Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Beautiful People

Well, I had hoped to have some exciting news to share with you all, but that will have to wait for a bit longer. Looks like I need to order some prototypes first! And that's all the tantalizing hints for today.

In the meantime - I've been thinking a lot this week. About many things. A side effect, perhaps, of having your mind stimulated by lovely friends coming over for dinner and conversation, and dynamic messages at church.

I have a question for you today. (No, make that two.)

Am I beautiful?
Are you beautiful?

Did you know that no matter your bone structure or skin tone or weight or color of your eyes or age, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL?! Because GOD SAYS SO AND HE'S NEVER WRONG.

Pardon me while I interject a bubbly pop song sung by five British boys.

*raises hand* I have a confession. I have listened to this song and bobbed my head until my hair flips in the air - and danced with abandon. :) This is an amazing song to listen to when you're feeling blue about yourself and the enemy has been whispering in your ear.

Picture this - God is the one saying these words right now:

If only you saw what I could see
You'd understand why I want you so desperately
Right now I'm looking at you and I can't believe
You don't know...
You don't know you're beautiful.

Did you know that when you say something along the lines of "I HATE the way I look!" - you are criticizing God's handiwork? You are fearfully (amazingly) and wonderfully made! Psalm 139:14!

What if you're angry at God because of your acne? "Why me, Lord? Why can't I have perfect skin like Mary Jane and Alicia and Penelope?!" The Lord looks at you and he doesn't see acne. He sees perfection that he paid the price for at Calvary. You are his priceless, one-of-a-kind designer creation that he was in love with before you were even in being. He sees the YOU that was meant to be, without spot or blemish or stain, pure and holy and beautiful. So beautiful.

Rabbit trail ahead:

My brothers and I were talking about prissiness and tomboyishness on a recent evening and Mark declared that I hadn't ever fallen into either extreme. "I mean, growing up, you weren't a tomboy, but you wouldn't scream at a lizard either" (hahaha #butactuallyi'mflattered)

My heart goes out to the young women who don't feel like they fit the stereotypical "WOMAN" mold. Perhaps they have broad shoulders or are six foot three or could never get their hair to behave. They don't know they're beautiful - a glorious creation of God.

My heart goes out to the young men who don't feel "MANLY" enough. The ones who never win the football games, who feel small or weak or unworthy. Don't they realize how much God loves them? If only they saw what HE could see.

I think this is one of the huge reasons for gender confusion in America these days.

So tell me - do you know you're beautiful? Seriously - how do you feel about yourself? I'm all ears.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Wonderful Things

July has been a fun month! Aside from the heat. And the stress of designing and building a bombdiggity website from scratch. I'm really loving my jamberry nail wraps (^those up there are the ones I'm currently sporting) and I've even done a few things with my hair - gave it a trim, lightened it a tad with Sun-In, and curled or braided it a couple times. And I'm really loving the Ballet Beautiful workout DVDs. Huzzah for lean, toned muscles!


WarfareByDuctTape.com is DONE!

 This website was a HUUUUGE endeavor, and Mama and I worked tirelessly on it for about a month. I did the graphics and page assembly and she did the nuts and bolts of how the shop worked and everything else that made it come alive.

We make a good team if I do say so myself. ;)

Hop on over there and tell me what your favorite page is... each one has a cool header. I think perhaps the Armor of God, the Beginner Book, My Novels, and the FAQ page are my favorites.

My dear friend Victoria and I have been discussing doing a series of "Complimentary" blog posts - each week in August we're planning to each do a post that mirrors the other, and our four categories are Book Reviews, Writing Tips, Fashion, and a DIY craft, so stay tuned for that! :)  

Monday, July 20, 2015

Flawless? | The Singleness Adventure

Hey Readers!

I didn't post as regularly through July as I would have liked - between the heat and the busy-ness of my life, blogging got shelved. But I have another post following on the heels of this one with more newsy updates.

First though, some thoughts on our many imperfections.

Sometimes I feel SO MESSED UP. I continually fail in my mission to be sweet and kind and meek and gentle-spirited to everyone in my circle of influence, especially those closest to me.

Sometimes I feel like a nasty, awful, horrible person.

Sometimes the bright sunlight catches on my shattered self and my flaws are glaringly apparent.

But. There is One who says to Him, I am Flawless. The filter which He views me through is grace. He has made me whole, completely without flaws - PERFECT.

He's my God.

And only He could do this. Because He truly is perfect. And He paid the ultimate price for me.

We saw this video in church on Sunday and it was heart-moving. I nearly teared up when the labels changed to read "FLAWLESS" over every single individual.
Now how does this relate to singleness?

Good question. Let's see... well, marriage is a partnership between two people who ARE going to mess up at some point. There will need to be generous heaping helpings of forgiveness served. And you know what? Before you can live with, love, and forgive a man...

You're gonna have to live with, love, and forgive yourself. And the ONLY way you can do that is to ask forgiveness from God first, and then you can be released to forgive yourself. And it feels so freeing!

I'm talking about the stuff that's just between you and God that nobody else knows about. NOBODY. But he knows. Everything. There's no hiding it from the one who knows your innermost thoughts. Why not give it a try and ask him to forgive you from that yuck? Then you don't have to carry around that self-hatred anymore.

Your singleness journey will be so much sweeter if you stop beating yourself up and start loving yourself, learning and growing into a deeper, richer relationship with God.

And can I say I needed to hear all that just as much as you needed to read it? Wow. :)

Have you experienced the healing power of God's forgiveness?

Love & Blessings,

Monday, July 6, 2015

Locked-up Hearts | Letting Go

I think God's trying to draw my attention to forgiveness this week.

We visited a charming little church on Sunday and the pastor preached an amazing down-to-earth sermon on forgiveness. He said some things that shot straight to my heart like arrows.

God's view of forgiveness is radically different from our own. 

Past pain is a tool the enemy uses against you - 
because he wants you to cling to that heartache. It'll keep you from the glorious future that God has for you. 

The enemy wants you to believe that there's no way - 
that you're unable to forgive. (But that's not so. You are.)

Even Christ-followers will hurt each other. 

Sometimes God will allow and even orchestrate offenses, to separate relationships he never intended to happen in the first place. If God's not in it, it ain't gonna happen. 

Forgiveness does not = Reconciliation. You can forgive someone without having to allow them back into your life to constantly abuse or mistreat you. 
You can simply forgive them, and move on

Don't get me wrong, reconciliation is a beautiful thing. But it's true - sometimes God moves us away from situations (or people) that he doesn't want happening (or being) in our lives. And sometimes that hurts. Really bad.

If you're going to have any kind of relationship, ever, you have to open yourself up to the possibility of hurt. To be vulnerable. But we will always have the love of God supporting us, there for us, when people fail us. And they will, inevitably. But that's okay.

We can't lock up our hearts, safe from any cracks or bruises.

We can't hold on to heartache and miss out on the glorious intimacy of a relationship with God... and beautiful relationships that reflect a picture of the love God holds for his church.

The important thing is to forgive, and to discern when to let someone go if that's what God shows you is right.

After I got home from church, made lunch, and was washing up the dishes in the warm sudsy water, listening to a christian radio station - the radio announcer randomly starts talking about forgiveness, and then plays a song all about forgiveness. Haha. Okay, Lord. Message received! :)

I'm curious. Have you had to forgive someone for something serious?

And am I the only one God talks to using the radio? ;)

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Of Warfare, Web design, Wraps, and Wistful Words

Good Morning!

Hey look, it's Thursday already! Wow!

I've been crazy busy with the release of my new novel and getting my schedule all organized AND this week I'm spending every minute at our desktop computer, designing and building the all-new Warfare by Duct Tape website. (I've mentioned WBDT before, right? :D)

My brothers have an amazing business selling instructional books and ebooks showing you how to create historically-based duct tape weapons and armor such as swords, shields, helmets, spears, and all sorts of cool stuff! :)

Trust me, soon as the new site is done I'll be splashing links to it everywhere. :D

Once I accomplish that goal, I have a new project in the works....

A story that's wistful and dreamy. 
A tale of woods and mountains, 
fireflies and campfires, 
streams and cascading waterfalls, 
the wind blowing through the pines and the chestnut trees, 
of love songs and traveling and the open road, 
of family and hearth and home, 
of longing and hopes, 
of friendship and adventure. 

This, my friends, is Smoky Mountain Serenade. And I literally cannot wait to get started on writing it over the summer.

But for now, I'm having a party to celebrate DIAMOND! On Facebook! If you like clean, funny, thrilling spy stories with a hint of romance - this book is for you. And if you happen to have great fashion sense and are interested in nail gorgeousness without the harmful toxins, you'll love Jamberry nail wraps. Check out the group on Facebook here and I believe you should be able to request an invite. The party will run until July 8th, so come on and join us! :)

Time to run! So much to do today... determined to keep my peace throughout it though! :D