Sunday, May 30, 2010

Just more final post!

I'm currently in the adorable little town of Estes Park with my family. It's my last full day with them until August. So far, the drive up to northern CO has been fabulous. The first night, we stayed in Raton, NM. The second night, it was Col. Springs, and tonight we're in Estes Park. The drive from between Denver and Estes Park must have been my favorite. Rolling green hills and fields with farmland and the mountain backdrop. The perfect place for simple, country future dream place for a ranch full of horses, dogs, gardens, and all that is divine!

The picture to the left is of my daddy and me at the Rocky Mountains. We would have posed towards the mountains covered in snow, but my camera couldn't adjust to the lighting from that other view. The route through the Rocky Mountains was glorious and majestic!! We were able to see a ton of elk and play in a bit of snow (which is fascinating to us Arizonans!).

My bro and sis! My mom didn't make it into any of my cell phone pics because she didn't step out of the car (haha, she's not very adventurous!).

Bow your heavens, O LORD, and come down! Touch the mountains so that they smoke! ~ Psalm 144:5

Okay, this is my real "farewell!" to blog world! haha! Tomorrow morning we shall leave to Windsor, which is about an hour east from here, I think. I will be attending the "welcome" banquet for all the students at Ellerslie in the evening. I just can't believe that I'm going to finally be with all the wonderful ladies I've met through Ellerslie. Many of them have become such precious sisters in the Lord! I'm looking forward to developing deeper friendships with them, as well as meet Eric and Leslie Ludy. It's so strange to think that picking up their book, When God Writes Your Love Story, over 2 years ago would have led me to follow their ministry and then onward to this path to Ellerslie. *sigh* God's glorious ordaining! :-)

Lord be near you all!

As I went down in the river to pray

Studyin' about that good ole way

and who shall wear the starry crown

good Lord show me the way

O sisters let’s go down, let’s go down, come on down

O sisters let’s go down, down in the river to pray

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Farewell blog world!

I wish all my readers a glorious summer! I will have much to share when I return from Ellerslie! I leave you all with some words from Psalm 19. Read it along with Psalm 119. They both go very well together.
The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
~ Psalm 19:7-11

Here are some pictures of me and my little Beagle-boy (haha, he's 10 years old, but he thinks he's a puppy). We spent the other day together by the poolside. :-)

Beagle face!!!!

He didn't want to look at the camera. haha!! It's awkward taking pictures with your phone.

Silly kisses!!!

Here comes my boy!
*sigh* I'm going to miss Shelby.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Of books, deep thinking, family, and packing wonders!

My days at home are numbered!

Yesterday, I received my final packages from Amazon of the books that I ordered for Ellerslie. It's unbelievably exciting to open up a box of fresh books that are pleading to be read! On top of the four books I needed to buy for Ellerslie, I bought several other books this past week. The book shelves on my wall are pretty much full, so I was forced to transition several of those books to my upright book shelves. My room is filling up!! Although, not quite up to par with my sister's room, yet.

To think that I shall be on the Ellerslie campus this day next week is....really strange. haha! I haven't been away from home and family for more than 3.5 days - what will it feel like to be away for 10 weeks, with limited phone use and no internet? My greatest fear: that I will grow so accustomed to Ellerslie-life that I won't want to return home (not that I won't want to be back with my family, though!). Haha...okay, so one of my most prominent flaws is that I idealize people and places that meet my expectations/dreams/wishes. All that Ellerslie and the people there encompass is very much where my heart has been for several years now. I am blessed beyond measure to be given the chance to live amongst such God-fearing, Christ-exalting brothers and sisters. My biggest prayer is that my life at Ellerslie will extend far past this summer. By that, I mean that everything I learn there, the changes that take place in me there, the Lord's purifying of my heart, the people I know there and their impact on my life will abundantly overflow into my life here in AZ with my family. Everyone falls into a rut. Everyone grows complacent and tired. But no matter the fleshly temptations, I don't want to! By God's grace, I don't want to!! I feel as if I've come to this place of limitations and being stuck over the past years. Now, this is not to deny the Lord's gracious providence and workings in my life. What I mean is that I feel stuck in this fleshly rut - the way I treat/regard my family, the things I say, the things I do, the way I react, how I spend my money and time, etc etc - all entrenched in a very self-based kind of living. I've been inclined to assign all my fleshly ways to "that's just my personality type" or "that's the Pajak-family way." No. No. No. I tell myself, enough of that tomfoolery! But again and again I end everyday having done/said things that I'm very ashamed of. How do I even begin to apologize for all my mess-ups? They're overwhelming when I think about them! I can't even get over my ugly, prideful self to actually apologize.

It's easy for me to be more loving, patient, and giving to people who are not my immediate family members. It's easy to be more selfless to friends. But family? You see each other at your worst every single day and, sooner or later, you just stop bringing each other the best that you have to give. Your habits, your thoughts, your inclinations, etc all become irritating as some point in your relationship. I'll just be blatantly honest and say that when I went through a relationship last year, all these things (the way I treat my family, the way I regard them, etc) scared me so much that I was daily burdened by fears and doubts about the way I'd treat my future husband/family if that young man (who I ignorantly looked up to and idealized at the time) was the "One." After that relationship ended and after the time of grief that followed it, I found so much relief and freedom in being single. I actually found myself completely at peace with the prospect of remaining single my entire life that I was glad. Although I am still at peace with remaining single, one thing I have learned since that time is that family is a beautiful, God-ordained unit. It should be sought for, prepared for, and protected. Now, I have new desires for my future husband and family, but I'm not anxious about them because I know that the Lord has so much for me to do and learn now. And oh, how I long to learn! I've never been this insatiable about learning before. I want to know everything and be everywhere! I want to learn more about my Lord, the Gospel, His Word! At home, I want to learn everything about homemaking - from housekeeping, baking and cooking, meal planning, nutrition, natural health, sewing, gardening, knitting. I want to continue learning music - guitar, songwriting, mandolin, ukulele, world music styles, music theory, recording arts, mixing. And more! I want to get out and meet people in all these fields who I can learn from. I feel as if life is so full and overflowing right now!

But the thing about learning is that it requires much humility. Acquiring skills and knowledge doesn't happen in a day and, at times, that frustrates me when I desire to be so accomplished in those things. I can be quite obstinate and impatient during the learning process, wanting to do things all by myself and "my way" (You want to know horror stories about that, ask my mother, who had to homeschool me for 12 years). It's on those days that I refocus my efforts and look to the Cross. I realize that this life on earth is not about what I would make of it, but what He would make of it for His glory and kingdom. It's about His molding of me into His image, which means that, most of the time, it's not about what I'm getting out of this life, but what I'm giving - mainly, to my family. And this brings me back to what I was saying in the beginning of this ramble. If all I do in this life is stay at home, be a faithful daughter and sister, care for my family, treat them and love them as Jesus has done to me, then I pray that when I enter in to the prescence of my King that I might hear Him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master."

I don't feel very good or faithful at the moment. Good thing my feelings aren't Divine Truth, nor do they rule my life. Thank you, my Lord.

My sister would complain that these photos are awful and must be photoshopped. I say, who cares! Real life isn't photoshopped. ;-P
And here you shall see my packing skills! Can you believe there's an ironing board at the bottom of that? And there's a blanket, towels, and bed sheets in there, too! Still a few more things that need to go in there, but it will be a tighty and comfy fit! It may not look like much, but it's enough clothing and practical items to last the summer. Thank you, Father!

‘All the paths of the Lord are lovingkindness.’ I found that in RV lately (Psalm 25:10) and have found it feeds. All does not mean "all but these paths we are in now" or ‘nearly all, but perhaps not just this specially difficult and painful one.’ All must mean all. So your path with its unexplained sorrow, and mine with its unexplained sharp flints and briers, and both with there unexplained perplexity of guidance, their sheer mystery, are just lovingkindness, nothing less. I am resting my heart on that word. It bears one up on eagle’s wings; it gives courage and song and sweetness too, that sweetness of spirit which it is death to lose even for one half hour.
God bless you and utterly satisfy your heart with Himself. I remember in old days almost desperately repeating to myself these lines from Tersteegen:
Am I not enough, Mine own?
Enough Mine own for thee?
…Am I not enough Mine own?
I for ever and alone,
I, needing thee?
It was a long time before I could say honestly ‘Yes’ to that question. I remember the turmoil of soul as it were yesterday, but at least, oh the rest, ‘for in acceptance lieth peace.’
~ Amy Carmichael

Think of yourself as belonging first to your Lord and then to all, Servant of all. In serving any one of the ‘all’ you are serving Him who is your Lord. Life is never lonely or empty if we keep Him where He must always be, in the first place.
~ Amy Carmichael

Monday, May 24, 2010

Visionary Monday: Husbandhood & Wifehood

Every husband of a Christian wife should walk with her in common love for Christ. There are some husbands, however, who fail in this. They love their wives very sincerely, and make many sacrifices for their sake. They carefully shelter them from life’s rude blasts. They bless them with all tenderness and affectionateness. They honor them very highly, bringing many a noble achievement to lay at their feet, and showing them all homage and respect. They do everything that love can suggest to make their earthly happiness full and complete. They share every burden and walk close beside them in every way of trial. But when they come to the matter of personal religion they draw back and leave them to go alone. While the wife goes into the sanctuary to worship the husbands waits without. At the very point where his interest in her life should be deepest it fails altogether.

Surely it is a great wrong to a woman, tender and dependent, to leave her to walk alone through this world in her deepest life, receiving no sympathy, no companionship, no support, from him who is her dearest friend. She must be silent to him concerning the experiences of her soul in its spiritual struggles, aspirations, yearnings, hopes. She must bear alone the responsibility of the children’s religious nurture and training. Alone she must bow in prayer before God. Alone she must sit at the Lord’s table.

It cannot be right that a husband should leave his wife to live such a large part of her life without his companionship and sympathy. His love should seek to enter with her into every sacred experience. In no other way could he give her such joy as by taking his place beside her as a fellow-heir of the same grace. It would lighten every burden, since he would now share it with her. It would bring new radiance to her face, new peace to her heart, new zest to all life for her. It would make their marriage more perfect and unite their hearts in a closer union, since only those realize the full sweetness of wedded life who are one at every point and in every feeling, purpose and hope, and whose souls blend in their higher, spiritual part as well as in their lower nature and experiences. Then it would also introduce the husband himself to sources of blessing and strength of which he has never known before; for the religion of Christ is a reality and brings the soul into communication with God and with infinite springs of comfort, help, and blessing. In sharing her life of faith and prayer he would find his own life linked to heaven. United, then, on earth in a common faith in Christ, their mutual love mingling and blending in the love of God, they shall be united also in heaven in eternal fellowship. Why should hearts spend years on earth in growing into one, knitting life to life, blending soul in soul, for a union that is not to reach beyond the valley of shadows? Why not weave for eternity?

A true wife makes a man's life nobler, stronger, grander, by the omnipotence of her love 'turning all the forces of manhood upward and heavenward.' While she clings to him in holy confidence and loving dependence she brings out in him whatever is nobles and richest in his being. She inspires him him courage and earnestness. She beautifies his life. She softens whatever is rude and harsh in his habits or his spirit. She clothes him with the gentler graces of refined and cultured manhood. While she yields to him and never disregards his lightest wish, she is really his queen, ruling his whole life and leading him onward and upward in every proper path.

But there are wives also like the vines which cling only to blight. Their dependence weak, indolent helplessness. They lean but impart no strength. They cling but they sap the life. They put forth no hand to help. The loll on sofas or promenade the streets; they dream over sentimental novels; they gossip in drawing-rooms. They are utterly useless, and being useless they become burdens even to manliest, tenderest love. Instead of making a man's life stronger, happier, richer, they absorb his strength, impair his usefulness, hinder his success and cause him to be a failure among men. To themselves also the result is wretchedness.

Dependence is beautiful when it does not become weakness and inefficiency. The true wife clings and leans; but she also helps and inspires. Her husband feels the mighty inspiration of her love in all his life.. Toil is easier, burdens are lighter, battles are less fierce, because of the face that waits in the quiet of the home, because of the heart that beats in loving sympathy whatever the experience, because of the voice that speaks its words of cheer and encouragement when the day's work is done. No wife knows how much she can do to make her husband honored among men, and his life a power and a success, by her loyal faithfulness, by the active inspiration of her own sweet life.

~ Selections from J.R. Miller's The Family

These were some of the first excerpts I ever read from J.R. Miller and it was transforming to my view of wifehood. Now, I appreciate and admire the glories of Biblical wifehood and what it must entail.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Discipline, preparation, and worship!

I wish words came easily to me. And I wish I knew how to organize my thoughts. I would probably blog more regularly if I had the discipline to organize my many threads of thought. I usually have an assortment of ideas running through my head for blog posts throughout the day. However, I rarely ever make note of them. *sigh* At times, I truly love to write and it has been a secret ambition of mine for the past several years to write Christian non-fiction - writings along similiar lines of Amy Carmichael and Lilias Trotter. For the present, I'm still improving myself in journaling, which, I consider, to be the most important area of writing for a disciple. Documenting life's struggles, blessings, and the Lord's faithful providence, wisdom and teaching, and grace is, I think, a large part of sharing your 'testimony' to others. It's an accumulation of all the wisdom you receive from the hand of God over the years and those souls that He appoints in your life to be an outpouring of His grace and instruction in the Way. I pray that the Lord really grounds me in solid discipline at Ellerslie, that it will be something I remain faithful to, by His grace, even when I return home.
Preparation for Ellerslie has been going well. After many tiring days of shopping, I think I have all the necessities. I ordered the books that were recommended for Ellerslie students. I received Reese Howells, Intercessor (Norman Grubb) today, but I'm anxiously awaiting the others:
- The Scottish Chiefs - Jane Porter
- any biography of C.T. Studd by Norman Grubb
- Gold Cord - Amy Carmichael
- Biography of Amy Carmichael - Elisabeth Elliot
- E. M. Bounds - Power Through Prayer (or the Complete Works of E. M. Bounds)
To my suprise, I have had the opportunity to make some extra cash before I leave to Ellerslie. The Lord granted me an occasion to babysit and then assist my audio-instructors (from my college) in a mobile recording gig (something I never thought I'd be asked again to do outside of my internship this past semester). Two very unexpected opportunities to make extra $$ = totally God faithfully providing! In the words of a Newsboys' song - "How do I show gratitude to one as glorious as You - I don't know, I'll just praise You!"
My favorite songs to praise the Lord with are, usually, by a Messianic-family group called Zemer Levav (Songs of the Heart). I highly encourage everyone I meet to listen to their music. You can listen to their music on their website and read all their latest updates. Who doesn't love Israeli-styled worship music?
Have I mentioned how much I long to do what they do? Traveling minstrel-missionaries, leading people into the presence of God. My heart for missionaries and ethnic-worship longs for such a life - to reach the afflicted and the hungry souls and share with them the Gospel and bring them into deep intimacy with the Lord through music.
In the midst of all this preparation, family/friend gatherings, college graduation, and getting my driver's license (woohoo!! Finally!), I have one regret. I haven't picked up my guitar(s) in quite awhile. I haven't really played anything, nor I have I truly written anything for months. I long to be faithful to the musical gifts that the Lord has so graciously given me. Although I hope to do some playing while at Ellerslie, I pray that I might be able to seriously take up my guitar (and my mandolin and ukulele!) and songwriting again in the fall. Although I have had to make other things a priority over music, I know that I cannot let these skills fall to the wayside. Thus another area in which I need discipline! I haven't any idea where the Lord might call me to use music for His glory and His kingdom, but I know that He desires me to cultivate and nurture what He has given me in my music education these past 9 years.
No one else will ever let me live
This life I live in You
And no one else will ever take the place
That I have made for You
And no one else could ever fit the mold
That You have cast for me
You are my God I will bow down before You
You are my God I will lift up Your Name
~ Kerah Hanes, Zemer Levav
I'll blog some more before I leave...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Visionary Monday: Wedded Life

An important element in married life is unity of interest. There is danger that wedded lives drift apart because their employments are nearly always different. The husband is absorbed in business, in his profession, in severe daily toil; the wife has her home duties, her social life, her friends and friendships, her children; and the two touch at no point. Unless care is taken this separation of duties and engagements will lead to actual separation in heart and life. To prevent this each should keep up a constant living interest in whatever the other does. The husband may listen every evening to the story of the home life of the day, its incidents, its pleasures, its perplexities, its trials, the children’s sayings and doings, what the neighbors said who dropped in, the bits of news that have been heard, and may enter with zest and sympathy into everything that is told him. Nothing that concerns the wife of his heart should be too small for even the gigantic intellect of the greatest of husbands. In personal biography few things are more charming and fascinating than the glimpses into the homes of some of the greatest men of the earth, when we see them, having laid aside the cares and honors of the world, enter their own doors to romp with the children, to listen to their prattle, and to talk over with loving interest all the events and incidents of the day’s home history.
In like manner, every wise and true-hearted wife will desire to keep up an interest in all her husband’s affairs. She will want to know every burden, every struggle, every plan, every new ambition. She will wish to learn what undertaking has succeeded and what has failed, and to keep herself thoroughly familiar and in full sympathy with all his daily, personal life.
No marriage is complete which does not unite and blend the wedded lives at every point. This can be secured only by making every interest common to both. Let both hearts throb with the same joy and share each pang of sorrow. Let the same burdens rest on the shoulders of both. Let the whole life be made common.
In another sense still should their lives blend. They should read and study together, having the same line of thoughts, helping each other toward a higher mental culture. They should worship together, praying side by side, communing on the holiest themes of life and hope, and together carrying to God’s feet the burdens of their hearts for their children and for every precious object. Why should they not talk together of their personal trials, their peculiar temptations, their infirmities, and help each other by sympathy, by brave word and by intercession, to be victorious in living?
Thus they should live one life as it were, not two. Every plan and hope of each should embrace the other.
Between husband and wife there should be maintained without break or pause, the most perfect courtesy, the gentlest attention, the most unselfish amiability, the utmost affectionateness. Coleridge says, "The happiness of life is made up of minute fractions, the little soon-forgotten charities of a kiss or a smile, a kind look, a heartfelt compliment, and the countless infinitesimals of pleasurable thought and genial feeling." These may seem trifles, and the omission of them may be deemed unworthy of thought; but they are the daily bread of love, and hearts go hungry when they are omitted. It may be only carelessness at first in a busy husband or a weary wife that fails in these small, sweet courtesies, and it may seem a little matter, but in the end the result may be a growing far apart of two lives which have been for ever very happy in each other had their early love but been cherished and nourished.
"For love will starve if it is not fed,
And true hearts pray for their daily bread."
~ J.R. Miller, The Family

Monday, May 10, 2010

Visionary Monday

Lastnight, I thought to myself that I should begin a thread of posts on my blog dedicated to Biblical home/family life of the roles that the Lord has assigned to husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, children, etc. Every Monday I shall post some visionary quotations on these topics. I think it will be an inspiring way to begin every week as it will be an encouragement to think on the Lord's purpose for each of these family roles and the home-life.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
~ Phil 4:8

One of the main sources that I shall quote from is The Family by J.R. Miller. When I first began my pursuit of Biblical womanhood, I found that the Lord was taking me into an area in which I had abandoned for quite some time: family and home-life. My womanhood and how it relates to family and home took on a whole new meaning! I found that my womanhood was not separate from but intimately tied to family/home life. I spent years through high school dreaming of my college days and hoping to one day be independent. Although I have had desires to be married, I cannot say I grew up with them. In addition, I never really desired to have children. Even to this day, I'll admit, I'm not particularly desirious of having children. I adore and love children, but to have my own? I've always seen having my own as a huge task. After all, there's no way I'd ever send my children to public school to be raised by those who hate the Lord and His Word. Never for a moment would I consider anyone else raising my kids but my future husband and myself. They would be home-schooled just as I and my siblings have been raised. Certainly, having children of my own would mean an enormous amount of selfless dedication, discipline, and sacrifice (all of which I desire to be if the Lord so wills it). As a teen, I did not regard motherhood as a beautiful, noble, honorable role. And yet, I knew the Bible praised mothers. I just never learned to place my personal beliefs in submission to the Word until this past year. While I might still wrestle from time to time with the thought of having children (and all that would entail!), I have been deeply encouraged by many of the blogs that I follow (many of them wives and mothers!), the Vision Forum ministry, and books on this very topic. Through these, the Lord has shown me that wifehood and, especially, motherhood are not monotonous, dull, vision-less roles. They are glorious when done in daily dependence on Him and submission to the Bible. They are full of His splendor and beauty and, through them, we are brought into the depths of His grace. They teach self-abandonment, discipline, and sure reliance upon Him. They are roles that He ordained to make known Himself. They are roles that echo for an eternity through multi-generational faithfulness and blessings!
I hope my readers enjoy my Visionary Monday posts. I realize I have only three of these posts to make before I leave for the summer. But I shall certainly begin them again when I return home!
J.R. Miller was a husband, father, author, and pastor during the late 19th century.

The benediction that falls upon the homes of a country is like the gentle rain that descends among the hills. A thousand springs are fuller afterward, and along the banks of a thousand streamlets flowing through the valleys the grass is greener and the flowers pour out richer fragrance.
Homes are the springs among the hills, whose many streamlets, uniting, form like great rivers society, the community, the nation, the Church. If the springs run low the rivers waste; if they pour out bounteous currents the rivers are full. If the springs are pure the rivers are clear like crystal; if they are foul the rivers are defiled. A curse upon homes sends a poisoning blight everywhere; a blessing sends healing and new life into every channel.
Homes are the divinely ordaiend fountains of life. It is not by accident that men live in families rather than solitarily. The human race began in a famile, and Eden was a home. The divine blessing has ever rested upon nations and communities just in the measure in which they have added to these original institutions and have kept marriage and the home pure and holy; and blight and curse have come just in the measure in which they have departed from these divine models, dishonoring marriage and tearing down the sacred walls of home.

A writer closes a book on home-life with this earnest word: "The great care should be so as to live in the home that when it shall any way be lost there may be no accompanying sting of memory harder to bear than any will of God. A little constant thought, self-denial, fidelity, a true life each with each and each with God, will not only save all unavailing regret and ensure the purest peace under all experience, but make the thought of reunion and life again in the Home of God chief among incentives to his service."

In home-making each member of the family had a part, and the fullest happiness and blessedness of the home can be attained only when each one's part is faithfully fulfilled. If any one member of the family fails in love or duty, the failure mars the whole household life, just as one discordant voice in a company of singers spoils the music, though all the others sing in perfect accord.
One person alone cannot make a home what it ought to be, what it might be. One sweet psirit may spread through the home the odors of love, even though among the other members there are bitterness and strife, just as one fragrant flower may spread through a hedge of thorns a breath of perfume. The influence of one gentle and unselfish life may also in time soften rudeness and melt unselfishness, and pervade the home-life with the blessedness of love. Yet still it it true that no one member of a household can make the household life full and complete. Each must do a part.

As to the part, or the rule, of each member...that shall come with each week's post.

As I typed out these quotations, I thought about the resounding truth of each statement. Look at America - broken families, single parents, angry, rebellious children, abortions, teen pregnancies, the feminist movement, the feminizing of men, the masculinizing of woman, homosexuality, etc etc. The family is no longer the backbone of America. When we rejected God, we rejected God-ordained roles. As we look at the pitiful state of our country now, is it really a wonder that we have become such a wicked, perverse people? Sin is very subtle and it very easily ensares. America started slipping off the Rock a long, long time ago. And it began in the home. Fathers who stopped trusting in God to equip them with grace and wisdom to raise their families. Mothers who became idle, stopped nurturing and teaching their daughters, and lost sight of their purpose. Daughters who became selfish. Sons who became negligent. Families who replaced prayer and the Bible with social hour, popular trends, television, etc. Families who became separated, independent individuals instead of a solid unit, each individually dependent upon the grace of the Lord. Families who stripped the Gospel from their lives little by little, day by day until it suddenly lost all its meaning to them. Families whose focus became self instead of God and the other. That is how America has become what it is.

"For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the LORD our God is to us, whenever we call upon him? And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this law that I set before you today?
Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children..."

~Deut. 4:7-9

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
~ Deut. 6:4-9

“There is no doubt that it is around the family and the home that all the greatest virtues, the most dominating virtues of human society, are created, strengthened and maintained”
~ Winston Churchill

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Of dried flowers, ceremonies, Ellerslie, and to-do lists!

Remember these flowers? There were the ones my dad and I planted at the beginning of the semester. I snapped some pictures of them last month and devoted a post to them. As nature would have it, they have been getting quite crispy in the heat of Arizona. I pulled all the dying flowers from their roots, hauled them to my backyard, and went through them all to make a dried-flower boquet. I hadn't planned to hang it from my curtain rod, but my mom gave me the idea. Doesn't it look nice next to my vintage poster?

I graduate with my AA next Friday evening. I shall miss Acapella Choir, my crazy-awesome Jazz combo instructor (so aptly named Pete PanCRAZI, haha!), and sitting in the practice hall and reading while the music majors fill the building with melodies and rhythms. I made some friends this semester (which is new for me, Miss Introvert! hehe), struggled through many discouragements and tough courses, conquered ProTools, and met many interesting, delightful people along my college-journey. This entire semester was filled to the brim with learning experiences. Although I am unbelievably relieved that the semester is over, I cannot say I'm looking forward to a graduation ceremony. I'm just not interested in those types of things. After all, I shall not be putting my degree to real use (long story). Feels like a big to-do over nothin'. I'm still continuing college for a couple more years to pursue an education in sewing/tailoring (another long story - one for a future blog post!). Sometimes, I have felt as if I am just blundering around in life with no clear direction. I think it's just living 'regular' days that quickly muddies life. How often we need some clear, spiritual, Gospel-drenched refreshment to keep us guided and rooted!

"My life is but a weaving/between my God and me/I do not choose the colors/He worketh steadily/Oftimes He weaveth sorrow/and I in foolish pride/Forget He sees the upper/And I the underside/The dark threads are as needful/in the skillful Weaver's hand/As the threads of gold and silver/in the pattern He has planned." ~ Anonymous

In three weeks I shall be on the road to Ellerslie. Maybe this sounds funny, but I'm looking forward to it as a bride looks forward to her honeymoon. I cannot say how many times I have longed to forget 'regular' life and get away to a beautiful place where I can pray to my Lord, study His Word, and think only of Him. Yes, I shall miss my family and dog. Yes, there are rules at Ellerslie that require discipline and giving up things that I'm so accustomed to in my daily life at home. But there is not a single thought within me that these 'sacrifices' will be too difficult. None at all. After all, a disciple never makes a sacrifice. A disciple, by the grace of God, is a vessel freely poured out and given. The Lord placed this path to Ellerslie before my feet during a time when I was on my knees, broken and repenting for how I had foolishly forsaken Him. He has provided me with all the necessary things to get me to Ellerslie up 'til now. Not for a moment am I afraid to leave home for my King! How could I be when He has proven His faithfulness and grace to me over and over again? Every day that I'm living is telling of His sustaining grace; what a glorious reality that is!

"The Christian life can be explained only in terms of Jesus, and if your life as a Christian can still be explained in terms of you-- your personality, your willpower, your gift, your talent, your money, your courage, your scholarship, your dedication, your sacrifice, or your anything-- then although you may have the Christian life, you are not yet living it!... True godliness leaves the world convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that the explanation for you, is Jesus Christ." ~ Ian Thomas

Today was Day 2 of preparing for Ellerslie. I had forgotten that living in a dorm for ten weeks meant supplying a lot of your own living supplies. haha! Leave it to me to forget practical matters! ;-) I am glad that the majority of my wardrobe already fits Ellerslie's dress code/standards. That helps me to focus more on the practical items for bed/bath. I've also made sure to stock up on paper, journals, stationery for all the note-taking, thoughts, and letter-writing I shall be doing while I'm there. It will be fabulous! But, next to my preparations, I have a list of things 'to-do' before I leave AZ for ten weeks. That list includes (but is not limited by): getting my driver's license, two sewing projects, getting together with friends to say goodbye, and complete two books (A Sweet & Bitter Providence by John Piper and A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner). So, I need to get crackin'!

Goodnight, blog world of lovely friends. I wish you all rest underneath the shelter of His wings!

"…let the last thoughts before falling asleep be set on Him…" - Amy Carmichael

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Women Who Fear the Lord

I just read a truly humbling post by one of my favorite bloggers, Vanessa of A Sweet Fragrance. Her post is called Be a Bathsheba. While that might sound odd at first, it is a very beautiful teaching on Biblical womanhood. It's exactly the kind of teaching that is missing in the majority of modern Christian women groups, studies, and books. Please read, my friends. :-)