Saturday, March 11, 2017

Spring Is In the Air!

Spring is in the air!

I'm finally getting around to updating this blog with photos of all that's kept us having fun lately! I've been soooooo very busy and I fear this poor little blog gets neglected sometimes. But, hey, I'm on here today!



I love Bass Pro Shops. I love, love, love Bass Pro Shops. Hahahah! Nothing else gets me more in the mood for camping, hiking, and picnics! Plus, the store is just so fun to go through. You go to shop...and get chased by a bear or have your hand eaten by a bass. ;)


Our international banquet was so much fun! I wore my scarf from India and had so much fun doing it.


The weather around here has been so interesting. My first spring in TN has been very fun. Just getting to experience the tornado watches and the different weather has been an adventure. I'm not used to ANY of it, so I am learning a lot. 


Speaking of weather... I can't have very long hair here. It's too humid, hahah! So I cut more off for an easier hairstyle. Although, I still seem to wear a hat a lot...


Meraki Box continues to keep me busy. Aren't these spring erasers adorable?! I kind of want one for myself!


We went hiking on the Cumberland Trail with a friend from church and our associate pastor. Yeah, I was the only gal to go. But I made up for it by gushing over all the flowers. ;) You know -- keeping things girly. 







We went about 6 miles, which was not too bad. It was a fairly easy hike, except for the fact that I wore my toning tennis shoes (mistake) and couldn't walk the day after. Hahah!


So, we do the whole Dollar Shave Club thing. You can check it out HERE. Anyway, they have this amazing shave butter stuff. I tried to recreate it. Haha. Well, hubby didn't find that it worked for him (cough, cough), but man do I love it. It's great for legs. Maybe just not far faces. It was fun to make, anyway. 




A sweet family in our church, the Cochrans, own an amazing furniture store with a collection by Joanna Gaines! I'm telling you, visiting their story was the next best thing to visiting Magnolia Farms. It was so much fun! 


I found just the tea towel I was wanting at Cochrans. So cool, huh?! I think I'm really becoming southern!


Yesterday brought a fun time with my friend Bethany at the Mean Bean Cafe here in Chattanooga. I had a dirty chai latte for the first time. It was definitely unique. Ever have espresso and chai together?!


Last but not least, my March glam bag is amazing!!! I love ipsy and have so much fun with it. I can't wait to try out the snail cream (yes, actual snail goo) from Paris. 

In addition to all that, church, the ministry, my businesses, Bible studies, and time with friends and my hubby keeps my pretty crazy busy. I'm learning so much from God's Word and am really purposing to try to apply what I learn so I don't get bogged down with head knowledge. God is good. Life is definitely not easy sometimes, but He gives grace. 

What keeps you busy? How are you enjoying your spring?
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Meraki Box Photo Contest!


Just popping in real fast to share that Meraki Box is having a giveaway contest right now! If you've ever wanted a subscription box, here is your chance to win one! 

Of course, you can always get your own HERE, too. ;) Adios for now, friends! 



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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Why Shouldn't Beauty and the Beast Have a Gay Scene?


It's trending. It's everywhere.

The topic of Beauty and the Beast's gay scene is an issue that most Christians are talking about. And, quite honestly, I've been a bit confused.

Just why shouldn't Beauty and the Best have a gay scene? 


I have nothing to lose by throwing my two cents (okay, dollars) in. Those of you who know and love me know my heart. So you'll know that I do love people I disagree with. You'll know that I love people and don't hate anyone. You'll know that I want to help the hurting, reach the lost, and speak the truth in love. You'll know that I don't believe in legalism or pharisaism. 

Before I launch my thoughts, let me define two very important words.

  • Legalism is the act of trying to earn God's favor by works of righteousness.
  • Pharisaism (or phariseeism) is the hypocritical observance of the letter of the law without regard for the spirit. It's the act of building protective walls, so to speak, around God's law and adding to God's commands by making that protective wall into a law in of itself. Building a protective wall around God's law is fine. It's okay to set boundaries so that we don't break a law. But it becomes phariseeism when we act as if that boundary is a law in of itself. It becomes phariseeism when we insist that everybody else follow our boundary and look upon people who don't see the need for our boundaries as being "in sin." 

In the Bible, there are certain commands that are not up for debate. And then there are Biblical principles wherein God gives us liberty to follow individual Holy Spirit leading and make our own decisions. 

Here are a couple commands that are not up for debate. Period.


  • Witchcraft, sorcerery, and wizardry are abominations. 
"There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee." - Deuteronomy 18:10-12


"Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." - Galatians 5:19-21



God is against wizardry, enchantment, and all powers that stem from the devil and exalt themselves against His Holy name. 



There is not an allowance made for "Disney Magic."

With that in mind, let's talk about the enchantress of Beauty and the Beast. 

At this point, I know everybody is going: "Hey! It's BAD magic. We tell our kids it's BAD. The enchantress is supposed to be evil!"

Interestingly enough, whether or not she is a good or a bad witch (although there is no such thing and it really shouldn't matter) is actually up for debate. The following (in quotes) is copied from Disney Wiki. This is what they have to say about their own character.

"The Enchantress is the one who placed the spell on the Prince and everyone inside the castle for the Prince's cruel ways. She is cunning, taking on the disguise of an old, helpless woman seeking shelter to test the Prince's heart. How kind or good she actually is, however, is up for debate, particularly because of the debate over the Beast's age when he was cursed, and how she cursed everyone in the castle rather than just the guilty party (including Chip Potts, who was undebatably a child at the time), as well as being implied to have cursed the entire forest surrounding the castle to become too dangerous for anyone to attempt to go nearby. 

It seems to be the mission of the Enchantress is to punish the selfish and guilty.



The Enchantress possesses tremendous magical powers: 



Shapeshifting/Glamouring: The Enchantress has the power to either change her physical form or shape into another, or to change her appearance to look like another person, as seen by how she concealed her true form with the disguise of an old woman. 


Empathy: The Enchantress has the power to feel and understand other people's feelings, emotions, and desires. Through this, she was able to sense that the Prince had a cold heart devoid of love and true beauty. 

Teleportation (possibly): As seen in The Enchanted Christmas, the Enchantress might have the power to transport herself from one place to another instantaneously - she appeared before the Prince in all her magical glory after he closed the door on her. However, it was never specifically confirmed as to whether she really possessed this ability. 

Spell Casting/Cursing: The Enchantress has the ability to cast magical spells or powerful curses designed to cause negative effects to occur - she transformed the Prince into a beast to match his cold, unloving heart, his servants into objects, his entire castle into a bleak fortress, and presumably even the entire forest surrounding the castle into a foreboding place, etc. 

Enchanting: The Enchantress has the ability to bestow magical powers or attributes onto an object - the rose she offered was enchanted to bloom and serve as a reminder to the Beast of how much time he had to break the spell as well as what got him into his predicament to begin with. Presumably, she also created the Enchanted Mirror that served as the Beast's only window to the outside world."

The enchantress is not portrayed as necessarily bad. 

She is not necessarily shown as evil. In a way she is, yet, in another, she really isn't. She disguised herself as a evil old woman, but her intent was to test the prince. She wants to teach him a lesson and uses her powers to punish him.

What if she IS bad? 

Then it should really concern folks that a bad character has the power to feel and understand other people's feelings, emotions, and desires. Through this, she was able to sense that the Prince had a cold heart devoid of love and true beauty. Only God can read the human heart. Only God knows all things. Characters--good or evil--should NEVER be given the attributes of God. 



But suppose one has decided that the enchantress is evil and will see her magic that way.

Enchantment--good and bad--is still through the entire movie. 

Some of the enchantment is portrayed as bad. Other enchantment is portrayed as good. Belle uses an enchanted mirror and ring. Her possessions given to her by the beast are magical, turning to rags when her sisters touch them and becoming beautiful again when used by her.

Honestly, we can make excuses all day. We can call it an allegory, we can call it good magic, we can say it's just a story and doesn't really matter, etc. But, the bottom line is, it's magic, it's enchantment, and it's not from God. Let's at least be honest about it. I've heard all the arguments about "Disney Magic" and, really, it's all the same as regular magic. There's no difference. This is not a Christian allegory meant to show the forces of good against the forces of evil. It's magic.

When God said that witchcraft, sorcery, and enchantment was wrong, He didn't make allowances for magic that revolves around romance, does good for people, is fun and lighthearted, or isn't dark. He simply said that it is wrong.

When we start watering down the truth of God's Word to say that a sin is not a sin if it doesn't hurt anybody or is all in the name of fun/love, we have just flaunted our opinion in the face of a holy God and become people that do what is right in our own eyes.  

Why not explore other avenues of sin? As long as premarital sex doesn't hurt anybody, I can do it. It's all in the name of love, fun, and happiness, right? 

Which is exactly why there should be a gay scene. And Christians should not be upset about it.


If Christians have already accepted the idea that sin is not sin as long as it's done in the name of love, fun, and lightheartness, we should have no problem with a gay scene.

None.

If magic and enchantment (forbidden by God) is okay (provided it's just love, fun, and entertainment), there should not be one reason why sexual sin shouldn't be seen the same way. 

We can't pick and choose which sins we get to condemn and which ones we get to gloss over. That's blatant hypocrisy. 

So we're going to boycott Disney's Beauty and the Beast because of a gay scene? The magic and enchantment was okay, but the sexual sin never?! That's not logical. And it's certainly not Biblical. 

If we make excuses for enchantment, we have to make the same ones for sexual sin. 

If there is a single argument you've heard for accepting magic, try applying it to homosexuality or any sexual sin, for that matter. 


Throw out the bad, leave the good? 

That will be the approach many take to this movie, and I understand it.

But how much good is really left?

The love?

Some will say that the elements of love make the movie good. But please allow me to ask if it is really love. Is it, really, truly, Biblically LOVE?

Is what happens between Beauty and the Beast really love?

I won't answer that one definitely. This one is definitely up for debate, and I fully acknowledge that. 

But I will say that I have my own reasons for refusing to teach a girl that if she just loves the Beast long enough, he'll turn into a prince. I have my own reasons for refusing to tell a girl that a guy who demands she live in his castle really does loves her (as long as he gives her nice things, of course.) I have my own reasons for believing that true love never forces its own way. I refuse to tell a woman that she can change a beast for the better simply by loving him. 

You can't "love" someone into becoming a completely changed person. You can't nurture a tender heart buried somewhere deep within a beast.

The love of a woman for a beast can't completely change him.

In fact, the love of anyone for anyone can't change them. Only the pure, selfless love of Christ's sacrifice and the acceptance of that sacrifice can change someone from the inside out and make them 100% new. No earthly love can do that.


What message are we sending? What message are we absorbing?

There's no such thing as just a movie, as just entertainment. Everything we take in does have the power to shape our thinking, our reasoning, our world view. 

Disney has done a pretty good job of convincing Christians to water down the no-enchantment, no-magic, no-witchcraft message of Scripture. They've done a great job of convincing us to just word the big bad MAGIC word a little differently, paint it in a different light, and make excuses for it.

Why not begin to have us do the same with sexual sin?

It just takes a little bit of leaven before we start to empathize with people who just "love" each other and aren't "hurting" anyone. Maybe that's the whole point. After all, if we've accepted magic, why shouldn't why we accept sexual sin?

And, since enchantment and sexual sins are both wrong, there's absolutely no reason why Beauty and the Beast should not have both. We as Christians can't raise Cain about one and not the other.

Thoughts? If anyone has a reason why Beauty and the Beast shouldn't have a gay scene, please convince me! 
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Sunday, March 5, 2017

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Using Social Media...To Strengthen Your Church Body

This is something that has really been on my heart...for years. Hahahah! Ask anybody who really knows me and they will tell you that embracing technology for God's glory is very important to me.

Social media is one of those technological items, so to speak. Let's face it--social media isn't going anywhere. So we should be using it for God's glory. The world is always going to use it for evil, but we as Christians have a tremendous and unique opportunity to use it for God and the gospel. We can even use it to help strengthen our church body, which is what I want to share some thoughts on today. 


Here is my compilation of a few basic ideas to help you use social media for God's glory and to strengthen your church body.

  • Encourage. Post verses or encouraging Christian quotes. In a sea of ads, memes with little to no eternal value, and sometimes garbage, it is SO encouraging to have that friend who posts encouragement.
  • Check-In To Church. Check in to church on Sunday and during mid-week meetings. Your enthusiasm to worship and meet with fellow believers may just spark an interest in someone who has been out of church for a while. Don't think of it as shallow. Your social media page is an expression of you. Your heart for God and church should be reflected by it.
  • Post a Quote From Your Pastor/Share the Live Stream. This can be a great way to share what you've learned before you forget it! It can also be a blessing to someone who missed church for one reason or another. It can also be a great conversation starter to invite a friend to church!
  • Stay Connected. Let's face it. Church activities, different classes, different ministries, etc. can keep us so busy that we may have little time to actually catch up with everybody at church! Social media is not as personal as in-person conversations, true, but life isn't perfect. We can use social media to share our daily happenings and/or interests to stay connected with folks in the church. 
  • Pray For One Another. Use messenger or even posts to stay on top of prayer requests. Be sure to actually pray for the prayer requests you receive. Social media is a great way to stay connected for prayer. We're not perfect. We're humans who sin, make mistakes, have bad days, and need help. It's okay to message someone for prayer. It's okay to be real during the week. No one wants to just see the flawless Sunday you. True friendships--especially Church relationships--are built on being vulnerable, real, and honest. 
  • Post Helpful Articles. Life is messy. Sometimes we need helpful articles for our Christian walk. It's good to do some reading every day. So why not post articles from Christian or Bible-based world views that will encourage, exhort, challenge, or warn? Just be sure to share the truth in love. 
  • Share About or Photos of Church Events. Share the love! Have a special event coming up at church? Share it! Had a great time at that event? Share the photos! Church is FAMILY. Families talk about get-togethers and share photos of those special times. 


So there you have it. What are your top tips for using social media to strengthen your church body?
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Sunday, February 26, 2017

In the Shadow of Jezebel: Book Review

This book was incredible. Just incredible. 

I found it at McKays (a local used bookstore) and was able to buy it with store credit (exchanging unwanted books for ones I wanted!) Yeah, I love that place... Moving on.

My heart was so touched, so stirred by an author who truly understood the purpose of the Old Testament laws and God's abundant love for His chosen people--and ALL people who turn to Him. His desire for none to perish was so clearly portrayed in this amazing book.

I was impressed by the simple truths surrounding the backdrop of this story. Wickedness came to the nation because a good and godly king made a mistake. He backslid. Jehoshaphat made a marriage alliance with Ahab, having his son marry the daughter of Jezebel. As a result, the worship of Baal entered the land--and many, many people sought after a false, blood-thirsty god. 

That's what happens when we make an alliance with evil. The generations after us will walk in its shadow--just like Jehosheba had to walk in the shadow of her grandmother Jezebel. 



In the Shadow of Jezebel (Treasure of His Love)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

16-18+. *Best* for married men and women.

This was an amazing book. I cannot remember the last time I felt so encouraged by a story. It was an amazing reminder of what can happen when God gets ahold of a life and a heart. It also was a grim reminder of what can happen when even a godly person disobeys God--in this case, landing generations of people in the shadow of Jezebel.

From the synopsis: Princess Jehosheba wants nothing more than to please the harsh and demanding Queen Athaliah, daughter of the notorious Queen Jezebel. Her work as a priestess in the temple of Baal seems to do the trick. But when a mysterious letter from the dead prophet Elijah predicts doom for the royal household, Jehosheba realizes that the dark arts she practices reach beyond the realm of earthly governments. To further Athaliah and Jezebel's strategies, she is forced to marry Yahweh's high priest and enters the unfamiliar world of Yahweh's temple. Can her new husband show her the truth and love she craves? And can Jehosheba overcome her fear and save the family--and the nation--she loves?

I was blown away by the historical detail and incredible depth of the storyline. While I knew much of it from my reading of the Bible and my years of Bible classes, there were still plenty of surprises. I was so very impressed by Andrews' beautiful understanding of the Old Testament and God's law and His chosen people. She is an author who understands God's heart and the purpose of the law. I was very touched by the story, impressed by the literary skill, and blown away by the historical detail. I could not put this book down. It interfered with all of my normal duties.

The Baal worship was tactfully handled. I felt sick sometimes, but I know that Andrews handled it very tastefully and carefully. She could not have done a better job of depicting the worship of Baal and contrasting it with the worship of the One True God, Jehovah. It was done in a beautiful way and really reflected how absolutely wonderful God's love is.

I highly, highly recommend this book. Due to some slight sexuality (Baal worship; marital lovemaking suggested, but not portrayed) I personally think it is *best* for married individuals. However, the content and maturity level is for 16-18+ if the slight sexual aspects do not bother one. The information contained in the book was about the same level as my Faith Bible Institute classes, which were recommended for 16+.

Great for historical and Biblical story lovers. This may have been one of the best books I've ever read.

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Friday, February 24, 2017

13 Days of Glory

If y'all follow me on Facebook, you know that I am thoroughly enjoying the 13 Days of Glory - the 13 day siege of the Alamo back in 1836. 

Did you know I was at the Alamo during the 13 Days of Glory on my honeymoon last year?


It's hard to believe it's been 3 years since Remembering the Alamo was published!



In honor of the 13 Days of Glory, Remembering the Alamo is only $1.99 on Kindle. Be sure to swing by and download your copy before the sale ends!

Keep up with the celebration by following me on Facebook. We're having tons of fun remembering the Alamo and the facts surrounding it. 
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