Tag Archives: Christianity

Women Sitting on a Suitcase

Moving Out

Some say moving out is a rite of passage for an adult. I say it depends on what kind of relationship you have with your parents.

 
Last week I moved away from home ( and by home, I mean my parents). Now I know what you’re thinking ” wait! how old are you? shouldn’t you have moved out like, way way way back when?”.

 
To that I respond – Nope!

 
I love living with people. I like that you come home to people who want to see you. I like the team work involved in creating a home. Budgeting, meal planning, sharing space, learning how to respect other, helping, and being a part of a team that creates… well, a family. That’s how it is in my family.

 
My mom and dad treat me like an adult. An individual, that does not agree with them on everything, but has their respect and confidence. It worked for us, but now I am on this adventure. I have no idea where God is taking me right now, but I am ready for his guiding hand to steer me in whatever direction he wants.

 
I just accepted a position in Carmel, CA ( I know, I know it’s a hard life living on the coast), and for the first time in my life, I will not be living with my parents. Which is kind of sad and exciting all at the same time.

 
It’s not like I’m alone here, in fact, I was born and raised on the Monterey Bay, and have hordes of family members around.

 
It will be different learning this new waltz, but like most new things, it’s worth the experience.

 
So here I come hometown! I am ready to church hop, and find a new place of worship and fellowship.

 
Let the adventure begin roomies!

Music and Lyrics

Have I ever told you that I am a musician? Probably not. But I love music. It soothes my soul, and allows me to express things in a way the releases pent up emotions, and lets me to tell a story ( which feeds the writer in me as well). Also, it’s basically in the blood. I grew up in a family that LOVES music. Mom sings, and dad sings and plays guitar. They were music ministers, and in my humble opinion, they were great at it.

 

I write lyrics, I sing, and I play the guitar.

 

 
I wanted nothing to do with playing music as a child. Sure I took piano for years (didn’t learn a darn thing), and I started playing guitar at thirteen. Way more into guitar. I’m a stringed instrument girl, but performing on a stage? That was my parents thing – not mine.

 

 
Right after collage I started writing music ( don’t worry this article is not my declaration that I am now going to leave all I know behind and become a rock star). I have always been a writer, but somehow never thought about writing lyrics until I was older.

 
When I first started writing songs I told no one. You know, coming from a musically inclined family makes you a bit more, shall we say – cautious.

 
Don’t get me wrong, I never feared my parents rejection or criticism of my work. What I didn’t want was the obligatory parental ” that was just great honey”.

 
Thank goodness that’s not what happened.

 
My parents hopped right in and started helping me with transitions, and lets me bounce ideas off them.

 
I still hate to perform. You will never find me on a stage unless I am being blackmailed. I lack the charisma, talent, and drive of a true performer.

 
I don’t suck, but you know, I’m just ok.

 
But music calms my heart, quiets my mind, and sweeps away the clutter that seems to gather throughout the week. This is how I meditate.

 
I do spend a lot of time in the Word, but I find that if I start with music, I am able to hear the word of God more clearly.

 
In this crazy world I would encourage all who read this to find something that lessens the weekly burdens. Something that is simple, joyful, and perhaps a bit fun.

 
Heck, maybe someday I will record something and post it here, and I’ll let you be the judge.

 
We shall see.

 
Have a happy week folks. Now on to new adventures, and a week on new experiences.

surrender

Surrender

I hate the word surrender. Maybe it’s the American rebel in me that never was, but that word just rubs me the wrong way. As a Christian I am called to surrender myself to the lord, but unfortunately, with my limited understanding as a human, all I see are white flags and weakness in surrender. I am just now finding that yes, there is weakness in surrender, but not the bad kind that stems from fear. It’s the kind of weakness that allows divine provenance to move you where you need to be, and draws you nearer to Jesus.

 
I have limited control, and I struggle with that. The more I try to control every little thing in my life, the harder it gets. But when I try to surrender that control, this overwhelming fear takes over. Doubt starts eating away because I don’t see the next step ( and the Good Lord knows how much I love to outline steps). It’s my comfort zone to research something to death. To plan every step to its daily endeavors ( no, I have not resorted to creating a minuet by minuet list yet.)

 
Right now I am going through a Refining fire ( at least I hope that’s what it is). Just like a forest or field needs to burn away the old grass, or destroy an invasive species that will destroy its foundation, my old thoughts and actions are being replaced with new ones. I do not have a clear direction ( that’s probably the way God intends it, and for good reason. You know, the insatiable list thing ), and I still tend to cringe at the word surrender, but I look back on all the dark moments of my life and see His grace in all of them.

 
That grace is what reminds me I have no need to fear or dislike surrendering to God. He is not of this world, and has no sin in him. He only wants the best for me, and I am not walking through the trials I face now alone. He will never lead me astray ( I’m great at doing that all by myself though), or let me face something I cannot handle.

 
I am learning to surrender my plans for my future ( those dreams are a tempting mistress), and I would never claim that it is easy or without bouts of tears. However, I am finding there IS freedom in surrender. Not shackles or shattered dreams, but true freedom and liberty.
At this point in my life I just want to be where He wants me, and hopefully in that place I can find my tribe.

 
Do you feel that you are walking through the fire right now?
I know millions of people are, and I think sometimes we hold so tight to what we dreamed about, that we do not listen to that still small voice saying “Follow me, I have better things to come for you”.

 
Create quite space and listen. I know what you’re thinking “pot, meet kettle”, but I am trying too. Who knows, maybe we will hear the call of clarity at the same time. Isn’t that a nice thought.

 

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. … “
John 15:1-7 ESV

 
Gosh I love metaphors, but till the day the vine bears fruit, here’s a song from my high school days that I am just now coming to understand.

Dear Future Husband: That I Haven't Met Yet.

Dear Future Husband

It seems to be all the rage right now for single Christian women to blog an open letter to their future husband about why they choose to wait for them ( and by wait, Yep, I mean SEX – you thought I wouldn’t say it didn’t you?) . So in honor of the end of wedding season (Say Yes To The Dress marathons are in my future), and seeing as I am a 28 ( going on 102) year old who is….. yep, you guessed it – not married. I thought I would take a crack at it. I recently read an article from The Common Queen titled “I’m losing my patience while waiting for you“. It was a good article, and I get where she is coming from. The waiting game is not easy, but all signs point to incredibly worth it. So without further ado…

 
Dear Future Husband,
I am not the worlds standard of beauty, and at this point in my life I’m ok with that. I will never be perfect, blemish free, or a model. I run into doors, break my toes, scratch, cut, burn, and bruise myself – and that’s just from making dinner tonight. Sounds like a winner right!? I’m not perfect, and if I guess correctly you won’t be either ( and if you are perfect, I will make you prove you are not an alien by showing your belly button – you have been warned. But back to the letter). We will be two imperfect people who are better together than apart. God has been gracious and has shielded my heart from much of the ( self inflicted/other ) heartbreak that my friends encountered through years of dating. I am not the kind of girl who forms deep attachments quickly ( unless it’s a dog, then I love them immediately and without reservation).

 
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not cold. I’m friendly, outgoing, and a massive foodie. My family ( and backup army) means the world to me, and are second only to my relationship with Christ. I feel incredibly blessed to be an American, and in case you didn’t notice, I kind of like everything Disney.

 
At various moments in my life ( starting at about 20), God has stopped me in my tracks and called me to pray for you. At first it seemed strange, but life grew stranger. Eventually it was the norm, and a little comforting because I believe God would not command me to pray for a man who doesn’t exist.

 
I am not a terribly patient person. I have been known to skip to the end of books just to make sure it has a happy ending. But for you I wait. We will inevitably bump heads on many things in our married life. I don’t want a stumbling block to be my past relationships. This future union is far too important to me to ever risk it over impatience. I want to be your helpmate, love, and protect you, and in protecting my body and soul I not only protect myself, I’m protecting you.

 
I was raised in a legacy of love. My grandparents were married over 60 years, and my parents have been married well over 30 years. I would never risk the chance at 60 years for a moment of supposed pleasure, out of boredom, pressure, or fear of being alone. However, most importantly I wait because a long time ago I made a covenant with God to do so, and being obedient to Him is how I strive to live my life.

 
This will not be a foreign concept to you if you are seeking after Christ, and frankly that is the only kind of man who has a chance with me.

 
So I wait, out of obedience, faith, and love.

 
Everyone at some point is asked to sacrifice or do something hard. To me being a virgin is not hard ( ya, I don’t struggle with saying NO), and frankly I don’t understand Christians who justify sex outside of marriage. There are so many hard things in life. if you deem abstinence hard, wait till someone you love has cancer or you lose your job. Real love IS hard.

 

 

I do, however, struggle with my impatience to meet you, but I keep busy by growing and maturing as an adult. I practice my willingness to serve others, and self sacrificing ( which is not easy), so when I do meet you and we become one, this action of being a help mate is not a strange concept to me.

 
I am not saying I’m a perfect person – far far far from it ( you’ll find out someday).
I believe there is worth and reword in obeying God, but it is more than that, I abstain out of love for my savior.

 
So, in obedience to my God I wait for you.

 
The waiting game is not easy, and it is certainly strange to feel like you were meant for somebody you don’t even know. But the mysteries of this world are far beyond my understanding, and I have far too much to do to sit and ponder it for long. Here’s to our someday, I hope to meet you soon.

 
Sincerely,
Your Future Wife

 
Well, that’s my letter. I know my someday is out there, and for most of you reading this yours is to. To all you ladies ( and gentlemen) in waiting, hang in there, you are not alone. Don’t rush it or try to push someone into a mold they do not fit in just so you can find “the one” faster. That never works out well.

 
PS. If I happened to date some of you men after this article, I am not the kind of girl who starts planning the monogrammed towels and wedding details after the first date. So, don’t freak out.

 
PPS. If you are the kind of man who starts planning the wedding after the first date – keep it to yourself. At least for the first six months, you’ve herd of those studies right? The ones that say the ” puppy love” stage ( or what I like to call the Double Dumb-Ass stage) lasts for at least six months then the real you shines through ( for better or worse). I am not saying don’t let your freak flag fly, I’m just saying don’t skip the getting-to-know-you part of dating.

 
Let me ask you ( not so) gentle readers, why did or didn’t you wait for your someday? If you didn’t wait, I have always wanted to ask if the thought of an STD ever freaked you out ( because it frankly grosses me out)? And if you are currently waiting, what makes you go against the sad cultural norm?

The One: Fact, Fiction, or Faith

Since it’s wedding season, I thought I would weigh in on a very controversial topic within the Christian community ( ok, I’m kidding- but only a little).

 
I believe in “the one”. Go ahead call me crazy, say there is no such thing as “the one”. It’s not a mature concept. Who the heck raised you? Don’t you know believing this is detrimental to your future… Yada yada yada. Heck, I was raised in a church that believed it was a myth, and yet I believe that God creates people who complement us. If we are all unique, and He knows our names before we are even growing in the womb ( Jeremiah 1:5) then could He not create someone who is meant to be our partner in this world?

 
” 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” ( Jeremiah 29:11 ESV).

 
The arguments AGAINST “the one” are as followed:

 
– He only becomes “the one” when you marry him.
– The myth leads to unrealistically high expectations, and we overlook the great guys who are standing right in front of us ( side note: Here is a great article about ideals and expectations. Surprisingly enough, the only physical attribute that was ever on my list was I wanted a guy that was taller than me – still do in fact ).
– It allows us to assume we have no responsibility in finding and choosing our future spouse which enables us to be an inactive participant in this journey.
– The real search is not romantic enough for our Disney loving hearts, so we latched on to the fantasy because it feeds our little girl ideal of Prince Charming ( but I wrote about my opinion on that Here ).
– And lastly, by assuming there is “the one” (which is not a biblical concept BTW), we will be disappointed when we think we find them and he or she is not perfect. Allowing us to feel ok about the fact our marriage fell apart because OBVIOUSLY that was not “the one” ( sarcasm intended).

 
( For an article about why I’m crazy, check out Boundless.com. Hay, I’m all about freedom of speech, so I have to present the other side right?).

 
Did I cover all the reasons people will call me crazy? Probably not, but I got most of them – I think.

 
Here’s what I believe:

 
We limit God’s greatness by denying His sovereignty over our love life. I don’t believe in “the one” per say, I believe in ” the right one”. If God has a plan for my life, then It seems likely He has ideal match in mind for my future spouse. If this is the case, is that not the proverbial “one”?

 
I believe this anti soul mate mentality has sprung from fear. We are all free to choose, and considering the shacking up and divorce rates among Christians, we have chosen badly. Because of this fear, they say there is no such thing as “the one”. This opinion gives the green light to settle instead of waiting on God’s timing, and diminishes Gods guidance in our decisions. I do not mean you should be an inactive participant in the search. Just not desperate. Desperation leads to all sorts of trouble.

 
We all make choices, and sometimes choose poorly, but don’t blame God for that. He can bring beauty from the ashes. Just don’t limit Gods power and grace simply because you’re afraid that you made ( or will make ) a bad choice. In church we ask teenagers to pray for their future spouse, yet then we tell them there is no one person “meant” for them. I was told there could be tons of men that would work for me (Waite, you mean I’m praying for like ten thousand dudes? That just seems strange to me).

 
I will never convince the theologians, Focus on the Family, or Boundless to believe in “the one”, but let me ask them this; why is it so detrimental to my life to believe that God controls my path and will guide me to the man he wants me to marry? They preach this about every other aspect of my life, so why exclude my future spouse in God’s plan and timing?

 
“If you believe in a God who controls the big things, you have to believe in a God who controls the little things” – Elisabeth Elliot, Missionary Pioneer. I don’t think entering into marriage is a little thing, so I trust God in all things – even my desire for marriage.

 
“It is not every man’s fate to marry the woman who loves him best” Jane Austen’s Emma. However, should that not be our desire? To marry those who would love us best, and who we would love best in return?

 
Maybe I am in the minority of those who believe in “the one”, but I don’t expect the man I am meant to be with to be perfect. It seems to me I have yet to meet a perfect person on this planet, so why would I be waiting for this perfect specimen of male godliness. Also, I don’t expect him to magically appear, or worship the very ground I walk on ( that would be creepy).
Basically my ideal guy is a not-so-perfect Christian guy walking in faith, who at the very least tolerates my love of Disneyland, is ok with my artsy tendencies ( poor man that is a lot to put up with), wants a family (and all the messy craziness that comes with it), is loyal, respectful, honest, taller than me, good hygiene, expert spider killer ( somewhat negotiable), and likes dogs (non negotiable).

 
I don’t believe I have unrealistic expectations, or a Disney princess view on love ( though I do love me some Disney movies as you can see). I believe I was meant for someone. You could call him the one, my soul mate, the right one, or whatever you want. I have the freedom to choose him when he crosses my path, and I have the freedom to walk away ( which is a little scary). The point is, God will present the best option to me. I just have to choose it. “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” Proverbs 16:9 ESV.
If nothing else my Dad said Billy Graham believes in “The One”. So, there you go – Billy Graham said so ( Side Note: This is not a researched fact, but my Dad’s never wrong, sooo… no reason to question – right? )

 
What do you believe? Am I completely crazy, or is everyone else?

 

Personally, the second option is my favorite.

My Hope is Built on Nothing Less

This is a very long post. You have been warned.

 
We live in a time without much hope or joy. All I see on the news is doom and gloom. As Independence Day has come and gone, some are questioning America’s future. “Are we a great nation still?” “Can we reconcile the things that divide us?” “With the government run amuck, can we actually return to the democratic republic we once were?” – Truthfully, I don’t know the answer to the questions. But what I do know is this, I can’t persevere in an environment that constantly tells me there is no hope. That head space for someone like me is a deep pit of despair, and climbing out of it is extremely painful. I have a hard enough time dealing with an uncertain future, but to have this joyless dejection shoved in my face 24/7 doesn’t help.

 
I am proud to be an American. Not because I idolize my country like some false God, but, even with all her troubles, this is still the ” last and greatest bastion of freedom” ( first inaugural address of President Ronald Reagan) on the planet. We have gone through trials before, and come through in the end. There is nothing new under the sun. The politics of the past are just as hate filled and brutal as they ever were ( and from what I read of past politics, they were worse). History shows us the trials we go through now are not new. Can you imagine being at the foot of the cross watching Jesus get crucified? I’m sorry, but I think it would seem like end of days right there – yet it wasn’t. Or when our country erupted in Civil War. You can’t tell me people didn’t start questioning whether this was the end of our nation. How about the Jewish people sitting in internment camps under Nazi rule watching friends and family slaughtered by an evil dictator who some were calling “not that bad”.

 
It seems to be human nature not see evil for what it is (even when it’s standing right in front of us with a sign around its neck saying “Hi my name is evil – what’s yours?”). We play with it like children intrigued by fire. Getting just close enough to feel the heat, but not close enough to do too much damage. What we fail realize is fire is unpredictable. At any moment that tiny flame, we thought we had control of, can spark and start a fire that destroys all we have built.

 
However, if God can turn beauty from ashes then he can turn that blaze into a refining fire. That is my hope for my country. That this fire some intentionally and some unintentionally started can be turned around and refine our nation.

 
For all the people out there preaching this is the “end of days” or “there is no hope for America” do you honestly think you are the first to believe this, or heck that you will be the last? Because history tell us otherwise. Instead of planning for the end, I challenge you to plan for a beginning. I don’t assume this will be easy, or that times of sadness will not overcome you. But I truly believe that America can be great again. As a young nation, our country is experiencing the issues other nations have, just in a shorter amount of time which means she could come out of it far more quickly ( because let’s face it Europe is still having issues – Greece anyone? ).

 
I don’t assume to know the heart of God, and I know The United States of America is not guaranteed to succeed. But “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness” (Edward Mote, 1834). God has known this was coming, and knows how it will end ” 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 NIV). I plan to seek my God for hope in our future. For I see a potential for greatness again, and a way to a prosperous future. I am not ignoring the bad things that are happening, not only in the US, but in the world around us. Ultimately though, My freedom is God given so “I walk in freedom, for I have devoted myself to your commandments” (Psalms 119:45 NLT).

 
If you still doubt that we have seen days such as theses before, I direct you to excepts from Thomas Paine’s essay The American Crisis which was a call to arms. We have see before “times that try men’s souls” and ” a ravaged country — a depopulated city — habitations without safety, and slavery without hope”. If you cannot see the parallels to our current troubles then I cannot help you. However, as for me and my house, we are trying to choose joy and a hopeful future.

 

Without further ado, the words of Thomas Paine:

 

“THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated. Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to TAX) but “to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER” and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God.

 
Whether the independence of the continent was declared too soon, or delayed too long, I will not now enter into as an argument; my own simple opinion is, that had it been eight months earlier, it would have been much better. We did not make a proper use of last winter, neither could we, while we were in a dependent state. However, the fault, if it were one, was all our own; we have none to blame but ourselves. But no great deal is lost yet. All that Howe has been doing for this month past, is rather a ravage than a conquest, which the spirit of the Jerseys, a year ago, would have quickly repulsed, and which time and a little resolution will soon recover.

 
I have as little superstition in me as any man living, but my secret opinion has ever been, and still is, that God Almighty will not give up a people to military destruction, or leave them unsupportedly to perish, who have so earnestly and so repeatedly sought to avoid the calamities of war, by every decent method which wisdom could invent. Neither have I so much of the infidel in me, as to suppose that He has relinquished the government of the world, and given us up to the care of devils; and as I do not, I cannot see on what grounds the king of Britain can look up to heaven for help against us: a common murderer, a highwayman, or a house-breaker, has as good a pretence as he.

 
‘Tis surprising to see how rapidly a panic will sometimes run through a country. All nations and ages have been subject to them.”

 
“But, before the line of irrecoverable separation be drawn between us, let us reason the matter together: Your conduct is an invitation to the enemy, yet not one in a thousand of you has heart enough to join him. Howe is as much deceived by you as the American cause is injured by you. He expects you will all take up arms, and flock to his standard, with muskets on your shoulders. Your opinions are of no use to him, unless you support him personally, for ’tis soldiers, and not Tories, that he wants.

 
I once felt all that kind of anger, which a man ought to feel, against the mean principles that are held by the Tories: a noted one, who kept a tavern at Amboy, was standing at his door, with as pretty a child in his hand, about eight or nine years old, as I ever saw, and after speaking his mind as freely as he thought was prudent, finished with this unfatherly expression, “Well! give me peace in my day.” Not a man lives on the continent but fully believes that a separation must some time or other finally take place, and a generous parent should have said, “If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace;” and this single reflection, well applied, is sufficient to awaken every man to duty. Not a place upon earth might be so happy as America. Her situation is remote from all the wrangling world, and she has nothing to do but to trade with them. A man can distinguish himself between temper and principle, and I am as confident, as I am that God governs the world, that America will never be happy till she gets clear of foreign dominion. Wars, without ceasing, will break out till that period arrives, and the continent must in the end be conqueror; for though the flame of liberty may sometimes cease to shine, the coal can never expire.”

 
“I thank God, that I fear not. I see no real cause for fear. I know our situation well, and can see the way out of it. While our army was collected, Howe dared not risk a battle; and it is no credit to him that he decamped from the White Plains, and waited a mean opportunity to ravage the defenseless Jerseys; but it is great credit to us, that, with a handful of men, we sustained an orderly retreat for near an hundred miles, brought off our ammunition, all our field pieces, the greatest part of our stores, and had four rivers to pass. None can say that our retreat was precipitate, for we were near three weeks in performing it, that the country might have time to come in. Twice we marched back to meet the enemy, and remained out till dark. The sign of fear was not seen in our camp, and had not some of the cowardly and disaffected inhabitants spread false alarms through the country, the Jerseys had never been ravaged. Once more we are again collected and collecting; our new army at both ends of the continent is recruiting fast, and we shall be able to open the next campaign with sixty thousand men, well armed and clothed. This is our situation, and who will may know it. By perseverance and fortitude we have the prospect of a glorious issue; by cowardice and submission, the sad choice of a variety of evils — a ravaged country — a depopulated city — habitations without safety, and slavery without hope — our homes turned into barracks and bawdy-houses for Hessians, and a future race to provide for, whose fathers we shall doubt of. Look on this picture and weep over it! and if there yet remains one thoughtless wretch who believes it not, let him suffer it unlamented.

 
December 23, 1776”

 
And like any good American I leave you with three final thing:
1. A funny puppy commercial
2. How to cook the perfect steak
3. Ron Swanson

Ron Swanson

Ron Swanson Picture found on Online

Father’s Day

As this father’s day weekend comes to a close, I am reminded how grateful I am that God gave me into the care of my dad. He is not a perfect man, and he would be the first to tell you he has made many mistakes in his life ( never doubt a home-schooled kid when she tells you that little leaf is poison oak), but he loves unconditionally ( and is always willing to come save the day, or night, when a stupid teenager locks her keys in the car at 11pm 30 minutes away; Even when he has to get up at 4am in the morning).

 
Having a present and loving dad is something I will never take for granted. He never talked down to me as a kid. He was ( and is) understanding and comforting even if he didn’t quite know why I was upset. He would try out any concoctions I mixed up. Most of them being just a blend of all the hot sauces in the house, but I think the experimentation led to my love of cooking – so it kind of worked out for him in the end. He taught me how to play guitar, and encouraging my artistic tendencies. We had long conversations together (still do), but most importantly, he shared his love of Christ, and allowed me to find my own personal relationship with Him. Both my parents always encouraged me to question and to read everything I could get my hands on, and because of that, my faith has always been my own and not reliant on others.

 
All of the best moments in my life involve both my parents. I am so grateful for the unified front, and the time they spent with me.

 
This father’s day weekend I hope you were able to thank the father figures in your life, and even if your father ( or sperm donor if you so desire) was not the epitome of paternal love, show gratitude to the fatherly figures around you. They might have been a stand-in for your own un-fatherly figure, or they are simply great dads to their own kids/ grand kids/ nieces/ nephews…

 
Lets here it for the real Dads, you know who you are, and I salute you one and all.

 
And from a very grateful daughter who had the privilege of knowing not only her own dad, but his father as well (aka Grandpa) – Happy Father’s Day Dad

 
I hope you like the gift – I tried 🙂
Love
Hannah Marie

A Knight in Tattered Armor

Ok, I know this is a long post, but it has been on my heart to write about this topic for a while. Bare with me.

 
Many Christian women blog about picking the servant not the prince, and in essence I agree, but I believe that’s one dimensional thinking. Being a servant is only a part of what God calls us to be. The servant imagery is too simplistic an example of real godly manhood (or womanhood for that matter). I propose a new category. Instead of the prince, the servant, or even a knight in shining armor, how about the knight in tattered armor?

 
Maybe it’s because I ‘m older and have a better understanding of what it takes to live in this world – but I don’t want prince charming or merely the servant. I seek the battle worn knight. His mettle has been tested, and he may or may not be the victor, but he is still standing ready to fight again if he must. I am not talking about the biggest, brawniest, bravest man in the kingdom ( or city ). I am talking about the man who acts in spite of his fear, stands up for what he believes in, and is obedient to his God. This man comes in many shapes and forms. It’s the quite confidence of a geek, assertion of a jock, strength of a soldier, wisdom of a doctor, the knowledge of a mechanic, or imagination of an artist. The list goes on and on.

 
None of these men are the same, yet they all hold similar qualities. He honors his family and his God in how he lives his life. Standing in truth, unafraid of commitment, seeks justice, loves mercy, has a servants heart, a warrior spirit, can admit when he is wrong, and walks only with his God . This Man knows it says more in how he fails than how he succeeds. I once heard a saying ( I have no idea where it came from), Meekness is not weakness it is simply strength restrained. So for the quite men out there, I mean you too. Not every knight is outspoken, or the man you notice first.

 
Knights in shining armor and princes are simply boys, and a servant ( at least in my mind) has a suggestion of forced servitude. That’s why I like the analogy of the knight in tattered armor; Especially, when it comes to looking for an ideal mate. I am not looking for my other half, I am looking for my compliment. We are better together than apart. We are a unified front. This is the man I want by my side in the world. It is inevitable we will encounter strife and hardship, and a man who has been tested and come through the wilderness sane, is the man I want by my side.

 
In truth both man and woman are sinners, so I think it is accurate to seek someone a little tattered. Frankly if you are “perfect” I’m going to think you are hiding something. Perfection is overrated and fades. And guys, Lord help you if you do not keep a weathered eye out for the women who is seeking this man, for she will be your helpmate and bless your life.

 
At this point I must put a warning label around the title Knight in Tattered Armor. There is a difference between the battle worn analogy and someone who is truly wounded or cruel. So, this is who I am NOT talking about; I am not talking about the guy who verbally ( or physically) wounds you, the guy who ignores you to play video games, the guy who insists upon his own comfort over everyone else, who can only have fun if he drinks, who can talk the talk, but not walk the walk ( I’m talking about his faith here), or a guy who claims to be smarter than you and everyone around him ( unfortunately, this list could go on and on too). A man who is not seeking the fruit of the Spirit ( which is found Galatians 5:22-23 ” But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” ) is not a knight in tattered armor. He is playing dress-up with tin foil. Look for real metal ( and mettle) underneath, and avoid the posers and users who use their hard times as reasons to be jerks. Especially, if they start blaming everyone else for their current woes. For example, if a man ( or women) starts a sentence/ apology ( if you can call it that) with “I wasn’t like this before ( insert blamed person’s name/ terrible thing that happened to them here)”, run – run for your life.

 
So, what do you think? Are you still looking for prince charming, the knight in shining armor, or the servant? Or do you seek the embodiment of a warrior servant, the knight in tattered armor? Let me know in the comments section below.

 
Ps. As I was writing this I somehow turned into a poet and I didn’t know it!

 
The right guy comes in many shapes and forms
He may be a bit tattered and worn
Even under the roughness you can see
A man of worth stands in front of thee
What more can a woman of God desire
Than a man seeking Gods own heart
By her side, willing to face the fire.

Love Is a Choice

There was a picture from someone’s mom circulating around the internet a little while back. It said:

“You’re going to fall in love so many times before you find the one you’ll be with forever. So think of it this way; you’re one heartbreak closer to happy ever after”.

What a bunch of crap – right! So, being the shrinking violet that I am – I left a comment.

” Or perhaps you should not give your heart so easily, and then you will have less heartache and scars effecting the relationship with the one you are meant to be with”.

Well that got a reaction. The women who responded to my comment was not pleased with my perspective – hence sarcasm ensued ( which I have to admit I loved. It totally cracked me up) she said:

“Why didn’t I think of this” before ” Of COURSE I should know better than to fall in love. because giving your heart to someone is always an intentional, willful choice!”

I think she missed the point of what I said ( or maybe she didn’t, and chose to respond like that – whatever floats your boat). That is why I am choosing to clarify here.

I am explicitly saying LOVE IS A CHOICE.Da da daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa ( nod to The Croods). The truth is we choose to love people who complement us, or people who add drama to our lives. We have free will, and if you believe we don’t choose to love people then you are in essence saying we have no free will ( and wouldn’t that just suck). I mean come on, you choose to love that annoying friend that can’t be trusted, and the ass who keeps breaking your heart. We allow people to come into our lives who we know are not good for us ( not just in dating relationships ), and for whatever reason ( I can fix then, their not that bad, I see the good in them deep deep deep down, they just need someone to love them… ect. ect.ect.) we allow them to stay in our sphere.By saying that you have no choice in falling in love, you are saying I have no choice in who I allow to influence my life. That is the idea of a child not an adult.
I like the verse Proverbs 4:23 especially the New Living Translation
“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life” there is only one man who was every worthy of determining the course of my life, and he died on a cross for me ( and you) a while back and arose again after three day ( He’s alive, He’s alive, thank God he’s alive). There is always a choice. Don’t give up your God given freedom because you simply don’t want to make a choice, and please for your sake ( and your poor bedraggled best friends out there) choose wisely. Don’t fall for the I’ll be better shtick. If ( and that’s a big if) he (or she, this applies to you too guys) can get better with you then he can get better without you, and if he can’t get better without you then he is not a whole person and has some soul searching and growing up to do.

Do you believe there is no choice in love? Or do you believe as I do, that love is a choice we make? Sometimes we choose well, and other times – not so much.

I Still Believe

I believe in fairy tales. No, I’m not crazy. No, I’m not five. No! I’m not a daydreamer with unrealistic expectations. Ok, I might daydream a little ( so sue me), but I bet I do it a lot less than most artists. And when it comes to expectations, I call myself an optimistic pessimist. That should tell you something. But I believe, oooh do I believe. I believe in loyal knights, honorable princes, gentle ladies, good conquering evil, and happy endings. I believe that a spoon full of sugar does help the medicine go down. That strength, courage, love, sacrifice, and hope are more powerful than hate, deceit, fear, and evil. I believe that a way to a girls heart is through giant libraries and a single rose. I believe in wishing on stars, and the unending bond between friends and family.

Ok, I know I’m losing you here, but stick with me for a few more seconds. I know bad things happen, and sometimes the darkness seems to win ( Quick Note: Cancer sucks, as do evil bosses that try and tear you down every day). So why, might you ask, do I still believe when I fully acknowledge life is not always great? Well, because fairy tales teach us how to fight the dragons, and the evil queens. In everyday life we encounter evil, heartbreak, and injustice. Sometimes our dragons are called cancer, poverty, depression …. Fairy tales don’t seem perfect to me. Bad things happen to the characters.

Come on, think of your favorite Disney movie, how many times do they kill off the parents, but we still don’t think of them as dark depressing parables on the fragility of life. No, we sing Let It Go like it’s our national anthem. Fairy tales tell us that we have to push forward and fight back against the evil or adversities we encounter. They are simply parables that teach us not to give up. Ok, now you’re saying it’s all well and good to never give up, but what the heck am I supposed to do when my magical fairy godmother takes a wrong turn and never shows up?

I see the magic in fairy tales as allegories. Simple examples of ordinary people accomplishing extraordinary things. When someone accomplishes or overcomes something difficult are we not in awe? When you find love on a planet that has billions of people, is that not a bit magical? We encounter magical things everyday through simple acts of kindness and extraordinary gestures. It may not be the bibbiti-bobbiti-bo type, but hay it’s a magical moment when someone brings you coffee out of the blue, or better yet chocolate.

I am probably not going to convince many people to believe as I do, but perhaps they won’t condemn those of us who do believe. Fairy tales can teach us many things. For instance, they taught me that nothing ever turns out how we think it will, but it will turn out. That the loyal knights we meet might be wearing tattered armor, but it simply means their mettle was tested and they came out of the fight in the end. Sometimes a beast is not just a beast. We have to look beyond what is on the outside to see the truth. Lastly, keep this in mind ” Since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage”, You have to love C.S. Lewis.

To the believers and the dreams out there, never lose that touch of whimsy. To the skeptics, let a little magic in. I promise you won’t regret it

So, let me ask you this, do you believe?