My zero waste/minimalist journey: an introduction

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Via Pinterest- Trade your plastic for mason jars !

I lost my glasses.

The good thing is that I know where they are: probably at home, because the case in which I carefully put them every time I take them off is still at my parents home. But I cant find them, and I know why. We have way too much stuff.

Back to my student life. Sometimes, I spend more time on cleaning instead of, like every student, being at my desk studying.

Because I have too much stuff in my apartment. My parents are overly generous and every time they come over, they bring bags of food, clothes I left at their home, cleaning supplies, new towels “just in case” and all sorts of gadgets. They are so kind. But though I was blessed during my student years to learn, by living on my own, how to be a homemaker and I learned lots of housekeeping skills, I’m still convinced that I have spent more time cleaning than the average student. Not only my parents, but my relatives never miss an occasion to give: you’ll probably see it in one of my future posts on the topic, but I lost track of the number of makeup palettes my aunt gave me as presents.

I am all for hospitality and generosity, but the strain I endured because of all that clutter in my life made me realize that it’s time to rethink the way our consumption.

There are plenty of posts on zero waste/minimalist post on the Internet if you are not familiar with that movement/trend yet. I probably won’t become as radical as Bea Johnson, whose lifestyle I love yet for lots of reasons I can’t get rid of everything I own so it will definitely be a long journey. However, I will try to document it, in pictures- and as I declutter my apartment, I hope to make more space in my life for other things…

Stayed tuned for the next post !

Stéphanie

 

 

My blog is one year old !

Time flies ! WordPress just sent me a blog anniversary notification. I thought I would write, on this occasion, another “count your blessings” blog post !

I’m thankful for:

  • All the refreshments -water, water sprays and fans available during the heatwave
  • An easy start of the new school year, with an exciting (and busy !) program and friendly colleagues
  • My English professor who was kind enough to review my resume and my cover letter
  • The fact that we have access to medications: my father is now under antibiotics because he might have been bitten by a nasty tick… (= probability of Lyme disease😦 )
  • Tomorrow, God willing, my mom will turn 56 ! She still looks like a little doll and  probably is the most beautiful and perfect 56 yo in town (Ok, I might be biaised but really is that beautiful both inside and out). I will never take my mom for granted. She is a cancer survivor and went through many hard times in her life and in spite of that, her optimism and joy in the Lord strucks me every day. I love her and I am so thankful for her- she is my best friend, my miracle and my joy.
  • All the school supplies that make studying fun, and more generally all the comforts I am able to benefit from as a student.
  • The hope that the Lord Jesus is near
  • Answered prayers: I prayed that He would make me bolder for Him. As I naturall am a people-pleasing person, He is teaching me, through many things and experience, to put Him first and not to be ashamed of Him.I realized that the more time you spend with Christ, the less you are afraid of man.
  • Puffed rice chocolate (OF COURSE THIS IS A BLESSING !)
  • A lesson I am learning right now: That there is no substitute for God. For example, no matter how spiritual and good someone might seem, he or she will never be able to fill the void in your life …

Today’s diary: My back to school post !

 

Hy Ladies !

I am really excited to write this post (and no, it was not a lack of inspiration that led me to find some kind of super-uber-excited way of introduce it in order to get your attention lol). I am really excited to start university again, for what will be, God willing, my last year of pharmacy.

First of all, I want to start this post by thanking my God and Lord Jesus for the wonderful opportunity -after a year of questions and struggles, of an unexpected door- a Master’s degree in immunology, which is really interesting scientifically speaking and whose professors are amazing.

So today, for a bit of fun and also because I am well aware that I won’t have much time blogging this year, except for a few short posts every now and then, I thought I would blog about my back to school plans and habits !  Continue reading “Today’s diary: My back to school post !”

Prayer request…

Dear readers,

Would you please join your prayers to mine ? I read the following news this morning and though I never met Nabeel Qureshi, I read his book and I’ve been watching lots of his speeches. God used him as a tremendous influence as a Muslim converted to Christianity. Please pray, and pray for Michelle, his wife, and Ayah, his baby daughter.

nabeel

Dear Friends and Family,

This is an announcement that I never expected to make, but God in His infinite and sovereign wisdom has chosen me for this refining, and I pray He will be glorified through my body and my spirit. My family and I have received the news that I have advanced stomach cancer, and the clinical prognosis is quite grim. Nonetheless, we are going to pursue healing aggressively, both medical and miraculous, relying on God and the fact that He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.

In the past few days my spirits have soared and sank as I pursue the Lord’s will and consider what the future might look like, but never once have I doubted this: that Jesus is Lord, His blood has paid my ransom, and by His wounds I am healed. I have firm faith that my soul is saved by the grace and mercy of the Triune God, and not by any accomplishment or merit of my own. I am so thankful that I am a child of the Father, redeemed by the Son, and sealed in the Spirit. No, in the midst of the storm, I do not have to worry about my salvation, and for that I praise you, God.

Unfortunately this means I am no longer able to engage in traveling ministry for the time being. I am canceling almost all my speaking events, with a few exceptions. From this point on until such a time as the Lord might choose to heal me, I intend to blog or vlog about my journey with cancer, transparently offering my heart, thoughts, and struggles in case they might encourage others and glorify God. I will no longer be with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, though it has been an absolute privilege to be on the team for the past 3 years. My third book, No God But One: Allah or Jesus?, launched today, and I still intend to write my next book, 20 Questions Muslims Ask and the Answers that Convert Them. Beyond that, the Lord knows.

Friends and family, may I ask you to fast and pray fervently for my healing? I do not profess to know the will of the Lord, but many of my close friends and confidants are convinced that this is a trial through which the Lord intends to bring me alive and refined. May His will be done, and may I invite you to seek Him in earnest, on your knees, fasting on my behalf, asking our Yahweh Rapha for healing in Jesus’ name.

And as you pray and fast, “I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.” (Philippians 1:18-20)

For His Glory,
-Nabeel

The blind men and the elephant

Tonight, I am sharing an interesting paragraph of Timothy Keller’s book, “The Reason for God”

Elephant with large teeth approaching - Addo National Park
Elephant with large teeth approaching – Addo National Park

 

“Each religion sees part of spiritual truth, but none can see the whole truth”.

Sometimes this point is illustrated with the story of the blind man and the elephant. Several blind men were walking along and came upon an elephant that allowed them to touch and feel it. “This creature is long and flexible  like a snake”, said the first blind man, holding the elephant’s trunk. “Not at all- it is thick and round like a tree trunk”, said the second blind man, feeling the elphant’s leg. “No, it’s large and flat”, said the third blind man, touching the elphant’s side. Each blind man could feel only part of the elephant- non could envisage the entire elephant. In the same way, it is argued, the religions of the world each have a grasp on part of the truth about spiritual reality, but none can see the whole elephant or claim to have a comprehensive vision of the truth.

This illustration backfires on its users. The story is told from the point of view of someone who is not blind. How could you know that each blind man only sees part of the elphant unless you claim to be able to see the whole elephant ?

There is an appearance of humility in the protestation that the truth is much greater than any one of us can grasp, but if this is used to invalidate all claims to discern the truth it is in fact an arrogant claim to a kind of knowledge which is superior to (all others)… We have to ask: “What is the (absolute) vantage ground from which you claim to be able to relativize all the absolutes claims these differents scriptures make” ( quote from Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society)

How could you possibly know that no religion can see the whole truth unless you yourself have the superior, comprehensive knowledge of spiritual reality you just claimed that none of the religions have ?

Today’s diary

In my camera roll…

More beautiful cakes seeing in Vienna, coffee beans that make plain candles smell good, my beautiful mama and me by the Danube in Austria !

 

Listening…

To the noises of the fridge and the fan. How melodious ^^ But nothing says home like the “white sounds” you only hear there right ?

Starting…

Arabic. Last week, I met a Korean man who spoke Arabic ten times better than I do, and it encouraged me to start writing and reading in my mother tongue ! Youtube videos are so convenient (I watch “Learn Arabic with Maha”, which is really good by the way)

Feeling…

Grateful for a safe arrival in France after a week in Vienna; for the beautiful memories I made last week. And thankful for my blog

Wanting…

I need a new computer after 5 years with a decent one that is too heavy to carry around, so if you have any suggestions of computer under 600 euros/dollars (i.e, no Macbook for me now) let me know !

Planning…

The three last days of my internship; my registration for my master’s degree that starts on Friday; calls I have to make before leaving the hospital

Anticipating…

A productive school year, God willing; a life free of clutter and more minimalism when it comes to buying, organizing and lifestyle in general.

Laughing…

My parents missed the plane because they thought theirs was on Sunday while it was on Saturday. I should not be laughing, I know.My mom is usually the most organized person when it comes to traveling, a plane is like a second car for her yet my parents and my sister managed.to.miss.their.PLANE. Is it not SO EPIC ?

Highlight of the day

A very interesting conversation in the plane (which I did not miss as you can see ^^) with a lovely lady who now has my blog adress so if you are reading this HELLO🙂

 

 

 

Our conference in Vienna !

Hi girls !

I am sitting in our hotel room right now in Vienna and I thought I would share some pictures and happenings in Austria. I’m going back to University next Friday God willing, and I have a lot of things to finish before my internship ends… so now is the perfect time to write before life becomes busy again !

We were blessed to spend a week or so in a Christian conference that started after a fun encounter. My parents and my sister, two years back, spent the New Year’s Eve in Vienna and it was in Church that they met a Christian Arabic family living in Israel. Together, they decided to start a conference that would gather, every summer for a week, Arabic speaking believers. It is the second year I come to the conference and I have been enjoying a lot and, this being the second conference I attend this summer (the other one was in Pennsylvania) I was really blessed by the things I have learned.

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Posing with one of those famous horses in Vienna !

Two preachers/missionaries from Egypt preached during the whole week and one of the topic was the justice and the salvation of God in the book of Romans. A lot of things impacted me. I learned that often, when we talk to people about the Gospel, sometimes out of fear and maybe shame, we tend to hide the name of Jesus under a vague, generic name of God… to make it less scandalous and more “acceptable” to people. But as Romans 1:16 says, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” We should never be ashamed to present the gospel as it is because though we are privileged to carry the Word of Life, “we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” (2 Cor 4:7). The power comes from the Lord, and there is no salvation apart from Jesus !

 

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The legendary Austrian cakes ! Yum !

I was also deeply, deeply encouraged by the love and the work of some brothers and sisters toward the lost, especially the Muslims. Being Arabic, they have that unique opportunity to help Middle-Eastern people, especially the refugees. Some Muslims attended our services, and it warmed my heart to see the brothers at the conference doing everything in their power to help our Muslim friends to settle in Vienna and to assist them both materially and spiritually with a loving heart. I pray that their heart would be opened to the Gospel and that they will come to know Christ who loved them and died for them. We heard testimonies of how some of our brothers and sisters came to know the Messiah, and, while I was playing with a 14 year old girl, she told me that the Lord knows how to refresh our enthusiasm and rekindle our courage by such testimonies. How true !

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Some sisters singing hymns

Also, the conference was a beautiful occasion to spend time with younger sisters and little girls. I noticed that sometimes, I think I am the only one to not have an assembly or Christians friends in the area where I live. I learned that I was not the only one and that from now on, it was important to encourage one another, even if we are a thousand of kilometers apart. Even as Young women, we have the ability to encourage and nurture younger ones (Titus 2:5) in various areas, and to be a good example to them. As we sat in Subway, I really enjoyed sitting with two 18 year old and one 21 year old as we discussed struggles, thoughts and encouraged one another. Pray that the Lord would help you in the life of another girl !

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That gentleman Lazarus caught all the ladies attention ! Can I have an “aww ?”

The last night of the conference, the same brother who explained the book of Romans wrapped up the week by preaching… on the last book of the Bible, the book of Revelation. Everyone was all ears while we heard the Word of Life preached on the things to come. The imminent return of our Lord Jesus Christ. The urgency of making the Lord known. And I want to say a few words about this…

I feel like the Lord Jesus is at the door. We all see it and feel it, in view of the events in the world. Even unbelievers can sense something is going wrong with this world. We have been blessed, we sinners, to hear the saving, Healing, powerful word and Gospel, the GOOD NEWS that Jesus-Christ came to die for sinners, horrible sinners as we were. Let us not faint. Let us not be afraid. Let us spend more time in the Word, and less time in things that would make us afraid of what people might say about us. If we are spending lots of time in social media and trying to look cool and to please people, and not to offend anyone by “watering down” the Gospel of Christ, we are making a great mistake. Let us get on our knees, for we have no power in ourselves. The power comes from the Father. Christ’s return is soon. very soon. Watch and pray. I learned that we are not going to change the world by being conformed to it. If today you lack courage, please- go on your knees and in the Word, and ask the Lord that your will would be aligned with His, and that He would give you what you need in order to honor Him: “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 jn 4:4).

Get ready with me: heaven’s edition

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This picture was not planned, and neither was this post !

Tomorrow, I am going, for the first time, to travel alone. I took the plane alone once but my mom brought me to the Charles-de-Gaulle airport in Paris and picked me when I returned but so far, I never went through the whole “thing”.

So tomorrow, for the first time, this 23 years old girl who looks 18 without makeup will take two trains and register her bag and wait at the gate for the boarding. ALONE. ALL BY HERSELF.

I WANT MY MOMMY NOW. Continue reading “Get ready with me: heaven’s edition”

Contentment

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Pinterest

I just found this acronym in a pdf on the topic of singleness. I found it helpful not only in the area of singleness per se but also in others ! 

Confess the difficulty- it is hard to give up the desires of your heart (“I know, O LORD, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.” Jeremiah 10:23)

Overcome the « greener grass » mentality- don’t assume that the grass is greener on the other side (“But if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a betrothed woman marries, she has not sinned. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that“1 Corinthians 7:28)

Nourish a hear of gratefulness (Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Treasure your identity in Christ (For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:3)

Expect God to give you a ministry- God desires to use you in the lives of others (Humm… This one is too long to post lol ! Read it for yourself) (Romans 12:4-17)

Nurture a family of friends (A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity- Proverbs 17:17)

Trust your future to God (But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you-Matthew 6:33)

1000 gifts: count your blessings

  • A beautiful devotional with my family
  • time with my brother who just visited
  • my sister’s love for the Lord, for the Word and her maturity
  • my loving parents
  • a peaceful home
  • food
  • a vacation in Florida that allowed us to relax
  • The gentle discipline of the Lord
  • Tons of new books my mom got me at a Christian conference
  • The new affections the Lord has put in my heart
  • New clothes
  • My upcoming registration for my Master’s degree
  • Godly older women that are here for me
  • A “no” from the Lord that spared me much heartache
  • New friends
  • The opportunity to write letters
  • Safety during our travellings
  • Fellowship with believers
  • The end of my internship on August 31
  • One of my dear friends has been cleared of cancer…
  • The good times I had with cousins this summer