I Remember...

As 2010 comes to an end, I remember stuff. Like, I remember that exactly one year ago, my great grandpa died. I remember that this year I published my book, Girlz of God. I remember that I've met new friends and grown closer to older ones, too. I've grown closer to my family and also to my heavenly Father, God. And I also remember that God has been faithful, even through trials, no matter how big or small. And I remember that His love for each one of us continues and is just as strong as it was the day that He died on the cross.

So today, as 2011 approaches, I want to thank God for another day to share His love, for His faithfulness, for His mercy and compassion, and for His love. So thank you, God. You're so good.

Talia

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The Perfect Blog (or so it seems...)

'K, girls - gotta make a confession. Sometimes I go a little overboard trying to make my blog look 'perfecto'. I gotta make a button... I gotta have a lot of followers... I gotta have a lot of pageviews... My blog has gotta be the cutest... I have to make it interesting... Do you think some of those thoughts (or similar ones) on a regular basis? What I'm realizing is that it's OK to have a nice-looking blog. It's OK to want people to visit your blog. It's OK to want to have a lot of followers. But if what you say in your blog posts has absolutely zero eternal meaning, then what's the point?

A quote my dad and I like says:

"Only one life, 'twill soon be past;

Only what's done for Christ will last."

(not sure who it's by)

But what if we lived (and blogged) like that? Things on this earth will not last, but what is done for Christ will, including what you say on your blog. So even if you have 'The Perfect Blog' (in the world's eyes), what does God think about it? I think it's okay to have some silly and random posts, but God can use you through your blog to impact the world for Him. So what are you waiting for? No one has 'the perfect blog'. No one but God is perfect. But if we let God use us as we are, He can do incredible, amazing things.

And I want that.

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It's Almost 2011!

Wow...can you believe how quickly 2011 is approaching? As we think about all the things that we know of coming next year, it's normal to get excited...and a bit nervous. With so much coming in a whole new year (or so little, seemingly), how can we possibly trust God through it all? In His Word, the Bible, He promises that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Holding onto that promise and trusting God throughout the new year will help us not only grow in wisdom, but grow in faith, too.

Talia

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Merry CHRISTmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone!!!

Last night was our church's Christmas Eve Service. At the end, we sang 'Silent Night' and lit candles. And while we were all holding our candles and singing, I got a warm feeling inside. And you know why stuff like that brings such great joy to us? Because this is what Christmas is all about - Jesus Christ.

Talia

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New Thing

I decided that I'm going to do a little column over on the right of my blog called 'Thought for Today'. Each day (or each couple of days...or weeks...or months...) I will add a new thought to ponder. You can check out today's below. Hope this helps you grow in your faith!

Talia

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Thought for Today

How differently would you live if you knew when you were going to die?

Talia

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Do You Hear What I Hear?

Our family just got back yesterday from a fun trip to the snow, where we stayed in a lodge with relatives and had a lot of fun. One NOT-fun thing that happened on the trip was getting sick. I woke up in the middle of Saturday night not feeling well at all. I went to the restroom and tried to go back to bed, but I woke up yet again, feeling awful. I went to my parents' room and decided to sleep there instead. And, well, let's just say that it was a long night of little sleep, my stomach aching, and throwing up (sooo not fun!). But then I thought, How come God is making me sick on vacation?! I kept reminding myself that He wasn't MAKING me sick, He was ALLOWING me to be sick. But me, being stubborn as I can be at times, was resistant to believing that. But then I remembered a blog post by Nancy Rue, in which she said, "When you're all bummed out about something, whether it's not being invited to the sleepover or having your BFF move away, look for something in it to thank God for (probably AFTER you've done some grieving; those feelings are important, too.)" So I looked for something to be thankful for, and you know what I discovered (more like what GOD showed me)? I could be thankful because while I was sick, God reminded me to pray for OTHERS. And I am thankful for that. And yesterday, when we had to travel 5 hours to get home (which would be SOOOO un-fun being sick), God healed me. HE did that. He didn't have to do it, but He did.

So where am I getting at with this blog post? And how come I'm talking about being thankful if it's SO past Thanksgiving (I'm sure most of us - including myself - are MAJOR excited for Christmas!)?

Well, I think we should use the values and morals that we learn to use on other holidays, and not JUST on those holidays. Who says we have to be thankful ONLY on Thanksgiving? Who says we have to give gifts - like our talents and time - ONLY on Christmas? Who says we have to be loving ONLY on Valentine's Day?

Some of you bloggers might think that's it lame to talk about Christmas when, like, EVERYONE already is. Or if you're a blog reader, you might be tired of reading the same-'ol blog posts. But the truth is, we need to hear this message. We need to apply it to our lives. And we need to reflect on the awesomeness of God's love, even if we don't think there IS any in our lives. But the truth is, everyone has at least one God-given gift that they can use for God's glory. Everyone has at least one thing to be thankful for, whether it's food or the color of their hair, which they really like, or their teacher, who helps them learn.

The other day I was watching a show about police in Texas, and it made me really sad. The people they arrest are out of control. They look to drugs, theft, and stuff like that to make them happy, but those things really won't make them happy. It only makes them out of control or miserable, not truly and eternally happy. It really hit me when my dad said that these people were once kids, too. Wow. Think about that. And pray for them.

I don't know what you think about this post. You may think it's inspiring, or nonsense, or just plain babbling on and on. But what I really want you to get from this is that it really is important to remember THE reason for the season - Jesus Christ - and to share His love with others. It is so, so important. Without God, we would be nothing. Without God, we would have no hope. Without God, we woudn't even be here. If He didn't come as a baby to grow up and tell the world of His salvation and then die on the cross for OUR sins (we all commit them), then where would we be? We'd be in the pits of hell (to be blunt). It's true. And God doesn't want that for us. That's why He came - to save us. All we have to do is confess we are sinful, ask God for forgiveness, and accept Him into our lives as our personal Lord and Savior. If we truly mean it, He won't neglect us.

And what about that whole 'sharing God's love' thing? Why is it so important? Well, there are many people in the world who haven't heard of the love of Christ, and there are many others who have turned from God, and it is SO important to help them get on the right track. The consequences of not trusting in God are unbearable.

Here is a Christmas song I really like, "Do You Hear What I Hear?" (Not sure who wrote it - sorry!!!)

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Said the night wind to the little lamb, Do you see what I see?
Way up in the sky, little lamb, do you see what I see?
A star, a star, dancing in the night, with a tail as big as a kite,
With a tail as big as a kite.

Said the little lamb to the shepherd boy, Do you hear what I hear?
Ringing thru the sky, shepherd boy, do you hear what I hear?
A song, a song, high above the tree, with a voice as big as the sea,
With a voice as big as the sea.

Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king, Do you know what I know?
In your palace warm, mighty king, do you know what I know?
A Child, a Child, shivers in the cold; Let us bring Him silver and gold,
Let us bring Him silver and gold.

Said the king to the people everywhere, Listen to what I say!
Pray for peace, people everywhere, Listen to what I say!
The Child, The Child, sleeping in the night; He will bring us goodness and light,
He will bring us goodness and light.

Now I'm not saying that wind or little lambs can talk. What I'm saying is to share the news of God's love, of His birth, of His salvation. GOD is the One whom Christmas is all about. And I know you've probably heard it alot (or maybe you haven't, and this is only your first or second time). No matter who you are, God came for YOU. He died for YOU. And He loves YOU. Accept that love...and share it. Be a shining light of God's love. Say, "Do you hear what I hear? God was born to save us! How amazing is that?" And it truly is amazing. Do you hear what I hear? God lives. God loves. God saves.

Luke 2:15 (NIV) (found on biblegateway.com)

...the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.



Talia

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Christmas Contest Winner

Congratulations to Sarah N. for winning the Christmas contest! Here is her amazing song, His Name Will Be Jesus.

HIS NAME WILL BE JESUS
By Sarah N.

She was just a girl
He was just a boy
They didn't think this
would come so soon

The angel said
Do not be afraid
I bring you good news
You will have a baby boy

Chorus:
His name will be Jesus
The Lily of the Valley
The Bright and Morning Star
His name will be Jesus
He came to earth to save
And to rescue you and me

No one understood
Her parents were ashamed
But Joseph knew
What he had to do

He stayed by Mary's side
They traveled together
And when they arrived
In Bethlehem their baby boy was born
 
Chorus:
His name will be Jesus
The Lily of the Valley
The Bright and Morning Star
His name will be Jesus
He came to earth to save
And to rescue you and me
 
Bridge:
He could have stayed right where he was
On his throne in Heaven
And chosen not to care at all
But he came as a little child
So humble, weak, and mild
Born to die to give us life
 
Chorus:
His name will be Jesus
The Lily of the Valley
The Bright and Morning Star
His name will be Jesus
He came to earth to save
And to rescue you and me

He came to earth to rescue you and me.

Great job, Sarah! You wrote a really amazing song!

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Come As You Are

Have you ever thought that it's too late for you to believe in God - that you're too bad, too sinful? Have you ever thought that since you have been pushing God aside for a while, you have to read your Bible or 'get good' before you come to God? I know I have. This Bible verse is really cool:

John 10:11

"I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep."

Here's lyrics to a song by Sixteen Cities that is so assuring...and so true.

You can come as you are

You can never fall too far

You can run to My arms

And I will heal your broken heart

So come as you are.

- Come As You Are, Sixteen Cities.

Is there anything else to say?

Talia

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Christmas Contest Ends Today!

Hurry! Christmas contest ends today at 12:0o pm (midwest time)! See Contests page for more details!

Talia

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Remembering

Christmas is just around the corner, and lately I've been remembering stuff my family and I have done this year. So much has gone on during 2010, and although there are trials that we go through every day, I believe that it is important to reflect on the good stuff that has happened. That helps us be thankful and realize that God is so good.

I think it's okay, as well, to reflect on the bad times, but not dwell on them. I don't think we should dwell on how we messed up if we are already forgiven, but we should dwell on how we have grown from that experience, or how we have learned something from that.

Here is a simple reflection of what I have learned this year or things I have gone through. I encourage you to make one, too (maybe in a journal or something). You could write down the names of each month, then under the name write stuff that went on in that month that you are proud of, that you were blessed with, or that you learned something from. You can decorate your list however you like.

This year, Girlz of God was published. The publishing of the book has helped me reach out to others and has also taught me about humility and humbleness.

At the beginning of the month, my family was blessed with the opportunity to go to Disneyland. Through that I grew closer to my family and made great memories.

In November, I was able to finish my NaNoWriMo novel. Through that, I learned about perseverance.

I go through times very often where I put God aside. I think, "Well, I'm a Christian, so I'm OK." But I'm not. Through these times I have learned to grow closer to God, to listen to Him, and to really live out my faith. This morning, I wrote a poem called 'Listen'. Here it is (sorry the spacing is somewhat strange. I don't know why it's doing that.)

Listen by Talia DeAndrea

God says, "Listen."

I say, "No."

I put Him aside,

Until I need Him,

But I've got to remember,

No matter what,

That I always need God!

Why have I been so stubborn?

Why have I turned away?

Why have I filled my heart with hatred,

Most likely every day?

I need to stop

I need to slow down

I need to really smile,

Not making my heart frown

I need to stop being fake

I need to stop using God for what I want

I need to pay attention to Him

I need to stop chasing worldly things

And going after foolishness that will not keep me truly joyful

I need to talk to God

I need to read His Word

I need to stop doing things my way

I need to love God above all else

I need to listen.

Although it is hard now, God will carry me

Although I go through trials, then will be rewarding

In the past few months, I have kept coming back to the same Bible verse, 2 Corinthians 4:8-9. It says:

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

As we reflect on the happenings of 2010, let us remember God's goodness for us, remember His love for us, remember that He wants to talk to us and is gently nudging us to come back to Him, remember that His arms are open wide for us, remember that He will carry us, no matter what.
Talia

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Larry's Christmas Countdown!

Hey! Talia here! I know I already posted today, but I thought I'd show you something fun-er-iffic--Larry's Christmas Countdown! Hope you like it! You can go to bigidea.com for the following days to see the countdown! Hope you like it!

God bless you!

Larry's Christmas Countdown

Talia

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Why we Need the Bible

As I sit here and type this, I'm thinking that the title post is pretty lame. It's not really interesting. But, what I realized is that it's not about the name. It's about the words in this post. So, I thought I'd take you on a three-part journey to finding out how we can know that the Bible is real and why we need it, if you'll come along. This journey might involve some looking into your heart and being really, really honest with yourself. So, if you want to, chat with God and ask Him to give you an appetite for His Word. Ready...set...now here we go!


On one of the previous posts, Got Me Thinking (click to check it out), I asked you why YOU think we need the Bible, and here's what you said...


Mary said, "I think we definitely DO need the Bible. First of all, the Ten Commandments. Those really help in the lives of Christians and non-Christians. Also, the Bible really tells us who God is and what he has done for us, and if there was no Bible, we wouldn't know who really did create the earth."


We'll come back to Mary's answer, but first we'll take a look at Lexi's...


Lexi said, "I, like Mary, think we certainly need the Bible. When we are feeling down or going through a hard time, we can turn to it for guidance. It also contains stories that we can apply to our own lives. There are A LOT of reasons why we need the Bible!"

Let's talk about Mary's answer. Firstly, she says about the Ten Commandments, "Those really help in the lives of Christians and non-Christians." That's very true. Mary goes on to say that if there was no Bible, we wouldn't know who really did create the earth. Let's back up a step. I know that some people think that it's rude for us to say that people who have never heard of Jesus will still not go to heaven when they die. I didn't understand that for a while either. But then someone explained it to me. They told me that God has given every person the knowledge to know that they were created by Someone. Just look around you! It's amazing that God has made everything so complex! How could all of this be a big mistake? Don't get me wrong, I am very saddened that not everyone trusts in Jesus. It is a life-changing decision, and trusting in God will not always be easy. But it will be rewarding, and it is full of so many blessings to know Christ. He's so good!

Before we go further, I'd like to show you this really cool poem that I love.

Here's a version of it.

"Footprints in the Sand"


One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,
other times there were one set of footprints.

This bothered me because I noticed
that during the low periods of my life,
when I was suffering from
anguish, sorrow or defeat,
I could see only one set of footprints.

So I said to the Lord,
"You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you,
you would walk with me always.
But I have noticed that during
the most trying periods of my life
there have only been one
set of footprints in the sand.
Why, when I needed you most,
you have not been there for me?"

The Lord replied,
"The times when you have
seen only one set of footprints,
is when I carried you."
--Mary Stevenson

The first thing we're gonna be talking about is Spiritual Conviction. You may be thinking, What on earth is spiritual conviction?! It's sort of like it's the knowledge inside of you that really knows that the truth about God is just that - true. It's when you read the words of the Bible or hear someone preach about God or just talk about it with one of your friends, and your mind says, That isn't real, but inside you know that it really is. It's like God is whispering, saying, "It's Me, ____ (your name here)! I'm real. The Bible is true. You can trust in Me. I won't let you down and I won't let you go." Do you just ignore that conviction? Spiritual conviction is one of the ways we can know the Bible is real. Spiritual conviction is not just thinking that you believe. It's like a 'voice' telling you that this is true. And it is.

This week, I challenge you to go to your pastor or Christian friend or just someone who has a really strong relationship with God. Or you can do this on your own. Try reading some stories or passages from the Bible (study Bibles can help you find what you're looking for), and search your heart to see if it is convicting you - if you can see yourself in the stories, or if they relate to what you're going through. I know I may sound whack, but trust me. No, trust God. You could also read a devotional book (I can suggest some to you, if you want) or a really good, Christian book. Then wait and see.

If you'd like to post a comment today, please tell us either what you did, if a Scripture convicted you (and possibly even what Scripture it was, if you want), or what you think about spiritual conviction. You could also post your ideas for really believing in what is convicting you, since we'll be talking about that in a bit.

Stay tuned...there will be much more to come!

Talia

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Tania's Faith Excerpt

Hey, guys. I thought I'd share an excerpt of my new book with you! By the way, puh-leeeeeeeeeeeeeeezzzzzzzzzzzz don't copy it. That would really stink, you know? So thanks so much for not copying it!

Haha, this is just a random excerpt, so sorry you don't really know what's going on. If you want to learn more, just e-mail me or comment.

Tania's Faith

© Talia DeAndrea, 2010

That night, Fred immediately drifted off to sleep, but it wasn’t so easy for Tania. She was scared. She loved it that she had new friends, but she really didn’t want to be involved in returning the Riverren to King Luvlight. She wished she had never angrily run into the forest. Then none of this would have happened. But good had come out of it, she had to admit. Nonetheless, she knew she was wrong to be so harsh to her father. But, she knew she should return the Riverren. It was hers, and she was going to return it to King Luvlight. Her and Fred had plans to continue traveling in the morning. Tania hoped they would get to King Luvlight’s palace soon, and she also hoped that they would find Amira. She must be so scared, Tania thought. I know I am. As morning approached, she finally fell asleep.

Tania awoke with a start. It was bright and sunny, and she heard birds chirping. She also heard growling. Fred was up and alert, and his eyes were wide with what Tania recognized as fear. “Fred?” she said. “Shhh,” Fred cautioned. “There’s something in there.” He pointed to the bushes a couple yards away. “What is it?” Tania whispered. “Don’t know,” Fred said, “but I have an idea.” “What?” Tania hissed. Fred looked at her. “A tiger.” Tania felt sick. A tiger? Was it mean? Was it going to eat them? Just then, all was still. Fred looked at Tania, then looked back at the bush. He quietly stood up, but his foot accidentally hit a rock, making a quiet clunk. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quiet enough. Suddenly, a huge tiger with sharp teeth and blazing eyes emerged from the bushes, roaring fiercely and charging toward them. Tania screamed. Fred barked and crouched down, then leapt onto the tiger. “Tania, run!” he yelled. Tania backed up, still watching them.
“Fred!” she yelled. The tiger bared its claws and swiped at Fred, the two rolling over and over on the ground as if they were in a wrestling tournament. Fred is so much smaller than that tiger, Tania thought. He won’t stand a chance. “Fred, be careful!” she cried. She had no idea why this tiger wanted to fight them, but she did know one thing: he looked hungry. The tiger bared its claws a final time and took another swipe at Fred, this time making a deep, bloody scratch on Fred’s chest. The tiger released its clutch and opened its jaw to take a bite. “NO!” Tania screamed, grabbing the nearest thing she could find – a large stick – and hurling it at the monstrous animal. It hit the tiger in the face. He snarled and stared at Tania, then charged. She ran to get the stick, which was only a few feet away. She grabbed it and swung at the tiger. She missed the first time, and the second. The third time, she whacked the tiger in the face. He growled and got ready to pounce. Tania held the stick above her head, and with a final heave, she threw the stick at the tiger and hit him squarely in the chest. He whimpered and scurried into the forest.

Hope you liked it :)! Please tell me what you thought! I'm up for constructive criticism, but please...no immensely mean stuff ;)! Thanks!

God bless you!

Talia

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A Big Accomplishment


As some of you may know, towards the end of October I heard about NaNoWriMo from my friend Emii from Girlz 4 God. With my mom's permission, I checked out the site and thought it looked very fun and cool. So, I decided to enter NaNoWriMo (the younger version)! NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, is where you set a word-count goal that you'll try to reach by the end of November, starting November 1st. If you are on the adult site (13 or above), the word-count goal has to be 50,000. But, if you are a kid, you can make a different goal. At the beginning of the month, I was determined to reach 50,000 words. So, I wrote. And wrote. And wrote. Three days ago, I had 20,000 words left, but God has a plan. With the help from my sister for ideas and my parents for encouragement, I managed to reach my goal last night. I am SO excited. No one but God could have done this! I love my book (although the last scene I wrote was really lame cause I was in a hurry to get it done!). Last night I had to go back and add scenes cause I still had, like, 2,000 words left, but it was OK. I really like the ending of my book, and it was a fabulous experience. Oh, and I had totally forgotten that I had read somewhere that you get a free paperback book of the book you wrote for NaNoWriMo, so when I saw that, I was SO ecstatic! NaNoWriMo has been a great experience, and I'm so glad I did it!
God bless ya! :) More posts to come soon, so stay tuned!!!
♥ Talia
p.s. scroll down for a new blog button!
1 cross + 3 nails = 4given!

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etiquette and such

Girlz of God Copyright Talia DeAndrea 2010, 2011, 2012. "Genuine," "Girlz of God," and "Tania's Faith" book excerpts Copyright Talia DeAndrea 2010, 2011, 2012. All pictures Copyright Talia DeAndrea, unless otherwise noted. Please do not steal or copy anything on this blog without my permission. Thank you :-).

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