtube, did make up on half my face, finished my laundry and then washed my face, straightened 1/3 of my hair before I realized I didn’t like the texture of my hair so I washed it then redid the whole thing and blogged. I also took one photo I was proud of but it was with my iPhone. I tend to get bored halfway through whatever I am doing so it sometimes takes me a while.In other, more related words, sometimes getting to know someone or something intimately involves time given up to focus JUST on that thing or person. This is more just a reminder for myself of what is required for my expectations
  3. I would love to have a number 3 because 3 points is good but I’ve really said what I wanted to.

Sometimes I don’t know why I post stuff on my blog that just belongs in my journal.

Thank you if you’ve read this – and if you will just pray that I focus and get what I’m expecting this semester. Love you all.

 

Quality, Quantity: Both and Neither

*Downtown Tulsa – Shades of Brown. Hot and fresh chai tea lattes in hand – you know, the ones that taste like Christmas if Christmas was a marshmallow. The background music is even farther away with the sounds of the kitchen staff yelling through the teatime rush and I am staring out the window trying to collect my thoughts*

Thing 1: “Whats going on Laina?”

Thing 2: “… I think sometimes my standard for myself is too high, or maybe that it’s just high enough and I don’t forgive myself well enough.” 

I’m sure from this point they break out into High School Musical-type song but I’m not songwriting today.

I was reminded again this week of my passion, which is funny enough because I continue to do what I love even when I don’t love it. I made a commitment to write every week (or every day and post once a week) and for the most part I’ve loved what it has taught me. It taught me that I CAN.

I missed two weeks ago and was frustrated with myself until last night. We had a masterclass for the Writers Guild in our creative community where Kylie Beach read to us her Letter To The Poets. Please do take a read, it’s beautiful.

As she read this letter I thought of my daily/weekly commitment and how sometimes I actually miss the mark. Sometimes I write a blog that I hate or feel isn’t my best work and I don’t want to publish it. Sometimes I post on Saturdays even though my goal is Fridays. Sometimes I post at midnight even though my goal is noon. Sometimes (only once in over a year) I actually don’t set the time out to post at all.

Occasionally though, I write a blog that I actually tell my friends in person about (with my real words) because I feel like G-d just might have put His seal of approval over it. But set aside all the good blogs, the bad ones and the ones I haven’t written to be judged yet and I still have a need inside of me to write my heart out.

“Creativity is sacred, and it is not sacred.
What we make matters enormously, and it doesn’t matter at all.
We toil alone, and we are accompanied by spirits.
We are terrified, and we are brave.
Art is a crushing chore and a wonderful privilege.
Only when we are at our most playful can divinity finally get serious with us. Make space for all these paradoxes to be equally true inside your soul, and I promise—you can make anything.
So please calm down now and get back to work, okay?
The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say yes.”
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, Elizabeth Gilbert

What we make matters enormously, and it doesn’t matter at all. I could never post again and what G-d wants to accomplish though my writing will still happen if I continue to seek Him. But, I could continue to post every week and grow, learn discipline and correct my sometimes terrible grammar. I can read articles on what makes a great blog, how to edit, study literature and use all the tags on WordPress… But at the end of the day my prayer is that if any of what I write is what you need to read – that it finds you timely. And if anything I need to learn is something that you’re creating, that you’d be brave enough to create, share and discipline yourself in your craft. I promise – you can make anything.

*I’ve never read Big Magic before but this quote was shared last night as well…
I’ve attached a link to the book on Amazon for some birthday ideas, or some random gift ideas, or some
“Happy Friday” ideas. So. That’s that.

Obsessive Compulsive Details

I recently painted a mug at one of those places where you paint a pottery item and they fire them for you to seal on your artwork. It’s a pretty nice looking mug. I’d show you but it’s also a Christmas present for someone so I can’t exactly post a picture on here because they just might read this.

In which case, they now know they are getting a mug for Christmas.

I used 9 colors for this one mug.

It had a load of details etched into the sides and even the handle, so I took my time and made it look as awesome as the person getting it for Christmas.

When I first started on painting I was excited to get to all the cool ideas I had for each groove on the cup but as 1 ½ hours passed and I was still on the final, very tedious steps to complete the cup I began to lose patience. I wondered if the effort I was putting in would be appreciated or if they’d even realize how difficult it was to keep my hand steady for as long as I did. I began to want the world to understand how careful I was with my process and I wanted recognition.

This all came out in the form of me telling my mom over and over how freaking cool the mug was.

I wonder sometimes if G-d wants us to just notice. I wonder if while He was painting the colors of the trees if He thought, “Maybe if they see how much effort I’m putting into this for them they’ll appreciate me a little bit more”. I don’t think G-d NEEDS our appreciation for all of His works, but I do think He wants to tell us something. I think He might be telling us the story of how it always works out for the good of those who love Him and who are called according to His purposes because HIS purposes have already been established and we get to step into this pre-blessed work of good. I think that in the details He might be reminding us that HE is faithful and doesn’t get impatient in completing a good work that began in you. I feel like in the details, if we notice we might see a beauty about creation that can inspire awe and wonder around the things that He does and the person that He is. I feel like maybe we could learn a thing or two about beauty.

I’m so thankful that the Creator isn’t as sidetracked as I am. I’m thankful that He IS in this for the long haul and never grows weary of the tedious tasks of correcting, comforting, reminding and loving us. He raises the sun everyday and spins the earth into seasons. He forms something out of nothing on the daily and allows the smallest of faiths to move mountains. He is a G-d of the details and I feel like when I focus myself and my mind and sometimes my camera I find Him there.

((He is beautiful and I am paying attention.

Jesus I will trust You / I know You never fail / I will trust You / the only thing I know/ is G-d You’re in control/ in every little detail You are close / I’ll never be alone / here in the unknown / the power of Your presence fills my soul

This Week The Trend…

Purely for your listening enjoyment whilst reading: Good Tunes

Probably Some Better Tunes

I have never heard this song before

What’s on my mind Facebook?

What’s going on Twitter?

It’s time to blog WordPress?

#100daycreativechallenge needs an Instagram picture?

If I’m being 100% honest there is more on my mind now that assessments are done and I’m out of the thick of college. I’m thinking about provision, I’m meditating on promises that I firmly believe G-d spoke to me. I’m already heartbroken for the ‘goodbyes’ I’ll have to say before making my way to a very joyous reunion with my family members. I’m thinking about already having to do another “see you later” with them after a very short 5 weeks fly by. I’m thinking about all the dreams I have and wondering if I’ve somehow changed enough to qualify achieving them even though I know full well that it is ABSOLUTELY by G-d’s grace that I’m even here. However, I’m still thinking about all the things I want and wondering how on earth they will all come to pass.

None of G-d’s promises make sense to me in the middle of waiting on them to happen. Maybe they make sense to you, in which case I’m so happy for you. But I’m in the waiting… and lately it’s just enough time to terrify me.

I’m not the only one though, I’ve realized that trusting is hard for more people than just me. We collectively miss what it means to operate in the peace of G-d and end up thinking about the tomorrow’s that may never come. I’m thinking about my story in coming here as I had the opportunity to tell it again today. I was brought to tears recounting the confirmation I received that I was supposed to come here. I remember telling G-d that if it was His will for me to be here it was going to have to be His bill in keeping me. I remember thinking my prayers to G-d on finding a perfect job when I felt it was time to get one. I remember an overwhelming peace that He heard all those prayers and that He sees what is best and gives it to me.

The only thing about memories is that they are only good for a moment and then you need more. 

G-d, I trust have enough but I need more. 

I guess I found out that I’m a little stressed and a lot in need of Him…

http://www.gofundme.com/storytimewithlaina

((If you feel in your heart to give I’d appreciate it; If you can pray that will mean even more.

You Aren’t Original – And It’s Ok

We are all just walking projections of everything we have ever learned, all the hurts we’ve ever experienced, whatever innocence we were born with that was protected and the built in human moral that at least half of you will believe in. There is in fact NOTHING original under the sun. Though you’d love to think that you were the first to create, write, paint, build, engineer, you actually developed those ideas off of things that you already knew. It’s like a load of those little Lego pieces all over the ground. They serve one purpose in linking together, but the combinations of the pieces snapped together that you ‘come up’ with have actually been done before.

But you are still beautiful.

You are beautiful and the way you create is unique and wonderful.

Though you are repeating news there is a new way to say the information that you have, there is another way to tell your story. People need to hear what you have to say with the tint of your perspective. The way you compile your information and regurgitate it in a personal way is what will speak to others. I think something I have figured out (or at least pretend to have figured out) is that, it’s not about what you’re saying; it’s about if you’re speaking to people.

G-d put this thought on my heart a while back and if you keep up with my Facebook author page you would have seen me say:

This was that project… To challenge you all to firstly –

  • Get over yourself.

But once you have that out of the way and realize where you get the resources you’re using to create –

  • TO CREATE

Your life and knowledge bears repeating, don’t forget that.

I asked my good friend Dalton Smith to help me out with a logo for this project, for you to share and use and challenge people in your world to share and use.

((See what I did there?))

You people inspire me!

I have a few confessions:

  1. Jaclyn Hill is a make up artist on Youtube and I follow her religiously. But only wear make up a handful of times a year
  2. I follow more blogs than I have time to read
    1. http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/
    2. http://maddiefantillo.wix.com/life-to-the-full
    3. and many many more
  3. Songwriting is the best stream in the world and I could watch people play their songs ALL day
    1. But all the chords are the same

Why do I watch YouTube videos? Why do I read? Because your story might be borrowed concepts but people with humble beginnings who love what they do is what it’s all about.

Publish – Produce – Share

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 9.09.55 AM

How beautifully convenient was it that last nights #Teamnight was all about creating and showing your work? Let me tell you. This has been on my heart for a while, do what you love to do and share! Get it out. Post your blogs, Instagram your paintings, dance and teach others your moves, use the skills you learned to teach someone else how to apply a winged eye-liner. I’m obsessed with people who love their art and share their art.

I’m challenging you to share, rip off my logo and get the people in your world to become obsessed with creating. Let’s bring our stories (that sometimes have the same message) but douse it in our language.

You aren’t original and it’s ok –

I think we create such a difficult life when we try to be the only ones who’ve thought up the next big thing.

Be creative, be you, give credit and steal.

My One Word Blog

If you were only allowed to give the world one more thing what would you have to offer?

Today’s challenge is to come up with something that you can leave because you can’t take any of it with you.

I’ve rambled on several other times about the importance of words and what power they hold so I will keep this short – if you can humor me and just think for a minute of what you feel is the best thing you can leave then I’d love to hear about it. I had previously thought of leaving you (those who read this) with the challenge to write a paragraph blog on what you’ve learned this week and if you feel like you want to do that as well you are more than welcomed to. This though is your one word. What is most important to you that you couldn’t keep just for yourself?

My One Word Blog:

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Leave a comment on Facebook or here on WordPress with your one word to leave the world.