Thursday, July 30, 2015

Fashion: Of Dresses and Skirts

     So I'm the kind of girl who shops at second-hand stores, Goodwill, and garage sales; and has lots of hand-me-downs from family and friends ... I have barely any clothes that were bought brand new. And I never really buy full outfits together (it usually doesn't work that way at second-hand shops, haha). So I've always struggled with feeling like I didn't have many outfits that I really liked/were my style.

     Well, since I'm going to be moving out, for at least a few months (yep, it's happening!!); I've been going through my things. I decided to try to make outfits with the clothes I have ... find skirts to go with each of my dressy shirts; make sure I'll have a pair of shoes to match each outfit; make use of all the sweaters and cardigans I have.

     In the end, I found that I have plenty of outfits! :D And plenty to get rid of as well. So here's a challenge. If you feel like you have too many clothes, but not enough outfits to choose from, then get your mom, sister, or friend, and try matching things together! :)

     Here are some of my results ...

~ Black & white skirt, gray tank top, teal cardigan, black necklace, black pumps ~

~ Polka-dot brown dress, lacy cardigan, red pumps ~

~ Long white skirt, purple shirt, black sandals ~

~ Gray dress,  red coat, black pumps ~

~ Flowery pink skirt, off-white shirt, brown & white heeled sandals, pearl necklace ~

~ Jean skirt, multiple color t-shirt, brown flats ~ 

~ Black & white maxi skirt, pink tank top, black button-up shirt, light pink belt, black flats ~

~White skirt, blue blouse, gold sandals ~

~ Black & white dress, pink cardigan, black belt, bright necklace, black pumps ~

~ Black dress pants, long sea-green shirt, black pumps ~

     From casual to dressy ... classy to fun ... I found I have a lot of great outfits that I really like.

     So what do you think? Do you have any outfits like this? Which ones are most your style? Could you put something like one of these together if you took time to look through your things and mix and match? :) :)

     Well, that was fun! Blessings all! Send up a prayer for me as I prepare to move! Eek! ;)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Faithful Fridays: Thoughts on Dating and Marriage

So here's where I attempt to write a post about dating/marriage ... something along those lines. This subject has been on my mind and heart lately, so I just want to share some of my thoughts.

To be honest, I've never dated before. Never been in a romantic relationship. I've had crushes on a few young men though the years, but nothing ever came of it ... I doubt they liked me back in the same way! So I'm sort of that "eighteen and never been kissed" phenomenon, *wink* Okay, okay. It's not that amazing; I actually know quite a few young women who are "older" and haven't been in a relationship before either. But it's just that in this day and age ... where you get your first boyfriend at thirteen-years-old ... yeah. I sometimes feel like a spectacle of some sort.

Yet, there is a reason that I'm still quite unattached, and I know what it is (not counting the fact that I was homeschooled, and rather of an introverted nature). I see problems when I look out at the world and their system of finding true love. I see heartbreak, and scars, and pain, and foolish decisions, and regrets, and hurt, and confusion, and divorce.

I've been watching this all go on, guys. I'm just waiting. And while I wait, gathering wisdom on the subject, I hope.


  • Dating is not “for fun”
I've never dated before, because I realize that dating is not something one should do for fun. Rather, dating/courting is to purposefully get to know someone, with marriage in mind.

When you "date" when you're twelve to seventeen years old, you're generally just fooling around. You don't actually expect to marry that person someday. (There are exceptions though of course - especially in my parents' background, where a lot of young people get married between the ages of seventeen to twenty; I'm just speaking of the average dating teenager who isn't planning on getting married anytime soon). 
     So you're getting emotionally attached ... physically involved ... and yet nothing is going to come of it. You're not only giving pieces (in a sense) of your heart and body to some person other than your future spouse, you're playing a dangerous game of "falling in love", then breaking up when an issue comes up. "Falling in love", then leaving when there's rough times that you don't feel like working through. I mean, you're a "child" playing at what adults do. And it's not safe. As pastor/speaker Matt Chandler's wife, Lauren, says: Dating (for fun, with no real direction or purpose) is like practicing divorce.
     Also, I've read surveys on how many girls loose their purity by the time they're out of high school when they start dating around thirteen and continually get into dating relationships from then on. Most studies said it was well over 50%.
     Heart-breaking, people! *tears* Dating is not for teenagers, but for mature individuals seeking marriage.

"Dating with no intent to marry is like going to the grocery store with no money. You either leave unhappy or take something that isn't yours." ~ Jefferson Bethke

Hopefully by the time you're an "adult", you realize that dating is serious. Flirting, playing around, toying with someone's heart, giving away your kisses ... I think you're just setting yourself up for future hurts and issues to work through. Not to mention, that's not being very faithful to your future spouse. Want to talk about true love? That kind of amazing, fairy-tale true love? Well, maybe that can happen if we start loving our future spouses here and now instead of flippantly seeking out temporary pleasure and fun at every turn.

 "Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.
1 Timothy 5:1-2 NIV

Let's be serious. Let's turn over the pen of our love story to God. Shouldn't He be involved? Of course!! God should be involved in every detail of our lives; not to mention, the huge aspect of our love lives.

Date with intention, people. Not for pleasure, but to see if a solid friendship could blossom into a lasting, God-honoring romance. Seek God's guidance. Wait possibly. Don't date if you can't see the relationship leading to a godly marriage.

"You don't need scores of suitors. You only need one, if he's the right one." ~ Little Woman by Louisa May Alcott


  • How Far is Too Far?
So what about when you believe you've found the one. You're currently dating/courting, and falling more in love each day. How far is too far when it comes to the physical side?

Some people say you shouldn't really touch at all. Others say holding hands is fine. Or light kissing. Some say kissing should wait until after engagement, or even until you're at the altar. But still others say making out is perfectly appropriate at times.

I myself tend to lean toward saving your first kiss for your wedding day. Kissing is very special ... end of discussion. I say save as many firsts as you can. Save it, value it, make it meaningful. It helps keep temptation at bay, and ensures you're only kissing your spouse!

However, some people just say I'm conservative and whatever else.

So here's the best answer I've heard when it comes to the question, "How far is too far?" It comes from one of Joe Solomon's youtube videos:

"Whenever you start to lust."

So. Be honest with yourself. And ask your significant other to be honest with themselves. And then set some firm boundaries. Because entertaining lust can lead you to some places you never set out to go ... and lust is a sin in and of itself. 
     So, to the Christian individual who wants to know how far they can go without sinning ... there it is. And also, make sure you're respecting not only your own boundaries, but your boyfriend's/girlfriend's. (But here's another thought: Should you, as a child of God, be asking how far you can go without sinning? Or should you ask how far you can go to honor your God and your "neighbors"?)

"Flee from sexual immorality."
1 Corinthians 6:18 NIV

Focus on friendship, people. Focus on really getting to know the other. Serving them. Growing closer together in the Lord. Most of the physical stuff is really best left to marriage. And it's beautiful when you keep it safely there.

"Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you:
Do not arouse or awaken love
until it so desires."
Song of Solomon 8:4 NIV


  • No daydreaming
Okay, so you're not in a relationship, but dutifully praying for your future husband/wife. And while you're sincerely praying for that unknown person, so-and-so pops into your head. Then you’re like, “Wait ... I’m supposed to be praying for my future spouse right now, not so-and-so”
     It's kind of funny, but kind of not in the same breath. Because let's face it; daydreaming doesn't help anything. Most of the time it leads to discontentment, fretting, or even emotional attachment. Way to totally fall in love with someone who probably doesn't exist, rather just bears the name of the person you "like".
     I'm not sure how men are, but, from a woman's perspective, it is really easy to get caught up in daydreaming and all that silliness. And for a while, it can seem like just that - harmless silliness. But usually our hearts end up getting a little cracked.

So let's try to be patient and purposeful! Here's some things to try: 

  • When your mind wanders to daydreaming, try praying for someone who needs your prayers. 
  • Daily give that person and your admiration of them over to God - surrender. 
  • Pray for and write letters to your future spouse. 
  • Pray for the distracting person separately, if you want to pray for them.

Instead of pining over someone who might not even be "yours", try to gain wisdom about what makes a godly marriage and how to be a godly woman/man. Seek God, and strive to grow closer to Him. Those who are lonely, your soul is crying out for God! A spouse cannot fill that emptiness.

(Found on Pinterest)

Fight for your future marriage. Look around. Satan is avidly working at destroying marriages - perverting what God designed to be beautiful and sacred. So start fighting for your marriage even now, before it's started.


  • Marriage is not the goal
One way to keep yourself from idolizing marriage or a romantic relationship, is to realize that marriage isn’t the goal. That a spouse isn’t going to fulfill you/make your life perfect.

Marriage is a gift! Surrender that desire for marriage to God, and see where He goes with it! Trust that God has the best plan—no matter what. Because, in truth, you aren’t in control. And the sooner you give up that illusion, the happier and more at peace you’ll be! Just realize that God is in control, and choose to trust that He knows and sees what we can’t, and He loves us oh so much, and He delights in us.

"Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works within us ... "
 Ephesian 3:20
Live your life. Serve others. Use your gifts. Go wherever God leads you. Don't wait on marriage to start living. Finding a partner in life is a gift, not a goal. 
     Don't waste your life. Don't feel inferior because you're not married. Surrender and seek the Lord! He has a plan for your life; follow it! <3

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV


  • Godly Action and Pursuit
I don't want to sound like I'm against marriage here, or Christian couples getting married young even. Marriage was designed by God, created to be a very good thing that not only is a gift to us, but glorifies Him and shines a light to the world! Marriage is a very beautiful thing. An honor. A sacred covenant. Love and serving a spouse and raising children to love and serve the Lord are extremely important jobs!

"Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
The man said,
"This is now bone of my bones

    and flesh of my flesh;

she shall be called ‘woman,’

    for she was taken out of man."
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh."
Genesis 2:22-24 NIV

"Haven’t you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,' and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate." 
Matthew 19:4-6 NIV

"A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown," 
Proverbs 12:4 NIV

"Houses and wealth are inherited from parents,
    but a prudent wife is from the Lord."
Proverbs 19:14 NIV

So single women, I charge you to follow God's path for your life, seek to learn how to become a godly woman. If you desire to get married someday, pray specifically and deeply for your future husband ... ask God to prepare you to be the wife your man needs!

Not that we're all guaranteed to get married. I could be meant to be single. I could die before marriage ever comes into view. Jesus could return before I become a wife. I don't really know! And that's okay. But as of now, I just feel a burden to pray for my future husband, and to learn what it means to be a godly wife. I find myself praying that God would mold me into the woman my future husband needs. I find myself asking God to urge him to pray for me, *smiles* Because I totally need to be held up in prayer also! I have struggles, and fears, and all that too.
     So surrender your desire for marriage to God, and trust Him. But if you continue to feel urged to pray for your future husband and learn about being a godly wife, then go for it!! Fight for your marriage!

"A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life."
Proverbs 31:10-12 NIV

Yeah, and do not pursue, ladies! That is what God calls the men to do. Not us. I've seen how masculinity and femininity have been so mixed and messed up; and it's not doing the world or our marriages any good. Men are the leaders. They're meant to initiate - and women respond. Men pursue.

"He who finds a wife finds what is good
and receives favor from the Lord."
Proverbs 18:22 NIV

Did you get that? He who finds a wife. Not she who finds a husband. Haha. But seriously, stop. Stop the flirting, the hinting, the pressuring. Don't ask guys out. No. Wait on the Lord. Wait on the man to pursue. If he's a godly man, and he's found a godly woman in you, and prayed about, and feels the Lord is leading you together, then he will intentionally and gently pursue you. Did you hear that? Let the men lead.

(And here's a video if there's any men reading this post who want to be preached to about pursuing. I found it interesting myself, *smiles*)


     So there are my thoughts! I do not follow them all perfectly. I'm not perfect! But I'm striving to trust God with my future ... pray for my future marriage (if that's indeed in God's will for my life) ... wait on a godly man ... become a godly woman! Fall more in love with my Savior, and see more perfectly His design each day!! <3

     Join me, single women! (And single men, if you're reading this! *smiles*) Let's be the exceptions. Pray sincerely for our future spouses. Fight for our future marriages. Strive for godliness. Live God's design ... not the world's!

     And even if you've been living the world's design ... you've messed up ... Don't worry; you can still start anew and start living God's design! I'm far from having done it all right as well - but each day is a new day! Surrender to the Lord and strive to walk His path! He is faithful! 

     I hope this was encouraging/helpful. I love you all, my sisters and brothers in the Lord! Remember to fight for godly, beautiful marriages that shine our God's incredible light! <3

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Book Review: A Bride at Last by Melissa Jagears

Purchase HERE

Title: A Bride At Last

Author: Melissa Jagears

Series: Unexpected Brides #3

Genre: Historical

Audience: Adult

**4 stars**

A Bride at Last is the first book I've read from Melissa Jagears, and I must say, I quite enjoyed it! I haven't been into historical romance as much lately, but this book brought me back to the days when I LOVED this genre. I don't know, the right combination of romance, bit of suspense/problems, some profound themes and the faith aspect...I just really liked it. Happy day, ^_^

It tells the story of a mid-twenties school teacher whose prone to running. She struggles to keep the school board content, while also striving to protect a ten-year-old lad entrusted to her care. She meets a man named Silas, who is tempted by alcohol, and also has trouble trusting that people truly care about him. In this tangled mess, is God about to work out something beautiful?

So I really appreciated the realness. I appreciated that Silas and Kate both have genuine, dirty struggles (like we all do, truthfully), and they have to work through them. To learn trust, forgiveness. To learn together. To grow together. This love story had depth and was more than just a fluffy romance, I felt. There were some heated "romance-y" moments, but there was also a "boundaries need to be set in order to avoid compromise" sort of message, which is always appreciated! So I like that books such as A Bride at Last show there is struggle, and that boundaries when it comes to the physical side, before marriage, are very wise indeed!

I liked the messages portrayed. Very poignant. There could have been some more spiritual growth, but it was okay as it was too. Maybe they should explored the whole prayer thing more, since both of the characters seemed to doubt that God heard their prayers! At least at one point.

Anthony was a lovely added character, but sometimes I wanted to give him a little scolding! Think a little before you run off, child! You're not a man yet, listen to your father! :p

I loved the epilogue!!! So sweet. So very sweet.

All in all, just a lovely historical with a very nice message. More than your average mail-ordered bride story! I very much look forward to reading more by Melissa Jagears.

I received a copy of A Bride at Last through the Goodreads Giveaways and have chosen to provide my honest opinion!

Book Review: The Reckoning by MaryLu Tyndall

Purchase HERE

Title: The Reckoning

Author: MaryLu Tyndall

Series: Legacy of the King's Pirates #5

Genre: Time-Travel/Historical

Audience: Adult


When Morgan Shaw crept into the hold of an old pirate ship replica at San Diego’s Annual Tall Ship Festival, her only intention was to avoid the guy who had just dumped her and who was now boarding the ship with two women on his arm. What she didn’t expect was to wake up aboard a real pirate ship three-hundred years in the past. But of course, it wasn’t real. Her wealthy father had obviously staged it all in an effort to get her mind off her upcoming chemo. Or had he? 

Pirate Rowan Dutton seeks enough treasure to repay a debt to his sister and reinstate the Dutton name among British Jamaican Society. He is but one major haul away from accomplishing his goal when a strange woman appears on his ship and causes him to lose his prey. Despite his anger, he is enthralled with the little minx, her strange clothing, odd speech, and her insistence that they are all actors playing a charade paid for by her father. 

Yet when the brazen little lady divulges Rowan’s secret to a longtime nemesis, events are triggered that could cost them both their lives and change the course of history forever.

**3.5 stars**

MaryLu Tyndall pens another tale of pirates, romance, struggle, and faith. But this time, we have a new twist ... time travel.

For the most part, I enjoyed The Reckoning. I generally enjoy MaryLu's books, and this was no different!

A few complaints would be the romance aspect can get a bit edgy. I guess it just has to do with my convictions when it comes to romance; like passionate kissing and all that is best left to married couples! There's some crudeness when it comes to the ungentlemanly pirates; some inappropriate things mentioned and sort of elaborated on. Definitely calls for an adult audience, I would say. It also always kind of brings me up short when a Christian woman who's striving to follow God willingly falls headlong for this man who clearly isn't following God. So that just kind of hinders me enjoying the story, because I'm like, "Wait, wait. What if I did that? Yeah, probably wouldn't work out as wonderfully as Morgan's story did!"

In any case, I still did very much appreciate the faith aspects of this book! The bits about control and trusting ... anxiety and fear ... demons. I love how MaryLu really strives to show the power of God! He is not far away, leaving us to our own devices. No. God is here! And He is in control. He can make anything He wants happen. He can perform amazing miracles. He can change our lives. I so love when I come across a story that shows God's power. Because His power is real! So yeah, that was amazing!

The time travel was intriguing, and honestly, a bit mind-boggling. And a little weird. But still intriguing. *grins* Sort of a fantasy twist. I don't mind it at all. It did take Morgan a looonnngg time to realize things, but whatever. I guess it would be a hard thing to comprehend, ha!

So all in all, a pretty cool story. Not my absolute favorite; but fans of pirate tales, romance, contemporary and historical mixed in one, powerful faith stories, time travel ... you'll want to check The Reckoning out! *smiles*

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Blog Tour: Half-Blood by Jaye L. Knight

And it's time for the blog tour for Half-Blood! In case you don't know what I'm talking about, this book is the prequel novella to the amazing fantasy series, Ilyon Chronicles, by Jaye L. Knight. Wahoo! *grins* You definitely want to check out this book series.

Scroll down to read about Half-Blood, the lovely author, Jaye, and check out my review! Oh, and not to forget the giveaway! Great prizes!

Purchase HERE

About the Book

The gasps and murmuring grew. Though some were hardly more than whispers, clear words reached Jace’s ears—dangerous, monster, animal, soulless. He tried to back away from their accusing eyes, but the collar pulled hard against his throat and held him in place.

For all his years as a slave, Jace has known nothing but the hatred people hold for his mixed blood—one half human, the other half the blood of a race considered monsters. Always, he is the outsider and quickly learns it is better to keep to himself. But, when his volatile ryrik blood leads him to do the unthinkable, he is thrown into a world of violence and bloodshed.

Forced to become a gladiator, Jace finds more and more of his heart dying as his master works to break down his will not to become the monster everyone believes he is. When a stranger interferes with his master’s harsh punishment, Jace’s world is upended yet again. But with it comes the possibility of hope that has long since died. Could the man possibly hold the key to escaping the hopeless darkness that is Jace’s life? Is there such a thing as life beyond the cruelty of slavery?

See where Jace’s story all began . . .

Title: Half-Blood

Author: Jaye L. Knight

Series: Ilyon Chronicles #0.5

Genre: Fantasy

Audience: New Adult

**4 stars**

Half-Blood by Jaye L. Knight is a prequel novella to tie in with the ILYON CHRONICLES. Though heart-wrenching at points, it’s a great read overall.

Jace, who this story is about, quickly became dear to me as I read Resistance (book 1) and The King’s Scrolls (book 2). We saw glimpses of the dark past of our sweet but brooding hero, but never really got the chance to explore it. Half-Blood gives us that chance ... revealing some of the most terrible moments of Jace’s life. *sniffle* Poor, dear, sweet Jace!! *hugs him*

We meet the cruelest of masters. Survey the bloody arena. See how Jace’s black struggle with feeling soulless came about. Watch hope get crushed ...

I think after reading Half-Blood, we empathize with Jace even more, and it sets the perfect stage to read Samara’s Peril (book 3).  ... Because I have an inkling that Jace is going to have some momentous moments in that book.

So, an interesting read. I was glad to get to go into Jace’s past for a little while and see why he is the way he is. Why he struggles with the things he struggles with. But now I’m ready to have him back with his dear friends from Resistance and The King’s Scrolls. Samara’s Peril, are you ready for us to read yet?? *winks*

Oh, and I must mention, I loved the ending of Half-Blood!! It was just ... I don’t know, you have to read it. It left me with warm feelings of hope in any case, *happy smile*

I received a copy of Half-Blood from the author in exchange for my honest review.

Discover Ilyon in Resistance and The King’s Scrolls.

About the Author

Jaye L. Knight is an award-winning author, homeschool graduate, and shameless tea addict with a passion for Christian fantasy. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God’s love shines as a light to offer hope. She has been penning stories since the age of eight and resides in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.

You can connect with Jaye on her website, blog, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Etsy, and on her new fiction forum where you can interact with other readers of the series.


Share in the excitement of the release and enter to win a themed giveaway pack! Prizes include an autographed copy of Half-Blood, a blue feather bookmark hand crafted by Jaye, a bronze sword pendant, and a $5 Amazon gift card! (Giveaway is open to US residents only. Cannot be shipped internationally.)
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