Thursday, October 20, 2016

Hard Core: Part 2

Let's Get Hard Core
Part 2

When I ask most girls if they've ever read a mystery book, 90% of them will admit they've read Nancy Drew. I could never understand why. Franklin W Dixon is the author of both Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys mystery series. From what I always found, everybody knew Nancy Drew, but the Hardys were left behind. I'm sure I'll figure it out... one of these days.
Sorry, that's a little off topic. My point was that I love mystery books! I especially liked the Hardys because they were filled with action and near-death scenarios. (I figured out the mystery in Nancy Drew before I was halfway and got sick of reading about girls fainting because they're scared.) But it eventually got to the point where I could figure out the Hardys' mystery before it ended, therefore taking out a lot of the excitement. That's when I advanced to reading Agatha Christie and I'll never go back. I have never been able to figure out answer to the mystery before she announces it and blows me away with how complicated it was and I never knew. I'll think I have everything sorted out and then I find it was the last person I ever suspected. (Read The secret adversary.)
All the characters, who are trying to solve the mystery, have a similar pattern in how they go about it. They may change it around or come about indirectly, but it follows the same line: Who did it, Why, When, Where, and for What. Most of you know that as the 5 W's. I've always added in a How because I think that's important. (Note: I'm the one who needs to know how it happened so I can see if I could have done it better.)
In Part 1 of this series I talked about the importance of change. In this section I want to lay out some of the ways to do that. And we are going to do it Sleuth style!
Who are you changing? 
No more of the, "Well if you knew my family." "I'm just so busy."  "People expect me to be -" "Everybody else is doing it."
Those are all excuses. My 6th grade Sunday school teacher once told my that an excuse is like a bubble. It has the skin of a reason and is packed with a lie. Nobody is stopping you from changing but yourself. You can't be trying to change the people around you in the hopes that then you will change. 
Matthew 7:3 "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
Once you've changed your heart to be devoted to God, His light will shine through all that you do and be a witness to others. 
Why should you change/When should you change?
I'm hoping I made the answer to these points abundantly clear in Part 1. You aren't promised that you will have tomorrow. You can't put things off until "another day." If you die and God asks you why you didn't do more, what are you going to say? It just doesn't work that way. We can't keep waiting. We are given NOW!
 James 4:14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
Where does this change take place?
I'm working through a book as big as a bible right now called Total Truth by Nancy Pearcy and loving every bit of it! It's an entire Gold mine! There is one Golden point in particular that struck me as totally true! 
Pearcy talks about how our culture has separated Religion from Reality. We pull the bible out for Sundays and our devotional (If we even do that. We might be to "busy" that day.) and then carry on with the the world for the rest of the week. Pearcy talks about how religion is considered to fog your mind and blind you to the scientific and rational truth. In other words, it blinds you reality. But really, there isn't any other Truth or reality outside of the bible and God. We need to break down that barrier and bring God back into our life - every aspect of it. Whether it's interacting with friends or people we work with, the decisions we make, how we use our time, what we watch, what we listen too, how we talk, or just how we view facts. We need to stop putting God into a box and stuffing Him in our pockets, only to pull Him out for bible studies, church, and devotional. There is nothing outside of Him! 
What is something you think about a lot? Facebook, friends, fantasy, books, movies, activities? How much time do you think you spend dwelling upon those thoughts? Now think about how much time you spend thinking about God. If you were to measure the time you spend thinking about those other things and the time you spend thinking about God, which one do you spend the most time on? 
 Image result for bible verse about thinking of God always
What is the purpose?
God is our Father. He wants to give us so much, but we need to turn to him and hold our hands cupped and ready to catch His blessings. That means letting go of whatever you are holding onto in this life and turning to Him. I can't express the peace and joy I find in knowing that I have God watching my back for me. As long as I stay tuned into His music, I'll dance to the right beat. But once you start getting distracted by what this finite world has to offer - things that get destroyed and are only temporary - you lose the comforting and guiding melody and begin dancing to your own imperfect and broken beat. 
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How do we change?
This is a personal question that you need to ask yourself. I don't know where you are or what you are struggling with, but God does. And He can help you. Start bringing Him into your life and allowing Him to guide your actions. I guarantee it will be worth it. You get one shot at this life, and what you do here will affect your eternity in heaven. Eternity is a long time.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Hard Core - part 1

Let's Get Hard Core
Part 1 
The Phone Call came late at night - my siblings and I were about to crawl into bed when it came... I shall never forget that night. I knew something was wrong when my dad got really silent on the phone. It was a pastor from our church. What could have happened that would warrant so late a phone call and so serious a face? Why did I have the feeling that something terrible - something that I had feared - had just happened. Dad pushes the red button on his phone and ends the call. He tells us: My grandpa is dead. 
At first the news was too shocking for tears. I guess my stubbornness refused to accept that he was actually gone. Grandpa Freddie wasn't actually my grandpa at all. He was a member of our bible study and I loved him so much. He was easy to talk to with a funny Texas accent. I knew that if I was facing a spiritual problem - he was there for me. He worked in the prison ministry and brought more people to Christ than anybody I have ever met. He truly lived his life entirely devoted to Christ. We were going to have him over and "adopt" him as our grandpa. But The Phone Call got to us first - I would never get to call him grandpa... I never even got to say goodbye. 
That was the night that changed my life, though not as drastically as some people might think. It was a gradual process. The acceptance that he was gone, the grief and tears that followed, and the questions seemed like they would overpower me. Why did God take my grandpa away? I still needed him, I still wanted him. Why? 
I found my answer. Life is to quick to lay by and wait for changes to just happen. I've seen far to many teens, kids who could do so much, just sit by and wait for the Change to take place in their life. But you may not have tomorrow to change. You may not have next year. What if you learned that you weren't going to live to see your next birthday? Would you be living you life any differently? In James it says:  Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. (James 4:14)
 Image result for many people are going nowhere fast quote
God has given you a life, not so you can live passively, but so you can glorify Him. God is a jealous God and created you as His child. Yes, that includes you teenagers! 
I hear people talk about teenagers like it's a stage in life to be detested and nobody can do anything about it. But I don't believe that's true! Teens can do so much to affect the world, and it can be as easy as turning off the TV and helping your family. 
But you have to be motivated to change. Nobody can make you change your heart. You can go through the motions of being helpful, you can plaster on a smile that gets peeled off as soon as you're behind closed doors, but that's not doing anything. If you're heart isn't serving, then neither are you.
We should live our lives to glorify the One who created everything and who we will one day live with for all of eternity! In the end, will you ever remember that TV series you watched instead of helping your brother or sister? On your death bed will you want somebody to bring your shoes that you bought so you can say goodbye? No. The thing that will matter is your family, friends, and your relationship with God. God is going to show you, imagine a big screen TV, everything you missed out on, every chance that got passed by, that you could have taken advantage of. We should be striving to hear God say "well done, good and faithful servant." Because this life isn't about us! It's about Him! 
So where am I going with this? How does this tie into my grandpa's death? When he died, I realized how easily I could died as well. It just takes one dumb car driver to swerve into you on the road and you're gone. I honestly realized that I wasn't ready, but I wanted to be. 
Since then I've been reading my bible and realizing just how awesome a God we serve. I wanted to please Him. I changed my heart. There's no one like Him, and He wants to love and care for us! We just need to turn to Him. And if you do that, He will use you to accomplish a lot more than finishing a level on a video game. 
But you need to get Hard Core. 

I'm going to end with this story. If you have never read the book Do Hard Things by Bret and Alex Harris - you need to. I would quote the entire book if I could because it is one big Gold mine of wisdom.
Before I started writing this I got an email from their website - Therebelution.come . I would like to share it with you.

"It's one thing to promise you that adventures await those who step outside their comfort zones...
It's another to PROVE it with real life examples.
That's why I love the story of Riley Banks.
She's a shy girl who went to visit Kenya at 13-years-old and repeatedly felt in over her head.

In fact, Riley even fainted while trying to help care for babies at a Kenyan hospital (see picture below). Not a great way to start your missionary career!

Riley, Age 13, in Kenya
But rather than letting herself give up and crawl back to Branson, Missouri to live a normal teenage life, Riley decided to go back to Kenya the following year… 

And the year after that… 

And the year after that…

And the year after that…

Seven years later, Riley runs her own non-profit organization, operates a school in Kibwezi, and oversees a thrift shop and food pantry in Branson to fund operations. 

In the near future she’ll be opening a five-acre community center in Kenya with a feeding program for kids and a training facility for single mothers to learn a trade and provide for their families.
She is changing lives… And it has changed her life.
Here’s how Riley puts it:
“God doesn’t call the bravest, the strongest, or the smartest, but when He calls and we respond with simple child-like faith, amazing things can happen.”
Isn’t that inspiring?"
 Are you willing to change?

Friday, October 7, 2016

Hard Core

Let's Get Hard Core
 I love reading about as much as much I love chocolate. So it should come as no surprise that I come across some pretty amazing books, along with some pretty rotten ones. One thing reading has done, though, is open my eyes to a reality I never thought existed: The declining of Youth today.
When I interact with teenagers I find that most of them are rushing across the surface of life like a skipping rock does over water. They never take the time to dive down into what is truly important or even why we are here in the first place. This life goes by so quickly. You don't have time to waste. 
In this series I'm hoping to address some of the main issues I see occurring and some that I've struggled with myself. Along the way I'll be inserting quotes from many books - quotes which I like to call Gold Nuggets. At the end of each chapter I'm going to be asking some questions for you to ask yourself. You don't have to tell anybody your answers, so be completely honest. This series is for you to take a good honestly look at your life. If you don't like the answer that you have to give then I hope I've accomplished the task of bringing to light an area of your life that might need to change. 
 Image result for don't be afraid of change quote

I would encourage you to keep a note book with the answers to your questions, along with any other notes that would help you. Or write down solutions that you know help you specifically. Everybody is different so we can't treat them all the same. 
When you take the time to write it helps slow down your thoughts enough for you to look deeper. 
Step #1: Slow down.
  • What is your goal in life?
  • What are you doing to accomplish it?
  • When was the last time you checked in with God?

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Q&A Tag

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Well hello everybody! I'm so sorry I haven't been blogging, like, at all! Am I allowed to blame right now? Because moving into a new house - in a totally new area -, senior year of High School, our dog having puppies, and being the oldest of 6 can actually make you kinda busy. Oh, and I'm still writing - so any spare time I get to sit in front of the computer, besides emailing friends and family, is solely devoted to that.
But now, thanks to Olivia, I have been tagged once again. Now, this one looks pretty interesting, so I'll do my best to scrounge up some bloggers to tag!

Here's the rules.
  • Generously thank the person who tagged you. (That would be Olivia at her blog.)
  • Answer the questions you were given by the previous blogger.
  • With pleasure, nominate 10 other bloggers, give them 10 questions, and let them know they've been signed up fun!
I think I've stated many times that I am not a super big blog follower due to me not really being on the computer very much. But I will do my best even if it is pitiful! If you want to be tagged, PLEASE leave a comment telling me so!

The Guitar or the Piano?
 Now this is tricky for me because I am an avid fan of both! However, I am hopefully going to be enrolling in a University with the ambition of getting my bachelors in Music Education so I can be a Piano teacher - So I guess I'll have to go with Piano. It's a hard toss because you can't really sling a Piano on your back and head down the campfire. But the Piano is certainly a diverse instrument that can cover a wide variety of songs.

Chess or Checkers?
Chess. Although, because our chess set is made after Star Wars my brother just ends up making Darth Vader do a Jedi Slam move and destroy the entire board if he's losing. That or he's just playing with the figures in between turns in the most distracting manner!

Tolkien or C.S. Lewis?
Lewis all the way! I admire the extreme amount of work Tolkien put into his books, but in the end Lewis' way or writing is beautiful. (I also get kind of depressed by Tolkien's work after a few chapters. My apologies to Tolkien fans!)

Instrumental soundtracks or songs with lyrics?
Instrumental is my favorite when I'm writing or in deep thought while slaving through school. Especially if it's Celtic! But when it comes to Christmas or just jamming out with my siblings there better be nothing in my way for lyrics because we will be singing as loud as we can... until mom gets home.

Cake, Ice cream, or Ice cream cake?
Ice cream please! And make it Mint Chocolate Chip or Peanut butter something!

Roughly how long does it take for you to write a blog post?
It really depends on what is going on in the rest of the house and what I'm writing. It can take me anywhere from an hour to several days.

What was the last book you read?
Tortured for Christ. And it is incredible!

What is your MBTI type?

Why did you start blogging? Or what inspired you to begin writing in general?
It was the need to tell other people the things I'm learning. I think if more people shared their experiences we would all be a lot wiser because we wouldn't be keeping the information to ourselves and other people could gain from it.

Favorite fantasy book?Narnia! (About to start yelling, "For NARNIA!")

Favorite Number?
... ... ... 7. Because 7, 8, 9, so it's the toughest. (Say it out loud if you didn't get it the first time.)

Did you notice I've asked 12 questions and not 10?
I did not notice until you mentioned it.

So now I get to tag some other people!!

  • Hannah. I rave about her blog and book so you probably know her already.
  • Beth. I just found her blog and love the costumes she makes.
  • and last but not least Tiger. She's another great writing blogger like Hannah!
Now I can do the fun part: Questions!

  • If you could be any character from any book, who would it be?
  • Hiking outside or playing a board game inside?
  • Summer or Winter?
  • What is your favorite Holiday?
  • Future career dream: be it unrealistic or completely serious.
  • What's your favorite animal?
  • Would you rather spend the day at the ocean or in the forest?
  • You have all day to do whatever you want at home: What would it be?
  • What's the job you tend to avoid?
  • Do you love God? If so, why? and if not, why?
Have fun!
P.S And honestly, I'm hoping to get back into blogging because I have some cool things I've been thinking about!