It grows strangely dim

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Most of you who read this blog are my friends and family and for those of you that know me really well know that I have been on a roller-coaster for a majority of my life. Comparatively to most, people would say I have had an exceptionally fortunate and blessed life. However, I am was (still am in parts) an extremely stubborn girl who brought a lot of my afflictions upon myself or tried to fight my afflictions in spite.

There are things about me that only handfuls of people know, there are things that everyone knows about me, there are things that no one knows about me. Now look at yourself, you can say the same thing about yourself. It’s funny how we can be so transparent to some and so hidden from others. What factor changes that? Trust.

I have dealt with numerous amounts of trust issues and not due to any one particular event in my life or reason but it’s something that has just been a personal struggle. Maybe it was moving around when I was younger, maybe it was boyfriends, church, managers, society.. There are so many things to point fingers at and I know a lot of reasons why pointing those  fingers could be valid but in the end they aren’t. I let myself make trust an issue, I let my guard down and didn’t guard my heart or protect my vulnerability.

Even on your strongest and your BEST of days there is always something that can quickly bring you down if you aren’t careful, or that jabs at your side, or something that is nagging in your head. Often it can make you feel worn down in the sense that here you are having this great and perfect day and this one small thing compared to your awesome day has brought you down. Why does this happen? You wouldn’t immediately think to respond “trust” but lately I’ve found that, that is the only feasible answer. I am trusting too much in myself, too much in people around me and not enough in the one who created me.

Let me first say that if you would have sat me down for a conversation a year ago about any topic I wouldn’t throw spirituality at you. If you would have sat me down 8 months ago, I probably still wouldn’t have. Even 6 months ago. I made a personal decision when I was 13 years old to make Jesus my savior. I had things right for a while but when I moved back to the states I let the world get the best of me and I was stuck in a hole for a long time. I’m not saying that I lost my salvation, but I lost myself. Therefore, people know me as Erin or even sometimes as the old Erin but never as Erin who without a doubt loved Jesus. Recently I have come to my wits end and I had a rough year. Instead of reaching out for people around me, I reached up and I’ve haven’t looked back since. Since then I can’t stop talking about Him and I’m sorry if I seem “religious” or “consumed” with my beliefs but it’s like falling in love all over again. When people get in a relationship on Facebook you can tell they are falling in love because their profile picture changes, their status, their statuses, their tagged pictures, everything. No one complains about watching love unravel. I may not blast JESUS all over my Facebook or change my profile picture to a picture of him but if it seems like I talk about Him more or hang out with different people or my statuses are about Him, it’s because I’m falling in love with Him again and I don’t even notice I’m talking about Him all the time. However, I’m not ashamed and I want you to meet him too. Don’t get me wrong. I’m still Erin Gainey, I make mistakes, I still get hot headed, I still worry like an old lady and I still do stuff I shouldn’t. The difference now is that I’m working on it and I’m not consumed with my mistakes, I’m consumed with His grace. There is a long road to travel, trust me.

I will never be there girl who tells you you’re wrong, beat you over the head with my beliefs or thoughts, never will I judge you on your own convictions. Even though I know where I stand today, I have not forgotten where I stood before. I have believed in a lot of things, I have tried a lot of things, I have experienced a lot of places, a lot of lows. I have experienced a lot of highs, I’ve drowned myself in school and work, I’ve sacrificed my life to others. One of the beauty and curses of being human is the ability to never forget. Sometimes there are things and experienced you want to forget. However, if you forget them you will make the same mistakes again and you won’t learn from them. If you forget, you won’t remember why you’re thankful. If you forget your past you won’t know what  shaped you into who you are today. Therefore, I chose to not forget my past especially the one that is hidden from most because every day I have a reason to be thankful for who I am, where I am, and where I’m headed.

Going back to the topic of small things hindering you from having awesome days. I found the passage about Jesus taking care of the sparrows and how much more he loves us and how much more he will take care of us. I thought to myself, “that’s good stuff,” but I didn’t let it soak in. I read on and in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 I stumbled upon this:

“Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is UNSEEN. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

Whoa .. I don’t know about you but that just put my good OR bad day into perspective. Jesus cares about us more than the sparrows (Matthew 10:26-31), he tells us not to give up, he is renewing us day by day, He is producing glory and he is preparing us for the unseen. The more we chose to put our trust in Him and not in others, the more our perspective will change to His and our afflictions won’t seem like afflictions anymore and our purpose will seem bigger. I posted about perspective a few days ago, I’ve never believed in perspective changing your life more than I do today.

I hope that this post didn’t seem preachy or superficial or anything of the like. For those that know me, I’m not like that but this post was on my heart and I’ve just decided that I’m going to speak my heart whether it “seems like me” or not. People change everyday and it might be small or little changes but you shouldn’t be ashamed of changing or being different from who you were. Change (positive and constructive) creates diversity and creates fresh starts. Unleash your true self, your true thoughts and progressions. You never know who might just need your boldness to bring out the change in them. I’m not just speaking spiritually. IF you have become a better person or understood the better parts of life, share your insights, share your heart. Think about a time you read a story or saw a picture or heard about a person that uplifted your heart, made you think differently or appreciate something in a new way. Who’s to say your life or your story might not do the same for someone else. Be bold today.

“Wait quietly”

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Today is refreshing. No where to be, no one here, no sense of constant urgency. God gives us these days not to just let our bodies rest but also our souls, our minds, our hearts. Have you ever noticed how hard it is to relax without thinking you’re supposed to be doing something or maybe you’re forgetting something? This is my life story. I constantly am running through my mind a check list trying to figure out where I’m dropping the ball. Today is different. 

Immediately when I woke up I closed my eyes and opened them again hoping I would wake up in Seattle. This sounds silly to you I know, but it sounds even more silly to me. I know this is somewhere my heart has been guided to but why is it such a strong desire RIGHT now and on my heart THIS morning? Almost a burden it seems like. As much as it doesn’t seem, I am an in-visionary and recently all I can do is think about who I’ll meet, where I’ll be, what will I look like, what will my surroundings look like, what will my day to day be like, how will my heart feel? Is this right? So many boggling questions all at once can make a girl cry even on the happiest of days. 

I read this morning some of the most love written and focus capturing verses that I wanted to share so urgently. Lamentations 3:22-27

“Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness! I say: The Lord is my portion, therefore I will put my hope in Him. The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him, It is good to wait quietly for deliverance from the Lord. It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is still young.” 

My running thoughts and questions were quickly hushed and the excitement took stage. There are so many exciting things in my future that I am just incredibly at awe at what God is about to do. No glory is mine, for I am a weak vessel that God has chosen to put back together and use. I am stoked for this next adventure. My biggest goal now is to not wish my time away from where I am right now. 

FIND YOURSELF. FIND YOUR FUTURE. FIND YOUR PURPOSE.

Abundant Grace

I don’t mean to be that blogger that blogs every day about everything that happens in my life but today is something I want to look back on and thank God for. I have been STRESSED beyond my max this semester but instead of trying to do it all on my own I have let God in the picture. I have let my stubborn guard down and realized the strength I thought I have only goes so far. I have put my faith stronger in Christ this past semester and He has shown me so many amazing things and so much needed control.

I am taking 6 upper level management classes and a creative inquiry class so 19 hours. I am still working 25-30 hours a week and getting ready for the future and graduating is enough on it’s own. I personally think that since we’re paying so much money for this education we should have a personal assistant because the amount of paper work and “go here and sign this” is out of control. I thought about putting up a flyer to hire someone .. but I don’t even have the time to do that 😉

Oh yes, this semester.. it has been out of control. I have been pushed in so many directions and in so many parts of my life that I didn’t think I could be pushed anymore. God whispers his promises in my ear and holds my hand when I fall down. One class in particular has been just flat out kicking my butt and I feel defeated before I walk in the class every day. Thankfully my professor is my adviser but he is also the dean of the department and all of my other professors fear him. I think he’s the cutest little man and I don’t think he has had someone feel comfortable around him in a long time. I don’t usually have fear of anyone and I like to think I get along with most. I have made him my friend in this process and it was even over a cup of coffee that I made him the second day of school when he came in on my shift before his class. Even though he is a very serious, hard man I have found him smiling a few times and he has actually helped me put material into perspective by relating it to Starbucks.As much as I feel comfortable with my professor and his teaching skills, I am highly uncomfortable with his tests. The last average was a 52 if that tells you anything. As a management major we must have a C in this class. My last test brought me to a D, or so I thought. I have been praying and stressing and crying over this class. All hope lost and already planning on another semester or class in the summer I went to him one more time today. After looking at my grades again and reviewing my scores he realized that I have a C in the class and that if I do well on my final exam I can make a B in the class. Immediately I started crying and I literally jumped in his office with joy, I had the secretaries starring, and I had him a little startled but he cracked a smile. I think I reminded him of why he loves to teach just as much as I reminded myself that God has it all under control. His timing is perfect timing. This was one of my biggest reliefs, everything seems to be falling into place.

I had one more worry on my mind. My brother. My parents called me Tuesday saying that my brother had a cyst on the back of his ear and they took him to a doctor who said it was most likely benign but they would have the results soon. No one wants to get that phone call or even that thought in your head. My heart sank and I almost threw the phone when my mom told me. I had just spent all Saturday with my little brother and felt like I had completely taken advantage of our time together. Right after talking to my professor I called both of my parents with joy and excitement and they told me they were going to see a friend of ours tonight who is a general surgeon about Garrett. After I got off work I had a text message saying “hallelujah he does not have a benign cyst or a cyst, it’s a swollen lymph-node that will reduce over time.” Not only did God show out and answer one of my biggest prayers today or answer two prayers in one week, He answered two prayers in one DAY, in one NIGHT. He is the ultimate healer, the ultimate provider, the ultimate care taker. I’ve been through a lot in my short span of life, seen a lot, experienced a lot and it’s funny how the small things in life or what may comparably seem small is what makes the difference and removes the scales from your eyes. IN CHRIST ALONE.

Don’t be afraid to believe. I once was and now I’m afraid to not believe.

With all my love,

EKG

Aside

Perspective.

Today has been a thought rendering day all day long. I’ve been awake since 4:15 and my mind is still going; how exhausting. However, I’m so thankful God put this in my direction, in my path for today and especially before the next two weeks cram with endless hours of stress and studies. Even if your life isn’t comparable with school and exams coming up, you can’t deny the constant feel of pressure, deadlines, and hopeless thoughts of where to start. Stick with me, maybe you’ll feel a little lighter after I explain to you where my mind has been today.

Perspective. What an underestimated word. People say “put things in perspective” or “it’s all about your perspective on [it].” but what does that really mean? Do we really let our minds understand the true meaning of perspective? No, we take that response or statement and apply it to our lives as “be thankful for where you’ve made it to, work harder.” This might not be a bad thought process but I wouldn’t say it is necessarily the one that your heart is leaning towards.

We are so engrossed in our society and the “norms” of what we are to be doing with our lives and where we are to be going. I would really like to sit down with the person who started all of that nonsense mindset of things but guess what… we are all to blame. We are born with free will but how many of us often take that free will and see it to it’s potential and how many of us acknowledge our free will but continue to follow the flock headed down a one way street. We are subconsciously followers and as independent as we think we are, we are far from it.

I woke up every morning with a two sided battle that has cursed me for years. There is about 49.99% of me that follows the norms, wants to compete against society to be successful, work hard, do what it takes, and take responsibility for my future. The other 49.99% of me is free willed, carefree, ready to take on a new adventure, ready to turn on a dime and never look back. Why are we faced with this ultimatum? We are faced with the ultimatum because of what society has created for us and because of the “norms” that we let control our lives without us even realizing it.

I have been trying on my own to beat this battle and chose one side or at least lean heavier towards one side so that I have a stronger focus either way. The more I dig myself into the Word and the more I open myself up to not my perspective, but Christ’s perspective I see that there is no battle to be won. This isn’t a battle I have been facing, this is a blessing. Every bit of instinct or challenge that I face every day is a blessing from above that I have to take on with a set of strong perspective goggles.

Everyone has their hard days, their coast days, their good news, their bad news, their dreams, their fears. Why are everyone’s so different? Where do these come from? They come from our perspective of the world around us and our perspective that the the world has given to us. Do you see the two choices there? You can choose to see the world as you see it or let the world tell you how you should see it. I dare you, I urge you to see the world as how YOU see it, not how it wants to be portrayed in its human manipulated and corrupt way. You will find your uttermost happiness if you change your perspective, change your entrance, change your vision.

This world was bogging me down so I got back to my adventurous side and back to my old roots of hiking and being outdoors. My perspective on a mountain top is what I want to see, not what the world tells me to see. If you have to physically find a place that can make you feel that way or offer you that mindset, make time. Time is of the essence and it’s something that you can never get back or redo so make sure that you make the time to find your place, dwell in your special place and make the initiative to change your perspective.

Start a life that is full of purpose and a life that you can find joy in your purpose. Refuse to be what the world has called you to be, or what the world thinks you should be. Find your perspective, your plan, your heart’s calling and go with it. Don’t stop until you make it. If you’re going to work hard your entire life, you my as well work hard towards something that you’re passionate about and not passive about. How do you find that plan or calling? It won’t come in the mail, it won’t come in a week, it won’t slap you in the face. If you pursue it like a romance, pursue that constant calling and be still and let your heart speak to you, you might hear the small whispers. Don’t be afraid to be pursued as well, you never know who or what is calling your heart; don’t deny it.

This is a rough challenge, this is an open-ended challenge but here are some words of wisdom that got me started and guided me and took me by the hand to my passion:

1 Peter 5:7

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the PROPER time, casting all your care on Him, because He cares for you.

You’re not alone.

With all of my love,

EKG

That time of year …

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It’s that time of year. The holidays. When the holidays are over every year I wait around throughout the seasons just for the holidays to return. I love them, I can’t get enough, I’m not ashamed and I’m happiest when celebrating the holidays! People tend to either do two things: slow down and realize the meaning of the holidays and what’s important or join the hustle and bustle and miss the big picture completely. I used to be in the hustle and bustle crowd until I got smacked in the face with reality and the true meaning of the holidays. Ever since then I have seen them in a new light (no pun intended) and made them even more special and dear to me.

Everyone seems so upset and shocked when they ask me what my Thanksgiving plans are and I say “working, most likely.” I don’t know why people take it so offensively because honestly the people who act shocked the most are the same people who will be waking up at 10 am on Thanksgiving morning thinking “I need Starbucks” and therefore…that is why I am working on Thanksgiving. I have been doing it now for about 4 years I guess. I’m not that opposed. I am very thankful and I love spending time with my family but Thanksgiving has never been a HUGE celebration in my family. Christmas is more intimate and special in my family.

This year I was reminded of why I love the holidays at Starbucks and why I don’t mind working these shifts (not to mention the time and a half pay). Some people may know that one of my best friends brother took his life this past July and it has been a long hard road for that family and every life that Michael touched. It was a shock to the world and loosing someone so dear so quick is something that can’t ever be understood and will be something we will never forget or “get over.” It is a daily reminder to cherish who you have in your life and where you are in life. Michael was a beautiful soul full of life and passion for people and one of the most genuine people I’ve ever met. One thing I knew is that Michael LOVED his family and family was his core. This is the first thanksgiving that my friend had to deal without her brother, without her sidekick.

As I went to work on Thanksgiving I knew my daddy was hunting, my mama was cooking, my brother was hanging out or with his girl. My brother…. then I thought of Katie and how she was alone. My heart grieved for her and I just wanted to be there for her. Do you ever just wish you could be two people and be in two different places at once? All the time. My other half is usually in New York.

Business was busy as usual and we were closing early at 4:00 on Thursday. With that in mind, although I love my job, I was ready to close the place down and drive an hour home. Around 3:45 we had a hugeeee spurt of people coming in for their last minute coffee. Aha, that’s why we had so many phone calls asking when we closed. I swear Apple was our enemy Thursday because everyone’s iPhone was set with an alarm at 3:45 “GO GET STARBUCKS” …That’s okay, I reminded myself I am grateful for my job. Recently we just started labeling cups again (which I love) and I took the name for the last customer I served in the lobby and what was his name? Michael. I looked up and felt the quick sting of tears in my eyes and thought..Michael, how ironic. Immediately I was struck with his love for people, his selfless heart, his humble spirit. I told myself I would make it my goal to treat everyone else on that Thursday the way Michael (Mikey) always did. We had a continuous flow and had to tell people we were closing. We gave the 10 minute rule and served as many people as we could. Everyone was leaving and the cars stopped coming except for one last car. We had already locked the doors but I motioned for them to come through the drive-thru. Quickly forgetting my promise to myself I huffed thinking “my goodness there is a sign on the door!” We made the drink, took their money and when I handed out their drink I said “Hope you have a happy Thanksgiving” and they said “We will, thank you so much for taking our order. This is our first holidays without our sister and we just needed to get out of the house.”

You cannot tell me that is coincidence. Without giving them explanation or telling my co-workers what had just happened I teared up, waved them bye and closed the sliding window. “IS THAT REAL LIFE??” I thought to myself. I honestly couldn’t react because I didn’t know how. Michael showed up in spirit on Thanksgiving and reminded the world, at least my world, to be a humble spirit, love others as your own and be selfless.

Instead of gathering around the newspapers looking for the best deals or watching TV all day I was blessed with such a sweet experience. It’s amazing the things of life that you can realize in such a small coffee shop in such a short period of time. My heart drove home to mama, daddy and Garrett with a full, thankful heart and a humble spirit.

 

With all my love,

EKG

Painting pictures

When I lived overseas as a younger girl I resorted to online blogs and chatting with friends for my social interaction. I went back and read my blogs and realized how much you can forget in such a short time. I noticed by reading my old blogs how beautiful words can be and how much of a picture they can draw in your mind. These pages are open canvases to create a drawing for my mind as it ages and I start to slowly forget things that I once found important. I am by no means a writer but hopefully through this blog I will find a little about myself, share a little of my heart and one day be able to look back and say “I remember that time…”

This past week I have had a heart full of anxiety about the idea of graduating, moving across the country alone, finding a job that suits me best, being happy in a foreign area I’ve never seen before. Luckily, I’ve been through this experience before but I had my family with me. This time is different. I began to feel the burden of loneliness and the burden of who will I live with, who will I go on this adventure with. I let go of this anxiety and decided to focus on the present and the steps I have to take to get there. My battery hit 9% on my phone and my best friend texted me who is in Brooklyn and asked me how I was doing. I told her well but exhausted and ready to get this test over with on Monday. She told me I have been on her mind and she has been thinking about what to do after Americore. I asked her what she meant and why she was stressed (considering she has 6 more months). She told me the most beautiful words I think I could have imagined. She told me she really wants to move out to Washington and start this adventure with me. Immediately my eyes teared up, chills took over my body and I am just at a loss for words. One of my best friends growing up wants to start this adventure with me. We have been best friends living with a distance for so many years and we still remain close. This was such an awesome answer to prayers. We are both very ambitious, strong-willed and adventurous single girls so the idea of this adventure together is incredible! If all works out and this is the path for the both of us then how great will it be to look back 50 years from now and tell my kids and grandkids “about that one time in Washington…”

For now I will work hard and diligently as ever to work towards my goals and pray for opportunities to open up and doors to close that aren’t meant to be. A new sense of motivation, confidence, and passion has been ignited. Let the adventures begin.

With all my love,

EKG