Taking Back the Internet!

Many of you probably aren’t aware, but I’ve been vlogging my life for almost a year now on YouTube. If you are interested in watching, catching up with what we do on a daily-basis (family or not), or you just like YouTube in general, you should go subscribe & follow us 😉 I try to make light of life in a quirky, redheaded, Jesus-lovin’ way – so go and see if it’d be something you’d like!
I’m constantly amazed everyday that I have such a loyal group of subscribers & friends that follow my life everyday! ..and some days I am super shocked with that as well LOL! But I am seriously honored. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
In almost a year I have made it to 165 subscribers – and I am so grateful for that! While that’s an AWESOME step forward, I am still wanting to grow my channel tremendously; and make it a part-time/full-time gig! It’s been challenging.
Since March of 2016, I have worked countless hours (too many to count) editing videos, filming daily & interacting/networking with other YouTubers/influencers on the socials/interwebs. Like, a lot. It’s exhausting. I’m up wicked late. I fall asleep editing. Still haven’t made any money. But I keep on pushing on!
There have been MANY days when I honestly felt like quitting or basically, “what’s the point?” And even though I have a goal to make this channel into something that could potentially bring my family income, I sometimes wonder if it ever will. Honestly.
But I’m glad that I’m doing it for the memories – because those are pretty priceless.
Also, I’ve been a victim of comparison too many times to count. I feel like that’s honestly the hardest part about this YouTube game. Legit hardest part. Like on the verge of tears hardest part (I know, lame), BUT I keep doing what I’m doing; putting my faith in the one person who I believe is THE most important person out there – Jesus Christ.
I have NO DOUBT that many of you find it weird that I’ve chosen to do this. Even if you don’t mention it to me personally, I can tell. I mean, it’s obvious. But honestly, what else would I do – or can I do? Before I started this channel I was just your average SAHM. I love being a mom – seriously. It’s amazing. It’s life-changing. It’s challenging ..(boy, is it challenging!?). But was I going to win souls by being stuck at home changing diapers all day? Nope.
On the contrary, I am a very expressive, loud & obnoxious person (that LOVES JESUS) – so why would I want to sit at a front desk job all day answering phones? Sorry, just not me (but I’ve done it).
I feel like I’ve honestly found where I need to be. I’ve found a place where I can share the love of Jesus with others; and that place is on YouTube.
The internet is full of crazy these days. You know it is. However, my goal is to take it ALL back! We can sit around and preach all day about how social media is HORRIBLE or BAD or RUINING our society and/or the church – but what is THAT doing? Absolutely nothing! Yeah, I said it.
So instead of sitting around and letting social media RUIN everything, I’ve chosen to do something about it. That’s right.
Booyah!
I know I may sacrifice growth (or recognition) in my work, but that’s okay. It’ll be hard, but I’m not giving up. Not yet. I know that people may not like me, or what I stand for (or what I’m doing) but I won’t back down. Why, you ask? Because of Him.
Nobody’s going to Heaven with a “YouTube Play Button” or “Shorty Award”. Heaven’s for soul-winners. And I wanna be one! I wanna win souls, and not awards ..but if I win awards WHILE winning souls, that’s cool too 👍
I’m taking the internet BACK for Jesus ya’ll!
You with? 😉
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A Beautiful Exchange.

I don’t know why some people don’t understand Jesus. And don’t understand His love. It leaves me heartbroken and pondering where they stand in their walk. Yesterday my Facebook exploded because I posted something about Rob Bell – and his un-Biblical teachings and beliefs; that are going to hurt so many fellow believers – and hinder those that are still lost. I knew it was going to happen (the ranting and raving on my Facebook), but honestly I didn’t care. I don’t want to sit here idly and watch the world – and people I love – head into destruction because I didn’t say anything. Aren’t we supposed to help? Aren’t we supposed to love? That’s what I believe. Loving is not condoning ..love is loving – unconditionally, and in truth. Jesus loved us unconditionally, but He made it clear what will gain you access to His Kingdom. There are many things that can prevent you – even being really mad at someone because they “wronged you”. I have to admit, I have had my fair-share of grievances with people, but I don’t want my eternal life/salvation to be based on that “one time that someone was mean to me” or “cut me off in traffic”. It’s just not worth it.

I know living in this world, and living this life dedicated to Christ – is going to cost me. It already has. Even though a BAZILLION of my friends on FB (and just in this life) haven’t “unfriended” me yet, I’m sure they would because of what I believe in – and WHO I believe in. But I am not going to just sit back and watch everyone head into destruction. And I will be the first to let you know what I believe in (if you ask me). God gave us the free will to do what we want with our lives. I don’t go around telling my homosexual friends that they are going to hell or that they are sinners. Obviously, that wouldn’t help them, or be loving for that matter. But it’s also unloving to keep my mouth shut, and just sit back and watch everything in their lives fall apart. Especially when I know the Truth. I want to make it clear that it is not my job (or right) to judge an unbeliever here on earth (1 Corinthians 5:12-13). I’m only trying to show them who He is, so that He will move them to want to change their lives (or their behaviors) – and escape the bondage of sin; gaining His salvation. It’s that simple. And if they don’t agree with me, then they can chose to ignore it, block me – or just agree to disagree with me.  I don’t conform my beliefs to make people happy. Last I checked ..

Galatians 1:10 –  “Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.”

I know that there will be a lot of people that will be deceived by worldly-views and just continue to parrot the Word of God. People want to hear what they want to hear. Not what God wants us to hear – or do for that matter. We want to be in control of our lives from the start – as we are human. We are selfish by nature. I had to learn the difference, and I know a lot of people that have had to learn that the hard way. I grew up going to church, but that doesn’t make me a Christian, a believer – or saved for that matter. That also doesn’t guarantee me a spot in heaven. I’m a good person (sometimes), do good things for people, I live to give, and I remained a virgin until I was married to my husband. But that doesn’t guarantee me anything either.

Doing good deeds (or good things for people) is the icing of the salvation cake, since faith without deeds is dead (James 2:14). But that doesn’t save you. Only Jesus saves you. I’ve made some mistakes, and almost did some things that I would’ve regretted – even while on the path to becoming a Christian. I used to cuss, ridicule/make fun of people & have had my own struggles here and there. But that wasn’t the end of the road for me, and definitely not the end of the road for a lot of you. Giving my life to Christ guarantees His complete salvation, but it doesn’t come without lots of hard work and perseverance. It’s not just one prayer you say, or that if you just “..believe in Jesus” you will be saved. It’s not that simple. That doesn’t cut it. Even demons (and satan) believe in God (James 2:19). You have to LIVE for Jesus. You have change your ways, walk away from your sins – and change your whole life to follow Him. It’s called sacrifice.

I know that most of my family disagrees with my beliefs. I’ve heard stories of family members poking fun of me and my sister Allyssa; who is also a Christian, behind our backs. They say we are “too religious” or things of that nature. Yes, it hurts. And that hurt runs really deep because it’s family. These are the same people that helped raise us, changed our diapers, wiped our tears and loved us. That is why it is so hard. But honestly, as I sat here on my bed listening and Worshipping God while the song “A Beautiful Exchange” by Hillsong played on my laptop, I cried my eyes out ..not because I am sad because people (including family) can be mean, intolerant and harsh – but I balled my eyes out because I cannot believe how much He loves me, and why He chose to die for me. I am worthless without Him. I am a mess, I am unforgivable (in my eyes), and a horrible person. No, I have never killed anyone or done anything the world would consider “bad”. I was just born this way. I was born a sinner, and I need Him badly.

I also balled because of the love I have for the lost, and feel that I am hopeless in saving them. Just hopeless. But I know through Him I can do all things (Philippians 4:13), and by seeing how much I am growing apart from the world – and apart from family members and friends living in the world – shows me that I’m doing the right thing. Regardless of what people say to me (or regardless of what people think of me), I will continue to press on in my walk with Christ. I will continue to pray for their salvation; as we do every night before putting Jonah to bed, and I will continue to love unconditionally; just as He did – because that is what I am called to do. Jesus was hated, ridiculed, and treated so horribly during His time here on earth. But He didn’t waver, He stood firm and pressed on.

John 15:18 –  “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.”

Also, I want to make it known that I am not in some sort of “cult”; as some of my family likes to view me as being in. I am a Christian. I am in a relationship with the One and Only – Jesus Christ. I have come to the realization that those that are parroting don’t really fully know who He is; as I used to do that. I have also come to the conclusion that you won’t know (or grow) unless you read the Word of God; as I am daily-reminded. I know that l will lose friends and family members in this life here on earth – and many will turn their backs on me. They did that to Jesus. It’s inevitable. But I have also come to know that this life is not my own – and it is only temporary.

When it’s all said-and-done, and if what I believe in doesn’t come true ..then my only sacrifice was losing their relationships; which isn’t that much of a loss in my opinion. And that’s only because I put Him first. I was never mean to anyone. I never hated anyone, or carried out hate crimes. I never cussed people out because they disagreed with me or my views, or picketed at peoples’ funerals because they were “living in sin”. All I did was obey the Word of God; showing love to everyone, but not compromising my beliefs. My gay friends, substance-addicted relatives, bitter family members, or my friends/family living in sexual promiscuity outside of the covenant of marriage are not judged by me. They are judged by the Word of God. I don’t have a say in their salvation, only God does. I do have a job though – to preach the Good News, and to share Jesus with them. I know I can’t change them, and they have the free will to do what they want with their lives; and believe me, they do. But in the end, I would rather risk losing these so-called relationships on earth by planting the seed of salvation, instead of losing my life to eternal fires in hell because I sat here and didn’t say anything to them. And didn’t do my part, or what I was called to do.

Matthew 10:35 & 36 –  “‘I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. Your enemies will be right in your own household.'” 

For those of you who don’t understand Christianity, or those of you who just listen to what ‘everyone else says’, and then base your salvation on what you hear (or what has been passed down the grapevine), please hear me out! Pick up your Bible. Read it for yourself. Study His Word day in and day out, research all of those other religions you think are way better. I am certain you will not find a religion more loving, humble, gentle and forgiving as Christianity. And you will not find a person more loving, humble, gentle and forgiving as a Christian. Also, pray. Pray to God to open up your eyes to what He has. To show you that His way is “the way the truth and the life” (John 14:6). And ask Him to explain all of this to you. It’s worth it. He will show you.

Romans 12:2 –  “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

It’s Been A While

Yea, seriously. It has been a while since I last posted on my blog! Whew! Things have been crazy! We celebrated Jonah’s 1st birthday – Dr. Seuss-style back in July, found out my sister Angelina was pregnant (yay!), took an amazing family vacation up north – with baby in-tow (he did great by the way), and have been just prepping for the holidays and busy wedding-time here at the Leighty Abode!

Jonah is now walking – started fully on his own at about 13 months – and he is into EVERYTHING! He loves Elmo, hugging all of his stuffed animals, says “ball” – “book” – “more” – “bottle” (or what we think is bottle) – “boo” (which is boob) – “ahh duuh” (all done) ..and of course “elmo”; which isn’t easily pronounced obviously 🙂

I cannot believe that our son is 1 years old – well now technically 14 months! He is growing soo fast, and he’s so strong! He’s pretty much weaned off of the boob – but I tend to still baby him a little when he’s upset. I’m not the milk-machine (or cow) I used to be, but I am soo excited for his development and also excited that I will do it again in the near-future!

As far as babies go, Brian and I have decided (well, we’ll let God decide technically) that when Jonah is two it would probably be a good time to start trying for another. Right now, I have been on full-aerobic-workout mode and watching my portion sizing! I weighed in this morning at 147, but I am having my lady-time so hopefully I’m less than that 🙂 All-in-all, I am very excited to start getting toned up and in shape – and being healthy! I am hoping the second go-around won’t be as complicated as the first! It’d be nice if the baby just popped out 😉

In other news our business is so Blessed – and more importantly we are Blessed helping those around us! We are involved in Dave Ramsey’s second financial course entitled “The Legacy Journey” at church – leading a small group and are members of the class! It is awesome! We CANNOT wait to start a LEGACY for our children and our children’s children! It’s gonna be awesome! I am just in awe of what God has done in our lives, and is continuing to do!

I have also started a great prayer time! I do it when Jonah goes down for his first nap – and I’ve been reading the Word daily, a daily devotional, praying out of my A Praying Wife book & just laying down the prayers and praises before God. I am trying my best at putting HIM first in my life! I have really amped up my FB with daily scriptures and devotionals, and just trying to not get sucked too much into world!

Even though God is of course my #1, Brian and I have started this obsession with MasterChef. We have now watched both the 5th season (current/past season) as well as the 1st and we’re getting through the 2nd. I love to cook – and even though I don’t feel I could be a “MasterChef”, sometimes I wonder if I actually could 🙂

All I know is that I’ve been having tons of dreams with Chef Gordon Ramsay in them – as well as my usual “serving dreams”; with which I am almost ALWAYS in the weeds! For those of you who have never served it basically just means being “slammed with customers and pretty much not knowing what to do next cause you have so much to do.” To put it plain and simple 🙂

That is pretty much what’s been happening in the household lately! We are starting to gear towards the holidays – and just the other day Brian told me how excited he was for them (especially with little Jonah in tow now). Jonah will be able to respond to the lights on the tree/house, hopefully not pull all of the decorations down, open a couple of presents (because he got WAY too many for his birthday) & it will be SO amazing so start our family traditions this year (and for years to come) when Jonah can understand things a little better ..and of course, with Christ as the center!

Here is a slideshow of some of Jonah’s Dr. Seuss 1st Birthday Party!

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My Little Dove

Jonah at Grandma & Grandpa Leighty’s House (Easter 2014).

I cannot believe that in a couple of months, Jonah will be turning ONE!! I knew that the 9-months of pregnancy flew by, but having a baby that’s almost 12 months? Seriously?! I cannot believe how fast it’s gone! I have learned so much – and I have seen my son grow so fast! He laughs, crawls, gets into things, cruises all around, says “yum, yum, yum” & of course MAMA! This baby has been such a Blessing – and I am so lucky and Blessed to be his mama. With my first (official) Mother’s Day coming up this weekend, I just reflect on how being a mother has changed my life. Of course I still have been struggling mentally (postpartum OCD), but there are so many good things that have come out of being a mother that it just wipes out all the negative! I definitely feel like a super mom. I thank the Lord Jesus for helping me get through the tougher days of my pregnancy (towards the end) – and Blessing me so much by giving me the natural childbirth that I so desired. It might’ve been an alternate version of what I envisioned, but hey – birth is rather unpredictable 🙂 I thank God for allowing me to screw up. Sure, there have already been some low times of being a Mom of a 9-month old – but hey, we all make mistakes. I thank God for allowing me to make these mistakes and to grow and learn from them! I thank God for the amount of LOVE that He has given me for Jonah. I cannot tell you how many times I turn to Brian and just say “I love this baby”. And it is not even close to how I feel about him. Now I know how God feels about all of us – and His son. With that much love PLUS even more on top of it! Sometimes I just can’t handle it! It’s too much!! I just love on Jonah Poo and kiss him over and over! It’s incredible how God created that bond between a mother and her child. It’s amazing. I also thank God for the growth (and love) He has given me for my husband. Of course I’ve loved my husband since before we were even dating (yes, I’m weird), but marriage changes so much when you bring a little one into the world. Yes, it was challenging, and yes – we’ve had to make some hard decisions; however, when you have someone that supports you in every way possible, that you can communicate honestly with, one that loves and cares for your children and works hard to take care of your everyday needs ..it’s mind-boggling! I love Brian. He has Blessed me in so many ways, and I feel like we’ve grown so much in our marriage within the past 9-months 🙂 It’s been awesome, and I am so looking forward to growing old with my baby daddy!

Jonah has taught us a lot this past year, and we are so grateful and thankful to be his parents. We cannot wait until God Blesses us with another little one (or several) down the road, but we want to make sure to take this time to cherish and love on Jonah as much as we can. We want to show him who God is through us – and continue to have God work through him and shine His light all around. He’s been a Blessing to many people so far – and I’m hoping that continues 🙂

Fasting

About twice a year our church – Liberty Church in Marietta (www.libertychurch.org) does corporate fasting. The fasting can be from anything – certain foods, sweets, media, etc. Every year I pretty much do the same fast: Facebook.

It’s not that I don’t like Facebook and I have a total addiction to it. I just feel like social media (in general) can be rather addicting, and while you have good intentions, your focus can become shifted. In my case – it shifts away from the thing that should be the center of my life each and every day that I wake up –  God. I really did great last year! I made it a point to read a chapter of the New Testament each day BEFORE I went on FB. That was great! In doing so, I was able to put an encouraging word up on the social media website ..and that was awesome! But like always, once I was done with the One Year Challenge, I sort of fell off the band wagon of making God my priority. Right now I am on a 21-day fast. There have really only been a couple of times when I wanted to “go online” (aka FB) ..and I recognize now that it was because I was bored. I mean don’t get me wrong, I love keeping up with friends and family members and posting cute photos of my Jonah Poo Poo on FB and Instagram, but I really don’t want to make it an idol. FB is FB. Instagram is Instagram. Media is Media. I know that I don’t worship media, but I don’t want my focus shifted on the things of the world. I want to be different. I want to be weird.

And so that is why every year (twice a year) I choose to fast from FB. It’s something (like all media) that can totally suck you in ..and hold you hostage. But honestly, I do fine without it. I did fine without for 21 years. It’s almost like I went back in time. I almost feel like I need to get a Zach Morris cell phone. Well, maybe not that far 😉

The other day I also did something amazing on this fast that I would LOVE to continue. Worship. Since Jonah takes a morning nap anywhere between 10-12pm every day, I made it a point to shut the door to the office/guest room/train room, turn on some Hillsong United and just WORSHIP God! It was amazing. I honestly felt like I purged all of the nasties of the world out of me. It was fabulous. Like seriously, I balled like a baby. And I intend to do it again. But honestly, I want to make it a daily thing. Not just a “fast” thing. And I think I just might!

So wherever your walk is with God, I pray that you be encouraged to go a little deeper! When you’re feeling a little worn out or drained from living in this broken world – try something new! Maybe you’re like my husband, who fasts from playing games on his phone (particular the Plants Vs Zombies game) and sweets. I suck at the sweets. I always give in. This time I said I was doing it, but turns out I wasn’t. First day I ate a chocolate candy (and realized it hours later), and I had some cherry pie and ice cream later on in the day. Hey – it was in the fridge and it was going to go bad since Brian wasn’t going to eat it, right? 😉 Today I had an eclair my sister Angelina left in the fridge from when she was visiting last week. Actually I split it with Allyssa.

I guess I’ll stick to FB.