Tuesday, September 25, 2012

nothing special

Hi all.

I think I am going to take a break from blogging (at least on this blog). Maybe it'll be for good, I don't know. I feel like this blog doesn't really have a solid purpose and all I do lately is rant about things I can't change. What's the point? Maybe I'll still write book reviews on my other blog, but hardly anyone reads those anyway so maybe not.

My writing sucks, so I won't subject anyone to it anymore. :-P

Thank you for your time and see you around the interwebs.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Pornography as Mainstream Entertainment: What is a Christian to do?

As a culture, we are completely and utterly over-sexed. Sex appeal sells just about anything nowadays. Just show a bit of cleavage and it's all good. Apparently. Of course, it's become waaaaay more than that in the years I've grown up. No longer is a bit of cleavage good enough. Just watch some of the commercials on television sometime. And then we have the tv shows themselves. How many primetime shows don't have at least one sex scene per episode? Perhaps there are a few. But it doesn't matter whether there is a scene; the characters talk about it. Incessantly. It's disgusting. And if you move into the cable channels, it's even worse. Nudity is all over television; sexual nudity. Like A Game of Thrones on HBO. I wrote a review of the first book on my book blog and basically it was a decent story, but it failed for me because of the amount of sex, very often incredibly perverse. The show, I've been told, is even worse. The human body has been turned into this carnal piece of work that everyone is told to lust after.

Movies are just as bad, too. For years, the movies I would call "pornography in disguise" have been targeted more at men and boys. Think American Pie, or Superbad. (I've not seen any of those, and don't plan to. Though I did make the mistake of watching part of the first American Pie movie at a friend's house once...ugh.) And now this year...the ladies got a treat. Magic Mike. Though if you enjoyed this movie, I'd hesitate to call you a lady. Nor would I label the movie a treat. It's full pornography, according to the review I read on pluggedinonline.com. Even the review was too much.

But even if you just want to watch a comedy or drama at the theater, you can't get away from sex. I feel like it must be a prerequisite now for Hollywood: at least one gratuitous sex scene. At least. I can't tell you how many movies I've seen at the theater/rented to watch at home that had a useless sex scene. You know something, Hollywood? Even if the characters must have sex, you don't have to show it. Good grief.

And then there's the sexual innuendo that is splattered ALL OVER conversation, whether in everyday talk or in the media. My question is simply this: WHY?

Then we have books. Sex scenes are all over books; every genre has them, some worse than others I think. I made a comment in my review of A Game of Thrones about how fantasy authors seem to think they have every right to throw in as many pointless sex scenes as they want simply because the book is in a fantasy setting. A few of my favorite books are still sullied by these scenes. Enter E.L. James, the author (dare I say plagiarizer?) of the super-hyped Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy. I know I have made many wisecracks about judging people for reading these books, but I am honestly dead serious. First of all, these books started out as Twilight fanfiction, which should tell you a lot. Second, they are poorly written. And when I say poorly, I mean atrociously. I haven't read them, but just reading the reviews on Goodreads is enough for me to say they didn't deserve to be published. Third, they are basically porn packaged as a (poorly told) love story. Most of each book is sex. I'm sorry but no one, and I repeat no one should be reading this trash. Especially not Christian women. Why bring yourself down to that level? What is the point?


Sex is everywhere. And it's probably 99% of the time perverse. Pre-marital. Homosexual acts. (No, being gay is NOT OKAY. I don't know what Bible you're reading....) The list could easily go on. The human body is supposed to be a temple, people. Why can no one realize this?????? God created man and woman to be there for each other, and to have an incredibly intimate relationship within the bonds of marriage, to the point that they become one flesh.

I exhort you, Christian friends, to stand firm in the face of the perversions of the world. God created sex to be the means of a deep union between husband and wife, and to be the means by which children are created. It's a miracle and a mystery wrapped up together and it is sanctioned by God.

I could write about this particular topic forever. It saddens me to see young girls dressing and acting like total sluts because the media says it is okay. It saddens me to see young boys making crude jokes. And then they turn into men and women who think it's okay to allow abortion because then they can have sex with whomever they want with no restraints. Children are no longer cherished in our society. Just look at the absolutely ridiculous fight over birth control. Now, I condone the use of birth control for medical reasons, or within a marriage if that is what the couple wishes. I do not condone the use of pills like the "morning after" and others which induce an abortion right after conception. That is murder, plain and simple. (I also don't think anyone should be forced to pay for someone else's birth control. Yes, I'm talking about you, Sandra Fluke.)

We as Christians need to stand up for what is right and pure in our world. Don't be legalistic and shun everyone who thinks differently than you, but reach out in love. If a friend asks you to go see a certain movie with them, respectfully decline and explain why. Resist the temptation to read something like Fifty Shades simply because everyone else is. (If you ask me, when "everyone else is doing it" becomes the reason, I think that's a good time to steer clear.) Avoid listening to music that is completely about sex. Watch other television shows.

There is plenty of good, wholesome entertainment available. Many family movies, like Pixar. Tv shows like Doctor Who, Once Upon a Time, and Downton Abbey. (Actually, much of what is offered on Masterpiece Theatre Classic on PBS is wholesome and well-written.) There are also plenty of other books to be reading. Plenty of decent music to be listened to. And if all else fails, you can very easily read your Bible.

I usually watch period dramas, listen to classical music, read old novels and classics, and watch old films because they are so much cleaner than much of what is mainstream today. And of course, I just prefer them, but that is pretty obvious. ^_^

I'll stop here, since if this gets too long, people probably won't read it. But please take the time to. And I know I directed this at Christians, but this goes for anyone else in the world, too.

Thank you for reading, and may God bless your entertainment choices.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

on silent films (and why I adore them)

One of my favorite activities when I was a teenager was to go see movies. During the summer there were always at least three films I had lined up to see on opening night, usually at the midnight showing. The films my friends and I went to see were the ones that are typically labeled "blockbusters" because of how popular they are. Film franchises like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter, and Chronicles of Narnia were what I always went to see. All the superhero franchises, too. I preferred to see these films on the big screen because they always had sweeping scores, many of them had spectacular explosions, and they were just overall good experiences.

I never went to see comedies, dramas, horror, or anything along those lines. I always felt that usually those movies weren't really worth my eight dollars and that if I wanted to watch them, I could rent them for a buck or two or even get them free from my library. Plus, and I find this especially true in the comedies, there aren't many redeeming aspects in movies that are made today that aren't of the "epic" variety. Too much sex, language, drugs, etc. I know it happens, but I certainly don't need gratuitous amounts of it put in front of my eyes. (This goes for violence as well, which is why I'm not always keen on R-rated films that have the rating for violence.)

So, on my movie shelf, there are mostly those epics listed above. But my other favorites are movies based on classic books. I have a few versions of Alice in Wonderland, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, etc. No, they aren't always as faithful to the books as I would like, but that doesn't necessarily change how I feel about the film. Different art mediums, after all. For movies like Narnia, and Harry Potter, I take a lot of issue with the changes, and honestly, with good reason. You can read about that in this post (which, ironically, I wrote exactly a year ago).

But the point of this post was to talk about why I love silent films. First, I adore almost anything that is old. Second, black and white. Third, they were clean. I can't stress this enough. Yes, old Hollywood had its problems...but the films themselves weren't all about how much sex you can show onscreen and get away with, or how much language can be peppered throughout the dialogue.  And as for the dialogue...well, to be in a silent film, you really and truly had to know how to act. Most of today's actors and actresses in Hollywood have little to none in the way of talent. I don't care how you feel about it, it's the truth. In silent films, it was all about the gestures, the facial expressions, the way you carried yourself.

If you've never watched a silent film, I encourage you to give one a try. And if you're really not sure where to start, just watch The Artist, the film that was made last year. Now that was an excellent film. What a beautiful tribute to the beginning of filmmaking. I own the DVD, by the way, and if you live near me, I'll gladly let you come over and watch it with me. ^_~

There is so much more that I could say, but I will stop here. I will leave you with this thought: Think about a time when people's private lives were not the focal point of their careers; think about a time when the focus was truly on the movie making process, and new discoveries were being made everyday; think about a time when you could watch a film as a family and not have to worry overmuch about what your children might see or hear. In our over-sexed and amoral society, I prefer to look back at a time when people didn't flaunt their sin or their bad choices.

And sometimes, it's nice to have to place your whole focus on something. When watching a silent film, you truly have to watch it. You can't just listen or you won't get anything out of it. So, take some time and try watching a silent film (particularly from the early 1920s). You might find you like it.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

musings no. 7 [in other news, my legs are killing me]

 I sat down at my computer and was about to write a "Motivational Monday" post when I realized something.
It's not Monday.

Well, I'm totally okay with that.
Mondays aren't usually the best day in the week for most people.
Yesterday I spent the morning baking and the afternoon reading and the evening watching Star Wars with my husband, so overall it was a pretty good Monday.
That certainly doesn't happen every week, though!

Last week, I wrote a post on taking walks.
I'm here now to tell you that I took my own post seriously!
I wrote that post last Thursday, and by that point I had walked roughly four miles, two on Monday afternoon with Nate, and two on Wednesday morning alone.
On Friday, though, I hiked/walked a total of almost nine miles.
Friday morning I hiked a 3.5 mile trail by myself, while listening to the soundtrack for Fellowship of the Ring; it was an awesome hike.
Friday afternoon, Nate and I hiked a 3.1 mile trail, at which point my legs were screaming at me, but I still felt pretty good overall.
Friday night, we went to the Cheese Capital Jazz Crawl in Plymouth and that was roughly two miles of walking in the four hours we hung out there.

Honestly, at that point, I was totally beat.
But it was good for me!
I'm not bragging or anything, though I suppose I could since this isn't something I do all the time.
My stamina isn't really that great, but after last week I think I'm well on my way to building up some more strength.

I'm taking it easy this week because my leg muscles are still a little sore, and I have a couple of lovely looking blisters on my feet.

Annnnd since I just spent an entire post talking about myself...I guess I'll just shut up now.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

taking walks

Anyone who knows me knows that my favorite thing to do is read.
I can curl up in bed or on the couch and read for hours.
This isn't a bad thing, and on a day like today when it is pouring outside (Thank you, God!!!), once I get the cleaning done, reading is exactly what I'll be doing.

But getting out of the house is so good for you and your body.
Taking a walk is one of my favorite forms of exercise.
It strengthens my legs and I work up a healthy sweat.
And with all the hiking trails available within 15-20 minutes of our house, I have absolutely no excuse to not get out and walk.
All the good things walking does for your body you probably already know.

But did you also know that walking is good for your mind and your soul?
My husband and I take walks/hikes together as often as we can.
And during that time, we talk.
We always have incredibly stimulating conversation, but when we are out walking, it's different because we are not distracted by other things at home and we are focused completely on each other.
And when I take walks alone, which happens more often than not, I put on my headphones and listen to music or an audio drama, and just appreciate the glory of God's world around me.
Sometimes I don't even turn any music on, I just listen to the sounds of nature.
In the springtime, you hear the spring peepers -- the baby frogs.
In the summertime, there are lots of sounds.
In the autumn, you hear the rustling of the colorful leaves as the wind blows through the treetops.
In the wintertime, usually you just hear the silence. (That might be my favorite.)

Think about God and His faithfulness when you take a walk.
Think about how you may better yourself in life, and then apply it when you get home.
Think about history, science, philosophy, literature, psychology -- ANYTHING that gets your mind going.
Take a camera along (or use your phone) and snap photos of things in the landscape that fascinate you.
Heck, snap a picture of the blue sky.

And you know what?
This is all good for you and it doesn't cost a thing. (Except for the gas if you drive to a park, but it's worth it, trust me.)

Walking is good for your body.
Walking is good for your mind.
Walking is good for your soul.

So get out and take a walk!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

relationships part two

Because of the overwhelming (to me) positive response I received on my previous post, I am writing a follow up post. I covered the basics before, but I want to mention a few more specifics this time. Hopefully this post won't be quite as long. (It's not a very strong hope...haha.)

Okay, I'm going to stress this one again, because we live in a culture where the "anything goes" mentality pervades even the most intimate acts -- namely sex as it is meant to be, between one man and one woman within the bonds of marriage. Teenagers and other single young men and women (and everybody else, of course!) are bombarded with images on the internet, in movies, on television, and even in books (Fifty Shades of Gray, anyone??). And according to our culture, that is okay. You're allowed to do whatever you want, as long as it feels good. Never mind that it's going to hurt you and many other people in the long run. That's what the world doesn't tell you. God created sex within one context only for so many reasons. Read Song of Solomon (or Song of Songs, whichever your edition of the Bible calls it). Such a beautiful book and it praises marriage in a beautiful and poetical way.

So, boundaries are important. We need boundaries, rules, and guidelines in all areas of our life, and obviously sex is no different. Just because the world says it's okay to sleep with your bf/gf when you're 15 does not mean it is. In fact, I've found that usually if the world says something is okay, it most certainly is not. All that being said, I also know that things happen no matter how hard we try to stay pure within a relationship. I said that in the previous post, and it really stems from the fact that we are all sinners. Forgiveness is as equally important as boundaries.

That being said, hold hands with your bf/gf. Hug them. Kiss them if you feel comfortable with that. Even cuddle on the couch and watch a movie. But remember your boundaries. Ladies, guys have a much harder time with this than we do. It's important to remind your boyfriend that you have set boundaries. For the most part, he will be glad you called it to his attention. My husband has told me many times that guys have a tendency to think about one thing at a time (also known as having a one-track mind, haha), and sometimes, sexual desire takes over and it's extremely hard to come back down to earth, so to speak. There's a time and a place for those feelings, and it's after the wedding day. But don't be afraid to get a little close to each other. Just please keep your clothes on!!!! Again, things happen, no matter the boundaries you have set.

I probably should have put this section before the previous one, but oh well. Also note that I am specifically targeting Christians in these posts, so if anyone outside of my Facebook friends reads this, just know that. (Though all of this ought to apply to everyone...) So, here's the scenario:
You share the faith of your parents. You were raised in one denomination of Christianity for your whole life, and you know that you will be staying a member of that denomination. Now you've entered your teenage years and there just doesn't seem to be anyone at your church that you would willingly date. Oh, they are your good friends, of course, but that's all. Or maybe your church is so small you're basically a class of one in your age group most of the time. So you look to your friends outside of church. None of them are the same denomination as you are, but hey, they're Christian, right?
So there's this guy/girl that you begin to like as a little more than a friend. Maybe you even decide to confess your feelings to him/her. And guess what, he/she likes you, too! -gasp- This is wonderful! You go on a few dates, and try to spend time alone at gatherings of friends. People start to call you a couple. Eventually, you are. Then, the serious talk starts.
Do you want to see yourselves married to each other in however many years? You think the answer is yes. So you begin to talk very seriously. Eventually, the talk comes back around to church. You and your bf/gf would love to attend church together as husband and wife. That's how you each grew up and it's kind of a requirement in your minds. You attend church together, maybe alternating Sundays a few times. You soon come to the realization that his/her church is very different from yours, even differing on some main points in the Bible, not to mention worship styles. You try to talk it over with him/her, but he/she isn't quite sure he/she understands what is so important about your church. But you are not going to budge, and he/she won't either. 
Eventually, you break up over theological differences. This is important. You were not willing to compromise your beliefs, and neither was your significant other. Granted, you were both Christian, but with the wide variety of Christian denominations around today, this kind of thing will happen. But you know what? You stayed strong in your faith, and hopefully your bf/gf learned something about his/her own faith as well.
So that was very long. And hopefully ambiguous enough that it could apply to just about anyone, even though I experienced this a couple of times. Personal side note, here: I have grown up Lutheran, and that is different from any other denomination that I have ever been exposed to (other than Catholic, but they are in a league all their own), and because my church was so small, and few other Lutherans homeschooled, I had a hard time. And when I did date a Lutheran while I was a teenager, I realized that he did not know how to live out his faith whatsoever, and I definitely lay the blame on his parents. (If you really MUST know any of the personal details, please message me privately on Facebook...)
No matter what denomination you are, I want you to examine your beliefs and the doctrine (if any...) that your denomination holds and know who you are in Christ before you start thinking seriously about dating and marriage. I know families where the parents attend different churches and I have a difficult time believing their children have a strong faith background. Obviously, I don't know their hearts and souls, but still. On the other hand, if you are a "church-jumper" then you really need to take a look at what you believe. It is super hard to defend your faith if you have heard conflicting things every other year. (By "church-jumper" I mean people that attend, say, a Pentecostal church for a year, then decide they are going to attend a Bible church, and then a Baptist church, and then a home church, and then...you get the idea. It's never Lutheran or Catholic, though, that's something I've noticed....I guess people don't like being told they are sinners anymore...) Being secure in Christ and a solid interpretation of the Bible will help you in all areas of life.

EDIT: Make sure you agree politically, as well, because in today's politically polarized world, it'll be nearly impossible to agree on anything ever.

Dress (or Modesty 101)
This is a difficult topic for some, but I see too many young girls (and young men, for that matter) dressing in inappropriate ways to not address it in terms of relationships. Again, I will stress that we are all sinners, no one is perfect, and this is even evident in the ways we as Christian people choose to dress. Yes, there are ways that a Christian should not dress. I know that may seem strange to some people.
Now, I'm not touting the idea that all girls need to wear long skirts and high-necked shirts and braids in their hair and boring shoes all the time. If you like dressing that way, go ahead! But don't use it as a biblical standard and look down on girls that do wear jeans and t-shirts and bright purple Chuck Taylors and maybe even dye their hair a funky color. Fashion can totally be fun, and those who know me know that I love my Chucks, bright red hair, and geeky t-shirts.
Things that Christian young women should not wear are short shorts that are almost up their rear ends (I've even seen this in church, and I was appalled!!!), dresses that barely cover the already mentioned rear ends, and super low-cut shirts. I suppose I should add that push-up bras aren't necessarily the best thing to be wearing, either, because they explicitly bring attention to your chest and that's not a good idea. Really, just use discretion when you are shopping. I've also heard that asking your father or brother (if he's of the correct age) if something is appropriate is a good idea, too. But discretion is key. If you realize you're choosing something to get looks from the boys, then maybe you should think again.
Also, wear clothing that is actually the correct size!!!!!! This is something I cannot stress enough! Whether you are a size 6 or a size 14 or whatever, please, please, please wear clothing that fits!! I know the fashion magazines show everyone as a size -14 (seriously...that's not even size zero...), but those same magazines have some pretty wacky and stupid ideas about fashion and life in general. Too many young girls (Christian and non-Christian alike) use those magazines as their Bibles and oh the effects of this are just awful. We are all created in the image of God, and that means each and every one of you, girls and ladies, is beautiful. If you feel you are overweight or underweight, do something about it. At the very least, try. Modesty isn't only clothing; it's how you carry yourself, and take care of your body as a whole.
So...young men...yes, you. Obviously it's a whole different ball game when it comes to your clothes, but I still have a few pointers that maybe you ought to think about following if you don't already.
I'll just list them for you.
  1. Like the girls, wear clothing that fits. Stop wearing shirts and pants that are three sizes too big for you. It looks sloppy and immature.
  2. WEAR A BELT. I don't care what your boxers have on them, nobody wants to see that.
  3. Stop wearing t-shirts with offensive images or language on them. I know that's the norm now, but I do not have a very high opinion of any young man I see wearing a t-shirt that shows the finger or says something offensive. Bad language is never attractive. (Same goes for you, ladies.)
  4. Dress up once in a while! Wearing something nicer than jeans to church is always appropriate, but you could always wear a button down shirt with a pair of nice jeans for a family gathering, or even to a coffeehouse with your date. Women like sharp-dressed men. Seriously!
Those are the main things. Modesty in your language is good too. Don't speak in a degrading manner about women EVER. Even when they are not around. Don't use bad language in your everyday conversation. Women shouldn't speak degradingly about men, either Or use bad language. These actions are completely unchristian.

So this section got away from me a bit, but all of this does still apply to relationships. Ladies, it's hard for a young man to think pure thoughts about a young woman who is wearing short shorts and a low-cut tank top. You may say, oh they shouldn't be looking, but guys are hardwired to desire us, okay? So we should help them not fall prey to sexual sin and dress accordingly. Also, guys, ladies really do appreciate it when you go the extra mile and dress up for her.

Personality (or People Just Don't Change)
A good friend suggested I mention the fact that people don't change easily. If you are in a relationship and your bf/gf has some qualities or habits that you don't like, or are outright wrong, do not expect him/her to change once you are married. It doesn't work that way. The older people get, the more they are set in their ways, whether good or bad. God can and does change people, but you shouldn't simply expect it to happen. The sad truth is that it usually doesn't. Again, breakups are never easy. If a breakup is easy for you, then maybe you didn't care as much about that person as you thought you did. At any rate, it's better to have a broken heart for a time than to create a rift in a marriage fifteen years down the road. Not that broken marriages are always avoidable. People are inherently sinful. (How many times have I said that now???) But please realize that it's a lot simpler to break up with someone while you are young and not married than to go through a divorce when you have children. A couple of guys I dated had habits and qualities that I was unsure about, and thankfully God helped me to overcome the fear of getting hurt/hurting them.

Sorry, that got super long...gosh. I suppose by now it is painfully obvious that I feel very strongly about things like this. I hope I covered everything, though I know I couldn't possibly have done so. If you would like to further discuss these two posts or just an aspect of them, please message me on Facebook or email me at mara_jade1510@hotmail.com. I will gladly talk to you.

Also, I know that the only Bible verses I even mentioned were from Song of Solomon. The Bible is FULL of verses to help young men and women along the path of life. I didn't post any specific verses because I know that each of you who reads this will probably think of different verses that apply to each section. :)

Sunday, July 15, 2012


Recently, on Facebook, I posted a link to this article. It deals with the teachings of "emotional purity" and the notion that Christians should stay as far away from the dating scene as possible. Read the article if you wish, but you don't have to.

So, how should Christians face relationships and finding their future spouse?

Granted, I am not an expert on this. I'm basically just giving my two cents on the issue. I did date boys while I was a teenager. I frequently was looked down upon and shamed because of this. Other kids I knew did this to me, as did their parents. And to be honest, my choices of a boyfriend weren't always the smartest. But that's how I learned. And thankfully, God helped me through it and lead me to meet my wonderful husband.

There's nothing wrong with dating, okay? Just because you go to a coffeehouse or to a movie (not my favorite idea for early dates, though, since you can't really talk and get to know one another) or for a walk in the park together, alone, does not mean you are sinning. If you hold hands, you are not sinning. If you even kiss, that's okay. As long as you do not lead each other into sexual situations you are okay. And trust me, the temptation will be there. God gave us physical attraction, so in itself it isn't wrong. But you should probably set boundaries for yourself. And follow them. But also remember that if something does happen between you and your boyfriend or girlfriend, there is still forgiveness. I'm not really going to go into teen pregnancies and such, because I have no experience with that and thus am not qualified to write on the subject. But the point I want you to remember is that we are all human and therefore inherently sinful. Things will happen, no matter how hard we try to prevent them. This is true of all areas of life and it is no different when it comes to boyfriend/girlfriend relationships.

So there is nothing wrong with dating. And your parents should definitely have a say in when you're old enough to date, etc, if you are yet a teenager. Once out of the house, it'll be different in each family. And certainly don't be angry if your parents set rules for dating, because they are looking out for you. Seriously. I had many an argument with my parents that I would like to take back. If you're reading this and you are out of your parents' house, I suggest that you not be afraid to ask your parents for advice! Other family members, as well. They went through this stage of life, too. And they've also known you your whole life; your parents are most likely very good judges on who would be a good husband or wife for you, even though the choice should ultimately be up to you.

Those are the basics of how I feel about dating and relationships. It all comes down to your faith, your character, and remembering that nobody is perfect. I like to use the phrase "everything in moderation" to describe most of life. There is a good middle ground for most things, and in this almost completely amoral culture, we as Christians have to remember that we are just as sinful as those who are not believers. Being humble and willing to take responsibility are two qualities you almost must have in order to build a solid relationship. And being strong in your faith in Jesus Christ will help you a lot. As far as religion goes, remember that dating outside the faith is very hard. You will be put in more compromising situations than ever, because those who are not believers don't usually hold the same standards. But also remember that there are so many different denominations within Christianity, and that will also lead to strife. Trust me, I dealt with this so many times that I was ready to give up.

A few other things and then I will be done.

You also want to consider the things like his or her personality and interests. Just because she's hot does not mean she would be a good partner. Just because he's cute and dresses well does not mean he would be a good partner. But the thing is, these aren't even the most important things. Looks (that physical attraction I mentioned earlier) are definitely helpful in the search for a spouse. And boys, you may notice a pretty girl and take her on a date to the park and then realize afterwards that it just won't work. But you tried. And you may even try for a few more dates. That's okay. Girls, that's okay.

Broken hearts happen. You will date the wrong person. But we heal. God made our hearts to hold so much love in them. Just because Alicia breaks up with Dan doesn't mean she has been ruined for her future spouse. Just because you said "I love you" to more than one boyfriend/girlfriend in your life doesn't mean you don't have all of your heart to give your husband/wife at the altar. Just because you kissed all three of the boyfriends you had doesn't mean that the man you marry somehow lost those kisses, or something. I can't understand that line of thinking, and it's not Christian in the least. God IS love, so why should we not have the capacity to love so much? (Of course, this doesn't mean that you should be able to say "well I still love so-and-so even though I'm married now..." That is wrong.)

Bottom line is this:
Everything in moderation.
Rely on your faith.
Remember that we are poor, miserable sinners and that absolutely no one on this earth is perfect.
Make sure you enjoy spending time with the person!
And don't be afraid of advice.


I hope this all makes sense. I could talk on this for hours, but translating my thoughts on something like this into the written word is difficult. I just want my fellow Christians to realize that they should stop looking down on others for dating, etc. I want them to realize that people make mistakes. If no one ever made mistakes, well, then why did Christ come?

But I digress.
Have a wonderful Sunday, everyone!

Monday, June 18, 2012

the nostalgia of a clothesline

It is 90 degrees outside and quite sunny. I hung my clean laundry on the clothesline for the first time this year. The cold and wet clothes felt good against my skin and made the task feel not so tedious. And it made me realize that I hadn't hung clothes on a clothesline since I was not quite tall enough to reach the clothesline! It's been awhile. But I think clotheslines are wonderful, and they hold a lot of nostalgia for me, because when I was little, we would make fortresses out of big blankets and the clothesline and it was magical. Especially at night when we had only our beach towels (and maybe our swimsuits) hung on the clothesline after we had been swimming in our tiny pool all day. I say especially magical at night because this is when the heat would die down and the fireflies would come out and it felt as if we could run through the forest of towels into another world underneath the giant fir tree. It really was giant, and the fireflies congregated under there.

I miss those days. I hope that someday our children will play like that.
I hope we are able to teach them that imagination is the best plaything.
I thank God for giving me such a wonderful husband, since I know that he feels the same way.
Someday, there will be children to play under the clothesline.
Today, I will revel in the nostalgia of a clothesline and the heat of long-ago summers.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

Here in America, we have many reasons to thank our military.
Even those people who seem to not care about the military and what they are doing.
Our freedom is not, nor ever will be, free for the taking.


While I could write a long rant about what that freedom really means and why many of our politicians (including the man in the White House) are completely undermining it, I will not.
First of all, that would take me all day.
Second of all, that's not what today is about.

So what is today about?

It isn't about enjoying a long weekend.
It isn't about seeing family and friends.
It isn't about spending the day out on a lake.
It isn't about bratwurst and having an awesome cookout.
It isn't about celebrating the beginning of summer.

Memorial Day is about honouring and remembering those brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in serving our beloved country.
They gave their lives.
If that isn't worth honouring, I don't know what is.

And while I am all for also thanking our living veterans, please, please, please remember that this isn't their day.
Veteran's Day is in November.
This is Memorial Day.
A memorial is for honouring those who have died, not those who are still living.
So even when you thank our veterans for serving, don't forget that this day is set aside in memoriam of the veterans who are no longer with us.


Image from theunforgottenamerican.com
O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!
(Third verse of "America the Beautiful" that is often forgotten.) 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

A Jedi does not know hate.

Broken and still living.

Fairy lights.

Wednesday morning.


Monday, May 21, 2012

"Begin each day as if it were on purpose." [monday motivation]

The quote I have as my post title is not attributed to anyone, as far as I know.
But I like it, because it helps to remind me that each day is on purpose.
God gives us each and every day of our lives.
Waking up is enough reason for me to thank Him joyfully.
The weather has been so lovely lately.
This morning it was particularly beautiful, and I was reminded of a few verses from Song of Solomon, so I will share them with you.


"My beloved speaks and says to me:
   'Arise, my love, my beautiful one,
      and come away,
    for behold, the winter is past;
      the rain is over and gone.
   The flowers appear on the earth,
     the time of singing has come,
   and the voice of the turtledove
     is heard in our land.
   The fig tree ripens its figs,
     and the vines are in blossom;
     they give forth fragrance.'"
~Song of Solomon 2:10-13a (ESV)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

wedding photos!

I realize it's been almost six months since our wedding, but I still look through the pictures all the time. (Part of that is due to the fact that I haven't yet decided which ones I actually want to get printed so I can frame them...there are SO MANY and I'm such a terrible decision maker about things like this. Anyway.) They are all posted on Facebook, but I thought I would share a few of my favorites here with my lovely followers. :)

Father-daughter dance. I added the song lyrics; only part of the song would fit.

My mother-in-law found this cake topper. Since the wedding colors were Packer green and gold, it was quite fitting!

My brother being awesome.

My youngest sister.

My family.

Siblings! We all look snazzy.

My husband and his brothers. They are fancy gentlemen.

I was so thankful my pastor was willing to travel from Illinois to perform our ceremony.

Doesn't look much like December, eh?

All credit for the photos goes to my cousin's friend, Jon Kline. He is quite the photographer!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

great is Thy faithfulness

Lamentations 3:22-23

English Standard Version (ESV)
22  The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;[a]
     his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
     great is your faithfulness.

The above pictures were actually taken two days ago, but since the weather is pretty much the same as it was then, I figured I would post them anyway. ^_^


When it is sunny and warm outside, I usually wake up in a good mood. I struggle with keeping that good mood all day long. It's a relief to remember the verses from Lamentations about God's mercies being new each morning; we should rejoice that we have such a loving and gracious God that gives us each and every day of our lives. We're living and breathing because He gave us the breath of Life.

Let us remember that though we are not perfect, we have the Lord to rely on in every circumstance, however big or small it may be.

"Great is Thy Faithfulness"

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow if turning with Thee.
Thou changest not: Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be.

Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.

Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

(Lutheran Service Book, hymn 809)

Friday, May 4, 2012

May the Fourth be with you.

Happy Star Wars Day, everybody!

Need a few crafty ideas to celebrate your inner nerd?

Try this crochet pattern from Etsy to make an adorable little Ewok!

Or click here to try your hand at Star Wars inspired snowflakes!

How about some Star Wars cookie cutters for the nerds in your life that have a sweet tooth?

And of course you could always pick up a copy of Wookie Cookies (or one of the other Star Wars cookbooks) and whip up a nerdy meal or snack!


What am I doing to celebrate Star Wars Day?

Wearing my "Casual Friday" t-shirt from Woot, of course!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

newness and renewal

I like spring.

I know we celebrated Easter a few weeks ago, but during the month of May I think about Easter everyday.
Looking outside, I see trees that are covered in blossoms.
The tulip bulbs that I planted last fall have grown and transformed into gorgeous royal purple flowers.
Of the herbs I recently planted, my cress has started growing, and fast.
And the dandelions are going to seed all over the place.

Springtime is a time of newness and renewal, which is why it's a perfect time for us to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord.

(Photos taken with Hipstamatic and/or Instagram.)

John 11:25-26
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. (NIV)

Monday, April 30, 2012

knitting shenanigans

Last week my cousin was posting about knitting on her blog, which got me thinking about when I learned how to knit.
That was a long time ago, and I have fallen out of practice.
In fact, I never really graduated beyond washcloths and scarves. >_>
This is frustrating to remember, because I have so many things I would much rather knit than buy.
Like socks.
And washcloths and scarves, I guess, but since I already know how to make those...
Anyway, I purchased some yarn, a new set of size 10 needles (because I cannot figure out where my other ones ended up), and a little book for beginner knitters. The book is the best, because it actually has photos, and tells me how to decipher other knitting patterns. Win!

Saturday was a cold, dreary, and rainy day, so I situated myself on the couch with my new knitting things, a cup of coffee, and the television remote. Tarzan was on, so I watched that while I set about relearning how to knit.

After watching Tarzan, the Titanic mini-series, and the Royal Wedding, I had succeeded in completing a lovely little scarf for my sister Heidi! She loves blue and brown together, and there happened to be a skein of yarn that was these two colors, so it worked out perfectly. I hope she likes it. :)