Friday, October 24, 2014

Troubled Waters

A few weeks ago, one of my good friends suggested that I write a post centered around "Trusting in God even when times are hard." 
I hadn't given the post much thought at all till yesterday during my bible time I randomly came across 2 Corinthians 12:9 (emphasis are my own) 

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 
Therefore, I will boast ALL the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in my weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.
For when I am weak, THEN I am strong."

Whenever you read "troubled waters" a certain time of your life probably came to mind. We've all experienced different levels of darkness, hardship, and hurt.
No matter what level you've endured, or maybe you're even going through something right now, we all know what it's like to feel hurt. 

As easy as it is to read 2 Corinthians 12:9 and think "Oh, I want to be like that when I go through hard times like Paul did!"
It is a very different thing to live it out.

I can't think of one difficult thing I've been through that I started out with the mindset of "This is making me stronger?! Awesome!!" 
No, they usually start out with loads of complaining, tears, confusion and anger.
Another verse, resembling 2 Corinthians 12, is James 1:1 where James writes: 

"Consider it pure JOY, my brothers and sisters, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance."

Joy....Crazy, right? I've often read this verse in the "troubled waters" times of my life. 
I've thought many times how nearly impossible it is for me to feel "joy" in those times. 
Because when I think of the word "joy" I coincide it with happiness, laughter, smiling, etc.

But no, it wasn't the verse that was messed up. It was my definition of joy. 

Yes, I'm aware of how the dictionary defines joy. 
But I'm not talking in terms of dictionaries here. I'm talking in terms of my heart. I don't think of joy as just an emotion anymore. It's a lot more than that. As I wrote about in my very first post: joy is a choice.

I think that joy is the ability to endure all the pain knowing it is making me stronger. Trusting in God, not my own understanding. (See Proverbs 3:8) 

My eyes may be filled with tears and my heart screaming out with fear and confusion.
I may have not smiled in a month. But I will 
It's okay to be hurt, confused, and angry. The world does that to us. 
But even when life is hard, and it hurts, and I don't understand why things are happening the way they are, I still have joy. I still have hope. A reason to keep pressing on. 

"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed to us." (Romans 8:18)

Is that verse alone not motivation enough to keep pressing on through your troubled waters? It is for me.

To quote the very popular Hillsong lyrics from Oceans:

"...In oceans deep
my faith will stand
And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and you won't start now.

...Spirit lead me where my trust is without boarders. 
And my fail will be made stronger in the presence of my savior."

Now, look over those lyrics again and really think about them this time. No matter how many hundreds of times I play that song the lyrics never fail to touch my heart.

He has never failed and he won'

Sometimes the storms are just going to knock me flat on my face. Coming out of each storm, I will never be the person that I was coming in.

I can let the storms of my life change me in two very different ways. 

I can let Satan use it to break me down and drown me. 

Or I can let God use it to make me stronger.
To draw me closer to Him. 
Above the troubled waters. 

Monday, October 20, 2014



To get one thing clear, this is my personal beliefs on this subject and why make the choices I do. 
This post is certainly not to downgrade anyone in any way. We all are able to set our own personal standards and this is simply stating my own. 

What caused me to write this post is a picture I've seen multiple times on my Instagram/twitter feed that has caused me to think about this a lot. 

I'm not putting the picture in my post because the font is too small to read. But the picture is of a printed out sign someone made that says: 

"When you interupt a girl's school day to force her to change clothes or to go home because her shorts are too short, or her bra straps are visible, you are telling her that hiding her body is more important than her education. You are telling her that making sure the boys have a distraction free learning environment is more important than her education. You are telling her that boys are more entitled to an education than she is."

I don't know about you, maybe you agree with that. But personally, I do not.

Romans 13:1 says: 
"Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted,and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves." 

Even in the smallest things, when you are under someone else's rules, it is your responsibility to obey them. You wouldn't be getting sent home and missed out on your education if you had obeyed the rules in the first place. Your fault, not their's. When you run your own school you can make the dress code decisions. 

But on another note, this post is called "Modesty" not "Dress Code" I just wanted to add that in there. 

Like I said at the beginning, this is my personal beliefs and choices. 
I have plenty of friends that wear clothes that I personally wouldn't wear. I also have plenty of friends that wouldn't wear some things I wear. 
But in no way do I think any less of them. This is only the personal standards I have set for myself. 

A few things I've heard said by girls MANY times in conversations about modesty are phrases like "Why do guys have to be such animals?!" "Stupid guys, I want to wear short shorts!" (The list goes on) 

Even I have thought similar thoughts. When it's over 100 degrees outside here in Texas who doesn't want to dress lighter? 
But I believe that as a Christian young lady it's my responsibility to not be a distraction to my brothers in Christ and other guys as much as I can. 
Yes, some guy's give into their temptations more than others do. But blaming them for being the way they naturally are just doesn't seem fair. Especially in today's society when there are countless distractions. 
 If I'm expecting a guy to do his best not to lust then I'm certainly not going to dress in a way that makes it even harder for him. 

Aside from not wanting to be part of the cause of someone's sin, I also respect my body. My body will be for my husband one day and for him only. Not for any guy I pass in public to lust after. 

Yet another reason I also decide to dress modestly, regardless of the other two reasons I stated, is because as a Christian, I am called to be "set apart".
Which is a lot more than only dressing modestly. (Also my actions, friends, music, television choices, speech, etc) 
But I think that choosing to dress modestly is a very important way to be set apart. 
I want people to notice me. But I want them to notice me for being different. 
At public pools, when practically every other girl is wearing a skimpy bikini, I want people to notice I'm not. 
Because even decisions like that, cause people to wonder. I want them to wonder what my real source of my choice is. You never know when the smallest choice to be different, could lead someone to Him. It sounds unrealistic, but it's not. 

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; But a woman who fears The Lord is to be praised."
(Proverbs 31:30)

Believe me, I know how hard it is to find decent clothes in teenage stores.
Especially in our society. 
But it's not impossible. 
So even if I have to go to 20 stores just to find shorts that don't stop directly after my butt, I will. 
Because to me, pleasing my Lord is a lot more important than pleasing society. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014


Before I go on posting about my life and all my thoughts, I guess you better know a little more about me.
Maybe you already know me, and maybe you don't. But either way, here's some details that help make up who I am. 

I have typed and back spaced this paragraph at least 15 times. Describing myself is not an easy task. 
A lot of who I am, comes from what I'm not. So I'll start with that.

I am not normal 

I am not the prettiest 

I am not the smartest 

I am not the most popular

I am not the most talented 

I am not perfect

But by the grace of God, I am what I am. (1 Corinthians 15:10)

So, what am I exactly? Well, that's a tough one to answer but I'll try my best. 

I am forgiven. 

I am a forgiven sinner. I still make mistakes (all the time, I might add).
But I do my very best to focus on Him and His calling for my life. To use who He's made me to bring Him glory.

I am made new. 

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here."

I am no longer apart of this world. I am living in the world, but I am no longer apart of it.
Which is why I no longer live for the things I wrote above, but for Him. A greater purpose. He is my only reason to live, so what's my life if it's not for Him? 

I am awkward.

Oh, and I'm homeschooled. (Who woulda' thought right?) ;)
But no, I'm not an awkward homeschooler who never leaves my house and only has my brothers and sister as friends. 
I am very social and I absolutely love meeting new people. 
My all time favorite thing to do is make people laugh. Which is where the awkwardness comes in handy. 
I love being crazy and doing ridiculous things to make the people around me laugh.
Sometimes it's planned and sometimes the whole ridiculous thing just sorta comes naturally. (Thank goodness I don't get embarrassed easily..)

I am confusing.

16 years and I still don't understand myself. 
Usually I'm pretty outspoken. If you want to know what I'm thinking, I'll tell ya. (Even if you don't want to know, I'll still tell you) 
But when it comes to my feelings, my deep down thoughts, and the tiny little things that nag at me while I'm trying to fall asleep at night; it's nearly impossible for me to express them. Very few people have truly heard what the inside of my mind is like. I'm slowly learning to be more open. My feelings, my pain, my deepest thoughts, down to the tiny little things that nag at me. They are all apart of who I am, and in order for people to truly know me, I need to share those things too.  

I am different. 

I don't really have much of an explanation for this one. I'm just... different. 
Not by any means better than anyone else. No, not even close. But I take pride in knowing I am different. In my actions, my words, my life. 

 Also, a lot of who I am is what I do. 

As I've mentioned before, I LOVE writing. I've kept a daily journal consistently for quite a few years now. At the end of the day (or anytime really) I love sitting down snuggling up with a blanket wrapped around my shoulders, with my bible and my journal. 

Although I love sitting down writing, I can't sit still for very long. I also love being active. 
I've done gymnastics, soccer, basketball, and soon to be basketball again over the years. I haven't really dedicated myself to one sport in particular. But when I have played, I highly enjoy it. 

I mentioned above that I love making people laugh. Which is one of the main reasons I love acting. I haven't been able to do as much as I'd like to. (Time consuming) But I've had the opportunity to do quite a bit here and there.

Aside from acting on stage, I really just enjoy acting to my friends. 
I have countless memories of staying up till the early hours of the morning with friends while they sit on my bed and I act out ridiculous musical songs and impersonations. (and when I say ridiculous, I mean ridiculous)
Really wherever I am entertaining the people around me just makes me happy

I haven't ever taken photography classes or owned a more than $100 camera. (Other than my iPhone, if that even counts?) 
But photography has also been something I've enjoyed ever since I knew how to take a picture. Below is one of my most favorite pictures I've taken. Not the best, but still my favorite. Dandelions are my favorite. (: 

Even though I prefer to be out with lots of people doing fun and exciting things, I also treasure the moments of just peacefully sitting back with my family and/or friends. Talking and laughing together and simply enjoying one another's company. 

In the end, I'm just Carlie.

I am simply me. 
An awkward, different, crazy, loud mess of a girl. 
Sometimes I'm too loud and too obnoxious. 
Sometimes I talk too much or get worked up over something stupid.
I make mistakes and I learn from them. I'm just figuring myself out through Him in this broken world we live in. 
Everything I am is who He made me to be and I will try to use every bit as I can for His glory as long as I live. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

A Walk To Remember

If you know me then you probably started shaking your head as soon as you read the title to this post. 

A Walk To Remember

Although I'm not very fond of Nicholas Spark's other books/films, this one somehow managed to make it as my alltime favorite book AND movie.

I'm not much of a reader so I've only read the book once (and a half) but you don't even want to know the unhealthy amount of times I have watched the movie.
My friends don't want to watch it with me anymore when they come over because I quote the entire movie line for line; shouting the character's words before they do and looking around the room to see if my friends are impressed by my mad memorization skills. (They never are)

Yes, it is a sappy love story movie full of kisses, tears, and romance. 
BUT there's also a lot more to the story and the characters that draws me to it.

So here's why I like it:

Jamie Sullivan

Ah. Jamie, Jamie, Jamie.
Her character is my favorite. Not only the character she plays in the movie, but her character's character. 
Lol, get it? Her character as in the role she plays and also her moral character?? 
Okay, not funny... Moving on.

Jamie's character inspires me. She has something that a lot of girls today lack.
She is always unapologetically herself. 
No matter how people treat her because of it. She knows who she is, what she believes, and isn't afraid to voice her opinion when she sees fit.
She is different than everyone around her. Weird, even. 
But she doesn't care and hardly even notices, for her mind is always focused on the more important things in life. Her faith and loving others. 
When people hurl insults at her and do everything in their power to break her down, she replies with a simple smile and a nod of the head. Nothing phases her. 

The love Jamie has for everyone and everything around her shines through her constantly. She extends love to those who deserve it the least from her. 
She extracts joy in times of her life no one else could possibly understand how.

Jamie understands the true meaning of life. Something many 16 year old girls, myself included, often forget.

Landon Carter

The bad boy. The rebel. The out every night drinking, partying with his friends dude. The popular jerk. He goes to church, but never truly buys into the whole Christianity thing. 
That is till he meets Jamie Sullivan. 
He finds her very strange. But something about her intrigues him. 
Unpopular, plain, different than every girl he's ever known in every way. But somehow he still can't take his eyes off of her. 
He had been with other girls before, believing he was actually in love with them.
But he didn't truly understand what love really was till he fell in love with Jamie Sullivan. 
Then his whole life begins to change. His habits, his friends, his goals.
All because of one girl that saw him for who he really was and who he could be. Not how everyone else saw him. 
One of my favorite scenes from the movie is when he tells his mom 
"Jamie has faith me. She makes me want be different; better."

Through her, he too, realizes the true meaning of life. 
He takes his eyes off the worldly things all of his attention was on, and focuses on the important things. Faith, love, and the true beauty of life.

We've all heard that "one person can make a difference" 
But it's true.
Maybe you aren't changing the whole world, but you can change one person's world.
To me, that's worth it. That's what life is about. 

A Walk To Remember reflects that truth, and that's why I love it so much. 
I didn't want to give too much information about the movie and spoil it so if you haven't seen/read it yet then DO IT NOW.

Lastly, a quote by Emma Stone that I feel relates to Jamie's character perfectly. 

May you always be unapologetically yourself, stand up for your beliefs, and never change simply because you're treated differently. 
Who you are is who you are.
How people treat you, is who they are.
And that, my friend, doesn't concern you. 



Thursday, October 9, 2014

Lunar Eclipse

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.
Day after day they pour fourth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. 
They have no speech, they use no words; 
no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth." (Psalm 19)

In my last post I mentioned how the sky has always been something that fascinated me. So you shouldn't be surprised to hear that I got minimal hours of sleep last night because of the Lunar Eclipse
(If you know me, you know it just had to have been important to me in order for me to lose sleep just to see it.) 

I have yet to find anywhere where I feel as close to my Lord as I do when I'm outside under His beautiful sky. Especially night time. 
It's one of the few places I can pour out my heart to my Lord. To feel His presence so close to me and I just know He's looking down listening. 

"The LORD merely spoke, and the heavens were created. He breathed the word, and all the stars were born" (Psalm 33:6)

My God is SO powerful, that all He had do was merely speak and all the things that we humans spend so much time and money attempting to understand even the smallest part of, was created. Just like that.

Is that humbling or WHAT?

No matter what it looks like outside, I'm content staring up at the sky lost in my own thoughts and captivated by the beauty. 
Yes, even very early in the morning when every normal person is sound asleep. 

So early this morning, way before my normal day would usually start, was the October 8'th 2014 Lunar Eclipse.

Although I was already very tired I was still determined to see it. I missed the Eclipse in April and there was no way I was going to miss this one. 
So I set my alarm for 3AM.
When it went off I wrapped my blanket around my shoulders, grabbed my pillow pet, and crept quietly out of my room, through the house and out to my backyard. An old plastic chair was already on my porch waiting for me. I moved it into my yard where I could see the moon perfectly.
 It was full, bright, and beautiful.
 I would have been content if that was how it looked all night but instead it only got better. 
snuggled up on the chair pulling my blanket tightly around me and leaning my head back on the chair. Ah! It was beautiful. 
It was so very bright. Breathtaking. 
The halo above the moon was rainbow colored which only added to the beauty. I'm not sure how long I sat there staring at it, but close to 4:30AM the rainbow halo disappeared and the brightness slowly started to dim. Till eventually almost the whole moon was grey. Leaving only a small crescent shape still shining.
The grey didn't linger very long before it started changing to a faded orange color. Then about 20 minutes after 5 the orange started shifting to a darker red color. The Blood Moon.

I stayed out watching the red slowly take over. Hardly able to keep my eyes off of it for only a minute. 
I attempted capturing the moment by picture, but we all know pictures never do justice. Some things you just have to see with your own eyes. 
Before I knew it, I checked my phone and it was 6AM. 
My dad was up getting ready for work and I knew I had probably spent more time outside than I should have. I knew I'd be exhausted all day but I didn't regret a single moment of it. 

Moments like that are what make me truly happy to be alive. The moments that make me realize how tiny I am. Moments that force me to realize how truly AMAZING my God is. 
If you missed this Eclipse, catch the next. It is totally worth missing sleep for. 

The moon. I am overwhelmed at the beautiful sight of only a small portion of His creation. 
I simply can't wait for the day to stand before His throne. Shining brighter and a thousand times more radiant than any moon or anything my human mind could ever imagine. 

Although I sometimes wonder and try my best to imagine what that day will look like. I know it's all part of the beautiful mystery. 
I like to think of His creation as little hints. 
All of the overwhelming sights of the earth can't even begin to compare. 

It will be a place so beautiful that a thousand of earth's moons still don't come close. 


Friday, October 3, 2014

Keep Choosing Joy

Well, here we go. I made a blog. I've thought about it for a while but I finally did. Writing has always been one of my favorite things to do. Since the moment I knew how to write I have loved writing. Cards, stories, poems, etc. They weren't always GOOD per say... but I still loved writing them anyways.
Writing has always been a "go-to" for me. While most people want to talk out their problems with other people to get through them, I just simply have to write down my feelings and I'll start to feel better. My brain is always too scatter brained to even get my own thoughts straight. So writing even helps me understand myself better. Before, I've mainly kept the things I've written private. So today I'm trying something new. :) 

So to start, I'm going to write about the title and why I chose it. 


About two weeks ago I was browsing Pinterest and I stumbled upon my new all time favorite quote by Henri J.M Nouwen:

Before you understand why that quote means so much to me, you need to know one thing about my personality. 
I. Hate. Routine. I want exciting, spontaneous things happening ALL the time. I would be content with being socially active for every minute of everyday. The minute we get home from being out and about I'm ready to do something else fun. 
So when I'm NOT out doing fun spontaneous things, I've often found myself moping about the house. Complaining about my boredom and arguing with my parents about why I can't be somewhere else right now. 
But lately, God has opened my eyes to something I want to share with you all.
The reason why that quote is so important to me.

There is always something to be happy about.

I am a very, very, blessed girl. God has given me far beyond what I could ever deserve. He gave His ONLY son for ME, and I'm not being joyful because I have to sit at my house for a few hours. Like, what the heck? 
I've found that the reason I have often found myself unhappy, is because I wasn't looking for joy in the right places. I was comparing my life with others instead of seeing all the wonderful reasons to be joyful that He's already put in my life. After God opened my eyes to this, I started praying He would open my eyes to help me to see joy in places I hadn't before. 
And lemme tell ya, He sure has. 

I now find myself enthused by the smallest things I used to constantly overlook and take for granted. It's amazing how much joy is out there if I only look with the right eyes.

The sky has always been something that amused me. But even more so lately. In every car ride I find myself pointing out clouds "Mom, look at that cloud!! It's so cool!" (To the point where I imagine she's thinking "Okay honey, I get it. Clouds are cool") 

But seriously. Have you ever looked at something you've seen a million times and it's suddenly so much more beautiful and radiant than ever before? That's how I feel about so many things now. 
The clouds, the grass, every little flower, the sun, stars, my family, my friends, trees, eVeRyThInG. 
Life is just...beautiful. 

Like I said, it's amazing how much joy is out there if I only look with the right eyes.

Joyful people are attractive. We all know those people that are always happy and excited about everything. They have so much energy, happiness, and positivity. It's hard to feel down and negative around them because their joy is contagious. That's how I want to be. That's how we should all want to be. 
Joy is contagious 
For example, it rained yesterday. Not for very long at all. But in the short time it did rain, I went outside with my little brother and sister. (More about them in another post) 
Usually I'd be on my couch listening to music and staying dry. But in the car earlier that day I had mentioned to them that if it rained we should go play in it. So as soon as it started raining both of their faces turned to pure excitment as they grabbed their jackets and darted through the house to hurry and get to it.
Before I joined them I stood in a dry spot by the house just observing them. 
Both of them spinning around, laughing, and splashing each other. They found joy in something so simple, and it brought me joy too. Their joy was contagious. 

•Choose To See The Joy•

When's the last time you just stopped and took a look around you? 
Yes, we live in a broken world with so much filth and distruction. 
But through all of it, we still have plenty of reasons to be joyful. You just have to choose to see it. 

"Joy does not simply happen to us, we have to CHOOSE joy; and keep choosing it everyday."

I chose joy today. Did you?