Friday, 27 November 2015

My Writing Journey Pt 2 - Lost But Not Forgotten

Last week I shared part 1 of my writing journey, and today I will be giving you a glimpse into the next several years of my life as an emerging writer.

Where we left off, my grandma, my dog and a close family friend had passed away, there'd been a recent move, a church split, and I was a perfectly normal, hormonal, confused & hurting eleven year-old.
Quite the combo, eh?
As I explained before, I was (as you can well imagine) grieving, in pain, and just upset 'bout all lot of things.
I'd stopped playing barbies (you can read the detailed whatnot in part 1) the day my grandma died, which up until that point, had been a huge part of my life. So I took up reading. Not just a book here & there- I was G-L-U-E-D, people. Glued. To. The. Pages.
I dove into the (thank goodness) Christian fiction world, (I say thank goodness because Christian fiction generally leaves out sex, witchcraft & etc. my preference has nothing to do with the religious content in the books, merely the lack of sexual content, given my age at the time) & ate those books up like there was no tomorrow.
Although I didn't know it, reading became my coping mechanism. I didn't know how to deal with my feelings, so I read & lost myself in an exciting story. Now, while that's not entirely a bad thing, I wasn't a very complete healing process.

So...with reading lots of books, came the desire to write. I know I wanted to write for more than the reason that I was a copious reader, but reading certainly didn't hurt my creative outlet.
Can you guess what my first book was about? Well...if you knew all the suspense, crime fiction I'd been reading, you probably could take a pretty educated guess. It went a little something like this...
Siblings Andrew and Katie face some unexpected challenges when Andrew is lost in the mountains during a storm, and Katie is abducted with her friend Cameron by a lethal group called 'The Black Ring'. 
Looking back on it, it was a pretty cool story overall. It measured in at a whopping 20,000 words, and boy, I had worked SO HARD to squeak out that many words. I felt like I must have written the longest book in the history of all wordage. No kidding. 
When I was about sixteen, I was more than a little ashamed and embarrassed of that first work, titled 'Lost but not forgotten'. 
It was composed of almost entirely teenage drama, blood, getting beaten up, shot, and how depressing getting kidnapped and being lost in the woods can be. I sprinkled some God references here and there, because all the books I'd read had that in them, but I did it because I felt I "had" to. Everything that could've gone wrong, did, and the more over the top things got, the better. The writing wasn't particularly good, it wasn't bad, it simply was what it was- but at the time I wanted EVERYONE to see it. I was like, "Yo- I will be a famous author and published by the time I'm fourteen!! YAAASS!" As you can see, that didn't happen, and I'm okay with that. Real okay. 

My learning to cope through reading, and then subsequently writing, was, I believe, a gift from God. If you think reading a book is fun, it has nothing on writing one and expressing your feelings. I can clearly recognize now, that I write to relieve stress. If I'm going through something really tough, I write- not about the specific thing, but something inspired by the feelings I have from the situation. While some people work out their feelings through verbal processing, working out, singing, dancing, or driving a quad through a pool of mud, I sort out my heart out through writing. I mean, I love a good verbal processing sesh, but I'm about 80% internal processor, and about 20% verbal. So...I let out a lot of steam through writing. 
What I didn't recognize at the time, was that writing was not the complete answer. Stuffing my emotions and merely writing to let out stress, didn't get rid of or deal with problems. So...once I learned to write AND process & deal with the heart stuff via talking to my mom, crying about something when it hurt- instead of stuffing and ignoring my emotions- my habit of writing became more balanced & healthy.

How did I get from my eleven year old self, writing copious amounts without a real message behind it, to where I am as a writer, a decade later? Practice. Time. And over 750,000 words. They say it takes a writer about half a million words to develop their own, unique voice. That sounds like a lot of words ( is) & seems like a pretty heavy task. Thankfully I didn't have a number to accomplish when I started. I just kept writing and creating stories that didn't even have a huge point to them. 99.9% of the stories I composed never got finished. I usually had a great first scene, would eek out a good eight or nine more scenes, then the story would die down and I'd never finish it. But that didn't matter. It wasn't particularly good for the finished product, but that wasn't what my learning to write was about. I didn't need to finish stuff. I just needed to write- keep writing, keep honing my developing craft.
Up until the last few years, my writing wasn't something I needed to share with the world. It was my own process. My own journey of learning to express, to create, to define, to hone my craft, to find my voice. And that's exactly what it was.

Stay tune for Part 3 of My Writing Journey... (preview below)

What I love most about writing is being able to create something beautiful out of something messy, painful & awful. I know firsthand how tough life can be, and how overwhelming those curve-balls can be. And while some may see fiction as an escapee type thing without a hint of redeeming or productive properties to it- it's an incredible gift. How? goes a little something like this...

Friday, 20 November 2015

Movies - Top 20 - Weekend Fun

Today I am sharing with you my favourite movies of all time! Yehaw!
I hope at least a few of these are new to you, and you get to watch something new & awesome this weekend.

1. The Help
Age: Adult (could be family with older teens)
Can we just say, "yes"?! This is the kind of movie that makes you believe in the beauty & strength of standing up the the lions of injustice, no matter the heartache or loss that may ensue because of it. Also, I have pretty much never seen a movie casted more perfectly. THEY. WON. 
The music (Thomas Newman) compliments the gorgeous golden-hour style filming, & the deep south Mississippi plantation vibe. Each element of this film works together seamlessly. 
If you've ever experienced bullying or any kind of negative social/racial segregation- please do yourself a favour & watch this film. #boom!

2. The Age Of Adeline
Age: Adult
Beautiful story, & amazing emotionally identifiable characters. Multiple vintage periods throughout time are depicted in this film, & Adeline's clothes, makeup & hair are on freakin' FLEEK, people. Even if you didn't enjoy the storyline of this movie, I'm pretty sure you'd enjoy it just for the costumes, hair, makeup, & the filming style that is beyond timeless & DREAMY. 

3. The Count Of Monte Cristo
Age: Adult (may suit some 15-16 year-olds with adult supervision. There is one, as I call them, 'sleeping/bedroom scenes')

When ultimate betrayal turns into the ultimate retribution. If you are having a moment when life seems to have handed you MANY lemons & it is just not working out- this is the movie to watch. 
Jim Caviezel can portray emotion better than most actors in hollywood, so watching him in a role like this was #fiiine 
The music, composed by Ed Shearmur fits the film so perfectly with parts being heart wrenching, the others playful & pirate-esque. 
How the redemption works out in the end is my favourite, for when much has been stolen, great is the opportunity for restoration. 
(Oh, & for those of you Man Of Steel fans- young 18 year-old Henry Cavill stars in his second film ever)

4. Dances With Wolves
Age: Adult
Bedroom/sleeping scenes: Yes, 1 or 2

I love this movie...IF (yes, there's a clause) IF the first 20-30ish minutes are skipped. At least, until after everyone's limbs are done being hacked off during the war, & the graphic Indian scalping job is finished. 
The first time I watched the film, the more gruesome beginning set me off- but if I skip it until the point where our dude reaches his outpost- it is my kind of movie. So much passion, overcoming, emotion, love, & I especially enjoy the growing relationship between Lieutenant Dunbar & the aboriginals. 

5. The Prince Of Egypt
Age: Family

Created by Dreamworks & based off the story of Moses from the Bible, this movie depicts emotion like I have NEVER SEEN- in animation or live action films.  Also, the music is so on point, I pretty much teared up during the first scene because the music was overwhelmingly sad & beautiful. 

6. Little Women
Age: Family

This is the classic I grew up watching, that I can pretty much quote word-for-word. It is one of those types of movies that you can never watch too many times, & it just makes you feel warm & cozy inside. And...having 20 year-old Christian Bale as Laurie didn't hurt the film at all, in any way, haha!
This movie makes you laugh, cry, & feel all the feels.

7. We Bought A Zoo
Age: Family w adult supervision

A film surrounding the subject of loss & grief. The acting was raw, the filming & lighting dreamy, & the music playfully abstract in its Icelandic origin.
Great film about overcoming & processing grief.

8. The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe
Age: Family (depending on how little the littles are, the scene where Aslan dies or the battle scene may need fast-forwarding- depending)

I grew up having the books read aloud to me & my siblings at bedtime, then listened to the radio drama's when they came this film is dear to my heart.

The acting, filming- & score (can we just, score for a second? I listen to the soundtrack ALL the time because it is just that good) work together seamlessly. An old classic that was beautifully depicted in this film.

9. The Sound Of Music
Age: Family
Another film I grew up watching. I'm not a huge musical fan, but this movie has me singing the songs along with them. Julie Andrews, I mean...who doesn't like her?
Everything about this movie makes me happy. 

10. Pocahontas
Age: Family
Childhood favourite. While Disney totally confiscated the original plot & changed it, if I think of the original story & this film as two separate things, I'm all good.
The animation is purely magical. The music makes me get shivers every time I hear it, and...yeah. Perfect childhood movie, and yes, as you can see based off this list, I still love watching a lot of children & family based movies, even as an adult. 

11. Anne Of Green Gables
Age: Family
Brace yourselves! If you have not watched this film, I think your quality of life has a lot of improving that is about to be done- no offence intended.
Anne & Gilbert, the original bae's of my childhood, teen years- & yes...even as an adult. And...I mean, it doesn't hurt that it is one of the great Canadian drama's of all time. Music, cast & plot make this the perfect movie for any rainy, lazy, cozy day or holiday. 

12. Hitch
Age: Adult
Contemporary comedy romance flick. If you're looking for a good laugh, this may be up your alley. And Will Smith just pulls this role off, seamlessly. Loved this film.
There are a few conversations and references that aren't nice at all- so has content that makes this film PG-13, but it isn't one of those films that has pervasive sexual references left, right & centre. There are a few, they aren't nice, so- you've been forewarned .

13. The Bourne Legacy
Age: Adult
While I enjoyed the first three Bourne movies and though this one would be a was my favourite of them all. I liked Jeremy Renner as the MC (main character), better than Matt Damon. While both of them were emotionally closed off, I felt Renner conveyed more emotion (albeit being very restrained) than Damon, which I prefer- so all was well.

There is one scene that I prefer to skip, when a scientist goes bananas & shoots everyone in the lab & then kills himself- everyone may not want to skip it, but specifically suicide, genocide or torture scenes...I just don't like watching them.

14. Sense & Sensibility (2008)

Age: Family (except for the opening scene, which involves some sensuality depicting a torrid affair that later on results in a child- those of you familiar with Willoughby, you know what I'm talking about)

For those of you looking for a good period drama, this one is amaze-beans. I love the music & cast (except for Eleanor & the mother- they're not my favourite). The plotline, while it is a period drama, is pretty intense & complex. Every time I watch it, I'm like, 'yaaaas'!

Perfect snow falling outside, fireside, cozying up with a blanket & tea type of movie. 

15. Tuck Everlasting
Age: Family
Amazing movie that is just straight up timeless & classic. Set in the early 1900's, this film follows the Tuck family, who mysteriously cannot die, or age a day- & Winnie, the girl who discovers their home in the woods, & falls in love with their youngest son.
This movie is filled with some awesome parallels & truths. Great acting, awesome music, & a fresh plot, makes this movie a keeper.

16. Julie & Julia
Age: Adult
Cooking, romance, vintage & contemporary worlds collide in this film about (above) Julia Child living in Paris during the 19(I wanna say 40's, but I can't even remember *gag* it was either 40's, 50's or 60's- forgive me!) as she journeys to learn French cooking, & write a cookbook for American women out of her experiences there- & Julie (contemporary) who decides she is going to cook her way through Julia's book, a recipe (or even two) a day, and blog her experience.

Maryl Streep & Stanley Tucci were positively golden to watch together. They. Were. Perfection.
Amy Adams- fabulous...her husband drove me bananas. He was a pig in pretty much every single way and I seriously wish they had casted someone else- but hey, the movie was still awesome- despite his glaringly obvious presence.
What I loved most about this movie, was the relationship of Julia & Paul child, and all they journeyed through together as a couple. All they overcame, wept through & danced around the kitchen jubilantly about- it was pure joy to watch.
 A few bedroom scenes to be mindful of (if you don't watch those) &...yeah- I think that's it for this movie. Loved it!

17. No Reservations
Age: Adult
More cooking glory! I loved the plot, characters, music & pretty much everything about this film. It's easy going, funny, & all round awesome.
And who could pass up an opportunity to see a movie with young Abigail Breslin in it?
Um...I can't!

18. The Little Princess
Age: Family
From the classic book that I grew up on...this movie (all versions of it, actually) have my heart.
This movie follows seven year-old Sara Crewe from her home in India, to a girl's school in London where she lives whilst her father, Captian Crewe, travels on business (or in this version of the film, he sets out to serve in the war). Miss Minchin, the owner of the school, who is jealous of Sara from day one, is pleased to discover Sara's father has died- & his subsequent fortune, lost. To pay for the expenses of her schooling, board and lavish lifestyle, Minchin confiscates Sara's belongings & forces her to work as a scullery maid.
This story is so timeless & precious- it brings me right back to my childhood, and I still enjoy watching this film, even as an adult.

"I am a princess. All girls are. Even if they live in tiny old attics. Even if they dress in rags, even if they aren't pretty, or smart, or young. They're still princesses. All of us." 

It gets me every time! Waaa!!!

19. The Man From U.N.C.L.E
Age: Adult
KGB (Russian Intelligence) meets CIA in this vintage, Bond style, almost comedy type suspense flick. Armie Hammer & Henry Cavill's chemistry as opposing agents was hilarious. The plot was complex &
kept moving pretty well.

There is a scene or two with some racy content, and some torturing type violence. But if you want the entire scoop on violence/sexual/language content, there are sites dedicated solely to that.
All in all, I really enjoyed this film.

20. 27 Dresses
Age: Adult
Weddings, Love, Bridezilla & a good deal of laughs.
Great chick flick. I loved Katherine Heigl & James Marsden's chemistry- so on point.

There are a few sexual references- a conversation or two that are wonky, & one fairly passionate kissing scene that fades out before we see anything happen- but the tone of the movie wasn't ruined by the few crude moments.

And there we have it! 20 Movie's that I would sit down and watch cause they're just that awesome. Are any of these titles new to you? I hope you found something new, & are able to kick back, make some tea, eat some ice-cream, & watch a good movie!
Happy weekend!

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

My Writing Journey - Pt 1 - Barbies & Loss

It all started long before I ever put pen to paper, or more accurately in this case- fingers to keys.

As I child I grew up in a family where artistic creativity was celebrated. My parents valued fun & play, unlike a lot of othe parent's I knew. Back in the days when it was just the four oldest ones who shared a room (yup, a three stacked-high bunkbed featuring Jesse, myself & Olivia, then another bunkbed with Lauricia) my Dad would read us the Chronicles of Narnia or other stories at bedtime. When we were sick & all camped out in the living room, or in our parents bed, my Mom would read A Little Princess.
The telling of stories was kindled & instilled in me from the time I was small. When I learned to ride a bike, I wrote a page-long ditty about my experience. Throughout my childhood I composed many small stories for school about this or that, but where the writing really came from...barbies- can we just-

I did just say...BARBIES. 
Yes. Those dolls...I'm sure you've seen them- and chances are you even played with them as a child.
I know, among a lot of families there have been disputes and a pretty negative connotation regarding the dolls because of how they gave impressionable girls the wrong idea of how their bodies should look- but- that's not what this post is about- & no, they didn't mess up my take on body image, whatsoever. 

As a child, & up until I was almost twelve, I played barbies with my sister Lauricia for hours every day. Every day, for HOURS. Not just a few minutes here & there. Playing barbies & creating stories with my little sister was my entire world. During those years my imagination soared. I learned so many things about creativity, plot (yes, with barbies) relationships & things about life.
If you think playing barbies goes like, "Hi friend", "Oh, hi Barbie, wanna get a milkshake?" that is- what is that? People who play barbies like how I just mentioned, woulda given my ten year-old self a rash. I mean, barbies are not just pieces of plastic. They are practically people- practically.

While a lot of parents would have curbed my serious love for role-playing with dolls, they allowed me to play till I dropped. Our room was a barbie minefield filled with carriages, wagons (made of out baby basinets with scraps of material for the wagon cover), horses, houses (we made some pretty real deal pillow homesteads), & beds made from small pillows.
At this time I read a lot of the Mandie books, but that was about it as far as reading went- barbies was just my thing. It seems most stories have tragic turns in them- and mine was no exception...

When I was eleven, my grandma passed away without a hint of warning. Only a few months later, a family friend passed away from cancer, and I was with his daughter before, and immediately following his death, to provide support and comfort. Somewhere in between these two beautiful people going away, we had to put our dog down- he was so close to my heart.
As you can imagine, it was a fairly shocking and painful life season to suddenly be thrust into, as an eleven year-old.
I wish I could have put my barbie playing away because I'd simply found another area of interest in my growing up, but I can't.
The last time I played barbies was the day my grandma died. After that, I couldn't make it happen. I tried several times, but the ideas & barbie groove I'd had before, went flying out the window. I mean...sad? Right. Yeah, I wasn't very pleased with it when it happened. Cry me a river. Literally. The day playing is drastically severed is never a good day (we're never supposed to stop playing as we grow. Sure, the outlet changes, but play is always important)

That's when I was set loose upon the...WORLD OF FICTION. I played barbies with passion, so with what angle do you suppose I approached reading? Passion! And heaps of it to boot.
With the deaths of two people very close to me, my dog dying, a recent move, breaking with a church, & ALL THE EMOTIONS A HORMONAL ELEVEN YEAR-OLD HAS (did you go through the "everything is capitals and exclamation marks" stage? Yeah...that) I had a lot of stuff going on inside.
Everything was jumbled and messed up, twisted upside down and then shot all the way to Montana. Without knowing it, I read as a way to cope with intense pain and grief. Couple that with my already existent love for stories & creativity, and you have a bonafide book eater.
After devouring book after book after book, a lightbulb moment- I SHOULD WRITE A BOOK! #ohboy #postseveryone

What happened next is an interesting tale of learning moments, blushing at how my writing began, what I wrote about, how succeeding can often be mistaken for failure, how I found my own voice, and what I want to do with it now. Stay tuned for Part 2 of My Writing Journey! And I promise it is beautiful- and significantly less sad than this first part :)
Until next time!

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

TV Series - Top 6

Today I am sharing my favourite 6 TV shows. Some you may have heard of...others...well, you'd probably have to be Canadian, and/or born in the 60's or 70's to know about them. If you're looking for a new show to binge watch on netflix, or watch it slow & steady over the next few months, I hope you find a new show or two to start watching! 

Let's begin with...

1. Road To Avonlea

Age: Family 
From the creators (& inspired by the writer) of 'Anne Of Green Gables', comes my favourite TV series of all time. 
This series follows the lives of those living in the small, seaside town of Avonlea in Prince Edward Island, Canada. 
This show gets me every time with its adorable child actors, heart-warming music, & easy going plot. Some episodes flopped, but for the most part, this series is a win win show. 

2. Heartland
Age: Rated as Family (but because of ALL the drama & immaturity, I'd recommend it for older teens & adults)
 If you like a good, easy watching show about ranching, horses & family, this Canadian series (filmed about 45 minutes from where I live) might be up your alley. The first four seasons are my favourite...they seem to go a bit downhill as they progress- however, season nine does seem to be turning up again. Beware, there is a gross amount of unneeded drama in this it drives me bananas at times. But the other positives outweigh the drama- sometimes, lol. It depends what mood I'm in.
Fellow Canadian's, you can watch (for free & legally) all season's on CBC's website, right here

3. Robin Hood
For Ages: Teens & Up

Time for an honesty confession: the first time I watched the pilot episode, I was rolling my eyes near constantly, and by the end I thought it was the most pathetic show on earth
Then I realized I had that opinion because I was expecting it to be period accurate, and...well...real life from the dark ages. 
One of the reasons I love this show now, is because of how unrealistic it is. It is near entirely 21st century, except for the costumes, which makes it lighter & funny. The theme song gives away the cheesiness of this show, but again, that is why I like it. Sometimes in life I like to watch something that is silly, unrealistic & corny- because it is so opposite of what real life can be like at times. This show is full up goofy, but it's a good, light show. There is little sexual content (I can only remember one or two sketchy scenes in the entire series) with little language and not too violent violence. To my recollection, I don't remember any witchcraft happening in the show either- maybe I've forgotten, but that's just my impression in thinking back on the show. 
And somehow- SOMEHOW, this cheesy, 21st-century-walking-around-in-period-drama-clothes show, made me bawl like a baby at the end of season 2 & 3. So...whet is all that about?!

4. When Calls The Heart
Age: Family
This hallmark TV show based on Janette Oke's books', follows a mountie & a young teacher in the new territory called 'the west', in the early 1900's. 
This show took me some getting used to, because I initially did not jive with the cast...but after a few episodes my heart warmed to them & this show found a special place in my heart. With a fairly easy going plot, this show is slower, heartwarming, & wholesome- with break-taking scenery & awesome characters. 

5. Due South
Age: Adult
Look! More mounties! Red uniforms eerwhere. 
Due South follows Canadian mountie (I told you) Benton Fraser (Paul Gross) to Chicago, where he teams up with American police officer, Raymond Vecchio. 

The Canadian/American clashes these two have as law enforcement partners is hilarious. 
While it is a crime show, it remains light & funny- most of the time. There are off episodes that are whacked & I don't like watching them- but for the most part, this show is a keeper...& I don't mind that the main character is Canadian, haha. 

6. The Pretender
Age: Adult
The Pretender follows a (can you guess?) pretender named Jarod, who was abducted from his family as a child, & was held hostage by a corporation known as the centre, to exploit his genius mind for their corrupt purposes. The show picks up when Jarod is in his thirties & he escapes & goes to live in the world. He assumes different identities & professions to help those with no voice, or those who have been bullied or threatened into a corner- all the while, "The Centre" is hot on his trail, trying to get their pretender back. 

I loved the compassionate, pure heart & motives of Jarod. The only pretender shows or movies I'd ever seen were 'Catch me if you can' and 'White Collar', where both pretenders were full of themselves, womanizers, & were only pretenders for their own benefit & potential to power/money grab. Jarod is the opposite. He goes around helping the world because he wants to help people, because he knows what it's like to have been stuck in a monitored room doing simulations his entire life & being uber suppressed. 

Now...I hate to say that this show ends up getting pretty dark. The Centre is real evil, & things get pretty creepy near the end. There are certain episodes that are over the top grotesque, perverted & disturbing, & I just don't watch those. 
Generally I stick to the 1st & 3rd seasons (there's 4 in total) & just skip over the cray-cray episodes. Also...there are these things called seasons of life (I'm not referring to Spring, Winter or Fall type of seasons) one season I can watch something and it doesn't mess with me & I'm okay to watch it...there are other seasons where I can only watch light content, like period drama's & chick flicks. So, for me, whether I can watch this show or not is greatly dependent on where I am in life's transitions. God lets me know :)

That's a wrap! 

And there you having it- my top 6, favourite TV shows. 
I'm working on compiling a 'Movies that make you ugly cry' list, and, 'Top 20 - All Time Favourites' blog posts, coming soon! 

What are some of your favourite TV shows? 

Disclaimer: Images were found on google & are not mine. They belong to their respective owners.  Please contact me if any are infringing on your copyright. 

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

The "Sinner" Dirge- Is It Really Your Friend?

In the Christian community, I cannot count the amount of times I've heard the phrase, "Sinner saved by grace" from a person's lips, or on their social media profiles. Every time I read the phrase, I cringe internally. Why? 


Technically yes, I was a sinner, and I was also saved by Jesus grace and mercy. Yet, this statement seems to be exalting the past, instead of the present. This religious-bent phrase is so shame-filled, I cannot describe myself using it.  
It's a sinner dirge- quite literally. 
Why oh why? Why glorify the evil, or the most sinful, dark part of your life? Maybe...just maybe it's because some of us are obsessed with looking over our shoulder, instead of moving forward with BOTH feet. You cannot move forward if one foot is in the past, & the other is waffling somewhere in between here & there. That's called being stuck. Stuck in the crap that you have been given freedom from. You're not free of it until you can say, without guilt or shaming comments, that you are FREE & PURE. Amen!

This self-debasing movement is sickeningly prevalent in the church. Declarations like...
"I'm a pathetic sinner" 
"I'm a hopeless sinner" 
"I must deny my sinful flesh" 
"I'm always gonna fail- after all, I'm a sinner
"I will more often than not, do the wrong thing, because my flesh is sinful"
"I cannot exalt myself, because I am a total wretch, and I always sin" 
Do you know how often I hear these things? 
It is not holy to debase & shame yourself. Is hate apart of the Fruit of the Spirit? I'll give you a clue- it's not- never has, & it never will be. Is shame? Or degradation? No. 
Do you hear children say, "I am pathetic. I disobey mom & dad all the time, and only, ONLY because they are awesome, would they think of letting me live in their house and give me food. THEY are awesome, I am pretty much a swine that has disguised itself as a child. Don't be fooled by my sometimes good behaviour."  Like...what? What? Wouldn't you just look at the kid sideways? I know I would. 

Kris Vallotton wrote on this subject in his book, 'The Supernatural Ways of Royalty', with Bill Johnson. While I could try to reinvent the so called wheel, I'll just share some of his words, as he sums it up so well & is very to the point. While these words are not all mine, I hope they inspire & enlighten you as much as they did me. 

"The righteousness of God comes into our lives by faith. In order for us to believe in something we have to know that there is something to believe in. The entire world operates by faith, not just God's world. For instance, fear is the manifestation that we have faith in the wrong kingdom. When we believe something is going to go wrong, we have given our faith to the enemy...
...If we've been taught that after receiving Christ we are still sinners, we will struggle with trying to do the right thing because we have put our faith in our ability to fail instead of His work on the Cross!" 
So, if we believe we are chronic sinners, what does that make us? When "we have put our faith in our ability to fail..." what are we gonna do? FAIL. 

Kris continues, saying, "Before we received Christ we were called 'sinners'. We were professionals; our name was a job description. We were prone to sin. When we received Christ we became 'saints.' Paul makes this clear in his letters to the believers because he called them saints. Here are a few examples: 'To all who are beloved of God in Rome, calls as saints' (Rom. 1:7a); 'To the church of Jesus, saints by calling' (1 Cor. 1:2a); 'Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus & who are faithful in Christ Jesus' (Eph. 1:1) 
The word saint means, 'holy believer'. You can't be a sinner & a saint at the same time. How is is possible to sin & still be a holy believer? The word 'sinner' implies that we are prone to do wrong. If we believe we are sinners we will sin by faith! ...if we still believe we are sinners, we will be unable to access the grace to live as a saint & will still try to perform good works in order to merit forgiveness. It is not our nature to sin anymore. We are Christians; it is not our nature to do wrong. 
Our very nature has been changed...our old main is buried. We need to stop visiting our tombs & talking to our dead, old man. (In the Old Testament, people were judged & killed for talking to the dead- a practice called necromancy.)" 

Can I get an amen? As Christians, we need to stop bemoaning the fact that yes, there has been sin. Yes, we've messed up, sometimes quite badly. But why is there this insatiable desire for so many, to parade their sins about, & their "sinner" status? When I say I am not a sinner, it is the truth. I have sinned- yes, but I am no sinner. I am a saint. 

"For as (a man) thinks within himself, so he is" (Prov. 23:7). The power of belief is no joke. It is real & more important than we can imagine. So yes, while we may have been sinners at one point in life, I've never really understood why people go around coining themselves as, "sinners saved by grace". We are children of the most high God! We ARE SAINTS. 


"Some people have isolated the effects of the born-again experience to the spirit. That's not accurate...Paul said that we are 'new creatures' in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). He didn't say we are new spirits, he said 'new creatures!'. If we believe that we are still sinners, we dilute the power of the blood..." & it is so true. When I first read this, I was pretty much having a conniption fit of elation, reading something that so accurately described what I'd believed for so long, but didn't know how to put into words. 

This game of self-loathing is not from heaven. It is a scheme of the enemy, to trip us up & focus on the wrong thing. If we want to become more like Jesus, we must leave this shaming & degradation game behind us. 

"See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" 1 John 3:1 not scumbags of crap- children of God. For that is what we are! Let us act & speak accordingly. 

I have said my piece, an opinion I know is highly controversial, but alas...that never stopped me & I believe in it whole-heartedly. 
I cannot sing a sinner dirge over myself when I believe I am a daughter of the Most High God. When I am pure & righteous. Believing this does not make me egotistical & conceited. I'm only saying what my Father believes of me- and I think, that is the opinion that matters most. 


Hello & welcome to Ashley Nikole the blog!

I will be sharing lifestyle posts ranging from the following subjects...
  • Novel writing tips & tricks
  • Inspirational life advice/experience & encouragement 
  • Movie & music recommends
  • The occasional foodie rant
  • Lots of latte art, knitting or chocolate whatnot
  • Novel writing updates on where I am in the publishing journey 
  • What it looks like to be a leader in your family, spiritual & social life
  • Going against the flow- how to "walk the walk", & not just "talk the talk"
  • How to "keep your joy on" throughout ALL THE THINGS &
I'm so glad to be able to share my heart with you all. Instagram is wonderful for shorter snippets, but sometimes a subject requires more than a line or here we are! 

Let's do this- & thank you for your support & love in following me on this bloggio. <3


He said"Above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it."