Rebecca – 11.14 | Quince photos

Today is the day I share the photos of my new friend, Rebecca! As I think back on that beautiful day, I recall the funny adventure it was. I knew Rebecca’s mom through our local homeschooling group and her dad did our new kitchen reno, but I hadn’t had the chance to speak with Rebecca on the phone or in person before the day of our shoot. All I knew was that she was turning fifteen (more like, thirty ;) ) and that her mom wanted portraits of her. She said that her evening was pretty busy, and that she trusted me to drive her wherever I deemed a good spot (no pressure!). So the day came, her mom dropped her off with my sister and I, and off we went!

We talked about the books we like, our families and their quirks, and a whole lot of other things. My sister and I had a fun time getting to know this lovely girl, and I pray that she will grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. <3

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Rebecca De Ara

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To the moms who think they’ve still “got it”

In honor of my mom and Thanksgiving.

Mom,

There is a significant memory I have between you and I—one where I woke up “really early” and walked out to the dining room to find you reading your Bible. You offered to have devotions with me, so I went and grabbed my own Bible and you taught me verse by verse John 1:1-3. Every time I read that passage, I think of that morning.

One of the things I appreciate the most about you is your desire to be a woman after God’s own heart. Which, in that case, leads to another thing I appreciate about you: you allow yourself to be on display for me, for the kids, and for the rest of the world that God brings your way.

Eventually, you’ve raised us to become God-fearing children and to develop wise thoughts on our own.

And so, hopefully, these are some of my own godly and wise thoughts. This is for you.

_________

To the moms who think they’ve still “got-it”…

You do.

 

Dear, sweet mother(s),

You have done so much for us, and I don’t think we compliment you and give thanks enough. You’ve done your job and we’ve done ours from the very beginning:

You gave birth to us, we cried.

You fed us, we slept.

You cleaned our dirty diapers, we giggled.

You’ve done our laundry, we’ve worn it.

You’ve washed our dishes, and we’ve eaten from them.

You’ve swept, and we’ve cheered you on.

When you’ve raised us to not just cheer you on, but to do our own chores and to face the consequences of our grievous mistakes, we didn’t stand there in shock – we were spanked into action. You have been honest with me, telling me if my haircut looks bad or not, and as I’ve grown up, you have become a confidante, encouraging me and aiding me when I’ve been so confused by the world around me. You have shared your past experiences—good and bad. You’ve been the brunt of teases and you’ve teased us back—and then we’ve all been shocked by how much funnier you are than us. You’ve been a comfort during times of broken heart, and the one who has held me accountable.

So through all these years, how do I see you? Well I’ll tell you.

You have exemplified yourself as a practical, wise, playful, loving, and, ultimately, humble woman. A jewel.

You’ve become the “older woman” God called you to be in Titus 2 (v. 3-5).

It’s sad, but a reality, that the world and our fleshly desires blind us. My generation is known to be called self-seeking, lazy and technological. We’ve let sin have its destructive way. We start to believe that we should have someone sacrifice their time, skills and energy for our own needs and wants. However, for those who have raised their arrows well, we do remember that you are one huge blessing that we do not deserve. And as your sister in Christ, I am called to encourage and aid you—however I realize that at times, I do not fulfill that duty well enough.

Which brings me to a great concern I have.

As an ignorant child, I received all that you taught me with the belief that you had already overcome all of the world’s stabs. However, growing up, it slowly dawned on me that you still received bruises inwardly. Eventually, you showed me that, even though people take on a more mature-looking face and body, it doesn’t mean their outward cover reflected their spiritual life. And in the last few years, I’ve seen you overhear the gossip, the nasty facial expressions, the backs turned on you—but even more recently, I’ve discovered that there are two great temptations so subtle, so alluring, and so deceitful, that many women—young and old—fall prey.

Beauty and charm.

There have been times I’ve heard older women say, “Yeah, my daughter wanted me to find a sexy outfit, so I bought this…”

Many times, I overhear a mom encouraging another mom, proclaiming, “You should definitely buy [make-up product after make-up product] so you can cover those bags under your eyes, and [make-up product] so you can add some color to your cheeks and look hot. Your husband will definitely appreciate you every single day.”

The most horrific of them all, though, (and the one I’m hearing way too often), is a daughter tell her mother, “Mom, take a picture with me!” And her mother replies, “No, I can’t now. I don’t have any make-up on.”

So I know, if you’ve read this far, you’re sitting back in your chair wondering what’s wrong with that sentence—only because you and I have both said it. So let me just remind us both of a verse that we’ve memorized since the start of our own teenage lives.

“Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” Proverbs 31:30.

I’m pretty sure that verse teaches itself, so I just want you to reflect on it and then all of what I wrote above about what I think about you and why. I think of you as a jewel and Titus 2:3-5 woman, loving and humble. Sure, you’ve always been beautiful on the outside, but you’ve exemplified yourself as a beautiful person on the inside, and we both know that that is what makes you absolutely gorgeous on both sides.

As a young woman, trying to please the Lord from the inside, and, yet, being surrounded with the world’s idea of beauty, I know that I foolishly fall prey into trying to impress people with trying to look attractive—trying to charm others so I can feel “beautiful”.

It’s true (and a vicious cycle), charm is deceitful and beauty is vain.

With all of this being said, I don’t think wearing make-up and stunning outfits are wrong (so please don’t go extreme on me). The Lord made us ladies in such a way that we like to enhance our features and reflect our beauty on the outside – but we’re also cursed human beings and we will decay. I love the fact that He has allowed us to know and see that we don’t have to give up on beauty. There is one beautiful thing that will never decay and it’s what grows and keeps our beauty on the inside—saving grace. For me, even though I fail frequently, I know that the Holy Spirit will continue to sanctify me. The One we should want to impress people with is God, and I pray that we will be able to encourage each other in our walk with Him.

 “…A woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.”

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Numbering my Days – Honduras 2014

“So teach us to number our days,
That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.”
Psalm 90:12

It has officially been a week since my family and I have arrived back from Honduras, and I am still sorely missing just being there. I pray I will be able to return to Honduras soon. This verse has been on my heart since the morning my devotional group leader read it in Zacapa, Honduras, and it continues to pop up in my mind. I think the recurring prayer I have now been taught from this summer is for the Lord to teach me to number my days. Every year, when I return from Honduras, I always have two goals:  (1) to share the gospel when possible and (2) to go out of my way to serve others more often. A week before I left, when I read this verse, and Matt 6:21 , I realized Moses’ prayer could not have been more adequately pleaded. Sometimes I find it hard to accomplish these goals that are truly set by the Lord, and it is because my “treasures” have been buried deep in hidden “acceptable sins” (thank you for that term, Jerry Bridges!). However, even though there will always be that struggle, it is such a comforting thought that I can ask the Lord to motivate me to glorify Him and to give me a heart of wisdom, by reminding me that my days are numbered and I have merely time from this earthly, temporary life.

I’m very joyful to say that this summer was blessed with many more lessons. I went with the goal to learn Spanish, minister to others, and be open to any other opportunities the Lord seemed fit to hand me — and He presented me with more experiences than what I had dreamed of.
I am absolutely, unfathomably thankful for the best summer I have ever experienced.

Below are photos that are dear memories, places, and people to me. :)

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Honduras 2014

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Additional photos that I love ;)Cholomazacapa8

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To God be the glory!

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Through Him who strengthens me

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Buenas, amigos!

I have now been in Honduras for a couple of weeks and enjoying it very much. Every first day is always so exhilarating. It’s full of memories and the eagerness to make more. I love the missionaries we’re staying with — I always laugh my hardest with them, and I probably learn the most I possibly can in each day. I know, even before I buy my plane ticket, that I will be blessed by the people here more than how I will bless others here. I am so very thankful to the Lord for His wisdom and lovingkindness in His desire to sanctify me through the people here.

I’ve been wanting to share photos with you all from these past couple of weeks, but today I have had this tugging on my heart to share something I’ve learned instead.

“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13.

Just a few days ago, I was having a conversation with one of my dearest friends. Mrs. Montoya, my mommy for the upcoming couple of months, is someone whom I absolutely treasure. She is so full of wisdom, just like my own mom, and she contributes so much to my sanctification process while I’m here.
While I was at the breakfast table the other morning, she, some of her kids, my sister and I were talking about how poor most of the Hondurans are, and how even they (our missionaries) don’t even live like them. We are under a completely stable and constructed home, we are always positive about our next meals, we have medicine, we have a car, we have books, we have furniture, we have a mop, we have dishes, we have washers and dryers, we have computers (ha. I’m rolling my eyes now), we have opportunities, and, ultimately, we have Christ. Just across the street is a poorly constructed house (if you want to call it that), and they have barely any of the things I just listed.
While we were conversing, it dawned on me. I know I have told many of you that I could definitely live here like the average Honduran — and everyone always responds to me with, “What?? Could you really?” It’s because everyone is thinking the reality of  how half of Honduras lives, and I still confidently and proudly reply, “Yes! Of course!”

And recently I’ve felt ashamed, yet thankful, because I’ve portrayed myself as capable of doing anything– such as living like a destitute Honduran. However, in reality, I don’t think I could live dirt poor, without a stable house, without the knowledge of when I will next eat and if I can afford it, and of never having a true home

–Unless I am enabled to do so, by the power and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. I can do nothing apart from Him.

Then, today, I was speaking with Mrs. Montoya, and we were talking about self-righteousness and pride. That many of us believers think we are immune to “great” sins and are invincible. We think we can’t do certain things — and yet, we’re capable of ANY sin because of our sinful human nature. A great many pastors fall into sin because they have that pride and everyone is shocked. We always ask, “How could he have done that? He’s our leader!”

Because of sin, of course.

How sorrowful it is to know that one is capable of any sin physically possible, yet one is incapable of acting righteously on their own. There is joy for the believer, though! It’s such a sweet thought to those who belong to Christ, that the Holy Spirit will enable us to act righteously.  There are things in my life that I’ve done that I’m not proud to admit, but they have been humbling experiences. I am very knowledgeable about how many sins I am capable of committing, but it just reminds me to go to my knees and ask the Lord for His mercies and to grant me the ability to honor Him in my thoughts and action.

It reminds me of Paul who said in verse 12, “I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.” The Lord gave him the grace to deal with those circumstances, and I pray that when suffering does come to me, He will grant me that grace.

Philippians 4:13 is such a simple, but humbling verse.

“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Phil 4:13.

(This does not mean I wouldn’t like to live here. I mean, I keep coming back, so… ;) )

Karina | My Babushka <3

One person who always touches my heart with her so-tight-you-almost-can’t-breath fantastic hugs and bubbling laughter is my lovely friend, Babushka…. also known as Karina. She is finally turning fifteen, and to celebrate her quince we spent our whole morning (pretty much from dawn) having a lovely photoshoot. This girl does not look like she’s about to turn fifteen. However, if you know her personally, you know that she’s not just beautiful on the outside, but she has such a gentle, funny, loving spirit on the inside and I’m so thankful to know her. This past year, as she has grown in Christ, she has helped me grow in Christ as well — to embrace life moment by moment and to just act freely with others. I love that she is just so understanding and always gives people a chance to be themselves. Ahh, I just love my Babushka. <3

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Dear Babush,

Te quiero mucho. I hope you love these pictures as much as I do. I wish I could go to your quince, but just know that I’m thinking about you a lot from over here in Honduras. I’m praying for you and am so thankful for your friendship. The Lord has really blessed me with you.

Praying for you.

<3

Kristal & Daniel <3

Dear, everybody,

I am pleased to announce the engagement of my best friend and my cousin.

I’m squealing with delight over here. Haven’t you always dreamed that you and your best friend would become sisters? We always say, “We already are sisters in spirit!” Well, this takes it to another level, and I am so happy for them!

Let me just give you a little background story:

About two years ago, my lovely friend Kristal and her sisters were moving out of town. However, whenever they visited my church, where my cousin, Daniel, and I attend. I always made sure to giggle and whisper in her ear, “You knowwww, my cousin is availableeeee!” when he passed by. And she would look at me, give a small smile and just shake her head.

Then she moved away, but we stayed in touch.

However, after a year, she moved back! We were once again the giggling, silly Eesho and Nielle; always chatting about our present and future lives, crocheting, and learning how to make aprons and bean dip. We delighted ourselves in the world of homemaking, and she taught me a lot of things about growing up. During 2012, she started attending my church, and then by fall, I was back to teasing her about my cousin. Trying to do inception on her. (;

During a phone call with her, I mentioned Daniel’s name and she said, “You know…. I do think he’s cute….” Just with those words, the wheels started turning. I didn’t even have to do anything, the Lord was completely at work in their hearts.

Just last month I got a phone call from her announcing that he proposed and inquiring if I would like to be a bridesmaid. I was just thrilled to my toes about hear about their engagement! I was even more thrilled when she asked if I would take their engagement photos. So here’s a look at this gorgeous couple and their truly Christ-centered relationship.

(P.S. Some of these photos would not have come out so great if it weren’t for the help of Karina, my partner-in-crime that day. ;) )

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Kristal and Daniel, I love you both very much, and I’m praying for you both to continue to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18.

Love,

Danielle

Titus 3:1-11~

“Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, 2 to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men. 3 For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. 4 But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, 5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs [a]according to the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men. 9 But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. 10 Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, 11 knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.”

Titus 3:1-11

The Affect of the Shift to Media Online has had for Me

     Facebook. Tab. Miami Bible Church. Tab. E-mail. Tab. Miami Dade College Virtual School.

These websites are some of the many I usually have “up” on my web browser. Media online has made a huge impact on my life. However, I have to say that the shift to consuming media online has had both positive and negative influences on my life.

One negative that has occurred since the ongoing shift to media online for me is that it is way easier to waste my time. I’ve consumed a lot of my time on social media. My use of Facebook has not yielded good results in my attempt to manage my time well. However, time management isn’t my only concern. I see all social media wrapping around, consuming, and producing selfish, insecure people. People are becoming trapped in this dare of trying to become more likeable than their “friends” and everybody else in the world. I believe that people need to be very careful with this aspect of media online, in order that they may see the negative fruits it produces for one.

Nevertheless, there are all also many positives that have come out of the shift to media online. First and foremost, I am thankful for the easy access to the Bible online, as well as my church’s website. Those have given me much benefit in my critical thinking and spiritual walk with the Lord. Another positive for me has been the online college virtual school my school supplies. It has been a tremendous accomplice with finishing my AA degree in a convenient manner. There have been many other media helps that I am thankful for, such as being able to contact people via e-mail or Skype. Some of these media sources have been very helpful for necessary contact with business clients and memorable chats with long-distant friends.

As a result, I do use media online a lot. I find the shift very resourceful, although I am limiting my time on the internet. I believe that there is even more potential for media online out there, and for those who work in the media industry. There is a lot of creativity that has come out of using the internet. In the end, I believe the shift to consuming media online has been more of a positive influence on my life than a negative one. It’s fast, it’s easy, and it’s resourceful!

True joy~

It’s December and it’s official, Christmas is only 24 days away.

However, Christmas is not what I am posting about today…. sort of. I am so emotionally overwhelmed. Thanksgiving just passed and I have so much to be thankful for, especially after the holiday. Does that happen to you? You think of great things you can be thankful for after Thanksgiving?

That’s the way I should think everyday. And I know, you hear that from everybody, but it’s good to be reminded, right? In fact, when I had a very ungrateful attitude and my dad was teaching me a lesson, he made me read the book of Colossians 4 times in 3 days. And let me tell you, he made sure I knew what Colossians 3:14-17:

“Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”

Read how many times it says to be thankful. Part of a godly heart is being continually grateful to the Lord. So I’m just giving a friendly reminder. However, I did not get on my computer to post about my Thanksgiving either.

This past week has been a whirlwind of so many emotions and happenings. I’ll start at the beginning.

Thanksgiving week came and went, and it was magical.

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I’m serious. Whimsical is another good description.

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These are photos of our church’s annual Thanksgiving Fellowship. For the first time, we held it in our backyard, an my mom and another church member, who both decorated, outdid themselves.

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What a fantastic time of fellowship; laughing, eating, photographing, talking, freezing (that’s a blessing, when it’s always so hot here!), and giving thanks. Normally, we have someone come up and give a testimony of thanks, and a man that has been attending our church with his family for about a year now, described our church like the one in Acts 17 (vs. 11-12, I believe). That was so encouraging.

The whole week was so great. Then last night there were a couple phone calls made–to us, and from us. My dad received some bad news, and I will not name it, but it was pretty heartbreaking. And right before Christmas too.

And it just made me think today, as I was sitting on a pew during service. We are to stand firm in the Lord. To encourage one another in the Lord. To rejoice in all things.  To reach out to the lost. To bear each other’s burdens. To endure trials. To pray. To always, always give thanks to the Lord. To live according to the gospel. To be witnesses.

Not all of those are happy things. I mean, in essence, they are all things that should be done in joy, but that joy doesn’t mean it’s always “say cheese, and everything is alright”. No, it’s an inner joy, that we receive when we are saved. When we know we are saved, we know that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior. That is what brings us joy and peace.

Our hearts burst with an overwhelming love, too! Christmas, the celebration of Jesus’s birth, and Thanksgiving, a day designated to share our and hear others’ testimonies of what God has done in their lives, are reminders– good reminders–of what we need to do year round. There will be tragedy in some moments, and there will be happiness in other moments, but it should not keep us from doing what we are called to do.

True joy should not be a momentary thing. It should be everlasting.

On a couple holiday notes, because I absolutely love the holidays, one thing I will be definitely praying for is cold weather! I also wanted to express out loud, because I wasn’t given much of a platform during dinner, what I am thankful for. I’ll just name a few things:

  1. My youngest sister, who is a major ray of sunshine to us.
  2. My mom, who shows agape (selfless) and phileo (“brotherly”) love towards everyone around her everyday. Such an example.
  3. And education
  4. My dad, for teaching and exhorting me through God’s word.
  5. All of my siblings, for loving me and keeping me accountable.
  6. And many more, but I promised only a few (;

I hope everyone is doing well, and if there are ANY prayer requests, please drop me a comment (or any other way, if you know me personally). I’d love to pray for you. Pray that I submit myself to all of God’s word.

Andrea | “…Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Romans 12:1-2

Romans 12:1-2 Is the passage I would describe my beautiful cousin.  She has made a complete turn-around in her life after surrendering herself to the will of the Father.  She has a mind set to be transformed, not conformed, and is striving to be a living and holy sacrifice to the Lord.  I am so thankful for the example she has shown me.

I had the complete honor of shooting her photos the other day, and after being patient with me, I’ve had the opportunity to share her inward and outward beauty with you.

Andrea.

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And because I love everything about her laugh, I had to post at least two more of her cracking up at my gemela (twin), Care, who was my reflector that day. :)

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We had such an adventure finding these groves of trees. We called a friend, eyed every green open space we saw and then finally slammed on our breaks and found this beautiful area.

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As we prepared to leave, we passed a field with a gorgeous sunset. Andrea pulled over, we scrambled out of the car and jogged (as much jogging as Andrea’s wedges would allow, at least) onto the pathway. The sun was going down pretty fast, but we had some fun!DSC_0559-1

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This day is definitely on my top ten favorite days, and I will never forget it.

A living sacrifice, no longer my own~

Niños de Honduras

Niños de Honduras

When I came back from my missions trip in Honduras my perspective on life and how to approach many things changed drastically. I wanted, and still want, to glorify God in all that I do. Yet, the Lord knew I was so stuck on a lot of my ways. I thought I had my whole school year figured out. I “knew for sure” I was going to do so many things. What’s ironic is that even though I know I’m not in control, I get this idea that the Lord will give me all the things I desire and plan for, even if I know it’s not to His utmost glorification.

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And that’s when He changes things up, isn’t it? This month is completely different from what I had planned it to be, yet the Lord has blessed me greatly. I’ve found this month–dare I say it?– quite “uncomfortable”, which is good. The Lord is teaching me so many things and working on kinks that I’ve been struggling with, such as committing to deadlines, Human Anatomy, and getting out of my comfort zone by experiencing new things all by myself. I’m so grateful.

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Dawn

I also have gotten to experience some wonderful, comfortable things, such as watching the sunrise on mini road-trips with my dad every Thursday, developing better relationships with family at home and at church, and practicing my photo-editing.

There will be more days of rest, there will also be more days of business, but it’s all for His glory. The sun comes up for His glory, and the moon reflects the sun for His glory.

My prayer is this, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” Romans 12:1. (NASB)

“Take these hands
I know they’re empty
But with You they can
Be used for beauty
In Your perfect plan
All I am is Yours

Take these feet
I know they stumble
But You use the weak
You use the humble
So please use me
All I am is Yours

I give You all my life
I’m letting it go
A living sacrifice
No longer my own
All I am is Yours
All I am is Yours

Take this heart
Set it on fire
Shining in the dark
I wanna tell the world of who You are
All I am is Yours

I give You all my life
I’m letting it go
A living sacrifice
No longer my own
All I am is Yours
All I am is Yours

I give You everything
To You I belong
Every beat of my heart
The breath in my lungs
All I am is Yours
All I am is Yours

I lift my hands up
God I surrender
All that I am for Your glory, Your honor, Your fame…”
~ All I Am, by Phil Wickham.

Review of The Miner’s Lady~

      When Chantel Panetta’s younger sister claims to be in love with Orlando Calarco, Chantel knows there is no hope. The Panettas and Calarcos have been sworn enemies for decades, and young love cannot heal the deep wounds between the two iron-mining families. Yet, unable to resist Isabella’s pleas, Chantel agrees to help her sister spend time with Orlando…only to have a run-in with Dante, Orlando’s brother. The older, more handsome one.

Chantel can’t deny the attraction that flares when she’s with Dante. But when a tragedy occurs at the mine, is there any hope that the hatred that has simmered between these two families might be resolved? Or will Chantel’s hope for love be buried amidst decades of misunderstanding?

Let me start with this: if you like a cutesy, predictable love story with a good message, The Miner’s Lady is your kind of book. I started the series and have hoped to finish it, but, to be honest, if the anymore of her books are like The Miner’s Lady, I’ll already have read it because these last two have been pretty much the same story. Girl meets boy, boy is frustrated with her, boy doesn’t want to give her a chance, boy and girl “unconsciously” fall in love with each other, have a huge kiss, still don’t realize it…Wait for it…Wait for it……. then they kiss again and finally realize it. Wow. I thought they’d never figure it out! Let me just say, this book seemed to be a bit weak. It was weak in the plot and a bit weak in the some of the characters.
However, to lay and balance it all out, I’ll give you the book’s strong and weak points.

Strong points:

  •      I enjoyed the heroine’s character. Chantel was contemplative and strived to do what was right.
  •      The Calarco boys’ grandmother was a very strong character and I liked her.
  •      The message was good — there should be no favoritism and prejudice against thy neighbors. “36 ‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?’ 37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart…'” Matthew 22:36-37.

Weak points:

  • The hero, Orlando, was weak. His only strength seemed to be his physical side.
  • I just didn’t enjoy the plot. It wasn’t just about the Orlando and Chantel falling in love, and their siblings falling in love also. The book had a side plot that involved Chantel’s brother getting involved with the wrong crowd, which personally bored me. I felt like I was 13 years old again while I was reading.
  • I also did not agree with the fact that Tracie named a character “Father Buh”. It wasn’t the name “Buh” that bothered me, it was the “Father” part. “But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.” Matthew 23:8-9. I believe it is wrong to call a leader in the church “Father” because of this passage. I couldn’t even tell if Tracie was supporting Catholicism or not, but I don’t believe there’s such a thing as a Christian Catholic either, for that matter.

When I began to read Tracie’s books (starting with Striking a Match series) I fell in love with the depth of the message and the lovable characters. I will still continue to read her books, especially the ones she has coauthored with Judith Miller, but I was disappointed with this book. Overall, I give this book three stars out of five.

This book was given to me by Bethany House Publishers and Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

First Day of College~

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~Psalm 73.

Scripture of the day. Totally awesome.

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~Textbooks, minus one.

I’ve dual-enrolled, but today was my first day of being an average college student. And yet, it’s still not average. I’m taking online courses and only one on-campus course. Totally flexible. I’m actually really excited about this semester! Pray for me(:

(Sorry for the small images, for some reason WordPress has issues.)

 

~MaidenOfEmmanuel