Monthly Archives: September 2013

Alternative Friday Night Fun

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For a lot of young adults, especially if you’re still single, finding something to do on a Friday night is a must. However, as a Christian, hitting up the bar and club scene isn’t on the top of our list. Well it’s not on my list at all. So when the bar and club aren’t worthy options, what else can we do besides go see a movie (since there are sooooo many appropriate movies to watch these days anyways [yes that is sarcasm]). So on today’s post I wanted to give you some alternative Friday night fun!

Alternative #1:

Right now Fall Festivals are everywhere. They are a ton of fun, free to get in to, and usually have live music playing. You can get some great food, maybe even watch a rodeo depending on where you live, and look through all the neat vendors. A great option for a fun night out with the gang.

Alternative #2:

Game or Card Night. I know board games are’t the first thing to register when thinking about Friday night, but playing board games with a group of close friends is actually a TON of fun! We go to board game nights at our church every so often, and I usually laugh so hard my stomach hurts. Some great board games to incorporate would be: Headbands, Ticket to Ride,  and Rummikub.

Alternative #3:

Have a sweet and spicy night at your house. Have all the girls bring something sweet, and all the guys bring something spicy. Then throw on a great throwback movie everyone loves, or like we do, play Kinect Party. That game is a ton of fun and is sure to get everyone involved.

Alternative #4:

Bonfire! Invite over all your closest friends and have a huge bonfire. Make ‘smores, roast hot dogs, play acoustic guitar. It’s a for sure fun night, especially now that the weather is getting cold.

Alternative #5:

Sand Volleyball tournament. Almost every public park has a sand volleyball court. Get a group together and put on a tournament. You could even buy dessert for the winning team if you go out to dinner afterwards.

So there are a few alternative options for Friday night fun. And try to do these thing without including alcohol. If nothing else, it will make your weekend a lot less expensive! Hope you have a great weekend!

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Pumpkins, Pumpkins Everywhere!

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It’s that time of year again!!!!! FALL is HERE!!! My favorite season for many reasons, and one happens to be the ability to display some awesome fall decor. Right now pumpkins are everywhere and I so badly want to cut into some and make them cute, but I know if I do this early in the season, then they won’t last very long. So today I am going to show you some awesome carving alternatives for those cute little pumpkins.

Bedazzle it Up!

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Love this play with buttons. So easy and so cute. All you need are buttons and a glue gun. I really like the girly touch with the bow on top, but you could add a lot of different things to the stem to change-up the look. You could make a friendly ghost by covering the stem with a white felt cloth and even add some small buttons for the eyes 🙂

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Another great idea for decorating that pumpkin and front walkway. These pumpkins are just adorned with black-balled push pins. How easy and what a great eye-catcher!

Painted Pumpkins:

Now there are endless ideas when it comes to painting a pumpkin. So much fun and you can get any look or color scheme you want. Here are a few of the favorite ones I have seen online.

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Now when the time for pumpkin carving comes I found the cutest idea on WomensDay.com

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This whale is perfect for a fun twist on pumpkin carving. Now I’ve never really been into carving the creepy kinda pumpkins. I always try to make my house look welcoming, and this whale is as welcoming as it gets! Looks pretty easy to do, I’ll have to post a pic of my whale when it gets carved later next month.

Hope these pics inspired you to go pick up a pumpkin and be creative! God Bless you this week.

pumpkin pics were found on the following websites: Todaysmama.com, nobiggie.com, and womansday.com

The Armor of God (Fashionista Style)

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“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put o the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people” (Eph. 6:10-18).

Knowing how to wear and use the Armor of God can, in an illustrative use only, be related to knowing how to be stylish! The Armor of God is all connected, it’s not separate pieces but rather it’s connected through God’s word. Similarly, the things we wear seem separate, but they should be connected with such a flow that it creates a certain style, and each piece adds to it. So let’s break down this huge passage and look at each part of the Armor of God, and why not look at it through the eyes of Fall Fashion!

Belt of Truth:

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“Wearing the belt of truth means knowing the Truth (Jesus), reading the truth (the scriptures), and living the truth (a life of integrity). All three are essential” (Lawless pg. 86). The truth of who God is and what His words say and how we should live our lives needs to be the focus of who we are. Much like how an awesome belt can become the center-piece of an outfit, Christ needs to be the center-piece of who we are.

Breastplate of Righteousness

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An essential Fall piece is an awesome cardigan. I love cardigans! They are so versatile and perfect for the changing temperatures. When thinking about the Breastplate of Righteousness I was led to thinking about a wonderful cardigan. We can be righteous because God has given us His Righteousness! It is through Christ’s death on the cross that we may be cloaked in the Righteousness of God. But being made Righteous by God doesn’t mean we have no responsibility; God has called us to live righteously, to show the presence of God in our lives by making Godly choices. Much like this gorgeous cardigan pictured above, we are covered in the Righteousness of God, but we have to wear it around, allowing it to set the standards for in which we live.

The Gospel of Peace

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Great shoes can do so much for an outfit! They can totally kill or complete the look. In the Armor of God, the Gospel of Peace is connected in scripture to putting on sandals. Basically it’s saying we need to be ready with shoes on and everything, to share God’s word whenever an opportunity presents itself. I know when I am wearing an awesome pair of shoes I feel empowered, ready to take on whatever. We need that same tenacity in how we feel about sharing God’s word. First we need to make sure we are ready by knowing how. Do you know any scripture that you could use to lead another person to Christ? If not, look in Romans 3:23, 5:8, 10:9-10, 10:13, 10:17. And secondly, we need to be seeking out opportunities to tell others about Christ. I know it can be intimidating at first, but the Holy Spirit is there to empower us and give us the boldness to share God’s word; lean on God’s strength!

The Shield of Faith

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Okay so I connected the Shield of Faith to those awesome Fall purses that are calling my name! “Paul used the illustration of a shield to help us understand faith. In Paul’s day, Roman soldiers covered their shields with leather and soaked them in water to defend against the Enemy’s flaming arrows. They were to press forward in war, not allowing the Enemy’s attack to hinder their forward progress. Using that image, Paul called believers to take up the shield of faith, meaning we’re to trust the truths and promises of God’s word when the Enemy aims his arrows at us. Faith means we press on regardless of the opposition’s ferocity” (Lawless, pg. 89). I hold a lot of important stuff inside of my enormous purse, and the purse itself protects those things. Our Faith protect us when we are going through a storm in life. It’s what pushes us on. I have definitely used my purse to push myself through some annoying crowds in the past. You know what I’m talking about! That big ole’ purse and a halfway nice sounding “excuse me” has gotten us through some of the tightest of squeezes, and so has my Faith. It’s gotten me through sickness, fear, frustration and doubt.

The Helmet of Salvation

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The Helmet of Salvation is not talking about our “final salvation in Heaven but about having victory every day through Christ. It’s about conquering sin in the present tense” (Lawless pg. 90). The Armor of God term is Helmet not Trophy. If it were the trophy of salvation, then after we acquired it we would put it on display and walk away. That’s not how it works nor is it the intention of wearing a helmet of salvation. Like an awesome trendy hat, we have to choose to put it on. It is an act of intentionality. We are all sinners and fall short so we need to each day focus our attention on putting on our salvation in an effort to resist temptations. Hats of all sorts have become quite the trend; however, the average person will not wear a hat with every outfit…that would just be weird….but as a Christian it is essential to always wear our Helmet of Salvation.

Sword of the Spirit

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The Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. I cannot replace it or even use something else to represent it. It is so important to know and have with us our Sword. It is both a defensive and of offensive weapon. By knowing God’s word we can call Satan out on his lies. At the same time, we can offer Truth and hope to a hurting world. You know a great place to carry this sword around in, is an awesome trendy purse! Take the word with you. Make it a part of your daily routine and wardrobe.

So there you have it!  A Fashionista’s version of the Armor of God. I hope you all have a blessed week, and remember to check yourselves each day to make sure you are stylin’ that Armor of God!

Lawless, Chuck: Mentor:How Along-The -Way Discipleship Will Change Your Life

Always, Sometimes, Never

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Well I’ve been writing my blog for almost four months and have come in contact with so many new people. I love the fact that the followers on this blog reside all over the world! How fun is that? On a blog I follow, the writer posted on things she always, sometimes and never does. It really helped me feel more connected to who she is and the personality that goes behind the writing, so I thought I’d give it a go!

Always:

I always wear earrings! I can leave my house in pjs and a t-shirt, but if I have on earrings then I feel it’s okay to embrace the world.

I always tell my husband to buckle up before he leaves for work. He is horrible at remembering this, and was even given a warning the other day because he was caught by the cop with no seatbelt! (I really did try to not laugh in his face, promise)

I always choose folding laundry over doing the dishes. I hate dishes! They smell, the appearance of wet food is disgusting and I would rather do any other choir.

I always tell my husband everything! So if you’re telling me something just know I will more than likely talk to my hubby about it.

I always eat crackers when I feel yucky. Not sure what’s in the make-up of a cracker, but for some reason it helps me feel better no matter what!

I always listen to Christian music. It’s been about three years since my radio has been tuned to anything but Christian.

I always make sure to apologize even when I don’t feel that I’m wrong. I know it makes me feel better to have someone apologize to me, so I try to do the same.

I always talk way more southern when I’m around my best friend. She has the best southern accent ever and it just pulls mine right out.

Sometimes:

I sometimes stay up way too late watching documentaries on Netflix.

I sometimes talk to myself as I think out-loud. It’s really awkward though when you get caught.

I sometimes go buy an unsweet tea from McDonald’s even when I have a pitcher of tea in my fridge just because I love drinking from a straw, and for some reason their tea tastes so much better.

I sometimes still cry when I think about my best friend who passed away 13 years ago.

I sometimes wish I could be a missionary so I would have the opportunity to tell people about Jesus who have no idea who He is.

I sometimes wish I could have a huge garden and some chickens so I could grow my own veggies and have my own eggs, but then I remember how much work that would take and I realize I don’t have time for that.

I sometimes want to become a vegan because I would feel so much healthier, but it would be soooo hard to give up Chick-Fil-A forever.

I sometimes wish I was still a little kid so my mom could do everything for me again.

Never:

I never watch scary movies. I can’t even watch semi-scary shows without having a nightmare.

I never let my kids out of my sight. I am for sure an over-protective parent.

I never cuss. I can’t even stand to hear cuss words. I think it just insults the English teacher in me.

I never remember my umbrella. I am always the one who walks in soaked to the grocery store and then runs through the cold aisles because I’m freezing!

I never take for granted the time I have with my family. I know life is precious and that I’m not promised tomorrow.

I never pump my own gas; I make my hubby do that 😉

I never sleep in my bed if my husband isn’t home. For some reason the couch feels safer.

I never think I’m good enough to do what I know God has called me to do.

Well I could go on forever! But that’s a little more about me. Feel free to leave me a comment with one always, one sometimes and one never response so I can get to know you as well.

God Bless!

 

Awesome Jewelry Organizer

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I love jewelry! My favorite kind is not the expensive real stuff, but the fun costume jewelry you can find at Target, Claire’s and department stores. I especially like it when I can walk out of a store with five new pieces of jewelry yet spent less than ten dollars. I am always looking for a good sale! And the best part about jewelry is no matter what my waist size happens to be that month, my jewelry always fits perfect.

My jewelry habit didn’t really pick up speed until recent years. During college I always wore the same three pieces, and every now and then I’d buy some new earrings. But now I realize the awesome power of jewelry; you can take an outfit you’ve worn a ton of times but add some different jewelry to it and presto change-o you have a totally new look! Buying jewelry is much cheaper than new clothes and it’s a fun way to incorporate trendy fashions on classic looks.

Because I began buying so many new pieces, I started running into the problem of where to put it all (this is a good problem I might add). I tried the draw-string silky jewelry pouch….didn’t work, my necklaces got all tangled. I tried the fold up hang down jewelry organizer…didn’t work either, made it too hard to see what all I have. But then when I thought my jewelry problems were here to stay I stumbled across the most beautiful picture ever displayed on Pinterest!

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This lovely little charmer can be found on Spirit Ranch Creations. It’s hand made and wonderful!!! Husbands reading this out there, if your wife loves jewelry and has a ton of it in ten different places taking over every solid surface in your bedroom and/or bathroom, then this would be the best gift to give. My hubby, after several apparent hints, bought me this for my birthday two years ago. Love it! It makes it so easy to see all of my stuff! I am almost at the point where I need to get a second one though……

So if you’re like me and you LOVE the dangles, hoops, bangles, beads, feathers and pearls then you should for sure hook yourself up with this great organizer!!!!! Your welcome in advance 🙂

Hope you have an awesome Wednesday!

Take Down the Christmas Lights!

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Sorry in advance if I offend you in saying this, but it drives me crazy to see Christmas lights still strung up on the front porch in any month but December. I guess it can slide for the whole winter season, but seriously if it’s past February it’s time to move on and take down the Christmas lights!

This annoyance happens to bring a verse to mind that we’re going to take a look at today:

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace. (Ecc. 3:1-8)

Yesterday while on a walk in the new crisp air outside, I began to think about the seasons of year and how they so closely represent the seasons we often go through in our life. Spring: a time in our life where new things come forth, new normals are made, we start fresh again. Summer: a time in our life where things are in their prime, but eventually the heat brings on weariness. Fall: a time where life begins to change, a place of transition. Winter: a time of loneliness or void, where things that once were are no longer.

There is a season for everything under the sun. But often we don’t want to admit we are in, and we certainly don’t want to go through Fall and Winter. We like things to be somewhat predictable, change is scary at times, loss can lead us into a time of such darkness and self misery, that we would rather avoid it all together than go through it. But just like our four seasons are necessary to the physical environment, seasons are also necessary in our life.

There is a young lady who I am currently mentoring. She is in between Fall and Winter right now in her life. She has just transitioned out of a normal and happy place that she has been for the past four years and is stepping into a new environment that she neither wants nor likes. The recently past life is falling, changing into a new life that God has for her but she cannot quite see. Because of the unknown, she is afraid to move forward. To allow herself to grieve the fact that this chapter of her life is finished and it’s time to move on to the new season God is preparing.

As much as we hate the thought of living in a constant winter, it can become quite comfy.  We get used to our loneliness or anger or fear, and to let go of it and move on can be just as scary as when it was first thrown upon us.

The times of Winter in our lives are not meant for us to hibernate like the bears; to shut out the world and sleep away the void, rather it’s a time we should be hibernating in God’s word. By doing this we are allowing God to pour into us what He knows we will need for that next season in our life. The Winters in our lives can be overwhelmingly hard: a loved one has died, you or someone you love is diagnosed with a disease, a miscarriage, a divorce, a child moving away, leaving home and friends for the first time…..the list could go on and on. But isn’t it something how in the season that represents death and coldness and void is also the season God chose to send the Savior, the Resurrector, the New Life giver!

Praise God that we are not alone in our seasons! God is right there. He is with you in the Spring when all things are new and maybe a little unsure. He is with you in your prime when it all seems so beautiful. He is with you in the Fall when life begins to transition. And He is with you in the Winter, when you can no longer feel the warmth of life or the newness just a few months away.

Allow yourself to go through the seasons of life. They are needed. To reference back to our verse in Ecclesiastes, there is a season for everything and in every season you will find God is right there. But just as important as it is to go through each season it is also important that we don’t stay in a season. That doesn’t mean that what we move on from is forgotten, it just means we are trusting in God for each new step. So don’t be like the people who leave their Christmas lights up all year long, refusing to move on from certain times in your life, but be willing to allow God to heal your heart, to move you on, to put away the Christmas lights and step into your new season.

God Bless you today and I pray you are able to give God everything in each season of your life.

Fake Boobs and a Metal Leg

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Fake boobs and a metal leg, really? What’s that all about? Well, that’s what I’m all about. How come, you ask? Cancer.

I’ve never really sat down and typed anything up directly dealing with my cancer experiences, but with it being Childhood Cancer Awareness month, I thought I’d give it a go. I’ve actually wanted to write this blog for quite a while, but I keep stopping myself from doing it. I had no idea how emotionally attached I am to the fact that I’ve had cancer twice, and to be honest, it’s hard to really write about without having to revisit some hard times. I’ve been in a mood this whole past week leading up to today; ask my husband he’ll vouch. It’s like the vaulted part of my mind that holds in fear, anger, worry and sadness, all due to this disease and how it has changed my life, was pried open and I was thrown inside to sit and dwell and deal. But it’s good. One lie cancer survivors like to often believe is that we can totally move on from cancer without any lasting effect. Even if there’s no physical change from dealing with this disease, there is still an emotional and mental altering. This altering is not all bad, but it’s definitely there to stay.

So briefly I want to share my two experiences of having had cancer with you. Now there is no way to capture all of the horrible and wonderful moments this disease has brought me in a simple blog, so know as you read know that this is just the tip of the iceberg….

The first time I ever remember hearing the word cancer was when I was told I had it. I was eleven; I just started the sixth grade. My life was good. I was very active and had lots of friends. I could run so fast, and I prided myself on how strong I was. I don’t think I had any awareness to death or disease. Why would I? But all that changed. Within two weeks I was diagnosed with Osteogentic Sarcoma, a form of bone cancer, and started an almost year-long cycle of chemotherapy. My cancer had attached itself to my left femur bone just a few inches above my knee. I still look back at pictures from right before the diagnoses to try and see if I could tell it was there. Well I can’t.

After about four months of horrible chemo, where I was in and out of the hospital weekly, I had my surgery. They removed most of my femur bone, my knee, and part of my thigh muscle. They replaced the bone and knee joint with a metal rod and artificial knee. I had 52 staples, was on crutches for 18 months and still adorn a scar that’s over a foot-long on my leg. After my surgery, I finished up six more months of chemo, I almost died, God healed me miraculously from needing a blood transfusion, I gave my life to Christ, met some of the most amazing people who forever changed my world, became a part of the Camp Sunshine family, a camp for kid’s with cancer, and was sent on my merry way.

Through the next seven years I went to at least five funerals of friends who didn’t make it….including one I considered to be a best friend.

But then just as easily as I packed up for college, I packed away all these years of memories and left that life. I went on to college, met my hubby, got married, dealt with Aaron being gone to Iraq twice, adding up to about three years total, within the first five years of our marriage. We got pregnant, praise God because cancer kids don’t ever really know if that will be able to happen until it does or doesn’t, we started our life in ministry, transitioned to another church after three years, got pregnant again and then happily ever after. The End!

I wish! Reality: At 32 weeks pregnant I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.

It’s not yet been a year since this most recent diagnosis, but man it sure feels like ten! We found a lump in my milk duct; it was very small yet cancerous. After lots of doctor visits, which I abhor and possibly turn into an 11 year old all over again as soon as we walk in to the doctors’ office, we decided to have a double mastectomy with reconstructive surgery to rid me of this go at cancer. Now that decision wasn’t nearly as easy to make as it was to just type out. I had the option of them going in and only removing the 1cm size lump and doing six weeks of radiation, or I could take it all out.

Fake boobs. That’s something I never thought I’d have. God blessed me up top so I never dealt with the desire to add, I used to think how nice it would be to take some away, well watch what you wish for! I knew from the get go that a double mastectomy was what I needed to choose. I have a history of cancer, and am 88% more likely to get cancer again than the average person, so were boobs really worth it?

There was recently a lot of praise for Angelina Jolie on her decision to get a double mastectomy by choice to prevent the disease that took her mother. Honestly, my opinion changed about her some when I read that, but in reality, women everywhere have to make that choice every day.

I am so thankful for a loving husband that supports me in all I do. I know this choice would not only affect me, but would also affect my husband as well, so let me brag on him for just a bit. Aaron is so selfless; his love for me is so pure and true. Not once have I felt less of a woman since having this surgery, and he constantly makes me feel desired and attractive. Thank you Aaron; I love you!

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Since deciding to have my breasts taken completely out, I didn’t have to have chemo or radiation. I did second guess my decision, but then my doctor called and they said that after doing a biopsy on all of my breast tissue they found an additional cancer. It was a sarcoma and had remained completely undetected!

You know, cancer is a lot of things, and there’s a lot that it’s not.

Cancer is serious Cancer isn’t always a death sentence

Cancer is hard Cancer isn’t a form a weakness

Cancer is scary Cancer isn’t in control

Cancer is cancer Cancer isn’t me

Cancer doesn’t define me. Fake boobs don’t define me. The fact that I walk with a slight limp and can’t run doesn’t define me.

Cancer is a part of who I am and who I’ve become. It’s attached to my salvation story. It’s the reason for hundreds of friendships and dozens of life-changing opportunities. Cancer provided me with a different perspective; gratefulness for life, but it doesn’t define me.

I know that as some of you read this you can’t sit there and connect to the positives of cancer; I know so many of you have lost a loved-one due to cancer. I pray that my family doesn’t have to feel what you’re feeling. I don’t want my husband to be wifeless, I don’t want my children to be motherless, I don’t want my parents to be daughterless and my sister to be sisterless. I want to always survive and live until I’m old and gray. But my reality is that that might not happen. Cancer could be my taker, and it could happen next year, or in twenty years. Because of this, I choose to live my life to the fullest. Much like the Tim McGraw song, “Live like You are Dying”, I know I am not promised tomorrow so I choose today to live! I live for love, and laughter, for memories, for fun. But most importantly, I live for Christ. He is my beginning and my end. Cancer is not my definer, Christ is.

Do I freak out every now and then or when I have a new pain in my body, thinking it might be cancer? Yes! Do I let it control me? No! For I do not live in “a spirit of fearfulness; but of power and love and discipline” (2 Tim. 1:7).

Fake boobs, a metal leg…a cancer survivor who is saved by the blood of Christ……that’s me!