Resting In God When The World Is Going Crazy

This past year, my senior year, I duel-enrolled at a local college. During my second semester, I took Bio 2 and found it fascinating (minus one section *ahem* parasites/bacteria/etc).

Anyway.

We were learning how everything on Earth is connected and how global warming is affecting it. Here’s the short spill on it – I promise you’ll be able to understand it and I’ll try my best to not spend several paragraphs on it 😉

Because of Earth warming, the Indian Ocean has been steadily warming as well. You’re probably thinking, “ok. so the ocean is a little bit warmer, what’s the big deal?” I’m glad you asked! XD

The increasing temperature of the Indian Ocean has caused the North Atlantic oscillation (aka two air masses) to become stuck on its “intense” cycle. The North Atlantic oscillation has never been completely calm, but there are usually periods or breaks where the intensity lets down and it is more docile. However, with the increasing temperatures that has not been happening.

north atlantic

It’s amazing how the entire world is so intricately connected. In Africa, there is a body of water called Lake Chad. Wikipedia says, “The United Nations Environment Programme and the Lake Chad Basin Commission concur that at least half of the lake’s decrease is attributable to shifting climate patterns.” As Lake Chad has dried up, the dust and dirt that was beneath the water has been exposed.

You can imagine what sorts of algae, fungi, and other gross things lie at the bottom of the lake. With the dust being out in the open, the pathogenic soil fungus it contains has been swept into the air from the Saharan and blown towards the Caribbean.

Interestingly, this dust has caused an ironic increase in pediatric asthma cases and coral sea fan disease. Which is obviously not good.

Now, I’m going to be honest. I kind of started to worry, because wow, how the heck are we supposed to fix all of this. ITS SO MUCH.

God, knowing this, led me to this verse.

“And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near,” ~ Luke 21:25-28

WOW. Like, anyone else amazed??? I mean that’s literally what’s happening! And there it is, right in the Bible. It makes me feel so much better, to know that God knew this was going to happen. None of this is a surprise to him.

Thank you Jesus for that!

~ Southern Dreamer

Challenging Feminism

Love this…

BeautyBeyondBones

Lately, it’s been really weird to be a woman.

200-11

Not because of any fashion or makeup trends…although, I will say…I don’t quite understand the reemergence of the shoulder pad.

But because of all the recent hyper focus on…feminism.

The Women’s March, International Women’s Day, protests, walk outs, I mean, we get it already

But to be honest, I am confused by the whole matter.

Women are not marginalized in the United States of America. 

What are they fighting for? Why all the anger?

Now listen, I know that this post is probably going to garner a lot of backlash, but you know what, that’s okay. I would love to hear thoughts on all sides of this issue. Truly. Every person is entitled to their own viewpoints, and I respect those feelings, even if they differ from mine. And of course, there is always room for improvement in removing some lingering…

View original post 1,001 more words

And Everything Was Still

“Be still and know that I am God,” ~ Psalm 46:10

Know: be convinced or certain of, have understanding of, perceive directly, have knowledge of.

Still: free from noise or turbulence, devoid of or abstaining from motion.

Last December (I know…a long time ago, but I’m a senior so 😉 ), I felt God reminding me of this verse. I’ve never really fully understood it; I’ve always thought of it as being really serious. But I think that the Holy Spirit revealed to me, at least, part of what it means.

“I am God…”

I am…LOVE: an assurance of affection, unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the Cutest thing I have ever seen: good of another, warm attachment/enthusiasm/devotion, strong affection for another.

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us,” ~ Romans 5:8

I am…PEACE: freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions, a state of tranquility or quiet, a state of security.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid,” ~ John 14:27

I am…GRACE: a special favor, unmerited divine assistance, a state of sanctification Easter Sessions with a lamb and cross, in a beautiful field of wildflowers! www.expressionsbybrandy.com: enjoyed through divine grace.

“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need,” ~ Hebrews 4:16

I am…COMPASSION: sympathetic consciousness of others distress, together with a desire to alleviate it.

“When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things,” ~ Mark 6:34

I am…HOPE: to expect with confidence, trust, to cherish a desire with anticipation.I remember days like these, young and at my Grams. Such cherished memories of how magical I remember my childhood. Children are such blessings. And their lil voices have so much to offer ☀️                                                                                                                                                     More:

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope,” Jeremiah 29:11

I wrote out these definitions to remind myself, yes God is holy, but He is also our father…daddy. And sometimes, or most of the time, I forget that and struggle with thinking that God is out to punish me.

1 John 4:18 addresses this. For all my fellow perfectionists out there, this is a good verse to remember 🙂

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love,” ~ 1 John 4:18

So when God says, “be still and know that I am God,” I do not think He is only referring to the literal meaning. I think this is also referring to being still, resting and soaking in God’s love, grace, and compassion.

God is righteous and holy and omniscient, but He is also our father, dad. And like any good parent, He does not want us to fear Him. We should have a respectful “fear,” of course, in the sense that He is God and it would be foolish and idiotic to mock, test, etc…Him.

JESUS on Pinterest | Greg Olsen, Son Of God and Pictures Of Jesus: With that said, we do not have to fear the Lord. Using the verse again from under the definition of grace, it says:

“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need,” ~ Hebrews 4:16

With confidence. Not terrified or worried about coming to God. He says that we can come to Him with confidence.

Confidence is, “the quality or state of being certain, a communication made in confidence, a relation of trust of intimacy.”

The next time you and I begin to fear punishment from God, I hope we can remember His great love and the invitation to come to Him with confidence.

~ Southern Dreamer

Note: The definitions for love, peace, grace, hope, and compassion along with confidence, came from Merriam-Webster.

CW-15 What Do You Feel Now?©

Love this creative writing piece by my classmate! For any romantics out there, you definitely need to check this out!

Faithful Handiwork

How do you write a story with terms of things found in a zoo without writing about a zoo? How can you use those terms and create a passionate story that will capture the reader’s heartstrings. Through this week’s assignment, I strived to write in a way I never have before.  In the same way, the young lady in my assignment was pushed to write and describe things in ways she never has before, without the use of her eyes. 

I carefully moved my bare fingers along the braille writing in the book below me. Oh how I so enjoy this tale of an exotic land where nobody grows old! The sun reflects and shines upon the water, there is no death or pain, and more importantly: everyone can see the beauty of the land. Yet here I sit, blind and forced to put up with the hoard of trespassingelephants

View original post 790 more words

Dancing with the Stars Tour

For Christmas, I received two tickets to the Dancing with the Stars tour at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, on New Year’s Eve for my mom and I.

I was so excited!!! I love watching the show, and honestly was completely surprised! My parent’s are not exactly known for thinking THAT much in advance in terms of presents XD But I was so glad that they did!

The only downside was that Derek Hough would not be there…

But I still had an awesome time! The Fox Theatre is GORGEOUS and we had awesome seats! Here are some pictures from it – sorry for the bad quality, the lighting didn’t really like my iPhone camera lol.

image-3image-4

The first picture, I believe, was a dance from the movie La, La Land (which I really want to see). It was so pretty! The second was of an argentine tango.

They sort of did the show in a way, that you learned more about the lives of the professional dancers on Dancing with the Stars. One little tidbit I didn’t realize, was that so many of the male dancers are from Russia! They also had Laurie from the Olympics – and who won the last season of DWTS – as part of the show.

And here was the opening number! SO GOOD. Loved it! (Sorry it’s not a live click video, it wouldn’t let me copy and paste it from Instagram).

https://www.instagram.com/p/BOtMvv5liFswBnDu1Zu6NoZ6VsnVVHwbxTKO880/?taken-by=southern_dreamer4

~ Southern Dreamer

Journal Entry ~ Stars

Have you ever met a famous person? Well, for me, the answer to that is yes. To give a bit of context, I’ll start out by saying that my mom has a…knack for finding famous people. Or maybe I shouldn’t call it a knack, more of if she sees them, she’ll take the initiative when other people might be embarrassed. And, in all truthfulness, it can be a bit…embarrassing. Especially for my introverted self. However, the pros – in my opinion – out way the cons, so I’ll usually push through it.

For my thirteenth birthday, I went to the Dove Awards at the Fox Theatre in downtown Atlanta. My parents, brother, and nana came along, of course! It was amazing – definitely something I’ll always remember. But one thing I recall quite specifically. As we walked in to the main area, there was almost a “red carpet” thing going on. Professionals were taking pictures of the singers and artists, and there was a clear point that normal people were not supposed to come too close.

camera-pictures-083
Kari Jobe and I! The lighting is weird, because our camera was messing up xD

Being my mom, of course, she found a small area where no one was standing by the roped off section. I walked over there with her (as my dad and brother were slightly mortified), and who came up? Mandisa! We chatted with her for a little bit; she was very sweet. Then, we saw Kari Jobe. Now, I had told myself a list of questions I wanted to ask her, if I had the opportunity to meet her. But when I did get to meet her, I completely forgot every single question I had planned on asking!

camera-pictures-197
Hollie Cavanagh and I!
camera-pictures-198
Joshua Ledet and I!
camera-pictures-200
Skylar Laine and I!

Another time I was able to meet a famous person, was at the American Idol tour. I loved watching American Idol, and was really sad when the TV show stopped recently. But before that, my mom and I drove to Nashville – one of the stops on the tour. I was so excited! The music was awesome, but it wasn’t completely over after! Tons of people, like my mom and I, gathered around an area where the top ten contestants of season eleven would come out to greet, sign, and take pictures with the fans. Definitely a memorable event!

 

There have been a few other occasions, but those are the ones that I was most excited about. Now…if I can only convince her to somehow get me to meet Taylor Swift…

 

Interview with Ginger Garrett

One day, when my family and I went into Lifeway, Ginger Garrett – a Christian author – was there signing books. I was really excited and pleased with this unsuspected occurrence. After purchasing my own copy and having her sign it, she was gracious enough to spend a few minutes with me answering some questions I had as an aspiring author.

  1. Have you always wanted to be an author?

Not at all. I loved the theatre and majored in theatre arts in college. However, I realized I hated acting out other people’s stories and would much rather write my own.

2. What is the best advice you have been given that has helped you in your writing?

Read. Dissect a book. Using post-it notes, mark how chapters begin…with a new scene or continuing the previous one? A new character introduced? How does each chapter end? On a down note or a cliffhanger? Soon, you begin to see patterns that authors have. Most thriller writers, for example, have a VERY common pattern. Dissect a few thrillers and see if you can figure it out! And most young adult books launch the first chapter in the same way. It’s an important day, our hero is at a disadvantage…and see if you can find the rest of the common traits.

3. How has your writing grown and changed since your first book?

I’ve learned that writing requires years of learning the craft. Talent is given; excellence is earned. Someday I want to get there.

4. Do you find writing conferences are helpful and if so which ones do you recommend?

I attend every Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators conference that I can, at least two a year. I love them. I love being with my tribe, and learning from other pros.

5. What can you tell us about “The Last Monster”?

“You are a light in a dark world, Sofia. But do not trust the darkness. Monsters are not the only things that can find you.”

Thirteen-year-old Sofia is not only trying to survive middle-school cliques and first crushes, she’s in charge of protecting grotesquely beautiful, lonely monsters that have roamed the Earth for centuries. These monsters are magical, but they are not loved, they are feared. So greatly in fact, that one woman wants them forgotten. Drawn into a violent and unpredictable mystery, Sofia learns that loving outsiders has a cost.

THE LAST MONSTER is about love, fear, and the thrill of discovering who we were born to be. It’s about making peace with our insecurities and defending those who must hide what they really are.

  1. Who is the main character and how much of yourself did you write into he/she?

Sofia lost a leg to cancer and has given up her first love, running. I love Sofia and understand the grief of losing the ability to run. I didn’t struggle with cancer, but several friends have, and my beloved dog, a Great Pyrenees, had bone cancer in his leg as well that ended his life. Cancer is evil. I hope we stop fighting each other and start fighting cancer.

  1. Was there any difference in your approach to writing more of a fantasy/mythological fictional story than biblical fiction?

I could really let loose with THE LAST MONSTER. Biblical fiction is really quite restricting; I was never free to explore or express doubts or questions, or let my characters be fully human. Other writers however write biblical fiction beautifully and they love it. I didn’t so I left the genre. Plus, I’ve always loved old-fashioned monster tales, like the old black and white movie monster stories. When I was a kid, I pretended to host my tea parties at midnight so Dracula and the Wolfman could come. I felt sorry for them and wanted to be friends with them.

  1. For aspiring authors, what advice would you give?

Read. Dissect. Ignore your inner critic.

I really appreciate Ginger Garrett being willing and taking the time to answer my questions. Thank you so much!

I hope all of y’all will go and check out several of the wonderful books she’s written! Her latest one – The Last Monster –  will be coming out this April. I encourage all of y’all to pick up a copy when it’s released, I know I will.

~ Southern Dreamer