Summer Reads

Summer Reads

SUMMER. A time for frolicking on the beach, jamming at summer festivals and, you guessed it, READING! Well lucky for you people, I have read MANY great books this summer that need to hit your next reading list. See list below ↓

  • Want a ‘CANT PUT THIS BOOK DOWN’ read. Well try the Trilogy, The Selection Series. It’s very Bachelor meets Hunger Games meets the royals. What’s not to love?
  • Hitting the big screen soon: If I StayWhat would you decide to do?
  • Me Before You and The Fault in Our Stars make you fall in love with the characters in the book. (I want need a witty Augustus Waters in my life!) These books are captivating, sweet and makes you look at tragedies in life differently.
  • A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. This is actually the book I was speaking of in my past post, Peace + Freedom. In the book, Miller talk about how ‘editing’ his life for a major motion film helped him realized he wanted to live an incredible story. It’s interesting, funny and inspiring.
  • Pride and Prejudice  timeless classic. Ahhhh, Mr. Darcy 
  • READ HARRY POTTER. Need I say more? No.

Later this week: Look for upcoming book lists featuring a few of my All-Star reading friends. You may have enough books to read for the next year. Your welcome :)

Now get reading!

xx

Han

Want to be my roommate?

Want to be my roommate?

Roommates. I would like to think I am very experienced in this category. I can say this because I have lived with 20 different girls over the last 5 1/2 years (thank you 8 girl attic!). Truly, it is the best of times… shared closets, spontaneous outings, cheerful chatter… and it is the worst of times… shared closets, never alone, too much chatter... JUST KIDDING MY FRIENDS, it’s always the best of times! Roommates are simply a part of life during your late teens and twenties and you can learn valuable lessons from each experience you get. So I decided to take a stroll down roomie-lane and this is what I discovered:

YEAR 1: YOU CAN LIVE WITH YOUR BEST FRIEND FROM HIGH SCHOOL

Maybe it was just me – but living with my best friend from high school was a piece of cake. You hear those awful myths of best friends hating each other because they are confined to a box and fight all of the time – not true. Maybe it’s because we pledged different sororities OR knew how to handle each other when one decided to be a grouch (our methodignore each other) – but I loved experiencing freshman year with my high school BFF. Our year changed us individually, but never our friendship.  It allowed us to grow into who we wanted to be, but gave us a safe place to run to when things got rough. We got to experience different settings, meet new friends, and blend both worlds at the end of the day.  Moral of the story: You get to experience the new and come back to your 10×10 dorm room and have the greatest familiar face to share it with. Hal, you rule!

YEAR 2: SOMETIMES YA GOTTA LAUGH IT OFF

Fun Fact: When you pledge Chi Omega at the University of Arkansas, you don’t get to choose your roommates when you live in house Sophomore Year. Now to be honest – it was SUPER scary to sit back waiting for them to draw your name out of hat to determine your living assignment for the next semester; however, I think one of my greatest lessons was learned from this year: YOU GOTTA GO WITH THE FLO. Like I said, first semester I lived in a room with one other girl and it was chill and easy going. Second semester, I lived in a room with 7 other girls. Yes, you heard me – SEVEN. When you live in a room like this you deal with the occasional: lamp on till 3 in the morning, snores from across the bunk, people coming in after a long night, and clothes EVERYWHERE. But like I said – to surviveyou learn to go with the flow. I cherish little things I learned about those 7 girls that year: a Reese’s cup can make any hurt go away, Rice Cakes and Peanut Butter make an interesting snack, chunk a pillow at a girls head and she will stop snoring, and 8 girls CAN survive happily in one room… sometimes you just have to laugh off the bad to get to the good stuff.

YEAR 3: YOU CAN FIND THE CHANDLER TO YOUR JOEY

F.R.I.E.N.D.S., it was a common theme around our room that year. Not only did we watch it 24/7, but I also found the Chandler to my Joey. We laughed, we cried, we did not play Foosball (if only we could have fit that in our room!!!) – but we did eat a lot. Looking back, I think most of the things I love today come from that year: 80’s music, corn dogs and quality friendship. Junior year, I discovered a good friend/roommate is always loyal. When living with a roommate, you get to see all sides: the good, the bad and the extremely ugly. Each person handles life differently from one another, and Sarah showed me what it looked like to love and encourage someone through it all (even if they are being a giant pill.. eek!) Staying loyal to a roommate is key. And at the end of the day if life beats you too rough, just stick with what F.R.I.E.N.D.S. taught us – order a pizza, relax in a comfortable seat and just enjoy the person next to ya. You can’t lose with a good friend by your side.

YEAR 4: EMBRACE THE UNIQUENESS OF THE SITUATION

I think one of my favorite years of life will be my senior year. It was so new and hilarious to me. First time to live in a house without a meal plan. First time experiencing bills and landlords and creepy neighbors. First time a different person slept on my couch each week. First time realizing that we could host awesome function pre-partys. And looking back, I realized that is the last “first times” for all of those things, and I am so glad we did it all. Senior year, I learned to embrace the uniqueness of the situation. I lived with 3 girls who I thought I knew up and down, yet the year showed me how unique we were from each other (in a good way!) We embraced the laid-back personalities and just watched movies; we embraced the spontaneous personalities and made up random kitchen games. We embraced that our house was close to campus/Dickson and different friends would be sleeping on our couches each week; we embraced leaky floors, spiders and snakes, and even sharing 1 bathroom. WHY?! Because we were never going to be in an incredibly amazing, hilarious situation like that again. So that’s what we did. We embraced each other, the house and all the glorious extras that came with it — and WOW what an incredible year it gave us in return.

YEAR 5: A TIME TO GROW

Finishing college is rough. Friends leave, expectations come and, honestly, most people just don’t know what they heck they want to do – at least I didn’t! You have to go from living the free and easy college life to transitioning to, as my dad says, the real world (cue a girl siting at her cubicle in a horrible suit, hating life and has no time for fun – NOT ME! NEVAAAA!) But really, the year can be tough, and the best way to go through it is to have roommates to grow with. I can look at last year and see how we had to support each other during the changes, but I think James 1:2-4 sums it up best, Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.  So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way” (The Message). I can consider it joy that I was able to grow and be challenged with my roommates encouraging me at my side. Our faith was strengthened, our character sharpened and our lives were prioritized. “As iron sharpens iron…” <– thats what it’s about people. 

YEAR 6: LIVE FULLY, LIVE WITH INTENTION

I was in need of a change. I wasn’t leaving Fayetteville, so I decided I wanted to live with girls I didn’t really know well. Afraid of leaving the comfortable, I went for it anyway. And three months in  – WOW, God showed me what he could do when I trust Him. He set me up to live in the most perfect house and room with two girls, twins may I add, that are real go-getters (‘How to Live with Twins’.. it needs a blog post on it’s own! ha). When they want to do something, well by-golly, they will do it. And it has me wanting to do it all, too! In the last 3 months, we have started dinner club, book club, and thrown two movie-on-the-lawn parties. We are relearning Spanish, experimenting with cooking, and running 5ks and kayaking rivers. We bike, we bible study, we craft, we run. We have bucket lists and plans to check them all. I have learned to put aside the should-haves and could-haves and simply do what I have been wanting to do, today. Together we are realizing to live fully, we have to live with intention. And I promise ya, this is the best way to live.

So go high five your roomies and enjoy the days to come. They are sure to be great days.

xx

Han



ROOMIE 
ROLL-CALL

YEAR 1: HAL (suite mates: Lynz and Jana)

Year 2: Olivia Sheppard, Tess Smrt, Claire Meadors, Cymber Browder, Olivia Lensing, Nicole Jackson, Megan Johnson, and Jesse Clark. Honorary, Sara Simpson.         (Basically – all of Chi Omega)

Year 3: Chandler to my Joey – Sarah Holland

Year 4: The Dub Club aka SAS, Marge & Lizard

Year 5: Timeless – Bear & Liz

IMG_5593

Year 6: The Lizard Pad – MB and Mad Farrish

Peace + Freedom

Peace + Freedom

So I will be honest. I have been stuck. 2 months long stuck. Like I said in my Joy post, I have been going through my Fruits-of-the-Spirit voyage and Peace had me lost in the ocean. I knew many things of peace – to trust, to rest, to be content – but I could feel there was another kind that I was not grasping, something the Lord wanted me to learn. John 8:32 says, “… and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” And two months later, He showed me…

Peace means to be free.

Free. Free from fear. Free from guilt. Free from anxiety. Free from sadness. I could never fully grasp peace because I wasn’t allowing myself to be free from things that took it from me. It blows me away that once my eyes opened to this reality, Jesus would continue to teach me about this freedom in so many different ways. In life we have situations and conflicts arise that makes us always battle peace. We have anxiety over our career path.  We have loneliness in our lack of relationships. We have sadness with death. We have guilt over something we did or didn’t do. It seems as if the battle of peace is always waging war within ourselves.

Galatians 5:1 says, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”

Christ has set us free. We do not have to choose anxiety, loneliness, fear or any of these things that shackle us to Satan’s door. We are free in Christ. 

You see, I have known this for a while, but I would still adhere myself to a set of rules that I thought brought glory to the Lord. I thought, if I am doing this right – then Jesus knows that I want to follow Him. Yes we are to obey the teachings of Jesus, but lately I have seen there is so much freedom in walking with the Spirit. This week, church posed this question – are we trying to obey rules or are we pursuing a real relationship with God? Christ did not come to give us a rule book, He came to set us free (To him who has loved us and freed us from our sins by His blood. – Revelation 1:5) He has freed us. He came so he could know us and we know him in return. I don’t want to turn my relationship with Jesus into a puzzle difficult to solve – I want to live in freedom and pursue a relationship with Him intimately.

However, I am a sinner. I have to always be watchful. In 1 Peter, Paul warns us that we are a free people, but we are not to use it for evil – but to be servants of the Lord. THIS is what scares me. Jesus tells me to be content, but then why does my heart keep telling me to change directions? Jesus asks me to be still and wait, then why isn’t he moving or taking desires away?  As a girl, I already have a tendency to over think most situations. Then add in what the Bible tells us and the decisions get even weightier. Let me be real – being a Christian isn’t easy. Is it 1000% totally worth knowing and living for the Lord? Absolutely. But it is not easy. As a believer, we truly want to be servants of the Lord, but what does that even look like as followers of Jesus?

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” – 2 Corinthains 3:17

Now don’t quote me on this. I do not always have the right answers, but this is what the Lord has been teaching me. Everyday I have to choose Jesus. I have to wake up and choose to walk with the Spirit. Choose to be at peace with where He leads. Choose to trust Him. I know this is not a walk in the park – believe me, I sometimes want the big flashing sign stating every step of life just like you do. But if that were the case, why would we even need Jesus?

Walking with the Spirit can be exhilarating.

It allows us to communicate with Jesus daily and gives us surprises in our life. I know half of my great experiences wouldn’t have happened had I known to race towards the “next big thing.” I would have never taken that job. I would have never stepped into my first relationship. And yet those experiences have taught me more about the Lord and myself than I could have ever dreamt up in any of my plans. 

We can choose to be at peace in walking with the Spirit, not knowing what’s going to happen, but knowing great results will come when you follow Him.

I have been reading a book by Donald Miller that has given me a glimpse of this freedom in Christ. I want this – I want to live a great story with God – one that allows me to be at peace when I am working at home to peace when I am making an impromptu trip to visit friends. I love how Miller said it, “I have hope that God specifically wrote you and me into our story, as though He is to say ‘Enjoy your place in my story. The beauty of it means you matter, and you can create within it even as I have created you.'” The awesome thing is, as believers, we are free to create within our lives.

Romans 8 tells us, those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on things of the Spirit… which brings life and peace. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For we did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall into fear, but we have received the Spirit of adoption as sons… We are children of God” (my paraphrase version).

When we are walking with the Spirit, our minds should be on Him. We shouldn’t be questioning whether our decisions are with Christ. CHRIST LIVES WITHIN US. I don’t want to choose a spirit of slavery that over analyzes and complicates life to numbers and rules, I want to choose a Spirit as a son, whom Christ has given freedom to live FULLY. When I’m old and gray, I want to know I lived a relationship of love with the Lord – not a relationship with a rulebook.

Moral of the story… Choose peace, not shackles of doubt or fear that aren’t and will never be rooted in Christ. We are to obey Christ, but more than that, we are to pursue Christ. God wants to know us. He doesn’t care if we are the best rule followers. He wants our hearts and He wants us to want His in the same way. 

Christ has set us free. And I have great peace in that. 

xx

Hannah