Tuesday, December 21, 2010

He. Gave. It. All.

Before the dawn of time was The Word. The Word was God. The Creator. The I AM... Yet, The Word (God) became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:1, 14). That's the entire Christmas story summed up in just one sentence! This miraculous act we call the "Incarnation" -- Christ became completely human while remaining completely God. Our tiny human minds can't understand it, but it was absolutely necessary for these two reasons:

1} Christ had to be completely God to take the punishment of sin. Only God is holy and sinless and only He could pay the penalty.
2} Christ had to be completely human in order to be your substitute, my substitute. Because He was a man, Christ was our representative on the cross!

Pretty much, it boggles my brain how Jesus could be 100% God and 100% man. I love C. S. Lewis's analogy of this: Like an author writing himself into the script of a play, so the Word - the Author of creation - wrote Himself into the story of our world! Jesus is the author, but He also became a character for us!

Do you realize just how much Jesus gave up by becoming a man? I will never fully understand it (in this life), but Philippians 2 gives a good picture. Jesus, who was fully God, "did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped" (2:6). In other words, Jesus didn't hold on to His position and privileges as God. Although He never stopped being God, He gave up those rights when He came to earth.

When He "emptied Himself" (2:7) HE GAVE UP EVERYTHING.

He set aside the glories of heaven; He surrendered His independent authority and became obedient to His Father; He let go of His eternal riches and lived a life of poverty. But most of all, Christ bore the wrath of God as He took the sins of the whole world on Himself. He was separated from His Father. For me. For you. This, the greatest gift, was also the greatest sacrifice ever made!

You know the rest of the story. Jesus conquered death and now God has "highly exalted Him" (2:9). Have you, in the business of this season, taken the time to exalt the Lord? Have you thanked Him for His indescribable gift? The gift that cost Him His life, gave us ours.

"For God so loved this world
Though He knew what love would cost
He made a way in a manger
To make a way to the cross"

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Please be careful putting up your Christmas decorations

Can you believe Christmas is less than one week away? Since I'm in a silly mood right now, I thought I'd just share some funny facts about Christmas that I've found.

What on earth are Yuletide carols?
"Yule-tide is a winter festival that was initially celebrated by the historical Germanic people as a pagan religious festival, though it was later absorbed into, and equated with, the Christian festival of Christmas."

You know that song, "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas"?
Well the song became so popular, that a campaign was organized to actually give the singer, Gayla Peevey, a real live hippopotamus for Christmas! But... she donated it to the zoo.

Does Santa Clause scare you?
One Government website has warned parents that a visit to see Father Christmas could be 'terrifying' for small children.

Christmas trees are edible. The needles of pines, spruces, and firs are actually a good source of Vitamin C, and the pine cones happen to be quite nutritious (if you can chew them).

Who wasn't originally on Santa's reindeer team?
"Rudolph" was created by Montgomery Ward in the late 1930's for a holiday promotion.

Talk about lots of wrapping!
If you received all of the gifts listed in "The Twelve Days of Christmas" song, you would receive 364 presents.

How does Santa do it?
Click HERE to read how scientists have proved that Santa has an impossible job.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Have a laugh!

I've neglected my poor little blog lately in order to study for finals. =( Thank goodness for Christmas break! To start up my posting again, I'm just gonna share some funny videos I've seen lately. Enjoy!

This is one of the best spelling bee clips I've ever seen!

Okay, I admit that this guy is a little weird, but it gave me a laugh!


CLARIFICATION: I am not supporting rum here, but the commercial is so funny!

This one cracked me up too! I love Geico commercials!

Alright, this one's not so funny, more... INCREDIBLE (for all you sports fans out there)!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

*Gasp!* Christmas is in December this year????

Oh. my.

December has come WAY too fast! It's already time to break out the Christmas music. There's so many Christmas songs that I love. What have you been listening to? Not only do I like to listen to them, but they're pretty fun to sing... really loudly... in German accents. Haha. Anyyyywayyy...

I now have a new favorite Christmas song: "While You Were Sleeping" by Casting Crowns. Have you heard it? It's a beautiful and touching song about the city Jesus was born in, yet it ends with a powerful challenge to America. You'll just have to hear it....

America, what will we miss while we are sleeping?
Will Jesus come again,
And leave us slumbering where we lay;
America, will we go down in history,
As a nation with no room for its King;
Will we be sleeping?

What do you want to be doing when Jesus calls His Church home? Will you be ready? This Christmas, let's not be sleeping, caught up in all the holiday hustle and bustle. It's time to wake up. God has given you a purpose in this life. What are you going to do with the time that He has given you?
This time of the year is a HUGE opportunity to reach out to the hurting and show the love of Christ. If you're thinking about how you can make an impact this Christmas, I'd encourage you to check out the blogs I have on my sidebar:
Wake Up Stand Up, Teens for Orphans, Do: Living Water.
Each of those projects were started by young people who made the effort to reach out and make a difference to people in third world countries. Even if it's just following their blogs and praying for their projects, you could be part of the change. Of course, there are so many other ways to make this Christmas an impactful one. But I challenge you to do something if you're not already.
I've already read some posts from fellow bloggers about what they're doing to make a difference this Christmas. Are you doing something? I'd love to hear all the different ways that you all are reaching out this year! What are you doing to make a difference this Christmas?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pumpkins + Colorful Leaves + Sunlight = Awesome photos

But I'm only one month behind! Oh well. Even my Thanksgiving break is busy (but I'm still thankful for it, of course). I absolutely LOVE the fall season! That's why I love these photos....

Silly picture!

L to R: Cierra (5), Aaron (12), Austin (15), Me (17), Mariah (11)

A random cat got in the picture.

Have a happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Shutterfly - 50 FREE Holiday Cards!

I have heard of Shutterfly before, but I have to admit, I've never used it. However, when I heard about their amazing offer from Charity Anne's blog, I knew I couldn't pass it up!!!

So here's the deal: If you sign up to post about Shutterfly's photo gifts, you automatically get 50 free holiday cards! Too good to be true? Not this time!

What can you do with Shutterfly? You can upload your pictures, order awesome photo gifts and prints, and you can pick up what you order at any Target, Walgreens, or CVS. Here are just a few of the neat cards you can make with your photos (Click on the photos to see more from Shutterfly):

Christmas Cards - like this one! (ONE of my personal favorites. This would be great to send out with Christmas letters to family and friends.)

Holiday stationary (and even Hanukkah cards)

Personalized photo calendars!
Photo mugs

This is the one that I would probably choose:

SERIOUSLY. Check out their Christmas cards (and do it in time to send them out for Christmas). There are literally hundreds to choose from; and if you sign up and blog about it, you get 50 FREE! Do it.

Monday, November 8, 2010

My Healer

Recently, I've been listening to all of Kari Jobe's music. Not only does she have an amazing voice, but her lyrics are so sincere and uplifting. I've been especially touched by the song "Healer." If you haven't heard it. check it out!

This is video is a story that brought tears to my eyes. Watch the video to see how her music inspires hope and how miraculous our God is!

Nothing is impossible for You
Nothing is impossible
Nothing is impossible for You
You hold my world in Your hands

STORY's Worship Leader Kari Jobe from Story Chicago on Vimeo.

P.S. Charity Anne from Footprints in the Sand interviewed me on her worldview blog! To read it, go HERE. You should totally check out her blog - she has a passion for Christ that shows through her posts!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wild for Wild Olive!!!

I don't post about very many give-aways, but this one is just too awesome not to! Wild Olive Tees is giving away some of their cool Christian tees for ladies! Check out their new blog to find out how you can enter! :) Go HERE to enter.

That's all.

God's Peace.... A Guard?

In a humanities class I'm taking, we recently finished studying Philippians. Have you all ever studied that book in depth? Man, it's packed with spiritual nuggets of wisdom! =)

I'm sure you have heard these verses before, right?

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:6-7

When I read that, I usually think something along the lines of, "Okay, so God doesn't want us to worry about our troubles, but instead pray, and then He will give us His peace." However, when I read it this time, something totally new stuck out to me. Read the verses again. (Seriously.) Now what do you think it means when Paul says that God's peace will "guard your hearts and minds"? This is the question I asked myself. I mean, I've never really thought about peace...guarding. So what does it mean?

As I kept reading these verses with that question in my mind, the Holy Spirit taught me something totally new to me. (Aren't those moments just so amazing???) God's peace guards us from focusing on ourselves

I don't know about you, but I'm a worrier. If something can go wrong, then I'll be thinking about it. And especially if something does go wrong, then I'm definitely worried! However, when I am worrying, I'm focusing on my problems, my troubles, my embarrassment, situations in my life that might go wrong.

Do you see the problem here? I'm not focusing on God, who is in control of my life - and nothing happens outside of His plan. God's peace guards me from focusing on myself. Instead, I'm placing my life in His hands and leaving it there. His peace keeps me focused on HIM: who He is, what He has done, and what I know He is going to do. God's plan is perfect, and I know I don't have to worry about anything. That's how God's peace is a guard.

Are you a worrier? Then cast your cares upon the Lord, and ask Him to give you His peace - it surpasses all understanding! Keep your focus on God, 'cause He will never let you down.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Worldview Challenge from Charity

Hey guys! My friend Charity Anne from Footprints in the Sand is having a giveaway! But it's not just any giveaway: it comes with a challenge. On her worldview blog, Think Hard Think Well, she has challenged everybody to write an essay answering this question....

Do you believe it is right for Christians to break the law of the land under certain circumstances?

Go HERE to read the full instructions or if you have any questions about it for her. The giveaway is a surprise, and I'm sure it will be awesome!

An essay is really not as hard as it sounds. It's basically just three paragraphs with an introduction and concluding paragraph! You can do this! And it would be so worthwhile! I encourage you all to think about accepting this challenge. The deadline for the essay is November 2, 2010, so get going on it!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I Cannot Believe It!!!

I can remember the night when I asked my mom if I could start a blog. It was thrilling to think that I was going to have my very own sight where I could post anything I wanted! I had so many plans, ideas for making it unique and insightful. I created my blog so carefully...I wanted everything to be perfect! After much thought, I named my blog and posted the first post. Exactly one year ago, Blooming In Christ began.

Okay. Hold on while I let out some excitement.


I can't help but smile when I think about how God uses the simplest things to grow me, like my blog. I originally began it with the purpose of encouraging others in the Lord. But, of course, God has used it to grow me. I thought that it might be fun to take a look back where Blooming in Christ has been over this past year....

My "whys" of starting a blog. Ahhh, good memories.

I began my posting in October of 2009 with a study I had done on the roots of Halloween. I'll admit - it wasn't the lightest topic, but it was something I wanted to know because it is a controversial holiday among Christians. There were four posts in this series, and if you'd like to read them, go to the posts in the month of October in 2009.

Then there's November. Yes, each November another page of my life is turned. That year was a special time for me.

Oh yes. The waffle. I never will forget that one!

My life seems to be destined for embarrassing moments. This is proof.

God is so good. Whenever I begin to doubt His sovereignty, I can go back here, to a record of His amazing faithfulness!

Good times with family! That is definitely something I love to share on my blog! =) I love pictures too!

Wow. I started playing tennis last year. That seems ages ago! lol

How could I forget the disease? You know, Affluenza. That video was a huge eye-opener for me!

There's not a ton of posts. I'm not the expert in grammar. Humor is something I lack. Sometimes I get busy and don't post. My blog is not perfect, but it is a journey. God is the guide, I am His follower, and I will go wherever He leads. I pray that this blog will be a testimony to God's goodness and faithfulness as I record what He is doing and how He is growing me.
Blooming in Christ.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

You know the feeling when...

...when you've completed something really challenging? Something that, at first, you weren't sure how you would complete it? Well, I have that feeling right now. I have just written an essay on a five-line poem!!! (It was "A Man Said to the Universe" by Stephan Crane.) The essay was supposed to be on the worldview of the poem/author. As you can guess, I had to focus on what the poem implied, rather than what it said ('cause it didn't say much). It felt so good to finish it, because I felt as though I had completed something of utmost substance! =D Satisfaction in work is a wonderful feeling.

I know how busy life can get with school and activities, but remember to keep persevering and doing your best in your work. God commands us to do everything for His glory--that includes our everyday responsibilities! =)

"Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man. (Ephesians 6:5-7)

Doing hard things are hard, but in the end, it's so worth it! So keep pressing on, doing your work as for the Lord, even in your busy life! There is a special promise for those who do everything for the Lord, and it's found in the very next verse!

" knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free." (Ephesians 6:8)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Food for Thought: Water

Water from Cornerstone Church on Vimeo.

Americans consume an average of 70-100 gallons of water every day. The developing world consumes under 3 gallons a day, much of which contains infectious diseases. Do you take water for granted? I definitely do! Millions are dying because of the lack of water, or because of the contamination of it.

You can help change this. Each of these organizations were started by teens. I encourage you to visit their sites and encourage each one them who have chosen to take a stand and change the world. Leave them an uplifting comment and encourage them in the Lord! It is a huge responsibility to run a ministry such as these! Ask God how you can also help to make a change, whether it be praying, giving, or whatever. God will use you to make a difference if you let Him.

Wake Up Stand Up

Do: Living Water

Teens For Orphans International

Saturday, October 2, 2010

When Life Is a Tragedy & Death Is Not

"For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." - Apostle Paul

Why are Paul's words such a radical statement? First of all, living for someone other than yourself is pretty much unheard of in this culture. Second, dying is something that we've been taught to dread.

Have you ever thought about why you value life so much? (And if you're living right now, there's a good chance that you value life.) One of my friends recently challenged me with that question. It really got me thinking: Why do I value life? What makes it so precious to me? Worldly pleasures? Human approval? Social status? Amusement? Or maybe I value life because I have a fear of the "unknown"?

Let's look for a minute at what Paul says about death. He considered it gain. In fact, he said that to depart and be with Christ is "far better"! Paul could sincerely say that because he didn't value his own life. He valued Christ. To live meant to live for Christ, to die meant to meet Him.

So let me ask you: What do you value? Be honest, for the answer will pretty much determine what you're living for. Personally, I have been asking God to show me the things that I value too dearly in this life, and I would challenge you to do the same. If everything you treasure is of this world, then dying can't be gain and living can't be Christ.

When life is lived for pleasure, comfort, and self, that life is a tragic one. Don't miss out on the privilege of living for Christ and magnifying Him. In the end, dying will be gain, not tragedy.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Just to be Clear =)

Thank you so much to everyone who took the survey! (If you haven't yet, I'd still love to hear your opinions! You can take it HERE.) Your advise and suggestions were really helpful! I am planning to implement many of them here very soon. =)

I want to make one thing clear, though: You don't have to comment on all of my posts. I really was just wanting to see if anyone was reading my blog. Well now I know! Please don't feel like you have to comment just to make me happy or to keep me blogging - that's not the message I was trying to get across at all! Yes, I love comments, but I don't blog for comments. I blog for Jesus Christ, and this is a place where I can share about what He is doing through me.

With that said, I want you all to know that I do have some neat posts planned, but just be patient as I will be making some changes (hopefully) to this blog! Most of you all said that you would like me to post more. My goal will be to post about once a week once I get my blog all "settled in" after I implement all of your suggestions.

Again, THANK YOU! to you all who took the survey! I appreciate it so much!!!!

In Christ,

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Attention All Followers!

Where are you guys? I have over 60 followers and I only get a couple (or no) comments on my posts! I have created a survey so I can find out how I can make my blog better, and hopefully find out what you think! If you have any more comments or suggestions for me, please leave a comment or shoot me an email!

Please take just a couple minutes to complete this survey! Thank you, thank you, thank you! =)

(If it doesn't work, HERE is a direct link to the survey.)

Friday, September 3, 2010

How to Make a Flock of Sheep

Bake some cupcakes...

Ice the cupcakes...

Cut some mini-marshmallows in half...

Make a head out of icing...

Stick the marshmallows on and make a face...

And you have a flock of sheep!!! (Edible sheep.)

This one is Fluffy.

These cupcakes were made especially for my "baby" sister's birthday. I cannot believe she is five!
She's growing up so fast. I love you, Cierra!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Beyond Measure

The road was dusty. The air was hot. But the Arabian traveler continued on, walking several steps and then wiping his face with the sleeve of his tunic. The journey to town was a long one. The heat made it seem longer.

The exhausted traveler considered finding a shortcut; he didn't think he could go much longer. The field to the right looked promising, so he decided to cut through it. Staff in hand, he wearily pushed himself forward with each step through the field. The tall grass slapped at his legs as he walked on. The sun beat down.

"Maybe I should go back and make this trip another day," the traveler reasoned, his staff hitting the ground with a rhythmic thump, thump, thump, thump, THUD. His staff had hit something. Stopping, he squatted down and cleared the grass away, revealing the corner of a wooden box. He began to move the dirt away, curiously wondering why a box would be buried in a field in the middle of nowhere.

Something glimmered.

The traveler stopped in amazement. The box was edged with gold. With new vigor, he started shovelling dirt away with his hands as fast as he could. His dry hands began to crack and bleed, but he didn't notice and continued on digging. Finally, the man had made a hole big enough to ease the box out of the ground. It was unbelievably heavy. Out of the ground, the box looked exquisite: beautifully ornate gravings cover the lid, and gold adorned the edges. The box itself must be worth a fortune!

The rusty lock easily fell off. With trembling hands the man carefully lifted the lid. His eyes were met with more treasure than he had seen in his entire life! It sparkled and gleamed in the sun's rays. For a while, he just sat in awe of such wealth.

It's worth was beyond measure.

When the traveler came to his senses, he realized that he could not take the newly discovered treasure home. For one thing, it would be much too heavy to carry; second of all, he did not own the field, and therefore anything in the field was not his to take. The man would not even think of stealing it; he was a man of the Law. What a disappointment to find such treasure and not be able to keep any of it! Just then, the man knew exactly what he should do.

Forgetting the very reason for his journey, the traveler covered up the treasure, jumped up and ran as fast as he could home. He didn't even notice the heat. When he reached his home, he stopped in front of the small, humble dwelling and smiled. He would sell his house. Yes, and everything he owned!

His house, possessions, livestock, furniture, and measly plot of land...all of it he sold. With that money he bought the field. Now the treasure was rightfully his! His heart overflowed with abundant joy.

The things he had owned before could not even compare to the treasure he now had. Selling all he had was not a loss, but a gain! He traded that which was worthless for that which was priceless. The reward was beyond measure. And the traveler's life would never be the same.

By Chloe
August 2010


Matthew 13:44
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

How to Fail a Test...with Dignity

Test-taking time is here! And not to worry if you don't know the answers - at least you can fail with dignity! (Click on the pictures to make them larger.)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Pressing On

It is exciting that a new school year is almost here! I can't believe how fast the summer has gone by! Now it's time to settle down and get back into that good ol' school routine!

As I'm looking ahead at the plethora of classes and activities that are about to fill up my weeks, I realize that I need to set some goals so that I can make the most of my time. One of them is to go to be early. The morning time is when I'm the most productive, so I plan on getting up extra early this year. Family are excellent accountability partners, and I've asked mine to keep me accountable.

Do you have any goals for this year? I would encourage you all to set one or two. Why? Goals give direction, an end to pursue. Without goals, it's easy to get distracted and not to care when you start to lag behind. Without goals, you can give up without feeling any guilt. When there are no expectations set, you can't let yourself down because you have nothing to live up to.

If goals are important for our daily life, how much more important they are for our spiritual life!

"...Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:12-14

It makes me excited to think that Christ has a goal for me to reach! The goal: Christ likeness; conforming to the glorious image of Christ. The prise: Christ likeness obtained in heaven. We will never "arrive" in our spiritual life here on earth, but when God calls us to heaven, we will finally receive the prise that was an unattainable goal on earth.

Though we will never reach the goal of Christ likeness in this life, it keeps our lives focused on Him, so we can live a profitable life for Jesus. It's impossible to reach the goal just yet, but Christ can help us grow closer and closer to that goal.

So now it's time to get focused. What are you pressing on for?

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Good News...Camp!

It seems as though I am always saying that it's been a while since I've last posted (and it's usually true), but this time I really do have a good reason: I've been gone! A few weeks ago, I was teaching 5-day clubs, which are Bible clubs that reach children with the gospel of Jesus Christ. I was gone all day teaching multiple clubs each day! Even though I didn't personally lead a child to Christ that week, there were at least 13 salvations from other clubs! Altogether this summer, over 60 children have made decisions for salvation through a 5-day club, here in my district! Then this past week, I was a counselor at camp. Camp Good News! I've been a camper there for about five years, but this was my first time to be a counselor...and it was awesome!!! Instead of just boring you with any more of my rambling, I'll just show you some pictures.

Me and Olivia...she was a junior counselor with me.

Me and Olivia with our amazing campers!

Apparently, I'm the only one who heard "silly picture."

Awesome people...

Multi-colored tongues are just a part of camp.

There was never a dull moment. :)

Wonderful friends!

I loved every minute of it and can't wait to go back next year! The kids have a ton of fun, but also hear the gospel everyday, as well as learning more about God and how they can follow Him everyday! Camp Good News is like one big family reunion where we can daily serve the Lord!

Well, it might be a while before you hear from me again. I'm volunteering with my church to help out with a VBS at John 3:16 Missions! And then school starts up! Where has the summer gone? Hope you all have had a good one!