Washington, D.C. in Pictures

I got the amazing opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. to represent Oregon at the VFW Voice of Democracy Speech/Essay Competition. It was great! I met a lot of neat people and went to some really cool places. What a great experience it was!

 
At the Lincoln Memorial.

I love these kids! (On the very right in black is my good friend Luke, who is also a Christian and photographer)

 
The gorgeous sunset God painted while we were on a boat cruise on the Potomac River.
 
 
While we were there, it snowed (a lot)! I was very happy. Haha!
 
 
I love these girls (Abby and Mary)! I loved hanging out with them in D.C.
 
 
 You know - just taking a picture with George Washington.
 
  
 
My fantastic, amazing roommate Amethyst! I love this girl so crazy much. We got really close in D.C., and I miss her so much.
 
 
What a great trip it was! I'm so thankful for this opportunity.




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Something to Say

You haven't posted in so long...you're going to have to explain why.

Do you really think you should be encouraging people when you aren't doing well?

You haven't been in your Bible enough, or prayed enough. You've been messing up like crazy. You'd be a hypocrite to post a devotional for other girls.

These doubts (and ones similar to these) constantly run through my mind when I think about blogging, and how I've neglected it for the past three months. They nag at me, whispering the lie that I don't have anything to say...nothing worth reading, anyway.

And yet, something inside of me desperately holds onto this blog and longs to begin posting on here regularly again.

Things have been changing a lot in my life recently. I'm entering a new season of life...a season that is very different, and one that I don't feel entirely prepared for. I feel as though this season of life will involve a lot of change. But, though I do not necessarily like change or do particularly well with it, I think growth can certainly accompany it.

On my sister's birthday, we went to see the movie "Mom's Night Out." I had seen it once before and enjoyed it, but I really think the second time I watched it impacted me most. Even though the story was about mothers, I could relate to it. In one scene, when the main character was listening to some "words of wisdom" from a biker named Bones, I felt like the words were meant for me. The main character expressed through tears that she didn't feel good enough. Bones asked, "Good enough for who?" And she began to list multiple people in her life, as I did the same inwardly with people from my own life. Then Bones said, "Good enough for you." I could feel my own eyes watering at the thought. I've been trying to live up to my own unreachable standards, and I am never "good enough" for myself. As the characters onscreen continued to talk, the words spoke right to me.

God loves me...just for being me. He saved me by His grace, and I did nothing to deserve it, so why do I act like I have to do something or be something to "deserve" His love?

I sin...I am imperfect. But that doesn't change the fact that I do have something to say...something to share...something worth reading. God created me to be me - unique, genuine, beautiful me - and He gave me gifts and has a unique plan and purpose for my life.

It's the same for you. Don't think that you have to DO something or BE someone to earn God's love. He loves you so much, no matter what, and nothing can ever change that. (Romans 8:38-39)

Don't let the doubts and lies stop you from being the unique you that God created you to be. You have a story to tell...God's love to share. You have something to say.

I love you ♥. Talk to you guys very soon :).

Talia
   





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My Mom ♥

I want to tell you about a person.

She is caring. She is kind.

She is thoughtful. She is generous.

She is giving. She is selfless.

She always puts others before herself.

She always thinks about what she can do to help other people.

She kisses my forehead to check if I have a fever.

She scratches my back just how I like it.

She is honest.

She is godly.

She is modest.

She lets me do dramatic winged eyeliner even though I know she likes it simpler :).

She encourages me in my dreams and pursuits.

She uplifts me.

She is beautiful, inside and out.

She listens to my friend, school, and life drama.

She is patient.

She is very patient.

She is far more patient than me. :)

She is a hard worker.

She is dedicated.

She is funny.

She has a beautiful smile and laugh.


She is so many amazing things, put together in one amazing person that I am blessed to call Mom.

I love you, Mom. Happy birthday. ♥

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Idols Come in Different Forms

Lately, I've had an idol.

Not a literal, crafted golden cow that I kneel down and worship.

No.

This idol is a small, rectangular box with a touchscreen and a round home button. I constantly entertain it throughout the day, checking it at incredibly small time intervals, hoping for a new notification or message.

Can you guess what my idol is?

Yep. It's my iPod.

I pretended to be unaware that I was becoming obsessed with it, promising myself that I wouldn't use it as much as I did the previous day, but the thoughts I pushed to the back of my mind telling me otherwise inched their way forward.

I was idolizing my iPod.

Is there anything wrong with owning an iPod? With checking Facebook and Instagram? With texting my friends? No.

When I spend more time on my iPod than I do with my Savior and doing things I used to enjoy (like photography, blogging, and journaling), it becomes an issue. When I stay up far too late at night so I can watch videos on YouTube and then read a Bible verse or two really quickly on a Bible app before conking out and call it "good" for the day, there's a problem.

In Exodus 20:3, God says: "You must not have any other god but me." (NLT)

My time with God and my relationship with Him should be the PRIORITY of my day (and my life). My iPod is not going to last. I'm sure that when I go to be with Jesus, I will NOT be thinking, "Man, I wish I could post a picture of this on Instagram." That is pathetic. I won't care about Instagram anymore - I will be in the presence of my Savior.

So, I've decided to do something about my idol. I'm going to be taking a break from my iPod for a while. Not sure how long...maybe a week, maybe more. I know it isn't wrong in and of itself to own an iPod, and it's not wrong to enjoy playing on it. But I have pushed it to the top position in my life, the position only GOD should occupy, and I have felt spiritually dry, not really growing. I'm here saying right now, no more. I want GOD to be my number one priority. He is THE most important, and everything else fades in His Light.

Idols come in many different forms. What's yours? Is there something in your life that God has been telling you to let go, but you resist (like me)?

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So, I Met Thor. {And Other Recent Happenings}

That's right - I got to meet Thor!

Okay, so it wasn't Chris Hemsworth in the flesh. But it was still pretty high up there on the DUDE THAT'S SO COOL scale. I got to go through the bifrost, travel to Asgard, and meet Thor, who was sporting some high heels and lots of shiny armor. I mean, talk about a cool experience, right? That's not the sort of thing you do every day!



So, a couple weeks ago, my family got to go to Disneyland! It was pretty fun. I'm definitely a Disney girl and still a little kid, and I thought it was great going on rides like Peter Pan and Winnie the Pooh and Alice in Wonderland and meeting the characters :)! I don't care if people think I'm kiddish - what's wrong with that ;)?

While on our vacation, I went on an upside-down roller coaster for the first time (Screamin'). I had been scared to go at other amusement parks in the past, but I think I was finally ready.

It was so. Much. Fun.

Like, Girlz, roller coasters are so crazy fun! Sure, I got really dizzy and had trouble walking one of the nights (which probably wasn't just the roller coaster's fault since I had hardly eaten anything substantial that day, but still), but it was worth it. My sister Haley, the roller coaster junkie, has converted me.

While in the area, we also got to go to the Rainforest CafĂ© and eat lunch with the one and only Katie Leigh, the voice of Connie Kendall on Adventures in Odyssey! She was very kind, sweet, and funny, and she loves Jesus! It was great meeting this lovely lady.



While we were eating lunch one day at the Cheesecake Factory, I looked up and noticed that the Eye of Sauron was watching us...:P ;)!

Why, thank you, kind Storm Trooper.


You guys, Cars Land was so cool. SO cool. It was like Radiator Springs came right out of the movie.

I had a great time with my family, and I'm so thankful for them. I love them so much and am so glad I got to spend this time with them :). And I'm glad I got to meet Thor. Haha! :)

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I'm Not Leaving

*opens Blogger page in safari*
*reads date of last post*
*JANUARY THIRD*
*It's been a month!*
*Oh, dear! I don't want to stop blogging! I don't want to get too busy that I can't write here! This blog is a piece of me! I can't drift away from my blog! (not that my blog is a person, but I think you catch my drift)*

I know...I haven't posted in a month. And honestly, it kind of gives me an unsettled feeling in my stomach. I have blogged for over three years, and Girlz of God has become a part of me (or maybe it always has been a part of me), like a friend, or a journal. A space where I can openly share my thoughts and experiences and, most importantly, the hope and love I have in Jesus Christ, which is why I started this blog in the first place (to share His truths with you and hopefully help you grow in your faith).

I'm not leaving. That is, not unless God is leading me to. I get crazy busy, and I think you guys probably get that cuz who DOESN'T get busy at some point? I look back on when I started this blog and marvel at or much time I had (or made) to blog. I wish I had a bunch of free time now to blog daily, but I just don't it's going to happen. That said, I do plan on blogging much more frequently than I have been. I miss blogging and connecting and talking to and sharing with you beautiful, special girls so, SO much. I yearn to share with you who GOD says who you are, what He has been teaching me, and other amazing truths from His Word. I love you all and will be praying for you tibight. God bless you, girls. Talk to you soon.

Love,
Talia

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You Can't Run When You're Holding Suitcases

"How can you move when they're weighing you down? What can you do when you're tied to the ground, yeah? You carry your burdens, heavy like gravity. Just let them go now, there's freedom in release. You can't run when you're holding suitcases. It's a new day, throw away your mistakes. And open up your heart, lay down your guard. You don't have to be afraid. Just breathe, your load can be lifted. There's a better way when you know you're forgiven. Open up your heart, lay down your guard. You don't have to be afraid. Can you imagine what it's like to be free? Well, send those bags packing, they are not what you need. Abandon your troubles by the side of the street. Just let them go now, believe me." - Suitcases, Dara Maclean

"God, why do I feel distant from you?"

It was a question I had asked more than once. And, more than once, I had felt like God was telling me exactly why.

I needed to let go of things I'd been holding onto, things I'd been idolizing before God. But I didn't want to. I tried to let them go, praying that God would take them. But something in me was still holding onto these things, not wanting to let them go. I knew God was the only One who could eternally satisfy me, but my sinful nature whispered the lie to me that these things would give me something, some kind of happiness and fulfillment, that God couldn't.

Two days ago, I got back from a winter retreat I attended with my youth group. I went on the trip hoping I would grow in my faith and relationship with God, but skeptical about whether I really would or not. That required me opening up, being honest with myself, God, and others, allowing God to change my heart, and letting the messages and especially God's Word affect me so I could be convicted about problems in my life and things I needed to change. I was, in a way, stuck in a "rut" in my devotional life. I read my Bible every day, but many days it was just so I could "check it off" my mental list. I didn't feel like I was really growing in my faith, and I desperately wanted to.

The speaker's second message really got to me. (All of them did, but this one in particular was very convicting) A note I took during the session says this:

"There are areas of your life where sin hasn't fully been dealt with, pain that hasn't healed...It's because you haven't surrendered that area of your heart and mind and given it up to God."

Ouch. As the speaker talked and I thought about the areas, I knew what they were and that I needed to give them up to God in order for my spiritual life to grow and prosper and me to stop holding back. I was carrying around suitcases, letting them drag me down instead of running. I knew I needed to let them go. I needed to give the suitcases to God.

So I did. I gave my suitcases to God, asking Him to take control of them and take them before I want to grab them back.

I still struggle with wanting to reopen the suitcases, wanting to pick them up again because I think I need what's inside of them. The truth is, I don't need what's inside of them - bitterness, jealousy, anger, holding grudges, not forgiving others, focusing on outward beauty and material objects, obsessing over worrying about what other people think of me...I don't need any of it. It only drags me down. The only thing - the only person - I always have and always will ever need is Jesus Christ. Everything else fades out completely in comparison to God and His grace and how amazing He is, how much He loves us. He is indescribably holy and good and worthy to be praised, and my deepest desire is to glorify Him with my life, bring honor to His Name, and share His love with others.

Luke 9:23-25 says:

Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?"

Are you carrying around suitcases? Are there areas in your life that you haven't completely given up to God? I'd strongly encourage you to give those things up to Him. When you drop your suitcases and run without restraint towards your Savior Jesus, the results will be amazingly rewarding. When I dropped my suitcases, I felt so free. I had so much peace in Jesus, and I truly desired to dig into His Word, spend time with Him, genuinely worship Him, and spread His love to the people God has placed in my life. The speaker talked about how if we've taken steps away from Jesus - even one hundred! - and we take one step back, we see that Jesus is right there, at that step. What are you waiting for? The things in your suitcases are not going to give you the eternal joy and satisfaction that your soul craves. Only JESUS CHRIST can. Give Him your suitcases.
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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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