Good Guys V.S. Bad Guys

Alright y’all, so I’m not really sure where I’m going with this blog post 😉 I’ve had a couple of ideas and thoughts floating around in my head, and figured I might as well try to put them into a cohesive mix-up of words and phrases. Lord willing, this will come together as some sort of bloggie post that flows and doesn’t sound like a random jumble of mashed-up craziness!

I’ve had some experience babysitting, and there was something interesting I noticed. When I asked the boys, who their favorite characters were, they almost always referred to the “bad guys.” They had the good guys too, but normally, they seemed more drawn to pretend-play with the darker, powerful foes.

This surprised me. I have a brother, and I always remember him loving characters like Luke Skywalker, Spider-Man, and other heroic people/beings. When I came home, I told my mom and asked her what she thought about it. Why did they seem instinctually drawn towards the opposing side? What was it that caused them to be more enthusiastic in that?

Here’s what she said: little boys are often drawn to the darker characters because they are portrayed as powerful and strong. She told me that with Brayden, my younger brother, she always encouraged and pointed him towards the good characters. She would not buy him all of the Darth Vaders, Jokers, or overall villainous toys. She wanted him to strive to be like the heroes. Not perfect, because no one is, but trying their best to follow truth and do what is right.

I know some of y’all are probably thinking I’m going to the extreme end of things. But, I do not believe I am. Because I have a brother, I understand that boys love to play-fight – cowboys and Indians, the Dark Side and the Light Side. There is nothing wrong with that, and I am definitely not against it – nor am I against a child having both the good and bad characters. After all, without an antagonist, victory would not taste quite as sweet and neither would justice be as preciously guarded.

But I believe it is very important for parents to make this distinction: encourage them and point out the cool and awesome qualities in the good guys. Yeah, it might sound silly, but fictional characters – especially for children – are critical. They look to them for inspiration and hope.

Jesus used parables and stories to convey truths. If our Savior did, then does that not show the high value and impact that stories can have?

Children learn through play, and fictional characters are a huge part of that. Rather than consistently being drawn to the powerful yes, but also opposing what is true and good, characters, should we not encourage them to look at the ones seeking after righteousness and truth?

For boys to be brave like Luke Skywalker, loyal like Harry Potter, and compassionate like Aragorn.

For girls to be as loving as Padme Amidala, have faith like Lucy Pevensie, and hard-working like Mulan.

For teens to look at Darth Vader and know that redemption is possible, to remember Natasha Romanoff and how your past does not define you, and to look at Finn from Star Wars, Emma Swan from Once Upon A Time, and remind themselves that even heroes experience fear and doubt their abilities.

Maybe I’m way off the mark here, and this is all just a silly theory running around in my head. Who knows, this could all be mess concocted together late at night.

Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Whatever you read and watch is bound to have some affect on you. I am not saying that if you watch a TV show with a villain, or read a book with a dark wizard, that you are going to flip a switch and turn evil – FAR FROM IT! Without antagonists, any story would be quite boring and basic. There would be no challenge for our hero. With that said, as I stated earlier, children’s minds are still developing. I’m not a parent, but I have a pretty awesome mom and dad. And they always made sure to make the distinction between enjoying the story, and praising the villain. I can never remember hearing as a child, oh look how cool Palpatine looks with his Force lightning! Isn’t the White Witch’s outfit awesome?

As children grow and mature, then the conversations can obviously go deeper and you can tease, joke, or comment on scenarios that you would not have done when they were little. Like I said, I’m not a parent, but I think encouraging and pointing kids towards healthy, heroic role models whether in fiction or real life, is important.

~ Southern Dreamer

 

Text Tag Game

My awesome classmate, Grace Anne (check out her blog here), nominated me for this tag!

The Rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to them
  2. Answer the original 6 text-related questions
  3. Add a typography/word related question of your own for those that you tagged to answer
  4. Tag 6+ bloggers and notify them
  5. Include the rules in the post

The Questions!

  1. What is your favorite letter of the alphabet?

Hmmm, I’ll go with ‘L.’ You can make it really pretty and swirly with calligraphy/lettering and such, plus it’s the first letter of my name xD

2. What are three words you love?

Right now, I really like the word delighted/delightful/pretty much any version of delight. I think it’s such a pleasant, adorable word that’s not used enough – although, maybe that’s why I like it. I also love the words scrumptious and glint.

3. What are three words you hate?

Dang. I don’t know if I really hate any words lol. I’m a writer, so words are kind of a writer’s thing haha 😛 I do think, though, that the word “love” is overused and has lost some of it’s meaning.

4. If you could create a word, what would it be and what would it describe?

Lillica ~ the love between friends. I feel like this would clear up a lot of confusion xD Plus, then the actual word “love” would regain some of its meaning.

5. What are your three favorite punctuation marks?

The exclamation (!), dash (-), and the curly symbol (~) if those last two count haha.

6. What are your three favorite fonts?

Times New Roman, French Script MT, and not sure if this counts, but probably italics.

7. Grace Anne’s question, favorite adjective or descriptive word?

Oo that’s a hard one! There are so many beautiful words! Right now, I think I’ll go with ardently – a classic, romantic adjective.

My question: do you prefer using the bold font or italics?

I tag Gianna, Ally, and Cherri. Have fun! 🙂

My Trip to Boston

Well, this is a little overdue (ok, a lot. Several months XD), but better late than never, right? 😉

At the beginning of November, my dad had a work thing-a-ma-bob in Boston, and so my mom, brother, and I decided to tag along!

When we first got there, my mom, brother, and I headed to see Harvard. Now, most people today say that this school was not started by Christians…#false. In Building Godly Nations by Stephen K. McDowell, he says,

“Started in 1636 by the New England Puritans to train Godly ministers, they thought the greatest curse that could come upon the land would be an impotent, ignorant clergy. Even while struggling to survive as a colony they undertook this task.”

Interestingly, McDowell continues with an excerpt from some of the rules to be observed at the college.

“Rules, and precepts that are observed in the college: 2. Let every student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life, and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life, John 17:3, and therefore to lay Christ in the bottom, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning.

And seeing the Lord only giveth wisdom, let every one seriously set himself by prayer in secret to seek it of him Prov. 2:3.

3. Every one shall so exercise himself in reading the Scriptures twice a day, that he shall be ready to give such an account of his proficiency therein, both in theoretical observations of the language, and logic, and in ability; seeing the entrance of the word giveth light, it giveth understanding to the simple, Psalm 119:130.”

Fascinating isn’t it? Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and John Quincy Adams all attended Harvard to name a few.

I bring that up, because when we visited Harvard, we noticed something very interesting.

image-6I’m not sure if you can tell from the picture, but engraved on the arch is a phrase that says, “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”

John 8:32, “and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

They may try, but you cannot deny the incredible impact that Christianity had on our nation.

But yeah, we thought that wasimage-8 so cool 🙂 Another really neat thing that we got to see, was a printing press – that actually worked! Y’all, I thought I had patience, but the guy working there said that if you dropped it or messed up on ONE letter, you would have to re-do the whole thing.

O.O

Bless the people back then who had the patience to do that lol 😛 Cause I’m pretty sure I would not haha.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I LOVE sweets…and chocolate. So when I saw this in our hotel, I pretty much was celebrating. Who doesn’t love truffles???

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Does that not look so good? 😉 And I will confirm your assumptions, the chocolate covered strawberry and the chocolate truffle I tried, were absolutely delicious!

Lastly, the REAL highlight of my trip was getting to see my best friend, Laura! She lives up north, so image-15we don’t get to see each other a lot (shoutout to all my TPS friends who will understand this! 😉 ). She and her mom drove down so we could get together for the day. Being the shopping-loving girls that we are, we headed straight for the mall.

Now…in a hysterically sad turn of events, we are both directionally challenged. And I am ashamed to say that we wondered around this mall for quite a bit, trying to find this nail salon before giving up XD

But that’s ok! Because after that, Laura and I went to Sephora. This was both the best decision and worst decision of our lives, because, I have decided that Sephora is the Hobby Lobby of the make-up world. They have a bunch of AWESOME deals, but you end up spending a ton of $$$ because the deals are so good.

image-17Therefore, when our moms wondered in, we probably looked like we had been caught red-handed lol 😛

Oh, and in the picture on the left, we had gone into a chocolate shop where they show you how they made chocolate back in the Revolutionary days. It was so cool! And yummy.

I had such a great time in Boston! I honestly did not realize how much there is to do there, and hope to go back someday and see some more of the history!

~ Southern Dreamer

Journal Entry ~ Weddings

Being a romantic, I love weddings. The atmosphere, the occasion – everything about it is wonderful. When I was little, I was able to participate in my aunt’s wedding – as the flower girl! I was so excited. And a few years ago, I attended a mentor and friend’s wedding.

Even though it was simple and low cost, I thought it was the most beautiful wedding I had ever been to. Both the bride and groom washed each other’s feet during the ceremony, it was amazing how completely centered around Jesus it was.

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I also thought it was hilarious and cute when after the vows and the characteristic “I pronounce you husband and wife,” all the bridesmaids and groomsmen danced down the aisle to the upbeat-playing-song. It set the precedence and it was so funny to watch some of the older couples try to dance down the aisle.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love to plan. That, paired with the fact that I’m a romantic (as stated above), means that I have completely planned my wedding. Well, I’ve Pinterested it at least.

Some of my favorite types of wedding dresses are in the styles of mermaid and ball gown. I also love lace and sparkle – definitely going to be a must for me! And of course, it absolutely must be floor-length.

Rosa Clara 2015. Pretty.:  David Tutera for Mon Cheri Spring 2015 Bridal Collection - Belle the Magazine . The Wedding Blog For The Sophisticated Bride:  So classy! Love the ruffles!:

For my bouquet, I know that I want roses. Beyond that, however, I’m not completely sure. Maybe a bit of Queen Anne’s Lace.

Bouquet:  Soft pink is officially my favorite color of the summer, and these 20 wedding bouquets are giving us soooo much life. Each design is sweet and gentle with perfect accent colors. Check out our favorite pink bouquets below for a little floral inspiration! Featured Photography: Katelyn James | Featured Florals: Holly Heider Chapple Flowers Featured […]:  Bouquets you want at your winter wedding:

In terms of cakes, I want mine to have a classic look. I love so many different flavors – red velvet, chocolate, lemon, etc – that I’m not sure what I’ll pick; maybe I’ll have several flavors! I do know that I want to have petit fours though; they’re one of my absolute favorite desserts!

elegant cake #wedding:  Romantic creation ~ Cake Design: Cotton and Crumbs:  This cake is more like what Willow would choose - classically elegant, conservative and sweetly romantic.:

And here are a few other little adorable ideas I found on Pinterest, that I may use for my future wedding!

Get-a-way car was filled with balloons.: The bridsemaids give their favorite love story to the bride - they write a note inside and gift to the bride after the wedding. This is awesome for brides who love reading. :): Katie + Brooks had several guest books including one where they had guests sign their favorite Bible verse. Photo by Alisha Crossley Photography:

Picture #1 ~ Get-a-way car filled with balloons.

Picture #2 ~ Bridesmaids give the bride their favorite love story. Love this idea!

Picture #3 ~ The guests highlight their favorite verse in the new Bible and sign their name.

photos of the parents' and grandparents' weddings: Picture #4 ~ Picture of the bride/groom in the center, pictures of married family members (grandparents, parents, etc) surrounding it.Strawberry wedding theme | Wedding / Wedding Themed Chocolate Covered Strawberries  Keywords: #themedweddings #jevelweddingplanning Follow Us: www.jevelweddingplanning.com  www.facebook.com/jevelweddingplanning/:

Picture #5 ~ Picture of decorated strawberries. So cute!

~ Southern Dreamer

 

Meet Eleanor

I hate to laugh but it's too funny.: Y’all can keep a secret right?

XD I HAD to add that meme – Once Upon A Time and Princess Bride, best of both worlds. Anyway.

This past December, my parents gave me a car (#bestparentsever). And like any over-excited teen, I had to post it on social media – so I did.

But, she does not exactly know that. So let’s pretend that I’ve not *cough* already shown her to the world XD With that said, here is my car’s “big” debut…

Tada! Introducing Eleanor, a black Kia. I chose the name Eleanor, partly because I liked the idea imagethat I could create multiple nicknames from it – Elle, Ella, Ellie, Nora, etc…Isn’t she adorable?

I LOVE having a car and being able to go do something without having to rely on my parent’s or their cars. Plus, it is a LOT easier to drive and park than my mom and dad’s cars which are bigger than mine 😛

image-1Several days ago, I drove it into town for the first time. It was so much fun! Here’s a picture of Eleanor and I from that. Apologies for the horrible picture-taking skills XD Selfies are not my best work.

~ Southern Dreamer

 

Journal Entry

Because I am an introvert, socializing is not exactly my strong point. I prefer more intimate settings with deeper conversations; I do not really do well with “small talk.” I would much rather a few close friends, over having several friends that are a more shallow friendship. With that said, I am not gifted with initiating conversations. It is just not a skill I was naturally given. I always dread having to initiate conversations with strangers – it is just awkward!10+ Introvert Problems That Hilariously Capture The Life Of An Introvert:

Something that would probably help make these experiences less difficult, would be practice. As everyone says, practice makes perfect! And the more you do something, usually the easier it gets. It would also be a good idea to have a plan for the conversation – keep a list of potential questions, topics, and other such things in my mind, that way, I’m not just standing there awkwardly, not knowing what to say.

Journal Entry 5

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Many years ago, my family and I went to the Red Wood Forest in San Francisco, California. It was beautiful. The trees were massive – reaching as far up into the sky as they possibly could in all of their natural finery.

Despite the cold temperature (who knew it could be cold in the summer?), we were all excited to see such an amazing part of God’s creation. As we started down the wide, gray pathway – clearly meant for visitors, my brother pointed out another path. It veered straight up and to the right. Unlike the larger pathway, this one was not as wide and had dirt for its bottom.

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For some reason, the thought did not occur to us that this was not the normal pathway to take, and so, we switched directions and headed on up. And we certainly went up! The sun’s rays spilled out in bucketful’s of warm, buttery happiness with the birds occasionally adding their own little tune.

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After about an hour of hiking, we all began to wonder ‘when is this going to end’? Surely it could not last for much longer…right? We were practically at the top where the pathway had shrunk so much so, that it was now only wide enough for one person at a time. And we were literally the only people on this path – save for a couple, several yards ahead.

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Hello small pathway and drop off to the left.

Tick. Tock. Two more hours went by.

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#ontopoftheworld

By this point, we were done and ready to say adiós to the Red Wood Forest. Thankfully, we finally, reached the end of the pathway.

And that is the story of how my family and I got lost in the Red Wood Forest.

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Metaphors and the Bible

For my second creative writing assignment, we were tasked to come up with our own three metaphors – similar to Matthew 5:14-16 – and modernize the verses into our own words. As a comparison, here is the original:

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

And now, here are the metaphors I came up with.

Mirror.

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You are the mirrors of the world. A mirror reflects an image. As my chosen people, you are my image-bearers. When people look at you, they should see the reflection of me. Let your reflection not be fogged by fears or insecurities. Instead, envelope yourself in me so that your reflection gives glory to your Father in heaven as people see me in you.

Name Brand.

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You are the name brands of the world. A name brand is the most highly elevated. As sons and daughters of the Most High, you have access to the throne of God. And because of the blood of Jesus, are seen as righteous. When people meet you, they should see the depth and quality in you – that there is something different. And when they inquire of this, you will be able to tell them of the label – child of God – that you wear, thereby giving glory to your Father in heaven.

Glass Frames.

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You are the frames of glasses of the world. A glass frame holds a prescription that allows you to see the world clearly. When others ask you how you could even look at something in such a perspective, you will be able to tell them of the lens you wear. The lens that allows you to see the world from an other-worldly view, and this, will give glory to your Father in heaven.

Family Lake Trip

Last week, my family and I drove up to North Carolina. We were meeting my dad’s side of the family at a lake house in the Appalachian Mountains for a get-together-vacation. The scenery was stunning! Even though I’ve grown up living in a mountainous area, these mountains were far grander! The size and magnitude of it made me marvel at God’s creation. And to think, that he spoke something of such vastness into being!

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“And God said, ‘Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.’ And it was so.” Genesis 1:9

As we drove up the narrow, dirt road of the Appalachian Mountains, my writer mind was bouncing off the wall with ideas. If I could have, I would have stopped the car and spent hours taking pictures! Inspiration was everywhere.

When we finally arrived at the lake house – which was beautiful – I had a bit of a mini-crisis. Wi-Fi was not abounding. And given the fact that I’m a bit…attached to my internet connections, it was definitely not something I was particularly happy with. It ended up being a good thing though, since I actually wrote in my diary and looked at some magazines I had been meaning to look at, but had never taken the time for.

I also did a few “firsts” on this trip. I tried kayaking for the first time, and actually liked it! I even went by myself for a bit (this is coming from a non-risk-taking/adventurous person, so you must understand the significance of this lol :p). I also tried paddle-boarding, though I didn’t go as far out on the lake with that as I did with the kayak.

On one of our days there, my mom, grandmother, and I drove into the local town of Cashiers. They had beautiful pieces of furniture, and several antique stores. We went to one store, called Gracewear. They had really cute t-shirts, cups, and jewelry in the Gracewear collection. This was actually the original Gracewear store and as such, we were able to meet the owners. It was really neat and we talked about Jesus together for a while.

We had a great time at the lake, and I thought it would be a great spot to come back to for future vacations!

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My brother and I on the dock of the lake.

 

~ Southern Dreamer

My Love of Fiction

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Fiction’s my addiction. Well, that about sums up how I feel about it. 😉 However, I would like to delve deeper, with you my audience, into why fiction captures our hearts and enraptures our souls.

I can not recall the exact moment when I began to read fiction avidly – as long as I can remember, I have been a reader. Books such as C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, Martha Finley’s Life of Faith series, and others quickly made their permanent place in my heart. What was it about these stories that drew me in with such curiousness and desire? Could it be, that behind each series there was more than just words? Truths were woven in and truth is what, ultimately our hearts desire however hard it may be to hear – or in many peoples cases, read.

The Chronicles of Narnia with its beautiful allegories and similes thrilled my soul as I eagerly soared through the pages. When I realized who Aslan portrays – Jesus Christ, and who the White Witch was formed after – Satan, it was with excitement that I began to see these intricately written metaphors.

Regarding the Life of Faith series by Martha Finley, the main character Elsie Dinsmore was such a wonderful heroine. I found myself challenged in my own walk with the Lord to become more godly, spend more time with Him. This in itself is such a marvelous reason to read fiction, being challenged in life is critical to growth, but when one is challenged by a character…it touches a different place in your heart.

As the years have passed, other types of books have stolen another area of my story-loving heart. Series’ such as that of the Christy Miller by Robin Jones Gunn and Love Comes Softly by Janette Oak have instantly become favorites. I love each for different reasons, for the former I enjoy the clean romance intertwined with the relatable and flawed characters and the latter heightens my fascination with history and everything about those time periods.

Fiction, I have discovered, for myself at least, is an escape – a way to enter another person’s world. What secrets shall I dig up? Which adventures will I embark on?

Fiction remains such a beautiful form of writing and I know that it will always be a special pastime of mine.