Do Not Merely Exist BLESSED SINGLENESS + FORSAKING IT ALL SAIL THE HIGH SEAS + BIBLE MAN ARMOR

Please, Pray

November 29, 2010

Hey ya'll! How was Thanksgiving? 

Well, I have a small request to ask of you all today. My Grandpa is going into surgery this morning to remove his bladder, prostate, and some glands. He's been battling Bladder Cancer since June of this year and has gone through chemo and radiation to stop the cancer from spreading elsewhere. 

Now, that he's done with chemo, he's going into surgery--today. So, please pray for his safety, the doctors, my family that is down there with him, and his recovery. He's a wonderful person, but not always optimistic, so please pray that he will keep the faith, and persevere. Also, please pray for my Grandma. She might need more prayer than my Grandpa! She's an anxious woman, and worries constantly about every little thing. So please pray that she will have peace, and that she will put all her faith and trust in the Lord.

My brother and dad are down in Florida with my Grandpa right this moment and will be updating us (up here in Tennessee) about his surgery and recovery. Please, please, Pray!

Thank you so very much. God Bless!

Smells Good!

November 27, 2010

Sharin' some scented candle love with ya'll this Christmas season! Lots of Fruit Smoothie, Lemon Lavender, and Lime Vanilla coming your way! 
Feast your eyes.....
Hope your Turkey Day was a good one, and your Christmas Day is even better! 
God Bless!

Seasons Greetings, Or Unwelcome Tidings?

November 24, 2010

Listening To: My Favorite Things-Julia Andrews
Wordy Quote: " Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful."-Norman Vincent Peale
Hey, it's me again! How are all of my lovelies doing; ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas?

Boy, a piece of Pumpkin Pie with a heaping pile of whipped cream sounds good right about now....more whipped cream than actual pie of course. Oh, and what about that turkey? I cannot wait; my mouth is watering just imagining the decadent juiciness of the bird that is to become my meal for the next week!

On days like today: cold and partly-cloudy, I find the hopeful though of snow to be on my mind. Although I have never seen more than 2-3 inches of snow in one setting, I do find snow to be a most blessed and cheery gift to a stark and gloomy winter.

Not that I detest the winter time! The gloomy and dull days are made up for greatly during the Holiday seasons like Christmas and Thanksgiving!

Ah, I actually adore winter.... The things that I was unable to do in the summer because of the unbearable heat, I am now able to do quiet freely with the brisk winter air at my doorstep. For me, winter is a time to play wildly in the frothy, wet snow, sip a hot cup of peppermint tea, munch on fresh, aromatic cookies, and chug a mug of cocoa after coming in from the cold.

What a way to end the year! Nothing beats rest, relaxation, and knowing that while you may have screwed up and made some mistakes this past year, you have learned from them, grew wiser and more knowledgeable because of them, and were able to yet again, be broken and humbled before the Lord.

Tis' the season for cold, wet and shiny red noses, for family and friends to fellowship and recollect on the past year, as well as an enthusiastic and melodramatic time when people, who have had enough of summer and it's unbearable heat, trade in their iced teas and lemonades for warm, fuzzy blanket, lively Christmas carols, and "chestnuts roasting over the fire".

Christmas is just around the corner. No pressure. And already I am seeing Christmas decor and gifts galore. Not that this doesn't excite me, but I find it to be a distraction from the true purpose for the Christmas season. Retail, retail, retail...that's all Christmas is about now-a-days.

Whatever happened to the simpler times when the major emphasis on celebrating this time of the year was spending it with the ones you loved--regardless of presents, those amazing decorations, and that delicious spread of meats, veggies, and deserts?

Where has the simplicity, and the true meaning of Christmas disappeared to?

Some of you may or may not celebrate Christmas; that's cool. (Or you may celebrate it, but in your own way. That's cool, too.) And we all know that Jesus Christ was really not born at Christmas time, but in the spring. Anyhow, whether Christmas is celebrated in your home or not, there is still a spirit of Christmas in everyone's home (and within themselves) that keeps the blessed tidings of the season alive and well.

There is a beautiful sense of what love, grace, mercy, giving, and sacrifice is all about during this time of the year that we really don't pay much attention to at any other time. Even though this sensation is more electrifying and moving during the Christmas season, it is, unfortunately, hidden beneath the pile of consumerism and governmental "political correctness" that threatens to take CHRIST out of Christmas.
Christmas had become sidetracked. And we, as Christians, have too. Everywhere I look, I see signs that say have a "Happy Holidays" or "Seasons Greetings". What? Where has "Have a Merry Christmas" gone to?

Why has is disappeared? And why are Christians letting it happen?

We've already let prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance be stripped from our schools and government. It's a wonder "In God We Trust" or "One Nation under God" hasn't been removed from the dollar bill or the Pledge of Allegiance altogether! Something has disappeared from the characteristic of the Christian, and that's BOLDNESS.

 We have become hermit-like in our actions and do as little as possible--so it seems. Christmas is a season with a reason. Mainly to celebrate the birth of our Savior, but that's not the point of the season anymore. Now, instead of a "Merry Christmas", we have to put up with a "Happy Holidays"--which doesn't specify which holiday we're celebrating. And that's just it! We're not celebrating one main holiday anymore. We're now celebrating different religious holidays all around the same time. "Happy Holidays" is basically the political correct way of saying: "We're not celebrating Christmas anymore. Other holidays have taken the priority now, and Christmas and its whole theme of "Christ" and "love" is out of the equation."

It's a "Christian" holiday...let's lump it in with the other non-Christian holidays so it doesn't appear to be more than it really is, or so it doesn't stand out. We don't want God to become the central focus of this time of the year--he's had his turn. I mean, really, this is what I feel is happening when we don't stand up and declare our dependence and love of Christ with others. Things start to unravel.

Once upon a starry night, the birth of our Savior was a joyous and miraculous event in history! But now, that it evolves around Christmas time traditionally, it's as if his birth and even the mention of his name is of unwelcome tidings (but this isn't just around the holiday time). He's not a celebrated figure of majesty and Lordship, looked upon with a loving and tender heart, any longer. He's scorned, spat at, and rejected.
Oh, wait! That doesn't sound all too different from what He endured in the past, or what He most definitely will endure in the future.

Mary, the Mother of Jesus, gave birth to an incredible, humble, and loving Savior. I wonder if she realized just how blessed and honored she was to be the mother, and bearer of such a precious gift--the Savior of a dying world!

She obviously knew what a gift she was given. But, we don't seem to recognize Mary's same joyfulness. She was the mother of the Father. And we are His children. While we can all still celebrate Christmas with food, family gatherings and loads of presents...let us not forget the reason for Christmas, Christ. Let us not push Him aside and be afraid to proclaim His name. Being politically correct doesn't restrict us from being bold...it's only a suggestion...one that I won't be following any time soon.

While I'm not here to push my religious beliefs on anyone, I will not have my religion or those holidays that revolve around my religion to be lumped together with other religion that do not have Christ as their centerpiece. No "Happy Holidays" for me.

 Unwelcome tidings during Christmas time? Well, if you think so because I say "Merry Christmas" and you don't like it, that's your problem. Take a chill-pill. I say "Merry Christmas" because I am celebrating the very being that this holiday was named after...Christ.

 Although, this holiday isn't 100% biblically correct, I do believe that it is an insult to Christ when we omit His holy name altogether and substitute them with: x-mas, happy holidays, season’s greetings.
So, what do you think: Season’s Greetings or Unwelcome Tidings?

A view from above

November 21, 2010

This was taken of my sister in our backyard. We were bored and wanted to do something fun, so we decided to do a mini photo shoot. I took this photo and did some editing to it. I think it looks lovely and really makes here eyes and smile pop!
Photography love...

Vines and Branches

November 19, 2010

A simple picture of an 18th century, reproduction sampler that I have been working on since August. (It has yet to be completed!).... :)

A Time To Wait

November 16, 2010


Dear Sadie,
I am at my wits end and I need your help. I feel so alone, hopeless, useless and empty. It’s as if God has abandoned me. I don’t feel his presence in my life and am beginning to wonder whether or not I am actually saved. What is going on? Why do I feel this way? One minute I am on top of the world experiencing the full embrace of the Lord— filled with his Holy Spirit and on fire for Him; the next minute I can’t feel anything. I look around me and all my friends shine with His light…I feel dead inside, almost as if I am in hibernation. I remind myself of a backslider who has fallen away from God….I don’t want to be like that. When I read the Word, I can’t understand it. My mind goes blank! He’s not speaking to me like He used to! Has he forgotten me?
--Empty
Empty,

Oh, how I just want to walk up to you and give you a huge hug right this very minute! 

I know where you’re coming from, and I understand your desire to feel the presence of the Lord and experience Him working in your life 24-7. I, too, have desired this exuberant, awe-inspiring presence of the Lord in my life on several occasions, only to be given— what I like to call— the busy signal

I would pray and pray and pray to experience that vigorous and powerful mixture of emotions, but it never came. I waited and waited and waited a little longer, but felt nothing! I asked myself: “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I feel God?” 

All I wanted was something that would lead me to believe that He was still working in me; that I was still destined for greater things and that He hadn’t forgotten me. After all, these feelings are only normal, right? And since you feel this way too, do you think we’re the only ones who have felt this way? 

We’re not crazy for thinking about this, are we?  

 These feeling of nothingness, emptiness and uselessness are something every Christian goes through every now and then, isn’t it? Or are we the only ones? 

Listen, my dear friend— God hasn’t abandoned you. And don’t ever doubt your salvation. God gives His promise of eternal life to all of those who choose to believe. (John 3:16). So, just because you can’t feel Him, doesn’t mean you are no longer saved. 

You are not forgotten. 

And because God is the amazing and powerful God in which we serve, you should never doubt that He would leave you or forsake you. He says in Hebrews 13:5-6 (bold emphasis added):
“… 'I will never leave you, nor forsake you,' so that we may boldly say, 'The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do to me.’”
This will not be the first time, nor the last time you will ever feel this way. This feeling you have is NOT because God considers you less than worthy to carry on his cause. In fact, this feeling is in preparation for the continuation of your part in furthering His kingdom. 

Remember the busy signal I told you about? Can you guess what that busy signal symbolizes?  Time.
           
 Time is a very important aspect of our maturity as a Christian. And in conjunction with time is the need to rest. Rest is something all Christians need in order to grow, mature and develop in their daily walk with Jesus Christ. Ever heard of the saying: Time changes everything? Well, some people think that in order for change to occur they have to make it happen themselves. And often enough, Christians –trying on their own terms—to grow, understand and mature in their faith end up failing and falling hard. 

Here are a few verses for you to look us on "doing it ourselves":
Psalm 68:1-10,32-35Psalm 121:1-2 John 17:1-111 Peter 5:6-7
Read those verses, then tell me what you, as a human being can do on your own accord without God.What are we without Him?

Also, for some other verses on the matter of being unable to do it on our own, look up these, too!:
2 Corinthians 1:3-7Isaiah 40:28-311 Corinthians 12:12-26 Galatians 5:1-11
And remember, these verses aren't mean to make you feel inadequate, only encouraged, because we can do all things through Christ....not of ourselves (Philippians 4:1)!

Even though God is always with us and is eager to show us the wonders of His majesty, He is in no hurry to develop our Christian life. God Himself sets the pace in which we grow and mature as Christians, not us. God is God, and we are simply a part of His magnificent creation. We can only see a fraction of the grand picture He is painting, and as of yet, we still cannot grasp our inadequate minds around His divine plan!      
  
Do you find it all too much to understand?

You would think that since God isn’t an author of confusion that understanding His purpose would be easy. However, God works in mysterious ways and, in a sense, its best that we not know, or understand His purpose for everything in life. It keeps us on our toes, keeps us watching, waiting, and dependent on the Lord. 


However, I doubt this is your problem. Your letter sounded so desperate and so scared, as if you had lost someone so dear and near to you. I know when God shows Himself constantly for a certain length of time we can become dependent on His presence. We feel so secure, strong, and invincible; so safe, hopeful and loved. But when the time comes that God chooses to give us rest, it’s normal for us to feel scared and abandoned.

But, remember— He’s still with you! 

The reason God chooses to give us periods of time when not much is happening and we’re not experiencing that frivolous high, is so that our confidence may subside; so that we can get to know ourselves and realize that without God, we are weak and He is strong! The Complete Green Letters by Miles J. Stanford refers to a piece of writing done by John Darby, who happens put this concept of time and rest in simpler terms:
“it is God’s way to set people aside after their first start, that self-confidence may die down […] We must get to know ourselves and that we have no strength. Thus we must learn, and then leaning on the Lord we can with more maturity, and more experimentally, deal with souls.”
Based on the principal of growth (2 Peter 3:18), the Christian life becomes more productive and mature as we grow in “grace and knowledge”, rather than through struggles and experiences. As you can see, the growth of the Christian life takes time and isn’t instantaneous. Neither is it a uniform thing.   

Have you ever noticed that when you cut down a tree, there are different sized rings that make up the trunk? Are the all uniformed? No! In fact, they are all quite unique in their shape and size. Don’t you agree? Not one ring is the same. During the tree’s life it experiences different periods of growth in which some happen to be more rapid than others. The more rain and sun the tree gets, the bigger and wider the ring will be. 

And when the tree isn’t able to get the water it needs to support mature and fast growth, the rings will be smaller in size. In the words of A. H. Strong: 
“…growth is not a uniform thing in the tree or in the Christian.” Just remember that it takes Time. Christian growth is neither perfect nor consistent.
One must also be careful about the dangers of taking the easy way out, in other words, don’t take the shortcut! It may get you farther ahead in the game, but it will not produce long-lasting results. 

Remember, slow and steady wins the race. These shortcuts will give you instant results, gratification and that emotional high that everyone desperately wants. But, unless the time factor is acknowledged by the heart, you run the risk of becoming reliant on the instant gratification, and become pitifully entangled in the current of ever-changing feelings and emotions. 

The types of feelings one gets by taking the easy way out will not last. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that the only way to become a mature Christian is to constantly experience God’s grace and presence in your life. This concept is superficial. And it definitely doesn’t guarantee maturity. This whole time thing is based upon patience and faith; not “experiences” and “blessings”.  

Capturing the moment

November 14, 2010

Besides writing a new post (which will be out soon) and re-writing an extremely overdue letter to my pen-pal, I have a picture for you. It's day 2!

Capturing the moment!

Cute and Clean

November 13, 2010

Well, I have some bad news and some good new. 

Bad news:
1) I'm a horrible PenPal.
2) My mom told me to not post anymore of my stories on my blog. 

And I can understand this, for sure. But I am a little disappointed, though. She did say that is was okay to post snippets of it. Which works out better that I thought, but I'd still like to be able to post stories for ya'll to enjoy. I might have to create some that, if they're plagiarized, won't matter! Ha!

Good news:
1) I am going to attempt to do a 365 photo project here on my blog. 

And to start off this project, here's a photo...I took it today. :)

Primping in the Bathroom! I was actually on a mission to take photos of to best buds...aka: Gerald (brother) and friend (Patrick)...that didn't happen! So, I took a picture of my sissy!

Think and Wait

November 10, 2010

Listening To: Wait for Me-Rebecca St. James
Wordy quote: Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God.-
BIBLE

We will all come across the famous word sex sooner or later, whether it is in school, at college or even in the work place. And if you lucky (not really), you'll be asked to have sex. It's an awkward question to get asked, but an even harder question to answer, especially if you aren't grounded in Christ.

But there is a simple answer to the question that most teens and young adults don't always use. Do you know what answer that might me? It's a simple, stern NO! Pray to God to teach you how to say NO.

Just think, saying no will save you a lifetime of pain and regret, a lifetime of wondering 'why' you did what you did. I don't understand why people would want to give up their God given purity for a moment of pleasure that will result in heartbreak and insecurity.

Wouldn't you rather save yourself for that special someone in your future? Listen, you may not believe me, and I am not asking you to, but God does have a special someone for each of us. He really does. Whether you choose to stay pure and wait--that's your choice. But just think about how your life could be like if you refrain from having unmarried sex. Life would be better, you definitely wouldn't have the guilt hanging over you like a ghost from your past. And your spouse wouldn't have to wonder 24/7 whether he or she is up to par with the rest of the people you've been with.

All I am saying is, be patient and know that God has a plan for you. He has a special person for you, someone who will love you unconditionally, look past your exterior, and look deep into your beautiful soul. Wait, listen and pray for God's guidance; and when the time comes, He will reveal your special someone...a one-of-a-kind person who is devoted to you and to God. God will send someone your way who will be the person you will give your whole life to. Someone you can love with your whole heart. Someone you can truly be happy with.

Taylor Swift - Mine

November 7, 2010

I don't usually listen to Taylor Swift, because she's not my favorite Country Star. But this new song of hers is rather good. The only song I liked of hers was Love Song, and now Mine has been added to the list. Enough of my ranting, here's the video for you to listen to...that is, if you want to. :)

 Have a Happy Sunday! May God bless you and keep you safe. 

Get To Know Me

November 5, 2010




1. If you accidentally knick a car in a parking lot..Do you leave a note or do you get the heck out of there?
Knowing me, I'd panic, call my mom, then leave a note.

2. Love your body or plastic surgery?
Shoot, I wouldn't dare place my body in the hands of someone who contorts the natural beauty of people. Not natural!


3. What about your favorite blog(s) continues to drive you back?
I love reading Observations On Becoming and Living on Literary Lane. I love blogs that are unique, Godly, encouraging, and unafraid to express their belief to a lost and broken world. 


4. What percent of your blog is fake just to make your life seem more interesting than it really is?
Fake? Are you kidding me. This blog is 100% real. No posers here.

5. If you had to give up one type of meat for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Red meat...any type of red meat. I'll keep my Chicken, Turkey, and Fish. The rest, I could be easily parted from.

6. How often to you eat out?
Only if I have to. I hate eating out, even though for me, it's like a super huge treat! But, I can't stand it. We probably eat out maybe once every two months (at least).

7. Skinny jeans or boot cut jeans?
Well, for one thing, I can't figure out how to get my bottom into a pair of Skinny Jeans, much less get my big foot into them! I wear boot cut jeans. They're way more comfortable than jeans that squeeze. 
 
8. If you caught your spouse cheating would you forgive, divorce, or plan your kill?  
I hope it would never have to come to that! I don't think I would marry a man who would cheat on me, but stranger things have happened. Anyhow, I would forgive him and give him a second chance. If he did it again...out the door he goes! I'm not going to subject myself to that kind of pain. Why would I? C:

Trends: A Pure Romance?

November 2, 2010

I was in the bedroom with my sister one afternoon. My mom, dad, and brother were downstairs watching TV. While my sister and I were in our room (I was blogging and she was dancing to some techno-pop-romance song), the realization of something struck me. I turned to face my sister, with of course, a blinding look of genius on my face, and asked her in excitement:

"Steph, why is it that girls like this type of music so much?" She looked at me with a sideways glance and thought a moment. Apparently the question had never come to her mind (like it hadn't to me until just then), and she answered:

"Oh, I don't know. I suppose it's because of this unrealistic notion of romance that so many girls are desperate to attain." She turned away from me and resumed her dancing. Obviously, the thought wasn't of much importance. With her being a romantic girl, herself, I totally understood her infatuation with these types of songs, but what I didn't understand was why girls flocked to romantic music so much?

"Funny, huh; that so many girls swoon over the singer of the romantic lullaby?" I chuckled. And Steph only nodded. She knew I would end of speaking again, so she kept quiet. "It amazes me that teenage girls would fantasize and build their whole life around a song. Silly!"

"Uhuh." Steph mentioned to say before she put on another song and started singing along.

It happened to be one of my favorite artists, Josh Groban. Now, granted he does sing romantic and fanciful love ballads, but there is something about his music that is unlike that of any artist I have run across. And with a sister who is always on the hunt for the next best romance song, it's not that hard to do, believe me! My sister likes to listen to 'Remember When It Rained' and 'Don't Give Up', but I am strangely attracted to his more mellow, softer ballads of romance. On in particular that I always enjoy listening to, is his almost mournful 'My Confession'.

 Until recently, upon questioning the reason for a girl's infatuation with love songs, I have come to realize that while most songs sing of break-ups, revenge and so on, Josh Groban's music, and many others, has a different aspect about it that I never really paid much attention to before. His music is peaceful and elegant, easy to listen to. Josh Groban's music also has something that few others do: pure, romantic love. Here are some lyrics to a few of his more popular songs :

 From 'When You Say You Love Me'
When you say you love me
The world goes still, so still inside and
When you say you love me
For a moment, there’s no one else alive

From 'Don’t Give Up' (My Favorite!)
Everybody wants to be understood
Well I can hear you
Everybody wants to be loved
Don’t give up
Because you are loved

From 'In Her Eyes'
I am not a hero
I am not an angel
I am just a man
Man who’s trying to love her
Unlike any other
In her eyes I am 

 From "You're Still You"
Through the darkness
I can see your light
And you will always shine
And I can feel your heart in mine
Your face I've memorized
I idolize just you 

Now, Owl City (yes, we all love Owl City...you know you do!), is also one of my favorites to listen to! And Adam Young's music has become a sensational hit amongst teen girls.
 Here is an interesting and eye opening interview Adam Young did with ChristianityToday: 

ChristianityToday: What's the source of your creativity?

Adam Young: Faith and imagination. Faith is the reason I do what I do, imagination is the fuel that keeps the creativity flowing. The Lord Jesus Christ is my reason for creating and I have nothing but thanks and gratitude toward him for being allowed to do what I do, and ultimately, seize my wildest dreams as if they were just there waiting for me. 

*Skipping various questions not pertaining to the post*..... piptididilydo....falalalala!

ChristianityToday: Did you set out to write music to appeal to teen girls, or is that just how it turned out?

Adam Young: Haha, I'm afraid I didn't really pay attention. I just write the music I would like to hear as a listener myself, so needless to say I was pretty shocked when teen girls connected with my music so well. Somehow I feel it's a bit too "random" for that age demographic. But I'm certainly not complaining!

His music, you must admit is random, and is very different. To the untrained ear, it's a bunch of uncomprehending babble, but to me, it tells a story. And the story behind Adam Young's music is that of beauty, and yes, if I must say it, purity. His songs are clean... But what makes them such a sensational hit with the girls? 


From “Hot Air Balloon"
We wrote a prelude to our own fairytale.
And bought a parachute at a church rummage sale
And with a mean sewing machine and miles of thread
We sewed the day above L.A. in navy and red
.

From “Vanilla Twilight”
I’ll watch the night turn light-blue
But it’s not the same without you
Because it takes two to whisper quietly
The silence isn’t so bad
‘Til I look at my hands and feel sad
‘Cause the spaces between my fingers
Are right where yours fit perfectly
 
From "Meteor Shower"
I can finally see that You're right there beside me
I am not my own, for I have been made new
Please don't let me go I desperately need You
I am not my own, for I have been made new
Please don't let me go I desperately need You

Adam Young's music possesses this abstract, intricate and innocent child-like quality that focuses on cute and shameless love. Isn't Owl City wonderful?

I feel as though I have to be the party-pooper here for just a moment. Lets do some comparisons, to let’s say, that of Lady Gaga and her song "Bad Romance"-- I want your ugly/ I want your disease/ I want your everything/ As long as it’s free/ I want your love/ Love-love-love/ I want your love....

I have to say, this song is trashy and disgustingly sexual. It's depressing and dark. It's also sad to think that so many girls listen to a song that talks about a "bad romance" as if it's Hot. It's NOT! What does she have? What do her songs contain that make thousands of girls (and guys), flock to her as if she were a goddess? She's a mess. That's just putting it nicely.

I hear talk about Lady Gaga, Josh Groban, and Owl City from practically everyone I know. But, who's to say that (while Lady Gaga is the "It Girl" at the moment with her scandalous music), that pure, good, clean music won't be the 'next big thing'?

Music, such as Josh Groban and Owl City, seems to be steadily rising as a trend among teen listeners. And, well, even if it's not Christian music, it beats the trashy, inappropriate music that gives romance a bad rap; painting an ill omen on the word "Love".  Let’s hope this positive music keeps coming and that its popularity gets bigger!