Monday, December 16, 2013

What We Need


As many of you know, this weekend marked one year since the Sandy Hook shooting.  To this day, I can scarcely think about that day without tears.  I can't even begin to imagine myself in their shoes.  I am humbled and awed at their strength.  I hope this reminds you to tell the people you love how much you love them, while you have the chance.
 
 
I remember watching this video last year and feeling absolutely blown away by this father's words.
 
 
A year later, I watch this video and, once again, am incredibly moved by the strength of this family.  When I am feeling complacent and comfortable with this life, it is something like this that reminds me I need Jesus.  I NEED Jesus. We can talk about working together, loving everyone, and world peace, but without Jesus, there is no peace.  
 
While Emilie Parker's family gets a lot of publicity for their faith, please take the time to also remember the other beautiful children and teachers who died that day.  You can go here to find a list of all of them. 
 
Don't forget to thank God for all your blessings today. 
 
 
 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Adventures in Canada

For Thanksgiving, I went to visit Dan in Victoria, BC.  I had lots of new and exciting adventures!!  To start with, it was pretty darn cold.  Before I went, Daniel told me to bring long underwear (I get cold easily) and then had to explain to me what long underwear are.  So I went and bought myself a pair of long underwear (although I didn't end up wearing them).  But it sure was cold!

Dan's parents live out on this island that requires you take a boat to get to! It's pretty neat to boat everywhere, although I must admit it was a little scary at first.  We went fishing and I caught my first fish!!!! I even touched it and it was quite disgusting!! (;


Another highlight of the trip was going to the Christmas Tree festival in downtown Victoria.  We just happened to stumble upon it but I'm so glad we did! It's this gorgeous hotel that had at least 75 fully decorated Christmas trees.  Businesses decorate them and then anyone can walk by and enjoy all of them (and get out of the freezing cold for a bit).  It was so beautiful! Sadly, I didn't have my camera but I found this picture online. 
 
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Even though Thanksgiving had already happened for the Canadians, we had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner so that I could still enjoy Thanksgiving! My favorite Thanksgiving dish is dressing... mmm, mmm.  Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday, so I was so *thankful* not to miss it. 

On Sunday night, Dan took me to the Butchart Gardens for the Christmas lighting.  Oh my goodness, words can not describe how gorgeous it is.  There are literally thousands of lights EVERYWHERE.  They also had displays set up for each of the twelve scenes of the song "The 12 Days of Christmas." It was so neat!! I loved listening to the brass band play Christmas carols.  This time I actually DID have my camera, but I don't know how to take good night pictures! 


In front of the "Sunken Garden"


Please note our creepy, soul-sucking eyes! (:

I also got to enjoy seeing some of my friends and meeting Dan's little niece, Natalia, who is a ball of energy! And of course, the best part was getting to spend time with this guy!  

 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Praying for Siblings


Prayer is not always one of my strong points. I know it is essential in the life of a believer, but I often find myself repeating the same things in prayers.  Recently, I have been trying to focus on praying more and praying better.  I've noticed that there are a lot of suggestions for praying for children/husbands/boyfriends/fianc├ęs.  While those are great, because I four younger siblings, they are definitely on my prayer list.  Here are some topics I have come up with.  Let me know what you think!

1. Pray that they will always serve God first.  Of course my ultimate hope is that my siblings will choose to follow God.  I want nothing more to see them in His Kingdom someday soon!  
 
 

2. Pray that they will make wise life choices.  I have come to realize that I don't have a whole lot of choice in what my siblings do, so I pray that their choices will be made with prayer and thought.  I pray that as the choose spouses and careers, they will find joy and peace.  
 

 
3. Pray that they will be helped through temptation. Obviously my siblings will face temptations to do the wrong thing.  Like Job prayed for each of his children to avoid sin, I pray that my siblings will be able to stand firm.  
 
 
 
4. Pray that you will be friends as you grow older. I wouldn't say I am super close to my siblings, but I think we are growing closer as we age. I pray that as we grow up and go our separate ways, we will see each other as not just siblings, but friends.  I pray that we will be able to go to each other in times of need without fearing judgment or criticism.  
 
 
 
5. Pray that they will learn from their mistakes and continue to grow.  Even as I pray that they will be able to stand firm against the pressures of the world, I know that they will have times they will fall. Some people go through life never learning from their poor choices. I pray that this will not be the case with my siblings, but that they will grow in wisdom and godliness.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Nights Like These

Just to clarify, these are not my feet. I wish they were though..


It's Thursday night and as I sit here and write my post for Friday, I can't help but think how thankful I am for nights like these.  Nights when you can just take a breather and relax from the stress of life.  Nights when you can ignore deadlines and drink a delicious Lime Refresher from Starbucks (as I happen to be doing).  Nights when grades and paychecks don't seem quite so important. 



I love these so much... happiness in a cup!

Thursday nights are the end of the "hard" part of the week.  Even if I have lots of things to do, I take these evenings to forget about life.  It's so good. I highly recommend everyone has one such night to be rejuvenated. Spend time on the things you care about and forget about the trivial things that seem to fill up life.

In other news, I have lots to look forward to in the coming week.  I am so excited to see Catching Fire tomorrow. I also get to see my little brother's band perform.  I am beyond happy to see this beautiful face next week (his, not mine)



I am sad to miss Thanksgiving with my family for the first time.  I am also sad because I will miss out on our annual tradition of Cheetos and Gushers for Thanksgiving dinner. Oh well, whatcha gonna do? There will be more Cheetos and Gushers in the future.

Have a wonderful weekend!


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Big Question

My all-important question today is...

dun....

dun.........

dun...................

Why isn't it socially acceptable to wear robes in public? This question may seem flippant and trite, but I would like to propose to you that wearing robes in public would be just great.  I personally love to wear my robe and if I had my way, I would be wearing it 24/7.  Seriously, I jump at the opportunity to wear my robe all day (ask my friends... they will admit to have seen me lounging around my house all day in it). 

Robes can cover more of your body than most clothes do.  For example, one of my robes covers my ankles, wrists and neck.  That seems like a decent thing to wear around.  Also, it really flows, so you really can't even see my legs and arms at all.

Now, I admit that this is a bit of a long stretch.  But spread the word.... Robes are where it's at!!!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Time to be Thankful.


Ahh... how I love Thanksgiving.  It is by far my favorite holiday.  What better way to feel joyful then to spend a whole day celebrating what you are thankful for??  I shared this list last year and want to share it again (not my own words, found it here).  This is so powerful to me because it is so easy to think of what we AREN'T blessed with instead of what we ARE.  

I am thankful for…
 
The taxes I pay because it means I am employed
 
The clothes that fit a little too snug because it means I have enough to eat
 
A lawn that has to be mowed, windows that have to be cleaned and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home
 
The spot I find at the far end of the parking lot because it means I am capable of walking
 
The lady in church who sings off key because it means I can hear
 
The huge piles of laundry and ironing because it means loved ones are nearby
 
The alarm that goes off in the early morning because it means I am alive
 
 
I have also been doing some decorating around the house, in the spirit of remembering what this holiday is truly about.  What are YOU thankful for?


Our crazy pumpkins! (:

The "thankful corner" in our kitchen


The thankful basket... hopefully will be full by Thanksgiving!


The burlap banner I made.. I'm really disappointed that I couldn't get  a good picture of it. It says "Give Thanks"




The front porch!


 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What You Do Reflects What You Love



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Do you think it's true? I do. For example, people who spend 24/7 on the job. Do they love what they do? I don't know if they love working nonstop, but they must love something about it, whether it be  prestige or money (are there other benefits of working nonstop? I can't think of any!)

When it comes to my life, what I claim to love is my Heavenly Father and the individuals who fill my life.  But when it comes to what I do, I would have to say that I am found lacking.  You see, so often we have to make choices about how we spend our time.  I find that I am constantly having conflicts of interest... and what do I choose? Often, not the things I say I love most. 

I overheard some students talking to my microbiology teacher the other day, who said, "This class is just preparing you for graduate school.  Once you are in grad school that is your WHOLE life (emphasis added by me)."  And I'm thinking.. I don't want that to be my whole life.  Not just I don't want it to be my whole life, but it is wrong for it to be my whole life.  So when that moment comes when I have to decide what my life is about, I pray that I choose what is really important. To me, that's not work or school.  We must do those things and hopefully they bring us some measure of joy, too.  But what's most important, what brings most meaning and joy, how we spend our time... we must decide. I pray that that choice is made with wisdom.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Stop

Stop and remember what is most important in life... and be thankful!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Build.



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I know I've mentioned it before, but I am really struggling in my microbiology class this semester.  And I'm not the only one. Our class average is an F.  Not just an F, but 46%!  So I think it is safe to say that the majority of the class does not have a good grasp on microbiology.  Anyway, I've been going into my professor's office hours a lot to get help with concepts I don't understand (basically everything).  I've noticed this guy (we'll call him Bob) from my class is there on Fridays because I usually have to wait for him to be done.  Last week, I was sitting outside the door and overheard (okay, purposely listened) to this guy talking about our class.  Not just talking, but completely bashing the rest of our class for being lazy and not trying.  He kept talking about what a great class it is, how awesome the teacher is, how hard he is working, blah, blah, blah... 

It made me so upset! Why is he being such a jerk?  Doesn't he know that other people can hear? I am not lazy!! I was so indignant. But it got me thinking: Do I do the same thing?
Why do we try so hard to make ourselves seem better than the people around us?  Why do we try to build ourselves up by tearing others down?  It's not just that guy from my class, although he certainly was verbal about his disdain for his classmates.  We all do it! Not in the same way, but I know I certainly feel a lot better about a bad grade if someone else did just as badly as me.  It doesn't change the fact that I did badly, so why do I care? Selfishness?  Probably.  But does that attitude really exude the love of Christ?  When I want to make myself better than others, am I loving them above myself? Of course not.  I can point the finger at "Bob" but my own attitude show similar self-building aspects.

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It just goes to show that this quote is so true. I have always thought of it as comparison can make you feel inferior, but it can also go the opposite way and steal your joy when you think of others as inferior to yourself. You may make yourself feel better temporarily by doing better or having more than someone else, but in the end, that kind of attitude doesn't bring true joy.  When we have the love that Christ had for us, we should rejoice in the successes of others.  We should be building others up!    
 
I don't have any easy answer.  It's certainly not easy to watch someone have lots of good things happen to them when you are struggling.  But that doesn't mean it's right to rejoice when others struggle. I believe we would all have a lot more joy if we took time to build each other up.  We all struggle and fall at times; let's not make those struggles even harder on those around us. 

 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Throwback

Can we all just take a second to look at how cute my little sister was (and still is!). Boy, do I love that crazy head of hair!
Oh, and my other siblings were not shabby either.

My all-time favorite


Please note our stylin' matching boots





It makes me a little bit sad to think how fast we have all grown up! It hardly seems real that my sister is 10 years old.  But I am so thankful for them and look forward to being even better friends with them as we get older.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Updates


I have officially sent in my Physical Therapy school applications!! Ahhhh.  I can't believe that I will (hopefully!) be in graduate school next year. Am I old enough for that?  I really don't think so. Fifty-one days until I graduate from college.  It has been a stressful week getting all the last minute things done.  Now I am enjoying a relaxing evening of nachos, ice cream, and the live For King and Country DVD.  Have I mentioned that I love them?  I think I have, one or twice. (-: I am excited this weekend to take a CPR class and go to Apple Hill with the family! Hope you are all having a wonderful almost-weekend. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Back

I know I have been missing lately (AGAIN), but that's because this guy was visiting and we were busy having fun! Check out some beautiful pictures from our trips to Lake Tahoe and San Francisco!






 






Gorgeous Echo Lake (near Lake Tahoe)
 








Cool firework tree!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Battlefield of Life


I was truly blessed this weekend to be able to attend a retreat in the mountains where I was able to spend time with dear friends and hear some uplifting classes on the "Battlefield of Life."  We discussed how there has been a gradual erosion of the moral line between believers and the world, leaving us wondering what is right. Thankfully, God has given us principles for VICTORY in His word.  Here is a brief outline of the 5 principles  (key scriptures in parenthesis) our speaker discussed.  I found them helpful and hope that you do as well.
 
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Victory though PARTICIPATION (Genesis 13 and 14):  Here we have the example of Abraham and Lot, where Lot makes the poor decision to descend into Sodom.  Although he knew the principles of God, he was quickly led away by the ways of Sodom.  In Sodom, it was all about the "stuff" you had (see Genesis 14:11-12). When Sodom is attacked, Lot and everything he has are captured and taken away. Abraham knows the poor choices Lot has made, but he doesn't sit back, waiting for God to take care of it. Abraham takes every one of his 318 men, putting it all on the line, to rescue Lot.  After everything Lot has done, Abraham still considers him a brother.  Abraham understood that battling in the ways of God was not just about himself.  It was also about defending and caring for his friends.  He had victory through participation by caring for his friends!  We all need encouragement, even the "strongest" of us, so remember that the battlefield of life includes battling for the salvation of our friends.

Victory through PERSONAL INTROSPECTION (Genesis 32):  All his life, Jacob relied on his own cunning to get him through trials. In this account in Genesis 32 where he wrestles an angel, Jacob is 97 years old and finally is coming to the realization that his worst enemy is himself. As Jacob prepares to meet his brother, Esau, who he has been at odds with for many years, he realizes that he can do nothing on his own.  Esau has 400 men with him and Jacob has his wives and many children to protect.  God brought him to the point where there is nothing to do but rely on God.  In verse 24, we are told that Jacob rose early, preparing his mind for the day. An angel meets him and there is a battle where Jacob is emotionally wrestling with his doubts and fear. Despite the length of time, Jacob holds onto the angel until he gave him a blessing, holding on for dear life.  We, too, will come to a point when there is nothing we can do but hold onto God for dear life.  It is at this point that we must have victory through personal introspection and cry out to God for strength.

Victory through PERFORMANCE (1 Kings 17 and 18): Here we are given the account of two very different performances by two very different men.  We have outspoken and dramatic Elijah and the quiet but faithful Obadiah.  Elijah performs a dramatic scene on Mount Carmel, where he proves to the Israelites that the Lord is the only true God.  He demands that the people choose between God and the world, instead of stumbling between two ways (See 1 Kings 18:21).  We, too, can't stumble between two paths because there is only one way.  We are also given the example of the servant Obadiah, who works for wicked Ahab and Jezebel.  Despite the fact that he is putting his own life at risk (Jezebel would kill him if she found what he had done), Obadiah courageously resisted Jezebel's threats and hides and feeds 100 prophets of God for 3 years!! Although he did it in secret, Obadiah's work indirectly aided nearly 7000 Israelites who were faithful to God.  Whether our performance is obvious or where no one can see it, God knows and we can have victory through performance!

Victory through PATIENCE (2 Samuel 16): In this account, we see King David's remarkable patience. His son is trying to usurp the throne and David is in a very hard time of his life.  When he is at his lowest, a man named Shimei comes up to David and his mighty men and begins to physically and verbally abuse them.  David is surrounded by  huge and courageous men, yet they all endured the criticism. Instead of hurling insults back, or even killing Shimei, David and his mighty men absorb the criticism.  Sometimes the best thing we can do when we are criticized is to quietly, patiently absorb the hurt, and so have victory through patience.

Victory through PREPARATION (2 Chronicles 32:1-8): Here we have the faithful King Hezekiah, who is faced with a very serious threat of attack by the Assyrian king.  Even though he has been faithful, Hezekiah still has to go through trials, and so will we.  However, Hezekiah doesn't still back and hope that God will rescue them when the Assyrians come.  He takes action in verses 3 to 7, where he first seeks wise counsel, then gathered the people together to work, prepares his own mind mentally, diverts the water source into the city so that they will have water in a siege, and PRAYS.  Hezekiah is proactive in his battle and we can learn from him that we must be similarly prepared to battle for God's way.  

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

It's Good to be Alive

Good To Be Alive by Jason Gray on Grooveshark

Fall time, again! This song is exactly how I feel... so glad to be alive.  What's on your fall to-do list? Here are some of my to-dos:

1. Repeat of this.




Apple Hill, one of my favorite fall destinations.  What could be better than gorgeous apple trees, baked desserts, and every craft booth imaginable?  Nothing, is what.

2. Get crafty.  I can't wait to decorate around here!  Especially with some minions.







 

 

3. Dressing up! Love this fun scarecrow costume.



4. Eat and drink everything pumpkin.  Honestly, I am not even sure I like Pumpkin Spice Lattes but I just have to drink them. 



5. Hike! I want to enjoy this beautiful weather as much as possible.  There are loads of great trails around my house so I would like to get some hikes in. 


Monday, October 7, 2013

Weekend Treats

You might have noticed that the recipes I put on here are always super short.  That's because I basically only cook things that are quick and easy.  These rich bars are no exception.  Also-- why are they called Chess Bars? I do not know.



Melt 1 stick butter. Combine with 1 box of yellow cake mix and 1 beaten egg. 

Press mixture into lightly greased 13x9 pan.

Combine an 8 oz package of cream cheese, 2 eggs and 1 box of powdered sugar.  Pour over first layer and cook 25-30 minutes at 325.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Saying YES



Sometimes it seems that as followers of Christ, we spend more time saying "No" than "Yes."  We say say no to the things of this world (as we should) but that can be as far as we get.  We can get consumed with making sure we are not doing the wrongs things and that we are following all the "rules."  Doing this is definitely a step in the right direction, but it's not living God's way quite yet.  Our lives need to go beyond saying no to saying YES to the things of God.  I am reminded of the parable that Jesus tells in Matthew 12: “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”

Jesus isn't talking about us being filled with real "demons," he is talking about us cleaning out the sinful thoughts and ideas without filling ourselves with godly thoughts and ideas.  IF we are just sitting around, thinking about all the things we can't do, how much easier will we fall into doing the wrong thing? 

When Jesus comes back, he isn't going to say, "Wow, look at all the things Danielle didn't do!" Like the parable of the servants who were given different amounts of money, Jesus wants to see that I have done something for him.  I can't just "bury my talent" and twiddle my thumbs until he comes back.  So what are some things I can do to fill myself with godly things?

Of course, taking time every day to go to God's word.  What better way to learn to be more godly?  Consciously work on developing the fruit of the spirit.  Those things don't come naturally to us.
Prayer! Prayer is so important. We have a chance to talk to our Heavenly Father... what a blessing... why do we not do it more often? Pray that He will help you develop the fruit of the spirit.

Surround yourself with godly people.  Godly people will build you up in your faith. Be someone who draws your friends closer to God.  

As James tells us, care for the widows and orphans.  This brings to mind the book Kisses for Katie that I told you about here-- what an example of love in action.  Be someone who does the work of Jesus. Take time to notice when people need help.  Be the hands and feet of the gospel.

Adopt the attitude that you are going to do your best in everything, whether it be work, school, or caring for your family.  This, of course, doesn't mean prioritizing work and school over God, but simply that we do the daily "chores" with a joyful and Christlike attitude.

These are just a few suggestions I have been thinking of... I'd love to hear more suggestions from you! I'm sure I will think of tons more as I dwell on it this week.
Have a joyful weekend.  

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Weird Facts



You guys, my mind is so blown right now.  In my neurophysiology class, we have been going over the some of the basic senses. Most of it was boring stuff that everyone knows, but I found out some really cool stuff about taste today.  We all know that taste is influenced by smell, but did you know that what we describe as taste isn't actually taste? It is actually a combination of taste, smell and "mouth feel."  There are actually only FIVE (they think) different types of taste!  In case you wanted to know they are bitter, sweet, salty, sour and umami (Japanese for delicious. I am not making this up!) What?! Did you know this? All the things I thought were tastes... weren't? I can't fathom this.

For you really to only experience taste, you can't smell it.  So you should try eating something while holding your nose. Apparently (this is so crazy) if you simply taste a soda, you can't tell the difference between any of them! The only difference between sodas is when you mix taste and smell! How is this real?!  I feel like I have been tricked my whole life.  I also feel like we should invent a new term for taste since taste isn't actually taste.  Smeste? Tasell?  

Also, just in case you wanted to know any other really weird facts about your tongue... if you get your tongue pierced, it is possible that one of the many nerves in your tongue will get damaged.  This could cause you to salivate constantly (gross...) or lose taste in your part of your tongue.  The moral of this story? Getting your tongue pierced is not worth it.  

Ok, so if you want to join the Geek Club, email me.  

P.S. My teacher told me this.  If it was all a big lie, I am so sorry.