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Celebrating Winter | some christmas poems

"i bet He danced"

i bet He danced.
at weddings, celebrations—
with His mother, His sisters,
probably mary and martha, too.

i bet He laughed.
at the jokes, or when He was little
and joseph tickled Him—
or just for the joy of laughing.

i bet He sang.
someone as beautiful
as the Son of God would've
sung His praises loudly.

i bet He watched.
watched as the world He
came to save accepted Him,
but then refused Him.

i bet He gazed at the stars.
every one a person, a beautiful person.
all of our names, so, so precious,
glittering in the sky for Him.

and when He was on that cross,
oh, i bet He looked up, because He knew.
He knew that soon, so soon,
He'll be reunited with His stars.

and we'll shine brightly and beautifully,

"He saves us all"

as the bright moon sets slowly
beyond the far off mountains,
a star shines brightly.
snowflakes gently swirl,
trees sway in the wind,
and the angels sing.

a royal Prince, born to die,
is welcomed by the angels
who sing their praises.
shepherds humbly bow
before their mighty King.
oh, beautiful night!

bethlehem, oh little town,
follow the star up above,
and find your new King.
he’s sleeping soundly,
laying in a manger,
dreaming of His task.

a hard and difficult life
of assisting His Father
save this broken world.
dying for our sins,
to rise after three days,
from the depths of hell.

praise the mighty King of kings!
He’s saved us from Satan’s hands.
He has persevered.
oh, wonderful day!
praise Him in everything,
for He saves us all.

Merry Christmas, everybody. 



Celebrating Winter | Christmas

There's something beautiful about sitting under your Christmas tree, all alone, lights on and reflecting off the ornaments. You've got an Advent devotional in your lap and openness in your heart. You read, practically breathing in her words. God's love climbs down from a ladder, all the way to earth and straight into your soul. His hand takes yours, and you smile.
You read, child of God, and gently unfold the wrappings around this Christmas—hopefully better than last year, but hopefully not as good as next year. Your mind relaxes into the grace God gave you. Your spirits lift as you prepare yourself for December 25th and celebrating Jesus and showing His crazy love.
Remember that. Christmas is about God showing us his love. His crazy, crazy love.



Celebrating Winter | Christmas Playlist

There's something about music that nudges my soul into the cold air until up, up it goes, soaring with the birds and snowflakes and clouds. And then there's Christmas music. Soft, gentle. A reminder of God's arms caressing me. So how about some lovely Christmas songs? Here are a few of my favorites.
Star of Wonder // JJ Heller
Christmas Lights // Coldplay
You're Here  // Francesca Battistelli
Do you Hear What I Hear // Flyleaf
O Come Emmanuel // Folk Angel
Oh Holy Night // Future of Forestry
Joseph's Lullaby // Michael Crawford
Celtic Carol // Lindsay Sterling
Cradle in Bethlehem // Sleeping at Last
Dreams are More Precious // Enya
The First Noel // Future of Forestry



Celebrating Winter | Peppermint Sugar Scrub

This scrub. Guys, this scrub. One of my friends gave it to me as a gift a while back, and oooooooh my goodness. It makes your hands feel so smooth. Just . . . it's amazing.
The recipe is from The Frugal Girls, right here.
This is a really simple recipe. Just three (or four) ingredients, not a lot to do, but you get some amazingness out of it.

1/2 cup coconut oil
1 cup sugar
10 drops peppermint essential oil
Red food coloring (optional)

1. Microwave 1/2 cup coconut oil until melted (approx. 45 seconds)
2. Pour coconut oil and sugar into a small mixing bowl and mix well.
3. Add peppermint oil and mix well again.
4. (Optional) Separate the scrub so half is in one bowl, and half is in another bowl. Add food coloring (one drop is enough) to one bowl and mix well again. When you pour it into your storage containers, you can do layers of pink and white.
5. Pour into jars (personally, I think the more shallow the jar, the better.

The scrub will be runny until it cools down. Coconut oil is like butter in the sense that when it's hot, it melts, but it will solidify when it cools.

How to use:
Use around a teaspoon and wash your hands with it, as if the scrub was soap. Dry well with a towel.



Celebrating Winter | Let's Go

Winter. Cold. Gray. Dreary. Wet. Not fun.
But not always. There are certain parts of winter, the parts I want to talk about, that make it worth celebrating. It stretches like a morning and dances like a light waltz.
God created the cold and the snow and the usually dark skies for reasons. Many reasons, I think. And I do believe we should explore them.
So grab your boots, a coat, and your adventuring spirit. Let's go explore winter.


(This is a series I'm doing this winter to help us all enjoy the winter dances and songs God has given us. Enjoy.)



Maybe I should just shut up.

I keep telling God that I feel sad and that I don't understand and that his death might give me something to look forward to but right now sucks.
But then I think I should just shut up because somewhere, he's whispering his grace to me. His forgiveness encircles the mess I've become and the mess I've made. And somehow I'll become a blossoming rose instead of an ugly thorn. Somehow.
Sometimes life just doesn't feel very nice, and when that happens, I have a tendency to hurt myself. My wrists bleed from the harsh things I snap at myself. Bruises decorate my neck from where I've strangled all of the good thoughts until they withered away.
But his grace is always there, whispering, waiting.
So here's to shutting up and listening.



Etched on My Heart

You know when one of your dreams comes true, and you feel light and a little disoriented and really excited? Well. That's how this girl is feeling.
I wanted to publish a book before I graduated high school. Granted, I wanted it to be a story. A fictional book. A novel. But poetry works, too. Because poetry can be its own story in a few (or many) stanzas, and sometimes poems are even better than stories.
It's one achieved dream in a much bigger dream—this thing I call my life that has a mix of God and beauty and people. I want to be a writer. An author. A lover of words. Whatever you want to call it. Some people think it's crazy and others think it's absolutely brilliant. Some people get it and see that this is where my talent is, this is what God has sat me down and asked me to do—even if just for now.
And yeah. This is terrifying. I remember the first time I posted a piece of my writing on my blog. I wanted to hide for the rest of my life. Now it's no big deal. But this—well. This costs five dollars and contains bits and pieces of my heart, and I'm terrified to hit "Publish" and let people know that I've actually done this.
But I'll hit it, because if I'm going to be who God wants me to be, I'm going to have to be brave.
So. Here you go: dream one of a gazillion is published.
It's on sale for $3.99 on Amazon. Just saying. (Oh. And yeah. It's just as an ebook. For now.) 



Awesome stuff is happening right now. [Society6]

Basically, I'm here with the news that Society6 is having a Thanksgiving sale! There's free worldwide shipping and 15% off of everything! You just have to use the code GIVETHANKS at checkout. And remember—this is only good until November 27, 11:59 PM PST.
For those of you who are new here, I have a Society6 store where I sell my photography/art. (So does the lovely Tane, by the way. Right here.)
So basically, you should go buy stuff. Like this mug. Seriously, what writer wouldn't want it?
Check it out right here.
Or you could get it as a tank top. But there are plenty of other options too.
It's awesome, isn't it?
If you aren't a writer, don't be discouraged! Here's an artist mug. (There's also a dancer one.)
Like it? Buy it.
Oh, and here's one of my favorite products. Isn't it awesome? (I really really really want this. :P)
It's called "Resting Birds."
I also really like this mug. And I have it! It was supposed to be a Christmas present, but I've used it many times . . . :P
"Be" (Creative title, right?)
And here's another favorite: my clouds one!
This pillow has been selling lately. It makes my heart happy. I also sold a duvet cover. :)

And on Friday, this is happening:

Alllll right. Geez. I'm done bugging you guys about my store. For now. ;)
Have a lovely Thanksgiving!



an excerpt [12]

   When we joined the group around the fire, I was greeted with smiles and hugs and it felt normal—except better. Justin had his guitar, which put me at ease. I dug my toes into the sand, listening to his music mix with the waves lazily rolling onto the beach.
   There was something about those people. My people. They loved me, and they knew when I needed support even though not everyone agreed with what I believed. That’s what good friends do. They don’t judge.
   They love.
   I looked at the beautiful faces of my friends, yellow in the light of the fading sun and the fire. Those faces were my faces. Their names were etched on my heart, and mine was on theirs. They had left an imprint in me, soft in some places, hard in others.
   And I’d done the same to them.

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]



to write love on her arms

Last night, I went to a local college and got to see some of the people behind To Write Love on Her Arms speak and tell their stories (and, of course, hers).
Hearing Eric sing and Jamie speak watered the ever-growing sapling that I call my heart. Their words gently reminded me that even when life hurts, love is still out there.
It's in my favorite faces. It's in becoming someone's favorite face. It's pressing on even when your friends stab you and kick you and leave you barely able to move, quivering on the floor, bleeding out. It's loving the broken, even when you are broken. It's throwing yourself into God's arms. It's following your dreams, even though everyone else thinks you're crazy, because that's what God has told you to do. It's seeing beautiful in the everyday. It's living in community with other people—the ones who won't stab you and kick you and leave you. It's saying, "hey, how are you?" and getting a truthful answer back. It's walking, hand and hand, through the good parts of life and carrying each other through the bad parts.
It's remembering that your story is beautiful and worth living for because of love.



reaching out

So remember dear friend,
That while you continue to grow—
In whatever direction—
You’ll grow fastest by reaching out.

(The ending to a poem I wrote over the weekend. )
(Speaking of that, I'm getting really excited about my poetry book.)



"There comes a point when you just have to accept the Gospel."
A point where wanting to be a better person turns into a discontentment that can be equated with self-loathing and really, really, really not liking who you are. And when you hit that point, you're eventually going to realize that where you are, how you feel about yourself—it's wrong.
The words quoted above are from an amazing friend of mine when I was telling her that I'm not that much of a fan of myself. In fact, when I look at myself, I see terribleness. Ugliness. A horrible, horrible person.
Then she told me to read Song of Solomon. Because she had, and it had overwhelmed her about how God, as she put it, is obsessed with us. Yes, she said, it's about a married couple, but look at it as the marriage between you and Christ.
So I did.
And I found this verse—6:10.

Who is this who looks down like the dawn,
beautiful as the moon,
bright as the sun,
awesome as an army with banners?

Read that again. But read it like God is saying it about you.
In his eyes, y o u are like the sunrise,
y o u are like the beautiful, silvery moon,
y o u are like the warming and brilliant sun,
y o u are like an army with banners.

You are b e a u t i f u l to him. So beautiful. So, so loved. Always. Forever. Undyingly (funnily enough, because he died).
Never forget that. Please, please don't. Truly.



I'm pretty darn excited.

This amazing woman and I hosted a real-life, absolutely amazing Open Mic Night at our church last night. Like, itactuallyhappened. It was so much fun. We sat there and listened as people played their instruments or read their words, and we just let it all soak in. It was beautiful. And it encouraged me sososo much, because remember this?
Now, of course, the two co-hosts were probably the most nervous performers. It was my first time reading something I've written out loud. In front of people. So when I did it, I was shaking. And I thought for sure I was going to throw up (same with her). Or laugh. Because when I was practicing, I couldn't stop.
But I did all right. The words—my words—flowed beautifully, and I think I got all the voice fluctuation and pausing stuff right. (On the pausing note, I love the way poetry is formatted for that reason. But that's a different idea for a different time.)
My friends, two very-used-to-performing musicians, thought it was hilarious that I was nervous. And looking back at it, I'm laughing too. But then? Ohhhhhh, Iwassonervous.

Also. I'm in the process of publishing a book of my poetry.
I'm excited.
And happy.
And ecstatic.
*Dances around giddily.*

And. It's autumn, and I'm in an autumn-y mood. So here's my (very) small playlist for this season: autumn. I hope all of you are having a beautiful fall—as beautiful and colorful and amazing as mine.


an excerpt [11]

   That’s when I realized what a true friend was.
   Someone who would always love you—the imperfect you, the confused you, the wrong you—because that is what people are supposed to do.

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]



in september (ii)

      i. the grapes are ready. and they are delicious.
      ii. my sister dried some parsley.
      ii. i took some dance classes (ow).


the morning stretched

It was one of those late mornings because I didn't feel like getting up early (that's been happening a lot lately, but who wants to wake up to a math textbook?). I guess the sun was feeling that way too, because I still got to capture some of that glorious morning light just before it slipped away.
And the morning stretched and stretched and s t r e t c h e d until it was noon and then afternoon until eventually a whole day had passed. But that morning had been captured. In my camera. Stretching, waking up, shaking off the grogginess of nighttime.
That's photography for you. Absolutely, beautifully amazing.



Calling all Artists: Live Fuse

It was an undeveloped idea in her head long before I even knew how to do my multiplication and division problems.
But it was there.
Begging to break out, to bloom.
Then I had a similar idea a few years ago, inspired by the Rabbit Room. It went in its own direction, starting an artsy little group that tries to get together once a month.
But then something bigger happened. In August, a fuse was lit, and ideas exploded everywhere.
She thought she wanted a coffee shop, but then after deeper pondering, she knew what she truly wanted: a place. A place where people could come together and be themselves, to enjoy art and be in community with other artists.
And then, my soul bubbly with excitement, I gave her my idea, identical to the one she had just fully discovered. We settled on the couch in her living room, brainstorming away and sorting through the problems but mostly focusing on how much we knew this would happen.
It had to.
And it will.
One of these days (hopefully soon), we will have a physical place that those of Live Fuse (don't you just love that name? I love that name) can call home. But right now? Right now, we have our own little place online.
We give our art to those willing to look, and we soak in as much beauty as we possibly can. So come join us. We would love to have you, even if you just want to look. More artists means more beauty. And more beauty means a better life.
This is my passion. This is what I want my life to be about. I want to show people that my God is a beautiful God, and that He created us to create after Him. That's the right way to serve people, I think. You show them God's beauty. Not just in art—but in life. Finding beauty in every situation and making every situation beautiful.
So be a part of my passion, and let it be yours as well.



in september (i)

i. a good book and some delicious iced tea.
ii. i'd pretend i like green peppers, but ew.
iii. my window captured light.


an excerpt [10]

From The Dixon Project. Enjoy.
. . . .
    Halfway through class, Amber slid into her left split next to Jeremy.
   “Have you heard from Alyssa?” Jeremy asked. “In the news, there was something about a shooting right in front of her house with two teenage girls. You walked home with her last night, right?”
   Amber’s stomach dropped. He doesn’t know. “I…Yes, I was with her.”
   “It wasn’t you two, was it?” Jeremy’s face had gone pale. “She’s okay, right?”
   “She’ll be fine. She got shot in the left arm. No bone damage.” Amber shifted, eyeing the floor.
   “You—you were the other girl? Are you all right?”
   “Is she still in the hospital? Did she go to the hospital? She went, didn't she?"
   “I don’t know. I haven’t talked to her at all.” Amber leaned forward, resting her head on her shin. “School has been difficult.”
   “But you’re homeschooled. How much school do you actually have to do?”
   “Enough to practically strangle me,” she growled.
   Dara walked in then, wearing a black leotard with crisscrossed straps in the back. She sat down with caution next to Amber and pulled on her shoes, silent shaky.
   “You all right, Dara?” Amber asked.
   Dara hesitated but nodded. “Fine.” She picked at a loose thread on her flats. “Just tired. How are you? I heard what happened last night.”
   Amber narrowed her eyes. If Jeremy didn’t know, how did Dara find out? “How did you know?” She switched to her other split.
   Dara’s eyes widened while her fingers tightened around the thread. “I—well, um… Madame Faylinn told me.” She shrugged, managing a smile.
   “Oh,” Amber said. Sure, she thought.
. . . .
And that's that. Did you like?
[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]

Bekah Joan


So I opened a Society6 Store.

I've been wanting to do it for a while. And then I got all excited and went through my pictures and found ones that I thought would work well. And then I got excited more.
And then it actually happened.
And, hello there. There are mugs and pillows and bags and art prints and iPhone and iPod cases and skins and clocks and more. It's awesome.
Go check it out! And feel free to pin things. Actually, please do. And pin Tane's while you're at it (she's brilliant, isn't she?).
And if you didn't click my store link, maybe this will help you out a bit. Because I really like this pillow. Like, I want one. Or a thousand. (Okayokayokay not a thousand.)
(go look. now.)
Doesn't this one look pretty cool too?

Have a wonderful night, my dears.

Bekah Joan


thoughts on destressing

Stress. It gnaws at my soul, shading my eyes so this world appears grey instead of colorful. When I let myself fall into it, life is difficult. There is so much that needs done. My head gets crowded with ideas and to-do lists and places to go and people to keep in touch with and, honestly, I get so overwhelmed that I can't handle it anymore.

Part of that is because I'm introverted. Part of it is because I'm not letting myself de-stress. Most of it is because I don't fully rely on God (yet). But right now I want to talk about de-stressing. About ways to gently take care of yourself. Reminding yourself of who you are in God and what he can do for you.

get up and relax. It sounds so strange, I know, but it can be helpful. Get out of bed and spend a few minutes stretching or staring out your window or watching the sunrise or praying or reading your Bible (although I prefer to do the latter two after I'm slightly more awake). You know you best. What relaxes you? Do it right away.

take little breaks. Whenever you have time, take a few minutes and just breathe. Think. Pray. Close your eyes and remind yourself that you are a child of God, and he can do anything through you. He can get you through the day.

get a good amount of sleep. I think this one is pretty obvious. If I'm rested, I tend to be less emotional, which means I don't get as anxious. So if you like staying up late, stay up late and sleep in. Although this doesn't work if you're in school. If you like getting up early like me, get to sleep earlier and rise earlier.

be with people. Introverts, trust me on this one. Please. Yes, I agree we need our time to ourselves to regain our energy. But if you isolate yourself completely, you're actually going to drain yourself. Humans were made to need humans. We need community. People encourage us. They love us. And we do the same to them. I used to try to completely isolate myself. And guess what? It led to a not-so-good part of my life. So get together with friends and love them.

make something beautiful. We were created by an amazing God. Obviously, we can't make something anywhere near to what he's created, but we can still use art to point to him. So try making something. If you're a perfectionist, keep it simple so you don't get irked when you mess up. But remember that God created beauty. So we should as well.

don't be so hard on yourself. You do not need to beat yourself up for every mistake that you make. God created you the way he wants you. You are growing in him the way that he has planned for you. He is in control of your life. That means that no matter what you have done or will do, God will make it work out for the absolute best in his plan. So remember that you do not need to punish yourself. You need to love yourself. Because if you don't, you can't accept love—from God, or from others. And that, my friend, can lead to terrible thoughts and dark nights.

So remember these are you start the school year or continue with life. You are a child of God. He loves you. If harm will come to you, it will be for a more beautiful you. Do not let the grey of life smother you. You are here for more than to be stressed out. You are here to grow.
So, my friend,

Bekah Joan



I cut myself today,
But all I bled was black.
You said that I'm perfect,
But trim back the roses
And my thorns will attack.

Outside, I'm beautiful.
Inside, I'm terrible.
Am I truly Your bride?
I have acted cruelly,
Yet we're still united.

You are my redeemer,
And I am your beggar.
I come to your doorstep
To become your daughter
And to drink your water.

Your light shines on my face,
Blinding my weary eyes.
The door shuts out the lies.
I thought You'd abhor me,
Yet you welcome me in.

I have been received in
To the house of no sin
Where my blood will flow pure.
My thorns will disappear,
And love will adorn me.


New York City

It was packed with tourists and colors and (mostly appalling) smells. The noise never, ever ended. It was thrilling and terrifying and fun and hot and rainy and sunny and pretty darn cool.
I saw the Statue of Liberty. I was in the Empire State Building. I didn't go up to Olympus due to time issues, but I was there. We stayed at a hotel right on Times Square (which, by the way, is not a square). We went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which thrilled me most. When I was little and still doing ballet, I watched a movie on Degas. Forgetting how accurate it was (I have no idea, by the way), I fell in love with Degas and his The Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer sculpture. So imagine my happiness when I found it, standing there in the center of one of the many rooms. I was giddy. Elated. Ecstatic. There was also a photography section on Garry Winogrand. (Check out Artsy's page on him here.) This made me super duper happy. The architecture in the city? Beautiful. Gorgeous. Amazing.
BUT. I would never ever ever ever ever ever want to live there. I'd go back. But living there? Nope. Too busy. Too noisy. Too many people and terrible smells (although if you walked by the right places, it was heavenly) and you just feel so enclosed. It's like you're inside when you're outside. Unless it's raining. And then you're outside.
But it was beautiful in its own way. I've always loved cities because the country shows us nature, but city shows us man. And I like seeing personalities come out through architecture and art and people strolling by.
Overall, it was fun. And great. A wonderful experience. My favorite part was absolutely the Met.
Bekah Joan
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