My Hometown

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“Follow your dreams,

reach for the stars…

but never forget where you came from.”

-Audrea Harvey

When I think of Marion many things flood my mind. I remember the days when it was small and quiet. The churches were filled and every holiday brought a festive cheer over the town. I remember playing with the neighborhood kids who have all grown and spending many nights with dear friends around a bonfire, telling ghost stories that mixed with the sound of crickets. The Popcorn festival and parade that brought everyone together for a few days of fair rides, food, and recognition.

I could keep listing the memories of my hometown, its unique qualities such as the Palace Theatre pictured above. Though appearing like any palace on the outside, walking in you would be transported to another place, with a dark blue sky, twinkling stars, and moving clouds, surrounded by buildings to look as though you were in a courtyard. I’ve been there many times and never stop gaping at its beauty.

Or President Harding’s home and memorial. I pass both daily into town, the memorial is a popular spot for wedding and prom pictures, and his home is frequented by kids on field trips. Marion is simply rich in history….and yet, many don’t even know it exists.

It all started as Jacob’s Well. Marion was a camping ground for troops during the War of 1812. One night Jacob Foos, a fellow soldier surveying the land became very thirsty so he began digging until a spring of water welled up. This well is still here today! The name, Jacob’s Well, stuck till the founding of Marion in 1822 when it was named after General Francis Marion.

Marion now is known for its crime, drugs, and hopelessness. Many of its once-booming companies are left abandoned, it’s no longer a stopping ground but now a place to rush through. The place of refreshing has taken on the identity of its new name, Marion, which literally means “rebellious.” I say all this because, in order for my hometown to change, we must first reflect on its history. We have to know where we came from to know where we are going. We have to remember the mistakes we have made in order to avoid repeating them in the future.

It takes more than a church plant to change a town…it takes God. Marion County has over 200 churches in 400 sq mi of land. Many of which are located in or near town. I truly believe that if we stood united, reached out to our community and re-lit our fire for God, those 200 plus churches would easily transform this town and the entire county.

Revivals are lit in the land of desperate hunger. And that hunger for something more is so prevalent in today’s society. Somethings gotta give! The tension is mounting and our hearts are growing more discontented by the year. Evil seems to be taking over, and yet, miracles are happening, hope is catching, and Christians are rising up and fighting back the darkness.

I don’t know where you grew up. Maybe your town has always been flourishing, or maybe you have never known a time when your town was wealthy and secure. Regardless of where you are, you’re surrounded by hungry people. Some may not know it while others are inwardly screaming for it. And you may just be the only one to point them to Jesus. Maybe God is calling you to be the first to start this revival. Don’t know how to start? Just be love. Love and kindness are contagious, love everyone you meet..look them in the eyes, lend a helping hand…a smile…recognize people for who they are, not who they aren’t. That is how it all begins. And when people start to notice that you carry something different they will soon ask you, “what makes you different?” And at that, you tell them about Jesus.

God is at work here in Marion. I see Him at our church, He is reaching out to take back what satan stole from this land. He is restoring hearts and broken families. Businesses are coming back and hope is in the air. It’s going to take a lot of work and sacrifice, but with God anything is possible. As my pastor likes to say, “Marion’s best days are ahead!”

What a privilege to be a part of this town…my hometown.

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The Mystery Blogger Award

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Hey fellow bloggers!! Last week I was nominated for the Mystery Blogger Award! All thanks to lifewithlilred, whose blog covers a large variety of topics from fashion to awesome holiday crafts and treats, check out her page and I’m sure you will find a category you love!

The Rules:

  • Put the award logo on your blog
  • List the rules
  • Thank whoever nominated you and post a link to their blog
  • Mention the creator of the award and leave a link to their blog
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  • Nominate 10-20 other bloggers-let them know via blog comment
  • Ask your nominees 5 questions, including a funny one
  • Share links to your best blog post(s)

Fun Facts:

1. I’ve never left the country and I love Jesus, so one of my dreams is to go to Israel and visit the very places I’ve only read stories about. I want to walk where he walked!

2. I love singing. I grew up singing in the worship band at church, and I still do to this day. I might just have met my husband in the church band also…

3. I’m an oldie at heart, my favorite shows are M*A*S*H and STAR TREK, the original series.

Q & A:

1. How do you pamper yourself? A hot bath with honey and cinnamon always feels good. Honey is good for the skin and cinnamon draws out toxins…at least that’s what I’ve heard.  

2. What is your favorite holiday? Although I love fall and dressing up for Halloween, I’d say Christmas is my favorite holiday. Nothing beats giving gifts to my friends and family and remembering Jesus’ Birthday.

3. What was your favorite childhood toy? Beanie Babies. I still have about a hundred shoved in a tote somewhere.

4. What is your favorite way to kill time when your feeling bored? Read a good story. I’ve read and re-read the Harry Potter series. Love a good STAR TREK novel also.

5. Which celebrity would you choose to go out to lunch with? Alan Alda. I love his personality and wit. Since I’ve read his books I know there would be plenty to talk about. I don’t know much about today’s celebs.

6. Bonus Question: Would you rather not shower for a week or wear the same outfit for two weeks? Same outfit for sure! I don’t see a lot of people throughout the week so no one would notice if I was wearing the same outfit. If I didn’t shower it would be obvious! My hair would be gross.

My Nominees (I’m only doing three):

 

My Questions for you:

  1. If you could go on any vacation today, where would you go?
  2. You just finished writing your life story, and you’re asked to summarize it into one message or motto, what do you say?
  3. What’s something that makes you laugh every time?
  4. You step into a time machine and can travel to any era or historical event, where do you go?
  5. What dream would you pursue if you were given endless time and resources to acquire it?
  6. Bonus Question: You’re running from zombies and come across three fast food restaurants to lock yourself in for the remainder of the apocalypse, do you choose McDonald’s, Arby’s, or Taco Bell?

 

Thank you again lifewithlilred for nominating me for this award! God bless you and your blog! And congrats to all nominated bloggers, keep doing what you’re doing!

This Award was created by Okoto Enigma.

 

 

 

Kota

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“Dogs have a way of finding the people who need them, and filling an emptiness we didn’t even know we had.” 

Meet Kota, she is an Alaskan Malamute mix from the local shelter. She came from a home I know very little about. I just couldn’t keep my eyes off her…she looked so out-of-place, so beautiful..and sad. “She’s only 2 years old”, they said, “the only problem is, she is afraid of men.” The home she came from either consisted of just females, or of a male that was abusive, and so she was afraid. My husband and I visited her, giving her treats.. but she only felt safe around me. I was losing hope. I prayed to God, “Lord, if she is meant to be with us, please help her overcome her fear.” The last time we visited…she LOVED Aaron, it was a prayer come true.

Having a big dog (she’s 90 pounds), is quite the new experience for me, as well as adopting. She needed re-potty trained, and she has fears and uncertainties that we are still discovering and working through. Completely different than bringing home a puppy, who has never felt fear, pain, or abandonment by previous owners. But it is so worth it. Having Kota brings joy to our lives….in fact her name means happiness. And everyday I am discovering what parenting will be like. True a baby is far more work and responsibility than caring for a dog, but after three years without a pet (besides guinea pigs) I feel myself sliding back into my motherly nurturing self. I had a dog when I was growing up and quite honestly loved him like a child. I know there may be parents reading this who will disagree with me, and that’s okay, I haven’t had a child myself yet…I know that my love for them will be tenfold…but for a lonely teen girl with no siblings and growing up feeling misunderstood…my dog filled all those voids in my heart.

Hence the reason behind the quote above, God seemed to know that there would be those who would need the unfailing love of a dog, the loyalty and friendship that never changes through time or circumstance. They simply live to please and bring joy to people. Maybe that’s why I am so drawn to animals, I have been hurt by many people in this life, but never have I been hurt by an animal. Sure, my cat might have scratched me from time to time, but emotionally I have always felt accepted. I remember the many times I cried and my cat or dog was right there by my side to comfort me. The fact is, I believe that God can be found in all shapes and sizes. When we don’t reflect him well, someone or something else must. Why? because of who He is. God is just so great and so good that we can’t possibly cover Him up. The truth always comes through, we can deny its existence but the truth remains. The Bible even touches on this fact in regards to worship, “…if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” (Luke 19:40) Creation will always speak the truth and reflect the creator, even when we fail to.

I firmly believe that every pet deserves a loving home, and volunteering at the shelter I get to see the very human emotions that they go through upon abandonment. Bringing Kota home, she was overjoyed!..after getting her settled in we decided to take her for a ride and get her used to the car. The joy of leaving the shelter the first time she hopped in our car was replaced with the fear of going back. It took a few minutes of reassuring her to finally get her in the car, but after a fun ride to the pet store and to get ice cream, I am proud to say that even this fear has been squashed.

So what’s it like adopting a dog?

It is fun and exciting…and heartening to see the transformations take place within them as they experience the love of a family again. It is where they belong after all…just as God intended.

Kota is home to stay…

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Welcome!

Hey everyone! For my first post I really just want to share a bit about myself, as well as why I’m even starting a blog. In a world where it seems that freedom of speech is often taken for granted, or used as a means to hurt and restrict others, it is no wonder that many have turned to blogging to simply vent their feelings/beliefs without having to worry about “offending” anyone, or causing an uproar. It is not my goal to offend or to vent in this particular blog however, that is why I’ve called this blog, Hope Song. To build up others, not tear them down.

For starters, I am 21 years old and have been happily married for 2 years. Church has been my life, as well as family and friends. It wasn’t until my late teens that I really started having a deep relationship with God and thirsting for more of Him. I have seen both sides of the Christian faith. The religion and the relationship, or in other words, the form (law) without power (love) vs. the utter simplicity and joy of knowing Him and who we really are. Kings and queens of a kingdom that will never fade.

I enjoy writing about God, what I have learned, and what He has shown me. Sometimes the only way to describe Him is through music though, maybe that’s why I’ve always enjoyed singing. From school choir class, to church, and being in a Christian rock band, singing has been my way of spreading the gospel. It was through music I met my husband and now we both play together at various occasions. In the moments though when I can’t think of a tune, poetry seems to be my go-to. Which means, poems may pop up on here from time to time when other forms fail to express our multi-faceted God.

For some time now I have longed to be a writer, and it is that longing which has driven me to blogging. Some of the topics you will see me write about will be on faith and marriage. I will also discuss worldly issues and how we can make a difference, and in fact, are called to! as Matthew 28:19 makes clear that call to, “..make disciples of all the nations..”, we are to impact not just our friends and neighbors, but entire nations! How do we do that? well, we can start by showing the world God’s love instead of our biases. By speaking the truth and not backing down!…blogging can very well be a first step in that direction, it is my hope to make disciples, to awaken the church to its great call, and to uplift anyone who reads this blog…God loves you! He isn’t mad at you! Amen.