Hello world! I would like to introduce you to one of my wonderful best friends Alysha. When we met I didn’t realize how much I would love her! We have so much in common and I miss living down the hall from her. She is literally one of the sweetest and coolest girls you’ll ever meet! So, Let’s get started!
What does the phrase set apart mean to you?
Alysha: Christians often take the phrase “set apart” to mean living a life completely separate from “the world” and its influences. But the truth is, we live in this time, in this country, in this world and that will always have some impact on how we process our lives- and that’s ok because it allows us to better reach out and relate to others. Instead, I believe to be set apart means that you intentionally live a life in which God is the one who dictates how you react to the influences that are around you—shape the world, not the other way around. It’s a decision to have the world be the backdrop, not the author, of your life.
Tell us a little about yourself.
Alysha: I’m twenty something (shh, its not important…) years old and I live in northeastern Ohio—i.e. the best state there is. I try really hard to be cool and punk rock but in reality I’m a huge history and literature nerd who is afraid to use a phone and is low-key in love with F Scott Fitzgerald despite the knowledge he’s been dead for quite some time now. I went to Indiana Wesleyan University and Kent State for history and Russian language, which have both proved to be as useless in the job market as they sound. I also have a twin sister and we spent most of our childhood re-creating Olsen twin movies.
What do you do for a living?
Alysha: Seeing as rock star and movie star have yet to pan out, I’m still figuring this one out so if you have any ideas, please let me know ASAP. Until then, I am a museum educator at a living history museum called Hale Farm (think Williamsburg but 1800’s and a Midwest farm village), a marketing director/social media manager/ volunteer coordinator/ tour guide at a small creation science museum, and I also clean houses to top it all off.
How to did you get into doing that and what is your favorite part about doing it?
Alysha: I’ve worked at the science museum since high school and got into it because I grew up very passionate about teaching the truth about our origins, especially having grown up in public school being forced to learn about evolution my entire school career. My favorite part about working there is showing people that there is no need to follow their beliefs on blind faith. The science and facts really do back up Biblical Creation and I love watching people learn that for the first time. I also enjoy making people listen to me talk for an hour
As far as Hale Farm goes, I first visited the museum on a field trip in 2nd grade and fell in love with the place. I’ve always loved history and being at Hale was like time traveling. Ever since then it was a favorite place of mine and my family’s so when I heard they were hiring it seemed like the perfect opportunity! It’s hard to choose a favorite part because it really is a great job- I get to wear awesome clothes, I spend my days in the beautiful Ohio Valley, and I often have time to read and write. However, if I had to choose, I’d say my favorite part is seeing other people get excited about history. So often, people think of history as dusty and disconnected from their reality. But when they come to Hale, it’s real to them for the first time. People who dreaded their history classes are suddenly fascinated by how yarn is made and what WW1 and hemlines have in common. They see that people in the past were just like us. They lived and breathed and laughed and cried. Watching people understand that it’s not just history, but that it’s our collective story—that’s my favorite part.
So, I know you live in the wonderful state of Ohio and you are seriously the best tour guide, what are some things that are must do for someone visiting Ohio?
Alysha: There’s SO many amazing things its nearly impossible to choose! Obviously Cedar Point and Kings Island are a must for anyone who is into roller coasters, but Ohio is also full of history, science, music and culture—there really is something for everyone. If you love music, you have to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. It’s full of paraphernalia from every music legend there ever was. You could probably spend an entire week there.
If pop culture is more your thing, you definitely have to visit The Christmas Story House. This is the actual house that the famous movie was shot in! Not only can you walk through the house, you can interact with it! You can hide under the sink, admire the leg lamp, and if you don’t mind germs, put the classic red bar of soap in your mouth!
If you love history, there are endless museums, including some of the homes of the many Ohioan Presidents ( I’d recommend Rutherford B Hayes’ mansion.). Stan Hywet Hall is another one you can’t miss, especially if you’re a Downton Abbey fan. It was the home of Goodyear founder FA Seiberling and is not only gorgeous, but a piece of American history.
If you like the outdoors, Ohio has some of the best hiking in the Midwest. Hocking Hills has beautiful caves, waterfalls, and forests and should most definitely be on your Ohio bucketlist. What? Not everyone has an Ohio bucketlist??? Get one right now.
Finally, if you’re looking for a fun but cheap vacation, Put-In- Bay is the place to be. It’s like visiting the fancy East Coast but right in Ohio! On the cute little island, nearly everyone gets around by bike or golf carts and there are adorable shops, restaurants, and even caves to explore!
I’m starting to sound like a travel commercial so I’ll stop there but seriously, Ohio has it all!
yes this is in Ohio!
What is a hobby that you love to do?
Alysha: I don’t know if these count as hobby’s but I love hiking, writing, and pretending to play guitar. Also daydreaming impossible scenarios for my life—that one’s my fav.
What is your favorite band?
Alysha: RELIENT K!!!!! They are the best band there ever was. No one can convince be otherwise. And they’re from Ohio, so bonus;)
My boys as small babies
How did you become a follower of Jesus?
Alysha: I was fortunate enough to be raised in a Christian home so I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t consider myself a follower of Jesus. However, over the years my understanding of what that actually means has changed and grown as I try to learn how to have an actual relationship with God and to attempt to live with integrity.
If there is one thing you could tell your teenage self what would it be?
Alysha: Oh so many things…Probably first and foremost I’d tell myself to quit the obsessive dieting because it really took a toll on my (and my family’s) life and its probably by biggest regret. But one more of the things I’d tell myself is to go out more! I spent all of my time at home reading and wish I would have been a bit more adventurous and taken advantage of being a teenager. I’d also tell myself what a horrible idea it was to curl my bangs. Such. A horrible. Idea.
Example of era in which I thought curling my bangs was attractive…(also explains why I’ve never had a boyfriend…) circa 2006
What is one thing God has been teaching you?
Alysha: God has been teaching me that it’s really hard for God to teach you things when you aren’t in the word. For a while, I felt like I was learning from God a lot but if I’m honest, I’ve barely penciled God in this past year and the distance has taken an evident toll. I’m learning that relationships take work and that a relationship with God is no different. I spent so much time asking God why He was silent and distant while simultaneously turning up the tv, reading another book, and scrolling through another web page. When the structure to spend time with God isn’t built in to your life ( like it was, say, in college), it takes actual work, and that wasn’t something I really experienced before.
Additionally, God has been teaching me how very incongruously I live my life. I say I’m a Christian but I am rarely patient or kind. I am not loving. I often boast and am prideful. I provoke for fun and help only with an attitude. I’ve really been convicted lately that this is the Christianity I am demonstrating to people. How can anyone believe God is love when this is what they see. So God has been teaching me to be less of a hypocrite and to start living in a way that reflects well on Him.
Is there any last words of encouragement you can give some of the readers on being who God created them to be and living set apart for Jesus?
Alysha :I’d say that its going to be hard and there are going to be days when you wonder if it’s all made up. You’re going to wonder if you’ve been talking to yourself all these years and you’re going to wonder if you’ve been missing out. God can handle your doubts and your questions. You can “put Him through the ringer” and He can stand up to it. I think because we rarely talk about this aspect, it’s easy to look at other “better” Christians and think we are failures but really, most of us have the same thoughts and doubts. There will be dark and confusing times, but eventually you come out the other side with an even stronger faith for having seen it come through the fire untainted.
One final thing I would ad would be a way that I’ve found helpful as a way to kind of hold a mirror up to myself and be honest about how I’m living my life. I can’t remember where I heard this, but it’s honestly been the best advice I’ve ever heard on a way to help yourself live a life set apart. As someone who easily convinces myself that the way I’m living is fine ( while actually being a total jerk), this is a great reality check for me. The advice was to replace the word “love” in 1 Corinthian 13 with your own name. Are those sentences true? For example is “ Alysha patient” (no) is “Alysha kind” (also no) does Alysha boast (yes) is Alysha proud (yes). Etc. So as you can see I still have a lot to work on…Anyways, it really challenges me to live a life worthy of being a representative of Christ.
Well, Thank you Alysha for this amazing blog!(isn’t she so funny!)
Stay tuned for the next set apart feature. Have a good weekend!