Friday, May 29, 2009

Memorial Weekend with Family

We were blessed to be able to spend Memorial day weekend with family. My sister Maria and her husband and three children came to our house Friday through Sunday, and my sister Lydia was here in between college and her summer camp job.

How many can you fit under one umbrella?

On Friday evening we went to the annual Memorial weekend Montgomery Symphony Concert, where we met three of the Hart children for a picnic. Caleb played in the symphony and did really well. The rest of us dodged sprinkles and enjoyed the beautiful music.

James, Sara, and Lisa Beth enjoyed running out some of their energy on the sidewalk in front.

Grandmotherly love

It was just what an evening ought to be - a picnic with family and friends, and beautiful music to set the mood. It was slightly cold and a bit wet at times, but it was a great kick-off to the summer!

Lisa Beth isn't so little anymore, being 2 1/2 years old. They grow up so quickly!

It is so much fun to be an aunt! What a delight to have a soft little one to scoop up and spin in circles with, hearing her squeals of joy!


Sara may be 5 years old, but I can still lift her - for now!

It's quieter here now, with only Dad, Mom, and Jubilee around. I miss the others, but am still enjoying being home. I have kept busy with organizing things around the house, cooking and cleaning, and planning for summer dance classes and a musical. I start teaching next week, teaching 3 weeks of dance classes twice a week for a nice summer dance workshop. The summer promises to be full, but I look forward to all that it has in store!

Thanks to Maria for taking these pictures and emailing them to me!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Rearranged Room

As I moved everything back from college into my room at home, I knew there were things that I was going to have to change. As I make plans for teaching and directing this summer and beyond, I needed enough storage places to organize everything in efficient ways. Mom and Dad were very gracious to allow me to switch furniture from my room with other pieces in guest rooms. I worked for a few days sorting and rearranging everything, and am pleased with the way things turned out! And, it was all very inexpensive - I only had to buy one new thing!

It's nice to have everything arranged and in its place. I thought those who had seen the way things were before would enjoy the updated pictures, and that perhaps the way I arranged things would give some of you creative ideas! My friends will enjoy spotting mementos of them throughout the room. =)

The view from the door into my room. The furniture is all against the walls, allowing me nice space to exercise and dance. It also gives me nice space if I need to spread out sewing or scrapbooking supplies!

I used to have a full sized bed, but switched it out for this one, which gives me more floor space and more storage space underneath. The bedspread is the one I purchased for my college dorm room, and really enjoyed using. It is reversible, so I'm using the side that is more pink than purple. The full-length mirror is very helpful to me as I'm dancing and choreographing, to make sure things look right. It also makes my room seem more spacious! The bedside table is the one new item I purchased, but I found it for a great price - only $8! - at a local antique mall and flea market.

This bookshelf is to the right as you walk in the door. The bottom shelf holds my scrapbooks, flute books, and drama books. The next shelf holds drama and ballet notebooks and resources. The next three shelves hold my personal books - many favorites that have been read quite often! Piled on the left are more books that didn't fit in the shelves, but they're ones I rarely read these days. My verse notebooks are also there for easy access. The top holds my ballet and drama scrapbooks, easy to get down to show others.

My dresser is one our family has had for years. It's nice, because the drawers are large and I was able to nicely organize clothes and toiletries in them. Jewelery, hair items, and friendship memories are on top, and the Proverbs 31 Maidens poster I made reminds me each morning of the women I'd like to become in God's grace.


My desk is another item we've had for years, and it held my computer when it was in another room. I decided that it would be most efficient if I had my computer in my room, and this desk gives me the space to hold it, as well as enough storage space in its many drawers and the bookshelf on top for files and more books. The shelves will be filled as I buy more books for continued education opportunities. The top of the book shelf holds pictures of my family, and the corner has a poem a student wrote and framed for me entitled "Dancing for God."

My hope chest has returned to be in front of my window, and it is a comfy place to sit and contemplate as I look out the window. The pretty, ruffly curtains used to me my grandmother's. Miss Dee-Dee, my dressmaker, has her place right beside the hope chest, with my music stand tucked away behind her. =)

The corner at the end of my bed is my sewing corner. The cabinet is one my parents got me a few years ago to hold a lot of sewing supplies, and my serger and sewing machines have their places on top. It was so nice how everything fit just perfectly as we were measuring the furniture to see how everything could be arranged!

My closet is full, but actually very well organized. Nothing threatens to fall, should you open the door. :-) The shoe boxes hold, quite logically, my shoes! A container behind that holds dance costumes, with my bags piled on top. A small heater and plastic sacks for quick access find their place on the left side. My clothes are hung up - I have a lot, since I hang up most of my clothes, and mostly wear skirts/dresses. The top shelf has things organized in plastic containers. Clear, plastic containers, which I bought pretty inexpensively at Walmart, have been a lifesaver in terms of organizing everything. These hold scrapbooking supplies, old school notebooks, letters from friends and family, gifts I've bought on sale for others, and some drama supplies. It's amazing how much you can fit in one space by organizing them well! And, they aren't too hard to take down either.

Underneath my bed I have utilized even more wonderful space to store things. In clear plastic containers (aren't they wonderful?) I have stored bedding supplies and fabric, and they pull out easily when I need to look through them. I also have my sewing basket tucked away in the corner, should I ever need to handsew something or take it with me!

I hope you enjoyed the little "tour" of my room! I am very blessed in being able to live here, and God has blessed with many things, which I try to be a good steward of. I try hard not to have things too cluttered, as I think so much better when things are organized. Going through and getting rid of things and papers I no longer need at least once or twice a year helps me keep things neat. A quick straighten each day and putting things away as I no longer need them also helps things stay looking good. Of course, my room certainly gets messy once-in-a-while, but I try to make that rare! ;)

If you have any good organizational tips to share, please do! I'm always up for making things more efficient and hearing new ideas!

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Daily Disciplines: Remember

Today we pause and remember all of those who have given their lives in the fight for freedom. We remember those who have gone before us, some of whom we read about in history, some of whom we know personally. We admire the sacrifice they have made and are making, and pray for the continued protection of those we know and love.

However, remembering the past should not be a once-a-year occurrence. It should truly be a daily discipline, as we recall what the Lord has done and praise Him for it.

Time and time again throughout the Bible, God tells His people to remember where they came from and what He did for them. Yet, God's people so quickly forgot what He had done and how He had blessed them. Instead, many times they got caught up in their fears and worries of the day, turning from God and bringing judgment upon themselves. It is often said that those that do not learn from history are bound to repeat it, and civilizations from ancient times until now are proving it true as we make the same mistakes and reap the same consequences.

"Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced," - Psalm 105:4-5

Why remember? Why not just live in the present? While we shouldn't be stuck in the past, we should also use times of reflection to remember God's works and praise Him for what He's done. We should remember those who have gone before us, from those who fought for our freedom to our ancestors, and learn from the legacy they have left. We should remember God's promises and the faithfulness He has shown us time and time again, so that we will not get caught up in worry and fear when we face difficulty. We should remember what we learned from the mistakes we made and experiences we've had, so that we will not repeat the same mistake twice, but rather learn and move on to greater excellence.

We as humans so quickly forget things. We take blessings for granted. We quickly forget hardships and the things we learned through them. If we're not experiencing it now, it too often leaves our minds entirely. Instead, we should take time to remember; take time to pray; take time to thank God for His faithfulness and ask Him to help us learn from the past.

"I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds." - Psalm 77:11-12

One way I've enjoyed remembering things is through journaling and scrapbooking. Looking back at pictures and reading about experiences reminds me of where God has led me and gives me hope for the future. Learning about history and reading biographies also helps me remember where God has brought the world, and reminds me to learn from the great heroes of the faith who have gone before.

Also, it's interesting to read through the verses under "remember" in a Bible concordance (go here to read these online). It is encouraging to see how God remembered His people, inspiring to be reminded of all the things God didn't want us to forget, and sobering to see how many times God's people didn't remember and judgment came as a result.

In the comment section, please share if you feel led, answering any, all, or none of the following questions:
  • What do you most take for granted?
  • How do you purposefully remember history, lessons learned, and things God has taught you?
  • What is the most important thing that you want to remember in the years ahead?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Graduation!!!

I'm officially graduated! Yesterday was the ceremony and I just wanted to share pictures with everybody. I want to thank my mom again for her labor of love. She took an hour and a half to roll my hair in curlers. Unfortunately, because of the rainy weather, the curls lasted for about as long as it took to roll them. We did get some pictures, though, and it was lots of fun.


Out came the curlers

Ta-da!

Ah, doesn't she look distinguished? =)


Sisters

Dad and I


Mother and I


Old friends and new friends

The homeschooling class of 2009

Thank you so much for coming, Anna!


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Why I Wear Skirts


If you haven't already read the post "Why I Wear Skirts" over at Is This Modest? I encourage you to read it now! Hannah did a great job in writing a grace-filled post on wearing skirts - not saying that pants are bad, but giving reasons why she personally has chosen to wear skirts.

Her post was one I could agree with wholeheartedly. While it would be nice if I had a Bible verse to point to that backs up my reasoning to wear skirts, I personally don't believe that there is one. As for me, I have chosen to wear skirts, and I do believe that God led me to this decision 3 years ago. I have found peace and joy in wearing clothing that I am truly comfortable and feel beautiful in.

Why do I do it? As the above-mentioned post outlines, I do think that the shape of skirts tend to be more modest (although there are many immodest skirts out there, because of tightness or length). Although there are certainly pants that fit the standards of modesty, they are often hard to find. Like it or not, pants tend to cling to and accentuate things I'd rather not show. When I wore pants, I usually ended up getting ones that were so loose and frumpy that I felt rather ugly and uncomfortable in what I wore. There are creative ways of finding them and making them more modest and feminine, but I just enjoy going ahead and wearing skirts instead!

That said, there are circumstances that do call for pants, and in those situations I do wear them. Yes, I can do many things in a skirt, but sometimes it makes others and yourself more comfortable to wear pants in situations of much movement, so that there isn't the underlying question in everyone's mind of whether or not the skirt will fly up. I do play and do active things in skirts, but I make sure that they are long enough, sometimes wear shorts underneath, and I have learned to manage my skirt modestly in many situations. However, there are still times that call for pants, and times that I wear them in order to make others more comfortable. Two things are good to remember: context and company. Some things are just fine if there are only girls around, other times it is good to change or simply refrain from the activity.

The history of women wearing pants, based in feminism and a desire to be just like the men also makes me enjoy skirts more. Yes, I know that pants don't stand for those things now-a-days, but the old-fashioned girl in me prefers to dress in the way women did for centuries.

After many questions by others of whether I wear skirts because I have to, or if I'm of a certain denomination based on my appearance (with long hair and skirts), I have wondered whether or not I should wear pants more just to not come across as legalistic, for that is not my intention at all! But, each time I have explained my reasoning - often not much more than "I just enjoy them more!" many respond by saying that they think it's neat and admire my decision.

Yes, it's different. But is different bad? I know that part of being modest is not drawing undue attention to oneself. Wearing skirts most of the time does make you stand out in some situations, and so I have wondered whether I was right in wearing them. However, I find it sad that girls are noticed simply because they're wearing a dress. We're given the beautiful advantage of being able to wear such pretty things, so I'm all for making them more common in everyday life by wearing them myself each day! =)

My overall reasoning for wearing skirts? They're such a joy! Getting dressed each day is fun! I never had such a good time picking out my outfits when wearing pants. :-) I know, this reasoning sounds rather fickle, but it is truly a personal preference, a matter of opinion. Praise God for the grace He has given us to enjoy each new day in many different ways!

Yes, always wearing skirts can tends towards frumpiness. It's something that I try to guard against, although we certainly don't have to look dressed up and ready for a ball all the time just because we wear a skirt! They do make me feel somewhat like a princess however. =) At the same time, I in no way have the perfect style figured out!.

Although many think it must cost a fortune to wear so many skirts, skirts don't have to be expensive. I can sew nice ones for $10 or less (depending on fabric choice), and thrift stores and discount outlets often have nice ones at good prices. In fact, for $22 I bought 4 skirts and a dress at such stores on Tuesday! It takes hunting and creativity, but it's fun to find such bargains!

Wearing a skirt reminds me that I am a lady, and I enjoy that minute-by-minute reminder as the fabric swishes around my legs. I enjoy giving a twirl now and then just for the fun of it. I enjoy being a girl. Wearing skirts helps me remember and delight in the fact that God made me to be feminine!

Yes, you can do this by wearing pants. I have to not find pride in my skirt-wearing, just as those who wear pants shouldn't look down on skirt-wearers because they wear skirts. As in all things, we must find a balance, and not be held in bondage because of what we wear. As for me, wearing skirts helped set me free to be the woman God made me to be!

If you're not led to wear skirts all the time, then don't do so and don't feel condemned by any means! If, however, you'd like to but are scared of what others will think, don't be afraid! Yes, people do tease sometimes in fun, but I've gotten far more compliments on "what a pretty outfit" - although compliments shouldn't be our motivation for what we wear either. If you are another skirt-wearer, then find encouragement that there are others out there that enjoy the same things you do.


Walk in grace, whether clad in a skirt or pants. :)

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Daily Disciplines: Staying Joyful at Home

Today, I'd like to point you all to read the series Jasmine is writing on her blog, Joyfully Home. "Ways to Stay Joyful at Home" is full of practical advice for young ladies, covering many things that are truly disciplines we should be practicing every day. Although it is especially geared towards daughters living at home, anyone will benefit from reading these practical, thoughtful, and graceful posts! Click here for a compilation of them all, or click the individual links below.

Part 1: Build a strong relationship with your mother
Part 2: Find your sufficiency in the King of Kings
Part 3: Stay busy and useful in the sphere where God has placed you
Part 4: Learn to be a supportive daughter
Part 5: Learn to accept reproof and filter criticism
Part 6: Don't be afraid to answer legitimate questions, but don't let speculation cause you to fear
The series is still ongoing, I believe, so continue to check Joyfully Home for the latest!

As I have come down with a slight cold virus today, I thought it would be better to point you to Jasmine's excellent posts to read instead of trying to write something coherent when my head is somewhat heavy. :-)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Differing Opinions

Blogging is a fun and interesting activity. It allows you to share your thoughts and get feedback on what others think about a wide range of different topics. There are also so many blogs written by others to read, with many people sounding so definite on what they believe is right.

However, one thing that I have had to remember again and again is that, although there are definite, non-negotiable things God has laid out in His Word, there are also many things that are open to personal preference and conviction. Each one should be fully convinced in her own mind as to why she does what she does, but it can also be easy to over analyze simple things, when really, it's all a matter of personal taste. When writing, it is so easy to generalize and type strong statements because of the things that work well for you.

I really enjoy hearing all of the different thoughts on The Daily Discipline and "Girly Things" Discussion posts, as well as all of the others we write. I enjoy reading comments from people with similar or nearly exact views, as well as those with tastes or views completely different from my own, if they are written in a respectful manner. They show the beautiful diversity of people within the body of Christ. After all, if every woman was exactly like me in her preferences, the world would be a boring and rather scary place! =)

There are so many issues that are open to interpretation as we each pray about what God would have us do. We know that modesty is commanded in Scripture , but God doesn't lay out an exact list of what exactly that means in terms of hem and neckline. God made men to be masculine and women to be feminine, but we aren't told what that exactly looks like, in terms of hair, clothing, jewelry, and demeanor. We are told to make the best use of our time and to not be lazy, but we are not given a blueprint for the exact time we should rise, the schedule we're to have, or the time we need to go to bed.

At the same time, there are definitely principles laid out in Scripture that apply to all of these topics. We should all be diligently studying the Word and asking God to show us the way He wants us to live.

In this search, it can also be very helpful to read the writings of others, see what they believe and what works for them, and think and pray about whether or not you should be doing some of the same things. This is why I blog, to encourage other women in their pursuit of Godliness and Biblical femininity, while sharing some of what has helped me on the way. However, please don't take everything I write as an absolute. I am not saying "this is is what you must do in order to be a maiden of worth in God's eyes." I am still learning and growing, and some of my preferences will probably change in time.

There is definite truths that we must stand strong on. The church becomes so weak when we begin accepting everything and anything just because we want everyone to feel comfortable and don't want to be deemed "legalistic." However, there are also things that we shouldn't impose on others because of the way we were raised or because they are our personal tastes and convictions. We should be holding forth God's truth and standard.

I hope that I don't come across as someone who has it all figured out. I write as I feel led, and pray that it blesses and encourages others, and causes them to think. Please test everything that I write against Scripture, and please let me know if there are places you think I am wrong. I enjoy hearing from you! By discussing things in a respectful and encouraging way, we can show the wide range of personalities that God has placed in each individual one of His children.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!


The sermon "Keepers of the Springs" by the late Peter Marshall is worth remembering on this Mother's Day.

"The modern challenge to motherhood is the eternal challenge, that of being godly women. The very phrase sounds strange in our ears. We rarely hear it now. . . .

The world has enough women who know how to be smart. It needs women who are willing to be simple. The world has enough women who know how to be brilliant. It needs some who will be brave. The world has enough women who are popular. It needs more who are pure. We need women, and men too, who would rather be morally right than socially correct."

- (emphasis mine) Read the rest here.

May all of you mothers be encouraged and inspired by what you read, and all of you who long to be mothers be challenged to prepare yourself well for this high calling, asking God to mold you into His Godly woman.

To all of you mothers who read our blog, and especially to our own mothers, may you have a wonderfully blessed Mother's Day with your family!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Shining Where You Are


“God puts every man in the very best place for himself and for the world at the time. Young people who’s hearts are stirred about missionary work are apt to say: “Well, you know, I am surrounded by such a set of college companions; or at home the influences are against me. If I could only go to India or China, I could shine for Jesus.” Why, dear friends, a candle that won’t shine in one room is very unlikely to shine in another. If you don’t shine at home — if your father and mother, your sister and brother, if the very cat and dog in the house are not the better and happier for your being a Christian, it is a question whether you really are one. It isn’t our surroundings and circumstances that are the all-important things: but how far we are linked — how close is the union between our souls and God. What do we know about Him? What is He to us? This is the all important question.” -Hudson Taylor (emphasis mine)

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Home Sweet Home

As I type this, I sit in familiar surroundings, the sights and smells of home enveloping me. It is good to be home.

Dad picked me up yesterday, and we drove home around 1 p.m. after waiting for a strong deluge to pass so that we could pack the car without everything getting soaked. The part the service station got for the car yesterday was again the wrong one, so it was nice that Dad was on his way to take me home. We got a call this morning that they had fixed the car, so perhaps if we had waited it out for one more day... But God has allowed all this to happen, and I'm glad to be home. It will just mean planning a trip to Jackson fairly soon to pick up the car!

We drove straight to the Hart's house and enjoyed a delicious meal and great fellowship. We got home somewhat late, and I slept long and well last night, in the comfort of my own bed, soothed into a deep sleep by the torrential rain. I've been rather lazy today, unpacking a bit, talking with family, and going to a family of friends' house and watching Come What May (excellent movie, by the way!). Currently I am cooking up a storm, enjoying the scent of an Old Fashioned Spice Cake in the oven.

There is a lot still to sort through about what exactly I will be doing this summer and in the year ahead. It will be a lot of work, and things will not be perfect. The enormity of it all is beginning to hit me, but I know that God will be faithful in leading me as He has in the past. There will be a lot of planning and preparation, but God will work things out one day at a time as I seek to follow Him.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Patience while Waiting to Get Home

It's Tuesday morning. I'm still at Belhaven. Each day I anticipate a call saying that my car has been fixed, and each day there is another delay. This morning I was told that the part they thought would work turned out to be completely wrong (the 1995 Geo Prism is hard to find parts for). They have ordered another part that should come in tomorrow, and will hopefully fix the problem. I'm praying that it is the right thing, but as I've gotten my hopes up each day only to have them come crumbling down again, I'm trying not to anticipate too much.

God is still in control, and I know that He still has a plan. I just want to get home! But, I'm learning to be patient and wait for His timing. Thankfully there have still been friends around with which to spend time, but each day more and more of them leave. The dorms will stay open until Saturday, but I'm praying that I'm able to leave before then. Most of my stuff has been packed in bags and boxes since Friday, yet there's no where to put it and I'm having to pull more and more things out to use as the days pass by.

It's hard not to get discouraged. It's hard to want to be home, to have nothing planned and no way to get anywhere without a car, although friends have been helpful in offering things. I wonder why this has happened, but I know that God's still in control. He does have a plan in all of this, and I'm asking Him to use me in the ways He has planned for me. These delays are revealing to me just how impatient I can be sometimes!

I would appreciate your prayers that the part they need will come in early tomorrow, that it will be reparied quickly, and that this would indeed be the solution to the problem. Also, please pray that I will learn patience through all of this, and be a blessing to those I'm around here.

*Edit* Things change yet again... I will be going home tomorrow, Lord willing. My dad is going to leave at 7 a.m. to come and bring me home. If my car gets fixed in the morning, I will call him, and he'll turn around and go home. He's wanting me to get home so that I can spend more time with Elijah (who has a very limited number of days until he goes to Iowa for his summer job) and so that we'll be able to go as a family to the Hart's house, where we've been invited to for tomorrow for a few weeks now. Dad decided to come on his own accord - I tried to dissuade him, for it seems a bit expensive and time consuming for him to drive up, when my car will probably get fixed tomorrow, and if it doesn't, we'll have to drive back later to pick it up. But, he still wants to do it. It seems a bit crazy, but it will be nice to get home.

Monday, May 04, 2009

The Daily Disciplines: Practicing Thankfulness

Thankfulness is a state of being that we should be always living in. After all, we are called to "give thanks in all circumstances" - whether we feel like it or not (1 Thessalonians 5:18). As a whole, I've observed that our culture tends to be rather un-thankful most of the time. We think that it's all about ourselves, instead of taking time to thank those who do so much to contribute to our life. It is so easy to simply take things and others for granted instead of being thankful.

Being thankful takes your focus off of yourself and puts it on others. When you are thankful, your entire outlook on life is better, and you are left feeling more joyful and encouraged. Often, thankfulness can be infectious; when you are thankful and consequently more joyful, often other people will be encouraged as they see you uplifted! Thanking others is also an amazing and fairly easy way to bless others - and yourself at the same time!

Thankful to God
When is the last time you thanked God for life and breath? "Every good and perfect gift comes from above" (James 1:17). How often do you stop and thank God for all of the many blessings - big and small - that allow you to live each day? How often do you thank Him for His grace and strength and gift of salvation?

We should be offering up a constant thank-offering to the Lord with our lives. How do we do this? By delighting in and praising the Lord for the things He's done. I try to live focused on the Lord and thankful for what He's done. From the moment my eyes open in the morning, I thank Him for life and breath and grace to live another day. As I go throughout the day and see glimpses of His beauty and His hand at work, I thank Him. Sometimes it's as little as a "Thank You, Father!" under my breath, sometimes it's a longer prayer extolling God's many virtues and mighty works. The important thing is that I live constantly thankful and in awe of Who our Savior is and what He has done!

Thankful to Family
The people that we undervalue and take for granted the most are probably our family. When you live with them day after day, it is so easy to fall into routine and expect them to do things instead of thanking them for it. How often do you thank your parents for giving you life, a house to live in, and food to eat? How often do you thank your father for working to provide for the family? How often do you thank your mother for managing the house and training you children? Do you thank your brothers and sisters for their small acts of kindness? Do you thank each member of the family for the chores that they do, or do you just expect that they do them and reprimand them if they forget?

Purpose to thank your family throughout the day for who they are and what they do. Thank them for things big and small. It's important that you do it sincerely as well. It doesn't have to be big and elaborate, but a sincere "thank you" with a smile and hug can do wonders. A note of thanks and encouragement left in their room can also do a lot to brighten their day! If you're far from your family, a phone call, email, or card in the mail can mean a lot. All of us - myself definitely included! - have father to go in thanking our families.

Thankful to Friends
How often do you thank your friends for being who they are? Do you thank them for making time for you, thinking up special things to do together, and taking the time to listen or just hang out? Do you thank them for the little things, the memories that you make, and the ways they sacrifice their own desires in order to do what they know you love? Too often we take our friendships for granted. If you haven't thanked your friends recently, call them up or send them a card or email just because. Think of the admirable qualities they show and the things they have done, and thank them for it all!

Thankful to Teachers
As a teacher myself, I have been blessed by the thank-you cards and gifts students bless me with. It has made me more thoughtful in making sure that I thank my teachers as well. Even though they are paid to teach, they put a lot of work in to it and pour out a lot of time and energy into helping you learn things you wouldn't otherwise have known. Even if the class wasn't your favorite or you don't particularly like their style of teaching, there are always things you can find to be thankful for.

My last few years of high school, I made it a point to write cards and often give small gifts to each of the teachers I took lessons from. At college, though I don't have the resources or time to give gifts to all of the many teachers I had, I made it a priority to make sure that I wrote a thank-you card to each of them. I didn't want to be seen as a "teacher's pet" trying to earn brownie points or make them like me, but I wanted to communicate my thankfulness for all they had put into teaching that semester. So, I gave them cards the last day of class or right before I took the final exam.

This Saturday, it amazed me at how much my cards brightened the day of my last two teachers. One of them (who had gotten a card last semester as well, since I was in a class of his both semesters) thanked me sincerely and said, "You know, you're the only one who ever does this anymore." When I gave the other teacher a card, he positively lit up and said "thank you" in a very surprised and pleased way, saying that the card had just made his Saturday (we had a final at 8 a.m.!) so much better. He kept thanking me enthusiastically - for a little card! The 15 cents the card cost and the 5 minutes it took to write it was definitely worth cheering someone up that much! I found it a sad reflection of our society that out of hundreds of students on campus, barely anyone takes the time to actually thank the teachers. Instead, we spend more time complaining about how they're too hard or how much we dislike the class. They are attempting to give us the tools to learn, and we should be grateful for that even if the class is not our favorite subject!

Living a life of Thankfulness
The list of people we should thank could go on forever. We should thank those who show us hospitality - sending at least a card used to (and should!) be common courtesy. We should thank those doing jobs we take for granted, like the janitors that clean the bathrooms in public restrooms. We should thank the waitress at the restaurant and the cashier at the grocery store. I have always found it amazing how someone's face will light up when you give them a cheery "thank you" with a smile. It is rewarding for me to see how they are blessed by such a simple action!

In the comment section, please share if you feel led, answering any, all, or none of the following questions:
  • Who do you most often take for granted and could start showing more thankfulness to?
  • What is your favorite way of showing thankfulness to others? (cards, phone calls, in person, emails, etc.)

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Change of Plans

All week, I've been looking forward to today, when I would hop in my car after my last final at 8 a.m. and head home. Well, my finals are done and that is a huge relief! However, I'm still here in my dorm room, my stuff all packed up, but no where to put it and no way to drive home. It's interesting how God changes our plans, and yet His way is still perfect.

Yesterday I had no final exams, so two friends and I headed out to the Ross Barnett Reservoir to have a picnic. We met at the cafeteria and packed up some food. It saved money, since we already automatically pay for every meal there!


The day was absolutely beautiful! The surroundings were so peaceful, with the green grass, ripply waves, and huge fluffy clouds.

We enjoyed our food (Friday lunch is, after all, pizza day!) and had sweet fellowship. It was nice to get off campus, and it was bittersweet as we realized this is one of the last times we would all be together for a long while.

We took advantage of the beautiful surroundings and free time to take pictures, together and alone, having fun as we thought up different poses.

Hannah and Anna

Mary Khris and Hannah

Anna and Mary Khris - it's been such fun to be roommates!

You realize how small you really are when you take in the enormity of God's awesome creation!

Finally, it was time to head back, as we had some studying to do before tomorrow. We piled into the broiling hot car, and I started the engine, backed up, shifted from reverse into drive - and the car died.

"No, not now of all times!" I thought as I continued to try to start the engine. It just kept turning over, however, refusing to catch. We got out the jumper cables, and a gentleman drove up to jump us, but that didn't help. He listened and looked around, and determined that it was probably a fuel or electrical problem. I called my dad and he went through some things to try and determined that I would need to get towed to a service station. Thankfully I had AAA, so I called them, and they were able to send out a tow truck after a long ordeal of trying to figure out exactly where we were. The picnic place we were at, Ridgeland Recreational Center, didn't come up on the map, but after walking along the road and asking a few people, we were able to find out our location. A few other gentleman stopped to look at the car, but there was nothing they could do to start it.

We called some friends from college to come and rescue us and then sat in the shade and waited for the tow truck. I was so thankful that Mary Khris and Hannah were with me, for it would have been hard to go through this alone! God knew what He was doing, for I am glad this didn't happen when I was on the road alone between here and home!

I rode in the tow truck to the service station, and my friends followed and met me there. The station was busy, so we left my car and headed back to campus.

We stopped at McDonald's for cold treats, which cooled us off and brightened the mood! These girls were so sweet to rescue us, and we had a fun time together. I also learned that one of these girls is going to be in my area this summer, and we were both excited to find that out! God truly works in mysterious ways, for I don't know if I would have connected with her had my car not broken down.

I called the service station this morning, and my car won't be able to be fixed today, but they'll start on it first thing on Monday morning. So, it looks as though I'll be at Belhaven for a few days longer. I will miss getting home earlier, especially after all of the anticipation, but it will be fun to spend a few more days with friends around here. Hopefully things will be fixed on Monday and I'll be able to truly head home this time!

God works in wondrous ways. Already He has brought good out of the situation. Though I don't know all of the whys, I know that He has everything under control. In His timing, I will get home - and I pray that timing is Monday, but we shall see how He leads!

*Edit* Plans have changed again! God is definitely teaching me flexibility... Elijah is driving down tomorrow morning to take me to Texas to meet some of his friends. It shall be a quick trip, but it sounds like fun! Hopefully we'll still get back on Monday and drive home if the car gets fixed.

"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps." - Proverbs 16:9

"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails." - Proverbs 19:21