I'm Off...

...to winter retreat with my youth group :). Talk to y'all later!

Nahum 1:7



Movie Review ~ Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

I'd never seen anything "Mission Impossible" before the movie, so I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. I knew there would be a lot of action, judging by the commercial, and action there was. Actually, the movie was jam-packed with action. Usually I get bored with the action (which is weird), but I actually enjoyed all of it in this movie.

This PG-13 movie directed by Brad Bird and produced by Tom Cruise, J.J. Abrams, and Bryan Burk is an action-packed movie about the starring character, Ethan Hunt, and his team - compiled of Benji Dunn, William Brandt, and Jane Carter - who initiate a mission to stop an evil Russian from attaining nuclear launch codes and using them, in short. The movie had a lot of information as to what they were trying to accomplish, who was who, what was what, and I was a bit confused or clueless to what was going on at times. By the end of the film, though, most if not all of my confusion was resolved, and the end of the movie was satisfying - not like a sad movie where everybody dies in the end (which I totally don't get :-)).

This movie stars...
Tom Cruise as...

Ethan Hunt. Hard as it is to believe, I'd never seen Tom Cruise in anything else (gasp! I know), but I thought he was a really good actor. The character of Ethan Hunt at time seems like a one-man show, like he's an invincible super hero, but later in the movie he highlights just how important the whole team is, an admirable part of the film. It is also evident how much he cares about stopping the nuclear missile and saving people he doesn't even know.

Jeremy Renner as...

William Brandt. I think he did really good and is also a talented actor. His character was mysterious in a way, because you know there's something about him that he's not revealing to the team, but you're not sure what. (Guess what?! My sister found out that Renner is playing Hawkeye in Avengers!!!)

Simon Pegg as...

Benji Dunn. This character was probably one of my favorite. He just had a funny personality, and Pegg did a wonderful acting job.

Paula Patton as...

Jane Carter. Though not my favorite character, I really liked Jane Carter, because she is a girl agent with some cool moves! Haha!

And the bad guy...Michael Nyqvist as...

Kurt Hendricks. In my opinion, he wasn't as evil as he could have been. His actions portrayed his deep evilness, but his words were not as dark and devastatingly evil as you think a villain's would be (at least in my opinion :-)).

This movie had some great lessons to learn in it, including the importance of a whole team and that you can't always do everything alone, friendship, and risking your life for people who may never know they were in danger in the first place. An added plus is that all of their missions were really cool, and they had some cool gadgets and gizmos :-).

While I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, I must warn you that it did have some language and a lot of violence, shooting, etc. I'd say it's a pretty good movie for teens and above, but know that I am forewarning you that there is language and countless punching, kicking, throwing, shooting, etc., of humans.

Plugged In did a review on this movie. To see it, click here. NOTE: Their review contains spoilers!

*While I enjoyed the movie, I do not endorse, recommend, etc., the contents of it. If you are planning to go see this movie, talk about it with your parents first and, hey, take 'em along if you do go :-).

(pictures via google.com search and wikipedia.org)


Girlz Like You Interview: Brydon F., 15

Brydon F., 15, has agreed to do a Girlz Like You interview for us! Thanks, Brydon!

Tell us a little about yourself.
I'm fifteen years old, I have been homeschooled for three years, and I have one brother and a dog. I live in LA (Lower Alabama ;) ), and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Christian worship music, singing to it, playing it, and dancing to it. I have been playing piano for 7+ years, and I love the sound my keyboard makes when I type really fast! Hahaha.
What are some of your hobbies?
I like archery....I love singing, dancing, and acting...anything theatrical. I like acrylic painting, journaling, and I am learning how to sew.
What is your favorite thing about God?
Oh, my goodness. This is a hard question! I mean, I could never know everything about God....but I guess my favorite thing about God is that He never changes, but He can know each and every one of us in a unique way. We each have different relationships and dynamics with Him, even though He is the same to everyone!
What is one of your goals for 2012?
To be honest, I haven't even made any goals for this year! I am a terrible goal maker....but I guess one thing I want to work towards in the upcoming year would be more diligent to study my Bible every day.
What is your favorite way of serving (e.g. worship, mission work, etc.)?
I would have to say worship definitely, but I really like to serve God and others by investing personal time in their walk with God....I have to admit I'm working on it though, as I'm working on my own walk.
What is your favorite Bible passage, and why is that your favorite?
Well, my favorite scripture is Hebrews 12:28-29 which says, "Since we are receiving an unshakeable kingdom, let us worship God with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire!" It's my favorite because it's so passionate and it's so powerful! We are inheriting an unshakeable kingdom! And I love the picture that God is a consuming fire, that is soo cool. =)
Who is your #1 inspiration and why?
My number one inspiration would be my best friend, Jade. She loves God sooo much and she's not afraid to show it. She never fails to admit and deal with her mistakes. It is so encouraging how she is always honest and sweet. Jade has grown so much in the Lord since I have known her, and it's awesome to see what she aspires to. Her life is so exuberant and pure and wholesome.

Do you think media influences girls today? If so, how?
Yes!! Of course! What we let into our ears, eyes, and minds is so extremely powerful. When i get to thinking about it, media is really a one-way interaction, which really isn't interaction at all. It requires no brain effort or physical or verbal effort on our part to be entertained by TV and music. And so no matter what is in the media, whether it's good or bad, it goes straight into our minds unfiltered, and I know that, personally, it's hard to counteract. Girls naturally have desires and dreams, and oftentimes we wish that those would be fulfilled by something similar to what's on TV. I could go on and on about this, but basically if we let the media fill our thoughts unedited, then our thoughts are going to be filled with lies, and we won't even know it. Check out Phil 4:8-13.
Do you think peers influence girls today? If so, how?
Yes, this is also true. I know when I was in middle school I was really vulnerable to what other people said, and so I would always be concerned with what others think or say. Girls especially deal with this, because we are so verbal. We are inclined to style and friendship and so when we are with our peers we pay special attention to how they dress, act, talk and it's so natural to just be like others if what they have is attractive. Like I said, middle school was the hardest time in my life, because I didn't know who I wanted to be, and I was ignorant of the truth about a lot of things.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I really want to serve in some kind of worship or drama ministry, but I have an impression that God is going to call me to raise a family someday.
What is your favorite thing about yourself?
Um....haha. My favorite thing about myself....(I had to think about this for quite a while)....Well, let me put it this way....I am so thankful to God that he made me with such strong conscience. It might not be my most favored quality, personally, but it has kept me out of trouble and attentive to God's truth.
Do you have any advice for girls on faith, friends, and life?
Good question. Lol. I have a hard time getting my own faith and life together, so it's hard for me to think up some advice for someone else.......Okay, here's something. 1) Always be honest with your parents. It will lead them to trust you more and let you have more freedom if they know that you will tell them the truth about stuff. 2) Chill out! Give yourself and God some time. He'll work out everything He needs to if you just relax and hold fast to the truths you know. 3) Concerning beauty, Let your beauty come from your heart, and then you will never feel lacking. Beauty from the heart lasts forever.
To all my sisters in the faith, in sisterly love -Brydon ;D

Thanks so much for doing this interview, Brydon!



{Reading} "Tournaments, Cocoa, and One Wrong Move" by Nancy Rue, "The Underground" by Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye
{Listening To} "When We're Together," Mark Harris
{Playing} Ukulele
{Watching} Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
{Anticipating} Winter Retreat
{Wanting} to play "My Sims Agents" (my brother's new Wii game)
{Photographing} Me and my ukulele
{Hoping For} Snow on the retreat

What are you reading, listening to, playing, watching, anticipating, wanting, photographing, or hoping for?


The Day After Christmas (a.k.a. today)

Today has been a relaxed day. I slept in until about 8:45 (yes, in the morning. Yes, that's sleeping in to me) and got up and made a tuna fish sandwich (I got pre-made tuna packets - which I looove - in my stocking for Christmas. Yes!) Today I have played a lot on my new ukulele, a Lanikai soprano ukulele that I named Alohilani - yes, I name some of my belongings (Cammy the camera, DoPi the iPod, Eragon the guitar, etc.). Alohilani is a Hawaiian name, according to the internet, that means "brightness, brightness from heaven." I like it because of the meaning, because it has "Lani" (short for Lanikai - get it?), and it's a pretty name.

Here are a few pics of Lani and I...

(All photos Copyright Talia DeAndrea, 2011).

Can you believe it's almost 2012? Now, I don't believe in all that end-of-the-world-is-coming-in-2012 stuff. I believe that God will rapture the Christians and begin the Tribulation in His own time. That could be next year, but it just as well could not. Only God knows the year, day, hour, minute, milisecond! It's gonna be weird next year though, you know? It's gonna be weird writing "2012" on everything! Next year I am going to attempt to read through the whole Bible (pray for me!) and attain and maintain a healthy diet and stay motivated to exercise! What are your goals for the new year? How do you plan to accomplish them?

Tonight we're (my family) going to the movies to see "We Bought a Zoo." Anyone else seen that? If yes, how was it? Today my dad and sister recorded one of my sis's songs, and I played a little uke for it.

How was your Christmas? What are you doing today?


Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Last night, it was decided that we could not get up until 6:30 a.m., my parents said. Well, they ended up waking us up at 5:30 a.m.! But we were okay with it :-). After reading the Christmas story, opening presents, and now playing with the presents, watching the movies we got, etc., things are slowing down a bit. Grandparents are coming soon to do a little gift exchange, and we're having both sets of grandparents over for dinner. After that, things should quiet down a little more.

I have had such a fun day today. I had a wonderful time opening the present of my dreams (a ukulele; her name is Alohilani, Lani for short, and she's a Lanikai soprano ukulele), and other wonderful, wonnnderful presents (like a book of notes from friends from my sister). Through all the hullaballoo, it's easy to forget the real meaning of CHRISTmas...but I don't want to. Even though commercialism has overwhelmed the true meaning of CHRISTmas, even though we don't really know if Mary and Joseph traveled by donkey, how many wise men there were, and so on and so on, we can still keep the true meaning of CHRISTmas close to us and celebrate it. I enjoy giving and receiving gifts, and I love doing it every year, but that's not what Christmas is about. That little baby Jesus in the manger - He is what Christmas is all about.

{p.s. great Christmas post here}


Christmas Eve

Merry CHRISTmas Eve, everybody! Can you believe that tomorrow is CHRISTmas? I hardly can!

Yesterday we made and decorated sugar cookies. It was very fun but very messy!

Here's a few pics of our Christmas decorations and tree...

This morning we are relaxing, spending time with family, and I'm going to clean my desk :-). Tonight is the Christmas Eve Service at church, and me and my sister Haley are singing "How Many Kings" by downhere.

What are you up to today?

(All photos copyright Talia DeAndrea and the DeAndrea Family)

Have a very Merry CHRISTmas!


The Unbeatably Best Gift EVER

We hear it all the time:

Jesus is the reason for the season.

When people ask us what our favorite thing about Christmas is, we might say, "Celebrating Jesus' birth." But what if we're saying that because it's the "right" thing to say. Now, I know that is many people's favorite things about Christmas, and I love that about Christmas and wish that was my true mindset, but many times when Christmas day comes around, one thing won't leave the brain: the presents. Christmas is a day where families give and exchange presents because, well, it's Christmas! In truth, I think we are hearing that Jesus is the reason for the season and telling others that, but sometimes we lose sight if that, or we don't think about or know what it really means. But the honest truth is that no package, no present, no gift could ever beat the Gift that was given to us on the first Christmas...and that's Jesus. Jesus truly is the reason for the season, because without Him, we would be hopeless with no joy at all. This Christmas, let us keep Christ in clear focus and be determined to serve and love His people.
Because Jesus certainly was and is the unbeatable, best gift - EVER!



ecstatic, excited, overjoyed, exuberant - whatever you wanna call it.

CHRISTmas is in five days.
And I am ecstatic. Excited. Overjoyed. Exuberant. AHHHHH!!!!

I'm really excited :-).

As I get older, it seems like the years fly by so quickly! It seems like not that long ago that it was CHRISTmas last year! My shopping is all done, and yesterday I decided to make something for my sister which I personally think is very cool (sorry, that's not modest at all). I just hinted her that it involved a candle (which she knew, because every time I told her to stay out of the kitchen, she could smell it), the printer (which she knew), and a line (which wasn't a very good hint :)). She has no clue. But I can't post it on here (!!!) 'cause she might see it. And that would ruin the surprise.

Today I went to the doctor because I've had a cold/cough for almost 3 weeks. Yeah. And I really want to get better before Saturday (preferably tomorrow!) because me and my sis are singing in the Christmas Eve service at church, and I don't want to have a plugged nose for that! Noooo! I'm already gonna be nervous enough... Anyway, please pray that I heal up - QUICK!

Thanks for listening to my random rambles! Are you done with your Christmas shopping/making? What is your favorite part(s) of Christmas? Do you still have trouble sleeping on Christmas Eve like I do? :-)


Girlz Like You Interview: Kara L., 13

Kara L., 13, has willingly agreed to do a Girlz Like You interview for us! Thanks so much, Kara!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am thirteen-year-old God Girl and I have wonderful Christian parents who encourage me and my five siblings in the Lord every day! My Dad is the pastor of Cross Centered Church - the church we go to - and I enjoy helping out in the nursery there.  I love the out doors too, which includes fishing, hunting, (well, I have not gone hunting yet, but I want to!) biking, going to the river, etc., etc. 
I love doing photography as well, and you might find me on frosty mornings outside taking pictures. :) Haha. :D

What are your hobbies?
Writing, photography, doing my newsletter, and biking.

When did you get saved?
I got saved at the age of six in 2005.

What is your favorite Bible verse and why?
 I have tons of fave verses, but one of my favorites is Proverbs 17:17. I love how it talks about a friend loving you at all times, the rough times, and the good times. That is a true friend!

Tell us about your newsletter, Girlz of Faith.
Me and my sister Korin started our newsletter this past June because we wanted something fun to do that would encourage others, so doing a newsletter sounded like a nice idea. :) I forget how we came up with the name Girlz of Faith, but really, everything just fell together. One unique thing about Girlz of Faith is that we send it in the mail, and I write and Korin illustrates it almost all by hand so it takes about over two months to get it all finished. I hope that when the people get our newsletter they enjoy it as much as we enjoy making it. (Not that me and Korin don't have little fights on how our newsletter should be, what contests we should do, etc, etc, etc. ;) )  

What is your main goal for the newsletter?
To encourage others, and not only that they will be encouraged but also that they will enjoy reading our newsletter.

What is one thing you have learned (spiritually) in 2011?
 I have learned the prayer is important because it helps me grow in my daily walk with God.

What are your goals for the new year?
To finish memorizing the book of James (I am on chapter 3 :D), to get my book that I have been writing several months finished, and to try to encourage others more. :)

What do you want to be when you grow up?  Photographer and writer - or whatever God wants me to be!

Who is your #1 inspiration?
My mom! She is so encouraging, and I love her so much!

What is your view on purity and courtship?
 I believe that purity is very important! Why? Because God says so! I also think that courtship is a very good idea because it is not like dating where you are dating one guy one day and one week later a new guys comes along, you break up with the guy you were dating and then date the other guy! It is too confusing for me to even date, and I like the idea of courtship so much better!!!

What is your view on modesty?
Modesty for me is huge! God talks about it in the Bible even!
("Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control." - 1 Timothy 2:9)

What is your favorite thing about God?
That  His love is everlasting!

Do you have any advice for girls on friends, life, and faith? 
Friends might leave you, people might make fun of you for your faith in Jesus Christ, but God will never, ever leave you nor forsake you!

Thanks SOOO much for doing this interview, Kara!

For more "Girlz Like You" interviews, click here, and stay tuned for more coming soon :-).

Picture courtesy Kara's family.


The Defining Moment

Have you ever had that moment where you know what's right, and you know what's wrong, and now, here it is...

The Defining Moment.

(duh, duh, duhhhhhhhhh! Sorry, I couldn't resist)

This is the moment in which you will choose what you will do - what is fun, what will bring you pleasure, or what is right and pleasing to the LORD. You know what's right. You feel a tug to do what's right. But then you feel a temptation to do what is wrong but temporarily pleasing.

Many people fail to many defining moments that come into their life. I think the term "defining moment" is very fitting, because it is these moments that truly define who you are. What are you going to let yourself fall subject to? Who - or what - are you serving?

There are other defining moments where you're not alone - where people are watching. Maybe you'll give into temptation if your nonchristian friends are watching. Maybe you don't if your Christian friends are watching, or if your parents are watching. These are also defining moments, but I think the temptation is magnified when you are alone, when no one is watching, when no one can see that you didn't do what was right, even though you knew it was right all along.

But you know what? You're not alone. He still sees. He still knows. He is always there. He still feels hurt. He still knows that you didn't do what was right, you told Him He wasn't worth it, you pushed Him to the side for your own self-glory and self-love. I know. I do it a lot. We ignore God.

When the many defining moments of life come our way, what are we going to do? Are we going to fall victim to our own temptation, or are we going to bow in reference to the One who sees all defining moments?


things to smile about

~shopping with friends
~deviled eggs
~encouraging words
~good books
~Christmas trees
~new music off of itunes
~a song you love so much you listen to it over and over
~a hug from a friend
~white elephant Christmas parties (and actually getting something decent)
~a beat that makes you dance
~facetiming with your best friend
~quirky family members
~inside jokes
~Christmas parties
~the help
~a book of epicness
~black tanktops
~finding the elmo shirt you thought was lost
~being allowed to watch "once upon a time"
~good Bible verses
~quoting friends
~best friends necklaces
~pictures with your besties
~uplifting comments
~tuna sandwiches
~left behind
~Christmas 9 days away
~getting a funny forward from your best friend
~a loving Savior that says to come to Him when I'm weary.

Now it's your turn. Post your things to smile about and link back here ;)!

This is what I'm smiling about lately. What about you?


This Year: A Recount

2011 was a great (and busy) year. I learned a lot, experienced a lot, adventured a bit :-). Here is a sort of "recount" of this year. So, without further ado, in pictures and a few words...

In March, it was my thirteenth birthday, and I had my first sleepover (with more than two people), which was big and fun! We did a video scavenger hunt, makeup, games, worship, and watched Tangled and Despicable Me. It was really fun. I'm really thankful for my friends and my parents for pulling the whole thing off! :-)

In March we also got a chance to take a co-op girls' trip to the Revolve Tour. It was so cool. We had a blast, and we all found it very cool that at the same hotel we were staying at, one morning for breakfast we saw (from across the room) Jamie Grace, Group 1 Crew, Chad Eastham, and Hawk Nelson eating breakfast! We also spotted Britt Nicole, and my sister got to meet her! Revolve (Dream On) was very fun, and also very encouraging in Christ. At Revolve, I also got to meet an online friend, Mary! :-) My sister and I were in a crowd of people, and I turned to Haley (my sis), and said, "Wouldn't it be weird if we saw her right-" and then I saw her. It was totally a God-thing! (Check out this post) For more info on Revolve, this is their website.

In the spring my mom, aunt, cousin Samantha and I went to the "Do Hard Things" tour, with speakers Alex and Brett Harris. There was worship music and a few sessions, which were amazing! The most amazing of all was session 4. There was an altar call, and it was incredible. People all around the room who hadn't truly accepted Christ or had been living a fake life stood and proclaimed that "Jesus is LORD." The band played "Amazing Grace" as people embraced and walked to the front of the room, having been forgiven. It was amazing, incredible, and awesome. (Check out this post) At the Rebelution I also had the privilege of meeting Miss Raquel from God's Daughter. So that was cool :-).

(this is my friend Kylie and Alex and Brett)

In April, my youth group did World Vision's 30 Hour Famine, which was really cool! This year was my second year doing it, and both years were good. Find out more information at the website!

This summer, a lot of things happened. My sister went on a mission trip to Africa (I'm so proud of her), and my brother and I (and some friends) got the chance to be in a play, Mulan, Jr.! It was SOOO much fun. My brother played a father (he even had a beard!) and I played a male ancestor of Mulan named Zhang (okay, I had a beard too). It was very fun. (check out this post)

In August, I had the chance to go to Camp Grove. And let me tell you, it was AMAZING. Especially the campfire. See this post. I'm really glad my cousin could come with me this year too!

In September, I had the amazing opportunity to visit three of my closest friends, Sarah, Kara, and Kiera. I had never met (in person) Kara and Sarah. We'd known each other for two years via a Wonderzone Bible Reading Club, and it was amazing to actually get to meet them :-). I had a great time, and I love all three of those girls and their families. I want to say thank you to Mom for taking me :), and for all the families for hosting us! Thanks so much! (See this post) (p.s. We surprised Kiera!)

In October, my sister and I got the chance to be in a theatre production called "The Incan Princess." We had a lot of fun! My sister played a nurse from 1961, and I played a hippie named Bree from that year :-).

In October, we also had the chance to go to Pennsylvania and D.C. with our grandparents and cousin. We had a lot of fun. My favorite part was going to see the production "Joseph" at the Sight and Sound Theatre in Pennsylvania. It was REALLY cool! We also got to go see the Liberty Bell, go inside the White House, and the Smithsonian, plus some other fun stuff. It was cool! See this post.

In October, my parents informed us of something very exciting that would be happening in our family...


My sister, Fasika, was adopted from Ethiopia two years ago, and we are now in the process of adopting a little boy from the Congo. We are very excited :-). This is truly God's leading.

In November, we celebrated Thanksgiving with my grandparents on my dad's side and one of my mom's friends and her daughter. It was very fun. I had a great time! We also got to see a couple cousins the day after, and we also decorated for Christmas :-). Fun stuff!

This month, my sister and I participated in a speech tournament, and it was a great experience. I placed 2nd in the Half (3 min) Platform and 2nd in Impromptu, and Haley placed 1st in Impromptu and 2nd in the Full (6 min) Platform. My speech was about Bethany Hamilton, and hers was about adopting. It was a great experience :-). This month we also got the chance to go see the comedian Brian Regan with my parents and brother Elias. He's very funny!

Now, I am getting psyched for Christmas. Anyone else?

In closing, 2011 was a great year. God had a lot in store for us this year, and He showed me a lot and taught me a lot. This year I have become more confident, and I have been privileged to have made it into a music show (my sister is in it also) that will take place in April, called "The Magic of Music." I still love to write and completed NaNoWriMo for the 2nd time in November, and the book I wrote for it is called "Genuine." I love to take pictures, read, and go to youth group. This year I had the privilege and blessing of self-publishing my second book, Tania's Faith (read more about it on the "my books" page). And last but certainly NOT least, I love Jesus and know that He loves me and has a great plan for me...and for you, too!

(all photos copyright Talia DeAndrea)


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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