Archive for November, 2014

Blessed.

Posted: November 18, 2014 by liftyourvoice1 in Uncategorized

It’s a count-down to that special day of the year when we cram large birds into ovens, make a pie from anything (chocolate, strawberry, coconut, cherry, pumpkin, blueberry, pecan), and happily ignore our calorie intake. Besides the food, Thanksgiving is also a wonderful time to celebrate the blessings in our lives with our friends and family. Or rather, if you’re busy like me, it’s a time for you to slow down and notice the blessings that are already in your life. I get so preoccupied with life, even good things in life, that I forget how gracious and giving my Heavenly Father truly is to me.

My husband and I sometimes play this game when we’re stressed or overwhelmed. I call it the ABC Thankful game. We take turns going back and forth saying something we’re thankful for that begins with that letter until we make it through the whole alphabet. Yes, x, y, and z are hard. We usually have ridiculous answers for those. Here’s a list of the ABCs I’m thankful for:

A- America (because even though our country has its problems, there’s still a lot of good)

B- Beauty (beautiful things in everyday life, like smiles, happy children, colorful leaves)

C- Car (I’m thankful we have transportation)

D- Dads (for my earthly and heavenly Fathers)

E- Earth (Do you know how specially crafted our planet is for life? God is amazing.)

F- Friends/Family

G- Grocery stores (This sounds petty, but how convenient and wonderful is it that we can buy all sorts of food and eat it the same day?)

H- Heaven (I’m so thankful that I have a home beyond this earth. And that I’ll be there forever with my Savior.)

I- Introverts (I can be one, and I’m thankful that we have all types of people, those who like to socialize and those who prefer quieter past times. Diversity is beautiful.)

J- Jesus (Sounds cliche, but really, JESUS! Praise God!)

K- Kindness (I’m so grateful when someone is kind to me, whether it be a dear friend, or a random stranger. God knows when to put people in my life to cheer me up at just the right time.)

L- Love (Christ’s love, unconditional love, a mother’s love, a father’s love, a husband’s love. It’s all wonderful.)

M- Marriage (God created something great when he created marriage, and I’m thankful Brandon and I get to experience it together!)

N- Novels (I adore a good book. There’s never too little space, just not enough book shelves. More books!)

O- Oxygen. Period. No explanation.

P- Prayer (We have an awesome God who made it possible for us to talk to Him!)

Q- Quiet moments (Sorry, had to “cheat” on that one.)

R- Rest (I’m thankful for moments of rest to recharge.)

S- Seasons (I love that we have four lovely seasons, each with its own unique beauty.)

T- Tea (I love tea. I love trying different kinds of tea. I love drinking tea while reading a book.)

U- Unity (Unity among the body of believers. It’s awesome when our diversity can bring us together because of Christ.)

V- Vacations (I’m thankful that God has blessed us with the money, time, and jobs that allow us to take occasional vacations. And I’m thankful for all the memories I have from them.)

W- Work (I don’t always love every moment of it, but I’m thankful to have a job. God is good.)

X- X-rays (Because this one’s hard, and because x-rays are extremely helpful.)

Y- Yams (Every thanksgiving feast needs some sweet potatoes!)

Z- Hmmmm….zoos? Sorry, stuck on this one.

Anyways, try listing the things you are thankful for. You may be surprised at how many things God has blessed you with! I pray you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with friends and family remembering every reason you have to be grateful.

God bless, Larkin

“Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:20

Dare to Unplug

Posted: November 6, 2014 by liftyourvoice1 in Worldliness
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Social networking is big, really BIG. I currently use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest on a regular basis. There’s also SnapChat, Tumblr, StumbleUpon, and oldies like MySpace and Xanga. And before that, we had AIM chat and email. But with the increasing number of people owning personal laptops and smart phones, people are more connected to ideas and each other than ever before… or are they?

I have attended social events where half the table busily fiddled with their phones instead of engaging in conversation. I have seen people lose the beauty of a moment by capturing every second of it, in selfies and video clips, which end up on Facebook and Twitter for all to see. “Pics or it didn’t happen,” is the phrase of the day.

What if we enjoyed the moments and took mental pictures? What if we put down our phones and talked to the person across the table? What if we stopped taking selfies of every little thing? Selfies with your food, selfies with no filter, selfies with the BFF, selfies at parties (#YOLO), selfies with ______ (fill in the blank). Social media is feeding our self worship.

Social media claims to help us be more “connected,” which is true to a certain degree. Facebook and Skype make long distance communication a breeze. Pinterest is a fun way to share and discover new ideas. Instagram documents our lives in pictures, sharing and showing our lives with our followers. Social media can be good.
But social media can be fake. Overuse of social media leads to an urgent necessity to be “up” on what’s going on in everyone’s lives. Scrolling through our newsfeeds, we can see what our friends have been doing lately. But our “friends” only post what they want others to see, not always what’s really going on. A comment on someone’s “wall” is quick and simple, but is it real? Would we talk to this person outside of the virtual world? Would we dare to get together over coffee, and ask them how they’re really doing, behind the filter-perfect Instagrams and overly hash tagged happy photos?

Our generation needs to UNPLUG. And it can start with you and me. Next time you want to know how a friend is doing, give them a call. If you’re out by yourself, savor the moment and beauty around you; don’t ruin it with excessive picture taking. Instead of #YOLO after all your pictures, really live in the moment by realizing how fleeting it is. You only live once, and a beautiful life can be fully lived without non-stop visual proof on your newsfeed. “Pics or it didn’t happen” is false.

I’m as guilty of social media addiction as anyone else. I check my Facebook in the morning, scroll through my Pinterest feed, and check my email on my phone, all before I even get out of bed. And I know it’s unhealthy. I’m not advocating that we all delete our Facebook and Twitter accounts, but I am advocating moderation. A good thing can be overdone. “You only live once” is partially true, but more accurately, you only live once on this Earth, so make the most of your time by putting down your phone, closing your laptop, and interacting with others face to face.

-Larkin