Monday, 27 August 2012

Rainbow Sprinkles!

Adventure: an unusual and exciting activity or experience

What does the word adventure mean to you?  Does it mean climbing Mt. Everest? Maybe it means striving to get on the Olympic Swimming Team for you.  Or could it be exploring inactive Lava Tubes in Hawaii?  Perhaps these are way out of you comfort zone and your idea of adventure could be going trail riding on your horse or exploring in an old forest.  What about riding in a horse drawn sleigh at Christmas time or learning to fly a helicopter?  Could it be trying new recipes or learning a new game?  Maybe it's going on a mission trip to the next state over from you or going overseas? What do you consider an adventure to be?  Do you make every day life an adventure or do you wait for that once-in-a-life-time-adventure to come along and that is it?
by Never House
 As I thought about what adventure means to me some of the things listed above came to mind.  I enjoy canoeing or kayaking in new lakes and rivers, visiting waterfalls and the ocean. Someday I hope to visit Great Britain and see the castles, tea shops, country towns, busy seaside ports and so many other places that I've only ever read about.  I can honestly say that in the past few years my devotions have become a sort of adventure - digging into God's Word and seeking out treasures that He has for me each day.  Reading devotional books and finding special nuggets that inspire me to live a life set on fire for Christ.

However, as I ruminated on what I do for "adventures" to brighten up or spice up my day I was only drawing up blanks.  What do I do that brings some excitement into my day.  After thinking about it over night and still not coming up with anything, I realized it was time to talk to Mom.  She knows me better than anyone and sometimes helps me to see what I can not see even if it is right in front of my nose :}
by missmeng

So...we talked and she asked me what I enjoyed doing and try to do almost everyday....I realized that I try to spread "rainbow sprinkles" into at least one persons life everyday.  You're probably wondering what "rainbow sprinkles" are.  It is a term coined be Leslie Ludy when she saw her son ask for rainbow sprinkles on his ice cream.  She saw a parallel between the bright colored and beautiful sprinkles on her sons ice cream and the beautiful blessings that God sprinkles into our lives everyday. 

For those of us who have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Savior and been born again, earth is not our home, but rather a place that we are journeying through.  Living with Christ in heaven is our destination and earth is our training ground for things to come.  Life is an adventure!  Finding ways to "sprinkle blessings" or bring "rainbow sprinkles" into people's lives is exciting and adventurous.  It's almost like being on a quest for joy.  Looking for ways to bring joy into other people lives.

Some examples of "rainbow sprinkles" could be:

* Emailing a friend an e-card
* Sending a friend a handwritten note
* Writing my family little notes to let them know how much I love them
* Making my parent's or sister's beds
* Doing someone else's chores :)
* Buying a little gift for someone
* Sending someone flowers or picking some of our own if they're are in season
* Sending postcards
* Giving a hug when they are not expected
* Baking some treats for others to enjoy
* Putting something special in a lunchbox
* One year I wrote to each of my parents and my sister one note each day from February 1st through the 14th, telling them why I loved them.
* ....and there are so many other things to do.  It's an adventure to find what makes different people smile and laugh.

What do you do to bring adventure into your life? 

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Waiting For Marriage...or Not.

I don't think that God is calling you to wait for marriage. 
Waiting by h.koppdelaney
Waiting, a photo by h.koppdelaney on Flickr.

Now that I have your attention, I'll clarify. What picture comes to mind at the word "wait"? Perhaps it's a pair of hands folded submissively on a lap, a patient dog beside the door, or bored travelers at a bus stop. I've heard some people talk as if single young women should act like this: passive and stagnant. 

But what does God have to say about waiting?

In Matthew 25 Jesus told the parable of ten young women who had to wait all night for wedding festivities to begin. "Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps." When the bridegroom came along, guess which girls were ready to come out and meet him: the ones who were prepared.

I'm a homeschooled girl who has never had a boyfriend (gasp), and yes, sometimes it's difficult to imagine how I will ever meet Mr. Right unless it's through some kind of random accident. At times it's easy to ignore the fact that I'm single and I can throw myself into living a full and meaningful life, but sometimes it's easy to sit back and bemoan my fate, saying, "Well, I guess I have to wait." If you've ever been tempted to say that, then here is a wake-up quote for you:
A girl who lives a static life of waiting to be married is not attractive. Think what it conveys: “I’ll just sit here idly while waiting for someone to come and give me a purpose, and a house and money and food and make me happy and love me.” It’s very needy. A man wants a companion, not a sympathy case. 
-Debi Pearl, Preparing to Be a Helpmeet 
Let me tell you Lydia's story. Lydia is a beautiful woman with a heart on fire for God. For years her friends admired and appreciated her talents and passion, watching as she embarked on mission trips and made beautiful music with her hands and voice. She was cheerful, sweet, funny, adventurous, and strangely single. Why weren't there dozens of eligible young men snapping her up? 

Perhaps Lydia was thinking that too. I've heard her talk about her struggles in this area, how she wanted a husband but God didn't seem to want that for her. Well, she decided, if marriage wasn't part of the plan she would find out what was. So she took a trip to Israel with the sole purpose of praying and seeking God's heart. And guess what: she found a husband! The moment she stopped waiting for God's will and started doing God's will, Mr. Right fell into her life in an amazing way. 

All of this to say, don't wait, girls! Wait for intimacy, wait for giving your heart away, but for Heaven's sake don't wait to do something meaningful and purposeful in this world until you've found a mate. Unfold your hands and stop being "needy," do the things that will prepare you to be an amazing wife and an amazing woman, because you never know who could be watching....

Monday, 20 August 2012

Dreams in the Sky

Pinned Image

 Thinking of lace and flowers, cake and rings...
Dreaming of the one whom I shall give my heart to, the one whom I will walk down the aisle with, the one who I shall love all the days of my life.
Um, wait. Did I just say all the days of my life?
So, that means every day... even before I even know that special him? Yes, dear friends, it's true.

"She does him good, and not harm,
    all the days of her life."
Proverbs 31:12

In my thoughts now. My actions now. My feelings now.
But you may ask, "Well, how would I bring him harm?"... and that is what I want to talk about. As women, created in God's sight as beautiful and precious, we have that God-given desire to love, and to show love and comfort to people. Yet sin has twisted that love and made it an idol, in which all we do is dream about who that special "Mr." is whom we can love. {Or can I say fall in love with us and sweep us off our feet?}  So we get carried away... start dreaming, and often fall into seeing us stand up alongside a certain young man we know. Maybe he's cute, or funny, or really nice. Today, we call that a "crush". You know that you want to save your heart for one man, but sometimes it's hard not having those feelings... those dreams for you and him. And what if it is that young man? Maybe that is why God has placed him in your life, right?

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Well, not exactly. :)
See, this is a part of loving your husband all the days of your life. It is saving your heart, affections, and thoughts just for him. We don't know who that special someone is, and until the Lord reveals it to us, we need to keep our heart and thoughts pure. But it's hard, isn't it? How can we put aside these feelings, so that we can do good to our husbands all the days of our life?

Here's a few concepts that have truly helped me and strengthened me as I strive to live in purity.

•Seek God's will above your own
So many times we focus so much on ourselves, that we forget to whom we truly belong and live for.
We think about me.. and me ... and my life... and my dreams.. and, well, we lose our heavenly focus.
Yet by asking the Lord to turn our hearts ever more to Him, our priorities shift and our desires are changed to what He desires.

• Remember that we do not have a claim over the certain young man.
We may think "Oh yes, this ones mine. I have every right! I've known him since first grade, have done so many things together, etc." We have to remember that this may be someone else's husband, and if we truly want to show the love of Christ, we must desire their personal good, not our's. If we see the young men around us as someones husband, or as if they were already married {for God has ordained our future}, then we will be able to guard our hearts and keep our thoughts pure.

• Don't build castles in the sky
By dreaming of what house you and him are going to buy, where you are going to go on your honeymoon, and thoughts like that, you are building something that may never even happen. This ends in heartbreak and pain as we see that they never really thought of a relationship with us. And when we start dreaming and planning our life together, it is almost as if our brain goes out the window in that we fail to realise what kind of man we want our husband to be and begin to "settle for less". We fall in love with our romantic fantasies and adventures, where we are always being saved by that special young man. Yet we fail to realise that He doesn't truly live for Christ.

Pinned Image        •Remember the bigger picture.

Is our life supposed to be about how much happiness, joy, and attention we can get out of this life?
Um, no. Sorry to disappoint you. :) As daughters of the Lord, our aim in life should be to live to bring Him glory and honor... to show His love and mercy to those around us, and to put others' interests before our own.Remembering that we are accountable to God for what we do in this life places us back on our feet and gives us a vision for more than our temporal happiness.

These thoughts have helped and encouraged me as I strive to live for my Heavenly Father... to keep my heart pure and to guard it. They have reminded me that if I truly desire to show God's love, I must seek a love that is patient and kind, selfless and forgiving, rather than a self glorifying love that is centered around {guess who!} me.

May these simple thoughts bless you and encourage you as you continue to walk this narrow path.


{All photos via Pinterest}

{Key points and thoughts taken from "Its' not that Complicated", a wonderful book by the Botkin sisters which I am in the middle of reading}

Saturday, 18 August 2012

He Won't Fail

I'm not going to lie. Life is hard, whether we want it be or not. There are moments when I am so frustrated, mad, sad, disappointed, I just want to break down. I have always been a girl to worry about everything. I am so not a laidback person, and I can always manage to think up a bad situation out of nothing.

That's why the subject of trust has been on my heart lately. And before I even wrote this post, things happened in my life that have gotten me even more down. I know what trust is, I could probably give you several verses about trust right now, but yet I have always had a hard time trusting God. Maybe it's the aspect of having to submit to someone you can't see, or maybe I just feel like I have to control everything.

The other morning I was reading in Psalms and I came across a verse. Have you ever just come across a verse that doesn't really apply to you, but it says something that just gets right to your heart? Well, that's what happened then. It was Psalms 89:28 "I will maintain my love to him forever, and my covenant with him will never fail."

There was something about the words "will never fail" that caught my attention. And then it hit me. God doesn't fail. Think about it, when has God ever failed? Ever. I mean, look at all that He has made, or read some stories about people who have come from a bad situation, and are now made new. He has never failed. Ever. And that gives me so much hope.

I used to wonder, "Why trust God?" or "How do we know that God will bring me through?" Because He has never, ever failed at His job. We fail, and if we try to fix our own problems we most likely will too, but God won't. It may not seem like He can do anything, but He can, He just wants you to trust Him.

One story that I always think of when I think of God never failing is the story of Noah and the Ark. We've all heard it before, it's a Sunday school story, but that has got to be one of my favorite stories. God told Noah to build an ark. And Noah trusted Him. Noah had enough faith to know that God wasn't going to fail Him. And He didn't. God brought him through, and showed Noah that not only does He keep His promises, He keeps His promise that when you trust Him with your life, He won't fail to make it something beautiful.

That verse gave me everything I needed to trust God with my problems. God didn't fail when He made the universe, He didn't fail when He made you. And He won't fail. Ever.

I am learning to trust God with my situations, worries, fears, and troubles, because I know that He will not fail to make my struggles end amazing. He won't fail. That is all I need to tell myself sometimes, when I am getting down. It gives me hope, it gives me peace, and it gives me assurance that God will hold you, and fix your problems in a beautiful way, if you just trust Him.

And now that I know that trusting God is the best choice I can ever make, I am just enjoying life. I am just giving my problems to God, and finding the simplicity and beauty in life. I am learning to dance in the rain.

That gave me a reason to keep faith, even when I am getting down. Because I know that my lifeguard walks on water, and my lifeguard never fails.

My Photo

- This guest post and photographs are by Molly at the Molly Marie blog.  She is a girl who loves anything autumn, blue jeans, and the country. She is pretty much obsessed with music, playing both violin and guitar, and also loves to read, crochet, bake, and take pictures of almost anything.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

mr. right

I'm pretty sure that, at some point, all little girls dream about something very similar. We all want a perfect wedding, with a special someone waiting at the end of the aisle for us. Many girls (/coughtotallynotmehonestcough) have had their entire wedding, from dress options to reception goodies, planned out since they were old enough to realize mommy and daddy had had a wedding, that this whole wedding thing was desirable, and that boys weren't all that bad. Some girls actually go so far as to cut out the man entirely, and plan a huge bash solely for their own benefit, in the naive hope that they can have a wedding without actually, you know, getting married. Thankfully, that stage ends right about at ten, and never really comes back.

It goes without saying that the future is a question with a lot riding on it. Even more than that is the question of who we're going to spend half of our lives with, and sometimes longer. So, to my mind at least, it's very important that we get this right. There are various ideas as to how exactly we can get it right.

Some girls choose the path of experimentation. They go through a variety of boyfriends, never quite settling down with any one, excusing it with the idea that they're saving up a list of characteristics they want, or just testing to see what they like, or just goofing off while they're young because YOLO, right? More than just spending time with guys and "dating", though, many girls also end up giving themselves in some form to one or more of the guys they date. Be it a few kisses, a few emotional concessions, or a night spent together in secret, they often go farther than they should, and realize too late that it's a mistake, that they shouldn't have ever gotten involved. Some of these girls have had "lines" that they weren't willing to cross.

I've seen so many girls give themselves away to someone who wasn't willing to be there for the rest of his life. He wasn't willing to embark upon a life spent together. Yet time and again, girls continue trusting, giving everything to someone who is undeserving. Is this what God intended for us, his daughters?

I would give an emphatic no in answer. I believe that God said:
...I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11, NJKV)
He knows your future, every little side-plot and roadblock, every plot twist and turn, everything that has ever happened or ever will. He knows what you will name your children and, in their turn, he knows everything that will happen to them. He's got it covered, down to every single last, seemingly insignificant detail. He knows who you're going to marry, who will be the perfect fit to round out your service, to perfectly complement your personality and skills and make your future life the best it can be.

So trust him. Don't think you have to "shop around" to find that one perfect guy who will complete you. Don't think you have to do something to find God's best for you. He'll bring it. Wait for your Mr. Right, because I know God's got it covered.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Trusting in God

Every girl goes through times that try her spirit. Perhaps her Dad has lost his job, the family is undergoing financial stress, a person dear to her heart has passed away, or her best friend has moved out of state. No matter what the reasons, no girl has a carefree and perfect life all the way through. We all face trials at some point. And sometimes they can be really hard to bear.
Image source –   

At times perhaps it seems like God does not hear your prayers. It seems everything that happens is just a turn for the worse. Why does this have to happen to me? You think. Why does God have to give me so many sufferings, hasn’t He given me enough? Hasn’t this lasted long enough? Trusting in God to guide your every step can be difficult at trying times like these. But you must persevere, for you are not alone.

God tests those He loves. He is testing you, because He loves you, and because it is for your own good. He is there by you, every step of the way, there to hold your hand when no one else can. You are his handmaiden, here to serve Him, trying to do your best. He loves to see that. So many people in the world neglect, and even reject Our Lord, and your faithfulness is a great comfort to Him.

God’s ways will never be understood, but we must follow His plan with willingness. We may not see the reasons for what we are going through right now, but in the end we will see them, and we won’t be able to believe how God worked out such a masterful plan for our lives. We will look in awe at how each incident worked together to bring us to where we are now. If Dad hadn’t lost his job, he never would have found one in Kentucky, your family never would have left Virginia, and you would never have met your best friend Sarah. What a blessing a friend is! Before you didn’t have one, and you were feeling lonely, and you couldn’t believe your dad had lost his job, but look where it took you? A little perseverance back in those months of job-searching, financial stress, and loneliness pulled you through and now look what came of it.

Sometimes we have to look at the ups and downs that God sends us every day as just another step in His wonderful plan for our lives. What may be difficult now, will be better in the end. All it takes is a little cheerfulness and a perfect surrender to God’s divine will, and all will be well in the end.

My Photo

- This guest post was written by Miss Elizabeth at The Country Handmaiden blog. She is a stay at home daughter who is striving to learn the traditional arts, soapmaking, spinning, gardening, sewing, canning, etc.  She loves to bake, crochet, watercolor, play Celtic fiddle, ride horses and raise bunnies.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Good Girls Really Do Have More Fun

Who says that you have to be lewd, rude, and worldly-wise to have fun? My summer trip is proof that a few girls with spunk, imagination, and a big sense of humor can have a blast without resorting to gossip, trashy talk, coarse programming, or any real naughtiness beyond one-too-many cups of tea.

The adventure began with my first ever flight on an airplane (It was definitely something special!). I flew down to Austin, TX to meet one of my best friends, Aubrey, who then drove with me to San Antonio where we spent several glorious days with two of the sweetest, fun-est girls ever, Brittany and Victoria. All of us have something wonderful in common—we are all Christian homeschool girls.

You have probably read and heard people talk about how “sheltered” girls are no fun at all. They’re naïve, clueless, and utterly dull. We know that this is so far from the truth! However, if you’re like me you’ve probably wondered how the other half lives…maybe you’ve been tempted to do something that went against your conscience because you wondered if you were missing out on something really wonderful.

Because we do miss out on things, right? There are movies we can’t see, books we can’t read, music we can’t listen to, places we can’t go, people we can’t befriend, experiences we can’t have, all because we love the Lord and want to please him. And, to be honest, sometimes that feels incredibly limiting. Even if we don’t respect the “bad girls,” even if we know the consequences of their actions, isn’t it hard not to go there ourselves, if only in our minds?  

Tea, scarves, and friends—what could be better?
Some people would probably say that it’s impossible to keep oneself separate from the things of the world. They argue that evil is too pervasive, and if we truly cut ourselves off from everything that didn’t honor God then we would be living in a cardboard box in the middle of the desert. But do you know what I learned from my trip to Texas? That girls like Brittany and Victoria can dress modestly and be cute. They can watch movies and avoid profanity and innuendo. They can show their girlfriends a good time without resorting to cheap entertainment like alcohol or seedy nightclubs.

 Tell me if this sounds like fun:
·         Watching Doctor Who while wrapped in a life-size replica of Tom Baker’s scarf
·         Shopping for teaspoons at a quirky little antique shop
·         Trying weird new foods like kippers, Marmite, and Fevertree ginger beer
·         Laughing over our celebrity crushes (most of my friends’ would be over 100 years old if they weren’t already dead)
·         Watching hilarious YouTube videos late into the night
·         Talking in British accents—constantly
·         Having afternoon tea once or twice a day (complete with jammy biscuits and scrummy muffins)
·         Singing along to Danny Kaye, Bing Crosby, and The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre
·         Doing the Happy Dance in front of the Alamo (I have provided a video for your enlightenment)

People can call us sheltered. They can say we’re missing out. But do you know what I say? Good girls really do have more fun.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Hi ho, off we go!

To step away from everything. The routine. The chores. The daily cycle of life.
To breathe in new air. To see new creation, and new life.
To stop and praise the Lord for who He is and how He is working in your life.

This past summer my family and I took a trip to our favorite area, the mountains of North Carolina. Coming from a southern land of swamps, forests, and sandy beaches, the height and depth of those rugged hills were a delight and refreshment to me.
We visited old towns, hiked, and simply slowed life down {just a bit!} and spent family time together.
So many memories were made, so many smiles and laughs, it is quite hard to share of my time without keeping you all day! But fear not... I will try to keep this post... well... not *too* lengthy! :)

Our trip mostly consisted of driving on the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway.... a road filled with overlooks and hiking trails. My family loves hiking... to hear only the quiet sounds of creation... it is so pleasant!

My and my sweet little brother... :)

Budding rhododendron... they were blooming during our trip, and there beauty added an extra joy to our time!

Linville Falls...
An amazing waterfall which we hiked to {that climb down was so worth it!}

The time was simple. sweet. and cherished.
A vacation that I shall look back upon and smile.
A trip that was filled with the mercies of God and one to be thankful for.

{For more photos and details of our trip, please visit my blog here}

May the Lord bless the rest of ya'lls summer... filling it with His love and joy!


Friday, 3 August 2012

still the same

Well, the past several months have been absolutely amazing for me. There's just something about summer that gets me excited sometimes--and it has nothing to do with the heat or the sudden ability to get soaking wet outside without freezing or enjoying cookouts. It does have a lot to do with the bevy of summer activities I sign myself up for, though. This summer, I've attended Christian Youth In Action (a nine-day training program put on by the Child Evangelism Fellowship), gone to Romania, and then gone on to summer camp with my youth group in Ringold, LA.

CYIA was epic, as always--most of my best friends attend, mostly because that's where I met them--and I learned a lot. They basically teach us how to run a five day club, which is a VBS-type program where we take kids and teach them about Christ and missions and the Bible and the Gospel over the course of a week that is usually pretty crazy. I'm doing another five day club right now and, let me tell you, it's nothing short of an adventure.

Romania was even more of an adventure. As some of you may know, I've taken two other overseas trips, to Zambia and China. Flying all the way across the Atlantic Ocean is, while not yet a commonplace happening, isn't quite so much of a novelty anymore. In other words, it's pretty boring. But then we got to Romania. We helped run a VBS for our missions, Tim and Debra Tyler, in Timisoara. On our peak night, Wednesday, we had over 70 kids. It was a huge blessing.

There's something amazing about going overseas and seeing how similar things are. Yes, we have different languages and different styles of living, sometimes even different cultural values and ways of looking at the world. Yet at a fundamental level, all people are the same. They live, laugh, love, die the same everywhere. Not only that, they pretty much worship God the same way. Oh yes, there are different styles of music, and some cultures (Africa comes to mind) get into it a whole lot more than Westerners usually do, but that doesn't change the simple fact that people are people, that when they really love God, they do it with all their hearts, and one of the purest expressions of that love is lifting praises to the Lord of the universe.

Romania didn't "change my life" per se, but it did refresh some things in my mind and show me a few things I need to change in my own life. So, I suppose it was a success. Pache (peace).

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