Fifty Shades

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and that means Singles-Awareness jokes, lots of pepto-bismol pink, fluffy things, chocolate and, as TV adds, media, and probably your coworkers won’t let you forget, Fifty Shades Darker.

This post is to all my Christian followers, and those who are curious about Christian’s standards on entertainment. I will be the first to admit, I am preachy when it comes to this subject, but for today, I just want to offer some biblical advice to my Christian brothers and sisters who are curious about this series of movies/books and are trying to rationalize their way into going to see it.

I will be careful to live a blameless life—
when will you come to help me?
I will lead a life of integrity
in my own home.
I will refuse to look at
anything vile and vulgar.
I hate all who deal crookedly;
I will have nothing to do with them.
I will reject perverse ideas
and stay away from every evil.

~Psalm 101 2-4 (NLT)

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.

~Ephesians 5:3&4 (NIV)

How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.

~Psalm 119:9 (ESV)

Don’t tell yourself those rational-lies. Keep your way pure. Keep your heart and mind free of the sin of this world and pursue true, honest, gentle, and guiltless love. What you put in your mind effects you, fellow believers. Don’t give Satan a foothold.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

~Philippians 4:8

Need an alternative movie night idea? Here are two great titles! Both available on DVD.

“Old-fashioned”

“Priceless” (Available Feb. 14th on DVD)

Happy Valentine’s Day! Let true love win the day!

Comfortable Silence

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I love people who can hold their own in a conversation. Who can fill in the gaps that I so often leave. Who can gently draw me out, even when I’m not actively trying to participate. Conversely, I love when those same people can just sit quietly with me and not insist on filling the silence. Knowing when something is worth breaking silence for and when it can just go unsaid. It’s a skill few people possess. Most feel extremely uncomfortable with silence.

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After writing the above portion of this post, I went and had thanksgiving “dinner” (it was lunch, but whatever) with some good friends of ours, then went and walked about 2 miles on a local dam, came home and did some housework while listening to music from an app that recently appeared on my Android after an update, it’s called “Milk Music”. Pretty neat little app. It lead to the discovery of a song called “One” by Ed Sheeran.

“And all my friends have gone to find
Another place to let their hearts collide
Just promise me, you’ll always be a friend
‘Cause you are the only one.”

The whole song is quite good, but those lyrics particularly spoke to the way I feel sometimes. Like I have to ask for assurance from the people I truly call friends. Assurance that they aren’t going to find a reason to leave me behind. I guess there is no way to truly guarantee it, but love is worth that risk.

On another note, this Sunday I have my interview to become a member at my church. So thrilled to have found a church family that I want to become apart of. That I enjoy actively being apart of. Such a blessing. God is good.

Happy Thanksgiving, from TQG 🙂

The Science Behind the Trials of Introversion

I recently found this website called Introvert, Dear, and they posted this blog post today that helped me understand my brain so much. At risk of “stealing” their audience, please don’t just read the quoted portion here, but also click on the link and visit their site, even for a little while. Thanks!!

A co-worker appears out of the blue and asks me a question. Her eyes and tone of voice say she wants an answer now. Her request is easy, but my mind is momentarily paralyzed.

I start sentences then stop them. I hesitate. I say words that are close to what I mean, but not exactly. I backtrack.

My co-worker — an extrovert who always seems to express herself effortlessly — looks at me like, come on, spit it out. I think, if only my brain would cooperate.

Why introverts struggle with word retrieval

When we’re speaking out loud, we introverts may have trouble with word retrieval, meaning, we struggle to find just the right words we want. We may come off sounding like we don’t know what we’re talking about, even though we do. In social situations, we may have trouble keeping up with fast-talking extroverts.

Our brains use many different areas for speaking and writing, writes Dr. Marti Olsen Laney in her book, The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World, and when talking out loud, information needs to flow between the separate regions. One reason why introverts struggle with speaking is that we process information deeply, which means information moves slowly between areas of our brain.

Another reason has to do with introverts relying more on long-term memory than working memory. Information stored in long-term memory is mostly outside of our conscious awareness. Like the name sounds, long-term memory contains information that is retained for long periods of time — in theory, information is saved indefinitely. Some of this information is fairly easy to access, while other memories are more difficult to recall. Contrast this with working memory (sometimes referred to as short-term or active memory), which is limited and retains information for mere seconds.

Again, like the name sounds, it takes longer to reach into long-term memory and pull out just the right word or piece of information. The right key or association is needed, which is something that reminds us of what we’re trying to recall. This, of course, slows down us introverts when we’re speaking.

If we’re anxious — which is how I felt when my intimidating co-worker approached me — it may be even more difficult to locate and articulate the right words.

Why it’s easier to express ourselves in writing

Introverts “often feel as if they express themselves better in writing than in conversation,” writes Susan Cain in her book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.

Introverts may prefer text messages and emails to phone calls. Many of us keep journals or compose lyrics, poems, or stories, and some of us make careers out of writing.

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The reason for this preference once again has to do with how our brains are wired: written words use different pathways in the brain, which seem to flow fluently for many introverts, writes Laney.

What to do when your mind goes blank

Memory is complex, and it uses many different areas of the brain. Our brains store memories in several locations and create links between them, called associations.

To yank something out of long-term memory, we need to locate an association. The good thing is, most pieces of information in long-term memory were stored with several associations or keys for unlocking them.

“If we find just one key, we can retrieve the whole memory,” writes Laney.

When you struggle to remember a word, a piece of information, or even what you did over the weekend (because that question often comes up in small talk!), try these things:

Be still and relax.
Give yourself permission to be quiet for a few moments. Don’t let the other person rush you.
Buy yourself time to process things by saying something like, “Let me think about that,” or “Hmm, let me see…” Or, give a nonverbal signal that shows you’re thinking, like looking away and furrowing your brow slightly.
Let your mind wander for a moment and go where it wants. One thought may lead to another, and one of those thoughts may hold the “key” to unlocking the words you want from your long-term memory.
If all else fails, and words escape you, don’t feel embarrassed — your brain is doing what comes naturally to it, and that is to pause and reflect. If you’re being quiet, you’re in good company with other deep-thinking introverts: Stephen Hawking once said, “Quiet people have the loudest minds.”

Then, try breezing over any awkwardness in the conversation by using humor to make light of your tongue-tied state, or say you’re a little distracted right now, and you’ll get back to the other person later — by sending an email or text.

When an introvert is quiet, don’t assume he is depressed, snobbish or socially deficient. Laurie Helgoe, Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength
Image credit: Deviant Art (Ezgi Polat)

VISIT THE SOURCE POST HERE!

Disclaimer: I have not read ALL their posts, nor have I read ANY of the books they recommend. Please don’t take this post as an endorsement of the books or of the content on their site, but merely an appreciation of this particular post. Thanks!!

Crazy little thing called Life

Today, classic Moriah moment, I have used my day off to take my dog to the vet, go grocery shopping (yay, sushi!) and watch old episodes of a show that I mainly like because one of the male characters has really amazing eyes. Okay, that’s not literally the main reason I like it, but it’s definitely a perk.

Quick movie recommendation for you though! Last night I went to see “Old Fashioned”. Despite the fact that this movie is perfect for conservative people who love love stories and desire to honor God with their entertainment choices, it’s suffered from an extreme case of under-advertizment, so few have heard of it. But it’s definitely a movie you should spend your time and money on.

Cons: Obviously low budget, starts off a bit cheesy, the actors are a bit wooden with their lines at first and you’ll probably find that there’s a lot of awkwardness that you can’t quite place.

 

Pros: I figured out the cause of this, however. In most movies and TV shows, the lines are delivered so perfectly, spaced so evenly, that there is literally none of what you actually get in real life human interactions. Such as pausing for thought, deciding what to say, missing a word or just saying something that doesn’t really come out smoothly. And any “awkward” silences are often filled with some sort of subtle background music or distraction to draw attention away from the moment of silence. This movie is not like that. The more I thought about it, I realized that this movie felt awkward because you never spend 2 hours just watching people talk, without also thinking about how to contribute to the conversation. This movie was literally like watching real people have real conversations. All the awkwardness of actual human interaction still intact and untampered with. And it made me smile. It made me feel more human.
Also, super adorable love story. Free spirited girl learns what it’s like to be truly loved and respected, uptight man learns to accept forgiveness from his past, and to open himself up to experiencing life at it’s fullest (without compromising his desire to honor God).

So yeah, go see the movie. Get a whole group together to go see the movie! Take your whole church to see the movie. Something like that. 🙂

On a totally unrelated note, I learned a valuable lesson this week. You cannot be everyones friend. Oh, how I’ve tried. But no matter what lengths you go to, some people cannot accept real friendship.

Real friendship isn’t just going out for coffee and having fun together. Sometimes it’s calling them up in the middle of the night crying and needing prayer. Sometimes it’s confronting them about something they’re doing that’s damaging to themselves or others, telling them a truth they’d rather not hear about themselves. In a true friendship, you soften each others rough edges, bear one another’s burdens, and lean on one another as you journey through this wild ride called life. Being in a friendship with someone should make you a better person. It should make you more like Christ.

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And not everyone will let you be a friend. Some people are happy to have fun with you, bear (some) of your burdens with you, call you up crying and needing advice, even correct you when you need it. But the moment you see a genuine problem and try to do the same, even in a loving manner, they throw up their arms and claim you aren’t really a true friend because you aren’t “accepting them for who they are”.

We all have that tendency, it’s part of being human. Odds are we will all have that reaction from time to time. But when that reaction is the only response you get, there is a serious problem. One sided friendship is not friendship. And it is damaging to remain in a that kind of relationship long term.

That’s something I’ve always struggled with, and until recently I’ve never been able to make that decision to finally let go and move on. And even though it’s sad, it’s also freeing. You don’t realize how much the negativity of others brings you down until that negativity is gone. It’s a kind of maturity that I’m so glad God is creating within me. Honestly, with everything I’ve been through in the last 6 months, I’m finding it easier to open myself up to God and let him unshackle me from the things that have been holding me back. Pain has a way of doing that to a person, if you let it.

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Anyway, I’m about to head out for a long walk, and my laptop is telling me it’s got %12 battery remaining. But that’s what’s going on with me. 🙂

~TQG

A Taste Of Adventure

So I’ve been back from Oklahoma for a few days now, been back to work, back in my own bed, back to the daily grind. (Does no one else think of coffee when you hear that phrase? It makes me want coffee…)

My second day back was kinda crazy, my mom came into my room and woke me up with the words “Moriah, I need your help, there’s blood all over the kitchen floor.” As it turned out, my rambunctious and prey driven dog Camo, an Akita/Labrador cross, took off so hard that he ripped open his claw horizontally, all the way into the toe. Looked like a crime scene. I took him to the vet who sedated him, cut off the dangling portion of claw, cleaned it with a saline wash and squirted superglue into the open part of the claw to prevent bleeding. After a day of being high on drugs, he was still whimpering from pain and his toe very swollen, so the vet gave him three pills to take daily, a pain reliever, an anti-inflammatory and an antibiotic. Now he seems much more comfortable and much happier, though still limping some. Silly pup.

My trip was great! Getting to travel alone was very confidence boosting. Nice to know that I can as a matter of fact, make it on my own. Be independent. The wedding was great, I met lots of interesting, fun people, and I had a lot of spontaneous fun, both solo and with my cousins friends. I swam in a saltwater pool every day at the hotel, went to a free concert downtown with a group of people, walked to little cafe’s and diners alone downtown several times, and experienced the fear/rush of having to find my departure gate in the Atlanta airport. Which ended up being a long walk, train ride, and two escalators away from my arrival gate. It was such a liberating time. I actually felt like an adult, not in the “back to work to earn money because I’m an adult” way that I normally do, but in the “I can make decisions for myself and find my own way without help because I’m an adult” way. Normally, because I live with my parents, if I get invited to something or want to go somewhere, I have to ask them first and can’t really be “spontaneous”. But while I was there, no one was really “responsible” for me, my grandparents sort of were, but not to the same degree as my parents would be. So when I was invited somewhere or decided I wanted to walk to a cafe and get lunch, I just went. Maybe told them I was leaving before I went, but didn’t “ask permission” to go. It was awesome. It made me wish I could afford a small apartment of my own nearby, so I could have that sort of freedom at home. But, sadly, a part time Pet Care Associate at Petsmart does not make enough to pay rent or water or electric bills. Unless you want to go without food. Then it might be possible!

The month after next I’ll be turning 21. If you follow my blog and read it much I’m sure you’ll correctly assume that they’ll be no “partying” or getting drunk for my 21st, but there WILL be alcohol. Not much, just some. There’s an apple ale that I’ve wanted to try for a long time, so I’m thinking of buying just one bottle (beer bottle sized bottle) of it to try. It’ll probably be nasty, but that’s okay. If I’ve never made it clear before, I don’t have an issue with drinking, I have an issue with getting drunk. So, if you can’t have just one glass of wine or just one beer, don’t drink. If that’s not a temptation for you, by all means, enjoy your one glass. Some people are more sensitive to the effects of alcohol and probably should not drink, so if that’s you, don’t. Some people have alcoholism in their family history and thus wish to avoid it altogether, and I highly respect and honor that decision, and if it bothers them to have others drink around them, I would definitely never drink while with them. If I married a man who felt that way, it would be my pleasure to honor him by never drinking again. But, as that is not the case for my birthday, I’m going to have my one small drink. Funny enough, I love margaritas, but only when there isn’t any tequila in them. I like just the crushed ice and the fruit flavored mix, so it’s like a slushy. Tequila is so sharp, it ruins it completely. Which amused my father when he made me an alcohol-free margarita a while back. ^_^ I think they call that a “virgin” margarita, but I have an issue with using the word virgin to describe anything other than what the bible uses it for. Just a personal preference, I like to keep certain important words holy.

I think that’s one of the ways our culture has degraded itself, using meaningful words flippantly so many times that they no longer have weight when used. Much like the word “awesome”, which should mean “inspires awe”, but we use it to describe everything. I’m guilty of this too, but after trying for like a month to stop using it, I never managed to prevent it from slipping out. So I gave up. 😛 I don’t think God minds, or at least he hasn’t seen fit to press upon me the need to change that verbal habit. And he does with other things regularly. Such as “suck”, as in “that sucks” which I feel very convicted about not using, “screwed up”, “pissed off” or using “god” as an expression of anything other than speaking about God himself. Though the first three of those are not “bad words” per se, I feel that the use of them is tacky, degrading, and does not conform to any of the biblical standards of what our speech should be as holy children of God. And the bible makes it extremely clear that God’s name is holy and not to be misused, so it’s important to me to honor that.

For those of my non-Christian followers who look at Christianity as a list of do’s and don’ts, I hope you realize that I don’t put these parameters on myself because I think God won’t love me if I don’t or because I think it’s what I have to do, I do it because God died for me so I can have eternal life, and I want to honor him in anyway I possibly can. I do it because I want to. Because by doing it, I set a better example of the purity of Christ, so others will be less distracted by me and more attracted to Him. My personality, my appearance, are works of art that he created, drawing some attention to myself in the right way is fine, but distracting people with crass speech or unkind words is not. Or immodest clothing, actually. Immodest clothes distract the minds of both men and women and takes their thoughts off of what is pure and right and tempts them into either lustful thoughts or criticizing thoughts, whereas attractive, modest clothing causes appreciation of the excellent design and beauty God created. Which I think it pretty awesome.

Anyway, I’m kind of wasting my day off by sitting on the couch in gym cloths. I will actually go to the gym…. Eventually…

I am Brave

What is the best compliment you’ve ever received?

My estimate is that if you think long enough about it, you’ll see that the compliment that meant the most and stuck with you the longest was one about your character rather than your appearance or accomplishments.

As a human female person with human female friends, I’ve gotten a lot of compliments in my almost 21 years of life, but one stands head and shoulders above the rest and continues to brighten my day 2 years after it was first given to me.

Two years ago my best guy friend, who inconveniently lives something like 5 states away from me, came to visit for one week during the Summer. We’d never met in person before, and I’m just about the most awkward human ever (or at least I was at that time) so by the time he left, I felt like I had completely failed at everything. I was an awkward mess the whole freaking week (Or at least I felt as though I was).

(Several months before his journey to my neck of the woods, I’d confronted him about something via letter, this isn’t a super big detail but it will help you understand the next bit better.)

Shortly after he returned home, he sent me a letter on my birthday, and in that letter he replied to my confrontation, and told me exactly how he’d felt upon receiving it, and how God had used it in his life to change his heart. Then he said that I had been extremely brave to send that letter, not knowing how he would take it, and repeated beneath it “You are very brave.” and attached the ticket stubs from when we saw the movie “Brave” while he was here.

I keep this letter folded up in the center of one of my journals. I don’t reread it much, because I get really emotional when I do, and because I don’t want it to stop making me emotional. It feels good to have a soft heart, it feels good to let things touch you on that deep of a level. I feel as though my greatest weakness is fear, to be called brave reaches into that fear and proves it wrong. And it touches me still to this day.

I’ve been called pretty, beautiful, elegant, lovely, smart, funny, etc. But the best thing anyone has ever called me is Brave.

 

The Joy Of Discovery

I live in the capitol city of a smallish southern state, though it doesn’t feel like it. Our airport is tiny, our city is large, but it doesn’t feel that way at all, the only attraction here is our Zoo, and a few historical sites, as far as I know (and I’ve lived here since I was about four years old). That being said, we’re still a capitol city, so I would think–and perhaps I’m wrong–that we set a good deal of the trends for the rest of the state.  Especially economically.

Last year around this time, there were three secular book stores and two Christian book stores in our area within decent driving distance (25 mins away at the most). This year there is one used book store (no new releases, just re-homed titles and dvds), the two Christian stores, and one secular bookstore that’s the farthest one away. There are others but they are 30-40 minutes away with no traffic–and there usually is traffic.

Very few agree with me on this, but my strong opinion is that the swift decline of book stores is caused by the oncoming storm of ebooks, e-readers, iPads, and other electronic devices that are being used to read “books”. Now to me, a book is a paper object with pages you have to turn by hand, it smells unique, feels fantastic, even has a marvelous sound when you flip from one chapter to the next, a sound filled with mystery and intrigue. There is something magical about going to a book store just to explore and finding a new adventure you didn’t expect.

The college I was taking classes at recently built a newfangled automatic book retrieving library. You go to a computer, look up the topic you want, and can request the title you want. Then a robotic system goes down to the isle, pulls your book, and drops it back to you. Now when I’m in a library, it’s the size, color, title, texture, age, and quality of the book that attracts me and makes me slide it off it’s dusty shelf and crack the cover. I’m drawn to older, worn out, slightly tattered books. Well loved books. Books that traveled far. After building this hi-tech library, they were shocked how rarely it was used. And I think this is why. Millions of dollars on all this tech and the students hangout and the coffee shop in the lobby and don’t venture into the library part much. I think many people, if mostly subconsciously, feel the same way about book discovery as I do. People may read more with their ebooks and iPads, but they miss out on the discovery of that book they never would have thought to pick up until it showed it’s spine right there before them on the shelf.

Eventually, there will be almost no books being printed, just released in electronic media. This is a scary thing. When it’s not down on paper, it can be much more easily tampered with, altered, redefined and mangled. All it takes is one person with ill intent being put in charge of a process of epublishing, and you risk having your work changed, stolen, or distorted. History is already being altered with paper books, but imagine the total destruction that can be done when all that’s needed is a few clicks and an “Apply to all copies” feature? You get a pop up on your iPad: “iBooks has a software update, install now?” and with one click your history book has been changed.

Now, I’m not against technology. I have my iPod touch, my Macbook, and I greatly enjoy them both. But power corrupts. And when you give already corrupt people the power of the written word, you spread that corruption. A deadly virus in the veins of humanity.

I don’t own any ebooks or ereaders, I do own one online copy of a book that was never released in hard copy, but that’s it. And as far as I’m concerned, it’s one too many. I greatly miss my bookstores, and I pray my library will not be too heavily effected…