Wednesday, July 31, 2013

F.S. ~ Traveling

Greetings from England! As I was considering the topic for this post, I ran across a book in a small store here in the UK. It was titled Etiquette for the Traveler. Of course! There is so much to be mindful of when traveling, especially internationally. Remember the basics and then travel to get some practice!

1. Keep your luggage, including carry-on, close to you. Once your checked baggage is through, you won't have to worry about it, but never leave your carry-on or purse unattended, even for a second.

2. Guard your passport (and any other ID) carefully! The experts say to carry these "on your person," if at all possible.

3. Be aware of your surroundings at all times.

4. When traveling alone (and anytime really), walk with confidence. This shows that you know where you are headed and that you know how to take care of yourself. Any signs of fear or confusion can make you vulnerable.

5. Whether traveling by plane, train, boat, or your own two feet, be aware of those around you and respect their space.

6. Be aware that other countries and cultures have different customs and traditions. Phrases might be used completely differently, common words may mean different things, and certain gestures may have entirely different meanings. As ambassadors for Christ, we have to be especially careful of what we say and do. 

7. Traveling is great fun! Take lots of photos and enjoy a new place. New places and experiences will broaden your scope on life, you will find that God is much bigger than you thought, and that His creation reaches further than you ever imagined! Bon voyage!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Save the World

If you are not aware of the many problems in our world, watch the news for 30 seconds. There's no denying we have some BIG problems.

Maybe you choose to overlook those problems and go on your merry way, or maybe you are caught up in the frantic free fall, desiring to fix all the problems you can and now it has emptied you dry. Either way, you might be unbalanced with the call of saving the world.

As young women we are told by our American culture we can do anything. 
(Anything that is spectacularly amazing, that is.)
 If we are not reaching to gain the impossible, then somehow we are considered lazy and/or dumb. Even within Christian culture, we are encouraged to be "light," and I completely agree.

The Bible calls us to be that light, but oftentimes we imagine that light as a spotlight on us on a huge stage. This spotlight shows the world what we are doing and highlights our great actions and our great failures. It's a lot of pressure, and many of us have been living in that spotlight for so long that we are becoming blinded by the light and are fumbling around as the sinful world watches our weariness overtake our actions. 

We feel the presure to be "great," save the world, and still be beautiful as we accomplish such goals. We start believing that the mundane, boring parts of life are beneath us, because somehow the giving of our time is above the little things like sweeping, washing a dog, caring for the elderly, or investing in a relationship where you have "nothing to gain."

Sisters, this is not what Christ means when He wants us to be lights. Being a light does not mean you have a spotlight on you -- it means that you are the spotlight. You are the one who brings light to darkness, highlighting others and showing not your capabilities for self gain, but for Christ.

I am GUILTY of this sin. I have many times fooled myself thinking I'm an important part of God's work in saving the world... and I am, but He can do His work without me. 

He doesn't need me, but He does want me.

He wants me passionately, because I am His child, but when my ambitions become centered around my pride, then He will find another to truly share His cause. To be a light doesn't mean we are only His servants in the great things like speaking to thousands of people, writing best sellers, or becoming renowned in the arts and sciences -- let's remember our Lord, who washed the feet of His disciples, lived a life of homelessness, and humbled himself to death on a cross... all for us.

Your life will be filled with thankless jobs. It will be boring at times, but if your calling seems less glamorous, do not think it's less important. Serve Christ and build His kingdom! Be that light, but don't seek to gain the spotlight. We CANNOT save the world, but we can lovingly point those to the Christ who has saved us!

Praise Him!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Weary in Well-Doing

Are you weary?

Longing for a change? Hoping for a rest? Filled with unsatisfactory issues or simply the feeling that no one understands and that you are alone?

Instead of listening to my thoughts, I want to share with you how the Lord has been encouraging me. Because, Ladies, I am weary. No, I'm not walking around in life with a little black rain cloud over my head, but there are moments I want to keep to my room and run away from life's troubles.

If you are weary, I hope this encourages you. Rest in Him.


God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Psalm 63:1

Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved!
Psalm 80:3

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9

May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 15:4-6

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Buy of the Week

Summer sales are taking off! These dotty tops have great savings on shipping!

**Please note that not all items from this store are recommended by SnP. Happy Shopping, but be mindful of what you purchase as an ambassador of Christ!**

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

There's No Place Like Home

When I was little, my favorite movie was The Wizard of Oz. The excitement of the journey to Oz, the frightening Wicked Witch and Dorothy's lovable companions, and the thrill of a sudden change from black and white to color made me so excited that my twin sister and I watched the movie every day. Each time I watched it, it was like a whole new story, and my favorite part was when Dorothy would click her heels together and say, "There's no place like home, there's no place like home, there's no place like home." As a little child, the word "home" brought images of my earthly home in Alabama to mind, but now that I'm older, home has a brand new meaning to me. It's still the same neighborhood that I've known as long as I can remember, but it's also a place I've never been that's too wonderful for me to imagine.

Even though we try to stay focused on what is to come, we Christians often forget that this earth is not our permanent home. We get so caught up in our daily lives that it can be hard to remember that the best is yet to come, and that our home on earth will someday cease to be. The reason this happens is because we are only human and it's hard for us to imagine any home besides the one we are accustomed to, especially if that home is one that is so different from ours. But we must be aware of our home-going so that we can prepare for it.

John 14:2-4 says, "In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going." According to this, not only is God coming back to bring us to our new home, but we know how to get there. And although it's not quite as simple as clicking our heels together, it's not nearly as hard as many people make it out to be. All we have to do is have the same child-like belief that Dorothy had and admit the need for our Savior, who, unlike the "Wizard" of Oz, is completely real and will never fail us. Instead of following the yellow brick road, we follow Christ. If we do this, then God will get us Home when the timing is right.

It's always important to keep in mind the meaning of home. They say that "home is where the heart is," so where is your heart? Is it here on earth, where nothing is permanent, or is it stored up in heaven for all eternity? Because someday soon we will leave our home on earth for a home where we will be united with our Father forever and ever. And I don't know about you, but from what I've heard, this new home is a pretty fantastic place. So no matter how busy you get with the things of this world, take a little time each day to remind yourself that "there's no place like Home."


Monday, July 15, 2013

Sun Bathing Goddess

Tan is beautiful.
If you don't believe me, then look at these ads. They agree!

Well, what do you think? Obviously when you have a tan, guys carry you around on a surfboard like a sun goddess...


Girls put a lot of time, and thought, into the color of their skin. We lay out at the beach or poolside and oil ourselves down to soak a brown glow. Or we hit the tanning beds in the cold seasons. American girls are fascinated with being brown, but what about if you can't tan? Are you an outcast?

Have you ever thought about skin color? Dark, light, or creamy -- it all is like colors of dirt. 

"Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature." ~ Genesis 2:7

I don't believe it's a coincidence! We were created from dirt. 

Your skin tone is beautiful, not because of what the current culture may say, but because God chose to make you the color you are. Being tan is not sinful, and wanting to have a healthy summer glow is great, but don't dislike your color.

Tan or not, it's lovely!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Healthy Poolside Snacks

I have to admit, I love snacks after a good swim. Something about swimming, whether I am swimming laps or floating around, makes me really hungry. So every day when I come in from swimming I feel like I need a snack.
Here are some healthy ideas for pool/beachside snacking that are not high in fat or calories and are easy to pack in a cooler or beach bag.

~ Fruit
~ Carrot and celery sticks
~ Yogurt
~ Crackers and cheese
~ Applesauce
~ Natural potato chips (in small servings)
~ Sliced apples with peanut butter 
~ Natural sunflower seeds

Happy swimming!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Buy of the Week

Mix and match with modest tankini tops and swim bottoms. 

Also check out these sites for vintage-inspired suits.

**Please note that not all items from this store are recommended by SnP. Happy Shopping, but be mindful of what you purchase as an ambassador of Christ!**

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Confidence in God's Normal (You're Not as "Weird" as You Think!)

First off, I want to let you know that I am not someone you'd call a normal teenage girl. I've never had a boyfriend, I like to wear dresses all the time, and, unlike many girls I know, I've watched just about every episode of Leave It to Beaver. I also can be a bit of a chatterbox, even to people I've just met, and (you may want to take another look at this next one) I think my mom is really cool. So none of these things I've listed are completely normal by today's culture. But this next thing beats all when it comes to out of the ordinary.

   A few weeks ago, my family went on a vacation to Orange Beach here in Alabama. On the upper deck of the condo we stayed in, there was a little platform that kind of looked like a stage. So what did we do? My sister, my cousin, and I went back to our room and, instruments in hand, went back to the platform and proceeded to play a two-hour-long show of our favorite songs UNINVITED. And it wasn't popular songs either -- no One Direction or Adele for us. We played everything from "I'll Fly Away" to my own personal favorite "Beulah Land." Now I'm sure you all think that we were either feeling really confident or really crazy that night. I could tell by the pointing and laughing that some of the people at the hotel thought the same thing. But that was not the reason we did it. We wanted to make a statement, to show that teenagers don't have to do things at the beach that they'll regret when they get home -- that instead of dishonoring God by going out and doing sinful things, we could lift Him up and show others the Great Love He has for us.

Now, when hearing this story, you might think, "What a confident girl! She doesn't care what anyone thinks about her." But if you did think that, you'd be wrong. On that night, we saw an opportunity and we took it. But when I think of the world with all its sinfulness coming at me in full force, sometimes I want to be just another face in the crowd. I have times when I doubt whether I can keep it together and show the world who God is because I'm afraid of what other people have to say about it. But then I remember that if God wanted me to blend into my surroundings, then He would've already made it happen. So obviously, He doesn't.  

If there's one thing that helps me when I doubt myself, it's this: the world's normal is not God's normal. And a lot of people think that God's normal is kind of different and weird. But wouldn't it be boring if we were all the same? We "weird" people give the world the variety it so desperately needs. And you know what that means? It means we need to keep it up. So believe in yourself and don't worry about what other people think. God made you who you are for a reason, and you need to honor Him for it. Because He sees you as His perfect creation, and isn't that all that really matters?     

Friday, July 5, 2013

Bathing Beauty Secrets 2

Let me start by saying I don't believe two-piece swimsuits are appropriate worn alone, but I will say that they can be worn when making a swim outfit. Consider what you'll be doing before you go for fun in the sun. If you're slipping and sliding on a water slide, you will not want to wear the same thing as lounging on the beach.

Bathing Beauty

Bathing Beauty

Bathing Beauty

Bathing Beauty

Bathing Beauty

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

F.S. ~ Waterfront Etiquette

This weather is just begging for us to go to the pool, beach, lake -- anywhere waterfront! Like every other aspect of life, there are things that make our time there more enjoyable. Here are just a few...
  • Playing music at the beach or pool can be nice, but be sure that you keep it low enough so as not to disturb those around you.
  • Especially when coming from the beach, be sure to rinse off any dirt or sand before getting in to the pool. 
  • Respect the lifeguards. Don't bother them or distract them from their job. 
  • Dress modestly and appropriately for those around you.
  • Be sure to clean up your area when you are ready to go in for the day.
  • Many people this time of year are training for triathlons or other swimming events. Be courteous of lap swimmers in the pool. They are zoned in to their workout and a disturbance can be very disruptive. 
  • Be courteous of those around you -- be careful not to sling water or sand on your neighbors. 
  • At the beach, take the colored flags seriously. Use appropriate caution when the purple, orange, or red flags are flying. The coast guards are not trying to ruin your day at the fact, quite the opposite. They would much rather you have to spend the day in the village or at the pool or sitting on the sand, than being swept away by the current or eaten alive by a jellyfish! 
  • It's easy to get caught up in our own agendas when we are at the beach, pool, or lake. Just remember to consider others and their preferences. This is especially true at the lake when half of those in the boat want to tube and the other half would prefer to ski. Defer to the boat driver to make the ultimate decision, and remember that most likely you will have fun doing either. 
  • At the pool, beach, or lake (just like everywhere else), you are a witness for Christ!
Happy Swimming!