Friday, December 30, 2011

Sale at!

Sorry to do two posts at once, but I wanted to share with my lady readers that is having a year-end sale! Everything is 15% off.  So, if you've had your eye on something, now is the time to get it!! :-)

Also, if you post about it, you get a free download.. ;-)

So, go check it out!



I don't know how many times I have heard a Christian complaining about how persecuted we have become in America.  The other day I was thinking this over and started looking at the things that we feel we are persecuted over.

1. The fact that we can't say a prayer in public school without getting in trouble, or praying in a public place and getting weird looks

2. The fact that Hollywood puts inappropriate things in movies

3. The fact that when checking out at Walmart, one must make sure to keep their focus straight ahead and not look at the magazine rack.

4. The fact that SOMETIMES we get made fun of for our faith. (like people making fun of our modest clothing, the fact that we aren't into the latest music, or how large our family is...)

5.  The fact that our faith can sometimes make situations awkward.

Yeah, that's about all I can come up with right now.  Seriously?

I think that we really over exagerate when we talk about being persecuted.  Honestly, we have tons of religious freedom compared to other countries.

In a video I saw, a guy tells his viewers, "It's clearly an inconvenience, but ah, nothing more...."   When we talk about being persecuted, we really mean that we have an inconvenience to deal with.  Having to close your eyes during scenes in a movie or watch where you eyes wander in the store or getting odd looks because you dress modestly does NOT mean you are being persecuted.  It is seriously an inconvenience and that's it. Nothing more.

My sister got a neat book for Christmas called "The Narrow Road: Stories of Those Who Walk This Road Together" by Brother Andrew. It's basically about Andrew's life as he served the Lord.

The Forward is written by one of the guys in the Jars of Clay group.  Here is just a section of what he wrote that I want to share.

"In the Spring of 2000 I read an article about reliegious persecution in the Sudan.  Many more articles followed, along with some television reports, research, and a divinely appointed meeting with an activist named Steve Haas, the U.S. director of the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.
     It became very clear to me that sleeping behind church walls would not satisfy a God who hates injustice.  I had seen the pictures of toture victims.I had read the reports of women and children sold into slavery.  I had been confronted with the tales of murder, rape, and starvation.  But all I knew were stories that seemed to fill that morbid curiousity that draws us to car wrecks and real-life TV shows.  These people were not real to me.  They were not brothers and sisters.
     I needed to know these people.  I needed to hear them tell their stories.  I wanted to see how God met them.  It was this need that drove me and Jars of Clay to China and Vietnam to meet and pray with leaders of the underground church.
    We were never the same.
We cried with these people.  We rejoiced with them.  We laughed with them.  They laughed a lot- more than we thought possible, given their lives of suffering.  But it was in their struggles that they found great joy.  They are truly a suffering people, blessed by God."

That is just a small excerpt of the intro, but what a profound section it is!  The Christian Church in other countries is truly going through persecution.

Imagine living with a daily/nightly fear that at any moment, the police could come bursting through your door to drag you all into jail because of your beliefs.  Imagine, as a young woman, the fear of walking the streets because someone might rape you simply because you believe in Jesus.  Or, the never dying knowledge that you could be killed for it... or worse.

THAT is what persecution is.  What we are "going through" (if I can even title it as such) is NOTHING compared to what they live with daily.  I mean, they have to meet in SECRET to even worship the Lord together.  At least we get the chance to dress up, stand out from the crowd, and worship as we please.

Sure, maybe America will come to the point where we, as Christian, are being persecuted, but right now we are far from it.... and yet, look at the way we deal with it.  We are grumpy, upset, frustrated, etc.  Yet those people in the Underground church are worshipping with JOY!  They are joyful in the Lord, and they are being persecuted.  We are inconvenienced, and we are grumpy and frustrated. 

Persecution in America? No. It is clearly an inconvenience but nothing more.  I think that if we spent more time focusing on serving the Lord instead of worrying about all those menial things, then maybe we, too, will learn how to turn these "inconveniences" into an opportunity to be truly joyful.

I really can't stress how much it has suddenly frustrated me that the Church here in America can't act better. Now that is annoying.

In Christ's Service,

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Wishing You All a Very Merry Christmas!!

Hello all of my faithful readers!!!  I hope that all of you will be blessed with a very merry Christmas this season as we celebrate Jesus' birth!!

Below are two videos. Both are songs that I really like. (although, the first one does still give glory to santa, at least it is giving most of it to Jesus and definitely makes you think!)  So, please turn up your volume, make sure all other blogger playlists are turned off, and enjoy!  If I can get it to upload, I will share a video that my friend made.

Also, I put up a Christmas post at my Wordpress blog Here, so please go check it out!

Oh, and to those who want a White Christmas (Samantha!), I am praying you get one!!! :-) I think we may be snowed in, which I don't want to happen, so I will try my best to send it your way. ;-)

Keeping warm,

Monday, December 19, 2011

Thoroughly Blessed

I think I am one of the most blessed people in the world.  God has given me mercy SO many times.  He sent His only Son to save a sinner like me who deserved nothing but eternity in hell.
  He has blessed me with an AMAZING family.  I really don't know what I would do without them.
As I brought some presents I had just wrapped to put under the tree, Caleb spotted one for him.  He started teasing me, trying to get me to tell him what it was.  He tried shaking it, lifting it so see how much it weighed, etc. Just like a typical little boy. :-)
   Any how, I told him that I "hope you like it."  He looked at me and said, quite solemnly, "Of course I'll like it because you gave it to me."
  My heart was filled with joy.  He is such a sweet boy.  Really. One of the best things that happens around Christmastime is how he deals with all the gifts.  Often times, the little guys can lose focus of why we are celebrating Christmas with all those gifts under the tree.  Caleb, however, is more excited about what he got YOU than what you are giving HIM.  It is truly a joy to see that selfless joy and happiness in him.  His gifts are really special, too.  Typically it will be little things, like a picture, or an origami piece that he did all by himself, or some other little creation of his. And you know what?  I think those are the best gifts.  They come from the heart with love poured into each gift. His enthusiasm as we open his gift is really sweet to behold.
I have my other amazing family members that I just have to tell about.  First of all, my Daddy drove the icky weather this morning to get into town for a job interview.  I know he probably would have preferred to stay home and get some much needed tasks done on the ranch, but he went in town instead.  He is such an amazing provider, and the best midnight talker around! He's always willing to stay up until midnight to help me sort through my problems. :-)

Then I have my beautiful, selfless, beautiful, caring, beautiful, sweetest, and most wonderful Mama in the world! (did I mention that she's beautiful?) When going through some tough times in my walk with the Lord, she was right there praying for me.  She has been my best friend for as long as I can remember.  She was the one I always told my secrets to, the one who was there to offer advice when something happened, and the one who was always willing to listen to my problems, even if she's already in bed and ready to go to sleep.

My wonderful sister.  Wow, there's so much!!!!  For one thing, she just celebrated her 21st birthday!!!  Can you believe it??  (don't worry, there's a birthday post coming up!) I certainly can't.  We've had lots of transitioning in our relationship. Playmates, to young adults, to the best friends in the world.  She's probably one of the few people who can put up with me, and still love me.  Being able to share a room with her is a huge blessing in its self.  For one thing, I tend to be the messier of the pair.. and she's there to remind me, gently, to pick up my side of the room.  I think her organized living style is finally rubbing off on me, though!  Then, she's right there to talk, giggle, and cry long into the night with me.  She's got the wittiest sense of humor.  It doesn't matter how hard I try to say something back to her, she's always got one to top it... and you know what, I don't mind!  Besides, I probably wouldn't be able to get anything said any way because she usually has me doubled over in laughter with the things she says.

Joshua is a pretty great kid.  Ok, maybe not great.... Just kidding! And I don't think I could call him a kid any more.  16 years old sounds more like a young man, and since he acts more like a young man than a kid, I think he is entitled to that title. ;-)  He is SUCH a hard worker.  He would prefer to be out working than inside doing anything else.  He makes me laugh when I'm upset, and loves me for the crazy person that I am. He loves talking to me about guns, fight scenes in movies, and how to fix a car (most of it, I don't typically understand, but I enjoy listening to his enthusiasm on the subjects.).  He is my favorite Joshua in the whole wide world!

Of course, I said a few things about Caleb, but besides his selfless attitude during Christmas, he is one of the funniest guys around.  Somehow, turning 11 made him into this very witty person.  He and Becca could almost compete in a 'witty' competition. He comes pretty close to hers.  He is super creative.  He will bring out his clay creations and totally amaze me.  One time he made all the characters from a Wii game called Mario Kart.  The accuracy and detail totally stunned us.  He's a great artist, loves his chickens, enjoys being outside, and has enough energy to run a steam boat across the Atlantic.

I know I've done these family posts before, but I think it's great to spend time telling about their good qualities.  I mean, let's face it.  Everyone as their 'bad side', and too often we can focus on just that instead of all the wonderful things about them.  So, you will probably be seeing these in the future!

Are you feeling blessed this Christmas season?  If so, how?

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas filled with the Lord's blessings! And, for those who want it, lots of snow!  It has been snowing all day here.  Just that lovely, soft falling, snow.  Looks like a ranch-like winter wonderland!

In Christ's Service,

Friday, December 16, 2011

A brother who can stay sane even after his sister has lost it

Not lost it as in anger, but lost it totally in her sanity.  This evening, I was going around the house humming, "Oh Danny Boy". This is really a very pretty song, though a sad one.  I had recently taken an interest in it and had looked up the lyrics, chords, etc. Well, while I was fixing supper, I guess I began humming it.  After about ten minutes, Josh finally stands up from where he was sitting on the couch and said, "Sarah, can you PLEASE stop singing that?!" 
I looked at him innocently.  "Stop singing what?"
He looked at me. "That song."
"You mean, 'Oh Danny Boy'?" I asked, slightly confused.
He looked at me and smiled slightly, "Or at least finish it."
Now it was my turn to look at him suddenly. "Finish it?"
"Yeah, all evening you have been singing just the first part....Hummm, humm.." and he commenced to showing me what I was doing.  Yes, I was only humming the first part of the song and never got any further.  Don't know how it happened, but when Josh started imitating me, I immediately started laughing.  The thought of me walking about the house humming just one part of a song struck me as being rather silly, wouldn't you agree?  We laughed about it for a little while, then I continued doing dinner and Josh continued in his fire making. (don't worry, he was just lighting a fire in the wood stove)

A few minutes later, he jumps up again, "Sarah!...."

Hope y'all are having a wonderful Christmas season! Keep up the joy in your house and have a couple of good laughs. It's good medicine. ;-)

In Christ's Service,

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Test Blog

Hey all!

I thought I'd drop a line and say that I have started a 'test' blog.  I've been getting rather frustrated with blogger, so I decided to take for s test drive.  I started up a new wordpress blog called "No Greater Thing". I just wanted to see if I preferred it to blogger.  I will also be sharing my thoughts, tips, etc over there on writing.  So, if you would like, hop on over and check it out! 

No Greater Thing

We will see how it goes.  I might stick with blogger (because you know me, I gotta have my different templates! haha!), but if it continues to give me frustrating problems, I might end up using wordpress for my main blog.  Don't worry, though.  I won't be leaving here for a while. :-)

In Christ's Service,

P.S. So sorry for the delay in getting up the pictures! I am going to try to get those done by next week.  This weekend is a bit crazy... Thank you for your patience!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Help please?

Ok, I'm trying to get a picture video to load, but it won't work.  How do you bloggers do it?? ;-)  I put together some pictures into a video using Windows Movie Maker and Vegas Platinum 7.0 (two different videos to see which program worked), but alas, it didn't work.  I was able to get it to 'upload', but then it said some error happened during the upload and it wouldn't play back.  I don't know if it is because our Internet wasn't working or what. So, does any one else have this problem?

I'd dearly love to put together some  pictures videos for you (for one, they upload faster than hundreds of pictures, and I can put music to them!).

So, if you have some help for me, I appreciate it VERY much!!! :-)

As for an update, our family is now home and "enjoying" this freezing cold weather! haha!  The wind is blowing something awful and the snow is swirling around and around.  It's actually funny to look outside right now because we have two foot drifts there, and then hardly anything on the ground here.  It's all splotched everywhere like that!  The wind just swirls the snow into drifts instead of a nice even coat (which I MUCH prefer!).  It's frustrating because this wind is 'drying out' the snow, per se. I know that sounds odd, but it wicks the moisture out and back into the air instead of letting the ground soak it up to store away for spring.  Argh.  Hopefully we will get some wet snow so that our cows will have something to eat in the spring/summer.....  How is the weather at your place?

Thanks for your help on the computer predicament.... ;-)

Keeping warm, (well, trying to any how, but not succeeding very well... my fingers are frozen anyhow and it's a miracle I can keep typing!)

Friday, December 2, 2011

So Sorry for the delay!

To all the wonderful people who entered my photography contest:  I am terribly sorry for the delay of posting the winners!  My sister and I have been working on judging them.  This has been an EXTREMELY difficult task because so many wonderful photos were entered! I'm having a hard time picking the winners. :-)  Any how, I will try to post them before Christmas.  Unfortunately our family's schedule has been a whirlwind of activities.  I haven't had much time for computers and whatnot.  (Thus, why I haven't posted in a while!)  And actually, if I am on the computer, I am working really hard on my book so that I can get it finished before the end of this year.  Yes, big goal, but I am determined. :-)  This, however, means that I need to be writing about 20-35 pages a day.  If you are a writer yourself, you know that this is pretty difficult on some days when you are out of ideas.

Ok, sorry, that was a sidetrack.  In any case, I am working on judging and will get those up as soon as I am able!   Then, I've got some picture posts coming up (yeah!) of our drama performances, and a fun time with a special friend. ;-)  And MAYBE I'll be able to put in a few fun Christmas posts as well... oh, and do the second part of the "Romantic movies" post... hehehe... yikes.  Looks like I've got lots on my plate.  Well, at least I've got a chance to sit down and write this up.  I am currently not in my home, but spending the weekend with some friends.  Don't worry, I'm not being rude because the daughter is out with my sister for the moment, the mother's are visiting, and the guys are working.. so yeah. ;-)  I feel rather distant from my blogging friends, though!  Thank you for your sporadic comments.  They really made my day! It's fun to get comments even on posts that are pretty old... =D

Alright, I guess that is about it for my ramblings.  Oh yeah, has any one gotten any snow??  Supposedly we are going to get about 6 inches. And where are we?  away from home, of course! Argh! I hate missing the first snow.  Oh well!

Any one got their Christmas decorations up yet?  We would have had ours done by now on our 'normal' schedules, but haven't had time yet!  I'm looking forward to getting everything out and making the house look festive.  We live so far away from civilization that we don't put any lights around the outside of the house.  Ok, ok, so we're 7 miles away from the nearest town.  So, Dad doesn't think we should put any lights up.  Quite personally I don't care either way.  I like the outside ones, but don't go outside at night enough to really enjoy them (on our house). At least the inside is pretty!

Ok, so I have one more question for you.  Do you put a Star or an Angel on the top of your tree (if you have a tree)?

Alright. I'm signing off now, for real. ;-)  Thank you for your comments! I love hearing from you.

Have a blessed weekend full of joy, family, and the Love of Christ's in your hearts.
In Christ's service,