Life Outside The Box

From the beginning of our lives, society has taught us that we need two things if we want to be happy – an education and a good job.  It tells us, “Make sure that you work hard in school or you’ll go nowhere.  Get good grades because you need to get into a top University.  Be sure to pick a career that will make you lots of money so you can have a nice life.”  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t go to school, study, or work hard and I’m by no means saying that hard work and dedication is a bad thing.  The point that I am making is that this is the mindset for worldly success.  The world tries to lay out one path for you to take.  It teaches you how to rely on your own strength and wisdom.  It teaches you to think inside the box.  There was a time in my life when I believed all of these things too.  I mean, that’s how everybody else does it, right?  WRONG.  While the world may operate this way, as Christians, were called to operate a different way – Gods way!

Sure, we can live like the rest of the world and create a nice life for ourselves in our own strength.  Or we can live for God and let Him shape our lives into something even greater!  Maybe the amazing future that God has for you includes college; then again maybe it doesn’t.  Either way, don’t get sucked into thinking there is only one road for you to take.  Don’t listen to the lies telling you “you’re really behind everyone else.  You already missed your chance for something amazing, so why even bother?”  Don’t continue to beat yourself up over missed opportunities.  The thing we all need to remember is that we don’t make our own opportunities.  We don’t create our own talents.  We don’t create our own knowledge or even gain it from textbooks.  ALL of these opportunities, gifts, talents, and blessings for a good life come from one source and one source only: GOD! 

Don’t put your faith in things so temporary; put your faith in God.  By doing so, you won’t have to worry about creating the perfect life for yourself.  Just listen to God, be faithful, and everything will work out!  God knows everything that you need and He is there for you always!

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Go on, I dare you, live life outside the worlds box.  Live with God and watch amazing things bloom in yourself and your life!  Shine on! 🙂

*Photo courtesy of “God Is in the Small Stuff” by Bruce & Stan (Barbour Publishing) www.bruceandstan.com

 

Make Every Day A Special Occasion

The other day I had a personal breakthrough.  I walked into my closet to get dressed, saw a new outfit that I wanted to wear, and I put it on to start my day.  For most people this may not be a great accomplishment but for me it was.  You see, ever since I was a little girl I would save outfits, shoes, jewelry, and other things for “special occasions”.  I remember when I was like 4, I wanted this pair of flats that looked just like Dorothy’s from the Wizard of Oz.  I love them so much that I begged my mom to buy them for me.  When she did get them for me, I rarely wore them because I was saving them for special occasions.  This thought process followed me all through my life that is until recently.

As I stood in my closet the other day I thought to myself: “Why am I waiting for some other day to be special?  Why can’t today be special too?”  Everyday is a gift and we should all treat it as such.  Today may not feel as exciting as the thought of going to a concert on Friday, but make it special!  Go out of your way to celebrate today.  Celebrate who you are, who God created you to be.

“This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.” – Psalms 118:24

While this mindset may seem innocent when it comes to what you wear, imagine what would happen if we let it sink into other areas of our lives.  What if instead of being a giving person, we think “well it’s Christmastime so I’ll give to a charity now.”  This is a fantastic thing to do, but don’t let your love for others stop after you put away the tree and lights.  What if we thought “I don’t feel like smiling today, maybe tomorrow will be better.”  That smile that you held in because you were waiting for a better time may have made someone else’s day. 

One thing that I have learned is that we need to make even the most mundane day feel like a blessing, because it is.  None of us are promised a tomorrow so why not live today to the fullest?  Take a chance.  Tell your loved ones how much they mean to you.  Spend your time wisely and do something incredible with your life! You can do it, after all:

 “I can do all things through him who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:13

I challenge you to make the most of every day.  Do what you can to change boring into phenomenal!  Make someone’s day a little brighter.  You have what it takes to change this world for the better to get out there and shine the light! 🙂

EXTRAORDINARY

Unpredictable

What does the future hold?   No one really knows, but we sure like to pretend that we do sometimes.  In our heads we think we have life all figured out.  Nothing can surprise us because we know where we’ve been and we know where were going.  We’ve made plans – good plans at that!

I remember back when I was in high school, I thought that my life would go like this:  graduate high school, go to college, graduate college, get a job, and get married.  I had everything figured out.  I had a plan and I just needed to complete it one step at a time.  But then when things didn’t seem to go according to my plan, it was the end of the world!…well my world at least.  To my surprise, I had overlooked one major factor……GOD.  I was so self-focused that I left Him out of the equation.  I thought I could accomplish all of my goals in my own strength, at my own time.  Sometimes I felt so confused about what steps to take and I would get so frustrated when I took them in my own strength yet there didn’t seem to be any open doors.

The thing that I had horribly overlooked is the fact that God is unpredictable!  The reason He is unpredictable is because He can do anything and everything!  When there is no way He will make a way.  When there isn’t an open door, God will open a window, if its part of His will for your life.  We should all be thinking: “Whew, what a relief!  I mean the same God who made the universe and put the stars in their place is in control of my life?  AND He wants all things to work out for my good?  He wants to bless ME?” ….Mindboggling, I know, but its 100% the truth!  Refuse to think that you have life all figured out and that you don’t need God, because the reality is that you do.  The only thing predictable in life is that God and life are unpredictable.  You don’t know what life will throw your way.  At the same time, you don’t know what amazing things God has in your future!

I love the Francesca Battistelli song called “Unpredictable” that speaks to this very issue we all have: putting God in a box.

Unpredictable

 

Sometimes, because our strength, courage, endurance, wisdom, and talents are limited we think that God’s are too.  Because of this we put Him in a box, thinking “There is no way that dream will happen.”   We think in the real realm when we should think in the Spiritual realm.  God can make anything happen; all He requires from us is faith the size of a mustard seed!

“He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”   – Matthew 17:19-21

It can also be a challenge to think that someone else knows us what’s better for us and knows us better than we do ourselves, but that’s God.  He created us and loves us more than we could ever imagine, so why would He want to limit us?  Why would He want us to be unhappy?  Seems to me like we have no reason not to trust God with everything we have!  Every idea, every dream, every problem, we should lay them all down at His feet and trust that He will make everything for our good in ways only He can!

Step out in faith that God has amazing things for you.  When you start to feel anxious because you don’t know what the future holds, refuse to get stressed out about it.  Instead of stressing out, just say a simple prayer like: “God, I trust You with my future.  I refuse to worry about it; I’m laying it in Your hands.  While I don’t know what’s ahead, I know that You do and You will give me everything I need to succeed.”  By saying a simple prayer like that, it takes the weight off your shoulders and allows God to work through you.  Be determined to develop an unshakable faith so you can live in peace even at life’s most unpredictable moments!  That way when you start taking steps God can direct you, rather than relying on you or someone else to be that direction.  Whether or not your dreams seem possible at the current time in your life, remember, nothing is impossible with God!

On The Rise – Meet Brittney Borowski!

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Meet Brittney Borowski!

Brittney is a talented photographer and devoted Christian.  She spends her time taking beautiful pictures of nature, weddings, friends, and family!…

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We recently caught up with Brittney to get to know her better!  Check out our question and answer session:

Q: How did you get interested in photography?

A: When I was 7 years old, my family and I took a trip to the San Diego Zoo! And as we talked past the bear exhibit, I took my first picture with my dad’s film camera. I actually still have that picture.

 

Q: What are your favorite things to take pictures of?

A: I love taking pictures of God’s creations. And that can be really anything. I like to find the beauty. So whether it be people, down to the oceans or up to the mountains. Everything has beauty.

 

Q: What are your hopes for the near future?

A: I hope to continue to further my photography business that glorifies God! Taking pictures for churches, and hopefully maybe becoming some kind of church advertiser or something J

 

Q: Do you find it difficult being a Christian in the world today?

A: Oh my goodness, yes! It can be very difficult. I feel as though my faith is under attack all the time. But I have learned the more you go out and be a disciple, it can get a little easier because that is when you see God really move! It is the most encouraging way to stay strong in the world that is trying to tear us down. Remember this: The world is not our home, we are just merely walking through it. Our destination is HEAVEN.

 

Q:  What great moments have you experienced along your journey so far? Any challenges?

A:  There are challenges every day. Whether it be in just school, family or spiritual battles. These challenges can always be overcome. I don’t believe in the saying that people say now a days that goes something like this: God won’t give you anything more than you can handle. Even though some people back this up with 1 Corinthians, we have completely twisted that beautiful piece of scripture. The truth is that God might give us something that we can’t handle so that we look to Him! I think that is even more beautiful. We are not meant to go through these trials alone.

 

Q:  Do you ever travel to different places to take photos?  If so, what has been your favorite location to photograph so far?

A:  I kind of go all over! I love to travel. I have family and friends all over the world. I just recently went to Fort Bragg California and fell completely in love! God is BEAUTIFUL.

 

Q:  What Bible verses inspire you the most?  Do you have a favorite?

A:  My favorite one is 1 Peter 4: 1-4 (Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you). This verse helped me stand out in a good way and get through the temptations of high school.

 

Q:  Do you have any advice for aspiring photographers?

A:  Use your gift to inspire others. To boast through Jesus and for Jesus. Experiment always with different styles J

 

Q:  What do you like to do to in your free time?

A:  I love reading, drawing, photographing, singing (worship) and blogging! I am sure there are many other things, but that is what I find myself doing most frequently.

 

Q:  When did you decide you wanted to be a photographer?

A:  Right after that first sound of the shutter when I used my dad’s camera! J

 

Q:  If you could describe yourself in 5 words, what would they be?

A:  Sinner, BOLD, Compassionate, artistic, consciousness

 

Q:  What steps did you take / are you taking to learn more about photography?

A:  Looking at photographers who inspire me. Testing out new things. Looking up YouTube videos!

 

Q:  After people fall in love with your pictures (which they obviously will!), how can they get their own copy of them?

A:  Right here! All kinds of other goodies for sale 🙂 society6.com/BrittneyBorowski (http://society6.com/BrittneyBorowski)

 

Q:  What would you say to encourage others who are trying to follow their dreams?

A:  Pray. Pray. Pray. That YOUR dreams align with HIS dreams. If you need encouragement, reach out to people. I am always available for help J just message me!
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I fell in love with Brittney’s pictures from the moment that I first saw them on Instagram and I am sure you will too!  Not only is she able to capture beautiful moments in time, she is able to spread God’s love in a captivating way.  She is such an encourager and I love her passion for God!  It’s incredibly refreshing to see a young woman with a drive to live for God and to be a light in the dark world we live in!  Keep on shining Brittney! 🙂

To learn more about Brittney, check out her other pictures, or order some of her amazing merchandise be sure to visit:

Website – http://www.brittneyborowski.com/#0

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/BrittneyBorowskiPhotography

Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/brittzyboo/my-photography/

Society 6 – http://society6.com/BrittneyBorowski

Instagram – http://instagram.com/brittzy#

Tumblr – http://hecallsmelovely.tumblr.com/post/61735658015/by-brittney-borowski

On The Rise – “The Protest”

The Protest

Meet The Protest!

The Protest is a hard rock Christian band from the Midwest.  The band is composed of Josh “Shred” Bramlett (lead singer and acoustic guitarist), TJ “Texas Two Step” Colwell (rhythm guitarist and vocals), Jarob “Animal” Bramlett (drums and vocals), Adam “Sarge” Sadler (lead guitarist), and Chase “Sludge” Reagan (bassist and vocals).  Around a year ago, the band released their most current album “Game Changer” which contains driving guitar beats, honest lyrics, and melodies so catchy you won’t be able to sit still!  Just one listen to The Protest and there is no denying that these guys know how to rock!  During their time together, The Protest has toured with bands such as Family Force Five, Icon For Hire, Decyfer Down, Red Jumpsuit Aparatus, The Afters, and many more!  With live shows being a huge part of their ministry, they play around 150 shows/festivals a year.

While they love music, their real passion is changing the world for God and living the great journey that He has for them!  This is evident not only in their Christian based lyrics and live show but also in their outreach.  They have been involved in suicide prevention campaigns and have even visited schools from time to time. They strive to encourage and remind people that even when everything feels hopeless, there is still hope!

We recently caught up with Josh from The Protest to learn more about them as artists and individuals.  Check out our question and answer session!…

 

Q:  Where are you from?

A:  4 of us are from a small town called New Castle, Indiana and our bassist is from Bristol, Tennessee.

 

Q:  How long have you all known each other?  How did you meet?

A:  We have known each other for 8 years. However our drummer is my brother so I have known his since I was two I guess. 🙂 The band was formed by me, my brother (Jarob), and our rhythm guitarist (T.J.) in the Spring of 2004. Our lead guitarist (Sarge) actually began giving me guitar lessons when I was in middle school but wasn’t in the band for the longest. Then he decided to move to L.A. to study guitar and upon returning he joined the band. Our bassist (Chase), joined the band when he moved up to Indiana. He was sort of a family friend, but I didn’t know him at the time. He recorded our first record and when we had member issues he filled the slot temporarily but he felt God wanted to join full time, so he did. That is how the current Line-up of The Protest was formed.

 

Q:  How did you decide on a band name?

A:  We went by the name Protest For Pluto for many years. It wasn’t until we went into the studio to record our last album, Game Changer, that we changed our name to The Protest. It was a little under two years ago that we emerged from the studio with the new album. We felt that this new music was so different and so powerful so we wanted a re-birthing. We wanted to start over with a bigger focus on reaching people with the word of Christ and his love as well. So we changed our name and treated ourselves as a new band.  The Protest name isn’t a negative name at all. We actually wanted a name that would be attention grabbing so we could share what the Lord gives us with as many people as possible. Some people, however, have seen the name and thought there was an actually protest going on! Which isn’t at all what we do, but if it get people there it can’t be that bad!

 

Q:  What artists have influenced your sound?

A:  We have been influenced by so many artists. I would say Disciple, Sevendust, Avenged Sevenfold are our biggest influences musically. Lyrically we are influence by Disciple, The Classic Crime, Sent by Ravens, and Red are big influences for us. We are also inspired by the hundreds of bands, like us, that are fighting the good fight everyday for little money. Their character and integrity speaks to us big time.

 

Q:  What are your songs about?

A:  We want our songs to reach as many people as possible without turning them away so many of our songs deal with issues that real people face each day like suicide, hate, self-loathing, and desperation. We want to give people hope because God gives us hope every day. We have been blessed by so many fans telling us that our music has touched them or has changed their lives. It is a true honor to do what we do.

 

Q:  Do you find it difficult being a Christian in the music industry today?

A:  Being a Christian in the music is tough. The music industry is so cut throat, they don’t care what you are doing as long as you sell tons of albums and look good doing it. Every day our integrity is tested and we are tempted, but we have to rise above these things. It’s not easy by any means, we are human and it is hard sometimes to stay positive in such a rough industry, but God is faithful and always provides a way out. We play all types of venues from bars to churches and not every venue is receptive to what we say and opposition is a common factor. Being a disciple is hard, but I like to think of it like we aren’t in the music business, but in God’s business.

 

Q:  What great moments have you experienced along your journey so far? Any challenges?

A:  In our travels we had laughs, tears, we’ve seen people accept Christ, and we have met so many amazing people. There honestly too many amazing stories to tell. Maybe we will write a book with all of these stories in there someday.  🙂  It is awesome doing what we do, but it does not come without its challenges. With any ministry or small business money is always an issue. We have loans to pay off, merchandise to buy for our shows, and of course gas to get from show to show not to mention all the other expenditures along the way that further our ministry. Money gets tight sometimes but God ALWAYS provides and we are so blessed by that. So many people donate to our cause and it is so humbling because we are nothing more than a vessel. God is real talent and the real life changer. Being away from home can also be tough. We don’t get to spend a lot of time with our friends and family, and sometimes because of our schedule we have to miss out on things going on at home. We look at it as a sacrifice. Everyone must sacrifice something if they are to do God’s will for their lives. Living in a van is a minor inconvenience. We are all young so we can do that now, but when we get older we may need to invest in a bus. 🙂

 

Q:  So far, what has been your favorite city you’ve performed at?

A:  We have performed in cities all over the U.S. and have been some amazing places, but nothing beats coming home and playing for our hometown fans. They support us like none other and we are so grateful.

 

Q:  What Bible verses inspire you the most?

A:  Many verses inspire us but our band’s verse is 1st Peter 4:10, “Everyone should use whatever gifts they have been given to serve others and faithfully administer God’s grace in its various forms.”

 

Q:  Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians and/or songwriters?

A:  Pray. When we write we ask God to place on our hearts what he wants said. Always keep your lyrics. If you have a random idea write it down and put into a word document. Your never know when something will hit you. So I recommend buying a notebook or journal for lyrics.

 

Q:  What do you like to do to in your free time when you’re not performing?

A:  Free time is such an amazing and rare gift for us! We love watching movies, playing video games, working out and hanging out with friends. On the road we love to stop at antique shops and flea markets. We are nerds so we are always looking out for rare movies, games, comic books, or trinkets that we just can’t live without.

 

Q:  What support have you received from your hometown throughout your journey?

A:  Our church family has blessed us so much with a van, gas money, and prayers. We receive so much love from people in our area. It is not uncommon for fans to bless us with gift cards or gas money before we leave for a tour.  I’m sure every band says this but we believe that we have the best fans in the world. We don’t even like to call them fans. They are family. 

 

Q:  If you could describe your band in 4 words, what would they be?

A:  A Work in Progress. We are always trying to better ourselves whether it’s musically or spiritually. We never settle for mediocrity. The people deserve our best and God deserves our best so we try to give it. Each night we hit that stage we go to war and give it all we’ve got. Our blood, sweat, and tears have literally been spilt all over the stage.

 

Q:  What would you say to others who are trying to follow their dreams?

A:  Do not give up! Follow that dream and pray hard. So many people will question why you are doing it. So many others will give up for money, but remember that our reward lies in heaven. Cling to the people that support you, give in to God’s will, and hold on!

Last November I had the privilege of seeing The Protest live and I must admit, I became a fan that night!  Their high-energy performance, heart wrenching lyrics, and catchy melodies kept me entertained from beginning to end!  The band individually and as a whole is incredibly talented and a pleasure to watch!  While The Protest really knows how to rock, the biggest take-away for me from the concert was the heart that this band possesses.  It’s so encouraging to see a group of guys who live their lives for God and are determined to make a positive mark on the music industry.  With so much darkness in the world today, it’s refreshing to see a ray of God’s light shining through!  🙂

The Protest rocks and I guarantee that you will agree! Check out these links:

www.theprotestrocks.com

www.facebook.com/theprotest

www.youtube.com/theprotestbandrocks

www.twitter.com/theprotestrocks

Unstoppable Shadow Stick – Maybelline New York

Eye shadow is a great tool to highlight your eyes but do you ever feel like you have to apply it multiple times a day just to keep the color fresh?  Do you also find yourself using multiple colors just to create the shading that you want?  If you’re in the same boat as me then I would like to share my latest discovery with you:  the Unstoppable Shadow Stick!  Not only will the color last all day, you can create lighter and more intense shades with just one stick!

The last time that I went to the Dollar Tree I was surprised to find Maybelline eye shadows so I thought I would give them a try.  After using it once I was completely hooked!  I couldn’t believe how easy it was to use!  The shadow stick didn’t smudge, it didn’t feel heavy or wet on my eyes, and the fresh color lasted all day long.  That is why I am totally in love with…the Unstoppable Shadow Stick!

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Where can I purchase them?  As I mentioned, I purchased the shadow sticks from the Dollar Tree for only $1!  It was quite the steal!  If you do not have a Dollar Tree nearby you may want to check your local Wal-Mart, Target or Walgreen’s.  You can also order similar shadow sticks online off of Maybelline’s website.  While the same shades that I purchased are no longer available on the Maybelline website, they do offer basically the same technology only in different shades: http://www.maybelline.com/Products/Eye-Makeup/Eye-Liner/Eye-Studio-Master-Smoky-Longwearing-Shadow-Pencil.aspx?looks=Eyes&cm_mmc=LabeliumSearch-_-GoogleGeneric-_-MNY+Eyes-_-shadow%20stick&gclid=CNSLkPHH3bgCFQ1gMgodSyYA-w

Now that I have purchased mine, how do I use it?  When I apply my eye shadow every day I usually do the following steps:

A)     Twist up the tip of the shadow stick so that it is about 1/8 of an inch above the top of the container.

B)      Gently run shadow stick across entire eyelid to create a lighter, more even color.  (If desired, you can also use the shadow stick on the inside corners of your eyes and/or your brow bone.  In order to do so, just glide the stick very gently across to achieve a very light color.)

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C)      In the outer creases of your eyes, apply multiple layers to achieve the color that you like.

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D)     Wear all day and don’t worry about color fading or smudging! (To remove the eye shadow, simply use baby oil or any make-up remover.)

I hope that you enjoy this product as much as I do!  Have fun with it, play with different shades!  Create a fun look that fits you!  You’re beautiful just the way you are! 🙂