Back to Parakaleo!

Welcome back, everyone! I know “regular” for some people has remained fairly unchanged since I wrote last, while others are hurrying back to school or just starting school. I miss the hullabaloo that is likely happening at my undergraduate institution right now, but I’m also excited to see what God has in store for me this year as I start my second year of grad school and for Parakaleo as I start its FIFTH year.

After I graduated from undergrad, I switched to an ALL-NEW format where I only posted every other week, rather than weekly, as I have done in the past. That format, along with my goals for Parakaleo will continue for now with a slight change. I love some of my long posts and the heart and thought that I have put into them, but this semester, I’m planning to include more short posts. While they won’t be “Snippets” short, some may be a little less verbose in the interest of saving some time both for myself (in writing them) and for my readers (in taking them in!). Inevitably I’ll start prattling on about something, and I will certainly continue to link to lengthy past posts.

For now, I’ll leave you with a verse that I have found motivating in my work throughout the summer and as I transition back into schoolwork:

“For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for His name in serving the saints, as you still do. And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”

– Hebrews 6:10-12

Happy September, everyone!

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Year Four in Review!

Well, this ends my fourth year of Parakaleo writing. If Parakaleo were a student on a typical college trajectory, it would be graduating this year! Even if that’s not the case, Happy Four Years, Parakaleo, and thank you so much to everyone who has been reading all of this time! It’s my hope and prayer that my carryings on are helpful and encouraging to all of you, too!

If you have any suggestions for future blog posts (Any burning questions you’ve always wanted to ask another Christian, or just a Christian? Anything that wasn’t clear from posts that I’ve written in the past?) or if you would like to write a guest post (like this one or this one), please comment below or email me at sumparakaleo@gmail.com!

I always like to do a “year in review” post as the last post before my summer break to highlight some of my favorite posts, so here it is for 2012-2013!

September: Open My Eyes

October: A Spark

November: Knowledge for Action

December: A Look Back; A Look Forward

January: To One Another

February: The Day/Month/Lifetime of Love

March: When the Sun Rises

April: If Not, It’s Useless. IF.

May: Nothing Left for You to Take Away

To check out Parakaleo’s first, second, and third years in review, follow the links! Have a wonderful summer, everyone!

Parakaleo: ALL-NEW WEDNESDAYS!

Welcome back, my dear Parakaleo readers!

Clearly I spent too much of the summer watching television, because I really wanted to put together a full promotional video full of previews of the upcoming season, flashbacks to last season, cast interviews, and some fun music before I remembered that this A) isn’t that huge of a deal commercially and B) is a blog.  Not a TV show.

In any case, some big changes have occurred since we spoke last!  I graduated and am now the pleased and humbled recipient of a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Arts, but I’m only halfway there- I’m going for that Master’s and Ph.D.  I’m kind of really into psychology. =)

Though my education plans were somewhat settled, I wasn’t sure whether or how I wanted to continue Parakaleo.  I started this blog during my sophomore year of college, when I wanted to be careful not to lose my writing voice.  Multiple mentors of mine suggested that I blog about something that I’m interested in just to keep up with my style of writing, but God seemed to have greater plans.  Feel free to look back across the little history of my musings of His working in my last three years of undergrad.  Writing them strengthened me and I’ve received very encouraging and humbling reports of their impact on others’ spiritual lives.

Clearly, the blog is still here, so I would like to refine and clarify its purpose.

1.)  Parakaleo should bring glory to God.  It is my prayer that it is truly a reflection of His grace and love towards me and all of His children.

2.)  Parakaleo should embrace its name- to call out to one another and to mutually encourage.  I would love for Parakaleo to build up more than just me.  Because of this, anticipate more guest writers (friends, anticipate being bugged about being a guest writer) and outside sourcing.

3.)  Parakaleo should be consistent.  I went back and forth about including this for a good while, but it seems that if I’m going to agree to do this, I should do it wholeheartedly.  Consistency does not necessarily refer to the format (in fact, the consistency I’m aiming for may require differing formats), but rather in posting regularly, whether it be twice a month, weekly, or at some other interval.  As we can see from summers past, an agreement to post  “randomly” rarely bodes well for a busy blog.

We’ll leave it at that for now, but if there is something that you would like to see added to the list, please let me know!   The blog, like my life at the moment, is in a stage of change, so feedback and prayer are much appreciated.  For right now, you can plan on seeing new posts every other Wednesday.  Before I see you on the 19th, please enjoy some posts of old and have a blessed week!

–       Marissa

October 22, 2009: The Love of God

October 14, 2010: Fixing the Problem

April 14, 2011: Sorry. For Myself.

January 26, 2012: Rich and Free

February 16, 2012: Love, Seen

May 3, 2012: Guest Post: No Time for Trust Issues

May 10, 2012: High Kicking and Hugs

In Summary

I haven’t forgotten all about you, Parakaleo, honestly!  I’ve been through all kinds of pickles wherein I didn’t have a functioning computer, then didn’t have Internet access, then didn’t have time, so it’s been a little crazy.  But at long last, I can do my semester in summary!

I like to pick a few favorite blog posts, one from each month, to feature at the end of the semester, and here are my favorites from this year:

January: Rich and Free

February: Love, Seen.

March: The Ring vs. Who?

April: Event Planning

May: High-Kicking and Hugs

*Also note my special Guest Post from May!

Adding to the craziness of the past few weeks was my graduation from college.  CRAZY stuff.  And as my life changes, I’ve been putting some thought and prayer into how my blog should change.  I’ll be taking a summer hiatus as usual, where I don’t post regularly but may post on occasion, and at some point in August, I’ll make an announcement about what’s going on with Parakaleo!  I may continue to post weekly, or I may switch it up a bit.  If you have any suggestions or things that you would like to see, please let me know!

Have a blessed summer!

As We Go On, We Remember…

Dearest Readers,

This is the end of a very crazy, back-to-back day that included, among other things, taking my last final at my undergraduate school. It would be more beautiful and final if I’d finished my thesis revisions, but alas. This was impossible due to the temporarily irreversible collapse of my computer screen’s backlight.

Nonetheless, I’m graduating in a matter of mere days and it’s all just ridiculous. Today, one of my dearest friends came and took my senior photos, which involved tramping around to the most memorable places on campus (the old journalism building, the new journalism building, the psychology building, the incredible dorm I lived in sophomore year, the friendship-forming dorm I lived in freshman year, etc.) and I attended a ceremony at which the organizers felt obligated to show us an inspiring video of why our school is amazing. I don’t disagree. I got a little emotional during that video and barely restrained myself from saying out loud, “This school is INCREDIBLE. BEST EVER.” I never would have guessed it when I was moping through orientation the summer before freshman year, but I am in love with this place and the incredible people that I’ve met here. I’m even more in love with the God that planned it all out despite my mumbling and grumbling (probably more like kicking and screaming, really).

I’m so, so glad that God brought me here even when it wasn’t part of my plan. In regards to what’s going to happen after, or perhaps even during, grad school, I keep telling people that I’m not calling anything. I can’t even call what’s happening tomorrow. These past four years have taught me so much about my Savior and how much I can trust Him. I’m so excited to see what He has for next for me.

I’m so grateful for Parakaleo, too, and to all of you for reading it! I started it up in my sophomore year because I wanted to maintain my writing “voice” and not be brainwashed by pyramid structures and had been encouraged to by others. I’ve gotten so much positive feedback and it’s something that’s helped me to grow as well and forced me to do something thoughtful and to focus on the big picture at least once a week.

It’s also led me to consider people and experiences aside from my own, and as such, I’m reminded that not everyone in the world is graduating from college and heading to grad school right now. At some point, I won’t be on a high of cords and stoles, a sense of completion, a time for an actual summer break, and having something of an idea of what’s going on for the next five years. For those of you who are there now, and for when I get there, I’m praying that we’ll be able to look back at how God has been working in our lives and be unable to refrain from praising Him and trusting Him.

As they say, the best is yet to come!

Traveling

My dear Parakaleo readers, I’ve been traveling, which with the kind of adventures I get into means less free writing time and significantly less Internet access. That in turn means rather porky [edit- poorly, but I suppose the case is in point.  And that silly iPod let an auto-correct get away from me]constructed blog posts, for which I apologize. But in these last few minutes of Thursday, I want to leave you with a verse and a song that well represent the sort of thoughts that have been on my heart lately and will likely manifest into later blog posts. Please feel free to share the songs and verses that you’ve been thinking about lately, too!

First is 1 Corinthians 13, verses 6 and 7: “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

And secondly, the song “His Love Can Never Fail,” by E.S. Hall.

“I do not ask to see the way
My feet will have to tread;
But only that my soul may feed
Upon the living Bread.
‘Tis better far that I should walk
By faith close to His side;
I may not know the way I go, But oh, I know my Guide.

His love can never fail, His love can never fail,
My soul is satisfied to know His love can never fail.
My soul is satisfied to know His love can never fail.

And if my feet would go astray,
They cannot, for I know
That Jesus guides my falt’ring steps,
As joyfully I go.
And tho’ I may not see His face,
My faith is strong and clear,
That in each hour of sore distress
My Savior will be near.

His love can never fail, His love can never fail,
My soul is satisfied to know His love can never fail.
My soul is satisfied to know His love can never fail.

I will not fear, tho’ darkness come
Abroad o’er all the land,
If I may only feel the touch
Of His own loving hand.
And tho’ I tremble when I think
How weak I am, and frail,
My soul is satisfied to know
His love can never fail.”

Amen!  Is there a song, poem, quote, or verse that really represents your thoughts or how you feel right now?  I’d love to hear it!