Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Happy Birthday, Violets and Daisies!!

Well, it has been a year since we first began blogging here at Violets and Daisies!! Actually, it was a year last Friday, but I'm afraid we didn't have a chance to post anything on that day itself :P

So anyway, we decided that there were two things we were going to do to celebrate the very first anniversary! The first was, we decided to give the blog a new look :D Violet and I have spent the majority of today trying to do that. It is taking us ages and ages, as some of the coding on our blog isn't working so well, but we will get there... What do you think of it so far?

And the second thing we decided to do was to create our own Blog Award:


Blog Award Rules:

Put a link to who gave you the award
Post the award to your blog
Answer the questions
Choose 5 blogs to receive the award
Let them know you've awarded them

Blog Award Questions: 
1. If you could have a "flower pen name" like we have here on our blog, Violets and Daisies what would it be?
2. What is your favourite ever Bible verse and why?
3. What are the blogs which inspire you most?
4. If you and your friends could visit any country in the world, where would you go?
5. If you have one, feel free to share your testimony as to how you became a Christian.

The authors of this blog are going to give the award a go first, then pass it on, so keep your eyes open, if you have a blog, you might get a "Violets and Daisies 'Brilliant Blog Bouquet' Award"!! :)

We'll be back soon! God bless!

From,

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

A Collection Of Quotes

I always manage to find such beautiful quotes on Pinterest, so I decided it was about time for me to share some more with you all! I hope they are as much as a blessing to all of you as they were to me :D
I'm so privileged to have beautiful friends who are
truly love Jesus with all their hearts <#
God can bring beauty out of ashes - so true!!
Love, 

Monday, 28 January 2013

Mini Bread and Butter Puddings

I recently dug an old favourite recipe book of mine off my bookshelf, and found this recipe! And I decided to make it the other day for dessert. Boy, am I glad I did - it is so easy, and so tasty - this is definitely going to be a regular dessert of mine now :D

Ingredients:
25 g butter (or margarine)                          1/2 C cream
2 tsp grated lemon rind                    1/2 C brown sugar
3 slices of bread (preferably white)                      1 egg 
1/2 C milk                                  Lemon slice to garnish

Method:
1. Place the butter in a jug, then microwave until melted.
2. Add the lemon rind. 

3. Break the bread into small pieces, add to butter. Stir. 
 4. Add milk, cream and sugar. Leave to stand for 15 minutes.
5. Separate the egg. Mix yolk into bread mixture.
6. Beat egg white until stiff. Carefully fold into bread mixture. 
8. Spoon into 4 microwave dishes or coffee mugs.
9. Microwave at 50% power for 8-10 minutes, until set. (Cook
one minute, pause, continue this way if necessary). 
10. Stand one minute, then unmold onto serving plate
11. Garnish with a slice of lemon.

This recipe can easily be made gluten free, by using gluten free bread! :) Enjoy it!! 



 



Friday, 25 January 2013

Listen For The Little Things

Hello again all our wonderful readers!! :)
I'm back from yet another wonderful camp/festival - this one called New Wine Summer, which was held on a beautiful Christian camping ground called El Rancho.

This time, I had the privilege of serving as a leader, in the 8-10 year old group of the Kids Zone. And it was absolutely a-m-a-z-i-n-g!! The entire camp had over 1000 people there at some points - it was incredible to be able to learn and worship with so many fellow believers all around! I had a wonderful 6 days full of worship, waterslides, pool parties, teaching, learning, making friends, fellowship, sunburn, too much caffeine and fun! :D If anyone ever has the opportunity to go to a New Wine camp anywhere, go!! They are just so special.

My friend Charlotte and I traveled up with our youth leader,
and we stopped off to see a (sadly deceased) whale on the
way up!! :D
I went to the camp feeling at a spiritual low point - exhausted after the production mostly  - and also incredibly nervous, as I had been asked to do a teaching for one of the sessions in our age group. And I hadn't been given much guidance on what they were wanting me to teach on exactly, so I was pretty concerned that I would do it all wrong, and the kids wouldn't get the message. I prayed about it a lot, but I just wasn't getting any inspirations. Or maybe they were there, but I just wasn't seeing them. I really wasn't listening.
Charlotte and I with an old "ganster" car - complete with
bullet holes!! :D

On the first day, when we arrived at the camp site, it was just leaders, and administrators there, as it was the preparation day. With so many people coming, we had to be ready and prepared for anything! It was a great day, meeting new friends, catching up with old ones, and going on adventures - we even saw a whale!! It was still exciting, even if it was dead :P But the best part of the day for me was definitely the evening, when the entire team got together to have some teaching, and to pray together. And what was said truly touched my heart.

They reminded us that we were all there to serve - to give a gift to those around us - during the time we were at the camp - but also throughout the rest of our lives. They reminded us that as Christians, we are called to serve other in love, as Christ taught us. And they reminded us of the thing I most needed to hear - that if we just listen, and watch carefully for God's direction, He WILL provide it, and He will show us where He wants us to go. As I sat there listening, I was almost in tears. It seems so silly now - of course I wasn't understanding what God was wanting me to teach, and I was feeling so alone. I was asking, but not waiting to hear the answer. I wasn't listening. They finished up the evening by praying with us, praying that God would show us what He wanted us to do over the course of the camp, to bless those we were working with, and to help us all to learn what He wanted us to from the camp.

Me and Charlotte being silly on the campsite :D
And you know what? Once I started properly listening, I finally started hearing what God was saying to me. I had a wonderful time with the other leaders, as we prepared everything for the kids arrival. And once the kids got there, we had even more of a blast. I had a team of 7 amazing little 9 year olds - 5 gorgeous little girls, and 2 highly energetic young men. My assistant leader was not actually a Christian, but he was still a really great guy to work with, and I think he actually learnt a lot through the material we went through with the children.

I learnt so much through working with the kids. I know the Bible says we should be child-like in our faith (as Jesus taught us in Mark 10:13-16), but actually witnessing the way those children believed, the unstoppable faith, and the love they had for God, I truly began to understand what He meant by those words. I've had similar experiences when working with little children before, but that refresher dose really did me so much good. Seriously, if you are struggling to keep the fire of your faith alive for a time, go and work with children!! :D

And the Lord used one of the children to answer my prayers as well. Once I finally got over myself, and started to listen properly, ideas came flooding in - it was formatting them that was the problem!! But when I was talking to one of the quietest girls on my team, she told me that her favourite way of hearing about Jesus was through a story. So that is what I did - I told the children a story - the story of Jesus, the Son of God, who came down to earth, to both save us, and show us how to live as He wants us to.

Before I spoke, I totally forgot what I had been going to say - after all that planning!! So I just prayed that the Lord would help me to say what He wanted, and for the children to get what He wanted out of the talk. And they LOVED it. God is so good! But I think I was the one most blessed by the experience. Isn't it funny how when you go to give, you end up receiving so much more yourself?! I went to camp feeling down, and dry inside, and I left feeling full to bursting. On the last day, when all 1300 campers were worshipping together before the final closing of New Wine, they played this song "The Great I Am". It is so beautiful, and so powerful. I cried the whole time we sang it :P It just reminded me once again how very incredible, and how very mighty our God is, and how amazing His grace, and His love for us are.


May the Lord bless you all as you serve Him!! And don't forget to listen. As one of the children told me "Sometimes God speaks pretty loud, like you can tell exactly what He wants you to do. Other times, He just whispers, and you gotta keep your eyes and ears open to hear Him."

Monday, 21 January 2013

My Goodreads Book Review: Wonderland Creek

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Plot Summary from Goodreads:
Alice Grace Ripley lives in a dream world, her nose stuck in a book. But the happily-ever-after life she's planned on suddenly falls apart when her boyfriend, Gordon, breaks up with her, accusing her of living in a world of fiction instead of the real world. Then to top it off, Alice loses her beloved job at the library because of cutbacks due to the Great Depression.

Fleeing small-town gossip, Alice heads to the mountains of eastern Kentucky to deliver five boxes of donated books to a library in the tiny coal-mining village of Acorn. Dropped off by her relatives, Alice volunteers to stay for two weeks to help the librarian, Leslie McDougal.

But the librarian turns out to be far different than she anticipated--not to mention the four lady librarians who travel to the remote homes to deliver the much-desired books. When Alice is trapped in Acorn against her will, she soon finds that real-life adventure and mystery--and especially romance--are far better than her humble dreams could have imagined.

My Opinion:
I did enjoy reading this book - I really appreciated the way that the author showed how important it is not to let yourself become so wrapped up in books that you become self-centred. This really was helpful for me to remember!!! However, once I got about 1/3 of the way through it, it did start becoming a bit long and waffly, as well as repetitive. I also found it a bit frustrating how, while there were some elements of gospel message in it, other actions taken by "Christians" in it contridicted their witness. For example, while I grew to love Miss Lillie's character and the way she shed light on the teachings of Jesus, at times she condoned actions such as lying based on the view that it was necessary for justice to be gained or for the greater good of the town. This did irritate me at times, and is why this book couldn't make more than 3 stars for me. Still, it is worth a read, particularly for any bookworms!!!

Quotes I loved from it:

“Librarians are serious people, seldomgiven to idle jocularity. The reason for this, I believe, is because we are overwhelmed by the enormous number of good books waiting to be read, leaving little time for frivolity. My personal list of must-read books presents a daunting challenge; I can't even imagine the pressure our head librarian must be under.”
Lynn Austin, Wonderland Creek 


“That's absurd," I said with a little laugh. "Nobody can read too much. That's like saying someone breathes too much.”
Lynn Austin, Wonderland Creek  
 

 “...Sometimes when people work for God, they get the idea that He should make their life all smooth and easy because they're doing His work...It ain't so. Jesus said life is gonna be hard. Period. He said if you're gonna follow Him, then you're gonna carry a cross, just like He did. This world of ours is under a curse, honey. We need to expect things to be bad. But even if we lose everything, we still have Jesus.”
Lynn Austin, Wonderland Creek


“Our trials are supposed to turn us toward God, but we whine and complain and wish someone would turn down the fire so we could have our old life back the way it was.”
Lynn Austin, Wonderland Creek 


“[God] wants us to work with Him, honey. Not for Him.”
Lynn Austin, Wonderland Creek  


“Ain't I been trying to tell you that you can't be holding grudges against people? Didn't you hear me say that? What do you think Jesus is gonna say if we come walking up to those pearly gates carrying a whole sackful of grievances and grudges on our backs? Jesus is gonna ask, What's that you toting on your back? Do you want to be opening that sack and showing Him all those ugly thing? He's dressed all in white and shining like the sun, and you're coming in with a load a hate in your your arms? Umm hmm. I can't imagine doing that.”
Lynn Austin, Wonderland Creek


Hope you enjoy reading it at some stage!

  

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

When the Results Aren't What You Hoped For

Today marks a very exciting day for many students here in New Zealand. For it was the day that we recieved our NCEA exam results, which determine our qualifications for our destination once we leave high school, whether that be university, a job or anything beyond! So of course it's quite important to many of us - particularly those who, like me, love to learn and can get quite carried away with trying to do our best.
Pinterest
Maybe it is not so surprising then that the Lord needed to teach me some hard lessons in pride today!!! For the previous year I got results which actually exceeded my expectations - the Lord was gracious there as I was going through a particularly difficult year and so that was a real blessing as it took some pressure off me. But over the course of the year it grew harder and harder to keep motivated in terms of serving the Lord through my work ethic, and yet as my results continued to remain high my pride only grew. So imagine my horror when I recieved my results today only to find that while I had not failed completely they were markedly worse than previous years!

Pinterest
How does one respond? I must say I had not contemplated properly until today the real struggle I had been having with pride in that area - I had simply tried to shrug it off and ignore it. While my results are such that I can still carry on with my plans for this year, I realise that I could easily have missed out.

To my utter surprise, however, I did not find myself in tears but rather the Lord enabled me to face today with a sense of peace that His will was being done, that this was happening for a reason, perhaps to teach me some well-needed lessons. For one thing, I was aware that I had not worked as hard last year as in previous years that would merit better results, indeed I was fortunate to do as well as I did! The Lord gently reminded me of this, and more besides, today.

I guess the point I'm trying to get across is that sometimes, when we do things, even when we try our hardest (as we should!) we don't get the results we would like, or even what we feel we would deserve. For instance, the production Daisy and I were orgnaising could easily have been a failure - the community may have shown no interest at all in it, or it may have never come together as well as it did, despite all our hard work. But you know what? I am slowly learning that whatever the outcome, the Lord's Soverign Will will ultimately prevail and He will turn it to His glory. Not that we shouldn't try - far from it, as trying our hardest is one of the best ways we can serve Him! - but rather that we need to be turning the attention away from our pride in our own abilities and rather seek to be serving Him and putting Him first in everything that we do. Then He can give us the grace to leave it in His hands to give us the outcome He sees fit, and have confidence that whatever happens, He will never abandon us. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, whoever you may be, please pray for me as I am really struggling to do this! Likewise, my prayer is that the Lord will help you as you seek to serve Him in your life and that He would help you to leave the outcome of things in His hands!

To close I will leave you with two verses that I believe emphasise that we need to be trusting in the Lord rather than ourselves and our own abilities:

    It is better to take refuge in the LORD
        than to trust in man.
(Psalm 118:8 ESV)


    Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
    (James 1:17 ESV)

Pinterest
And as an aside, thanks so much to all of you who encouraged me recently through this blog. Encouragements like that really make this blog feel worthwhile! It really is my prayer that this blog would be a place where young Christians like myself can go to be strengthened in their walk with Christ, and I'm so glad that many of you feel it is doing just that - it is truly humbling to see how the Lord uses even things that we consider insignificant for His glory! Please do let me know, however, if you ever disagree with something I say as these posts are merely the ponderings of young Christians who still have a lot to learn and the last thing I or any of the other authors on this blog ever want to do is lead anyone astray with wrong thinking! Test everything by Scripture, dear readers! :)

By the way, I have now created a Goodreads profile. I can be found under the name Violet at http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/16446359-violet. It is a really neat resource for keeping track of the books you are reading as well as finding out about other books you could read - I highly recommend you check it out! Below you can see an image of some of my current reads - it's really quite exciting!

Violet's bookshelf: currently-reading

Wonderland Creek Dombey and Son Decision Making and the Will of God: A Biblical Alternative to the Traditional View A Journey in Grace

More of Violet's books »

Book recommendations, book reviews, quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists

God bless and have lovely day!


Spectacular Sunsets

Around Christmas we experienced some spectacular sunsets and sunrises which I couldn't resist taking lots of photos of. I hope you like them and I thought I'd include some neat quotes which I've seen recently as well. Isn't God's creation amazing?

"Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tyre?" ~ Corrie Ten Boom

"Christianity doesn't change a person. Christ does." ~ anonymous
 
"The greatest joy of a Christian is to give joy to Christ." ~ Charles Spurgeon

"When we have nothing left but God, we discover that God is enough." ~ anonymous

"Nothing teaches us so much the preciousness of the Creator, as when we learn the emptiness of all besides." ~ Charles Spurgeon

 "The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian. But the fact that I am a Christian does make me a different kind of woman." ~ Elisabeth Elliot

 "When you can't forgive someone, pray for them. It may or may not change them, but it will always change you." ~ Andrew Pino

 "Whenever you surrender the most precious areas of your life to God, it's like trading in a pile of worthless pebbles for a truckload of precious jewels." ~ Leslie Ludy

 "Instead of using 'I'm Human' as an excuse to walk in the flesh, try using 'I'm Saved' as a reason to walk in the Spirit." ~ anonymous

 "To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you." ~ C.S. Lewis

 "Does it make sense to pray for guidance about the future if we are not obeying in the thing that lies before us today? How many momentous events in Scripture depended on one person's seemingly small act of obedience!" ~ Elisabeth Elliot

Just thought I'd include these two lovely pictures of my hometown. <3
I love the wind turbines in the distance. :)
"When you are going through something hard and wonder where God is remember the teacher is always quiet during a test. Trust in the Lord." ~ anonymous

"God changes caterpillers into butterflies, sand into pearls, and coal into diamonds using time and pressure. He's working on you too." ~ Rick Warren

"While you wake up today, someone is taking their last breath. Thank God for another day. Don't waste it." ~ anonymous

"Leave it all in the Hands that were wounded for you." ~ Elizabeth Elliot

"Grant that I may not pray with my mouth alone; help me that I may pray from the depths of my heart." ~ Martin Luther

"If you only pray when you're in trouble ... you're in trouble." ~ anonymous

"I have a great need for Christ; I have a great Christ for my need." ~ Charles Spurgeon

"Without God, our week would be: Sinday, Mournday, Tearsday, Wasteday, Thirstday, Fightday, Shatterday. Seven days without God ... makes one weak!" ~ anonymous

What can one do but worship God when one sees His amazing creation displayed in such a spectacular way? Do you prefer sunsets or sunrises? I must say, the last few photos were taken when I woke up really early one morning and was met with an array of colours in the sky. I LOVE sunrises!  :D

From,