Saturday, February 28, 2009

Daily Things

The following quotes have been very helpful and uplifting as I have been struggling with contentment in the monotonous every-day, which is even more trying when winter has been going on so long. The quotes don't all emphasize the same aspect of the day-to-day, but they all have something to do with the day-to-day, so I decided to post them all together. Think seriously about each one; let the truth sink into your hearts. God wants us to use the everyday things in life to glorify Him as well as the great and grand things.

"This is the beginning of a new day. You have been given this day to use as you will. You can waste it or use it for good. What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever; in its place is something that you have left behind...let it be something good."
-Author Unknown


"We must try to take life moment by moment. The actual present is usually pretty tolerable I think, if only we refrain from adding to its burden that of the past and the future."
- C.S. Lewis


"If we have God's assurance behind us, the most amazing strength becomes ours, and we learn to sing, glorifying Him even in the ordinary days and ways of life."
~Oswald Chambers


"The person who would do great things well, must practice daily on little ones; and she who would have the assistance of the Almighty in important acts, must be daily and hourly accustomed to consult His will in the minor affairs of life."
-Fanny Forrester (a.k.a. Emily Chubbuck Judson)


"The true way to live is to enjoy every moment as it passes, and surely it is in the everyday things around us that the beauty of life lies."
-Laura Ingalls Wilder

Thursday, February 26, 2009


This section from Pilgrim's Progress is when Christiana and her group arrive at the Delectable Mountains and the Shepherds are showing them all the sights of the place. I thought this was a good picture so I wanted to share it with you.

"Then they [the shepherds] had them to another place, called Mount Innocent; and there they saw a man clothed all in white, and two men, Prejudice and Ill-will, continually casting dirt upon him. Now, behold, the dirt, whatsoever they cast at him, would in little time fall off again, and his garments would look as clear as if no dirt had been cast thereat.

"Then said the Pilgrims, 'What means this?' The Shepherds answered, 'This man is named Godly-man, and this garment is to show the innocency of his life. Now, those that throw dirt at him, are such as hate his well-doing; but, as you see the dirt will not stick upon his clothes, so it shall be with him that liveth truly innocently in the world. Whoever they be that would make such men dirty, they labour all in vain; for God, by that a little time is spent, will cause that their innocence shall break forth as the light, and their righteousness as the noon-day.'"

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Rules: Copy and paste to your own post, erase my answers and fill in your own (ONLY ONE WORD ANSWERS!), and tag 5 people.

I was tagged by Leah.

When is your birthday? February
What color are your eyes? hazel
What is your favorite food? Italian
What are you wearing right now? homemade
What aren't you wearing? coat
Your mother? beloved
Your father? recovering
Your favorite drink? coffee
Your pets? meow
Your friends? encouraging
Your hobby? writing
The one place you go over and over? bookshelf
Right or left-handed? right
Your hair? disobedient
Sports? backyard
If you could be anywhere right now, where would it be? Indiana
Where do you see yourself in 6 years? bookstores
Movies? Austen
Your favorite book? unidentifiable
Who do you think will respond? uh...

I tag anyone who wishes to and do not tag any one who does not wish to! (Sometimes people would rather not be tagged, so I'm just leaving this open to whoever does so I don't get in trouble! :-P )

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Five Things

Here's a nice little ditty that I read in Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little Town on the Prairie. Ma (Caroline Ingalls) wrote it in Laura's autograph album in real life (I've seen the original album, by the way ;-) ). The poem is short, but full of truth.

"If wisdom's ways you wisely seek,
Five things observe with care:
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where."

These are things I've been learning in my daily life. Now if I would only remember and apply them!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Good job, everyone, on the poll! 10 voted Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, and one voted Jane Austen's Mansfield Park. The answer was Pride and Prejudice. :-)

How's the Writing?

I am sorry that I haven't written for so long. Last week we were bombarded with colds and fevers, and my fevered brain just couldn't collect it's thoughts to put on paper (or on blog) for the whole first half of the week. On Friday, I believe it was, I tried to write a post but it just wasn't coming out right so I put it aside. Praise the Lord, we are all doing much better now, except Daddy, who is still fighting the fever deal, and my writing should be back by now. :-)

I decided I'd like to give some updates on my book-writing, as I haven't for a while.

Kim and Sydney

This book has been coming along pretty well. I got tired of Kim and Sydney being little girls and skipped a chapter, since I'm writing it in notebook and plan to transfer it to Microsoft Word on the computer eventually, and I moved right along to the time when Sydney has moved to California, Kim is grown up, and her brother is getting married to her best friend Faith. Chris has just returned from college, and Kim's aunt and uncle invite her to come stay with them in California as her aunt is expecting twins and already has two very busy little girls. As of Saturday, I have finally reached chapter 15, when Kim arrives at her aunt and uncle's home in the San Joaquin Valley area of California (familiar to me because that is where most of my mom's family lives), and is getting settled. That means very soon (probably within a few chapters) she will accidentally meet up with a grown-up and very different Sydney from the Sydney of Kim's warped, childhood memories when anybody you play with can be your best friend. (Remember those days? :-P ) So that is the progress on "Kim and Sydney".

17th Century England story (no name)

I had actually started this book and written up to chapter seven in this one before we went to Indiana. I am not giving too much attention to details and descriptions now, as I plan to do those after I've done some more study and started typing it out on the computer. But I have enjoyed writing the part when James Tyler takes refuge at the Williams' home, and they are followed home from the Separatist meeting, and Lady Abercromby begins her career as the evil, plotting villain of the story... I am at the part right after William and Ralph have been taken to prison and the children (Christopher "Kit", Eleanor "Nell", and Ann) have been taken to Abercromby Park. Now the children are a couple years older-- Ann is eight-- and I am in the process of introducing their personalities. (The former chapters were about William Williams, Ann's father, and the readers don't really get to know Ann, the main character, until the chapter I am currently on (chapter seven).) I have all sorts of scenes planned in my mind that I can't wait to right out. But I can't give away the story to you. :-)

When we were in Indiana, we went to the Ft. Wayne library for my mom and my aunt to do some genealogy. While we were there, I looked up several resources on the 17th century. I found some great books and read and took notes on what I could, as we were there for several hours. One book that rendered itself particularly helpful was "Daily Life in Stuart England". Unfortunately, I only had time to read two chapters' worth of it, but I learned a great deal about the general history of the era as well as society and government in the 17th century.

I learned, for instance, about the aristocracy. The Peerage were the people of highest rank, with titles recieved from the king, in order of importance: Duke-Marquess-Earl-Viscount-Baron. I learned that the baronetcy was originally invented by Kimes James to raise funds for a military expedition. Baronets paid ₤1,100 for the title, but it eventually became cheaper. The title could be inherited, the holder was called "Sir" but did not have a seat in the House of Lords. My mind started turning, and I decided that Sir Abercromby is a baronet, which would give his wife (Lady Abercromby, the conniver) all the more reason to try to get Ann married to a baron or viscount so that she can have her claws in the politics of the country. *evil laugh* :-D

Another thing I learned that the "thou" form of speech was used in familiar conversation, while the "you" form was rendered more respectful. I still think I will use "you" for all my conversation, as "thou and thee" would be laborious and stuffy sounding.

I also learned about the structure of towns, which were becoming more widespread in the 17th century as England came out of the feudalistic society of the Middle Ages.

Another note of interest, and especially important in my story, was the position of Anglicans, Puritans, Separatists, and Catholics. Separatists (Christians who separated from the Church of England completely, due to the conviction that it was unbiblical) were regarded as disloyal because the Church of England was the state church, and it was law to attend. An Englishman could be fined one shilling for not attending the state church services. The Separatists were actively suppressed, especially after the Restoration of the throne. The Glorious Revolution of 1689 granted Dissenters freedom in England; this, however, is a good forty years or so after Ann and her beloved started a free and happy life in Virginia in the New World.

When I came home, I looked up that book on Google and the lowest price I could find it for was $38 from Barnes and Noble if you have a membership. *wails* So if anybody has this book and can bear to lend it out.... *batting eyes* :-) Or maybe I'll just have to go back to Ft. Wayne.

My cousins Patrick and Louise, in England, have also been very helpful in helping me find websites and book titles that will be of help to me. They both have a great interest in history, and they live right where it all happened! :-)

Please pray for me as I continue my writing pursuits. This England story is very important to me. My cousin Patrick reminded me that "we are living in a very turbulent time. You are going to write about another era, which was equally fraught." This really put it in perspective. We cannot know what lies ahead for the church, be it persecution or peace. We cannot know what lies ahead for our government, instability or security. Times change, fashions and trends change, maps change, governments change, new people make new marks on the page of history... But one thing never changes, and that is God. The God who could still change and rule in the hearts of men in the days of Cromwell and King Charles, can still change and rule in the hearts of men in the days of Obama and Clinton. Whatever happens, God's words will remain true-- they are timeless and forever. In my book, Polydore Tyler teaches Ann and Kit the timeless lessons of God's Word: that each individual must have the choice for himself/herself whether they will follow God or their own ways and the ways of the world; that all the wicked men banded together cannot destroy God's plan or eradicate God's people or even touch them if it isn't God's will; God sets up and brings down thrones all according to His will; we must be strong in the face of opposition and persecution and hold fast to the promises of God. These messages are for today. So please pray that I will endure in the study and find everything I need to make this book all I want it to be, that it would be an offering to God and a help to His people.

Please pray the same for Kim and Sydney. I want other girls to read about being salt and light to the world around them and not caring if they are different from other people, because they are God's treasured possession.

I would be delighted to hear you readers' input on either of these stories, and again, let me know if you can find some good resources on the Stuart era. God bless you all! :-)

P.S. I found some great pictures of 17th century English fashions which have helped me have a picture in my mind of what kind of clothes Ann and Nell and Lady Abercromby wear! Here are some. Some are really ugly, but I like the last one.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

"Oh how great is thy goodness,
which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee;
which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!
Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man:
thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues...
O love the LORD, all ye his saints:
for the LORD preserveth the faithful,
and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer.
Be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen your heart,
all ye that hope in the LORD."

(Psalm 31:19,20,23,24)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Good job everyone on the last poll! You all got it right: The answer was "A Tale of Two Cities"! :-)

Steps to Contentment

When we were at the Maurers' this last week, they shared the following quotation with me. It really was a blessing to my heart, as it touched on several things I need in my life, so I wanted to share it with you.
  1. Allow thyself to complain of nothing, not even of the weather.
  2. Never picture thyself under any circumstances in which thou art not.
  3. Never compare thine own lot with that of another.
  4. Never allow thyself to dwell on the wish that this or that had been, or were, otherwise than it was, or is. God Almighty loves thee better and more wisely than thou dost thyself.
  5. Never dwell on the morrow. Remember that it is God's, not thine. The heaviest part of sorrow is to look forward to it. "The Lord will provide."

-E. B. Pusey (a 19th century church leader)

Isn't that wonderful? It is something I so need in my day-to-day life as I struggle with contentment where I'm at. If I could but keep each of these points in my mind at all times, I know I would be much more joyful! I hope they were a blessing to you as they were to me, and thanks to Mrs. Maurer and Christie for making an additional copy for me. :-)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Northanger Abbey

Northanger Abbey is Jane Austen's fifth known novel and one of her most unique, and, in my mind, most well-written. It was originally written in 1798, sold to a bookseller in 1803, but it was not published until 1817. While it does not seem to be as well-known as many of Miss Austen's works, it is a most delightful book and is still widely in print.

Miss Austen introduces her readers to her heroine very promptly with the words: "No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy would have supposed her born to be an heroine." Catherine is the daughter of a respectable clergyman and one of ten children. As a child, she enjoyed frolicking about and playing with her brothers instead of quiet, sitting-down sorts of things, but as she grew older "she began to curl her hair and long for balls...her love of dirt gave way to an inclination for finery, and she grew clean as she grew smart..." She has a huge imagination and a taste for thrilling, "horrid" Gothic novels.

At the age of seventeen, Catherine is invited to accompany an older, childless couple to spend six weeks in Bath. It is here that her life will change forever. She meets the Thorpes: Isabella, the woman with whom Catherine's brother is in love, and who enjoys fun and flirtation and horrid novels, like Catherine; and John Thorpe, Isabella's unobliging, underhanded brother. Catherine also meets the Tilneys: the hard-to-understand, and sometimes frightful General; the kind-hearted, pleasant Henry Tilney; and sweet, soft-hearted Eleanor. During Catherine's stay at Bath, General Tilney invites her to come and stay with them for a few weeks at his home: Northanger Abbey.

Instantly, Catherine's mind is full of imaginations of adventure at the word "abbey". Her taste for wild, romantic, adventurous books has conditioned her mind to expect her life to be like the stories she reads about. What secrets lie behind the walls of Northanger? What does the General expect of her? What will she learn about the realities of life; what is important and what isn't?

Northanger Abbey was the most tasteful, enjoyable book, full of fun and wit and many good laughs. One thing that intrigued me was how accurately Jane Austen describes and writes of the thoughts and perspectives of seventeen-year-old girls (like me! :-) ) Often she will peep into Catherine's thoughts and they remind me so much of my own. I also enjoy the way she builds the plot and helps you see things-- expectations and disappointments-- through Catherine's eyes. As I read, I learned, dreamed, expected, and sorrowed with her. In fact, the night before the day I finished it, I had to stop reading just a few chapters before the end, when her situation takes a sudden and alarming turn in which it is hard to tell if everything will turn out well, and I actually dreamed that night about what might happen after that. So there you see how obviously the book wraps up the reader in it's pages!

Like Emma, Northanger Abbey is not considered a "Christian" book, as it does not speak of Jesus Christ in so many words. However, (again, like Emma), I found a wealth of lessons to be learned from it. I enjoyed seeing Catherine as she grows and changes, especially after she makes some big mistakes at the Abbey. I also enjoyed the character of Henry Tilney (clergyman), whose demeanor is marked by kindness and wisdom. I felt there was so much to learn in Northanger Abbey and highly recommend it to you as a fun and enjoyable book for a quiet, wintery day.

P.S. Please do not suppose that because I recommended this book to you that I also recommend the movie adaptions to you. My mom has previewed both versions and both of them worked some questionable things into the story, particularly into Catherine's daydreams. So please be content to just read the book! :-)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Quotes on God's Infinitude

"[Lady Julian of Norwich] said about the Trinity: 'Suddenly the Trinity filled my heart with joy. And I understood that so it shall be in heaven without end.' This is a step up from the utilitarian heaven that most people want to go to, where they'll have everything right-- a split-level home, two cars and a fountain, a swimming pool and golden streets. Lady Julian saw that heaven will be heaven because the Trinity will fill our hearts with 'joy without end,' for the Trinity is God adn God is the Trinity. The Trinity is our Maker and Keeper, and the Trinity is our everlasting love and everlasting joy and bliss."

"The Church will come out of her doldurms when we find out that salvation is not a light bulb only, that it is not an insurance policy against hell only, but that it is a gateway into God and that God is all that we would have and can desire."

"God, to be God, must be infinite in all that He is. He must have no bound and no limit, no stopping place, no point beyond which He can't go. When you think of God or anything about God you'll have to think infinitely about God."

"We ought to stop thinking like scientists and think like psalmists."

-Qutoes from The Attributes of God by A. W. Tozer, Chapter 1: God's Infinitude

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Poll and Other Thoughts

First, the Poll:
The question was
"What book begins with the following line: 'There was no possibility of taking a walk that day.'"
There were five votes for Jane Eyre and two votes for Christy. The answer was Jane Eyre. Good job everyone! :-D
The next poll should be fun. The first sentence of the book is so long though, that I cannot include it all on the sidebar so I will here. Do not answer in the "Comments"; answer on the poll on the sidebar.

What book begins with the following line:
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hpoe, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way-- in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only."

Long line, eh? No wonder I'm shortening it on the side.

On another subject, we will be gone until next Thursday, in Indiana, so I do not know when I will have time to post, but I will try to.

Meanwhile, here's a quote for you to think on:

"TO FOLLOW JESUS is to be learning of him, to think his thoughts, to use his judgments, to see things as he sees them, to feel things as he feels them, to be of the same heart, soul, and mind, as he is."
-George MacDonald

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Paths in the Water and Seventeen-Going-On-Eighteen

"For the horse of Pharaoh went in with his chariots
and with his horsemen into the sea,
and the LORD brought again the waters of the sea upon them;
but the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea."
(Exodus 15:19)
What an AMAZING display of God's power we see in Exodus 14 and 15! And yet, we come to know this account so well that we begin to read it like a childhood fairytale rather than something that really happened. We read it with the carelessness of, "Oh, the waters of the lake rolling back to make a dry path? That happens every day!" Or we read it with the attitude of, "Sure, that happened in the story, but those sorts of things really don't happen in real life." How faithless we are! Isn't the God we serve today the same God who rolled back the waters of the Red Sea, working miraculous deliverance for His people? If we took the time to think on it, we would be truly awed and amazed. We would have the assurance and peace that comes in knowing that that same God is our God, and He is just as powerful and mighty to save today as He was then. We would have faith that this God can help us through all the trials of life, just as surely as He delivered the Israelites from the Egyptians and led them across the sea on dry land.
On a personal note:
SCARY NEWS!!! I am seventeen today. It is unbelievable to me. For all my life I wanted to be sixteen. I would watch Leisl dance and sing "I am sixteen, going on seventeen", and wish to say the same thing. And now I am seventeen going on eighteen!! Can it be possible? Can't I just stay sixteen for the rest of my life?
But the clock cannot be stopped. And I do, truly, look forward to the following years, as God sees fit to grant, and I do desire with all my heart that this year I would draw so much closer to Him-- that I would learn to use my time wisely, for HIS glory-- that I would give of myself to serve Him and others-- that I would develop traits in my life that will equip me for service and Christlike relationships with everyone I'm around. I have a choice: either I will use this year to please myself and pursue my own ways, or I will allow God to channel my natural desires and personality to bring Him glory and to serve others.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Singing in Spirit and in Truth

The following song I read in Volume 49, Issue 3 of the Christian Example. It is taken from the Anabaptist hymnbook, the Ausbund. It was sung by the Anabaptists during the Reformation. I thought the words were very interesting, and convicting if you take the time to meditate on them; and what's funny is that Pastor said basically the same thing today, only in his own wording.

Singing in Spirit and in Truth
Lift up your hands; turn toward God
With all your soul and mind.
Tread rightly before God; ask from the heart
And thank Him for His goodness:
Then [your song] sounds well, if filled with joy.
Otherwise your singing has neither tone nor sound
But is only thrashing of the tongue.
Only the heart can sing that which rings true before God;
Your mouth is but the interpreter
If your heart is grounded in the law of the Lord
As your mouth moves.
When the Covenant of Christ is but seized by the mouth,
What one's vulgar mouth mutters does not chane the heart.
God says, "Depart, you mockers."
Christ punishes harshly this improper practice
Which Satan's mob carries on.
As Paul also rebukes the man that so slothfully
As in this present distress,
Perfect syllables and sounds forth without spirit,
Going about in form--all is filthy,
Though they sing beautifully.
A work without faith fails the test
As Cain's followers sing and do.
You must be Abel, here without fail
Who without guile does what is good.
Unto Thee the heavenly host give glory
With heart and tongue, old and young,
Through Jesus Christ. Amen.
-Sebastian Franck (1499-1542)