Friday, December 31, 2010

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

2010 is OUT THE DOOR, and 2011 has made itself comfortable in a chair... looks like it will be sticking around for a while, at least a year. *wink*.

I will be doing a little better post tomorrow- er, later on today- about what I have learned in 2010, but I just wanted to wish everyone a happy new year filled with the Lord's blessing!!

Love in Christ,
Sarah

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Must read post...

Another fellow Maiden of Christ posted this amazing poem that she came up.  Lady Rose is extremely gifted in poem writing and uses it for God's glory, writing poems that really make you think about your life and walk with the Lord.  She recently did one that I really want to share with you all.   Please go HERE to read it and let her know what you think!

As I read it, I thought of how many things I "dream" of that I really just need to give to the Lord instead of holding onto it.  I thoroughly enjoy posts that make me want to seriously sit down and look at the way I am leading my life for the Lord.  This post has definitely done it for me!!  So, please go and check it out!  Click here!!

In Christ's Service,
Sarah

Monday, December 27, 2010

Isn't it amazing...

... how God uses different circumstances to grow us??  Typically, for me at least, I have to go through a tough struggle to learn what He is trying to teach me. I can't seem to just get it right the first time. *sigh* Still, looking back over the years, I realized that even though, at the time, I hated the trials I went through, I am now thankful because I can see how much I have changed through those trials. Now, I am not being prideful because I know I have a long way to go yet!!
   I remember all the times my dear Mama would have to sit me down and talk over something I had done (I could list many things she had to talk to me about!). I always HATED being corrected about anything.  So, now I get to tell you about my new adventure!! *wink*
   A friend recently suggested that we start a writing club of sorts.  We can swap ideas, suggestions, etc, on the the books we are writing.  This is really great and is, in fact, an answer to my prayers.  See, I was, at one point very recently, really struggling about what I was supposed to do in my life.  I knew God had a plan for me, but I felt like I was doing nothing when I should be doing something-I just didn't know what!  So, as I was praying one evening in bed, I felt this small voice say, quite clearly, "write your books".  For those of you who don't know, my parents had kept telling me I needed to write and publish-that I had a gift the Lord had given me- but I didn't really listen. I wanted to do something more important. (yes, you can see where this is headed.. Pride goeth before the fall...)
    See, I had wanted to write books older people (young adults and adults) would enjoy reading.  However, my mom told me one day that she really felt like I needed to write children's books.  She told me that it was extremely difficult for mom's who are home schooling to find those in between books. You know, ones that are harder than "see the dog. See the dog run. See the boy. See the boy run..." yet slightly easier than those first chapter books like Amelia Bedelia.  Well, Satan was using my God given talent to distract me from what I really should be doing. I was letting the craving for fame and popularity cover the real reason I was writing- to glorify God!!  I wanted to be known for something instead of focusing on serving others (such as Homeschool Moms) by writing things that would be useful.  Sure, I will still write my other little stories that are for older aged children, but I will focus mainly on my other children's stories.
    Any how, back to my story...  Well, after hearing God's voice telling me to write my books, I was able to go to sleep.. however, "tomorrow's troubles" started pouring in.
"This is great," I told God. "Sure, ok, write my books. Don't I have to finish school and all those knitting projects I need to get done for customers? What about all that? I can't sit around writing all day, not to mention that I need some help with it too. I need someone to encourage, critique, suggest, etc on my books."  I was cringing at this thought. When I wrote, I only wanted praise, not critique or suggestions that I knew needed to be heeded.  Suddenly a thought popped into my head.. I had "met" several young people on blogger that seemed to be avid writers.  What if we could start up an email book club deal?  We could swap ideas, suggest things about other's books and whatnot.  A little club just like Tolkien and Lewis had.
   I didn't really want to start something right away. I wanted to let the idea settle down and grow for a bit before just jumping into things, like I tend to do.
   Well, lo and behold, just a couple days ago I got this email from my friend asking if I wanted to start up a little book club!  How amazing is that?  The Lord is so good and has definitely blessed me with this friend, who is very kind to offer a few compliments, but stick to the point of helping each other with our writing and growing in those skills (which means critiquing each other.. lol!  Suggesting things too, or course, so it isn't like we are too hard on each other..)
    So, this is my new challenge from God.  To learn to accept the suggestions and critique offered to me knowing full well that I can't be perfect right off the bat. Everyone needs a little bit of help, right?
    As I embark on this new journey of sorts, I would love for your prayers. I really want to grow in this area, but Satan isn't going to let me do it very easily. No, he will definitely shoot arrows at me from all directions. So, pray that the Lord will help me hold up my shield!!
    Also, after some editing and changes are done, I hope to maybe, just MAYBE, share my books with you all as well (if you can twist my arm enough.. hmm, is there a cyber way to twist an arm? he-he!)

On another note, I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!!  We definitely enjoyed our day just relaxing and enjoying each other's company.  My mom's Mom came down and spent the night Christmas Eve. Even though she lives right behind us, it was fun to have this little "escapade".  I got some lovely things that made me realize how truly blessed I am!! Even friends, whom I have never met in person but are my correspondences and who are very dear to my heart, sent me some goodies!! I was so happy to receive them! It was truly very sweet and I love every single thing they sent (especially the chocolate! lol!)
   Chocolate, actually, brings up a funny story...  Every Christmas, Mom and Dad send us on a "Treasure hunt" of sorts.  They come up with hard clues that lead us to one place or another and eventually to our final presents of the day.  So, one of the clues went something like this: "Way down south where bananas grow, a little brown bean waiting to be picked.... If you grind it and sweeten it some, you'll make a woman sing like a lark".  Josh piped up "Coffee!!"  And started to hurry off to where we keep our coffee grounds.  I grabbed him showed him the clue and said, "Make a woman sing like a lark? Chocolate!" Apparently the look I gave him was quite hilarious.... Wish I could have seen it.. lol!

Well, this is a rather random post... sorry about that. I guess random posts are fun every once in a while, right? Or have I been doing random all along?? ;-)

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas day and are now enjoying some relaxation time.  We got a big weekend with Daddy as his office was closed today! So, big plus for us! :-) (poet and didn't know it..)

Tell me what ya did for Christmas.. I would love to hear!

In Christ's Service,

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Christmas Season

First of all, Merry Christmas to all of my dear readers!!!  I hope that tomorrow will bless you with love, happiness, thanksgiving, and peace!

As the busyness of the season comes around, I have been extremely humbled.  I have been frantically working on Christmas gifts that needed to get done (staying up until 1:30 am last night trying to work on things!) and had almost lost the real reason we even celebrate Christmas day (or should I say, CHRISTmas?)
   My sister did an amazing post on her blog HERE.  As I read it, I felt extremely humbled by what the author said.  Jesus gave so much of Himself.  He, as said in Becca's post, came from commanding angels, to lying in the straw.  From holding stars, to grasping Mary's fingers.  The hands that held the Universe were pierced by nails.  Why??  He did this all for me. For me, for you, and for every other person out there in the world.
   He was willing to pick up this lowly sinner from the dirt, mud, and grime and look at it as a beautiful jewel for His Kingdom. He was willing to see me for what I could be, not for what I was/am. If He did that, he would see a piece of trash, nothing worth even taking a second glance at.
   Yet here He was, lying in a lowly stable amongst animals, dirty straw, and who knows what else.  Then, He died for me! He died so that He could someday have me in His Kingdom as one of His precious Jewels.  What right do I even have to something like that? To something so pure, so wonderful?  Yet He gives this to me freely.  As a gift that I need only to accept.
   This Christmas season is for celebrating His birth and thanking the Lord that He gave His Only Son to be born in a manger, and die on a cross....
   Merry Christmas!!!!!!

In Christ's Service,
Sarah

Monday, December 20, 2010

Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

For Rebecca's birthday, she requested that we go and see the new Narnia movie, Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

After the disappointment of Prince Caspian, we were a little skeptical, but tried to hope for the best.  We were truly surprised.  Voyage of the Dawn Treader turned out much better than I expected! They actually kept to the book fairly well (maybe added in a few things, but they weren't too out of the story line).  Apparently, after Caspian was released, they got a lot of complaints from Fans.  So, they straightened their act and did a MUCH better job on Treader.  It was actually very fun to watch.  They added lots of humor, but there are a few scary parts, so I wouldn't recommend it for younger children.


They had some very good themes in the movie that I don't really remember in the book.  Lucy struggled with wanting to be prettier than she really was.  She had to learn that she is just how she needs to be.  Edmond struggled with wanting to be over others and not be told what to do.  He had to over come that as well.

I must say that my favorite character was probably Eustace. Not because he is that great of a character (though really, it is fun to see him change into a better person) but because they did a GREAT job depicting him in the movie. Whoever the actor was did a wonderful job.

I hope that they get a big response from this movie (in a good way) to encourage them to make the others follow the books!  Douglass Gresham wants to do Silver Chair next, so I hope to see that one coming out in the future.

Liem Neeson (the voice of Aslan) was interviewed about the movie (or one of the movies) and, sadly, said that Aslan just represented God, Budda, Mohammed, etc, instead of just the One True God.  Gresham, however, was bold enough to get up and say that, no, Aslan represented God and God only.  Besides, Budda didn't rise from the dead and neither did Mohammed (Good for him!!).

All in all, I would rate it 4 out of 5 stars and would recommend that you watch it, too!

In Christ's Service,
Sarah

Sorry the pictures are blurred!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Surprise!

That is what we all shouted as Rebecca walked through the door.  My dearest sister, best friend, and partner in mischievousness is turning 20 years old today.  I can't believe how time flies!!  I guess it flies fastest when you are having a good time. 
    Rebecca didn't want to have a big party this year, so instead chose to go out for a movie and dinner with the family (if y'all have checked out her blog before, you can probably guess what we went and watched!).  Mom hatched the plan of a surprise tea.  We invited invited older women who have been mentors to Rebecca as she has grown up and a few graduated friends.
    I can't tell you how HARD it was to keep this a secret!  I  love telling Rebecca stuff, so knowing something that I couldn't talk to her about-yet- was awful, not to mention that several times I almost gave it away, accidentally of course! 
    Our Nana, who lives just a few steps "up the hill" was very gracious and opened up her house for this occasion.  It worked out really well, actually, because I was able to get up yesterday morning and head up under the ruse that I was "making Christmas presents" (which we have often done in the past).  Of course, in stead of making presents, I was baking cookies, scones, sausage cheese balls, and phillo dough beef things (ha-ha!). Mom was able to come up an hour or two after I did to help with the baking and "clean as you go" routine. ;-)  She came up to "help me with the Christmas presents".  So, Rebecca, didn't know you would be getting food for Christmas, did you? lol!!
    We had to get her away, of course, so people could arrive.  Unfortunately, the only ruse we could think up was that she had a new customer for her photography business.  There is a small yarn shop in another town not too far from here that wanted pictures taken of yarn and whatnot so they could set up a website (I have no idea if they actually want to do a website or not...).  Nana used to work there so she was good friends with the owner.  Nana emailed Becca saying, "I was talking with Beth and she was saying she wanted to get some pictures of the yarn for her website.  I told her you were doing photography and she said she wanted you to come by sometime."  Any way, the date was set for Thursday afternoon right before people were supposed to arrive.
    As soon as Nana and Becca were out the door, the boys started scrambling.  Yesterday morning we had some snow (I'd say close to an inch, if not more...).  Our facilities around here actually lent themselves to this sort of thing very well.  We have a large shop a little way from the house that all the cars could park behind.  Caleb was supposed to direct every back there, and then Josh was going to bring them back to the house in our vehicle so the ladies wouldn't have to walk through the snow and mud. :-) Such gentlemen. =D  Well, as soon as Becca left, they scrambled to find their bright orange hunting vests to wear to they could direct every one to the right spot.  :-)  Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of those hard workin' boys. :-(
    Now we just needed Rebecca back home, and up at Nana's!  So, Mom called to let Becca know that the lady canceled because her husband didn't want her getting out in the snow (funny thing is, the lady really couldn't get out of her driveway-I guess that calling Becca and letting her know it was canceled as the original plan.  The other funny thing is that the lady isn't married!  Thankfully, Rebecca didn't know this... lol!)
    So, the two came back home.  Nana needed her to come back up to the house so show her something, then we all jumped out and shouted "surprise"!!!  It was lots of fun and I got it all on camera...he-he-he!!
   We had the table set with the little finger foods and whatnot and chairs gathered in a circle.  Mom had asked each of the women to bring a letter of encouragement or advice to bring and share with Rebecca.  So, after everyone had gotten their plates of food and tea in their cups, we took turns going around and reading Rebecca the letters, which she then got to keep.
   I thought it was a very nice time and I am glad we really had her surprised!!!
Now, enough talking!! I could tell a bunch of other stories about almost slipping, but I will just share some pictures of the day instead. :-)

Nana's funny dog, Benji, sitting on his hind legs to peek out the window

 Setting up the table

 Baking Chocolate Crinkles (SO good!! Crunchy on the outside, soft and chewy on the outside)

 A peek at all the wonderful snow! We were really afraid that no one would be able to come. Thankfully, every one (except one) was able to make it.

 Momma and I making the phillo dough pastries. She is cutting butter to melt, by the way

 Vistin'


 Me checking on scones.. I think I burnt one batch, because I forgot about them, and almost burnt another.. sigh.


 Veggies, plates, cream and sugar!

 You can't have tea with scone, clotted cream, and lemon curd!


 One of the darling babies we had... ;-)

 Watching for Becca...

 All the beautiful tea cups lined up and ready to be picked!

Oh, and of course, I can't leave out pictures of the wonderful snow!!!! This is what it was Thursday morning, but I will try to post more of today's, as it snowed all night, I think...


 The snow droplets forming on the screen of a window

 The ice on the window (glass part) itself
  

Hope you enjoyed pictures and whatnot!! :-) I am SO glad to finally get some snow! Only problem is that we only get it today, next week is going to be all warm again. :-(  Well, I'll be "dreamin' of a white Christmas"!!

Love, Sarah

Monday, December 13, 2010

Internet is wonderful...

...not.  Actually, we have been having some internet problems here at our house.  No internet at all, whatsoever. So, if you don't receive any emails or see very many posts, that is why.  Thankfully, Rebecca's lap top is able to connect to the other wireless network, so I should be able to get on every once in a while until our internet gets fixed...

Any way, just wanted to let you know!!

Hope every one is enjoy The Christmas season!  Does any one have snow?? We don't and everyone (almost everyone) is rather disappointed.  However, I guess we shouldn't be because we were warned that it was going to be a warmer/drier winter than usual.  Guess California is getting most of it. ;-)

Sarah

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas decorating pictures

Ok, so I am kind of late in getting these up.  So sorry about that! Been rather hectic around here!!! :-)

Any way, enjoy the pics.  Rebecca also posted some HERE.

First, the assembly of our tree.  Momma has bad allergies and, much to her dismay, can't do the real tree.  (notice the cat in Dad's lap being very "helpful")



Putting the last few branches on...


Yes, that is me, and yes I am wearing something in my hair.  That is my ingenious hair rags (aka fat quarters used as hair rags!).  Now, I have to say that this time the rags really did their job... ok, ok, I have to admit they had some 'help'.. Electrical help, actually.  As Dad and I were stringing lights on the tree, I reached down to get the roll of lights and felt a weird sensation go through my finger and the body.  I remember looking at dad thinking, "What you doing?" and then looked down to realize that the bulb itself had busted and now the little wire inside remained exposed. My finger, as you guessed, was on these wires.  I don't exactly know how many watts, or volts, or electricity went through my body, but my hair got "zapped" (you would need to be older in order to appreciate that concept...) So, there ya have it. Unfortunately I didn't think to get pictures of the final results.


Our kittens think that Dad's lap is most comfortable..


After I got zapped, I made Josh finish the lights.. lol!!


One Handsome deer! (this is the one Josh shot when he was eleven. Eleven points on his eleventh birthday!)


 Dad's "pretty" deer (dad shot this one the same year Josh shot his eleven pointer. Dad's is only a nine pointer, so we like to tease him about it.. somehow his poor deer always gets decorated somewhat "prettily"..)


I believe Caleb was trying to "hold" up the Christmas tree..


The finished tree..


Caleb putting in some snuggling time with Buttons


Lady.. poor dog!


Ha, thanks for the help, napper!


Not really sure what was going on with Josh. Maybe he got a zap, too?  From the look on his face it is definitely possible...




Well, there ya have it!!  I will be posting some more pictures later on of a special project we are working on.  It is a secret, so you will just have to wait and see pictures! :-)

Have you decorated for Christmas yet??

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Reel Quick...

No, I did not spell "real" wrong.  "Reel Quick" is actually my friend's movie review blog.  Whenever he watches a movie, he will do a basic review on it.  I find this extremely helpful, especially on older movies that other movie reviewers won't list.  He doesn't get too detailed on things, but also isn't vague.  Well, what I am rambling about? Go on over and check it out yourself!  Just click HERE!

Also, on a side note, I put up a music player. However, I set it so that it wouldn't do auto play (for those who don't like music play lists).  You just have to click on the play button and listen, if you choose.  Some of the songs I found are actually done in the Home school choir I joined up with this semester- Huron Carol (ours has a neat drum), Hush my Babe, Do you hear what I hear, Oh Come all Ye Faithful, and a few others.  There is one that I found extremely hilarious.. It is the "What Child is This?" by Jingle Cats.  I couldn't keep from laughing, However, I really do like the song (in it's original form) so I also included another version sung by a choir.  I don't know who did the cat version, but they certainly had a lot of time on their hands, and a really cool editing system.... Wonder how long it took them to record all those cat meows? Any way, pretty cute.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas Quiz!

My Dear Friend, Samantha, did a Christmas quiz.  I love Christmas time, so I thought I would join in.  She did this a couple days ago, but I hadn't really been on here to check out every one's blogs!

Any way, here goes!

~Christmas Favorites Quiz~


1. Three of your favorite Christmas carols:

"O Holy Night"
"What Child is this?" (I think that is a carol??)
"Hark the Harald Angels sing"

2. Three Favorite Christmas songs:

"One Small Child"
"Walking in a Winter Wonderland"
"Deck the Halls"

3. Four favorite Christmas traditions:

1) Driving around town after shopping looking at all the beautiful lights and sipping cocoa while Christmas music is playing in the car.
2) Shopping for Stocking stuffers (we don't do Santa Claus, but instead go and buy little things for each other. No one knows who bought who what. It is lots of fun trying to shop in a tiny store without any one seeing what is in your basket!)
3) Getting up on Christmas morning and reading the Christmas story, then eating our Christmas Breakfast (I love eating breakfast first before opening presents because it helps us to focus on the real reason for Christmas!)
4) Watching "It's a Wonderful life" or "Christmas Carol" on Christmas eve
4. Three favorite holiday cookies

Ooh, that is hard.. we don't really have cookies very often, believe it or not. We don't eat desserts very often. ;-) However, my favorite holiday cookies would be Pecan Pinwheels, Shortbread cookies (that melt in your mouth!), and those cookies with the little bit of jam in the middle (thumbprints??)

5. Does your Christmas tree have a theme ( snowflakes,
nature, red & green, etc.) or just a collection of ornaments?

Just lights (whatever works each year!) and all the different ornaments we have collected or made over the years.

6. Three favorite Christmas ornaments

My Ballerina dancer (used to be in ballet.. surprise, surprise), Our Pretty "drip drop" glass ornament (which unfortunately broke this year *sob*) and my little bell with the mouse hanging on the rope (which I received from my Great-Aunt and Uncle when I was born!)
7. Do you like snow?

OH YES!!

8. Hot chocolate or coffee?

I can't drink coffee in the evenings, so I prefer hot chocolate.. especially after a cold morning of milking the cow or breaking ice with my brother!!
9. Do you decorate indoors and out?

Only inside. We live out in the middle of nowhere so no one can see our lights. ;-)
10. Do you like to decorate before Thanksgiving, or after?
After.. I agree with you, Samantha.. before Thanksgiving would be a bit early!
11. Name 3 things you like doing in the snow:

Snow ball fights
Walking in the wonderful, cold blanket
Trying to build a fort (we never do finish.. either because there isn't enough snow or because we never have enough time.. lol!)

12. Do you usually make at least one
handmade gift for someone each year?

Most (or all) of my gifts are homemade

13. Name one of your favorite Christmas books:

The Candy Cane (it is a children's book, but I really enjoy that one. :-) )

14. Favorite Christmas movies?

~It's a Wonderful Life
~Charlie Brown Christmas
~Christmas Carol
~Muppet Christmas carol
~The Christmas box (and the prequel.. can't remember the name!)
Thanks for doing this, Samantha!! That was fun!!!
Hope y'all will do it too.  If you do, let me know!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Busy.. seriously?

"Sorry, but I am just too busy right now."
"Can't do it. Got a lot of things on my plate."
"Are you kidding? I have a gillion things on my list that need to be done."
"Whew, what an EXHAUSTING day! My feet are killing me, I think my back is out of place, and I don't even want to think about cleaning up after supper!"

Any of those sound familiar?  I was just sitting here thinking about my crazy, crazy, busy, busy schedule coming up.  In fact, for the rest of this week and next, I only have 3 days that I have a "clean plate" or nothing on my agenda.  Our family, for the past 3 years, has joined up with a local community choir to sing Handel's Messiah.  This is lots of fun because it is a family thing.  I enjoy it, but it does take a lot of time out of our schedule.  Every Sunday afternoon starting on the first Sunday in November we have practices. Singing for 2 hours can really exhaust a person, so by the time we roll home at 7 pm, we are done in.  For the past couple of years this really wasn't so bad. I mean, c'mon, surely we can deal with every Sunday afternoon for just a while, right?  Sure! However, I also have singing on Thursday because I have joined up with a Home school choir.  Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy it.  My friend and I divided the songs and each of us are doing some piano accompaniment.  On songs I am not playing, I am singing.
   Any way, that takes up my Thursdays.  Not too bad, really.  I can get up, get school done in the morning, then head out for choir in the afternoon.
   So, you're thinking what in the world I am talking about being busy. Two days a week being gone from home isn't much, really.  However, remember me saying that for the rest of this week and next I only have 3 free days?  I will break it down... ;-)  Tomorrow I will be going into town with my Mama and brothers (town is 45-60 minutes from home).  Wednesday my sister and I will be going to a friend's house for some good old fashioned hand quilting (not bad, eh?). Thursday I have choir.  Friday (my "free" day) some rancher friends will be stopping by.  Saturday we have dress rehearsal for Messiah, and then on Sunday we have performance.  So, Monday and Tuesday of next week are my other free days. Wednesday the Home school choir will be singing at a senior center. Thursday is choir dress rehearsal, Friday is performance.  Saturday and Sunday are the last two Messiah performances.
   Well, other than losing my voice with all the singing *wink*, it shouldn't be too bad.  I mean, really, it isn't THAT bad, but as I sat here thinking about my busy schedule, I started thinking about whether being so busy is good.

When we are really busy, we really miss out on the important things in life: God, family, friends, etc.  I shamefully admit that I have had several mornings when I have woken up (some times a little later than I intended) and said, "Oh, no time to read my Bible this morning. I have to get out and milk the cow, do school, clean my room, etc, etc, etc..." you get the picture. 
   So, although busy schedules are nice because you are actually doing things, are we really doing things that need to be done?  For me, I will be missing out on several days of being with my family.  Now, by going to the senior center and singing at performances we will hopefully bless many people and share God's wonderful news during this beautiful season.  I am not saying all busy schedules are bad, but I do think that some can get unnecessarily busy.  I don't know how many times I have wasted a precious bit of time with my younger brother by refusing to do things with him using the excuse of "I'm too busy" or "I'm too tired".  I have missed out on fun conversations with my other younger brother by simply telling him I am "in the middle of something and can't be bothered."  I have missed out on wonderful, encouraging, relationship building conversations with my sister by being absorbed in writing letters to friends, or doing "my own thing".
    All of those things I have missed out on because I am "too busy", or in simpler words, I am too selfish to give up what I want to do instead of seeing to the needs of others.
   Often times we can let our busy schedules get in the way of what is most important.  When that happens, we start making excuses; "I can't read my Bible THIS Morning because I am too busy, tired, etc."  "Oh, I will just have to wait and read my Bible another morning because THIS morning is too hectic."  "I guess I can read it later..." ("later" rolls around and the Bible still hasn't been read) All of those excuses start coming out until we could eventually just say phooey to it all.  That is when Satan starts putting his whole foot in the door.  When we make the excuses he is just getting his toe in.  When we start throwing it away on jobs, friends, and non-important things, he starts creeping into our hearts.  I know that when I have gone several days without reading God's Word, I tend to start falling back into my old selfish thought. I start putting myself before others and forget Who I am serving. 

However!  "Through the Lord's Mercies we are not consumed because His compassion fail not.  They are new EVERY morning. Great is Your faithfulness.  'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'Therefore I hope in Him!'  The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him." Lamentations 3:22-25

Saturday, November 27, 2010

My Thanksgiving story, focusing on contentment

Hello dear readers!!

Well, we have been extremely busy.  Becca and Josh headed out on Tuesday morning to spend the rest of the week with grandparents.  Daddy, Momma, Caleb, and I headed out on Wednesday afternoon for Thanksgiving at our grandparents house.  We had a very nice time and got several good visits in with family that we don't get to see very often.  We came home right after lunch on Friday, rushed around to get ready for our square dance that was being held that night, and enjoyed an evening of fun (pictures coming, just as soon as I get some from Ink Slinger...). 

Ok, so here is my Thanksgiving story. I couldn't think of a title for it, so I would love suggestions! (It's only 3,580 words!! Yeah, "only"....)



The pale moonlight shone down through a small opening in the cramped cabin.  Amanda strained her eyes to see the diary page in front of her.


January 3rd, 1621
  The weather has been horrid.  Poor Mother has been beside herself trying to watch little James.  I believe he is teething and cannot sleep at night.
   I do so wonder if the Lord has forsaken us.  We have landed hundreds of miles from where we were supposed to. Now we are in an uninhabited land. I sometimes wonder if we will make it where we were originally supposed to go.  Eleven passengers and two crewmen have already died of the illness that has struck this ship, and no wonder for we have no pure water.  By now whatever water we have in the barrels has gone rather stale.  We are also on food rations.  I do not mind this too terribly much, but Paul is starving all the time.  Though I suppose a growing boy is likely to do that, even with all the food in the world.

Amanda stopped and smiled to herself.  Paul was her older brother by three years.  Being at the age of fifteen, he suffered from “hungry illness”, or being hungry all the time.  Amanda didn’t know where he packed all the food he used to eat.  He was so limber, lanky, and thin!
    Once more the scratching of the quill pen on paper sounded in the small room.

Paul and I have tried to enjoy ourselves on this trip, but it is rather hard.  We have explored most of the places we are allowed to venture to already and now have nothing to do but try to spot whales during the day and listen to them at night.
   Papa has been rather concerned lately, I think.  He walks around with his brow furrowed most all day long.
  I do not understand half of the things the men decide on their weekly meetings. Paul tries to sneak in and listen, then relates things to me later.  Still, I am afraid I frustrate him with my candid interest.  I am very glad he is excited about this new country we are going to, but quite honestly, I am terrified.  What will we find when, and if, we get there?

Just then the short door that led into the cabin opened, squeaking on it’s hinges.
   “Mandy, you in here?”  Paul’s voice called out softly.
“Yes, over here.”  Amanda answered, setting down her pen and blowing on her diary page to help the ink dry.
   Paul made his way over to her and bent over the makeshift desk she was using.
“Writing in your diary again?”
    “Yes.  How was the meeting?”  Amanda gently closed her beloved diary and held it in her lap while she waited for Paul to speak.
   “Well, I am not sure.  To tell you the truth, even I am starting to get confused.  Some of the men are with John Alden to keep sailing, and others are saying we should just stay here. I think the majority have voted to stay here and conquer this untamed land.  I have been looking at the maps in the Captain’s Cabin.”
   Amanda sucked in her breath.  “You went in there? I thought…”
Paul held up his hand.  “Don’t worry. I asked if the Captain would mind if I took a look at the maps.  Any how, I was looking and from where he says we are, we are miles and miles away from where we were supposed to go.”
    “What will we do, Paul? I mean, do you think we have many more days until we can build houses and move off of the ship?”
   “Days?” Paul snorted.  “More like months.  It will be a long time until we are able to build.…. For one thing, it is too cold. The ground is frozen solid. We couldn’t dig proper holes to put support beams in.”
    Amanda clasped her hands together and licked her lips.  Her heart started beating a little faster and she felt somewhat dizzy at the thought.. no, surely not, but then again…
   “Paul, you don’t mean… surely you can’t mean….”
“That we will stay on this horrid ship? Yes, I do mean that.”
   “But Paul! We can’t, we just can’t!  Mother has almost gone out of her wits keeping up with James, and Father is worried about who knows what…”  Amanda stopped when she noticed the look that passed over Paul’s face when she mentioned their father.
    “What, Paul? What is Father worried about?”
“It isn’t just Father, Mandy. All the men, and some women who know about it, are worried. Worried that we won’t have enough food.  They were working out stricter rationing plans this evening at the meeting.”
    Amanda clamped her hand over her mouth and stared wide-eyed at Paul.  Paul stared calmly back at her for a moment.
  “I suppose you shall suffer most, Paul.”  She smiled and giggled slightly at the thought, but quickly sobered again.
   “What will everyone do?”
“Amanda? Amanda where are you?”
   Amanda sighed.  “That would be mother. I best go help.”  She stood to leave.  Paul stood and opened the door for her, then followed her out.
   “I will see you later,” he called as he went in another direction.

January 15th, 1621
    The weather hasn’t changed much.  It is so cold that we are wearing almost all of our clothes to keep alive.  This of course means that we cannot wash, not that there is any water to wash with any way.  The constant spray of sea water that hits us everyday doesn’t help either.  Any time I enter our small sleeping cabin I gag at the smell. However, we learn to live with it. I suppose it is better to stink with everyone instead of stinking by yourself. Still…
    We have been put on stricter food and water rations. Quite honestly I haven’t the slightest idea if we will survive.  Five more people have died. I almost cannot bear it. To have some one die every three or four days is awful. Little James got dreadfully ill and both Mother and I lost plenty of sleep taking care of him. Even when we could sleep, we didn’t for worrying over him.  He seems to be pulling through, but he is so weak and frail now. I suppose hard stale bread is good for his teething, though.

Amanda held her diary open for a few moments to let the ink dry before shutting it.  Replacing it in her secret hiding place for it, she ventured out onto the boat.  Land was just right there and yet they couldn’t get out onto it. Only the men who went on scouting parties could do that. It was too dangerous, they said, for women to go along.  Paul had been longing to go, but was also denied as he was still rather young.  Secretly Amanda was glad.  Only one week ago the scouting party had had a run in with Indians and had lost two men.  She hated the thought of Paul being put in those dangers.
    Leaning over the railing Amanda breathed in the air.  She loved the fresh salty smell, but not when it was sitting on clothes for days on end.
   “Hey! Stay away from the rail!”  A nearby sailor shouted at her.
“Sorry!” Amanda moved away from the rail and wandered around a bit.  Finding a large coil of rope, she first sat on it, then noticed she could fit inside. Why, it was big enough to two small people.  She looked around, saw no one was watching, then hopped in.  It was a little warmer there, being blocked from the wind and all. 
   Amanda leaned her head against the rope and closed her eyes.  She was so very tired. Tired and hungry. She had never known hunger before. Although she didn’t eat much, she did get her fill, or used to any way.
    “Good morning, sleepy head.”
Amanda’s eyes flew open as she started.  Looking up, she saw Paul’s mischievous black eyes and boyish face looking down at her.
   In a moment he had climbed in beside her.  “Well, not bad. So, will this get added to your list of hiding places?”
    Amanda smiled.  “The fact that my hiding places are always getting ruined means that I never have a list, and you know it.”
  “Well, I suppose hiding behind crates that you knew would eventually get moved wasn’t the brightest idea in the world, if that is what you mean.”
    Amanda playfully smacked his arm.  “Paul Roberts, I don’t know what I will do with you.”  She frowned when she heard a strange noise.  “What in the world was that?” She whispered.
   “My stomach, what else?”
She covered her mouth to keep from laughing out loud.  “Poor Paul, starving yet again. Oh, I do wish we weren’t on rations, but I know we must. I hate this horrid ship dreadfully.  I feel caged in. Three months wasn’t so bad, especially since I knew I couldn’t go any where. We were surrounded by water.  But when land is only a few feet away, it is almost unbearable. I wish we were off this horrid, horrid ship!” She breathed deeply to calm herself.  At least the biting wind helped to cool her burning cheeks.
   “Paul, do you remember when we first set out on this journey?”
“Of course I do! How could I forget. Most exciting day of my life, you know.”
    “Even when you knew you were leaving your friends?”
“Well, that was hard, but I was excited about starting a new life in the New England Colonies.”
     “But, what if.. what if we don’t survive long enough to build houses to live in?”
“Well, we didn’t exactly know this would happen, so I didn’t think much about it.”
     “I remember all the flowers Holland had. All those tulips.”  Amanda breathed in as if she were smelling the fresh scent of those tulips right there.
    “I miss all the color.  All the people in Holland wore such lovely clothes!  I do wish we didn’t have to wear such drab colors.”  She sighed as she smoothed her brown skirt over her knees.
     “I suppose, being a girl, that you would worry about colors of clothes.  Well, to be honest, I kind of liked it myself. I wouldn’t mind going around in a green jacket and sky blue waist coat.” Paul chuckled, stuck his thumbs in his vest and acted like a very highly stationed man.  Amanda, once again, had to cover her mouth to keep from laughing out loud.
    Paul put his arms down and looked seriously at her.  “What else do you remember?”
Amanda closed her eyes and leaned back, imagining she was standing on the threshold of their Holland home, looking out over the lovely fields of tulips.  She could almost feel the fresh scented breeze playing with her dark brown hair as if it wanted to pull it out of the strict braids, which were commonly worn by girls her age, and let it blow freely.
     Younger children were playing in the field of corn just a little ways off, and Paul was with a group of older boys playing kick ball.
    Amanda herself was standing next to her friend, Brenda.
“Brenda,” She had said. “I do believe this is the happiest day of my life.  Everything is almost perfect.”
     Brenda had only smiled, nodded her agreement, and squeezed Amanda’s hand she was holding.
    It was that night that Amanda and Paul found out they would be sailing away from Holland and go live in the New England Colonies.  Amanda had been dumbfounded.  She had heard this sort of talk going around, but she never paid much attention to it, supposing it to only be disgruntled men speaking their opinions.  Paul had been ecstatic.
    The next month was filled with cooking, baking, canning, sewing, packing, and all other sorts of things.  Amanda had never worked so hard in her life.  Her poor diary had suffered with no entries for that whole month, for she was too tired to write in the evening and didn’t have time to during the day.
     Then suddenly everyone was hugging and saying good bye to friends and family that were to be left behind, and then everyone was on the ship.  Amanda had waved and waved to Brenda for as long as she could while tears coursed down her cheeks.  Brenda was brave enough to smile for as long as Amanda could see her face so that she could carry the memory with her forever.
      When the docks were just barely visible, Amanda let sobs pour out of her very being.  She was grateful to Paul for comforting her.  He had come up, dropped an arm around her shoulders, and said nothing.  He knew exactly what she needed when she was like this.  Paul was so very good to her. She was thankful, oh so very thankful, that he was coming along. Several families had to be split up. Mostly the older children were left behind with friends or relatives.  Amanda was so frightened she would be left behind too, but Father and Mother made sure all three of their children were on board the ship when it sailed.
      Amanda opened her eyes and saw that Paul had just about fallen asleep.
“Paul, wake up, you goose! It is the middle of the day.” She shook his shoulder.  He roused for a moment and looked at her.  Amanda’s hands went cold and clammy as she noticed a strange look in his eyes.  That same look that all the other dead passengers had gotten right before they were seriously ill.
   “Paul? Paul speak to me, please!”  Amanda shook his shoulder again.
“I’m… ok…Mandy,” He said slowly, right before a spasm of coughing shook his whole frame.
    “How long have you been coughing?” Amanda asked trying to help him stand.
“It started three…. Days ago.”  He coughed again. Amanda had to hold on to him to keep him from falling over.  “But it has.. never been this bad…”
     “Come, I will help you to get to your bunk. You just need some rest. I suppose you haven’t gotten enough sleep, what with all the exploring and running around that you do.”  She tried to speak cheerfully as she clambered over the tall coil of rope they had been hiding in.  She was trying to help Paul over it when he slipped and fell.  Amanda started panicking. He couldn’t be getting this weak already, could he?  It seemed to take others a long time until they were weak enough to stay in bed.  However, she had heard the doctor say that it could come as quickly as the storms they had faced out on the Atlantic.  One moment the day was beautiful, the next a large, dark, menacing storm was threatening to crush the ship with it’s fury.
    “Help! Some body, please help me!”  Amanda called out, coming close to screaming. A nearby sailor and a few passengers rushed over.
   “Oh, please help him. He is too weak to stand.”   A sailor grabbed Paul and lifted him over the coil as if he were a small bag of flour. 
   “No wonder he can’t stand, he’s light as a feather.”  The sailor motioned for Amanda to lead the way to their cabin as he followed with Paul in his arms.


January 19th, 1621
   Paul has been so very ill. He seems to be recovering one day, and then gets worse the next.  I have heard the doctor telling Mother and Father that he may not have much longer. Oh, I cannot bear the thought of Paul dying!  He has been such a good brother to me. I dread the thought of them sending him to his watery grave. 
   Life is terrible here! Why did we ever come? I hate it here and I wish we could go back.  Dear Holland would be so much better than this, even with it’s restraints. We had a good life there, why can’t we go back? I hate this horrid ship. I hate the sickness that surrounds us and takes so many lives. I hate everything about this new country. So many are ill that there is hardly anyone to attend a Sunday service. What was the point of coming here, if not to die?
   
Amanda set her pen down, let the ink dry on the page, then slammed the book shut.  She hated life here.  She stood and paced to the little window in the small hut.  She had been talk that this was the sailor’s cabin.  In bad storms, sailors, or passengers, could run to shelter here until they got a better chance to get in the hull.  Sailors, of course, stayed on top to see things went well, but some could come in to get out of the weather for just a bit to catch their breath.
    Amanda remembered the storm that they had gone through.  As soon as any storm started to threaten to burst, all the women went down stairs to the cramped cabin.  Once, Amanda had hidden in one of her secret places and then crept out once no one would notice her.  She might have gotten thrown overboard if a sailor didn’t catch her peeping out from around some crates then told her to get down into the hull. 
   Paul had somehow stayed up on deck without being seen.  He then later related the whole thing to Amanda.  She loved it when Paul told stories. He was so good at painting vivid pictures into the listener’s mind.
   Now Amanda frowned.  Perhaps he would no longer be able to tell any stories.  If he was going to die soon, what was she to do? Poor James would never know his wonderful older brother!
   Amanda rushed out the door, flew down the steps, and entered the small bunk cabin.  Her Mother was there, sitting by Paul’s bed keeping his head cool with a wet cloth.
  “Here, Mother, let me take a turn.”  Amanda offered, anxious to be by her brother’s side for as long as she could.
    Mother smiled gratefully and got up.  She wrapped a warm shawl about her and headed out to get some fresh air up on deck.
    Amanda gently rewet the cloth, wrung it, and patted Paul’s face. 
His eyes fluttered open and he smiled softly when he recognized her.  “I thought I knew that gentle touch.”  He said, almost in a whisper.
   “I’m here Paul.  Do you need a drink?”  He nodded so Amanda fetched a glass and poured out the tiny bit of water that was rationed out daily.
   After Paul had had just enough to wet his throat, Amanda sat down again and held his hand.
    “So, I here they say I won’t make it,” intense coughing followed this statement.
“Yes, Paul, they are.” Amanda said with a slight tremor in her voice.
Paul smiled at her and squeezed her hand.  “Don’t worry, Mandy. I will make it through.”  he coughed again.  Amanda watched as his whole frame was wracked with the motion. 
    Tears started coursing down her cheeks.  “Oh Paul! I am so sorry, so sorry you have to suffer like this.”  She bent her head down and let the tears flow.
    “Mandy, look at me.”  Amanda slowly raised her head and brown eyes looked into the sunken ones.  Even in their dullness, there was a slight twinkle coming from the depths.
     “Mandy, I don’t mind being sick.  I’m actually thankful I am.”  Mandy opened her eyes in surprise.  “Means I get a little more to eat. But honestly, it has taught me patience. I used to get frustrated waiting on other sick folks, and here I am receiving tender and gentle care without a word of complaint passing from either yours or Mother’s lips.”  A violent cough forced him to stop for a moment. Then he paused a little longer to catch his breath.  “Thank you,” was all he could manage. 
   “Rest, Paul, and get better. I will stay here, so if you need anything…”
Paul closed his eyes and soon his labored breathing filled the room.

February 21st, 1621
    The funeral was held today.  Two men, three woman, and one baby. We all stood together on the deck watching the procession to the shores.  Now that the weather has been turning a little warmer, they have been able to dig graves to bury the coffins instead of rowing them out to sea.
   Paul, who is now almost his old self, and I watched it with the most solemnity, but him more than me, I think.  I was so sure he was going to die, but the Lord has been merciful.
   I used to hate this horrid ship. I used to hate this new land, but somehow I feel differently about it all now. Now I am grateful. Grateful that we were able to make this journey over to this new country as I now see that it will be much better.  Grateful that Paul is living. I believe the Lord has taught me one of the greatest lessons in my life. To be content with what I have, thankful for it, and to not covet those around me and things I cannot have. Perhaps this journey wasn’t just a journey on a ship, but my own personal journey as well.



So, there ya have it! What do you think?  Did I scare you with her last journal entry? This was definitely new for me. Not the short story part, but the way I wrote it.  I have never written something where I used journal/diary entries but for this, that was the only thing I could think of to help the time pass in the story.  Instead of saying in every other paragraph "5 weeks later" or trying to include that in a sentence so people weren't confused, is somewhat difficult for me.  I have to say that I like how it turned out, but I suppose that sounds like a prideful writer!! Any way, please, please, PLEASE give me your thoughts/suggestions/etc. I am trying to learn and want as much help/suggestions as I can get!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with the Lord's blessings!

In Christ's Service,

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

One of my favorite songs...

This is one of my favorite songs.  I always cry at the end.  Thank you to all the soldiers who are out there fighting for our freedom, and to those who have lost their lives fighting.



Thank you for watching. Hope you enjoyed it.  HERE is the link to the YouTube sight if you prefer to watch it there.. Unfortunately I don't know how to resize the vid so it fits on my blog page.  Not a whole lot to miss, the words are what matters any way, right? ;-)  So, if any one knows what a good pixel size for videos like this is, I would appreciate if you would let me know. :-) Ahh, so much to learn, so little time! lol!

In Christ's Service,
Sarah  (my signature didn't want to upload today.. bad internet..)

Help please....

Ok, I need some help from you more experienced bloggers. How do I embed a youtube video into my post?? I wanted to share an really neat song, but don't want to just give a link.. I tried copying the 'embed code' and then pasting into a post like this, but all it did was show up the words.  So, can any one help me by giving me a tutorial or something?

Thanks!

In Christ's Service,

Monday, November 22, 2010

A really neat post....

My Sis, Rebecca, posted a really neat post that I thought all of my readers should check out.

Go to this post, Who will take the Son to check it out!  Leave a comment on her blog to let her know what you think.

In Christ's Service,

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thanksgiving is just around the corner!

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, the ladies at the ranch (us) are busy planning what foods need to be baked, made, and whipped up.  Like always, Thanksgiving is a busy time of year.  Sometimes I wonder if we get so busy that we forget the first Thanksgiving.

I know I might be weird, but has any one ever stopped to think what would have happened and where we would be now if those first early pilgrims didn't have the courage, faith, and gumption to sail across the ocean to a new life?  I suppose we would still be under the rule of king and not able to worship The Lord as we choose.

There are so many things to be thankful for.  A house to live in, a father who does a wonderful job providing for his family, being saved by the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ, family, food in our stomachs, clothes on our backs.... the list could go on and on!

Some friends of ours set up an Ebenezer Box.  The decorate a simple box and then whenever anyone thinks of something they are grateful for, they write it down on a slip of paper and put it into the box.  I think this is such an excellent idea!  For one thing, it is extremely difficult, sometimes, to come up with things that you are truly grateful for on the spot.  So, with the box, you just simply write it out when you think of it.  All the cards are then read on Thanksgiving day.

So, as some of you might have read on Rebecca's blog,  we are going over to my grandparent's house for Thanksgiving.  I will say that it will be an extremely busy week this week!!  Josh and Becca might be heading over on Monday to help my grandparents with a few projects.  So, that means Mom and I will be doing the baking (not complaining, but it will be a bit more hectic. :-)). Well, we plan on going over Wednesday afternoon, spend that night, have Thanksgiving on Thursday, spend the night and come back Friday morning, or right after lunch.  Doesn't sound too bad, right? Well, we have square dance Friday night!! So, it will be quite rushed I think.  Get home, get ready to go, head out, etc.
   However, I am still thankful.  Thankful that we have family to spend thanksgiving with and thankful that we get to go dancing.  (I promise to post pictures!)

So, what are your Thanksgiving traditions and what will you be doing this year?  (Oh, and keep watch for my thanksgiving short story hopefully to come soon!!)

Your authoress,