Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

...Oh, and since 'The Editrix' tagged me this time... :)

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Goodness, I'd be happy for the gift, regardless of how it was wrapped! Oh, fine - I have to say that I do definitely prefer wrapping paper.

2. Real or fake tree? Well, we have usually used a fake tree in the past - we only used a real Christmas tree once, I think, and it was when I was quite young. But I'm willing to try a real tree again anytime! ;)

3. When do you put up a tree? Usually either Thanksgiving day, or that weekend.

4. When do you take it down? Usually sometime in January, though there have probably been a few years where it managed to stay up 'til February. ;)

5. Do you like eggnog? Hmm, I don't think so, but it's been a long time since I tasted it - then again, as it's raw egg, it doesn't sound very appetizing to me. :P

6. Favorite gift received as a child? I really do not know. Does salvation count (the gift of Jesus)?

7. Hardest person to buy for? Probably my dad - he seems to always buy what he needs before giving others a chance to buy it for him!

8. Easiest person to buy for? My siblings, in general. ;)

9. Do you have a nativity scene? 3 or 4, actually. :P

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail, definitely. I love letters!

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Umm....N/A? There was one year when I got a pair of tennis shoes that I picked out myself, but still; I didn't have to buy them!

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Well the first Christmas movie we usually watch every year is 'The Santa Clause,' and I also enjoy 'It's a Wonderful Life.'

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? When my schedule allows - sometimes in October or November, and sometimes (like this year) not until a couple weeks before Christmas.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Oh, I'm sure I have.

15. Favourite thing to eat at Christmas? Christmas FUDGE! :D And a lot of other things. :P

16. Lights on the tree? Of course!

17. Favourite Christmas song? I don't like picking favorites, "doggonit"! Let's see...O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Little Drummer Boy, Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring, Carol of the Bells...Shall I go on?

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? We've celebrated Christmas at home every year thus far, I think.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? Let's see if I can: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen...and Rudolph? :P I just sang the song in my head to remember them. ;)

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? We don't always have a tree topper, actually - but when we do, it's usually a star.

21. Open presents on Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas morning - stockings first (our parents hide them and we run all over the house to find them), then breakfast, and after that we open presents.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? How stressful it has become for the majority of society (and the feeling of obligation some people have about giving; giving is supposed to be such a joyful thing!) - and how commercialized it is, but that's pretty much inevitable.

23. Favourite Ornament theme or color? Couldn't decide that! Depends on the ornament.

24. Favourite for Christmas dinner? Our honey-roasted ham, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, and whatever else is made for the meal! :)

25. Favourite Decorations? Hmm...Again, I don't have a "favorite" decoration, but I love the lighted garlands and the bows on the staircase.

26. What do you want for Christmas this year? Make that past tense, since Christmas is almost over for this year! :P There was actually almost nothing in particular that I really wanted. I was pleasantly surprised (and it's not easy to surprise me - somehow I almost always manage to find things out!). I got a nice little digital camera of my own that I can take with me wherever I go, several CDs, a book (David Copperfield), and a small notebook from my four year old sister. :)

By the way, there's something that happened last week that I just have to tell. I had just finished a piano lesson with one of my students (an 11 year old boy of the rather serious, in-charge, and sharp sort), and leaning on the back of their baby grand piano as I wrote in his assignment book I asked him, "So Joe, if you could have any one thing for Christmas, what would it be?" His answer made me look up from my writing. He said, "Well, there's nothing really that I need. But if I could have one thing, it'd probably be a thousand dollars to spend any way I want for the Sudanese victims." Wow. Talk about humbling.

My little sister has also insisted this year that we must have a birthday cake for Jesus - such a cute thought from a four year old. :)

I would love to give each and every one of you gifts - but this Christmas a hug will have to suffice. So, if you read this, consider yourself *hugged*. :)

I hope you all had a very, very Merry Christmas - a blessed and joyful one full of His love. I'm so thankful for you!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Undying Love

"It is a marvel to me why God allows characters like mine to defile His Church. I can only account for it with the thought that if I ever am perfected, I shall be a great honor to His name...The time may come when those who know me now, crude, childish, incomplete, will look upon me with amazement, saying, "What hath God wrought!" If I knew such a time would never come, I should want to flee into the holes and caves of the earth." -Stepping Heavenward, by Mrs. E. Prentiss

Do you ever feel like that? Please tell me I'm not the only one. I have felt that way so many times over the past few months - I despaired of ever being who I know I should be (and can be, with the Lord's help), but the Holy Spirit reminds me of how far God has brought me already. I wanted to just give up, but the Holy Spirit always encourages me. I was lonely, but the Holy Spirit always comforts me and has shown me once again how blessed I am to have my family. I was tempted to "beat myself over the head" for one thing or another that might have caused others pain, but the Holy Spirit offers forgiveness and peace. As I sit here pondering, tears flood my eyes; probably in part just because I'm an emotional teenager, but looking back over the past few months...God has been testing me. I'm afraid I have not successfully passed His tests - I suppose only He can answer that, however. Honestly I don't know that I can tell you what the purpose of the tests are - the extremely painful and confusing trials - but I can go on, because I know that I know that I know they are for my good. Somewhere along the road, someday soon, I will stand on a hill and look down over the path He chose for me and say with a smile and joyful tears, "I see!" Someday soon, I will be shown the whole front of the tapestry He is weaving, and will stand in awe of its beauty and perfection, in a way I can't fathom right now.

I know that it's worth it - trusting Him. It is a journey. I have had to put things into His hands about which I care very much: relationships, school, my future, even the words I speak and the thoughts I entertain...And I have to keep giving them to Him. It's as if, just when I think I have released something, I realize that I'm really still holding on to it, insisting that I have control over this aspect or that. When will I realize that He loves me more than I love myself or anyone else? That He knows what will bring me joy and satisfaction; He knows me better than I know myself. He knows where I am best suited for Him, and He knows how to get me there. His ways are so much higher, His thoughts not our thoughts. A way may seem right to me, and maybe it is - or maybe He has a better path; who am I to judge it?

Certain thoughts are prayers. There are moments when, whatever be the attitude of the body, the soul is on its knees. ~Victor Hugo

My soul has been on its knees much as of late; both in pain and gratitude. He gives me so many blessings I do not deserve. When trials come, shall we focus our thoughts on the light that we know is with us? For it is only through the night that one can reach the morning, and it may be that our time in "the dark room of faith" will prove to be the moment before the light begins shining most brightly.

"The night is far spent, the day is at hand..." Romans 13:12a

Friday, November 28, 2008

Randomly Tagged

Spencer tagged me to post "15 random facts that I'm not afraid to admit about myself."

(Oh, and happy belated Thanksgiving, by the way!)

1. This is the first time I've been tagged in the blogging world (and I've been in it for almost 3 years thus far!).

2. You know the first letter in the famous "Disney" signature? Well I didn't realize that that was actually a "D" until...Well until earlier this year, I think.

3. As far as credits go, I'm almost a second-semester college sophomore.

4. I looove applesauce, but my favorite fruit is kiwi fruit (in America we just call them kiwis, but I've got NZers that read my blog, so....I thought a clarification was necessary ;) ).

5. One of my brothers has told me several times that (for some strange reason) if I were a cat, I would look like my own cat, Faith...Hmmm.

6. I used to be extremely ticklish, but now there are only a few people who can tickle me 'til I laugh hysterically (my dad especially).

7. I really do not like it when people start to tell or ask something, and then say "Nevermind."

8. I'm left-handed, in case you didn't already know by reading that piece I wrote for Mada's blog last year.

9. My family is very health conscious. That means, among other things, that as a general rule we don't use a microwave, we don't eat things that have HFCS or MSG or partially hydrogenated oils in them, and even most of our household cleaners are natural.

10. I shocked my cousin earlier this week by telling her that we had actually "slept in" that day.

11. One of my brothers (the one that is younger than me by 5 years) is now taller than me and has feet that must be almost twice as large as mine (ok, that might be a slight exaggeration).

12. I love the outdoors, and I like to walk in the rain.

13. I've heard some people say that they thought the first Narnia (directed by Andrew Adamson) was boring - well I happen to LOVE that movie. So there.

14. It's not unusual for me to get extremely chilly at night, so I sleep with quite a few blankets over my sheets - I think there are four layers of blankets and comforters on my bed right now (but remember that it's winter here at the moment).

15. We watched Walle recently - another film to add to Pixar's list of total successes!

As for tagging other people....Hmm. I suppose I'll tag Guitargirl and The Editrix - there aren't many readers of this blog to tag, and some have already been tagged by Spencer. ;)

I apologize in advance if my next post is not on schedule - I have so much work to do at the moment...I'm hoping that (Lord willing) I can get caught up this weekend, but I thought I should warn you just in case. Maybe some more photography will be in the next post? We shall see.

I thank God for you - may He bless and keep you. :)

Thursday, November 6, 2008


I'm back - not that you probably noticed that I was gone, but I was. I apologize for not giving you all some sort of indication of how long I would be away from the blogging world; frankly, I had rather intended, because of certain circumstances, to take a 2 month blog hiatus. Circumstances changed, however, and I've decided to continue; yes, yes, I know how extremely grateful you are. :P

I'm not going to spend too much time on this, as probably virtually every US blog in existence has already covered it; but I do have to say a few things about the election. I am not ashamed to say that I voted for McCain and Palin - not because I support them in and of themselves, but because the alternative was so utterly awful. Is it possible that America just voted a Socialist into office?! God help us. I heard something that almost frightened me a little this morning - today Obama is going to get his first US Intelligence briefing. That man is going to know the country's top secrets; I guess I knew that before, but it just jumped out at me. I told my mom that, and she said that we needed to pray for him. My first reaction was Pray for him?! For what? Horrible, I know - forgive me. I think that was the first time ever that I simply didn't want to pray for someone. I didn't want to pray for Obama. A man who wants my dad (who is in a bracket well above Obama's definition of "middle class" in the economy) to give more of his well-earned money (nearly half of which already goes to the government) to Obama to distribute as he chooses...The man who wants to legalize abortion completely, who wants to treat with terrorists, who wants our brave American troops to surrender when on the verge of complete victory. The man who's pastor of 20 years said unrepeatable things in church, and allowed that man to baptize his children. The man who's wife said that she was proud of her country for the first time while on the campaign trail. I could go on and on. No, I did not want to pray for that man. Almost immediately after, however, I knew my mother was right. Like it or not, he will probably be the President for the next four years - and, as President of the United States, he will be the leader of the free world. I'm not trying to sound America-centric, because I'm not; I know the reputation America has in other places, and I know America has its major faults. But America is arguably the most powerful country on earth. We should be praying for Obama - that he would make wise decisions (as impossible as that seems - with God all things are possible). Hard, I know; but I think it's very important for us Christians to realize that by God's hand kings and rulers rise and fall - I'm not happy about the election results at all (upset, frustrated, disappointed, and disgusted - but not worried), but I do need to keep in mind that God works all things for His plan, and for the good of those who love Him. And I just happened to read this in my Bible reading today:

"I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone - for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." - 1 Timothy 2:1-4

Coincidence? I don't think so.

On a lighter note, perhaps I should do as a friend of mine did and join a 'group' on Facebook that said, "If Obama becomes president, we're moving to New Zealand."

Here's a political cartoon that I found quite humorous:

And here are some quizzes that I took recently "just for fun"...

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The Inland North

The Northeast


The South

The West


North Central

What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz


Which American accent do you have?


You're not Northern, Southern, or Western, you`re just plain -American-. Your national identity is more important than your local identity, because you don`t really have a local identity. You might be from the region in that map, which is defined by this kind of accent, but you could easily not be. Or maybe you just moved around a lot growing up.

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by quizzes and personality tests.

I knew that I had a plain ol' American accent - despite living in Texas for my entire life thus far. ;) Now I have to show these quizzes to my Michigander cousin to prove it to her.


Your result for The Commonly Confused Words Test...

English Genius

You scored 100% Beginner, 100% Intermediate, 93% Advanced, and 93% Expert!

You did so extremely well, even I can't find a word to describe your excellence! You have the uncommon intelligence necessary to understand things that most people don't. You have an extensive vocabulary, and you're not afraid to use it properly! Way to go!

Thank you so much for taking my test. I hope you enjoyed it!

Take The Commonly Confused Words Test at HelloQuizzy


I should have gotten 100% percent on that one - being such a grammar freak. :-/

God bless. :)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Everyday Humor

I don't know if you all will find any of these at all humorous, but they highly amused us. ;)


Ajoyfulheart: *walks in room* *panicked gasp* "[Notmyown]! There's a huge spider on my bed!"
Notmyown: "That is not a huge spider."
Ajoyfulheart: "Yes it is!! Can you come kill it for me? Hurry, before it goes under my covers!"
Notmyown: "Kara, what are you going to do when your husband is gone to work, you're at home with little kids, and there's a spider?"
Ajoyfulheart: *pause* "....Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."


One evening, when we had another family over for dinner, my brothers and the visiting boys were playing around upstairs (mostly with guns and lightsabers - i.e. Davy Crockett meets Mace Windu). At one point, all of the boys suddenly came running full-kilter into the family room yelling in terror, diving behind and jumping over furniture, and just generally scrambling for cover from something. The rest of us looked in the direction from which they had come, to ascertain what had caused the boys' distress - a moment later, my little four year old sister came walking in, holding a lightsaber in each hand.


Notmyown: "I have a question--"
Grandma: "I have an answer! I hope they match!"


*During an IM conversation in which I was explaining to my cousin how to go about doing a particular something or other on the computer that she couldn't figure out*
Traci:"welllll....i don't know THAT much about computers i just know that when you press certain buttons certain things happen i have no idea WHY!"


Our family was sitting around the dinner table discussing state senators and representatives, one of whom my dad had been to see a while before. All of a sudden, my four year old sister said matter-of-factly, "That's because ears belong on your head."


One of my current jobs includes being a transcriptionist for a couple of doctors. The following was on the tape, and made me burst out laughing.
Doctor: "...with phenol and alcohol."
Other voice, high and digital-sounding: "Be KIND to them!"

(That doctor has a young son, so very likely it was a children's video playing, or something of that sort.)


This one my cousin Traci told us. She and a group of friends went to the theaters to watch Spiderman 3. At one point in the film, Peter Parker actually knocks MJ to the ground - when they came to that scene, a little boy in the movie theater shouted indignantly, "He hit a girl! That's illegal!!"


Grandma: "We should stuff all of our nuclear waste into socks--that way, half of it would disappear immediately!"


The family was having a serious discussion at the dinner table one night, and had been doing so for quite a while. Finally a pause came in the conversation, and my four year old sister sighed and said dreamily, "I wish I could stand on my head..."


(Scene: Ajoyfulheart, sitting on her bed and reading a book. Notmyown, sitting at my desk working on my computer.)
Ajoyfulheart: "I wonder if I were to fall off a high building, would it hurt more to be curled up in a ball, or stretched out flat?"
Notmyown: *turns in swival chair and just looks at Ajoyfulheart for a long moment*
Ajoyfulheart: "What?! I was just wondering, in case I ever fall, so I could know!"


My 8 year old brother: *Walks up to Mommy* Mommy, what do you think it would feel like to be a crab?


My 8 year old brother and 4 year old sister, who had just been outside romping around for a while, came tramping in, and Baby Girl immediately sat down to remove her shoes. Her brother, on the other hand, continued to march away, ordering in a military fashion, "Come on, soldier!" His brave soldier's response? "MY SHOES ARE DIRTY!" and she burst into tears.


Someone had brought their 10 year old grandson to my mom's workshop that she was teaching the other day. My brothers being gone to a Bible study, Baby Girl attached herself to him and offered to play with him. Ajoyfulheart and I were in the kitchen, finishing up the dishes and tidying, when Ajoyfulheart turned to me and said, "Did they goes upstairs?" I replied that I didn't know, and she assured me that she heard them running up the stairs. Preferring to keep them downstairs, where they could be watched, I went in search of them, and found Baby Girl wandering around in a sitting room just outside of my brothers' room (where, unbeknownst to me at the time, the boy was hiding). She immediately informed me that they were playing hide and seek, and that she was looked for "the boy," as she called him.

"Baby Girl, I need to you come back downstairs. Let's find Dallas [the boy] and you two come downstairs to play, ok?"

She responded, looking at me very earnestly, "Ok - I need to find the boy before he steals something!!"

I laughed, telling her that Dallas was not going to steal anything! and called for him. He came running out of the boys' room - the door to which was about 3 meters from where Becca had been standing...LOL Little kids have almost NO discretion.


One afternoon when Ajoyfulheart and I were folding laundry, I had tried several times to start a conversation with her about this or that, but to no avail - she would give a brief answer and then go back into her own world. After one such attempt, she exclaimed, "I'm thinking!!" and then again fell silent.

A while later, I said something else to her, and she cried, exasperated, "[Notmyown], you just wrecked my train of thought and now it's ruined!!"

I began laughing, and she said in a sulking manner, "I know what you're thinking, and it's not funny," whereupon she also burst out laughing. :P


Last summer we were spending time with some new friends from Australia, and somehow got on the topic of restaurants. We asked them if they had ever eaten at "Outback" (a very well-known steakhouse chain here in the States).

The dad's reply was, "Oh, no you don't want to eat anything from the outback - the food iffy."

We all had a good laugh, then explained that we were indeed talking about an actual restaurant, not the Australian wilderness.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Joy in every little thing...

...Like new, cute little flats that absolutely delight me. (And I'm not a very frequent shoe shopper...)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Patriot Day, 2008

A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America

September 11, 2001, was etched into America's memory when 19 terrorists attacked us with barbarity unequaled in our history. On Patriot Day, we cherish the memory of the thousands of innocent victims lost, extend our thoughts and prayers to their families, and honor the heroic men and women who risked and sacrificed their lives so others might survive.

Since 9/11, we have recognized the threat posed by terrorists to the safety of the American people and worked to protect our homeland by fighting terrorists abroad. We are confronting terrorism by advancing freedom, liberty, and prosperity as an alternative to the ideologies of hatred and repression. Our Nation pays tribute to our courageous men and women in uniform serving around the world and the devoted members of our law enforcement, public safety, and intelligence communities at home who work night and day to protect us from harm and preserve the freedom of this great Nation.

Seven years ago, ordinary citizens rose to the challenge, united in prayer, and responded with extraordinary acts of courage, with some giving their lives for the country they loved. On Patriot Day, we remember all those who were taken from us in an instant and seek their lasting memorial in a safer and more hopeful world. We must not allow our resolve to be weakened by the passage of time. We will meet the test that history has given us and continue to fight to rid the world of terrorism and promote liberty around the globe.

By a joint resolution approved December 18, 2001 (Public Law 107-89), the Congress has designated September 11 of each year as "Patriot Day."

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim September 11, 2008, as Patriot Day. I call upon the Governors of the United States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, as well as appropriate officials of all units of government, to direct that the flag be flown at half-staff on Patriot Day. I also call upon the people of the United States to observe Patriot Day with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and remembrance services, to display the flag at half-staff from their homes on that day, and to observe a moment of silence beginning at 8:46 a.m. eastern daylight time to honor the innocent Americans and people from around the world who lost their lives as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eighth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.



Friday, September 5, 2008

The same sun, across the world...

Isn't that a strange thought? Though there may be a million miles between us (ok, maybe just thousands for Spencer and I...I'm not a very good judge of distance), we all see and feel the same sun every day. We gaze at the same moon every night. Isn't that amazing?

Anyway, in keeping with Mada's recent post, here are some sunrise/sunset/cloud pictures taken in Texas over the course of the past few years. Not nearly as fantastic as the New Zealand ones, but God does too brilliant of a job to allow me to call them anything less than beautiful. ;)

Oh, and I'll post some more landscape pictures soon. :)

{{The first 4 were taken at the beach a few years ago, where we stayed in a condo with some friends for a weekend.}}

I know, this one doesn't actually belong the sunrise/sunset/cloud category, but I love the way the pattern in the sand matches the pattern of the clouds in the previous picture.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

For those of you eagerly anticipating the release of Christopher Paolini's latest book, Brisingr:

Do not pay $27.00 (USD) by purchasing it through the main Alagaesia site. I just recently pre-ordered the book through, and guess how much I paid for it? $15.13 . For the hardcover. And another wonderful thing about - if they lower the price of the pre-order item after you've already ordered it and before the item is released, they'll charge you the lowered price. Not to mention the fact that I'm on Amazon Prime, so I get free two-day shipping. :D

Also, in case you didn't notice, there have been a few updates to the template of 'Asking the Answer.' I have added a few more blogs to my BlogRoll, firstly. 'Resolved2Worship' is the blog of a mother of 6 (four boys and two girls) who I have come to greatly admire and appreciate - I have no idea how I found her blog (it's been in my bookmarks for a while) but I am certainly glad I did. I encourage you especially to read her post "Real Life Monday" from a few weeks ago; in the second part (after the photos) she talks about forgiveness and letting go of hurt; it seriously brought me to tears (perhaps because of some things going on in my life at the moment). Anyway, the other addition is the Myspace blog of the band 'Tenth Avenue North' (they also have a "journal" page on their main site that varies a little bit from the Myspace blog). Even if you don't care for their music, I highly recommend their blog - they have a lot of really insightful, encouraging, and challenging posts (especially from the lead singer, Mike D.), plus a few quirky ones thrown in the mix. Perhaps at some point I'll post a few "guest" articles from them, but please peruse the blog yourself if you have time.

I've also added a Shoutbox. ;-) Now you can leave notes about things not relating to the posts and such (or whatever you feel like writing there).

Oh, and by the way, I watched a particular 5 hour movie with my cousin and sister a few weeks ago. *ahem* I think I can agree with the masses now and say that the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice is indeed better than the newest rendition of that story (starring Kiera Knightley). Although there are a few elements and characters (i.e. Jane in particular) that I liked better in the later version. ;)

Friday, August 8, 2008

How much?

This temporary lapse in posting is not permanent, I assure you! Thanks for your patience. :)

Written the week of June 14, 2008.

"To whom much has been given, much will be required."

That verse has been in my thoughts the past few days. Of course, the above is not exactly how it goes, but that's how I remembered it at the time. It wasn't even a verse that I had happened to come upon in my Bible reading, but simply one that popped into my head and refused to leave. Almost as soon as it manifested itself in my mind, it created what you might call an "Ah-ha!" experience in my heart. Suddenly, I felt that I began to grasp, understand, and realize the verse--in a way that I had not done before. It was amazing--like God just spoke to my heart. Such a simple verse, but so important.

Anyway, almost immediately after my initial reaction (which was, in essence, "Wow!") a slightly more unsettling reaction followed--in comparison to the first, this one would have sounded like "Oh...". Upon pondering the verse, I realized something--Jesus isn't simply referring to material possessions; He's not only implying that we should use the monetary and material blessings we have been given to further Christ's kingdom (which might be one common interpretation of the parable in which it is contained). No, more is being required than that.

Perhaps this thought came to me because I happened to be preparing for a piano lesson around the same time; I'm not sure. But have you ever considered that your gifts, your talents (in addition to the aforementioned blessings) might also be the subject of the verse? That the blessing of having many Godly influences (whether it be parents, pastors, or friends) might be included? What about your opportunities? Your resources? Even your very mind? Your desires, passions, skills?

"For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more."

Ouch. When I think of all that I have been given--the immensity of my blessings, and the amount that has been "committed" to me, compared with how much I have given back to Him...How much shall be required of me, with what I have been given! How shall I ever account for it all? What am I doing to prepare for Him who has committed all these things to me? What will the balance be? Am I making the best use of all these blessings He has given me, as the first servant in that parable (I encourage you to read it over again), or am I simply holding them to return to Him exactly as they were when I first received them?

At the same time, I in no way am saying that I think we are required to work for our salvation. It is a free gift, given by Christ to all who will reach out and take it. But there is a level of accountability that I think perhaps we too often miss--for those of us to whom much has been given, much will be required. Yes, I believe absolutely and completely that God loves me no matter what I do or do not do; but should I not attempt to at least use that which He has given me in His love and grace in a way that blesses Him and His kingdom? Why else would He have given them to me? No, that doesn't mean that every single one of us is meant to be sent out into the world to do "great and glorious things" that all the world will see. Maybe what's required of some of us is much simpler. Maybe a particular gift you have been given isn't one to bring in hundreds of new believers, but is to be used for your own family--to develop, train, and bless your own children someday--or maybe it has one of a million other purposes, seemingly small and relatively unimportant to the world, but a necessary tool in God's hand. Maybe? Isn't that still giving back to Him? Developing and furthering what He has given us?

So that's what was on my heart this weekend, and I just wanted to share it with you--though I'm not quite sure that I worded it in a way that properly explains what I was trying to say...Please let me know what you think of it; does any of it ring true for you?

Sunday, July 20, 2008


I apologize for not posting for so long--we were preparing for a long car trip and then were en route/in Kentucky until just this afternoon.

Written June 7, 2008

Well summertime is here again in Texas--full force--with all its beauty and misery. :P

Everything is blooming, and has been for about a month now. Our towering palm trees are nearly always moving, rustling in the gentle breeze, dropping their last few blossoms along the rocks and into the pool. The beautiful crepe myrtle branches have been painted with white and all various shades of pink and purple; when the wind blows it seems to catch up the tiny flowers like snowflake flurries--especially during a thunderstorm, when they flow and skitter across the crepe myrtle-lined driveway. The small, dark purple flowers of the Mexican Heather are appearing, as are those of the lighter shaded Lilies of the Nile. The Day Lilies, too, are adding their color to the summer landscape, with tints of yellow, red, purple, and orange. The hibiscus, the Oleanders with their lovely cherry scent, and oh! the fruit trees! Their blossoms smell absolutely heavenly--lemon, grapefruit, lime, peach, apple, pear...*sigh*

My dad's garden is well on its way--we have fresh tomatoes, corn, and peppers (bell and jalapeno), and will soon have watermelon, cantaloupe, beans, and cucumbers. Our herb garden is also providing fresh basil, rosemary, oregano, chives, peppermint, and lavender. :)

The sun is usually peeking its head over the horizon by about 6:30 these days, and doesn't disappear in the west until around eight in the evening. And oh! does the sun take advantage of its full trek across the sky--by 10 in the morning it can be 90 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit (approximately 32-38 degrees Celsius). The humidity can make it so "sticky" that you almost feel like you're suffocating if you step outside. Thankfully there has been a fairly constant light wind lately--I notice the trees in a nearly endless dance most the day. Sometimes whirling around gaily, and sometimes just barely touching fingers, but always moving. I love hearing the wind play the first 6 notes of 'Amazing Grace' as it brushes past the wind chime hanging on the back porch.

It's quite strange, really. When I began writing this post, I thought I'd have much more ranting about the heat, humidity, mosquitoes, and the things that make summer miserable, but instead I've gone on and on about how gorgeous it is. I suppose that I like summer more than I thought I did (though the heat and humidity is still a damper on my enthusiasm for it. ;) ). Do you ever feel, with all the beauty around you, this deep soul-longing?

Well, now that I have rambled on and on about basically nothing...Hmm. What shall I do to redeem this post slightly?

Listen to 'Sunny Days' by Jars of Clay. It's probably my favorite song of that band to date.

'Summer Again' by The Afters is beautiful--look it up if you haven't.

And a random fact of the day: Lairë is the Quenya Elvish word for 'summer.' And I love the Elvish language. Wait, that's two random facts. No it isn't. The second one isn't random--it relates to the first. Hang on. That means that the first one isn't random, now, doesn't it? I'm confusing you, aren't I? I've been on a fast for 9 days now, so I'm entitled to be a little confusing at the moment. There. That's three...semi-random...facts for you. And I bet those will trigger as much conversation as the entire above post. (If there's any conversation at all.)

Enjoy the break from "serious" won't last long, I'm sure.

Smile--it's contagious. :) God bless.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Pondering in the Blueberry Patch

(Written Sunday, June 29, 2008)

I suppose my thoughts on this post are, in the words of the oft-quoted Calvin, "Who wouldn't be interested in everything we do?!"

Our dad came into the room that I share with my two younger sisters at 6:45 this morning, awaking me from a sound sleep in which I dreamt that, for some strange reason, I was one of 8 or 9 people chosen to be blasted off into space (to the moon, I think). Being desirous of reaching the conclusion of the dream, I attempted in vain to tune out the unwelcome "alarm." When, however, I heard that we had only 15 minutes to get changed, gather our things, and be in the car, I rather reluctantly but quickly threw back the 3 layers of covers (I get cold at night very easily :P).

After getting ready, I grabbed my cell phone and a ring of keys from my dresser, intending to run down the street to a neighbor's house in order to feed their cat (which responsibility I took on for half a month while the couple celebrates their 25th wedding anniversary in Vienna and on a cruise ship among the Greek islands). As I reached their driveway, however, I remembered that their daughter (a year older than I, and a sophomore in college) had left me a note yesterday saying that she would be home until later that morning, and it occurred to me that she might not appreciate my waking her so early. I therefore hastened back to the car, where the rest of the family was just piling in.

As we drove out of the neighborhood, we passed a little family of ducks just preparing to cross the road--with little baby ducklings. A cry of "Awwww!" came from my mom and me, while my dad looked at me (via the rearview mirror) like my cheese had begun to slide off my cracker. LOL

I then picked up the book I had brought with me and attempted to read. This was quite difficult, however, as my mom was reading to my dad from a book about raw milk and the history of pasteurization (we drink raw milk ;) ). I continued my efforts to tune out the commentary in the front of the car and tried to focus on George MacDonald's The Musician's Quest. The difficulty of this increased, however, as Nicole Nordeman's song 'Sunrise' stuck itself in my brain.

Finally, after a few moments, I temporarily set aside Robert Falconer and Shargar; my mind was going at such a rate (writing the beginning of this blog post, actually), that I quickly requested from my mother a piece of paper and pencil. Kara supplied the paper from her notepad on which she was writing Spanish verbs, and the pencil was found in the compartment between the front seats. (I really should remember to carry a pad of paper around with me everywhere I go.) Thus I occupied myself writing for a good 15 minutes until we came close to our destination, when my concentration was distracted by my dad pointing out some horses along the road to the kids--my attention once drawn to the window, I continued to gaze in that direction for several more minutes. Moments later, a very strange thing came into view; ostriches! Why on earth someone had ostriches in their front yard I don't know. :P

As I went to return to my creative endeavors, I was rudely interrupted by a continuous joggling. Looking up once more, I saw that we had turned onto a dirt/gravel road, and therefore postponed the commencement of my writing, lest I be completely unable to decipher it afterwards. My dad must have been highly amused at the sight of us bouncing around in our seats like Mexican jumping beans.

Miraculously, we found ourselves whole and unbruised when we finally pulled into a parking space in front of the "U-pick" blueberry farm. Everyone quickly unbuckled and gathered their things (hats, water bottles, and--in my case--a camera), whereupon we walked up to the main office.

The man that greeted us immediately congratulated our mother for "bringing so many pickers" as he began handing us buckets and ropes (by which to hang the buckets over our necks, leaving our hands free). Strangely, his voice and laugh reminded me of a character from a movie--after a bit of pondering, I realized it was the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland (which I haven't seen in an eternity). The similarity was quite bizarre.

Anyway, the Mad Hatter man then directed us towards the back of the farm, where there were berries to be found. I walked with Daddy, ahead of the others, and he chatted to me about a doctor friend of his, while I listened, swinging my bucket happily. Finally we came to the section indicated by the Mad Hatter man (I never did catch his name), and everyone spread out and began picking.

There is a point to this post, believe it or not! So stay in your seat. :P

Picking the blueberries was harder this year than last. This year we didn't manage to make it to the farm until near the very end of the season, so most of the blueberries within easy reach were gone. The ones that were left were either quite far into the bush or way up on top of it. And I'm short; that made it even harder. Apparently I wasn't the only one, either. I overheard a couple on the other side of the row from me talking, and the girl commented that she wasn't getting many berries, whereupon her husband/boyfriend (I couldn't tell which) teased her for being so short and boasted that he had half a bucketful already (Hey, he must've been over 6', so he had an unfair advantage, which he admitted).

The other members of my family began commenting on the scarceness of the berries as well. This sort of blueberry picking was not for the squeamish. It required diving into the very heart of the bushes, pulling back branches, and (in my case) reaching up and pulling down branches to reach the top of them. My thirteen year-old brother approached me at one point and lamented, through the bushes, "How long wilt thou be content with the middlings? When will thou reach higher?" (Yes, I know his Olde English needs help. :P) Humorous as that was, my mind, being the way it is, took that concept and ran with it.

As I picked, I thought about the fact that in order to get the best berries (for they truly were better--bigger and sweeter), one had to strive for the tops and centers of the plants. Isn't that rather like our spiritual lives? How many people are content to walk through life and catch what they can of God along the way--a bit here, a bit there...Whatever is in easy reach. Heaven forbid that they should have to inconvenience themselves to have more of Him and His presence. Why don't we dive into God--into His heart? Why don't we look up and reach for His face? I think He is calling us to do as Aslan called the Pevensies in the Last Battle, when in the "real" Narnia:

"Further up and further in!"

This thought enkindles me. Will you too join the quest to go "further up and further in" to our relationship with Him? For without Him, where is the joy in the journey?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Feel free to opine...

Well, there is the result of an evening's photo-shoot and another evening's Photoshop. :)

What thinkest thou of mine new banner? Preferest thou the old or the new?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The dream of every little boy...

NASA is offering to take you to the moon for free! Well, sort of--your name, anyway. Read here for more information and instructions on how to send them your info, which will be placed on a microchip, which in turn will go hurdling through space on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) to the moon itself. The deadline for submitting your name is tomorrow, June 27, 2008. (That's American Eastern Time, I assume, for those of you elsewhere in the world--so Mada and other NZers, remember that you're 16 hours ahead of that at the moment. ;) )

What do you think of that?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Watch your thoughts for they become words
Choose your words for they become actions
Understand your actions for they become habits
Study your habits for they will become your character
Develop your character for it will become your destiny
(Author Unknown)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


The other day I took my little four year-old sister and Cody, the family's golden retriever puppy, on a walk down to the nearby pond. Though we didn't get to spend much time there (on account of the extreme heat, despite the fact that it was almost 5 PM), they seemed to have fun--"Baby Girl" (my own special nickname for my littlest sister) especially enjoyed seeing the ducks and watching the little minnows along the shore, while Cody had to be restrained from chasing the one and jumping in after the other. :P

Anyway, I took a camera with me: here's one of the results (and I may post another soon). :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Goverment Funds Murder

This article that a blogger friend of mine pointed to recently gives some truly appalling statistical information regarding abortions and Planned Parenthood in America. What right does the government have to support Planned Parenthood?! I should like to know why they think it's their privilege to bestow our tax dollars on such an organization--more than 300 million dollars worth--a large portion of which is used to support pro-abortion political candidates.

This is wrong! In the name of all of the unborn children that have lost their lives because, in part, of Planned Parenthood, I say this is unjust. Sickening. Repulsively disgusting. Sinful to the core. Murder, plain and simple.

Please pray for our country, ladies and gentlemen; whether you be a citizen of it or not. It is a truly sad state of affairs when more children die by the will of their parents in one year (in 2006 Planned Parenthood alone provided approximately 289,650 abortions) than soldiers died in the past four wars/military operations in which America fought (to date). Actually, the numbers are so astronomically large that I shall put it this way: suppose that the 2006 statistics for Planned Parenthood are the average. Suppose also that the approximate total number of American soldiers killed in all the wars and military operations in which the country has participated over its entire existence is 1,008,057 (yes, I had to do a bit of research for this post). This means that in the short span of just under 3.5 years the number of deaths attributed to Planned Parenthood will have equaled the number of American soldiers killed over the past 232 years.

All those precious little lives stamped out because of the stupidity, insanity, and pure selfishness of their parents. And Planned Parenthood plays on the sinful mistakes and tendencies of the young people in particular--directly in front of the side-road entrance to the college which I attended last semester was a Planned Parenthood office. It stirs my indignation and passion for this subject nearly every time I pass it--almost makes me want to cry.

I wonder if all those unborn children will be present as warriors in the Last Battle on Earth...Wouldn't that be amazing? Just a thought.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Shades of Star Trek

This humorous piece was written by my grandmother, relating her experience when looking to purchase a new cell phone last year. (By the way, for when you encounter the name "Melody"--that's the name of one of my aunts.) Enjoy! :)

All I wanted to do was pick out a new cell phone.

If I renew my Verizon contract for two years, which I had planned to do anyway, I can have practically any telephone I want for free if I buy online. So I am perusing the Verizon web site while talking on my elderly Motorola cell phone to a customer service representative. She says she can't renew my contract with my present telephone because it lacks GPS capability, which is required for 911 operators to know where I am. I am flabbergasted! "What!?" I say to her. "Do you mean these new cell phones know where I am all the time? How can that be possible? Half the time I don't even know where I am, and you're telling me all I have to do is ask my telephone and it will help me find my way home?"

"Absolutely," she assured me. So these new phones are smarter than I am! I'll never get lost again!

("Mom, I think we must have taken a wrong turn."
"Melody, just ask the cell phone how we managed to go two hours out of our way, and how to get back.")

But that wasn't the end of the surprises. I noted that most of the phones are equipped with a Blue Tooth. Now I don't want to sound old-fashioned, but I always thought white teeth looked pretty good on most people. And I told the CS Rep as much. She explained what the Blue Tooth is for, but she couldn't tell me where it got its name. How something that hangs on your ear got named a Tooth I'll never figure out.

Further down the list of the latest features, I ran across a couple of phones which boasted "removable memories." Really, at my age I struggle with half my memory feeling like it has been removed on any given day, so why would I want a telephone with the same problem? Again, the CS Rep (trying to keep a straight face, from the sound of her voice) told me that "removable memory" really refers to "additional memory", stored on a tiny little card that fits into the tiny little cell phone. And when she told me how much memory can be packed onto that tiny little card, I knew -- I just KNEW -- that the Star Trek age is just around the corner. One day soon, I will be able to just slap the Communicator button embedded in my chest, and my blue tooth will activate my GPS and it will all be recorded on my removable memory card. I wonder if I will be able to remember where I put the card?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

What think you?

Well, it could still use some work, but here is a render that I created in Terragen last year...I would make it larger, but the sidebar then cuts off a good portion of it. ;)

EDIT: Here is the link to a larger version of the photo.

Monday, May 19, 2008


Written March 23, 2008 (Seeing the coincidental correlation between this and the theme of my blog, I thought mayhap I'd share this piece as one of the first posts on "Asking the Answer". :) )

There is a popular book/movie of which I have heard (but not read/watched) called Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy; apparently, at some point in the story line, the answer to "life, the universe, and everything"--to life's biggest question-- is found. The answer? The number 42.

Well, much more about the story than that I don't know, but I believe I have found a different answer. It's very simple, like the number 42...nothing complex or hard to understand about it; in fact, we use it most every day without thinking anything of it. A common word in the English language, short, small, yet its implications can be eternal. My answer? His.

If we could grasp the deep significance of that small word every moment of every day, we would have the true answer to "the life, the universe, and everything." It's all His--it all belongs to Christ. I am His, you are His, the person who cuts you off in traffic is his, the very house in which you live is His. Why should we worry, complain, or fret? Yesterday was His, today is His, and every moment of your future is He not capable of taking care of His own? Shouldn't we leave it to Him, then?

If every human being on Earth is His, I should treat them with respect--they're the possessions of the King of kings; the way I react to them is, in essence, the way I am reacting to God, isn't it?

Matthew 25:40 "And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." KJV

If my life is His, should I really worry about my future?

Luke 12:22-32 "Then Jesus said to his disciples: 'Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

'Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

'Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.'" NIV

If God is truly in control--if everything is really His, then all of life's problems solve themselves, because we don't need to solve them!

That's not to say we should be apathetic--God works through our lives day in and day out--but we should rest in joy and peace, knowing that it is all His, and not ours. We are not asked to fix the world, to understand all that He does, but to merely follow His path as we can, and let Him carry us when we cannot, knowing that this is His world that He created--His perfect plan is in place, and all we have to do is allow Him to work through us in whatever way He sees fit.

Much easier said than done often times, no? Trust me, I know. Too often we want to pull back the jacket and reveal a superhero, ready to fly in and save the day once again--look out to anyone who stands in our way!--but God's ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9). To those who don't look for it, God's plan and His works often go passed by, unseen; and sometimes, far from being popular, those who follow that path are ridiculed. But His plan is perfect--for every one of us. Perfect. Without defect. My life is His. Your life is His. All part of His world, His plan, and His unfailing, far-seeing, passionate, and self-sacrificing love.

One little word, encompassing all of time and creation.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

A beginning...

...can be a most daunting task in the mind of a writer. Where shall I start?

On the Apologia and Applesauce Pudding forums many of you know me by the alias "Notmyown"- and indeed, I am not my own; I have been ransomed at a price, and therefore I desire to honor and love the One who freed me from death and whom I now serve willingly, growing closer to Him every day (I hope!) - I long to know and ever be in His will, imperfect though I know I am.

So then, I welcome you. On this blog will be shared my journey, thoughts, laughter, and questions, to name a few likely subjects; may you be encouraged, challenged, cheered, and blessed by whatever may be shared here! :)