Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Love wins.


A short "article" if you will on love. I prompted myself to write on a recent experience in 250 words. And I got 250 words exactly. ;) Enjoy, my friends, and learn. I don't see what happened as a mistake. I feel more loved than ever.
-Sarah

***

They did not expect it to end this way. They had hoped that perhaps it would never end, or at the very least if something did not fit. If they had to say goodbye, could it have not been done in person?

It could, but not this time. So here they sat peering at a computer screen, wondering what went wrong.

They both knew what it was, and yet, they did not blame it. They could choose to fight or to accept, and they finally, reluctantly, chose to accept. And what is more, they chose to accept with dignity and respect.

After all, that is what life is, choosing to see beauty or pain.

They chose beauty.

Instead of becoming bitter at the could-have-been’s, they smiled at the what-used-to-be. And instead of dwelling on that what-used-to-be’s, they put on a brave face and stepped out into a new adventure.

How is goodbye just as hard as I love you? They never expected to say either, but then the moment came, and suddenly, that was the only thing left to say. I love you, and then soon afterwards, farewell. 

However, I-love-you’s and farewells can go hand-in-hand. That is what they found. They found that in an unexpected goodbye, that love conquered even more.

Just because love could not manifest in a way that they expected did not mean that somehow love had been defeated or that love had failed. Somehow, in farewell, they found that love overcame far more.

Love wins.

Monday, December 24, 2012

The night before Christmas

It was the night before Christmas and all through the world
Everything looked like business as usual
Shepherds sat on a hillside looking up at the stars
While the world fell asleep unaware just how deep
Was the darkness the night before Christmas

And the night before Christmas it seemed to be just a night
But the wind blew like something was coming
And like children with secrets that they're bursting to tell
The cedars danced in the breeze while all of nature it seemed
Held its breath on the night before Christmas

And hope, hope long awaited
The hope of the ages
Would break with the dawn
And the song that all of creation was anticipating
Would start with a baby's first cry

And on the night before Christmas Mary laid down to rest
While Joseph, he paced the floor praying
And in an everyday stable, in an everyday town
In the hours to come God would wrap Himself up
And come down from heaven and the world would forever be changed
After the night before Christmas

-"The Night Before Christmas" by Steven Curtis Chapman

As a child, the story of Christmas was one of my favorites. I deeply admired Mary, young as she was, to accept God's blessing of a child, and to carry it and nurture it for nine months, and then continue to nurture God even more. My grandparents took me to see The Nativity Story when it came out in the theatre, but even before then, the picture painted of the story was this:

Mary and Joseph were traveling to Bethlehem. It took a very long time, so that by the time they arrived, it was time for little baby Jesus to be born. So they ran around (or rather, Joseph ran around) Bethlehem, looking for a place for the baby to be born, but there wasn't any place for them to stay. No one would give them room. But one person would offer an outside shed that smelt strongly of the animals, where Mary would collapse and give birth to the baby with only Joseph to catch the child. The shepherds would be out in the fields, freezing because it was winter, but watching the flocks nevertheless, and then the angels would appear to them, singing, and they would go back to Bethlehem to see the newborn baby.

However, when I went to Israel, I was offered a very different understanding. And let me say this up front: This does NOT change what Christmas is at all. Christmas, whether the Messiah was born in December or in September or in June, still is a time to remember that a Messiah was born, and that he was fully God, and fully man. It is a time to remember it with family, and to come together in one body. Now, on to a new thought of the story of Jesus' birth.

Miriam and Yosef (remember, we're speaking Hebrew ;) ) made the long trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem. And yes, it is a ways away. It's a couple hours by car (or bus), and there are a few interesting geological formations that would make travel difficult. So you can imagine Mary and Joseph taking their time to travel several days, especially with Mary being pregnant. Bethlehem is right outside of Jerusalem, about an hour or two walking. They would get to Bethlehem, Joseph's hometown, where his family would take them into their house.

People in the public area, with one girl climbing up the ladder
to the sleeping private area
This is a Middle East hospitality thing. People never turn down guests. Almost ever. You don't just leave a man and his wife (especially his pregnant wife) outside.  However, there would be so many people, that the "guest area" - that is, the main public room - would be crowded, so Joseph and Mary would be placed in the storage room to sleep. This is the room where animals would be put during the wintertime, when it is cold (and believe me, Jerusalem gets cold in the winter).
Most of this is the storage area, with people standing beyond
in the public area. It is a bit more private, no?
This is where the common understanding of the couple being placed in a cattle stall. And this would be where Mary would give birth. She wouldn't be alone. Joseph would probably be kicked out, along with the other men around, and Mary would be surrounded by the women in the storage room in order to give birth. This would probably the best place to have a child anyway, because you wouldn't want to do it in the public area, and the private home sleeping area is usually on an upper level - wouldn't want to be climbing up that ladder in labor.

So the baby is born, and Joseph comes in to see the baby like a proud papa, and everyone's happy. The shepherds are outside still - it is not winter, because winters are cold, remember? - with the sheep (I have my own bone to pick about sheep now that I've seen them in Israel, and I'll talk about that some other blog post), and the story goes on.

I kinda like this understanding better, because people generally don't "get" the Middle East until they've lived there, at least visited for a bit. Family is huge. Guests are treated well. You treat extended family and friends with the utmost respect. I like that.

Those are my thoughts this Christmas Eve, now that Christmas Eve is nearly over. So everyone, enjoy your family and friends. Love on your guests. Offer them tea and cookies as soon as they walk in the door (props if you offer Bedouin, chai, jasmine, or some other Middle Eastern-y tea). And remember our wonderful Savior.

Merry Christmas, friends.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Listen to your heart

**I realize that some people are going to disagree with this post. Sorry. I might have something wrong, but this is part of my understanding of the world, and in some ways it needs to be

Many books say it. Movies even more. TV shows, music, media - listen to your heart. And do we? We want to, I think. And then we run into Scripture like:

"All a man's ways seem right to him, but the Lord weighs the heart." (Pro 21:2)

"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails." (Pro 19:21)

"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps." (Pro 16:9)

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." (Pro 4:23)

And, my personal most annoying verse:
"The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" (Jer 17:9)


Don't get me wrong; it's not the verse itself that I have a problem with. It's really the interpretation that gets me.  Because obviously the heart doesn't know what it is doing, and yet, there are also verses such as:


"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer." (Ps 19:14)

"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." (Jer 29:13)

"You shall love the LORD your God will all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might." (Deut 6:5)


Okay, cool. The heart is deceitful above all things, but we must seek God with it. And love him with all our heart. If we do that, shouldn't that mean that our hearts are not deceitful?

I propose that we have been understanding "heart" all wrong. In Hebrew, the word used is lev. It means the literal heart. As in that organ in your body that has been pumping blood to your whole body since long before you were born. The organ the heart. Or, figuratively speaking, the mind.

Whoa, what? The heart is the mind? Yep. So you are supposed to serve God with all your mind. The meditation of your mind should be pleasing to God (which goes along with Philippians 4:8, whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy, think on such things). You shall see the Lord and find him when you seek him with all your mind.

The reason why I have such an issue is because I think that there is such a thing as intuition. That would be what people consider to be the "heart" in today's English figurative speech. I think that there is something like that. But to equal it with the Biblical heart, I'm not so okay with.

Why?

I trust my instinct. I trust my intuition. I trust the guidance of the Holy Spirit. (I can't explain instinct and intuition, and don't feel a need to, but the Holy Spirit surely does guide me in some things I can't explain!) Why? Because it has been right before.

For instance, once I was talking with some friends. They were talking about how there had been someone in the same room as them during a worship service, and they felt very on edge while he was there. It turned out that man didn't exactly have the cleanest record when it came to women. He was very carefully watched by someone higher-up while he was in the room, but these two women had still felt edgy. Honestly, as I remembered it, I had felt edgy, very wary, and had kept him in the corner of my eye.

How did I know that? How did those two other ladies know that? And, to make matters worse, they tried to tell one of their guy friends who they thought about as a brother. And he didn't get it! He just couldn't understand why these ladies had felt so wary.

In a world where the secular society is whispering, "Listen to your heart" and the church is saying, "DON'T listen to your heart," who do you listen to?

Who should you listen to?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What shall we expect?

One of the advantages of being in new place for school, let alone a place where everyone feels like a family, is that there is a whole new slew of perspectives to gather. I love it. Everywhere I go, I gather perspectives and opinions and advice. I really value it. Especially the perspectives of women older than me. Most have a very different view on life and being a woman than I do.

Recently, I've been considering the Bible's perspective on men and women. What is the role of a man in a home? What is the role of the woman? What does being the head of the household look like in a man that might not be suited for leading an army into battle (figuratively speaking, of course)? Does it mean that he is not a man?

It would be foolish to say that the quiet man is not a man. Each person has their own strengths and weaknesses.

However, perspectives must be considered. People expect other people to follow their personal expectations for how they should act. In relationships, people come in with expectations on what their loved one should do. Is that wrong? If it takes over your relationship, definitely. It's extremely important to be aware of expectations, because the sooner you are aware of them, the sooner you can let yourself be open to change.

I bring this up because recently I have been facing my own expectations in other people. So I'm doing what I can to compare them to the Bible and see whether it is a good expectation to have, or if I should eradicate it from my thinking.

I don't know yet. Sorry. I wish I had answers. What I do know is that things are not always what they seem, so I ought to view other people that way, and be open with my expectations. By that I mean not turning away from someone who does not meet a certain expectation, because it might not have a strong foundation.

It's a lot to think and pray on. Someday, I might find an answer.

Monday, August 27, 2012

By the way, I'm in Israel

Yes, it is true. I flew out of the States on Thursday of last week (the 23rd of August) and have been enjoying my time in Israel thus far. For those who don't know, I'm doing a semester abroad. So I will be away until December. So you can tune in on my Israel blog -www.streamsofthedesert.blogspot.com - or you can just wait around here until I post.  :P Your choice.

Shalom!

Monday, July 30, 2012

It seems crazy, but it's really not.

Much going on. Applied for my visa, started packing, began working on the new Israel blog. It'll look great soon, and I'll post the link for that very soon. My cousins are in from Hong Kong, so we've been over at my grandparent's house hanging out with them. We've watched a lot of Doctor Who, which I have fallen in love with. Fantastic show. Will talk more about it at some point later. Got my dad into Doctor Who too. Heh. Nearly finished painting the room. Some friends are coming in from Washington soon to visit, and I haven't seen them in... 2 years or so. Minus Skype calls. :)

I added little stickies to my computer keyboard so I can type in Hebrew without puzzling over which key is which. *grin* Summer classes are almost finished, just a project and an exam left.

This post is rather short, because it's been a while since I posted, but I'm spending most of my energy considering some rather deep things that, frankly, I should have dealt with before now. Prayer for that would be fantastic. I may write an ambiguous blog post about it later; we'll see. Depends on how well this goes in the meantime.

שלום
Sarah

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Let it go, and let it be

It seems that recently, the future has been taunting me. It has been out there saying, "Haha, Sarah! You can't catch me!" I can't catch the future, true, but the point is that I have been thinking a lot about the future.

I don't know the future (surprise, surprise), so I rarely step out and say specifically that I want to be somewhere in the future. But sometimes I have to do that. For instance, I had to think ahead when I declared my major, and when I decided on a minor. I had to think ahead in choosing my school.

But now, I've had to think ahead in where I might want to live. What? That's crazy, I say. I barely know what I want to do. I don't know who I'm going to marry. How can I think about that? Because it's not just about me.

I'm not going to go into all the details, and that's not why I came here for. When I started looking into how far certain jobs were to this place, I felt myself go into overdrive, and became completely overwhelmed.

Lord, this is crazy stuff. What shall I do?
Never mind. Let it go, and trust me.
But, God, I don't know what to do!
I said to stop worrying about it and to trust me.
But...
Dearest, let go. You are not strong enough to go through this. Let me do it instead. Don't you trust me?
Well, yes, but...
Then listen to me and do what I'm asking. Stop worrying. Don't be overwhelmed.
I don't want to let anyone down.
Don't worry about that.

And when the waves crash over me and I sigh heavily, trying to hold passion back, He comes and pokes me gently saying, "Let it go. Trust me. I've got your back. We can get through this together. You're not alone."

Let it go, and let it be.

Surely the God of all creation knows what He is doing. Surely He has plans for good and not for harm. Surely He knows our hearts and what we desire most.

That doesn't make giving it all up any less easy. It doesn't mean viewing the future won't make us shudder in fear. It means that when we shudder in fear or pain, He is with us, trying to help us let go and let Him be in charge. :)

"When you pass through the waters, I am there. You are mine."

Monday, July 9, 2012

Birds fly, some return

A couple weeks ago, I subscribed to a blog called "Embrace Grace." It's a ministry for young pregnant mothers in the church, and it provides them with a community and mentors to be with them through the journey of pregnancy and either adoption or mommyhood. I bring this up because this morning, the post began with a lovely quote by Bishop TD Jakes that really struck me hard:

"There are people who can walk away from you, and hear me when I tell you this! When people can walk away from you, let them walk. I don't want you to try to talk another person into staying with you, loving you, calling you, caring about you, coming to see you; or staying attached to you. Your destiny is never tied to anyone who left."

Wow. I've heard the analogy of "Like a bird, if it returns to you, it's yours, but if it doesn't, it never was" but this is more concrete than birds flying.

"Let them walk..." This must be the hardest part. When someone becomes so close to me, I want to cling them close, but that's not what I should do. We should hold them in open hands, so that if they choose to go, they may.

I've tried to convince someone to stay several times. That actually made them push away and leave more than ever.

Can I say I've learned my lesson? I hope. I hope that those I love now stick around because they really love me. I hope that I stick around for those whom I love. And I hope that if the time comes for them to fly off, that I can let them fly.

Will you let them fly too? If you don't, you'll never know if they were meant to return...

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Notice

It has come to my attention that some of you wanting to comment cannot. As in, you type up your comment nice and pretty, click publish, and then it disappears into oblivion.

I have not forgotten you! This evening I sat down with a friend, equipped with Skype, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and tabs of Blogger, Troubleshooting Blogger, and Keith Green (what? Gotta listen to something. :D). And... I think we figured it out. Maybe.

I think it's a third party cookie issue. So if you have disabled third party cookies, you will need to enable them. Another possible solution from my end I believe I have fixed, so if you could kindly (patiently!) try some test comments. Let me know in the comment what you're trying. And if you can't post, please email me at sarah.chayil@gmail.com This is a special email I made just for you all! :)

So please leave a comment, send me an email, help me figure out what's going on with this!

Thanks,
Sarah

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Just hanging around...

I have a new toy. *grin* Well, not really a toy. But it is my newest object, and ranks up there in favorites.

I have my own hammock. Really, I made my own hammock.

I've wanted a hammock for quite some time now. Several months ago, I did research into different types of hammocks, but I wasn't ready to shell out that type of money. I'd rather be saving for a kayak.

Then, just a few days ago, I got an email from REI highlighting some cool things. One in particular caught my attention, for a site called Outside Mom. I'm not a mom, but someday I'd like to be, and I'd really like to be an outside mom myself. The next thing that caught my eye (a nod to those of you who know this really, really awesome joke) was an article entitled, "Make Your Own Hammock." Needless to say, I was hooked. And completely surprised at how easy it was.

Supplies:
1 twin-sized sheet
2-3 feet webbing for each side of hammock
Sewing machine

Basically, you sew the edges on the two shorter sides over to make a little "pocket." Then you thread the webbing through and tie a knot. Repeat on the other side.

There's another version that doesn't require any sewing, but you can check it out here if you'd like.

Lindsey, the author at Outside Mom, suggested using a yardstick or a flyswatter to thread the webbing through. You tape the webbing to the end of the yardstick and then push it through. But I didn't have either. So... I used my bow.








 Then you tape the webbing to the bow. Scotch tape worked quite well. And then you push it all through the little pocket!

This is one end with the webbing through and tied off nicely. An ordinary knot will do; just take the two sides, hold them flat, and then carry both of them through the knot. Neat and secure (at least in the twenty-four hours mine has been tied as such).
 This is the completed hammock, with both ends threaded and tied. All that was left was to hang it!

Note: I made this one out of what I believe is Jersey cotton. It's very stretchy and soft. The soft part is great, but you have to keep in mind that the hammock gives quite a bit when you hang it. I'd like to try it with a plain cotton sheet, and perhaps with a folded in half king sized cotton sheet.

 The only thing that Lindsey did not mention in her article on how to make one of these nifty hammocks, was how to attach it to a tree. In the first picture of this post, I have attached it under my loft bed using two carabiners and two pieces of webbing 5+ feet long.

This is the obligatory Chaco picture, but it also shows (kinda) how I tied the hammock to the tree. Basically I took the webbing (the orange piece and the yellow one I used for the other side were both over ten feet, but they really didn't need to be that long), folded it in half, and then wrapped it around the tree. I threaded the ends of the webbing through the loop and tightened it against the tree so that it would not slip. Then I made a simple double knot (also known as a figure eight), keeping a loop on the other side. It was through this loop that I clipped the carabiner. There's probably a more secure way of doing it, but this way worked just fine for me, and it also held my dad up when he tried it.

See? It holds up quite well! (I even slept in it last night)


I took the hammock outside and found two nice trees to attach it to, and thus spent the afternoon in lovely 80-degree weather with some books from the library and my water bottle (celebrating the finish of my first summer class!). There was even a well-placed smaller tree on the side that I could push with my foot in order to make myself rock. When I finally got down to fetch my laptop to do some online work, I found myself a bit unsteady, as if I had been on a boat! I had to laugh at myself a bit.

That's all for now! Shalom, everyone. I'm going to enjoy my hammock.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Joy of friends and sand castles

Sarah just got back from a wonderfully amazing weekend with three of her dancer family. She is now pleasantly exhausted and entirely not ready to face the rest of this week. She will post pictures when she is not half-asleep and speaking in the third person.

Actually, she is so proud of her lovely sand castle that she decided to post pictures of that now.

The sand castle! Complete with moat of water

Sarah decides to pose with said castle

Sarah is rather happy from the day and jumps while Aaron is taking this picture. Rather, before it.

The castle has a flag! And a foot in the background...
And now Sarah is going to bed to recharge for this week. But she is so filled with joy at seeing her dear friends and spending time "existing" with them, that she felt the need to share her joy with her blog readers. Who may or may not exist. :D

Monday, June 11, 2012

Yay! Sarah decided to post again!

Update on things. School is crazy this week. I have a lab exam and two lecture exams to do this week, along with a paper and two paragraphs. Some of these will be due at the beginning of next week, but I'm going down to Virginia Beach this weekend, and I do NOT want to be studying in the car. I've done that before and it is not fun. So I'm going to kill all free time this week and kick this work to the curb before enjoying my friends.

My room is clean today. It's very exciting, especially since I'm pretty sure I haven't seen all of the floor of my room for three years. The carpet also got cleaned today, so I am a happy camper. Now I need to keep it clean. Surprise, surprise, I do like the room and my working space being clean, but other things take precedence over deep cleaning. I ended up shoving some stuff in some boxes in the closet, so I need to go through those and get rid of old stuff. I have so much random junk. And now, a peek at Sarah's clean floor. It truly is a miracle (so would say my parents and sister).

In two days, the house is going to change dramatically. This story requires a bit of back story. When my dad and stepmom, Susan, starting going on mission trips to Haiti, they met a teenage girl named Lancie who has a severe back deformity. She's in a wheelchair. So they, by God's amazing sovereignty and grace, found a way to bring her to the States to have surgery to correct the kyphosis in her back. There is a hospital in Texas who is doing the surgery pro bono, I believe, and God has just blessed Dad and Susan by providing for needs. Lancie and her mother are now presently in the States, in Texas at the hospital, where Lancie had to go through preliminary stuff to make sure all would be well for the surgery in August. It's all been a bit crazy, but there are still at least eight weeks until the surgery. So Lancie and her mother are going to live in our piano room until then. Pretty cool and crazy. Especially since Lancie and her mom don't speak English. They understand bits of Spanish and French, so my sister Rachel and I will be able to communicate a little bit with them. Dad's the best at Haitian Creole, mainly because he has been consistent in learning and practicing using CD lessons.

So in the next eight weeks or so, I'm going to be working on my online courses while helping Lancie and her mom get acclimated to American life (and English), painting the spare bedroom (oops, I forgot to mention that...), painting my own room, and probably keeping an eye on my feisty three younger brothers.

And there are so many things other than that occurring this summer. Maybe I won't have to default to scheduled posts after all.

 And here is also a rather blurry picture of me in the clean room, courtesy of my webcam and low lighting. I apologize. I hope to buy a camera in the next few weeks so I have a way to properly document my time in Israel this fall. Squee! I'm so excited. Minus the fact that I need to send in my visa application. >_>

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Patience - Scheduled Post #4

Another poem from the bowels of my Creative Writing folder.


Patience

Patience.
Time flies fast enough
Don’t worry it away
Don’t look so far ahead
You miss what’s in front of you

Patience.
God’s got the best plan out there
He knows what He’s doing
He wants you to wait
It’ll be that much sweeter when it comes

Patience.
It’s so hard sometimes
But it’s so worth it
Time is precious
Don’t waste it pining for the future

Patience.
It’s a forever fruit
Even when you don’t have it
We struggle with time
You can wait as well as I

Patience!
Sit down. Relax.
Be still. Rest in God’s sovereignty.
Surrender yourself to Him
He will give you strength, strength to fly.

Patience my friend, patience.
I’ll wait with you
We can pace, we can pray
We can hold each other’s hands for support
I support you, you support me

Patience.
A man helps his brother up.
I won’t leave you alone.
I won’t abandon you.
We will stick together in learning
Patience

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Caution: Disaster Room - Scheduled Post #3

Another scheduled post. Sorry. I'm just preparing.

The following is a prompt I did for Creative Writing a year and a half ago. I had some fun with it, so enjoy!



Caution: Disaster Zone Room

Just stop.
Step back slowly.
Don’t come any closer.
I know it looks like a tornado came through
I have my reasons for living in it.

Don’t touch that pile!
It’s there for a reason!
Underneath those T-shirts
Are my library books.

That pile looks like dirty clothes,
But it’s protecting my Stats book.
It’s keeping it warm at night.
(Especially since the cat likes to sleep there)

Oh, no, don’t step on that sweatshirt!
My glasses case is hiding there;
As is my latest crocheting project.
The cats like to play with it.
I don’t want it ruined like the last one,
Which the cats tore up,
Once I put it on the shelf.

Don’t get me wrong,
I don’t like the mess.
I don’t like stepping on awry school papers.
I don’t like living in a disaster zone.
But I don’t have time
To keep it organized any other way.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

With One Voice - Scheduled Post #2


Many Hands, Many Voices, One Mission
Many Hearts, Many Voices, One Song

“With one voice, we will sing, every tribe and every tongue brings a harmony. With one voice we bring Heaven’s beautiful melody down to this earth as we sing to our King with one voice.
Oceans divide us, but we sing together. Now what defines us is our love for You. From every nation all across the borders. Together to bring a song to the world for your glory.”
~”With one voice” by Steven Curtis Chapman

“With one voice” by Steven Curtis Chapman has definite meaning during Foreign Language Week. He speaks of each tribe and nation having a harmony to the worldwide song we sing. That song is our mission. The song speaks of our love for God and beckons others to join in the marvelous harmony. Just as harmonious songs are lovely, so our universal mission is beautiful. Each tongue or language supports the mission song, just as harmony in a song sustains the melody. As Christians, our melody is the one Elohim sung at creation. The one Yeshua continued during his time on earth. Each person who loves God adds their own voice to the mix. And how lovely the song is in many tongues! God himself is exalted by the beauty brought by our mission song.
We give our hands to the song, lifting them high to praise Adonai’s holy and precious name. We join hands to dance together, to show others the joy we find in our mission song. We delight in this song, this dance of love. The Lord himself gave us the command to rejoice in Him. What better way to show our joy of worshipping God than to invite others into it? It is beautiful when a group of people sings harmony. But greater is their joy if someone new steps forwards and joins them in magnificent song!
That is our mission. We join our hands and our voices together to complete our mission. That mission is to add more harmonies to Heaven’s choir.










Sarah, grade 10

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Small bit of excitement

I'm very happy to announce that this month has received more views than any other month during the time I have had this blog! Yay!

And now I'm going to go back into hiding. :)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Where is your life story? - Scheduled Post #1

I remember those days shortly before fourth grade began. I saw a beautiful purple notebook with yellow stars on it, and I fell in love for the first time. An hour later, I held the notebook tight to my chest as we drove home. A few days later, when we went to the aquarium, I saw another tiny notebook, as big as my hand, that I fell in love with as well. In that small notebook covered in dolphins, I kept barely five entries. The purple one grew with me all the way to... well, its very last entry is waiting for this fall when exactly ten years will have elapsed.

In the purple journal, I have entries from late 2002 all the way through 2012, with entries describing big events. With any of the journals I kept, I enjoy rereading through the entries. It's very neat to go back through and see the kinds of things that were important to me. It's like... going back in time. Occasionally I would write down interesting dreams, so I can go back and remember the dream as it happened.

Writing has been part of me even before I started writing stories. The first story I wrote (with the exception of those horrid stories I wrote for school) was in 2005, when I read and fell in love with A Wrinkle in Time. I'm not sure why I decided to write, but I'm sure glad I did!

This picture is of the shelf in my room dedicated to my journals. There are a lot, but these were collected over a period of ten years. The first one is the journal I got at the aquarium. The first entry in there is from September 1, 2002, eleven days before the first entry in the purple journal. The last journal is my current journal, with the latest entry being just a few days ago - May 13, 2012. It's really crazy to think of filling all of these up with my thoughts or stories. Of course, some of those journals have only a couple entries in them, but many of them are filled to the brim with my thoughts or prayers. Yes, many of the later journals have written prayers in them. I believe I started writing my prayers in 2007, when a leader at youth group talked about how she wrote prayer requests down to see later when they had been answered. As a result of writing those prayers, I can now go back and see things I was struggling with when I was thirteen. I can trace my spiritual journey as well as my life journey. It's really neat.

Sometimes I feel a bit self-conscious about the journals, as I think about the future, and how someday my children or grandchildren might find an old box of my journals, and read through them to find out how life was like in my days. There's a ton of personal stuff in there, not to mention the fact that I sound extremely silly in many entries. I'm not going to expound on that.... heh heh.

Because I have been writing for over half my life (now THAT is a scary thought), I can watch myself grow and develop from the strange little eight-year-old that I was, to the confident young woman I am now. It's neat. And I know I'm not the only one with such a time capsule as this.

Are any of you artists? Compare your first sketch with your last masterpiece. Compile the pictures together and see what themes arise. I know, it sounds like the English classes in high school that you dreaded, but it is true! Look closely enough, and a story will arise from between the threads of a colored pencil to the arc of an oil paint.

Usually, a pattern can be seen in those who do arts. But what about the sciences? I would hope that any chemist or doctor would record in some way their growth from making baking soda volcanoes or dissecting worms to exploding gasses and surgeries. There is a story to tell in everyone's life.

For some reason, I have been spending an inordinate amount of time reminiscing about my life thus far. I'm not quite sure why, but I've enjoyed it to an extent. Sure, it's not fun to drudge up painful memories, but I do enjoy seeing how I grew through those experiences. Where did you grow? It's often the last thing on our minds when we are in a difficult situation, but adversity makes us grow. There is no denying it.

So where do you see your life story? Take a moment and think about it. What would you change? Then go and make your life so you wouldn't change anything about it now.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Upcoming

I have taken the liberty of setting several posts on a schedule to post twice a week - once on Tuesday and once on Thursday. I have four set up, and I will continue to add them as I find time. However, I would appreciate some feedback from my lovely readers. What kinds of things would you like for me to post? I have a whole arsenal of poetry and short stories. Or would you prefer to see posts that I wrote some years ago that would be blog posts if I'd had a blog back then? I'll throw some of each into the scheduled posts, but please let me know.

Thanks! Have a wonderful day! Shalom!

Also, just for your enjoyment, here is a picture taken when I was six.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Is it summer even if I still have to take classes?

In about three hours, I will be preparing for the beginning of my first summer class: microbiology. This is one of the things that studying abroad did. Normally, nursing students take microbiology fall of their sophomore year, before clinicals start in the spring. However, because I will be abroad in the fall, I had two options: take microbiology in the spring and take it alongside clinicals, or take it the summer before studying abroad. I originally planned to take it in the spring, but then I decided to take my second semester of Hebrew independent study in the spring, so micro got pushed back to the summer. So that is why I will be dying the next six weeks. Well, more than just microbiology. As if that wasn't enough, I'm also taking Communications and History in order to get more general education credits finished. You see, I am also an adventure education minor. If I want to get anywhere near finishing the minor, I need to finish as many gen-eds as possible so I have room for the adventure ed classes. Communications is a 12-week class, also beginning today (though I sent in my first assignment yesterday, haha), and History is 8 weeks, beginning on May 30th. So if you see me during June, it will likely be due to procrastination. Or, I suppose, I could write a couple posts in advance and set them on a schedule to post so I don't have to later. *shrugs* I don't know for sure.

All that to say, I'm a bit nervous. While this is not the first time I'm taking a rather intense course in a short amount of time (remember January term), this is the first time since first grade I am taking a class in a secular setting. I went to Christian school from second grade (the little bit it was) to twelfth grade, and now I go to a Christian college. Right now I'm just praying I can understand the professor and that I end up with a good lab partner. I would also appreciate prayers that somehow, I can be a light to those in my class. In my lab sciences at Messiah and in high school, the professor would usually get excited about how cool God's creation was, and I would be super excited too. Now, I'm going to be the only one fostering that excitement. I hope I can keep it up, even when no one else can see why.

I hope you have a wonderful day! It's beautiful outside here, and even if it is not where you are, it is a new day.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Happy Mom's Day!

In honor of the day that we set aside each year to celebrate the women in our lives, I have written a poem. Thanks Mom, as well as the other women I have adopted as mothers over the years as well. Who ever said mothers had to only be the woman who gave birth to you? :)


To be a mother

She means more to you than you know.
She is the first to understand you
You move, and she smiles at the days ahead
Eagerly counting down the days until
The barrier of flesh and distance no longer
Keep her arms from holding you

She sacrifices more than you know
She gives up time that once was hers
So you would be complete
She shares her heart with you
Sustains you before you could
Brings you, crying, into her world
Mother’s tears are gems

Those arms suddenly become more than arms
Their presence meant you weren’t alone
From fingers wiping away tears
To tickling your soft skin
From hands rubbing your back when you hurt
To holding you close
Hands are meant for loving
A mother’s hands are also meant for comfort

She gives hugs that are more than hugs
They fill you with warmth
They are arms of strength
They are the medium by which
She teaches you how to face life in the world
The world is a far cry from the safety of home
She doesn’t want to let you go
Yet knowing she must for you to grow

She teaches you that home is more than a place
It is where your heart resides
She knows you are not hers forever
That you are a gift to her
And a gift she must pass on to others as well
Mothers are born in the heart
They know when to adopt

Mothers mean more to us than we know