Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Musings on Mary...

Good morning! I hope you all enjoy this devotional by Elisabeth Elliot that I received in my inbox this morning. It's a beautiful in-depth look at Mary, the mother of Jesus. I'm too busy to write a lot today... because it's the LAST DAY OF SCHOOL! All my finals are due today... so I need to get to it!

Author: Elisabeth Elliot

Source: Keep A Quiet Heart

Scripture Reference: Colossians 3:3

The Mother of the Lord

"We see her first, that little Mary (may I say little? I think she was a teenager), as a simple village girl in a poor home in an out-of-the-way place. She is bending over her work when suddenly the light changes. She raises her eyes. A dazzling stranger stands before her with a puzzling greeting. He calls her "most favored one" and tells her the Lord is with her. She is stunned. I don't believe her thought is of herself (Who am I? or Am I ever lucky!). Mary is troubled. She discerns at once that this has to do with things infinitely larger than herself, far beyond her understanding. What can it mean?

The angel does not weigh in immediately with the stupendous message he has been sent to deliver. He first comforts her. "Don't be afraid, Mary." Mary. She is not a stranger to him. He is assuring her that he has the right person. He explains what she has been chosen for--to be the mother of the Son of the Most High, a king whose reign will be forever. She has one question now--not about the Most High, not about an eternal king--those are things too high for her--but motherhood is another matter. She understands motherhood, has been looking forward to it with great happiness. Her question is about that: "How can this be? I am still a virgin." He does not really explain. He simply states a mystery: "The power of the Most High will overshadow you." He goes on to tell her of another miraculous pregnancy, that of her old cousin Elisabeth, well past child-bearing age. "God's promises can never fail," he says. They won't fail for you, Mary. Rest assured.

How will the girl respond? She is at once totally at the disposal of her Lord (she sees that the visitor is from Him). Whatever the mystery, whatever the divine reasons for choosing her, whatever the inconveniences, even disasters (broken engagement? stoning to death--the punishment of a fornicator?) which she may be required to face, her answer is unequivocal and instant: "Here I am. I am the Lord's servant; let it be as you have told me." Anything, Lord.

We see her next with Elisabeth, who, by the manner of Mary's greeting and by her own baby's sudden movement in her womb, knows immediately that God has chosen Mary to be the mother of the Lord. They don't sit down over coffee and chatter about the gynecology or the practical logistics or what people are going to say. Mary sings her song of gladness, of thoroughgoing acceptance of the gift, of trust in the Mighty One.

We see her sweating in the cold of the stable, putting her own life on the line, as every mother must do, in order to give life to somebody else. We see her with the tough shepherds, breathlessly telling their story of the glory of the Lord and the singing of the angel choir. Everyone else is astonished (a word which comes from "thunderstruck"), but Mary does not join the excited babble. She is quiet, treasuring all these things, pondering them deep in her heart. We see her with the mysterious travelers from the East bringing their lavish gifts. She says nothing as they kneel before the baby she holds in her arms. We see her on the donkey again, on the roundabout journey to Egypt because her husband has been given a secret message in a dream. She does not balk, she does not argue.

We see her in the temple handing over her baby to old Simeon, to whom the Holy Spirit has revealed the child's amazing destiny: a revelation to the heathen, glory to Israel. But to Mary he gives the far deeper message of suffering, for there is no glory that is not bought by suffering: her son will suffer--he will be a sign which men reject; she, his mother, will suffer, will be pierced to the heart. No question or answer from her is recorded. Again we know only her silence.

We see nothing of her for twelve years--days and nights, weeks and months, years and years of caring for the infant, the toddler, the little boy, the adolescent. There is no mention of any of that. Mary has no witness, no limelight, no special recognition of any kind. She is not Mother of the Year. Hers is a life lived in the ordinary necessity of their poverty and their humanity, no one paying attention to her attention to Him. Whatever the level of her comprehension as to the nature of this boy, she knows He was given to her. She remembers how. She treasures all this. She ponders things in the silence of her heart. Did she share any of them with Joseph? Could she? Could he receive them? We know next to nothing of the dynamics between them. She was content to be silent before God.

The apostle Paul tells us we are "hidden with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:3, NIV}. There is mystery there, but when I think of the life of Mary, I see some facets of that mystery that I missed when I read the apostle. Hers was a hidden life, a faithful one, a holy one--holy in the context of a humble home in a small village where there was not very much diversion. She knew that the ordinary duties were ordained for her as much as the extraordinary way in which they became her assignment. She struck no poses. She was the mother of a baby, willing to be known simply as his mother for the rest of her life. He was an extraordinary baby, the Eternal Word, but His needs were very ordinary, very daily, to his mother. Did she imagine that she deserved to be the chosen mother? Did she see herself as fully qualified? Surely not. Surely not more than any other woman who finds herself endowed with the awesome gift of a child. It is the most humbling experience of a woman's life, the most revealing of her own helplessness. Yet we know this mother, Mary, the humble virgin from Nazareth, as "Most Highly Exalted."

I am thanking God that unto us a Child was born. I am thanking Him also that there was a pure-hearted woman prepared to receive that Child with all that motherhood would mean of daily trust, daily dependence, daily obedience. I thank Him for her silence. That spirit is not in me at all, not naturally. I want to learn what she had learned so early: the deep guarding in her heart of each event, mulling over its meaning from God, waiting in silence for His word to her.

I want to learn, too, that it is not an extraordinary spirituality that makes one refuse to do ordinary work, but a wish to prove that one is not ordinary--which is a dead giveaway of spiritual conceit. I want to respond in unhesitating obedience as she did: Anything You say, Lord.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Been awhile.... again...

So, I'm pretty sure that there will come a day when I will NOT have to say "I'm sorry it's been awhile and I haven't posted in like a month..."

But here I am again... saying I'm sorry that it's been awhile.

My life has been utter craziness. No joke. This week is finals week, which makes it even more crazy.

OH OH OH.... so I got new glasses today!!!! Exciting!!!! I really needed new ones... I would put up a picture, but I have BRACES now too.... yes. So no pictures are going to circulate around the web if I have anything to do with it.

(Actually, the real reason is that I don't have time to upload a picture of myself in glasses and put it on here. Maybe I'll put one up later....)

I hope that you all have a wonderful Christmas season! Christ is risen and living!!!!

OH OH... and I want you all to know that I just got invited to be a co-author on a devotional site that was recently started. I'll link you up when it gets going, which should be January 1st. I'm excited to write about different chapters from books of the Bible! Stay tuned. :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A little thought...

A thought by Elisabeth Elliot:

"The original sin, pride, is behind my "poor self-image," for I felt that I deserved better than I got, which is exactly what Eve felt! So it was pride, not poor self-image, that had to go. If I'm so beautiful and lovable, what was Jesus doing up there, nailed to the cross and crowned with thorns? Why all that hideous suffering for the pure Son of God? Here's why: There was no other way to deliver us from the hell of our own proud self-loving selves, no other way out of the bondage of self-pity and self-congratulation. How shall we take our stand beneath the cross of Jesus and continue to love the selves that put Him there? How can we survey the wondrous cross and at the same time feed our pride? No. It won't work. Jesus put it simply: If you want to be My disciple, you must leave self behind, take up the cross, and follow Me."

Lord break my pride and renew me. Help me to leave self behind and look towards your beautiful cross.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Little Bit of Seeking...

"Rushing wind, blow through this temple,
Blowing out the dust within;
Come and breathe your breath upon me:
I've been born again."
~Keith Green~
This is my prayer. That my Lord's rushing wind would blow through this dusty temple of mine and breathe His breath upon me.
Lately I've been feeling a bit spiritually stagnant in my walk with the Father. I desperately want him to reveal new things to me, but often times I feel like He's silent. I've been doing so much since we moved home that I haven't MADE the time to really wholeheartedly seek him. Needless to say, I can't wait for Christmas break.
Yesterday, I decided to take Shauna to the new library that just opened. It's only about ten minutes from our house, which is nice and convenient. It's SO nice compared to the old one! There is a lot of room for expansion as well.
Anyway, as I was looking through the shelves, I stumbled upon some audio books. Now, I haven't really listened to many audio books before, just because they don't usually have ones that I want. However, I found one yesterday that I decided to check it out called "The Secret Things of God - Unlocking the Treasures Reserved for You". The author of the book is Henry Cloud, who is also the author of "Boundaries" which is a book that I just finished reading. (It's GREAT by the way!)
Yesterday, as I was listening to the first few chapters of this audio book, he was talking about seeking God. The verse that almost everyone knows in Jeremiah 29 says:
""For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

However, most people only quote that one verse. Verses 12,13, and 14 are equally beautiful in my opinion:

"Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord."

The Lord PROMISES that we will find him if we are faithful to seek! He says that he WILL be found by us! How amazing!

It suddenly struck me in the car last night. My problem has been that I whine and complain about not knowing his will and not finding him, but then I also fail to spend consistent time reading His word. I don't consistently search for Him with all of my heart... but He promises that if I do... I will find Him.

He wants to be found by me.

"Oh Lord, please make me faithful to you! Make me yearn to spend time with you and be close to you. I want to consistently seek you because I long to find you, Lord. Fill my heart with a desire for your word and purge my heart of selfishness. You promise that I will find you if I seek you with all my heart... so blow out the dust within this temple and help me to be faithful."

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Rejoicing Comes in the Morning!

Wow folks. It's been awhile. But, now I actually have some time to sit down and WRITE!

I'm in a writing mood today - more of a praising mood really. I have so much to be thankful for.

The movers came this past Monday, so all of our stuff is now gone except for the stuff that we're taking with us on the plane. I'm really excited to move back to the States. I'll be able to drive, I'll feel at home in my own room, own church, own circle of fellowship. I'm really looking forward to it.

My life seems to be all about changes right now. Moving home, college classes, friendships... things are just... changing. I'm EXCITED about the changes because I know that God holds me in the palm of his strong hands. His love is so completely sufficient. It's so much more than I ever thought it could be. I'm so blessed to be able to walk with Him daily and grow in that wisdom that I so crave.

My life has been beautiful. Some days I look back and can't believe how abundant the blessings have been. Hitting the rock bottom has enabled me to feel those mountain tops like never before. I wish there was a better way of putting it into words, but there just isn't.

I've been thinking a lot about my mom lately. Had a good time crying the other night because I just wished that she were here to enjoy the mountain tops with me. Something about a mother's love makes you feel secure and alive. God's love then multiplies the feeling by a hundred. :) But there are some things that I wish she were here to share with me. Some days I stare into space and envision her face - trying to picture her reactions to the life that I'm living right now.

Whether I like it or not, life continues to change. Have you ever felt like you want to just stay in one moment of life forever? I remember when I was ten how I felt like I was the happiest and most blessed little girl on the face of the earth. I wanted to play with my Barbies forever. :) I thought that life couldn't get any better.

But as I've gotten older, I've realized that every season of life has it's joys and sorrows. The sorrows of life aren't necessarily "bad" though. If there were no sorrows, how could we tell sorrows from joys? No, sorrows are necessary. They are a part of living life. Jesus himself was "a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering."

Praise the Lord then that "sorrow lasts for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning." If you're in a low spot today, look towards your maker. He will turn your crying into laughing and your mourning into beautiful dancing. Looking to the Father is the greatest way to overcome the trials, disappointments, and tests of this life.

And now.. I must stop, because we are going to eat out one last time tonight. We leave tomorrow at noon and then fly out on Saturday. Prayers would be appreciated. Thank you friends!!!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Gelato.... photo of the day! :)

So... this is today's photo. I even made it LARGE!!! WOOOOOOOOO!!! I actually got up early today and decided to give you all a photo to start your day. Enjoy!


But seriously... that's not the picture of the day. This is:

It's a photo that I took while in Rome at St. Peters Basilica situated inside the Vatican.

Enjoy your day!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Italy, Bed-Wetting Essays, and the Like...

Yes yes yes... I KNOW that I don't really have time for this right now, but I'm pretty much fed-up with my child behavior essay on bed-wetting and I'm REALLY needing a break for just a few minutes.
I was shocked and horrified this afternoon to find that the last time I posted was September 17th!!! I have no excuses... other than school and our week long holiday in Italy...which was FANTASTIC by the way. Here are a few pictures from the trip and I would make them bigger, but that takes awhile and I don't want to mess with it at the moment. :)

Someone decided to ship a package of Kleenex :D

Venice! And YES we DID take a Gondola ride! :)

I know this picture is kind of dark, but it's me on the edge of Lake Garda at sunset.

This photo was taken in Venice. There were SO many streets like this. Everywhere we looked there was another beautiful scene. It was fantastic.

This was taken on lake Garda... I thought it looked like a movie set or something!

So there you go! There is a TINY taste of Italy... I have so many more pictures, but they take FOREVER TO LOAD... yuck.

So NOW... do you want to know what I have to do this weekend? I'll give you a homework run-down. :)
  • Finish my three page essay on bed-wetting for my parents and young children class
  • Read Chapter 6 of my Parenting book
  • Write out paragraph answers to about 15 questions or so for a specific assignment
  • Post to the discussion board
  • Take Chapter 6 quiz

I'm not even going to get into tomorrow... but you get the picture. Actually, despite my horrid complaining, school is actually going quite wonderfully this semester. I'm really enjoying my creative writing class - getting to write poems every week is FUN STUFF! :)

Well, I must get back to my bed-wetting essay now... but that gave me a much needed break. Thanks for reading!

OH... and NEWSFLASH: I will be walking off of an airplane onto AMERICAN soil 28 DAYS FROM TODAY!!! SO EXCITED!!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

"Blue Bell" Poem

Do you remember the story about the blue bear that I posted a few days ago? Well, another assignment that we had was to write a rhyming poem about that experience that we had described. If you haven't read my story yet... you can click here to do so. This poem might not make much sense unless you read the story first. Enjoy!

I saw her sitting there
All deserted and alone
She needed someone to care
A loving place to call her own

Her little body was covered in blue fur
And her beady glass eyes
Told an elaborate tale of her
And her stuffed hearts’ desires, begging me to empathize

But back on the shelf I set her down
Momma said she would make another girl happy
But I still wore an ugly frown
And thought that idea was incredibly sappy

The next time I went into the store
She was gone
And had vanished out the door
Like the early morning colors of dawn

Christmas morning came
And my thoughts weren’t on that blue bear
I refused placing blame
Because I knew she wasn’t there

However, my momma surprised me
When she pulled another gift, wrapped in red
From behind the big tall tree
“It’s one last present for you” she said

I hurriedly threw the tissue paper aside
What it was, I couldn’t quite tell
And then I just about died
As I recognized the furry face of Blue Bell

There she sat
Like that first time in the store
When I gave her head a pat
And her eyes pleaded for more

I held her tight
For my heart was full
After all, my momma was right
Happiness filled this little girl’s soul

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Blue Bell

This is a TRUE story that I wrote for my creative writing class. We were supposed to write about the happiest moment in our lives and this is what stuck with me. It's probably not "THE happiest moment" I've ever had, but it sure is one of them. Let me know what you think, and I MIGHT let you know my grade... haha... once I get it back of course. :)

Blue Bell

It was a few weeks before Christmas and I with my mother who was doing some last minute Christmas and grocery shopping. She always did plan ahead, so we weren’t really looking at anything but food in the local Dillons. However, if you’ve ever been in a Dillons store around Christmas time, you’ve probably also noticed all the extra gift baskets, stuffed animals, candles, and stocking stuffers that they put out to try to entice customers; beseeching us to remember our long lost cousin twice-removed…and how we’ve “forgotten” to buy him that perfect gift.

My mother always did try to rush past this section of the store when my two siblings and I were with her. There is nothing like the ruckus of a noisy disobedient child to disrupt other peoples Christmas shopping. I’m not saying that we were noisy or disobedient children… but Christmas time can often turn the most perfect children into little devils. This particular evening, it was only me and my mother. Being eight years old and her eldest child, I thought myself pretty spiffy and quite “grown-up” to be going with mother to do her shopping.

We had a rule in the store: if you begged, you wouldn’t get what you wanted. However, this rule seemed to fly out the window as I spied a bright blue bear across the aisle. I remember asking my mom if I could go over and look at it. She smiled and said go ahead, so I waltzed over to the place where it sat, all lonely and deserted on the shelf. There were pink bears, green bears, and even yellow bears, but there was not one other blue bear. In my eight year old innocence I felt compassion and pity for the poor thing. Seeing that she was the only blue one on the shelf about broke my heart. I gently picked her up and looked into her glass eyes. Sadness filled my heart, but suddenly I realized that she wouldn’t have to be alone anymore if I could keep her company!

I trotted over to my mother, who was in the checkout line already and quickly explained to her why this exact bear was the “lonely” one and how her blue fluffy little body “needed me”. Of course my mother gave the answer that is common among mothers during the holiday season: “Christmas is coming”. A small tear started to form in the corner of my eye as I desperately tried to explain to my mother that this dear bear was the only blue one left on the shelf… and that it might not be there again because someone else might buy it before Christmas. My mother compassionately grasp the bear with one hand and stared into its beady glass eyes, just as I had done. I was absolutely crushed to realize that she didn’t see the sadness and loneliness in its face like I did. Finally, she handed it back to me and responded: “Well, maybe some other girl really wants a blue bear for Christmas…and if we bought it, she wouldn’t get one, would she?” This was the only thing that seemed to console me and I hesitantly went and placed “my” beautiful blue bear back onto the shelf amongst the other colorful stuffed animals.

The days until Christmas started getting fewer and fewer. Every time my mother went to Dillons I would always check and see if “Blue Bell” was still there. However, I only had to check once, because she was already gone when we walked into the store again a few days later. I was crushed and literally cried some tears about my dear bear being gone. But then I would think of the lucky young girl who was going to give her a good home this Christmas and I would smile while trying to imagine her happiness at receiving “such a nice bear” as a gift.

As soon as Blue Bell disappeared from the store, it was as if she disappeared from my mind as well. I thought about her several more times…but was no longer hoping to receive her for Christmas… since she was already going to another little girl.

Christmas morning came…and I opened all my presents, never giving a second thought to that little blue bear that had captured my attention as well as my eight year old heart. However, not too many things escape a mothers notice and she turned to me wearing one of her huge famous smiles as she pulled one last package out from behind the tree. I was afraid to breathe as I pulled the tissue paper from the lovely decorated bag. To my complete joy and utter amazement, there sat my dear Blue Bell… looking as perfect as when I fell in love with her that first day in Dillons. I screamed and immediately got up and started running around the house yelling “Blue Bell! Blue Bell! Blue Bell!” and snuggling her close to my heart; vowing to never let her go.

It might have just been the early morning sun as it glistened in through the large oak windows of our living room… or perhaps it was the reflection of the twinkling lights that decorated the Christmas tree in the corner, but I was absolutely sure that I caught a sparkle in Blue Bell’s beady glass eyes.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

40 Wonderful People...

I HAVE 40 PEOPLE THAT ACTUALLY READ THESE RAMBLINGS AND SOMETIMES EVEN COMMENT!!!! IT'S INCREDIBLE!!! I love you all... you're great encourager's to me. Thanks for reading!

Well, today I did school for half of the afternoon, cut my hair again... the bangs were getting a bit long, and then watched The Patriot with my dad and brother. I cried like a girl... wait. That's because I am one. ANYWAYS... wow... I tell you people, these one o'clock in the morning entries will eventually do me in. I just feel the urge to WRITE at this hour! Don't ask why... I don't even know.

If you could pray for me... that I would be able to be diligent in my studies this week. I really need to get a full week ahead so that I'm all caught up when we go to Italy on the 20th. I'm SO EXCITED!!! My dad spent several years of his childhood there... so he's excited too. It will be nice to have a break from my studies for awhile.

Classes are going well however... progressing right along. I seriously can't believe that we are flying home at the end of next month. I'm REALLY excited to be back with people that I KNOW!!!!!

Well, I know this is completely disorganized and extremely sporadic... but I'll write something more in depth soon... when I don't have a pile of psych homework sitting here. :)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

School and a Poem

Yes, it's that time of year again... the time for me to buckle down and work hard on my five college classes that I'm taking. It's really hard for me to believe that it's already September and that the summer has already slipped away. My last summer as a teenager... I can hardly believe it.

Just yesterday, I was playing with my Barbie dolls
Had a momma who was there... to answer my childish calls

Just yesterday, I was learning how to read
Learning how to play nicely in word and in deed

Just yesterday, I was scared of the dark
Also was afraid of dogs that bark

Just yesterday, I accepted Jesus into my heart
Since then, we have never been apart

Just yesterday, I was looking forward to learning how to drive
Couldn't wait for my sixteenth birthday party to arrive

Just yesterday, I got baptized with my brother
Could have never asked to share it with another

Just yesterday, my eyes were red from tears
What unfolded before me were my darkest fears

Just yesterday, I watched my momma die
I can still see her smiling face, within my minds eye

Just yesterday, I was young and naive
Anything and everything, I did believe

Just yesterday, there were five around the dinner table
Now my family gets the "single parent" label

Just yesterday, all of this was real to me
My life: a painted tapestry

Just yesterday, I was dreaming up plans
To visit and have adventures in distant lands

Just yesterday, I thought it would last forever
My perfect life that nothing could sever

Just yesterday, my life was bought
At the hands of the master, I was wrought

Just yesterday, Jesus died for me
Up on that hill... the cross at Calvary

Just yesterday, Jesus whispered my name
And I quietly and obediently came

Just yesterday, Jesus forgave my sin
and set me free all over again

Just yesterday, I cried a tear
Because of everything that I've held so dear

Just yesterday, God put my past to rest
With the loving tender words "my plans for you, are always best."

Wow. Umm... I didn't know that I had a poem in me this morning. Haha... that was unexpected.

Anyways... I've just been thinking lately about how the time goes so fast. Before we can even blink, it's gone. God's been convicting me about spending my time more wisely lately.

Well... the whole POINT of this blog entry was just to give you all an update on what I've been up to. I've had a lot of homework, hence the lack of blog posting lately.
We spent the weekend in Wales and I must say... it was one of the most FUN times that we've ever had together as a family in my opinion. The four hour car ride over to Snowdonia was a lot of fun... and I even got some studying in! WOOHOO!

Okay, so now blogger is making me mad and won't do what I want with the pictures and messed up my spacing... and I have to go eat lunch and study... so I'm giving up and just posting this incredibly random blog post.
I'm not insane... I promise.

Have a beautiful blessed day!

Friday, August 21, 2009

"Oh... PUNCH HIM!"

So... a lot's been happening in my life recently. I just started all five of my online classes for the fall semester this past Friday. YIKES... I'm going to be a busy woman... which is pretty normal I suppose.

Do you all remember the post that I did on the ten charming, interesting, fun things about me? Well if you didn't read it... you can click here to do so. In it, I mentioned my great-grandpa... and asked for prayers because he had been really sick with pneumonia. Well, we got the news that he went to be with Jesus almost exactly a week ago. That hit me hard because I really loved him. This coming Christmas will be the first Christmas that I've EVER had without him. Even when we lived in Washington, we always drove home to be with family over Christmas break. I miss him already. He was a wonderful man. Prayer for my great-grandma Ruth would be very appreciated. They would have celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary together a few days ago. Their life paints a beautiful picture of love and faithfulness to each other that I can only dream about at the moment. I loved watching them interact.

Oh oh oh! Funny story time! Don't worry, it really does relate. :)

As I've already said, we always get together with family during the Holiday season. One year, we were all gathered around at a very large table in the home where my great-grandparents live. It's a retirement community/nursing home all in one. Anyways, we were all happy after eating lots of delicious zwieback and stuffing ourselves to our physical limits. My great grandma (Grams) turned to my great-grandpa (Gramps) and was trying to get his attention even though she was sitting several chairs away. She first said "Ed" fairly quietly. When he didn't answer or even look at her (his hearing was fairly bad) she again said "Ed!" a bit louder. Her frustration was evident in her tone and look as she cried "ED!" with all the gusto that a little woman can possess. When she had fully exhausted herself, she fell back in her chair, her hands came flying up, she gestured to the head of the table where he was seated and said, in a most exasperated tone yet with an amused and gentle smile on her face "Ohhh... somebody PUNCH him!"

HAHAHA... I will ALWAYS remember that. Always. It's in my memory forever. I love that story... but I'm partial because they are MY great-grandparents.

Oh dear me... the book progress. Perhaps I should inform you of what's up. Well, in truth I've hit an extremely stagnant part in my mind and I can't seem to get past it. It's actually quite funny because I'm taking a creative writing class this fall and just wrote a poem today. The assignment was to describe "the way I see myself as a writer"... or something like that. Haha... can't quite remember since it's 1:3o in the morning here. Anyway, I wrote the poem and then realized that it's really how I've been feeling about all writing lately... writing on my book, writing on my blog... writing in general. So I hope you all will forgive my lack of postings lately.

The Cycle

I sit at my desk in silence
As again the rain pours down
I long to convey what I’m feeling
But instead I wear a frown

It continues to pour droplets
But once every cobblestone has dried
Still I sit there in lonely silence
So many thoughts inside

I finally feel like beginning
So I type a little here and there
But, distraction is my enemy
And as a fluffy dog walks by I stop and stare

Then the cycle starts over again
Thoughts that are incomplete
I can’t seem to convey what I’m feeling
And instead feel the sting of defeat

Thanks for reading, friends! I'm not sure how often I'll be posting in the coming weeks, but I sure will try!

Friday, August 14, 2009


I shouldn't be posting today... but I am.

I shouldn't be procrastinating on the writing of my book... but I am.

I shouldn't be wishing I were home in Kansas... but I am.

I shouldn't start so many books at once... but I do.

I shouldn't be sitting at this messy desk and not cleaning it... but I am.

I shouldn't wait to pray or read the Word... but I do.

I shouldn't be so selfish in dealing with my siblings... but I am.

I shouldn't doubt that my God is big enough... but I do.

I shouldn't want the affirmation of the world... but I do.

I shouldn't push my Savior away saying "I can do this myself"... but I do.


I shouldn't have eternal life... but I do.

I shouldn't have peace... but I do.

I shouldn't have grace... but grace is mine.

I shouldn't be free... but I am.


I deserve to pay for my sins... but He did.

I deserve punishment... but He took it.

I deserve scornful glances... but He looks at me through loving eyes.

I deserve to be alienated... but He calls me His precious child.

I deserve to be left in the dust of my sin... but He has called me to Himself.

I deserve nothing... but He has given me everything.

"The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.

He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;

he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;

as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us."

Psalm 103:8-12

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Guest Post... Ashley @ Simple Beauty!

Today... we get to return to the topic of waiting, purity, and how it relates to REAL life. I'm SO excited to introduce Ashley to you all! She has a wonderful blog called Simple Beauty where she shares from her heart about Jesus, bargain hunting, modest fashions, and so much more. I hope you will make her feel very welcome! She kindly agreed to write a guest post for all of us, and I just can't wait to share it. Her story is very powerful and testifies to an awesome God who is a redeemer, helper, and healer to the broken.

"Before the Rings Came Off"
by Simple Beauty

The man that I once deemed my knight
has fallen from grace.
Where my heart once was,
is now out of place.
Words from lips once so tender,
now break down and bruise.
Why did you leave us?
Could you not chose?
The wife who adored you,
who turned a blind eye,
who would pray in her closet
til her tears had run dry.
A friend who would listen to
your drunken rambling words.
Who would ponder and wonder about this
stranger you had become.
Could you not chose?
A babbling, happy baby,
with sweet bright eyes so blue?
You became a dad who would not hold her for more
than fifteen minutes, more like two.
You left us with fury and yelling and rage.
You left with a wife standing, truly standing in the rain.
When you left your ring behind and I had given you mine,
did you know, did you even wonder why?
I was still hoping still praying that with time,
your once loving arms would come embrace mine.
Now that the rings are off,
they mark only time.
My once tender heart is trying to heal,
and it seem you wish only to come and to kill.
not to kill life for that is not the deed,
you come to kill dreams,
built for me by my King.
More than a year has passed,
and to our darling daughter you are a stranger.
Oh how I wish I could hold you away,
to keep her from your danger.
Today I stand my ring now long off my hand.
I stand as a daughter a sister a mother and a friend.
My darling child will grow to be lovely and tender and strong.
She will grow with God's Truth and GRACE to stand on.
To your hand that goes ring less, now what life will you chose?
One that is endless and boundless?
One that is filled with booze?
Or could a miracle happen and someday we see,
a man that is strong, that is Godly and free?
My prayer still my once darling, please let us be,
a darling daughter and her mother,
please let us be.
Let us live freely to worship our King,
and live out our life,
our small, simple family.
To my someday Boaz what life will you chose?
A ring that's FOREVER,
a daughter that will be yours,
a wife that is loving and tender and pure??
(please do not use this poem without permission from Simple Beauty)

When I was younger I dreamed of being married, being a mother and staying home just like my mother had done with myself and my two older brothers. In high school all of my friends knew my dreams and my passions. I fully assumed that I would meet my prince charming soon after high school, marry, and live happily ever after. Then wavering from the pressure of high school counselors I decided to attend a community college. It was what everyone was doing. Little did I know that veering from the path that God had laid out for me would take me along a journey that I am now still on. Out of this the Lord has brought me great joy, though it was not without great pain.

My sophomore year of college my parents moved back to Kansas. Not ready to live on my own I moved with them. I was going to work and not go back to college, however, that didn't work out either so I ended up studying music at Kansas State University. I did not finish my degree, I was unsettled and knew that though I loved music I was still so far from my dreams. The fall semester passed quickly and my middle brother moved back to Oklahoma. I have always been close to him so I decided to move right along with him. In doing this I moved out of my parents house for the first time. I decided that I didn't want roommates (being the youngest and only child this was just not for me!) so I moved into a studio apartment of my own.

At this time in my life I did not understand what I had actually done in a spiritual sense. Not "knowing" the word of God, and lacking wisdom and understanding, I moved out into this WORLD, into a wild CULTURE without the covering of my father's protection. It didn't seem like a bad idea at first. I worked two jobs and only received one day off every fourteen days. It kept me busy, but I could pay my bills. It also kept me from finding a church home or even looking for one. I was not growing as a Christian. Actually I was still "drinking" the milk of God's word and began truly lacking in my growth as a Christian.

Time marched on, (really not even a year) when I met my "once love," I was 19 years old and full of passion about my life and what was to come. He was a friend of a young lady I had met while working at Foley's Department Store. She never actually introduced us, he sought me out. (This should have been a huge RED FLAG!) So I was too trusting and did not look at his life. I was just so ecstatic that a man found me lovely and wanted to spend time with me. We went on a few "non-dates" and then he moved back home to Georgia. It was a few months before he some how found that I had started instant messaging on AOL (the whole "you've got mail" thing) and I began to be sucked into his web. He had no money, did not work jobs for long periods of time, and had a great amount of debt. He was a Bible school graduate/dropout and always had a reason for the direction his life took without accountability.

It was in these moments that I was so blinded by the "idea" of romance that I was not looking at the plain hard TRUTH. We are to judge a man by his fruit. I didn't learn this until last year! Better late than never,however, I will instill this into my children's lives EARLY!!

When he decided to move back to Oklahoma from Georgia I was on cloud nine. He must have known I had a little bit of money saved because I was the one who paid for the long distance phone calls. He had never lived on his own, paid for bills himself, again had never kept a job, he moved around often and came from a very broken family ( I now lovingly refer to this as the marching band of red flags that I didn't pay attention to!!)

The very first night he was back in Oklahoma he came to my apartment. It only seemed right to kiss him when I saw him (though there was honestly no feeling behind the kiss). I mean what girl would NOT kiss a man who had just moved from Georgia to be with me? (this girl should NOT have kissed him!!) We kissed, we kissed, and though no other physical line was crossed my moral line was gone. He spent the night the very first night. Nothing other than the kiss had happened, we danced and fell asleep with candles going and coffee in hand.

What had happened was that I had placed this man over the Almighty GOD! I had spit in His face about not even having the appearance of evil. And once this fragile line is crossed I guarantee you can not go back. I had no accountability. My friends where all professing Christian's but none told me that I was dancing the dangerous dance (because they too were dancing with the devil in this area of their lives). And my friends that would have held me accountable, well I kept them distant from the truth, as well as my family. It was not long before lines were crossed and my vision became skewed. It was in this fog that we agreed to get married and I began to truly struggle with my faith in Christ and my walk with Him.

I've since listened to a very balanced pastor speak on brokenness. He was talking about how as Americans we walk around taking medicine because we have this gaping hole in our hearts that leaves us numb and under a huge weight. We label it depression and try to medicate ourselves, when it is truly the Holy Spirit warning us, witnessing to us, and we choose to listen to the world and not to God. And instead of realizing we are to be broken in our sin and through that brokenness God can and will show us the wrong and give us the strength to choose righteousness.

In my time of brokenness I chose to listen to the world and follow through with an engagement into a marriage. It was just a few short hours after our wedding while we arrived at our cottage that I realized "he" was not the man I had thought he was. My eyes were opened. Instead of lovingly talking about the amazing covenant we had just made, instead of holding each other in our arms, he sat down on the sofa and started counting the money we had received as presents and talking about what he wanted to buy with it. The remainder of our honeymoon he would sit on the floor in front of the TV in our rented cabin and watch the food network, as appose to snuggling in our bed, or even touching me. We hardly even talked. I was crushed, I so regretted what I had done. It was during this week that I turned my broken heart to Christ and began to seek him. I lifted my broken hands and spirit up to the Lord and begged for him to make everything okay.

Once my marriage started to return to the normal routine of working, he returned to a life style that was relatively unknown to me, the bar scene. Five out of seven nights a week my husband could and would be found out with his divorced and single friends going to bars, becoming very intoxicated and flirting with other women (even when I was only days away from giving birth). He would continue to avoid touching me or showing me any kind of affection. Talk of children, talk of church, talk of a future or even finances were always met with fury from him and tears from me. If I cried, he would tell me that he was just going to leave me. My dears, this is abuse. No it was not a smashing with a fist, it was the smashing of my heart with words and actions and refusal of intimacy and love.

I sought refuge in the Lord, I spent hours crying in my bathroom and closets. I hid, I prayed, I watched ministers online. I read my Bible, I begged for us to do devotions as a couple. Everything that pertained to the Lord was met with utter refusal. How could this be coming from a Bible graduate? That would be because the man I married, who professed to be a Christian was and is actually LOST!

I stood my ground, I trusted the Lord. I wanted children and I wanted to be at home with them. My husband would only say someday. Well as the Lord would have it, he heard my cry for children and in April of 2006 I became pregnant with my darling daughter. I decided to stand my ground with my husband and would not except his lack of desire to steer our family in the ways of the world. Again, the Lord blessed me. My husband did not care if I felt ill, he would not help around the house or even come with me to purchase the baby bed. It was during these times that the Lord gave me strength. I was never ill during the time I carried my daughter in the womb. I had a easy labor and easy delivery, to which I give God all the glory because HE was there for me. My husband did not even hold my hand or leg and left my room almost to miss the delivery of our daughter. Needless to say that when we brought our daughter home my husband began a downward spiral into what he wanted for his life and this was not it. It all ended in October of 2007 when he left myself and his darling daughter (she was only nine months old) to pursue a life of pleasure, woman and alcohol. I was blessed with a Godly family who brought us home and have been supporting me as I am being healed from the abuse.

It has been difficult, however, it has been the best thing to happen in my life! Through this pain the Lord has shown me so many of the lies that I willingly believed. Some from unchecked thoughts in my mind, many lies from entertainment and literature and many from the public school system. All these teamed together with a lack of knowing the truth of God's word and man oh man am I learning a lot.

Now as I was left by an unbeliever I have not followed him. It is now my prayer to trust in our SOVEREIGN LORD and wait for my Boaz, if that is the will of the Lord. In these moments of my life I have been handed a unique gift of getting to live a part of my life over again, while setting an example for my darling daughter. These moments are not easy, and often I forget to look at them with joy until the trial has passed. Some of these moments seem like nothing special from car pooling with my father five days a week to work (I fail nearly on a weekly basis of talking with respect to my father and enjoying loving moments, I am working on this, that rebellious teenager keeps rearing her ugly head and I'm nearly 30!) to not allowing myself crushes on eligible men my age (again more difficult than I would have thought) to not allowing myself to date but to prayerfully prepare to be courted, to be praying about the time when I am courted and the much needed definition of a physical boundary (it will need to be concrete and I will have to have my parents involved as this was were I failed before), to learning about how active my earthly father needs to be in my choice of a future husband. All of this with the desire to set an example for my daughter.

Some of the choices that I have made that are honoring to our heavenly father, that will help me if the Lord allows me to marry again, and also helpful to myself and my mind are the following: daily morning devotion (simple reading of my Bible and time in prayer, and time for the Holy Spirit to instruct me), turning the television off (I do not need to see how the culture views romance and life and divorce ect), I am reading more books on courtship and what to be looking for in a husband and strongly recommend "What he must be if he wants to marry my daughter" by Voddie Baucham (I'm reading it with my dad, eck!) I still listen to music only I nixed country music for the most part and I've never really listened to all of the other kinds and I mainly listen to Christian artists, and when I do watch a movie I look hard at the rating with a goal to stick with PG and rarely PG-13 (because the higher ratings honestly have more visual signs of affection in immoral relationships), I'm also trying to share my life with others as to encourage women who have gone through a similar chapter in life. God is giving me a new song in my heart. And one really important thing I'm doing to protect myself, and my daughter; I live with my parents. It is hard and frustrating at times since I have had my own home and life, however, I can ill afford another mistake or to turn from my Lord. So living with my parents provides for us protection from my father, accountability, 24 hour counseling if needed (and sometimes when I don't want it but need it anyway!) a babysitter for my darling daughter so she does not have to go to day care, family entertainment, and many fun outings together. All of this has allowed me great joy from great pain; great hope from great despair, and great gain from great loss.

I encourage every young lady to remember that when you begin to play in the devil's playground you will get hurt, you will get burned, and you will not always be offered a way "out". The Lord has given us instruction not to burden us, not to withhold something from us, but to protect us and allow in his instruction a way for us to have the greatest fulfillment and joy. So when thinking about dating, will you consider courting? When thinking about kissing, have you considered waiting until engagement? And when thinking about heavy petting have you considered that we are not to stir or awaken love until it so desires!!

Ashley @ Simple Beauty

Thursday, August 6, 2009

10 charming, interesting, fun things... I hope!

Hello my blogging pals! I wasn't going to post today (simply because I'm desperately trying to finish writing my book) BUT... something too exciting happened and I just HAD to share!

My dear friend Lynnette whom I lovingly call "Mrs. Kraft" over at Dancing Barefoot decided to let all of her readers link up with her blog! It was optional to do a special post for new visitors describing 10 charming, interesting, fun things about you... but it sounded like fun! So here goes... I'll try to be as charming, interesting, and fun as I can be!!! Haha..

1. I'm simply addicted to music. I don't know if it's because I love playing the piano so much or my involvement in ballet from a young age. But if music isn't playing in my room nearly 24/7 there is something wrong. Right now I'm listening to Leeland's song "Brighter Days". Many days God uses music in my life to fill my spirit and lead me closer to His throne.

2. THIS is my dream HOUSE:

Haha... okay, so it's my dream to live in a 100 year old farmhouse someday... but I want to fix it up...and MAKE it into my dream house:

Look at that big yummy covered porch.... love it!

3. I'm in love with Ice Cream... Cookie Dough and M&M blizzards are amazing. Freddie's Frozen Custard, DQ, and Cold Stone are my favorite places to go. Also, there is a really good brand of Ice Cream cake up here. You can buy a whole cake for only 1 pound!!! I'm going to miss the Ice cream when we move back home...haha.

4. I think this is one of the cutest dogs that I've ever seen (haha... sorry, I know one of you thinks this is the ugliest dog ever, but I couldn't resist! It's just toooooo cute!)

5. I absolutely love baking pies. Apple pies, pumpkin pies, cherry pies, etc... it's fun! My momma taught me how to make the home-made crust too, which is great... but I like to have pie-baking days because it takes awhile. The crust is my great GREAT Aunt's recipe... she smiles when I tell her I use it and then goes on and on about how she used that recipe whenever she made pies for fancy get-togethers. I love my family.

6. My desire is to go back to Kenya someday. I really want to work as a counselor at the boarding school that I visited there. I fell in love with those girls... Shamim, Slyvia, Sarah... they were precious and I miss them.

7. My great-grandpa is in the hospital with pneumonia. While this isn't a charming, interesting, or fun thing, I would appreciate your prayers very much. In my eyes, my great-grandpa is charming. I love him and it's so hard to be over here in England when the doctors are saying that they don't think he's going to make it out of this one. He's so blessed to have walked this earth for the past 96 years. He and my great grandma came down and stayed with us children when my mom and dad went to Mexico for her cancer treatment. That was exactly three years ago this August. Anyway, I could ramble on forever about them because they both hold such a special place in my heart, but I'll stop here. If you could keep him in yours prayers I would be so thankful.

8. I absolutely love the feel and ambiance of a wood-burning fireplace. We have a very large wood-burning fireplace at our house back home, and I can't WAIT to get back and enjoy it this winter! Nothing like a fire to cozy up to during the snowy season. The fireplace and a good book... yum! It makes me get a nice warm feeling just thinking about it.

9. I cherish memories of my momma. This isn't a secret...haha... I talk about her enough for people to know that one thing about me even if they don't know anything else. Here is a picture from our fun trip to the tulip fields when we lived in Washington State. Stay tuned and I'll eventually have my book finished. :)

10. I love oil painting! Not very many people actually know this fact about me... haha... I don't usually have a lot of time for it anymore. I'm not a pro by any means, but I wish I had more time to spend on it. I painted this painting when I was....uhhh... around 14 I think... it's been awhile. A very LONG while. But I still have canvas and paints. Time is the only issue... as usual. :)

Well friends, this has been totally fun for me and I hope it's been fun for you too! Thank you Lynnette! I'll be posting on waiting and purity again soon, so stay tuned!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Worth the Wait...

This evening as I was working on my book, a song that I absolutely love came on. Some of Jordin Sparks songs are cheesy, but I actually do really like this one. It's called "Worth the Wait" and actually reminds me of Rebecca St. James song "Wait For Me":


If I fall

If I break

If I lose myself in someone

If I give all I am it'll be with you

When I'm ready to take

All that you want me to give

It will be worth the wait

Worth the wait


Worth all the long nights dreaming of forever

Someday we will be together

I know it will have been so worth the wait

Please wait for me

Yeah yeah... you may be rolling your eyes, but to me, this isn't just a typical cheesy love song. In an instant gratification culture... a culture that screams "ME and MY feelings", waiting for anything - whether it's a hamburger at McDonald's or a first kiss - isn't looked on with too much enthusiasm. "Why wait?" people ask and so did I for awhile.

But the reason that I'm waiting is not because I take pleasure in waiting... it's because I take pleasure in the end result... when it will be worth the wait. I'm a person who dreams and plans and hopes that the "rest of my life" starts soon, because one of my greatest desires is to find and marry the one that God has for me. Next year I'll be turning 20 and sometimes I can't help but think "HURRY UP AND SHOW ME GOD!" But do you know what? When I truly sit and think about it:

...when our eyes meet and I know I'll be looking into them forever...

...when he wraps his arms around me for the first time...

...when I get my first kiss and I smile because he's the only one I've ever kissed...

...when I KNOW without a doubt that God brought me this man to be with forever...

...when God gives me the grace and courage to love someone wholeheartedly...

...when I'm able to take my purity ring off... only to slip my wedding ring on...

...when all these things happen... it will have been completely worth the 19+ years of waiting.

...worth every second and minute and hour of unfulfilled desires...

...worth the wait...

A hopeless romantic like me can't help but think about these things sometimes... and if every girl is honest with herself I'm sure she thinks some of the same thoughts that I do in regards to my future... not excluding my future man.
I know that waiting is a fairly recent phenomenon in this day and age... or rather, a very old idea that is slowly being brought back. I think purity is a touchy subject that people (including me) tend to shy away from unless I'm directly asked about my stance towards it. However, I decided that I'm not going to do that anymore. I've always been the type of person that doesn't like stepping on peoples toes so to speak... but then I thought about it some more... and realized that some of my ideas on purity aren't only mine; they're Gods. He's the one who calls us to purity of heart, mind, and body. Why does he do this? Well perhaps because He knows that it will be worth the wait.
Of course waiting doesn't guarantee a bump free ride. I'm still impatient, irritable, and human... and luckily God's grace is big enough to cover me and my immense foolishness and sin. But I do have inexpressible joy when I think about my desires eventually lining up with God's will for my life.
Truly though... what is purity? Not just purity of the body... but of the mind, heart and emotions? What does waiting truly mean... and how does it practically apply to my life? How am I supposed to ever find someone if I don't go searching? I hope to discuss some of these questions in my future posts. Purity is something for which I'm very passionate about... so bear with me. If any of you have questions which you want me to discuss, please feel free to say so! "Purity" and "waiting" sometimes have bad connotations connected with them but I want to try to convey how beautiful and rewarding walking the straight and narrow lane can be... no matter who you are or where you've been.

Really quickly:
- If you're married... don't despair! I still want to post things that interest you! Although I've never been married, I think I'm right to assume that the battle for purity doesn't end once you've said "I do". I'm hoping to get a married person to do a guest post for me on the importance of purity after the wedding day... any takers? If you're interested just let me know by emailing me at or commenting on this post.
- If you're single and regret past decisions... don't despair either! That's the beauty of God's grace... He doesn't care where we've been or what we've done...only where we're going. He also promises to wash us "as white as snow" and "remember our sins no more". So if you are currently sitting there reading this and thinking about all the ways that you've failed in the purity arena, accept Jesus' forgiveness and be FREE to walk in the newness and fullness of life that He offers to all those who believe in the power of His name. What if you started striving today for purity of body, mind, and heart? If you're wanting to be married eventually... wouldn't it be amazing to be able to tell your future husband or wife "I made a decision to walk in purity on August 3rd 2009... and I've been waiting for you ever since." Also, I would totally love it if one of you would be willing to step up and write a guest post on why you've decided to wait from here on out... and the decisions (both good and bad) in the past that led you to this point. Contact me at or leave a comment if you feel like sharing a little with my readers and I.

Wow. I'm truly impressed. If you've lasted this long through a post on waiting and purity you're either my very good friend that reads every single thing I post completely through or you're just as passionate and interested in this subject as I am. Either way makes me happy! Thanks for reading... I love my 27 followers and email subscribers!

And yes, this is the slightly more serious and thought provoking post that I kept promising to you all for the past month or so. I decided that I need to try and balance my random fluffish (that is now MY made up word of the day) stuff with other stuff that I'm passionate about. Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

17 Days and Near Insanity

Today is a lazy Sunday afternoon in England... the sun is shining and many people have gone down to the Harbor Fest to eat, watch shows, and listen to music. Today actually "feels" like summer, unlike some of the other days that we've had in the past where it's been chilly and rainy.

I decided to do something today. I decided to count the number of days until my fall classes start... and do you know what I came up with? Seventeen. Seventeen days left of summer. I can't believe it. So far, three more textbooks need to be arriving by Royal Mail soon... I hope they hurry up and get here! I can't wait to look through them.

Then, I did something else. I decided to see how many words I am going to have to write each day to get done with my book before classes start...and do you know what I came up with? 1,000. 1,000 words a day... yikes. Oh well, it's truly not that many and I think I can do it... hopefully.

Then, I did something else. I decided to get a signature for my blog! YAY! Do you like it? I couldn't figure out if I should just put "Em" or my full name... but I eventually decided to just use my full name. :)

And wow, I'm currently pretty amazed that some of you would actually take the time to read these random ramblings of mine. I promise they will become more thought provoking and organized in the future...I just need to write today... even though I don't really have much on my mind at the moment. Hmmm... I just lied. There is a TON on my mind, but nothing really worth sharing on my blog... just thinking about life, future, relationships, God's will, my own feelings, God's sovereignty, my momma, book writing, moving home, seeing friends again, food (my stomach is putting that thought into my brain), cleaning my room, playing Monopoly, cute children, books, Jesus' grace, Ezekiel, letter writing.... AHHHHHHHHHHHHH... MY BRAIN!

Anyway... sorry this is so random. I really am sane... for the most part...

AHEM... I said for the MOST part....

Kay... that's a little better I guess.

Haaaaa... maybe not.

Wow, all this England air, solitude, and writing must be doing something odd to me... hmmm. Any suggestions?

Anyways, thanks for reading and going along with my randomness for a little bit. One of these days I will post something deep and inspirational. :)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Blog of the Month @ Joanne's "Blessed" blog!

Alright friends... you will not believe how CRAZY excited I am today. Seriously... out of my mind excited. You have no idea...

Anyways, I'll get to the point of my crazy excitement:

A wonderful woman named Joanne has a blog called Blessed, and every month she picks seven random blogs to be on her "Blessed Blogs of the Month" list. I was totally surprised and elated this morning when she left a comment on my blog saying that I was on this month's list! How cool is that? So if you are here for the first time because of Joanne, WELCOME and I'm so happy to have you! And for all you readers that don't know Joanne, click on the link below to visit her blog:

Maybe I should actually blog a bit today, instead of just talking about the source of all my excitement....hmmmm.

I suppose I shall talk about my brother. This is so neat too because his birthday is today! He turns the whopping 18... I can hardly believe it. If you want, you can hop on over to his blog to tell him congrats. Maybe even become a follower if you want. He has been my best friend since I knew what that even meant, and I love him SO MUCH!

I love new months. Something about them just feels so pure and clean and exciting! August is such a lovely month too. Summer is my favorite season of all. I can't believe that fall classes start up this month though... life keeps getting faster it seems.

Well, since I was up until five in the morning last night (chatting with friends from home because of the time difference) I am utterly spent and can't really come up with anything wonderfully exciting or brainy to say today.


God's just awesome, isn't He? He continues to remind me over and over again of His faithfulness and sovereignty, even in the midst of anxiousness and uncertainty. His love fills me up to overflowing and is so much more than I could ever ask for or imagine on my own. I hope you take a moment to just CELEBRATE his awesome gifts today... however small or insignificant they seem. A gentle rain, beautiful flowers, clean air to breath, being able to hear the birds sing, plentiful food and shelter, being able to read... how many times do we forget to praise and thank God for the intricate little things that make life truly beautiful? I know I do. I get so caught up in the here and now... and the "me" that should be guided in the right direction is only encouraged in it's trivial pursuits through my selfishness. How humbling to know that Jesus has given me so many precious gifts that I'm not even fully aware of. Take a minute to just be still before Him today...and if you can, think of just one simple thing that you're extremely thankful for...and praise Him for it.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Early Morning Weirdness...And Blog Hop

Hmmm... are you all aware at how much I'm NOT a morning person? Well let me tell you... I'm not. This probably has something to do with the fact that I stay up until I can't keep my eyes open any longer and then crash. But even when I do go to bed "early"... say 10:30, I still can't seem to be motivated to get up. Hmmm... I need to start working on that possibly...............nah. I won't be a college student forever! *grin*

SO... that being said...

I woke up at 5:33 this morning. Yes... 5:33AM! WHOOPEE FOR ME. I'll probably be exhausted later. For some reason, I woke up and couldn't fall back asleep. Unusual, eh? However, I think it might have been God... because I was able to chat with a few dear friends from back home... since it was 11:30pm their time. :)

AND NOW... for an update on the book progress. I'm currently at 42,642 words... hoping to reach at least 44,000 by the end of the day. Perhaps it's a good thing that I'm getting an early start!

Oh oh OH...and another one of my textbooks arrived yesterday! It's called "Crossroads - Creative Writing Exercises in Four Genres"..... exciting, huh? I thought so too! :)

Oh yes, and this weeks theme for the blog hop is "Favorite Kid Photos".... but how in the world am I supposed to pick just a few out of ALL the photos of children that I have? Impossible! So, I'm officially changing the title to read "Favorite Photos of My Cousin Maya":

Doesn't she have the cutest little cheesy grin in the world? I think so... but I'm biased. :)

MckLinky Blog Hop

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

36,464 words, Oxford, etc...

Yes, I now have 36,464 words done on my book. Only....uh... around 24,000 more to go! YAY! I told myself that I would treat myself to some Facebook time after hitting the 30,000 word mark... and then I forgot. How lovely, eh? Well, it must really not be that important to me anymore otherwise I'm sure that I would have remembered. I'm breaking my FB addiction... and it's been good for me. :)

I realized today that I had promised to post some pictures from my trip to Oxford... I forgot that too. Yikes... I thought that people weren't supposed to start forgetting things until they were like 95? Hmmm...

ANYWAY... pictures. Yes, here are some of my favorites:

A random alley in Oxford...

Christ Church College...

A museum that we didn't go into... but I thought the sign looked cool. :)

This is my dear friend Allison and I! We spent the day trekking around Oxford with her and it was SUCH fun. Right here we are in the bell tower of a church:

If you are a CS Lewis or a JRR Tolkien fan, then you probably know this pub. We ate fish and chips there for lunch...

The two following pictures were taken at Christ Church College in the heart of Oxford... it's a beautiful place. There was even a wedding going on while we were there! What a place to get married, eh?

This lovely bridge is called the "Bridge of Sighs".... *sigh*... isn't it beautiful? Yep... I love it. It's a replica of the one in Venice I believe.

Isn't this just the cutest thing ever? I mean really... this couple has to win the cuteness award of all time. They were sitting right in front of us at the evening concert and kept snuggling especially when the raindrops started lightly coming down. Man... to still be in love at 80... *sigh*...

Well there you go my friends. Until next time... cheers!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Blog Hop - Breakfast Casserole

Well hello blog hoppers! Today is Tuesday and I was totally thrilled to discover that the theme for today is favorite recipes! Unfortunately, all of my mom's precious recipe books are back at home in the states, but I have made this casserole several times since moving here... and it is DELICIOUS. Breakfast's can get boring after awhile if you eat the same cereal day in and day out (I'm not a cereal fan anyways), so I like to switch it up sometimes. I'm not a huge egg person either, so it was great to find this recipe which focuses on the cheese, ham, and potatoes instead. YUMMY! This is also a wonderful recipe to make the night before you need it. Then, simply take the bowl of mixed ingredients out of the fridge in the morning and place it in the pan to bake. Mornings are hectic enough as it is for us, which is why I always make it the night before. So without further ado... here it is:

Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole


  • 32 ounce package of frozen hash brown potatoes

  • 8 ounces of diced ham

  • 2 cans of condensed cream of potato soup (if you like mushrooms I enjoy doing one can cream of mushroom and one can cream of potato)

  • 16 ounces of sour cream

  • 2 1/2 cups of sharp Cheddar cheese

  • 1 1/2 cups of grated Parmesan cheese

  • a pinch of salt and pepper


  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.

  2. In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together except the Parmesan cheese. Once it's adequately mixed, spread all of it in the prepared dish and then sprinkle the leftover Parmesan cheese on top.

  3. Bake for 1 hour in preheated oven, or until bubbly and lightly brown.

Enjoy! And thanks for visiting today!

MckLinky Blog Hop

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