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The Bookshelf Tag

If you have read about me on the About page (if not, go do it) you know that I love reading.  Reading is a great thing to do during summer when you need something to do or you’re bored.  Today I am going to do something a little different than usual, but I’m really excited about it.  I am going to do the bookshelf tag, which I read about on Me, You, and God: A Blog for Christian Teens.  I am also hoping to give you some inspiration for new books to read and give you a little more info about me.

Describe your bookshelf and where you got it from:                                                                                      My bookshelf is a tall, light brown bookcase with 16 small cubes/cubbies to keep things in.  I got it from Ikea.  What I love about it is that it is big enough to fit a lot of things even though its main purpose is to store books.

Do you have any special or different ways of organizing your books?                                                      Not at the moment….just wherever I can fit them.

What’s the thickest (most amount of pages) book on your shelf?                                                                   My Merriam Webster dictionary, 1623 pages.

What’s the thinnest (least amount of pages) book on your shelf?                                                                                               A children’s version of The Wizard of Oz retold by Rosie Dickins.

Is there a book you received as a birthday gift?                                                                                           Uh, yes, I just can’t remember which ones.

What’s the smallest (by height and width) book on your shelf?                                                                   An information book called Mammals that my brother got me for Christmas a long time ago.

What’s the biggest (by height and width) book on your shelf?                                                                Another one of my children’s books; A DK reader called A Children’s Book of Art by Lucy Micklethwait.

Is there a book from a friend on your shelf?                                                                                                    Yes; A book called A Whole Nother Story by Dr. Cuthbert Soup. (Looking for a weird but good and funny novel?  Read this.)

Most expensive book?                                                                                                                                          Uhhhhh…….no clue.

The last book you read on your shelf?                                                                                                                            Chasing Jupiter by Rachel Coker.  I loved this book so much.  I highly recommend it.

Of all the books on your shelf, which was the first one you read?                                                        Back to my favorite kids books from when I was little that I kept; Probably Your Very Own Name, a book for really young kids where the book is personalized to your name.

Do you have a more than one copy of a book?                                                                                              No way!  If I get a repeat book as a gift or something along those lines I usually give one of my copies to someone else like a sibling.

Do you have the complete series of any book series?                                                                              Yes, Percy JacksonAnne of Green Gables, Little House on the Prairie, etc.  My brother has all the other good stuff like Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and The Chronicles of Narnia so I like reading or listening to some of those also.

What’s the newest addition to your shelf?                                                                                                   Chasing Jupiter. (Again.  This book comes up again at least once more in this list!)

What book has been on your shelf FOREVER?                                                                                                 The Little House on the Prairie series.

What’s the most recently published book on your shelf?                                                                       Probably Graceful by Wendy Mass.

The oldest book on your shelf (as in, the actual copy is old).                                                                                 I have a few books that were my mom’s when she was a kid, but not very many old ones because my mom took all the old classics out of my room to put in our “family library”.  The oldest still on my shelf I would say is either The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne. or Ribsy by Beverly Cleary.

A book you won?                                                                                                                                                  Uh, no, I don’t think I’ve ever won a book.

Most beat up book?                                                                                                                                            Not on my shelf, but my brother’s copy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is literally ripped in half because we’ve read it so many times.

Most pristine book?                                                                                                                                                    A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park because I haven’t read it yet.

A book from your childhood?                                                                                                                        All the above children’s books I’ve mentioned, but other than that Miss Fannie’s Hat by Jan Karon.

Book that’s been on your shelf longest that you STILL haven’t read?                                                              The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi.  I just have never gotten around to reading it.

Any signed books?                                                                                                                                                 Yes!  My copy of Chasing Jupiter (I know, again) is signed.

There you have it!  I had a great time putting this together and investigating my bookshelf.  If you want to do this on your own blog, go right ahead!  Comment below answering any of these questions you want, or requests for future blog posts.

 

 

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And The Home Of The Brave

It’s almost the Fourth of July!  I absolutely love holidays of all kinds, but sometimes I get a little confused about the point of some holiday traditions.  For example, where did the idea of the Easter bunny come from?  If you think about it, tons of holiday traditions have no relation whatsoever to the meaning of the holiday.  That’s why, for the Fourth of July and other holidays in the future, I will be posting a Q&A on holiday traditions.  Lets get going!

Q: Where did the idea of fireworks come from and why do we celebrate with them on the Fourth of July?

A: Fireworks were first made in China thousands of years ago when the people would throw bamboo on a fire and it would explode.  It wasn’t until the Renaissance time period when Marco Polo brought fireworks to Europe that people started using gunpowder in their fireworks.  Of course this was very dangerous because then they started using fireworks in warfare.  We set off fireworks on July 4 because, back in the year 1776, John Adams wanted to.  He wanted something big and brilliant to celebrate the freedom of our country.  Congress made fireworks an official tradition in 1777.

Q: Why do we have cookouts on July 4?

A: The tradition of cooking out apparently was imported from the West Indies.  The word “barbecue” comes from a Spanish word they used in Hispaniola meaning “a wooden rack used for smoking meat.”  People in the 1800’s would get people rallied together to celebrate independence for America on July 4 by holding huge cookouts, usually roasting whole animals.  In the 1900’s barbecuing turned into more of a family gathering rather than cooking animals open to the public.

These are a few things I found really interesting about the Fourth of July.  If you have any more Fourth of July questions, leave a comment below and I”ll try and get that answered! (If you ask a question in the comments, please feel free to come back and read my reply!)

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A Guide to L.I.V.I.N.G. this Summer

It’s summer!  I’m so excited to be able to post more often now that school’s out, and I have a few ideas for posts that I’m really excited about.  I know most of you have fun trips, camps, and activities planned, but what about those days when you have nothing to do?  I have put together a list of some things to get you started on  ideas for summer fun.  It is the acronym L.I.V.I.N.G.  We want to live this summer to the fullest, and make it memorable.               So here it is:

L – Learn something new.                                                                                                                                     Teach yourself to do something you’ve never done before or learn about something you’re interested in.

I – Invite a friend over.                                                                                                                                        Have a friend over to watch a movie, play games, and just have fun.  (You could also do your summer homework together……………………just an idea) 😉

V – Visit a relative.                                                                                                                                                           Grandparents have a lot of cool stories, believe it or not.

I – ICE CREAM.                                                                                                                                                              Always an option to consider.

N – Navigate your way on a road trip.                                                                                                               Take a mini day trip to a nearby city and find something fun to do there with family or friends.

G – Go to church.                                                                                                                                                           Keep going to church this summer.  Build your relationship with God.  Now that you’re not in school, you can spend more time with the Lord.

I hope this acronym will give you ideas for some fun things to do this summer.  Each letter is pretty general so you can find your own way to expand on them.

Ok, here are a few things you can do after you finish reading this:                                                       1.  Go tell someone else about this blog and get them interested.

2.  Comment about what you are looking forward to this summer.

3.  Email me with any posts you would like to see happen in the future at this email: emma@appletreesandpumpkinseeds.com.  Also, email me if you would like to be a guest blogger in the near future.

 

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Inspiring People: Joni Eareckson Tata

Hi everyone!  Today I am back with another Inspiring People post.  This person inspires me so much, and here is her story:

Joni Eareckson was born in 1949.  She loved to be outside and do things like swimming and hiking.  One day when Joni was a teenager, she was swimming in the Chesapeake Bay.  Thinking the water was deep enough, she dove in head first.  She hit her head on a rock on the bottom and broke her neck, becoming paralyzed from the neck down.  Joni had to be in rehab for two years, during which time she had many spiritual struggles.  Before her accident she was a strong Christian, but now after her accident she doubted her faith in God as she lay useless in the hospital.  She had lots of friends who came to visit her, but she needed spiritual as well as physical healing.

One day Joni’s friend Steve came to see her.  She was so fed up and angry with God for letting her accident happen that she burst out with questions for Steve like, “Why did God do this to me?”, “If God is so powerful then why didn’t he stop it?”  Joni felt like she didn’t deserve to be handicapped for the rest of her life, and she was blaming God.  Steve shared a Bible verse with Joni that challenged her thinking.  Acts 4 :28, which reads, “They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.”  If you read a little bit above this passage in the Bible you can figure out that this section is talking about Jesus’ death.  Meaning Jesus dying was no mistake on God’s part, or anyone else’s.  God knew what was going to happen to Jesus way before it ever happened, and it was for a reason.

This gave Joni the assurance that God allowed her accident for a reason.  She soon learned to paints pictures with her mouth instead of her hands and was out of the hospital in a short time.  Joni now knows that God’s plan is not always the plan she has in her mind, and she uses her disability to praise God.  She is now married and often speaks publicly about her faith.

I find this story inspiring because Joni went through so much, and God never failed to provide what she needed.  Her injury did not stop her from living for God and glorifying Him.  She went through some very hard emotional and spiritual times as well, but God came out on top.  God will always be with us, no matter what’s going on in our lives.

Did you like this story?  If you would like to find out more about Joni or read a more detailed version of her story, I recommend this book:  Joni: An Unforgettable Story by Joni Eareckson Tata, or this blog post by GirlDefined.

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What Does The Bible Say About Education?

The Bible is a great place to go if you want to learn more about a certain subject and what God says about it.  That is exactly what we are going to be chatting about this week!  Let’s see what the Bible has to say about school and education:

Proverbs 16:16, “How much better to get wisdom than gold!  To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.”

Learning and knowledge are both so much more valuable than material things!  You can have knowledge with you wherever you go and put it to good use in countless situations, whether it be taking a school test or ordering off a menu in a far away country (Glad you took that language class now, huh?).

James 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”

When God talks about “knowledge”, “education”, or “wisdom”, He  doesn’t mean just academic knowledge, He also means spiritual and Bible knowledge.  In God’s eyes it is so important to read the Bible each day and gain further understanding of Him, as well as what you learn in school.  If you ask Him to deepen your relationship with Him, He will gladly and generously answer that prayer.

2 Peter 1:5, “For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge.”

Heighten your faith by practicing things like love, peace, and kindness and learn more about these things to live for God.  Knowing more about the world will help you to appreciate God for making it.  The outcome of having a deeper faith in Christ will be wanting to be more like Him, and the outcome of that will be wanting to be know more about Him.

So, to summarize:

-Knowledge is important                                                                                                                                       -If you want to know more about God, He will generously give you knowledge (a.k.a. His Word the Bible).                                                                                                                                                         -When you have a relationship with God, fill it with knowledge and understanding, as well as growth in Godliness.

From the Bible we can know that knowledge is really important to God. So, keep going to school!  Keep learning, reading, and praying.  Comment below on your favorite Bible verse and maybe it will make an appearance in an upcoming post! (You never know).

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Inspiring People: Nate Saint

“Inspiring People” is a new series I”m starting that tells the stories of real people who have inspired me, and I hope their stories inspire you too!  I’ve decided to start with Nate Saint.

Nate Saint was born in 1923.  He grew up in a Christian home and from an early age knew that he wanted to serve the Lord in his work.  Nate took his first flight in an airplane at the age of seven and became fascinated with flying.  During World War II, Nate signed up for the US Army, hoping to become a commercial pilot but was not allowed to fly due to a leg infection that was bothering him.  While he was in the army, Nate noticed the need for missionary pilots.  He decided to join MAF (Mission Aviation Fellowship) with his wife Marjorie.  They helped open a MAF base in Shell Mera, Ecuador.  Nate’s mission was to show the love of God to the Aucas (a tribe in Ecuador who attacked and killed most outsiders they came in contact with).  He and his MAF team first tried flying over the Auca village dropping gifts to be friendly, but after awhile they knew it was time to talk with the Aucas.  Nate and his teammates Jim, Ed, Peter, and Roger flew a plane to a place near the Auca village and set up camp.  A few tentative Aucas showed up and seemed to be friendly, but they soon left.  Nate and his team were excited to be finally making contact with the Aucas, but, only a few days later, the missionaries were attacked.  All five missionaries were killed.  After Nate died, his family continued to be evangelists and encourage the Aucas.  Many in the village became Christians, including some of those who had attacked the missionaries.

I find this story inspiring because Nate, Jim, Ed, Peter, and Roger did not give up.  They gave their lives serving the Lord.  They may have been discouraged or frustrated, but they kept going and spread the Word of God where others were afraid to.  They did not live to see the outcome of their work, but Nate’s sister Rachel did.  She continued to be a missionary to the Aucas and saw many come to Christ.  Nate’s love for the Lord and devotion to Him motivates me to glorify God in everything I do, even the little things.  Nate had the courage to fly to Ecuador because God was with him.  He trusted that God would use him to make an impact on others.  Nate not only made an impact on the Auca tribe, but his story still encourages us today.

How is this story inspiring to you?  What can you come away with?  Comment below on what other people have inspired you.

Note: If you want to learn more about Nate Saint, I recommend this book:  Nate Saint: On a Wing and a Prayer by Janet and Geoff Benge.

 

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Easter Miracles

Happy Easter everyone!  I love Easter because it is such a beautiful time of year and such a beautiful reason to celebrate!  Christ our Lord has conquered death!  Here is the Easter Bible passage, ESV style:

Luke 24:1-12, 36-40                                                                                                                                          “But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared.  And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.  While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel.  And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, ‘Why do you seek the living among the dead?  He is not here, but has risen.  Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise?  And when they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told these things to the eleven and all the rest.  Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.  But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen clothes by  themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.”

“As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, ‘Peace be with you!’  But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit.  And he said to them, ‘Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?  See my hands and feet, that it is I myself.  Touch me, and see.  For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.’  And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet.”

When I was typing this out I noticed some things in the passage that I hadn’t noticed before.  One of them was that the disciples didn’t believe what the women told them about Jesus having risen.  You would think that someone wouldn’t joke about something as important as Jesus rising, wouldn’t you?  Well, they weren’t!  The disciples were Jesus’ followers, the ones who helped spread the word about Him and believed Him.  They should probably have known by then that Jesus is capable of rising from the dead, and more!  I think this accurately describes what most Christians are like today.  We say we believe in Jesus, but we can’t even begin to imagine what He can do!  Think about the Easter passage for a minute.  Jesus was dead, and we know that He was fully dead, like all the way dead, because He didn’t rise until three days after.  If it had happened on the same day He had died, then people might question whether He was really dead and had just come out of unconsciousness or something.  But no, Jesus was fully dead, and He came back to life after dying.  That’s impossible.  At least it is for an ordinary human.  But Jesus wasn’t an ordinary human.  He was 100% human and 100% God.  Just being that alone is beyond anything I could have imagined.  Christ rose from the dead.  He is alive.  We are going to see Him one day.  That is a miracle.

Dealing With: Disappointment

Disappointment.  The dictionary definition is, “the feeling of sadness or displeasure caused by the nonfulfillment of one’s hopes or expectations.”  Disappointment can come in many shapes and sizes, whether it’s not making the track team you really wanted to be on, or simply not getting what you want.  When we’re little, like toddler age, we tend to deal with disappointment by throwing a temper tantrum.  A kid doesn’t get the piece of candy from the birthday piñata that he wanted, so he flips out.  We’ve all seen it, right?  Now that you’re past that stage, how do you deal with disappointment?  It could be that you get super upset and sulk and hole up in you room all day. It could also be that you blame others for what you didn’t get, whether it be the teacher who didn’t give you the part you wanted in the school play, or it could be a grudge against the person who did get the part.  Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV)  God has mapped out a plan for your life, which may not be the plans you yourself have.  Knowing this, we will still have disappointment in our lives.  Here are a few ways to deal with disappointment:

1. Get a different perspective.  You’re not fast enough for the track team, but at least you CAN run.  You don’t get into your first choice college, but at least you have enough money to GO to college.  Think of it in the bigger picture.  If you have a goal, work hard to reach it.  If you don’t make it, keep going and make a new goal for yourself.

2.  Pray about it.  Ask God for perseverance and His guidance in your life.  If something disappoints you, don’t shut Him off; pray more!

3.  Read what the Bible has to say.  Here are a few verses to look up in your Bible: Romans 8:28, Philippians 4:6-7, Psalms 27:14

Disappointment can be a hard thing to overcome, but we can know that the Lord is watching over us!  Lift your eyes to the Lord and let all your worries, disappointment and sin rest on Him. God has a future for you, even though it might not be the one you’re expecting.

Did you like this post?  Comment below about other “Dealing With” posts you want me to write about!

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Differences Part 2: Those in Other Countries

Last week we talked about how we should love those around us even if they are different (especially if they’re different, for that matter!).  This week we are talking about differences between us and those in other countries.  People in many countries experience living conditions that are drastically different than what we are used to.  In fact, over 3 billion people in the world live in poverty today. This means a lot of people don’t have a nice, warm, furnished house to live in or get to go to school and learn.  It is dangerous to live in some places of the world, and some places don’t have clean water.

Sometimes we get caught up in things we want that “everyone else has”, or we complain that we are hungry when we always have enough food to eat.  This week when you find yourself in one of these situations, take a step back and look at the big picture.  There are people in this world who live in mud huts and would be overjoyed to have nice clothes, let alone an iPhone.  There are children who consider it lucky to get one meal a day, let alone three.  It is so important to be grateful for what we have.

Like we talked about last week, all people are made in the image of God and He loves them, no matter where they live or what their social status is.  God wants us to love and serve our neighbors, whether it is our literal next door neighbors, or our neighbors in other countries.  There are lots of ways we can love and support people in poverty or without an education around the world, though sometimes we don’t know how.  Here are a few ways to get you started:

Pray.  Pray for others.  Pray a lot.  Pray for anything.  Think of a certain country or city in the world and pray for the people in it.  Right now.

Support a charity or ministry.  Give to those in need!  You don’t have to give a bazillion dollars, just whatever works for you.  Believe me, anything or any amount you give will be greatly appreciated.  You can give meals, clothes, money, school supplies, etc. depending on the organization.

Take a missions trip.  Go somewhere with your church (it doesn’t have to be far away) and show God’s love to others.  It is so rewarding to help others and see God working in their lives.

Everyone is different, and that is exactly how God created humans to be.  Differences make us who we are.  As we wrap up on this topic, think about what you want to come away with and what you are going to apply to your own life.  It might seem hard at first, but we all have the opportunity to make the world better for somebody else.  How are you going to do this?

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Differences Part 1: Those Around Us

“It is only when you accept how different you all are, that you will be able to see how much the same you all are.  Don’t expect anybody to be the same as you, then you will see that you are in many ways the same as everybody.”

– C. JoyBell C., Goodreads Author

Did you read the quote above?  So true, right?  This quote sets the tone for this whole post:  We are different, but we have lots of similarities, too.  Let’s start by talking about differences.  Everyone has different interests, ways of thinking, beliefs, basically everything.  It’s the way God made us human beings.  The world would be so boring if everyone was exactly the same.  I’m glad we were all made differently.  We can learn so many different things and do so much!

As you probably have noticed, the world as we know it is not all sunshine and roses.  Many things today have gone wrong due to differences.  In American history:  wars, segregation, slavery, different religious beliefs, etc.  In present day: bullying, wars (again), political issues, false understanding of what the Bible says, different religious beliefs (again), etc.  I think a lot of the time when someone has different interests or different religious beliefs than us, we tend to label them as “weird” or “bad”.  We tend to easily accept others who have similar interests or beliefs as us.  This is not how God wants us to function.  He made every single person on this planet in His image the way He wanted.  Psalm 139:14 says, “I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”  Praise God for making you!  Praise Him for making others fearfully and wonderfully too!  Sure, we are all different, but we all have something in common:  God made all of us and loves all of us.

This brings us to the topic of similarities.  Someone might have different religious beliefs, but they’re still treasured by God, just like you.  No human is better than anyone else or more like God than anyone else.  Show others in your school that they are equally loved by God!  Don’t treat others around you poorly because they aren’t the same as you.

Love them for it, because they are a treasured possession of God.