Your Guide to Seriously Successful Study Sessions

I’m going to actually study now. 

Be honest: how many times have you thought that. . . and then not done it? You get distracted, you forget your purpose, you decide to watch Netflix while you study (we all know how THAT ends), or you just plain don’t get much done.

Whatever it is, you don’t end up studying very much. Even if you try, you leave feeling no more prepared for that upcoming test than you did two hours ago. You feel frustrated and confused and annoyed and generally “bad.”

Bad study sessions are frustrating, fruitless time-wasters, and, let’s face it, they don’t help you study whatsoever.

Which means it’s time to learn the habits of a seriously successful study session. We must learn how to have real life, practical, serious, genuine study sessions that actually make you feel prepared.

Basically the key to beneficial study sessions is organization.

This means organizing your time, your study material, your place of study, and pretty much everything else around you. Staying organized will help you focus, which helps you to actually get some studying done. Keep this theme of organization in the front of your mind as we move through the steps of successful study time.

Continue reading “Your Guide to Seriously Successful Study Sessions”

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Here’s What Will Be on the Test

Finals are coming up, and you know you need to study. So you pull out your books, brush off those notes, and sit down.

But. . . wait. . . you’ve been in school for about thirty weeks now (150 days!!). NO WAY can you review every single word your teacher has said since the moment school started.

OK, so you can’t review everything. What should you study then?

This is a tricky question for a lot of reasons. For starters every class is different. Every teacher is different. Every final is different. All for different people. That means, I can’t tell you, “Review pages 13-34 and you’ll be good.” It doesn’t work like that.

But it is a VERY important question! As I said in my last post, studying the wrong things is just a flat-out waste of time (unless you happen to be really interested in the subject and have loads of free time, which last time I checked, is very few people).

Thankfully, there are some tips that can help you answer it, despite the difficulties. These are not catch-all answers or quick, easy fixes, but I believe they will help you enormously on your way to figuring out what you should study.

Continue reading “Here’s What Will Be on the Test”

Removing the Fear of Finals

Spring break is over, and suddenly you see a dim and hazy, yet hopeful, light up ahead. Wait..no..could it be… summer?!

Well, good news: it is!!

Yup, that sweetness you taste in the air, that sunshine at the end if the tunnel, those birds singing: they are all pointing you to now-visible summer. This school year WILL end after all, and, honestly, it’s going to end pretty soon.

However, there is one more mountain you have to claim before you get there.

One more struggle, one more trial, one more season of school-pain: finals.

Maybe you can’t even see the light of summer because the darkness of finals are clouding your vision. (Perhaps you haven’t even thought about it, yet, but if that’s you, you’ll be thinking about them soon, sure enough.)

It’s true; finals are like a big thundercloud ruining your hope of a sunny day. In fact, most of us fear them, worrying and stressing and freaking out the days, weeks, and even months beforehand. At least, I know I do.

We fear finals. We fear getting a bad grade, and we fear failing the class. We fear our friends all getting outstanding scores while we sit huddled in the dark. We fear freaking out on test day and not being able to think straight. We fear a freakishly hard test or not knowing the material. And, come on, we all have that tiny, but undeniable fear of sleeping in and missing the test (cough, cough, Rory Gilmore in season one, cough cough).

We fear finals. But we don’t have to. 

To those who, like me, are filled with fear, take a deep breath. Then read these tips on reducing fear of finals, and consider how to work on them in your own life, right now. We don’t have to be afraid.

read the tips

Your Life Can Change with Easter

Easter is sometimes covered up by a lot of things. Dying eggs, candy, Sunday morning, egg hunts, toys, candy, Good Friday service, worship, new clothes, candy, and more candy. And don’t get me wrong, these things are great (especially the candy part). They make Easter that perfect little holiday before summer to relax, eat too much food, and wear your favorite spring dress.

But sometimes, these things can be distracting. Sometimes, we need to go back to what Easter really is, at its most basic place. Because it is powerful. In fact, it can change your life.

You probably know the “Easter story.” Judas, one of Jesus’ twelve disciples during His ministry on Earth, betrayed Jesus and turned Him over to the men who wanted Him dead. He was crucified on a cross, an indescribably painful way of dying as a criminal in Roman times, though of course, He had done nothing wrong. He was then buried. This was all part of God’s plan. And this is what why we celebrate Good Friday; Jesus died on a Friday to take away your sins.

This is where the Easter part comes in. Three days after His death, or the Sunday after His death, He rose again, meaning He came back to life.

And that’s the story. Old news. Every year you hear the same thing. Even if you call yourself a Christian, it’s easy to fall into this lackadaisical attitude about Easter. After all, you hear it all the time if you go to church regularly. Believe me, I get it.

But remember what I said about stripping Easter down to its core, its heart, its basics? It’s important to do this so we understand what it is we’re celebrating, and it also keeps us from that lazy attitude that so often gets to us.

So what is Easter at its core?

When we strip off everything else, Easter comes down to one question: Do you believe it?

Continue reading “Your Life Can Change with Easter”

Why should I care about Lent? 

I saw all the Easter candy out at the grocery store the other day, and thought Seriously?! Easter already?!? But the grocery stores got it right: Easter is coming FAST. It’s on April 16th this year, which makes it less than a month away.

Because of this, a lot of Christians, blogs, and churches are talking about Lent, which began on Wednesday, March 1st. Basically, Lent is the season or time leading up to Easter. The forty days of Lent are for the forty days Jesus spent in the desert before He began His ministry (see

Christians and Catholics both observe Lent, usually by fasting. No, not fasting from food. Don’t worry. I’m not about to ask you to go foodless for over a month; I couldn’t do it either.

Most people fast from something in their life that is not benefiting their walk with Christ. For example, social media sometimes gives us a negative, discontented outlook on life, so a lot of people give that up for Lent. Or if Netflix is a big time sucker, as it so often is, you might fast from that. Many years I have given up (fasted from) desserts or candy. Some give up movies, or others might give up reading a certain magazine. There is a wide variety of things to pick to give up for Lent.

Why give up anything for Lent? Why even have Lent? Why should I care? 

The whole reason for lent is to prepare your heart for Easter.  Continue reading “Why should I care about Lent? “

Is There Any Good Left in the World?

It was just an average day. There I was, sitting in bed, reading the Bible. And all of a sudden I found it. I found one verse in the book of Psalms that hit home. I was surprised (though of course I shouldn’t have been) that such a freakishly accurate verse was even there. It described our world today perfectly. David, the author, expressed the 21st century better than I could have, and I live in the 21st century. I read:

Many are asking, “Who can show us any good?” -Psalm 4:6a*

Because, isn’t that what we ARE all asking?

Look around, read the news, just get on social media. And you’ll see it. All of it. You’ll see support for abortion and think, “Doesn’t anyone care about life?” You’ll see sexual and child abuse cases and wonder if there’s anyone you can really trust. You’ll hear about the Christians being persecuted and tortured and killed in foreign countries and have to ask yourself, “Is there ANY good left in the world?”  Continue reading “Is There Any Good Left in the World?”

Why January 1st Isn’t Your Last Chance to Change

A whole, brand new year. Nothing in it yet. No mistakes in it yet. Perfect. Spotless. New.

This is how we tend to think about the new year. A fresh slate, free for us to try again with the challenges we’ve failed at before. That’s what 2017 is: a second chance.

But let’s face it: we’re more than halfway through January already. If you haven’t broken your New Years Resolutins at all yet, you’re probably doing better than most of us. What about when February rolls around? Will you still be able to keep it up? Can you even imagine making it all the way through spring? Few people are out there who, by the time April passes, are still eating healthy foods, drinking enough water, getting eight hours of sleep, reading the Bible every day, or whatever your personal resolution might be.

If you succeed on your New Year’s resolutions, I commend you. That’s awesome.

But what if you don’t?

And the truth is, we fail at a lot more than just our resolutions. Not only do we give into that ice cream calling our name or stay up past midnight surfing Instagram, but we fail at much more serious things, too. We lie to our parents and justify it by telling ourselves It’s just this once. We gossip behind our best friend’s back to get back at her for what she did the other night. We flirt with guys in a way we shouldn’t. We’re self-centered.

We hurt people. We mess up. We sin. And we break God’s heart every time we do it.

How do we come back from those failures? 

I have some incredible new for you. Our God is a God of forgiveness.

Yup, that’s right. Not only can He forgive our lack of self-control when it comes to giving up on our resolutions, He can also forgive the sins that look so much worse in our eyes. If you repent, meaning you come to Him incredibly sorry for what you did in a way that comes from your heart, He will forgive you through what His son Jesus did on the cross.

We all fail during the month of January because we are all dreadful sinners. But because of Jesus, we get another chance. Check out what Lamentations 3:22-23 says:

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.

Every morning. 

That means today, tomorrow, the day after, and even the day after. Again and again and again God’s compassion and mercy and grace towards you are renewed. They will never, not once fail.

January 1st is not, then, your last chance to change, to start a new life with God. If it was, I assure you, you would fail miserably. Instead, every day, every moment is a brand new chance. A fresh slate, free for us to try again with the challenges we’ve failed at before.

We have new mercies from Him because our God is a faithful, compassionate God who longs for you to accept His the second chance he offers you. And the third. And the fourth. And he fifth. And again and again and again.

If you failed on January 1st, thank God for your January 2nd.

Elena 💜

Things to Know about High School Boys

I am a semester into my freshman year and I’ve already had my own set of boy problems. I feel that I have learned some valuable lessons from all of them. So I’m going give you 5 things you need to know/think about when talking to a boy.

  1. There is a VERY thin line between flirting and being nice. This can be a real  challenge for “nice girls”. I’m going to share a story with you of something that has happened between me and a guy. I thought he was a friend  but he thought other wise. I really never thought I was flirting. I thought that I was being friendly. The other day he tried to ask me out. I felt horrible for telling him no even though I really didn’t like him. I truly had no idea that I was leading him on. The moral of the story is if you don’t like the guy you need to make sure you use the word “friend” A LOT. It may seem rude at the time but it will be better in the long run. This is definitely not the only time a guy has thought I was flirting with him
  2. You will never understand guys. I hate to crush you spirit, but just like how they don’t get us, we don’t get them. If you like the guy, just tell him. It will solve the whole “are we friends, or more?” problem really fast. I know it might hurt, but trust me. God has a guy  for you and if that guy can’t understand how great you are, then he’s not worth your time. So we may never know why they like us or don’t, but you have to be honest with them.
  3. How can you tell if a guy likes you? Most of the time guys really don’t want to be your friend. I hate to say that, but every single guy who has been my “friend” has ended up liking me. So if the guy texts you, snaps you, likes all your pictures on Instagram, he probably likes you. If he has ever pointed you out to anyone, smiles at you, winks at you, he likes you. If you see any of these signs he probably likes you.
  4. Boys minds are something you never want to go into. God made men to be attracted to our bodies and when you get in high school, their testosterone is going crazy; and that’s all that there thinking about. So; moral of the story is be very cautious of everything you wear, because just like we don’t want them going around shirtless they don’t want us doing the same thing.
  5. They are not as complicated as we think. They don’t quite think through everything they do. Of course, we don’t either. But you might not want to take everything they do to heart. I’m not saying they are not thoughtful, kind, and generous people (Though some of them aren’t). They just don’t always do what we think they will do.

Even after all these flaws we still seem to like them (and they still like us with our flaws!). When God thought about marriage He didn’t mean for it to be easy. If it was easy everyone would have it, but it’s not. It’s work, but every woman has a man who God has planned for her. You just have wait and have your heart ready for what God has planned for you. Have an amazing holiday season and a very Merry Christmas!

Zoë

I’m sorry if this post is a little rambley.

‘Tis the Season: How to Celebrate Christmas when You Don’t Feel Jolly

You know the tune.

“Deck the halls with boughs of holly, Fa la la la la la la la!

‘Tis the season to be jolly, Fa la la la la la la la!”*.

You probably just sang along to it in your head.

According to the song, and according to our culture, Christmastime just is the time to be jolly and happy. At this time of the year, everyone is just supposed to somehow feel joyful and merry and all that. But let’s be honest here: for some people, the holidays are actually very painful.

Some families are riddled with pain and anger. Maybe you don’t get along with your siblings, and you’d rather spend the day at the mall with your friends than being forced to spend time with your annoying family. Maybe you have extended family, like grandparents or aunts and uncles, that never calls or talks to you or even knows your name. Maybe your parents fight constantly, and you know that Christmas dinner is only going to end in cruel words and slamming doors.

Perhaps it’s even worse than all that. You might be planning on spending half the day with one parent and half with the other because they can’t even be in the same room together after their divorce. If that’s the case, you might be lucky because others might have a parent whom they’ve never met. Or possibly your holidays used to be very happy until someone you  loved very much passed away this year, and you just don’t see how anyone could possibly imagine celebrating right now. Continue reading “‘Tis the Season: How to Celebrate Christmas when You Don’t Feel Jolly”

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