Welcome to my blog!

So the truth is that trying to survive in our world as a woman is hard enough at times but toss in some Christianity and you got yourself quite a challenge. My name is Miranda and welcome to my blog. I recently married the love of my life and went from the single life to the newly married adventure. I'm sure my upcoming writings will dive into this new and exciting stage of my life. Sometimes life is quite funny, sometimes it's downright entertaining, and sometimes it can get a little bit more serious. I love God and want to live a life that pleases him but that sometimes is easier said than done. :) So join me as I walk through the trials, struggles and joys of life when the only thing that works is a little chocolate and a lot of faith.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Competition, Fashion and a Crown

I have never really considered myself an extremely competitive person. I mean generally speaking, in certain situations it is okay if someone else wins. For instance, I don't have to own the latest in fashion. So what if skinny jeans are in? Does it mean I have to be in skinny jeans? Trust me, it is not a good look for most who try it. Rather, I like having my own sense of style (I do use this phrase loosely for those of you who are chuckling right now). I don't always want to go with the flow.

Then their are the techies of our world who must 'upgrade'. I have had the same desktop PC for about 12 years and only in the last year did I venture into the wide world of laptops due to encouragement from my personal techie. Having found one I love I don't plan on upgrading for a while. My cell phone recently broke and I couldn't get one for another 9 months or so unless I outright bought one. Well some people would have jumped at the opportunity and gotten a new and improved phone maybe one with complete touch screen etc. Not me, I liked my old one so much I just found the very same phone and ordered it again.

Like I said, I'm not very competitive in certain areas. However, I've recently gotten into playing games and I've noticed a change in me that happens when I get in the zone. I hate to say this, but it is not a pretty change. Reminds me of that Disney clip of Goofy getting behind the wheel of his car and turning into Mr. Hyde. Scary! I remember the good old days when I never cared who won, it was all in fun. Now there's a whole new attitude. I mean the other day my mother kicked my butt in Yahtzee and my friend racked up most of the points in Rack-o and I am telling you...I was not a happy camper. Where did this attitude come from? Walk away, just walk away. Lol!

In playing these games though I realized that a little competition may not be such a bad thing. It certainly challenges a person to do better, to come up with a good strategy, to be on the look out for good opportunities and to keep an eye on the enemy (opponent) at all times!

When I was a kid I didn't play a lot of sports (never cared for all that sweat to be honest). Let's just lay aside the fact that my hand-eye co-ordination was more like hand-foot co-ordination, I didn't like the idea of getting hurt and the possibility of fatalities at any moment. Besides, I was much happier being class president and the top student in my class (not bragging peops just stating mere facts :)But I did love to run and there was hardly a 100 meter dash that I did not jump at the chance to be a part off. I was actually pretty good at the time and took home the gold often.

Today I find myself running a different kind of race, one not for "...a crown that will not last; but for a crown that will last forever..." Truth is, "...I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers (and sisters), I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it, but one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

Hmmm,it's like fashion you know, it may mean going against the flow at times. Or like upgrades, just because Christianity is packaged in new ways and different philosophies are popping up that are more convenient, their is no 'upgrading' the truth. It is what it is. God does not change. Or perhaps it's like playing a game or running a race where trying to be the best is a good thing, it means coming up with a good strategy, (spending time with God and in His Word on a regular basis). It means being on the look out for good opportunities (God appointments, the right time to share an encouraging word or tell someone about salvation etc.) and it means keeping an eye on the enemy (opponent) at all times (there is no doubt that we should put on the full armor of God every day, to help us win the daily trials that come and to keep our eyes on the prize).

Wearing the latest Nike's may be cool but reaching for that 'crown' is even better. :)

Monday, January 3, 2011

11 Things To Do In 2011

"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 a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." Proverbs 19:21

I am keeping those 2 verses in mind this year as I set these goals. I believe it is good to make plans and look ahead (after all without a vision the people perish), but God's plans are greater than mine and so I share my list with you so you can know some of my heart's desires but with the understanding that this year I will yield my own plans as much as possible in light of a glimpse of His, which I know is far better. This is not an easy task...the laying down of your own will for His, the whole dying to self thing...always a challenge.

The thing I like about making the list is that I challenge myself. I know that it is easy to become complacent, apathetic, stuck in a rut, doing the same thing day after day. I long for change, I long for growth and challenges, I long to discover all that our great God has for me and those around me. Don't you?

Go ahead make your own list, it doesn't have to be 11 things but maybe 1 or 2. Something that you have been hoping to do but everything else gets in the way and you keep putting it off, it can be as simple as reading a one of the classics to as grand as organizing a fund-raiser for families in need. Whatever it is, I believe God puts dreams in our hearts. So live out loud...

And the list...

1. Make the most of every opportunity...loving God and loving people
2. Finish writing book or books
3. Write more blogs, dramas etc.
4. Graduate NYIP and work on being a better photographer
5. Work on degree
6. Get involved in women's ministry again and host a local women's conference
7. Read at least one book a month (borrowed this from my friend Lori-I liked the idea :)
8. Travel to a place I've never been
9. Work on being debt-free
10. Mission trip
11. Try something new

So there it is, there are some big things on there and some not so big things but the bottom line is nothing is impossible with God and I am excited to see what the year will bring.

Talk to you soon...hugs to all :)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Promise of a New Year and a Look at the Past

Ahh the New Year holds such promise. It is the time that we all look back at the year that just flew by and remember the good, the bad and the ugly (the last one refers to bad hair days of course) :) Every year I do the same thing, I look back and think of all the things I wanted to accomplish but didn't. It fills me with mixed emotions. My time is always filled with unexpected surprises, great highs and inevitably some disappointments. The temptation to wallow in self-pity or regret at chances missed or opportunities not taken is strong until the thought of a fresh start. Suddenly the New Year is upon us and like a gust of wind it fills the sails of hopes and dreams once again. It is refreshing and exciting to think about what could happen, what changes may come and how God could move in the coming season.

I will admit that in 2010 I had a lot of expectations but life happened and many of those expectations went unfulfilled. To be honest I doubted at times but I know His timing is perfect and His ways are definitely not mine, so here I am ready to trust that God loves me and that His plan is good and believing that in 2011 it will be a whole other level. Of course nothing happens without faith, trust and some hard work and dedication.

So in 2010 I made a list of 21 Things to do in 2010. I wanted to give you an update, although there were many things on the list that I did not accomplish, there were some unexpected surprises that certainly made up for it.

Enough chit chat let's get to the list shall we?

1. Get healthy- exercise and eat right well I've had my ups and downs but I had a better year physically than 2009 which was awesome. Exercising died after summer though, gotta join the Y or something...soon before it all goes south.

2. Start a blog :) You are reading it. The plan is to be more consistent and post more often. Maybe get a bigger following and add some cool stuff to it.

3. Read through the Bible in a year -Done! Yeah! Actually on the reading list we actually read the New Testament twice and the Old Testament once so way cool. I will confess that I finished around 2 am on January 1st before falling asleep.

4. Pray for others more - I think I actually did this but still not as much as I should have. So many people who just need a touch from God...

5. Work on my degree
:( I am afraid I didn't do much in this area. The challenge in finding classes that are on-line through JCC that I have not taken is tough plus the expense of paying for them has been a burden. I plan on working on it in 2011 but maybe switching to a complete online program.

6. See a show (production) I've never seen Well I did attend Shakespeare in the Park and my first Sabre's game which was a blast (not sure that counts as a show though).

7. Read at least 7 new books including Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis so this was a no. I did read a few books but missed out on Chronicles. It is the first one on my agenda this year. I already have my bookmark ready :)

8. Take an art or photography class
In process. I am enrolled in the New York Institute of Photography. It's been interesting so far. It is a 3 year program I am hoping to finish in a year and a half

9. Go on a road trip with a friend
- Defintely took a few trips with my BFF Lori. Visited Austin for a mini vacation and took a few trips to Toronto and did a 'buy one get one' weekend in Buffalo. So much fun. Hoping to do a lot more traveling this coming year.

10. Organize a family portrait with all my relatives uh...let's not talk about it. Lol!

11. Try a restaurant I've never been to definitely did this a few times. Tried a little Korean spot in Chinatown, Toronto. Spicy Thai in Buffalo, amazing food. Tried Panera Bread for the first time and 5 de Mayo for Mexican (not as good as Don Lorenzo's)

12. Volunteer for a good cause
Volunteered at my church of course but also for the Gus Macker tournament for the second year. It was fun especially since my friend worked it with me.

13. Finish writing my book A work in progress...definitely on the agenda for this year. Already have one of my favorite teachers lined up to look it over.

14. Go to a conference Didn't make it this year. Bad timing with free weekends. Would like to puy on conference locally one day. I think that would be awesome.

15. Go to a concert or comedy show
If a family reunion counts as a comedy show I was there. Haha!!!

16. Visit a museum I've never been to - was hoping to get back to the Smithsonian but didn't make it :(

17. Host a tea party not a formal one like I wanted to but I did make a pot of tea one evening with the girls.

18. Go white water rafting
NO! Realized I may not want to drown just yet. So much to live for.

19. Go on a mission trip overseas
Finances just wouldn't co-operate this year but maybe it's in God's plan for the year ahead.

20. MOVE It is a deep desire to do this and hopefully it will come to pass. I will not miss the snow, sleet and sheets of black ice or the freezing of my digits as I wait for my car to un-thaw.

21. Tell at least 1 person everyday how much God loves them
I did really well with this but the months of November and December got pretty crazy and I fear I did not do it everyday. But I hope you realize how much He does love you if you are reading this :)

There you have it folks and up date on the 2010 list. There were lots of great stuff that happened that were not on there like trying the game of golf for the first time, playing tennis and going four-wheeling. Wrote and performed several dramas and did flags for the first time at church. Visited a castle, took a second trip to the African Lion Safari, flew by myself for the first time, tried to hit all the local cultural events of the summer and went to Rock City Park for the first time. Started a photography business and actually have had happy clients :) Checked out the Botanical Gardens and Pumpkinville. Discovered a cheap movie theater, Marshall's and Ollie's. Spent some time getting to know new friends and reconnecting with old. Pierced my friend's ear using a safety pin and ice (kids don't try that at home). Watched countless reruns of "say yes to the dress" and learned how to play at least 5 new games. All the other things cannot possibly be listed but as much as there were some hard times and days of broken heartedness there were some great moments and lots of grace. I thank God for the past year and the things that He taught me. But I have so much to learn and so far to grow.

I decided to make a new list. 11 Things to do in 2011. I am hoping that my year will surpass my list. That would be truly awesome. 2011 here I come!

Psst: Don't forget to check back for the new list... Luv ya :)


Miranda Tom