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Showing posts from 2014

My Struggle With Anxiety (Episode 2)

My anxiety was debilitating.

And from all appearances, it looked like it was here to stay.

I had trouble sleeping. I was so tense even while I slept that I woke up every morning to cramped and hurting leg muscles. The smallest decisions suddenly felt monumental--like picking out a pair of earrings to wear. Driving anywhere became almost unbearably stressful. I lost interest in things I used to enjoy, like baking and reading. I couldn't escape into novels or even relax and enjoy a movie. Anxiety followed me everywhere--to work, out with friends, and at home.

Without consciously thinking about it, I regularly hyper-focused on my heartbeat and breathing. I was petrified that I would have another panic attack … which ironically probably only facilitated me having more of them. (You can read about my first panic attack here.)

I knew that I wasn't thinking rationally, but I felt trapped. I tried to battle my anxious thoughts with what I knew to be true: God's tremendous love for…

My Struggle With Anxiety (Episode 1)

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I am a Christian, and I struggle with anxiety. 

This isn't the path I would have chosen for myself, but it's the one I've been walking in a very intense way over the past year. It's taken me a while to get up the nerve to share my story publicly.

A big part of my hesitation to share it openly is that there's a stigma attached to mental illnesses like anxiety and depression. For some reason, we encourage people to take Tylenol when they have a headache ... or receive chemotherapy when they've been diagnosed with cancer ... but when it comes to anxiety, people say, "If you just pray harder or trusted God more or had enough faith, you'd be cured." This kind of advice is well-meaning, but it can be very damaging and hurtful. The truth is, many different factors can contribute to anxiety. It's a mistake to assume that anxiety is always 100% related to a spiritual deficiency. 

But I understand the wholly spiritual perspective because in all honesty, it…

A Scrabble craft, singing, and Christmas!

I have to say, I’m pretty excited about the next couple of weeks.

Obviously, Christmas is next week—so I’m looking forward to lots of time with family (including a bunch of extended family!). White elephant gifts. Laughter. Memories. Oh, and cookies. Lots of Christmas cookies.  :)

I have some extra choir rehearsals this week gearing up for our Christmas program this Sunday. Our choir is leading the church service with a whole bunch of wonderful Christmas music! It’s going to be such a great time!

If you know me in real life, you know that I like to teach myself new things. I mastered the basics of knitting not too long ago, but I ran into a snag. My eyes are so tired after a full day of work writing while staring at a computer screen, it hurts them to gaze intently at the yarn threads in the evenings. So, knitting is out. But I still love to work on crafts. Want to know what my new project is? Scrabble coasters! (Yep, they’re a thing! You can Google them.) I’m so excited to pick up th…

When God Seems Far Away

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If you don't have the presence of God in your life--or if he just seems impossibly far away from you right now, let me first say this: God loves you. And he has a plan for your life.

Sin separates us from God--and everyone sins. (See Romans 3:23)

But broken, messed-up sinners are something of a specialty with God. (A fact I am VERY thankful for.)

Mark 2:17 says, "On hearing this, Jesus said to them, 'It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.'" 

His grace covers prostitutes, liars, blasphemers, murderers, etc. Just read the Bible and you'll see TONS of case histories of these types of folks ... and how God calls them to do extraordinary things with their lives.

Anything admirable or praiseworthy in me comes from the foundational security I have as a child of God. He's transformed my life and continues to help me grow. He walks with me. He never abandons me--even when my path seems dark. He a…

The Trap of Apathy

I want to have a fulfilled, meaningful life. (Don't we all?)

Sometimes that can show up as (for lack of a better word) "restlessness" with the way things are. I think God can use that restlessness to push us to do great things with our lives--things that glorify him.

Now, don't get me wrong, contentment is a great thing. What terrifies me is falling into the trap of being too content with the way things are ... to settle for less for my life when God has better plans for me.

I know Satan would love nothing more than for me to just talk about serving God with my life, but do absolutely nothing about it. He hopes I’ll “entertain myself to death” and focus on no one but myself to the end of my days. But that's a recipe for an empty life--always chasing after the next high--because on my own, I can't reach a place where I'm completely fulfilled.

No matter how many new haircuts I get, Pinterest projects I make, or new movies I watch, it's never enough. The…

The Duggar "Anti-Gay" Controversy

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As I've ranted about before, clean TV shows are hard to come by.

It’s frustrating that clean, family-oriented shows with Christian values are the ones getting attacked in our culture.

In case you haven't heard the story, the Duggars challenged all married couples to take a happily married picture and post it on Facebook.

"God designed marriage to be a loving, dynamic relationship between a husband and wife for a lifetime," they said.

Then, they were criticized for removing photos on their Facebook page of men kissing men and women kissing women ... and now they're the recipients of a lot of hateful comments. People are saying they're "anti-gay."

The Duggars aren't changing their stance on marriage, but they are responding with love and grace.

"We will always stand for truth and the values we hold dear without compromise but we will do so in love and kindness--treating others well even if we don't agree with them and we will do so witho…

Molly in the Snow!

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We woke up this morning to the first snow of the season!

And do you know what I found out? Molly LOVES snow!!!!! She kept wanting to bound through it ... so, as you can see, the bottoms of my pants got a little soaked during our walk tonight. But it was worth it to see her having so much fun!



The Many Faces of Molly

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Molly's expressions tonight were particularly ... expressive.  :)  See for yourself!

"I will catch it. And then it shall be mine."

"Okay, Mom. I think that's enough hugs for one night!"

"What is that?!"

"Even when I'm making a sad face, I'm still adorable!"

"Fetch me some water, minion."

"Goodnight, world!" (I love her little Shih Tzu under-bite. So cute!)

Winter is coming. Here's "Sand"!

From what I hear about the forecast, winter is coming quickly!

So, before snowflakes start hitting the ground, how about a little taste of summer? I wrote this poem a few years ago. By the way, I hope you're enjoying reading my poetry and other writings. This blog has sort of morphed into a space for me to share some of my reflections on life, personal writings like poetry and short stories, life updates, and a generous smattering of other things.  :)  Anyway, thanks for reading!


Sand

Silent tears
drip from the sky
Dropping

wet holes in the sand

The young girl runs
with her towel
flapping from both upheld fists

A thousand shimmering diamonds
splash the shore before her in steady rhythm

Bare toes lightly touch the
cool,
damp carpet
with each step

And the music of the beach dances in her ear.

Good Things this Weekend

This past weekend was filled with good things! Here are a few highlights:
Corn mazing (I may have just made up that phrase!). I had a blast wandering around a gigantic corn maze at the same place Dave and I went when we were dating two years ago. Fun to relive those memories and make new ones!
Molly. She’s getting more comfortable! There’s a lot less hiding under couches from Dave (she was a little scared of him at first). In fact, now he’s one of her favorite playmates! They played a good game of tug-of-war last night. And he introduced her to a pig’s ear treat, which she LOVES to chew on. Our little doggie really enjoys going for walks, as you saw in the video I posted last week … but what she loves even better is running! Dave has become her running buddy. Oh, and Molly really likes playing fetch. It’s fun for us to see Molly having fun!
Singing. In choir on Sunday, we sang a great song called, “Be Ye Glad.” The lyrics are very powerful, so I thought I'd share them with you today…

Meet Molly!

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The newest member of our family came home yesterday!

Meet Molly.  :)



One of the first things we learned about Molly is that she LOVES to go outdoors to run and walk! Here's a little video from this morning:


Happy "birthweek" to me!

My birthday is this week, and the celebration is already going strong!

I kicked things off this past weekend with delicious food shared with my parents, siblings, and in-laws. I have an awesome family. Love creating new memories with them!  :)

The BIG excitement that I've been looking forward to all week is that (if all goes as planned) I'll have a fuzzy new friend on Saturday! Dave and I are driving out to pick up our first dog. It's an adorable black/gray Shih Tzu.

We're still trying to decide on a name for her, and we've narrowed it down to two: Missy or Molly. Which one do you like?

The name reveal and photos will hopefully be posted this weekend!

A Favorite Choir Song

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My choir has started up their season again, and I've transitioned to singing alto! (With 14 sopranos and only 5 altos, they really needed me over there!)

And I LOVE the music we are singing this fall.

There is something about music that has always touched my soul in a special way. Sometimes, I forget just how MUCH God loves me ... and through song, I am often powerfully reminded of his great love.

If you're like me, sometimes you can get caught up in your own little world. Your day. Your to-do list. Your worries. And I forget that I need to turn my worries over to God ... which is silly, because they're all in his hands anyway. I was never meant to shoulder that burden alone.

Singing worship songs (like the one I've posted below) helps reorient me to what is important. What is true. What is eternal.

Now, I don't have my choir's music recorded, but I've posted a demo of one of my favorite songs of this season to give you a taste of it. So, listen away and jo…

Legless Ants and Recess

Have you had enough of my short stories/novel snippets yet? Well, I've got one more to share with you today. It's a cute story I made up about a couple of elementary school kids.  - Laurel

Legless Ants and Recess

The best thing about Chad was that he ate my raisins.

I hated raisins. They looked like ants. I used to watch black ants crawl in and out of their little anthills—formed in the sidewalk cracks outside school. Every time I chewed a raisin, I felt like I was eating a dead little ant without legs.

Chad’s small wooden desk—which he could barely squeeze into—was nestled behind mine in our tiny second grade classroom.

Our teacher had long red hair. Her last name was too long for us to say, so we just called her Mrs. Z. I always wondered why she had a chair behind her desk; she never sat in it. She constantly strode along the aisles, straightening the extra-large pencils on our desks. Mrs. Z was strict about us kids finishing our lunches before we could go outside for recess.

My "Penny" Poem

Those of you who know me in real life know that I am passionate about helping free women who are victims of sex trafficking. It’s an issue that has been close to my heart for years.

I was thinking about how these ladies are treated sometimes very much like how we might treat a penny—as nearly worthless. And the tragedy is that many girls believe the lie that they are worthless. These special girls don’t know how loved, valuable, and cherished they are in the eyes of God.

"Penny" is a poem I wrote back in 2009 as I reflected on these thoughts ...

Penny

Called “ugly”
Thrown down, scraped up,
rubbed raw
from too many hands.

Called “dirty”
Stepped on, spit on.
left in the streets.

Called “cheap”
Passed from owner to owner,
they tell me
I am of little worth.

And I believe them.

Photo Booth Fun! :)

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Dave and I had a blast at his coworker's wedding this weekend.

Has anyone else noticed how photo booths and candy bars have now become REALLY popular at weddings? These are two trends that I am definitely enjoying.  ;)

Here are a couple of photo booth moments at a friend's wedding (back in 2012 when Dave and I first started dating!):


It didn't take long for Dave and I to become each other's best friends. *sigh* I love him so much. And I love that I can be completely myself with him. And that we can be goofy together.  :)  Here are our photo booth pictures from the wedding this past weekend:


"Rosie" (Novel Snippet #2)

Depending on how you look at it, this could be a complete short story or part of a longer novel. Either way, I am excited -- and a little nervous -- to share this with you. "Rosie" may not end in the way you expect ...  - Laurel

Rosie stepped outside. The cold velvet air caressed her cheeks, turning them red. Blissfully, she was wrapped in an oversized furry coat, which sheltered most of her skin from the chill. A glimpse of a smile escaped Rosie as she saw the snow-laden trees. “It looks like God came and frosted them overnight,” she thought. Rosie wondered if she might yet hear the chitter-chatter of the few squirrels that had resisted the urge to dig into the warm underground and still braved the icy fingers of winter.

Behind her, Rosie’s own shelter from the cold—a nondescript white hut that had just begun to gray with age—beckoned her to return. Glancing back, Rosie’s saw the familiar lone narrow window that graced the front of the house. Rosie felt like that window. Al…

"Araleen on the Dark Side of the Planet" (Novel Snippet #1)

This is one of those "novel snippets" I mentioned in my last blog post. I really enjoy writing these. Today marks this piece's public debut ... so be nice!  ;)  And enjoy! - Laurel
Araleen began singing again, now more loudly than before. Suddenly, two stars quivered to life above her, giving minimal vision as she neared the patch of light. Soon, more stars joined the first two in that corner, as if the edge of a dark blanket was being lifted. But Araleen hardly noticed, intent on reaching the light shaft she was gradually nearing.
Finally, she reached the patch of light, stopping what she guessed to be about six feet away from the strange-looking illuminated structure. The light emanating from it cast its fuzzy warm fingers all the way to the ground beneath her feet, forming a light-filled shadow. Here, the ground was not quite as soggy. 
Araleen was puzzled by the patch of light. It was rectangular in shape, standing about three feet above her head and continuing all t…

A Writer’s Confession

CONFESSION: After writing all day long at work, I don’t usually have the creative stamina to dive right into a “long-term” writing project -- like a novel.

After all, to write a novel, you have to be willing to set aside large chunks of time … and go down into the trenches with your characters day after day. Sometimes, I wonder if novel-writing authors ever get sick of their characters before they finish writing a book. But maybe for some, it’s more like saying goodbye to a beloved friend? Hmmmm.

I digress. Anyway, I do enjoy writing here on my blog, creating poetry and short stories, and dabbling in other forms of written art. And over the years, I’ve jotted down what I would call “snippets” of full novels, too.

And I think it’s time for some of these “snippets” to see the light of day.

What say you? Are you ready to dive into some of my novel “snippets”? (Hey, if there’s enough interest, I just might make a blog series with them.)  :D

The Process of Grieving

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Grieving has been on my mind a lot this month.

You've probably heard that grieving is a cycle. A process. And from what I've experienced of it, that's very true.

Sometimes, I feel like I've come out of that grief, and then a memory will suck me right back into "the pit of despair" -- to use a line from the movie, The Princess Bride (1987). But I'm glad that God brings people alongside us to grieve with us. My dear friend, Erin, came to my grandpa's funeral earlier this month. She wept with me after the service. Entering into grief with one another is a beautiful thing. A healing thing. And it's a powerful display of love.

I've been watching the show 19 Kids and Counting on Netflix, and the episode I watched last night was filled with grief. I couldn't help but weep with Michelle Duggar and her family as they mourned the loss of their precious baby girl, Jubilee.


I thought that this month in particular might be a good time to share a poem I…

Foot Golf and Other Adventures

I have now played foot golf.

What is foot golf, you ask? Picture regular golf, but replace the golf ball with a soccer ball ... and the golf club with your leg. That's pretty much what it is! On our vacation up north this past week, Dave and I had fun kicking soccer balls across a 9-hole golf course. (Even with a golf cart, it was quite a workout! Two days later, my legs are still sore!)

Dave and I also tried cherry salsa (delicious!) and discovered a candy store with 30+ flavors of taffy. We filled a little bag with some new flavors--like caramel popcorn, chocolate chip cookie, and blueberry!

If you could invent any flavor of taffy, what would you make?

A WWII Love Story

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My grandpa served in the military during World War II. While he was away, he and my grandma (who were dating at the time) kept in touch through telegrams as well as handwritten letters and postcards. Some of those notes have survived all these years! I was privileged to read them for the first time this past weekend.

Reading these notes just warms my heart. My grandpa passed away last week. He and my grandma were married for 67 years ... still very deeply in love.

Here are a few excerpts from telegrams:





Purity Isn't Popular (Episode 3)

Fall begins this month! It's my favorite season.  :)

I love apple picking, taking walks in the woods, and snuggling a warm cup of tea in my hands. Oh, and thunderstorms. I really like thunderstorms!

Maybe you remember how I wrote back in April about making changes to my purity standards. Well, I wanted to give an update on how things are going. As with any lifestyle change, it was hard to get used to this and make it a habit at first, but it is getting easier!

Here's what's been happening:
I changed all the preset radio stations in my car to Christian or classical music. This helps me avoid taking bad stuff in with the "good" or "neutral" on secular radio stations. Don't get me wrong—I like a variety of music, but it's just not worth it to me to have to listen to immoral crap alongside decent music.

I have been cutting out more TV shows and movies. Taking a critical look at what I'm watching—through the lens of Ephesians 5—I have begun to &q…

What's Your Vision? Here's Mine.

A coworker recently asked me, “What’s your vision?”

She wanted me to respond with an email explaining what I believe is the most important thing I can accomplish in my lifetime. (Talk about a big question!)

I thought what I ended up writing might be worth sharing here:

“Well, I’ll try to keep my answer brief (although I could go on for pages and pages about this!).

I am very passionate about making a difference in three areas, which I call 'my trifecta': evangelism, human trafficking, and orphans/kids in general.

Sharing Jesus’ love is my first priority. The most important thing I can accomplish in my lifetime is honoring God with my life and pointing people to Jesus. Ultimately, if I help meet people’s physical/emotional needs but neglect to share about Christ and the true spiritual reality of our lives, I haven’t done anything but make a person more comfortable on their way to an eternity separated from God. And I refuse to live with that. But ideally, I like to do BOTH—shari…

Why I Sponsor A Child With Compassion International

I mentioned my sponsorship of a little girl named Adelce here.

There are a lot of reasons why I chose sponsorship through Compassion International, but here are a few of the big ones:

1. Compassion intentionally shares about Jesus"We believe we must do more than simply meet the physical needs of the poor. Poverty sends a defeating, painful message into the heart of a child: a message that says, 'You don't matter.' Introducing children to their loving Heavenly Father is the most powerful way of reversing this message.

Every child who participates in a Compassion program is given the opportunity to learn about Jesus and discover how to develop a lifelong relationship with God. This good news is modeled and shared in age-appropriate and culturally relevant ways -- never through coercion.

The Great Commission is at the core of our mission and discipleship is at the core of our program."
(http://www.compassion.com/about/commitment-to-christ.htm)

2. Compassion partners w…

Halfway through our summer bucket list! (Finally.)

Dave took me on a delightful picnic on Saturday. We explored a beautiful park, laughing and chatting. It’s a wonderful thing being married to my best friend.  :)

We’re officially halfway through our summer bucket list now.

Blueberry picking. Check.Mini-golfing. Check.Picnic. Check.Making footprints in the sand at the beach! Check.Our first garage sale. Check.
But I can hardly believe it’s already nearing the end of August! We’ll see how many of the remaining 5 ideas we end up doing.

Change Is Hard!

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Change is hard! This video clip of a 5-year-old girl who doesn't want her baby brother to grow up is adorable. (Love her baby brother’s grin!) It made me laugh, and it also reminded me that change can be scary—whether you’re 5 or 50!

As a young girl, change was scary for me, too. I was in a lot of new environments when I was a kid because my parents moved so much. Every time I stepped into yet another classroom full of strangers, I remember feeling very alone … and very unsure of myself. I was terrified of all the unknowns.

But when God told Abraham to pack up and go—he did.

“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8).

Sometimes inside, I still feel like a third grader standing at the back of a classroom, shaking in my white tennis shoes. Among the heroes of faith, I identify more with Moses than Abraham. If God told me to lead a whole crowd of people out…

People say I look like ...

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I've had friends tell me I look like Molly Ringwald. Once, a lady in the drive-thru window even did a double-take and asked me, "Did anyone ever tell you you look exactly like Molly Ringwald?"

Yes ... yes, they have.

Do you see a resemblance? Which celebrity do people say you look like?

This is Molly in the movie, The Breakfast Club (1985).
And this is me.

"Apparently" Kid!

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I saw this last night, and it made me (and Dave!) laugh so hard ... I just had to share it!!!  :D

Our weekend report

Dave and I had a really fun weekend!

We went mini-golfing after Dave got home from work on Friday. (As usual, he won!) Our pastor and his wife happened to be out mini-golfing that night, too! On Sunday, the pastor’s wife pulled us aside and said in hushed tones, “We saw you kissing under the waterfall. That warmed our hearts!” Awwww…  :)

On Saturday, we knocked something off of our summer bucket list: blueberry picking! The weather was warm and sunny, so Dave made sure we both got out of the sun before our skin really started burning (it doesn’t take long for us!). When we got home, we filled two freezer bags with blueberries—that should last us a while!

Blessings in the midst of pain

I've faced some hard things in my life -- things I never saw coming. And I've watched friends endure suffering, trials, and hardships in the past few years that I would never have expected them to go through. But I am so encouraged that through it all, God is faithful.

I was really touched by this blog post from my college friend, Amalia, who recently went through the heartbreak of her newborn daughter passing away just 19 minutes after she was born. Amalia shares,

"My blessings did not come through the exact answers to my prayers. But I have learned that a blessing does not have to be an exact answer to my prayers. Sometimes God chooses a different path for us to walk. 

That road is not always the happy and sunny road. Sometimes we must face the storms, and the rain. Sometimes the path God chooses for us brings countless days filled with tears. Sometimes the path God chooses for us includes night after sleepless night. Sometimes the path God chooses for us seems like it wi…

3 Short Updates

1. I realized last week that I’m going to be about 40 years old when I finish sponsoring Adelce. I love that I have the chance to invest in her life over a long period of time … and I’m sure curious what my life will be like at the age of 40!

2. Dave and I completed our very first garage sale, which was on our summer to-do list! I’d call it a moderate success! We made about $60 and met a bunch of our neighbors.  :)

3. Dave got me a cactus for Valentine’s Day this year—he knows me so well! It was growing so fast, I started to measure it. The cactus started out about 2 ½ inches tall. Right now, it stands at 6 ½ inches tall! (YAY! I finally found a plant I can keep alive!!!)

What I love about my Chromebook 11

I’m a writer, so having a laptop is important to me. When I realized that my old laptop was probably in its last days, I started to poke around to find out what might be a good replacement.

I’m so glad I decided to try out a Chromebook.

Here’s why:

1. I don’t have to worry about losing my latest draft of something.
Instead of being saved to my computer, my work is saved online. I used to use a USB drive to back up all my work to ensure I would have another copy if my computer suddenly died. Now, I know I can access all my documents and drafts from any device that’s hooked up to the internet. I can see the latest drafts of everything instantly!

2. I saved money.
Instead of buying the whole Microsoft suite like I did for my last laptop, I am able to save everything to my Google Drive using “Google Docs,” which is similar to Word. I also found out that (bonus!) Google Docs auto-saves everything as I’m working on a document. Plus, Chromebooks are much cheaper than traditional laptops. (All …

The Cure for Hiccups

I don't know about you, but I've tried a lot of hiccup "remedies" over the years, and some of them are pretty strange.

Now, I am no scientist, but I can tell you that I finally found a hiccup remedy that works flawlessly for me. I've shared this cure with other hiccup sufferers, too, and it's worked for every one of them so far as well!

So, next time you get stuck with a bad case of the hiccups, give this a try:

Pick long words that you know and spell them backwards out loud. 

To make things easier, I recommend starting with names of states, like California, Connecticut, Delaware, Oklahoma, Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, etc. On the spot, think of as many names of U.S. states as you can ... and spell them backwards out loud (no cheating by reading the letters off of a page!).

Let me know if it works for you or someone you know!

My poem about "The Scarlet Letter"

I've dabbled in many parts of the writing universe—including poetry! But I haven’t shared much of my poetry publicly … until now. I've decided it's time to open up a bit of my poetry to the world by sharing some of it here on my blog. 
*deep breath*
So, here’s a poem I wrote several years ago based on the book The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. (If you haven’t read it, I encourage you to read the synopsis here before diving into my poem below.) 
The Scarlet Letter Poem by Laurel Dykema
A fair countenance A trustworthy face Melodious voice and  Great Preacher of grace
Beneath this façade a burning lie that blisters and festers all white-hot and dry
Hot tears splatter upon his chest there Reminding him of The mark he should bear
That Hester should suffer in public disgrace Wore at his heart As he preached, as he paced
The scaffold he knew Was escape for his shame Confessing his guilt Would mean death to his name
As he mounted the steps All short of breath From his pou…

Gift Ideas for Compassion Child

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I sponsor a little girl who lives in Indonesia through Compassion International.

Her name is Adelce.

I love writing her short letters to share about my life and encourage her. I've had so much fun getting creative and thinking of flat, inexpensive items I can mail to Adelce to brighten her day and bring a smile to her face, too!

Learn more about Adelce (and another girl I started sponsoring named Rhoda!) here.

So far, I've mailed some duct tape crafts -- including a bracelet and a little coin purse. (I have to say, I love all the fun colors and patterns duct tape has these days!) Here's another duct tape craft I'm planning to send soon: a bookmark!



I often send stickers, too (because really, who doesn't love stickers?!). I'm a fan of sparkly stickers, animal stickers, and puffy stickers. I also purchased a cheap set of regular stickers and use them to decorate the letters I send to Adelce. One of these days, I'm planning to write to her using some colorful s…

Caterpillar to butterfly

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When I was a very young girl, I picked out my first pair of glasses. They were pink (of course!) and had a tiny pink butterfly in one corner.

The glasses made a HUGE difference in my perceptions.

Before glasses, I saw a blurry, confusing world—but when I put my first pair of glasses on, I saw my surroundings with perfect clarity. I wonder if that’s a little what Heaven will be like … that when I leave behind this “caterpillar” body and am raised with my new perfect body, I’ll finally see God, myself, my life, and the world with perfect clarity.

“For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.” - 2 Corinthians 5:1

Source

Weakness

2 Corinthians 12:7-10, "...there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Boasting about weaknesses?

That is such a foreign thought. If you’re like me, you find your own weaknesses to be embarrassing. I don’t like to be thought of as weak by other people, and it’s difficult for me to admit my faults. Yet, I am weak—just like Paul admits he is in this passage.

In this passage, the thorn in Paul's flesh is spoken of as "a messenger of Satan." Satan meant this torment for evil, but God uses it as a way to show h…

Piqued, peeked, or peaked?

I have many pet peeves when it comes to grammatical errors, but there's one I've been seeing a LOT lately:

People are confusing piqued, peeked, and peaked.

Here are some correct sample sentences:

The mystery piqued my interest!He peeked into the cupboard.The artist peaked in the 1870s.
Thank you. You may now return to your normally scheduled activities.
:)

My New Writing Project

The Old Testament is full of stories of God’s faithfulness to the Israelite people throughout the generations.

And you know what? I think it’s really worthwhile to take the time to remember and reflect upon how the Lord has been faithful in my life and my family’s lives.

Why? Well, sometimes when my life is “falling apart” or in crisis, I confess I don’t take the time to reflect on God’s faithfulness. And sometimes when times are smooth, I’m guilty of stepping away from the Lord in pride, thinking I am fine on my own. And let me tell you, the result is not pretty in either of those scenarios.

I want to be intentional about meditating on how God has been there for me (and the generations that came before me)—so that whether I am traversing life in a storm or on calm seas, I remember to look to Jesus as my rock … because he is the one who faithfully sees me through every day.

As a result of these thoughts, a new writing project idea was planted and sprouted in my brain. I want to create…

Bad News & Good News!

Okay, bad news first: our tetras died!
I've heard from plenty of people that neon tetras are hard to keep alive ... and boy, they really are! Dave and I did our best, but the final two survivors, Curly and Mo, bit the dust (or should I say, "bit the bubbles") on Sunday afternoon.
The good news? We already have a new fish!
We decided to go with a Betta. At the store, we looked at several Bettas ... but noticed one that really needed our help! He was all flattened out on the bottom of his covered, clear cup -- trying to keep his body below water! You see, his container had a leak!
Dave and I rescued the little guy. We wrapped a paper towel around the bottom (where the leak was) and brought him home!
It's a red fish, and Dave came up with the idea of naming him after The Scarlet Pimpernel. (Loved that idea!) So, our fish's full name is Sir Percival Blakeney ... but we call him "Percy."  :)

Yay! New Owl City songs!

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Owl City announced on his blog that he's releasing a new EP called "Ultraviolet" on June 27.

That's one week from today! I'm an old-fashioned girl ... I still like CDs ... so now I just have to figure out how to order a physical copy of this EP.  :D

Here's one of the songs that'll be featured on "Ultraviolet":


My Sister and Me

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My sister, Heather, is one of my most favorite people in all the world!

Besties!
I remember peering into the Tupperware-type container they placed her in at the hospital after she was born ... and getting my very first glimpse of my new baby sister. Growing up, we were each other's best friends. We've had plenty of adventures together. I've been going through some old (and new-ish) photos of the two of us and thought I'd share a portion of them here!

Masquerade! (Our brother, Ryan, made it in on this photo, too!)
Goofin' off together during a day at the beach.  :D
"Eh?"
Photo shoot in the forest!
Frozen. But happy!
My wedding day. Tears. Hugs. Smiles.