Friday, November 27, 2009

Psalm 95:1-7

O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.

Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.

For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.

In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also.

The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land.

O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.

For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand...

 Psalm 95


Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Good Day to Give Thanks

Up, down,up, down.

The corn beneath my hands seemed to sing as I worked the new wooden grinder my father had made last week. With each thrust of the heavy pole my excitement mounted.

Today was the special one. The last meal of thanksgiving. And the brown men and women were coming again.

Never in my ten years had I witnessed such a bounty of harvest.
Never had I joined with my friends and family in a whole week of feasting.
It was a day to remember, a day to celebrate the goodness of our God, Mother said.

Our God who preserved us through the long journey from England.
Our God who saved some from certain death in the winter months.
Our God who blessed us with wonderful provision.

"Mercy!! Be the samp done yet?"

The mention of my name pulled my mind back to its proper place, and I responded to Mother that no, it was not done yet, but soon. I knew of a truth that soon better not be far away. Mother was not of a mind to tolerate foolishness with so much to do. I was her only daughter, therefore she depended on me. I must finish this corn.

The smell of roast duck permeated our small thatched house, and out the window I saw my elder brother preparing the fish he caught that morning. My hunger grew stronger, and I worked quickly to complete my task.

I gathered the samp, the ground corn, into my apron and took it to Mother. Our bread was so different here in the New World. Unlike our bread of wheat, this bread of corn was thicker, and heavier. Sustaining for the days of hard work in the colony.

The villagers came forth from their houses, carrying food to make ready for our guests. Squash and corn lined the tables, next to the onions and beside the fish my brother and his friends had caught. From a distance our friends, the natives, came to enjoy this last meal of thanks with us. They carried with them deer, something I had never tasted before. It was a good day. A good day for giving thanks.

I carried the roast ducks out to the tables, first one duck, then the other. The bread was placed beside the fowl, and soon both native and colonist sat down to eat and rejoice in surviving a harsh winter, and receiving a successful harvest.

I glanced over at the head table,where the village leaders and the Indian chiefs sat. Such strange head coverings the chief wore. Strange, yet beautiful, with their many feathers. There was the one called Squanto sitting there too. Father said Squanto taught us to plant corn, so we could eat. I was glad, for I knew enough of dire hunger from the winter. I did not want to know it again.

Our heads were bowed as a prayer of thankfulness was offered to God. We ate and talked, and prayed, and ate. The deer meat was better than I supposed it could be. I hoped we would have it more often.

Later that day as my friends and I played games with the Indian children, my mind reflected on the hour upon hour of merriment and brotherhood of knowing dependence on each other and God. It was a day I would never forget.
I knew that. The last day of the feast.

A good day to give thanks.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Craft

Here's a fun, super easy craft we did here last week.

First trace a wreath shape onto a piece of cardoboard or heavy cardstock.
I just used a dinner plate and desert plate to make the proper sized circles.  One inside the other.

Cut the circle out with scissors.

Next trace handprints onto colored paper.  It helps to have a variety of different sized hands to trace. :)


Next: DECORATE!  We used glitter-y glue to outline the handprints, but you could use anything you like.  Be creative!

After the glue dries, cut out the hand shapes.

Now, the fun part.  :)  Make a list of things you (or your helpers :) ) are thankful for and label the handprints.

Glue the handprints around the cardboard ring to create a colorful wreath!

Decorate to your tastes.  We used ribbon and leaves from our garden.

Enjoy!  and



Thursday, November 19, 2009

Psalm 17:6-8

I call upon You, for You will answer me, O God;
incline Your ear to me; hear my words.

Wondrously show Your steadfast love, O Savior of those who
seek refuge from their adversaries at Your right hand.

Keep me as the apple of Your eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings...


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Solving the Rubik's Cube, My Journey

I can't tell you exactly when it was that my fascination with Mr. Rubik's Magic Cube began.  I remember we had one once when I was little.  I regarded it as one of those things that everyone has but no one knows what to do with.  I grew up in the 80s when the Rubik's Cube was first born and was at the height of its fame.  The Cube, in my eyes was an unsolved mystery and would remain that way.  Forever.  And that was ok.  I didn't know anyone that could solve it.  I still don't know anyone that can solve it. 

The next phase in my Rubik's Cube obsession started when I saw The Pursuit of Happyness.  Chris Gardner claims to be able to solve the cube (even though he never has) and in one suspenseful taxi-ride with his entire future weighing in the balance... he solves it.  The solving of that "magic" cube has an impact on the rest of his life.  If you were to say that if Chris Gardner hadn't solved that puzzle he wouldn't be where he is today and there wouldn't be a movie about him... I'd probably agree with you.

Obsession phase three.  Somehow, somewhere I heard of someone who could solve the cube because, get this, they watched a tutorial on YouTube.  Yeah.  Really.  And when I heard that I got a crazy idea.  I thought "If it's on YouTube... I could watch that tutorial.  I could solve the cube, too."  I don't know what came over me.  On my way home that night I stopped at the drugstore down the street and picked up a Rubik's Cube. 

My family looked at me like I was nuts.  Perhaps I should explain.  I'm not what you'd call... smart.  Book smart maybe.  Math smart?  Tech-y smart?  Geometry smart?  Puzzle smart?  NO.  I don't even do jigsaw puzzles.  Two of my sisters and my dad LOVE jigsaw puzzles.  I don't have the patience.  I was never into solitaire.  I never got higher in math than Algebra 1.  But there was something about the Rubik's Cube.  Something about the idea that if I, REBECCA could solve a Rubik's Cube...  I would never feel dumb again.  Or so I thought.  Honestly, I don't know what possesed me.

So, the YouTube tutorials were not a myth.  They exist.  I started out watching the one that I had heard about.  Some guy made a video on how to solve the Cube.  He had, like, 12 million views on his tutorial.  12 MILLION.  And almost as many comments from people who were thanking him for explaining it so well.  These people had evidently solved the Cube.  I watched the tutorial.  And promptly got lost.  Very very lost.  Confused.  Distorted.  WHICH WAY IS UP?  My Cube was perpetually scrambled.  Frustration mounted.  I decided to give up. It seemed the logical thing to do. 

But then I saw something else.  Another tutorial.  A 9 STEP tutorial.  I went to this other guy's YouTube channel and read the sidebar.  He claimed that his method was "beginner friendly."  Of course, at this point I'm assuming I'm not even a beginner since I couldn't make heads or tails out of tutorial number one.  Is there a level below beginner?  Basement level?  Sub-basement level?  If you're even lower than the sub-basement level do the smart people just say to you "Go home, sell your Cube on E-bay.  You're not smart enough to own it."  I DID spend $5 on the cube... I decided to give it another shot.  I'd try the "beginner's method." 

Right away trial #2 went much better.  I actually solved one side of the cube.  WOW.  I mean...  that's something right?  But, how do you move on to solving another side without messing the first side up?  And if you solve another side then you have two solved sides and you still have to solve 4 more sides without messing up the first two. 

But the tutorial I was watching had a strange effect on me.  The guy explaining it was doing such a good job.  He kept saying things like "Don't worry."  and "I'll show you that again" and drawing diagrams and explaining things over and over and showing every single possibility and what to do with every single possibility.  Something about it gave me courage to keep trying.  And trying.  And trying.  And trying.... Maybe it was the Pursuit of Happyness that kept me going.  Maybe, I thought, somehow deep down being able to solve the Cube would change my future. 

That was a VERY long weekend.  I worked on the cube Friday night.  All day Saturday.  My family went from giving me amused glances to concerned ones.  "Um, Rebecca?  Maybe you should take a break?"  I knew they were thinking the same thing I was thinking.  The smartest people I knew couldn't solve the cube.  What made me think I could?  Saturday night I kept hitting the same wall over and over again. I could get the puzzle to a certain place.  Almost solved.  Only the top layer to go.  And every time I messed it up.  Majorly.  My eyes burned.  I had to start over again.  I would get to the top layer... and screw it up.  Start over again.  Again, I messed it up.  Just when I would think I had it... It would be scrambled beyond fixing... and I'd have to start over. 

Frustration came and sat on my shoulders.  I started breathing shortly.  A huge lump settled in my throat.  You're not smart.  You've never been smart.  Why are you even trying?  You shouldn't even try doing this smart stuff, you're just proving to yourself that you can't do it.  Give up. Give up. Give up.  Why did I keep going?  My sisters tried to help "Um, Rebecca?  Do you think you're being a little obsessive?  I think you need to take a break?"  They threatened to take it away from me.  Saturday night at midnight I slammed it down.  "I can't do it.  I don't know why I tried."  I ignored my sister's tortured gazes, swallowed down the painful lump  in my throat, stalked into my bedroom and closed the door on my tears.  I flopped into bed.  And I knew that I had just proved to myself how stupid I really was. 

Have you ever been in that place?  When everything you do and think just shows you all your imperfections?  I started affixing all sorts of meaning to my inability to solve that silly game.  As if not being able to solve the Rubik's Cube was the final straw.  I was now, officially Not Going Anywhere In Life.  I was doomed to live a simple, poverty stricken life.  I mean, obviously I couldn't solve the Rubik's Cube, so what good could I possibly do myself or anyone else?  Chris Gardner solved the Cube and changed his life for the better.  I didn't solve the Cube.  'Nough said. 

Sunday morning I woke up and walked into the living room.  Only to see that colorful scrambled cube sitting there mocking me.  Or, was it challenging me? 

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 

I couldn't solve the cube.  But, God could.  That guy on YouTube could.  That guy on YouTube was TELLING me how to solve the Cube.  I decided to give it one more shot.  Why?  I don't know.  I guess deep down I believe God has good things in store for me.  And that belief is stronger than my unbelief. Even when I don't see it myself and even when I tell myself I don't believe it.  I realized that if my future really depended on solving the Cube I would never give up so easily.  And I realized that even if I tell myself I'm a quitter, I'm not.  

So, I tried it one more time.  Maybe it was two more times.  I remember my sister walked out of her bedroom and looked at me trying to solve it again.  I heard her sigh as she walked into the next room.  I read the algorithums over and over.  I flipped the sides of the cube.  Red, Green, Blue, Yellow.  Right turn clockwise, Top counter-clockwise, Back 180 degrees, flip, turn, switch, line up the colors.  And then it came.  The final turn.  The turn that 50 times had stared me in the face saying "You did it wrong.  Again."  But, this time was different.  Left 180 degrees.  And I had it.  6 sides.  All of them a single color.  A beautiful Rubik's Cube, just the way it came in the package.  Solved. 

I don't know how to explain the emotions of that moment.  I can tell you that they were too much for me to deal with.  I didn't scream or shout or jump up and down or wake up my sister screaming "I SOLVED THE CUBE!!!!!"  Instead I set the solved cube on the coffee table and went into my bedroom.  And I just thanked God.  Maybe my whole future doesn't depend on solving the Cube.  I will probably never be in a taxi with a man who could give me everything I need if I could just impress him enough.  I doubt I will ever apply for a job where I can claim "Ability to solve a Rubik's Cube" as a job qualification.  But, who knows?  Maybe someday.  For now, I know that solving that cube gave me a self-confidence I've never had before.  Sure, discouragement still comes.  Solving the Cube didn't give me automatic knowledge in every subject that "smart people" excel in.  But, I learned something about myself and about God in me.  I learned that I'm not a quitter, because God didn't make me a quitter and doesn't intend for me to ever quit anything He sets in my path to do.  I learned that I can do things I think I can't do if I try, REALLY try, because I have God on my side, and He can give me the strength to do anything.


Saturday, November 14, 2009


Congratulations to Hanna 'The Von Seven', winner of our basket give-away!

Hanna, to claim your prize, e-mail us (see side bar on the right) with your mailing address, and we will get the basket to you as soon as possible. :)


Friday, November 13, 2009

Don't forget to enter!!

Today is the last day you can enter for our Gift Basket Giveaway!


Thursday, November 12, 2009

"Little" Miracles

There's a song that says "God gives to all His children talents both great and small".

My talent seems to be getting lost in big cities.

Maybe I'm just too navigationally challenged. Maybe my farm girl roots just can't handle the city. For whatever reason, I always get lost. Always.

But that's not the amazing thing. The amazing thing is, I always find my way back around again.

Because of "little" miracles.

Such as God opening up a spot for me on the interstate when I pray for one, or guiding my eyes to the right sign at the right time, or keeping anyone from coming up behind me so I can switch lanes to make the correct turn and get back to where I'm supposed to be. And stretching my low gas to keep me from being stranded as I try to figure out where I am.
Over and over again I've witnessed God taking care of me, even in small things. Things that don't really seem important or noteworthy. Little miracles, you might say.

I'm convinced there is no such thing as a "little" miracle. I don't think we understand how many times but for the hand of God on us, something would have happened. How many car accidents further down the highway we've avoided because of that slow car in front who delayed our driving. How many times danger or tragedy lurked around the corner but God kept it away from us.

Little miracles that we barely notice. Yet had they been absent, our lives would not be the same.

We praise God for the "big" miracles, but do we praise Him for the "little" ones? Or do we take them for granted?

I believe part of praying without ceasing is thanking without ceasing. For the big miracles. But especially for the "little" ones.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009


The Dead

These hearts were woven of human joys and cares,
Washed marvellously with sorrow, swift to mirth.
The years had given them kindness. Dawn was theirs,
And sunset, and the colours of the earth.
These had seen movement, and heard music; known
Slumber and waking; loved; gone proudly friended;
Felt the quick stir of wonder; sat alone;
Touched flowers and furs and cheeks. All this is ended.

There are waters blown by changing winds to laughter
And lit by the rich skies, all day. And after,
Frost, with a gesture, stays the waves that dance
And wandering loveliness. He leaves a white
Unbroken glory, a gathered radiance,
A width, a shining peace, under the night

Rupert Brooke (1887-1915)


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dr. Jak's November Sunday

What I wore to church last Sunday.

Gorgeous, GORGEOUS Indian Summer weather inspires me to wear 
Indian Summer colors.  

Rich browns and tans and a splash of something brighter.  :)

Sweater dresses are IN this fall. 
So are Big Belts and Cowboy Boots... :)

I'm wearing brown and silver earrings and brown tights to help with warmth and modesty. :)


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Gift basket give-away!

This time we are giving away a basket full of pampering goodies as a thank-you to all of our readers! Each of our blog readers has contributed something special, and this basket is full to overflowing with fun items!

Check it out:

  • "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young, a book of daily devotions.
  • Burt's Bees Hands and Feet kit containing a pumice stone, cuticle creme, small tins of hand creme, lip balm and a tube of foot lotion
  • Manicure set, including nail brush, clippers, metal file, cuticle pusher, tweezers and mini emery boards.
  •  4 oz.Vanilla Caramel scented candle (which smells AMAZING. I keep opening it to take a whiff as I type this up!)
  •  A bar of Kirk's Original Coco Castile body soap.
  •  Sheer Mauve Revlon nail polish.
  • Apple Cinnamon soap bar.
  •  Hand-made bracelet by ThinkVictorian ( yes, I'm taking this moment to shamelessly give my own store a shout-out ;-P )
  • The basket itself... embellished with bead bangles.
  • White exfoliating gloves.
  • Lavender Blosson bath gel. 
Is that everything??? *digs through basket* Well, I'll throw in some tissue paper and red
crinkly basket filler for no extra charge. Now, how does this work?

To enter, just leave us a comment! Tell us how you think we are doing with the blog, what you like/dislike about it, what kinds of things you like to see in future posts, or any questions you might have for us. Now, you are only allowed to enter once, unless you give us a shout-out on your own blog/LJ. Link back in another comment, and your name will be entered twice. I was going to say that for a third chance just drop me a check for $5 in the mail, but then my concience got to me. Maybe next time.

You have until next Friday to enter. The winner will be announced one week from today.


Friday, November 6, 2009

The Vision and the Reality

We have seen what we are not, and what God wants us to be, but are we willing to be battered in to the shape of the vision to be used by God? The beatings will always come in the most common, everyday ways and through common, everyday people.

 ~ Oswald Chambers


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Empty or full?

Sometimes I feel empty. How could I possibly sit here and write something moving? How could I hope to teach what I don’t know? The questions just keep piling up until I feel like I have nothing, like I am nothing.

But then I remember one of my favorite poems (I will admit that I have a great many). It’s called “A Better Resurrection” and it was written by a Victorian woman named Christina Rossetti.

I have no wit, no words, no tears;

My heart within me like a stone

Is numbed too much for hopes or fears;

Look right, look left, I dwell alone;

I lift mine eyes, but dimmed with grief

No everlasting hills I see;

My life is in the falling leaf:

O Jesus, quicken me.

My life is like a faded leaf,

My harvest dwindled to a husk;

Truly my life is void and brief

And tedious in the barren dusk;

My life is like a frozen thing,

No bud nor greenness can I see:

Yet rise it shall—the sap of Spring;

O Jesus, rise in me.

My life is like a broken bowl,

A broken bowl that cannot hold

One drop of water for my soul

Or cordial in the searching cold;

Cast in the fire the perished thing,

Melt and remold it, till it be

A royal cup for Him my King:

O Jesus, drink of me.

We will feel empty. We will feel “dimmed with grief.” We live in a fallen world. But we also have the greatest gift we could possibly be given: the love of God and the promise of his mercy and healing.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Book Review: The Great Divorce, by C.S. Lewis

"There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, in the end, 'Thy will be done."

The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis is essentially built on this premise.

The author takes a trip to heaven, by way of a bus that picked up him and his fellow travelers at a bus stop in hell.  Once there he and his fellow travelers have conversations with Spirits.  Men and women that have died and live in heaven.

I found this book very insightful and eye-opening. 

I have always loved Lewis' views on heaven.  As a place infinitely more REAL than the place we are in, so much more real that we realize the place we have been in all along is simply a shadowland.

I was captivated and somehow quickened at the same time when he described the difference between the passion of pity and the action of pity. 
The passion being "The pity we merely suffer, the ache that draw men to concede what should not be conceded and to flatter when they should speak truth...  a weapon by bad men against good ones..." 
And the action being "...a weapon on the other side.  It leaps quicker than light from the highest place to the lowest to bring healing and joy, whatever the cost to itself..."

I really can't even begin to describe how many things I learned from it, because I know there are so many more things I will learn as I continue to think about this book and read it over and over. 

As Lewis says:
"Thirst was made for water, inquiry for truth."


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