Thursday, October 11, 2012

Autumn Break

     At long last, I find spare moments in which to gather my thoughts. I've reached the official halfway mark in my semester and now receive a four day weekend as a trophy for surviving to this point. Since it isn't enough time for me to drive home and see anyone, Dad graciously drove down to visit with me. The rest of the family was supposed to come, too, but unforeseen happenstance did not allow for that pleasure.

     I've had several deep thoughts that would have made good entries here, but unfortunately they did not stay with me long and I did not record them anywhere. However, God has been teaching me a lot about my worth as of late, as found in Him and forgotten in circumstance. My devotional reading this morning continued along those lines in Revelation.

"...Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created." (Revelation 4:11b)

     I've always viewed this verse as giving me purpose--inspiring me to work hard to bring glory and honor to God. Today the Holy Spirit gently suggested it as a verse meant to give me rest. Christ already created me in a way that brings Him pleasure. He approves not of my sin and my foolishness, but of me as His workmanship. I'm acceptable to Him, clothed in His righteousness. I don't have to work at it, He has
delight in what He's made me apart from any puny effort I might put forth.

     It's not an excuse to slack off, or a reason to compromise. It's a blessed comfort to know that no matter how badly I mess up, I'm still a joy to my Father.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The College Experience

     About three weeks ago, I watched my family drive away without me. Then I picked up my backpack and marched up the stairs to my dorm room where I will continue to reside until December 14th. I think it went against all of our natural inclinations for them to leave and me to stay. Yet, here I am.

     I treaded water in a sea of freshman for the first few days until the other upperclassmen arrived. They're actually all great girls, freshmen included, I just never quite got along with other people "my age." My honey says it's because that's because nobody else acts their age--I feel socially retarded nonetheless. Finally classes started the following Monday, so I plunged headfirst into the deep end of the pool of knowledge.

     Botany, earth science, statistics, Biblical worldview, psychology, and creation studies makes for a rather full week. The workload isn't the adjustment though, just all the newness of not being immediately part of my family unit. I don't think the other girls seem to deal with it as much, but when you're homeschooled transitioning out of the house is kind of a big deal--especially for us daughters.

     Anyway, off to study bryophytes and gymnosperms and all of that good stuff. Happy weekend, here's to the college experience.

Monday, June 11, 2012

More of the Challenges of Writing

Day Three -- A Great Writer Takes Initiative

     Okay, so on this day I was to get up two hours early and dedicate that time to my writing. Well, due to a nasty cold that didn't quite happen. The general idea was explained as taking some time aside to write each day, however, and I am working on building that into my routine along with other healthy habits I've been meaning to implement. My routine should go something like this...

830am Rise and shine.
9am Devos/prayer time along with breakfast.
10am Writing or Sketching. (I should vary day to day, but I need to practice both.)
11am Housework.
1230pm Luncheon.
130pm Study. (Biology, finances, history, Bible, whatever I've picked up at the moment.)
230pm Freetime.
430pm Dinner prep.
530-6ish Dinner.

My writing tools of choice
Day Four -- Practice Doesn't Make Perfect

     The challenge here was to practice writing in public, to make a pitch to a magazine or send something to be published [read: rejected]. One of the ideas was to share something on your blog that you never had before. I'm still working on a proper idea, but I should have something out by tomorrow. Ack. Behind again.

Day Five -- How Great Writers Prepare for Big Projects

     Today Jeff encourages participants to "ship it." To finish the next chunk of a project, to do something. I was for my part--after a day of trying to help my mother get ready for her mission's trip--a little befuddled as to how I'm supposed to accomplish this before midnight tonight. With a little ingenuity, however, I've decided to progress with my secondary super secret blog idea. More to come on that, I may even launch it this month and link over to it. But I needs must work on it if it ever is to happen. Off I go!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Writer's Challenge

     I had all sorts of big plans for this summer, one of which being to "get serious" about my writing. What exactly I meant by that, I'm not sure. I say it fairly often and rarely act on it. Thus, as my friend so kindly shared this with me, I'll be undertaking a fifteen day writing challenge offered by Jeff Goins on his website. I don't normally like to solicit, but I thought I'd include a badge at the bottom of my entry along with a little back work since I've come in a day late. Thus, without further ado...

Day One -- Declare You're a Writer (Catch Up)

     I am a writer. I am not a terribly good writer, nor as yet published, but I do in fact write. I journal, I blog, I invent (sort of) clever statuses, I compose letters, I jot ideas, and I even arrange the occasional poem. I'm supposed to tell this to an actual person or institution, boldly and without an overpowering fear of rejection. Since I'm sort of timid and also have a nasty cold in addition to my killer garlic breath, I opted for informing my sweetheart via IM. His response? "I know." That's promising, right?

Day Two -- Good Writers Believe In Themselves

     Ok, so I'm not much for the whole "believe in yourself" movement, but I can see the man has a point. If I gripe and grump and groan about my lack of abilities, I'm not going to get anywhere. The attitude ought to be "just do it." Well, here it is. I've jumped into the midst of a mission/quest/thing and I'm confident I can complete it. All that's left is the action part. Haha... yeah... "all."

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


     It's that time of year. Most of my friends are either graduating with college degrees, getting married, or their birthing second and third children. I, naturally, am watching all of this occur with mixed feelings as I fight with my college registrar over whether or not I did in fact take BIO 101 and which credits should indeed transfer. I'm sure if my situation was reversed with those of any of my companions, I would feel my circumstances equally inglorious. As it stands, however, the proverbial grass remains greener-- and just beyond my reach-- on the other side.

     Now, if any of my previous posts have been read, it may sound like I'm gearing up for another talk about my/others' expectations for me. I'm not. I'm going to be talking about playing in the dirt. My newest occupation, since I quit my day job, is something I like to call philosophical gardening. Though I thought I was being quite original, I actually found out I was not alone in this practice. My pastor posted on facebook a couple of days ago, "Break up the fallow ground, break it up" with the explanation that he'd been working in his garden and God had brought that verse to his mind. Consequently, he'd been meditating on it. The funny part was, I shared that experience not a day later before ever reading his post.

     The main theme I've been dwelling on though is the seasons of life. The preacher in Ecclesiastes describes it thus (Ecc. 3:1-8):

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

     While the preacher is expressing the futility of life without God, I can only think of the richness of living in Him. He uses these seasons to teach me in the ways I'm ready to learn at the time and to prepare me for what's next. Each "act" in the play brings about new blessings and surprises. Psalm 81:16 speaks of the Lord, referring to His desire that Israel would live a rich life in surrender to Him, "He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee."

      My own season is not marriage and children and a career. Maybe it will be, someday. Right now, it's for me to battle the registrar, plant the odd garden, but above all  and in all to seek Him. That's the honey out of the Rock, and it is very sweet.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Autobiography (Part 2): [Un]Socialized Homeschooler

     Socialization is always a touchy subject when it comes to us home educated types. When I was younger, one of the first questions out of adults mouths was "Oh... do you have [m]any friends?" Even now, I still have professors and coworkers ask how my family arranged for me to meet other people. The question is so loaded, it's hard to know where to begin. The query assumes that in order to be socialized a child needs to spend a minimum of eight hours with people specifically his or her own age. It discounts relationships with siblings, parents, and adults outside the home entirely.

     While I'm not a sociologist, I can tell you through my observation and personal experience that homeschooling better prepares a student for the post-high school world than public school does. Realistically, the workplace is going to require a person to be able to effectively communicate and build relationships with people beyond his or her age bracket. If you're planning at being a stay at home mother, this becomes even more vital. Whether you're dealing with an irate customer or a toddler a in full blown tantrum--which look remarkably similar in some cases--the skills are equally precious.

     Stepping off of my soapbox, I'll admit that I've always been one of the more timid set of the homeschooling tribe. This, unfortunately, also led to a rash of antagonists who mistook the signs of mildness as indications of weakness. I cannot count the number of groups I was involved with--often Christian--that I learned to dread because of one kid who set out to make my life miserable.

     I'm told these experiences build character. I suppose in a way these episodes did, but it was more in "bringing the dross to the top" to be skimmed away. I reacted badly many times, but slowly God did work in my heart to bring me around. I have learned to stay out of verbal sparring matches, at first through the broken pride at oft losing, and eventually through conviction of the Holy Spirit that my job is to build others up.

     A few strong friendships growing up served to lift me out of the other mire sufficiently to get out of grade school and  into Bible college without any serious mishap. All of those came through church and various other activities, no public school involved. Who knew highly educated teachers could sometimes be wrong? :)

Friday, January 27, 2012

No Pressure

     I walked into my room a few evenings ago to find a workbook on my bed. I forget the exact title, but it was something along the lines of "Finding Purpose in Your Life." I leafed through it briefly to find various scripture in the margins, a lot of talk about discovering one's passion, and arbitrary fill-in-the-blank response sections. The writing was sort of geared for the high school junior or senior struggling to take the next step. A gift from my mother. Ouch.

     Everyone will tell you--in my case, especially my parents--there's no pressure. I'm young, there's no time limit, I don't need to know exactly what I'm going to do. In fact, I hear that it doesn't matter what I choose in the end because my folks will love me no matter what and are already proud of me. I suspect what they tell me is all true. I think after the initial shock of me deciding I was going to take a year off from school to work, they're more or less prepared for anything. They're wrong though; there's a ton of pressure.

     It's easy to get so worked up just watching ads on television, or hearing the latest accomplishments of my [extremely academic] friends. Even in the ideas I've always had for myself of what my life would be like when I got to be this age give me this sense that I'm already behind. Of course, there will always be that crushing feeling as long as I'm trying to squeeze myself into a little box of what or where I "should" be by now. There is such freedom in recognizing the only life goal for me to pursue is that of holiness before God, and that it doesn't come through striving in my own power.

     In 1 Kings 3 Solomon sought wisdom before financial gain and was rewarded for valuing God's will so highly. Matthew 6 records Christ telling the disciples to seek first the kingdom of God and not to worry about their physical needs. I can't tell you how liberating it is to put all of my ambitions on an altar before the Lord and ask Him to everything up until only His desires remain. Only He knows how many times I've had to repeat that scene--it seems like new pictures of "success" crop up constantly. It's something I'd recommend to anyone though. Give up your own desires to Him.

1 Corinthians 2:9
      But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.