Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Cake Batter Blondies! YUM!

Hi beauties! Happy Thursday! I hope that everyone is having an amazing, joy filled week! Never forget that you are God's beautiful child and that HE loves you! 

Today I am excited to share with you a Pinterest-inspired recipe that I made for the youth at my church this week. For those of you who don't know, one of my other favorites things to do in my spare time besides Church ministry and blogging is to BAKE delicious food! I am looking forward to sharing what I bake with you this Holiday season on the blog. 

Today's recipe is Cake Batter Blondies, (recipe via Sally's Baking Addiction!) These things are BOMB, and also simple to make! I know these aren't really "Holiday Inspired" but I just wanted to bake something sprinkles because I am obsessed with them. 
So, let's get to it why don't we?!

Before gathering your ingredients, preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and spray a 11x7 baking pan with cooking spray.       

    Heres what you need:

  •        1 box yellow or vanilla cake mix
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 -1/2 cup milk (less is better)
  • 1/2 cup sprinkles
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips 

   Mix the first four ingredients together in a large bowl. 

 Add in the sprinkles....BUT before that can we just please take a moment to appreciate how beautiful and fun sprinkles are??!!?!

 ***Moment had*** Okay moving on, NOW add in the sprinkles to the bowl!

And then the white chocolate chips :) 

 Mix it all together, all fancy like (British accent). Okay sorry I know that I'm weird. I'm just going to own it. 

 Pop it in the oven into your 11x7 pan for 25-30 minutes.

....Wah-lah! These things are delicious, quick and easy to make, AND so pretty! You will NOT be disappointed!

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Finding Joy in Christian Singleness

Two years ago, I wrote a post titled "The Struggle in Being Single," on my blog. As I was doing some research on my blog logistics the other day, I found out that this was my most viewed post of all time, generating over 9,000 views.


That is a LOT of views. I wish I could take the credit, but I can't. I owe it all to Jesus. It has been and will always be His words that speak through me on this blog. Anyway, in light of knowing that the topic of Christian singleness is something that people are interested in reading about, and also something that a lot of Christian singles struggle with, I thought that it would be a good idea to a little recap on how I have been able to find true joy in my singleness.

Does this mean that I no longer struggle with being single? Absoutely not. One of my biggest desires in this life is to be married and to have a family. There are times when I question if I will ever meet "the guy." Then I am reminded of God's faithfulness and how He sees the desires of my heart.  I just finally came to a place in my faith where I realized that God would want me to EMBRACE this season of singleness, instead of just enduring it. I was tired of believing the lie that I couldn't find joy in my singleness. 

So that is why I decided to write this blog post, my lovely friends. For you to know that it is MORE than possible to find joy in your singleness. I am going to list below some specific ways that I have found joy in my singleness, which I believe the each of you will be able to apply to your own walks with Christ and that will also help you to find joy as well (if you are still single and wanting to be in a relationship).

#1: A huge way that I have found JOY in my singleness is through becoming more involved with youth ministry, AKA serving others! In February of this year, God put it on my heart to become involved with the youth ministry at my local Church. I was a little hesitant at first since I was mostly new to the church, but as time went on, it couldn't have been more clear that this was right where God wanted me. I find so much JOY through leading each one of the kids, a kind of joy that I have never experienced before. And who knows, this is something that I may not have had the time to experience if I were in a relationship. If you currently aren't serving anywhere, I would encourage you to pray and ask God to guide you to serve somewhere. I believe that He has somewhere specific for you that you will truly LOVE and that will also bring a lot of joy into your life! Plus, ministry is a GREAT place to meet a cute Christian boy, just saying ;) (I sure wouldn't mind meeting my future husband in ministry!)

***Pictured below are a couple of photos from my youth ministry adventures this summer! :) We went on an excursion to the beach, took some of our girls to girls camp for a weekend, and also went on our annual missions trip***

# 2: Next, another key way that I have found joy in my singleness is through pursuing other hobbies (besides church ministry) that I am passionate about. Growing up, I always loved to write. It was something I just throughly enjoyed doing. I had this wolf journal (don't ask) where I would write out my thoughts, dreams, emotions, and more. Later on in life when I accepted Christ into my heart and became a Christian, the Holy Spirit invaded my mind with new dreams, and also gave me an entirely different outlook on life. It was shortly after that when I decided to start my own personal blog, to write about my faith and what God was teaching me throughout my life.  Flash forward three years later, and blogging still remains one of my favorite hobbies to this day! If you don't have a hobby, I suggest that you talk to God about it and ask Him to reveal to you what YOU are passionate about. What are you good at? What do you have fun doing? Something that really helped me to figure out what kinds of hobbies that I wanted to pursue was to ask my friends for suggestions or ideas. It is your friends jobs to build you up with who you are in Christ, and I am sure that they would be more than happy to tell you what they think you are good at! I am so thankful for all of the encouragement that I received from my friends to start this blog. They really played a huge role in motivating me to get things going. 

***Check out below the FIRST video I ever made when I started my blog! (me introducing myself). Haha. I was such a little baby! This was about three years ago!***

#3: I have also found joy in my singleness through being intentional and pursuing strong friendships with other Christian woman. Some of these strong Christian friends of mine are still single, and some of them are in relationships. Either way, the time of fellowship that I have with them is such a blessing. I like to think of this way: when I am in a relationship with somebody one day, I won't have nearly as much of free time as I do now to spend time with my close friends. My friends and I have so much fun together just doing random things, and also talking about what God is doing in our lives. Sometimes we will just go on random trips together, or go see a movie together. This summer I helped out with one of my friend's wedding photography business and went to nine different weddings, and I also saw Toby Mac, For King and Country, Blanca, Danny Gokey, and Kutless live in concert with another one of my friends. These experiences with my friends brought so much JOY into my life. If you don't have strong Christian friends, I encourage you to join a small group at your church or somewhere else where you can develop these kinds of friendships. Pray for God to bring these kinds of friends into your life, because He wants to! 

***pictured below are some of the fun things that I did with my friends this summer!***

#4: Finally, the last and most important way that I have found joy in my singleness is through my relationship with JESUS! :) It has and will always be God's gentle and encouraging voice that has guided me every step of the way throughout my life. It is HIS wisdom that has led me to make important decisions such whether or not I should keep pursuing a relationship with a certain guy. It is HIS presence in my life that motivates me to keep dreaming, keep loving, and keep going. If I didn't have a relationship with God, life would truly be meaningless. He is my hope. 

(photo via pinterest)

That is it, friends! It can certainly be hard for me sometimes being single, especially because I have such a strong desire to be in a relationship with a God-fearing man. But because I have a relationship with God and I am seeking Him above all else, I know that the best is yet to come. I know that whoever I end up marrying will be worth the wait because he will be from the Lord. I have dated some people in the past who I had to turn down because I honestly just didn't feel a peace from God about dating them. Bottom line: SEEK JESUS first. He will guide you in your relationships because He is our almighty counselor (Isaiah 9:6)! He wants to exceed your expectations with whoever you end up marrying!

I love you guys!

What types of experiences or activities that you are involved in have helped you to find joy in your singleness? I would love to hear! COMMENT BELOW! :)

Remember, please connect with me on my social media feeds!

Instagram: Forever Convinced
Facebook: Forever Convinced
snapchat username: jessmarmar

Monday, September 28, 2015

Dreamin' big with Jesus

Hi blog friends!

I hope that everyone had a good weekend! I am writing this post on Sunday afternoon, and it seriously the most beautiful sunny day outside! I'm so thankful for the sunshine. This weekend I had the opportunity to go visit one of my close friends Maria at her college in a town nearby. It was a blessed time of fellowship and simply just encouraging one another with who we are in Christ! Here is a picture during our time together :)

One thing that Maria and I talked a lot about this weekend was our God-given dreams. I have always heard of the quote "If your dreams don't scare you, there not big enough," but I didn't actually understand it until this weekend. As Maria and I sat down in conversation, she began to share with me the beautiful new dream that God had recently put on her heart. It was in that moment as Maria shared her dream with me that I realized that I had my own God-given dream as well. However for some reason, I was almost scared to share my dream out loud. It was just SO BIG. But I knew that I wanted it. 

I also knew that my dream was from the Holy Spirit, because my heart leaped with joy at the thought of it actually happening. At the same time however, my dream scared the heck out of me. For a second I wasn't even sure it was attainable, but then as I sat there and prayed about it for a moment, I realized that my dream is attainable by the power of Christ! For God says in His word,

"With God, all things are possible."
Matthew 19:26

And in case your wondering what my dream is....I'd be happy to share it with you. My dream is to make "Forever Convinced" into a national moment. I hope that one day my blog will reach millions,  and that I will eventually be able turn what I do on here into a full-tim job. I want to reach as many people as I can through my blog, so that way that anyone who doesn't know God who comes to my page could possibly come to know Him and understand that He loves them and wants a relationship with them. Would you join me in prayer for Forever Convinced? Would you pray that by the power of Christ hearts who do not have a relationship with God would be brought to this page? Would you also pray that God would give me the strength, motivation, and determination to turn this blog into something bigger than I could have ever imagined? Would you pray for God's hand of blessing on every part of my page?

Thank you so much.

Now it is YOUR turn. I would love for you to share your God given dream in a comment below, so that way I can be praying for you about your beautiful dream. I believe that with God, all things are possible, and most importantly. God wants us to DREAM BIG.

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Thursday, September 24, 2015

What is truth?

Hi friends!

How is your Thursday going so far? I hope that your day is off to a great start! Before I get started on this post, I wanted to say that if you haven't been to Starbucks since they released their adorable new Fall-inspired cups, then you definitely must go! Okay do whatever you want, but it honestly might just make your day...:). 

Anyways, moving on now...:). For those of you who don't know, I am a part of youth ministry at my church. I volunteer as a leader for both high school and middle school aged kids. I absolutely LOVE it! I cannot explain to you in words how much joy serving those kids brings into my life. It is such an adventure being used by God in ministry! Anyways, last night at their youth group the leaders and I discussed how we determine what the truth is in our every day walks with Christ. We talked about how as Christians, what do we do to determine truth? I mean, sure, Jesus said that He is the way the truth and the life (John 14:6), and we know that His ways are true, but how do we apply this truth into all areas of our lives? It is easy to determine the truth about the obvious things that the Bible is black and white about, such as sex before marriage, worshipping money, getting drunk, lustfulness/lustful thoughts about others (pornography), etc. But Jesus doesn't give us specific guidelines as to how to determine the truth in every single situation.

So...How do we do it?! How do we determine what the truth is in every single circumstance?!
I asked myself this exact question before I began my discussion with our youth girls at church. 
It then hit me. Aside from knowing Biblical truth about different principals, I can never actually know what the 100% truth is within a situation. For example, if someone asks me to give them advice on what to do as to whether or not they should be hanging out with a certain individual, or if they should stop watching a certain t.v. show, etc., I can NEVER know if the advice that I give them on what I think they should do is the 100% truth. I can do my best through saying what I feel like the Spirit is telling me to say and reflecting on what the Bible says, but in the end it all comes down to what Jesus, aka the Holy Spirit is telling THEM to do! 

Ah ha! It kind of all came at me at once. This means that it is crucial for us to spend intentional time with God in order to be able to discern what His Spirit is telling us what to do in our everyday lives. IT is YOUR relationship with Jesus that matters the most and that will guide you and convict you on how to respond in different situations!

So that is it peeps. I believe the answer to finding the TRUTH in all areas of our lives is a relationship with Jesus!

What do you guys do to discern the voice of God more clearly in your every day life and overall improve your relationship with God? Do you have any suggestions on books or Bible passages to encourage us in this area? 

I love you guys!

Please connect with me on my social feeds!
Instagram: Instagram
Facebook: Forever Convinced
Snapchat: jessmarmar

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Confession...I love shopping. And Old Navy jean jackets.

Hi lovelies!

How is everyone days going? Just so everyone knows, I LOVE shopping. Yesterday I went to one of my favorite stores ever, OLD NAVY. They are having such an amazing sale right now (When are they not?!) I scored this super cute, versatile, and all around lovely jean jacket for just under $20 dollars (normally close to $50!)

I'm so obsessed! I never fail to find something that I LOVE whenever I shop at Old Navy. My favorite part is that their clothing is not only cute, but it is super affordable! I'm so happy that I have a credit card with them too. Since I am a credit card member with Old Navy, I receive coupons from them in the mail. It is so fun! P.S., this post makes it totally sound like Old Navy sponsored me to write for them, but they totally didn't, I promise! I just love their store, and I love shopping there. Aside from Old Navy, I also love love love love LOVE Nordstrom. Don't even get me started with my love for Nordy's. hehe.

What are your guy's favorite places to shop at?
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Monday, September 21, 2015

How Worshipping God Impacted my Faith

Hi blog friends!

      How are the each of you doing? I hope that life is going well for the each of you. Today I wanted to share a personal testimony with the each of you about how worshipping God has had a true impact on my faith. When I first became a Christian four years ago, the idea of worshipping God was so foreign to me. How did I worship God? Did I sing to Him? Dance around? I also was clueless to the fact that worshipping God could have a significant impact on my faith. I didn't realize how much joy I could feel from simply raising my hands and worshipping the Lord.

BUT at the time, I also didn't realize that in order for me to really worship God, I had to lay down my own pride and selfishness, jump out of my comfort zone, and just GO FOR IT.  A couple of years later into my walk with Christone of my close friends then said to me, "did you know that the Bible says to raise your hands and worship the Lord?!" (Psalm 134:2). I remember the thought that went through my mind when she said this to me. "Raise my hands?! Absolutely NO WAY. That is so weird and I do not believe that there is any significance toward worshipping God in that way." 

But as I got to thinking about it, this form of worship that is common among Christians today is a popular motion that people demonstrate in a variety of situations when they get excited about something. When our favorite football or basketball team wins the game, what do we do? We raise our hands! We jump around and burst with joy! What do we do when we get that job or promotion that we have been wanting? We raise our hands and jump with joy! Bottom line, when we get excited about something, WE RAISE OUR HANDS!

It finally all came together to me at that moment, and I felt that inclination from the Holy Spirit to raise my hands the next time that I was in worship at Church. Well I did it friends, and let me tell you, i haven't regretted it since. I have honestly felt so much joy from the Lord through raising my hands in worship. I like to think of it this way: Jesus died on the cross for me because He LOVES me. He defeated sin once and for all! I am no longer under the penalty of death that I deserve! Now that, my friends, is something that I want to dance around and raise my hands to for the rest of my life!

Please remember friends, that I did not write this post to condone the Christians who do not raise their hands in worship at Church. I do not believe that if you don't raise your hands when you worship God, then that you are not a Christian. I wrote this post to encourage others to get out of their comfort zones and give worshipping God with their hands a shot. I believe that you will not regret it. I believe that you will experience the presence of God in a way that you never have before. 

What are your guys favorite ways to worship God? How has worshipping God in new ways impacted your faith? Comment below PLEASE! Also, please connect with me on social media! 

Instagram: @foreverconvinced 
Snapchat Username: jessmarmar
Facebook: Forever Convinced
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Saturday, September 19, 2015


Hi friends!

Okay just kidding I don't actually have a surprise for you... but I do have something that I want to say. It is because the each and every one of YOU why this blog is here. I love connecting with the each of you. I am so thankful for all the lifelong friends that I have made and will continue to make through this blog....You guys are why I do what I do. Also, to be completely vulnerable with you all right now, I am in an extremely awkward phase of life. I just finished graduate school, and I currently am living at home with my parents without a job. I honestly don't really know what is next...but I am not afraid because God tells me in Jeremiah 29:11 that He has plans for my future that are GOOD! I have also been very blessed with some amazing ministry opportunities at my Church so I am very thankful for that. Thank you King Jesus!

ALSO...Please connect with me on social media! I just made a new Instagram page for this blog, (@foreverconvinced), and I am always constantly on snap chat, so follow along with me there (username for snapchat= jessmarmar)! 

I LOVE YOU GUYS SOOO MUCH!!!! You have no idea!!!!

Love, Jess

 Please connect with me on my social feeds!
Snap chat: jessmarmar
instagram: foreverconvinced
facebook: Forever Convinced