Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Super Swapper #3!

Hooray!
I get to share one more of my
AWESOME SWAPPERS
with you before the end of the month!


Meet Bronwyn...


Hello there lovely readers! 
I'm Bronwyn & I blog over at Our Beautiful Blessings.



I am a lover and follower of Jesus Christ
&
my first priority is to serve Him in everything I do.

I married my best friend, Stephen,
on October 9, 2011.
We were 19 when we got married!

I'm a sophomore in college, studying Bible & Teacher Ed. to be certified to teach K-12 ESL.
I can't wait to be a mommy someday.
My husband and I talk to each other in silly voices sometimes.

I tend to be rather crafty
&
I have an etsy shop

I like to sing in the shower.
I spent 6 weeks in Guatemala right after I graduated high school & absolutely loved it.
We are going to be missionaries after we graduate.
I am pinterest obsessed.

I like to be clean and organized, but I never seem to have the time to do either.
I blog to remember things, to inspire people, to write what's on my heart, to have a creative outlet, to remember just how blessed I am, and to document our young marriage.

I hope you'll come by and stay a while.
Blog | Facebook | Twitter|Etsy | Bloglovin

Go check out her blog and say hi!  Serious...now...go. =P


Be blessed!

WIWW: Anniversary Getaway!

I LOVE my coral sweater!  <3
I have worn either it, or my new teal sweater every sigle day of our vacation so far (which, in case you were wondering, started last Friday).
  
Yesterday we were out wanding through the 14 acres of gardens at this lovely resort we're staying at, and I was taking massive amounts of flower pictures, when I suddenly remembered...I have an outfit post to do tomorrow!


What better place to take outfit photos than in a gorgeous, rose covered arbor?


My ever patient husband agreed to linger in the flowers a little bit longer to snap some photos of me.  =)  Isn't he great?


Be blessed!


Linking Up:


pleated poppy

WatchOutForTheWoestmans

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Peek Inside My Journal: The Gardener

How many of you like gardening?
I like the thought of gardening, but I usually don't like the every day work of watering...or weeding.
My mom and sister love to garden.  And they do a beautiful job at it!

I was reading Isaiah awhile ago, and I noticed that (in chapter 62) God is compared to a Gardner.


How beautiful is that?
I get this picture in my mind of God gently bending down and tending us...His eyes smile down with joy on each new leaf or bud.  His tender hands gently guide us to toward His light.  His nail scarred hands firmly and patiently pluck the weeds out of our lives that so stubbornly insist on growing.  He allows the rain, but just enough to keep us growing, not so much that we drown.  Everything He does in His garden is for the good of the plants...

Does your mind work like this?  Turning thoughts into pictures and pictures into words or poetry?

Have you ever seen a truly AMAZING garden?  Does it not just leave you in awe (with a wee bit of jealousy)?
I love looking at and admiring beautiful gardens.
When I do, one of the first thoughts that runs through my head is "Who is the gardener?  He/she did an amazing job."

Beautiful and fruitful gardens bring glory to the gardener!


If we are God's "planting", then what do our lives tell about our Gardener?

Does my life point to a loving Master Gardner?

It is my heart's desire that when people watch my life, they would see the beauty of it and tribute all the praise to God.

This truly is the good and perfect work that God has called us to...to bring Him glory!

I am praying that my life will bring glory to Jesus.



Link up your Peek Inside My Journal posts below! I am looking forward to reading them!

Be blessed!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Super Swapper #2!

Today I am featuring another one of my AWESOME swappers!

Meet Mindy


Hello! My name is Mindy & I blog over at My Life As Mindy. I started my blog as a way to keep my creative juices flowing! I never really had a set plan for it, but trusted that it would take it's course. I have seen a lot of growth in the past few months and I am excited about the road that I am being lead on. It is turning into a lifestyle blog~ where I talk about recipes, crafts, and my life in general. I hope to have a few DIY projects in the works! I hope you swing on by & say Hi! 

You can always find me on Facebook, Pinterest & of course by e-mail!

Once again, head over and say hi.  You'll love her blog. And she's super sweet if you ever get a chance to email or button swap with her!


Are you interested in sponsoring or swapping with Blessing to be a Blessing for June?
Click here for more info and let me know asap!





I need to start getting your info so we can be rolling by June 1st. =)

Be blessed!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

I Was Featured!

Have you heard of Sew Country Chick?

It is an awesomely cool sewing blog that I occasionally link up with (when I actually get around to crafting)! She hosts a weekly link party titled:

Remember this Maxi Dress that I made?


Well, I linked up with Sew and Tell Saturday and the next week...
I got featured!


So go check it out and link up all your crafty awesomeness!

Be blessed.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Alphabet Week Two: BBB

Hello friends! Ready for week #2!?!?!

First Word that Pops into My Head:
Banana

People I Know:
Barbara - 2 of my grandmas
Brandon and Brittany and Breonna - My cousins
Becca - one of my dear friends (who is getting married his summer =D )
Ben - Lots of people, including the current youth pastor at our church
Bill - A good friend who was one of Travis' groomsmen in our wedding

Color:
Blue
Beige
Brown
Black
...wow, I didn't realize there were so many "B" colors

Book:
I can't think of any! =( Help me out!

Favorites:
Beach
Babies
Bubble baths
BB Cream, Garnier (which I haven't actually used yet...I will soon!)

Food:
Banana Smoothies
Banana Bread
Banana Cake
Bread - any type! =)
Brown Rice
Beans and Rice
Blueberry ...anything =)

Dictionary Word I didn't Know:
Blat:

1. To utter without thinking; blurt.
2. To sound or produce harshly or raucously:trombones blatting out a tune.






Be blessed!

(The linky party is up! Sorry it's late.)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Instagram: Bible, Biking, and (What Else Starts with a B?)

Hello friends!
I'm back for another Instagram photo drop! Looking back, I had a busy week and took a lot of pictures...and it's only Friday morning!

I am on vacation as of 4 am this morning hen Travis and i got up to leave! We are driving 5 1/2 hours to watch my sister run the 3200 (2 mile) race a state for the 2B division. So proud of her! Then We are driving another 7 hours on Monday to spend the night at a nice "resort" that we got a KILLER deal in for our 1 YEAR WEDDING ANNIVERSARY! Wow! A year has gone so fast! All that to say, my posting may be a bit scarce this week. I have one or two posts scheduled and I have my laptop and phone..but you never know what will happen. =)

Anywho, enjoy the photos! Sorry that I didn't have time to label them. =(

Be blessed!

P.S. Don't forget to write your alphabet post and link up tomorrow! It's the letter B!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Guest Post: Why I Won't Be Reading 50 Shades of Gray

Hello my dear readers. I'd like to introduce you to the lovely Jessi from This Camera Tells My Story.

As you know, I posted about the book "50 Shades of Gray" on Tuesday. Then, amazingly, Jessi posted about it Wednesday. As soon as I read her post, I knew I had to have her share it with you. So here she is.

250x175

My prayer in writing this has been (yes I've been praying over this post), first of all, that the Lord would give me the words to say clearly what is on my heart and for it to be scriptural. Second, that you would understand that I am not writing this from a place of judgement; I struggle with my own sin just as we all do. But I write this out of concern and because it has been heavy on my heart.

I'm teaming up today with Erin from Sweetness Itself to write about something that we both feel needs to be addressed. Please take the time to read her post tomorrow as well. I also love this post by Alesha at Blessed to be a Blessing. Be sure to check that one out too.

I've noticed a trend recently, among married Christian women. Obviously women love 50 Shades of Grey. Apparently 1 book is sold every second. But what is truly surprising to me is that it isn't just women outside of the church who are buying it, obsessing over it and recommending it to friends. It's women inside the church; women who are in Christ, saved by grace and called to be the light of the earth.

Let's first begin with a brief explanation and synopsis of the book (keep in mind that this is based purely on what I have read about the book and an interview with the author):

This book is characterized as Erotic Fiction.

Anastasia something-or-other is a young college student. Oh yeah, and a virgin. She meets Christian Grey who is older, wealthy and interested in her. The two fall in love and (I don't know if its before or after) they enter into a contract in which he takes care of her completely in return for her being a "submissive" sexually.

The book is based on what is known as BDSM, which refers to "bondage and dominance, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism." Basically, the plot is tied together with a series of graphic bondage sex scenes. When asked, "There's a lot of graphic sex [in the book]?" by the interviewer, the author EL James plainly says, "yes."

There's no denying it: the book "is pornography, plain and simple." At least that's how one man characterized it. When I originally heard about the book, the first thing I wanted to hear was a man's opinion. Let's face it: it's become normal and expected for men to watch and enjoy porn (that's sad and pathetic to me, but it's the truth). Therefore, I wanted to know the opinion of someone who knows pornography when he sees it; someone who porn has been targeting for decades.

Frank writes: "The narrative is comprised of 9 or 10 lengthy yet well-paced sex scenes tied together with some mindless, almost purposefully banal filler..." Wow. Remember what the author said? Those sex scenes are graphic and apparently "well-paced."
"50 Shades of Grey" is pornography for women.

Now before we dissect the rather alarming storyline, we need to address the fact that books like this induce sexual lust. That is their purpose; to cause the reader to get swept up in the story and fantasize about it. The author admitted herself that 50 Shades is a culmination of all of her fantasies (which is quite disturbing, but more on that momentarily).

Pastor Mark Driscoll talks about these types of romance novels in Real Marriage. He says, "They commonly entice sinful lust and cause women to fantasize about sexual sin with all the alluring power of visual pornography for men." In other words, these novels affect women's minds and hearts in the same way that visual porn affects men's mind and heart. It's all porn in God's eyes.

But let's just say for argument's sake that it doesn't cause you to lust or fantasize and you really are just reading it for the storyline (which, let's face it, is exactly like saying you read playboy for the articles). You are still exposing yourself to graphic sex, sinful fornication, sexual immorality.

Ephesians 5:3 is incredibly clear on this point: "But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or any kind of impurity... because these are improper for God's holy people" [emphasis mine].

As a Christian, you are called holy; meaning sanctified, set apart, clean and pure! We must not do anything to defile ourselves before the Lord. Jesus says it most simply: "Be holy as I am holy." Consider that Christ lives and dwells in you. Is 50 Shades a book that you would read to your Savior? If not, and I sincerely hope you answered 'no', than it's not a book that He would have you read to yourself.

Now, on to the storyline. Can we talk about bondage for a moment please? Words I never thought I'd type into my blog or say aloud. PS- I'm about to apply my degree in psychology; it could get a little technical.

Recall that the entire novel is based on BDSM, or in layman's terms: bondage. Bondage is basically sadism and masochism in action. Both are considered by psychologists to be paraphilias; "paraphilia being a biomedical term used to describe sexual arousal to objects, situations, or individuals that are not part of normative stimulation and that may cause distress or serious problems for the paraphiliac or persons associated with him or her. A paraphilia involves sexual arousal and gratification towards sexual behavior that is atypical and extreme." [emphasis mine]

The characters in this novel, the ones that readers are obsessing over and fantasizing about, are involved in an "atypical and extreme" way of life, according to medical professionals. There is nothing normal about bondage as a lifestyle. But that is what must be so intriguing about this book to so many. That's also why indulging in it is dangerous and I would even propose, unhealthy.

When reading the description of Christian Grey, I can't help but think of a sexual predator, who grooms his young, naive victims. Not to mention, the reason he is in to bondage is because he was once a victim himself, as an abused child. And Anastasia, like most women in pornography, is dominated by and submissive to the man. This characterization of women is normally criticized as sexist and degrading (when the film is directed by a man for men). But when a woman writes the storyline for women to read, all of a sudden it becomes a fantasy that readers can't get enough of. Double standard?

Either way, it's all wrong. It's all twisted and perverted. It's all porn. It's all impure. And it's all sinful.

The bottom line:

As Christians, we are called to keep the marriage bed pure: "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure" Hebrews 13:4. That means nothing should defile your marriage, especially sex with your spouse. Books like this sear attitudes, expectations, storylines, images and fantasies into your mind that will make their way into your bedroom, whether you like it or not.

As Christians we are called to think on things that are pure: "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything be excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things" Philippians 4:8. Is 50 Shades of Grey true, noble, right, pure, lovely or admirable? Than put your mind to better use and dwell on the things of God instead.

As Christians we are called to live a holy life: "But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written "Be holy as I am holy" 1 Peter 1:15-16. In every single thing that we do, we are to be holy. Of course that's impossible while we still wear flesh on earth, but we can make the right decisions and be self-controlled. We can choose not to read a certain book or watch a certain movie. And by the power of the Holy Spirit, we can put our fleshly desires to death.

As Christians, we are called to guard our hearts and minds: "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life" Proverbs 4:23. If you have the time, please read this quick devotional about guarding your heart and mind. She writes, "Today I want to encourage you to value yourself and don't just allow anything or anyone, for that matter, to enter your heart. You are chosen, beloved, and special to God and He wants nothing to defile you."

Exposing our eyes, mind and heart to pornography, for any reason, in any situation, is sin. It must be recognized, confessed, repented of and fled from. Christ died for us to be holy and pure. And He is faithful to forgive our sins and cleanse us when we fail (1 John 1:9).

How wonderful that He cares so much for you?; that your value and worth is so great that He wants nothing less than perfect purity for you? And while His call to be holy is impossible by our own strength, and through our own will, there is nothing we cannot do or overcome with Christ in us.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galations 2:20
*Soli Deo Gloria*

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

WIWW - Teal Sweater

I bought a very similar sweater to this one back in the fall on sale for $18. I hardly wore it until our trip to California in January.  Then I wore it CONSTANTLY and completely fell in love with it.
And then promptly lost it in the airport on the way home.  =(


So I went back to Target.  They had this one for $24, but I wasn't quite sure I was ready to spend even more on it.  So I waited.  Then the other day, Travis and I went to Target for emergen-C's and other stuff completely unrelated to clothes.  But I ended up at the massive 50% off racks anyways!

After being unsuccessful in my trip to the dressing rooms, I noticed a little shelf of shirts and sweaters that was also clearance.  And this sweater was on it!
Only ONE left!
In MY size!
For $7.50!
I couldn't pass it up this time!  And since it is raining again, I pulled it out of the closet pretty quickly.  =)

Sorry for the grainy photos.  I had to take them inside (because of the rain) and so they turned out super grainy.  Yuck...so I decided to work with and use PicMonkey to edit them in such a way that it looked like the graininess was intentional!
Did it work?
No?
Well, it was worth a shot.  =)

Be blessed!

Linking up:

WatchOutForTheWoestmans

Momma Go Round

pleated poppy



Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Peek Inside My Journal: 50 Shades of Gray...Redefined

You have all heard of this book. Passion, sensuality, lust, and domination are some of the racy and controversial themes in this story.


So why am I even writing about this? I haven't read it. Nor do I ever intend to. Then why do I think I have any license to speak on this? Let's read Genesis 3:1-5

"Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?" And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which [is] in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.' " Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. "For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." "
(NKJV)

In this section, Satan wasn't outright lying. He was twisting the truth. He was skewing things bit by bit. He was drawing all the attention to the ONLY thing to which God said NO. Everything else was yes. But Satan focused in on that one thing...that one NO.

Listen.

Eve did not wake up and think, "I am going to disobey God today." She was away from her accountability (Adam), she twisted what God said (I will die if I touch it instead of if I eat it), and she listened to the serpent.

Satan doesn't come at us obviously. He is "the most cunning" and the most deceitful. He is the best actor. He can present Himself even as an angel of light. (2 Corinthians 11:14)

Satan's biggest advantage is turning things from black and white, into shades of grey.

Here is what I am getting at.

The 50 Shades of Grey in our lives are those little discrepancies we make every day.
"This isn't that bad. This song doesn't effect me that way. This is research. I don't do it that often. It's not like I am addicted to it. That only applied back then." - Liberalism
Or...
"God said this, so I am going to not even go within a mile of that." - Legalism

Often, the "things" we do or accept are not bad in and of themselves. But they open a door in our hearts and lives for something one step further down a path toward sin.

When I was in high school, a friend told me that she had heard someone say that romance novels and movies are emotional pornography for girls. I have found that to be so true. In fact, during the time Travis and I were dating, I had to completely cut myself off from romance novels and movies. They gave me a false sense of reality and pushed my heart toward lust, especially when I was with him.

Even now that we are married, I'm very careful about what kinds of movies I watch and books I read.  They put thoughts and images in my mind that can stir up wrongful lust for another or cause me to put unrealistic expectations on Travis.  Worse then that, they are what my heart and mind begins to dwell on in my moments of thought and solitude instead of dwelling on Jesus.

But I'm not just talking about sexual sin and lust.  I'm talking about attitudes.

This is an area where I really struggle.

I rationalize…
"But what that person did was wrong and hurtful!  I can say those unkind things, or mention it to a friend.  Other people need to know.  They might get hurt too!"
OR
"I can't believe that person struggles in that area.  It is so simple.  It's even in THE BIBLE. Just read it and obey it…it's not that hard, people!"
OR
"This work is so tedious.  It's not a big deal to ignore it.  No one will notice.  I work hard.  I deserve a break. I'll get to it later…or somebody else will do it.  I need to rest or I won't be able to give my best."

Do you see the gossip, bitterness, judging, comparisons, and laziness that can stem from these attitudes?  These are all things I HAVE THOUGHT!
Praise the Lord for His unending grace and forgiveness!

The list of wrong attitudes that we can rationalize our way into could go on and on.
SATAN IS A MASTER DECEIVER!
His biggest advantage is turning things from black and white, into shades of grey.

This Sunday my pastor said...
"It's like we download poison into our lives...by seeing things we shouldn't see and thinking things we shouldn't think." -  Ben Phillips

Often times, we don't even realize we are doing it. We slowly allow our hearts and minds to rationalize, to become more and more comfortable with things until we are way down a path we would never have imagined ourselves going down.

We are lustful
or arrogant
or a gossip
or lazy
or bitter
….

Black and White has become Grey.

So how do we know?

Read God's word. - I've heard it said that so often we interpret God's word by our culture, when we should be interpreting our culture by God's word.

Pray - I need to read God's word and then pray it into my heart and mind. Ask God to keep me from starting down the paths of legalism or liberalism.

Keep accountable - When I am not being real with others, I am often not being real with God.

I talk about this, not because I am perfect, but because I know the struggle this can be.  I can look back and see battles I've lost that I didn't know I was in at the time.

I encourage you to pray with me.  I'm asking God where I have given the devil a foothold without realizing it. I'm asking Him to show me what grey areas should really be black and white.  I'm asking Him to convict me of sin.

Trust me, if you pray those prayers in sincerity…they WILL NOT go unanswered.

Be blessed.





Please link up your blog posts that contain "A Peek Inside Your Journal".  I'm looking forward to reading them!

Linking Up:




Covered in Grace

Monday, May 21, 2012

Super Swapper!

Hello all!
I am here today to highlight one of my fantastic button swappers!

Meet Brooke from Covered in Grace


Hi, I'm Brooke! A writer, mama, military wife, photog wannabe and Jesus lover! I blog over at Covered in Grace. and would love it if you stopped by. There you will find me writing about my faith journey, my favorite Pinterest finds, my love of God's Beautiful Creation, and plenty other goofy things.
Be sure to check out some of my features: Photography Challenges, Love on a Tuesday, and Monday Meet Ups

Find Brooke Here:

So head over and say hi. You won't regret it! 

Are you interested in sponsoring or swapping with Blessing to be a Blessing for June?
Click here for more info and let me know asap!

I need to start getting your info so we can be rolling by June 1st. =)

Be blessed!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Alphabet Week 1: AAA


First Word that Pops into My Head:
Apple - I think I read too many children's alphabet books!

People I Know:
ME! - Alesha and all my siblings
(yes, there are six of us, and all our names start with "A")
Alesha, Alison, Abigail, Anna, Anthony, and Adam - And my dad's name is Anthony
Two of my dear friends - Amanda and Amy (funny fact: Amanda is dating Amy's younger brother!)

Color:
Aqua - Pretty and be achy!

Book:
"All of a Kind Family" by Sydney Taylor
"Anne of Green Gables" by L.M. Montgomery

Movie:
Avengers!
Favorites:
April!  My birthday month
America -  I am thankful for the country I live it
APPLE! - I love my iPhone, iPod, and Macbook! <3
Dictionary Word I didn't Know:
Ablate - To remove or take away from
Ablation - surgical removal of body tissue - or the natural processes of erosion or evaporation
Food:
Apples - with peanut butter of coarse!
Apricot Jam
AVOCADOS!

Here is my list for week one...as you can see, I added a few categories that I didn't list last week.  Feel free to do that or add your own categories!  I'm excited to see you all link up below!


Friday, May 18, 2012

As I Sit Here and Write...

...I am amazed by beauty.
My husband playing guitar and singing
God's goodness in constantly pulling me back to Him
The worshipful lyrics of the songs my husband is playing
The beauty found in the words of Isaiah
The gentle peace that can steal over my heart as I spend time thanking and praising my Maker
The soft tears that burn behind my eyes while I write...tears that I can't quite define...tears of thanks


I know that I haven't made the time to spend with Jesus the past few days.  And my heart has been hurting.  My heart and mind have been sorely tried with out the sustaining comfort of my Savior.

Don't get me wrong, He has been here for me and I have called out to Him, but the intimacy was strained.  I was not at rest in Him, I could not feel His presence so keenly, and the love seemed like a paling and fading memory.  The intimacy was not strong and real.

So tonight, I finally sat down, Bible and journal in hand, and spent time with my Maker.  It is glorious and amazing how a just of few minutes of reading His word and spending time aligning my heart with His can make all the difference.

I am praising my Savior. 
I am thankful for His comfort, His joy, and His peace.
I am thankful for His Son who has given me salvation.
I am thankful for time with Him.
I am thankful fot the beauty He fills my life with...beauty that points me back to Him.

I am blessed.

Instagram: Bro's birthday and More

Here are my instagrams for the week!
Enjoy!



My mom texted me this picture of my brother enjoying his birthday breakfast!
Isn't he cute!

Enjoying a refreshing Izze with my hubby <3


Making mother's day cards!
Post coming soon!

 1. My mom, my sisters and I getting ready for the Seattle Color Run on Mother's Day!
L to R: Me, Abigail, Alison, My BEAUTIFUL mother, and Anna

2. The second picture is me at the end of the run.  My shirt turned out the best!


My dad and brother picked me up for a spontaneous coffee date!  So fun!
I love these boys!

I got to take care of my brothers for a day while my mom was busy.
So, of coarse, I treated them to Fro-Yo!

     
My notes from an awesome and convicting sermon I listened to on Wednesday.  It was about work.
Which categories to do you fall into?

Be blessed!

Linking Up:
life rearranged