Friday, March 30, 2012

My March Madness List!


It's that time of the month again!!  Today I have found all of my favorite links from around the web and compiled them into one MUST-SEE list for you to check out this weekend!  In honor of March Madness, I thought I would throw in a cutsie title to get your attention. ;) Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments too! :)

10Interview with an Athiest Video

9. One of the top posts you all pulled up from my archives: Let God Give Your Heart Away (still a great article apparently!)

8. Of course GWP would be on here again!  This post comes from a very honest place in a man's heart.  Very inspiring.  What a Man Wants From a Woman

7. New MUSIC you need to buy/download: The Torwalt's!! In my post Welcome the Holy SpiritI shared with you a video from Bryan and Katie Torwalt. After stalking them on YouTube, I'm convinced you need to buy the whole album: Here on Earth.

6. If you love arts and crafts--and Jesus journals as much as I do, you'll love this blog and post about creating a Spring Art Journal!  (Psstt...this is a hint of things to come on Divine Dating.)

5.  Exceptional weather?  No, I say an exceptional God!  Great perspective from a southern Oklahoman here!

4. If you haven't already, you need to go see the movie OCTOBER BABY!! (Review to come...)

3. As God has been speaking to me about "seasons" of life, this post fit perfectly into my heart this month.  Seasonal, by Seek First.

2. SARCASM.  The killer of closeness.  This is definitely a must read article by Donald Miller.  Everyone should take his challenge too!

1.  And the number one pick for March comes with an odd name but a mouthful of truth to chew on: Love is not a Hamburger, by Sweetness Itself.  This article covers all sorts of relevant topics in the Christian walk.  It is obvious to see that this girl is very passionate about what she writes.  Read it now!

Hope you enjoyed this month's countdown!  Leave some love below!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

My MisAdventures in the Third World

That's right. As in Nicaragua.

Last year, I was frustrated. I saw all my best friends taking these amazing yearly trips with their significant others-- Guatemala, Turks and Caicos, Bali...and I was mega jealous. I looove to travel, I finally have the means to do it, and I was sick of waiting for a dude to do it with. Then, S-bomb (fka "Tita Sue") popped up last summer and said, "Yo. Wanna go to surf and yoga camp in Nicaragua next spring?" 
Me: "Yep."
Done and done.
Our awesome friend Ruth had put together the whole thing and, when I'm not in charge, I just go with it. Plus, due to my hectic schedule I just hadn't bothered to do any research other than looking at the packing list [and then forgetting half of it]. I hurtled myself on a plane a few weeks ago and off I went to Managua. With a raging sinus infection, I might add. [Bonus!]
I got off into 90 degree weather feeling kinda crappy but was greeted by my nice driver.  I got into his car and asked "¿Cuantos minutos al Coco Loco?" (how many minutes to hotel Coco Loco?) His answer: "Dos horas y media." 
Umm...2.5 hours??? 
¡Dios mio!
This is where some research would have prepped me for that. Oopsie.
But I slept most of the way there and enjoyed the ride.  I got there at sunset, just in time for the rest of the girls to greet me. I was a day late because I had stayed to go to a wedding with you-know-who. [Good idea at the time.]
Anyway- 
S-bomb was there to show me our cabin and the lay of the land.  It was far more rustic than I had anticipated, however, as I adapted, I realized it was a very NICE rustic. Extremely well taken care of, with sprawling grounds and gorgeous views of the ocean.
The biggest shock: 
The outhouse.

But wait- let's back that booty up a sec.
El Coco Loco is a beautiful and unique  
place that is eco-friendly. Which is very intelligent in a country where the power just randomly goes out for a few hours every now and again. Now, I've used an outdoor toilet before. However not one that has no water and doesn't flush. Nope, this baby is straight up COMPOST. 
Yes, kind of a shock at first (once again, lack of research + idiocy on my part). Until you later realize it's the least smelly bathroom you've ever used! 
And how brilliant to feel like your waste is not going to waste! [hee hee]. Plus the staff and people that run the joint are just top-notch. Lovely people who aren't just beach bums-- no no, my friends. This lot is extra-amazing and not just because they're all pretty easy on the ojos. But they are committed to giving back to the community.  Not only can they drive down the dirt road and address all the local neighbors (and their roosters) by name, but they have done amazing things like BUILD A SCHOOL and give the area children a place to play and learn 2x a week, all through their Waves Of Hope program.  Totally awesome. Completely inspiring.
Speaking of inspiring, did I mention that I SURFED??!?! 
Talk about things I filed in the "probably never able to do" category! But when you have an incredible teacher and support crew, I guess anything is possible. 
Enter: Holly Beck
Surf instructor extraordinaire, Holly, is the one who puts the whole enchilada together. Her surf and yoga retreats, Suave Dulce, offer women (and the occasional dude) a unique adventure that allows you to take whatever you want from the experience. Holly is not only funny and California chillaxed, but her calm-yet-thorough style of teaching is undoubtedly what got all of us first-timers (like moi!) up on our boards and actually riding waves. And the chicks who had surfed before saw noticeable changes and improvements in their skills. How could you not from someone who not only teaches but stands on the beach jumping up and down cheering for you when you get up?  I mean really, what could be better than that kind of positive reinforcement?!  Plus, wouldn't you want to take lessons from someone who can do this:
She's got many "circus tricks" as she calls them, but this one was pretty epic to watch. Especially when you're out there trying to figure out how to simply STAND up on the surfboard without breaking your entire body. 
And, even though Holly does pretty much all activities with the amigas, as she refers to us, it's not all fun and games. She takes her role as teacher quite seriously. How so? The first day out, I noticed a video camera set up on the beach. I assumed maybe they took some footage of some good waves for us [assuming we caught them!] and that was part of the whole package. Turns out, Holly  tapes us surfing every day, combs through ALL the video, and then reviews it with each of us individually almost every day at breakfast, so we can see what we're doing wrong, right and areas for improvement. What an amazing tool! That bit of extra effort and care was such an unexpected bonus and greatly appreciated by all. 
Look, Mom! I'm SURFING!
It's Holly, her attitude, the entire vibe of all the staff at El Coco Loco, (shout out to Jamie!) that made this experience so completely unique and wonderful. Oh, and did I mention crazily, epically, FUN?? 
Holly rooting me on as I ride a "giant" in.



Sonny, yours truly, and Holly 








Even our daily yoga class, atop a lofted, breezy cabana with views of the serene ocean just felt like blissful relaxation, as opposed to "exercise." It also helps to have an incredibly rad yoga teacher, like Cydney Gurvich.


Me n' fave Brit chick, Jinx
If you need further proof, see my all-time fave pic from the trip. That's Holly on the right-- perfect herkie and all. Hollaaahh!
Did I mention that the trip also included a little thing called VOLCANO BOARDING
Apparently, it's #2 on CNN's "bucket list." You basically hike your ass up a 1,000ft volcano, Cierra Negro, whilst carrying your board [think: sled]. Once at the top, dressed like a crazy, shrouded Hazmat scientist, you proceed to sled down. 
Me n' the amigas at the base...
before we knew what we were in for.
Sunday driver.
For some, as fast as possible.  A dude at the bottom is actually holding a radar gun so you can know how fast you're going. The record is 87mph. I somehow got stuck and went a whopping 10mph. [Ugh]. However the ever-adventurous Holly Beck has made several attempts to break the record. Unfortunately, she ended up breaking her ankle instead. 

This is some serious stuff people!
But what an awesome experience. What a view. What a rush. Well, for some people who went more than 10 mph.[Still bitter]. 
The magical week of what I began referring to as "Adult summer camp" was rounded out by getting to ride horses on the beach at sunset. And, even though I'm from Texas and have ridden many a horse, I've never gotten to RUN on a horse. 
Oh man, what a rush! 
Holly said to wear long socks. I took that memo.
It's windy as a mofo!

Pic by Cydney Gurvich
Me & Crazy Eyes Killer
Here I am with my horse. I named him Crazy Eyes Killer. He did not like me. At. All.


So I could keep going on and on about this uniquely special experience, but really--y'all should just go there and experience it for yourselves. I'll leave you with some more pics and a supa' awesome {video} that Holly put together. Too bad vanity has prevented me from posting on Facebook, but I'll let you guys in!

Sonny and her "sturdy" board


The inimitable Holly Beck

Another bit of Cydney's magic!

With mejor amiga, Sue. And, killer dogs.

Amazing French resto, Al Cielo.

Me n' mini Ruth! ummm- Who's pale?

My awesome surf amigas and Coco Loco staff!

Ahhh...Pura Nica!



Dating: A Chess Game


Chess: A never ending game 
full of different types of players.

Dating: A never ending game full 
of different types of players.

Wow. Thats uncanny.

For those of you unfamiliar with chess we will explain it in laymans terms.

Piece: Pawn (there’s about 8 of them)
Moves: One space forward.

These little guys are the One Date Wonders. 
Easily disposable.

Piece: Knight
Moves: In a crazy “L” shape.

Be careful. These are not Knights in Shining Armor.
 (Now start singing the song that never ends)

“These are the boyfriends that never end. 
     You just go on and on as friends”

You think you would know their game plan by now but they never cease to surprise you with random texts, an occasional icecream date or hints of a DTR.

Piece: Bishop
Moves: Only diagonal.

Bless their hearts. These are the “Tuesday Tennis” boys. They call you every Tuesday for tennis but got stuck in this rut of creativity and can never seem to promote you to “Saturday Night Girl”.

Piece: Rook
Moves: Straight forward.

Don’t confuse these ones with Rookies. Rooks know what they want. Just like the chess piece they are very forward. And fast. They move from step A to Z in a matter of weeks. Sounds appealing right? But you can’t help feeling like you’re a piece in their chess game.

Piece: Queen
Moves: Any direction.

This is you. You are the most powerful piece in this game. You can knock out any other piece on the board any time you’d like. But don’t get so “queen bee” happy that you end up booting every piece off the board. Keep your options open.  

Piece: King
Moves: One space in any direction.

The pursuit of the King is the reason for this blog.
Once you get the King, game over. You graduate from the SpinsterHOOD.

May the odds ever be in your favor,

Gertrude and Charlotte

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spiritual Gift Testimonies: Exhortation

As we continue our journey through spiritual gifts, today's post features a wonderful woman whom I respect very much.  Much like me, she has a heart for women and spreading the gospel.  She lives in a gorgeous home with a wonderful husband and several joyful children who love her dearly!  For more about today's author, check out her blog, A Heart Consumed.


"Exhortation & faith run hand in hand for me as far as spiritual gifts go. To be quite honest how could they not, in my opinion. I discovered these gifts became more & more present when I began to seek the Lord with my whole heart. Sorta like the by-product of my relationship with Him. The more I sought the Lord the more I felt compelled to exhort & I had the faith as well to do this no matter the situation.

 I realize now after several years of operating in God’s truth that the ability to “come along side”  someone with with words of encouragement and counsel to help them be all God wants them to be is a gift (Romans 12:8) and so was the ability to believe God was capable.(faith).

 The Greek word for exhortation is paraklesis or the calling to one’s side. I enjoy this gift & have learned the importance of keeping it in balance. When you are gifted with exhortation it is easy to get sucked into the chaos of others. I say this out of love. 

There are times when you offer yourself so much to others that you may be out of balance with the most important God-given relationships such as a spouse & children if you are married or a parent. Possibly with your parents or even closest friends.

 It is important to exhort where God leads you,to be realistic when you see that the receiver is beginning to turn to you as their source instead of them seeking God for themselves. Always gently remind those you are exhorting that Jesus death on the Cross bought them all that they would ever need in life to live victoriously. We are simply allowing God to use as His vessels when we utilize our giftings!"


If you think Exhortation may be one of your main spiritual gifts, check out this website for more details: http://mintools.com/gifts-list.htm#exhortation

Monday, March 26, 2012

Spiritual Gift Testimonies: Servanthood

Today's post starts our examination of each individual gift.  This post is from a wonderful woman I have always admired in the faith.  She is a 23 year old from a very, very small town in southwestern Oklahoma.  She is very involved with her campus ministry, leading bible studies and discipling young college girls.  She also has volunteered her summer break the past few years to serve at a evangelical camp for youth students.

Ann's gift is servanthood.  Here is how she explains it:

"Servanthood--- To me this is the willingness and the desire to serve, to meet, the physical, emotional, mental and most of all spiritual needs of others. This is not a task that one can do on their own. This can only be done by the power of God.

Everyone is called to serve in one way or another, but when this ability is something that comes natural or comes without even thinking about it, it is then that I see it as a gift from God.

Daily there are things that need to be done in the lives of others, but it is being able to discern what those things are and seeing the tools you have been equipped with to accomplish those task that need to occur.

Ultimately you are not doing the work, it is God doing the work through you. Listening to someone can be an act of service to someone in need of a listening ear.

We all serve but it is when service is done with the sole purpose of glorifying God and the desire to truly help someone that it is servanthood."

Do you think this might be your main gift?  Check out this guide to studying servanthood: http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/~sdsunavs/resources/Servanthood.pdf

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Boy Garage Sale


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Big news: Stella the vintage bike sold!
A foxy Spinster bought her and I hope their first few weeks together have been magical.

However, after selling Stella I realized I went about selling her all the wrong way.

I was reading an article in the newspaper about how a girl sold her bike on Craigslist and an eligible young bachelor came to check it out. Turns out he was checking out a lot more than the bike because the two got married.

WHAT THE HECK?!

Here I had an excellent chance of finding a husband and I totally blew it. But I’m not sure I would want to date a guy who wanted to buy my red cruiser bike.

This whole sell-your-stuff-to-get-married thing has got me thinking though.

I need to start holding male focused garage sales.

I think I’ll start by selling:


P90X dvds...


















How to: Duct Tape Origami booklets....



















A portable ping pong set...
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Fork/knife chopsticks...




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Penny cufflinks with personalized year...
















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This freaky bird made out of power tools...
A tie made out of wood...


A geek clock (this will reel in the engineers baby!)














A skateboard stool...










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A face mug...







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Recycled record bookends...














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Only one problem. I don’t own a single manly thing. Which means I will have to buy them. And then re-sell them.

This is starting to seem like a lot of work. Maybe I’ll just try flat ironing my hair instead.

Stay classy,
Charlotte

p.s. If you really do want to buy these things just click the (*) next to every pic and it will take you to the mother ship of weird gifts. :)