Saturday, January 30, 2016

Hello, My Name Is.... Blog Hop/ Comment Day

It's Saturday! And that means...it's blog hop time!!! (Loud cheering).

Side Note: If any of these do not open in your current browser (i.e. Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, etc.) please try opening it in a different one. Thanks!

Also, if you are not sure what to do: 1. Visit some blogs. 2. Leave a comment. 3. And, leave a comment on this post. See you around the net.

1. Flowing Faith (focus: faith)
2. Danika Cooley (focus: faith, education: children)
3. Sue Acuna (focus: middle school)
4. Michelle in the Middle (focus: middle school)
5. Manufacturer's Handbook (focus: faith)
6. The Traveling Praters (focus: travel)
7. It is What It Is (focus: cancer)

Noteworthy blogs though they do not allow comments. Please feel free to "share" them, though.

8. Albert Mohler (This blogger encourages reader to email him instead of leave a comment.)
9. The Blazing Center (focus: faith)
10. Think Tank 12 (focus: homeschooling, education: children)

(Photo Information.)

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Psychology Analysis of Fictitious Character

Expository
Non-fiction based on a fictitious character.
Writing Sample: Not for sale.  Do NOT copy or reproduce.
© 2015

Sounds in the Night

Short Narrative
Fiction

(I meant to post this yesterday.  Just a quick something that was stuck in my mind.)

Her eyes flew open. What was that sound? Heavily they kept closing but she tried to force them to stay open. She was being pulled back into the sleep from which she woke. She listened intently. Was someone in her house? She pulled the mass of covers aside and and quietly rolled out of the bed. Each step was ginger against the carpet until she reached the hallway. Her socks slid on the hard wood floor as she tip toed toward the family room. Despite her best efforts at staying silent, her knees kept randomly popping. Each took its own turn and was so loud it sounded more like twigs snapping under foot. "Ugh," she thought, "I would never be able to sneak up on anyone!"

She heard a noise in the office and paused to listen. What was it? Carefully, she moved toward the office. SNAP! It was as though the click of her left knee echoed throughout the house. She turned her head so her ear would face the direction in which she was walking. SNAP. Her right knee pierced the darkness with its seemingly deafening crack! She stopped in frustration. What the heck is my problem? Why can I not be stealthy?

The boisterous wind tossed trees about outside. The leaves rustled as branches bent and gave way. Dirt swirled around like a whirling dervish. Is that what had yanked her so forcefully from her slumber? Was it the sound of the wind her brain could not identify while playing a movie of dreams that had her in some alternate universe? Satisfied with this answer, she turned to return to her room. SNAP! She grumbled to herself as she moved with haste.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Struggles, the Spoon Theory, and the Lord Who Fights For You

I believe most, if not all, of us struggle with something. Perhaps it is chronic illness or the poor health of a loved one. Maybe it is a drug or alcohol addiction or one of a spouse, parent, family member, friend, etc. It could be financial hardship, being bullied, being abused, a poor life choice, living in a dangerous situation, terrorism, etc. I call my strife, “the thorn in my flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7-9). It is terribly painful and at times darn near unbearable. Like the scripture says,
8 …I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
This morning I read an article that stated, “[The thorn in your flesh] is simply helping you to press deeper into God.” THAT, I believe to be true! It definitely makes my relationship with God all the stronger!

All, or most of us, have fears regarding our struggle. And when I am brave enough to share my uneasiness with others sometimes I am told, by those who mean well, I am being unbiblical or a bad Christian because God’s word tells us not to “fear” or be “anxious” (Isaiah 41:10, Psalm 56:3, Philippians 4:6-7, John 14:27, 2 Timothy 1:7, 1 John 4:18, Psalm 94:19, Isaiah 43:1, Proverbs 12:25, Psalm 23:4, Joshua 1:9, Matthew 6:34, 1 Peter 5:6-7, Isaiah 35:4, Luke 12:22-26, Psalm 27:1, Psalm 55:2, Mark 6:50, Deuteronomy 31:6, Isaiah 41:13-14, Psalm 46:1, Psalm 118:6-7, Proverbs 29:25, Mark 4:39-40, Psalm 34:7, 1 Peter 3:14, Psalm 34:4, Deuteronomy 3:22, Revelation 1:17, Mark 5:36, Romans 8:38-39, Zephaniah 3:17, Psalm 91:1-16). That it does. And, I know that. Further, I thank you for giving me God’s word and I love you. In sharing my uneasiness I am looking for compassion and love from a sister-in-Christ. Someone to come along side me to help me on the worst days.

Thankfully, God provides. He has given me a couple ladies who have walked a similar path and know how it feels and can empathize. For them, I am truly grateful because they help keep me sane. Admittedly, however, there are many times I do not take advantage of this the Lord has given me because sometimes it is just easier to pretend everything is okay rather than attempt to explain why it is not. Although, I do like the “spoon” theory explanation. It is living with limitations beyond what is the “average”. It is “paying the price” for doing things that countless, healthy others can do, freely, without physical, emotional, etc. cost.

I do put my trust in the Lord and ask, some days beg, for relief. I know, and I can tell you, His timing is perfect. I preach to myself, and to you, do not give up hope! Do not lose heart!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Hello, My Name is... Blog hop/ Comment Day

You know those bumper stickers that ask the question, "How am I driving?" and then give you a 1-800-Call-Now number so you can comment on their skills and their manners? That is exactly what the COMMENT section is for on a blog. It is the reader's opportunity to connect with the author, and it is very important to us. Speaking for myself, I want to know how I'm doing. I want to know which posts connect with your spirit, your soul or your funny bone. Every comment is meaningful and brings a smile to my face- in fact I consider each one to be a gift. Getting a comment is like opening a Christmas present- full of joy and excitement! And I think this is true for most bloggers. Yet this blog is visited by an average of around 275 people a day, and the comments are often few and far between. I know of others who get far more visits and even fewer comments. And that is why I dreamed up Comment Day. It is a day to be intentional about leaving comments- not just here, but on every blog you read today. Even if it just to say "thanks," I hope this day will inspire you to leave a note for the writers of the blogs you enjoy. (Carl Jones. I'd Laugh...But All This Happened To Me. "How Am I Doing?" 2011. http://youthguy07.blogspot.com/2011/09/how-am-i-doing-comment-day-5.html.)
I echo Carl in that comments are a great way to interact with a blogger, etc. Sure, I can see how many people visit this blog, though not quite as many as Carl, but I too wonder when I do not receive any comments. Who is visiting? Are they people or programs? So, this, "Hello, My Name is..." blog hop/ comment day is a spin off from Carl's over at his blog. Please, make yourself comfortable. If you have some time to sit and relax, pour yourself a hot beverage and allow me to introduce you to some great bloggers!

Side Note: If any of these do not open in your current browser (i.e. Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, etc.) please try opening it in a different one. Thanks!

Also, if you are not sure what to do: 1. Visit some blogs. 2. Leave a comment. 3. And, leave a comment on this post. See you later, gator!

1. The Kennedy Adventures
2. MacGregor Literary
3. Trevin Wax
4. Inside Martyn's Thoughts
5. Freelance Writing Jobs
6. Rachelle Gardner
7. FaithWorld

And, one worth mentioning although it does not allow comments. Please feel free to "share" it, though, instead of leaving a comment.

8. Our Daily Bread

(Photo Information.)

Friday, January 22, 2016

Steampunk



There is a steampunk place in my area!  I want to go AND dress the part!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Throwback Thursday: There is No Truth in Him

Originally posted on 1 November 2006.

…From the very beginning [the devil] was a murderer and has never been on the side of truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he is only doing what is natural to him, because he is a liar and the father of all lies. (John 8:44.)

When you or someone you know is asked why you/they do not go to church, pray, read the bible, or are not close with our Father and/or praise Him openly, what answers do you give/get? Is it doubt, disobedience, a lack of desire or need, a lack of understanding (confusion), fear, resentment toward Christians who behave badly (hypocrites), suffering, persecution, anger toward God, or pride? All of which, by the way, are spawn from the devil. He produces all of this to thwart us from drawing near to our loving Father.

The Lord’s servant must not quarrel. He must be kind toward all, a good and patient teacher, who is gentle as he corrects his opponents, for it may be that God will give them the opportunity to repent and come to know the truth. And then they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who had caught them and made them obey his will. (1 Timothy 2:24-26.)

Is your heart hardened to Christ?

They do not believe, because their minds have been kept in the dark by the evil god of this world. He keeps them from seeing the light shining on them, the light that comes from the Good News about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God. (2 Corinthians 4:4.)

Those who hear the message about the Kingdom but do not understand it are like the seeds that fell along the path. The evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in them. (Matthew 13:19.)

I am afraid that your minds will be corrupted and that you will abandon your full and pure devotion to Christ – in the same way that Eve was deceived by the snake’s clever lies. (2 Corinthians 11:3.)

Do you hold grudges as satan encourages us to do?

When you forgive someone for what he has done, I forgive him too. For when I forgive – if, indeed, I need to forgive anything – I do it in Christ’s presence because of you, in order to keep satan from getting the upper hand over us; for we know what his plans are. (2 Corinthians 2:10-11.)

Does pride hold you at arm’s length to our Father?

He must be mature in the faith, so that he will not swell up with pride and be condemned, as the devil was. (1 Timothy 3:6.)

Give no opportunity to the devil!!! (Ephesians 4:27.)

Satan is a barrier between us and our Father and he will use every means necessary to keep us from our Father’s loving arms. To keep us in doubt, disobedient, lacking desire, need, and understanding, resentful, angry, and proud instead in our Father’s loving, warm, soft, cozy, safe, satisfying, joyful, and peaceful embrace.

We have the story before us. We know what satan wants, we know how satan gets what he wants, and we know who wins the battle in the end. On which side are you willing to fight?

Be alert, be on watch! Your enemy, the devil, roams around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Be firm in your faith and resist him, because you know that your fellow believers in all the world are going through the same kind of sufferings. But after you have suffered for a little while, the god of all grace, who calls you to share his eternal glory in union with Christ, will himself perfect you and give you firmness, strength, and a sure foundation. To Him be the power forever! Amen. (1 Peter 5:8-11.)

(Photo information: Bing Images)

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Backstage at the Ballet

Short Descriptive Narrative
Fiction

The mazes wind and stretch throughout the building peppered with dressing rooms. The prop room lurks quietly off in the shadows. One need not venture in there unless as a hand helping to change scenes. The stage manager perches diligently at one of the legs with a clear view of the stage. The performance, a book of cues, etc. sprawled out before her illuminated by a tiny light that splashes across the pages. Her eye carefully evaluating each note and every dancer before her. Her words spoken softly yet full of weight and concentration. They drip heavily from her lips and fall on the ears of the production crew. A buzz of activity, beautiful choreography in its own right, fills the wings and dark crevices surrounding. Each performer and prop ready for their cue. The air is charged with energy and electricity.

The orchestrator’s wand bounces and dances in his hand. Notes of pure euphoria fill the concert hall and softly caress each patron like a great wind brushing past delicate, exposed skin. It consumes every available space. It tip toes over obstacles, flits through the mazes, and creeps into the dressing rooms.

Costumes with fabric so light and elegant linger gingerly like a partner waiting for a dance. Considerable plates of glass flooded by light and pulsing heat stare back at scrutinizing gazes. Every line drawn precisely. A work of art full of color and elegance. A channel of charcoal or cobalt flows beyond the edges enhancing God given features. Or perhaps they are made to look like wrinkles on a weathered face or marks likes those on an animal. Brushes of thick liquid cover dainty lashes, extending them. With each blink they beat like fans reminiscent of a peacock’s tail. Adhesive binds false lashes mixed about the natural. They are interwoven and create a broad, thick forest of black. A thin line of red follows succulent curves, meticulously dividing pink from shades of brown. A row of white teeth are framed by robust, plump lips. Not to mention cheeks so rosy, bright lights cannot wash them out. Every wisp of hair is captured and imprisoned in a tight bun.

As the performance continues, fog from the stage floods the stairway leading down to stage right and left. It lurks about and rolls along the floor devouring everything in its path. Dancers wade into it forcing billows into the air. They seemingly vanish only to spring upward and then, once again, disappear. They reach out as though drowning or being dragged into a foggy grave. Exquisite talent encased in a shell of comedy. Cackles of laughter rise from a pond of mist. It swells like waves in the depths of a peaceful sea. Continuously it pours out until it is no more and the show goes onward.

Slippers and bathrobes give way to costumes and pointe shoes. The audience is waiting and the stage is calling.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Random iPod Playlist Time

It is random iPod playlist time! I'm going to hit shuffle on my playlist and see which songs come up. Here we go!

1. Blvd of Broken Dreams by Green Day


2. Turn Down for What by DJ Snake & Lil Jon


3. How Great is Our God by Chris Tomlin


4. Some Nights by Fun


5. It Is Well With My Soul by Sandi Patty


6. Come Baby Come by The Hit Crew


7. Celebrity Skin by Hole


8. Take On Me by A-ha (Best video EVER, by the way!)


9. Cotton Eyed Joe by Starsound


10. Where I Belong by Building 429


And, there you go! It's quite a mix on my playlist!

Be the Change


(Photo Information: Bing Public Domain)

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Hello, My Name Is... Blog Hop/ Comment Day

Welcome, one and all, to the second installment of “Hello, my name is…” blog hop/ comment day! (Thunderous applause.) This gets its roots from “Comment Day” over at the “I’d Laugh…But All This Happened To Me” blog. So, pour yourself a hot beverage, on a cold day, and allow me to introduce you to some people! (This is not, currently, a linky.)

Side Note: If any of these do not open in your current browser (i.e. Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, etc.) please try opening it in a different one. Thanks!

Also, if you are not sure what to do: 1. Visit each blog listed below. 2. Leave a comment. 3. And, leave a comment on this post. Catch you on the flip side!

1. Kellee Art Design Studio
2. The SITS Girls
3. Books & Such Literary Management
4. In Which We Start Anew
5. Mrs. Erica's Blog
6. Campfire Cowboy Ministries

These blogs do not appear to have a "comments" section but I did want to include them, anyway! You can "share" instead of comment if the mood strikes you.

7. Desiring God
8. Challies Dot Com
9. I’m a Full-time Mummy
10. Just My Thoughts

(Photo Information.)

Flashback Friday: That Time I Was On an Episode of "Felicity"

When I lived in Long Beach, California (CA) I used to do "extra" work on television shows. Pretty much I was just a person in the background. However in one episode of the show "Felicity", which aired from 1998-2002, I had a "featured extra" roll. If you are not familiar with "Felicity", it was created by J.J. Abrams and Matt Reeves. The episode I worked on was written by J.J. Abrams, Matt Reeves, and Jennifer Levin. It was directed by Barnet Kellman.

Season two, episode two "The List" originally aired on October 3, 1999. Filming for the park scene took roughly four hours and was so short, 35:21 to 36:17, when it aired. You cannot even see my face but I am at 35:37 to 35:41 of the actual episode.  Yep, that's me, hugging a guy (another extra I had just met).

video

Friday, January 15, 2016

Battling Fear of the Unknown

Law school is approaching. I am in my last year of undergrad and already I am having a challenging time juggling school and being mom. How much more difficult is it going to become as I prepare for the LSAT (law school entrance exam), find a law school, and keep moving forward? The other day, I stood for a moment, completely still. I was reminded of the part in the movie adaptation of Pride and Prejudice where Elizabeth is standing in front of a mirror just staring at her reflection, contemplating her life. I can see myself doing the same, wondering the day away deep in thought.

Not to mention, it is easy to get washed away by an overwhelming feeling regarding it all. Not so much the last year of undergrad part. I am ready and super grateful for that! But, during that time I have to prepare for the LSAT, find out when the test dates are and reserve my spot, take the exam, pass it, find a law school, apply to it, get accepted, enroll, get my children and myself to school each day, get home in time to pick them up, get them to their extra-curricular activities, study and fulfill my class obligations, intern, graduate, prepare for and pass the bar exam, and then find a job! Phew, it is enough to make me want to go the paralegal route and call it a day!

Searching for a law school alone has proven to be quite daunting. But, I know, I need to be prayerful about it. Currently, the closest match to what I need appears to be St. Mary's School of Law. It is cheaper than University of Texas at Austin and Baylor, has a higher percentage of applicants they accept, and a decent passage percentage when it comes to the bar exam. The only catch is the commute! It would be like the one from Sacramento, California (CA) to San Francisco, CA or a little more than Orlando, Florida (FL) to Daytona Beach, FL. In other words about an hour and a half to two hours. Now, I used to spend two hours in traffic, in Los Angeles, when I would go to dance auditions. But that was not every day or even twice a week. However, I know there are many who spend hours on their commute to work or on the train or bus to their job or school. So, who am I to complain?

My books for spring semester arrived, yesterday, and I am reminded classes begin on Tuesday, January 19th. I have been rather enjoying my time off! Further, I cannot decide if it is better to get one’s higher education as an adolescent or an adult. To be honest, each has its pros and cons and life experience seems to do wonders for a person! Not to mention maturity. I care a great deal more about my grades and succeeding, now, than I ever did as an adolescent. Life has added a “failure is not an option” element that cannot be ignored. Doing something when I am the only one affected is one thing but completing a task that involves others, say my children, changes things. The dynamic and motivation is altogether different! Making a better life for us, contributing to their future, etc. drives me.

Though the next year and a half is going to be a bit up in the air and the unknown can be intimidating and alarming, I am thankful beyond words God has provided this opportunity for me! He placed the yearning in my heart to help children as an attorney for them, not just an advocate as I once was, and I trust His guidance.

11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the LORD, (Jeremiah 29:11-14a. ESV.)

The Blog Hop Revisited

Last Saturday, was the first “Hello, my name is…” blog hop/ comment day. For me, it was a success in that I felt completely inspired as I visited other blogs! I am now eager to get to writing new material. I believe, in part, that is what a blog hop is all about…that and meeting new people. It is not only a great way to network but also a way to make lasting relationships.

Four of the bloggers, whose links I included, are individuals I know in person. #1, Carl, is my former youth pastor. #2, Teresa, is a fellow former youth member from FUMC where I grew up. #3, Kelley, is a fellow ballerina who I knew growing up. We attended the same dance studio. And, #6, Jason, and I went to the same high school and youth group for a time. All four of them are truly wonderful people! The three remaining bloggers, I met online and find their blogs enriching. #4, Ms. Donna, I met on Google Plus and bought one of her books. #5, Jason, I met on Twitter and though I have never caught up with him in person, Carl (#1) has and I am certain they had a great time! #7, Mizweatherby, I also met on Twitter and love interacting with her. She is hilarious! Which reminds me how much I miss Tweeting with these Tweeps. I hope I said that right! It sounded better in my mind.

Further, while I am at it, I might as well give my input about all things social networks…well, the ones I like, anyway. So, here is my Five Word Social Network Reviews:

1. Facebook: Is for people you know.
2. Twitter: For people you don’t know.
3. Instagram: Pictures are wonderful to see.
4. Google Plus: Because FB is a pain!
5. Youtube: Videos are hilarious to watch.
6. Linked In: Professional site for working adults.
7. Pintrest: Where creativity meets the everyday.

And, there you have it!

I hope you will join me each week for the “Hello, my name is…” blog hop/ comment day so I can continue to introduce you to some really interesting people! With such a vast world wide web, it is difficult to stumble upon all of the incredible individuals, stories, and nuggets of information there are at our fingertips!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Lost But Now Found

(Originally posted on 30 July 2006.)

As Saul was coming near the city of Damascus, suddenly a light from the sky flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul! Why do you persecute me?"

“Who are you, Lord," he asked.

“I am Jesus, whom you persecute," the voice said.

The men who were traveling with Saul had stopped, not saying a word; they heard the voice but could not see anyone. Soul got up from the ground and opened his eyes, but could not see a thing. So they took him by the hand and led him into Damascus. For three days he was not able to see, and during that time he did not eat or drink anything. There was a Christian in Damascus named Ananias who was asked by the Lord to go see Saul. So Ananias went, entered the house where Saul was, and placed his hands on him. "Brother Saul," he said, "the Lord has sent me – Jesus himself, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here. He sent me so that you might see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit."
(Acts 9:3-5, 7-10, 17 & 18.)

I feel, often times, it seems the people in the bible and their lives are so distant from our own and perhaps leaves us asking, “Does God still do things the same way today as He did then?”

How do you feel about the story above? How does your life relate to this story?

After Ananias explained to Saul why he was there, he placed his hands on Saul’s eyes and Saul was able to see. He went out immediately and began telling others that Jesus is the Son of God.
All who heard him were amazed and asked, "Isn’t he the one who in Jerusalem was killing those who worship that man Jesus? And didn’t he come here for the very purpose of arresting those people and taking them back to the chief priests?" But Saul’s preaching became even more powerful, and his proofs that Jesus was the Messiah were so convincing that the Jews who lived in Damascus could not answer him. (Acts9:21 & 22.)
Saul had a change of heart and because of his experience was an excellent voice for Christ.

Like Saul, our Father and Christ use things in our lives to get our attention and no one is beyond our Father’s reach. Saul persecuted Christians. He dragged them from their homes, arrested them, threatened to kill them, and tormented them. Yet, our Father called his son to come back and stand by his side…and Saul went.

I was involved in a rollover car accident that potentially could have killed me and someone else I love dearly. The paramedic on site stated he was amazed our vehicle held up as well as it did because it was in his experience that normally the roof of the vehicles crumble completely. It is because of my experience that I can tell you without a single shadow of doubt in my heart that our Father STILL does things today as he did them in biblical times. I was spared. My love one was spared. My Father loves us so much that despite a few cuts, bumps, and bruises, my love one and I walked away from that accident unharmed.

“Father," the son said, "I have sinned against God and against you. I am no longer fit to be called your son." But the father called to his servants. "Hurry!" he said. "Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and shoes on his feet. Then go and get the prize calf and kill it, and let us celebrate with a feast! For this son of mine was dead, but now he is alive; he was lost, but now he has been found." And so the feast began. (Luke 15:21-24.)

(Photo information: Bing Images)

Charles is Taken From Jane

Short Narrative
Fiction
Movie Fanfiction

His heart felt as though it was going to burst inside his chest as he looked out the window of the carriage. He felt sick with a heavy heart and the color drained from his face. Tears of regret stung his eyes and threatened to flow. How could he leave? Why was he listening to his friend and sister? So what if they did not agree with his decision. He wanted her by his side that day and every day thereafter. A flicker of anger sparked deep within him. Why were his wishes being overruled? Why did his pleas fall on deaf ears? He did not know her very well and neither did they. So why were their opinions greater than his?

He watched as the scenery went by and changed before his eyes. When he closed them all he could see was her face. The slight upturn of her nose. The way her fine hair gently touched her face in wispy strands that had escaped her bun. Her lips, a delicate light pink and slightly plump. He smiled as he thought of the way she bit her lip when she concentrated on something. The light flutter of her eyelashes which accented her crystal blue eyes. He could not get her out of his mind. How was he going to pass the time without her, without the chance of seeing her? Charles looked at his sister Caroline. A victorious smirk crawled across her face and threatened to break into a smile of satisfaction.

Each passing minute felt like an hour as he tried to convince himself he did not have to see her. Absence would only make their feelings for each other stronger, he told himself. Certainly he was on her mind as well! He had to be! How could she have any doubts of his desire for her? Each bump the carriage hit in the road was felt deep in his gut. His head was beginning to ache. But it could never hurt as excruciatingly as his heart. Tomorrow he would wake in a new place and it would be the start of a life without her! His stomach churned with worry. His heart pumped the blood through his veins quicker and harder. Maybe he could break away from his friend and sister and make his way back to her. In his thoughts her flowing dress danced about in the breeze as though trying to escape her. He recalled the softness of the ribbon he had dared to touch when no one was looking. It slithered through his fingers. His face became hot and flushed with color as this memory lingered. Oh how he wanted to dance with her again so he could feel her hand in his.

Now that he knew her, how could he ever remove her from his mind? She would haunt his dreams day and night. His unspoken hope was that he would consume hers, as well.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Taking a Page From Kellee's Book

I do believe I am going to take a page from my friend Kellee's book and work on my art, of writing, often. If you are unfamiliar with Kellee Art, I encourage you to check out her website http://www.kelleeriley.com/! Her work is amazing! Not only that, Kellee is a fantastic person! We attended the same dance studio, growing up, and she even sang at my wedding! I honestly do not recall a time when I did not see a sketchbook in her hands. It seemed she was, and probably still is, always drawing.

This is where I would like to be more like her. I want to develop my craft and fine tune my skills. I am going to start writing short stories, not just non-fiction blog posts and school assignments, and work on them often! I have neglected this area of my life for long enough, and for no good reason! So, here is to 2016 and dedicating more of myself to my art.


Painters Paint and Writers Write

Have you ever known an artist? I know a few. One I've known since childhood and there is not a moment I can recall when she did not have a sketchbook in her hands. She was always drawing, when she was not in ballet class, etc. As I sit and watch a television show, there is an artist represented by one of the characters. She is often shown painting. Painters paint and writers write. I suppose you could say I feel compelled to write. It is one thing I have done all my life.

But, will my writing ever amount to anything? What purpose does it serve, if any? Perhaps it is simply because I cannot help myself. I remember attempting to write fiction manuscripts when I was a child. They always seemed to be mysteries...horror type thrillers, I dare say...though on an elementary or middle school level. Generally, I read and write non-fiction these days however do wander back to fiction, and poetry, from time to time.

I wish I could draw stunning pictures or be an actor and bring characters to life. But, I am a writer, and a ballerina. I can perform for you the dance of the Sugarplum Fairy or choreograph a piece for you and write you a descriptive narrative or some poetry. Speaking of poetry, I am reminded of the conversation between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth which goes like this,
“I have been used to consider poetry as "the food of love" said Darcy.

"Of a fine, stout, healthy love it may. Everything nourishes what is
strong already. But if it be only a slight, thin sort of inclination, I
am convinced that one good sonnet will starve it entirely away.”
(Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice)

If only I could write beautiful romance novels like Jane Austen. But what about God’s word? Is that not the most breathtaking piece about love there is in this world? Someone once mentioned, “God chose to give us His word in writing.” Not by listening or any other form, but reading. From this perspective, I am honored to possess the desire for writing. Further, I am thankful for the hunger and yearning to compose testimony about God’s word, as I experience it in my life.

“But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.”‬ (Colossians‬ ‭3:8-10‬ ‭ESV.)

Colossians 3:8-10 was the memory verse for the bible study with my kiddos, yesterday. In their book, however, it is phrased like this,
But now is the time to get…clothed…with a brand-new nature that is continually being renewed as you learn more and more about Christ, who created this new nature within you.

As I learn more about Christ and His love and God in His entirety, I find myself drawn to share it. Not in a lecture sort of way but rather more like exciting news I cannot keep to myself. My writing has morphed a lot over the past years. I am certain one can see it going back to the beginning of this blog in 2006 and looking over some of the posts. I enjoy it so much and pray there will never come a day when the creativity dries up and I am unable to jot down a single sentence.

Wordless Wednesday: Life with Small Dogs


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

When Our Children Need Jesus

I actually had a different post lined up for today but then I read something and it sparked me to present this one. Children in church is a controversial issue, to a degree, it seems. Some churches offer “children’s church” during worship services so kiddos have their own, age appropriate class to which to go. When I was a child, “Sunday school” was between the two services so I attended both until I felt I had outgrown “Sunday school” and then asked if I could only attend worship service and skip out on the other. When I was a young child, however, I used any means necessary (i.e. daydreaming, coloring, writing, drawing, playing with toys, digging through my purse, even on occasion sleeping) to keep me occupied during what was then a “boring sermon”. It was not until I understood what God and Jesus meant to me that I started really paying attention.

Today I feel as though children are almost being forced to grow up, in certain ways, too fast. Or, unreasonable expectations of sitting still for an hour or so and being quiet are placed on them. Young children are not designed to do this as adults can. They are wired to play and be active. When they are around 12 or so, then more responsibility in this area is reasonable. To be honest, I almost stopped attending a congregation once because the lady behind me made a rude remark about how one of my children played during church “instead of pay attention”. Petty, one might think, to leave a church congregation and find another because of that! But, I did not and do not want my children to feel negative about being at church! I do not want it to become a bad taste in their mouth. And, if I had to switch congregations to accomplish that goal, then I would.

My children attend church every week just as I did as a child. God promises His word NEVER returns void! Just because they are, or I was, not looking at the pastor does not mean they are, or I was, not listening! Thank you, Lord Jesus, you do not judge a book by its cover but rather look into the heart! Infants and toddlers sometimes cry or talk loudly during service. Sometimes the parent has to go into the “nursery” or stand in the back to continue listening with their child. Sometimes they have to come up with creative ways to get their adolescent or young adult to continue attending church. The point, the bottom line, is they are there…getting nourishment for their souls! God calls us to be faithful and He takes care of the rest. He changes hearts.

There are, as I understand it, four main parenting styles. There is the authoritarian who says how it is going to be and there are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. There is the authoritative parent who sets rules and guidelines and then allows the child(ren) to operate freely inside them. There is the permissive parent who gives the child free rein to largely find his/her own way and offers some suggestions, maybe. And, lastly there is the neglectful parent who does not care for his/her child in any way, shape, or form but rather “neglects” him/her. As it applies to the topic of children in church, I tend to take the authoritative route. I set age appropriate regulations and permit the child some wiggle room. If that offends some, I apologize and could certainly seat my family in a different section. But unkind remarks are never necessary. I feel that should be across the board. My children are older, now, and attend their own service lead by their youth pastor, each week...where God's word is applied to the challenges they face as adolescents.

I was reminded of a post by one of my fellow bloggers who wrote,
New Garden Friends Meeting was a very eclectic place, with people of all ages and many places along the theological spectrum. David always knew how to challenge us all. He taught us about the Bible, about social justice, about Quakerism and about what it means to truly follow Christ. When people criticized him for allowing his son Jeff to wear his baseball hat in worship, David taught us all by explaining how Jeff would take the hat off himself when he understood he was in the presence of God. And sure enough, Jeff did just that! (By Carl Jones. "I'd Laugh...But All This Happened To Me." "Influences- David Bills".)
You see, there comes a point where there is a change of heart and of behavior. I believe we must be patient, encouraging, supportive, and guide with grace and a gentle touch not a harsh tongue.
1 A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1. ESV.)

1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
5 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
(Matthew 18:1-6. ESV.)

Monday, January 11, 2016

Domo Arigato Mr....Galaga: We Built a Robot

Over the past two weekends we have been working on assembling a robot. This fabulous Christmas gift came in a carefully organized box of 600 parts! Four days and many hours later, we finished it! I present to you, Galaga!

It all comes in an organized box.




I have robot eyes!




It stands 2 ft/ 61 cm tall.

Getting it all wired up.
video

This was a great family project!


Saturday, January 09, 2016

Hello, My Name Is...Blog Hop!

Today, I have picked up a torch and I'm going to run with it. "Comment Day" originally began with Carl Jones over at his blog "I'd Laugh...But All This Happened To Me!". His blog is currently idle however "Comment Day" lives on, with a twist. Here, at my blog, I am calling it "Hello, my name is..." and it is a blog hop/ comment day! So without further ado, let's get this party started. This "magical mystery tour is ready to take you away"! Don't forget to leave a comment at each blog!

Side Note: If any of these do not open in your current browser (i.e. Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, etc.) please try opening it in a different one. Thanks!

Also, if you are not sure what to do: 1. Visit each blog listed below. 2. Leave a comment. 3. And, leave a comment on this post. Have fun!

1. I'd Laugh...But All This Happened To Me!
2. Teresa Tysinger .com
3. Mommy Blast
4. Donna Perugini Children's Author
5. Changed By Grace .net (This one seems to work best in Firefox.)
6. Intentional Christian Living
7. The Worst Preacher's Wife Ever

You never know who you are going to meet or what new, exciting things you might learn!

(Photo Information.)

Friday, January 08, 2016

Suffering is Not Exactly What We Had in Mind

This Christmas I received a gift, from my aunt and uncle, of the book extreme devotion published by “The Voice of the Martyrs”. Although this is day eight of the new year, I am going to go ahead and start this bible study a little late. But, I suppose, better late than never.

19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. (Ephesians 6:19-20. ESV.)

“Most Christians would admit that suffering is not exactly what we have in mind when we say we want to be used by God.” – The Extreme Devotion Writing Team, The Voice of the Martyrs

This bible study is different in that in addition to God’s word it also takes the reader into the lives of those who have suffered for loving Christ Jesus and sharing God’s word with others. It grips us by the hand, and heart, and leads us to other places around the world where followers of Christ are hated by various groups and individuals for their faith and introducing Christ Jesus to others.

18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. (John 15:18-21. ESV.)

Have you ever suffered because of your faith, perhaps at school, at work, or at home? Today’s reading spoke of a man who was imprisoned for distributing books from a Christian publisher. Maybe you have not experienced prison, because of your faith, but rather harsh words, assault and battery, threats, etc.

I feel this is a difficult subject to study and on which to write. The portion today included imprisonment but there are others who have been beaten, tortured, crucified, shot at, executed in various ways, burned at the stake, taken from their family, etc. It is enough to leave one’s heart truly heavy and in eager anticipation for the day when there will be no more death, no more sadness, and no more suffering.

4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4. ESV.)

Oh Lord, how I cannot wait for that day!

Thursday, January 07, 2016

What God Has Taught Me Through Marriage

Today’s post is a continuation, in a way, of the one from yesterday. Someone once pondered out loud to me, “Why do our spouses marry us and then try to change us?” I have heard this question posed before but it was not until recently I had an answer I thought fit. It is my opinion we are not the same person in marriage as we were before it. Therefore, there is going to be change. A player who is drafted into the NFL has important qualities yet cannot continue completely playing as he did before, he becomes part of a new team and has to adjust accordingly. I believe it is fair to say the same or something similar can be said about marriage. A team is formed and as the saying goes, “There is no ‘I’ in team.” Though, of course, there is no need to lose or forget oneself completely.

I have grown deeper in my faith and have a stronger connection with God since I got married. Here I am going to discuss a few of the first things that spring to mind that God has taught me.

Prayer
This one is HUGE and the #1 thing God showed me when I asked. I came to a point in my marriage in 2010 when I did not know what to do next or where to go from there. God’s answer for me was prayer and He sent my prayer warrior aunt, who I love dearly, to show me how it is done! Among many things, she bought me a book, How to Pray by R.A. Torrey. The book was really just supplemental to what I learned from her, in person. And, she is an amazing woman of prayer! I could spend all day, 7 days a week/ 365 days a year, in prayer with her and Jesus!

He is my Provider
No matter what, God has provided! When my husband and I were living paycheck to paycheck, were flat broke, and had no idea how we were going to buy groceries or pay our next bill, a check would show up in the mail. When we got hit with a large, unexpected expense, once, my husband’s bonus had been twice what he expected and was more than enough to cover the debt. These are only two examples of countless ways the Lord has provided for us and our children. He always does! No matter what!

His Timing is Perfect
This is the area in which I struggle the most! I have a hard time just “being still” and waiting on God. But He has taught me His timing and His ways are perfect, even though I may not understand! There are countless times when I beg and plea with Him in prayer but do not see an answer or hope. That, of course, does not mean nothing is happening! I just do not see it, myself, at the time. However, I am repeatedly reminded of this truth!
10 “Be still, and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10. ESV.)

I Can Do All Things Through Christ
As I touched on, yesterday, I am a much stronger person today than I have ever been! Further, that strength comes from Christ. The truth,
13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13. ESV.)
is another one that has been shown to me time and again. And, I do not boast in myself but rather in the Lord!
9 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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10. ESV.)

Service to Others/ Dying to Self
God’s instruction is very diverse in that we learn in many different ways. Perhaps an example could be the time Jesus was on a boat, resting, when a storm arose and frightened the passengers. They woke Jesus and He calmed the storm even though they had nothing to fear because He was with them. I am sure that is a lesson those individuals never forgot. Likewise, I feel God continues to teach through experiences and consequences, though mainly through His word.

Dying to self might be a difficult one to learn.
20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose. (Galatians 2:20-21. ESV.)
What in the world does it even mean? It is my opinion “dying to self” means putting away foolish pride. Not always, often, or ever having to be right. Not always, often, or ever having things my way. Not always, often, or ever having the last word. It is taking no offense but instead placing those ruffled feather feelings in the back seat and letting love, empathy, understanding, forgiveness, and tolerance along with wisdom drive. It is, as I mentioned yesterday, putting Jesus first, others second, and myself last.

I echo what I said, yesterday, in that
I read, somewhere, church is "a hospital for sinners"...and marriage is made up of two sinners. Further, that sin could be ANYTHING ranging from lust to deceit, from ungodliness to hatred, from gossip and/or slander to drug abuse and/or alcoholism, from selfishness to adultery, from pride and/or discontentment to verbal, mental, and/or physical abuse, from worldliness to a lack of self-control. All sin is "big sin"...just a tiny drop contaminates everything!

With that said, selflessness and wisdom are HUGE in marriage. Biblical men are called to love, as they would their own body, and lead their wives and families whereas biblical women are called to "help", like the Holy Spirit, and respect their husbands. Both rolls are VERY important and it is HARD, relentless work! I, personally, can see how an unequally yoked couple could, and most likely will, become overwhelmed and exhausted from battling sin. Selflessness, wisdom, service and forgiveness are essential!

Being a Good Steward
I have always wanted to be a good steward of all God gives me. But, I believe my marriage has enhanced that even more and I ask God for the means to be able to assist those who are in need. Mainly, I focus on the “widows and orphans” but I also respond when God makes others known to me, as well.

Working very carefully with finances takes great effort. What should be spent? What is better to save? How much goes toward tithing? And what about investing in one’s retirement? Rich or poor, the struggle is intense!
23 And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”… 30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first. (Matthew 19:26 & 30. ESV.)

I was a lost sheep leading up to and when I got married. I had wondered off but, as promised, the Good Shepherd left the rest of the flock to come get me. And, through my marriage, He has drawn me closer to Him than ever before.
4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. (Luke 15:4-7. ESV.)

Blogging Shenanigans for 2016

For 2016, I am shaking things up a bit at this blog. I have decided to pay more attention to this space and spend less time on social networks. I am going to reinstate things like "Wordless Wednesday" and implement new things like "Throwback Thursday" or "Flashback Friday", the comment day blog hop, random iPod playlist moments, a "featured post", etc. This is all in the hopes of livening things up a tad. This is my own special place for my own particular use. I should utilize it more! But, for now, I leave you with this:

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

What My Husband Has Taught Me Through Marriage

Marriage is no easy task. I am fairly certain most will agree. Some, have married their best friend while others, have married an individual the exact opposite of him or herself. When I go to a search engine and look up information about marriage, numerous articles are presented. Some stating the divorce rate in the United States is on a decline. Others offer up the top reasons why marriages fail and suggestions on how to keep them solid. Regardless, I think it is safe to say, no one plans on getting divorced when he/she gets married. Further, couples might not have a full grasp on what it takes to stay married. For me it has been, and continues to be, a constant adjustment or adapting to this “stranger” I vowed to “honor and obey” for the rest of my life. I will say, I was relatively young when I got married, 22 years old, and only knew my spouse for one year before tying the knot.

From time to time I think about what I have learned, thus far, from my marriage. Today, I have chosen to focus on what my husband has taught me and tomorrow I will highlight how God has grown me using my marriage of sixteen, going into seventeen, years.

Strength
I am, by far, a stronger person now than I have ever been and I have my husband to thank for it! I have been well informed limitations are only in my mind. When I challenge myself, push the envelope, keep going when I want to quit, I reach new heights I never knew were possible! This is not in a prideful way of seeking power but rather in an endurance and durability type way, if that makes sense. I have discovered tenacity, perseverance, and determination I otherwise never would have known. I have found my strength is not in myself, though, but in Christ who gives it to me (Philippians 4:13).

Independence
My husband has shown me the art of independence…how to not fear, how to be fully accountable and self-sufficient, how to not let unexpected life events deter me but instead keep pushing forward without looking back. I know, without a doubt, where there is a will there is a way and many times I have to think outside the box and be a little creative. I have learned if an emergency situation was to arise and my husband was no longer able to work, protect, or provide for our family, I can hold down the fort.

Selflessness and Service
I believe finances are a sticky or even "hot" topic in any marriage. My husband has impressed upon me how important it is to have and follow a budget and to know your limitations...for many reasons. Not only to help "keep the peace" but also so one can serve others. If there are no funds available, how can one assist those in need? As I mentioned before, I was fairly young when I got married and was used to spending the money I earned however I saw fit. I had only myself for whom to care. Marriage, to me, is about collaboration and that may take a lot of practice!

I read, somewhere, church is "a hospital for sinners"...and marriage is made up of two sinners. Further, that sin could be ANYTHING ranging from lust to deceit, from ungodliness to hatred, from gossip and/or slander to drug abuse and/or alcoholism, from selfishness to adultery, from pride and/or discontentment to verbal, mental, and/or physical abuse, from worldliness to a lack of self-control. All sin is "big sin"...just a tiny drop contaminates everything!

With that said, selflessness and wisdom are HUGE in marriage. Biblical men are called to love, as they would their own body, and lead their wives and families whereas biblical women are called to "help", like the Holy Spirit, and respect their husbands. Both rolls are VERY important and it is HARD, relentless work! I, personally, can see how an unequally yoked couple could, and most likely will, become overwhelmed and exhausted from battling sin. Selflessness, wisdom, service and forgiveness are essential!

I have learned to put my husband’s needs and desires first. Next, those of my children. And, lastly my own. I recall reading about “J.O.Y.” Serving Jesus first, others second, yourself last. My marriage, works the best this way although it is, admittedly, a challenge for me. Right after I graduated high school I moved out of my parent’s house and was on my own for four, almost five, years. I had my own place, lived over sees for a bit, only consulted myself, came and went as I pleased, and did whatever I wanted. I answered to no one but God and only had to care for myself. My children, all of them, are a true blessing and I would not trade them for the world! My marriage has taught me humility, service to others, and what it means to be a good steward…among many other things.

Closeness to God
I am closer to God, now, than I ever have been thanks to my marriage and my husband. I read a published photo, one day, that stated, “Marry someone who makes you fall in love with God every single day.” And I can honestly say, I have. I am more in love with God than ever!

I was very close to God while I was in high school. I made a convenient with Him that I would remain virtuous throughout high school, which I did. I recall sitting on the trunk of my parent’s car, many days, gazing at the sky. I prayed to God, in my heart, thanking Him and beseeching Him to make me a warrior for Him. My cup runeth over. After graduation I attended a university, wandered away and got “lost”. I moved a few times. Worked oversees for a bit. And ultimately remained “lost” for ten years. But, as is His promise, Jesus came and found His lost sheep, me! Since then, I listen for His voice, recognize it, and follow Him fervently.

Because of my marriage and my husband, I have grown in my faith by leaps and bounds. Not since high school have I felt so close and devoted to God and His precious Son! Further, I am abundantly thankful I can train my children up right, so they will not depart from it.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

I lost a bet...

To finish out 2015 and welcome 2016, I am paying up on a bet I made in November. So, here it is. I apologize in advance! It is SO ridiculous!



GO GATORS!!!

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