I've finished two of three volumes... and I'm still not a huge fan of this genre of poetry. But this is what learning looks like, right? Here are my favorite quotes from Dickinson's second volume of poetry.
I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there 's a pair of us — don't tell!
They 'd banish us, you know.
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all
Surgeons must be very careful
When they take the knife!
Underneath their fine incisions
Stirs the culprit, — Life!
Was it Goliath was too large, Or only I too small?
A shady friend for torrid days
Is easier to find
Than one of higher temperature
But were it told to me, to-day,
That I might have the sky
I tell you that my heart
Would split, for size of me
When I hoped I feared,
Since I hoped I dared
I years had been from home,
And now, before the door,
I dared not open, lest a face I never saw before
Stare vacant into mine
And ask my business there
And I esteemed all poverty,
For life's estate with you.
Your riches taught me poverty
I held a jewel in my fingers
And went to sleep.
The day was warm, and winds were prosy;
I said: "'T will keep."
I woke and chid my honest fingers, --
The gem was gone;
And now an amethyst remembrance
Is all I own
The skies can't keep their secret!
They tell it to the hills --
The hills just tell the orchards --
And they the daffodils
How happy is the little stone
That rambles in the road alone,
And doesn't care about careers,
And exigencies never fears
If you should get there first,
Save just a little place for me
I'm a fan of modern poetry... but that's about where my passion for poetry ends. I can easily get lost in the classical poetry and find myself bored (I hate to admit it, but I give up on classical poetry easily). But, as I try to grow my palette, a friend recommended I try Emily Dickinson. Although it wasn't my favorite, I finished volume one and plan to read volume two and three. Here are some of my favorite quotes from Dickinson's poetry.
Hundreds have lost, indeed,
But tens have won an all
Defeat means nothing but defeat
Till the children ask,
"But the forty? Did they come back no more?"
Then a silence suffuses the story,
And a softness the teller's eye;
And the children no further question,
And only the waves reply
If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain
The soul selects her own society
Who win, and nations do not see,
Who fall, and none observe,
Whose dying eyes no country
Regards with patriot love
Pain has an element of blank;
It cannot recollect
When it began, or if there were
A day when it was not.
It has no future but itself,
Its infinite realms contain
Its past, enlightened to perceive
New periods of pain
Nor had I time to love; but since
Some industry must be,
The little toil of love, I thought,
Was large enough for me
I had no time to hate
Why, God would be content
With but a fraction of the love
I hide myself within my flower,
That wearing on your breast,
You, unsuspecting, wear me too --
And angels know the rest
I cannot live with you,
It would be life,
And life is over there
And I choose — just a throne
She rose to his requirement, dropped
The playthings of her life
To take the honorable work
Of woman and of wife
If anybody sneer,
Take care, for God is here,
The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
Some keep the Sabbath going to church;
I keep it staying at home
God preaches, --
a noted clergyman, --
And the sermon is never long
So instead of getting to heaven at last,
I'm going all along
The sun proceeds unmoved
To measure off another day
For an approving God
He questioned softly why I failed?
"For beauty," I replied.
"And I for truth, — the two are one;
We brethren are," he said
We talked between the rooms,
Until the moss had reached our lips,
And covered up our names
I never spoke with God,
Nor visited in heaven;
Yet certain am I of the spot
As if the chart were given
Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
'Tis dying, I am doing;
but I'm not afraid to know
Of whom am I afraid?
Not death; for who is he?
I shall know why, when time is over,
And I have ceased to wonder why;
Christ will explain each separate anguish
In the fair schoolroom of the sky.
He will tell me what Peter promised,
And I, for wonder at his woe,
I shall forget the drop of anguish
That scalds me now, that scalds me now
It was too late for man,
But early yet for God;
Creation impotent to help,
But prayer remained our side.
How excellent the heaven,
When earth cannot be had;
How hospitable, then, the face
Of our old neighbor, God
Death is a dialogue between
The spirit and the dust.
"Dissolve," says Death.
The Spirit, "Sir, I have another trust."
Death doubts it, argues from the ground.
The Spirit turns away,
Just laying off, for evidence,
An overcoat of clay
Except to heaven, she is nought;
Except for angels, lone;
Except to some wide-wandering bee,
A flower superfluous blown;
Except for winds, provincial;
Except by butterflies,
Unnoticed as a single dew
That on the acre lies.
This is one of those typical Christian books that everyone tells you to read, but you figure the hype is toooo extreme. Turns out, with Erwin McManus’s Soul Cravings, the hype was just right. This book was great! Written with creativity in a unique, creative entry style, I was intrigued from page one. Raw, real, relevant, and honest are just a few words I'd use to describe this book.
Here are some of my favorite quotes.
It’s about our story; and if God exists, we should be able to find him there. I don’t know how to prove God to you. I can only hope to guide you to a place where you and God might meet.
There may be no more dangerous place to live then love.
To love is to be fully human.
Sex can be the most intimate and beautiful expression of love, but we are only lying to ourselves when we act as if sex is proof of love… When sex is an act of love, it is a gift. When sex is a substitute for love, it is a trap.
The truth of the matter is that we’re uncomfortable with God. We’re disoriented by the way he loves.
If anyone knows the pain of a love unreturned, it must be God.
When we treat each other with value, when we care for each other, when we love, we experience the presence of God.
Grief is proof that love prevails over death. You cannot kill love.
As children we assume that greatness is within our grasp. Whatever inspires us, we begin to dream that one day we will be the best. It is only as we lose our childlike innocence that we begin to settle for far less.
We live in a time when, given the information of Randy's condition, many would choose to terminate the pregnancy. The argument, of course, would be about the quality of life. What kind of life could you expect for someone who was born with such an extraordinary disadvantage? Would it be fair to bring someone into the world when he would so quickly leave it? Yet four decades later, Randy is a walking reminder that the future often holds far more than we can imagine. He holds a degree in chemical engineering from Oregon State University and for the last twenty years has been working to write software that automates chemical plants. According to Randy, "I am living proof that Darwin was wrong - or at least had a poor definition of who was most fit to survive."
We may not be able to accomplish everything we can dream, but we will not be able to accomplish anything without our dreams.
Not only is ambition a good thing; it is also a God thing... The future doesn't happen by accident; it happens through engagement.
Imprinted on your soul is the fingerprint of God. There’s something inside you that resists surrendering your soul to legalism. The good news is that all that time it wasn’t you fighting against God; you were fighting for what God created you become.
Let him change you at your core, then let your passions fuel your life. Spirituality and desire are not in conflict from the perspective of Jesus.
Our souls crave to know the truth, and we need to pursue it at all costs. Whatever the implication, wherever it takes us, we must search for meaning, strive for understanding, struggle to make sense of life, never give up on the belief that the truth is out there.
While we may disagree on what we believe in and we may argue violently about what is true, what we can escape is that we are all on the same question... craving is to find something we can believe in.
Intellect is a wonderful thing, but there’s more to us than what our heads can hold.
Truth isn’t something you conclude; truth is something you become. Who you decide you can trust inevitably becomes your source of truth.
“Look at the nations and watch — and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.” – Habakkuk 1:5
I don't know about you guys, but when I read this verse, I don't picture a boring God. In this passage, God says that He will do that will amaze us... things we won't believe. That's not a 'boring God' if I've ever seen one. In fact, I think it's the opposite of a boring God...
We have to stop talking about God as if he's boring.
"I have to read my Bible today."
"I can't do that... I'm a Christian."
"Maybe if you were a Christian...."
"I have to do my devotions before I can go out."
Growing up, when I heard these things, Christianity didn't sound very appealing. And I don't think it stops as children. Even as adults, we make Christianity (and thus our God) out to be a boring, vanilla-like lifestyle. We make Christianity sound as if it's following a set of boring, impossible rules, wearing turtle necks, and going to bed at 8 (if you're doing that, good for you, because you're living your best life).
As humans, we want a life full of fun and adventure and friends and laughs and beaches and mountains and lemonade and tea and a full life. John 10:10 reads, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." Abundant life does not sound boring. Who's to say that abundant life doesn't include friends and adventures and beaches and mountains and tea and lemonade? Because I think it does. I think that when God is made out to be boring, we forget that He's come so we can have abundant life.
When we think about God, we tend to picture a big man in the sky with a scepter ready to strike you down if you make a little error. What happened to the God who's so powerful that He created the universe? Or the God who loves us so much that He rose from the freakin' dead? Why have we forgotten the fun, exciting God and why do we instead picture a hall monitor with a clipboard?
I have a friend who's experienced the boring God. Before she found God, she thought He would restrict her; she thought there would be no more fun in her life. Instead, she found God and the opposite happened... she found freedom.
We have to stop thinking about God as boring. That is a lie straight from the devil. Our God is a lot of things. He's Alpha, Omega, beginning, end, supreme, creator, ruler, Father, son, spirit, prince, lover, welcoming, all-knowing, all-powerful, forgiving, gracious, loving, and honest. That sounds like the exact opposite of boring.
"If you ask my friends to describe me, they'd use words like hard-working, diligent, and one-step ahead. I have an incredible portfolio, bomb references, a pretty resume, and lots of job experience."
If someone told you this, they'd sound like an employable person, right? Now, what if they added after the first comment... "but I have a mental illness that I'm medicated for, know how to manage, and have under control under the advise of a physician." Would you turn them away? Would their experience suddenly seem unimportant compared to a fact that they have a diagnosed mental illness?
Let's look at the same person again. They tell you about their experiences, resume, references, and portfolio. You're basically set on hiring them, and then they say, "But I do have diabetes." Does anything change? Probably not, and you hire them on the spot (and they didn't even tell you if they were being treated appropriately by a physician).
Why has mental illness taken such a different stigma then physical illness, especially in the workplace? As I began thinking about internship locations for this summer and even where I might want to go after graduation, I had someone tell me, "Don't tell them about your mental illness when you apply or interview. It fact, don't ever tell them if you can help it. It'll change everything." Why does my mental illness make me seem so much more unemployable, despite my hard work, talents, dedication, and passion?
This was the question that ran through my head when I made my first public blog post about my mental health... should I post this publicly when potential future employers will see it? After much thought, I came to two conclusions. One, I don't want to be hired by a person or for a company that sees mental illness as a defect that makes me unemployable. Two, God has given me this story for a reason. Of course I have to share it.
So, let me clear up some misunderstandings about my mental illness in the workplace.
It is under control. I am hire-able. I will not freak out at work. I will wake up on time and show up early to work. I will be able to handle the work load. I will make friends with my co-workers. I will be a good team member. I will be a good employee. My mental illness will not hold me back, especially in my professional career. And I'm not just saying any of this. It rings completely true in all of my past work experience.
If you let my mental illness hold you back from hiring me... you're missing out. Because I'm a wonderful employee, a dang hard worker, a dedicated team member, and a responsible leader. My mental illness does not diminish my recommendations, work experience, resume, or portfolio, and it would be your own fault to miss out because of something so minuscule.
As a college student, I don't often get to read for fun. Even when I do get this chance, it's hard to do because I've been so immersed in textbooks. However, this book was so incredible that I finished it in two days (I'm not exaggerating). Stephanie Fast's She is Mine will break your heart and open your eyes. It'll make you cry, make you laugh, and give you hope.
I don't want to spoil anything for you, so I'll just encourage you to read it. Stephanie's orphan story is powerful, and it's written incredibly well. It's one of those books that makes you forget that you're reading.
More importantly, this book reminded me that I am not alone. It put me back into perspective. As an orphan, like Stephanie, I was lucky enough to not have to endure my orphanage as a war orphan in a devastated country. This book put me back into perspective. As an orphan, life sucks. As an orphan in America, life could be much, much worse. Although I didn't experience the horrible traumas that Stephanie did, the emotions that Stephanie felt throughout her journey are very similar to what I've felt throughout my life.
Don't know what it feels like to be left without parents? Read this book. Not only will you learn what orphans around the world face, but you'll be reminded that even in the most traumatic, hopeless situations, God is real. He is there. He is present. Even at deaths door, God sees you, and He loves you.
Self-care is any activity we do deliberately to take care of our emotional, physical, and/ or mental health. While it sounds simple, it isn't always that simple. And it isn't always easy. And no matter how glamorous it may sound, it definitely isn't always pretty.
The last few months have been incredibly hard, and my mental health hit a wall faster than you could tell me everything was going to be ok. And what did my doctor prescribe (other than a new dose of Prozac)? A healthy dose of self-care.
After multiple discussions with my doctor, we came up with a few rules for my self-care.
1. Focus on a few people.
2. Ask for justification.
3. When you fall backwards, do whatever it takes to go a few steps forward.
While these rules may sound incredibly simple to an outsider, they have been three of the hardest rules to adjust to in my own life.
I'm the kind of girl who wants to please everyone; I cannot stand when I think other people are mad at me (and with generalized anxiety disorder, that's about all the time). As I talked to my family about what rule number one looked like practically, I realized that I had to give up the desire to please everyone. So, people got cut out of my life. Although I did not do so intentionally, some actions of others left me with no other choice. Want to be rude and inconsiderate? That's fine, but I'm out. Want to be insensitive to my circumstances or get arrested? Do you, but not with me anymore.
Although this rule may sound pretty, "focus on a few people," it was actually really ugly. People were upset, and people didn't understand. When I tried to explain, they continued to push back, which led me to cut them out further. While it may not have been pretty... it worked. As I began focusing on a small group of friends and close family, my anxiety and depression levels were no longer as elevated all the time. And, I further developed relationships that have made me into a better person.
Rule number two is also not pretty, but it hasn't been as ugly as rule number one. As I sought justification from my close group of people, I learned how to take criticism well, but I also learned when it was ok to take my self-care to a new level. Hey, can I eat this entire pint of ice cream? Maybe not tonight. Hey, you bit all your nails off 'til they bled? Maybe we should do something about that...
This is the sappy point in the blog post where I have to take a second to thank those five people for making an incredibly hard situation a little better. Thank you guys for telling me when I'm being an idiot. Thank you for listening even when I didn't make any sense. Thank you for laughing about my soap opera life when I need to make it seem funny to get through it. Thanks for being my rock when life's falling apart. Thank you for talking sense into me when I'm a little wild. Thank you for encouraging me to stay in the Word, even when I thought it wasn't what I needed. Thank you for the justification, both the good and the bad. Thanks for dealing with me during this time, because it hasn't been easy. I'm so sorry, but I'm so so so thankful.
The last step, while expensive, has been incredibly worth it (and it sometimes has been pretty). When I'm so anxious that I'm ripping each split end off one-by-one, maybe it's time to get a hair cut. When I'm so upset that I bite all of my nails off in my sleep, maybe it's time for a manicure. When school or work are just too much, maybe it's time for a Netflix binge or a roller skating night. BUT, let me add, that this rule hasn't been an all-the-time kind of thing. That's where the justification has come in. My support group of people have been incredible about telling me when I should and shouldn't be taking a break or spending money. And their justification is teaching how I'll handle myself when my mental illness is under control again.
My three rules of self-care for the last four months have not been easy, and they haven't been pretty. But they've worked. As hard as the last few months have been (and as hard as the next few will be), I'm getting better. When I was diagnosed a few years back with depression and generalized anxiety disorder, I thought I had seen the worse of my mental illness. I thought that once I was diagnosed and treated, it would only go up from there. I was wrong, and that was hard to accept. But it's ok. If my mental illness goes up or down, it'll be ok. Because the Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
I'll be ok (even on the worst days when my anxiety and depression are overwhelming and the devil is working OT). But you have to be ok with it too... even when my self-care isn't pretty (well, I guess you don't have to, but I don't care if you are or if you're not). When my self-care isn't pretty, I won't say sorry, because I have to focus on myself right now.
The book of Job has always been my favorite book of the Bible. It was a sermon on the book and life of Job that brought me to my knees in faith towards God. This sermon is what made my faith real, my own. It was this book that continues to remind me that I am not alone. When I have too many questions that I cannot answer, it is this book that reminds me that the only answer I need is Christ. When I am overwhelmed with suffering, this book continues to remind me that that's ok. Although I could quote this book for days, here are some of my favorite quotes from the book of Job as I journey through the Bible.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.
He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted... the lowly he sets on high, and those who mourn are lifted to safety.
Can a mortal be more righteous than God? Can even a strong man be more pure than his Maker?
His wisdom is profound, his power is vast... He moves mountains without their knowing it and overturns them in his anger.
To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his. What he tears down cannot be rebuilt; those he imprisons cannot be released... To him belong strength and insight; both deceived and deceiver are his.
Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend.
Dominion and awe belong to God; he established order in the heights of heaven. Can his forces be numbered? On whom does his light not rise?
Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Who marked off its dimensions? Who stretched a measuring line across it?
I know you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
Father, our creator, may we all be reminded today that suffering happens and is real, but that does not mean that you aren't. You know why suffering happens... may we be content with that as our answer. May the story of Job empower us, and may it give us perspective. Thank you for the ability to not understand everything on this side of eternity, although that can be frustrating. We love you, and we're so thankful you love us. Amen.
The life of a college student is busy. Between work, classes, homework, a social life, exercise, and sleep, it can be hard to find time to breathe, but that doesn't mean that it's impossible. A wise person once said that we make time for what's important to us. I'm sick of college students saying they don't have time for news.
As a journalism major, I stay up-to-date on the news. As a PR major, I stay up-to-date on the news. As an honors student in a discussion-based curriculum, I stay up-to-date on the news. As a woman trying to develop my own political views, I stay up-to-date on the news. As a Christian who prays for my neighbors throughout the world, I stay up-to-date on the news. As an American who votes, I stay up-to-date on the news. I'm a college student, and I make time to stay up-to-date on the news.
Even as a college student, if someone asks you, "What's going on in the world today?" you should have an answer. When we pay attention to the news, we not only create space for professionalism, but we become more educated. College students my age want to have heated debates about politics, rights, education, and just about everything under the sun. When done respectfully that is fine... but do not attempt to have this kind of discussion with me if you are not up-to-date with what is happening in the world.
How's it done? With the technology of the day, it's not hard. Download a news app and check it while you wait for the bus. Follow a credible news source on twitter and scroll through your feed while eating breakfast. But, there are rules. Don't follow just one news source, and pick your news source well. If you follow only one news source, you will only have a limited, bias view. If you follow multiple news sources, preferably a left-leaning and a right-leaning one with a third, you'll have a rounded view of the news you're receiving.
For example, I follow CNN on Twitter. I follow that news outlet online daily, also checking up to the very moment if possible via Twitter. But, I'm a hardcore conservative, so at least once a week I check HuffPost to see what those who are left-leaning think. Also on a weekly basis, I check the Washington Post, NPR, and the NYTimes. I attend school board meetings, city council meetings, and country council meetings. Not only am I staying up-to-date on news in general, but I'm up-to-date on what's happening in my local community.
There's no excuse not to be informed in this digital age. That being said, this is America and you most definitely have the right to disagree with me. If you choose to ignore the news, that's your right, and I won't fight with you. But if that's your choice, do not come to me with questions. Do not come to me wanting to debate or discuss the big issues, because I'm a college student, and I take my news seriously.
All of my life, I’ve been proactive. I’ve always made a to-do list, crossed off every item, and started a new list. In high school, I was the girl who met every early college and scholarship deadline and never lingered in the halls. In college, I’m the full-time student with three jobs who has never had to pull an all-nighter. I set one alarm, and when it goes off I get up. I can’t go to bed with an unread notification, and my email is always organized and inbox empty.
All of my life, I’ve been told that’s a bad thing. I’ve been told that I’m “too on top of it.” In college, it’s caused tensions and even ruined a couple friendships because of jealousy or misunderstanding. I can't tell you how many times I've been called an overachiever with some other snarky remark. I've been laughed at because, "you have your life together."
But I won’t apologize for being proactive. I won’t apologize that I’m going to bed early to get eight hours of sleep. I won’t apologize because I’m ahead on my homework. I won’t apologize because I can go out with friends instead of do that paper that was assigned weeks ago. And I’m sick of people assuming I need to apologize or feel bad because I’m on top of things.
I know that not everyone is proactive. That’s fine... and if we’re being honest, I don’t care. Your pro-activity (or lack thereof) is none of my business. But I'm sick of being expected to apologize for my pro-activity. I've decided that I won't anymore. My ability to get lots of work done is not a bad thing. After years of being told being an overachiever is a bad thing, I've finally come to the realization that it's not. It's a strength that God has blessed me with. Here's to using it well, to glorify the Lord of all creation.
About the Author
Hi there! My name is Dezaray Barr. I'm a public relations professional who loves Jesus, cereal and puppies. I'm a firm believer that God's greatest gift is our communication.