Saturday, January 31, 2009

Heartrendingly Beautiful!

" "Trust Me, My child," He says. "Trust Me with a fuller abandon than you ever have before. Trust Me, as minute succeeds minute, every day of your life, for as long as you live. And if you become conscious of anything hindering our relationship, do not hurt Me by turning away form Me. Draw all the closer to Me, come, run to Me. Allow Me to hide you, to protect you, even from yourself. Tell Me your deepest cares, your every trouble. Trust Me to keep My hand upon you. I will never leave you. I will shape you, mold you, and perfect you. Do not fear, O child of My love, do not fear. I love you." "

-Amy Carmichael

P.S. I found this quote on Ana's Blog.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Poll and a Verse for the Day

Good job, everyone! Everyone guessed correctly as to the book which begins with the line:
"Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents."
The answer was Little Women. And Jo was wrong, Christmas can be Christmas without presents-- something she does learn. :-)
Have fun with the next one!

And here is a verse for you all to think on:

"Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body,
that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin:
but yield yourselves unto God,
as those that are alive from the dead,
and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
For sin shall not have dominion over you:
for ye are not under the law, but under grace."
(Romans 6:12-14)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Elements of the Great Commission

My most recent lesson from IBE (Institute of Biblical Education, from Bob Jones, taught by Mark Minnick) was about the Great Commission as stated in Matthew 28:1-20. It was so convicting and exhorting to me to fulfil God's purpose for me as well as for all his followers: to "make disciples" of the nations. I wanted to share some of what I learned.

The four verbs in the Great Commission in Matthew 28:1-20:

  1. Teach. This is the Greek word matheteuo: to disciple. Therefore, this word is properly rendered, "make disciples".
  2. Going. The word "Go" is actually not an imperative, believe it or not. The Greek word is in participle form, therefore is signifies "going", or "as you go".
  3. Baptizing. Baptism doesn't "get you saved", but it is the response of one whose heart is changed by the Holy Spirit, and is when a new Christian outwardly identifies himself with Christ. (It is often a huge thing in other cultures because the Christian is signifying to his lost relatives and friends that he is utterly leaving behind his old life and beginning is new. It often is the determining factor for persecution!)
  4. Teaching. This is a different word than the "teach" in verse 19. This is the Greek word didasko, which means "to instruct in doctrine".

Another thing Pastor Minnick pointed out was how the Great Commission includes EVERY believer of ALL times. That means me, a disciple of Jesus Christ. My commission is to be an extension of Christ's-- to introduce souls to the kingdom.

"The great design and intent of the Christian ministry is to restore the throne and dominion of God in the souls of men."
-Cotton Mather

Monday, January 26, 2009

King of the Jews

Yesterday Pastor preached a message about Jesus portrayed as King in the Gospel of Matthew. It was a wonderful message so I decided to share the notes with you.

King of the Jews
Text: Matthew 1-13
A. This King is authentic (Matthew 1-4)
  1. He is history's focus (chapter 1)
  2. He is prophecy's fulfilment (chapter 2)
  3. He is humanity's forgiveness (chapter 3)
  4. He is eternity's flawless one (chapter 4)

B. This King is authoritative (Matthew 5-12)

  1. An exposition of kingdom life (chapters 5-7)
  2. An expression of kingdom hope (chapters 6-11)
  3. An exposure of kingdom rejection (chapter 12)

C. This King is at work (Matthew 13)

  1. A mediated kingdom recognized
  2. The mystery kingdom understood

It may not make as much sense just written out, as Pastor takes several minutes to explain each point. But I hope it may serve as an outline for you all next time you read through Matthew, to see Jesus as the King!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Joseph: Tested and Triumphant

I love the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis. Not only is it an exciting, interesting story of a man who goes from rags to riches overnight, but it is a true account of a man in whose life God mightily worked and who chose to honor God when all else was against him. Joseph went through a great deal when he was young. His brothers made fun of him. Then they threatened to kill him, and instead sold him away to merchants headed for Egypt. Joseph was made a servant to the captain of the guard, and, just as he was doing well, he was accused for doing something he actually had refused to do, and then was cast into prison. It would seem he was just doomed to all kinds of tragedy. Joseph was a perfect advocate for bitterness. And yet, he chose not to be bitter. He let the Lord rule out the circumstances of his life in His own way and timing. Meanwhile, Joseph continued to live a righteous life, marked by uprightness, diligence, submission, patience, and purity, and the Lord blessed him. In the end, he could look back and see how God was using all those events to accomplish His purposes and bring Him glory.

Reading the account of this extraordinary man has really helped me lately as I have felt "weighed under" by some circumstances. My little trials are nothing to Joseph's, and yet I can be like Joseph in the following ways:
  1. By allowing God to use the trials, however big or small, to glorify Himself
  2. By choosing not to let them crust me over with bitterness but instead make me a more Christlike person
  3. By allowing God Himself to vindicate my cause in His own perfect timing
If Joseph could go through all those trials without bitterness or despair, so can I go through what God brings into my life now with a Christlike spirit, despite everything. Like Joseph, I need to love and serve and trust. Praise the Lord for reminding us of these things when we need them most. We serve a wonderful God whom we can trust to take all the pieces of our life and make them into something beautiful!

"But the LORD was with Joseph
and showed him steadfast love
and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.
And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge
of all the prisoner who were in the prison.
Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it.
The keeper of the prison paid no attention
to anything that was in Joseph's charge,
because the LORD was with him.
And whatever he did, the LORD made it succeed."
(Genesis 39:21-23)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Quote for the Day

"A Christian can never be overcome unless he shall yield of himself."
-Old Honest from A Pilgrim's Progress, speaking of the attack of evil

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Word About Polls

In case you didn't notice, I finally let the poll on my sidebar run out. ;-) It was fun for me to see who voted and how many characters got how many votes. I thought I'd copy the results here.

There were 2 for Marianne Dashwood: "You are impulsive, romantic, impatient, and perhaps a bit too brutally honest. You enjoy romantic poetry and novels, and play the pianoforte beautifully. To boot, your singing voice is captivating. You feel deeply, and love passionately."

There were 4 for Elinor Dashwood: "You are practical, circumspect, and discreet. Though you are tremendously sensible and allow your head to rule, you have a deep, emotional side that few people often see."

There were 6 (!!) for Elizabeth Bennett: "You are intelligent, witty, and tremendously attractive. You have a good head on your shoulders, and oftentimes find yourself the lone beacon of reason in a sea of ridiculousness. You take great pleasure in many things. You are proficient in nearly all of them, though you will never own it. Lest you seem too perfect, you have a tendency toward prejudgement that serves you very ill indeed."

There were 0 for Fanny Price (to my astonishment!): "You are quiet, faithful, and moral, but those around you may think you priggish. You love deeply...and jealously."

There were 0 for Emma Woodhouse: "You like being the queen of your social circle (small and provincial as it may be), and feel it's your duty to help those less influential than you. You often meddle in the affairs of others, though you do it with a pure heart. You are often deluded in your flights of fancy, but your good intentions and creative spirit make you someone anyone could like."

There was 1 for Catherine Morland: "You love a good Gothic romance - so much, in fact, that you'll fool yourself into thinking you're living one! You are imaginative and naive, which is at once endearing and perplexing. Perhaps your heart is TOO pure...but it is adventurous. After all, you love a trip to Bath or a stay at an ancient Abbey."

There were 3 for Anne Elliot: "Let's face it; you're easily persuaded, particularly when friends and relatives try to use 'the Elliot way' against you. But this doesn't mean that you don't have conviction. Actually, your sense of duty is overwhelming. And though you won't stick your neck out too often, you have learned to speak up when it counts. To boot, you know how to handle sticky situations. You love deeply and constantly."

That was pointless, indeed, but it was also fun, to me at least-- and I hope you all enjoyed it too.

The next series of polls will be on the first line from books. When I was younger, it was my habit to pick up a book, read the first chapter, get bored with it, put it down, pick it up later, read the first chapter again for review, put it down again.... and so on. So there are some books with whose first lines I'm rather familiar. On this series of polls, I will give the first line of a book and let you guess which book has that first line! Let's see how you all do!

On a more spiritual note (it would be a waste to write a whole post and not have been driven to look to Christ) I am NOT worried about who's the new president! The verse in the previous post (from Daniel 4) keeps coming to my mind as I realize it is the MOST HIGH who rules, and it is HE who sets up rulers on earth and brings them down again. I know that I can trust my almighty, unchangeable God to do His will, accomplish His purpose, grow us, and glorify Himself. I am humbled and blessed to serve this God and do not know how I could ever live without Him!
Note on Pictures: First picture: Marianne Dashwood (played by Kate Winslet) in Sense and Sensibility, 1995. Second picture: Elinor Dashwood (played by Hattie Morahan) in BBC's Sense and Sensibility, 2007. Third picture: Elizabeth Bennett (played by Jennifer Ehle) in BBC/A&E's Pride and Prejudice, 1995. Fourth picture: Fanny Price (played by Billie Piper) in BBC's Mansfield Park, 2008 (?). Fifth picture: Emma Woodhouse (played by Kate Beckinsdale) in A&E's Jane Austen's Emma, 1996 (?). Sixth picture: Anne Elliot (played by Sally Hawkins) in BBC's Persuasion, 2007. I did not include a picture of Catherine Morland because there are no movie versions of Northanger Abbey that I would recommend to anybody who wishes to "set no wicked thing before my eyes". The book, I understand, is much better than the movies, but I have not read it myself.
Note on quotes next to names/pictures: All quotes are taken, unedited, from To those who aren't familiar with Jane Austen's works, not all the descriptions accurately describe the characters, in my opinion. :-)

Who REALLY Rules!

"The Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men,
and giveth it to whomsoever He will...
The Most High...that liveth forever,
whose dominion is an everlasting dominion,
and His kingdom is from generation to generation:
and all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing:
and He doth according to His will in the army of heaven,
and among the inhabitants of the earth:
and none can stay His hand,
or say unto Him, 'What doest thou?'"

Daniel 4:32, 34-35

Monday, January 19, 2009


1. Fill in your memories of 2008.

2. Link my blog to yours.

3. Tag others, and comment on their blogs so they know they've been tagged.

I was tagged by Ana and Amy!

~A good book I read~
The Curate's Awakening by George MacDonald

~A great film/movie I watched~
Elizabeth Gaskell's Wives and Daughters (BBC) EXCELLENT!!!!! ***** Can't get much better than that! :-D

~A new place I visited~
the Reynolds' house! :-) We didn't really travel much this year... but hopefully this next year we will! :-D

~An inspiring verse or quote I read~
"Not to advance in the spiritual life is to go back." -Brother Lawrence

~A new skill I acquired~
some kitchen skills (limited) :-)

~A lesson I learned~
Though the world may seem to be in chaos, God is in control and is working out everything for His glory and our good.

~A moment I will always remember~
our visit with the Maurers, a beautiful walk at the lake... lots! But the sweetest ones are kept deep inside the heart... :-)

I tag Leahna, Miss S. , and Tory. I would tag Leah except Ana beat me to it! :-D

Friday, January 16, 2009


Thank you, everyone who prayed for me on Thursday as I accompanied my grandparents to the hospital. It went a lot better than I had expected, except that it was a lot longer than originally was planned. I was gone from our house from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM!! Anyway, my grandma's procedure went well and she is doing okay. The time spent with her, Granddaddy, and Daddy was a good memory made, and I do praise the Lord for it.

The Lord sent a couple great blessings along the way. One was in the cafeteria. Daddy, Granddaddy, and I had gone downstairs to get something to eat and were sitting at a large round table-- room for probably seven or eight people to sit around. While we were eating, a lady came by, sat down, bowed her head and closed her eyes for a moment, and then began to eat her soup. I wonder if she's a Christian! I wondered. But the whole time she was eating, I was too nervous to ask. (Bad me!) Anyway, just as she was about to leave, I finally asked, "Ma'am-- are you a Christian? I saw you pray before you ate."

A sun broke out on her face and she exclaimed, "Yes!"

"Praise the Lord!" I said, "so am I!"

She replied sweetly, "Well, we'll see each other again in heaven!"

Later, we were sitting waiting while Grama was in her procedure. We were at a point in the hallway that was right near a corner, but we couldn't see around it. A lady was talking on her cellphone on the other side of the corner, where we couldn't see her, but it didn't take long before I realized she was talking about God. From what I could gather, she was witnessing to a skeptic who didn't want to believe God; and the lady whom we could hear talking was sharing Christ and Scripture so boldly-- it was incredible!! She was talking about God being our creator, Him knowing all things, basically about surrendering to Him (I don't remember the wording she used), but anyway, that was a great blessing! Two Christians in one day in such a big place! :-D

There was one big "discouragement of the day" though: While Grama was waiting to be discharged from the hospital, Daddy and I decided to walk around and "explore" the hospital to pass time. At one point along the way we decided to look at the chapel. It was a narrow, dark room, and in the back were several books all in a row: there was a Hebrew Torah, a Book of Mormon, a tract about a mystical Jesus, a Koran (!!) and some other strange "holy book". On the other side of the room there was a Catholic Bible. I was so saddened that there was no copy of the true Scriptures in the whole room except for a hand-written message on a piece of paper stating that Jesus was the only mediator. (I know, the Torah/Old Testament is definitely part of the Scriptures-- don't take me wrong!-- but it is incomplete in itself; it is only an introduction to the culmination of God's promises in Jesus Christ. Without the message of the New Testament, one's understanding of the Gospel cannot be complete. Without Jesus Christ, there is no salvation.) Anyway, going into that chapel made me sad because where there is no Scripture, there is no true, lasting comfort and no salvation. :-( It made me realize how important it is to share the Gospel with everyone around me, like the lady on the phone at the hospital.

The trip there was, truly, not as bad as I had been expecting, and actually turned out to be a good experience for me. Thanks again to all of you who prayed for me. You are all so sweet! :-)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Prayer Request

I know, I know, I already posted twice already today! :-) But I need your prayers for tomorrow. My grandma is having a medical procedure done in Cleveland tomorrow (relating to her heart pacemaker); Granddaddy asked Daddy to go with them, and Daddy has asked me to go with them all as well. Problem is-- I have this utter dread of hospitals and of people having any kind of surgery or procedure or anything done. I was even scared when Amanda had her wisdom teeth taken out and when Daddy had his hernia surgery. It's scary to me. Why? I don't know, but it is one of the many, many things I am scared of. It sounds so silly, but it is true nonetheless. :-) So please pray for me to be strong tomorrow and to be a vessel of Christ's love and compassion, not plugged up with fear but open for His grace to flow through. And also that I would be good company. :-)

Thank you to all you dear friends and bloggie pals out there who I know will lift up their hearts to God on behalf of a somewhat silly, tending-to-worry sister in Christ. :-) You are all very special to me.

P.S. Don't miss the other two posts of today, even if they are shoved down below this one. :-)

To the Golden Shore

There are many biographies written about many great Christian men and women-- men and women who gave up loving families, comfortable homes, and promising careers in order to bring the Gospel to those who had never heard it. I have enjoyed many of these books, but one that has taken me nearly a year to read must tower over all the rest.

To the Golden Shore was written by Courtney Anderson and first published in 1956, and since then has become a true classic in Christian literature. It was republished in 1987 by Judson Press. To the Golden Shore follows the life of the first American missionary to bring the Gospel to foreign lands: Adoniram Judson. Drawing from old letters, journals, books, and other documents, Anderson recounts the life of this incredible missionary with such color and such thoroughness that render it no ordinary biography.

The book is divided into three parts. Part One: The Embarkation talks about Adoniram's life from birth until he left for India in 1812. It recounts Adoniram's family background, his childhood years, his struggles to come to Christ as a young man, his realization of his call to be a missionary, and his organization of the first foreign mission board in America. Part Two: The Dangerous Voyage portrays Adoniram's struggles to begin work in Burma and to get converts, as well as the trials of sickness, persecution, imprisonment, and often death, that faced Adoniram and his family. Part Three: To the Golden Shore opens with Adoniram's couple years of great depression after the death of his first wife, but goes on to tell the joy of his next two marriages, the completion of the Burmese Bible, and eventually his arrival at the "Golden Shore"-- Heaven.

Courtney Anderson by no means made his book a long, dull, monotonous collection of dates and facts; neither did he fill it with all sorts of fictional conversations and events to make it "more interesting". Rather, his very style and manner of depicting the people and places and events of the story are so vivid that the pictures seem to bounce right off the place at the reader. His descriptions are vastly colorful. He makes his reader see, hear, smell, taste, and feel all that Adoniram Judson saw, heard, smelled, tasted, and felt. You can almost feel the sea breeze and smell the harbor as Anderson richly describes Adoniram's boyhood town of Salem. You feel like you can see with your own eyes the glorious sites of the Ava and the suffering and dirtiness of Rangoon. You also grow to know and love Adoniram and the many other characters that the Lord brought into His life. In addition, Anderson tactfully copies from writings and reflections of those who knew Adoniram Judson. I particularly enjoyed reading the inserted descriptions written by Emily Chubbuck Judson (a.k.a. Fanny Forrester) after her marriage to Adoniram.

The story of Adoniram Judson is at the same time thrilling and inspiring. In reading this book, I sometimes was frustrated by the pride of his earlier years and the overdone "humility" of the first couple years after the death of his first wife Ann. However, I rejoiced as I read about the Lord's work on his heart--how God taught him the sweetness of trust and love and true humility. Also inspiring to me was Adoniram's attitude on returning to the States after over thirty years of living in Burma: instead of desiring praise and fame for having done and been through so much (which he might have wished years before that), he only desired that men and women would know Christ and have a relationship with Him. It was exciting, also, to read about the Lord fulfilling His promise that His Word would endure forever, how He preserved it even in difficult times when it was almost lost (such as the death prison days), and how the Burmans were eventually able to hold the entire Word of God in their hands and read God's message to them.
Overall, To the Golden Shore filled me with a deep appreciation for God's Word and for all those who hear and obey God's call to "make disciples of all nations." It is truly the most interesting missionary biography I have read! This is definitely a book for you to put down on your list of "Must Reads"!
The first picture in this article is of Adoniram Judson himself. The second picture is of his first wife, the beautiful and courageous Ann Hasseltine Judson.
Note: This article makes my 100th post! :-D

Sneak Peak at January-March 2008 issue of the Tuckleberry Times!

Lord willing, the next issue of the Tuckleberry Times will be going out via email, and I thought I'd give you all a sneak preview of it!

Tuckleberry Times, January-March 2008
By Grace
A beautiful salvation testimony from Ashley Bollinger

I Am Like a Vessel
A thought-provoking poem by Paul Russell

Science Speaks: How Can We See the Stars? Part 2
An interesting study by Jeremy Maurer, about how starlight reaches the earth

A Word from the Word: Will You Be Satisfied With What God Gives You?
A lesson on the blessing of a relationship with God over material blessings

Send the Light to Cambodia
A look into the mysterious Southeastern Asian country and its need for the Gospel

An introduction to a three-family team serving/preparing to serve the Lord in Cambodia

A convicting article by Marie about true, lasting contentment

Christian Heroes: Adoniram Judson
An overview of the life of the famous American missionary to Burma, written by Melanie Anderson (a.k.a. me :-) )

Readers Page
Sketches and paintings from our readers

If you do not recieve the Tuckleberry Times and would like to, please drop me a comment and give me your email address; and I will add you to our list when I send it out. (I will not publish any comment with someone's email address.)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Jesus is... (Part 3)

"When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, 'Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?'
And they said, 'Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.'
He saith unto them, 'But whom say ye that I am?'
And Simon Peter answered and said,
'Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.'
And Jesus answered and said unto him, 'Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona:
for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.'"

I think this passage has become so well known that it is easy to read without realizing the meaning and the force in Peter's words. This Man they had been learning under and following, this poor, humble Man-- Peter now declares that He is the long-awaited Christ; even more than that, the Son of the One True God.

The Jews expected a great military hero who would suddenly burst on the scene and revolutionize the world in an incredible way. Jesus did revolutionize the world-- but in a way quite different than the Jews were expecting.

He was born in a lowly manger, because the rest of the world had no room for Him.

He grew up known as the son of a carpenter.

He lived at the "beck and call" of everyone, healing, teaching.

He allowed Himself to be nailed to a cross-- the most humiliating and painful death imaginable.

He was buried in a borrowed tomb, not even His own property-- for He had no property according to an earthly perspective.

This was so unlike anything teh Jews as a whole were expecting from a Messiah! No armies, no revolution, no great military leader or earthly king overthrowing the power of Rome...

Yet Peter realized, as the Father opened his eyes, that Jesus was no ordinary man. He was indeed the Messiah, promised from the very beginning of the world-- the King of Israel, the Son of the Living God. He was the perfect Prophet, Priest, and King that the whole Old Testament had led up to. This was the Christ-- the Messiah!

This is information very familiar to our brains, but let it settle into your heart. We don't just live in memory of a great historical figure. We serve the promised Christ, who died and is now alive, the Son of the Living God, the Saviour of the world. He came not to revolutionize nations-- He came to revolutionize individual hearts. Think about it.

Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Most Thrilling Story

When Adoniram Judson returned to the United States after over thirty years of being in Burma, he found a country totally different from the one he left in 1813 and soon discovered that he was considered a saint and a legend to the people there. He was obliged to go to all these meetings and be stared at by thousands of people who saw him to be a famous, amazing super-man instead of the real human being that he was. The people expected to hear amazing stories of frontier missions when they came to hear Adoniram. They were often disappointed. Here is an account taken from Courtney Anderson's biography To the Golden Shore.

"Although the day was rainy, the church had been crowded wtih people who had learned he [Adoniram Judson] would have something to say. After the sermon he had spoken for sme fifteen minutes 'with singular simplicity, and...touching pathos,' as Emily [his fiance, soon to be his third wife] thought, of the love of the Saviour, 'what He has done for us, and what we owe to Him.'

"'As he sat down [Emily recollected]... it was evident, even to the most unobservant eye, that most of the listeners were disappointed. After the exercises were over, several persons inquired of me, frankly, why Dr. Judson had not talked of something else; why he had not told a story... On the way home, I mentioned the subject to him.

" ' "Why, what did they want?" he inquired; "I presented the most interesting subject in the world, to the best of my ability."

" ' "But they wanted something different-- a story.'

" ' "Well, I am sure I gave them a story-- the most thrilling one that can be conceived of.'

" ' "But they had heard it before. They wanted something new of a man who had just come from the antipodes.

" ' "Then I am glad they have it to say, that a man coming from the antipodes had nothing better to tell than the wondrous story of Jesus' dying love." ' "

-Anderson, Courtney: To the Golden Shore (Judson Press, Valley Forge, 1987), pages 461, 462

Thursday, January 8, 2009

You Are God

"Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting
you are God."
(Psalm 90:1,2)
I found this picture on the IDD Blog and fell in love with it. It is of a 12th century monastery called Khor Virap, in Armenia. Mt. Ararat looms in the background. As I look at the picture, the vastness of the valley and the mountain, and the serenity of the rock fortress (disregarding it's usage), fill my heart with awe and remind me of the greatness and "vastness" of our God. One of the verses that came to my mind as I looked at it was Psalm 90:1,2, so that is why I posted it here.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Cast All Your Care Upon HIM

"Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you."
(1 Peter 5:7)

It is a happy way of soothing sorrow when we can feel-"He careth for me." Christian! do not dishonour religion by always wearing a brow of care; come, cast your burden upon your Lord. You are staggering beneath a weight which your Father would not feel. What seems to you a crushing burden, would be to him but as the small dust of the balance. Nothing is so sweet as to

"Lie passive in God’s hands,
And know no will but his

O child of suffering, be thou patient; God has not passed thee over in his providence. He who is the feeder of sparrows, will also furnish you with what you need. Sit not down in despair; hope on, hope ever. Take up the arms of faith against a sea of trouble, and your opposition shall yet end your distresses. There is One who careth for you. His eye is fixed on you, his heart beats with pity for your woe, and his hand omnipotent shall yet bring you the needed help. The darkest cloud shall scatter itself in showers of mercy. The blackest gloom shall give place to the morning. He, if thou art one of his family, will bind up thy wounds, and heal thy broken heart. Doubt not his grace because of thy tribulation, but believe that he loveth thee as much in seasons of trouble as in times of happiness. What a serene and quiet life might you lead if you would leave providing to the God of providence! With a little oil in the cruse, and a handful of meal in the barrel, Elijah outlived the famine, and you will do the same. If God cares for you, why need you care too? Can you trust him for your soul, and not for your body? He has never refused to bear your burdens, he has never fainted under their weight. Come, then, soul! have done with fretful care, and leave all thy concerns in the hand of a gracious God.

-Morning and Evening, Charles Spurgeon, January 6

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Writing Update

Last time I updated you on my writing, I said I was working on editing Airborne and writing Kim and Sydney. Presently, Airborne is at a stand-still as I am waiting to hear back from my informant in Ecuador. In Kim and Sydney, Kim has finally reached adulthood; and I have finished the chapter about her brother's wedding, and she is about to be asked by her uncle to come to California to help her aunt, who is expecting twins. I haven't been working as diligently as I should on this, but it is coming along slowly.

Today, however, I did something different. A penpal had asked me about my books, and I was telling her about a series I have been writing since I was seven or eight years old. As you can imagine, the books have undergone revision after revision, new characters added, old characters taken away or changed, new scenes included, new subplots built, new lessons emphasized, new editions written and rewritten-- utter transformation. (Even now, I am considering yet another revision which I'll tell about in a minute.) Until this morning, I had the first book rewritten-- The Marquis' Daughter-- and I had only two chapters left in the second book, The Pirates' Revenge. (Sound interesting?) I hadn't worked on it for ages, as I hadn't the inspiration, but today as I wrote that letter, I felt a sudden urge to return to the world of John Cray, Mark Sayers, Dreia Magness, Esther van Moorsch, and the evil pirate, Andrew Ewing (a.k.a. Darkie). So I got out my computer and instead of IMing, I typed away the last two chapters. Pictures flowed from my mind, through my fingers, onto the keys, and from thence to the screen: the newly-wedded couples, the final attack of the pirates, the cottage going up in flames, the arrest of the evil Patch, the escape of Darkie, the following joy of the two couples as their families grow... and then the suspense of the last sentence: "And as those shadows faded away, so dimmed any worries they might have had that Darkie might still be living, and, perchance, still plotting how he might further take revenge on his mortal enemy, Mark Sayers Jr., and his family." Ooooh! I love it! Another novel finished (this one 19 chapters)! I am all set to commence the next book. The only problem is...

I am considering revising the series. At this point, it takes place in Scotland, and the seas around it. Problem is, where do the pirates come from? Why are they harrassing anybody anyway? What's the point? So, I am thinking about moving everyone to the new nation America, in the late 1700's, during the struggles with the Barbary pirates. This would make it more realistic, more historical, and more likely to be accepted by a publisher and the reading world; also, it will land the third book right in the time before the War of 1812, when the English were impressing American sailors to aid them in their war against France-- which sets the stage for more adventure and more Darkie... *evil laugh*. Does anyone know of any good resources on the Barbary Pirates? :-D

So that's how the writing is going. Tell me what you think. I know the story sounds a little weird, but it's lots of fun to write, and often ends up being more humorous than I meant it to be. Especially Mark and John's conversations. Like in chapter 2 of The Pirates' Revenge, when Mark spots the pirate ship and runs to tell John.

“John, we—we think we’ve spotted the Imperial II in the distance. Opposite the storm.” Worry showed on Mark’s young face.

John stared blank a moment, then said, “Cool down, Mark. God will take care of us.”

“But my mother! And my sister!”

“I said He’ll take care of us. He’s promised to.” John stood thoughtfully for a moment, then said, “Tell Miles that, if he has made totally certain of it’s being them, to turn the ship in the direction of the storm.”

“What? It looks like a pretty violent storm to me,” protested Mark.

“Obey my orders! Would you rather die sinking in a storm or being strangled by a pirate?” John said, eying Mark sternly.

“Sinking, for sure,” Mark replied quickly. “But, to be truthful, I’d rather neither.”

“Me too. Now, go on and do as I told you.”

Well, whether anything comes of it or not, it's enjoyable to daydream and write, and I look forward to writing that third book (potential title: Ewing's Return). And above all, I pray that God would receive the glory; that adventure would never swallow the Gospel message; that all the events in my characters' lives would be to (fictionally) draw them closer to God; and that it would aid the readers' lives as well.
Note: The picture is courtesty of Amanda Cooksey, my illustrator. She drew this picture of Dreia Magness for a cover for my book. :-)

Awesome Quote!!

Miss Toria shared this quote with my sister Bethany, and Bethany shared it with me. It is short but profound and I wanted to share it with the single young ladies who read my blog.

"A woman's heart should be so close to God

that a man must seek God to finds hers."

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Karen Legend About the Bible

The following is an interesting exerpt from Courtney Anderson's biography on Adoniram Judson, describing the Karen people whom Judson began to work with some time after his first wife's death.

"The Karens had some peculiar legends which suggested the Bible, even including one about the consequence of the eating of forbidden fruit from a 'tree of death'. One of these involved a Creator called 'Y'wa', who had seven sons, of whom the Karen was the first-born, the white man the youngest. Y'wa was to go on a journey and invited the Karen to go with him. The Karen refused because he had to clear his field. The Burman refused, too, but he and the Karen each gave their father a gift. Finally the white brother went with Y'wa. When they reached the 'celestial shore', Y'wa made a silver and gold book for the Karen, a palm-leaf book for the Burman and a parchment book for the white man. But the white man kept the silver and gold book for himself, and sent the Burman with the parchment book to the Karen. The Karen, who was still busy clearing his field, scarcely looked at the book. Instead, he left it on a stump. While he burned his clearing the book was ruined and the pigs and chickens ate what was left. But, said the legend, some day the white brother would bring the Karens the lost book from across the water. Naturally, some of them took the missionaries for that 'white brother' of the legend."

-Anderson, Courtney: To the Golden Shore. (Judson Press, Valley Forge, 1987) pages 401, 402

Pure Little Ladies Ministry's First Issue!

Pure Little Ladies Ministry has just published the first issue of their online magazine for girls. There are some great articles about modesty, godly living, recipes, and so on. Feel free to go over and check it out!