Happy Birthday, VH! What post would you like to see for the celebration?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

So Much Like You (A Poem)

I'm surprised to find myself posting this poem.

I have a friend who is really into poetry, and I've been thinking about writing more poems myself. 


Today, I had a random urge to write a poem....and I came up with this. I haven't written a poem in FOREVER, mainly because I'm really bad at rhythms and rhyming things, and word choices, and iambic pantameter vs. trochaic hexameter,  stressed vs. unstressed syllables, and line lengths, and subtle vs. not-so-subtle symbols, and things like that.

The really cool thing about this poem is that it sort of turned into my own little psalm of praise, and it talks about how awesome it is that we are made in the image of God.


Feedback would be nice, and if you guys would like to see more of this sort of thing, please let me know! :)




So Much Like You

(a poem inspired by Song of Solomon 4:7)
by Hayley Robinson

“All beautiful you are, my darling.
There is no flaw in you.”
Oh, these words are so thrilling,
and how wonderful, that they should come from You.

You, a majestic and perfect God
who loves me for me and never changes.
How often I’ve fought
to never be thought
of as the strangest.
Yet, You have always sought
and have always pursued me.

You, perfectly and amazingly generous and good,
Who knows all things before they occur,
And so often I nod off to sleep,
Falling into a place where all is a blur
And then I forget who I am in You
Until You help me remember.
Without You,
I never could.

All beautiful am I?
Lord, how undeserving of these words am I,
that You of all beings--
You, among all things--
should find me flawless, perfect, and beautiful…
That You should find me
to be

So much like You.

You, who created time and space,
You who put the stars in place,
You who made the world with Your breath and Your word
With Your words and Your breath, O Lord,
You made the entire world!

You of all beings--
You, who are beyond all things--
Created me
So that I could glorify, worship,
and always be

So much like You.

“All beautiful you are my darling.
There is no flaw in you.”
Yes, Lord, I accept it now.
Surely I must be
If my place is to bow
before You.
Surely You created me
to be

So much like You.

And if my place is to be like You,
Then of course, I must be without one flaw,
Even though I’ve broken every one of Your laws.
You’ve so graciously forgiven me.
And each day you give me the chance to be

So much like You.

To breathe,
To act,
To speak,
and to always be

So much like You.

Question for the Reader: Do you like my poem? :) Do you write poetry? Who are your favorite poets? (Any Dr. Seuss, Emily Dickinson, and George Herbert fans out there?)

"And God saw that it was good. Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.' So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them." --Genesis 1:25b-28a

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Where is Death's Victory?

I wrote this post last night, and this morning at church we sang this song:
"Oh death, where is your sting? Oh hell, where is your victory?...My God is not dead, he's alive! He's alive!"I think this is one of the best messages about Easter.

It's 10:27 pm, the night before Easter, and I've been thinking a lot about some of my secret fears.

One of them, I think I conquered today: for about a year now, I've been working on a piece by Charlie Parker on the alto sax called "Dewey Square." It's very difficult, and for the last few days, I was a little afraid to perform it...what if I messed up and completely ruined it? What if I'm not as good as I thought I was? What if all of that practice goes to waste? What if people think I stink at it? What if I made a mistake choosing to play the piece?

But I knew I had to.

Maybe I'm making this too sentimental, but when I first heard the original recording, I fell completely in love with it. It was fun, it was light, it was quick, and it felt like a song that entirely expressed overwhelming joy...and it's jazz. :)

So I learned it.

And then when the recital was coming up, and it was time for me to pick a tune to play, I couldn't choose any other one but Dewey Square.

Finally, approximately 5 hours ago as I write this, it was time for me to perform. I had never been so nervous leading up to a performance in my entire music career, probably because I've never worked so hard on a piece leading up to a performance before.

Let me introduce you to one of my secret fears: disappointing people. This falls under the same category of  perfectionism and unnecessarily killing myself to make everyone like me, when it will inevitably never happen.

When I walked on the stage for the dress rehearsal, a wave of peace overcame me, and the rehearsal was practically perfect. At the final performance though, I was a little bit more nervous knowing that this was "the real thing." I messed up a couple of times, but hardly anyone noticed. When I watched my dad's videotape of the performance, I could tell where I messed up, but I knew that was only because I was the one on stage.

Afterwards, I felt so happy to have finished it once and for all. I found myself asking, "Why was I ever nervous and afraid in the first place?"

Tonight, I just finished watching "The Book Thief." As some of you know, the story is narrated by death, which for most of the film, absolutely sickened me. It was gross to hear how death would think of a person and his/her life in general. It was quite condescending.

The very last line in death's narration was this: "I am haunted by humans."

Isn't that perfectly excellent? I could not have been more happier about that statement when I heard it.

After all of the revolting language that death had used to describe mankind, the truth comes out: death is afraid of us.

This leads me to my confession of another secret fear: anything related to death, ghosts, horror, or evil that is invisible to me, or surprises me.

It's a funny thing about fear though: fear is something that often comes from something we feel threatened by, or unloved by.

For most of my childhood, I have hated Halloween, especially haunted houses, haunted house rides, ghosts and disgusting, horrifying images on the neighbors' houses, and worst of all: people who would invite me to stare all these things in the face...and enjoy it!

The reason I dislike these things so much is because they are the absolute opposite of who God is. God is life. Those things are death. God is love. Those things are fear. God is amazingly good. Those things are dripping with evil. God looks out for me, and keeps me safe in His arms. Those things want nothing but harm for me...or at least want to laugh at my fear. God says, "I love you, I will keep you safe, and all is well. You are so important." Those things laugh at me and try to make me feel small.

When I heard that death is haunted by humans, I rejoiced to God.

THANK GOODNESS that Jesus has overcome the dead. Praise the Lord that Jesus overcame death, giving us the privilege to be sons and daughters of God: which gives us MUCH more power over death.

And that's why death is afraid of us.

Now I can go to sleep tonight knowing that I need not be afraid of death. In all of my years being afraid of things relating to death, I know now that death is much more afraid of me, taunted by me, and hates me, because through Jesus's crucifixion and resurrection, I am no longer a small, meaningless lie, like death is.

Because of Jesus, we now represent death's greatest conqueror, which we also celebrate in Jesus's resurrection today:

LIFE.

Happy Easter!

"When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." --1 Corinthians 15:54-58

Monday, April 14, 2014

Letter to the Readers: Questions, Anyone?

Hi everyone,

So you've probably seen that big ominous box on the blog for the last couple of weeks containing the promise of awesome posts coming soon.

It finally starts today.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!

One of my favorite ideas on the poll above is to have an interview with me and the readers, but I also liked the vlog post idea.

Here's how this is going to work:

For the next few days, you are all invited to send me any questions you'd like (within the bounds of appropriateness and reason!). It could be anything from "What is your favorite color?" to "What do you want to be when you grow up?" to "Who is your favorite baroque musician and your favorite artist from the 17th century?" (I'd have to do a little historical research to answer that question, but I'm willing!)

All you have to do is send me whatever question(s) you have in the contact form to the left of this post. Make sure that you write your question in the message box in the following format:

"Interview Question: What is your favorite color?
--(Name or "Anonymous" or one letter "Your blog bud" or whatever you like to sign your messages with.)"

That way, I know that the question you're asking is intended for the vlog post, and isn't a private question. Plus, I get more questions for the video and I get to know my readers, which makes me a happy camper. :)

I do not intend to shut down the contact form anytime soon, but I'd like all questions for the interview to be sent in by this Thursday, April 17th. 

Then, I'll go through all of the questions that I receive and make a vlog post about it (hopefully within the month of April).

If you have any questions about this interview in general, feel free to leave a comment on this post.

I hope you all have a marvelous day, and don't forget to send in those questions!

This is going to be so much fun, and I'm really excited!!!!

Blessings,
Hayley

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

GREAT NEWS!!!

You guys....

Just....

As some of my friends would say: "alksdjflsjdfal;jdlfja;lskdjf"

Or if you are more of a visual person...

Roll the clip:

Other reactions include:

Really?????

Get. Out!!!

NO WAY!

I mean, just...for real?

I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!!!

*Squealing like a little girl*

...wut.

WOOHOO!

Thanks for walking with me down Happy Reaction Lane, and welcome back to VH.

Why am I so excited you ask?

WE WON ANOTHER AWARD!!!!!

Roll the clip again:

Sorry, I just really love that clip. :) Haha.

It's called the Liebster Award: 
Isn't it preeetty? :)

The Liebster Award is an award for encouraging readership and followers for new bloggers.

These are the 5 rules for accepting the nomination:
1. Thank the wonderful, awesome, amazing blogger that nominated you.
2. Answer the 11 questions that the nominator provided.
3. Nominate 11 other bloggers who have less than 200 followers.
4. Post 11 different questions for the nominees to answer.
5. Contact your nominees to let them know that they've been nominated for the award.

Lois, you're the best! Thank you SO much for nominating me for the Liebster Award (as well as the Versatile Blogger Award) and as always, best wishes to you on your blog: You, Me, and a Cup of Tea. It's definitely one of my favorites.

Now here are the answers to your questions:
1. Who's your favorite author?
Oooh, that's a tough one. I really enjoy C.S. Lewis, Jane Austen, and John & Stasi Eldredge. I can't really decide between the three. C.S. Lewis writes great fiction as well as nonfiction books that really make me think; Jane Austen writes beautiful stories that are almost like fairytales to me; and John & Stasi Eldredge have written excellent books that have shaped my worldview and spiritual walk.

2. What is your favorite book?
Besides the Bible, I'd have to say that Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is my favorite book, because it's written by one of my favorite authors, and it has really great messages about important lessons in life. Thinking more about why I love this book so much, I should really write a book review in another post, because I don't have enough room to write about it here. To be continued!

3. Why did you start blogging?
A couple of reasons. First, I wanted to have a place where I could share thoughts, opinions, and life updates with friends, family, and classmates online. Secondly, I saw that a lot of my classmates in my online school program had a blog, and it greatly appealed to me. I also knew it could help improve my writing, which I have always enjoyed doing.

4. What is your favorite TV show?
I can't pick just one! My favorites are The Cosby Show (re-runs), I Love Lucy (re-runs), and The Mentalist (not a re-run!). I don't usually watch anything else.

5. What is your favorite movie?
I really like "The Blind Side," "Pride and Prejudice" (Yes, the Keira Knightley version, don't judge me!) and "The Princess Bride." I'm also a sucker for most Disney movies. :)

6. What is your current school status?
Approximately 6 1/2 weeks left until I finish my junior year of high school!!!! Yipee!

7. Peanut butter or nutella?
Nutella. Definitely nutella. Moving on...

8. If you could go on your dream vacation and money was no object, where would you go? 
First I would go on my church's missions trip coming up to Hungary, and then I'd probably explore the rest of Europe, as well as New Zealand.

9. If you could read a book for the first time again, what would it be and why?
I'd probably choose "Epic" by John Eldredge. It was the book that I read before I was baptized (that was 7 years ago yesterday!) and I've grown so much spiritually since then, that I wonder what it would be like to read that book again as if it were the first time.

10. What is your favorite book to movie adaptation?
This took me a while to think about, but one of my favorite book to movie adaptations is "Hoot." The book written by Carl Hiassen won a Newberry Honor, and the movie was directed by Will Shriner, and starred Logan Lerman. It's a great story about a high school teen boy who moves from Montana to Florida and ends up saving a population of endangered owls. I strongly recommend both the book and the movie.

11. Do you like tea?
Of course! My favorite tea is combining Country Peach Passion and Raspberry Zinger (they are both from the Celestial Seasonings brand) and adding stevia. 

(In my best impression for an Academy award winning actor reading off a list) "And the nominees for The Liebster Award are..."
1. Rejoice Always by Sarah Berry
2. The Hill Country by Moriah Robinson
3. Serendipity by Alicia Lewin
4. Emily is Smiling by Emily
5. Country Girl's Daybook by Iris Hanlin
6. Positively Ducky by Karen
(I could list 6 blogs, but not quite 11.)

Here are my questions for you, nominees:
1. Who are your heroes?
2. What is your favorite Bible verse?
3. What is your favorite quote?
4. What is/was your favorite class/subject in school (college courses count!)?
5. What is your favorite part about blogging?
6. Coffee or Tea?
7. On-stage plays or Movies?
8. If you could listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?
9. If you were a book character, who would you be?
10. What is the highest-priority item on your bucket list?
11. What is the best blog post you have ever read or written yourself?

I will be sure to contact the people on the nominees list, just in case they missed this post. 

Thank you to all readers who encourage me to keep this blog going, and therefore make it possible for me to have won an award today. :)

Question for the Reader: What has been your favorite post on this blog?

"Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act." --Psalm 37:5

Thursday, March 20, 2014

119 Hours

Did you know that there are 168 hours in an entire week?

About 49 of those hours are for sleep (assuming that you sleep about 7 hours per night on average), which leaves about 119 hours awake or active in a week total.

119 hours. 7,140 minutes. 428,400 seconds.

That changes my entire thought process when someone says "How was your day?" or "How was your week?" Because it's a lot of time to summarize in a few sentences.

You never hear anyone say: "Well, about 59 hours of the week, I spent at school or doing homework, and then about 2 hours this week, I spent doing chores and laundry, and then..."unless they're a mathematician or hyper-scheduler or something, I don't know, but that's not your every day summary of a week.

A lot of the time I have to think about my week, because I really do spend between 50 to 60 hours at school and studying, and then I spend who-knows-how-many hours on the Internet: emailing, calendar editing, checking and updating social networks, and...dare I say it, watching YouTube and playing Candy Crush.

But here's the really sad part:

When I calculated how many hours I spend doing life with others, I figured out that the average total amount of time I spend with my closest friends are 6 hours.

Yes, you read that correctly: 6. hours...out of 119.

Now those 6 hours only account for the times that I'm actually in the same building or room with said friends (not including school). That does not account for other activities on weekends where I might run into them on occasion or the times where I text, call, e-mail, or instant-message them.

But even still: 6 hours is a very small number. If that were a percentage of their week that I was doing life with my closest friends, it would be about 5%.

I think if a lot of us made a percentage of how much they are doing life with their brothers and sisters in Christ out of the average 119 hours we have in a week, I'm sure many of them would not be fully satisfied with that number.

Everyone has a lot of time that they spend working, raising families, being productive, and keeping things like their houses and finances in one piece, and thanks to the social networks and the Internet itself, we have lots of ways to communicate with one another.

But communication and "social interaction" is not at all the same as doing life, or spending time face-to-face.

I know for sure, that if I really had the desire, and worked at it, I could possibly turn that 5% of my week doing life with others into a 7%, and then maybe even 10%.

Building relationships and doing life with others is one of the key fundamentals to being God's church and growing in Him...and yes, it's a very hard thing to do. But isn't that what being a Christian is about?Glorifying God and loving His people, even when it's hard?

We have 119 hours in every week to glorify God and do life with others. How are you spending yours?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Where I See Myself in 19 Weeks (and How You Can Help!)

A few months ago for the 30 Day Blog Challenge (which I still have yet to officially finish....sorry), I answered the question: "If I could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?" My answer was Europe.

But I have a confession to make: that was the general answer.

Every summer at my church, several people in the congregation go on a mission trip to an English camp in Eger, Hungary. For several summers, I've been dreaming about going to Eger with my church. Here's what has usually gone through my head: "I really hope to go there someday," or "I can see myself going there in the future." But more recently, I've been praying very hard about it, and the monologue in my head has turned into: "I'm ready to go to Eger this summer. And it's only 19 weeks from now. I'm sure I'll get there soon."

Here's some info about the English Camp that our church missions group will be going to:

The campers in Hungary are people my age: mostly teens, but specifically, they are young people from the ages of 12 to 21, and a lot of them don't know Jesus because of the gypsy cultural influence in their community.

When I think about my own life and background, I know that I am very blessed. God worked in amazing ways so that I could have several opportunities to know Him more. But then, there are plenty of kids out there who don't have the same background as I do, and while God has a perfect plan for them, I know that I can use my gifts and abilities to help them find out what theirs are in order to serve God, too.

I have three objectives in going on this trip:
1) To share the gospel by way of getting to know the kids and sharing my testimony with them.
2) To teach teens about a language that they are interested in, which also happens to be my native language: English.
3) To get to know the teens in order to establish friendships with them, so that they can get better at their English by communicating with a native speaker such as myself, also, so that they can know more about American culture as I also get to know more about Hungarian culture, and that they may be led to Christ by the example of all the missionaries coming to the camp.

Here's the downside: this trip costs money. In order to raise enough, I'm going to need some help. If you are interested, here is a way to start:
Buy a t-shirt! White Fields Community Church (the church I attend), for the very first time, is selling t-shirts, and all of the proceeds go to missions. Plus, they come in multiple different sizes and colors! If you're interested in buying one, check out this link: https://squareup.com/market/white-fields-community-church (P.S. All you have to do is click on whatever colored shirt you want in the middle of the page, pick the size, and buy it! Careful, though, at the bottom of some screens, you might find ads that say "You Might Also Like," which don't belong to the church.)

Within the next few weeks/months, I'll probably come up with some more ideas for people to help, but for now, if you have any questions, please let me know, and please consider buying a shirt for the missions team! :)

Another way to help in a big way is to pray. Here is a list of things that I'll need to prepare for this trip, and a list of things that the camp and the missions group will need prayer for, as well.

Please Pray for Me as I Try to Accomplish These Things in Preparation for the Trip:

  • Applying for and getting a job in the near future
  • Getting my very first passport, and making sure preparing to fly overseas goes smoothly
  • Preparing my heart and mind to be a useful missionary and to help the missions team
Please Pray for My Church, the Camp Leaders, and the Future Camp Attendees as Camp is Coming Soon:

  • All of the other people on the church missions team will have their hearts and minds prepared to minister the camp attendees in the way that God sees fit
  • The camp leaders will have clear minds to have as much prepared that's necessary
  • The future camp attendees will have open ears, minds, and hearts to learn English in a way that is the least frustrating and most beneficial to everyone
  • Many of the future camp attendees will come to know more about Jesus and accept Him as Lord of their lives
I hope that I will be able to go, but in the meantime, I'll be praying that this missions trip goes according to God's plan, and turns out wonderfully, with or without me. If it is the Lord's plan that I go this year, please pray that I'll be able to use my gifts and experiences to minister in a way that is pleasing to God and brings more people to Him.

Thank you so much for all of your prayers and support!

Don't forget to check out the link above for a t-shirt! :)

Questions for the Reader: Have you ever gone on a missions trip? What was it like? Do you have any advice about missions for me? Do you have any advice about traveling out of the country?

"For, 'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.' How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!' But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, 'Lord, who has believed our message?' Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did: 'Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.'" --Romans 10:13-18

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Carry On, Warrior

It's February 6th, and some of you are probably wondering where the monthly resolutions post is. Instead of making the goals that I normally do, I realized an overall life goal that I think is more important to focus on for now.

More than ever, I've felt the pressure about answering the questions: "What's next? What am I going to do in my life? How can I do something that can benefit the world and glorify God?"

I'm feeling the pressure of these questions mostly because it's registration time, which means that I need to be thinking about what classes I need to be taking for my senior year, which makes me think about college and beyond.

...and it's scary. Very scary.

Then I saw this video with my mom two nights ago: a TED Talk from Glennon Doyle Melton about what she learned about herself, the world, and superheroes at a mental hospital:



One quote from Glennon's blog stuck with me:

"The world doesn't need more 'strong' superheroes hiding the truth of who they really are beneath the capes of perfection, shame, cruelty, snark, addiction, or apathy. We need more plain old 'weak' people who are brave enough to come out of hiding. We need more messy, honest, fully human beings who will volunteer to tell the truth about who they are--who will live shamelessly out in the scary, messy world. It is braver to be Clark Kent than it is to be Superman. Carry on, Warrior." 

I was in my Omnibus class this morning after pondering these things, and the teacher asked if anyone would like to write on the board, basically acting as secretary, taking notes of what was being discussed. After several moments of silence, I decided to be the one to raise my hand.

Who knows why, but right then and there I got the exact encouragement I needed. One of my classmates immediately called me "Hayley the Brave."

Goodness, I thought, what a name. Surely I don't deserve it, just because I raised my hand to volunteer. Royalty, knights, and saints deserve those names, but surely not me. 

And it wasn't until just now, as I'm writing this, that God reminded me that as a child of the One, True King, it's ok to proudly wear a name like "Hayley the Brave."

TO BE CLEAR: I'm not saying that I want all my friends to now call me something that formal on a regular basis, because I like the simple name of "Hayley" that I have now, and it would be weird to be called that all the time.

All I'm trying to say is: I think all of us are more qualified to wear names like "Victorious Heroine" and "Hayley the Brave" if we decide to be a Clark Kent instead of a Superman, to be honest, kind, loving, and gracious, to be a warrior fighting against the "capes" and worldly temptations, and to represent and glorify God in all these things, as well as helping and encouraging others to do the same.

Now that's a resolution.

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak." --Ephesians 6:10-20