I Don’t Need to See Aborted Baby Parts…

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Before anyone says it, I know that if I don’t want to see it, I can keep scrolling as I please. And I do. Planned Parenthood is disgusting, and it hurts my heart that tax dollars affiliate in any way with such a perverse company. And I do agree that we need to take action to abolish this horrible act of killing. But I do not agree with the way we are doing it.

Posting pictures or videos of post aborted babies may convert someone who hasn’t been exposed to the process, but it’s more than likely going to lead to guilt or a defensive mentality. How are we to win others to Christ with this approach?

I saw a Church sign the other day that said “Stop, Drop, and Roll doesn’t work in Hell”. And I thought to myself, have we really gotten to this point? That all we can do is SCARE people into heaven? It’s like we think this tactic automatically opts them into a relationship with Christ, when all it does is discourage them and cause them to wonder why we’re all hypocrites.

We’re giving people the wrong kind of exposure. Instead of tearing down monopolies that make millions, we need to be winning the hearts of those who are scared and lonely and are facing a serious decision. We need them to see why it’s important they treasure the blessing they are given- because God has a sovereign purpose for that life they are sustaining.

Today is the 1 year anniversary of the birth of the sweet baby girl in the picture above. It’s also the 1 year anniversary of the first time I ever witnessed the beautiful process of child birth. I watched as her mother, sacrificed her body, her comfort, and commit the next 18 years of her life to this beautiful baby girl. It was remarkable. It scared me, but seeing a brand new life enter the world, ready to start the journey God gives her, made all that fear and uncertainty seem so small.

I’m thankful to have been a part of her grand appearance. Not that I ever thought before then that abortion was ok, but I was mesmerized by the power of my God. I wasn’t scared into the thought of having children someday, I was inspired.

Inspiration has the power to overshadow fear. This world doesn’t need judgement or fear. This world needs inspiration and joy.

Be Blessed,

Kaila

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Salt & Light

I often wonder what being a Christian looks like to outsiders, and I guess that opinion can vary depending on who the person has been exposed to.

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So many variables play into the way a person sees anything really. If you’ve had daddy issues or been in an abusive relationship, you’re more likely to not trust men in general. But then again, you may have a strong desire for male approval. Depending on how you were raised, you may prefer to be in control or be led. No matter the case, each person responds in their own way, with their own expectations, triggered by past experiences. Your personality type, gender and priorities factor greatly into how you react or respond to life’s journey.

I became a Christian when I was 9 years old. When I say I became a Christian, I mean that I “asked God into my heart”. To me, this means that I suddenly realized that I was a sinner (as much of a sinner as a 9 year old can be), and I accepted the gift of Christ dying on the cross in my place because I was a sinner. Did I understand what that meant? Sure. I understood salvation. I understood that the only way to get to heaven was through Jesus, and that without Him, I was lost. I got saved one night after a “Heaven’s gates, Hell’s Flame’s” play. If you don’t know what that is, don’t YouTube it because it will scare the Hell out of you- literally. I was afraid of going to Hell. In fact, I prayed many times that God “save” me when I was young because I was afraid that maybe I didn’t do it the right way. I mean God forbid that I die suddenly by falling off the jungle gym and go straight to hell because I didn’t pray the right way!

I became a Christ follower much later in life. What’s the difference, you ask? Allow me to explain this first hand. You become a Christ follower when you SEE God. No, I’m not explaining a supernatural experience, nor have I drunk any Kool-Aid lately. Perhaps a better way of putting it would be that your eyes are OPENED to God, and what He’s about. When you feel His grace and you “Let go and let God”, you free yourself of YOU, and there’s more room for Him. See, when your life is committed to God, you are aligned with His plan, and His plan is perfect. Always. As Christians, we seem to make it more about what we’re supposed to do, when He has already done what needed to be done. By doing this, we are limiting Christianity and God’s vision.

We also limit ourselves. I had a moment with God the other day. One of those “eye-opening” moments. I was praying to God about a person whom my heart was hurting for- An atheist, who had openly shared with me their views on their existence. Someone who politely listened to my viewpoints, and even politely responded that it was ok that I believed the way I did. I was particularly praying because I KNEW God had put this person in my life for a reason, but I was scared. Scared of saying the wrong thing and jeopardizing the slightest chance of them considering kicking the tires of Christianity. I was scared of the consequences I would face for confronting this person about their beliefs. Now a days, you never know what will happen when standing up for Christianity. But God calmed my fears and helped me understand (through prayer) that the consequences of this world are not His consequences.

Even going to Hell is not His consequence- it’s your choice. Consequences existed the moment a choice was made. When Adam and Eve deliberately sinned in the garden, they created consequences for actions. From that point on, we had a choice.

The point of this post, and what God has laid on my heart, is that we can’t just become a Christian for a “Get out of Hell free” pass. We also cannot become a Christian because we seek comfort- that’s essentially worshipping an idol. Being a Christian isn’t rainbows and roses. You will go through hardship, and you will be burned. The difference is- you can count on being a part of God’s plan and know that He will not harm you (Jeremiah 29:11).

I heard the most remarkable statement from my Pastor Sunday, and I will never let myself forget it. It fits perfectly into this story:

“If the only purpose to being a Christian was to go to heaven, then God would take our lives the moment we became one”.

I’m challenging myself this year to actively minister to at least my little world. I can’t be a perfect example of a Christian, but I can point you to a God who is perfect and wants you to be a part of His story. If you want to join me in this “Salt and Light” challenge, please let me know and I will personally pray for you.
Please, please, PLEASE pray for my friend, the atheist. Pray that God tugs at their heart. I don’t feel led to pursue them, but I truly believe God will open another window for me to share with them. I’m thankful to have planted the seed that I did, but it’s going to take more. It’s going to take God.

Get out of the Ditch

IMG_5541I have a tendency to get sidetracked. I blame it on my undiagnosed ADD (which my fiance -wow-it-feels-weird-saying-that-still- strongly denies exists), but sometimes I think I may just be trying to avoid overwhelming situations. That’s why my laundry usually piles up, my car is always dirty, and I just can’t seem to decide on what I thought would be the easiest wedding decision- colors. Things that I manage to keep under control don’t bother me. For example- dishes, which I never let pile up, therefore they never stress me out. But put too many options in front of me or let me get behind on something, and I will instantaneously freeze up or avoid it all together.

Distractions can be costly. Take exhibit A: the shocking picture of my dad’s old 1987 Nissan Sentra in a ditch… Just wait… it gets better. Yes, I can laugh my hind end off about it now. In fact I can’t look at the picture without chuckling (odd reaction, I know), but only because it’s been 11 years since the incident occurred. I was 15 years old and had my learner’s permit. My dad was in the passenger seat, and we had just stopped to get gas at a small convenience store. It was dark. I don’t remember where we were heading.. I just know it was dark. I still don’t like driving in the dark. I pulled off from the gas pump and was heading towards the exit… Except I missed the exit completely. That’s right… I ran straight into the ditch. Face first, pointed straight up and down, I hollered at my dad, “Dad! Did I just wreck the car!?”. My eyes were forced shut and I couldn’t break myself to open them. “UM…Yea, baby, I’d say you did. Haha!”.

Ok, I’m sure you’re wondering where I’m headed with this. I just feel like (I/we/you) tend to let distractions prevent us from allowing us to see the provisions God has made for us. You see, the reason I ran straight into the sneaky ditch that jumped out of nowhere, was because my focus was off. Instead of making it to the ramp provided for exiting the gas station, I was jumping the gun, looking both ways on the road I was heading towards. But the time had not come for that yet. At that point I should have been focused on what I was driving towards until I stopped. THEN I could have looked both ways. My focus was on getting OUT of the parking lot before I was capable. I was too concerned about pulling out before traffic approached, that I missed the ramp that was there to guide me out.

Have you ever had a moment where your anticipation caused you to miss an opportunity? Sometimes I feel like I get to carried away in the “just working through to Friday” routine. I rush through the week, only for the weekend to fly by. When I actually take a moment to enjoy every day, I get so much more out of life.

But I don’t just believe we should just stop and smell the roses for our enjoyment, we should look for lessons that God is showing us. Have you ever thought about the fact that you are experiencing exactly what God wants you to experience? Whether it’s a consequence to an action, or a challenge you’re facing to strengthen your faith- God has placed you there. These experiences are intended to help us be better- yet more humble, stronger- yet kinder, persistent- yet passive.

So get out of the ditch. Look for the lesson. Grow in your faith. And share your experience. You are here for a purpose- Live it!

Love you guys, and hope you are having an awesome 2015 so far!

,Kaila

Why We’re Not Married

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“When are y’all gonna get married?”

That’s obviously the most frequently asked question to me and my boyfriend of 8 1/2 years. I can understand why though. In today’s day and age, it’s not typical to have a non-marital relationship that lasts longer than the average marriage in the United States (which is 7.5-8 years). However, those that are in the same boat usually are because they feel their dynamic is better that way.

That’s not the case for us.

We definitely want to get married, no offense to them. Marriage is just very important to Ryan and I. We believe in the whole “first comes love, then comes marriage, then….”, well ya know the rest. Call us old fashioned, or pin it on “religion”, but you’ll understand our perspective by the end of this post.

I won’t lie and say I’ve never had a moment where I thought… It’s never going to happen for us or what’s wrong with me? 8 and a half years can make a girl question herself. And I’ve definitely been impatient sometimes. There’s been moments were I thought I should just give up on my dreams, or quit living for the future. But time and time again, God has revealed His plan for us and confirmed that our future is beautiful.

Society puts so much pressure on marrying quickly. And while some short-term dating marriages can last forever, that doesn’t mean it will for everyone. As the popular statement goes, “How you gonna tell me what’s best for me?”.

But, just to clarify, we’re not withholding marriage to prove a point. Honestly, we just don’t have a timeline planned out for when we will take that next step. Yes, I WANT to be married. So does Ryan. But our relationship doesn’t hang in the balance of WHEN.

 

NO THERE’S NOT A “RING ON IT”


But I respect him as if there were. It’s almost as if we have a hybrid dating/courtship relationship. Most dating couples are together for companionship, but aren’t prepared to marry eachother until they are engaged. Ryan and I have a totally different dynamic… In fact, I think the only thing a ring will do is give me a “wedding planning” card. We believe in marriage as God united two people together, but we don’t wait for God to be a part of our relationship until then. We date each other in preparation FOR marriage. We consult with eachother, make decisions together, serve God together, and so much more. No we didn’t save our first kiss for marriage, but we do refrain from you-know-what (Yes, I’m a dork and can’t say it.. hee hee).

I truly believe that Ryan and I met when we did for a reason. It was not God’s intention for us to marry right away, after all, we were YOUNG and had a LOT to learn before jumping into something blindly. But, the small window of opportunity when we met could have passed so quickly, and I can’t think of any other way we would have been brought together years later. I honestly think we may have went two totally directions in life, had we not crossed paths at that time. But God’s plan was for us to grow together physically, mentally, and spiritually.

DATING TO ME


My outlook on a lot of things has changed tremendously in my 20’s, but my vision of marriage has been the most drastic. Five years ago, I could not have understood nor appreciated what promising myself to a husband through God meant. And while, I’m the LAST person on earth capable of giving marriage advice (being so ill experienced and all), I may be an expert at dating- for girls at least! Heck, maybe God is leading me to mentor women in dating relationships.

Anyway, here are a few truths I have found about dating a man spiritually. I believe these are things I had to learn before I could commit my life to Ryan. A lot of them are painful realizations, but they’ve given me a better vision of a Godly marriage (what we’re working towards, NOT just a wedding) and for that, I am grateful.

  1. Un-equally yoked mates will never work out. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. I DON’T CARE HOW CUTE HE IS! Yes, he can “become” saved, and you might even win him to Christ. But how can you follow him if he is following you?
  2. Pray daily for and about them. It’s not a bad idea to do that BEFORE you are in a relationship. Anytime you think of something you hope for in your future spouse, pray about it. “God, help him be more patient”, “Help him to humble himself”. Here’s a tip: Sometimes prayer works better than nagging. 😉
  3. I believe in only dating someone with the intention of marriage. Period. No reason to divulge further.
  4. I am a believer in the husband being the spiritual leader. I think part of why women are advocating independance and equal rights is because there are not enough strong spiritual men in the world. I don’t have ONE fear of getting behind a man who is led by God. Not one. You’re probably wondering why this last one is about a husband instead of boyfriend. Well, in my opinion, which is just that-MY opinion, I feel that you have to have some idea of HOW he is going to lead your relationship and family. I would have a hard time marrying someone without first discovering his approach through “pre-requisite” marrital leadership. However, I will add that this suggestion should be taken with caution and should be discussed openly with eachother. You should both agree on responsibilities and delegations before marrying one another. hat do you expect from him? What does he expect from you?

Ok, I’m going to wrap it up before I step on any more toes. I hope this post enlightened you to our unique situation. And for goodness sake, stop asking when we’re getting married! 😛

j/k it’s more awkward for you than us anyway! Haha!

God Bless,

Kaila

Without a Paddle

Life is full of mountains and valleys when it comes to having joy. To be completely honest, I’ve been in valleys a lot recently. I came to a place where I couldn’t make it back up the next mountain, and I really didn’t care if I stayed in the valley. I was literally just miserable, and exhausted with the effort of trying to continue. I had lost my momentum, so it was time to set up camp in the dark, damp, cold valley.

Looking back, my seasons of sadness can be pointed back to two different categories of instigators :

  1. Making decisions without prayer
  2. Things out of my control

Being stressed or depressed, whatever you want to generalize it under, over something that is not in my control is probably the thing I struggle the most with. Up to now, I would just try to Find the Silver Lining– Look at the positive. Find something good that came out of it. The problem with this approach was, sometimes there was no silver lining, or I didn’t have the optimicity to find it.

I read one of those sappy facebook stories one time about this lady, who’s husband just died. Since she has no one to take care of her, she has no other option, but to move to a nursing home. When she arrives, a young man greets her and begins telling her about her room. “I love it”, she says prematurely with gust. The young man proceeds to tell her to wait until she’s seen it. That’s when the lesson begins. She explains that seeing it has nothing to do with it. Happiness is something we choose ahead of time, yada yada yada. And of course she’s blind!

I’ve always heard the saying “Happiness comes from within”. To me this sounds too close to doing what’s best for you, and not worrying about everyone else, which never works out for the record. I’ve also heard that “Happiness is a Choice”, which makes it sound as easy as picking a flavor of ice cream. The problem with the facebook story, and these sayings that happy people throw at you, is that they require will power. Well, that’s great and all, but what happens when your flame goes out?

I think my eye opening moment came after Ryan and I had dinner with a good friend last weekend. He shared his testimony with us, and opened up about his own struggles. While Ryan and him conversed about their faith, I found myself relishing in the awe of what God had done for him. The burdens he had carried were lifted, and the change in him was obvious to anyone who had known him before. All because he decided to lay it at God’s feet, pray fervently, and trust in His sovereignty.

As the days progressed, I saw so many ways that God was opening my eyes to my situation. He knew I was in a dangerous place, but I also think He needed me to come out of the valley and continue the work He has laid on my heart. He was pursuing me when I needed to be pursuing Him. But, I’m so thankful He is our Shepard, and that He never lets us stray to far. It wasn’t until yesterday, that I was able to fully comprehend what He was showing me.

Ryan and I went went Jeepin’ with my cousins last weekend, and we made a stop at the Olympic Race Course of the Ocoee River. If you’ve ever been to this part of the Ocoee, you know how intense the man-made rapids are. After all, it was made for the ’96 Olympics.

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All of a sudden this big yellow thing called a “Creature Craft” puts in, and goes sliding right on down the river. I’m not going to lie, it looked fun! (Side note: They come in PINK!!!)

It seats two people, who strap themselves in. You sit in a chair parallel to the opposite person, and you use a paddle to steer, just like in a raft. All was well, as they maneuvered the oversized inflatable through the rapids. They were obviously pros, as they could surf in the rapids and spin the whole thing around, flipping it every which way. Suddenly, on the second trip, a passenger lost a paddle. Along with the drifting paddle, went their fluid movement, because at this point, the Creature Craft could only spin in one direction. Luckily, a friend was standing in the rocks to the side of the river, and threw them a spare.

They weren’t the only crew to lose a paddle that day. A kayaker was walking up and down the river asking spectators if they had seen a blue paddle floating down the river. He was soaking wet and obviously desperate to jump back in and continue his adventure. But without a paddle, no fun was to be had.

You’ve heard the saying “Up creek without a paddle”. Well here I was trying to make it up stream without my paddle, figuratively speaking. I was trying to get out of my rut on my own. I finally realized I couldn’t do it. But instead of praying for my solution, as I so often do, I prayed for peace in my circumstances. That’s what you can do, when you believe in the Bible and God’s sovereignty. When you know there’s a purpose for what’s happening in your life, and that all things work TOGETHER for the good for those that love God (Romans 8:28). We can also believe that God knows the plans that He has for us, and that He would never harm us (Jeremiah 29:11). But best of all, we can put all of our strength and trust in Him, when we can’t make it, and He’ll turn that in to happiness:

Happy are the people whose strength is in You,
whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. (Psalm 84:5)


Thank you so much for reading. It’s so hard to be so raw and open up, but I know that I have to share. There’s someone out there that needs to hear this. Know that I love you all!

God Bless,

Kaila

Treat Everyone Like Dogs

Yesterday was a fabulous day, and I had every intention of writing about it yesterday afternoon, but the Sunday Fun-day Fatigue hit me pretty hard and I ended up taking a FOUR, freaking hour nap! Whew… But it felt good, and I caught up on some much needed “Z’s”.

It was the first time I had actually sat IN service in a while, due to other commitments at church. We started a new series about remedying relationships. I’ve always understood that God takes precedence over any other relationships, but Pastor Matt always does a good job at explaining the “why’s” of subjects that cause us to question “how”. For example, he explained something commonly understood to be how Christians should act: Put others before yourself.

Instead, we often think: You have to please ME, for there to be a WE, and then I can belong to YOU. (ME- WE- YOU). The problem comes in when the other person in the relationship is reacting the same way. But how do we lose our need for self satisfaction and neediness?

The one variable left out of the example above is the most important of all- God. God should be our ultimate direction. Matt used the example of two people driving in a car. They’re talking to each other, and focusing only on each other, not the road. Whether they are happy or fighting, we all know that a wreck will happen if the driver doesn’t turn his attention to the road. As I’m sure you figured out, this analogy is referring to our focus on God.

With our focus on God, and knowing that 100% of us relies solely on Him and none-other, we are FREE to love others. What stuck with me the most was that statement- We don’t NEED others, so we are FREE to love them unconditionally.

When we don’t have that desire for OTHERS to fulfill our happiness, we are able to care for them because our satisfaction comes from the Lord.

It’s a beautiful thing, and if everyone could think this way (I know it’s impossible but)wouldn’t it be amazing?

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The second part of the day was spend with my gorgeous man riding through the mountains.

Ryan in the Jeep
Ryan in the Jeep

I took the camera along to capture a few moments, and had SO much fun getting creative with pictures like these:

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We went up to the top of John’s Mountain at the overlook for this spectacular view

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Then on the way back down, we stopped at a day park and the campgrounds for the area..

DSC_0035-1 DSC_0041-1  DSC_0055-1 DSC_0060-1 DSC_0066-1 DSC_0073-1DSC_0081-1There’s nothing like enjoying God’s beautiful creation with the top off of a jeep and wind blowing through your hair. A camera in hand, and the love of my life by my side… It just really doesn’t get much better than that.

While riding around, I was thinking of how much my baby girl dog, Daisy, would LOVE to have a face full of wind in the back of the jeep. I thought about how much joy I get, watching her try to eat the air while I’m driving down the road. And then I thought back to the sermon that morning, and how we are free to love things because we don’t need them. It’s like the day had come full circle, and I was able to see perfectly how to love freely. I don’t need a dog… A dog is a responsibility. They can’t do anything for you. They pee the floor- so annoying. But you love them… Otherwise you wouldn’t keep them. Thus:

Treat people like dogs… 🙂

God Bless,

Kaila

Do You Consider Yourself “Blessed”?

I’ve been ugly this week. Aside from waking up late constantly and not having enough time to get ready, my spirit has been ugly. It’s ironic because I’m helping teach little kids in children’s church about the fruits of the spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Self-Control, and Faithfulness. I’ll admit it, I’ve been pretty hypocritical… Blind to the fact until now, but I’ve been a hypocrite. Ryan and I were just laughing last week about how simple the Children’s lessons were, but how complex the lessons WE as adults learn from them are. We all have moments of struggling in our walk, but as a Christian, the important thing is overcoming it with Christ’s help and pressing on. This morning, that moment happened, and my self pity binge was over.

Sometimes I just flat out hate my life and where I am as a human. I have a lot to be thankful for, but as Ariel the mermaid says “Who cares? No big deal… I want more!”. And normally when I start “counting my blessings” I become grateful once more and can bear through until the next hurdle stops me. This morning that didn’t happen… This morning, I crossed paths with an old homeless man who looked to be about 90 years old, and was riding a bicycle with a big bag tied behind him and a large hiking backpack on his back. For a split second, I thought , “You know, I’m really petty for acting like a brat when I have everything I need” (which IS true- but that’s not the point).

I couldn’t look away as he rode in front of me. Probably going about 30, I only caught a glimpse of him, but it was enough. Enough to realize that this old, weary man probably wouldn’t be pushing himself up a hill on a bike with 50 lbs on his back if he drove a Lexus. He’d probably weigh about 150 more pounds if he never missed a meal. But those thoughts also made me realize that his circumstances made him a stronger man at his age, which led to the most profound question that may have ever crossed my mind:

Why do circumstances determine your wealth?

Not necessarily wealth as in money, but as in happiness, or blessings, or comfort. Why do I think I’m any more blessed than the homeless man because I have a car or a job? If I didn’t have either I would still be blessed. Circumstances happen because they are a part of becoming who God wants us to be, therefore they are all blessings. James 1:2-4 says:

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

So when you count your blessings, do you count “things”? If you didn’t have those things would you still be blessed? Contentment is the thing I strive for- we all do. That’s why we constantly want more. But learning to be content with what you already have is a true blessing.

If you missed my contentment vs. satisfaction post, you can read about it HERE.

For information on how you can help the homeless community through one ministry in the Dalton area, visit http://www.greaterworksdalton.org/ or email Robert Hill at robert@greaterworksdalton.org

Thanks for reading, and God Bless!

Kaila

 

YOLO

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I keep thinking that I’m going to run out of things to write about, but then another topic just comes to me. I think I’ve finally discovered that the writing/thought process of this journey will never run dry, as I typically write about things I have experienced or struggled with firsthand. I’ve learned that the best way to write from the heart is to write about your heart. This topic is no different.

As I’ve said before, I have a planning type personality. It’s not that I stay neat and organized, but I mentally enjoy the physical process of organizing. For example, I will spend a whole day cleaning a room to perfection, only for it to end up in it’s original state a week later. And I don’t fret about it! I just take in the rush I get the next time I clean it up. It’s a really weird quirk, but it’s my quirk. So naturally when it comes to life, I like to plan it out too. Only instead of letting life mess up like I do cleanliness, I tend to stress. I guess that’s a good thing, right? I mean, we should all take life seriously… YOLO! OMG did I really just do that?? I don’t think that means what I think it means… Oh well, I digress. Regardless of the rhyme or reason behind my habit, I obsess over things a little too easily. No, I’m not OCD, but any kind of fixation on a matter or object is obsession. In my experience obsessions lead to unsatisfaction.

You Must Accept What You Are Given to be Satisfied.

There’s a difference between contentment and satisfaction. These two words are almost synonyms. In fact, they both reference eachother in Webster’s online dictionary. However there is a slight difference in their definitions:

Satisfaction- fulfillment of a need or want (source)

Contentment- a state of happiness and satisfaction (source)

Satisfaction requires your needs or wants to be fulfilled before you can obtain contentment. Contentment is simply the feeling that occurs after that happens. So, depending on your expectations and desires, you may go your whole life without experiencing satisfaction or contentment! However, God’s plan is sovereign and though it is possible to veer off track, His plan will ultimately prevail.  Therefore, if we align our desires with God’s, it’s inevidable that our success will be assured. While it’s easy to type that out, it’s not easy for me to remember. I often find myself doubting my purpose or path, as I’m sure most of you do.

There are two Bible verses that help renew my faith in these areas. The first is found in Psalm 37:4

Take delight in the Lord,
and He will give you your heart’s desires.

     While we usually read this as a promise that He will provide everything we want, I believe (as my parents taught me) that this verse means we should focus on God, and He will PUT His desires in our heart.

     The second verse helps me trust that God’s plan is what’s best for me. You would think this would come naturally since He created us and all, but I often find myself trying to incorporate MY ideas with His plan. Instead I should trust Him completely. Jeremiah 29:11 says:

For I know the plans I have for you—this is the Lord’s declaration— plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Two Truths I’ve Come to Learn

If You Live For the Future, You are Depending on the Unpromised

Sometimes I find myself so caught up in where I want to be, that I don’t get to enjoy where I am. I think this is common for people in the current time, especially in America. It’s great to have goals and aspirations, but don’t let them consume you! The only thing that is guaranteed (besides God’s providence) is the present. Instead of just trying to make it through your “valley”, make the best of it! Today is your future’s past. If it has to be a memory, make it a good one!

Learn to Be Happy With What you Have, Before You Ask for What You Don’t

Like I said before, it’s great to have goals and aspirations, but don’t dwell on the situation if you can’t control it. Make the best of it and look for the silver lining. But whatever you do, don’t ask for a better outcome until you have managed your current situation. You’re going through whatever you are for a reason. Find that reason, and learn from it. Share it! That’s exactly what I’m doing now. 🙂

Thought for the week: If tomorrow never came, would you be happy with your now?

Remember- You Only Live Once 😉

God Bless,

Kaila

Christ-like Love

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I’m pretty stubborn headed, from what I’ve been told by many. I don’t sway my opinion often, and when I do it’s usually for a pretty good reason. It’s hard for me to make an initial decision, but once my mind is made up- it is. Like deciding where to eat: At first, I have to imagine the restaurant strip…“Ok there’s Applebees, O’Charley’s, Longhorn.. Oh Longhorn sounds good! No wait, I haven’t had Red Lobster in a while!” By the time I’ve settled for Chili’s, I’ve already made up my mind that I want the Monterey Chicken, and I can taste the delicious cheesy bacon that tops the tender chicken breast layered with avocado. Mouth watering yet? Now, imagine my frustration when that decision is turned over and vetoed. We’re eating at Los Reyes now. Suddenly, my taste buds go numb, and I can’t possibly think about what Los Reyes would have that could possibly live up to the Monterey Chicken! Yes, they have cheese, and chicken, and avocados…. But the Bacon! Oh sweet bacon!

Let’s face it being overruled SUCKS. It would be nice if everyone had the same desires you have, and made the same decisions you did, but as you’ve probably learned –life doesn’t work that way. In fact, one of the most beautiful things about God’s love and sovereignty is that He leaves our choices to us. He lets us decide to love Him or leave Him. Have you ever stopped to think that He is big and powerful enough to make us do what He wants, yet He doesn’t? I am thankful that our God is merciful enough to allow me to fall at His feet after I’ve made a stupid decision that He probably told me not to!

By the time you’ve entered your twenty-somethings, you have a pretty good idea about how you feel about the world around you. You’ve learned some trivial lessons in life and probably got bitten a time or two.

One lesson I learned in my early college days is that I am NOT a debator. I may be stubborn, but I can’t handle direct confrontation. It’s not that I conform, I just don’t want to damage a relationship over a difference of opinions. I think that is why I get along so well with my friends Tara and Rebecca (Love you guys!) because while we may not agree 100% on everything, we know when to back off and move on. That’s the reason our friendship has sustained through as much as it has. I am the luckiest girl in the world to have found amazing girls like them!

The experiences I share with these two is unexplainable, but I will try… I feel loved. I feel laid back. I feel I like I can do anything! I know I can trust them, and they can trust me. I DON’T feel pressured, judged, or left out. And as I reflect on our relationship, I realize it’s a lot like how I feel with my heavenly Father. I know He loves me. I can rest in the peace He provides. I can trust that His will in my life is what’s best for me.

Something that has been heavy on my heart lately, and what has inspired this blog post, is that it seems like Christians are so caught up into preaching at people than they are living out the love of Christ. And if you don’t know the difference between the two, then you’re probably guilty.

Here’s the perfect example. I am TOTALLY 100% in agreement that we as Christians should read the Bible outside of church. But I didn’t come to this conclusion because I was raised in church, and was told to read my Bible every day. Though growing up in a Christian environment is important, it is only a vital factor. When I am feeling down, or depressed, or I am struggling with a situation, I read my Bible. Why? Because it’s about more than just reading a book. I have had so many God experiences reading my Bible. Unexplainable, amazing experiences where God has spoken and encouraged me through His word. It’s during those times I learned that the Bible is more than just a rule book, it’s a GUIDE to life! I could have never felt this way if I was forced to read it, but instead I was encouraged and I reaped the benefits, which sold me for life!

The fact is that most of us have set opinions about different subjects, from gay marriage (or even just BEING gay) to drinking a beer, to playing the lottery or smoking pot. VERY rarely does someone sway their views on a topic from a debate or conversation. The reason for this is because of approach. As humans, our primary focus tends to be on one thing- ourselves. When someone threatens our expertise, we shut them out. Just like when I decide I want Monterey Chicken in my belly and someone chooses Los Reyes.

Unfortunately, our biggest challenge in life isn’t simply where to eat. It’s much bigger things. But instead of trying to change the person or convict them, why don’t we try to LOVE them as Christ does? It’s not really our place to judge anyway! God works in our hearts and will convict us when something is coming in between us and Him.

So instead of spewing bitter, judgemental beliefs, I choose to show love. Instead of fighting evil with evil, I choose to love. I choose to love because I was loved FIRST, by Him… When I was the most unlovable. It’s called grace and it covers all wrong and all sin….

I love you all! Thank you for reading!

God bless,

Kaila

Peace that Surpasses All Understanding

Confession: I’m guilty of praying more or harder when I am going through a tough situation, than I do when everything is fine.

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It’s human nature- when you feel like you’ve lost control, you go to the one who is IN control of it all. We don’t ask “God, just change my perspective”… It’s usually “God, FIX it.” or “It needs to be this way”. It’s funny, we can humble ourselves enough to go to Him for help, but we seem to think we know the best solution. Again, I’m not pointing fingers. I myself need to break the habit of “Chinese take-out prayer”. I have to remind myself that I don’t know what the future holds, therefore I can’t decide what’s best for me.

As easy as it is to read or say, it’s still a hard perspective to adopt… And before you think that God is just an unconcerned tyrant, read Phillipians 4. The verses that speak to me the most on this topic are 6 &7:

Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Before you say that verse doesn’t apply to you, that you’re going through something that you can’t possibly feel peace in- let me remind you of the author of Phillipians. Paul (The former artist known as Saul of Tarsus) was a persecutor of Christians before he was a follower. He was judged by Jews because of his method of preaching and the things he taught. Long story short, he was eventually arrested for his cause, and was believed to have died in poor cirumstances or even martyred. Through it all, he never gave up faith. But more than that, he believed he was better off going through what he did, than if he had everything in the world. How? You ask…

I’ll tell you: This type of faith is only possible through a relationship of prayer with Christ.

The key is in verse 7 of Phillipians 4. It doesn’t say that when you pray, he’ll give you what you think you’ll need. It says “the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus”. Meaning, you don’t have to suffer through it, He can give you peace. PRAY

So, work with me on this, folks! Instead of asking for an outcome, ask for peace. Ask for His will to be done- that’s the best way to be happy with what you get. We aren’t in control- never will be. But He is, and He is so gracious.

God Bless you guys!

Kaila

Update: I wrote this last night, but God didn’t want me to post it… Now I know why. Our pastor preached a beautiful message this morning about trusting God. You can watch it here-

It's All Good Part 5.

2014 so far…

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It seems like everything has been crazy since my last blog post. On January 14th I posted my Clothes Challenge, and then BAM! Life happened.

On January 17th a deer hit my faithful little 2003 Honda Civic (yes it hit ME, not the other way around), taking out the front drivers’ side headlight and then ever so gracefully skimming down the entire drivers side of my car . It was dark, and I was alone. So, needless to say I was in a little bit of shock. So much so, that I continued to drive thinking the car was fine! Then, as the shock wore off, I noticed I could hear wind coming through the door. At the time, I thought there was a big gaping hole in the side of my car, which urged me to pull over. Later I discovered it was simply where the window seal had been torn off, and air was blowing in through the gap. 😛

I’ll save you the long drawn out story and just give you a few fun(ny) facts before skipping to the point of this whole story!

1. I have Geico, and my adjuster’s name is Mike…. I’ve been DYING to call him on a Wednesday and say “Hey MIKE! MIKE! Guess what day it is, Mike!” But I have refrained….

2. Apparently, I have really good rental insurance. When I went into Enterprise to pick up a car, it wasn’t ready due to some confusion. The employee that helped us (We’ll call him D, to protect his identity) said that he would have something ready for me that day by 12, and that I had really good insurance so he would find me something nice. I sarcastically replied “Oh you know, Ferrari, Lamborghini, whatever.. I’m not picky!”. He politely laughed at my corny joke that he probably hears ALL day, and then stated that from time to time they DO get Cadillacs…I return to Enterprise at 12 (Props to my girl, Becky!) and they give me this:

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There couldn’t be anything more unlike my Honda than this 2014 Cadillac ATS. It has a screen bigger than my kindle fire that has Bluetooth, Pandora, Onstar.. You name it. And I still can’t find the CD player 2 weeks later. I did find a secret compartment the other day, though. Oh yea it has more usb ports than it does seats. Don’t stick your iPhone 5 in the compartment behind the middle console, or it might get stuck (Haha! Love ya, Becky!).

My car wasn’t totaled, thankfully, and my deductible is only $100 since it was an “act of nature”. Geico has been GREAT (and no, I’m not getting paid to say that). So I guess you could say it all worked out. Though, I never really worried about it, and here’s why:

I’ve had my car paid off for about two and a half years now. While most people get “New Car Syndrome” before the ink on their check from the final payment dries, it took a while for me. See, I was very blessed with my car. It’s never given me any problems in almost 7 years. It’s made it through 7 Disney World trips (about 3,500 out of the 270,000 miles). In short, we’ve taken care of it, and it’s returned the favor. Inevitably, the syndrome came, and I began to pray about it, as I do most BIG decisions. I prayed that God would lead me to the right car, and that I would not have to go into much debt to buy it. However, God’s answer was “Wait”.. Then pressure came from others who said “You can afford it, so go for it” or “Get a good car, you deserve it!”. I would reluctantly explain that it wasn’t time, although I didn’t understand why. And then January 17th came, and I realized the deer was why it wasn’t time. Had I bought a nice new car when I wanted it, THAT car would have been damaged and wrecked, sitting in my front yard.

Obviously, this was a lesson in trust, but some of the best lessons from God are followed up with confirmation. During my Bible reading/study time, I came across this verse that explains why trusting God is in our best interest.:

Ecclesiastes 3:1, 11-14

“There is an occasion for everything, and a time for every activity under heaven… He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also put eternity in their hearts, but man cannot discover the work God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and enjoy the good life.  It is also the gift of God whenever anyone eats, drinks, and enjoys all his efforts. I know that all God does will last forever; there is no adding to it or taking from it. God works so that people will be in awe of Him”

God knows what you will be facing before the situation exists. He knows what you want and what you need. My favorite part of the verse is where it says ” I know all that God does will last forever”. Why would you not want His opinion in everything? When you trust God, the weight on your shoulders is lifted and you can find peace in knowing that He is in control.

This is hard to understand when dealing with a death in the family, which I also recently dealt with.

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I may not have been related to Granny Pendley biologically or by marriage, but anyone who associated themselves with her felt a family connection. I lost count of how many people at the viewing and funeral said she was like a mother to them. She was truly one in a million, one of the most self-less people I have ever met. She would do anything for everybody, and loved her family and the Lord so much!

Mamie Lou Pendley passed away on Sunday, January 26th 2014, which was also my sisters 21st birthday. Ironically, verse 2 in Ecclesiastes continues talking about time by saying “A time to give birth, and a time to die”. For whatever reason, this verse brought me peace from knowing that God took her in His time. And though it may seem too soon to us, His plan is greater than we could ever imagine. We can’t fathom what kind of struggle she would have gone through if our prayers had kept her on earth.

As we persevered through the southern “snowmageddon” this week, and patiently pushed out funeral arrangements until the ice melted, I tried to find a message in the madness. I feel like God was trying to again tell me that He was in control, and He knew what was best for us. At times it was discouraging having to draw out the process, but at that same time, it gave her family time to rest and remember. Not only did they get 2-3 days of bereavement, but most received 2 snow days additionally.

It’s been a while since we’ve had any amount of snow, but I have to say I like it’s infrequency! Makes it all the more special…

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Ok, so this is an abnormally long post and I appreciate you hanging in here with me! Let me wrap this up by making my BIG announcement! Speaking about “time”, I have been praying about the direction of this blog, and I feel led to take it another step further by purchasing my own domain! Basically I will no longer have a url with .wordpress.com anymore. BUT, before I do so, I want to change the name. This is something that I will carry for a long time and I want to have something more broad and catchy. I’ve not yet decided what it will be but I am open to suggestions! Whatever it ends up being, I want to continue striving to meet the standards I established when God gave me the opportunity to share my faith through a blog platform.

  1. That I put HIM first, and give Him all the glory, no matter how this journey turns out.
  2. That I never let it become a “rant” outlet or anything negative
  3. That I always make decisions through prayer and His guidance

Your prayers appreciated while I make this transition, and for the family/friends of Granny Pendley.

I’ll be posting my January Five Favorites soon followed by a spring fashion prediction, so stay tuned!

God Bless,

Kaila

Imperfection

As a woman, I can completely relate to self-deprecation. From reality shows depicting false pictures of perfection, to relationships that cause us to set standards entirely too high, we are subjected to all kinds of unreasonable expectations. I can’t think of one person I know, man or woman, who doesn’t struggle with comparing themselves to others. I’m just as guilty myself! But it’s one habit I resolve to beat, and this post will tell you WHY and HOW.

The first step is realizing that the ideal we have for ourselves is based on the opinions of others. Yes, we each have different perspectives as to what kind of person that we want to be. But those ideas originate from opinions we have established from people we have met, celebrities we have watched on tv, personalities that we clash with- if you’re missing the point, I’m simply saying that NOTHING is original. We have to quit comparing ourselves to other imperfect and flawed humans. The only person who is worthy enough to strive to be more like, is God Himself. The next step is realizing that God IS perfect, and that we can never be exactly like Him.

So we’re not perfect, and God is..We need to be less like us and more like Him. Am I confusing you yet? Stick with me… While we can never achieve a sinless, perfect life, we are made in our Creator’s image (Genesis 1:27). When we complain about our appearance or certain traits, we are basically downplaying something God BLESSED us with. Case and point: I have a VERY forgetful mind. I have a hard time staying on track and I struggle with remembering the fine details of things. That’s one reason why I love writing (somewhat journaling/blogging), photography (to capture images forever), and organizing (spreadsheets, filing, etc). However, with all these techniques I still can’t remember everything. Most of the time, I’m too scatterbrained to remember to remind myself of things! For years I beat myself down, called myself stupid, and would make “spiritual” excuses to God as to why He needed to help me fix my “problem”. I would say, “How am I supposed to memorize scripture and share what you lay on my heart if I can’t remember it!?”. One day He opened my eyes to why I was “Fearfully and wonderfully made”. He spoke to me during my time with Him and told me that I easily forget so that I can easily forgive. I realized then that I was doubting God’s capabilities when I hated myself, and from that moment on, I promised to use even my flaws for His glory!

Maybe you don’t struggle with appearance or personality flaws. Maybe you’re drop dead gorgeous, and you know it! Or you’ve got life figured out, and you don’t beat yourself up over decisions or mistakes- Hakuna-Matata, right? But what about your situation? I can almost bet you aren’t happy with one of the following: Your job, bank account, house and/or car, closet, marriage… I can give you the whole spill about how lusting things is a sin, and that we don’t have to keep up with the Jones’, blah, blah, blah. But you’ve probably already heard that and try to convince yourself of these things, so we’ll skip over that. What I want to enlighten you to is that, if you are a Christian, all of these things come from and belong to God. That may seem threatening to you, in fact some of you may feel that is stepping over the line because you “earned” those things and are entitled to them. However, it is a fact so that you can find peace in knowing it’s all in God’s hands. If circumstances or possessions measure your joy, prepare yourself for a roller coaster of emotions. Learn to find happiness in knowing Christ. I could keep blabbing on about things and situations, or I can direct you to one of my favorite books of the Bible to read when I become too materialistic, Phillipians (Don’t freak out, it’s only 4 chapters).

A very important reason to stop criticizing ourselves is so that we can be more accepting to others. When we judge ourselves, we also judge others. We have to learn to tear down the walls of expectations, and love with the unconditional love that God gives us. You’ve heard of the term “Beer Goggles”, well put on your “God Goggles” and see through the lens of love. The Bible says that if you judge, you will also be judged (Matthew 7). If you want acceptance, you must learn to accept.

I hope this has blessed you in some way, because I know how the pain that exclusion or feeling inadequate feels. If I can change the self-worth of ONE person through this post, then it makes the effort worthwhile. For that reason, I ask that you do something I normally don’t ask… Share this post. I don’t even need the credit- copy and paste instead of sharing the url! Just help me reach out to someone that needs this today.

Thank you all so much for taking the time to read this.
God bless you,

Kaila

December Five Favorites

It’s that time again! More like it’s about time I post something because it’s been almost 2 weeks… My bad!

So this month I had to put a lot of thought into what my five favorite items were. Mainly because it was Christmas time and I really didn’t buy anything new for myself. Since I’ve only had a week to play with my Christmas “toys”, I’ll have to wait until February to feature some of them in my “Favorite Five”.

Before I get started, I want to talk about a few blog topics coming up soon that I am SUPER DUPER (I need to start reminding myself that I’m in my 20’s before using terms like that) excited about!

  1. January Clothes Challenge!- I am attempting to go on a clothing purchase hiatus for all of January… Not only that, but I have planned out several outfits without repeating a single item, and I’m going to show YOU how to do it!
  2. One of my bestest friends recently got a curling wand with 5 interchangeable rods from Bombay Hair, and has agreed to write a review for me! I’m so tickled and can’t wait to see what all she does with this fabulous tool!

Ok, so the first item I am currently obsessed with is the new Chapstick Hydration Lock. My lips would be suffering tremendously, as cold and windy as it has been lately, without this wonderful goodness. Most chapsticks I’ve used leave a wax layer on my lips. And even if my lips miraculously absorb it, it’s gone within 30 minutes. Hear me when I say this stuff LASTS. You can dab, lick, or purse your lips, and it’s still there. Here’s a short description of how it works from the Chapstick site:

  • Clinically proven to moisturize lips, with a lightweight feel
  • 8 hours of advanced moisturization revitalizes and visibly improves the appearance of lips
  • Enriched with antioxidant CoQ10 and hyaluronic filling spheres

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The next item that I think you’ll love is by….wait for it… SUAVE. It’s their dry shampoo spray, and it’s only $2.50 at Walmart! I don’t really use it as a dry shampoo, but more as a texturizer for my roots. It’s great  to use if you back tease your hair!

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Number 3 is not so much a brand as it is an item. Fleece lined leggings are a trend this winter- and for a good reason! Not only are they cute, but they are WARM! I’m talking warmer than my jeans warm!(Guilty confession- I’ve been wearing them under my jeans sometimes…Don’t judge!) I say grab these in every possible color you can find!

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Alrighty, number 4…. Oh dear #4, what would I do without you? I have VERY sensitive skin (particularly on my face) and it seems to only be getting worse with age. But I wear makeup. And water just doesn’t do the trick. I came across these little babies one day and decided to try them, and was very impressed! They have some sort of oil balancing effect which is good for my combo skin, but they also take of water proof mascara (which the package doesn’t say, but I’ve tried it). The brand is called simple and I found them at Walmart. (duh…)

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And for the final “fav”. It’s the beginning of a new year, so I decided to jump on the bandwagon and commit to a daily devotional. This is one I’ve actually had for awhile (Mom gave it to me for my birthday a couple of years back),  so I’ve read some of it. But, I want to let my OCD take control and start with Jan 1. This one is by Max Lucado, who I really enjoy reading. It’s called “Grace for the Moment”. It has a morning devotional and a night devotional!

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Hope you enjoyed reading this week! And don’t forget to check back for the upcoming posts I was talking about earlier!

God Bless,

Kaila

 

What is Love?

My viewpoint on love has changed many times as I’ve gotten older. It’s comfort, it’s that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you’re with your significant other, it’s a verb or action, or better yet, it’s a reaction. There’s several Bible verses that talk about love, the most commonly used one is probably 1 Corinthians 13:4-7:

Love is patient, love is kind.
Love does not envy,
is not boastful, is not conceited,
does not act improperly,
is not selfish, is not provoked,
and does not keep a record of wrongs.
Love finds no joy in unrighteousness
but rejoices in the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.

        Obviously, according to 1 Corinthians, loving someone requires some sort of action. It’s more than just saying, it’s doing. But still, we can FEEL love, so it can’t be 100% action, can it?

Let me begin by saying something that most have you have heard often (whether you’ve grown up in church, or you go twice a year)- God sent his only son to earth to die for our sins so that we do not have to be separated from Him. I want to take a moment to dissect that statement- because if you have not seen the love of God, the previous statement means NOTHING to you. Romans 6:23 says that the wages of sin is death. When Adam and Eve chose to disobey God in the garden of Eden, they chose the death penalty. They separated themselves from God, and because we are descendants of them, we are cursed in the same way. But God chose to send His son to take the penalty- death, so that we can spend eternity with Him. This act was the ultimate display of love. Thus, love comes from God (1 John 4:7 Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God).

        Ok, so how do we love? To me, the Biblical description of love is putting someone else’s needs before your own. The common denominator in 1 Corinthians is selflessness. Christ dying on the cross was putting our needs before His own. There’s no way around it, to love, you are going to have to sacrifice.

It’s easier (never a piece of cake!) to sacrifice for someone you care about. But, the Bible commands us to love everyone, even those who aren’t so easy to love. When Jesus was asked by a lawyer how he could inherit eternal life, He asked him what was written in the law. The lawyer replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself”. The lawyer asked who his neighbor was, and Jesus responded with the parable of the good Samaritan. At the end of the story, Jesus pointed out that instead of worrying WHO we love, we should be concerned with HOW we love:

36 “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” 37 “The one who showed mercy to him,” he said. Then Jesus told him, “Go and do the same.”

When we accept Christ’s unconditional love, we can better love others. In fact, we can’t truly love someone until then: 1 John 4:8,  The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

So love is: An action that occurs after a reaction of the feeling we have after God‘s love is revealed to us.

Jesus is the Reason for the Season

A phrase that has become sort of a cliche for fellow Christians has become infatuation of mine recently. Growing up, I can remember spending birthday money on Christmas presents for my parents and sister, and when I didn’t have money, I made things like pictures or those teeny potholders made with tiny looms. Christmas has never been about what I wanted, in fact I don’t remember many years that I wrote a list (though I’m sure I did sometimes). To me it has always meant an opportunity to give to others. At the age of 16 when I got my first job, I remember getting my first angel off of the Christmas tree in the mall, starting a tradition that would evolve over time but maintain the same concept of giving throughout the years for me.

While giving is such a blessing, I’ve come to realize this year that there is SO (so, so, so, SO) much more to Christmas than giving/receiving. I think the closer I get to having children, the more I think about the world THEY will grow up in and what kind of values I want to instill in them. My parents never “did” Santa (I’ll give you a second to recover from the shock…..). My mom believed that if she taught us Santa was real and then we later found out otherwise, yet we had SEEN him and sat in his lap, how could she convince us to believe in God, when we HAVEN’T seen Him. I never felt like I missed out, in fact on the contrary I felt that I could appreciate the gifts I received at Christmas a little better knowing that Dad worked hard to provide them for my sisters and I.

Great idea, but not enough to convince me that my children must be sheltered from the “pagan” symbol of Christmas. I mean, it’s a tradition so why would they doubt their salvation if they understand the concept of Saint Nick, right? Fast forward to a time where I’m more exposed to kids that are infatuated with a fictitional character that can give them everything they want, if they’re only good enough.. Whoa, whoa, WHAT?! You’re saying SANTA gets to decide whether I’m worthy enough for something I want? Santa kinda seems like a jerk… But I guess that’s how it goes in America now a days. You have to fix your problems to be accepted. Insecure about your body? Have plastic surgery! Don’t tell anyone about that addiction you’re battling with, or you won’t be “accepted”! If you’re a Christian, you better not be too open about your “religion” or you will offend someone!

How about we’re ALL imperfect, and we ALL make mistakes??? I’m not a Ga Ga fanatic, but there is SOME truth to her song “Born this Way”. Yes, God made us (Adam and Eve WERE made perfect, however after the Fall of Man, we became imperfect due to a human mistake) and we were born this way. And despite what some Christians think, Jesus died for us like we ARE. There is nothing you can do to earn or deserve what Christ did for you and I. Just let that sink in for a second…. You are imperfect. You fail. You think really horrible things about people you really can’t stand. You do things that would make your Mama faint. You fall. You give yourself too much credit sometimes. You try to make yourself look like someone you’re not. Gosh, when you think about it, if Santa WAS real, we’d all be in really big trouble! So, why do we make our kids believe that being a certain way that they are not, is the only way they’ll get toys? How many times have we given our kids toys for Christmas even though they were bad half the year? Maybe this is why our young people are so good at acting a certain way and fooling everyone when they’re falling apart internally….

I don’t want my kids to believe that being good is going to earn them material things, as much as I don’t want them to think that being good is what’s going to get them into heaven. Now that doesn’t mean that I won’t get them things for Christmas, I just want them to understand the TRUE meaning of Christmas. That Christ came down, and lived like you and I to save this world. God gave a gift to us- His Son, so that you and I could have the gift of heaven. And to celebrate this miracle, we give gifts to one another in love. Love that was shown through our wonderful Maker. In a sense, we try to be obedient (by good actions) as a reaction to His love, instead of reacting out of greed.

James 1:16-17 says “ 16 Don’t be deceived, my dearly loved brothers. 17 Every generous act and every perfect gift is from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning.”

So when the time comes and I have little ones to share Christmas with, not only will we read about the birth of Christ and thank God for giving the ultimate gift, but we will also thank Him for the jobs that He blessed Mommy and Daddy with, so that we can provide gifts to our loved ones and those in need. I’m certainly not pushing an agenda to rid the world of Santa, I just ask that you take a step back as a parent and think about how you present Christmas. What are your children learning from it? How can you make it less about us and more about Him?

November Favorite Five

IMG_20131123_054313    Wow! What a week… I first want to apologize for the delay in posting my “secret hair tool”. I definitely did not anticipate such a busy Thanksgiving week! But I am thankful for the time spent with family and for the money that funded my first official Black Friday adventure with great company! I’m still recovering from the 20+ hours with no sleep and what we called “zombie hangover” syndrome.

But, enough with the excuses! Let’s get on to my wonderful product I bought online a couple of weeks ago. I’ve used several of Hot Tool’s curling irons in many sizes and they’ve never let me down. I just plain love them! Their flat irons… Not so much, but that’s another story. My hairdresser had some extra time after my last hair appointment and decided to fix up my hair with her hot tools curling wand. Thinking it would fall out within a few hours, I reluctantly agreed. However, The curls lasted….OVER 24 hours! So I checked out Amazon (since I have prime) and bought one for $23!

This is the Curly- Q tapered curling wand

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While I can’t vouch for other brands of curling wands, I’m sure there are others that could compare. If you can’t find this particular style, make sure you at least find a curling wand that contains these two factors that I especially like about this product:

  1.  It is titanium which produces even heat. This means less damage because there are no hot spots. My hair seems to react better to it as well.
  2. It is tapered which gives my curls an amazing bounce that I absolutely adore!

I am literally able to get 2 days wear out of the curls this thing produces. I may have to touch up a few places just because of the way I sleep, but it saves me SO much time getting ready on day 2. It came with a protective glove, however I found that it got in the way. I admit that I have burned my left index finger 3 times, and scalded the top of my ear once (OW!) trying to get the hang of this thing. But, if I can do it… anyone can. After the 3rd time burning myself with bare hands, I modified the glove with some scissors and fraycheck for easier use (see below picture). This seems to be working pretty good, so I think I can let my aloe vera plant recuperate for a little while!

glove

Now it’s time for my first “Favorite Five” from November!

This was pretty easy since I had a lot to pick from- being my first and all. It mostly consists of make up products, but this will change up each month going forward. I would like to note that I have very sensitive skin, so all of these products are pretty hypoallergenic if I can use them (disclaimer- this is not guaranteed by the companies). If you have any questions about any of the products, just leave me a comment below. I hope you enjoy!

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This primer came in my ipsy glambag several months ago, and I fell in LOVE with it! It’s hard to explain the texture but it is somewhere between baby oil and Vaseline. It is very light and sits on top of your skin delicately. It’s oil free (so no break outs!) and contains vitamin E which seems to hydrate my skin and keeps my foundation from looking cakey. It feels like silk on your face! When I first saw the price at Sephora I almost lost it. $40 for a  1 oz bottle… But I happened to walk into an Estee Lauder store while on vacation in Panama City and found this great deal- $27 for a 1.5 & a .5 oz. Please don’t think I’m crazy- I would normally NOT spend that much on a make up product (I’m a cheapskate), but this stuff is AH-mazing. Well worth it! The outlet store was called the Cosmetics Company Store, and you can find one near you by visiting: https://www.cosmeticscompanystore.com/

Vaseline

I saw a commercial for this spray moisturizer, and it looks so convenient, but I honestly thought it was a gimmick. I mean, anything that can spray would have to contain alcohol, and alcohol + moisturizer= oxymoron…right? I don’t know how, but this stuff really helps! Maybe it’s be cause I can spray hard to reach spots, like my back, and even if I can’t rub it in all the way, it soaks in. It does dry fast, but it seems to work all day. I have SUPER dry skin, especially in the winter, but this stuff is keeping me so soft! It comes in three scents: Aloe,  Cocoa Butter, and Shea. I’m not absolutely crazy about the scents, but the Shea is the one pictured above and it reminds me of honey.

Lip Exfoliator

Terrible picture, and terrible condition- but that’s because it’s well used! This is a lip exfoliator by elf (www.eyeslipsface.com). If you haven’t heard about this brand, you should definitely check them out! Some of their products are sold at Target, Kmart, and now some Walmarts. They are VERY inexpensive- most items cost $1-$3! This lipstick cost $3, and consists of a sugar scrub in a vanilla stick (wax?? idk what chapstick is made of…). You use it to exfoliate your lips and then wipe of the grit and residue. After wiping, put a layer of your favorite chapstick and your lips have never felt softer!!! I do this at least once a day, and that’s why the stick looks the way it does. Haha!

Illegal lengths

I have yet to find just ONE mascara that I love, so until I do I layer my mascaras. Illegal Lengths by Maybelline is my FAVORITE base to use. It has fiber extensions which give you ultimate length- and I need all the length I can get.

Before

before

After (Includes a second layer of Loreal Lash Out Butterfly)

After

I hear a lot of people say that the fibers in these types of mascara bother their eyes, but I only put this on the tips of my lashes and then “seal” it with a volumizing mascara.

fake up

Last but not least, my new favorite under eye concealer! Fake up by Benefit… Ryan got me this for my birthday this year from Sephora. It’s hard to tell from the picture, but the stick has a beige center for cover up, but the outer edge is clear. The clear part is vitamin E. Since the vitamin E hydrates under the eyes, you don’t get that under eye cake look. It doesn’t seem to REALLY hide dark circles, but when combined with a good powder, it looks great… I have a bad problem with dryness under the eyes, but haven’t since I started using this.

So there you have it… my favorite five items from November. If you liked what you read, please subscribe to my blog. Also check out my reader poll to vote for the next recipe on here! I also want to say THANK YOU to all who have reached out and responded to my posts… I so enjoy hearing what it meant to you. You are all a blessing, and I love sharing with all of you! Until next time…

God Bless!

,Kaila

Thanks for nothing

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November: The month we treat no differently than any other month, and are just as thankful suddenly remember everything we are thankful for, for at least 30 days (especially on facebook). Now, I’m not hating on those who partake in the annual “thankful challenge”, but for the love of God can we please be JUST as thankful, the other 335 days? I don’t mean to sound so cynical, in fact I meant that quite literally… “For the love of God”. Most of the challenge participants I’ve observed were thankful for God on 11/1, but what if your “thank-topics” from 11/2-11/30 ceased to exist. Your wonderful family that is always there for you, the amazing guy that God blessed you with, the position at work that you’ve worked hard for. What if you had….. Nothing, but God. Would you still be thankful?

There’s a well known verse that many people turn to when they’ve made up their own mind that they want something. It reminds me of the Beyoncé song ” If you like it, then you should have put a ring on it”. Instead it’s more like “If you want it, throw some Philippians 4:13 at it”. Out of context, the verse sounds as though we can jump off a bridge and survive because we have Jesus. It goes something like this: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” It’s a very uplifting verse. It makes you feel powerful… Like nothing will go wrong. We’ll just carry on through life, and any time we hit a rough patch, we’ll just pray and remind God about Phil. 4:13.

If you read last week’s blog, you know I mentioned reading the entire book of Philippians. That sounds a little melodramatic- it was only 4 chapters. However, you’ll recall I explained that Paul wrote Philippians… While in prison. So why is a guy who wrote the most empowering verse we’ve all come to love, locked up in prison in sub par living conditions? If he can do “all things”, why can’t he get himself out of prison? The answer? Satisfaction.

That’s not something commonly found in an age where we’re encouraged upgrade our iPhone every year. Where we work 5 days for the weekend, so we can relax for 2 days and then start the whole process over again. Where “satisfaction” occurs temporarily through alcohol or other substances. We’re only satisfied when something good happens, or when we throw a rug over the “dirt”, so to speak. Let’s back up a verse in the 4th chapter of Phillipians.

12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

In the midst of his suffering, Paul has found satisfaction in Jesus. Our anchor in the storm, the greatest portion, the peace that surpasses all understanding. It’s easy to be satisfied when everything is going our way, but when things go wrong- we assume, God is not there, or that he doesn’t care about us. If you are a Christ follower, a Christian, then everything you have belongs to him (John 3:30). While that may seem scary to those on the fence about Christianity, know that there is no greater security. Call it FDIC for your life. Let’s back it up a few more verses:

6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Notice that it doesn’t say, “Pray and he’ll give you exactly what you want, when and how you want it”. It basically says, don’t worry about anything and be thankful for everything. Pray about it, and God will give you peace. When we realize that everything is His, and that we have enough with Him alone, we can see that.. Every tiny breath, every moment spent, every lesson learned (good or bad!)…is a blessing from God. Yet, if they were all taken away in a moments time, He would still be enough.

If there’s one thing I need more of this Thanksgiving is contentment, and according to Paul, I won’t get it by filling up my need bucket. Rather, my joy comes from the Lord’s steadfastness.

Happy Thanksgiving Y’all!

Oh yes… and the recipe you’ve all been waiting for….

COWBOY CASSEROLE! 🙂

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I want to say this is a Kraft recipe, but I honestly can’t remember. I found it ages ago and have modified it over time. It has the likeness of a shepard’s pie with meatloaf topped with potatoes, but the mesquite BBQ taste gives it a unique and tasty twist. Enjoy!

ingredients

•1 pound ground meat lean

• 3/4 cup onion finely chopped

• 1/3 cup bread crumbs seasoned

• 1/2 cup Barbeque sauce

• 1 egg lightly beaten

• 1 tablespoon chili powder

• 3/4 teaspoon salt

• 1 cup crumbled bacon (I use the Oscar Meyer real cooked bacon pieces- see picture below)

• 1/4 cup crispy fried onions canned

• 2/3 cup Mexican blend cheese shredded

directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat 9×9 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine beef, onion, breadcrumbs, Barbecue Sauce, egg, chili powder and salt until well mixed. Gently press into bottom of baking dish.

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2. Bake uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes, or until cooked through. Carefully pour off any excess fat if needed. Meanwhile, start working on the mashed potatoes. In a large bowl, mix together hot Potatoes, milk (I substitute sour cream for a creamier consistency) and butter, and mash with a potato masher until smooth. For a smoother consistency, mix with an electric mixer to desired consistency. Stir in bacon and fried onions. Spread evenly on top of beef mixture and sprinkle with cheese

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3.Adjust oven to broil and place oven rack 6 to 8 inches from heat source.

4. Broil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until cheese is lightly browned. Serve hot with additional Barbecue Sauce if desired.

Voila! This can be a meal in itself, but if you need it to go far, it is delicious with baked beans and/or corn. Enjoy!

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Don’t forget to vote on the main page of my blog for next week’s recipe by going to http://www.faithfoodandfashion.wordpress.com

God Bless!

Kaila

Words

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So here I go… Starting a blog. Am I a “blogger” now? Sounds so typically hipster.

I’ve always had a passion for writing, yet in my 25 years of living I’ve never kept a journal (ironic, huh?). I did write an epic superhero book containing all of 20 pages, as well as a “ghost” story before the age of 12- both of which will NEVER see the light of day, spare all humiliation. Nonetheless, prepare yourself for numerous type II errors and run-on sentences. While I know what they are, I have no respect for them. I would assume that a blog is a little more relaxed than an English 2111 paper, thus my interest in starting one.

For a while now, I have tossed around the idea of starting a blog, but I didn’t have a purpose for one. I was told by a good friend that I should start a blog on hair and fashion, but this didn’t seem like enough. I have the “gift of gab” as my boyfriend of 7 years, Ryan, would say and I love to share things by word of mouth, but taking the time to sit down and write about happenings has seemed to become a trend that stopped in my teens. I guess it all started when I began fervently praying for God to help me open up about my faith, and for Him to give me opportunities to share in ministry. I didn’t quite know what he had in store, but while reading His word and burning with the desire to tell someone…someone who needed it…about His love, it hit me.

We over complicate things. My main struggle was what if I said the wrong thing? What if I led someone away from Christ because I was a bad example? I won’t lie. I’m human. I sometimes get led astray by temptation and the “easy thing to do”. Nothing hurts me more than seeing a person hate Christianity because of hypocrisy. But, I’m not perfect. No one is. And if you’re reading this now, struggling with Christianity because of the examples you’ve seen, just know: It’s not about being like other Christians, it’s about becoming more and more like Him. If there’s one thing I want to emphasize, it’s that Christianity is not a religion, it’s a relationship.

There’s so much more I want to share, but I need more topics for later blogs. 🙂 Wait… Is that appropriate? Do people put emoticons in blogs? Whatever, this week my Bible will be bookmarked in Philippians to read Paul’s letters while imprisoned. This book is so inspirational to me, because, had I been unjustly imprisoned with access to a pen and paper (or stone and chisel… whatever they used back then), I can’t say my letters would contain such hope and joy. My hope while I read this is that I learn to find the joy in everything so that my “letters” to you all can be insightful and brighten your day.

In the meantime, I leave you with a delicious recipe I tried tonight, which is a copycat for a Disney Food and Wine special.  This comes from one of my favorite blogs http://www.disneyfoodblog.com/ . Next time, I promise to include more pictures of the process, but this time I only have one of the finished product.

Chow-dah!

New England Clam Chowder

Makes Approximately 8 Cups

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 2 cups clam broth (I searched high and low for this, but no dice, so I ended up using chicken broth)
  • 3 medium-sized red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 3 cups)
  • 2 (6 1/2-ounce) cans chopped clams, liquid reserved
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crumbled
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves, crumbled
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
  • 4 drops Tabasco sauce, or to taste
  • 2 cups half-and-half (I accidentally got heavy whipping cream but it was just as good!)

Instructions: 1. Melt the butter over medium heat in a 2-quart saucepan. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and set aside.

2. Heat the oil over medium heat until hot but not smoking in a 4- to 5-quart Dutch oven. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring, until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes.

3. Stir in the clam broth, potatoes, chopped clams with their liquid, thyme, basil, salt, pepper, and Tabasco sauce. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through.

4. Add the half-and-half and bring to a low boil over medium-high heat. Slowly add the butter and flour mixture, whisking constantly, until well blended. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the soup for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.