Monday, April 25, 2011

Beauty from within

I am not what you would call 'stunningly beautiful'.  I am probably not even considered 'really pretty'. 
   Ever since I was younger, but old enough to choose my own clothes, talk with my friends instead of playing dolls all the time, and pretty much act somewhat grown up, I have always been extremely conscious about my outward looks. 
   I come from a family who is big boned and 'hefty'.  In other words, we aren't petite.  My dad's side is like this, any way.  My mom's side is more of the typical human build.
My Dad and Papa (grandpa) have the biggest hands any one has ever seen (ok, that I have ever seen).  Many friends of mine have said that if they shake my Dad's hand, their hand feels 'lost'.  Papa's, Dad's, and now my brother, Josh, have those type of hands which were built to work.  They are muscular, strong, and pretty much just big.
   My Mom has delicate, long, slender hands.  I think they are beautiful.  My Nana (mom's mom) has the same kind of hands.  So does my Aunt on my mom's sister.
   Dad has those wonderful broad shoulders, big muscular build, and tall height. 
Mom is of smaller, feminine build, and fairly tall in height.

Why all this comparison?  Well, I have always admired my mom's side of the family.  I love both sides, of course, but there was something else about mom's side that I admired.
    When I was born, I got most of the genes from my Dad's side of the family.  I have a large build, am big boned, 'hefty', and have big hands.  I also got the 'lovely' thing called 'big feet'.   I did get my mom's 'just right height', but I didn't get her lovely red hair. (super bummed about that!).
    So, when I began getting older, I became very conscious about myself.  I walked around with my shoulders slumped, hoping to hide from everyone, and hoping no one would really take notice of me.  I hated getting new clothes sometimes because anything that was 'cute' was always too small, or made me look even fatter.  Being 'hefty' and not so slender means that I can't wear my shirts tucked in, or wear dresses.  Ok, I 'could' because nobody is forcing me not to, but I know I don't look good in them.
    Eventually I hated going any wear.  I hated going shopping and usually never went in with my family.  I would opt to stay out in the car, watching people walk by, admiring different passersby.
This became my life.  Hiding from everyone and hoping no one would notice me too much.  I hated going any where public.  If it wasn't just our close friends, then forget it.
    After several years of this terrible, no-one-look-at-me stage, I finally started coming around. (he-he!)
I started realizing that it doesn't really matter what people think of you.  What DOES matter is what God thinks of you.  So what if I don't wear the newest fashion of mini skirts? Does it matter?  Yes! It matters because of the reason why I choose to wear or not wear something.  I began to realize that God doesn't care if you don't 'look good' in that pink dress.  What He does care about is if you are dressing to please Him.  To be a modest maiden and not care what the world thinks of you.
    So, my story?  Well, after realizing this, I began to enjoy going places.  I didn't mind so much any more what people thought of me.  I walked with my shoulders back, head held high, nose turned slightly up... ok, I didn't go THAT far... But I did start doing things differently. I became more confident in myself.  Of course, I still had a little nagging thought every once in a while. If someone told me I looked beautiful, I was elated because I was never quite sure if I DID look beautiful or not, and I was still yearning a little bit for that outward praise.
    Lately I had been going strong in my convictions about not caring what the world or people thought of me, but what God thought of me..... that is... until I was at a certain event.    Introducing Home school convention.
   Home school convention used to be one of my most hated times of year.  Why? Because I was going to a public place with tons of people I didn't know.  I usually tried to hide behind our table, or go to different places quickly and with my head down.
   This year I was really looking forward to it.  I was confident about myself.  Well, during the three day long event, I was surrounded by beautiful, slender, fashionable young ladies.  At first it didn't bother me, but by the end of convention, I was feeling bad about myself again.
    After getting home, God began to gently remind me of what really matters.  I was doing fine again until today.  I was looking at a blog.  This blog had several pictures of the owner: an adorable young lady.  She was cute, she was fashionable, her hair looked perfect, and she had an infectious smile.  I was instantly jealous.  Thoughts flooded my head.  The enemy was closing in.  'How come I can't ever look that pretty?'  'Why can't my hair look that nice?'  'Why can't I be slender and fit like her?'   'Why can't I choose more fashionable clothes while still being modest?'   'How come I don't have dimples when I smile?'    'How come I can't be photogenic?'
     Yes, all of those words hit my brain and I began to sink.  Why couldn't I be more beautiful?  Why couldn't MY hair look perfect all the time?  Why couldn't MY face look clear instead of blotchy?
The enemy was definitely closing in.  They thought they would get me.  They had the upper hand for sure!  However, they forgot one tiny detail... I had back up.  I had something much better than their weapons.  I had prayer.  After closing down the blog and wallowing in self pity for a little while, I once again realized something.  It doesn't matter what the world and people think.  It only mattered what He thought.  After praying, I was able to beat back my enemy with my Lord's help.
     Realizing that what God thinks is what matters can be difficult.  I should say, it is easy to know it, but hard to apply it to our daily lives. 
    Beauty come from within, ladies!  I remember meeting someone once... She was beautiful.  But she wasn't beautiful physically.  I remember first meeting her thinking that she was beautiful, but I just couldn't figure out where.  Later, I realized that she had a 'radiating' beauty.  Something that came from deep within her was radiating through her face, eyes, smile, everything!  She had a heart on fire for the Lord.  It made her beautiful.
    God's love for me is the same whether I am slender, fit, and beautiful, or chunky, 'out of shape', and not so pretty.  His love should radiate in you so much that you shine.  Be beautiful for Him, not for the world!  It's His opinion that matters, not some make up artist or facial cleanser product.
    So what if we may not be beautiful to the world?  Guess what? We are beautiful in God's eyes........ and that's all that matters.

In Christ's Service,

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Much needed blog post...

Hello blogging friends and family!!!  I am alive and well, contrary to what this blog tells you ('tells you'? Ok, that is what I mean. It hasn't told you anything, so I suppose many of you think I have fallen off the face of the earth).  Let's just say I have been extremely busy.  lol!  As you may have guessed.....  I have several blog posts that I plan on doing, so hopefully I can get all those up and give y'all something to read here.

We had our Home school convention this past weekend.  Absolutely AMAZING!  There were some GREAT speakers there.  I will have to do an extra long post for that!

Life on the ranch is pretty much crazy.  Crazy, but not crazy, if that makes sense.  Right now I feel as if I were living in a whirlwind.  Everything is a chaotic mess.  However, God has been teaching me some neat things through it all, so I hope to get a blog post about that soon!

Speaking of what God has done in my life, I realize that I never did do a post last week or the week before.  Last week we were too busy to be on the computer much and I was away the whole weekend.  The week before, however, I do have a good excuse. lol!  The week was going along pretty smoothly.  Nothing big happened.  Suddenly, one morning I woke and realized, 'AH! It is Monday! I never did my post last week!'.  Yes, somehow the days slipped by without much of my knowledge.. so, that is what happened.  How's that for a grand excuse??

So, I will try to get up some of those posts as well.  I am extremely sorry that I haven't given any one an update.  To all those friends out there waiting for emails or phone calls..... Well, All I can say is that I will hopefully get to those this week!

I would also like to ask for prayers.  I have to make a decision about something soon.  I don't know if God wants me to do this right now.  So, as I am praying about this, can you please cover me in prayer that I will see the sign that God gives me and that I will take the right direction?  And that those effected by my decision will not be angry, but understanding instead.   Thank you SO much!!!!

I hope all of you are well!!  Thank you for bearing with this terrible blogger.... ;-)

God's blessings!

In Christ's Service,

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Purely Random Post

This post is purely random....  Why?  Because I felt like posting something.  Just because I am posting once a week on the Bible challenge, doesn't mean I can't, or shouldn't, post more..  I figured I would just come in here and tell y'all that I am fine and dandy.    Ok, actually I am NOT fine and dandy..  I am now (get ready for this....!)        DUST WOMAN!!   Seriously?   Yup!  The wind is absolutely horrendous!  I wouldn't be surprised if we no longer have a roof on the house by the end of the day!
        Josh and I fed and tagged today (fed cows, tagged any new babies).  The pick up was just rockin' and rollin'.. not Rollin' literally.  But it was swaying slightly in the wind.  NOT fun.    The worst part was that we actually had to get out of the truck to tag a new baby!  Eh, I thought we would blow away (seriously, though, when we first stepped outside, we WERE running.... and COULDN'T stop!)
        Other than that, what am I doing?   Well, our Annual CAPE Home School Convention is coming up. (CAPE stands for Christian Association of Parent Educators).  Our family has been running the registration for it for several years now.   So, naturally, we are sort of busy.  I am actually entering some registrations right now... Ok, ok, not RIGHT now since I am typing this post, but in between paragraphs of this post I am doing some. lol! (ok, hold on.. let me go enter a few more....)
       Ok, I am back.  Like I said, I am entering some registrations.  Mostly those for people on the 'board' (you know, the ones that actually make this thing happen.)  Actually, I should correct myself.  People don't make this happen... God does.  If He wasn't on our side with this whole thing, I think it would be a failure.  Every year we encounter problems of some type.  The online registration isn't working... the website isn't working.... people saying they are members when they really aren't... people unsure of if they ARE members... etc, etc, etc.  You get the idea.
        The thing I enjoy most is name tags.  Yup, you heard right. Name tags.  Why name tags?  Well, we used to do this thing where we would print out a registrant's name tag and mail it to them.  However, after too many people misplacing it and then not being able to get into the convention, we decided to do it a different way.  Now we print them and the registrants pick them up AT the registration table (we do 'onsite' registration as well as 'before convention' registration).  This way people aren't losing them BEFORE convention.  Yes, I say 'before' because some people still lose them in hotel rooms, etc. ;-) 
      This task is a rather fun process.  We print the name tags (dear Daddy makes sure names are lined up and looking nice), then usually Mom, Becs, Josh, and I start putting them together into their respective groups (in other words, if a whole family comes, we paper clip all of their tags together); then we get to put them in alphabetical order in our designated 'holders'.  Voila!  Once that is done (and 'that' takes a VERY long time...) we are set to go!  For that part, any way.. lol!  We still have to pack everything into the car.  There is a LOAD of things that have to be brought, last minute emails to answer, unpacking everything to double check on a certain item, reloading, and getting there with smiles on our faces.... ha!  Actually, all of the 'behind the scenes' people get together for dinner the day before convention.  It is a great way to relax, calm down, and get uplifted before the hectic weekend.  Of course, since everyone there has been dealing with the same problems, we can always vent our frustrations before the convention. ;-)
        Alright, now that I have totally bored you with all that information.... why don't you tell me about what you have been doing lately??  I would love to hear!! Is the weather nice where you live?  (go ahead, make me jealous.. lol!)

Ok, off to do a bit of grocery shopping!  Can't wait to get your comments!

In Christ's Service,

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Life lessons- my challenge post #1

Life lessons are always hard to learn.  I have heard people say ‘learn it the hard or easy way’, but I think most of mine are the hard way.  I can’t say I am complaining because I think they stick with me more than when I learn it ‘the easy way’.
   My hard lesson that God taught me this week happened yesterday morning.
Mom had set up a new plan for kitchen clean up.  Normally all of us kids do the kitchen clean up.  We each do our own thing.  Usually Becca or I would wash the dishes.  Then, as the boys got a little older, they started helping with the dishes.  Well, it seemed like who ever was milking that month would end up doing a lot of the dishes.  So, Mom decided to give it a little change.  Two of us milk each month.  We swap around so we can take turns getting a break and whatnot.  The plan, then, was that whoever was NOT milking had dish duty.  They were responsible for all the dish washing.   Ok, now that I have bored you with this little explanation, I can now tell the story.
            This is my month for washing dishes.  Yesterday was the first day.  However, the person who had dish duty in March did not finish cleaning all the dishes.  So, when my turn came up, I was going to have to wash all the dishes that this person had left behind.
My reasoning was this person needed to finish the job and not leave things for other people to clean up.  Mom decided that, yes, this person needed to finish up the dishes.   
I began happily cleaning up the kitchen (putting away food, wiping counters, etc) and then found out that Mom was playing ‘April Fool’s’ on this person that they didn’t need to clean up the dishes(she sent them to do something else, as I found out later on..).  Needless to say, I was rather upset.  Not because I had to wash the dishes (I don’t mind doing that, really), but because this person who had not finished the job went out of the kitchen happy, leaping, etc, and not caring a whit that I had to clean up after them.  I began washing, angry thoughts flooding my mind.  How dare they!  How could they just walk off without even a look of sympathy, or better yet, an offer of help?  It was just terrible!  I had to clean up this mess that this other person had left.  I now had to do all of the work so that this person could go and have fun.
            Then God smacked me with that famous 2x4…… “Sarah,” It said, somewhat sorrowfully,  “Have I done any less for you?”    I began to realize that Jesus had done SO much more for me.  He had cleaned up my mess of sin by hanging on the cross.   He died a painful death so that I could go free!  Why shouldn’t I do the same for my sibling by washing the dishes they left behind??
            However, Satan had other ideas…. Unfortunately, I let him talk me out of it.  I didn’t want to be merciful.  I wanted to be angry.  I didn’t want to forgive.  I went so far as to not even talk to my sibling.  Not helping this sibling make the breakfast.  I was mad at the person, and I was going to show it… I didn’t want to listen to that soft voice.  The more I thought about being mad, the softer the voice became until I could barely hear it above my own raging thoughts…
            Then I became ashamed of myself.  Was this the way to answer God?  He was trying to show me how powerful and beautiful His mercy was, yet I wasn’t willing to give it out as well.  I wanted to receive God’s mercy, but I wasn’t willing to give mercy to someone else.
            It reminded me of the story in the Bible about the one man who owed money to the other man.  The first man begged for more time to pay his debts, but the second man was unwilling and threw the poor man in jail until he could pay his debts.  Then, the second man had to go to a third man that HE owed money to.  The second man begged for more time (he wanted the mercy), but the third man was unwilling.  I was in the same situation.  I wasn’t willing to be kind toward my sibling.
            I had been reading in Isaiah this week.  The first part can be kind of sad because God is pouring out His wrath on the people of Israel, but as you get further into it, you see how God is still merciful.  He is willing, wanting to give the people mercy if they would just call on Him and turn from their wicked ways.  He wants to welcome them back with OPEN ARMS!  Yet the people still didn’t want to go back.  They didn’t want to stop worshiping the false gods.  They liked doing evil things and didn’t want to turn away from it all.
            I used to laugh at them and think, ‘the silly people!! If they would just turn back, all their troubles would be over!’….  and yet, here I was.  I didn’t want to listen to God’s gentle, rebuking voice telling me I was wrong.  I wanted to continue in my sin.  I had to make a decision.  Do I continue being angry, or do I let it go and be thankful, instead, that my sibling got to have some free time?
            As I was talking with my dear Mother later on, I poured out my heart and told her what had been wrong with me that morning (yes, I was noticeably angry).  She shared some advice-painful advice, but good advice.   I really don’t like it when she has to tell me the things that I need to change.  Yet, I also know that it is good.  If she didn’t tell me, I would never know and I would never be able to work on it. 
            I kind of felt like Eustace in ‘Voyage of the Dawn Treader’ when Aslan is scratching off his scales after he had been turned into a dragon.  It hurt Eustace to have them ripped off, but he felt so much better afterwards.
            Often times it hurts to be told we are wrong, but we can feel so much better if we turn away from our wrong and sin and run back to our Savior.  He will comfort us and heal us in such a wonderful, peaceful way. 
            After Mom and I had talked for a long time, I sobbingly sought forgiveness, and she gave it to me-willingly.  Then, I went outside, sat in my favorite spot on a low wall underneath a tree, and sobbed to God.   Have you ever been really cold?  You sip some hot cocoa and just feel it’s warmth seeping into your body?  When God is forgiving you, He gives you a peace that feels like that-only better.  It just creeps all over your body making you feel warm and safe.  Almost like God was hugging you right then and there.  
            So, the lesson God taught me this week was giving mercy.  I can tell you that it won’t be easy…. But I now have something to look back to whenever I feel angry thoughts beginning to surface.

What did God teach you this week?  I am anxious to hear your thoughts!  Oh, and I have to admit that I was not very faithful at reading my Bible every day this week.  Please pray that I will do better this coming week.

In Christ’s Service,