Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Dear Mary.... Love, God.

I wrote this on Christmas Eve after the Christmas Eve service. I didn't fall asleep until almost midnight, not from excitement, but from sheer joy... I've been feeling so much joy lately, and I want it to keep going and going and going all year around. That's my Christmas prayer for this year, joy in me and in the world...

Anyway, this was partly inspired by an episode of Down Gilead Lane and partly by Mr. P's message on Christmas Eve... I used the song "Mary Did You Know?" and Luke 1:26-55.
"My Dear Mary,

Do not be afraid. I have a special message for you, my child. These things may sound strange, but be comforted - I am in control and have good plans for your future.
I know you are "only" a fourteen-year-old girl living in the small town of Nazareth. Yet you will fulfill the words of the prophet Isaiah,
"Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
And they shall call his name Immanuel."
Do not fear, Mary, I know you are a virgin and betrothed to be married. The Holy Spirit will come upon you and you shall bear a son. My power will overshadow you, and this is how the child will be born. He shall be called Holy, the Son of God.
I know it does not seem possible, but she who was called barren has conceived. Your relative Elizabeth, even in her old age, is in her sixth month. And her son shall prepare the way for the Son of God.

Mary, did you know, that this will bring you shame? Did you know that you might raise this child on your own? That your husband and family might be shamed and reject you? Did you know you could be stoned? Mary, did you know, this could bring great pain upon you? That your baby boy, has walked where angels trod?
Mary, did you know, that this son of yours, will deliver you? That He will rule the nations? That you will be embarrassed by his teaching? That you will watch him die before your very eyes, and you will bury him?
Did you know, your son will be worshiped? That he will bear the weight of the world on his shoulders? That he will walk with the Lord? That he will walk on water, give sight to the blind? Mary, did you know, your son is the Great I AM?

Behold, My Child, you have found favor with God. I have chosen one unlike the prophets like Moses and Abraham to fulfill prophecies and my perfect plan.
You have faith, Mary.
Will you believe nothing is impossible with God?
Will you remember that I have done great things to you?
Will you magnify the Lord and rejoice in your savior?
Will you remember that I have chosen you for my purposes?
That I love you?

Mary, did you know, this child you bear will break your heart and make it whole?

Have you such faith that you will be my servant, even through this?
Remember, Mary, nothing is impossible with God.

I love you.

- God."

Christmas night we went out into the desert, which was fun, although a little cold, which made it hard for me to run, so Sarah and I talked and sipped hot chocolate.

Wednesday the R's (including Nathan, back from uni for break) came over, and we talked, watched The Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacob and played Apples to Apples.

Today (Thursday), we went to the beach in the morning. I waded in the water some, played volleyball, and Octopus. It was fun, but rather tiring. The R's (whole family!) came over for dinner in the evening, and we played games and Rachel and I went outside for a while.

Apart from that, I've just been loading songs onto my ipod and reading some.
Saturday is Desert Challenge! Yay!


Philip: Who's this from?
Me: It's from orange.
Philip: Should I open it first or throw it in the fire first?

Me: Nobody wants our subs...
Sarah: We must be scaring them away.
Me: Yeah, we're scary. RAWR!
... now whenever we serve at volleyball or someone looks at us strangely, we comment on the fact that "We are scary." :P

Friday, December 21, 2007

Life and Yo-Yo Ma.

Where have all my commenters gone? :P

Thursday night was the Christmas party/banquet at Oasis. Originally it had been casual, but a lot of us "rebelled" and sent out a message that it was semi-formal like it always is. Leah wanted to do my hair, so I let her play around with it... we had candle dance practice before the banquet, and then we helped set up, moving chairs and tables and couches around, setting candles out all over the place... we played a few games before dinner, then near the end of the group White Elephant they needed helpers over making Subs for dinner, so Sarah and I went. We buttered a few pieces of bread, then when people started coming through, we put them together for them. Then Pastor W. read a poem by John Piper. It was called Paul, Malach, and Tabitha. After that we sang Christmas carols and cleaned up some before going home.

Friday after Church Sarah H. came over, and we watched Wallace and Gromit: A Close Shave, then sat on the couch cross-stitching for a while. Volleyball was okay, my serves are getting better, but my wrists are tiring really quickly, so after 4 serves it hurts to much to keep going with that hand. We played Bible tag (like TV tag, but with Bible names, etc...), Pit, and Spoons afterwards, then we came home.

Saturday was rather boring, we basically just sat around cleaning, wrapping presents, doing a few other things that needed to be done.

Sunday I made Molasses Crinkles and got ready for Well Group in the afternoon. Well Group was Formal; I wore one of mommy's old dresses, we were supposed to have one shabby thing, though, to remind us we're sinners and to keep us humble even in getting all dressed up... so I wore mismatched socks. :P We sang Christmas carols, played Four On A Couch, held baby Luke, ate, revealed Secret Santas, and then played mind games. Daddy was late picking me up, then he was sitting around talking with Mr. H, so we played Mad Dash and Pit until we left.

Monday well... originally, Daddy had Christmas off. Buuuut his flight sims got canceled so he's on call for Christmas. So spur of the moment on Sunday night we decided to do Christmas on Christmas Eve. So that's what we did! It was a lot of fun, and then in the evening we went to the F's for dinner, singing carols, and playing games before the Christmas Eve service... which was amazing. If the Church puts it up on their website, I'm definitely downloading it.
To avoid further questioning, I got:
- An I-pod.
- The Mission Soundtrack
- WOW Worship (Yellow)
- A Precious Moments Snowflake Ornament.
- Jennie B. And the Pilot (It's a story on CD...)
- An Itunes Gift Card
- Money from my grandparents
- Pajamas

- Alone, Yet Not Alone
- They Loved To Laugh (one of the best books... EVER).
- The Wedding Dress
- The Shepherd's Cross

Movies: (these are the family's)
- Bride And Prejudice
- The Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacob (GO RABBI JACOB!)
- The Best of Victor Borge
- Bugsy Malone
And there's one more I don't know the name of... Tim and someone... they're comedians.

This weekend I "discovered" Yo-Yo Ma. I'd heard about him before (Philip is Chinese-American and plays the cello... just like Yo-Yo Ma. And Yo-Yo Ma sounds JUST like Mr. H, Philip's dad). Anyway, he's an amazing cellist... and makes me want to play cello even more.
He's not just a good cellist, though... it's kinda hard to explain, feeling it myself sometimes, but it's almost as if he becomes a part of the music, and really FEELS it, not just plays it. I think that's what makes him so different from the rest of the really good musicians.
At the end of this summer I was trying to decide on a new instrument to pick up, and basically my conversation with my mom went like this: "Hey mom, Can I play oboe?" "Ky, no." "Can I play harp?" "Too expensive." "How 'bout cello?" "Cello's too big." At that point I was about to start wailing. :P Then we found out the Hans have an oboe... so I got to do oboe... though I still want to do cello.

I have an amazing experience I want to share with you... Okay, so I've held babies before. This time was different... no idea why. I held Luke W. after Church today. He's one of the most adorable babies I've ever seen. To hold his tiny little body in my arms, watch him yawn... to marvel at the awesomeness of the gift of life. I just looked down at him and didn't want to let go. It also reminded me of the frailty of life... it's so small, so easily broken. But it's so beautiful and wonderful at the same time.

Pastor W.: I gave him a mohawk this morning so he'd look cool, but everyone says he still looks cute.

Kenneth: *with mayonnaise and ketchup with a hotdog* Oh, wait, I'm supposed to eat this.

Jonny: May I have the ketchup?
Me: Eew.
Jonny: *putting ketchup on his hot dog*
Me: Eeeeew... that's disgusting.
Jonny: Mmm, more ketchup.
Me: Yuck.
Jonny: You don't like ketchup, do you?
Me: Nope.

Cait: I can't figure this out, I typed it out right...
Me: Cait, that's a three, not an E.
Cait: What? I thought it was a backwards E.

More soon... I shoulda gotten this post out sooner, but it's getting REALLY long and I hate really long posts.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

God, Hold on Just a Minute.

Daphne is a new believer that goes to our youth group. Her parents really don't like her being a Christian, but thankfully they let her go to Oasis and Well Group, and sometimes Church. This past week she was at Church and came and sat with us. The thing I want to say, though, is that her simple faith challenged me so much... to me my faith is real, but I often am uneager and think of reading my Bible and praying just as another task to fulfill every day. As I watched Daphne, though, I felt so ashamed... I've seen God do amazing things in my life, for many years, but the only way I thank Him is by spending time for my devotions in the morning doing the Rubix's Cube?
I think Denis nailed it at My Story Night, when he said, "God has done so much for us, but we tell him, 'hold on God, five more minutes, let me finish this level of my video game.' Half an hour later, 'oops, God, I forgot to do my math homework. I'll get to you soon, though...' Imagine if God said, 'hold on a minute, Ky, before I can give you courage to go talk to Karin, I have to settle some business with the angels.'"
God has given us so much... so why don't we give Him our all in return? He lets us live, gives us life - one word from Him and we'd be dead.
So give Him your life... fully.
Give Him the glory... all of it.
Don't let the world take any, it doesn't deserve it. When we see God for who He really is, we'll see the world as what it is - a place full of death and decay... not worth a single minute except to save it.

Come they told me
A new born King to see,
Our finest gifts we bring
To lay before the King
So to honor Him
When we come.

Little Baby
I am a poor boy too,
I have no gift to bring
That's fit to give our King
Shall I play for you!
On my drum.

Mary nodded
The ox and lamb kept time
I played my drum for Him
I played my best for Him
Then He smiled at me
Me and my drum.
- The Little Drummer Boy (minus the "pa rum pum pum pum"s).

We have more than "pa rum pum pum pum"s to give Jesus... we have our lives, our hearts, souls, mind, strength...
I want all of me to be wholly His.
All of me.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A whole week...

Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday were not very exciting, just the usual school and WellGroup, Monday night I worked on my sewing project some, but then the machine started acting up.

Wednesday can be summed up in this quote: "I have had a wonderful [day]. This wasn't it." Started out fine, geometry went well, so did Chemistry... then we went to a Charity Bazzar and were there for a while and got back and I still had music, my chores, reading, and doing all the things that I wanted to do... so I got kinda stressed out and was in a rush and basically everything went wrong for a while, until I got to music practice, which always makes everything better (as long as my oboe reeds cooperate). Surprisingly I still got a lot done - made a few Christmas gifts, and managed to get everything done except reading.
Things I learned: attempting screamo while singing "White Christmas" gives you a headache. It also makes Cait start laughing uncontrollably... or maybe that was my over-rated screeching... Why did I learn this?
Because Cait and I recorded this...
Don't worry, we're usually not QUITE that weird...

Thursday we didn't have dance, so we practiced the Candle Dance at the C's house, then ate lunch and had sewing. After sewing Elisabeth had a Wind Band concert that we went to before going to Oasis. We finished our Jesus of Nazareth series, so as soon as we're done with that in WellGroup, I hope to get my notes up from it. We had a Human Foosball Tournament, dividing up by suburb, and our suburb won. Afterwards we helped with take down, and a little hook on an umbrella (which was supposed to be for hooking parts of the umbrella together), hooked my toe... so it was bleeding for a while and a bit painful, but we wrapped it in paper towel and tape.

Friday I was going to do live Nativity at Church, but things didn't quite work out. Cait and Mommy did it, though. Volleyball was okay on my part... most of my serves were good (YES!), and I got a few good hits in, but most of them didn't go so well. After volleyball was the Annual Christmas Carol, which, like last year, was wonderful. The orchestra played the same version of Joy to the World (which I absolutely LOVE... it starts out with just the cello, then flutes join in, then saxophones, and then violins, finally the whole thing... absolutely gorgeous).

Saturday we were just at home, the R's came over for a little, while and then I think I was reading.

Sunday the Y's were here from Bahrain, and we were planning on going out to the desert, and we did, but never got very far because the other 4-wheel drive was a 4-wheeled 2-wheel drive (meaning the 4-wheel drive didn't work, so it wasn't strong enough to drive in sand). On the way home we got ice cream at the gas station and ran into Dragon Mart to get my Secret Santa gift for next week. Sarah came with me to Well Group, which went VERY well, I learned a lot... and I plan on scanning pages from my book rather than typing up notes, because it will work better.

Monday I solved the second layer of the Rubix's Cube, and almost got the third, but it screwed up. We went to Safa Park to Christmas carol, but before everyone got there, we were climbing around on a big netted-like thing and playing soccer and frisbee. Then we sang... 'twas fun.

Today (Tuesday) was a wee bit stressful, I was trying to finish school AND the Rubix's Cube at the same time... and I'm a rather task-oriented person, thus wanting to finish both before doing anything else...

Math book: Kimberly wants to make an angel food cake. Each cake uses 1 1/2 dozen eggs. If Kimberly has 6 dozen eggs, how many cakes can she make?
Nate: None. She doesn't have any flour. But if she DID... she still wouldn't be able to, because she doesn't have any sugar.

Elisabeth: It was cracked, and it continues to be cracked.

Everyone: Hi, Mr. and Mrs. P!
Denis: Yo, what up, dude?

Denis: I've figured out I can play [volleyball] with my hands in my pockets.

'Nother post soon.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Always, Forever and Ever

I know I usually don't post stories over here... but this one I had to.

Always, Forever and Ever - Lady Kyleian, December 2007

I sighed and leaned back in my chair to listen more closely to the Christmassy cello piece my brother was practicing. “Joy to the world, the Lord is come!” The notes seemed to sing, and the words of the familiar carol rang in my mind. Tilting my head slightly to the left, I gazed at the colorful lights of the Christmas tree through half-closed eyes, liking the star effect it gave them. Like it was every year, the Christmas tree was a tall evergreen, decorated with lights, tinsel, and ornaments from my childhood. One of our three cats, Crackle, lay curled up on the fleece blanket underneath the tree, her paw opening and closing around a small parcel, the only one under the tree. It messily wrapped, and the tag on it was written in a child’s hand. “For Rebecca,” it read. Immediately I had known who it was from, that handwriting could only be my little sister Bethany’s.

The cello stopped singing, and then he started playing another Christmas carol, this one low and somber. I picked up a pillow from the couch and threw it at him, begging him to change the music. Annoyed, he threw his music books down on the floor and began putting his cello away.

“I didn’t mean it like that,” I said.

“It wasn’t really helping anyway. It’s still there… not even music will help this time.”
“Do… do ya think she’s going to make it?” I asked, wondering if his hopes were anything contrary to mine.
“Bethy’s tough, Rebecca. If anyone can make it, she can.”
I pictured four-year-old Bethany in the hospital, sick with pneumonia and a million other things all at once, IVs sticking out of her arm, covered in blankets… mom and dad sitting by her side holding her hand.
Snow started to fall outside, one of the first times this winter. The first was a time I wanted to forget, that day Bethy had come inside from playing out in the snow coughing and sneezing. Instead of being rosy from the chilly winter air, her cheeks were pale. I caught her in my arms when she coughed so hard she almost toppled head first onto the rug.
The rest of it had been a blur, mom getting her bundled up in blankets and with a hot water bottle, sitting her by the heater while she called the doctor… and then everyone but Jacob and I had gotten in the car and driven to the hospital.
Three hours had passed, and there was still no word. We tried to keep busy, making hot chocolate, watching the sun go down… playing music, anything to take our minds off of Bethy. My mind whirred with silent prayers for my tow-headed little sister and her smiling, bouncy, cheerful ways.
I stared at Crackle and the little gift she held in her paw, wondering what was inside… and if Bethany would be there to see me open it on Christmas morning. Turning my attention to the window, I walked over to the couch and seated myself in a position where I could watch the snowflakes tumble to the ground, creating a winter wonderland.
The hours ticked by. Five. Snow an inch deep now covered all greenery outside. Six. The snow was finally letting up, allowing for a small break in the clouds to see the moon. Seven. Jacob and I played chess, engrossing our minds in something that needed our full attention. Eight. Jacob began to draw, his swift, light lines forming the soft features of Bethany’s child-like face. At exactly nine O’clock PM, the telephone rang. Jacob set down the pencil he was using to sketch with, jumping up to get the call.

“H-hi, this is Jacob,” he said, all run together so it almost sounded like “HithisisJacob.”
“The doctor…” There was silence for a few seconds, then the voice went on. “well…” Jacob set the phone so I could hear as well, and I listened from where I lay under the tree next to Crackle.
“Mom, just say it!” Jacob begged impatiently. When mom still didn’t reply, he went on, repeating what he had told me earlier “If anyone can make it, Bethy can.”
“The doctor thinks she won’t, Jacob. She’s too small to handle everything coming at her. They’re doing everything they can. You and Rebecca can go to bed if you like, we won’t be home for a while.”
“Thanks for calling, mom.”
Jacob hung up, walking back to his drawing with shuffling feet. I closed my eyes tightly, trying to keep the tears from coming. This was supposed to be the Christmas season. There was supposed to be joy. And now, seven days before Christmas, there was none in my heart, only a deep longing for Bethy to get better.

I must have fallen asleep under the Christmas tree, for I woke up under it, Crackle lying on my stomach and purring contentedly.
“Morning, girl,” I said groggily. Jacob sat at the table staring at the Christmas tree, his eyes half closed. I got up and walked over to him.
“Any more news?”
“Nothing going either way. Sounds like she’s just hanging in there.”
“Get some sleep, Jacob.”
“Can’t. I tried, all night long.”
All day long, my mind screamed to know. It screamed to find out if Bethy would get better, if Christmas this year would seem like Christmas. It screamed for lack of something better to do, out of both boredom and agony.
Then came the call. I answered it this time, and when I set the phone back down on the charger, I slumped to the ground. Jacob lowered his head and walked away, then a few minutes later began to play his cello again. Sometimes I thought it was his only source of emotion, playing his music, it was all he ever did when he was happy, angry, or sad. And he always played music to match his mood.
The tears fell freely, soaking my shirt, puddling on the floor around me. Bethy was gone, I would never see her beautiful baby-tooth filled smile again, never hold her hand when we crossed the street, never pick her up and carry her around the house like an airplane.

Preparations for the funeral began immediately, and they sped by without me realizing much had happened – it was as if I walked in a daze, moving through everything but not really knowing what I was doing. Barely anyone spoke in the house, we were all occupied with different things – Jacob with his cello, me with anything I could do around the house, mom calling people and places, dad going through some of Bethy’s old things…

Christmas Eve dawned to glistening snow on the treetops and a few snowflakes falling as the sun shone in between them. I rolled over in bed, not wanting to wake up. Today was Bethy’s funeral, a cold wintry day I didn’t want to face. Mom pounded on my door to get me up to get ready, and finally I stepped out onto the cold floor and hurried across to the rug, where I got dressed.
I was out of it most of the funeral, I don’t think I remember a single word of what was said, a single thing that was done… only that my precious Bethy was gone.
Late that evening, I sat on the couch staring at the Christmas tree lights as I had only six days before, when Bethy was still alive, when there was still hope. It was then my attention was again drawn to the small package beneath the tree. The messy letters stared at me, telling me to open them. I reached for it, pulling off the over-sized bow Bethany had taped on it, then peeling off the strips of tape. The contents of the wrapping spilled out onto my hand, and I looked at it all over and over again.
First came two quarters, some of the first money of her own Bethany ever had. They shined as if they were new because Bethany had rubbed them clean as if they were a silver tea pot. Next came her little pewter ballerina figurine, showing her hope to be a ballerina in the future. Many nights she had shared with me how someday she would leap across the stage and everyone would watch her and clap for her. Tears welled up in my eyes, and I looked in further to see the last little thing. It was only a wadded up piece of paper, but she had written inside it, words I never would have expected Bethany to write. I had seen her scribbling something with Jacob’s help when she sat by the heater, but I never knew its contents until now.

“To my favorite sister, Bec,” it read. “right now I feel really sick. Jake is helping me write this because I want to tell you something. I love you so much, and I don’t want to leave you. But I know –“ there was a scribble here because ‘know’ had been written ‘knom’ – “I will see you soon, with Jesus. Don’t forget me, Bec. When I sit in Jesus’ lap, I’ll tell him all about you, about how wonnerful (J says it’s wonderful, but I say wonnerful) you are. Bec, I haven’t left you, not all the way. I’m stored up in your heart, that’s what J says, cuz I’m in his, too. And I can’t never leave your heart, and you can’t never leave mine. I’m in there forever.

Don’t miss me for long, Bec.

- Bethy.”

By now the tears were rolling down my cheeks and I was sobbing uncontrollably. But one thing I knew: this Christmas season would be joyful. Bethy was right, she was stored up in my heart, and I shouldn’t miss her for long, because she was in a better place than I.
Jacob had come into the room while I was reading the letter, and sat down on the couch beside me.
“She was smart, wasn’t she?”
“Is, you mean,” I replied. “Not was.” I pointed at my heart. “She’s in here for always, forever and ever. Don’t miss her for long, Jacob.”
He nodded, then scooted closer to me. I leaned my head on his shoulder, repeating the words in my head. In here for always, forever and ever. Don’t miss her for long… don’t miss her for long…
Christmas, albeit sad, would have a different meaning this year, thanks to Bethy’s beautiful words and the healing touch of One from Above.
And it was a Merry Christmas, and little Bethy was in my heart, always, forever and ever.


Monday, December 3, 2007

Picture Post!

All the snowflakes I cut this year. It was nothing compared to how many we cut last year.
My favorite ornament of mine (well, apart from my Willow Tree Angel one). Gramma got it in Switzerland.

All of our stockings! Mine's the one smack in the middle. L-R - Daddy's, Mommy's, Cait's, Mine, Nate's, Candace's (just finished this year), and Eeyore's.

Decorating the tree.

All prettily decorated...

The snowflake room...

Pictures from Paintball!!!!

Waiting... watching... suspense...

A creepy looking Kenneth peaks around the side of the net...

Becky and I walk out to our base for the first round. At this point I was starting to get really scared... and we were talking about how we'd cower in a corner for a while... or just team up with Karl and Mike, which we did.

Steph and Mitch hiding behind one of the cars.
Me between rounds.

Dun dun. Dun dun. Can't you just feel your heart beating? :)

Ready... steady... *pffft* *splat* OW!

The whole group...

Go blue team!

Taking aim... I'm the one with the black hat on, higher than everyone else.

This is what happens when you get hit from 5 feet away. Ouch... I think the absolute closest I got hit was POSSIBLY 10 feet when Mitch shot my head.

Mr. St, who was taking all of the pictures, got a few really "pretty" ones of Nate, this one included.

CHAAAAAAAAARGE! Man, that airhorn blows and immediately it's a mad dash to get to a spot before the opponent takes aim... adrenaline pumping... heart beating... I love paintball...

This week was okay. Not the best, but not really bad. I've been struggling in different areas... would rather not say where, though. God's helpin' me through, though. Mr. Paul Tripp was here for a conference, and the parents had one on us (ie - us teens) during Oasis, and then he spoke on Friday morning at Church, then Friday night and Saturday morning. Friday night was about change... and it was really, really good. Saturday morning I helped with childcare, though all I did was pick out certain colored beads for the 8-11 year olds. :P I would have rather been with the 2-4 year olds, but that's okay.
We went out in the desert with the H's, Ch's, F's, Hannah and Rachel, and of course, us. :P Once everyone was there and we'd gotten camp all set up, we went up on a dune and for a while were tossing around a Frisbee (sadly we didn't have enough people to play Ultimate, but tossing it around was still fun), then someone brought the larps up and I was fighting Philip and Ben. Thankfully this time Philip and I didn't BOTH take the defensive (trust me, that's slow-moving), but that meant he beat me more than ever... though I did beat him some. Anyway, nobody got hurt except for a few broken blood vessels on my finger, and then I went and talked with Hannah, Sarah, and Alicia.
After dinner we played Cops and Robbers (with an objective...) for a while, then we got tired of that and made s'mores before going back up to play mind games like Click Click Bang Bang (which I figured out, btw), Shopping Mall, and in the Land of Nod.
Then we all had to go... that's the problem with going out on a Saturday, it's the end of the weekend here, so go-to-schoolers have to be back in time to get enough sleep.

Candace: Philip's hair is like Oreo's it hangs down over his eyes...
(Philip's hair is REALLY long... and needs to be cut... though not as much as someone else's... *cough*Nate*cough*)

Anyway... I'm dirty, stinky, and sandy... and need a shower and need to prepare my schedule for school this week.

'Night y'all.