Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Must I Continue?

Selfishness, self-love, self-righteousness, jealousy, strife, conflict, rivalry, competition, resentment, anger, hurtful teasing, harassment, intolerance of fault in others, quarreling, backbiting, impatience, self-pride, degradation of others, sarcasm, disunity, obstinacy, narcissism, autonomy, selfish ambition, bitterness, grudges, hatred, discontentment, cruel remarks, rebellion, temper outbursts, rudeness...

Must I continue?

There are many reason why I have decided to write this book, the first and foremost being for the glory of God and the advancement of His kingdom.  Secondly, I write this book for my seven siblings (nope, seven isn't lucky for me because I still have to deal with the same problems that everyone else has to deal with).  They are a rather lively and unique group of kids, with many different talents and personalities and characteristics and gifts.  Grace (16), Kirstie (14), Katie (12), Maggie (11), Reb (9), Clara (7), and Liberty (2) are all very intelligent and clever, but you know me: highly prejudiced when it comes to my family.  I will defend them to the death...even if we aren't exactly getting along very well at the moment.  I want to give them an inheritance from their oldest sister, a legacy of love that can be passed down to offer guidance, edification, and sanctification amidst a crooked and perverse generation (Phil.2:5).  I want them to know what it means to struggle, yet overcome those struggles and move on toward success.  This is my prayer.

I also write this book for my children in the future.  Being a kid once myself [humor inserted], I know what it's like to go through sibling rivalry, and I don't want my children wasting years of their lives as bitter enemies with their [many] brothers and sisters.  I want this book to be a part of the heritage that I pass on to my children in future years as a part of their mother's love to them.  I'm trying to keep a multigenerational viewpoint in mind as I write as a vision of hope for my children.
This book is furthermore for other struggling siblings.  I know that my siblings and I are not the only ones who struggle, for rivalry is a common problem.  Why?  Well, you'll just have to wait and read my book.

Must I continue?

My heart beats with intense delight.  I do not know how long or when, but I do know, and I can't tell you how joyous that makes me feel.  It will be a dream come true when I am finally able to hold a freshly-printed copy of my book in my hands.  Then I will read it all the way through and count how many mistakes I made.  Oh dear...

Maybe I won't.  It may be too much of a painful project.  Then you can read it all the way through and tell me how many mistakes I made.

As I continue on my journey, my quest-like answering-all-of-the-problems (well, not really; I don't have all of the answers), I have to remember that it is not all my siblings' fault that we don't get along as best friends.  Ultimately, I am to blame.  We each individually are to blame.  If we are the oldest then we have an even greater responsibility, but no matter our sibling station—whether we are the oldest, the youngest, or one in between—we are to be accountable for our actions.  We can't simply throw all the blame on our siblings' shoulders and get away with it, because that proves our selfishness, self-love, and immaturity.  Do we really love ourselves so much that we can't admit when we are wrong?

I don't want to dishearten you, I want to encourage you!  I have seen examples of siblings who rose above the standard "just get along and don't kill each other" mentality, and become the best of best friends.  As a matter of fact, they become best friends forever.  Those stories stimulate me.  I want my relationship with my siblings to become just like that, and then in turn, encourage others so that they want the same outcome.

You can be an incredible help to me, with your prayers, your encouragement, and even your input.  Everyone has questions that they want answered, and while I am not the best qualified, I know the best place to look (John 5:39)—a place that we all can access, thanks to the blood and sweat of martyrs and Church fathers.

Any daughter at home has great potential to advance the kingdom of Christ.  I want to use the rest of my unmarried years to the fullest extent possible, doing everything I can to further my father's vision, be a help to my mother, and become the best friend of my siblings.  Surprisingly, I think that I have lost my vehement desire to get married as soon as possible.  Like I have any control over that anyway.  I won't kid you, I still want to get married...someday, believe me.  But right now I have an obligation to fulfill, and it cannot be fulfilled unless I focus on it completely, without the interruption of sighs, longings, and dreams that distract and hinder me.  Dreams I will keep dreaming, but for now I am excited about being a daughter and a siblings.  With the glasses that I wear, the grass looks greener here than it does on the other side.

I don't think I need continue.

With summer almost gone and school almost beginning, my days will be very busy.  Plus finishing pocket college, I'll be doing more work for Daddy, HTML, lots of reading, and working with my younger-schooled siblings.  I won't officially graduate so to speak until this school year ends so that we can do things right for the formal proclamation, but I'm thankful for one more chance to study hard and learn all that I can.  One more year, then I will no longer be a schoolgirl.  I wonder how that will feel...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Just What My Big Idea Is...

Just so that there isn't anyone confused about my big idea...

My topic will be dealing with the issue of brothers and sisters.  You know, why we can't get along, what the Bible has to say about sibling relationships, what the answers are to problems in the home, how we can actually like our siblings, all the trouble little brothers and sisters cause...

Oops.  Okay, all the trouble that oldests can cause too.

I know that there is already a tremendous book out there on the market, but because we can't have too much material on the subject (especially from different perspectives, and I have a good one with seven siblings)—and there isn't much to choose from anyway—I have been urged and propelled forward by my parents with a "go ahead" sign.  Or rather, "go ahead" words.  Anyway, there you have it.  My big idea.  Pretty big indeed.  So far things are looking good, but how can I say that when I know how critical I am of my own writings?  Well, okay, going good in the aspect that at least I'm finding things to write about.

On a serious note, I have determined to make this journey (let's call it a quest) one that will transform my relationships with my siblings.  I'm tired of the sub-par standard of just trying to get along.  It isn't enough any more, and it hasn't satisfied through the years.  As I grow older I see the damage I have caused in the lives of my siblings, and I don't want to live with the regret that I didn't fix the problem when I had a chance.  What are oldest sisters for (or brothers for that matter)?  So this book is a really a test of myself: do I have enough courage and fortitude to admit when I'm wrong, correct my mistakes, and press on toward making my siblings my best friends—truly?  For I genuinely want to be their best friend, and they to be mine.  But there are many bitter roots to weed out first.  Mostly from the deeds that I have done, because, after all, I am the oldest siblings who is the example (once I hated my mom constantly telling me that I was the example to the rest of my siblings, but just as it can be used for bad, it can definitely be used for good).

Pray for me as I write.  Pray for me as I attempt and resolve and conquer the obstacles before me.  I want to be able to persevere at the end of this book and say with all honestly, "My siblings are my best friends."  Of course, I may have many good outside friends, but I want my siblings to be my best friends.  Forever and ever.  Just like Anne and Diana in Anne of Green Gables.  They were inseparable.  They did everything together.  They shared secrets, passions, pursuits, hopes, dreams, ideals, expectations and thoughts for the future, fears, likes and dislikes, and spent all of their time together, from when they were little girls until they grew up.  Though they had other friends, they were the best of bosom friends.  That is how I want my siblings and I to be.

Just a summary so you don't leave my blog with a perplexed look.  Then again, you still might.  At least I tried.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sweet Sixteen

Sweet sixteen is a new era
Another year that you can dream
Womanhood is around the corner—
A lifetime though it may seem

Sweet sixteen, you've grown up
All the smiles and laughter that you share
Grace our home like wreathes of jewels
From a girl like you so rare

Sweet sixteen is nearer still
To the woman God would have you to be
Marriage to a godly young man
Will come about one day, you'll see

Sweet sixteen do not worry
Live your life happily carefree
There's no time like today to live
For only once a girl you'll be

Sweet sixteen, dream your dreams
Smile and laugh and sing a song
Glorify God in all you do
For one life is not very long

Birthday girls

Happy Birthday, Gracie!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Happy Birthday, Snickerdoodle!

Apparently relaxing while eating her birthday dinner

Two years old and comfy. Totally cute. Terribly independent.  A mind of her own.  The boss of the entire family.  Has each person twisted around her little finger.  Outgoing and shy at the same time.  Loves to sing and dance.  A bundle of endless energy.  But the cutest little two-year-old I've ever seen.

Wouldn't you agree?

Definitely not attractive...what will she think in ten years?

Oh, I almost forgot.  Can't live without candy, particularly chocolate.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Big Idea

What does one have to do to achieve a big idea, perhaps a long-awaited dream that can almost—almost—be tasted?  It is hard work, lots of prayer, and a resolution to be whatever you want to be (Stonewall Jackson).

So I have resolved.

Once I resolve I don't give up.  Even if it means a very long period of time.  Weeks. Months. Even years.  But I don't think it will be that long.

Due to a recent thrust from my supportive parents, I have begun another journey.  This one also entails tears, hard work, lots of prayer, support, encouragement, but is in fact a different category.

It entails days upon days of writing.  Experience.  Questions.  Answers.  Searching.  Siblings.  Scripture.  Stacks of books.  A cluttered desk.  Throbbing temples.  Aching hand.  Weary eyes.  Hopeful heart.  Excited dreams.  Prayer and Thanksgiving.

But for what?

I have been greatly disturbed and saddened by an overwhelming amount of brothers and sisters who do not get along...Quite frankly, there just isn't enough material out there in the Christian, and more particularly, the Reformed worldview...That is why, with lots of prayer and support from my family, I begin this project: the quest for a happy, peaceful, flourishing, harmonizing, free-from-antagonism-but-not-completely-perfect home...more specifically, sibling friendship.

"I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me." -Isaiah 6:8

There is plenty of fiction out in the world—most of it being junk—but I, as a Reformed young woman wanting to advance the kingdom of Christ and glorify Him in everything I do (man's chief end), realize that there is more to life than fantasy and make-believe.  Something more important.  What about "real life"?  What about the problems we face, particularly in our crumbling homes and families?  What about leaving a legacy to my seven siblings, my own children, and other families in the years to come?  Will I not want to leave behind me a vision for future generations?  What about the generation here and now?  Everyone wants their life to count for something, to have a purpose to everything they do.  For the Christian this means to glorify God (1 Cor.10:31) and bring every thought captive to His Word (2 Cor.10:3-5).

 My writing desk
Even writing a book.

Surely I've given enough hints for you to know what my big idea is by now...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Finally...I'm Back!

So, after a long leave of absence on my part, I am finally back with the fabulous news that we have moved into our new house!  To make a long story short, we were very blessed with very busy days of packing and packing and packing, loading the truck, more packing, more loading the truck, unloading the truck on two different occasions, and lots and lots of unpacking.  I am now writing this post, very comfortably I might add, in our new home in the little town of Milner.  At first is was quite different and we had to get used to living in town because of the road right at our front door and the train that goes by a few times each day, but now we sleep right through everything...most of the time anyway.  Oh, we may have a tiny police department, a firetruck and an ambulance, but no Walmart, nor a gas station.  We have to settle for Dollar General, unless we drive fifteen minutes to a bigger town.  On the other hand, our house is situated on three acres of beautiful creation, with a wide-open meadow, huge, towering pecan trees just perfect for shade, and delicious fig trees (speaking of which, Mama made the best fig cake EVER).  It is amazing how good God is, even when we don't think so.

It feels so good to have our move completed.  We can relax in our old-fashioned house without having to trip over boxes full of things you-really-don't-know-where-to-put-it-all.  The chaotic days of packing and unpacking are now long gone...and I am so relieved.  Frankly, I hope never to move again until I get married.  I've had my share to last me a lifetime.  I will be adamant that my husband find just the right house so we never have to move.

That's not likely.

Hopefully now I can get back into blogging.  I feel so out of touch with anything internet, so I am so glad everything has started to settle down back to "normal life."  For now, be content in the fact that I will be blogging more in the coming weeks, so I leave you with a fond farewell!


P.S. I'll post pictures sometime soon.

Something to enjoy for good Christian humor: JostieFlicks