The moment you think your world is falling apart may just be the moment your world is coming together.

  • MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone. - Thomas Merton, "Thoughts in Solitude"


Posted by carolanna on September 24, 2014

when i was a little girl i pretended that the railroad ties my dad used to line the flowerbeds with were balance beams and i would – unsuccessfully – try to preform tricks on them. anyone who knows me well know that i struggle to stay upright. they don’t give the “most likely to wear holes in the knees of her windpants” award to just anyone on the tennis team … every. year. over the years i have developed skills at catching myself before falling. but still. balance is a struggle. in real and in figurative terms.

each day is a struggle. i’m better at it than i was 7 years ago, but i hope that 7 years from now i will be even better still. when i first started thinking about creating balance in my life, it was about what i physically had in my planner. but more and more, it is about the mental space in my head. do i have the capacity to take certain things on? what would i need to let go of to create more space – both physically and mentally. how can i use the time that God has given me – has given us – in such a way that that time will be given back in other ways. i suppose it comes down to trust. do i trust that God will not call me to do something that he won’t also equip me to do. i believe he will. i believe God will equip us – with time, mental space, and desire.

i have swung the pendulum on balance back and forth in my life. too much focus on career, too much focus on “a life” – where is the somewhere in between? that is what i seek to find – the in-between, the balance.


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Posted by carolanna on August 14, 2014

A friend of mine just got a new (to her) car, a Honda Fit – it’s adorable. But before seeing her car, I hadn’t noticed the Fit cars, but now I see them EVERYWHERE. The word “gratitude” has been like that lately. About a year ago one of the faculty members where I go to graduate school started a study on gratitude. My original thought was, “what?”, quickly followed by, “well Dr. XYZ is crazy smart so I’m sure he knows what he is doing”. And now I see and hear about gratitude at every turn. I think there is a message for me here. 

The last seven years have been a blur of grief, healing, more grief, deep discouragement, and finally gratitude and hope. Tonight, I’m grateful. I’m grateful for a God who loves me enough to allow me to be emptied completely – so that He can fill me up with something greater. I can’t quite say I’m grateful for each individual experiences – I’d give just about anything to have one more conversation with my mom and one with my grandmother – but i am grateful for being in need. In need of God’s love and daily presence in my life – EVERY DAY. I’m grateful for a God who sees beyond the immediate. 

I’m grateful for new friends who can see changes in just a few years – who have seen me broken in different ways. I’m grateful for friends who have known the broken me and only seen glimpses of the grateful, hopeful me but love me anyway. I’m not sure I would have stuck around after the last year, but they did. They held me up when I could no longer stand. They stood in for family when family was far away. They play a role, a large one, in my story. My story of redemption. My story of grace. My story of hope. My gratefulness. 

Most of all, I’m grateful for a God who takes my broken pieces and creates a work of art, for a God who uses my weaknesses, for a God who knows what I need far more than what I think I want. I’m grateful for a mother and grandparents who left this legacy of gratefulness. It’s taken me seven years to get here, but here I stand. 

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Posted by carolanna on July 6, 2008

It amazes me how people can have the best of intentions and yet they just don’t get it.  Of course, then I start wondering about the idiotic things that have potenially come out of my own mouth and that kind of makes me want to cring.  So I tell this story, knowing the person who said it didn’t mean it the way it sounded to my ears. 

First, a back story.  I have a friend and her five year old boy is always asking me if I have found a husband yet.  It’s really adorable — but really only because he’s five.  If anyone whose age reaches into double digits asked me that, they would be in danger of a one-two punch.  But from a  five year old, who looks for me a husband at the grocery store, it’s kind of cute and even sweet. 

So I’m telling a new friend of mine this story and she says “I know.  I have those friends who I think are great and I just don’t understand why guys don’t see that they are amazing”.  I know this is supposed to be a compliment but seriously?!?!  Who says that men don’t see me as amazing?  Just because I don’t check the married box on government documents doesn’t mean that I am deemed untouchable by the male race.  Did it occur to anyone that I might be single by choice?  That at one time I had the opportunity to get married but wanted to enjoy being single as I ventured into my twenties?  That perhaps I decided a long time ago I didn’t want to settle and few (there are some) people have come along that I would consider “not settling”?  Why is it that something must certainly be wrong with the single woman? 

I don’t mean to get on my soap box here but I’ve seen what a bad marriage looks like and I don’t want that.  I’m not saying that I don’t want a family of my own someday, I do.  The point is that I’m just fine with my single status — which, by the way, does not truly define who I am.  There are things I get to do now that will be hard, if not impossible, when I am married.  So I do them.  I want to enjoy my single life so that one day I will get to enjoy my married life, with no regrets. 

God has great plans for each of us — I believe that.  He knows His creation, how amazing is that?

(Cancun — here I come!!  I’ll be gone for a week but I’m sure I’ll have lots of stories and pictures when I get back!)

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Posted by carolanna on July 1, 2008

I think I’ll move to Denmark. Why not? Apparently, it’s the happiest country on earth. The US ranks 16th (story here)

The article talks about the baby boomer generation being the main reason we are not in the top 10. It seems they are “generally miserable compared to other generations”. Whew. Maybe I can stay in the US after all, seeing as I’m not a part of the baby boom generation.

I have to wonder what questions were asked in this survey, I’m sure it was very scientific. What makes people happy? What do people in Denmark do that make them “happier”? And more to the point, are they really happy? Or have they filled their lives with so much “stuff” they think they are happy? Maybe they really are happy. All those people, all around the world are happy but are they joyful?

That’s what I want. I want to be joyful. I know there are going to be days that I just don’t feel happy (a great example). No matter how I feel, emotionally, I want to be joyous. Joyous in my Savior, who loves me and who I love getting to know better each day. I love the mystery and I want to rejoice in that — to be joyous in that! I want to not feel sad when I’m left out of things or when I get my feelings hurt. I don’t want to allow people to hurt my feelings, I want to be joyous based on the things in my life that matter. I love my family (even when I’m frustrated) and I have the most amazing group of friends from California to DC and right in my own backyard (KOINONIA baby!). These are the things in life that matter, not the things that I let get to me.

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Living Life

Posted by carolanna on June 27, 2008

It’s seems to be a constant theme today.  When themes keep popping up in my life I’ve learned to pay attention to them. Often, someone (God mostly :)) is trying to get my attention.

I saw one of the worst movies today, Wanted, don’t see it.  I’ll tell you the only good part of it here — don’t waste your life.  Live life with passion, fervor, and do what you were created to do.  And you know what — it doesn’t really matter what those around you think.  You may feel like it does, I do.  I get my feelings hurt and I let it affect me.  That’s giving other people too much control over my life, a life that’s not really even mine.  However, that is not what this post is about.  It’s about not living for people but living for God.  He’s my audience.

I’ve also been reading a few books this summer.  One is Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper.  I really don’t want to waste my life.  And we don’t know how long our life here on this earth is going to last.  So I have to make every moment count.  How do I do that?  I’ve asked that question a lot in my life.  The answer I’ve come up with is that to live every moment for God is only way to not waste it. And to find that thing that he has created us for and to do it well.

Here’s to living life abundantly, throwing caution (or what people think) to the wind, and being passionate about what God created us to do!

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Out of hiatus

Posted by carolanna on June 27, 2008

I guess I’m technically out of my hiatus.  I haven’t officially turned in the thesis yet — I did at one point but I’m changing some things up now.  I know these changes are going to make it a better product and I want that.  I also REALLY, REALLY, REALLY want to be completely finished.  I love saying “Oh, I’m finished”.  It lasted for about two days and it was really fun.  You could say that I enjoy being sassy.  That would be true.

So just a few more days of this hanging over my head.  I’ve got to figure out how to report regression analysis and I’m done.  See, I started out with simple correlation analyses — very elementary.   My committee member helping me with the stats wants me to use regression.  It’s a better statistical test to run and I know how to do it.  However, knowing how to run something doesn’t mean I enjoy it.  It also means I go back to a class from a year ago.  Luckily, it’s all coming back.  Whew!  Love that.  Kind of makes me feel smart.  I like that feeling.

I’m half-back.  Soon enough — I’ll be all back.  Watch out world!!

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Posted by carolanna on June 9, 2008

Not that I’m that great at regularly updating my blog but I wanted to let you know that I’m taking a mini-hiatus (roughly a week) to write my thesis.  YAY!! 

Have a great week!!!

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Going with Perseverance

Posted by carolanna on June 5, 2008

So we’re going with perseverance as the lesson right now.  (I’m sure there are many more in there too).  After I posted about how things were not going so great today, I picked up a book I’m currently reading.  It’s called All Cracked Up by Patsy Clairmont.  If you haven’t ever read anything of hers and you like to laugh — you are missing out!  She is hilarious and insightful at the same time.  I aspire to that.

So I pick up where I left off and she is talking about dedication and perseverance.  What?!?!  Okay, God — I’m listening now.  She talks about her struggles with persevering — I get that.  It would be easy to just throw in the towel now.  I don’t want to do that (and I don’t think those around me would let me).  She goes on to give examples of the Bible of people who persevered.  Moses — patiently waited in the desert before finding his way in the wilderness.  “Joseph was thrown in prison, where he spent years learning the Egyptian language.  He could have despaired, but instead he used that time to prepare for God’s call“.  That one hit me hard.

There are more but that one sentence hit home with me.  I can despair right now because things aren’t going as I had planned, but really, when have they ever?  God is always in charge and it always works out in ways I couldn’t have imagined.  Here’s the other thing — I know He has called me to something.  He calls us all to something.  We are here for a purpose.  A purpose that is all our own.  Not be confused with all on our own — in community we all have our own unique purpose.  Could it be that I need to learn how to persevere in order to fulfill the specific purpose God has for me and my life?  That I can use this time to prepare myself for what God has in store.  I believe He does have great things in store for all of us.  This just might be part of my training.

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The day after

Posted by carolanna on June 5, 2008

So yesterday was my mom’s birthday. She would have been 63. I basically kept myself busy most of the day. However, there came a time when I had to sit still. I didn’t do that very well (shocker, I know). I was with a great group of people but I just didn’t want to be with a bunch of people right then. So I did what I always do (hate giving my secrets away!) and went to my hideout — the nearest bathroom. Lucky for me I have some amazing friends and when one of them realized where I was, she left where she was to come find me. I didn’t ask her to — she just did. What an amazing friend. Other than my bad mood, which lifted eventually, I made it through the day.

Then came today. Why is it that the day after is always the worst? I knew it would be and I tried to prepare myself but it didn’t work so well. I went to work out this morning and that was great. Love those endorphins. Then I came home to work on my thesis. I get a call from my officemate — she tells me they have packed up my desk and all my things are on someone else’s desk. My desk is gone. I was told I had a few more days to clean it out. I should explain that no, I wasn’t fired, I’m just graduating in August so my job at TTU is finished. It was part of the graduate program. Wait . . . the next email I get is one telling me that one of my three thesis committee members doesn’t think I can defend in the required time frame.

Bring on the tears. I hate that I cry over this stuff but I do and I did. So there. I want to be finished. I want to run my statistics and graduate. I want to close this chapter in my life. I know that God will use all this to teach me a lesson. I know it will be a good lesson. I just want to learn it and move on. Wait, I might regret that later. Oh well. Perseverance. I’m so close to the finish line. I can see it but I can’t quite reach it. I want to cross over SO badly.

Phillipians 3: 10-13.

10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to ake hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

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Moving In

Posted by carolanna on June 3, 2008

For those of you who don’t know, I just moved.  I moved into a townhouse that my mom owned and lived in for a while before she got re-married.  I was hesitant to move in but now that I’m here — it’s amazing.  I love it.  Before I moved all my stuff in, I decided I needed to look for some decorative items to go in the build in bookshelves.  Here is what I found:

Love it!!!

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