Beauy Secret: Lean on God

February 27, 2011

As you relax in the comfort of stretching, imagine relaxing in God's embrace. Take advantage of the time to remember that God looks at the heart, not at the outward appearance.

Details Matter

February 22, 2011

Believe it or not, the details matter. But what's the reasoning behind the details? Why are they there? And what are they for? Isn't the Big Picture good enough? Why should the details--the small, more intricate pieces matter? And why should we take such an interest in them?
Truth is, no one wants to have to think about the small things in life--the details. Who wants to be bogged down by the small details when the Big Picture looks flawless? 
The fact is that when the small details don't coincide together to create a unified, solid structure, essay, work of art, or the perfect song, there is no strong and secure foundation, viable argument or plot. Instead you get a very crazy, cheap looking piece of art and the worst song in the history of bad songs.
If the pieces don't fit together like a puzzle, then it becomes a jumbled mess of confusion and chaos. In relation to this, when we are growing in our relationship with Christ, and establishing a firm, unwavering foundation, it's very important to pay attention to the finer details. If we fail to do so, we can easily end up in a situation much like the man who build his home upon the sand. He didn't pay attention and ignored the tiny details.  

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”~Matt 7:24-27
And if we don't put into practice the teachings of God, we'll surely end up with a soggy pile of sand; a wet, squishy, sinking foundation. We must submerse ourselves in the Word daily, dwell in the words of the Lord, and put them into practice. Firm foundations can tough out the harshest storms. Just look at the Palm tree. No matter how bad the storm is, the roots--the foundation--of that tree go so deep into the earth that they never yield to the force of the tropical storms, or blinding hurricanes. 
That's what we should want out foundation in Christ to be like--firmly planted on solid ground. In Susie Shellenberger's book Devotionals for Teens, she mentions that while we'd rather not get involved in the finer details, it's "important to pay attention to the details." She also says that God, who is not a author of confusion, knows and understands how busy we are. He doesn't want to "burden us with so many details that [we] become spiritually frustrated and give up."
 Two very important details we should remember and focus on, are:
  1. Being committed to God requires 100%
  2. Being committed to God requires meeting with God daily. 
We cannot begin to build a firm foundation until we commit and surrender to God. Keep focused, meet with your heavenly father daily in prayer. Build that foundation so when that storm comes, you can stand strong. 

"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful."~ Col 4:2

the storm is you

February 21, 2011

Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn’t something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside of you. So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn’t get in, and walk through it, step by step. There’s no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverized bones. That’s the kind of sandstorm you need to imagine.

And you really will have to make it through that violent, metaphysical, symbolic storm. No matter how metaphysical or symbolic it might be, make no mistake about it: it will cut through flesh like a thousand razor blades. People will bleed there, and you will bleed too. Hot, red blood. You’ll catch that blood in your hands, your own blood and the blood of others.

And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.

- Haruki Murakami ( Kafka on the Shore)

Beauty Secret: Time With God

February 18, 2011

As you apply sunscreen, lip gloss, or lotion use that time to talk to God. Tell him how grateful you are for how He made you. Soon, you'll be so used to talking to Him, it might become as regular and familiar as shrinking your pores!


February 17, 2011

           Dropping her newest edition of Suzie Magazine on her lap, Ashley looked at Lanie. Lanie was Ashley's taller, happy-go-lucky friend. She was perfect and everything Ashley aspired to be: pure, confident, happy, loved, and at peace. Lanie was smart, too. And she was pretty. Those blue eyes and that golden blond hair made the slender girl look angelic. Ashley often envied her for her looks, especially when she started at herself in the mirror.
  Ashley was an average girl who wanted to feel alive. But after her mom had passed away two years ago, all Ashley had ever felt was dead-mind, body, and soul. She didn't feel pretty. Not like Lanie. What Ashley saw in the mirror was not unique and beautiful. Lanie had tried time after time to get Ashley to see her beauty, but it was of little use. Ashley just wouldn't take that leap of faith and knock her tight-knit barrier down. All she saw was another uninteresting brunette with brown eyes and ache. Nothing spectacular.

             Ashley fidgeted and drew in a deep breath before she permitted herself to break the silence and ask Lane a question.

            "What is it I have done with my life?" Lanie put down her book and scooted closer to Ashley on the small, but comfy sofa. "Where has the time gone, Lanie? And what have I done with it?"

            "Time doesn't stand still, Ash." Lanie put a hand on her friend’s knee and gave it a pat. A soft expression appeared on her soft face. She continued, "It slips between our fingers before we know it's gone."

            Ashley took a finger and wiped a small and free-spirited tear from her eye. When she tied to look back at her past, she couldn't see anything positive. She'd missed it all. She wished she could rewind time and take back all she had said and done. Yes, especially what she had done.

            Ashley was ashamed of her past. She had been so lost and so determined to do everything on her own that she had given up on God and lost her faith. She was running away from who she was. And she was tying everything to ignore God. She didn't want anything to do with God. No. Not after he stole her mom from her. The last thing Ashley wanted to do was put her faith in a God that took her mom away.

            The solitude of not having her mom and disconnecting herself from God made Ashley vulnerable. Shortly after her mom had passed, Ashley had turned to Bulimia with the hopes of somehow escaping the emptiness inside. But the binging and purging did little to satisfy. In fact, it only made her hunger for love and companionship worse, even stronger.

            "I just wish I could turn back time and do everything differently." Ashley's fight to hold in her tears failed epically as they began to stream down her flushed face. She began to sob. "I have lost so much time!"

            "Oh,  Ashley!” Lanie took hold of her friend with a fierce grip and held her. "You have gone through so much. You lost your mom-which was devastating for you because of how close you both were-and you have overcome a terrible, life-threatening eating disorder. Don't ever think your life was a waste."

            "I could have done so much! I missed it all." Ashley embraced her friend and continued
to cry. "I wish I had been stronger. I might have been happier."

            "My dear, everyone handles pain differently. I am not saying that all aren't bad, but you suffered greatly. You have changed now, Ash. You need to get unstuck from what you did in the past. It's over with!"

            Lanie released Ashley and got up. It wasn't that she was tired of hearing Ashley talk about her perceived miserable life. It was quite the opposite. Actually, Ashley barely ever mentioned her feelings to Lanie unless something was really bothering her, or she had read something that made her think. Ashley was a person who kept to herself a lot of the time. She tried to avoid getting hurt this way. It was easier for her, but made for a lonely life. The only one willing to stick with her was Lanie and she was a social butterfly. Perhaps she saw a glimmer of hope in Ashley? Nah, according to Ashley, she was a goner, doomed to forever be a fading bloom.

            Lanie walked over to a tall bookshelf and retrieved from it a decapitated book that had seen better days. It was Lanie's bible. She read it frequently; casually as if it were a juice romance novel. Ashley would sometimes come in after work to fine Lanie sitting lackadaisical on the sofa reading. It drove Ashley mad. "That's not a real book." She would say. "Oh, but it is," Lanie would reply. "In fact, it possesses everything a reader would ever desire. It's all right here-stories of prostitutes, beggars, murderers, and one amazing Hero."

            God, a hero? Ashley would always laugh that one off. But deep in the back of her mind, she knew that Lanie was right. The Bible was the best of both worlds. It had all the answers, but Ashley was still too bitter and angry at God to go searching for them.

            If He wanted her, He would have to come to her. He took that as a challenge because over the course of the past several months, God, it seemed was trying to grab at Ashley's attention more than ever. She wondered when he would give up. But Lanie, who was away observant, would look at her friend and say, "God promises to his children that He would never give up on them. He's not going to give up on you either. God is calling for you, Ashley. He wants you, desired a relationship with you. He loves you. Don't push Him away. Let the God of the Universe wrap you up in His arms and love on you. That's all he wants to do."

            This made her think, even more open to God's calling. If He really wanted to show her His love, then she dared Him to be bold. If He was really the God of the Universe like Lanie had said, God would do more than just show her His love, He would bring her peace.

            Lanie sat back down on the couch. She flipped through the pages of her Bible and stopped at a verse that she had been accustomed to reading over and over again: Isaiah 1:18. Lanie handed Ashley the Bible. Ashley looked questioning at the book, refusing to hold it.

           "Please," Lanie said in a low, soft tone. "Read it to me. Right here…."
            Was this Lanie's way of making Ashley actually read or was to make her understand something? What was she trying to get at? Lanie pointed to the verse she had picked out and said again, this time more authoritatively, "Read it to me. Please."

            Ashley huffed a refusal, but complied with Lanie's plea. She cleared her eyes by wiping the tears, brushed the hair from her face, and sighed. "”Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool."

            "Ashley, what you did in the past is no longer important. God has taken care of all that. And while you may suffer physical consequences of your eating disorder, God has forgotten all that. He doesn't dwell on the past and neither should you. Your slate was wiped clean."

            Taking the book from Ashley, Lanie flipped through the Bible a second time. Finding another verse—Romans 8:37-39—, she quickly thumbed it and handed the book back to her friend. Ashley took the book, this time more openly, and read: "But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

            "It all happens in a blink. From the time it takes to look back at the past, we have missed the purpose of the present. Don't muse over the past. You'll miss the best that is yet to come. And with God, you have conquered so much. And you didn't even know it! He's never left you. Never will. Just give Him a chance to be you're everything. Nothing can separate you from his grasp. He will never leave you. He's always loved you and has been by your side, through thick and thin. Let him be your comfort. Let him be the happiness and the peace you seek."

Lessons Learned

February 13, 2011

Confidence has always been something I have struggled with. Over the years I have gained and lost confidence in myself, as well as in my own judgment. 
My lack of self-confidence has not always been an issue, but over the past year or two it has become apparent that my confidence has been superficial. It was a confidence that was not lasting. 
And when the veil was removed from my eyes, I realized that my confidence was not confidence at all, it was fear in the form of confidence. It was holding me back from realizing my full potential. Holding me back from realizing that my confidence comes from the Lord.
The Lord is substantiating, replenishing, strong, mighty, faithful, and all the confidence we will ever need in this life. This took me forever to understand.
 Waking up to this realization was not all that pleasant to do. It brought me out of my comfort zone and exposed me for who I was, rather that who I should be in Christ.
Confidence isn't being the best dancer, writer, singer, martial artist, football player, seamstress, etc. Confidence is knowing that the Lord is always near at hand should we ever need Him. "Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us." 1 John 5:14 (NKJV).
 Being comfortable in my own skin has been a struggle for me as well. And this goes along with my lack of confidence, which should solely revolve around the Lord. I want you to know that I serve a BIG GOD, and He-being my ALMIGHTY, SPECTACULAR Father-has revealed to me that my identity is in Him and Him alone.
Until I understood that God was enough, I couldn't move on and truly love myself, and feel comfortable in my own skin. He is my Creator and loves me for who I am. I am BEAUTIFUL in His eyes.

the most sacred place dwells within our heart

February 10, 2011

The most sacred place dwells within our heart, where dreams are born & secrets sleep, a mystical refuge of darkness & light, fear & conquest, adventure & discovery, challenge & transformation. Our heart speaks for our soul every moment while we are alive. Listen... as the whispering beat repeats: be...gin, be...gin, be...gin. It's really that simple. Just begin... again. -Royce Addington


February 9, 2011

Coming Soon! ♥

New Blogger on the Block

Hey there guys!

Boy, let me tell you, the snow is raining down on us over here in Middle Tennessee like mortar shells. We're projected to get at least 3 inches of snow tonight. It's been crazy, really. Never in all of the 12 years I have lived in the state of Tennessee have I seen so much snow for so long. Usually, we only get an inch or two the week after Christmas and that's it.

Haha! Not this year. I guess the Lord has other plans. But, hey, that's OK with me! I am just so memorized by all this spectacular crystallizing beauty that all I can think of is "Wow. What an artist is our Divine Lord!"

Oh, and I have some news! After prodding my sister to set up her own blog, she has finally done it! Yay! She's such a beautiful soul and I expect that you'll be seeing a lot of dating and courting posts, purity and modesty posts. So, please do me a favor and head on over to my sister's blog: While I'm Waiting. I don't think she'd mind if you decided to follow, either. *wink*

Whelp, this is Emily signing out. Adios Amigos!

Have Courage

February 8, 2011

These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world. --John 16:33

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.-Psalm 46:1-3,7

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.-Isaiah 41:10

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.-2 Tim 1:7 (AMP)

I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.-Psalm 16:8 (AMP)

Cast your burden on the Lord [releasing the weight of it] and He will sustain you; He will never allow the [consistently] righteous to be moved (made to slip, fall, or fail).-Psalm 55:22 (AMP)

He only is my Rock and my Salvation; He is my Defense and my Fortress, I shall not be moved.-Psalm 62:6

Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.-1 Peter 5:7 (AMP)

The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You.-Isaiah 26:3

Do not let the sun go down on your anger

February 7, 2011

Church can be a wonderful place to fellowship and build relationships with other Christian believers. With others who share the same faith as us, we tend to be emboldened, encouraged, inspired, motivated; we feel loved, accepted, cared for.  

However, there's another side to church that, if your not in the in-crowd, you see plenty of. I have been in church all my life, and honestly, like many, I have a different outlook on it as a whole. Truth be told, it's not always optimistic. Some would even say I have a "bad attitude towards church". Maybe so, but I always let it be known that while I may not favor church, but that doesn't mean I don't love my God.

Growing up, I have always been on the other side of this "fellowship" and "building relationship" deal. The churches I've gone to were unfriendly and unaccepting. They never showed love, acceptance, and never greeted those who were new (unless it was the pastor as he stood smugly at the podium).

I suppose you could say I am afraid of church. I have vivid memories of the ruthlessness that was bestowed upon me there. The memories still jab at me with the same intensity as if it happened to me just yesterday. 

Forgive and forget, right? Um, not my forte.

I was like the runt of the litter. Someone people found easy to bully and push around. True. I was almost desperate  to have a close relationship with someone my age. So desperate was I that I was willing to take a lot from people. In  my little eyes, it was better than being friendless altogether.   
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you."—Matthew 5:10-12

But after a while I got tired of being everyone's 'punching bag'. I was done with being the door mat, the person everyone could run over and deploy all of their frustration and hatred on. Although I was sick of it all, I still took it like a sap. I was so desperate to have a friend. So desperate to be accepted and loved.

And then, after years of being pushed around and trying to hang on to something that wasn't there, I shut down. I drowned others out, became introverted and hateful. For a long time I have been friendless. I have avoided getting to know people because I was afraid to get hurt again. And I wasn't going to let that happen. No. Not this time.  

"Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger"--Ephesians 4:26 ( ESV)

I have realized over the years that I can't hide. I can't let this hate and pain I have been harboring to control me. If I didn't let go of all that is hurting me (the things that those people wouldn't remember) and move on, I was never going to be happy, and I was never going to be an effective Christian for Christ.  
 "I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice."--Ezekiel 34:16

Church itself  is not my enemy. It is not what has caused me pain. It is the dealings that went on in the church that did. While we all think that Christians are supposed to be loving and caring of each other, it has become obvious to me that as Christians we are so selfish and unreceptive to those unlike us.

How could this be? How could we be apart of God's loving warmth and still be so cold? 

We're human. It's our sinful nature that always seems to get the best of us...even when we're on guard.

This year, I am going to try to be more open to friendships, and less scared of what the future may hold. But, I am also going to pray for the Church. We need to wake up and pay more attention to the people inside our church and less on those around the world. 

I'm not saying that missions to the Bahamas or Africa aren't good, but how are we ever going to be effective if we don't start at home? Starting with our stewardship. If we can't make a newcomer, or even someone that's been a church goer for ages, feel comfortable and accepted, how are we going to make a difference elsewhere? Lets be the Body of Christ for a change. No more pretending. No more Stain Glass Masquerade. 
"For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell?
But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. 
But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together."--1 Corinthians 12:12-27

Skin Deep: Synopsis

February 5, 2011

I spent a while trying to come up with a good synopsis for my book Skin Deep. I wanted to be descriptive, but not long winded. The last think I wanted, even for myself, was to have to read a long winded synopsis that could have been condensed to a few hundred words. Anyhow,  after much tweaking, I believe I have written a fairly self-explanatory piece. What do you think?
Pressurized by the need to be in control and perfect, a disheartening childhood, a questionable work experience, and a dysfunctional church experience force 18-year-old Debby to seek her own reality. Hounded by the distorted reflections of mirrors, car doors, and shop windows, she sets things in order by controlling what she eats.

Debby's baggy clothes and exhaustive calorie scrutiny can't cover up the fact that she is allowing her body to wither away. As she encounters the reality of her situation and as she feels pressure from her mother to be perfect, Debby's escape becomes her art. And her goal becomes the picture of perfection she thinks her mother desires from her.

Skin Deep is Debby's story as her struggles become more than physical and she finally allows God to take control and lead her to the answers she was running from all along.
Also, I have created a play list for my book that ties in well to the feel and theme I am trying to create. It will be my inspiration and motivation throughout this writing process.

never dull your shine for somebody else

February 4, 2011

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. -Marianne Williamson

Dramatis Personae - The Secondary Characters of Skin Deep

February 3, 2011

After doing my main Character post for Skin Deep, I have decided to go ahead and do the same for my secondary characters. Now, to me, it is very important to maintain organization, forward momentum, and a vision. This is one of the reasons I have opt to do character sketches for the characters with even the smallest of rolls. 

So, without further ado, I would like to introduce you to my secondary characters. They are just as important to the story as the main characters.

Sensei Dan Hobbs
A man who appears to be on the brink of insanity. He has been a Martial Arts instructor for more than 25 years and has left his Dojo (Karate School) in the hands of three teenagers. Rarely does he stop by his Dojo to see how things are going, nor does he teach. He is perfectly content to have teenagers run his business, even though they are not as experienced, knowledgeable, or capable. Debby's mom thinks Sensei has image issues and is insecure about his lack of a college education. That might be why he obsesses over looking young and maintaining his 'image'. He and his wife seem to be beating around the bush when it comes to paying their employees and they have become very reclusive. And to make matters worse and perceptions sour, Sensei Hobbs seems to be targeting all his frustrations and stress onto Debby (his employee), who happens to the be innocent an by-standard. 

Mrs. Stacey Hobbs (Sensei Hobb's Wife)
She is supposed to be running the business side of the Dojo, but like her husband, is rarely seen. She sometimes stops in to teach a class here or there,  but other than that, lets the teenagers do the rest. She is the mother of an interesting, almost creepy son who has become a scary vision of Death Metal and Gothic influences. And furthermore, she is of little help to Debby's confused conscious as the teen girl tries to understand the accusations directed towards her by Sensei Hobbs. And Debby wonders if Mrs. Hobbs is not hiding something.

Lydia Marshall
She is one of Debby's life-long friends. She's a strong and very bold girl who is not afraid to state her mind. Of course, she does not like to be mean if she does not have to. But sometimes,her feelings get the better of her and she just says the stuff she is thinking. Lydia is not bothered by what others think of her and, like Debby, she is practical, level headed, and stubborn. Debby admires Lydia and thinks fondly of her as a dear, kindred spirit. The two of them are more alike than either of them realize. And when Debby falls of the boat and begins to drown in her eating disorder, Lydia, along with Debby's sister Wendy, are there to keep her afloat.

Dramatis Personae - The Characters of Skin Deep

February 2, 2011

Being inspired by Ara's character introduction, I decided to write up formal bios of my main characters. Believe it or not, this has helped me greatly in getting over my writer's block and beginning again on Skin Deep. Also, I realized that I did not have a definite vision of what most of my characters looked like. Finding real people to base my characters' appearances off of has helped tremendously in describing them. And having a clear mental image even aids me in developing their personalities.

Thus, it is my pleasure to introduce you to the dramatis personae of my novel...

(Note: the pictures are not mine. And the actors were merely chosen because of physical resemblance, not because any character they have played was in any way similar to the characters of the novel.)

Debby Alston
Debby is the main character of this story; a true heroin. Life was not always as bad as it had seemed for Debby. But in her younger years, things seemed to be worse than they really were. She took everything to heart then, wore her feelings on her sleeve, and was wounded easily by unkind words. Now that Debby is 18, she is having to deal with some emotional and physiological issues due to her childhood. She has no clue what feelings she may have suppressed, or what events may have caused her to become so anxious and scared, but she is willing to do anything to put her life back on track, and find freedom from the eating disorder than has her trapped. There are times when Debby looks at herself in the mirror and wonders who she has become and asks, "Does God not hear my cries? Why does not he help me?" If only she had the faith it took to move mountains. If only she could be assured that God was somehow orchestrating her escape from bondage. If only she could find the courage to forgive and love again. If only God could promise her that she is be at peace and completely happy with herself and her life again. If only.

Paige McGraw Alston

A woman with so much insight and character. She is loving, caring, and very encouraging. She lives for her family and wants what is best for her kids: Debby and Wendy. She stands behind her husband, but sometimes questions his ability to be a father because of the way he acts towards his children. She knows about Debby's eating disorder and blames herself. Maybe if she had been there more for her daughter, or was somehow able to help Debby understand that her father's anger was not directed towards her, then maybe her daughter would not be struggling. And if she had known what her daughter had gone through as a child-the cruel treatment she endured from other kids-then maybe she could have cushioned the blow. Now all Debby's mom can do is watch her child deal with the pain of an eating disorder, grieve, pray, and continue to offer positive reinforcement in her time of need. She wonders, though, if Debby will ever be the same? Will her daughter ever be happy again?  

Nicholas 'Nick' Alston
Mr. Alston has no clue about the fear he has instilled in Debby. He remembers nothing of the night his temper exploded. He does not even realize that it effected his daughter as much as it did. He does not see her pain because of how well she hides it, but he does notice that she is not as receptive towards him as she once was. She's distant and snippy with him and he does not understand why. He is a hard worker, strong, and loyal. He has a quick temper and a foul mouth but the years have changed him and he has mellowed out. But that does little to help him reconnect with his daughter who is afraid of her own father. What can he do to rekindle that connection and bond they once had? Saying sorry only gets him so far. What is Debby needing from him that he hasn't given her already?

Wendy Alaston
Wendy is the polar opposite of her sister Debby. She is a social butterfly who is almost never awkward or unaccepted in a group setting. She is a fashionista and is a very bubbly girl. She is the youth leader at their church, actively involved in youth activities, and is the Youth Praise Band's lead singer. When she is not being active and social, she is worried about her sister. Like her father, Wendy does not understand what is causing Debby to continue with this eating disorder. She does not even understand what caused it to start. All she wants are answers and a solution. The last thing Wendy wants to see is Debby suffering from past offenses that should be the past, but are not easily forgotten by her sister. She is worried about her sister and fears that she will be attending her sister's funeral long before God planned to call her home.

Modesty 101: Introduction

February 1, 2011

I am happy to announce that I am going to be doing a Modesty101 study right her on Grace Like Rain. A Christian girls...a guys...we need to be on our guard against clothing that causes distractions for the opposite sex and their walk with Christ. One bra strap, pantie line, etc., can cause anyone to falter. And girls, this is a major problem for guys. Remember this: guys are visual, don't expose more than you aught.

Here's some info on it:
  • I'll post pictures of clothing items that are modest...and of course immodest. I'll talk about the pictures that I post, compare them, and explain why it is modest or why it is not modest.
  • I'll be choosing items of clothing that are "in style" right now...but we'll see which items of these styles are modest and not!I'll be using a nice program called Polyvore, which I've been registered to for awhile, to post these pictures of the clothing. There won't be any models displaying the clothing, just the item itself.
  • I've talked to different women who have different opinions on what is modest and what is not. I'll post some guidelines for this study as well.
  • Everyone has their own opinions. Everyone is titled to their own opinion. I am just posting what I think is modest, and what some other women think is modest as well. You have a right to your opinion of whether you think the clothing may be modest or not, and if you wish to disagree with what I say is modest or not, you may post a comment. I am interested to know what other girls/women think. I may not actually publish the comment, mind you. 
I am excited for this study! Hope you are too!