september bullet points…

It’s been too long, you’ll say. Well, that is completely true. You’ll have to forgive me, because it’s going to last a while longer. But let’s review the main stuff, shall we?

  • This is my senior year. While I am kept busy (and occasionally swamped), that means that within a year, I will be a college graduate searching for a job. Which means, some sweet day, I will have time for non-school related activities. Like blogging.
  • I still take photos, but mostly post them to Instagram from my phone. My camera only tends to travel with me when I visit family, and then I try and take pics on camera AND phone, because of occasional lighting and speed issues on my phone. But my phone quality keeps improving, so it’s my go-to. Laziness? Maybe. Sometimes,¬† you do what you have time for.
  • The Lord has blessed me with a lot of spiritual growth this year, partly because of attending a new church. Sometimes, I want to shout for joy… and then a new school assignment “calms” me down. But my Savior has been gracious, and is working on me in the patience area, as well as the worry area. Not the same, I assure you.
  • I am enjoying my history classes, as always, as well as taking another fiction workshop. So, I spend a LOT of time reading for class, and writing assignments. Which is why most of the time, I don’t have brain space for any other kind of writing. Except, you know, on FB or on my Instagram posts.
  • What else is there? Some of you began following me because of my trip to Australia… what is it, 5 years ago now? While I keep in regular contact with my Aussie friends, I do hope that in the next year or two, I will be able to afford to go visit them, finally. And visit all the places that I didn’t get to, last time. But maybe, once I graduate, I will have time for more trips here in the U.S., too.
  • Continuing that thought, I have been on several road trips this year, mostly to the beach and PA and Virginia. To visit family and friends. But mostly, I wasn’t in a writing mood, because I’d been “schooled out” at that point. There are times when you never want to go near a computer again.
  • Along with the above JOY about knowing the Lord better this year, along with that comes a renewed interest in a few things that I’ve slacked on over the years. Playing my guitar or playing the piano. Trying new things, mostly art-related. Getting a bike, and taking some leisure skills at school, like tennis and top ropes. So, since writing and blogging still remain in my list of things I like to do, I’m more likely to do them when I’m not busy AND when I’m particularly happy/joyful about something. When worry and frustration crowd things out, the fun things slide, because… well, that’s playing with avoidance tactics, as I see it. If I’m blogging in order to avoid studying, then I’m shirking what I have to be doing. I want to keep my GPA up high, you know. ūüôā
  • So, all that to say that, I’m praying for more patience and to hand over the worries, as well as to make sure I’m not slacking on my schoolwork. It’s a mixed bag when it comes time to thinking about blogging. But I’m trying to get it back into the list of things that I CAN do, when there is time and freed up brain space.
  • Thanks for hanging in there! I just thought I’d include a collage of photos from this last month, just for a bright spot in the writing blather that I’m including here. I hope you have a blessed month and the rest of the year, in case I get tied up totally with school until Christmas!

seeing the only great light…

A friend of mine posted pictures on FB of her toddler, after his daddy carved the Halloween jack-o-lantern. He was fascinated by the candle they had lit and put inside of Jack Pumpkin. Understandably so, I think this must be where every child learns to think their parents are superpeople. And then, not long after that, he gets to see the magic of the Christmas tree, glowing with its beautiful lights! We can’t know what is actually running through their heads, but I’m sure part of it is “That’s so awesome!” and also, “My parents are awesome!”DSC_0643

I think of this whenever it’s late at night, and the only lights lit are the Christmas lights. Out of the darkness, the colored lights from our big tree, and the white lights from our little trees are shining in the darkness, and it’s a beautiful sight. I now know that my parents did not invent Christmas lights for my personal benefit, as I might have thought when I was little, but I am still fascinated by the magical quality of the lights.DSC_0649

DSC_0648Some people may think that Christmas trees are pagan or that they’re all about encouraging children to think of what they can GET out of Christmas. Maybe they are, and maybe some families don’t teach their children any better. But no matter how old I am, just as when I was a child, I am amazed and fascinated by the small beauties of Christmas, like the lights on the tree.DSC_0647

DSC_0646And you can be assured, that when I was old enough to understand, I learned about the truly amazing reason why we celebrate Christmas, and why our joy at Christmastime should be in giving to others. Because what more wonderful and amazing gift could have been given to this world, but God in the form of the man, Jesus Christ? As some people might put it, in this day and age, “Best. Christmas. Present. Ever!”DSC_0645

Or as the Bible puts it, “The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.” –Matthew 4:16 (which was Matthew’s quote from Isaiah 9:2)DSC_0644

P.S. Assuming the video works, I hadn’t actually intended to say anything while filming, but then I forgot I had the video camera on, and commented on the tree being pretty to my aunt. I was afraid it would be SO loud on the video… now I can’t understand how that’s even my voice. I must’ve been whispering AND getting over my respiratory infection, still.¬† : )

look at the evidence…

When I first read the most recent flier for my Seabrook Conference, I remember thinking that the topic for the meetings looked very interesting, and also, that I’d never heard Rob S. speak before. By the time the conference started, though, I had forgotten what the topic was, but just had a feeling that the weekend of meetings would be awesome. Of course, they always are.

While I was thrilled by the first session, on absolute truth, and how the modern world tends to think it doesn’t exist (it does!), I just about fell out of my chair with excitement, when he explained what the rest of the meetings would be about. Why?

Because we were going to be studying how SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE firmly upholds the reliability of the Bible. Think you heard me wrong? You didn’t. We were going to go through six sessions on all the “ologies” of science (well, as many as we had time for), and how they support the Scripture.

As I enjoy reading books like Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution; The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus; and The Case for a Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points Toward God, this was right up my alley. I might not have been good at science class when I was in school, but I like to learn about science from the books that I read.

I especially like books that challenge consensus, because “consensus”, as it’s known today, seems to be an excuse for accepting what others tell you, without looking into it further. Whether it’s challenging the “consensus” of global warming or evolution, or just something that’s politically correct, I want to learn more about it. For another example, on history, modern consensus, or political correctness, is starting to tell us that Abraham Lincoln was the Great Emancipator and a saint, while Thomas Jefferson was the lowest of the low, because he was a slave owner. But do you believe everything you read? Have you read the books that are referenced in the bibliographies, or even checked to see if they HAVE references?

Back to scientific evidence and the Bible… many agnostics and atheists believe that the Bible and science are antithetical to each other, and that a true scientist can’t believe in the “fairytales” that exist in the Bible. But what if, the more you study the world around you, the more it confirms that the Bible is true? What if the Scriptures KNEW many things about the sciences, long before any scientists had hypothesized on these subjects, much less proved the truth of the matter?

I am not a note-taker, in general, and I rarely go back and look at them again, but for once in my life, I took a million notes. And for once, I was at a conference without my notebook (even though I rarely use it) and had to use the notebook paper provided in my camp folder. I used all the pages provided, and more, because I couldn’t take notes fast enough to keep up with our speaker. And when I got home from the weekend, I started to tell my dad about what we’d learned.

You should’ve seen me. After a few minutes, I went and grabbed my notes, then seated myself on the back of the couch. From my perch there, I kept saying, “Did you know this? You did? What about this? You didn’t? Oh, let me tell you about this…”, and so on. I went through all my notes, excited as could be. Some of the things I heard that weekend, I had already known. But MANY things I hadn’t. And because we’re talking about evidence, these things can be looked up, and weighed in the balance. By you, and by me.

John 3:12 (KJV) says, “If I have told you earthly things, and you believe not, how shall you believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?”. Basically, if you don’t believe the things that the Bible says about our physical universe, how will you ever believe those things that are of a spiritual nature? To sum up, for all you scientists, if you disbelieve what the Bible says about science itself, why should you even think of trusting what it says about spiritual explanations?

So, as I meander through some notes, let’s talk about a few different “ologies”. I’ll start with astronomy.

Isaiah 40:22 (KJV) says, “It is He that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in”.

Did you see that? Isaiah was written in 720 B.C., approximately. The translation of “circle of the earth” refers to the earth being round, like a ball that a child plays with. And in 1992, it was mathematically demonstrated that we live in an expanding universe, which is constantly stretching out. So, in 720 B.C., the writer of the Bible wrote that the Lord “stretcheth out the heavens like a curtain”… a long time before it was scientifically proven!

I have several other notes on astronomy, but they’re much more cryptic, so I’m going to head on into biology. If you are interested in seeing Rob’s website, it is http://www.christianevidences.org. You will find references for all the subjects he covers, and he covers archaeological, manuscript, scientific, and prophetic evidence. The sciences listings are still being updated, so if you’re looking for an “ology” that isn’t there, it should be up in the next month or two.

When we reached the subject of biology, we talked about the verses in Genesis 1, about the Lord creating all the creatures and plants “according to their kind”. Rob went on to talk about a study that was done on the Siberian gray wolf, which carries all the genetic information to create ALL the types and breeds of dogs. From Great Danes to chihuahuas, they’re all there, and you can breed that wolf down, eventually. But you can’t take a chihuahua and breed it UP, so to speak. It doesn’t carry the genetic information for any dogs but chihuahuas. So, if you think about it, the Siberian gray wolf was probably on the Ark, but the Great Dane was not.¬† : )

Did you know there are bugs mentioned in the Bible? I actually did, but I’d never thought of them as being serious references to the subject of entomology. But Proverbs 6 refers to the ant, and tells us to consider the ant for “her” wisdom. In the 1740’s, it was discovered that most ants are girls, and they’re extremely hard working. The male ants are lazy and basically there for reproductive purposes.

“Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest.” –Proverbs 6:6-8 (NKJV)

It was also discovered that the ants have no leader giving the orders. They use pheromones to direct other ants to come and help them, when they find some food that they can’t lift on their own.

When it came to chemistry, I thought of some of my friends in the Chemistry department, at Clemson. In Genesis 2:7 (NKJV), it says that “…God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life…”. So, research was done on this, and the human body has 59 elements in its makeup. All of these elements are found in the earth’s crust (everyday dirt).

Also, in 2 Peter 3:5 (KJV) says, “For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water.”, which refers to how the earth was formed. If it was formed from water, the earth’s crust will also share the same elements that are found in sea water, right? Yes, it does. Exactly the same elements.

Then, we headed into meteorology. Job 38:22 speaks of “the treasures of the snow”. Have you ever seen an image of snow flakes, from under a microscope? They’re beautiful, right? And we’re told that no two are alike. Now, have you ever seen an image of man-made snow, under a microscope? They just look like lumps, nothing of beauty about them. Man cannot recreate the beauteous treasure which are snow flakes.

Why again, are we considering this? Before the world began, Satan challenged the Lord, and lost. He wanted to be “like God”, but couldn’t. So, he turned his thoughts to disrupting the beauty of creation. And he continues, to this day. For, if he can get people to challenge the Bible on its SCIENCE, again, why would certain people be willing to consider the evidence of faith and spiritual things? I am not saying that you can’t come to the knowledge of God and Jesus Christ without knowledge of science, but many scientists throughout the ages were only MORE convinced of the truth of Scripture, BECAUSE of the science that they study. Their studies confirmed their faith!

Continuing on in meteorology, the Bible confirms the weather cycle, long before anyone could explain how it worked. Ecclesiastes 1:7 (NKJV) speaks of how “All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full; to the place from which the rivers come, there they return again”. You may think that this is so obvious, why even mention it. But remember, this book was written back before any scientist knew how the weather worked. Those that didn’t believe in the God of Israel, they believed that thunderstorms were sent by angry weather gods, not that ocean water evaporated, to go up into the sky, where it would eventually pour out on the earth again.

With the subject of paleontology, things got REALLY interesting. Okay, I find all of this to be fascinating, but this was really a subject that I didn’t know anything about. Have you ever wondered why children seem to be reaching puberty, earlier and earlier? Now, did you know that the human skull keeps growing, for the rest of your life, which is why you get sunken eyes and the hats of your youth don’t fit, when you get old? What do those two have to do with each other?

Back in the 1700’s, there was an orphanage in one of the Northern colonies that burned to the ground. Sadly, a number of children died. In recent years, there have been studies done of their remains. My notes are a little cryptic, but I think the key thing was that these children didn’t even have all their baby teeth yet, though in our day and age, they would have had most of their adult teeth by then.

Have you ever heard of cephalometric imaging? Jack Cuozzo pioneered the method of telling how old someone was when they died, just by using this method to examine their teeth. He began to use this method to examine Neanderthal remains in Europe, which many scientist think aren’t human. But what if they ARE human, they’re just from a time when men lived to be hundreds of years old? You know, like when Genesis talks about the “generations of Shem”, and how Noah’s sons lived to WAY old?

Le Moustier was a Neanderthal skeleton found in 1909, and contrary to what carbon dating suggests, cephalometric imaging suggests that this man was 18 years old when he died. And had a full set of baby teeth. Whereas, La Ferrassie was 267 when he died, and La Chapelle au Saints was 283. Consider this, the next time you think about the Neanderthal man… they’re just us, living to be REALLY old, only getting their adult teeth WAY late, and their skulls are strange and huge, because the human skull keeps growing, as long as you’re alive!

So, basically, we ARE hitting puberty, earlier and earlier… but back in the time of Noah, they were a lot older than we were, when they reached that state of life. And after they got out of teenager-hood (were they in their 30’s, by then?), they got older and older, while their skulls got bigger and bigger…

The fossil record also supports the idea of catastrophism. In the Bible, this would be the Great Flood. How about the fossils that have pterodactyls that seem to have died in agony? Or the fossilized remains of a protoceratops fighting a velociraptor… and they must have been buried instantly! For those of us that were raised on The Land Before Time, and dinosaurs being hatched from eggs, I find the fossil of an icthyosaur giving birth to be fascinating. Yep, the baby’s half in and half out, with several more still in the mother. And this isn’t even getting into the remains of T-rexes in Hell’s Creek, MT.

I’ll just mention anthropology, briefly, and how every culture on earth has a distant memory of a shared history. That shared history would include Creation, the Fall and the Garden of Eden, the Flood, and the Tower of Babel. Up until the mixing of the languages at the Tower of Babel, the people of the world spoke the same language. Obviously, I’m not providing verses for this, as I’ve been writing long enough on this whole post. But if you ever hear the creation stories from ANY culture, look for the shared history. There’s a reason they have their similarities.

The rest of our sessions went into evidence of Christ’s resurrection and the CSI test given to the reliability of the history of the Bible. Rather than write another mile-long post about them, I will suggest you look up Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ, which covers these in detail. I can’t do this subject justice, and if I don’t put this post up soon, I never will.

Please remember, I am not a serious scholar of all these subjects, I am only trying to share what I learned and enjoyed. Everyone, including myself, would do well to keep looking up these subjects for themselves. If I have shared something incorrectly, or there is still more to learn on that subject (and I KNOW there definitely is!), I am open to doing so.

I think I have only given you the slightest taste of what our wonderful weekend of meetings covered, but if you have any interest in the above topics, please check out Rob’s website (www.christianevidences.org). He also recommended several other books that cover some of the sciences in depth, so if you’re interested, I can look those up. I hope you’ve enjoyed what I was able to share with you, and I hope you’ll look into it more, yourself!

a seabrook sunday…

For the first time ever, on a Seabrook weekend, I didn’t wear my Sunday clothes to breakfast. I know, you’re stunned. Since I don’t like being rushed after I eat, I usually dress up first, and then go to the dining hall. But this year, I had a brand-new dress, bought as part of my birthday present, and I was terrified that I would spill something on it. Yes, pessimism came to the fore, and I went to breakfast in shorts and a t-shirt. But hey, I was in good company.DSC_0483

But the dress survived the trip to chapel, and the sun was out, making for some beautiful photo sessions, afterwards. Last conference, I happened to bring my tripod along for the group picture, but this year, I forgot. So, we made do, like we did a year ago, when it rained, and we took the group pic INSIDE the chapel. One of the guys carried the recycling bin outside, we set several hymn books on top, and I used that to prop my camera on, while setting the timer.DSC_0490

DSC_0493If you see me standing awkwardly in that picture, it’s because I ran to my spot and found myself with a part of a step to stand on, for one foot, and some soft mulch for the other. I was trying to keep my balance, not wanting a colossal fall captured on camera, when the timer went off.5-19 Sunday

DSC_0511After the group shot is over, lots of people run back to their cabins change, but some of us meander back slowly, taking other smaller group pictures, on the way. Halfway to my cabin, we stopped for some, with Court and I goofing off a bit, as she took advantage of the height difference. Then we dragged some of the guys into the fun.DSC_0521

DSC_0524At lunch, Tom passed off his hat to Skip (our fearless leader), who never passes up an opportunity for a good pose. Especially when the goofy pictures always make it into the Sunday evening slideshow. Then the hat got passed around for more photo opportunities. Speaking of the slideshow, I still remember when Bob brought the first digital camera to Seabrook, and we began to make a regular thing of it. Sunday afternoon is the time to hand off the photos to Tom, and we girls make sure that the worst photos on our OWN cameras don’t make it onto his computer. But we have no control over the crazy pictures that come off the other cameras.DSC_0527

Lunch was taco soup, which some of us thought was ALL, and then realized they had the turkey sandwich fixings back in the kitchen, and not on the buffet line. After we ate, I think Dave’s presence was really missed, because not only is he our resident “pyro”, he also usually leads a hike on Sunday afternoon, for those who like walking the Seabrook trails. Instead, and even better, we had a baptism, in the ocean, for one of our dear girls.DSC_0534

DSC_0536Afterwards, I watched some of my friends pick up a dead jellyfish, to look at it closely, and then take it back into the water TWICE, to wash more sand out of it. I think they couldn’t see the guts very well, or something. It was funny to listen to them cheerfully point out “there’s its nose, eyes, and mouth…”. Sillies.DSC_0549

DSC_0551On the way to uploading pictures to Tom’s computer, in the dining hall, I had to show him how to turn the water on, to wash off his sandy feet and shoes. I think they keep adjusting how they use those beach “showers”. But at least it made me feel smart.¬† : )DSC_0557

DSC_0559When we reached the dining hall for dinner, one of the chefs came out to tell us all about the roast beef, gravy, mixed vegetables, and mashed potatoes we would be having for dinner. Those potatoes are amazing, I’m not sure I want to know what they add to make them taste so good. There are probably lots of calories in the ingredients. We did miss having the famous camp mac’n’cheese, though. They make a triple cheese macaroni and cheese dish that’s to die for, and you’ve never had anything like it, anywhere. Too bad, maybe in November.DSC_0561

DSC_0564The camp provides an assortment of coffee mugs, and when I took notice of Harold’s, I had to get a picture of him with it. Besides, he’s a born model.DSC_0563

DSC_0565Before the evening meeting, Courtney had some fun with Rachel’s (different Rachel, not me) hair. That’s what happens when¬† you room with a hairdresser, eventually, she will do something with your hair. It’s good fun.DSC_0567

The final meeting of the weekend was excellent, and before it started, we tried to bring the roof down, with the singing. Harold put in our usual ending numbers, with a few extras, so the girls able to hit the high notes were really having to work. I’m always grateful that “Wonderful Grace of Jesus” gives us a momentary breather, in the chorus.DSC_0569

Sunday ended with a hilarious slideshow, complete with random quotes from the weekend. We’re always good for a few of those. After a few snacks (because you know, we’ve barely eaten anything, all weekend), we had a rousing game of Signs, which I think I won. That’s what happens when you play for an hour or more, and you never get called into the middle, right? I was the only one to manage it, this time. Of course, we have almost as many spectators as players, because it’s a hoot to watch the game.DSC_0572

Finally, with the clouds beginning to clear off, we hit the beach and walked down to the point. Several people had their phones out, loading their constellation and star apps, in order to see what constellations we were looking at. Once I spotted Orion, I commented on the fact that it was the only constellation I could see in Australia, that I recognized. Even though he always looked like he was upside down (or something), it was comforting to see something familiar. One of the guys shot down this remark, insisting that no constellations from the Northern Hemisphere were visible in the Southern Hemisphere. He said I must have seen Cygnus.

Well, I insisted that I ought to know what Orion looks like, and his belt is distinctive, but I had no proof. But I have remembered to look it up, at last, and guess what? I was right! Orion is located on the celestial equator and is visible in BOTH hemispheres! So there! Sorry, when you’re in a totally different place, far from all you know, you will latch onto the few things that are familiar. And I didn’t want that taken away from me, even a year after the fact.

Stay with me! I’m including a picture of Monday’s delicious breakfast, because I have so many things to talk about and show from our time spent in Charleston. We’re getting there, slowly but surely!DSC_0574

a seabrook saturday…

I’m trying to condense the weekend, really I am, but I definitely got into picture taking mode. It’s been a conference or two since I took so many. Sometimes, I don’t get going until Sunday, and then you’ve missed your opportunity. But I took a page from Susie’s way of doing things, and included as many food pictures as possible. I did get into the habit of that, while in Australia, but I don’t always remember to take them, when I’m here in the U.S.DSC_0340

Thankfully, we didn’t stay up too late (meaning we were in bed by midnight, I think), so most of us were able to get some sleep that night. We arrived at the dining hall for our first breakfast of the weekend, and were thrilled to find that we had “graduated” to the “grown-up dining room”. Do you remember the tables you sat at, in elementary school? With the colorful mushroom seats that are very close to the floor, because of your short legs? Well, when the conference center is full, we often get to sit on that side of the dining rooms, for at least the first part of the weekend. Usually, on Sunday evening, we’ll graduate to the side with the real chairs. But this weekend, we started off there! It was great.DSC_0343

DSC_0344Since I started going to Seabrook, when I was eighteen years old, I have continued to have an argument with some of my Southern friends, about the subject of grits. For 10-12 years, I wouldn’t touch them, while at the conference, because I’ve always preferred oatmeal. Grits were on par with a bowl of wet sand, flavored with cheese.DSC_0347

DSC_0349Of course, my dear Dana, southern girl that she is, hates oatmeal and loves grits. So, it’s made for some interesting arguments. But a few years back, I gave in, and discovered that some people (like my aunt) are capable of making grits that taste okay. So, I’ve started to eat them at Seabrook, too. And here they are, for your perusal. Funny thing is, on Sunday, I didn’t eat oatmeal, even when it was served at the buffet.DSC_0354

DSC_0355As you can see, we had to test out some of the emergency exits, just to make sure they were working. Actually, that cabin has the only one facing the boardwalk, so it’s great for talking to people before heading outside. My cabin faces the bushes and the alligator pond (don’t worry, we’re up off the ground), so no reason to look out that little door.DSC_0356

DSC_0359Arriving at our little Chapel of the Palms, you can get a tantalizing glimpse of the ocean, over the sea oats (don’t pull them, you’ll get charged a couple hundred bucks). Inside, Skip waited in anticipation for all of us to arrive for the morning meeting. And we were off! DSC_0360

While I’ll talk more about the meetings, later, in another post, this weekend of meetings was amazing. They’re always awesome, of course, because our speakers are never dull, and always bringing forth the Word of God. But hearing about absolute truth (truth is NOT relative, people!) and scientific evidence for the reliability of the Bible? Right up my alley. Couldn’t get enough, and I plan to read Rob’s website, back to front (or top to bottom, as the case may be).DSC_0362

I don’t have a video of any of our song sessions, but I hope to get my hands on one. I wish every church and chapel out there could hear us sing. So many assemblies and churches don’t seem to know the meaning of “make a joyful noise”. And I don’t mean we sound anything like noise. But singing is meant to be joyful, and you should sing out, if you’re capable! I’ve been in churches where I was afraid to sing louder, because no one else was, and it would sound like I was singing a solo. Not here. Someday, we’re going to blow the roof off. Probably on a Sunday evening, when Harold has us sing “Wonderful Grace of Jesus”, “And Can It Be”, and “My Anchor Holds”, all in a row. My voice is usually about gone, by the end of the weekend.DSC_0378

DSC_0387On the way to lunch, I stopped to take a look at the alligator pond. I never actually saw him, but I knew he was there. The camp manager told us that he was, and explained how he was “safe” (not to pet, but look at), if we kept our distance. Apparently, they have weekly tests to see whether he continues to be safe around people. Someone just had to ask how they tested that. Jack told us that they have a “crazy Brit” employed there, who has degrees to prove how much he knows about animals and stuff (don’t ask me which ones, I’ve forgotten). Every week, when the alligator is hanging out on the grass, he’ll run at it… and if the gator runs into the water, he’s safe to be there.DSC_0388

DSC_0389The explosion of laughter that greeted this explanation was deafening. We were told that a year or so ago, their British employee ran at their last gator… and the alligator didn’t run. So, they had that one removed, as he had lost his fear of humans. We joked that actually, the previous employee had run at it, and that was the last seen of him, until the Brit came along.¬† : )DSC_0398

As I continued meandering to the dining hall, I enjoyed looking at the young live oaks, twisting and turning, all over the place. And then there’s the “monster tree”. It’s funny, it took me over ten years to notice that tree’s existence, but I wasn’t photographing nature so much, then, so I wasn’t looking closely at individual trees.DSC_0336

DSC_0400You may have noticed the occasional hibiscus pics, by now. Several trees, in pots, were put by the dining hall, and since it was the first year they had them, I couldn’t stop myself from taking pictures. They were so colorful, and reminded me of Hawaii.DSC_0404

DSC_0410After our yummy lunch of burgers, we visited the gift shop, in order to peruse the gifts AND most especially, enjoy the funny cards they sell there. The truth is, they’re not really meant to be funny, some of them being rather serious and poetic… until Susie or Harold reads them aloud. The Dump Truck of Love is still a winner, but the pics that have Harold listening “angelically” are of a far different card.DSC_0422

The cactus flowers were in bloom, so I hopped off the boardwalk for a few minutes to look at them closely. Also, you can see a lovely picture of one of the caterpillars hanging out around our cabin. They were on the ceiling, on the railing, and who knows where else. I was quite alarmed, when I arrived, but since none of them ever fell on my head, I got over it. If a caterpillar had landed on my head, though, I probably would’ve freaked. I can deal with most bugs and critters, at a distance, but not in my hair. I still haven’t forgotten the year a LARGE spider built a web in our doorway, while we were at meeting. It was at head level, and I got it all in my hair. Yuck.DSC_0423

DSC_0424During our free time, after lunch, I walked on the beach, threw a frisbee, watched my friend pick up a dead crab, and then joined the volleyball game. Of course, I can’t play volleyball AND take pictures, so I don’t have any to show you. The sand was hot and our skills were rusty, but we eventually got it together. Strangely enough, the winning team was always on the same side of the court, even when we traded sides. The other side couldn’t seem to get it together. And there were no spur injuries, which was nice.DSC_0433

DSC_0441Yes, I’m showing off my shoes. I’ve actually had them for more than ten years, though I’m not sure of the exact year I bought them. They used to be a more brilliant coral pink, and my friends expect me to wear them at Seabrook, like they expect the sun to come up in the morning. Running on that hot sand is NOT fun, and the sand spurs are painful, if you step on one. I also need foot support, for play frisbee on the hard-packed sand, when the tide is out. But since I only ever wear them at Seabrook, they’ve only seen about 20 wearings. And I run them through the washing machine, every time, when I get home.DSC_0445

DSC_0452Dinner is when our chef really pulls out the stops for us. Back in the day, we probably had 5 star meals for every meal, but the troubles with the economy affected them, too. Now, they give us delicious meals for breakfast and lunch, but save the crab, mahi-mahi, and the rest of the ultimate deliciousness for dinnertime. This time, it was braised chicken (I think), which a mushroom sauce and veggies galore. And where would we be without Mississippi Mud Pie for dessert?DSC_0446

DSC_0449Saturday is campfire night, so I had to practice. Mike and I broke out our guitars in the chapel, where the wondrous acoustics reign. There’s so much more to it, but I could love that chapel for the acoustics, alone. Unfortunately, our resident “pyro” wasn’t there, so we didn’t have all the equipment for fire-building, and the meeting ran late. A few years ago, the town of Seabrook Island instituted a curfew for campfires, so it has to be put out by 10pm. Unable to find the right materials, and having very little time left, we had to skip the campfire. But I was glad I had practiced ahead of time, even if my fingers didn’t agree. And playing guitar with Mike is always good fun.DSC_0455

DSC_0460After another snack or two in the Snack Shack (to keep from starving, after dinner, you know), most of us hit the beach, but the clouds had come out. This gives the beach a very claustrophobic feel, even though you’re outside with the breeze blowing in your face. Besides, I think you’re supposed to go to the beach at night to look at stars, and what fun is it if you can’t see them?DSC_0463

DSC_0468With a tight schedule for Sunday morning, most of us tried to go to bed at a decent time, which means not much later than 1 am. And with that, I’ll wrap this up for now. Many more pictures to get through, and I don’t know what I’ll do when I get to Monday’s expeditions. I may have taken as many that day, as I took for the rest of the weekend.DSC_0471

in grateful praise…

“Thou gavest Him, well knowing all that lay before Him here –

The suffering sore, the thorny crown, the cross, the cruel spear–

And in that hour of woe supreme, when Jesus bore our sin,

God’s patient, holy, suffering Lamb, Thou didst forsake Him then.”

–Edward Whyte, “Father and God, in Grateful Love”, verse 2DSC_0226-001

“Bless, bless the Conqueror slain,

Slain in His victory;

Who lived, Who died, Who lives again–

For thee, His church, for thee!”

–Whitlock Gandy, “His Be The Victor’s Name”, verse 4DSC_0522-001

“Lifted up was He to die,

“It is finished,” was His cry;

Now in heaven exalted high;

Hallelujah! What a a Savior!”

–Phillip P. Bliss, “Hallelujah! What a Savior!”, verse 4DSC_0188-001

“The Lord is risen; and death’s dark judgment flood

Is passed, in Him who bought us with His blood.

The Lord is risen: we stand beyond the doom

Of all our sin, through Jesus’ empty tomb.”

–William P. Mackay, “The Lord is Ris’n”, verse 1DSC_0866-001

Thine be the glory, risen, conquering Son,

Endless is the victory Thou o’er death hast won;

Angels in bright raiment rolled the stone away,

Kept the folded grave-clothes, where Thy body lay.

–Edmond L. Budry, “Risen, Conquering Son”, verse 1

~

~

~

[I removed apostrophes from several lines, making the lyrics easier to read.

I hope no one minds.]

look out, it’s a valentine!

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I’ve been thinking about a book store. I know, I know, such a romantic thing to think about, but at least I’m an honest bookworm. Unlike some people, who plan to get their party on by watching The Princess Bride, while drinking sparkling grape juice, I have no such exciting plans. In fact, as of this moment, I have no plans, so what can I talk about, Princess5_Lwhile the rest of the world is out receiving roses, going to fancy dinners, or perhaps bursting into tears because they didn’t get the aforementioned roses/dinners?

I was thinking about Christmastime in Australia, when I was spending my vacation with a friend in Brisbane. Of course, I was sick during that time, but still striving to achieve some aspects of normalcy, while mentally cursing all side effects of antibiotics. My friend and I went to visit a Christian book store, and I was thrilled. I’d been to our local book store in Emerald, many many times, but I hadn’t been into anything bigger for some time. And a Christian book store? My goodness, what fiction might they have come out with in the last year?

Oh, I knew, deep down, that I shouldn’t be buying much, because any book I bought, I would have to ship home. My Kindle was my mainstay for any book that I just HAD to have, and couldn’t get at the library. But in the meantime, real books were at my fingertips, and I was going to drool for all I was worth. And to make things even better, the book store had a coffee shop. Don’t ask me which one, it surely wasn’t Starbucks or Gloria Jean’s, but I could get a latte and carry it around with me. My body was probably going to object to it, later, because it was objecting to everything I put in it… but I didn’t care.

Oh, did I wander through that store and check out all the sections! But at first, I was very good, and only picked up one Christian fantasy book by Donita K. Paul, because I couldn’t find it on Kindle. It wasn’t as good as the originals in that series, but I still enjoyed reading it. And I found a biography of sorts, about G. K. Chesterton. Defiant Joy: The Remarkable Life & Impact of G.K. Chesterton¬†is a biography, but it goes through the life of Chesterton by way of all of his writings. The whys and wherefores behind everything he wrote, how he was changed and how he changed others by what he wrote.

If you’ve never heard of him, it was his book, The Everlasting Man, that C. S. Lewis credits with bringing him to Christianity. And yes, if you’re only aware of Lewis because of The Chronicles of Narnia, please remember that he was a very well-known Christian apologist, as well. But Chesterton was a colossus in the field of writing and knew something about everything. He was the king of quotes, and I became of a fan of his, several years ago, when my summer staff kids and I were reading up on him.

So, I bought my two books, and thought I was finished. But opportunity mustn’t be wasted… I was in a book store, and found myself unable to sit still. I kept wandering around, and found a stand with all sorts of Christian magnets. Among them, I found some that were shaped like Australia, with Bible verses on them. Just The Five Love Languagesperfect for a few small gifts to bring home to my church friends! I went back up to the register, and bought those, too. I felt a bit silly, coming back again.

Finally, I was starting to get tired, so I went look for a place to sit down. And found a chair in a section I hadn’t noticed. Yes, I was in the relationship section. Oh, dear. And I say that, not because that section is upsetting (remember, I am single), but because I find it so fascinating. As a result, my wallet can be in danger. I told myself that I was done shopping, I didn’t need to go look at any of the books… but no, I couldn’t resist. I hopped back to my feet, and picked up The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts, by Gary Chapman.

The reason I picked up The Five Love Languages is because I’d already read quite a few that were on the shelves there, and I’d never gotten around to that one yet. Think I’m joking? I’ve read two books by Emerson Eggerichs (Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs¬† and Cracking the Communication Code), two by Joshua Harris (I Kissed Dating Goodbye and Boy Meets Girl), and two by Shaunti & Jeff Feldhahn (For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men and For Men Only: A Straightforward Guide to the Inner Lives of Women). There are probably several others, but I can’t remember them, at the moment.

These are all great books, by the way, and if the title interests you, check it out, whether you’re a Christian or not. These were written for everyone, because everyone is confused by the opposite sex, all the time, right? A girl pal and I have hilarious memories of booking our way through the Feldhahn books, while we were in Hawaii, and discussing them. Yes, both the For Women Only AND For Men Only. Because we all want to know what they’re telling the opposite sex about us, right?

I have many good examples of dating relationships and marriages that I’ve observed over the years, but I’ve always figured that as long as I’m single (and even after I get married, someday), why not learn everything you can, so you can try and avoid a few mistakes. Nothing wrong with being prepared. I think that a lot of marital and dating problems, nowadays, come from not preparing yourself for the work involved in a relationship.for-women-only Because honestly, do guys really understand girls, and do girls understand guys? Of course we don’t. So, read up, learn a few things, and prepared yourself for the fight to finish the most wonderful, exciting race you’ll ever run.

Oh, have you been raised to believe that marriage is the ball-and-chain situation, where all the romance drains away, and you eventually grow bored with each other? Well, if you put no effort into your marriage, then perhaps that is true. Love is an action and marriage is not all daisies and Valentines. You have days when you adore each other and days when you can’t stand each other. That’s because you’re human. But that doesn’t mean you can’t work your way through the good and the bad together and come out the stronger in the end.

There I go again, giving advice on something I haven’t yet experienced.¬† : )¬†¬† No firsthand experience of marriage yet, sorry. But I have seen lots of long-lasting marriages during my whole life, from a family that I’ve been blessed to be a part of and a large group of friends, some my age and some older. I think if you can’t learn by observation… what are they there for, if not to observe? I know some of my friends and family members well enough to KNOW that their marriages are not easy, all the time, but that just makes the joys all the greater. I hope to follow in their footsteps, someday.

When I picked up The Five Love Languages, I was curious to know what my friends were always babbling about, talking about “their love language” and how their hubby tried so hard to speak it, even when his was another. Usually, they’re talking about what specific one that is their favorite to use, but they’ll have a secondary one. After opening the book, I was hooked on the first few pages… and went up to the cash register for the third time, figuring I had to take this one home with me. By then, I was exhausted by our expedition, so I didn’t move from my chair again, until it was time to go.

If you’ve never read this book, then let me explain a bit. The idea is that all of us uses a particular “language” to expressimage.axd their love or affection for those around them. You might not know what your own is, but you probably know what one belongs to some of your family. Because when you use it on them, they are SO appreciative. Or maybe they use theirs on¬† your all the time.

The choices are Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Affection, Quality Time, and Gifts. Now, if you’re like me, you probably think that ALL of those sound great. But which one or two sounds better than the rest? There’s even a quiz in the book, to help you figure it out. Immediately, I know that one of my cousins uses the Gifts language, because the dear girl sends thoughtful and funny presents to people in the mail, all the time. She LOVES to do this, and all of her friends love that about her. So, imagine if someone gave her something delightfully thoughtful, wouldn’t she feel loved?

My suspicion is that a certain member of my family has the love language of Acts of Service… not just because she is always doing things for others, but because of how she reacts when one of us empties the dishwasher, does the laundry, clears the counters, and vacuums the living room. If you can make someone light up, just by giving them a hand around the house, do you think this might be one on their “language list”?

Short explanation (these may sound obvious, but give it some thought): “Words of Affirmation” is to express in words how much you appreciate someone and the things they do/are to you. “Acts of Service” is to show someone you love them by mowing the lawn, washing the car, and cleaning the bathroom. “Affection” is to show your love with hugs and kisses, the people that hug you as soon as they see you, or pat your back while conversing with you. “Quality Time” is spending time with that person, whether talking or just being with them, just so that you’re there and listening, not pretending to listen. And, of course, “Gifts” are what you receive from that person who thinks flowers, cards, and little gifts are just the way to show their love… all year long, not just on Valentine’s Day.

When I took the quiz, I came up with a three-way tie, which might be unusual. But then, I’m a little uncertain about the third one, because I only show affection to those that I’m absolutely closest to, other than that, don’t get into my personal space. If I am not 8749748_origclose to you, as a friend, you will not be on my “hugging list”. If I ever get to date someone, then I’ll figure out how this one goes.

I was a bit shocked to realize that though I knew Quality Time would be on my list, Words of Affirmation was probably even higher on my list. Have I ever asked you if I’m bothering you, when calling you on the phone, or talking to you on chat? Yes, I have a tendency to think I’m in the way, so if I ever find someone who speaks that love language, naturally, I’ll be flying high.

Ok, I wasn’t really intending to do a complete soul-searching session there, but I thought you might be curious what I found for myself in that book, not just my family members. I definitely found that everyone should be loved and respected in a way that makes them feel loved. You might be showing them that you love them, but they might not realize it, because they don’t “speak” it that way, themselves. So, for Valentine’s Day, don’t just think about what color of roses your wife/girlfriend will like, but maybe think about whether you’re showing them love in the way that they can see it.

Don’t forget, love is an action. Love is a verb. If love was all mush and goopy feelings, we’d run the first time our loved ones got a virus that had them puking their guts out. You don’t feel the fluffy, butterflies-in-your-stomach when someone’s throwing up. Remember to act on your love, and show them how much you care. Forget about being selfish, for once, and put them first. They’ll love you all the more for it.

P.S. If you want something fun to WATCH, then check out Mark Gungor on YouTube, in his talk called A Tale of Two Brains. My Brisbane friend sent it to me, and I’ve been shrieking with laughter over it, the last few nights. Good advice and good fun, especially if the above subject interests you.

what was just insulted?

If you’re a college student (especially from Clemson), and you’ve just dropped by this blog, let me be clear. I am not old enough to be your mother. If I had married right out of high school and then had a baby, a year later (and only in that order), my child would be 14 now. I don’t need to be humored because of my “advanced age”, because I’m actually about the same age as the graduate students (or their average age, as there’s quite a range of them). And at least one of the Clemson¬† professors knew me when I was little, so I’m actually closer to your age bracket than his.DSC_0831

If you’ve been through my workplace, you will notice that my co-workers call everybody “sweetie” and “baby”, while I either call you “sir”, “ma’am”, or I address you by name (I think I know about 100 of your names). That’s because they’re old enough to be your parent (and therefore, they think of you as kids), while I only use pet names for children under the age of 10 (whom I consider to be kids), my best friends, and my baby brother (who’s 22). I call him “buddy” and “squirt”, but he’s the only one that receives that distinct honor.

A student came through the cafe, this afternoon, carrying a guitar case. Since some other college guitarists have dropped some guitar picks on our floor, recently, I’ve been hoping to offer them to another guitarist who could use them. He was happy to take the donation and stick them in his wallet. Of course, this is why we find them on the floor, because guys always seem to carry them in their wallets, and they fall out when they’re getting their money out. I mentioned this to the student, and then told him that I kept mine in a pocket of my music book.DSC_0833

“Oh, you play an instrument?” he asked me. Hang on, how many instruments use guitar picks, I wondered? Yes, I play guitar… and piano. I didn’t mention the violin, since I haven’t played it since high school. Then I said that I played well enough to “play around the campfire”. I thought that implied some skill, without being too puffed up about it. The response was, “It’s never too late to learn to play and pick up a new skill!”, spoken in a bright and cheery voice. I think I repeated a variation of my campfire comment, slightly more emphatic about it. “That’s great, learn some scales, try some new things!”, he tells me.DSC_0835

I think I stood there, gaping after him. Or maybe I just thought about gaping. I felt like he’d just patted me on the back, encouraging “grandma” to get out and take up a hobby. I still can’t quite figure out if my intelligence, my age, or my guitar skills got insulted. Don’t get me wrong, I saw the funny side of it, right away, but that didn’t keep me from wanting to tell that kid a few things. : )¬† Wait, did I just defeat the point of my thesis, by calling him a kid? Hmmm… at least I didn’t call him “sweetie”…DSC_0837

The first time I picked up a guitar, I was 18 years old. That means I’ve been playing for about 14 years now. I spent my teen years collecting Bible camp songs, hoping to learn to play them, someday. Originally, I borrowed my older brother’s guitar (which I don’t think he knows how to play, still), but then my dad brought one home from Indonesia for me. It’s just a Yamaha, but it’s done good by me, all these years. I bought a book of chords, which I still have, and worked my way through my song book, starting with the chords G and C (playing “The Old Rugged Cross”, very slowly). In recent years, I still get tripped up by F#m, if I haven’t practiced enough. That should tell any really good guitarist what my actual skill level is.DSC_0838

Playing that guitar… like with a bicycle, you never forget how, no matter how little you do it. I don’t play very often, but it always comes back to me. My guitar-playing calluses come and go, as I play only a couple of times every year. I rarely wear nail polish and keep my nails short, because sure enough, if they get long, then I’ll want to play. Then I have to cut them back off again, and you can’t have long nails on one hand and short on the other. Alright, I know I can, but I don’t want to, ok?DSC_0844

I can pinpoint when I started playing my guitar because I have some wonderful memories of my cousin and I playing our guitars together (we learned together, for a time) for my grandpa, when he had cancer. Which means we had been playing long enough to be decent, by early 2000. There’s a song called “Only You”, which maybe you’ve sung at Bible Camp, and it has an optional chorus that goes with it called “It’s Amazing”. Grandpa interrupted our singing to ask us what “a-may-HAY-zing” was, because that’s how we always made it sound, when we sang it. I still have trouble singing that song without thinking about my wonderful grandpa.

My guitar strap… I don’t remember where I got it from, but it’s quite decorative, and I was proud to have such a colorful one. Not long after I got it, the cord that ties it to the guitar broke, but I was determined to keep that beautiful strap on my Yamaha. So, I bought some black shoelaces, braided them together, and tied that strap back on. And it’s never broken since.DSC_0845

When I was in Australia, I hadn’t touched a guitar in months, but when some friends and I had a conference at the beach, the guys brought their guitars. I couldn’t resist borrowing one, and at first, though I had forgotten how to play, until he explained that it was a classical guitar, with a wider neck. That was HARD to play! Then we switched guitars, and I was home free.

Once I was back in the States, at my first Seabrook conference, I didn’t bring my guitar, and we didn’t have a campfire. It was the first time in years that I hadn’t brought my guitar with me. I wasn’t sure I could or should or would play, when I got there. I hadn’t practiced, hadn’t played in months. In November, it happened again, but we DID have a campfire and it was very cold outside. I borrowed my friend’s guitar, shivered in my seat, while my friend held the flashlight so I could see my music, and I played cold turkey. And yes, since I wasn’t close enough to the fire to be really warm, you can take that description both ways. I was SO cold, and oh, my poor fingers hurt… but they knew what to do.DSC_0846

At the moment, my guitar case is collecting dust bunnies once more, but as May gets closer, I think I’d better get it out and practice some, so my fingers can adjust. I will never be able to play by ear, or play scales, and I may always have my issues with F#m, but I know what my guitar skills are for. They’re to be used when a group of fellow Christians and I gather around a campfire and want to praise the Lord. Then, with the occasional accompaniment (they do still request sons that I don’t have music for or can’t play, yet), we can sing our hearts out.

So, the next time a student seemingly “insults” my intelligence, age, or guitar skills, I’ll still have my inner chuckle over it. But I’ll probably still want to straighten them out (do you ever stop wanting to straighten out those that are younger than you?)… and resist, valiantly. It’s probably the fault of my work shirt, anyway. Guaranteed to add 10 years to the wearer, I promise you.DSC_0847

failure is difficult to look at objectively…

Is there such a thing as a “small failure”? The recently coined phrase that I’ve heard entire arguments over is that of the “epic fail”. But as far as I can tell, when you have failed at something, you have been completely unsuccessful. You do not speak the of the small successes, because if there was even one success, you would claim it gleefully. So, as cool as it may sound to refer to an epic fail, I would suggest that it’s a redundant phrase. If your lack of success is complete, you could use any word to describe what a huge failure it was. But do you really want to rub it in that badly?

Yes, I know, I’m avoiding the point. Who has ever liked to discuss their unsuccessful endeavors? Not me, that’s for certain. But for those of you who have been so kind as to tell me that I “don’t owe anyone an explanation”, I thank you for that, but I would like to share about this, nevertheless.

As you may know, about three weeks ago, I left for a new nanny position, located in Minnesota. It was a bit sudden, but I’d been lazing around for plenty of time, so I was ready to start a new job. I was excited about it, going to a new place, meeting a new family, and learning what it was like to live in the deep snow, eventually.

At first, I thought I was just tired from my trip, letting myself worry about little things, as I settled in. But after the first week, my worries began to get to me, and halfway through the second week, I figured out that I was having anxiety attacks. I tend to think of panic attacks as the ones where you actually black out, think you’re having a heart attack, or something of that sort. If I have the wrong definition, then I apologize, but since I never experienced a black out, I’ll just refer to mine as anxiety attacks.

At times when I shouldn’t have been upset or frustrated by anything, I was frightening myself with a high heart rate, shortness of breath, sweating, shaking, and having panicky thoughts on a level that I have never experienced before. Something was wrong, and it was scaring me. On the recommendation of a nurse friend, I got off the diet drops I was on, just in case there was a side effect that I didn’t know about, but at that point, I only had one thought in mind. Something was causing me to freak out, and I needed to leave.

During this time, I was seeking advice from those close to me, but more importantly, I discovered that the ONLY harbor in this storm was in my Savior, Jesus Christ. I didn’t understand what was going on, and I turned to my Bible like it was a teddy bear to hug for comfort. The Psalms were cries for help and praises from King David and others, and I empathized with every one, begging the Lord to save me from what was frightening me.

You may say that if the Lord had truly answered my prayers, the attacks would have left. The attacks didn’t stop, but got worse. But instead of running from God, because He wasn’t answering me properly, I clung even more to Him, because He was still my only comfort. His Word and praying to Him almost constantly was the only way I survived the rest of that week. And on Friday, I was worried about having to tell my employers that I was leaving. That evening, I spent two straight hours, reading my Bible and praying, because nothing else helped… while I waited for the family to come home, so I could tell them I needed to give notice, effective immediately.

And the Lord answered that prayer in abundance. They took it like troopers, and I packed up my car and left the next morning. The moment I hit the road, my anxieties fled.

Since then, I have wondered whether I did the wrong thing, not following the Lord’s leading, and choosing to go to MN. Or did I do the right thing to go, and caved too soon, not giving the Lord a chance to work? In the end, it doesn’t matter, because the good that came of this (no, I don’t speak of small successes, because I didn’t have any) was all of Him, and not of me. I’ve been a Christian for many years, got saved when I was a child, but in recent years, I’ve been a lackadaisical sort of Christian. I haven’t been praying, talking to the Lord of my life, or reading my Bible very much, and yet I hadn’t wanted to go out and do terribly bad things, either. A lukewarm type of Christian, the type that’s only good for spitting out (Revelation 3:16).

The result of my mentally terrifying time was realizing that I just can’t get by without Him, though I’ve been trying. And though I won’t become a perfect Christian overnight, I’ve had a shock that I won’t recover from immediately. And I’m thankful for it, as hard as the test was.

So, I returned home, and felt like a complete failure. But I was holding out, slightly, that my doctor would tell me that it was the drops, and not entirely my own fault. But I saw my doctor, and was told that the drops didn’t cause this, and happily, I’m going back on them, because the diet was working so well for me (20 lbs loss is good, don’t you think?). The doctor’s response also put the blame squarely on myself, though. Sure, there may have been some stresses from my new job and moving, but I was the one that caved under the pressure.

Oh, before anyone tries to say “But Rachel, you’re too hard on yourself. You had just moved to a new area, driven such a long way, and had to adjust to new people…”, please think about what you’re saying. Over a year ago, I flew 36 hours in a plane, to a completely new country (that wonderful Australia), to live with a new family that I’d only met on Skype, and create a new life for myself, for a year. And nothing like this EVER happened while I was there. So, you can’t blame the same factors in my trip to MN.

I don’t like to fail. It frustrates, annoys, and angers me, that I could try to do something, and that my efforts completely crashed and burned.

But you know what? God didn’t call me to be perfect, on my own. He’s called me to trust Him, because His wisdom is greater than anything I have in myself. I may be a failure, but He wants me to admit that I am, so that He can finally use me for His glory.

~

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.

Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:

But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

Because the foolishness of God is WISER THAN MEN; and the weakness of God is STRONGER THAN MEN. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:

But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:

That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”

–1 Corinthians 1:18-30 (KJV, copied from BibleGateway.com, emphasis mine)