Saturday, May 31, 2008

Buttercup Days

I think a good portion of my summer reading is going to be spent in poetry and stories about Christopher Robin and Winnie-the-Pooh. The original stuff by A.A. Milne, of course. And recently, while photographing buttercups in the backyward, I thought of a little girl named Anne and Buttercups...

Buttercup Days
Where is Anne?
Head above the buttercups,
Walking by the stream,
Down among the buttercups.
Where is Anne?
Walking with her man,
Lost in a dream,
Lost among the buttercups.

What has she got in that little brown head?
Wonderful thoughts which can never be said.
What has she got in that firm little fist of hers?
Somebody’s thumb, and it feels like Christopher’s

Where is Anne?
Close to her man.
Brown head, gold head,
In and out the buttercups.
- A.A. Milne, "Now We Are Six"

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Friday, May 30, 2008

Empty Dreams

Empty Dreams

I dreamed of you last evening
In joyful slumber sleeping
Details etched forever
Each sound you spoke
Each glance you gave
Bittersweet tormenting
I woke this morning wishing
If only a dream could last
If only it would stay
I'll treasure these moments of fiction
These musings of my mind
Praying that someday
Empty dreams are gone

SarahDee
January 26th, 2008

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Interesting Fact

According to a Moody Bible student there have been scientific studies done that prove that reading Leviticus puts you to sleep.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Keychains, Words, and Feet in the Mouth

Remember those lessons in humility God often gives me?

They aren't just limited to humility.

There's a few in there for self-control too.

Okay, maybe alot in there for self-control.

See, I'm somewhat notorious for two things: being snarky and my key chain collection.

I love key chains. If you were to see my house keys, you'd think "Wow, she has alot of house keys" until you saw that actually I have about 2 and the rest of the sparkling metal is key chains.

Side note: In my defense, I will say that some of them were given to me. So it's not entirely my fault I have enough to build a bridge with.

So when I walked into the Dollar Tree awhile back, and saw they had a Whole.Collection.Of.Key Chains. I, of course, had to go check it out.

Thumbing through the various ones I came across one that made me nearly turn crimson, because it was so me--"I'm very flexible--I can put both feet in my mouth!"

Alas, there was nothing to be done for it--I simply had to have this key chain.

So I bought it.

Why, you wonder, was this key chain so me?

Well my friend, because to put it succinctly--it just is.

I can't tell you how many times I have been in a conversation, and suddenly, for some strange and unknown reason, certain words and phrases that I know are not appropriate began their pilgrimage down from my brain to my mouth.

I clamp my lips shut. I tell myself "No, you will not". I try to turn my mind onto something else. But inevitably, the words push and pound and cry against my lips until they break the barrier, and come gushing forth.

So many times I have wished words could be caught back and swallowed.

I have agonized over why I said that. Why I didn't follow the advice my parents always gave me and my siblings from little on up--"Think before you speak or act. Think it through."

The key chain serves as a reminder to me about the importance of guarding my mouth. Trust me, when people see that key chain every time I rent a movie, since my movie rental card is also on my key chain, it's embarrassing enough to remind me to think twice before speaking.

King David had the right idea: "Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips." Psalm 141:3 (NASB)

I pray this prayer often, but for me the prayer takes this form: "Lord, Keep your arm around my shoulders, and Your hand over my mouth!"

Praise His name He does, too.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Encounter

About once a week someone will come up to the desk of the library where I work during the school year, look around and say in a low voice, "Could I check out [lowering the voice even more here] the box of bones?" And we'll smile and nod and give them the enormous box of bones for their anatomy class.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Dr. Jak's Color Wheel 101

Attention class! *peers over spectacles* this is a color wheel. (see below) There are many different types of color schemes using the colors shown in this wheel. For example. Monochromatic, Triad, and Complementary.
Today we're going to talk about the Analogous color scheme. Don't ask me how to pronounce it. :)

Analogous is a color scheme using 3 colors that are next door neighbors on the color wheel. Some examples are Red, Orange and Yellow. Blue, Purple and Violet are also analogous.

A little clue: the root word here is "analogy" which is a word meaning: "A resemblance of relations; an agreement or likeness"

The beauty of an analogous color scheme is it really complements itself. Pick a color. Any color. The two colors directly on it's right and left are it's two closest relatives. Think of it like a family. Brothers and sisters. They look, feel and sound a lot alike. They make each other stronger, by expressing the same opinion or making the same statement, but each with it's own flair.

Here's an Analogous color scheme. Blue, Turquoise, Lime Green.
Any of these colors by itself has a soothing, calm, tranquil feel to it. Makes me think of oceans and salt spray and summer. Put the three together and it's like adding a little cinnamon to your coffee. Warm and vigorous, but more so.

Add a hat in a coordinating color, if you didn't have time to blow dry your hair and then slept on it....
And coordinate your jewelry to punch the analogy even more. :)

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day 2008


Freedom Is Not Free
by Kelly Strong

I watched the flag pass by one day.
It fluttered in the breeze.
A young Marine saluted it,
and then he stood at ease.
I looked at him in uniform
So young, so tall, so proud,
He'd stand out in any crowd.
I thought how many men like him
Had fallen through the years.
How many died on foreign soil?
How many mothers' tears?
How many pilots' planes shot down?
How many died at sea?
How many foxholes were soldiers' graves?
No, freedom isn't free.

I heard the sound of TAPS one night,
When everything was still
I listened to the bugler play
And felt a sudden chill.
I wondered just how many times
That TAPS had meant "Amen,"
When a flag had draped a coffin
Of a brother or a friend.
I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands
With interrupted lives.
I thought about a graveyard
At the bottom of the sea
Of unmarked graves in Arlington.
No, freedom isn't free.

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House of Cards


I held my breath, fearing that if I lived life any harder or took more than a shallow breath, my entire world would fall to pieces. My stomach wouldn't stop climbing up my ribs, or stop taking suicidal leaps that always ended with the same nervous thud. I weighed the air in my hand and counted slowly, easing my breath out like an asthmatic flutist. Easy does it. Slow. Those butterflies get out and they'll swarm your house of cards and knock it down. It still came out rough and ragged; I hiccuped and watched a card shudder at the top of the tower.

I shivered along with it, as a breeze tickled my neck, standing my hair at attention. I sucked in my breath for fear that the breeze would topple the tower, and leaned forward, a futile gesture and desire to keep my world from collapsing.

And then it did. It folded silently and like a movie. The black and red cards sliding into each other like a flimsy embrace, a kiss, the red like lipstick and the black like a wound.

And my world lay in cards at my feet. I stood and stared, letting my breath out with a heave that whistled. I slowly dropped to the floor, mimicking the fall of the deck, until I sat there on the tile, the slippery feel of the cards beneath my hands.

The world was still, too still for the screaming colors of the cards, the quiet chaos of the scattered spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs. I sat for a long time, staring at the rubble.

Finally, I took one last breath and drew myself up. Then, one by one, I picked up the cards and began again.

Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy. Though I fall I will rise; though I dwell in darkness, the LORD is a light for me.
Micah 7:8


written summer 2007, revised April 2008

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Words cannot express.......

They say a picture is worth a thousand words..........I'd say these are worth two thousand at least.

WARNING: I got these off a website that has lots of funny pics--some of them less than appropriate. So i would not recommend visiting the website they come from.


Dude! Now if only we had night-lights to match.......


























Warning: objects in front really are objects


















Need we say more?

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Friday, May 23, 2008

From the perspective of an eight year old

A little background... I've been playing the violin since I was 8ish (I don't remember exactly :)) Pretty much since the beginning I've always wanted to just have my own violin studio, teach lessons out of my home. I just wanted to be a violin teacher. So, 4 years ago I started teaching. At first I only had 2 students, it slowly grew to 4 and now in the last year its lept to 10! I love teaching!!!


One day not too long ago while I was teaching violin lessons one of my students asked me
"How old are you?"


"Almost 23. Am I old?"


"No....................................Are you married?"


"No."


"You should get married."


"Why?"


"Just cause, you should."


"Oh. *pause* But what if I got married and had to move far away and couldn't be your violin teacher anymore."


"You don't have to."


"I don't have to what?"


"Move. You can get married and still live here."


"Here as in P________."


"No, you can get married and still live at home."


Well, he is only 8, doesn't quite understand. But then again, it was sweet of him.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

History Comes Alive

I love history.

Actually, that's quite an understatement: I adore history.
Old buildings always pique my interest, so when my family visited the old mining town of Gold Hill North Carolina, my mind immediately began telling their story, bringing life to those long since resting in the ground.

In the eye of my imagination, I see them, hustling and bustling up and down the ancient stair cases.

Buying groceries at the old general store.

Putting on their best clothes, and walking down the boardwalk to the old church.

I wonder what they thought about everyday. I wonder what made them happiest.

I take pictures of the restored buildings, wishing they could talk to me, tell me about the lives of the miners and their families.

We leave, and head back to Salisbury. More history is found in the old apartment buildings dating back to the 1930s and 40s. The crumbling brick buildings boast of ancient fire escapes, and fainted white lettering.

It all has a story.

Though I can only imagine what the story might be, for me, that is enough. I think of the people, all throughout the years of the world, who served the same God I do. Some of them may have lived in the apartment building. Some of them may have lived in the mining town. All of them went through many of the same struggles of faith and trust that I've gone through. Times change, but people are people. No matter the era, our walk of faith is still a growing process.

As I dwell on this, I am so comforted to know that the same God who watched over the Christians of past centuries is watching over me. He who walked with each generation walks with me. So no matter where I am in life, I know He is more than able to carry me through, just as He's done with all of His children since the beginning of time.

We leave the old buildings, the shadows of years past.
My mind continues to tell their stories.

History comes alive.

If only for a moment.

-Miss Deb

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ruminations

It's interesting to me how much our culture values the idea of "making the world a better place." Of course the concept is a good thing, but should it be the primary goal of our lives? I trow not. Our primary goal is salvation and, for the Orthodox at least, beyond that theosis. Making the world a better place falls naturally into place when your eyes are directed towards heaven. That sounds paradoxical, but it is true. The world is not just the physical universe we inhabit. It is the people we come into contact with one way or another every day. When our sight is on heaven and our hearts are warmed with the love of Christ we will also love our neighbors and by loving them we will make the world a better place.
As St. Seraphim of Sarov said, "Save yourself [or acquire the grace of the Holy Spirit, depending on the translation] and thousands around you will be saved." For confirmation of his teaching we need look no further than his own life, spent in the deep forests of Russia which nonetheless has touched thousands during and after his life.

In the cultural idea of "making the world a better place" the emphasis is all on the external. If you give to charity, if you volunteer at a soup kitchen, you are making the world a better place. But is not secret prayer just as important? To the secular idea of a "good person" it is not. To the believing Christian there is nothing more important. The saints of the Orthodox church prayed for everyone. Some were even known to pray for the demons. We may spend our lives doing good deeds for others, but if we focus on ourselves and how good it is of us to do this we lose all grace. Only when our hearts are open to pain of those we are trying to help and when we no longer focus on ourselves but on the person in front of us can we begin to participate in God's energies and gain the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The "+1" Dilemna


It came in the mail. One of those darling crisp white envelopes that come sometimes. You know the ones? They have pretty handwriting on the front, and when you see it you say “Oh! I wonder if this is…” and then you flip it over and get the answer to your question “It is!! Oooohhhh!”

This is not the kind of envelope you tear open. Nope. You have to find your letter opener thingamajig, and slit the top. Then you open it up. And then you open it up again…. And there it is… “To: Rebecca, and Guest” *AHEM* yes…. There it is. That inevitable “+1.”

AH! The frustration!!! Not only is some lucky girl (not you) getting married, she’s asking you to bring a “guest.” I’m sure you know the feeling. Awkward.

Do you go alone? Drag along a family member? Find a friend to go with you? And then there’s the double awkwardness of being at the wedding without a “significant other.” Almost worse than going alone, going with your sister and then it’s painfully obvious to anyone who cares to wonder that you are most definitely single. As single as the day is long. Ouch.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Lost

The highway is eerily dark tonight as I drive home from choir practice by myself. After singing all evening, I’ve come down from a musical high and can’t seem to find any CD in my car’s player to suit me.

The road stretches out in front of me, I know, but darkness hides most of it from my sight. There isn’t a set of taillights to be seen, not even in the distance. I flick on my high beams and glance in my rear view mirror. There aren’t any cars behind me either, leaving my eyes nothing to see but pitch black. My throat tightens. I’ve never liked the dark, especially when I’m all alone. I feel lost and the darkness seems to close in, kept at bay by only my headlights.

I switch to another CD, hoping to find something, anything that will lighten the suffocating feeling. I skip several songs, until I reach one track that is soothing in it’s familiarity, the result of being listened to over and over again.

The singer goes into the chorus and I catch my breath a bit.

'Cause you are not alone
I'm always there with you
And we'll get lost together
Till the light comes pouring through
'Cause when you feel like you're done
And the darkness has won
Babe, you're not lost


I know the song isn’t about God, but suddenly the lump pressing against my throat eases a little.

- I’m always there with you -

I will never leave you nor forsake you
Joshua 1:5


- Till the light comes pouring through -

The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear?
Psalm 27:1


- ‘cause when you feel like you’re done –

Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
Yet those who wait for the LORD
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.
Isaiah 40:30-33


- And the darkness has won –

If I say, "Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,
And the light around me will be night,"
Even the darkness is not dark to You,
And the night is as bright as the day
Darkness and light are alike to You.
Psalm 139:11-12


- Babe, you're not lost -

I will never leave you nor forsake you


My car comes to the crest of the hill and as ground begins to slope, I see lights on the highway below. Lights in the darkness.

'Cause you are not alone

(I will never leave you nor forsake you)

I'm always there with you


I am glad to see the lights – I am nearly home now – but I’m suddenly, in what may perhaps be the silliest way, glad for a certain jazz song and the promises it holds for me.

Baby, you’re not lost.


song "Lost" written by Michael Buble, Alan Chang and Jann Arden, sung by Michael Buble

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Weekend Quote

"If we did all the things we were capable of doing, We would literally astound ourselves."



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Unlock & Unleash


Unlock and Unleash

spotted spirit
blinded beauty
unseen sight
hidden heart
locked love
ignored intelligence
unknown knowledge
sweet surrender
beauty unleashed
healed hearts
redeemed thoughts

Sometimes the best things aren't on the surface, sometimes you have to look through the facade and past the blinking gaze; past the hurt and ache. That is when you see the inside, the radiant glowing inside, just waiting to get out. Love dying to be shared- held in check by fear. Unlock and unleash others with your love... you'll never regret it.

----
Regina Spektor's Fidelity Music Video (Caution: Some low-cut Tops)

I know sometimes I am holding onto my heart so tightly that I become a “Love Scrooge.” We are so often told to guard our hearts and while that is important, sometimes we get carried away and build walls and suffocate our hearts in the process. If we give our hearts to God’s care he will protect them while allowing them to breathe and give life to us and others. If you are truly following the example of Christ then you will pour love out of yourself and onto others. Elie Wiesel once said “The opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is indifference.” It is when we wall our hearts away that we become indifferent. Indifferent to hurting people: people who need us to be Christ. When we love others with pure love, Christ's love, we unlock them: freeing them to love and live. Don't be afraid to love others! Don't lock your heart away! Love is what gives life… give the gift of life to someone today!

“Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.” 1 Peter 1:22 (NIV, emphasis mine)

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Friday, May 16, 2008

"Spring Cleaning"

Fall 2007

I've been thinking recently. Mom's been doing a lot of 'spring cleaning' at our house. Getting rid of extra clutter and things we don't need or use. I've been meaning to do the same. Get rid of extra stuff I have lying around. I don't really need to drag it all to our new house. Then when David and Kristi were here this weekend, Kristi mentioned that she had been doing the same thing. *DING!* O.k. I'm paying attention now! So, during church on Sunday there were so many thoughts coming to mind that I had to jot them down. This is what I came up with.

I sit here and think about the fact that I so often tell myself that
"I'm not ready and I don't know what to do about it. I'm too busy. "
Too busy doing what??? Concentrating on the things in the carnal, on the natural things that are before me? On the thing on this level that God has given me to do. But yet, my mind is not in the place it needs to be. I find myself asking what happened? What happened to the time when I could pray without ceasing. What happened to waking up each morning with a song on my lips and a prayer in my heart. What happened to me?

Of course I could easily dismiss it as just a step up in the battle. A spiritual war is raging and it gets hotter every day. Dismiss it and go back to doing what God requires of me naturally on a day to day basis. But what about the spiritual requirements? If the battle step up every day, why don't I step it up every day. I can't stay on one level while everything else goes up. Dad just reminded me of Narnia's Last Battle;
"Further up and further in!"
But I think to myself, I'm too tired to run. What do I do? Where do I turn?
I need to go and do some serious cleaning. Naturally and spiritually. What are my priorities? What I want, or what God desires of me, even if I don't like it. Even if I don't like it. *gulp* yep *swallows* Because if I do it, God's will becomes my will. His desires, my desires. and then when my dreams fade away and He is the dream, I won't be questioning anymore. I won't wonder, worry and stumble around in the dark stubbing my toe on the clutter in my life.

I have a destiny, a purpose, a place in the perfect will of God. Get your priorities straight, clean up and let go of the things in your life that are holding you back and then set your sights on God. Lock your eyes on Him and don't look back. Then your destiny will be fulfilled. And your dreams will not seem unfulfilled and fruitless. They will be God's plan for you and they will be fulfilled and fruitful unto Him.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Being thankful even in the embarrassments

Being thankful in all things sounds wonderful and spiritual when you say it. But discovering just what all that entails is quite another matter.

There many times in my life that for His own perfect reasons, God chooses to give me a lesson in some form regarding humility.

I just wish He'd plan them further apart, instead of frequently together.

You could say the moral of the story (or one of the morals, anyway) is, when you know a guy (close to your age) is going to crack a joke, it is not wise to sip your lemonade. No my friends, it is dangerous.

Especially if you are sitting across from him at a pizza place.

Surrounded by friends and family.

Watching a member of the male gender wiping sticky, saliva-mixed lemonade off his arms, face, Sunday shirt, and possibly even his shoes, with a sweet, forgiving smile on his face, would make any blue-blooded girl either burst into tears or laugh hysterically from humiliation.

It's in those moments I must make a choice--thank the Lord for the "lesson in being lesser", or crawl under the table and die from embarrassment.

There's also the option of begging God to crack open the floor in the restaurant so you can fall neatly inside--It doesn't work, just for the record.

So I choose to thank God for the chance to humble myself, and for the young man who graciously extended forgiveness toward me, though I ruined his shirt.

Thanking God for His lessons isn't always easy--but knowing He still loves me, no matter how many guys I bathe in sugary fruit drink, is such a comfort.

-Miss Deb

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I'm not waiting for Prince Charming

I'm not waiting for Prince Charming.

I know some of you may be confused by that statement. I am, after all, fairly vocal in my support of "dating with a purpose," or courtship, if you want to call it that. I'm even the administrator (along with a staff of several wonderful young ladies) of I Don't Date. Have I suddenly changed my convictions? No, not really.

But I repeat: I am not waiting for Prince Charming.

I am waiting for my husband.

I am not waiting for that mythical someday when a perfect man, a knight-in-shining-armor, rides in on his horse and scoops me off and carries me off to his castle where we live happily ever after. I am not waiting for that day because it will never come and believing that it will is only harmful to myself and to my future relationship with my future husband. (This is not to say that I don't love Pre-Raphaelite art as much as anyone else, just that I don't believe it will happen or ever did in the way we tend to think of it.)

You see, my husband, while I hope and pray that he is a wonderful and Godly man, is just that: a man. He is not now nor ever will be perfect and to imagine that he will is only setting both of us up for heartbreak.

Because what happens when he fails me?

He will fail me, just as I will fail him. And if I cherish the dream of a perfect man only to find that he is not so perfect after all (and I am talking larger failings than leaving his socks on the floor here), what will that do to my trust in him? How much harder would it be to find forgiveness for him and his failings in my heart? Yet would I not hope for that forgiveness myself? I would. And God calls us to forgive our fellow strugglers.

So no, I am not waiting for my Prince Charming. I am waiting for the man that I hope to laugh with, to cry with, to sing with, to read with, to live with, and to worship God with. I know that there will be hard times to come, just as there are hard times now. I know that my own sinful tendencies will rear up their ugly heads just as his will. And you know? I can only pray that God will bring us through them, whatever they be. But I can also refuse to fall into the trap of idealized thinking that is implicated in that phrase, "Prince Charming."

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Dr. Jak's Fashion Tonic

Dr. Jak's Remedy. Guaranteed to cure what ails your hair in 30 short seconds.

ProficioCapitus
AKA: The Hat

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Chaos and French Fries


Chaos reigns, yes, sometimes, in the house of a large family. Sometimes? Who am I kidding?!

When the movie "Cheaper by the Dozen" starring Steve Martin came out, I was skeptical. And even after I saw it, I scoffed. "Large families aren't all that chaotic! Seriously, roller-skating in the house? Buckets stuck on people's heads? C'mon!"

Obviously families that chaotic have problems with discipline. Large families get a bad enough rap without being stuck with the “just like Steve Martin’s crazy movie family” label. Here’s a good reason not to have lots of kids: they’ll get buckets stuck on their heads and swing off the chandeliers!

Pardon my sarcasm.

I’d actually forgotten about my dislike of that movie until recently, last week to be exact. After that day, I think I’ve changed my mind.

It was a Tuesday.

I arrived home from a long day at work. A long boring day, I might add, but I wasn't in the mood for excitement. No, I had plans for a nice quiet evening at home. Write, maybe. Clean up my room. Do laundry. Quiet things.

Cue for ominous music! But little did I know…

I found myself babysitting four siblings, including a particularly fractious nine-month-old who had decided she hated everyone except her mommy (who wasn’t home). This derailment of events was followed by a surprise delivery of industrial size canned tomatoes, tomato juice and ketchup, a large box containing six enormous heads of romaine lettuce, a box of soy milk, three cartons of french fries (each carton held six industrial size bags), another carton of frozen vegetables, two 3 pound bags of cheddar cheese and a lot more I know I am forgetting (probably because we’ve eaten it already), that we had no room in the freezer for. All the food spawned a trip over to a friend’s house where I found myself wondering how one earth I had ended up on this friend’s neighbor’s porch offering complete strangers bags of frozen French fries. And what is more, gushing thanks for taking them off my hands. The evening ended nicely with my arrival home, only to hear from an open upstairs window, the wails of a younger sibling who had an accident and decided to announce to everyone in the house (as well as the neighborhood) that she needed help changing her clothes.

Our house, chaotic? Never!



I sometimes feel a slight pressure to talk about large families always in a positive light, never touching on the chaos or all that goes into living with eleven other people, all in one house. Sharing two bathrooms; now that is often deemed gasp-worthy in itself. Only two bathrooms? For thirteen people?! And another person faints.

There is a slight pressure to always be cheery about it. Large families are wonderful and I would never trade mine for a thing in the world. I don’t want anyone – from co-workers to the clerk at the grocery store to the random stranger eavesdropping in on a conversation – to think that large families suck the life and joy out of you. I don’t want to give big families a bad name by complaining.

Still, there is a balance. And there is reality. Reality means that I love dancing around the kitchen with my sisters, from nine months to eighteen years, but reality also means that I sometimes want to never hear a Veggie Tales song ever again. Reality means that even though I do love it when siblings run to greet me upon my arrival home from work, I don’t always appreciate interruptions when I’m doing Something Important. Reality is life, and life is messy and complicated. Life isn’t a Thomas Kinkade painting or a Vision Forum catalog.

Life…life is made of up long days with french fry problems and fussy babies just as much as silly songs with Larry and dancing for the simple pleasure of it. Life is muddy little boys who won’t always listen – and snuggling on the couch reading books about ‘but not the hippopotamus!’

So, I try not to hide it. We’re a crazy lot, this large family and I. We aren’t freaks and we aren’t perfect. We have our moments of fabulous chaos and moments of horrific chaos. Whatever kind of chaos, I’m trying to be honest.

Now, honestly. Anyone want some French fries? For free!

- Krista S.

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Thought of the Week

To observe nature closely is to follow the finger of God.~Thomas Cole

All pictures courtesy and copyrighted to Grace Photography

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Friday, May 9, 2008

An Admonishment From Jane Austen

From Jane Austen's Love and Freindship (with original spelling and grammar)

"My beloved Laura (said she to me a few Hours before she died) take warning from my unhapped End and avoid the imprudent conduct which had occasioned it.... Beware of fainting-fits.... Though at the time they may be refreshing and agreable yet beleive me they will in the end, if too often repeated and at imporoper seasons, prove destructive to your Constuitution... My fate will teach you this... I die a Martyr to my greif for the loss of Augustus .. One fatal swoon has cost me my Life... Beware of swoons Dear Laura... A frenzy fit is not one quarter so pernuicious; it is an exercise to the Body and if not too violent, is I dare say conducive to Health in its consequences - Run mad as often as you chuse; but do not faint -"

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Thursday, May 8, 2008

Learning To Desire God

I love to bottle-feed lambs. Growing up on a small farm in south-central Texas,
I had plenty of opportunity to do it.

I can see clearly the daily picture
of what bottle-feeding them involves.
First I warm the milk up. Not too hot, it must be
just warm enough to take the chill off of it. Then I pour it into the bottle and set out to feed my sheep.
The lambs are waiting for me, and as I approach, they look at me eagerly, yet shyly, in anticipation. I walk into the corral, and bend down, holding the bottle out so they can come forward and drink. Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever had Barbados sheep, but they are very skittish animals, even more so than most sheep. My lambs were no exception. They hesitate to come to me, fearing what I might do to them. They look around at their mother, at the other things surrounding them. They look at me, then at the bottle, then at me again. They place once foot forward, still watching me cautiously. Finally, they make their way across the grass, and grasp the bottle firmly with their mouths. As the warm milk pours into their tummies, their tails often wag back and forth in glee.

It’s not easy for my lambs to come forward.
They are very timid creatures. The compelling force of their courage to trust me is their hunger. They want to eat. They want to feed.

As usual, I am struck by what an awesome lesson
they show me, in their desire for food. There are plenty of distractions around them, to keep them from coming forward. The other sheep are running around the pen, scared to
death. Their mother is walking away, crying for them to come with her.
But despite the swirl of activity around them, they come forward to me, for trust, or experience told them that I was the only one who could give them what they really wanted:
Food. Nourishment.

How often do I do that? How often do I look around at my distractions, and my fears, focusing on them, instead of looking to Christ to fill my deepest needs and desires?
How often does my desire for God dwindle because I’ve eaten of everything else but what will truly satisfy me, a relationship with God?

John Piper says:
“The greatest enemy of a hunger for God is not poison but apple pie.
It’s not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetites for heaven,
but endless nibbling at the table of the world. It’s not the X-rated video, but the primetime drivel
of triviality we drink in every night. The most deadly appetites are not for the poison of evil,
but for the simple pleasures of earth. For when these replace an appetite for God Himself,
the idolatry is scarcely recognizable, and almost incurable.”


You see, even good things can be deadly when they begin to replace God. Just as my sheep hungered and thirsted for true food, so we, as Christians,
must hunger and thirst for God, the only One who truly can satisfy us. Of course there is nothing wrong with the everyday activities we enjoy.
There is nothing wrong, in themselves, with hobbies, sports, computers, entertainment,
the internet, reading, writing, music, or any of the other things we all enjoy and love.
What makes them wrong, or dangerous is when we allow them to be our source of food,
our source of nourishment, instead of God.

My own “apple pie” was my online time. So much time, better spent in God’s Word,
was spent surfing the net, chatting online, and other things of that nature.
Slowly I noticed my desire for God dwindling. It frightened me, as it should have.
I lacked the zeal and joy I once had in my quiet time. My appetite had been temporarily
satisfied in the small things of everyday life, the everyday pleasures. I wasn’t hungry for God’s Word,
because I was too full of trivial things. So, I took a break from being online, except for school purposes,
or doing things for Mom on the Internet. I used the time instead to read God’s Word, to memorize more Scripture, to pray more often. Slowly my appetite for God came back. By taking away the “good” food, and replacing it with the “best” food, I began to develop a taste for the “best”. Much like a person goes through withdrawal when they stop drinking, I went through a period of fighting the urge to get online
again. But oh the wonderful grace of God! When I started struggling with desire to get online,
God gave me the strength to turn away, and look to Him.

Now, I’m not suggesting you do the same thing, unless you struggle with that too.
I don’t know what your distractions are. I do know that they manifest in various ways.

So how do you know what your “apple pie” is?

Here’s a good, practical application test:
Whatever you run to for comfort outside of God, whatever you feel an impassioned urge to do, more than you desire to spend time with God, whatever is the driving force of joy and motivation in your life, outside of God, might possibly be your “apple pie”. Anything we place above God is an idol. As long as we are worshiping that idol, our hunger for God will be sedated.

Even “spiritual” things can be “apple pies” to us is we aren’t careful. Serving in your church, or working in a ministry can take God’s place in our lives. It’s a constant battle to keep God first.

What’s your apple pie? Is there something that’s keeping you from hungering after God?
Take a break from that thing. Just step back from being involved in it for little while.
Use that time and energy to get to know God, to be in His word, and pray.
Take away the “apple pie” and replace it with real food.

If you do, I believe you will soon see a hunger for God in your life that can only be satisfied by more of Him. Apple Pie is a poor substitute for the richness and sweetness of fellowship with the living God.

Read more...

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Letters

I love letters. I love receiving them, the fat envelope stuffed with goodness knows what, the thoughts and feelings of a friend you haven't seen in months. I love opening them and seeing what is inside.

I love sending letters. I love taking the time to make it more than a few lines scribbled on a piece of paper or a faceless electronic message sent off in a few seconds. Selecting the stationary, the enclosures, the decorations for the envelope all take time and require you to think about who you're sending the letter to. One friend might like bird stickers while the other likes ribbons.

And then the letter itself--what handwriting to use? (A friend of Tolkien's once said that he had as many handwritings as he had friends.) Which books to talk about? What have you been doing recently that would be interesting? A letter to my godmother looks and feels vastly different than one to my friend in Wisconsin.

Guess what I'll be doing tonight?

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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Waiting on the Lord

Isaiah 40:31 has always been one of my favorite scripture verses. “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

I’ve always been of sort of a “delicate constitution” and the part about the LORD “renewing my strength, running and not being weary and walking without fainting” has been a wonderful promise to hold onto. But, I saw it in a whole new light the other day. Suddenly the “waiting on the Lord part stuck out to me” and it meant something totally new.

I’m waiting right now. Waiting for my Prince Charming. Or, more specifically, waiting on the Lord to bring me my Prince Charming. And, I’m not going to lie, it’s hard to wait. Not in the sense that it’s difficult to have patience, (although that can be an issue, too) but that it’s difficult being single. I’m sure that someone will say that being married is not easy, and that I should be thankful that I only have myself to look after, and all those sorts of things that married people like to say to us singles.  But, I wish to point out that Genesis 2:18 says: “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him.” We are all created with a purpose, with a plan for our lives that goes beyond, way beyond the dreams that we have for ourselves and the things that we, with our tiny minds, believe we are capable of. Most of us need another person standing beside us, working with us, to reach our full potential. We are created as one half of a perfect equation.

So, I think of myself at this stage in my life as being sort of half-missing. And I’m anxious to realize the potential of my life as a whole.

While I’m waiting, though, I get tired. I get weary of the endless day in day out all alone. I have a picture in my head of a half person. A person that is missing half of their organs, a person with only one arm, one leg, one ear, etc. Would you expect a person like that to do everything in a day that you do? Would you expect them to keep a house, drive a car, pay their bills, work 40 hours a week, care for children? No, you wouldn’t. That kind of person (if it were even possible for someone to live in this condition) would certainly be entirely supported by someone else. Probably the government. They would likely be in a hospital, and the only things we would expect of them would be breathing, eating and staying alive.

So, going back to my early statement of considering myself a half of a whole, it seems a little extreme that I should be expected to do everything that I do. But, I still manage to do all of it. And that gets tiring. Let’s face it. Being alone is exhausting!

And so, Isaiah 40:31 suddenly today for the first time seemed to be talking about something different in my life. Not something physical. “But they that wait upon the LORD”.... wait, for God’s plan for your life. I’m waiting. For…. something… for someone.
“shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

Read more...

Monday, May 5, 2008

Wonderment

I can't see the stars anymore living here
Let's go to the hills where the outlines are clear

Bring on the wonder
Bring on the song
I pushed you down deep in my soul for too long

"Bring on the Wonder" - Susan Enan


You'll probably soon notice - just as I have noticed myself - that music and songs tend to inspire me to write. I don't know why this is. Generally it's just one or two lines of the lyrics, but it's enough to make my thoughts spin. Sometimes it starts with an ache - an ache of longing, beauty and joy.

Bring on the wonder
Bring on the song...


I'm sitting by my bedroom window, this morning, my feet up on the bookshelf and the laptop in my lap. The skies are grey this May morning and the world is wet from overnight rain showers. April was dry this year and May bodes to be wet this year instead. But the world is also suddenly green and blooming. The pear tree outside my window is covered with little white buds that will soon be white blossoms; It is the perfect combination of baby green leaves and snowy white buds. I glance out at them now and then, to make sure they're still there - and to see if I can find that noisy robin somewhere. I suspect that he is the mate of the quiet mother that has built a nest in one of the supporting beams of our back porch.

It's spring.

Spring, people, spring!

I want to say it in fierce whispers, like a secret that has to be told. Like Mr. Beaver talking about Aslan to the Pevensies. Can I explain it all to you? This fierce, wonderful joy - this desire to hug the entire world, the new fresh beauty and blessings of spring. Can I explain it to you, this sudden desire to fly, to laugh, to sing, to dance.

It is spring and the birds are nesting and the world is new, new, new.

Bring on the wonder.

Bring on the song.

I pushed it all down deep in my soul for too long - it must spill forth.

Spring has come and brought joy along with it.

Read more...

Waiting

I've turned on my computer many times over the last few days, intending to write an article - any article – for this blog. And every single time I put my fingers to the keyboard to turn ideas into words, every coherent thought wisks away. Ideas that seemed sensible, even brilliant, look inane on the page.

And so I type, watching the trail of words troop across the screen and the cursor blink as I wait for more words to come.

And wait.

And wait.

And wait.

Sometimes it feels like I'm waiting for everything. I'm waiting for God to plop a husband in my lap, I'm waiting for the right job to come along, I'm waiting for spring to arrive, I'm waiting for the bell to ring at 5 o'clock to let me go home, I'm waiting for the bathroom, I'm waiting, waiting, waiting.

Everyone always says, 'hustle while you wait.'

And so I tell the words to hustle. And they don't. They're often inconveniently obstinate like that.

Instead, I wait and hustle thoughts, hoping that the thoughts will trigger words.

While waiting for a guy, I tend to hustle a lot of prayers, hoping that they'll hurry up the situation. Maybe they have. I don't know. I'm still waiting.

I think the point is, hustle. But don't just hustle in ways you think will make the problem resolve magically. Praying that God would make your guy to arrive doesn't make the waiting easier; it just makes it easier to remember the lack of a guy in your life. Praying specifically for your friends and family will get your thoughts off yourself. Staring at the clock, willing the minutes to fly by doesn't work. But working hard and resisting the urge to clock-stare does. Thinking long and hard about stupid writer's block doesn't get rid of the block, it just drives you batty.

But writing gibberish about it, just might.

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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Welcome!

(This post will stay at the top of the blog till the end of May, please scroll down for recent posts.)

Hello and welcome to the official I Don't Date blog! We hope you enjoy your visit here and find this blog an encouragement.

The mission of I Don't Date is to provide support, edification and encouragement to all the 'ladies in waiting' that are committed to courtship (dating with a purpose) and are trusting God to direct their future. We provide an online community which seeks to explore the ideas and ideals of courtship while providing Godly fellowship to each other in each of our paths. We seek to “hustle while we wait,” dedicating whatever season of life we are in to God’s glory and our Christian journey.

I Don't Date originally started as a message forum six years ago and has evolved in many different ways through the years, just as members have grown older and new members have joined. But for the first time ever, we have expanded in a new way that excites us all: this blog.

We want to invite you to embark with us on this new adventure. The entire IDD mod team hopes to update on a regular basis, with daily scheduled posts on a variety of topics, from encouragement to frugality and home-making. We want this to be a serious endeavor but we're also IDD, so we will have humor and light-hearted posts.

Once again, welcome! And without further ado, let the blogging begin!

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