Rachel Platten: Music Review

So. This is my first music review blog post…which means I’m not exactly sure how this is going to work. #Totallywingingit 😛 With that disclaimer said, on to the review!

As many of y’all probably know, Rachel Platten rose to fame so to speak last year. With that in mind (plus the fact that I like a lot of her songs), I thought I’d start what will hopefully be many music reviews with her.

1. Fight Song

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LOVE. This is such a great song! Really powerful and inspirational lyrics such as:

Starting right now I’ll be strong (I’ll be strong)
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me

Know I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me

I think so many people like this song because of what it says: to keep on fighting even if you don’t have friends, feel exhausted, or whatever else you may be going through. Don’t give up.

2. Stand by You

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I really enjoy this song too. I know it’s probably meant to be for two people romantically interested in each other, but I don’t think it’s limited to that.

if your wings are broken
We can brave through those emotions too
‘Cause I’m gonna stand by you

and

I’ll be your eyes when yours can’t shine
I’ll be your arms, I’ll be your steady satellite
And when you can’t rise, well, I’ll cry with you on hands and knees
‘Cause I
(I’m gonna stand by you)

This can apply to anyone you love: brothers, sisters, parents, etc… We all need someone that – pun not intended – will stand by us when we’re at our lowest.

I find it interesting what the second stanza says, because in Romans 12:15 it states, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” And that is what line three of this second stanza (I’ll cry with you on hands and knees) is basically saying: if someone is weeping, crying, or sad, be there for them in their grief which is what the Bible says. Of course, this shouldn’t surprise us since in John 14:6, Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” All truth comes from God since God is truth.

3. Better Place

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I really like this song! It’s so happy with a light-hearted sense to it.

And the colors are golden and bright again
And the sun paints the skies and the wind sings our song
It’s a better place since you came along
It’s a better place since you came along

And there y’all have it! My first music review 🙂 I hope y’all discovered a new artist or some more songs you might enjoy listening to!

~ Southern Dreamer

 

Antman: Movie Review

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I watched Antman a few months ago, but until now have been too busy to write a review on it. With it being summer, however, I finally found the time to do it! 🙂

Antman follows the life of Scott Lang – a thief who was just released from jail. His friend and fellow partner-in-crime picks him up. The viewer quickly learns that he has a daughter. Cassie. Scott tells his friend that he’s done with the life of being a thief – he has to start doing better. For his daughter.

The entire film is packed full of hilarious interactions between both the villain and the heroes. From unintended childlike remarks by Cassie – Antman’s daughter – that can be humorously appreciated by the older viewers for their meaning, to the laughable reactions of Scott Lang during his journey, it has many hilarious moments.

Scott, in my opinion, is one of the most relatable Marvel characters in terms of realistic reactions. When Hank – inventor of the Pym particle, asks him to sneak into a high security building to steal something from the *music escalates* bad guy, he responds with a, “I think our first move should be calling the Avengers.”

I love that. It’s so realistic to how most of us would react if we were in his situation.

Father-daughter relationships are really emphasized, I think, in Antman whether it be Scott and Cassie or Hank and Hope. They each have their struggles and issues, although, Hank and Hope’s more so. I enjoyed how Hank and Hope both in their own way offered advice or helped Scott in terms of Cassie with their own experiences and stories.

And of course, there was action as every Marvel movie has. Though this one was neat, since it was from a different perspective than the typical fighting: fighting at bug-size.

Overall, I really enjoyed Antman and would definitely recommend it. So readers, if you have seen Antman, what did you think of it?

~ Southern Dreamer

 

 

Proclaim

 

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In this world, it is critical for us to remind ourselves of all the Lord has done in our lives. So often, however, we can find ourselves dismissing that notion. Perhaps because of pride, or maybe we truly aren’t sure how God has been at work in our life.

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Psalm 96:2-3 says, “Sing to the Lord; praise His name. Each day proclaim the good news that he saves. Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does” (NLT).

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I find it interesting that the Scripture specifically says tell others about what Christ has done. I believe he says this for many reasons, and while I do not claim to know them all, I feel that there are a few He has revealed to me.

One, when we tell others about the acts of God, it can not only strengthen our own faith but the Holy Spirit can use what we say to increase the faith of the listener.

Secondly, we never know who around us is being attentive as well. It could lead the way to deeper conversations or cause them to become curious about who this God is. And remember that whoever you are talking to, may not have a reaction. Perhaps their face is completely empty of any emotion. Or they act as though you did not say anything. Even though this is difficult, God is not limited by this. Despite their reaction or lack thereof, the Holy Spirit can prod their heart long after your conversation.

And lastly, when we are constantly speaking in a verbal manner about everything the Lord has done, it creates not only a heart of thankfulness but reminds us of how powerful He truly is. Sometimes in our busy, day-to-day lives, we forget. We forget the strength and power that He has and how He can work, act, and move situations – change people.

In Luke 8:39, Jesus says, “‘Return home and tell how much God has done for you.’ So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.”

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It can’t get much clearer than that. Jesus literally says, “tell how much God has done for you.” God never does anything just ‘because,’ He always has a reason. Maybe for you, its to strengthen your own faith – or perhaps encourage someone else.

Today, I encourage you to tell one person about something Jesus has done in your life – and remember, it doesn’t have to be a huge act. If you remain uncertain of how Christ has worked in your life, I encourage you to ask a godly mentor or adult who can offer wise insight. If you would like further study, make sure to check out Psalm 145.

~ Southern Dreamer

Judeo-Christain Foundation

“It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible,” ~ George Washington

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Many people today are declaring that America was never a Christian nation, that it was not founded on Judeo-Christian values. And if people’s eyes are not opened to the truth, then this falsehood could become even more rooted in the minds of Americans.

John Quincy Adams said, “I have myself, for many years, made it a practice to read through the Bible once every year,” and, “My custom is, to read four or five chapters every morning, immediately after rising from my bed. It employs about an hour of my time, and seems to me the most suitable manner of beginning the day” (Letters of John Quincy Adams to His Son on the Bible and Its Teachings).

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Even Benjamin Franklin, who many consider to be an unbeliever, said as recorded by James Madison, “We should remember the character which the Scripture requires in Rulers, that they should be men hating covetousness.”

On November 26, 1789, during his Proclamation for day of Thanksgiving, George Washington said, “It is the Duty of all Nations to acknowledge the Providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his Benefits, and humbly to implore his Protection and Favor.”

In fact, when the war with England cut off their supply of English Bibles, Congress in September of 1777, determined to import 20,000 Bibles from Holland, Scotland, or other countries because, “the use of the Bible is so universal and its importance so great” (pg. 60, Building Godly Nations).

George Washington Carver, born into slavery just before the end of the Civil War, discovered over three hundred uses for the peanut. The story of how this came about is remarkable.

“I asked the Great Creator what the universe was made for.

‘Ask for something more in keeping with that little mind of yours,’ He replied.

‘What was man made for?’

‘Little man, you still want to know too much. Cut down the extent of your request and improve the intent.’

Then I told the Creator I wanted to know all about the peanut. He replied that my mind was too small to know all about the peanut, but He said He would give me a handful of peanuts. And God said, ‘Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of the earth…to you it shall be for meat…I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.’ I carried the peanuts into my laboratory and the Creator told me to take them apart and resolve them into their elements. With such knowledge as I had of chemistry and physics I set to work to take them apart. I separated the water, the fats, the oils, the gums, the resins, sugars, starches, pectoses, pentosans, amino acids. There! I had the parts of the peanuts all spread out before me.”

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His story continues:

“I looked at Him and He looked at me. ‘Now, you know what the peanut is.’

‘Why did you make the peanut?’

The Creator said, ‘I have given you three laws; namely, compatibility, temperature, and pressure. All you have to do is take these constituents and put them together, observing these laws, and I will show you why I made the peanut.’

I therefore went on to try different combinations of the parts under different conditions of temperature and pressure, and the result was what you see.”

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In other words, God had revealed to him the means by which to use the peanut for and in metal polisher, plastics, ink, shampoo, shaving cream, a dozen beverages, and synthetic rubber among many more.

When he testified before a committee of Congress, in 1921, the Chairman inquired:

“‘Dr. Carver, how did you learn all of these things?’

Carver answered: ‘From an old book.’

‘What book?’ asked the Senator.

Carver replied, ‘The Bible.’

The Senator inquired, ‘Does the Bible tell about peanuts?’

‘No Sir,’ Dr. Carver replied, ‘But it tells about the God who made the peanut. I asked Him to show me what to do with the peanut, and he did.'”

Another important American that believed in Christian values was Noah Webster. Father of American Education, in 1836, he wrote, “In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government, ought to be instructed…No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.”

In his 1828 dictionary, “Noah Webster used thousands of Scriptural references and gave Biblical definitions, in contrast to humanistic definitions in modern dictionaries” (pg. 69, Building Godly Nations).

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Noah Webster also wrote, “The moral principles and precepts contained in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws. All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.”

“Dr. Donald Lutz conducted an exhaustive ten-year research of about 15,000 political documents of the Founders’ Era (1760-1805), and recorded every reference our founders made to other sources. This list of 3154 citations reveals those writings and men that most shaped the political ideas of our founders. By far, the most quoted source of their political ideas was the Bible, 34% of citations. The next most quoted sources were from men who largely derived their ideas from the Bible (Montesquier, 8.3%, Blackstone, 7.9%, and Locke, 2.9%). In fact 80% or more of all the citations were from the Bible or Biblical thinkers” (pg. 74, Building Godly Nations).

If that isn’t enough for you, then why Harvard College was founded should be. In 1636, New England Puritans founded Harvard College for the purpose of training ministers for the Gospel. “They thought the greatest curse that could come upon the land would be an impotent, ignorant clergy” (pg. 67, Building Godly Nations).

The original rules at Yale College, also show the importance placed on the Bible. “All scholars shall live religious, godly, and blameless lives according to the rules of God’s Word, diligently reading the Holy Scriptures, the fountain of light and truth; and constantly attend upon all the duties of religion, both in public and secret” (Annuals of America, Volume 1).

In all, out of the first 108 colleges founded in America, only two were not based on the Christian faith. 106 were.

I could go on and on about other people, events, and facts that support the claim that America was founded on a Judeo-Christian heritage, but, of course, that would be a much longer post. I hope this has opened your eyes to the truth of our country’s history. And as we celebrate the fourth of July, let us remember the brave men and women who came before us.

Happy 4th y’all!

~ Southern Dreamer

Note: All of the information (unless stated otherwise) came from Building Godly Nations by Stephen. H. McDowell. Thank you for doing all of the hard research that allows people like myself to discover it!

Altar’d State

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Recently, I discovered my new favorite store. Altar’d State.

Altar’d State was started in 2009 by Brian Mason and Aaron Walters. They created a plan for a modern Christian shopping experience that April in an Arkansas coffee shop. And six months later, the first Altar’d State store came into existence in Knoxville, TN (ironically, this was where I first discovered Altar’d State!).

Through failures and successes, Altar’d State continued to grow and spread. Birmingham, Alabama was home to their second store (which I have also been to!), and as of now, they have more than fifty boutiques in the Southeastern region of the United States.

Altar’d State’s clothes are feminine, modern, and many of them have lace which I love.

I adore the scalloped neckline on the first dress. It creates such an elegant and crisp look. And, of course, the lace on the sides (its a bit difficult to see in the picture) is a lovely touch. On the second dress, I like the lace sleeves and the design of the skirt is pretty.

I really adore this dress on the left. It’s very feminine, elegant, and LONG (I’m tall, so that’s always exciting for me :p). For the second, the mint green color is great and I know I’m going to sound like a broken record, but I love the lace added.

Are these not the cutest pajamas ever? The pom-poms on the shorts are adorable, and I love the cute sayings on the tops! ❤

And I couldn’t complete this post without adding pictures of Altar’d State’s accessories! I love the way the necklace, in the first picture, looks with that pink shirt. So pretty. The glittery, sequined belt in the last photo is wonderful! I definitely need to get one (who doesn’t need some more sparkle and shine?)!

~ Southern Dreamer