Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Happiness vs. Joy


Happiness 
Written by Brooklyne 

A feeling
That makes you
Hold in your breath
A feeling
That makes you
Feel butterflies 
A feeling
That makes you
Smile, non-stop 
A feeling 
That makes you
Sing like crazy
A feeling
That makes you 
Dance, just because
A feeling
That only lasts
But a moment 

Joy
Written by Brooklyne 

A mindset 
That keeps you
Thankful for life
A mindset 
That keeps your
Heart, filled with love
A mindset
That keeps your 
Smile, joyful
A mindset 
That keeps you 
Singing throughout
A mindset 
That keeps you
Dancing in rain
A mindset
That only One
Can bestow it 
A mindset
That only you 
Can choose to keep
A mindset
That will last you 
A whole lifetime! 

The feeling of happiness can last for a season
vs.
The mindset of joy can last for years to come

Happiness depends on your circumstance 
Joy is seen no matter you circumstances

Choose joy! 

Philippians 4:4
"Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!" 

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How have you been joyful this August? What is the difference between happiness and joy to you? Lets talk in the comments! :D 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The Weed Battle



It's that time of year when our gardens have grown and are starting to produce! It's a bountiful time, but things can get overwhelming, because good planted plants aren't the only things growing in our gardens, weeds have overgrown as well...

So, if you don’t “keep up” your garden, the inevitable is that the weeds WILL take over! They will crowd out any good seeds you have painstakingly planted and choke out the brave plants that have come up already. It’s up to us gardeners to prevent such bad things from happening to our gardens. After all, we put a lot of hard work into planting, planning, watering, weeding, harvesting and processing. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears. If you are a gardener, then you know what I’m talking about. And if you don’t, let me give you an idea. And don’t get me wrong, even though gardening is not always easy, I still LOVE it! 

After carefully planning where you will plant, you have to get the soil ready. That takes a lot of time, and wait—time? What time? Like seriously, gardening is something that we have to MAKE time for. *winks* Yes, even amongst the busiest of schedules.

I’m getting ahead of myself here. Before you do anything, you have to wait for the last frost. And where I live, you never know when that is. It’s a gamble. But really, the weather always is. For gardening, for haying, and for the horses! 

Anyway, once the ground is ready, then you have to plant your precious seeds, or transplant your precious plants that you have started inside the house to keep them safe from the cold. You dig the trenches for potatoes, you hill the ground (which in our case is clay) for squash, you make a trellis for cucumbers, and you get tomato cages for tomatoes, etc. All the while battling the heat and bugs!

As you step back after a long days work, you admire your handiwork. You can already see the fresh fruits of your labor being enjoyed at your family’s table. You take pride in your young garden. 

That is, until the enemy comes in the night. 

Yes, if you let only a small amount of time slip away. If you are unable to tend to your garden for but a short week, only a few days, some hours here and there, a minute, a split second, then the weeds WILL shoot up. They overtake and destroy your picture perfect garden! *cues scary music*

Ya, so, I think you get the picture! We all can relate in the fact that nobody likes weeds in their gardens. WEEDS ARE A PROBLEM! 

It's so hard not to get overwhelmed at the amount of weeds that grow in a short amount of time. 

When I arm myself with gloves, some water, and gardening tools, I'll look down the row of onions, preparing myself for the battle of the weeds. Kneeling down on my knees, I know that I will have too pull each weed, one weed at a time. It will be slow progress, but it it will be progress, nonetheless. Even though the weeding processes is hard, it IS necessary to get the harvest that we want. 

We have weeds in our life. Our enemy, Satan, puts those weeds in our lives to crowd out and chock our good seeds and plants. Looking at our weeds (different for all of us) we often get discouraged by their number. It is so easy to want to give up and go inside to the cool air conditioner, but in the end we have to stay out in the heat, deal with the bugs, and weed the rows in order to get a harvest. We have to endure through the battles we face each day. 

We have to kneel down on our knees. God will help you pull each weed one at a time. Things might be slow, but don’t give up, slow progress is still progress. Weeding our lives is not going to be easy, it might hurt, but it IS necessary. You are not alone in your weeding process. Whatever you are going through, God is with you always. And then, as you tend and care for the good plants in your life, they will grow strong, giving you fruit of the harvest. 

Never give up, keep on fighting the battle of the weeds! 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
 "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

2 Timothy 4:7 
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."

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Do you like to garden? What is your favorite plant to grow? Have you ever battled with weeds in your garden? How about in your life? What has God been teaching you this week? Lets chat in the comments below!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Why, God?



Why, God?
Written by Brooklyne 



"Why, God?"

"Why aren't you trusting Me?"

Two questions 

One of pain and "Why's"

Full of confusion

The other a hard solution

Full of hope 

***

Everyone's "Why's" are different 

But God's answering question is the same

***

If you are so worried 

If you are still hurting 

If you don't understand 

Even if you never will

Why aren't you trusting? 

God wants us to trust Him even if we don't understand the "Why's." Our unanswered questions are answered, just with a question for us. Why aren't we trusting? This is a real struggle for me, but I am learning that in order to really find peace that surpasses all understanding throughout this turmoil, I need to really ask, seek and knock. 

A few weeks ago, I was asking for peace. I would pray and pray but never felt peaceful in what I was going through. I thought I didn't know the right way to pray for peace, maybe I was doing it all wrong? No, I wasn't doing it all wrong, but I was missing something, though. 
I would pray and then expect this peace to wash over me like I had heard in stories. But I was frustrated when I wasn't feeling peace. 

I took a walk in the woods and sat by the creek, I told myself that I wasn't leaving until I had figured something out. I contemplated, "What is Peace?" To me, it is staying calm and feeling God's presence in all of the craziness of life. 

While I was in the woods, I was listening to the sounds of nature. The creek, birds, trees in the breeze, etc. One sound interrupted the quietness of the woods, it was a woodpecker. The noise of him pecking on a tree was like knocking on a door. Instantly a bible verse came to me, and at that time, I had no idea how that bible verse would help me find the peace that I was looking for.

 It was Matthew 7:7 "Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door shall be opened to you."

As a kid, I learned this verse as a song, and after hearing that bird, this song was stuck in my head. Now that day, I didn't quite figure much out, but a few day's later, I read a post on Sarah Keatts blog, One Name. Go here to read her post. The last few paragraphs really hit home and made me realize that what I was missing was the seeking Jesus part. I was asking, but not seeking. Now it makes since for me to have had that song stuck in my head.
I was putting all of my effort into asking and was disappointed, but now, I'm learning to ask AND seek Jesus in all of this. Because, Jesus is the Prince of Peace! 

The last part of Matthew 7:7 is to knock, I see this as moving forward. I want to be able to take a step of faith and knock, even when I don't know if that door will open or close.
Instead of asking "Why?" I want to learn to be trusting in Him.

Do you catch yourself asking "Why?" a lot? Have you ever wondered how to really find peace that surpasses? What does Matthew 7:7 mean to you?? How can we stop worrying and start trusting? 
Happy first of August! I hope that your summer has been a blast so far! It is still NOT over yet! *desperately holds on to summer for as long as possible* 
July Camp Nano was awesome! And I made it to my 10,000 word count goal!!! Im so excited to see where this story takes me! :D Did you do Camp Nano? Have you read any awesome books lately? 
Lets talk about it! Comment below! 
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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Stress Paralyzed, It's a Thing!



Y’all, being stress paralyzed is a thing. 

If you haven't watched Mom’s Night Out already, then go watch it! It’s a really awesome movie! My family and I, well, we like to quote movies every chance we get, and the one we use a lot from Mom’s Night Out is this, “I’m stress paralyzed!” In the movie there was kind of a mini debate on whether being stress paralyzed is truly a thing, but for me, there is no doubt that being stress paralyzed is a thing! 

Have you ever felt so stressed out that you can’t move, all you can do is stare at nothing in particular while your mind is racing? This is what it feels like to be stress paralyzed! 

Life gets busy, with to-do lists galore, schedule’s to keep, places to be, jobs to go to, until everything gets pushed back, put off, and thrown into a pile that rivals Landry Mountain.

Sometimes everything gets so heavy, and we get tired of dragging our feet. We miss out on the little things of life. The things that we buzz by in our attempt to conquer our to-do list(s). We get so busy, that we sit at the end of our beds, overwhelmed and tired. This is when we become stress paralyzed. 

So how do we NOT feel stress paralyzed?

Well, first, I think we have to realize that our to-do lists won’t magically end when you have everything crossed off. It is a never ending list that just keeps growing. It’s like walking on a treadmill. Your legs are moving, running as fast as they can. The machine tells you that you’ve gone X amount of miles. Your exhausted and sweating, but the thing is, you are running on the same belt that just goes round and round. It is a never ending cycle unless you push the off button!

Lets take the treadmill analogy and say that the treadmill is ALL of the things that stress you out. Whether it be school, your job, your future, your worries, you name it. Think about it, ALL of the things you are stressing over, all of what you are obsessing over, all of the worries. No matter where you are at, there is always going to be something. The treadmill won’t stop unless you stop it. 

I'm not saying that you should throw your hands in the air and stop everything that is causing you stress, nope, that’s not how it works. Instead of giving up on everything, we should be giving it up to God. By pushing the off button, you aren’t stopping the stress, your giving the stress to Someone who already knows how everything is going to turn out. The thing is, nobody else can push that button for you. YOU have to make that decision to give it to God. 

When you feel like you can’t hold the weight of your stress any longer, when you feel stress paralyzed, you have got to say, “Lord, you know where I’m at. You know what I’m going through right now. And I trust that you know best. Take my stress, take my worries, my fears, this heavy burden. I'm lifting it up to you.” No matter what wording you use, just give him your stress.

By letting God handle your stress, you are saying NO to the stress treadmill. Next time you feel stress paralyzed, talk to God. God is the best listener. 

Psalm 55:22
“Cast your burden on the LORD, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.”

 Matthew 11:28
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”     
         
Have you ever felt stress paralyzed? How do you handle stressful situations? 
What is your favorite bible verse that talks about rest?
Guys, can you believe that the next post will be in August?? This month has seriously flown by!!! What are you excited about this coming week? 
Lets talk about it! Comment below!
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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Embrace the Truth


So many times I get tricked into believing the lies planted by Satan. So many times I get wrapped up in his lies that I forget to embrace the real truth. 

Satan tries to get me to believe that I fall short. That I’m not good enough, not pretty enough, not extraverted enough, not strong enough, not brave enough, not smart enough, that I’m not enough.

But God tells me the real truth, that I am enough. I’m enough for Jesus to come down to this earth and die on the cross for my sins.

Dear those of us who want to embrace the truth,

YOU are good enough.
Because…God wouldn’t have opened this door if you weren’t ready.

YOU are beautiful.
Because… you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14

YOU are unique.
Because… God didn’t make any of us the same. No matter the personalities, you are made to be YOU.

YOU are strong.
Because… you won't give up, and you will rely on God’s strength.

YOU are brave.
Because… you obey and put your trust in God.

YOU are smart.
Because… God has given you a very detailed and complex mind.

YOU are enough.
Because… God’s love makes you enough!

YOU are chosen by your loving Heavenly Father. You are enough, and don’t ever believe otherwise! 

Whenever you feel your self image plummeting and know that Satan is trying to make you believe the lies, a good exercise is this: 
I am____. 
Because…____.

It is up to us to choose NOT to listen to the lies, but instead to embrace the truth! 

I’ve made three fun designs as reminders. Feel free to take a picture of your favorite design to use as your screensaver, or print them off and put them around your house so that you can be reminded that you are enough! 






➳✩➳✩➳✩Have you ever felt like Satan was trying to get you to believe a lie about yourself? Have you ever felt like you don't know how to choose to embrace the truth?  What are some ways that you embrace the truth?
How is your July going? What is one thing that you have learned this month?           Lets talk in the comments below!➳✩➳✩➳✩

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

God's Way, Not Ours



A few months ago, late at night, my Dad decided to put together a bike he had bought for me that day. I had needed a new bike because my old one was to small and we were getting ready for our triathlon. Go HERE to read about the triathlon! 

Anyways, I like putting things together, so I decided to help him. The bike came in a big box and was already halfway assembled. Unwrapping the protective bubblewrap, styrofoam, cardboard, plastic and zip ties that covered the actual bike took quite awhile.

Once it was all laid out, the handle bars, seat, and the front tire were the parts that needed to be attached to the main frame. This bike came with instructions on how to put it together and a few tools. Laying on the floor, the bike didn't look much like a bike to me. It’s pieces were scattered about in various piles and looked more like a mess than a bike. 

The directions went something like this. It showed a diagram of the bike. Named bike parts using the alphabet, Part A and Part B etc. Then over the next few pages, it gave us the steps and order to accomplish these said steps. It even had pictures. Going to be easy, right?

This was our first time to assemble a bike, in the past, we had always just bought the bike already put together. Since this was a first time thing, we had to keep close attention to the instructions. It told us to attach the handle bars first, so we took the bolt cap off and slid the handle bars down into the frame. There was a line on the handle bars that said how far to push it down. That went fairly well, moving us along the list of steps in the instruction booklet. 

Next up was the front tire. This proved to be more difficult. All we had to do was put the frame over the tire and where the spokes met, tighten and secure it to the bike. The problem was our bike frame was too wide to correctly fit over the wheel. I wondered if we had the wrong part, maybe the manufacturers gave us the wrong size tire or frame? 

My Dad tried to force the frame together to make it smaller, but it still was too loose fitting over the tire. We tried different methods of securing it, but nothing was working. Stumped, I went back to the instructions. I carefully reread over the steps and realized that we had overlooked one small, teeny tiny step. Our problem was we needed to put this certain part on the tire BEFORE putting the frame over it to attach it. We were trying to put it on AFTER. Once we realized how to put it together the right way and in the right order, we finally finished the bike!  

Then, after we put on the seat, it was time to test out our bike assembly skills. I looked over the bike and knew all the bolts were tight, I knew everything was locked into place, I knew it was ready to be tested out, but something gave me hesitation. What if we put it together wrong? What if when I sit down, it all crumbles back into a bunch of pieces again? The visual of me lying in a mess of broken bike parts did not sound appealing! Pushing my doubt aside, I climbed up on the bike anyway. I was choosing to trust that it would hold.

 And it did! I now had a brand new bike! 

So you might ask, what is the reason for this post? How can I apply how you put a bike together to my life?

Well... 

Have you ever felt like you live under a protective layer of bubblewrap, styrofoam, cardboard, plastic and zip ties? Ok, not literally. You know what I mean. 

Have you ever felt like you hide your mess of disassembled pieces under that layer? 

Have you ever felt like you just want to lay the real you out all across the floor and see the scattered piles and pieces? Your worries, your fears, your wants, your hopes, your thoughts, all the jumbled mess. Even if it doesn’t look much like how it is supposed to look. 

Where is our life going? 

Do we get a book of instructions to know what happens next?

Have you ever felt like you overlooked or skipped a seemingly small step, but it turns out a 
important one? 

Have you ever tried to put the blame on someone other than yourself?

Have you ever felt like you tried to force it to work?

Have you ever went back to the instructions and realized your mistake?

And then, have you ever felt like you now know, the right way and in the right order?
Have you ever had to push aside doubt? 

Have you ever had to choose to trust?

These are questions that we all have to ponder ourselves. But I will say, we couldn't have put the bike together without taking all the bubblewrap off. Only after we saw everything laid out and unwrapped, could we move forward and build the bike. We can't move on and live the life that we were meant to live without letting go of our outer mask. Our so called protective layer of bubblewrap.

God sees through the bubblewrap. God know’s everything from our smallest worry to our biggest fear. He know’s the dreams that we have and the plans that we make. He sees all of this! He sees the good and the bad and loves us just the same. He loves us because we are His children. We are His chosen people (1 Peter 2:9)  And He has a plan for each of us. A unique and beautiful plan. One that turns our messy and scattered piles into someone that we were meant to become. God can make us whole. 

We need to realize that not all of our plans are His plans. His way is the right way. We might think we have it figured out. We might think we can just skim read through the instructions and be good. But we will miss the important steps to building our characters and the life that we long to live. We need to read and follow our instructions very closely. 

~The Bible is our Instructions and our Directions. It tells us steps and shows us how to live. 
John 14:21 
“He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”

~The Bible is our Guideline. It give us a perfect example. 
John 13:15 
“For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.”
1 Peter 2:21 
“For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us and example, that you should follow His steps:”

~The Bible is our Map. It tells us where we are going if we follow in Jesus footsteps.
John 14:1-3 
“Let not you heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.
In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”

~The Bible is our Recipe. It gives us the ingredients for how to live.
John 15:12 
“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

Lastly, we have to choose to trust. God’s got us. Don’t let our doubts creep in and tell us otherwise. God has a plan and is in control. Take each day one step at a time. Lets strive to read through our instructions God has given us. Lets open up and let Him come in and create in us a new heart. Lets ask him to give us peace and help us trust in Him. God is not finished with us. Lets choose God’s way, not ours!

Proverbs 3:5,6 
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct they paths.”

➳✩➳✩➳This was really deep, wasn’t it? Have you ever put together a bike before? 
What are your thoughts on God’s Way, Not Ours? Can you relate to anything I said? Have you ever felt like you don't know how to trust? 
Have you ever felt like you don't know how to find the peace that surpasses?
 If you have read through this whole post, 
I want to say thank you and your amazing! This was a very long post and if you have persevered, then I give you a two thumbs up! 
Lets talk in the comments! And, ya'll, this is my 20th post!!! ➳✩➳✩➳

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Happy Fourth of July!



Today is July 4th, which means it's the Forth of July! So, since today we are celebrating Americas independence, this post is going to be a little bit different. I will talk about how my family celebrates the Fourth. It might be a little random, but lets have fun with it! *twirls sparklers* 

The Reason For Our Celebration! 

On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress approved of the final wording for the Declaration of Independence. We celebrate the Fourth of July like a birthday for The United States of America's Independence.

We Celebrate With Daytime Fireworks! 

Fireworks are super awesome to watch! We have daytime fireworks like small parachutes that we chase after. All different kinds of fireworks that spin, spark, fly, snap, crackles, and pops. (And yes we are still talking about fireworks and not cereal!) 

We Celebrate With Good Food And Cake!

My mom, my auntie, and my nannie always make the yummiest food ever! Especially on special occasions! And our tradition is this AMAZING FLAG CAKE!!! The recipe for the cake we always make for Fourth of July is at the end of this post! Be sure to try it sometime! But this cake does come with two warnings: 1# You will have a very hard time stoping once you start devouring it! And 2# My family tries to eat healthy food and this is an exception to the healthy eating rule. This cake is not considered "healthy" at all (even if it does have raspberries and blueberries on top.) But it is so worth a little tiny cheat day! :D

We Celebrate With Friends And Family!

All of Winds of Faith come together for this celebration! We have a blast! (if you know what I mean:D) We also invite our friends and church family. 

We Celebrate With Music! 

I'm not in charge of the music, but I hear we have quite a few Patriotic songs on a playlist that we will play while we shoot off the nighttime fireworks!

We Celebrate With Nighttime Fireworks! 

My dad and uncle have lots of fun shooting off the fireworks, while the rest of us sit in lawn chairs to watch the show! And at the very end, we have a grand finale! Fireworks are just so cool! (Or hot, get it?!?) (I'm really into the jokes today, aren't I?) (I'm not even trying!)

*******

Speaking of Jokes, want to hear something funny? Something that I get teased about?!

Me: "When is the Fourth of July?" 
Sister: *looks at me funny* 
Sister: "ON THE FOURTH OF JULY!" 

Duh! I know, but let me explain... I was wanting to know how many weeks until the fourth of July. I guess I should have been more specific. Now I get teased about it at my house, and it gets told to everyone else as a blond joke! 

*******

Here are some Fourth of July quotes/sayings I found on Pinterest...






Here's some Patriotic pictures I found on Pinterest...






Here's some picture of fireworks I took...





*******
Ok! Now for the amazing, birthday worthy, Fourth of July cake! 

We got this recipe from Barefoot Contessa:

  • 18 tablespoons (2-1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 6 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • For the Icing:
  • 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1-1/2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 pound confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • To Assemble:
  • 2 half-pints blueberries
  • 3 half-pints raspberries
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour an 18 x 12 x 1-1/2-inch sheet pan.
Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed, until light and fluffy. On medium speed, add the eggs, 2 at a time, then add the sour cream and vanilla. Scrape down the sides and stir until smooth.
Sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda in a bowl. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture until just combined. Pour into the prepared pan. Smooth the top with a spatula. Bake in the center of the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool to room temperature.
For the icing, combine the butter, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mixing just until smooth.
Spread three fourths of the icing on the top of the cooled sheet cake. Outline the flag on the top of the cake with a toothpick. Fill the upper left corner with blueberries. Place 2 rows of raspberries across the top of the cake like a red stripe. Put the remaining icing in a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and pipe two rows of white stripes below the raspberries. Alternate rows of raspberries and icing until the flag is completed. Pipe stars on top of the blueberries.
Enjoy!

What was your favorite quote/picture? How do you celebrate Fourth of July? Do you have family traditions for Fourth of July? How about other holidays? 
 Do you like cake? If you do, are you going to try this recipe? 
Was this post fun to read? 
Are you doing Camp Nano this July? I decided to give it a try! So far it is really exciting! I might end up opening a page to post Camp updates on my writing projects. Would you guys like to read about my Camp NanoWriMo experience? 
Anything big happening this July? Is this to many questions? :D 
Lets talk in the comments!!!