More Joy!

My heart is beyond full. 

A little over a year ago I bought my first typewriter at a thrift store. It was beautiful and exactly what I wanted. Buying it was a wonderful moment and I have had so many more that spanned from it. I adore old or “vintage” things because giving something a new purpose is what I consider, one the most inspiring elements of life. Regardless, I love my typewriter. But life is made up of seasons and surprises. Now its time for a new one; this is my new typewriter. 

The Underwood typewriter is my favorite model and looks exactly like the one Anne Shirley had when she moved to New York to write. I have wanted this for years and imagined I would maybe get it years later because it is rare to find one that works or is affordable. But because life is strange and God is so cool, I found one that was both of those things.
God has been doing crazy things in my life. Very much recently, He has been giving me little hints and reminders  of how amazing and beautiful life can be. For instance, the typewriter situation. If I would’ve known last year that I would buy this typewriter now, I wouldn’t bought the first one. And if I hadn’t, all the memories and things I’ve written would not have existed. All the theraputic writing I performed on it that helped me process thoughts when stressed,  would not have helped in the way it did. 

Long story short, God doesn’t allow accidents in His plan. He is not thrown off or ever surprised. And nothing is coincidence. There may not be some deep, theological meaning for why I bought this typewriter, but I know one thing about it.

God has allowed it to bring me joy.

Joy makes me smile, smiling makes me happy. And happiness is a gift from God. If nothing else, this possession has reminded me how God, out father loves His children and so desires a relationship with us where we smile at His goodness. God is good and always will be.  

My heart is full and my smile is true. No matter what does this for you, thank God for allowing you to experience the joyful moments of life.

Life isn’t pretty, but it sure is beautiful.  

Fellow Adventurers,

Go find more joy!

Let God Begin A Work Of Art In You.

What time is it?!

SUMMERTIME!!!

Its finally here, graduations happened, everyone’s wearing shorts and getting (0r in my case attempting to get) tan. Pools are open, freckles are more visible and we all get to experience a little bit more rest than we have for the past nine months. And for me, summer is for (some) free-time!

One of my favorite parts about the summer is that I get to delve back into the hobbies I don’t have time for during the school year. Such as reading, sketching, learning new songs, writing etc… I try to do these things during the fall and spring semesters,  but its during the summer months that I have more time to focus on these hobbies and improve my skills in these areas. I think hobbies are a wonderful thing to have. I hope someday to have a career that involves my creative interests and talents, and whether that happens or not, I will still explore them and the length my talents and abilities can stretch.

For instance, recently I have been exploring some aspects of art and realized that, currently, my favorite medium to use is charcoal. I have always enjoyed using pencil because I admire the black, white and grey hues as opposed to the color. I love the effect and depth smudging and shading can add to a piece. Let me clarify one thing, I in no way, shape, or form consider myself an amazing artist; or writer for that matter. I just consider myself a person who has a eternally burning, passion for these things, so I do them because I just can’t, not. And what I have learned recently is that God has instilled in each of us passions, talents, and desires to use for his glory, and despite how alone we may feel, God knows us better than we know ourselves. He created us with the talents and passions we sometimes find so hard to express. God told the prophet Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1:5 that, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…” and in Psalm 139:13 David exclaims, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” God knew us before we were created and the most amazing part of it all, is before we were born He loved us in ways we cannot even begin to comprehend.

What I love most about drawing or sketching with charcoal, or any medium for that matter, is that you slowly build on each layer and create this beautiful depth and warmth to the picture. The shadows go on forever and you can build and build, layer upon layer as dark or light as you want. As deep and rich as you desire. And the picture will always seem to capture the viewer. You’ll find yourself lost in the shadows of these hues of black, white and grey. The art will overwhelm you and you’ll never be able to take in all that is on the canvass. And no matter the quality, that alone, is so beautiful to me.

Friends. This is a beautiful analogy of God’s love. He, the eternal artist, takes us as we are, blank canvasses. And once we hand over all the materials to Him, not some or the ones we don’t like, but literally all, He begins to sketch His love and mercy on us. His love is not one-dimetional. Its so deep and full. He is constantly building layer upon layer of love that we will never fully grasp. He adds highlights and shadows and just when we think we experienced it all He adds more and more to this masterpiece He’s creating with our broken yet surrendered lives.

And the most humbling and beautiful part is we don’t deserve it. We deserve death. The fact that we have salvation is so much more than enough. He not only saves us from the eternal damnation, but because He is such a good, good father, He chooses to love us and give us an abundant and enjoyable life. And an opportunity to serve and experience Him. We get to experience and know the God of the universe!!! God knows you better than you can ever know yourself, He has instilled dreams and desires in your life to serve Him. Never shy away from the passions He has gifted you with. Let Him continue to create a work of art in you, because he already sees us as so much more than we can ever be on our own. So pick up the pencil or paintbrush or guitar or basketball or script or computer or whatever is on your heart. Pick up what drives you, and don’t stop doing it. But maybe adjust your perspective on why you do it. Or rather “WHO,” you’re doing it for. God wants us to find joy and peace in him, rest in His love today and be encouraged that we will never comprehend it. Because if we did, what we would we do after that?

Fellow Adventurers,

Let God begin, continue and finish the work of art He started in you long before you were even formed in your mother’s womb. He loves us so much, and He is so SO GOOD!

 

Thank You to the People Who Prayed For Me

Before I say anything else; GOD IS SO GOOD. And all glory goes to Him.

For anyone who reads my blog, you know I have not stayed consistent with my recent project; #52WeeksOfHappy. There’s a reason for that. I hope to explain in this post why these last few months have been some of the hardest times I have faced, but also how they have resulted in the greatest lessons I have learned, thus far. And after this will try to continue to blog about the joy and happiness of life. FAIR WARNING: This post will be a bit long and pretty personal, but it ends on a good note. I would be honored if you read all of it and if not, it’s all good.

Six months ago I never would have imagined I would have been where I am. And at that time I had a very particular idea of what direction life was heading in. I knew the people I wanted to be with, knew what I was working for and knew what success and happiness looked like; all those plans I had clearly imagined in my head. I was healthy, I was happy, and was so excited that everything was finally working out. But little did Kim know…

Long story short, pretty much the opposite of what I had expected, is what happened. Things fell apart, things were taken away, I lost my motivation for everything, I had absolutely no joy, or feeling whatsoever, and without going into detail, I quickly sank into one of the lowest depressions and darkest places I have ever been in. I was numb. I was completely broken and was at a place that no Christian should be: I felt hopeless. And had accepted the lie that I was not meant to be loved and would never experience it or what true happiness was. And what was worst of all, despite my pointing fingers and anger towards everyone that, “did me wrong,” including God, I knew what I supposed to do, but I was too stubborn to do it. So, I wallowed in my depression and made sure everyone who hurt me knew they did and why, so they would never hurt anyone else. (Which is a terribly stupid thing to do when you’re incredibly emotional, like I was.) And after doing all that; what I felt was my right to say and do, I was still alone and had made situations worse. It even resulted in me feeling like I lost some of my closest friends. All because I couldn’t accept life for what it was and move on.

One thing that has always been a struggle for me is that I constantly make the same mistakes and get in a cycle of being on fire for God, getting hurt or something not working out, and then I repent and try to be a good Christian again. And I never understood why everyone else was learning huge things and growing in the Lord, while I was still trying to stay consistent. So, when this low point in my life happened, I was so exhausted and was pretty much done trying. But, hallelujah and praise God that despite our falling away and stubbornness, He is beyond merciful, constantly pursuing us and desires a relationship with us.

Yes, you guessed it, this story does have a happy ending. When hard times come, I have this terrible habit of getting stubborn and prideful. And instead of running to God, I tend to run away from him, which never ends well. I finally got to a point where I truly had nothing left. And by nothing, I mean emotionally and spiritually. I had no energy to try to do things on my own anymore. Basically, I had a moment where, in the midst of my tears and self-pity, I cried out to my Savior and said I was done trying to do life on my own anymore and that I was all in. From now on, its me and Jesus. Forever and always. And I can’t pin-point exactly when it happened, but all I can say is, GOD IS SO GOOD. I am so full of His presence and have so much joy in Who and What He is, and I honestly cannot contain it! It wasn’t me that changed, but my whole perception of what I should be striving for did. I don’t try to be good or right anymore, I simply seek and desire to be closer to Him everyday. And being with Him is the best feeling and place I have ever been in.

This sounds like a salvation story, it also sounds like a, ‘full surrender,’ story, but to me, it’s more of an awareness story. I have been a Christian and saved since I was thirteen, but through this hard season I had just became so aware of what being God’s servant is. We all experience God in different ways. For me, I had always put Jesus in a box, sometimes without even realizing it. And just like my life, I had a perfect idea of what a good, impactful Christian was. But friends, there is so much more to God than two hours of worship and discussion on Sunday and an occasional Bible study throughout the week. He is the God of the universe. He spoke the world into existence. SPOKE IT PEOPLE! And don’t even get me started on His love and mercy and grace and faithfulness. Because I could go on for hours. All I’m trying to say is, we serve an AWESOME and AMAZING God. And what changed for me and what I became aware of, is what I just explained. That God is AMAZING and ALL-POWERFUL and loves us more than we will ever begin to understand. But the difference was, I finally looked at it as a truth not a sentence. I experienced all the facts I had known forever as now the truth that my identity is based in. My identity and my worth is in Christ alone. And oh my goodness, that gets me so excited and joyful! If that doesn’t make you wanna scream or dance or worship, WHAT WILL?!

Through all of my struggles and heartbreak, I always told myself that God was allowing things to be taken from me to prove and show that He is the only constant thing in my life. And as I was reading my devotional this morning I realized something. God never allowed me to be hurt. He simply allowed me to exercise my free-will and put my faith and identity in the things and people I wanted. Which are of this world, therefore they are flawed and conditional. So, of course they will fail me and disappoint me. God never had to prove to me that He was constant, He always was and will be. But I was looking for constance and security in inconstant things. I was yelling at God asking why He took this and that away, when I should’ve been yelling at myself, asking why I based my faith and identity in things of this world. Not everyone just asks God to take something away and are delivered. Everyone has a different story and different encounters with Christ. And none are worth more or less to God than others. We are all His masterpieces. My story just happens to be that I never truly asked God to deliver me of my depression and what had held me down. And when I finally did, humbly and bodly before Him, He did. He filled my joy unexplainable. It will always be a struggle, because I still have a sinful flesh, but now I know it is able to be dealt with and conquered. PRAISE GOD.

I say all that to make this statement:

THANK YOU.

I know there were many people who knew I was going through a rough time, some more than others. And I knew you prayed for me, and I cannot thank you enough for that. I know there were people who prayed for me and had no idea what I was going through, so thank you. To my family, friends, and the people who only know me as a name on a prayer list, thank you. Prayer is a powerful thing. And I can honestly say that everyone of you, whoever you are, helped me overcome what I did, through the strength and mercy of Jesus Christ. There’s a reason we are a body of Christ and not individual parts. We all need prayer and we all need brothers and sisters in Christ. Because it makes a difference, I know it did in my life.

There’s a quote by Grace Thornton that states,”Jesus isn’t the wallpaper for life, but life itself.” I love that so much and find so much truth in it. God isn’t a decoration or a part that makes me look better anymore. He is all that I am and all I want or need. And I’m so stoked to see what comes next.

In closing, I have no idea what life hold for future Kim, or even present Kim. My dreams haven’t changed, but my perception of what my dreams are, has. All I know is, as long as I am seeking God and continue to be all-in, He will give me the desires of my heart; the true desires He has instilled in me. And as long as I’m with Him, I will never be disappointed.

HE IS SO GOOD.

What’s Your Tunnel Song? #Week 31

Hello again! We’re over halfway done, which is a bittersweet thought. Today I found out some sad news. A music icon who I admired, David Bowie passed away from cancer last night. No matter what style you like or tastes you have, he was a great musician and has made gorgeous art that will live on.

What I want to mention in this post is that, music is one of the few things in my life that has been able to help me no matter what is going on. And the great thing about music is everyone has a different reason to listen. And they’re all valid. Music has always affected and touched me in so much more than a personal way. I can’t just listen to a song. If I don’t take time to appreciate the melody, lyrics, vocals, or chord progressions I HAVE to start it over and listen to it until I achieve one of those things. Its not just music to me; its an escape and a constant comfort. I always have a hunger to find new artists, and I mean everyday I go online and try to find 5-10 new musicians on spotify or youtube. And when I find someone I like I want to know everything about them. I have endless playlists for different moods or times or events all with different but mutually loved artists. But the playlist I want to talk about it my “Infinite Playlist.” Its a playlist composed of what I call, Tunnel Songs.

A Tunnel Song is a term used in the book and movie, The Perks Of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. The Tunnel Song is the song that plays on the radio when Sam stands in the back of the pickup truck and mimics flying while they drive through a tunnel to escape into the starry night and lights of the distant city. This moment is a crucial part of the story because this is where Charlie says the iconic line:

“We were infinite.”

A Tunnel Song is a song that does just that. It gives you that feeling. And luckily, I have many that do. The Tunnel Song in the movie is “Heroes” by David Bowie. That was my first experience with a Tunnel Song, it was the first song I acknowledged that made me feel infinite, and the first song on my, “Infinite Playlist,” of multiple Tunnel Songs. And it was the song that led to many more of the same nature. David Bowie is not my favorite artist, although I don’t believe I could ever choose just one that I love most, but his music and art touched and affected me. There’s a quote in the book that says:

“And I thought about how many people have loved those songs. And how many people got through a lot of bad times because of those songs. And how many people enjoyed good times with those songs. And how much those songs really mean. I think it would be great to have written one of those songs. I bet if I wrote one of them, I would be very proud. I hope the people who wrote those songs are happy. I hope they feel it’s enough. I really do because they’ve made me happy. And I’m only one person.”

This quote defines how I feel about music perfectly. I dream of telling every artist that has written beautiful, moving, and memorable songs, how much they meant to me. And even if it just touched me, I want them to know it was worth it. It helped and inspired me. Me. One normal person who they will probably never know.

Music is beautiful and one the few things in life I know I will never get tired of and will never be able to fully explain my love and adoration for it. I guess I can thank my musical mother for this or the music geniuses my parents played for me since I was able to hear or just the unique qualities God gives each of us. I don’t know why or what, all I know is it doesn’t matter. I love it, and I don’t need a reason other than that it makes me happy. Music is what makes me happy every week of the year. And I know because I quote this line in my head every time I find that special song and play it while I fly through a tunnel in the mystery on the other side.

“I can see it. This one moment when you know you’re not a sad story. You’re alive. And you stand up and see the lights and the buildings and everything that makes you wonder. And you’re listening to that song in that drive with the people you love most in this world. And in this moment I swear… we are infinite.”

I urge you to find that song that makes you fell infinite. Put it on a mix cd, turn the volume up, roll down the windows and let the melody you love for whatever reason you choose, and drive fast and freely into the starry night and distant lights of the city. And I promise you, if you find that song you will feel exactly like I and so many others have.  You’ll feel like horizon before you, infinite.

New Beginnings: #Week30

Hello there! For those who have kept up with this you already know that I haven’t posted anything in 10 weeks. Which I feel absolutely terrible about. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to or had nothing to write about, it honestly just slipped my mind. On a positive note, I still was finding joy and the happy moments. I just didn’t document and focus on them as much I wanted to. So what better way to get back into this blog than on New Years Eve. We’re at week 30 now, so here’s a list of my highlights and some things I’ve learned of the last few months of this year.

  1. I was able to be involved with a wonderful production, Meet Me In St. Louis.  And had a great time working with the amazingly talented cast and crew.
  2. I’ve developed so many great friendships this year, new and old.
  3. I have learned more and more how much joy I find in writing. And hope to do plenty more of it this year.
  4. I’ve realized how important it is to appreciate the small things; family, relationships, and continuing to surround myself with positive things.
  5. I’ve learned that spontaneous road trips are the BEST type of road trips. Especially ones to DC and New York. (Even the person your surprising isn’t home and if one of your friends is puking on the ride.)
  6. You’re never too old to learn a new skill. Hobbies bring so much joy and life is meant to be enjoyed. Do what makes you happy!
  7. We need encouragement and to encourage others. Everyone is fighting a battle and we all need support.
  8. Prayer is critical. (And something I personally know I need to do more of.)
  9. Take every negative thing in your life and let it affect you in a positive way; Always try to have a teachable spirit. You’re going to make mistakes, but how you move forward from them is what will define you as a person. If we’re not growing, what are we doing?
  10. Be thankful all year long. Be thankful for friends, family, school, possessions, talents, laughter, memories, freedom, and most importantly, our faithful and merciful Savior who gave us a redeemed life to be thankful of.

Find every possible way to be happy this year. I dare you to try to annoy everyone with how happy and joyful you are. Make your smile contagious and your joy obnoxious. (In a good way! :p) I wish everyone the happiest new year and that when you look back at 2016, you’ll do nothing but smile. Let you joy be full and your heart be open. Be inspired and be someone’s inspiration. This part of the story has ended but have joy beginning a new chapter. Let your light shine and your smile be bright!

So with that;

Here’s to new beginnings, getting back to what’s important, good friends, amazing memories, all the memories to come, resolutions to be carried and the ones to be forgotten and as always, each beautiful, infinite moment.

Fellow Adventurers,

Here’s to Happy!

Repost: Regifting A Smile

A repost from Matthew Brandon’s blog on http://yourstoryisart.blogspot.com. Read and join the new movement of #WhatsYourStory

“Regifting a Smile

“I hope the people who wrote those songs are happy. I hope they feel its enough. I really do because they’ve made me happy. And I’m only one person.” – Charlie fromThe Perks of Being a Wallflower

 
How many times has something changed your day? How many times has it changed your life? Maybe you know this feeling all too well, or maybe you can’t even imagine what it might feel like. I’ve had those moments where I wished I could just thank the writer, the author, the creator for touching my life, but there was no way of reaching them. Maybe you can’t thank them. But what you can do is inspire someone else. You can extend how they made you feel to another. You can make someone happy.
Why? Because someone made you happy. Give that same gift to someone else. And even if you are not happy, art has a funny way of putting a smile on your face regardless of whether you are giving or receiving it. If you don’t agree, prove me wrong.
Because even if you create something to show me that it didn’t make you happy, I’ll be smiling. I’ll be overjoyed to look at your art, and I’ll be inspired to keep creating myself. Just think of what you’ll feel when you see you put smiles on the faces of dozens, hundreds, thousands.
You should be happy–you should be proud. Because you’ve made me happy.
And I’m only one person.”

#Week:18,19,20: Its simple, I’m happy.

So its been a few week since I’ve posted anything and I feel terrible about it, but it is for a good reason; one which I will explain shortly. First I want to just explain the things that have happened in my life in the last few weeks.

First my roommate, Kelsey, and I went on a trip to New York for a weekend. Which was so much fun! We both got to see friends of ours and a show. I saw Fool For Love by Sam Shepard with my very good friend Nick and she saw Sylvia starring Matthew Broderick and Annaleigh Ashford. On top of that I went to The Whitney museum and many cool restaurants and shops in the city. It was a great weekend and a very fun mini road trip.

I also found a new movie and book that is one of my favorites; Me Earl and The Dying Girl. This movie was one I’ve wanted to see since the trailer came out and someone I worked on a short film with showed it to us and from the short part I saw of it I knew I needed to watch the whole things. And I did. The movie was outstanding. Super unique, funny, interesting and just beautiful. And it’s adapted from the novel of the same name which I bought, of course, and am reading.

After that we started rehearsals for Meet Me In St. Louis at school. Its a very fun show and the music sounds gorgeous. It’ll be a good show, the cast is very talented. I’ve also had the opportunity to work on a few more student thesis films, which is something that I really am starting to enjoy doing.

After that, it was the week of my birthday and I just need to take a moment to express how great my friends are. I’ve had some years where my birthday wasn’t a huge deal to me and this year I felt that way. I wasn’t getting my hopes up and expecting a lot of things but as usual I got exactly what I thought wouldn’t happen. My friends kidnapped me right before midnight and we did a little promo-shoot for this new thing my friend started #WhatsYourStory (I’ll talk about that in a bit) then my roommate decorated the apartment when I got home and gave me a few gifts. Then the next day she kidnapped me and took weird photos of me downtown but then took me to the tattoo parlor and her a few others paid for me to get my tattoo! (I’ll also explain that in a bit.) That same day I got some really cool gifts from people, like delicious cupcakes, an awesome book, sweet notes, funny phone calls etc… Then my other friends made me dinner and a cake and then surprised with tickets to a concert in DC the next night! Around the same time I got cookies from Grandma and a package and super thought felt note from my other Grandma; The weekend was super spontaneous but so much fun! All in all in was one of the best times I’ve had in a long time.

The next thing I want to talk about is the organization my friend started that I’m helping with; What’s Your Story. Its an organization that simply encourages people to share their stories through anything artistic and creative. Its a beautiful movement and one I’m glad to be a part of. You can find more information on any of its accounts.

http://yourstoryisart.blogspot.com

Instagram and Twitter: @yourstoryisart

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/yourstoryisart

And this brings me to explaining why I feel forgetting to blog is okay.

I started this blog to help me learn to find the positive in everything; to stop being sad, depressed and feeling down. And like I have mentioned before this has already helped me so much. But from not posting for a few weeks I realized something: I was happy and felt the way I wanted without blogging about it. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, I still document my good moments and happy times (I started a journal of just good and happy things) but this blog isn’t my happiness. Neither are my friends, my journals, my books, my movie…the only true happiness I have in my life is from the God who gave me a reason to smile and laugh and be joyful. So I want to re-approach this blog with the same goals as before but with the acknowledgment that this is not what makes me happy. The tattoo I got on my upper left arm is:

  
“a vida e bela”

Which is “life is beautiful” in Portuguese.

I got this for a few reasons. One, because this phrase is very important to my life. It has helped me remember that as long as I pursue optimism my life will always be beautiful. And even I don’t see it always, it still is. It also reminds me of my heritage (Why its in portuguese.) which also reminds me where my true and eternal identity is. Not people, my abilities or anything. My identity is in the one who gave me a beautiful life. And therefore, my body that once held scars and painful memories now holds a phrase of beauty, value and the reminder that I am new and allowed to be happy! I am listening to “Asleep” by The Smiths, about to go class, filming a thesis film tonight, drinking coffee; Nothing extraordinary or amazing, its just simple:

I’m happy.

So here’s to being forgetful, great friends, wonderful memories, spontaneous road trips, great birthdays, music, books, coffee, adventures, funny phone calls, family and of course each beautiful moment.

Fellow Adventurers!

Here’s to Happy!