Blessings, puppy love, projects, and sister smiles

I know I know .... what kind of blog title is that, right?  I didn't know what else to title this post ... and the current title entitles everything that this post contains haha.

This morning when I looked out my window ... this is what I saw:

an absolutely beautiful blanket of snow
isn't this a wonderful start to Thanksgiving?

sorry this picture was sooo dark - it's was 7am when I took it {not to mention I took it with my phone}

the view from our kitchen window ..... 
sidenote: I'm not a country girl nor will I ever be one.  I'm what you would call the average small town girl.  However, today was one of the days I could step back and say "Wow I'm glad I live in the country ... it's soooo beautiful in the winter time!!"

Puppy love:
If you haven't read my mom's blog, then allow me to introduce you to Nickerson.  However if you were to visit you would rarely hear him being called "Nickerson".  Around here he affectionatlely goes by the following:
 ...... and the list could go on hahah!

Anyway ..... he is our cute little 5 month old Husky/lab (oh yeah - we also call him huskador lol).  We all enjoy him so much .....

 He is quite the poser - oh and yes ... he was on my bed (in fact he is quite fond of being on my bed)

Nickerson is quite the love bug!  He loves being up really close to you, but he loves it even better if he can sit in your lap (no joke).  He also loves to give you kisses, sniff/lick your ears (he loves ears for some reason -  idk why lol).  But do not get down on the floor - once your down at his level ... well I have five words for you:

get . ready . to . be . pounced!


Today I finished sewing an infinity scarf :)
Sidenote: you can finish an infinity scarf in less than an hour .... but I ran out of time yesterday =/

I sewed an infinity scarf for Rhey's American Girl doll :)
Yesterday I made about three doll size infinity scarves .... yaaay to getting projects started and finished ;)

Toria has introduced me to a new form of creativity - typography!
I have found that it's the best way to end my morning Bible reading ;)
Do you like typography?

Sister smiles:
Ya know ... the past year or two, Rhey and I have grown so close.  Before I always looked at her as just my little sister.  Nothing more and nothing less.  I always used our age difference (6.5 years) as an excuse.  I was so concerned because I wouldn't be able to tell my kids stories about me and my best friend going out for coffee/tea/hot cocoa, sharing what books we're going thru in our Bibles and what we have learned, going shopping, going out for lunch, etc.  
Then God made me realize that I don't need to be concerned about having a best friend (like Mom had) ... I had Rhey.  The best friend I had been wanting/looking for was who I once shared a room with, still get caught committing "a crime" with (yes ... Rhey and I are partner's in crime haha), who comes up and gives me a big hug .... even when I don't want a hug at that exact moment.
My Lord made me realize that no I wont be able to tell my kids about a best friend like Mom had, instead when my kids ask me what my best friend's name was ... I can say "my best friend is your Aunt Rhey" ... what a testimony/legacy that will be for my kids and for Rhey's kids.
Rhey and I have yet to go out for coffe/hot cocoa (maybe I'll take her so she can try Starbuck's signature hot chocolate ;).  But we have enjoyed shopping together, going out for lunch and dinner, satisfying our cravings for frozen yogurt, and much more.

Okay ..... i'm done rambling haha ... here are the pictures ;)

love this girl!!!!

sister selfie out in the FREEEEZING COLD
Sidenote : this was after we played in the snow with Nickerson ;)

>>What projects have you started/accomplished?
>>Do you enjoy typography?
>>How's do you invest in your sister's life?

I would love to know what your answers to these questions are ;)

Until next time ...... Happy Thanksgiving y'all!!

In HIS grace, Alisha


Outward beauty vs. inner beauty : the constant battle

I have a question for you:

Is outward beauty more important that inner beauty?

I have been asking myself for a little over a month now ... why?  Perhaps it's because I see people around me taking more care in how they look, rather than what the state of their heart is.  Perhaps it's because I witness people around me entering into relationships only because the other is extremely handsome or extremely beautiful.  What ever the reason is, the question still remains, which is more important?

Before I reveal the answer, why don't we a little study on what inner beauty is shall we.  Then we will see what the Bible says about inner beauty, and that should tell us which one is important.  Let's begin ;)

What is inner beauty?
This is a question that I have always stumbled on in answering .... am I the only one?  If you were to have asked my friend's little sister (which I didn't intend to do when she was 5) you will get an answer like this (the young girl took the question literally):

"Ali, a person can't be beautiful on the inside... the inside of a person is just plain ugly!"

I have to be honest ... I have never been able to come up with a good explanation of inner beauty, so here is what the Urban Dictionary defines inner beauty as:

Inner beauty basically means being a generally good person. Being kind, honest, etc.

Many people think inner beauty is just a phrase "used for ugly people to make them feel better about themselves." People who think that are sorely mistaken.

Not all people who have inner beauty are "ugly," in fact, many people with inner beauty also have outer beauty. So you can't just look at someone and know if they have inner beauty, you have to get to know them first.

Ever heard the phrase, "It's what's on the inside that counts"? It's true.
She doesn't have any inner beauty, the only thing she has is her looks.

This is how I've always thought of inner beauty as, but have always been afraid (I guess you could say) of pubicly sharing it as such (not to mention, it sounded better than mine haha :P)

What does the Bible say about inner beauty?
So we know that inner beauty is basically about our attitude, how we treat others, etc.  Here are a few verses that talk about inner beauty.

"Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." 
Proverbs 31:30

~ Is it wrong to desire to look our best?  Absolutely not!  It is wrong however, if you spend two hours in front of the mirror, making sure your hair is absolutley perfect, and your make-up is absolutley perfect, etc.  Remember, we won't be praised for how "perfect" we make ourselves ... we will be praised by our fear of the Lord!

"But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 
1 Samuel 16:7

~ If you aren't familiar with the story, Samuel went to the house of Jesse in order to anoint the next king of Israel.  Samuel was about to anoint a young man who was tall and handsome (just like Saul, who had recently died), and the Lord commanded Samuel with the above verse.  Samuel then asked Jesse if he had any more sons, and Jesse brought in David who was "ruddy, and withal o fa beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to" ... right then the Lord commanded Samuel to anoint David as the next king of Israel.

The most important thing to take from this verse is this: God looks at the heart, therefore, we should look at the heart too.  
>> If that means that a couple waits to go further in their relationship because they need to really see what they are like on the inside, then great!
If that means that you end up only being aquaintances with someone who is beautiful/handsome, only because inwardly they are (in the 5 year olds words) "ugly", then good for you!
>>Don't base all your decisions on what the outside looks like .... you could get yourself into a lot of trouble ... truuuust me!

"Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious." 
1 Peter 3:3-4

~ Here are a couple more characteristics of inner beauty: a gentle and quiet spirit.

Instead of adorning yourself to "enhance" your outward beauty, focus on "enhancing" your inner beauty.
>>One thing I admire about the Amish ... they don't exhert all their energy in the latest fashion trends, make-up secrets, making sure their hair is "perfect", making sure their shoes math their outfit, just so they can be outwardly beautiful.  They exhert that energy elsewhere, and focus on being simple and plain, so others will be drawn to them by their character (inner beauty).

"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day." 
2 Corinthians 4:16

~I don't know why, but I have always loved this verse.  Perhaps it's because it mentions that while outward beauty wastes away, our inner beauty is being renewed (meaning it will never waste away).  I truly think believe that that's why I love the verse so much.
>>This verse has caused me to think about what my grandpa once told me:
"When we die, eventually our loved ones, our friends, our co-workers, etc., will forget what we looked like, what we wore, how we wore our hair, how we wore our make-up, if our shoes matched every outfit, etc.  But they will never forget how we were kind/unkind, selfless/selfish, caring/careless, etc.  No matter how much emphasis we put into how we look, the only thing that will matter in the end is what we say, think, or do."
(ps. the link on my grandpa was from my very first blog - which I have never been able to get back into haha)

So ... which one is more important?  Outward beauty or inner beauty?
If you answered inner beauty, then congratulations (I'm very sorry, but there is no prize for you, the lucky winner haha).

I pray this post was of help to any of you and that y'all have a great night!!!

In HIS grace, Alisha


Being in full surrender

Growing up, I heard all of our pastors say, “in order to get the most out of your faith, you need to be in full surrender” and that's where they would stop. They wouldn't explain what it meant to be in full surrender. They didn't explain why I needed to be in full surrender. I was just left on my own, to figure the rest out, and if I find it … great, and if not … oh well, at least I tried, right?
This was one topic (out of quite a few) that I decided that I wouldn't ask God to reveal to my what it meant to be in full surrender, and why it was important. I simply figured …. “if God wants me to learn what it means and why it's important, then He'll reveal it to me on His own. He doesn't need me to ask Him.”

[pause for a moment]

I know, I know … what kind of mindset is that?

To be honest … as of lately, I have been having a hard time coping with a “trial” my family and I have been going through. This “trial” has really put a damper on my faith … like a lot, thankfully we serve a God of restoration and mercy, so my faith is being restored!! [more on this in another post]

[okay back to the post]

About three weeks ago (I think my time frame is right), I was praying before I started my morning Bible reading. During that prayer, I prayed that the Lord would show me what it means to be in full surrender to Him, and why it was important … I also prayed for my time to be encouraging + edifying. I was quite disappointed when none of the verses I read that morning, didn't mention being in surrender to Him. Ready to give up, I felt as if I needed to read chapter 2 in“Sacred Singleness” by Leslie Ludy … I couldn't understand why I felt that way, but I felt it … and I read the chapter.

[side note]

I have had the book “Sacred Singleness” for about three years now, and I haven't even finished it once. It isn't a book that I see on my shelf and think to myself “I really need to finish that book”. Instead, it's one that I see on the shelf and think “oh yeah … I haven't finished that have I? Maybe I should send it to a friend … I'll never get around to reading it!”

[back to the post]

What I read in chapter 2 was aah-maay-zing! Below is a snippet from chapter 2:

¹“When I chose to live in purity 'all the days of my life,' I wasn't making a bargain with God: 'I'll stay pure, and in return I want You to write me a beautiful love story.' Rather, I chose a life of purity because I wanted to love and honor the Prince of my heart, Jesus Christ–even if He never blessed me an earthly love story. When I walked through this process of surrender, God exposed and uprooted every seed of selfishness within my heart. Prior to this season of my life, I had always approached Christ wondering what I could get out of my relationship with Him. Now, He was asking me to lay everything down upon the altar, not expecting anything in return.”

After I read this, I realized that God did want me to learn what full surrender was! After leading me to this, He made it clear to me that I wasn't in full surrender to Him.

As I was about to close the book … satisfied that He had answered my prayer, I noticed that Leslie Ludy used Jim and Elisabeth Elliot's love story as an example of being in full surrender … so I read on.

I was astonished to learn that Jim and Elisabeth, even though they were interested in one another, surrendered everything … their dreams, desires, plans, to the Lord. They were willing to except whatever the Lord had in store for them. If that meant that they would remain single, then great … they wouldn't have a “hinderance” or an “earthly distraction” keeping them from the Lord's work. Or if that meant that they would end up getting married, then great … they would be able to serve the Lord side by side.

It amazed me (and still does to this day) that they were willing/able to lay their love for the other on the altar of the Lord … ready to except whatever was in store for them … even though they were in love with each other.

[oh by the way … I ended up finishing chapters 2 & 3 haha]

Still in amazement, I began asking myself questions:

*have I “surrendered” something to Christ, only expecting something in return?
= the answer is yes … my purity. I have decided to live a life of purity, which is great. But I have expected the same “reward” that Leslie Ludy had expected … an earthly love story written and orchestrated by God.

*am I willing to be in full surrender to God, and not expect anything in return?
=the answer is yes … I want to get the most out of my faith! And if I'm not in full surrender, then I will be doing a disservice to my Lord.

*if I'm in full surrender and not expecting anything in return, will I be okay if God chooses for me to be single until He takes me Home?
=this answer was the hardest for me to answer … because being a wife to a Godly man has always been my desire. So I began really contemplating whether or not I would be okay/content or if I would be worried/discontent. However, I finally came up with the answer … if God sees fit to give me a Godly husband, then great – I will be able to serve Him by my man's side! If He sees fit for me to remain single, that's great too – I will be able to serve Him and worry about the things of the Lord, and not the things of the world (1 Corinthians 7:34).

Were those questions easy to answer? Yes and no
Do I wish I would have been told all of this when I was younger? Kind of … there's a reason God revealed it to me now and not then!

I am soo glad I heeded the Holy Spirit's nudge in reading “Sacred Singleness” … it was just what I had needed!

Oh and by the way … I am still reading the book – I look forward to reading it!

In HIS grace, Alisha


Time to catch y'all up!

I apologize for the quietness that has overcome this blog ...... and I can't even blame a busy schedule this time =/  But now is the fun part of getting y'all caught up ;)

November Goals:

*read "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan

*Finish reading "Sacred Singleness" by Leslie Ludy

*Finish reading "Passion and Purity" by Elisabeth Elliot

*Finish reading Psalms

*exercise 3-4x a week

*memorize Scripture

*work out any rough spots in the new schedule I have made for myself

*blog more

Faith life:
recently I read in Leslie Ludy's book "Sacred Singleness" that full surrender is extremely important in the life of a single young lady (and in the life of every Christian) [more on this to come]!
Currently in my Bible reading I am finishing up Psalms (yaaay) and I read the daily Proverb + another book (in God's word) that I've been wanting to read.

My dear friend Kelsey and I are doing a Bible study together ..... praise God, and we are currently studying out the book of Hebrews.  We just started tonight and it is aah-maay-zing :)

Church life:
we have finally found a church .... and we loove it!!!!!  There are many surprises around the corner with this church, so those make our church life very interesting :)  Rhey and I are involved with the Christmas program ... oh to be in theater again .... haha JK :P  I am a narrator and Sydney is singing a solo ;)

My craazy life:
Nothing new and exciting in my life has taken place ... if there was, you would have heard haha ;)
Rhey and I go over to Grandma's every Friday night, and I make dinner for the three of us, and we all watch "19 Kids & Counting".  It is soo much fun to make the meal and witness those around you enjoying the meal you made!

Travel life:
in October I went to MI to visit my dear friend Toria, and we had such a great time!!!
Are there any new travel plans?  Currently Dad is praying about an upcoming trip, but as of right now there aren't any trips for this single young traveler haha :P

Volunteer life:
I am back to volunteering at the library with Rhey ...... I missed it so much when I was working.
Rhey and I are participating in the Christmas parade (this is the third year in a row).  This years theme: It's A Wonderful Life.  Any costumes?  Of course .... time to hit Goodwill and find a 1940's style dress ... and practice doing a 1940's hair style ;) [I looove this time frame]

Friend/mentor life:
currently God has placed in my life a young lady who has come to me in regards to purity.  Please pray that she heeds the Holy Spirits nudging, and makes the right decisions.

Music life:
Mom is encouraging me to learn three new songs on the piano - for this Holiday season.  Every time I think about them, my mind goes crazy ... and my arms yell "please no!" hahaha .... they are absolutley beautiful songs, and I can't wait to learn them, but until then ..... pray! :P
I am also learning a song called "Stand For Truth" by Rachel Wissmann Busenitz .... it's beautiful.  It's challenging.  It's fuuun ;)

So there you have it ..... my life in a weird kinda post haha :P

Stay tuned for more upcoming normal posts haha :)

In HIS grace, Alisha