Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Lonely Track~ Short Story by Nataleigh Robinson

The clock struck one and Addison glanced around the room again nervously.  He had said midnight, midnight exactly but as she looked around the room again she was beginning to doubt if he would ever come.  She glanced at her watch again and decided that she was done waiting around. 

She turned toward the door stopping only for a minute to look back over her shoulder hoping that someone would notice her departure, someone would stop her and tell her they wanted her to stay but just as she had expected no one paid her any attention. 

“Can I pull up you car miss?”

She snapped back to attention turning toward the valet who was standing behind her.  “Yes, Weems please.”  He spoke into the small speaker pinned to his jacket asking one of the drivers to “please pull up Miss Weems vehicle.” She watched the dancing guests spinning around the dance floor in the Waltz.  She sighed and took her coat from the man who had just brought it to her and turned to get into her car. 

As she drove the familiar road home her thoughts turned to Blaine once again.  She should have expected it, it was typical.  Every guy who had ever promised her anything always let her down in some way or another.  She should have known Blaine would be no exception. 

She was 20 years old and she was ready to settle down, get married and have children, but try as she might nobody was willing to stick around for long.  She had started online dating not long after her 20th birthday deciding that if she didn’t start taking some control of her love life sooner than later than she would probably end up an old maid.

The thought of being single for the rest of her life usually made her feel sick to her stomach she couldn’t imagine what it would be like to die alone without having experienced true love and children and grandchildren.  What a lonely existence that would be.

When she had met Blaine through one of the online dating sights she had promised herself that she wouldn’t get worked up about him, she didn’t want to be disappointed.  But the more they had talked and the more they got to know each the harder she found it not to imagine herself marrying this guy and living happily ever after.  Finally after a couple months they had agreed to meet. 

She had spent hundreds of dollars on the perfect dress, spent hours searching for the perfect shoes and had booked her hair and nails appointment months in advance.  The evening was supposed to be glorious.  As she neared the punch bowl at five till midnight with heart pounding she had envisioned Prince Charming coming up and sweeping her off her feet.  But as the minutes ticked by she slowly started to realize that she had been stood up…again.

As she parked her car and headed inside to her small one bedroom apartment, she couldn’t erase the feeling of rejection and couldn’t help but feel like maybe there was something that she was doing wrong that was causing all the guys to run the other direction when they started getting to know her. 


She kicked off her heels and headed to the bathroom where she stood staring at herself in the mirror for a moment, “What am I missing?” She asked her reflection, “I think I look ok maybe not drop-dead gorgeous like some girls but it’s not like I’m hideous or anything.”

She took her time to change out of her dress all the while thinking through her potential flaws and trying to figure out what it was that caused Blaine to reject her.  By the time she crawled into bed she had practically convinced herself that she would never be able to attract a man.  “Maybe it would have been better if I hadn’t been so picky about the type of guy I wanted.  I’m sure it was my conviction to stay pure that scared Blaine off.  If I could do it over again I wouldn’t have been so hard to date.  Maybe I would be married by now” By the time she drifted off to sleep her pillow was soaked through with her tears. 

When she woke up the next morning she felt terrible.  Her sheets were tangled and in an attempt to untangle herself she ended up tumbling onto the floor.  She stood up in confusion wondering how she had misjudged where the edge of the bed was and scrambled to her feet.  The sun was shining through her single window and she decided that today would be a good day for a jog. 

“I’ll take a nice long jog and then I’ll come back and update my profile,”  She thought as she pulled on her tennis shoes,  “maybe there was something I’ve missed that’s been turning people off or maybe there’s something I need to add to it.”

She ran for probably a good hour before stopping and by then she was standing outside a small park with a little girl sitting on a swing.  There was a bench close by and she crossed the distance and flopped down on the bench.  The little girl hopped off the swing and rushed over stopping just a couple of feet from the bench, “What are you running from?”  She asked curiously.

Addison laughed softly, “I’m not running away from anything.”

The little girl climbed up onto the other end of the bench and stared intently at Addison, “You have to be running away from something, you were running like someone was chasing you, were you playing a game?”

“No I wasn’t playing a game,”  She was about ready to tell her once again that she wasn’t running away from anything but then realized that it wasn’t true.  “I guess I was running from something.”

The girl scooted a little closer and repeated her original question, “What are you running from?”

Addison sighed and leaned forward resting her chin in her hands, “Something I can’t get away from.”

The little girl looked around nervously her blond pigtails swinging back and forth as she looked for any sign of danger, “I should be getting home,”  She said slowly edging off the bench.

Addison laughed gently and shook her head. “I’m not running from a person, I’m running from a problem.”

The little girl looked relieved and climbed back onto the bench, “How do you run away from a problem?”  She asked pulling her legs underneath her and placing her small hands on her knees. 

Addison looked out at the park as a squirrel dashed up a tree startling a bird that flew away; she sighed and looked at the little girl that was staring at her eagerly.  “I’m not actually running away from anything.”  She stared down at her hands wondering why she was so nervous to talk to a little girl, it wasn’t like she would even understand what she was saying, “I’m just running to distract myself from thinking about my problem.”

The little girl nodded as if she understood and then to her surprise said, “I do that too.”  She looked down at her hands studying them as if they had suddenly become interesting, “except I don’t run I come here and swing on that swing,” She turned and pointed at the swing she had been previously sitting on.

Addison turned to look at the little girl staring at her curiously, “What do you have to distract yourself from?”

The little girl shrugged and didn’t look at Addison, “A lot of stuff,”

“Like what?”  Addison pressed sensing that this little girl had a lot of things on her mind.

She didn’t say anything

“Well I’m here because I’m tired of being alone.”

The little girl brightened, “Well you’re not alone anymore, I’m right here.”

Addison smiled at the little girl, “thanks but that’s not what I meant, I meant that I want to be married.”

The little girl scrunched up her nose, “I don’t think I’ll ever get married.”

Addison laughed, “You won’t say that when you’re older.”

“Mommy says boys are stupid and don’t ever keep their promises.”

“That’s not true of all boys.  There are good guys out there.”

The little girl thought for a moment then said, “Well than I would rather wait until I find one of the good ones.  And if I never find one then I’ll just live by myself forever and ever.”  She paused for a minute considering something then said, “My daddy ran away and never came back when I was just a baby.  My mommy got married when I was three and now they’re getting a divorce now mommy cries all the time when I asked why they didn’t just apologize and make up she said because she didn’t trust or love him anymore, but I think she’s lying because I still here her crying when she doesn’t think I’m listening.”

Addison sat there in speechless shock and then finally regained her composure, “That’s a lot for a little girl to carry by herself.”  She just nodded, so Addison continued, “you make my problem sound really small.”

The little girl laughed and to Addison it seemed like the sweetest sound she had ever heard, “mommy says that adult problems are always bigger than kid’s problems.” 

Addison grinned, “Well that’s not true in this case.”

The little girl looked over at a house across the street and hopped off the bench, “I should be going or mommy will get worried.”

Addison nodded and watched as she raced across the park, stopping for only a moment to look both ways before dashing across the street and disappearing inside a house.  Addison just sat there for a moment.  “God forgive me,” She whispered, “I’ve been so focused on being in a relationship that I haven’t been thinking clearly.  I almost set aside my purity but you’ve reminded me that it would cost me more to give myself away then it would cost to keep myself pure.” 

She stood up then and started the jog back toward her apartment once she got back inside she pulled up the online dating sight and hit the delete button, “God I’m going to trust you now.  I’m going to trust that you will bring the right guy my way when the time is right.  And give me other things to focus my attention on until that time.” 

 Did you know that Nataleigh's favorite movie is "To Save A Life"?!
Did you know that Gina's mom is also her best friend?!

Photograph property of Lilies Among Thorns Magazine. Photograph taken my Gina Vasquez.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

How To French Braid~ Renee Arnold

French braiding is a great way to style your hair but it can be confusing to figure out. Here are 14 steps that will help you learn how to braid your hair in this intimate and casual style.
1. Learn how to basic braid if you do not already know how.
2. Brush your hair out so there are no tangles or knots.
3. Separate a section of hair from the rest. This is where your braid will begin.
4. Break that section into three even parts,
5. Cross the strand on the far right with the strand in the middle
6. Add some hair from the far right side from your head using your right index finger,
7. Cross the left strand with the middle strand. Grasp the right strand with your right pinkie finger, then rotate your left hand so you can grasp the left strand.
8. Now add hair to the strand on thee far left from your head.
9. Again, cross the right strand over the middle strand.
10. Add more hair to the right side from your head. Adding hair will keep the braid sturdy in case you were wondering.
11. Cross the left over the middle. If you're having trouble, remember to hold the strand you're not using at the moment, in this case your right, with your pinkie, and rotate your hand so it's out of the way.
12. Add hair to the left again.
13. Braid the rest of your hair normally as far as you can reach.
14. Tie off the end of the braid so it stays put.
Hope this explained this hair style a little, if your still having trouble, try a YouTube video that shows you the steps in motion.
Did you know that Renee hates it when she does not have lip gloss or balm on?!?!

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Creepy Spider: A True Story by Hogan Stevens

If you know me very well, you know that I am terrified of spiders.
When I was little, we lived in a big house out in the country that was frequently invaded by the most dreaded spider of all. I'm talking about the Grandaddy Long-Legs, that terror inspiring creature with the long, spindly legs that surely make it the most horrific spider known to man. At least, it was the most scariest spider the six-year-old me knew.
I remember how I would make sure to have one of my parents or my sister check the bathroom for spiders every time before I even thought about going in, because I had had far too many incidents where a spider presented itself to me after I shut the door. It wasn't unusual for a shrill scream to break the peace of our household on account of me encountering one of those eight-legged devils.
Well, unfortunately for me (and my family), this fear has stayed with me over the years. I am not sure what it is exactly, but something about the way spiders look and move just creeps me out something terrible. And yes, I hate to admit it, but I still shriek when I see one and I have to yell for the nearest person to come kill whatever monster I encounter. Usually, they're hardly the size of the eraser on a pencil, but even the smallest of spiders cannot escape my notice.
Thankfully, where we live now is nearly devoid of any arachnid life. We've been here about four years now, and I have only had a handful of terrifying experiences regarding spiders (snakes, on the other hand...that's another story).
But then there was the day my mother was out of town, my father was at work, and I was alone in the house.
The day started like any other. It was in the summer, so I had been spending my liesure time either reading or writing, and when it came around noontime I figured I had best get something to eat. I sidled into the kitchen, idly wondering if we had any good soup left, when I saw IT.
A spider, black and furry, was on the blinds of the window above the kitchen sink. I froze in midstep, my eyes widening as I watched it scuttle about, seemingly unaware of my silent horror. After a moment, I managed to shake myself from my shock and I hurried over to the cabinet, where I quickly procured the first weapons I could find: A plastic cup and a paper towel.
I then proceeded to stand in the middle of the kitchen and watch in terror as the spider crawled from the window onto the countertop.
This went on for a good five minutes; I stood stock still, holding my flimsy weapons with a death grip, and the spider, unfazed, continued to navigate its way around the kitchen countertop.
Finally, I could stand it no longer. I called my dad.
"Dad! There's a spider in the kitchen and I have no idea what to do!"
He must be used to these sort of things by now. Calmly, he instructed me to find either a newspaper of some sort or a broom--whatever I could get my hands on--and smack the living daylights out of it. Sound advice.
I quickly spotted a magazine on top of a nearby table, so I snatched it up and rolled it into a tube. After assuring my dad I would win this battle or die trying, I hung up the phone and once again focused on the furry offender, which was still in sight.
I steadied myself. I can do this, I thought. It's just a spider, Hogan. It's probably more scared of you than you are of it.
As I took a deep breath and clutched the magazine tighter, I highly doubted it.
Gathering my courage, I went into Fearless Magazine Wielder Mode. The spider seemed to finally take notice of my existence as I started running after it and screeching unintellibly when I got too close to it. And like all crafty, creepy spiders it was good at hiding from my magazine of doom. It was quite adept at scurrying beneath things just as I would sweep my weapon over the counter. In my quest to kill the beast, I ended up accidentally upending the toothpick holder (sending toothpicks flying everywhere), knocking over the soap dispenser at the sink, and whacking a bag of noodles off the counter.
Swiftly running out of places to hide, the black creature ended up scooting underneath my mother's knife block. Having gained some courage during my little smacking frenzy, I pushed the block to the side---and was a little surprised to see my opponent curled into a fetal position. Obviously, it had come to realize that its end was near.
Holding the now hopelessly crumpled magazine in my left hand, I deftly smacked the spider, retrieved the trash can, and triumphantly swept it off the counter. I had done it. I, a girl that has been scared of spiders all her life, managed to get rid of one all by myself.
Needless to say, the magazine also had to be tossed. It was too scarred from the battle to survive another. And I think I would still rather not have to face any more creepy spiders by myself. One is enough.
Did you know that Hogan is very accident prone?!
Did you know that Lauren loves making cards?!

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

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Word From the Wise (The Wise Being God)

Dear Nadia,

 I'm a shy girl and I'm not very good at starting conversations with the girls at my church. Do you have any tips on how to start a conversation with them?

 ~ Ice Breaker

Dear Ice Breaker,
An amazing thing about making friends at Church is that you already have the greatest common point you could ever share - your faith in God! I know it might feel uncomfortable to use that as a topic of conversation at first, though. One great way to break the ice is to give sincere compliments! Complimenting a girl on her cute outfit or on an awesome youth group sharing brightens her day and may open doors to more topics. Asking questions also stimulates conversation. Breaking the ice can be/feel really awkward, but you need to push through the stickiness! You can do it, girl! And Jesus, our Best friend, reminds us: "Let not your hearts be troubled. Trust in God: trust in me also" (John 14:1). Jesus will always remain by your side and you can run to Him - especially when you feel lonely and disheartened (I know how that can be)! He is the Best friend ever! Talk to Him about how you feel and ask Him for opportunities to talk to your Church girls. He will guide you! Even if it seems like something like starting a conversation isn't important to Him, I know it is! Let His Spirit guide you. As Romans 8:14 says (my paraphrase), the Holy Spirit will guide God's children!

Dear Nadia,

People at my school make VERY rude comments to me because I make it known that I am a Christian. Right now, I'm getting sick and tired of gritting my teeth and keeping my mouth shut. I pray as I walk down the hall and pass them, but my mind is swarming with comments to say to them. Help me please!

~Tired and Angry

Dear Tired and Angry, 
I'm sorry you're having to deal with these rude comments. Remember what Jesus said? "No servant is greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also" (John 15:20). But that's not it! He also promised "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you" (Deuteronomy 31:6). He also said that He would send us an Advocate - a Helper - who would strengthen us (John 14:16, 15:26). Now I know, that's all well and good, but it doesn't change the fact that these people at your school are bullying you. But I encourage you, beautiful daughter of the King, Take Heart! You are so beloved by Him and He is pleased immensely by your big heart and your faithfulness to Him! He wants to whisper words of comfort, a soothing balm to your soul: "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad because great is your reward in heaven" (Matthew 5:11-12). It's still hard and chances are, it will continue to be hard. The fact that Satan is putting such effort into getting you down suggests that you are doing an amazing job of shining for the Lord, sister :) Please don't let the criticism those who don't understand get you down! I'll leave you with this: "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us" (Romans 1:1-5).
Did you know that Haylie, the editor, gave Nadia the nick name, Noodles?!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Games, Coloring and More: Ideas for Your Next Group Gathering~ Rachel Melillo

It's winter! And while winter can be fun for a while, I certainly realize that frigid temperatures, mushy snow, and gray clouds can get old pretty fast. My friends and I have had a lot of free time this January and since going outside isn't really a fun option—when it's not snowing, it's raining or the wind is so bitterly cold! Here are some ideas for you and your friends to have a good time—without the risk of hypothermia or frostbite.

First of all, games! Seriously, my three best friends and I have made some awesome memories playing cards. Our favorite game is Egyptian Ratscrew (also known as Faces to some). Google some good card games and teach you and your friends. It may take a couple tries to get the hang of it, but press on, cards are easily transported and there are plenty of games that vary in length. Of course, too much of one thing is always a possibility, but there's always other games like Apples to Apples, Scrabble Slam (only about five dollars at Walmart!), Operation, Pictionary, Imaginiff, and so many others! If board games isn't the thing for you and your friends, perhaps one of you has a pool table or a ping-pong table. These can be great time takers. Have tournaments and experiment with fun ways to play these games!

Coloring is always a good standby. Perhaps some people think that coloring is for little kids, but not my friends and I! We love our coloring books filled with Disney princesses, Harry Potter images, animals, and Mickey Mouse. It doesn't take talent to color in a coloring book; no contests necessary to have a fun time. Afterwards, do something with the pictures! What good are colorful pictures if they're kept inside a book? Put some on a fridge, stick them in your locker, hang them on your wall—always a reminder of the fun times you've had with your friends!

Maybe the simple stuff isn't what you're in the mood for? Well, we're all girls here...pull out those manicure and pedicure sets and let your nails have a treat! Who cares if it's winter and you're always wearing shoes. We all know that pretty nails and feet make us feel better about ourselves! Have your friends over for a night of pampering and girl talk. Burn a couple mix CDs filled with positive uplifting music that you can put on in the background while you have a great time with your friends.

Take these ideas, grab some buddies, and have a great time! If you've got any great memories, feel free to share them by commenting below!

Did you know that Rachel has only remember dreams about 20 times in her life?!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Interview with Jessa Anderson

Our very own Haley Oscar got the great opprotunity to interview Jessa Anderson! Read all about Jessa and do not forgot to buy her newest cd "Not Myself Anymore".

What made you want to start your music career? Music has always been my passion--specifically singing. I toured with a ministry team my freshman year of college and realized that it was a lifestyle I really enjoyed. A few years after that I recorded my first CD, and alongside my husband Jordan, started touring full-time. Having Jordan by my side really gave me the courage to trust God with such an unknown path.

What’s your family like? Small and amazing. It's just me, Jordan and our 16 month old Lorelei and I am blessed beyond measure to have them. We are together all the time, which is a unique situation, but I genuinely enjoy sharing so much of our lives together. Life on the road is really fun with them!

How long have you been performing? I believe my first solo was "Jesus Loves Me" at the age of 2. :) I have been performing most of my life in different capacities. It's become the thing that I feel most comfortable doing and it really brings me joy.

When did you come to know Christ as your savior? At the young age of 4, at home with my parents. I've been so blessed to live most of my life on a journey with Christ and I continue to be amazed by who he is as I grow deeper in my relationship with him!

Do you have a message you want to give to teen girls everywhere? Oh, I could write a book here... That Christ is truly the beginning and the end, the All in All. We aren't guaranteed a pain-free life as followers of Christ, but I can promise he will meet your every need in a way that brings him glory. Someday it will all make sense, but even if that's not until we are with him in Heaven, he will never, ever leave your side. He loves YOU!

What’s your inspiration for song writing? Life! Isolation is the worst, and I hate thinking of all the times I could have opened up to someone in giving or receiving and either saved myself some pain, or helped save someone else that pain. Let's live life together, as a community of believers, with the aim to bring God the glory and love one another as he loves us! Songs have a special ability to connect us and bind us together, and I find that both fascinating and motivating!

What was life like for you as a teen girl? It was a roller coaster! I switched from a public to private school and the first year especially was terrible. I was betrayed by a close friend, gossiped about and bullied. However, sticking with my decision to attend that school was the best thing I could have done. My best friends now are the friends I made during those four years. They are loving, godly women who have seen me go through everything from terrible heartbreak to pursuing my dreams of being a musician, and they love me all the same! I learned a lot through my teenage years, but more than anything, I learned that God has a plan that extends far beyond my current struggle and that life just keeps getting better as we follow his plans for us!

How did you over come your hardest struggle? The hard way..ha! I have had to fail miserably (more than once) to realize that I am helpless, and often clueless. God is 100% trustworthy. Truly. Let him guide you, ask him for courage, and face the road ahead. He goes before us!

What is your biggest dream? Right now it's that Lorelei would see Jesus Christ for who he is and serve him with her life. Also, that I would be paving the way now with a legacy that will help lead her there.

What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not on the road? Domestic stuff- cooking great meals (trying, anyway), working on my sewing skills, decorating the house. I think I love nesting because I rarely have the opportunity.
Random Questions:
~What is your favorite time of day? Evening
~What is your least favorite food? Olives
~What is one thing you cannot live without? Material thing: iPhone
~ If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? New York City
~ What is your addiction? (If you have one!) It's a toss-up between Coffee and Pinterest

Monday, February 20, 2012

Stewarship Part 2~ Heather Young

Last month, I discussed how to be good stewards of our money. This month, I will explain how to be good stewards of ourselves. If you haven’t read Part 1, I would recommend doing so before reading this article.
· Ourselves
God gave us the greatest gift of all – life through His Son. The least we could do is give Him the greatest gift we can: our lives. To be good stewards of our lives, we must start by responsibly caring for our bodies, both physically and spiritually.
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”
1 Cor. 6:19-20
“Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.”
Romans 6:11-13
“Keep awake, and pray that you may not enter into temptation: the spirit is right willing, but the body is frail.”
Matthew 26:41
Take care of your body. Treat it like the treasure it is. That means not filling our bodies with unhealthy substances. It also means not filling our minds with corrupt thoughts. Also, be cautious about things that tempt you. In order to honor God with our bodies, we must “flee from evil things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness and gentleness” (1 Timothy 6:11).
Giving of our lives requires us to love God above anything else. When we love God with all of our heart, we will have a desire to serve Him no matter what. And He has given us each gifts that can help us serve Him. Jesus told a parable about a master who gave talents to his servants:

“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’
His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’
His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’ For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Matthew 25:14-30
God has entrusted us with His creation. If we are not faithful caretakers of His property, there will be just consequences. How can we expect God to trust us with His treasures in Heaven when we are not responsible with the little we have here on earth?
“And the Lord said, ‘Who then is the faithful and sensible steward, whom his master will put in charge of his servants, to give them their rations at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions.’”
Luke 12:42-44
Be on the lookout for next month’s article, Part 3!

Did you know that Heather is learning to crochet?!

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Hunger Games Book Review~ Michelle Pell

The Hunger Games ~ Suzanne Collins
5 out of 5 stars! Amazing!
Oh my, I don’t think I can fit enough praise, as this book deserves, into just one review! At first, I was a little hesitant to read this series because I’m not a huge fan of fantasy and that’s what I thought this book was. But it was so much more….
Set in the country of Panem, where the ruins of North America once existed, this is where the government, working in a central city called the Capitol, holds power. This story is about sacrifice, survival, betrayal, and the power of love.

Katniss Everdeen is just a girl living in District 12. But she has one huge responsibility on her shoulders. She has to support, and ultimately keep alive her mother and dear sister, Primrose.

She does this by going out every morning and hunting, then taking what she’s hunt and trading and selling it, even though it goes against all the rules and she could go to jail, even die. Just for trying to keep her family alive. But when her sister is chosen to be the tribute for the next Hunger Games, Katniss makes the ultimate sacrifice for the ones she loves. She volunteers to go, as a tribute, in her sister’s place. “In the book, the Hunger Games are an annual event where one boy and one girl aged 12 to 18 from each of the 12 districts surrounding the Capitol are selected to compete in a televised battle in which only one person can survive.

During the next few days, Katniss is trained in survival skills, and even how to act in public because the Games will be filmed on live television and the whole world is required to watch. These weeks of the Games, will be some of the hardest times of her life. Nothing, nothing could have prepared her for what she’s about to experience, and she can’t trust anyone. Not even herself.

Will Katniss be able to survive and outwit all the other tributes, or will she become just another person one the dead list?

Did you know that Michelle LOVES Reese's?!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Quickly Fading~ Hogan Stevens

Our lives here on earth are as passing as a thought. We are here one moment and then gone the next, passing away like leaves in autumn. To God, the time we spend here below is just a blink in eternity. To Him, time has no limits.
"Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever...No one remembers the former generations, and even those yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow them." (Ecc. 1:4, 11 NIV)
There are so many people in this world we live in, so many lives stretched across the centuries...So many lives lost from day to day. With all of the chaos, all of the confusion, one can't help but sometimes wonder if there is anyone out there that really cares. Is there? Is there truly someone that cares for each individual, who knows each and every person on this earth by name and loves them?
Yes, there is. And His name is God. His name is Jesus. Abba, Jehovah, Elohim, Yahweh. In all of His splendor and grace, He cares. He listens.
I know it may sometimes seem like God does not have the time to listen to each and every one of His children here on earth. I mean, there are billions of people, so many that it is sort of hard to think that the Lord truly sees and cares for each and every person. Sometimes, you may find yourself thinking that you are too insignificant for God to care about you. "God is only concerned about important people...Why would He want me, when I'm I don't do anything special; I'm not strong enough, not smart enough..."
David was a shepherd boy.
Moses was a murderer.
Ruth was simply a widow.
Saul persecuted God's people.
Throughout the Bible, God has demonstrated His love for each and every person. It doesn't matter who you are, just as long as you love God and want to serve Him. David? He slew a giant that no one else dared approach, and later became a great king beloved by the Lord. Moses was chosen by God to lead the Jews out of captivity. That widow Ruth wasn't overlooked, either. Ever trusting in God, she found a new husband--and life. And Saul? Even though he continually persecuted Christians after Jesus' ascension, as soon as God called to him he turned from his terrible ways and became one of the best missionaries in recorded history!
Believe me, God has a plan for you. However short this life is, however insignificant you think you are...the Lord still loves you, and He wants you to lead a fruitful, faith-filled life. It may not be the easiest life. You will encounter storms along the way and you might even forget again that God is always right there beside you. It may be hard to see His hand in your life, but always remember this: You are a princess of the king! You are His, and He is yours! He is the Good Shepherd, the loving master, and He will never--never--leave you in this world alone to deal with life yourself.
"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. (Jer. 29:11 NLT)
Just as a good father watches over his children most lovingly, God will never abandon you. To Him, you are worth it all.
For great is His love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD. (Psalm 117:2)

Did you know that Hogan once shattered her right wrist while roller skating?!
Did you know that Abby hopes to fly a small plane one day?!

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

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Single Ladies: What Do You Do? ~ Haylie Gregory

Single, the last word every girl wants to hear on Valentine’s Day. Instead of sulking about it, why don’t you check out this list I made on some pluses on being single.

©         You don’t have to try to impress anyone! You can have greasy hair and sweat pants on if you feel like it!

©         You can eat those nasty smelling chips and not have to worry about offending anyone.

©         You can play any videogame you want and not have to let him win.

©         You can watch whatever movie you want instead of having to decide on something you both want to watch.

©         You can take your girlfriends out for lunch and talk about movie actors! It would be weird to do that with a guy now wouldn’t it?

©         You can wear your jacket instead of having to feel like you are supposed to be wearing his.

©         You can paint each of your toe nails a different color and not worry about what he will say.

©         You can spend the day with your daddy! He’s loved you your whole life! Don’t have a daddy? Spend the day with your Heavenly Daddy. He’s loved you even longer!

©         You can eat a whole gallon of ice cream and not have to answer to anyone, well maybe your parents!

©         You can write a love poem or letter to God instead of feeling like you should write one for your bf.

©         You don’t have to share the couch! Hog it girl!

©         Liked that movie you picked out earlier in this list? Watch it again!

©         You don’t have to wonder if your bf will like the shirt you just tried on. If you like it, buy it!

©         You can dance around your living room like you are Ginger Rogers! Don’t know who Ginger Rogers is? Go on YouTube and look her up! I bet it will help you figure out what movie you want to watch.

So, if you are single (like me) and don’t want to sulk on being single, remember this list and live up your Valentine’s Day! Grab some of your single friends (girls and guys!) and have some fun! Just because your single doesn’t mean you can’t have fun on Valentine’s Day! Just remember who loves your more than many one else possibly could!

Did you know that Haylie's favorite ice cream is Ben and Jerry's Chunky Munky?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Beauty~ A Poem by Haylie Gregory

High heels

Mini skirt

Designer purse

Revealing shirt

Long lashes

Killer eyes

Polished nails

Skinny thighs

Perfect teeth

Soft hair

Toned body

Tummy, where?

To the world, this is beauty,

But that’s not what’s beautiful to Me.

Ecclesiastes 1:4, “One generation (outer beauty) passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth (inner beauty) abideth forever.”

Did you know that Haylie loves to wear men's shirts?!
Did you know that Lauren really wants to go to Venice?!

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

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Love Packages by Emily Ciszewski

I have a 4 space shelf in my room, almost too full to hold all the books I have. My mom has a couple book shelves and all of my sisters have book shelves. Steven J. Schimdt had book shelves full of books. He knew that God was speaking to him directly. He felt wasteful. He and his wife decided to start something they never thougth would get so big. When God starts something, it cannot be stopped!
That summer they sent 60 packages of books, magazines, tracts and Sunday School materials to 4 missionaries. That was just the beginning. Soon friends, neighbors, church members, and even strangers were dropping off books for them to send to missionary friends. People from everywhere started SENDING materials to them! That put it over the top.

The first overseas year of combined efforts weighed 3 and ½ tons. The second, 7 tons. The next, 11 tons. The next, 21 - it’s all up hill from there!

It’s estimated that for each piece of material sent, about 20 people read it - even one single sheet of paper!

Love Packages needs materials and If you're like me, you have lots you can donate! Love Packages is also  in need of volunteers. If you want to help, go to

Did you know that Emily currently has over 20 notebooks that she uses?!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Thoughts From an Old Romantic~ Zachary Tingle

An excellent wife, who can find?
For her worth is far above jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
And he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life. – Prov 31:10-12

            “Papa, when will my Prince come and marry me?” Grace’s innocent eyes queried her daddy’s. Without waiting for the response she continued, “I think he will be big and handsome and he will take me to his castle, don’t you?” Her eyes still sparkled with the anticipation of being swept off her feet and carried off to live happily ever after.
            Laugh lines creased her daddy’s eyes as smiled at his six-year-old daughter’s questions. They had just finished watching Sleeping Beauty and Grace’s imagination soared with the possibilities of who her prince would be.
            “Sweetheart,” he began as he pulled Grace into his lap, “do you remember who your Mama and I told you was the King?”
            Grace nodded her face shifting to the deep gravity only attainable by a child, “Yes sir, God is the King.” Her face morphed to an expression of joy and pride. “But I am His princess.” She finished with a curt nod to reassure any doubt that might have been entertained.
            A light chuckle accompanied the smile that softened her daddy’s face. “That’s right Sweetie, you are God’s little princess. Do you know what being God’s princess means?”
            A small frown creased the skin between Grace’s eyes as she mentally wrestled with the enigma. Finally, after a few seconds of thought her face cleared, “It means I have to marry a prince.” She stated matter-of-factly. “And,” she continued, “you are my knight who has to protect me from bad guys until the prince gets here.”
            This time her daddy’s laugh was full and ringing. Grace didn’t know what was funny but decided she like hearing her daddy laughing and joined him with her small giggle and hugged his broad chest with her small arms. Still chuckling her daddy nodded, “You are exactly right Sweetheart, just don’t forget that.”
            Grace hugged her daddy even tighter, “You’re always gonna be my knight, even after my prince comes for me.”

            Years passed and Grace gradually became more cynical. She no longer believed that a prince would walk into her ever-so-average life and sweep her off her feet, though she still wished for it so badly it hurt sometimes. As she grew she blossomed into beautiful young woman of 16 when the first of many attempts to steal her heart began.
            His name was Chris and he was nothing like the chivalrous prince she had envisioned as a child, but he was cute and popular and he told her how pretty he thought she was on a daily basis. Grace had heard that he wasn’t a good guy, but he was the only one who paid her any attention and she reveled in his compliments (though a few made her blush and tell him not to be inappropriate). When Chris was around she found it difficult to focus on her tasks, always wondering what his astute mind thought of her at the moment. As time went on Grace began to subtly shift the way she dressed and did her hair. She did not necessarily change on purpose, but thoughts of what Chris would think cluttered her mind as she readied herself for school. Grace knew her daddy wouldn’t approve of Chris, but she loved hearing that she was beautiful and that Chris wanted her around. Gone were the days of regarding her daddy as her knight-protector. She lost track of the promise she made to him nearly ten years before in the euphoria of being pursued and wanted. She forgot that she was supposed to be waiting for a prince. She forgot who the King is.

            This story could end in a myriad of different colors. It could end in the soft ivories and warm rose hues of happiness and contentment. But, considering the kind of man Chris is, the story will most likely end in blazing reds of anger, the black of depression, and the grays of indifference to all things romantic. The yellows of cynicism and the greens of jealousy (for the happiness others girls seem to posses) will most likely follow.
            Much of the pain of this encounter could have been averted had Grace remembered a couple of things. The first and most important thing Grace forgot was how deeply the King loves her (John 3:16). In the midst of fleeting admiration from Chris, Grace forgot how much more she is admired the King. The second thing Grace forgot is that she was to be waiting for a prince who would be her husband. Proverbs 31:12 says that an excellent wife will do her husband good all of the days of her life. That is a pretty big statement, it doesn’t say that she will do him good from the day that she meets or marries him. It says all of the days of her life. That means she will be striving to bless her husband by her actions even before they meet.
            I can confidently speak for myself and my fellow princes in Christ. There is nothing more beautiful or attractive than a woman who is secure in how the Lord perceives her and has tried to bless her future husband with her day-to-day actions and decisions. Prov. 31:10 says that her worth is above jewels (which was the most valuable form currency in that day), Lemuel is saying that a woman who fits this bill is more valuable than the most valuable object available at the time. This is the list paraphrased:

-          She delights in working or creating with her hands
-          She knows where to find food when the budget is tight
-          She is up early to make sure everyone is fed and cared for
-          She is business savvy  and knows how to reuse money for gain
-          Her body is strong and fit
-          The supplies of her household never run low
-          She knows how to create (especially were items of the home are concerned)
-          When there are leftovers she is generous to those who are needy
-          She has provided her family with warm clothing for winter
-          She dresses well and provides good clothing for her husband (and he is respected)
-          She carries herself with strength and dignity
-          She is wise and teaches with gentleness
-          She is not idle

This list is pretty crazy, it is not one of those things to try and tackle in one day, or even in one year. This is the list of what a woman will become if she actively seeks to do her husband good all of the days of her life. One of the final lines is the keystone to all of this. “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.” (v. 30). Grace fell into the trap of trying to appear charming and beautiful and did not fear the Lord. I speak from personal experience that a woman who fears that Lord is radiantly beautiful and almost irresistibly charming.
            As Valentine’s Day approaches and we hear and see the elements of romance around, refocus of the King. He has plans to make you prosper, plans that will not harm you (Jer 29:11). The King’s love is so much more complete and consistent than any love a man can give. We (men) are sinful and fallible, but the King is consistent and perfect in His affection for you. Whether the Lord has blessed you with a significant other or not, remember who Love is and to whom our first love is due.

Happy Valentines & God Bless,

P.S. Something to consider: God has given each of your dads to you as protectors and guardians, it will bless both you and him to give him a place in the season of dating or courtship. For those of you who don’t have a dad who follows the Lord, still invite him in (it might be a cool opportunity to share Christ) but also seek Godly male council (preferably a pastor or maybe a best friend’s dad – with her permission of course) on the men in whom you are interested. 

Did you know that Zachary has skied off of a roof?!