Merry Christmas!

Merry CHRISTmas, everyone! Even though it's exciting to get presents and eat food and all that fun stuff, let's really remember THE BEST present of all time...He was born to a virgin, lived a perfect, sinless, holy life, died for all of us, and rose again. He is the Messiah, Savior, Emmanuel...He is JESUS. I often fall into the bad habit of becoming indifferent to just how selfLESS Jesus is and how selfish I am. I focus on the gifts and food, etc., and I neglect giving God the thanks and praise that He SO deserves ♥. I hope that not just at Christmas, but every day, we'd thank God and praise Him for how truly and indescribably AMAZING He is ♥.

Luke 2:10-11
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord."
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hawaii (four months later)

SO.

I wanted to do a Hawaii post after I got back, but I forgot and got busy (happens to all of us, does it not?), and today I remembered! Haha! (actually a few days ago, 'cause I've been working on this post for a few days :)) I saw a picture of a doorknob on this blog and thought of a picture of a doorknob I took in Hawaii, and then I thought about Hawaii and how I never posted about it (a double-check of my archives confirmed this). Yes, even if you think I'm weird, I won't deny it - a picture of a doorknob made me think of Hawaii (random much??).

Anyhoo, I'd like to tell you about my Maui experience. I'm not posting this to brag, like, "yahoo-look-at-me-I-went-to-Hawaii." No. Me getting to go was a HUGE blessing I totally DON'T deserve and one that I am very thankful to God for! I just want to share my fun experiences and what I did there with you, accompanied by some pictures (of course I took pictures while I was there!) as soon as I find them on my computer...(I've got SO many pics on here. Cereal.)

AHA! Found a "Maui" folder. That's quite handy.

............

Okay, hey, I'm back - I just watched a music video my cousins and I recorded in our room while my aunt and uncle were snorkeling! Haha! It's of "What Makes You Beautiful." My cousin S and I (we're closer in age) made up a dance, but my young cousin C is just...being weird in the middle and sticking out his tongue. Anyway...good memories...

First of all, I wanna thank my relatives for taking me! I had a BLAST! It was soooo super fun!

On a note for you readers, I am not relaying all of the following from my memory. I'm looking back at journal (er, iPod?) entries and pictures from the trip to help me remember :D.

(Beware: Long post with many photos)


DAY 1:
My mom and sister drove me up to my cousin's house. Then my cousins (and aunt and uncle) flew to Sacramento (1 1/2 hour flight). Sacramento was REALLY HOT. It seemed hotter than Maui! Haha! I was thankful to get inside the airport after we got off the plane, because of how hot it was outside. From Sacramento, we flew to Maui (5 1/2 hour flight). The flight attendants wore leis, and we got to try POG, which is a yummy passion, orange, and guava juice! According to my journal entry, the flights were pretty boring, but we got extra snacks from the flight attendants, and my cousin and I watched "Monk" episodes! Haha! Not long before we landed in Maui, nighttime was nearing. We looked out the plane window, and behold - the most beautiful sunset I have EVER seen! It looked like a rainbow spread across the sky. SO gorgeous. My cousin snapped a pic (I didn't want to get my camera out), but while this is a beautiful picture, a camera can only portray a small glimpse of how beautiful the real thing was.

Picture taken by my cousin S
I remember thinking that the clouds looked like mash potatoes. Looking out the airplane window, I didn't want to look away! It was so gorgeous!

We landed in Maui, got our rental car, and finally got to our hotel at around 1 am to our bodies (Maui time is 3 hours behind, I think). We were exhausted, and we all fell asleep super quick! My little cousin even fell asleep on my shoulder in the car :D. Haha! So cute!

DAY 2:
In the morning, we got ready and walked to Denny's for breakfast. It was a gorgeous day, and our view from our condo that we could hardly see the night before was beautiful.
Our view from the condo. God's creation is BEAUTIFUL and GORGEOUS!
At Denny's, S and I split a yummy steak, hash browns, toast, and eggs. After we all finished eating, we went back to the condo, got our beach stuff, and went to "Home Beach" (the one you see in the picture above). It was fun and really pretty, but the water is SUPER salty so you have to be careful not to swallow any (your throat hurts after a while). After we swam, we went shopping for a bit (they introduced me to a store called the ABC Store with lots of souvenirs and cool stuff), then we got some lunch. We went to Costco to get groceries for the week, too. In the afternoon, we played card games. Then, we all had a yummy pizza dinner and got ready to go to the beach again. We were going to snorkel, but it was too windy, so my cousins and I grabbed boogie boards and jumped over the waves on them. It was a blast! S and I tried to body surf (when you see a wave, turn around and "paddle like a mad dog," as Nancy Rue puts it, and hope the wave will lift you up). I'd read about it in Nancy Rue's book "Motorcycles, Sushi, and One Strange Book" (good book by the way), but me and S's efforts were to no avail. I don't think the waves were big enough. After that, we went to the hotel pool and went swimming, then went to bed.

DAY 3:
By day three, we were all badly sunburned (I was so red! But I wasn't the only one :)). We ate cereal and bacon for breakfast, then got our gear ready and headed to a beach they'd told me about called Black Rock Beach (they said it was their favorite beach). There were a lot of people there. It was a lot of fun, though, and it was very beautiful!
(it was hard to find a pic of Black Rock that didn't have too many people in it!)
At Black Rock, we went snorkeling! I had never used a mask and snorkel before (that I could remember...???), and I didn't really like using them. I kept having to adjust them, so when we swam back to the beach I decided to ditch the snorkel and just use goggles and hold my breath while looking under the water. I liked doing that much better! I didn't use the snorkel and mask for the rest of the trip. Let me tell you something about snorkeling...

IT'S AMAZING.

Well, the undersea life is, anyway. Everything under the water is SO GORGEOUS. There are so many cool fish, coral, and other creatures (we even saw two eels and some turtles!). Above the water, you can't tell how amazing it is under the surface (unless the water is extremely clear ;)). God's creation is truly breathtaking and amazing. When we went back in the water after I ditched my snorkel, we saw a turtle. I was so excited! The turtle was so cool.

(I think this picture was taken by my aunt. This is a turtle we saw. Isn't it beautiful?)
 

We left Black Rock Beach at lunchtime and went to a little shopping center. We got a delicious lunch of burgers, fries, and big chocolate milkshakes from a cafe called the Cool Cat Cafe that my relatives went to on their previous visit to Maui. Cool Cat is now one of my favorite restaurants! (if only I could go more often ;)).




 After lunch, we shopped for a bit. I bought a blue sarong with green flower designs on it (a sarong is a really pretty piece of shawl-type-thing you wrap around your swimsuit).
(outside the shopping area)

After shopping, we went to another beach, Napili, which was one of my favorites. My aunt and cousin went snorkeling with boogie boards. We saw two turtles. One was huge and came really close to the beach! We got really close to the turtle - probably a foot away! We also saw a lot of cool fish. We saw a puffer fish and a humuhumunukunukuapua'a (the state fish - some of you may recognize the name from the song from High School Musical 2! Ha!).







After we played in the water for a bit, we headed home. By then, we were all burned immensely, even though I applied sunscreen twice (I gues that wasn't enough!). We all put aloe vera on, and I memorized a Bible Bee verse (Proverbs 24:29-34 - great verse!).

DAY 4:
My cousins and I played cards in the morning. I taught S the card game "Slow" and she taught me the game "Speed." They're both really fun! We played so many card games during the trip :D. It was a bunch of fun! For breakfast, we ate eggs, bacon, and potatoes. It was yummy! Then we all got ready and did some shopping. My cousin introduced me to chocolate-covered macadamia nuts, and they were delicious! I really want some now! Haha! We went into a store called Hilo Hattie (which holds bad memories for me!). On my iPod, I wrote: "Let me just sum up Hilo Hattie by saying that I don't know if those people will wants ut to come back in!" Haha! My cousin ended up almost buying a pearl, and I broke a small glass turtle. For lunch we went to a tiny Mexican place and got nachos to share that were yummy.

Later, we went to Makena Beach, a beautiful beach with big waves! It was fun using the boogie boards cause we could jump over the waves (so fun)!


Guava juice! Yum!





 S and my aunt and I went to find a restroom, and the restroom we found was in a super fanciful Asian hotel! It was so neat and clean! Haha. It had fountains and fish and palm trees.





After the beach, we came home, had a pizza dinner, watched a bit of Good Luck Charlie, then went in a few shops but didn't buy anything. After we came back and got ready for bed, my cousin and I played card games and bet Parmesan goldfish and pretzels. It was SO much fun! I was being so random; we were laughing really hard.

DAY 5:
In the morning, we planned on going and watching people surfing and deciding if I wanted to surf. When we got there, I wasn't feeling well, so we decided to postpone surfing. S and I played card games and checked email at the condo while the others went to the beach. Later, my cousins and I watched Incredibles, then played more card games. In the afternoon, we went to the pool, which was so much fun! My cousins and I played Would you Rather? and Splash Tag. We took some pics with my underwater camera, but only two pics turned out :/. That night, S and I played MORE card games! Haha! We like card games!

DAY 6:
In the morning, we drove up to the top of a volcano (Haleakala). It was cool, but super windy. We were in an elevation of 10,000 feet! Whoah!


 When we drove down the volcano, we found a restaurant S and C and their grandma had been to on their last Maui trip. The food wasn't my favorite, but there was a cool shop inside. We all slept for part of the way home (except my uncle, who was driving). We came home and relaxed for a bit, then went to the pool. After dinner that night, my cousins and I made some music videos (tons of fun!). Afterwards, we went shopping at Wailea.

DAY 7:
After breakfast and some card games, we packed up the car and headed to Kapalua Beach. We ended up going to both Kapalua, which was a great snorkeling spot! There were lots of rocks and coral, and also sand for C to play in. The weather was nice, too, and it wasn't very crowded. We saw lots of fish and a red-and-white-striped eel! My uncle said it was six feet long!

We went to Cool Cat Cafe again for lunch (which was delicious again), then went to Napili Beach again! I was hoping to see a turtle again, but we only saw some fish (still pretty, though!). After Napili, we went to the Cannery Mall to watch hula dancing. We expected professional hula dancing, but it was by girls who looked about 3-15 years old! It was really good, though! The guys playing music sang really well, though, and there was this one little girl who looked about three who smiled for the whole thing and was just doing her own thing. She was adorable!

After shopping, we got dinner at a place called Amigo's. S and I split a big plate of chicken nachos.

DAY 8:
My aunt and I snorkeled a bit at Home Beach but didn't see any turtles. We saw some cool fish, though. Later, we all went to the pool twice and went shopping, then got dinner at Round Table Pizza (which was really yummy. There was only one literally round table in the place, though ;)).

DAY 9:
We woke up at 7 am, got ready to go, and went to a surf lesson! Yes! My aunt and I took the lesson, and S took pictures. Our guide, Titus, wore sunglasses and a straw hat and would ask us questions as we got on our surfboards, getting ready to ride the wave. It was kinda funny! He asked, "What do you think of Brad Pitt?" What on earth?!?! Haha!

Surfing was amazing. I had a blast! The water was really shallow, and there were rocks below, so my knees got pretty banged up - it was still completely worth it, though! I can not wait for the next time I get to surf. I had so much fun.

My cousin took this. I am the one in the black, second from the right :-).

That day, we went to Honolua Bay (at least, I think it was that day...I didn't write about it in my notes...). Honolua Bay was cool - it just smelled really bad! Haha! My uncle took S and I snorkeling, and we saw another eel and other cool fish! My uncle saw an octopus, but S and I missed it! Rats! Honolua Bay was very beautiful, though :).

On our last night in Maui, we went to beach and carried our boogie boards and flip-flops all the way down the beach to Black Rock Beach. On the way there, I noticed I was only carrying one flip-flop! I had lost my other flip-flop while we were walking! Ha! (but more on that later) At Black Rock, the sunset was GORGEOUS. It was simply breathtaking (of course, that was the day I didn't bring my camera! Thankfully my relatives had their cameras, though, and my aunt let me use hers. You photographers probably understand how torn up about not bringing it I was, though, haha!) We walked back down the beach, and my relatives saw something pink sticking out of a bush (yep - it was my flip-flop!). Haha!


(GORGEOUS Black Rock sunset. Not sure who took this picture - either me, my aunt, or S)

One last occurrence I can't NOT tell you is when I was putting sunscreen on my arm. I was trying to walk onto the condo's small balcony, but I didn't see that the sliding glass door was closed. You can probably guess what happened! I walked right into it, and my relatives and I just cracked up laughing! Here is the sunscreen-print my arm left (hahaXD)!

In conclusion, I had a really good time in Maui! It was gorgeous, and my favorite parts were snorkeling and surfing. I definitely want to go back to Hawaii someday.


So there you have it. If you've read the whole thing, I am very surprised! Haha! :D

Also...many if not all of you know about the sad tragedy that happened Friday in Connecticut. Please join me in praying for the victims and their families! 
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three years ago today...

I wrote this in one of my many notebooks. I thought I'd share it with you.

You
By Talia DeAndrea
Each day the wind whispers Your Name
The deep, crystal blue sea reflects Your fingerprints on the circular moon in the night sky

The birds sing their lovely songs of your glorious works and love.
The daisies use the smile you planted on their faces

And, like the sun, I want to shine for You, Jesus, because of Your amazing love for me.

(December 7th, 2009)

Let's take the time to reflect on how amazing God is, and how beautiful the works of His hands are.

“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;” (John 11:25)

 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands. (Psalm 19:1)


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To Want All of God

I have a problem.

It's a problem I know many of us face...a problem often overlooked when compared to other "bigger" problems, but a major problem nonetheless.

I neglect God.

Do you know what I'm talking about? I push God out of the way because doing what I want seems more fun. I'll admit that when I'm reading in my bed at night (I'm a bookworm), I often feel a tug to read my devotions. But, usually, I think, Um - what I want to read is much more fun than my devotions! It's kind of a strange thought that I'm neglecting God by reading Christian books and magazines...

I find that I'm so much closer to God when I'm doing my devotions and spending a quiet time in prayer talking and listening to God daily. I'm living more the way He wants me to live instead of the way I want to live. My words are more encouraging. I go out of my way to be kind to others, opposed to when I'm not spending time with God and I can be rude, abrupt, or disrespectful (or just plain mean). Spending time with God makes me want to be more loving, generous, encouraging, prayerful, thoughtful, and careful about what I do and say, while neglecting Him encourages the opposite.

A pastor at our church told us this quote at youth group, and it is remarkably true and relevant: "We have as much of God as we want." (not sure who the quote's by) I'm just gonna let that sink in for a moment. Read it again:

"We have as much of God as we want."  

I bet a lot of you, like myself, would try to answer that question by jumping in and exclaiming, "I want ALL of God!" But do our actions really portray this desire? Do we really want all of God? Or do we want "enough" of God and an abundance of ourselves and our desires?

I've realized that my relationship with God is the most fulfilling relationship I (and you) can ever have. So why do I put off the most important person in life - the Creator of life?!? How can I be so selfish and think that neglecting God will be more rewarding than God's eternal blessings?

I am determined to spend time with Jesus Christ my Savior and let my actions show that I desire to follow Christ and put His perfect wants before my own sinful ones.

I am determined to want all of God.  
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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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