Aug 31, 2016

Farewell August

I just posted yesterday, but today's the last day of August...thus, here's my farewell post!

August...this was one of those months that you just can't sum up in a sentence.  So many different things happened, started, and ended.  Sorry, but you just have to keep reading. ;)



Adventures in Life:

  • I got to visit with the wonderful Hannah and her family for a short afternoon!  It was delightful, like always. =)
  • My summer break ended, and I started up with three online college classes (conversational Spanish, intro to short story, and music appreciation) as well as my usual piano and American Sign Language practices.  Life's busy, but it's getting a bit more organized. =)
  • Family time!!!!  Woot!!!  =)

  • I finished a HUGE Ebay selling project that I've been working on for months! (I had boxes of books to sell for a friend)  Phew.
  • My family participated in the county fair and all won first place.  That's small-town life for you!  No one else enters!  ;)  Lol!
  • The youngest ones in my family got chicken pox this month, and now we are fully immune for the rest of our lives. Yay!
  • My second oldest brother started college.  *sob*  =(
  • I got some new pets for a little while. =)  Full story:  As I got ready to start mowing our lawn, I looked down and saw some rodents wiggling down in the grass.  Pausing to see what they were, I found a mother shrew with her little babies.  As I ran inside to grab my siblings and show them, the mother left.  This left me with three baby shrews that would have been quickly consumed by our boarder collie.  Of course, that wasn't an option (try telling your little siblings that you fed baby "mice" to the dog!) ...so I ended up keeping the baby critters and feeding them drops of cream every three/four hours.  I know!  That was a lot of work.  None of our friends wanted to take them off our hands, though we tried. =)  In the end, we kept them for 5 lovely days.  (This is where I give a lovely bow with a "The End" to keep the story from becoming sad)  I know you want pictures. =)  Aren't they the tiniest, most adorable shrews you ever saw?  Or maybe the only ones you ever saw? ;)




Books I Read:  6



  • A.D. 30 by Ted Dekker
  • The Quest for Thunder Mountain by Ed Dunlop
  • Samara's Peril by Jaye L. Knight
  • Heart of Courage by Lois Walfrid Johnson
  • The Betrayer's Fortune by Dave & Neta Jackson
  • Will's World by Margery Mathis Henderson

My Favorite:
Hmm...my favorite was probably Heart of Courage.  A.D. 30 and Samara's Peril would be close seconds, but they both had adult content...which definitely made me not enjoy them as much as I could have.  But Heart of Courage is a fantastic addition to the Viking Quest series, which is now a family favorite. =)

My Least Favorite:
I read Will's World to fill a space for a reading contest.  It's really short and not very interesting.  But it fit in the category.  =)  Lol!


My New Creations:

I finished the second rough draft of Emblem of Hope!!!!!!!!!!!  This made me SO happy.  God definitely had a hand in this creation.  I can't even imagine how I first sat down and decided to start a full length novel?!  But I did and thanks to God I completed it!  Now to editing...which is sweetened by the fact that I have a lovely editing partner to help me. ;)


Want some stats on my novel????


Pages (full length printer paper):  207

Word Count: 78,457

(Yes, it did take a while.  Phew)



Blog Friends:

Some inspirational posts that you should check out...

From the blog Apples of Gold by Jessica

From the blog Bonnie's Blessings by guest speaker Megan

From the blog Penprints by Rosalie Valentine


Blog Posts:


Here are the archives! =)










I don't know where to put this...so I put it right here. =)  I wanted to share this song by Hawk Nelson that I listened to for the first time this month.  It is So. Good.  Everyone should be reminded of the importance of our words!


Did you have any adventures in August?  What's a favorite book you read this last month?  Have you listened to Hawk Nelson before?  Comment Below! 

Aug 30, 2016

Stress, School, Schedules


School started last week with a BANG.

At least it feels that way.  Ever since my dual-enrollment college classes started, I feel like I've been on the computer all day doing assignments, watching videos, and reading required texts.  Phew.  Where did all the spare time of summer go?!

It can feel quite overwhelming.  One night I finished my Spanish assignment at 7:00 PM and just wanted to go to sleep.  I was exhausted.  Tired.  Stressed.

Through all the stress of school, school, school, it's easy to lose sight of the more important things.  I find myself thinking, I just want to write!  I want to read a book for FUN!  I want a break!  Ahhh!

That's what last week was like.  But it's a new week.  Let's get things into perspective.





Time is limited.  We only have (around) 14 waking hours in a day.  While many things in our lives are reaching out and claiming our precious minutes, we need to make priorities.  School is important.  We need to do it every day.  (except Saturdays and Sundays.  NO SCHOOL for me! *happy sigh*)  But what about the other things that also need dedication and time?

Blogging.  Phew.  I don't usually write this close to my posting date.  I normally create my posts days or weeks ahead of time.  But blogging is something that I have to make time for.  It's my way to encourage people all over the world.  It's how I share my thoughts.  My successes.  My failures.  It’s how I write to the glory of God.  (see Colossians 3:23)


Reading.  While reading is fun...is it always important?  I already have so many assigned books to read.  (well three, but they are long textbooks so it seems longer, okay!?)  Is reading worth my time? Am I using it to glorify God by choosing encouraging, uplifting, and challenging books?  Or is it a waste of time?

My Social Life.  Email... chats... pen-pals... the list goes on and on.  But no matter how crazy life gets, we need to be there for our friends. To pray for them.  To encourage them.  Remember though, there is a limit.  It's so easy to let the internet take over our lives.  I find myself taking breaks while doing school just to have fun with friends...but does that take me away from the more important things?

Family.  I think the second thing that gets abandoned when we are busy is our family. We push them away saying, "I have school.  I'm too busy right now."  But we still somehow have time for our social media, books, and other fun activities, don't we?  Right now I'm trying to figure out how to juggle school work and assignments and still have time to be a loving big sister and daughter.

God.  Phew.  God is definitely the first thing that's abandoned when we are busy.  How many times do you find yourself saying, "Oops.  I forgot to read my Bible today"?  If God is #1 in your life, then you won't be making these excuses.  The busyness of school helps us to reevaluate what's important in our life.  Are the "fun" things in life more important than God?


What are your priorities?  Maybe you haven't jumped into the school year yet.  Good for you!  You can make these decisions before you are forced into the middle of the craziness!  (and enjoy your time off for me!)  =P

Make sure that you are making time for the most important things in your life.  Are you doing "good" things when you can be doing "great" things?  How do you spend your precious seconds, minutes, and hours?  It's really hard for me to juggle all the things I need to do in only one day.  Sometimes I get off school when it's nearly dinner time.  (college dilemmas *sigh*)  But that does NOT give me an excuse to spend the last few hours of my day (tired as I might be!) glorifying and pleasing myself.

What are your priorities?  What things are important to you?  Examine your life, and I think you'll find out.



Did you start the school year yet?  How do you organize your priorities?  What are some things that threaten to come between you and God when you are busy?  Comment below!

Aug 23, 2016

War Room movie review



"Juggling motherhood and her job as a real-estate agent, Elizabeth Jordan wishes her husband could help more around the house. But Tony's rising career as a pharmaceutical salesman demands more and more of his time. With a nice home in the suburbs and a lovely young daughter, they appear to have it all yet they can't seem to spend time together without fighting. 

Hoping for a new listing, Elizabeth visits the home of Clara Williams, an elderly widow, and is both amused and uncomfortable when Clara starts asking pointed questions about her marriage and faith. But it's Clara's secret prayer room, with its walls covered in requests and answers, that has Elizabeth most intrigued . . . even if she's not ready to take Clara's suggestion that she create a prayer room of her own. As tensions at home escalate, though, Elizabeth begins to realize that her family is worth fighting for, and she can't win this battle on her own. Stepping out in blind faith, putting her prayers for her family and their future in God's hands, might be her only chance at regaining the life she was meant for."


Details:


120 Minutes
By the Kendrick Brothers
Directed by Alex Kendrick
Rated: PG
Released: 2015


Negative Elements:


There are very few negative elements in this movie! No bad words or crude language at all. =) The main caution is that a man is flirtatious with a woman other than his wife, and things get serious between them. (until his wife's prayers save him from a bad situation) There is nothing inappropriate shown. There is a little violence (flashbacks of war and one scene of someone with a knife), but it would all depend on your family's opinions. I didn't have a problem with any of the violence.


My Review:


I suppose I should just come out and say this is one of my favorite movies. =) It has impacted my walk with Jesus, unlike many other "good" movies I've seen. The story might not be called "adventurous" or "full of excitement." While there's not much drama in it, the story is simple and captivating. You walk through Elizabeth's struggles as she learns how to become a prayer warrior. She realizes the importance to fight her battles on her knees. As a mentor says, "In order to stand up and fight the enemy, you need to get on your knees and pray." But the struggles that arise seem too heavy for her to carry alone. Even though her family has everything, it seems as if they have missed the point. 

I really enjoyed the acting in this movie. The characters feel so real, and some are quite hilarious. Our family quotes the best lines around the house all. the. time. =) 

This movie impacted me by one of its quotes. Someone says (and I don't know the exact wording), "What would you say if I asked what your prayer life looks like? Is it hot or cold?" It made me examine my own life. Do I fight my battles in my own strength? Or do I bring them before Jesus?

Overall, I think every Christian should watch this movie! The professional acting, superb filming, and convicting story-line turns War Room into a must-see movie!


Other Notes:


I have enjoyed every production that the Kendrick Brothers have made. They are all wholesome, encouraging, and exciting films. I would strongly recommend that you look up their other movies if you haven't seen them. =)


Have you seen War Room? What did you think? Also, tell me about your prayer life. Is it hot or cold? Comment below!

Aug 16, 2016

God is _____? Part 6


A follow up to my post God is _____? Part 5




"(Love) is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrong." -1 Corinthians 13:5

We don't get easily angered, do we?

Haha.  If anyone has little siblings, I think you know what I mean.  Those small things that tick you off - songs sung in the wrong keys, eyes peering over your shoulder as you reply to emails, random little people jumping out to scare you... you get my point. =)  I wouldn't say I get "angry"...maybe "upset", "irritated" "or annoyed" would be better words.

Have you ever felt that way?  Do little things bug you?  Do you struggle with loving the annoying people in your life?  I know I do.  Whether or not you lash out at the person who bothers you, it's wrong to get upset at those little things.  If we are striving to live like Jesus, then what should our lives look like?

"The Lord is slow to anger..." (Nahum 1:3a)

"Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, long-suffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do."  (Colossians 3:12-13)

There you have it.  We need to be slow to anger.  Patient.  Compassionate.  Gracious.  Forgiving.  Why?  Because God has done the same for us!

I have in no way mastered this.  I struggle to always have patience.  It's hard to forgive those who bug us on a daily basis!  But it's 100% necessary for those striving to live a God-honoring life.

What about "keeping a record of wrongs"?  It's easy to fall into a pattern of thinking.  That person always does this to me, so he'll probably do it again.  I can't forgive him!  What's the opposite of keeping a record of wrongs?

Forgiveness!
Did you see the passage from Colossians that I posted above?  "Even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do."  Instead of holding grudges or remembering what someone said to make you mad, forgive them.  Love them.  Give them a second chance.  (Just like Christ has done for you and me!)

Easier said than done, right?  We know that we shouldn't allow ourselves to be angered by little things.  We also know that we should forgive the person and not hold it against them.  But how do we take the first step?

I don't have a clean-cut answer.  This is between you and God.  Ask Him for patience, forgiveness, and love.  If there is a certain person that you need to love more, pray for him.  Maybe do some random acts of kindness towards that person.  Hold your tongue when they ruffle your feathers.  I'm with you in this challenge.  I'm going to try (and pray!) to be a patient, loving sister and friend to those around me.  Even when it's hard.  No, especially when it's hard!

Ultimately, show them Christ's love.  Maybe that's what they need to change.  Maybe they need a friend - someone who doesn't judge them, hate them, or ignore them.  Be that person.


How are you going to show love to someone who you don't get along with?  Do you have any thoughts on these qualities of God?  Comment below!

Aug 12, 2016

"Why?" a poem



This is a follow-up on my last post How I Met Ms. Judith.  I mentioned that I put my thoughts together in a poem...and here are the results!  This is my first attempt at writing blank verse - a poem that doesn't rhyme.  It's actually quite fun. (you should try it!)

Enjoy!




Why?

They ask me

Why do you believe?

Why do you have faith?

Why do you love the un-seeable?

The world tempts and pulls

It tries to blind me

What can I say?




Why?

God shows me

Why do I believe?

I feel Him working

Working in my life right now

I fear, He comforts

In His arms I dwell

Now I am safe




Why?

God prods me

Why do I have faith?

I can see Him near

Creation shows His splendor

Since He made it all

Why would I not trust?

God is around




Why?

God shows me

Why do I love Him?

How could I not love?

My Savior, He first loved me

My God died for me

Now I am rescued

For God is Love




Why?

God guides me

Why is my life His?

Freely I gave it

To worship, praise, adore Him

He comforts, guides, loves

He whispers my name

He is with me




Why?

I see now

Why am I in Christ?

With arms open wide

He welcomes me to accept Truth

Tender, He holds me

He guides me through life

He is my God



Thoughts?  Have you ever written a poem with blank verseHow would you answer the questions I asked in the poem?  Comment below!

Aug 9, 2016

How I Met Ms. Judith

Let's just start out saying: I got to witness to someone!!!!!

Okay...so maybe it wasn't quite witnessing.  But it was an amazing experience.  Should I start from the beginning?



My mom, three little sisters, two little brothers, and I were selling trying to sell blackberry plants, fresh blackberries, and frozen blackberries at the farmer's market in town.  We didn't actually sell that much, but who cares?  Thankfully, God blessed us with an overcast day as we sat under the tent displaying out juicy produce.  And as we were hanging out there by ourselves...up walks Ms. Judith.

We've actually met her before.  She lives quite close to our road.  But because she is single and lives alone in the middle of the country, she likes to go to town often and talk.  And talk.  And talk.  Haha.

So this is basically how our conversation with her went:

Me: direct the conversation towards God
Ms. Judith:  talk on and on over my head
Mom: leads the conversation back to important issues
Ms. Judith: talk on and on over both of our heads

Yeah...so it was a really hard situation. *sigh*  Ms. Judith is very smart.  Extremely smart.  (Now I'm wondering why she lives in a tiny, backwards town like ours?)  She knows the Bible very well.  She's read the entire Book numerous times.  She has studied all of the famous works, scientists, etc.  There is only one problem.  She missed everything.

When Mom asked her, "Is Jesus as the Son of God?" Ms. Judith replied with, "Those words don't actually appear in the Bible.  It was a mis-translation."  She believes that "all religions lead to God"...but she isn't sure that there is a God.  (quite confusing, I know.)  She says that she is a morally good person.  The only sin she has committed, she told us, is the sin of omission. (not doing what you know you should do)  She doesn't kill any animal.  Not even poisonous spiders or rattlesnakes.  (Eek!)  She doesn't believe in abortion.  Thus, she must be a "good" person.  However, she also admitted that she isn't humble enough to accept that she is a sinner.

At the end of our conversation, Mom said what I had been thinking the whole time.  "The Bible says that you must come to God, trusting as a child, or you will miss it all.  (Matthew 18:3) You are too smart for your own good.  I think you've missed the point."

How sad.  How could someone be so smart...but lack true wisdom?  How could they read the entire Bible, study it for years, and come away from that experience believing that it's a flawed book with translation errors?

But this is what I gained from the conversation:

What if someone came to me and asked me why I believe the way I do?  What would I say?

Why do I love God?  Why do I read the Bible?

So I sat down and prayed about it.  I want you to do the same.  Ask God.  Find out what is behind your actions.  Do you do it because you have to?  Or do you do it because of love?

When I was finished, I had found a huge blessing poured down on me.

I do it all because I love Him.  And because He loves me.

God is always by my side.  He listens to my (sometimes silly) prayers.  He can see all the sins, faults, and ugliness in my heart and He loves me just the same. He will never leave me nor forsake me. (Deuteronomy 31:6) He loves me with a love that lasts forever. (Jeremiah 31:3) He knows my every thought. (Psalm 139:2)  He sees my every tear. (Psalm 56:8) He knows the number of hair on my head. (Luke 12:7)

How could I not love Him in return?

But I want you to ask yourself the same question.  Are you reading the Bible like Ms. Judith?  Are you missing the point?  Why do you do what you do?  Is this all for show?  Or is it real?

Maybe if you write down your answer, you can see it more clearly.  I wrote a poem to express my thoughts.  Do whatever you need to do to find out the Truth.

Examine your life.

What did you find?  Why do you read the Bible, pray, and seek God?  Also, have you ever witnessed to someone who had missed the point of everything?   Share your thoughts in the comments!