Thursday, February 14, 2019

Wishing for a Valentine or Already Have One?

Hello! I wrote this post in 2017, when !y blog was named Living in Faith and Fun, but am re-posting this blog post today. I know it holds metaphors, and might be a little cheesy, etc. in some people's eyes, but it holds a lot of truth. Comment below on your thoughts! Have a wonderful day!

Wishing for a Valentine? Got one? Listen up, y'all. :)
Well, believe it or not, you have One who is asking to be your Valentine.
Do you know who I am talking about?
No, it's not your school/church crush, it's not that cashier at Walmart, and it's not the teller at the bank.

It's God...straight up! :P

So sure, this might seem classic for a Christian to say. But no matter how much you commercialize it, how much you say it, how much you try to share it, it will ALWAYS be true, even after this world has passed away.

He wants to be your love. Your first, truest, sincerest lover, and #1 love.
This doesn't necessarily mean your first love as in He was the first one you loved ever, but instead your "first in your life" love. [The one you put above all others.] You love Him more than A.N.Y.T.H.I.N.G.—even life itself. Sounds radical, right?

That's crazy love—in a good way.

Are you willing to take the challenge and let God be your #1 love?

This love, however, does not stop being celebrated after today, Valentine's Day, but should be reflected upon and rejoiced in everyday for the rest of your days--eternity!

And get this. He has already decided on you to be His Valentine, even if you choose not to be back.
Isaiah 43:1 says (and this is God speaking):
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine."
See! Right there: "You are Mine"! 😋 I know that this may not be the context they meant it in, but God still chooses us. So even if you don't answer Him back, God loves you deeply, and has already chosen you. Will you accept Him? If so, don't wait 'til later. Do it now, and step into His intimate love.
"This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent us His son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."
1 John 4:10 (NIV)

So how do you do this? How do you accept Him? And also, how do you become His child, and receive salvation? How do you become saved?

Ask Jesus into your heart, to be the Lord and savior of your life, and to be your one true love. Confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord and that God has raised Him from the dead after He died for our sins on the cross.
If you're already a Christian, you can still do this!
Ask God to help you let Him be your first lover.

And whether you have a Valentine this year or not, you still can receive and allow this True, Forever Valentine in your life! His love will never pass away.

And don't forget! He sacrificed His life for you--'cuz He loves you! He always has, and always will. HE CREATED YOU TO LOVE!

Wanting a love letter?
The Bible is your answer.
There is a lot of good verses in there, supporting the truth that God loves you!
Isaiah 43: 1-7 is a good one, and so many others, especially in the New Testament.

Wanting a love song?

1 Corinthians 13
1 John
Isaiah 43
Romans 5:8
& try Googling verses about love, and you can probably find lots more!

And before you go...I want you to watch this video, a testimony to God's love.
Because this is the truth: we have to go to God, yes, and follow Him, but ultimately this life is NOT ABOUT US. It is about God. We have to surrender. Let Him be our Valentine, FOREVER, but no, it ultimately is not about us. It's about God. And He loves us, and goes unimaginable lengths to show us.

So hang in there, and watch this testimony--it's amazing!

Let's take the challenge of making God our #1 love!

The Bible says: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind" (Luke 10:27).

Not only should He be your first love, but He NEEDS to be your first love.

God bless you all!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Wherever God is, Whatever God Wants

brown wooden map board

“…I will not be overcome, I will not be overcome, You are my hope, You are my hope…”  (A song by Hope Church Worship, but I don’t know the title)
The first time I heard this song, I think they used both the words “home” and “hope”, starting with home, but I am still not sure about the whole thing. When they switched to “hope” I didn’t know at first, and kept singing “home”. For me at the time, this was more important than getting the words right, though, so it was okay.
Wherever God is, that’s my home, AND I’M OKAY WITH THAT.
Wherever God leads me, I choose to embrace it, even though it may be really hard to leave what I think of as home; even though it may be hard to leave many things.
“Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom”    (Where the Spirit of the Lord Is, by Hillsong Worship)
If God calls me to change, I hope I change, because that is the kind of change I shouldn’t regret in the end. Whether physical or of another sort, His change means that there is something more He has in store for us, more people for me to touch with Him, and more He wants me to experience…and that can be exciting, though scary to our carnal minds at times. However, we are not meant to be carnally minded, but spiritually minded. R o m a n s   8 : 6.  Cast your cares on Him, for He cares for you.  1  P e t e r  5 : 7 ,  P s a l m  5 5 : 2 2
If we don’t change with Him, and follow the Lord, we will never reach our full potential.  E s t h e r  4 : 1 4 .  If we don’t make Christ our home, and our hope, then we will never be filled.
Don’t let fear, and longing for a different or past life stop you from stepping into the amazing life God has planned for you. Don’t hold back anything from God, but let Him use it all.
“…He can use it all…”             (Use It All, by Kacey Baugh & Rachel Barrentine)

Monday, February 4, 2019

God Calls the Likely & the Unlikely.

silhouette of person jumping during dawn
You don’t have to be a pro.
God called us all to sharing the gospel…we just don’t all respond.
God called a man, who, at infancy had a death sentence but was miraculously raised by the same family who wanted to kill him. When he was older, he murdered a man, and fled into the wilderness.  Now that you know some of his back story, just think about this: though he was a murderer and fugitive from his adoptive family, God wanted him to lead His country into freedom, and worship.  Yes, he had a hard time, and even had his brother (blood, not adoptive) speak for him because he was worried about his stutter. This man’s name was Moses.
God called a girl, an orphan, raised by her cousin, whose people were under racial scorn, to become a queen, and save God’s people from annihilation. Yes, she had a hard time, and procrastinated some, but ultimately, she followed God, and He provided, and worked wonders. Her name was Hadassah, or Esther, as she is more broadly known.    E s t h e r   4 : 1 4
God used David, a poor boy with great faith, and the courage to stand up to defend God when a giant—a huge, tall, and strong warrior—dared to speak against God, etc. God made David king, and used him to lead His people and country even before officially becoming the king of Israel.  Even so, while he was king he ordered an innocent man to be killed and stole the same man’s wife, among other things. However, God still used him, even after that, and loved him no less.
Now don’t tell me God just uses the ones who are seemingly perfect (take note that no one is perfect). God uses EVERYONE, if they let Him use them.
God doesn’t like sin, and doesn’t condone it, but He will not let that get in the way of Him using you for a greater purpose—His wonderful purpose—and that is why there is GRACE. Why? He loves us, He created us, He knows that sin can be turned into a testimony that will bring even more into His kingdom, and He wants a relationship with us, etc.
Don’t think for a moment that God can’t use you. Whether you were raised in church or on the streets.
Don’t think for a moment that God can’t use the ones around you. I once saw a quote that went something like this, “Don’t judge people because they sin differently than you do”, and it’s so true. We all sin, and we all fall short of the glory of God. Sin is sin, and grace is grace. Choose to through the eyes of GRACE, not judgement. Leave the judging to the just Judge, God.
So do you have something unresolved? Go to God, and He will forgive. Then, forgive yourself, and move on…and into God’s amazing calling for you.
You don’t have to know the next step to follow God, just take the step in front of you. You don’t have to focus on the last moment or the next moment, just this moment.
Trust God with the rest, for He is capable, loving, and awesome!

Friday, February 1, 2019

Dear Nashville

Nashville, I long to hear your music
Once again

Nashville, I miss your "magic"
And the dreams it brought to life and gave me

Nashville, I hope to see you again
You are somehow a part of me now

Nashville, I hope I never forget
How you changed my life forever

Thursday, January 31, 2019

After the Dancing Days—My Book Review

In this historical fiction, Annie Mulligan, a naive, sheltered, and innocent young girl encounters the aftermath of World War I in a way that most girls her age wouldn't. By the end of the book, the story has transformed her into a knowledgeable, strong, and justice-driven young lady, even if her emotions still get the best of her at times.
Margaret I. Rostokowski, the author of this engaging book, really captures the raw, harsh emotions and realities of this time period unlike most historical fiction authors for the younger generation do. She doesn't just go with the "glorious", "heroic", and "happily ever after" story lines that so many of us seem to fall into, and give credit to, when writing or thinking of history. Instead, she has come up with a pretty unique story that captures the reader and won't let go, even after the story is finished.

After the Dancing Days is an incredible book that gives a detailed example of the human reactions to World War I, and it's aftermath, through the eyes of a teenage girl. It gives insight into the things we don't always think about as a result of a war—casualties, the wounded, and people's willingness to selfishly shut it all out and try to forget the war completely. After the Dancing Days is a book that doesn't necessarily sugar coat the information, and gives little mercy to the bluntness of it's message, while obtaining fairly clean content. In my opinion, this book is like gold to the average reader who wants to know more about what everyday people in the 20th century thought about the war through a fictional story.

The main characters in this book are engaging and interesting, giving enough information to know them, but not enough to know their every move, which I find intriguing.
The plot takes twists and turns as more information and time is added, and keeps you wanting to read on. The speed of the story is nice—not to fast, and not to slow. This is a book you could read and enjoy quickly or at a slower pace, if you wish.

Out of all the historical fiction books I've read so far, this is one of my favorites, and I definitely recommend it to history lovers. Even though it is a book written for the younger generation, I think that people of many ages can find value in its pages; and, if allowed, this book may change your perspective and open your eyes concerning things you may or may not have thought of.

As a final thought, After the Dancing Days is a book that is capable of drawing you in, keeping your attention, and leaving you with the sense that it was you who took that journey. And really, isn't that what a good book is supposed to do?

Have you read this book? What did you think?

If you want to read the synopsis, click the Amazon link above, under the picture.

Not my pic.
Short Content Description:

After the Dancing Days is a good book in a lot of ways, however, it's not perfect. I may not get everything, but these are some things, especially if you are a parent, you may want to know about.

—The main character is rebellious against her parent(s), and can be disrespectful, etc.
—A character talks about how he wanted to commit suicide.
—War related things are talked about, including gassing.
—Some characters' views are not right, and so you have to take it with a grain of salt.
—It's sad! This is a story about real life, though fictional, so there are definitely things in there that are rough.

Those are some things, but if you would like to know more, just contact me through the comments, and we can talk!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

~January 2019~

Here's some stuff from my January (some pics are not taken by me, but people I know):

—I got a french press! It works way better than a stick frother!
—St. Louis & KC
—3 year journal
—Made a pair of boot cuffs
—Finally got inspo for writing again, and wrote stuff for a story in my WWII series, and then started another idea for another WWII book.
—Working on songs
—Trader Joe's
—Teal nail polish.
—Cut back on stuff I'm doing and chose not to do other stuff I was thinking about adding on
—"Hello Mornings"

This is hilarious.

—Took engagement pictures

—Blogging break and posted
—Capture the flag
—Thrift store shopping, and getting rid of stuff
—Watched the whole 5th season of When Calls the Heart with a friend!

—Piano lessons
—Started watching the TV show DOC. The first 2 or something were a little weird (SPOILER ALERT) with the main character's girlfriend, but to me, it got a lot better when they broke up, and he was single. I recommend it, though, if you are interested. I watched on PureFlix.
—It snowed! Not as much as before, but it still did!

—Found a picture of me, and one of my bro in a life long friend's picture album! :P

—Had our Bible study get together (it changed, but, life changes, and sometimes that's okay) :D

What did you do this month?

More pictures:

Have a good day!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

We may not know...but isn't that really okay?

If we have God:

We may not know where we are going, but we know with whom we are going;

We may not understand why God wants us to do something, but we understand He has a purpose;

We may not know what 2019 or even what 2064 holds, but we know by whom we are held;

We may not know what tomorrow brings, but we can joyfully live in today;

We may not want the change that yesterday, today, or tomorrow brings...but we live by and with the one who is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow;

We may not know what is around the corner...but, we have God, who goes before isn't that really, in the long run, okay?

I don't think that I would ultimately really want to know my tomorrow, even if I do at times. I hope that I would rather take one struggle at a time to the cross, than worry about them all. I hope that I would rather laugh in the moment, and enjoy in the moment, than know what silly joke will come out of me or someone next, etc. Wouldn't you?

And if I did know what was coming, would I run?
Probably, and I know that that ultimately is not what I want to do.
Whatever God has for me, so be it.
But I know that if I do run, I can come right back into His arms, even though it was never good to run in the first place. He gives grace on top of grace, and I'm glad He does.
I am super imperfect, but my amazing God isn't looking for, and doesn't want my efforts at legalistic perfection...He wants me as I am, He wants my love, He wants my all, and He wants me to accept grace and try to do better.

So what are we waiting for? The perfect moment?
I think we are forgetting that this is the perfect moment.
Why? Because we only have this moment.

What are your thoughts on this?

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Life Post #4 // Compost Pile

Hey everyone!
I recently started a compost pile. This is something we used to kinda have, but I don't remember if we used it a ton. Anyway, I would really like to follow through with this, because it is good for a lot, and I enjoy doing things like this.

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."
—Theodore Roosevelt

dried leaves on ground

I am hoping that starting it this year will give me some nice soil next year or so for gardening smaller stuff that you might normally use potting soil for; and possibly other things as well.  So far I haven't done a ton, just piled some old potting soil I had to start an actual pile, added some leaves, both new and old, and some food scraps. So that already is much of what I'll be putting in over time.

close-up photography of flock of chicken

We are hopefully going to be getting chickens again in the spring (if everything works well), and once they're grown, I plan on cleaning out their coop about once a week, and guess where it'll go! :P Also, we will be starting them from chicks, and when I clean out their "quarters" (we won't put them in the normal coop/shed until they're bigger) it'll probably go there, too.

I am definitely looking forward to having chickens again! I miss having animals!
From your experience, what chickens do you like the best?

two yellow chicks on ground

Our local coffee shop has bags of used coffee grounds that people can take for free (they even write that it's good for compost on it) , and I plan on adding those eventually, too. I've actually read that this can be a replacement for manure, and though that may be true, I probably will use more manure in the future than coffee.

I googled, and found this on composting coffee grounds:
"– Coffee grounds can be an excellent addition to a compost pile. The grounds are relatively rich in nitrogen, providing bacteria the energy they need to turn organicmatter into compost. ... Contrary to popular belief, coffee grounds are not acidic."
My sources: 1 & 2.

water poured on brown coffee

At first, we weren't going to compost until spring, but after talking to someone and thinking, I googled it, and found this:
"Compost all winter. Even though your compost might freeze solid and decomposition come to a complete stop, there is no need to stop composting. In fact, the freeze-thaw cycles will help to break down the materials that you are adding, so they willdecompose even faster when the spring arrives."
Click here for my source.

Even though I don't know if it's cold enough for my pile to literally go through cycles of freezing, I'm going to give it a try (composting now, in late winter), and we'll see what happens. I also am in a part of MO that hasn't received much snow lately.
A friend, who is also composting, told me that the middle of a compost pile can get up to 100 something or more degrees. I don't know if I got that number right, but it was a high number, and I was surprised. I also learned from my dad that compost piles, if they get hot enough (I think ones especially with manure) can actually light on fire, so...yeah. But I wonder if you could actually take precautions to prevent that like stirring it or making a hole in the middle or something. Do you know? I am DEFINITELY not an expert, and I don't claim to be; these are just my questions and ideas. :P

I also learned not to put citrus & onions in my compost, especially if it's vermicomposting (using worms), but I was wondering...can I put the onion paper (the brown skin) in there? I don't see what harm it would do, but who knows.
I will admit, I have put some onion pieces and the paper in there, and though I may not have been supposed to, I think I read that it won't kill you if you do it every once in a while (pretty much☺). What do you think about this?
2 reasons that I found for not using onions and citrus has to do with the acidity, and it is not good for worms.

Do you have a compost or have you had one in the past? Can you give me some tips? Anything I should add to it that would be really good? I would love some advice!
Also, what kinds of chickens do you find the most useful? I am planning on doing a little research so I can get some good egg layers.

bokeh photography of person carrying soil

And, as a last note of sorts, please know that I don't claim to be super smart or anything, and I am more of a beginner at this kind of stuff, so if you want to do something like this I suggest you do your own research, though I hope some of this is useful to you. :P If you do, or know more about this kind of stuff, I would love to hear from you!

"This is the day the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it."
-Psalm 118:24

Have a blessed day!

P.S. These are just free pictures above, not mine.

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