Date Night for Haiti

When I heard that a huge earthquake had hit Haiti, I knew I had to do something. In my mind, it wasn't a matter of whether or not I would do something- it was just a matter of what I would do. See, I'm the person who loves to plan stuff...or at least I think I do. I searched the internet for fundraiser ideas and didn't find much. Family movie night? No... Bake sale? No... Babysitting fundraiser? Hey, you have an idea there... Within a few days, I was getting preparing for 'Date Night for Haiti.' - An event that would be planned and run by teens where parents could drop their kids off for an evening of babysitting. All the proceeds would go to Compassion's Haiti Relief program. Little did I know just how much behind the scenes work goes into an event like this. I talked to a couple girls in my small group about it, and they were so excited. Over the next month, they would become my team- They were such a big blessing to me! We had to plan for three different age groups, get babysitters for each room, get parents to sign their kids up, get rooms at our church to hold the event in, etc., etc., etc. Wow! All that planning left me extremely tired and anxious. I finally realized that I just had to let go of that anxiety and give it up to God. "Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you." Things got easier and I learned a lot as I went through the process. We made a few mistakes along the way, but nothing we couldn't fix. Last night was the event. We raised even more than I had hoped for and the kids had a blast. God orchestrated the event so perfectly- While planning the event, I would have said that my title was "coordinator"...but I wasn't really the coordinator- God was!

Why did I write about this? Well, partly to vent my thoughts- this is like my journal! Also, I want to inspire other teen girls to do big things. Date Night for Haiti started out as three young teen girls with a dream- and ended better than I could ever imagine. America's expectations of teenagers are so low. We're not supposed to care. And if we do care, we're not supposed to do anything about it. We're supposed to act "cool" and live only for #1. Well, that's not the way I want to live, and I'm sure you don't either. 1 Timothy 4:12 says, "Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity." We young people are supposed to be an EXAMPLE- even to those older than we are. I just want to encourage you that if God leads you to do something big, He will carry you through it. If I was to say that we got through Date Night for Haiti on our own, I would be kidding myself. Philippians 1:6 says, "He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Well, that doesn't exactly apply to the point I was trying to prove...but if God starts something in you, He's going to finish it! Don't worry- you can do it...because God is standing there right beside you.



I'm excited to inform you ladies that I am going to attempt to start our first e-magazine. There will be a great variety of articles, reviews, recipes, ideas, and more. One thing we need to start our e-magazine is interaction from our readers- if you would like to submit an article, idea, recipe, or any question you might have for us, PLEASE feel free to comment on this post. Then, your comment will be carefully considered for the first ever Above Rubies e-magazine!

P.S. - Sorry for the inconvenience of having to post a comment instead of sending an email. The last time I posted my email address, spam mail started filling my inbox. If you are concerned about your privacy, please make your comment anonymous.


A Bosom Friend

"Marilla," she demanded presently, "do you think that I shall ever have a bosom friend in Avonlea?"

"A--a what kind of friend?"

"A bosom friend--an intimate friend, you know--a really kindred spirit to whom I can confide my inmost soul. I've dreamed of meeting her all my life. I never really supposed I would, but so many of my loveliest dreams have come true all at once that perhaps this one will, too. Do you think it's possible?"

From Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Ever since I first met Anne Cuthbert in the world of Avonlea, I have dreamed of having a bosom friend- someone who I can tell anything to and confide my deepest secrets in. Someone who is completely loyal to me. Someone who will be my friend forever.

Recently, though, I realized that dream probably wasn't coming true anytime soon. My friends had come and gone over the years. Some of us just grew apart naturally, some moved away, and more recently, some rejected me because I chose and different path than they. Being a set apart girl is...difficult. Not many other girls like you come your way. Sure, I have a few good friends...who live states away. And in town, I have some friends in my church small group. But there's just not that bosom friend- who I can always be with, talk to, and share my heart with.

For a while, this really hurt me. I felt like no one besides my family valued me, which made me feel...worthless! I thought there must be something wrong with me. Why else would everyone "hate" me? However, over the past few years, I have slowly but surely learned a lesson I hope never to forget. It was one of those lessons I have heard ever since I was a little girl, but never really sunk in:

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. - Proverbs 18:24

Now, in this verse, the word "companion" means: Another, friend, fellow- kind of like a buddy. It even says that it means it in a weaker sense. You know, just a "chum".

But the word "friend" (referring to Jesus) means: To love, a lover, to delight in something, the eager pursuit of something, God's love for man.

It also says that this friend "sticks" closer than a brother- "Sticks" mean to cling or adhere to. It comes from a root than means to cleave, stay close

Jesus is our lover. Our dear friend who will always stay close to us. He delights in us and we delight in him. When we do not delight in Him, He eagerly pursues us. Jesus is our forever friend and no earthly friend will satisfy us as much as He will. He will be forever loyal to us, He will be forever with us, and He is forever listening to our cries. Jesus deeply loves us. He is our FRIEND. He is my bosom friend and my "lovliest dreams" have come true.


Cake Decorating- Easy as 123!

About a year ago, I took a cake decorating course at Michael's craft store and failed...miserably. I got crumbs from the cake in my frosting (the frosting that was full of transfats, that is), I couldn't make a good rose for the life of me, and I just...hated it! However, recently I've been watching Cake Boss on tlc.com and I've been inspired. A lot of progress has been made in the world of cake decorating. Now, more often than not, decorators use fondant for decorating instead of icing. It is very similar to clay and can be used to cover a cake and give it a clean finish or make figures and add decals. I'm the kind of person who, once I get something in my mind, HAS to do it!

One afternoon, the urge became overwhelming. I searched the internet and quickly found a great cake recipe (add an extra egg for a custard flavor), a buttercream frosting recipe, and even an easy fondant recipe! I decided to make all of my stuff from scratch because store-bought frosting and cake mix both have transfats and fondant is hard to find and very expensive. All of the recipes were very easy to follow and didn't require any really weird ingredients.

Once I baked my mini cakes (Wilton) , fondant, and frosting, I shaved off the uneven tops of the cakes and turned them upside down. That is a technique I learned in my decorating class that is very useful. Next, I frosted and decorated my cakes. The first cake I made was a "lion cake." I made it for a little friend of ours who loves lions and LOVES birthday cake! :)

I frosted the cake with chocolate frosting- I just added some cocoa powder to the vanilla frosting I had already made, plus some brown gel food coloring (Wilton). Gel food coloring is handy because you don't have to use as much and still get a bold, rich color. Next, I made the orange face out of fondant and dropped it on the cake. I couldn't believe it actually worked!! I also made the nose out of fondant, coloring it with gel food coloring. I made the mouth, eyes, and whiskers with black frosting I bought in a tube from Wilton. You can put any Wilton tip on the top of the frosting tube, so I would recommend getting black, even though it's expensive. It's kind of hard to make black frosting! Next, I piped chocolate frosting around the face and the bottom to make the lion hairy (and hide some rough edges!). Our little friend loved the cake and thought it was delicious!

Coming soon...



5 Minute "Natural" Face

Top 10 makeup products:

  1. Mineral powder- Takes off the shine. Apply on the forehead and nose. Make sure it matches your skin tone!
  2. Stick concealer- I use this under my eyes because I have dark circles. But it's also good for covering up the occasional pimple. :)
  3. Neutral tone eyeshadow- I use cream, beige, and brown. You can usually find all three in the same pack. For a brighter looking eye, apply cream under the eyebrow and in the inner corner of the eyes. Apply beige across the entire eyelid area. Apply brown in the crease of the eye.
  4. Blush/bronzer- I have a mix- it looks very natural. Not too tan, not to rosy.
  5. Eyelash curler- Curler? Crimper? I'm not sure- but it makes your eyelashes look longer. If you use one of these, you don't even need mascara.
  6. Black or clear mascara- Clear mascara does not streak. Even waterproof black mascara does- but it does make for a more defined lash. (Oh goodness, I'm starting to sound all fashiony. :D)
  7. Sheer lip gloss- MUCH more natural than lipstick!
  8. Daily face wash- Wash your face every morning and night to maintain a clear complexion.
  9. Aveeno SPF lotion- Apply lotion after washing your face to keep your face moist. Make sure your lotion contains SPF to protect you from the sun- yes, even in winter!
  10. A variety of brushes- Apply blush, bronzer, eye shadow, and powder with brushes for a natural feel.

Faith and Farmers

Joy in God. It's commanded. (Psalm 37:4) (Philippians 4:4) It's promised. (Job 22:26) And it's given freely in God's good timing. However, recently, I have found myself lacking that joy. For several months, I had experienced a rich season of faith. I truly delighted in the Lord and felt very close to Him. It became easier and easier to talk to Him...and listen. I really felt like I was in love with God. But during winter break, I failed to talk to Him daily and read His Word. I found little interest in our relationship. When I tried to return to my daily devotional routine, I found it extremely difficult to express my thoughts or even find the determination to open the Bible for a word of encouragement. I have not made it out of this spiritual rut yet. It is very discouraging. Once I had a taste of that great Joy, I became hungrier for it. Now I feel that it is almost missing altogether. But God is slowly bringing me back to Him.

I just started reading John Piper's When I don't Desire God. At first, it was just as frustrating as everything else I've tried. For some reason, I just could not understand the concepts. You see, Piper talks about how we must fight for joy in God...but at the same time, we must allow God to do the work in us. This just did not make sense to me. I feel that fighting is something violent or harsh. How could I balance that with letting God do his part? I was so discouraged that I almost put down the book. Then, one day, God began moving as He always does. While my mom and brother were doing a devotional together, I overheard my mom saying that you should always pray before you delve into the Word. Hm...I had not been doing that. The next morning during my Bible study, I prayed before opening my book- Lord, open my eyes to see what You would have me see in this book. Help me to understand clearly what I need to understand. Speak to me through this book. God had a little somethin' to say to me:

We are like farmers. They plow the flied and plant the seed and cut away weeds and scare away crows, but they do not make the crop grow. God does. He sends rain and sunshine and brings to maturity the hidden life of the seed. We have our part. But it is not coercive or controlling. And there will be times when the crops fail. Even then God has his ways of feeding the farmer and bringing him through a lean season.

Oh my! This makes perfect sense to me. We must do our part and invest ourselves in our relationships with Him. But He is the one who will finally bring us the joy. If we do not read our Bibles, pray, go to church and really dig deep, true joy in God is not going to happen. But if it is not His will for us to have that joy quite yet, it's not going to happen yet either. God has everything perfectly laid out. We just have to do our parts while we wait for Him.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!


When I Don't Desire God

It's one of the best Christian books I've ever read. I've folded down at least 5 pages (and I don't like to fold pages). And every page is filled with encouraging messages from God through the amazing work of John Piper. When I Don't Desire God is full of little bits of wisdom that I would like to share with you this evening. The book is about fighting for true joy in God- something that the Bible COMMANDS, but that we often forget to do. Even though in church we are cheerful, there is not often a fight for true, earnest delight in our Creator. These quotes have really been a blessing to me:

The following quote makes me wonder what I can do (or rather, what I can allow God to do) in my life to have that true love and passion for God.

"How sweet all at once it was for me to be rid of those fruitless joys which I had once feared to lose...! You drove them from me, you who are the true, the sovereign joy. You drove them from me and took their place, you who are sweeter than all pleasure, though not to flesh and blood, you who outshine all light, yet are hidden deeper than any secret in our hearts, you who surpass all honor, though not in the eyes of men who see all honor in themselves...O Lord my God, my Light, my Wealth, and my Salvation." - Augustine

This is a reminder that God loves us and really wants us to find joy in Him- He does not want us to live an empty existence.

"Would it not be an encouragement to a subject, to hear his prince say to him, You will honor and please me very much, if you will go to yonder mine of gold , and dig as much gold for yourself as you can carry away? So, for God to say, Go to the ordinances, get as much grace as you can, dig out as much salvation as you can; and the more happiness you have, the more I shall count myself glorified." - Thomas Watson

"Pleasures are shafts of glory as it strikes out sensibility...But aren't thre bad, unlawful pleasures? Certainly there are. But in calling them "bad pleasures" I take it we are using a kind of shorthand. We mean "pleasures snatched by unlawful acts." It is the stealing of the apples that is bad, not the sweetness. The sweetness is still a beam from the glory...I have tried since...to make every pleasure inot a channel of adoration. I don't mean simply by giving thanks for it. Once must of course give thanks, but I meant something different...Gratitude exlaims, very properly, "How good of God to give me this." Adoration says, "What must be the quality of that Being whose far-off and momentary coruscations are like this!" One's mind runs back up the sunbeam to the sun...If this is Hedonism, it is also a somewhat arduous discipline. But it is worth some labour." - C.S. Lewis

"Esteeming God less than anything is the essence of evil." - John Piper


An idea...

Hey, Girls! Who would be interested in having a monthly e-zine on Above Rubies? I've seen other sites similar to ours do it- why shouldn't we do it too? Also, with the beginning of the e-zine, we would start an advice column.

Comment on this post to let us know if you'd be interested in an e-zine or comment anonymously with an advice question!