Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I want to leave a legacy.

Today, I woke up and had the thought "I really don't want to wear that dress today". I mean, I'm kind of tired of this dressing cute thing. Why didn't I say I was going to wear sweatpants for 40 days?! (Today was totally a yoga pants kind of day. Just saying.) But, I pulled myself together by telling myself that I would add some color to this drab dress. Don't get me wrong. I love this soft, cottony thing. I like how versatile black is. But, I needed something different. So, I dug in my closet and found a tunic/dress. I normally wear it over a shirt and with skinny jeans and boots. So, I substituted the shirt for my dress...and voila! I think I really like this. It's my favorite combination yet. I mean, you can still see the dress, so it counts, right? :)

In one of my classes, we're talking about the Roman World. We only know about ancient civilization from what we've found and what is left. It's not like there are dead people walking around that can tell us what it was like to live back then. We had a discussion the other day about what people in the future might think about our generation thousands of years from now. We giggled over them thinking that we worship "the golden M" (McDonalds- those arches are in almost every city!). But, the conversation took a serious turn when we really started thinking about things. I elaborated on this on my class blog, but I want to open it up for discussion here also.

Will they find evidence of injustice in the world and think that we promoted things like drugs and human trafficking? In the Roman World, it was a common practice to expose unwanted children. In the future, will they tell about how we killed babies and aborted them? Will they talk about how we sat back and ignored the problem of human trafficking? Will they talk about the orphans of the world, the children trapped in foster care, and the children that have parents that abuse them?

Will there be any evidence that Christians were any different? While they might find steeples or crosses in some way/shape/form, will they be able to see evidence of a movement? Will they find a community that lived "in the world but not of the world"? Or will they think that everyone was the same? Will we stand out or blend in?

Something to think about. What kind of legacy are we leaving behind? Are we leaving behind a legacy of love (I'll elaborate on this later. It's something at the forefront of my mind right now) or a legacy of hatred and no respect for human life? How will they remember us? What kind of future are we forming? What will people think about us when we are the "ancient civilization".

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

be her voice. be her freedom.

Okay guys. I have lots and lots to share today, so I need you to listen up. Get comfortable and fix you a cup of coffee or something, because this may take awhile. As I mentioned on Sunday, yesterday my Dad and I went to Atlanta for the kickoff of 72 Days for Freedom at Passion City Church. While I went with a spirit of, "I have to do something"...I left with a spirit of "I MUST do something." Human trafficking is a major issue. That's why I'm doing this whole One Dress Project. But, I always thought of it as a campaign. I always thought of it as a project. But, the reality of this situation is that these are real people. It's not just the idea that there are 27 million people being's the idea that these people are real people. They are real people with real names and real lives that really matter. If someone you knew was being trafficked, wouldn't you want to do something. If it was your daughter, your sister, your best friend...wouldn't you want her to be rescued? We can't sit back and do nothing. 

But, we can't stop here. We can't stop with learning about the issue. We can't let this be a temporary thing. The traffickers' biggest hope is that we will lose our passion for this issue. They want it to be a phase we go through. They don't want us to become emotionally invested in the issue. They want to have more passion for trafficking people and making money than we have to stop them. That's their only hope. If we work together, we CAN do something. We can change lives. We can fight for all of our days for freedom. It's not an easy problem. It's messy. People don't want to talk about it. I mean, little girls getting raped several times a day. Little boys growing up working in a factory for all of their lives with no chance to escape, living in horrible living conditions. Human trafficking is messy. But, that's what the traffickers depend on. They depend on it being too horrendous to talk about. Too awful to think of. Too big to do anything about. So, we have to prove them wrong. We have to prove that it's not just a phase. It's not just an issue. We have to prove that we value human life- that God values and loves each person that he has created- and that human trafficking is wrong. We have to stop feeding the traffickers. We have to raise awareness. We have to do something now.

So, for today, I have a big challenge for you. 

First, today was the release of Matt Redman and LZ7's song "27 Million" that was recorded at Passion 2012. The proceeds from this song will go to the A21 Campaign to help fight human trafficking. Pray that this song awakens hearts and challenges thousands to take action. Download it from iTunes (just $1.29!) and make a difference. We are trying to get this song on the charts to make a statement!

Secondly, go to and see what Passion City Church is doing. You don't have to be in Atlanta to be a part of this movement. There are five components to this thing: sign, pray, give, host, and more. Sign the IJM petition to President Obama and let him know that you want him to take a stand on this issue. There is a different prayer request to pray every day for the 72 days that this is going on. Give! PCC is raising money for two different organizations. Host a screening of the Freedom Film that was shown at Passion. If you haven't seen it yet, you can download it on the website. There are also discussion questions, which would be great for a small group! Finally, there is more. It's not just about praying and giving money. It's not just about raising awareness. It's about making this issue personal. Maybe you want to do a One Dress Project. Maybe you want to run a marathon. Maybe there is an organization you can volunteer with in your community. The possibilities are endless! Do SOMETHING. Don't let this moment pass you by. Find a way to engage with this issue, find a way to show love to God's people. Be her voice. Be her freedom. Stand UP!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday Sparkle- Week 8

Just a few pictures from last week.

My allergies have come back with a vengeance. Tylenol PM has been a lifesaver the last few nights in regards to getting some sleep.

I think this was dinner Tuesday night. But, it may have been lunch. I feel like I have bagels in some way, shape, or form as part of every meal (sandwich, pizza, dessert).

I started my One Dress Project! I forgot to take a picture yesterday, but I'm pretty sure my days are running together. I need an easy way to add some color (with things I already have, per my "no purchasing clothes during Lent" thing). Any ideas?

Yummy cupcake. Daddy and I went by a cupcake place near campus after having lunch on Wednesday. I got a chocolate salted Carmel cupcake and it was deLISH.

I'm really enjoying this little Sparkle project. It is quite fun, and I'm still taking pictures! I like the low pressure (only one picture a week necessary!) and I like the fact that I'm documenting the little details that get lost and forgotten most of the time. Yessir. We're gonna make it.

Tomorrow night, my Daddy and I are planning on going to Atlanta for the 72 Days of Freedom gathering they are having at Passion City Church. Gary Haugen (the head of IJM) is speaking and I am super pumped! Working at IJM would be a dream job, so hearing from the guy that runs it would be amazing! I'm excited and hope it works out. We're leaving tomorrow afternoon and then driving back after the service. I don't have class until 11 on Tuesday and we lose an hour going/ gain an hour on the way back, so things should work out that its not too late. I'm going to miss the Bachelor, but I can watch that online. Nobody tweet about it or spoil it? Haha. Yay!

Friday, February 24, 2012

This whole wearing the same dress every day thing is kind of fun. I think it's easier to get dressed in the morning (less choices) and it makes me think throughout the day about what I'm doing (especially when someone says "I like your dress" and I explain what I'm doing to them!). Since the question has been asked a ton lately...I AM planning on washing this dress. Please don't think I'm planning on stinking my way through Lent. I know I've said it already, but I wanted to make that extra clear. Now, on to Day 2 and Day 3.

Thursday (Day 2), I decided to add a shirt underneath my dress. Seeing as my outfit was lacking in color, I added my pink sparkly Toms (you just can't see them). I'm using a self-timer on my camera, so I miss my feet most of the time in pictures. In my dorm room, I prop it up on one of my bed posts and aim it towards my bathroom (which has the best lighting). In my room at home, I'm still figuring it out. My room is a little messy. Today (Day 3), I added a skirt over my dress. I needed color after two days with black and gray. It was just the right length and worked out great.

Today, I want to bring our focus to India, where As Our Own does most of their work.
  • There are 25.7 million orphans throughout India. One of the reasons why human trafficking is so prevalent in a place like India is this large vulnerable population. If orphans don't have other families to take care of them, they live out on the streets or in orphanages. This makes it especially easy for traffickers to target them. After all, who's going to notice a street child is missing? 
  • Trafficking of minor girls is a $1-billion-a-year industry in Mumbai. Little girls—some as young as 7 or 8 years old—are being forced into the sex trade. 70% of women are forced into prostitution and 20% of these are child prostitutes.
  • In the case of sex trafficking, it's kind of a given that babies are going to be born and children are going to be raised in brothels. 95% of girls born in the district become enslaved. Many girls are enslaved in the sex trafficking industry not by their own choice. They were born into it. When their mothers are captives in the industry, their daughters have no choice. There's not another option.
In a place like India with extreme poverty, it can be hard to imagine a hope and future for these women and girls. But, As Our Own has begun working in the red light district to try and talk to mothers before they "sell" their daughters into the trade (it is a business transaction, but it is often by force or coercion- not by choice).  They try to rescue these daughters from the cycle. They call these girls "daughters" and raise them to be beautiful, educated women in society. They give these girls a hope and a future that they would otherwise not have. They let little girls be little girls.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

the start of something new.

So, today is the day. I'm really excited about what the next 40 days (plus Sundays) hold for us. I really believe that God can do something amazing through this little project if we just allow him to intervene in our lives. I'm praying that my heart will be changed and that I'll (in my own little way) be broken for the sake of the poor. For the sake of the helpless. For the little girls in the world that need to see the hope and a future that God has promised them.
Black dress, Cardigan from AE, Tights from Loft.
Our closest estimates say that there are 27 million slaves in the world today. Twenty-seven MILLION. This is in a variety of different ways- it's not just little girls and women. Some people are enslaved in bonded labor. Some people (men and women) are trapped in the sex trade. The average cost of a slave during the pre-Civil War era (adjusted for inflation) would be about $40,000 of today's US dollars. The average cost of a slave today? $90. Why are we so outraged about what happened 200 years ago in our nation, but we aren't upset about the modern-day slaves today? Do we think that they deserve it? Or do we just want to ignore the problem?

I don't want to ignore this problem any longer. I CAN'T ignore this problem any longer. I have been blessed, ridiculously that I could be a blessing to others. God did not place me on this earth to bring glory to myself. God placed me on this earth to show his love to other people and to bring glory to his name. I don't want to live an empty life. I want to live a life that is so full of God that when other people see me, they see the God within my inner being. It makes me sick to my stomach to think of all of the things in this world. It makes me sick to think that sometimes I avoid thinking of these things, because they're messy. Sex trafficking is messy. We don't like to talk about these things. But, even if we ignore the problem, the fact is that 200,000-300,000 children are at risk in the United States for getting trapped in the sex trafficking industry. That's too many. We CAN'T ignore the problem anymore. 

That's why I'm doing The One Dress Project. That's why I'm wearing one dress for the next 40 days. I want people to ask me why on earth I'm wearing the same thing everyday (Don't worry. I plan on washing it.). I want to think about all of the precious children, women, and men that are being trafficked. That are enslaved. That are in bondage. When I get dressed each morning, I want to think about these lives. These lives are precious and valuable to God. He sees each and every one of them as one of his children-just like the "pretty people" that go to church every Sunday. I want to find worth in human life. I want to bring awareness to this issue- and I want to DO SOMETHING about it. 

So, if you look to the sidebar on my blog, you'll see two links under the "One Dress Project" button. The first link is to my post on Monday that explains what I'm doing. The second one is a link to As Our Own so that you can join in the journey. As Our Own works with girls and women in India. I would ask you to prayerfully consider joining this journey with me. Commit to praying for these people we are going to talk about. Pray for the situations. Pray for God's will to be done. But don't stop there. Do something. Make this cause personal. You can go to As Our Own's website and learn more about them and I'm going to be posting more about them as we go. Today is the start of something new. 

Monday, February 20, 2012


So, my guilty pleasure on Monday nights is getting into my pajamas to eat dinner and watch the Bachelor. It's pretty much the highlight of my week (Sad. I know). Tonight was "Hometowns", which seems to be the point of the season where everyone realizes that this show isn't a game anymore and love is on the line. Hearts are going to be broken. Tonight, my favorite contestant went home (note: my favorite contestant each season always wins. so this is kind of weird). As Kacie was riding off in the limo, she asked a question to the camera, "Why am I never good enough?" Obviously, she was in love with The Bachelor. She had stated as much on the show and talked about how she couldn't wait to do normal things- like going grocery shopping- with Ben (that's a small town girl for you!). As I watched her crying in the limo (which is always my least favorite part of the show), I began to get sad with her. I mean, she thought that she had found "true love". She came on The Bachelor to find love (which is a whole 'nother story. those guys don't have the best track record). In the end, she was left asking "Why am I not good enough?"

How often do we do this? Maybe it's not because you think you're madly in love with a man with three other girlfriends. Maybe it's not because a boy breaks your heart. But, we place so much stock in what other people think of us. We desire to be loved. We desire to be wanted. We desire to be enough. It's this desperation that leads us to do crazy things. We have an inner longing for "something" and we try to fill it up. Satan places these "Why am I not good enough?" thoughts in our heads. This is not healthy. When I was thinking about this (all in the past 10 minutes), these lyrics from Tenth Avenue North ran through my head.

Now, I know that Kacie doesn't read my blog. But, if you've ever found yourself in this situation (or this is what you're going through right now), I want you to think of the gravity of the above line. Why are you looking for love as if God isn't enough? We go through life looking for love. But, we need to realize the grace we've been shown. We don't need to "work harder". We don't need to seek out love for ourselves. We need to realize that God is enough. God is enough to fill all of our deepest inner longings and our heart's desires. God is enough. We don't need to worry about being "enough". Focusing on the "enough" just leads to our own frustrations. We don't need to go looking for will find us.

Why are you striving these days
Why are you trying to earn grace
Why are you crying
Let me lift up your face
Just don't turn away

Why are you looking for love
Why are you still searching as if I'm not enough
To where will you go child
Tell me where will you run
To where will you run

And I'll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don't fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Look at these hands and my side
They swallowed the grave on that night
When I drank the world's sin
So I could carry you in
And give you life
I want to give you life

Cause I, I love you
I want you to know
That I, I love you
I'll never let you go

-"By Your Side", Tenth Avenue North

Little Girls should be able to be little girls.

If you've followed my blog for much time at all, you should (hopefully) know that I have a passion for justice. It breaks my heart to see the world we are living in. Human trafficking is one problem that I think is huge in our world today. I feel like a broken record sometimes that I keep bringing this stuff up. I feel funny talking about little girls being trapped in the sex trade all the time. But, it breaks my heart. Honestly, I want to grab them all up and take them far, far away where they can be little girls. Little girls should be able to be little girls. 

This thought process has played into my "what I want to do when I grow up" planning. I mean, working at IJM would be a dream job. But, in the end, I want to work with at-risk girls. I want to work with girls that are at risk for becoming addicted to drugs. At risk for becoming prostitutes. I want to teach them that they are valuable and loved by a wonderful creator. That they are worth it. That they can dream big- and nothing, not even their hometown or the environment they were raised in, can hold them back. I want them to DREAM BIG and fall passionately in love with their creator. 

So, Lent is coming up. Every year, it seems like I'm always hearing things like "I'm giving up social media" or "I'm giving up caffeine". It's not that these things are bad- please don't take this that way. But, the purpose of "giving up" something is for it to be a sacrifice that brings you closer to God. It's so that you lean more fully on him. So, I've avoided the practice the last few years. It seemed like I wasn't doing things for the right reasons, so I didn't want to do them at all. I felt bad saying that I was "giving up" something so that someone would feel bad for me or think I'm a better Christian. I was doing it for others and not God. So, this year rolls around and my dear Catholic friend Alyce (I don't mean that in a bad way. It's just she's my only Catholic friend, and I love her commitment to Catholicism) posted a link to this article on Facebook. It got me thinking a little bit outside of the box. While not wearing shoes or using utensils is a little impractical, one on vanity really got to me. It got me thinking about things that I do all the time, and how if I gave one of "them" up, I would definitely think of God while doing it. I also remembered a blog I came across a few months back called The Uniform Project. And thus, the one dress project was born. 

I'm not claiming credit for this in any way. I've seen it all over the internet. It's mostly done for either 30 days or a year, but I'm doing it for forty (all of the days in Lent. Not on Sundays- since they aren't part of the forty days). For this project, I've got a little, simple, cotton, black dress that I will be wearing everyday (except for Sundays, once again). Max asked me if I was going to wash it- the answer is yes. Expect a video blog on handwashing in a sink and drying with a blow dryer...any day now. I'm not going for dirty and stinky. I'm attempting to highlight the cause of human trafficking- and draw attention to it (because I'm pretty sure someone is going to ask me why I'm wearing the same dress every day). Obviously I've got things like cardigans, scarves, and belts to help it not look exactly the same, but I think it will be kind of fun. I'll be posting pictures of the project as I go and posting facts about human trafficking to raise awareness.

Here's where you come it. There are a couple ways that you can get in on the fun!
1. Commit to 40 days of prayer with me. Commit to praying for the needs that I share and for the girls involved.
2. Part of me doing this project is to raise money for AsOurOwn. They have no idea who I am or what I'm doing- but I want to support the work that this amazing organization is doing to help girls in India. You can go here to read a post I wrote about AsOurOwn back in October, and I'll be sharing information about their work in India as we go. If you feel incline to donate to help them continue the work, you can go here to donate. If you notice, I have a fundraising page set up through the organization. This is so we can track how much is given, but you will give directly to AsOurOwn (through their website) and not through a ChipIn. I'm not going to come into contact with this money at any point, all of it will go to AsOurOwn. I just have a page set up so that we can have a goal ($100 at the moment, but I would love for us to raise more!) and keep track so I can mention it here!
3. You can join me in the one dress project and do it, too! Pick one dress to wear for forty days. Lent starts on Wednesday, February 22, so I will be starting that day! Sundays are not typically included in the forty days, so you may have that day off! Maybe you don't want to do it for all forty days, maybe just a week? Let me know so that we can support each other. One thing that I'm doing as an additional part of this is donating $20. Typically, we spend about $10 a month on clothes. If you're like me, that may seem a little low sometimes when you think about what you really spend. But, since you are saving money (by just wearing one dress!)- please consider donating an *approximate amount* of what you may spend (or just a flat amount).

So, options. I'm mentioning "what I'm doing for lent" a little early...just in case any of you want to jump in and do step 3 with me (trying to give a little notice here!). I don't want this to turn into anything where anyone feels forced to do anything, but I want to encourage you to think about this issue with me for the next forty days. 27 million people are trapped in the human slave trade (in various forms) right now. This is more slaves than ever before in history. It's time to do something now. Ignorance is not an excuse. Indifference is not an option.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday Sparkle- Week 7

Only two pictures from this week. I'm slacking.

First, I finally found a shampoo that kind of works and doesn't make me get a rash or my hair fall out. Only thing is that it's baby shampoo and by 98% natural, they mean 98% water.

Valentines Day, I went to dinner with my family. Perk of living close to home. After dinner, we went and got cupcakes, and I came "home" and watched Dance Moms.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Enjoy the Journey.

Much, much stress results from you wanting things to happen before their times have come. One of the main ways I assert my sovereignty is the timing of events, Instead of dashing headlong toward your goal, let me set the pace. Slow down, and enjoy the journey in my presence. -Sarah Young

I'm beginning to realize what "surrender" really means. I'm not sure I like it all that much. I mean, sure, I like the idea of God controlling what my life is going to look like. But, could he make it fit into MY time schedule? I mean, sure his timing might be better...but I'd really like things to happen right now. I'm not a very patient person. In fact, I'm pretty impatient. But, I'm beginning to realize the value in being patient and letting things happen as they will. I'm beginning to see that maybe things are going to work out okay.

For some reason, I had this ideal life plan for my life. It started in High School (maybe before then, but that's really the first time I really remember). If you know me, you know I'm the planner type. I plan things out. It's my way of "controlling my worry factor", but it often just leads to more worry. I had this plan that I was going to go off to college and fall madly in love with the perfect future husband. We'd date three years, he'd propose right before senior year rolled around, and we'd get married after graduation and have lots of beautiful babies. (Ha. That's really funny High-School Self. I don't know what you were thinking.) Needless to say, things have not happened as I'd planned. Some people (ahem, my father) blame it on the fact that proper grammar is not an option- but rather a requirement- if you want me to be your girlfriend. Sorry- I'm a nerd. We can't help these things. If I'm always silently correcting your grammar "becuz u tlk lyk dis"...I'm going to go crazy. Deal. Breaker. I also have exceedingly high expectations. As in you have to hold the door open for me. You better treat me with R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Must like kids and understand that while puppies are cute, I'm allergic. My dad set high standards...and your going to have to follow in those footsteps. I was treated as a princess for 21 years and expect that much. You get the idea. Not many boys coming knocking on my door (Except for when they forget that their friend and I did a room swap and she no longer lives here. But, that's another story). So, needless to say, it's almost SPRING and I don't have a ring. Or an immediate prospect for getting one. 
I like Valentine's Day. While it often brings out the inner cynic and I joke around about "cheesy valentines", I kind of like the idea of a day that revolves around getting chocolate and flowers (Note to any boys that may be reading: I like Tulips- and I can name the 5 points of Calvinism. Please click that link so that you can get my joke.Theology nerd- sorry. I'm not a huge fan of smelly flowers that make me sneeze.) I could go on and on about "how absolutely horrible my life is because it's valentine's day and I don't have a valentine" (Oh- boohoo. Cry me a river. Get over it!) But, I think I've finally found contentment. It's not that I don't want to get married. I do. But, I'm willing to wait- as long as it takes- for God to bring me my "perfect husband". Right now, he's fine tuning me and preparing me with the skills I need to be a good wife. Likewise, he's doing the same to develop my future husband into the man I desire Him to be. I'm realizing that for today- I'm called to singleness. It's a day by day thing that could change anytime. But, I'm giving thanks for this season of growth. I'm choosing to find joy in the situation I find myself in- rather than complaining all the time. God has a wonderful master plan for my life. He will provide for my every need, and I trust that he will take the best care of me. I am perfectly positioned where I am for such a time as this. I'm deciding to surrender my hopes and dreams, so that I can receive God's hopes and dreams. Annie did a blog post yesterday and said something profound that really resonated with me. She said, 
I give thanks for this bare finger, thankful for the promises it holds. There may not be a ring there now. There may never be a ring there. And if there never is, He is still faithful, and I am still blessed.
You are absolutely precious to God- never doubt that. He has a whole list of hopes and dreams just waiting for you...if you just allow him the chance to intervene in your life plan. Stop stressing out about things not going your way and embrace the moment. Enjoy the journey.

Monday, February 13, 2012

SGA Elections are Serious Business

So, maybe at your college, SGA elections aren't that big of a deal. Honestly, I didn't think they were here either. I mean, I didn't vote last year because I didn't even know when elections were (or that they happened). But due to some major boy drama (and by boy drama, I mean boys causing drama NOT drama over boys), elections here have gotten quite heated. I'm not really sure what the deal is (something about alcohol and transparency and...I'm staying out of this...) and I'm not sure I really want to. But, pay attention to that last line.

Seriously. Voter fraud. This is an SGA election people. Serious consequences? Really? I'm pretty sure that real voter fraud (like in actual elections) happens in the Great State of Alabama and people get off with less than a minimum $150 fine and 10 hours community service. Milton McGregor anyone? (Inside Alabama joke. Sorry out of state friends.)

Gee. This is #hawkward. 

In other news, that hash tag is incredibly awkward. Why do we feel the need (as a school) to add "hawk" to everything? What is "hawking" the vote anyways? When I think of a hawk, I think of a bird of prey. One that would snatch the votes up and definitely commit voter fraud. Just saying. According to Webster's "to hawk" is to "to raise by trying to clear the throat " Um, that sounds gross. Please don't regurgitate your votes, people. I mean, I know we do the whole paper ballot thing because we're anti-technology. get the idea. 

[Edit to add: Another meaning for "hawk" as a verb is "to offer for sale by calling out in the street ; broadly : sell". I'm definitely sure that selling the vote constitutes fraud. Just saying. #pleasechangethehashtag]

I'm stopping now. I love that my school provides me with this much entertainment. :)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday Sparkle- Week 6

In the land of midterms and papers and textbooks that need to be read, there's no time for journaling this week.

Formatting this post on my iPad, so I apologize in advance if the pictures look kind of wonky.

In other news, I post most of my pictures on Instagram as I take them throughout the week. My name is Leadam if you want to follow me on there (different from my twitter- I'm laurenadam on Twitter! Follow me?)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Link Love

I haven't done one of these posts in awhile, but every now and then I like to link to some of my favorite blog posts that I've been reading lately. Coincidentally, I've read fifty-bazillion blog posts on contentment in the last week (okay, I was over exaggerating a bit). I think that's God's way of passing along a message to me, but I want to pass that message on to you. I think that finding contentment in our situations is HARD and it never really gets easier. But, there's got to be a way through it. I know I don't have all the answers, and neither do these ladies, but I've found their posts to be helpful in the past day or so.

  1. I Don't Want to Raise a Good Child- Lysa TerKeurst- When I grow up and become a mom, I hope I can have the attitude that Lysa does. In this post from last week, she shares the story of her daughter Hope and how she's learned to find contentment as a mom from God and not the other people that surround her. Even though I'm not a mommy, there's still a lesson in the story for all of us.
  2. The Monster- Nicole- In this post, Nicole shares about how jealousy can steal contentment away from us. How many of you have been there/done that? When we compare ourselves to other people and jealousy sets in, our joy is stolen from us. We lose the desire to rejoice in the moment. Is it possible to be content in a world that says "Get married and have babies right now)? You'll just have to read it for yourself. 
  3. God's Promises- Jamie- The girls over at Fearless are teaching great things, guys. Great things. If you haven't subscribed to this blog yet, go over right now and click that button. In this post, Jamie comes to the conclusion that "Sometimes we all just need a little reminder that we're not in control". This is so true. Following the lines of Nicole's post, there are some things that we cannot control. We have to lay them at the feet of Jesus, so that our joy will not be stolen away. We have to come to grips with the reality that we are not in control of our lives, and we need to stop stressing out when things don't go our way.
  4. Moving to Africa Without a Husband? Yep. Sure Am.- Jenn- I just found this sweet girl today. Jenn is moving to Africa...without a husband. In this post on her blog about her journey to Africa, she discussed the conversations that she has with other people (and God) about moving to Africa as a single. Things like "Who will kill the bugs and baboons?" to "How are you ever going to find a husband over there?". I love the manner that she presents her message. It's not going to be easy- and she's struggling with it- but, God has promised that he will provide. So, she will trust him. I mean, he made Eve out of a rib and Adam from dirt. I'm pretty sure he can manage something if it's in His will. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

questions, questions.

Okay. I give up. I've been tagged in this silly game too many I'm going to do it! I really admire Annie's effort with video blogs for each response, so I wanted to incorporate that somehow- but, I wasn't confident enough to do that many blogs. So, for April and Katie's questions (and my 11 facts), I'm going to blog. And then for Annie's questions, I'm going to video blog. So, it's like the best of both worlds, right?

So, to with, I'm supposed to tell you the rules of the game. They are as follows:
  1. You must post the rules (check!)
  2. Post some facts about yourself. Katie and Annie told me to post 11. April told me to post 12. 
  3. Answer the questions that your "tagger" (or "taggers") asked in their post.
  4. Ask 10-12 questions of your friends. Tag ten, eleven, or twelve people. (Because I got three different numbers.)
  5. Let them know you've tagged them so they can play this game, too!
Okay, so we're going to start with my facts.
1. I love monograms. They are pretty much my favorite thing ever. If I get bored in class, I'm prone to doodling this monogram. I really hope that when I get married, it doesn't mess up my monogram, because I really love mine. 
2. I want to be a princess when I grow up. I know that this dream is completely unrealistic, but I'm okay with that. As long as I marry my Prince Charming, I think things will turn out okay. 
3. I want at least five kids when I grow up. I think adoption is amazing, and definitely want to adopt at least one kid, if not more. I also want my kids to grow up with a knowledge of the world and how incredibly blessed we are. So, I really want to homeschool my future children so that we can travel and do mission work and stuff. From an early age, I want them to fight against the injustice in the world.
4. I sleep with three stuffed animals. Yes, I'm twenty-one. I have a bear named Allie, a puppy named Aubrey, and a flamingo named Flamingo. Aubrey lives at my house, Allie lives at school, and Flammy travels back and forth with me most weekends (he's the most recent addition, because I got him from Santa this Christmas!).
5. When I grow up, I want to have a library in my house (picture "Beauty and the Beast"). I have this dream of filling it up with children's books so that all the kids in the neighborhood can come to my house and check out books anytime they want. It would have reading corners with beanbag chairs and stuff, too. I think that reading is so important to a child's development. Imagination is a great thing!
6. When I'm all alone in my room, I watch Disney Princess movies and dance around my room like I have a ballgown on. Am I five? No.  Is it a little ridiculous? Yes. But, that's okay. I also like to sing the songs with the movie. (Sidenote: When my best friend and I saw "Beauty and the Beast 3D" together, it took all I had not to get up and swirl around. I also cried. You just couldn't see the tears through my 3D glasses.)
7. While I really like planning my future wedding and stuff, when it comes down to it- I want a really good marriage. I want my wedding to reflect God more than me- and I want my marriage to be the same. While I want to have a pretty house and pretty babies, the only thing that really matters is that God is reflected in everything. More than anything, I want my life to be the life that God wants- not what I want. 

8. I have absolutely no idea what I'm going to do when I graduate. I keep making plans, and I feel like God keeps shutting the door. It's really scary (Eleven months!!), but I know that God will take care of things in the end. (My biggest fear is that God is going to tell me to move to Africa or China or India or Haiti or something crazy like that- does that make me a bad Christian? I'm having serious guilt issues here.)
9. Pink with sparkles is my favorite color.I feel like if you don't already know this, you don't really know me.
10. My favorite letter is Z. This is because in "Dr. Seuss's ABC's", the Z page has a "zizzer zazzer zuzz", which is the coolest thing ever to say. It's kind of my favorite children's book- but "Green Eggs and Ham" might be a close second.
11. For my birthday this year (22!) I really want a Barbie cake. You know the one with the Barbie body/head sticking out. I want it to be a princess. If you can't tell, I'm a preschool girl trapped in a "big girl" body. This party is BYOPD (that's "Bring your own princess dress"). 

Haha. That was fun. Now on to the questions!

1. What would your dream job be? Princess. Duh.
2. If you were stuck on a deserted island, what 5 things would you want with you? (you can't say a boat, or something like that...) A cell tower and a cellphone (so I could call my daddy to come save me!). Max (he's really resourceful and could figure a solution to the problem). Internet (so I didn't get bored while Max was finding a way to save us). And food (so we don't die).
3. If you could own any car, what would it be? Carly. She's my car (a Corolla) and I really love her. I don't think I want any car but Carly. :)
4. What inspired your blog name? I like princesses (such as Cinderella). But, I'm not your everyday Cinderella- because I'm not ordinary and I'm not prissy (most of the time). I don't really remember why, it was back in 2009 when I came up with it. That's a long time ago.
5. What is your biggest pet peeve? People who text/ do stuff on their phone while driving. I'm precious cargo people! Precious cargo!
6. What was the last book you read? Do you recommend it? Postmodernism 101 by Heath White. I read it for a class I'm in this semester and ended up loving it. I think I'd recommend it, if your the scholarly/like to read books/philosophical/religious type.
7. What is one thing on your Bucket List? Learn to belly dance. Don't laugh. You know you wish you could.
8. What era in time do you think you would enjoy living in for a week? I think it would be really fun to be Amish for a week. I'm not really sure if that's an era (because they're still around today), but I think it'd be fun to live in the Early America/ traveling out West in a Wagon time period. But just for a week. The 1960s would be neat, too (like the Civil Rights Movement).
9. If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? Cupcakes.
10. What was your biggest epic fail moment of 2011? Honestly, I can't share that one. This is a public blog and I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. Just know that I'm still reaping the consequences of it and that it's making me question my career choices.
11. If you could have any super power, what it be and why? Turn to goop.(Sky High anyone?) It would be cool. :)
12. If you had $500 of free money to spend on anything, what would you buy? Books. Lots and lots of books. :)

1. What did you want to be when you were a child? A mommy. :)
2. What is one national landmark you’d like to visit? Mt. Rushmore. I love old dead guys. :)
3. Which celebrity would you pick to play you, if they were making a movie about your life? A movie about my life? I have no idea.
4. What’s your favorite animal? Ocelots and Flamingos. I can't choose between the two.
5. What’s your favorite book? Um, the Bible? (Religion major?) In reality, it's probably Harry Potter. He kind of changed my life.
6. What is one thing you want to accomplish this year? Graduate college!
7. Do you think you’re smarter than a 5th grader? Of course! (I'd really love to be on that show. I'm pretty good when I watch at home).
8. Have you ever invented anything? Yes. I make up my own words all the time. Like ginormous. :)
9. If I dared you to would you sing “Love Shack” on karaoke night? Negatory. I don't do karaoke.
10. What is one thing you want to do before you’re too old? Run a marathon.


Okay, now it's time for my questions! Yay! I'm asking 11 since that's the average of all three! :)
1. What is your favorite pair of shoes that you own?
2. What is your favorite quote? (Not Bible verse, we'll get to that later!
3. What is your favorite bible verse (or your life verse, or your favorite book of the Bible, whatever)?
4. What is your favorite book and why?
5. What is one thing that you couldn't live without?
6. If you could tell your thirteen year old self one thing, what would it be?
7. What is your dream job? (Princess would totally count.)
8. What would you miss the color of most if we lived in a black and white world? (Think Wizard of Oz here)
9. What is your favorite craft project that you've made or want to make? (Link up to a tutorial here if you have one!)
10. What is your catchprase (or one thing you find yourself saying over and over again)?
11. What is your favorite flavor of cupcake (cake and frosting)?

I know that you're supposed to tag people in this thing, but I kind of feel like everyone I know has already been tagged. So, rather than upset someone by leaving them out, I'm going to leave this open to anyone. If you haven't been tagged already- go for it! Leave a comment with a link to your post so I can check out your answers. If anyone would like to follow Annie's lead, I'd love to watch some more video blogs. They're quite funny! :)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sunday Sparkle- Week 5

I have two blog posts that I've drafted over the past week that I need to post. I usually blog from my iPad using Blogpress, but something isn't working right with it. It keeps saying I have a network error (but I can get online and use any app but that one) and won't let me save my posts online. So, I need to figure out a way to export them from the app. No idea how that's going to work, but I'm hoping I don't lose 2-3 hours worth of blog work. So, in other words, new posts coming soon! I haven't given up blogging. I wish I could find the time to post more often. I have so many thoughts in my head to write about, but I never take the time to blog them. That seems a little silly, right?

Anyways, we're going to go onto Sunday Sparkle. I think it's neat to start out the week by blogging pictures from the previous week. While last week had it's ups and downs (hey-first test of the semester!), it was a yummy week. Meaning food is featured in all of my pictures. Haha. 

Last Sunday (a week ago!), my best friend and I had dinner at Zoe's (after shopping at Publix, of course!). I wasn't too hungry, so I just had the rice pilaf, a diet coke, and some chocolate cake. You can't go wrong if there's cake involved- that's my motto.

Monday night is Bachelor night. For real, this is my kind of television. I'm a little ashamed that I spend two hours a week watching this non-sense, but I immensely enjoy it because it doesn't use up any of my brain cells. Sometimes smart people need a brain break. That's what Bachelor is for me. I'm pretty sure I'd go insane without some kind of brain break thrown in my day.Of course, no "brain break" is complete without snackage. This weeks choice was oreos and milk. I won't mention how many I ate, but I had a bit of a tummy ache and learned that I shouldn't sit with a whole package. Girl has no self control when it comes to cookies.

Wednesday was a busy day. Because I'm really bad at planning these things out, I ended up having 60-something pages in one book to read, 30-something in another, and a book, James, and class notes to review for a Thursday test. Freak out commence. Thanks to a handy dandy calender, I can plan out every minute of my day. I stuck to it pretty good (I think). I added some blogging in (which was homework for my class), but other than that, I stuck to my homework and readings. Let's just say that I'm trying to do better with keeping up with my readings so that I don't have to wake up at 7:15 am again. Christian Ethics/Philosophy/Augustine isn't the most interesting thing in the world to read at that ungodly hour. Girl likes her sleep.

Yay! Sparkle!
I'm going to bed now (sleepy, sleepy) so that I can get up bright and early (8 am people!) to sit in a classroom and learn about stuff that I won't understand and that will hurt my brain. Ah, philosophy and ethics. I will not be sad when this semester is OVER! I'm also going to try and work on rescuing my posts from BlogPress, AND I have a video blog (thanks Annie!) that should be filmed/coming soon! Yay! Happy day. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

When Life Hurts

I could tell you that life is amazing right now. But, that would be a lie. It's not- it's probably the farthest from "amazing" that it has been in a while. I feel like I'm on roller coaster that isn't stopping. I go from a high (spending time with a friend, feeling like me and God are "like this") to a low constantly. Just when I think I've pulled myself together, I realize that it is far from "together". I'm pretty good at hiding things. I'm good at saying that things are "fine" and that I am "okay". But, right now, life hurts. It hurts to wake up in the morning and know all of the things I need to get done. It hurts when people disappoint me and don't live up to my expectations. It hurts when people don't stand up for me. It just hurts. 

I'm still trying to work through how different this semester is than last. I'm working through finding who I am. I am struggling to hold the pieces together- and clinging to the remaining pieces as if my life depended on it. I honestly thought I had it figured out. And just when I got comfortable with things- the rug got pulled out from underneath me. "My" plan was apparently not God's plan. I'm struggling to not have bitter feelings. I'm trying to forgive and move on. But, when something defines your life- defines who you are, what your plans are, dictates your decisions- it is hard when that thing goes away. It gets hard to find the good in the situation. I mean, some good things have come- I get to play with cute kids on Wednesday nights with my best friend, I have more time to study. But, this isn't what I envisioned my life to look like this semester. I was planning on getting a little more on my "little resume" in hopes that I could land that dream job or get that scholarship to go to seminary when I graduate. But, now- there's a lack of direction. I don't know how "my plan" is going to work out. I have exhausted so many back up plans that I have run out of letters. It just hurts.

My biggest fear is being unwanted. I don't know where this came from. I have the best family, I promise. But, I have this fear that I'm never going to find a job- because nobody wants me. I have a fear that I'm going to end up a "crazy cat lady"- because nobody wants me. I imagine up all of these scenarios, and they all come back to the same thing. It's hard to fight this when it invades every aspect of my life. It means that my feelings get hurt double when a friend cancels and I end up blogging about it. It means I take things extra hard, when they aren't meant that way. It means I read into things. I overanalyze things when they didn't need to be analyzed in the first place. It means that I fear rejection so much that I don't put myself out there to be rejected. I walk away before someone else can.

I've been turning to my Bible a lot lately. It is the only thing that remains constant, that never changes it's mind, that never fails, and that will never let me down. I can trust I God, even when everything around me doesn't make sense. I'm so thankful that I serve a God like this. He is really amazing. This week, I've been reading in Isaiah. Yes, my reading plan has me in Numbers- but Isaiah is where I need to be right now. Last night, I was reading though the book of comfort (chapters 40-53) and well, it comforted me. (Imagine that!) I'm learning to move on. I'm learning that it's okay that life hurts, but I can't dwell on that. In Isaiah, the people were in a really bad spot. They had disobeyed God- turned their back on him and began worshipping themselves instead of God (sound familiar?). Eventually, their sins led to the, being taken over and sent into exile. I would say that it wasn't really good. In the book of comfort, Isaiah provides a message of hope for the people. He tells them that God hasn't abandoned them, even when all the signs around the say otherwise.

Isaiah 43 is where my heart is at. This is the section that convicts me. It's the section that draws me back. In this beautiful passage, Isaiah reminds the people that the Lord is with them always. He is always fighting on their side. He provides for them, even in the darkest of times. This is because they are precious to him. Precious. Did you know that "precious" extends to us too? It is so amazing that God calls us his precious children. Isiah 43:4 says, "Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life." God doesn't just call you precious, he says that he loves you. He loves you in despite of you "messing things up". He loves you despite the fact that you keep thinking your plans are better than his. He loves you even when life hurts. So, when life hurts- turn to him! We don't have to do this thing called life alone!

So, right now, life hurts. Bitter feelings abound. Plans get messed up. Things don't always work out. But, it is going to be okay. We are going to live to see another day. The sun will come out tomorrow. God thinks you are precious, and he loves you. Turn to him when life hurts, and find the sparkle. :)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

RePost: Slaves. Not Masters.

[Once again, class is getting in the way of my blogging. I have some ideas that I'm going to try and write about tomorrow or this weekend, but after I posted this for my "class blog", I realized some of you might enjoy reading it too. So, it's part of my "RePost series". This one is about Modernism and Postmodernism in the church- and I throw in some Tabernacle and Frat House jokes for good measure. Happy reading (and getting educated)! ]

"By objective measures, churches- in America, at any rate- are not doing a particularly good job on any of these fronts. Many people who claim Christianity are unfamiliar with Bible stories, like the stories of David and Saul, or basic theology, like the Incarnation. Few know the Ten commandments. Attendance and giving are lower than they ought to be, prayer and Bible study are less frequent than they ought to be, and the moral differences between Christians and non-Christians are unremarkable."
 -Heath White, Postmodernism 101

For some reason, we like to cast the blame on churches when we hear quotes like this. We like to say that it's the church's fault that our children are growing up and leaving the faith. We blame the church for our own lack of personal discipleship (Bible reading and quiet time) because we say that "we were never taught how to ______".  Church has become more of a place of social interaction than a place of spiritual transformation. While some blame may be due to the church, in a majority of cases, I feel like our "church problems" are more due to the individual christian. I mean, my pastor can stand up at the pulpit (well, he could if we had one) and preach about how I needed to read my Bible more. But, if I just sit there and listen and say "Well. That was a nice sermon", I'm not going to be affected. I'm not going to change. My spiritual life is not going to get better. Nothing is going to change until make the choice, as an independent individual, to open up my Bible and read it.  We need to remember that "discipleship is not an option for the spiritual elite but God's command for everyone." Go back and read that again. We're all called to engage in the practice of discipleship. It's not just for pastors, small group leaders, and "overachievers". It's for all of us. We have this autonomous mindset that we can run our own lives- that we don't need God. 

I wrote a post here a long time ago that focused around what I call "frat house churches". It's a small phrase that I like to think I came up with, but someone else probably already copyrighted it. I wrote it during a period of time where I was getting exceedingly frustrated with the direction my home church was going. It seemed like we were over-simplifying everything and were just "eating baby food" while we had arguments about sound systems, worship styles, power points, and which chairs would best fit the new worship center's color scheme. (Can I just make a brief sidebar- I hate the phrase "worship center". It makes me feel like I'm going to WalMart to pick up this week's special- Jesus. I like Sanctuary. Or Tabernacle. I really like Tabernacle (I feel like it's more biblical, KJV style)- but I'm Methodist and we don't have those. End of sidebar.) In that post, I came to the conclusion that "Our churches have evolved from places of worship to an Almighty God to a place to worship ourselves." I feel like so often, we make church more about "me" than God. I'm not sure I have a solution to this. I mean, as society progresses, it seems like we're going to get farther and farther from the "God thing". Seeing as this is a modern concept and we are headed towards postmodernism, I'm not sure I like the direction this is headed. Towards the end of his book, White makes the claim that "Many Christians are 'cafeteria traditionalists,' adhering to the parts of their inherited faith that they life and discarding uncomfortable teachings like the doctrine of hell or the prohibition of premarital sex." We pick and choose what we want to believe, if we want to believe- which definitely seems more like worshiping ourselves than worshiping God. We're afraid of offending anyone- so we don't do anything. We don't emphasize salvation, because we don't want to believe in a literal Hell. We don't ask that people give their tithes or attend church regularly. We teach broad concepts- like gratitude, self-control, even creativity- rather than teaching spiritual disciplines. We feed the "audience" baby food- and yes, their an audience- they aren't participating. We don't demand anything, so we don't get anything. When we feel "unfulfilled", we blame "the Church" rather than taking responsibility. It's never "my fault", yet everything is "all about me". 

I feel like this post was really scattered. I don't know how to organize everything in a neat manner and tie everything up in a pretty little bow. I don't have an answer (and I feel like I should), but I know that something has to change. There has to be more of an emphasis on discipleship. There needs to be an emphasis on a person's personal relationship with God- but it has to be done in the context of a community of faith. We can't just teach people, we have to reach their hearts also. Our actions show the world who we are. If we don't look different, are we really any different? Postmodernism regards authority as a form of slavery. But, as Christians, we are slaves to the gospel. Romans 1 starts with Paul introducing himself as "Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach his Good News" (NLT). So, we have to reject this part of postmodernism- we must regard God as an authority figure. If we reject this, I don't know how we could claim to be Christians. We cannot be our own authority. We can't do this "religion" thing alone. It's not just about us- it's about HIM. Our churches must return to our roots and become places of worship to an Almighty God, and not a place to worship ourselves.