Autumnal Pictures

Hi, friends!

I hope you’re having a wonderful week. We have recently been getting rain here, which has been a definite change. It feels like autumn again. After the insanely hot weather we’d been having, it seems impossibly wonderful to have cool weather again. I suddenly spend time thinking about cozy books, warm blankets, and my new-favorite Earl Grey tea.

Today, I thought I’d just share a few pictures of the wonderful autumnal leaves lying everywhere. No, I haven’t gotten over using the word ‘autumnal’ in practically every sentence.

This is our sweet neighbor’s wonderful tree. Isn’t it pretty?
I actually darkened the edges of this picture, because it was just so crisp and wonderful.
For once, our weeds actually look pretty, all hidden underneath the leaves.
This one is just so pretty. I love the ways the colors kind of pop.
I like this one, too.

Well, those were my few autumnal pictures to share. I hope you enjoyed them. I enjoyed taking them. What’s the weather like where you are? I’d love to hear! Thanks for reading, and God bless you!

Christian Songs I’m Currently Enjoying

Hi, everybody! I hope you’re having a wonderful day today. I just thought that I would let out a quick post about some Christian music that I’ve personally been enjoying lately. I don’t know if anyone else is always craving more good Christian music, but I’ve definitely been looking for some. I’ve spent a lot of hours listening Christian music that was mostly kind of not-great, but there were a couple of winners mixed in, and those are the ones that I’m sharing today.

Alright, I’m only going to talk about six songs today, but I’d love to hear any other songs that you would recommend. I’m always paying attention for new Christian music to love and listen to over and over and over again. Yes, I am one of those people who can listen to the same song on repeat for hours without getting tired of it. No, I am not ashamed of it.

I Still Believe by Jeremy Camp

I feel like this song isn’t talked about a lot, probably because it came out twenty years ago. However, I find it very moving, and just a kind of calm, positive song for when you need to just focus on God and not what’s going on around you. I definitely listen to this song a lot, and I’ve played it on repeat so many times that when it doesn’t just start up again right away, I’m very surprised (I’m almost kidding).

My Jesus by Anne Wilson

I haven’t listened to this one near as much, but I think that Anne Wilson has a very unique voice, and I would definitely call her music ‘country Christian’, so it’s kind of fun. Very upbeat, although not my usual kind of thing. If you like that sort of stuff, definitely try it out, because it’s a very unique song, and will probably get stuck in your head (even without playing it on repeat).

This is Amazing Grace by Phil Wickham

Usually, songs like this really aren’t my thing, but I first heard it covered by Hillsong UNITED, and it was a much simpler song, so that sort of got me to like it before I ever even heard the original. Also, something that’s really cool about Phil Wickham is that he always records his own guitar tutorials for his songs. As a guitarist, I really appreciate that. You should definitely check this song out.

There Was Jesus by Dolly Parton and Zach Williams

This one is talked about a fair amount, but it’s just another great country-ish song to listen to, with a great message. Also, it’s just very moving. Don’t be surprised if you start crying while listening to it, and not because it’s sad. It’s just very emotional in a good way (I’m terrible at describing songs, to be honest). It’s really good, though, so go listen to it.

What a Beautiful Name by Hillsong Worship

To be honest, of all the songs on this list, this is the one that I’ve recently been listening to the most. Although it’s originally sung by Hillsong Worship, I have heard it sung by many artists. I’ve heard it by Hillsong United, Anne Wilson, Travis and Lily Cottrell, Reese Oliveira, Caleb + Kelsey, and pretty much everyone else who ever sang it. I think it’s just such a beautiful song, and it’s very powerful without being overwhelming. If you haven’t listened to it, you’re missing out.

Open the Eyes of My Heart by Michael W. Smith

I’m sorry, does anybody not know this classic hymn? Anyway, it wouldn’t be a music recommendations list from me if it didn’t include a Michael W. Smith song. This one is very upbeat, and it’s guaranteed to get you moving. When I just have to tidy up around the house, I just turn this one on, and punch up the volume a little. By the time the song’s done, I’m usually done. It just has that sort of effect, in addition to making you want to praise the Lord!

Alright, well, I was trying to make this a very quick post… and I didn’t really. But, that’s okay! I just want to be sharing my thoughts, feelings, recommendations, and encouragements with fellow Christians like myself. I hope that you’ve enjoyed this post, and I would love to hear about your favorite Christian songs and artists.

God bless you,

Change Your World With Love

‘Cause you know without a doubt, you can change your world with love.

So says Michael W. Smith in his awesome song, Love One Another. This statement is actually very true, and is inspiring for all Christians. This amazingly popular song, and this wonderful lyric specifically proved to be influential, becoming the namesake to not only the Michael W. Smith album, but also to the following tour. I posted the full video for that here, if you’re interested. Goodness knows I could do several posts talking about how great Michael W. Smith is, but that’s not actually my point right now. Today, I just wanted to talk about what it actually means to change your world with love.

We all share the same world.

While some of us seem to live in our heads more than the world around us (namely me), we all still live together striving to make things better in this world we live in. While we’re told that we can accomplish great change by becoming speakers and diplomats, sharing our thoughts with the world and working for peace, I wonder if it’s true. Sure diplomats and advocates are great and all, but it seems a rather unlikely goal for just an average girl like me to work towards.

Sometimes, when dwelling on melancholy thoughts of never being able to make a difference and fulfill the part that God has waiting for me, I become easily discouraged. It’s at moments like that, though, that I have to calm myself and reaffirm what I know to be true.

For one, it’s true that I do know without a doubt that I can change my world with love. We all can. Jesus came to be an xample setter, and we all know how greatly He changed His world (truly, not only did He live in this world, but He literally created it!). Shouldn’t we follow His example, and change our world with love?

Love isn’t always felt, but it can always be shown. Be kind and loving t o those around you, and you’ll make more of a difference than you know. Here I am, attempting to share God’s love with others through my blog. Sometimes I feel unsure of how well my blog is actually helping others, but Michael W. Smith sure got one thing right:

I know without a doubt I can change my world with love.

Keep sharing God’s love,

Strumming Strings for Worship

My fingers are sore.

Sorry, that’s probably not the greatest way to start a blog post. The picture above is of my guitar. It’s a great guitar, and probably not that great of a picture, but I’m not the photographer. That’s my brother. I just fool around with pictures for fun. If you’re interested in some great photography, though, Allison from A Farm Girl’s Life had these stunning pictures of sunflowers earlier today, and they were absolutely fantastic.

Back to the picture of my guitar, I’ve made a decision. This decision was formed after a (somewhat) intensive scavenger hunt for Christian music, which didn’t exactly turn out great. Turns out that my family and I aren’t exactly built for the Christian noise that’s out there. While we enjoy some Christian music (there’s some really great stuff if you know where to look), on the whole we were disappointed. So, I’ve decided (back to that big decision, right?) that I would learn how to make the Christian music I wanted on my guitar.

I know that I’ve talked about my guitar before, but not lately, partly because I haven’t been playing my guitar lately. In fact, as I mentioned before, I’ve barely played my guitar at all these last few months. however, now I’m launching myself back into playing that beautiful instrument that sits up on my wall collecting dust.

Anyway, I’ve decided that my goal is going to be an hour a day, and I started this morning, (which is why my fingers hurt). The cool thing about the guitar is it hurts the less you play it. I’m already learning the following list of Christian songs:

  • Awesome God
  • Thy Word
  • Step by Step
  • Above All
  • Open the Eyes of My Heart

If you have any further suggestions, please share them in the comments below. I would love to hear them, and I will keep you guys updated on how it goes. As I said in my blog post We Don’t Go To Church (And Why), we’ve shaped our own little church here at home, and I’m excited to be able to take an active part in contributing to our church by playing my guitar. I’m not all tht great at it, but I am happy to try harder to praise the LORD with my instrument.

God bless you,

-A Christian Girl

Pages Waiting to Be Filled

I was recently listening to some Michael W. Smith music (my latest musical interest), and I ran across this song called ‘Place in This World’. It’s a really good song (and I’ve already probably listened to it a few dozen times), and it starts off, “The wind is moving, but I am standing still. A life of pages, waiting to be filled. A heart that’s hopeful, a head that’s full of dreams. But this becoming is harder than it seems.”

Suddenly, I had this wonderful image of my life being a journal, ready for me to write a story on it’s clean pages. A life of pages, ready for me to chase down the stories I want to capture on a page, and pursuing the chapters that will make my story into a wonderful, vibrant collection of memories that will make up my future.

As some of you may know, I love books. Reading them, writing them, talking about them, staring at them on my shelf, reading them so many times that I know them backwards… basically, I’d live in my books if I could. After I thought about my ‘blank pages’, and all the things that I’d want to put on them, I began to consider what I was going to do.

I don’t want my book to be filled with bad decisions, or constant anxiety about small details. When drama strikes my book, I don’t want to give up on the story. I want to rise beyond it. I don’t want to flip through my book, and read the rude comments I make to the people I love, the mean actions I take, or the way that I forget about how much I can do for them. I don’t want to look back and see me forgetting what I need to remember, or watching as my book unfolds.

I want to see kind words, laughs, good choices, fun times. And when there’s a dramatic twist to my story, I want to handle it to the best of my ability, and to ride out the storm. But more than anything else, I want my book to be filled with prayers, scripture, and constant reminders of Him. I want every word in it to be written with Him in mind. I want every illustration to be richly drawn, and filled with grace as if He was drawing it with His mighty hand.

I face my pages with excitement, wanting to carefully write each word with joy, and to influence my fellow ‘writers’ with His Word through my word. I want to show everyone exactly how He can write a beautiful story through you. And I want each page to be beloved, and to be a wonderful memory.

I can’t wait to keep writing the story that’s already being wonderfully scripted, and I encourage you to pay attention to the book that’s being written,

-A Christian Girl

Out from the Grave like Lazarus

While piecing together my Christian Summer playlist, I was listening to a Christian station on Amazon Music, where this song came on, called Rise Up (Lazarus) by Cain. I think I’ve heard this song when looking for Christian music before, because it’s up-beat tempo sounded extremely familiar. It’s funny how a song sticks to you without you realizing it, isn’t it? Anyway, though, that song inspired me to write this article.

We all know of Jesus’ miracles. From delivering people from blindness and leprosy to changing water to wine, there are many great stories to stare back on when you’re feeling like you have to figure out your life for yourself. But, one of my favorite stories would have to be when Jesus raises Lazarus from death in John 11. Part of the reason I really like this is I love the depth we see in Jesus’ character. I feel like often we have the stereotypical stained-glass window picture of a long-haired figure (He didn’t have long hair!) with no emotions whatsoever.

However, if you closely examine this chapter, you’ll find that Lazarus was a person who Jesus knew, and loved, along with his sisters, who had obviously returned His love. Anyway, Jesus starts for Bethany, where Lazarus is sick (even though Jesus knows that he’s already dead). When He gets there, the Jews are comforting both Mary and Martha, and when Martha hears that Jesus is there, she goes to Him, and tells him that if Jesus would have been there, he wouldn’t have died, and that Jesus could still save him.

After Jesus and Martha finish their exchange of words, Martha goes to Mary and tells her that Jesus is calling, and in that moment, even in her profound grief, Mary hurries to Jesus and weeps as she cries to Him, telling Him that if He had been there, Lazarus wouldn’t have died (obviously the same thought occured to both sisters). Everyone’s crying for Lazarus, and Jesus isn’t any different.

I’ve heard some people being surprised by this, as it’s so human to cry when your friend dies. But, what I think they’re forgetting is the fact that Jesus is not only all God, but all human, too. He cries for the dead, and then He goes to the cave, and He has the rock moved. When people start to question this decision, Jesus says “Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?

Then, when they move it, Jesus says “Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.” And then, Jesus calls Lazarus out of the grave, and saves His dear friend from death.

Well, it’s the same with us. We’re dead, condemned by our sins, and Jesus calls out of our death, calling us to come to Him, because we’re His dear friends, and He cries for us in our condemnation. So, as our greatest friend, He calls us to join Him, to no longer be held by the bindings of death. He invites us to live once again, and to live with Him and by His grace.

He loves us, and today we’re all invited to walk out of our graves, and enjoy the Light of Jesus, as He raises us from eternal death and to eternal life despite our sins. Today, all we have to do is walk out of the grave, and be grateful to our LORD who saves us so mercifully.

God bless you,

-A Christian Girl

Music for School

I can’t imagine doing school without music. That’s one of the scarier sounding parts of school outside of my home. Whenever I have an important paper or assignment to sign in, I shove some earbuds in and I start up my music. When I need to do some reading on an important subject, I scroll to my film score playlist, and I shuffle it while I read through whatever the subject is. Learning is never better than when I’m listening to Alan Silvestri, Danny Elfman, John Williams, Hans Zimmer, Harry Gregson-Williams, and- one of my personal favorites- John Powell.

When I’m writing though, I can listen to either music with lyrics or instrumental music. I pick the music that gets me moving, gets my adrenaline pumping, and keeps me going while I’m trying to write quality work without spending all day on my laptop. If I’m going to be writing all day, I’d rather be writing fiction. So, work assignments are usually given music courtesy of Billy Joel, the Four Seasons, Adele, the Beatles, and the King.

Today, I’ve compiled a list of songs for studying, and for writing, if you like writing to music. I use both lists for math, though. I can use all the help I can get!

Songs for Reading:Songs for Writing:
Test Drive (John Powell)Movin’ Out (Billy Joel)
This Land (Hans Zimmer)Can’t Help Falling in Love (Elvis)
Dawn (Dario Marianelli)Don’t Stop Believin’ (Journey)
Overture and a Prisoner of the Crusades (Michael Kamen)Here Comes the Sun (The Beatles)
I Will Never Love Again (Mark Knopfler)Working My Way Back To You (Four Seasons)
The Princess Appears (John Williams)Stand By Me (Ben E. King)
Only the Beginning of the Adventure (Harry Gregson-Williams)Summer of ’69 (Bryan Adams)
Ben (Trevor Rabin)Still (Tim McGraw)
Training the Supersoldier (Alan Silvestri)Hello (Adele)

God bless you,

-A Christian Girl