Wednesday, December 31, 2014

There & Back Again...

How does time fly by so quickly?  Here we are back at the end of another December.   It seems like January happened just a few months ago and yet as the days melted through the Spring, and the hazy days of summer seem to run by right into the hands of a brisk fall, I can well believe another year has come.

 I love the words "there & back again", because they always remind me of the Lord of the Rings and Bilbo's storytelling.   His theme (to me at least) was always enjoy and learn as much as you can where you are at, but always remember where you started.  Always come back to your roots, they are a part of who you are. Although you may change over the years as you learn new truths and experience new things....those moments of "aha" come throughout the year as well because we still are the same person....just (hopefully) a little wiser, braver or ________ you fill in the blank.  Those memories of yester year shaped our future. 
There & back again...yeah, I'm not the same person I was a year ago, but yet coming to the end of the year I'm recognizing some of those familiar feelings that start floating around every time I start looking for a new calendar at the store.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

My Two Cents

Wow, the month of November has flown by!  I can't believe Thanksgiving will be here in just a couple days and Christmas just a few weeks later!!  2014 has been a huge growing year...I know we tend to say that about a lot of years in our life, but you know how certain ones are REALLY growing years and others are still growing years, but maybe not quite as life impacting??

I think the biggest thing that God has been showing me this year is to find my validation in Him alone.  To meet His expectations alone.  To live for His smile alone.  I will never be able to do what every one thinks I should be able to do or live in such a way that meets the expectations of everyone and that is ok...   I am here to live the life God wants me to live - no matter how countercultural it is :)

Ok, so onto the monthly "My Two Cents"...


I'm just going to come right out and admit that I have been addicted to the "When Calls the Heart" series that came out last spring on the Hallmark Channel...  I know, I know but sometimes I can become a hopeless romantic.  I have those moments of wanting to curl up on the couch and watch a movie that has nothing wrong with it, still has a good story line and has decent actors.  The series is not based off of Janette Oke's books (When Comes the Heart series) like the "Love Comes Softly" series was (which is probably why I can watch it without any pre-judgments).  I have to admit that I am not a big fan of the Love Comes Softly series past the first and second movie... I just loved the books too much and didn't really enjoy the actors and story lines... So I admit to being a bit apprehensive when "When Calls the Heart" came out, however I was captivated by the pilot and have been impatiently waiting for all the episodes to come out on DVD for the past few months!  Definitely check it out!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Fresh Modesty

Can I just say...If you haven't checked out the website "Fresh Modesty", then you are really missing out!

Olivia Howard is a lovely young lady, who started up a fashion blog for Christian young ladies who want to glorify the Lord with beautiful wardrobes.  She is honest about her life and the challenges she faces, but tries to daily glorify the Lord in all that she does.

She has been such an encouragement to me over the past couple years.  It can be really hard in this culture to dress modestly and still be feminine.  It can be hard in that, it's difficult to find clothing that's modest and fits each of our individual styles, but it can also be hard because it is not what our culture expects.  However, Olivia knows that God has given her a higher calling.  To dress modestly and live a life that reflects her Lord and Savior - no matter what the culture expects or how challenging it can be to find clothing!  She truly wants to encourage her sister's in Christ and has been such a blessing!  Please, go check out her blog...I think you will love it! :)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Releasing The Bottle

I started this post about a month ago... things got busy though and I forgot to post it...however, I wanted to leave that beautiful picture of what New England starts to look like at the beginning of October...just a week or two before peak foliage :)

It is that beautiful time here again in New England!!  The fall foliage is starting to burst out in crimson reds and golden hues of yellow and orange! "sigh"  I totally understand why we have "leaf peepers" (tourists that come for drives just to see the fall foliage) in our state!!

On another note though...

I joined my friend a few days ago on a trip to Boston to complete an event on her "24 List".  She turned 24 a week ago and has made a list of 24 things she wants to do while she is 24.  This dear friend has fought cancer over the last two years and finally won.  Over the past few months I have seen her return back to the girl I remembered and knew was still in their somewhere :)  She wants to live life to the fullest and cherish every moment!  Therefore, the list of 24 things she wants to experience this year is a list of sentimental, fun and adventurous things to do or opportunities to learn and stretch her creativity!  This trip to Boston included writing a message, putting it into a glass bottle and sending it out into the unknown.  Hoping, praying, wishing that someday, someone will find it and it will impact their lives....

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

"Why Suffer?": A Friend's Post

As I was reading through a friends blog, I came across her most recent article.  I asked her if I could share part of it here with you and then put a link for all of you to follow to her blog...  It was very perceptive and made me sit back and think and ask myself some questions... What do I hide from? Avoid? Remove myself from? Am I willing to accept what God has allowed into my life in order that He might be glorified?   Am I willing to live out the verse, "in my weakness, he is made strong."?

"Why suffer? Many have been asking this question since Brittany Maynard asked herself this question and sparked national news and controversy over the last few weeks.
I was saddened to read of Brittany Maynard’s death this weekend. After a diagnosis of terminal brain cancer, Brittany decided to end her own life instead of suffering through the last stages of the cancer. She was only 29. People all over the country have applauded her bravery and her choice to “die with dignity.”
I’m not writing this to condemn Brittany. I’m human too. I’d much rather avoid suffering if it was in my power to do so. I would also be desperate for some measure of control. As much as the thought of dying scares me, I’d rather it be quick than drawn out and painful. I can understand some of Brittany’s reasons for her decision. But there is a much deeper issue beneath Brittany’s desire to end her suffering."

Click here to read the rest of her post...

Monday, November 3, 2014

What will you be doing November 4, 2014?

I just read a great article over at "Crossed"....What is left to say?   Tomorrow is November 4, 2014...Election Day here in the United States of America.  If you are an American citizen then you have been given a freedom that many, if not most, countries cannot enjoy.  The freedom to vote.  To vote who will represent you, the freedom to vote who will uphold the Constitution, the freedom to vote to keep the freedoms we have or the reverse...  Please, our nation needs the prayers of its Christians as well as its votes. The next few years will be turning points in our nation...if we don't have people in office who represent us, then we the people are to blame...

Here is a quick taste of Frank Turek's article...

"When I hear Christians saying we ought not get involved in politics but just “preach the Gospel,” I show them this satellite picture of the Korean peninsula. South Korea is full of freedom, food and productivity—it’s one of the most Christianized countries in the world. North Korea is a concentration camp.   They have no freedom, no food, and very little Christianity.

What’s the primary reason for the stark difference between these two countries?
Read the rest of the article HERE

Monday, October 20, 2014

"We The People"

    "'We the people.' These are the first words of the United States Constitution.  'We the people' ordain and establish this Constitution of the United States of America."  Those aren't just pretty words.   They are a clear statement of the origin of all authority and power in this country.  This government by the people derives it's power from the people -- power flows from the bottom up, not from the top down. 
    The Constitution is not a document whereby an all-powerful government grants certain rights and privileges to its citizens.  No, it's the other way around.  The Constitution is a document whereby the citizens of the United States grant certain authorities and powers to the government.  'We the people' aren't passive recipients of rights granted in the Constitution; "We the people" are the actors, the initiators in this exchange.
    At least, we're supposed to be.  The truth is, 'We the people' have grown quite passive when it comes to our relationship to the government that we empower.  As a nation, we have grown quite ignorant of how and why our government works.  And in our ignorance and passivity, we have surrendered too many rights and freedoms to our government.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Book Review: It's (not that) Complicated

Hello Everyone!

I just finished reading Anna Sophia & Elizabeth Botkin's book "It's (not that) Complicated", and I couldn't resist doing a book review!  It was a huge eye opener as well as a good reminder in different areas...  However, this is my first book review so bare with me as I travel this new field of giving a book review :)

So, the main theme in the book is how to relate to guys in a healthy, sane and biblical way.  They approach this subject with humor and wit, while keeping the readers attention by going straight to Scripture for their answers to all those guy-girl relationship questions.

You can find this book on Amazon

The Botkin sisters are fantastic writers and keep things "down to earth".  They realize and understand that most of us struggle with at least some, if not all, of the questions and circumstances that they talk about in the book....and they have worked through many of these struggles/questions themselves which makes their book so much more relatable knowing the authors have experienced what you may have experienced at some point in your life.

They start out the book talking about why guy-girl relationships are so complicated in today's world because of the influences that swirl around us every day in the music, movies, books, lifestyles and cultural norms that surround us every day.  However, they aren't hesitant to point out that every century has had it's own set of problems to deal with and ours is no exception!  They bring you right to the root of the problem by page 10.

"However, our circumstances aren't the only thing making life messy for us.  The first question we need to sort out is the complicated-ness inside each of our hearts.  The battle between the spirit and he flesh.  The desire to surrender our will to God and the desire to be captain of our own ship.  The question of whether to consider others, or ourselves, more important.  The desire to do what is right and the desire to do what is wrong....We can't decide what our circumstances will be, but how we will respond to them is up to us."

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

My Two Cents

For this month's "My Two Cents", I'm thinking of going with a fall let's see how it goes!

What do you think of when you think fall??

Hoodies, Pumpkins, Apple Picking, Hiking, Bonfires,
 Hay Rides, Kayaking, Hot Chocolate, Sweaters,
Hot Tea, Fall Foliage, County Fairs, Blue Skies, Apple Crisps

Thursday, September 11, 2014

My Two Cent's

Hello Friends,

I was blog hopping the other day and came across a post that inspired some post topics in my head! (love it when that happens).  The young woman gave a list of her "favorites".  Different things that she really liked, that she wanted to share with her following.  I love seeing what other young Christian ladies are reading, watching, listening to etc. and I thought you might too! So I thought it would be fun to do a monthly post of giving "My Two Cent's" on things that I think some of you out there might enjoy! 

I would love to have some interaction on here with these posts!  Let me know if you have read, seen, heard of, or just enjoyed any of the things that are mentioned :)

Come What May
I absolutely love this movie!!  It is clean, has a fantastic message and some great acting!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Our focus...True Manhood or True Womanhood?

I have been working my way through the book "Fierce Women" by Kimberley Wagner.  It's been GREAT!  :)  When I originally bought it I thought it was for women, single or married.  As I got into it though, I realized that it was written more for the married women...however, I have been able to apply a lot of what I've learned despite the fact that I am single :)  Relationships need work no matter what form of relationship they are...

As I read through one of the chapters this morning, a couple paragraphs stood out to me that I wanted to share with you. 

“True manhood shows up in daily choices that require character qualities like courage, integrity, perseverance, and self-sacrifice.  It’s  being a man of honor – taking personal responsibility, fulfilling duties, demonstrating valor, and showing a willingness to sacrifice and lead for the greater good.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

"Love As I Loved"...

The words from Ron Hamilton's song, "Love As I Loved" have been ringing in my ears the past few days so I thought I would share the song with all of you :)

When the Lord was speaking to the crowd
A beggar came, who fell down
Before Christ and called out His Name
The disciples quickly came, and they turned the man away
Till they saw the Lord's compassion and they heard the Savior say-

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Where to start...

First of all I'm sorry there has been a pause in the writing of the blog this summer...It always amazes me how time flies when you're having fun! :)  It has certainly been busy in my summer usually is...but isn't that a good thing - being busy?  Yes, sometimes we all need life to slow down, to have a moment to reflect and sometimes even refocus on the priorities in life.  However, right now in this chapter of my life, I like to stay busy. It makes me feel alive, be optimistic about life and it helps me keep a positive outlook!   When I'm busy I tend to see God's hand at work more often.  I tend to see the blessings He gives me on a more regular basis...or even just notice the "small ones" that I so often overlook. 

Looking up at the Custom Tower on the
first night!

God has provided in so many ways this summer!!  One of the blessings that I would like to specifically mention is His gift of going to Boston a few weeks ago..

I LOVE to travel!!  I especially enjoy traveling to cities that are close to water :)  Think Boston falls in this category?  I also really enjoy planning trips, figuring out the cost of everything, working out the budget for the trip, figuring out the where, when's and how's of the trip, yep I love the details.  However, going to Boston on a mini vacation, in a NICE hotel right next to the water, was something that was on the bucket list to do when I have the money to pay for a vacation like maybe once I hit retirement age :)

Sunday, May 18, 2014

One Person At A Time..

"Sometimes working in a third world country makes me feel like I am emptying the ocean with an eyedropper.'  Today it often still feels that way.  I have learned to be okay with this feeling because I have learned that I will not change the world.  Jesus will do that.  I can, however, change the world for one person...and if one person sees the love of Christ in me, it is worth every minute." 1. 

That quote was from Katie Davis' book "Kisses from Katie".  A book that from the first read has landed among my most favorite books.  I am going through it again for the second time and this entry from her journal really hit home for me.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Tempted to fear?

      "Women are always tempted to be initiators.  We like to get things done.  We want to talk about situations and feelings, get it all out in the open, deal with it.  It appears to us that men often ignore and evade issues, sweep things under the rug, forget about them, get on with projects, business, pleasures, sports, eat a big steak, turn on the television, roll over, and go to sleep.  Women respond to this tendency by insisting on confrontation, communication, showdown.  If we can't dragoon our men into that, we nag, we plead, we get attention by tears, silence, or withholding warmth and intimacy.  We have a large bag of tricks.

     C.S. Lewis's vision of purgatory was a place where milk was always boiling over, crockery smashing and toast burning.  The lesson assigned to the men was to do something about it.  The lesson for the women was to do nothing.  That would be purgatory for most of us."1.

Found on Pinterest

     I read this quote a few days ago and it has been burned in my memory since then.  I know in my own life, most of what this quote says rang true.  I want to communicate when something is wrong.  I want to fix the situation.  I want to fix every one's problems...and when certain people whether they be male or female, seem to ignore or evade or even seem to forget, (get ready for this, since I'm sure I am the only one that does this)  I either give the silent treatment or get confrontational....yep, I am no saint.  This is an area that God has really been working on my heart lately. 

Yes, I believe it is good to communicate, but so often what is spurring me on?  Is it fear or rational thinking that causes me to lose my control and demand communication?  I think we all know that a LOT of the time it is fear.  Fear of something getting out of control.  Fear of what others will think.  Fear that it is not moving quick enough.  Fear that something will go wrong if it is not taken care of. 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter! Thank You Lord!

Thank You, Lord,
for a costly cross...
an empty tomb...
a triumphant Savior...
and a heart set free
for all eternity!



Friday, April 18, 2014

"Phases of the Moon"

In Sunday school last week our teacher brought up a parallel that I had never seen before...  I've been thinking about it all week and thought you all might enjoy it as well (if you haven't already heard it :]).

"Phases of the Moon"
Found on Pinterest
The moon reflects the light of the sun.  However as the planets rotate the earth blocks part of the sun from the moon and the light the moon is able to reflect changes. (yes there are more scientific ways of saying this and exactly how it all works, but that is not the point here :})

So here is the parallel...

We as Christians are supposed to reflect the light of the SON.  However as the things of earth come into our life our ability to reflect the SON diminishes. 

Our teacher asked us a few questions, "How much of the world do we allow in our life?  How well are able to reflect the SON with the influences of the world that we have allowed in?  Are we full moons, half moons, or quarter moons?  What would you like to be?"

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A Quote and Testimony

The following quote and a testimony on Sunday, were laid on my heart this morning and I just wanted to share it with all of you. 

The Quote:
"Great things happen on the wheels of relationships.' And the oil that lubricates the wheels of relationships is love.  No power holds more potential for changing human relationships than the power of love."1.

Found on Pinterest

First off, I want to thank God for those words and how they convicted my heart!!  How many relationships do I want changed?  How many people do I want to see changed so that our relationship can be stronger and so that through our relationship we can be a brighter light to the world?

All I need to do is express His love...

Especially when people are unlovable...

Oh God, may you give us strength and courage to love no matter what!  Help us to show your love!

The Testimony:
On Sunday a woman in our church shared a testimony.  She had been reading in her devotions and in one of her devotionals the writer pointed out that most of us are willing to lay down our lives for those we love...but how many of us are willing to lay down our wills?


How many of us are willing to lay down our will, our desires, our thoughts and plans and show the love of Christ to every person we come in contact with...I will admit that this is a hard one for me...Some people are so much easier to show love to than others!!!  But how much more could the light of God shine through me if I would just surrender to HIS will and allow HIS love to flow through me!! 

How many of my relationships would blossom and grow if only I would love as Christ loves us...Unconditionally, laying down my selfish, prideful and stubborn will to be reflection of HIM. 

This is such a weak area for me!!  As I sat there reading and meditating over what I had read, the thoughts came..."Are you kidding, you can't lay down your will when people hurt you, you know how you react."  You are too weak to even try to love others when you pride has been hurt."

Found on Pinterest
I think you know the thoughts that Satan wants you think about that come flooding forward when your heart is convicted of something...but God in His love brought one of my favorite verses to mind.
"I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me."  Philippians 4:13

Yes!  I praised Him for bringing that to mind!  I can love others.  I can lay down my will.  I can kick my pride and selfishness out the door through Christ's strength!

Praise God!

1. "God Speaks Your Love Language" by Gary Chapman pg. 186

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Eric Ludy Video - Depraved Indifference

One of the ways God shows his love for the fatherless is through us... Are we living in such a way, that we are available and willing for Him to work through us at any time? 

What are your thoughts after watching that?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

How Precious Is His Blood?

Our Pastor went on vacation a few weeks ago and one of the men in our church stepped up and took his place on Sunday while Pastor was away.  He gave an allegory that really made me think about how precious the blood of Christ is, and I wanted to share it with you all.

I think we all know how special a wedding dress is to a bride. Whether you have been a bride or have been around one while she is looking for "the" dress, you know how important the dress is.  Once the dress is bought, it is placed in a very safe area until the day of the wedding - unless fittings are needed on the dress, in which case every safety precaution is used to ensure the safety of the dress :)  I think you get my point, the dress is IMPORTANT....

Imagine two days before the wedding the bride goes to look at her dress and finds a huge stain on the front of the dress.  What would be her number one priority at that point?  Finding a type of solution that would remove the stain from the dress right??  Once the solution is found, how valuable would that solution be to the bride?  Extremely, right?

Well, how valuable and precious are our souls?  The souls of the whole world?  Our hearts and souls have been blackened by the presence of sin in our lives and the penalty for that sin is death.  We are destined to spend eternity in hell without Christ because nothing we can do can ever cleanse us from the filth of sin...
However, the Son of God came, a perfect human being without sin, paid our debt, our penalty.  He spilled his precious blood in order to cover our sins and wash us white as snow.  His blood cleanses us.  How precious, how powerful is that?
He laid down his life and spilled his blood in order that we might now have a choice.  A choice to accept his free gift of salvation.  Salvation from eternity in hell and eternal separation from our Creator and God.  OR  To reject the gift so freely given and continue down the path we have been destined to follow.

Don't you think the precious blood of Christ that wipes away our filthy, dirty sin from our lives is incredibly valuable?  Even more valuable than a solution that will remove a stain from a bride's wedding dress?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

"...Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes..."  Those words are ringing in my ears as I glance at the blizzard blowing outside my windows.  As I watch the millions of snowflakes make there descent down to earth I am again blown away by the thought that each one is unique.  Each one a special creation of the Creator!
  He is truly the God of creativity!  Billions of snowflakes, tiny, frozen, water crystals each designed to look slightly different from another one! 

As I sit inside by our warm woodstove, reflecting on this incredible design, I've begun to think of the people in the blogger world who are also so unique and designed with such amazing creativity!   I follow several blogs that make my heart smile when I see they have a new post, because God has given so many girls the precious gift of being able to write what God shows them!  You know what I'm talking about, that author that writes exactly what you needed to read, written in such a way that you are immediately caught up in the post. 
Yes, that is very special gift...filled with creativity...after all we are made in the image of a creative Creator :)

So....I thought I would share some of my favorite blogs written by some of these amazing girls!  As you get ready for the special holiday tomorrow and enter the weekend, I hope that these blogs and articles encourage and bless your hearts as they have mine over the years!

Written Upon My Heart  by Rebekah
A Girl With Wings  by Abigail
Altogether Separate by A group of girls
Hope you all have a wonderful Valentine's Day remembering our creative and loving Creator!!

Sunday, January 19, 2014's already January 19, does time fly by so fast?  How do the days slip by?  I'm reminded to ask myself, "Am I using my 86,400 seconds, 1,440 minutes, 24 hours each day, to the best of my the glory of God?"
"Time flies. It’s up to you to navigate." ~ Robert Orben.    How am I/you navigating this new year, month, day?  Are we "bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;"?

We watched a video in Bible Study last night that made me think about how little I think about God through my day...It was a video talking about the symbolism and meanings found in the Israelite culture during Bible times.  The way they did things, when they did things, how they did things, etc.  Everything had a purpose it seemed.  Yes, they still had a life full of work, play, social time etc. but it seemed like they spent so much of their life reminding themselves of who God was, what He had done and promised....How often do I check in with God throughout my day?  I don't even have to go through a priest like the Israelites did!  He is always right beside me, waiting for me to "check in" with Him. 

My heart was/is convicted.  I need to "check in" and make sure my motives are glorifying to Him.  The job I'm working on honors Him.  The words I'm speaking and thoughts I'm thinking...would they make Him smile?  Do I praise Him throughout my day?  Do I look for His hand at work or do I just pass through my day...not noticing His hand providing, encouraging, helping...waiting for me?

I think it is so easy to focus on the negatives in life and forget about our real purpose in life...why is that?  Maybe because Satan is the Prince of this world and that is what he would like us to focus on...However, Christ is the KING of Everything and I think He wants me to see beyond the negatives, see the positives and keep our focus. See the blessings.  Yes, see the needs, but see them as blessings given to each of us as opportunities to serve our wonderful Savior!

Hebrews 12: 1-3

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted."

 Am I being a lighthouse every moment of every day or only sometimes?  Am I reflecting His love, forgiveness, grace, patience and humility all the time or only when I "remember"?  Am I running the race with purpose?