6/28/2016

Taylor Swift Can't Shake It Off

We were built to fall apart
Windows down, the memories start
This is gonna take me down

Shake it off, shake it off

Rose garden filled with thorns
The more I think about it the less I know
Love's a fragile little flame

Shake it off, shake it off

Screaming, crying, perfect storm
This love has left a permanent mark
Bandaids don't fix bulletholes

Shake it off, shake it off

Remind me how it used to be
Remember what we were fighting for
Even if it's just pretend

Shake it off, shake it off

Losing grip on sinking ships
Hung my head as I lost the war
So take a look at what you've done

Take me home, take me home


(composed of at least one lyric from each song on Taylor Swift's 1989)

As I talked about in my newest Odyssey article (https://www.theodysseyonline.com/taylor-swift-really-wants), (Follow along with my Odyssey articles here)Taylor Swift is realizing that she can't shake it off. She can't shake off this burden of chasing an imperfect love when God created her for a perfect love. She is looking in the wrong places for her fairytale, because the King of the universe is wooing her soul, and all she needs to do is look up. 

As I listened to 1989 for the first full time this week, I prayed for Taylor Swift. I prayed that she won't give up on that "riding off into the sunset" kind of ending, but will find it in Christ. Because this album is full of evidence that, on our own, our love in imperfect at best. It made me sad to hear her settle for simply impressing a guy and living in the moment, not daring to to dream that this moment will last forever. 

Let us pray for Taylor Swift. And let us follow in the perfect love of Christ. 

Comment below your thoughts on the poem and Odyssey article. Do you like Taylor Swift? What did you think of 1989? 

Princess Hannah

6/20/2016

Edition 139- What's the Point of Beauty?


"For you created my 
inmost being;
 you knit me together in my mother's womb.
 I praise you
because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are WONDERFUL, 
I know that full well. 
My  f  r  a  m  e  was not hidden from you 
when I was MADE in the secret place
When I was WOVEN together in the depths of the earth, 
your eyes saw my unformed body. 
ALL the days ordained for me 
were written in your book 
before 
one of them came to be.

"Search me oh God, 
and know my  h  e  a  r  t. 
Test me
 and know my anxious thoughts.
 See if there is any offensive way 
in me 
and lead me 
in the way 
E  V  E  R  L  A  S  T  I  N  G." 

Psalm 139:13-16, 23-24


As I talked about last month, I struggle with body image. I idolize "beauty" and believe the lies of Satan instead of the truth of God. 

What we must remember when thinking about beauty, though, is the point. What is the point of beauty? Is the point to make us feel confident? Healthy? Attractive? 

I want to answer my questions with scripture, so let's look to Psalm 139. But we must make sure not to use it out of context, for I have heard Psalm 139 used out of context. I've even used it out of context. 

We want to take these verses and let them confirm our worth and beauty. We want them to inflate our ego, when the real meaning behind these verses isn't about us. 

"You created... you knit...I praise you... your works...made...woven...ordained...written..."

It all points to God. 

Not to us. 

So the point of beauty isn't about us. The point of our bodies isn't for our pride, confidence, health, or pleasure. It is when we live like beauty is about us that sin roots itself into our ego. 

Beauty is about God. 

And I want to live that way.


I'm not sure how. I'm not sure how makeup, eating, exercising, clothing, modesty, hair, self-worth, insecurity, and encouragement all fit into this picture of beauty centered on God. I'm not sure how we should treat our temporary, earthly bodies and the beauty placed in them from the ultimate Beauty, God. 

But I'm on a mission to find out. 

Welcome to Edition 139, a series on beauty that I will post about around once a month. Some posts will explore ideas and some posts will share my five favorite drugstore makeup brands. Some posts will delve into scripture and others will upload a workout video. 

In all of these posts, however, I never want to forget the true purpose and definition and point of beauty. 

God. 

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, I know that full well." (Psalm 139:14) 

Comment below what kinds of posts you would like to see in the Edition 139 series? Do you love Psalm 139 as much as I do?

Princess Hannah

6/13/2016

The Dreams I Let Go

As many of you know, my favorite movie EVER is Tangled. The heart-burning story (because it does more than warm my heart), the fantastic songs, and the adorable characters all make it one of the only movies that I can watch again and again. (And if you follow me on Twitter, you will know that I recently watched it yet again. Because I tweeted about it. Seven times. Not even a little bit sorry.)



In Tangled, Rapunzel chases after her dream about the lanterns. It's a tangible, whimsical dream, one that she spent years cultivating. She drew paintings about it, sung songs about it, daydreamed about it, and made plans upon plans about this dream. It was a part of her. 

We too have dreams. Lots of them. Big ones. Little ones. But dreams nonetheless. We have dreams of a perfect summer, a creative career, a godly man, a book to write, and a graceful life. We hold these dreams dear and cultivate them carefully.



Then we discover something.

We can't carry these dreams on our own. 

It was last Monday. I drove to practice ballet on my own after a long day at VBS and some work-related reading. The things that I still needed to do piled on in my head. I needed to read, write, blog, edit, turn, bake, laugh, watch. I needed to live out my dream of the perfect summer, and I needed to do it all now.

Why is life so hard? Why can't I just do it all? The little ways the summer hasn't lived up to my dream pushed themselves into my heart, and I cracked under the weight of my own dream.

I realized what I sensible person would have realized ages ago: I can't live my dream by myself. And I can't live it all out now. 



Rapunzel understood this. She knew that she needed Flynn's help to see the lanterns. She knew that it would take a journey to reach her dream. What she didn't know is that the journey to her dream would become her New Dream. The man helping her reach her dream would end up shining brighter than any lantern.

God has given us dreams. He has made our inner being (Psalm 139:13) to desire certain things. In fact, I say that our dreams are good. I dream to teach ballet, and that is good because it can give glory to God. I dream of marrying a godly, loving man. That too is a good dream that God gave me.



But God also made it to where we can't pursue these dreams on our own. That's just not the way He created things to be. He created our story to be a journey. A journey full of good and beautiful dreams, but a journey where we discover the the brightest dream we could ever have is centered on the One helping us chase the lanterns. 

He is our new dream.

And we are His.



So whatever your dreams are, be they to make friends, write a book, or travel, I do not ask that you stop dreaming them entirely (if they are indeed dreams that glorify God). I simply ask that you realize that the brightest dream isn't the lanterns, it's the One who brings you to see them. I ask that you stop pursuing an inferior dream, just like Eugene stopped pursuing the crown when he found the princess. The crown didn't lose its luster, it just could never match the beauty he found in his New Dream.

That doesn't mean that the Old Dreams won't also come true, for the One helping us is a good Father. Those dreams that He placed on our hearts may still yet come true. But not on our own. Even if they do come to pass and we gaze at the beauty of the floating lanterns, this will only increase our love for the New Dream and make it shine brighter. The journey will no longer center on the Old Dream but will serve the New Dream.



"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matthew 6:33)

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)

And so I let my dreams fall into the hands of an able God. The dreams of the perfect summer, perfect college experience, perfect husband, and perfect career are safe in His hands. Not because I no longer want them, but because I have found a dream much bigger, much brighter, much more than any of these dreams can achieve. And in this New Dream, the old ones don't seem so important.

This is hard. Those dreams were, like they were to Rapunzel, part of me. They are something that I treasure, but I have found a greater treasure (Matthew 13:44). And so right now, as I'm tempted to chase after the dream of a perfect summer, I have to choose to look around me on this journey and instead rest in my New Dream.



For I have found the love and glory of Christ. 

And He has become my New Dream. 



Do you have dreams that you try to chase on your own? How has the journey impacted you? Do you relate to this gush of emotions at all???

ALSO, DO YOU LOVE TANGLED AS MUCH AS I DO??? (What am I saying, how could you love Tangled as much as I do???)

Comment all of the feels, hopes, and dreams! :)

Princess Hannah

6/06/2016

Bookish Thoughts

Your body doesn't quite remember what it feels like to move because you've been laying down reading for so long. Your head aches with the overload of words, but you don't want to stop turning pages, flipping through chapters, finishing books.

But the stomach knows best and calls you up. You feel a bit dizzy when standing upright. The shock of coming back into the real world wakes you up too quickly. You left part of yourself behind in between the binding and the covers, in the world of the impossible.

Because it was a reading day. A glorious, adventuring reading day.

Some people may call this madness, others may call it heaven. But really, is there much of a difference? Maybe heaven is a glorious mystery of impossibilities and head-spinning truths waiting for us. Maybe pieces of heaven can be found in a good book (most of all THE good book, the Bible).

I've always loved to read. From fairy tales and American Girl as a little girl to Ella Enchanted and Jane Austen later on, I would spend hours under the blankets with nothing but a book and a peaceful afternoon.


But then things changed. I started getting busy. My days filled with school, ballet, family, and more. I started spending more time writing, thinking, and studying God's Word. As my mind flew from one thing to do to the next, I forgot the feeling of reading. I forgot the joy of being overloaded with words.

I do not call busy-ness bad. I do not want to avoid work or productivity, in fact, I embrace it. Hard work and full schedules are an integral part of the life God's given us to live on earth. And so I do not regret how I abandoned reading for the past couple of years. Well, not a lot. In that time of my life, I needed to learn how to work hard. I needed to learn how to adjust to the new aspects of life, and that took all of my sanity, concentration, and time. I couldn't give as much of it to books.

But I'm ready to come home. I'm ready to lose my mind again to the wonder of words. I'm ready to read again.

Reading may not be the most productive thing to do. Reading may not be the most logical thing to do. But reading is good for my soul. Reading is peace for my mind. And reading is rest for my body. I'm ready.

I've already started this journey home by spending a few afternoons just reading, something that I haven't done in ages. The rain danced outside as I delved into The Help. Quiet filled the room full of sleeping campers as I turned many pages. Everyone sat around the living room Sunday afternoon as I picked up Winter to read a chapter or two.

Or the whole book.

Because, it's Winter. fdskalfsjlfnlksdnflksajfsdlkf. (Please comment if you understand my excitement in the form of attacking a keyboard.)

These afternoons refreshed me more than I understood. They reminded me of who I am and how much I've changed from that little girl under the covers with a book. These changes aren't bad but are for God's glory! But I'm still Hannah. I'm still the girl who read all of the Nancy Drew books the library owned. I'm still the girl who had to go the bookstore on the second week of her summer trip because she ran out of books. I'm still the girl who writes her own stories. I'm still that girl, even if my use of time has changed and my place in life is different and always changing.

Hello, book world. I've missed you. But I'm coming home.



With all of that said, I NEED BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS!!!!!! Right now I'm reading The Help and some nonfiction books (a post about my newfound love for nonfiction coming soon). Next up is Anne of Green Gables, but after that... THE POSSIBILITIES!!!!

I'd like to say that I'm not picky, but that's not true. I love all kinds of books, but my moods like to swing around and pick random things. Therefore, I ask for ALL of the favorites. Fantasy. Mystery. Historical. Christian. Contemporary. I'd love to read something kinda quirky and unique. Obviously, good writing is key. Once I learned how to write my own book, my standards became much higher.

Anyways, I know that y'all will bombard me with a plethora of fantabulous books, and so I send my thanks you way. Comment books (obs), but also if you have struggled with finding time to read. How do you enjoy a good book even in the midst of a busy life? I really could use all of the suggestions. 

(Also, check out my newest Odyssey post: To the Reader Too Busy to Read!)

Thanks bunches, and God's grace be with you,

Princess Hannah