Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Take Me There

I've got South Africa on the brain!....

I just read an update from the Children's Village where I will be - God-willing - in just a couple short months. I eagerly look forward to seeing what He will do with this year of of surprises and opportunities.
A passage comes to mind that I've been mulling over all day.
"For thou, Lord, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of THY hands." Psalm 90:4 (emphasis mine) When I think of all that it will take to travel there, and then once I am there, all the little things that will be different and difficult, I can only say the words of Psalm 37:4-5 "Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass."

The Lord knows my heart.
He knows my fears that He will not answer this prayer with a yes.
He knows my fears that if His will really is for me to be there, even then I might not be all I should be for His glory.
He knows this longing of my heart, how I want to be there.

Trust in Him is so easy to say, but through this He is challenging me to DO.
And I can't wait to see what HE does!
"This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes." Psalm 118:23

Just watch the smiling dark eyes in this video and tell me you don't want to be there!.... :-)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Beautiful Prayer

The peasant gives little thought to his shabby clothes as he is escorted into the brilliant palace hall. He can feel the cool marble floor beneath the padding of his calloused bare feet.
As he eagerly strides past the gold-plated pillars
that tower above on either side,
his gaze is fixed ahead on the door to the throne room.
Above the door in flowing, elegant script,
reads the name of the kingdom: Grace.

This ragged peasant is taken-aback in awe every time he unbolts the large oak doors
with his personal key and swings them open
to reveal the glory within.
Every muscle in his body twitches with the urge
to run down the long corridor
so that he can be near to the throne faster,
but he reigns in his excitement.
The roll of exquisite, purple carpeting carries him
right up to foot of the throne,
where he immediately buries his face into the plush velvety softness.
For there,
he is surrounded by light and majesty.
It is not the golden light that is streaming in
from the stained glass windows,
but a sheer, white light that radiates from the throne itself.
Every time, this moment surprises him.
While the peasant no longer remembers
how many times he has entered,
he is struck once again at
how unworthy he is in the face of such splendor and goodness.
His body is racked with great, heaving sobs
at the memories of the quarreling before he left home.
He has not just harmed his wife.
This is a personal offense to the rules the King has established.
All that our peasant friend can do
is to declare over and over again, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry."
The King is on His throne and beside Him,
the Prince grins widely. "Stand, dear one. Because you ask, you are forgiven."
The King summons and the peasant responds obediently.
He listens intently to the Voice of Love
as the King speaks His next words.
"I know you have come here to beg forgiveness
for this offense against my name.
And I gladly give it.
You also seek counsel on how to handle the situation.
I have all this planned out as well.
Trust me and I will help you.
What else is on your heart today, my son?"
The reference to his adoption fills the peasant
with a renewed boldness as he looks into the tender eyes of the king.
"I have come to make request for my family
and for two families that live in our area.
All of our food is running dangerously low and
I cannot afford to feed the precious babies that you have entrusted to me.
Will you help us?"
Once again, he bows his head in respect.
The Prince nods in understanding and then leans in close to His Father's right side.
"I know what it's like in the village, Father. I've been there. I wore those rags and drank that water. I slept on the straw mat the peasant uses, and played with his kids and his dog. I huddled around the candlelight with him and his wife, and explained to them the books on their shelf that did not make sense before. Hear him out, Father,
for his needs are many.
And I care deeply about him."
The King nods in appreciation to his earnest beloved Son,
and then turns to answer the peasant.


The peasant smiles to himself as he begins his journey back to the town. He is leading one of the king's own horses who is weighted down with an adequate amount of food for the peasant's family and friends.
He still doesn't know why they wanted to invite someone like him. But they have promised, and they ALWAYS keep their promises. Someday, this palace will be his home.
He will no longer make these frequent treks up the mountain to visit this place that he loves so much.
The Prince has promised that he is adding on rooms to the palace - on the best side, no less, where the view stretches out for miles, and the heat easily envelopes the room during winter.
There are a great many rooms. In fact, a room is being prepared for each villager who has requested one.
One day, the peasant and his family will be brought to live with the Prince as their brother and the King as their father.
Until then, this lowly peasant will continue to visit the royal family every day without fail, to find grace and mercy
to help in his time of need.
And to be reminded of his true home.
This kingdom is ruled differently from any other.
This is the Kingdom of Grace.

(My devotions today were in Hebrews 4:14-16. Can ya tell? ;-)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Entertaining Myself

Wow, no blog post for a whole week!? I'm pathetic.
And you know what else is pathetic? It is my goal to finish this post in the eight minutes I have left in the massage chair. This is important to me because I am a tired girl tonight.

Random happenings in our household:

- My dad just went out to get the mail (at 10:30 at night in the pouring rain, I might add), and discovered that someone shot our house with an orange paintball. Don't be alarmed. We got it off with a paper towel. Except for the part my dad couldn't reach. We're saving that one for Jeremy :-)

- Speaking of Jeremy, I spent 3 hours Christmas shopping with him today. Neither one of us are super thrilled about shopping, but we're happy to be together and getting the Christmas gifts picked out is like an added bonus.

- I have also enjoyed time with "the other brother" too! On Saturday, Wesley and I built this amazingly nifty Lincoln Log structure. He wanted to make the White House. So we did. Haha, you can totally see it, right? :-)

- I had lunch at Chic-fa-lae today (I have no idea how to spell that). It was a wonderful time getting to hang out with my so-sweet cousin, Dixie. She had alot of great insights into teaching. One of the most profound ones being, "Set your students up for success, not failure. It will make them want to learn if they know they can get it right." I thought that was a valuable nugget of truth, because think of the flip-side. Any teacher you have had where you know right off the bat that you are not going to meet his/her standards, doesn't it just obliterate all your motivation for trying?
Things to keep in mind while I embark on this teacher journey.

- One of my goals for this break was to dive back into reading missionary biographies again. Right now, I'm reading about the life of Mary Slessor, missionary to Africa. Her approach to the drunken and godless natives has totally captivated me. Seeing them in their front yards on the first day of being in the "Old Town" she marched right up to them and asked if they were ashamed. While of course, in our culture today, this would be unheard of, there is something to be said for Christians possessing the boldness to obey Christ even if it brings about discomfort. It is okay for the guilty to feel guilt. Because that is what will point them to the Savior. This fiery-haired Scottish woman is continuing to give me things to mull over as I read about her life of serving God - in one adventure after another!

- It's great to be playing guitar again. Recently I have been discouraged with my stagnate progress. I hadn't realized that I pushed it to the side until I picked up again today. Everything else I had planned for the next hour went out the window as I sang and got back into the rythms of the playing. My fingers are also now happily working on re-callousing. I can feel them tingling overtop the keys right now as I type. :-)

- My latest new favorite thing to do at night is to have that as my "quiet-time" to myself. My goal is to work on my to-do list and actually accomplish things during the day, and then at night I sit at my desk and put together a scrapbook page while watching old episodes of Psych via Netflix. I love that time! It's so good to be on break.
And recently I came across the boatload of pictures I printed from the last time I went to Africa. Since that is what is close to my heart as of late, it has been the most easy thing for me to focus on in my scrapbook pages. Here's the latest one, describing a game the class was playing when my friend and I sat in on the second grade....

It's been longer than eight minutes.
I hope you've enjoyed this obscure update of break. It will be over all too soon :-)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

So This Is What Break Feels Like....

It's so nice to be home.

It's Sunday night, with the lights dimmed in the living room. Mom and Wesley are reading a book together, I am here on the couch (blogging unashamedly with no homework over my head, I might add), Jer is working on his online class down by my feet, and dad is in the chair across the way looking over some sort of records from his office.

The whole family in one room. It's not very often that happens. And, as Jeremy mentioned in his prayer before breakfast the other day, "We don't know how many more times we will have this." I am certainly enjoying it while I can!

Yesterday was the first full day of Christmas break. It was such a wonderful time, I thought I'd take a moment to document the highlights....

* Spent time with the Lord before I even left my room in the morning (that way there was no opportunity for my thoughts to get intercepted with all the happenings of the day. :-)
Listening to the different Doctrines during our oral testings at school inspired me to do a study of Hebrews. It seemed that we kept coming back to that book and there are some deep and beautiful truths to be sifted through in it. I only made it through 4 verses that first day because I had to take it all in....
The author of Hebrews describes Jesus Christ as "the radiance of the glory of God" which is awesomely true, but couldn't be solely used to prove His deity.
As a Christian, I "radiate" God's glory too... But the verses go on to say that Jesus is "the exact imprint of His nature." While I am made in the image of God, I certainly do not have His nature. Jesus was GOD, with a human body willingly added on Himself. Because He loves me THAT MUCH.

* Made pancakes for the family.

* Ate pancakes with the family!

* Read about half of the book, "Who is my Shelter?" by Neta Jackson. For being a book I picked up out of the blue from the library, it is turning out to be a pretty good one! My favorite thing about it is that it puts me in this other world of the woman who is the main character. She is living in the Chicago area and starting a homeless shelter for women and children who are in the same situation she once found herself. Because I can hear all her thoughts through the pages of the book, I can so easily identify with her. I don't view Gabby as the same personality I have, but she definitely has the same human fears, joys, and struggles I have. I don't really know how to describe it, but I have enjoyed the read thus far.
I think I'm just enjoying the fact that I am reading and it's not for an assignment! :-)

* Played some basketball outside with Wes. He is getting really good! I actually have to start TRYING in order to beat him ;-) lol Good thing he doesn't read this blog or I'd get a poke and a "hey!" from him....

* Had some hot chocolate and put together a Garfield puzzle with Wesley.

* Unpacked, organized, and decorated my entire room (because this is going to be my home- base for an unsure amount of time in the future!) And considering how long it took to accomplish the task, I feel like the tribute to it should be longer on my blog. I guess I could show you some pictures of it.

* Enjoyed a meal of home-cooked spaghetti - once again, with the whole family :-)

* Settled in to read some more and listen to my most uplifting playlist... All of the songs are by Andrew Peterson. I highly suggest that you look him up on your favorite free-listening venue on the internet (grooveshark, pandora, lastfm, etc). Andrew Peterson music is unlike anything I've ever heard before in the fact that he is this awesome combination of a Biblical viewpoint coupled with unique, artistic songs. The best way I could say it is that he sings with an eternal perspective. A vast majority of his songs cause me to anticipate my heavenly home and could be characterized by II Corinthians 4:16-18. Here are a couple of the ones that especially touched me yesterday. I really hope you can look it up and be blessed by his songs as much as I have been!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Cracked Me Up!!

I usually try to keep in good spirits about exams, but any picture that causes me to break out in laughter uncontrollably is definitely worth sharing :-)

(Plus, it's not all that far off from how my week has been. But praise our God; He is faithful, right up until the end of a semester, and BeYoNd!)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

African Bound....

Has it really been nearly TWO weeks since that last post!?

As pathetic as that is, I feel like it's because I've had nothing to say or write. I have only had HOMEWORK.

And this is still somewhat the case. Even tonight I still have homework. But I figure I will get on and remind the little blog that I am still alive and well (just a little red-eyed as of late ;-)
But God has been soo good!

As of today, I was officially accepted to go to Bethesda for my student-teaching experience next semester. I am still reeling with the gratefulness of how He's worked all things out to get me this far.
We'll see what adventures lie ahead....