Friday, May 29, 2009

New Regency Gown!! :-D

First of all, I'd like to give praise to the Lord for the beautiful day He has given us. Not only was the weather beautiful-- rain in the morning, sun in the afternoon, now a thunderstorm approaching-- but also He has given me His presence and His promises, His love and His faithfulness. Just to know Jesus is enough to make any day-- even the darkest day-- beautiful.

One of the things I am grateful for is that He allowed me to finish my second Regency gown! I love it, even better than my blue one! Because....

It's all white! I LOVE white and have always wanted an all-white dress. In the pictures below I am wearing the blue sash that goes with my blue Regency gown, but technically it is all-white. I am planning on making sashes in a variety of colours to wear according to my mood. ;-)

I made this dress a little bit differently than the last one. One of my alterations was that I lengthened the bodice one inch. I didn't like how the last one had such a high waistline. The one inch made a nice difference and it gives the appearance of the late 1790's, early 1800's style more than the very high empire waistlines of the teens. Another feature that I altered started as an idea that I got watching "Sense and Sensibility" (Emma Thompson) the other day with the Ring girls. The costumes in that film were designed to reflect the late 90's, which is when Jane Austen would have written it. I noticed that many of the sleeves were 3/4 (the long sleeves that come down almost past the wrist are a feature of the early teens). Here is a screen still from the film. Note the 3/4 sleeves.
For my dress I cut down the sleeve-length to make them 3/4. Still a little longer than I'd like, but it was hard to judge by holding the pattern piece up to my arm.
One more alteration-- actually, it wasn't much of an alteration, really. With my blue dress (and this one) I had a hard time with the lacing. It's supposed to lace at the top and at the bottom, but then it gapes terribly. For my blue dress I used hook-and-eyes, and for this one I was going to, but only had one hook-and-eye left. :-/ So I decided to try lacing it! All I did was sewing the string through at intervals. What do you think? It doesn't gape, but do you think it might pucker too much?

Well, now you know all about my white regency gown! Next projects in mind?
  • Spencer jacket or pelisse
  • Mid-1800's chemise and corset
  • Wives and Daughters/Romantic era dress
  • Bleak House/1850's dress
  • 1950's jumper
  • some jumpers and pantaloons for some little girls
  • complete Anne of Green Gables ensemble for Amanda (when she has the money to buy the material herself... :-P )
Now, question for my friends from church:
Should I wear this to church on Sunday? I would like to wear it places, and since it's white, it will be cooler, but do you think it might draw to much attention... being all white, and of an "exotic" style? Please give me your honest opinion! I don't want to make a fool of myself. ;-)
To God be the glory! :-)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Poetry Contest

Building Homeschool Authors is having a poetry contest!! I know some of my readers on here enjoy writing poetry so I wanted to let you know! They are having the same problem as I do with the TT... they need more entries!! So check it out! :-D

If you are wary of writing poetry, there are some great poetry hints on this website to help you. :-)

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Memorial Day Recipe!

Here's my great-grandma's "famous" rhubarb pie recipe! It's our favorite! :-D

Rhubarb Pie
from the kitchen of Wilma Lobdell


4 c. rhubarb
1 1/3 c. sugar
4 T. flour
dash of salt
2 T. butter of margarine
1 recipe plain pastry

Combine rhubarb, sugar, flour, and salt. Fill 9" pastry-lined pie plate. Dot with butter and adjust top crust. Bake in hot (400 degree) oven for 40-50 minutes.

Mmmmmm-mmmmm, good!!

Note: I FINALLY changed my poll question! The answer to the last one was Great Expectations. Good job! Enjoy the next one. Sounds a little dreary, I know.... very Dickensian!! :-) (Go, Dickens! :-D)

A Tribute to My World War II Heroes

I wrote this a couple years ago and decided to post it in honour of Memorial Day. :-)

Upon the Californian dock
The soldier stood erect;
And one who saw his youthful eyes
Strong valor could detect.
He turned and looked upon the place
That he had always known;
And though a tear shown in his eye,
He knew, “I’m not alone.”

The months have passed. The soldier now
Prepares for fearsome fight.
“I’m now a man, and I must do
What I believe is right.”
And with great courage, this young man
Stoops down and grabs his gun.
He’d face the grave and fight the fight
Until his country won.

And now a white cross lifts its head
Upon a foreign hill.
The body once so full of life
Now, in the grave, lies still.
But this young soldier’s sacrifice
Across the stormy sea
Was not a waste, or to no use—
Because it we are free.

So many more white crosses stand
Each marked with name and date.
While some did live, the others died,
And many met their fate.
Brave men, whose lives were silenced there,
Your country is still free.
I thank you for the step you took
To conquer tyranny.

Oh, may my heart ring true to you
Who gave your lives for me.
If you’d held back in cowardice,
I might not now be free.
To you who died, to you who lived,
Who joined the army ranks,
My heart still gives in gratitude
Ten thousand million thanks.

"Greater love hath no man than this,

that a man lay down his life for his friends."

The men of our nation's past, and their self-sacrifice for other's freedom, reminds me of the spiritual freedom we have in Christ, through HIS sacrifice of Himself. That is, indeed, the greatest freedom. May we follow in His footsteps, and in our forefather's footsteps, to be willing to sacrifice our own lives and interests to spread freedom-- true freedom-- all around the world.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

No Night There/ All My Tears

Here are some songs that have been going through my head since Leah's, Harrison's, and Sophia's deaths. They are very encouraging and uplifting as they remind me that Aunt Leah and the children are in a FAR BETTER place!!

No Night There
This is one of the songs that I played on the piano at Aunt Leah, Harrison, and Sophia's calling hours.

In the land of fadeless day
Lies the "city foursquare;"
It shall never pass away,
And there is "no night there."

All the gates of pearl are made,
In the "city foursquare;"
All the streets with gold are laid,
And there is "no night there."

And the gates shall never close
To the "city foursquare;"
There life's crystal river flows,
And there is "no night there."

There they need no sunshine bright,
In that "city foursquare;"
For the Lamb is all the light,
And there is "no night there."

God shall "wipe away all tears;"
There's no death, no pain, nor fears;
And they count not time by years,
For there is "no night there."

All My Tears

This is one that Mrs. Maurer, Christie, and Jesse have sung for us. I copied the words while listening to the MP3 recording Amanda got of them, so I may have gotten a few words incorrect. I highlighted in bold the words that always send a chill of excitement down my spine. :-) Perspective-changer! ;-)

When I die, don't cry for me;
In my father's house I'll be.
The wounds this world left on my soul
Will all be healed, and I'll be whole.

Sun and moon will be replaced
With the light of Jesus' face;
And I will not be ashamed,
For my Saviour knows my name.

It don't matter
Where you bury me.
I'll be home,
And I'll be free.
It don't matter
Where I lay;
All my tears
Be washed away.

Gold and silver blind the eye,
Temporary riches lie.
Come and drink from Heaven's store!
Come and drink, and thirst no more!

So weep not for me my friend,
When my time is at an end.
For my life belongs to Him,
Who will raise the dead again.


When I die, don't cry for me.
In my father's arms I'll be.
The wounds this world left on my soul
Will all be healed, and I"ll be whole.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009


"Excuse me, young ladies."

An older gentleman with white hair and a round belly approached our round table at the funeral dinner after the burial of Leah, Harrison, and Sophia on Tuesday.

"There is a gentleman over there," said the man, "who wanted to find out who played the piano and the violin so beautifully yesterday at the calling hours."

During part of the time that 1,500-2000 went through to give their condolences to Uncle Brian, Uncle Kenneth and Aunt Erma (Leah's and my Uncle John's parents), and to Brian's parents, Amanda, Beth, and I had played the piano and violin a little. I don't remember all that the others played, but I played "Give Me Jesus" and "No Night There". We gave our names to the man who had come up to us, and he had us write them and our address down on a piece of paper. "Gil was very impressed," he told us.

He then began to tell us about Gil G.-- Aunt Erma's oldest brother, Aunt Leah's uncle. "Have you ever seen the movie 'End of the Spear'?" he asked us.

"We've heard of it," I answered.

"Yeah, well, he knew one of those five men who were martyred-- Jim Elliot."

*drops mouth open* !!! After the man left talking to us, Mommy told us, "You need to go talk to him!" (meaning Mr. G.)

I waited for the seats around Mr. G to empty, and then Bethany and I approached him.

"We heard you were asking after the girls who played the music yesterday," I said. "I am one of them. My name is Melanie, and this is my sister Bethany, who played the violin."

Mr. G was grateful for us coming over and began to tell us how the music had been a blessing to him and such. When there was a break in the conversation, I said, "We heard that you knew Jim Elliot personally. Is that correct?"

He answered to the affirmative.

"How did you know him? Did you know him really well?" I asked.

"Well, it's kind of a long story," Mr. G said, and then he went on to tell us. It was loud in the room, and he's an old man who's voice is a little shaky, so some of what he said was hard to catch. But I will tell you what I am certain of.

Mr. G worked in some kind of service... civil service?... with Jim's older brother, and Jim would come and see them at their work. Then that service transferred Mr. G up to Oregon where the Elliots lived, and Mr. G would worship with them at their congregation on Sundays!

"I remember the day he died," Mr. G said with a faraway look. "I was sitting in my living room and looked at the headlines.... and saw that he and four other missionaries had been speared by the Auca Indians.

"It's made a major impact on the world," he said. "And I believe that this tragedy will make a major impact on the Flora community, and will finger out into other places as well."

What perspective this gave me. I thought about it for the rest of the afternoon.

Jim Elliot was young, handsome, and passionate in his walk with Christ. He was not yet thirty years old when he, Ed McCully, Pete Fleming, Roger Youderian, and Nate Saint were martyred by hostile Auca Indians in the jungle of Ecuador, each leaving behind a widow and several leaving behind young children. Tragedy? Yes, I suppose it could be called so. But did God know what He was doing? Was God still in control when those naked Indians burst out of the trees with spears? Was God still on the throne when people pulled Jim's mutilated body out of the water? Were all of Jim's, and the other men's, efforts-- flying over, dropping gifts, praying for the salvation of the Aucas-- wasted?

We all know God was still in control, still on the throne, still at work. We all know that afterwards several of the men who were actually involved in the murder were saved and baptised and are now leaders in the church in that area. Various writings about Jim, Nate, and the others have brought people to salvation in Christ, been instrumental in the call of many to the mission field, and simply been a huge encouragement and blessing in countless people's lives-- including my own. Those five missionaries have become famous worldwide and we continue to be impacted by their lives-- and deaths-- even today. I am, as I keep a copy of the Journals of Jim Elliot on my nightstand.

Now for another story.

Brian W. and Leah F. were close friends growing up, and eventually became husband and wife. They had two beautiful children-- Harrison and Sophia. The children were active, energetic, and-- despite their young ages-- passionate for the Lord and for others. Harrison said that he wanted to be a preacher. Sophia comforted others during hard times in their lives-- even at four years old. Leah loved to minister to her husband, children, and friends, leaving huge impact on many lives-- and one of her favorite hobbies was running, being extremely athletic.

Then, one night (Friday, May 15, 2009) a thunderstorm rolled over their little town of Flora, Indiana. Fire broke out all throughout the house. Brian escaped. Leah, Harrison, and Sophia did not.

Did God know what He was doing? Was He still good when firefighters found the remains of that beloved wife and mother in the burnt kitchen of the house? Was He still wise when He took a man's wife and only two children? Was He still on His throne as the champagne-coloured casket, containing the bodies of the three, was lowered into the sod on Tuesday?

Oh, my friends, I tell you, He was good, He was wise, and HE WAS ON THE THRONE! In the past week, I have seen tragedy and grief-- I have felt grief at the loss of these beautiful children who I had been so blessed to call my "cousins"-- even though they were my cousin's cousins. But in the past week I have seen Christ lifted up, the Holy Spirit at work, and God glorified. Brian, Kenneth and Erma, and Brian's parents are looking to the Lord and are confident that He is in control and that He is with them. They know the Aunt Leah, Harrison, and Sophia are in a better place-- worshipping and singing in the presence of God and living in glorious exaltation of their Saviour-- and couldn't wish to come back. From what I heard last, two children, friends of Harrison's, have accepted Christ as their Saviour, and one girl has chosen to make a public profession of faith by baptism. And I believe that people will continue to come to Christ through this. And those who already know Christ will see even more than before the need to set their eyes on Christ and cling to Him and trust Him-- as I have been learning this week. I am excited to see what further impact this will have not only on the community of Flora, but also all over the state of Indiana-- and, via family members and friends, throughout all of America.

"Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth:
Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours;
and their works do follow them."
(Revelation 14:13)

"And Jesus answered them, saying,
'The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.
Verily, verily, I say unto you,
Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die,
it abideth alone:
but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit."
(John 12:23)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I Want You!

Mrs. Hadley is busily shuffling about the kitchen, trying to throw lunch together, while Kaylyn studiously bends her head over her schoolwork and Daniel drives his trucks back and forth on the carpeted floor. Miss Melanie is trying to occupy Hannah, but Hannah trots up to Mrs. Hadley with a sad look on her face and cries, "Mommy, I want YOU!"


Poor Hannah's exema is bothering her and she is sitting in her highchair wimpering. "Mommy," she says sadly, "I want YOU!"


I found Hannah saying this very frequently throughout my visit at the Hadleys. She is at the age where there is no place she'd rather be than in her daddy's or mommy's arms. She doesn't take the effort to notice that Daddy is studying his sermon for Sunday or that Mommy is putting together her supper. She doesn't want to play dolls with Kaylyn or trucks with Daniel, and doesn't want Miss Melanie to read her "Sam Gets Lost". "Mommy, I want YOU!" That's all she wants.

I wonder, have we, as we have grown to more "mature" years ;-), lost this simple desire, "I want YOU!" No, not for our earthly mommy or daddy... but for our Abba Father, our Saviour and our God. Have we lost the simplicity of forgetting about all our "trucks", "dolls", and "storybooks", and coming before God, pleading, "Jesus, I want YOU!"

Sometimes Pastor or Mrs. Hadley was busy and couldn't stoop down and pick up Hannah and comfort her each time she came to them. It's just not humanly possible to be available for one's children every second of every day. But our God is infinite and omnipresent and omniscient, and He is never too busy for any one of His children. As the love and care of a mother is as essential to a child's emotional growth as clean air and suitable food is to her physical growth, so is the love and care of our Heavenly Father essential to our spiritual growth in Him. He is always ready to give it, but He wants us to come to the point that that is what we want-- more than ANYTHING else. He wants us to come to Him with our arms spread out, crying, "Daddy, I want YOU!"

All other things-- even the most precious things-- can perish on this earth. This week my uncle's brother-in-law, "Uncle" Brian, lost his house, his wife, and his only two children in a house fire. But God is eternal, unchangeable... FOREVER. He alone is our eternal hope, He alone can we entirely entrust our lives to and devote our all to, because He will never die. And He knows what is right for us and will take care of us. This week I have been challenged with this thought. How important are earthly things to me? Is Jesus all-in-all to me, above any other person or thing? Am I ready to leave all else, come to God with outstretched arms, and simply say, "Jesus, I need YOU!" For He is all I need. Once I am resting in Him, I can let Him take care of everything else.

"Whom have I in heaven but thee?
and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.
My flesh and my heart faileth:
but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever."

Psalm 73:25,26


In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise,
Give me Jesus.

When I am alone
When I am alone
When I am alone,
Give me Jesus

When I come to die
When I come to die
When I come to die,
Give me Jesus.

Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus!
You can have all this world,
But give me Jesus.

Please visit this link here for the beautiful tune to these beautiful words! Thank you, sweet Leah! This is one of my favorites!

Saturday, May 16, 2009


"Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God
whose ways you may not understand at the time."
—Oswald Chambers
"When you cannot trace God's hand,
you can always trust His heart."

"To know God is to be in the secret place of all knowledge, and to trust Him changes the whole outlook surrounding mystery and seeming contradictions and unanswered questions, from one of doubt or fear or bewilderment, to one of hope. The unknown may be some lovely truth in store for us, which we are not yet ready to apprehend. Not to be intellectually certain of a truth does not prevent the heart that loves and obeys that truth from getting the goodness out of it, from drawing life from it because it is loved, not because it is understood."
-George MacDonald, The Lady's Confession, Chapter 40, page 230

“We must get away from the idea that deliverance from trial is the highest form of spiritual blessing. . . .
We learn more in a few days in the fiery furnace than we would learn in years out of it.”
-J. Oswald Sanders

"Difficulties afford a platform upon which He can show Himself. Without them, we could never know how tender, faithful, and Almighty our God is."
-J. Hudson Taylor

Trust is not seeing God's plan in the events of life, but believing it anyway. You cannot see and trust at the same time, because there is no need for trust if you can already see.
I can't see. I can't see why eighteen-year-old Megan Ripley was shot and killed by a careless hunter two years ago. And I can't see why my aunt's husband's sister, Leah, and her two children, Harrison (8) and Sophia (4) were killed in a house fire last night, leaving their husband/dad alone. This is when I really do need to trust... to rest in the fact that somehow, in all of this, God is in control, and He is good and wise... and Love. And for all that I don't know-- I must trust that God knows, and that He does care. If you have lost people like this, or gone through some kind of tragedy, you probably understand this feeling. It's heartbreaking. Oh God, help me to rest in Your wisdom and goodness when I cannot see what you are doing, or why.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Things That Will Become Sweet, Sweet Memories! (UPDATED!)


It isn't incredibly appetizing at the dinner table when...
  • Kaylyn coughs out a bunch of mucus from her throat
  • Hannah shoves a huge, huge piece of food into her mouth and lets what she can't chew drop out onto her plate
  • Daniel is sucking his thumb (as usual), and Pastor H. tells him to take his thumb out of his mouth, so he promptly starts rubbing his eye with his wet thumb instead
  • Hannah sneezes all over her plate
It cracks me up when...

  • Mrs. H told me of a book that her in-laws gave her when she got married, a book containing different family memories and terms. Here is one term. "Gravy: something between the cross and the ressurection." Explanation: One of Pastor H's brothers or himself-- she wasn't sure-- used to think that in "He Arose", it says, "Up from the gravy arose!"
  • Daniel asks something in an unclear way, and Pastor H jokingly turns it around to mean "I don't want dessert" or something like that, and Daniel says in the cutest way, "DAD-dy!!"
  • Hannah asks about 5 times on a day that is not dessert day, "Mommy, are we-are we having dessert?"
  • Daniel announces, "I LOVE potatoes!" when he is served some; the missionary says, "Do you like spuds?" Daniel looks at him for a moment, and then exclaims emphatically, "No, I do NOT like spuds!!"
  • I am listening to Daniel and Kaylyn playing in the living room while I seamrip. Daniel picks up a toy fun and says, "Ring! Ring!" Kaylyn answers, "Hello?" Daniel says, "Hi. Um, I want to marry you." :-)

(There are lots of more things, and I wish I could think of them if I could, but I can't.)

I don't know what to do when:

  • Kaylyn wants to play a game, Daniel wants me to play trucks with him, and Hannah wants to play dolls
  • Daniel wants to pretend he's my baby, and I have to tell him "when it's my breakfast, lunch, supper, nap, and bedtime!"
  • Hannah wants to play with a truck and Daniel yells, "NOOOOoooo, Hannah!"
  • Kaylyn goes bazurk over her marigolds coming up
  • Daniel comes to me with puppy eyes when I am playing dolls with Hannah and says, "But Melanie, you said you were going to play trucks with me, and you hardly even moved them around!"
  • Hannah sneezes in my face
  • One of the children wants me to read "Sam Gets Lost", "Cork and Fuzz", or "The Biggest Fish" for the-- what, tenth?-- time. :-)

Annoying? No. Tiring? No!


I LOVE THEM TO DEATH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mrs. H said they'll be in pieces when I have to leave... I think I will be too!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

This message is on a magnet on the Hadley's refrigerator. I read it while washing dishes:

He who plants a seed

beneath the sod,

and waits to see,

believes in God.

BTW, thank you all who have been praying for me here in IN. Honestly, I haven't been homesick at all, but have been having such a good time. I'm really in my heaven here. ;-) Not that I don't miss my family and friends, you understand. :-) But I'm not pining! The Lord has been teaching me so much. So thank you for praying for me, and please continue to pray that I will be diligent and helpful and, above all, keep my eyes on Christ. I love you all!