Monday, October 29, 2007

The Vikings and Hard Things

Vikings. If you lived in the 8th, 9th, or 10th century, that name would send a shiver down your spine. Dr. George Grant describes them as “big, blonde men, eighteen to twenty four inches taller than the average Brit, dragging their long boats across land on logs.” Imagine how terrifying that would have been. Borrowing the analogy from Dr. Grant, it would be like hobbits against orcs – peaceful villagers against huge, merciless beasts. Close your eyes for a little while and think of the terror that would give you: a man maybe two feet taller than you, huge and armed, running through your village – and not just one, but as many as fifty!
The Vikings were pagan until somewhere around 995, when one of their kings converted to Christianity. Coming from Scandinavia and parts of France, they were warrior-like men, raiding country villages and taking gold, silver, gems, and anything else they might find of value, perhaps a few slaves if they had room, then burning the village to the ground. Eventually the Vikings became a bit more sophisticated and didn’t burn the villages, and even later on, they settled in the places they raided.

But why did these Norsemen go pillaging, or, as they called it, on a Viking?

First, they lived in a primogeniture society. The firstborn son would receive everything when the father died, and the other sons would get nothing. Sometimes the firstborn would offer his brothers some of his inheritance, but to accept it was to be shamed. This forced the younger sons to go out and make a living for themselves. In a land where farming was hard, how was that possible? One had to leave the country or find a different trade. Thus, many went on a Viking. When they returned, they would most likely be rich enough to settle and perhaps begin to build a family.

Secondly, manhood rituals caused them to be fierce. Their primary god was named Thor, and the men strove to be like him. Thor was a warrior, and so were they. Boys would play rough games, and many were dangerous – like when one boy would hold a bolder and the rest would try to knock him over and crush him! For their coming of age, they would be blindfolded, taken out into the wilderness, then bound and left there. He had two choices: die, or find a way to make it back to the village. The lifestyle of the Vikings emphasized being fierce, strong, and warrior-like, so when put in a situation where one had to be aggressive, they did not know how to respond in another way.

Finally, many were exiled. Because of their wild and almost violent lifestyle, Vikings would often be exiled. When any matter of law came up, they would wait until the meeting of the Althing/Ting and decide the fate of the offender then. The worst punishment was exile. This did not necessarily bring about more raids, rather settling elsewhere – Erik the Red was not some great Viking who decided to go try to plunder some ice-covered land called Greenland. No, he was exiled for killing a family. A good thing about exiles, though, was that it provided more opportunities for younger sons – new places would be discovered, and the sons would have more opportunities for making a living elsewhere.

There is something else the Vikings, though. They did hard things. Quoting Alex and Brett Harris of The Rebelution, “Unlike the Romans, who used galley slaves to row their great warships, the Vikings took full responsibility for this strenuous activity. This tells us two things: 1) the Vikings didn’t feel that rowing was beneath them—they pursued competence in every area pertaining to their success, and 2) they were seriously ripped. No wonder the people of Europe were afraid of these guys—their muscles were moving twenty-ton boats through the water!”
Do hard things according to the Vikings. It almost seems funny how we think about these Viking warriors as people who took pleasure in raiding. Perhaps a few did. It was an easy way to get rich quickly (“A Viking’s Guide to Getting Rich Quick – Raid!”). In a sense, though, it was necessary. No, I’m not saying that if you’re not going to inherit anything you need to go out and take silver and gold from your neighbors. The Vikings could have done it differently. What I’m saying is that the Vikings were not people who were scared of work or doing hard things. They did incredibly hard things by rowing their own ships and pulling these many-ton boats across land on logs. Imagine being a young man during that time – all the things you were expected to do before you came of age!
Our society in has fallen so much. I look at my teenage neighbors and often I see people who don’t care about their future. Sure, they may want a college degree, a good job and maybe a family. But if they want a good future, they need to work hard for it now. They think life during their teenage years is all about partying and forgetting about the time of adulthood ahead. I fear that if I acted like that, I would reach adulthood and start failing. I’d be thinking, “I wish I could go re-live my teen years, I’d have done things differently if I had known this was expected of me!”
How different would the world be if we prepared more for being an adult before it actually happened? Would it be more peaceful? Less suicide? Less abortion?
How can we, as youth change the world?
I seem to have gotten off topic here. I’ve gone from Vikings to hard things to youth. It all fits together. Most of the time, the coming of age for boys was at fourteen. At fourteen, they’d be left in the wilderness to find their way home by using the stars. I couldn’t do that. So much was expected out of them at so young. People make up excuses by saying, “But they lived shorter lives back then. And they didn’t have technology like compasses and GPS’s to find their way back.” We shouldn’t make up excuses like that. Yes, they lived shorter lives. So don’t think about how much more time we have to party, think about how much more time we have to tell our non-Christian friends about Christ. Yes, they didn’t have compasses or GPS’s, but we don’t need compasses, GPS’s, spellcheckers, and calculators if we’d only work hard enough to learn how to do things without them! Instead of saying “I’m not a math person,” work harder at math and become better at it – excel in it. It only takes a little bit of hard work. You’re not going to explode.

People think aliens built the pyramids. Why? Most of the time, I think it’s because they don’t believe it’s possible for humans to do something like that. In this day and age, with so much fancy machinery, we find it hard to comprehend how men could chisel out these blocks and push/pull them to the top of a pyramid. But we shouldn’t underestimate our abilities as humans.
Push your limits. Do hard things. Reach for the highest you can. Live to glorify God. Don’t think there will be more time later. You could die tomorrow. Live today as if you’ll die tonight. Don’t say your life will change when you’re an adult. Many people have said that, and they don’t. More excuses are made, and maybe eventually they forget.
We need to make a difference in our society by changing it. We won’t do that by sitting around all day flipping through TV channels or surfing the internet. We need to get out there and do hard things – whether it’s just reading your Bible every morning, resisting the temptation to get online before your homework is done, not practicing an instrument because it’s “too hard,” or something bigger like going to college or building a rocket.

We can do it with God’s help.
Take a lesson from the Vikings. Do hard things when you’re young, build habits you’ll keep until you’re old. Build up strength in the Lord and be fierce in fighting the devil.
Set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.
Don’t let people think you can’t do something because you’re young.
Show them that you can do hard things for the glory of God!



Junior (Dave): They're big, I'm little
They go, I twiddle
Why can't little guys do big things too?
You're big! I'm little.
My head only comes to your middle
But I say little guys can do big things too!

Archibald (King Saul): Yes, but Goliath, he’s...

Junior: He's big! But God's bigger!
And when I think of Him, that's when I figure
With His help, little guys can do big things too!

Archibald: Oh, I see what you're saying!
Alright, I understand, now let's suppose that this is true
You still look rather wimpy, but I know what we can do!
Just step behind the curtain, it will only take a minute
There's a closet in the corner, and you'll like what I've got in it!
You'll find my royal armor there, don't dally, put it on!
Yes, now you'll look much bigger when the battle lines are drawn.
One more thing, I think - that's right, pick up my royal sword
It's a big one, and a beauty - the best you could afford!
Once you've got it all together, I think you will agree
You're bound to do much better if you try to look like me!

Junior: I think I should just be plain old me.

Archibald: Yes, but, have you seen Goliath? He's ... he's ...

Junior: He's big! But God's bigger!
And when I think of Him, that's when I figure
With His help, I know I can do big things!
With His help, little guys can do big thing too!

- Big Things Too ~ Veggietales

Saturday, October 27, 2007

YHWH, Pause, and my Weekend.

I got a lotta stuff to put up. It's been a busy weekend, but I've still managed to keep up with everything.

Thursday we had dance, then sewing, then we were home for a little over an hour and then we were off to youth group... to which almost everyone was late because one of the roundabouts was closed off, so we had loads of traffic.

Friday after Church mom was in the library so we didn't get home until 1:30 or 2. I worked on a puzzle and got my guitar all ready for Submerge practice, then we left for Volleyball. Submerge wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Mitch was a real help, getting me all set up cuz I had no clue what to do, and also helping me with chords I didn't know. It went pretty well, I didn't do as badly as I thought I would, but I only know 1 of the 4 songs we'll be playing on Thursday. Should be okay, though, as long as I know all the chords and have the transitions down, picking up strumming should be fairly easy.

BananaBint sent me an email that I found really interesting, and she said I could re-post it here:
[We watched a video] called "Breathe." Let me just summarize it for
So this guys is in a train station and he's talking. And first he
talks about God's name. Did you know that the word LORD (in English)
is translated to Yahweh (in Hebrew). But in Bible times, the Lord's
name was not pronounced. Why? Because it was made up of the letters
(this sounds so much better if I say it, but I'll do my best with just
typing) yah ha va ha. (Sometimes pronounced Yaveh.) Those were the
consonants in Hebrew. So the Hebrew scholars didn't think they should
or could be pronounced 'cause you can't have a word made up of

Now take a moment, look away from the computer, and listen to yourself

What do you hear? Yah ha va ha. Whenever ANYONE breathes, they
proclaim God's name. HOW COOL IS THAT?!?!

If someone were to say to you: "*take a breath* There is no God *exhale
while talking*" this is what you would be hearing: Yah ha va ha. As I
said before, it really needs to be said instead of typed, so next time
I see you, remind me.

In both Hebrew and Greek the word for Spirit and the word for Breath
are the same. When we are filled with the Spirit, we are filled with
the breath of God. We can not live without the breath of God.
When a baby first comes into the world, what is the first thing it
does? Breathe. The first thing a baby does is proclaim God's name.
When someone dies, they STOP BREATHING. When we can no longer proclaim
God's name, we die.
So he went on to say that you can breathe in the Spirit, but exhale the
things that are not helping you grow in the LORD (Ya ha va ha) or are
hindering you from getting closer to Him.

Pause Week 4
Luke 4:9-12, Deuteronomy 6:16, Exodus 17.

Wrong is anything contrary to God's nature. One thing in common with mankind: we've all done wrong.

Summary of past talks:

Willingly deciding to accept a lie as the truth is like putting a blindfold on yourself, living in darkness. Light shows the truth of reality.
Too often we choose to live in a place without light, where people are encouraged to go deeper into darkness. Turn on the lights, see The Truth. See Jesus. We're scared of the dark, but our eyes our closed to the light that's really out there.
We live and breathe because God wills it.
We live in a world of death and hopelessness.

Luke 4:-12. What really is going on here?
Lie: God exists to make much of you. He's like a genie. We think of God as a genie too much. Don't ask what He cna do for us, rather what we can do for Him. Don't disguise selfishness with goodness (ie- quoting scripture).

Truth: We exist to make much of God and worship Him. Just because He exists, our lives should be exhausted in worshipping Him.

Deuteronomy 6:16 and Exodus 17 - Massah. Is God the kind of God who does whatever we ask Him to do? What should the Israelites' attitudes have been? They should have been thinking about the awesome acts of God in the past, declaring his awesomeness, being willing to die of thirst joyfully. In seeing God's greatness, we desire Him more and the temptation less.

The Bible is the light we need to change the darkness. It gives us God's character. It's God's rescue plan. Open your eyes to the light.

I have a post about the Vikings to put up, but I think I'll do that this evening or tomorrow, because it's really long.


Your love reaches out to me
Your grace has made a way to You
Made a way to You
Your word lives inside of me
Your truth is life to all to hear
Life to all who hear

We live for You
Live Your truth

May Your Kingdom come
And Your will be done
As we serve Your heart
Serve Your heart
Let salvation flow
As Your people pray
Lord we long for more
Long for more

In You death is overcome
No power can stand against Your Name
The power of Your Name
In faith we will rise to be
Your hands and feet to all the earth
Life to all the earth
- Kingdom Come ~ Hillsong (one of the two songs I can play for Submerge!)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

boB, the zoo-like thing...

Thursday there wasn't any dance, so I didn't go to sewing. I invited Karin to youth group, but she had a lot of homework... but really, really wants to come. Pray for her in that area...

Pause Week Three
Luke 4: 5-8; Deuteronomy 6:13
Big Idea:
At the Moment of tempation, let's learn to pause and remember there's always more at stake.

Temptation Number 2: What's really going on?
Satan surrounds Jesus with a lie. Puts it right there, right now, all around him.
Satan exercised the authority we gave him.
The goal was to get Jesus to want the lie more than the truth. We believe we can become like God, so we fall to temptation.
Satan shows his cards and reveals his heart and desire - he is a glory theif, doing anything he can to steal the glory of God.

Temptation 2: How does Jesus respond?
Fight Temptation with the Truth.
The Truth of who God is. God exposes us to the lies of temptation by revealing himself to us.
The Truth of what he's done. Remember what amazing things God has done in your life. The more we see of who God is, the more we see the decay of the world and the less desireable they become. Get out of the Matrix and into God. (Matrix point - we live in a world that's not real and we don't care, just that it tastes SO good. We live in a world full of death, though). It's like day old popcorn vs jello - we want the popcorn because we can't see how good the jello is. Fight temptation with what we really could have.
The Truth that only God is worthy of our worship. God is jealous for what is His alone, and He knows His glory is best for us. Only in worshipping God will we find true JOY.

John 14:6 is the way out of the Matrix.

We're tempting ourselves to worship ourselves. See the solution and believe.

Friday I got the Oboe, and when we got home I played on it some, but after 15 minutes my lips started loosing control, so I couldn't really play. After Volleyball (my serves are getting way better!), was Rachel's birthday party, which was fun. We played with boB backwards for a while, then had pizza and watched Fly Away Home. Good movie, I like it a lot. I got to hold boB for the whole movie, which was fun. The movie finished and we played the Pass it on Story game (where you write a sentence, then the next person draws a picture and hides your sentence. The next person writes a sentence of the picture and it continues like that... gets pretty funny). Daddy picked us up and we went home and went to bed.
Dan with boB. That snake is so cool.

We got Cait to touch boB. Twice. Yay, Cait.

Elisabeth and boB.

Stephanie held him for a little while...
It was so much fun to watch everyone's faces. I love boB. He's cool. Nate and I are begging daddy for a Ball Python now, and Cait "isn't gonna let that happen."

Saturday we went to the Sharjah Wildlife Center as a family. I couldn't bring my camera in, but I found a picture online of my favoritest animal ever... the sand cat.

The leopard was scary-looking, the cheetahs were gorgeous, the hyenas looked like big dogs... I enjoyed looking at all the snakes and found out what one of my beetles in my collection is... but the scorpions were just scary. There were some other cats, Gordon's Wild Cats or something like that, and they were pretty cute, too. One kept walking along the window ledge in the glass cage... then dropping down on the other side and getting back up again. Obsessive compulsive, we joked.
Here's a picture of one, actually :

Then there were these foxes...
Ruppell's Fox and Blanford's Fox:

In the afternoon I just practiced oboe. As of today, Monday, it's not going too badly. There are a few notes I'm having a good deal of trouble with, but maybe by the time I actually get to them I'll have blowing down better. I was going to record something for y'all, but I chose to do it too near the end of my practice, so my cheeks were tired, lips numb... so I didn't get past the first two notes without stopping.

I went biking this morning, right around 7:10. What I didn't know was that that's the time all the kids go to school. So I was getting all these weird looks from people who don't know we homeschool. By the time they left I'd decided I need a t-shirt that says, "I'm homeschooled. This is PE. Stop staring at me." Or something like that. Guess over here not too many people homeschool. Then Nate and I decided we should get loud speakers and chant Latin declensions just for fun. :)

I'm reading a book about Hitler. Thoughts on that up soon...

Cait and I finished watching Fiddler on the Roof last night. The ending always leaves me quiet. And I've had Sunrise, Sunset and Chavala stuck in my head all morning. I want Sunrise, Sunset played or sang at my wedding...


"...Little bird, little Chavala
Little Bird, Little Chavala
I dont understand whats happening today
Everything is all a blur
Gentle and kind and affectionate
The sweet little bird you were
Chavala, Chavala

Little Bird, Little Chavala
You were always such a pretty little thing
Everybodys favourite child
Gentle and kind and affectionate
The sweet little bird you were
Chavala, Chavala..."

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Blazing Center and Tolerance.

These are my notes from a John Piper series for youth, “The Blazing Center.” I suggest reading this with a Bible close at hand, there are lots of references to look up!

Session 1
John Piper’s Mission statement: To spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ.
What two things was God creating in John Piper during his teenage years?

1. A deep longing to be happy
The knowledge that God really loves God’s glory.

The universe was created to declare God’s glory. (Psalm 19:1)
The cross was for Jesus to bear our sins and demonstrate God’s righteousness. God’s glory wasn’t compromised in taking away our sin, He vindicated it by slaying His son.

If we don’t love the glory of God, we’re sinning.
We must seek God in order to be happy.

Session 2

The definition of love we came up with: 1 Corinthians 13; putting the highest good of others before our own. The world’s love is self-centered. One is selfless, the other is selfish.

  1. Jesus is coming to be glorified and marveled at (2 Thessalonians 1:10).
  2. A microscope makes tiny things look big. A telescope helps us see big things more clearly. We ought to magnify God like we are using a telescope.
  3. God alone will satisfy our soul most deeply for the longest period of time. Anything else wouldn’t be eternal satisfaction. God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. It is more loving for God to show his glory than to save us from suffering.
  4. John Piper’s definition of the world’s love – To be made much of. People who think that don’t know what love is! Real love is not making much of someone, love is doing whatever you have to do in order to enthrall someone with what will make them happy forever!

How is God’s zeal for his glory not loving? We are most satisfied when God is glorified – I know that for a fact.
We were not made for mirrors. We were made to look at amazing things.
John 17:24 says, “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.”
Conclusion: What’s best for us is to see God’s glory.
The pain of our lives can become the moment in which our joy becomes the greatest.

Session 3

    1. What is the central question in this series? Can God’s glory and our joy really be one?
    2. Why is it so important to begin with God’s glory? Until we feel and think God is central in the universe, we will distort everything to man-centeredness.
    3. How does Philippians 1:20-21 (as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain) support the statement, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him?” We want Christ to be honors in our lives. Christ is more satisfied in our death when we are satisfied in him in our dying.
    4. John Piper’s modification of the definition of hedonism: Rather than a life devoted to pleasure, hedonism is a life devoted to pleasure in God. This modification is important because without it we’d be devoted to pleasing ourselves.

    Let great things become springboards for God’s glory, and don’t idolize them. Jesus makes things like LotR look ridiculous because of his power.

    Session 4

    Evil: Forsaking God and doing other things (Jeremiah 2:9-13)
    Sin is exchanging God’s glory for something else.

    Eight Biblical Arguments for Christian Hedonism:

    1. God commands us to be happy and pursue our joy (Psalm 100:2, Philippians 4:4, Ps. 32:11)
    2. God threatens terrible things if we will not be satisfied (Deut. 28:47-8)
    3. The nature of faith teaches the pursuit of satisfaction in God. (Hebrews 11:6)
    4. The nature of evil teaches the pursuit of satisfaction in God (Jeremiah 2:11-12)
    5. The nature of conversion teaches the pursuit of satisfaction in God (Matthew 13:44)
    6. The nature of self-denial teaches the pursuit of satisfaction in God (John 12:24-25)
    7. The demand to love people in the Bible teaches the pursuit of satisfaction in God. (Acts 20:34-35).
    8. God is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in Him.

    Evil embraces frustration.
    Not serving God with gladness is a sin.
    The way to come to God is not to meet His needs, but ours.
    Jesus is the treasure of our life.
    Self-denial is denying yourself to have God.

    Session 5

    If you pursue your joy in God, you will be a loving person.
    You cannot be a loving person unless you pursue your joy in God.

    2 Corinthians 8:1-4, 8.
    Love is the overflow of abundant joy in God that meets the needs of others.
    Love originates in the grace of God and involves more than sheer willpower.
    Even in affliction and poverty, joy abounded (v.2)
    They gave more than they could out of love.

    1 Corinthians 13:3 – we need to have the right motive to love.
    The Bible commands emotion.

    Session 6

    More Biblical descriptions of love:
    2 Corinthians 9:7-8 – giving is loving if you are cheerful.
    The battle is not first at the level of behavior.
    The battleground is what makes you glad.
    Acts 20:35 – the most controversial word in this verse is “remember.” (it we can’t be motivated by the blessing of giving, Paul would be a bad teacher. It won’t contaminate our motives).
    You fight with this promise.
    Luke 14:12-14 – be motivated by the expansion of your joy as you draw other people into it.

    Get outside your comfort circle – shame often holds us back.
    For love’s sake say no to pornography – fight for a superior pleasure.
    Do something radical for the poor.
    Love will not happen without joy. Serving with joy gives an advantage. The battle is won by fighting for joy.

    Session 7

    All of us will experience suffering eventually.

    God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him especially when we maintain joy in Him in suffering.

    Love really shines as beautiful when you press on loving others even when it’s really heard and really costly.

    The theme of Hebrews is the sustaining power of joy in our suffering.

    i. Hebrews 10:32-34 – you have a better possession – his name is Jesus.

    ii. Hebrews 11:24-26 – the reproach of Christ is riches… because we are looking to the reward.

    iii. Hebrews 12:1-2 – How did Jesus survive the lashes? There was JOY set before him.

    iv. Hebrews 13:12-14 – here we have no lasting city.

    Make Christ your treasure so you will endure in faith to the end.

    “When we are suffering, we are taking up our crosses- where people die with nails through their hands and hang for three days for the birds to eat their eyes.”

    Session 8

    Giving up your life to save others, living on the cutting edge, is COOL!

    The Story of Jack Lucas:

    0N D-DAY PLUS ONE, Lucas and his team were making their way toward the Japanese airstrip on the plain northeast of Mount Suribachi. They had stopped to pound an enemy pillbox and had jumped for cover into one of two parallel trenches that led from it through the soft volcanic ash sand that covers the sulfurous island. To their surprise the Marines discovered "there were a11 these Japs in this other trench. Eleven of them. We opened fire. There wasn’t time to put your weapon to your shoulder. We just fired off hand.

    " My rifle jammed. I was looking down at my rifle trying to get the damned thing unjammed, and when I did I saw the grenades. I was the first to see them. I hollored ’grenades,’ and I dove for them.

    "I smashed my rifle butt against one and drove it into the volcanic ash, and fell on it, and pulled the other one under me. I was there to fight, and we were there to win. What you have to do you do to win. It was not in me to turn to run.

    "That volcanic ash and the good Lord saved me. If I’d been on hard ground that thing would have split me in two. There was just one explosion. One was all I could handle, and I had trouble handling that one. It blew me over on my back, and it punctured my right lung, but it never knocked me out." Lucas also sustained injuries to his thigh, neck, chin, and head.

    The rest of the team sprinted down the trench, turned and fired down the other. Lucas lay on his back, his right arm twisted so far underneath him he though it had been blown off. His mouth and throat filled with blood, and he might have drowned if he had lost consciousness. He kept moving his left hand to show that he was alive. "That," he says, "was the only thing I could move." A Marine from another unit came up and Lucas, barely recognizable as an American, was afraid he would be shot, but the solider called for a Corpsman.

    While the medic worked on him, a Japanese soldier popped up from a hole in the trench. The Corpsman shot him. A mortar barrage walked up to the edge of the trench and delayed the stretcher-bearers. As they hurried off, one stumbled and dropped his end. Lucas split his head open on a rock. "I looked up at him and smiled to let him know 1 knew that what he was trying to do, and I appreciated it. I could see he was exhausted."

    On the evacuation beach a Corpsman covered Lucas with a poncho for shelter from the elements. "I thought, ’Oh, Lord, I’m dead,’" he says. "Of course that morphine took hold, and I passed out." The broken, bloody, shrapnel-riddled soldier the stretcher-bearers hustled away had been 17 for less than a week.

    “Maybe," a surgeon said, "he was too young, and too tough to die." That was offshore aboard the hospital ship Samaritan, when it began to look as if Lucas would live. Before the doctors were done, he’d go under the knife 22 times. There are still about 200 pieces of scrap iron in him, some the size of .22-caliber bullets. Lucas sets off airport metal detectors…


    We are living for something 10,000 times more valuable than winning the Second World War. We should be like Jack Lucas, ready to die in the place of others, but for the cause of Christ.
    Suffering is not only the price you will have to pay in the pathway of obedience sustained by joy in God, suffering is also designed by God to intensify y our joy in Him and refine us like gold. During suffering, we’re meant to fall into God.

    “God is in control, we don’t know all the answers. God knows, and someday we’ll know. Because of their deaths, God will be glorified.” – Mr. Backstrom, after 3 of his sons were killed by a drunk driver.


    My notes don't do the series justice. The Blazing Center is a GREAT series, and if you can find it, I highly recommend you watching/listening to it.

    A video of us playing Ninja... it's not a very good video of it, sadly.

    Daddy brought an oboe reed and oboe books back from Australia today. He had a flight there and found them at a bookstore. Friday we'll get the oboe from the H's. I can't wait. *dances*

    Before Eid we watched a video called "Bluestate: Tolerance For All" as a family. It was from the SAICFF (San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival) 2005, and was set in 2010, in a "bluestate," where there was supposed "tolerance for all." However, in order to achieve tolerance, the government decided to be intolerant of Christianity. It was sad watching it, and the whole time a single question was nagging at my mind: How long will it be before the US really becomes like that?" And it scared me.

    It's like saying there are no absolutes. In saying that, you're saying an absolute. In tolerance for all, there are somethings that won't be tolerated in order to have "tolerance." The definition of tolerance:

    tolerance: the acceptance of the differing views of other people, e.g. in religious or political matters, and fairness toward the people who hold these different views.

    Watching that movie made me think, "yeah, right, tolerance..." I pray the US will never fall to such things.


    Tuesday, October 16, 2007


    Well, I'm back from Burami, was back a few days ago.

    Thursday after Irish dance I went to the C's for sewing. I finished putting my platypus quilt piece together, but it still needs its background. I think he's adorable. Then we packed up the car and drove up to Burami, Oman, which is about two hours away from where we are. We had fun in the car, especially after dark when we could finally eat... Ramadan wasn't quite over yet at that point, they hadn't seen the moon. Anyway, we got there and found my parents, then other people and started saying hello and catching up.

    Friday morning at breakfast we saw the Y's for the first time, and then the "younger group," Me, Hannah C., Heather, Nadia, and Grace, had nursery duty until 11:45, when the older group (Cait, Sarah, Joy, Lydia, and Elisabeth) would take over and we would get to do the first session of The Blazing Center, a series for youth by John Piper. (notes up later!) After lunch, we had free time, in which we played "ninja," a very fun, insane game, and talked. We had two more sessions before dinner, and then one after, then played games and talked until we had to leave the "youth" villa at 10. The C's, Cait, and I went up to the stage out back of the hotel and danced and talked for a while.

    Saturday was basically the same as Friday, not too much was different, but we had to prepare our drama to perform for the adults the next day. We played a lot of mind games, such as "The Land of Nod," "Shopping Mall," and all those other games that make you really really frustrated at times. In the evening we worked on t-shirts, then walked around and talked with the C's again.

    Sunday the younger group was on early nursery duty again, and after that we did our drama for the adults (went really well), and then we played games and started the ABC Movie until lunch, then it was packing up and we left. The Y kids came with us, as their parents had a few meetings and things over the next few days, and the P's were staying at our house that night because they had an early flight the next morning. We went to Festival City for dinner, then came back and talked until bed time.

    Monday we talked with the Y's in the morning, went swimming, and then to volleyball. In the evening we watched Sense and Sensibility before bed.

    Today Samuel taught us how to play squash, we played Kent, and walked around the compound looking like a bunch of idiots. :P
    Want proof?

    I was taking the pictures.

    Playing Bus Stop... Samuel to Grace: "Can I step on your foot?"

    Abigail.... I believe she was 8 months, one of the most adorable babies ever. A bit hard to put down for a nap, though.

    Joshua. He has HUGE eyes, and he and his brother are both really cute... though Bryan likes playing Star Wars and trying to kill me. :)

    Tim and his sister Esther. I had no idea they were siblings until Sarah told me. Tim is my little friend... he's very ticklish, and will escape being tickled by climbing onto my back.

    Peace... VERY like most African women in our Church, she's extremely sweet and calls you "Auntie" and gives you kisses. She asked me where the spider in Little Miss Muffet came from. :)

    Hopefully I'll have my notes from The Blazing Center up soon, it's back to school tomorrow, though, so who knows how long it'll take me to get on here.


    Tuesday, October 9, 2007


    Eid is coming up.
    But at least a few of you probably don't know exactly what Eid is... I'd define it as a Muslim holiday, and this one, Eid al Fitr, is celebrating the end of Ramadan, the month in which the Muslims fast from sunrise until sunset. Living in an Arab country, it means we can't eat or drink outside during that time, but it's not too bad.
    Last night was the Night of Power, and I meant to post before then, but forgot. The Night of Power is when the Muslims stay up all night praying, instead of doing a certain number every night during Ramadan. They say that their prayers during this time are worth a LOT of other prayers, and it's a powerful night because they believe that this night is when the "angel" came to Muhammed.
    We had a discussion about this last year at one of our Desert Challenge seminars. The Devil can masquerade as an angel of light, so that was probably what Muhammed saw. And, Muhammed went home in disbelief, and his wife convinced him it was a message from God.

    And with Eid comes our yearly conference. This year is going to be fun, even though it'll be more scheduled for the youth than last year. We don't have to help out with the kids at all, though, and we get to work only part of the mornings in the nursery. We're doing a DVD thing by John Piper, I believe it's called The Blazing Center.

    But I'm scared for after Eid. That's when we're supposed to call to make an appointment for another ultrasound... if you don't remember why, it's cuz we thought I had appendicitis back in the end of August. It hasn't really bothered me again, sometimes it'll hurt just a little for a short time, then be gone (the other day I actually got a little scared, my upper thigh was hurting as well, and it was coming and going...), but nothing enough to get me really worried.
    I posted an update on the Rebelution forums, and one guy really encouraged me by posting Psalm 27:
    Psalm 27
    Of David
    1 The LORD is my light and my salvation—
    whom shall I fear?
    The LORD is the stronghold of my life—
    of whom shall I be afraid?

    2 When evil men advance against me
    to devour my flesh,
    when my enemies and my foes attack me,
    they will stumble and fall.

    3 Though an army besiege me,
    my heart will not fear;
    though war break out against me,
    even then will I be confident.

    4 One thing I ask of the LORD,
    this is what I seek:
    that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
    all the days of my life,
    to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
    and to seek him in his temple.

    5 For in the day of trouble
    he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
    he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle
    and set me high upon a rock.

    6 Then my head will be exalted
    above the enemies who surround me;
    at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy;
    I will sing and make music to the LORD.

    7 Hear my voice when I call, O LORD;
    be merciful to me and answer me.

    8 My heart says of you, "Seek his face!"
    Your face, LORD, I will seek.

    9 Do not hide your face from me,
    do not turn your servant away in anger;
    you have been my helper.
    Do not reject me or forsake me,
    O God my Savior.

    10 Though my father and mother forsake me,
    the LORD will receive me.

    11 Teach me your way, O LORD;
    lead me in a straight path
    because of my oppressors.

    12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
    for false witnesses rise up against me,
    breathing out violence.

    13 I am still confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the LORD
    in the land of the living.

    14 Wait for the LORD;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the LORD.

    On a bit of a lighter note...
    Other than Lord of the Rings, during my "vacation," I read a book called Bread Upon the Waters I would not recommend it to people under 13, but it's a really good book, set in Poland during World War II. I read it in one afternoon, it was so good I just couldn't put it down.

    Also, Nanowrimo2007 is coming up! And I plan on doing it again. Last year I reached the 50,000 word goal, but this year will probably be harder, however my plot is already more devloped than last year's (last year I found out about Nanowrimo on October 31, and the "National Novel Writing Month" starts on November 1...). I'm excited.

    The STS-12o Discovery is set to depart earth on October 23rd. Please be praying for the crew and the technical people, and everyone important involved in getting the STS-120 on its way to the space station and safely back.
    In Kazakhstan they're preparing to launch something else from the Cosmodome, they launch tomorrow, actually. Expedition 16 is its name.

    I also wanted to re-state some things I'd said about the Rebelution before. Rather, re-state my definition of it. Bananabint and I had a long conversation over email (and I don't think we're done yet...), and I thought I'd paste my new definition here:
    "Teens these days are not at all what they used to be.
    I quote from Alex's talk - "12 year old Dave was expected to return a ship
    to America. We are expected to return our pillows, sheets, and blankets to
    our beds. Dave succeeded. How many of you did this morning?"

    The majority of youth today give up too easily and think that the teen years
    are a time to be crazy and forget about the hard things in life. But what
    the teen years really are are a time to prepare for the future, so you're
    ready for what's coming. Not to give up."

    One last thing... lately Cait has been browsing through old America's Got Talent and Britain's Got Talent videos on YouTube, and as a family we really enjoyed the group Celtic Spring. And guess what? They're a Christian Homeschooling family (I think they may be Irish Catholic, but not sure)! This is the link:
    And I'll try to get the video embeded, not sure if it'll work.

    Watching them makes me want to dance... and it makes my light jig (complicated compared to what Nate and Candace are doing), look easier than the partner dance the younger class did last week.


    Sunday, October 7, 2007

    The Change is here...

    I've left a comment on your blog if you have one, my blog name is now officially changed, the link is now
    If you guys have any ideas about a different picture for up top, tell me, I'm not too pleased with the one I made.

    My week was good. I came to a rather lengthy conclusion, but here it is anyway:

    I am online to encourage and strengthen believers, be encouraged and strengthened myself, and try to be a light to nonbelievers around me there.
    I will only go online when my schoolwork, chores, and music practice are complete, dishes don't need to be done, and there isn't something I would like to do later.
    When I'm online I'll remember that my teen years are to prepare for my future, and I'll remember that anything I post I should be willing to let mom and dad see.
    I will allow myself 2 hours maximum of internet time, and I will use it wisely, with no aimless browsing or websurfing. Internet is "illegal" on Frdays, perhaps email or writing, but no more.
    Writing on the computer should not take too much time out of my day, and tehre's always my blue notebook. While I'm writing or doing school, I won't go online, no matter how much self control it takes.
    When I wake up, I will do my devotions, perhaps go biking, then at 8 I will start school. After breakfast, dishes must be done. When I have finished school I'll do my chores and practice music, and then the internet is an option.
    I will not go online after 10PM, and even on Saturdays I should review test material for school and read a little before I go online.
    I am online to glorify God, and if I do not see that happening, things will need to change.

    So that's that. Nothing too exciting happened this week, had a long Thursday, with Irish dance in the morning, then we went to the H's to pick up Sarah, to the C's to do sewing while Nate and Candace had music lessons... then we went home, showered, and had a little while before the R's picked us up for NYPE... which was incredible. It was mostly just about how small we are and how big God is... just a video of a man talking and showing pictures from space. I'm pretty sure that this is the DVD, and I hope so, because I really want to get it.

    Some of the pictures:
    The X-Structure... or a cross in space?
    This was taken by the Voyager, and the pale blue dot... is earth. Don't see it? Look here

    The night was really hard for me, though, kinda, because recently I've been wanting to go to space... and was having trouble knowing if that was something God wanted me to pursue. And this didn't really help, because it just made me want to go out there even more. Now I know my place is on this earth... and who knows, maybe I'll marry an astronaut.

    To keep myself busy, I read The Lord of the Rings again, and this time a whole lot of "articles" were triggered... my favorite here:

    A Man of Quality

    Re-reading the books I realized how different Faramir in the movie is from book Faramir. I think David Wenham did a wonderful job playing Faramir, but as many places say, I “just can’t get over the way Faramir acted in TTT.”

    Reading through it all again, I remembered how my friend will sometimes talk about “my Faramir,” who someday I will meet, and I thought about how so many character qualities that Faramir has are ones I want for my husband someday:

    Most of my favorite quotes from LotR are all from Faramir, and they show his character, his quality, as Sam would say.

    "Patience!” Said Faramir, but without anger. “Do not speak before your master, whose wit is greater than yours. And I do not need any to teach me of our peril. Even so, I spare a brief time, in order to judge justly in a hard matter. Were I as hasty as you, I might have slain you long ago. For I am commanded to slay all whom I find in this land without the leave of the Lord of Gondor. But I do not slay man or beast needlessly, and not gladly even when it is needed.

    When Faramir is telling Frodo of Boromir’s death, Frodo asks

    “Do you mean that he is dead and that you knew it? You have been trying to trap me in words, playing with me? Or are you now trying to snare me with a falsehood?”

    “I would not snare even an orc with a falsehood,” said Faramir.


    “But fear no more! I would not take this thing, if it lay by the highway. Not were Minas Tirith falling in ruin and I alone could save her, so, using the weapon of the Dark Lord for her good and my glory. No, I do not wish for such triumphs, Frodo son of Drogo.”

    “Neither did the council,” said Frodo, “Nor do I. I would have nothing to do with such matters.”

    “For myself, said Faramir, “I would see the White Tree in flower again in the courts of the kings, and the Silver Crown return, and Minas Tirith in peace: Minas Anor again as of old, full of light, high and fair, beautiful as a queen among other queens: not a mistress of many slaves, nay, not even a kind mistress of willing slaves. War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend: the city of the Men of NĂºmenor; and I would have her loved for her memory, her ancientry, her beauty, and her present wisdom. Not feared, save as men may fear the dignity of a man, old and wise.”

    “Now’s a chance to show your quality,” says Sam…

    “So it seems,” said Faramir, slowly and very softly, with a strange smile. “So that is the answer to all the riddles! The One Ring that was thought to have perished by the world. And Boromir tried to take it by force? And you escaped? And ran all the way – to me! And here in the wild I have you: two Halflings, and a host of men at my call, and the Ring of Rings. A pretty stroke of fortune! A chance for Faramir, Captain of Gondor, to show his quality! Ha!” He stood up, very tall and stern, his grey eyes glinting….

    …But Faramir sat down again in his chair and began to laugh quietly, and then suddenly became grave again. “Alas for Boromir! It was too sore a trial!” He said. “How you have increased my sorrow, you two strange wanderers from a far country, bearing the peril of men! But you are less judges of Men than I am of Halflings. We are truth-speakers, we men of Gondor. We boast seldom, and then perform, or die in the attempt. ‘Not if I found it on the highway would I take it,’ I said. Even if I were such a man as to desire this thing, and even though I knew not clearly what this thing was when I spoke, still I should take these words as a vow, and be held by them. But I am not such a man. Or I am wise enough to know that there are some perils from which a man must flee.”


    “… and you are a lady beautiful, I deem, beyond even the words of the Elven-tongue to tell. And I love you. Once I pitied your sorrow, but now, were your sorrowless, without fear or any lack, were you the blissful Queen of Gondor, still would I love you.”

    A man who will hold what he believes over what he is commanded to do – listening to the higher power rather than men.
    A man who values truth to the point he would not lie even to the foulest of enemies.
    A man who knows he must protect those he holds dear, and will do it to death.
    A man who can withstand temptation. No one is perfect, but we all have the ability to ward off temptation when it comes.
    A man who is humble.
    A man who keeps his word even when it may go against what he desires.
    A man who does not desire power.
    A man who knows when to flee temptations in life.
    A man who loves that which is beautiful.

    A man of quality.

    I think that's all. *nods*