Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The R-Word

Oh how it hurts my heart when I hear the word "retarded" being thrown around in casual conversation or jokes. While I can't pretend to know what it's really like, here are a few ways that I think it is harmful. Many people don't realize the implications but if you use the word, I hope that you might take these reasons to heart. 



1. The word retarded, as many musicians will know, means slow. It is supposed to refer to someone with an intellectual disability that causes them to have more difficulty processing information. 

2. It associates those who have this disability with being stupid, incompetent, or many other hateful things. I'm here to tell you... it's not true. Despite their disability, people with mental disabilities achieve as much (or more) as everyone else.

3. It makes people THINK that people with intellectual disabilities are stupid. Because the word is used in a derogatory way, people often make assumptions that people with mental retardation are stupid. As I've said before, we should never judge people by what we expect them to be like. 

4. It is isolating. Imagine how someone with mental disabilities feels when they hear a "retarded" joke.. on TV, on the bus, at school. I imagine it makes them feel very lonely and unimportant. They KNOW that they are not stupid, but when others carelessly use this word, it probably makes them feel as if they are social outcasts.

5. It is degrading. Let's be honest, it's a plain hate word. Now I recognize that many people use this word without realizing the implications, but that needs to stop. It is hurtful and compares someone with mental disabilities to someone stupid. It confines them to being something that they are not.

What more can I say? I urge you to consider that while you may not mean it in a degrading way, it can isolating, degrading, hurtful, and just plain untrue. Read a very powerful piece written by a man with intellectual disabilities here.

It's no joke.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Date Night


Ever since we've been married, Daniel and I have (thankfully) been able to spend quite a bit of time together (or in Daniel's opinion, TONS of time together). Unfortunately, this is because he hasn't been able to have a job, not due to a lack of trying but because he hasn't had a work permit. Regardless, I know that as our lives get increasingly busy, our time together will get more precious. This year we are trying out having one "date night" a week. Right now, it's on Thursdays. Typically we spend little to no money on the night and we switch up who plans the evening them. I get most of my ideas from Pinterest, when I search "Cheap Date Ideas" or "Stay at Home Date Night."

So far we have...

Gone to the park in the evening, sat on a blanket, and just talked



Gone for short walks-- holding hands is a must!

Played videogames (my favorite is the Nintendo classic Super Mario 64) and had corndogs


Set up our room with lights and a projector and watched a movie/had popcorn

Went online and planned our dream vacations together (this one was a bit of a disaster because we ended up getting a virus on his computer and he had to spend hours getting it fixed... sigh..)

Ate frozen yogurt and sat by a pond on a nice evening

Listened to Bible classes online



Shared a drink at Starbucks

Given each other massages and played 20-questions



Filled out this book together 

Looked at Pinterest! We love this one... it's fun to look at homes, date ideas, or even just humor pins together

Played board games (namely Settlers of Catan)

Played Civilization (a computer game that Daniel loves)




And of course, going out to eat, which is always a favorite of mine because I LOVE to eat good food


On our list to-do...

Geocaching 

Live music at a restaurant

Go to a drag race

Mini-golf

Camping

See? They aren't fancy or expensive, but it is a great way to bond with your spouse. Even if they are things you normally do, it's nice to set aside a night dedicated to enjoying each other's company.  

What are some fun date nights that you have enjoyed?

Friday, February 20, 2015

Verses Pin


Happy Friday! To make yesterday's verses more accessible, I decided to make a picture out of them. This way you can pin it to Pinterest or save it to your computer in one easy picture! Have a wonderful weekend!


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Go to God

This weekend, as we do every President's Day, we had the pleasure of hosting a youth conference at our church. Our speaker presented a great group of "go-to" verses that I am sharing, in addition to some that I added myself. Since we all feel lonely, sad, or frustrated at times, I think that these verses are a great way to remind yourself that we have an ever-loving Father. Print them out, post them, and look them up when you need that reminder!



Anxious or Afraid?
Philippians 4:6
1 Peter 5:6
Psalms 34:4
Psalms 46:1-3
Psalms 37:23-24

Bitter or Critical?
1 Thessalonians 5:18
Hebrews 13:15
Romans 12:19
Psalms 15:1

Depressed or Discouraged?
Psalms 34:17
Psalms 55:22
Psalms 42:5
Isaiah 41:10

Doubting or Lacking in Faith?
James 1:5-6
Mark 6:23-24
Hebrews 11
Matthew 21:22

Lonely or Sorrowful?
Matthew 5:4
Joshua 1:9
Psalms 34:17-20
2 Corinthians 12:9

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Letters to Me

Dear 16-year-old Me,

You've made it to 23! You won't believe the incredible man you are married to... you are going to be so happy. And can you believe it? You aren't an English teacher but instead are in physical therapy school! You never saw that one coming. 

If I could go back and give you advice I would tell you a few things. I'd tell you that boys aren't as important as you think they are. You are too young to know what you want, so it's better to work on improving your relationships with God, your family, and your friends. And YOU are worth so much, more than you could possibly imagine. It's not the end of the world if that boy doesn't like you because God, the God who made the universe, loves you. He chose you to be His daughter and He has a wonderful plan for your life. It's tough, but try to trust Him. 

Friends are important to have, but make sure to choose the right ones. Friends can lift you up or they can bring you down. They can make you feel more comfortable about being yourself or they can make you feel like a loser for liking the things you do. Don't choose those friends. Even though it's hard, remember what YOU like and not just what is cool. Having name brands is not important and is a waste of your hard earned money. 

Don't forget-- life is precious. Stop rushing to grow up, to have a boyfriend, to fall in love. Slow down, little girl, because you will want to treasure these moments. You will only be this age once. Make the most of it!

I know you are trying hard and that life can be messy and complicated. But I wouldn't just give this advice to you if I could, I would give it to every teenage girl out there. Stop worrying so much about what other people think you should look like and act like and START worrying about what you want to be. Stop seeking other's approval and START seeking God's approval. I wish you could see how lovely and smart and strong you were designed to be!

Love, ME

My good friend Lexie and I, around age 16 (:

So if you could go back and give yourself advice, what would you say?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

4 Things

Take courage, my brother, and be not fainthearted.
Let none or your sorrows, nor trials impede, but reach forth your hand and remember your brother, forget all your troubles in meeting his need. 

Be thankful, my brother, for God has provided much more than you need from His bountiful store; for God's hand is open, His love is unbounding, and should you require it, there soon will be more.

Be prayerful, my brother, and look to your Maker, He's promised to help you and waits for your call; just tell him your trouble, He is the Almighty, there's nothing too big and there's nothing too small.

Be joyful, my brother, a new day is dawning, and brighter and fairer that morning will be; so join with all voices and sing loud hosannas, the Savior is coming to make us all free.

We sing this hymn at my church and it gives me chills every time. I wish I could embed the song but I couldn't find a version. Regardless, it has a beautiful melody and even more beautiful lyrics. It truly covers it all... courageousness, thankfulness, prayerfulness, and joyfulness. So this is what I take from it...

Be courageous
because we have each other for encouragement and support. 

Be thankful
because God has UNBOUNDING love for you. That verse just makes me cry. How powerful, that our omnipotent Father has that kind of love for us. All you have to do is ask.

Be prayerful
because God is there. He WANTS to hear from us. Tell Him and He promises to hear you.

Be joyful
because there is hope in tomorrow. No matter the struggle you may be having today, there is joy lurking on the horizon. Jesus IS coming and God WILL free us from sin and death if we live according to His will.

Do you have a hymn that blows you away every time?

Friday, February 6, 2015

I believe...

... that God has a plan for each and every one of us. 

... that every second is precious. If we don't use them wisely, we waste them. 

... that everyone looks best in color.

... that home is where the heart is and that sometimes home is not a place.

... that a job that makes you happy is wonderful, but there are more important things in life than a job. Too many people are defined by their job and that is sad.

... that you should pray when you are happy.

... that receiving is wonderful, but it is far more powerful to give. 

... that you can't say "I love you" and "I'm sorry" too often.

... that most people are trying their best. Don't be so quick to judge. Put yourself in their shoes and see where that leaves you.

... that a new pair of underwear can make you feel like a million bucks.

... that exercise is truly the best medicine. And also, laughing.

... that everyone should karaoke at least once in life. 



... that sometimes the people we love the most, we hurt the most. I think this is because we trust them to love us anyway. 

... that marriage is a gift from God that should be treasured and protected, but often is not (see above).


... that getting up early should be a crime.

... that Starbucks with friends is a good thing.

... that crying is good for the soul.

... that since God gives us a second chance, we should give others a second chance.

... that the people who dream and believe in themselves the most, accomplish the most. Life is not meant for staying static.

... and in the words of Audrey: "happy girls are the prettiest girls."

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Little Things

There are very few things as wonderful as spending the afternoon lying around in PJs because your teachers cancelled class. However, one of those wonderful things is finding easy, awesome crafts. Here are three that I made recently that were simple to make, yet turned out really well!



These cool bookends I made for my sister and my best friend for Christmas. They were a little more difficult and I don't think I could have done them without Daniel. He cut and sanded the boards for me to paint. I also had to search around forever to find animals, but finally found some at Walmart. I then used "Liquid Leaf" from Michaels to pain the boards and animals. I used super glue to attach the animals. I think they turned out pretty nicely!
For more instructions, go here.




Ok, I worked on this painting forever! I am a perfectionist so I was frustrated that I never got the stripes quite right or the letters quite even. I printed out a chevron stencil to make my job easier. I used a thin canvas and super glued a wall hanger on the back!
I was inspired by this picture.



Lastly, I found this was an excellent way to keep all my wedding cards neat and cute! I adjusted a 3-hole punch to use just two of the holes. I used shower curtain rings from Home Depot to bind the cards together. I wish they would lie a little flatter, but I guess that's because we got so many nice cards!

Have you made any neat (and easy) crafts lately?

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Sabbath for Man

In the Sunday School class I teach at church, we have been going over first principles of our doctrine, starting with the covenants made to Adam and Eve, Abraham, and David. We have also been discussing significant events between these three covenants. This Sunday, we spent some time discussing the Sabbath.

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Exodus 20:8-11

It is interesting to note that observing the Sabbath was one of the ten commandments. It's purpose was to draw man's focus from man to God. Later, in the time of Jesus, the Pharisees had so many rituals and rules about following the Sabbath that they completely missed the purpose.


What was the purpose? I think it was to refocus, to bring spiritual renewal. As our constantly-working culture has begun to discover, working all the time leads to problems. We NEED rest. We need renewal. God knew so much better than we did that humans needed that day. But it wasn't just a day of relaxation, it was a day to focus on Him. He knew that the cares of daily life would draw us away from Him. So He commanded that one day be set aside to Him, because He knew we needed that.

We still do. We might not follow the Sabbath to the T, but we do follow it in principle. Instead, we are commanded to meet together on a weekly basis. I don't take this commandment lightly. There is a REASON God told us to do this. It's not just a suggestion, it's a reminder that if we don't leave time for that weekly renewal (which really should happen on a daily basis), the cares of this world will pull us away.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25

Miss one week of church? The second week becomes easier. Then, the third and the fourth week. Maybe it seems like not such a big deal and we still believe in God. But God knows what we need. It's not to remember Him in the quiet of our home on Sundays. It's not to remember Jesus in the woods. It's to meet with those of like faith. I truly believe that is an essential piece. Meeting together brings encouragement to us and to others. That's not to say that we can't remember Him individually, but we do need that meeting together at least weekly.

Too often, we believe that church is about what it brings to us. I don't believe it always is. Hopefully it brings us encouragement and renewal, but sometimes I understand that we just don't feel like being there. Be there anyway. 

Make meeting together your first priority. It shows others and it shows God what is priority in your life! Next time you plan a vacation, plan it so that you can still meet with those of the faith. Next time you go on a road trip, make sure you don't spend Sunday morning driving. Next time you are faced with a decision to either worship God alone or in fellowship with others, choose fellowship with others. God knows what we need so much more than we do and I am so thankful for that. I'm also so thankful for those that I meet with on a weekly basis to give me much needed encouragement from my day-to-day life. 

Lift up your eyes, look up from the drudgery of life! Rejoice because of the hope God has given each of us and encourage each other with this hope!