Alchemy Flower Shop

One of my favorite projects from Interior Design school was probably the retail project at the very end of the program. We studied residential design for the first year, and tackled commercial design in the second year. When I was 15 my very first job was in a flower shop and I adored it. When I first started, I didn’t think of it any more than a job to make money and save for my future little green VW Buggy – but the longer I worked there and the more I learned about floral design, I saw myself becoming a florist professionally more and more! Now that I’m in Interior Design, I though it’d be ultra cool to design my own future flower shop! I have always loved the word “Alchemy” I don’t really know why… I like the shape my mouth makes when I say it and I enjoy hearing that word… it’s weird.

Alchemy [al•kuh•mee]

“A form of Renaissance chemistry concerned primarily on discovering a universal solvent and Elixir of Life. Or a magical process of transforming common forms into things of great value.”

My inspiration for my future flower shop was old English castles, waterfalls and redwood tree forests. I loved how these three things seemed to create the settling for a fairy tale! Essentially, I wanted Alchemy Florists to be a flower shop inspired by Mother Nature; bringing elements from the garden like fresh plants and running water, rough woods and a bright sky into the store. My goal would be to create a way to make floral arrangements a part of everyday life as well as make special events unique and brilliant. With the design of the flower shop, I  wanted to blur the lines between indoor and outdoor; allowing people to enjoy flowers and plants all year round! This is totally real dream of mine – I don’t know if I’ll ever achieve it, but who knows where life may take me.

img_0006Our assignment was to design a mall location store. The rest was only limited by our imagination. I was ecstatic! As my profs went through the requirements, guidelines and design rules I was already sketching my ideas down hoping to put them on paper before they got away! As soon as class ended, I felt like I was a racehorse bursting out of the gate – God was giving me so much inspiration! I thought this would be a fun project, also because I worked in a couple flower shops for several years. I knew things that worked, I remembered things that definitely did not work and there were design ideas I thought would’ve made work more efficient or practical – I was looking forward to developing, eliminating and creating a potential flower shop for myself in the future.

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Getting a floor plan down was the first step and envisioning what shoppers might see on the exterior.

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It was all coming together! I wanted the logo to be simple and organic.

alchemy-florists-logoAs part of the project we had to compile a complete specification sheet for our store including all of the materials and finishes, budget, floor Auto-CAD (ACAD) plans, electrical ACAD plans, + structural ACAD plans. There was a lot of work, but this was fun for me because I was a job that I related to and would want to work in myself! Below would be the exterior of the mall shop – it would be located on the corner which would allow shoppers to access from the side as well as the front. Along the hallway, there would be a window for convenient window shopping of fresh flowers and arrangements in the cooler.

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The ceiling of the flower shop, consists of LED light panels with a sky image. These lights would cast a soft glow through out the entire store to make it feel as it the shop was actually located outdoors. The suspended ceiling would have a pergola grid to hide the metal grid support system, which would enhance the indoor-outdoor experience.

alchemy-florist-4eIn the center of Alchemy Florists would be a fresh plant wall. The pillar would support plant life in the store without maintenance. The pillar offers privacy to the consultation and work areas in the back from shoppers passing by.

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The view of the front desk for floral wrapping, A water feature continues the indoor-outdoor experience and allows shoppers to hear the sound of running water as they walk past Alchemy Florists.

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A walk-in cooler allows shoppers to go in and pick the arrangement they want. Each floral design would sit on a stone Lazy-Susan which would allow them to view 360 degrees of the arrangement without needing to handle it. There would also be plants, gifts, and vases for shoppers to add to their order.

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Standing behind the front desk looking out into the flower shop.

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The consultation space for clients to meet one on one with the floral designers for custom work.

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The work center in the back. A large island with space to walk all the way around and full of storage areas underneath.

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The front shelf doubles as a storage shelf in the back to hold standard vases and designing materials. A large sink provides easy clean up and watering.

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The extra deep counters around the island provide practical work space for designers’ fresh flowers, cutting knives, floral waste, and finished design work.

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I really enjoyed this project! It took 100+ hours of design research, concept building, product searching, 3D computer modeling, Auto CAD drawings and photo shop to put the dream together but it was well worth it in the end! Maybe one day it will become real life!

 

 

 

 

-Stay Satisfied

Don’t forget to breath…

“The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” – Job 33:4

It’s been a while… but that’s ok. I feel like everyone goes through those highs and lows in their relationship with God. I know God hasn’t left me, He never has, nor ever will. “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will never leave you or forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6. There are times when I know I should be doing “better” in my walk with the Lord, if that makes sense. It’s funny, I always know when I am not spending enough time with Him, because He talks to me more – telling me to spend more time with Him. Those times when life gets a little out of whack and you aren’t spending enough time in prayer and aren’t submerging yourself in His Word as much as you should be? I don’t know how the Devil does it, he’s sneaky, one thing leads to another and all of a sudden I’m trying to think back to the last time I brought out my bible and just sat in the presence of Jesus. As discouraging as this can sound, I personally find it encouraging. Through it all, Jesus is always still waiting there to spend time with me; to talk to me, to read with me, to listen to me. In my imagination, I picture Jesus sitting at an outdoor cafe in Paris in the summer time. Everything is colourful and full of life, He’s drinking an espresso and has an extra chair across from Him at a bright yellow wrought iron table. He’ll make eye contact with me, take a sip from a glass espresso mug and wave me over to be with Him. Always. It doesn’t change. He is always welcoming, always loving. Why is it so easy to drift away from this???

cafeThe other day I was reading in my devotional book. It has been the first time in longer than I’d like to admit. My devotional book is written in first person, as God speaking directly to the reader, “Seek My Face [God’s] and you will find more than you ever dreamed possible. “Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life” – Philippians 4:7 MSG. Let Me displace worry at the center of your being. I am like a supersaturated cloud, showering peace into the pool of your mind. My nature is to bless, and your nature is to receive with thanksgiving. This is a true fit, designed before the foundation of the world. Glorify My be receiving My blessings gratefully! I am the goal of all your searching. When you seek Me, you find Me and are satisfied. When lesser goals capture your attention, I fade into the background of your life. I am still there, watching and waiting but you function as if you were alone. Actually, My light shines on every situation you will ever face. Live radiantly by expanding your focus to include Me in all your moments. Let nothing dampen your search for Me!”

“When You said, ‘Seek My face” my heart said to You, “Your face Lord, I will seek.” – Psalm 27:8

I continued to look at the book. I reread the words and felt so loved. This was the most gentle “I Told You So” and I realized how badly I had needed it. I closed my eyes and imagined Jesus at the bright yellow table in Paris. “I love you Payton. I will always love you, but I want you to love Me back in the same way.” He spoke softly and sipped His espresso.

“You will seek Me and you will find Me, when you seek Me with all of your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:13

The next day, God continued to show me His patience and love. My devotional said, “Come to Me with a thankful heart, so that you can enjoy My presence. This is the day that I have made. I want you to rejoice today, refusing to worry about tomorrow. Search for all that I have prepared for you, anticipating abundant blessings and accepting difficulties as they come. I can weave miracles into the most mundane day if you keep your focus on Me. Come to Me with all of your needs, knowing that My glorious riches are a more-than-adequate supply. Stay in continual communication with Me, so that you can live above your circumstances even while you are in the midst of them. Present you requests to Me with thanksgiving, and My peace, which surpasses all understanding, this will guard your heart and mind.” I felt like God was walking with me, and reached down to grab my hand as we would walk together.

“The Sovereign Lord is my strength, He makes my feet like the feet of the deer and helps me to climb the high places.” – Habakkuk 3:19

It is ultra cliche, but the importance of reading my Bible everyday has been refreshed in me. Staying in God’s Word and continually reading His love letter to us is vital to our walk with Him. I want to have feet that are able to climb the high places God may send me – but that will only happen if I spend time with God and allow Him to teach me and mould me so that when the time comes to climb high, I will be able to! If you’ve been feeling like you’re in a similar slump, I want to encourage you to grab your Bible and a coffee and go sit in a quiet room with lots of sunshine. Spend time with Jesus because He is already there waiting for you. God is patient and kind and softly nudges us to continue seeking Him. We are not perfect and the Lord knows that – so seek Him with all that your heart is able to!

 

 

 

 

-Stay Satisfied

Who knew a book would go so far…

I recently went through all of the photos I collected while I was in Rio during the summer. I’ll confess that I’m totally a photo album person. When I was little, I would print out photos, cut them into shapes and collage them into books with really cool stickers and fun paper; the whole shebang. Buuuuut now I go online and create books because they turn out way nicer than the ones I used to make… anyways, my photo album is ordered and on it’s way to me *Happy Dance* While going through all the pictures, I was reminded of more stories and miracles that happened in Rio! I hope you don’t mind yet another post 😉

1 Thessalonians 5:11, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. “

On our first day on the streets of Rio, my sister Andra and I got the opportunity to talk with several young adults that were from all over the U.K. one girl was from England, two guys were from Ireland, another two from Germany and Scotland. It was super cool having so many countries standing in one conversation in Brazil! Anyways, this group was the first group my sister and I encountered; we were nervous and didn’t really know what to say. I’ve realized that before the first conversation you have about Jesus is always the one Devil puts up his greatest fight – because if you survive the first, the second and third come easier. Before you know it, you forget what you were originally afraid of! As we approached them I prayed that God would simply give Andra and I the courage to be real, the peace to be calm and the strength to be honest. Have you ever heard of the bread crumb theory? In a conversation, make a comment about God; going to church, your faith – whatever, say something in reference to Christ. If the person you are talking to comments or asks about it, make another small comment. When they ask and the conversation grows talk more and more about Jesus – not shoving the entire loaf of bread down someone’s throat; one slice at a time. You know?

Rio 1We told the group that we were from Canada and we were handing out these booklets to the people we met. “You came all the way from Canada to hand these out? Why??” the guy from Germany asked.

“We came with a group from our church to hand them out to the people we meet from all over the world!” First bread crumb.

“Why would you two come all the way from Canada to give us this? Which church are you from?” They ate it.

“‘We are here with 50+ other Christians from all over the world here in Rio to share Jesus to the people we get to talk to! It’s been so cool to see how many countries are represented here in Rio!” Second bread crumb.

“Why would you want to travel so far to tell people about God and hand out these books?” They ate it again.

So Andra and I began to explain our relationship with Jesus. We told them the story of creation and when sin first entered the world. “God sent His Son Jesus Christ to save the world He created from sin that will lead to death. For us to be saved from death, we must trust Jesus and live our life for Him instead of for ourselves…” As we continued to explain the gospel and salvation the group was listening and asking questions that allowed me to process why I was here. It was as if God was interviewing my sister and I through these young adults’ questions: Payton why are you here? Why do you want to tell others about ME? Why do they need ME? What have I done in your life? I had so much peace as I poured my life to these people. Andra shared her story about how Jesus has helped her in her depression. My sister and I shared about how all of us have sinned and need God, we shared about heaven and hell, about Jesus grace and mercy; after talking for nearly half an hour, one of them said, “You know, I think it’s cool how you both came all this way to share your faith. But just because Jesus works for you, doesn’t mean He will work for me. I think you telling me how Jesus has helped you in specific areas of your life – like depression and stress, helps me to connect with you and wants me to learn more about God. But when you come to me telling me that I’m sinful and going to Hell; I don’t want to listen to you. You should share more about how Jesus Christ helped you instead of Hell.” And with that, we split ways.

If you think of it, please pray for these young adults we talked to! God gave Andra and I 30 minutes to share Him and who knows where they ended up, but God can work through the booklet we gave them, and the conversation we had. Words can ring for years if they spoke to you. It was discouraging watching them walk away but my heart was encouraged because I saw how God used our encounter with that group to lift our spirits to press on and continue to share Him! With our first conversation on the streets being to grounding, I was excited to watch and see how God’s Hand would move during the rest of our time in Rio!

Rio 3A couple days later, another group from our missions team was at Copacabana Beach. Soldiers were everywhere in Rio. Almost every 20 feet were four soldiers with loaded machine guns. Being from Canada; where firearms are thankfully illegal, it was a bit unnerving to see so many firearms. As the team spread the gospel and handed out booklets to every one on the boardwalk they had opportunities to talk about the gospel, creation and salvation with people. After one conversation, my friend noticed that the guard he was near kept watching him after his conversation with someone else on the boardwalk. We had been told before going out not to approach the soldiers because they were on high alert and a stranger with a big backpack would not be the brightest idea. As my friend went about the boardwalk, this guard kept watching him! A few minutes later, the soldier left his post and approached my friend. He motioned for a book, said thank you, and returned to his post. My friend was in shock. Moments later, the guard went up to him again and asked for three more booklets for the other guards at his post; they all wanted one, but didn’t want to leave their post to get it! It was incredible to watch the power of God work in areas we could not!

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One last story! When my team and I were at Copacabana Beach, it was hot and beautiful and packed with people! I don’t think I had ever seen so many bodies in one place at once! I realized what immigrants in Canada were saying when they said there is so much space back home! Anyways, it had been a long and exhausting day, my team and I were running out of books when suddenly a woman ran up to one of the guys on our team, “Here! I don’t need this” she said, as she handed a booklet back to him. It was discouraging to see her going to the effort of returning the book. As he tried to encourage her to hold on to the book and maybe pass it on to a friend or family member, she said, “No! Someone gave me this book yesterday. I went home and I read it. I became a Christian!! This book saved my life! I want to give it back to you so that God can save another life!” I was dumbfounded. Sometimes we underestimate the power of God’s Word. He does not need our words. God uses us to get His Word to those He has hand picked for His kingdom!!

Praise God with me for the work God did in Rio, is continuing to do in Rio and all that is still to happen in Rio! I will be the first to confess that I was one of those people to not believe that tracks and bible booklets were effective for Christ’s kingdom. But God opened my eyes to humble me; having that lady come back and share her story made me remember and realize the reality of Ephesians 3:21-22, “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” I am thankful for the time I had in Rio and the opportunity the Lord gave me to be used and watch His work unfold! God is still moving people! Stay close to Him and He will show you and open your eyes to see!

 

– Stay Satisfied

I AM is with Us Where Ever We Go!

I have been home from Rio for over a month now – I am so sorry for not posting this sooner! It’s sad how the devil can distract us with other shiny things on the side to prevent us from sharing God’s glory and all that He has done! There’s so much I am excited to tell about my time in Rio; for this post I’m going to focus on what God taught me in Rio and how it’s changed my life since coming home! God enforced one lesson in my life and taught me a new lesson to focus on. He enforced stopping to smell the roses in the world Christ has created and He taught me how to be bold and transparent about my faith in Jesus. I was incredibly excited to experience another part of the world for the Lord.

BooksI love to travel and I want to travel as much of the world as I can, so traveling with a purpose other than fulfilling my own desires was incredibly satisfying and made the trip more valuable. I want to continue to travel with a purpose for Christ everywhere I go in the world! While we were there, other missionaries encouraged us to “stop and smell the roses” – to enjoy Rio while we served the Lord. I loved the reassurance that gave me: God wants our work for Him to be joyful and uplifting, not a chore or something we dread! On our travels there, I was at war with myself, “How was I going to be able to be a witness for Christ and be completely focused on doing this for God and not being distracted with the people, places and things of Rio?!” But the Lord gave me so much peace. “I have made this world for my glory Payton – and I want you to find a balance between enjoying what I have created for you and being my light. Remember I want you to be IN this world – not OF it.” It was exciting to explore the streets of Rio while sharing the gospel with everyone we encountered and tell other people my story with Jesus. There were 14 people on our witnessing team: 12 of us were from my church and then we had 2 wonderful missionary translators that were looking forward to not only guiding us through the city but giving us the opportunities to experience Rio; the people, the tourist points, the food – they wanted to share their culture with us and I was ecstatic! I loved getting to meet people and hear their story.

Prayer

“Jesus said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”    -Mark 16:15

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The greatest challenge for me, was the language barrier; it was more of a factor than I thought it would be. However, I truly believe that what the devil meant for bad, the Lord planned for good! Speaking only English forced me to be creative with how I shared my faith with the people there. Not knowing Portuguese also gave God so much room for His Hand to work and I got to watch it all happen! I knew that nothing was from what I said or did – because I could say or do much! I know I had asked for prayer in this area, but it was humbling learning that I am merely a vessel and that the Lord does not need me; He WANTS to use me and include me in His glorious plan. I was encouraged by my pastor that even though we may not get that exciting conversation every day; God’s Word speaks so much more than our own word. His Word is passed on and read and reread vs. our word floats away in the wind. I was reminded that God defends and spreads His word and that as long as I am getting it into the hands of the people – God will use it! One day, when my sister Andra and I were at the Olympic Boulevard handing out the gospel and making ourselves available to be used by Christ with our team we met a Brazilian lady named Sonia. She had just a touch of English; the three of us ended up playing a 45 minute game of charades to try and have a conversation. As we talked.. or acted.. Sonia told us how lonely she had been because she has no family near her and her husband travels a lot for work. As she conveyed her sadness my heart was pounding in my chest – Sonia NEEDS to hear about Jesus!!! I prayed asking God to send out translator back our way for that just maybe we could tell her about the love and grace she could have in Jesus! As our game of charades continued, our translator; Cynthia came along!! Andra quick explained our situation and how we have been trying to tell Sonia about Jesus’ love. So Cynthia talked to Sonia in Portuguese for us and told her about Jesus for Andra and I. A moment later, Sonia’s face lit up with excitement, “I KNOW JESUS!!” I was shocked. We talked more, turns out that Sonia is also a missionary for Jesus and her husband goes back to raise support for their missions work while she holds down the fort at home in Brazil! I could not believe it. Sonia then explained that she just felt the Lord telling her to come and talk to my sister and I. We prayed together, exchanged contact information. God had all of us there to encourage each other to stay strong and to continue spreading God’s seed. My heart was so full that not only was God looking out for His lost sheep, but also encouraging His sheep to press on.

Streets 1Since coming back from Rio, the Lord has shown me that I have no excuses here in Canada: I can speak the language, I understand the culture, I know the city, etc. While in Rio I learned how blessed I am to not be bound by language, culture, currency, etc. I have the freedom and knowledge in Canada to share the gospel and Jesus’ name far and wide! Being home now, I am challenged to continue to be bold about my faith and be open and willing to share and create opportunities to share Christ – not wait for them to land on my lap! Since coming back home I have had several situations where I was able to share my faith and pass on extra English booklets that I took home from the Olympics! The first weekend I was home, my family and I put on a garage sale. As people came and went through out the day, there was one man that came by that I felt the Lord putting on my heart. As I talked to him he told me that he was from originally from Chile and had moved to Canada a couple years ago – as we talked more we found out that we were both in Rio during the Olympics!! He told me the events he went to and asked which once I saw… Immediately I heard God encourage me, “Be bold Payton!” So I told the man all about sharing Jesus on the streets and gave him one of the extra booklets that I had brought back from Rio. I have no idea what God will do, all I know is that Jesus gave me ground to scatter seed. I am so blessed to share my experiences with other followers of Jesus and encourage them to also be bold and spread the good news. We are to be farmers for Jesus scattering seed everywhere we go – no worrying about the ground it falls on. I am excited that God is continuing to use me and I can’t wait to watch and see how His Holy Spirit continues to work in my home town!

 

 

 

– Stay Satisfied

Dents in my Fender + Rips in My Jeans…

Growing up, one of my favorite songs was, “Free to be Me” by Francesca Battistelli. She was my first concert. I remember my tween self freaking out when the first chords were played to hit single. I died:

 

At twenty years of age
I’m still looking for a dream
A war’s already waged
For my destiny
But you’ve already won the battle
And you’ve got great plans for me
Though I can’t always see

‘Cause I got a couple dents in my fender
Got a couple rips in my jeans
Try to fit the pieces together
But perfection is my enemy
On my own I’m so clumsy
But on your shoulders I can see
I’m free to be me

When I was just a girl
I thought I had it figured out
My life would turn out right
And I’d make it here somehow
But things don’t always come that easy
And sometimes I would doubt

‘Cause I got a couple dents in my fender
Got a couple rips in my jeans
Try to fit the pieces together
But perfection is my enemy
On my own I’m so clumsy
But on your shoulders I can see
I’m free to be me

And you’re free to be you

Sometimes I believe
That I can do anything
Yet other times I think
I’ve got nothing good to bring
But you look at my heart and you tell me
That I’ve got all you seek
And it’s easy to believe
Even though

‘Cause I got a couple dents in my fender
Got a couple rips in my jeans
Try to fit the pieces together
But perfection is my enemy
On my own I’m so clumsy
But on your shoulders I can see
I’m free to be me

 

 

Rips and dentsTo be honest, I think most of us thought we had it all figured out growing up; when we’re grown up I’ll be a firefighter or mechanic, I’m gunna have kids and be a Mom, we’re gunna do what we love and always assume success will follow us no matter where we go. I just turned 22 the other day, and as crazy as it may seem, I’m not a millionaire doing super, awesome things on T.V. I know, crazy right? I’m also guessing you’re not in that place either…. but that’s just a guess… Social media has a funny way of making us feel disappointed with our lives. It seems like everyone around us is dating, getting married, having kids, going on vacations, finishing school, getting promoted at work, buying a new car, building a new house, the list could honestly go on forever. Whatever we desire – someone else has. Our friends around us and the people we follow on social media platforms always seem to have their life together. Comparison is the #1 thief of joy people. Fransesca’s song always encouraged me that I was never meant to be perfect. God does not expect me to be flawless. The reason we can’t be perfect and flawless is because that would mean we don’t need Jesus. Even with Jesus, I am not perfect. But because of Jesus I know I don’t have to have my life together. With Jesus I can embrace my ripped jeans and dented car. I can embrace my current jobless situation. Believe me – I may only be in my early twenties, but I’ve had my fair share of struggles, disappointments, failures and heartbreaks. I scrolled across a quote the other day that challenged, “So what? You had a bad semester. You gained some weight. So what? You’re single again. You lost your job. So what? What now? You live. You try again. You move on. That’s what.” It struck a chord with me. We are told in 2 Chronicles 15:7, “But you, be strong and do not lose courage, for there is reward for your work.” Guys, we cannot be the people that fail once, twice, and give up! I’ve been learning that we need to be able to embrace our failures and discouragements. We need to embrace our imperfect, beautiful selves and seek Christ whole-heartedly. I’ve been wearing the same jeans since grade 7 and I just recently got into a fender bender with my buggy. Don’t get me wrong, I wish I had nice, new clothes for everything and I have cried over my winking car lots but…. So what? My goal on earth is not to have a bazillion friends, perfect Instagram feed, lots of followers on the blog, or hundreds of likes on my Facebook. So what? Our image shouldn’t be the most important thing to us – our legacy should be. What do people think when they hear your name? How do people feel when they see a photo of you? If someone had to describe you, using only 5 words, what would they say? Would they say you’re gentle or rough, rude or humorous, witty, sassy, harsh, stubborn, kind, loving, etc. I want to encourage you guys not to compare yourself to the next person. Don’t wish you had this or wish you could do that. Work for it, wait for it, and plan for it. Stay satisfied and content with who you are in Christ Jesus and trust that He will continue to work in your life and mould you into the beautiful, imperfect person He always intended you to be.

“Wait a second, Why should you care, / what they think of you / When you’re all alone, by yourself / Do you like you?” – Colbie Caillat, “TRY

 

– Stay Satisfied

Some people told me not to go to college… look at me now…

If you would have told me two years ago that I’d move to a tiny little town, to live with a family I had never met before to jump into a program I wasn’t even sure I was good at – I probably would have looked at you, said nothing and turned on my heel to walk away. There would have been a whole lotta “nopes” from me. I’ll be the first one to admit that change and I are not BFF’s – I literally buy the identical toothbrush from Walmart every time I need a new one. However, God made it clear that I was supposed to take Him up on His offer and move to Alberta for school. At one point I had already been accepted into a design school in Vancouver; I was going to be moving back out to the coast where my girl friends are and we’d have so much fun *Happy Dance* But God was the one who had a whole lotta nopes for that plan. He made Alberta so clear – until I had people telling me that I shouldn’t be attending a “secular” college. It was weird to have this feedback from people I talked to a lot. I heard almost all of the excuses, “You’re not strong enough in your faith to attend a secular school…” “You’re going to get caught up in the drugs and party life out there.” “You don’t even know anyone going with you!” “You’re not going to have any Christian friends to keep you accountable at a secular college.”

“I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?”

– Jeremiah 32:27

Trust me, the list goes on. But I knew that God had already made it clear that I was to go. I remember when I first moved out to this town; it was not easy. I had to learn a new place, meet new people, understand a new program and try to make friends. But God showed me that He was with me right from the beginning: I literally had hiking trails in the backyard, I moved in with a phenomenal, God fearing family, my class was hilarious and my teachers were fabulous. Despite all of these awesome things, my heart was still longing for something familiar’ I was running through the trails and talking to God about all of these mixed emotions, “God I don’t know how I am going to get through two years of this.” Immediately He gave me a verse.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” – James 1:2-3

When God put that verse on my heart, I knew it was His way of confirming that I had not started an easy path – it would be difficult and I would get hurt. But it will be great and I will walk out stronger after! Sometimes the Lord does not guide us down paths that are lined with daisies and full of sunshine. Quite often He’ll ask us to walk places that scare us and stress us out – but those are the paths that force us to seek Him. Those are the paths that strengthen you. I want to thank the people that discouraged me to take the path I did; the people that said I wouldn’t survive a college life. I knew the road would not be easy but what was meant to discourage me; God meant it for good. {Genesis 50:20}

Guys – as Children of God, we CANNOT stay in a Christian bubble. I don’t care how comfortable you are or how scary you may think it is to be out in the “big bad world”. The Lord did NOT give you grace so that you could keep it to yourself. As people that have been born again into God’s forgiveness, He commanded us in Mark 16:15, “”Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” When God reveals something to you, it is meant to be shared and passed on! Not kept to yourself where it won’t continue to encourage others! We cannot hide in a Christian bubble and expect to make an impact on the world for the Lord’s kingdom.While at a “secular”, “non-Christian” school, God has given me countless opportunities to be a witness for Him. There were times where God was able to use me and there were other times where God had to teach me. I did not hit the mark every time. But I do not want to meet God one day and be like the servant that did nothing with their talents. Matthew 25:15-27, “To one servant, the Master gave five talents, to another servant, two talents, to another servant a single talent; each according to his ability. Then the Master went away. The servant who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. The servant who had the two talents made two talents more. But the servant who had received the one talent, went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. The servant who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And the servant who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ The servant who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, “Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.” Guys, I don’t want to be that last servant – and neither do you!

Melting Forest

I believe that God will finish what He calls you to. I know this because me graduating from a “secular” college is proof of that. A lot of people told me that my faith was not strong enough to make it through college. I’ve got news for you: God’s strength is our measuring stick – not our own strength. If anything, having a “weak faith” and STILL coming out hand in hand with my savior Jesus, gives Him even more glory. Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength”. I believe that we don’t need to survive on our own strength. A lot of people questioned whether or not I’d have accountability. I believe that my accountability comes from everyone around me – not just from Christians. Matthew 5:16, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see Jesus in you and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” In fact, by being with people that don’t know about Jesus, I was kept more accountable because no one was correcting me. We have to keep our hearts in tune with Jesus to decipher between more than 50 shades of grey; to know what’s black and what’s white. Allow the Bible – God’s Word to be your accountability partner! Listen, Spring is a season of change (obviously my least favorite). I wanna ask you, is God giving you an opportunity to be a light for Him? Is there a crew of friends that don’t know the Lord that you could be spending time with and sharing Christ’s love? Are you praying for those around you? Are you diving into a new job or spring/ summer classes that you’ll be surrounded by people that might not know Jesus? I’m not suggesting that you run into these opportunities with New Testaments to shove down people’s throats – I’m saying be a light; be a witness. Let those people see by your actions who Christ is! And if they can’t see Jesus in you… then you’ve got bigger questions you need to ask yourself… Are you running away from opportunities to share God with others? Are you too scared to “stain” your “oh-so-pure-self”? A friend gave me a quote the other day, he said, “Light can only pass through what is transparent and what is cracked. God is the Light in us. We are to live our lives transparently and when we mess up and crack, people should be able to see Jesus shining through it.” Guys, we are not perfect. As Children of God, we are going to mess up because we are 100% human. But I want to encourage you to go. To go out and be a light for Christ. Don’t bury your talents and be like the third servant. I want Jesus to be able to say, “Well done – Good and FAITHFUL Servant” when we all get there. Last weekend I was praying with a friend; I was telling her some of my struggles and concerns about finishing school and she gave me a verse.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” – James 1:2-3

God finished this journey exactly how He started it two years ago. That struck a chord with me. I think God was reminding me about how far He has brought me. Reminding me to remember the past because He has brought me where I currently am; but to look forward to the future knowing that He will meet me there and take me further.

 

 

– Stay Satisfied

 

 

Chopping the Mane!

Today marks exactly one year since I cut nearly all my hair off and got the pixie cut I’ve wanted for years. So I figured an accurate Throw Back Thursday was appropriate *wink* I totally remember this day. Do you have any of those memories where you can see a picture and it brings you right back into that moment? Looking back at these photos completely brought me back to the excitement of feeling the buzzers on my neck for the first time! I had long blonde hair, pretty much my entire life. The sun bleached it out ever summer making it lighter and lighter without me even realizing it. One random night I was flipping through my Bucket List – I do this when I have free time, just in case there is a possibility for me to check something off. I started my Bucket List when I was 15 and has continued to grow ever since. Currently, I have something like 248 things on it. However, I have done 176 things already and moved them to a “Crushed It” list. Anyways, I was flipping through my Bucket List; looking for something that I might be able to do. “Pull a successful April Fool’s Prank” was one of them. As I kept scrolling I realized that April Fool’s was literally one week away – I could try to check this off the list and I have a week to organize something. My eyes fell on, “Get a Pixie Cut” and it was as if the light bulb went off above my head. I should cut my hair into a pixie for April Fool’s without telling anyone. Since I’m living in Alberta and most of the people I know live in Saskatchewan, I could simply post a photo to Facebook with a caption saying, “Happy April Fool’s” and see what people do! The more I thought about it – the more excited I got!

Long Hair

The next day at school I asked my friend if she could hook me up with her hairdresser in town – because I obviously didn’t have one. A couple hours later the appointment was booked and I was ecstatic! I didn’t tell anyone except for my friends that demanded to come with me so that I wouldn’t back out and my sister. “YEEESSSSSSS DO IT!” I remember my sister encouraging me over the phone when I told her. “I won’t tell anyone – you should just come home for the Easter weekend and see what people’s reaction is!” Brilliant.

Before Hair Cut

I did end up caving and telling my Dad over the phone on March 31, 2015 just before I left to go get it cut because I was so excited. “Mmmmk, well I guess do what you want – it’s just hair….. Have you told your Mom?” I laughed, “No I haven’t told Mom – she’s the one that doesn’t want me to get it cut off the most!” I said. “No, no, no – you have to call her and tell her! Because, if you get it cut and just come home without saying anything; she’s going to see you and pretend to love it. Then, when we are going to bed that night she’ll ask me if I knew about this and I’ll have to say yes!” So in order to keep my Dad out of the dog house, I called my Mom on the drive to the hair dresser, “Mom…..” “What…?” “I have a hair appointment booked.” “NO! No! No! Don’t do it!” I laughed and told her that it was too late- I was excited and on my way there.

Cutting the Braid

When I got to the hairdresser, she took one look at me and refused to cut my hair. “No way woman! I’m not cutting all your hair off! I am not dealing with you crying in my chair 10 minutes from now!” “But this is what I want! Trust me!” I remember telling her. “Nope – I’ve been caught in this situation before and last time it was horrible. I’m not doing it.” “Well then give me the scissors and let me cut it off and then you’ll have to fix it.” After saying that, she realized that I legitimately wanted a pixie cut. She sat me down in the chair. “Are you sure?” Yes. She put the cape around me and pulled my hair back into a long thick braid. “Are you sure?” Yes. She held the scissors open next to my braid. “Are you sure you are sure???” Cut it. Stat. She started to clip. I could feel the hair being cut away and my face lit up. I am so happy!

Hair's Off

She was laughing, my friends were in shock that I actually followed through with this and I was beaming. After cutting off a 16 inch braid she buzzed and clipped the rest of my head into the pixie I always wanted *Happy Dance* My head felt so light. I was so weird to shake my head and not feel my hair whip to the left or right. I had a bare neck….

Getting Up

What was awesome, is that after she finished cutting my hair she squirt the gel in my hand and showed me how to style my own hair right there in the salon! I had been watching YouTube videos all week about how to style a pixie but this was fantastic! I loved my new hair!

Finished

To be honest, it’s crazy to think that this was only a year ago – sometimes I see photos of myself with long hair and I don’t recognize myself. April Fool’s was wonderful the next day. My friends didn’t say a word – I showed up to classes the next morning and enjoyed seeing everyone’s faces drop and hearing everyone’s reaction. I posted a photo on social media’s and my phone blew up. I was so excited. With that, I had checked off three things on my Bucket List. I successfully pulled an April Fool’s day prank – no one knew whether I was serious or not until the next day I posted a second photo confirming that I had gotten my pixie cut and donated 16 inches of my hair to cancer patients. Guys, there are a lot of things in life that God has given us the freedom to do simply out of joy. I want to encourage you to live your life on a limb. Have fun with God and do things you’ve always wanted to do – God gave us this life to be lived in the fullest through Him. Don’t hold back and be free!

 

 

– Stay Satisfied