Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Teach Me...

"Teach me Your ways, O Lord, and I will walk in Your truth; give me an undivided heart that I may fear Your Name."
- Psalm 86:11

For some beautiful pictures coupled with Scripture, make sure that you check by Jennifer's Musings over the next weeks. God's handiwork is amazing!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Frontier Day 2006

Frontier was a lot of fun yesterday! It was a pretty small group this year, but still so much fun! We went early for family worship, then stayed all day, eating, playing old-fashioned games, holding little ones, sitting by the huge bonfire, and talking - oh, and taking pictures! See below:

Yes, I got all 3 dresses done in time! On Wednesday evening and Thursday morning I cut all the dresses out. On Friday afternoon, I began work on my dress. Friday evening I had to stop, for I went babysitting! On Saturday morning, I had to drive into town for my PSAT test. On Saturday afternoon, Elijah was home for his fall break! We played games, but I managed to squeeze in some sewing time as well. I worked all Sunday afternoon after church, and had my dress and bonnet done by the evening. I then sewed mom's dress, starting on Monday afternoon, and finishing on Wednesday afternoon. Jubilee's took the least time. I sewed Friday afternoon and evening, and had it done by Saturday noon! It was a lot of fun to do all this sewing, but I believe I've done enough gathering to last a while.

Us old-fashioned maidens. I was so glad that the Harts could come to Frontier Day as well!

Our dresses look different colors in the bright light. I really like how old-timey they look! Oh - and fall has finally come. The leaves are actually turning!

I feel like I could have stepped out of the pages of Little House on the Prairie! Mom called me "Schoolmarm Laura Ingalls", and Jubilee looked just like Caddie Woodlawn.

Beautiful Miriam in her wonderful blue dress!

Yes, we took a lot of pictures (much more than these), but the background was perfect.

Friday, October 27, 2006

A Call to Purity

I am taking a break from sewing, to post this, since I already have it written. I've already completed mom's and my dresses, and am currently working on Jubilee's. Everything should be done by Sunday!

As Miriam already mentioned, a group of mothers and daughters is meeting together every month, studying the book Before You Meet Prince Charming. It has been very enjoyable, and I have already learned so much. It's wonderful to be able to learn from our mothers things they wished they would have known when they were young, and share with each other things on our hearts.

At the end of chapter 2, there is a suggested assignment that some of us girls did for the last meeting. The assignment was:

"A young lady once wrote me a letter saying how hard it was for her because she didn't have anyone to date. This hurting girl was lonely and frustrated, and she kept noticing everyone else with their boyfriends. She was feeling so desperate that she began writing letters to guys she knew, inviting them to events, and trying to get their attention. If this girl asked you for advice, what would you tell her? What suggestions would you give her? Write a sample letter, giving some counsel to this young lady. Be sure you include Scripture in your answer."

This is what I wrote:

October 23rd, 2006
Dear Daughter of the King,

I know that it's hard when you're not noticed. Every girl longs to feel some sort of admiration or approval from young men. When that doesn't happen, oftentimes we find ourselves having doubts. "Am I just not pretty?" "Am I so undesirable that no one will pay me any attention?" are thoughts that begin to crowd our mind. Yet, let me assure you that God loves you, and has made you exactly the way He wants you to be. You are beautiful in His eyes!

Although it's hard, you are actually blessed to not have guys pursuing you while you are young. The years before you get married are precious, not to be spent chasing after guys and wondering who "likes" you, or trying to attract boyfriends. 1 Corinthians 7:34 says: "An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs: her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world - how she can please her husband." Marriage is a wonderful thing, created and blessed by God. However, in these years before marriage God wants us to be devoted to Him in everything, and to strive to do what He wants us to do, while we're free from the responsibilities that come from being a wife.

I know that out of your deep desire to get attention, you must have started writing these letters! However, I highly urge you to stop doing this! God will bring about His perfect husband for you in His perfect time. In the meantime, "Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD." (Psalm 27:14)

"But why?" you may wonder. "Why can't I have fun being with different young men before I'm tied down to one person? Why can't I date around and test the waters?" God has called us to a high standard of purity. Matthew 5:8 says, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."

"But these feelings are natural!" you may protest. Yes, they are natural, but we must turn them over to God and ask Him to help us remain pure. Song of Songs tells us to "not awaken or arouse love until it so desires" in Song of Songs 2:7, 3:5, and 8:4 - that's three different times! Likewise, 2 Timothy 2:22 says, "Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart."

Think about how your future husband would feel if you gave pieces of your heart away to many different young men. You'd only be left with shattered pieces to present him. Wouldn't you rather have a whole heart to give to him, and "bring him good, not harm, all the days of your life" as it says in Proverbs 31:11?

It's not easy. The life of a young lady devoted to Christ is not easy. We can't do it on our own. As it says in 2 Corinthians 3:5 - "Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God." He will help you! "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express." (Romans 8:26)

Use these days of your youth wisely. "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity." (1 Timothy 4:12) Fall deeper in love with Christ and grow in a fuller relationship with Him. Love and build up your father, and so receive from him the man's love you so desperately need. Serve your family and so find much fulfillment. Learn how to be a wife and mother, so preparing for the future.

Wait on God. He will be faithful and He will bring you a wonderful husband if it is His plan, in His perfect time. Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."

God is good! Your wait will all be worth it in the end!

Anna Lofgren
"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful." (Hebrews 11:23)

I would recommend that all maidens read Before You Meet Prince Charming. It is such a wonderful book, calling us to radiant purity.

Monday, October 23, 2006

My Upcoming Projects

Okay, before y'all faint because I've posted three times in a row, I figured I needed to post something while Anna's been so busy. So I found something to write about. :)

I've had some fabric to make a jumper with for the longest time, but I'm finally being able to get to making it. Hopefully, I can make a dress like Anna's working on (I have the pattern), but that will have to wait awhile. I might be making a different kind of dress for Mother and Esther too, but I don't know yet.

Also, I'm going to crochet edging on a flannel baby blanket for my sister-in-law, Amanda. I made one for my other sister-in-law already for her daughter. It was interesting at first, a bit tedious in the middle, but it was quite nice once it was finished.

The blanket made for Riley.

Yay, It's Here!!!

Finally, my new flute is here! I've waited four weeks, and since my other flute just got a leak, I'm glad it came when it did. I didn't want to touch it at first, it was so pretty, but I had to eventually. I'm still getting used to some new things about it, but it's solid silver, so I get a much better tone than I did on my other one. My younger brother, Andrew, has been interested in the flute as a possible instrument, and I might be helping to teach him, but I've tried and it's not easy. I guess it just depends on how serious he is about learning it.

The new flute.

Book Study

This Wednesday evening, we are having a girls book study here at our
house. Mrs. Lofgren, Anna and Jubilee will be here, also Mrs. Boone and her daughter, Maureen from choir, and Mrs. Olm and her daughters, Rebekah, Hannah and Suzannah. We're studying Before You Meet Prince Charming by Sarah Mally, and it's really a wonderful book.
We have some cleaning to do (our house is rarely in the state of absolutely clean), and I have to straighten my room (which I'm constantly being told to clean because I don't do it often enough). Now you know my secret. Though I love to organize things, I don't know why it's so hard to keep my room clean. Or actually our room I should say. My sister and I share a room, but she cleans her part more often than I do. ::hangs her head in shame:: Anyway, how I did go from a book study to cleaning? I'm just rambling really. Well, I'm working on my installment of Women of the Bible, so that will probably be my next post.

Until then,
Miriam Rebekah

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Gone Sewing!

Gone Sewing! Check back later...

That's right, you most likely won't hear much (if any) from me this next week or two. Yesterday we learned that Frontier Day is actually going to be held, in a little more than a week. This gave me the perfect excuse to sew another dress! We went to Hancock's, and found a beautiful Butterick pattern on sale for $1. I also also offered to make mom and Jubilee a dress, and we found fabrics at various stores. Now, I just need to sew them up. So, don't expect to hear much from me in the coming days, as every spare moment will be spent at the sewing machine. Can you tell I'm excited? =)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Hagar - Finding the God Who Sees

All my life I had been a slave. I was brought into Abram's household, where my duty was to serve his wife as her maidservant. I tried to do my duty well, and lived for quite some time as happily as could be expected, since I was in bondage.

Then, the trouble began. Sarai gave me to her husband to have me build a family for her. I simply obeyed orders. And... I got pregnant. I guess I shouldn't have been so proud, but I began to despise my mistress, for I had been able to give my master a child, while she couldn't.

She began to abuse me for my haughtiness, and finally I couldn't stand it any longer. I ran away. Then, there, by a spring, I found the One Who Sees Me...

Hagar was a simple Egyptian slave, most likely acquired from Pharoah, when he treated Abram well for Sarai's sake. (Genesis 12:16) She was the maidservant of Sarai, and most likely served her mistress well.

However, when Sarai still didn't get pregnant despite God's promise, Sarai decided to build a family through Hagar. After giving her to Abram, Hagar did indeed become pregnant. Finding out that she was pregnant, Hagar didn't respond well; she became proud, and began to despise her mistress (Genesis 16:4) Sarai likewise didn't respond well; she began to abuse her maidservant.

Hagar fled from the abuse, and went into the desert. While she was sitting by a spring in the desert, an angel of the LORD appeared to her and said, "Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?" (Genesis 16:8a) When Hagar told Him that she was running away from her mistress, the angel told her: "Go back to your mistress and submit to her." adding, "I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count." (Genesis 16:9-10)
"The angel of the LORD also said to her: 'You are now with child and you will have a son. You shall name him Ishmael (which means God hears) for the LORD has heard of your misery. He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone's hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.' " (Genesis 16:11-12)

Even though Hagar was nothing more than a simple maidservant, God still cared for her. It doesn't matter how small or how great one is; God loves and has compassion on everyone. Hagar realized this, and "She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: 'You are the God who sees me,' for she said, 'I have now seen the One who sees me.' " (Genesis 16:13)

Hagar then went back, and submitted herself to her authority, Sarai. Because she was obedient and submissive, Sarai no doubt stopped mistreating her. From this, we should learn that even when things seem unfair, we still need to obey God and our authorities. More than likely, if our attitude is right and we are obedient, God will work the situation out for good.

After the right time had passed, Hagar indeed bore Abram a son, whom he named Ishmael. Abraham cared for his son, and when God was talking about the blessing in store for Isaac, "Abraham said to God, 'If only Ishmael might live under Your blessing!" (Genesis 17:18) God did indeed promise to bless Ishmael although he was not the promised son. He said in Genesis 17:20 - "And as for Ishmael I have heard you; I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation."

Years passed, and at last the promised son Isaac was born to Abraham. A great feast was held to celebrate Isaac's weaning. Ishmael may have been a bit resentful to be displaced as the only child. Genesis 21:9-10 says "But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking, and she said to Abraham, 'Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that slave woman's son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.' "

Sarah was jealous, and didn't like Ishmael or Hagar anymore. She had her own baby now, and she didn't want Ishmael around as a threat, especially when he was mocking her baby.

Abraham was concerned about his son, and didn't know what to do. "But God said to him, 'Do not be so distressed about the boy and your maidservant. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, for it is through Isaac that your offspring with be reckoned. I will make the son of the maidservant into a nation also, because he is your offspring.' " (Genesis 21:12-13) So Abraham gave them water and food the next morning, and sent Hagar and Ishmael away. They went and wandered in the desert of Beersheba.

The water eventually ran out and Hagar felt sure that her son would die. The situation seemed hopeless. I mean, where does one find water in the desert? Hagar put Ishmael under a bush, and went a little ways away. Her mother heart broke, and she began to sob. God didn't forget about Hagar or Ishmael, or the promises He'd made to them. He heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, saying, "What is the matter Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation." (Genesis 21:17-18) God opened her eyes and she found a well of water! She went and gave her thirsty boy a drink, reviving him.

God still didn't forget Hagar and her son. Genesis 21:20 tells us that God was with the boy as he grew up. He lived in the desert, and became an archer. The last we hear of him, Hagar gets him a wife in Egypt.

Isn't God amazing? So many situations seemed hopeless, yet God was faithful. He provided ways that we'd never have dreamed of, and worked his purposes out. He is indeed the One Who Sees, and will help us in our distress. Never fear or be discouraged; God is good! In story after story, we see that God does indeed fulfill His promises; He only asks that we trust and believe.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Fall Camp-out 2006

This year's fall camp-out was a lot of fun! It was wonderful to spend almost 3 days relaxing, talking, and playing with family and friends.

On Saturday morning, most of us went on a hike down to The Point, the place the Tallapoosa River and the Coosa River join to make the Alabama River. It was a beautiful walk, although the trails were at times confusing!

The Point was a beautiful place, perfect for pictures

Miriam with a beautiful crown of flowers

We played quite a few games of volleyball, as is the tradition. Playing volleyball, ultimate frisbee, freeze tag, hide-and-seek, and capture the stick has left me feeling quite sore, however!

I of course took every opportunity to do one of my favorite things: hold babies or little children! My lap was rarely empty, and my arms grew sore from holding so many little ones, but I thoroughly enjoyed it! Here I am holding Jonathan Pace, only 2 months old and already going camping. He was so sweet, cuddly and contended, and the 6th child in the Pace family!

It was such a delight to spend a whole weekend with my dear friend Miriam!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A Night With Music

Yes, I'm posting again. Anna apologizes for not posting often enough, and here I take an age to post. Last night, my family excluding a brother and Daddy, went to the Davis Theatre to listen to the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra. It was quite wonderful! It featured a solo cellist, and solo violinist. They played a lively piece, and then the cello piece that was rather depressing (Mother's and my opinion anyway!), and the last piece was a violin Concerto that was my favorite. Anna's family was there, except for Anna on account of her not feeling well, and some other friends were there. It's always nice to be with people that love music as much as I do.
Four members of my family are part of the Montgomery Youth Orchestra, myself included, and we are enjoying the music that we have this year. Hopefully I'll be able to post pictures of our concert in December. We forgot the camera for the whole of last year's events, so we are hoping to remember this time.

Until next time,
Miriam Rebekah

The picture is not our orchestra, but it had a harp just like ours, so I thought that was pretty neat.

Being busy

I'm sorry, you all, for the lack of posts here. I really meant to post more last week, but I contracted a sore throat on Wednesday, which grew to a bad cold, so I've been pretty miserable these past few days. Thankfully, I'm starting to be almost fully recovered.

Sadly, don't expect much, if any, activity here this next week. It's time again for our semi-annual family camp-out, which we'll be going on Friday through Sunday. Before then, I've got a lot of packing and shopping to do! I haven't even started, because of that sickness...

So, check back on Monday, and we'll probably post pictures!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Sarah - From Barrenness to Laughter

Abraham's been talking to those strangers for quite some time. I wonder what they're discussing. Hmm... The foods prepared, and the strangers are eating, so it wouldn't hurt if I just rested here inside the tent for a while. Yes, it is quite close to them, but it wouldn't hurt for me to just hear a little of what they're saying.

What? They say that I'll have a son? After I am worn out and my master is old, will I now have this pleasure? Those strangers must be crazy! Don't they know that I am already into my nineties? No! Impossible! Why, the whole idea's one big joke...

Sarai was the wife of Abram, who was called by God to leave his country and follow Him to a land of Abram's own. Sarai was barren; she had no children. (Genesis 11:30)

I wonder how Sarai felt, to leave her homeland, relatives, and comfortable surroundings, to follow a God that she may not have even heard of before! However, like a good wife, she went with her husband.

Abram and Sarai were far from perfect, like us all. In fact, early on we see their fear and mistrust of God. When going to Egypt, Abram instructs his wife to lie, and say that she was his sister, in order that he wouldn't be killed because of jealousy. We're not told of Sarai's reaction, but she obviously obeyed her husband. As a result she was taken to live in Pharoah's harem. God protected her, however, and Pharoah eventually realized his mistake and gave her back to her husband, sending them on their way.

Some time later, God appeared to Abram, telling him that he would have a son. In fact, God promised Abram offspring as numerous as the stars! And Abram believed, and it was credited to him as righteousness.

Sarai, as we see did not believe that she would have any children. She was probably afraid to hope, since her hopes had most likely been dashed many times. She said to Abram, "The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her." (Genesis 16:2) Abram listened to his wife, perhaps because he, too, had given up hope; or, perhaps because he just wanted his wife to stop bugging him! In any case, Sarai's maidservant became pregnant.

Although all of this was Sarai's idea, she became jealous of her maidservant Hagar, who had begun to despise Sarai. Sarai, in turn blamed Abram for what had happened (Genesis 16:5), and Abram gave up his authority, allowing Sarai to do what she wanted with her servant. Eventually, Hagar bore Abram Ishmael, but he was not the promised son.

Even though Abram and Sarai didn't trust God to work everything out, and instead took matters into their own hands, God didn't give up on them. God again appeared to Abram and again promised him a son. This time, He even specified that Sarah would be the mother, and that they were to name their son Isaac.

God also changed their names; Abram was now to be called Abraham, and Sarai was to be named Sarah. About Sarah, God said, "I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her."

Abraham wasn't too sure this time, that what God said would come to pass. He fell facedown, and laughed! (Genesis 17:17) It is understandable, for who would believe that a 90 year old woman who had been barren all her life would finally have a son? But, "nothing is impossible with God." (Luke 1:37) God even went so far as to specify that Sarah would bear Issac that same time next year.

Soon afterwards, God again appeared to Abraham, along with presumably 2 angels, in the form of 3 strangers. Abraham, ever hospitable, hurriedly asked them to stay for a meal, instructing his wife to prepare the food. While the strangers ate, Abraham stood with them. After asking where Sarah was, and hearing that she was close by, inside the tent, the LORD said, "I will surely return to you this time next year, and Sarah will have a son."

Sarah heard this, and laughing to herself, didn't believe it. Who would, if they were as old as she? Still she should have believed. God knew that she doubted, and asked why she had laughed. Sarah however, was afraid and lied, saying that she hadn't laughed. God knew better, though.

Abraham and Sarah moved again; not learning from their first deceitfulness, they again tried to protect themselves by saying that Sarah was Abraham's sister. God again protected Sarah, despite their disobedience in lying. He kept Abimelech (the king who had taken Sarah into his harem) from touching her. God also told Abimelech to give Sarah back to Abraham. Abimelech did this, and also gave them many good things. He, however, seemed all too happy for them to leave.

Abimelech also asked for Abraham's reasoning behind doing this, to which Abraham replied, "I said to myself, 'There is surely no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.' Besides, she really is my sister, the daughter of my father though not of my mother; and she became my wife. And when God had me wander from my father's household, I said to her, 'This is how you can show Your love to me; Everywhere we go, say of me, "He is my brother". ' " So, Sarah was obeying her husband, even though what he told her to do wasn't right.
"God was gracious to Sarah, as He had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what He had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age at the very time God had promised." (Genesis 21:1-2) Sarah became a mother, and God really did make the barren woman become a happy mother. (Psalm 113:9)

Can't you just imagine that day of Isaac's birth? Sarah - who for years had probably hoped upon hope for a child, until all the hope had gone - had a baby! All those things that Sarah had missed and wished for... The soft skin of a baby, the gurgling laugh, the very first smile, and eventually the words "mama"... Finally came true. She must have rejoiced! Indeed, Genesis 21:6-7 says "Sarah said, 'God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.' And she added, 'Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.' " She truly realized that God is the one who gives children, even when it seems impossible.

Sarah lived to raise her son, though I'm sure it wasn't easy. God granted her life to the age of 127; then she died and was buried.

There is much to learn from Sarah. We need to learn not to doubt God, but to trust what He says, even when it may sound ridiculous. Even though it's so very hard, we need to also learn to believe and not give up, even when God's promises take a while to be fulfilled. There were years between God's first promise of a son, and the joyful birth of Isaac. Abraham and Sarah gave up hope, but let us strive to keep trusting Him!

In 1 Peter we read about another way we can learn from Sarah. 1 Peter 3:3-6 says, "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and find clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this is how the holy women of the past used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear."

Girls, purpose to be daughters of Sarah. Purpose to "do what is right and not give way to fear." Purpose to have a beautiful inner self, and to be submissive, to God and to your authorities. Make yourself beautiful with a gentle and quiet spirit, following in the footsteps of the women of old.

Learn from Sarah, and trust God, for He will bring everything He has promised to pass, in His perfect time. Just believe!

Read all about Sarah in Genesis 11:27-23:20

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Dinner's In the Freezer!

Yesterday, Miriam Lofgren and I, with Jubilee and Rachael Morton as our helpers, embarked on a mission to fill our freezers with homemade meals. Mom and Dad were at a conference over the weekend, so it was a good time to make a mess - I mean cook - when we had the house to ourselves.

Two years ago, I took over most of the cooking for our household. I was ready to have more homemade meals, and decided to learn how to cook well in the meantime. Two years later, I've learned quite a bit, and experimented a lot - to the suffering of my family sometimes! =) I really enjoy cooking however, and am thankful that my parents allow me this responsibility.

This year, I've gotten a lot busier, and it's harder to find time to cook. My sister Miriam was also missing homemade meals, as she didn't have time to cook most days after work. So, copying a thing Miriam did when she was 16 or 17, we decided to once again do Dinner's In the Freezer!

We started around 8:45 a.m. Our goal? To make 9 different types of meals, in bulk. By 3 p.m., we had finished all of the cooking, and headed off to see Facing the Giants.

(Side note: If you get a chance to see the movie, I highly recommend it! It's so refreshing to see a movie that has nothing bad in it, and is so glorifying to God.)

We arrived back home around 7 p.m., ate supper, and cleaned up the kitchen. Everything was done at 9 p.m. sharp. It was a tiring day, but I'm really glad we made all we did. Now I have 23+ meals in the freezer, an assortment of chili, taco meat, curry meat, meatloaf, chicken pot pie, tuna under biscuits, tuna noodle casserole, and enchilada casserole, ready to be thawed and eaten. It's all in a day's work!

Jubilee and Rachael - our spify-diffy choppers. They worked hard and chopped up a lot of meat and vegetables!

Sometimes muscle was required

Miriam portions out meals of tuna noodle casserole

Biscuit making was enjoyed by all

It wasn't all pleasant. I especially did not enjoy the mixing of raw meat for meat loaf...

... or the peeling and chopping of the onions!

Well, a lot of cooking does make a big mess!

But, we left the kitchen sparkling. We should go into business together. We can cook people a month's worth of meals, and clean their house all in a day or two!