Saturday, December 31, 2011

one word. one verse.

Last January, I declared 2011 the year of change. At that point in time, I was about to move into a new dorm room with a roommate that I had never met at a new college with a new major. That's a lot of change going on at once. As I look back at the past year, I changed so much- and I think it was a good kind of change. I've made so many new friends. I've grown deeper in my relationship with God. While I vent about my college all the time- secretly I really love it. I love my new major. Over the past year, I've learned that change can be a good thing.

So, when it came time to pick my one word for 2012, it was kind of hard. I mean, change fit last year- and it still fits now. My life feels at times like it's in a constant state of chaos due to all the changes I face. But, I wanted a new word for the new year. So, for this year, I picked
I know, it seems like a silly word. Sparkle reminds me of so many things, and that's why I'm picking it. It comes from Philippians 2:14-15 where Paul tells the Phillipians to "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe." Sparkle just sounds prettier than shine.

I want to sparkle this year. I want to be that princess (the child of God) that I talk about becoming and I want to dwell in the presence of the King. I want to sparkle this year and let my personality shine through. I want to sparkle and show people the love of Jesus. Finally, I want to find all the sparkle in my life. Seeing as Project 365 is kind of hard (though I lasted 2 whole months last year!), I'm going to try a Project 52. One picture (at least!) a week that shows the sparkle in my life. It may be finding joy in things that I would normally complain or argue about...or they might just be things that make me smile each week. It's about focusing on the sparkle in my life and how I can sparkle in the world I live in.

Last year, I also tried to memorize 2 scriptures a month. While I'd love to say that I'm going to do that again, I just don't see it happening. So, in an effort to simplify, I'm committing to one verse at a time (well, it's actually four this time). I'm going to work at my own pace and work with the scriptures that I come across rather than rushing into things and overcommitting myself. To start with, I'm going to work on Jeremiah 29:11-14. I'll write a little more on why this one tomorrow, but for now, I want to just share the word with you.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity.I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
I think that passage is just beautiful. God WILL provide a future for us! Even when the economy is down and we don't know how we are EVER going to find a job in this job market, HE has a plan that is greater than we could ever imagine!

Friday, December 30, 2011

christmas vacation

I’m not the best at remembering to blog about my family vacation to the Keys. Sorry.
I promise that even though it took me so long to blog about it, it WAS really fun. Mostly because it was warm. Like Nike shorts and a tshirt kind of warm.
It was pretty depressing to fly back into Atlanta where it was cold.
I didn’t bring my camera on the trip, so all photos were taken by my mom. She’s pretty much the best.
We didn’t take many pictures because we were busy relaxing. But, Mom did bring the camera when we drove down to Key West.
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These are some pictures from the Southernmost Point. Interesting fact. At this point in Key West, you are closer to Cuba than Miami. I tried to talk Desmond into going for a little swim- I mean, 90 miles isn’t THAT far- but he wasn’t interested.
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There were chickens everywhere in Key West. Apparently they are native or special or something, so the people that live there aren’t allowed to remove them or anything. Desmond decided to go run out in the street and chase one around a bit.
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We couldn’t go to Key West without having some Key Lime Pie! We visited a little shop that Bobby Flaw did a throwdown at one time. Can you tell that we are huge Food Network fans in our house?
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We saw a pretty sunset.
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And we saw some street performers. Let me just say- Key West is crazy. Like voodoo lady and drag show kind of crazy. Not exactly family friendly. But, it was fun to go on an adventure.
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We stayed at a little place called Hawk’s Cay.
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Desmond did a SNUBA lesson the morning we left. He thought it was the coolest, even though it was just in swimming pool.
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Then, we drove back to Miami so that we could catch our flight out in the morning!
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Overall, I’d say it was a good vacation. I mean, it was warm. It’s hard to eat gluten-free on vacation though, so I ended up sick a few times. We flew back on Christmas Eve, so the Miami airport was crazy. The culture of entitlement at resorts isn’t something I’m fond of. I missed southern accents. Fun? Yes.

How do you balance things though? How do you deal with watching African-American and Latino workers board a bus to Miami every night (in a scene that looked eerily like “The Help”?) How do you deal with seeing all the strip clubs as you drive down the road knowing that it is likely that sex slaves are trapped there? Girls that have been promised a future in America that were tricked? It’s hard to look at people spending so much money on vacations knowing that there are children starving across the street. It’s hard when you know what you ought to be doing conflicts with what you are doing. How do you find balance in your life?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Home Again

Merry Christmas! I hope that all of you had a wonderful Christmas Day celebrating the birth of our Savior and spending time with family and friends.

I love Christmas jammies pictures. They make me smile and I love looking at them year after year.

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Last week, my family and I spent some time in the Keys. Vacations are fun. Especially when they mean 80 degree days and laying out in swimsuits. Obviously, I didn’t want to post all the details on here before we went (just in case one of you dear friends is really a creepy old man that wants to break into my house or kidnap me). But, now that we are home again, I decided that some details could be shared. I’m still editing up some pictures, but here’s a sneak peek into last week!

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

All I Want for Christmas is a Bathrobe- Christmas Series Part 5

Okay. So maybe a bathrobe isn't all I wanted for Christmas when I was five. But, I was pretty gleeful. Today is the last day of this Christmas Blog Series. It really was fun to remember all the fun Christmas memories, and I think this is a great video to end on. We'll pick back up tomorrow morning for a Christmas Recap like every year! Happy Christmas Eve!



What kind of old memories do you have of Christmas morning growing up?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Unwrapped- Christmas Series Part 4

Today, we're going to fastforward a few years to 1995. The three year old is now a five year old and that means more presents and more expectations. Happy Christmas Eve Eve! :)


Things to Note:

  • I really could read. Promise cross my heart. I was super genius. But, have you ever tried to read presents with names written in cursive on them? I thought so. You understand my predicament then.
  • My nightgown was handmade by my Mom. She had loads more time to do crafty things before the boys came along. Which means I better sew all I can when I have first future child because I won't have time when the others come along.
  • My nightgown's pattern was not upside down like my cat dress a few days ago. I'm pretty sure someone didn't want all my clothes to have upside down pictures. That would just be awkward.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Morning- Christmas Series Part 3

Christmas Morning. I think it has the best feeling. There's a sense of anticipation in the air. I mean, it's part of the magic of Christmas. Every kid wonders as they run to their stockings if this year will be the year that Santa will have them on the naughty list and they will get coal. So, today I want you to think back as far as you can remember and think about that Christmas of Innocence. The Christmas before you grew up. Remember running into the room, whatever room your family "does Christmas" in and that realization that "all your dreams came true".

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Girl that Got Stamps for Christmas- Christmas Series Part 2

As you may remember from yesterday's post, we're rediscovering Christmas through a three-year-old's eyes. Do you remember the kinds of presents that you got for Christmas way back when? I got stamps. I guess that just shows that I was destined to be a Martha Stewart at an early age.


Things to Note:
  • I was in awe that I got a "Teddy Bear Tamp". I didn't know that punches held that much excitement.
  • What mother gives a three year old an ink pad? Mine. It's either because I was a super responsible child or that I was the firstborn and therefore could do no wrong. This was in the days before the boys came along. Thus, this super responsible child got an ink pad for Christmas.
  • Little Mermaid was the coolest Disney Princess ever back then. She was even on my birthday cake when I turned four.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sharing is Caring- Christmas Series Part 1

One of my favorite parts of Christmas is remembering memories about family. I love sitting around and playing "Remember When?" and laughing about things that happened in the past. Another way to relive Christmas is to go back and watch old home videos. So, this week, we're going to be taking a few days to relive the past and give you a peek into a the Christmas of a certain three-year-old.


Things to Note:
  • I had a stutter. It's definitely because it was so smart that my mouth couldn't keep up with my brain. If you notice, sometimes I still get a little caught up in my words when I think to fast. Sorry, it's a smart people thing.
  • I wasn't real great at sharing. But, I was all into people sharing with me.
  • Daddy gets clamps every year for Christmas now. Most of the time, it's just a joke. But, it all goes back to the Christmas when he told me "Lauren, you can never have too many clamps". Daddy liked working in the shop and building stuff.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Ahead of my time...

So, I came up with a great Christmas Week blog series. But, due to some unforeseen technical difficulties, we're going to have to postpone that a bit. Until then, I uncovered this home video to share. Lest anyone think I'm behind on the times, I want it to be known that I was a video-blogger (henceforth known as a "vlogger") from the tender age of five.


Things to note in the video:
  • My dress has upside-down cats on it. Originally, it was supposed to be right-side up ones like normal people have. But, seeing as my mom sewed, it didn't turn out that way. We're not going to mention who's error of judgement that was- but I wanted the cats facing me so I could look at them right-side up. Yep. I was that girl.
  • My theology is horribly incorrect. Let it be known that after taking a course in Christian Theology, I can assure you that my belief that "Everybody loves Jesus, because Jesus loves me and I'm the princess" was definitely heretical. Shh. Don't mention my past to future employers. I was FIVE for goodness sake!
  • I wrote my song myself.
  • I choreographed that dance at the end myself. (Myself being the girl that dropped out of dance class every time her mother signed her up for it and the girl who had absolutely no rhythm.)
  • Video services provided by Daddy. We didn't have webcams back in 1995. I'm not even sure we had the web?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

dream jobs.

So, I read this post by Amy Beth yesterday and it got me thinking.
What do I really want to be when I grow up?
Like, if money/location/etc didn't matter?
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  1. A Mommy.
  2. A Princess. 
  3. A Disney Princess (like at the parks!).
  4. A Preschool/Kindergarten Teacher.
  5. A Children's Director.
  6. A Children's Ministry Curriculum Writer. (Is that what they're called? I don't really know. But, I'd love to write curriculum)
  7. A Cupcake Shop Owner.
  8. Run an  "Imagination Shop".
  9. Work for Compassion.
  10. A Social Worker.
  11. A Campaign Manager. (Haha. I know. Lauren + Politics= Dangerous.)
  12. A Footie Pajama Designer.
  13. A Footie Pajama Model.
  14. A Cupcake Taste-Tester.
  15. A Nanny. 
  16. A Writer.
  17. An Etsy Shop Owner.
  18. The Person That Comes Up With TLC Shows
  19. Hannah Montana. (That's a joke...promise?)
  20. A "Baby-Rocker" at an Orphanage (That's ROCKER, not ROBBER)
  21. A Wedding Planner.
  22. A College Professor.
  23. A Bridal Boutique Owner.
  24. A Professional Monogrammer.
  25. A Baby Panda Trainer. 
  26. The Person on "Extreme Home Makeover" That Leads the Crowd in Saying "Move That Bus!"
  27. A Fairy Godmother.
  28. The Wish Giver-Outer for Make-A-Wish
  29. Abby Cadabby. Fancy Nancy. Or Pinkalicious.
  30. A Clown. (I know that sounds creepy. But, I just want to hand out the balloons. I'd be a nice, non-creepy clown. Promise.)
  31. One of Santa's Elves at Christmastime at the Mall.
  32. A Tiara Tester.
There's lots more jobs that I'm sure I would love, but these are the first thirty-two that came to mind.
If you could have any job in the world...no limitations...what would you want to be?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Lessons Learned

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
I'm guest posting over at Bloom today about being a recovering perfectionist.
I'd love if you'd hop over there and check it out
Keep reading the rest of the blog, too. I promise that Nicole will rock your world!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Perfect Blogger Syndrome

You know, there's so many wonderful things to be said about blogging. It brings us new friends, gives us ways to document our lives, and can bring a sense of purpose as we bring a message to the world. But, there's also bad things. Have you ever read someone's blog and thought "Why can't I be like THEM?" Have you ever edited a post because you thought "Oh, my hair looks awful in that picture" or "I don't really need to share that story"? I think we all get to this point at sometime or another. I mean, how can we resist comparing ourselves to others in blogging when we do it in real life? 

I think there's something out there called Perfect Blogger Syndrome. How many times do we "run out of things to blog about" because our lives seem so boring compared to others? How many times to we disappear because our lives are no longer glamorous and fun and exciting? I've read so many posts on this subject this week and I think I've figured out why I don't blog anymore. It's not because I've run out of topics. It's just that the topics I have aren't fun and exciting. I've learned that life isn't always "Yay Jesus!". Sometimes it's a quiet prayer for help getting through the day, and that's okay. It doesn't make me any less of a person because my dorm room looks like, well...a dorm room. It doesn't make me any less of a person because I don't go on fun and exciting trips and meet fun and exciting people. I'm still me, Lauren. I'm still a blogger. God has me in this place in my life for a reason. This week, Ashlyn wrote a post on her blogging comeback. In it, she wrote
I've realized that I need to get over myself, because there's people out there--at least I'm pretty sure--that don't always want to see a shimmering little life where my nails are always an unchipped You Don't Know Jacques and my new little Atlanta home looks like Pinterest knocked on my door and said "GIRL, get out da way I'm here to decorate." And where it's really easy to be 23-and-a-half because you were pretty good at college and then lived by yourself on the road for a year. This stage is more like the junior high of adulthood. And that's okay!
It's okay. It's okay not to be perfect. It's okay not to have all your Christmas decorations up. It's okay not to have a perfect family Christmas card. God loves us in spite of our imperfections, so it really shouldn't matter what people think. It's okay not to always have fun adventures to share- we can still share the ordinary, mundane events of life. That just makes the exciting times look all the more exciting. It's okay not to be the "Perfect Blogger" with 456,343,233,783 followers. It's hard not to compare ourselves to others, but it makes blogging so much more enjoyable. 

After all, didn't we start this to write down memories so that we could remember them years from now? Didn't we start blogging to bring glory to God...and not to ourselves? These are things I need to remember in times when I'm tempted to compare myself to the "Perfect Blogger". None of us are perfect. Some of us just let our imperfections shine through more than others. Let's take down the facade and not be afraid to be ordinary. After all, I'm no celebrity. I'm just a girl in college from a small town in Alabama. Embrace the ordinary. Embrace the mundane. Find contentment in who you really are and not who you're pretending to be.

Monday, December 5, 2011

yikes.

  • We're going to do a bullet point list today because that's really as far as my brain can go.
  • I had my first final today. Professor showed up 30 minutes late, but it only took me 5 minutes because it was easy. That's good, right?
  • I watched Eloise at Christmastime this morning. It's pretty much my favorite Christmas movie.
  • On another related note, I watched Rudolph and Polar Express tonight. I promise I'm studying Mom.
  • I have about 1/2 of my Theology study guide done and that's not even until Wednesday. 
  • So, I started a gluten-free experiment last week. 
  • Hence the reason I have a bunch of gluten free pins on Pinterest
  • I already feel somewhat better, but it's hard to tell. I'm pretty sure I'm sticking with it though. 
  • I miss cupcakes the most. I'm going to have to make some GF ones ASAP. Come on Gigi's, get with the picture and make some yummy gluten free food for me.
  • Oh- and mexican food. I had a Moe's craving today. And Pizza Hut- don't get me started on that one. The dough...
  • I'm pretty sure that I'm about to go to sleep. I've been in jammies all day and in bed for most of it too. But, I was productive (aforementioned study guide + finishing a term paper).
  • I really need some Christmas socks.
  • I'm feeling more than slightly nerdy today. Bahaha.

  • If you haven't heard of Nicole's "Big Give", you need to check out her blog ASAP. Pronto. Um, go! 
  • And...goodnight. :)

    Wednesday, November 30, 2011

    passioniate.

    In open fields of wild flowers,
    she breathes the air and flies away
    She thanks her Jesus for the daises and the roses
    in no simple language
    Someday she'll understand the meaning of it all

    He's more than the laughter or the stars in the heavens
    As close a heartbeat or a song on her lips
    Someday she'll trust Him and learn how to see Him
    Someday He'll call her and she will come running
    and fall in His arms and the tears will fall down and she'll pray,
    "I want to fall in love with You"

    This song is a beautiful illustration of why I feel called to go into the ministry and why I want to work with kids. The way that they view the world is so innocent. The way that they can look at the simplest things breaks my heart for Jesus. I love the way that their little minds work and I love hearing what they have to say. I love that they are willing to question everything and I love how they rejoice in the little things. Yet, I long for the way that their spiritual lives mature and they fall completely and utterly in love with God. When I hear this song by Jars of Clay, I get chill bumps down my arms and I get a little emotional. I cannot wait for the day when the kids that I work with "get it". I can't wait for the day when He calls them and they hear Him. I can't wait for the day when they give up the fight and run towards him. I want them so badly to fall into His arms and tell him that they want to fall in love with Him. I can't wait for they day when they really get it- not just they day that they "say a prayer" or even get baptized. But the day when they experience that longing for God and they realize their complete inadequacy- that's the day I'm longing for. That's why I'm so passionate about educating our children. That's why I'm so passionate about NOT watering the gospel down. These kids can handle it- they are so smart. I want them to be completely in love with Jesus. 

    Monday, November 21, 2011

    Miscellany Monday

    Miscellany Monday @
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    It's been forever since I've done one of these, but I think it's time to pick it up again!

    {one} Can I just say that I am suddenly awful at taking pictures? I'm supposed to be a blogger and a scrapbooker! Since August, I've taken pictures of my Sunday School class, one of Desmond's football games, and of my "new" room- FAIL. I mean, I've taken a few "twitter pictures" with my phone, but Girl has got to get better with this. Project Life went down hill by March, so I've got to find some way to document my life. Any ideas?
    Picture that my MOM took the other night during Family Movie Night!
    {two} I'm SO ready for this semester to be over. I really don't want to write all of these term papers. Today, I'm attempting to tackle Biblical Womanhood for my C.S. Lewis class. I think I've reached the conclusion that it's not all about the womanhood- it's about being the person that God created us to be. "Biblical Personhood" as my dear friend Annie put it in a comment on the blog a little while back. Each of us have different roles for the kingdom- it's how we were created- but in the end, it's about both of us sacrificing our wants for another person's needs. John Piper puts it like so:
    Biblical headship for the husband is the divine calling to take primary responsibility for Christlike, servant-leadership, protection and provision in the home. Biblical submission for the wife is the divine calling to honor and affirm her husband’s leadership and help carry it through according to her gifts. (Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood)
    That's deep. Chew on it for a bit and get back to me.

    {three} I've still got to work on the final draft of my exegesis paper (it's on fear and the like) and write a term paper on hell. (Okay, so it's more on how an all loving, all powerful God could send people to Hell). It's based kind of as a response to Rob Bell and the like, but more just as a response to my theology teacher. I'm building upon a paper that I posted here called "Love Wins...or Not?" and if you wanted to look over that and tell me what's confusing/what you love/what you hate...you can email me (address on the sidebar). Or you can just read it and gain some wisdom from my vast theological knowledge (haha. very funny Lauren).

    {four} I wanted to end on an even number since I like those better (other than the number seven. I know, I'm weird). I don't really have another point, but since this is miscellany monday, I figured that I can be miscellaneous and do that. Off to work on that paper now. After I get a diet coke and a study snack, of course. Procrastination at its finest.

    Monday, November 14, 2011

    dorm decorating

    It's no secret that I love color. I cannot stand living in a room with all-white walls. Which makes a dorm room pretty difficult to live in. But, I've figured it out as I've went along and made do with what I had. After all, I'm grateful that I get to go to college and live on campus. It sure makes getting to my 8am a lot easier! With the invention of Pinterest, I've gotten all sorts of inspiration on how to decorate this thing. I'm still not done hanging everything up, but I thought I'd post where I'm at right now. Keep in mind, I moved in this room six days ago (from down the hall, but I still had to pack everything up and take everything down and then put it all up). Sorry for the terrible pictures, I just had my phone (which doesn't have a great camera) but I wanted to get this blogged.

    On the left, you can see my "desk" area. It also has my TV and printer and all that jazz. I got the "bunting" idea from Pinteres and made the triangles out of scrapbook paper that I already had. I didn't use a pattern or anything, I just drew 2 triangles on a 12x12 sheet and cut them out using scissors. Then, I taped them together and used sticky tack to put them on the wall.
    On the right is the "hallway" from my "room" to my door. It's also where my "kitchen" is (by kitchen I mean my microwave and fridge...haha).
     Here's my bathroom. I know that's an odd thing to post on your blog, but I think my bathroom is pretty cute. It's all polkadotted!

    And finally, this is my "bed area". Yes, my bed is outrageously high. Yes, I have to jump to get in it or I use a chair (Just not the spinny kind. That tends to make you slip and fall. Trust me.) But, it gives me lots of storage space, which I like. :)
    Then, we have my dresser. Currently it has some things that I haven't hung on my wall yet (ran out of command strips) and my creativity print from elisejoy.
     And that's a tour of my dorm room. Kind of tiny, but it's cozy and I don't have to share it with anyone- which is really nice. Yay! Not that I don't hanging out with someone, but it's nice to have my own space. Now that I'm done with some decorating tonight, I'm working on a paper for my C.S. Lewis class on biblical womanhood and marriage and watching Matilda. Because it's kind of a favorite. :)

    Sunday, November 13, 2011

    Be Grateful.

    This month at church, we're working on teaching the kids about gratitude. I mean, it IS Novemeber (which means THANKSGIVING) and all. So, I thought it'd be neat to talk about gratitude a bit this week. I was so convicted this morning when I was teaching. I mean, it's easy to get in front of the kids and tell them what they need to do. But, it is so much harder to actually live it out. Face it, it is HARD to be grateful when things aren't going my way.

    Isaiah 25:1 says, "LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago." God has an amazing plan for each one of is. We have plenty of reasons to be thankful. But, have you ever noticed that this is a little easier said than done? It's easy to be thankful when things are going good. But, it's easier to have a bad attitude when things aren't going our way. What kinds of things give you a bad attitude? Maybe it's fighting with a best friend or maybe it's the neighbor down the hall that likes to blast loud music late at night. Maybe it's when a friend betrays your trust or when a boy breaks your heart. It's hard to embrace the good in these things and give thanks to God for them. But, we are called to fight against the negativity. We are called to have an attitude of gratitude and find a reason to be grateful in every situation. I was talking about this with my kids this morning and one of the girls in the class shared something that her dad had challenged her to, and I extended the challenge to the rest of the class. She told us about how her dad challenged her and her brothers on the way to school to find a way to be grateful in a situation that day that they normally wouldn't be grateful in. Then, she told us about how she had done this. I want to challenge you to do this week. Find one thing each day to be grateful about, even when gratefulness isn't easy. I mean, we have plenty of reasons to be grateful this week. Maybe you're upset that you have ten million papers due this week, but you can be grateful that you have the opportunity to attend school. Write these down as we go so that we can share them and encourage each other! :)

    Saturday, November 12, 2011

    eleven-eleven-eleven

    Hey, I know I'm a day late on this. But, seeing as #33 on my 101 in 1001 list is to write down everything that happens on 10/10/10, 11/11/11, and 12/12/12..I wanted to make sure I didn't completely forget. You can see last years post here and probably tell that I put way more effort in to that one. But, that's okay, because we're making memories! We're going to do bullet points this year, because that's how I roll! :)

    • 9 am-ish: Wake up and get ready to run errands in town with Mom and the boys. Yay for an Inservice Friday!
    • 9:55 am: Actually leave the house.
    • 10am: Max goes to guitar lessons, while Mom, Desi, and I make a Goodwill run. No really good deals for me, but Mom and Des find some things.
    • 11am: Lunch and Bowl! Daddy left work to come meet us for lunch at the bowling alley while we did a little bowling. Not the greatest game on my part...I think I got around 45 points. After bowling, we ran by Krispy Kreme and got some doughnuts...yum. 
    • 2:30pm: Max had some friends over to the house for a "jam session". Which really just means it was really loud. 
    • 3:00pm: Mom and I decide to escape the madness and run up to WalMart. Always a fun experience.
    • The kids were picked up around 4:30, so we finally got a bit of a breather.
    • Then, we ate dinner. I had a panini. It was yummy. :)
    • That night, we had a lazy at-home night and watched some Disney Channel. Then, I went to bed around 9:00-9:30...because I like my sleep and we had a busy day planned for 11/12! 
    And that was my 11/11/11. Yay! :)

    Wednesday, November 9, 2011

    Christmastime is Coming!

    Christmas is my favorite time of the year. There are so many fun traditions that we do as a family and I just love everything to do with the season. Confession: I've already started listening to Christmas music. So, when I realized that Christmas was right around the corner, I realized that I needed to start working on Christmas cards. I mean, getting Christmas cards from friends and family is always fun! So, I started looking online and I came across a company called TinyPrints. They have super cute cards for all occasions on their site. But, I like their Christmas cards the best!


    TinyPrints has all sorts of cards in their collection. They have photo cards and non-photo cards. They have 5x7 ones and ones that fold out. (Now, if I could find enough "Christmas Card worthy" pictures from the next year to do this one, we'd be great!)
    If you go to http://www.tinyprints.com/shop/picture-christmas-cards.htm, you can find some cute Christmas Cards for you and your family too! There are several filters on the left hand side that make it easy to narrow down the selection. Personally, I really like the whimsy and the vintage style cards. They also have a wide selection of religious cards- which this non "Happy Holidays" girl kind of likes. If you know me by now, you should know that I'm cheap. So, I'm getting my cards from TinyPrints this year through their blogger program. TinyPrints still has their blogger campaign going on (until November 11th at midnight at least!), and you can go here for more information on how you can sign up and get 50 free Christmas cards for your family! Merry Christmas! :)


    Monday, November 7, 2011

    learning to love is hard.

    I'm serious. Sometimes I feel like I never get a break. I get so frustrated with people because they blow things out of proportion and they act like we're still in middle school. Um, sorry. We're in college now. I feel like God is really trying to prove to me that he is the center of my life. He is the one thing that I can build my foundation upon. Laura Story sings in "Faithful God" (one of my favorite songs) about how God is "For You are the love that never leaves, the friend that won't deceive, You're the one sure thing". I'm trying so hard to lean on this, but I've felt like I keep getting the short end of the stick. If you notice, I don't have twitter on my sidebar any more. I like having it there so that people don't have to follow me to see what I'm up to. It's like a mini-blog. I like having  my twitter not private. But, because of an unfortunate set of events, I've been forced to make that private. If you want to follow me, just request it and I'll approve it. I'm really not that picky. I feel like losing my roommate last week and now a run in with another suite-mate this week is about to drive me up a wall. It is really hard to love someone when they are screaming in your face and when they talk about how horrible a person you are. But, as I wrote about last week, we must love like Jesus even when it's hard. In the end, God will work it all out. It is not my duty to make sure that "justice is served" in every situation. It may seem really difficult because things don't seem fair. 


    And in my situation, I finally caught a break. Another room has become available and I'm moving into it ASAP. I'm hoping and praying that all the little details will work out, but I know that a miracle happened tonight. I know that God is watching over me and meeting my every need. Even though it's frustrating to have to pack everything up and take down everything that you just put up- I know it will be worth it. It is hard to get along with people you love- it is harder to get along with people you don't like. It's hard to get along with people you are similar with- it is hard to get along with people that are your polar opposite. But. God had a plan for this situation. As he wrote in Jeremiah 29:11, he has a plan for this semester. Even when things look rough. Even when we're in "exile" and we can't see the way out, he has a plan for us to prosper and to give us a future.

    Friday, November 4, 2011

    It's FRIDAY!

    Honestly...I'm pretty much the clumsiest person on the face of the planet. In the last 24 hours, I've hit my head on my bed twice and I just stubbed my toe. And I've caught myself countless times when I was about to trip. Stupid sidewalks.

    Honestly...I'm pretty excited abut Secret Church tonight! My family is going over to a friend's house to watch it. I'm pretty excited to hear what David Platt has to say tonight.

    Honestly...I have Rebecca Black's song "Friday" stuck in my head. Possibly because I was "7 am wakin' up in the morning". Friday, Friday.

    Honestly...That last factoid was more than a little embarrassing. Forget that one.

    Honestly...I'm more confused than ever about what I want to do with my life. So, I've decided to only take 12 hours next semester and stick around until next Fall. It's not the end of the world to graduate one semester late- especially being on my third college, fifth major, and taking a semester off!

    Honestly...I'm pretty excited that we are watching Chronicles of Narnia in my C.S. Lewis class. I needed this break so badly in there!

    Honestly...I'm so glad to be done with my exegesis paper for my Prophet's class. It's one of the hardest papers I've written. This was just the first draft though...so still more work to do (eventually) on this one. But, I'm done with it for a week!

    Honestly...I'm feeling SO much better thanks to some of my amazing blog and real-life friends. I'm so glad that I have this kind of support system to help me through tough times!

    Honestly...I watched Jonah: A Veggie Tales Movie last night on Hulu while doing Christian Theology homework. Religion nerd, I know. But, this is why I love my life. :)

    Wednesday, November 2, 2011

    this week.

    This past week has honestly been one of the hardest I've gone through in a long time. It's amazing how fast things can go from bad to worse and how much it can hurt to be betrayed by someone that you thought was your friend. I've learned a lot this week. But, I think the one thing I've learned is that we must love like Jesus even when it's hard. It's so easy for us to forget that it's not always easy to love like Jesus. We forget that he we completely betrayed by some of his best friends. We forget that this betrayal cost him his life. It's easy to hate people when they do bad things. It's easy to want to talk about them and ruin their life and hurt them like they hurt you. But, we (as Christians) are called to a higher purpose. We are called to love. And not just love when it's easy- but love even when it's hard. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that we must love strong enough not to hate. He says to turn the other cheek when we are hurt by someone. In a sermon titled "Loving Your Enemies", he says
    Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, "Love your enemies." It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. Just keep being friendly to that person. Just keep loving them, and they can’t stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes they’ll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break down under the load. That’s love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. There’s something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies.  
    1 John 4:20 says, "If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen." We must love even when it's hard. We must love even when others don't love us back. Our love can overcome their hatred. Even when people are spreading lies about you and saying mean things- we are called to love them. Even when someone disappoints us, we are called to love them. Even when someone does the opposite of what we think Christ would want them to do and we think we are the one that is right, we are called to love them. We are called to love them in every circumstance. We are called to love them because Christ Jesus first loved us. We let God down all the time. We sin and we disappoint Jesus. We treat his sacrificial death on the cross as meaningless all the time- yet he still loves us. Since Christ loves us, we must love our enemies. Since Christ loves us even when it doesn't make sense, we are called to love others even when it doesn't make sense. 

    Sunday, October 30, 2011

    do not fear.

    This weekend has been super stressful. I guess it all goes back to last Wednesday. As you may know, I intern at a church. Halloween is tomorrow. Which means, we had a 5K and holiday market yesterday, normal Sunday programming today, and we have our Fall Festival tomorrow. Craziness. That's when all the madness began and blogging went down a few notches on the to do list. I had wonderful plans to schedule posts and stay up to date, but you guys- that just isn't happening. I have a huge paper due tomorrow (that I'm working on. I'm just stuck on the last page, so I'm taking a break) and I've felt sick and had roommate issues- and it's just not fun. It's frustrating. I find myself getting irritated all the time. But, there's a few things I wanted to share that have been on my heart.

    Annie posted a beautiful post yesterday. In her post, she wrote, "i believe that in doing God's work, we will experience frustration. we will come to our wits' end. but God in our weakness is made oh, so strong. it is then we reach a crossroads: to trust, like a child, completely? or to run to tarshish, for whatever reason we might conjure?" This was so beautiful to me. I find myself running away all the time. I get frustrated when things don't work out, but I don't want to trust God to take care of the details. I'm fine with the big picture, but it's the little things that drive me nuts. But, as Annie put it, "God in our weakness is made oh, so strong". He has a plan. We can find beauty in our frustrations through Him. 


    In my paper, I'm writing about fear. It's a subject near and dear to my heart. It's something that I struggle with- oh, like all the time. Here's a snippit from that paper to make up from the lack of blogging.
    “For I hold you by your right hand— I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.” This is reminiscent of a father and his child. When the child wakes up at night and is screams out that she is scared of the dark or what may hide in the closet, the father comes running. He holds the child’s hand and reassures her that it will all be okay. She does not need to worry because he is right here beside is. God walks beside us and is “our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” This shows that God is a comforting God. He holds our hand and guides us through the trials.


    I am that child so often. I am that child crying out for her Abba Father- her Daddy- because she is scared of the unknown. I think we all feel this at some point in time. God comes to us in our weakness. He comes and sits by our bed and holds us for awhile, reassuring us that he's got it under control and we need not fear. In these crazy days of papers, festivals, roommate issues and more...he's got it under control. I don't need to fear, because he is right here with me holding my hand and guiding my through the day.

    Tuesday, October 25, 2011

    Change Your Blogging

    Oh guys. Six more days left of this craziness. I haven't been the best at keeping up and I think I've missed a post here and there, but I'm going to finish strong! Haha!

    We're going to finish up with some ways to change up our blogging. As you know, this is a blog. And since this is a blog, that means that blogging is important to me. So, for the next few days (well, five days..the last day of this series is a conclusion) we're going to talk about blogging and how we can change our blogging to make it better. I think we must start at the very beginning with this. I think that the most important thing we can ask ourselves is why we blog. Some people blog to preserve memories and share photos with family that is far away. Some people do it to keep a journal of what is going on at this point in their life for them to look back on some day. I'm not saying these are bad things- they are all really useful and good things. But, I don't think that this should be our main focus for blogging. Yes- it's cool to have a virtual scrapbook of your life. But, we need to make sure that the light of Christ shines through in our blogging.

    If you notice on my sidebar, I wrote a little post about why I blog. In this post, I wrote, 
    The greatest post ever written can't come from me. It can only come from God. I mean, he wrote the greatest story ever told. He speaks through writers, yes. But, I can't write that post. He can choose to do something through me, but I can't do it alone. I'm here to blog for a reason. That reason is God alone. I'm here for a reason. I'm blogging for a purpose that will be revealed by my creator.I only hope that I can bring glory to His name through my blog. That's my one desire. That somebody somewhere (or even me, right here) will get something through this blog. I'm striving to keep the negativity out and the positive thoughts in. I don't want to use my blog to bash anyone or to say anything that would not bring forth a good image of Christ.
    Why do you blog? Are you blogging for you to get attention or for God to get attention? It is oh-so-easy to get caught up in how many visitors or followers you have. It's easy to get caught up in page views and what people comment. It's so easy to let the focus shift from God to you. But, we were created for a reason and we were drawn to blogging for a reason. It's fun to show the neat things that God is doing through our life with others. That's why we write posts like this one. It's encouraging to get support from blog friends in times like this and this. The blog community is like a mini-body of Christ. It brought me to sweet blog friends like this girl to do a bible study with. Blogging is a good thing. But, blogging can be a great thing if we use it for God's glory. That's why we need to refocus. We need to write down why we blog and come up with a mission and a purpose. We need to change our blogging and make it better. :)

    Monday, October 24, 2011

    big decisions.

    I have some huge decisions to make in the coming days. It's really scary and I think it's finally hitting me that I'm really about to grow up. The Spring schedule has been posted on my school's website, so of course I am hard at work deciding what classes to take and what my semester is going to be like next Spring. I have two major options at this point, and I really don't know which one to choose.

    1. 12 hours this Spring/ 12 hours next Fall- This is the option I've been planning on since last Spring. I've pretty much thought it was impossible for me to graduate on time due to changing my major five times, changing colleges three times, and taking a semester off. This would definitely mean less work than option two, which would provide me with more time. The downside is that I still cannot keep interning (at least during the week) at my church because of the way classes fall. 
    2. 21 hours this Spring- This one sounds scary and intimidating. And it totally would be. But, I've looked it up and as long as I get everything approved, I can take up to 22 credit hours (and I only need 21). Downside is that all of the classes I have left are upper level Religion classes and a philosophy class. I'm more than a little frightened that I could get overwhelmed with everything- which I don't want. But, this would mean I wouldn't have to stick around an extra semester. But, this also means I have to figure out the Grad School Dilemma sooner rather than later.
    So, as you can clearly see...I'm a little freaked out. I wasn't anticipating on things working out this way. I wasn't anticipating having 21 hours fall in my lap that didn't all happen at the same time. I was planning on taking an easy 12 and interning- but now that there is no way for me to do the latter...what should I do? I don't really have much of a social life as it is, but on the other hand...my brain is about fried from all of this theology this semester. Eek. Big decisions. I have a week or so to figure it out (and pray about it and talk to advisers and stuff), but this definitely changes things. I know that God has a plan for my life and I'm really trying to discern what it is. I mean, the job market isn't great right now...but is it going to be any better in December 2012 vs May 2012? I still am not sure what I want to do. I mean, I want to be a Children's Director. I want to disciple children and teach them all about Jesus and how he wants a relationship with each one of them. But, I also want to be able to pay the bills. Do I go to grad school? What do I go to grad school for? Do I stay on a ministry path, or do I try the Social Work route? What's the best time of year to enter one of these programs? Decisions, decisions. 

    I've really been dwelling on the following verse this week.
    "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." -Jeremiah 29:11
    I know that God has a plan. I know that he already knows what is going to happen. I have faith that he will take care of me as I head out into "the real world". But, it is scary. It's scary not knowing what is the best thing to do. I just have to remember that God's plan is not to harm me. He has my best interests at heart. It may not be easy, but it will be so worth it. He knows my future, so I can have hope. I can rest secure knowing that the God of the Universe holds my world in his hands. 

    Sunday, October 23, 2011

    Change Your Faith- Bible Reading

    So, this may sound a little cheesy, but I think that the most important thing you can do for your faith is consistently reading your Bible. I admit, I'm awful at this. It's especially hard for me to get motivated and commit to do this because of my major. Because of my classes, there are some days where I'm reading 15-20 chapters of the prophets for class or reading some other passage for class. It gets hard to read the Bible for personal enjoyment when I see it as "just another assignment". But, earlier this year, I read the Bible in 30 days. Yes, you read that correctly. It is completely possible to read the Bible in 30 days. It takes commitment and time, but it was totally worth it. I know so much more about the scriptures now than I did before.


    I tried finding my reading plan online (because I really liked it) but I can't find it! It was really neat because it split each day up into several different sections from different parts of the Bible. But, I have a few other plans that I've found online that I like and might consider using when I reread through the Bible again. I really want my next time to be chronologically because I think it would help from the historical side of things and seeing how things fit together.

    These three plans are totally do-able. It just takes you sitting down and committing to do it. I promise that you won't regret the time you spend in the Word. I know, I'm a college student, I'm short on time. There isn't time for me to spend 1-2 hours a day reading my Bible. But, I can make time. I can decide to not watch Dance Moms or Toddlers and Tiaras. I can spend less time on Twitter and reading blogs. I can read my Bible instead of writing the 10 page paper I have due on Friday...okay maybe not this last one. But, you get the idea. Make time in your day for God. It will radically change your faith.

    Saturday, October 22, 2011

    new stuff!

    If you haven't noticed, I have a new blog layout. It's really pretty and colorful without being overwhelming. I was just thinking it was time for a change (since it is the 31 days of Change here, right?)

    In addition, I'd like to draw your attention to the right sidebar where we finally have a new blog button. I've had the old one forever and we definitely needed a change there. You can grab the new code beneath the button.

    Learning how to design my own blogs has definitely been a skill that has come in handy. I like to change things up too much to pay someone else to do it for me! I've been thinking about doing a blog series when I get some time (haha, like that will happen. Spare time...what is that?) about blog design (just basic html stuff, links to sites that I've learned from, and some basic design stuff (buttons and headers)) I so don't claim to be an expert, but I think it could be really fun. Would that be something that you would be interested in? Let me know in the comments. I'd also like to have some guest bloggers for that series, so if you do anything in the blog design/web design realm and would be interested, email me at everydaycinderella{at}gmail{dot}com and we can chat. :)

    Friday, October 21, 2011

    Change Your Faith- Scripture Memory

    Okay, so this is not one of my gifts. I'm really bad at it. I tried to do Beth Moore's SSMT this year and failed miserably by February. There is just something about being "forced" to do something that makes it not fun anymore. But, I tell my kids in Sunday School about the importance of hiding God's word in their heart so that they can turn to it in hard times. So, this is something I want to get better at. I'm not going to make any promises or try to get a group together or anything like that, but I think that if we want to radically change our faith so that we can be better Christians, this is SO important. So, to get us started, I made up a few cards to help you. You can print them off and put them on your mirror, in your car, in your journal....hey, you could even frame them if you wanted (they are 4x6). If you want a better quality jpg file so that you can send them off to a photo lab to be printed, email me at everydaycinderella@gmail.com and I'll send the originals your way! :)



    Thursday, October 20, 2011

    Change Your Relationships- Strangers

    Late, late. I know. This 31 days thing is a lot of work when you're in school and battling a vicious virus. I wouldn't mind some get-well-soon prayers. I know that there are greater problems in the world and all, but my roommate is kind of convinced there's some kind of immaculate conception going on (to which I reply "If so God forgot to tell me!). I feel completely awful. My head hurts (well, make that my whole body), I'm tired, and I'm kind of grumpy now. So not a good combination for trying to love your hard to love neighbor. Since I'm kind of tired and really want to go to bed, I'm just going to post a snippet from Katie's book that really spoke to me as I read it tonight.

    We need to love strangers. I'm not talking about in a creepy kind of way. I'm talking about loving them by meeting their needs. Much along the same lines as our neighbors, we should put their needs above our own. This is not optional- it's a commandment.

    I believe there is only one truly courageous thing we can do with our lives: to love unconditionally. (Kisses from Katie, pg 251)


    want to forsake everything to remain in the center of God's will for my life, that I want to give up everything for the sake of the gospel. I believe with all my heart that nothing is a sacrifice in light of the promise that one day I will get to live with Him forever. I want to obey. I want to give my life away. The life I live is full and joyful and wonderful, but it is not easy. It certainly is not glamorous. I do not expect it to be. Sometimes I am so tempted to look back, but I do not want to. I want to only look forward to what He is going to do. I believe that the words of Jesus are absolutely true and apply to me, right now today. I want to give everything, no matter the cost. No matter the cost. (Kisses from Katie, pg 231-232)


    Above all, we were called to love. We were called to love other people. This includes our family, our friends, our neighbors, strangers, and our Creator. We are called to live a lifestyle of love. Rather than condoning people we do not know, we should seek to love them- we should seek to love them unconditionally. We should seek to love them so that they can see the love of Christ through us. Katie has done this for each of her 14 children. She could not waltz into their lives and expect them to call her "Mommy". They did not know love. They did not know the love of an earthly father, so she had to show them the love of a heavenly father by meeting their basic tangible needs. Yes, it has been challenging. But, she has changed lives. Katie can show us how loving strangers can change our relationships with them and create a change within ourselves.

    Fall Reading List

    I get joked on by lots of my friends for reading too much. Or rather, it's probably the massive quantities of books that I'm reading at one time. I don't like to wait to start a new one, so I normally have four or five that I'm reading at any given time. That's just how I roll. Proud to say I finished two of the five that I've been working on today, so I guess that means I need some new ones, haha! Since I know that some of you are book nerds like me (or might just be looking for a good book to read), I thought I'd post what I've been working on and what's next on my list. To make things easier, we're going to narrow things down to this month and we're not going to count books skimmed through for research papers or the Bible. Because obviously this religion major is reading her Bible and because obviously the books I read for research were very boring and I don't want to subject you to that kind of torture.

    We'll start with the books I've read first. I'll do a mini-review for each just so you can get an idea of what they're about and all. Then, I'll post about the books on my "still to read" list later this week. :)

    1. What Women Fear- Angie Smith
    This book is me in purest form. Often while reading it, I made remarks such as "I feel like Angie went and got up in brain and then wrote a book about it." This amazing woman who blogs here is someone that I really look up to and admire. She has been though hard times, and yet she makes the most of it! I got to meet her when my mom and I went to Beth Moore last December, then I got to hear her speak at Women of Faith this past summer. She is just the sweetest person, I'm telling you. I could spend all day with that lady. But, even she struggles with fear and anxiety. These issues are so close to my heard and this book helped me so much. It's how I got to the point of writing my Chicago post. It's how I'm beginning to make small changes in my life and begin to live with faith- and not so much fear.


    2. Grace for the Good Girl- Emily Freeman
    I've read Emily's blog off and on for the last year or so. I really started getting into right after she announced that she was publishing Grace for the Good Girl. I mean, I'm a good girl. I live a "try hard" life as she calls it. This is me. Come on Emily. Did you team up with Angie to get into my brain? I got my copy of this book on my Kindle, which was a huge mistake. While you can underline in Kindles, it's a little different than hard copies. And I really want to mark this one all up. I want to highlight and post-it note it and tell you all about it. This book...is unbelievable. It is the inspiration for this post and probably many others to come. Letting go of our "try hard" life is...well, hard. But, it's what we need to do. It's only then that we find out what true biblical Faith looks like.

    3. Kisses from Katie- Katie Davis
    Katie's my hero. I think I've already told you this before. My family went to Birmingham last weekend to visit Church at Brook Hills and listen to Katie as she shared with David Platt during his sermon on Sunday. She is just absolutely adorable. While we were there, we picked up some copies of this book. I laughed. I cried. I bawled. I threw things. Katie is who I want to be. If fear didn't hold me back, I would move to Africa. I wish I had just a snippet of the faith she has. She gets the gospel and goes, even when things are scary and don't make sense. Katie is living a life as Christ- which is something I think we all (if we take the call of the gospel seriously) strive for.
     And she writes like she blogs, so that makes me smile. :)

    4. Stuff Christians Like- Jon Acuff
    There are no words to describe this book.
    It's funny.
    So. You should read it. :)


    5. The Great Divorce- C.S. Lewis
    This book I had to read for my C.S. Lewis class. We actually have a paper that is due on it tomorrow that I still need to finish. My conclusion is just killing me though. A snippit from the paper that describes this book: In C.S Lewis’s The Great Divorce, Lewis tells the story of a journey from Hell to Heaven. The book begins in a grey city that is very unpleasant. There is a bus stop in this city where the residents of Hell can get on a bus and visit Heaven. They can even stay in Heaven if they want to. But, most of them do not want stay. Because of their natures, Heaven is not pleasant to them. Selfish people do not want to live in a Heaven where they must be selfless and worship someone else. Intellectual people question everything. So, since they do not want to stay in Heaven, they get back on the bus and return to HellWhat brings these three characters together is not just the fact that they return to Hell at the end of the story. It is the fact that they could not set aside their selfishness for the sake of their Creator.

    Wednesday, October 19, 2011

    Change Your Relationship- Neighbors

    via
    I don't know about you, but I get easily frustrated. I'm really not a huge fan of dorm life- and this blog post comes at quite an ironic time. Just this afternoon I was dealing with an issue with my neighbors. You see, it's kind of cold outside. And I really don't like for my feet to be cold, so I love coming back to a dorm room after class that is all toasty warm. I love falling asleep as the heater kicks on and warms me up. I really don't like finding the air conditioning on sixty-eight and freezing my hiney off. It's really not all that pleasant. I really don't like trying to study and write a paper when my suite mates are screaming and squealing. I really don't like loud music while I'm trying to sleep. But, that is part of living as part of a community. In the book of Mark, when asked what the greatest commandment is, Jesus replied, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31) We are commanded to love our neighbor, even when it's not what we want to do. I can claim to be a Christian and love God, but God also wants me to love my neighbor as myself. I like to put my needs above my neighbors needs. I like the heat to be on 70. She may like it to be on 68. If I loved myself, I would start a "Thermostat War" and insist upon it being on 70. But, if I love my neighbor, I can act with love. This doesn't mean I'm a pushover, it just means I act in love. I give in sometimes. I don't start nasty arguments. I respect the person that God made her to be. Is it always easy? Most definitely NOT. But, it's what God has commanded. It's what Jesus commanded. It's in the red letters of the Bible. That means it's important. If Jesus is going to elevate loving your neighbors to the level of loving your God...I'm thinking that means we should do it. 

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011

    Change: Your Relationships- Friends

    Friends are a great part of life. I'm incredibly blessed that I have some amazing ones. But, this post isn't about me and how I have super amazing friends. It's about how we can learn to change our relationships with our friends so that we can be a good friend.

    Just try Google-ing "What is a Good Friend?" and you will around 173 million results. This shows just how big of a deal this is to the society we live in. You can even Wikihow to learn how to be a good friend.  But, when it comes down to it, the way to be a good friend is to be the kind of friend that you would want. It's kind of like the Golden Rule. When I think of the kinds of friend that I want, I want someone who is fun to be with, someone who encourages me, and someone that I can trust. In order for me to say that I want this in a friend, I should try to do the same. Why would an encouraging person want to be a friend with someone that is discouraging? It wouldn't make sense! We would probably think they were crazy! So, remember this when examining the kinds of traits you look for in friends. If you wouldn't want your best friend talking about you behind your back, you shouldn't do that to them either. Think about it. What kinds of things do you look for in a friend? Do you look for a gossip or do you look for someone loyal? Do you look for someone that encourages you or someone that brings you down? Be the kind of friend that you would want to be friends with. Do you have a "best friend"? Why is this person your friend? What kinds of things do you look for in a friend? Let's chew on this and discuss it in the comments. :)


    When doing some online research for this post, I came across this little "poem". It's kind of cute, goofy, and cheesy- which means I like it. I think we'll end with it.



    1. In kindergarten your idea of a good friend was the person who let you have the red crayon when all that was left was the ugly black one.
    2. In first grade your idea of a good friend was the person who went to the bathroom with you and held your hand as you walked through the scary halls.
    3. In second grade your idea of a good friend was the person who helped you stand up to the class bully.
    4. In third grade your idea of a good friend was the person who shared their lunch with you when you forgot yours on the bus.
    5. In fourth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who was willing to switch square dancing partners in gym so you wouldn't have to be stuck do-si-do-ing with Nasty Nicky or Smelly Susan.
    6. In fifth grade your idea of a friend was the person who saved a seat on the back of the bus for you.
    7. In sixth grade your idea of a friend was the person who went up to Nick or Susan, your new crush, and asked them to dance with you, so that if they said no you wouldn't have to be embarrassed.
    8. In seventh grade your idea of a friend was the person who let you copy the social studies homework from the night before that you had forgotten about.
    9. In eighth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who helped you pack up your stuffed animals and old baseball cards so that your room would be a "high schooler's" room, but didn't laugh at you when you finished and broke out into tears.
    10. In ninth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who went with you to that "cool" party thrown by a senior so you wouldn't wind up being the only freshman there.
    11. In tenth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who changed their schedule so you would have someone to sit with at lunch.
    12. In eleventh grade your idea of a good friend was the person who gave you rides in their new car, convinced your parents that you shouldn't be grounded, consoled you when you broke up with Nick or Susan, and found you a date to the prom.
    13. In twelfth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who helped you pick out a college, assured you that you would get into that college, helped you deal with your parents who were having a hard time adjusting to the idea of letting you go...
    14. At graduation your idea of a good friend was the person who was crying on the inside but managed the biggest smile one could give as they congratulated you.
    15. The summer after twelfth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who helped you clean up the bottles from that party, helped you sneak out of the house when you just couldn't deal with your parents, assured you that now that you and Nick or you and Susan were back together, you could make through anything, helped you pack up for college and just silently hugged you as you looked through blurry eyes at 18 years of memories you were leaving behind, and finally on those last days of childhood, went out of their way to come over an send you off with a hug, a lot of memories, reassurance that you would make it in college as well as you had these past 18 years, and most importantly sent you off to college knowing you were loved.
    16. Now, your idea of a good friend is still the person who gives you the better of the two choices, hold your hand when you're scared, helps you fight off those who try to take advantage of you, thinks of you at times when you are not there, reminds you of what you have forgotten, helps you put the past behind you but understands when you need to hold on to it a little longer, stays with you so that you have confidence, goes out of their way to make time for you, helps you clear up your mistakes, helps you deal with pressure from others, smiles for you when they are sad, helps you become a better person, and most importantly loves you!

    Monday, October 17, 2011

    Change: Your Relationships- God

    For today's post, we're going to take a look back at an old one. It's one of my favorites. Time to rewind, guys.
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    When Someone Calls You A Fat Cow, It May Be Time to DTR
    March 10, 2011

    I've written on many occasions about how I feel that one of the main duties of Christians is to look over the "least of these". I've probably gone overboard and some people may think I write on the topic far too often, but it's something that's on my heart. And since this is my blog...I'm going to write what's on my heart. Ever since beginning my new bible reading plan (just finished day 9 and it is going amazing!), I've realized that God had an awful lot to say about justice and looking out for the poor. I mean, like all the time. I was going to post every verse I found, but it got to be too many. So...I decided just to stick with the ones that really stuck out to me.
    • "You must not exploit a widow or an orphan. If you exploit them in any way and they cry out to me, then I will certainly hear their cry. My anger will blaze against you, and I will kill you with my sword. Then your wives will be widows and your children fatherless"-Exodus 22:22-24
    • "For when they die, they take nothing with them. Their wealth will not follow them into the grave." -Psalm 49:17
    • "Pour out you unfailing love on those who love you; give justice to those with honest hearts." -Psalm 36:10
    • "They refuse to provide justice to orphans and deny the rights of the poor." -Jeremiah 5:28b
    • "Then, when you swear by my name, saying, 'As surely as the Lord lives', you could do so with truth, justice, and righteousness. Then you would be a blessing to the nations of the world, and all people would come and praise my name." -Jeremiah 4:2
    • "Don't say 'I'm too young', for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. And don't be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you. I, the Lord, have spoken!"-Jeremiah 1:7-8
    • "Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon." -Isaiah 58:10
    • "Our courts oppose the righteous, and justice is nowhere to be found. Truth stumbles in the streets, and honesty has been outlawed." -Isaiah 59:14
    • "No, this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives that need your help."-Isaiah 58:6-7
    And that's just the Old Testament, y'all. I didn't even get into the gospels and the words of JC. That's powerful stuff. I've just been feeling really convicted here lately. I know that I live a very blessed life. And, I want to use the blessing I've been given to bless others.  I sometimes feel like I define my faith by the "good things" I do. Which...these "good things" are good. I mean, going to church, reading my Bible and all that. But, I get so caught up in the legalism sometimes. And that is so not what God wants. He wants a relationship with me. He could have created humanity and not given them to option to make choices. He could have made a bunch of super-Christians that always did all the right things and had no choice but to do right. But, that's not what he wanted. He wanted (and still wants!) a loving relationship with you and me. True love does not exist without the possibility of rejecting that true love. That's why he placed the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden. He gave humanity a chance to reject him. And since then, we have repeatedly rejected him. (If you don't believe me, read through 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings. Actually, just read through about the whole Bible and see how his Chosen People have repeatedly chosen their selfish desires over their relationship with the Creator) 
    So, what I'm trying to say is...it's not that these works (and helping the poor) will get us a free ticket to heaven. But, it's just the idea that maybe if we really love God, why don't we want to obey him and love his people? Why are we so comfortable in our perfect little lives that we don't want to reach out and help the dirty people? In my bible class today, we were discussing the book of Amos. Amos was a prophet from Judah that preached in Israel. At that point in history, Israel was enjoying a time of peace and prosperity. This caused rapid spiritual decline because the people felt like they didn't need God anymore. The well off ignored the less fortunate. One of the main things that Amos spoke out against was the exploitation of the needy. In Chapter 4, Amos talks to the women by saying, "Listen to me, you fat cows living in Samaria, you women who oppress the poor and crush the needy, and who are always calling to your husbands, 'Bring us another drink!'" He doesn't just attack the women though. In Chapter 3, he says, "The people of Israel have sinned again and again, and I will not let them go unpunished! They sell honorable people for silver and poor people for a pair of sandals. The trample helpless people in the dust and shove the oppressed out of the way." 
    How does this relate to America today? What about the world as a whole? As we were reading through, I couldn't help but think that a majority of the time, you could have substituted "America" in for "Samaria" or "Israel". You would not really notice a difference. God is calling us to help others. It's not a matter of legalism. It's a matter of relationship. It's time to DTR and figure out where this relationship train is headed. How this affects your personal life is up to you...but I know that I don't want the wrath of God against me. 

    And know I really don't want a prophet calling me a fat cow. Just saying. :)

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