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Monday, December 9, 2013

Antonyms

Packing: my least favorite thing about moving.

Decorating: my dad's least favorite part of Christmas.

All of this is happening this week.

My sixth graders have been studying antonyms this semester and I can definitely say that my life right now is a giant antonym. Everything is so opposite than what it is supposed to be. Instead of unpacking box after box and decorating the house, I am putting my entire life into boxes.

And if that wasn't enough, I will be having my surgery two days after we close on the house, meaning I will not get to move any of the boxes, furniture, or other items in our house. I have to rely on my family and friends to help.

Christmas in America is all about the stuff: how much more you have than your neighbor, and how much better the gifts and decorations are than last year. Every commercial, every TV show and movie all focus on this drive for being better. But as we all know, this isn't what Christmas is about.

While boxing things up today, I was able to take a brief inventory of all the material goods God has blessed my husband and I with. It was a very sobering experience.

This Christmas season, take inventory of your blessings and count the ways God has blessed you.

Decay (WARNING: CONTAINS OFFENSIVE MATERIAL)

For some reason, God is wanting me to write a novel. I told this to my husband yesterday as I was filling up yet another page of notes. Provoked by three messages I heard yesterday, this post comes with a warming label. It is offensive. It is cold. It will make most people mad, but then again so did Jesus. Why do you think they wanted to crucify him?

I do not apologize for what I am about to write, but don't say I didn't warn you about the hard truth you will find in this post.

Today's topic is the decay of a once moral society we call America.

50 years ago, it seemed like everyone went to church. Why? Because the Bible says to do so. Children respected their parents because God told them to in the Bible. Women were much more modest and respected the authority of their husbands because they wanted to please God. Everything in America was directed back to God.

"Well that's not what the TV says."

I asked my grandmother, who witnessed firsthand the respect Americans had for Jesus and His church. Yes this time period had their evils, but it was nothing compared to today.

"Where has all this so called evil come from and who gives you the right to call it that? After all, your life is defined by you and not what some old book says."

On the contrary, this book - the breathed and divinely inspired word of God - has clearly defined what is right and wrong according to God Himself. He was the one who told the recorders of His word what to write. He was the one who guided the canonization of the Bible.

In the beginning of the Bible is the story of Creation, and the Garden of Eden. This garden was magnificent. It was so perfect, in fact, that the name Eden has come to be a label in which we give to any place that is beautiful and perfect. Within this garden, Adam and Eve were free to do whatever they wanted except one thing: not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They had one job to do... and they failed. It was because of their desire to become equal to God, they each ate the fruit and condemned the entire world.

The consequences of that decision and the desire to be equal to God are forever ingrained in the DNA of humanity. Ever since The Fall, mankind strives for one thing and one thing alone: to feed their selfishness. We always want more. We always want to put ourselves over everyone else. We focus on on our failures and our needs and our wants before we would ever consider another person's. We are selfish human beings.

Why do you think babies cry? It certainly isn't because they are happy. We are brought into this world with selfish desires! How then could we ever say that a baby is innocent when it would choose its own happiness over yours. It wakes up in the middle of the night screaming because it wants its needs fulfilled. "Forget sleep, mom, come feed me!"

Can you imagine never making a bad decision? That would be great! Well, that is how Adam and Eve lived. They didn't know about bad choices so they never made any. They only knew good. I have always thought that the name of the tree in Eden was very fitting. The moment Adam and Eve ate of the tree, they knew of evil for the first time.

Because we have now obtained the knowledge of good and evil, we now have the ability to manipulate what is considered good and evil. We have perverted the definition of good so that we can yet again fulfill our selfish desires and hold no accountability for our actions. We have blurred the line between the two, and in doing so we have created three poisons to a moral society: relativism, humanism, and tolerance.

Relativism is one of the most prominent poisons of young adults. In college, I saw relativism at it's finest. Even on a Christian campus, I had so many people tell me that my beliefs may be fine for me, but it isn't something they choose to believe in. Like it would make a difference! Choosing not to believe something is a terrible choice to make. I could choose not to believe that if I drive 100 miles per hour through town in front of a police officer, I won't get pulled over. Whoever tries that, let me know how it turns out for you.

Choosing not to believe in what God's word says, especially if it has been read to you, is the same as saying you choose not to believe in the law of gravity or that the police won't pull you over for breaking the law. One of my favorite things to tell people who say they like to choose what you believe is this: God is not a buffet. You can't pick what you want and leave the rest.

Another poison to a moral society is humanism. The dictionary.com definition is:

an outlook or system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters. Humanist beliefs stress the potential value and goodness of human beings, emphasize common human needs, and seek solely rational ways of solving human problems

Hmmm. This sounds familiar. Again, I would like to direct your attention to the story of Adam and Eve. What was it that the serpent said to Eve? Oh yeah! If you eat of the tree then you will be equal with God. The serpent not only appealed to Eve with the potential to be her own god, but also placed doubt about God and His rule. "Did God really say that?"

This right here, ladies and gentleman, is the start of Humanism.

You are your own god. You make your own decisions about what right and wrong is. After all, you now have the knowledge. Who needs some spiritual being telling you what to do?

Another point Humanism makes is the focus of the goodness and potential of humans. Remember that baby I mentioned? I'm pretty sure that selfishness is not a trait I would consider good.

When dealing with someone who thinks their goodness is enough, ask them have they ever hated someone. Have they stolen? Have they lied? Have they ever lusted? If they say yes to those then remind them that they are a hating, lusting, lying thief. How could that be considered good?

The last poison that I will discuss is tolerance. Tolerance is the acceptance of any lifestyle or belief that you do not always agree with, but you coexist with. I think of tolerance as being like a glass box. You can see what is going on in the life of the person, but because we are supposed to be tolerant, we cannot touch them.

Now aren't we supposed to be tolerant? I mean, not everyone is supposed to agree with everything. That may be true, but by saying that you are surrendering to that lifestyle of belief. The Bible says that we are constantly at war on a spiritual battlefield. Tolerance is the white flag. When Christians declare tolerance, they are surrendering to whatever they are fighting against.

If you have made it this far into the post, then I congratulate you and thank you for your time. All the points I have made are hard to swallow, but if you will open your heart to them, you will see that this society has injected moral poison and has now decayed into a self-loving, self-worshiping society. America is no longer the superpower it was due to relativism, humanism, and tolerance. It accepts anything that comes down the pipe.

Except for one thing.

Jesus.

If American Christians can repent of their selfish ways and come back to God, this country could see a revival that would change the course of history. But until that day comes, we will continue to deteriorate into the shadow of what we once were.

Wake up, America. Wake up, and pray.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Seasonal Color Analysis: True Summer (a correction to my first post)

If you read my first seasonal color analysis post, I would like to apologize because it was inaccurate. After researching, I am here to announce that I am NOT a dark winter as I previously stated. In fact, I am a cool (or true) summer. I have the high contrast between my skin and my eyes, however, I am not suited for the deep colors.

To see what I mean, click HERE to see examples of True Summers. Even though summers are typically thought of as blondes with fair skin. However, this is not so. You will see examples of so many women who do not fit within that stereotype.

The color palette of a True Summer is cool and muted. Here are two examples:



This is a more detailed palette including more of the colors.

Summer color chart Season Color Analysis - As the seasons change throughout the year your personal season will remain unwavering further enhancing your natural beauty. When you a summer color type, all clothing in colors of this chart will look great on you.


Discovering that I was a True Summer has been a very exciting experience. I can also see where I was confused on my season. Winter shades are very similar to the shades above, but have a greater depth to them. I often felt smothered with some of the colors from the Dark Winter palette, but with the Summer shades, I feel more natural.

Here are some shots of me (old and new) in True Summer colors. Note that the background colors in the last two images are also from the palette.








Some of my most worn colors from this palette are navy, dusty lavender, turquoise, and cool red.

Makeup for True Summers are seen on this chart, although cool red can be added for lips.
.

The most prominent colors here are taupe, beige, raspberry, and dusty blue. These colors compliment your skin's coolness.

I am very pleased with finding my true colors and I encourage you to do the same. Finding what colors suit you best is the key to looking and feeling your best.

Christmas Joy

With life being so chaotic due to my upcoming surgery and buying a new house, I have somehow regained time to write.

On December 16th, Kevin and I will officially have a new home! I am so excited to be moving into a much larger abode than the tiny trailer we have now. Even though it is still a trailer, the +2,000 square footage makes up for it! I will be posting updates on moving as they happen (with pictures, of course).

Yesterday was my pre-operational exam, so I have a clear idea of what will be occurring during my 3 hour surgery. It isn't as simple as I thought it would be, but I know that when I wake up, everything will be fixed and I can finally gain my life back.

The only problem: it is two days after we close on the house, and exactly a week before Christmas.

God gives good gifts. We all know and believe this simple truth. What we don't understand is that it isn't always in the way we expect them. The picturesque example of this is the birth of Jesus.

Mary was a virgin, unwed and untouched. Back then, women were not allowed to be in the same room as men unless there was a good enough reason. Virgins were as common then as cell phones are now. Yet, the Bible still makes a big deal of detailing the fact that Mary was a virgin. Why? Because if it wasn't, the birth of Jesus could have been viewed as a scandalous affair that caused the conception. However, God performed a miracle by breathing life into the womb of an untouched woman.

Although my situation is nowhere near as great of a miracle as that of Jesus' birth, God has still given me a miraculous gift: the gift of hope. I have been bitter for so long as I have lived my life in pain. With this doctor, I have gained back the idea that one day I will be able to sit and exercise and travel without hurting. Soon I can say that the miracle was God healing me through the hands of my doctor.

The other miracle is that we have found a house large enough so that when I am healed, we can have children. We can also live in a home that is (in my opinion) beautiful and one I will be satisfied in for years.

This Christmas, reflect on the miracles in your life, reader. No matter how big or small they may seem, a miracle is still a miracle, and miracles should always be viewed as a joyful blessing.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Life lately

Now that life has returned to normal after being gone on Thanksgiving break, I have some wonderful news. My husband and I have been looking at houses and have not only found a gem, but we are closing in a week! I am so excited to be moving to a larger house that is not on a dirt road. We have already had to replace the struts on my car because of the road conditions.

With my surgery and Christmas on the horizon, things will not be normal for long. Thursday is my pre-op so that means traveling a couple hours to Augusta. Today I have a phone conference with my anesthesiologist so luckily that means one less trip!

I pray that you will stay with me, reader, even though I have not produced any interesting posts lately. Practice patience and understanding as my life goes through major changes.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

To Whoever Prayed...

I do not believe in coincidences. I believe that God ordains everything.

To whoever prayed after reading my last post, know that your prayers were not in vain. My dad, the pastor, came in and we started a discussion because of a comment the student I mentioned earlier made regarding thee Bible. From there we expounded on every topic we had been discussing in devotion, especially salvation and proving the Bible as true. Tomorrow we will host a very special chapel answering questions from students.

Keep praying, readers.

Dealing with It

this week during our group devotion time, I have been discussing salvation. God really laid it hard and heavy on my heart on Sunday when I was planning. I was focusing especially hard on the Old Testament law such as what it was and how it tied in to Christianity today.

Day 1: We are never good enough (Matthew 5:17-20)
Day 2: If we are in Christ, we are free from the law. However, if it wasn't for the law, we would not know what is sin and how inadequate we are (Romans 7:4-7)
Day 3: We are free from the law of sin and death. We are not to focus on the things of the flesh, or earthly things, but on spiritual things instead (Romans 8:1-9)
Day 4 (today): The story of Nicodemus (Luke 3:1-19)

After reading, a student who is a self-declared Atheist slipped me a note saying that it is things like my devotions that make him glad he is an Atheist because he does not have to believe any of it. I was taken aback by his defiant and rude letter.Immediately I wanted to pull him out and tell him how disrespectful he is.

This, of course, is not the right action.

In the past, I was always the first to react to someone's disrespect of my God and my beliefs. Now my heart breaks for him. He is simply acting out as a way of showing conviction. He has questioned me on several occasions on my beliefs, to which I always give a proper response. Now I am in uncharted waters. I am dealing with a student instead of a peer, who is at a pivotal point in his life.

Today I am praying and researching on how to best deal with this situation. Your prayers and support are greatly appreciated.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Gypsy Life

Since I do not have cable or satellite, I have to make due with Netflix. recently I have been enthralled with "My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding" and I must say that some of their morals and expectations are awesome!

The views I find most appealing are that women must be virgins to be married, they are raised to be housewives, and their emphasis on family is incredible! I was a virgin bride so I know how hard it is in a sexually driven world to be a virgin. Gypsy's do not allow kissing, where it was fine for me to kiss. I was happy for that because when I kissed Kevin, my now-husband, for the first time I knew I would marry him.

Raising daughters to be housewives is an excellent skill I wish I had learned, and definitely one I want to teach to my daughter(s). When I got married, I didn't have a clue of how to keep a clean house! I am still working on making cleaning a habit, but it is difficult to break 23+years of habit.

Family is something very important to me, and seeing the emphasis the family from the show put on making each child out to be the most special and important. That mentality is wonderful for their confidence! A parent that makes their child feel special creates a positive bond and affirms love to the child in a unique way.

I would say the only things I don't particularly enjoy about the Gypsy culture is the drinking and letting the men do whatever they please. I am not a fan of drinking period so of course I would see fault with that. However, letting the men do whatever they please (right or wrong) is not good. Not having accountability for ANY gender, race, or group of people is wrong. It lets in bad habits that have the potential to ruin lives.

One part I am undecided on is the way the women dress. I grew up in a house where modesty is emphasized so it was very foreign to see young teenagers dress in minimal clothes. I know, however, that it is their culture to dress that way, just like it is for them to dance the way they do. Again, I was brought up where dancing like that was a sin because it evoked lust. In their culture, where girls marry at a very young age and are not allowed to really be around boys, I can see where dancing like that is justifiable. It is a form of courtship. Much like courtship dances in birds of paradise, Gypsy women show off their dance moves to attract a husband.

Learning about the Gypsy and Traveler lifestyle has really opened my eyes to their world. It is really a fascinating culture and I have greatly benefited from this glimpse into their world. I would love to know more.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

1,000 views... Thank You So Much!

Today I checked my stats and as of 9:54 am, I am literally 3 views away from 1,000. I can bet that when you read this, I would have reached 1,000 views. To celebrate this, I am going to be working on a special event. Since I have added LiveChat to the blog's Facebook page, I will educate myself on how to use it and set a date for a LiveChat with me. I will be answering any questions you have about the blog, motivation and confidence, or

Thank you so much for helping me reach this incredible goal!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Getting Kids to Read the Bible

Working at a Christian school, we have a lot of devotion time. I lead one every morning and sometimes have a bonus video or discussion during the day. One thing that I have not encouraged is for my students to read their Bibles on their own.



Today, after reading the first three verses, I assigned Hebrews 11 to the students. They were to read the verse and take notes. Of course they had no clue how to do that. I told them to read it and write down anything that stands out to them, and any thoughts or questions they had about what they were reading. Here are some of the results (no names will be used, only gender)

Boy: I like this verse (verse 1) because it explains faith's meaning so fully.

Boy: We must have faith to please God like it says in verse 6.

Girl: Without faith it is impossible to please God because you have to believe in him!

Girl: When I think of faith, I think of the fruit of the spirit.

Boy: I think it was cool that just because Abraham had faith he became a father.

Getting a child to read the Bible is quite difficult. They do not see it as a book to read, but as a book to study. It's like reading a novel verses reading a textbook. As a teacher, I desire to make reading and learning enjoyable. This is doubled for reading the Bible. I was always read "The Bible for Kids" which was a collection of the best stories that was translated in kid-friendly language. Making the transition from that to the good ole' King James was a bit difficult. I prefer the New King James myself, but even that can pose difficult to young readers.

 So how do you get kids to read the Bible without it feeling like pulling teeth? Here are some things to keep in mind when teaching your child proper Bible reading skills:


  1. Read together. This age old trick is not only a bonding time for you and your child, but it is a chance to really teach them about how to read the Bible. We all know that (for the most part) you can't read the Bible like a storybook, but you don't read it like a history book either. It is something that is to be examined. Children are not going to understand most scripture right away, especially names and places. Sitting with your child and helping them pronounce words will help build their reading and phonics skills; a BIG double hitter! 
  2. Guide your child into the development of theology. Developing a solid theology at a young age is crucial for Christians. I praise God every day that my parents did this! Some people do not want to do this, thinking that a child needs to develop such on their own. Let me remind you that the scriptures say that foolishness is bound in the heart of a child (Proverbs 22:15a). Doesn't sound so easy now, does it?
  3. Set goals and rewards. For every chapter your child reads, they will get extra computer/TV/video game time. This is one example of a goal and reward. There can be many ways to approach this and ill vary depending on the child. Some kids can blaze through entire books in a matter of days. Some may take a week to read a chapter. The important thing is to ask questions about what they are reading to see if they truly understand what they are reading. 
  4. Ask them to keep a Bible journal. Like I did in class toady, ask your child to keep a journal documenting what they have read, the date, and ask them to jot down their thoughts or important things they want to remember. This will help with their comprehension as well as sharpen their note-taking skills.
  5. Designate a special time. Teaching a child to set aside time for specific tasks is a great skill and is one even adults struggle with. Also, teaching them to arrange their priorities properly will give them an enormous advantage in life. Teach them to develop an attitude like: "Have all homework and play time done by this time or it will have to wait until I have read my Bible."
Even if you don't have kids, you can use these five simple tips and tricks to help you and your spouse during devotional time. My husband and I often share devotions and discuss what we have been reading. When you are married, your spiritual life is no longer just yours. What you do or don't do will effect your spouse just as much as it effects you.

If you have any other tips and tricks, let me know. I always enjoy comments!

Marriage Isn't For You

This article showed up on a Facebook page of a friend of mine who had recently been married. This concerned me at first until I read the comments. I am here to say that marriage isn't for me. Read the article and see why:

http://sethadamsmith.com/2013/11/02/marriage-isnt-for-you/

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Designed




My mom shared this video today and it disgusted me. It shows how models are made to look like a model. We think that the woman above has makeup, maybe a wig, and great lighting right? Watch it and see.

In the US, the estimated population of women in 2012 was a little over 50%. Glamour magazine says that approximately 97% of women will be cruel to their body. This can include anything from having cruel thoughts to eating disorders.

As much as I have talked about women having distorted views of beauty, I have never addressed men and their views of women. Most women would say that men are pigs. They only have one thing on their minds, and you know what, it's true! That's how men are designed to think so let's give them a break! They are designed by God to work to "bring home the bacon" and reproduce. That's what they are! They are driven by a woman's beauty because that's how they are wired. Each male is also wired to have a different standard of beauty for his spouse. My husband loves my curves, brown hair, and pale skin. Other men would prefer thin redheads, busty and tan blondes, or an African goddess (not trying to be racist or stereotypical in any way). In this case I can truly say to each, his own. Just like we have a favorite color or dessert, men have a favorite type of woman.

Women are designed for nurturing and providing care of their offspring, and making a house into a home. The president's wife of my college said that her favorite time of the school year was when the girls moved into the dorms. She would always walk around to see how they took the small rooms and made them into a beautiful and cozy miniature home. We all have our own unique kind of beauty that makes us desirable to our husbands. After all, that's why they picked us and not someone else. It is finding that beauty (even through the extra 15 pounds or grey hair) and realizing that we are still the same. I am still the same quirky, outspoken Disney-loving teacher I was when I married my husband, despite my weight.

My challenge to you, reader, is to find that beauty within and set her free. She may not be a magazine-worthy model like the girl at the end of the video, but think about the girl at the beginning. She is just as beautiful as the girl she is photographed as, maybe even more beautiful because she is REAL. Be real. Be you.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Lovely Legs

Mermaids #ecards

This picture made me giggle. It also has inspired today's post!

Way back in the day of your grandmother, curves were highly valued in America. They were a sign of sex appeal. They were a sign of health. They were what men desired.

Women back in the day looked more like this:

Love the women of the 50/60s

Notice her lower half. Large, meaty thighs, a firm tush, and killer calves! This was an ideal woman in the 50's. Her tummy was small, and her hips were full.

For contrast, let us look at an ideal woman model today:
Cara and other models will be wearing my collection and ramp it on a fashion show

Notice her overall thinness. Thin legs, arms, middle, and face. This is the image given to our country f how a woman should look.

I just have one question....




Ladies, love your body for what it is. Don't strive to be something different because it is what people say you should look like. If you are healthy, then who cares? So go ahead, bare those non touching legs!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Almost to 1,000 views!!!

I am so excited to announce that I am nearing 1,000 views! In honor of such a milestone, I will be hosting a LiveChat on the blog's Facebook page. More details to come after I hit the 1,00 mark.

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/fashionablyartisticteacher

Monday, October 28, 2013

Solitude

When I was in college, we all had to do a Myers Briggs profile in our psychology class. I was given the label of an ISFP: The Artist. A fellow ISFP is Princess Aurora from Disney's Sleeping Beauty.

At this point, I know what you are thinking, not another Disney post! Well, just hang in there.

 I have always felt a connection to this princess, even though I never outwardly showed my like for her. I was always fascinated with the more modern princesses like Ariel, Jasmine, and later on, Belle. Now that my personality is becoming more and more concrete as I change from child to adult, I am noticing quite a parallel between myself and Aurora. Even her romantic story line shares some similarities to my life. The first thing I notice is that she does not mind solitude. This is an introvert feature at it's finest! I often have to put myself in a solitary environment just to think and process life.

In today's society, solitude is viewed in a very negative light. We have to be around someone or some sort of electronic stimulation so our minds are always actively engaged. This ought not be! When we shut off the TV, put down the phone, take off the earphones, and actually get into a place where the mental stimulation is significantly decreased we find out things about ourselves that no electronic device could tell us: what our minds are capable of. When I am alone, I always come up with the greatest story plots, painting ideas, and even music. I once wrote a simple piano piece after being inspired while sitting by a stream near my parent's house.

With the increase of technology and it's availability, we have become a world of fast-paced, instant-connectivity beings that are having more and more difficulty dealing with solitude. We can't handle it! Here is an interesting article about the impact of technology: https://sites.google.com/a/cortland.edu/braxton-hill-impact-on-solitude/disadvantages Here is a quote from the article:

People are also losing sight of appreciating the value of being alone, letting one think freely and creatively, uninterrupted by others.  Great minds like Mark Twain and Albert Einstein never sought the approval of others by tweeting or texting when they were alive.  These men made their best works in absolute seclusion from the rest of the world, and more and more people today are losing sight of just how valuable alone time can be.

The desire for being connected to others is greatly influenced by our need for companionship. My question is when is enough, enough? We are gluttons for companions and acceptance, that's why we flock to websites that make us feel like we are more valuable and give us a voice. These websites also give us a false sense of confidence.I have been blown away by the boldness of people when they are not face-to-face with the individual they are trashing on Facebook.

Another danger of technology is that it makes us think the same. There is no true creativity and individualism anymore. We all think in hashtags and pictures with filters. When we step back from technology, we can evaluate our own thoughts, opinions, and ideas without being told what to think. Even with this blog, I want you to make up your own mind about what I am saying. Evaluate the truth behind what I post and accept it or reject it because of your own convictions. (I will not talk about absolute truth, but simply say that I am a believer of such "archaic" morals and I have never been more proud).

In the spirit of this post, I will say good day and go outside to get lost in thought. I encourage you to do the same.


My stats

United States
99
India
16
Malaysia
10
Canada
4
Spain
4
Ukraine
2

This wonderful chart greeted me this morning while I was checking my stats. To all of my international viewers, I thank you for visiting my blog! Spread the word and check me out of Facebook:

Friday, October 25, 2013

Georgia in the Fall

Today is Friday... and super cold for this time of year. I woke up to 45 degrees, which is unheard of in Georgia for fall. Luckily, I live in a mobile home with such good insulation I don't have to worry about ANY air escaping. Unfortunately, this includes cold air. I told my parents last night that I know it is fall when I dread leaving the room that the heater is running in.

With this new development in weather, I also have to accommodate my wardrobe to such. In other words, layer! Mornings and evenings are quite chilly, while the afternoon is too warm for a hoodie, but not warm enough for anything that involves showing skin.

Perfect Plaid

This is a perfect example of Georgia in the fall. Jeans, a button up or long sleeve shirt, and a thick knit cardigan. Bonus points for the hat, but it isn't really necessary during the day.

Yesterday I have discovered that some of my readers are not from the USA, and for that I am elated! Those of you who have not been to Georgia, I would like to show you what a typical Georgia fall looks like:


The colors are not a beautiful as the rest of the country, especially to the far north. Another thing that is typical with a Georgia fall is rain. Lots and lots of rain. Summers are normally dry, but this year has been the wettest summer we have had in ages. So far, it hasn't rained like normal, but we aren't safe yet.

The best tip I can give someone who is visiting Georgia in the fall is to bring clothes for every weather condition. It could be hot one minute and cold the next. Whatever the weather is in the morning, it will be completely different by that afternoon.

I love fall, I really do. It is full of traditions and gatherings, food, and festivities. The South is known for it's hospitality. I believe that is enhanced during the fall. No matter what city's fall festival you are in, you will feel like you belong. I encourage you to come visit my beautiful state and see what Georgia has to offer.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Revival

After posting about how I am growing apathetic to fashion, I believe someone prayed that I would get my spunk back. Well, after surfing Pinterest and visiting my "Inspiration" board, I have got my pep back!

Today, I am going to show three looks for curvy ladies that earn major brownie points!

#fashion #moda #curvy #curves #style #plussize #blogger #cute #sexy #outfit #look #woman #girl #ootd

While this look is modest, I just love it! The print, the color, it is all fabulous! Great for the office or classroom, this look is timeless.

This look is perfect for fall:

Curvy Fashion

Boots, tights, a warm oversized cardigan, AND a mini dress? Wow! This girl has got it going on!


This next look is more for spring, but the colors can be changed to suit whatever season you are in.

Love the jacket.

I just LOVE it! Pairing a denim jacket with a dress makes the outfit suitable for more casual occasions, or for date night when paired with cute heels.

While I have been in a fashion rut, I am trying to revive my closet. With my fashion taste changing, I have gotten rid of a great deal of my clothes. Consequently, this has left me with the things I could not bear to part with, and the few options I have left are, quite frankly, bland. Being married and having to share income AND debt has left me with very little room for shopping. Hopefully soon, I will be able to fill my closet with beautiful clothes again. *sigh*

Needing Prayer

The past few weeks, I have been dealing with an issue of demons attacking my family. Last night the demons reared their ugly heads again. I am in need of so much prayer. Please pray for me.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Growing Apathetic

As I am searching for who I am, there are things I am finding that have lost my interest.

Heaven forbid that a fashionista like myself ever lose interest in clothing... but I have. The last time I went shopping, I was disappointed in the selection of clothing the stores had to offer. Call it a sign of maturity, but I have all but given up on looking like I just stepped out of a magazine. Clothing nowadays is so short, tight, and geared towards Twiggy looking kids that I have no use for it anymore. When I was a size 8, fashion seemed to come naturally... and that was just two years ago! I could walk in to any store and grab my size and look good in it. If I were to do that now, I would end up buying maybe one thing: a pair of shoes or jewelry. My size may be larger, but my body shape is the same (if that makes any sense).

Here I am at a size 8 and unwed. Still curvy through the hips and no thigh gap. A juicy pear shape.

This is what I want to be like again.

Talking to my husband about my weight, I asked him what his ideal body type was for women. He said confidence and I immediately thought "oh you liar."

Is anyone else having this battle? Wanting to please their husband, but he gives you answers like mine did?



Ugh.




With my growing apathy towards fashion, I realize that even if I wasn't a size 12, I would have less of a desire to dress like I used to. I don't want to impress anyone and I certainly don't want attention from any male other than my husband. With this, I am choosing clothes that are modest, mature, and professional. I am still in blue jeans every single day, but I am not casual like my sister who wears tennis shoes and tee shirts. I couldn't be that casual.

Anyone with advice or that can encourage the one who is supposed to be the encourager, please comment or message me. I could really use it.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Facts About the South: How to Dress

Since I haven't posted about clothing lately, I thought today would be a great chance.

In Georgia, fall does not always mean cool days, beautiful leaves, and bonfires. If you were to have a bonfire in October, you would have to wear bug spray. In the south, we have different seasons: almost summer, summer, still summer, and Christmas. We consider winter as December to February because it is normally the only time the temperature is actually below or right at 45 degrees.

Due to this season when the leaves are still on the trees and it is cool enough to wear something other than a tank top, our fall fashion is different than the rest of the nation. Typical ensembles you would see are:

Country Girl Style #7 rebekah               cute sweater outfit


Southern Gal DressI love Jen Aniston's style.


"Unbenannt #402" by wishlist123 on Polyvore    .


Clothes in the South don't just say a lot about you, they also tell your history. If you dress like these girls in the last picture, people will say you are a "Yank" (slang for Yankee, generally meaning someone not from the South) or you live in the city. Southerners from the city are NOT your typical Southerner.


Notify~
          3.7.10 by kendilea, via Flickr


 If you were from a well-to-do family, your style will be more polished, but not high fashion. The rest of the pictures show a laid back style, which is common. We don't make a habit of dressing up, unless your job requires it. Jeans are THE staple piece! Tights and shorts aren't too trendy unless you live in the city.

Shirts are the broadest range of style in the South. They range from old tee shirts, to tank tops, to blouses, depending on your upbringing. Mostly, we wear boots of some type, flats, or tennis shoes with either boot-cut or slim fit jeans. Flip flops signify that you are either in college, or it is summer. Skinny jeans are not as flattering on true Southern women because we tend to be curvy. The woman in the yellow cardigan standing on the street is the most common body type among Southern women.

Our accessories are a matter of preference, but tend to be towards one extreme or the other - either you wear them and they are big and flashy, or you don't. Hair and makeup are a completely different animal all together. Either your hair is perfectly in place and always looks great, or you just let it do it's thing. Makeup is a take it or leave it kind of thing. Again, this is a sign of how you were brought up. 

The absolute biggest thing to prepare for when you come to the South is pride in your team. Football is everything to everyone... except me. I am unclaimed territory when it comes to sports. If you come to Northeast Georgia in the fall, be prepared for a sea of red and black in support of the Georgia Bulldogs. Me on the other hand, I will be in the corner clinging to my guns and religion in hopes that football season will be over with soon.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Being sick

As much as I love this time of year, I absolutely despise the pollen. This weekend I have had a bad case of the sniffles and is now carrying through into my work week.

When you are sick, people love to give you their sure-fire home remedies that have worked for generations, so that must mean it's gonna work for you too! Well, that isn't always true. I have yet to run in to a suggested remedy that has actually worked. Some have included:

  • gargling with warm salt water
  • taking a tablespoon of vinegar mixed with honey
  • apple cider vinegar shots (NOT suggested if you have never taken ACV before!)
  • vapor rub on the bottom of your feet
All of these are great for somebody out there, but they have never given me any relief that lasts more than a few minutes. My favorite thing to do is drink a cup of green tea with honey while sitting under a pile of blankets.

Some extreme remedies I have read involve some sort of alcohol. I am opposed to the use of it, even if it is taking it or dying (my convictions are very strong about it). Another extreme cure I couldn't do is to eat a raw onion. If there is a recipe that involves onions, I give it to my husband to chop. I can rarely cut an onion without looking like my mom after reading a Nicholas Sparks book.

Word of warning when offering advice to a sick person: unless you are a doctor and can back up your claim with medical research, your remedy will not always work the same on someone else as it does for you.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Seeking some advice

With the weather getting cooler, my back and legs are responding in the only way they know - pain and agony. Word of caution to all: never have surgery!

I am looking for some home remedies and massage tips for nerve damaged areas, but I am coming up with zip. Anyone out there with a remedy for sore muscles, achy joints, and post-surgery tips on regaining nerve function PLEASE OH PLEASE help me out! Comment or email, I am not picky. I just need some relief that doesn't involve taking pain relievers.

Thanks in advance!

Finding the Beauty Within the Beast

Readers: "Not another Disney reference!"

Me: "Oh yes!"

In a conversation with my mom yesterday, she mentioned how my story was like Beauty and the Beast... except I was the beast. I have always liked the story and the character of Belle, since she is a bookworm, but I have never thought of myself as the character of Beast.

One of my favorite retelling is "Beastly" by Alex Flinn, a modern version of the classic tale. It was the second book to movie that I reversed, reading the book after falling in love with the movie. The main character is not the beloved Beauty we hear so much about, but instead it is the Beast's side of the story. Getting to know the Beast brought an entirely new dimension to the tale. I saw his inner-struggle of wishing to be like his old self, then the acceptance of his new form.

This reminded me of my story before and after student teaching. Before I was a girl with a cushioned life. I never knew of life and its hardships. As my cooperating teacher told me my first semester, I was a spoiled little child that was never made to do anything. (Yes, go ahead and be in shock over the fact that a seasoned teacher got away with calling her student that. It boils my blood that she could call me that, and worse, and never be reprimanded.) Even though it was an uncalled for and very unprofessional statement, there was truth behind it. I had been spoiled in the sense that I had never had to pay bills, keep a clean house, or experience failing.

If I was the Beast in the story, my college professors and first teacher were the witch. Because of them, I was being transformed into something terrible: a bitter, self-loathing individual who would rather die than spend one more day in torment. That was the darkest point in my life.

As the story goes, Beauty enters in the form of a new semester and a new teacher. This teacher was wonderful! She was kind, patient, understanding, and helped me overcome my circumstance. She didn't judge me based on what had happened and gave me everything I needed to succeed. Because of her, I got my confidence back and was able to transform into the adult and teacher I never knew I could be.

I guess this stage could be called the post-transformation stage, when the Prince is finding out he is really like. Finding that his personality is different. Finding that by becoming a beast, he would never be the same as he once was. He will always carry the scars, the memories, and the emotions. He would be better off because of it, but there will always be a part of him that wishes the experience never happened. That maybe there could have been another way.

As if this post wasn't Disney enough, I would like to direct your attention to the following quote:



As wise as this advice is, only we can decide what to do with our past. The decisions we make with what to do with it will effect us for the rest of our days. Let the decision be as wise as Rafiki's advice.

While I continue to deal with the memory of being the Beast, I have to follow this advice. I can either run from it and forget, or learn from it and become stronger and find the beauty within the beast.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Mother Knows Best

If I wasn't a big enough Disney dork already, my husband bought me a journal yesterday with Ariel on the cover. Ariel was my first Disney love. My entire bedroom was decorated with Ariel. When I was "too big" to have an Ariel themed bedroom, I decorated with shells and dolphins. Today, my house has a very prominent oceanic theme. In spite of my Snow White exterior, I am an Ariel at heart.

Yesterday, I was telling my sister about the new movie Frozen that is coming to theaters this Thanksgiving. She replied with something that set me aback. "So it's another movie of a princess with mother issues? Name one movie that doesn't have a stepmother or the mother isn't in the picture." I replied with The Princess and the Frog, and Sleeping Beauty (if you could really count that since she was raised by her "aunts"). The more I thought about her statement, the more I realized it as true.

We hear all the time about fathers being absent from their child's life and the damage that does, but we can't let the mothers slide! There is something so essential for mothers to spend time with their daughters.

In several popular country songs, the singer says how Momma raised them to "rip up the town" or how their mom was from a "softer generation" so that gives the singer a right to act unbecoming. In both scenarios, I see how the mother was lax in her raising. Either she led her daughter down the wrong path by teaching habits that are inappropriate, or she was passive and let her daughter rule the roost.

Don't get me wrong, fathers play a crucial role in raising daughters, but mothers definitely have the greater responsibility. If a mother is a woman of virtue and lives a life according to Christ, she is the perfect model in which to mold her daughter after. If a mother is not spiritually strong enough to do this, it may be in her better interest to align herself with the Word of God before trying to teach morals and standards. Otherwise, you run a very high risk of causing your daughter to repeat history, or make decisions she should never have to.

Passive parenting seems to be the only kind of parenting nowadays. Everyone wants to be their child's friend and not oppress them. Do these parents not know about the damage that causes? When you want to be your child's friend, you are giving up your authority and making yourself equal with your child (or vice-versa). Your child will not respect you as a parent, but will eventually try to dominate you. This should never be! The role of the parent is to guide their child firmly and lovingly. the Bible says that we are to raise children in the way they should go, and when they are old they will not depart from it.

Because I am a teacher, I see myself as a part-time parent. During the eight hours I am with my students, I am guiding them in the way they should go. I teach them about the world around them, what is right and wrong, and show them God's truth in His Word. Although I did not give birth to them, or teach them to walk and talk, I feel like I am just as much of a mother as anybody.

I encourage all my mothers to consider how they parent. Are you showing your children what is acceptable and good? Are you supportive, but firm? Are you giving your children what they need to be productive members of society? If not, find someone to help you with this journey. Find a friend, a Christian book, or even a pastor to help you sift through your parenting skills and see where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Research ways to strengthen your parenting, but always model it after Biblical teaching. If you are not a parent, begin thinking of how you want to raise your children. It is never too early, or too late, to better yourself and enrich your life and the lives around you.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Noises

This world is full of a lot of noise from people. Noise from their opinions on how you should live your life. Noise of complaints about how hard their life is and your life isn't important. Nose saying how you should dress, look, act, and think.

In the midst of all the noise in my life, I have somehow found a much quieter place where I can go to think. In that quiet place I can only hear the sounds of nature. Wind whispering through the leaves. The water of the pond coming alive with birds and amphibians. The sound of a family of hummingbirds flitting back and forth between flowers.


This is a place at my parents' house where I could go and think.Their entire pasture was my walking/horse riding trail where I could escape the noise.

The noise of nature is much more appealing. It is this kind of noise that helps wash away all the negative noise of others around me. The sensation is similar to taking a warm shower when you have been soaked by cold rain.

The noises we have in our life come in all volumes and pitches. It can be a loud, deep pitch that blocks out all other noises, or a quieter, high pitch that annoys you. Among all the noises in my life right now, I am beginning to find ways to silence those noises.

There are many ways to deal with noise. You can confront whatever is making the noise and silence the source. For example, if a noise is consonantly making you feel bad, you can tell the noise how you feel. The noise could even change its tune and be a positive noise.

However, if a noise is hurtful and you have tried to confront the noise, you may have to not be around that noise. So far, I have found that removing yourself from a noisy situation is one of the best ways to get rid of noise. I have one noise in particular that always makes me feel miserable and less than who I really am. My way of dealing? I stay away from that noise. When you can't hear the noise, it no longer has effect on you.


Not all noises are bad. My quiet place is full of noise, but it is noise that doesn't bombard me. Cling to the noise that you want to listen to. I give this advice with caution, though. Sometimes noise we think is good noise is actually a harmful noise in disguise. Do not seek constant flattery, but instead seek a healthy range of noises. I know one person who has proclaimed that they will only have positive noises in their life. The harm: sometimes we need a sharp noise to keep us in check. If our pride gets to big, we need a noise to remind us that life isn't just about us. If we get into things we shouldn't, we need a voice to remind us that we are better than that. At the same time, if we get down, we need a voice that will lift us up. It is all about having balance.

My challenge, reader, is to evaluate the voices in your life. See if there are some you can let go. See if there are some noises you need to thank for keeping you in check. See if you need a specific noise to enrich your life. Who knows, maybe you could be the noise someone else needs to complete their life.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Hello, my name is...

I have been give the honor of working with the youth of my church to perform a drama. We have three weeks to get it flawless and I know my kids will rise to the occasion! Last night we assigned parts, and worked through the first half of the song. Everyone is so excited!

Before we began, I had a mini-lesson on the labels we give ourselves. I asked the kids to think of one negative word they are told. I passed out "Hello, my name is" name tags and the kids wrote down their word. Some of the answers were stupid, weak, pale, misjudged, rude, and insecure. I then read 2 Corinthians 5:17

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."

I told the kids that these words we are called are NOT true. We are not defined by what other people tell us. We are defined by who we are in Christ. If we are saved, we are not the same as we once were because God has changed us.

I handed out a new name tag and told them to write down one truth about themselves. Some of the answers were talented, funny, beautiful, crazy, a Christian, and passionate. (That last one was obviously mine.) Next, we ripped up our old name tags and replaced them with a new and better one, just like Christ makes us better when we are saved.

The kids really enjoyed hearing this message because it isn't something that is normally taught. We don't always hear the positive in our lives. We tend to focus on the negative. Even at middle and high school age, we are already deprived of hearing that we aren't stupid or ugly.

I encourage you, reader, to speak truth into the lives of those around you. This means deflecting the lies that the world tells. Let your daughter know she is beautiful. Let your son know he is strong. Let your husband know how wonderful he is. Be an encourager.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Noms

Sorry for not posting lately. There was a new addition to my extended family. Caleb Andrew Kiser was born earlier this week to two of my closest non-family members. I am so excited for the Kiser family!

So today I am super hungry. I keep thinking about the pizza in the fridge waiting for me to heat and eat. Being married and on a budget, we have to live like we are broke. This also means cooking like we are broke. Today, I will be sharing my three favorite recipes for couples that are on a tight budget.

Chicken Joes:

It's like sloppy joes but with chicken! I prefer using Manwich sloppy Joe mix and I have found that the flavors really work for this recipe.


  • 1lb chopped chicken,cooked. I prefer canned.
  • 1 can sloppy joe mix
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 - 1 1/2 tbsp of brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup each: mustard, ketchup, and BBQ sauce (I use Sweet Baby Ray's honey BBQ)
    • If mixture gets soupy, add in extra chicken
Heat all ingredients together in a large skillet. Serve on buns or rolls.


Stewed Tomatoes and Rice with Kielbasa Sausage


This is a great dish my mom would make. It is wonderful served with blackeyed peas.
  • 1 bag of boil in a bag white rice
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 Kielbasa sausage
  • 1 tsp basil
Boil rice. Slice sausage and fry in a skillet on medium high heat. Add stewed tomatoes and crushed basil to sausage and heat till warm. Serve with rice.


World's Best Chicken Salad

This is THE number one recipe my friends and family want. I worked at a cafe in college and this was the recipe for the chicken salad. It was one of the best selling sandwiches! You can add nuts and fruit if you wish, but it is delicious all on its own.

For every 1 can of chicken:

  • 1 tbs (light or regular) mayo, miracle whip, and sour cream
  • 1 tbs sweet relish
  • salt and pepper to taste
Drain chicken and shred with hands or fork. Add salt and pepper. stir. Add first three ingredients and stir vigorously. Start off with small amounts and add more if necessary. Add relish. If too dry, add sweet pickle juice. Stir. Let sit till chilled.

This is great for sandwiches, but can be a dip. Substitute sour cream for 1/4 block softened cream cheese to make thick for dipping.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Girl on Fire

I am getting really tired of Pinterest. It seems like there is just the same stuff day in and day out. I am tired of seeing pictures of people's food on Instagram and Facebook. I mean, come on! There has to be something more important than what you had for dinner!

But with all of the social media that has bombarded society, I am not as drawn to it as others.

I'm not a chevron and monogram kind of girl. I'm not a straight hair kind of girl. I'm not a follow the rules kind of girl. I'm not a fit and thin kind of girl. I'm not a girl who will listen to peers.

However...

I'm a girl on fire. I follow my convictions over society's standards. I make my own path. I challenge the norm and make my voice heard. I like what I like and not what is popular.

You can try to extinguish my flame, but I will only burn brighter.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Friendship: leeches and lovers

As stated in my post yesterday, I have set forth goals for this weekend.

How are they going?

Well I am glad you asked! I have painted my nails in a beautiful shade of blue and have begun laundry, as well as cleaning out my shoe collection. Tomorrow will most likely be the big cleaning day for me. I really want to accomplish my goals!

In the midst of all of this, I got to hang out with one of my girlfriends I haven't seen in a couple of weeks. You know those people who you get along so well with but they live kinda far away? That's her. I treasure the time we spend together and look forward to the times she can come over.

Finding a kindred spirit is one of the hardest searches in my life. I know so many people who can make friends no matter where they go (my husband is a great example), but it is difficult for me.

When it comes to making friends I have more standards than a middle school girl does for her future husband. I want someone who is genuine and caring. Someone who has similar interests and beliefs as me. I found this quote that fits perfectly with what I find a great quality in friends:


We have all had at least one friend who went about friendship selfishly. They were only interested if the other person could benefit them. They seek out emotional fulfillment and never offer it back. They seek material gain and never sacrifice for the other. "Friends" like this are like leeches. They can drain you of life and resources.

I can think of my one friend. When I came to this realization, I was devastated. This was not the first time I had encountered a person who wanted to use me only to benefit themselves. The first person I knew invited me over to her house only to make fun of me at school the next week, or as a playmate they could push around.

Leeches can leave nasty scars. They can make you distrusting and lower your self-esteem. When looking for a true friend, seek someone who is more like a lover. They want to please you and make you happy. They aren't afraid to make themselves less to uplift you. Of course, when we find someone like this we should treat them the same as they treat us. We should desire to lift them up and please them just as much. Doing so will create a bond between the two of you that no amount of ail salon days or shopping trips could ever compare to.

When I think of a model friendship, I think of David and Jonathan in the Bible. If you haven't heard the story I highly suggest reading it!

How have you dealt with the leeches and lovers in your life? I would love to hear you stories.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Living for the Weekend

I absolutely cannot wait for Saturday! No particular reason except that I adore a lazy Saturday!

This weekend, I am only going to pretend to be lazy. Something my school teaches is setting goals. We have to set goals for our PACE work in order to complete the yearly curriculum. This is a great life skill to teach your children and yourself!

My goals for this weekend are as followed:

  • paint at least one picture
  • Mani/pedi
  • clean up my bedroom and bathroom
Seems simple enough, right? Let's see if I can meet my goals.

Looking for something super fun to do over the weekend? I have a few suggestions! Whether you are looking for a romantic getaway or something to fill your time, these activities are not only relaxing, but can brighten your weekend.

1. Bed and Breakfast

This is a classic weekend getaway for you and the hubby that won't break the bank. Staying at a B&B is a great way to spend some time away from the mundane. Find one in a city you have always wanted to visit, or go out into the countryside or mountains and check out the changing leaves. It is a great way to reconnect with your spouse and relax.

2. Holiday Crafts

Fall is here at last! That means the holidays are just around the corner... and I'm not just talking about Christmas. Hop on Pinterest and get your craft on! Make some festive fall decor or get ideas for Christmas gifts for your friends. Either way you do it, it will definitely get you in the mood for celebrating!

3. Cleaning

Whoever said spring was the only time to clean out? Fall is just as bountiful. Find and take all of the clothes and other unwanted household items to a local thrift or consignment store. You could also have a yard sale, or sell items online. There could be a nice payday in your future! Get your kids involved by using the money from what they sell to buy one (emphasize only one) brand new toy.

4. Local Events

Going to a local event is a great and inexpensive way to have fun and experience your community in a new light. With fall festivals, corn mazes, pumpkin patches, and haunted houses, fall is the perfect time to get out and see what your community has to offer! A few local events for my area are:

If you have an event that you would like to share, please leave a comment with the web address.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Dear Edna, Thank You.

As you may have guessed, I am a Disney freak. One of my favorite non-princess movies is "The Incredibles." Surfing through Pinterest, I came a cross this little nugget:


I would love an Edna like this in my life. Someone to hit me with a newspaper when I start to fall apart. 

The Bible refers this method of encouragement as "iron sharpening iron." A good hit to keep you sharp. Have you ever seen a sword being made? It is put through fire, then hit repeatedly until it is the way the blacksmith wants it, then into cold water to set the metal. This process is repeated and repeated until the sword is perfect. But not just any tool can be used to sharpen the iron into a sword. It has to be an iron mallet. The same material rebuffing the other to make it into something extraordinary and useful.

When someone tries to sharpen us, we say they are being judgmental or even hypocritical, because they are the same as us (sinners). Guess what though? The mallet and sword are made from the same material. What would it be like if the sword told the iron to stop sharpening it because it was iron, too. That's silly, isn't it? We do the same thing when we wrongfully call someone judgmental or hypocritical when they are trying to help you become a better person.

Sharpening someone can come in many forms: a newspaper hitting you, harsh words, or even a gentile reminder. Most of the time our pride is what is struck. When someone is sharpening you, don't think the correction is mean or judgmental. Instead use it to better yourself. After all, if the iron sword resisted the iron mallet sharpening it, it would never become a useful weapon.

Today I challenge my readers to not only to let themselves be sharpened by others, but to also help sharpen someone else.

~*Beth*~

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What Singles Need to Know About Marriage

Single friends. We all have them.

For people like me who got married right out of college, you probably have more single friends than married friends. Looking back on my single life, I can see why my mom would laugh about my unrealistic expectations of my future marriage. I now see those same ideals in my single friends. There are times where I want to roll on the floor laughing at them, but instead I just think to myself "You are in for a RUDE awakening!"

For all my single friends out there, these are my top 5 for what to expect in a normal marriage:

1. You will fight. A lot.

The first really big fight I had with my husband felt like the end of the world. I cried harder than when I had to put down my first horse. But once we had cooled down and apologized, we were just as happy as before. When I was single, I thought my husband and I would never fight because we are just ever so perfectly perfect for each other. WRONG! When you fight, never unleash your full fury. Fight in such a way that shows your Christian character. Don't stream out words that you have no business saying. Don't 

2. Whatever expectations you have of marriage... yeah, get rid of those.

Don't ever, Ever, EVER think this...

hahahaha

Your husband will do a lot of things that won't meet your expectations. Get over it! Do not under any circumstances "turn around" just because he doesn't do what you think he will. Husbands are human with free will. We cannot control their emotions and thoughts. My husband didn't cry when he saw me. Does that make him love me any less? Not at all!

3. Prince Charming is imperfect, too!

Women everywhere know that men mess up. Men know that women are just as guilty. Instead of wishing that your husband was more like a fictional character, learn to love him through his flaws. Patience is the key!

4. The Romance WILL fade, but that's OK!

It's a sad fact. The spark you have for each other will not always be there. A fire does not burn forever. Honestly, all this garb about dating to keep the flame alive is a load. If you are married, YOU'RE MARRIED, not dating. You are on a higher plane than couples who are dating. Be secure and satisfied in knowing that you have a spouse.

5. You are no longer your own.

The Bible speaks very clearly on how husbands and wives should treat each other. This includes submitting to your spouse. We often read "wives submit yourselves to your husband" and stop there. Guess what men, you also have a role: treat your wife as something valuable and precious. You should cherish her. This includes fulfilling her wishes. If she asks you to do something, treat her how you would want to be treated (also a Biblical truth). Ladies, this does not mean your husbands are your menservants! If they ask something of you, do it! This includes when they say no to that gorgeous purse you just have to have. Treating each other with respect will blossom your marriage!

Married people, use these tips to help your own marriage. Singles, you have been warned!

~*Beth*~

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Snow White Syndrome

Ok so I have already expressed my love for Snow White. I am a Disney dork. Get over it.

Throughout my life I have been picked on, exiled, and have befriended people that would be considered "beneath me" according to my morals and social class. Why is this? Because of jealous girls.

I call this Snow White Syndrome (S.W.S)

Think about it: Snow White was shunned by the queen because of her beauty (not saying that is the reason I was shunned by others) and befriended those who were outside of her regular circle.

My S.W.S. occurred because of my high moral compass. It all began in grade school. If you were to meet me back then, you would notice immediately that I was not like the other kids. I was mild mannered and wouldn't play with others in my school group. Most often, I would be off singing to myself or playing alone. Why? Because I found my classmates to be crude and annoying. I did not like the games they played or the jokes they made. I was teased for not being like them.

To combat my loneliness, I would read, draw, or pull a Disney Princess and make up songs to sing. My classmates would make fun of my innocent behavior and tried their best to corrupt me. Of course I refused to be like them and separated myself even more from them. I was actually sent to the counselor because I wouldn't socialize.

I finally decided that if I was going to make friends, I would find others who felt the same way I did. I find two lovely ladies: Anastasia and Ashley. They stuck with me through the rest of our grade school days. In middle school, I transferred schools because the bullying was so bad. I though t I was safe, but it only took one girl to undo all of my happiness. She was so jealous of me that she filled my perfume bottle with pine sol, ruining one of my favorite things. She was later dismissed from the school due to other issues.

The bullying didn't stop. High school brought on new pressures: sex, drinking, drugs, leaving my beliefs in order to be accepted, you know the drill. I was able to withstand all of this due to my high moral compass. Yet again, S.W.S was rearing it's pretty little head and labeled me as a goody-goody.

College was the one place where relentless bullying was nonexistent. I was at a Christian school that accepted me just as I was... sort of. Even there I was labeled as a goody-goody with too rigid and narrow-minded beliefs. I guess when they said liberal arts college, they meant it! I wasn't bullied in college, but the label still held me back.

So here I am, a teacher at a private school that accepts my Snow White Syndrome and sees it as valuable. If you suffer from S.W.S in any way, shape, or form, do no try to change your wonderful ways. There is nothing wrong with the way you think, it is the world that has the problem.

Take just a moment to think of the Fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, and all the others. Galatians 5:22-23 lists these nine character traits as something all Christians should posses. I see all of those traits in Snow White. I admire this Disney Princess because she shows the perfect personality of a Christian (minus the constant singing and overly dramatic gestures. That's just Disney). Even through the hardest of times, she never once displayed a disrespectful attitude, nor did she dwell on the fact that the queen wanted her dead. She lived her life with a positive attitude and was grateful for everything, even while being treated like a slave girl and and outcast.

To all of those who have S.W.S of any degree, please do not change. Continue to do good deeds, to have a positive attitude, to see the good in others. Be trusting, be kind, be friendly. Bring joy into the lives of others. Make up songs to sing. Be a Snow White!

~*Beth*~


Monday, September 23, 2013

No Small Snakes

***Before reading this, please keep an open mind. Remember that our Christian battle is not fought in teh physical realm, but in the spiritual.***

Yesterday was possibly the most revealing service I have ever heard. My pastor read from Acts where a soothsayer girl was following Paul and Silas around proclaiming how they were from God and bring salvation. Paul became so annoyed that he cast out the demon and the girl lost her ability to see the future.

What's the big deal, right?

Looking closer at the scripture, there is a word used to describe the spirit: it was a spirit of divination, meaning soothsaying. (Haven't you already told us this?) Looking even closer at that word "divination" it is translated in the Greek to the word "pythos" which is where we get the word python. What do pythons do best? They squeeze, choke, and smother. Paul was annoyed at her because the spirit inside her was smothering him. (Read the Greek myth of the Oracle at Delphi to see the link between this spirit and the python.)

I honestly believe that this same spirit is running rampant today.

Think of the last time you felt joy, peace, and life in your everyday living. I can't. I have been so absorbed with my marriage, my job, and issues facing Christianity that I cannot breathe at times. It literally feels like the life is being squeezed out of me.

Sound like your life? This is evidence that this spirit is running a muck. Humanism is becoming the core of most doctrine today. It is all about how God can serve us and what God can do for us, not what we can do for God. If this is the doctrine of your church I encourage you to find a new church that preaches that "ole' time religion" where sin is sin and God owes us nothing.

 Being in a church that preaches sound doctrine (beliefs that line up with the Bible) is the most beneficial thing you can do for your walk with Christ. It makes the same difference as eating junk food v.s. eating healthy food. It may not always taste good, but you eat it because it is good for you.

Well, even if there is some "python spirit" what can we do about it?

In Isaiah 59, it gives a clear description about what sins this spirit brings. It also states that the Lord saw that thee was nothing that could be done about this because there was no intercessor. No one that was concerned about the well-being of others. They were too busy with what was going on in their own lives.

Have you heard the term strength in numbers? Surprisingly, this saying is quite Biblical. If Christians would ban together and unselfishly pray for others, this spirit will leave. We will one again feel peace and joy in our lives.

My challenge for you this week: pray for anyone and everyone instead of praying for yourself. Pray for God to lead your husband instead of complaining to your friends about him. Pray that your children will overcome anything that is thrown at them instead of focusing on why they can't do better in school. Pray for your Facebook friends when they post about the trouble of their lives instead of gossiping about them. Even pray for the people that drive by you in the road. They have just as much on their plate as you do.

When this happens, Isaiah says that God will raise up a standard (translated to be a wall of defense) and our enemy will vanish. When we focus on others we tend to forget about what was troubling us in the first place, almost like it disappears.

Take a moment to pray for someone else or listen to a troubled friend. The spiritual rewards will be greater than you can imagine.

~*Beth*~