Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How NOT to Wreck Your Life

Guardrails exist  for our safety and protection - to keep us from driving into a dangerous area or from plunging off a cliff. Now let's think about where these guardrails are. They are not IN the dangerous areas. They are strategically placed BEFORE those places that can really mess us up, right? The purpose of this is to help us avoid potential dangers.

When we look back on some of our own biggest wrecks it becomes obvious that we ignored those guardrails and drove straight towards the cliff. We disregarded the boundaries that were put in place to protect us and found ourselves lying in a pit or wrecked on the side of the road. 

These guardrails are firm boundaries meant to keep us on the road and to keep us from losing control. Wisdom works the same way. When we have a clear understanding of consequences and the positive or negative impact our choices can have, then we can avoid unhealthy situations and steer clear of potential dangers. We need to establish guardrails (boundaries) in our relationships and in our lives as a whole.

Now we all know that certain roads lead to danger zones regardless of our many beliefs or backgrounds. That's why society has made an attempt to set some boundaries and will say things like; "Drink Responsibly". But that's not really a solid guardrail is it? Because when people begin drinking they typically get past the point of being able to discern between what is responsible and what is not, don't they? Without a solid guardrail in place, the difference between responsible and not responsible often gets blurry...literally. So this is a trendy aspiration but it is not really a guardrail. A guardrail is: don't get drunk!

Or what about the equally well-intentioned statement; "Don't have sex until you're ready". Because if you ask most guys I am sure they will tell you that they were born ready! So this is yet another attempt at setting some boundaries but it's not a solid, immovable guardrail. It's not something firmly planted in your conscious. It's certainly not something that is going to keep you safe, physically, emotionally or spiritually. It's important to put up guardrails that won't have you looking back in regret saying; "If only I had not ignored the warnings." 

A guardrail would be to determine for yourself that you will not have friends with benefits, you won't watch pornography, you won't hook up with your boyfriend/girlfriend but that you will hold out for the best and enjoy a loving, lasting, regret-free relationship. Don’t allow yourself to be driven by impulses and appetites. When we let pride, lust and selfishness take the wheel, then we will find not only our own lives wrecked, but the lives of those we hurt along the way. Maybe a guardrail you need to put up in your life is to distance yourselves from people who are corrupting your character. Find friends that want to help you and encourage you to stay on track instead of leading you off the cliff.

There are many different roads we can take in life and it is up to each of us as individuals to decide whether we want to take the road full of potholes that leads to destruction and will totally wreck our lives OR the smooth-paved road that leads to fullness and freedom from regret. A wise person chooses the right road; a fool takes the wrong one. 

It’s important to remember that if you’ve taken a wrong turn somewhere along the way and found yourself on a bumpy, dead-end road…it’s NEVER too late to get back on the winning road. Your life is never totaled...there is nothing you can do, no amount of sin that would leave your life un-repairable. There's always hope for restoration through Jesus.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Heart to Heart: Displaced Devotion

I was listening to a webcast recently from Kyle Idleman and he talked about the subject of idols. (You know, all of those things that we make equal to or place above God?) And he shared a statement that sent shock waves through me. He said that we tend to take Christ off of the throne and put him on a loveseat with our idols. Think about that picture for a minute. We're talking about the King of Kings, the Creator of the Universe, the Almighty Savior who died for you and I. We've removed Him from His rightful throne and told him to share a couch with our sin. Or for some of us, we put that something or someone else in His place on the throne and don't even give Him a seat in our hearts at all.

What is it that you treasure most? What do you get the most joy out of? What is it that you spend the majority of your time focused on?  Is it a relationship? Money? Your career? Sex? Food? A sports team? Your appearance? Success? Pleasure? Who or what are you looking towards to satisfy you? What is it in your own life that you are putting before God? What are you making more valuable than Him? We can all fill in the blank with something that we have chosen to be first in our lives instead of God. I know I can. I unfortunately have put many things above him lately. But when I take an honest look into my own life, I can clearly see where my priorities have been grievously displaced. I have been asking these other things to do for me, what only God can do for me. I gave control over to these other passions and turned my worship from God  towards these lesser substitutes expecting to be satisfied.

Truth is that none of these things we put before God can save us. None of them can truly satisfy us. And none of them even compare to His glory. There is nothing wrong with enjoying things like relationships, success, etc. but it is when we allow these things to take center stage - to be the main focus in our lives - that is when they become idols and therefor are a distraction from God. We start to worship the gift instead of the Giver. Instead of allowing these gifts to enhance a deeper devotion to the One who blessed us with them in the first place we worship the gifts instead of God who gave them to us. God also gave us free will to choose where we place our devotion. And it is a decision we all must make for ourselves.

Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve...as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. -Joshua 24:15

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Heart to Heart: A Life Intended

Self-reflection is essential for personal growth. It is important for us to take an honest, introspective look at our own lives. Why? So that we can have a better understanding of our strengths and weaknesses as well as our purpose and goals. Too often we look to others as our comparison scale to see where we measure up, but it's really not fair to compare. Each of us are uniquely designed for an individual purpose and trying to fill another person's mold that we were not designed for is like a fish trying to climb a tree...we weren't created for that. The fact that we can't be like someone else doesn't make us more or less worthy, or talented, or desirable, it simply means we haven't embraced your ability to swim. We haven't acknowledged who we are and what we are capable of.

When we stop comparing ourselves to others and recognize our own natural, God-given purpose, then we will begin to live the fulfilling life that we were designed for...the life that God intended for us.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 
-Jeremiah 29:11

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Summertime Style

Being classy and modest is a choice. We as women CHOOSE what clothes we put on our body and we don't have to sacrifice style in order to dress modestly.

Here are a few examples of how to choose modesty this summer and still look stylish.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Nail Of The Day: Pink Dazzle

Today's NOTD is Avon's nailwear pro in "Nude and Infused" and Sally Hansen Gem Crush nail color in "Razzle Dazzler". This may be my new favourite combo. 

Nude and Infused reminds me a lot of Essie's "Lady Like" nail polish but has a subtle irridescent element to it that compliments the glitter nail well. It only took two coats to be opaque. Razzle Dazzler is a  gorgeous rose gold glitter with flecks of medium-sized silver glitter in it. Together I think these polishes make for a very classy manicure.

What do you think of this look? Would you wear it?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Prayer For The Weary

Heavenly Father,

Your Word says "those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint" (Isaiah 40:31). Please renew my strength; help me to be patient and live for You without becoming weary; help me to stand for what is right, to walk boldly with fortified faith. Thank You for Your promises. Thank You for lifting me up and sustaining me.

In Jesus' holy name.


Monday, April 23, 2012

FANTASY CLOSET: Transitional Floral

Casual meets cute in this relaxed but stylish everyday outfit. This look would be great for all-year-round. Just switch out the sandals for some flats, maybe add a jacket, cardigan or blazer and this would make a great transition style from spring/summer to fall/winter.

Neutral Floral

Thursday, April 12, 2012

How To: 5-Step Closet Makeover

1.) Edit Your Wardrobe 
For each item in your closet, ask yourself, "Would I buy this today?" and "Have I worn this in the past 12 months?" If the answer to either question is "no" then donate or toss it, depending on the condition.

2.) Arrange It Like A Boutique
Many shops arrange their clothing by item. Putting skirts with skirts, shirts with shirts, etc. will not only help your closet to look more uniformed but you will be able to find clothing items more easily if everything has it's place/category. If you want to take this a step further you can organize each category by color as well.

3.) Update It Seasonally
It's a good idea to reassess your wardrobe quarterly as a kind of inventory check so that you know what you should be shopping for throughout the year.

4.) Use Uniformed Organizing Solutions
Invest in all of the same kind of hangers and opt for clear or plastic boxes for a more uniformed, practical solution when organizing your closet.

5.) Stick To Your System
Recognize that staying organized is a learned habit, stay mindful of keeping your closet clean and organized and eventually it won't require much thought...staying organized will soon become second nature. Always put things back in their place immediately instead of waiting and doing it later because your closet is more likely to stay organized if you stay on top of it.

Happy Organizing! :)

image found HERE.

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Monday, April 2, 2012

10 Things I Would Tell My Teenage Self

If I could go back in time and tell my former, teenage self ten things to encourage and enlighten based upon what I know now through experience...that conversation would go a little something like this....

1.) All attention is not equal.  Wearing tiny skirts and low cut tops will attract attention...but it's not the attention you really want. People will turn their heads to look at a car wreck but it doesn't mean it's a good or positive thing to see. In the same way, dressing in revealing clothes may gain you attention but it doesn't give you what you really want...which is respect. Dressing modestly, on the other hand, is more like a shiny, polished, brand new car...attracting respect and awe. You choose how you want to represent yourself outwardly. Do you want to be the car wreck or the polished car?

2.) You are meant for so much more. What goes on inside those high school walls and within those high school days will not compare to the accomplishments and beautiful life that lay ahead of you. Don't get caught up in trends, popularity or peer pressure. They will fade, leave you feeling empty and can compromise your future.

3.) If you don't want anyone to find out, don't do it. If you feel the need to hide something, keep a secret or live in the shadows then chances are that something is not positive and could be potentially harmful to you or others. Live in the light.

4.) Sometimes your plans don't work out because God has better ones. God wants what is BEST for you. Seek His best even if that means His plan is not what you would have planned for yourself. It may take some time - maybe even years - for His full purpose to be revealed, but trust that He will never lead you wrong. Follow where He leads.

5.) Don't look back, you're not going that way. Everyone makes mistakes. Learn from them and move ahead.  Don't allow your past to hold you captive from pursuing a brighter future. It doesn't matter what you've done or where you've gone, all that matters is where you go from here.

6.) Smoking is NOT cool.  Your money, your health and your hygiene are literally going up in smoke. There is absolutely nothing beneficial about smoking. Don't waste your life on it.

7.) Stand for what is right...even if you stand alone. You can't please everyone. It's a fact of life. You can try to be popular in the eyes of others by simply going along with the crowd, but if you want to be a woman of character - one that can be truly admired - then there are times when you are going to have to choose boldness and risk criticism in order to do the right thing. But if your heart is in the right place, you will never be standing alone. Christ stands with you. Do not shy from who you truly are because of fear of abandonment or negative opinions from others. Don't lower to the world, raise toward heaven. God is easier to please than people are.

8.) Love can wait to give, lust can't wait to get. Having a sexual relationship outside of marriage is fundamentally a relationship for the present without any or little concern for the future of the relationship. This type of relationship is not total, but rather limited. Your future husband is waiting for you. He's been praying for you since he was nine-years-old. Trust me, he's worth waiting for.

9.) Singleness is NOT a curse. Being single is not some form of misfortune that you think you must get through before life can really begin. Enjoy that time to really discover who you are, what kind of contributions you can offer to this world that go beyond companionship. Give yourself time to grow into the woman God has created you to be and when love does come along (because it will) you will be able to share an already fulfilling life with that person. Think of it this way...if you were to write down a resume to give to your future husband what would you want to put on it? Use this time to build the qualities and skills that will shape you into a great wife..not a perfect wife, but one that strives to be a Proverbs 31 Woman. Look at singleness as training in faithfulness. Embrace this season in your life.

10.) You are enough. The world we live in is broken and throughout your  life you will hear all kinds of lies that tell you that you are not enough.  You are not thin enough. Your legs are not long enough.  Your clothes are not stylish enough.  Your chest is not big enough. You are not smart enough. You are not wealthy enough. You are not valuable enough. There is a beauty industry, a fashion industry, a television industry, along with all sorts of social groups and people that are trying to convince bright young women: your worth does not measure up. You must have the clarity and common sense to know that none of that is true. 

Don't let society and the things of this world influence you or trigger insecurities that will lead to you lowering your standards to less than God's best. You were created for a purpose. You have innate value. You are loved more than you could ever comprehend. There has never been, and there will never be another you. That's what makes you epic...makes you beautiful. You have unique contributions to offer the world and everyone will lose out if you are too fearful to share them. Fully embrace your uniqueness because you're the only one who can.

You are beautiful.  You are valuable.  You are enough.

What would YOU tell your former self if you could go back in time?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Heart To Heart: Draw From His Power

There are words in your Bible which have so much power in them that they're more effective than any therapy. God can illuminate a Scripture that goes back into the past and heals your wounds, gives you direction in the middle of despair, and provides hope for the future. Satan will try to fill your mind with so much junk that you don't have an appetite for God's Word. That's because he knows Scriptures unmask him, and release the potential lying dormant within you. Before Jeremiah rose to national prominence as a prophet, God told him two things: (1) "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you" (Jer 1:5 NIV). Your parents didn't get the first look at you, God did. Nothing about you surprises Him. In spite of what you've been through, He hasn't changed His mind about who you are or what you're destined to become. (2) "Before you were born I set you apart" (v. 5 NIV) You say, I've always felt different." That's because you are. Celebrate it! Stop looking for acceptance where you don't belong. You're on a mission for God; that's why the enemy has tried so hard to take you out. Once you understand that, your struggle will begin to make sense. As you study God's Word you'll begin to experience the mind-renewing, life-changing power He's deposited within you. "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us." So start drawing on that power today [1].

[1]. www.wordforyou.com

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

50 Fun & Cheap Date Ideas

Valentine's Day is not far away so here are 50 fun and inexpensive date ideas. These are not only great ideas, but great reminders that there are SO many ways we can express how much we love and care for someone without getting physically involved.

 Also, Valentine's Day is about celebrating love and is not just for romantic relationships. Many of these are designed for group dates so you don't have to have a significant other to enjoy these activities. Get a group of your friends together and have some fun!

How are YOU going to spend Valentine's Day this year?
  1. Catch a movie
  2. Go Ice Skating
  3. Indoor Golf
  4. Go skiiing
  5. Hiking or nature walks
  6. Go to a sporting event like a football or basketball game
  7. Have a game night (video, computer or board games)
  8. Karaoke (at an all ages karaoke club or start your own)
  9. Horseback riding
  10. ATV riding (check out places that offer rentals)
  11. Volunteer at a local animal shelter or at some other non-profit group (giving is so rewarding!)
  12. Have a group dinner (either go out to a restaurant or have a potluck-style/picnic meal together
  13. Bowling
  14. Music concert or go to the local theater and see a play
  15. Photo adventures (grab your friends and a camera and have fun capturing moments around town)
  16. Compete at Ping Pong
  17. Laser Tag
  18. Visit an art or science museum
  19. Check out your local Planetarium
  20. Card games
  21. Visit a nearby landmark (and bring your camera!)
  22. Go to a local nursing home (elderly people are full of stories and love visitors - you will feel good and have lots to talk about)
  23. Do a service project. (there are lots of opportunities to serve that give you an opportunity to see what kind of person your date is at heart.)
  24. Go to a thrift store and create characters with clothing and props you find there...this can turn into a hilarious good time!
  25. Create comedy or theater skits together (video tape them if you like)
  26. Have a bonfire
  27. Go for a bike ride
  28. Play a sport you both enjoy, like basketball or volleyball
  29. Go rock climbing (head to an indoor rock climbing gym)
  30. Browse the bookstore or visit the local library (talk about your favourite and least favourite reads)
  31. Take a creative class together (cooking, pottery, dance, martial arts etc. explore something new you might all enjoy)
  32. Go to local yard sales/flea markets and see what treasures you can find
  33. Indulge at a local coffee shop (talk over iced coffee at your favourite café. often coffee shops even have live music to enjoy)
  34. Go out for ICE CREAM! Not only is it a sweet treat, but it allows for sweet conversations too so you can get to really know each other better.
  35. Meet up for breakfast at your favourite morning restaurant
  36. Be a tourist in your own city (including taking cheesy pictures of each other!)
  37. Visit your local zoo or petting farm
  38. Go kart racing
  39. Go roller skating (or indoor ice skating)
  40. Learn a foreign language together
  41. Take a road trip (it doesn't have to be far, but explore a new town or city)
  42. Spend the day at an amusement park
  43. Go to a local fair or carnival together
  44. Start a book club where you all read and discuss a new book each week or month
  45. Go to church together. Most churches have a youth group that plan great group events where you can meet new people and you can both grow spiritually together.
  46. Have a pizza party. Where there's food you'll always have company!
  47. Go for a walk in a park or even around your own neighborhood
  48. Geocaching is a high tech version of hide and seek. (read a full description of what Geocaching is HERE)
  49. Share and listen to your favourite music together
  50. Start a band or learn a musical instrument together

Friday, January 27, 2012

Heart to Heart: Self Worth & Social Pressures

Women are being fed a very toxic script from society and from the media about who they are "supposed" to be. Women of all ages are ingesting the idea that they are only as valuable as they are sexually desirable. There is prime importance placed on our sexuality so it is no surprise that girls and women are acting out in sexual ways in order to attract attention and to validate their self worth. Whether it's dressing in "sexy" clothing or becoming sexually involved with guys outside of marriage.

This script about worth based on our sexuality really limits what it means to be a woman and to be a human being. It compartmentalizes females as just a collection of body parts and nothing more. But the truth is women are SO much MORE than that. Our value doesn't come from how sexually desirable or attractive we are. Our worth comes from the fact that we are unique, one-of-a-kind individuals created with great potential and purpose and who have been designed and are desired by our Creator.

We no longer have to seek approval, or attention from people because the knowledge that God loves us because of our intrinsic value and not our external attributes frees us from that need of social acceptance. The One who matters most (Jesus Christ), believes that WE (you and I) matter most, so the opinion of others (society, boyfriends, etc.) matters not. Once we understand that and accept that as truth then we can begin to free ourselves from social pressures.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

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