Sunday, August 30, 2009

August 28-30, 2009

Wow! It's been a busy weekend! On Friday we headed out in the morning to go see some of our friends from PA who we were meeting at a mall a couple of hours away from our house. We got delayed by a whole bunch of stuff - road work, traffic, etc. and we got there almost an hour late, which was a bummer since we only had a short amount of time. We met our friends at the mall, then window shopped for a little while, just talking and enjoying ourselves. We had conflicting interests though... my friend Emily and I wanted to look around in Deb, but the boys wanted to go to Zumiez. We all just sort of went around and had fun and then went to Subway for lunch. We ate and then continued to walk around and look at stuff. Emily and I went to Deb and tried on some really pretty prom dresses. The one she tried on was yellow and she looked like Belle from Beauty and the Beast! It was really pretty. I tried on one that was off-white and really fluffy and lacy and it was so pretty. If it was a little longer and was pure white it would have looked just like a wedding dress! It was really, really pretty. After that we had to leave, so we said goodbye and headed to my grandparents' house to stay for the night.

The next morning we had to go to a funeral for my Great Grandmother. I was really encouraged to find out that in her last days she had accepted Christ as her Savior and so now she is in heaven with Jesus! Hallelujah!! After the funeral and a meal we headed home.

On Sunday, my mom and I had nursery during the morning service. There ended up being 7 kids there - all under the age of 3! It was pretty busy, one was wailing and crying for her mommy, one was really tired, one had an accident in the middle of the floor, and the rest were playing happily, but quite noisily! It was fun though; I love little kids. I found out that a family in our church who lives about 15 minutes away from us is in need of a babysitter, so I am REALLY excited about that!! I love babysitting!

Today I got up early and did chores throughout the morning. We had auditions today for a skit called "Everything" that our youth group is doing on September 19th, so I headed out to go to that around 11 AM. Different people tried out for different parts, and after a lot of practice we finally decided who the cast would be. I didn't get a part and was pretty bummed about that at first, but I'm glad because we got the perfect people for each part. After we had the parts chosen we practiced it a few more times. It went very well for a first practice. I'm really excited to see what God will do with it!

And I think that pretty much sums up my weekend. God is good! :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

An eventful week :)

Wow! The past week has been good. Last Saturday I went to a youth event called the Gathering and it was REALLY good! I had to show up at my church at 8:30 AM because it was a 2 hour drive. We all carpooled and had a fun van ride. When we got there they were giving out door prizes different things and we all had fun trying to answer the questions, and just talking and hanging out. Then the whole group of about 430 people all sang some really awesome praise songs to God and it was so encouraging to hear that many voices raised in praising Him. After that, there was a message presented by a speaker and it was really good. It was about living out our salvation. When it was over we all filed out and made our way through the lunch line and just ate and enjoyed the nice day for a while. We laughed and had a ton of fun, then headed back in and there were more door prizes, and then more awesome praise music. There was another message which was REALLY good. It was about Esther, and how huge of a sacrifice she was willing to make to do what's right. If you think about it, she was really well off. She was the queen of Persia, she was considered the prettiest girl in the country, she probably had servants catering to her every whim, and basically anything she wanted could be hers, but she was willing to sacrifice all of that, even her very life, to do what God wanted. She was willing to live a truly dangerous life for Jesus Christ. I was challenged to do the same. I must be willing to sacrifice anything (including popularity, friends, reputation, etc.) for Jesus.

On Sunday I went to the morning service and really encouraged by the sermon to stand and fight. Pastor spoke form 1 Kings 19, about Elijah. Elijah was a man of God, but in this chapter, things got tough and he went and hid and pouted. He listened to Jezebel's threats even though he KNEW how much more powerful God is. We can't let the enemy bully us into that state! We have to stand our round and not try to run from our problems.

That afternoon we went to a coming home party for my friend Abby, who just got back from Papua New Guinea. It was SOOO nice to see her and her family again! We all spent time together and had a crazy and fun time. We stayed there until 12:30 AM talking and it was really encouraging.

The other days this week haven't been very eventful, so I won't write about them. That's all for now!

Monday, August 17, 2009

LIfe is good, eternal life is better! :D

Hey everyone! God has been teaching me soooo much lately! I have been learning about being truly set-apart for God, and really having joy in my Christian walk! I have been reading the book "Set-Apart Femininity" By Leslie Ludy, and it is an AWESOME book! All of the books by Eric and/or Leslie Ludy are really good! Something I have learned is that we often spend way too much time feeling depressed that our relationship with God doesn't seem close and vibrant and personal, and too little time actually SEEKING him and striving to become closer to him. In Sunday School we have been talking about holiness, and it is SOO good! The only way for us to become holy is to be daily in God's word. Doing a a short little morning "devo" every day doesn't cut it, either. We really have to seek Him, and let Him search our hearts, and ask Him for His wisdom. We really need to be living out His word, too. It doesn't matter how much we read it and think about it and memorize it if we don't obey it! So I have been really striving toward holiness and joy in my walk with Christ.

I also have found that I love hymns!! A lot of songs these days basically say "Life stinks, everything is hard, you're all alone..... but God is good so don't give up." If you ask me, that's a pretty depressing outlook on life! Yes, life is hard. Yes, the world will be full of heartache and disappointment. But that can't be our focus. We need to let nothing get in the way of our joy. If we are walking with Christ, there will be joy. Even when Paul the Apostle was imprisoned and hated by many people he was full of joy! The more I seek God, the more joy He brings. I have really been seeking Him a lot lately, and let me tell you, it is so worth it! :)

Now to write about the events of the past week... my brothers came home from Lamoka on Saturday for GOOD! They have been at Lamoka most of the summer and now the camp year is over. I'm really happy to have them back. Saturday was also my dad's 47th birthday! I baked him a German Chocolate cake with coconut-walnut frosting, which is tradition in out house. He loooves that kind of cake and frosting, so we always make it for his birthday. That evening was our church's annual Sunday School picnic, so we went to that for a few hours and it was fun. This Saturday is a youth event called the Gathering, and I am SO excited! That's about all I have to say now. Thanks for reading, fellow bloggers! :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Some hard times.

Hey everyone. The last few days have been hard ones. On Sunday, I found out about 10 minutes before church started that I had to play morning offertory. I have played piano for 5 years now, but I still don't think I'm very good at it. I don't even know why they choose me to do morning offertory, but it's fine I guess. It was a little crazy, though, because I had no time to prepare or practice something to play. I didn't do well at all, but I got through it, and I didn't do it for man's applause, and that's all that matters I guess. Sunday night was a lot of fun - it was SNAC night. SNAC stands for Sunday Night After Church, and so that's what it's called because that's exactly what it is! We have it about once a month, and this time was a TON of fun!! Someone left the dehumidifier off in the gym, so the floor was crazy slippery, which made for some funny (and some painful - lol) falls. There was soda and some snacks, and also lots of fun games. After we played a bunch of crazy and funny games, including human tic-tac-toe and capture the flag in the wet, dark softball field outside, I was able to talk with a few friends and it was really nice and refreshing.

On Monday evening, things took an unexpected turn. My parakeet, Julie, was sitting on the floor of her cage and was not looking good at all. I was really concerned, but I didn't know what to do for her at that hour of night since she was sleeping, and I very much wanted be. So I decided to see what I could do in the morning. I slept in a little, and around 7:45 my mom came in and woke me up. Then she told me that my bird was sitting on the floor of the cage. I knew this already, but I had forgotten. I got up and looked at her. She looked awful. I was thinking about what I should do for her, and then she let out a feeble "peep," and fell over on her side. What I didn't realize was that right then, she died. I thought she was still alive , so I was talking with Mom about what we should do. I didn't know if she was suffering and I should put her out of her misery, or if I could nurse her back to health. Then I suddenly realized what had happened and I said, "She may already be dead!" I reached in and picked her up and found that she was. It was the most awful thing... picking up her stiff, little body and realizing that she was gone. I held her and cried for at least an hour. I would have cried more, but I had to get ready to leave for the day, because I had an appointment at the dentist.

We headed out for a long day. First we went to the dentist and I got my night-guard (something sort of like a retainer that I wear at night because I grind my teeth and I have TMJ) fixed. After that, we headed to an oral surgeon for my brother, Zach, who had to get all 4 of his wisdom teeth out. We got there 1/2 hour early, and they were an hour behind schedule, so we ended up being there for a total of 2 and 1/2 hours. In that time I read and memorized a lot of scripture and read part of the book "Set-Apart Femininity" by Leslie Ludy. It was a long time to just sit there, but I had a good time with God and managed to forget Julie's death. On the way home, I remembered it. When I got back I sat on my bed and cried more. Julie was more than just a bird, she was a very special pet and friend. She wasn't just a family pet, she was MY pet. I bought her, kept her, cared for her, and trained her. She was like a little friend.

Wednesday, I got up and worked most of the morning. Then I went out and buried Julie alone. I had a parakeet a long time ago who belonged to my great grandma before she died. We kept him (the parakeet) for a long time. For the first few years he was cared for by my older brother Erik, and then Erik passed him to me. He was a very special friend, too. He eventually died of old age, and that was really painful for me. That happened about 4 or 5 years ago. We also had to have our dog, Misty, put down a long time ago, maybe 7 or so years ago. Both of those pets are buried near each other in our woods. Their deaths were hard for me to bear for a long time, especially since I was so little when I lost them. But, time goes on, and we've since gotten a new dog, and I got a new parakeet. Then when Julie died, and I buried her near the other 2 pets, I felt the pain of losing all 3 pets all over again. I cried the whole time.

The rest of the day was dull and hard. The only reason it was hard was just because it was so hard on me emotionally to lose Julie. In case you're wondering how Julie died, she has been sick for probably about a year now. I don't know how she got sick, or what she was sick with, but I could tell she was. I have nursed her through several times when I thought she was going to die, but she never got completely better. I guess this was just all her body could take, and she died. I feel horrible about it. I feel like if I had paid more attention she might still be here, but I don't know. Without a vet, she probably wouldn't have lasted long, and I couldn't afford to take her to one. She served her purpose on earth, which is to bring glory to God and pleasure to both God and man. It really comforted me to remember that God says that He sees every sparrow that falls, and cares about it.

I guess, over all, it has been very hard these last few days. The pain won't go away for a long time, but it will eventually. It's not like losing a person, but it's still hard. I have really been taught to lean on God through it, and to trust Him, even though it doesn't seem fair that I should lose her. God does not withhold any good thing from those who love Him, so I know that even though it's hard, it will be okay. God has lessons to teach me through this, and I am ready and willing to learn them. Please pray for me, this is a really hard thing for me. I know it sounds childish to make such a fuss over such a small thing, but it is really big to me. So please pray for me. Thanks.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Lessons from LOTR

Hey! I haven't posted in a while because there hasn't been much to tell about. We have mostly done lots of chores for the past week.

Two nights ago I watched "Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring", and last night I watched "Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers". I absolutely LOVE the LOTR movies. I also gained a lot spiritually from it. Tolkien (The writer of the LOTR books) didn't intend for it to be allegorical, but I found it to be in some ways. Some of the things that really struck me are:
-The hearts of men are so easily corrupted and deceived.
-Frodo has to carry the ring, which is evil, with him, even though he doesn't want to. In the same way, we have the burden of a sin nature that we have to take with us, even though we don't want it.
-Frodo never HAS to put on the ring, but he does several times when he wants the easy way out of situations. If we have been saved by Jesus Christ, we never HAVE to sin, but we do so many times when we are tempted.
-Then there's Gollum: he started out as a normal, hobbit-like creature, but he allowed the ring, and what seemed like pleasure, to poison his mind. He became a hideous, worthless, disgusting creature. Likewise, as Christians, we don't have to be hideous creatures, but if let we the temporary pleasures of sin poison our minds, we will be.
-Gollum meets Frodo, and realizes that he doesn't have to be Gollum. He can be Smeagol, which is who he would be if he wasn't under the control of the ring. He realizes that he doesn't have to be a slave to its power. He wrestles with this for some time. He is torn between his addiction to the ring, and his desire to be free. By the end of the series, he has completely given himself over to the ring's power, and his greed for the ring brings him to his death. We also don't have to be ugly creatures. We don't have to give ourselves over to sin. If we are born again believers in Jesus Christ, we have the power to fight the temptation to sin. We can be made new in Christ. We DO have sin natures with us though, and if we don't continue to wrestle against them, we will give in. Sin has the power to tempt us still, and if we don't fight it, we'll give in, and sin always leads to ruin.
-Gollum struggles constantly with his own self. One side of him tells him that he NEEDS the ring, and that Frodo, who helps him and understands him, is a thief, while his other side tells him the truth. We, as Christians, often struggle with listening to lies that Satan puts in our minds, instead of the Truth from Christ. If we listen to the lies, we will give in to sin, and it will destroy us.

All of that goes to say that you can learn SO much from so many things, if you think about it! Instead of just watching a movie, I try to pick it apart and see what the worldview is, and what there is to be learned. I hope that all makes sense. That's all for now. God bless! :)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

My birthday! :)

Hey everyone! Sorry I haven't written in so long. It's been busy! Let's see... on Friday we headed to my Grandparents' house, and we spent the day with them. We watched TV for a long time and talked. Then we had supper and they made me a cake for my birthday! :) It was nice. I got a present which was jewelry, nail polish, and lip gloss. AND GUMMY BEARS!! I love those things - lol :).

On Saturday it was my birthday!!! YAY! We headed toward home at 8 AM and Mom said she was planning something special but wouldn't tell me what. After about 2 hours of driving, we showed up at Camp Lamoka, where my brothers work! See, I worked there for one week on a Ministry Team last year and I LOVED it, and my brothers always tell me how much fun they have working there, so I wanted to go there again and meet all their new friends! I met some friends, and enjoyed a couple of hours there, and I found out I was going to my brothers' friends' house with them to spend the afternoon there! I was nervous at first, but it turned out to be an AWESOME day!!

On Sunday, I had 2 friends over and we did a photo-shoot in a beautiful field. It was so pretty! We all wore coordinating colored dresses and the pictures turned out so nicely! Later, I opened my presents from my parents. I got: an AMAZING black hat with studs on it. (That sounds punk-ish but it's actually really cute) and I got very pretty earrings, and a big purple plaid pillow, and an awesome little purple plush doggy. The 2 friends I had over, Danna and Glory, gave me $14 and one cent! The one cent was because it was a day late. :) All in all, I had an awesome birthday and awesome weekend!

I have also been learning a lot about sin. I often feel like I'm a slave to sins that I keep doing over and over, but then I realized, I am NOT a slave! I have been freed by the blood of the Lamb! I don't EVER have to sin again!! I won't be perfect, of course, but it is very relieving to know that sin has no grip on me, and I never have to sin again. It's a battle though, and it has to be fought! It's guerrilla warfare. The enemy has been defeated, but refuses to give up, so he sneaks in and tries to cause as much trouble as possible. Therefore, we must watch and pray!! God has taught me so much. Please pray for me, that I will fight the battle and not give up.

That's all I have to say now, so toodles! :) :)