Monday, May 28, 2012

The Slump.

Okay, before I write this post I thought I'd let y'all know that I have been trying to accustom myself to more spicy food and hot sauce since I am going to work with Mexicans this summer, so right now my mouth is on fire. AHH!! More water, please!

Anyway, back to seriousness. Have you ever been in a slump? You know, one of those times when everything feels hard and hopeless. first you just feel bad, then it starts to show up in your actions. It's seen on your face. It's visible in your posture and heard in your tone of voice. It carries into how you go about your normal life, and it can even affect your health. This past weekend I was in one of those slumps, and it was no fun.

And you know what I found out? It can be overcome very easily and quickly. The number one reason for these slumps is doubt. Our thoughts cause our actions and our feelings. The feelings didn't just pop out of no where, they came because I was thinking wrongly. The solution to the problem isn't to magically change my feelings, it is to consciously change my thoughts. I must recognize that I am believing lies about God's character - I am believing that He's not really good, not really sovereign.

So here's the simple solution: Think right. Do right. Feel right. Repent of believing lies and not serving God with joy like we're commanded to, and cry out to God to help you do what's right. Then when you think something that's not aligned with scripture, replace it with truth found it God's word. Then act on it! And then, guess what - the feelings will follow!

Now this solution was simple, but that doesn't mean it's easy. It takes a while for the feelings to catch up with the thoughts. You have to start thinking and doing right before you feel like it. But I promise you, there is joy when you do!

"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" 2 Cor. 10:4-5

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Part Three - Silver Springs

 Part three! This was my FAVORITE day of the vacation. We went to an animal park called Silver Springs which had lots of different animals in natural settings. the park was very well kept and extremely nice.

The front entrance :) The whole park was very pretty and the weather was absolutely perfect
Being eaten by an alligator? Oh yes :)
Pretty bird! He was mean though - he kept trying to bite me!
They had several animals shows where they brought animals out and had them perform for you. This bird could say all sorts of phrases and made us all laugh a lot!

Turtles sunning themselves on a log :) Cute, aren't they?
WE GOT TO HOLD A BABY ALLIGATOR!! He felt pretty cool. Don't worry, his mouth was fastened shut! My mom was really loving it, can you tell?
They gave tours in glass bottom boats. There were two routes and we got to go on both of them. Our captain on the first ride was very fun and informative, and the second had beautiful, clear water! Very cool :)
They also gave a jeep tour through another animal section with bears, llamas, emus, and other neat critters. We go to see emu eggs! And a zebra striped jeep? I think yes! :D
Isn't this the coolest carousel ever? I was bummer that i didn't get to ride it, but I did get lots of pictures :)
There were a TON of alligators!! They had literally hundreds. This was the biggest, and whoa, he was HUGE! I love how he's smiling for the picture.
White alligators are so cool. I had never seen one before. He looks like he's just a plastic model floating in the water, but they assured me that he was indeed real :)
Ahh, the beautiful palms and lovely, well-kept grounds. I loved being able to enjoy greenery and blue skies in April! NY is not very pretty in spring. God allowed us to go at the prefect time.
I got a souvenir - a soft, plush white tiger! He is so snuggly. I named him Libre, which is Spanish for free, because he is a free spirit. Haha!
Oh, I had so much fun that day. if I lived down there I would definitely get a membership so I could go more often. God's creation is so glorious and I am always refreshed when I get to spend a day enjoying the outdoors.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Florida pictures {Parte dos}

Well, time for post #2 about Florida! After a relaxing Thursday of just hanging out ans swimming, I visited my wonderful friend Katy and got to see her tiny, 2-day old baby boy Elijah! Oh, it was so precious. I spent the night with Katy and Jason's siblings (who are some of my best friends) and we had an amazing time together.
Finally!! Holding the darling baby boy <3
Such a cute, grumpy little face!

The next day my mom and Grandma and Zach came by to pick me up on the way to the beach. It was late in the day when we got there, but it turned out to be perfect because the crowd had diminished and the tide was high. I really loved how warm the water was, and how cool it felt to be hit my the waves and try to ride over them. Also, I especially enjoyed how soft and white the sand was - perfect for sculpting! I made a castle before we left. And I got to collect some shells. :)

On the way to the beach for the first time ever!!
Mom had SO much fun in the water - she stayed in longer than any of us!
Not a very pretty picture, but it did look nice in person :)
What a masterpiece! I had so much fun making it and I thought it looked pretty good.
You know how people always write their name and their lover's name in a heart in the sand? Well, I decided I would do that too! :) <3
And, a picture just before we left. It was starting to get dark, and it was very peaceful.

Just those two days were packed with many wonderful things, and that was just the beginning of the vacation! We made lots of memories to take home. :)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Faith of our Mothers

There are many things I could say about Mothers' Day. 

I think the first thing I want to do is praise my own mother, who has been an example of a godly woman, wife, and mother to me. Throughout the years, her testimony has shown brightly before me. I have memories from very early years of her talking and praying with me every night before bed - we would talk for nearly half an hour, and it was never enough. She chose to stand firm and raise her children, dedicating her life to them, amidst a culture that scorns motherhood. She stood firm even when all of her support from crumbled away beside her, in a way that few Christian women ever face.
Mom and I at the Creation Museum for the first time - '09
Our family went through some trying years when I was reaching my teen years, and I chose to rebel in spite of her godly example. She had little help in guarding me from the path I was headed on. I'll put in plainly for you: I was considering ending my own life. God never let go of me, though - I couldn't have escaped His love if I tried. It was through the influence of my mother that my heart was brought to salvation and a path of submission to Christ. In the past three years or so I have discovered and keep on discovering in deeper ways what it means to walk with Christ. Not a day goes by without my mom and I having at least one big conversation about Christ and what it looks like to follow Him. She gives me counsel. She has been the one who has protected my heart and my path. She sets an example for me in every way...  how she has given her life to stay at home raising my brothers and I, given us all of our education herself, and led us spiritually. How she now teaches and counsels other women. How she loves and serves her husband. Most of all, she has prayed faithfully for me. 
Enjoying Christmastime - 2008
I have the blessing of regularly hearing my mother praised by other people - every woman in her life has been blessed by her friendship, counsel, and example. She's the kind of woman that young mothers aspire to be like. She sets an example to girls who come from a worldly youth by how she has excelled in becoming a godly woman even though she had no example. She is a first generation Christian who has lived with a multi-generational goal of raising up children for the Lord. I can't express how much I have been blessed and influenced by her.
Buying a Christmas tree for Christmas 2008
Also, on Mothers' Day, I think of my dreams of being a mother someday. To all of you girls reading this - you are the future mothers of the world! As I listened to the sermon this morning in church, I could hardly contain my excitement. Oh, how I long to be a virtuous woman! May we, the future mothers of the world, start preparing now. And I'm not just talking about learning to cook, take care of children, and keep a home, although those things are important. The most important thing we can do to prepare for marriage and motherhood is learn to be a humble servant of Christ. Our hearts are what need work. We need to become loving and patient, submissive and supportive to our authorities, and quick to serve. Slow to speak, slow to get angry. Praying always. Teachable. Humble. Sacrificial. This is what it takes to be a godly wife and mother.
At Letchworth State Park - December 2011
And lastly, my heart goes out to everyone who does not have a mother in their life, or who has a painful relationship with their mother. Not everyone has two parents in their lives, and not everyone has two godly parents in their lives. I just want to encourage you to trust in the Lord who is faithful, no matter what.

If you have time, you may like to read through the lyrics to the hymn, "Faith of our Mothers," sung to the tune of "Faith of our Fathers." It was a blessing to me as I considered all the ways mothers affect the lives of their children, inspiring them to never forsake the faith.
Just got our hair done - Fall 2010
Faith of our mothers, living still
In cradle song and bedtime prayer;
In nursery lore and fireside love,
Thy presence still pervades the air:
Faith of our mothers, living faith!
We will be true to thee to death.

Faith of our mothers, loving faith,
Fount of our childhood's trust and grace,
Oh, may thy consecration prove
Source of a finer, nobler race:
Faith of our mothers, living faith,
We will be true to thee till death.

Faith of our mothers, guiding faith,
For youthful longing, youthful doubt,
How blurred our vision, blind our way,
Thy providential care without:
Faith of our mothers, guiding faith,
We will be true to thee till death.

Faith of our mothers, Christian faith,
Is truth beyond our stumbling creeds,
Still serve the home and save the Church,
And breathe thy spirit through our deeds:
Faith of our mothers, Christian faith!
We will be true to thee till death.

Happy Mothers' Day everyone - now go and be a blessing to every mother you can!

Being goofy with Cody - 2008

Friday, May 11, 2012

Florida Photos - Part 1

 Well, I finally have pictures from my trip to Florida. It took me a while to get them on the computer, sort through all 8969875105 of them, and to all the adjustments necessary to make them presentable. I have so many wonderful pictures that I will have to do quite a series of posts to upload even a sufficient sample of them for you to see. :) So here are pictures from the first couple of days.

My first time flying! I know this isn't the most spectacular picture, but let me just say, it was BEAUTIFUL in person! I have often seen other people's airplane pictures and thought "Ehh, that's not so great, it's just the sky." But seeing the clouds and the brilliant blue from above for the very first time... breathtaking.

 M and my dear mother on the plane. We were so excited about what adventures the week would hold! Or at least I was. She was was much more peaceful. :)

 Zach and I! Since Cody and Erik are gone now we have bonded more than ever. Spending the whole week together, we learned a lot about each other and had lots of fun. And btw, don't I look tan in this picture? I came to FL with a tan and went back to NY without one. Since when does that happen?! :P

 I tried to read but discovered that airplanes do not make ideal reading nooks at all. So, I just let myself get lost in all of my thoughts - deep ones, hopeful ones,  random ones, and all sorts of other miscellaneous ones and pointless ones. <3

 Grandma's mobile home, which was home sweet home for the next week. It was actually quite nice. It had a screened-in porch, which was fabulous for enjoying the cool evenings. The indoors was neat and nicely decorated, with all the comforts of home. 

I don't know what these flowers were called, but they smelled SOOO good! And I just loved the way they seem to cheerfully overwhelm the fence as they burst through every gap.

 I had never seen Spanish moss before, so i was quite fascinated by it. In the end I decided that I think it is very ugly, but it was a cool part of the Florida experience. :P

Palm trees!! Since I have heard so much about the tropical look of Florida, I couldn't wait to see all the palm trees. And, as you see, I was not disappointed. :)

 Strange spiky bush in the garden... very different from northern plants, to be sure!

Oh, and orange trees! It was neat to see groves of orange trees overflowing with fresh oranges. I never did get to eat one straight from the tree though. I don't know why... I totally should have! 

 And I suppose I will end this post with a picture of my adorable new bathing suit! We had it custom ordered and it turned out quite nicely. I had actually hoped for it to be a tab bit longer, but that's okay. And what's really neat about it is that it has shorts attached under the skirt! Very handy indeed. :) I totally love the colors. And, although you can't see it, my sunglasses have little jewels that match my suit. Sweetness! We really enjoyed having a pool to swim in whenever we wanted to. Swimming is SO fun! 

I guess that concludes the fist part of my Florida posting. Hope you enjoy the pictures - have a lovely day everyone. :)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Cousins are spectacular :)

Hello my people friends! I am visiting my cousins right now, who are up from Virginia and staying at my Grandma's house. They are AMAZING!! We always have a blast when we get together. Last night my cousins Rachel and Bethany and I stayed up having girl talks and laughing ridiculously until almost 3 AM. Today has also been full of adventures. We went on a long, frigid walk (Just us girls - the guys wimped out ;) ), Bethany and I played piano together and painted extravagant designs on our nails, and all of us ate pizza and had fun times this afternoon. Tonight we are hoping to play some card games and maybe stay up late again, and then tomorrow we head home again. We never seem to be able to get enough of our time together - it is so wonderful! I am so thankful. All of the laughs, smiles, good conversations, fellowship, and fun do my heart good. :)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Pink and white

 Next year I will be a senior. Some ladies in our church make lovely quilts for each of the seniors in the church every year, so I have been trying to think of what color combination I want mine to be. As I was pondering, I came up with a lot of different ideas, but wasn't sure which one to choose because I want one that I will like all of my life. I thought of pink and brown, but realized that it might go out of style. I considered choosing something neutral that I could use in my home someday, like blue, but I decided that I want to get one that I really like, not just whatever is most practical. I also contemplated choosing purple, since that has been the color of my bedroom for quite some time. But, I'm ready for a change. Finally, I got the perfect idea: pink and white!

 There is something so timeless and elegant about pink and white.

It doesn't go out of style, and you're never too old for it.

It's graceful and lovely,

 It's cute and sweet looking,

It's captivating and breathtaking,

 It's gentle and feminine,

 It's relaxing and refreshing.

All in all, I think it will be the perfect choice for my quilt. Since Cody moved away, I am going to move into his bedroom because it has some advantages over mine. For my birthday this year Mom and I are going to work redecorating it this summer with garage sale finds, renovated old decorations, and lovely sale items. I will really enjoy having a new bedroom and being able to spend time working on it with mom. :) Hope you all enjoyed these lovely pictures as much as I did!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Missions trip!

Oh my, I really need to write a post! For the past week or so I keep thinking of things and saying, "I want to write a blog post about that!" But then, I haven't written any posts because in my last one I promised to show pictures from my fabulous trip to Florida, and I haven't been able to get them on the computer yet. So, I am just going to hold off on that and write about other things for now.

Something that I am SOOO excited about and want to tell you all is that I'M GOING TO ARIZONA THIS SUMMER! Lol. :) For the past 4 years I have been studying Spanish, which has been great for me. Also, as you know, I am very interested in missions and reaching the world for Christ. Last fall, a missionary family from Arizona visited our church. As they told about their Spanish-speaking church plant near Phoenix, I was intrigued and eager to know more. I had the opportunity to talk with them after the service, and they suggested that I should come visit them for a missions trip sometime. I was thrilled! In January I wrote them an email reminding them of my interest, and since then we have been corresponding through email and phone to plan a trip. Amazingly, the Lord has worked it out perfectly and provided for it every step of the way. I will be flying out on June 18th and returning July 14th. What I will do there is basically help with anything that's happening - VBS, church, work, visits, etc. I will be with the Pastor's family the whole time. Being immersed in Mexican culture for a month will be an amazing new experience for me. And a good chance to practice my Spanish! I am truly in awe of the way the Lord has blessed me and led me. Please keep me in your prayers as it is going to be a VERY new experience for me. Thanks! :)