Best Friends' Visit

It's been a couple weeks since one of my besties, Kiera, and her sister Brenna (one of my sister's besties) came to visit, and I realized that I haven't told you about it!

We drove a couple hours and picked them up, then drove back down. We listened to music and danced and sang and talked. It was really fun! (In case you're wondering, we listened to "The Phantom of the Opera" from The Phantom of the Opera, "Rock Lobster" by IDK who, "What Makes You Beautiful" by One Direction, and others)

The whole week was a blast. We did a photoshoot (I will be posting more pictures on my photography blog soon)..


Kiera and I also made a music video to the song "My Time With You" by David Choi and Kina Gravis (hope you like it!). We sang "My Time With You" for our co-op talent show, too! This video was taken at the beach, and we had SO much fun! My flip flop also started floating away, and Kiera had to run and get it! Haha!
video
Kiera and I discovered our new love - NUTELLA. We had it almost every day - with graham crackers, pretzels, bread, bananas...and it was delicious each time. We were randomly watching Rachael Ray, and she made this raspberry pizza thing with NUTELLA on it, and we were like, "We. Have. To. Make. This!" Haha! So, we got all the ingredients and made our delicious nutella dessert.

^Our delicious dessert!
 We did so many other fun things (like staying up past 1 talking and playing Bunko with friends). I had an amazing time with Kiera and Brenna, and I already miss them a LOT!


(Mom took the pictures of us, and I took the ones of Nutella)
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Hiking

On Saturday, my family didn't have any plans until the evening, so we decided to go hiking! We got all packed up and ready to go with snacks, matches, whistles (haha), water bottles, and cameras and started driving to our destination point. On the way there, though, we saw a sign that said our hiking spot was closed for the day! Sad, right? We decided to go see a Memorial Day parade first, then we went hiking at a different location. The whole day was a blast!

Waving at people in the parade

Little hikers getting ready to hike
Haley looks like Katniss!
Beautiful creation!
Elias and Dad and I decided to go on a bit of an "adventure" and climb over a bunch of rocks and up this big hill-rock-thing! LOL! It was so much fun, but we got really dirty from sliding back down.
Climbing the rocks

At the top! {taken by Dad}
{taken by Dad}
The view from the top {taken by Dad}

Sliding down {taken by Dad}
Taking a snack/water break
Enjoying the cool water

We had a great hike, the parade was fun, and it was altogether a wonderful day! I hope we can go hiking again sometime soon.

p.s. Happy Memorial Day! I just want to say how much I appreciate those who have given their lives for our country. ♥
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Gifts and Talents

Have you ever been in the spot where you felt like everyone in the whole world was talented but you?

I'm near-positive everyone goes through this at one time or another. We look around and see all the pretty, talented, popular kids at school and church and wish that we could be like them. They're so good at singing, or dancing, or sports, or...whatever. And we're good at...um...

One of life's most-played games is the Comparison Game. We're constantly playing a game of "am-I-as-good-as-them" because, as I said in previous posts, we're looking for our security in the wrong people and places. The Comparison Game comes into the picture big-time in the area of talents.

Have any of you ever read "The Lily Series" by Nancy Rue? In this (great) series, a sixth-grader named Lily Robbins is on a search to find her "thing." Her mom and younger brother are great at sports. Her older brother is a musician. Her dad is just all-around smart. And she's...well...she doesn't know. And through this series, that's what she tries to find out. She feels like she's the only gift-less one, and she's constantly trying to find her niche, her thing, her talent.


I think every girl (and boy) needs to know this important truth: there are many kinds of talents that are deeper than surface-level. Whether you believe it or not, you are talented. It may not be a big "look-at-me" talent that everyone will immediately notice; it might be encouraging others, praying for those around you, or having a heart of compassion. It may be being an accountability partner for your friend, setting a good example for younger kids, or always being helpful.


The world has tried to classify "talented" as having outer talent that people notice quickly, like singing, dancing, writing, or art. I'm not saying that if you have one of those talents you are conforming to the world. No! That's not what I'm saying at all. What I'm saying is this: the world has a hard time seeing something like praying or encouraging as a talent.


God has given us each a special gift that we can use (if we choose to) to serve Him, bring Him glory and honor, and reflect Him to others.

You may feel gift-less, but know that you are gifted in some way by God and that you can use your gift to bring Him glory.
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Getting my Priorities Straight

I've come to the conclusion that in order for me to attain a daily devotional/prayer life, I need to eliminate whatever it is I am putting in front of God.

Lately, I've been trying to get my priorities straightened out, asking myself what REALLY matters. I'm taking a week-long break from my ipod and main email, because I've found that those two things become obsessive for me, and...I'm tired of it. I'm tired of putting off (and not doing) my quiet times with God because it doesn't sound fun to me at the moment.

So last night, I turned my iPod off and tossed it on one of my desk shelves. This morning, I had Mom wake me up at 7, did my devotions and quiet time, worked out, had breakfast, got my school and all my chores done, and had a better attitude than yesterday (when I was pretty consumed by my iPod).

I've been realizing that certain things I've been chasing after are not worth it. I've allowed other things to consume my time, when really, God is all that matters. He really is.

I've always known this, but just haven't put it into practice: GOD is the One who matters most. Everything else pales in comparison with just the thought of our beautiful Savior. If I'm not spending time with Him on a regular basis, my actions, thoughts, and attitude most likely will not be directed towards and reflecting Him. I don't know about you, but I most certainly DON'T want that to happen. I want to be totally consumed with God every day - thinking about Him every minute, praying before I make any decision or say anything, and be His light to the world. Without God, life isn't worth living. Seriously. Without Him, I have nothing to live for.

God should always be my number ONE priority. I'm very sad to say that He hasn't been lately, but I am setting out to change that, starting now.
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Jessica or Phillip?

**IF YOU LIVE IN A DIFFERENT TIME ZONE, PLEASE DO NOT TELL ME WHAT HAPPENS IN THE FINALE TONIGHT :-). THANK YOU! I WON'T BE WATCHING IT FOR A COUPLE HOURS.**

Any American Idol fans out there? Go ahead, raise your hand! I see you! Back there! :-)

As some of you know, tonight is the American Idol finale. I wanted to see who my fellow AI fans are rooting for...Jessica or Phillip.

I'm rooting for...

...

...

JESSICA SANCHEZ!!!!

...

...


I think Phillip has a cool voice, but in my personal opinion Jessica is stronger vocally. Phillip Phillips is different, and I think it'd be fine if he won, I just would rather have Jessica win :-). (I really wanted JOSHUA with Jessica in the finale, but he got voted out, even though I voted for him 100 times! I was very sad :'(...//tear//..)

In case you're, like, "Who are these people?!?!?!?!" here are their best performances from last night.

Tell me what you think! (can you believe Jessica is 16?!?!)






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Melted Crayon Art: Tutorial

At art class at our homeschool co-op, our art teacher showed us some melted crayon art she had made, and I thought it was really cool! So, yesterday I decided to try it out for myself.


I didn't have a canvas, so for my first attempt I just used cardstock. While the melted crayon didn't go completely through the cardstock, it still wasn't as sturdy as an actual canvas, and it was pretty flimsy (especially when I did it the second time and used a bunch more crayons).
^The back. As you can see, cardstock is not the sturdiest.
Now, here's how YOU can make one!
First, you will need...
CRAYONS!


You can use any colors as you like, but I'd highly suggest using shades that are close to one another...for example: you probably want to use a bunch of shades of orange before switching to another color. I didn't know this, so I just did random crayons (like blue, orange, green, etc.), and they turned out just looking blechy brown and mixing together. If I had done them in shades, it would've looked more colorful. So, I'd suggest doing the shade thing, unless you want a bunch of brown...

As for how many crayons you need, I can't say. It all depends on what you want. For my first attempt, I only used three, but on my second attempt, I lined the whole top of the paper, which took 25 crayons.
Next, you will need...

Paper! Or a canvas! Or whatever you want to melt crayons on (I'd suggest NOT using your mom's dinner plates!). For my second attempt, I wanted it to be a bit sturdier, so I taped cardstock to a thin piece of cardboard. Still flimsy, but better than just cardstock alone. A canvas would probably be best, but since I didn't have one, I made the most with what I had. :-)

Next, you will need...
A blowdryer! (Unless you want to sit outside in the blazing sun with your crayons for like a million hours...Haha, just kidding). Don't forget that after you've been blowdrying for a while, set the blowdryer aside for a minute. It can get overheated and not go up to the high setting.


You will also need...

A hot glue gun! This is for gluing the crayons to the canvas. You should probably let it heat up for a little bit, and always ask a parent before using a hot glue gun! Be careful when you use it, too. For my first attempt, I used packing tape, which was not nearly as sturdy and looked really funky!
Then, you will need to lay out newspaper or paper towels or whatever over your work surface so that in case the melted crayon drips off your project (which it most likely will), it won't get on something! I did my project outside on our picnic bench, and I think it's always smart to ask Mom or Dad where to do it (they might not want you doing it at their nice kitchen table...even if you put newspaper down!). You also might want to wear clothes that aren't too nice. I didn't splatter any wax on my clothes, but just in case...better safe than sorry :-).

Now that your workspace is all set up, here's how you make your beautiful and totally unique masterpiece! Here's what you do...

1) Hot glue the crayons to your canvas. You can put them wherever you want in whatever order you like (just remember - they kind of have a mind of their own once they melt, and they mix fairly easily!). To hot glue them on, just make a small line of hot glue and then quickly put the crayon where you want it on the canvas and press down firmly. It should dry pretty quickly. Remember that if you want your crayons facing a certain way, or if you want the crayon company to be displayed, hot glue the OTHER side.

2) (Now the fun part) Melt! Point the blowdryer near the tip of the crayon (aka the part you want to melt and run down the canvas) and wait for a few minutes. You'll see the crayon(s) start to get liquid-y, and then pretty soon they'll be running down the canvas! Make sure you have a good grip on the canvas and can tilt it in the direction you want the wax to run down. Make sure your canvas is not completely vertical, or else the wax will run all the way off the canvas!

It's tempting to want to melt all your crayons at once, but it's probably best to do them only a couple at a time. This way you can keep an eye on the melting wax can get done faster. This project takes a while, but when it's done, it's a one-of-a-kind project unlike any other!

Once your wax looks like how you want it to, leave it to try for a few minutes and clean up your workspace (always a good idea :-)).



Voila! You have just completed your crayon melting art. I hope you are satisfied with your results!

If you do this project and post it on your blog, leave the link! I'd love to see it!

Here's a tutorial on another blog (their canvas worked much better because they did "shades" of color...hehe!).

Look at thoese colors! Gorgeous! (these pictures belong to their blog)


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A Part of Me

I've been blogging for two years+1 day now (Happy 2nd Blogaversary - yesterday - Girlz of God!). Through this blogging experience, I've changed...grown...laughed...smiled...cherished. So much has happened in the past two years, but through everything that's happened, I've realized (sappy as it sounds), my blog has become a part of me.

Do any of you feel similarly? I don't feel at all like blogging is a chore or like I have to blog, but I just...do. I love it. It's a way for me to share what I believe and what's going on with me. Some people feel neglected to blog, or like they have to update people, so they post really quick with what's up, but their heart isn't really in it. That's not me. I truly love my blog.

So, I don't really know the purpose of this post. Probably just to say thank you for following & reading Girlz of God :-). You make this "part of me" all the better :-).
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"The Search"

Have you ever acted, talked, or dressed in a certain way to try to get people to like you?

Many girls fall into the comparison game....Am I as pretty as her? She has way bluer eyes than me. Her hair is so much straighter and shinier than mine. Guys like her a lot more than they like me. She's so much skinnier than I am!

A lot of girls try to act a certain way because they feel like they will find security only in doing so. Whether they'll admit it or not, they are looking for their security in the approval of others...parents, friends, peers, guys... Girls notice who gets the attention, and let's be honest - it's usually not the girl with no makeup, a baggy sweatshirt, and her hair in a ponytail. It's the same with guys. If we're totally honest, the guys that get the most attention will most likely be the guys with the muscles and athletic ability. (I wish it weren't that way...don't you?)

 Why do we search for the approval of others? I think it's part of "The Search"...the search that every single person on earth goes on to try and find something that will make them happy. Some look for happiness in romance, money, possessions, and countless other things that will not bring them lasting happiness. Security is one of the biggies. So many people think that if they will just be loved and accepted by a certain group of people, they will be complete.

The truth is, most of the kids who everyone adores because of some petty thing like looks are a lot of the time incomplete. They feel like if they ever lose their role as "Miss Popular" or "Mr. Popular," they will be incomplete and sad.

Why do we care so much about what other people think? It's all part of "The Search."

Wouldn't it be great if we could stop "The Search," finally finding our security? Well, have I got some awesome news for you - we can! God is the one and only place we can find everlasting security and true (not plastered-on) joy. The approval of others pales in comparison with the unconditional love of our Heavenly Father - a love that doesn't care what you look like, how you talk, or how popular you are. A love that accepts you just as you are.

(If you haven't experienced God's grace and you'd like to know how you can do so, click here)

1 Samuel 16:7..."The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

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Letting Men be Men

Whether you're choosing to court or date in the future, you should know something about guys:

They need to be leaders.

It is God's plan that men are the leaders of their family and women assist their husbands. Men and women have different roles, but they are both equally important.

In guy-girl relationships (and marriage), it is becoming more and more common to see women leading the family. I believe strongly that God planned for men to be the leaders of their families. Many times in relationships, the girls are pursuing the guys. Sounds familiar, huh? A lot of times girls text guys, call them, plan dates, and initiate nearly everything in the relationship. Girls want to confirm that they are still "loved" by guys, and they want to make sure they get to spend a lot of time with their guy.
I'd like to propose an alternative: what if we let men be men? I'm not saying girls can't call guys or get jobs or anything like that. No! I'm saying this: what if we girls let guys initiate everything in the relationship? What if they had to pursue us instead of the other way around? If you don't know already, you're a treasure, girl, and you shouldn't be easily won. One special man should have to work very, very hard to gain your heart. You shouldn't be easy-to-win, giving yourself away to any guy that shows interest and making it easy for the guy. That isn't how God intended it. God intended men to be leaders. Who wants to marry a wimpy guy, anyway?

In conclusion, girls, whether we date or court (or we're currently unsure), let's make the men work for us ☺. Seriously - we shouldn't be easy to win. Let's allow guys to build up confidence and become leaders. Let's guard our hearts for that one special man God has planned for each of us!

Ephesians 5:22-24
22 For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. 24 As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.

(images via Google search)
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Each Life is Valuable

I haven't really posted on the subject of abortion before, but since it is SO important (and so debated in today's world), I thought I'd share my thoughts.


I am pro-life.

Please don't ditch this post if you are pro-choice; just hear me out.
Each and every life that God has created has incredible value. That's not just "my personal opinion"; it is 100% true in all circumstances. Whatever you look like, talk like, think like, believe, and come from, YOU are valuable...and so is every unborn baby.

If you're by some chance unfamiliar with abortion, here is a definition from WikiAnswers:

  • Induced termination of a pregnancy with destruction of the embryo or fetus

  • Any of various procedures resulting in the termination of a pregnancy.



  • Basically, it is a procedure done or medication that can be taken to kill the unborn baby and end the pregnancy. The doctors at the abortion clinic most likely don't put it that way, but that's what it is.

    I believe that unborn babies should live. Many people are misled to think that babies aren't actually "alive" in the womb at the time a woman commits abortion; I strongly believe that this is untrue. At just six weeks in the womb, the child already has eyes, hands, and a heartbeat. Now, that doesn't sound like mere cells to me.


    Allow me to be blunt and honest: Abortion is murder.

    The argument has been raised countless times that it is the woman's baby and it is her choice whether or not to abort it. I think that is completely and utterly ridiculous. GOD is the Creator of life, not us. Since when should we get to choose when to end someone's life? That shouldn't be our choice to make.


    Adolf Hitler, the horrible man who started World War II and the Holocaust and who hated Jews, killed over 11 million people. It is common knowledge that he was an EVIL man. Killing 11 million people was not RIGHT. So many people agree with this philosophy, yet people around the world continue to kill unborn babies.

    This question has been raised many times: what if it was a rape?


    It doesn't matter HOW the woman got pregnant; it is still a living child. I know that it may be really hard raising a child, and many times the mother is not ready, but there are other options besides abortion. Take adoption, for instance. That is a much better option than abortion. The woman's child can still have a loving family who will take care of them...and there doesn't have to be an abortion.

    So those are my thoughts on abortion. I saw the pro-life video below on a blog and thought it was really awesome and amazing. I totally recommend you check it out! It's a little over a half hour long, but definitely worth it. Just be forewarned that there are some really graphic images of dead bodies/heads from World War II, so maybe watching it with a parent would be best.


    What are your thoughts on abortion? Are you pro-life or pro-choice and why?

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    That Still, Soft Whisper

    Lately, I've been neglecting my spiritual life. I've been blaming it on how busy we are, which I know is part of it, but for the most part, I know I am pretty lazy.

    Sure, I've been praying. But they've been short and empty, like, "Please help me sleep well and enjoy my dinner and have a good day. Amen." Yeah. I know.

    For the past couple of months, I've really wanted to get closer to God. In complete honesty, I really want to get closer to God. But I find myself putting off my time with Him and saying "I'll do it later," when really, my time with God should be my priority each and every day.

    Two circumstances this week convicted me. One of which happened while my family was driving home from a trip. I was listening to my iPod and scrolling through my music, and I came to the song "I Refuse" by Josh Wilson. Talk about hard-hitting. It's like that song was made for me. Check it out:

    Sometimes I, I just want to close my eyes
    And act like everyone's alright
    When I know they're not
    This world needs God, but it's easier to stand and watch
    I could pray a prayer and just move on
    Like nothing's wrong

    But I Refuse

    I don't want to live like I don't care
    I don't want to say another empty prayer
    Oh, I refuse to sit around and wait for someone else
    To do what God has called me to do myself
    I could choose not to move
    But I refuse

    I can hear the least of these, crying out so desperately
    And I know we are the hands and feet of You, oh God
    So if You say move, it's time for me to follow through
    And do what I was made to do
    And show them who You are

    I don't want to live like I don't care
    I don't want to say another empty prayer
    Oh, I refuse to sit around and wait for someone else
    To do what God has called me to do myself
    I could choose not to move
    But I refuse

    I refuse to stand and watch the weary and lost cry out for help
    I refuse to turn my back and try and act like all is well
    I refuse to stay unchanged, to wait another day to die to myself
    I refuse to make one more excuse. (-I Refuse, Josh Wilson)

    Yikes. Boy, does that song convict me. I listened to it and thought, "Wow, I really am lazy. I want to change the world, I want to pray earnestly and all the time, I want to get closer to God, but I haven't been putting in the time and effort." I've realized that I can't just ask God, "Please make me on fire for You," then continue living in sin. I need to surrender everything to God and make an effort to spend time with my Creator God.

    The second circumstance that convicted me this week was a devotion by Susie Shellenberger I read a couple days ago. It talked about getting "in tune" to God's Voice. It talked about Elijah, and how God called him up on a mountain. While Elijah was up there, a bunch of stuff was going on  - a terrible blast, an earthquake, a fire...and none of those were God speaking to Elijah. So Elijah waited. And then he heard it: a soft whisper that was God's voice. God didn't speak to Elijah in the hubbub of everything going on around him; he spoke to Elijah in a soft whisper that I'm pretty sure Elijah wouldn't have heard if he hadn't been listening for it.

    See where I'm going with this? Sometimes I ask God why He isn't speaking to me (at least, in my opinion) or showing Himself to me through circumstances in my life, and then I realize...Oh. I haven't been listening to Him. I've been too wrapped up in the busy-ness of life to focus on the Creator of life. I've been too focused with what I want to do to focus on what He wants me to do.

    In order for me to grow in my faith and in my relationship with God, I need to put something into the relationship. For example, let's say I wanted to be friends with a rock. I spent time with this rock, talked to this rock, and cared for this rock. Obviously, the rock wouldn't talk back, wouldn't spend time with me, wouldn't care. It's not living; it's just a rock.

    If I'm like a rock in my relationship with God, how can I expect our relationship to grow? I need to put something into the relationship if I want it to grow. I need to make spending time with God the number ONE priority of my day.

    God's not going to shout directions in your face for what you should do with your life. He's not annoying or pesty. He's waiting for you to come to Him and give everything to Him. He's waiting for you to come to Him and listen to His still, soft whisper.


    1 Kings 19:11-13
    11 “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.
    And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

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    Dear Mom

    Dear Mom,
    Happy Mother's Day. I don't tell you enough how thankful I am that you are my mom. I know I am blessed to get to be able to be your daughter. You are so responsible, thoughtful, helpful, and compassionate. You're always there for me...whether tending to me while I'm sick, teasing me ☺, or just listening. You're not afraid to be yourself - no matter who's watching ☺ - and I like that about you. I love your funny dancing, even though it's embarrassing at times ☺, and your "opera singing." Thanks for putting up with my stubbornness and for always being a great mom. Thank you for taking me across the US to see/meet my best friends and for letting my best friend stay at our house for a week. Thank you for trusting me to make good choices and encouraging me to pursue my dreams. I couldn't ask for a better Mom. I love you!
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    Yes, Yes, Yes

    I just want to give you the link to THIS awesome blog post by Emma Claire. It is so amazingly true, and I highly recommend you check it out!
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    We're Having a Blast!

    My friends arrived safe and sound Wednesday, and ever since we have been having a wonderful time. We went to the beach, made a music video, performed in a talent show, went on a photoshoot, watched "That Thing You Do," ate nutella :-), stayed up til 1:30 last night talking and listening to music, and so much more. I am having a fantastic time!

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    We So Excited!

    ^Rebecca Black moment! Hehe.

    The reason I'm so excited, in case you're wondering (or even if you aren't...), is because TODAY two of my closest friends are coming to visit! For a week! Ahhhhhh! We so excited!!!! I've known them for 9 years, and I love them so much :-)! I couldn't post this sooner because they SURPRISED another friend who lives a few hours away. So cool, right? Anyhoo, we have a really fun week+1 day planned!

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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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