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Book Updates, Encouragement, Life

Some Dreams Come True

Last year, I heard a song on the ‘Christian’ radio station. I am not sure if the song was completely biblical, but one phrase stood out to me. That phrase was ‘some dreams come true’.

For the past several years, I have dreamed of being published. Most of my dreams are just what they are: dreams. Aside from the King’s Daughters’ Writing Camp Everything collection, I honestly didn’t expect to be published for several years.

But God had different plans. In December, I heard about Abigail Kay Harris’ Seize the Love anthology. I thought it’d be fun to submit, so I quickly wrote a short story. I didn’t expect it to be published, but I enjoyed writing the short story.

However, on January 16, I got an email saying my story was accepted for the Seize the Love anthology! I was surprised. I knew it was a possibility, but honestly, I didn’t think that story would make the cut. After all, being published was ‘just’ a dream of mine.

The only thing I can say is ‘to God be the glory’! A year ago, I would have thought getting published was just a dream that wouldn’t come true. But God decided to bring me here. He is good!

I’m excited (and nervous!) to share my short story “Proof of His Love” with you all.

You can add Seize the Love to your Goodreads shelf here. (Is that how Goodreads works? Me has no clue. Yep, that’s how Goodreads works.)

You can buy Seize the Love here. (Some vendors haven’t uploaded the book quite yet.) If you pre-order the book, fill out this form here for some pre-order goodies!

Stay tuned for next week’s post, which will include a more information about this book and an e-book giveaway! (If that didn’t get your attention…) And hopefully I’ll be reviewing this book either on the 20th or 27 of this month. I already started the ARC, and I’m really enjoying it!

P.S. You can find book and blog updates on my new Facebook page here.

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Life

Thoughts on the Canon T-5 Rebel & Tips for Buying a Camera Online

If you remember from this post, I mentioned I had bought a new camera in May. I’m finally here to write about it and give you all a few tips for buying a used camera online!

As I mentioned in the title, it’s a Canon T-5 Rebel, which is a Digital Single-Lens Reflex (DSLR) camera. Before I bought this camera, I had asked a few people what kind of cameras they had. Anyway, I decided to buy a T-5 or T-6. From what I understand, the biggest difference between the T-5 and T-6 was the fact the T-6 had Canon Camera Connect, which means you can connect it to your phone via wi-fi to take pictures. (I have a Canon Powershot that has that, so I didn’t care if it did/not have it.) The newest Canon Rebel is the T-8, so the T-5 isn’t a super old model.

Before this camera, I used a Nikon Coolpix and a Canon Powershot. The Coolpix was basically ‘a glorified point-and-shoot’. The Powershot took pictures as good as the Coolpix, even though it’s a simple point-and-shoot camera.

I bought my camera for $225 with tax and free shipping. It came with the T-5 camera body, battery & charger, an 18-55mm lens, a 50mm prime lens, and two memory cards. Honestly, it wasn’t a bad deal.

The T-5 Rebel is SO much better than the Nikon Coolpix, the Canon Powershot, and even my smartphone (mine is a iPhone 6S). The focus is better, and I love how I can do manual settings, which is a must-have for photographers!

It doesn’t take good pictures in the dark, but I can fix that by switching to manual mode. If you don’t know anything about manual mode, I suggest you take a photography course to learn. You won’t want to go back to the automatic modes after learning manual mode!

Since I bought my camera used, it didn’t come with instructions. Pretty much everything I’ve learned is either from trial-and-error or from watching a photography course. I’m sure I could have looked up an instruction manual, but I haven’t done that.

I haven’t taken many videos with this camera yet. but this camera doesn’t take great videos, so if you’re into videography, this probably isn’t the best camera for you.

This camera has the option to add an external microphone (for videography) or a different flash. I’m a natural light photographer (and I VERY dislike flashes), so I haven’t used an external flash, and I probably won’t be using an external flash.

If you want an affordable, but good camera, I recommend the Canon T-5 Rebel. Even if you have a good smartphone camera, I think this camera is worth it for the manual mode. Even if you’re an amateur photographer and can’t afford the T-8 Rebel (like me!), this camera is a good starter.

Tips for Buying a Camera Online

(These aren’t in any order.)

-Ask questions!

I asked questions about everything. Even down to ‘does the camera come with a battery and the battery charger?’

-Check seller reviews.

I bought my camera off of eBay, because my mom has been using eBay for over 15 years. For the most part, we don’t buy from a seller who has a rating of less than 99%. (The exception to this is if people are complaining about the shipping time.) Check to make sure the seller is legit, that they aren’t selling bad products, etc.

-Don’t forget to add tax and shipping (if applicable).

I almost spent more money than I had budgeted because I forgot about tax. Make sure to spend less than you budgeted if you’ll have to pay tax.

Do you have a camera? Do you enjoy photography?

Life

Where’s the Evidence?

I have heard many people claim to be a Christian. But when I see them in everyday life or check them out on social media, I can barely tell if these people are Christians or not. Their entertainment, the things they say, the things they wear, the way they act, and so much more, are the same way the world does things. Now, obviously, it’s not my place to say whether or not they are truly Christians or to condemn them for their choices. (They could be new or weaker Christians, or wolves in sheep’s clothing. I don’t know their heart, and I’m not God.) However, the Bible does say we will know Christians by fruits (see Matthew 7:16), and in some people, I’m not seeing the fruit in their day-to-day lives.

I remember once hearing a quote that was similar to this: “If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” (Side note, I don’t know who said this. Lots of people came up when I searched it, some who I don’t endorse. However, it’s still a good quote.)

As a Christian, I want being a Christian to be so evident in my life, that if I was accused of being a Christian, they’d have no choice BUT to convict me. I don’t want to be a Christian in name only. I want the way I live to point to Christ in ALL areas of my life. Even if someone inspected the smallest part of my life, I hope and want them to find evidence of Christ.

Because I am a follower of Christ, I make my entertainment choices different. I read different books than unbelievers. I watch different movies (when I do watch anything) than most other people. My music choices are different. Everything I do and say, as a Christian, is different.

I want it to be know through my conversation, stories/writings, social media, comments–everything I do and say, to be proof that I am a follower of Christ.

That means I’ll write about tough topics relating to my beliefs.

That means I’m willing to be banned from social media and the internet for sharing things I believe and the Bible.

That means I will proclaim the truth, even if I’m told it’s wrong and politically incorrect.

I want it to be known I am a Christian, and I want the evidence to be evident in my life.

Is the evidence of being a Christian evident in your life?

Encouragement, Life

2023 Goals

(Short disclaimer: I promise after this, I will have posts that aren’t inspired about the passing of a year and the start of a new one.)

A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.

Proverbs 16:9

I make yearly goals. Personally, I find them helpful. No, I don’t always accomplish all my goals, but that is okay, because oftentimes, God has different plans for my life. For me, I find most of my goals places I need to grow in. Some of my goals help me prepare for having a house of my own, caring for my family, using my time and money wisely, and some are even preparing me for the mission field, if God wills me to go.

I highly encourage you to make some goals. It’s okay if you don’t accomplish them all, but it will motivate you to work at them and perhaps learn a few new things on the way. I’m sharing my goals to give you some ideas as to what your goals could look like. Every person’s goals will be different, so don’t copy my list and take them as your own, because, I’m probably in a different season of life than you.

I only want posting my goals to encourage and give you some ideas. I’m very ambitious, so I make some difficult goals for myself. You may need to make your goals different, depending on the your ambitiousness and the season of life you’re in.

My goals are categorized into 4 goals: Spiritual, Health, Financial, and Other. Without farther ado, I present to you my 2023 goals.

Spiritual:

  • Read through the Bible once
  • Memorize a hymn a week
  • Memorize Titus and Ephesians (I’m currently on Titus 2)
  • Participate in the National Bible Bee Summer Study and qualify, if that is God’s will
  • Witness more

Health:

  • Participrate and win Spring 100
  • Walk 30 minutes five days a week
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables

Financial:

  • Save [certain number] of money
  • Manage money better and spend less
  • Start my photography business

Other:

  • Read 52 books. Exception: audiobooks (The breakdown as follows: 15 biographies and autobiographies, 6 health books, 15 beneficial books, 2 textbook-type books, and 16 fiction books. I read way too much last year when I could have been doing more productive things, so I’m cutting my reading down a LOT.)
  • Find volunteer oppertunities
  • Learn CPR (tentative)
  • Graduate… Officially! (Ceremony and party with my sister.)
  • Spend less time online. No computer after 7pm.
  • Journal at least twice a week

Do you make goals? What are some of your 2023 goals?

Encouragement, Life

surrender.

Some years, I chose a word of the year, which is basically a word I focus on throughout the whole year. I wasn’t planning on doing a word for 2023, but one day, the word ‘surrender’ popped into my head.

That particular day, I was thinking about my dreams. Marriage, missions, traveling to other states and visiting other countries, and the like. I have so many things I’d like to do in life. (Most people would probably call this a ‘bucket list’, but our family does not approve of that term.) Anyway, as I was thinking about my life and my dreams, I remembered my life isn’t mine.

As a Christian, my life is God’s. It’s not my own. I realized I was holding on to my plans, instead of giving them to God. He already know my future. My life is all mapped out, and God knows every detail as to what will happen.

I was still seeking my own dreams, not what God has planned for me. Sure, He may have marriage, missions, and traveling in my future, but He may not. I need to give my dreams to God. In other words, surrender. As much as I want the my dreams to come true, I know God’s plans are better.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:8-9

I need to let go of my dreams and give them to God. He knows the desires of my heart, and if it’s His will, many of those dreams may come true. I don’t need to hold my plans with a tight fist and pout when things don’t go my way, because, even though I can’t see the bigger picture, I can trust His plans are much better than whatever I planned. God knows the desires of my heart even when I don’t.

Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

Psalm 37:4

My theme song, which coordinates with my word, is “I Surrender All”. It’s a beautiful hymn, and I encourage you to read the lyrics below.

I Surrender All

All to Jesus I surrender,
All to him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust him,
In his presence daily live.

Refrain:
I surrender all,
I surrender all,
All to thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender,
Humbly at his feet I bow,
Worldly pleasures all forsaken,
Take me, Jesus, take me now.

Refrain

All to Jesus I surrender;
Make me, Savior, wholly thine;
Let me feel the Holy Spirit,
Truly know that thou art mine.

Refrain

All to Jesus I surrender,
Lord, I give myself to thee,
Fill me with thy love and power,
Let thy blessing fall on me.

Refrain

All to Jesus I surrender;
Now I feel the sacred flame.
Oh, the joy of full salvation!
Glory, glory, to his name!

Refrain

Do you do a word of the year? A hymn of the year? Or something else? Let me know below!