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

Beauty Secret: Eating Healthy

March 30, 2011

Share food over conversation, and it will be much more enjoyable. Treat your body as God intended-like a temple, and you will feel healthy and happy.

Despicable Me

March 29, 2011

NOTE: TO ALL THOSE WHO COMMENTED...I REALIZED SHORTLY AFTER THAT THIS WAS NOT A PIXAR FILM. LOL. SORRY ABOUT THAT, BUT I WASN'T ABLE TO CORRECT THE MISTAKE BECAUSE I WAS AWAY. THANKS FOR UNDERSTANDING AND POINTING THAT OUT. :P

I have a hate/love relationship with movies. Yep. I know. It's sad. But what can I say? I have standards for everything, so if a movie doesn't meet my standards for the 'Best Movie on Earth', I am most likely not going to rent it, buy it, or pay $20 to see it in theaters. Ha!

Thank goodness I didn't have to do either with this movie. Despicable Me was so not worth the money I was willing to fork over last summer. (Thankfully I didn't spend any money!).

While Despicable Me was cute and very family friendly, it was also very predictable and boring. Sorry guys! 

I mainly wanted to watch it because of the cute little Yellow Men and, of course, the silly raven haired darling! But, other than that, the movie just fell flat for me. Not the best Pixar movie and one that definitely fell to meet my standards. 

Hey, just my personal opinion. I know a lot of you LOVE this movie and could recite, like, every line by heart. Great for you, but that would so stink for me! I think I'm gonna leave this movie to those who are die-heard-movie-goers, and those who have no movie preferences, because I doubt I will ever sit through another agonizing moment of Despicable Me.

Good family movie. Great for those little children that roam your house in search of snacks and entertainment. They'll enjoy it, no doubt. But for me, I like action movies, or at least ones that hold my attention away from the popcorn like, Rambo, Cars, Incredibles, etc., therefore Despicable Me is one of those movies that will not ever make it onto my movie shelf.

Peace.

March 22, 2011

The past year has been trailed with trials and tribulations that have caused me to question my faith. I had come to a cross-roads in my life where I had two choices: put all my faith in God knowing that He is in control, or slowly go insane and become introverted, unsocial, skeptical, doubtful and scared. 
The sun seemed to have set, leaving me alone in the dark. The world was careening out of control, and I felt lost and out of control. So alone. So scared. I had lost self-confidence, self-esteem, self-respect, confidence, and a love for myself. I was putting my identity and who I was in a worldly substance. It was still leaving me thirsty and hungry for something more. 

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told

Christmas is just around the corner. Can you believe it? 2010 has gone by so terribly fast and, to tell you the truth, it's been a whirl-wind of some of the best times I have had with my family ever! God has been good this year. And now, I get to celebrate Him on the 25th (not the only time I celebrate Him; it should be all year long). 

So, in preparation for the birthday of our Lord and Savior (the time we choose to celebrate His birth), I want to present to you The Nativity Story. A wonderful way to celebrate the Christmas season! (Next year, I hope to put this into short story form).

The Angel Appears To Mary

There are many translations and renditions of the story of Christ's birth. While we can only speculate what the Virgin Mary was doing at the time the Angel appeared to her: walking through the farmer's market, walking in solitary on a secluded path in meditation, or tending to a garden (weeding and such). Though the Bible doesn't tell us exactly what she was doing, I have my own idea about the activity she was performing at the time the Angel revealed to her that she was the mother of Christ Jesus.

****
The day was warm and the sun, whose rays of immense warmth and vibrancy beamed down relentlessly upon Mary's back as she saw to the weeding of the walkway leading up to her family's homestead. Mary, a dutiful teenaged-girl, oozing with a cheery disposition, a warm heart, and a contagious smile, hummed to herself a melodious hymnal as she eagerly plucked the withered and weary sprigs of grass.

The ground that Mary struggled to remove of the grass from was of the driest substance-having it not rained one inch in weeks. Refusing to relinquish its mighty hold on the weeds, Mary was forced mercilessly tug and pull the persnickety blades of grass. With a spurt of genius, Mary ran quickly to the well stationed a yard or two off in the eastern direction of where she was positioned, and drew a bucket of cool, sweet water.  

"The one thing that is still free in this world." Mumbled Mary as she hauled the water over to the spot where she'd been weeding moments ago. The prices of goods had been steadily on the rise since the Romans had proclaimed their superiority of all Israel. And the taxes were being driven higher, so high in fact, that Mary and her family found it harder and harder to afford the necessities of life. "Those Romans lack any sensitivity our situation. Do they not know how we suffer? Because of the taxes they impose on us and the prices they so selfishly raise, we are hardly able to purchase the basic necessities of life."

Turning her attention back to her task waiting, Mary returned to her station of activity, got down on her knees, and drew a deep breath. As she exhaled, she closed her eyes. Calm once again came over her. For so long had she been stressed over the coming of the Romans and their demand for higher taxes, that she had taken little time to enjoy life's little pleasures. She intended to enjoy her time outside, and would put aside her bitter thoughts. "What good will come to me if I continue to be angry at the Romans? The Lord has blessed me with a beautiful day, thus, I will not let them take away my happiness and the joy given to me by my God."

Upon wiping her forehead with the back of her hand, Mary proceeded to pour the bucket of water onto the craggy ground. Like a thirsty man thirsts for water, the ground soaked up the water with little effort until it became so saturated with the water that it began to transform into a soggy, muddy mess. 

 This was ideal for Mary who had, before this time, been struggling to pull up the stubborn weeds from the scaly earth. From her attempt to weed the dry ground, she had received several scrapes and cuts to her hands-her finders were a blistered mess. However, with the ground now moistened from the water, Mary could proceed without fear of scaring her hands. 

 As Mary weeded her way down the long walkway towards the street and away from the house, her mother came out of the dwelling. "Mary! Mary!" her mother exclaimed as she fluttered in the air an old kitchen rag. "Joseph is to arrive very soon to deliver the bread bowl he had promised to me a fortnight ago. Please go and wash yourself up; hurry Mary he may stay for supper!" 

Without stopping to answer, Mary jumped to her feet and made her way swiftly to the well to wash her hands. Mary's hands, crusted with the mud, were a distasteful sight. "I can't let Joseph see me like this!" Mary proclaimed with nervous anticipation. 

Placing her saturated bucket onto the hook, that was to deploy it into the well, she couldn't help but feel star-struck but the very thought that Joseph was to arrive at her home any moment. Joseph was coming; she must be presentable. No. Perfect. In part, the nerves that swarmed around her tummy like dancing butterflies were partly due to her not wanting him to see her in her present, filthy condition. It was also due to her infatuation with him as her betrothed. The man she was pledged to be married to.

Mary brought the bucket back up and rested it on the ledge of the well. Then, with a quick movement, she placed it onto the ground and commenced the washing of her dirty hands. The water was pleasantly cool as Mary scrubbed dreamily at the crusted mud. Washing her hands free of the mud, Mary went for another bucket of water; this time to wash the perspiration from her face.

Drawing in the water from the well for the second time Mary, who was wistfully gazing off into the horizon, failed to notice a figure clothed in splendor standing behind her. "Greetings," said a commanding, yet humble voice. Mary, expecting the voice to be that of Joseph, whirled around with excitement. However, to her great alarm and confusion, and was shocked when she saw a glowing stranger standing firm in front of her. Mary’s hands leaped to her mouth to stifle to loud gasp; in doing so, Mary let go of the water bucket, which in turn, allowed the water to spurt forth with force, wetting Mary’s dusty skirt and feet. 

“…you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Continued the stranger, who was the least bit alarmed by Mary’s lack of composer. Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. She knew the figure not and found herself feeling strangely uncomfortable, to the point of being afraid, with the appearance by the angel. Sensing her apprehension, the angel said to Mary, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
 
The angel answered Mary with an air of importance, for his message to her was one that would change her life and the course of history forever. The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.” 

Astonished and unable to comprehend the words that the angel had just spoken to her, Mary, unable to say much, said this: I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered in meekly. “May it be to me as you have said.” And as soon as the angel had appeared, he left her. 

Mary Visits Elizabeth

Love Like Water and Chaos

Dear Self,

Take a minute to look at yourself in the mirror. What do you see? Does a crazy-haired,pimple-faced, red-eyed girl stare straight back at you? Does the acne on your face make your heart drop and wrinkle your nose in disgust? Does your body cause you to look away in shame or in horror?
As you look in the mirror, have the courage to look yourself in the eyes and tell that girl-who is struggling to accept and love her person-that she is beautiful. 


Look at that lonely and hurting wallflower. She needs you. That girl, that lonely wallflower who is dying to bloom, needs you to accept her. Because if you will not, nobody else will. 
Going  throughout our day only content with how you look, without once feeling beautiful, is unacceptable! You are beautiful and are made for so much more than all of this! So, stop watching those TV commercials that tell you all about how great it is to be 'flawless'. And, while you are at it, put down that latest edition of Sixteen Magazine that you are reading in the checkout line at Walmart-you know one that's plastered with the message that true happiness and beauty come from being unnaturally skinny, popular, fashionable, and 'flawless'-and Walk Away!


Until you realize that to God, you were meant to be that Beautiful Disaster, you will never love being YOU. You will always feel disgusted with yourself and desire for things you wish you had; compare yourself to others, knowing full-well that what you are thinking is not true about yourself. And your perception of your body will never chance for the better, but will, instead, continue to drown in the sea of self-doubt, pity, low self-esteem; lacking self-confidence to be bold and beautiful.


Realize that in order to change the way you see and feel about yourself, you must first accept the way God made you, knowing that you are beautiful in His eyes.


You are treasured. You are sacred. You are His. And He loved you for all your quirky imperfections.


Do not set your personal standards and perception of yourself off of what the world tells you the 'perfect woman' should look like. It is not real. And, because God made you the way you are, perfection is practically an unattainable self-effort. What is perfect is the way God looks at you with a smile across His face, arms open wide to accept you into His embrace, eyes beaming with a love like water and chaos; and an admiration for you that is beyond belief because He created YOU


You are beautiful in Him. Do not ever forget that! NEVER.
"You aren't plain or forgotten or worthless. It doesn't matter what they say about you, because He says you're worth dying for. He has a message for you: Fall desperately in love with the One who thinks you're more beautiful than a galaxy of stars" (Paperdoll, 51).

Will You Go Out With Me?

March 18, 2011

As most of you know, I have never dated. I am almost 19 and can't say that I wish I had dated while I was younger. It seems a trifle thing to waste ones youth on complex matters of the heart before spiritually and emotionally ready.


I'm sure some of you are giving me the evil eye right about now, or are really wanting to give me a lecture on how dating is a great way to get to know guys, etc. Sure it is, if you know that it will end just as soon as it began.


But for some, it actually may last. That depends, of course, on what God has planned for the both of you. If it's not supposed to be, don't push it. Don't try to make it something it will never be. In the end, you'll cause yourself more heartache than it's worth. (I know from personal observations.)


Try not to go against what God wants for your life, listen to Him, will ya? Let Him, write your love story. Trust me, it's going to be way better than anything you could ever conjure up.


Like I said, I have never dated. Probably something most people would have a hard time believing. You all might even consider my parents to be very controlling, forceful, sheltering people for not letting me date! Oh, I could have at 16. But I didn't want to. I saw no need. For me personally, I would much rather wait to date when I am absolutely certain I am ready to make a commitment to marry.


Until then, I am single, baby!


Anyhow, over the years I have observed a lot of different relationships. Some are acceptable and some that are not. Not to say that I have any right to judge others on how they conduct themselves on a date, around their date, etc., but I have put together definitions for four kinds of relationships–three of which are acceptable for Christians, and one of which is sinful (option #3).


Prearranged Marriage—Recently, a rare form of assisted marriage among American Christians has developed. It is called Biblical Betrothal and favors a conservative approach, where two young people get to know one another in the company of a chaperon and with the sole objective of finding a marriage partner. Dating and even courtship are being discouraged. (Suite101).
Courtship—Our culture has exalted romantic love to be above all. "Love" is often the sole reason given for marriage. All other considerations are often brushed aside. With courtship, perhaps the overriding principle is “wisdom.” What is the wise way to make marriage decisions and avoid sin? Biblical wisdom includes: 1) Understanding human nature including the power of attraction, the effects of infatuation, and the temptations of intimacy - and thus seeing the risks in most dating; and 2) Understanding marriage in terms of God's roles for husbands and wives and what things are most important in this relationship. This includes seeing the need for maturity and preparedness, seeing what things make marriage more difficult and the things that are really important long term. (David Crank).
Missionary Dating—Most people consider it missionary dating when you date a non-believer thinking that you will "convert" him or her to Christianity. Some people also call it "evangelistic dating." While most people fall into missionary dating because they find someone they are attracted to and want to date, there are some people that seek out missionary dating opportunities in order to convert people to Christianity. What Does the Bible Say? There are two scriptures to which most people refer when they warn Christians about missionary dating: 2 Corinthians 6:14 - "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?" (NIV); 1 Corinthians 7:39 - "A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord." (NIV). Meanwhile, others that support missionary dating refer to scriptures about witnessing and spreading the gospel: Matthew 28:19-20 - "Go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples. Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to do everything I have told you. I will be with you always, even until the end of the world." (CEV); Jude 1:23 - "Rescue any who need to be saved, as you would rescue someone from a fire. Then with fear in your own hearts, have mercy on everyone who needs it." (CEV); 1 Peter 3:15 - "Honor Christ and let him be the Lord of your life. Always be ready to give an answer when someone asks you about your hope." (CEV). (About.com).
Alright all you single ladies and gents, here's a list of practical advice (below) for guys and girls specifically:


Christian Dating Principles for Both Guys and Girls


1. Maximize your singleness for God.
2. Do not pursue a relationship until you are ready to marry.
3. Be reasonable – do not set your expectations too high or too low. 4. A date is not dating: date = time together; dating = couple (1 Tim. 5:1-2).
5. Don’t date a non-Christian (2 Cor. 6:14).
6. Only date one person at a time.
7. He initiates; she responds.
8.Look at who God puts in front of you (e.g. Boaz & Ruth).
9. If you are going to use technology, do it wisely. (Facebook, Texting)
10. Only invest in a relationship with someone who you are attracted to entirely (e.g. physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, ministry gifts).
11. Only date someone who agrees with you on gender and family. 12. Guard your heart (Prov. 4:23).


Christian Dating Questions for Guys


1. Are you overlooking good women?
2. Are you honoring, God, her, her family, her friends, etc.?
3. Is she modest (1 Tim. 2:9)?
4. Will she follow your leadership?
5. Does she have noble character (Prov. 31)?
6. Can you provide for the lifestyle she expects (1 Tim. 5:8)?
7. Is she like the worst women in Proverbs (e.g. nag, loud, quarreling, unfaithful)?
8. Do you want your daughters to be like her and your sons to marry someone like her?


Christian Dating Questions for Girls

1. Do you want to help him and join his course of life (Gen. 2:18; 1 Cor. 11:9)?

2. Is he tough enough to remain strong in tough times (2 Tim. 2:3)?
3. Will he take responsibility for you and your children (1 Cor. 11:3)?


*credit for this post largely goes to the youth pastor at White House First Baptist: Dwayne Gibbs*

No one escapes the wilderness on the way to the promised land.

March 17, 2011

Lately, the world appeared to be flying at my head with gale force winds. Emotions I had inadvertently disposed to the back of my mind had escaped, and were maliciously avenging their captivity with their raiser sharp teeth and spiny, seaweed-like tentacles. 
 With my legs wrapped tightly by their suction cupped tentacles, I am forced to fight, while being pulled ruthlessly to the bottom of the ocean. Up above, to my right, is a ship with glistening white sails and silver rails. I swim frantically, still being pulled under by my adversary, towards the ship in search of solitude, safety, and peace. Upon arriving at the ship, I am faced with the decision as to whether or not I will board the ship: deny the spiny tentacles power over me, or surrender to their strikingly horrific power. I don't want to drown. But, I'm emotionally and physically exhausted by the swim and the fight, that giving up seems nice. 
Yet, just as I am about to surrender, someone jumps in after me and, without hesitation, reaches out to me and grabs hold of my arm. It's strong. And I feel safe. Now I don't have to fight a loosing battle on my own. At present, there is hope and an instant ambiance of peaceful bliss and security. 

Our God is a merciful, loving, bold God. He's that hero that brings peace, while taking upon his shoulder the burdens of my weary soul and wounded heart.
"Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it." Psalm 34:14
 "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." John 14:27
 Oh, those suction formed tentacles! How they pursue me! They constantly plague me, causing me grief, unrest, and a bout of indigestion. The evil that tags along with the spindly suction-cupped twigs appear to be a dark, hopeless, insensitive tidal wave. I must get away! 
While God is still having to rescue me from those spiny tentacles that threaten to drag my under the relentless waves of the ocean, He is one thing I will not fight. Letting Him hold me in the palm of His hands, sweep me off my feet, and pull me to safety, has been the best decision I have ever made. I'm still thinking that after all the times He's looked out for me and will evidently save me again.  
"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7 
It may not make any sense-all sorts of emotions and thoughts are swarming imperviously around in my head-but to me, the love and grace God has revealed to my has been utmost comforting to me in my trials. Which brings me to the very reason for the title of my post: to find peace and happiness, we all must first travel (sometimes multiple times) through the wilderness. Many wandering aimlessly for days until reaching the promised land, or gain that peace and happiness we are all in need of and only God can provide.

courage is not the lack of fear but the ability to face it

March 16, 2011


You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do. -Eleanor Roosevelt

Inner Beauty

March 12, 2011

Outer Beauty - The world tells us that to be beautiful, women need to only focus on their appearance. God has a different beauty secret – inward beauty.
“And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us.” ~ Psalm 90:17
What is beauty? There is a beauty of form and figure that catches the breath by its sheer symmetry. Then there is the beautiful supple strength of the athlete. But we are thinking “outward.” What about the “inward,” the beauty of a bright mind, for instance? The queen in Proverbs 31 warned her son, “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised” (v.30).

The most radiant beauty of all is spiritual beauty, that inner tranquility that comes from a meek and submissive spirit resting at the Savior’s feet. Moses prayed that the beauty of the Lord would be upon His people. When David had placed the ark of God inside the tent that he had pitched for it, he offered burnt offerings and told the people to “worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness” (1 Chron. 16:29).

Romans 10:15 tells us that the feet that take the gospel to the lost are beautiful. But how perfectly beautiful is our Savior Jesus! Beautiful in love, holiness, forgiveness, and grace! If we will only pray the prayer of Moses as we worship Him, the Lord will think us beautiful too. We will hear our Savior whisper, “You are fair, my love! Behold, you are fair!” (Song 4:1).

This is Where The Healing Begins

March 7, 2011

You can't get any more real than a post about healing from the past. Healing from pain that is so intricately, and delicately interlocked with the past, is emotionally draining and quiet frightening. 
 The pain almost becomes the primary focus on life. It's that security bubble that constantly reminds me of what it was like to be hurt, without ever allowing me to experience what it is like to be hurt. It's a strong force that, without knowing it, subconsciously captivates me-keeping me from breaking free from my fears and the pain, because I have become dependent on the pain my past has caused me-and debilitating. 
  The pain and the cruel memories play their dirty tricks on me, causing me to relive moments in my life that I would much rather forget than reminisce. Perhaps I only have myself to blame for the pain I endure, even to this very day. I had the choice whether or not to let it control my life. But as a small child, things are so new, and the world is spinning so fast, that it is almost impossible to understand the reasons for why a certain thing has happened.  
 As a little girl, I did not come close to comprehending anything outside the little realm inside my small, closed-off bubble. I suppose this bubble has been slowly, yet surely increasing its maximum security of my heart and feelings-long before I recognized the signs. 
  Locations, events, moments, hours, minutes, seconds, days, weeks, years-they all, in one form or another, linger in the form of bad memories (thoughts of hurtful experiences from the past) and have become barriers to my spiritual and personal growth. 
People have hurt me, criticized me, turned their backs on me, time and time again. Without knowing it, they kill me slowly, and then ask me what my problem is! But, I have to realize this: I am killing myself to by driving myself insane, dwelling on the past. And yet, how can I forget? I want to forget because I am hopelessly tired of hurting. Tired of the lies. Tired of NOT ever feeling good enough....They say "You can't have a rainbow without the rain, so you can't have happiness without pain." But, unlike pain, rain doesn't hurt.
  The burden of pain that I carry has drained, even robbed me, of the energy to be creative and partake in productive activity. And for a long time, all I have felt was this sense of unworthiness, guilt, hopelessness, brokenness; and that I was unforgivable. I am so sick of trying, so sick of crying. I mean, yeah I'm smiling, but inside I'm dying. I'm tired of putting on a show so no one knows. I am sorry to those of you who thought I was strong, I'm not. 
 I pray daily that God will heal the hurt, fix the brokenness, and help me to stop looking back. I don't want to continue feeling pain, fear, sadness, uncertainty. I wish that the hurt and pain from the past would just up and disappear, because I am sick of having to relive the memories and sadness of my past. I want closer, healing. I want something more.
Through my prayers, by reading and submersing myself in the Word, I have come across verses that have helped me greatly:

Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all.~Psalm 34:19   

This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:    “He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.” ~Matthew 8:17

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.~Isaiah 40:30-31
 
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.~Psalm 51:10
I have realized-only recently-that the good thing about God is that he does just what I need, he heals. And by his wound we are healed (Isaiah 53:5). He brings peace, happiness, hope, forgiveness, love, all the things I have been searching for a long time. Now that I have realized this my pain is slowly subsiding. I'm healing. And where that healing begins is simple, Jesus Christ.

In Bloom

March 1, 2011

The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers. - Thich Nhat Hanh