Thursday, May 29, 2008

Wisdom from "An Old-Fashioned Girl"

An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott is one of my all-time favorite books. I've read it numerous times, and each time been encouraged and touched by its sweet story. Though the era is very different from ours, the truths and lessons Polly learns are still very applicable to us today.

Polly was visiting her friend Fanny in the city, and soon got a little discontented with the plain and old-fashioned clothes she had to wear. Fanny had such beautiful, grown-up looking gowns, and next to her, Polly's looked so childish. Being a wise daughter, she wrote her mom for some advice. The reply she gave should be a challenge to us today.

"I don't want my Polly to be loved for her clothes, but for herself... The least of us can have some influence in this big world, and perhaps my little girl can do some good by showing others that a contented heart and a happy face are better ornaments than any Paris can give her."

Polly, being a wise daughter, took the advice to heart, and it made a lovely difference.

"The thought that, insignificant as she was, she yet might do some good made her very careful of her acts and words, and so anxious to keep heart contented and face happy that she forgot her clothes and made others do the same. She did not know it, but in that good old fashion of simplicity made the plain gowns pretty, and the grace of unconsciousness beautified their little wearer with the charm that makes girlhood sweetest to those who truly love and reverence it.

In the end, true modesty isn't in wearing old-fashioned clothes, but in having a sweet spirit and a modest heart. Though it's not wrong to dress in the fashions of today (while working hard towards modesty) all of us would do well to remember that often, simple is best. As Polly learned, having a contented heart and happy face, along with the grace of unconsciousness, makes one's inner beauty shine through.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

New Attitude 2008 Recap

How do you describe 4 days of amazing teaching, discussion, and worship? This account won't cover everything, but I'll try to relate our experiences and the highlights of the messages. (See New Attitude's Website for in-depth notes and mp3 downloads) This was a conference well worth attending!

We arrived in Louisville, Kentucky at around 2 p.m. on Saturday. Checking in at the hotel, we saw many other groups of young adults, who, we guessed, were also "New Attituders". Anticipation was in the air! Pretty soon, John (Miriam's fiance) showed up, and after settling into our rooms, we went out for a late lunch and groceries for the days ahead. By keeping a cooler full of ice in our room, we were able to keep cereal and milk and sandwich fixings for the breakfasts and suppers ahead. It gave us time to relax in the comfortable rooms, and definitely saved money by only eating out once a day!

After walking along the river, eating supper by it, and feeding two friendly ducks, we headed for the conference center, following the streams of people walking towards it.

The worship was amazing! To join your voice with 3500 others singing praises to God is a wondrous experience! The worship leaders displayed such passion and awe of God as they led; it wasn't a performance for them - they truly worshiped as they sang and played onstage. The core band was great, and the additions of a large string section or big choir at different times made things even more beautiful and special. You truly had to be there to really understand the passion of it all. How do you use words to describe the sound of the men singing "It is well" with the harmonious female voices echoing? The exuberant clapping, raising hands, even jumping, all displayed the joy of being able to praise God together. The words of the songs themselves were so deep and glorifying to God. Some were hymns, some new songs written by members of Sovereign Grace; far from the more "fluffy" songs prevalent these days, these songs had words focused on God, His grace and His glory. I really enjoyed the worship each morning in community groups and before and after each general session.

The speakers and teaching were very encouraging, insightful, and challenging. The focus of the entire conference was the Bible, helping us renew a passion and delight in God's Word. The depth and quality of so much packed into 8 sessions made absorbing all of it hard at times, but it was all so good! I took notes during them all, helping me pay attention and learn, and resulting in many pen marks on my hands! =)

Here's a few thoughts on each of the talks. (The links go to the in-depth notes my brother took on his laptop.)

- Josh Harris opened things up on Saturday evening, presenting a talk on the theme verse, Jeremiah 15:16, which says
"Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your Words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart."
With intensity and his characteristic humor, he told the stories of 3 Biblical men, King Josiah, King Jehoiakim, and Jeremiah, and how they responded to God's Word; by ripping (his robe in sorrow), burning (the Scriptures in anger), or eating (God's Words in delight). Something that really stood out to me was how King Josiah and all Judah reacted when God's Word was found in the temple ruins. After being without the Scripture for years, when it was found, they repented passionately, and allowed God's Word to reshape and reform them. We can get so used to having God's Word in every room of our house. Would we treasure and obey it more if we were without it for so long? Let's instead strive to passionately follow it as we have the blessing of it all around.

- Mark Dever spoke on the "Authority of Scripture" on Sunday morning. He talked about ways skeptics can know that the Bible is true, giving his on experience as an agnostic saved after reading the Bible to try to disprove it. He gave many verses to show that the Bible is to be our authority. One quote I especially liked was one he made us repeat: "Just because I don't know everything doesn't mean I don't know anything." People would try to disprove the Bible because we can't explain every little thing, yet we must remember that "all human knowledge is in knowing things absolutely, yet only partially."

- For the Sunday afternoon session, Albert Mohler held a "Bible Q & A", taking questions live from the audience. It was very interesting to hear this very learned man help those from the audience answer hard questions about the Bible.

- For the session on Sunday night, C.J. Mahaney talked about "God's Word and our Feelings". He really examined Psalm 42, a great passage that shows the Psalmist, though despairing, speaking to his soul and telling it to hope in the Lord. C.J. Mahaney told us something you don't really think about: that the voice that you most listen to is yourself. He challenged us to think about how faith-driven and Christ-centered the conversation we have with ourselves really is. Speaking truth to yourself is a skill requiring hard work and perseverance, yet it is essential for a hopeful soul. One encouraging thing he brought out is that God desires that we remind Him of His promises, and that we ask Him to "Do as You promised".

- On Monday morning, Eric Simmons presented a message called "What's the Point?" He spoke on 2 Timothy 3:14-17 and how reading the Scripture should be a delight instead of a duty. He gave 3 reasons to continue studying the Bible, even in the midst of loosing vision for it, as we all do at some point. He reminded us that we read about what we love, and that we need to love God's Word and find life in it and through it, "be equipped for every good work".

- John Piper shared about "William Tyndale" on Monday afternoon. The life and legacy of Tyndale is amazing. Because of him, we have the Bible in English. Because he was willing to give everything, including his life, for the translation of the Bible into the common language, so many have the encouragement and guidance of God's Word. We should never take it for granted.

- On Monday evening, John Piper shared once again, this time on "Fighting for Faith with God's Word". He gave us clarifications of what the fight for faith should be, and ways of doing it. He gave helping Scriptures to memorize and utilize for fighting everything from anxiety to bitterness. He challenged us to major in the Bible our entire life, and to develop a time, place, and plan to study God's Word every day.

To end the conference, C.J. Mahaney passionately shared on Tuesday morning about "Knowing God as Father". Using Galatians 4:1-7, he preached on the Doctrine of Adoption, something that is not emphasized enough in today's world. He shared about the preparation, basis, and experience of adoption, and how we can be assured of God's love for us. He emphasized that we should not only know God as Judge, but also as Father, and that God's purpose did not conclude with Redemption, but culminated with Adoption. God's love is truly amazing!

In addition to the great general sessions, we were each a part of a smaller community group, divided into even smaller family groups. We met the first evening ad at the very beginning of each of the following days for about 1 and 1/2 hours. It was encouraging to discuss the talks and pray with a smaller group, connecting with people you'd never known before. The leader of the community group led us in worship and explained Biblical meditation; the family group leader led us in discussions and was very honest and encouraging. The time they gave us to apply what we learned helped things sink in deeper.

There's not room to tell of everything that happened, and all that we learned. I really enjoyed spending time with Elijah, Miriam, and John, getting to know my siblings and soon-to-be-brother better. We had fun talking and discussing things, walking, and sitting together. We took pictures, walked in a park and fed ducks, or just relaxed in the hotel between sessions.

We were on the 24th floor of the hotel, and because of the slowness of the elevators, got quite acquainted with the long flights of stairs! Because it was Memorial Day weekend, there was a quite loud Beatles Festival lasting until past Midnight every day. However, as the sessions also lasted pretty late, we were often going to be around 12 a.m. anyways!

Another fun thing was seeing my counselor from the Ballet Magnficiat Summer Intensive 2006 at NA, along with a few of the other dancers. It was encouraging to see Betsy and catch up with her. It certainly is a small world - you never know who you may see just around the corner!

All-in-all, it was a great experience! I greatly enjoyed my first New Attitude and hope to attend again, if God wills. If you ever get the opportunity, I would encourage you to go. It has its light-hearted moments, but the entire focus is not on having fun, but on glorifying God. Praise God for all those who spend so much time making it available for so many!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

At Peace With Jesus

I've told close friends, but I've been too busy to actually let my blog readers know.
My grandfather, who had been sick for quite a while, passed away early last Thursday morning. To be honest, I never knew him in a close, personal way, though it was better when he came to live with us. He was ready to go and the Lord had prepared us for him to leave. Papa is definitely in a place that we can only try to imagine (and I do try!).
The funeral was this morning and it was good to see the family that lives a few hours away that we rarely see. I was honored to be able to play the piano for Papa's funeral.
My mother and I had planned on singing a song for his funeral, but we didn't have what we needed, so I'll leave the words at the end of this post.

I found out something about a dear friend today and I was crying when I heard. I had somewhere to go, so I had to hold my tears in, though I wanted to weep hard. I can't tell anything right now, I just want to ask for prayer for my friend and for my family in our loss.

Come To Jesus
By Chris Rice

Weak and wounded sinner
Lost and left to die
O, raise your head, for love is passing by.
Come to Jesus
Come to Jesus
Come to Jesus and live!

Now your burden's lifted
And carried far away
And precious blood has washed away the stain, so
Sing to Jesus
Sing to Jesus
Sing to Jesus and live!

And like a newborn baby
Don't be afraid to crawl
And remember when you walk, sometimes we
Fall on Jesus
Fall on Jesus
Fall on Jesus and live!

Sometimes the way is lonely
And steep and filled with pain
So if your sky is dark and pours the rain, then
Cry to Jesus
Cry to Jesus
Cry to Jesus and live!

O, and when the love spills over
And music fills the night
And when you can't contain your joy inside, then
Dance for Jesus
Dance for Jesus
Dance for Jesus and live!

And with your final heartbeat
Kiss the world goodbye
Then go in peace and laugh on Glory's side, and
Fly to Jesus
Fly to Jesus
Fly to Jesus and live!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Off to New Attitude

My sister Miriam, brother Elijah, and I will be heading off tonight to go the New Attitude conference. We'll stop by my sister Maria's house to spend the night, then drive the rest of the way to Louisville, Kentucky for the conference that lasts Saturday through Tuesday. So, don't expect to hear from me during those days!

I'm looking forward to the conference, as well as this nice break in routine. This is the first year I've been able to go (since I'm now finally old enough, having graduated high school!) though Elijah went last year and Miriam's been many different years.

If any of you are going to be there perhaps we can meet up! To the rest of you, I hope you have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

Miriam Rebekah, the blog's all yours for a few days... =)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Kitten Cuteness

Our kittens have been growing up so cute! It's fun to have them right outside. Whenever you go out there, they usually come bounding out to meet you, trying to be the first to be held, and rubbing around your ankles. It's fun to watch them play, as the little balls of fur bounce all over the place! =) Still pictures just aren't quite as cute, but I thought I'd share them to give you a smile for to brighten your day.

This little one was originally named "Wool", but Jubilee enjoys changing names to correspond to look and character. At first he was "Woody" but now he's "U.D." standing for "Ugly Duckling". He's very uniquely colored and very sweet!

Originally named "Satin", Jubilee has changed his name to "Buzz". The camera just can't capture how cute he is in real life!

Here is my sweet "Cotton" - I don't like changing their names, and this name turned out to accurately describe this kitten! She's the fluffiest one, looking kind of like a cotton ball! =)

Here's cute "Calico", called "Cali" for short. Kitten's eyes are so pretty!

I thought I'd share these adorable pictures with you in hopes they'd brighten your day. The kittens are getting old enough to live on their own, so we'll need to find homes for them soon. Sorry, we can't mail them! ;-)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Just a Kiss?

The movie Prince Caspian opened in theaters last Friday, and our family enjoyed going to see it that afternoon. Having seen some previews and read the movie companion book, I knew that the details would be different then those in the book, but it was still disappointing to see just how much things were changed in some places! However, the music was beautiful and the effects superb, making it exciting to watch.

One thing that I particularly didn't like, was the small romance between Caspian and Susan. It was entirely made up, with no allusion to anything of the kind in the book! Thankfully, there wasn't too much during the action of the movie, though they had some glances and somewhat flirtatious behavior. The ending was a different story! The Pevensie children learn that they must leave once more, and difficult good-byes are made. Susan and Caspian know they won't see each other again, and though somewhat sad, they accept it, Susan giving a witty remark about how it wouldn't have worked anyway as she turned to go. It's the mature thing to do - just accept it and leave. But wait - love can't be repressed! The music builds as Susan flies back and kisses and hugs Caspian tenderly. There. Now she can go. And Susan leaves, knowing she'll never see him again.

Isn't there something wrong with this picture? True love is not about being caught up in the moment; it's about commitment, and oftentimes restraint. I know, the scene was another "Hollywood addition", but it really detracted from the overall story. The character Susan lived in the 1940s, yet the film makes her look and act like a teen from the present. She's supposed to be "Susan the Gentle," not a passionate warrior-princess! It's saddening, because many young girls who secretly wish to be like Queen Lucy or Queen Susan are left with the idea that, if you love someone, it's okay to give in to the romance of the moment.

Another thing that disturbs me, whenever there's kissing between unmarried actors and actresses in movies, is the fact that the people portraying the characters are not married and have no commitment to each other. They are simply playing out the part written for them in a script. We may see it on screen for only two seconds, but, as any actor knows, there's always practice involved for each part, and one rarely gets anything right on the first time. No telling how many re-takes are involved.

"But what's the big deal?" one may object, "It's just a kiss! At least it didn't go beyond that!" It's true that almost every movie has kissing in it, and most don't stop there. Our culture has become so desensitized that now it is increasingly hard to find decent movies. At least in the older movies, the couple turned away or the camera zoomed out. Now, film-makers give us a close-up shot.

I'm tired of it. Why don't we want to protect the purity of actors and actresses, especially teens like Anna Popplewell? People say that it's just a "stage kiss" with no emotional strings attached, but with each one, I'm sure they remember. It's giving a little, sacred part of yourself away, something that is meant for your spouse.

You can tell a story without showing the intimate details of love. It has been done, with good directors upholding Christian values in their films, ones that leave the viewer not with images of passionate romance, but with a feeling of cleanliness and having enjoyed a good, sweet story.

To me, a kiss is not "just" a symbol of love. It is a symbol of commitment. That is why, with God's help, I'm going to wait to give such a gift of true love and trust until after I hear the words, "I now pronounce you man and wife."

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Lisa Beth and the Roses

This weekend my sister Maria came down to celebrate her birthday by attending a women's conference with my sister Miriam. Her two oldest children stayed with her husband Ron, but we got the fun of caring for Lisa Beth during the day! Is it even possible to resist taking pictures of such a sweet little girl? At 18 months, she's a sweetie. This Aunt had a lot of fun spending time and taking care of her little niece today!

Look - a whole bed of pink and red roses! Let's go investigate.

Aren't they pretty? Aunt Anna's tells me that I look like a rose in my pink dress.
Let's get a closer look....

Flowers are so beautiful!

Well, I can't stay here all day! There's things to do and places to go!

Swinging is so much fun, to be flying through the air!

Oh look - it's a watering can. Hmm... I wonder if the roses need to be watered.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Clip From Our Mother's Day Concert

This is one of the pieces we played in our spring concert this year. This is a really pretty piece and I hope everyone enjoys it.

The Girl With The Flaxen Hair

Miriam Rebekah

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Parental Rights Amendment

Although the main audience for Maidens of Worth is other young ladies, Miriam and I are thrilled that parents also read our blog. Because of the essential nature of this amendment, I thought I'd bring it to your attention.

The Parental Rights Amendment is headed by Michael Farris, founder of the Homeschool Legal Defense Association. For many years, he has done legal work on many cases involving parental rights. Because of the way the country and laws are going, he feels that we crucially need a Parental Rights Amendment to protect the vital role of parents. At Alabama's CHEF convention, our family heard him give a talk entitled "Parental Rights: It's now or never" about the things going on in today's world and the need to pass a constitutional amendment. has great information about the threat and the ways to get involved.

Some of the stories about what has already happened in our country are pretty scary. Here are two that Mike Farris shared in his talk, quoted from the Attack on Parental Rights page:

In the early 1980s, a landmark parental rights case reached the Washington State Supreme Court. The case involved 13-year-old Sheila Marie Sumey, whose parents were alarmed when they found evidence of their daughter's participation in illegal drug activity and escalating sexual involvement. Their response was to act immediately to cut off the negative influences in their daughter's life by grounding her.

But when Sheila went to her school counselors complaining about her parent's actions, she was advised that she could be liberated from her parents because there was "conflict between parent and child." Listening to the advice she had received, Sheila notified Child Protective Services (CPS) about her situation. She was subsequently removed from her home and placed in foster care.

Her parents, desperate to get their daughter back, challenged the actions of the social workers in court. They lost. Even though the judge found that Sheila's parents had enforced reasonable rules in a proper manner, the state law nevertheless gave CPS the authority to split apart the Sumey family and take Sheila away.
A thirteen-year-old boy in Washington State was removed from his parents after he complained to school counselors that his parents took him to church too often. His school counselors had encouraged him to call Child Protective Services with his complaint, which led to his subsequent removal and placement in foster care. It was only after the parents agreed to a judge's requirement of less-frequent church attendance that they were able to recover their son.
What was the amount of time at church that the boy complained about? Going on Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday evening. The judge then ordered the parents to only bring him once-a-week. Yes, this happened in America!

Please check out the website, sign the petition, and consider how you can help.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Life is Fleeting

It's not supposed to happen to me. I mean, other people are involved in accidents, but I'm a safe driver - it's not supposed to happen. Yet, last night on the way home, I was rear-ended by someone. Praise God, it wasn't serious!

The day was like any other. Miriam and Esther Hart had spent the night at our house, and we had fun playing games, walking, talking, and taking pictures. In the afternoon, I drove us to Walmart to pick up supplies for the dance party, then on to the church building, where we had a fun time with dancers and their families, eating, talking, and watching the recital DVD on the big screen. After cleaning up, I drove with the others on to the church where the Harts were a part of a choir concert. The singing was lovely, and the fellowship fun. Mom and Dad had met us there, and they took Jubilee home with them. A little later, Elijah and I left, with, once again, me driving. After all, I liked "my" little red car (it's my parents', but they usually have me drive it when I go places). Elijah was so kind to pump the gas when we stopped, then it was once again homeward.

I've driven the same route so many times, on so many different days. To turn into the neighborhood right before our dirt road, you have to go down a fairly steep hill and turn left at the bottom of it. I turned my turn signal on in plenty of time and gradually began slowing down. Right before I turned, I noticed for a brief second that the lights of the car behind me were fast approaching. Then there are the sounds that are seared into my brain - screeching brakes bearing down on me, a loud boom as they hit, and the eerie scream that didn't seem like it could be coming from me.

This intersection is a dangerous one. A few years ago, a family friend's daughter totaled her car, hit from behind as she was slowing down to turn. About a year ago, our neighbors went into the ditch when someone, not wanting to slow down, passed in a no passing zone and slammed into them as they turned. It just never seemed like we'd be hit.

Evidently, the person behind us wasn't paying much attention, and didn't realize until it was too late that they'd have to slow down a lot. I signaled in plenty of time and began slowing down, but they must not have noticed. (After looking at the long skid marks partially over the middle line, and my thinking that I saw the car behind me fall back once I signaled, it looks like someone may have been passing the car behind us, going really fast, then trying to brake when they saw me turning. We just don't know what happened, since they never stopped.) They hit us right as I began to turn, but praise God, we safely completed the turn, and after a some shaking back and forth, went smoothly straight down the road. It was scary, and almost surreal though. The jolt and noise were so loud, and after a moment of stunned silence, I involuntarily screamed. It felt like I wasn't in control of the car, like I wasn't driving anymore, though my hands automatically kept the car turned. It seems, though that God's angels were protecting us, and keeping us on a straight path. It would have been so easy for us to have gone into the ditch on the side, or off the road and straight into the forest of trees. For a moment, I thought we would, but God kept us smoothly going straight. We did get shaken up, but nothing major. I am suffering from whiplash today, with an aching neck and shoulders, and a sore spot on my head where I was slammed into the driver side door. The seatbelt definitely helped (another reason to always wear them!) as my head went to the left, then front, and back into the headrest.

It was a hit-and-run, as the person who slammed into us rather hard never stopped to see if we were okay. They just kept going. I'm so thankful that Elijah was with me, for I was rather shaken, and didn't really know what to do after guiding the car to the side of the road and parking. He turned on the emergency flashing lights, got out, looked at the smashed end, and walked down to see if anyone had stopped to help. No one had. So, he took pictures of the car and the road sign. He looked for skid marks, but as it was 9:45 p.m. and very dark, couldn't really see. Eventually, he got back in and we drove home.

The trunk was pretty much slammed in, and it took a while for Dad and Elijah to break into it this morning. It wouldn't open, so they had to take out the back seat and go in to unjam the lock. It's still surreal to see the damage, and know that I was in an accident. I tend to blame myself... maybe I turned my signal on too soon or didn't give enough indication that I was turning... but there really was nothing I could have done differently. I turned my signal on after the last possible place to turn, giving enough indication that I planned to turn, and slowing down gradually. God is so good to have kept us on the road and that we're not hurt that bad! I'm also glad that no others were in the car. I'm sometimes a "taxi driver", driving my sister and sometimes other younger girls to lessons, and I'm glad that this didn't happen with any of them in the car.

We can learn a lot from this. It's a sobering reminder that life is fleeting, and that no one is immune to accidents. It's a wonderful testimony of God's faithfulness and protection. It's a reaffirmation that you should always wear a seatbelt - something I've always done anyway. It's also a reminder to me that I always need to carry a cell phone when I drive. Mom and Dad gave me an old one to have in case anything ever happened that I could call, but as I sometimes forget to bring it. I didn't have it last night, but thankfully we were only a few minutes from home, and the car was in driving shape.

The aches seem to be getting worse, but I know that the pain will eventually ease. Thankfully Elijah isn't hurting. We got struck mostly on the left, since we were in the process of turning left, which was the side I was on, so I got the brunt of the shaking. But, it too will pass. I can only continue to thank God that He kept us safe and alive.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

This is dedicated to all of the mothers who read our blog:

Thank you for the example you set for all of us. From mothers such as you, we are learning to grow from maidens into true women of worth.

Thank you for the insight and encouragement you give. From comments helping us see another aspect of things to encouraging words telling us to continue on, we value your input!

Thank you for being Godly mothers in an age of ungodliness. You are molding the next generation to grow in the wisdom and knowledge of Christ. You are shaping the leaders of tomorrow; through your influence, today's children can change the world.

Thank you for all of the little things you do. Even though they may seem inconsequential and never result in much praise, these things are desperately needed. They are what make a household run smoothly.

Thank you for the meals you make, houses you clean, and clothes you make and mend. Thank you for teaching these skills to your children and for training them to enjoy the homemaking arts.

Thank you for modeling modesty and living out lives of true beauty. Young women are watching you to see what's appropriate to wear and how to behave. Thank you for unashamedly leading by example that true beauty is of a gentle and quiet spirit.

Thank you for teaching us to know and cherish God's Word. With Scripture as our guide, we will not easily go astray.

Thank you for spending hour upon hour helping with academic studies. Without a mom to patiently guide a child through confusing subjects, many would give up and feel like a failure.

Thank you for teaching us to enjoy the home and delight in caring for one's family. A joyful mother makes the atmosphere of a home infinitely better!

Thank you for guiding young women through our tumultuous emotions. Without your steadying influence and helpful explanations, many would be confused and depressed.

Thank you for your prayers. A praying mother can change lives and bring peace in troubled times.

Thank you for being real and honest. Showing that you're not perfect and exhibiting humility makes your message ring truer and your example an easier one to follow.

Thank you for your patience and forgiveness. Everyone makes mistakes, and to know that a mom is there that will not judge or hold grudges lends stability and brings about quick repentance.

Finally, thank you for leading by example that motherhood is a wonderful thing. If many girls follow in your footsteps, we can truly mold and change society, one child at a time.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Homeschooling Book Fair

Yesterday was a fun day! After two years of missing the Christian Home Education Fellowship of Alabama's Convention due to being away at dance camp, I was excited to be able to attend this year's homeschool book fair and conference.

The day started early, up at 5:30 a.m. to shower, pack lunch, and eat before heading off for the drive to Birmingham. Arriving at the convention center, it was fun to see the homeschool families abounding all over the place. From large families wearing matching shirts, to the abundance of long hair and skirts, to mothers wheeling large book bags, you knew you were among homeschoolers.

This year Miriam Rebekah couldn't make it, so I was without the friend with whom to walk around and talk. But my family was there, and I enjoyed going to some of the speakers. I heard Michael Farris speak on 3 different subjects, and enjoyed it immensely each time! This founder of HSLDA and president of Patrick Henry College was inspiring, challenging, and funny in his talks. He really gave us a lot of food for thought, and after the session on Parental Rights, Elijah, Dad and I continued discussing it over lunch. All of the legal stuff happening these days is both alarming and fascinating! Praise God for people like Michael Farris that bring important things to our attention. We also enjoyed seeing scenes from the play "The Importance of Being Earnest", put on by homeschoolers in the area and done in a booth to promote their organization, and hearing the Lamb Family play beautifully on their violins.

As we were finishing lunch, some good family friends showed up, and we enjoyed spending the afternoon with them, listening to speakers and browsing through the hall of great books. We got quite a few books I can't wait to read. The only question is, which one do I read first?? =) We had some fun conversations with friends, waiting for parents, in the car, and over chips and Mexican food at Two Pesos restaurant. Before we knew it, it was 8 p.m. and we really needed to start the hour and a half drive home.

The second day of the convention is today, but because of John, Miriam's fiance's weekend visit, we're staying home. It may be a good thing too: otherwise I may have bought even more books! :-)

It only happens once a year, but each time I go, it's enjoyable and refreshing. Just seeing that many homeschoolers in one place is a lot of fun! These conventions aren't just for parents; they're a great place for teens to learn a lot, shop for quality books, and enjoy seeing friends.

Is there a conference/book fair coming to your area? I'd encourage you to go with your family! You'd probably enjoy it immensely!

Or do you already usually go to these events? What are your favorite memories from them?

Friday, May 09, 2008

After the Rain...

He is like the light of morning at sunrise on
a cloudless morning, like the brightness of
rain that brings the grass from the earth.
2 Samuel 23:4

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The King is Exalted! pictures

You all may be a bit tired of hearing about The King is Exalted!, but this should be the last post! =) It's been what I've been focused on working on for the last week, so that's the reason most posts have been about it!

I finally uploaded the slideshow and pictures. The slideshow is below. In it you'll see ballet portraits of all the students and groups, and pictures from the dress rehearsal.

You can also view still images, by going to the photo gallery on The King's Praise Ballet or going straight to the different albums to view ballet portraits, pictures from the dress rehearsal, or pictures of us dancing different places. I'll warn you - there's a lot of pictures! I mainly uploaded them all for my students and their families to view, but feel free to look through them if you enjoy ballet photos! The girls were very sweet and pretty, and fun to pose!

A lot of time has been spent on the computer, editing pictures, making DVDs, etc. I will be glad when everything is done! However, it's fun to make these memories so that we'll be able to look back on them in years to come.

DVDs for my students are beginning to stack up! As you've probably been able to tell, the theme colors for it all were those of the rainbow. May the King truly be exalted through it all!

Monday, May 05, 2008

The King is Exalted!

Everything went well on Saturday, praise God! Things went smoothly for the most part, though there were, of course, some mess-ups! The girls danced beautifully, and people seemed to really enjoy it. Thank you to all who prayed!

It's been a really tiring weekend for me, with all that had to be done and all that was swirling through my head. Each night I found it hard to settle down and fall asleep, because a million little things were running through my brain of things to do and remember. But, God was faithful to bring everything together in His time. It's always amazing how, in the end, God helped everyone pull together and remember Scriptures and moves. God is so good!

As we watched the ending slideshow, I distributed a little clump of small roses to each of my students. At the end, some girls presented me with a bouquet of my own! It's beautiful and smells wonderful! Some of my mom's friends who couldn't be there even sent an arrangement of flowers to the church for me. I feel so blessed!

At the end, a lot of people came up to congratulate me and give praise to God. There was a pretty consistent theme throughout their comments, however... "We can't believe you're leaving!" It was a beautiful recital to end with, but it was also really hard for me to know that this is pretty much the end of The King's Praise Ballet... at least for now. I will be teaching a few classes this summer, but not everyone will be taking and we won't be doing a recital. I will miss everyone so much.

Though the recital is over, the work is not finished! I'm now working on making the DVDs of the recital and CDs of pictures that my students ordered. It will be nice to watch it as well, since I was backstage between dances I was in, and haven't really seen exactly how everything finally looked! I'll also try to edit and upload a version of the slideshow and pictures soon to share online. In a week, we'll have a dance family party, to distribute the CDs and DVDs and fellowship together.

To God be the Glory! Great things He has done!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Preparations for "The King is Exalted!"

Yesterday was the dress rehearsal for The King is Exalted! - the spring recital of The King's Praise Ballet. From noon onward, we decorated, took pictures, and did a final run-through of the dances on the stage, making one long and busy day! Each time a presentation rolls around, I'm struck again by how much work goes in to putting something on! Organization for this began in January, finding material and hair things and choreographing dances. As the months rolled by, I finalized line-ups, Scriptures that corresponded to the verses, and found a church building to rent that has a nice big stage (a blessing after the small stage we'd been using!). April just got busier, with each of the 5 classes dancing at a church or park to minister. A few weeks before, I set the lights and finalized who would help with which class. Then there's the picture CD and DVD order forms, and the DVDs to make once the actual performance is done!

Once again, I'm reminded that I can't do it alone. There's been so many people to help things run smoothly. My family has been the biggest support and encouragement, filling in on the little jobs that are needed, Jubilee folding programs, Mom helping decorate, Dad taking pictures, Elijah will videotape, etc. There's moms to help take care of the dancers backstage and make sure they're lined up, there's a wonderful lady that gave of her time and resources to help make the stage look beautiful, and of course all of the parents that make sure their girls are where they need to be on time! I couldn't do any of this without the strength and grace God gives. It's only through Him that I'm even able to begin!

Currently I'm working on a slideshow that will play at the end of the recital, sorting through the 300+ pictures my dad so kindly took yesterday. I thought I'd share a few with you, as a sneak preview. =)

There were group pictures of each of the 5 classes

Sister pictures, as I have quite a few families that have 2 or more dancers enrolled!

Each one got their own special dance portrait

I pray that everything goes well tomorrow, as we present The King is Exalted at 2 p.m. on May 3rd, 2008.