Inspiration Monday

January 31, 2011

"If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours."
~~John 15:18-20

 "Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure."
~~Philippians 2:12-13

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also." ~John 14:1-3 

"Closer" ~Shawn McDonald
"Starry Night"~Chris August
"I'm For You"~Tobymac

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
~Theodore Roosevelt

Embrace your uniqueness. Time is much too short to be living someone else's life.
~Kobi Yamada

Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.
~Mother Teresa

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
~Eleanor Roosevelt

No Far Away-Chris August

It was a while back when I heard this, but it is an amazing song that reminded me of what I've been going through lately. It was amazing, and it infiltrated every fiber of my being as I realized that no matter how fast we run, where we try to hide, or what direction we're headed, God is already there waiting for us--to pick us back up. He's always ten steps ahead of us, and 100 steps behind us ready to catch us when we fall. Ah, sweet Jesus, you are amazing, incredible, Lord of All, my Superhero!

The Big Snow

January 27, 2011

So, yesterday was an enormous snow day for me. What I consider to be a huge snow fall, may not seem like much to you, but I couldn't believe my eyes when I woke up to see our whole yard covered in 4 inches of snow! 

My brother and I had a blast. We, I mean I made a snow alien while my brother made a giant snow ball. I also made a couple of snow angels and threw what I think was a yellow snow ball at my brother. Hehe! It was really just mud covered with snow. Ssh, don't tell him, though. He doesn't know! :D

This is Franklin, my Alien Snow Man. He has Antaeus. C:

101 in 2011

I have 101 goals that I want to accomplish by the end of 2011.

Goals Completed: 
35. Go to Gigi's Cupcake shop.-Jan 13, 11
50. Start a photo blog.--Jan 20, 11
51. Start a food blog. --Jan 20, 11
63. Play in the snow.-Jan 27, 11
64. Make snow angels and snowmen.--Jan 27, 11
38.  Paint each of my nails a different color.--Jan 31, 11

Goals In Progress/Planned 
1. Take 18th century dance lessons.
2. Cook 17 new recipes (1/17).
  • Meatloaf--Feb 8, 11
7. Visit 6 new places (1/6).
  • Gigi’s Cupcakes--Jan 3, 11
8. Add 103 new Christian songs to my music library (8/30).
  • I’m For You-TobyMac 
  • Starry Night-Chris August 
  • What Love Really Means-Jj Heller 
  • Hold On-TobyMac 
  • Light Up The Sky-The Afters 
  • Love Song For a Savior-Jars of Clay 
  • Beautiful-MercyMe 
  • Not Far Away-TobyMac
12. Read 101 new books (2/100).
  • Tandem by Tracie Bateman-Jan 1, 11 
  • The Brotherhood by Jerry B. Jenkins
13. Watch 50 new movies-old and new (2/50).
  • Mulan-Jan 22, 11
  •  The Voyage of the Dawn Treader-Jan 4, 11 
  • The Incredibles-Jan 28, 11
  • Cars-Jan 29, 11
  • What If-Jan 30, 11 
  • Emperor's New Groove--Feb 7, 11
15. Read my Bible at least 3x a week.
22. Sew 3 new quilts (0/3).
27. Go see 3 movies at the Theater (1/3).
  • Voyage of the Dawn Treader

40. Eat healthier.
42.   Write two short stories, just for myself (1/2)

Goals Yet to Complete 
1.      Finish writing my books (0/4).
2.      Go to the Zoo. 
3.      Take a class outside of college and learn a different skill.
4.      Identify 100 things that make me happy and list them. (0/100)
5.      Go to the Aquarium.
6.      Sew an article of clothing and wear it.
7.      Go to 5 concerts (0/5).
8.      Embroider and finish 5 18th century pockets (0/5).
9.      Visit the museum.
10.  Go on a picnic.
11.  Sew an entire 18th century outfit by myself.
12.  Meet a blog friend in real life.
13.  Watch 5 documentaries (0/5).
14.  Spend more time with family.
15.  Take a long walk twice a week.
16.  Have a quiet prayer time for myself every day for a month (3/30).
17.  Blow bubbles on a sunny day.
18.  Play a board game with siblings once a week.
19.  Make a recipe book.
20.  Plant an herb, flower, and Veggie garden (0/3).
21.  Go on vacation.
22.  Put together a quote book with at least 100 quotes/bible verses.
23.  Go to Dollywood!
24.  Take a road trip somewhere (doesn’t matter!).
25.  Enter a writing contest.
26.  Stitch 2 reproduction samplers (0/2).
27.  Pop and stomp on bubble wrap.
28.  Play hopscotch.
29.  Learn to make Jewelry.
30.  Learn to make candles.
31.  Learn to make soap.
32.  Develop a funky and original style.
33.  Watch a movie outside.
34.  Buy/wear a wild color of nail polish.
35.  Help make jelly/jam.
36.  Read all the Chronicles of Narnia books.
37.   Read all the Left Behind books (again).
39.  Print my favorite photos to go in my photo album.
40.  Complete a 365-day photo challenge.
41.  Read the works of Jane Austen. 
43.  Do a little genealogy research/make a family tree
44.  Say "Hi" and make eye contact with each person I encounter for a day instead of looking away.
45.  Make a book of my photos.
46.  Write an article and have it published.
47.  Leave kind notes in library books.
48.  Make bagels from scratch.
49.  Make Pop Tarts from scratch.
50.  Have a water balloon fight.
51.  Try 4 new foods (0/4).
52.  Go to the State Fair.
53.  Go to Mammoth Cave in KY.
54.  Make a soundtrack to each of my books.
55.  Start a Pet-Sitting business.
56.  Be a part of Operation Beautiful
57.  Make 2011 the best year ever!
58.  Send a fan letter to someone I admire.
59. Visit the Amish in KY.
60. Go berry picking.
61. Go Antique shopping.
62. Go Garage Selling.
63. Go Camping.
64. Swim everyday in the summer.
65. Be outside at least once a day (if possible).

A Happy Melody: Writing to Music

January 26, 2011

In order to write, I have to have a few things at my disposal. Paper. Pen. Laptop. Water and sunflower seeds for fuel. Sunshine or Stormy Weather to create impromptu inspiration. Quiet Time. And music. Especially music. 

Yes. For me, when I write, music is essential.

Without these, well, I cannot seem to find the inspiration or the motivation to write. They, to me, are essential parts of creating a beautifully written masterpiece--with an occasional dash of mild to spicy hot flavoring for good measure. (It doesn't hurt for a writer to add a little kick of spiciness to everything he/she does!)

Today, I wanted to touch on the subject of music and how it is a huge part of our writing. If you are a writer, you might already do this: create soundtracks for the books that you're writing. 

Oddly enough, it does wonders when one is writing in a terrible mood, it's dreary outside, or just not feeling it. 

The music helps to motivate and inspire the author to reach for the goal that stands off in the horizon. It also makes for great background music, plus is gets those ideas moving. Sometimes too fast! It helps the mood, and with the themes and specific scenes that are being created. It enhances them!

Music is literally at your fingertips and is always, in some form or other, partnered with creative work. Some play music while they paint, create websites, and, like them, you probably play music while you are writing a masterpiece of your own. 

I, for one, use music as a background to help me set the mood for what I am about to write. However, music, especially your favorite song, can, believe it or not, help make your writing better. Sound crazy? Well, how about we take a little adventure into the world of music and writing, and explore how music can help you improve your own writing.
  • Find a Starting Song—Like a certain smell or sound brings us back to a memorable moment in time, so does music. It reinforces those memories that ignite the desire to write and enhances the writing process considerably.

    When I begin to write, I always have to play my ‘song’. It’s a song that gets me in the zone. I call it my ‘Starting Song’. It helps me reenter the writing world without it seeming as if I’ve skipped a beat or was absent for a day or two. It refreshes my mind and enables me to start with—and keep— a creative and positive footing.

    You can choose any song that makes you feel energized, inspired or excited. Consider Kerri Robert's ‘No Matter What’, or Chris August’s 'Starry Night’. If you prefer not to hear lyrics, try a soundtrack from one of your favorite movies, or some classical music like: Beethoven's uplifting ‘Symphony No. 6’ or Leonard Bernstein's exquisite ‘I. Andante moderato'. But whatever song you choose, make sure that song gets those creative juices flowing and continually inspires your creativity. Let the song transport you to that magical time and place that you created.

    As soon as you have chosen your Starting Song, always keep it nearby. Have it in your ITunes or Media Player, or have the CD sitting on top of your keyboard. Every time you sit down to write, play the Starting Song with the plan that you will write for the duration of the entire song.

    Even if you decide you will only write for those
    few minutes, you'll be surprised: A body in motion tends to remain in motion. Trick yourself into writing past your blocks with the thought that you're only going to write while your Starting Song is playing. You will often find that once you begin writing, your hand will continue almost on its own.  

    If you play your Starting Song every time you sit down to write, your writing practice will become anchored to the song. Just hearing the song will make you feel the urge to grab your keyboard and start typing.

  • Create a SoundtrackYou're all set to watch a movie. Your favorite movie, ever! On the table in front of you, there is a jumbo bowl of extra butter popcorn calling your name. 
A tall glass of soda waits to quench your thirst after gobbling down handfuls of the delirious popcorn, (or to clear your throat if you happen to be chocking). 

Strands of cherry licorice sticks look more like tree trunks from some fairy land than red strips of candy. They stand tall-and a little droopy-as they wait impatiently for teeth to sink into their goodness. 

M&M's-those irresistible bites-sized candies filled with sinful chocolate-beckon you to the dark side. 

A box of tissues stands at the ready to comfort and dry your tears. 

And a large pillow-if needed-is ready to defend your honor if you happen to be spooked during a horror film.

While munching on your feast of less-than-healthy movie treats, have you ever stopped chewing long enough to listen to the music playing in the movie?  Believe it or not, the songs played in movies actually give the story (the whole movie or a specific scene) depth and dimension. 

You see, a song, or a collection of songs, help provide emotional intensity to the story. (Think of it like a song that serves to enhance the mood. Much like the songs we play when we're sad, angry, happy, or mellow.)

And so, when you are looking for your writing to have an emotional impact, set it to song. This might sound strange and stupid, but if you are striving to attain a specific vibe in your narrative, you can usually attain that balance in your writing by listing to music, and writing in conjunction with the passion of the song.

Immerse yourself in the world you create by listening to your soundtrack while you are conducting tasks around the house, at the gym, or in the car. As you listen to those songs, your mind will automatically transport you into your story. (Listening to your soundtrack will have you constantly thinking and creating new ideas. You'll never lose connection with your story!) 

So, are you going to take time to listen to the music in the movie next time? Don't start munching just yet, but instead, think about your favorite movie songs. When you hear them, can you see the scene in your mind? Can you see it? 

Now just think what music will do when you let it inspire your writing! You know, the movies we all watch started off as words on a paper, just like our novels, poems, books, etc. Your writing can have the same impact. Set it to music!
  • Writing to a specific time periodLets say that your novel takes place entirely in the year 1930. You might want to buy a couple of CDs with music made that year. Now-a-days, it's fairly easy to learn which songs were played in a given year. A period novel taking place in America in 1850 will have you playing The Penguins' 'Earth Angel'. And when chronicling the 1980s disco scene, the dramatic Madonna should fill your writing studio. Playing these songs will help you to connect you directly to your characters and the story plot-these are most likely the songs your characters would have been listening to. It will also allows you to feel the ambiance of that period in history.

you cannot travel the path until you have become the path itself

January 23, 2011

"As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives."~Henry David Thoreau

Embracing Accusation

January 21, 2011

Two very different characters with two very different purposes. Satin, the Dark Prince comes to kill and destroy. He tells us that we aren't good enough and that we're undeserving of God's Grace. He's right. We cannot attain any form of perfection, or even begin to come close to deserving God's grace, mercy, and love. But it has already been made clear that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). And yet, God still took us under His wing and sheltered us from the storm.
God, the Redeemer, our Lover and Dear and Sovereign Father, is the giver of life, the author of knowledge and of peace. He came to die for our sins that we may have life regardless of our transgressions. While we may not be deserving of His grace, He gave it to us anyway. Because He loves us that much!
He loves us...that makes me think of a song I used to sing: I Love You This Much by Jimmy Wayne. And while the song is based upon a boy's longing to be loved by his father who didn't love him, the very end the  those lyrics become a reflection of God's love and desire to love and be loved:

Half way through the service
While the choir sang a hymn
He looked up above the preacher
And he sat and stared at him

He said

'forgive me father'
When he realized
That he hadn't been unloved
Or alone all his life
His arms were stretched out
As far as they'd go
Nailed to the cross
For the whole world to know
I love you this much
And I'm waiting on you
To make up your mind
Do you love me too?
How ever long it takes
I'm never giving up no matter what
I love you this much
 Everyday we embrace accusation as the Father of Lies tells us that all our hopes of being good enough are wasted dreams and aspirations. He curses us who can't abide to God's divine plan. We are a fallen people who don't deserve God's love or Grace. 

He knows the Bible inside and out and preaches the song of the redeemed. He whispers to us what we know all-too-well, that we are cursed and gone astray and that we cannot gain salvation. It's useless to try. He's right. Alleluia he's right!And because of this, we as Christians are embracing accusation.

 Some may wonder if Satin tells the truth. Are we really broken and gone astray? And, if the penalty of sin is death, then death is mine? Are we really doomed? Damaged? Unworthy?

Ah, but listen...the devil is singing an age old song that we are all cursed and gone astray. He sings it so conveniently, doesn't he? But, he has forgotten one tiny detail. Satin has failed to mention something drastically important, so listen up! He's forgotten the refrain... JESUS SAVES!

Today and the rest of our lives we are embracing accusation for Christ. We know we are unworthy of his Grace and Mercy, and yet, He has given it to us freely. It's our choice whether or not to accept the gift He's given, to love Him, worship Him, and grow closer to Him--the loving, gracious, Heavenly Father!

Take courage in your trials for you are embracing accusation...a testament that we are imperfect and unable to take it on our own. When Satin tells us we can't abide, I wonder if he realizes just how reassuring that is to a Christian? So what if we can't abide? That's why we put our faith and trust in the Father!! The best part of is all is that Satin is right...Alleluia he's right!

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."~John 10:10

focus on your potential instead of your limitations

January 20, 2011

"When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds: Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great, and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and your discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be." ~PataƱjali

Sex: Reasons Why You Should Wait

January 12, 2011

Listening to: Five Lakes-Gunnar Madsen
Cute Word: Butter

When you think of God, what comes to mind? Is he like the Green Goblin on Spiderman, watchful, manipulative, and ready to strike, destroy everything you have? Is he a loving, caring, humorous, playful daddy who is intently peering down at you right now with a knowing grin, always looking out for you and has the best intentions in mind for you; and often enough, girls and guys are tuning into the everyday Hollywood fantasy of romantic and suave gentlemen, scheming and demanding women, 007 heroic hunks, and heart-throbbing babes.

We wonder why the big man upstairs makes such a big deal out of this advantageous duet. Why can’t he see it our way: the life we are striving to have, the perfect romance and the perfect couple. But he doesn’t seem to get it. And why should He? I mean he is our creator, our father…do you think that He would truly allow his sons and daughters to watch that kind of misleading garbage on TV? It seems to me that God, out Heavenly Father, sees it simply as a bunch of flagitious fornicators!

Do you think God is the manipulative Green Goblin when He says that sex is strictly for marriage, or is He the loving, caring, all-knowing father, who created lovemaking to only be satisfactory when two lovers have been committed in marriage? Don’t let what I am trying to say here persuade you so easily. Just look at the facts. Our caring daddy always knows best!

Did you know….?

• Females, who have slept with three or more people over the course of a lifetime, are 15 times more likely to get cervical cancer.

• Couples who have sex before marriage are more likely to get divorced. According to a study by the National Survey of Family Growth, women who have the kind of sexual experience sex advocates — the premarital kind — increase their odds of divorce by about 60 percent. McManus, a counselor points out that it is “secular evidence for St. Paul’s injunction, flee fornication.”

• The more promiscuous you are before marriage the more likely you are to commit adultery AFTER marriage.

• If you live together before marriage, you are more unlikely to marry that person. Columbia University found that “only 26 percent of women surveyed and a scant 19 percent of men” married the person they were living with. Another study showed that even if they do marry, couples who begin their marriages through cohabitation are almost twice as likely to divorce within 10 years compared to all first marriages: 57 percent to 80 percent.

• Found that ‘perfect person’? Don’t be fooled! People who have sex before marriage run a risk of marrying someone who is not right for them. Sexual intimacy can be emotionally blinding and it makes couples feel closer than they really are. One counselor put it perfectly by saying, “Real love can stand the test of time without physical intimacy. The sexually active lose objectivity.”

• Those who try it outside of marriage often suffer guilt and fear due to the dangers of STDs or unwanted pregnancy. Feelings of guilt can lead to frigidity and impotence.”

• Perhaps not so remarkably, it is those who stay pure and marry enjoy sex the most. The Family Research Council surveyed 1,100 people about their sexual satisfaction. In a Washington Post op-ed, FRC’s William Mattox, Jr. took a look at the inspiring results. It was “found that 72 percent of all married ‘traditionalists (those who believe that sex outside of marriage is wrong) report high sexual satisfaction. This is,” Mattox explained, “roughly 31 percentage points higher than the level registered by unmarried ‘non-traditionalists’ (people who have no or only some objection to sex outside of marriage) and 13 percentage points higher than that registered by married non-traditionalists.”

Well, what do you think? Do you think that the God, who designed each strand of DNA, knows our thoughts, knows the number of hairs on our head, and knows our future, ought to know what’s best for us?

Remember, the issue is not about having sex. Sex can be a spiritual pleasure when we are committed to practicing Godly sex in a biblical marriage—but not outside of marriage. However, the real issue is our heart and our relationship with God. Following the straight and narrow, and fighting the good fight of faith will always be a struggle, unless we are ardently and admiringly in love with our God!
Do we know Jesus in a personal relationship? He is not some distant God, like Buda or Baal. He wants the best for us. When we are unable to be good in our own strength, He comes to our rescue and whispers to us ever so gently, and at times gives us a little nudge saying, “Lean on me when you are week, my child. I will be your guide in the dark places. I will be your crutch when you are week and I will be your shield when you are being attacked by the evil forces of Satin. But you must have faith in me, my child. Always remember, I love you.”

Having that close relationship with God, the Lord Jesus Christ, allows us to experience the best He has in store for us! If you want to experience big sex—the kind that a committed, married Christian couple has— save it till marriage. You cannot do it in your own strength; you cannot resist the temptation alone. Only through the power of Christ can you stand strong in a world that says it’s “Ok to have sex….everyone is doing it!” Do you want to be the one who’s doing it? Or do you want to be one of the few that can say: “I saved myself. I am pure.” Fall back in love with Jesus! If you have messed up in the past—Jesus can make you brand new!


January 10, 2011

I don't normally choose a single word to represent the new year; the goal I have for my Christian life.
But this year, I felt a tug at my heart to choose a word that would, in a sense, be my life goal for the new year.

I searched, looked, even prayed for God to reveal to me the word for 2011.

Nothing. Silence. It wasn't visible to me.
I read the Word thinking that maybe it would come to me there--that it might pop out at me.

I guess I was looking for a revelation?
The longer and harder I looked, the more discouraged I became.
That is, until I stumbled upon a new song by Shawn McDonald.

I now know my word for the year.

It's a simple word, but a marvelous and beautiful action and promise.
I want to be CLOSER to the Lord.

Tandem by Tracey Bateman

January 7, 2011

Rating: 0.5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis: As obsession and loss become dark partners, how far must the people of Abbey Hills go to survive?   

Six months ago, brutal murders shook the small Ozark town—murders that stopped after a house fire reportedly claimed the killer’s life. Lauryn McBride's family auction house has taken responsibility for the estate sale of one of the victims—the enigmatic Markus Chisom. Submerging herself in Chisom’s beautiful but strange world, Lauryn welcomes the reprieve from watching Alzheimer’s steal her father from her, piece by piece. She soon realizes that centuries-old secrets tie Abbey Hills to the Chisom estate and a mysterious evil will do anything to make sure those secrets stay hidden. Even the man who grew up loving her may not be able to protect Lauryn from the danger.

When Amede Dastillon receives an unexpected package from Abbey Hills, she hopes it might be the key in tracking down her beloved sister, long estranged from her family. Visiting Abbey Hills seems the logical next step in her search, but Amede is unusually affected by the town, and when mutilated carcasses begin turning up again in the small community, the local law enforcement isn’t sure if they are confronting a familiar evil or a new terror.

Two women brought together by questions that seem to have no answers.  Can they overcome the loss and darkness threatening to devour them—or will their own demons condemn them to an emotional wasteland?

My Review: Christian Vampire Stories? Come on! What has the world come to? Tandem was my first ever  Christian Vampire novel. To say the least, I was unimpressed with the unbelievable and awkward combination of satanic symbols with Christian views. I was not impressed. In my honest opinion, I do not know how someone could combine Christian Lit. and Vampires into one book...even if it was to allow those who are Christian, but love Vampire Lit. to have it in a compact version with a good moral meaning, etc. To me, it was unappealing, frustrating, and it turned me off from the moment I opened the book. Not a book I would ever consider reading again. As far as I'm concerned, I'm going to burn the book.

Dairy-Free Pretzel Bread

January 6, 2011

I am dairy intolerant. I have searched high and low for dairy-free bread recipes that taste just as good as bread with dairy. And this recipe for pretzle bread, a close second to french bread, is a God send! It is so delicious and still maintains that scrumptious bread flavor that I crave. It's moist, chewy and smells heavenly!

Here's What You Need:
  • 1C. + 3TBS of Water
  • 4 TBS of Oil ( I use Almond oil.)
  • 3C. All-Purpose Flour
  • 21/4 tsp. Yeast
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
Here's What You Need To Do:

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl or mixer.  Add warm water (120-130 degrees) and oil into flour mixture. Mix well. Knead for 6-8 minutes. Cover and let rise for 10 minutes. Once risen, take small balls of dough and roll into rolls/ropes. Place on greased pan/baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 15-17 minutes. Before they cool too much, butter the tops and sprinkle with salt. (Not only can you make super fresh and tasty rolls and pretzels, but this recipe makes amazing and easy Hamburger buns.)

The New Year

January 3, 2011

Hello New Year!

Honestly, I have mixed emotions about your arrival. One, I did quite enjoy 2010. It brought me such exuberant joy that I had convinced myself earlier last year that you, dear 2011, would not bring quite so many pleasurable memories, experiences, hopes, and accomplishments.

 Two, it was a year filled with many activities of exceptional felicity. I visited Williamsburg, Virginia and saw many a beautiful rendition of our Nation's past; got to see Mount Vernon-George Washington's elaborate estate, furnished with fine things, and stationed perfectly on the Potomac River. I graduated in 2010, held three jobs (not all at once), and grew considerably closer to the Lord through the many trials and tribulations that I encountered-which I consider to be the biggest accomplishments of last year.

With so many spectacular events of 2010 having happened to me all at once, I am afraid that the same joy I possessed last year, may not be so in 2011.

What say you?

Will you be as spectacular, or better than 2010? Will you meet my expectations and deliver an amazing, productive, and memorable year?

Forgive me if I seem pesemistic, 2011. It's nothing personal. I suppose it will be up to God as to how you turn out.

No. Hold Up. Wait a darn minute...

Forget ever wondering about my future. Oh, 2011, while 2010 was amazing, I won't let that effect my desire to expereince all you have in store for me-all that God has in story for us.

This is it. 2011, you are here and there is no turning back. This is my year. It's my chance to create, to explore, to be passionate. It's my time to shine. My new beginning; the dawn of a new year filled with adventure, hope, faith, and determination. Another chapter for the Author of my life story to orchestrate.

About what I said before: I take it back. 2010 was great. But, deep down inside, while I am a bit fearful of what you hold in store for me, I can't wait to see what it is! There will be trials and tribulations in my future, but there will also be those moments where I will ultimitly look back and feel at peace knowing that my suffering was not in vain, but a much needed lesson preparing me for the purpose God has given me.

I can't wait to set out and explore the year with a bright, optemistic outlook; embrace the adventures with a humble heart; leap those disparing hurdles with strong and firm steps of a faithful servant; and live out the stories written for me by the Author of the greatest love story ever written.

The story that God has in the making puts a twinkle in my eye. I am ready, 2011. You are my fresh, new beginning. You, my friend, are a blessed, underrated opportunity to love with every heartbeat. To bless others with every kind word and humble action. To breathe hope and inspiration. To laugh at my silliness. To learn from my mistakes. To appreciate the extrodinary life I have been give. To cry tears happiness and sorrow for the world despiratly seeking a Greater Love. To behold God's wonderuos creation and embrace it. To capture moments in time before they drift off to sea. And to be Jesus to the world, filling those enpty clay hearts with more than just water, but with Love's enduring promise.
"So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy."- John 16:22 (NIV)

2011, may everyday you bring be blessed by God's grace. Discouraging or encouraging, whatever happens...Bring it on.