Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Staying Pure in College: A Guest Post

Today's guest post is contributed by Angelita Williams, who writes on the topics of online courses. Besides blogging, she loves to travel, listen music and spending time with pets. She welcomes your comments at her email Id:

Dating in College: How I Kept My Virginity 
Growing up my parents always stressed the importance of maintaining one's virginity until marriage. It was sinful to do otherwise. That's not to say that Christians who choose have sexual relationships out of wedlock won't get into the pearly gates of heaven. I'm just reinitiating why, since I hit puberty, I planned to keep my virginity intact. Not to mention I was terrified of pregnancy and STDS.

In high school, even with all of these new "racing hormones," I managed to successfully keep my promise to myself and God. But I was never really "tested," if you will—I didn’t have a boyfriend, so the possibility of getting intimate with someone wasn't even really a concern. But when I attended my local state college, the circumstances changed. I was miles away, living unsupervised. I attended parties frequently where alcohol was always accessible; and I started finally dating— something that is extremely hard to do in the "hookup" college culture. While my college years made it a lot harder to keep my promise, I'm proud to say that I earned my diploma with my virginity still in place. To learn how I did this, continue reading below.

1. Have the Talk up Front
I was a late bloomer. I really didn’t grow into my features until the summer right before my first semester of college, so I was thoroughly surprised by all of the new attention I got from men on campus. Since I had only been on a few dates in the past, I accepted most of the invitations I received. I figured that if a man was brave enough to approach me, the least I could do was agree to a slice of pizza. But I learned early on that most college aged men have ulterior motives Simply put, most just wanted my "cookie." But I had a method for weeding out the toads from the princes. I'd simply talk about my faith and my choice to wait until marriage early on in the relationship, it usually came up no later than the second date. 

There were three types of men that I encountered after having a conversation like this: 1) The Runner—He'll say 'that's cool' but then never call back again (good you don't want to date a person like that anyway). 2) The Pretender—He'll act like he respects your decision  to wait but really just sees it as a "challenge" (he'll convince you to give it up late he thinks) and 3) The Understander—he authentically respects your decision and still wants to continue seeing you. To get a better look at each type of guy and learn how to deal with them, we move on to the next tip—

2. Don’t Put Yourself in "Tempting" Situations
Now it's hard to be able to tell The Pretender from The Understander initially. After all, The Pretender will pretty much make it seem like everything is cool—but he'll only keep up the act for a while. If you stand your ground The Pretender will become frustrated and lose interest. Problem solved. The Understander, on the other hand, may respect your decision, but he's still human. The two of you may be doing some heavy petting and then get "caught up in the moment." The easiest way to prevent anything from "happening" is to learn how to prevent yourself from being in "tempting" situations that could lead to sex. This means stopping when things get too hot and heavy, not sleeping in the same bed (especially with your clothes off or in skimpy lingerie—if wearing "granny panties" will stop you from stripping, so be it), standing your ground when he tries to say oral sex is not the same as real sex, or drinking alcohol around your date since it clouds judgment. Alcohol is also one of the leading causes for one night stands; how tragic would it be to lose your virginity to some frat guy you just met? Know your limits.

3. Keep Yourself Active
Last but not least, you don't ever want to be "consumed" with the new guy you're dating.  Make sure to have your own life and do your own thing. Stay active. If the two of you are attached to the hip and you seclude yourself from the rest of your friends, it makes it feel like you're a married couple and may convince you that "it's time." But don't let this feeling fool you: you're not actually married. Doing your own thing from time to time and keeping yourself busy is a beautiful thing and will help you keep your promise—both academically and religiously.

Keeping your virginity can be a challenge, but if it's something that is truly important to you, it can be done. 


What do you think about Angelita's post?  Can you relate with her struggles and victories?  Do you have your own advice you'd like to share?  Comment below or email me at  

Monday, May 28, 2012

Loving Through Gifts-pt. 2

Today's post is from a wonderful young woman that you may have heard of before.  Last September I ran a series of posts telling her story of dating, finding Christ, and breaking barriers.  You can find that series here. (When you get to the end of that post click "newer post" to go through the entire series.)

As you can imagine, Alisson has came a very long way since September.  I have had the joy of watching her grow and blossom, and because of this I asked her to share with us insight on her love language..GIFTS!  Check it out below.

"Anyone close to me can tell what my love language is. It’s not necessarily a love that someone has to search for. My love language is blatantly obvious. I love people by giving gifts! Often love languages can almost be genetic by being passed down by the ones you love or look up to. I received mine from my nana who shares the same love by giving gifts as well.

I discovered my love language probably about six months ago. I never knew there was a test one could take to discover how you love others. However, discovering it and containing it are not the same at all. You can still obtain a gift or love language without realizing what it is.

 I soon discovered my love language after I made Jesus Lord over my life. As for those around me, once I discovered my love language it didn’t come to shock them. I love people!! I always have. But once I started loving people as Jesus does, my love language grew exponentially.

I love to give presents!! I love to surprise people and show them I care about them. Due to the fact that I pay close attention to details, I plan in advance. For most people I know what I’m getting them months in the future. The person on the receiving side has to know without a shadow of doubt that I care about them. I often buy things for people for no reason at all. 

Some of my friends get frustrated, but I’m thinking about them and it’s how I show them my love. I would much rather be on the giving end than the receiving end however. I’ve been blessed beyond words and I just want to share it with anyone around me. I love the exhilarating feeling of putting a smile on others faces. It’s often a way that I encourage people.

Taking it further…
As I just stated, my love language comes from giving gifts. However, I've come to realize giving comes in different forms depending on the person. 

The explanation of the word giving encompasses many of the other love languages as well. As I mentioned before, giving can be used as encouragement!

I’ve soon discovered when loving someone, for it to mean anything to them it has to be done in their love language. Giving gifts might be my strong suit, but ultimately that might be not what they need. 

When loving someone, it needs to be done in their love language to grasp the full effect. That’s when people really know you care, because it’s not about the one showing the love anymore. The focus switches to the one you’re trying to love.

Giving can also mean giving time up and making yourself available to the ones that need you. If you don’t search deeper beyond fights people might not understand how you’re trying to love them. They might start to think your just trying to love them by swiping a card and then.

What are your thoughts on this language? 
 Do you see some of this in yourself, or a friend?
Perhaps this is your main language for receiving love...

Friday, May 25, 2012

Loving Through Gifts-pt.1

Do you love to share gifts with people?  Perhaps you feel the need to buy things for people when you are out and about throughout your day.  Well, today's post is from a brilliant young woman who loves through gifts, and loves well.  I have a big heart for her, and I think you will too after hearing her heart for giving.  Here is Katherine's story.

"My love language would definitely be... gifts! I love giving people presents, and picking things out for people. Gifts can let people know that you’re thinking about them, and pay attention to them. Every time I get someone a present for a holiday or birthday, I ALWAYS end up giving it to them like, 2 weeks early because I’m so excited for them to have it. 

I love getting gifts as well, but I am so shy I hate opening them in front of people! If I am in a room by myself though, and there’s a present just waiting for me, I’m all over it!

 My second result was words of affirmation. I love hearing people tell me they love me. One new thing I have been trying to do often is telling people how much I appreciate them – and I’m really enjoying that! You never know what some simple words can do to change a person’s day. Some people’s love languages is definitely NOT words though, and feel uncomfortable when people shower them with praise, so I try not to go overboard. 

When I told my mom about how I was writing this post for Haley, she told me something that I find so cool. She had 5 kids – 2 boys, then 3 girls. I’m the youngest of them. She read the love languages book when she had her first couple kids. She said that each of her 5 kids had each of the 5 love languages – how cool is that? We are all so different. 

She said she discovered what we each were from the time we were little. It started when she miscarried after her fourth child. She said she was in pain, and her three oldest kids showed her so much love in their own way. 

The oldest was always doing things for her like taking out the trash, and cleaning up messes – hospitality. The next was always saying “I love you, mom. I love you” – words of affirmation. And the third child was always there for her and with her – quality time. The fourth was too young, and I was yet to be born. As we grew though, she figured my sister and I out as well. My fourth sibling was a “clinger”, as my mom put it. She was always hanging on to her leg, and hugging – touch.

 And me, I was always bringing her things. I would go pick weeds from the yard and bring some to her every fay, because I thought they were pretty flowers. She said if I found a puppy, I would force my mom to take it, because I was trying to show her my love by giving her things. 

Our love languages all continue to shine through in the same ways today. God did an amazing thing with my family, and I am so beyond unbelievably blessed to have such loving brothers, sisters, and in-laws, too. I think I could continue for so long about this, but I think I reached my word limit. (; Thank you Haley for allowing me to write this – it really forced me to think about it all more closely and I am so glad!"

How cool it is to think that God can give each of us different ways of loving each other.
I'm sure Katherine's mom has learned so much about being versatile in giving and receiving love throughout her years of family raising.  This is an interesting concept in itself...learning to give and receive for others benefits.  Thanks Katherine!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Loving Through Time

Today's post is from one of my dearest friends.  Perhaps this wonderful woman and I have such a close friendship because we share the same primary love langugage.  Jamie and I can easily sit and talk for four hours at a time, without even noticing the clock!  That's what kind of lover she is. 

You may recognize her name and writing style from some of her former guest posts: Stop Searching, Jamie's Post, and Just Because He is a Man of God... Here is her spill on quality time!


"HI! My name is Jamie Lynn and I am a friend of Haley Hoover. I am blessed by her friendship all the time! This past week she talked to me about my love languages and why I felt like these were so important in my life. 

My main love language is Quality time! I love it. Quality Time is time truly spent one on one. That means TV off, radio off, all tasks on standby. This kind of time spent face-to-face talking just brings so much joy to me. It’s not a selfish thing because I get joy talking about other people equally if not more than I do talking about myself. It just shows someone loves me if they really set aside time to spend with me… really spend with me. 

I’m not a fan of watching a movie where you don’t say anything but you are sitting right next to each other! I love sitting and having lunch with people. I’m not a fan of surface conversation and love to spend hours having deep talks with people. There is nothing that makes me more refreshed then a few hours with my close friends just talking about God! I don’t know what it is about it but it just makes me so happy to spend time with people. 

I believe that this is the ultimate way that I receive love. I know someone cares about me when they text me an encouraging word, I know someone loves me when they set aside time to hang out with me. I love when people make plans with me to just sit and chill. To just talk… not have to go anywhere… just talk. I love it. I love when someone puts time aside to dig into my heart and find out what really makes me, me! 

Though I am single, knowing my love language is extremely helpful when it comes to friendships and knowing what it is that makes me really enjoy people. I believe quality time is one of the more overlooked love languages. I think that this is just because people can see words of affirmation, service, physical touch, and gifts. People can’t necessarily define or show how to appropriately love a quality time lover!

 I know this first hand watching my sister and my brother-in-law interact. My sister is a quality time love receiver, while my brother-in-law is a service love receiver. It has been influential to me to see how they interact and have learned over the years how to love each other well through their love languages.

It has been extremely beneficial to me to see and learn how to love people who have different love languages. I feel it is extremely important and beneficial that people learn their love language and try to learn their friends and families love languages to know how to better love the people that are special to them." 

God Bless Y’all,
Jamie Lynn 


Do you think this might be your main love language?
 I can tell I have this primary language because I feel very disrespected when people use their cell phones while eating lunch with me.  Perhaps you can relate?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Knee Slappin' Good Deal!

Soo..Jessie and I were out and about yesterday afternoon because we had the day off from working wheat harvest.  We went to some of the local gift shops in search of a cute gift for my friend who just graduated.  After finding a cute little gift we piddled around at several other local shops where we stumbled upon this gorgeous teal chair.

Jessie was in love with it the minute she saw it, instantly dreaming up ideas for her future photography business. As we were gawking over it and checking it out, I reached for the price tag and discovered it was on sale...for $20!  We couldn't believe it, so we asked the clerk.  Sure enough the price was right and we said we'd take it!

Unfortuntely, neither of us drive a truck, but we had my little sports car with us so that's what we used!  The guy in the store was nice enough to let us borrow some rope and strap it down for us!

#2. You might be a redneck if you haul furniture with your trunk open.

Holla fo' 20 dollas!

Our first piece of furniture and we didn't even break a 50!  I'm pretty excited about this!  Stay tuned for more adventures of the blue chair!

Monday, May 21, 2012

You Might Be a Redneck If...

I'm beginning a series of posts titled "You made a Redneck if..."  This series is gonna be based on the true life story of my friend Jessie and I as we live together this summer in a redneck-hippie like fashion.  Here's the first one for today's post.

#1.  You might be a Redneck if you have a cardboard table for a dinning room table.

Intro: The Five Love Languages

In 1992 an author named Gary Chapman published a book called "The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate."  Today the book has sold over 6 million copies in English and it's theories have influenced millions of Christians, marriages, and sermons.

Now the book is published in many different forms, "The Five Love Languages of Children", "The Five Love Languages of Teenagers", and "The Five Love Languages: A Secret to Love that Lasts" and a few others.

Several years ago I read "The Five Love Languages: Singles Edition."  I can honestly say that this book helped me make far advances in my spiritual walk with the Lord.  After reading the book I was far more able to communicate love to those around me, as well as strengthen my ability to receive love in different forms from these people.

I have learned to categorize my Christian friends by their love languages so that I can love them each in their own way, as well as encourage them and support them through those specific languages.  I have also enjoyed watching God shape me into a more well-rounded giver and receiver of each language.  As odd as it may sound, it isn't always easy receiving love in your secondary language.

The author, Gary Chapman, has a doctorate in philosophy from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and is now the senior associate pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  He has been married to his wife for over 45 years and draws much experience and wisdom through their relationship.

Chapman has also written many top selling books such as "Love is a Verb: Stories of What Happens When Love Comes Alive", "The Marriage You've Always Wanted", and "Things I wish I'd Known Before we Got Married."  I have not read any of these, but I have personally heard wonderful things about all of them.

As you may have probably guessed, the wisdom from this book and its theory is powerful for people of all relationship statuses.  Singles can read this and begin practicing individual love languages on everyone presently in their lives, and married couples will be encouraged by figuring out their mate's main languages and loving them specifically through that.  Although the original idea was to use the theory to promote healthy marriages, the idea is now so wide spread that most small groups or bible study classes begin with the discovery of individuals main love languages.  All God-fearing people-lovers can gain wisdom and riches from this idea.

Because I want to encourage you to read the book, I am not going to go into great detail about what the book teaches or how it helps you apply the languages, but I am going to introduce you to the five love languages and then present five guest posts from friends who primarily have each of those languages.

The Five Love Languages are:
1) Words of Affirmation
2) Gifts
3) Acts of Service
4) Quality Time
5) Physical Touch

Stay tuned for guest posts from people who specialize in these languages! 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My Hair Identity Crisis

(Written a few months ago...)

"...but if a woman has long hair, is it her glory?"
1 Corinthians 11:15

Some of you may find this humorous (men,) but ladies, I think the majority of you can relate to this post.  For the past 2 weeks...wait, scratch that...more like the last month, I have been trying to decide what to do with my hair.  My last color job was back in December, and so my roots are nearly to my ears now.

Some days I would wake up and just marvel at my natural-colored roots peaking in.  I loved that color!  How long it had been since I had seen a full head of that tint.  Perhaps I should take the time to grow out all of my artificial coloring.  I mean, the half and half hair color is in style, not to mention hipsters.
Do you think God gets mad at me for changing the color he gave me?
How will people categorize me differently?
Am I really a "hipster-earthy" type of person?

The next morning was the complete opposite.  I love being blonde, it's my personality!  I've always been a fun, outgoing type of person, and blonde just always seemed to fit.  Plus, in my neck of the woods it's all about glam, high-hair, and jewelry (see Country Girl post) that type of style did not work well with muddied roots and an unkempt mane.
I think colored hair gives me a more professional look, and since I am entering the professional world, I need to keep a nice outward appearance.
I've always been known as a glamour girl--hair is what I do.
Then again, am I really an outwardly focused person?  I spend 20 minutes in front of the mirror max.

Ahhh this decision was beginning to drive me crazy!  Who knew that something as simple as a color job would take up so much of my free thinking time.  I found myself judging my hair at work, at school, and at church.  What hairstyle will encapsulate all of who I am?  How do I want the world to perceive me?

One night in the middle of this early-life crisis, I was explaining to one of my close guy friends how complicated this decision was.  Profoundly and yet obliviously, he responded, "So this is like an identity issue for you girls, huh?"

Wow.  I never thought of it like that before.  He went on to explain that one of the most insecure women he knows, dyes her hair different colors all the time.  Perhaps he was on to something!

Later that night I really started thinking about his observation.  My first hair coloring was when I was 13--a very insecure time in my life.  I wanted just a few small blonde highlights to fit in better with the girls at school.

9th and 10th grade came with all sorts of pressures and adjustments--including my hair-dentity.  First it was blonde, then red, then dark brown, blue, pink, and green.  I would have loved to go pitch black, but thankfully my mother wouldn't allow it.

After my 10th grade year, God grabbed hold of my heart an worked a drastic life change within me.  One of the first things I was convicted about was my fashion choices, and with that came the mane.  I dyed my hair all over a rich, bold red to signify the new creation I was transforming into.  I was returning to school a different person, and I wanted my hair to reflect that.

Red hair is rare, unique, bold.  That's exactly who God was calling me to be that year.  So for an entire year (which is forever in hair years,) I kept my hair that same bold red color, until Junior prom.  I had to dye my hair to compliment the dress of course!

Senior year is a place of really figuring out where you want to go in life.  Who do you want to be after high school?  Oddly enough, my hair reflected this too.  I returned to a more natural hair color for most of the year, adding only a few highlights for Senior prom.

Two weeks before beginning college, I sliced off ten inches of my infamously long hair.  I was showing the world, and my junior college, that I meant business.  Life was mine for the taking, and that's what I wanted people to understand.

Now my hair is long with hardly any layers--something I attribute to this "city style" I'm surrounded by.  I still don't know what color I want to be, in terms of hair, but I have come to terms with the fact that it reflects my identity for each season of life.

At the same time, I am completely relieved to know that my identity is not based solely on the color of dye I decide to use.  As I explained in an earlier post What is Identity, God is the only place where lasting identity is found.  People, sports, and hair change, but God doesn't.  He is eternal and forever, therefore my identity in him is unwavering, no matter what color of hair I decide to have.

Upon this realization, I prayed.  I asked God to show me the insecurities that were seeping out through my hair.  Why am I not fully trusting you with every part of me?  At this spiritual age and time in my life, I wouldn't think hair-dentity would be a problem, but it is.  "Search me Oh, God and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts."  (Psalm 139:23)  I'm yours for the taking father, show me my trust issues.

What do you think?  Am I basing my identity in hair instead of Christ?
Where do you put your identity?
Do you think God wants us to always stay the way he naturally designed us?
What does the Bible have to say about this issue?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

"The Room"

This was an email I received and wanted to share with you all.  It's really great!  A 17 year old boy wrote it a few weeks before he suddenly died in a car accident.  It is now being used to change lives all over.


 In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room.
There were no distinguishing features except for the one wall covered with small index card files.
They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order.
But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endless in either direction, had very different headings.

As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read " Girls I Have Liked."
I opened it and began flipping through the cards.

I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one.
And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was.

This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my life.

Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn't match.
A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly opening files and exploring their content.

Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching.

A file named "Friends" was next to one marked    "  Friends I Have Betrayed."

The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird.
"  Books I Have Read," "  Lies I Have Told," " Comfort I have Given,"  " Jokes I Have Laughed At."

Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: "  Things I've Yelled at My Brothers."

Others I couldn't laugh at: "  Things I Have Done in My Anger", "
Things I Have Muttered Under My Breath at My Parents."
I never ceased to be surprised by the contents.
Often there were many more cards than expected.
Sometimes fewer than I hoped.
I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived.

Could it be possible that I had the time in my years to fill each of these thousands or even millions of cards?

But each card confirmed this truth.
Each was written in my own handwriting.
Each signed with my signature.

When I pulled out the file marked"  TV Shows I Have Watched,"   I realized the files grew to contain their contents.

The cards were packed tightly, and yet after two or three yards, I hadn't found the end of the file.
I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of shows but more by the vast time I knew that file represented.
When I came to a file marked "  Lustful Thoughts,"   I felt a chill run through my body.
I pulled the file out only an inch, not willing to test its size, and drew out a card.
I shuddered at its detailed content.
I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded.
An almost animal rage broke on me. 

One thought dominated my mind: No one must ever see these cards!

No one must ever see this room!
I have to destroy them!"
In insane frenzy I yanked the file out.
Its size didn't matter now.
I had to empty it and burn the cards.
But as I took it at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a single card.
I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it.
Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot.
Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh.

And then I saw it.

The title bore "People I Have Shared the Gospel With."
The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused.
I pulled on its handle and a small box not more than three inches long fell into my hands.
I could count the cards it contained on one hand.
And then the tears came.
I began to weep.
Sobs so deep that they hurt.
They started in my stomach and shook through me.
I fell on my knees and cried.
I cried out of shame, from the overwhelming shame of it all.
The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes.
No one must ever, ever know of this room.
I must lock it up and hide the key.
But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him. 

No, please not Him.

Not here.
Oh, anyone but Jesus.
I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards.
I couldn't bear to watch His response.
And in the moments I could bring myself to look at His face, I saw a sorrow deeper than my own.
He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes.
Why did He have to read every one?
Finally He turned and looked at me from across the room.
He looked at me with pity in His eyes.
But this was a pity that didn't anger me.
I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands and began to cry again.
He walked over and put His arm around me.
He could have said so many things.
But He didn't say a word.
He just cried with me.

Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files.

Starting at one end of the room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign His name over mine on each card.
"No!" I shouted rushing to Him.
All I could find to say was "No, no," as I pulled the card from Him.
His name shouldn't be on these cards.
But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, and so alive.
The name of Jesus covered mine.
It was written with His blood.
He gently took the card back He smiled a sad smile and began to sign the cards.
I don't think I'll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close the last file and walk back to my side.
He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, "It is finished."

I stood up, and He led me out of the room.

There was no lock on its door.
There were still cards to be written.

"  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." 
  John 3:16
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