Tuesday, November 22, 2016

On Being A Lady - Please and Thank you

When someone offers you something- what do you say? If you just said "Yes Please," or "No Thank You," then your right! If not keep reading... The use of the word please is from the 14th century. It means to give pleasure or satisfy. So it would have been - may it please you to close the door. Sound funny? Maybe, but today as in the 14th century it is a show of good manners.

 1. If you are asking for something say please. If you need a favor from a friend or want to borrow something from your mom say "please".

2. If you don't want or do not like something say "No, Thank you".

3. If you would like something say "Yes, please". (Although in the south this would be yes sir or mam for those polite souls.)
"Thank you," Thank you fly's in the face of this "entitlement generation" and makes us stop and at least for a moment feel gratitude toward another. A well said thank you can change the morning of a busy waitress, make a hectic day feel worth it to a harried teacher or co-worker and warm the heart of a tired parent.

 1. When the waitress delivers your drink, or someone hands you something say "Thank You". Just remember, you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Thanksgiving Traditions For The Family

 As Thanksgiving comes closer, family and traditions grow further apart, the true meaning and purpose of Thanksgiving becomes foggy and even forgotten. And instead, is met with controversy and indifference. Just a day off. Just a day created by a bunch thieves and murderers.

The purpose of  Thanksgiving wasn't the feast or the party. It was about thanking God for keeping them alive during persecution, diseases, crop failure, blizzards. Thanking God for sending them someone to teach them how to survive in this new world that they sought refuge in. 

It was was three days of praying and giving thanks. Of being with family and friends and thanking God for them. Three days of praise and worship, that was attended by 90 Native Americans and 53 Pilgrims.

This year make sure your kids and teens know the true story. This year spend some time with them. More than just a family dinner on Thanksgiving night. Whether it's listening to an audiobook or a radio drama while doing holiday baking. Or curling up together on the couch next to the fire watching a movie or read a book together. Or gather around a table playing a game. The time will be well spent. When they are old and have children and grandchildren of their own, it won't be the football game they watched or the amount of pie they ate that they will remember, but the time spent with you. So make some traditions, it's not too late. You will be glad you did.

 Here are a few of our favorite adventures, some that I grew up with and others that I enjoy now.
the Peanuts gang tells the story of the Mayflower voyage from England to the new world, in 1620. They detail the hardships the pilgrims faced while trying to adapt to their new land, and how it was the help of the Natives Samoset, Squanto and the Wampanoag Chief Massasoit that helped them survive. The special ends the next fall, when the pilgrims share their bountiful harvest with the Natives in a feast of Thanksgiving.

Animated Hero Classic Series: William Bradford
The story William Bradford, Squanto, faith during trial 

Dear America: A Journey to the New World
The story of a twelve-year-old Pilgrim girl's first few months at Plymouth Colony.

An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving
The widow Mary Bassett and her 3 children have come on difficult times, which becomes especially apparent when they can't even afford a turkey for their Thanksgiving dinner. The widows oldest daughter writes to their wealthy and estranged grandmother for help.

Radio Dramas:

A Thankstaking Story
On a snowy Thanksgiving Day, Whit, Connie, Eugene and a few of their friends end up stuck at Whit's End. To pass the time, they tell a zany story of the Scrunch and his plan for "Thankstaking."

A Thanksgiving Carol
Whit and the gang use Kids' Radio to tell Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol with an unusual twist.

Thank You, God
At Thanksgiving dinner, Whit tells the story of how his stepmother changed his life.

The Legend of Squanto
This audio drama brings to light the story of one of America's early legends — "Squanto." History remembers Tisquantum as the Native American who taught early settlers to fish and farm. He's even credited with the first Thanksgiving. But few hear the story of the condemnation that dragged him outside America to a life in chains and what he discovered after his exile. It's an inspiring true story of this little-known early American that triumphed over injustice and changed what would become the United States.


Thanksgiving: Time to Remember
By Barbara Rainey

*This post contains affiliate links where we will be paid a small commission if you click on the link and purchase the product. This in no way makes you pay more for the product, it is paid by the company and it helps us to pay for the costs associated with our blog. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

An Open Letter To Adults From A Teen

Thank you, adults, thank you for being an example for us, the youth, thank you for showing us how to bring light into this country. Thank you for helping us know how to treat each other with love and respect. Thank you for showing us what is important, thank you for teaching us that words should be used for healing not as weapons. Thank you for showing us how to live at peace with our fellow man. Thank you for showing us how to win and lose gracefully. 

To reach out to the opposing side with a hand of friendship, to not let small disagreements end friendships. Thank you for showing us how not to lose our dignity. Thank you for showing us that the color of our skin does not measure our worth, and that wearing a badge does not make one life less precious. Thank you for teaching us what being a better man looks like, that apologizing when we are wrong does not make us weak. Thank you for teaching us to be better students, better leaders, better men and woman. Thank you for showing us how to be American's- or not. 

Today I'm appalled by the actions of those on both sides of the political arena. I scroll through my facebook only to be bombarded by people I could have a civil conversation with only last year spewing ugliness. Many of whom, but not all call themselves Christians. So I have a question for you, and like Job's young friend I can no longer remain silent.

Now Elihu had waited before speaking to Job because they were older than he. But when he saw that the three men had nothing more to say, his anger was aroused. Job 32:4-5
How are you showing Christ? How are you walking your faith, reflecting Jesus to a dark and dying world when you are belittling and shaming others? How are you salt and light, when you look just as dark and tasteless as the rest of the world?

My generation, we are the future. We are watching. We will be like you, we will act like you. If your sons and daughters posted what you just posted would you be proud? Is this who you want your children to be? Go look  in a mirror- do you like what you see? If Christ were to come back tonight, what would He say about the way you are treating His children?
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, Galatians 3:26
When did it become normal to swear and belittle those that don't agree with you? Show me where the bible says to love only those that are like you, or to do good to only those who are in your political party, or I can only "act like a saved person" around those that agree with me. Show me when acting like spoiled toddlers and destroying other people's property was anything other than being a brat and criminal. This is America, and we are better than this, and more than that we are Christbearers. 
But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. Matthew 12:36
Congratulations adults,

A Watching Teen.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Mr. Smith Goes To Washington Movie Review

With the election breathing down our neck, and me dreading having to stand in line (I really should do the early voting thing) I thought I would share one of my favorite movies with you. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is a wonderful classic written by Sidney Buchman & Lewis R. Foster starring James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Claude Rains and others. It came out in 1939 (which is crazy because it's still relevant- perhaps more than ever).

Mr. Smith Goes To Washington 

I don't want to spoil the movie for you so I'm not going to tell you what happens, but suffice it to say it's about a man named Jefferson Smith, who is extremely active in his community, owns a paper for kids and leads the Boy Rangers. In a crazy fluke, the governor of his state appoints him to the senate. He comes to Washington and is mesmerized to be in a city of great leaders. To stand in the shadow of men like Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson, but it doesn't take long for him to realize just how corrupt politics can be. When he begins to ruffle feathers and not go along with the senior senator and his cronies, they at first try to corrupt him over to their side (insert Darth Vader's voice "Come to the dark side") when that doesn't work they try to destroy him by any and every way possible. 

It's an amazing story of sticking to your principles and doing the right thing when everyone is against you, that despite what people might say, despite the trash they throw at you, even though no one else believes you- you keep doing the right thing. 

There is a bit of language in this movie, but in my opinion, it's worth the watch. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Adventures Of The Daughter Of A Hollywood Actress - Act 6

It's official. As of five days ago, I started to listening to Christmas music. At the moment I am listening to An Angel's Noel by The Ware Patterson Duo while warming up leftover pizza. Not paleo I know, but I'm still getting over the last part of my cold that I've had for two weeks and I don't care. (And do I know that cheese probably isn't the best thing to eat when you're sick and will most likely make it worse? Yes.)

Also jogging on the elliptical when you can barely breathe does not get any easier no matter how many times you listen to Survivor. Shocking I know. But at least I burned a few hundred calories, which I have now probably gained back. I really have to stop cheating.

Oh, I got a violin for my birthday and after a few lessons, I can now play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star with a minimal amount of squeaking. Mostly.   

Anyway to the purpose of this post. I recently came across a (detox?) drink that is quite amazing. It's hard enough to be an aspiring actress without being a short plus size girl who's not very flexible. And while this doesn't help with my height or flexibility, it does help with weight/size.

You drink it right before you go to bed and it is supposed to burn calories while you sleep while flushing away at any stubborn belly fat you may have. I started a few weeks ago And by the second day I noticed that I had lost several inches not only on my stomach but also on my bum. (Note: for best results exercise daily, walk, jog, bike, etc. and minimal amount of cheating on foods that are not conducive for losing weight.)

Take 2 cups of Water (it tastes better cold)
2 Tbsp Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 tsp Cinnamon Powder
1 Tbsp Honey or Blue Agave
Blend or shake together and drink. Don't worry it doesn't taste as bad as it sounds.

Now's the part when I put the disclaimer. So without further ado here go's.

DISCLAIMER: This Blog Does Not Provide Medical Advice

We are not professionals. Any advice we give should not be taken as professional advise. The information you find on our blog is for general information purpose only and is not legal or professional advise. The authors are not liable for any losses or damage related to actions or failure to act related to the content on this blog. If you need specific advise, consult with a professional that specializes in your subject matter.

The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this post is to promote broad Viewer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.

And with that I bid you adieu. Daughter Of A Hollywood Actress signing off. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Soul H2O Review

Hello, friends! Today I'm sharing with you an awesome devotional, Soul H2O by Sherry Stahl. I LOVE this book! It truly has been a wonderful way to start my mornings. If you're like me you love starting your day spending time with God, but sometimes it can be hard to fit in long devotionals.

This is perfect because there small but meaty chunks to encourage you through your busy day. It also has a prayer to pray (one of my favorite parts! Why don't more devotionals do this?) and bible verses to help you to "draw from the well" by actually getting into the word of God.

I have it sitting next to my laptop so I can read it before I get online and interact the big beautiful world outside my door. Trust me you need this in your life! And no I'm not just saying that because I'm on the launch team everyone needs a little #SoulH2O!

You can pick up a copy at the following retailers:
Amazon, Barnes And Noble, Chapters.Indigo.com, & Christian Books.com

I received this book free from the publisher/author but all opinions are my own.

You can find Sherry on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, YoutubeInstagram Indigo & her website.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Friends and Enemies Book Review

It was an abnormally chilly day for may, but the sunshine was bright and the flowers graced the pots and flowerbeds in front of the shops. She smiled as a blue bird swooped overhead, the weathered sign creaked out its welcome.

She opened the door and stepped into the shop and closed the door behind her.

"Ahh, just in time! Just pulled out a fresh batch of double chocolate chip cookies," Elizabeth smiled as she came through the door to the kitchen.

"Just want I wanted!" She said as she plated a large cookie.

"Coffee or tea?"

"Tea," she called from browsing the books lining the shelves. A title called her name and she pulled it off the shelf- "Friends And Enemies"

"It's a good one!" Elizabeth called over as she poured a steaming hot cup of tea. "Where do you want to be?"

"You say that about everyone," she smiles as she motions to a large chair by the window.

"Its true," Elizabeth called over her shoulder as she deposited the goodies on a small table.

Really enjoyed Friends and Enemies by Terri Wangard. I have never read a book from the perspective of someone living in Nazi Germany during the war. The characters were believable, as you read the story you find yourself feeling trapped with them, holding your breath as they are almost found out or cheering when they make it through another day trusting Him to protect them as they follow His will for their lives. 

Received this book free for my honest review. This post contains an affiliate link.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Miracles from Heaven Movie Review

This was an amazing movie about a true story. It's safe for the whole family and I highly recommend it.  I really liked this movie, I connected with it somehow, it really touched me in the places that are still tender in my heart. The loss of my brothers and me almost dying as a Child.  It brought me to tears several times in it.

A young girl, suffering from a rare, incurable disorder that leaves her unable to digest food finds herself miraculously cured after surviving a terrible accident.

Jennifer Garner
Kylie Rogers
Martin Henderson
Queen Latifah
Eugenio Derbez
John Carroll Lynch
Brandon Spink
and Mac Powell

And that's a wrap. Daughter Of A Hollywood Actress wishing you a blessed day.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

On Being A Lady - Receiving A Compliment

This old thing? I only wear it when I don't care how I look. - It's A Wonderful Life

Look around you and listen, children and adults alike stumble and falter when complemented on anything from a new haircut to that dinner you know they took all afternoon preparing. Why is that? Why is it so hard to just say what we ought to?

When someone tells is that our outfit is pretty we don't need to tell them it is a hand-me-down from our cousin Claire, or that we found it at a yard sale for 50 cents. (Only tell them where you got it if they ask. But there is no need to go into great detail as to where. You could simply say "It was a gift" or "it caught my eye ".) They don't want us to explain all the reasons it's not pretty or that we think it makes our hips look big. We need to just say "Thank you"

When I go to church everyone says I look like one of the latest Disney princesses because of my long braided hair. I found myself uncomfortable, but we need to fight that and just graciously say "Thank you". Maybe God is using others to bless us. Others on the outside see us in ways that we never do, often we are our biggest critic.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Desperately Looking For A Hero

As a Christian teenager, I was always on the lookout for spiritual role models that could help me on my walk as a Christian.  Someone that I could even silently watch and see what it was like to walk the walk as a faith filled woman.  I would follow them on social media and reach read their feed on Facebook or even reach out to them for advice and not only did I get my hand proverbially slapped for trying to hash out the Christian lifestyle by some of those women, but was completely shut out of their lives. Thankfully I had the opportunity and blessing to have a godly mother and grandmother but honestly, it made me see what a rare jewel the woman that walks with the Lord is.

I know that we are all in different places spiritually- some more mature in their walk than others, but just as children look up to adults and even older children, so are baby Christians and children that are beginning their walk looking for a role model in fleshing out this thing called faith. We need to be aware that there are others around us that are watching us in our walk… hopefully when they do they see someone shining the light of Christ from their lives.  Perfect? No,  but walking out your life for Christ.

“Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women . . . (Titus 2:3-4a)”

This is the way it was supposed to be from the beginning.  Older women teach the younger women how to live.  We need to be busy about our walk.  Study, so that we can be that older person in someone’s life.

My brother Christopher loved to copy us.  We would do something, and he would copy it because he wanted to be like us. He thought we had things figured out and so he wanted a part of it.  It didn’t matter if it was washing dishes or trying to snowboard down the hill in our front yard.  We were placed in his life to be a bearer of light, a bearer of Christ (Funny, that is what his name means.) and we realized then the awesome responsibility that we had in our family and before God of being a good influence on him and others... because, for better or worse, he was watching us.
“Then they (older women) can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. (Titus 2:4-5)”
Young married women need a role model as well.  I learned from my mother the importance of this. She taught me that you were supposed to have people as your bridesmaids that were the people that you would walk through life with, the ones that will help you keep your marriage vows.  These are the people that would encourage you in your walk and in your marriage in the long run.  It seems like that idea has been lost somewhere and it is sad because the divorce rate is huge and we live in an “if it feels good do it” society today that is desperate for those kinds of people. The light bearers.
As Iron Sharpens Iron - One Man Sharpens Another Proverbs 27:17
Even if we don’t think we are good enough, we need to get out there and be a light in the life of another.  Don’t let the enemy tell you that you are too anything or not enough anything. There are girls that could be thriving if you would just understand that you were made for this – you were born for this.  God has placed you right in this exact place for you to be a lighthouse in someone else’s life.  So take a deep breath and step out. Shine on!

Monday, September 12, 2016

On Being A Lady - Staying With Friends

You find yourself staying with friends? Whether spending the night or an extended period of time, there are always ways to make them enjoy your company while you are with them.

1. If you your stay is extended at the friend's house and you are sleeping there, clean the room that you slept in. Strip the bed and make it with fresh sheets and leave it as clean or better than you found it. If you are there more than a week you should sweep the room or vacuum the floor. This will bless your friend.

2. Do you own dishes, or stick them in the dishwasher. NEVER leave them all over the counters.

3. Ask before you leave the table with food or drinks.

4. If you are staying a long period of time, offer to pitch in around the house.

5. Also, if you are staying a long period of time do your own laundry. Don't expect to be waited on.

6. If you mess with it, put it back.

7. Keep your things neat, don't spread them all over your host's house, or the room you are staying in.

8. Never leave your host to clean up a huge mess, that you helped create. When my friends that I pretty much grew up with come over after long stints in another country we always have sleepovers and I hate to say it but my room looks like and F5 tornado just tore through it. We dress up, act out book characters, do each other's makeup (usually with my crazy theatrical makeup), do each others hair etc. That's all fine and fun! Just help clean it all up.

9. Please don't announce that you hate some type of food at the dinner table, just leave it where it sits.

10. When you leave thank your host. If you stayed for a long period of time it would also be appropriate to give your host a small gift or a thank you card.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Styles By Bri-Pretty Braided Ponytail Twist Tutorial

Welcome to Styles By Bri. Where I give tutorials for hairstyles, crafts, jewelry making, fashion design & thrift store makeovers. 

1. Take a small section of hair (on whatever side you want).

2. French braid the section of hair.

3. When you are done with that you can leave your hair down or go with the ponytail twist.

4. For the ponytail pull your hair back (including the braid) and secure with a hair tie.

5. Then wind the braid around the "tail" of your ponytail and secure at the end with another hair tie.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

When The Smoke Clears Book Review

Christian dashed down the sidewalk dodging puddles and clinging to the umbrella shielding her from the deluge. The weathered coffee shop sign creaked its greeting as she reached for the door and pulled it open. Quickly removing her rain coat and hanging it on one of the pegs by the door she made her way to the front counter. Lizzy's bright smile seemed to chase away the dampness of the day. 

"What can I get you?" 

"A cup of tea and a blueberry muffin would be great," she said as she picked up a book lying on a cart. "Have you read this one?" She asked as Lizzy turned around with her teacup. 

"Of course! It's wonderful!" 

"That's what you always say," She smiled over her shoulder as she placed a blueberry muffin on an old china plate. It was one of the many things Christian loved about this place. The smell of books mingled with fresh baked delights and tantalizing coffee. She slid the book under one arm before collecting her tea cup and plate and settling into a cozy oversized chair to one side of the empty fireplace. 

"Mind if I join you?" Lizzy asked dropping into the opposite chair and opening a book that was half finished. 

"Not at all," Christian smiled back. 


When 'The Smoke Clears' is an amazing about a North Cascades Smokejumper, Alexa Allen and was written by the author Lynette Eason. It is truly a wonderful read! This is the first book in her Deadly Reunions Series.  I have been reading Ms. Eason's work for awhile now and have loved them all and this one is not a letdown!
Trust me, you will lose sleep over this one, this book is loaded with suspense and peril. The characters are believable, the action realistic, and the plot is terrific!   Hold on to your seat and get ready for a wild ride.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Stop Comparing

Let's face it, we aren't like anyone else. We are as unique as our fingerprints, some may look a little more alike- but not one of is like another. And yet we compare ourselves to others, we use others accomplishments as a measuring stick for who or what we say we should be. 

We place others on a scale to build us up or tear down what He has built. You and I and the girl down the street- you know her, the one with the perfect figure and life. None of us were made to be like another one. You are Gods great craftsmanship, his work of art.

 Personally, I love to travel, would love to see the world- but I am truly horrible with languages. My twin, on the other hand, is pretty good. She picks it up well and can even throw in the right accent. See I could spend my time sulking and comparing- but that isn't going to get me anywhere. 

"Let everyone be sure to do his very best, for then he will have the personal satisfaction of work done well and won’t need to compare himself with someone else." (Galatians 6:4 LB)

Do your best and leave it at the feet of Christ. Your story isn't going to match anyone else, so don't try to force it. You're the heroine, not the writer. Trust Him, and push ahead. Stop focusing on someone else story. Focus on Him, because He is the only one that matters. He has HUGE things planned for you, but you can't embrace them if you are constantly wanting what your neighbor has. 

Think of it like a race, if you are so busy watching the people on either side of you, you A) are going to get a stiff neck and B) miss what He has in store for you.

Epic Mommy Adventures
Being A Wordsmith

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Beyond the Mask Movie Review

Beyond the Mask is a 2015 Christian historical based action-adventure set during the American Revolution. It tells the story of an ex-mercenary who seeks forgiveness and to redeem himself from a life of murder by becoming a masked vigilante helping to overthrow the British in the American colonies.

I really liked this movie. It's a good family film produced by a home school family. I give it 3 ½  stars.

Beyond the Mask

Mercenary, Assassin, Procurer, Enforcer & Rogue. William Reynolds is all of these things and he's proficient at it. But when he tries to retire from the British East India Company as its enforcer when his past comes back to haunt him.


Andrew Cheney as William Reynolds

Kara Killmer as Charlotte Holloway

John Rhys-Davies as Charles Kemp

Alan Madlane as Benjamin Franklin

Adetokumboh M'Cormack as Joshua Brand

Thomas D. Mahard as Dr. Harrow

Samrat Chakrabarti as Basil

Steve Blackwood as Richard Harrison

John Arden McClure as George Washington

                                Daughter Of A Hollywood Actress signing off

Monday, July 11, 2016

Methuselah Project Review

It was a hot afternoon as he strolled leisurely up the sidewalk. The trees whispered overhead in the cool breeze that made the day pleasant. The sign over the shop creaked its welcome as he pulled open the door and stepped inside.
“Hello! What can I get you?” Liz smiled from behind the counter.
Lemonade and…” he studies the display case of goodies. “A cranberry orange muffin,”
“Coming right up!” She quickly began putting together his order.  He turned and studied the shelves of books that lined one side of the shop.
“Anything you recommend?” He asked hitching a thumb over his shoulder at the books, she glanced back at him and her eyes sparkled. She sat a plate in front of him with his muffin on it and stared at him for a moment as if to appraise him.
“Isle three,” she wriggled her fingers as if mentally counting. “Shelf 3, book number 12. I think you’ll like it,” He followed her directions and after a moment pulled the book from the shelf Methuselah Project. He smiled, how had she known? He took his order and found a comfy chair in the corner and opened the book.

Methuselah Project, by author Rick Barry is one of my all-time favorite books! I couldn't put it down, finished it in two days. If you like WWII Historical fiction and Captain America, look no further. Strap into your seat in the cockpit and prepare for a wild ride!

Barry does an amazing job with this great tale.  The characters are realistic and believable and Barry weaves the character's faith into the story in such a natural way that does not seem false of forced. It left me longing for more. It was one of those reads that people have to snatch it from your hands and hide it from you so that you can carry on with life! Yeah, go ahead and try it! I dare ya!


Thursday, June 30, 2016

Is He My Prince? - Finding A Prince In A World Filled With Fakes

Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty- they all found their princes, their one in a million. But what about me? How do I find my prince? How do I know if He's the one?

How do I find my prince in a world full of fake? To find the real in a thousand knock-offs and pretenders? Good question. If you been reading this blog for a while you probably noticed our post Seven Ways To Know He's Not Prince Charming. In it we broke down what a prince charming does and doesn't look like, so today we are going to talk about finding him. 

Imagine a man so focused on God that the only reason he saw you is because God said "That's her". Prince Charming will never be the guy that chases everything in a skirt, that bullies people into doing something wrong, that takes pleasure in hurting others. 

Have you seen the meme floating around the internet, chase God with all your heart and if someone catches up introduce yourself. Prince charming is the guy so focused, so in tune to God- that everything else is in the background- until God makes your paths collide.

Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction? Amos 3:3

I was at at a luncheon a few years back, and a missionary was speaking. She said something I found really interesting. Make a list of what you want, then become that list. Become what you are looking for, then you'll be drawn to the same kind of people.

Put it in His hands- don't worry about that friend who has found hers or that one who just broke up and already has a new guy. Focus on Him. Dance with Him, chase Him and when your ready He will let the perfect one take over.

Epic Mommy Adventures
Being A Wordsmith

Monday, June 27, 2016

10 Tips For Surviving Long Distance Friendships

Around 5 or 6 years ago my dearest friends moved away. We'd practically grown up together, almost every summer memory was with them. From making a homemade slip in slide on the front hill, to writing a play. It wasn't like they just moved to another house, they moved half way around the world. We found ourselves in a sort of dance, fighting time zones, crazy schedules, and spotty internet. Sometimes we would instant message for hours, sometimes all we got to type was "I miss you,".

Related Post: 9 Ways To Know If My Friendship Healthy

I'll be honest, it was hard. The next time they were back in the states we had a lot of learning to do about each other. So how do you survive? Patience. Lots and lots of patience.
Fill a notebook with letters, pictures of you guys together etc. once it's filled send it to them. My friends moved to Africa, so we put together a care package and send it with groups of missionaries going over.
  • When you do get to talk, be honest. Ask questions, tell them what's on your heart.
  • Take full advantage of video chats! I love how Facebook has given us this option, when the internet is functioning properly we spend hours talking to each other. It's so good to hear each other's voices and when able see each other.
  • Leave quick instant messages for each other, even if it's just "thinking of you", "Miss you" or"Praying for you". They'll know you haven't forgotten them.
  • Don't leave all of the reaching out to the other person. Give and take. This is how friendship is supposed to be.
  • Make time for the other person- even if you have to get up a little earlier or stay up a little later.
  • Don't do all the talking, be there for the other person. Sometimes we need a listening ear, a shoulder to lean on- even if it's an ocean away.
  • Come up with things that you can do together, even when you aren't next to each other. Like read the same book, or write a story together. Be creative.
  • Come up with a bucket list of things to do when you are together again.
  • Pray. Pray that if it's His will your friendship will remain strong, that He will strengthen your friendship.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Set Your Plans Before Him

This is the month of weddings, graduations- new beginnings, big plans and adventures. For those of you graduating- like me, your making lots of plans. For some of you, you have college right around the corner. Maybe somewhere down deep you're wondering if you'll fail. I think to some degree we're all scared of failure, failing, making a "fool" of ourselves. I think we have a little too much to prove- mostly to ourselves.

Commit your actions to the LORD, and your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3
No matter how nicely I lay out my plans, I always run the chance of failing- I know, I HATE to fail. But it's only through failure that we learn. It stretches, pushes, humbles us and forces us to see that our plans aren't His.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Set your plans before Him, and trust Him. Even if his plans don't look like yours, it will be worth it. I'd rather look like a fool for Him, than on my own- how about you?

His plans are far greater than anything that you and I could come up with. He wants to use you in ways, you've never dreamed of. Right about now you're wondering how you set your plans before Him, the answer is simple. Pray, pray, pray and then pray some more. Then Listen. Talk to people who are strong Christians, and know you. Learn to listen not just with your ears, but with your heart- even when the answer isn't something you want to hear.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

Monday, June 13, 2016

Dear Graduating Class

Dear graduating class, 

You made it! Congratulations! For the last 12 years, you pushed through and now you’re here. But this isn’t the end of the journey, far from it. It's only the beginning! Now you get to tackle those mountains, to be the change people shout for- you are the future! You. You will change the world, one breath, one choice, one step at a time.

With graduation, comes advice. I’ll bet you have it being thrown at you from all sides, some good, some -ahem- different. Don’t worry I’m not going to throw in my two cents, but I am going to share someone else’s with you.  

Proverbs Chapter 4

My children, listen when your father corrects you.
Pay attention and learn good judgment,
 for I am giving you good guidance.
Don’t turn away from my instructions.
 For I, too, was once my father’s son,
tenderly loved as my mother’s only child.
 My father taught me,
“Take my words to heart.
Follow my commands, and you will live.
 Get wisdom; develop good judgment.
Don’t forget my words or turn away from them.
  Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you.
Love her, and she will guard you.
  Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do!
And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.
  If you prize wisdom, she will make you great.
Embrace her, and she will honor you.
 She will place a lovely wreath on your head;
she will present you with a beautiful crown."
My child, listen to me and do as I say,
and you will have a long, good life.
  I will teach you wisdom’s ways
and lead you in straight paths.
 When you walk, you won’t be held back;
when you run, you won’t stumble.
  Take hold of my instructions; don’t let them go.
Guard them, for they are the key to life.
 Don’t do as the wicked do,
and don’t follow the path of evildoers.
  Don’t even think about it; don’t go that way.
Turn away and keep moving.
  For evil people can’t sleep until they’ve done their evil deed for the day.
They can’t rest until they’ve caused someone to stumble.
  They eat the food of wickedness
and drink the wine of violence!
The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn,
which shines ever brighter until the full light of day.
  But the way of the wicked is like total darkness.
They have no idea what they are stumbling over.
My child, pay attention to what I say.
Listen carefully to my words.
  Don’t lose sight of them.
Let them penetrate deep into your heart,
  for they bring life to those who find them,
and healing to their whole body.
 Guard your heart above all else,
for it determines the course of your life.
Avoid all perverse talk;
stay away from corrupt speech.
 Look straight ahead,
and fix your eyes on what lies before you.
  Mark out a straight path for your feet;
stay on the safe path.
  Don’t get sidetracked;
keep your feet from following evil.

I think he says it all. Stick to the path He has set before you. Reach for the stars, chase the dreams He has laid on your heart. I believe in you! Even when you fail- I believe in you! You have the potential for great things. You can do anything.

You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” ~ Mae West

Don’t be afraid to try new things, to step out of your comfort zone and be stretched. Dance in the rain, climb the mountains- but mostly, trust Him.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

On Being A Lady - Party Manners

Alright, Cinderella, so you're going to your first ball (ok probably not) what do you do. Ever cringe while watching movies where Americans are with royals?

So today let's cover some basic table manners.

1. Don't be loud or wild and encourage others to treat your friends home with respect. If you break something, clean it up and replace the item if possible with a new one.

2. If you make a mess clean it up, offer to clean up and help with the dishes if that is the format for the event.

3. Don't dunk your food twice in the dip, no matter how good that dip was. Double dipping is very rude.

4. When at the table eating always keep your elbows in at the table and do not put them on the table.

5. Use your napkin. Unfold (don't snap your not a magician performing an act.) your napkin and place it on your lap.

6. Don't lick your knife or your fingers (OK, maybe only if it is Bbq. and you are at a casual picnic but use your napkin please).

7. Don't take the biggest thing on the serving plate or take too much. There are other people that are there and hungry take others into account. If it is a buffet type of event, don't rush in but let others go before you.

8. When the butter is passed, take some with a butter knife and place it on your plate by the rim and use that butter for your bread or roll.

9. Complement the meal but don't over exaggerate or embarrass your host or date. Don't say this is the best chicken I have ever eaten. Roses chicken is always so dry but this is the best in the world. Don't tear someone down to lift up another (and never compare it to your mother's)

10. Thank your host or hostess for the meal.

11. Do not leave without thanking your host or hostess.

12. It is also nice to drop a note in the mail thanking them again and telling your friends how much you enjoyed their event.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Mrs. Darcy's Coffee Shop - Friends and Enemies

It was an abnormally chilly day for may, but the sunshine was bright and the flowers graced the pots and flowerbeds in front of the shops. She smiled as a blue bird swooped overhead, the weathered sign creaked out its welcome.

She opened the door and stepped into the shop and closed the door behind her.

"Ahh, just in time! Just pulled out a fresh batch of double chocolate chip cookies," Elizabeth smiled as she came through the door to the kitchen.

"Just want I wanted!" She said as she plated a large cookie.

"Coffee or tea?"

"Tea," she called from browsing the books lining the shelves. A title called her name and she pulled it off the shelf- "Friends And Enemies"

"It's a good one!" Elizabeth called over as she poured a steaming hot cup of tea. "Where do you want to be?"

"You say that about everyone," she smiles as she motions to a large chair by the window.

"Its true," Elizabeth called over her shoulder as she deposited the goodies on a small table.

Really enjoyed Friends and Enemies by Terri Wangard. I have never read a book from the perspective of someone living in Nazi Germany during the war. The characters were believable, as you read the story you find yourself feeling trapped with them, holding your breath as they are almost found out or cheering when they make it through another day trusting Him to protect them as they follow His will for their lives. 

Received this book free for my honest review. This post contains an affiliate link.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

On Being A Lady - RSVP

Manners never go out of style, they make you stand out in a crowd and shine. I grew up in the south where Mr. & Mrs. was just what you said. It wasn't until I started doing photography and working with people I selectively dropped these phrases (and my friends still get after me for it) but here when you are an adult you don't have to say “Hi Mrs. so and so” (but yes Mam and Sir are still liked).

So I thought I would help you out in the manner department starting with RSVP. Also, known as please tell me if you are coming because its really awkward when you just show up and I wasn't expecting you (been there done that- and it's uncomfortable for both sides). The letters RSVP stand for the French phrase "répondez, s'il vous plaît,"which means please reply.

1. When invited to an event always respond by phone, mail or email. To not respond is rude and shows a lack of respect to your host or hostess. Normally on a formal invitation, there will be a date they need you to respond by. Always respond well before that date. It is best to respond when you get the invitation so you do not forget and then put the date right on your calendar (whatever form you choose paper or electronic). If you say you will be there then please be there. Your word means everything.

Also, don't be late and don't get there 3 hours early (unless asked to come early so you can help set up). Be there in time and show your friend you are a person to be trusted and relied upon.

2. If possible, when invited to an event, don't go empty-handed. Take with you some sort of little gift. Flowers are nice, a container of ice cream, a dessert, cookies or home-baked bread. Something home-made is always nice. But bring something to bless them.

3. If you can't make it or are not sure tell your host that.

4. If the nature of the event calls for it- ask if you should bring anything.

5. If the day of the event comes and it's raining call ahead and see if it's still on rather than assuming.

And there you have it!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Be Different!

Once when I was about 8 or 9 one of my cousins said I wasn't normal... Umm. Thanks. I think he was a little surprised by my reaction. I smiled and walked out of the room.

Who wants to be normal?

Not me!

I want to defy odds, explore unchartered trails and dance in the rain. So many people want to be like "those people". The popular girl, or that celebrity. Everyone wants to dress like the cool person, act like them, and be them. Why do we spend so much time trying to be something were not. God created us to be different.

Each one unique and beautiful. Handcrafted to be you. Not anyone else- just you. You with your freckles, with your short, curly, long, straight, frizzy, bangs. You with your skinny figure or your full figure. You with your green, blue, brown- or any other shade eyes.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, Psalms 139:14

He made you just the way you are- and He said "perfect". You in all of your beautiful mess are perfect. Beautiful, and er-replaceable. Tailor made and work of art.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

You were made to do amazing and wonderful things for Him. So be different! Embrace all of your quirk and styles, embrace you crazy hair and freckles, or pail skin and be different. Embrace it and live it to your up most for His glory.

...Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

Dance in the rain, explore the untrodden path, change the world, reach for the stars, follow those dreams He put in your heart- because He picked you. Not so and so, not that person, or this one. You. He chose you to do amazing things through. So be different- exactly the way He made you.

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” ~ Mae West

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Mean Girls Turned Mean Adults

Several years ago a church friend of my moms asked us to pray for her daughter's boyfriends daughter. Several girls at her school had called her fat and wouldn't stop bullying her. So she had stopped eating. Let's face it girls know how to be mean. We know just what to say to inflict wounds that will never be seen. After all "sticks and stones may break my bones and words will never hurt me". Bones mend, but a broken spirit won't.

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:24

Maybe women are mean because they feel they have more to prove.  Men are physical and then most of the time they let it go.  The women default to words and they know what tears down another woman.  They use it because in tearing down another woman it lifts them up.  It is hard for me to even express what words have done to my own heart.  I can't even describe it.  Our neighbors when I was little and innocent.  Her words I have carried with me all this time.  I think I was maybe 6 and the depression, sadness, and insecurity.  I admit even today I feel those words, I hear them again and again and they have become part of me.

Check out some of our other posts: 

You Were Born For This
You Were Called To Be MORE

Friday, May 6, 2016

Mrs. Darcy's Coffee Shop - Warzone: Alex Holst files

A soft breeze rustles through the leaves, beautiful flowers line the beds outside the shop. Spring had arrived in full force. Birds sang overhead, as people meandered by in the Saturday morning sunshine, stopping to look at window displays along the way. Patrons of a small bakery and bookstore sat at small tables, with mouth watering goodies. The good old weathered sign declaring the establishment Mrs. Darcy's Coffee Shop a second smaller sign added and bookstore. She smiled, as she caught the scent of something baking as a man exited the door. He held it for and she thanked him as she stepped through.

"Good morning Anna! What will it be today- Elderberry muffins or Cobblestones?" Anna groaned slightly.

"Do I have to pick?" Lizzy laughed as the bell rang behind me announcing another visitor.

"You decide while I get this lady. Hello, welcome to Mrs. Darcy's Coffee Shop and Book Store! What can I get you?" While she packaged the woman's order Anna weighed her options. Cobblestone, elderberry muffin. Elderberry muffin, cobblestone.

"Alright have you made your mind up,"

"Yes, I'll take an Elderberry muffin- no cobblestone." Lizzy chuckled

"Are you sure?"

"Yes... I think," This brought more laughter from Lizzy.

"Do you want something to drink?"

"Coffee please,"

"Coming right up!" She passed Anna the saucer with the cobblestone on top and began pouring a steaming cup of coffee. Anna began to study the shelves of books the occupied one side of the room.

"Looking for anything in particular?" Lizzy asked as she passed her the cup of joe.

"Any suggestions on a good mystery?" Her eyes danced.

"Classic or new?"

"Mmm... In between," Lizzy stepped out from behind the counter and led her to one of the isles.

"How about this one?" She asked pulling a book from the shelf. "I just finished it- couldn't put it down,"

"Warzone: Alex Holst Files #1. This will be perfect!" Anna led the way to an out of the way table and deposited her treasures on it.

"I'll leave you to it, let me know if you need anything with that she went back to the counter. Anna sipped her coffee and opened the first page of a new adventure...

Today's book is a terrific read by Amryn Cross. I finished this book in just under 12 hours... enough said right? I couldn't put it down! It's a modern retelling of Sherlock Holmes. It is such a great read. If you love mysteries you will love this book! I can't wait for the next one to come out!

Not your style? Already read this one? Check out God's and Kings!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Courage To Stand

If we have ever needed the courageous to stand on beliefs- on our morals it's now. This is no time to be timid, to back down, to blend in. This is no time to hesitate.

We need to ask God to empower this generation -our generation- and make them willing to risk everything for Christ. Our culture and country's morals are so depleted that they are virtually extinct, they could make the extinct creatures list, right up there with the dinosaur and who knows what else.

When we take the easy road, the path of least resistance we place ourselves in the path of compromise, and we go along with the crowd. We will remain ineffective in addressing and confronting the problems of this world.

We can no longer play it safe we can no longer hide our light under a bush and hope that life will always be safe and easy. Because it won't. Compromise is not an option no matter what other say, we are commissioned and commanded to be salt and light- so that we will stand out. We are supposed to be a beacon in the dark, a lighthouse. Not a broken light bulb.

Stand. Make a difference. Be who He made you to be. Because as a movie that just came out states so well, "God's Not Dead". When we hand over the reigns of our life and get our rear-ends out of the cockpit seat and let Him have control big things happen. But you have to have the courage to say "It's yours" and then release control- and follow wherever He leads.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

American Girl In Africa


There is a saying in Sierra Leone, it goes: you no de tek tem tak. This roughly translates to: you aren't thinking before you say things (when saying this there is a not so subtle "you idiot" implied).

Often times, people will ask me what it's like living in Sierra Leone. They ask brilliant questions like: "Is it hot there?" Or "Do you, like, have a pet zebra?" Or, my personal favorite, "Do you speak African?" Yes. Yes, I speak a continent. At these times, all I can think is: you no de tek tem tak. Though I can't really blame them, because four years ago I would have been asking the same questions.
Our house

In the summer of 2012, I, my two younger sisters, Anna and Ella, and (of course) my parents packed up our things and moved to Sierra Leone, West Africa. Our parents had made the announcement to us three Ropiecki girls almost a year before (at an Ethiopian restaurant, oddly enough), but no matter how many times we watched the lion king, it could not prepare us for the real thing.

Here we are heading of to Africa

 As a twelve year old kid who had only been out of STATE a couple of times, a new CONTINENT was a bit overwhelming. And I will admit, at first, I struggled. But Salone (Sierra Leone's Krio name) grew on me, and is now my home just as much as the states were.

In order to avoid making this blog entry an autobiography, I'm not going to try to explain everything that has happened with the Ropiecki family while living here. Needless to say, it's a quite a lot! We've gone from living in a tiny quiet village called Bauya, to living in Freetown, Sierra Leone's Capitol.

We've had strange medium of jobs, from being local village Doctor, to helping set up Ebola quarantine centers, to digging wells (and a plethora of other things!). And most importantly, we acquired two new family members, Hawa and Maggie, who's adoptions we're currently working on.
My Family

To give you a picture of my (often crazy) family, I'll explain life for us right now. We live in Freetown, Sierra Leon's Capitol and big city. There are seven of us: my dad and mom, my sisters, Anna (12), Ella (8), Hawa (6), Maggie (3), and me (15)! And then there's our dog Krakin (we amply named her after the scary sea monster), who is probably closer to the size of a horse than a dog.

Our Dog Krakin

Here in Salone, it rains six months out of the year, and for the other six months we have blistering sun (fun, right?).
 Rainy Season Fun

 The official language of Sierra Leone is English but most people just speak Krio (a pigeon language that is a mixture of English, and native African language), or the occasional tribal language.
Me with a chameleon.
Sierra Leone has gorgeous beaches, and lush jungles that are home to a lot of cool animals. We may not have any of the cliché African animals (lions, zebras, giraffes) but we do have (to names few cool ones) chimpanzees, chameleons, boa constrictors, cobras and crocodiles- both fresh water and salt water!

 Us in Bauya
When we lived in Bauya, these jungle animals were everywhere, but now that we live in the city, things are a little different. Here in Freetown we have paved roads (mostly paved), electricity (some of the time), and even super-markets! We've met some fellow expats with kids I and my siblings age who live not far from us, and it's been really cool getting to know people who've gone through the same things we have.
Anna with a Monkey
My sister, Anna, and I just started helping out at an after school tutoring program (which we love!), and I'm currently trying to set up an art program there.
Anna helping out a child in the tutoring program
When writing this, I was asked to write about a typical day in my life, but this can be a bit hard to explain. Things change A LOT for me. I mean, they can go from 0 to 60 like *that*! I don't have much of an answer! So, the next time someone asks me "What's it like living in Sierra Leone?" (Only the single hardest question to answer EVER), I won't think: you no de tek tem tak.
Me and a Free Town Bo
That doesn't mean I'll have an answer, but that's okay. Life changes. A lot. But good things come of that change (even if I can't exactly see it at the time). And though there will probably be more change later, right now is my good things.
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Like this post? Check out Keep Your Feet In The Water