Writer, Christian, SEO/Social Media Marketer, Book Reviewer, Deaf and Loud.

Tag Archives: Religion

499e07122f1967fc305165b992c035ad.jpg

Image Credits: Melissa Smith on Pinterest

Today my bible plan told me to read Chapters 11 and 12 of 1 Corinthians. I was definitely excited to see this on my bible plan for today because 1 Corinthians is my favorite book of the bible. This book has taught me so much about what it means to be a Christian woman and the roles of a man and a woman and the relationship they should have with one another and with God.

When I read these chapters today, verses 4-15 of 1 Corinthians surprised and confused me at first. These verses say that women must keep their heads covered at all times, whereas men are to keep their heads uncovered. The first thing that came to mind was honestly Muslim women. They must always keep their heads covered – is this the same thing? Have I been dishonoring God my whole life? Are the Muslim women onto something?

I breathed a sigh of relief when I read verse 15 which states, “But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.” This verse seems to confirm that by a “covering” all that is really meant is hair. But what about women with short hair? Are they dishonoring God? How short is too short?

I decided to Google this issue for more information. Here are 3 sources I looked at:

What is the Head Covering in 1 Cor 11:2-16 and Does it Apply to Us Today?

Uncovering the Head Covering Debate

Are Gender Roles a Social Construct?

I feel like most of these sources say “we don’t really know” combined with “it was a cultural thing”. I am leaning towards it being a cultural tradition or custom. If we look back to scripture in verse 2 Paul states, “Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.”

Here, the word “ordinances” stands out the most. I assume an ordinance is a tradition, but what does Google say?

define ordinance

Okay, so not quite tradition but rather law – something much more serious. But whose law is it? Is it God’s law or is it the church’s? Context is everything here. I believe it was church law at the time since Paul is talking to the church of Corinth and helping them to remember their first love – the church. He is helping them to restructure since their church was filled with so much sin and unworthy of honor. In this verse then, Paul is praising them for holding the ordinances – or laws – of the church…the laws that Paul has put into place for them.

Verse 16 also stands out to me where it says, “But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the church of God.” Two words stand out to me here: church and custom. I think of the word “custom” the same way that I think of the word “ordinance” – as meaning “tradition”. However, I was wrong about the definition of ordinance, so I could just as well be wrong about the definition of the word “custom”, so let’s look at Google.

define custom.png

Oh look at that – I was right on this one! Paul’s use of the word “custom” here shows he was talking about a tradition. Furthermore, he was talking about a tradition that is very specific for that time period. I believe this means that it’s not a defined, universal law for all of mankind meant to survive the test of time, but rather it was a church law for this specific church or this specific region (the people of Corinth) during that specific time. We can’t know exactly how specific this law was for the people or exactly how Paul intended us to interpret it, but I think it’s safe to assume that this law was for a specific time period. The word “church” used in this verse further confirms that it was a church tradition, not a law ordered by God.

So, where does that leave us and women in the church today? Well, I don’t think it’s “wrong” for women to adhere to this old custom and to choose to wear a head covering, but they also aren’t required to. I think it’s their choice. However, I think that the head covering was a symbol during that time that pledges a woman’s loyalty to her husband. Verses 13-15 states, “Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair; it is a shame unto him? But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.” The covering was something specific for women that men were not meant to wear. I think our society/culture has created its own version of that today. Some of the above sources I looked at say that it’s wedding rings, but I don’t think that is quite right because men wear wedding rings, too. However, I think they are on the right tract. This is what I think it is:
Engagement rings.
Yes, I know sometimes men will wear an engagement ring these days, but it is still far less common and by some even considered “taboo”. Male engagement rings are also usually much more masculine than female engagement rings (the traditional diamond ring). In the past when Paul was talking to the church of Corinth the head coverings were meant for married women to wear as a symbol of their loyalty to their husbands. I think the engagement ring has the same purpose in our culture today. A woman who is about to be married wears it to show her loyalty to her husband. Once the woman is married she adds a wedding ring but the woman usually wears the engagement ring with the wedding ring. Either way, it is still a symbol of her loyalty to her husband.
Another verse from chapter 11 that stood out to me was verse 17 that states, “Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worst.” Here Paul is condemning the church of Corinth for saying that the church is not uniting in a way that lifts up the congregation, but rather, it tears them down. When I read this I thought of the people of Corinth staring at women and whispering things like “Look at her hair, it’s not nearly long enough!” (assuming that the head covering was a woman’s hair and not an actual head piece). What good would that do? Paul is saying we shouldn’t be quick to judge and gossip and bring down people in the church, but instead we should unite and help each other out, for we are the body of Christ and when one member stumbles it is our job to help them back up.
1 Corinthians Chapter 12 further discusses the body of Christ and the role of the church and its members. In verse 26 Paul says, “And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it, or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” This reminds me of what Pastor Lex DeLong has preached – we are all united in Christ. We are one body of Christ and when one of our brothers and sisters of Christ falls, we all fall. When one of us rejoices, we all rejoices. We are all made up of one.
I don’t think this is the case in a lot of churches today and that makes me really sad. There are too many churches that are quick to judge, scorn, and gossip when one of the members sins or goes through a rough patch in life. Not only is that unbiblical, but I think that is sin in itself. God doesn’t want us to scorn other church members. I think he would want us to confront the individual and to help them to correct their behavior, but that’s it. The key word here: help. He would want us to help our brother or sister in Christ back up and if we’re gossiping and judging, that is not helping.

When I read these verses I also felt extremely thankful and blessed to belong to such a wonderful church now – Washington Baptist Church in Turnersville, NJ. We are not perfect, as nobody is except God, but I do believe that we are doing an incredible job with striving to become the kind of church Paul talks about in the bible in chapters like Corinth. I know that from my experience being a member of this church we are a group of people that make up the body of Christ that really does care for and love one another. Some churches I’ve been to and you’re just another nameless face. Yes, our church is small, but I truly believe that even if we grew exponentially, this would still be the kind of church where everyone takes the time to get to know everyone and to pray for each other. When someone is hurting in the church, we all feel it and when someone is succeeding, we feel their joy. We’ve cried together as a church, but we’ve also laughed, smiled, rejoiced, and ate way more than we probably should (we’re a church that really loves food :)).

Are you looking for a new church to attend? Washington Baptist Church would love to have you! Come join us for Sunday School on Sundays at 9:30 followed by our sermon at 10:30. For more information:

Visit Washington Baptist Church’s Website

OR

Download Our FREE Church App.


hqdefault.jpg

Image Credits: PursueGod.org

Today I read chapters 9-10 of 1 Corinthians. There were several parts of chapter 10 that really stood out to me. The first verse that caught my attention was one that I have previously highlighted and it is 1 Corinthians 10:21 which states, “Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakes of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.” What this verse means is we have to be careful who we choose to spend our time with, what activities we decide to partake in, and really what we VALUE in this world. Do we value God or do we value man? You can have God or the world, but you can’t have both things.

This reminds me a lot of the Jeremy Camp song, “Give Me Jesus”. I saw Jeremy Camp perform a phenomenal show at Living Waters church in Burlington last weekend and the words really stayed with me in this song in particular. The words of this song are very simple and it works. Perhaps that was Camp’s point even – to strip the song of the bare necessities – Jesus. The chorus simply states, “Give me Jesus. Give me Jesus, Give me Jesus. You can have all this world, Just give me Jesus” (Camp). If you’re a Christian and you are truly saved and truly choose to follow God and to live in Christ, that’s all you need in the world. When we die and go to heaven nothing here on Earth is going to matter; the only thing that matters is our love and belief in Christ.

Here is a lyric video featuring Jeremy Camp’s “Give Me Jesus”. Thanks to iamSB for posting it on YouTube!

Another passage that stood out to me was 1 Corinthians 10: 26 which states, “For the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” God created this earth and everything on it including all of mankind. We need to honor God in all that we do and remember to whom we belong. This ties in with verse 31, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” As Christians and disciples of God we need to consider our actions and how we live our lives and the things we choose to partake in each day. Are we glorifying and honoring God? Do our actions show us as being God’s people? Can everyone see Christ in us?

1 Corinthians 10 concludes with verse 33 which states, “Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.”  It is important for us to live Godly lives and to act in a way and to live in a way that is god-pleasing and god-honoring so that people will see Christ in us so that we may reach those who are not saved and to help to bring them to Christ. This doesn’t mean we have to be perfect; we will never be perfect. It just means that we will strive to be the people that God created us to be and that people will see Christ in us and be so inspired by our lives and the way we live in Christ, that they will be compelled to follow Christ, too.

The controlling values of 1 Corinthians 10 might look something like this:

Purpose: We must reject the world to follow God.

Context: Following the world will cause us to sin, commit idolatry, and separate us from God.

The opposing controlling values may look like this:

Purpose: Following the world will give us more opportunities and grant us higher status among society.

Context: Chasing materialistic worldly things can never fully satisfy us; only the love and grace of a savior can fulfill us.

Actually, looking at that again now after letting it sit, perhaps the opposing controlling value may be:

Purpose: If we don’t follow the world, we will be missing out.

Context: Following the world closes the door on God where we will receive better gifts than what the world can give us.

Am I living a Christ-focused life? I want to think yes, but to be honest, this is something I need to work on. Attending a public university and juggling my Master’s courses with teaching and working full time can be a challenge. I am guilty of putting God on the backburner so I can do all of these other things when in reality God should always be my priority. When people look at me and my life, is God the first thing that comes to mind? I’d like to think so, but I can’t help but think they see me as being a student or a social media marketer first and a Christian second. I need to fix this.

These verses really touched me today because 1. I need to get back to reading my Bible on a daily basis and not just immersing myself in his word, but LIVING his word and living for Christ and not the world. Also, 1 Corinthians 10:33 reminds me so much of my mission statement and what I want to accomplish in life; to please God. I am writing a novel not for my own gain and not for my audience’s gain, but for the glory of God. Everything that I do in life is for God’s glory and to honor and serve him and to share his love and his word with others. This is something that is so easy to forget and something I need to be reminded of. When I grow tired and when I question my work and why I am doing this, I remember him. None of this is for me, it’s all for him and I am exactly where God wants me to be doing the things he wants me to do for him.


Looking-Back-at-2016.jpg

Image Credits: Rhythm Agency

Hey guys! Happy New Years Eve! It’s about that time of year again where I look back at the past year and reflect on some of the greatest moments of the year. I came into 2016 pretty broken. I was in the midst of dealing with a difficult breakup, I was stuck in a job that I could no longer stand, and I was about as miserable as could be.

2016 was by no means a perfect year. I’ve been battling a terrible illness for the past couple of months and was recently diagnosed with bronchitis. My beloved cat and friend, Gizmo also passed away at the ripe old approximate age of 21.

ann-shirley-blogging-alias

Rest in Peace…Gizmo

But overall, despite how many people claim that 2016 was their “worst year ever”, 2016 ended up being pretty good for me. Here 6 of my best moments from 2016.

  1. FINALLY going to NYC…(Twice, actually).

13118868_10209348103363178_786388552934192442_n

I have been obsessed with NYC ever since I was a little kid. I swear, I must have been born a city slicker. However, up until 2016 I’ve never actually been to NYC, my loved was based solely on what I read about it o seen on TV or in movies.

I had plans in the past to go. I was supposed to go to see the Statue of Liberty for a field trip in 7th grade, but when the terrorists attacked the twin towers on 9/11/2001 when I was in 6th grade, so naturally that field trip was cancelled.

13151610_10209348120843615_6063709909989860478_n

I was also going to go on September 11, 2013 for a job interview I had with the Christian Post. However, at the time I wasn’t exactly in the same place as I am today with my faith. I was on the fence about the job and unsure about it being in NYC which was pretty far from where I lived. I received another job offer to work at a local SEO agency the day before my scheduled interview, so I decided to accept that job offer instead.

13177779_10209348109043320_2819461070943967288_n

Fast forward to 2.5 years later and my magical job suddenly wasn’t so magical. I was unhappy and more than ready to move on.

I applied to more than 100 jobs, some of which were in NYC. When I got a call back to interview for an Assistant Digital Producer job at Scholastic I was stoked. Working for Scholastic seemed like a dream to me. I grew up reading every scholastic book imaginable and was obsessed with the book fairs. This love and obsession carried on to me even in my adult life.

The interview was pretty much a disaster. The recruiter was super nice and that preliminary screening went well, but when I met with the person who I guess would’ve been my boss it all went down hill. I thought a digital producer was basically the same thing as a content coordinator but I quickly found out I was completely wrong.

15781256_10211487792454068_963036819235645801_n

I still don’t know what an Assistant Digital Producer does at Scholastic, but I know it’s definitely not blogging, social media, or content marketing…

But I had a great time in NYC anyway. Just being able to see the office was amazing and NYC was everything I thought it would be. I definitely still want to move there.

13179175_10209348091122872_7422067147592681278_n

I loved my first trip to NYC so much that I decided to come back there to celebrate my 26th birthday. I went to eat lunch at Black Tap NYC. This restaurant was all the rage at the time thanks to their famous milkshakes. The restaurant was actually really disappointing and the staff was horrible, but the rest of the trip was great. I was really just in complete awe of the city. I enjoyed going to the M&M Factory and Bubba Gump and exploring Times Square. I can’t wait to get back there again.

13179170_10209349021586133_2111395105768180239_n

2. Seeing Good Charlotte…Twice.

For those of you who don’t know, Good Charlotte is by  far my favorite band. I saw them perform for the first time in 100+ degree weather outside on Father’s Day at Festival Pier in Penn’s Landing back in 2010. Since then I’ve seen them Cherry Hill, at the TLA multiple times, and most recently at the Fillmore. I’ve seen them a total of 5 or 6 times, two of which were in 2016.

15027761_10210978586724243_3194899646102604620_n

Seeing them in 2016 was especially special for me because it was the first time I could REALLY hear them. They sounded just as amazing as I remembered. I liked that I could hear everything they said when they were just talking, too. Before receiving my cochlear implants in 2014 and 2015 I would miss out a lot on their talks to the crowd and teasing each other. The Madden twins have such a great sense of humor that really comes out when they play shows together. It was great to finally get to hear it in these shows.

14947402_10210978585684217_210866598673662374_n

Both of the shows were amazing. The TLA will probably always be my favorite venue, but the Fillmore was pretty awesome, too. I like the atmosphere of the TLA better and have a lot of great memories at the TLA, but I think the sound quality at the Fillmore was better. While both shows were incredible I’ll have to say the one I saw in November at the Fillmore was probably their best show ever. It was the perfect blend of old and new songs and so very nostalgic. It was like my childhood come to life in musical form.

12994573_10209218408920898_4853926460766245848_n

I can’t wait to see them again. For those of you who really, really, really love me they will be performing/traveling with this amazing warped tour/emo/punk cruise ship package thing in October. If you buy it for me I promise to love you for forever…just saying…

3. Working at Becker’s School Supplies

1525253_251155705051527_1398217192_n

Image Credits: Becker’s School Supplies on Facebook

This one probably comes as a surprise for most of you guys.. My job at Becker’s didn’t really work out. I actually didn’t get this job originally. It’s kind of a funny story. I found the open SEO Marketer position accidentally on Monster.com, a website I rarely ever used during my job search (I was pretty loyal/exclusive to LinkedIn). I applied and got an interview pretty quickly and thought I had nailed it. I couldn’t have asked for a better interview. I got along with everyone  so well. Being obsessed with school supplies and wearing paperclip earrings to my interview also helped a lot haha.

Imagine my devastation when I received a phone call while at work on April Fool’s Day of all days. I couldn’t believe it.

But the story didn’t end there. I got another call from them about a week later. Apparently things didn’t work out with the first person they hired, so I was next in line. Eager to get our of the miserable job I was currently stuck in, I quickly accepted.

Becker’s wasn’t a bad job at all. It was actually almost anything you could ask for in a job. It was pretty much the complete opposite from my current job which was a plus. It was a family owned business that benefitted the education system in a positive way. I was honestly just excited to get out of the agency life. I also liked that it was a small family-owned business that was around for many years. But my favorite parts? Everyone was sooooooooo nice and professional and there was none of the typical office drama or politics.

I got along great with everyone and was well-liked. It was refreshing to see and work with various members of the Becker family each day. They owned the company and were at the top of the tier, but they never made you feel like you were below them. Everyone was all part of the same team. They valued and respected all of their employees. I’ll never forget how the first thing Kurt Becker, the company’s treasurer, asked me was what I thought about the website and what I’d fix. I was an employee at that time for less than a week and he still valued my opinion and expertise enough to want to know my ideas for change.

As great as Becker’s was though, it wasn’t right for me. I spent years working in SEO in the past, but it was much different. I learned that when it comes to SEO, I’m all about creating content such as blogs and other website content that is optimized for SEO. I’m not much for Google Analytics (although I’m learning!) or any of the data/analytical side of things which this position dealt a lot with. Also, while I loved school supplies my love for school supplies didn’t quite match up with the products the company sold. I thought this was a company that sold a bunch of notebooks and pens, but it was really all early childhood education supplies like furniture for childcare centers.

I used to love product meetings where vendors will show us their stuff and try to persuade us to purchase it, mainly because I’m a child and I love to play with fake sand and dinosaurs and legos and read picture books, but I have a hard time wrapping my head around early education. I never went to pre-school, let alone daycare as a kid. It was a whole new field for me.

When I accepted the job with Becker’s I still had a lot of other job applications out and was negotiating with Penn Medicine. I wasn’t sure what would happen with that opportunity. It sounded good, but I have also been negotiating for several months and nothing was happening and I really needed a new job. I was also looking into grad school and applying for the TEP program. My future was so unclear. Everything was a risk.

I have absolutely no regrets about Becker’s. I learned so much about my career interests, job preferences, and how to turn down a job that isn’t working for you. I left them with the best gift I had to give: I referred them to a former co-worker who I saw as an expert in SEO that I knew was interested in the position. She could do for them everything they needed and wanted in terms of SEO that I didn’t know how to do. They hired her almost immediately. The rest is history.

4.Working at Penn Medicine

pennnn

Image Credits: Henrietta Hudson 

While it was quite the long process, I did end up getting hired by Penn Medicine in 2016. I initially turned down the position to work at Becker’s, but they begged me to reconsider. Isn’t it funny how things work out? I applied in January and was finally hired in June.

I honestly wasn’t sure about Penn when I first applied. I previously did an internship with Slack Medical journals and really, really, really hated it. It was so boring and technical and confusing. I was afraid Penn would be the same, yet for some reason this felt really different. I almost backed out of this interview several times because of other interviews I had (first with Scholastic and then with Bernie Robbins jewelers). I am so glad that my mom and some of my friends and former colleagues pushed me to go and keep pursuing this opportunity, even when it seemed hopeless.

15578227_1590348147656582_3169316310893269096_o.jpg

Working at Penn has been a blessing to me in so, so, so many ways. First off, I really love the location. Like I stated previously, I’m a city slicker. We’re located right in University City. It’s a safe part of Philly and there’s so much stuff going on! We’re within walking distance of many restaurants which makes lunch time fun, especially if we have a new member to our team. I recently tried an Indian buffet with my co-workers and in the summer we’d frequently meet up for green smoothies from the fruit lady’s food truck or frozen yogurt from Kiwi yogurt.

13775588_10209920101382771_5864235360857603972_n

The content team at the #LoveFest Pep Rally

Secondly, I love my job itself. I get to do my two favorite things: write a lot and work on social media. I also get to teach my co-workers what I learn, specifically with our new social media content management system, Sprinklr. I’m never bored. I learn constantly and am always challenged. I didn’t know much about medical conditions initially, but have since learned so many incredible things. I’m in awe by Dr. Carl June’s work with immunotherapy and cancer. All of the neurological conditions constantly blow my mind (did you know there’s a procedure where they turn off and test different parts of the brain to see what if anything will be lost if they cut away part of it?). It’s fascinating stuff!

15672634_1590348357656561_1457050960058701707_n

My co-workers are also the best. They are so talented, kind, and hard-working. It’s also a very professional atmosphere free of office drama and politics. While everyone is always working really hard, we also have fun together with team building exercises such as monthly full staff meetings, our pep rally, and our Christmas bowling party. We are also starting a professional development book club which should be fun.

5. Becoming an Adjunct Professor AND a Grad School Student at Rowan University

rowanproud

Image Credits: Rowan

Of all of the possible things that could’ve happened this year, I never imagined I’d become a college professor, but that is exactly what happened.

I’ve been toying with the idea of going back to school to earn my MA in Writing for years. I didn’t want to get my MA originally. I was tired and burnt out after earning to BA’s and I didn’t think an MA was all that important to be honest. But after receiving bilateral cochlear implants I wrote a book and now I want so additional help to finish writing/revising it and publish it.

Still, I wasn’t sure how this would work. I didn’t know at the time that Penn has an amazing benefits package that would cover the cost of my tuition. I just knew that financial aid wasn’t an option with grad school, so I was on my own and grad school doesn’t come cheap.

When Professor Block emailed me about grad school and mentioned the TEP program which allows students to teach while earning their MA and pays for at least part of their tuition costs, I saw it as a sign that I was meant to go to grad school and apply.

I wasn’t totally sure what to expect. I knew I like teaching, but I didn’t expect to love it as much as I ultimately did. I didn’t expect to get so attached to my students. I think teaching is one of the best things to ever happen to me, honestly. I love it so much. I love feeling like I’m making a difference and seeing my students improve as writers.

Grad school’s not bad, either. Some of the writing projects for Core were fun. It’s not the most interesting year for me though. I feel like I have a lot of pre-reqs which can be a little dry to take now to get to the good stuff like writing the memoir and non-fiction writing. But still I’ve really loved just being back in school again. I love the challenge of it all. I love learning.

It hasn’t been easy. Juggling a full time job in the city, teaching three times a week, and taking 2 graduate level courses a semester is no joke. But I love the thrill of the challenge and being constantly under pressure. I feel like I am constantly working towards a goal and I feel I’ve been fairly successful so far.

6. Going to Washington DC

14671227_10210723453226065_3642602516287818940_n

DC is another place I had plans to go to multiple times, but never actually went to until this year. I was first going to go on a field trip in 7th grade, but alas the terrorist attack on the Pentagon on 9/11/2001 when I was in 6th grade caused the trip to get cancelled. Then in 2014 or whenever it was I was going to meet Casey there and get back together with him, but in a really bizarre turn of events he cancelled our plans and ran off and got engaged and married to some other girl…but that’s another story…

14695420_10210723453506072_6595905345614683920_n

Every year Rowan picks a book to have the University read together as a whole. This year the book was Americanah! by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I don’t know what the book was about because I didn’t actually read it lol. Anyway though, the book inspired the University to take a free trip to DC that was open to all students and faculty and since I’ve always wanted to go to DC anyway, I jumped at the opportunity to go.

14705800_10210723452226040_3454485725394137346_n

I was nervous about the trip at first since I didn’t know anyone who was going. Who would I hang out with so I wouldn’t get lost? Should I go as a student or a faculty member since I was actually both? I hung out with faculty originally until I met a faculty member’s son who was a current senior at Rowan and closest in age to me. We hung out for the rest of the trip and became fast friends and had a blast.

14702276_10210723447065911_3616952195213718612_n

We went to the museum of African history, an African art museum, and one of the Smithsonians, though we didn’t have much time at the Smithsonian. It was a really cool trip. I’m a museum and art nerd so I love looking at and learning about this stuff. The only down side was that the main African history museum was realllllllllllllly crowded and you could hardly move.

14695520_10210723445945883_880664800835061743_n

We also ate at a soul food restaurant. I don’t eat soul food much, if ever, so it was a different experience for me. I had these oysters cooked in some kind of a hot sauce that were really good.

14702379_10210723445385869_2176290694974020380_n

It was a really nice trip especially since it helped me to get out of my comfort zone. I am glad that I did end up befriending someone despite not knowing anyone and that I took the risk to go to a new place with no one I knew. I’d definitely do something like this again in the future and I hope that in 2017 Rowan provides me with more opportunities to do so!

14695417_10210723392504547_9132923146516692899_n

7. Going to Kentucky.

My trip to Kentucky was incredible and perhaps the highlight of 2016.

15027462_10211034690486802_9080563819223895068_n

My mom and I went with Gloucester County Community Church (GCCC). I’ve been following the making of the Ark from day 1 a few years back and when I heard it opened in the summer I couldn’t wait to go. We previously looked into driving down for my mom’s birthday in August, but it was too expensive. However, going with the church would save us money and we’d take a bus with everyone so transportation wouldn’t be an issue.

15036561_10211035070936313_2499963634765673302_n

Our trip lasted 3 days and consisted with a few hours at the Creation Museum followed by almost a full day at the Ark.

15032753_10211035051175819_6758485867935136226_n

The Creation Museum was okay. Not quite as good as I was expecting, but still pretty cool. I really loved the dinosaurs. I always liked dinosaurs ever since I was a kid. About a year ago I realized that the bible never mentions the word “dinosaur” so I started to ponder why. I turned to Answers in Genesis and they explained how dinosaurs did exist and were referred to using different words. To see and learn more about this at the museum was neat. Most of the dinosaurs weren’t as big as made out to be and the dinosaurs used to only eat plants as did all animals which the bible clearly states, but few people realize. It was very informative.

15036719_10211034763608630_5986707949336023619_n

Noah’s Ark was amazing. You don’t realize how big it is until you see if for yourself. It was also incredible biblically accurate. They had all of the animals that they had back then and the cages and everything so well done. I enjoyed learning about Noah and his family and the work that they did on the Ark as well. It made me thirsty to learn more.

15085686_10211035074376399_3075278160147660141_n

Overall, 2016 was an incredible year. I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store for me!


why-go-to-church

Image Credits: House to House 

For those of you who don’t already know, I am currently enrolled in my first semester of graduate school in the MA in Writing program at Rowan University. One of the classes I am enrolled in this semester is Core I: Theories and Techniques of Writing. This is a required class for my program where we study many other writers and how they write. We have just been assigned to write a paper that is either an imitation or parody of another writer. For this assignment I have chosen to write a parody of Henry David Thoreau’s “Why I Went to the Woods”. My parody is listed below. As you read it I ask that you keep in mind that part of the assignment requires me to adopt Thoreau’s writing style. This is why the sentences are so long and detailed with many commas and semi colons and very long paragraphs. It is also why some parts of it may feel very repetitive and the language is kind of old-fashioned and not the way people talk today. I am attempting to write in Thoreau’s voice here, not my own. Also, please keep in mind that this is a first draft. While I am very proud of this draft (hence why I am choosing to publish it to my blog), it is just that, a first draft. This is far from perfect and will be undergoing significant revision as my semester goes on. I do however welcome any comments or feedback. 

Why I Went to Church

I went to church because I wished to live for Christ, and to live my life in a way that is only pleasing to him, and to see if I could lead a life free of sin, so as to go on to heaven at the time of my death. I wished to follow the commandment of my Lord in Romans 12:2, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (The Holy Bible : authorized King James version: super giant print edition: words of Christ in red, 1996, p. 1728). I wanted to surrender myself and my life to my Lord and savior Jesus Christ, to live so spiritually and free of materialism as to have no one question my faith, but for others to come to know Christ through me and my faith, and to show the world what it means to be a Christian. We do not live our lives for us, we live for Christ.

Did you ever consider how we might live for Christ? Living for Christ is a conscientious choice that we must make every day; a decision to live free of our material possessions and the worldly sinful life. Some choose the pleasure of a life of Christ, others choose the ways of the world run by Satan. It is my hope that one day those who choose the world will wake up and break free of Satan’s hold on them, that they will suddenly choose the life of Christ and follow him and his ways, so that they too, may be saved. Why should we exercise the right of free will? We are determined to choose our own paths in life. Men constantly choose their own paths, thinking they know what’s best for their lives. But we constantly fall short of the glory of God. It all started with Adam and Eve, who chose their own free will, they took pleasure in their own hearts’ desires, so that now we must all suffer the misfortunes of their sin. And now when comes forth acts of temptation, we must all struggle with decision to sin or turn way and follow God, for this is a constant battle in an unbelievers heart, until the day comes that they may be saved.

There is but few men residing alongside Washington Township who considers himself not a sinner, but a saved man, yet has an excuse every which way for why he cannot attend church. The man claims to not have the time of day for such matters as church, yet the same man and his wife would ask the fine couple next door, “What’s the plans for the day?”, fearing that they may miss out on the town’s latest social event. Yet they fail to realize the day’s occurrences are but temporary, for they cannot match the days of heaven that would lie ahead of them, if they were to only get saved.

Still, we live for the world and not for Christ; though the Bible tells us in Matthew 6:24, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mam’-mon” (The Holy Bible : authorized King James version: super giant print edition: words of Christ in red, 1996, p. 1462). Our lives are stained in sin. A saved man knows not to count on the things in the world for happiness, for as Psalm 23 states, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want” (The Holy Bible : authorized King James version: super giant print edition: words of Christ in red, 1996, p. 915). Pray, pray, pray! I command, pray 10 or 20 times a day, and not once or twice; instead of television read your bible, and listen to 2 Corinthians 6:14 which demands, “Be yet not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?” (The Holy Bible : authorized King James version: super giant print edition: words of Christ in red, 1996, p. 1764). Pray, pray. Instead of arguing with your wife, pray for peace; instead of drinking at the bar, invite your friends over for a time of prayer; and pray for each other as often as you can. Our lives are each ridden with sin as the result of the fall of Adam and Eve, and we constantly fall short of the glory of God, with the only option to escape salvation through the grace Christ alone. Look at our nation, an icon of sin, which obviously hasn’t been doing so well in recent years, thrives on the motto, “Do what makes you happy, regardless of the consequences”, which explains why we have become obsessed with the sexualization of our culture and the constant need for self-gratification, and the only way to escape the ruins that we have fallen into as a nation is to turn away from ourselves and our own free will and instead surrender our lives to Christ and his will and his ways for ourselves as individuals and our nation as a whole. Repent, repent, repent! We must admit our shortcomings to the Lord and ask for his forgiveness as we accept the life he has laid out for us, and not merely the paths we think we know best for ourselves, for in all honesty, we know nothing. Men believe that they must engage in pre-marital sex, to put money before prayer, and to break each and every commandment in the bible for the stake of liberty and equality in our nation; whether they actually engage in these acts or support them as bystanders remains to be uncertain, but whether we shall live as moral Christians or sinful heathens these days is questionable.

As for me, I could easily do without the television. I believe there are very few Christ-pleasing shows on air these days. To be honest, I haven’t seen a television program but twice a year during the span of my lifetime that I believed worthwhile of my time. And I am confident that I’m not missing out much on this week’s latest tabloid stories. It’s just one Kardashian sex tape, Taylor Swift’s breakup, WikiLeaks breakthrough, celebrity drug overdose, Jennifer Aniston pregnancy, Kanye West feud, Kate Middelton hat, Oprah Winfrey failed diet, Jennifer Lopez wedding, and Angelina Jolie divorce after the other. Reading one tabloid story is more than enough to last me to my final days. Why do we care to read so much gossip about the misfortunes of the rich and famous? Does Ephesians 4:29 not state, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers”? (The Holy Bible : authorized King James version: super giant print edition: words of Christ in red, 1996, p. 1785). Rather than judging these celebrities and talking about the times when they fall short of the glory of God, shall we not pray for them instead? I hear women in the grocery store pick up these tabloids and chat about the celebrities all the time. “That Taylor Swift sure gets around these days,” they say, “What a whore!”. Some of these expressions come from women who wear a cross around their necks and claim to be a Christian, yet they can’t remember the last time they stepped foot in a church or made time for prayer. They may be better off if they threw the tabloids in the trash where they belong and open up their bible and fold their hands to pray instead. Gossiping about Taylor Swift and talking bad about the other celebrities in the tabloids will only fuel the success of the tabloids and bring about no change or betterment of the lives of those who these women mock; for the only real change can come within these celebrities due to an intervention from the holy one above. We as citizens and brothers and sisters in Christ can only do our part to pray for those in need, and not to gossip about the misfortunes and shortcomings of others, for we know ourselves to be stained with the same blood of sinners.

Sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll seems like a life of luxury. Sure, these things will bring us gratification, but men must realize it is only temporary. For as John 14:6 tells us, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father; but by me” (The Holy Bible : authorized King James version: super giant print edition: words of Christ in red, 1996, p. 1638). We can never be satisfied in the things of the world or our own personal gratification alone; we must depend on Christ for hope, salvation, and happiness to last all eternity.

Prayer is but the essence of my life. I come to the Lord as a sinner ready to repent, yet through his grace he redeems me. I struggle in the world ridden with sin as my eternity in paradise awaits. I would live more humbly, pray more often, and attend church to hear the word of my Lord and savior amongst a community of imperfect believers. I am perfectly flawed. I cannot count but one day of life without sin. I always regret the ways in which I let my savior down. I strive to live a life for Christ; but the devil often crosses my path and leads me down the road to sin. I do not wish to follow his ways, but rather to cleanse myself with the holy water to follow in the path of Christ. My heart is pure and for my Lord. I feel an overflowing love and adoration for my savior Christ. I hear the promises my Lord makes in Jeremiah 33:3, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not” (The Holy Bible : authorized King James version: super giant print edition: words of Christ in red, 1996, p. 1212). I hear his calling and I follow him, to live a life of purity and the need for nothing more than my faith in my Lord and savior Jesus Christ; for I understand that this life in the present moment is but temporary, the starting point for a life of eternity in Christ that is yet to come.


6ct5e

Image Credits: Keyword-Suggestions.com

DISCLAIMER: I do drink and enjoy it on occasion now, but I am writing about my past and on the night of my 21st birthday on May 8, 2011, I was still very much straight edged and adamantly opposed to drinking.

Happy 4th of July to all of my American readers!

 I’m up to day 29 of the 30 day writing challenge and considering the holiday, today’s challenge is an interesting one: Describe the night of your 21st birthday.

I don’t remember too much of it, not because I got to drunk to remember, but because that was 5 years ago and not all that big of a deal for me compared to how it is for most people.

My 21st birthday was actually on Mother’s Day, so getting wasted was never a real option — that would seem really disrespectful to my mom. During that time I was also still straight edged…I was very much against the idea of drinking. I was allowed to drink of course and my parents didn’t discourage me from it, but I didn’t want to drink.

Instead I went to Atlantic City to gamble. I’ve never been much of a big gambler though. I think I won about $20 on a slot machine that I paid like $1 for and called it a day. My mom was the same way, except if my memory is correct she won about $40 and ended up paying for our dinner.

We walked around the boardwalk a little bit and I think it was more window shopping than anything else. I had a birthday crown and sash on so a lot of people stopped me and wished me a happy birthday. I remember it took me forever to pick out that stash. I  made a point to get one that didn’t in anyway promote drinking…much easier said than done.

I think we went out to dinner at the Hibachi Grill and Supreme Buffet in Turnersville which is a little different from usual (I usually go to the Colonial Diner), maybe because it was Mother’s Day? I know back then money was always tight. We still lived in Woodbury and I was still in school and at that time it was right before I started working a minimal wage job at Heritages. My parents still did give me a really nice day and gave me a nice gift though. That was the year that they gave me an engraved journal with Proverbs 3:5-6 engraved onto it. It was to help encourage me to write more and to grow in my faith. At the time, that was my favorite bible verse but I viewed it a bit more as being a quote than I did as a bible verse. I didn’t have the relationship with God that I have now.

My birthday was overall a pretty quiet day though especially considering it was my 21st. It wasn’t a big deal to me. Alcohol scared me back then. I was always afraid of turning into an alcoholic. I started drinking about 10 months later for the first time after my abusive boyfriend at the time (who now is my ex, thankfully) and I got in a really bad fight. It’s not my proudest decision, but I am proud of the fact that I never been completely drunk, never had a hang over, and I am strong enough to handle alcohol and not abuse it. A part of me wishes I would’ve known that for my 21st, but even if I did I don’t think it would’ve changed much. I still wouldn’t have had a “wild and crazy” birthday like most people had. I never wanted that.

How about you guys…what was the night of your 21st birthday like?


Morning-Routine

Image Credits: Tony Hendley

Well, I’m so awful at completing May’s 30-Day Writing Challenge that I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll ever manage to complete it by the end of June lol. I just get so busy especially this past week with starting my new job at Penn Medicine and learning how to navigate the city and take public transportation.

But anyway, I left off on day 22 which tells me to describe my morning routine. This is a pretty easy challenge. I’ll start off with the weekdays and then move onto the weekends.

On the weekends my goal is to wake up and start getting ready at 4, but that rarely ever happens. I like to get up super early so that I have plenty of time to read my bible and say my morning prayers. I can get by with getting up at 5 though. In a perfect world though, my day starts at 4.

I’ll look at my phone to check the time and see if I received any messages overnight. If I did, I’ll respond to them if I can be quick. If it’s something that requires more thought, time, and energy, I may save it for later.

Next I use the bathroom, wash my hands, and plug in my straightening iron to give it some time to heat up. I’ll take my hair out of the hair ties and shake it around a bit. I always get a shower the night before and sometimes let my hair air dry overnight. If it’s still damp, I’ll go over to my parent’s bathroom and blow dry it for a few minutes.

Once I ensure that my hair is dry enough for straightening, I continue to give my straightening iron a bit more time to heat up and I head on over to the kitchen. I turn on the Keurig and brew myself a cup of coffee. I don’t drink it right away though as I need it to cool. I pour myself a big glass of water and then take my morning medicine: 2 tabs of aleve to help relieve the pain in my hands that comes from being a writer and working on a computer all day, 4 airborne tabs to keep me from getting sick, and 1 allergy tab. Then I head to my room and prepare my breakfast (I have my own fridge in my room) which is almost always some kind of fruit mixed with chia seeds and either goat or feta cheese.

I take my breakfast with me into the bathroom and eat it as I straighten my hair. I straighten about half of it which takes about 15-20 minutes and then I take a break to rescue my coffee from the keurig and to throw out my trash from breakfast. Then I resume my hair straightening while sipping away at my coffee. It usually only takes me about 10-15 minutes to complete.

When I finish straightening my hair I go back in my room and get dressed while finishing my coffee. Sometimes this takes just a few minutes and sometimes it takes forever because I can’t decide what to wear. After I finish getting dressed I move back to my bathroom and put my contacts in. Then I do my makeup.

Once I’m dressed with my contacts in and makeup on I head back to the kitchen and brew myself another cup of coffee and grab out my bible and read the passages listed on my daily bible reading plan. When I finish with those I read my daily passage from my Guide Posts daily devotional book. Then I say my daily prayers.

When I notice that the clock says 6, I go back in my bathroom and brush my teeth and swish around some mouthwash. I start waking my dad up by 6:20. He usually doesn’t actually get up until 6:30 though.

After my dad is up I start gathering my things for work. I carry a backpack now because it makes it easier for traveling to and from the speedline, subway, and walking to and from work. I make sure I bring a hoodie in my backpack, a bottle of water, pack my lunch, a pair of sneakers, and a book. I also get my purse ready by making sure to pack extra cochlear batteries, my glasses in case I lose a contact,gum, my cellphone and charger, and plenty of money to pay for my patco and subway tickets/tokens. Once I have everything gathered and packed, I grab my sunglasses, ID badge, and dad’s car keys and head out to warm up the car.

I load all of my belongings into the car and start the car and put the defrosters on. Dad usually comes out about 10 minutes later and then we head out to the PATCO station in Woodcrest.When we get to Woodcrest dad drops me off by the doors and I head over to the machine to buy a roundtrip ticket. Then I wait for the train to come.

When the train arrives I get on as soon as I can and find a railing to hold on to (usually right by the doors) and stand up for the ride. Some gentlemen usually offer their seats to me, but I politely decline. I’m far too anxious of a person to actually sit down on PATCO. I like to stand by the doors so that it’s easy for me to get in and out and I won’t have to worry about getting trapped and missing my stop. Also, this way I can look out the window and see where I am. It can be hard to hear them announce the stops and they don’t always show it on the screens.

I get off of the PATCO at 8th and market — the first stop over the bridge. Then I proceed to take the Frankfurt L subway train. I have to find the sales office to buy 2 roundtrip tokens. It usually takes me awhile to find the stupid office, but I’m getting better. I’m never in too much of a hurry, because I pretty much always have plenty of time. I’m always early for work — I never really have to fear being late. When I buy the tokens the old man at the sales office laughs at me because I stumble on my words. I guess most people just ask for “round trip tokens”, but then there’s me…I utter “Can I please have roundtrip tokens for the Frankfurt L Subway Westbound to Philadelphia”? I probably don’t have to use so many words, but I’m always paranoid of getting on the wrong train and going to the wrong place. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

I get my tokens and send them through to the guard and go through the security gate and wait for the subway train to arrive. Once it arrives I ride it to 34th and market. Then I get up and walk about a quarter of a mile to the Science building where I work. As I walk in I pull out my ID badge to show it to the guard so she knows I belong there. Once she nods her approval I continue onto the elevators where I take the elevator to the 2nd floor and walk into suite 230 where my office is located, ready to take on a full day of work.

My schedule is vastly different on the weekend. On the weekends I don’t have work which means no PATCO or Subway. I usually don’t wake up until around 8:30-9. Then I use the bathroom, wash up, grab some water, take my medicine, and then finish getting ready by putting my contacts in and getting dressed.

Once I’m dressed and ready to go, I grab out my aquacase and hook them up. I’m about to walk outside for a few hours where I might get pretty sweaty, so it’s good to have them on to keep out the sweat and moisture. Then I log onto my computer and search through garagesalefinder.com to see who’s having a yard sale and where. I write down a few addresses on a post it with notes on how far they are from my home and then I type in the closest one to my home in google maps. I grab my bag with my wallet and some water and swing it onto my back, grab my keys and sunglasses and phone, and head out the door.

I never know where I’m going, but that’s half the fun. I follow the GPS on my phone to the nearest yard sale. I usually don’t see anything good, but I appreciate the long walks and being surrounded by nature, it’s refreshing. I try to go to 3 of them, but it depends on the time — most are over by 1 or 2.

Every other weekend I have an appointment with my hairdresser scheduled at 2:30, so on those weekends I try to be home by 11 to give me time to get a shower and to get ready. If I don’t have an appointment with her that week, I may stay out longer.

If it rains or is too hot (or in the case of winter/fall, too cold) then I opt out of my walk and just stay in and work on cleaning the house, my room, and my bathroom in the morning instead.

This pretty much sums up what my mornings are like. How about you guys? Do you have any specific morning routines?


51

Image Credits: The Pursuit of God

So…I ruined my good streak yesterday by not posting. I just got too busy with yard sailing, my hair appointment, spending some time at the pool, making dinner, etc. that by the time I had time to blog, I didn’t have the energy for it. I wanted to make this good rather than just throwing any ol’ thing together.

Anyway, I left off on Day 21 of the 30 Day Writing Challenge. Today I am instructed to look up my horoscope and reflect on it and whether or not it fits me. Except I’m not going to do that.

You see, there used to be a time when I was obsessed with Astrology. I still have a couple of books on it. It fascinated me, but it was beyond a fascination: it became my obsession. I am a Taurus and I always thought the characteristics of a Taurus was spot-on for me: stubborn, passionate lovers, foodies, ambitious, reliable, and at times possessive. But my obsession with astrology went beyond just looking up my horoscope and focusing on Taurus characteristics. I’d look up others horoscopes and judge them based on what their horoscopes said and I’d judge their personality and our compatibility based on the traits of their signs.

Horoscopes sound innocent enough, but when you truly base your life around them, that’s when they can become dangerous. I remember a time about 6 years ago when I befriended a older man who was a mutual friend of some of my friends and who I went to high school and later college with. We were talking and we both liked each other. We’d make plans to see each other, but they never ever ended up working out for us (we actually had a huge blow out fight over this, but that’s another story). I was a Taurus and he was Cancer. The sign for Cancer is a Crab because sometimes they can be kind of well, “crabby”. They also have a tendency to hide in their shell at times. Taurus and Cancer are supposed to be the ideal match in the world of astrology. If my memory is correct, there is no other sign that is supposed to be better for a Taurus than a crab. We both knew this and this became our hope that things would work out great for us.

We never had one single date. We never saw each other beyond school. There was never any hanging out or anything. He’s currently engaged to someone else. Perfect match? Obviously, the world of astrology got that one wrong when it comes to us.

I’d also use astrology to judge his mood all the time. We’d talk every night over AIM (that was the big thing those days). I didn’t have a cell phone with unlimited texting at the time — just a tracfone so texting was too expensive and I couldn’t call because this was before I had my cochlear implants and therefore I couldn’t hear on the phone. Before we talked I’d look up his horoscope. It would often tell me if he was going to be in a good or bad mood and what I could expect. It wasn’t always right, but I put all of my hope and faith in that and trusted in that instead.

Where was God in all of this?

Absent. He was completely absent. I was 20 years old. I was a Christian, but I didn’t really “know” God. If you asked me what my religion was I’d tell you Christianity in a heartbeat, but astrology would have been a more honest answer, since that is where I put my hope, faith, and trust and what I based most of my life on. It was dangerous, stupid, and wrong.

Now that I am deeper in my faith and my understanding of Christ I have since given up on astrology. It’s not real and I have no business basing my life around it — Christ is the center of my life. The bible warns time and time again on the dangers of astrology and mysticism. We see in  Leviticus 19:26 that the bible says,  “Do not practice divination or sorcery”. Astrology is a form of divination or sorcery. Deuteronomy 18:9-12 & 14 also says, “Do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there… The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the Lord your God has not permitted you to do so… Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord.” The practice of astrology is a major sin in the Christian religion. The reason is because we are to put all of our faith and trust in God, not sorcery. God already knows every day of our lives — he is the author of our lives. And he will reveal his plan to us at the appropriate time and not a day sooner. Learning our fate through astrology can only bring us great harm as we do not understand what is promised to us in the future yet (and often times it will not be accurate anyway).

Astrology may seem fun and innocent at first, but underneath it all lays the potential for great danger, and it is sinful at best. I’m more than happy to put my astrological days behind me and embrace Christianity and God’s given plan for me and to wait for his perfect timing instead.



Scribbles & Crumbs

Hope. Kindness. Faith. Love

Rob the deaf guy

My experiences going from hearing to silence to hearing

The silence amidst sound

A deaf girl on the road towards getting a cochlear implant, sharing her experiences with the world.

The Fox and the Jackalope

A secret world that is no longer secret. Dreams, shadows, and words abound plenty here.

Godinterest Blog

All God-centered articles and blog posts from Godinterest

SFoxWriting.com

Something For Everyone's Needs

A Stairway To Fashion

contact: ralucastoica23@gmail.com

joeseeberblog

This WordPress.com site is the cat’s pajamas

Humanity777's Blog

The Church of Christ

Secrets of Happiness

Your Spiritual Guidance

hearts on sleeves club

If you wear your heart on your sleeve, join the club.

Story Carnivores

reviews of books and films

Never give up! You are NOT alone

A topnotch WordPress.com site

MarketingThink | Social Media & Marketing Coaching Blog By Gerry Moran

Philadelphia-based Social Media Marketing Coaching Services

The New B.P

Ethics, Equality and Equal Rights

Annie's Ginger Moons Blog

Of arts and things...

Horror 4 All

A blog of all things Horror

The Baggage Handler

I made the impossible easy in both worlds!

loveyourfilms.wordpress.com/

A Blog For Every Movie Lover