Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I am BLESSED!

A few moments ago I was scanning through the many pictures I have taken of our home since the fire. These two especially caught my attention.

Perhaps just from the sentimentality of a melancholy personality feeling sorrowful about losing their home - their one true home, after living in five other houses and three other states.

Or maybe it's the sudden realization that this will be the first year in my entire life that I won't be spending Christmas at home.

Whatever the reason, these two pictures really mean a great deal to me. A boy, a country boy to the core of his being, and his two dogs. Diamond (far left) is ten years old and still a beautiful, faithful, family pooch.

Our home of six years has finally decided to call it quits. Oddly enough, it's a bit like saying goodbye to a dear and old friend. There's a lot of history in that house.

I guess when the unexpected hits, it's harder to let go than when you expect something bad to happen. For instance, I expected to be excitedly anticipating pulling out all our dozens of twinkle lights this weekend, and us all bundling up in thousands of layers to defiantly strike out into the prairie tundra and pick out a gigantic eight and a half foot tall Christmas tree. Then we will all squish in our small living room that the tree has now completely taken over, and begin to decorate it with ornaments older than myself, while listening to Wow Christmas from five years back, and sipping on mugs, not cups, mugs, of hot chocolate and stove-warmed apple cider with cloves and cinnamon in it.

For the past several years Hannah and I have made pop-corn balls for the entire family, while the boys get the Christmas tree in the house. Last year we dyed them green - they were so disgusting looking, especially when the syrup was still gooey!! But they tasted so good.

Yummmm!

Maybe I'll just have to go buy some corn syrup, pop-corn and other ingredients and make pop-corn balls despite not living in an inspiring old, craftsman style farm house with lots of character.
I have been so incredibly blessed to have had the opportunity to live many years on an acreage with dogs, cats, and at one time a horse, geese, ducks, chickens, goats and sheep.
I'm blessed to have had the opportunity to grow up with my siblings, as my mom has patiently home schooled each one of us children.
Blessed to know the one true Living God is watching over us, holding us in His hands, taking care of our every need, watching our backs, and providing for us as we need it - maybe not more than we need, but certainly enough to sustain us for today!
I'm blessed to have four siblings, live in a free country, have lived by a river where we can wade during hot, stuffy Summer days, catch guarder snakes and frogs, eat fresh strawberries from our big garden, and sit in an aged animal shed with barn swallows cackling at me from their perch above my head, sweet smelling hay surrounding me, and kittens purring.

I am blessed!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pearl of Great Price

The creator, continuing to create.
Always creating...
The poppa, or daddy, always arms outstretched for us.
Always yearning to show us more of His creation,
and desiring to teach us
to create as He creates.
Every morning, and every evening,
He finger paints.
And every time a person begins to paint the sun rise
and sun-set
They begin to see how vast the colors,
and great the imagination of God is
- too big to understand.
This morning a dear, dear heart-friend asked me what "I'm learning through this all."
It's stuck in my head, and I can't get it out! Generally, I communicate things through the visual arts, but since I have no medium which can communicate these thoughts at this time I'll do my best to explain via electronics (not at all my first choice, but ita vita**)

Like I said, I communicate best through the arts. I'm a kinesthetic/ visual learner - an artist, if you will. My out let is the visual and kinesthetic arts, such as photography, painting, charcoal and pencil drawings and, when I can get my hands on it, pottery (no pun intended).
I had art pieces from when I was five and six that I wanted to redo and add to as I got older, saved up in the attic and organized in folders in my room and at my desk. Pieces that meant something to me: my first drawing of our mutt, Sandy, when I was seven; pastels of girl-friends who I participated in art internships with (and have amazing memories of); the only canvas-oil painting I have of a South Dakota winter; and a few personal-spiritual charcoal pieces that mean something to me as an individual. Two years ago I sorted out all those and kept only the sentimental, and of those the only best pieces.

Last weekend I "sorted," again, the remaining art work. Except, in this context, "sort" is another term for "throw away absolutely everything but the ones that you'll cry over because there is little to no room to store any of it." So I have but a box remaining. One pitiful box of collages, drawings, paintings, and two pieces of pottery one of which is discolored from the heat of the fire.
As I sorted through each piece, a memory of a friend, Grace Johnson (also an artist) came to mind.
Grace is a potter, but she is also a speaker, or more appropriately, a woman's minister.
During one of her presentations a story she told thoroughly welded itself into my mind.
"There are some pieces (of pottery) that I create that I feel an emotional attachment too... there was this pot I had created, and I felt so jealous of it I kept it in a special case and just loved to look at it and, it sounds silly, but caress it - it had such amazing texture! I didn't want to sell it to anyone because then it wouldn't be with me, it wouldn't be mine, and I would have to share it with someone. this is how God feels about us! We are His pieces of art, His pottery, that He doesn't want to share with others that draw us away from Him."

Perhaps you find this slightly psychotic, but no worries, it's not. It makes perfect sense. There were probably three pieces of art that I had done (I believe all in charcoal), which had deep emotions and spiritual meaning to me. I mean spiritual in the philosophical and relationship with Yahweh sense.
There have been one or two other circumstances which I'm prohibited from sharing details with as it simply is not the appropriate time, nor place (and, in my opinion, simply is not my place to share), but which also adds an even greater dimension and deeper impact on this thought process that has begun, about being the art work of God - His valuable piece of pottery that He longs for and desires; that He has created and yearns to be with at all times.
But in this situation, which I will share no details about, I have been utterly confounded at the complete deepness and determined loyalty/ faithfulness Christ/ God (even the trinity??) has in committing Him selves into pursuing us, unrelentingly.
The shear and utter jealous passion Christ has for us!
He wants to share us with no other lovers! He desires us to turn our hearts singly, only, willingly, and submissively towards HIS desires - to HIM. To run - not walk, not saunter, not jog, not ever look back, but run into HIS arms and allow HIM to embrace us and not let us go.
He does not want you to desire that which is of the world. He does not want you to love your home more than Him, which I am thoroughly convicted of.
He does not, absolutely not, want your obedience to Him to be conditional, as, "well if you give me this, or let me stay here, or allow me to do this... then I will obey."
And He certainly doesn't want you to exclude yourself from the rule "Turn your eyes (and thoughts, and heart, and soul, and mind) to Jesus."
Now, please keep in mind, He isn't an wrinkled old geezer sitting on a rock muttering "those darn humans.. stupid little imps... always wanting what their flesh desires, and never wanting me..." And then, upon seeing a human saying "You darn human you!! You want riches, lovers, prosperity and kingdoms, but you don't want me (a wrinkled old geezer)" ZAAP! And electrocuting you with a wand, on the spot... or something like that...

Nor is He some Zeus who lusts after beautiful young women, or an Aphrodite who lusts after handsome young men, and desiring you in a sexual manner.
Nor is He a rich and wise king, like Solomon, who has it all but just wants "more, more, more!" And is never content with life as it is, but instead in the end cries "vanity, vanity... meaningless, meaningless..."

No, no, no!


God is beyond that. Maybe we label God as these (perhaps slightly) extreme figures because this is all our brains can comprehend... At this point my mind fondly returns to the movie "Dinosaur" when Yar, the grandfather lemar tells Aladar his adopted-dinosaur-grandson, "I can fit that monsters brain in the palm of my (hand)" and opening his palm, laughing at his genius insult, looks at a dinosaur ten times his size. I think this pretty much explains the human condition fairly well.
So often we turn to lovers who pursue and love on us; money which calls to us; homes which comfort us; families who protect us; popularity that offers attention; friends who entertain us... and the list goes far and away beyond anything that could be written in one blog post.
The point is, YOU, not your neighbor, but YOU that God is talking to, are HIS pearl of great price!! That special piece of art work that He designed and created so uniquely - so imago Deo *** - that He yearns for your attention. He longs for you to look Him in the eye and say,
"I want you. I love you. I choose you."
After designing you, He said:
"I want to be the only lover in your life!"
"I want to be the only thing you pursue - I can take you to great places!"
"I want to be with you for eternity!"
"I want to just watch you!"
"I want to enjoy you!"
"I want you to allow me to fall deeply into love with you, and I want you to fall deeply into love with me!"
"If you allow me to fill your heart, mind and indeed, your very soul - if you welcome me in and let me be the only lover in your heart, then I can take you into that which I originally created for you..."

And the completion to that last statement is "and this world and what it's got to offer ain't it huny!"
His love isn't sensual, conditional, shallow, or selfish in a two-year old way (I want it because she has it!).
He desires you because He created you, and as an artist, He longs to see His art work at work - doing His work, creating as He creates, and loving as He loves. And in order to do that you've got to be working with Him; obeying Him, pursuing Him, longing for Him, praising Him, and kicking out those other desires which do and are keeping you from Him and all that He desires for you (and He desires great and magnificent things for you!)





** 'Ita vita' is a Latin phrase, meaning "such is life."
*** 'Imago Deo' is Latin for "the image of God"
God Richly Bless and Keep!
Miss Elisabeth

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Home Sweet Home

During a blizzard in the Prarrie
Ginger bread house: Dec 2008
Christmas time is here! Dec 2008
Yeah.. it does have a Calvin and hobbes look to it, doesn't it?
Derek and I made one before this one with
a choke chain and cow bone in it's mouth.
I thought it was funny. Mom found it disturbing ;)
Christmas Decor
My East facing window
Nestled in the freshly cut tree hides a
fragile cream colored Christmas bulb
I think December 2008:
Picking the tree is very tiring. Cutting the tree down is SO much easier

Our "back yard" Dec 2007

Glistening in the afternoon sun is a
ice-laced ash tree
The "front yard" Dec 2007

Ethan and Hannah Dec 2007

My home means a lot to me!

I could be quite happy staying home all day, so long as we have the animals, friends and family. the more family with me the better. Cooking is a blast – I loved our kitchen despite it’s irritating qualities. My bed room was probably the best place to be, especially when the dog was able to hang out up there with me, and the Christmas light were all up, glowing happily despite the setting sun. A back drop of blushing pink, tangerine neon and captivatingly vivacious blue hung behind the two six pane East and North facing windows in my room.

My favorite spot to sit and wrap Christmas presents, starting about this time of year, with Stacie Orrico and Nicole C. Mullin belting out Christmas lyrics in the background, was in the corner of the room, between the East and North facing windows. Snuggled under my periwinkle blue plaid feather down blanket, with a cup of home made hot cocoa, harmonizing along, wrapping gifts in boxes, then duct tape, then paper, then another box, more duct tape, and finally topping off with wrapping paper and an elegant bow, I would sit in that North-East corner, glancing out the window to watch the sun set, listen to the wild out door noises (such as the occasional mountain lion scream – not a comforting sound), the cats bawling, my family laughing down stairs, the dogs talking and snow floating down, grazing window panes, resting on tree branches, dead leaves and golden brown grass.
This is what I wanted to do this year, again, after enjoying Thanksgiving, and picking out the biggest, most lush, and fullest Christmas Tree from Tananbaums Tree Farm, the weekend following Thanks Giving - an art form in our Home: The Thanks Giving dinner and season as a whole. We probably would have started decorating the house for Thanks Giving by now.

Honestly, what I’ll miss the most, is not having Christmas at home this year. The wood floors, smell of pine tree overwhelming the house, Christian artists humming Christmas carols on CDs, and the incredibly light d├ęcor about the entire house (including some bed rooms and sparkling beneath the snow, hanging from the house). Colored lights sparkling from beneath red gauze boes, peeking out between sparkling snow, and soft green pine needles on little pine trees outside.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

November 2009

I was going to put a decent sized post on here, but the words won't come out. It's a little bit like on the movie Miss Potter, for those of you who have seen it, when she is trying to paint, but the only thing that comes out are sad looking bunnies and angry carnivorous fish. I laugh at this analogy myself. It's rather pitiful, in my point of view.

I'm sorry this is short, not necissarily sweet, and quite blunt and strait forward - I'm really sick of fluff and mush.

So, to cut to the chase:

The house is in very sad condition. It seems like a good 'ol friend breathing it's last. The entire family is really hurting, deeply hurting over this. Life has stripped our identities of one thing after another. Forget jobs being identity, family, friends, or money. Just how life is. Deal.

Dad is sick with walking pneumonia and sentanced to a week of rest. He is going to be completing week one of "Rest" (for an over-acheiving Nehring, prison sounds more fun than this - at least in prison one can evangelize and DO rather than sit around twiddling thumbs feeling like garbage physicaly). He will be seeing the doctor again, not later than this weekend (I am taking it a personal responsiblity to see to it that this happens). The doctor said he has some bronchitis which morphed into pneumonia and if he does not take special care to get better he could get H1N1 and be hospitlized quite easily. This, absolutely, will not happen. :)

We have been richly and generously blessed with clothing for the two little one's, myself, and with winter gear. "Enough," in a very light sense, has been provided for dad, Derek and mom. I would love to see that mom get's more clothing, as well as dad and my brother.

For those of you who know and care about our two wonderful dogs:
Diamond, who is ten, is doing horrid. Her breed rarely lives past ten, maybe eleven, and almost definitaly not past twelve. She will be pushing eleven this coming April. She has cronic ear infections, and it has gotten siginificantly worse. She is nearly deaf, and we have not been able to take care of her, ourselves, since the fire. She has been with some friends much further in the country than ourselves. Depression is her current fad, she seems very sad, and lonely for her people, and has slowed down, physicaly, very much.

Ursa, my one year old puppy on the sixteen is depressed, but healthy. She's extremely aloof and her character has changed almost completely. Almost a year of training has gone to the pits.

Neither dogs have been cared for by us since the fire, last month. As I said, Diamond has consistantly been with some friends very far in the country. Ursa was with some dear friends in the city for a week, then was with Diamond in the country. Both dogs are spending the night in a shed on our property, which Derek a dear friend and I secured for the two today.

We are praying for and seeking out options for the dogs: kennels, friends, farmers, friends of friends, families of friends, etc., etc., etc.

We are also looking for a house to rent. In all honesty, we will probably be staying there for at least a year. We're going on week two as far as house searching is going. It's depressing.

Thank you for all your support! I deeply appreciate it!

God richly bless

Monday, November 2, 2009

Refined by Fire - FYI

Just For the what it's worth department - I updated the need list.
Sorry I haven't updated for the past several days. We have been in Ohio for my dear and loving Aunts Funeral. The funeral was honoring, beautiful and honest.

God richly Bless and Keep

Monday, October 26, 2009

Refined By Fire - It ain't over yet!

This evening, just as I was ready to "let it all come out" through a river of tears, my dad called me into the back room where he already had the two younger boys in the "this meeting is now in order" semi-circle.

The intense look in his eyes, deep and dark circles under his eyes, and his tone all told me that something was horrendously dreadfuly wrong. My initial reaction, mentaly, was to go through the lists of things that had not been attacked so far... the dogs and... and my family - my dad's family, my mom's family.

His face was ashen, his voice unshaken, yet so intensly somber - I'll never forget that tone.

Although I did not know her well, my Aunt Susan is a very dear person to my mom, and to our family as a whole - she's my mother's oldest sister and in their younger years, greatest friend.

The term, "they are dead," is only a vague sense of general understanding. Death, in my lifetime has been reserved for pets, and only once when I was seven, for my grandmother on my mom's side. I did not know my grandmother well and was so little that it seemed almost irrelevent to my relationship with the world, at the time.

But this time, when my dad spoke so distinctly and so humbly, "your grandpa Roy called us at church, and told us your Aunt Sue died this morning," left me with a deep and unwavering shock.
As my Aunt Kristen, when I spoke with her only a half hour ago, stated "I don't know what to expect... I don't know what will happen," in a rather panicked tone, I felt the same way. However, I know that whatever happens, I can depend on the Creator of the happenings. I know He is my guide, my Shepherd, my Strong Tower, and my ultimate Home.

And yet, I say all of this with a ever confused, every befuddled, ever wondering mind - will I ever come to terms with "the circle of life?" Will I ever come to terms with that small inconvenient fact that the only happily ever after in life is the happily for-ever you have with Christ, singing Holy, Holy, Holy when death do us part?


A short Psalm over the past life of my Aunt Susan Rummel Wagner, beloved mother, dear sister and precious daughter:

May the Lord bless you and keep you;
may the Lord's face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
May ths Lord lift His countenance upon you and may He give you peace;
May the Lord be gracious to you, and may He give you peace;
Shalom, in Yeshuah's name, Shalom.
May He lift His countenance upon you,
and may He give you peace.
Amen

Refined by Fire - Update Oct. 26, '09. PM

Mom and dad got home around 6:45 pm after being out at the house since ten or eleven this morning, meeting with the insurance company, as well as the fire seargant who was head of the investigation.


The fire started from an over-used out-let in the down stairs bathroom/ pantry. Apparently, the wires had short circuited a couple of times before this incident, and this was just the last straw. The fire probably had been going on for a good two-three (maybe five?) minutes on the ceiling of the basement/ floor of the kitchen before we actually could smell anything burning. Meaning, for those of you who know the in-depth story, the first time dad went down to check the electrical box the fire had already started.

The scoop, so far, is that the kitchen will for sure need gutted, and that corner of the house raised, as the floor of the kitchen is totally unstable (I would post pictures on my blog of our sunken in kitchen floor, and will, soon, hopefully). But because the smoke is so bad, the ceiling in the dining room will have to be redone, and the walls on the first floor will definitely have to be stripped. What is uncertain, at this point, is whether or not the smoke actually got into the walls on our second story, which leaves condemnation open for consideration. If smoke did, then the whole project will be more expensive than we can afford (outrageously so... if you don't have money pouring out of your ears). If it had not, than we will be able to strip the walls and fix up the place as best we can.

A great comfort to us right now is a word that many people from church have been telling us they are receiving in prayer:"Better than before..." "It'll be better than before..."
It's easy to think this in your head, but when it gets right down to it... well I think we are all having a pretty hard time. If condemning the house is the verdict, than we will have several bawling sessions in our house- of course we will probably take turns :)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A List of Needs- literally

For those church friends, family, local friends, and non-local friends who visit my blog regularly and would like to pitch in and help by buying things, or helping in some other way - I have listed our current needs and will be keeping the list relatively updated.

Any cloth and clothing type of thing. Smoke damage is horrendous and it takes five loads of wash to cleanse one load of laundry reasonably enough to wear without gaging. Every article of clothing that was hung up in the girls and boys closest were thrown out - they were stained, and horribly ruined.

Clothing - sizes/ specifics:

Mens:
34-36x30-32 pants (jeans, slacks, sweats)
20/22's jeans and sweats, or work pants - for Derek who is a long and lean 16 in boys

Medium-x-large t-shirts, sweaters, jackets, hooded sweat shirts, long sleeved shirts
large-xlarge Gloves (we will be working on the house for at least a few months)
Long underwear
socks!!!!
Large-xlarge winter coats, working coats, warm for SD coats
x-large hats and scarves to work in (any winter gear is very much appreciated!)

size 11 mens work shoes, tenni-shoes etc. - both dad and Derek

If you want to minister to Derek's soul, he loves books, loves writing, and food is incredible.
Minister to dads soul: Come out and help :) - more on that below

Women's:
3x shirts, sweaters, hooded jackets/ sweaters, jackets, t-shirts, long sleeved shirts
3x sweat pants, working pants
3x very warm winter coat/ working coat,
large hats, large gloves, scarves- again winter gear will be appreciated, so much!

socks
size 11 work boots/ working shoes, tenni-shoes, any shoes

8-10 (long) jeans, sweats, working pants, pants in gen.
medium to large t-shirt, sweaters, hooded sweaters/ jackets, long sleeved shirts
Large Working coat
Large hats, large gloves

socks
size 10 work boots/ working shoes, tenni shoes, shoes

Boys:
10-slims pants, jeans, sweats, working pants
8-10 t-shirts, long sleeved shirts, sweaters, hooded jackets, jackets (mediums, I believe)
10 winter coat, working coat
SOCKS!!
Medium gloves (maybe large)
x-large/ medium mens hats (he's got a big head)

5-6 shoes, boots, work boots, snow boots

Minister to Ethan's soul: Books, bionicles, Lego's - he's a kinesthetic type of guy :)

Girls:
6-7 (slims??) pants, jeans, sweats, working pants, skirts, skorts, dresses
6-7 t-shirts, long sleeved shirts, sweaters, hooded jackets, jackets
7 winter coat, working coat
socks!
Small- medium gloves
Medium hats (scarves)

1-2 shoes, boots, work boots, snow boots,

Minister to Hannah's soul: Polly-pockets, dolls, - girl toys, nail polish - she's very much of a girly girl, and loves books


Food stuffs:
I think we're good through the middle of next week -
Thank you ALL SO much! So many crowns in Heaven for each of you!!!! And six hearts full of gratitude and prayers of blessings!


Misc:
Hygienics


House:
Muscle and clean-up crew (the facility has no heat, water, or light. Dress warm, bring water. The area is not at all safe for children. Our kiddos stay at New Haven, or play with friends during this time. Too much glass, kitchen is unstable, etc.. Please contact us with a good time for you to come out and help, if you are able to - this would be such a blessing to our entire family! It's gonna be a long haul - long winter - long time before the house is habitable.

linens/ bed-sheets - four twins, one king
Comforters
Pillows (we have seven people home during Christmas :)

Towels
Wash clothes


News update: It was slightly unnerving tossing things you remember buying not too long ago from a resale store - very unnerving. I felt like such a waster, counting the price of things as I shoved them into a big, black trash bag. $75, $3, $8, $10.... it all adds up! Wasted. Gone. Hardly used. Of course, I didn't come across the $75 objects often... okay only once, but I will remember that thing for a long time, and to think I only used it twice!! Ugh! Such a waste!
But it can, and most undoubtedly will be replaced - it is replaceable. I would rather throw away a $75 business suit than have to bury a priceless sibling, best friend - my dearest possessions right now (although, technically, you do not posses your siblings, nor do you own their friendship... it's a gift... a priceless gift - one you have only for a life-time, depending on how short, or long God has dictated your life to be)

Dad and I think we have a little insight into the Mind of God - though it may be treading on dangerous ground to say this so lightly.
Perhaps, just maybe, God is one who allows bad things to happen in life, not because he is ruthless or mean, but rather, He allows the evil one to do harsh things to us, He allows the consequences or our sins to catch up with us, because those negative things push us closer to the human God originally intended us to be - it's the refining by fire to become that pure, innocent, beautiful piece of gold... pure, resilient, of the highest value - what GOD created us to be.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Lead me to the Cross Prt 2

I have titled this adventure "Lead me to the Cross" because of the worship song with that title.
One of the first verses is "everything I once held dear - I count it all as lost; Lead me to the cross where your blood poured out; bring me to my knees, Lord I lay me down; rid me of myself - I belong to you; Lord lead me, lead me to the cross..."
This song resignated with me very much this evening, after throwing away most everything I own. It's very odd stating this - but it's true.

"I don't wanna be homeless,
but I am.
I don't wanna be needy,
but I am."
~ I think anyone who has experienced a tragedy in their life.
Let me be poured out-
emptied out-
Oh Lord.
We are emptied and gutted out.
We are homeless,
and poured out.
Pour us, empty us out,
Oh Lord.
Let us be sfe in you,
be our home- our shelter-
Be our safe haven,
Oh Lord.
Gut us and make us new -
A new creation for you.
Recreate us, in your image;
a new creation in your image;
a creation created for you;
poured our for you;
sheltered in you.
Amen.

"Lead Me to the Cross..."

Thursday, 6:20/30 AM, October 22, 2009, a fire started in the basement of our home on the great plains, and devoured the north-east corner of our basement, and kitchen floor.

Smoke damage, apparently, is worse than fire damage, and, today, as I was sorting through all of mine and my sisters belongings with some dear family friends, I saw how true that is. Trash bags, filled to the brim, are pile up in our front yard.

Water flooded our basement, and dripped, drop by drop, down from the bed room floors, through the first-floors ceiling, into the lamps, and drop-by-drop onto the floor - leaving a person feeling like they are in an abandoned shed in the amazon. Our cats inhabited our house yesterday evening, as did our dogs. It was just slightly unnerving walking into my home to see a barn cat slink around the sopping couch crying "meOOW!"

The walls are stained, and our dining room ceiling is peeling off - falling off in chunks... worse than I though.

And it sounds so horrific! Yet, through the smoke stained walls, charred basement, flooded living room, and empty bed rooms, I have been contantly amazed at God's faithfulness. He truly will "never leave nor forsake us" (heb 13:5). He is committed to us - 'til death do us part from this earth, and we fly on the wings of eternity.

And, I just heard, my older sister is currently in the ER. Prayers for her would be so very much appreciated! She is in college, her blog is http://www.blindlyservinghim.blogspot.com/

If you would, please be praying for our family. My two youngest siblings are having a very hard time, and it will be many weeks before we can move back into our home on the plain.

God richly bless and keep!

Miss Elisabeth

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Holy of Holies


"Take me past the outer courts into the Holy Place;
past the Brazen alter - Lord I want to see your face;
Take me past the crowds of people and the priest who sing your praise.
I hunger and thirst for your righteousness, but it's only found in one place.
Take me into the Holy of Holy's; Take me in by the Blood of the Lamb; take me into the Holy of Holy's; take the coal, touch my lips. Here I am."
- Kutless 'Take Me In."

Life can dish out some pretty crazy stuff. Crazier than even I had thought.
Abuse and neglect were two verbs I have only ever experienced through the "Big Screen" - my "big door" to reality, in a sense.

A friend of mine recently shared some of their history with me. Vaguely explaining the situation they grew up in, giving me just a wee taste of what life might possibly be like without a daddy whose arms I can run into, whenever I feel an emotional deficit, or that craving for attention, affirmation and someone stronger and bigger than I to help me stand on my feet again.
A life without a father to look up to, who also was the daddy you could run to; a life without a mother who honored and cherished the relationship she had with her husband - who cherished me. A life without a Poppa who was in love with his wife, protected, loved and respected the beautiful woman he had chosen to spend his life with; a life where the people I looked up to didn't share the same house as I.
- This life style is so totally and completely different from anything I have ever known.

So different, in fact, that my mind cannot stretch enough to even begin to fathom a life of abuse and such deep rooted pain.

Such questions as: Why would a dad hurt his children, or his wife? He chose to marry her? If he despised her so much why did he commit to living his life with her? Does he not understand marriage vows?
Yes, I seem very naive. Probably, in all honesty, I am very naive.

You see, I have grown up with, since I can remember as a little six year old, a father who told me "I only represent the Abba Father you have in Heaven. God entrusted me with you to take care of and love, but I'm human and I won't always do a good job (I'll stumble and fall). God gave you to me to steward, to teach about God - your real Daddy. There will be some day when I won't be here, and you'll have to completely depend on God to be your daddy."
At one time he mentioned "I hope I can do as good a job as He entrusted me to do..."
What complete love. The love I have grown up with, felt, experienced and been shown since I was just a tiny little being.

For a couple years I have been in deep prayer and reflection about why God has chosen to place me here, for this season. Through prayer, I have received, many times, the word "hidden."
Now, when one hides something, when speaking about other people, specifically women, one may think of a women hidden behind a veil due to shame based emotions, religion, and over all a shame-based psychology.

This is not the mentality God would have us live, I believe. To be hidden because you are ashamed is not what God has intended for mankind, and this is not what he meant when he gave me the word "hidden."
To be hidden, more in the context of buried treasure is, I believe, what the God of the Universe was referring to.

The life-style we lead is very different, weird if you will, compared to the rest of the American culture (possibly even world in general). I have been blessed with parents who firmly believe Philippians 4:8 should be taken seriously and that "what you put into your brain will eventually come out (to haunt you/ bless you, hurt others/ bless others, etc.)."
Our life-style is very secluded. We enjoy the company of other human beings, who wouldn't? Intelligent conversation with homo sapien's is a hobby of ours, and frivolous-very-bubbly-sometimes-stupid conversations with other girls is something I freely waste my time on, so long as the time and place are right.

In our secluded and weird life-style, I have found loneliness to be a close companion of mine, as have my siblings, and even my parents at times.

Loneliness is due to the lack of emotional connection with like-minded people whom share the same season of life with you. Very few people have I shared any particular season of life with. Loneliness is a rampant disease in the hearts, minds and emotional core of my generation.

Honestly, I am in firm belief that this loneliness is actually a blessing, in a way. In being lonely I have "not seen the real world" and so "do not live in the real world."
In other words, I have not experienced those things that teenagers normally experience while trying to figure themselves out in a world that really doesn't care much for who they are as individuals. A world where sex and drugs rage wild in youth and young adults. Where alcohol numbs the mind and soul of any real sense of belonging, Agape love, Hope, Truth, Light, LIFE, fulfillment, forgiveness... and so many other nouns, verbs and adjectives, of so many youngsters.

In my loneliness, in my seclusion, in the hiddeness God has kept me in, I find I've been protected. I've been shielded. Loved, and held to the highest standard of living. He's truly kept me in "the apple of His eye."
He has "never left me nor forsaken me."
He will "be with me always."
Where I go "there He will be also."

God will not leave you. He has not, and He will never forsake you. Loneliness is probably protection. Nothing is ever as it seems. The unexpected is to be expected. And Principalities and Powers wage war.
If ever you need anything, run, sprint.. leap into His arms. They were made for you to run into.
If ever you fall down, and are crying for help, in pain, lonely, miserable, hopeless, doubting, call upon the Might One - He'll pick you up.
He'll lift you up.
He's standing beside you.
He's felt your pain.

When you have hit rock bottom and you don't know which way is up or down, call upon the Lord. He'll lead you into His Holy of Holy's - and there none can harm you.
"If God is for you, who can be against you."
When God is with you, who can harm you?
You have the Lord "what can man do to you?"

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path (or make your path strait)"

Proverbs 3:5-6

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Want Two Books?

Last week, as I thought about all the incredible things that come out of a garden, and how much fun it is to bake/ cook food directly out of the garden (you can get pretty artistic!!) I decided to start writing on new-found recipes, my gardening adventures and basically anything regarding to my garden space, kitchen and how you can link the two together with some imagination :)

I must say, it's been a lot of fun taking and posting pictures, looking for things that are seemingly insignificant, but actually contribute quite a bit to a healthy garden (such as painted turtles, rainbow colored butterflies, and frogs springing to and froe).
Capturing the moment is probably the most frusterating aspect, however it adds a tastey challenge to my day-to-day life.

Also, The Art of Femininity is another blog which encourages Godly femininity pretty through every aspect of life and dissects all "Godly Femininity" means, could mean, and is defined according to the Bible.
The Art of Femininity is holding a book drawing this month. In order to apply for the book drawing, you need to read "Honor, Patronage, Kinship and Purity" by David A. deSilva.

DeSilva's book is actually quite fascinating, as the author "Unlocks New Testement culture."
When you have completed the book, and written a book review on your blog, comment on The Art of Femininity's "Challenge" blogpost, with your blog title and name.
There will be a drawing, for all those who accepted the challenge, on the weekend of July 12th, 2009.
If your name is drawn you'll be contacted through a commont on your latest blog post, giving you an email to send your address to - shipping is taken care of :)

God richly bless you this week!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Ferocious Fight for the Heart of Man

“You cannot serve both God and Mammon”
Either you serve God, or Mammon. If you serve God, you cannot serve
You do not serve God. You do not serve Mammon,
Therefore, you serve Mammon Therefore, you serve God
1. Luke 16:13 states that “a servant cannot serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Mammon,” Luke 16:13

The term “Mammon” can be translated a couple of different, ways, the most common being “money.” For the purpose of this essay, however, I will be defining “Mammon” as “wealth for it’s own sake.”
The general population of America lives out this mentality with a ferocious zest. Despite poles stating that the majority of Americans are “Christian”, this majority also proclaims “success is defined by the number of zeros in your bank account,” “fewer kids, fewer bills, a successful life,” and “buy a new car, it saves on gas.” This majority goes to church in buildings costing thousands, if not millions of dollars. Their whole lives are caught up in this fantastic money making monster, and hardly take a break from it.
Although I have never had the opportunity to live an upper-middle class, or wealthy life style, and so don’t know from personal experience how money can draw one in and become a possible addiction, I do believe that a majo reason for the Unitesd States economic struggle we are facing, as of May, 2009, is not only due to natural economic fluctuations, but also due to my generation, and that of my parents, over-the-top, frivolous, “because I deserve it” psychology.
My uncle and his family try to life a Christian life-style (which, in my opinion differs greatly from a Christ-like life-style) count success in dollar bill signs. As my uncle and sister discussed the hardships of living a life free of financial wealth (as our family has due to unusual circumstances), and living always on the look out for God’s moving in our lives, he admittedly stated:
“I would rather my brother (my dad) not be a business man in his trade as
a psychologist, because then he would be a money shark and not much
care for his clients.. nor would he be nearly as eager a listener (which has
been a great blessing and quite helpful in my life for several years)”

Even those how do try, and consider themselves to be “good Christians” take up the monstrosity of the money god, battling this state of mind daily.
In all probably, this battle has been going on for hundreds, if not thousands of years. What better lie to bestow on mankind than “if you don’t provide above and beyond abundance for your family financially, then you are a failure.” Even in the Garden of Eden the Serpent used Mammon to logically seduce Eve into exchanging her non-material relationship with Abba God for material possession, or ownership, of “being like God” – “knowing good and evil.”

(In our day and age this could also be defined as “differentiating from your parents (God, in Adam and Eve’s case, was their parent – and having the “wealth of independence” from God, their parent… And this has been the state of mind since the Garden of Eden, and is Mammon in it’s most clearly defined way.)

In my own life, I see Mammon clawing, fighting, seeking every way possible to entice me into thinking of him as fondly, if not more, as my Eternal Abba, God.
He has taken a foothold, I believe, in my life, more than once, and catches me by surprise in little, “inconsequential” things; such as my future, dear of having no financial cushion, fear of losing control of my life on this earth, etc. Only through the tender blood and courageous, infinite strength of my Lord Jesus Christ can Mammon release himself from me, and I throw myself at the feet of Jesus, proclaiming, “His kingdom come, His will be done,” and not Mammon kingdom, nor my will.
All this being said Satan’s faithful fight for victory over our hearts is very real, through the power of Mammon. And in order to fight back, we must remember that wealth is not found in independence from God, but independence of worldly good and complete and utter dependence on our fiercely passionate Abba Father, God of the Universe, in Heaven, with us.
(This essay was written as a part of lesson Ten in Traditional Logic by Martin Cothran.)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Graduation Pictures

Mom took all of these pictures early this month, for graduation.



She is truly an artist, don't you think?

The top three were my "official" graduation invitation pictures. The last two are just a couple of a whole slue of fun pictures!

We took about an hour to take them all, but it was so much fun. I wish mom and I could do stuff like this more often (hanging out playing)...

Graduation

My Mother and baby sister, Hannah Grace


Woo Hoo! I'm FINALLY graduating from High School, thanks to my mother :)

I am so privileged to have had the opportunity to learn from, be taught by, and showered by all the talents and blessings of my mother.

Having been home schooled my entire life, I think I have had a much more impactful relationship with my mother, in the sense that I look to her as a friend and look to her for advice in life, as apposed to asking people my age who lack the knowledge and wisdom of time and age, just as I do.

My mother's extraordinary patience and zeal that pave the way for each of us kids' education is absolutely incredible. She's very artistic and creative. Every moment is a teaching moment.
My mother's mind-set of "it's the little things that make a day brighter" challenges me to find the beauty and joy in all of creation, especially in circumstances that seemingly have no positive attributes to speak of.

When I grow up, I want to be just like my mother:
A vivacious light to all who see her. Bubbling over with love for her family and the passions that God has given her.
I want to be obedient to my Father in Heaven and "just keep walking" when I stumble, just as she does.

I want to grow in my talents and gifts, using them in my day-to-day life to bring glory to God and bless others, just like her; to be a teacher, mentor and student of my future children, and honor, serve and passionately love my future husband, just like my mother.

I love my mother very much.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Bar of Expectation


If you've got something to write, then write it! If you have something to say, say it! If you see something that needs done or something that needs changed, do it! Change it!
However, always remember to be treating those around you the way you want to be treated.

This past weekend (March 28-29) brought loads of excitement, learning, challenge and an inadequate amount of sleep. The Leadership Institute hosted two days worth of lectures. They called the weekend "Leadership Institute Political Boot camp."

Everything from how to wear a name tag correctly to exciting projects to put together for your campaign volunteers was discussed.

What I found to be the most interesting aspect of the boot camp, though, was how the TeenPact students and the other students (college student or other high school students) interacted with one another and how different the were from each other. There was a marked difference.

A slight disclaimer, before I continue writing and you continue reading:
I strongly recommend you send any high school-college aged students in your household to a Leadership Institute event. They are very informative, you learn and grow a lot, and basics on running a part of a campaign (and some not-so-basics on running a part of a campaign). LI (Leadership Institute) teaches the mechanics of politics, plus (during the boot camps) they give students LOTS of excellent books! :) (always a bonus for home schoolers and other interesting in researching and getting involved in politics)

All that to say, I was shocked at the marked difference between TeenPact students (current or former) and the other students in the classroom.

At the beginning of boot camp Derin (LI program director) informed the students to take "as many notes as possible" during each lectures. There were two notably different reactions by the students already. There was the "ah, yes. Notes, no problem." reaction and the "As many notes as possible?!! Oh my gosh.. I cannot leave one word from the slides out of my note book!!" The latter reaction came mainly from the home school students (we can, after all, be an oddly compulsive group of people). But the second, more noticeable difference were the interactions with the students and the speakers (which only accentuated my respect for TeenPact professionalism). The first guest speaker had just completed his dynamic speech and, obviously, an applause was in order. Every student applauded, by the TeenPacters looked around the room, expectantly for the other students to give a standing ovation, as they had... and they did.
Upon the completion of the second speaker though, the TeenPacters tuned into the difference in speaker protocol and did not stand but merely applauded.

Fascinatingly enough the TeenPact students either ate with one another or ate with their parent - not necessarily with the other students. Talk about segregation! (Speaking as a TeenPact student) We knew the protocol and the expectations of the other TP students and this was a different group of people with different motives behind their desire getting politically involved... with different moral standards.

I fully support the Leadership Institute and will continue looking for, and when the opportunity arrives, attend their events. But, honestly, after this weekend I don't see myself getting any more involved with politics outside of volunteering. Some politics are ugly, and it appears to be a dog-eats-dog system. C'mon, I would have a guilt complex just thinking about publishing extremely negative information about my opponent! Does this mean I won't think critically or get involved? Absolutely not. Analyzing can be a shear pleasure and I enjoy writing (as you see). Research is a hobby of mind as is photography, attending political events, making connections with people in higher office than myself (which doesn't take a whole lot since I'm only a student), and learning gas much about leadership and standing up for my beliefs (based on a Biblical standard) as I can.

I will stay involved, I will use my voice, I will take action... But I will also do my best to be above reproach, go above and beyond and raise the bar of expectation.
Will you do the same?





For more information on sending your high school student to a TeenPact school or Leadership Institute event please visit their web sites:
http://www.teenpact.com/
http://www.leadershipinstitute.org/

For more conservative political resources visit:
http://www.isi.org/
http://www.hawkeyereview.com/

Many internship programs are involved for students who wants to get involved


http://www.conservativeinternships.com/


http://www.conservativejobs.com/


http://www.leadershipinstitute.com/


http://www.isifellowship.org/




Monday, March 23, 2009

First Spring Rain

It rained today! All day - on and off, hard :)
Thunder and lightening graced the outdoors as enormous bundles of water careened to earths crust, splattering against pavement and dry ground. Withered grass has suddenly held a hint of green in it’s stalk, reaching high into the sky as if saying “Ah! I am revived! Winter is coming to a close, and flowers will soon bloom… and we shall enjoying dancing in a gentle, warm breeze as we used to do at dusk on a Spring day…”

There will be bunches of exploding blooms spilling out of a crystal vases in the center of every single surface in our house in just a few weeks!
I cannot wait until I can post pictures of all of Spring’s beauties!!

However, I am getting ahead of myself and there are just pictures of Spring showers to share with the world! I hope you enjoy them! Have a great ante-winter week :)

Okay, this picture was taken more like mid-Summer, but the clouds are beautiful!!
Spring rain 2009 :)

Birds flying before a storm

Clouds looming over head

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Longing for Spring

Moths playing hide and seek amongst some mintfront-porch Fusia
Frost-covered mums
Our blooming crab apple tree
right after spring shower

The major theme in a lot of blog posts that I have seen this week are Spring-based. Stinky for someone who still has a few weeks yet until winter is "over." Unfortunately we can still get blizzards through April, here in the great plains. I am so jealous of y'all who get to experience the wonderful fragrance of fresh blooms already! Can you send some of your spring-time over here please?

Because I've been pouting about not having any spring time here I figured I could at least fantasize about it and look at last years pictures of our wonderful spring blooms... but then I just couldn't help but share!
I hope y'all enjoy :)
Have a wonderful week and superb weekend!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Paper Craft Wednesday

True, it's a Valentines card, but it's my favorite card this year (so far :) This picture may seem a bit confusing at first. I created a base card (using red card stock) and then a second, which (when folded) was half the size of the base card. So it's actually two cards glued, one on top of the other. You can open up the card either way, for a note, open the right side, and for the floral picture you open up the pink card on the left.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

He Knows His Plans for Me!! :)

Gals 2 Gether Formal 12/07Gals 2Gether Spring Tea 6/08The girls and I after the Tea 6/08
Top: Me :)
Bottom row (L to R): Emily, Rachel, Paige, Kate
For several weeks I have been muling over the different options out there after I graduate. Different colleges, internships, trades, jobs, traveling opportunities... the list goes on... and on... and on!

Hardly being able to keep my mind off the anxiety inducing, pain causing subject (which has a side-effect of twitching) I've tried discussing the topic with mom. Both of us have come up with different strategies to attack the unnerving fact that I must step outside "The Big Door."

Actually it's not that unnerving. I have done lots of traveling throughout my life, and have family just about everywhere in the US :)

However, as I was reading through some of my note books about my goals, dreams, thoughts, passions, desires and what "makes me tick" (although using that expression causes me to think of a clock.... not something someone enjoys doing....). The common theme throughout all these note books and goals and visions for my future actually has to do with woman's/ girls ministry.
I started a girls Protocol group called Gals 2Gether. For two semesters we worked through a wonderfully enjoyable little book called "Protocol Matters." Actually we read through the book.. while discussing interesting topics regarding cultures view on beauty, the Christian beauty, cultural issues, manners, etiquette, what would be fun to do next year... etc.. etc..

As a celebration of our success in the completion of Protocol Matters we enjoyed a spectacular formal tea party in December of '07. Not only was the party fun in the sense that we were well mannered "ladies"... but we also enjoyed smashing Cream Puffs between our hands... at each other... After this we exchanged gifts. Before we started the book each girl was assigned another girl in our group. This was her "secret sister." The sister was supposed to find out as much as possible about the other girl without being found out. Then she bought and gave a gift to her based on the girls likes and hobbies.

As I look through the filled-out questionnaires handed out to each one of the girls the first day the group met at a local coffee shop, I have to smile. It was so much fun chatting, giggling, sharing experiences in life, laughing, relating to one another, getting odd looks from the college students who were "working" on their lap tops... :)

Watching each girl grow, mature and strive to become who God intended her to be is one of the most fulfilling satisfying things in life!

Perhaps doing what God intends me to do after high school is as simple as continuing and growing in what I am already doing!



"... To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes; the oil of gladness instead of mourning; And a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called Oaks of Righteousness, a planting of the Lord, for the display of His splendor!"

Psalm 60:3 NIV translation




Saturday, January 24, 2009

Tomorrow Today

Can you Hear Them Crying? Can you hear us crying? Can you hear me crying? "And there was the moon, as big as anything!
I saw your face, poppa...
did you see mine?
I miss you, I want to come home soon..." Dance with me! Learn to laugh, to play,
To be a child again!


"I am no longer a child, I have learned hatred!
Now, I am already and adult.
I have known fear."
A group of nine home schoolers (myself included) will be performing a heart-wrenching, tear-jerker tragedy titled "Can you Hear Them Crying?" next Saturday.
The half hour drama is about the children's lives in one of World War II's ghetto's, Theresienstadt. Throughout the drama poems are recited, which the children of Terezin wrote while in the ghetto.
Three "butterflies" grace the stage, as a theme, throughout the entire performance, representing what childhood was for these children and what it should be - happy, vibrant zoe. During this time in history, however, life was quite the opposite. Dark, oppressive, fear filled, depressing, surreal, and in the twilight zone these children somehow lived their lives... only to die.
On a happier note:)
Tomorrow mom and I head on a great adventure - just "looking" at (adorable) puppies. The purpose of this expedition is so see the personalities and character of the puppies (which are Aussies) as well as the mothers personality and character.
I'm actually quite nervous. It's a huge responsibility, and I know that I will inevitably mess up as far as the puppy is concerned (whether that be training, socialization or the like). However, because of my perfectionistic personality, I really don't want to!
I truly desire a puppy- desire to get one and raise one, train one, and have a dog with me for the next decade or so of my life. But I know with anything "great" in life comes serious responsibility, and I want to be responsible to the best of my capabilities. If that means not investing in another dog right now, so be it. I will know when I meet the puppies whether or not I will be able to do right by my family, myself and the puppy when I see their personalities, character and observe this particular breeds needs.


Warmth for Winter

* Burnt-orange nail polish
*feather-down, fleece-lined blanket
*Hot "English Breakfast" tea, if a tsp. of whipped honey
*Pictures of tropical islands
*knitted scarf
*An adorable puppy to sit on your lap
*blazing fire
* Basic Message Oil
6 tsp. carrier oil of your choice
8 srops of essential/ fragerance oil of your choice
Blend the two together, well. Warm up the oil before using - make sure to message between your fingers and your cuticals.
.... any questions?