Friday, October 31, 2008

Happiness Is The Lord

I first came across this song early in the summer while preparing to teach choir at a children's camp our church holds every year.  Since that time it has been a huge blessing to me.  Whenever I think or sing it, I smile.  It's one of those songs that is impossible to frown about.

Happiness is to know the Savior,
Living a life within His favor,
Having a change in my behavior,
Happiness is the Lord.
Happiness is a new creation,
Jesus and me in close relation,
Having a part in His salvation,
Happiness is the Lord.

Real joy is mine, no matter if teardrops start;
I've found the secret, it's Jesus in my heart!

Happiness is to be forgiven,
Living a life that's worth the living,
Taking a trip that leads to Heaven,
Happiness is the Lord,
Happiness is the Lord,
Happiness is the Lord!
 Words and Music by Ira F. Stanphill
© 1968 - All rights reserved 

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Of worth


It's the question nearly every single girl dreads: "So, have you found anyone yet?"

It seems that these well-meaning people are simply concerned that we don't miss our better half--but underlying sits the possible implication that we are not whole yet--because we are single.

The church at large seems to not know what to do with singles--where do they fit in?

It appears, in some respects, that they are considered in between childhood and adulthood--for the vast society of believers still see marriage as the proof we've come of age, and entered the world of the adult.

I've long noticed that, especially amidst conservative homeschoolers, there is an attitude of "levels" in the Christian walk. I don't mean levels as in growing in the Lord--I mean levels as in status of worth. That marriage makes you more of adult. And singleness leaves you on the opposite end.

Now I realize marriage does, in some ways require more adulthood of you. I realize it will force a maturity on you that you might not attain so readily as a single. I'm not doubting the difficulty of the relationship, nor belittling it--after all, God does hold a high view of His first institution!

My hope with this article is to bridge an understanding between both those married and single, to view each other as God sees us--equally bought with a price, and equally found with worth because of this. My intent is not to fuss at either season--merely to encourage both to work together for the Kingdom.

I've seen many singles treated as somehow inferior because of their marital status, just as I have seen married ladies left out and even shunned from conversations with those unmarried, because of a lack of knowing how to treat them. Because the season of life differs so vastly for the two aspects, I understand it can be hard to know how to relate, for both sides. May I exhort, even clumsily, my sisters from both seasons in this?

Reach out in friendship no matter the status of the other. Yes, there will be areas of each of your lives where the other simply can't relate--but then again, there will still be many areas where they can. We need each other! Don't be afraid to cross over the bridge smile.gif It takes daily grace to walk with the Lord, no matter where you are. Every season has its good and bad. Having our sisters walking with us, even on different paths, is such an encouragement.

One path is not lesser than the other. True worth is found in Christ, not on our left hand smile.gif While we may be in different places, we will always have Him in common--such a comfort to know, isn't it? We may not be able to fellowship together over every part of our lives --but we can always, always fellowship over Him. Don't you love that?

Please don't misunderstand me--I'm not suggesting there's anything wrong with relating more to those who are where you are. There are some things that we naturally need to share with those in the same place. Rather, it is the bridge mentality I speak of--that unless we are on the same side, we can't get along. This simply isn't true.

Treat your sisters with love and respect no matter where they are. And realize that in every season, God has a plan and purpose for your life--and His way is always perfect.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Against lists


We like lists. I like lists. I like to-do lists, I like lists of books I own, books I want. Lists keep me organized and keep me sane.

But there are some things that should not be listed.

One of these, I believe, is our opinion on what our husband should be like. I know we’ve all heard the stories, right? The ladies who in their youth wrote down what they thought of as the ideal husband and lo and behold he showed up! I don’t at all want to denigrate their experience. But I do want to say that lists can be a way for us to fall into a trap. If our ideal man at 15 or 20 or 25 has brown hair and loves cats and fine art, we will inevitably, consciously or unconsciously, go around measuring every man we meet against this level. Brown hair? Check. Loves cats? Check. But, oh no! He doesn’t like art! Never mind then.

I’m not saying we all do this so blatantly. But if we’re honest with ourselves, I think we’ll admit that we do it far more often than we mean to.

You might be wondering what the problem is. Doesn’t all of that just mean that we have standards? Well, yes that’s true. On the other hand, I think that it can all too often lead to our limiting what God wants. If we have the cat and art loving brown haired guy in our heads, it’s harder for us to hear God when He says, “Hey! Dog and car loving black haired guy over here!” It’s hard for us to see beyond an image of our own making.

We should certainly know what we cannot compromise on, whether it’s theology, political beliefs, etc. But we should also know what is less important, what in the end is trifles. I believe that by doing this we will open our hearts to God’s will.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

On This Side

On this side of heaven
I watch and wait and pray
And I don't know
And I cry 
And I hope
And faith waits
For me
To find it
To hold it
On that side of heaven
He watches and waits and 
He knows
And my tears are His, counted
And He loves
Me
And waits
For me
To find Him
To be held
Copyright, Rebecca 2008                                

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Painted Red


I’ve been listening to JJ Heller’s latest CD “Painted Red” all week. While each and every song is excellent, there are snatches of lyrics that make me catch my breath with their truth…

All I need to be complete
Is Your love
Your blood that covers me


As a single girl…alone and wondering sometimes if she’s only one half and incomplete without the true, true love of a husband, these lyrics ease my heart’s ache. I am complete with His love, even as I live the life single woman.

I don’t know what to say
No words could ever be enough
I stand up because you hold me here
Because you brought me here tonight

Without you we all fall down
Without you we all fall


Without Yeshua, Jesus…God, we all fall down…and He is the only reason why we stand. During hard times, during weak moments, I find myself listening to this song and trying to learn the words by heart.

Until November 1st, you can download JJ Heller’s album “Painted Red” for free. JJ Heller’s voice is gorgeous and her song lyrics are…perfect. Check out “Painted Red”; you won’t regret it.

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Gift


I can take or leave radio, television, the movies. I still feel that the best gift a fairy godmother can put in any child's crib is a love for reading.

- Lillian Moller Gilbreth

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Friday, October 24, 2008

IDD Dictionary #2

Rotic - romantic, without the man

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fireproof the movie: For Singles

When I first heard about this movie, many months ago, I must admit, I was disappointed.  Disappointed because it was yet another movie about relationships.  Specifically the guy/girl kind.  And even more specifically, the marriage kind.  The kind I don't have.  So, what good is it going to do me?  And why, for crying out loud, can't someone make a movie about a single girl, who lives and laughs and cries and hurts and hopes and doesn't meet a guy and fall in love and get swept off her feet and marry in a blissful cloud of white satin and rose petals before the 90 minutes is up?

Now, before I say anymore, I don't want you to get the wrong impression.  So, let me be clear.  I support marriage 100%.

So, I was disappointed.  But, I got over it.  And since I had heard so many rave reviews from people saying that the movie had changed their lives/marriages, I made the determination that that I was going to learn something from it.  I decided to view the movie from this perspective.  What can a single girl learn from a movie directed at making a marriage work?

I prepared myself by asking opinions from the single friends I have that had already seen the movie

Here's what my friend Tom had to say:

"I think the number one thought the movie was reinforcing is that love is a choice, not an emotion. A decision to sacrifice your personal preference for the betterment of another. I think if you asked the majority of Christians, they know "the right answer" to what love should look like, but to see it in action always touches the heart. And tear ducts."

I thought that was interesting.  And then my friend Nicky responded to my question and what she had to say closely echoed Tom's thoughts, on the "love is a choice" point:

"Fireproof, a story about love. I was truly moved by the movie, it is yet another example of love being a choice - not a feeling. Of course the film is about a married couple, but it is even more about the relationship we have with the Lord. Are we choosing to love Him, even when we don't feel like it? When we can't see His face, or feel His presence, or when we just don't know if He is even speaking to us. We much choose love. We must choose life, everyday making choices to let God know that we love Him." 
You can read the rest of what Nicky wrote HERE

So, with these thoughts in mind I went to the theater for an 11:30 AM showing of Fireproof on Saturday.  11:30 AM on Saturday is a great time to see a movie.  The theater was almost completely empty except for my sisters and I and another family (which we happened to know) so we were free to laugh out loud whenever we felt like it.  So we did.  Several times.  All in all the movie was very touching.  The characters were easy to identify with, their problems were realistic and believable.

Fireproof is a story of marriage.  Saving marriage.  Preserving marriage.  I definitely learned some things that I tucked away in my "Things to use when you are married" file.  But what about things to use today?  Right now?  Where I'm at?

Any relationship at all, friends, siblings, parent/child, husband/wife, coworkers, neighbors, all of them require some measure of self-sacrifice.  It takes work to maintain healthy relationships.  In fact, the key to killing any relationship is selfishness.  The flip side is: self-sacrifice to improve your relationships ultimately benefits YOU in the end.

My mom says that marriage is the #1 relationship (after your relationship with God, of course :).  It's the hardest relationship you'll ever have, because you have to  sacrifice for it every day 24/7/365/forever.  It's the relationship you never get a break from, no days off, no vacation.  I have some close friends,  some really close family.  But, at the end of the day, it's really just me.  I don't have a relationship that requires my attention and commitment all the time, till death us do part.

So, I've got some time to commit to other relationships right now.  

Which brings me back to the "love is a choice" point.  If love truly is a choice, than I can choose to love anyone.  We all have people in our lives that grate on us.  Things they do that irritate.  Times when self preservation causes us to pull back from others.

So, this is the challenge to me, here now.  To choose to love the ones that are hard to love.  To make the sacrifices.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Home

It’s autumn here in New England.

There’s a tree nearby the lot where I park at my workplace. It stands in a backyard below the street, a rusty railing guarding its trunk, unable to prevent the branches from hanging half over the sidewalk above. It is beautiful, this tree, all scarlet and rose against the blue sky. As I walk up the street to the office building, my feet walk on a carpet of faded pinks and reds, a floor fit for a king or queen – and yet, instead of sedate and queenly, I want to kick the rustling leaves high into the air.

It’s autumn.

The hills surrounding my valley home are a mixture of mottled browns and greens, scarlet and orange and yellow…I can see the church steeple from the front step of my workplace, a sandy colored bell tower framed by fall colors.

Our neighbor has already started using their wood stove, sending a distinctly autumny smell into the air. It’s apple picking season: homemade apple crumb pie and fresh-pressed apple cider. I always want to buy school supplies at this time of the year. New pens and pencils and fresh, clean notebooks. Binders. Markers.

It’s a half melancholy, half happy time of the year for me. The ending of so much is near, yet the beginning of so much, too. End of warm weather, sunshine and crickets. Beginning of knowledge and words and adventure.

It’s a warm feeling today and a shivery one tomorrow. Fog in the mornings, shrouding those colorful hills. Sweaters and brown shoes, breath in the air. The crunch of my teeth against crisp apples.

School has begun again, not for me, but for brothers and sisters. Reading lessons and trouble with algebra are once again added to the cacophony of daily life. And my sister is playing a song from a movie soundtrack on the piano. “Under the Umbrella” from Little Women.

I listen.

It sounds like autumn.

It sounds like home.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Maureen!

Ladies and Ladies!!

Today, October 19th is Maureen's 21st birthday!

Happy Birthday Maureen!!
Enjoy your cake :)

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Getting to Know: SarahDee

A small introduction of the one known as “SarahDee”

Pardon me, if I forget to mention something important. You see, I have a dreadful memory… I probably am forgetting something at this very moment. My childhood is basically a pleasant blur, which means I can’t tell you very much about who I was but I can about who I am now and who I am becoming!

.:I am flawed:.
.:I love all babies:.
.:I overuse ellipses:.
.:I am a terrible liar:.
.:I am a quoteaholic:.
.:I really am a princess:.
.:I am an overachiever:.
.:I have a freckle tattoo:..
:I grew up in a rural area:.
.:I sparkle when I’m happy:.
.:I take pictures of everything:.
.:I have the best parents ever:.
.:I regret not saying good-bye:.
.:I long to see Jesus face to face:.
.:I get squirrelly when it gets late:.
.:I could stare at the stars forever:.
.:I want to visit Europe before I die:.
.:I sing along no matter where I am:.
.:I am the 4th of 12 [living] children:.
.:I have gotten in trouble for laughing:.
.:I have a horrible memory for…memories:.
.:I have a fascination with lines and patterns:.
.:I love making people laugh so hard they cry:.
.:I want my last words to be full of praise to God:.

I am not who you might expect, but you’ll have to look beyond my “long hair, home schooled, big family, pastor’s kid, and good girl” outside and see Sarah. The one who is shy but tries to hide it. The one who loves to be around people and see new things. The one who is deeply emotional but also deeply rational… or atleast tries to be. The one who loves her family and is willing to put things she wants on hold if she feels like her family has a need. The one who sometimes just wants to act absolutely insane and know that people will still love her and know that isn’t who she is all the time… but is some of the time. The one who loves to write and loves feedback. The one who loves to talk but also loves to listen. The one who has trouble listening without interrupting because she gets so excited. The one who loves new information. The one who loves to curl up with a book and lose herself in someone else’s struggles and triumphs. The one who loves to blare the radio but who can’t concentrate if she gets interrupted with loud music or too many voices. The one who hates pressure but doesn’t mind trying her hardest to do what is reasonable asked of her. The one who wishes that she just knew where exactly her life was heading. The one who feels like she is terribly imperfect but craves the love anyways. The one who is aching for someone to be there and appreciate all her quirks and contradictions. The one who feels the need to have her own family and home someday soon. The one who doesn’t understand how her emotions work. The one who is working on patience. The one who needs time to adjust. The one who wants to know. This is ME
!


Feel free to pepper me with questions… =D

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Fall is Here

I don't know what the weather is where you are, but here in the midwest Fall is definitely here.  The leaves are starting to turn those beautiful reds, yellows, and oranges.  AppleFest was a couple weekends ago and cider is starting to pop up for sale all over.


Fall is my favorite time of the year.  I love the cool crisp weather.  The smell of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and apples in the air.   I actually enjoy wearing sweatshirts and fall coats.  Every year my family takes a trip an hour north to a small town simply full of of apple orchards.


We pick up a supply of apples. 
 Eat apple cider doughtnuts *yummy!* 

 visit Dudley
attempt a corn/sunflower maze
and all around have a glorious time!

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Outside of Myself



He was a small boy, about my age and height.

Blue eyes.
Blond hair.
Big smile.
He loved playing with me, and we spent hours together nearly everyday. He liked the same foods I did, and always wanted to play my games. He'd even let me win.
We'd chat about everything. He was my closest friend.

His name was Dallas.

Ask my family about him and you'll probably receive a light nostalgic chuckle and a rolling of the eyes. You see, there's one more thing about Dallas I haven't told you--

He didn't exist.

Growing up, I always had imaginary friends. I was never in with the popular kids at church, and being home schooled, had mainly my siblings as schoolmates. My circle of friends was rather small. But my imagination was huge. If I wanted friends, I just created them.

Looking back, I see now that alot of my creation of friends was due to my somewhat shy and quiet nature. I struggled with talking to kids my own age. It was just hard for me.

I grew into adulthood and still talking to people was a struggle. Oh I was better at it, but my mind still went blank, and awkward silences reigned supreme in my conversations.

It wasn't until the Lord challenged me through my older sister that things started changing. "Talking to people is just a way of letting them know you care" she told me. This came from an also naturally shy person--she too has a quiet nature. But she had lived and traveled in the world enough to learn this was true. If I put my focus on caring about the other person, instead of how I felt, it made talking to them a bit easier. I learned to not just say I cared about those around me , but to genuinely care, to really want to draw them out and get to know them in a deeper way.

I still have my moments of shyness--I can be joking and chatting outwardly, but inwardly feel like the same terrified little girl who can barely lift her head up and acknowledge those around her for fear of disappointing--but this one thing I have learned: almost everyone is shy in one way or another. To open ourselves up to another person means vulnerability and trust. Being willing to fail or be failed. I may be shaking in my boots, but you know what? They probably are too. God calls us to go outside of ourselves, and our comfort zone. To reach out to people, regardless of how frightened we may feel. To focus on blessing them, and not on our pounding heart. My pastor often says "People aren't just looking for a friendly church--they're looking for a friend."

I want to be the kind of friend Solomon talked of--who sticks closer than a brother. I want to use my words to care for people.

Jesus did.

Who better to emulate?

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Getting to know Maureen

A Brief Introduction

The facts are these:

Life
I am the oldest of three children.

I was born at home. I smiled at my father when he held me for the first time. I weighed 4 pounds, 10 ounces and was ten days late. The day I was born the stock market dropped dramatically, leading the media to dub it “Black Monday.” My parents renamed it Golden Monday.

For the first two years of my life we lived in an apartment building with other families from our religious community. My friend Kathryn was born eight months after me and a day after my parents and I were baptized into Eastern Orthodoxy.

It snowed on my second birthday.

When I was two, we moved to Maine. We moved to a small town where we lived in a small grey house that was a meadow and a road from the sea. There were woods behind us. I ate rhubarb straight from our neighbor’s plant and grew tadpoles in a plastic bucket. I lost a red balloon. My father worked in a boatyard and we had a garden that amazed our non-compost conscious neighbors.

The spring after I turned four the boatyard my father was working at folded. Faced with the possibility of long-term unemployment with one child and another coming very shortly, my parents made the decision to move back. It rained the day we left and my friend Nicole’s mother cried in our kitchen.

A month after we returned my sister was born. I played house under the peach tree in the garden with my godmother’s oldest daughter for hours. I started “Children’s Garden,” our homeschool version of kindergarten where I learned how to knit, make bread, read, and write.

When I was six my great-grandmother, who lived in Ohio, died. At her funeral my great-uncle asked my father if he would be interested in buying her house, the one she and my great-grandfather built when they got married in 1927, at half the market value. My parents jumped at the chance.

We lived in that house for thirteen years.

My great-grandfather had owned a fair bit of land originally and though he had to sell it off when the Depression hit, he had saved a lot and a half for the family. We had a huge vegetable garden and we planted fruit trees. My brother was born when I was seven and a half, the last of the family. I was homeschooled until I was ten, when I entered public school. I was in public school all the way through high school.

The summer after I graduated from high school my family moved to Oregon. The move has been very strange for me, having spent so much of my life in one region. I plan to move back to the Midwest after I graduate from college.

Where I am now
Currently I attend a private four-year liberal arts college in a small city an hour from my parents. I’m a junior English major and I love it! I do live in the dorms. I don’t know what I’ll do after college yet, but it will be something with books because that’s what I love. My love language isn’t touch or speech, or any of the other ones. It’s feeding people and shoving books in their hands.

In spring 2009 I will be studying abroad in London for four months. I’m incredibly excited about this! It still seems unreal to me; I don’t actually believe I’m going even while I’m filling out the paperwork.

My faith is incredibly important to me. I believe in traditional Orthodoxy.

I write poetry and prose. I’m currently revising a novella-length story begun as my NaNoWriMo in 2007. I should probably be doing that right now.

Interests
Books, reading, flowers, gardening, cooking, embroidery, knitting, singing, writing.

Favorite Authors (a partial list)
L.M. Montgomery
J.R.R. Tolkien
Charles Dickens
Jane Austen
Robin McKinley
Maud Hart Lovelace
Dorothy Sayers
Megan Whalen Turner
Elizabeth Goudge
Elizabeth Gaskell

Favorite Music
Mozart
Rachmaninoff
Chopin
Verdi
Puccini
The Chieftains
Eisley
The North and South soundtrack

Favorite Poets (another partial list)
John Donne
Gerard Manley Hopkins
Elizabeth Dickinson
Christina Rossetti
Dylan Thomas
Rupert Brooke
W.B. Yeats
W.H. Auden
T.S. Eliot
e.e. cummings
Wallace Stevens

Favorite Flowers
Lilac
Lavender
Roses
Lily of the Valley
Peonies
Violets
Daffodils
Forsythia
Marigolds
Chrysanthemums
Geraniums
Columbine
Pansies

Hobbies
Reading far too much, handicrafts, ignoring the messiness of my room, quoting whatever pops into my head randomly.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dr. Jak's Autumn Ensemble

I just LOVE autumn colors.  Love, love, love 'em.  *happy sigh*

Browns, rusts, golds, butterscotch, fuschia, magenta, maroon, orange, yellow, all of it.  Together.  Lovely.  And exciting!!!  How often does nature wear my favorite colors?  Well, all of the time, actually :)  But, I do LOVE these combinations!

For this outfit I went with a sort of monotone color scheme. 
Tan knee-length skirt, Brown leggings, Beige, embroidered tunic shirt, caramel colored ballet flats.
Pretty boring, so I popped it with a vibrant red lace edged cami, and matching jewelry.

The bag matches too :) Floral corduroy.  Perfect for Autumn.  :)

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Sophie Scholl and the White Rose

On February 22, 1943, three German university students were executed by the Nazis. Hans Scholl was 24. Sophie Scholl, his sister, was 21. Their friend, Christoph Probst, was only 23.

What was their crime? Speaking out against Hitler and the Nazis...with the written word.

Sophie Scholl and the White Rose, by Annette Dumbach and Jud Newborn is their story. They were young. Some would have called them idealists.

I call them brave.

I call them heroes.

Sophie, Hans and Christoph were members of a non-violent resistant group called the White Rose. The White Rose consisted mainly of five students and Kurt Huber, a professor, who later joined their group. Together, they wrote leaflets against the Nazis and distributed them in various cities in Germany and Austria. Five leaflets were printed and distributed successfully. It was while distributing the sixth leaflet on their school campus that Sophie and Hans Scholl were caught and arrested.

Their story is not well-known, not as well-known as the life of Dietrich Bonhoffer, another German Christian who took a stand and died for it. Like Bonhoffer, many of these students were Christians, Christians who could not stand and let the Nazi's actions go without a word. Several of the students served in the military, as soldiers in the German army; they knew what could happen. They knew what was at stake.

And they still took a stand. The White Rose stood for freedom and her members died for their beliefs, standing strong and true.

We will not be silent! We are your bad conscience!

Two sentences on their leaflets became their motto and slogan. They were not silent - and even though dead, their words speak today yet still.

Sophie Scholl and the White Rose is an excellent retelling of their story. It begins at the very beginning and tells how the students organized themselves into a group, how they came to their decision to no longer remain silent. It reads almost like an action-packed novel, but it is all the more gripping because it is true.

I would highly recommend reading the book for yourself. It, along with the movie adapation, showed me how much of a personal responsibility everyone has in standing against wrongs. There is a saying I once heard that I try to remember: "Everyone should try to right the wrongs."

I think the White Rose would agree.

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Saturday Tidbit

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Getting To Know: Katie!

Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.
~Victor Hugo
Sadly, I don't know a piece of music that will aptly describe my life.  So, I will attempt to do it with words instead....


I was born, to my parents delight, not on Halloween but on November 1st, 1984.  I was born the 3rd of what would eventually be 9 children.  (Rebecca "Dr. Jak" is my oldest sister, she gave a good family overview earlier so check it for more info).  Ever since I was little I've been one of those people who throws themselves 110% in everything.  By the time I was 8, my parents were asking God what they needed to do for me.  Asking Him to show them how He needed my to funnel my intense nature.  And God spoke that they were to get me a violin.  Now, we weren't rich, so it was a big deal that I got a violin and lessons and all.   And just like any normal child, I didn't appreciate it then, I didn't want to practice, take time out of play for work.  So, my mom informed me that if I didn't start practicing and earn the privilege of lessons that I would lose the privilege.  Well, I didn't want to lose that privilege, mostly I didn't want to lose the one thing I had that my sisters didn't so I went to work and faithfully practiced.  And I have never regretted it.

The winter of 97 we moved from Colorado to Dad's hometown in Iowa. It was strange in the beginning moving to a smaller town.  Driving to the grocery story in less that 10 minutes was a novelty and I soon realized that I was a country girl at heart.  The move brought about what is one of the best things to ever happen to me music-wise.  I started taking lessons from a woman in town who really helped me develop a love for music.Since that time there were 2 things that I knew I wanted to do.  I wanted to be a violin teacher and I wanted to play in a symphony.  Be able to impart the beauty of music to others.  I tell my students that music is like a story book, and the musician is the one telling the story.  For the past 4 years I have been teaching violin lessons.  I started with one student and now have a grand total of 10.

You might remember Rebecca (my sister) mentioning that our parents own the local DQ.  Well... that has been my one and only job.  I started there the week after we bought it and here I am eight and a half years later I'm still plugging along.  I started out as an employee and am now a shift leader and cake decorator. 

I took one year of college at the local state university.  I was going for a degree in music performance. God told me to stop going full time a couple of years ago and since then I have only taken a few classes.  My work schedule and time conflicts with the classes I need to take have inhibited my from finishing my degree.  I'm hoping to some day be able to finish it over the internet or by correspondence.

Besides work and teaching, I keep my schedule full with work for a children's magazine, doing odd tech support job for my family and volunteering for more than I have time to do.

In my occasional spare time I enjoy:
Sewing
Quilting
eating chocolate
doing nothing
playing with my baby brother and sister
hanging with the rest of my family
and enjoying meaningful and hilarious conversations with my sister

And if I really have spare time!
reading
cross-stitching
history
photography

Hope I didn't bore you all too much ;-)

If you have any questions feel free to ask.

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Prescription: One Merry Heart


A dear lady I used to know, now running through streets of gold, always told me that God has a sense of humor. I believe this is true.

Because He made me.

Our story begins on a lovely evening when the weather was fine, I had off work, and spent most of the day running the errands I didn't get to the week before. The sun was shining, it was NOT hot for once, and I decided I would go ahead and bake the chicken in the fridge.

We all have our strange little nuances of joy in unusual places.

Mine is making broth.

Perhaps it's the frugal buff in me that loves the thrilling satisfaction of getting several meals out of one bird, and using more than just the meat to accomplish this.

Perhaps it's the savory smell that permeates the house when the broth is simmering.

Perhaps I'm just weird.

Whatever the reason, I love making broth--to the point where I'll dive for the pot of chicken first to be sure the meat is all pulled, and not eaten off the bones, so we don't all die of hereditary germ poisoning when eating soup from the broth.

So today, I pulled the meat off, dumped the bones and juices into a stock pot, filled it up with water, and let it simmer away.

Hours later I came to check on my beloved pot. It was ready to be strained and distributed into plastic jars for freezing.

Happily I pulled the strainer out, placed it in the sink,and proceeded pour the liquid through--only to utter a cry of dismay.

I had totally forgotten to PUT A BOWL UNDER THE STRAINER.

HALF the broth was already down the drain by the time it dawned on me.

Not to be deterred, because by Job I was going to have broth, I filled the pot back up and set it on to simmer again.


This time I made sure there was a bowl underneath the strainer.

It really is true a merry heart is like medicine. When things like this happen, laughing at myself is just more reminder that I truly am human, and I will make mistakes.

Somehow, I think God chuckles with me.

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Getting to know Rebecca

"Life is a daring adventure... or nothing."

My adventure started February 27th, 1982 in southern Wisconsin.  I was born, which is an adventure in itself.  2 1/2 weeks premature I weighed 4lbs. 10 ozs.  My parents named me Rebecca Joy.  I was their first child.  And only child.  For 16 months.  I don't remember any of it. 

Then I became a big sister.  And for the next 24 years of my life I kept becoming a big sister.  Over and over and over and over and....*counts on fingers*  8 times. :)  I have 6 sisters and 2 brothers.  Stephanie, Katie (yes, the Katie on the IDD blog, her picture is on the left of your screen), Susie, Debbie, Lydia, Joe, Luke, and Sarah Beth.  I love them all bunches.

So, we lived in southern Wisconsin until the fall of 1986 at which time we moved to the big city of Denver, Colorado.  Well, sort of.  We actually lived outside the city, but everything is so big out there you can't really tell.  Colorado is beautiful.  I still visit it through most of my childhood memories.

Favorite childhood pastimes? Playing "pioneers", dress up, reading, reading, reading... oops got stuck there :) playing the piano, making brownies with Joe standing next to me saying "yum, yum" :) singing, pretending I was an Olympic athlete, taking care of the babies... :)

1998 we moved back to the midwest  this time settling in Iowa in the same town where my dad was born and raised.  Moving back to the midwest was a huge adjustment for us.  Smaller town, friendlier people, more extended family, less shopping... we loved it.

Mom home-schooled me K-12.  I graduated top of my class :) in 1999 and worked for a little while at a gift shop and helped my mom home-school the youngest kids.  In April of 2000, my parents bought a Dairy Queen  in a little town in Southwest Wisconsin and I went to work there.  Fast food wasn't exactly my cup of tea, but I kept up with it for the next 7 years.  In September of 2001 we moved to Wisconsin again.

I discovered my love of design and flowers in the fall of 2003 when I accidentally wandered into a flower shop and asked for a job application.  (I say accidentally, because it just sort of happened, like destiny was walking instead of me).  I went to floral design school the following spring and have been working as a floral designer ever since.  I especially love creating wedding flowers.  Every wedding is so unique and individual that I rarely see the same bouquet twice.  I love that.

The past 3 summers I have been deeply involved in a children's Bible camp.  Writing curriculum, filming skits, counseling, singing, teaching...  whatever it takes.  Maybe it's the big sister in me.  I love children, and I love the Lord.  One of my goals in everyday life is to make Christ real to young people.

So, that brings me up to today.  Today, I am 26.  I live with my sisters Stephanie and Katie in a little bitty house half a mile from my parents and the rest of the sibs.  I live each day as it comes.  I don't know what tomorrow brings.  I don't know if I will marry and raise children as I've always wanted to do.  I don't know if I will go on being a floral designer or move on to another career.  I do know that I have new mercies every morning.  I know that every day is one more day to live for Christ. 

Passions:
Living
Cooking, baking, developing gourmet meals and eating them!
My slightly wacky fashion sense :)
Re-arranging my furniture
Sewing
Blogging
Reading
Writing
IDD :)
Movies
Chocolate :)
Vintage and retro styles, houseware, um... everything :)
Drama
Dressing up
Doing my hair, painting my nails and other girl-y stuff
Decorating
Flowers
My family

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Monday, October 6, 2008

Aunt Eliza

My sister turns to me during a quiet moment in the movie. “I want to be just like Aunt Eliza when I grow up!”

I smile mischievously at her. “So, you want to be a spinster aunt who never marries and lives with her nephew and his family?”

She narrows her eyes at me and pokes me in the ribs. “You know what I mean!”

And as I watch the end of the episode of the television show “Road to Avonlea,” I do know what she means.

I find myself wanting the same.

In one of the middle seasons, the King family finds their great-aunt Eliza suddenly thrust upon them and their home. She moves in without asking permission and, to their horror, intends to stay indefinitely. Their horror is slightly appropriate, for while they try their best to respect her, she is rather crotchety and demanding. She usurps young Felix’s bed and wakes him up at all hours of the night, requesting hot water bottles and cups of tea. She pokes her nose into Janet’s business and makes personal remarks about her and Alex’s marriage.

In short, nobody really likes her.

Why do I want to be like her when I ‘grow up’ again?

Nobody likes her.

And yet…

By the end of the seventh season, Aunt Eliza is a member of the family. She is loved by all. She is someone people turn to when in a fix. She doles out no-nonsense advice with love, advice that is tried and true. She loves her family and would protect them from any and all heartache.

I want to be that Aunt Eliza.

- She learns from mistakes and changes, and because of this she is able to share advice for nearly every situation. I want to always be able to see and learn from mistakes and change my ways, even when I am old and set in my ways.

- She loves her family and in spite of her age, manages to be not a hindrance to them all, but a blessing. Nobody in their family wants her to leave, or would ever dream of putting her in an ‘old folks’ home.’ I want that to be me someday, spinster or married. I want to be a blessing to my family, in my old age.

- Aunt Eliza encourages others to make the right choices. She listens – she actually listens and tries to understand her nephews and nieces. From there she doles out her advice, but encouragingly. And with that, she earns their respect and love.

- Because yes, Aunt Eliza is loved by her family. Everyone respects and loves her. In season seven, on her birthday, Janet and her sister throw a surprise party for Aunt Eliza. One of my favorite scenes is now a snapshot in my memory. Felix, now sixteen and a young man, offers his arm to her. “You look like a woman who would like to dance, Aunt Eliza.”

And she is and she does.

That is a woman I want to be, someday, when I ‘grow up,’ even if I never marry. A woman who is loved and respected by her family because her character is worthy of that respect and love.

The groundwork is laid now, however. If I dole out more sharp words than kind now, will it be easy for me to tend towards kindness? If I am unwilling to admit to mistakes, unwilling to be the first to say, “forgive me,” it will be so much the harder for me to when I am old. Learning to love early, learning to admit to mistakes early and learning to forgive early – that is what will help me be an Aunt Eliza someday.

Because I really do think Aunt Eliza is awesome. I want to be just like her when I grow up.

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Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Faith to Persevere

"Perseverance means more than endurance— more than simply holding on until the end.
A saint’s life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer.
God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, but our Lord continues to stretch and strain, and every once in a while the saint says, "I can’t take any more."
Yet God pays no attention; He goes on stretching until His purpose is in sight, and then
He lets the arrow fly. Entrust yourself to God’s hands.
Is there something in your life for which you need perseverance right now?
Maintain your intimate relationship with Jesus Christ through the perseverance of faith. Proclaim as Job did, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him" (
Job 13:15 ).

Faith is not some weak and pitiful emotion,
but is strong and vigorous confidence built on the fact that God is holy love.
And even though you cannot see Him right now and cannot understand what He is doing,
you know Him. Disaster occurs in your life when you lack the mental composure that comes from establishing yourself on the eternal truth that God is holy love.
Faith is the supreme effort of your life— throwing yourself
with abandon and total confidence upon God.


God ventured His all in Jesus Christ to save us,
and now He wants us to venture our all with total abandoned confidence in Him.
There are areas in our lives where that faith has not worked in us as yet—
places still untouched by the life of God.
There were none of those places in Jesus Christ’s life,
and there are to be none in ours. J
esus prayed, "This is eternal life, that they may know You . . ." (
John 17:3 ).
The real meaning of eternal life is a life that can face anything
it has to face without wavering. If we will take this view,
life will become one great romance— a glorious opportunity of seeing wonderful
things all the time. God is disciplining us to get us into this central place of power.
"

~Oswald Chambers

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Friday, October 3, 2008

Have You Ever Thought This??

Henry: Do you really think there is only one perfect mate?

Leonardo da Vinci: As a matter of fact, I do.

Henry: Well then how can you be certain to find them? And if you do find them, are they really the one for you or do you only think they are? And what happens if the person you're supposed to be with never appears, or, or she does, but you're too distracted to notice?

Leonardo da Vinci: You learn to pay attention.

Henry: Then let's say God puts two people on Earth and they are lucky enough to find one another. But one of them gets hit by lightning. Well then what? Is that it? Or, perchance, you meet someone new and marry all over again. Is that the lady you're supposed to be with or was it the first? And if so, when the two of them were walking side by side were they both the one for you and you just happened to meet the first one first or, was the second one supposed to be first? And is everything just chance or are some things meant to be?

~ Quote taken from the motion picture Ever After

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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Getting to Know: Miss Deb




In which Deb explains the whithertos and wherefores of herself:


One fine day
(I cannot recall
whether morn or eve--
I was quite small)
My entrance took place,
and my parents knew
Instead of one daughter,
they now had two.
Blond hair and brown eyes
With olive-toned skin
Their 3rd child resembled
Her previous kin
2 brothers,1 sister
A small Texas farm
My home was quite quaint,
with its southern charm

Saved at age 5
A new life began
My Savior was forming
His perfect plan
The adventure continues
In every way
As I seek to know Him
More and more each day.

Hello there! Come on into my house.......

.....have a piece of cherry pie....


.....and a cup of tea.

Allow me to introduce myself. I*drumroll* am Deb. Deborah Elizabeth, if you prefer. Or Debbie, as most people who've known me all my life call me.

I was:
Home schooled K-12th

I am:
Hungry and tired--oh wait, that's not relevant, sorry.

The only kid in my family who can squeak their ear

Now a light brunette, as my hair darkened over the years. I used to be very blond. Still have the brown eyes though :)
Serious & Sane only when I have to be

Somewhat quiet by nature (a fact some might find hard to believe, but it is true)

An INFP

Going to be 25 in less than 3 days (but who's counting?)
A Caregiver in Supported Home Living

A soprano hoping to start up voice again


I have:
A rather loud laugh *sheepish grin*

Eternal Life thru Jesus Christ my Lord

200+ books

300+ CDs

Around 100 movies

The best family ever :)

The cutest niece ever

And of course, the cutest dogs ever

A Jeep Liberty which I love


I love:

Studying the Bible

Period dramas

History

People

Writing

Music

Singing

Kids
Home

Traveling

Reading

Family

Friends

The outdoors

Mountains
Animals
Cooking
Coffee
Tea

My journey to this point in my life started nearly 25 years ago, when I was born in a small community hospital not far from where I live now. My parents chose to home school me and my siblings, because they couldn't afford to send us to Christian school, and with my grandparents being teachers and tutors,there was plenty of leftover curriculum for us to use. The first time I stepped foot formally into a public classroom for any kind of schooling, was when I took the ACT test at Texas State University after high school graduation.

My parents were always heavily involved in church service and helping other people, so I grew up working behind the scenes at fellowships or other events, singing or playing piano for church, and working in ministries and outreaches to the community. One of my fondest memories is sweeping out the entire new church building as a family one evening, because the contractor (who attended the church) was overwhelmed by the amount of clean up that needed to be done. So Dad pulled his "crew" together, and we cleaned it up. And had a blast being some of the first kids to see and explore the new building.

Another favorite memory is when we would go on trips and spend all day singing in the car. I think that's a large part of why we all sing--it gave us lots of practice time *chuckles*


I am, and always have been, a country girl.
To me, few things match the beauty of rolling pastures and the feel of tilled black earth beneath my bare feet.
I grew up helping in the vegetable garden, bailing hay, shoveling out cow sheds, feeding sheep, goats, chickens, and cattle, carrying the milk bucket full of fresh milk to the house for Dad, gathering eggs from chickens, dodging ornery billy goats, and praying that the bull wouldn't rush me when I climbed the fence to visit my grandparents at the next farm over.

Few people know the reason why I dislike wearing shorts in public--it's not because I don't like shorts, but rather because there is a large, strange-looking scar on my right knee--the result of climbing a tall, ancient barn roof with my brothers at age 11, and upon sliding back down (as this was the only way to exit) having my knee ripped open by a rusty old nail. By God's grace I got nothing more out of that than 18 stitches. And a scar :-)

My town is an old German farming
tourist town. For years, to get from one side to the other took you past miles of farmland. The town was built as small pockets in this spot and that, with land in between. As I've said before, there are few other towns I can think of where you'd drive through miles of pasture to get to the city airport.
Now much of that is gone, and it's quickly becoming one good-sized city.

There are two major events that take place every year-- Wassail Fest, and Wurst Fest.

The entire town square lights up for Wassail Fest; the giant Christmas tree in the center becomes a blur of color and sparkle, casting off a soft glow to light the area for the thousands of people packed into the street. Everywhere you look, there are company and individual booths offering free samples of their best wassail. If you like, you may vote on the best, and the winner receives a prize. A Scottish Bagpipe band walks thru the middle by the tree, playing Amazing Grace. The stores light up, and take on the glow of Christmas, as people walk thru and enjoy their displays. Outside on the street the noise is deafening--there are small groups of music performers, kettle popcorn, banjo players, and just about everything you can imagine for the onlookers.

Believe it or not, it's usually chilly by this time of year, so more often than not I don my favorite sweater,and take off to explore the festivities with my brothers or friends.

I'd love to give a picture of Wurstfest, but I've actually never gone to it. Wassail Fest celebrates wassail--Wurstfest celebrates sausage. One of these days, I want to see Wurstfest--even if just to get a link of yummy German "wurst" or sausage.

My life today can be traced back to before I graduated from home school. I was 17, and I knew exactly what I was going to do after high school. I was going to go to Bob Jones University, major in Church Music, find some godly guy, and get married after graduating. Yup, it was all there. Deb's Perfectly Packaged Plans.
The thing is, I hadn't really consulted the Lord a whole lot about it all. My parents encouraged me in whatever goals or endeavors I had, so I knew that if I wanted to do Church Music, they'd be fine with that. But God, in His mercy, chose to keep that door locked. I tried several times to save up or work toward school, and each time, it fell thru. I don't remember how many jobs I applied for after high school. But none opened up. I was sitting there, my hopes seemingly dashed, and wondering what happened. Finally God got thru to me that my plans were just that--MY plans. Not His. I surrendered my future, my plans, my hopes, my dreams, and everything, to Him.

So then I went thru school, right?


Not at all.


2 years went by before God opened up a job opportunity for me. The mother of a special needs child we know needed help with her little girl. I wasn't asking for the job--God pretty much placed it in my lap. At first I was really questioning. Why this job? Lord, are You sure You know what You're doing? It wasn't that I had anything against helping the mom or the little girl--I quickly grew to love them both. It just wasn't what i had imagined.
But I had chosen to give God
everything in my future, so I said "yes Lord, I will do it" and began working for this mother. It was hard, at times, because as much as I wanted to go thru school, my main dream had always been to be a wife and mother. But at that point God didn't seem to be answering either of those. So I waited, and continued in what He'd given me to do right now. After about 3 years of working with this little girl, I noticed a desire that God has been growing in my heart.
Gone were the plans to
go into Church Music. Through working in supported home living with this little girl, God had shown me the direction HE wants me to take. Nursing. It's funny, because years ago I never would have considered nursing--but through this journey of confusion, of tears about the future, of wondering why things were as they seemed, He showed me that WAS where He wanted me. So at this current point, that's where I am. Looking into nursing school, and waiting for God's timing regarding my job situation. I'd love to take voice lessons again and get back into piano, but that will depend on how much time I actually have in between all of this.

Hope that gives you a little peek into me, myself, and I!


Have some more tea, I made plenty :)
Photobucket

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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

For today

I'm waiting for a lot of things. Waiting to get out of school, waiting for my first real job, waiting to have my own place, waiting to be a real adult, waiting to get married.

Sometimes it seems like my whole life is waiting.

That's not really a good feeling. I mean, when someone asks you what you want to do with your life, who says "I want to wait"? We want to do big things. We want to scribble our message on the sky. We want to shout so the whole world will hear. We want to ditch school and work and life with our friends in a community.

We don't want to wait.

I've had my times of struggle in this area. There are moments when I consider ditching it all and opening a bakery with my friend (this is our plan if, in ten years, we can't take it any more). But recently I've started to think. Maybe I can't do big things right at the moment. Maybe I am in a sort of limbo. But I can do small things. I can make small beauties.

I can craft words so they are woven together like strands of yarn. I can bake bread and hand it out to my friends - and the people I barely know. I can put dried flowers and a peacock feather and set them under a picture. I can grow a rose bush in my window.

And sometimes small beauties are enough.

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