Friday, August 31, 2012

Masquerade by Nancy Moser~ Review by Michelle Pell

Have you ever wished your life was different? Charlotte Gleason does. Even though she lives a privledged English lifestyle, she is bored by the endless parties and meaningless flirting.

When her parents arranged for her to marry a wealthy American business man, and ship her away to the states, that is the last straw in Charlotte's eyes. On the boat to America, Charlotte, or Lottie for short, thinks of an absurd idea: what if her traveling companion and lady's maid, Dora, poses in her place? Her future fiance has never seen her, and neither him nor his family would ever know the difference. If they were to switch places, Lottie would get the adventure she longs for, and Dora would be able to experience a life of glamour and riches.

But considering all the lies and deception required to make their plan work, will either Lottie or Dora ever be comfortable to be themselves? Will they ever realize that true love only flourishes in honesty and trust?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Fundraising Ideas~ Heather Young

Even though summer is almost over, and autumn will soon begin, there is still plenty of time for fundraising! Of course, there are many opportunities to raise money, such as garage sales, bake sales, car washes, and going door-to-door selling something.

Garage Sale Tips:
·         colorful signs
·         easy-to-read signs
·         consistent signs
·         good prices

Garage sales are one of my favorite ways to earn money, even if it’s not for fundraising! The number one rule to a successful sale: have good signage! Have colorful signs that people can easily see and read from far away, and place a lot so no one will get confused about where to go.  Moreover, have consistent signs.  Once, I was on my way to a garage sale following a yellow sign that read, “Huge Sale!” As I got closer to my destination, the sign changed to a smaller orange sign that read, “Garage Sale.”  Obviously, I became puzzled, wondering if both signs indeed belonged to the same sale.  I soon found out yes, they were, but if you have a garage sale, please make everyone’s trip easier by not have varying signs.  When pricing, try to sell items for less than their original worth, while not going so low that you won’t get much profit.  Or, you could even not put prices on anything and let people decide what they want to pay!

Bake Sale Tips:
·         good location
·         samples
·         fresh food
·         reasonable prices

Personally, I have not had much success with bake sales.  Sadly, I only tried once because my first and final attempt only attracted one customer, not counting my friends.  But, I am sure many of you could sell a lot of goodies if you choose a location within view of cars.  One thing the consumers enjoyed about my sale was the samples I laid out.  Be careful not to cut them too big, or some people might only eat samples.  Also, instead of baking a huge batch of goodies in the morning, bake a small amount every hour or two to keep your food fresh.

A car wash cannot only earn a decent amount of money; it can also be fun! Most importantly, have good advertising (see “Garage Sale Tips”).

Lastly, when you go door-to-door (with a buddy!) you can find numerous ways to earn money, whether by selling a product or doing yard work! Be sure to always have a smile on your face and make your offer look appealing.  No one wants to buy something from someone who doesn’t look friendly! Also, make sure you have a flyer to hand out or show to your customers so they know you aren’t just some kid trying to make a few bucks for yourself.

Although you may have already finished your summer fundraising, I hope you will take these ideas into account for the future! Have you tried any creative ways to raise money? If so, please leave a comment!

For more fundraising ideas, go to:

Photograph property of Lilies Among Thorns Magazine. Phtograph taken by Lauren Jaji.

Friday, August 24, 2012

How-To: Fishtail Braid~ Hogans Stevens

This is one of my all-time favorite braids, especially for the summer.

Just like a regular braid, you start out by taking three strands of hair--but instead of separating all of your hair into the three parts, simply take small sections: one directly in the middle and two sides.

Now, start to bring in more strands, adding more hair to both of the side strands as you go. But do NOT add hair to the strand that is in the middle.

Keep adding your hair as needed, continuing the braid as normal.

And there you go! It's as simple as that. You can either take smaller strands for a more detailed and tight braid, or you can take bigger sections (as seen in the photos), which will give the braid a looser feel.

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Lessons from a Tree Branch~ Abigail Massung

 This summer my family decided to visit Michigan’s upper peninsula for a week. While hiking to one of the many waterfalls located up there, we saw a tree. The main tree was normal enough. I barely remember the tree itself because one of the branches held my entire focus. The branch grew out horizontal to the ground for a couple feet, appearing dead. Then, right at the end, it curved up sharply to stand proudly in the sun. That proud little tip grew up straight and green. My mom said something along the lines of: “It would do anything just to survive.” That idea echoed through my soul because lately I’d been trying not to give up my fight to survive.

    Looking back at the branch, I think about all it faced merely to reach out for a chance at a new start. How strong that branch had to have grown inside so it could support the new life! On the outside, it appeared to have died, but life must have coursed through it to feed the new life. It fought through the dark times to reach the sun. The strength it gained in those times gave it the base it needed to hold it up later on. All of us struggle in life –one way or another. We all face dark times when the sun never seems to shine. The thing is, we have to choose to keep growing through those times. If we keep struggling and not giving up, we’ll not only survive to see the sun, we’ll be strong enough to support the new life we’ll gain.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Finding the Perfect Eyeshadow~ Mikayla McMahen

Eyes are beautiful and intruiging and finding the right eyeshadow for your eyecolor can be a very important part of your makeup! Here are some ideas to get you started,

Blue eyes: I have found that more neutral colors such as light golds, tans, and copper tones beautifully bring out blue eyes.
Go bold: If you like bold eye makeup try a dark blue with a light grey blended in the crease and along the brow bone. 

Green eyes: Sage green makes green eyes really pop especially when paired with a light tan or cream shadow along the brow bone. 
Go bold: purple purple purple!!!! If looking at a color wheel you will see that purple is a complementing color for green, bright purple for a very dramatic look and lavender for a softer. a word of caution for when using bright purple make sure you let the heaviest coverage on the lid and fade out towards the crease and brow bone! otherwise the effect is a bit less than pretty ;)

Brown eyes: If you have brown eyes you can pretty much wear any color of eyeshadow well! Green shadow looks great with brown eyes, often causing them to have a hazel tint! 

If you have any eyeshadow tips I'd love to hear them!     

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Three Brothers~ Hogan Stevens

"She's caught tight!" Othniel called from atop the ravine.
Quinn sighed in aggravation, but Nolan stood off to the side, thoughtful.
The three brothers were sheep herders. For half an hour now they had been searching for one wayward lamb, which had wondered off into the ravine. Its wobby legs had somehow led it toward the most dangerous part of the slope, where just below the rushing river threatened to sweep it away should it fall. The rocks were more like boulders here where the small creature had succeeded in tangling itself in some reeds wedged just between two large rocks. The poor lamb bleated mildly as Othniel carefully made his way out of the ravine and back to his brothers standing safely at the edge.
"I can walk down to him, Quinn. It won't take but a second, and then we can be on our way." Othniel crossed his arms over his chest and surveyed the rocky slope, determination set on his rugged face. He was the oldest of the three and by far the most adventurous and confident. Once when he was just Nolan's age, he had slain a wolf with his bare hands.
Quinn snorted. "Yes, you would slide down to it, and be eaten by the river." The second brother, by far the most intelligent, squinted at the raging waters below. Calculating. "We need to think this through. Perhaps if you tied a rope about your waist and tied it to that tree--"
"Oh, and tell me where we'll get a rope that long!" Othniel interrupted with a barking laugh.
Quinn scowled at him and fell silent, but by the look on his face he was still forming a delicate, flawless plan.
"I can take a running start at it and avoid the rocks, alright? And then I can throw aside the boulders, scoop up the wee lamb, and there. Problem solved."
"By the steep set of the incline, you would fall to your death by running! I say we use the rope to help you down half of the way, and then you can crawl the rest of the distance. You'll need to roll the rocks aside, of course--"
"Of course--"
"--and try not to scare the lamb into running off."
Othniel frowned, insulted. "What? You think I don't know how to handle a lamb? I've been doing this far longer than any of you can--"
"Oh! Don't start that up again!"
The two brothers had forgotten all about their youngest, and assuredly most thoughtful and quiet, brother. Nolan had been standing off to the side, ignoring his siblings' bickering. He was quite used to being forgotten, pushed to the side. But this day, he knew exactly what to do. He was surprised neither Othniel nor Quinn had already thought of it, but then again, they were too busy arguing to really look.
Without a word, Nolan slipped away. Othniel and Quinn didn't even notice his leaving.
With a growl of aggravation, Othniel glanced up at the sun. "We're losing daylight, brother. I'm going down. Without that blasted rope." He scowled at the length of rope that Quinn was now holding.
"At least start from the least dangerous spot, Othniel." Quinn pointed with the rope, indicating what looked to be the least dangerous way to start the descent.
Othniel laughed again. "Least dangerous?! And where would be the fun in that?"
He turned from Quinn, his movements sure and confident as he readied himself for the run down the ravine. Cracking his knuckles dramatically, he turned to spot the lamb--and stopped. From behind Othniel, Quinn gasped as he saw it at the same time.
The lamb was no longer pinned.
It was now resting safely in Nolan's arms as the boy slowly made his way back up the rocky slope. The two brothers watched in shock as Nolan cleared the edge.
"What...How did you...?"
"You could've been hurt--"
With a smile, Nolan interrupted, "While you two were bickering about the best way to avoid sliding down the rocks, that's exactly what I did. They actually helped me get down safely, and I used them as handholds on the way up."
The light of understanding lit Quinn's face, but Othniel simply continued to frown.
Setting the lamb safely to its feet, Nolan shrugged. "Sometimes, brothers, what we see as a hindrance...can actually be used to get us out of the problem we're in. We only need to see it."
Othniel glanced at Quinn, both of them wearing expressions of complete surprise. Then smiles broke forth, and Othniel nudged Quinn in the ribs.
"I think I like this kid. He's not too bad!"
Photograph property of Lilies Among Thorns Magazine. Photograph taken by Vanessa.

Monday, August 13, 2012

John 15~ Heather Young

Have you ever found yourself puzzling over John 15? “What’s so important about a grape plant, anyway,” you think.  Here is an article that I hope will clear up your confusion.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”
John 15:1-11

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.” (v. 1)

The vine is the trunk of the grape plant that grows out of the ground.  Branches are connected to the vine The vinedresser is the keeper of the vineyard.  He works hard to coax from his plants the most pounds of grapes possible.

The branches of the plant are the main focus of the vinedresser’s efforts because they produce fruit.  They are tied to a trellis or propped up with sticks to let air circulate, to provide the maximum amount of sunshine, and to allow full access for tending.  Lovingly, the vinedresser cultivates each branch so that it will bear as much fruit as possible.  Yet every branch responds differently to his efforts, and when the time for harvest comes, each branch will have produced a different-sized crop, displayed in verse 2.

Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” (v. 2)

Fruit represents good works, as shown in Titus 3 and Psalm 1:

“And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.”
Titus 3:14

“He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.”
Psalm 1:3

The phrase, “take away” in verse 2 suggests that one might be “cut off” from God, severed from ever having a relationship with Him.  However, a better translation for the Greek word “airo-” would be “take up” or “lift up”.  Examples of where this is used can be found in Matthew 14:20, Matthew 27:32, and John 1:29.  One expert said, “New branches have a natural tendency to trail down and grow along the ground.  But they don’t bear fruit down there.  We lift them up and wash them off.  Then we wrap them around the trellis or tie them up.  Pretty soon they’re thriving.” 

“Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.” (v. 3)

See John 13:10 for an explanation as to why Jesus said this.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” (v. 4)

Notice that “Abide.” is said as a command.  When someone commands someone else to do something, it is because it won’t come naturally.  To abide means to remain, to stay closely connected, to settle in for the long term.  The branch shares an ongoing, vital connection with the vine; if it is disconnected, we wither and die and become of no spiritual use (v. 6).

You bear inner fruit when you allow God to nurture in you a new, Christ-like quality (Galatians5:22).

You bear outward fruit when you allow God to work through you to bring Him glory (Ephesians 2:10).

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (v. 5)

More abiding is performed by keeping Him in your thoughts and activities throughout the day.  Have an attitude like David did in Psalm 42:1, “As the deer pants for water, so pants my soul for You, oh God.”

If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.” (v. 6)

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (v. 7)

By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” (v. 8)

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.” (v. 9)

If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.” (v. 10)

These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (v. 11)

We are here not to fulfill our own dreams, but to fulfill God’s dream of us giving Him glory.  In this way, we find our greatest joy.

1. no fruit (v. 2a)

Producing no fruit is a result of enduring sin.  In order to correct us, God can make Himself heard in many ways.  Just as the vinedresser takes necessary measures to correct a wayward branch, so does God take necessary measures to correct wayward believers.  Throughout each of our lives, He persistently offers us opportunities to respond to His loving and wise nudging us in the right direction.

“Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the LORD your God disciplines you.”
Deuteronomy 8:5

“And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
‘My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.’”
Hebrews 12:5-6

2. fruit (v. 2b)

To prune means to thin, to reduce, to cut off.  As your relationship with God grows, you will need more of your lesser priorities cut away to make room for God to get greater glory.  Similarly, as a grape plant grows, more and more branches must be cut away each year to let enough sunlight in for a maximum fruit product.  One difference between disciplining and pruning is during discipline you need to repent, and during pruning you need to give God permission to work in your life.  The most fruitful and the most joyful Christians are the most pruned Christians.

3. more fruit (v. 2c) and 4. much fruit (v. 5b)

During abiding, only what’s happening on the inside matters.  The process begins with activities such as Bible reading and prayer.  Also, the key is to break through from duty to relationship with God.

In conclusion:

1. If your life consistently bears no fruit, God will intervene to discipline you.
2. If your life bears some fruit, God will intervene to prune you.
3. If your life bears a lot of fruit, God will invite you to abide more deeply with Him.

God can use you no matter what season you are in!

***Credit to Bruce Wilkinson’s book, Secrets of the Vine for the majority of information in this article***

Photograph property of Lilies Among Thorns Magazine. Photograph taken by Corrine Voelp.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

World Watch List~ Emily Ciszewski

Crazy to think that in one moment I’m praying that I won’t get my period this week because I have a party to go to, Mom’s trying to decide if we should have tacos or chicken for supper, my sister is complaining that she doesn’t know what to wear to Church and someone in Asia is being beaten for singing a praise song in her own home.
Ridiculous, isn’t it? And I just hum along with my stereo blasting my favorite Jamie Grace song.

We forget. We’re humans. Not elephants.

And I apologize when I remember what a spoiled little American girl I am.
I really do - and I know many of you do as well - so I’m not raining on your good life. Just reminding the lot of us to hear the thunder.

Over 1 million Christians in this world are daily persecuted for their love of God.
And it’s not me receiving that weird look from the guy in A&W after he heard me thanking God for my chicken and root beer. That’s not persecution; that’s curiosity.
I don’t know where we come up with our American idea of persecution.

So, in those five minutes that I prayed for my period to wait a week, my friend to invite me over, my nerves to relax, the sun to shine in the morning…I could’ve been praying for somebody being tormented in Belarus Poland.

Want to start praying a little more?
Great - I hoped you might!
Here’s a link to help you pray for the whole world of the known persecuted Church! (Isn’t it crazy how God made even the Internet to further His cause?)

By the end of 2012 Open Doors International and all involved will have prayed for all of these countries and peoples, and you can be apart of it! Go to the World Watch List website and sign up for the weekly emails, and help us pray for these 50 countries.

To be honest, I’m still struggling with praying for the Church…the Bride of Christ - that’s us you know…and so it’s not like I’m little Miss Perfect ranting on you. But I bet I if spent one day in the shoes of that Asian woman being beaten by hate filled locals…I’d remember to pray.

And just remember as well, that God gives us grace to do the things He asks of us -

2nd Corinthians 9:7-8  
Will you accept the grace so that you may do every good work He’s prepared for you?
Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work…

Monday, August 6, 2012

Confidence~ Renee Arnold

These days, being confident in yourself and your abilities is a gift. The world tries to tear us down at every turn telling us that we are not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough or talented enough. It is important to find an area of your life in which you are sure in your abilities whether it be a sport, school subject or area of service in which you participate in.

    However, confidence can have its downfalls. For example, if you put all of your self worth into a talent and an injury occurs and you can't participate in the season, what do you have to fall back on? And if you base your confidence in a boyfriend and you break up, you are going to be an emotional wreck because you are going to feel like you have nothing left.

    You never have any need to feel hopeless or worthless because you have God on your side. Although God takes pride in your gifts just like you, he yearns for you to have a deep rooted confidence, a kind based in your faith that won't waver based on circumstances.

Photograph property of Lilies Among Thorns Magazine. Photograph taken by Abby Whear.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Casting Crowns~ Come to the Well Review by Michelle Pell

"Come To The Well" is the fifth studio album of one of Christian music's most successful acts, Casting Crowns.The Atlanta based music group is committed to delivering thought-provoking music about topics that truly matter to their listeners. "...these songs are among the most intensely personal offerings the group has ever shared," says the group's website. The group does not preform shows on Sundays because the seven band members are all worship leaders at their own home churches. "Courageous" is showcased on Sherwood Pictures newest movie of the same title and challenges men to lead lives committed to Christ while imploring husbands to be leaders for their families. Popular single, "Jesus, Friend of Sinners" is all about compassion and love for the broken, and "Face Down" is a beautiful worship song. For the romantics out there, "Wedding Day" and "Angel" are both adorable love songs. One is about the best day of the singer's life and in the other the singer is amazed that an "angel" would love him. Whether you are a seasoned Casting Crowns fan or you are just now discovering the band, you will be greatly satisfied with the blend of scripture-based lyrics and contemporary rhythms the newest album offers.

1. Courageous (see the movie trailer for this song's inspiration:
2. City On A Hill
3. Jesus, Friend of Sinners (hear more about this song:
4. Already There
5. The Well
6. Spirit Wind
7. Just Another Birthday
8. Wedding Day
9. Angel
10. My Own Worst Enemy
11. Face Down
12. So Far To Find You