Monday, December 31, 2012

2012…Looking Back


2012...Looking Back
Part 1
Titles From The Year:

Graduate: Finished CollegePlus and Graduated from Thomas Edison State College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication.

Intern: Interned at the State Capitol in Senate.

Campaign Assistant: Helped run a state senate campaign – And the candidate won!

IT Director: Worked on a few different Facebook pages and groups, joined Twitter, and ran a website.

Parade Walker: Walked in 25 parades this summer and went to 6+ County fairs and festivals (while campaigning).

Auntie: This summer, I became an Auntie for the 12th time! 12 nieces and nephews!

Granddaughter: Also, this summer, my last grandparent went to be with Jesus. I will always miss all four of my grandparents.

Vacationer: Went on a mini-vacation to visit a friend from my childhood after not seeing each other much over the past few years! And went on a family vacation to Texas!

Daughter/Sister: In March, my sister and I attended a Father Daughter Ball with our Dad. My mom and I also got to attend some conventions together and spend time together.

Secretary: For a local group I am involved in.

Blogger: Continuing to blog here on Musings - http://musingsmadebymandy.blogspot.com/

Reader: Now that I have finished school, I am back to reading the books I haven't had time to read in the last couple of years!

Friend: I have met many new people over the last year! Happy to be able to call them friends.

Nanny: For two of my nieces and one of my nephews.

Christ Follower: As I look at this area of my life, this is what is most important to me. In all I do, I want to serve God. But when I look back over the last year, I did not strive to make this the most important. While I felt God was calling to each of these other things and I was able to use them as my ministry, I still feel like I needed to put more importance on Him. He was faithful to me throughout the year and I felt Him with me. As I go into the next year, I want Him to be first and foremost in everything I do, in every decision I make.

“So whether [I] eat or drink or whatever [I] do, [I want to] do it all for the glory of God.” 
(1 Corinthians 10:31)

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Last Ounce Of Courage

Last night I watched the movie, Last Ounce of Courage

Here is part of the description: (The rest is in the link)

"When Christian is threatened with school suspension for bringing his bible to school, Bob notices that his country is headed in a dangerous direction and that freedom itself is on the line. Encouraged by his grandson Christian, who asks "what did his father die for?", Bob finally takes a stand for his beliefs and finds himself jailed for putting up the town's Christmas tree and refusing to take it down. In this beautiful story of love and forgiveness, they discover a way to unite and to make a difference in their community by claiming their freedom and standing up for their rights." 

The movie was very good and made a lot of good points about freedom, making an impact on the next generation, and standing up for what we believe in and in what is right. But some of my favorite parts were the two Reagan quotes in the movie. One was at the beginning and one was at the end.

The quote at the beginning:

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
― Ronald Reagan


The quote at the ending:

"You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children's children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done in the one moment allotted us here on earth."
-Ronald Reagan


In all that we do, we impact the next generation. What are you doing today that will make a positive impact on next generation?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Just Call Me Scarlett...


Just the other day, I made the comment to my mom, "Just call me Scarlett," after I had quoted the famous Scarlett O'Hara from "Gone With The Wind". We laughed and then I said I didn't have a red dress. Over the years, I have watched the movie, "Gone With The Wind". I first borrowed the movie on VHS from my grandmother and it took me days to watch the whole movie. But after that first time, I have watched the movie about once-a-year. And I have now bought my own copy on DVD.

Scarlett O'Hara on the cover of my DVD
I am not sure why I like the movie, every time after I finish watching it, I am angered by Scarlett. I think it is a movie I both love and hate. I like it because it is a classic, it tells a good story, but yet it annoys me because Scarlett never realizes who truly loved her and who she loved until it is too late. Maybe...it reminds me that we should treasure those we have around us and that make sure we let them know we love them...

My old edition of the book "Gone With The Wind"
 Whether I like the whole movie or not, there are a couple quotes that I like to use from the movie. This is what lead my mom to teasing me about being Scarlett. Below is a picture of Scarlett and the quotes I use...

 "I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow".
and
"After all... tomorrow is another day". 
-Scarlett O'Hara

 
Scarlett on the cover of my book "Scarlett"




 Why do I quote Scarlett? Sometimes I wonder! Most of the time when I use the first quote that I mentioned it is because I don't want to deal with something at the moment. It is not my way of ignoring the issue or avoiding the problem, but instead it is my way of making light of the issue and remembering that I can focus on something else and then come back to the issue at hand. Sometimes things need to rest before we make decisions.

The second quote? Each day is a blessing and I need constant reminding of this fact. When I think of tomorrow, I think of a new day, a new beginning, another blessing.

Me in my Red Dress

For Christmas, I received a red dress. I love the color red and it was a special gift to me. I wore the dress on the Sunday before Christmas and the picture above is of me wearing it. Both of those quotes do have meaning for me...but mostly I use them for fun. They put a smile on my face. So while I don't strive to be like Scarlett, we can still learn lessons from her. One more lesson that I think of is that we can choose new beginning. Christ offers new life if we trust in Him. Scarlett was always able to pick herself up and start again and look for the hope of a new day. While it seems that she never found it, we have a Hope. In Christ, we have a real opportunity to find Hope and Faith, but only through Jesus. I want to live my life in a way that will always give glory to God. And I want to be able to see the blessings He gives me. And I want to live each day believing in that Hope and Faith.

So call me Scarlett...

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve - Traditions (Blog post #200!)


Merry Christmas Everyone! It is Christmas Eve! And it is the day of the year that my family always celebrated Christmas with my grandparents and extended family. It was a tradition that I loved. I love my family and I love being able to spend time with them.

However, this year was different... This year, my grandparents are no longer with us. They are truly Home for Christmas and I miss them dearly. The song below reminds me of one of my sets of grandparents. In some ways, it reminds me of all four of my grandparents. It is a beautiful song!


When I began writing this post, I noticed it is the 200th post I have written on this blog. I would like to dedicate it to my grandparents. My grandparents were people who I felt completely loved by and I felt like I meant the world to them! They were my cheering squad. They always wanted to hear what I was doing and were always excited for me. They listened to me and were there for me. They were the best grandparents ever!

So each Christmas Eve, we celebrated with both sets of grandparents on this day. This is the first year without them here. My parents are carrying on the tradition with their children and grandchildren to celebrate Christ's birth on Christmas Eve. I am thankful for all of my family and thankful we can celebrate the birth of Jesus on this day and I am thankful for all of my family and friends. As we usher in these new traditions and a new generation, the change is difficult for us all, but I know that, with God's grace, He will get us through and will give us what we need. I pray that as you celebrate this Christmas, you will feel God's presence, His grace, salvation, love... Whether you are able to continue on with your current traditions, or are creating new ones this year because of life circumstances, you can believe that Jesus will be with you. Remember, He came for you. To save you.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” 
Isaiah 9:6

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 
Luke 2:11


Sunday, December 16, 2012

My prayer for the families in CT

In recent days I have seen a lot of tragedy happening in our country. These tragedies, the recent shooting, have been hard to deal with. They are happening all over our country, in CT, in my home state, in my county, and even in my town.

While I have not been impacted by these on a level of losing someone I love, I believe we all have been affected in some way. For me, I see the amount of evil that is in the world. I don't believe it was the guns that killed the victims, instead the guns were the tools used by the shooters. Our human nature has a tendency to look for the reason why these people did what they did. I believe it is because we are sinful people. We need redemption and salvation from our sinful ways.

This time of year, we celebrate the birth of the One who came to save us. We celebrate Jesus and we look to the time when we celebrate what He ultimately came here to do - die on the cross, take our sins- past, present, and future sins- upon His shoulders and set us free. He wanted to make a way for us. Because of His work on the cross, we have access to the Father and true freedom from sin, if we are willing to accept Him.

In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:4, 5 ESV)

My prayer...

Father,
I thank you for being who You are. Thank You for sending Your Son to die for us, so we might live. Lord, I think of the CT teacher that so recently gave her life to save all of the children in her classroom. She was an example of what Jesus did on the cross. I pray for her family as they are grieving her loss. I pray for comfort for all of the families of the CT children and school workers that lost lives on Friday. I ask for Your peace to be with them, especially as they go into this Christmas season. Be with all of the country as they grieve. Send revival, Lord.
In Jesus' Name I ask these things. Amen.

I saw this prayer from Max Lucado and I feel it is appropriate.***

Dear Jesus,

It's a good thing you were born at night. This world sure seems dark. I have a good eye for silver linings. But they seem dimmer lately.

These killings, Lord. These children, Lord. Innocence violated. Raw evil demonstrated.

The whole world seems on edge. Trigger-happy. Ticked off. We hear threats of chemical weapons and nuclear bombs. Are we one button-push away from annihilation?

Your world seems a bit darker this Christmas. But you were born in the dark, right? You came at night. The shepherds were nightshift workers. The Wise Men followed a star. Your first cries were heard in the shadows. To see your face, Mary and Joseph needed a candle flame. It was dark. Dark with Herod's jealousy. Dark with Roman oppression. Dark with poverty. Dark with violence.

Herod went on a rampage, killing babies. Joseph took you and your mom into Egypt. You were an immigrant before you were a Nazarene.

Oh, Lord Jesus, you entered the dark world of your day. Won't you enter ours? We are weary of bloodshed. We, like the wise men, are looking for a star. We, like the shepherds, are kneeling at a manger.
This Christmas, we ask you, heal us, help us, be born anew in us.

Hopefully,
Your Children

***http://m.christianpost.com/news/max-lucados-prayer-in-response-to-conn-school-shooting--86681/

Sunday, December 9, 2012

I Need a Silent Night

Have you heard the song "I Need a Silent Night" this year? Amy Grant sings about how busy this time of year is and how we can easily let the chaos get in the way of the true meaning of Christmas. This song probably speaks to a lot of us. We are so busy - cooking, shopping, wrapping gifts, school finals, decorating, etc... We lose track of the reason we even celebrate.


Below are some of the lyrics to the songs (in Italics), the chorus and a few of the last verses of the song.***


I need a silent night, a holy night  
To hear an angel voice through the chaos and the noise 
I need a midnight clear, a little peace right here
To end this crazy day with a silent night


December comes then disappears 
Faster and faster every year 
Did my own mother keep this pace 
Or was the world a different place?


What was it like back there in Bethlehem 
With peace on earth, good will toward men?
 
Every shepherd's out in the field 

Keeping watch over their clock by night 
And the glory of the Lord shone around them 
And they were so afraid
 

And the angels said fear not for behold 
I bring you good news of a great joy that shall be for all people 
For unto you is born this day a Savior, who is Christ the Lord 
And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace

I love how the song brings us back to the true meaning of Christmas. It is about Jesus. He is the reason we celebrate. And it is only through Him that we can have true Peace on Earth. Are you looking for peace this season? Are the situations in your life or the holiday busyness getting in the way of remembering the reason we celebrate? If you want true Peace, look to God. He sent His Son. For YOU! If you want that Peace, this website will help you on your journey: http://peacewithgod.jesus.net/

Merry Christmas! My prayer for you is that you will know true Peace through the Prince of Peace!

I Need a Silent Night by Amy Grant
A picture of the snow we got last night!




***Lyrics from: AMY GRANT - I NEED A SILENT NIGHT LYRICS

Friday, December 7, 2012

OFFER EXTENDED - College Plus Offer-Free Kindle with Enrollment

The offer has been extended! You now have one more week (until Dec. 14th) to enroll and receive your Kindle. What a great Christmas gift - a plan for college and a Kindle! 

College Plus Offer-Free Kindle with Enrollment

Just wanted to let you know, if you enroll in CollegePlus by Nov. 30th Dec. 14th, you will get a free Kindle Fire!

"If you enroll in a Bachelor's degree through the CollegePlus program by Saturday, December 1st, you will receive:

* A free Kindle Fire HD or a $200 Amazon Gift Card

But not just that, by enrolling before the end of the year, you will have the opportunity to begin 2013 on track to earn your Bachelor's degree on your own schedule, with little or no debt, and with the flexibility to discover and pursue your unique life purpose as part of your higher education."

Please use this Code: 7379
Or click this link: http://www.collegeplus.org/?requestinfo?tellafriend=7379 for more information. They will send you a packet of information. Or you can comment below with your questions.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Hallettsville, TX

I recently got back from vacation. One of my favorite places that we went while on vacation was to a small town called, Hallettsville, TX. It was completely by accident, we took a wrong turn, but it turned out to be one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. The town was centered around a beautiful building in the middle. This building was decorated for Christmas. The town, at least the part I got to see, was like a square with this building in the middle and then a road around it with the rest of the town around the main building (I think it is the courthouse). Below are the pictures of the beautiful town all lit up! I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

One more thing to note, we got there about 1AM while driving through and there was no one around, but there was Christmas music playing! I loved everything about it!

1st side - Love

2nd side - Joy

3rd side - Hope

4th side- Peace

The town from a distance

Here is a short video clip so you can hear the music!

video