When You Feel Like an Unredeemable Shipwreck

by Grace 12. April 2018 21:14

Today has been one of those days. 

Those days where I feel horrible... Like an unredeemable shipwreck... Like the sinner I am. When my heart is heavy with guilt and shame.

And you know what? I bet you've had those days too. Days when you can barely live with your own self. Those are long, hard days. 

Recently, I've been kind of wondering about those kinds of days. Those days when the weight of my own darkness is on my shoulders. What those mean, and what I should do in those times. I've been learning a few things and I thought I'd share them with you all. I certainly don't have an exhaustive list of what you need to do -- just what I've learned. But I hope it helps all the same.

I've found that these are the times to examine yourself by the scriptures. And I've found that these are times that we have to be deathly honest with ourselves to pursue the truth. And it's important to pray during this process and have a Bible handy (I have one on the desk with me right now!)

Get ready for a bit of intense cross examinations and multiple choice tests!!! ;)

 

Why do I feel this way? What is the cause, and who's fault is it?

Because it's somebody's fault. Believe me. Thoughts have three sources: God, the Devil, and yourself. And being that God died to take your sins away and bear that burden and grant you release, (as far as I can tell) we're left with two options...

The key here is to ask yourself why you think you're such a bad person. We'll deal with whether you are or not in a minute (by the way, it's not a flattering answer), but for now, we'll deal with why you think what you think.

 

-Devil’s attacks vs. Sin in our lives

This is a tricky question that takes a lot of processing and scripture reading to answer. Now, undoubtedly, either way you're under attack by the devil, whether you're dealing with current sin in your life or he's searching out your insecurities. Right now we're just dealing with what route he's going through.

Ask yourself. Why do you think you are a bad person? Is it because you're thinking of all of the mistakes you've made? Maybe you've received a lot of correction recently from a parent (be honest teens, we're not as grown-up as we like to think, and sometimes we... *gasp* get in some trouble...). Maybe you did something really not-so-great (please excuse my attempts not to use stronger language there) and you can't get over it. Maybe you have some habits that you think are just rather odd or gross. Maybe you feel like you just mess things up all the time and get in the way all the time. Maybe you're frustrated that your lack of confidence gets in the way of being a better friend or a better coworker. Maybe you've made someone mad recently. I could (obviously - just proved it) go on and on and on with the list.

These could very possibly attacks from the devil, but it could also very possibly be... something worse. Perhaps you've got something in your life that you really need to deal with. Something in your heart. Let's cross examine ourselves to see what it could possibly be that is troubling us.

Feelings or Knowledge?

Think for a moment. What's bothering you? Is it just the feeling of guilt and shame? Or is it a knowledge of something in your life that disturbs you? If you just feel like you're a miserable failure and an all around bad person, it could be an attack from the devil on you and your identity in Christ. If you can lay a finger on something a little more tangible (we're not talking about an action/thought difference, we're talking about vague/specific difference), it's time to take things to the next step.

Sin or Strangeness?

Now that you've perhaps identified the thing that's bothering you, hold it in light of the scriptures. Do you feel prone to making really foolish mistakes? Look at the scriptures. Is that a sin? No. (Thank God!) Is feeling dirty, tired, and stressed a sin? Look at the scriptures. No, it isn't. Do you feel like a highly unproductive person? Look at the scriptures. Is a lack of productivity a sin? Yes. God calls us to redeem the time (Ephesians 5:15-16). The lazy man is repeatedly scorned throughout the book of Proverbs. Diligence is a highlighted virtue in the scriptures. Now, as for being down-to-earth serious with ourselves... Call everything what it is. If you look for "exceedingly tired all the time" in the Bible, you're not going to find it. But is it really just that you're tired all the time? Or is that maybe... laziness??? And that works the other way around too. Don't slide something under the title of sin because you feel horrible. It'll just make things more confusing. Examine things in the light of the Bible. Don't nitpick and misinterpret God's Word to get the results you want, expect, or feel you deserve.

 

Past or Present?


Okay, so maybe you've narrowed it down to a sin that's bothering you. Think about this sin. Is it something that is currently part of your life? Or is it in the past? And when I say in the past, I don't mean last decade. I mean last year. Last hour. Last minute. Maybe even just a few seconds ago. Think about it. If it's an action, look to see if you've been doing it consistently recently. No? That's past. Have you apologized to those you've possibly hurt? It's past. Was it a heedless accident? It's past. Have you prayed about it? It's past. You need to let go. What we're dealing with is chronic sin. We're always going to be struggling with sin. We're going to do wrong things, repent, ask forgiveness, move on. What we're specifically looking for right now though is those ugly little creatures that continuously and persistently pop their heads into our lives. Wrong thoughts are often chronic sin (not always, but often). Remember to make sure they're wrong thoughts and not attacks from the devil. Thoughts about who you are are often just the devil trying to get you down because who you are is identified by Christ as a believer. But other thoughts that don't follow the guidelines of Phillipians 4:8 are often sin.

Let's look at some things you should not do when you're dealing with the devil attacking you with insecurities in your life or using your sin to discourage you.

-Don't flatter yourself. You aren't a good person. You ARE a very bad person. Telling yourself that you're not as bad as you think is just a way of running away from the problem and trying to cover it up, and if it makes you feel better, it probably just puffed up your ego (P.S. Not a good thing).

-Don't try to 'wait it out'. If you're dealing with something, deal with it! Don't let it sit and soak in you and drain you. From personal experience, if it does 'go away', it'll come up again later in full strength.

Okay, now the things that we should do.

-Pray and read your Bible!

Pretty obvious. If it isn't, that's very possibly your problem.

-Pray and study those scriptures some more!

-Talk to someone about it!

If I'm having a seriously rough time over something, I talk to my Mom or my sister about it. They always have lots to share, and it's easier for them to see what might be going on from the outside looking in.

-Remember who you are in Christ.

If you're struggling with attacks from Satan, remember that God has washed your sins away. He took them to the cross, and they didn't last any longer than that. They're gone. Don't let them trouble you anymore. Lay them down. Jesus' sacrifice was and is sufficient. To doubt that those sins are gone, to feel that you still bear the guilt of them, is to doubt the grace and power of God to take those sins away!

-"Go and sin no more."

God has commanded us to sin no more! We are to be following in His footsteps. Are you struggling with chronic sin? Do you consistently deal with anger? Pride? Lust? Some other sin? Tell someone and ask them to pray for you and help keep you accountable. And then replace those bad thoughts with something pure and holy. Replace those wrong actions with their opposites. Jealous? Thank God for the success of the person you're envious of and pray for those who aren't as fortunate in life as yourself. Lazy? Find something useful to do! Selfish? Think of unique ways to be generous! 

-Search for things that heighten your feelings of discouragement.

Here's a list of things that cause us to be unnecessarily discouraged:

1) Lack of sleep

If you're over tired, you're going to struggle with stress.

2) Neglecting Bible reading/prayer

No-brainer! God is our Sustainer. He is the center of our lives as Christians. He's the one who took away our guilt. If we're forgetting him, we're gonna feel down.

3) Not keeping up with health

I struggle with chronic heartburn and I have a sensitive stomach. If I eat something that bothers it, it'll throw me fully off balance. This is an area that I really need to work on. If I neglect to take my vitamins, I run the risk of becoming deficient in certain things and that will throw me off.

4) Stress

Brothers and sisters, lay those burdens down! Cast your cares upon the Lord. Take heed for nothing. God has everything under control. Just let go and let God.

 

 

Okay, I hope that was of some help! Like I mentioned earlier, this is not an exhaustive list of all of the solutions. There are things that I certainly haven't addressed. This isn't a fix-it-all formula to be sure. It's just me sharing from my heart and my experiences on a bad day. ;) If you have anything to add, if there's anything on your heart, or if there's anything I can pray for you about, comment and let me know! (Or use the contact form if it's something personal. ;) Here's some random resources and verses that I thought of or looked at while I was writing this (this list is by no means exhaustive either!). Not everything is necessarily even related to the whole general topic... Sorry if I list a resource down there and you don't know why I did! Hahaha!

By the way, I commend you if you made it to the bottom of this post!

2 Corinthians 10:5

Phillipians 4:8

Eccl. 9:10

Prov. 6:11

Eph. 5:15-16

Acts 17:11

II Corinthians 13:5

Looking Higher, Reaching Farther

I Stand Redeemed - Legacy Five

As Many Times - Kingdom Heirs

Big Enough - Clark Family

Now let's hear from you!

Was this helpful to you at all? Did it make sense? Have you been dealing with feelings of guilt and shame recently? Remember, these are great times to grow in Christ! Do you have any thoughts to add? Is there something that you disagree with? Is there something I can pray about for you?

 

 

 

 

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Giveaway Winners!!!

by Grace 5. April 2018 18:28

Hey everyone!!!

We're going to announce the WINNERS now!!!

This was hard for me... I know most of you. I wish I had a book to give to all of you. Oh well. ;)

The first winner is...

Drumroll...

R.T.!!!

And our second winner is...

Drumroll...

J.S. Klingemann!!!

 

Congratulations to our two winners!!! Be sure to let us know what you think of the book once you've finished it!

Make sure to contact me with your address either through the contact form or, if you have it, you can contact me through email.

Thanks to everyone who participated! This was a lot of fun!

For those interested, you can buy Daniel's book here:More than Conquerors ~ Amazon

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Random Tidbits/Poem

by Grace 3. April 2018 16:54

Hey everyone!

I haven't been on here very much have I? I thought I'd drop by and say hello really fast. ;)

A few things:

1. Due to how busy I've been, I will not be posting from either series tomorrow. Hopefully I'll be posting the Family Focus series next week. Some of you may have noticed that I actually posted the first post last week, but because of a few issues I took it down. ;)

2. It's my Mom's birthday tomorrow! Happy Birthday Mom! Love you! Hope you have a wonderful rest of your year while dealing with me. ;D

3. The GIVEAWAY ends the day after tomorrow! If you commented but your comment hasn't shown up yet, if you haven't gotten all of your possible entries, or if you just haven't entered yet, NOW is the time to do that!

4. I got a shot today. I injured my hand a while back and we haven't been able to find out what the matter was. I went to a local doctor, but she didn't know what was wrong, so she sent me to someone else who looked at it today. He seemed very knowledgeable. It was a huge answer to prayer! However, my hand is kinda puffy and numb so I'm avoiding the use of a certain finger... If you ever have your finger numbed, try typing with it and you'll see what I mean!

5. Y'all should listen to this song. ;) My Rock

 

Like I said before, I'm extremely busy. I have a wedding coming up that I'm going to be a bridesmaid for. I have several assignment deadlines coming up. I have friends going out of state this month and had one leave last month. I just had a doctor's appointment and I have a followup scheduled. It's stressful, and I'm always fearful that I won't be ready for my next quarter finals. Yep, still afraid of quarter finals. I've done just fine on my other finals - much better than I could have hoped for. But I'm still afraid.

It's funny how the devil can make you fear for things that God has helped you conquer over and over and over again. For some reason, the situation is always "different"... Well, it's usually actually mostly the same as last time. It's just a lie that the devil likes to use.

But it's convicting to read the words "Oh you of little faith!" and "casting all your cares on Him". Instead of focusing on the lies Satan uses, I need to focus on the truths God gives. We've been through this before. God's proven Himself faithful. I have no valid reason to fear or worry. ;)

Well, that's me and my life for now. I had better run now!

 

Why does the day have to be so long
And why does it feel so short?
Why does getting up earlier
Feel like a last resort?
How does my list of things to get done
Grow so big, so fast
And why does the morn seem slow, so slow -
When I start work, I think 'at last'.
Why do I feel irate and want
To get tasks done and over with quickly
But the thought of an upcoming deadline
Makes me cringe and feel queasy?
Why do I feel afraid at all?
I've been through this before.
God's given me all the strength I need
That and plenty more.
Help me Lord to not complain--
Not to fear or stress.
I have You to see me through
That should fill me with happiness.
Things will not be easy
You never said they'd be.
But that's okay, 'cause You're here to stay.
You'll always be here with me.

 

Now let's hear from you!

 

Did you listen to the song? What's been going on in your life? What have you been up to? Have you entered the giveaway yet? Did you like my title-less poem?

 

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Giveaway! Daniel's book More than Conquerors

by Grace 26. March 2018 23:45

Hey Everyone! The giveaway of my brother's book "More than Conquerors" is finally here! I've invited Daniel himself to come share a little bit about himself and his book:

 

Hello everyone, my name is Daniel Helland.

Since I was a young boy I have been writing stories. Under my bed I have a bucket full of pads and binders that I wrote my ‘books’ in over the years. I guess it was around the age of thirteen that I got serious about writing, and wrote a medieval fantasy novel. It was meant to have a sequel but I never completed one. At age fifteen I wrote a Western. And then in September of 2015, I started a two year journey to write and publish More Than Conquerors: A Tale of the Huguenots - my first attempt at historical fiction. 

My book has often been likened to Henty’s novels.  However, some have said that it is similar Ballantyne’s writings because of its plot and character development. Because it is set in the Reformation, religion is a powerful factor in the story – religion and faith that is. In truth, it was rather a showdown between the two. Old and young have enjoyed this book. A small book club of young people is digging into More Than Conquerors, while many people more advanced in years are also reading. There is something for everybody, I hope.

More Than Conquerors is a high adventure tale interwoven seamlessly with the history of the Reformation that follows the experiences of three men in 16th Century France, a country torn by civil war. Theodore, a young man who wants to fight for a worthy cause, Charles, an older man who wants to kick one more dent into the world, and Johanne, Theodore’s uncle, a man of reason who is about to have his philosophies challenged to their core. The reader will walk through the streets of Calvin’s Geneva, see a coastal city besieged by a massive royal army, tour the halls and corridors of the Louvre palace in Paris, and sail to the jungles of Brazil. There are armies on the field of battle, Inquisitors in dark tunnels, tribes of cannibals in the forest, and humble preachers ministering to their congregations in caves secretly.

It was an incredible time period, and I wanted to capture some of the excitement of the period in a story. My hope is that my readers will enjoy More Than Conquerors, and learn something from the courageous Huguenots themselves, as I did.

 

“They have the power and the money,” Theodore said. He looked at a Bible on his professor’s desk. “But we have the faith.” -More than Conquerors

 

Now, for the giveaway!!! ;)

I am giving away 2 free paperback copies of More than Conquerors. The deadline for accumulating entries ends on April 5th and the winners will be announced shortly thereafter.

 

Here are the rules for entering:

1. ONE comment equals one free entry. 

2. Every question you ask Daniel about him, his book, the Huguenots, and the Reformation is 1 entry each for your first five questions in addition to your entry for commenting.

3. If you post about the giveaway on your blog and comment with or email me a link to your post, you get 5 entries.

4. Last of all, but most importantly, DO NOT COMMENT ANONYMOUSLY!!!!! When I post the winner, I don't want to say "the winner is... anonymous #17!" NO!!! Use a pseudonym, alias, your initials, comment with your name set as "LOL" - I don't care. But do NOT comment as 'anonymous' or I will not include you in the giveaway!

Daniel's YouTube Channel

Daniel's Facebook Page

Daniel's Website ~ Daniel in the Writer's Den

More than Conquerors ~ Amazon

 

Now let's hear from you!

Have any questions for Daniel? Ask away! By the way, I am very sorry for not posting the first part of the Family Focus series last week. I will try to get that up for you all this next Wednesday.

 

 

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He Set Me Free

by Grace 19. March 2018 18:38

Hey Everyone!

Here's another song I wrote. Let me know what you all think!

 

He Set Me Free

Verse 1: Once upon a time I was wandering in sin

Tried to save myself but didn't know where to begin

But I found Jesus - well, rather He found me

He healed my sick soul and He set me free!

 

Verse 2: I look around me and see other faces

Searching for saviour in all of the wrong places

Come to the Master; let Him bear the load

And He'll give you strength to walk down this road!

 

Chorus: He set me free, He set me free

Once I was blind; I now can see

I'll hold the Saviour's hand no matter how hard it may be

Because He saved my soul and He set me free!

 

There y'all go! Let me know what you think once you've read it.

Hopefully me and Daniel can get that giveaway together this week, but we'll see. ;)

If you haven't checked out the new "Recommendations/Favorites" page on the sidebar yet, be sure to do so and let me know what you think!

Looking forwards to (hopefully!) starting the "Family Life" series this Wednesday!

 

Now let's hear from you!

 

Did you enjoy the song? Did you check out my recommendations page on the sidebar? Have you read/seen/heard of anything from there yet? Did you look up/watch anything from it, and if so, what? And did you enjoy it? Are you looking forwards to the giveaway or have you given up on it because I've mentioned it so many times??? ;)

 

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A Giveaway on the Blog Noveltea!||Poetry from my Childhood

by Grace 12. March 2018 12:10

Hey all! 

I entered a pretty neat giveaway this week hosted by Lydia Howe and, although I've shared it with quite a few people, it totally spaced my mind to post the link here. So here it is!

Giveaway - Noveltea

Keep an eye out for my giveaway of More Than Conquerors! I'll post it as soon as Daniel has a free moment to help me out. ;)

And while I'm here... I couldn't help but share some poems I found that I wrote when I first started out (I was probably about 10-12!) I thought they were pretty cute! Haha! Tell me what you think of my ancient poetry. ;)

 

I Will Fly to Heaven

Birds fly high,

I just sigh;

I want to fly too!

When I die,

I will fly,

I will fly to Heaven.

 

I am glad,

I’ve got a Dad,

And a Mother, to;

And when they die,

They will fly,

They will fly to heaven.

 

Time does extend

To the end

Soon this world will fall;

But life’s sweet song

To me belongs,

Because I’ll fly to heaven.

 

That one actually had a tune to it. Wasn't I sooo sweet? Haha!

 

Prayer is the Sweetest Thing

Prayer is the sweetest thing;

Prayer, yes to God we bring

Lots of Hymns and songs we sing,

But prayer is the sweetest thing.

 

Prayer is the sweetest thing;

We pray to our heavenly king:

We love to hear the church bells ring,

But prayer is still the sweetest thing.

 

Prayer is the sweetest thing;

Though we love the church bells ring

Though lots of Hymns and songs we sing;

Prayer is the sweetest thing.

 

I was probably about 11 for that one. 

 

There Will be a Day

There will be a day

With no more school;

Playing all day

Will be the rule.

 

I’ll graduate soon

From seventh Grade

I’ll do a test sun to moon,

See the score I made.

 

I’ll pass the test!

Then I’ll go to bed

I won’t rest

With such joy in my head!

 

I’ll go and marry!

And have children!

I won’t tarry!

I’ll maybe have ten!

 

We’ll see when I get there.

 

I wrote this when I was twelve. I thought it was hilarious! If only I knew back then all the school that I'm doing now... Haha!!

Anyways, thought you all would enjoy that. ;)

Keep looking out for the giveaway and the upcoming series THIS WEEK!!

Now let's hear from you! 

Did you enter Lydia's giveaway? Did you like my 'ancient' poetry? Are you all tired of me saying 'look forward to the giveaway' and 'look forward to the two series' although I haven't posted any of them yet? I know, I sound like a broken record. Y'all are probably thinking 'This better be good with how long we've waited!' :/ But they're BOTH COMING!

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Sing Praises

by Grace 5. March 2018 21:02

Hello Everyone!

I have a new song here for y'all. Let me know what you think!

Sing Praises to the Creator

Verse 1: As I gaze at the stars on a calm chilly night
My heart gives a leap at the glorious sight
My soul will rejoice in the nature's fresh air
As I sing praises to the Creator

Verse 2: As I wander about in the glistening snow
And gaze down at frozen rivers below
I'll thank God that He this world would share
And I'll sing praises to the Creator

Verse 3: As I dance all around in the meadow fair
With the flowers around and warmth in the air
I will thank the Lord for His wonderous care
And sing praises to the Creator

 

Refrain: For the Lord is good in all He does
And all that He's made for us
My life would be colorless and bland
If it wasn't for the gifts from the fathers hand
So I'll keep singing on forevermore
I will sing  praises to the Creator

Be on the lookout for the intro for our series coming this Wednesday or next, and also be on the lookout for... An upcoming GIVEAWAY for my brother Daniel's book, More Than Conquerors!!!

 

Now let's hear from you!

Did you like the song? Which series are you most looking forward to? Are you all excited for the giveaway?

 

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Series/Put on the Armor of God

by Grace 2. March 2018 14:16

Hey everyone!

I know I posted just yesterday but I wanted to just pop in and tell you all about this since I'll be pretty busy over the next few days.
I decided I'll just go back and forth every week between the two series. I technically had a tie between the two and I believe everyone said that they'd be interested in both.

I'd love to hear everyone's feedback throughout both of these series... Whether it's a quick note that you're still enjoying the series or you have a lot to add, and whether it's in agreement or something that you disagreed with. And I know I've said in the past that I love long comments, but I really do enjoy hearing from all of you whether you have lots to say or its a simple encouragement. I'm humbled that y'all would take the time to read my posts at all, let alone take the time to comment on them or rate them!

And also, I don't want you all to think that I've got this all together. Oh no. I certainly don't! The main reason that I chose these topics is because they're things that I too still struggle with. I still get angry at my siblings or lose my patience with them. Sometimes I treat my parents disrespectfully. I forget where my I'm supposed to get my identity and turn to the world to define who I am (that was part of my inspiration for my song Looking Farther, Reaching Higher). I'm a real human being -- sinner just like you all and I'm still learning about all of these things too!

I think I'll try to post a part to one of these series every Wednesday... We'll see what day it ends up on though. ;)

Since I'm here, I thought I'd share this song I wrote in 2014 with you. I think you all will be able to guess the passage that inspired this one. ;)

And, just in case, I want to apologize if you see the word 'armor' written as 'armour'... I have a tendency to write in the old English way sometimes... Armour, honour, neighbour, and all of the other words that Noah Webster shortened to be convenient (I think that was him). I think I got all of them changed, but just in case... ;)

 

Put on the Armor of God

Chorus:

We are to put on the armor of God to protect us from the foe,

As we take our pilgrimage in this wicked world be-low,

Some say they don't need it; they wear the world's armor instead

But then Satan overcomes them, and they go to the Land of the Dead

Oh! Weak sinner, put on the Armor of God!

 

Verse 1:

Gird your loins with the Lord's holy truth

Wear the breastplate of righteousness,

To protect against Satan's dangerous darts

Full of lies and evilness

Let your feet the preparation

Of the gospel of peace be shod

Oh feeble sinner, Put on the Armor of God!
 

Verse 2:

Take the helmet of Salvation

Don't let Satan your mind deceive,

Take the shield of faith for your defense

If you truly do believe,

And when you’re in holy war,

And in battle grounds you trod,

For the fight use the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God!

 

Now let's hear from you!

Did you like the song? Which series are you most looking forward to? A big THANKS to ALL of you who take the time to read my blog, rate my posts, or comment! You'll never know how much you're all appreciated.

 

 

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An Average Day Tag

by Grace 1. March 2018 19:22

Hello Everyone!

I was tagged by Laura @ Flowers in my Basket for the Average Day tag. The rules are that you have to post 10+ pictures of a typical day for you and then tag 2+ other people to do the tag.

Now, my days are all vastly different... Especially since I'm a substitute at the highschool - I could (and have been called) the morning they need me to ask if I'm available because someone woke up sick or something like that. So I just took random pictures over multiple days. These are just a few things that occur on a regular basis for me.

Here we go!

 

School!!! This is probably the #1 (not a hashtag!!!) thing I do. That right there is my syllabus binder and one of the main books for my Legal Philosophy and Reasoning course, "Renewing Your Mind as You Study Law."

 

More school.

 

Me at work. That's the highschool cafeteria! Yes, the apron of the day doesn't match with my coat. But I was out of luck because it didn't match with my shirt either! Oh well. I don't get to choose my apron, so that happens sometimes. ;)

 

Behind the serving counter at work.

The locker room at work... the lockers are behind me. ;)

 

This is what happens when I get random inspiration... These are three songs I wrote rather spur-of-the-moment.

Blogging!

Listening to a school lecture. I think it was for Real Estate Transactions but I don't remember.

 

Okay, I had to share this one with you all... My 4 year old brother does this all the time. He'll get his own precious blanket and a teddy bear a 'put me down for a nap' while I'm doing school! Haha! Isn't that sweet??? I love my little brother. ;)

 

Okay! That's the end! 10 pictures of the life of yours truly.

Now, as for who I tag...

Grace @ Grace Notes

Bethany @ Liberty or Death

Maddy @ Little Bit of Sunshine

 

And YOU! If your a blogger and you want to be added to this list but weren't, comment or use the contact form (or you can email me if you have my address ;) and contact me and your name and blog will *magically* appear on the list. ;)

And also, if you have not voiced your opinion on which series you want me to do, make sure you let me know which of the two you would be most interested in! (See the end of my last post) You can comment and let me know, or you can let me know through my contact form.

One last thing... I was considering having some sort of contest. What would all of you be most interested in? Photography? Short story? Poetry? Article?

Now let's hear from you!

Did you enjoy hearing a little more about my day? What normally happens in your day? If you haven't voted yet, which series do YOU want to see? And what type of contest would you be most interested in? I love hearing from all of you!

 

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Questions and Answers Part 4: My Answers - Pt. 2

by Grace 26. February 2018 12:06

Hey Everyone!

I'm back with the rest of the answers... Sorry it took so long!

Olivia's Questions:

What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

Cookie dough hands down! I LOVE cookie dough icecream! It's been my favorite for years!!!

Favorite season?

Fall! I love the changing colors of leaves, the crisp air, the ripening apples and pressing cider!

Favorite holiday?

Christmas, without a doubt. I LOVE Christmas. It's a day we always spend at home together celebrating one of the greatest events in history - the day when God came down in the humble form of a baby to be born in a manger to save the world!

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Hmm... I don't know! Maybe Corrie Ten Boom's place, or NQC, or the Alamo in Texas, or to visit an out of state friend, or something like that!

Or actually... I want to go to a coast where it's actually WARM!!! I love the beach, but it's always cold here in Oregon. Last time we went it was freezing. Me, Abigail, and a friend still waded around in it until I fell in (on accident!). But it would have been much more fun if it was warm. Then falling in wouldn't have been a problem, being that the only reason I didn't want to get that wet is because it was so cold.

I thought it would also be fun to go to OBCL's alumni retreat this year too (unless that's next year - can't remember), but I'll worry about that a little more when I'm actually an alumni! Haha!

If you could take only one person with you, who would it be?

My sister Abigail, probably! But it'd be fun to take my brother Daniel or my other brother Isaac. And it would be fun to take my friend Mal with me too. ;) It really depends on where I'm going!

Grace F's Questions:

What is your dream instrument?

Tuba! No, not really... ;) I'd love to have mandolin lessons! Or double bass too. I'd also love piano lessons. And guitar. And harp. And viola. And banjo!!! Okay, okay, okay... Well, if it's something I've played before but haven't had lessons for, it's gonna be mandolin or piano. But if it has to be something I've haven't played at all, it's probably harp. Viola isn't as pressing because I can play violin/fiddle. Can't be much different, right? Especially since I've played a 5 string violin before. And banjo... I'd love to play it but not as much as harp. Isaac is really good at it so I don't need to play banjo. Guitar and bass lessons would be awesome, but I can already do at least 5 chords (on my good days I remember one or two more ;).

What is your *favorite* Bible verse?

Romans 5:20 "...Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound..."
If you study law for any length of time, you realize how bad this world really is. Sin is everywhere, choking the life and purpose out of millions, causing death, causing pain, causing tribulation, strife, envy... It's sickening. Some of the sin that goes on in this world is unconceivable. You feel hopeless looking around. Offence abounds. It doesn't just lurk around in the dark corner. No. It's everywhere. In the streets in the form of the form of impatient commuters and reckless or drunk drivers. In the business place in the form of greed and envy. In our Government in the form of tyranny and abuse. In our own homes in the forms of heated arguments, rebellious teens, ungrateful children, insubmissive wives, and fathers who don't lead their families in God's truth. And rooted deep within the human heart.

But wait! Wait! There is still hope! because where sin is now thriving, "grace did MUCH MORE abound..." There is more grace in this world than sin! And not just a little more, but MUCH more! Friends, there is hope for us, thank God! Can I get an amen???

Who is your favorite composer/arranger/musician/music hero?

Roger Bennett or Rodney Griffin, to be sure!

Roger Bennet was already a great musician when he started playing piano, singing, and writing songs (he was the piano player for one of the greatest and most well known Southern Gospel quartets, the Cathedrals), but he got better when the he got cancer, the Cathedrals retired, he launched his own group called Legacy Five with his best friend Scott Fowler (also from the Cathedrals up until they retired), and continued singing and playing piano and writing songs. He wrote Whispers in the Night, I've Read the Back of the Book, Don't Be Afraid, Healing, and many others. Roger Bennett died in 2007.

Rodney Griffin is really good too. He writes many wonderful songs, sings in Greater Vision, and *supposedly* plays saxophone (that's a southern gospel joke ;). He wrote Still, Waiting by the Well, and It Pays to Pray, along with many more!

I also love the songs that Diane Wilkinson wrote, and Mark Trammell and Gerald Wolfe are some of my favorite singers (both in their days with the Cathedrals and now that they have their own groups). I also like the Mylon Hayes family, the Bontrager Family Singers, and many others. But my top favorite musicians are Roger Bennett and Rodney Griffin.

Oh, and Isaac. Just to let you all know, my brother Isaac is an amazing composer, musician, arranger, singer, and everything. I've never met a better musician.

Are you all wondering why I have to take so long to answer a couple questions yet???

What is one random fun fact about you?

I don't like bell peppers. But that's not very fun or random. Hmm...

I love volleyball! But the person who asked this question already knows this...

I'm not a very random person! Okay, I'll try again. Besides, I am.

My personality type is INFP. There we go. ;)

What is your favorite part of blogging?

Being able to share with and bless others that I wouldn't be able to reach in this way! I love being able to share my poetry, share other people's poetry, and talk about music, poetry, family life, and other things. Oh, and I love comments. ;)

What is a secret talent of yours that many would be surprised to know?

Hmm... Secret talent that people would be surprised to know... Probably arguing, haha! Everyone always thinks I'm sweet and quiet, which I generally am. But I can DEFINITELY hold my own if I get fired up about something. Hand motions, strong arguments, facial expressions, evidence, and everything. I did debate for two years which probably helped.

I'm also good at pretending. I can say I'm happy, and look like I'm happy, and act like I'm happy, when really I'm not. And the other way around.

And I can also be EXTREMELY COMPETITIVE! Some of the other mothers of debaters who talked to my mom during debate season always could hardly believe her when she told them how I loved debate so much! But I thrived in the competition.

Okay, enough bragging about myself...

Laura's Questions:

Do you live in the country, city, or town?

50 acres in the country! I love it!

What's your favorite girl name?

Hmm... I love K names (especially Kate and Kitridge), and I love M names (especially Mallory and McKenzie).

What's your favorite board or card game?

Dutch Blitz! It's a family favorite!

Alright everyone! There ya' have it! If anyone missed the Q+A or has any last straggling questions, go ahead and ask and I'll answer them in the comments. Otherwise, I think we're done! Thanks to everyone who participated! I had a lot of fun with this and I hope you all did too!

And now, I have a question for you!

I've been thinking of starting a blog series. I have two ideas and, although I'll probably do both of them, I don't know that I should do both of them at the same time (although that's still an option). I'd probably try to post once a week about whatever I choose. Here's the two ideas:

1. Things that take our focus off of Christ or things that we try to find our identity inThere are a lot of things that we tend to find our identity in and this is one area I struggle in and I've been learning about.

2. Family lifeI've been thinking recently - you know, I've been just about everything. A little sister to older brothers. A big sister to little brothers. A big sister to little sisters. A daughter to a mother and a father. I've dealt with babies, toddlers, middle-aged kids, and adults as siblings. And I know I've had questions asked about being a sister and I've had requests for posts on younger siblings.

Let me know which you want to see most!

Be watching out for a long-overdue post - a tag by Laura @ Flowers in my Basket!

 

Now let's hear from you!

Have you enjoyed the Questions and Answers series? Which was your favorite question that I've answered? Are there any answers that surprised you? What are YOUR answers to some of these questions? Do you have any last minute questions? Which series do you think I should start first? Identity focus? Familyhood? Alternate between the two each week?

 

 

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Happy Valentine's Day!

by Grace 14. February 2018 11:50

Happy Valentine's Day Everyone!

Hope you all have a fantastic day!

You know, I'm 18 years old, but I don't mind being single this Valentine's day. I have never had a boyfriend in my life.

And that was a personal choice.

But you know what?

I've still got PLENTY of people to love!!!

And besides...

Why worry about a prince when you've got a King???

I've got my Lord, and I don't need anyone else! And He'll bring me my prince in His timing (if He so chooses to bring me one!)

 

Have a blessed day!!!

Now let's hear from you!

 

What are your plans for today? Have YOU made Jesus the center of your life?

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Exams Tomorrow

by Grace 12. February 2018 21:28

Hey everyone!

Pray for me! Exam day #1 is tomorrow! (By the way, that's a NUMBER sign - not a hashtag! Haha!) 

Our Vocation

Vocation is our calling giv’n

From our Creator’s hand;

A duty directed to us

To fulfil the Father’s plan.

Uncertain, mysterious;

Vocation –a vital venture—

A call that’s undeniable

And warrants a prompt answer

Vocation serves our Creator

It is ordained by the Holy One

It stems from the Great Calling

God’s giv’n to everyone

An offer, yet demand;

A gift, yet an order—

We dare not to ignore it,

Though we be a bless’d receiver.

Responding to our calling

With faith unhesitating,

Is commanded from our Creator

For our purposes’ fulfilling.

 

                        -Grace A. B. Helland

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LETS GET STARTED!!!!

by Grace 9. February 2018 21:16

I wrote this today while mentally struggling with multiple things that I feel God is calling me to. Here; you fill in the blanks. Put in something that you know God wants you to do, but your afraid to do, don't know how to do, or just plain don't feel like doing.

 

Here's the thing: I need to ________________ (Fill it in!), no matter what. God is on my side: if He is for me, WHO CAN BE AGAINST ME? Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me. I have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to worry in doing this because God has EVERYTHING under control and He will guide the way. He's got this planned - expenses, directions, venues, helpers, EVERYTHING I could EVER POSSIBLY NEED. He's left me one thing. All I need to do is be willing to get out there and do something. That's all. 

Seem impossible?

All things are possible with God. And it WILL happen if it's God's will.

Seem frightening?

God will hold your hand the whole way through and be your shield. 

Not sure where to start?

GOD IS THE WAY! And besides, it was HIS IDEA in the first place. He's got a plan; He will lead and direct me.

So what am I waiting for?

LET'S GET STARTED!!!

I had a lot of fun playing with the fonts on this, by the way...

Now let's hear from you!

I know I said I'd be back on the 18th, but I thought I'd share a little bit of my logic-process while doing school... ;) Did you enjoy this? What are some of the hard things God is calling YOU to do right now???

 

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My 18th Birthday // Pictures from 2017-18

by Grace 8. February 2018 14:38

Hey Everyone!

Today is the day where I start a new chapter of my life...

I'm not an infant anymore!!!!!

Haha... Anyways...

I'm turning 18 today!

God has been so good in my life. He's taught me so much and brought me a long way, in spite of my occasional (or maybe regular...) stubborness. (My computer says stubborness isn't a word, by the way. Well, it is now!) I'm in awe of everything He's done in my life. Thank you Lord!

And my parents... What can I say??? They're the best. Thanks Mom and Dad! I love you and respect you for everything you've done for me and everyone else who you touch with your kindness and love!

And my two older brothers! Guys, I've got the best brothers a girl could ever ask for. Protective, loving, playful, godly... Isaac and Daniel, I love you! Thanks for being great brothers!

And my sister Abigail. Thanks for being the best sister ever! Love you!

And to the rest of my siblings... Jake, Jon, Olivia, Micah, Eli, and Jadon... I can't imagine life without you! You make life exciting and full of joy. Love you all! So proud to be your big sister!!!

And to friends and family all around, thanks! Love you all!

 

 

What better choice than Dutch Bro's drink of the month, the Birthday Cake Frost?

 

Soooo good!

 

Me last December.

 

Me at the coast last Saturday! My friends Julia, Kaitlynn, Kiersten, and my dear sister Abigail took me on a surprise outing to Newport for my Birthday. We had so much fun! I did accidentally fall in after wading around a little bit and working so hard not to get my clothes wet while I did... Haha! But that's a story for another time! Thanks for an epic adventure, girls!

While I'm here, listen to this song - one of my current FAVORITES and by my favorite songwriter, Rodney Griffin.

Still - Greater Vision

Goodbye until the end of midterms! Have a blessed day!

 

Now let's hear from you!

Were you all happy to see me again after a little while? Did you enjoy the pictures? Did you like the song?

 

 

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Short Semi-Breakish Sort of Thing

by Grace 30. January 2018 10:37

Hey everyone!

I just thought I'd pop in and say that I might not be here much again until sometime after the 18th of February. *Sniffs*

It's not that I thought I needed an internet break (although I could probably use one sometime or another) and it's not that I've run out of inspiration (I've got at least three posts in mind that I need to do - one of which is the rest of the Q + As which WOULD have already been posted if my computer hadn't suffered from momentary insaness and deleted half of the stuff I'd had on it. I can't sue it, unfortunately, because it was insane - it didn't destroy my work on purpose. Oh well). In short, I didn't want to take a break.

Why then, you may ask? Why have I decided to put my blog on the back burner for a while? Well, I've just suddenly gotten very busy.

With what?

Midterms.

And I'm more scared than last time. I'm not near as prepared as last time and don't have as much time to prepare, and I made a few mistakes, and these are going to be some hard tests. And it's not like God said not to worry...

Oh wait. He did. Never mind.

So I'm not going to! (Well, I'm trying...)

That doesn't mean that I'm not going to work hard. It doesn't mean that I'm not going to start studying early in the morning and keep going until late at night. It doesn't mean I'm not going to turn down multiple opportunities to do things that are 'more fun'. It doesn't mean it's not going to take an extra dash of courage and determination and lots of God's grace to make this happen.

In short, it doesn't mean it's going to be easy.

It just means that I have all of God's grace that I could want and that His grace is MORE than sufficient for me. 

What about you?

Alright, things that'll happen before I see you next:

I'll be 18!!! February 8th will mark my movement from infant to major (law terms... another word for 'minor' is infant. Haha, sorry to all of my friends and readers who are younger than 18! You're technically still infants.)

I'll be halfway done with my paralegal program. OH MY! Crazy!

My little brother Jacob will be 14. (No way. Jacob, I know you're reading this - you used to be the cutest, chubbiest little guy the world has ever seen. Whatever made you decide to change that!? Just teasing. Besides, you ARE still an infant. Hahaha! Get that??? ;)

I will have *hopefully* put in around 100 hours of school (preferably BEFORE testing :/ ).

Now, I've been talking like I'll be gone for weeks (which I might) but I most likely pop in again sometimes regardless of my busyness, and I'll keep an eye out for comments too. And if any of you feel the need to keep in touch with me during this time of gone-ness, there's the contact form somewhere on here. ;) As you can tell, I really don't want to be gone!!!

In the meantime, here's a song for you to enjoy and the lyrics to this song are coming from the bottom of my heart ;) I only like songs in this style as long as they're done just right; very little beat, no weirdness, and good, strong lyrics are the only way that this kind of tune is going to take off for me. But the Kingdom Heirs nailed it.

And the words are super good. Here y'all go.

Kingdom Heirs - Pray For Me

 

Now let's hear from you!

Will you all miss me? (I'll miss you all *sniff*) What are some things that will be happening for you during my break? What are some of your favorite verses when dealing with stress and anxiety? How many of you all are infants???? (No, just kidding! Honestly!) Did you all like the song?

 

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Blog Tour: The Shield - Beth Jane

by Grace 25. January 2018 12:31

Hey everyone!

Today, I want to share with you the news that my friend Beth Jane is releasing her new book, The Shield! This is her first published book and I'm super excited to purchase myself a copy! I'm going to share an interview I did with Beth, but first of all, here's the description of the book - well, as a bonus, it's two books in one cover! Good deal, huh? Anywho, here's the book description:


But thou, O Lord, art a Shield for me; my glory, and the Lifter up of mine head.
The SHIELD.... Amy Riley is successful NYC photography, living in a gorgeous apartment with plenty of money.  She should be one of the happiest people on earth. But she's not? Why?
Because she's running from the calling God has for her in being a NYPD police officer. Fear grips her life. She feels she's not capable of the calling.
      With God's help, Amy take's the Savior's hand and launches on the journey of being an officer. Pain grips so much of her life. Hurt from a dark past stays with her.
     
But the importance of doing what God says is discovered.
      And most importantly, a SHIELD is found…. and is always there.
           
             The SHIELD 2.... Lydia Myers is a survivor of human trafficking; only she still lives in complete pain and torment.
The lead singer for a local band, Lights, is also a survivor of human trafficking, but lives in peace and happiness.
The singer starts a small group for girls who have come from human trafficking, hoping to encourage and share with them how she found freedom in Christ. She shares with them how they can find freedom too.
Lydia attends, hoping to find a way to find peace. She's so tired of living in torment. She knows something has to change.

Fear threatens the lives of several citizens of NYC. But, a SHIELD is found... and rediscovered….

 

And now... Here's Beth! Hey Beth! Glad we could do this!

Hey Grace! Me too! Thanks so much!

I'd like to start with some random questions so that our readers can learn a little more about you.
1. Favorite icecream flavor?
Hmm... favorite icecream flavor... Probably Strawberry!
2. Favorite book?
Besides the Bible... The Swiss Courier by Tricia Goyer!
3. A pet peeve?
Umm... well I have serveral... but I'm not sure what to answer!
4. Favorite verse?
I'll say John 14:27 and John 16:33! It's just sums up so much!
5. Country or city?
Both, but more country!
6. Sweatpants and t-shirt or fancy dress?
Also both, loll! Anyone relate?!
7. Sweet or savory?
Savory!
8. Favorite color?
I like a lot of them! But I'll say Black!
9. What's a favorite memory?
God moments, and family and friend moments!
10. Alright, onto the author-related questions. When did you first want to start writing? How long after that did you start?
Well when I was younger I would write things in notebooks but then decided writing wasn't for me. But in 2014 (I think) I was washing dishes and I got an idea for a book about a girl disguising herself as a man and fighting in the Civil War. It was called The Secret Soldier and I starting working on it that day or the next day! That's when got the enjoyment for writing! Praise God! It's really a passion now!
11. Is "The Shield" the first story you wrote?
No, it's 4th fiction story I've came up with!
12. When and how did you decide to write "The Shield"?
I had sorta decided I wasn't good at writing before I started to write The Shield. But when I got the idea I was walking in the hallway of my grannie's house after watching a TV episode about police and it involved human trafficking and I thought that I wanted to come up with something like that. I first did it into a movie for my sister and then I started writing it. And that's what I started writing after I thought I wasn't good at it!
13. Do you have a favorite character? If so, who is it? Why is he or she your favorite?
My favorite character is actually two, Amy Riley and Jim Blake! And I just like them. Amy's cool and Jim is quite and real good to go. I also patterned Amy after myself (But I'm not saying I'm cool, LOL!)i
14. What is your overall theme for "The Shield"?
Overcoming fear!
15. How long did it take you to write it?
Well the first one was over a year or a little less, I don't remember really, and the second was just shy of seven months!
16. So, you said that your book is two stories in one book. Which was your favorite to write? Which one was easier to write?
The first was probably my fav! And they both had difficult times so I'm not sure, but probably the 1st one!
17. Did the second story come to you after you wrote the first one, at the same time, or while you were still working on the first one?
I think it came to me after I finished the first one and during the editing process but maybe while was still writing! I'm not sure!
18. If your readers could only remember one thing from reading your book, what would you want it to be?
That Jesus is greater!
Well, thank you so much for allowing me to do this! Congratulations on your first published book!
Thanks for doing it!! And Thanks so much!!! God Bless!!!
 

Beth jane is an 18 year old author that loves her Jesus. She is in awe of all He’s done for her.  She desires to share with others of Him! She wrote the Shield series during her 16th and 17th year.
She’d be so blessed if you would like to follow her journey.
You can check out her blogs, thisredeemdgirl16.blogspot.com , where she is doing a blog book, and her other blog, bethhere4ualways.blogspot.com. She has a YouTube channel called Wholeheartedly Abandoned and her Instagram is @bethjane_author!
God Bless you all! Psalm 27!

 

If you're interested in buying Beth's book The Shield, you can buy it here on Amazon!

And if you want to hear more on Beth's book, here's the schedule for the rest of the blog tour:

January 22th, 2018, Worth It All Blog, https://jesusisworthitall.weebly.com/.... Book cover and Description!
January 23th, 2018, Sunshine Girl Blog, bethhere4ualways.blogspot.com…. A Shield that cannot be Broken Through…. an article!
January 24th, 2018, The Chloe Blog, http://heresclo.blogspot.com/.... A Review!
January 25th, 2018, Don’t You Know That I’m Singing Blog…. http://blog.hellandfamily.com/DontYouKnowThatImSinging/ An Author Interview!
January 26th. 2018, UNIQUELY  M (ARI) E Blog…. https://uniquelymarieblog.wordpress.com/.... Character Interview!
January 27th, 2018, This Redeemed Girl…. thisredeemedgirl16.blogspot.com…. Just Believe… a look back on my experience with the SHIELD!

 

 

 

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Questions and Answers Part 3: My Answers - Pt. 1

by Grace 23. January 2018 21:53

Alright, let's get right into this! I'm excited - are you?

Mom's Questions:

What's your favorite food?
Taco salad!!! Beef with lots of taco seasoning with lots of cumin… I feel like I’ve said all of this already. Haha!

What made you interested in poetry?
My interest originally came from Grandma, who is an amazing poet! She is one of my greatest inspirations when it comes to poetry – THE BEST poet I know.

What do you see yourself doing long term?
I'm hoping to be a wife and mother long term (Lord willing!), but beyond that, I don’t know. I would really like to see myself involved in music for some period of time, and the same goes for paralegal work , but I won’t know for sure what I’ll be doing long term until I get there, I guess. My plan is to start paralegal work first, but we'll see where God leads.

What time do you usually go to bed at night?
Ooh… It depends. On nights where I’m up late with school, I won’t go to bed until 11 (I can’t focus on the brain intensive reading material after 11pm) but otherwise, I usually try to head towards bed at 10.

How do you feel about our current administration?
I have mixed feelings about it – so far (although I say this very warily - I haven’t kept up with the news very much recently) Trump hasn’t done anything bad. From what I understand, he's done some good things. But, from what I can tell at least, he’s not a Christian, which means he looks at everything from a very wrong perspective. And as for the house and the senate, they’re not all that great, I’m afraid. There’s some good guys and bad guys, I guess, but mainly non-Christians who don’t have a right purpose for living, which means that they don’t have the right objectives for leading our country.

You know (this isn’t entirely related to the question), it makes me sad when people complain about politicians and how wrong and evil they are. Really, the majority of people wouldn’t do anything different once they held the power that government officials do. The only difference between us and the politicians is that they have power that we don’t and that all of their wrongs are highlighted in the news and ours aren’t.

Our positions are different, but our hearts aren't. We're all depraved human beings who desperately need God's mercy and grace.

What's it like to have 7 brothers?
It's a great learning experience! You learn pretty quickly to not be easily offended (although it took me a while because as a young girl I was super dramatic and always assumed that people were intentionally trying to hurt my feelings... I had to get over that eventually!) and it's a great way to learn how to help men of all ages. As women, we were created to be helpmeets for man. Woman was made for man, not the other way around. And although there are specific helpmeet roles that only a wife should fulfil and should only be done for her husband, we're still to be helpers to the men around us - brothers, fathers, and brothers in Christ.

And they're also just a lot of fun. If I want to have a heart to heart conversation, I generally go to my sis (and best friend) Abigail, but if I'm feeling heavyhearted and I just want something cheerful and fun, brothers are a good source of jokes, laughter, fun. They're also (mostly my older brothers) good, intriguing, logical and/or theological conversations. That's how I keep up with the news, too... My brothers. And they're very informative also. Even all of my little brothers can often tell me something I didn't know before, and that's a big thing because I'm a law student that hears about everything.

And they're also very protective. Sisters tend to be more sympathetic, and brothers are more defensive. I remember I mentioned that a boy at the highschool talked to me occasionally (nothing more than occasional short, light conversation) and before I had even finished my story (about how he was horrified at how many siblings (especially brothers ;) I had and how hilarious that had been to me), my older brother Daniel immediately interrupted and said, "Some guy talks to you? Don't worry, me and Jacob'll go and beat him up!" Suitors, beware!!!

One of the hard things about brothers is that they usually have a good dash of manly pride... in other words, they don't often like to be told what to do by girls (little sisters or 'bossy big sisters'). A few certain brothers especially don't like it. But what I've learned is that while boys have the power of strength, girls have the power of influence. When you have brothers, you learn to respect their God given authority as men, and learn to say things differently and kindly so that instead of making them annoyed that their 'bossy sister is telling them what to do again," they're happy to be around you and they're also more willing to help you out. Not even girls like to help a bossy sister, and brothers are even more repulsed at the idea.

The thing that I have trouble with the most is that boys seem to go through 'that boy stage' (for us usually from about 8-12, I think) where they're beginning the transition from boys to men and they want to be treated like men and act like boys about it. This is definitely the point where I struggle with most as a sister. Instead of encouraging them to act like men, I often get frustrated and tell them things along the lines of 'you're too old for this' and 'you should know better' and similar things. I remember the first time I realized that something was wrong and needed to change was once when Jacob (4 years younger than me) was going through this stage, and for once we weren't angry at each other and we were looking at some pictures of us about four years prior to the time. And I remember feeling rather guilty when the poor young fellow said, "That's when we were actually friends." Oh my! Imagine having your brother say something like that to you. Since then, I've been trying to be a better older sister to him (although he's pretty much past that stage) and Jon (who is in that stage right now). It's not been an easy journey, but God is helping me and good things are rarely ever easy.

Olivia's Questions:

What is it like to be an older sister?
It's amazing - one of my biggest blessings. I love being an older sister and pulling a little brother onto my lap or helping my youngest sister with a project, and knowing that they all look up to me and love me.

But it's also stressful. As the oldest girl, I feel the heavy burden of setting a good example - a good example to my sisters with how to treat brothers, an example of diligence, and an example of being fully devoted to Christ. When I see a sibling misbehaving, I wonder if they somehow picked that up from me. When I get mad at a younger sibling without cause, I wonder how badly I hurt their feelings. After I argue with the older ones, I wonder what message I've just sent them - do they think I don't care? That they're annoying? That they're hopeless? That I don't want to hear what they have to say? I'll lie awake in bed at night tossing and turning, wondering if I'm the sister I ought to be. And that makes things worse, because I'm not, and will never be. I'm only human, and I'm only where I am because of Jesus. But I can do my best, and with God's help, I can be a christ-like example to them - even though I'll sometimes stumble and fall or make a mistake.

One tip to older sisters (or just people in general really - this is just something I've learned as a sister) is to ALWAYS say sorry, even if you don't feel that you're the one to blame. It's a good way of humbling yourself before God and showing whoever it was that you offended that you love them. And when they respond with a cutting remark, answer in love and don't pursue a conversation with them. They'll get over it; if you say sorry and they're still angry, just give them a break.

And in a situation where one of them (or anyone, really) tells you you're doing something wrong or you've done something wrong, instead of arguing with them about it and defending yourself (even if you're entirely innocent), think of what you can do better next time. Do you think you were wrong? Resolve to do better next time! Think you weren't really right or wrong? Think of how you could have been christlike! Think you were christlike in the situation? Think of how you can be MORE christlike next time! There's always room for improvement.

And one more thing for when you feel that you're right and someone else is wrong, it takes two to make an argument, and (for the most part) an outside occurence to provoke or anger. I say for the most part because there will be times when someone wakes up on the wrong side of the bed. But even then, if they're treated right, the grump will *usually* cheer up pretty quickly.

What is it like to have sisters? (I only have brothers!)
I love it! I don't have better friends. Brothers can be meaningful and say heartfelt things too - don't get me wrong. But heart to heart talks with sisters are always especially refreshing.

Of course, like everything in this world, sisters definitely have areas that are highly affected by sin nature. Girls, as a general rule, are actually better at hurting feelings than brothers. Boys generally tease or act rather insensitively, while an angry girl can usually craft her words to be sharper than an arrow (the Bible makes multiple references to the tongue of a woman). I know I'm guilty of this too. But we learn how to refrain from saying these hurtful words ourselves and how to deal with these unkind remarks from others, which prepares us for the world ahead that we all must enter sometime. And when the world tries to hurt my feelings, I know my sisters will always have my back.

 

There, I answered some of the questions. If you all have more questions or didn't get to ask me questions before, you have until the next (and final!) Questions and Answers post to comment with your query!

I'll be posting my answers to the other questions in another post... As you can see, my answers to a lot of your questions are EXTREMELY LONG!!! XD

 

Now let's hear from you!

Have you been enjoying the Questions and Answers posts? Which was your favorite question that I've answered so far? Are there any answers that surprised you? What are YOUR answers to some of these questions? Do you have any additional questions you want answered in the last Questions and Answers post?

 

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Questions and Answers Part 2: T0F Answers!

by Grace 19. January 2018 11:22

Hey everyone!

As you can see, I'm only posting T0F answers today. That's because I gave lengthened answers, and my responses to all of your questions were really long (some of them several paragraphs long). If you haven't guessed already, I'll post answers to your questions in more than one post. ;)

Well, here goes nothing!

1. I have glasses.
True! But I got them when I was seven, and went through about 8 in a year or two. I got contacts when I was 11, I believe.
2. I'm talkative and outgoing.
False. Not really. I’m generally pretty friendly, but I'm definitely an introvert.
3. I've had braces before.
False. My two older brothers have, though! One of them still has braces.
4. My favorite meal is taco salad.
TRUE!!!!! Beef is best, but chicken is good too. And LOTS of seasoning with LOTS of cumin!!!
5. My favorite songwriters are Jim Brady, Arthur Rice and Dennis Murphy. (I bet this'll be a hard one for you all!)
False. I do like some of the songs that these three wrote, but between the three of them, I only know around 9 songs that they wrote.
My favorites are hands down Rodney Griffin, Roger Bennet, and Diane Wilkinson.
6. I started writing poetry when I was 11.
False. I was nine when I first started.
7. I've worked at a fast food restaurant before.
False! I’ve worked at a high school and at county fairs before, but never at a fast food restaurant.
8. I don't know how to swim.
True.
9. I hate tapping.
TRUE.
10. I have a bad temper when roused.
True. It’s not very often, but I don’t get light feelings of anger. I’m either perfectly happy or extremely angry, usually only when I’m tired and hungry (hangry or tangry, as my cousin puts it.)
11. The four courses I'm currently taking for this second quarter for my paralegal program are Criminal Law, Real Estate Transactions, Legal Philosophy and Reasoning, and Faith and Vocation.
True! I’m really enjoying this quarter.
12. The courses I took for my last quarter were Common Law, Family Law, Faith and Vocation, and Tort Law.
False. I took Faith and Vocation this quarter – not last quarter.

Now let's hear from you!

Do you feel that you learned more about me? Was there anything you were surprised about? How many (if you guessed any) did you get right?

If you have more questions that you want me to answer, the Questions and Answers comment board is still open for more questions!!!

 

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Recipe

by Grace 16. January 2018 16:32

Hey everyone!

Here's a recipe I made up recently. Everyone in my family loved it! It currently doesn't really have a name yet... If you have a suggestion, feel free to tell!

Ingredients:

1 8oz package cream cheese

approx. 3/4c salsa (I used our homemade salsa and it was really good!)

1 lb ground pork sausage (I made my own seasoning and put it into ground pork)

Approx. 1-2 cups pepper jack cheese

Directions:

Cook ground sausage. In a mixer, combine cream cheese and salsa until well blended. Mix in sausage, and then pepper jack cheese.

 

This works great as a dip for chips if you stick it in a pan and leave it in the oven for a little while (sorry, I didn't record a time for the dip...) and I've also put it in homemade phyllo cups and then stuck them in the oven for 30-45 minutes on 185 degrees (I did it on such a low temperature because I didn't want to burn my phyllo cups ;)

I'll try to get the T0Fs answers, the questions answers, and some poetry/songs out for y'all soon!

Now let's hear from you!

Do you have any name suggestions? Any questions about the recipe? Have any of you ever used phyllo cups before? Do you think you'll try the recipe out?

 

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Questions and Answers (Q+A)

by Grace 11. January 2018 19:29

Hello everyone!

I saw that a lot of other bloggers often do these little thingys that they call Q+As (but my logical mind wants to call them questions and answers ;) and they looked like a lot of fun.

So I thought that I'd do one!

Go ahead and ask me any questions you want to -- about me, my music and poetry, my work, by beliefs, inspirations + aspirations + perspirations, and anything else you can think of in the comments.

Have fun with it!

And while you're at it, here's a true-or-false for you (or if we call questions and answers Q+As, T-0-fs). See how many things you know about me!

1. I have glasses.

2. I'm talkative and outgoing.

3. I've had braces before.

4. My favorite meal is taco salad.

5. My favorite songwriters are Jim Brady, Arthur Rice and Dennis Murphy. (I bet this'll be a hard one for you all!)

6. I started writing poetry when I was 11.

7. I've worked at a fast food restaurant before.

8. I don't know how to swim.

9. I hate tapping.

10. I have a bad temper when roused.

11. The four courses I'm currently taking for this second quarter for my paralegal program are Criminal Law, Real Estate Transactions, Legal Philosophy and Reasoning, and Faith and Vocation.

12. The courses I took for my last quarter were Common Law, Family Law, Faith and Vocation, and Tort Law.

 

 

Now let's hear from you!

What are some questions you all may have for me? Is there anything that you've always wondered about me? What are your answers to the T-0-Fs?

 

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Reflections on My Day - Do Looks Truly Matter?

by Grace 9. January 2018 20:41

It happened again.

Somebody told me I look nice today.

For years, just about wherever I've gone I've always been told that I was pretty. I've heard it from old and young, boys, girls, family, and friends - "You're so pretty!" "I love your hair!" "You have such a pretty smile!" "You're so thin!" "Your eyes are so blue - are those contacts???"

It's not necessarily a bad thing. I love hearing my Grandma, my mom, or my dad tell me things like that. And I like hearing my family and friends tell me I did a good job with my hair or things along those lines. But sometimes, I actually rather dislike it.

Some of you may be asking why on earth, but maybe some of you understand. For those of you who don't, let me explain.

I've often wondered when people have told me I'm pretty, "Why does it matter?" I haven't done anything to look the way I do. I've never tried losing weight - I still remember feeling thrilled whenever I gained more weight when I was younger. I didn't do anything to get blue eyes. We're still not even precisely sure where I got them from. I didn't give myself long, dark brown hair that went from waves towards the top and curls at the bottom. It was just there. I haven't done anything to get the face I have - I've never even worn makeup before. It's a gift from God, to be sure, I didn't do anything to get my looks and can't really do a substantial amount to make it any better - so what's the use in complementing my looks because they line up with the world's standards of pretty? I mean, it's not an evil thing, but it can be useless and oftentimes excessive.

And I know that it can be discouraging to me because I daily strive to be more like Jesus and more focused on Him - I try to be a better sister, more humble, more diligent, more patient, more graceful, more enduring, and many other things. And after working so hard, the only encouragement I get is, "Your eyes are so pretty!" Perhaps I was grumpy when my sibling did something annoying, but at least I have pretty eyes, right??? Again, it's not necesarily a bad thing for people to tell me my eyes are pretty, but I tend forget their comment pretty quickly. It doesn't mean much to me anymore.

The things that really stick to me are things like when a lady at the school walked by and said, "doing a good job, as always!" or when she said "as always, wearing a smile!" Or when my sisters say they love having an older sister. Or when my friend and coworker tells me I'm her 'Saving Grace' because I gave her an umbrella and an extra coat while we were working in the cold and rain. Or when somebody at the fair comes by after I've dealt with a tough visitor and tells me that I'm doing a great job and to keep wearing a smile. Or when my parents tell me they're proud of me for paying for college by myself. That's what matters most to me in my life. Our looks don't matter - God looks at and cares about the inside of us, not the outside. And He doesn't flatter us about our blue eyes and big smiles. He's more pleased when He sees a faithful heart, and we should be too.

And you know what? Most people who are praised for their looks probably already know. Before you told them that they had beautiful hair, an slender waistline, or a handsome face, they'd been told a million times - perhaps they begin to act like me sometimes, wearing sunglasses and a hat when I work at the fair so that people take me a little more seriously. Or they feel vain and proud for something that was a gift, not their own doing. There are some people who need to be told that they're beautiful - that God made them the way they are and they're precious to Him.

But the people who are beautiful in the World's standard don't need to hear it.

It'll bounce off of them, or they'll feel vain, or perhaps, like me, they'll simply ponder why it matters. If anything, some of us just need to be reminded that it's the heart that matters and not our appearance.

My looks aren't a talent. They're a gift. And, although I'm not mad when people tell me I'm pretty, I'd rather hear their encouragement or even their criticism - what I could be doing better in my Christian walk.

Next time you think to tell someone that they're pretty or handsome, stop to think if you have some encouragement for them or if there's a way to compliment their behavior.

And next time you're told that you look nice, tell them that it's a gift from God and that they look beautiful too.

 

Now let's hear from you!

Do YOU ever feel this way? Have you ever wondered why it mattered? What are some of your suggestions on things you can encourage friends in instead of telling them that they're pretty?

 

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Happy New Years Everyone!!!

by Grace 1. January 2018 23:33

Happy New Years Everyone!!!

It's hard to believe that 2018 is already here. 2017 has gone by faster for me than any other year before.

Like a friend of mine said on her blog, it's kinda sad to leave last year behind. It was a huge year for me. It set a whole new vision and purpose in my life - a completely different yet exciting new perspective. Unrealistic dreams became realities; some of which were dreams I never knew I had or fully understood.

But this year will be exciting for me too! God has a plan for this year that is just as big, wonderful, perfect, and challenging as last year was! And while last year was setting a vision for my life, this year is when I will start pursuing that vision. And I'm excited for that!

You know, as I sit here reflecting on 2017, I realize that I made some pretty BIG mistakes. But you know what? I grew a whole lot last year - probably more than I've grown in other years (I mean in character - according to our measurements of my height, I'm shrinking... Our statistics must have been off somewhere along the line). I faced some of my greatest fears (my mom's miscarriage, a car accident involving someone from my family (fortunately the family member who was in it was fine though) and tough timed exams).

And through all of this, I have learned so much about God. There is no one we take for granted more than God. Even when we are in complete awe of Him, we still cannot fully comprehend how great and holy he is. No other can be just yet merciful in the way that He is. And no one else can make an intricate plan for the life of millions and billions and trillions of people and make all of them unique in their life's story, their looks, and their personalities. In addition, none of us can even fully comprehend or understand Him, let alone understand the things He can.

And have you ever really thought about how much it entails to be perfect? I don't think that even Mary Poppins understood what it meant to be practically perfect in every way. (*Gasps*) Perfect in mind, pure of heart, spotless in actions and attitudes. And he accomplishes this easily. Not only from the throne of heaven, but on earth, He was PERFECT. PERFECT!!! That is no small thing. And if it wasn't for this perfect, holy, loving, just, merciful, caring, supernatural God, I would be living the same useless, miserable life that I had been living a few years ago.

Before I sign out here, I want to share with you a few things I did last year, things I want to do this year, and some of my goals:

 

Things I did last year: 1. I started school through OBCL to be a paralegal. This is one of the biggest things I have ever done!

2. I started a blog!!!

3. I made some new friends. I even made a friend through what at first was just an embarrassing accident... (shout-out to Grace)

4. I worked at many new events for TCB (a security and event staff company). I especially enjoyed Clackamas County fair in Canby, OR, but I enjoyed all of them.

5. I helped with a wedding. Ooh, this was so fun! It was such a beautiful wedding, too!

6. I overcame (partway, at least) my fear of timed testing. For those of you who don't know yet, for the three courses I've gotten grades for so far (there were four courses I had tests for last quarter) I got two -A's and an A (100%!). I'm still waiting for grades for the last one. :)

And that's just a fraction of what I did... I'm too tired to remember anything else right now. Just for your benefit, all of you, writing posts at ten o'clock is a REALLY BAD idea I'm finding right now. Should've done my New Years Day post this morning instead of two hours away from the end of New Years Day.

Moving on...

Things I Will Do This Year:

1. I'll turn 18. And in law terms, that means I won't be an infant anymore! (By the way, for those of you who don't know this, the law term for minors is infant...)

2. I'll graduate from law school. I finish in the first or second week of August, I believe.

3. I'll graduate from highschool. Yup, folks. highschool and College in the same year. Cool, huh? Sounds like a pretty good deal to me. :D

Goals For This Year:

1. Be more friendly and outgoing and less shy and reserved. I'm too afraid of people. And being an introvert makes it easy to not even try to engage in conversation with others. I can easily go sit in the corner and write songs or poetry or something. And that's good sometimes, but not for the most part. I really need to push myself outside of my comfort zone and reach out to others more, and think more of how they feel instead of how I feel.

2. Practice piano, violin, guitar, and mandolin more this year. Something I didn't do too well with this year.

3. Memorize several passages of scripture. Another thing I didn't do too well with this year. I'd like to memorize Psalm 23, 119, and several other passages, but I'll go through and set more concrete goals in a few days.

4. Finish reading Lord of the Rings. Yup, this is PRETTY important to me and to another unnamed sibling who really wants me to finish reading it.

5. Work at a new event that I have not worked at before. There's a few more events throughout the year that I'd like to try.

6. Get my DPSST.

7. Work as a paralegal. Possibly even do some internship type stuff before I've finished schooling. We'll see. 

8. Put the birthdays of all of my friends and family and extended family in my calendar and do something for their birthdays. Much easier than doing something for all of them at the same time on Christmas...

9. Finish our CD. Me and my siblings started this sometime last year... We really need to finish it...

10. I forget... maybe I'll remember tomorrow what I was going to put here. All comes from staying up to late. BAD IDEA. I'm a morning person, by the way. "Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man (or girl!) healthy, wealthy and wise!" as Benjamin Franklin put it (although I obviously added the part in parentheses...)

Well, there you go! I'd better go to bed now... This post should get the longest post of the year award. Yay for any of you who actually read all of this... I'm very long-winded when it's late and I'm tired.

Happy New Year! And goodnight!

 

Now let's hear from you!

Are you excited for the new year? What are some of your goals? Your favorite memories from last year? Things that will happen in your life next year?

 

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