Monday, June 30, 2008

Life as a Movie

If we were a movie
You'd be the right guy
And I'd be the best friend
That you'd fall in love with
In the end
We'd be laughin'
Watchin' the sunset
Fade to black
Show the names
Play that happy song

(Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana)


I heard that song somewhere, on the radio, in Wal-Mart, somewhere, and my mind went into hyper-drive. With my fertile imagination, it isn't hard to figure out what I think my life would be like if it were like a movie. It would be wonderful, perfect. Every dream would be fulfilled and troubles? Troubles would be there, but they would pass and I would be able to handle them - because, like in a movie, everything ends up all right in the end.

Marriage is just one of the things that I thought once would happen so perfectly, like in those courtship stories, like in the movies.

Art imitates life, but life isn’t always like a movie.

Alas, but it isn't. Really.

But there is one good thing about that. Just because life isn't like a movie, that doesn't mean that Someone isn't in control.

God is.

And thank Him that He is! From any indication, my attempts on directing my life into a movie had flopped and never even grazed the B-movie section.

But He is in control and that's an amazing blessing. I can’t even begin to comprehend that. How can something that hurts be a blessing? How can the ache of loneliness and uncertainty be a blessing? It is hard to wrap my mind around it all. Life doesn’t seem blessed when it turns out to be something I never wanted.

I keep returning to the fact, the incontrovertible fact, that He has the plans and that’s the one thing, the only thing that keeps me trusting.

I don't really know; I'm not in the Operations Room, you see. All I do know is that the world has a Chief who was victorious when the powers of darkness struck at Him with everything they had. He has the plans today. The darkness won't last forever. There's a splendor beyond.
- Enemy Brothers
, by Constance Savery

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Saturday Quote


I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives.  I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.  ~Abraham Lincoln

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Is God in the Universe?



"It is impossible to account for the creation of the universe, without the agency of a Supreme Being. It is impossible to govern the universe, without the aid of a Supreme Being. It is impossible to reason without arriving at a Supreme Being. If there had been no God, mankind would have been obliged to imagine one."

~George Washington

And to think most of the world believes that the world was created because of a big bang. Not to mention they don't believe in God, except when strange things happen or when something goes wrong. Then it's "What is God doing to me???" Why can they not see the obvious existence of God in the world. I believe it was Thomas Cole who said:

To observe nature closely is to follow the finger of God.



So, everyone lives with nature, right. Is there one person on earth who has not observed nature? Even the blind, deaf, and dumb have observed nature. I once heard the if you tell something a lie long enough and often enough, they will believe it. So, is the world suffering from the calamity of the lie that there is no God?

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Unsung Heroes


We hear alot about heroes today.
Those who give their life for this country.
Those who risk their life everyday for justice.
Those who come together for a common cause, to save someone else.

But in the midst of these wonderful heroes, there lies another hero.
You won't find him in the pages of the front news.
He isn't interviewed by CNN and Fox.
People don't normally notice him. He's just there, everyday, doing what he does.

This hero is an Unsung Hero.

This hero is the man who breaks his back day after day, hour after hour, eeking out a living for his wife and children, so they will be taken care of.

This hero is man who comes home exahusted from working all day, yet gets down on the floor to romp with his 2 year-old.

This hero is the stranger who chooses chilvary in a world where it is barely known and appreciated, and opens the door for the woman behind him.

This hero is the man who cries out to God every night for wisdom and strength in leading and protecting his family, wondering how in the world he can give answers to life's question to his children, when he himself is still asking.

This hero is the man who doesn't give up, no matter how hard things are.

This hero is the man who does what is right, simply because it is right to do.

This hero is among us, everyday. Few people thank him for what he does. But few could survive without him.

Of course there are many, many female heroes in this world too. I certainly do not mean to take away from their heroicness.

I fear though, that too often we forget the men around us, who are trying to do right. Trying to be the men we want them to be.

So to all of them, I say thank you. For proving that true men DO exist. For giving us hope that there is still old-fashioned chilvary in in this world. For not giving up, though there seems little purpose in continuing.

Gentlemen, I salute you.

-Miss Deb

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008



Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined.

Psalm 50: 2.

The photo is of the 12th century Khor Virap monastery in the shadow of Mount Ararat. Photo source: Wikipedia

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Life and Romance


“Life is not all about romance. In fact it is RARELY about romance.”

A friend said that to me recently. We weren’t even actually discussing romance at the time. And, I couldn’t have agreed with him more. In fact, I’ve said that exact thing before or at least thought it. But, for some reason that particular idea has been bouncing around in my head ever since he said it, and I can’t seem to get rid of it. It’s been bothering me, to tell you the truth.

Why is it bothering me? Because I wish life could be all about romance? Um, no.

It bothers me, because I feel that there are some common misconceptions among we single women, concerning what life IS all about.

Love and Romance are very special things. God created them. They are gifts that He grants to most of us at some point in our lives. It’s an exciting gift, and we all look forward to it with eager anticipation. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

What’s wrong is to draw the conclusion that “Life is all about romance” therefore: “My life doesn’t truly start until I have romance.”

Girls, I can tell you for a fact that life is NOT all about romance. I have proof! I have lived 26 years and haven’t had a stitch of it in my life.

I have a friend who is in that special romantic stage of her life right now. She’s newly engaged, planning her wedding, living on cloud 9, and all that stuff. She’s REALLY happy right now. I’ve never seen her so happy.

But, even in this stage of her life when romance is at its peak and life is candy and flowers, her life still isn’t ALL ABOUT romance. She still has to go to work, and she still has to do a good job. She still has all of the family, friends and relationships she had before she fell in love. And she’ll still have all of those things after the wedding… and after the 1st anniversary, and the 2nd, and the 10th, and the 25th, and 50th. I hope her life is happy and special and the romance continues right up to their 75th anniversary. But, even if it does, it’s not the only thing in their lives.

So, what IS life all about? The short answer is: Life is about serving God. In fact, that is why we have life.

I want to encourage all of us single girls to put our focus on serving God. I know it’s easy sometimes to feel left out when our friends are falling in love. When it seems like everyone has romance except us. But, the truth of the matter is that romance is just a PART of life. It is an exciting, beautiful part of life, but it is just a part. And there are many other parts.

I may not have had much experience with the romantic part of life, but I can tell you I’ve had plenty of experience with other parts. And many other parts of my life have been exciting and beautiful.

I’ll admit, I get discouraged sometimes when it seems like my Prince Charming will never come…

But, Life isn’t all about romance.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Step of Faith

Sometimes when it comes to having to make decisions, I think I remind myself of Adrian Monk of the detective show Monk.

In one particular episode, Mr. Monk goes temporarily blind as a result of interrupting a crime. In spite of this, he is determined to solve the case. While following a lead, he and his assistant, Natalie, go to a construction site. Somehow, they manage to get separated and Mr. Monk finds himself taking a ride on the elevator up to some random upper floor, where he proceeds to get stuck on a slender steel beam.

Mr. Monk, still blind, assumes that he's stuck on that small steel beam, several stories from the ground below. He teeters there, desperately trying to keep his balance, trying not to fall. He calls frantically for his assistant. "Natalie! Natalie!"

Finally, his assistant comes running to his rescue. "Just take a step, Mr. Monk. Don't worry, it's okay."

She takes his hand and he tentatively takes a step of faith and finds that the floor was only a few inches away all along. He laughs with relief. It wasn't so bad - he was never in danger at all, really.

When it comes to decisions, decisions that feel as though they could determine the outcome of my future, I am like Mr. Monk. I imagine myself to be standing on a slender beam, wobbling precariously over a deep something. Should I stay or should I step into the unknown?

I have a feeling that the ground really isn't as far away, nor as dangerous as I keep imagining. But I don't know and, like Mr. Monk, I find it hard to trust when I can't see. I can't see the outcome and I don't even know if God wants me to wobble here longer or just take a leap of faith and fall where He would have me fall.

And so, as I wobble, waiting for word from God, I remember...

The steps of a man are established by the LORD, And He delights in his way.
When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, Because the LORD is the One who holds his hand.

Psalm 37:23-24

Mr. Monk might have Natalie, but I've got God holding my hand. Who can beat that?

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Love

God has called us to be lovers and we frequently think that He meant us to be saviors. So we "love" as long as we see "results." We give of ourselves as long as our investments pay off, but if the ones we love do not respond, we tend to despair and blame ourselves and even resent those we pretend to love. Because we love someone, we want them to be free of addictions, of sin, of self--and that is as it should be. But it might be that our love for them and our desire for their well-being will not make them well. And, if that is the case, their lack of response no more negates the reality of love than their quickness to respond to love would confirm it.

Love is a virtue and not a feeling. It is fed and fired by God--not by the favorable response of the beloved. Even when it doesn't seem to make a dime's worth of difference to the ones on whom it is lavished, it is still the most prized of all virtues because it is at the heart of the very character of God. By loving we participate in His Life and Essence. When we stoop to bait and buy good behavior we are no longer loving as God loves. We are manipulating and cheapening the dignity of the person whom we are called--not to save, not even to change--but to love. If real salvation is possible (and we know it is) it is because real love is there. And love that is real, love that is truly a virtue and not an act--agape love--gushes from God through those who knows Him. It is not strung along by those who don't.


- Rich Mullins, Excerpt from The World As I Remember It: Through the Eyes of a Ragamuffin

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Friday, June 20, 2008

What If?

What if NOTHING ever existed.
A hard thought to grasp.
What if GOD never existed.

If you're a Christian, you believe that if God never existed, nothing ever existed.
Without God, there is nothing. God made everything.
What if you weren't a Christian, or let's say that regardless of God, life had a beginning, and somehow, this earth, and its people, and the universe came to being.
What if God wasn't a part of it? What if there was NO ONE in control of everything.
What if there was no one to turn to when you feel like nobody else understands.
I just thought about all that for a few minutes, and I am SO GLAD I have such a wise God.
Anyway, these are just some things I was pondering earlier. Any thoughts?

Yes, definite thoughts!

What if there was no one to turn to when you felt like no one understood. Scary! Isn't that what pushes people to suicide? When all along there is a God who understands, cares, and loves you. Instead, he gets push him away, ignored; the understanding, the love, the help, it's all rejected. Exchanged for a life of freedom, what I want, when I want it, not answering to anyone, misunderstanding, loneliness, and depression.

Yes, being a Christian isn't easy, but hey, if all else fails I'll never be lonely. I've had times where I felt alone, misunderstood, and in despair. I very clearly remember one day curled up in a ball, sobbing my heart out and asking God, why? Where are you? Why do I feel so alone? I clearly remember God speaking and saying "It's o.k. I'm here." I knew at that moment that I wasn't alone, and I never would be, that God was holding me like a little baby, comforting me, all I had to do was look at his face and realize it. Do you know the joy, and love that comes flooding into your soul at that moment. It picks you up off the ground and you fly on the wings of the love of God. I don't remember the reference but the Bible says "I will never leave you or forsake you. O.k. o.k I'm looking it up, Hebrews 13:5. It also reminds me of something I read it a book once.
You can never be where God is not. There is no place where you can out distance Him.
No dark corner where He is not already there waiting for your arrival. No deep recess of your heart and soul that He does not know of. No secret that He does not share. And he does have power, to change, to keep, to do the impossible....for without Him, nothing of importance is possible. We can only fumble and stumble in darkness. But with Him there is light, even in the hardest
(I would include darkest) of time.

One more thought before signing off. These are the words to the song "What If" by Nicole Nordeman:

What if you're right
He was just another nice guy
What if you're right
What if it's true
They say the cross will only make a fool of you
And what if it's true
What if He takes His place in history
With all the prophets and the kings
Who taught us love, and came in peace
But then the story ends
What then

*But what if you're wrong
What if there's more
What if there's hope you never dreamed of hoping for
What if you jump
Just close your eyes
What if the arms that catch you, catch you by surprise
What if He's more than enough
What if it's love


What if you dig
Way down deeper than your simple-minded friends
What if you dig
What if you find
A thousand more unanswered questions down inside
That's all you find
What if you pick apart the logic
And begin to poke the holes
What if the crown of thorns is no more than folklore that must be told
And retold

*Repeat

'Cause you've been running as fast as you can
You've been looking for a place you can land
For so long
But what if you're wrong
What if you jump
Just close your eyes
What if the arms that catch you, catch you by surprise
What if He's more than enough
What if it's love
What if it's love

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Kindness Makes The Coffee


When I think of Proverbs 31, verses that generally come to my mind are the ones about who can find a virtuous woman, and a woman who fears the Lord being praised. But in the midst of these important truths there is another truth often skipped over--The Teaching or Law of Kindness.

Prov. 31:26 (ESV)
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

Kindness is generally thought of as an action. "She was kind to me today" usually means she did something nice for another person. Or we might say we're "Thinking kind thoughts" of another person.

Kindness is rooted in far more than that. The root of kindness is love. Not just any love--unconditional love, which means loving others regardless of whether or not we feel like loving them, and whether or not they earn it.

I love this quote from Max Lucado:
"Kindness not only says good morning--kindness makes the coffee."

Kindness is not completely synonymous with niceness. There are plenty of days I may be nice to someone because society requires I smile politely and say hello. But kindness takes it one step further. Kindness chooses to love them unconditionally, inquiring about their day, showing genuine interest as they talk about it, and perhaps even offer to help in some way, should they need it. Going the extra mile, even at great cost to ourselves.

I know when I think of unconditional love, I think of loving people regardless of how they treat me. But there is another side too--loving people regardless of how I feel like treating them. In other words, even when I don't feel like loving them and being kind, I must choose to turn to the Lord, and ask for His love to flow through me for that person.

When we are filled with the fulness of Christ, we will be governed by love, for He is love. Kindness will flow from our mouths and actions, because its root is within us.

~Miss Deb

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The girl with the fish on her head

When I was in middle school a friend of mine gave me a little card which I still carry around with me in my wallet. It has two penguins, one of whom has a fish over its head. Completely over. Like the fish is eating the penguin's head. The caption reads "Relax, God's in charge."

I carry it around because me, I'm that penguin with the fish on my head. I'm in the dark and I don't know what's going on, but I know it's not very comfortable. And I'm wishing someone would take the fish off my head and explain what's going on. I need the reminder that God is most definitely in charge.

I think the fact that I am a worrywort is the reason one of my favorite Bible verses is: "But which of you by taking thought can add one cubit to his stature?" (Matthew 6: 27). Okay, I'm short too, so the verse just happens to be doubly appropriate. But really, it's that calming reassurance that my worrying won't do anything that guides me through those moments when my mind is going, "Oh no, what if I can't study abroad? And what if no one ever likes me and I never get married? And what if I can't find a job after I graduate? Why can't I see where I'm going in life? Why is there a fish eating my head?"

Friends and chocolate are also useful in these situations.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Dr. Jak's What Not To Wear

Flowy, full skirts appeal to our feminine nature. They make us want to dance and twirl!

The empire waisted tunic is also popular at present and fun to wear.

But, just because two pieces are fun to wear separately does not mean it is ok to wear them together!

I put together this outfit to show you the "don'ts" about it.

(Please excuse the wrinkly shirt...) Note how I look like I'm wearing a tent? :) The empire waisted tunic is shapeless enough by itself, so it's a good idea to use a slimmer piece of clothing on the bottom to offset the fullness of the tunic.
Like this:
So, what kind of tops ARE ok to wear with the whirly twirly skirts we love so much?

Exactly the opposite of what's on the bottom. Go for something with more structure and a closer fit.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

The Man in the Street

I can see the mumbles spilling out of his mouth before I can hear them. Movement of the lips, framed by a long beard and mustache, and I don't need to hear what he's saying to know.

He's praying again.

(He's always praying)

I see him at the library and hear him quietly praying, for the building, for the children, for the patrons, for the people that work there. I hurry into the convenience store and pass him as he leaves, mumbling a prayer of some sort.

He's eccentric, strange and slightly smells. Some might say he isn't all there.

Maybe. I don't know. I don't know him well at all, other than what I see and hear.

But I do know:

he prays

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Blurred Definitions

Through skeptic eyes staring

a world washed in grey


watching people hesitate


blind to black and white

seeing only shades of grey


ignoring truth and lies


the confused masses swirling


blurring right and wrong


leaving compromised ideals


and choices made of chalk

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Friday, June 13, 2008

The Gardener and the Weeds

This following testimony was written the Summer of 2003 which I spent volunteering on a produce farm associated with our church.

Working on the farm this summer really started me thinking about plants and weeds and the fruit that they produce. Over the course of this summer, quite a few of our table conversations have been spiritually related. One of those conversations, along with a situation that happened a few days ago, really got the wheels of my brain turning. I’ve been thinking about the weeds that spring up amongst the plants, and their spiritual significance. I think of it this way: my soul is a garden and God is the Master Gardener. All the fruits of the Spirit and natures of God that are being created in me are seeds that have been planted by the Gardener. Over the course of time, various circumstances that God places us in cause the seed to be watered, germinate, and eventually produce fruit.

Mark 4:20, And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.

The conversation was the tool that planted the seed in my mind. Mr. A______ began sharing with us one morning during the convention about the fact that God has a pre-ordained timetable for each of us along our journey. Well, of course the devil doesn’t want the situation to happen, so he throws something in our path so that we are diverted and are now traveling on his road instead of God’s. John 10:10, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” Well, now God has to get us back on the right road, so that we can make our missed appointment and get to the next one in time. But on top of all that, God has to help us get rid of whatever seed was planted in our souls during our time on Satan’s road. It is like in Pilgrim’s Progress, when Pilgrim and Hopeful decide to walk on the path that was parallel to the road to the Celestial City. It looked nicer and easier to walk on, and headed in the same direction. Well, the path slowly deviated from the path to the Celestial City and Pilgrim and Hopeful found themselves locked in the dungeon of Giant Despair’s castle. It wasn’t until Pilgrim remembered the Key of Promise that they were able to escape. I am on the path to the Celestial City, and there is a path parallel to the Celestial path. God has set up appointments for me along the way, to free me of the weeds in my soul, so that the seeds can grow. Well, Satan decides to thwart God’s plan and send one of his cohorts into my path and if I allow myself to be diverted, I start walking on the wrong path. This means Satan was able to give me something else to carry around. Satan planted a weed in my soul and if I don’t let the Gardener do His job, the weeds will hide and hinder the good seed and the fruit producing plants in my soul. The second situation happened on Wednesday when I was picking green beans. Most of the bean field has been recently weeded, so it is easy to find the beans. But there are a few spots here and there where the weeds are higher than the bean plants. We were picking along and discussing how we thought the veggies here were so good. One of the girls made a remark about the Garden of Eden and how wonderful the food must have been that grew there. Then we started talking about how Adam named all the plants and that there weren’t any weeds in the Garden. It was soon after that when we reached the weedy part of the field. We plunged into weeds up to my shoulders. Let me tell you, it’s difficult to pick beans in those weeds. For one thing, you have to bend down and search for the plant. Once you find the plant, you have to search for the beans, all the while pushing and pulling weeds out of the way. Once you find the beans, fruit, it is easy to pick. Finding them was the hard part. (If you look closely at the picture on the left, you will see soybeans at the bottom, but you have to look for them.) It was during one time when I was down searching for beans that I thought, “I hope God doesn’t have to search through weeds like this in my soul to find fruit.” When the thought went through my mind, it kind of startled me. Then it got me really thinking and praying. I started repenting and asking God to please weed out my soul because I didn’t want my soul to have weeds like that.Now, as I write, I am remembering a vision that Melissa shared during the meeting on Sunday. In the vision, she opened the door to her soul and there was a normal cleaningman standing outside. She knew it was Jesus. She let Him in; the first room was very clean and presentable. But Jesus went directly to a closed door on one side of the room and asked if He could go in there. The vision went on from there. But that is what I keep thinking about. That’s what it is like in our souls. Part of it is clean, free of weeds and fit to be seen and harvested by the Master Gardener. But other parts are like the bean field, tall weeds blocking, covering the plants and hiding the fruit. The next part of Melissa’s vision involved Jesus going over to the door and asking if He could go in. When she said, “Yes,” Jesus cleaned the room. That’s what we all need to do: open the door and let Christ Jesus into ALL of the rooms in our hearts, allow Him to clean out all the weeds so that the good fruit bearing plants can produce and be used for Him. James 4:7, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

Luke 8: 4-15 "And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable: A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be? And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit.

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Makeover Tips Part 1

One of the hardest things about makeup is figuring out exactly what makeup is for you.

What colors should you choose?
What brand should you wear?
Where can you find it for reasonable prices that don't break your bank book (and your heart) in one blow?
How should you apply it, so you look like a lady and not a....well.....un-lady?

I don't claim to be an expert in this area, but I have found many tips and ideas from my own researching and experiments. This is not to say that makeup alone makes a lovely complexion--as my mother says, "A smile is the prettiest thing you can wear." But, for those interested in makeup advice, read on.

Myths about makeup
Some women seem to think that in order for makeup to look good, one must wear alot of it. This is simply not true. The keys to a successful makeup look are

A. choosing the right colors
B. the right application
C. well-cared for skin.

A woman may wear very little makeup, and and still look fantastic, if she is wearing colors that compliment her own natural coloring, and applying her makeup correctly. Moisturizing one's skin on regular basis aids in helping create a smooth canvas to work with.

This will be a 3 or 4 part article series, and today we will start with Foundation colors:

---CHOOSING THE RIGHT COLORS
Foundation is intended to help create a smooth overall look, that you make apply color to. It's important that matches your natural skin tone.

The easiest way I have found to do this is to look at the veins in my wrist. If the veins look more blue you have cool skin, if they have more of a greenish tinge you have warm skin. If your skin is too dark or you can't easily see the veins, hold a piece of paper or fabric to your face in cool and warm shades (such as blue and then orange) and choose the one which looks best on you. If it's blue, you're probably cool, if it's orange you're probably warm.

Check your facial tint also--if you have more red in your face, go with a more yellow-based foundation shade to help even it out. If you have more yellow tint in your face, go with more of a pink-based shade to help even it out.

Many makeup companies such as Maybelline and Cover Girl offer free online quizzes to help you determine your skin color.

Warm foundation shades are ones like buff, neutral, beige, nude, etc.

Cool foundation shades are ones like ivory, natural ivory, fair, etc.

I know that when I was trying to find out which foundation color I wear, I often had to buy various kinds to see which looks best. Most people will tell you to look for samples of various shades, but some places don't always carry them.

So, I have found that places like Dollar General or Dollar Tree often carry foundation for $1 to $2 a bottle. By buying 2-3 shades there, you spend much less than what you normally pay for a regular bottle of foundation, and you may go check out the shades at home, to see which is closest to your skin color, without buying 5 bottles at Wal-Mart, only to discover you've wasted $25 on shades that don't work. If the ones at the dollar store don't work, you've spent much less and may have a closer idea of what you're looking for.

We will continue with part 2 next time.

--Deb

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A quote

[This was supposed to be for Wednesday, but it didn't get posted. Sorry about that!]

"The man folks hung on a cross, He said He was the Way, remember? The Way, and the Truth, and the Light....I think, maybe, He would say that truth is rooted in love-that no word is true that isn't spoken in love, and no act is just that isn't carried out in love."

Rebecca Caudill, The Far-off Land

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Dr. Jak's Black and White facts

The black and white of it is:

No two colors set each other off as well as black and white.
Black and White are also the "formals" on the color wheel.

Any outfit is dressier in these colors.

As a rule, patterns should not be worn together. However, in some cases different patterns worn together can add a fun element!

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Monday, June 9, 2008

Doorsteps

Some of you might already know what I mean by that, particularly those who were there when it was coined. I'm afraid I can't take credit for the saying and I can't remember who was the first to start saying it, but among a small group of single girls that phrase is significant.

I believe in doorsteps. I believe that God can create miracles in a place that is barren. I believe that God is powerful and if it is His will, the right man could show up on my doorstep.

So many times I have heard people admonishing singles to get out! Get looking! Stop sitting around and waiting!

And I agree, to an extent.

We shouldn’t just sit around, twiddling our thumbs. We should do what we can with what we have, where we are, whether it be folding laundry and helping out at home, working in an office, or going to school. Neither should we turn up our noses at opportunities to make friends with guys or avoid social events where young men might be. However, to be quite honest, I have to say that I believe it to be a rare few girls who actually do that.

Some of us are living in places where there are no eligible young men. Maybe all the good ones are taken. Maybe none share the same convictions as we do. Maybe none are old enough or ready for marriage. And maybe some are just not paying attention to all the young women who are waiting to be asked.

It's hard during a dry period, where you feel hemmed in and without hope on the horizon. It's hard to hear people tell you that if you just did A, B, and/or C, you'll meet a guy, because that doesn't always happen and sometimes A, B, and C aren't possible. It's hard to hang onto hope.

And that's where believing in doorsteps comes in.

Believing in doorsteps means opening the door – to hope. God is a God of hope and miracles and He would never have us lose hope. He would never have us doubt His abilities, never believe that anything is too impossible for Him. Even granting a single girl a husband, when she has been waiting so long.

I don’t expect my Dym – as I have begun to call that man who I have yet to meet, but hope to marry someday – to necessarily show up on my doorstep. I don’t expect a husband to fall into my living room while I wait in my own little corner.

I live life. I work. I laugh. I dance. I sing. I live. I don’t pin my hopes on every man that crosses my path because…I believe in doorsteps. I believe that God is in control and He knows which man may be my Dym. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to wait twiddling my thumbs or go out on an epic mission searching for a man. God has the master plan and that’s enough for me.

And so, I hope. I hope, I live, I work, I pray, I wait…and believe in doorsteps.

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Saturday, June 7, 2008

Snapshot of the Week

I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.
Song of Solomon 2:1


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Friday, June 6, 2008

Intimacy With Christ

(written January 9th, 2007)
Sunday morning I was getting ready for church and I realized that I'd forgotten to read my Bible. Well there wasn't time so I grabbed "My Utmost For His Highest" it's always sitting by my bed. I thought "I'll just read the section for today, then I'll have a some Bible anyway." Well, I read it, and proceeded to think about it then whole rest of the day. It was really quite thought provoking.

January 7 -Intimate with Jesus

Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me? - JOHN 14:9

These words are not spoken as a rebuke, nor even with surprise; Jesus is leading Philip on. The last One with whom we get intimate is Jesus. Before Pentecost the disciples knew Jesus as the One Who gave them power to conquer demons and to bring about a revival (see Luke 10:18-20). It was a wonderful intimacy, but there was a much closer intimacy to come - "I have called you friends." Friendship is rare on earth. It means identity in thought and heart and spirit. The whole discipline of life is to enable us to enter into this closer relationship with Jesus Christ. We receive His blessings and know His Word, but do we know Him? Jesus said, "It is expedient for you that I go away"- in a relationship, so that He might lead them on. It is a joy to Jesus when a disciple takes time to step more intimately with Him. Fruit bearing is always mentioned as the manifestation of an intimate union with Jesus Christ.

(John 15:1-4). When once we get intimate with Jesus we are never lonely, we never need sympathy, we can pour out all the time without being pathetic. The saint who is intimate with Jesus will never leave impressions of himself, but only the impression that Jesus is having unhindered way, because the last abyss of his nature has been satisfied by Jesus. The only impression left by such a life is that of the strong clam sanity that Our Lord gives to those who are intimate with Him.

(The underlined part is what spoke the most to me.)

At church two different people both spoke about fortifications in our lives. Fortifications
that are held by Satan and the only way to conquer it was with God. O.k. kinda. I'm not relaying it correctly. This is what I wrote in my notebook: There are places in our souls that are fortifications can only be conquered by God. We have to submit ourselves to him and let him into those/that place in our soul. So, that's had me thinking for a while....

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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Ponderings

I've been thinking alot lately about life in general.

About the confusion, the struggle to know what to do with my life. The wondering if I'm making the right decisions. The wondering why everything has to be so difficult.

Often I find myself wishing God would just throw a slip of paper down from heaven telling me what to do with my life. Giving me step-by-step instruction on how it's to be accomplished. It would be so much easier, right? Just spell it all out and I'll do it!

But really, would I do it? If I can't trust Him enough to step out on faith in the direction He's laid on my heart now, what makes me think I would do it if He spelled it all out?

I look at my life and ponder what to do with it, and I think, "Oh, this is so hard. This is so confusing!"

As though it shouldn't 'be.

But that's the point: is it supposed to NOT be hard?

I tend to have this mentality that if something is hard, it must not be what God wants of me. If something is difficult, if something doesn't make sense, it can't be of God. But that's the exact opposite of what Jesus said in John 16:33. Jesus guarantees we will have trouble. So why do I expect that everything will just lay itself all out in a neat little line for me? This world has trouble. It's not heaven. I seem to forget that it's not heaven. It's not home. I will always have struggles and conflicts. Trusting God doesn't necessarily mean things will become clear--it just gives me Someone Else to place the confusion on. I will still have to keep searching and praying, and seeking wisdom for my life .

It's like the widow in Luke 18--she kept persisting until she had an answer. I'm not saying God is unjust, please don't misunderstand--of course He is totally just. I'm just saying that often I find myself thinking all I have to do is pray a couple times about something, and poof, it'll happen, when in reality, we often must keep praying and praying and praying about it, persisting in prayer, persisting forward, until God gives an answer. We will have trouble in this world. It's just one more reminder that we don't belong here.

Of course our actions have consequences, but often I think we tend to forget that God is sovereign. He knew which action we would take before we took it. He's still in the business of orchestrating our lives, despite mistakes and regrets.

We sang Great Is Thy Faithfulness in my church recently, and as I was singing up in the choir loft the words of the chorus shot out at me "All I have needed, Thy hand hath provided."

He will supply my needs. He has supplied my needs. He does supply my needs. If I don't have something right now, perhaps it's because I don't need it at this point of my life?

Maybe some things will never make sense to me, but I don't see everything clearly in this life.
I see thru a glass darkly. The view is distorted by the world and body I live in. It's hard. It is. It's confusing.

But the wonderful part of it all in the last part of John 16:33, where Jesus says "Be of good cheer; for I have overcome the world." I can just see Jesus talking to His disciples, and telling them what all will happen. Their eyes getting bigger and bigger, fear and worry entering their hearts. I can see Him raising His hand to quell their fears, and saying in gentle kindness "But be of good cheer. For I have overcome the world."

In Him, we do have peace. This world and all its trouble cannot get the better of us, so to speak. He has already conquered it. I can know that though it doesn't make sense to me, it does to Him. I can know that even though it won't make the decisions necessarily easier, thru Him it does make them doable. And I can keep plugging forward, thru every stage of life, even, though sometimes I just want to throw in the towel, sit down, and cry till my eyes pop out. Through Him I can keep putting one foot in front of the other. Praising Him for the simple joys He brings into my life, the wonderful, precious reminders He loves to give me, reminding me of just how much He cares.

And how much He wants what is best for me.

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Thinking About Language

I've been taking Russian for the last three semesters. It's an interesting language to study because it's so much more subtle than English. Russian makes all kinds of distinctions that English doesn't bother with, or at least doesn't bother with anymore. For instance, if you're going somewhere on foot you use a different verb than if you're going somewhere by transport. And then there's the imperfective/perfective question: is this a repeated action or are you going to/have you done it one time and one time only? English really only uses "to go" in these situations. Well, I guess you can count "to drive" and "to ride," but that gets a bit iffy.

And then there's "where." English uses "where" for "Where are you?" and also "Where are you going?" and "Where are you coming from?" Russian uses a different word for each of these. My professor explained it in terms of where, whither, and whence. Which is interesting, because suddenly I understand so much better how both the Russian and the English words function. This is true of whom as well. Before I studied Russian I couldn't point out the direct object of a sentence to you and I don't know if I had even heard of indirect objects. But because Russian uses different cases for the subject, the direct object, and the indirect object, I can now figure out what they are in English. Most of the time.

Which leads me to this: sometimes the things we study make strange connections to entirely different areas. I mean, who knew that studying Russian would clarify English grammar for me? I guess there is some correlation there since they are both languages. But I just wrote a paper from my art history class which relied heavily on the ideas of the historian of religion Mircea Eliade, whose work I had first read in my Celtic Spirituality (Christianity, although it didn't say so) class first semester.

And leads me finally to this: let your mind make connections. We usually get our education in discrete packages: this is art history, this is math, this is English, this is Russian. We don't have to leave them in those discrete packages. Cut the string and let them be friends. Okay, yes that metaphor was a little strange. But you get the point. There are interdisciplinary connections. Explore them and see where it takes you.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Solitude


I love my solitude. I love to be able to work and think without interruption.
It's a time of peace and rest for me.
Growing up in a large family I learned to crave time alone
like a rare and precious gift to be looked on as the jewel it is.
Certainly not to be misspent or wasted.

But sometimes I get lonely.
Sometimes, early in the morning
when I look at the day stretched out in front of me...
I feel like something important is missing.
Or, when I have a mini personal victory,
or a mini personal defeat
and I want to tell somebody who might understand.

I'm happy with my life.
Content.
I love my family and friends.
But, just because I'm happy does that mean
I can't look forward to the future?
Does that mean that sometimes,
when I'm quiet,
I shouldn't admit that
something is missing?

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Monday, June 2, 2008

Beauty in the Mistakes

Beauty in this world is not going to be perfect. We live in a flawed, sinful world that is and can be ugly. Things aren't going to look picture perfect and we ought not to expect them to - we as Christians should know that if anyone does.

But we still do.

And maybe it's mostly women who are like this, although there are men who have this mentality, too, I am sure, but we tend to think that if we do "this" and "that" a certain way, it's going to work out right and be perfect. It's an entitlement mentality, but sometimes a lot sneakier.

Taking a man's set of rules and following them to the letter isn't going to make it work out picture perfect. For instance, most girls want a beautiful "perfect" courtship. Some promoters of courtship lay down what they think are clear-cut guidlines to protecting the couple from falling into sin in any way. Don't do this, don't do that, do this, do that and so on.

All well and good. I believe that any couple in a relationship with marriage in view should have guidlines and guidance.

But. But. It doesn't mean it is always going to be beautiful.

It doesn't mean that your heart won't break.

But horror of horrors - is heartbreak such a dreadful thing as it is sometimes made out to be? Is it something sinful that must be avoided like the curse? Please believe me, I am not condoning going out and getting your heart broken! But, just because your heart gets hurt doesn't mean that it is the end of the world. Heartbreak happens every day. Children break parents' hearts. Parents break children's hearts. Siblings hurt each other, grandparents hurt grandchildren, friends hurt friends, and sometimes (imagine that!) husbands and wives hurt each other.

Heartbreak doesn't happen just between a man and a woman, a boyfriend and girlfriend, or husband and wife. It happens to just about anyone.

We all have regrets and we all wish sometimes that we could go back and undo things. The thing is, we can't. Even if we did our best to keep heartbreak from happening - but it still did - it still remains that we can't undo the past. Locking our hearts up doesn't always work, after all.

And maybe, just maybe, don't you think that the beauty of it all is that God can create something beautiful, something precious - for such true love is - out of all the mess we make with mistakes?

credit: artwork "The Broken Pot," by Henry Ryland

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