Thursday, November 27, 2008

Miriam's Top 20 Thankful Things for 2008

I am thankful for...

1. The wonderful family that I have been blessed with. My parents, six siblings, 3 sisters-in-law, and my niece and nephews. A father who provides, a mother who comforts, siblings who support, and little ones to love.

2. God, His Son and the Holy Spirit, all three of Whom have major places in my life.

3. A home to live in and love.

4. Friends who support me and will never leave me in a tight spot. Especially the Sisters of the Heart who have been extremely encouraging this past year.

5. The ability and opportunities to learn new things.

6. Vehicles that are drivable and for my driver's licence.

7. Plenty of clothes to wear.

8. The memories that are always being made and saved.

9. The musical opportunities that I've been blessed with and wonderful music teachers. Playing the piano, flute and singing are the things I most enjoy doing.

10. God's holy Words that He sent to us and from which I derive daily comfort and guidance.

11. To be able to sew (Anna, thanks again for helping me get started!!!)

12. Coffee!!! =)

13. To be able to bake and work in a kitchen.

14. My commitment to remain pure until marriage and saving my first kiss.

15. My country of America. Even with all it's faults, it is still the best country to live.

16. Waking each morning to a brand new day with, as Anne of Green Gables says, "No mistakes in it...yet."

17. All the wonderful books there are to read.

18. Warmth in winter and air conditioning in summer.

19. Being able to praise the Lord with my voice.

20. Each year that God gives me to live for Him!

God bless everyone and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Miriam Rebekah

Anna's Top 20 Thankful Things for 2008

Not necessarily in any particular order...

I am thankful for:

1. God, the loving Father, wondrous Savior, and comforting Holy Spirit, Who never fails to amaze me each day.

2. My family, who if I listed individually, would take up the entire 20 things. I am so thankful for my caring parents, my supportive siblings, my wonderful siblings-in-law, and my 8 darling nieces and nephews!

3. Friends who have stayed close through the years. Especially my Sisters of the Heart who have been such an encouragement!

4. New friends whom I've gotten to know at college, and who have made the transition easier.

5. All of the things I have been able to learn at college this semester. Some things were academic, and some relational.

6. A home to go back to and to enjoy the comforts of.

7. All of the teachers at college who have genuinely cared about their students and sought to help us grow.

8. An abundance of food and the fact that I never have to go hungry. Although the cafeteria may not serve what I deem the best-tasting, I am still so spoiled to have it served to me without having to do any work to make it!

9. The grace God gives me to get through each day. His strength and mercy never fail.

10. The beautiful newness of each morning, and being able to experience everything outside while it is still early. This is one of the blessings of having to walk to eat meals or go to classes!

11. The generosity of my parents for paying for me to learn.

12. The beauty of God's creation, be it rainy, sunny, or cloudy, and whether the temperatures are hot, cold, or mild, God's handiwork shouts His praise.

13. The opportunity to write and share with others all over the world via this blog, and all of you who visit and brighten my day!

14. Family-plan cell phones so that I can talk to my family at any time free of charge. Even when my brother and I have 2-hour conversations late at night, we don't have to pay a penny, and that is a wonderful blessing!

15. Books that I can learn from and that cause me to think.

16. The enjoyment of cooking and baking when I'm home on breaks.

17. America, my homeland, and the freedom we have because of the sacrifices of so many.

18. My ancestors who have through the generations followed the Lord and taught their children to do the same.

19. Cars that I can drive from place to place and allow me easy travel back home.

20. The life and health God has given me, and the way He has safely brought me through this year.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Benefits of Stretching and Flexibility

The following is the text of the presentation I gave in Biomechanics yesterday. We were all supposed to pick a topic based on things we'd learned about doing the year, and it was fun to hear and see all of the wide variety! I also did some examples of different stretches throughout the presentation. Please note: I don't necessarily endorse the websites I've linked to and that I got information about stretching off of.

Stretching is good for everyone, not just dancers or athletes, as you shall learn as you read the following!


As we all know, there are many benefits of stretching. Though at first you may not be able to stretch very far, it’s encouraging to see how a wide range of flexibility can be gradually developed.

According to About.exercise.com in the article "Why You Need to Stretch," flexibility is important so that your joints will be able to move through a wide range of motion. This flexibility enables you to “move smoothly, avoid muscle tension, and to keep your body protected from injury.” The little time it takes to stretch and stay in shape is definitely worth preventing an injury and being in better overall health!

Stretching also brings with it a lot of benefits. In the article “Stretch Your Limits” from About.exercise.com, it says that stretching reduces soreness (for example, when you stretch after hard workouts, like before bed, it helps you not feel so bad the next morning), makes you perform better, increases the blood flow to the body, improves your coordination, keeps you active and mobile – which is especially important as you age! – and best of all, it feels good!

In addition, stretching can also help your mental health! On the website “Stretching Routines: Tips and Advice” it says that consistent stretching improves the circulatory system, which puts people in a positive and better over-all frame of mind. The increased amount of blood and oxygen in the brain caused by stretching increases our capacity to learn and think and helps us make decisions and judge things better!

Though the positions of various stretches won’t feel like the most comfortable things in the world, it’s also important that you don’t hurt yourself by overdoing it while stretching. If the stretch really hurts, get out of it. You don’t want to tear or strain something. At the same time, you need to push yourself beyond what is comfortable in order to progress in flexibility. For example, if you can't touch your toes, you should keep trying to reach further down. If you can comfortable touch your toes, aim to be able to put your hands flat on the floor and put your nose to your knee. You can always progress!

Another important thing is that you stretch warm muscles, for stretching cold muscles can cause injury. For this reason, it’s often suggested that you stretch at the end of your exercises, or at least during your routine, after you’ve done a warm-up. You’re also never supposed to bounce when you stretch, for this can cause you to pull a muscle. The proper way to stretch, according to Exercise.About.com in the article “Why You Need to Stretch,” is that you should go down until you feel a gentle pull.

So, how long do you need to stretch? A quick down and up usually won’t accomplish many lasting benefits. According to Tree of Fitness, Inc, the most effective way to increase a muscle’s flexibility is to hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds while breathing smoothly and attempting to relax. When you stretch, a muscle’s first reaction is to get tense, so stretching for a longer period of time gives it the opportunity to relax and lengthen.

There are 4 basic types of stretch techniques spelled out on ExRx.net, the “Exercise Prescription on the Net”:
Ballistic – repetitive bouncing movements, abandoned because of safety concerns
Dynamic – mimics a specific exercise, exaggerated but controlled
Static – passively stretching a muscle by holding it in the maximum it can go for an extended period of time
PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation) – with the help of a partner, altering the contraction and relaxation of both agonist and antagonist muscles

The key to becoming very flexible is being consistent and not giving up. Progress will happen a little at a time. You can’t expect to be able to do the splits or touch your toes overnight, but if you consistently stretch, you’ll find that you’ll be able to do it after a while. All-in-all, being flexible is fun! *At this point I cartwheeled into the splits. =)

My Birthday Party

For my 18th birthday, my parents allowed me to invite some of my friends over for supper and a bonfire. Since we had been clearing some of our land we had plenty of wood and I thought a bonfire would be perfect. My mom made her wonderful taco soup for supper and then we all went outside to light the fire. The temp outside was rather chilly, so we all stood around the fire and chatted. Most of the pictures we took by the fire ended up really dark and I could only fix one.

Me and my cousin


Posing with my new mug

A gorgeous clip that was given to me.

I'm sorry I don't have more pictures, but we just didn't get a chance to take more. I had a great birthday and though I don't feel much older, I do know that new challenges and experiences lay around the corner. I can't wait! =)

Monday, November 24, 2008

When Things Don't Go as Planned

After a late night staying up and talking with a friend, I was rather surprised when I awoke and felt pretty refreshed. As I groggily opened my eyes, I noticed that the room was a lot lighter than it usually was at 6 a.m., and wondered why. My eyes opened wide when I glanced at my clock. 7:48 a.m.? That can't be right! But it was true. Somehow I had forgotten to set my alarm last night - something that I do every single night. Only once before during this semester had I forgotten, and then my body had woken me up in plenty of time. I've never gotten out of the door so quickly in my entire life. I grabbed my clothes, ran to the bathroom and changed, pulled my hair up into a ponytail, slipped on my shoes, and was out of the door running before 5 minutes had passed.

I ran/power walked all the way to my 8 a.m. class, arriving only a minute or so late, and thankfully the class started late, so I had plenty of time to recover my disoriented thoughts. It was an awful day, in my mind, to wake up late and have to run to class, because it was the day for each of us to give our 5-minute presentations. However, one of the other presenters talked about "The Importance of Eating Breakfast" and had good breakfast foods to share as part of her presentation. So, I was spared the headache I knew would probably come had I had to simply skip eating that morning like I had thought I would. God is good.

Things like this are a good reminder to me of my own humanness. We all make mistakes, crazy ones at times, and sometimes there are things we just can't control. The wonderful thing about it all is that, no matter what happens, God is in control.

Waking up late and having to run to class made me thankful for the schedule that I usually follow. It even made me thankful for my 6 a.m. alarm sounding each weekday morning (much as that is often an unwelcome sound), for things just go wrong when it doesn't. I got to experience the amazing way God has designed our bodies to respond when we're rushed, and how He designed them to be able to hit the floor running if necessary. And I got to witness His amazing provision in allowing me to have food for breakfast and prevent a headache, and allow my presentation to go well, even when the morning didn't quite start out as I had planned.

But, I'm thankful that I don't have to experience that every morning! Starting the day out quietly with God and with plenty of time to get to class is much preferred. =)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Highlighting

Last night I did a dreadful deed. I highlighted and underlined in one of my books!

I've always been the kind of person who didn't want to "deface" books by highlighting in them. Yes, I did highlight in my Bible - mostly verses I had memorized or wanted to specifically remember - but it just didn't seem right to highlight in a regular book. After all, you never knew who might read it after you, and you wouldn't want to make the value go down, right?

Well, last night I was re-reading Set-Apart Femininity by Leslie Ludy (an absolutely wonderful book!) and was writing down quotes I thought worth remembering. The thing was, I had so many quotes that I wanted to remember (yes, the book is that good!), that my hand was getting really tired, and it was getting kind of annoying to keep copying things down in a notebook. So, I did it. I got a highlighter, went over the passage I wanted to remember, and even underlined some words with pen for emphasis. It was surprisingly easy! So, I went back and highlighted each of the quotes I'd already written down, putting away my extra notebook for good.

Before, I never wanted to highlight in books because I thought it would be distracting. I enjoyed the fact that when I read things again, I gleaned new things each time, and I thought that the highlighting/underlining might detract from that, and just make me notice what had previously jumped out at me. Plus, the re-sale value on books with highlighting in them really isn't that great!

However, this book is one I shall definitely keep, so I don't have to worry about reselling it. The highlighting will also make it easier for me to find things I want to remember. Instead of searching for the notebook I took notes in, I can glance through the book and easily find things I'm looking for. When I re-read, those things will stick out to me again, and they'll be good reminders. I'm sure I'll still notice new things as well.

It's funny how one changes. My mom is one who highlights, underlines, or writes in comments quite a bit, and it used to drive me crazy. I would protest that I liked to read clean pages. But, now my tastes have changed, and I see some of the value highlighting has. Maybe it's just one of those things you grow into...

What about you? Are you a die-hard do not deface books, or are you an avid highlighting fan? I'm curious to know what the majority of you ravenous readers do! =)

And, to leave you with two quotes I thought worth highlighting:
"The spectacular sparkle of set-apart femininity is found through absolute abandonment to the Author of all true beauty. It's found by exchanging a life consumed with self for a life consumed with Jesus Christ, by trading the desire to be attractive to this world for the longing to be attractive to Him alone." - page 19

"When it comes to pouring out all we possess in radical abandon to the King of all kinds, there is no such thing as being too extreme. Nothing we offer to Him out of a heart of loving devotion is ever a wasted sacrifice." - page 71

Monday, November 17, 2008

Happy 18th Birthday Miriam!


Happy 18th birthday, dear Miriam Rebekah! I hope your day is filled with blessings and delight!

We've been through so much together over the years, and I wish I were there to share this day with you. Though I am hours away right now however, know that I am there in thoughts and prayers. Can you believe we're now both 18?

We've known each other since we were 4 years old... that's 14 years of time together, my dear friend! Yet it has all gone by so quickly...

We began to really develop a close friendship when we were 11 and 12. We grew a lot - you especially! =) Now we're nearly equal in height, and we've developed a lot of the same mannerisms as well. I guess that's what happens to bosom friends and soul mates.

Somehow it still seems as though we were merely 14, barely into teenhood, and yet feeling so grown up. These past 4 years have flown by quickly, but they've been good ones, filled with many blessings.

It's your senior year of high school and my freshman year of college, so I guess that proves that we've gotten older, though I certainly don't feel like it. We can now both drive alone (Miriam got her driver's license in August!) and we've taken on many responsibilities. The best thing about it is that, as the years flew by, we didn't grow apart. No, we grew even closer together. Though distance has separated us, that has just made the emails, letters, and phone calls become more frequent.

There are many things I could say, though they've been said before. But, a new week has started and I must soon leave to grab breakfast and run to class. ;) It is still true, however, that you're a beautiful, talented, kind young woman of God. Thank you again and again for the wonderful friend you've been over the years.

Another age has come, though I know it still feels the same on the inside. In this next year of your life, purpose to "Look to the LORD and His strength; seek His face always." (Psalm 105:4) I look forward to what the next years will have in store, and I'm thankful to know that we'll continue to be friends forever.

Have a wonderful 18th birthday, my dear!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Only By God's Grace

"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them - yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me." - 1 Corinthians 15:10


When things go right and others praise you, it's all too easy to become proud. Look at what I can do! Look at what I've accomplished. Yet we must keep a proper perspective. We are not doing it on our own - it is only by God's grace. It is only by His grace that we are who we are.

It can be hard to remember sometimes. We can look around and see others slacking off, and be proud of ourselves for working hard and accomplishing good things. But we must remember, though we may work "harder than all of them," it is not us doing the work, but the grace of God that is with us. Without Him, we could do nothing worth doing.

If you haven't already, thank God for His grace today, and transfer the focus off of yourself and onto Him.

Father, break me of my pride. Let me never forget that You are the One who has made me who I am, and I can do nothing in my own strength. Thank you for the grace You so freely give me day after day, even though I don't deserve it... You are worthy of all the glory and honor. Let people not see me, but You living in me, and Your abundant grace in my life.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My Favorite Magazines

Above Rubies is my all-time favorite magazine. Maybe that's a little strange, because it is geared towards wives and mothers, neither of which describes me at this stage of life. However, I have found much encouragement in its pages, and it has been very informative and helpful as I seek to prepare myself to one day be a wife and mother if the Lord wills.

Each time I receive an issue of Above Rubies, it's very hard for me to put it down. Often, I'll finish it the same day I receive it, and then go back and re-read things as I have interest or time. I've also found many things that I want to remember when I am married and have children, yet if I wrote everything down that I wanted to remember, I'd end up writing down a lot! So, I've started a collection of the magazines in my hope chest, to refer back to when the time comes. The magazine is so popular that all back-issues are gone, so I'm saving them up while I can!

Subscribing to Above Rubies is free, and you can go to their website to learn how. When I came to college, I realized that I didn't want to wait until visits home to read the copy my mom gets, so I got my college address added to the list. The first issue since I came to college came yesterday, and, true enough, I finished it all before the day was done. It was so good! These magazines are very encouraging, especially so, I'm sure, for a wife and mother, but they also encourage me as a single girl! You have a lot to learn from it as a woman, no matter what age you are.


Bloom! is a quarterly magazine put out by three teenage girls. It is always an encouragement to get and read, and know that there are other girls out there going through the same things as me. The girls also have a blog called Bloom! and the posts are also encouraging, fun or challenging. I have really enjoyed getting to know Joanna, Jessina, and Megan through their writings. I enjoy following the blog, and when a magazine comes, I usually end up reading it cover-to-cover rather quickly!

The magazine is also free of charge, all you have to do is contact them to subscribe. My mom told me that the current issue has recently come to the house, so I'm looking forward to reading it when I get home. In the meantime, my mom and Jubilee are enjoying it!

World Magazine keeps me up-to-date with the current issues in the news. At college, I don't often have time to listen to the radio or watch TV (though I didn't do that much back home either), and I feel somewhat out-of-contact with what's happening because I no longer have parents around on a daily basis that talk about what's going on. I sometimes read things online, but that also takes a lot of time I don't always have! Dad was kind enough to buy me a college subscription to World, and I enjoy reading the news from a Christian perspective.

When I was younger, I always used to vie for my turn to read the magazine, though I didn't read much beyond the "Quick Takes" and comics. For the past few years, however, I've read nearly everything in every issue, though sometimes I skip things I'm not that interested in. It takes a bit longer to read, especially with the thicker issues, but I enjoy reading the articles as I get the opportunity.

Magazines are nice, because they take up very little space and are easy to carry around with you to read in spare moments. The articles are shorter than a book, and they're not as instantly-accessible as a blog or website, but there's something nice about having a magazine to hold and read wherever and whenever you want to.

To anyone looking for magazines to receive (after all, it's fun to get things in the mail!) I highly recommend the above three magazines. Are there other good ones that you know of? If you would, please leave a comment and let us know about them!

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Living Prayer

A Living Prayer
by Alison Krauss

In this world I walk alone
With no place to call my home
But there's one who holds my hand
The rugged road through barren lands
The way is dark the road is steep
But He's become my eyes to see
The strength to climb, my griefs to bear
The Savior lives inside me there

In Your love I find release
A haven from my unbelief
Take my life and let me be
A living prayer, my God to thee

In these trials of life I find
Another voice inside my mind
He comforts me and bids me live
Inside the love the Father gives

In your love I find release
A haven from my unbelief
Take my life and let me be
A living prayer, my God to thee

Take my life and let me be
A living prayer, my God to thee

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Why Wait?

"Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” - Psalm 27:14

Waiting is hard. Whether it's a little child waiting for the time when he's allowed to open gifts at Christmas, or an adult wondering what the right decision is, waiting is not an easy thing to do. Sometimes just waiting until the end of the day or the semester seems unbearable! We live in a fast-paced, have-it-now world, with something “instant” for almost everything, and chafe at the slightest delay. Waiting is not very enjoyable, but times of waiting can be extremely beneficial.


“I wait for You, O LORD; You will answer, O LORD my God.” - Psalm 38:15


We all go through times where we have to wait for God's direction. Whether it's in singleness and longing for marriage, wondering which direction a relationship will go, trying to decide what to plan for next semester, or seeking wisdom in what to do after graduation, there are many things we have to trust God to guide us in. Sometimes the waiting takes a long time; sometimes God answers quickly. The most important thing is that we trust God no matter what, and no matter how long it takes.


“It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.” - Lamentations 3:26


These periods of waiting, though heart-rending at times, will produce perseverance, endurance, and stead-fastness of character. If we can learn to be content in the Lord in uncertain situations, we will have learned to be content in any situation. Waiting doesn't mean that you just sit around and do nothing, however! Far from it, we must be actively seeking the Lord and going where He leads. Often His directions won't come as a big booming command, but rather as a gentle leading and peace in your heart as you follow the path He lays out before you. Sometimes it is made clear merely one step at a time. As we wait and follow in His ways, however, we must not get upset and stressed out, though the temptation is definitely there when we don't know what to do! Instead, we must wait, patiently and quietly, trusting in God's good and perfect plan.


“But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.”- Micah 7:7


The above was what I wrote for this week's ministry moment in "The Cue," our weekly theatre newsletter. During my personal Bible reading this year, I have written down all verses pertaining to waiting, as well as to purity and trust. It's been so encouraging to read and write down the many verses on the topic!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Flying - or Almost

I've never had any dreams of flying. My siblings often told me tales of how they flew in their dreams, but I never experienced it. I've dreamed of falling, running, or walking on my toes, but never soaring through the sky. Recently, however, I got to experience the thrill of what it may feel like to fly. Though I was safely attached to a rope, it was still exhilarating - and scary at first - to flip and swing 8+ feet above the ground.

"Biomechanics for the the Performer" has turned out to be one of the more exciting classes. And no, it's not really a science class, though everyone assumes it is from the name! We have hard things to do, like learning names of quite a few muscles and bones, anatomy, massage, and stage combat terms, but we also have a lot of fun with physical things. We start every class with a warm-up, vigorously doing cardio, pilates, stretching, or exercises with big bouncy balls. You never really know what will come next in each class period - it could be learning to safely and harmlessly fight with someone, learning to give a really good massage, playing theatre games, or learning more about the amazing body our Creator has given us, and how to take care of it.

The uniforms we're required to wear aren't that pretty, but they are practical for all the moving we have to do. The jumpsuit keeps our shirt tucked in so that it doesn't fly up as we exercise or flip around, and the things we do obviously requires us to wear pants!

On Monday, we got to play on the trapeze. Everyone was required to at least get on it and hang by their knees, but those that wanted got to try a few more things. It was a bit scary at first to get onto the trapeze, but with a mat below and people standing around to spot you, it wasn't too bad. Once I got up there and flipped into the birdsnest, I was enthused. It was a lot of fun!

This is the first thing I did, called the birdsnest. Surprisingly, it was rather easy to flip into position after watching others do it.

We then learned to do the "teeter-totter" with a partner. It took a minute to get into the position safely, but it was neat to see how it held you up!

And lastly I got to do the "superman." Ready to soar!

It was so much fun, that the next day a friend and I went back to play some more during our free time. On Wednesday, we got to do a little bit more after taking another written quiz over the voice and throat, massage terms, and stage weaponry.

I don't know if I'll have the opportunity to do trapeze again - after all, the only good ones, Dr. Lou says, are hand-made, and not many people have them unless you're in a circus! =) But, it's been a fun experience, a memory that will last.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Time Outside on a Lovely Fall Day

After a cold snap last week, where you spent the mornings shivering as you walked between classes, the weather has again warmed up into perfect temperatures. It's supposed to get colder again tomorrow, but during these past few days I have thoroughly enjoyed the times I've been able to spend outside.

Today I spent much of the afternoon outside, and it was glorious! As I headed to my 1:40 p.m. English class, I ran into my teacher and another student, headed in the opposite direction. Because it was such a beautiful day, our class got moved outside! Ours is a rather small class with only 8 students, so we sat in the rocking chairs and had a fun time. Definitely much better than sitting in a classroom!

We got out a little early, so I went back to my room and deposited my heavy books, trading them for my flute, stand, music books, stationery, letters, camera, and the book Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, and headed back down the stairs and through the doors to the beauty awaiting me.

Although the blogging world has been full of pictures of fall colors lately, I couldn't help but add my own pictures to the mix. God's creation never fails to remind me to praise Him for the beautiful world He's created. We don't get as vibrant autumns in the south as the states in the Midwest and North, but color has finally burst out in a few places around campus!

Green is still the dominant color, but some trees have changed. The splashes of red, orange, and yellow are so lovely to see!

I walked to a grassy field behind the visual arts building, and stopped in front of this beautiful array. Out came my stand and flute, and I spent a merry time playing away, preparing for my orchestra audition tomorrow. The wind felt good, but I certainly had a battle trying to keep my pages from turning! There were houses behind the trees, and I hoped I wasn't disturbing anyone, for the flute can be rather loud, especially on the high notes. After a little while, however, I noticed an older couple come out to their screen porch to sit and read. It made me happy to think that they were perhaps enjoying the music as well!

After I finished my playing, I spread out my jacket and enjoyed the seat on the grassy knoll. I read and enjoyed a chapter in my book, and then set out on a picture-taking journey around campus. On the way back to the prettier trees, I dropped off the heavy things from my bag in my dorm and continued on my joyful way.

The colors are so vibrant, so alive, and so cheerful!

Yellow leaves look like drops of sunshine.

Already the trees are beginning to loose their foliage - the colorful leaves don't last long, but they're lovely while they're here.

Our God certainly has a beautiful color palate!

I had fun seeing the leaves drift off of the trees. Crunching them beneath my shoes as I walked reminded me that it is indeed fall, and a lovely one at that.

I sat in a rocking chair and wrote a long letter to a pen pal after taking pictures, finishing as the approaching darkness and hunger pains drove me to the cafeteria to eat supper. I ate out on the balcony, however, as I usually do, enjoying the mild weather while it lasts.

What is it about being outside that makes me so joyful? Is it the breeze, the sunshine, or all the earthy scents? I don't know what it is exactly, but I praise my Creator for the beautiful world He has given us! I'm enjoying a more relaxed schedule now that the show "Much Ado About Nothing" is through, and I praise God for the strength He gives as I live each day, praying that I do everything for His glory.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

More Wedding Pictures

The parents with the groom



Lighting the unity candle


"I do."


The groom with his sisters



Wedding Pictures!

Man and wife

The beautiful bride


Racheal with her bridesmaids


Joel with his groomsmen



The cute ringbearer, my nephew

Pardon my expression, I'm really concentrating. =)


My five handsome brothers


Mr. and Mrs. Joel Hart

Monday, November 03, 2008

October Reading List

Anna's Books

Completed This Month:

  • Emotional Purity: An Affair of the Heart by Heather Arnel Paulsen (now Patenaude) - This was my 2nd or 3rd read-through of this book, and I enjoyed it once again. It is encouraging and challenging to strive for not just physical purity, but emotional purity as well, and not get caught up in undefined, heartbreaking relationships.
  • Set-Apart Femininity by Leslie Ludy - Everything I have read by the Ludys I have enjoyed, and this book was no exception! Elijah pre-ordered it for me for my birthday (thanks again, Elijah!) and I was excited when it came and I could read it. It was very challenging, and caused me to think and pray about a lot of things. It couldn't have come at a better time, either. It can be easy to look around and see what other Christians do, and wonder if you should loosen up a bit and let things slide. However, this book calls us to something more, something greater, being set-apart and totally in love with our Heavenly King Jesus. It is a book that I shall definitely read again! Just as a note, it does deal with some mature topics, so I would recommend it to those ages 14 and up, and parental guidance would be encouraged.
  • Jerusalem Vigil by Bodie and Brock Thoene - With a lot of time backstage during the recent production to read, I allowed myself the pleasure of checking out an exciting book from the library. I was excited to find that the Belhaven library has 6 books in the Zion Legacy Series, a series that takes place after The Zion Chronicles and The Zion Covenant series, with many of the same characters. It is fast-paced and exciting to read, as it covers the battles that rage in Jerusalem right after Israel is declared to be a state in 1948. Because of the violent battles and some interactions between married couples, I wouldn't recommend it to those under 14, and again, parental guidance would be good. I really enjoy how they teach history while exploring the inner minds of different characters.
Currently Reading:
  • Thunder from Jerusalem by Bodie and Brock Thoene
  • Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem
  • The Reason for God by Timothy Keller
  • Valley of Vision compiled by Arthur Bennet

Miriam's Books

Completed This Month:
  • The Dragon King Trilogy by Stephen Lawhead - This excellent series begins with In The Hall of the Dragon King, wherein a young acolyte in a temple volunteers to fulfill a wounded knight's mission and go the the palace. The King is off at wars and meanwhile, deception and treachery is brewing back home. Quentin lands in the middle of the plot and barely escapes with the queen, two loyal knights, and a hermit. A race for their life ensues and all along the way, Quentin is learning about the hermit's god, the Most High God. When the King returns and settles all the problems, he then adopts Quentin as his son. In The Warlords of Nin, another evil has arisen ten years later. An evil that uses fear as its messenger, spreading tales of its conquests and victories and destroying all in its path. Quentin must now accept the truth he has always know. There is only One True God and he must put his complete trust in Him. He embarks to find a precious stone that is to be forged into a sword. A sword that, once made, is filled with the shining glory of God. Returning with the sword, he defeats the enemy and is established as the Priest King, a King who will share his belief in the Most High God and work to the abolish the old gods. As The Sword and the Flame opens, another old evil is as work again. The Priest King is married and has three children and is renowned throughout the land for his sword, The Shining One. When his son is kidnapped and the old hermit killed, a mad vengeance overcomes Quentin and he makes a rash act that causes the glory of God to depart from his sword and he throws it away. He realizes the Spirit of God has left him and he falls into despair. He receives a ransom note requiring the sword for the return of his son. Thinking it hopeless, he shrinks further and further away from his responsibilities as a father and king. Once the sword is found and acquired back into the hands of the king, he falls at the feet of God begging His forgiveness and when the glory returns to the sword and with God, he defeats his enemy.
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - This was a re-read and I think it gets better every time.
  • Jeff McLean: His Courtship by Stephen Castleberry - The story of a young man patiently waiting God's choice for him. He begins to prepare his home and when the time is right, God brings the right young woman into his life.
  • Journey of the Heart by Jeannie Castleberry - This is an excellent book. The young woman longs for a home of her own and daily turns her desires over to the Lord. When she is presented with the opportunity of being courted, she must overcome her longings and realize that this is not who God has prepared for her. She learns many valuable lessons along the way and discovers that waiting on the Lord is a treasure in itself.
  • Julie by Catherine Marshall - I really enjoyed this book. Julie is in her senior year of highschool and they have just moved to a small town so that her father take over the local newspaper. The town is controlled by the old rich man who owns the dam, who uses intimidation to get people to do what he wants. When Julie's father decides to stand up against The Old Man, consequences are incurred. As Julie watches her father change from the weak-willed man he was to a strong and sure person, she begins to reevaluate her own opinions and changes from a girl to a woman through her experiences.
  • Eighth Shepherd by Brock and Bodie Thoene - The eighth book in this series was just as good as the others and left me anticipating the next one. Zachai is a greedy and cruel publican in Jericho, hated and scorned by all. Jesus is on the path to Jericho, healing and restoring souls along the way. The story of Zacchaeus unfolds in a wonderful and colorful narrative.

Currently Reading:

  • Before You Meet Prince Charming by Sarah Mally

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Pictures Coming Soon!

I know I've been inexcusably absent from the blogging world. But the wedding is finally over and I can take some deep breaths. My sister-in-law was our photographer, so as soon as I can, I'll get the pictures from her and post a lot. Meanwhile, here's the happy couple.