Saturday, January 28, 2012

Celebrating a True Hero Part 2

KY3 has posted a video on David's first memorial service at school. I cannot express how much it breaks my heart to see my friends and professors mourning the loss of our friend...I only wish I were there to mourn and remember with them.

Yesterday I was coming out of Sam's Club and there was a table set up taking donations for our troops. I stopped for a moment and donated...and I couldn't hold back the tears, thinking of my brave friend. Now I've been given a flag that I'm flying in honor of David, and all the other service men and woman past, present, and future. 

I'm so proud of the people that sacrifice themselves for our freedom. Our freedom that we take for granted so often. I'm proud of the families and friends who show continuing support, as well. It makes me think of the time I visited Arlington Cemetery. If you've never been there, you must make a trip. It will change your perspective on many things.

The following are videos of Evangel's memorial service and a Wreath laying service in David's hometown. It is incredible how many lives this one person impacted. Like I stated before, he didn't just fight for his country, but he fought for his God. He was one of the most friendly people I knew, and he lived every moment of his life to the fullest.

Evangel University 1st Memorial Service

Mayville Wreath-laying Ceremony:

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Celebrating a True Hero



Yesterday, my college friend First Lt. David Johnson, was killed in action over in Afghanistan. Although I am deeply saddened and still a bit shocked by this news, I am so proud of him. Not only did he fight valiantly for his country, but he always fought courageously for his heavenly kingdom. 

You will be missed while we're still here on earth, but because of the hope we have in Christ, we will see you again. And we know that heaven has welcomed home a real hero. It seems like only yesterday we were all chatting on Evangel campus between classes and chapel. Miss you, David! 

“It is good to remind ourselves that the freedom we enjoy isn’t free. It has cost many families a great deal—and it has cost some everything. Our veterans, reservists, active duty military personnel and military families deserve our thanks.” - Evangel Campus Pastor John Plake

You may read the article/announcement here.


First memorial service at Evangel Chapel here and here.



David’s civilian and military education includes a Bachelor of Science degree from Evangel University (2010), Infantry Basic Officer Leadership Course (2011), Combatives level 1 and 2 (2011), and the Stryker Brigade Combat Team Leaders Course (2011).
His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Bronze Service Star, Global War on Terror Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge and the Overseas Service Bar.


Monday, January 23, 2012

This is TRUTH.

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
1 John 1:9


I like this verse a lot. If you're just joining us, or passing by, or perhaps you have been here a while and forgot, I named this blog Aletheia because Aletheia is the greek word for truth.


Truth.


Allow that word to sink in for a moment. What is truth? Sometimes truth is hidden beneath a surface of confusion, deceit, lies, or misconception. Other times, truth is the elephant in the room that no one wants to admit is there. When truth is revealed and acknowledged, only then can it shine its light on our lives and purify that misty surface or stuffy room.


Today I want to discuss the truth found in 1 John 1:9 (and to credit my source, I got the idea of this verse from Bethannie who posted this as her status on FB). Sometimes it seems as though we walk around with the notion that God already forgave us, so we can go on living our lives however we wish and just know that you're forgiven, whether you're actually sorry or not.


But what about this verse? It says, if we confess our sins...THEN God can forgive them and CLEANSE us from them.


So what does that mean? Well, if you read the verse before and after that, it explains: "If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the TRUTH. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts." (1 John 1:8, 10)


Wow. So if we don't confess that we have sinned and ask for God's forgiveness, we are actually calling God a liar? No matter how much we convince ourselves or others that we have done nothing wrong, we are calling God a liar and his word has no place in our hearts. Ouch. That's pretty serious. So what do we gain from that?


Nothing.


What do we gain from humbling ourselves, confessing we were wrong, and asking for forgiveness?


Eternity.


You know, this makes me think of an email I received this morning. I won't go into much detail, but a few years ago when I was in college I was renting out a house with another girl. You know when you're starting off in life and perhaps haven't lived with other people before, it takes some adjusting. Well, there wasn't very much "adjusting" going on, and I ended up moving out. We tried to leave on a good note, but we just weren't seeing eye-to-eye.


This morning I went on my Facebook and had a message in my inbox from this girl apologizing for our failed attempt as roommates. Even though it was about 3 or 4 years late, I really appreciated that email. That email alone was a victory for God's truth. She not only took a stand to bring peace to the situation, but she just took a stand for God, and has finally been able to be purified of the situation. I had to do the same. But we couldn't forgive each other fully until we asked God and asked each other for forgiveness.


1 John 1 is all around a good chapter, but let me share one more verse from this chapter that shows us that when we allow victory for God's truth and God's forgiveness of ourselves, we are also allowing fellowship with each other. So, we're actually feeding our relationships with other people when we admit that we're wrong to ourselves, to God, and to each other. It is then when we finally choose to die to ourselves, and live in Christ. 


"But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.


Regardless of who you are, Christ cannot wash us clean of sin if we don't admit that we have sin! That is exactly what this chapter is saying! What do we gain from that? Self satisfaction, thinking we're right? No! We gain NOTHING. If anything, you'll lose your relationships with other people, you'll lose the chance at a pure relationship with God, you will lose your opportunity for a full, pure life. Is that really worth it? Is it really worth losing all of that just so you could say you were right? I desperately hope your answer is no.


This is truth. This is Aletheia. I'm taking this straight out of the bible. Let me reiterate one more time:


"But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.


If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.


But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.


If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts."


1 John 1:7-10


I hope this speaks to you today. I know it has spoken to me. Take some time today and read through 1 John. It's an amazing book that tackles sin and loving God over the things and ways of the world. There are only 5 chapters in the book of 1 John, and I invite you to read through them and discover truth. Feel free to post your thoughts and experiences. I would love to read them. :)


Blessings and aletheia.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Rustic Decor

Figuring out a motif for our apartment, namely our bedroom and bathroom, has been quite the challenge. We started with a light colored bedding, but it ended up being way too light and difficult to keep clean. So like I mentioned in my Color Wheel post, I took a picture given to us at our Wedding Shower and based everything off of that. This is the picture:



And came up with this sequence:





Would you believe we found that bedding at Walmart? It's a 20 piece set - love it! The placemats are only $1.99 at Bed Bath & Beyond. A special thanks to the in-laws for the BB&B gift card for our anniversary! I had been eyeing that bathroom set for months, but just couldn't justify it. Those 20% off coupons don't seem enough of a savings to me...give me 40-50% off and then I'll actually consider purchasing something. :)

And for those of you who like a good deal, I use Retailmenot.com and Beatmyprice.com to find out current promotions and coupons for my favorite stores!

Yesterday we had a nice cookout with the family at the beach, once I get the pictures round up I'll post about it!

Friday, January 20, 2012

PLEASE Sign, Your State Could Be Next!!

I am a cosmetologist getting ready to graduate and I have put a lot of money and hard work into learning how to be a professional. There is a lot more to doing hair than what you can teach yourself. It is dangerous for non-licensed individuals to have the right to be in this business. They know nothing of safety, technique, or even State Board regulations. It is an insult to deregulate our profession and it is extremely unsafe. Half of our training is learning to take precautions and prevent the spread of diseases in the work place. On top of that, I don't think it's safe for untrained persons to be handling dangerous chemicals and sharp utensils around innocent civilians who unfortunately don't have a clue. 

Please support your cosmetologists and the safety of yourselves and loved ones by signing this petition (click the image):


Thursday, January 19, 2012

1st Anniversary

One year ago from this past Friday...yes...Friday the 13th (I said we should've done something scary haha), my husband and I as young hoodlums decided to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. The world may never understand the "jump ship" attitude that resulted in our sudden hitching, I'm sure many were surprised to find out that it wasn't a matter of immorality, but more so a matter of survival of the fittest. It was not how we would have planned it, but in this way we are able to grow together and learn from each other. This has been one of the most eventful and rewarding years of my life. We've laughed, we've cried, but above all, we are learning how to love God and love each other. I'm so happy to be with the guy I set myself apart for. I love him very much, and here's to another year in the next chapter of my adventure with Derrick O'Gara! :)

Well, most of the day he had to work, so I decided to go volunteer at an assisted living home through my school. He had something planned for the evening but wouldn't tell me what it was.

Now, let me preface this a bit. I'm a northerner. I'm northern in blood, heart, and soul and I've been feeling really homesick lately! One of my most favorite things to enjoy in life are the seasons. I love the change and anticipation for new life and beauty. The beautiful colors of the fall and the shimmering snowflakes in the winter. I get so homesick for it. Especially fall, that is my favorite season. One of my favorite things about fall is enjoying a nice campy bon fire while it's chilly out. So when we both got home from the day, guess what I was surprised with? Dinner via bonfire!! We made smoked trout, asparagus, and later enjoyed some delicious s'mores. It made me feel like I was back in the north again.

In the morning, we enjoyed breakfast at this cute little place called "The Breakfast House." It has the look and feel of a B&B, minus the lodging. And their food is amazing! The staff is always wonderful there.


After that, we went to go see the movie Joyful Noise, which neither one of us particularly liked. As a matter of fact, it was pretty terrible. Well, the music was phenomenal, but the message it was sending? This is what I learned from that movie:

1. Christians are uptight and old-school and should conform to the people around them.
2. To keep the guy's attention and keep him from hitting on other girls, you need to wear scandalous clothing and lots of makeup.
3. You can lead worship without meaning what you're singing. Just look like you're praising God. You don't need to live it.
4. The point of a Gospel music competition is not to bring God glory, but ourselves.
5. Life is about me, me, and me. Being self-absorbed and conceited is what's in style!
6. Everyone should listen to the "bad boy" because he apparently knows what's best.

.....what??? No wonder the world has this stereotypical, hostile misconception of what Christians are these days. I'm glad we saw it for the sake of knowing what message is being presented about Christians in today's world, but I wouldn't recommend this movie to a friend. You might as well just buy the soundtrack and enjoy the music.


After the movie we had dinner in the Sea Porch at the Don Cesar


It was really beautiful, and the food was good, but I think Derrick makes a waaay better Ceviche. ;) The chefs in the back made us a special anniversary seafood appetizer. 
It was really delicious, and as our non-dairy dessert they made this very elaborate fruit platter for us! 
Afterwards we walked around the Don a little bit, it was a gorgeous night out. And that concluded our evening!


We had a great celebration, I can't believe how quickly time flies! :)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Spiritualized Selfishness

AMAZING sermon by Eric Ludy. You can also download the sermon notes HERE.

Relax


I found this picture I took and edited from my church's women's conference a few years ago (before my camera was stolen :( ). You can check out their site HERE. If you ever get the chance to go to one of these, you should. It's an incredible experience every year with amazing people and amazing love.

One year I volunteered in the "spa" where I gave hand and shoulder massages. Even God cares about rest and relaxation for our bodies, that's why he gave us Sunday, the Sabbath:

Matthew 11:28
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Exodus 33:14
“My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
Psalm 62:1-2
“My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”
Psalm 127: 1-2
“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord guards the city, the guard keeps watch in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives sleep to his beloved.”

Take some time out for yourself and God today. If your hearts, minds, and bodies feel weary, be sure to spend some time in peace and prayer. Read a book. Watch a movie with a loved one. Enjoy the outdoors (even if you have snow..watching the snowfall from the toasty indoors can be really relaxing, too!). Sing a song. Dance a dance. Play your favorite instrument. Create something new.

Just relax.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Feature: Color Palettes

Many people I know are currently remodeling their living spaces and have been looking for new ideas to decorate. When I was growing up, my family moved A LOT...and every house we moved into we would decorate. Every. Single. One. Paint, wallpaper, motif, the works. And you know, every project is a family project! So I can definitely thank my parents in that retrospect for my creativity!

One of the biggest decisions to make is the color scheme of a room. What colors compliment each other, what hue or saturation you want, what feeling you wish to give to the environment. For instance, my mom and stepdad have officially become snow birds. They're in the process of remodeling their vacation home and mom's wanting to give a "Beach Cottage" feel to it. Normally she is drawn to the florals of "Shabby Chic." I know she's going to laugh when she reads this, but I'm in the process of easing her through the transition (including a text I had just sent her: "Remember to stay away from the florals!"). haha

So as we were looking through themes and schemes, I thought of how you can take a simple picture or item of decor, study the colors in it, and form your color palette for the rest of the room. This is actually what I'm in the process of doing in our own apartment. We received a beautiful picture from our wedding shower, I took the colors and design from it, and am applying it to everything else.

First and foremost, you want to know your color wheel.
To see the color wheel broken down go HERE. There are certain ways to read and understand the color wheel to figure out what colors compliment each other, what neutralizes, what softens stronger colors, etc. There's much more to that color wheel than you think! I've had to apply it to my hair coloring, scrapbooking, graphic design, photography, and interior design. Understanding the color wheel makes a world of difference, and a whole new world of color.

On that note, let me share with you some unique color schemes that we've stumbled upon. Now this isn't just referring to paint colors, but also the colors you incorporate into your fabrics, wall-hangings, and room decorations or accents:

I love this beachy palette with fun, contrasting colors

The same idea, but much softer:

Green as the dominant color:

Warm, fall tones...I would probably add a chocolate brown to this palette:

Neutrals:


Some other ones I found unique:

I hope you found this helpful! To check out some great ideas for a "Beach Cottage" or "Shabby Chic" motif you can check out my mom's Pinterest at Peppermynt Patti. Once they get internet hooked up at their new place on Monday, she'll start blogging the process of remodeling their new vacation home!