Monday, December 27, 2010

Coincidence? I think not!

Tell me I'm not just seeing things...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Back from Ellerslie...

I'm back!
Words are insufficient to describe my time at Ellerslie.
But this I will say: Jesus is so good. He is bigger, deeper, nearer, dearer, and worthier than I ever knew before. I saw Him do more extraordinary things than I have ever seen in my life. My life was not simply changed, it was exchanged... mine for His. It's an exciting, joyful, adventurous, hard, supernaturally-enabled life. I love it.

To any new readers who I have the privilege to call an Ellerslie brother or sister, don't forget:
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. -Philippians 1:6
That's fact! Go forth with the grace that He gives!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Until we meet again...

Goodbye! I'm off to Ellerslie to become a poured out vessel and a world changer for Jesus Christ. See you when I get back!


Thursday, September 30, 2010


I don't consider myself a full-blown photographer; I'm more of a person with an interest in photography. In any case I do enjoy taking pictures. Here are a few (okay, maybe more than a few) that I am submitting to Maidens of Virtue photography contest. The theme is Pure. Enjoy!











 (Can you tell I love taking pictures of clouds?)










Feel free to ask any questions on the story behind a picture!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

جون ٣:١٦

فور جود سو لوفد ث وورلد ذات هي جاف هيس اونلي بجت سن ، ذات وحفر بيلييفيس إن هم شال نت بريش، بيوت هاف يفيرلاستينج ليف .
جون ٣:١٦
No, my blog didn't get hiijacked by anybody (not even Michael again *smile*). The above writing is John 3:16, in English, but in the Arabic script. I came across a book in the Junior Non-fiction section of the library that immediately intrigued me: Sugar comes from Arabic: A beginner's guide to Arabic letters and words. So I checked it out and started studying the Arabic alphabet! Arabic is not something I had a particular interest in before, but I really enjoy learning other languages and letters in general, and it is quite pretty. It's interesting, because you cannot transcribe it letter-for-letter with English. First of all, a lot of the vowels are not written. Pronounced, but not written. And then there is no corresponding letter for v, p, or g (you substitute f, b, and j). And then there are several Arabic letters that have no corresponding English letter: "strong S", "strong H", "strong T", and 3 other throat-noise letters. But I don't worry too much about those since I'm just writing English words. And going right-to-left isn't so bad once you get the hang of it.

It's like learning a ready-made secret code! Now nobody can understand what I write in my margins, hehehe. ;)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Seeing Red

We had a fantastic tomato harvest this year! I love growing tomatoes almost as much as I love eating them. :)
Laura was a great helper for picking the tomatoes. We had about 14 plants. Compare this picture to when we first planted!
We planted a couple varieties: I don't remember what the huge ones were, (Early Girl, maybe?), but the medium ones were Beefsteak (thanks, Ert!), the oblong ones were Roma, and of course the wee cherry tomatoes.
This is one day's pickings! It had been a few days since the last picking, but we were literally picking buckets at a time. The cone has cherry tomatoes in it.
This was the same day, but combined with the rest that we had on hand. There's no way we could eat them all raw (not everyone likes them as much as I do), so my mom has been making batches of tomato sauce.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Scottish Chiefs

I understand better now.

Being a reader of Eric Ludy's blog, and now going to Ellerslie, I could hardly help but hear about the book The Scottish Chiefs. In fact, in my acceptance letter to Ellerslie, there was a recommendation (not a requirement) to read it if I hadn't already, because of the insight it gives into the heart of Eric Ludy. Also, the name Ellerslie originated from it, being the name of Sir William Wallace's estate.

"Ok", I thought, "I'll look into it." Instead of buying the book, I looked it up at the library. They didn't have an unabridged version in the entire interlibrary system but they had the above edition (edited by Kate Douglas Wiggin and Nora A. Smith, 1949), so I put it on hold. Before too long, it had arrived, and I checked it out.

It didn't take me very long to realize that I had uncovered a treasure! It has everything: adventure & old-fashioned romance, vice & virtue, history & battles, vivid characters both good and evil. It is pretty fast paced (at least in this edition), with many exciting plot turns, yet it lasts for 500 pages! That's something I like, because I don't like a good book to be over quickly!  Men are manly, and women are feminine, and both are valiant and honorable... the good characters, anyway. It wasn't till the end that I caught on to the allegory in it as well.

I haven't seen the movie Braveheart (I know you love it with a passion, Shane) but I think I have just discovered the better alternative. The book's always better than the movie, right? (Star Wars being the exception.) This book is the most incredible, majestic novel I've ever read. I don't think I knew what honor was before I read it.

If you have a mustard seed of tolerance for old books and rich vocabulary, I heartily recommend that you read The Scottish Chiefs. You won't be sorry.

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Melodious Blog

I just came across the blog of a young lady known as Melodious Echo. She is a set-apart woman who has been well-acquainted with the Ludys. She often writes articles for Leslie's online magazine for girls. God has taken her lots of places so far, and most recently, to Ellerslie this summer! That summer session is over (released into the world!). However you can read about a lot of what went on there in her recent posts.

41 days till Ellerslie! 

Thursday, August 26, 2010


I'm going to Ellerslie!!!!!

I could've used about a hundred more exclamation points there. With every day that goes by, my anticipation and excitement grows. The more I learn about what goes on there, the happier and more amazed I get that I am actually going.

It's not "just" a Bible school. I usually tell people that I am going to a "little Bible school in Colorado", because that's something they will understand. But it's so much more than that. It's a set-apart time and place (I can't avoid the Ludy-isms, lol) where real people meet with our real God in a real way. When I heard about what was happening during the summer session, my flesh got nervous. It's not going to thrive there. In fact, according to the summer students, it's going to be put to death there. About time, I say.

Some more things I am looking forward to at Ellerslie:
  1. Experiencing God's presence.
  2. Learning how to pray.
  3. Meeting and getting to know like-minded believers. There are only about 50 students, and they are from all across the US and even other countries.
  4. Meeting the Ludys and Annie and Sandi and the rest of the staff. As much as I like and respect them, I have never idolized the Ludys or their books. But it will be a privilege to meet them in person.
  5. Being in an environment where men and women are encouraged to be ladies and gentlemen.
  6. Lord willing, there will be orphans at Ellerslie! That will be so neat! See their website for details on that.
  7. Visiting Colorado again. Everyone tells me it's beautiful out there.
  8. Flying "by myself". Of course I am tempted to be nervous, but the Lord will take care of me, and I am looking forward to the adventure!
Blessed be the Lord,
Who daily loads us with benefits,
The God of our salvation!
Psalm 68:19

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I'm going on a picnic with God...

On the way back from Ohio, one of the car games we played during the 8 hour drive was "I'm going on a picnic and I'm bringing...". Have you ever played that? You take turns naming what you're bringing according to the letters of the alphabet, and you have to recite everything up to the current letter. So it usually goes something like, "I'm going on a picnic and I'm bringing asparagus, bananas, cheese, Doritos, everything, french fries...", etc etc. Well after a "normal" round, Rachel K. suggested that we do the attributes of God. So...
I'm going on a picnic with God, and He is: Awesome, Beautiful, Creator, Divine, Everlasting, FANtastic, Gracious, Holy, Infinite, Joy-giver, Kind, Love, Magnificent, Never-failing, Omnipotent, Powerful, Quite-indescribable, Righteous, Saving, Trustworthy, Unlimited, Victorious, Wonderful, Xtremely-invincible, Yahweh, Zebra-inventor.
Not coincidentally, I was listening to Moody Radio recently, and someone was talking about praising God through the alphabet. Good idea! They suggested going through the whole alphabet, rather like the above game, but there are so many attributes for each letter that I've been doing a letter per day. So today, I've been thinking about how God is Majestic, Most High, with a voice like Many waters, Master, Marvelous, Miracle-worker, Missionary-sender, Monkey-inventor, Man (Jesus), Mentor, and so Much More.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

When God Writes Your... College Story?

A thought occurred to me one day.
You know, I have given God the pen to write my love story. I believe He is going to "write" something really good. I am waiting with anticipation and watching for His lead and direction. I am trusting Him without too much of a struggle. But there are other stories in life besides romance. Am I trusting God with my college story?
I realized that even though I had given my love story over to God early on, there were other things that I was still anxious over. Namely, college. The normal route of finishing high school on time and going straight to college or at least community college, didn't fall into place for me. When I was younger, I always thought I would go to college. My parents both went to college, and that's just what people who were good at school and wanted to make something out of their life did, right? Maybe not. I didn't believe in going to college just for "the experience". I really didn't want to invest any time and money unless I knew it was worth it. So I didn't enroll anywhere. True, a big part of that was some unfinished homeschool business. But I believe that God has been leading me even with that.

Last year, I heard about a school out in Colorado called Ellerslie School of Honor. It was started this year by Eric and Leslie Ludy, authors of When God Writes Your Love Story and many other good books. They were offering a 10-week summer course for this summer. I was very interested, but the dates interfered with our already-planned trip to Washington, and I knew it wouldn't work. Still, I couldn't forget about it. It really felt like God wanted me to go. Maybe next summer? Then they announced that because of the high demand, they would be holding another 10-week session this fall. That was when I knew God wanted me to apply. As I've been praying, I asked Him to make everything fall into place if He wanted me to go. And they have been. Even finances! So yesterday I submitted my application. It's in God's hands.

Are you giving God the pen for all the stories in your life?

Missions in Ohio

The second week in July, I went on my first missions trip. Location: Brimfield, Ohio. Our church's youth group does a trip every year, and this year I went. It was a great trip.
Why Brimfield? Our church's former youth pastor, Matt, is involved with a church plant there - Bridge Bible Church. The area is reported to be over 90% unchurched. Our goal was to show Jesus' love to people, and to take every opportunity to introduce them to Him. We did a lot of work projects, especially cleaning and landscaping the elementary, middle, and high schools. Some people served breakfast to policemen, lunch to firemen, ice cream to senior citizens and preschoolers. Some people got up early and gave out free coffee at an intersection, in the afternoons some people handed out water bottles (it was hot out!). We ran a VBS in the evenings - I helped with crafts. What pinatas have to do with a circus theme I do not know. A couple of the afternoons we did Backyard Bible Clubs in a low-income neighborhood. We didn't know we were doing that until the night before, and I found myself head of the Bible lesson team. That was a stretching experience - leading and telling the Bible story - but God is good and it ended up being one of the highlights of my week. We did a lot of door-to-door, handing out flyers with information on the VBS and church. Later in the week we collected canned food. Always we looked for open doors to start conversations and Jesus with people.

It was a busy, busy week. There were so many activities every day that it felt like 2 or 3 weeks instead of one. We were told to expect to be exhausted by Wednesday and it was so. One of the things I learned was how to keep on working and serving even through the exhaustion. "Do not weary in doing good..." Of course it probably didn't help that bedtimes weren't enforced... lol. Speaking of late nights, on the eve of my birthday, I wanted to stay up til midnight, but I didn't tell anyone that. Strangely enough, no one else wanted to go to bed either. A whole bunch of people, especially from our youth group (there were 2 other youth groups from Ohio there) seemed uninterested in going to bed. We were just talking and playing games... nothing to make me suspect... but I should've seen it coming. Once the clock struck midnight, they dumped a bag of balloons on my head and sang "Happy Birthday". :D Thanks, guys, you're the best. And then we all went to bed. My actual birthday was really nice too. They gave me two cards and a present, and totally coincidentally, we had cheesecake for dessert (yum!) and went to see a movie that night. Tony from Ohio's dad owns the theater, and we got to watch Toy Story 3-D for free! And then we swept all the theaters. :) I think that it was the best way I could've spent the day! I love our youth group. It was awesome getting to know them better.

One of the things that I was really struck by was the genuine focus on serving. At camp, it's really about discipling and developing your character. Here, the whole point was to reach other people. Except for meals, a brief nightly worship time, and debriefing (daily "what happened today" testimony time), every other planned activity was work. No mandatory fun and very little preaching and teaching. If you were going to come out of it having learned something, great, but it was going to be because you took the time and thought to learn it. Yet, we learned stuff. And we had fun, too.

Oh and if you don't like cold Spaghettio's out of a can for dinner, too bad. :P (That was our actual first dinner. Matt is not a detail-oriented person at all, and he thought it was hilarious. After that some ladies from Bridge Bible stepped in and made us good food. Yay! So we didn't have to "rough it" the whole week, lol)

PS: I got to ride in a hot air balloon! The last day of VBS we had a carnival, and there was a real hot air balloon giving rides. It was pretty lame in terms of height and length of time, but it was a fun experience!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A teenager no longer...

I dreaded my thirteenth birthday. I did not want to be known as a teenager - that disagreeable term that conveyed stereotypes of lazy, rebellious, selfish creatures. However, it couldn't be avoided, and I turned 13 anyway. Gradually, and with a little help from Do Hard Things, I realized that the stereotype didn't matter. My actual character did. Teenagers can be good or bad, just like any age person. Having said that, I am happy to announce that as of today, I am no longer a teenager! Hurray! Hang in there, my brothers and sisters. Be one of the good ones.

This is a pre-written and -scheduled post, as I am at this moment in Ohio on my first official missions trip! :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Home again

We're back! As some of you know, my family went on a trip to Washington state (with a notable stop in Iowa!), to visit my grandparents. They used to live in California, but they moved to the little town of Sequim (pronounced "squim", lol) 3 or 4 years ago. So this was the first time we've been to see their "new" house. Also, it was my grandpa's 75th birthday!
We had a great time. I took LOTS of pictures, so I'll try and do some picture posts soon. Getting home hasn't slowed down the pace any, since camp is right around the corner. Pray that everything goes smoothly this year.

Oh, but it's good to be home again! And to see that my garden survived without me.  :-)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


 Laura sitting by her tomato plant she planted for me. It has a cage over it "so it can't escape".  :}

Introducing... "my" garden! This is our fourth and newest plot and is officially my responsibility. (Valerie has a plot to the immediate west and Stephanie has one near the tree line. Mom takes care of the Kitchen Garden.) In years past I haven't helped much with gardening but I wanted to this year. And I like it. I even like working with the aged horse manure, I mean, the dirt. ;) Tomatoes and sweet potatoes, yum!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Bye, Fluffy!

Fluffy moves out tomorrow. He's not going back to camp yet, but someone else is going to have him while we're out West. Believe it or not, I'm actually going to miss having him around. It's been cool watching him. Plus, he's a great icebreaker for visitors, and his heat lamp is great for reading by. :)

Yes, that's me holding him. He feels like a muscular, boneless, jointless human arm... except for the scales, of course. Surprisingly heavy and eerily strong. I like him better in the cage.

Thanks for the memories and the educational experience, Fluffy!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Beyond Blaze Again

The following account is not about the actual Blaze conference. But I think that it could rightly be described a result of it.

The week before Easter, my Great Uncle Jerry ;-) and Aunt Lucretia were in town, and my family wanted to go somewhere neat with them. They decided to go to the zoo. Unfortunately, the only day they could go was a day I had to work (argh, being in the workforce -.-), so I didn't get to go. The night before they were going to go, however, Michael made a suggestion that surprised me. Valerie and I were sitting on the couch, and he comes up to us, saying, "Hey Val, how about you and me go proselytize someone tomorrow?" Valerie did a huge double take at his vocabulary, but I replied right away, "Yeah! How about two people, one for each of you?" After we set Val straight on what he meant by proselytize (go up to someone at the zoo, start a conversation with them, and if possible share Christ with them), he excitedly came up with Inspiration #2: "How about everyone talk to someone? Liz can talk to someone at the library, Dad can talk to someone at work, Chris... etc." Ok, now this was getting personal. But hey, how can I say no? How could I want to? I've never seen this brother be excited about this stuff before! So I agreed. Now if I was in, I was going to be all in. So I started praying, and thinking about who I could talk to.

Now as it happened, Chris wanted to use the truck that day (he wasn't going the zoo either), so he dropped me off at the library. He said that he could pick me up when I was done, but I told him it wasn't necessary. I figured I would get a ride from someone. There's a certain really nice lady that I work with: she goes to church because her daughter likes going to Sunday School, but I don't think that she has a genuine relationship with Christ. Maybe I could talk to her. And, if she wasn't there, then I could just walk the two miles home. It was a nice day... and I might meet someone on the way.

Well, she wasn't working that day. Alright, walking it would be. Oh boy, talking to strangers. When my shift was over, I got on the library computers as is my custom. But it wasn't too long before I started to get fidgety. I had to get going. What if I was late for a divine appointment? So I got going.

It was a sunny and breezy day. Most of my route home is neighborhoods and lots of people were out and about. The first house I walked by the garage was open, and a guy was walking around, rather aimlessly it seemed to me. I wondered as I walked past whether he was who God wanted me to talk to. Now when you simply wonder instead of actually ask it's easier to substitute your own answer instead of God's. It's like pretending to listen. But God doesn't give up that easy. Several houses later, I still couldn't get the guy out of my head. All right, all right! I told God, "Ok, I'll turn around, and if he's still there, I'll talk to him."

Well, what do you know: he was still there. Here I go. I stepped into the driveway. "Excuse me?" He turned around. "Yes?" "Well," I answered, "I couldn't help but notice, but you didn't seem too busy... would it be all right if I asked you a question?" The guy was probably about my age. Not overly talkative or friendly, but not hostile either. He probably thought I was selling something. (Not entirely wrong, I guess). He shrugged, so I plunged ahead. "If you died tonight, do you know what would happen to you?" His face was getting more stoic by the second, but he shook his head no. "Well, if I could tell you how you could know you were going to heaven for sure, would that be good news?" Abruptly, he turned on his heel with a "Have a good day" and retreated into the garage. I was undeniably dismissed. Whoa! Must've hit a nerve there!

After that experience, I was tempted to think, "Well, that's enough. I've filled my out-of-comfort-zone quota for the day." But when you do something like talking to strangers for Jesus' sake, something funny happens. You get a shot of spiritual adrenaline. I wanted to try again. After all, I hadn't really shared the gospel with anyone yet. So I kept my eyes open.

Fast forward about a mile. I walk right past a certain playground, which of course was filled with people. On pretense of putting a can in the garbage I enter. It feels very odd to be here all by myself without some other kids with me. But today I have a mission. Who am I here to talk to? There's a nice looking lady with 2 young children on a picnic blanket... maybe her. I head in their direction... and chicken out. I walk right past them. Deja vu, anyone? I circle around again, and this time stop. "Hello." "Hi," The mom answers. She is friendly, and I am relieved. I comment on her cute kids. The little girl starts chattering with me. Then, I get sudden inspiration. I invite them to the Easter Egg hunt that our church is having this weekend. After some discussion on directions to get there, the lady mentions that they currently don't have a church that they attend. So I happily invited them to come any Sunday as well. No deeper topics were broached, but I continued on my walk happy and hopeful.

In the end, I never did actually "share the gospel" with anyone that day. But who knows what God will do by one girl's meager attempts to obey. Maybe that guy talked that night with his friend about this weird girl who wanted to tell him how to get to heaven, and maybe his friend is a Christian and has been waiting for an opportunity like this to share with him. Or maybe the lady (I know her name but am not going to share it here) will decide sometime that she wants to find a good church and will think of ours. In any case, now that I've met them, I can pray for them. A few more people in this world that aren't faceless to me anymore.

Working with Jesus is truly an adventure! And I know I haven't tasted the half of it.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

BLAZE & beyond...

Dare 2 Share 2010! The name of the tour this year was Blaze, and it was awesome. My dad, Chris, Valerie, Michael, Stephanie, and myself, along with our super youth group (27 people including leaders), all went, with a little help from "The Beast" (our "15 passenger" van).

In case you don't know, a Dare 2 Share conference is a two-day weekend that is all about mobilizing teenagers to share the gospel. There are thousands of people there, youth groups from all over the Midwest. So what did we do these past two days? Worshiped with Starfield, listened to teaching and hilarious stories by guys like Greg Stier and Zane Black, watched really intense skits, and were very challenged.

What I really came away with was how possible it is to share the gospel. Yes, it is very awkward to start conversations at first, but once you swallow your initial fear and just do it, it's not that hard. It doesn't matter if you know everything, because it's Jesus who does the saving, and the Holy Spirit who prepares and plans and works. Yes, you might lose "cool points", but isn't that was losing your life for His sake is all about? Jesus was definitely not concerned about what people thought of Him when He gave His life for us.

On Saturday there were a couple specific goals they challenged us to do that very day. One was the cell phone challenge. I'll tell you about my experience with that in a minute. Another one was to find a stranger during dinner and share the gospel with them. We ended up going to a little pizza joint, and I know I wasn't the only one who scoped out the place as soon as we got in there: 2 boys at one table, 2 girls at another, and a couple workers. Not really enough for 27 people to each witness to someone. But some boys went and talked to the two boys, some girls to the girls. Then Mrs. G (that's really what we call her) and Sarah went to talk to the employees, actually one in particular whose name is Lucy. Mrs. G asked her Lucy she knew if she knew where she would go, heaven or hell, when she died. Lucy said no, she had never thought about it. They got to talking a bit more, Sarah and Chris C. joining in as well. By and by they explained the good news of Jesus to her, and asked if she wanted to accept Christ as her Savior. And she was ready! She replied, "No doubt about it!" So they prayed with her, and now we who are in Christ have a new sister who was born yesterday! Incredibly, no customers came in that needed to be served the whole time they were talking with her. Also, Sarah had a Bible with her that she could give away. God is amazing!

Now about the cell phone challenge. Everyone had to call one friend who wasn't a Christian, and start a conversation with the purpose of sharing the gospel. And you didn't get off the hook if you didn't have a phone or bring it with you... you had to borrow someone else's once they were done. I borrowed my dad's phone, but the only person I could think of was my grandpa. I was pretty sure my grandma was a believer, though we had never talked of it, but I knew my grandpa was not. Usually he avoids talking about spiritual things. But, I called my grandparents' house, and someone answered, but  I couldn't hear a thing. I figured that it was because of the murmuring stadium that I was in the middle of, so I said into the phone that I would call in a half hour, and hung up. Next on the schedule was our lunch break, so I went outside of the restaurant and tried again, but the same thing happened. I could tell that someone had picked up, but I still couldn't hear anything. So very apologetically I said I would have to try later and hung up.

So today, Sunday, after church I called first to see if they were home... land line to land line, no connection problem this time... and then I hopped in the car and drove over. Chris came along too at the last minute. We got there and before we had been there very long, my grandma asks how the conference that we went to was. Ok. This was it. I took a deep breath and plunged ahead. "It was great. Actually, that kind of why we came over today." I then went into what the drama had been about and how it had made me realize that I needed to do what I could so people I cared about - them - wouldn't go to hell. I probably used similarly run-on sentences like that too. Well, they had not been expecting an answer like that. Awkward. Then I asked if she knew where she would go if she died. (At this point Chris split and went to talk to Grandpa, who had been listening from the other room. Thank You God for letting him come with me!) Grandma's reply was, "Heaven, I hope." So I probed a bit to see the reasoning behind her answer. She said it was because she believed; she agreed it didn't have anything to do with earning her salvation. I have to believe that God didn't want me to do any further persuading, because He didn't lead me to. But we did get into a honest conversation about church and such.  Meanwhile, Chris was talking to Grandpa in the other room. At first, Grandpa was like, "I'd rather not talk about it". But then Chris was just sitting there, not talking, so Grandpa started talking to break the silence. :) They talked about why bad things happen and I don't know what else.
In the end, no conversion happened there that day. But because we went over there, God was brought to the forefront their minds yet again, and they know that their eternal destiny is important to us.

It's funny, I almost didn't go to Blaze this year. After all, I already knew that I should share the gospel, and I already know how. Loud music isn't really my thing, it's geared for public-schooled people (btw that was a bad heart attitude on my part... better now), I'm really too old for it, etc etc. But I ended up going anyway. And I'm glad I did.  Jesus saves. The harvest is already white, but the laborers are few. Here am I, Lord, send me.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs... but mostly hymns.

A month or two ago, our church gave away all the hymnals to whoever wanted one. Now lest you think that our church doesn't sing hymns: that isn't true. Most weeks we sing a couple familiar ones. It kind of depends on who's on the worship team that week. And because we have the projector screen, the hymnals just aren't needed anymore. As it turns out, I had been wanting (praying for) a psalter or a hymnal for a long time (they don't exactly stock them at the library), so I was delighted to take a copy. And it's been such a blessing to me. As it turns out, it is the exact same hymnal that my other church used to use, and I knew quite a few of the songs in it.

My favorite way to use it is to just go through it and play the songs on the the violin while taking in the lyrics. Songs I knew, songs that looked familiar, songs that I'd never heard before. Good practice for my violin and my music-reading, but the songs themselves were the real treasures. Did you know there are songs about how to be holy? ("Take Time To Be Holy") There are songs on prayer, and missions, and service, and pretty much every aspect of the Christian life. Why don't we hear these songs anymore? There are songs of peace, security, and comforting. There are songs about God's majesty, and lots of songs about Jesus' incredible sacrifice. And then of course there are the Christmas songs. :) But I'll leave you with this one.
Come, all Christians, be committed
To the service of the lord;
Make your lives for him more fitted,
Tune your hearts with one accord.
Come into His courts with gladness,
Each his sacred vows renew,
Turn away from sin and sadness,
Be transformed with life anew.

Of your time and talents give ye,
They are gifts from God above;
To be used by Christians freely
To proclaim His wondrous love.
Come again to serve the Savior,
Tithes and off'rings with you bring.
In your work, with Him find favor,
And with joy His praises sing.

God's command to love each other
Is required of every one;
Showing mercy to one another
Mirrors His redemptive plan.
In compassion He has given
Of His love that is divine;
On the cross sins were forgiven;
Joy and peace are fully thine.

Come in praise and adoration,
All who in Christ's name believe;
Worship Him with consecration,
Grace and love you will receive.
For His grace give Him the glory,
For the Spirit and the Word,
And repeat the gospel story
Till mankind His name has heard.
"Come All Christians, Be Committed" Words by Eva B. Lloyd

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Aslan is on the move...

The first week of March is my favorite time of the whole year! At least weather-wise. It's that first hint of warmth after winter... the wondrous sunshine... the bright blue sky! It's when you realize you didn't have to wear your coat and gloves after all... when 40 degrees Fahrenheit actually feels great! But the air is still brisk and so deliciously fresh that you breathe deeply for the joy of it. It's the perfect weather for exercising. Maybe everything's not green yet, but that's all right. It'll come, and I'll enjoy that too. But this first week of March, that point where you realize that winter is capitulating to spring, this is glorious.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

A blog that is way more important and meaningful than mine.

Today, across the ocean, in the African country of Uganda, lives a 21-year-old young lady named Katie. Jesus called her to leave her comfortable life in the USA and she obeyed. Now she is a single mother to 14 adopted African girls and pours herself out for hundreds of other children there. Her life is not easy at all, but she has such tremendous JOY. She is living out the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And... she has a blog. It's inspiring and fantastic, but very challenging. So consider yourself warned. But read it anyway.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Illinois's First Mountain Range!

What do you get when you put together: 1 fresh snowfall of great packing snow + 1 morning with no pressing time commitments + 2 girls itching to build something really cool? Answer: Snow cones?
Valerie and I have been wanting to build something (reliving the good old days) for the past two years, but we never had the "perfect snow". We also discovered that it is hard to build giant forts and such without the boys. (Good packing snow is heavy!) So we did our own thing. It took about two hours to make 22 cones and we were too tired to do the other side of the driveway. ("Tomorrow", we said.) Of course the next day it was colder and the snow was horrible for packing!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Project Proverbs 365 - The Blog!

I started a new blog! Don't worry, my little readership, it won't replace this one. In fact, it isn't about what I have to say at all. It's simply a directory of all the Proverbs I'm memorizing, one a day. I think it will be a useful index, and typing them in will be a nice reinforcement. (Speaking of typing them in, I should mention that I am not caught up to today's verse yet. Hopefully that will not remain the case for long.) Though it was made mainly for my personal benefit, and I do not expect a horde of followers, I thought I'd make a mention of it.

As our pastor says, "May the Lord add His blessing to the reading of His Word." Amen.

Monday, February 15, 2010

More Grand Prix Car Pictures

Brian and David arranging the cars.

Center: Mine ("The Dice") Clockwise from top: Michael's "Clothespin", Laura's "Icecube", Brian's "Speed Van", Mom's "Upside-Down Flower Basket", David's "Like-the-sample-instructions Car", Stephanie's  "Skateboard". 

 Michael's was my favorite.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Grand Prix 2010

This was our first year doing the Awana Grand Prix at this church, and despite some differences, I think everyone had fun! There was a clubbers' and a leaders' division. Our family's cars are never big speed winners so we tend to go for Best Design, often with non-car designs. I didn't know what I wanted to do until the eleventh hour, because I really wanted to do something rectangular (a tradition starting with "Butter"), but Laura came up with a great idea the day before - dice! And then Chris and Michael did the drillwork. So all I did was sand and paint. But I am happy with how it turned out.

Before paint and wheels / After paint and wheels

The ribbon is just for participating. Sadly, the leader division had no Best Design judging.

If I can, I'll get a picture of our family's other cars. Stephanie made a skateboard and Michael made a working clothespin! (I think David was the only one that made a "real car", lol.)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Project Proverbs 365

Anyone into New Years' resolutions out there? It's not a tradition that I usually make much out of, but this year I decided on one. My resolution is to memorize a Proverb a day. Proverbs has been one of my favorite books of the Bible ever since the first time I read a chapter a day for a month and really meditated on the verses. I was amazed at how much they impacted my life. So now I'm going to hide them in my heart. My memorizing plan goes like this: Day of the month = Chapter #, Month = Verse #. So for example, July 15 would be Proverbs 15:7. Feel free to check up on me and see if I did my Proverb for the day. That's part of why I'm sharing. Happy New Year and God Bless!