Book Review: The Artisan Soul

The Artisan Soul by Erwin Raphael McManus

“…Curiosity fuels our imagination, our imagination fuels our dreams, our dreams fuel our souls, and our souls inform our lives” (The Artisan Soul, 182).

The Artisan Soul by Erwin Raphael McManus is a book about crafting our lives into works of art. In the book, Erwin talks about how every person is an artist, whether they believe they are or not, and why is it important to realize our artisan souls. “Is it really that critical to embrace the artist within us? I would simply remind you of the insight from the Scriptures: as a man thinks, so it he” (13). As an artist, we have a responsibility to use our God-given gifts to create a life that is a work of art. Our life is a gift and we should not waste our lives living ordinarily, but rather know that God has created us to live extraordinary lives. Throughout the book, Erwin gives great tools on how to cultivate our lives into works of art and reawaken the artist within us.

“…The great divide is not between those who are artists and those who are not, but between those who understand that they are creative and those who have become convinced that they are not. The great divide is between those who understand that their very nature is that of an artist and those who remain unaware or in denial of their artisan soul” (4).

What I love about this book is how it talks about all the different aspects of the creative act and process. Creating a masterpiece takes a lot of time and hard work. As Erwin says, “For our lives to be works of art, we need to allow a lifetime of work. We must give God the time to make us works of art” (32). It will never be something that happens overnight. It is a process.

      When we create, we are first inspired or have a dream. Then we take an act of courage and a risk before we finally create.  Dream, Risk, Create. We are taking a risk each time we create and in order to take that risk, we must first take the act of courage to face our fears. “It takes courage to not only accept our limitations but embrace our potential” (7).

In the act of creating, we are opening up our most vulnerable places…for what we create is a reflection of who we are (18). When we allow others to see our art, we are allowing them to see into our souls and into our insecurities. Many of the time, we are too afraid to create because we see our limitations rather than our potential. Erwin uses Van Gogh’s quote to encourage to face our insecurities. “If you hear a voice within you say, ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced” (60).

We all have potential. Picasso once said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up” (62). We must learn to not only accept our limitations but see our potential. Will we face our fears and harness our potential?

 I love how Erwin describes potential as unharnessed talent. God put potential in each and every one of us. However, we can only turn that potential into something substantial when we lean on God and let him chisel away at us, just like how Michelangelo chisels away at the image hidden within the marble block. Will we put in the work needed to give God our best and turn our potential into talent?   

“…To do our greatest work, we must overcome the temptation to be afraid or become discouraged, engaging the creative process with strength and courage” (131).

What will you create? Who will you become?

I highly recommend this read for anyone who wants to be encouraged about their artisan soul or who wishes to rediscover their inner artist. This is my second read-through and I thoroughly enjoyed it both times.

Blessings!

—The Adversity Rose—

Kaitlyn Rose

DREAM. PURSUE. EXPERIENCE. GROW.

This blog will cover travel, pursuing dreams, and personal growth.

Removing the Chaff

“In the never-ending battle between order and chaos, clutter sides with chaos every time. Anything that you possess that does not add to your life or your happiness eventually becomes a burden.”

John Robbins

          

Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon

Back when coronavirus first began to spread like a wildfire and everyone was required to stay home, I found myself in a season of reflecting and processing as mentioned in my previous post. Listening to all the chaos going on in the world and to the chaos in my own heart, I was feeling cluttered and overwhelmed. I did not want to settle into my comfort zone, but I also did not know how to push myself. In the midst of all the confusion, I could not figure out the next direction I wanted to take in life. I found I lost my spark on what to write about in my blog posts, even though I had a lot of time to write.  A small part of me wondered if the clutter in my room was causing most of the stress I was feeling. Therefore, I decided that at the very least, I could de-clutter my things.

Moving back into the house I grew up in, I realized I had accumulated more things over the years I have been gone, and now they were mixing with all my old things I had left behind. I am someone who has grown to hate clutter with a passion and am constantly striving for a more clutter-free life. Since I have been practicing the art of letting go of my things for a few years now, I have noticed it has become a little easier and I have become better (but do not be fooled—I still have a long way to go).

When I first saw the mess of things I left behind mixing with my new things and the other things that had moved in in my absence (empty rooms become storage space), I was very overwhelmed. I could not see my floor as it was full of suitcases, boxes, and baskets, yet I had almost no place to put the things contained inside each of these. However, I knew I could not survive living in such a cluttered space; it would drive me insane. Knowing this, I had to take steps on eliminating extra junk in my life. The chaff. The unnecessary. The things that’s only purpose in my life was to take up more space.

Several small steps and seven trips to Goodwill later, I am a lot closer to being where I want it to be. Although my room is not quite there yet, it already feels so much better and more open than it did two or three months ago. Each time I decide to let go of a simple item, the less stressed I feel and the happier I am. When I see the results, it inspires me to release more. This way, I am only carrying things that bring joy, peace, and love.

“The first step in crafting the life you want is to get rid of everything you don’t.”

― Joshua Becker

“Out of calmness comes clarity.”

― Trevor Carss

This made me begin to think about life in general. I began to wonder if I have extra chaff, clutter, junk, unnecessary things in my life it was time for me to release. I am searching inward, prayerfully, looking for what God highlights for me to remove from my life. I pray His Holy Fire will burn away the excess, the chaff.

I believe in doing this, I will clear my mind more and be able to see what I have been having trouble seeing because of the chaff. I think about the process of de-cluttering my room, and how even a little step here or there towards my goal has made a great deal of progress already and how things have steadily become clearer. Seeing this in the de-cluttering of my room, I know I could see the same results in my life if I take the steps of de-cluttering the excess in my life. I know if I keep taking those small steps, God will help me go after those dreams He placed in my heart. He will show me what I have been struggling to see as I continue to remove the excess, the chaff.

I hope this speaks to someone even if in a small way. I hope you will be inspired to look at your own life and see what things, activities, habits, etc, which need to be de-cluttered from your life. See the excess or chaff that might be holding you back and, with God’s help, remove them from your life, no matter how big or small it might be.

John answered and said to them all, “As for me, I baptize you with water; but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand to thoroughly clear His threshing floor, and to gather the wheat into His barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

Luke 3:16-17

Blessings and good luck on your own journeys!

Before I end this post, I do want to mention a little about my “writer’s block,” and how it has not been affecting other areas of my writing. About halfway into April, I did begin to write for fun again rather than for others. I was not writing blog posts, but I was writing. More than I had in a really, really long time. The project I have been working on has been going quite smoothly since then and I am ecstatic to be writing as much as I have. Writing has always been a hobby of mine growing up and, though I never did share much of my writing with others, it was something I loved doing. Having all this time for the first time in six years to write has been a blast for me. And I want to continue pushing myself to write in the same way as I am pushing myself towards clarity.

It has been nice to rediscover my joy and love for something!

—The Adversity Rose—

Kaitlyn Rose

DREAM. PURSUE. EXPERIENCE. GROW.

This blog will cover travel, pursuing dreams, and personal growth.

One Step at a Time

“Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.”

Chinese Proverb

In all the craziness of this year (and I feel no explanation is needed as we all know how crazy it has been), I have neglected my desire to write these blog posts. Honestly, I neglected it long before this year. I hit writer’s block especially hard in this season as life seemed to go on pause. We all know it really did not go on pause, but I found myself internalizing a great deal of things. I was stuck. I did not know which direction to go or why the direction I chose was not settling in my heart. It can be a hard thing to figure out how to do something you want to do or get where you want to be. I felt the same when moving to Korea had only been a desire and a thought. I felt it then, and I feel it now. I mentioned this two years ago, but I came to the realization that life will just keep passing on as it is unless I act. I have been trying to remind myself of this and keep myself on my toes so I don’t settle or settle in. I want to keep dreaming, growing, experiencing, and changing. Standing still cannot be an option unless I feel it is necessary for the next step.

However, I find I am back at this place where I am wondering, what next? I suppose this is life. We decide something, we do it, and then find ourselves wondering about our next steps. One good thing is I have millions of ideas and dreams whirling around in my mind and heart. However, those whirling dreams create in me this feeling of almost agitation—unrest. But not the type of unrest where I cannot rest rest. The type of unrest that is reminding me that people don’t grow in comfort zones. I want to keep pushing myself out of those comfort zones to force me to grow more.

Finding my way is hard though.

 I am not going to pretend it is easy to figure out the next step. It takes a lot of thought, a lot of prayer, a lot of action, and small steps. Since it has been quite a while since I have written a blog post (as mentioned before—writer’s block), maybe it is time for an update.

I danced in a professional ballet company this past season. It was a decision I thought and prayed a lot about and decided to act upon. I still believe it was where I needed to be in that season. But to be completely honest, it was hard. Harder than moving to Korea, harder than the struggles I faced in Korea. Now, do not misunderstand…the people were great, Oregon was beautiful, and it was a wonderful challenge. However, I found something just did not seem to sit well. I do not know yet why I was brought out there, but even if it was just to meet people, say some words, be a presence, or just to show myself professional ballet was not for me in this season, I know it was worth the difficulty.

But if that was not the right thing, then what was? I do love to dance a great deal and it has always had and always will have a deep and special place in my heart. My not returning in the fall to the company does not necessarily mean I am saying goodbye to dance, just might be going a different course or direction. Dancing professionally has made me truly realize how much time is needed to devote to the craft in order to do well and be the best I could be. And I began to recognize I did not love it enough for it to become a main focus in my life.

I have always known the amount of work it takes to dance professionally. When dancing professionally, you have to be dedicated, focused, and self-disciplined in order to maintain your ability and continue to grow. I thought maybe my love for dance and being able to use the gift for God’s glory would make all the work worth it. However, it did not feel that way at all. When I pictured my life continuing in that direction, I realized it was not direction I wanted my life to go, even if it would have been good and exciting and challenging. I wanted to pour my energy in other places—like writing, to name one.

 I realized this pretty soon into my time in Oregon, but I was determined to do my best and finish strong and learn what I could while I was there. Then, the coronavirus hit and changed so many plans. Quite suddenly, I found myself back home in Oklahoma, where I grew up. Over the next few months, I began searching inside myself, almost as if I was internalizing things or processing.

This internalizing and processing period has been taking a long time, but what has kept me going is focusing on the small steps towards the goals I knew I had–working a little at a time each day, each week towards achieving them. It can seem discouraging when the progress seems slow, but over time, you will see the results.

As an example, I have been de-cluttering my room, which was a horrendous mess after I moved back into it after being absent for two years. It seemed overwhelming and impossible, but step by step it has come a long way (I can walk around my room now). It is the same in every area in our life if we continue to take those steps even if they are small steps. Going forward consistently is better than stopping and going, as we see it the story of the Hare and the Tortoise.

On days when the progress seems too small, instead of despairing, I have been reminding myself daily, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13) and “I am capable of achieving those dreams. They are not impossible. Take it a step at a time.” And I will. How do we eat an entire elephant? One bite at a time. It is alright if you have to take it slow, just do not stop taking steps towards those goals. Set smaller goals to reach so the bigger goals are possible.

Reminding myself of this truly helps me and I hope it encourages and helps you too!

On the bright side, I have recently found a job and I’m excited about the job, but God has still granted me some extra time. I find myself wondering, “Why?” What should I do with the extra time given to me? How can I grow? How can I change? What should I continue to pursue? What dreams should I start taking steps towards?

I do not have the answers yet, but I know if I continue to take those small steps, I will reach it eventually.

Blessings to you from this little flower still learning how to bloom.

Here are some pictures from my journey back from Oregon.

—The Adversity Rose—

Kaitlyn Rose

DREAM. PURSUE. EXPERIENCE. GROW.

This blog will cover travel, pursuing dreams, and personal growth.

The Thief of Joy

“Why compare yourself to others? No one in the entire world can do a better job of being you than you.” –Anonymous

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When I was thinking about what to write, I found myself thinking of some successful people and how smart and creative they are and how they seem to be living “the life.” I realized the reason I often find myself stuck with creativity or in enjoying my life as it is right now is often because I am comparing—comparing myself to others or even to myself from another time. This, of course, brought to mind the famous quote everyone knows by Theodore Roosevelt (even if we didn’t know he was the one who said it): “Comparison is the thief of joy.” So, I decided this is what I will talk about today.

To tell you all the truth, as I began to write this, I found myself afraid to share. I’ve always cherished being honest and real. If someone asks me a question, I want to be as real and honest as I can. I feel we get nowhere pretending we are perfect or live perfect lives. So, instead of listening to my fear and not sharing, or sharing only neat pictures, I may get pretty real in this post. Because they say courage is doing something even if you are afraid. This actually ties in quite nicely with my last post on insecurities and comfort zones, now that I think about it.

We all deal with comparison. I have compared myself to others all my life. Often, I would find myself looking at other’s lives and being disappointed that I’m not like them. My comparison would notice something amazing and beautiful about them, and then follow with a negative about me. Examples: I am not as outgoing as them (I am too quiet), I didn’t get the ACT score they did and I had to take it a billion times to get it close enough to their scores (I must not be smart enough), they get asked to lead praise and worship and I don’t (because I’m too timid and quiet or not a good enough singer), they are given leadership positions (but I am not given any because I am not charismatic or able to lead), they got the dance part (but I didn’t because I am not as good as them), they got the recognition (which means I’m not as good at the job), they got the 4.0 award at graduation (but I, who got a 3.95,  must not be worth celebrating—I am lesser), everyone got odd awards (I never did because I’m too quiet that I am forgotten or not good enough), this person has the dream job (but I can’t have the dream job because I am not capable of achieving it). It leaves me believing lies about myself: I am dull, I am too timid, I am not smart enough, not creative enough, not pretty enough, not wanted, not admired, and not capable.

I also notice that, with each comparison, I’m dismissing any achievements I have gained. If I receive something, I follow with “Oh, it was just this once” or “Oh, but they got it three times” or “Oh, I will lose it because I am not good enough to keep it.” I don’t allow myself to appreciate myself or my achievements. I look at my friends’ 4.0s and think, “Man, I just got a 3.95.” (This is the perfect example of the silliness. I mean, seriously, it is a 0.05 difference!) I don’t allow myself to be happy with how I am or where I am at right now, even if I am accomplishing a dream I had.

I think about the quote “Comparison is the thief of joy” and I know it is true. It really does steal away joy. Many of us have also heard this quote by Steven Furtick: “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind the scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” We all know this, of course. We are all aware. Yet, we continue doing it anyways.

Although I find it hard to believe people would compare themselves to me and wish they were like me, some people have. They see my highlight reels, and wish to be like me. But I, just like most people, don’t share the hard parts or ugly parts of my life. So, I wonder, why such amazing people like them would ever want to be someone as helpless as me? You’d think that would help me to not compare myself to others, and yet, I still compare myself to them.

How do we stop comparing? How do we live life to the fullest, enjoying every season, and embracing where we are in our journey? We know everyone’s journey is different. Yet, we still think the grass looks greener on the other side, until we are on that grass and realize each blade of grass has its challenges. We become so aware of those challenges, that we forget we are living on the grass we always wanted to live on.

Comparison does not only steal our joy. It lies to us. It puts us down. It makes us feel someone else’s life is better. It allows us to covet what others have instead of being grateful for what we have. It puts our focus on the problems in our life rather than the good. Or it minimizes the good in our life.

“Don’t compare your life to others. There’s no comparison between the sun and the moon. They shine when it’s their time.” –Anonymous

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms.” –Zen Shin

So, I am here to tell you (and myself) once again, do not compare your life to the highlight reels of someone else’s. You are an amazing person with great ideas. You are capable of achieving your dreams. You offer something unique and wonderful to the world. Maybe someone in your life is a sun or a rose, but that does not discredit you, the moon or the lily, from being any less amazing. Every person faces challenges. We may not always see them, but they are there. What makes the difference is whether the person allows those challenges to become the only focus or if they allow themselves to appreciate the good in their life. There is always something to be thankful for, even if your world is turned upside down. We just need to learn to see it.

Now, if you are like me, you didn’t believe a word of that last paragraph, but I encourage you to daily remind yourself of it. Keep telling yourself it, thinking about it, meditating on what God says about you, until you believe it. Don’t disregard just because you don’t believe it now.

I may not be The Bucket List Family (I know I’m not the only one who thinks their life seems so exciting and adventurous), but that does not mean I can’t live a life of adventure in my every-day life.
I have something to offer to the people around me, and I can live an adventurous life right now in the season I am in. Don’t disregard yourself before you begin.

 

Blessings to you from this little flower learning how to bloom.

—The Adversity Rose—

Kaitlyn Rose

DREAM. PURSUE. EXPERIENCE. GROW.

This blog will cover travel, pursuing dreams, and personal growth.

Growing is Uncomfortable

“We have to be honest about what we want and take risks rather than lie to ourselves and make excuses to stay in our comfort zone.”― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

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I don’t know if any of you feel the way I do, but some days I want to change and push to be the best version of myself, and other days—well… let’s just say I’d rather not. But not necessarily that I do not want the change. I do. I really do. It’s more like I find it exhausting and just want to give up. I often wonder, am I the only one who just wants to watch life go by, stay in her comfort zones, and stop trying?

I know for me I am often tempted to just stay the imperfect, flawed, and insecure girl I am who never tries to challenge herself to grow in any way. Someone makes me upset, I just take it out on them instead of forgiving and forgetting and moving on. I snap at someone who did nothing–psh, I am not going to apologize because my pride is more important than admitting wrong. I have a mountain of work I should do–I’ll just sit and do nothing and be lazy. People don’t say hello to me, I don’t say hello to them. People don’t talk to me, I don’t talk to them. It becomes this endless cycle until all you are thinking about is yourself and not allowing yourself to grow into a better person. Not allowing yourself to grow.

I have a vision of who I would like to be. This person is someone who is energetic, fun, bold, exciting, honest, real, kind, and hard-working. Someone who isn’t afraid to be themselves all the time. Someone who isn’t afraid of being very honest and real, but kind and warm. Someone who is really THERE in the moment and seeing people. Someone who isn’t consumed with herself. Someone who loves herself and who she is.

This is only a very small, itty-bitty, tiny version of the person I wish I could be. The person I know is too hard to become without the help of God. (Let me say—it seems impossible, but Matthew 19:26 says, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” So, maybe God can save this weak, self-centered person and help her to be the person He calls her to be.)

One thing I struggle growing out of are my insecurities. I know there are many people in the world who struggle with insecurities. Actually, everyone is insecure about something. Some insecurities are different. Some are the same. I, for one, struggle with so many insecurities. I often wonder if all insecurities come from something that happened in our past or if some insecurities just appear as people grow up. I cannot think of why I have my insecurities or where they originated from.
I just remember one day people were telling me I was quiet. And I started wondering how not to be quiet. However, I did not think I had anything to offer, so I did not want to open my mouth because I felt I had nothing to say. Since then, I have been in this swirling mess of hating being quiet, feeling stupid that I did not know what to say even though all my teachers my whole life said I have a lot to offer and needed to speak up more.

Suddenly, I was afraid of being unseen, unheard, forgotten, and that I would never be able to do anything I wanted to do because I was too afraid to do it. I prayed every day for years for God to give me boldness. Every year, I was further disappointed in myself.

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I have an actual memory of me thinking about how I wanted to go to Asia to teach English and live there when I was like thirteen or fourteen years old, but I was afraid of teaching. I did not know how I would do it. I did not know how I’d get over there. I was afraid that if someone told me I couldn’t, I wouldn’t go. I did not think I could travel alone. I did not think I could live alone in another country. I was not sure if I could stand in front of kids and teach. All of it terrified me. (This is just one example.)


Even now, I struggle some days with wanting to step out of my comfort zone to talk to people. I often feel like people think of me as this boring person who can’t make jokes, who can’t talk, and who would not be fun to be around. I feel awkward talking to people I don’t know well and even people I have known all my life. I don’t know what to say. I don’t know how to act. I feel silly, awkward, and ashamed that at twenty-four, I still am just a girl who listens to conversations and feels invasive if I manage to interject.

Every few months, I’ll be in my bed crying because it is uncomfortable to try to talk to people. It’s hard to say something when no one is expecting you to speak.  And I want to give up trying to grow. Because growing is uncomfortable.

One thing I learned is that if you try to do something outside your comfort zone, often you feel excited that you successfully stepped outside it for once. You feel victorious. And if you are like me, you want to hear someone say, “Good job, Kaitlyn! You did a great job sharing your thoughts even though you did not want to.” Or “What you said may have seemed juvenile to you because it sounded different outside of your brain, but it really was not! I enjoyed hearing your perspective!” or “Wow! You started a conversation with a complete stranger and had a decent conversation! Way to go!” However, that step, which may have felt like a huge accomplishment to me, actually may have looked small or insignificant in others’ eyes. So, I would feel joyful that I actually said a sentence or two in class discussion, but then get confused or discouraged when, again, my evaluations say I needed to speak up more. I thought I did speak up more. I tried so hard to say those two sentences.

It’s a little funny to think about it now, but also helps me remember to not get discouraged just because someone did not see the effort it took you to step out of your comfort zone for that brief moment. It helps remind me to keep trying. Maybe, one day, the difference will be so big that someone will notice. Maybe, one day, you’ll find yourself further than you ever thought you would be and doing things you thought you never could do. Trust God with the process even if it is uncomfortable and hard. Don’t give in to the voice in your head that says, “I can’t do it. It’s too hard. I’m done trying. People will just have to deal with it.”

It is so hard some days to fight that voice and not curl up into my turtle shell. It has always been hard. Especially in unfamiliar territories. In South Korea, I remember struggling with it, but then deciding I was not going to let it bother me. Here in Oregon, I find myself fighting it extra hard.

Maybe your struggle or insecurity that you are trying to overcome is something else entirely. But that doesn’t make it any less difficult or hard to push yourself out of your comfort zones. It doesn’t make it any less hard to not let them rule your life. When your insecurities become the force guiding your life, they become an idol and replace God. You begin to be defined by them, and not by how God sees you. You begin to give into them and follow their leading instead of God’s leading. You become your insecurities’ slave if you don’t ask God to help set you free from them.

While I am often tired of pushing myself or tired of following God’s voice out of my comfort zone, I am even more tired of being governed by something that makes me feel hopeless about myself and my life.

That is why I keep pushing myself to try, even if I feel like I fail most days. That is why I keep fighting even if I sometimes feel like I’m going backwards instead of forwards. That is why I keep following God’s leading to places that seem uncertain and trust He knows better.

And I know, that if he can take that little girl who was too afraid to be anything and take her to live alone in South Korea to teach for a year, then nothing is impossible for Him. I can trust He can use this timid, self-seeking, and discouraged girl to be a light for Him in this dark world in a way only He could.

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He can do the same for you. No matter what you struggle with, He can turn it around.

“Open different doors, you may find a ‘you’ there that you never knew was yours. Anything can happen.” –Mary Poppins

Blessings!

—The Adversity Rose—

Kaitlyn Rose

DREAM. PURSUE. EXPERIENCE. GROW.

This blog will cover travel, personal growth, and life in general.

Be

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

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I have finally motivated myself to take up my “pen” (not really—I type) and write you all again. It has been a struggle to want to write anything or know what to write. I have moved back from South Korea, but definitely feel as if I left a part of myself there. I miss my home in Daegu and all my sweet students and friends I made there. It was so sad to leave but I was also very excited to see people back home. I spent my first month back visiting with family and friends and enjoying seeing the faces I have missed. However, after that, I had to take off on my next adventure in beautiful Oregon.

I decided back in May to move to Oregon to be a trainee in a small ballet company there. I had missed dancing while I was in Korea, so I was excited to be able to move my body again. However, to be honest, I was very sad and nervous about this move. I wished I could stay longer with my loved ones, and also the pressures of what I had to do once I got to Oregon were quite overwhelming. I felt, and still feel, as if I bit off more than I could chew.

The trip to Oregon, though long, was quite exciting. My dad and I drove all the way there from Oklahoma and took a scenic route. Coming from a girl who has never been west of Oklahoma, I found the drive (once we got out of the boring plains of Oklahoma and Kansas that I was used to seeing) to be quite exciting! We drove up to Kansas, and then through Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho before we reached Oregon. It was nice being able to stop and sight-see while we drove. My favorite was Wyoming and Yellowstone of course! The trip here was the highlight so far.

Once we arrived in Oregon, we were surprised to find out it was against the law to fill your own tank of gas. So, I am getting used to the fact I have to have someone else to do the work. Besides this unexpected news, I have settled well into my apartment and started dancing with the company. Everyone in the company is so sweet and welcoming and has such a passion to use their dancing to glorify God. It was a nice environment to be welcomed into.
Although I loved being able to dance again, I was far from where I used to be. I was very gracious towards myself in the beginning because I knew taking over a year off of dance was going to have an effect on my ability. However, I found that as weeks passed, I began to feel discouraged. I felt I was leaps behind what I used to do and even more behind what everyone else is able to do.

I also was struggling to find a job that paid well and worked with my dance schedule. It was a month before I was hired and began working. There have also been several other struggles I do not wish to name that have come with my move here.

I wish I could say I have been struggling bravely or with grace, but I have not. When life feels turbulent, it is tempting to succumb to anxiety and depression. It has been hard not to wonder if I had made a mistake or to doubt God is taking care of me. I often wonder if I misheard God or if, for once, God is not coming through. If He wasn’t coming through, there must be a reason? Did I do something wrong?
Yet, when I look back at the last three or four months and look ahead to this next month, I see that God has provided for me so far. I have made it this far. Maybe God will come through next year too. And maybe I will grow in my dancing ability.

Sometimes life can feel like a crazy, unpredictable rollercoaster ride where you are spinning and blindfolded. Sometimes you have to do something that does not makes sense to realign yourself with God. Or take a step backward in order to move forward. I feel like I have made a decision that does not make sense to me right now and feel like I’m starting from ground zero again. Yet despite all of that, I know that God is teaching me something amidst all of this even if it hurts so much. Even if my heart feels like it has a giant hole. I can trust God will fill my holes with Him and His abiding love.

Even if I do not see where my life is headed, I can trust God knows and He IS guiding me. I can trust the process. Things may not go how you want or wish them to go, but God is there with us every step of the way. I hope to one day look back on this and see the evidence of what God cultivated in and through me during this time. I also look forward to better times in the future. I am slowly learning to find peace even when my circumstances are declaring something else.

God has been teaching me to just be.

“Be still and know that I am with you.” –Psalm 46:10

 

On another note, Oregon is a very beautiful state. It is so nice so find yourself catching your breath every time you step outside or take a drive. Every now and then I glimpse snow-tipped Mt. Hood in the distance, towering majestically. Bright and colorful leaves covered the trees and ground during fall. Tall evergreen trees line the streets. It is truly breathtaking.


In University, I was taught to take “artist dates” where you go and do something once a week that brings you joy. Whether that be reading, going on a walk, drinking tea or coffee at a café, or going to a museum. So, last Saturday, I decided it was time for me to go on an artist date. I went on my first solo adventure here in Portland to the Japanese Garden Portland. I felt, for a brief moment, that I had stepped back into Japan. It was magical and so peaceful. It brought me so much peace and joy. I’m so glad I went.

Therefore, I’d like to recommend, if you are having a rough time, take some time to take your mind off your worries and have an “artist date.” Give yourself a day to rest and not think about your troubles or your to-do list. Just be.

 

Blessings!

Here are some other quick snippets from the past three months. Also, the ballet company I am a part of is preparing for our Christmas performance of “Courage, Dear Heart: A Journey Through Narnia.” We are excited!

—The Adversity Rose—

Kaitlyn Rose

DREAM. PURSUE. EXPERIENCE. GROW.

This blog will cover travel, personal growth, and life in general.

Seoul, Magic, and Some Other Things

I believe in Christ, like I believe in the sun—not because I can see it, but by it I can see everything else. –C.S. Lewis

The world is but a canvas for our imagination. — Henry David Thoreau

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As March draws near, I realize that I am almost halfway through my time here in Korea. The school semester is about to change which means I get different classes, different children. I’ve been told the cold weather will just get warmer from here. Things will change again for the next six months I am here. I find myself partly excited to see who God brings into my life the next six months to bless me or hopefully be a blessing to, but I am also sad to be saying goodbye to the children in my life now. They bring me so much joy and are definitely my favorite part of being in Korea. I do adore teaching these children so much!

This past week was the Lunar New Year or Soellal. We got three days off work, so I took the chance to spend it in Seoul. This time alone. It was my first solo trip. This is something I’ve been wanting to do as part of my “pushing myself out of my comfort zone” challenge. But I was more nervous before the trip than I ever was during the trip. I felt pretty comfortable traveling around. I, of course, had a few times where I missed the company of others during the trip, but I was also glad to experience a trip on my own for the first time. My favorite day, though, was when I jampacked my day with Lotte World (an indoor theme park), Lotte World Mall, and Lotte World Mall Aquarium. I had found a 50% discount online for Lotte World, which I thought was lucky. I paid less than $30 for something that would have cost closer to $60. It was a rainy day, so I was glad I had chosen all indoor things to do. It turned out to be quite the magical day for me, and I really wish to share my experience.

I honestly do not know what it was that day, but it was the first time in a long time I was bit by the creativity bug. I have always adored artsy things, such as dancing, singing, music, art, reading fiction, and writing fiction. However, I did not really see myself as an artist until my time at my university, where my professors and teachers poured into me, encouraged me, and opened my eyes to see that being an artist doesn’t necessarily mean we are strictly a painter, or writer, or dancer…Artists are people who create as they go through life. However, it had been a while since I had felt any sort of creative. Especially since coming here to Korea, I have not had any creative urges. It was startling to me since I thought Korea would open me up the way Japan had.

Yet, suddenly, that rainy, Sunday morning, in a cute AirBnB room, I found myself inspired to be creative. I left the room feeling like my eyes had been opened. The whole way to Lotte World, where I was beginning my day, was full of noticing and having a rain of ideas for my writing (and by writing, I mean my fiction writing). I was really impressed with the size of Lotte World, being an indoor theme park. It was like stepping into a small Disneyland in the way that it had its own character to its own stories (although Disney is much more magical, so it is hard to compare this place to Disney).

 

The first ride I rode there literally made me feel like I was flying. I’m sure the people sitting next to me could see my excitement as the VR experience took us on a fantasy flying journey. I loved that I felt the jerk of our flying machine and the splash of water from the waterfalls and wave spurts we flew past. It literally made me tear up because I was thinking, “This is how it would feel to fly.” I now tuck this experience in my pocket and will not be surprised if I see this experience pop up again and again in my stories.

It’s pretty funny my favorite ride was my first ride, but I still enjoyed my time in Lotte World. However, I left it after spending a few hours there to explore the Lotte World Mall (I was tired of waiting in lines and struggling to find the only rollercoaster in the place—had no luck). I wanted to go to Lotte World Mall only because I had seen one small picture on a random blog of a Totoro from Studio Ghibli’s My Neighbor Totoro. If you know me at all, you know I adore Studio Ghibli, or at least the movies I’ve seen (and I haven’t seen as many as there are). So here I was popping into random stores, only with a vague hope of finding something Totoro-themed.

I often feel like I am being guided when I explore. I somehow find my way more often than I should. I found the Mall only because I decided to go to the Aquarium (I thought I was already in the mall but it was just a department store). While I was on my way to the Aquarium in the Mall, I just would pop into random stores. I saw a glimpse of an interesting store a little ways away in a different direction than I was headed and decided to check it out. On my way there, I discovered the Studio Ghibli store. When I was looking for something Totoro-themed, I was not expecting this.

 

Studio Ghibli’s movies are some of the few movies out there that speak to something in me. My creativity? My love of art? My love of story? Whatever it is, I love the works of Miyazaki. So, discovering this store was a little too exciting for me and I spent quite a bit of time in there looking at everything. After I finally dragged myself out of the store, I found the Aquarium and went inside.

Just so you can fully grasp where I was coming from, I have only been to the aquarium in Tulsa, Oklahoma and an aquarium in Dallas, Texas. So, I did not have high hopes of spending a lot of time in this aquarium. I was not sure if it was worth the money. What I did not know was this would definitely be the high of my day. When I first entered, it seemed like every other aquarium I had been to (the whole two—haha). I was enjoying myself, even stood for a while to watch the otters, when I suddenly saw the exit.

Disappointed, I thought that this was another small aquarium. I was just about to leave, when I saw people coming up an escalator through a tunnel tank (typically known as shark tunnels except I did not see many sharks in any I saw there). There was no way down from where I was, but I knew that meant there was more to this aquarium than I had seen. So, I turned around and found the rest of the aquarium. I think from that moment on, my opinion of aquariums flew through the ceiling. This aquarium seemed to keep going. I saw my first whales, two Beluga whales, where I spent twenty to thirty minutes watching them swim. I walked through many tank tunnels. Finally, I found the largest tank I have ever seen full of fish swimming gracefully through the water. I was awestruck the whole time. I spent another long while sitting and gazing at this large tank until I checked the time to see it was 6pm. I was hungry, and so I reluctantly left my position and went in search of food, leaving behind this magical aquarium.

 

There was themed food at the top of the Mall, so I made my way up to the top floors. I was surprised to see so many familiar restaurants, but there were also restaurants from other parts of the world. I really enjoyed walking around the little village of food. It was impressive to see. I finally settled on a place I knew I would probably not experience in America, and went into a K-pop entertainment diner. I really enjoyed eating while listening to live music. After dinner, I went to Lotte Tower, where I was stumbled upon another show I thoroughly enjoyed. Then I decided to head back to my room.

 

All this to say, the whole day felt quite magical to me.

Since then, I have had a random creativity awaken in me. I wonder if solo trips often do this, and if so, maybe I should do it more often. On the train back home after my trip to Seoul was over, I was hit by the clearest picture of an idea for a drawing. Now, I have never, ever thought of myself as an artist in the sense of drawing at all. I used to love drawing and would do it all the time. I used to draw all the time. But I have literally only drawn once since my sophomore year of high school. I thought I had grown tired of drawing. I had no ideas or enjoyment while drawing anymore.

So, you can imagine the surprising I felt when this clear and strong idea for a drawing arose. I felt an urgency to create it. Even though I felt my drawing ability would not do it justice (because as said before, I have never seen myself as an artist in that way). So, despite of this, I spent the next ten hours after returning home drawing. It is not done, and not a masterpiece, but it makes me unexpectedly happy.

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I bring this up only to say that I still feel this strange electric zing! of creativity running through me. I do not want it to go just yet. I’m partially afraid my busy work schedule might stamp it out. However, I am also inspired by the inspiration. It reminds me of my dreams. It reminds me of the life I want to live. It reminds me I feel closest to God when I am creating, or appreciating another’s art, whether it be through art, dance, music, or reading and writing.

I think the point I have with this post is just to say I felt like I rediscovered my love for art and want to be an artist of life. Not in order to be the best, because I know I am not. But in order to give my best and glorify God through it all. I do not doubt at all that my inspiration comes from God. It is through Him I see everything else. This actually reminds me of a quote by C.S. Lewis: “I believe in Christ, like I believe in the sun—not because I can see it, but by it I can see everything else.”

This weekend I felt I was seeing everything through different eyes. I was allowing God to change how I saw things and because of this was able to fully enjoy the solo trip. A trip I was afraid I would not enjoy. I feel this post may be a bit awkward, but I really just wanted to share this experience. I really wanted to tell about this magical day. Maybe partially for the purpose of reminding myself of it later.

I really hope everyone can experience this joy throughout their lives. I can’t say my time in Korea has been easy, but it has definitely been quite the adventure so far! I do not regret my decision to come here for a second. I hope everyone can take those jumps that scare you and find you learn something from it. I have learned that with God that I am capable of much more than I ever thought I could. I can trust God knows what He is doing. I may not know what comes in my future, but God is my inspiration and I will keep following where He leads! One thing I know is God keeps waking up the dreamer in me. I just hope I allow God to help me to keep making those dreams realities!

Blessings!

Some other pictures of my time in Seoul:

 

—The Adversity Rose—

Kaitlyn Rose

DREAM. PURSUE. EXPERIENCE. GROW.

This blog will cover travel, personal growth, and life in general.