Blog

Fall #OOTD

It’s fall, y’all. Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Pumpkin anything is back in season. For most places, weather is starting to cool down and sweaters and long sleeves are being pulled out of closets. Fall is my favorite time of the year. The weather isn’t too cold, and I get to wear sweaters, long sleeves, and cardigans. All of which are super comfortable. So how exactly do you nail that #OOTD?

In order to help you guys with some ideas that are both cute and modest, I got some friends together for a fun afternoon photoshoot.

Tip #1: Layers!

Layers are some of my favorite things, and they come in different forms. Cardigans are my personal favorites, but vests and scarves are also great layers.

Lindsay paired a light floral tank top (which added a splash of color) with a basic gray cardigan. Cassidy matched her plaid blanket scarf with a black shirt. And I layered my long sleeve gray v-neck with an olive green vest.

Tip #2: Basics

I believe there are certain clothes that are a must have in any girl’s wardrobe. For fall and winter, those are darker clothes that are black/gray based.

A solid gray or black cardigan (Will literally match anything and also a great way to dress up an outfit)

Black jeans (again matches pretty much anything and also can be dressy)

Black or gray long sleeve (this provides a good base for you to build your layers on)

Tip #3: When going dressy be comfortable.

We all happened to pick a dressy outfit that was sleeveless, but sleeveless is great because you can pair it with a cardigan for when it is breezy outside. (We didn’t add cardigans because the day we were taking picture, it was almost 100 degrees (F) outside).

Tip #4: Be Yourself

This goes for any time you are getting dressed, but particularly when you are dressing up. You want to be comfortable, and the best way to feel comfortable is to dress like yourself.

Tip #5: Colors

From what I’ve seen in the stores, gray, olive, Burgundy, and black are the in colors for this fall. So the majority of clothes you find are going to look like that. If those are colors you like, go with what you think you look good in.

Tip #6: If you see yourself as beautiful the rest of the world will also

The world is going to tell you what beauty looks like, but to my lovely sisters out there, beauty is something on the inside that radiates and overflows outwards. What people see on the outside is the result of that beauty. And as my roommate pointed out, when she feels good, she looks good. Our perception of ourselves at times is the most warped. Next time you look in the mirror, remind yourself that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. God sees you, and He see the beauty of a daughter made in His image. As Proverbs 31 says clothe yourself with strength and dignity.

 

Advertisements

Biblical Feminism: The difference between biblical and social feminism

So a couple weeks ago, I did a post on Biblical feminism. Someone asked me to do a post about what I thought the difference is between Biblical and what they called secular feminism. So here is my attempt. Disclaimer: I am calling it social feminism and what I am referring to is the extreme feminism-the one that is making the news.

The main difference is what each group defines feminism as. Biblical feminism is the desire to recognize everyone as equal, but also different. In Genesis, Christians are told that both men and women were created in God’s image. In God’s eyes, we are equal. He doesn’t favor men over women or women over men. I believe that it grieves Him, when we think that He values one gender over the other. He loves all of us, and we are His children.

However, while we are equal in His eyes, men were created for different purposes than women were. There are things that a women can do that men can’t, and guess what, that is completely okay. Just because we are valued as equals doesn’t mean we have to be the same. While I believe that women can do many of the same things physically or career wise as men, we approach things differently and most importantly, our bodies are made differently. Our differences should be celebrated, not something that divides us or makes one gender more important than the other.

Social feminism is the more extreme thought which has painted men as oppressors and now it is finally time for the women to rise above the men. The key difference is that they view women as being more important than men. It is the desire for women to be valued over men instead of with men. Now, I’m not saying that everyone is like this, but there is this idea and it is a harmful one to society.

There is also more than these two ways of thinking. When women first starting fighting for their rights, there were multiple waves of thinking. The same is true now. This idea of feminism is one that is evolving, however, Biblical feminism is straight from the Bible. The backbone is God’s love for all humankind, and that is something that is never going to change. God values us all, and we are all made in His image.

So I challenge you, next time you interaction with someone of the opposite gender instead of viewing the differences as negative, think about the ways that their differences complement yours.

Wanted Superhero: Blog Tour

So this part two of my posts for the blog tour. If you haven’t read part one, click here. The first part was an author interview.

For those of you who don’t know, I’ve always been a huge reader. From the time I was younger and in elementary school to even now in college. It provided me with a chance and a place to escape into another word. When I was in elementary school, the librarian began to let me take more than one book out at a time, and as time went on, she began to recommend books to me since I was reading above my grade level. In our library, the older kid books were placed higher up on the shelves. I still remember one day looking up and seeing the black spines of Bryan Davis’ series Dragons in Our Midst. They were these high books that were on the top shelf. The librarian came over and brought the first one down to me. I guess you could say that rest is history.

It was my first experience with Bonnie and Billy that opened up a whole world to me. I couldn’t put the book down. Eventually, my little brother got into them also, and we read through the entire series multiple times. It would be very easy to say that we were obsessed with the books. Dragons and epic fights, but still being centered around Godly principles, what more could you ask for? And most importantly, my parents didn’t have to worry about what we were reading.

During this time, we were all swimming. My older brother was swimming at a big meet up north for a weekend, and we were along for the ride. My parents looked and me and my brother during the break between trials and finals and told us we were going somewhere. We got in the car and pulled up to this small little Christian bookstore. My brother and I couldn’t believe it, we were going to meet Bryan Davis. He happened to be doing a talk and signing in the area.

At this event, I got the first Dragons of Starlighter book. My older brother got the Echoes from the Edge series. Now, I had even more books by him to read. My collection has grown today to include all the Dragons of Startlighter books as well as his new Reaper books. The books never fail to make an impact on me.

I’m in the process of working on a series that I’ve spent the last five year writing. It is the culmination of a nearly eight year process, but I never would’ve had the courage to pick up the pen if I hadn’t encountered Bryan Davis and his stories. They told me that there was so much more the world was looking for to read, and even those concepts that seem to weird are not. Instead, they could have an impact on someone the same way Bryan Davis’ books did on me.

The link to the first giveaway is here.

For the second giveaway my number is 6, the number of times I’ve read Dragons in Our Midst, Oracles of Fire, and Children of the Bard all the way through. Here is the link for the second giveaway.

The schedule for the rest of the blog tour is:

Friday, September 22nd

Book Spotlight and Character Interview @ Story of Fire

Book Review @ Inkwell

Book Spotlight and Character Interview @ Liv K. Fisher

Book Review @ writinganyone

Spotlight and YOU WRITE: About Superheroes @ Dreams and Dragons

Author Interview and YOU WRITE: About Bryan Davis @ March to a Different Drum

Book Spotlight @ Author Jaye L. Knight

Saturday, September 23rd

Author Interview @ Jessi L. Roberts, author

Book Spotlight and Character Interview @ Book Lovers Life

Book Review and Character Interview @ Verbosity Reviews

Spotlight and YOU WRITE: Superheroes @ Fantuhseas

Book Spotlight, Author Interview and YOU WRITE: Superheroes @ Creature of Graphite

Character Interview @ Wanderer’s Pen

Book Spotlight and Author Interview @ Adventure Awaits

 

Here are his links to his various pages:

Website – www.daviscrossing.com

Book Purchase site – http://www.theauthorschair.com/shopping/

Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/BryanDavis.Fans

Author writing blog – www.theauthorschair.com

Twitter – @bryandavisauth

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/37060.Bryan_Davis

Wanting Superhero: Blog Tour

Today is something a bit different on the blog. My all-time favorite author just released a new book, and I have the opportunity to participate in the blog tour. I’ll be doing two posts for it today. This is the first of them.

Bryan Davis Author Photo.jpgBryan Davis is the author of the Dragons in Our Midst, Oracles of Fire, Children of the Bard, the Reapers Trilogy, Dragons of Starlight, Tales of Starlight, and the Time Echoes Trilogy, fantasy/science fiction/dystopian novels for youth and adults. His first novel, Raising Dragons, was released in July of 2004, and several books in that series have hit various bestseller lists, including Eye of the Oracle, which hit number one on the CBA Young Adult best-seller list in January of 2007.

Bryan was born in 1958 and grew up in the eastern U.S. From the time he taught himself how to read before school age, through his seminary years and beyond, he has demonstrated a passion for the written word, reading and writing in many disciplines and genres, including theology, fiction, devotionals, poetry, and humor.

Bryan is a graduate of the University of Florida (B.S. in Industrial Engineering). In high school, he was valedictorian of his class and won various academic awards. He was also a member of the National Honor Society and voted Most Likely to Succeed.

Bryan and his wife, Susie, work together as an author/editor team to create his imaginative tales.

Let’s talk a look at the author interview that I did with him.

Me: How did you get into writing?

B: I began writing about 23 years ago as a way to get my children interested in the craft. We created a story together and added to it bit by bit until it became a full-length novel. I enjoyed the process so much and saw how my children were impacted by the story’s themes, I decided to get more training by reading books on writing and going to writers’ conferences

Me: Where do the ideas for your books come from?

B: I get ideas from dreams, my children, everyday life, and other stories. Several of my novels had their origin in dreams, including Raising Dragons, I Know Why the Angels Dance, and Let the Ghosts Speak. Regarding other stories, whenever someone else’s story really hits me hard, I analyze it to see what created the impact. I don’t want to copy the story at all. I just want to know what gives it that punch in the gut. What aspect reaches the heart? When I figure it out, I try to do the same in my story without copying the other story’s devices.

Me: What is some advice for new writers/authors?

B: Learn how to develop the characters and story world in the early stages. Some new writers jump right into the intense action before developing the characters and story world, which disconnects readers since they don’t know the characters well enough to care about them during the action.

Some new writers dump loads of information about the back story without progressing the main story at all. I see that problem most often with dialogue dumping, that is, having two or more characters talking for several paragraphs, thereby revealing past events. Yet, nothing really happens except for dialogue and maybe a smattering of interior monologue.

The best approach is to give the main character something to do, a goal to achieve no matter how small, then have that character go about the business of getting it done while giving readers clues regarding the back story and the story-world’s environment in a natural way.

Me: How fast can a dragon fly without any passengers (question courtesy of my younger brother)?

B: Of course, it depends on the dragon. Some are much faster than others. The average maximum flight speed of the dragons in my stories is about forty miles per hour.

Me: Do you ever use real people as inspiration for your characters?

B: I sometimes borrow specific character qualities from real people, but no character is completely modeled after an individual. For one character, I borrowed aspects of chivalry from one person and musical talent from another. For another character, I borrowed feminine traits from one person and physical toughness from another, and so on.

Me: What is your favorite series to write?

B: I have difficulty with some “favorite” questions. In this case, I have to decide if favorite means which series was the most fun to write (probably Time Echoes) or maybe which was the most impactful (probably Oracles of Fire) or maybe which was the most satisfying (probably Children of the Bard).  In any case, I think I answered the question.

Me: What is your favorite book to read?

B: I assume you mean novels. My favorite novel of all time is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The writing is beautiful, the themes are expertly crafted and delivered through a young girl, making them unpretentious and non-preachy, and I love the unwavering, selfless hero, Atticus Finch.

If you meant any book, my favorite is the Bible.

Me: What would you want your readers to know about you?

B: I enjoy writing. Is that a surprise? Although I speak at many events annually, which might make people think I am extroverted, I am an introvert. I like quiet, peaceful activities, like hiking and one-on-one talks.

I enjoy meeting my readers and hearing from them via email or postal mail. I personally answer every message I receive, so feel free to contact me.

______________________________________________________________

For more details about his book, take a look at my next post.

Here is the schedule for the rest of the tour.

Friday, September 22nd

 

Book Spotlight and Character Interview @ Story of Fire

 

Book Review @ Inkwell

 

Book Spotlight and Character Interview @ Liv K. Fisher

 

Book Review @ writinganyone

 

Spotlight and YOU WRITE: About Superheroes @ Dreams and Dragons

 

Author Interview and YOU WRITE: About Bryan Davis @ March to a Different Drum

 

Book Spotlight @ Author Jaye L. Knight

 

Saturday, September 23rd

 

Author Interview @ Jessi L. Roberts, author

 

Book Spotlight and Character Interview @ Book Lovers Life

 

Book Review and Character Interview @ Verbosity Reviews

 

Spotlight and YOU WRITE: Superheroes @ Fantuhseas

 

Book Spotlight, Author Interview and YOU WRITE: Superheroes @ Creature of Graphite

 

Character Interview @ Wanderer’s Pen

 

Book Spotlight and Author Interview @ Adventure Awaits

 

Here is the link to the giveaway

 

 

Time Management (aka figuring out how to do everything you want to plus everything you need to)

The ironic thing about this post is that I had planned for this to be written last week, but instead of misjudged my time as well as my commitments so my blog got pushed to the back burner. That was mostly because I knew my grades wouldn’t be affected and I wouldn’t offend anyone if I didn’t get this posted as soon as I wanted to.

School. College. University. Death by books. Whatever you would like to call it. We’ve all experienced some level of learning time management by force through school, whether that was elementary school, middle school, high school, or beyond. If you didn’t learn time management in school, then you learned it when you started your first job.

I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum. My first semester of college, I was all work no play. I got up early, went to swim practice, went to class, went to practice again, went to work, did homework, and then went back to bed. No time for anything other that what I had to do. Occasionally, I did things with friends, but not very frequently. My friends had to essentially kidnap me and force me to celebrate my birthday. Before I start college, I had a whole Pinterest board dedicated to how to manage your time. I got a planner. I wrote everything down. I scheduled, scheduled, scheduled. But I forgot to schedule time for myself and time to be social. To be fair part of that was because I was introverted and college itself was completely overwhelming to me.

However, I’ve also been on the side where I didn’t schedule anything, didn’t write anything down, and just did things as I remembered them. While my grades didn’t drop significantly, they dropped enough that I knew I needed to focus and find the medium between the two extremes.

Now I realize that there is more to college then just doing homework and passing classes. As I learned better time management, I made more friends and got more involved at my school. The more involved I got, the more opportunities I received. My schedule got hectic quick, and I had to find the happy medium in saying yes and no.

I don’t know how many of you are like me, but I have a hard time saying no to people, especially professors and my friends. I tend to want to do everything which means I have to manage my time carefully.

I’m still not perfect, and I am learning everyday better ways to do things. But here are some tricks that I learned.

1. Get a Planner

I know, I know. I sound like your mom. My mom always made us have a planner when we were in high school. To be honest, I hardly used it. I would start each school year with good intentions, but then I would get lazy. But when I started college it became a lifesaver. IMG_5525.JPG

This is my planner. I got it from Staples at the beginning of summer. I love it and carry it with me everywhere.

2. Write in said planner

Now, you don’t have to do it the way I do. I color-code everything so that I can look at it quickly and see what homework is for what class without having to write too much information. I also color-code work and social as well. I find that that color-coded helps me keep track better.

img_5526.jpg

I have a section in my planner for homework that I can check off as I finish it. I write things in a way that I remember and that I can read quickly and get it done. I keep a paperclip on the current week and can quickly flip to it look at what I have to do.

3. Remember to save time for yourself

I’m an introvert. I’ve gotten better as I’ve worked through college, but being around people still overwhelms and exhausts me. I’ve had to learn that I need to schedule in time for me to watch something on Netflix or to read a book or whatever is helping me destress. Stressed Bethany is not a place I want to be.

4. Remember to eat

I know it sounds stupid, but I’m being real here. When you are running around like a chicken with their head cut off, you can sometimes forget to eat. Don’t worry I’ve very guilty about this. Not only do you need the food for energy and such, but eating also gives you a chance to sit down and breathe. You can take a moment even if it is just five minutes to sit and take time to yourself.

 

I hope these things help. I apologize now for my posts maybe being a little sporadic as I adjust to being back at school.

Biblical feminism: Strength and Dignity

Proverbs 31.

Growing up, that reference was almost my worst nightmare. It felt like every single women’s or girl’s study or teaching was focused on being a Proverbs 31 woman. Honestly, the passage confused me when I was younger, and it often sounded like the only way I could be a godly woman and a godly wife was if I was a stay at home mom. In high school, that was the last thing I wanted to.

I struggled a long time with this passage and what it truly meant. It was until recently that I even began to better understand what it meant to be a Proverbs 31 woman. And boy, did it blow my mind. The picture I had as a Proverbs 31 woman was so so wrong. I could be a Proverbs 31 woman and do the career that I wanted to do.

As I grew to understand the passage and looked at the cultural context (side note: this is so important when you study any passage in the Bible), I found that strength and dignity was at the center of who a Proverbs 31 woman was to me. There are a ton of other amazing characteristics laid out in verses 10-31, but Proverbs 31:25 has always stood out to me.

Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come.

Proverbs 31:25 (NKJV, emphasis mine)

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.

Proverbs 31:25 (NIV, emphasis mine)

Up until this point, the passage is talking about what the Proverbs 31 woman does and how she acts with money and towards the people around her. This verse talks about her and not just her, but her inner heart. It is a good thing to extend your hand to the poor or to work hard, but strength and dignity (or honor) are heart characteristics that take work to develop.

But why are these heart characteristics important? Why should we as Christian women strive for specifically strength and dignity?

It reveals our hearts. It shows the world and one day our husbands what is important in our lives. It shows God’s work in our heart and the way that we are learning to conduct ourselves particularly when we are wronged or stressed. Strength and dignity points towards God, especially in tough situations.

Now when I talk about strength, I don’t necessarily mean physical strength, even though the Proverbs 31 woman would be strong especially with the physical work she does. I’m talking about the quiet strength that holds tight even when the waters seem to be rising or the winds seem to be hurricane strength in our lives. It’s the strength that my mother displayed when my father was deployed or the strength my friend has displayed in light of the death of a family member. It is being strong but also leaning on God and those around you because you know that you aren’t strong enough on your own. It is admitting you are wrong and asking how you can fix it. It is listening and praying with a friend through a tough situation. It is holding tight to your faith and getting your strength from our amazing God who gives it when we ask.

Dignity is the way that you conduct yourself. In Elizabethan era, dignity was associated with royalty and nobility. It was how a person acted in certain situations. Did the King stay dignified even when a battle was lost? Did a Duke treat a lady of the court in an appropriate manner? Now, it is generally associated with how a person reacts in a situation that the world has deemed to be a situation that it would be acceptable to lose your cool. A Proverbs 31 woman is known for being dignified and honorable even in situations that are less than desirable. Honestly, it is in these situations that we can point people to God. Keeping our calm and treating others kindly (regardless of how they treat us) is not something that is normal. To the world it is acceptable to get revenge or be mean because someone else was. But being clothed in dignity means that you do not stoop to their level. You treat someone kindly because they are a human and they are made in the image of the same God you serve.

The last part of Proverbs 31:25 is the idea of not fearing the future. NKJV uses the word rejoice. Rejoice is exclaiming joy, not just happiness. Joy is a deep seated contentment for the situation you are in. It is an outflow of happiness that stays around long after the happy situation ends. To rejoice in the future and what is to come is a hard task. I don’t know about you, but I am a planner. I like to know what is going to happen. But Proverbs 31 reminds us that no matter what the future is going to be, we should not fear. We have something much more valuable then we could ever earn, and for that we should be joyful. Our God is on our side.

Proverbs 31.

No longer does that passage invoke fear. Instead it reminds me of the ultimate goal. Being a Proverbs 31 woman does not mean that I have to give up having a career in order to be a good wife, nor does it mean that I have to be a doormat to my future husband. A Proverbs 31 woman is covered in a quiet, but resilient strength and carries herself with dignity no matter the situation she is in. This is because our ultimate goal as Christian women isn’t to be a good wife or even a godly wife, but our ultimate goal is to point the world to God through our actions. I want to be a Proverbs 31 woman, but most importantly I want to be known as a woman who serves God in everything.

Book Review: The Rebels of Florida

Where to even start? This book was amazing over all.

The Rebels of Florida is set in Florida during the Civil War. It follows Zephyr at home as well as her father and uncle in the 7th regiment of the Army of Tennessee in the events leading up to the Battle of Missionary Ridge. For those who like historical novels, this is a must read.

The first thing that stood out to me when I was reading it was the authenticity of what it is like to having a father-in particular-to be serving in the army and being left at home. As a military kid, I connected immediately with Zephyr and the struggle of being at home and trying to hold everything together why he is gone. Leah Oxedine made that struggle real and did not glamorize the idea, earning major points in the authenticity category.

The second thing that stood out to me was the way that war and the fighting of the Civil War was portrayed. The characters fighting were fighting for the Rebel (confederacy) army, but they were painted in such a way that the struggle of the war was simply surviving it. These characters were fighting to get home to their families and were fighting because they had been called up. Oxedine brilliantly crafted her characters and storyline so that you rooted for the characters in the struggle of war. Once again the reality of war was not glamorized instead it was raw and gut-wrenching.

I couldn’t put the book down. I wanted to keep reading and wanted more of it. I could hardly believe that it was over. I am eagerly looking forward to the next one of the series.

Civil War or history buffs, this is a book for you. Leah Oxedine introduces readers to a different side of the war that I bet many people have not even considered.

I was given a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an unbiased review.

You can get the book from her website or on Amazon or Barnes and Nobles.

Check out her website here