Sunday, December 27, 2015

#ViralVideo: Christmas Haul Video

I hope you all had an amazing Christmas. I sure did and I made a video compilation to share the whole Christmas day experience with you guys. Yet, I hope it doesn't come out grainy. If it does, I'm sorry. Regardless, the greatest gift we ever got was the baby Jesus but if you got a gift that you really were happy to receive, please share with me what it was in the comments below.

Without further ado, here's the video:

Love times Infinity,
God Bless!
~Just Keep Swimming~

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

#WriterWednesday: I'm Under Construction (So Please Give Me A Break) by @ChelseaDeVries

You're 24. Don't you think it's weird that you still live with your parents?

I mostly get this from my younger sisters when they really want to knock me down a few pegs. And sometimes I feel as though people also think its childish that I don't drive. Yet, no one really understands the reasoning behind why I'm at this place in my life. The only one who does is God. 

I really thought by 24 I'd have a car and my own place and be living the true adult life. Yet, I graduated college and instead of being handed the keys to a Porsche or the world on a silver platter, I struggled to find a job.

So, I figured God wanted me to dig deep down into my bag of talents and utilize my gift of writing to help me make money until he guided me toward my next career move. And on July 21, 2015, after a year and a half of unemployment, and many tuition bills to overcome, God blessed me with the coolest gig in the world: getting paid to write. 

Then, more and more writing jobs came and went, despite the fact that close to when I turned 24, my whole world turned black when I lost my best friend and childhood dog of 15 years, Geniveve. 

Following this, I fell for the scheme of all schemes thinking I got a full-time freelance writing job but instead I just got an empty wallet that just collected all my tears, and brought all my trust issues to a head. Like a miracle straight from my best friend's angel wings, I got a random direct message on October 1, 2015 from a guy I met from Orlando during the livestream of my favorite Christian event, Disney's Night of Joy. He wanted to know if I was still looking for work and wanted to hire me to write freelance articles for him. Following this, he asked me to write Bible commentaries for his personal website. 

Then, I started realizing that my freelance writing wasn't a steady source of income, and my internship was on a volunteer basis only so I followed my dad's advice and finally sent in applications to part-time seasonal jobs in my local area. The last place I applied to was a technology and electronics retail store more prominently known in most social circles as Best Buy. I was reluctant that they would even consider me for the job my dad advised me to apply for: merchandise specialist. I mean, a girl who wanted to work in the warehouse and unload the trucks? They would probably laugh at my application. 

Instead, God was faithful and after a year and a half of not having a steady job, my mom sent me a text one Thursday in late October saying that I got a call for a job interview with Best Buy. After two interviews that I honestly didn't put much thought toward, I was offered the job I currently have. And yes, I'm one of the only girls working with a great team of guys who unloads trucks and stocks the merchandise, and gets up at an ungodly early before sunrise hour on Sunday mornings to make sure that the price tags you find in the store match not only the product but the weekly circulatory ad in the Sunday newspaper. 

I'm sure you are wondering why I decided to tell you this. Well, I mostly had to write all that out so I could figure where I want to go with all that but I think I have a point here. No, I know I have a point here.

In Genesis 37: 5-7, the Bible tells the story of Joseph, and Joseph was a dreamer (much like myself), and most like any other person with a dream, Joseph went and told his brothers about his dream. And as per usual, Joseph's brothers hated him for having a dream. Just like my sisters hate on me for being the dreamer I am. And God being the great God that he is, put Joseph through the ringer because before you are raised, you must first be tried. God wants to see what you do with the small (somewhat unimportant) tasks before he puts you as the manager of a company. For example, I work at Best Buy now because God is shaping me with the job at Best Buy, and training me for a much heavier, more important assignment he has in the works for me. Just like with Joseph, his brothers tried to have him killed and God being with Joseph every step of the way, ended up putting him with an official of the Pharoah, Potiphar. Potiphar ended up putting Joseph in charge of his personal affairs. Joseph went from being an Egyptian slave to being in charge of a government official's personal affairs (Genesis 39:2-6). Suddenly, God can cause your dreams to come true. After all, nothing is impossible with him. 

There will be people in this life who become like ants under a magnifying glass in the sunlight when you are around simply because your bright light is just that too bright, and burns too hot for them and their small mind. Click To Tweet This. Don't ever let them fade your light into a burning ember but instead, keep on shining your light in this dark world because someone is looking for just that amount of light to wake them from their mundane life. They need the colors you bleed; they need the brightness you carry. For no other reason than because they need a reason to keep on living. They are hungry for the vividness of the ink you bleed to brighten the canvas of their daily life.

And the greatest thing about surrounding yourself with people who need your light is that you help their light get brighter and the world becomes like the most beautiful vivid double rainbow after a storm, even only for a moment. 

I basically went on a poetic tangent there but I'm serious when I say don't you dare give up on any dream you have, big or small. God knows of them all. Psalm 20:4 says, May he grant your heart's desires and make all your plans succeed. Let him take care of what you think will never happen.

And if your brothers or sisters (sibling or otherwise) are hating on you, let this verse encourage you on days when the hate overwhelms you, and threatens to blow your light out like a strong but unwanted gust of wind:

So we're not giving up! How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. -2 Corinthians 4:16-17.

Until next time, remember: Grace is God's overwhelming desire to treat you as if you have never sinned. -Kenneth Copeland

Love Times Infinity,
God Bless!
~Just Keep Swimming~

P.S. Don't forget to share and support my campaign for a trip to visit California.
Also, you should know I'm still struggling to stay focused with my new smartphone but I know God is working with me on that every day. 

I would love to connect with you:

Twitter: @ChelseaDeVries

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

#WriterWednesday: The Importance of Focus in a Reverse-Lens World

I finally got a smartphone. I got a Samsung Galaxy S6. This all happened because I work at Best Buy. I was stocking near the mobile department before the store opened to customers and had free range to look at the mobile phones. That's when I saw it. The offer of a lifetime.

Since I have AT&T, my payment for the phone would be about $19.50 a month but I would pay $0 down, and in reward for my purchase of that particular phone at Best Buy, I get a $250 Best Buy to buy the things I've spotted while working in the store, and made a secret wishlist inside my head and heart for.

I mean, you can't get any better than that. This promotion is called #WinTheHolidays and I would have to say this is winning if I ever could define it.

I'm not really a materialistic person nor do I consider myself to be someone who takes loads of selfies. I mostly got a smartphone because I know that with my industry goals in public relations, it looks more professional that I have one. Plus, now I'm connected in a whole new way to the world. I mean, my phone is constantly buzzing with activity much the same way a baby continues to cry when it needs something: food, sleep, a diaper change, etc.

The first day I set up my phone I spent the entire day familiarizing myself with it. The entire day. My problem now that I'm more familiar with this phone becomes how each day is another that is less and less productive in some regard.

For example, I really, really wanted to write a blog for you guys last week but instead of writing it, I had to work on my internship assignments, and that was the same day, I purchased my new cell phone.

This was why I'm glad I never owned a smartphone in college because I don't know how anyone gets anything done. It's like the best distraction I've ever owned. Granted, no one would begrudge me if I didn't automatically reply to their snap, their instagram comment, their tweet, or God forbid, all those Tinder messages and notifications but call it first-smartphone blinded bliss, but boy, do I have trouble leaving my new phone in another room.

Another goal I've yet to achieve is to start writing for leisure again. My personal goal for myself was to write 1000 words a day, every day. Yet, like I said, this hasn't manifested outside of my thoughts yet.

And in all this madness of having a smartphone for the first time ever got me thinking about focus and how easy it is to lose sight of what you want out of life, and also how to stay focused on working toward your goals. The only way we really achieve anything is through the act of discipline. Discipline is the tool that God gives us to help us be who we say we want to be and do what we say we want to do. -Joyce Meyer, from The Mind Connection. -Tweet This

The reality is despite all the fun buzzing, the likes, the snaps, the retweets, the mentions, I need to focus on what's important.

For me, the most important thing is to enjoy my new job, my new phone, but also remember that I want to make a career out of being a writer and being a publicist.

Speaking of being a publicist, I'm raising money for an upcoming trip to California. I've never been and have wanted to go for a good 5 years. If you would like to share or support me in this goal, please .Click here.

Before I leave you with a final thought, make sure to follow me at the following sites:




Until next time, remember: ...that you may surely learn to sense what is vital, and approve and prize what is excellent and of real value [recognizing the highest and the best...]-Philippians 1:10

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

#CraftsWithChelly: Inspired by @BethanyMota

I really wanted to post a blog with a really inspiring message for #WriterWednesday but I will have to postpone that until next week.

Until then, enjoy this video I did of me doing a Bethany Mota inspired craft.

Love Times Infinity,
God Bless!
~Just Keep Swimming~

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


The first day at my new job was the scariest day of my life. I wanted to quit. Yet, after bawling my eyes out and threatening my parents that I was giving up, I realized I was being a child about the whole situation. A little girl who just needed her Daddy to tell her that he believed in her and that she could do it. She could do it because she knew he would be right there with her throughout the whole training process.
Starting a new job for anyone can be scary because no one wants to be the new guy but there is something about knowing you aren’t the only newbie in the group that instantly connects you and calms every fear you are facing head on. See? That first day was just one attack after another from the enemy himself because in case you didn’t know, the enemy of our faith aka the Devil hates progress of any kind. And being that this was my first day in the adult workforce, he wanted to convince me that I could not grow as a person, overcome my fears, and silence the doubters.
Yet, once I focused on God and his grace, I knew I could not fail and even if I did fail, no one would blame me because failing only signifies that I tried a method that did not succeed but in no one does it mean that I do not have the ability through Christ to complete the job and to find a wiser, more efficient method to do the job I’ve been assigned to do.
Another thing I learned in my first four days of work in my new job was that because I was new, I would be given small responsibilities before the major ones. I wouldn’t be asked to drive Big Joe on my first day, my second day, my third day, or my fourth day. I may never have to drive Big Joe only because as long as someone working on our team is certified to drive Big Joe, then we know that specific person can handle it, and do the tasks that come with it with both ease and determination. And if an error occurs or Big Joe decides to have a technical glitch (machines have bad days, too), someone will come assist them in whatever way is necessary.
In the same way, God promises to never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). He promises that through our weaknesses his strength will manifest itself (2 Corinthians 12:9). And most importantly, he promises to never leave us with more than we can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13). He wants to see us succeed as much as we want and hope to succeed.
Now I know that my job is something to be incredibly thankful for instead of something to dread or fear. And when I feel as though my abilities are not enough, God will step in and help me with whatever task I need to do by his grace.
All I needed to do that first day was be still and know that he is God (Psalm 46:10), and trust in his grace.
 You can read my newest guest blog on Nick J Roy's site here along with all my other stuff. 

Without further ado, I'm thankful for:
1. My family (even though they can be pains in my rear at times. God knows I can be too).
2. My new job
3. That I made an honest effort toward #NaNoWriMo and started a project I wasn't confident would get off the ground
4. the few friends who always check in with me to make sure that I'm both alive...and well.
5. My dogs (OMG, my dogs are two of the greatest people to ever live...I love them so, so much!)
6. Graduating college and realizing what adulthood really means:

7. Finding a way to get paid to write aka my freelance work
8. Finding a way to keep on living without my best friend and still honor her life and her person
9. Finishing my memoir, and feeling confident with it
10. For God's grace, faithfulness, mercy, and love because I don't know where I would be without Jesus

Until next time, remember:

Love Times Infinity,
God Bless!
~Just Keep Swimming~

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

#BookReview: #NeverHaveIEver by @KTHeaney #WriterWednesday

 So I was intrigued to read this book for two reasons: one being that I also was writing a memoir, and in order to find the niche for my memoir, I've spent the past three years reading a lot of memoirs.
For all the memoirs I have read, please see my goodreads page.

   The other gaping reason I decided to pick up this book is because like Katie, I have spent (24 years) without one single date. No boyfriend whatsoever. And I can see the expression you are giving the computer screen: either one of pure (possibly faned) shock or one of pity.

And I'm about to smack that look right off your face if you don't stop right there.

This is why I related to Katie's book so much. And her very honest lack of a love life/ almost love life story gripped me from the first to the last word.

My favorite parts of the book were when she starts out talking about her first celebrity crush on JTT and how she wrote in her Lisa Frank diary to commemorate all her new grade school crushes.

Or maybe my favorite parts of the book were when she talks about how when she got to college, and couldn't pursue a social life right away because, ""My hyper-sensitive need to be a functional human being during the day always got in the way of my nights."

The following are some of my favorite quotes from the book and stood out to me as profound truths when I read Katie's memoir:

Honestly if slut shaming is not okay, why is virgin shaming okay?

Then when she talked about a guy she almost dated but nothing ever really became official so she got over him the way most girls do: moped around, watched Sex and the City, and slept it off. Until one day her best friend Rylee suggested they get high and play Dream Phone aka one of my favorite games as a kid growing up:

Her prose about this game and how strange of a concept it really is had me laughing so hysterically. Most of the book had me laughing hysterically so much so that my family thought I officially cracked mentally. Oh well, as if the pistachio doesn't fall far from the nut family tree. 

  Anyway, let me tell you this: I highly recommend this book because not only is it relatable in its awkward first person prose and voice about a young girl trying and failing at finding love throughout her first 25 years of life. I also want to let you know that if (like me) you have yet to find love. Don't even sweat it. What I loved most about Katie's memoir was that she made it a point to point out how the sad fact that we are still single is only because others around us feel the need to compete about it, and pressure us, and point out how sad that is. Not yet finding love is not sad. I believe it just means that no one has met your standards yet and in today's fast and loose society having standards makes you like a shiny new never used Iphone 6. No gunk, no glitches, and all yours for the experiencing. Tweet This And ask anyone who's ever held a brand new Iphone what that moment (thought fleeting) is like. The heavenly choirs sing and the lights get brighter. 

   I believe that thought I have yet to find love, God can make a way when there appears to be none. He's done that in other areas of my life so I know for a fact it isn't just words but manifested faith in God's faithfulness and goodness can cause it to happen to any of us. Do you believe it? 

   Recently, I made a Tinder which is somewhat not my style but my sister offered to help me and so I said why not? Even though I have yet to message all my matches back since I made the profile due to the fact that I have no smartphone of my own nor tablet, it was thrilling to see how quickly guys messaged me. They probably wonder what happened to me. (Or not). But hey, you can't say I don't try or put myself out there. 

The main reason I know that I haven't found love yet is because I'm not looking or worried about it right now. My career is my boyfriend, and Jesus is my husband. And I know you just side-eyed the computer right there (I will SMACK you) but I'm serious. If I'm not worried about it, why should you?

Until next time, remember: 
Love Times Infinity,
God Bless!
~Just Keep Swimming~

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

#WriterWednesday: The Book Courtship Book Tag

One of my writer friends did this on her blog and although she didn't tag me, I wanted to do it because there is nothing I love more than books. Scratch that, I love dogs and God almost equally as books but basically books are high on my favorite things list.

Phase One: Initial Attraction: A book that you bought because of the cover?

This book was given to me as a Christmas gift but as far as the cover, I automatically fell in love with it because of the cover and wanted to read it because there was both a cup of coffee on the cover, and a heart shape in the coffee. These were visual signs that wooed me as a reader and made me fall in love with this book. As far as the book goes, it's one of the most compelling YA books I've read by someone other than my three favorite YA authors: Janette Rallison, Susane Colasanti, and Kieran Scott. It's perfectly about a skatergirl who works at a coffee shop. Writing this now makes me want to re-read this book.

Phase 2 – First Impressions: A book that you got because of the summary?

Just when Kelsey is finally fitting into her new California life, C. J. Logan comes along. He's hot, popular, and revered as the best skateboarder around. Girls want to be with him, and boys want to be him. And Kelsey is lucky enough to be his girlfriend. But when she decides that their relationship is over, she could not have imagined what would happen next. With rumors flying, she is forced to figure out who her true friends are and, more importantly, who her true self really is.
This book courted me both by its title and its summary because I found it around the time I realized my obsessive crush on professional skateboarder Ryan Sheckler although full of  good intentions was not going to benefit me in the long-term so I stopped writing him fan letters on a monthly basis because I realized I should crush on someone in my local area. Therefore, I related to the gist of the story because skater boys are irresistible but not always good for your overall emotional well-being.

Phase 3 – Sweet Talk: A book with great writing?

I don't typically read books just because everyone else has read them because I don't really follow the crowd at all in any aspect of life but I can say with this one, everyone I knew was reading it because the movie was about to come out so I said, "why not?" And I did not regret it one bit. The book kept me hooked from page one and the writing just tore me up in the best way. It's John Green's best work. I've read his other books Paper Towns  and Looking For Alaska and I didn't enjoy them as much I enjoyed this book. Can I please find my own Augustus Waters? He's like the perfectly imperfect dream guy. I mean, Zac Efron actually has some tough competition there for my heart....

Phase 4 – First Date: A first book of a series which made you want to pick up the rest of the series?

I have yet to read Susane Colasanti's City Love series but for this, I would have to say this is what happened when I read the 50 shades of grey series. Again, everyone was making a fuss and I was like, do I take a swig out of this elixir or do I not? And once again, I tried it. And once I started reading them, I realized they weren't sex books like everyone was calling them. They were romance novels hidden underneath very explicit sexual prose here and there. Basically, they appeal to everyone's interests. 

Phase 5 – Late Night Phone Calls: A book that kept you up all night?

With this book, I actually stayed up late to read the last 100 pages because I just had to know what was going to happen. It's still my favorite book in the series because of the plot line when Bella had to choose between Edward and Jacob. 

Phase 6 – Always On My Mind: A book you could not stop thinking about?

This book after I read it changed my whole view of life as I knew it. It reminded me what truly mattered by cleverly telling a love story about how you can chase the guy who appears perfect but really isn't perfect for you or you can allow yourself to fall for the guy right in front of you. This is still my favorite book I've ever read.

Phase 7 – Getting Physical: A book which you love the way it feels?
This is pretty broad and a hard one for me because I don't really remember owning any of those books with the special sensory pages so I would say any book I've ever read because I've never read any book that wasn't physically in front of me. I actually prefer regular books in print to electronic books because I struggle to read books from a computer or tablet screen but that's just me.

Phase 8 – Meeting the Parents: A book which you would recommend to your family and friends?
For this, I would recommend anything by Susane Colasanti, Janette Rallison, or Kieran Scott. They are my favorite YA authors and everything they write is just great and I imitate their style of writing when I write my own fiction.

Phase 9 – Thinking About the Future: A book or series you know you will reread many times in the future?
I've already re-read Waiting For You multiple times and Janette Rallison's books as well. And I'm planning on re-reading Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty now because why not? Isn't that why books are written so that they can be read and re-read over and over. I would hope when I write a novel worth reading that my readers read it over and over and share it with their friends, blog about it, and tweet about it that it becomes as big a phenomenon as Harry Potter or Twilight. 

Phase 10- What are you reading right now?

For this step, you are really supposed to tag other people to do this blog as well but since that went so well for the 777 challenge, I'm not going there again.

Instead I'll share the books I'm currently reading: 

So far, this book is extremely relatable and scary true that I'm wondering if Katie actually used my love life as her muse for this book. For all of my other #foreversingle friends, this one is a must read! Check it out. 

This book I picked up when looking for writing books at my local library. It's basically telling me a lot of what I already know but after each subject's chapter it recommends other books to read. It's like a writer's bible of sorts.

What I plan to read: 
The other three books pictured here are other books I picked up at my local library in order to help me find ways to help me get my fiction writing love back. After working on a memoir for three years, I'm struggling with both a YA project I started prior to November and my #NaNoWriMo novel but I'm hoping these books will help me get my overall passion for the craft of fiction writing back. 

Speaking of #NaNoWriMo, I started my novel and have written a total of 472 words so far out of the goal of 50,000. I'm not too sure I will make the goal (especially with having two freelance jobs, one part-time job, and two internships) but I'm going to make progress when I can. Here is the book cover I created to sign up on you want to join the crazy crusade, please go there to sign up and for a bunch of other fun clickable links to writing goodies and swag for writers:

Until next time, remember: "I'm not happy when I'm writing but I'm more unhappy when I'm not. -Fannie Hurst Click To Tweet This

Love Times Infinity,
God Bless!
~Just Keep Swimming!~

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

#WriterWednesday: How Life without Sugar can Still Be Sweet

    At the end of September, I saw myself in a new way. I felt that I had hit rock bottom and decided I needed to do something about it. What I decided was that as of October 1 until Oct. 30, I would give up sugary treats (all candy, cookies, cakes, and ice cream), alcohol, and fast food. I would just substitute said sugary treats with healthy options such as yogurt or pudding. And I would workout (five to six days a week). And for the first seven days I did amazing and I felt amazing! I wasn't doing this experiment to lose weight but if I  did happen to lose weight, awesome. Yet, I just wanted to see what it felt like to go without those three major and wasteful food groups.

    The funny thing was I felt great without sugar. I slept better (mostly because I didn't have to get up to pee four and five times a night). I was happier. My mood was better possibly because my brain was actually getting the nutrients it needed to stay happy and sane. I had more energy even without three cups of coffee. Plus, it was actually easier to reach for a yogurt or a pudding when I wanted something sweet knowing that I wouldn't regret the calories the next day.

Then, on October 7, my dad bought my mom and I a mini cannoli at the grocery store. And he practically forced it down my throat. It was only 140 calories but still, I felt like I should have been stronger in my refusal to eat it. Then, on October 9, my sister  bought a box of Dunkin Donuts Munchkins. She said I could have a couple but I ended up eating a family of munchkins, an extended family. And when I wrote down my calories for the day, I saw how I had wasted 300 calories on munchkins and regretted it well, because despite the taste being heavenly, they left me hungrier than I was before I ate them.

From this day forward until October 22, I stuck to my no sugar, no alcohol, no fast food plan. Yet, once I came off of it, I realized that I started once again to struggle with sleep, to struggle with anger that I believe was produced by my failed sense of accomplishment, anxiety and symptoms of depression. I'm not saying these medical issues all have to do with what you eat but they say you are what you eat, right?

Thankfully, this sugar cleanse taught me a lot about the uselessness of sugar (even in my coffee) and a lot about myself.

Yet, life has turned around for me, since I last wrote a #WriterWednesday post. I got another freelance job, and as of yesterday (11/03/15), I got hired as a merchandising specialist at Best Buy. Plus, over the weekend, I visited the new Tampa Premium Outlets and got to meet TV personality, Skinny Girl Founder, and NYT Best-selling author, Bethenny Frankel. Needless to say, my Halloween was more fabulous than spooky:

 All in all, the greatest thing I learned that life without sugar can still be sweet when you learn to just let go and trust God. I am definitely going to commit to a sugar and junk free lifestyle after the Holidays are over. And for all my writer friends who are bravely blazing the long month long trail that is National Novel Writing Month, I salute you and hope next year, I can fully commit to the treacherous but fulfilling task of writing 50,000 words in a month. (This year, it just didn't work out for me.)

Until next time, remember: For the vision is yet for an appointed time and it hastens to the end [fulfillment]; it will not deceive or disappoint. Though it tarry, wait [earnestly] for it, because it will surely come; it will not be behindhand on its appointed day. -Habakkuk 2:3

Love Times Infinity,
God Bless!
~Just Keep Swimming~

Monday, October 26, 2015

#MusicMonday: Building 429's new album Unashamed will leave you encouraged, built up, and faith-filled

Today's artist is Building 429 and their new album Unashamed.  Building 429 gets it's band name from Ephesians 4:29 which reads, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."
The bands members are from Snyder Baptist Church, originally from areas of North Carolina and Texas. The band consists of Jason Roy (lead vocalist), Michael Anderson (drummer), Jesse Garcia (Keyboardist and guitarist), and Aaron Branch (bass guitarist). The Christian Rock group released their 9th studio album, Unashamed on September 25, 2015. The group won the GMA Dove Award for New Artist of the year in 2005. 

Song By Song Review
    "Eyes Up":  Sometimes life is hard but when you keep your eyes up, focusing on the author of creation, hope builds and you realize you will be alright.
    "Impossible": The lead track off the album, it's based off Matthew 19:26 that says that with God all things are possible. 
    "Ocean Deep": Based on Romans 8:38-39, this song talks about how nothing can separate us from God's love despite when we think we've messed up enough that God won't love us anymore.
    "Unashamed": A song for anyone who follows the Christian faith, not religion. Anyone who will stand with God no matter how the rest of the world decides to compromise their faith. The title track off the album inspires greatly with the musicality of Simple Minds "Don't Forget About Me" despite the heavily Christian message.
    "Go": Following the Holy Spirit's direction, this song talks about the spirit-led life.
    "Earth Shaker": Similar in sound to their song, "Listen to the Sound," it's about having faith despite trying circumstances, almost the sequel to "Unashamed."
    "Hold Them Close": A song about realizing all God has done for you in this life; a song of worship to the One True King.
    "Be With Us Now (Emmanuel)": An acoustic ballad about the times we live in now; a song that is a cry in faith to God.
   "Hearts Collide": Musically, my favorite off the album because it definitely showcases a lot of alternative rock, echoes the sound of Switchfoot hits. A sequel song to "Earth Shaker."
    "Stronger": The last song on the album finishes the album on a high note. It's about seeing someone who mistreats you the way God sees them through the eyes of mercy and grace. 
Whether you are struggling to find hope or just want some new Jesus music to listen to, Unashamed is everything you need in a Christian music album. The album debuted at #2 on Christian music charts, and #11 on Billboard's Top Rock Chart.

Love Times Infinity,
God Bless!
~Just Keep Swimming~

Monday, October 19, 2015

#CelebrateConfident Confident by Demi Lovato Music Album Review

I really wanted to post a new #MusicMonday review for you guys but instead it looks like my workload has gotten the best of me...yet again, so enjoy this video reviewing Demi Lovato's #Confident

Please view it and also get your copy of Confident today!

Love Times Infinity,
God Bless!
~Just Keep Swimming!~

Monday, October 5, 2015

#MusicMonday: Colton Dixon's EP will show you the way to true Calm and godly peace

Welcome to my next #MusicMonday post. Today, I am going to review Colton Dixon's newest EP Calm. In the rare case you are unfamiliar with Colton Dixon, he was a contestant on the 11th season of the hit reality singing television competition, American Idol. He's from  Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He ended up being cast off the show and placing seventh that season. It appeared all hope was lost because the show wasn't a fan of the fact that he wanted to become a Christian singer instead of just a secular pop rocker. Ryan Seacrest during one episode actually interrupted Colton when he was sharing some of his faith story. When he was voted off, I bawled my eyes out (He was both equal parts handsome and talented, and he loved Jesus. Excuse me for fangirling). Yet, a few years after leaving American Idol because he was so musically talented and could write his own songs, plus he stuck with Jesus despite the pressures of popular society and opinion, he was signed to Sparrow Records. I was so excited for him. Recently, during the weekend of Night of Joy 2015, on September 11, 2015, he got engaged to his longtime girlfriend, Annie Coggeshall. Simultaneously, The Calm Before The Storm was released on the same day, dual EPs where Calm contains acoustics of songs from his previous albums Anchor and Messenger, and Storm contains remixes of tracks from both albums. 

Song By Song Review

"Limitless": A song about how nothing is impossible with God, I personally wake up with this song in my head lately. The song was co-written by Christian music legend, Matthew West. My favorite verse from the song: 
Doubt sees a mountain, no way around it
Faith sees a victory, no doubt about it
Fear sees a ceiling, hope sees the stars
Love be the light inside of our hearts 

"Never Gone": My favorite part of the acoustic version of this song is the bells that are played alongside the piano track. One of my favorite Colton Dixon songs about how God never leaves us or forsakes us, Colton's vocals slay on the acoustic version of the track.

"You Are": This track off the Messenger album originally helped me through one of the toughest seasons of my life. The acoustic version features vocals from Colton's younger sister, who also originally auditioned for the eleventh season of American Idol, Schyler Dixon. It's a beautiful song just praising God for who He is.

"Through All of It": This song recently helped me through my grief over Geniveve's passing. It's a song about how God helps us through the trials in our lives:
And this is who You are
More constant than the stars up in the sky
All these years of our lives
I, I look back and I see You
Right now I still do
And I'm always going to

"Where I End": An original track written by Colton for this EP, it's a beautiful song about how God takes our weaknesses and makes them strengths. Based on 2 Cor. 12:9.

Obviously, I recommend the album to anyone young or old who needs to find some calm in the midst of whatever storm they may be facing.

Until next time, remember: At first, I didn't think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, "My grace is enough; it's all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness." -2 Cor. 12:9, MSG.♥

Love Times Infinity,
God Bless!
~Just Keep Swimming~

Monday, September 28, 2015

#MusicMonday: Andy Mineo's new album Uncomfortable will have you feeling anything but

    I'm a music lover. And I always give a song two listens before I decide if I consider it music worth listening to. I feel I'm a little biased when it comes to Christian music simply because I tend to gravitate toward it most often only because it gives me hope, encourages me, speaks truth, and doesn't give me a headache. Christian hip hop is the same way for me.

   On September 18, 2015 Reach Records released Andy Mineo's second studio album, Uncomfortable. If you aren't familiar with Andy he's a New-York based rapper known for his spiritual yet progressive lyrics. It hit the #10 spot on the U.S. Hot 200 Billboard chart.

Song By Song Review

"Uncomfortable":  Talks about how racism isn't dead despite our President being black and how Christians need to stop condemning the LGBQT community, Jesus wouldn't act like that. Hard hitting musically and lyrically, it's a great opening track to the album. 

"Uptown": It's an ode to Andy's Washington Heights roots. My favorite lyrics in this song: 

"Now I Know": Mineo discusses all the lies he's realized throughout his life. 

"Desperados":  Favorite lines off the track:

"Hear My Heart": A track Andy wrote in honor of his deaf sister

"David's Roof": A track that introduces the one that follows it it is scripturally based off of 2 Samuel 11 when David is looking at Bethsheba from his roof. The song's only verse in English is translated: Prepare me for the war because comfort is the fall of kings, is the fall of kings.

"Rat Race": A track about running your own race and how people hate when they start envy someone else's race when they should be running their own:

"Know That's Right": A song that thanks the fans who voted for his song, "You Can't Stop Me," as the Best Walk Up song for MLB and he received a Whammy from ESPN. 

"Vendetta": Andy gives a shoutout to 2Pac and said he did more for him than Barack because politicians are out of touch with "the struggle" of society unlike the artist who understand being outcasted for their perspective of "the struggle.": 
 This is one of my faves simply because I'm just glad someone had the guts to talk about this issue.

"Ghost": Addresses the people Andy's lost connection with in his life.

"Love": In this song Andy talks to love as a person and talks about what he’s learned about love over the years. It’s not a ballad to his wife as expected, but expressing his love for love.

"Strange Motions": A song about a relationship that has you second guessing your relationship with God.

"Make Me A Believer": A song based on David's repentance in Psalm 51 about how God's love increases one's faith:

If it isn't obvious, I highly recommend Uncomfortable for any Christian or non-Christian alike.

Until next time, remember: The only way that you get acceptance is when you know you don't need it, yeah. Freedom is a mindset, and I ain't in my prime yet. -Andy Mineo♥

Love Times Infinity,
God Bless!
~Just Keep Swimming~

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

#WriterWednesday How I Succeeded at Failing (and what it taught me)

     My girl Geniveve has been gone almost two months and I still haven't finished grieving over her absence. I know she's with me and as close to me as Jesus himself but that still doesn't mean I don't miss her hugs, her smile, or how her hips never lied. Yet, it's like no one at all understands this because it's not socially acceptable to grieve over a dog like this but what people don't realize is that I saw Geniveve as a person and not a dog so I grieve over her how you would another human.

     Yet, I didn't think Geni wanted me to sit around and cry over her without moving on with my life. After all, I feel like death is just the wake-up call we need to fully embrace life.Click To Tweet This!

    So I did attempt to move on by applying for more work and I got a second part-time job with an undisclosed freelance agency. At first, I was excited because I got hired the day before my birthday (Aug. 4) and I would be paid to write just like my other job with Outloud but instead of being paid by the article, I would be paid by the word count, and the pay was very low. Because of this and the people who worked for this agency started to mistreat me and accuse me of blatant plagiarism, I decided to look for another job. I applied for ten to fifteen more freelance postings through the site Elance, and within the same day, I heard back from a guy saying I had to reach him via Skype to see if I fit the job description. I sent him a contact request and waited until 2 p.m. the next day. He finally added me and said he had to make a new job request for me and I had to apply there.

    At first, I was like wow, they are creating a special position just for me to apply to and to work. This must mean I'm really special.

    I accepted the terms of the job which included writing articles for eight hours a day, five days a week, meaning I finally found a freelance job that was full-time. I was working for a pay rate of $13 an hour. I was ecstatic and immediately thanked Jesus and Geniveve for smiling down on me.

    After the first week, the guy didn't answer me when I logged in to let him know why I couldn't work the day before. Something didn't seem right. Plus, why must we always communicate through Skype? I don't even have skype on my work computer. After tossing and turning for a good two hours, I got up and logged my computer on and found that "my boss" was logged on at 2:30 a.m.. He was located in California...this would mean, he was working at 11:30 p.m. I sent him a message that said Hello. He wrote back, "Ready to start?" At 2:30 am?! was this guy real? My intuition was screaming loud and clear, RED FLAG! GET OUT NOW WHILE YOU STILL HAVE YOUR DIGNITY!
  That Sunday (on my day off) I was logged into my work email and found that Elance was advising me to stop working on this project as there were risks with the overall account. I didn't know what they were talking about so I just kept working. I didn't want to give up and risk losing the amount of money I was making.
  I worked until Thursday of the next week when I received yet another email from Elance letting me know that my invoice I submitted to receive my first paycheck as a full-time writer was still unpaid and they advised that I stop working. I sent "my boss" the link to the unpaid invoice and surprisingly he ignored all messages I sent him that day. On Friday September 4, I not only quit working for the second part-time freelance job who jibbed me of pay they claimed they would pay me but I found out the full-time job I was doing wasn't even real. Even the contact information the guy provided Elance was all false and made up.

This left me feeling defeated, broken, and absolutely worthless as a writer.

     On September 1, 2015, I had set out to write a 50,000 word in 30 days. I know what your thinking: Have you lost all sense of reality? Well, of course otherwise I wouldn't consider myself a writer at all. I decided to do it both to prove to myself I could, to help myself write more freely without self-consciousness or awareness of audience, and to prep for November's NaNoWriMonth. The first four days went by with great progress and then after I lost two jobs on the same day (both of which weren't worthy of my time) and was left, once again with one job and little money from it. I just didn't know how to keep going.

    Sure, I could blame my family for not being supportive. My sisters who are overly needy but only need me for help with their homework but never for any other reason. My mom who wanted me to watch our usual shows together so the DVR didn't get too full. My dad who always needs me to do something for him or with him, who expects everyone in my family to drop everything they have planned on the days he's home so that we can hang out with him on his days off. They, have well meaning intentions of at least wanting me around, but at this time, I just wanted to accomplish something for myself because I wanted to prove that I could move on from Geniveve's death and life could go on.

Yet, once again, I failed. And this time, Geniveve wasn't here to dance for me to cheer me up or give me a hug while I cried silently in her arms. Instead, I had to find a way to pick myself up from this and go on.

I did find a way but I still can admit that I'm not fully healed from this.
Nothing bad in life has good timing and this situation was no exception. Click To Tweet This!

I had to remember that even when things in life don't make sense, God has a plan. Recently, I went applying for freelance writing jobs via other sites and I happened upon a site called I found the guy who scammed me and his real name is Falcie B and he was from Kenya. That explains why he always sent me messages in broken English.

So I've not found more work as a freelance writer yet but I did receive plenty of opportunities in my field of public relations. I am now an intern for two separate PR firms both of which are located in Florida. I'm really excited for this opportunity to further my expertise so that I can eventually be hired for a public relations job which require 3 plus years experience in the field.

I'll save you from hearing my list of complaints about how my life isn't what I thought it would be at 24. I envisioned a whole different existence for myself. I saw myself with a husband and plenty of furry children living in California working and being successful living in a big house complete with a dance studio, a music room, and plenty of bedrooms so we always could have guests stay over. I would be driving a Purple porsche and being able to travel the world and see it.

I still have dreams of driving a car of my own but I would start with a Mazda 3. I still have dreams of seeing the world and I want to start by seeing the entire United States before I go overseas. I'm even considering making these dreams real by making GoFundMe pages for each of them so that generous strangers can consider helping me make them real. Comment below if you think I should.

I'm not someone who compares myself to other people because there is no win in comparison but I do see that most other people got a lot of help from relatives and friends of the family after graduating college. They got new cars and vacations as their grad gifts. Yet, this isn't my reality. I've always been forced to be financially independent (for the most part) and find a way to buy myself the future I desire. And of course, I know I can when I remember that my heavenly Father is the source of all provision.

These failings taught me that despite having to wait for the life I want, I should instead embrace the life I have now. After all, God's word says in 1 Cor. 2:5: So that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men (human philosophy), but in the power of God.

 In October, I'm going to attempt again at writing my 50,000 novel in 30 days. Please stand with me by sharing this post with anyone you can think of.

Before I leave you with a final thought, I promise I will try to blog more because I appreciate all of you that read my posts and share words of encouragement. Also you can now follow my Blog on BlogLovin' through your email so you never miss a post. See the sidebar or go here to follow:

     Until next time, remember: God not only sees where you are, He sees where you can be. -Joyce Meyer. Click To Tweet!

     When nothing in your life makes sense, trust God anyway. -Joyce Meyer Click To Tweet!

Love Times Infinity,
God Bless!
~Just Keep Swimming~