Thursday, August 05, 2010

The End

Four years ago, on August 11th, 2006, Maidens of Worth was launched. In fact, our 4th blogaversary would be here soon. However, after thinking and praying about the purpose of this blog at this time of life, instead of moving forward, we've decided to bring this blog to an end.

We've wondered when this time would come. After all, you just can't maintain a blog forever. We originally thought this blog might last us throughout our maidenhood, but the time to stop is here, although marriage isn't in the foreseeable future for either of us. But, we trust that God's timing will be best for that too. He's been faithful through the years of blogging, and will continue through this next season of sharing less.

Why stop now? God has led us to be involved in many things, and blogging has become less of a priority. Miriam will have a full course load and extra-curricular activities at Judson college, in addition to being an RA this fall; Anna has a busy schedule of teaching and directing through The King's Courts while continuing to study on her own and look for other ways to serve from home. While writing and blogging about these activities and other thoughts along the way is fun, we both feel that we don't have the time maintaining this blog well would take. And while having an online community of blogging friends is encouraging, we feel that the time we have to devote to friendships should be more focused on close friends both near by and across the states.

We've also come to realize that sometimes life is better not shared with hundreds of people in an online, very public way. God has led different people in different ways, and our lives, while we hope they were encouraging to others, were never meant to be taken as the pattern or only way to live Biblical womanhood. While it's challenged and matured us to learn to communicate our convictions in a public way, there are things we just prefer to keep private and among close friends and family. Much as it would have been fun to share our stories when those special young men - whoever they are - come into our lives, it will also be easier not to have to worry about blogging it, but instead, just enjoy the experiences when they come.

Our friendship is still strong; we've remained friends through the years. If anything, we've grown closer, by God's grace. However, our spent spent as co-blogging, at least for now, has come to a close. Miriam may update her blog, Merely Miriam periodically, and Anna will still be blogging about productions on The King's Courts. The content on Maidens of Worth will remain up as an online archive, but don't look for anything new.

It has been a good four years. We've matured and been challenged over our time of blogging. We're still committed to serving God, however He wants us to, as maidens of worth.

Now, in 2010, we're excited to see what God has in store!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Looking Back... God is Faithful

As one who likes to plan ahead, it’s always hard when I can’t know the future. If I could look down the road a few years and see what my current experiences are preparing me for, it seems like life would be a whole lot better! But then, if I knew the future, I would have no reason to trust God. My times are in His hands – and it’s in the daily trusting, taking one step at a time as He shows me the path, that I learn to follow Him without reserve.

Looking back over the years, I’m amazed at how God planned my life and prepared me for the things ahead. I never would have woven my story in the way He has, but slowly He is creating a beautiful tapestry. I’m in awe of His faithfulness in giving me experiences and lessons at just the right time to prepare me for what He knew I’d be facing later.

When I started to write poems before age 9 – short and silly as they were – I never imagined that many years later, at age 19, I would sit down to write lyrics for songs for an original musical. But God knew; He gave me an enjoyment of words that rhyme, and used my silly poems that matured over the years to prepare me. Those poems prepared me for the task of counting syllables of rhyming lines that would be turned into a song by a friend whom He gave the gift of composing.

I still find it hard to believe that at age 8 I wrote a play to practice and perform at my birthday party, and then did it again at age 10. God gave me an enjoyment of theatre even back then... and little did I know where it would lead. At age 14 He allowed me to go to a drama camp, where, as I learned about the various jobs associated with the production process, I declared that I would never be a director. He must have laughed when, exactly a year later, I directed my first musical. It was truly God that turned this shy girl that didn’t think she could lead into a director working on her 7th musical and a teacher going in to her 4th year of ballet classes. I’ve learned to “never say never” when God’s involved.

At age 10 I learned to use the sewing machine to sew doll clothes, and by age 13, I had sewn my first dress. Over the years, God granted me an enjoyment of sewing, as I crafted skirts and dresses for myself and friends and matching clothes for nieces and nephews. I never expected that at age 17 I’d start sewing costumes for musicals, or that the skill would continue to come in useful to sew and alter dance costumes, be a valuable asset to the costume crews at college, and now oversee finding and making costumes for a cast of nearly 60, training other young girls to sew in the process. In the future, I hope this skill will come in useful as I establish a home and family of my own.

I could go on; there are people who have shaped who I am, things I studied that I never thought would be useful, only to find myself needing that knowledge, and experiences God’s given me – extremely hard at times – that prepared me to walk through the next thing He had planned. Some of those have helped me to relate to and reach others.

My God is a big God. He knows what I need when I don’t. Even now, He is preparing me for things I could never imagine. I may not know right now why I’m walking the path that I am, doing what I’m doing, and learning what He’s teaching me, but my faithful Father does.

Life is such an adventure with Him. I look forward to looking back in a year… five years… ten years… or even at the end of my life, and seeing how He used this time. Maybe then, things that are dim now will suddenly become clear.

My life is not a series of random events; it has a purpose – I have a reason for being where I am right now. It’s an amazing thing, to know that the God who created this universe created me for a purpose, and is involved in my day-to-day life.

With each day, He is preparing me to serve Him for His glory, and though things may not make sense now, I am learning to trust Him with each step. Do I do it perfectly? Definitely not. But with each lesson and each test, God always proves Himself faithful and trustworthy. It’s my prayer that I will continue to follow Him… no matter where He leads.

"The LORD will fulfill His purpose for me; Your love, O LORD, endures forever - do not abandon the work of Your hands." - Psalm 138:8

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Lord is my Pace Setter

Below is a version of the Twenty-Third Psalm from Japan, quoted in Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver. It's definitely a reminder that I need sometimes!
The Lord is My Pace Setter

The Lord is my pace setter... I shall not rush.

He makes me stop for quiet intervals.

He provides me with images of stillness which restore my serenity.

He leads me in the way of efficiency through calmness of mind and His guidance is peace.

Even though I have a great many things to accomplish each day, I will not fret, for His presence is here.

His timelessness, His all importance will keep me in balance.

He prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst of my activity by anointing my mind with his oils of tranquility.

My cup of joyous energy overflows.

Truly harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruits of my hours for I shall walk in the Pace of my Lord and dwell in His house forever.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

June 2010 Reading List

Sorry this post is late! July came too quickly and we entirely forgot about June's book post until a few days into July. Then, the birthday surprise, musical auditions and rehearsals began, and the days have gone by in a blur... :)

Anna's Books


Completed this month:
  • Cat & Dog Theology by Bob Sjogren & Gerald Robinson - I know what you're thinking: "what theology?" This joke helps explain it: "A dog says, 'You pet me, you feed me, you shelter me, you love me, you must be God.' A cat says, 'You pet me, you feed me, you shelter me, you love me, I must be God.'" The book goes on to explain how there are "dog Christians" and "cat Christians," the first focused on God's glory and what they can do for Him, and the second focused on their comfort and what God can do for them. Though not many people are completely one or the other, it will cause you to think through the cat-tendencies in your own life and in the church as a whole, and desire to have more of a dog's heart. The book is funny and very readable, while also causing you to really evaluate your own heart and attitudes. I highly recommend this book to every Christian. It is a fun read, but a challenging one.
  • Two From Galilee by Marjorie Holmes - Having been recommended this book by two women I know, I was excited to find it at a thrift store for 50 cents! This novel focuses on the love story of Mary and Joseph as it could have happened. There are many different takes on how it could have been, but this one did a pretty good job of staying true to the Scriptural details, while adding in things for a sweet story. It makes you think about the hardships they had to endure. I enjoyed reading it, but I wouldn't recommend it to those under 16 or so, for it includes some mature details.
  • Miracle at Sea by Eleanor Anderson - This is a first hand account of the sinking of the Zamzam, a neutral Egyptian liner at the time of World War II, and of the rescue of a family of 6 children and a mother traveling to join her husband, a missionary in Africa. It is an exciting account of God's faithfulness and protection, and a touching story of a family's love for each other. The story is even more neat to me because the author knew my grandparents, who were also missionaries to Africa.
  • Writing the Moments by Maria Lofgren Coble - This is the first, self-published book written by my inspiring sister Maria. It's a compilation of some of her best poems, essays, and short stories. Though I have a sister's bias, others agree with me that she's an amazing writer, and it is exciting to see and read her first book! I thoroughly enjoyed and was touched by her writings, on a variety of topics from identity, to parenting, to faith.
  • Not Even a Hint by Joshua Harris - Subtitled "guarding your heart against lust," this book was later republished with the title Sex is Not the Problem (Lust Is). It is a convicting challenge for both men and women to strive for not even a hint of sexual impurity in their life. It exposes the problems in legalism and the failures that happens when you try to just follow the right set of rules, while giving advice, guidelines, and questions to help you think how you can live a life of purity. It's a mature book for young adults - probably not for those under 16, and parents may want to read it first. But, it's definitely needed, especially in the culture we live in, and I recommend it to my peers.
  • The Warrior by Francine Rivers - I found this novella in the "Sons of Encouragement" series very interesting, as it follows the Biblical Caleb, and I'm writing a musical that has him in it. There isn't a huge amount said about Caleb in the Bible, so the book added a lot of details to flesh out the story that may or may not have happened. However, it kept the details that were in the Bible accurately (though I'm not sure Joshua was as indecisive as they presented him, though he did have to be told again and again by God to "be strong and courageous"). It was an exciting and interesting story. Caleb was truly an amazing man who was used by God. There were a few things that make this a book for older teens/young adults.
  • Humility: True Greatness by C.J. Mahaney - This book is challenging, encouraging, and grace-filled. It calls you to pursue humility, for the humble person is the one God can use most, and the one through whom God is most glorified. The book lays out well the reasons for humility, the challenges in pursuing it, and practical suggestions for cultivating it without turning it into a bunch of legalistic rules. I definitely recommend this book.
  • Inside Ballet Technique by Valerie Grieg - Subtitled "separating anatomical fact from fiction in the ballet class" this book helped me do just that! It was well written, showing how the body works without getting too caught up in all the technical names for everything, and giving practical suggestions for helping your students learn things well and accurately. I recommend it to ballet teachers and/or serious ballet students.
Currently Reading:
  • Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver
  • Reason in the Balance by Philip Johnson
  • Faith Alone by Martin Luther, edited by James C. Galvin

Miriam's Books

Completed this month:
  • Two From Galilee by Marjorie Holmes - I always enjoy it when an author takes a biblical story and weaves an engaging tale while keeping true to the scripture. I borrowed this from Anna on the plane trip home and really enjoyed this story. I realized that I had read the sequel to the story, not knowing that there had been a first one. While Two From Galilee follows Mary and Joseph on their journey from betrothal to Jesus' birth, Three From Galilee follows the early life of Jesus from 12 years old to the beginning of his ministry. I highly recommend both of the these books, but I second Anna on the mature elements in the first book.
  • Priscilla and Aquila by Lois T. Henderson - I have read Henderson's interpretations of Miriam, Ruth and Lydia and thoroughly enjoyed them, so I was excited when I found this book at the same thrift store that Anna found her book. While keeping true to the little scripture that we have about Priscilla and Aquila, Henderson weaves a story that keeps you reading and expectant the entire time. If you have never read any of these books, I'll tell you that they are probably at the top of my list of favorite books. Due to some slightly mature themes, I wouldn't recommend it for those under 16, unless read by a parent first.
  • The Curate's Awakening by George McDonald - McDonald has a way of writing a story that is engaging and highly spiritual at the same time. An apathetic curate is asked the question by an atheist, "Tell me the truth, do you really believe a word of all that?", meaning God and Christianity. The curate is struck with a realization that he hasn't believed it, but he wants to find reason to...so begins his search through the scriptures and his search for God. McDonald tackles the issues of evolution and the existence of a Creator with amazing evidence. I'm currently reading the sequel to this book and finding it just as enjoyable.

Currently Reading:
  • The Lady's Confession by George McDonald
  • Let The Nations Be Glad! by John Piper
  • Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis
  • Reason in the Balance by Phillip E. Johnson
  • Hood by Stephen Lawhead

Now, what have you read recently?

Friday, July 09, 2010

20th Birthday Weekend

Last weekend was a wonderful celebration with my family! Thank you again, Elijah, for the wonderful surprise!

Sunday we were out all day - church in the morning, lunch afterward, home church fellowship that afternoon, and a picnic supper and fireworks that evening. Since it was the 4th, it was a good excuse to wear patriotic colors!

Fireworks is a fun tradition; it's always sweet to see the wonder on a little one's face as the colors explode. Maria drove down with her three children on Sunday, adding to the family celebration.

On Monday, Jubilee and Mom made a birthday cake and lunch for us.

Elijah planned a surprise birthday party for me Monday evening, and told me to find a blindfold for the car ride. Dutifully, I chose a piece of cloth that I wouldn't be able to see through, not thinking about the color and how it would look...

We made it to our destination without my knowing where we were, but when I removed the blindfold and we got out of the car, to our surprise, not one but three police cars pulled up behind us. Someone had seen me blindfolded in the car and called the police! The police were understanding of the birthday surprise, and said they couldn't forbid blindfolds as part of it, but cautioned us that it wasn't the best idea, especially when driving through the city. We learned our lesson and won't do it again! But, it definitely gave us an interesting memory...

Elijah had arranged for Miriam and her brother and the three Simon siblings to meet us at a bowling alley, where he treated us to supper and 2 games of bowling. I felt totally spoiled and blessed by all the surprises he planned!

Lane 1 bowlers

Lane 2 bowlers; we all had quite a few gutter balls, but it was fun!

To top it all off, the Simons had arranged for us to go to their house after bowling for dessert and games. We stayed until Midnight before heading home.

It was a celebration I never expected - I thought I would just spend the day quietly at home - but I am so thankful for the fun memories.

The rest of the week went by in a blur, with auditions for "The Cord of Courage" on Tuesday, many details to sort through on Wednesday (including tough casting decisions!) and the first rehearsal on Thursday. Tonight is another drama presentation - "Life in 10 Minutes" - a collection of dramatic speeches and monologues.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Weekend Surprise!

Last night I was utterly and entirely surprised by a young man bearing a bouquet of pink and white daisies. That amazing young man was my brother Elijah, who, totally unknown to me (though my family and some friends knew and kept the secret well!) flew down from Iowa to surprise me for my birthday, which is this Monday. It worked well, since he has Monday and Tuesday off from work because of the holiday weekend!

I was up later than usual last night, but finally got ready for bed around 11 PM. I was wondering why Mom and Dad were out so late on their "date" but then heard them drive up. Unconcerned, I was headed to turn out my light when a knock on my door startled me and I half-screamed. Unexpected noises scare me too easily! I managed to get out "come in" and then just stared when, instead of mom, as I'd expected, my brother Elijah stood in the doorway with a bouquet for me!

It's a wonderfully welcome surprise! Though many things on my to-do list for this weekend may not get done, having my brother with me is much better. I am so touched that he would take the time and effort to be with me!

I look forward to leaving the teen years behind and turning 20 with my big brother by my side. :)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Walking with God

Midnight is my walking companion. Almost without fail, he's there waiting for me the minute I step out the door. He grins (well, as much as a dog can grin) and wags his tail, "Walk with me?" Most of the time I'm happy to go along. However, sometimes I have excuses.

"Sorry, Midnight, I can't go now. You see, I don't usually walk on Saturdays. Besides, I slept in today, and it's so hot now. I'm only outside because I'm on my way to the guest house to take a shower. You see, our water heater's broken and dad's not home to fix it..." Midnight doesn't understand. His tail droops when I go inside the door, and he wanders off elsewhere.

The next day, I have a similar excuse. He bounds over when I walk out the door, but again, I tell him that I don't usually walk on weekends. I'm only out this Sunday because I happened to wake up before my alarm and decided to pick blueberries. He starts off eagerly each time I move a little down the row of bushes, looking back to see if I'm following him up the road.

Even on weekdays I sometimes have excuses. "It's too hot now; I slept past my alarm." "Sorry, Midnight, this day is just too busy. Tomorrow, okay?" I give him an extra moment of petting, as if that will make up for it. The amazing thing is, he keeps coming back morning after morning, not discouraged by the days that I miss.

Other days are like today; good temperature and the perfect time to walk, an energizing start to a productive day. I walk out the door, my verse binder and letters to mail in hand, and he bounds over with the wagging invitation. "Yes, Midnight, let's go!"

As I walked this morning, I thought about how my excuses to Midnight are similar to the excuses we sometimes give God. "Sorry, Lord, I know I'm not spending much time with You this morning, but you see, today's really busy; I've got to start on my overflowing to-do list." Or how about this one: "I don't remember turning my alarm off; I slept too late. I'll read a chapter and pray a few sentences, but I've got to hurry through." Other times, it has to do with the day: "I know it's Sunday, but I'll spend more time with You in church later. Right now I've got to get dressed and make myself presentable to..." what? Meet with God or impress others?

Yet, God is ever faithful. He's always there even when we ignore Him. He never leaves or forsakes us, but His Spirit is grieved when we won't take time to truly spend with Him, to get to know Him, to walk with Him down the path He's given us.

It's my prayer that I won't be full of excuses when it comes to spending time with my Savior. Each day is a new adventure of learning and growing in Him. And, I look forward to continuing my morning walks as well. For though I'm walking with my dog, it's also a time to walk with God. Down the dirt road and back, I memorize His Word, talk to my Faithful Friend, and enjoy the beauty of His creation.

These walks are something I won't forget.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Summer Days


Summer days seem to fly by. There's quite a bit to do, but time to relax as well...

Like playing games over lunch with Jubilee; Carcassonne and Ticket to Ride are our favorites right now.

Or calling up Elijah because I feel lonely, and spending 45 minutes wandering around outside so that I can get reception on my cell phone. At least summer evenings are much cooler and more bearable than summer days! And big brothers that care are one of the best things in the world.

Life has recently has had a lot to do with email... Emailing to set up the schedule for "Life in 10 Minutes," and then making a flier and emailing out invitations. Or making audition forms, a production calender, production guidelines and character and job descriptions, and then emailing out audition reminders for "The Cord of Courage." Emailing friends, emailing church bulletin announcements, emailing thoughts for a book study, emailing scripts for proofreading... What would I do without email?

But then I get tired of the computer. I breathe a sigh of relief when I turn it off each night. Because too much of it is taxing; there's life outside the screen, after all.

Sometimes my life feels like one big planning session after another. But if I didn't plan things, they wouldn't get done... and though the planning is exhausting, life would be pretty boring without it.

There's so much to write and type, that I don't feel like writing in my journal or typing up a blog post. But, they both got done today, rambling thought they are; that gives a sense of accomplishment.

Cleaning floors and working up a sweat; cooking supper and enjoying corn on the cob; shredding zucchinni and making delicious, moist bread; teaching students and then spending time talking with friends late in the evening; taking a minute to just sit and reflect... life is full right now, but it is good. God gives grace for each new day.

And the best day of the week is tomorrow! I hope you all have a restful Sunday, and that you have the opportunity to worship the Lord, hear good teaching, and fellowship with the Body of Christ.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Purity for purity's sake?

Ben at In All Purity has written a great post on purity that I encourage you to all read. It's called Would You Marry a Sinner?

When we're committed to living a life of purity, often people have questions about whether we'd even consider someone who hasn't kept the same standards of purity. However, as Ben points out, we're all sinners. Our future spouse will be a sinner.

He also clearly communicated the reasons we have for purity:
"You and I have a reason for purity that the world often doesn’t have. We have a purpose and a reason for making this sacrifice! It’s a reason that makes all the difference. The reason is this: purity is not about purity. Purity is about love! Purity is something that doesn’t have much value unless you have love as the reason for it. The reason I stay pure is because I love my future wife enough to stay pure for her."
Read the whole post here.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

It's the Little Things

It's the little things in life that bring joy. Tonight, I'm thankful for...


*Morning walks along our winding dirt road.
*A well-written story.
*Shade in our valley.
*Ballet students who want to learn.
*Little girls and their look of delight over a sparkly crown.
*Air conditioning in the car when the temperature outside reads 100 degrees.
*Peaches on sale.


*The snap of a home-grown green bean.
*The ability and resources to create a feast of homemade goodness.
*Pictures of flowers when the heat has made most wither.
*Games with my sister (even when she beats me!).
*Friends who care.
*God's faithfulness every day.

What are you thankful for today?