All it takes is a little courage

I used to have a teacher who always said that the pen is a tool of the devil, because it doesn’t forgive your mistakes. If that is so, I guess tattoos are his preferred instrument of choice since it is so permanent. And yet, I want one.

I find the commitment to something that permanent and irreversible a beautiful and much too rare act.

In spite of what my teacher said, it’s almost as if it’s a metaphor for God’s love. No matter what, it is always there and you cannot get away from it no matter what you do or what you believe.

Some might say that I’m stretching the deeper meaning of tattoos a bit, but I do believe that that is how God’s love works and tattoos, at least to me, serve a purpose of illustrating that.

With that being said, I’m super scared of getting one. Because after all, what if I do regret it? Or what if it doesn’t turn out the way I pictured it? So to this day all I have been doing is finding inspiration for the day I decide to muster enough courage to actually go through with it.

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Finally free!!

FINALLY

For some reason my exams fell unnaturally late this year, so while watching everyone else going on trips to the south or going off on music festival, I was still sweating over philosophy of science. But now I’m free!! What will I do with that freedom?

I will…

  1. Sleep ’till I wake up
  2. Eat strawberries shamelessly
  3. Read books by my own choice
  4. Forget everything I learned about philosophy of science
  5. Listen to music loudly
  6. Go to bed too late
  7. Start watching Game of Thrones
  8. Empty wine bottles with friends
  9. Have BBQ’s
  10. Go to the beach and try to catch up on my friends’ tans
  11. Travel
  12. Complain about the heat
  13. Complain about the cold
  14. Maybe go for a run or two
  15. Discover new cafés
  16. Also, work (but I won’t think too much about that)
  17. Say goodbye to good friends
  18. Meet new friends
  19. Prepare for my bachelor’s degree
  20. Visit my parents
  21. Get fat eating ice cream
  22. Regret getting fat eating ice cream
  23. Slim down again
  24. Witness friends getting married both in Denmark and England
  25. Play my guitar
  26. Walk barefoot whenever I can
  27. Try not to plan too much
  28. Keep an open mind and see what every new day brings

What will you be doing this summer?

(Oh, and look at that beautiful plant I found at NoaNoa today! I just had to snap a photo of it)

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What are you reading this summer?

Last year I finished about 20 books – this year? 1! What the heck?

I’ve been so bad at finding the time to read even though I really love it. I’ve even started on several ones, but haven’t been able to finish them because so many things happened around me. But this summer, that will change. There’s nothing better than lying in the sun with a book, or bringing it to the beach. So here’s what I’ll be reading, and a few suggestions for you as well.

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1. All the light we cannot see

Anthony Doerr

This is one of the ones that I have been trying to read for what feels like forever. I really like the way it’s telling the story of WW2 from a completely new perspective. I haven’t gotten far enough into it to know if I love it though. Can’t wait to find out.

 

 

25522. On the road

Jack Kerouac

I bought this book a while back because I was following a rating challenge. One of the books I had to read should be by an author with the same initials as me. Surprisingly few authors begin with the letter K. But then I remembered Jack Kerouac and he’s even a well respected author, so there was o doubt in my mind. I have no idea what the book is about though.

 

 

768653. Good to great

Jim Collins

Sometimes I like to read something completely different. Though I study Danish language and literature business really interest me as well. So this book, about the difference between so-so businesses and amazing businesses, will be a good learning read for me.

 

 

 

26574. To kill a mockingbird

Harper Lee

Last year, the sequel to this classic was released and created a massive stir about the glorification of the characters. Atticus Finch suddenly didn’t seem like the role model that he had always been. What people had failed to understand was, that the sequel was actually written before the first book, and thus the characters weren’t fully developed yet. Anyways, To kill a mockingbird will forever be one of my favourite books, so even if you’ve read it before, give it a re-read this summer and remember why we love it so much.

 

68675. Atonement

Ian McEwan

This too, is one of my favourites! It even made me cry when I read it. McEwan tells a beautiful and tragic love story in such a compelling way and with intelligent techniques that you can’t put the book down once you’ve started. Maybe I should read this one again…

 

 

 

7651546. Strengthen yourself in the Lord

Bill Johnson

Like Good to great this is a non-fiction. Written by Pastor Bill Johnson it has been one of my favourite books to read. With great insights, he teaches you how to find your strength in God, and no where else. It has been a massive help for me in different seasons, and may even deserve a re-read this summer.

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June 27, 2016 · 11:30

Has offence become a trend?

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A year and a half ago, I held a book in my hands trying to decide whether to put it on display on my book shelf with my favourites and classics, or under my bed with the rest of my collection. On one hand, it was a classic that I was proud to have read, but on the other hand, I didn’t like the values it portrayed. It ended up under my bed. It didn’t deserve to be on display because of it’s views on life.

Now, a year and a half later, I wonder if I made the right choice.

It may sound like a triviality and not of any importance whether or not a book should be displayed, but it’s not really about the book or what it stood for; it’s about why I didn’t want it on display in the first place.

Listen, not to agree, but to understand

So why was that? Because it offended me. I chose to deal with my offence by avoiding the source and thereby actually not dealing with it at all. I thought that if I didn’t agree with what the book said, then it didn’t add value to my life.

My flaw was that in stead of trying to understand the views, I tried to prove them wrong and that’s how I ended up offended in stead of enriched.

Are we creating a culture of offence?

I recently read an article about Generation Snowflake making the case, that young women are too fragile and easily offended. Claire Fox, head of a think tank called Institute of Ideas had experienced the inability in young women at the British universities to cope with offence. She had been shocked when she stated that “rape wasn’t necessarily the worst thing a woman could experience” to which the female audience broke into tears and gasps of “You can’t say that.”

I agree, it’s an offensive statement, but the reaction was surprising both to her when she experienced it, and to me when I read about it.

Why didn’t they fight back with valid arguments and start a debate, or ask inquisitive questions learning what might have made her say that?

In stead, they chose offence, tying them to the chair of their current state of knowledge and insight. This could have been a massive learning experience, but they let offence limit them. I am not saying that they should end up agreeing with Fox, or Fox with them, but they should at least be able to handle the challenge of being exposed to different thinking and let it nuance their views.

Let’s stop hating on social media

A while back, my facebook feed and the news media were filled with articles about the negative effect of social media on young women. The theory was, that girls who spend time on social media end up depressed and unhappy with their lives because they compare themselves to the polished lives portrayed on those platforms. Never showing the boring days, or the fights with the boyfriend, social media creates an unreachable standard  for what life should look like to be happy.

At first I bought into that idea, but then I realised that maybe the same thing is happening here as with the offensive statements. I started reflecting on my own use of social media.

A collection of good memories

I’m definitely guilty of only showing the good moments on my instagram account. But that’s not with the intention of creating a fake illusion of my life but rather to preserve those memories – big or small – so that I can always scroll back and be reminded of them – I don’t need assistance remembering the bad ones.

I have definitely been inclined to comparing myself to others’ instagram feeds evaluating my own life with their photos as my measuring scale. But at the same time I have also found myself being inspired, motivated, lifted up, or maybe just aesthetically pleased from looking at the photos of the people I follow.

Whenever I’ve found myself comparing myself to others on social media platforms it has been because I didn’t process what I saw. I didn’t use my head, but rather indulged in my feelings, or maybe even offence from their supposedly perfect lives.

The easy solution would be to demonise social media for promoting perfection, and therefore shield our young women from it. But would that be the right thing to do?

What are we cultivating?

What if we in stead of being afraid of what offends us, were curious to seek understanding and let it challenge us?

What if, in stead of wrapping our young women in cotton so that they never get bruised, we teach them how to deal with controversies.

What if we raised powerful women who could be critical and who didn’t get offended when they were exposed to someting different from themselves? Women who could see polished lives on instagram and not compare themselves because they know what kind of platform instagram is – and most important of all who they are themselves? Women who display the book they disagree with on the book shelf in stead of hiding it under the bed.

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10 little things that make me happy

Sometimes happiness is found in the grandiose, in the spectacular, in the big milestones of life; but sometimes happiness is found in the smallest things in your every day life. If you don’t look for them, you might miss them, but if you do, you’ll be surprised at how many good things are happening right at this time.

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To me, the little things are the most important ones, so here are 10 of them:

  1. Text-messages from someone I haven’t talked to for a long time
  2. A piece of really good music (like this, or this, or this)
  3. The sound of clicking the mouse on my computer (I know this one is strange, but I really mean it. I love that sound.)
  4. Waking up hearing the birds sing outside, or children laugh passing by my window
  5. Dinner with the family at my parents’ house
  6. The smell of a new book (I just started “All the light we cannot see“. Am I in for a treat?)
  7. A perfectly timed joke
  8. Slow mornings, paying extra attention to the breakfast (who knew you could get blue eggs??)
  9. Being really productive and crossing a billion things off of my to-do list
  10. Making funny faces to a child on the train – rewarded with a smile or a laugh (otherwise I just feel stupid…)

I could keep going, but in stead, I will let you continue the list and help inspire each other.

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Summer favourite for the lips

I have to admit it – I really love lipsticks, but I almost never, ever wear them. Only when going out or on the rare occasion that I feel especially brave with my outfit do I finish it up with a lip colour. The reason? No one else wears them. I know it’s silly, but it’s the truth.

Maybe that’s why it made me so happy, when I found the perfect lip colour for summer!

It has the perfect amount of pigmentation so that it doesn’t look overdone, but still rounds up the entire look, and takes it to the next level.

It’s from the limited edition collection at MAC in the colour “Pure vanity”.

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But the greatest of these is love

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This weekend, I had the honour of witnessing two of my best friends getting married. It was the most beautiful wedding I have ever been to both because of the setting in a vineyard, the beautifully decorated venue, the awesome sparkly dress I got to wear as a bridesmaid, and the beauty of the bride, but also because of what the entire wedding did inside of me.

I have previously written about knowing what you want in life and how your core values help you find your way. Being at this wedding I was reminded of the importance of having goals and knowing where you’re going.

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While bouncing off not-so-descrete flirty text messages (literaly on that same day) I witnessed a love, that went beyond physical attraction and lust. It was, and is, a love that sees into the depths of the hearts, and loves every part of the other person – both the good and the bad. It’s a love that says “I choose you” not “I want you”. Those two things are very different. Let me explain:

I want you

To be completely honest, I am easily fascinated by guys. It’s not hard for me to get a guy stuck in my head and wonder if he likes me or not. It’s easy for me to be fascinated by a guy because he makes me laugh, makes me comfortable, or inspires me in some way – or just because he’s cute. It’s easy to form relationships with people that work when you stay on the surface level in intimacy and connection (I’m not talking about the physical intimacy, but that of the heart). You can feel a strong attraction, and maybe even love for someone without really knowing them. You can want them; want to hang out with them; want to be in a relationship with them; even want to spend the rest of your life with them.

But want is not enough. Because what happens when what you wanted isn’t there anymore? What happens when your partner falls into depression and isn’t the person you fell in love with? What happens when you’re at the edge of your finances, and you struggle with paying your bills? What happens when you experience deep crisis? What happens when you get bored?

If want is the foundation of your relationship, there won’t be a lot to hang on to, when the object of your wanting or lust slips away or changes.

I choose you

Choosing someone is far more valuable than wanting someone. When you know the depths of a person, and both in spite of and because of that choose someone. That’s when you know there is something strong in the making. When the relationship is built on a foundation that says: “I choose you no matter what happens and even if my wanting lessens for a time” you don’t depend on fleeting feelings and emotions that come and go.

Watching my two friends getting married stirred in my heart what I already knew – that that is what I want. The contrast of the looks in their eyes and the blue light from the screen on my phone made it all too clear what holds true value.

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Time to slay some lies

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A few years ago I went across the ocean to spend the next two years of my life at a bible school. Those years were the best of my life and I would never give them back for anything. I learned so many things and made friends and memories for life.

During my time there, I remember e-mailing with a friend back home, telling him about some of my experiences. I told him that one thing I’d learned was how many lies I’d believed my entire life. His excitement level didn’t exactly match mine. He responded with worry and concern and probably thought that I had become part of a cult and was being brain washed – I now realize that I probably should have done a better job explaining myself at the time.

What I was trying to communicate through my e-mails was, that I had become aware of how many lies we believe about ourselves and the people around us. How many girls do you know who truly believe that they are ugly when they are actually the most beautiful the world has ever seen? Or fathers who believe that they would win the “worst father of the year”-award while their children are the most loved ones?

Most of us believe things about ourselves that aren’t true, but that somehow snuck in on us and got stuck in our heads.

What we tell ourselves about ourselves and others determine how we respond to the world. So let’s get some things straight and slay some of those fat lies we believe:

1. I’m not qualified to do that

Well, guess what. As soon as you feel qualified to do what you’re doing, it’s time to move on. It’s healthy to be stretched and challenged and not feeling qualified gives you a drive to learn and become better. Being in a position that you don’t feel qualified to be in is actually the best place to be, so just go for it and have fun!

2. My worth is measured in the approval of others

No. Just, no!

Your worth does not have anything to do with anyone else. Just the fact that you exist makes you incredibly valuable. Nothing that anyone does to you or tells you will ever change that fact.

3. I’m a failure

I have somehow managed to believe it several times myself, but that doesn’t make it anymore true. The truth is, you are not a failure. You may experience failure but you are not a failure. The difference is huge and lies in the fact, that you always have the power to correct your wrongs and try again. Sometimes it’s more difficult than others, but it’s always possible. You can always get back up and try again. You may need som help, but it’s never impossible.

The list goes on and on and is different for everyone. Keep an eye out for the lies that you believe about yourself and remind yourself what the truth is.

 

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What do you (really) want? Thoughts on core values

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The other day I found myself at an event for Business School students (how I ended up there is a longer story, since I’m not one myself) listening to peers sharing what was on their minds and what they’d learned through their studies and work experiences. In a TEDtalk like setup they went over the art of seduction, share economy, procrastination and so on. The topics were many and with great attention I was listening to their ideas as a thought struck me.

“What do I really want?”

It’s not the first time I’ve ever thought about this – to be honest, I’ve given this topic a LOT of thought – but as the students were sharing about how everything you do is basically manipulation, or seduction if you will, and how to avoid procrastination when really you should be studying for your exams, I couldn’t help digging a little deeper in my heart.

This is the point where most blog posts would start talking about how life is not about a fancy career or a well-paying job. They’re right, but that’s not the point I want to make here. What struck me was that there are so many opportunities that could take you where you want to go. The roads to Rome are many and I could get to where I want in an endless number of ways. But how do I want to get there? Which road to I want to take?

Do I want to manipulate my way to the top and then call it seduction – or even marketing, or do I want to pave the way with integrity and honesty? How do I know which road to take? The answer:

My core values

My core values determine how I see the world and how I respond to it. Knowing who I am and what I stand for is what will get me safe to my destination. Knowing what I value I will know what choices to make and what alleys to avoid. It will not keep me from making mistakes and failing, but it will help me correct my mistakes and get back on the right path. That way, my core values work as my compass in everything I do. If I suddenly discover that what I’m doing is conflicting with my core values, I better reevaluate why I’m doing it.

So, what are my core values? I believe that there are many, and they probably change over time, as I get wiser, and discover them. I recently found this list of core values that I wrote a few years ago:

I will always treat others with honour and respect

I will live my life with integrity

I will not compromise my beliefs

I will never stop learning

I will always stay positive

I will not let fear rule me

I value me

God loves me

I realised how I have been neglecting some of them, which is why it’s so important to return to them and remind yourself what you actually believe and start cultivating the ones that have fallen in the background.

So, what do I really want? I want to get to Rome the right way, not compromising my core values and who I am. That does by no means mean that I don’t fall short and mess up, but I will always strive to stay true to myself.

What are your core values?

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Should we be worried or am I just getting too old?

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Today, I was filling in for a teacher in cooking class. I was teaching the 7th grade how to cook red curry, make their own ice cream AND baked bananas. It was delicious, and thankfully I had a recipe to follow… I’m the worst with cooking.

Without anyone getting hurt, we managed to successfully cook the entire meal, and it was delicious! As the students sat around their tables waiting for the curry to cook, I sat back and observed them. I let my eyes fall on each one of them and I noticed how they interacted with each other; and suddenly something started worrying me. I saw how 10 kids at the beginning of their teenage years all pulled out their phones as soon as they weren’t entertained anymore. They sat around their tables next to each other, but few had eye contact and if they cared to talk to each other it was about something that went on on their phones.

I remember when I was 13 and took that same class. I went to a small school, so we had to commute to the bigger one and borrow their facilities. We spent the entire bus ride making jokes and laughing with each other. While cooking we would make pranks and we would spend the time connecting and growing closer as friends. At the end of class we would sit down and share the meal while looking into each others’ eyes knowing that we accomplished this together.

This is not what I saw today. In stead, I saw kids who nearly only interacted with each other when needed, because the virtual world was far more interesting.

What worried me even more was when I saw what was on the screens they were all looking at. One of the girls who had, like every one else, pulled out her phone was showing her friends who she had matched with on Tinder. From a distance I took a sneak peak on her screen, and it wasn’t few matches that appeared. And the list of ongoing conversations with the guys was no shorter. At the age of 13 she was already more interested in guys she doesn’t even know but from an app used by grown ups to find hook ups, than the friends right next to her. It was disturbing to me to see how the dynamics have shifted since I was that age. I am no saint myself in the whole online/offline debate at all, but has this come too far?

I sometimes wonder what would happen if we decided to go offline for an entire week. Or less controversial, banned all phones from school premises and forces the kids to talk to one another. I wonder if they experience the same sense of community that I did with my class mates. I wonder if they develop the same social skills and will they be able to interact with other people and show genuine interest in them? Will they be able to stay focused on one task for a longer period of time or even hold conversation with one person and really listen to what they are saying? Do I have a reason to be worried or am I just getting old?

Let me know what you think.

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