Autumn Musings; Followed by Music, Life, & New Goals!

Hello everyone! I hope you’re all doing well! What are your future plans; special days, special get-togethers with others, and activities you’re stoked to try? Let me know below, friends!

The end of summer has filled the beginning of autumn with a flurry of preparations! For some reason, our family has been super busy this autumn, so school had to take to the back burner for a couple weeks; although, for a couple days, I managed to get done quite a bit before the busy part of fall!

Autumn is such a gorgeous season; especially in the Pinterest photos! 😉 I only wish that my backyard could always contain the idyllic autumn-themed black iron-wrought lamp-posts, red brick walls, orange and yellow and red and burnished umber leaves, and pumpkin arrangements among the burlap and twinkling fairy lights! Out in nature, the autumn is majestic – the bright colors speak for themselves without a pruner or gardener to maintain during its short-lived flight towards winter’s approach.

Autumn may be able to share its glory with us without much effort – the season does the work for us! But what about when the transformation requires a bit more dirty work?

Take home improvement and upkeep, for example. Washing windows, scraping off peeling paint, and making repairs are all part of maintaining a house in condition to weather the approaching seasons. When finished, the work is beautiful. It’s noticeably so much better than before.

Photo by Artem Saranin on Pexels.com

What about ourselves? Are you feeling confident in your ability to “get back into the swing” again? Or has school and academic pressure overwhelmed you like a sudden tsunami? Maybe you’re disappointed in yourself for how much you seem to have “lost touch” with your school routine, or feel sad to be “behind” in school, even if nobody else cares.

But don’t be discouraged. Yes, we’ve fallen, slipping as we attempt to scramble up the slope of our own expectations. Yes, we’ve failed, though it may be ever so minute, or seem so to others from the outside looking in. Yes, although nobody really knows how you feel or how much you’ve beat yourself up over your apparent shortcomings; there is hope.

A little bit of trimming here, a splash of paint and a dab of water to wipe clean the little stains, a whole lot of good honest effort; and you’ll get it again. Your habits and abilities will come back. You can do it.

We can “autumn clean” for the school year, pick up these responsibilities, and honor God through it all. Don’t give up; it should be an honor to work hard for the King.

“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.”

~ Colossians 3:23-24, NKJV

In this beautiful and fresh season of autumn, I want to encourage you all to take a deep breath. Exhale. Close your eyes. Take a sip of water. Glorify God with the breaths you take of the Breath He gave you. And don’t sweat the pressure, because that’s exactly where your enemies want you. Take care of yourself, friend! Enjoy the opportunities, even if they’re stressful. Instead of falling into temptations or time-wasters, find an accountability partner *ahem .. parent* to keep you steady and on track with your school, especially if you’re homeschooled and self-taught. And instead of worrying about your grades or that tough assignment, laugh in the face of those who think you can’t do it. Eat tough assignments for breakfast. In the colloquial sense, of course. 🤣

I just want to encourage you that no matter how behind, how inadequate, how dumb or busy you feel, YOU. CAN. DO. IT!

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

~ Philippians 4:13, NKJV

Because my life is so interesting (bows to my fans), I’ve put together a list of some of my recent favorites in a short attempt at reconciliation for being gone from the blog for so long! I hope you all enjoy the following thoughts and short bursts of hilarity from my recent life!

Moments:

  • Getting told I’m a blonde, getting asked if I’ve ever heard of blonde jokes, and then getting laughed at when I said I’d never understood them. XD
  • Stealing a friend’s whistle on a backpacking trip, and leaving clues around our campsite for him to find!
  • My mom and I talking about how tired we both were, then her telling me the only difference between her and I was that I stunk! (Background: I had just returned from the said backpacking trip in the previous bullet point. So yes; stinky teenager. XD)
  • Some great conversations and personal realizations. Tough times make for tough people. 💪
  • Making coconut flour cookies, a recipe of my own design, and getting the shock of my life when my Dad, the pickiest culinary expert in our house, told me they were good!

Music

My friend Laurel Jean at laurel-jean.com just made a music swap post that was so fun I thought I’d share my many recent favorites in a post of my own! I hope you all enjoy listening to my recommendations – they’re all perfectly clean and family friendly! (I haven’t listened to all recently, but they’re all dearly beloved by yours truly!) Please forgive the repetitiveness of the artists … I know, I’m stuck in the genre of Christian pop! 🤣 If you have a favorite song that gets you really bubbly and energetic, let me know! 😉

  • “Dead Man Walking”, Jeremy Camp
  • “Control”, For King and Country (Somehow, this one always makes it onto my list of favorites! XD)
  • “Healing”, Riley Clemmons
  • “Until Grace”, Tauren Wells
  • “Defender”, Jeremy Camp (SOOOO GOOOOD!!!)
  • “This Could Change Everything”, Francesca Battistelli
  • “Known”, Tauren Wells
  • “Godsend”, Riley Clemmons
  • “God’s Not Done With You”, Tauren Wells

Favorite posts:

Goals for Autumn (and the new school year!)

  • Go hiking
  • Bake a pie
  • Begin school – which I’ve already done!!!! (Come on! I know it IS stressful, but surely I’m not the only one who’s excited!! 🤣)
  • Watch some OLD movies as school assignments … should be fun!
  • Spend as much time outside as I can!
  • Listen to great music while driving (The best combo ever! 👏)

Well, guys, I’m swamped with such amazing blog post ideas but not enough time to write them! About seven pretty cool drafts sit unfinished and unedited in my drafts box, waiting for a time when I and my proofreader are a little less busy! 😅 I’ve received some great encouragement that’s helped me to feel wanted on the blogosphere, by some sweet friends! I hope y’all will forgive me, and thank you to all who have chatted with me during my absence!

I hope you are all doing well, and, as I said at the beginning of the post, please feel free to let me know what you’re up to! And what – tell me, do – what is your favorite fall baking recipe? (By the way, my proofreader *ahem, AKA my mom* wants to know what y’all’s favorite pumpkin recipe is! 🤣) Have a great week!

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Goals and Habits … Is it God’s Will?

Over the month of December and early January, I’d been making personal goals and accomplishing them, and here’s what I’ve learned; It feels really good. It feels good to do things, and do them well. It’s empowering to feel strong, smart, talented, and organized. And for someone who’s love language is ‘words of affirmation’, having people affirm my efforts and tell me I’m wonderful makes my heart burst with joy!

However … is it really me?

Are my brains, my strength, my talents … are they really mine? Can I crush whatever goal I have simply because I’m determined and motivated? Does health mean everything? Is my body mine, to use however I want?

And I had to concede … the answer is no.

No, my brains and strength and talent is not mine – it’s YHVH’s, that He gave to me to use for His glory. No, my own determination and motivation only goes so far – it’s YHVH who breathes life and energy into me to enable me to work hard in life. And I can’t get anywhere on my own strength – It’s YHVH I need to lean on, trust in, to help me in distress and hard times.


However, even though we know that we should take this step, how do we do it? How can we smack back our bad habits of trusting in ourselves, of making goals that take YHVH out of the picture? Habits are hard to break – especially bad ones.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. But because my target is youth audiences, I’ll give you some things to think about …

  • Are your goals focused on an end goal of being God-oriented, others-oriented, or self-oriented?
  • Are you involving your parents, other family, and close friends in your dreams, goals, friendships, and the desires of your heart?
  • Are you praying over all your struggles? (Emotional, physical, mental, spiritual, relational?)
  • Are you working so hard at your goals that you don’t have time to do things you’re passionate about, or things that help others?
  • Are you giving God the glory, if only just in the quiet of your own prayer time?

A habit isn’t broken by mental assent. You’ve got to discover something that resonates in your soul – something that means something to you. For me, my “soul resonating” comes when I’m trying to act in trust in YHVH’s Will for my life. I’m coming to the realization that YHVH’s plan is the only plan I want. Any other plan will fail to satisfy.

So please don’t expect a lifestyle switch to be easy. It isn’t.

But please DO expect it to mold you, and change you. Of course, if you’re afraid of change (like I am) this will be even harder for you.

But are you willing to change? To line up your goals with God’s Will for your life? To break the habits that detract from God’s Will? To trust God to give you the strength for the things He wants you to accomplish?

There’s only One Way to find out.


I’d also like to add something that a friend told me …. Grace, over at Vibrant for Jesus. She said that we should always remember the MAIN goal, which is glorifying God. That made me think of this verse …

“I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Phillippians 3:14, NKJV

Paul had #goals too! His goal was the prize of Christ’s calling. What an amazing goal.

My word of the year + February Goals!

Hi y’all!

Yes, I’m late to the bandwagon regarding “word of the year”, but let’s hope you all have forgiveness in your hearts for another fellow mortal who has a tendency to get pre-occupied with life! 😂 And what better? Live to the full, people! That’s what this year – every year, really – should be about: living the best life you can, and striving to not get caught up in things that don’t matter in the long run – like social media or student grind – and focusing on what DOES matter, like the eager pursuit of knowledge and lasting relationships!

The last couple weeks has been a bit of a blur, with more of a focus on artsy stuff. (Be prepared for an art post soon! Knowing me, “soon” could be anywhere from tomorrow to four weeks from now!) But art cannot satisfy when you know that there’s so much more to life than living in a self-absorbed bubble.

(I haven’t known what to pick as my word of the year – I’ve never done it before. In fact, I’m still not sure if it’s the right one! But I’ll try it and roll with it, and we’ll see what happens!)


This year’s word means a lot to me because, in the last few weeks, I have slacked off a bit on my goals and vision for my future. Activities like sketching, reading, and cleaning are all well and good in their time, but not as a lifestyle. I want to get up and back into my routine from December and early January, when I was smashing goal after goal and feeling so accomplished. Going back mentally to a time when I felt “fulfilled” has helped me to decide what it is I want to do so that I can work towards fulfillment again.

(And, here’s my opinion – Fulfillment comes only through the pursuit of your passions. TRUE fulfillment comes only through the passionate pursuit of YHVH. If we are “pursuing God” by robotically “doing the things” (like reading the bible and praying) but we are not passionate about it, then we will simply end up dry and empty. When we have a passion for YHVH and His Word, it is THEN that we experience true fulfillment.)

So, without further ado, my word of the year is ….

Determination.

Determination to finish the essay. Determination to follow YHVH whatever turns life takes. Determination not to let a friendship die. Determination to stay true to your beliefs. Determination to not quit. Determination to succeed – to grow stronger, faster, smarter, better.

“I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Phillippians 3:14, NKJV

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”

Phillippians 2:12-13, NKJV

(I did some research on the above verse – the word “work” means to “bring to completion”, to “achieve”. “Working” out our salvation thus means to pereservere and not give up until we reach the end of our days.)

“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27, NKJV

“Yet the righteous will hold to his way, and he who has clean hands will be stronger and stronger.”

Job 17:9, NKJV

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”

Hebrews 12:1, NKJV

What’s neat about Paul and his letters is that the majority of these letters were written to new believers – like me. Believers who lived in places where the Word of God was blasphemed in even the everyday activites – like the place I live. Believers who suffered persecution from their families and from the government and experienced hardships, including even the normal ones that everyone experiences. I’m so sick of the hardships. Sometimes I get so sick of it all that I don’t want to continue being “different” anymore. I’m sure that the new believers in the first century also has these doubts, insecurities, and moments of weakness. I’m sure that many of them thought of deserting – of simply fading back into the immoral background again.

But Paul’s advice reminds us of why we’re here, why we came to Christ in the first place. Because we are empty shells, in need of the Holy Spirit, the Holy “breath”, to FILL us as the Word we read FULFILLS us. We can’t forget the reason we’re here. We must have determination.


Alright! Now, for my February goals!

(Note: January goals were … a flop! I read up to Amos, not Malachi – I went to bed at ungodly hours – RPC tanked this month because of technology issues. But am I completely ashamed? Nope! I did more math than I’ve done in months, connected with some friends, drank water, and read a huge portion of the Bible! January was a great month, and although I know that I can do better this month, I’m not going to toss my efforts in the can saying “well, THAT was a waste of time.” January was a month of learning, and I’m proud pleased to say that I learned a lot of life lessons indeed!)

Goal #1: Go to bed at 9:30 80% of the time. (A much more sustainable goal than last month. My schedule doesn’t allow for me to go to bed at 9:00, and often I get so overwhelmed with trying that I skip this goal of a proper bedtime altogther. I hope this time will be more comfortable for me, and I think it will.)

Goal #2: Read less – write more. (When I borrow a series from a friend, I tend to binge read, leaving school and extracurriculars half-done or not done at all! But writing expands my brain, gives me a clearer head, AND attacks some of those assignments that regularly pile up!)

Goal #3: Read Micah to Malachi, and the four gospels (Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John.) Any joiners? 🤣

Goal #4: Throw myself into school, doing whatever random asignments I can find, then clean up and organize everything ASAP, hopefully by the end of this month. I hope to finish the RPC Grade 10 English course by the end of this month.

Goal #5: Make my website! (I can’t wait for this! I’ll be launching a website as a part of my Business course, and of course I’ll let you all know when it’s up and running, hopefully by the end of this month!)

Goal #6: Begin the 2019 Summer Shred Challenge! (Whew, this one lasts 35 days! It’s a lot longer than the others I’ve done, but I’m planning to take it slow and treat my body carefully. ✌ I’m putting NO stress on myself to do the workouts perfectly, but I’m going to do my best!)


Well, I hope you all are having an amazing day! What are your goals for February? Let’s chat it up in the comments!

Makayla