2.02.2017

Celebrating a Year of Blogging...and Farewell



I can't believe it. 

A year of blogging. 

How could it have happened??? Time just slipped past me and now I'm looking back on a whole year of blogging. 

I can still remember excitedly telling my friend Emily that I was thinking of starting a blog and getting even more excited when she told me that she was working on starting one as well! I remember being so full of happiness and excitement I almost burst. (i can still picture it all in my mind...:) 

...Then it took so long to pick a name. I had a wonderful name ready, but it was already taken and everything I liked someone had already taken. I did get a little frustrated by it, but finally decided after some help from my friend Hosanna on "Completely For Him". And so I clicked the "Create Blog" button and came into a whole world of...blogger

Goodness, it looked so complicated! And so I poured out my frustrations to Hosanna and she was able to help me navigate the world of Blogger. It took so many hours and hours to finally get an acceptable looking blog. I hit the Publish button and bam! My blog could be seen by the world. I wrote my welcoming post and started thinking, planning, and making so many changes. 

I wrote my first real post(which took me a long time!:D) and it was well...alright. Haha. Looking back I feel slightly ashamed at my "elementariness" although it wasn't a bad post. It got a grand total of 2 commenters(my two friends Hosanna and Emily;D). And so my blogging journey began...

There were so many ups and downs. Frustrations and joys. There were times I wanted to throw the keyboard and times I wanted to hug my blog and all the joy it brought me. It wasn't always easy, but I truly did love it and all the people I was meeting...

And my blog grew. It grew across the internet to more and more followers(often thanks to myself commenting on others blogs...that was a season *sigh*xD). I soon started Monthly Highlights posts, tags, and many more fun posts. I loved the comments and often the attention and love I felt when people noticed me

And then I was challenged...

Through a message by Leslie Ludy I was personally convicted of just how self-centered many of my blog posts were. Many of the posts didn't point to God, they pointed to me. And I secretly loved that. But God convicted me of this and I began to get a vision for a blog that was completely about Him. It wasn't easy, but I made some changes that I hope pointed more to Him than to myself. 

And he was faithful. So very faithful. So many times I got self-centered. I forgot the blog was about Him and got caught up in how many followers I had, got frustrated when I lost a follower, and compared how many comments I got to the blogs around me. I was so often selfish and prideful...but He was there to guide me on this journey. To always lead me back to surrender to Him. 

I want as you read this post to see how God is so faithful. This blogging journey hasn't been always easy. I've wanted to give up sometimes, but He has been faithful. He is the one thing that has never changed. And I want to remind you, dear reader, of that fact. Even when nothing seems to be sure our God is a God who never changes. And as I end this blogging journey I want you to never forget that. Life changes, people change, but our God never changes. Let us rejoice in his faithfulness as we celebrate this 1 year blogiversary and end of this chapter. An end always brings a beginning to something else. And when it's God's will it's always something better. So let us rejoice!

And now lets move on to the rest of the blog post. Some statistics, an interview, thank you's, a questionnaire, and farewells. (okay...don't let me cry!...it's not a farewell...just a new beginning*smile*)

Let's start with some fun statistics. :)

STATISTICS...

Page Views - 15, 087 (this includes all of my page views as well I'm pretty sure;)

Comments - 861 (cut that in half for the "real" comments:)

Followers - 42

Posts - 72

First Commenter - Katie Grace from A Writers Faith! :)

First Real Post - Deepening Your Relationship With Him

My Favorite Post - An Undivided Heart

Most Viewed Post - An Undivided Heart - 173 page views

Most Commented Post - April Highlights (sort of creepy xD) - 31 comments

How My Blog Header Has Changed...


My first header...it didn't stay up for too long. =)


Second header...this is the one I had up the longest.


My new header + name. I love this one the best! :)


A FUN INTERVIEW...

Since Emily's blogiversary is the day before mine we decided to do a fun interview of each other! You can check hers out at her blog A Purpose and a Promise. So here are the questions she asked me-

01.  What is something important that you've learned through having a blog?
Oh...there are so many things!! I've learned to not compare, but to be content. To do it for Jesus and Him only and not worry about pleasing people. I've learned to be radical in my devotion to Jesus and not worry if I'm different than everybody else. I've also learned that I learn and am convicted as I write the post. ;) 

02. What is the hardest thing about blogging?
Probably how time consuming it is. Like it's a lot of work. Writing the post, doing the graphic, proofreading it...I often get tired of being on the computer so long and get frustrated with myself for being on so long. ;) Also I think just not comparing, but being content with how many followers and comments I got. And remembering that it's really not my blog, but His. That can be hard to remember. ;)

03. What is one of your favorite blogging memories?
Haha, I have a lot! I always have wonderful memories when a sweet comment brightened my day. Also laughing with my blogging friends at different funny things(which I won't mention;) has been very fun! =D 

04. Did you have a certain goal in mind when you started a blog? Do you think you've reached that goal?
Very good question. I think my main goal was to be able to reach people beyond my "little world". You can meet so many amazing people online and I wanted to encourage girls in their walk with God. A second reason would be I just wanted to try it! :) And yes, I do think I've reached both goals. =)

05. What is your favorite post, and why?
My favorite post was probably "An Undivided Heart". That post really challenged me and still does today when I read it. I felt like I was able to challenge my readers deeply as well. 

Thank you so much, Emily for doing that with me! That was fun! =)


A QUESTIONNAIRE...


I'd love if you'd take this short questionnaire! It's just a fun little wrap up one that I can get some feedback and also ask a few random questions. Enjoy!



A BIG THANK YOU...

Now, I want to thank my most faithful readers and commenters. I don't know what I would do without all of you!!!

Hosanna - You have been such a blessing to me! Your encouragement, support, and advice have meant so much. Thank you, sweet girl!!


Emily - From start to finish you have been right here. We have had so much fun figuring out this blogging journey together and you have literally commented on almost every single post! Thank you, dear girl!!


 Ariel + Savannah - You Perrans are some of the sweetest people!! Your loving and encouraging comments have meant so much to me!


Jordy, Jessica, Rebekah, and Allie - You all are the best! You have been such faithful supporters and commenters. You all are so amazing!


And to the rest of my blog readers...a big thank you!!! For sticking with me on this blogging journey and reading all of my posts...the good and the bad. ;)  You all are so wonderful!!



FAREWELL...

And as the time for a goodbye has come I will end with this beautiful quote-


Let us end on a very simple note: Let us listen to simple words; our Lord speaks simply: 
Trust Me, My child,” He says. “Trust Me with a humbler heart and a fuller abandon to My will than ever thou didst before. Trust Me to pour My love through thee, as minute succeeds minute. And if thou shouldst be conscious of anything hindering that flow, do not hurt My love by going away from Me in discouragement, for nothing can hurt so much as that. Draw all the closer to Me; come, flee unto Me to hide thee, even from thyself. Tell Me about the trouble. Trust Me to turn My hand upon thee and thoroughly to remove the boulder that has choked thy river-bed, and take away all the sand that has silted up the channel. I will not leave thee until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of. I will perfect that which concerneth thee. Fear thou not, O child of My love; fear not." 
-Amy Carmichael 

1.25.2017

An Undivided Heart II

Hello again!

A few months back I wrote a post called An Undivided Heart. It was based off of a very good teaching by Leslie Ludy that had really changed how I viewed life in general. Not too long ago Part II was posted on Youtube and it was also an excellent teaching! So this post is based off of that teaching. :)


IDOLS

This has been such a big topic that I've thought of this past year. Mrs. Ludy brought it up in her teaching as well. She was talking about things that cause us to break that close relationship with Jesus and this was one of them. She said that idolatry is  "seeking satisfaction outside of Him". This is super challenging! What am I running to for my satisfaction? My friends, my family, blogging, reading, emailing, having a perfect schedule(that's often one for me;), events, groups...or Jesus and Him only? Or to think of it another way...if my family, my friends, everybody and everything that I have turned against me or fell apart...would I still be satisfied?

"Idols are anything that takes a higher place in your devotion and affection."

Wow. What am I putting more of my time, devotion, and affection into...my friends? My family? Sports? Groups? Blogging? Reading? Or is Jesus the one that has the most of my devotion, affection, and time. This is super challenging for me.

Mrs. Ludy was also telling a story of how she and (back then) her husband-to-be, Eric, were apart for many months. Their only communication was a weekly phone call and some letters which I'm sure took a long time to get through. She told a story of how once Eric didn't call at their arranged time each week. Leslie was very upset inside and her imagination got away with thoughts of...maybe he found a different girl? I'm probably just not good enough for him. She said that she was wrestling with this one day when God really convicted her "You're clinging too tightly to this relationship." She had to lay that down and surrender that relationship to the Lord. This challenged me as well. Am I clinging tightly to people or things or am a holding them with open hands? Mrs. Ludy said that even if they're good things or God given desires they still must be held with open hands.

"What God gives us is not necessarily ours, but only ours to offer back to Him...there must be many letting go's."
-Elizabeth Elliot 

Another thing Mrs. Ludy brought up is that she said that something is probably an idol in your life when you get mad at someone when they ask you to give it up. This challenged me as well. Is there anything in my life that I'm absolutely not willing to give up? That I get upset when somebody talks to me about giving it up? If there is it is an idol in my life. This is such a challenging thought!

.....

Jesus asks us "Am I enough?". Let us all be able to say "Yes, Lord. You are enough"

I challenge you to consider as I will too "What do I need to lay down?" "Where are there idols in my own life?"


SELF-JUSTIFICATION

Another topic Mrs. Ludy brought up in her teaching was self-justification. "Being comfortable in our mediocrity". She shared an example in the area of purity. How many times is the question "How far is too far?" asked. I've asked it myself. How far it too far in the area of purity? But Mrs. Ludy said it is really a wrong attitude. It is basically saying "How close can I get to sin without actually sinning?". She said instead we need to ask...

"How far can I go to please You?"


This is very challenging to me. She brought up how many people say "I shouldn't be too extreme in my devotion to Christ...that's legalism!" But she said that legalism is really just relying on our own strength instead of Christs. It's incredibly easy to get legalism and devotion mixed up. I would encourage you to be prayerful in this area.

And then she brought up the topic of justifying actions and thing we do. She said that we can make up a lot of excuses for things we do.

"I know a lot of other Christians who do this"

"Everyone should see and notice my gifts. That's just being a good steward of what God's given me"

And I think she shared some more. For myself it was challenging. Am I making an excuse for something I do/read/watch? Am I really sure everything is honoring God in my life? I think I'll be praying and thinking about this in the coming weeks and I hope you'll join me!

-------------------------

And lastly, Mrs. Ludy challenged us to think about if Jesus is truly first in our lives. We say it all the time, we even sing it...but is it true? She said the way to find out is thinking about where you spend your time and energy. That is where your first love is. Mrs. Ludy said we love to say "Jesus is number 1!", but how many hours do we spend doing things that draw us closer to Him? That will tell us truly if our actions line up with our words. And as this final "normal" post closes for this blog may I encourage you to truly make Jesus 1st in your life? In where you put your time, your energy, your thoughts, your actions, your words. May it all speak of a burning desire to make Jesus 1st in more and more areas of your life. Let this be the one desire, passion, and purpose that we live for.

 ♥♥♥

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One quick  note: I'm going to be posting my final special post next Thursday instead of Wednesday for a special reason...see if you can guess ;)

1.23.2017

Left to Die Blog Tour!

 Welcome and happy Monday to all my readers!!!

I have a super special, exciting post today! Today is the official release of Ivy Rose's new book "Left to Die"!!! I loved her first book, The Old River Road, and so I was very excited to read her next book. It was wonderful as well and I would definitely recommend it! Let's get going on this exciting blog tour -

 
ABOUT THE BOOK

Lindy Greene’s life is perfect. Too perfect. But living as a missionary nurse, serving in a small hospital in China, soon brings the disaster she fearfully anticipates. All of her well-thought-out plans for the future disintegrate after pulling a fatally ill, disfigured, abandoned child from a pile of trash. She doesn’t even like babies.
Nathan Thomas can’t find balance. College suited him just fine until his cash ran out, forcing him to the Chinese mission field with his parents. The chaotic atmosphere in China does little to relax his agitated mind, and the pretty blonde nurse at the hospital does nothing to help him focus.
The Chinese mission field isn’t for the faint of heart. Nathan wonders how he can survive his remaining time there, while Lindy struggles to help everyone she can. With different ideals pulling them in separate directions, there is one thing drawing them together: a tiny, sickly, crippled orphan who relies on them to stay alive.

Find on Goodreads ~ Find on Amazon



MY REVIEW 
Left To Die is truly an impacting book! The story follows the lives of Lindy, Nathan, and sweet baby Jia living in the dangerous and busy country of China. Lindy is a normal young woman who is trying to follow the Lord. Her life is going wonderfully until God rocks her world with the finding of a sweet baby girl in a trash can. Nathan is a young man also trying to follow the Lord, but struggling with the desire to fix all the injustice and evil he sees around Him, which of course is impossible. Both of them are challenged to let God direct their lives and let Him lead them wherever that may be. This is a wonderful book with an impacting message! I loved Ivy's writing style and the whole book was amazing. Anything negative about it? Not much. The only things I didn't like as much were the book was not very descriptive and thinking back I was never able to get a sense of what the surroundings looked like. The other thing I didn't like as much was I felt like the book was "narrow",if you will, on what it talked about. The plot was focused only on Lindy, Nathan, and Jia and at either the hospital or her house for the most part. It is still such a good book and I was completely captivated throughout reading it! Ivy Rose is an incredible author and I'm very much looking forward to reading more of her books!!! ♥♥♥
                                  


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ivy Rose is an 18 year old history lover and literary enthusiast. Aside from writing, she enjoys being outdoors, eating chocolate, traveling, reading, and doing TaeKwonDo. She resides with her family of 9 on the banks of the Long Lake in eastern Washington.

She can be found at various places on the internet:

 


FOLLOW THE TOUR

~Monday~

Becoming Lost – Review
Anika’s Avenue – Review
Once Upon an Ordinary – Interview

~Tuesday~
Whispers on the Wind – Interview
Read Another Page – Review

~Wednesday~
Counting Your Blessings – Review/Interview
Stories by Firefly – Review
Writing in the Light – Interview

~Thursday~
Reveries Reviews – Review
Marrok Macintyre – Interview

~Friday~
Having a Heart Like His – Review/Interview
Whimsical Writings – Review

~Saturday~
Rebekah’s Remarks - Interview

GIVEAWAY!


  
 



1.18.2017

What Should Church Look Like? A Discussion Post


Church. What comes to mind? Tall spires? Stained class windows? Pews?

What should Church really look like? Should it be all about the building? The programs? The groups?

Biblically, what should church look like? What did it look like back in the New Testament?

I want your thoughts. I want the comment section to be full of your thoughts and opinions, maybe examples of your church, and scripture. Definitely. :)

And if you'd like to listen to this great 15 min teaching by Francis Chan on what church should look like you can do that here:

Basic Fellowship by Francis Chan

I hope we are all encouraged and inspired in this discussion!


1.11.2017

The Better Part III


"Of one hundred men, one will read the Bible; the ninety nine will read the Christian"
Dwight L. Moody

Ninety Nine will read the Christian. Wow. How thought provoking is that? Non-Christians are watching us whether we know it or not. They see our actions, how we serve others, and it does influences how they view Christianity and for some maybe even Jesus himself. I heard a story a while back of a group of people who went to the mall and asked people what they thought of Jesus. Almost everybody said positive things. Then they went again and asked a different question..."What do you think of Christians?". Almost all of the responses were negative. How can that be? How can everybody think positively of Jesus and yet negatively of Christians? Yes, we are all sinners, but Jesus should be showing through our life. In our actions. In how and if we are serving others. 

"Kitchen service", as Mrs. Weaver calls it, is not optional. It is commanded by Jesus himself. 

John 13:1-17 tells the story of Jesus washing his disciples feet. It was such a humble act. Such a humble way Jesus served. And after he had finished he spoke these words "For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you." This is the only time Jesus specifically told his disciples to follow his example. Jesus set us an example of serving while he was here on earth that we might follow in his steps. 

And yet we so easily can serve with the wrong motives. Mrs. Weaver shared a few things to ask yourself when you are serving others to make sure your motives and heart are right before God.

Am I serving to...
-Impress
-Receive external rewards
-Feel good about myself
-Muffle God's voice demanding I change
And is my service affected by moods and whims. (mine or others)

That last one ...ouch. I think I'm the most guilty of this. Serving when I have lots of energy. When I feel like it. When it's something pretty fun actually. When I know I'll be thanked kindly. When I'm sure someone will notice. I also often serve when others are in a good mood. I'll serve my friends and family when they are happy and in a thankful mood, but not when they are down and in a bad mood. It's wrong though. Our service should not be affected by our own emotions or others, but we should serve however God is leading us at that time even if we are tired, lonely, and really just want to curl up and go to sleep. Get away from the world and relax. I don't want you to think though that we should serve at every single opportunity. Like I said in my last post we should pray and see what God is leading us to do. I'm just saying that we should not serve only when we feel like it or for the wrong motives. We do need times of rest though and we cannot serve every person, but for the things that we know God would want us to do we should do them even when our emotions strongly disagree. :)

Another thing that Mrs. Weaver mentioned was the three ways that we serve:

On our way 
Out of our way 
And in all kinds of ways 

Sounds pretty simple and I won't try to go much deeper except on the last one. She was talking about gifts. How we often can use them as excuses not to serve. Gifts are absolutely given to us by God, but I think we often can make excuses. I was laughing at a few of her excuses that she shared. "I'm an exhorter! I don't clean bathrooms." ;) Mrs. Weaver was talking about how gifts are so important, but they aren't an excuse just to pick and choose how we are going to serve. We should take them into account and use them if we are able, but they should not get in the way of being completely available to serve in any way God is leading us to. We should see where God is working and join Him in His work instead of grumbling that it's not our gifting. 

"If you really love one another you will not be able to avoid making sacrifices."
Mother Teresa 

On Producing Fruit 

"Producing fruit" is so important! It is by our fruit that people know we are Christians. Mrs. Weaver brought up a neat point though. How when we have that "Living Room intimacy" (time with Jesus) and get connected to the Vine fruit happens. Fruit is not something we can manufacture...it's only something that happens when we are connected to the Vine. So I think instead of trying to "manufacture" fruit we should focus on getting connected to the Vine and then fruit will happen. Not that it doesn't take work, but it all comes down to us getting connected to the Vine. 
  
Worshiping Him in Whatever We Do 

"The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in a great tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the blessed sacrament."
Brother Lawrence

Wow. This is so powerful. We don't need to be feeding the homeless to be worshiping and glorying God. We can glorify God and worship Him through doing school and washing dishes...things that must be done can be done for Him...to glorify His name. Every mundane task can be an opportunity to glorify the King of Kings!

I know I packed a lot of different things in here, but I'd love to hear your thoughts! What ways is God calling you to serve right now? Do you struggle with anything mentioned above? What are your thoughts on serving?