Saturday, June 23, 2012

Summer's Are For Taking A Break And Soaking In Some Sun




Summer is for slow, long, lazy days. Enjoying family and making memories that you can look back on and recollect in 20 years with a smile and a laugh.

We are packing up and getting ready to go home! We'll get bathed in family, sun, and lots and lots of homecooking ;)

My diet will get shot to heck and back

I will get so much sun that I can already

here my mom say "Your just ruinin your skin!" {said in thick southern accent ;))And I know she's right, but it feels so good to soak it in!

I'm looking forward to going home more than words can say.The kids are beyond excited, J's had his bags packed for two days.

The kids are also looking forward to getting spoiled so rotten that it will take us weeks to detox them from their grandparents "love"


{We were in a heavy nerf gun battle this morning, did you know those little things hurt at close range?}
and I got hit a few times, yeah, my kids are hilarious! at least they thought so.

Just thought I'd quietly slip these in:)




My husband will be sad, I'm sure, to have quiet around the house {yeah right} while we are gone, but he'll be joining us at the end for a trip to the beach to finish out the summer.
               
                                     
                      {Father's Day Sunday, not a single one were looking at the camera, figures!}


So, this blog will go quiet until I return.

Just not enough time in the day {and I don't have a laptop to take with me}to do it all.

I wasn't sure how it would go blogging through the summer with the kids being home, but it's actually been better than I thought. They help keep me on schedule, and I waste less time.


So until we meet again....

Happy Summer Friends!!




I've noticed some other bloggers taking a break, and not just for summer but because of personal reasons. I pray they will be back when I return. Life's a balance and it's so hard to maintain that delicate balance of family, writing, church, and life in general.


Oh and if you want to pray we survive the South's unbearable humidity..I'd be your best friend!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Beautiful...In Time


Ecclesiastes 3:10 "He has made everything beautiful in its time."

The seed into fresh fruits or vegetables



The sinner into a redemptive believer






The barren trees into beauty of color




A broken marriage healed

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source



He has set eternity into our hearts..and eventually we open our eyes and embrace this simple truth.


This verse has been on my mind for a while.

Love, life, relationships, God.

There really is a time for it all....



Linked up at Studiojru, Just For Fun Fridays, Faith Filled Fridays

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Standing Against The Heat




The heat is on, stress from what is seen and unseen. Sometimes I don't even know why I'm stressed. I realize later it's because of resistance. Sin. If God is dealing with me on something and I'm not ready to deal with it or admit to it..because I'm prideful, then my soul gets stressed. It begs me to open my eyes and heart to hear what He has to say.

I don't want to admit I'm wrong, especially when I've been wounded but He says do it anyways.

I want to be like this tree planted in God, so that when trials come my way my roots are so deeply planted that I have nothing to fear because I am safe.

The heat can't touch me. My attitude will stay right and my feelings will not lead me astray

I imagine standing firm and tall while a hurricane sweeps around me, but in the eye of the storm there is calm, and there, not even a strand of hair is moved out of place.

Though storms come and threaten to take my peace I can choose not to worry and choose peace instead. This way I will bear fruit. My life will point to God and people will say only God could have done that!



Linked with:: Thought Provoking Thursdays, Life in Bloom, Hearts 4 Home Thurs

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

When You Hit a Wall and Want To Run



I don't understand you
I try to wrap my head around you
Who you are
What you are

Your love
Unconditional
Merciful
Not dependent on me, what I do or say or better yet what I don't
My performance isn't needed for your love to be

I picture you way up high in the sky
sitting on a big throne, shining
laughing, smiling

I also have this picture of you
frustrated, impatient, and somewhat angry
wondering when I'm going to get it.
That the love I tell others about applies to me as well
That I'm not an exception
when will I just accept it for what it is-a free undeserved gift

You tell me You are patient
merciful
the rest I need
all that I need

But I hate being needy...anxious
I hate waiting for you to show me what's next
No clear path
Destined to wander and wonder?

You feel so far away
Do I not believe enough?
Love you enough?
I wonder

When will you finally decide to leave me where I'm at?
Tired of trying to convince me
that your love is enough
That, in you, I am enough

This life is hard..this Christian life is harder
I get so tired of trying
I don't think I'm doing it right

Joy is not mine lately
It's not my kids either
They fight
I try to teach them the way they should go, but they resist

I want to be a godly mother without shoving you down their throats, but maybe I'm wrong
They could use a little godly swallowing

The only thing I get is that life's a process
It's to learn
to grow

I push and pull between freedom and law.
I want them both
I like rules, and knowing what is expected of me
but I also like freedom.
How do you have them both?

I believe
but I struggle with my faith

I'm still reading Grace for the Good Girl, and for the first time I've hit a wall. This is God working, I know, but man is it hard.

When you are being peeled away you start seeing the ugly parts of you revealed. The parts you didn't want to acknowledge existed. Should good Christian girls ask such things?


Asking questions is good, and God doesn't mind (I think). I like to believe He wants to answer, and wants us to know

Why we believe what we believe. Really believe.
John 15:1,2 " I am the vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off very branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will become more fruitful." 

And not only is it this book, but everything else seems hard. The kids have been exceptionally unbearable, I've been snap happy and not in the finger snapping kind of way.It's one of those times when God seems distant and you really don't need him to be. You need him to show up..now! To tell you what to do and just take over your mouth and mind, preferably before you run off to some secluded island and am only responsible for me, myself, and I.


I've been in funk as you can tell, lots of unspoken questions that I never would have written anywhere else but in my journal, but in an effort to finally be mask free, here they are. Before, fear of what you would think of me would have kept these thoughts safely tucked away. This is me trying to be mask free, trying to keep the way I am perceived online kept with who I am in real life.


God Bless Friends!


linked at:: Soli Deo Gloria, A Pause On The Path, God Bumps & God Incidences, Imperfect Prose, Women Living Well Wednesday, Word Filled Wed, Write It Girl

Friday, June 15, 2012

Summer Is For Laughing, Living, and Making Memories

Our summer so far....


Swimming in our own "beach"




Being up to no good! Being the only boy in the group he felt it was his job to annoy the heck out of them. What a fine job he did!







Strengthening the bond of friendships
with their fearless-blind-protector Aubie they set off to swim beyond the boundary markers. Look at her determined walk...that's my girl! Never one to let boundaries stop her!!





Boat ride? Let's Decide.....






He thinks he's brave enough..but is he really??




Nope, not this time! 
Can't say that I blame the little guy!






After going round and round a bit
they finally set their course straight..and not just straight into the bank either :) although they did do that a few times, lol!!






They it rowed out into the open..wide open
What sweet victory for these two friends



Our summer is faring well so far. Counting down the days till we are with family back home.

How about you what are your summer plans?






Linked with Studiojru

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Embrace Grace







"Teach your mouth to say that which is in your heart."-Abba Poemen

I don't think it's any coincidence that I starting reading Signature Sins about the same time as Grace for the Good Girl, because I usually do not read 2 books at the same time. But they so closely parallel each other, it's eery. I'm taking notes like crazy and underling everything. Both books are speaking loud and clear to this good-girl's heart.


Signature Sins is a book about those sins in our lives that we neatly try to hide from everyone, even God.  Their natural and their our own.  One person may suffer from alcoholism while someone else may be addicted to porn. As we each are different in our personalities so is our sin uniquely ours as well.

It's a book on our response to sin, our own and others. The author challenges us to be "radically honest" with ourselves and to examine the areas of your heart that are most resistant to be examined.
You do this by finding some quiet time with God and open your heart and mind to what it is He wants to show you. Write it down...even if it's ugly and you don't want to, do it anyways.

"To know my heart is a start, but it leads nowhere if I cannot then open those newly discovered rooms to the light of God's transformation."

"Those in power often present themselves as icons of near-perfection.The common sinner, who cannot manage to hide sins so well, is left feeling inferior."

"The hunger for deeper spiritual formation cannot be satisfied in communities that value image over honesty. We must reject the gospel of sin management and embrace the gospel of grace." ~Signature Sins by Michael Mangis

In Grace for the Good Girl, chapters 4-6, closely parallel this same train of thought. Wearing the "I'm fine" mask, when things are NOT fine is doing a disservice to God and to others that want to help.

"Only as I depend on and trust in and fully disclose to the One who knows anyway will I be able to discern when I'm fine-ing someone who deserves genuine."

"Hiding behind fine in the midst of God and everyone is insulting to the cosmic swing God sets into motion...our emotions add color and dimension to life...we try to hide them behind one dimensional masks because we believe they indicate weakness ..trying not to experience the whole spectrum of emotions is like trying to be inhuman."~ Emily Freeman GFTGG

Trouble starts when our thoughts and feelings are contrary to what God's word says, we try to control the back and forth between good and evil-we think that in order to be mature Christians these back and forth thoughts should be in control.

But in reality God created us to be and think like this, because then we learn to live by faith and not in our own strength.

We receive compassion and grace from God, which is what he wants us to do, so not that we can turn around and brag, but so that we can offer it to others who need it as well.

The reason we hide is because we fear if we come out from behind it, we won't be enough. And the truth is, apart from Christ, we won't. We believe we have to be competent in ourselves, forgetting God's truth." GFTGG

If we are honest with ourselves and then finally honest with God, then we can start to heal. I'm so encouraged and challenged by both books. Both essentially are giving the same message just in different ways, sin management. I guess the real question is are we going to hide our sins and put on fake masks  of "I'm fine" or are we going to deal with it openly and honestly? We can't be scared to show others are weaknesses, {and yes,I'm terrified} it's in our weaknesses that God does the greatest work and relationships are formed.

What masks do you hide behind, or what sin do you try to manage, in your own strength? Can I encourage you to get honest with God and let him show you? What would our friendships, relationships look like if all the masks came down?





Linked up with:: Beautiful Thursdays, Thought Provoking Thursday, Hearts 4 Home Thursday, Life in Bloom, Faith Filled Friday, Chatting At The Sky

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Like A Chameleon




Do you ever feel like people don't know the real you? Do you ever think it's because you don't know the real you?

I have.

I felt like friends or acquaintances were not ever going to get the chance to see my heart because I always hid behind majority rules. 

I blend and mix in with the people around me. I don't want to offend you with having a different opinion, so I keep quiet and politely nod in agreement.

At least to your face I'm in agreement but in my heart I'm screaming the truth. Back at home, where it's safe from your opposing opinion I will voice mine.

My husband will hear it.

I'm not big and bad enough to disagree to your face, because I don't have the words right then. It's only later when I'm contemplating the conversation do I think of a clever comeback...it always happens that way.

Karma Chameleon
I have that Boy George song in my head Karma Chameleon? {I think that's the name} I watched the video on you tube and was transported back to the 80's...and Lord help us, that fashion trend is back in style!! yuck

Karma karma karma karma karma chameleoooon.
That song is stuck, and I don't think it's going anywhere anytime soon :)

Chameleon's change their colors to blend with the world around them. It's a safety mechanism to hide them from danger. Look at the picture at top. That little thing looks like the woods around him, it's actually pretty cool.

One minute their green the next their brown. I've seen pictures where they were multicolored.

Like the Chameleon I change my colors too.  Never one to stir up trouble or ruffle feathers, I wrote the book on good girl Southern charm. Always wanting to blend with my surroundings.


I blend so that I don't stand out, I can't think of anything more frightening than having a spot light on me.


But, if I'm being honest it hasn't gotten me anywhere. I have a ton of acquaintances, but can count "real friends" on one hand. Real friends that know my dirty little secrets...at least most of them :)

God has been showing me this last year exactly who He made me to be, and in opening my eyes, He wants me to accept who that is. I'm growing stronger in my convictions and love for others. I know what I believe and why, and the scaredy cat is doing a slow death.

As Christians we are called to be different..to stand out. And for this blender than can be a little scary.

I'm going to have to drop my Chameleon ways. And throw off the sin that so easily entangles me and keeps others from seeing Him.

Psalm 118:6 "The Lord is with me I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"

We were made to stand out for Him not blend with the world.
I'm changing my spots back to the real me, the one that He showed me I am. And walking daily in confidence that can only come from One.


Will you join me? Will you run the race God has marked off for you?


Psalm 90:12 "Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom."





Linked up at:: Imperfect Prose, God Bumps & God Incidences, WLWW, Encourage One Another,Word filled Wed

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Inspiration For Steal

Great Writers Steal Day 6 of the writing challenge series with Jeff Goins: We're going to steal!


"Good artists copy. Great artists steal."-Picasso

I think I can honestly say I have never heard this quote before:) And this logic makes a little sense to me, so I'm hoping that it will be perfectly clear as I think on what this really means today.

Sometimes I make things harder than they really are...sometimes things really are just simple.

The piecing together of a whole bunch of different things and then the result being something that is uniquely your own makes sense. But it's making me think hard on who I may or may not copy.

I think my main influence to write is Lysa Terkeurst. Since getting to see her speak at a E-Women's Conference several years back I was taken back by her honesty in a good way.

Lots of people talk about trusting God and letting him heal your pain, but are reluctant to share what that looked like in their own life. But to hear someone be honest with their struggles and speak about how they called out to God and the specific ways he answered her was refreshing.

It made Him more real. Like if someone that speaks for God for a living and leads others to to living for God has had these kind of struggles and can have the freedom to talk about them without worrying about people rejecting her or judging her, then I can too.

I enjoy her emails, because she doesn't try to hide her shortcomings. She admits them and lets everyone see that she isn't perfect and that only by grace does she make it through.

Through her was I introduced to the online (in)courage community. These group of women make it their goal to get other women to see that we are all really looking for the same thing-community. We want it, but are reluctant to go for it because we have all been hurt by it. They, I think, try to get women to see that we aren't all that different, so we should come together and encourage each other and root each other on in this journey of life.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.-Ghandi

These are my influences they all mesh together in me and the result is this writing. Real, honest, vulnerable. I put myself out there because that is the only way to find freedom from being scared not to.

I don't like to think of it as stealing :) but inspiration. Applying my own experiences and voice. Just like when two people read a piece of scripture they both may interpret it completely different depending on what is going on in their lives.

I think the biggest obstacle to writing is Just Doing It and believing you have a voice and an opinion and being willing to hit publish after you've put it all out there.

What do you think? Why do you write? Who inspires you?


Linked with Jeff Goins, Soli Deo Gloria, OYHT

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Weekends Are For...








Praying your weekend is filled with laughter, love and chocolate.

May your worries melt away like chocolate melting in your mouth.

Remember there is nothing going on in your life that God doesn't know or care about...He's Got You.

Play away the stresses of the week and find wonder in the small things of life.

Have a rest-filled blessed weekend friends!


Friday, June 8, 2012

DIY Chiffon Necklace





My sewing and crafting has slowed way down this year, I'm not doing nearly as much of it as I want to. There just doesn't seem to be enough time.


I saw this one day on the Martha Stewart Show as I was folding laundry, of course ~grin~
It's from the girl of I Spy DIY, she takes high end fashion items and makes them herself on a dime budget. Usually with things you either have at home already or can get at the Dollar Store-now that's my kind of crafting right there!





All you need a foam visor, 1/4 chiffon any color, 1/4 tulle any color, ribbon in coordinating color, needle and thread.  That's it! You don't need a machine for anything.



Take the back strap off the visor. Cut your ribbon to your desired length and stitch one end down on the edge of the visor. Do the same with the other end.

You want to cut a whole bunch of circles from the tulle





You will fold the circles in half, then in half again. It will look like a petal.





Using your needle and thread start sewing down your tulle petals all around the visor.{I did 2-3 stitches per petal and kept it going in one long running stitch, the only time I knotted it off was when I ran out of thread}




                            Go around the edges, then start filling in the middle






Then cut a whole bunch of squares in the chiffon (hopefully your squares will be straight:)}.





Once you have it nice and filled in with your tulle. Take your chiffon squares. Fold them accordion style {back and forth back and forth} then fold it in half. Sew it down in between the petals to cover up the bottoms of your petals











You can fill in anywhere else you think. Make it as full as you want. Then fluff with your fingers.

Done!! It looked WAY better than I thought it would and looked so elegant. I thought I would wear it to the beach this summer, but I'm not sure now, it's kinda fancy looking :) My husband still isn't so sure about it, but I think once I wear it he will love it too:) dontcha think?






I linked up at Studio Jru, Saturday Show and Tell, Bloom

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Good Girls Need Grace Too

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I am participating in Emily Freeman's online book study Grace For The Good Girl. If you want to see what it's all about you can click over to her website and check it out.

On Thursdays while this study is going on I will be posting what I've gotten from the book for that week. I'm running a little behind today, while I've read the first 3 chapters, I've had to go back and highlight and let some things soak in and think about all the ways I hide behind my own masks. And exactly what those masks are.

Here's what I came up with
I have the mask of people pleasing

The mask of my image, what people think and say about me.

The mask of expectations. Living up to those expectations and trying hard not to let anyone down. ever.


I knew I wanted/needed to read this book the moment I heard about it.  It's one of those books that you relate to even if you think you won't.

I swear I think the girl crawled inside my head and then wrote a book about what she found there! And from judging from the comments on the blog and on her Facebook page for the study, others feel the exact same way.

In her book she states that the best part of the game of hide and seek is to be found, but for me I'm not sure if I want to be found. What if by being found that leads to disappointment?  No, it's safer to stay hidden.

"Jesus didn't value what people thought. He valued people.period." Emily Freeman

So if Jesus was no people pleaser and lived dependently solely on God, then maybe I need to start too.

I fear people getting too close and then not liking what they see, don't we all? Don't we fear that the people we like aren't going to like us and that fear sets in and keeps us from ever showing our real selves. How do you break down that wall? Do you show your cards first and then hold your breath and hope they show theirs next?

Being real is easier said than done. Living it out is the hard part.

When your a Christian you know people are watching. And some are looking for a chance to call you out. It's in this watching that I've taken it a step further and instead of not doing something I knew I wasn't called for, like volunteering in a certain position at church, I did it any way. I didn't want anyone to think I wasn't committed.  I'm a good girl like that.

Jesus calls us into freedom. He wants all of me and all of you-minus our good works, perfect attendance, and I'm fine's masked behind a smile.

This is what I've learned so far. I feel this was rushed a bit...but kids are waiting to go to the park for a picnic:) And did I mention I'm TIRED. Day 3 of Jeff Goins 15 day writing challenge. Today we were to get up 2 hours earlier than our normal time!!

I honestly wasn't planning on doing it, but my brain woke up and then wouldn't go back to sleep, darn it.

I got so much done before the kids got up, I was amazed, but now I'm ready for a nap.

Have a great day friends!!





Linked With::  Thought Provoking Thurs, Life In Bloom, Prov 31 Thurs, Just For Fun Fridays

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Check It At The Door


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The sun has come up...again. I roll over still sleepy not wanting to leave the warm comfort of bed. It's tempting to stay there a little longer.

It's summer after all, and schedules are supposed to go out the window the minute that bell rings on the last day of school.

As I lay there I whisper, I'm scared Father, give me courage, strength, and wisdom to do what you want me to do today. I want to take faith steps, but they're scary. Stepping out in your head is much easier than actually doing it. If I get up, then the day starts, and some days I like to put off the inevitable.

Fear can be a stronghold. For me-it's a thorn in my flesh. It has manifested itself in different ways over the years. Now, it's trying to keep me in a place of not moving. Even after prayer and I know this is the direction that I'm being led, to write. Still, I'm scared.

He knows it, He knew before I even whispered the words, he was ready for it. Ready to comfort me and lead me through to let me know he knows.

When I finally got up I checked through my emails, I like to check the devotional ones first, and these were waiting for me. Here, here, and here. I couldn't believe it, all I could do was smile and nod my head in amazement. I was heard by God of the universe!

Why do I have such little faith sometimes? To think he would put me on a path and then desert me?

Psalm 34:7" The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and He delivers them." {niv}

God knows writing is scary for me. Taking steps to face possible rejection is unthinkable. I fight off the thoughts of doing nothing because doing nothing is safer. But He doesn't want me to do that anymore.

Psalm 27:1 "The Lord is my light and my salvation-so why should I be afraid? The Lord protects me from danger-so why should I tremble?" {niv}

 If I want to live life like a free person and want things to happen, then I have to start doing the work. He won't open doors that I don't knock on.

I was kinda hoping He would. Hoping that magically doors and opportunities would happen and I wouldn't have to put myself out there.

He's been gently saying, Alecia, it's not going to work that way, your going to to have to do your part and put your faith in me that I'm not going to let you fall.

I'm holding tight to the verses above...like a person holding onto a rescue rope let down by the Coast Guard.

And this verse, from a book I was reading earlier this week that is staying with me and won't leave me alone. So, I'm claiming it too, why not?
Ezra 10:4 "Rise up this matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage and do it."

I'm checking my fear at the door.

How about you?





Linking up today with:: WLWW, Imperfect Prose, God Bumps & God Incidences, Encourage One Another


This also day 2 of the 15 day writing challenge series by Jeff Goins. Today we take some time to dwell and meditate on the fact that we are writers. Whatever we fixate our mind on is what we tend to believe. It's not to late to join in on the fun! I'm sure you will be as challenged as I am.

Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil Review


I received this in the mail last week, and was so excited!!  I love coconut oil, but have only used Tropical Traditions Expeller Pressed Oil, until now.



It took me awhile to remember the difference between the two oils, but I think I've got it now:)

Expeller is tasteless and is great for baking and frying.

Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil has a slight coconut taste to it, so is fantastic for baking with. It gives what your making that little coconuty flavor, but it's not overpowering.



They are both healthy oils, so I love using them when making special treats for my family. To find out more about Tropical Traditions, a company I have come to depend on and trust when buying my Coconut Oil, click on the short video above.

The best way to try out the Virgin Coconut Oil for me was to bake with it, so that's what I did. You simply replace the oil or butter for the same amount of coconut oil.

I had never made Carrot muffins before, but if my mom had a signature dessert her Carrot Cake would be it. So I thought I would do a spin on them and put the cream cheese as a surprise filling instead of on top like you would a traditional cake.


The best part, the kids have been gobbling them up :) they haven't noticed they were made of carrots. Keeli even saw me dump them into the batter. I thought for sure she was going to turn her nose up and then rat me out to her brother. But she didn't say a word and she was the first to taste test when they came out, she said they were so good! yay!!




Here's the recipe, I adapted it from Once a Month Mom to make it whole food friendly.
The recipe was originally a  Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin recipe, I substituted the carrots for the pumpkin, hey, it's all good!













Carrot Muffins

  • 3 cups flour {I used White-Whole Wheat Flour}
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons cloves
  • 0.25 teaspoons ginger
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoons baking soda
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 3/4 cp honey
  • 1 1/2 cups of grated carrots {i used the food processor, easy peasy}
  • 1.25 cups Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil
  • 8 ounces cream cheese {softened to room temp}
  • 0.5 cups walnuts or pecans, chopped {optional}


Preheat oven to 350. Butter or spray your muffin pans

Mix your cream cheese and a couple of packets of Truvia or sweetener of choice, set aside.

Mix all of your dry ingredients {except the nuts} in one bowl and all of your wet in another. Then combine the two.
Fold in your carrots and stir until just combined and wet. Then stop.

Fill the muffin cups about 1/4 full place about 1/2 tsp to 1tsp of cream cheese mixture in the middle of the batter and press it down a little. Then cover the cream cheese with a dollop full of batter.  Press a few nuts on the top of each, or not. It's up to you.

Cook for 18-20 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes then move them to a wire rack.

Makes about 24 muffins. Eat and Enjoy!! {You could slightly taste the coconut in the muffins and it was delicious}









Disclaimer:: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.




Linked up at:: Works for Me Wed, The Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Thrifty Thursday

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