Friday, October 30, 2009


I saw an interesting post talking about the cost of being a girl. Similarly intrigued, I decided to make a comparable list of the beauty products/hygiene products I used. Here's her list:
Bodywash - $2.46 ($0)
Shampoo - $4.40 ($2.50)
Conditioner - $4.40 ($3.00)
Blush - $2.41 ($2.50)
Eye Shadow - $2.98 ($3.00)
Lipstick - $4.23 (0)
Toothpaste - $2.08 ($1.50)
Fem. Products - $8.96 ($9.95)
Deodorant - $5.94 ($3.00)
Contact Solution - $8.88 ($5.00)
Gel - $9.92 ($5.00)
Razors - $5.99 ($3.00)
Facewash - $7.11 ($5.00)
Foundation - $11.47 ($12.00)
Moisturizer - $19.97 (15.00)
Mascara - $7.47 ($7.50)
Under eye roller n/a ($8.00)
MONTH TOTAL - $98.59 ($85.95)

Here's mine:

Dove soap-$10.79
Eye Shadow-$28
Eye Liner-$15
Fem. Products-$11.98
Contact solution-$9.79
Shaving Gel-$3.99
Face wash-$11.49
Mascara base-$27.50
Lip primer-$14.50
Eyelash curler-$16
Lip gloss-$7.65
Makeup remover-$6.69
MONTH TOTAL – $351.83

I spend nearly 4 times the amount she does! Holy crap! Am I just ridiculously high maintenance or is she just impressively frugal?

I do want to take a little time to point out that my calculations aren't a true representation of my monthly expenses. I buy a bargain pack of Dove soap that has like 12 bars for $11. I do use organic shampoo and conditioner, which is a huge money-suck. But a lot of my makeup lasts for months, not just one month. But geez, this definitely opens my eyes to see how much I'm spending! Awareness is always the first step. Now I can focus on cutting costs and optimizing my spending. To be continued...

Thursday, October 29, 2009


What does it mean to you to be "rich"? I think it's really important to take a critical look at our goals. Of course I want to be rich. But what does "rich" look like?

For me, I define being rich as being able to afford anything I want, within reason (not, per se, a helicopter or a castle). And what I mean by being able to afford anything I want, I simply mean I want to have enough income coming in where it's not too much of a stretch to buy a luxury good, or Kitchenaids. If I am living off welfare, chances are pretty good that I probably won't be able to afford, say, a Gucci purse, for a long time. But if I'm making 60K a year, I could probably own that purse in a matter of a few months.

Being rich and able to afford whatever I want does not mean I want to be able to mindlessly spend. That's how celebrities go broke. It means I want to be able to afford to consciously spend on things I care about.

This, naturally, means I want enough money to not ever have to worry about paying for food and bills. And some smart investing. After that, the fun stuff can start. =]

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Sometimes the want for deviancy is so great, it outshouts the drone of the clinical lights above-head. It's just like how pay day never comes fast enough or how the bills never get smaller or how straight A's are never replicated again.

Like this wind that bites and invites, Orwellian philosophies wrestle and subdue my thoughts. Take a step with me, fall in line, sir. For the next 2 seconds, I will be your lady and you can be my man. But this spark of human connection is too much, too long, and we shuffle our feet and bury our heads.

Today, I was walking to class, and lost in my own iPod-powered world, I didn't notice that I had fallen into stride with a random guy walking next to me. When I finally realized that, I became uncomfortable with the human connection being made, so I sped up and broke the connection. I wondered why I felt so disquieted by the interaction so I just let my thoughts go.


Time capsule. I've been looking over some old writings that I've never posted publicly before. Here's something I wrote during the spring of my senior year. I called it Moments and Songs.

We get stuck in moments sometimes. When you're the one living life and in the moment, you are unaware of the bigger picture a lot of the time. And those times when you do step back and look objectively, you can watch others living in their moments, and their moments look actually to be songs. For one shining, soaring moment, you realize you are in a song, too. And then the moment catches you and the exhilaration of being alive flees and you are left, stuck in your own moment.

Take from it what you will.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I read this last night in my devotions. "How will we have the type of love that 'is not provoked, [and] thinks no evil'? (1 Cor 13:4-5) The only way is by allowing nothing of the old life to remain, and by having only simple, perfect trust in God-such a trust that we no longer want God's blessings, but only want God Himself. Have we come to the point where God can withdraw His blessings from us without our trust in Him being affected? Once we truly see God at work, we will never be concerned again about the things that happen because we are actually trusting in our Father in heaven."

How challenging! Can I honestly state that I solely want God, and not His blessings? That it wouldn't matter if I was happy or miserable, rich or poor, alone or in community, so long as I have God? If I can't answer yes, then have I truly seen God at work in my life? How much do I really trust my Father?

Sunday, October 25, 2009


I am simply in awe of God right now. My wonderful discipler recently challenged me to do something that would really stretch me. I was on the fence about it for a while, but I finally asked to meet up with someone and had a really good talk, where we were both super open and vulnerable with one another. It was hard, and I was anxious leading up to it, but I'm sooo glad I decided to do it.

The reason why we met up is something I can't divulge, but I had intended it to be a time for me to just share my heart with her, so she could gain some insight into her own life based on the parallels. Not knowing if anything would be taken to heart, I was simply excited that I actually had the courage to meet up with her and talk to her at all. I had thought that God wanted me to talk to her, but I still wasn't sure until my discipler and I met up again this weekend. Here's where it gets crazy.

The girl I met with shares my discipler with me. My discipler recounted what happened during their discipleship session. Apparently, after me and this girl had talked, she had gone home and made a list of things someone had done to hurt and wrong her, and how she felt about each thing. Then she made a list of all the things she had done to hurt and wrong this person in retaliation, and she shared her feelings about these instances, too. And finally, she made a list of qualities she desired their relationship to have, and the reconciliation she deeply wanted with this person.

I felt so shocked when I heard about this complete change of heart that this girl had! The only thing I could think was just, praise God, praise God, praise God! He's totally working in her heart, and even used me, little old me, to bring about that change! I felt so honored and unworthy to be included in this story. All praise be to God. He's constantly rescuing us out of the darkness of our own hearts.


Friday, October 23, 2009


Maybe my approach to frugality is backwards. Usually, when I want to buy something online, I start the checkout process and then I go and look to see if there's a coupon available for the merchant. If not, I shrug my shoulders and buy it anyways. A coupon is just a bonus. A better approach would be for me to know what I want and wait for a coupon or sale to pop up.

I decided to be more responsible and intentional with my indulgences. Take a look:

I made a want list of all the things I want to purchase. Then, I prioritized them. I'm selling some stuff on eBay and, using this fee calculator, am figuring out how much I'm making after eBay and Paypal fees. The profit gets transferred to my high yield savings account where I've opened a sub-savings account titled after the thing I want. For instance, I have a sub-savings account for the Rosie jeans I posted a couple days ago. Currently, I have about $40 set aside for it. I just have to sell about 3 more items to be able to purchase those jeans! When I've reached my goal, I can withdraw that money guilt-free and close that sub-savings account. Even better is that by the time I've made enough money to afford them, I've also had time to think about whether or not the purchase is worth it, and I'll have waited and searched for a sale/coupon.

While it varies from person to person, we each have something that we find worth splurging on. For me, nice pairs of jeans that actually fit me are worth it. And I've wanted this pair for over a month. And I've tried it on, so I know that it fits me, and I like the feel of the denim. So that's why I've decided that regardless of available coupons, I'm still gonna buy them.

It seems that I haven't changed much from the beginning paragraph, but the point is, there's intent to my spending. I'm not just mindlessly spending. I've made a deliberate choice to buy those jeans, even if I can't find a better deal.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Finally, a breakthrough. I am so stubborn that it never ceases to amaze me that insights break through this thick skull of mine at all.

But after constantly questioning myself-my heart and intentions, I have finally realized that it is not about me and where my heart is, it is about God, and where His heart is. How typical-of course I check myself to see what I'm doing or not doing, but I don't bother to look up and see what God is doing.

I realized this only after weeks of soul-searching, endless "heart checks," and self-examination. Focusing on myself, naturally, leads to negativity. Guilt and shame, my unrelenting companions. But when I place the focus onto the Lord, "all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory" as John Mark McMillian puts it.

I fully believe that God doesn't want us to dwell in our shame and misery. Yes, He uses them to bring us back to Him, but He doesn't enjoy the process any more than we do.

I want my heart to be aligned with the Father's. How could I have been so blinded? If I want to know the Father's heart, of course I should look at my own. Sarcasm.

It is always about God. Always, always, always. And yet, how often I forget this simplest truth! Thank God that God is abounding grace.


Okay, okay, so maybe I was too hasty when I bashed on CD's. Don't get me wrong; I still hate CD's and I think they're an especially stupid use of money in this society, which is on the verge of ridiculously high inflation rates. BUT, as I was reading the best personal finance book ever, aka Ramit Sethi's I Will Teach You To Be Rich, he pointed out that it makes sense that as you and your nest egg age, your investing philosophy switches from risky, aggressive growth to simply maintaining current wealth. Therefore, the richer you are, the safer you tend to be. Right now, since I'm just a whippersnapper, it's good that I'm pretty much allocating all my assets in stocks (via index funds). By the time I get to 30, I can reallocate my investments to include "safer" stuff like bonds and maybe even CD's. (Well, maybe if inflation rates stabilize, or banks start offering higher interest rates, neither of which seems very plausible.)

In other news...I decided I want to be a financial adviser when I grow up. That's all. =]

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


It's official. I'm off boys for an indefinite amount of time. So to all my boy friends: sorry, but I'm kickin' it with the ladies for a while.

Monday, October 19, 2009



Frankie B Skinny Rosie in Slick, $182

Love. I tried them on in 23 and 24, and though the 23's were snug, they fit my (lack of a) booty well. The 24's were just way too saggy. I've been seeing them a lot in Smoke, the grey wash, but I'm partial to dark denim. I think this will be my next purchase.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


I think that as girls, we are all addicted to love stories. We all just want a man. So when my boy-crazy friend decided to give up boys for the year, I was instantly excited. So far, it's been really interesting. I've had to call her out when she's been facebook-stalking cute guys, or oogling over attractive males around campus. Hah, love it.

But the point here is that we need to be each others' supporters. If the Lord has called us into a time of singleness, we should embrace it and band together to fight off feelings of wanting a relationship. Not to say that we can't ever be in relationships, but just that we spend so much of our single time in life wishing we weren't single. All that negativity is draining and pointless. We should encourage each other to not just be okay with being single, but help each other learn about the amazing aspects of singlehood.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Ugh. I have been just so negative lately. I feel like a general lack of faith in humanity tends to just put a negative spin on things.

Anyways, during women's time, we talked about the usual womanly stuff-you know, the questions every girl has: am I pretty? Am I lovely? Am I worthy of being loved? Will someone desire me, fight for me, protect me and love me? And then we talked about the lies women believe. Then a panel of 4 really great Crusade staff men came up to answer our questions.

I know they were meaning to help us, but I just felt really discouraged after women's time. I felt like their wives/girlfriends they were describing were all this singular, one type of girl. And I felt like I wasn't going to find a Godly man unless I was like that type of girl-the sweet, innocent, domestic girl. I guess I just felt like I was being told I would have to change to become worthy of a Godly man.

This, as you know, is not how God's love works.

Even worse, recently, I feel like I've been able to return to the sustenance of God's love. I've felt content in my singleness, and haven't been really wanting a boyfriend. I just love when I am content in my current situation in life, and honestly, I think that's a place that God is really pleased with. Singleness is only for a season (God willing), and there are so many benefits of serving the Lord when you're single that you don't have when you're in a relationship/married. But listening to this women's talk just made the desire for a husband/relationship come back. So frustrating. I just want to be free of these distractions. I want to love God purely.


Do you ever just wish that God could be more efficient instead of just sufficient? I mean, I know His timing is perfect and all, but I just wish that He could work things out a little faster, or bring me to a place of understanding more quickly.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I'm reading what I affectionately refer to as The Sheep Book, for one of my bible studies, and this week's chapter looks at the line in Psalm 23 "He makes me lie down in green pastures." The cool thing about the book is that it's written by a former shepherd and a pastor, so he offers really great insights into the heart of the relationship between sheep and their shepherd.

The tenderness with which the shepherd beholds his sheep with is surprisingly intimate and self-sacrificially beautiful. There are four things that the sheep must be free of before they will lie down. These are the following: freedom of hunger, freedom of insects and pests, freedom of flock tensions, and freedom of fear of attack. While he drew multiple parallels between the plagues of the sheep and the plagues of mankind, the overarching thread was that the presence of the Shepherd comforted the sheep so much, that tensions dissipated, fear was quelled, and dwelling in the Good Shepherd's care meant that no insects "bugged" (hah) the flock, and they were never without food.

And that's the bottom line through and through-the presence of the Father is all that we need in this life. His presence is where we draw comfort from. His presence is what sustains us.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


While reading through my daily devotions, My Utmost For His Highest, I came across a devotional that spoke to me so deeply, it felt like a reverberating gong striking me to the core. No, really.

The past few days, I've been feeling really disconnected from God. All of a sudden, He wasn't the first thing on my mind each day, and He wasn't the last thing I thought about before I fell asleep each night. I felt without His presence, and honestly, it's been hard. Even worse, during the summer, if I ever felt far from the Lord, it would be like torture-I couldn't go on until I had buried myself in the Father's heart. But this time, I just felt...nothing. Like it didn't matter. Apathetic. This is arguably worse. Day after day, my prayer has been, Lord, I can't feel You, but I miss You and I ask that You'd reveal Yourself to me. And nothing.

So as I was reading the entry for October 9, I was already enraptured by the title, "How Will I Know?" Chambers writes, "All of God's revealed truths are sealed until they are opened to us through obedience. You will never open them through philosophy or thinking. But once you obey, a flash of light comes immediately. Let God's truth work into you by immersing yourself in it, not by worrying into it. The only way you can get to know the truth of God is to stop trying to find out and by being born again. If you obey God in the first thing He shows you, then He instantly opens up the next truth to you. You could read volumes on the work of the Holy Spirit (so pointed-that's totally what I've been doing), when five minutes of total, uncompromising obedience would make things as clear as sunlight...Yet God will never reveal more truth about Himself to you, until you have obeyed what you know already."

SO good, right?! Oh man. And so, after weeks of knowing what I "should" do and blatantly ignoring it, I have finally decided to obey. I thought it would be hard, and in a way, it was kinda tough, but I feel so much more myself now. I feel so much more balanced and not on the edge of craziness. Amazing what even just a little act of obedience can do. I feel like the barrier I put between me and God is disappearing, and it is so sweet to slowly but surely feel the warmth of the Father returning to my chest. Mmm.


I never wanted to be "cute." I don't consider myself a "cute" girl. Just because I am petite doesn't mean I am cute, or, God forbid, "cutesy."

A friend of mine categorizes girls into three types: cute, beautiful, and hot/sexy. While his organizational system is a great target for incessant teasing, I personally wonder what signifies which category girls should align themselves with.

I, for one, don't place myself in any of these categories. I think of myself as just Sarah, but if I were to slap on a label for myself, I would strive for "pretty." This is seen in the way that I keep myself-my personal style and grooming habits. And yet, a lot of people (supposedly) view me as "high maintenance" which couldn't be further from the truth. All this to say, "pretty," "cute," "beautiful," "sexy," and other such labels are total crap.

I view myself as just Sarah, and I like it that way. I think it's healthy. I think if people were to view me as I view myself, I would be satisfied.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


I once heard a story about a young girl, so deeply beloved by her dad, that he gave her a pouch of pearls. The girl loved and cherished her pearls so much, every night when her dad came in to tuck her in, she would always look at her pearls and thank her daddy for them. One night, her dad came in and asked for the pearls back. Upset and offended, she refused and cried. Night after night, her dad would come in and ask for her to give up the pearls to him. And night after night, she would refuse. Finally, one night her dad came in and asked for the pearls again. He told her to trust him. Broken, she threw the pouch of pearls at his feet, where they scattered. "Fine! Take them!" she sobbed, through her anger and hurt.

Her dad quietly picked up the pearls, kissed her wet cheeks, and said goodnight. The next night, her dad came back in, took her hands in his, and said, "Sweetie, I'm so glad that you gave me back the pearls, because now I can give you these." And he placed a beautiful, perfect, brilliant diamond in her palm.

I split up the story on purpose. I feel like I am in the middle of the two parts of the story. I wonder, am I clinging on to pearls when I could be holding a diamond? Even worse, am I missing the sustaining love offered by my Daddy's omnipresence?

Or is my part in the story earlier? Have I even messily surrendered my pearls yet? I don't even know where my heart is in all this.

Friday, October 9, 2009


Haven't posted a frivolous blog in a while. I've been on an Anthropologie hiatus, due to my newly discovered passion for personal finance. This has made me correspondingly more responsible with my money, which means no mindless shopping. But today, I thought I would peruse the website to absorb some inspiration.

The Central Coast has been so cold this fall, (and by cold, I mean below 80 degrees) so I headed right on over to the Coats and Jackets section. I was intrigued by the capes and cape inspired jackets they featured. Here are a few of my favorite finds:

The Boucle Cape $148

So cute, right? Number one on my wishlist.

Checkered, Please Jacket $178

The cape inspired silhouette and the oversize hounds tooth print accented by a cozy hood? Perfection. Love love love.

Anka Jacket $118

Half sweater, half jacket with a loosely interpreted cape closure, this jacket is calling my name this season.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


The question I've been dealing with is just....where's my heart? Where's my heart right now? Do I need a heart check? I mean, obviously I do, because otherwise, I wouldn't be feeling so weird right now. But what have I given my heart to that is preventing me from experiencing God's love, and letting that love be enough for me?

Perhaps it's pride. I want so badly to be in control of my mind, of my heart, and my emotions. Things are fine so long as I'm the one calling the shots, but as soon as it looks like I've relinquished control to someone else, I freak out.

Or maybe it's just my humanity driving me. My wants drown out my needs. But my needs can't be ignored for long. I feel like I just need to be reminded of who I am; where I've come from and where I derive identity from.

So what am I running toward? Or what am I running from?


I realize that people drink. And I acknowledge that there is nothing inherently wrong with drinking. In fact, I'm a pretty lenient conservative Christian when it comes to alcohol. But as I was talking with Bestie and my other friend who was there for his birthday night out, I was kinda hit by sadness. That night seemed so...unglorifying to God. As Christians, those who bear Christ's name, are we striving to emulate our namesake in everything we say and do? And yeah, Jesus's first miracle was turning water into wine, I get it. But just because something is permissible doesn't necessarily mean that it's beneficial.

It made me sad to hear how Bestie couldn't remember most of the night-things my friend was telling him happened or even things he had done, he had little to no recollection of. He couldn't walk straight and ended up throwing up. Now I love my bestie, and it sucks hearing about his rough night. I wish he wouldn't do that to himself a) because I care about him and I don't like hearing about him being out of his own control and b) because he is a Christian, proclaiming the name of Christ and not doing too good of a job representing Him and c) because he doesn't even realize that it's not inherently wrong. I've talked with him before about his attitude toward drinking, but we agreed to disagree (reluctantly on my part).

So here's my question. Is drunkenness in and of itself wrong?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Rant time.

I have never seen a shooting star! And I want to so badly!!! Ahhhh. For some reason, I ALWAYS miss shooting stars. I'll be staring at the sky for the longest time, determined to see one, and as soon as I look away, someone inevitably exclaims, "OMG! A shooting star!!!!" And I always, always, always miss it. So sad, I know. =[

Meteor showers? I always either sleep through them or, like what happened this summer, the fog rolls in and I can't see anything! Tragic.


I wrote this blog a few days ago. Tonight, I went to a bonfire and saw my first shooting star! It totally negated this blog, but since I had finished writing it, I didn't want my written efforts to go to waste. So here it is, documented proof that I have finally seen a shooting star!

It was amazing.

Oh and no, I didn't make a wish. In my excitement, I totally forgot. So sad! =[


Today was a great, albeit long day. Today was my bestie's 22nd birthday, and after we pried his hungover booty out of bed and into gear, we had breakfast burritos. We gave him a card, a present, and a batman balloon, because we wanted him to think that was all we had in store for him. He believed us. Silly Bestie.

After class, we sneaked into his room and began decorating. We pulled out all the stops-the room looks great! We had been planning this day for, literally, a month. Tons of planning and time went into this. We eagerly waited for him to come home so he could see his transformed room. And when he finally opened his door, his face was pretty much the best thing ever. It was definitely worth all the effort to make him happy.

It kinda made me draw a parallel to God, and how He put so much work and creativity into making this world, all for the briefest of moments when we humans see a shooting star, or a watercolor sunset and worship Him in response. Those flickers of glory and awe are the equivalent to Bestie's face when he opens the door to his surprise. And God finds those moments so worth all the time He put into creating everything, just for those brief moments of intimacy and clarity with us. How cool is that?

And what's even cooler is that...I mean, I knew Bestie would love whatever we did for him. But that didn't detract from my excitement for the moment when he would see everything. Likewise, God knows the moments where we'll be breath-taken by His majesty, and yet He looks forward to it just the same.

Monday, October 5, 2009


Question. If we are to give our hearts fully to the Lord; if we are supposed to be completely devoted to God alone, if He is where we are to find our identity, self-worth, and joy, then how are we supposed to give our hearts to human relationships? Friendships and romantic relationships. How, in a marriage, are you supposed to balance loving God wholeheartedly and yet loving your spouse selflessly and wholly as well? God can't be asking us to split our hearts, if he commands us to love Him with all of our heart, mind, and soul.

The Christianese answer? When we love God fully, we experience God's love for us which overflows into our relationships. We love others with an overflow. Makes sense, but how does that look in non-philosophical terms? In every day reality, what does it look like to love Christ wholeheartedly but also love a spouse intimately and the way God designed marital love to look like?

Can anyone explain?

Sunday, October 4, 2009


I've been catching up on some personal finance reading lately. After reading Pocketmint's series on how credit cards are changing, I find myself getting really frustrated with the current banking system.

I just opened my first credit card a couple weeks ago, and I made my first purchase on it about 3 days ago. I opened it simply to build up my credit score, but how are credit scores calculated anyway? I feel like it's such a volatile, unscientific estimation of what kind of debtor you'll be. First of all, no one freakin' understands how credit scores are calculated anyway! And if you read through Pocketmint's credit card series, you'll see how Orwellian the whole system seems anyways. But so many important life necessities are based on the stupid score, so even if your credit score is inaccurately low, you can't qualify for the best rates on mortgages or other loans.

I propose an overhaul of the credit score. A simplification, if you will, based on paying your bill every month in full. Wouldn't that make so much more sense?! Geez.


I was talking to a very wise friend about baptism. He was sharing his questions and insights with me. One insight in particular struck me. When Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, Matthew 3:17 recounts a voice from Heaven declaring, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." (NIV)

Up until this point, what had Jesus done for God (ministry-wise)? Nothing. He got baptized before entering into public ministry. What does this teach the rest of us? That God is pleased with us, as we are. We don't have to do anything, and He already delights in us, His children.

I'm re-reading The Furious Longing of God by Brennan Manning, and I just love his references to Song of Songs. I am His beloved, and His desire is for me.