Thursday, October 24, 2013


{photo courtesy of HannahElisePhotography}

Today's post is going to be answering a few more of the questions I received from
this post back in September.
First off, just as a little disclaimer-
I so do not have the perfect answers to all of these. I do not have it "all together" (not even close!)
and some days I wonder what in the world I'm doing even running a blog, period? 
All that said...y'all asked, so you can take or leave the advice of a very simple twenty-two year old girl who still has a lot to learn in life. =)

What you do with your life post school?
this answer could be a book. =) but time is limited.
*work as my father's personal secretary doing all the secretary work for our family ministry. 
this includes processing and mailing all cd orders, answering/sending all emails, booking concerts through email, researching various church websites and venues, getting all concert dates to our webmaster, mailing letters and promotional materials to every concert venue two months prior to the concert, restocking cd/book inventory in the bus before every trip, and working with our photographer and graphic designers for every new photo shoot, album, poster, prayer card, and business cards.
*teach piano to three of my siblings.
*travel with my family half of the year, giving concerts all over the US and Canada.
*study photography and do it on the side as a business.
*create/remake/design clothing for myself, my sisters, and others.
*sing in the choir and volunteer with various other jobs and ministries at my church.
*travel with Bright Lights when I can. 
(which was none last year. =( and just a week this year. I love it when I am able though!)
*make lunch every day for my family
*do all of the laundry for my family
*feed our baby calves every morning
*maintain my blog.

Advice in helping other young girls in the church community?
Your example is the #1 thing. 
As older young women we cannot over emphasize the power of our influence.
It's actually quite frightening, if you actually think about it.
Like when you see a younger girl imitate your hairstyle or something else unique to you and it just really hits you "Wow. She got that from me! What else is she picking up on?"
 You would not believe the things younger girls notice.
Our attitude, response to different situations, conversation, and definitely our dress, 
are all things they  catch onto so quickly.
Make sure that the person you are is someone you would want to see imitated. 
Because if you have younger girls in your life, chances are you will be seeing yourself in a miniature before too long, as they copy and emulate you.

Ideas/advice/encouragement in living life as a single woman to the fullest?
get involved in serving. some way, some how. 
no matter where you live or what you do, there is ALWAYS, and always will be, a need for more people with a servant's heart. 
every single community has either a nursing home, or a homeless shelter, or lonely neighbors, or all of the above.
there will always be the need.
the problem is that many people aren't answering the call to give of themselves and fill that need.
For me right now, God has me busy pretty much full time just serving the needs of my family and church. And that is great.
But if I didn't have either of those outlets, there would still be so many other ways/areas to serve in my community.
Think outside of the box. Get a passion for something beyond yourself, something you can do to 
impact other people for Christ.

Advice for living life at home as an adult?
This can be a great thing or it can be a horrible thing.
What's really unfortunate about the whole topic is that there is this crowd of homeschoolers out there that has almost ruined the reputation of us "still-at-home-after-highschool" ers.
When I say ruined our reputation, I mean ruined the way people as a whole think about young people living at home/not going away to the typical 4yr degree, secular college deal.
They've almost ruined it because there is a large number of graduated girls (and guys, but we're just talking about the girls here so I won't get started on the guy problem)
who do nothing but wash laundry, make dinner, and browse the web.
Now, I'm not saying those things are bad. (I do each of them!)
But if that's all you're doing there is a serious problem.
I've seen way too many girls who have done that.
You will look back years later and realize that you have wasted your single years of life pining away, sitting in your house, accomplishing nothing.
We do not live just to subsist! We live to thrive! To be doing things, going places, making a difference!
Now, I'm not saying you can never have a day at home.
I'm saying that you need to find ways to be productive.
Get out and meet people.
-Organize a get-together for your neighbors. 
(Our family loves doing this, although we haven't done it for quite a while! one of my friends' family recently did a very fun activity with their neighbors-read about it here!)
-Volunteer at a local nursing home.
(another friend of mine did this. The staff noticed her joy, love, and genuine heart for the residents...and they offered her a staff position as the activities directer!=))
-Learn valuable skills
(do this. sewing, cooking, first aid, drama, art, jewelry making, photography, fitness, web design, music, interior design, calligraphy, hair design, film. the list could go on and on, but you get the idea. My parents always pushed my sister and I to excel in the areas we loved and were passionate about. We've worked hard on those and at one time we were each running multiple businesses that we had started on our own, based on skills we had cultivated. Due to our increased traveling and us both working for our family ministry now, we have had to cut back a bit on our personal work. But that's okay! Someday if I'm in a totally different stage of life and wanting a part-time job to do on the side, I will easily be able to resume my piano studio, or give more sewing lessons, or things like that.) 
Do not believe the lie that you have to go to college to be successful. 
Because it is just that-a lie.
I don't have time now but if I did I could go on and on and ON listing people I know who are super successful, who didn't even make it past 8th grade. I've seen way too many success stories come from "uneducated" people, to believe the hype that's out there about the "necessity" of having a degree.
From what I've observed, the following things are way more important than a degree.
-love for God
-love for people
-good social/people skills
-a love of learning, literature, and reading (this is vital!)
-a good work ethic
If you have those five things you will be just fine without a degree, and you will also be about $100,000 dollars richer. =)
Also don't buy the argument of "well, what if my husband dies someday and I need to work full-time to support my family?"
Trust me, if you've cultivated some of the skills listed at the top, and you have those "five things" I talked about, you will have no problem providing for your family.
Now, I am not saying college in and of itself is bad. Not at all. I have lots of friends who are in college, with a vision and a purpose and a plan. They know what they're going for, they are studying hard to finish, and they work through the summer to pay their tuition. 
What frustrates me is that there are so many people who go just because its the "expected thing". 
they go with no purpose whatsoever.
And the percentage of people who get a degree and end up doing something totally unrelated to the degree, for the rest of their lives...well, the percentage is high.
I know I'm getting into stuff here that isn't really related to the question, but it all does kinda tie in when you consider everything involved.
When you choose to stay at home, you will get lots of criticism, from both well-meaning people, and from people whose main goal is to make you look stupid. 
(trust me-I've been at home post school for 5yrs and I've heard it ALL)
You need to have a good, solid, intelligent answer when people ask you "so what do you do at home all day, since you're not going to college?"
They want to hear "welll....I'm helping my mom...and making supper...and I do all the laundry!"
That will convince them that their daughters are so much more well-prepared for the "real" world, than you are.
(note: cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry are all excellent accomplishments and I don't want to slight them because our calling as women is caring for the home. but those things should be learned by the time you are twelve. once you are out of high school, you should easily be doing those things every day as well as practicing ministry, building skills, and being involved in church/community projects, etc)  
I love to watch people's expression when they ask me the "what do you do" question
and I give them my answer. 
Usually I don't even go into everything I do. I just have to list a few things 
(ie. listed at the top of this post)
 and they usually tell me "wow, I guess you are really busy!" =) 
I understand that we're not here for approval of man, but at the same time our lives need to be a good witness. 
A good testimony. 
We want the world to look at us and see something different. 
Something that's vibrant and alive and WORKING.
Slowly but surely, people are understanding that just because someone went to college and got a 4yr degree...doesn't mean they know how to work hard. It doesn't mean they automatically are successful.
People are starting to realize that there is a problem with the way "everyone does it".
We have an awesome opportunity to give them the answer to that problem!
"And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy HEART, and with all thy SOUL, and with all thy MIND, and with all thy STRENGTH."
Mark 12:30
This verse is what I'm talking about! We need a heart that loves people, a soul that is sensitive to need and hurt, a mind that is sharp, honest, and filled with truth, and the strength and energy to work hard both physically and spiritually.
So... my biggest advice for those of you living at home post-school:
 be involved in things. be productive, busy, happy, energetic. do things in your community. in your area. in your world! 
study. read. discuss. disciple. make a difference.

Along these lines, a book that is highly beneficial in this area is "Preparing to Be A Helpmeet".
 I've never recommended this book here on my blog before because there are a couple things in it that I definitely don't agree with. 
But for the sake of the part of it that is really, really good, 
I'm giving a little endorsement, 
without totally endorsing it. (if that makes sense =))
On the topic of the importance of preparing yourself, and spending your single years wisely, this book is the best I have read. So many books on this subject don't deal with the problem in a practical way.
But this book is all about honesty and practical application.
(if you know anything about Debi Pearl, you know that blunt truth is her specialty! =))
Again, I'm not saying I agree with everything in the book. So don't read it and be shocked if you find something that you don't think I would agree with. Cause chances are, I don't. =)
But for sake of the topic above, I really wish all girls could read it, and apply the truth to their years at home.

I'll end with one of my favorite quotes of all time, that really sums it all up:
"Wherever you are, be all there!"
-Jim Elliot

Anyway, that's it for today. I'd love to hear thoughts back from y'all!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Of High Heels & Surprise Parties

Last week Alli & I helped two friends of ours throw a huge surprise birthday bash for our preacher's wife, Charity Brown.
Hannah designed the awesome invites for us, based off an idea found on pinterest. Aren't they awesome?
The party was a smashing success. 
The dear ladies we were helping went ALL OUT with the decor. I wish I could take credit but it was honestly all them. Their creativity knew no bounds!
Given Charity's great love of high heels, the color pink, and candy...each of those items were at the party in abundance! 
Everything turned out incredibly and was amazing. Such a fun theme, seriously.
Below is the party in pictures, including:
the candy buffet, the regular food buffet, the tables, cake, centerpieces, prizes for winners of the games, the actual games taking place (the games were super fun. in one, all the ladies took off their shoes and placed them at one end of the basement, and then stood at the other end. When they heard "go" they all ran toward the pile, found their shoes, ran back to their table, and put their shoes on. the table with every lady seated with her shoes back on, first, won. 
the other game involved each table having one of their people wear a pair of high heels (provided from a previously collected pile) and see who could find certain items in their purse and run them up to the head table first. both games were hilarious. you have to know our church to understand-the ladies are all super ambitious and competitive and our preacher's wife is chief among them. So both games were wild, loud, and just a touch violent. =))
gotta love girl parties! And there's just nothing quite like blessing someone else with one.