Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Well, stuff of course! School, Friends, Computer, Writing, Reading, ect.
Well, this week's been a bit different!
1. Welcome to new member of YCF! Everyone, I'd like to introduce you to Lauren Ann. Her blog link is on "People To See, Places To Go."
2. Remember my post about my interesting horse experience? If not, scroll down on the page to my archive of posts. Click on September and a list of posts I did in that month should show up. The post is entitled "A Ride of a Lifetime-God is our Protector" It's all about a "fun" (Haha!) horse ride at a church picnic that my little sister and I had. Well, the owner of the horse offered to teach me the proper way of riding (Because going all crazy about horses and acting like a dude, a crazy, inexperienced horse rider wannabe, is obviously not encouraged in the equestrian world) So in about two weeks I'm going to go on over to his ranch place and learn how to ride horses. Probably starting with tacking (saddling up) the horse and some.....other stuff (ya'll horselovers know what I mean ;D) I'm so very excited! Well, not about that, but you know what I mean.
3. I entered a short comedic story contest in this magazine that I used to, and my sister does now suscribe to. The contest was to submit a funny video or story, fiction or nonfiction. It took quite a while to get the results, but they came yesterday. I got an honorable mention. What I found interesting was that all of the winners were people who did videos. Hmmmmm....
*laughs* Just kidding. I had a lot of fun writing the story. Maybe one of these days I'll post it on here?
4. My book, The Chosen, is starting to draw to a close and I'm picking up all the stray threads and watching in amazement as they weave together. 89,454 words. 213 pages. It's been as if I've been on the journey with my characters, and I know many more adventures are to come. Maybe I'll try to find a publisher, hopefully who will be willing to see past the story plot holes and grammatical errors into the heart of it.
5. I have a new favorite song! It's a powerful song by Steven Curtis Chapman entitled "Magnificent Obsession." It's not a new song, but it's new to me and I love it. You can find it on my playlist
6. Thanksgiving is this Thursday! Awesomeful!
It all began with a group of adventurers and people after God's heart who sailed to the New World to inhabit a land of spiritual freedom. After a harsh first winter, the Pilgrims (who these travelers were called) befriended the local Indians including Squanto, an English speaking Indian, who taught them how to work the land. Soon, their colony, Plymouth, was flourishing. In thanksgiving to God the Pilgrims set aside a three day celebration and feast on December 13, 1621.
I can imagine the wonderful time they had with their new friends in the new land and celebrating what God had done for them. Guys, you'd be helping your father build a cabin for your family, hunting, fishing, and planting! Girls, we'd be planting corn, cooking food along, sewing clothing, and making things to make our home comfortable. What I find interesting is that the Pilgrims did not dress in the stiff black and white clothing that they are portrayed in. In fact, they often wore bright or colorful clothing! Isn't that a relief, gals? All of us would probably be getting used to the new and foreign food such as corn and squash.
Later in 1789, George Washington declared the first day of thanksgiving. It was the first Thursday of November and was celebrated by states and not as a national holiday. But how did that change to the day we celebrate now?
Mrs. Sarah Joseph Hale. She was a woman who promoted the annual, national Thanksgiving Day which we celebrate now. For over thirty years, she presented her idea to the passing presidents. Somehow her voice wasn't heard, until President Abraham Lincoln came along. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln set aside the last Thursday of November as Thanksgiving day, which we celebrate today.
Something that disheartens me is the TV ads and newspaper commercials that I see. The words "Turkey Day!" scream up at me in large, orange letters. Turkey Day? The day of the turkey, a bird? Whatever happened to being thankful for what we have?
You see, in our modern American culture we've strayed from being satisfied from what we have. Rather, we dwell on what we want, claiming that it's what we "need".
We need that new outfit
We need that latest electronic device
We need the latest fads
Do we really? I can't help but think of my parent's words when I grumbled about brussel sprouts and broccoli as a small child (or brat, as they might say :D).
"There are some people out there who are starving and dying, and you can't be content with what we have?"
It's hard to do, but truly being thankful is being content with what God gives to us.
Don't have that new iPod or computer?
Don't have that cute dress or the flashy purse?
You may consider your family poor. You may envy those around you as they show off their new car or expensive clothing.
But look around you. You have a home, a family who loves you, freedom to worship God, American conveniences as simple as air conditioning, and you have a Savior who loves you.
There are people in third world countries who don't have that latest thing. They don't even have food, clothes, a family, or a home to call their own.
I've seen it with my own eyes, and it's not pretty. On a trip to India to visit family we were going around, seeing the sites and enjoying the company of relatives. Yielding for a stoplight, I see a girl in ragged clothes come to the window of my family members' car. She looks at me and holds out her hand. Looking to my relatives, I see that they look ahead chatting about their day and maybe even purposely ignoring the girl. I stare back at the girl my age, heartbroken for I have no money to give to her. Our car slowly pulls away because of the green light. She says some words that I cannot understand, but her face says it all. Pain. Hunger. Sadness.
The realization hits me like cold water.
Wow. She doesn't have anything.
I was only about ten years old then, but the image of that girl is seared into my mind. And I thank God for that girl who walked up to the window. Because of her, I try to keep myself in check when I'm about to complain. Because of her, I have a burning compassion for those less privileged than me. Because of that girl, I have a burden for orphaned children which will most likely stay with me for the rest of my life.
So as you sit around the table this Thursday enjoying turkey and masked potatoes, keep in mind those around the world who don't have everything we do. Thank God for how privileged we truly are.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
Let the "huh?'s" begin!
Okay, I'm not sure if it's a word or not (My spell checker is going crazy over here!) , but take "phobia" ("fear of") and stick a Deo or Deus in front of it. (Deus, Deo means "God" in Latin) So, deophobia means "Fear of God". Voila! Abracadabra! A New Official GoMC word! But wait, what does the fear of God mean? Does it mean we should be afraid every time lightning strikes, wondering if He's mad at us and wants to strike us dead? Does it mean we should be superstitious people?
I was privileged to hear our pastor at my church speak about this as I've been writing this (It's taken several weeks!) and I learned a lot to apply in my little ole life. Most of this listed are my notes from the sermon and thoughts that I took from it.
Anyways, let's dig deeper into those Bibles and take a closer look, shall we?:
"You who fear the Lord, praise Him! All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him, And fear Him, all you offspring of Israel!"
Ps 22: 23
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction."
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding."
Now what is the fear of the Lord?
The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.
Proverbs 8:13 KJV
So, according to this verse, fear of the Lord is hating sin. But there's more.
The fear of the Lord is reverence, obedience, and awe due him as the King of Kings. He is our Friend, but he is also a just King. He is our Father. The fear of God is not like a deer's fear of being shot by the hunter, it is rather a fear of reverence, love, and hope such that a child has for their father or someone who would have lived in the times of old might have had for their king.
I looked up "Fear of the Lord" in wikipedia and here's what I got that was so beautifully put:
"The Problem of Pain and states that fear of [God] is not a fear that one feels for a tiger, or even a ghost. Rather, the fear of [God], as C.S. Lewis describes it, is one filled with awe, in which you "feel wonder and a certain shrinking" or "a sense of inadequacy to cope with such a visitant of or prostration before it". It is a fear that comes forth out of love for the Lord."
I'll give an illustration to give an example about it.
You walk down the halls of your school. You see two groups of people. A group of loud guys in football uniforms thundering down the hall and a group of giggling, gossiping girls fill the hall trampling stray candy wrappers and freshman. A teacher comes out of the teacher's lounge and starts up the hall, looking around with a raised eyebrow. Both groups quiet and slow down acting cool and totally innocent.
So they acknowledge that the teacher is the higher authority over them and know that they would be in trouble if the teacher saw them being loud and trampling others. As evil as some teachers may seem, they really want the best for you and only discipline for the good of the school and student body.
The fear of the LORD is acknowledging that He's always there. He is, and we don't always remember or realize. Think about it. Would you always do what you do if you were always aware that you are in God's presence?
"Well," you may ask, "How am I supposed to do that? How am I to fear the LORD?"
Do not fear, there are several things.
1. Fear the LORD by always keeping in mind WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?).
~Though, it's an overused phrase and is often used lightly, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO true! What would Jesus do in the same situation that you are in? If you answered "The right thing" you are correct! It's hard, but just keep at it!
2. Fear the LORD by honoring the people he puts in authority over you.
~Another toughie, I'll admit. I myself have been struggling with respecting and dealing with those put above me. We need to recognize that God already knows who is above us. He is the one who appoints our leaders from our parents to our teachers even to the government. If we disrespect our leaders and insult them, we are then insulting and disrespecting God.
3. Fear the LORD by acknowledging his knowledge.
~Wow. This list of stuff looks as big as Mt. Everest, doesn't it? As a teen, I often find myself thinking only about me. My situations. My problems. My broken friendships. I forget that God has a plan in my life and knows what I did or ever will do. God's in control over my life, and yours too! Everything from when you were first conceived, to your death, and beyond! When you feel down, look back! Look back at all the things God has done and worked miracuously in your life!
4. Fear the LORD by acknowledging your weakness
~As much as we hate to admit, we don't know everything. Not all of us specialize in rocket science or brain surgery...or people. We are humans, inperfect beings created by a perfect God. As the old sunday school song goes, "We are weak, but He is STRONG!"
5. Fear the LORD by studying God's character.
~Look at the verse that I put in this post earlier (Proverbs 9:10) It is pretty straightforward, right? Learn more about God! He wants you to! Get into that favorite chair, crack open that Bible, get out a notepad and write what you learn! What you may find helpful is to highlight anything about God's character in a highlighter as you go through your reading of the Bible. It's hard to get quiet, get alone, and get focused on God and his Word. But, guess what? We can do it!
*starts playing "We Can Do It!" from Disney's "Cinderella".*
Well, I'd better run off to Latin class! Time to practice putting #2 into practice! :D
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell is the story of a horse that experiences love and tenderness along with cruelty and hate.
In this story, Black Beauty starts out with a peaceful life with his mother. His first master is a kind owner. He provides good quality of food and living space. His kind master did not sell Black Beauty until he was four years old. He was soon broken in, but it was a pleasant experience for Beauty because his master was gentle with him. After Beauty gets used to all of the riding equipment, his master sells him to a man named Squire Gordon.
From there he had many up and downs, many cruel and hateful owners, but many kind and loving masters. He becomes a terribly treated cab horse and the ornament of a woman who wants to ride in style. Will Beauty ever find a home that will treat him with respect and gentleness that this amazing horse deserves?
The importance of the offensiveness of animal abuse is shown throughout the whole book. Though Black Beauty tries his hardest to please his cruel masters, they still beat him. He did not bite back to kick them, but took it with tolerance and love.
We can learn a lesson from this book, even though it points to animal abuse. What about people abuse? We often hurt each other with harsh words and sometimes even with harsh actions. I have learned from this book to turn the other cheek, not lose patience or fight back when I am wounded in my spirit. I also learned that if I abuse someone with my words or actions that I can hurt them, even if they don't seem to care.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Rebecca flung her threadbare blanket to the side and got up from bed, and was startled as she realized all of the other girls were already gone to eat. Would today be the day she would finally find a home?
As quickly as she could, she ran to the mirror and looked at herself. Frowning at her wild auburn hair, wide blue eyes, and sea of freckles across her face, she sighed in dismay. Absolutely nothing had changed since yesterday.
A soft knock came from her door and one of orphanage’s caretakers poked her head in.
Smiling, she greeted her. “Good morning, Becca. Today is the big day! Hurry and come down to breakfast.” Quickly, she shut the door and left.
Rebecca brushed her messy curls. “Big day? Is today a day to be ignored and pushed aside because I’m not pretty or perfect? Is today going to be a day to watch the others find a home to stay forever?” She quickly changed into the best clothing she had and wondered if she would ever find her forever family like all of her friends had. Would someone see what she was on the inside, and ignore her outer appearance?
After breakfast, Rebecca was led into a large room full of other children. Soon, they would be meeting couples or families looking for kids to adopt. She sat in a corner and shyly looked around.
There were kids of all ages milling around, excited about finding a home or frightened about leaving the only place they knew.
She straightened her dress and tried to listen as one of the adults were giving last-minute instructions on how to behave. Why act like someone you really aren’t?, she thought.
Yet Rebecca plastered on a smile, straightened her bright red bow, and pushed her hair behind her ears, ready to be on her best behavior.
In mere minutes, many people poured in and began looking around. The first people to come up to her were dressed up richly. The man wore a big black suit and the woman wore jewels the size of Rebecca’s fist.
They were both smiling broadly, as if they didn’t have a care in the world.
The woman smiled and looked at her. “Hello there! Thomas and I were looking for a girl your age! What is your name?”
“Rebecca,” she said softly.
“Well, Rebecca, how would you like to come with us? We’d give you a huge room and whatever you want!”
Rebecca lit up at the idea, then look at them both. “Things would be wonderful, but can you give me something more?”
The man, still smiling, asked, “Whatever do you mean?”
“Can you give me love?”
The couple’s smiles dropped and they quickly walked away.
“She was not pretty, anyways,” the woman whispered to her husband.
Next, a stout couple with a teenaged boy came to talk with her.
“Hello, my name is Rebecca,” she said shyly.
The husband looked at his wife for a moment then turned back to her. “Are you willing to work?”
Rebecca was confused. “Work for what?”
The woman snorted, “Work for your food and board of course! We own a farm, and food doesn’t come cheap these days! It requires work!”
Rebecca bit her trembling lip and bravely sat up straight. “Can you give me love?”
Their son laughed loudly and the family walked away.
The man crossed his arms and they moved on to a girl with finely-toned muscles. “She wouldn’t be able to do much anyway, Martha. She is much too skinny.”
Rebecca was almost on the point of crying. Her eyes clouded with tears and she looked around, hopeless, as the crowd of people and children dwindled immensely.
A hand touched her shoulder and she looked up into the face of a man with kind, understanding eyes.
“Is something wrong?” he asked.
“No one wanted me!” she blurted out bitterly.
He kneeled next to her and smiled. “That is not correct. I would like to adopt you, my child.”
Rebecca sniffed and looked up at him. “You?”
“Certainly. You would have many brothers and sisters and unconditional, never-ending, and boundless love.”
"But I am not perfect!"
"Of course you are not. No one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes and has to be discipline. However, that doesn't mean I'll ever not love you, right?"
She looked up at him. Was he telling the truth? Looking into his sincere, loving eyes she smiled.
They walked out together, and she stopped to point back at the office. “What about them? Don’t you have to fill out some forms to let you adopt me?”
He shook his head. “My son has already done what was needed.”
One of the workers spotted them both and walked to them.
“Hello Becca! I see you found a father!”
She smiled and shook her head. “He found me!”
The caretaker squeezed Rebecca’s hand. “You are very privileged, child, to have such a wonderful father!” She nodded to Rebecca’s new father. “I hope to see you again soon, sir.”
As Rebecca left the orphanage, she gazed at its familiar structure. Never again would she have to wake up cold and afraid. Never again would she have to feel lonely and unwanted. Grinning for the first time in a long time, she was joyous.
Rebecca had found her forever family.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Finding a good pet depends on the owner’s time, money, and preference. There are many kinds of pets, and each one has different needs that the owner has to be able to take care of. The most common pets are dogs, cats, birds, rodents, reptiles, and amphibians.
The first category of pets is dogs. Dogs come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. They can be loyal and loving, and they can also be kept at the same time as a tough guard dog. There are indoor dogs that require a lot of time, care, and food with the veterinarian check-ups, which require money. Outdoor dogs do not require as much time or care, but usually need more food and about the same number of vet visits. Of course, there is always cleanup. Indoor dogs shed more, but outdoor dogs generally require more of the undesirable picking up after. All in all, dogs are great pets for people who are home a lot and tend to get lonely, or families with kids who are looking for a pet that is tolerant of pushing and tugging from the kids.
Another popular pet is the cat. They can be cuddly and cute or be kept wild to keep the mice or rats away. Cats do not require as much time as dogs because they are generally quite independent. They do require care, varying from the length of their fur and on their breed. Of course, the owner has to pay for food, medical care, and kitty litter. Cats are easier to clean up than dogs, for the owner would know where to go to empty and fill the litter box periodically to make their cat happy along with their sense of smell. Cats are also ideal for people who cannot spend much time at home, or families with older children, since babies and toddlers love to pull on the cat, which the felines are not especially fond of.
Thirdly, birds are good pets that are famous for their colorful plumage, and, at times, for speaking, though they are more of a repeating machine than something to carry a conversation with. They are fun companions that can cheer a person up after a hard day of work of school. Though birds do not require too much time, they can get lonely. Many people purchase birds in pairs of two, but that usually means double the effort and cost. They only require a cage, some toys, and food. Cleanup does need to take place, and it is usually just cleaning the bottom of the cage and putting in more newspaper at the bottom or some other material. Birds can also be noisy, but at most times it can be solved by putting a dark cloth over the cage for a short period of time. Birds are compatible for almost any pet seeker.
Rodents are generally kept as cute companions. They require a cage, food, and some extra playthings. They do not require much time, and therefore are ideal for kids learning the responsibility of having a pet and want a good alternative to the ever-popular pet rock.
Fish are also good pets for someone who is always busy. In the beginning, they may cost more money because of the initial setup of the tank. The fish themselves may be pretty pricey also, but once the tank is established, they are very enjoyable and do not require much.
Lastly, reptiles and amphibians are scaly or slimy creatures that people of all ages and preferences keep. They require about the same amount of care and time as rodents do, but it depends on the money. Some reptiles eat vegetables, while some eat small, live animals or insects.
All in all, there are many pets to choose from, and many owners for pets. Dogs are loyal and loving. Cats are mysterious and affectionate. Birds are fun and amusing. Rodents are cute and small. Reptiles and amphibians are cool and fun to watch. Fish are colorful and pretty. All animals kept as pets have different needs and temperances, but are all great pets for anyone to keep.
So now, this presents a question. What is your favorite pet? I've started a poll, so feel free to vote!
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
God is still in control!
No matter what happens, no matter what the circumstances, and no matter the president, God is still the King of our earthly kings (or presidents). There will never be the perfect president, but we do always have our God. Before the election, He knew what was going to happen. Sure, there will be things we do not like and things that we do like about a president. Many people I know and love as brothers and sisters and freaking out about our new president. What they do not know, or are not thinking of, is God. He is ever-present and all-knowing, and He had the perfect plan. Remember the age of old, around Martin Luther's time where many people were martyring "heretics"? The Christian faith blossomed in adversity and strengthened in numbers and faith. For an example today, take China or another Communist country. People go into hiding and pray in the depths of the forest or deep underground to praise their Lord and Savior for bringing then through another day and they pray for the freedom to worship.
I am not saying it will ever be like that here in the United States of America, and I pray it will never come to that, but if they have it that bad, who are we to be scared and question God's sovereignty? I do not mean that we need to be carefree, not caring about who we elect into office. We do need to vote. As people in God's kingdom we must help elect who we think should be in office.
So, when you are going through a tough time, or just don't get why, just remember:
God is in control.
This is no time for fear
This is a time for faith and determination
Don't lose the vision here
Carried away by emotion
Hold on to all that you hide in your heart
There is one thing that has always been true
It holds the world together
God is in control
We believe that His children will not be forsaken
God is in control
We will choose to remember and never be shaken
There is no power above or beside Him, we know
God is in control, oh God is in control
History marches on
There is a bottom line drawn across the ages
Culture can make its plan
Oh, but the line never changes
No matter how the deception may fly
There is one thing that has always been true
It will be true forever
He has never let you down
Why start to worry now?
He is still the Lord of all we see
And He is still the loving Father
Watching over you and me