Friday, May 30, 2014

High Five

High Five for Friday!  Here's a bit what I'm thankful for this week.

1. Daniel got a job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm so excited about this one. As you may have gathered, Daniel has been out of work for a while with his hand injury. He was approved to work a few weeks ago. We've been furiously handing out resumes and last week he got a temporary job at a machining place. Turns out they liked him so much that they are going to keep him on.  I'm so proud of him!

2. Drinking refreshers

I get so excited to drink a nice refresher in the afternoon. Daniel remembered BOTH of my clock birthdays one day this week (my birthday is August 18th so my clock birthday is 8:18) and even surprised me with a present of refreshers!

3. Graduate school scholarships are plugging along. I've been applying for lots, so I'm hoping that a few will come through! I sure need them.

4. My bangs are finally grown out decently! This seems like a weird thing to be thankful for but since being here, I haven't had my bangs trimmed. I'm too nervous to get a new person to cut my hair so my bangs have been looking, well, horrible. However, they have grown out a bit now and will look okay until I get home.

5. I saved the best for last.... the first stage of our Fiancee visa has been approved! We are so very excited because this stage was supposed to take five months but it was done in about one! Yay!!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Me in Sports (there is none)

As a kid, I HATED playing sports. I played soccer for two years when I was young and cried almost every game, so my parents finally let me quit. When I went to summer church camp, I refused to play sports and it became a joking matter. I must have been forced to participate in some sport activities in PE, but I started homeschooling in 5th grade and didn't have to play sports after that. However, as I got older, it wasn't necessarily that I didn't have an interest in sports, it was that not knowing how to play sports was a great source of shame.

That's what sports have become to me. 

Until the age of 16, I was highly active in dance. After I quit dance, I realized I needed to find some other activity so I began going to the gym. I loved going to Boot camp and kickboxing and cycling class, and later I became really involved in running. I really love these "sporty" activities, but I still avoid group sports. I never learned to play them as a kid, and playing them now makes me feel highly uncomfortable. I feel stressed out the whole time because I am worried about the ball/frisbee/whatever coming to me.  

I sit out whenever I can, which makes me feel embarrassed because I hate sitting out, but I hate not being good at sports even more. This week, our church youth group is playing Ultimate Frisbee, and I'm already nervous. 

I have tried to reason out why sports are such a source of stress and shame for me. It's not like the people I'm playing with are going to treat me badly if I'm not so great. I think the real reason is that I'm highly competitive, so if I can't be good at something, I'd rather not even do it.  

What's the moral of this story? Well, there isn't really one. I just see that being able to comfortably play sports has become huge in our culture and that I think it's important that kids learn so they can enjoy it. I sure wish that I had just learned to play a few when I was a kid (this message is for you, Melissa). 

Oh, and I do love kickball.  #icankickaballandrun

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Looking in the Wrong Place

One of the Bible characters that resonates most deeply with me is Leah. I often wonder what it would be like to be Leah. Leah, who longed so desperately to be loved by Jacob. Leah, who couldn't measure up to the beauty of her sister. Leah, who was cruelly given by her father to a man who didn't love her. Leah, whose husband passionately loved her younger sister.

Poor, poor Leah.

Leah was looking for love, but she wasn't looking in the right place. In the account in Genesis 29, it says that the Lord SAW that she was not loved and gave her four children. The God of all the universe looked down at Leah and saw her.  After the birth of her first son, Leah thinks, Surely my husband will love me now. Again, after the birth of the third, Leah thinks finally, finally, Jacob will love her.  But alas, Leah is still searching for love in the wrong place.

It isn't until her fourth son, Judah, that Leah realizes that she is looking for the wrong love: This time, I will praise the Lord, she says. And finally, she gets it. Jacob might not love her (yet) but God did.  Finally, finally, she can be full. 

However, there is a happy ending. I think, as evidenced by the fact that Jacob was buried beside Leah and not Rachel, that Jacob finally learned to love Leah. Maybe not because of her beauty and charm, but because she had become full of the Lord.  In that place where the godly couples Abraham and Sarah and Isaac and Rebekah were buried, so Jacob chose to be buried beside Leah.

As humans, we look for love. We desire to be filled, to be whole. I think God made us like that to learn to yearn for Him. Only the love of our Father can truly fill us and make us whole. Only when we are first filled with God can we truly accept and receive love from others. For years, we may be searching for "The One," but there is only One who makes us complete. So if you are desperately desiring to be loved, know that that love can be found. It's not in the man of your dreams, it's in the arms of your Father in Heaven. He sees your heart, just as He saw Leah's.

Run to Him. 

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 1 John 4:9-16

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Life on the Island

Here are some snapshots of what we do around the island.

Daniel catches fresh crab to eat!

I try to look cool on the hammock while eating muffins.

Random pirates are always sailing by.

The new deck that Daniel is building with his dad and brother.

There's a wood pile! Where we go to get wood for fires! I use the term "we" loosely here.

Our running path goes in a circle around the island.

Daniel sits around with Eddie in his lap (while I lurk creepily in the reflection).

Friday, May 16, 2014

It's Not More Beautiful

May is skin cancer awareness month, which means that it's time for my annual friendly reminder about skin cancer prevention. Or rather, the time when I annoy all my friends by telling them not to get tan. 

The saddest thing about skin cancer (besides the fact that it is deadly) is that we KNOW how to prevent it. Yet, as a culture, we continue to go along with the idea that being tan is beautiful and healthy. It's not! Being tan isn't more beautiful and it's definitely NOT healthy. What's beautiful and healthy is caring for the skin you were given. Even if, as adults, we don't care about getting skin cancer ourselves, how sad it is that we are teaching young teenagers that being tan is most beautiful and letting them reap the benefits. I read so many stories online of teens and young adults getting melanoma. It horrifies me because it is just so preventable.  All we have to do is take care of our skin and stop promoting the myth that being tan is more beautiful. I can't bear the thought of losing someone I care about, so I continue to annoy them about skin cancer. I hope that you will do the same!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

With Joy

Because you did not serve the Lord your God joyfully and gladly in the time of prosperity, therefore in hunger and thirst, in nakedness and dire poverty, you will serve the enemies the Lord sends against you.  - Deuteronomy 28:47-48

This verse comes amid a long list of curses that God says will be on His people if they don't follow Him. But the crux of it seems to be WITH JOY AND GLADNESS.  How often do we serve the Lord with half a heart and with our leftover time? With prayers in the bad times and forgetfulness during the good times? I know that sometimes (often) this is me and reflecting on that makes me very sad.

It makes me think of the verse that says the following:  Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. -Romans 6:16-18

Some people think that not serving God means that we are free. But it's very clear: we aren't free without God. We are slaves to righteousness or slaves to sin.  When we are slaves to sin, that is our lot-- some good times, some bad times, but overall, an empty life. So how thankful should we be that we have a different choice? A different master that we can serve? There will still be some good times and some bad times, but we won't have an empty life. We will be given a HOPE, a joyous hope, that we can live forever, serving God.

So when I come to my Father, I need to remember to have joy. Sometimes I feel weighed down with life and think that it would be so much easier if I wasn't a follower of God. NO! That attitude won't get me anywhere. All I need to do is reflect on the wonder of God so that I can have a joyful attitude rather than a half-hearted one. Life without God doesn't even compare.

I think about the parable of the prodigal son, and how his father ran to meet him, kissed him, and welcomed him back. That's OUR Father in heaven. THAT should make us joyful.

I think about the beauty of creation. The flowers, the stars, the trees, the earth. That's the world our God has given us. THAT should make us joyful.

I think about the wonderful hope that believers have. To live eternally, to live without sin or sadness or fear. To live forever, serving God, with all the followers of God. THAT should make us joyful.


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Reading Hobby

Reading Kids/Young Adult fiction is a hobby of mine. Obviously, when I was younger I read it, but now that I am not as young (but still admittedly quite young), I still love it.  As I mentioned before, when I was younger, I devoured books daily.  It was pretty usual for me to read a book a day. Now that I read more adult books, I find that I don't enjoy reading nearly as much.  Not to say that I don't like any adult books, but there is something about it that isn't quite as lovely.  Besides the fact that it is much harder to find a book that doesn't have language and sex and all other things a believer doesn't want to read, kids books bring me something that adult books just don't. I haven't quite figured it out yet, but I think it is because adult books try to give a "sophisticated" air.  Kids books just... are. I really enjoy reading books with my younger sister and brother because it gives me an opportunity to reread my old favorites. So, without further ado, here is a list of **some** of my favorites:

The Shadow Children
I LOVED these. When I was younger, only five of them were out, but I recently read all 8 of them with Colton and Melissa. 

Boston Jane

Ella Enchanted

Christy Miller series
... my FAVORITE books as a young teen. 

Seventeenth Summer
the sweetest love story of all time.

The City of Ember 
My sister's nickname, Poppy, came from the little sister in this book!

Number the Stars
This is a must-read for everyone!

Harry Potter

Little House on the Prairie 
Welcome to my childhood, where most of my playing was pretending to be Laura with my prairie dress and the bonnet my mom made me.

The Boxcar Children

I could go on and on, but here are just a few of my favorites. What about you? What's your funny hobby?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

If blogs didn't exist...

Three years ago, I didn't even know about blogging. I thought blogs were some gamer thing (what?). Hmm... But now I love blogs. I first read a blog when I stumbled upon a link to hairstyle tutorials on the The Small Things Blog.  Her famous blog led me to other blogs, which got me to thinking. I became obsessed with the idea of blogging because blogging is... amazing. It's a way to share your passion.  It's a way to (hopefully) spread encouragement and joy. It's incredible to me that even one person stops by to read! How exciting!

So what if blogs didn't exist?

>> There would be a lot less free stuff. There would be a lot less google followers. And let's be honest... sometimes I think that they whole blogging thing of having followers, giveaways, guest posts, etc, is too much. But it is also a way for wonderful bloggers to have an income. And free stuff is fun too!

>> We wouldn't know what to wear! I mean, how would we know what to wear without seeing the beautiful clothes that bloggers wear? When I grow up, I want to dress like a blogger.  Along with that, we would have no clue how to do our hair (see above) or put on makeup (which, unfortunately, I still don't).

>> No one would know how to be creative or how to wear head-warmers. Bloggers just know. They also know how to make crafts and how to get their "pins" viral and how to record videos of themselves and not sound ridiculous. Wow, just wow! I wish I could do that.

>> Less food. Less food is a sad, sad thing. Where would we get meal ideas and step-by-step pictures of how to make them? We would have to.. I don't know, make food without pictures? Can that be done? But really, I love the step-by-steps.

>> In all seriousness, we would miss getting the open, honest voice of real people.  Blogs are a way for people, real people, to express their thoughts without the filter of the media. It's amazing to look out there and see so many people passionate about things that you are passionate about. I have some favorite blogs that have inspiring ideas on everything from being frugal, spending more time on God, raising a family, and cooking. And that's why blogs are so cool. I'm so glad they exist!

Friday, May 2, 2014

At the Moment

I'm blog post-less today, so I'm stealing a list from Living in Yellow.  Happy Friday!

Making: Lists of things I should actually do.

Cooking: What is that? 

Reading: 101 Blog Post Ideas (desperate much?).

Wanting: To see my family.

Looking: Out the window at the ocean. It's a beautiful day!

Playing: "Run" by George Strait.

Wasting: Your time.

Wishing: Our fiance application would go through quickly.

Enjoying: Love.

Waiting: For everyone else to wake up.

Liking Loving: Tuna melt sandwiches!!

Wondering: If it is acceptable to skip running today. Is that a yes I hear?

Hoping: To be better.

Marveling: At the forgiveness of God. I can't stop thinking about the prodigal son and how his father greets him... that's our Father in heaven! Wow!

Needing: To eat.

Wearing: A pretend workout outfit... Aka let's pretend the workout already happened. 

Following: Jesus.

Noticing: How long this post is and wondering if anyone is still reading.

Knowing: That I don't know very much.

Thinking: How long can I lie in bed?

Feeling: Achy.

Bookmarking: Blog topic ideas. Obviously, I'm so creative.

Opening: New tabs so I can listen to Youtube songs while checking my school login while writing this while reading other blog posts. 

Giggling: At this picture.

Feeling: Lazy.