Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Sunshine Award

Thank you so much, Ana at Butterflies of the Imagination for nominating me for the Sunshine Award!

The guidelines:

- Thank the person who nominated you.
- Answer the questions from the person who nominated you.
- Nominate a few other bloggers.
- Write the same amount of questions for the bloggers you nominated.
- Notify the bloggers on their blog.
- Put the award button on your blog.*


My answers to Ana's questions: 


1. What is your dream job, and why?
Writing and acting and teaching all together. I love to read and like to watch movies. I think it would be fun to be part of the process of creating those stuff. And teenagers are so complex, it would be neat to help someone figure life out a wee bit more.

2. Name five of your favorite blogs.
Nancy Rue's In Real Life, Stephanie Morrill and Jill Williamson's GoTeenWriters, Tessa Emily Hall's Christiswrite, Jamie's Ctfdevourer and Athelas Hale's Red Lettering.

3. Why did you start blogging?
I started blogging mainly to build a platform. And I liked doing book reviews for Ctfdevourer from time to time. It was Jamie, really, who pitched the idea. Thanks!

4. What is the word count of the longest piece you’ve ever written?
The longest piece would probably be my current work-in-progress which is 7765 words. Not much, I know, but I haven't ever finished a first draft yet. Yet.

5. What is your favorite genre to read?
Contemporary. I like Krista McGee's sci-fi trilogy, but contemporary is really more "my taste". That's the genre I write in too.

6. If you are going to college, what’s your dream college? If you’re already in college or have already graduated, what college do you go to?
I'm still in high school and I don't think I have a dream college.

7. What is your favorite Disney animated movie? Please don’t tell me you’ve never watched a Disney movie.
Probably Tangled. It's a really good one, don't you think?

8. What is your favorite classic book?
Maybe A Little Princess or The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett? I've only read a kid's version of The Secret Garden, though.

9. What was your favorite book as a child?
I don't know, but I do remember liking The Magic Tree House series.

10. What are your other hobbies besides reading, writing and blogging?
I like playing soccer and sometimes making small videos.


I nominate:


Athelas Hale at Red Lettering

Rachel O'Neil (aka Bluebelle) at The Ink Loft

Laura Pol at Crafty Booksheeps



My questions for the nominees:


1. On a scale of one to ten, how much do you like reading fiction? Non-fiction? (1 being you don't like it, 10 being you absolutely can't live without it.)

2. Do you like/love any sports?

3. What's your favorite writing blog (if you write)?

4. What's your favorite blog about life?

5. What are your favorite and least favorite things about blogging?

6. If you're in high school, do you already know what college you want to go to? If you're in/out of college how much do/did you like it?

7. What's your favorite Christian song?

8. Do you/did you go to a public school, a private school or homeschool?

9. What do you do in your free time?

10. Do you have a role model?

*I'm kind of apprehensive about adding any stuff that isn't mine to the blog, so I hope you guys don't mind if I don't post the award picture. Athelas, Rachel and Laura you can find the award on Ana's post.


Thanks again, Ana, for nominating me! Congrats nominees! And everyone who's reading this: do you have a role model in your life? Who is it? I'm looking forward to hearing from you.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Do not be anxious

~Tuesday Thoughts~ 


Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)


"Do not be anxious" can be so hard to do at times. I mean, worry is one of the things we do best, right? There's an almost endless supply of things to be worried over. Stuff like "Where do I want to go to college and why don't I know yet?" "Why am I sixteen and not working? Shouldn't everyone?" "Why does my family fight so much?" etc., etc., etc.

Philippians 4:6 says to "present your requests to God". Sometime's it hard to let go. To say "here, God, take it". But it's possible: 

I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13 (NIV)

I find the "with thanksgiving" part of verse six pretty interesting. Really? Giving thanks? But, seriously, I'm pretty sure everyone has at least one or two things God has given them that they can be thankful for. We may take them for granted or maybe they're really hard to find, but I think they're there. 


So let's say we did all that. We let go of our worries and with thanksgiving asked God to take care of it. He has to make everything go away, right? Not really. He CAN, that's for sure. But He doesn't promise He'll turn the situation around to how you want it to look. Verse seven says:

"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

I know it's hard when the answer is "no" or "later", when some stuff seems to be working specifically against you. But God has it under control and you can actually feel PEACE. His peace. 

By the way, here are two blog posts by Nancy Rue on her blog In Real Life that talk about similar stuff: "Ready For It To Be Okay" and "Lather, Rinse, Repeat"

How about you? Do you struggle with this kind of stuff? How has God helped you in the past? 

Monday, July 28, 2014

It's not over yet

~Monday Movies & Music~ 


Here's a cool song by For King & Country: "It's not over yet". Here are the lyrics.

Whenever you feel that it's just way too hard, remember God still has a plan for you. He won't leave you halfway there.

How about you? Do you ever feel that life's just over? How has God helped you through it? 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Bluebird and the Sparrow by Janette Oke

~Saturday Stories~ 


Typical Berta: There was such a contrast between her life and Glenna’s. Glenna had it all. Looks and… yes, her prettiness had made life easy for her. […] Suddenly Berta rose and tossed the letter on the small table beside her chair. Life was so desperately – uneven. It made her angry.


Berta always knew her younger sister Glenna got the most attention. Glenna was the pretty and happy one. No one could help liking her from the start. Berta, she was just plain. Plain and unnoticed. Already as a kid she decided that she would be the total opposite of Glenna. Year after year, she’d ignore the fact that Glenna had it all and would live her own life, however empty it seemed to be. But as God reaches out to Berta’s heart, she learns that, whatever the circumstances, she can love and be loved.

This was the second time I read the book and I cried anyway. The Bluebird and the Sparrow is a beautiful tale of how attitude and choices determine someone’s character more than circumstances. For years, Berta has believed she isn’t loved, that Glenna was loved more because she was so pretty. It takes a lot for her to understand that she can be loved just the way she is. I think that message speaks to a lot of us, don’t you?

For more on Janette Oke visit this website and this Facebook page.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Achievement

~Friday for Friends~


Continuing the Friday for Friends post series, we have the word "achievement". Webster's 1993 dictionary defines it "something achieved by work, courage, or skill".

We tend to think of friendships as something fun and light-hearted. But real friendships take more than a little work.

We work to forgive. We help our friend stand up when life's hard. We write back and forth when he/she is far away. We make time for each other. We say "hey, I'm here" when our friends need it.

Friendship is work. But it's worth it.

Consider what Jesus did. He gave up His life so we -everyone- can come to Him. And now we are friends with our Maker. How amazing is that?

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NIV)

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. John 15:15 (NIV)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Being around Christian teens

~Tuesday Thoughts~


You might think I'm repeating myself as I again talk about fellowship. And I am. Because this topic is both important and something I'm going through now. 

You might remember (I mentioned before) that the church I go to is small. There are literally no teens my age. So it's wonderful when some members of our family go to this other church, which is bigger and, yes, has more teens. Christian teens. People I can relate to in two ways: not just by being a Christian like at church and not just by being a teen like at school. I can interact with people who share my beliefs AND are my age. 

I am so thankfully to God for this opportunity! 

How about you? Do you hang around other Christian teens? How often? How does it make you feel?

Monday, July 21, 2014

We are His

~Monday Movies & Music~ 


I know I've already had this song in an earlier blog post, but here’s Who Am I by Casting Crowns. And here are the lyrics.

We are HIS, people. Is that super amazing or what?! Isn’t that thought mind-blowing? Almost unimaginable? Just plain AWESOME?


Thank you, God, for taking us in. That’s the best thing we can have. Thank you. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Papa's farewell: a writing prompt

~Saturday Stories~


I'm not finished with my latest book yet, so I'm going to post another Monday Minute prompt. Tessa Emily Hall is planning to do them once every other week now instead of each week. If you haven't yet, check them out. They're pretty fun.

This time I used the prompt sentence (submitted by Mary B.): A branch cracked behind me. I whirled around but there was nothing there.



A branch cracked behind me. I whirled around but there was nothing there. Papa chuckled in the dark. “There’s nothing to be scared of, Cece”. He put his hand on my shoulder and we continued our trek up the hill. “Are we ever gonna get there?” I shivered. “Cold?” he rubbed my back for a moment. “We’re almost there.” As we finally came to the top my eyes widened. Here was something I had never seen before: our village as small as my fist, light coming only from a couple windows. And then nothing but pitch dark all around it. “What’s there, Papa?” I pointed. “Fields upon fields upon fields” his voice was full of pride. “That’s where we grow our corn, Cece”. Suddenly he twirled me around and whispered hot into my ear. “I have something else to show you too”. We lay down on the grass. “See the stars?” “Uh-huh” I whispered back. “Is that where God lives?” Papa chuckled. “Yep, but not just there. God lives everywhere. He’s all around you and you can talk to Him anytime. You know that, don’t you?” I nod. Of course I know. Papa sighed. “Cece” he began slowly. “What if I went on a long, long journey and you couldn’t come with me - yet – what would you do?” I gasped with horror. “Oh, I’d miss you.” I saw a tear glide down his cheek. “You aren’t going anywhere, Papa, are you?” “I don’t know.” He shook his head softly. “I don’t know. Cece, promise me you’ll always trust God and talk to Him. Promise me. Please.” I looked up into Papa’s big, brown eyes, his sad smile. “ ’Course. ‘Cause God loves me.” He nodded. After a while we walked down the hill.
Next day Papa died from cancer.  

What do you think of it? How can I make it better?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Accountable

~Friday for Friends~


The next word in the Friday for Friends post series is "accountable". This is a different Webster's dictionary, but here's the first definition (the one we'll use): "subject to giving an account: answerable".

Friends are accountable to each other - really. It doesn't mean you have to spell out each and every move you make, but there should be some of "you're-my-friend-and-you-should-know-this". Some thinking before doing as to how this will affect your friend, as well as others. Some "I'm sorry"s when you're wrong.

It's hard. We don't want to answer before anyone. But if you're friends with the right people it mostly helps having someone to keep us on the right path.

So watch yourselves. “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent,forgive them." Luke 17:3

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16 (NIV)


God knows each and every step we make, as well as all the mistakes. But we still need to come to Him - over and over- and say "I was wrong; please forgive me; please make me new". And He does.

Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin. Psalm 32:5 (NIV)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Walk humbly

~Tuesday Thoughts~ 


He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
  And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
  and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8 (NIV)

(I'm dividing this into 3 posts: "act justly", "love mercy" and "walk humbly".)

Webster's dictionary (1993) defines humble as "marked by meekness or modesty; unpretentious; lowly".

Just try to imagine how God humbled Himself when Jesus was born, lived and died as a human being Jesus left HEAVEN (which is too amazing for us to understand yet) to come here for us.

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29 (NIV)

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!
Philippians 2:5-8 (NIV)


We need to walk humbly too, however hard, ridiculous and just plain weird it may seem. This world constantly tells us that we are so cool, amazing, great, awesome, magnificent.... Guess what? We're not. And we should remember that more. WE ARE NOTHING WITHOUT CHRIST. We should walk humbly with our God.

 For the Lord takes delight in his people;
  he crowns the humble with victory.
Psalm 149:4 (NIV)

For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. Matthew 23:12 (NIV)

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2 (NIV)

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:10 (NIV)

How about you? What do you think about 'walking humbly'? 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Written on My Heart

~Monday Movies & Music~ 


Written on My Heart is a song by Plus One. Here are the lyrics.

Praise God for choosing as members of His family!!! He's always with us and we'll be with Him forever. 

How about you? What are some songs that encourage you? 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Boyfriends, Burritos and an Ocean of Trouble by Nancy Rue

~Saturday Stories~


Typical Bryn: I wasn’t so worried about tonight’s injuries. Those bruises wouldn’t rise to the surface until at least tomorrow. It was Wednesday’s evidence I was worried about. I couldn’t let [the doctor] see that.

The last thing Bryn wants is for someone to know. But when taken to the hospital after a car accident, her secret is revealed. Her boyfriend has abused her. A number of times. What is Bryn supposed to do with her father pressing charges, her boyfriend’s friends threatening her and a grandmother coming over to help that insists Bryn learns -of all things- how to surf? Is there any way out of this mess, with or without this strange book that seems to talk directly to her?


As usual, Nancy Rue has written an amazing book. I loved Boyfriends, Burritos and an Ocean of Trouble! It was fun to read about a girl who, though in high school, is still younger than me (Bryn’s fifteen). The issues dealt with are serious and are real problems that teenage girls face daily. RL-the book that helped her- is basically a modern-day paraphrase of the Bible and can mysteriously open to the pages that Bryn needs to read. Although a book that talks to you isn’t really there, Nancy does show us that the Bible can speak to you too.

This is the second of the Real Life series for teens. The others are Motorcycles, Sushi and One Strange Book, Tournaments, Cocoa and One Wrong Move and Limos, Lattes, and My Life on the Fringe. They can all be read as stand-alones, since the only thread is that one girl places the RL book for someone to find, and the next girl picks it up.

For more on Nancy Rue, visit her website, Facebook page and blogs for tweens, teens and new women.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Accord

~Friday for Friends~ 


Continuing the Friday for Friends post series, we have the word “accord”. In its noun meanings it means “harmony; agreement”. (Webster's dictionary, 1993)

We all love harmony and agreement. We wish we always had both. 

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[a] Do not be conceited. Romans 12:16 (NIV) [a]Or willing to do menial work

But that’s not always what happens. Harmony sometimes seems to be unrealistically far. We all have our own opinions and often they don’t match with someone else’s. So what do we do?

Step #1: Realize that not all great minds think alike on each and every subject.
This is pretty basic, but it’s important. You can agree on almost every subject with someone, but there will always be “I-don’t-agree”s along the way. It’s respectful to honor the differences, unless they are just wrong (like against the Bible).

Step #2: Ignore it if it’s really not important.
If the disagreement is about whether pizza or mac and cheese are the best foods ever, it’s really not that important.

Step #3: Talk it over.
There’s not always common ground, but if there is, why not discuss it? And sometimes agreeing to disagree is OK too, I think. Talk it over. Getting to know each other’s full stories might be more insightful than you think.

Step #4: Confront (or be confronted). 
Sometimes what the other person is saying is against the Bible. If he/she is a Christian, do confront him/her. 

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Galatians 6:1 (NIV)

Step #5: ALWAYS PRAY.
Pray through the whole ordeal. God knows what you are going through.


“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.  John 15:5 (NIV)

How about you? Do you have any ideas on how to live in harmony? 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Love mercy

~Tuesday Thoughts~ 


He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
  And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
  and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8 (NIV)

(I'm dividing this into 3 posts: "act justly", "love mercy" and "walk humbly".

Mercy means "compassionate and kind treatment" (Webster's dictionary, 1993).

How great is it that God is merciful! Really, if He wasn't, He wouldn't have sent His Son to die for us, would He? And then we would spend eternity not in heaven with Him, but in *gulp* hell. Praise God for His mercy!

4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:4-5 (NIV)

4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:4-7 (NIV)


God wants us to be merciful too. The story of the man who owed the king a lot of money and was forgiven, but didn't forgive his debtors comes to mind. You can find it in Mathew 18:21-35. Ridiculous fellow, right? But we so often behave like him. We have been forgiven ALL our sins, but we still hold grudges or don't 'speak' with people who supposedly wronged us too hard to forgive. I know it's hard sometimes, but it's worth it.


Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy. Matthew 5:7 (NIV)

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:36 (NIV)

How about you? Is it hard for you to love mercy? What other Bible verses do you know about mercy? 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

I can only imagine

~Monday Movies & Music~


I Can Only Imagine is a beautiful song by MercyMe. Here are the lyrics

We can only imagine. But however hard we try we won't be able to grasp just how amazing and great it will be. 

However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”— the things God has prepared for those who love him—1 Corinthians 2:9(NIV)

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson

~Saturday Stories~


Typical Gisela: Gisela rode Kaeleb over the hilly meadows near her home, letting the horse run as fast as he liked. The morning air clung to her eyelashes, as a fog had created a misty canopy over the green, rolling hills... If her stepmother found out she’d been riding one of the horses without permission, as Gisela often did, she would find some way to punish her. But Gisela didn’t care.

Typical Valten: Everyone had somewhere to go, a purpose. What was his purpose? A restlessness possessed him , the same restlessness that had haunted his wandering all over the Continent. Entering all the grandest tournaments for two years had not eased that restless feeling. He’d succeeded at winning all of them in at least one category— jousting, sword fighting, hand-to-hand combat — but often in all categories. He still wasn’t a champion at archery, which rankled. But he couldn’t be perfect at everything.


Ever since her father died, Gisela's stepmother and stepsisters have mistreated her, making her tend to the horses, cook for them, clean up. But when they go off to the Tournament and tell her to stay, will she be able to slip by them? Will she see Valten, the duke's son and if she will will he remember her? 

The Captive Maiden is a retelling of the Cinderella story. Melanie Dickerson does a good job of making it unique, though still recognizable. The story is told from two points-of-view, Gisela's and Valten's. Both of them learn lessons about God as they realize that however bad it gets, God is still in control. 

For more on Melanie Dickerson visit her website and Facebook page

Friday, July 4, 2014

Accomodating

~Friday for Friends~ 


Continuing the Friday for Friends post series, we have the word "accommodating". It means "ready to help; willing to please; obliging" (Webster's dictionary, 1993).

We should be ready to help our friends. I don't mean we should drop everything each time or that obliging everyone is what we should live for (because sometimes we insecure people think that). What I DO mean is that helping is something great to do, be it with our actions, time, words or silence.

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 (NIV)

And of course, God has helped us way beyond what we can imagine. He DIED for us. He is the best Friend we will ever have.

For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 1 Thessalonians 4:14 (NIV)

Isn't it great?

By the way, HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

I'm going to camp

I'm going to a church camp July 2nd - July 14th. I HAVE scheduled the posts, so please enjoy! I won't be able to moderate, publish and answer comments, though. Please comment anyway!!! I'll be glad to catch up with everything once I get back.

Blessings!

Act justly

~Tuesday Thoughts~


He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
  And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
  and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8 (NIV)

(I'm dividing this into 3 posts: "act justly", "love mercy" and "walk humbly".) 

Webster's dictionary (1993) defines "just" as "fair and impartial in acting or judging; morally right; merited; deserved; based on sound reason". 

The Bible tells us time after time that God is just. 


He is the Rock, his works are perfect,
  and all his ways are just.
A faithful God who does no wrong,
  upright and just is he.  Deuteronomy 32:4 (NIV) 
The Lord is known by his acts of justice;
 the wicked are ensnared by the work of their hands. Psalm 9:16 (NIV)

And the heavens proclaim his righteousness,
 for he is a God of justice. Psalm 50:6 (NIV)


He wants us to be just too. Sometimes it can be hard to deal with everyone fairly and impartially, be it our friend, an acquaintance, or an enemy. But God can help us. 

“‘Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly. Leviticus 19:15 (NIV)

Follow justice and justice alone, so that you may live and possess the land the Lord your God is giving you. Deuteronomy 16:20 (NIV)
How about you? Do you find it hard to act justly? When was a time when you had to choose between acting justly or not?