Monday, August 30, 2010

Just Miscellaneous Happy Things :-)

Today I went to JoAnn Fabrics and was able to pick up some fun things for my "Etsy" sewing.
Let me show you some up-close shots of some of the items. I'm pretty happy with them! :-)
Iron-on applique for a doll-sized polo dress that I'll be making:
Decorative fabric roses to trim some Colonial-style doll dresses (I noticed several of Felicity's dresses are trimmed with fabric flowers, especially on the sleeves, so I followed suit :-) ).
Frog closures for a doll-sized Spencer jacket:
An awl for setting eyelets (unfortunately, the JoAnn's we went to doesn't carry eyelets so I may have to order them):

Two white-on-white prints:
They're not so bold as that, but I took the picture with flash so that you could see the difference in the prints. The one on top is for a Georgian/Colonial doll dress, the one on the bottom for a Regency doll dress.

Then I got home and found a lovely package in the mail for my dear sweet friend and sister in Christ, Leah!
And this was what was in the package:
I Come Quietly To Meet You: An Intimate Journey in God's Presence
Devotional Readings by Amy Carmichael, Arranged by David Hazard

That was so sweet of her! I LOVE Amy Carmichael and just devour anything I read of hers. Thank you so much for the book, Leah! I love it!! (((HUGS)))

Another happy thing--
A sneak peak of the dress I drafted some time back and sewed on Saturday. I need to get better color pictures before I list it on Etsy.

Now, one more happy thing:
I ordered a new "model"/"investment" for my Etsy shop! I'm debating whether I should show her to you or not. Shall it be a surprise when I get her, or should I tell you now? Hm...........
No, I won't tell you. You'll have to wait til she arrives! :-D

Thanks for letting me share! Remember to rejoice in the Lord today and thank Him for all His blessings-- "forget not all His benefits", not only the material benefits, but the amazing spiritual benefits as well.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Good Blogs to Read, Part 7

"In Shirley by Charlotte Bronte, one of the heroines sits thinking to herself.  She says: 'I may have half a century of life before me.  How am I to spend it?' (Something along those lines.)  Will it be for the pursuit of human desire?  Or the sacrifice of self for a deeper, richer desire we cannot half-comprehend?  How are you to occupy the rest of your life? I’m not talking about what you’ll major in in college, or what your next job will be, or what the next step will be, but what are your mental, spiritual and emotional pursuits be?  It’s a difficult question.  It’s funny, I can’t say what I’ll do tomorrow, but I might tell you I’m going to strive for holiness the rest of my life. Spiritual things are much more certain than physical or material.  And yet it is the spiritual that is doubted, the material that’s depended upon.  God is ignored while men rely on money and their jobs to see them through everything.  And what fails them in the end?"

This is an excerpt from a recent post on Ruby's blog, Carpe Diem, in which she talks about human desire and the need for us to allow God to purify and create our desires to glorify Him.  Americans, in general, are brain dead, striving after pleasures of all kinds that fail to glorify God.  Life is "all about us" and we waste our lives chasing after things that will pass away instead of holiness and an everlasting relationship with God.  In this article, Ruby encourages her readers to put aside fleeting things and pursue God and true holiness.

Ruby is a fantastic writer.  She takes the time to think out a subject, and then communicates it in a way that challenges her readers to act upon it.  Besides posts like the one discussed above, she also has some wonderful posts in which she explores a certain aspect of a well-known classic, or sometimes she just talks about her family and daily life.   I would highly encourage you to swing over and check out her blog.  I'm sure you will enjoy what you read!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

New Poll

New poll on the sidebar. :-)
"How many books are you reading at the moment?"
I am working my way through seven, on and off. ;-)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Quotation by J. O. Fraser

"It has come home to me very forcibly of late that it matters little what the work is in which we are engaged so long as God has put it into our hands. . . .

"The temptation I have often had to contend with is persistent under many forms: 'If only I were in such and such a position' for example, 'shouldn't I be able to do a great work! Yes, I am only studying engineering at present, but when I am in training for missionary work things will be different and more helpful.' Or, 'I am just in preparation at present, taking Bibles courses and so on, but when get out to China my work will begin.' 'Yes, I have left home now, but I am only on the voyage, you know; when I am really in China, I shall have a splendid chance of serve.' Or, 'Well, here in the Training Home, all my time must be given to language study-- how can I do missionary work? But when I am settled down in my station and able to speak freely, opportunities will be unlimited!' etc., etc.

"It is all if and when. I believe the devil is fond of those conjunctions... The plain truth is that the Scriptures never teach us to wait for opportunities of service, but to serve in just the things that lie next to our hands . . . The Lord bids us work, watch, and pray; but satan suggests, wait until a good opportunity for working, watching, and praying presents itself-- and needless to say, this opportunity is always in the future...

"Since the things that lie in our immediate path have been ordered of God, who shall say that one kind of work is more important and sacred than another?" . . . . 

"I am no more doing the Lord's work in giving the Word of God to the Chinese than you are, for example, in wrapping up a parcel to send to the tailor. It is not for us . . . to choose our work. And if God has chosen it for us, hadn't we better go straight ahead and do it, without waiting for anything great, better, or 'nobler'?"

-James O. Fraser

Monday, August 16, 2010

Writing Tag

Got this tag from The Novel Pretender! This one is particularly fun. ;-)

Rules: Fill out the tag, and then add two of your own questions!

What do you write your stories on?
My computer, nowadays. I think my imagination works better when I'm writing on paper, but since I'm trying to get my novel ready for publication, and since publishers only accept type-written manuscripts, and since it's easier to backspace and erase on Microsoft Word, well, I'm using Microsoft Word. :-)

What is your favorite kind of character?
You know... I kind of like the tragic type of character. :-) Not sure if that's my favorite kind though.

When you're asked what your story is about, what is your usual reaction?
"Um, uh, yeah, well, uh... it's about... uh... pirates..." I always get embarrassed saying it's about pirates, and then don't know how to give a plot synopsis. :-S

What is your biggest writing pet peeve?
"Show, don't tell; show, don't tell; show, don't tell..." I am convinced that that is the most unneedfully-over-emphasized rule in the rulebook. Ever read any of the great classics? "Pride and Prejudice"? "A Tale of Two Cities"? "North and South"? "Little Women"? All have some (or a lot) of telling in them, and they have lasted. I definitely agree that we show show more than tell, we should show what our characters are like, not just tell, and so on, but telling can't complete be eliminated... sometimes it's the best way to get a point across. And I really don't think the readers care that much. *thump* That was me jumping off of my soapbox.

What is the biggest turn-off for you when reading a book?
Mockery of God, and too many beats-- and short, choppy, incorrect-English sentences. ;-)

Your favorite era in history?
Oh dear, I don't know. Depends on whether you are talking about fashion or events or what. My favorite used to be mid-1800s, prairie. It isn't so much anymore. The Reformation is interesting, the English Civil War era, and I also like the 1930s-40s (for history/events).

How many words on average do you punch out in one sitting?
I try for at least 500. Sometimes more, sometimes less.

Are you a fast typist?
Yes, if I already know what I'm writing. More often it comes in spurts as I try to decide how to word something next. If I'm copying something from paper to screen, I can type very fast.

What do you do for inspiration?
Take a walk, ride in the car and look out the window, listen to soundtrack music, read previous manuscripts, or read a favorite author with a good style.

The truest writing quote you've ever heard:
"The first writer I watched at work was my stepfather, E. B. White. Each Tuesday morning, he would close his study door and sit down to write the "Notes and Comments" page for The New Yorker. The task was familiar to him-- he was required to file a few hundred words of editorial or personal commentary on some topic in or out of the new that week-- but the sounds of his typewriter from his room came in hesitant bursts, with long silences in between. Hours went by. Summoned at last for lunch, he was silent and preoccupied, and soon excused himself to get back to the job. When the copy went off at last, in the afternoon RFD pouch-- we were in Maine, a day's mail away from New York-- he rarely seemed satisfied. "It isn't good enough," he said sometimes. "I wish it were better."
~Roger Angell, in the foreword to The Elements of Style, by William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White
I said that's the "truest one" because that's just how I am. ;-)

What's your favorite genre to write?
Adventure. Often historical adventure. I can't write daily life stories, and I can write real mystery.

Favorite font to write with?
Times New Roman

New questions:

Do you find listening to instrumental music helpful when you write?
Definitely!! I love my soundtracks. :-)

How many books are you writing right now?
Mainly just MD. I am in the middle of some other ones, but they are currently "on the back burner". Working on just one at a time helps me stay focused. :-)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Some Thoughts on Abiding in Christ

"Abide in me, and I in you."

What does this mean? What does the word abide mean anyway?

I don't know about you, but when I hear the word abide, the idea that comes to my mind first is "to have one's abode; dwell; reside." This definition is probably what confused me in my previous reading of John 15-- I had a hard time imagining and understanding what "having one's abode" in Christ would look like.

However, that is not the definition for this term in John 15. Instead, it means "to stay (in a given place, state, relation or expectancy): - abide, continue, dwell, endure, be present, remain, stand, tarry" (Strong's Concordance, G3306). One article breaks it down like this:

to wait for
to endure without yielding
to bear patiently
to accept without objection
to remain stable or fixed in a state
to continue in a place

It also holds in it the concept of putting oneself under someone's jurisdiction, protection, and provision.

How do we abide in Christ? How do we continue in Him, stay in Him? Jesus makes this clear to us that if we keep His commandments, we will abide in His love, just as He keeps His Father's commandments and abides in His love (John 15:10). We abide in Him by keeping His commandments, the most important of which is to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, with all our souls, with all our strength. As we obey His Word, we will continue in Him and bear the fruit of being in Him-- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

My older sister and I have been staying at our friends the N's house this week during VBS at church, while our mom and younger sister are visiting relatives out of state, and I have been enjoying morning devotions after breakfast every day. Mr. N has been going through this passage about abiding in Christ, and it has been very enlightening and thought-provoking. I have been considering the question, "Am I abiding in Christ?" Do I keep my commandments? Is His love evident in my life? Is the fruit of the Spirit manifesting itself in my actions, attitudes, and words? And I am finding how often I fall short, and how much I need Christ to live this out through me.

It can be frustrating sometimes if we consider these things as a matter of works, however. We need to keep in mind-- I need to keep in mind-- that I cannot keep His commandments, love, or bear His fruit on my own. He says, "Whoever abides in me and I in Him, He it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing." Nothing. Abiding in Christ is not something we do; it is a position we are in, in Christ, through Christ, because of Christ, and as we stay in Christ, connected to Him, being in Him, His fruit will grow in us. "In Christ" is the key phrase, and it is in Him that we are to abide.

We cannot expect to bear fruit if we are not abiding, staying, dwelling in Him. A verse from Hosea stood out to me yesterday as I read it, and convicted me. The Lord is speaking through the prophet Hosea and says, "What shall I do with you, O Ephraim? What shall I do with you, O Judah? Your love is like a morning cloud, like the dew that goes early away." Is our love like the morning cloud? Is our love like the dew that rests in droplets on the grass and the flowers until the sun comes out, and then evaporates into the air? I was convicted when I considered that I am often like that-- I read God's word in the morning, I agree with it, I say I love Him, and then I start my day and I forget. God does not want fair-weather friends, nor does He good-morning friends. He wants abiding friends, that keep His commandments. He wants our hearts to be so close-knit to Him, and with Him at all times, fellowshipping with Him and reflecting Him and pouring out His love to the world. He wants us to continue, to stay, to abide in Him.

These thoughts may seem jumbled up and not particularly organized or informed. Abiding in Christ is still something I am learning, and desiring both to understand better and to live out. I don't expect that this post gave you much, if any, new information, but I hope that it has helped to stir your mind regarding the great importance of being in Christ. If you are not abiding in Him, if your love is like the morning cloud or the dew, or if you find you have no love for Him at all, turn to Him and seek His face. Dig into His Word, quiet your heart before Him, walk as He walks. To those of you who are seeking to abide in Him continually, to abide in His love and do His commandments, let us encourage each other. Let this mind be in us, which was also in Christ Jesus, and let us stir up one another other to love and good works.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Psalm 31

To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.
In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust;
let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness. 
Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily:
be thou my strong rock, for an house of defence to save me.
For thou art my rock and my fortress;
therefore for thy name's sake lead me, and guide me. 
Pull me out of the net that they have laid privily for me:
for thou art my strength. 
 Into thine hand I commit my spirit:
thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.
I have hated them that regard lying vanities:
but I trust in the LORD. 
 I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy:
for thou hast considered my trouble;
thou hast known my soul in adversities; 
And hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy:
thou hast set my feet in a large room. 
Have mercy upon me, O LORD, for I am in trouble:
mine eye is consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my belly.  
For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing:
my strength faileth because of mine iniquity, 
and my bones are consumed.
I was a reproach among all mine enemies,
but especially among my neighbours, 
and a fear to mine acquaintance:
they that did see me without fled from me. 
I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind:
I am like a broken vessel.  
For I have heard the slander of many:
fear was on every side: 
while they took counsel together against me,
they devised to take away my life. 
 But I trusted in thee, O LORD: 
I said, Thou art my God.  
My times are in thy hand: 
deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, 
and from them that persecute me.  
Make thy face to shine upon thy servant: 
save me for thy mercies' sake. 
 Let me not be ashamed, O LORD;
for I have called upon thee: 
let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave.
  Let the lying lips be put to silence; 
which speak grievous things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous. 
  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.
  Blessed be the LORD:
for he hath shewed me his marvellous kindness in a strong city.  
For I said in my haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes:
nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications 
when I cried unto thee. 
  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.

Masada, ancient fortification in Israel.